UniWiki:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages

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This page is a part of the UniWiki's Manual of Style. It is a general guideline intended to harmonize article style across the UniWiki, though it is best treated with common sense, and exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus among Wiki Curators, or be approved by the Wiki Manager, Director of Communications, or CEO. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.


Disambiguation pages ("dab pages") are designed to help a reader find UniWiki articles on different topics that could be referenced by the same search term, as described in the Disambiguation guideline. Disambiguation pages are not articles; they are aids in searching.

This style guideline is intended to make the search more efficient, by giving disambiguation pages a consistent look and by avoiding distracting information. In brief, the pages should contain only disambiguation content, whether or not the page title contains the parenthetical (disambiguation). (This guideline does not apply to articles that are primary topics, even if the articles are prefaced by a "See also" hatnote or the like at the top of the page.)

Page naming

In general, the title of a disambiguation page is the ambiguous term itself, provided there is no primary topic for that term. If there is already a primary topic, then "(disambiguation)" is added to the title of the disambiguation page, as in Jupiter (disambiguation). For more on how to title a disambiguation page, see Wikipedia:Naming the disambiguation page.

At the top of the page

The first line of a disambiguation page should be the introductory line (see below). If there is a link to the primary topic (see below), that line should appear before the introductory line. Both of these should begin its own line.

Linking to a primary topic

When a page has "(disambiguation)" in its title – i.e., it is the disambiguation page for a term for which a primary topic has been identified – users are most likely to arrive there by clicking on a top link from the primary topic article.

The primary topic is the one reached by using the disambiguation page title without the (disambiguation) qualifier. Capitalization differences matter, so there will only be one primary topic for a title.

Since it is unlikely that this primary topic is what readers are looking for if they have reached the disambiguation page, it should not be mixed in with the other links. It is recommended that the link back to the primary topic appear at the top, in a brief explanatory sentence. For instance:

A school is an institution for learning.

School may also refer to:

  • School of thought, a number of individuals with shared styles, approaches or aims
  • School (fish), a group of fish swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner
  • . . .

When the ambiguous term has a primary topic but that article has a different title (so that the term is the title of a redirect), the primary topic line normally uses the redirect to link to that article:

A cosmonaut or astronaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft.

Similarly for an acronym, initialism or alphabetism:

CIA is the Central Intelligence Agency, a civilian agency of the United States government.

In some cases it may be clearer to link directly to the redirect target:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was a famous composer during the Classical period.

instead of the more awkward

Mozart was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), a famous composer during the Classical period.

Introductory line

See also: Wikipedia:Template messages#In introductory lines

The term being disambiguated should be in bold (not italics). It should begin a sentence fragment ending with a colon, introducing a bulleted list:

Interval may refer to:


John Smith may refer to:

or

John Smith is the name of:


ABC may refer to:

or

ABC may stand for:

Where several variants of a term are being disambiguated together, significant variants may be included in the lead sentence. For example:

Bang or bangs may refer to:

or

Bang(s) may refer to:

Arc or ARC may refer to:

Angus McKay, MacKay or Mackay may refer to:

However, it is not necessary to mention minor variations of capitalization, punctuation or diacritics. For example, AU may refer to: is preferable to "AU, au, Au or A-U may refer to"; and Saiyuki may refer to: is preferable to "Saiyuki, Saiyūki or Saiyûki may refer to".

Individual entries

After the introductory line comes a list of individual entries – lines which direct the readers to Wikipedia articles on the various topics which might be referenced by the term being disambiguated. Keep in mind that the primary purpose of the disambiguation page is to help people find the specific article they want quickly and easily.

Example:

Interval may refer to:

Apply the following rules when constructing entries:

  • Preface each entry with a bullet (an asterisk in wiki markup).
  • Start each entry with a capital letter.
  • Insert a comma after an entry when a description is included.
  • Use sentence fragments, with no closing punctuation unless it is part of the description (e.g., a description that ends in "etc." would end with the period)
  • Include exactly one navigable (blue) link to efficiently guide readers to the most relevant article for that use of the ambiguous term. Do not wikilink any other words in the line. For example:

but not:

and avoid redundancies like:

  • Do not emphasize the link with bolding or italics, although titles (such as for books and movies) may need to be italicized to conform with the style guidance on titles. If the article's title contains both a title and a clarifier, quote or italicize only the part requiring such treatment, as opposed to the entire link, e.g.: Dark Star (film) (see § Piping and redirects). This can be accomplished by piping the link.
  • Keep the description associated with a link to a minimum, just sufficient to allow the reader to find the correct link. In many cases, the title of the article alone will be sufficient and no additional description is necessary.

In most cases the title of the target article will be an expansion or variation of the term being disambiguated (as in the example above). If this is the case:

  • The link should come at the start of the entry.
  • The article title should appear exactly as it is on the target page; the link should not be piped except to apply formatting (see § Where piping may be appropriate).

In some cases, however, the target article title is not an expansion or variation of the term being disambiguated. For these cases see § Red links and § Items appearing within other articles below.

Note also the following points when constructing lists of entries:

  • An entry with no links at all is useless for further navigation. (See § Red links for cases in which no article yet exists.)
  • A disambiguation page should not be made up completely of red links or have only one blue link on the entire page, because the basic purpose of disambiguation is to refer users to other Wikipedia pages.
  • Never include external links, either as entries or in descriptions. Disambiguation pages disambiguate Wikipedia articles, not the World-Wide Web. To note URLs that might be helpful in the future, include them on the talk page.
  • References should not appear on disambiguation pages. Dab pages are not articles; instead, incorporate the references into the target articles.

Examples of individual entries that should not be created

See also: Wikipedia:Disambiguation#What not to include

Do not include entries for topics that are not ambiguous (according to the linked article) with the title. Use list articles for lists of related topics if needed.

On a page called Title, do not create entries merely because Title is part of the name (see Wikipedia:Disambiguation § Partial title matches).

Common examples:

  • Title City
  • Title Hospital
  • Title University

The above does not apply if the subject is commonly referred to simply by Title. For instance, Oxford (disambiguation) should link to University of Oxford and Catalina might include Santa Catalina Island, California. If there is disagreement about whether this exception applies, it is often best to assume that it does.

You may want to create entries on the same page for:

  • TITLE and Title
  • Title town and Title township
    • An example is Willow Valley, which lists a town of that name as well as "Willow Valley Township" in another state.

Misspellings

Common misspellings should be listed only if there is a genuine risk of confusion or misspelling. These cross-links should be placed in a separate section entitled "Common misspellings" or "See also". For example, in a page called Kington (disambiguation), a link to Kingston (disambiguation) would appropriately be included in the "See also" section.

Piping and redirects

Piping and redirects are two different mechanisms which allow the displayed text of a link to differ from the title of the page that the link points to.

  • Piping means concealing the title of a linked article by replacing it with other text. For example, instead of showing the full title Moment (physics), it may be presented as [[Moment (physics)|moment]], resulting in the link moment.
  • A redirect is a page used to "jump" readers from one page title to an article with a different title. For example, a redirect at the title 9/11 sends users who navigate there to the article September 11 attacks.

Piping and redirects should not generally be used on disambiguation pages, except as described below.

Subject to certain exceptions as listed below, piping or redirects should not be used in disambiguation pages. This is to make it clear to the reader which topic is the subject of an article title. For example, on the disambiguation page Moment, in the entry Moment (physics), " (physics)" should be visible so that the reader sees which "moment" topic the entry is about, among others sharing the same base title. In many cases, what would be hidden by a pipe is exactly what the user would need in order to find their intended article. However, raw section and anchor points should not be displayed; see § Section and anchor point linking for those cases.

Though piping and redirects should generally not be used in disambiguation pages, there are certain cases in which they may be useful to the reader:

Where redirecting may be appropriate

  • A redirect should be used to link to a specific section of an article if the title of that section is more or less synonymous with the disambiguated topic. This indicates a higher possibility that the topic may eventually have its own article. For example:
Delta may refer to:
  • (correct) Delta Quadrant, in the Star Trek universe
    Markup: [[Delta Quadrant]], in the ''Star Trek'' universe
  • (incorrect) Delta Quadrant, in the Star Trek universe
    Markup: [[Galactic quadrant (Star Trek)#Delta Quadrant|Delta Quadrant]], in the ''Star Trek'' universe
  • (incorrect) Delta Quadrant, in the Galactic quadrant of the Star Trek universe
    Markup: Delta Quadrant, in the [[Galactic quadrant (Star Trek)#Delta Quadrant|Galactic quadrant of the ''Star Trek'']] universe
The above technique is used when the link is the subject of the line. For description sections, redirects or piped links may be used; follow the normal Wikipedia:Redirect and Wikipedia:Piped link guidelines.
  • Linking to a redirect can also be helpful when both:
  1. the redirect target article contains the disambiguated term; and
  2. the redirect could serve as an alternative name for the target article, meaning an alternative term that is already in the article's lead section.
For example:
James Cary may refer to:
  • (correct) James Carrey or Jim Carrey (born 1962), Canadian actor
    Markup: [[James Carrey]] or Jim Carrey (born 1962), Canadian actor
  • (incorrect) James Carrey or Jim Carrey (born 1962), Canadian actor
    Markup: James Carrey or [[Jim Carrey]] (born 1962), Canadian actor
The above example of a redirect is only appropriate because James Carrey is indicated as a name in the lead section of the Jim Carrey article. If it were not, then the second example could have been used instead.

Where piping may be appropriate

Switch may refer to:

  • "Switch", a song by Siouxsie & the Banshees from The Scream
    Markup: "Switch", a song by Siouxsie & the Banshees from ''[[The Scream (album)|The Scream]]''
  • Piping may be used when the link is in the description (see § Items appearing within other articles) for linking to a section rather than an entire article. For example, on E (disambiguation), the piped ESRB ([[ESRB#Ratings|ESRB]]) is preferable to simply linking to the entire article ESRB. Piping is commonly used to link to the track listing section of an album article. The text of the link should not be the title of a different article, and should not surprise the reader. For example:

Ten may refer to:

  • (correct) Ten or Tenshinhan, a character in Dragon Ball media
    Markup: Ten or Tenshinhan, a [[List of Dragon Ball characters#Tenshinhan|character in Dragon Ball media]]
  • (incorrect) Ten or Tenshinhan, a character in Dragon Ball media
    Markup: Ten or Tenshinhan, a character in [[List of Dragon Ball characters#Tenshinhan|Dragon Ball]] media

Specific entry types

External links

External links do not belong on disambiguation pages; they should not be used.

Places

For places, it may only be necessary to write the name of the article.

Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida.

Jacksonville may also refer to:

Red links

A link to a non-existent article (a "red link") should only be included on a disambiguation page when a linked article (not just other disambiguation pages) also includes that red link. Do not create red links to articles that are unlikely ever to be written. To find out if any article uses the red link, click on it, and then click "What links here" on the toolbox on the left side of the page.

If the only pages that use the red link are disambiguation pages, do one of the following:

  • Unlink the entry word but still keep a blue link in the description. Red links should not be the only link in a given entry; link also to an existing article, so that a reader (as opposed to a contributing editor) will have somewhere to navigate to for additional information. The linked article should contain some meaningful information about the term.
  • Start a new article for the red link, using the description on the disambiguation page.
  • Make a redirect to a page where the item is described (see § Piping and redirects above).

Synonyms

If the link is to a synonym, simply use it as it is named:

Serving spoon may also refer to:

Items appearing within other articles

If a topic does not have an article of its own, but is mentioned within another article, then a link to that article should be included. In this case, the link does not start the line, but it should still be the only blue wikilink. For example:

Maggie Anderson may also refer to:

It is often useful to link to the relevant section of the target page. For examples, see § "Where piping may be appropriate".

If the topic is not mentioned on the other article, that article should not be linked to in the disambiguation page, since linking to it would not help readers find information about the sought topic.

Acronyms, initialisms, and abbreviations

Many pages serve primarily to disambiguate short letter combinations that can represent various acronyms and initialisms. When considering articles to include in the list, it is important that each individual entry is referred to its respective abbreviation within its article. For example:

BSA may refer to:

The second entry is incorrect because the article that it refers to, the British Soap Awards, does not mention that it is abbreviated "BSA", and therefore is unlikely to be searched for by that letter combination. The Boy Scouts of America page, however, notes that the organization is abbreviated "BSA", and would thus be a likely candidate for someone searching that initialism. See also Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Abbreviations, initials, and acronyms.

Organization

Ordering

The following guidelines describe the appropriate order of entries on disambiguation pages:

  1. The primary topic, if there is one, should be placed at the top. In cases where a small number of main topics are significantly more likely to be the reader's target, several of the most common meanings may be placed at the top, with other meanings below. See Mojave or Mercury for examples of this.
  2. Long disambiguation pages should be grouped into subject sections, and even subsections as necessary, as described below. These sections (and any subsections) should typically be in alphabetical order, e.g.: Arts and entertainment; Business; Government and politics; Places; Science and technology.
  3. Within each section, entries should be ordered to best assist the reader in finding their intended article. Entries are typically ordered first by similarity to the ambiguous title, then alphabetically or chronologically as appropriate. A recommended order is:
    1. Articles with a clarifier in parentheses: e.g., Moss (band)
    2. Articles with a clarifier following a comma: e.g., Moss, Monterey County, California
    3. Articles with the item as part of the name: e.g., Moss Bros (Only include articles whose subject might reasonably be called by the ambiguous title.)
    4. Synonyms: e.g., Tincture on Spirit (disambiguation)
  1. Some entries may belong in a "See also" section at the bottom of the page:
    1. Terms which can be confused with Title, for example New Market and Newmarket
    2. Likely misspellings of Title, for example Belmont, Belmonte and Bellmont
    3. Different forms of Title, for example Splitting, Split, and Splitter
    4. Broader-subject articles that treat the topic in a section: e.g., Brewing as part of a Hops dab page
    5. Articles with the item as part of the name, but that are unlikely to be called by the ambiguous title: e.g., Spanish moss as part of a Moss dab page.
The "See also" should always be separated from the other entries with a section header. Links to other disambiguation pages should use the "(disambiguation)" link per Wikipedia:Links to disambiguation pages.

In the "See also" section of a disambiguation page, an intentional link to another disambiguation page that does not contain "(disambiguation)" in the title should be written as [[Foo (disambiguation)]]. When appropriate, place easily confused terms in a hatnote.

Example ordering

Moss is a small, soft, non-vascular plant that lacks both flowers and seeds.

Moss may also refer to:

See also


Grouping by subject area

A large number of topics can make it difficult for a reader to find a particular topic. On longer disambiguation pages, separate entries by subject sections. Subject areas should be chosen carefully to simplify navigation; see Wikipedia:Organizing disambiguation pages by subject area for detailed guidance. Use subject areas that are well-defined, and that group the entries into similarly sized sections. Very small sections may impede navigation, and should usually be avoided. Section headings should be as simple as possible; Sports is preferred to Sports people or Sports figures, since the nature of the category (people, in this case) should be obvious.

Entries which do not fit neatly into any section should be placed in an "Other uses" section or subsection, at the bottom of the page or section (but above any "See also" section). The "Other uses" section should be relatively short; if it becomes excessively long, the page may need to be reorganized. Uncategorized entries should never be left at the top of the page, with the exception of one or two primary topics as stated above.

Keep in mind that a particular division scheme may not work equally well on all disambiguation pages.

Use sections rather than bold text (see UniWiki:Manual of Style/Accessibility § Headings). Using more than one level may be necessary, as on Aurora (disambiguation). Always use ==Level two== as the highest-level header. Section headings should not include links. See Wikipedia:Writing better articles § Headings for more.

On longer lists, {{tocright}} may be used to move the table of contents to the right hand side of the page. This reduces the amount of white space and may improve the readability of the page. (For more information, see Wikipedia:Floating the TOC.) If used, {{tocright}} should be placed after the lead section of the wiki markup and immediately before the first section heading. Users of screen readers do not expect any text between the TOC and the first heading, and having no text above the TOC is confusing. (For more information, see UniWiki:Manual of Style/Accessibility § Article structure.)

Images and templates

Including images and transcluding templates are discouraged unless they aid in selecting between articles on the particular search term in question. Examples of this are the images at Congo (disambiguation) and Mississippi Delta (disambiguation).

Icons, including flag icons, should not be used on disambiguation pages. Only if flag topics are being disambiguated and images are needed to do so, then flag icons or flag images might be added. See also: UniWiki:Manual of Style/Icons.

The disambig notice and categorization

See also: Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Categories

After all of the disambiguation content (including the See also section, if present), but before any categories (see below), a template should be placed identifying the page as a disambiguation page. This generates a message to the reader explaining the purpose of the page, and also places the page in the appropriate category or categories.

The usual template to use is {{disambig}}, which produces a general disambiguation notice, and places the page in Category:Disambiguation pages. Parameters can be added to place the page additionally into other more specific disambiguation categories.

Do not use {{subst:disambig}} or {{subst:disambig-cleanup}}, as the contents of this notice may change in the future (see Wikipedia:Transclusion costs and benefits). Also, the MediaWiki software relies on links to the templates to determine which pages are disambiguation pages, and subst'ing breaks this feature.

Exceptions

Set index articles

Set index articles are list articles about a set of items of a specific type that have similar or identical names. Set index articles are not disambiguation pages and do not have to follow the style outlined on this page. Note that the set index article exception was designed to be narrow: for pages that contain links to articles about different topics, please follow this style guide for disambiguation pages. An example of a set index article is a list of ships with the same name, such as HMS Albatross.

Disambiguation pages with only two entries

See also: Wikipedia:Disambiguation page or hatnotes?

A disambiguation page with only two meanings is not necessary if one of them is the primary topic for that term. The recommended practice in these situations is to place a hatnote on the primary topic article to link directly to the secondary topic.

If neither of the two meanings is primary, then a normal disambiguation page is still used at the base name.

When to break UniWiki rules

See also: Wikipedia:Ignore all rules

Application of these guidelines will generally produce useful disambiguation pages which are consistent with each other and therefore easily usable by most readers. Usefulness to the reader is their principal goal. However, for every style recommendation above, there may be pages in which a good reason exists to use another way; so ignore these guidelines if doing so will be more helpful to readers than following them.

See also