Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names)

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This page describes Wikipedia's policy on choosing article titles. It is supplemented and explained by guidelines linked to this policy (see the box to the right), which should be interpreted in conjunction with other policies, particularly the three core content policies: Verifiability, No original research and Neutral point of view.

For information on the procedure for renaming an article see Help:Moving a page, and Wikipedia:Requested moves.


Deciding on an article title

Generally, article titles are based on what reliable English-language sources call the subject of the article. There will often be several possible alternative titles for any given article; the choice between them is made by consensus. The principal criteria used by editors when deciding on a title for an article include:

  • Recognizability – an ideal title will confirm, to readers who are familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic, that the article is indeed about that topic. One important aspect of this is the use of common English names as used in reliable sources on the subject.
  • Naturalness – titles are expected to use names and terms that readers are most likely to look for in order to find the article (and to which editors will most naturally link from other articles). As part of this, a good title should convey what the subject is actually called in English.
  • Precision – titles are expected to use names and terms that are precise, but only as precise as is necessary to identify the topic of the article unambiguously. For technical reasons, no two Wikipedia articles can have the same title.[1] For information on how ambiguity is avoided in titles, see the Precision and disambiguation section below and the disambiguation guideline.
  • Conciseness – shorter titles are generally preferred to longer ones.
  • Consistency – titles which follow the same pattern as those of similar articles are generally preferred. Many of these patterns are documented in the naming guidelines listed in the Specific-topic naming conventions box above, and ideally indicate titles that are in accordance with the principal criteria above.

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