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When potential search terms or article titles are ambiguous, a disambiguation page allows users to navigate easily to the correct article.

Ambiguous Article Titles

Sometimes, naming conventions will lead to two articles whose titles would either be the same or confusingly similar. For example, Chandra Suresh has two apartments: one in Brooklyn, New York, and another in Chennai, India. Chandra's apartment could describe either.

When article titles are ambiguous, it's best to make them explicit parenthetically and replace the ambiguous title with a disambiguation page. In the case above, Chandra's apartment (Brooklyn) and Chandra's apartment (Chennai) would be clearer article titles.

Ambiguous Search Terms

At other times, a term someone might search for is not an ideal title for any article, but could refer to several different articles. For example, there's probably no need for an article named "cheerleader", but someone searching for "cheerleader" might be looking for Claire Bennet, Jackie Wilcox, or even The Message. Just as with ambiguous titles, the answer is to set up an article called Cheerleader and make it a disambiguation page.

Disambiguation Pages

Think of an ambiguous term as a crossroads: a reader who searches for an ambiguous term finds themselves at a fork in the road, so to speak. The disambiguation page acts as a signpost: it lists the links to the different pages which the ambiguous term describes, and explains the differences between them.

The format for a disambiguation page is simple:

  • The first line should contain the disambiguation notice. This is produced using a template, {{disambig}}
  • The next line should consist of the ambiguous term, in bold type, and the phrase "could refer to:"
  • The rest of the article should be a bulleted list of the ambiguous terms, linked and in bold, followed by a comma and an explanation

Here's an example

Typing... Yields...

'''Swallow''' could refer to:
* '''[[African swallow]]''', indigenous to the African continent, airspeed velocity undetermined
* '''[[European swallow]]''', indigenous to the European subcontinent, with an [ airspeed velocity of 11 m/s]

This is a disambiguation page—it lists articles with the same or similar titles which might be easily confused.
If an internal link led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article.

Swallow could refer to:

The template will automatically assign the article to Category:Disambiguation

Naming disambiguation pages

When adding a disambiguation page, create the article with "(disambig)" at the end of the article title. For example, the above page should be "Swallow (disambig)".

Redirects to disambiguation pages

In most cases, you should also add a redirect from the ambiguous term to the disambiguation page. Continuing the example above, you should add an article called "Swallow" and redirect it to "Swallow (disambig)". This will cause any accidental links to "Swallow", or any searches for the word "swallow", to be directed properly to the disambiguation page.

An easy shortcut is to create the disambiguation page at the ambiguous title, then move it to the proper disambiguation title. This will automatically create the redirect. In our example, adding the article as "Swallow" and then moving it to "Swallow (disambig)" would create both pages quickly.

Main Articles and Disambiguation

There is one important exception to the policy about redirecting ambiguous terms to the disambiguation page: when a major article (a main character, an episode title, or the like) is an ambiguous term, it's best to have the ambiguous term redirect to that article, and add a separate disambiguation page. For example, Mohinder could refer to Mohinder Suresh or Mohinder the lizard, but since the former is far more likely intended, Mohinder should redirect to Mohinder Suresh. The possible ambiguity is taken care of on Mohinder (disambig).

But what if someone does search for "Mohinder" expecting an article about the lizard? To assist such lost travelers, Mohinder Suresh should contain a link to Mohinder (disambig). Since the bulk of visitors to Mohinder Suresh don't need this assistance, it's best to keep the link unobtrusive, yet make sure it stands out from the bulk of the text. The best way to do it is in a See Also section ... after all, it's an internal link, but not in the body of the text.

Typing... Yields...
==See Also==

* {{seealsodisambig|Mohinder}}

See Also

Linking to Disambiguation Pages

In general, it's preferable to link directly to the intended article rather than to a disambiguation page. If, however, the term in context is ambiguous, it might be acceptable to link to the disambiguation page. For example, saying "Peter Petrelli is unsure if he's saved the right cheerleader" would be acceptable, because the term "cheerleader" is ambiguous in this context.