Redirects are a wonderful feature of the wiki software that allow you to automatically point someone from one page to another. You may have already seen this feature at work, if you've seen the text "Redirected from _______" underneath the title of a page. It means that you were pointed to one page, but that page pointed you to the page you were on currently.
How they Work
If you wanted to redirect a given page to a page called "USS Enterprise", you would use the following text at the very top of the page, and include no other text on the page at all:
- #REDIRECT [[USS Enterprise]]
The #REDIRECT part is just the code the Wiki uses to figure out that this page is supposed to move you to a new destination. The second part of the redirect is just the link telling the link where to go.
When to Use Them
Here are some common situations where you might use a redirect:
- Abbreviation: This is a redirect from a title with an abbreviation.
- "DSM-IV" redirects to "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders"
- Misspellings: This is a redirect from a misspelling or typographical error.
- "Condoleeza Rice" redirects to "Condoleezza Rice"
- Aiding writing: This is a redirect which makes it easier to write an article and make links "on the fly."
- "planet Mars" redirects to "Mars (planet)"
- Other spellings/punctuation:This is a redirect from a title with a different spelling.
- "colour" redirects to "color"
- "Al-Jazeera" redirects to "Al Jazeera"
- Other capitalisations: This is a redirect from a title with another method of capitalisation. It leads to the title in accordance with the Wikipedia naming conventions for capitalization, and can help writing.
- "Natural Selection" redirects to "Natural selection"
- To enable case-insensitive searching: Adding a redirect for articles with mixed case titles allows searches for these articles to be case-insensitive. For example, without the redirect "Isle of wight" a search for any capitalization other than exactly 'Isle of Wight' would not find the article "Isle of Wight". These search related redirects are needed only if the article title has more than two words and words following the first have different capitalizations.
- Other names, pseudonyms, nicknames, and synonyms: This is a redirect from a title that is an alternative name, a pseudonym, a nick name or a synonym. It leads to the title in accordance with the naming conventions for common names and can help writing.
- "Wellie throwing" redirects to "Wellie wanging"
- "Butcher of Kurdistan" redirects to "Ali Hassan al-Majid"
- "Rev. Fred Phelps" redirects to "Fred Phelps"
- "Linear operator" redirects to "Linear transformation"
- Plurals, tenses, etc.: This is a redirect from a plural word to the singular equivalent.
- "greenhouse gases" redirects to "greenhouse gas"
- Related words: This is a redirect from a related word. Redirects from related words are not properly redirects from alternate spellings of the same word. But at the same time, they are also different from redirects from a subtopic, since the related word is unlikely to warrant a full subtopic in the target page.
- "Symbiont" redirects to "Symbiosis"
- Sub-topics or closely related topics that should be explained within the text: This is a redirect from a title for a topic more detailed than the topic of the page this redirects to. Eventually if the target page becomes too big, this redirect may be replaced with an article carved out of the target page.
- "Distributed denial of service" redirects to "Denial of service"
- Avoiding broken links
What needs to be done on pages that are targets of redirects?
We follow the "principle of least astonishment" - after following a redirect, the readers's first question is likely to be: "hang on ... I wanted to read about this. Why has the link taken me to that?" Make it clear to the reader that they have arrived in the right place.
Normally, we try to make sure that all "inbound redirects" are mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs of the article. For example:
- Longships were boats used by the Vikings...
- "longship", redirect from "viking ship"
- Mario Party is a video game series...
- "Mario Party", redirect from "Mario Party 2"
- Edvard Munch (1863-1944) was ... The broadest collection of his works is at on display at the Munch Museum at...
- "Edvard Munch", redirect from "Munch Museum"
Avoid self-links, including self-links through redirects ("loop links"). Also, avoid having two links that go to the same place on the same page. These can confuse readers, and cause them to unnecessarily load the same page twice.
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