Wikipedia talk:Splitting

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Handling improper splits[edit]

According to the current version of Wikipedia:Splitting:

To conform with §4(I) of the GFDL, the new page should be created with an edit summary noting "split content from [[article name]]". (Do not omit this step or omit the page name.) A note should also be made in the edit summary of the source article, "split content to [[article name]]", to protect against the article subsequently being deleted and the history of the new page eradicated.

What should be done if that step was omitted? Would it be adequate to make a dummy edit with the split summary? Does the page need to be deleted and re-created with a split notice in the summary of the first edit? -- Gordon Ecker (talk) 04:24, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Sorry for the very long delay in response. A dummy edit should be sufficient. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 20:43, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I think this should be mentioned somewhere in the procedure section. -- Gordon Ecker (talk) 03:08, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

New template[edit]

I was bold and created a new template, {{Splitfrom}}. This can be placed on the talk page of an article from which material was copied. Comments are welcome. Coppertwig(talk) 21:20, 7 December 2008 (UTC)


Split (pres.), splat (pret.), splut (supine), splot (noun). Because I decided so. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 21:51, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

So articles that Jim splat are splots? And he should ask if he wants to splut more? Hm... intreguing. Let's see if others agree... Jubilee♫clipman —Preceding undated comment added 19:12, 30 September 2009 (UTC).

Does not actually explain how to split an article.[edit]

I don't know how to split an article, and Wikipedia:Splitting does not actually explain how to do so. It only explains how to format the edit summary to label the edit as a split, not what steps are required to actually produce the split. Request that an editor with knowledge of how to split articles improve this guide to make it a step by step guide to splitting an article.Librarylefty (talk) 23:47, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree. Although this article claims to be a "How To" page, it never actually explains "How to Split an Article." I get that I'm not supposed to cut and paste - so what am I supposed to do? It's very frustrating, and in my opinion is an example of why editors who don't have computer technical backgrounds find Wikipedia very frustrating. Mr Serjeant Buzfuz (talk) 19:49, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Bump: Agreed, as a how to it is utterly useless. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:05, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I can't understand it. What is "the diff"? Afterbrunel (talk) 21:10, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Any better now ? DexDor (talk) 04:27, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

How to properly split an article[edit]

I just tried to follow this procedure, and as a newbie, I got totally lost at step 8:

Go to the destination article, click on 'View history' tab, select the edit where the copy was made, open it and copy the diff of the edit where the cut was made from the browser URL window. Note: If the new article is being created from scratch it's a bit more complicated - see Template:Split from.

Questions I had were:

  1. "select the edit" What does this mean?? My guess was: "click on the date and time when the edit was made"
  2. "copy the diff of the edit where the cut was made from the browser URL window." What the heck is the "diff of the edit"?? I see the word "diff" all over the place linking to all sorts of things. From looking at Template:Split from, I know I'm looking for a URL, and it says something about changing "oldid" in that URL into "diff". How I'm supposed to understand that from "copy the diff of the edit", I'll never know. It seems the author is too familiar with the process and assumes that you already know what he's talking about. It's not written for a newbie, and that is exactly who needs this help.

Then at step 10:

Add template {{Split from|page= |diff= |date= }} to source article talk page, and paste the diff into it, add the title of the new article and the date, add a descriptive edit summary and save the edit.

Question: "the diff" Which diff? The same one from Step 8?

Step 12: "the diff" again.

When I'm done, I've got a dozen browser tabs, I don't know if I'm coming or going, I don't know what I have done, and I certainly don't know if I did it right. I also don't know what the final result is supposed to look like, and I know, in the end, I really haven't learned anything, except how to get confused.

What I really need is for someone who's experienced in this process to re-write the procedure with a newbie in mind, so that I can learn how to do this and become as smart as you experienced guys. Right now, I'm just playing around with pages in userspace, but my goal is to be able to split live articles that are way too overgrown and in serious need of splitting. Unfortunately, this page really doesn't teach me how. Please help.

Thanks! Djdubay (talk) 22:05, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Valid complaints. Thanks for the detailed explanation of where you had difficulty. I, and hopefully others with better technical knowledge, will try to help.
I propose to work out the problems here and then once they have been sorted out to everyone's satisfaction (if that is possible) transfer the improved explanation to the article.
To avoid missing any of the details, I will break this up into sections as above.• • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:48, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Agreed. We should certainly hash this out in talk and then update the live page for the world to share. I'm all in.

Djdubay (talk) 12:22, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Detailed explanation[edit]

1. Select the edit
Go to the history page, which is a list of edits in chronological order. Do this by clicking on the "View history tab at the top of the article. The edit you want is the one in which the content was split by cutting it from the article to paste it into the new article. There should be an edit summary to this effect.
At the start of each edit record listing there is a pair of links (cur/prev), followed by a radiobox (small circle that shows a green dot when selected). You can call up the difference (diff) between two versions (revisions) of the article either by clicking on "prev" for the record in which the edit is made, or by selecting the radiobox of the previous record of the article and the one in which the edit is made, then clicking the button "Compare selected revisions" at the top or bottom of the list (it is available in both places).
A page will open showing the difference between the two revisions made by the edit, and below this the actual page as of after the edit. The difference is shown by two columns at the top and is identified by line number. The old content is in the left column and the new content in the right column.
Your browser address box (URL window) at the top of the screen will contain an address (URL) linking to this specific page layout. Something like ""
2. Copy the diff
I think that the diff for the previous example would be the number directly after the text diff= in the URL, ie. 323812598, but that is just me using logic. If anyone can confirm or correct this please do so. Select the diff with your mouse by dragging over it with left button depressed and copy by right clicking on the highlighted diff, then left clicking on "Copy" in the menu that will appear. The diff is now stored in your computer memory and can be reproduced by pasting at another place.

The bit about changing "oldid" in that URL into "diff" is utterly incomprehensible to me too, and I have done quite a few article splits. If anyone can explain what it means, please go ahead. Start by explaining the purpose of the edit, then how to do it.

I hope this helps a bit and that others will contribute to getting a comprehensible jargon free explanation that can be followed by an ordinary user. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:48, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

  • It's a start ... but in the end, it sounds like you're as confused as the rest of us as to how some of this was intended to work. But I really appreciate the start. Thinking about this further, I decided it's probably best to go to the template pages, see who the major contributors were, and invite them to this discussion. I think who would best know how this process was intended to work than the template authors. Even if they're not good at writing documentation, if they can help us understand how the final product is supposed to look, we can work together and re-write the documentation. Myself, I got the nagging sense that I was opening too many windows, and there had to be a smoother way about the process. But I have to understand exactly what I'm doing before I can find an easier way to do it properly. So guys ... looking forward to getting some insight on this, and let's get 'er fixed! Djdubay (talk) 12:22, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Absolutely. I also find that if you start something it is more likely that others will pitch in than if you just wait for things to happen. Sometimes you just have to experiment a bit and see what happens while you wait. I found that I had about five tabs open while doing a split or a merge: the source article, the destination article, their talk pages, and the instruction page. Good plan with the template authors - some questions on the template talk pages may elicit some useful information. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 12:52, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Agreeed. Looking further up the page, it looks this has been a sore spot for at least three years or more, but no one's taken more action than complain about it. Thanks for taking the bull by the horns and making that all-important first crack. I found I had, seriously, at least a half dozen tabs and was getting confused about which one was which. I understand that you have to create some pages first, before you can create references from those pages, but if we understand exactly what we're doing and why, we can find ways to streamline the process, or at least come up with a clearer way of explaining what and how to do it. Overall, WP's documentation is excellent, which is why this page caught me by surprise. It's actually the first weak documentation I've found. But the great thing about Wikipedia is that we can actually ask the original authors, "what did you mean by that?" and actually have them answer constructively. So I'm looking forward to figuring this out and getting this page up to the same high standards we have everywhere else. BTW -- Thanks for the suggestion on the template talk pages. I'll do that, too. Djdubay (talk) 13:29, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
  • The instructions have been significantly changed since the above was written in June, '13. Is anyone still confused with the instructions the way they appear now? If yes, please explain your difficulties the way User:Djdubay did above. -- -- -- 06:21, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Splitting tool[edit]

Would the procedures for splitting articles be amenable to automation by a tool? Something like the rename/move tool used on Commons. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:47, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Proposed change to first sentence of article[edit]

The first sentence states: If an article becomes too large or a section of an article has a length that is out of proportion to the rest of the article, it is recommended that a split be carried out. I believe this is too strong a statement, as there are other solutions that may be relevant in specific situations (e.g. removing inappropriate material, filling out the other sections of the article, or moving material to another existing article). I would suggest the following alternative: If an article becomes too large, or a section of an article has a length that is out of proportion to the rest of the article, it is often appropriate for some or all of the article to be split into new articles.

Thoughts? -- Dan Griscom (talk) 13:21, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Support. DexDor (talk) 20:26, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Support. Flyer22 (talk) 20:35, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Support, • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:09, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks: done. --- Dan Griscom (talk) 05:11, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Notability standards for WP:SPLIT[edit]

I have started a discussion about notability standards for WP:SPLITs at Wikipedia_talk:Notability#Notability_standards_for_WP:SPLIT (because there is more traffic there than here).--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 05:40, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

How to properly split an article (again)[edit]

"Go to the new article, click on 'View history' tab, select the edit where the copy was made, open it ..." Can't "open it". That would normally mean click the "prev" link, near the beginning of the line for the selected edit. However, the edit that first creates a page doesn't have a "prev" link, neither in my page Responses to the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, nor in some random pages I looked at. Thus the rest of the instructions in step 8 are impossible.

Another issue is that perhaps most of the time I spent splitting that article is a step that isn't mentioned: Resolve cite errors that may occur when invocations of a named reference are separated from their definition. Art LaPella (talk) 19:40, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

I've made some changes to the procedure in response to these comments. Note: Step 8 is optional; I don't normally do it - and especially not if the split page is brand new. DexDor (talk) 20:54, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. Art LaPella (talk) 07:50, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

Article on birth of Jesus created based on other Wikipedia articles[edit]

Please see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Date of birth of Jesus of Nazareth. There it is argued that if several different articles contain similar sections, the section may be split out of all the articles without violating the principle from WP:V that the editor who adds a statement and source to an article should have actually read the source and verified that it does indeed support the added statement. The wording of this information page seems to only support the idea of splittiong out a section from one article, not merging sections from different articles. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:04, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Small but anoying difference between two sections[edit]

Under Wikipedia:Splitting#Procedure the article says:

The page receiving the split material must have an edit summary noting "split content from article name". (Do not omit this step or omit the page name.) A note should also be made in the edit summary of the source article, "split content to article name"

while under Wikipedia:Splitting#How to properly split an article the article says:

Paste into the new article with edit summary "Contents WP:SPLIT from Source article name" and save the new article.

and in Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia it says:

At minimum, this means providing an edit summary at the destination page – that is, the page into which the material is copied – stating that content was copied, together with a link to the source (copied-from) page, e.g., "Contents WP:SPLIT from Source article name"

so what is the right edit summary?

"split content from article name

"Contents WP:SPLIT from Source article name"


"copied content from page name; see that page's history for attribution"

I prefer the "Contents WP:SPLIT from Source article name" if nobody objects I will edit Wikipedia:Splitting#Procedure in about a week WillemienH (talk) 13:00, 18 May 2016 (UTC)