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MediaWiki uses redirects to direct people who go to one location on a MediaWiki wiki to another. For example, if somebody follows a link to Sonic 2, then they will end up at the page Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit) instead, and the top of the page will include a notice of redirection that looks like this: (Redirected from Sonic 2).

What do we use redirects for?

  • Abbreviations: SFGHQ redirects to Sonic Fan Games HQ
  • Alternate names: Sonic 3D Blast redirects to Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island
  • Alternate capitalizations: Photon Torpedo redirects to Photon torpedo
  • Alternate punctuation: Knuckles Chaotix redirects to Knuckles' Chaotix
  • Pseudonyms, nicknames: Sonic 1 redirects to Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)
  • Synonyms: Sonic community redirects to Sonic scene
  • Accents: Andre Dirk redirects to André Dirk
  • Avoiding broken links (see below)

Sub-topic redirects are often temporary, eventually being replaced by fully fledged articles on the sub-topic in question. Be conservative when creating sub-topic redirects - they can sometimes be counter-productive, because they disguise the absence of a proper article from editors. Sub-topic redirects should only be used where the main article has a section on the sub-topic.

In accordance with naming conventions, it's best to have an article at a well-defined, unambiguous term, with redirects from looser colloquial terms, rather than vice versa.

How do I create a redirect?

If you're creating a new redirect, start a new page, write #REDIRECT [[pagename]] (or #redirect [[pagename]]) at the top of the page, where pagename is the name of the target page. If you're replacing an existing page with a redirect, for example after merging a duplicate page, go to the page, edit it, and replace the existing text with #REDIRECT [[pagename]].

A redirect page will still redirect if there is extra text on the page after the #REDIRECT command and link (but this text will normally not be seen). However, it will not redirect if there is anything on the page before the redirect. Also, there must be no spaces between the # and the REDIRECT. Consider copying the #REDIRECT [[pagename]] text into the edit summary so that people know that you have created a redirect.

After you create a redirect, you get sent to a page with the string "&redirect=no" in the URL. Thus the just created redirect page is shown, not the page to which it redirects. To see your redirect working, use your address bar to delete that part of the URL. Alternatively, create a link on another page to your redirect, and then follow that link.

When creating new redirects, bear in mind that creating too many redirects can clutter up the search results page, which can hinder users. Also, don't spend too much time creating redirects, as often it's more important to spend time improving the quality of the target page. A piped link (example: [[Example page|a great example]] is another way to make a link to a page with a name which does not occur in the first page.

Renamings and merges

We try to avoid broken links, because they annoy visitors. Therefore, if we change the layout of some section of the wiki, or we merge two duplicate articles, we always leave redirects in the old location to point to the new location. Search engines and visitors will probably have linked to that page at that url. If the page is deleted, potential new visitors from search engines will be greeted with an edit window. The same is true for anyone who previously bookmarked that page, and so on.

How do I change a redirect?

Click on a link to the redirect page. Then look for the "(redirected from pagename)" link at the top of the page you've been redirected to. You will be taken to the page displaying the redirect code.

Then click Edit this page. You can then either change the target of the redirect, or replace the redirect with a brand new page.

Another way to do the same thing: Go to the target page, and click "What links here". This will show you all the back-links from that page, including redirects. To change a redirect, click on it, and then click on Edit this page as above.

When should we delete a redirect?

To delete a redirect without replacing it with a new article, list it on pages for immediate deletion. See deletion policy for details on how to nominate pages for deletion.

This isn't necessary if you just want to replace a redirect with an article.

You might want to delete a redirect if one or more of the following conditions is met:

  1. The redirect page makes it unreasonably difficult for users to locate similarly named articles via the search engine.
  2. The redirect might cause confusion.
  3. The redirect is offensive, such as "Joe Bloggs is a Loser" to "Joe Bloggs".
  4. The redirect makes no sense, such as [[Pink elephants painting daisies]] to [[ADX Codec]].

However, avoid deleting such redirects if:

  1. They have a potentially useful page history. If the redirect was created by renaming a page with that name, and the page history just mentions the renaming, and for one of the reasons above you want to delete the page, copy the page history to the Talk page of the article it redirects to. The act of renaming is useful page history, and even more so if there has been discussion on the page name.
  2. They would make the creation of duplicate articles less likely.
  3. They aid searches on certain terms.
  4. Someone finds them useful. Hint: If someone says they find a redirect useful, they probably do. You might not find it useful - this is not because the other person is a liar, but because you browse the wiki in different ways.

Self-links, duplicate links

Avoid self-links, including self-links through redirects ("loop links"). Also, avoid having two links that go to the same place. These can confuse readers, and cause them to unnecessarily load the same page twice.

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