Wikipedia:New pages patrol/Redirects

Patrolling new redirects on Wikipedia is significantly different from patrolling articles. While article reviews focus on establishing the subject's notability and removing any unacceptable content, redirects do not have notability, and do not have any content beyond the redirect itself. Thus, when evaluating redirects, you should assess the overall utility of the redirect to readers of Wikipedia.

If a redirect is pointing to a relevant target, and there are no other possible targets for the redirect that could cause surprise or confusion to readers, and the redirect is not clearly in violation of Wikipedia's policies against promotional or attack content, then a redirect should be approved out of the page queue. Otherwise, a redirect can be pointed to a new target, nominated for speedy deletion, nominated for an RfD discussion, or converted to a disambiguation page as appropriate

Redirect criteriaEdit

A redirect can be approved without further action if the following criteria are met:

  1. There is no article that contains more information about the redirect's title than the current target. Redirects that do not meet this criterion should either be retargeted to a more appropriate target, converted to a disambiguation, or nominated for a deletion discussion at RfD. In some cases, it may be appropriate to leave the redirect as is, but add a hatnote to the target informing readers about other articles that they may be looking for
  2. The redirect title is a plausible search term for the target, or for a subtopic of the target. If this criterion is not obviously satisfied from reading the target article's text, a reviewer should conduct an internet and Google Scholar search, as well as looking through articles on other language Wikipedia projects that are linked to the target. If no evidence can be found that the redirect is pertinent, it should be nominated for an RfD discussion (or in the cases of gibberish or implausible misspellings, nominated for speedy deletion).
  3. The redirect is not blatantly promotional or WP:ATTACK in nature. (Note, however, that non-neutral redirects are allowed provided that the non-neutral search term is plausible). Redirects failing this criterion should be nominated for speedy deletion.
  4. The article is not a cross-space redirect that qualifies for R2 speedy deletion. By far the most common R2-qualifying redirects are redirects pointing to Draft space, usually as the result of a move. Note, however, that while redirects pointing from mainspace to Template, Wikipedia, Help and Portal spaces are not immediately eligible for speedy deletion, they are often inappropriate nonetheless and should be taken to RfD. Cross namespace redirects to these spaces should serve a clear and obvious purpose to justify the possibility of surprising an editor by whisking them away from an actual Wikipedia article. By contrast, redirects from main to Category space redirects are often directly helpful to encyclopedia readers and do not need to be treated so stringently.


Because redirects are cheap to create and don't have any content, and because redirect deletion discussions at RfD take up a non-trivial amount of editor's time and energy to participate in, it is less important that a redirect be actively useful, and more important that the redirect simply does not impede or confuse readers. Thus, while WP:R has a good list of criteria for why to create a redirect and why to delete one redirect, a fair amount of redirects live in a gray area between these categories. We should not encourage editors to create such redirects, but it is also not worth the effort to actually delete them, and they can be safely approved out of the new pages queue even if they provide little benefit to the encyclopedia. Examples of this class of redirect include redirects from unlikely alternate capitalizations for unique titles, redirects from unnecessary or unlikely disambiguators, and redirects from quotes or minutiae in a fictional setting that are not discussed at length at the target article.

Differences between the redirect and article queuesEdit

While article reviews focus on establishing the subject's notability and removing any unacceptable content, redirects are not subject to notability guidelines, and do not have any content beyond the redirect itself. Thus, when evaluating redirects, a new pages patroller is primarily assessing the overall utility of the redirect to readers of Wikipedia. As many redirects are simply pointing from an alternative spelling or phrasing of the target article's title, it's actually possible to review many redirects without even clicking through to the target page. Some bots have been deployed to automatically patrol the most predictable and uncontroversial kinds of redirects, such as redirects whose only differences are interchangeable characters such as hyphens ("-"), em-dashes ("โ€“"), and spaces (" "). Additionally, a large proportion of the overall volume of redirects are created by a small group of editors diligently linking together certain patterns of redirects and articles. While autopatrol permissions include redirects, many of these editors would not necessarily qualify for autopatrol, as they may not have the necessary history of article creation to justify the permission. As such, we have created a whitelist for prolific and productive redirect creators, which allows a bot to automatically approve all of their redirect creations.

While the normal new pages feed for articles has a cutoff of 90 days, due to the high volume of redirects created, the redirect queue has a cutoff of only 30 days. Given that the new pages backlog for articles stays around the 80โ€“90 day range, this means that if you are patrolling purely from the back of the queue, you are unlikely to ever come across redirects before they disappear from the queue. Thus, in practice catching redirects before they slide off the queue requires an editor to specifically set their new pages queue to just patrol redirects.

RfD vs AfDEdit

Note that while AfD stands for articles for deletion, RfD stands for redirects for discussion. Unlike in AfD discussions, deletion is not implied in an RfD nomination, and editors nominating a redirect for RfD should explicitly say what their intended outcome for the redirect is. That having been said, retargeting a redirect or converting it to a disambiguation page can generally be done boldly; RfD discussions for outcomes other than deletion should only be raised if multiple different related redirects are being discussed at once, to settle disputes in progress, to suggest disambiguation when you feel that you have insufficient knowledge to put together an effective disambiguation page, or for complicated cases where multiple outcomes seem reasonable.

Redirect categorizationEdit

There are a series of categories that are used only for redirects. Redirects are placed in categories by templates. These categories explain why the redirect exists, for example {{R from merge}} means it was created by a merge or {{R from alternative name}} means that the redirect is an alternative name for the main title.

A redirect may be categorized in the same way as for any other page; however, when it is possible to use redirect category templates (rcats), then these should be used. For clarity, all category links should be added at the end of the page on their own lines, after the redirect target link and rcat(s). Use of a blank line between the redirect target link and all rcats and category links promotes readability of the code.

These categories are only intended to contain redirects, and are helpful in keeping track of redirects and further subcategorizing them as needed. They include both redirects within main namespace and in other namespaces. They are often applied using templates, though such categories can also be created and populated directly. This categorization is intended for Wikipedia editors, not readers.

Automated tools are available to make redirect categorization easier while patrolling. Twinkle's tag module will show redirect templates when viewing redirect pages. The Capricorn user script adds a check button interface for adding redirect categories to redirect pages and an input field to change the redirect target.

Common types of redirects and outcomesEdit

Music redirectsEdit

Per the subject-specific notability guidelines WP:NSONG and WP:NALBUM, non-notable songs should be redirected to the albums they appear on, and non-notable albums should be redirected to their recording artists. If a song was not released on an album, or if its corresponding album is not notable, then it should also be redirected to the recording artist. These redirects are almost always approvable, and the risk of vandalism associated with them is low. Note, however, that if an artist has a discography page, it may be more appropriate to redirect songs/albums to there, instead of the artist page. Particularly prolific artists may not mention every single or EP that they've ever released on their main page. You may want to tag the redirects using {{R from song}} or {{R from album}} as appropriate.

Redirects from acronyms, initialisms and other abbreviationsEdit

Redirects from acronyms and initialisms are appropriate if there is no other subject on Wikipedia that the redirect could refer to. However, if the abbreviation is not widely used (as evidenced by an internet search), it may still be appropriate to nominate the redirect for deletion, especially if the abbreviation could also refer to a subject which is likely notable despite not having an article on Wikipedia at the moment. Redirects from abbreviations in languages other than English are subject to the same conditions as all other redirects from languages other than English.

Titles where the initials form a pronounceable word (for example NATO) should be tagged with {{R from acronym}}. If the initials are not a word (for example NFL) the redirect should be tagged as {{R from initialism}}. If the title is an abbreviation, but not an acronym or initialism, tag the redirect with {{R from abbreviation}}.

Redirects from fictional charactersEdit

These are acceptable, provided that there's no other subjects by that name on Wikipedia. It is generally the case that if there is a fictional character with the same name as a notable real person, the real person is going to be the primary topic, but this is not a hard and fast rule.

Redirects from languages other than EnglishEdit

If the language of a redirect has any special significance or association with the target, then the redirect is acceptable, otherwise the redirect should be nominated for deletion at RfD. This applies to redirects that are either fully in another language or that are transliterated or otherwise approximated into Latin letters used in English.

Note that many non-Latin alphabets can have letters that map onto Latin letters in ways that may be confusing for English speakers without proficiency in the relevant language. For example, the Cyrillic character "ะต", depending on context, can be transliterated as "e", "ye", or "yo" for English pronunciation. Prolific redirect patrollers should seriously consider studying foreign alphabets to a level of basic proficiency to aid in their work (particularly the Cyrillic alphabet, which as of this writing is one of the most common non-Latin scripts for redirect titles).

Redirects from unnecessary disambiguationsEdit

Redirects from unnecessary disambiguations are generally acceptable, providing that the disambiguation is somehow accurate. If the disambiguation is inaccurate or indecipherable, nominating for deletion at RfD may be appropriate. If the disambiguation contains an obvious typographical error (such as a missing parenthesis or an unconventional use of punctuation) or is totally inconceivable as a search term (such as Foo (second draft)), nominating for WP:R3 speedy deletion may be appropriate.

Templates such as {{R from unnecessary disambiguation}} may be useful for categorizing the redirect.

Redirects from alternative namesEdit

Redirects from alternative names of a subject are acceptable provided that the alternative name is not more likely to refer to something else. Relevance can often be quickly confirmed by looking at bold terms in the target lead or conducting a ctrl-F search. Potential alternative targets can be found by using Wikipedia's internal search function. However, it is not strictly necessary for the alternative name to be directly attested in the target: if the redirect title is a name that could be plausibly used by an English speaker to refer to the target, then it is acceptable as a redirect (e.g. French and Low Countries campaign to Battle of France). In some cases Template:R from incorrect title may be an appropriate tag to add to the redirect.

Redirects from longer titlesEdit

Redirects from longer titles are almost always appropriate, provided that the longer title is accurate, since generally a longer title reduces ambiguity, rather than increasing it. Redirects from longer titles that obviously follow from the target's title do not require checking the target article (e.g. United States Route 66 to U.S. Route 66).

Redirects from nicknamesEdit

Nicknames can be valid redirects to a target. However, when evaluating nickname redirects, take care to make sure that the redirect is actually in wide use and that it unambiguously refers to the target. Pejorative nicknames are permissible as long as they meet the prior criteria (e.g. The Butcher of Beijing redirecting to Li Peng, but not Benefactor of Dictators redirecting to Henry Kissinger), but extra care should be taken to make sure that they are appropriate for such redirects. Additionally, nicknames that are particularly associated with a particular context may have better targets than the literal referent of the nickname (for example, for nicknames coined and primarily used by Donald Trump, List of nicknames used by Donald Trump is likely to be a more appropriate target).

Redirects from misspellingsEdit

Redirects from misspellings come in two categories: misspellings that occur due to a reader's genuine misunderstanding of the spelling of the target article's name (e.g. Abraham Lincon or Bourgoisie) and misspellings that are simply typos. It is important to have redirects from the first category (provided that the misspelling is reasonable), because someone may plausibly try to search for the target using that incorrect spelling. The second category is much less useful, as someone who has made a typo should be able to recognize their mistake when taken to the page for internal search results. However, due to the amount of overhead associated with opening an RfD discussion, it is often acceptable to approve redirects from typos, even if they provide little utility to Wikipedia. It is important, however, to delete redirects from typos that could plausibly refer to more than one target article (e.g. Spoin, which could be a misspelling of Spain, Spin, Spoon...; these are instances of WP:XY) or that could otherwise lead to confusing search results.

Particularly unlikely misspellings can be deleted using the speedy deletion criterion R3. Examples of such misspellings include extraneous punctuation (e.g. Mission:: Impossible), a cross-keyboard typo with no phonetic explanation (e.g. United Statzs), or almost any misspelling that includes multiple incorrect characters without phonetic similarity (e.g. Worldd Trsde Center).

Redirects from obvious subtopicsEdit

It is generally permissible to approve redirects without checking the target if the redirect is an obvious subtopic of the target, e.g. 2011 Challenge Cup Finalโ†’2011 Challenge Cup. Use {{R from subtopic}}.

Redirects with determinersEdit

Redirects that begin with determiners (such as "the", "a", etc.) that point to the same title without determiners are generally acceptable (although in cases where particular subject is known as the canonical example of its type, targeting to another article is acceptable such as The Crucifixion pointing to Crucifixion of Jesus Christ instead of Crucifixion). When coming across a redirect that begins with a determiner that is not pointing to the same title without a determiner, take care to make sure that the same title without a determiner is not a redirect pointing to a different subject. Whenever possible, redirects with equivalent titles should point to the same target.

Redirects to sectionsEdit

If a redirect has the same title as a section that it is targeted to, and this title is non-generic and unlikely to appear in other articles, it is permissible to approve the redirect without even clicking through to the target article. However, particularly unconventional or otherwise suspicious section-targeting redirects should be double checked to confirm that this is an actual section title that belongs at the target article (redirects may be targeted to sections that do not exist or that have since been removed, in which case the redirect will dump readers at the top of the article as if no extension was provided).

See alsoEdit