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An article title is the large heading displayed above the article's content.Specifically, it is the <nowiki></nowiki> that appears at the top of the article's page. It should be the only <nowiki></nowiki> element on the page, but since editors have the ability to add any level of heading to a page's text, that can't be guaranteed. The title indicates what the article is about and distinguishes it from other articles.The title displayed as the article's main heading is usually identical (and always similar) to the stored title by which the page is referenced in category listings, recent changes lists, etc., and that appears (suitably encoded as necessary) in the page's . For technical details, see .

The title may simply be the name (or a name) of the subject of the article, or it may be a description of the topic. Since no two articles can have the same title,It is technically possible, but undesirable for various reasons, to make different pages display with the same title. it is sometimes necessary to add distinguishing information, often in the form of a description in after the name. Generally, article titles are based on what the subject is called in . When this offers multiple possibilities, editors choose among them by considering : the ideal article title resembles titles for similar articles, precisely identifies the subject, and is short, natural, and recognizable.

This page explains in detail the considerations, or naming conventions, on which choices of article title are based. It is supplemented by other more specific guidelines (see the box to the right), which should be interpreted in conjunction with other policies, particularly the three core content policies: , , and .

If necessary, an article's title can be changed by a page move.When an article's title is changed, its database entry is altered but not actually moved. For this reason, a title change is sometimes called a rename, although move remains the most common term. For information on page move procedures, see , and .

Deciding on an article title
Article titles are based on how refer to the article's subject. There is often more than one appropriate title for an article. In that case, editors choose the best title by based on the considerations that this page explains. A good Wikipedia article title has the five following characteristics:

These should be seen as goals, not as rules. For most topics, there is a simple and obvious title that meets these goals satisfactorily. If so, use it as a straightforward choice. However, in some cases the choice is not so obvious. It may be necessary to favor one or more of these goals over the others. This is done by consensus. For instance, the recognizable, natural, and concise title is preferred over the more precise title (for more details, see , below).

When titling articles in specific fields, or with respect to particular problems, there is often previous consensus that can be used as a precedent. Look to the guideline pages referenced. When no previous consensus exists, a new consensus is established through discussion, with the above questions in mind. The choice of article titles should put the interests of readers before those of editors, and those of a general audience before those of specialists.

should be created to articles that may reasonably be searched for or linked to under two or more names (such as or ). Conversely, a name that could refer to several different articles may require .

Use commonly recognizable names
Titles are often the names of article topics, such as the name of the person, place or thing that is the subject of the article. However, some topics have multiple names, and this can cause disputes as to which name should be used in the article's title. Wikipedia prefers the name that is most commonly used (as determined by its prevalence in ) as such names will be the most recognizable and the most natural. This is often referred to using the Wikipedia short cut term: "COMMONNAME".Where the terms "COMMONNAME" and "common name" appears in this policy they mean a commonly or frequently used name, and not a as used in some disciplines in opposition to .

Wikipedia does not necessarily use the subject's "official" name as an article title; it prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources. This includes usage in the sources used as references for the article. If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes, then more weight should be given to the name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change. For cases where usage differs among English-speaking countries, see also below.

Editors should also consider the outlined above. AmbiguousAmbiguity as used here is unrelated to whether a title requires on the English Wikipedia. For example, heart attack is an ambiguous title, because the term can refer to multiple medical conditions, including , , and . or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined in reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources. Neutrality is also considered; our policy on neutral titles, and what neutrality in titles is, follows in the next section. Article titles should be neither (unless unavoidable) nor pedantic. When there are multiple names for a subject, all of them fairly common, and the most common has problems, it is perfectly reasonable to choose one of the others.

Although official, scientific, birth, original, or trademarked names are often used for article titles, the term or name most typically used in reliable sources is generally preferred. Other encyclopedias are among the sources that may be helpful in deciding what titles are in an encyclopedic register, as well as what names are most frequently used.

The following are examples of the application of the concept of commonly used names in support of recognizability:



Science and nature topics

Other topics

  • (not: Fédération Internationale de Football Association or International Federation of Association Football)
  • (not: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes)
  • (not: The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet)
  • (not: Shichinin no Samurai)
  • (not: KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736)

In determining which of several alternative names is most frequently used, it is useful to observe the usage of major international organizations, major English-language media outlets, quality encyclopedias, geographic name servers, major scientific bodies, and notable scientific journals. A may help to collect this data; when using a search engine, restrict the results to pages written in English, and exclude the word "Wikipedia". When using Google, generally a search of Google Books and News Archive should be defaulted to before a web search, as they concentrate reliable sources (exclude works from Books, LLC when searching Google BooksAdd this code in the search: (the quotes " " are essential); Books, LLC "publishes" compilations of WP articles.). Search engine results are subject to certain biases and technical limitations; for detailed advice on the use of search engines and the interpretation of their results, see .

When there is no single obvious term that is obviously the most frequently used for the topic, as used by a significant majority of reliable English language sources, editors should reach a consensus as to which title is best by considering the .

We do not know what terms will be used in the future, but only what is and has been in use, and is therefore familiar to our readers. However, common sense can be applied – if the subject of an article changes its name, it is reasonable to consider the usage since the change. This provision also applies to names used as part of descriptive titles.

Neutrality in article titles
Conflicts often arise over whether an article title complies with Wikipedia's Neutral Point of View policy. Resolving such debates depends on whether the article title is a name derived from reliable sources or a descriptive title created by Wikipedia editors.

Non-neutral but common names
When the subject of an article is referred to mainly by a single common name, as evidenced through usage in a significant majority of English-language reliable sources, Wikipedia generally follows the sources and uses that name as its article title (subject to the other naming criteria). Sometimes that common name includes non-neutral words that Wikipedia normally avoids (e.g. the or the ). In such cases, the prevalence of the name, or the fact that a given description has effectively become a proper noun (and that proper noun has become the usual term for the event), generally overrides concern that Wikipedia might appear as endorsing one side of an issue.

Notable circumstances under which Wikipedia often avoids a common name for lacking neutrality include the following:

  1. Trendy slogans and monikers that seem unlikely to be remembered or connected with a particular issue years later
  2. Colloquialisms where far more encyclopedic alternatives are obvious
Article titles and redirects should anticipate what readers will type as a first guess and balance that with what readers expect to be taken to. Thus, typing "" properly redirects to , which is in keeping with point #2, above. Typing "" redirects the reader to a particular section of , which is in keeping with points #1 and #2, above. Typing "" does not redirect, which is in keeping with the general principle, as is typing "", which redirects to the more aptly named .

See also .

Non-judgmental descriptive titles
In some cases a descriptive phrase (such as ) is best as the title. These are often invented specifically for articles, and should reflect a , rather than suggesting any editor's opinions. Avoid judgmental and non-neutral words; for example, allegation implies wrongdoing, and so should be avoided in a descriptive title. (Exception: articles where the topic is an actual accusation of illegality under law, discussed as such by reliable sources even if not yet proven in a court of law. These are accurately described as "allegations".)

However, (see preceding subsection) may be used within a descriptive title. Even descriptive titles should be based on sources, and may therefore incorporate names and terms that are commonly used by sources. (Example: Since "Boston Massacre" is an acceptable title on its own, the descriptive title "Political impact of the Boston Massacre" would also be acceptable.)

Explicit conventions
Wikipedia has many naming conventions relating to specific subject domains (as listed in the box at the top of this page). Sometimes these recommend the use of titles that are not strictly the common name (as in the case of the conventions for and ). This practice of using specialized names is often controversial, and should not be adopted unless it produces clear benefits outweighing the use of common names; when it is, the article titles adopted should follow a neutral and common convention specific to that subject domain, and otherwise adhere to the general principles for titling articles on Wikipedia.

Precision and disambiguation

Usually, titles should be precise enough to unambiguously define the topical scope of the article, but no more precise than that. For instance, is too precise, as is precise enough to indicate exactly the same topic. On the other hand, would not be precise enough to identify unambiguously the famous classical pianist .

Exceptions to the precision criterion may sometimes result from the application of some other . Most of these exceptions are described in specific Wikipedia guidelines or by Wikipedia projects, such as , , or . For instance:

  • is precise enough to be unambiguous, but we instead use (see ), seeking a more natural and recognizable title. (It is also consistent with most other articles on American cities.)
  • is not precise enough to unambiguously indicate the physical quantity (see ). However, it is preferred over "Energy (physics)", as it is more concise, and precise enough to be understood by most people (see , and the conciseness and recognizability ).
  • is precise enough to be unambiguous, but specify the addition of the qualifier in with a redirect from .
  • is precise enough to be unambiguous, but specify adding the qualifier with a redirect from

This policy section should be read in conjunction with the .
It is not always possible to use the exact title that may be desired for an article, as that title may have other meanings, and therefore may have been already used for other articles. According to the above-mentioned , when a more detailed title is necessary to distinguish an article topic from another, use only as much additional detail as necessary. For example, it would be inappropriate to title an article "Queen (rock band)", as is precise enough to distinguish the rock band from . This may lead to some acceptable inconsistency; for instance, the article on chickens is found at , but the article on turkeys is at to disambiguate it from .

As a general rule, when a topic's preferred title can also refer to other topics covered in Wikipedia:

  • If the article is about the to which the ambiguous name refers, then that name can be its title without modification, provided it follows all other applicable policies.
  • If the topic is not , the ambiguous name cannot be used and so must be .

There are generally three methods employed to avoid using an ambiguous title:

  1. Natural disambiguation: If it exists, choose an alternative name that the subject is also commonly called in English, albeit not as commonly as the preferred-but-ambiguous title. Do not, however, use obscure or .
  2. : Example: The word "English" commonly refers to either the people or the language. Because of the ambiguity, we use the alternative but still common titles, and , allowing natural disambiguation. In a similar vein, and are preferable to and . Sometimes, this requires a change in the ; for instance, is a disambiguation page with no primary topic, so we choose as the name of the lifting device.
  3. Parenthetical disambiguation: If natural disambiguation is not possible, add a disambiguating term in parentheses, after the ambiguous name.
  4. : Example: The word "mercury" has distinct meanings that do not have sufficiently common alternative names, so we instead use parenthetical disambiguation: , , and .
  5. Comma-separated disambiguation. With place names, if the disambiguating term is a higher-level administrative division, it is often separated using a comma instead of parentheses, as in (see ). Comma-separated disambiguation is sometimes also used in other contexts (e.g., ; see ). However, titles such as and are preferred over alternatives such as "Blair, Anthony Charles Lynton" and "Waterloo, Battle of", in which a comma is used to change the natural ordering of the words.

Where there is no acceptable set name for a topic, such that a title of our own conception is necessary, e.g., and , more latitude is allowed to form descriptive and unique titles.

Using minor details to naturally disambiguate articles
Titles of distinct articles may differ only in their detail. Many such differences involve capitalization, punctuation, or pluralization: and ; and ; and ; and . While each name in such a pair may already be precise and apt, a reader who enters one term might in fact be looking for the other, so use appropriate techniques, such as or to help readers find the article they want. Special care should be taken for names from other languages and even more so for titles; there is often no standardized format for the English name of the subject, so minor details are often not enough to disambiguate in such cases.

Certain applications of this policy are often heavily debated; in certain instances, this form of disambiguation may not be sufficient if one article is far more likely a than the other. For instance, an album entitled JESUS would probably have its article located at , with continuing to be a to . If the album or other possible uses were deemed by editors to be reasonably likely search results for "JESUS", among editors would determine whether or not would be the location for the album article, a redirect to , a , or a redirect to the existing disambiguation page .

The goal of conciseness is to balance brevity with sufficient information to identify the topic to a person familiar with the subject area.

For example:

Exceptions exist for biographical articles. For example, neither a given name nor a family name is usually omitted or abbreviated for conciseness. Thus (not ), (not ). See .

English-language titles
On the English Wikipedia, article titles are written using the . However, it must be remembered that the English language contains many loan words and phrases taken from other languages. If a word or phrase (originally taken from some other language) is commonly used by English language sources, it can be considered to be an English language word or phrase (example: ).

The English language names of some topics may differ according to how names are anglicized from other languages, or according to different varieties of English (e.g., American English, British English, Australian English, etc.).

Foreign names and anglicization
The choice between anglicized and local spellings should follow English-language usage, e.g., the non-anglicized titles , , and are used since they predominate in English language reliable sources, while for the same reason the anglicized title forms , , and are used (as opposed to Nürnberg, Delikatessen, and Firenze, respectively).

If there are too few reliable English-language sources to constitute an established usage, follow the conventions of the language appropriate to the subject (German for German politicians, Portuguese for Brazilian towns, and so on). For ideas on how to deal with situations where there are several competing foreign terms, see "" and "" in the geographical naming guideline. Such discussions can so as to avoid a struggle over which language to follow.

Names not originally in a , such as Greek, Chinese, or Russian names, must be . Established systematic transliterations, such as , are preferred. However, if there is a common English-language form of the name, then use it, even if it is unsystematic (as with and ). For a list of transliteration conventions by language, see .

Wikipedia generally uses the character to represent the Anglo-Saxon ligature. For Latin- or Greek-derived words, use e or ae/oe, depending on modern usage and the used in the article.

In deciding whether and how to a foreign name into English, follow English-language usage. If there is no established English-language treatment for a name, translate it if this can be done without loss of accuracy and with greater understanding for the English-speaking reader.

National varieties of English
The title of an article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation should use the variety of English appropriate for that nation (as in , ). Very rarely, a form that represents only minority local usage is chosen because of its greater intelligibility to English-speaking readers worldwide (e.g. rather than "Ganga").

Otherwise, all national varieties of English are acceptable in article titles; Wikipedia does not prefer any national variety over any other. spelling should not be respelled to spelling, and vice versa; for example, both color and colour are acceptable and both spellings are found in article titles (such as and ). Very occasionally, a less common but non-nation-specific term is selected to avoid having to choose between national varieties: for example, was selected to avoid the choice between UK fizzy drink, U.S. soda, U.S. and Canadian pop, and a slew of other nation- and region-specific names.

Treatment of alternative names
By the design of Wikipedia's software, an article can only have one title. When this title is a name, significant alternative names for the topic should be mentioned in the article, usually in the first sentence or paragraph. If there are at least three alternative names, or there is something notable about the names themselves, a separate name section is recommended (see ). These may include alternative spellings, longer or shorter forms, historical names, significant names in other languages, etc. There is also no reason why alternative names cannot be used in article text, in contexts where they are more appropriate than the name used as the title of the article. For example, the city now called is referred to as in historical contexts to which that name is more suited (e.g. when it was part of Germany or a Free City). Likewise, even though 's title omits the "u", 's title does not.

All significant alternative titles, names, or forms of names that apply to a specific article should be made to to that article. If they are ambiguous, it should be ensured that the article can at least be reached from a disambiguation page for the alternative term. Note that the exact capitalization of the article's title does not affect Wikipedia , so it is not necessary to create redirects from alternative capitalizations unless these are likely to be used in links; see .

are often used in article text to allow a subject with a lengthy article title to be referred to using a more concise term where this does not produce ambiguity.

Article title format
The following points are used in deciding on questions not covered by the five principles; consistency on these helps avoid duplicate articles:

Use lowercase, except for proper names
The initial letter of a title is almost always capitalized by default; otherwise, words are not capitalized unless they would be so in running text. When this is done, the title is simple to link to in other articles
Use the singular form
Article titles are generally singular in form, e.g. , not . Exceptions include nouns that are always in a plural form in English (e.g. or ) and the names of of objects (e.g. or ). For more guidance, see [[Wikipedia
Avoid ambiguous abbreviations
Abbreviations and acronyms are often ambiguous and thus should be avoided unless the subject is known primarily by its abbreviation and that abbreviation is primarily associated with the subject (e.g. , , ). It is also unnecessary to include an acronym in addition to the name in a title. Acronyms may be used for parenthetical disambiguation (e.g. , ). For more details, see [[WP
Avoid definite and indefinite articles
Do not place definite or indefinite (the, a, and an) at the beginning of titles unless they are part of a proper name (e.g. ) or otherwise change the meaning (e.g. ). They are noise words that needlessly lengthen article titles, and interfere with sorting and searching. For more guidance, see [[Wikipedia
Use nouns
and are normally preferred over titles using other parts of speech; such a title can be the subject of the first sentence. One major exception is for titles that are quotations or titles of works
Do not enclose titles in quotes
Article titles that are quotes (or song titles, etc.) are not enclosed in quotation marks (e.g. is the article title, while is a redirect to that article). An exception is made when the quotation marks are part of a name or title (as in the movie or the album ).
Do not create subsidiary articles
Do not use titles suggesting that one article forms part of another
Format names of persons as reliable sources do
When deciding whether to use middle names, or initials, follow the guidelines at [[WP

Special characters
There are technical restrictions on the use of certain characters in page titles. The following characters at all: # < >   | { } _

There are restrictions on titles containing , , and some other characters, which may be addressed through . Technically all other Unicode characters can be used in page titles; but some characters should still be avoided, or require special treatment:

  • Characters not on a standard keyboard (use redirects): Sometimes the most appropriate title contains (accent marks), dashes, or other letters and characters not found on most English-language keyboards. This can make it difficult to navigate to the article directly. In such cases, provide redirects from versions of the title that use only standard keyboard characters. (Similarly, in cases where it is determined that the most appropriate title is one that omits , dashes, and other letters not found on most English-language keyboards, provide redirects from versions of the title that contain them.) However, avoid , which are difficult to type and interfere with adjacent characters.
  • Quotation marks (avoid them): Double () and single quotation marks (), as well as variations such as typographic quotation marks (), typographic apostrophes (), "low-high" quotation marks (), guillemets (), grave and acute accents or backticks () and <q> HTML tags () should be avoided in titles. Exceptions can be made when they are part of the proper title (e.g. ) or required by orthography (). See for typographic considerations.
  • Symbols (avoid them): Symbols such as "♥", as sometimes found in advertisements or logos, should never be used in titles. This includes non-Latin punctuation such as the characters in Unicode's block.
  • Characters not supported on all browsers (avoid them): If there is a reasonable alternative, avoid characters that are so rare that many browsers cannot render them. For example, the article on carries that title rather than the symbol itself, which many readers would see as just a square box.

Italics and other formatting
Use italics when ; for example, , the names of ships, the titles of books, films, and other creative works, and foreign phrases are italicized both in ordinary text and in article titles.This was decided during a July–September 2010 poll on the article talk page. See as well as the discussions that led up to the poll at and

Italic formatting cannot be part of the actual (stored) title of a page; adding single quotes to a page title will cause those quotes to become part of the URL, rather than affecting its appearance. A title or part of it is made to appear in italics with the use of the magic word or the template. In addition, certain templates, including , , and , by default italicize the titles of the pages they appear on; see the pages for those templates for details. For details, see on the technical restrictions page.

Other types of formatting (such as bold type and superscript) can technically be achieved in the same way, but should generally not be used in Wikipedia article titles (except for articles on mathematics). Quotation marks (such as around song titles) would not require special techniques for display, but are nevertheless avoided in titles; see above.

Standard English and trademarks
Article titles follow standard English text formatting in the case of trademarks, unless the trademarked spelling is demonstrably the most common usage in sources independent of the owner of the trademark. Items in full or partial uppercase (such as ) should have standard capitalization (); however, if the name is ambiguous, and one meaning is usually capitalized, this is one possible method of disambiguation.

Exceptions include article titles with the first letter lowercase and the second letter uppercase, such as and . For these, see the .

Titles containing "and"
Sometimes two or more closely related or complementary concepts are most sensibly covered by a single article. Where possible, use a title covering all cases: for example, covers the concepts "big-endian" and "little-endian". Where no reasonable overarching title is available, it is permissible to construct an article title using "and", as in , , and . (The individual terms – such as  – should redirect to the combined page, or be linked there via a disambiguation page or hatnote if they have other meanings.)

It is generally best to list topics in alphabetical order, especially those involving different countries or cultures, as in . However, if there is an obvious ordering, such as at , that ordering should be followed instead. If one concept is more commonly encountered than the other, it may be listed first. Alternative titles using reverse ordering (such as ) should be redirects.

Titles containing "and" are often red flags that the article has problems or is engaging in : avoid the use of "and" in ways that appear biased. For example, use , not "Islam and terrorism"; however, "Media's coupling of Islam and terrorism" may be acceptable. Avoid the use of "and" to combine concepts that are not commonly combined in reliable sources.

Considering title changes
Changing one controversial title to another without a discussion that leads to consensus is strongly discouraged. If an article title has been stable for a long time, and there is no good reason to change it, it should not be changed. If it has never been stable, or it has been unstable for a long time, and no consensus can be reached on what the title should be, default to the title used by the first major contributor after the article ceased to be a .This paragraph was adopted to stop move warring. It is an adaptation of the wording in the , which is based on the Arbitration Committee's decision in the .

Any potentially controversial proposal to change a title should be advertised at , and consensus reached before any change is made. Debating controversial titles is often unproductive, and there are many other ways to help .

In discussing the appropriate title of an article, remember that the choice of title is not dependent on whether a name is "right" in a moral or political sense. Nor does the use of a name in the title of one article require that all related articles use the same name in their titles; there is often some reason for inconsistencies in common usage. For example, Wikipedia has articles on both the and on , which is the current name of Stalingrad.

While titles for articles are subject to consensus, do not invent names or use extremely uncommon names as a means of compromising between opposing points of view. Wikipedia describes current usage but cannot prescribe a particular usage or invent new names.

Proposed naming conventions and guidelines
Proposals for new naming conventions and guidelines should be advertised on , at , the , and any related pages. If a strong has formed, the proposal is adopted and should be listed on this page.

New naming conventions for specific categories of articles often arise from . For a list of current and former proposals, see .

See also


External links


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