Naming conventions/Disambiguating

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The creation of a new topic, RushBand (about Canadian rock band Rush), prompts some new questions about how to disambiguate ambiguous names. To my knowledge, "Rush" is the name of a person (several people), a drug, and a band. Consider these points:

  • RushBand looks ugly and unprofessional. It simply will not do.
  • We don't want to have all these things discussed on the same page.
  • We don't want to make subpages for each of these things. (E.g., it will be Rush Limbaugh, not Rush/Limbaugh, which would be silly.)
  • The way that encyclopedias usually handle this problem makes sense here: add parentheses to names: Rush (rock band). The same thing could be achieved by writing Rush--band, but this will be confusing to many people.

I think that this is one instance where disambiguating titles almost requires that we have a new feature: parentheses in page titles. Then we could write "Rush (rock band)" and many of our disambiguation problems would be solved. What do you think? -- Larry Sanger


Somehow, I knew that name (RushBand) would invoke remark. I just copied it from the the entry above it (NirvanaBand). However, I concur with your suggestion and will make the changes when I take the time to learn how (soon, I promise). By the way, any reason why something with parenthesis' around it cannot be wiki'd? -- Invictus

It's not your fault and there's nothing you can do at this point, because the feature hasn't been programmed yet. But CliffordAdams is on record (see feature requests) saying the next version might support the feature. --LS


I advocate the use of disambiguating jump pages. For example, the page Rush will simply list the alternatives that someone might be looking for. In this way, accidental linking is preserved for the most part. But authors who are aware of where they really want to send people can just send them directly to RushBand, say.

--Jimbo Wales

Well, jump pages are good, but it still doesn't solve the problem of what to call the pages one jumps off to. RushBand as a name just sucks. --LS


Yes, I think we all agree that disambiguating pointer pages are good (especially when they are unexpected!), but that's not the question. The question is whether we want to (A) continue using the same short phrase as both a title and an "address" (as well as usually the text of the link), or whether we might want to have some method of providing articles with better titles, either by (B) adding a separate title in something like HTML TITLE tags and somehow displaying that more prominently than the address, or (C) allowing addresses to be more flexible about what they allow and/or match, so that full titles can be used as addresses. --Lee Daniel Crocker

What he said. --LS

The problem of international titles argues in favor of (C), so that authors won't have to know weird canonization rules or do extra typing to link to "Kurt Gödel", for example. But that brings up some other nasty issues requiring groundwork that I haven't finished yet (soon!)


You can always do it this (way). Isn't that cool. --LS

Well, strictly speaking that URL is only allowed because of a bug in the 0.91 version (which didn't strictly check the page names, so almost anything works). The next release will be stricter, but parentheses will be allowed. (RFC 2396 allows parentheses in URIs and URLs.) --CliffordAdams

How about using SubPages? e.g. Bands/Rush

See naming conventions for discussion. The main problem with subpages is that it's messy. "The Rolling Stones" and "The Beatles" will never be listed as "Bands/The Rolling Stones" and "Bands/The Beatles"; but because "Rush" is an ambiguous word (name), we will make them a subpage of Bands/ ? Nahh... --LS


At this time, there is also Television/Band in existence...


The problem I see is that anybody who types in something does not know in advance a) that 'something' is ambigue(?) and b) how the 'disambiguator' e.g. sort has been chosen by previous editors. Idea: Define a topic space on most general level and refer it to a specific page when it is created: so: Rush can pe a page on music themes. IF it is linked from a music page as well then it automatically is linked up to Rush(music) without (music) to be typed in. And from a medicine page Rush would point to Rush in the medicine department. (Are there any musics pages discussing drug themes?) I once thought about (and privately prototyped some kind of dictionary program). I ve come up to the solution, that I had to use a special field entry I calles 'as' ('als' in German). So there are

delphi as programming language and somewhere else in dataspace
delphi as town

both having there own space and attributes. Is Wiki based on some kind of database? How are the fields? StefanRybo


Well, the newest UseModWiki version has been released, and now we're just waiting for Jason to load it (I guess). Then this entire discussion will be unnecessary; we will be able to write "Delphi (programming language)" and "Delphi (ancient Greek oracle)" and "Delphi (place)". --LMS


This is great. I ve just testet this with (in DE section of WP with Madonna (Musik) and Madonna (Religion) (The capitalization is due to German) Is this now an official policy (I would support)? I think the rule should go like this: Item (most general but still distinctive compartment identifier) as in Delphi (place), Delphi (software) and Delphi (mythology?) StefanRybo


Now we're waiting for them to fix the problem that will arise when we switch to the new system which does not distinguish between pages capitalized like this and like This, which the present software does distinguish. That's why we haven't uploaded the lastest version of UseModWiki. --LMS