Wikinfo:Disambiguation

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Disambiguation in Wikinfo 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 the different article 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 Wikinfo page can have 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. On Wikipedia disambiguation is usually handled by choosing one prominent meaning which is the subject of the main article; however the article "Mercury" on Wikipedia is an exception and is a disambiguation page. That is the format followed on Wikinfo.

Two different methods of disambiguating are discussed here:

  • disambiguation links — at the top of an article, a note that links the reader to articles with similar titles or concepts that the reader may seek instead of the current article.
  • disambiguation pages — non-article pages that contain no content and refer users only to other Wikinfo pages.

Template:Guideline list

Deciding to disambiguate

Ask yourself: When a reader enters a given term in the Wikinfo search box and pushes "Go", what article would they most likely be expecting to view as a result? For example, when someone looks up Joker, would they expect to find information on comedians? On a card? On Batman's nemesis? On the hit song or album by The Steve Miller Band? When there is risk of confusion, the page for an ambiguous term should have a way to take the reader to any of the reasonable possibilities for that term; either the top of the page should have one or more disambiguation links, or the page itself should be a disambiguation page.

Disambiguation links

A user searching for what turns out to be an ambiguous term may not reach the article they expected. Therefore, any article with a title which has multiple meaning should contain a link to the disambiguation page for those words or word. For example, the article about Alexander the Great should contain a brief note and a link to the 1956 film Alexander the Great as well as to Alexander the Great (conqueror) or Alexander the Great of Macedon.

Disambiguation links need not have a uniform appearance on Wikinfo. Use whatever form meets the needs of the reader. Please avoid fussy conventions used on Wikipedia.

Usage guidelines

  • Do not pipe disambiguation links. Showing the entire linked article title avoids confusion, which is the reason for the link in the first place.
  • As noted above, disambiguation links should be placed at the top of an article. Bottom links are deprecated, since they are harder to find and easily missed. For alternatives that are related to the article but not a source of ambiguity, the "See also" section is more appropriate.

Disambiguation pages

Each of these pages in Wikinfo comprises a list (or multiple lists, for multiple senses of the term in question) of similarly-titled links.

  • Link to the primary topic (if there is one):
A school is an institution for learning.
  • Start each list with a short introductory sentence fragment with the title in bold, and ending with a colon. For example:
Blockbuster may refer to:
  • Try to start each entry in the list with a link to the target page.
  • Each bulleted entry should, in almost every case, have exactly one navigable (blue) link; including more than one link can confuse the reader.
  • Do not pipe the name of the links to the articles being listed. (See exceptions)
  • Only include related subject articles if the term in question is actually described on the target article. (For example, the Canton disambiguation page legitimately has an entry for Flag terminology.)

Include the template {{disambig}} (or other disambiguation template, such as {{Geodis}} or {{Hndis}}) at the bottom as an indicator of the page's status. Following the template, include any of the standard categories as appropriate.

For a prime example of an actual disambiguation page, see Lift.

Dictionary definitions

A disambiguation page is should contain links to dictionary definitions. A short description of the common general meaning of a word on the page itself can be appropriate for helping the reader determine context. Dictionary definition may be imported from Wiktionary, Wikipedia's dictionary project or written from scratch.

Duplicate topics

merging of duplicate articles is generally discouraged as any alternate title may be useful as a dictionary definition, if nothing else. However, until you are ready to write a dictionary definition, it is best to leave redirects in place. Alternate articles on related or identical topics should include a prominent link at the TOP of the page to all alternative articles.

Lists

Lists of articles of which the disambiguated term forms only a part of the article title may be included if they seem useful to the reader as search indices.

Set index articles

A set index article is a list article about a set of items that share the same (or similar) name. It is different from a disambiguation navigation page, and should not share the same formatting nor be considered a true disambiguation page:

  • A set index article describes a single set of concepts. For example, Dodge Charger describes a set of cars, List of peaks named Signal Mountain describes a set of mountain peaks, or USS Enterprise describes a set of ships. A set index article is both for information and for navigation: just like a normal list article, it can have metadata and extra information about each entry. A set index article can be entertaining and informative by itself, can help editors find redlinks to create articles on notable entries, and finally can also help readers navigate between articles that have similar names. A set index article should not be restricted by Wikinfo:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages) as it currently stands, but instead should follow the relevant style described in Wikinfo:Lists (stand-alone lists).
  • Sometimes, there will be a disambiguation navigation page and a set index article with a similar name. For example, there is some topic XXXX which consists of concepts of type YYYY plus other meanings. In this case, the disambiguation navigation page should be named XXXX, and the set index article be named List of YYYY named XXXX. Alternatively, if the meaning YYYY is very dominant, then the set index article should be named XXXX, and the disambiguation navigation page be named XXXX (disambiguation). Whether to use this alternative follows the guidelines for naming disambiguation articles.

For more information specifically about set index articles for ships, see Wikinfo:WikiProject Ships/Guidelines#Index pages.

Summary or multi-stub pages

Several small topics of just a paragraph or so each can co-exist on a single page, separated by headings. Although this is similar to a disambiguation page, the disambiguation notice should not be put here, as the page doesn't link to other articles closely associated with a specific term.

As each section grows, there may come a time when a subject should have a page of its own. (See Wikinfo:Article size and Wikinfo:Summary style.)

Although many pages rely on this principle, it has become more common for each subject to have a separate page for its own stub.

Construction

Assuming a Generic topic page, use the What links here list of the moved page to access the redirect page created by the move, and replace that redirect page with the new disambiguation page.

Use the new disambiguation page to find and replace any old disambiguation links in existing pages with a link to the new disambiguation page.

Note that the standard link templates will actually point to a Term XYZ (disambiguation) version of the new name. Use the red-link on an existing page to create a redirect page marked with the {{R to disambiguation page}} template. For example, Term XYZ (disambiguation) could be redirected to the new disambiguation page Term XYZ as follows:

#REDIRECT [[Term XYZ]]{{R to disambiguation page}}

Page naming conventions

A disambiguation page is usually named after the generic topic (e.g. "Term XYZ"). "Term XYZ (disambiguation)" is not the mandatory name for a disambiguation page, and is only used when there is a primary topic for the title "Term XYZ". It is acceptable, on the other hand, to create a page at "Term XYZ (disambiguation)" that redirects to the disambiguation page at "Term XYZ". This type of redirect can be used to indicate deliberate links to the disambiguation page.

Usually, there should be just one disambiguation page for all cases (upper- or lower-case) and variant punctuation.

For example, "Term xyz", "Term Xyz", "Term X-Y-Z", and "Term X.Y.Z." should all redirect to one page.

Generic topic

In most cases, the generic term or phrase should be the title of the actual disambiguation page. This permits an editor to visually determine whether a disambiguating page is generic in Category:Disambiguation.

Links that deliberately point to generic topic disambiguation pages should use an unambiguous "(disambiguation)" link instead, to assist in distinguishing accidental links. In turn, the "(disambiguation)" page will redirect to the generic topic page.

For example, the specific topic Tables (board game) links to Table (disambiguation), a redirect to Table with the template {{R to disambiguation page}}. Table is a generic topic disambiguation page.

Primary topic

When there is a well known primary meaning for a term or phrase, much more used than any other (this may be indicated by a majority of links in existing articles or by consensus of the editors of those articles that it will be significantly more commonly searched for and read than other meanings), then that topic may be used for the title of the main article, with a disambiguation link at the top. If there's a disambiguation page, it should link back to the primary topic.

If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".

Specific topic

For disambiguating specific topic pages, several options are available:

  1. When there is another word (such as Cheque instead of Check) or more complete name that is equally clear (such as Delta rocket), that should be used.
  2. A disambiguating word or phrase can be added in parentheses. The word or phrase in parentheses should be:
  3. Rarely, an adjective describing the topic can be used, but it's usually better to rephrase the title to avoid parentheses.

If there is a choice between disambiguating with a generic class or with a context, choose whichever is simpler. Use the same disambiguating phrase for other topics within the same context.

For example, "(mythology)" rather than "(mythological figure)".

If there is a choice between using a short phrase and word with context, there is no hard rule about which is preferred. Both may be created, with one redirecting to the other.

For example, Mathematical analysis and Analysis (mathematics).

When the context is a book or other creative work, such as with articles about fictional characters, avoid lots of little stubs about fictional characters: check your fiction.

To conform to the naming conventions, the phrase in parentheses should be treated just as any other word in a title: normally lowercase, unless it is a proper noun that always appears capitalized even in running text (such as a book title).

For more on which word or phrase to insert in the parentheses, see Wikinfo:Naming conventions.

Links

Double disambiguation

A double disambiguation is a link to a disambiguation page from another disambiguation page. This kind of disambiguation is typically more specific than one with a simplified name. This kind of disambiguation is relatively rare on Wikinfo.

For example, Montgomery is a disambiguation page that leads to Montgomery County, a secondary disambiguation page.

Incomplete disambiguation

When a more specific title is still ambiguous, but not enough so to call for double disambiguation, it should redirect back to the main disambiguation page (or a section of it). This aids navigation, and helps editors to avoid creating new articles under the ambiguous title by accident.

Such redirects should be marked with {{R from incomplete disambiguation}} (which places them under Category:Redirects from incomplete disambiguations). For example, Aurora (album) could redirect as follows:

#REDIRECT [[Aurora#Music]] {{R from incomplete disambiguation}}

Links to disambiguated topics

A code of honor for creating disambiguation pages is to fix all resulting mis-directed links.

Before creating a disambiguation page, click on What links here to find all of the pages that link to the page that is about to change. Make sure that those pages are fixed and that they won't be adversely affected when performing the {{split}} or {{splitsection}}.

When repairing a link, use pipe syntax so that the link does not contain the new qualifier.

For example, when renaming Topic Name to Topic Name (qualifier), [[Topic Name (qualifier)|Topic Name]] will render as Topic Name just like the original.

A shorter alternative is to use empty pipe syntax, also known as the pipe trick. This allows editors to leave out the piped alternative when editing.

For example, typing "[[Topic Name (qualifier)|]]" will automatically produce "[[Topic Name (qualifier)|Topic Name]]". Read Help:Pipe trick for more information.

Of course, the whole point of making a disambiguation page is that accidental links made to it will make sense. These Wikinfo:Disambiguation pages with links are periodically checked and repaired.

Links to disambiguation pages

There is rarely a need for links directly to disambiguation pages—except from any primary topic. In most cases, links should point to the article that deals with the specific meaning intended.

To link to a disambiguation page (instead of a specific meaning), link to the redirect to the disambiguation page that includes the text "(disambiguation)" in the title (such as, America (disambiguation) rather than America). This helps distinguish accidental links to the disambiguation page from intentional ones. See Category:Redirects to disambiguation pages.

The Wikinfo software has a feature that lists "orphan" pages; that is, no other page links to them. But for disambiguating pages, that's perfectly correct: we usually want pages to link to the more specific pages.

In order to make the orphans list more useful by not cluttering it with intentional orphans, disambiguation pages are linked from:

When you create a disambiguation page, add a link to it in one of those pages as appropriate.

Category:Disambiguation provides a complete list of disambiguation pages.

See also

System pages

Template:Wikinfo policies and guidelines


Adapted from the Wikipedia policy page "Wikipedia:Disambiguation" http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Disambiguation&oldid=170863893 released under the GNU Free Documentation License