Help:Disambiguation

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This page contains official wiki policy which must be followed.

When a title could refer to one of several different topics, it is said to be ambiguous, and some form of disambiguation is required to direct readers to the desired topic. This disambiguation can take many different forms depending on the relative likelihood of each topic being the target of a search.

Primary Topic

Sometimes a term may be ambiguous but a majority of searches for that term target a certain topic. This topic is the primary topic and gets special treatment with disambiguation. Readers searching a term with a primary topic should immediately land on the primary topic's article. From there, the article may include a Specify hatnote with links to other articles with similar titles, or to a disambiguation page.

A topic is primary if either of these is true:

  • It sees more usage than other topics with the same title, determined from:
  • It has more long-term significance than other topics with the same title

As these are vague conditions and subject to conflict, decisions about primary topics ultimately depend on consensus.

Titles

Obviously, no two articles can share the same titles. Ambiguous terms must therefore use variations to distinguish different topics. Some topics lend themselves to these variations, and when possible their titles should be formed by adding descriptive words, such as King Mutoh disambiguating itself from Mutoh. Otherwise, a descriptor such as the topic's category (e.g. Beetle (Item)) or the game it appeared in (e.g. Hyrule Castle (Twilight Princess)) is added in parentheses.

If a term has a primary topic, then that topic uses the term itself as its title, and other topics must use more specific terms. If there is no primary topic, then the page for the term itself should redirect to a disambiguation page.

Links

Links should lead directly to the intended topic, not to disambiguation pages. For example, a page dealing with a topic related to Skyward Sword should link to Earth Temple ([[Earth Temple (Skyward Sword)|Earth Temple]]) rather than Earth Temple ([[Earth Temple]]).

Disambiguation Page

A disambiguation page lists articles with the title that the reader is searching for. When there's no primary topic, the search term should redirect to a disambiguation page (e.g. Nayru redirects to Nayru (Disambiguation)). The format of a disambiguation page is as follows.

'''Title''' may refer to:
*an unordered list of links and descriptions

{{Disambig}}

There are some style guidelines for the list of links:

  • Each link must be the first thing that appears in the list item, followed by a comma, and a brief identifying description of that article.
  • The link text must be exactly the article title. That is, the pipe should not be used to specify alternate text.
  • No other links appear in an entry.
  • There is no punctuation at the end of an entry.

Disambiguation Pages with a Primary Topic

If there is a primary topic for a disambiguated term, the primary article should include a link to the disambiguation page in a Specify hatnote (e.g. Water Temple includes a link to Water Temple (Disambiguation)). The disambiguation page then does not include the primary topic in its list of links, but instead defines the primary topic above the list. Thus "'''Title''' may refer to:" becomes "[[Title]] is (description of the primary topic). It may also refer to:"

Specify Hatnote

{{Specify}} is placed at the very top of articles with ambiguous titles, such as primary topics. They should not be used if the title of the article is already specified, even if the search term is ambiguous. Beetle (Item) doesn't link to Beetle (Enemy), Beetle, or Beetle (Disambiguation) in a hatnote because the "Beetle (Item)" page can only be reached from contexts where the user is expecting the item. That is, "Beetle (Item)" is unambiguous, so specifying it is pointless, and it is a destination, so links to similar titled articles are pointless.

The Specify template has several uses for various scenarios. In each usage, a "this" parameter can (and should) be added to identify the current article (e.g. this=the disambiguation help page).

Disambiguation

Without any extra parameters, Specify produces a link to the disambiguation page associated with the current article's title. This is used on primary topics.

{{Specify}}

Only One Other Article

If there's only one other article with a similar title and one is a primary topic or both have different titles (e.g. Magic Rod and Magical Rod), then use the "other" and "link" parameters to override the default functionality of linking to the disambiguation page.

{{Specify|other=the only other topic for this title|link=(the link to that topic)}}

Disambiguation With Secondary Article

If there is a disambiguation page associated with the (primary topic) article's title, but there is also a secondary article which is more likely to be targeted than the others, use the "second" and "secondlink" parameters to add the link to the secondary article without overriding the disambiguation link.

{{Specify|second=a secondary topic out of three or more possible ones|secondlink=(the link to that topic)}}

Two Other Articles

If there are only two other articles and both have equal relevance to the first, combine the above two uses by using "second", "secondlink", "other", and "link" to link to both articles and not to a disambiguation page.

{{Specify|second=a secondary topic out of three|secondlink=(the link to that topic)|other=the third and final topic|link=(the link to that topic)}}