Main pageTemplatesStyle guideTo doMembers Report Requests Talk page

This is a style guide for redirects in the English Wikipedia. The ultimate goal of the guide is to have every redirect categorised in a standard format, as well as to have every main-namespace (article) redirect categorised as either printworthy or unprintworthy. Printworthiness becomes important when a printed edition of Wikipedia is published, for example in CD-ROM format. For more information, see the documentation on the ((R printworthy)) and ((R unprintworthy)) template pages and Wikipedia:Printability.

Redirect statements, which should start at the beginning of the first line of the redirect source, should follow one of these formats:

     #REDIRECT [[Target article name]]
     #REDIRECT [[Target article name#Anchor]]

Replace "target article name" with the name of the article that is the desired target (including an optional anchor, if required). The target should be the exact name of the target, including correct casing, otherwise it may create a double redirect, a broken link, or some other problem. Use the same casing for the first character of the target as the target page, although this will not affect the working of the redirect. Although wikisyntax allows spaces and underscores to be used interchangeably, to avoid confusion and for easier maintenance, use spaces and underscores exactly as they are used in the target page title and anchor.

The redirect statement should appear all on one line or it will not work properly. Other elements such as redirect templates may appear after the redirect statement, however.


The major reasons why deletion of redirects is harmful are:

Therefore consider the deletion only of either harmful redirects or of recent ones.

Reasons for deleting

You might want to delete a redirect if one or more of the following conditions is met (but note also the exceptions listed below this list):

  1. The redirect page makes it unreasonably difficult for users to locate similarly named articles via the search engine. For example, if the user searches for "New Articles", and is redirected to a disambiguation page for "Articles", it would take much longer to get to the newly added articles on Wikipedia.
  2. The redirect might cause confusion. For example, if "Adam B. Smith" was redirected to "Andrew B. Smith", because Andrew was accidentally called Adam in one source, this could cause confusion with the article on Adam Smith, so the redirect should be deleted.
  3. The redirect is offensive or abusive, such as redirecting "Joe Bloggs is a Loser" to "Joe Bloggs" (unless "Joe Bloggs is a Loser" is legitimately discussed in the article), or "Joe Bloggs" to "Loser". (Speedy deletion criterion G10 and G3 may apply.) See also § Neutrality of redirects.
  4. The redirect constitutes self-promotion or spam. (Speedy deletion criterion G11 may apply.)
  5. The redirect makes no sense, such as redirecting "Apple" to "Orange". (Speedy deletion criterion G1 may apply.)
  6. It is a cross-namespace redirect out of article space, such as one pointing into the User or Wikipedia namespace. The major exception to this rule are the pseudo-namespace shortcut redirects, which technically are in the main article space. Some long-standing cross-namespace redirects are also kept because of their long-standing history and potential usefulness. "MOS:" redirects, for example, are an exception to this rule. (Note also the existence of namespace aliases such as WP:. Speedy deletion criterion R2 may apply if the target namespace is something other than Category:, Template:, Wikipedia:, Help:, or Portal:.)
  7. If the redirect is broken, meaning it redirects to an article that does not exist, it can be immediately deleted under speedy deletion criterion G8. You should check that there is not an alternative place it could be appropriately redirected to first and that it has not become broken through vandalism.
  8. If the redirect is a novel or very obscure synonym for an article name that is not mentioned in the target, it is unlikely to be useful. In particular, redirects in a language other than English to a page whose subject is unrelated to that language (or a culture that speaks that language) should generally not be created. (Implausible typos or misnomers are candidates for speedy deletion criterion R3, if recently created.)
  9. If the target article needs to be moved to the redirect title, but the redirect has been edited before and has a history of its own, then the title needs to be freed up to make way for the move. If the move is uncontroversial, tag the redirect for G6 speedy deletion, or alternatively (with the suppressredirect user right; available to page movers and admins), perform a round-robin move. If not, take the article to Requested moves.
  10. If the redirect could plausibly be expanded into an article, and the target article contains virtually no information on the subject.

Reasons for not deleting

However, avoid deleting such redirects if:

  1. They have a potentially useful page history, or an edit history that should be kept to comply with the licensing requirements for a merge (see Wikipedia:Merge and delete). On the other hand, 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 aid accidental linking and make the creation of duplicate articles less likely, whether by redirecting a plural to a singular, by redirecting a frequent misspelling to a correct spelling, by redirecting a misnomer to a correct term, by redirecting to a synonym, etc. In other words, redirects with no incoming links are not candidates for deletion on those grounds because they are of benefit to the browsing user. Some extra vigilance by editors will be required to minimize the occurrence of those frequent misspellings in the article texts because the linkified misspellings will not appear as broken links; consider tagging the redirect with the ((R from misspelling)) template to assist editors in monitoring these misspellings.
  3. They aid searches on certain terms. For example, users who might see the "Keystone State" mentioned somewhere but do not know what that refers to will be able to find out at the Pennsylvania (target) article.
  4. Deleting redirects runs the risk of breaking incoming or internal links. For example, redirects resulting from page moves should not normally be deleted without good reason. Links that have existed for a significant length of time, including CamelCase links (e.g. WolVes) and old subpage links, should be left alone in case there are any existing links on external pages pointing to them. See also Wikipedia:Link rot § Link rot on non-Wikimedia sites.
  5. 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 being untruthful, but because you browse Wikipedia in different ways. Evidence of usage can be gauged by using the wikishark or pageviews tool on the redirect to see the number of views it gets.
  6. The redirect is to a closely related word form, such as a plural form to a singular form.

Neutrality of redirects

Just as article titles using non-neutral language are permitted in some circumstances, so are such redirects. Because redirects are less visible to readers, more latitude is allowed in their names, therefore perceived lack of neutrality in redirect names is not a sufficient reason for their deletion. In most cases, non-neutral but verifiable redirects should point to neutrally titled articles about the subject of the term. Non-neutral redirects may be tagged with ((R from non-neutral name)).

Non-neutral redirects are commonly created for three reasons:

  1. Articles that are created using non-neutral titles are routinely moved to a new neutral title, which leaves behind the old non-neutral title as a working redirect (e.g. ClimategateClimatic Research Unit email controversy).
  2. Articles created as POV forks may be deleted and replaced by a redirect pointing towards the article from which the fork originated (e.g. Barack Obama Muslim rumor → deleted and now redirected to Barack Obama religion conspiracy theories).
  3. The subject matter of articles may be represented by some sources outside Wikipedia in non-neutral terms. Such terms are generally avoided in Wikipedia article titles, per the words to avoid guidelines and the general neutral point of view policy. For instance the non-neutral expression "Attorneygate" is used to redirect to the neutrally titled Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy. The article in question has never used that title, but the redirect was created to provide an alternative means of reaching it because a number of press reports use the term.

The exceptions to this rule would be redirects that are not established terms and are unlikely to be useful, and therefore may be nominated for deletion, perhaps under deletion reason #3. However, if a redirect represents an established term that is used in multiple mainstream reliable sources, it should be kept even if non-neutral, as it will facilitate searches on such terms. Please keep in mind that RfD is not the place to resolve most editorial disputes.

Other common elements

In addition to the redirect statement itself, the source for a redirect may contain other elements such as redirect templates, the optional ((DEFAULTSORT)) tag, redirect categories, and interwiki links (and ((rfd)) if the redirect is nominated for discussion or ((db)) if speedy deletion is required).

Adding redirect templates

Redirect categories should be added with redirect templates (rcats) and not as regular (linked) categories. There is no specific order required, so this is left up to editors. Do not substitute redirect templates, nor should they ever be used on soft redirects. Redirect templates can be added in two ways: individually or grouped.


Individual redirect templates can appear anywhere after the redirect statement itself. Generally however they are added before any categories.

#REDIRECT [[Target article name#Section/Anchor]]

((Some redirect template))
((Another redirect template))

((DEFAULTSORT:(sort key)))
[[Category:Some category]]
[[Category:Another category]]

Grouping template

Alternatively, redirect templates can be added with the ((Redirect category shell)). If the redirect does not seem to fit into any redirect categories, add ((Redirect category shell)) without any parameters and the redirect will be sorted to Category:Miscellaneous redirects. If some rcats are known, they can be added by leaving the first parameter blank (empty), and monitors of the Misc. category will know to come and check the redirect.

#REDIRECT [[Target article name]]

((Redirect category shell|
((Some redirect template))
((Another redirect template))

((DEFAULTSORT:(sort key)))
[[Category:Some category]]
[[Category:Another category]]

If a blank line is left between the shell template and the DEFAULTSORT magic word, then unnecessary whitespace is introduced when the edit is saved. Readability for editors is still acceptable when DEFAULTSORT is placed on the first new line after the Redirect category shell.

A comparison of the two styles may be found on any redirect template page and at Template:Redirect category shell/Comparison.

Hidden categories

Most of the categories populated by redirect category templates (Rcats) are hidden categories. Hidden cats cannot be seen by viewers who are not logged in, nor by editors who have not set their preferences to view hidden cats. So if you have tagged a redirect with an Rcat and saved the redirect, but you cannot see the category, the first thing to check is if you have set your preferences to view hidden cats:

  1. Go to Preferences → Appearance
  2. Scroll down to Advanced options
  3. Check the box Show hidden categories
  4. Click Save

You may need to purge your browser cache to ensure that you can see hidden cats in the future.

File redirects

When rcats are used to categorize image-file redirects, the category(ies) may not appear on the redirect page after saving even if preferences are set to view hidden cats. Yet the image-file redirect will still populate the category(ies). For example, in Category:Redirects from moves at the bottom of the page under section heading Media in category "Redirects from moves", a file redirect has been correctly categorized, and yet the categories from ((Rcat shell|((R from move))((R from short name)))) may not appear on the redirect file page. Hidden categories on image-file redirects can also be detected by clicking on "Page information" in the Tools list, usually in the left-margin sidebar.

See also