The title of an article is very important. It is required when making internal wiki links as well as when searching. Therefore, to make thing simple and usable, there are a few conventions for naming articles.
Page titles should be:
- Singular: Philosopher not: Philosophers;
- Capitalised on the First word only:, French philosophy not: French Philosophy;
- Logical and easy to find:, Descartes not: Cogito ergo sum (possibly not a good example, but you get the idea);
- Short: Evolution not: Theory that we're all descended from a crouton of life floating in a primordial soup;
There are, of course, exceptions to all these rules: people's names should be initially capitalised, but basically, if something would not normally be capitalised, don't do so in an article title.
Since people are also likely to search for related terms such as plurals and common abbreviations, it is a good idea to create redirect pages from these to the article you have created. This could help prevent somebody else creating a duplicate article on the same subject.
There are several characters that cannot be used in titles, since they "mean" something to the MediaWiki code that has to interpret them. They include:
- & - ampersand. Can usually have "and" substituted for it.
- ' - apostrophe (also right single quote). If you need a possessive (or something like Qu'ran), use %27 in its place. Better yet, try to figure out a way around it, because people will never remember how to link to it using that syntax. Another solution is to use the "left single quote", which is usually under the tilde key at the top left of your keyboard.
- ? - question mark. Wreaks havoc, try to avoid. %3F should work in its place.
- % - another potential troublemaker.
- / - forward slash. In article titles will tend to create a subpage, or just more havoc.
If you're having trouble with a character, you might want to check how Wikipedia handles it, if it seems likely that they would have an article with the same or similar title.
Articles will occasionally need to be retitled. If any of the above formats have been incorrectly applied or a change of namespace is required, for instance.
Before renaming or moving be certain that the new page doesn't already exist as moving will overwrite it.
Click on Relocate. You will then be asked for the new name (the old one is in the form box for easy alteration), type it in and also fill in the reason for the change in its own box. If a talk page exists, there is a check box (checked by default), which you should leave checked. Another check box is titled "watch this page", this is to warn you if the page is recreated; use your judgement.
Now click Move page
Ah no, not quite.
What about any links that point to the old name?
They will still work for now, since the software automatically puts a #REDIRECT[] instruction on the old page which will "bounce" views straight to the new page. (There will then be a notification of the redirect at the top of the new page). See here for more information on this subject. However, "double redirects" (like A to B followed by B to C) are not "honored" by the software, to prevent loops. So you should fix the incoming links after moving a page.
To find what links to the old page:
"Go" to the old page or click the old page name in "Recent changes". You will, of course, be redirected to the new page but, at the top of the page is the redirect link. Click on it, and you will be taken back to the old page. This process is made easier by the screen that comes up after you rename the page - it will have a direct link to the old location.
Once there, click on "what links here". A list appears - use it and amend the links to point to the new page. The "redirect" page should be left (unless it's really silly) to avoid it being recreated in the future.
If you're not a sysop you'll need to enlist one to delete the old page if appropriate.