Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation dos and don'ts

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What does this mean?[edit]

I can't figure this out. Can it be phrased more simply? Don’t add red links to articles that aren't already linked from articles (click on the "what links here" link under the toolbox on the left hand side to see if any article links to the red link). GeorgeLouis (talk) 04:20, 27 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The original version was "Don't add red links that wouldn't make good articles." It was changed last month to "Don’t add red links to articles that aren't already linked from articles" and then the current version. Station1 (talk) 04:58, 27 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Then it is OK to add a red link (say, for example, Wurtlespurtle) to article Flibbygib provided Flibbygib has some articles already linked to it? Why? Why should it ever be OK to add a red link to any article, linked or otherwise? What purpose does this admonition serve? When would you want to do this? In confusion, your friend, GeorgeLouis (talk) 16:15, 27 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It meant "don't add (to disambiguation pages) red links that link to non-existant articles unless the red link is already linked from an article". I've tried to clarify it. -- JHunterJ (talk) 16:44, 27 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If there is an existing page somewhere in Wikipedia — say, for example, Inglewood, California — and that page has a link to Flibbygibby (architecture), then it is OK to add Flibbygibby (architecture) to the DAB on which you are working? Why would one want to do that? Why add a nonexistent link to a DAB page even though another editor somewhere else has added a nonexisting link on an existing, real page? I am just trying to see the reasoning behind this. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 17:26, 27 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Red links are allowed in articles. No one's come up with a reason to disallow them on disambiguation pages, although we do have more restrictions: the red link has to be used somewhere else first. Do you have a reason why they shouldn't be used here? -- JHunterJ (talk) 17:43, 27 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Specifically, see WP:REDLINKS (read the intro for an overview). :) -- Quiddity (talk) 19:21, 27 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


There seems to be two paradoxical sentences in this page. In the part "don't", it is written "Don't add entries without a blue link." It means we cannot add red links at all. On the other hand, the fourth sentence is "Don't add red links that aren't used in any articles." So we can add particular red links. Isn't it a paradox?Ali Pirhayati (talk) 09:53, 12 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The first sentence doesn't mean you cannot use red links at all. The guideline is that you can't add a red-linked entry unless there is also a useful blue link within that entry.--NapoliRoma (talk) 13:36, 12 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply] what may need editing is the sentence: "Put exactly one link in each entry, at or near the start." Strictly speaking, that should be "exactly one blue link." I also think "at or near the start" is incorrect -- especially in the circumstance we're discussing.--NapoliRoma (talk) 13:40, 12 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The statement "Don't add entries without a blue link" does not exclude entries that also contain a red link. It only means that each entry should have a blue link. As NapoliRoma suggests, the more problematic statement is the one limiting entries to exactly one link without distinguishing between red or blue links. olderwiser 15:25, 15 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was this edit that introduced the statement that is inconsistent with guidelines and practice. I am going to re-instate the previous language. olderwiser 15:29, 15 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, no paradoxes should be inferred from the information here. This is a handy dos-and-don'ts list, much abbreviated from the full guidelines. If something appears to be a paradox, we check to see what the actual guidelines say. -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:55, 15 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This whole thing is totally wrong. Red links in disambiguation pages have a good reason: They show readers, that the link they followed to "John Smith" needs to be changed and offers some possibilites. Often the reader can decide without specific knowledge, which one to pick, because they belong to the same group. If he has come from a Congressman, there is a very good chance, that John Smith (american politician) is the right one, if he comes from running at Olympic games, it might be the John Smith (Runner). In that way future articles get there incoming links beforehand. --Eingangskontrolle (talk) 22:57, 3 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, disambiguation pages are not to do lists of articles to be created. Unless there is an existing article that contains verifiable information on the topic there is nothing to disambiguate within the context of Wikipedia. If there is an article that mentions either John Smith (american politician) or John Smith (Runner), that can be included as a blue link in the description for the entry. If there is no existing article that mentions the topic, there is no evidence to support any claim of notability. olderwiser 23:45, 3 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To editor Eingangskontrolle: Two things. One, as I've pointed out to several people on this talk, and as the header makes clear, this is an information page: it merely reflects consensus established at the cited guideline. That guideline, not this page, is where consensus on these questions is established, and where it should be challenged if necessary. Two, Bkonrad is right, there is an overwhelming consensus that dab pages are not repositories of nonexistent articles. They exist solely to aid navigation to existing articles. Familiarize yourself with the guideline before you make any more embarrassing pronouncements about things being "totally wrong". —swpbT 13:47, 4 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I feel, the consensus ist established by barking away other opinions. But as long as I can find another article which is linking to the new item everything is ok. Very strange. --Eingangskontrolle (talk) 14:47, 4 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, that is not how consensus is established. Being outweighed may feel like being "barked" at, but it's not. You can dig up reams of reasoned discussion that led to a consensus as well-established as this one. Your particular opinion on this matter has been raised and rejected by the community on a reasoned basis many times. You're free to challenge it again if you think you have a strong case, but unless that challenge prevails, you are obligated to follow consensus, whether you like how it was established or not. —swpbT 15:08, 4 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Something to the effect of...[edit]

"Keep subjective adjectives to an absolute minimum" perhaps? I don't have a problem with Mozart being described as famous, but much beyond that just leads to tears. - Richfife (talk) 23:25, 3 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That would seem to fall under "Keep descriptions short". Maybe that should link to MOS:DABENTRY ? --NapoliRoma (talk) 18:40, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

List of useful templates[edit]

I think this page should have a "See also" section filled with the names of templates useful for signaling that a disambiguation page has issues. For example templates like {{Only-two-dabs}}, {{dab page containing entries without blue link}}, {{dab page containing red link not used elsewhere}} or {{dab page containing references or external links}} (I guess such templates exist but I don't know where to find them or I don't have the time to search for them) and so on.

So it will be easy for the editors to find those useful templates, since this page (Wikipedia:Disambiguation dos and don'ts) is linked every time one edits a disambiguation page. —  Ark25  (talk) 14:56, 17 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The issues you see may be easily fixed: delete redlinks, add blue links, etc. No reason to proliferate bureaucracy. Also, lots of ugly cleanup templates will disturb the main purpose of disambig pages: ease of navigation. If you don't know how or have no time to fix, please put {{disambig-cleanup}} at the bottom, and people from WikiProject Disambiguation will fix it. -M.Altenmann >t 15:40, 17 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ark25: You're talking about Template:Disambig editintro right? Although I praise your assumption of good faith, I have doubts about the number of editors that actually read that edit intro. Therefore, @Swpb: the shortcut WP:DDD is also widely used in edit summaries when cleaning up a disambiguation page (e.g. by Boleyn), so I don't think that the entries which you removed today should be removed. Also, this is a page for instructing editors to do the basic things of editing a disambiguation page right themselves. Not a page to teach them how to let others fix their mistakes. IMHO, this is not the right place for a link to {{disambiguation-cleanup}}. -- LittleWink (talk) 19:28, 17 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I respectfully disagree. I created DDD with the intention of presenting only the most essential points, to avoid TL;DR syndrome. The full dab guideline is there to cover the less important details. In my experience, non-bulleted lists and entries ending in punctuation are not significant problems on dab pages, certainly not relative to the other points listed here. On the other hand, I do think it's appropriate to point to the cleanup tag; this is the only place most editors are likely to come across it, and it would be better for an editor who's not interested in doing the cleanup to tag the page, rather than do nothing. DDD applies to all dab edits; it's just as much about cleanup as it is about new entries. Swpbtalk 20:10, 17 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am in process of checking about two thousand disambiguation pages if they exist and if they are complete. If they don't exist, I have to create them - example. If they are not complete, I have to add more items - example. About one third of them are Romanian Rivers, so I have to to the same on RO.WP too. Not only that, I have to place a lot of "See also" items for dab pages about words with the same roots, e.g. Corni River, on both Wikipedias. If I start to also cleanup the dab pages created by others or inter-relate the rivers, brooks, creeks and lakes, then the task would eat me an unfair amount of time that I don't have. So, unfortunately, I don't have the time to clean all the disambiguation pages that I come across. Having quick access to such cleanup tags (templates) might be quite useful.
By the way, the recent change of the Template:Disambig editintro page (pointing to this guide too) is a breath of fresh air! —  Ark25  (talk) 10:19, 20 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Don't include references ? !!!![edit]

It is quite reasonable to expect that references are included inside the disambiguated articles....but:

  • What happens if the articles are not yet created? How can anyone be sure that the red links are real and not the product of our imagination?
  • What happens if among the entries are descriptions which are valid, but not enough to constitute an article? Should these descriptions stay unreferenced, without verification?

Because of these reasons, I believe that we should rephrase it to «Don't include references for blue links». --FocalPoint (talk) 22:40, 21 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Disambiguation pages are primarily navigational aides for existing content on Wikipedia. Just as Wikipedia is not a directory or an indiscriminate collection of trivia, disambiguation pages don't direct readers to content that is not covered in an existing articles. WP:DABMENTION and WP:DABRL provide relevant guidelines. olderwiser 22:55, 21 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So, when other encyclopedias and books contain several entries on historic persons, a few of which are one or two lines, your suggestion is that these entries should be discarded? I cannot agree to that, no matter how many shortcuts to guidelines you provide. There has to be another solution. If you want to name these pages something else than disambiguation, then so be it. I am open to suggestions. --FocalPoint (talk) 17:14, 22 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You can create articles or stubs for the entries yourself with appropriate references. Or you can find an article on a topic associated with the person or term and include a mention there with citation. The exclusion of references on disambiguation pages has been the accepted standard since very early in the project. If you wanted to change that standard, you'd need to raise the topic at Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation rather than here on the talk page of an abbreviated precis of that page. olderwiser 19:06, 22 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for your answer Bkonrad. I would need to invest a lot of energy to do that effectively, so I am just stating here my support to whoever will want to persuade the community to make reasonable exceptions to this agreement. Dear whoever, feel free to inform me if and when you raise the issue. --FocalPoint (talk) 19:56, 22 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is the wrong place to raise your concern; as the header states, this page is merely a summary of the formal guideline, MOS:DAB. If you want to challenge the current consensus regarding references on dab pages, that's the place to do it – but as Bkonrad has explained, that consensus is quite firmly established (for good reason, IMO). What I might be willing to support would be the inclusion of a ref or two within an invisible comment (<!-- like this -->), which you can probably get away with already. But as Bkonrad pointed out, if you have refs, you might as well start a stub. Swpbtalk 15:15, 23 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fair enough, I have raised my concern there, where I hope that you will both comment. --FocalPoint (talk) 16:47, 23 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Dab pages should be ridden and not remembered"[edit]

   That section title is my first cut at encapsulating what i fantasize might inspire inexperienced Dab editors to finish every Dab edit by tersifying; it might even be an ideal wording. My first thot was accompanying it by a photo of a ski jumper, or a Norman Rockwell illustration of two kids sledding off a hillside ramp they have built out of snow. Or on the other hand, perhaps a better metaphor is a teleportation booth, where effort and delay are as close to zero as imaginable.
--Jerzyt 20:37, 22 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That bizarre sentence might mean something to you, but it means nothing to anyone else. If you want to write an essay on your musings, go right ahead; this information page, however, will continue to reflect the applicable guidelines in clear, common language. —swpbT 14:19, 26 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorting entries and sections[edit]

I think that a long list of disambiguations (longer than ten entries, say) is difficult to search visually without using the search key (Ctrl + F under Windows). Is there a rule when it is allowed to order entries or sections on a large disambiguation page? If so, where can I find this rules? If not, is the only rule that the way they are saved first is per definition the best way?--Sae1962 (talk) 14:43, 24 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I recommended the editor to check in with the project due to mass sorting dabs alphabetically (both sections and entries in sections). WP:MOSDAB has general guidance on this. Additional issues being edits like [1] where there's non-allowed piping, and the entry fails WP:DABACRO. I suggest the mass sorted dabs are reviewed and if undesirable undone before subsequent edits happen. Widefox; talk 15:10, 24 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No lines without red links[edit]

I think this rule is pretty dumb and stands against everything Wikipedia stands for. Red links are an important feature of Wikipedia, and disambiguation of concepts and names is a very important feature in its own right, not only to divert readers to existing articles. Notability is the only thing that should count here, not a strange wish to have less red links. de.wikipedia has no problem with that, and their disambig pages are just as good (and often better) than en.wikipedia's. --Anvilaquarius (talk) 00:07, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To editor Anvilaquarius: 1. You are raising this in the wrong place. Please read the edit notice that appeared at the top of the window when you edited this page.
2. You're welcome to raise the matter at the right place, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages, but I can tell you it has been raised many times before, and the existing consensus has been reconfirmed each time. You can read that guideline and search through its talk page history if you want to understand why that is so. —swpbT 13:50, 10 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No wonder Wikipedia is slowly dying. Silly conservatism, no embracing of "doing the right thing" and "WP:Be Bold" to be found anywhere. --Anvilaquarius (talk) 14:01, 10 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not dying by any means, and constantly re-litigating every consensus is a colossal waste of our time, but if that story makes you feel better, that's fine. —swpbT 17:12, 10 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bad guidance in the {{One other topic}} template[edit]

Please join discussion at Template_talk:One_other_topic#Encourages_partial_title_matches about the guidance in the {{One other topic}} template which encourages partial name matches.

As per these dos-and-dont's here, editors are not supposed to "include every article containing the title." The template basically guides editors to do just that. Coastside (talk) 16:47, 24 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To editor Coastside: Merits of that discussion aside, your notice here is skirting WP:APPNOTE - it's fine to highlight a discussion, but please keep notices neutral. —swpbT • go beyond • bad idea 19:02, 24 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for pointing that out. I was trying to summarize, but I see what you mean about being neutral in the notice. Coastside (talk) 21:03, 24 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Double negative[edit]

The consensus is to use a third wording proposed by Certes: "Don't include red links unless used in an article."

Cunard (talk) 01:19, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Does anybody think the double negative used in this revision of the page with the phrasing "Don't include red links not used in articles" is a good wording? In my opinion, it is absolutely horrible. Banana Republic (talk) 19:54, 23 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In my opinion, it's perfectly understandable and concise. There's nothing at all grammatically or logically wrong with two negatives in a sentence, half-remembered grammar school admonitions notwithstanding. —swpbT • go beyond • bad idea 00:00, 24 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC: Should the policy page use a double negative to save words?[edit]

Requesting additional comments since the above discussion failed to attract attention from anybody other than the two editors in conflict.
The issue is: Should the policy page contain a double negative (as in this version) in order to save a few words? or should it use verbiage that is free of a double negative (as in this version)? Banana Republic (talk) 21:32, 31 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • This is not an instance of a double negative: the sentence is made up of two clauses, each of which is headed by a negated predicate. There's nothing wrong with that, even in the eyes of prescriptivists. However, I find the version without negation clearer, but that has to be weighted against its greater length (which matters given the format). – Uanfala (talk) 21:48, 31 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You lost me. "Don't include red links not used in articles" is a single clause. Banana Republic (talk) 22:07, 31 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would call not used in articles a reduced relative clause, though your terminology might vary. – Uanfala (talk) 22:14, 31 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The difference between the two versions is 6 words (8 words vs. 14 words). Two of the 14 words in the longer version are the "a" article, so it's really only a 4 word difference. If it's more clear to use 4 additional words, I think it's worth it (of course, the reason it's more clear is that it is free of the double negative, so the reader does not have to parse out the sentence to figure out what it means). Banana Republic (talk) 22:11, 31 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • How about a compromise version: Don't include red links unless used in articles? Certes (talk) 23:20, 31 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it needs to say "unless used in at least one article". Otherwise, the plural could be interpreted to mean "more than one article". Banana Republic (talk) 00:03, 1 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"...unless used in an article"? That could be interpreted to exclude links found in multiple articles, but only by the wilfully obtuse. Certes (talk) 00:12, 1 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And when you're dealing with policies, you don't want ambiguities. I think unless used in at least one article is only 3 words longer than the present double negative phrasing of not used in articles. In my opinion, the additional 3 words are well worth the additional clarity. Banana Republic (talk) 01:10, 1 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I can live with "unless used in articles". "At least one" isn't needed to get the point across - everyone needs to remember this is not the guideline itself. —swpbT • go beyond • bad idea 18:00, 2 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think Certes' suggestion of "...unless used in an article" is clear and concise. I prefer it to both of the originally proposed options. Ajpolino (talk) 16:11, 6 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Please note that this is not a policy page, nor even a guideline page, but an information page. -- JHunterJ (talk) 14:02, 16 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Certes' "...unless used in an article". ─ ReconditeRodent « talk · contribs » 14:10, 18 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think it isn't a double negative and would support either the current version or the "...unless used in an article" version. StudiesWorld (talk) 12:20, 22 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Post-hoc commentary[edit]

  • A) That was a silly thing to put an RfC tag on. B) The entire debate could have been avoided by changing "Don't" to "Avoid". [sigh]. And doing that now would still be an improvement.  — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 11:46, 22 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Project banners on disam talk pages[edit]

I thought that, apart from one for this project, disam talks should not have project banners, but I can't see a policy saying so. Talk:Patriarch of Jerusalem has 5 banners, including yours. Is this right? Johnbod (talk) 12:31, 16 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There's no policy on the matter, but there's general agreement that talk pages only containing the WP DAB banner should not be created (that's documented in the footnotes of Template:WikiProject Disambiguation). As for talk pages that also contain other content: there's nothing wrong with the DAB banner being there as well, though its only purpose will be to remind editors that they're not on the talk page of an article. If you believe it adds clutter, feel free to remove it. Of course, if someone tried to create placeholder talk pages for a large number of dab pages (with or without the banners of other projects), that would be disruptive. – Uanfala (talk) 12:40, 16 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, it's more that I think the other four shouldn't be there - the various entries on the page have their own banners on their talks - what's the point of repeating these here? If bigger disam pages took this approach, it would be ridiculous. Johnbod (talk) 12:45, 16 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, now I get what you meant. It's the banner of the dab project that's not needed, and as for other wikiprojects it's up to them to decide whether they want to track dab pages. I agree that in the vast majority of cases, that would be a bad idea. But adding relevant content-project banners is actually good for dab pages that stir up any sort of controversy: Talk:Patriarch of Jerusalem for example is unusual in having several discussion threads, including an old RM discussion; if a new RM discussion were to be started, you would definitely want this to show up in the article alerts of Wikiproject Christianity. – Uanfala (talk) 13:03, 16 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, thanks! Johnbod (talk) 13:07, 16 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And some projects just track particular DAB pages that relate to major topics in their scope; e.g., WP:WikiProject Cue sports has a keener than average interest in Eight-ball (disambiguation), Hustler (disambiguation), and Hustle (disambiguation).  — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 11:51, 22 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]