Help:Redirects

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A redirect is a page that forwards the visitor to another page. They effectively create alternative names for the articles they go to. These alternative names can be linked to, as well as searched for (in the top-right search/go-to bar).

Uses

There are various reasons to use redirects:

  • Preserving links when moving pages. Inside the wiki, old links can be updated, but links from external websites will still point to old page names. Leaving a redirect at an old page name allows visitors to still follow links to it, and then they are automatically brought to the new page name.
  • Providing alternative names for pages. These could be abbreviations, alternative spellings, synonyms, etc. This can make it easier for a visitor to search for content. It can also be more convenient for an editor to have page names to link to that more closely correspond to the current text being written or edited.
  • As placeholders for content without dedicated articles. Maybe a subject is covered as part of another article, but doesn't have one of its own. Or maybe only an aspect of a subject is covered in some article, but the broader topic doesn't have an article yet. Creating a redirect – from the article that doesn't exist yet to the one that does – allows linking to whichever topic fits best. Later, the redirect could be replaced by a real article – and old links that go to it will then take the reader to this new and more appropriate article.

Any given redirect may have several of these purposes, since none of them are mutually exclusive.

Creating or editing a redirect

Redirects can be created in several ways. When moving a page, there's an option for whether or not to "Leave a redirect behind". If a redirect is left behind, it will be uncategorized, but otherwise good to go.

When not moving a page, a redirect is created by manually creating or editing a page. This is done differently from the general case of editing pages, because a redirect has very specific contents. The steps are the following:

  1. Get to the page whose name you want to direct from. You can e.g.:
    • Change the URL in the address bar of your browser, filling it in, and then press the enter key. When you arrive at the page, it either exists or not. If not, click "Create" in the top-right area of the screen. If the page already exists (and you need to remove all the contents and replace them with a redirect), then click "Edit source" if there is such a button – if there is no "Edit source", then click "Edit".
    • An alternative if the page doesn't exist is to search for the page. Enter the name in the search bar at the top right and hit enter. There will be a line above any results saying, "Create the page "Name" on this wiki!", where you can click on "Name".
    • If the redirect already exists and you want to change it, see Viewing a redirect below.
  2. Make sure the page contains the below line at the top. Apart from categorization (covered below under Categorizing a redirect), there should be nothing else on the page.
    #REDIRECT [[Target page]]
    In inserting this line, instead of "Target page", the name of the page to direct to must be written. To make sure it is valid, see Troubleshooting below.
  3. At this point, the page could be saved and the redirect should work. Before doing so, some categorization is however desirable, to help keep track of the redirects we use. See the section Categorizing a redirect further below.

Troubleshooting

Redirecting to the following types of destinations won't work:

  • Nonexistent pages. Such redirects, called "broken redirects", are listed by the software here. Whenever you view a redirect (or create/edit and preview it), you know whether or not it is broken by the color of the link at the top. It is blue if the destination page exists, and red if it doesn't exist.
  • Redirects. Such redirects, called "double redirects", are listed by the software here. When you are directed by a double redirect, you will end up at the second redirect rather than the final destination. If this happens, you need to view the first redirect in order to edit and fix it. When creating/editing a redirect, you can check for this issue by previewing, and opening the destination link (in a separate tab or window) – if it is also a redirect, you won't be directed further, but will see the redirect page itself.

Categorizing a redirect

To keep track of redirects to articles that provide content, they are categorized. One of the categories inside Category:Content page redirects is used for each redirect.

Each category contains a description of when it is suitable to use, and mentions how to place a redirect in the category. For example, Category:Redirects from abbreviations mentions that Template:Redirect from abbreviation should be used on the page. This means adding the following line to the redirect page:

{{Redirect from abbreviation}}

This is in addition to the first line described in the creating a redirect section above. So the redirect ends up containing the following:

#REDIRECT [[Target page]]
{{Redirect from abbreviation}}

Where instead of "Target page", there is the name of the page to direct to.

Each category for redirects mentions a template such as the one in the example above. The only difference is the name of the template, which means changing the name inside the second line of the redirect. This also means that an already categorized redirect can be recategorized by changing the second line to that corresponding to a different categorization.

Viewing a redirect

Once a valid redirect exists, you can no longer get to that page simply by using its name or following a link to it. However, near the top of the destination page, a notice that you have been forwarded appears, with the source pagename as an active link to it. ("Redirected from ...") Click this to get back to the page you were redirected from. There, beneath the title you'll see:

  • The large bent arrow symbol and the destination for the redirect.
  • The categorization information, if any.