All The Tropes:Creating Disambiguation Pages

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Disambiguation is the process of resolving the conflicts that can arise when a potential article title is ambiguous or collides with other article titles. Here at All The Tropes this happens most often when multiple unrelated works share the same title. It also can happen when a media franchise has numerous installments with similar names (sometimes differing only by an installment number), or multiple adaptations in different media. It's also possible for a trope and a work to collide -- case in point, The Cape (2010 TV series) and The Cape (trope).

We follow Wikipedia's lead in resolving these conflicts by appending media types or other distinguishing information to the individual pages' names, and then listing all those pages on another page created under the common, "natural" name they share. This page is called a Disambiguation Page -- a non-article page containing links and information allowing the reader to distinguish between all the pages which share a name, and find the one he/she wants. (However, and this is important, unlike Wikipedia we do not append "(disambiguation)" or anything similar to the name of the disambiguation page -- one of its purposes is to catch any unspecific links that exist in the wiki. Making it distinct from the "common name" would defeat that purpose.)

Unlike Wikipedia, we treat all cases of disambiguation equally; we do not select specific works or tropes as the "primary topic" (AKA the "main" page) for a given name and use hatnotes to redirect to alternatives. The closest we come to this practice would be pages created for entire franchises, which although they are in themselves works pages, also include (or should, at least) a list of links to the individual works that make up the franchise. And even in cases like these, there can and should still be a disambiguation page created -- see Starship Troopers for an example. If you absolutely must consider one page to be the primary topic, then please treat the disambiguation page itself as the primary topic.

When creating a disambiguation page, please add to the page's list any applicable examples listed at Similarly Named Works (taking them off of that page once the disambiguation page is saved) or Name's the Same.

Naming Conventions for Colliding Pages

When disambiguating a name, it is necessary that all the pages that share it have unique names of their own. This is done by adding a media type in parentheses to the end of the page name, using the wiki's Page Move functionality when necessary. Some examples:

When moving pages to create unique names, don't forget to also change the category for the page and its subpages that share the name! Moving the subpages is a simple matter of making sure the checkbox on the Move page is checked. The category needs to be moved on its own.

We like having working Wikipedia tabs for our Works pages, so if there's a matching Wikipedia page for the work, use the same name unless the Wikipedia page name doesn't have a media type. If Wikipedia doesn't have a matching page, read on.

If there are two or more works in the same medium with the same name -- and it's not at all uncommon! -- further disambiguate by adding the year of production/publication to the media type parenthetical:

The media types that the Wiki Magic has (as of this writing) more or less standardized on include (but certainly are not limited to):

  • (film)
  • (radio)
  • (webcomic) or (web comic)
  • (manga)
  • (video game)
  • (series) or (TV series)
  • (novel) or (literature)

(For the last of these, the first choice is preferred as it reads better when you need to add a year.)

In general, if there's already a category for a medium, you are pretty safe in using the category name as a medium type for disambiguation.

Creating Disambiguation Pages

Disambiguation pages are created by selecting the Disambiguation Page template from the boilerplate dropdown above the edit box on a brand new page. This prepopulates the page with a basic minimum framework that includes the {{Disambiguation}} template:

This is a disambiguation page. '''{{PAGENAME}}''' could refer to:

* item one
* item two


Remember, this is the minimum content. In keeping with our Mechanics of Writing pages, you can add a definition of the page name if it's an unusual word or phrase (for example, Dire Straits). You can add a relevant page quote, like the one on Life. And if there's a picture that illustrates one meaning of the word you're making a disambiguation page for and that we can use legally, (such as Madhouse), feel free to add it to the page.

Each bullet point should reference a single page sharing the disambiguation page's name, with a link and sufficient descriptive text to uniquely distinguish that page from the others listed. If you know of works that share the name but do not yet have pages on All The Tropes, it is perfectly fine to list them, as long as you code links for them with the proper media type; these Red Links may prompt another troper to write those pages.

When listing entries on a disambiguation page, Tropes come first, then Creators, then Works.

Don't bother listing things or people that aren't tropable. Wikipedia's disambiguation pages do a better job of that than we ever could. (For example, we don't really care here that CBC also stands for "California Building Code", because that's Too Rare to Trope.)

When Not to Create a Disambiguation Page

There are very few cases when a disambiguation page is a bad idea, but they do exist. Do not create a disambiguation page for:

"Not To Be Confused With"

Although All The Tropes does not use Wikipedia-style hatnotes, we do sometimes incorporate similar linking to alternate page choices in the main text of an article, usually just before the trope or example list, in a form like "If you're looking for the video game of the same name, go here" or the infamous "Not to be confused with". Be careful with the latter usage, though, because it is often employed for humorous purposes.

If you see a hatnote on All The Tropes, feel free to change it to a "If you're looking for..." comment. Even if a mod added the hatnote. (The mod should know better.)

If You Don't Have Time To Do The Job

Put a {{Needs Disambiguation}} template on at least one of the pages that should have a disambiguation page pointing to it. This will put a banner on the page and include it in a special category where it can be found by another troper who does have the time.