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Merging and moving are two fundamental aspects of how articles are developed, structured, and reformed on Wikipedia. A merger is a non-automated process by which two similar or redundant pages are united on one page. A move renames a page, giving it a new title.

Merging[edit source]

There are several good reasons to merge a page:

  1. Duplicate - There are two or more pages on exactly the same subject and having the same scope.
  2. Overlap - There are two or more pages on related subjects that have a large overlap. Wikipedia is not a dictionary; there does not need to be a separate entry for every concept in the universe. For example, "Flammable" and "Non-flammable" can both be explained in an article on Flammability.
  3. Text - If a page is very short and is unlikely to be expanded within a reasonable amount of time, it often makes sense to merge it with a page on a broader topic. For instance, parents or children of a celebrity who are otherwise unremarkable are generally covered in a section of the article on the celebrity, and can be merged there.
  4. Context - If a short article requires the background material or context from a broader article in order for readers to understand it. For instance, minor characters from works of fiction are generally covered in a "List of characters in <work>", and can be merged there; see also WP:FICT.

Merging — regardless of the amount of information kept — should always leave a redirect or, in some cases, a disambiguation page in place. This is often needed to allow proper attribution through the edit history for the page the merged text came from. Superfluous redirects do not harm anything, and can be helpful in finding articles, e.g. from alternative names.

You may find that some or all of the information to be merged is already in the destination page. That is fine; you can feel free to delete the redundant information and only add the new stuff. If there is no information to be added to the destination page, you can simply redirect the other page there, but please make this clear in the edit summary.

How to merge pages[edit source]

Merging is a normal editing action, something any editor can do, and as such does not need to be proposed and processed. If you think merging something improves the encyclopedia, you can be bold and perform the merge, as described below. Because of this, it makes little sense to object to a merge purely on procedural grounds, e.g. "you cannot do that without discussion" is not a good argument.

If the merger is controversial, however, you may find your merger reverted, and as with all other edits, edit wars should be avoided. If you are uncertain of the merger's appropriateness, or believe it might be controversial, or your merge ends up reverted, you can propose it on either or both of the affected pages.

Proposing a merger[edit source]

Do not "subst" these templates. To propose a merger of two or more pages, place the template {{merge|OTHERPAGE|Talk:THIS PAGE#Merger proposal|{{subst:DATE}}}} at the top of each page or section. Using the template {{subst:DATE}} as it appears here will generate the correct text. It should appear like this:

The date parameter is used to add the article to Category:Merge by month. If the date parameter is not used, a Wikipedia bot will add it in a day or two.

Please use the second parameters to direct to the same Talk page. Otherwise, two separate discussions could take place in each of the articles' Talk pages. If the Talk page parameter is not specified, the "Discuss" links lead to the top of each article's Talk page - again, setting up a possible situation of two separate discussions.

If you know which page should be removed, use {{mergeto|DESTINATIONPAGE|Talk:DESTINATIONPAGE#Merger proposal|{{subst:DATE}}}} on that page, and {{mergefrom|SOURCEPAGE|Talk:DESTINATIONPAGE#Merger proposal|{{subst:DATE}}}} on the page that will remain and will receive the contents of the source page. If a Talk page parameter is not specified in these templates, all "Discuss" links to lead to the Talk page of the destination page, avoiding the two separate discussions problem possible with {{merge}}. It may still be preferable to link direction to a section on the Talk page; this is useful for directing the reader to a specific section of a long talk page, when it may not otherwise be obvious where the discussion is located. The {{mergeto}} and {{mergefrom}} templates will appear as:


If you are proposing that many pages be merged into one page, it is better to use a single template on the destination page rather than one for each source page. The above templates will only take one parameter for an article name, so use {{Mergefrom-multiple|SOURCEPAGEONE|SOURCEPAGETWO|SOURCEPAGETHREE|discuss={{TALKPAGENAME}}#Merger proposal|{{subst:DATE}}}} This template will take up to 20 article names and looks like this:

After proposing the merger, place your reasons on the talk page. You may be able to invoke a response by contacting some of the major or most-recent contributors via their respective talk-pages. If there is clear agreement with the proposal by consensus, or if there is silence, proceed with the merger.

Caveats[edit source]
  • If you are unable to merge the pages, or you believe that the merger may be controversial, you might want to add a listing to Wikipedia:Proposed mergers.
  • When proposing a merger of pages within "Wikipedia" namespace (any pages that begin with the "Wikipedia:" prefix), do not include this prefix in the parameter.
  • Due to technical limitations, the above templates are incompatible with cross-namespace mergers (mergers between pages from both the article and Wikipedia namespaces). Such instances are rare, and should be handled via manual template substitution and editing.
  • Do not use the above templates to propose a category merger. This should be requested at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion, which uses a separate {{cfm}} template.
List of merge templates[edit source]

Closing/archive a proposed merger[edit source]

To provide clarity that the merge discussion is over and that a consensus has been reached, it may be important to close and then archive the proposal discussion. To close a merger proposal discussion, indicate the outcome at the top.

To archive a merger proposal discussion, a "top" template is generally placed between the header and the top of the discussion and a "bottom" template will need to be placed at the bottom of the discussion. Note that placing the "top" template above the section header may interfere with archival bots.

Here is an example of how to archive a merger proposal discussion:

 == Header ==
 {{Discussion top}}
 The result was '''merge''' into DESTINATION PAGE. -- ~~~~
 Hi, I would like to discuss...
 {{Discussion bottom}}

Performing the merger[edit source]

There are three basic types of merge; which to use depends on how much content of the source page you want to keep, and how much time and skill you have to do the merge:

Also remember that almost all article pages have a talk page. To avoid losing quick access to that historical discussion, a link to the source page's talk-page should be placed at the top of the destination's talk-page, such as:
Article merged: See old talk-page [[talk:PAGENAME|here]]

Full-content paste merger[edit source]
  1. Open the source and destination pages in two separate edit windows/tabs.
  2. Cut/paste the entire content from the source page into the destination page and remove the {{mergefrom}} tag.
  3. Save the destination page, with an edit summary noting "merge content from [[article name]]" (This step is required in order to conform with §4(I) of the GFDL. Do not omit it nor omit the page name.)
  4. Delete all the text from the source page and replace it with #REDIRECT [[PAGENAME]] {{R from merge}}, note the merger (including the page name) in the edit summary, and save the page.
  5. Edit the destination page again and delete the redundant content, editing until it looks good and consistent.
  6. Save the destination page. (Edit summary of "cleanup after paste/merge" is appropriate.)
  7. Check "What links here" on the source page for double-redirects.
    • Double-redirects will fail to link, and must be renamed to redirect to the current page name.

Performing a merger in this manner is beneficial when you want to include all the content from both articles in the article history of the final article.

Selective paste merger[edit source]
  1. Open the source and destination pages in two separate edit windows/tabs.
  2. Cut/paste the non-redundant content from the source page into the destination page.
  3. Be sure to remove the {{mergefrom}} tag from the destination page before previewing
  4. Preview and edit the destination page until it looks good and consistent.
  5. Delete all the text from the source page and replace it with #REDIRECT [[PAGENAME]] {{R from merge}}.
  6. Save both, and note the merger (including the page names) in the edit summaries. (This step is required in order to conform with §4(I) of the GFDL. Do not omit it or omit the page names.)
  7. Check "What links here" on the source page for double-redirects.
    • Double-redirects will fail to link, and must be renamed to redirect to the current page name.

Performing a merger in this manner is beneficial when the source document includes a great deal of material that is not needed in the final article.

Text dump merger[edit source]

Simply dumping the text from one page onto another is progress, because it puts all of the information on the same topic on the same page. This, however, seldom results in a smooth-flowing article. Fixing that may require a great deal of time and rewriting. If you can do that, terrific! Future readers will greatly benefit from your contribution. If you do not have the time or expertise to do so, please tag the article for attention; select a template from Wikipedia:Cleanup resources, such as {{cleanup}} or Template:Tlp (using the current month and year as the parameter).

Renaming / Moving[edit source]

See Wikipedia:Naming conventions.

On Wikipedia, usually anyone logged in can rename a page from its current name to a new one. This is also called "moving" because the effect is as if the page has been moved. A redirect is automatically created at its old name so that links still work. Common reason for moving pages are:

  • Decapitalization - Improper capitalization of page titles, against capitalization guidelines.
  • Misspelled – The most common reason is that a page name is misspelled or incorrectly capitalized. Please fix any and all of these as you see them.
  • NPOV – Terms used in a title express a bias or POV. NPOV policy requires that articles be given "neutral" titles — using the most general and objective terms.

After a page is moved to a more correct title, the redirect should generally be kept and categorized accordingly, unless the redirect is demonstrably harmful, and especially if it is a plausible or common misspelling (or not a misspelling at all). If a page was erroneously created once at the wrong title, there is a good chance it will happen again (as a duplicate article). However, if the redirect is truly an implausible search parameter and it was recently created, it may be tagged for speedy deletion by posting at its top {{db-redirtypo}}.

Sometimes, you may feel that a page is wrongly named for another reason. For example, "Napoleon" may be more properly known as "Napoleon I of France," but many people refer to him as "Napoleon."

This is a situation in which a redirect would be appropriate. Most people would not search for Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné, but rather for Mme de Sevigne. To some degree the choice of which title to use is debatable, depending on the relevant conventions in the English language or on Wikipedia's encyclopedic standards.

Cross-namespace moves[edit source]

The move feature is capable of moving pages in any namespace (except "Category:" and "Image:"), and even of moving pages from one namespace to another. Cross-namespace moving is useful when a page is accidentally created in the wrong namespace; for instance, moving Talk/Abraham Lincoln to Talk:Abraham Lincoln, or moving Articles for deletion/Some article to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Some article. In some cases, new users may create articles on themselves that they intend to serve as their user page, in which case such an article may be userfied.

Generally speaking, other types of cross-namespace moves will be controversial and worth discussing with other editors. Wikipedia:Requested moves is the proper place for this. However, when proposing to move what appears to be an article out of the main namespace, it is strongly recommended that some form of Wikipedia:Deletion process should be used, preferably Wikipedia:Articles for deletion, as Wikipedia:Proposed deletion and Wikipedia:Speedy deletion do not build consensus. This is because the redirect that is created by such a move is subject to speedy deletion, which would effectively cause the article to be deleted from the main encyclopedia.

How to rename a page[edit source]

Note, you must be logged in to do this, to an account that is at least 4 days old and has made more than 10 edits.

  1. Go to the page that you wish to rename.
  2. Click the tab labeled "move."
  3. Type the new desired title, add a reason, and click "Move page."
    • The old title will redirect to the new title.
    • The old edit history will be moved to the new title.
  4. Check for redirects.
    • Double-redirects will fail to link, and must be renamed to redirect to the current page name.
  • Do not move or rename a page by copying/pasting its content, because doing so destroys the edit history. (The GFDL requires acknowledgement of all contributors, and editors continue to hold copyright on their contributions unless they specifically give up this right. Hence it is required that edit histories be preserved for all major contributions until the normal copyright expires.) If you come across a cut-and-paste move that should be fixed by merging the page histories, please follow the instructions here to have an administrator repair it.

If you cannot rename a page, or you think that the renaming may be controversial, please go to Wikipedia:Requested moves and list it there.

The most common reason for failure is that there is already an article at the location to which you're trying to move the article. This is especially likely to happen if there is a history of moves from one name to another. This can be dealt with by an administrator after discussion at WP:RM.

If the destination does exist, but it only contains a redirect without any history, the move will still work — the designers of the MediaWiki software recognised this as a special case in which no information will be lost if a move is performed.

Talk subpages[edit source]

When moving a page, the talk page is automatically moved as well. A talk page may include subpages, such as archives, todo pages and the like. To ensure that these subpages are moved, check "Move all subpages, if applicable" during the move process.

If subpages were not moved, they will show as redlinks on the new talk page. To locate lost subpages, use Special:Prefixindex; enter the name of the old article page followed by a "/" and set the namespace to Talk. Move individual subpages as needed.

Article lead[edit source]

Further information: Wikipedia:Lead section

Since the article name is reflected in the lead, the lead must be updated to the new name. Depending on syntax changes, the lead sentence and supporting sentences may also need to be updated.

Pages to merge[edit source]

  • Category:Merge_by_month lists pages that have been tagged for merging since a particular month (tagging was begun in September 2006).
  • Wikipedia:Proposed mergers has a list of pages that are proposed to be merged, with discussion and explanation (this is an optional step; all of these articles should have merger tags as well).

See also[edit source]