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Help:Rename a page

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Help icon  Contents → Rename a page

There are several possibilities for why you will want to rename a page (one that you have found or created):

  • The title has been misspelled.
  • The title does not follow Memory Alpha's naming conventions.
  • The scope of the article has been reduced, extended or otherwise changed.

The terms "rename" and "move" mean the same in this context. They just refer to different models for picturing the operation:

  • Rename: keep the page but give it another name; the page history is now attached to the new name; a new page with the old name is created which redirects to the new name and which page history records the renaming.
  • Move: move the contents and the page history to a new page; change the old page into a redirect; change the page history into one that only records the renaming.

Since the system marks the page with the old name as a new page, it applies to the first of the two models. This model avoids "changing the history", a kind of "historical revisionism".

Pages in the Category: namespace cannot be moved. To change the name of a category, one needs to change all category tags, and copy the editable part. Pages in the File: namespace can only be moved by an administrator.

How to

Note that you must be logged in to rename a page this way.

With the correct page displayed, click on the "move" tab at the top of the page. You'll be asked for a new name for the page, and a reason for moving (or renaming) the page. You'll also be given the option to move the article's associated Talk page. NOTE: Unless you know what you're doing, it's safest to say yes. A space for the reason for the move is provided, like an edit summary, and should be filled in.

Click the "Move page" button and the page will be renamed to the new title. The old title will become a redirect page, so any links to the old title will still go to the new page. However, note that double redirects (pages that redirect to the original page), will not automatically follow to the new page, so you will have to refer them manually (as explained below).

After a successful page move, a page looking like this will be shown: MediaWiki:Movepage-moved.

  1. Click on "What links here" for the page (there is a shortcut link on the page-moved summary screen to let you do this, and the what-links-here link will also be in the toolbox in the sidebar)
  2. Open all redirect pages that are indented in the list, and make them redirect to the page you moved to (that is, without an intermediate step)
  3. If there are more than 50 pages listed on the "What links here" page, don't forget to navigate to all parts of the list using the "next 50" or other links available.

Page histories

The "move page" function keeps the entire edit history of the page, before and after the move, in one place, as if the page were always named that way. So, it's preferable to use this method over just cutting text out of one page and pasting it into a new one; old revisions, notes, and attributions are harder to keep track of it you do that. (But you may have to if, for instance, you're splitting a page into multiple topics. If you do, please include a note in the new page's edit summary and Talk page stating where you took the text from.)

Moving redirect pages

A page that is a redirect can be moved like any other page. This is, however, not advised, since it has the same detrimental effect on page history as copy-pasting content to a new page and making the old page a redirect: when moving a redirect page to a new page name, the redirect on the old page (now directing to the new redirect page) will have to be changed in order to avoid double redirects. So the content of the old page will no longer redirect to the page containing the history of that old page. The only effect is that the whereabouts of the page history of the old page (now seemingly a "recently created page") are a bit trickier to find, while on the other hand the new page has a history attached to it not clarifying why it would need to be a redirect page.

If a redirect page does not redirect to the page it would need to be redirecting to, the only viable strategy that respects page histories is to adapt the redirect on that page, without moving the page.

Moving over a redirect

If the new title already exists but is just a redirect to the old title, with just one line in the page history, the creation of the redirect, then you can rename the page. The most common case in which this applies is that of re-renaming a page back to its original name. As mentioned, this works only if the redirect that was automatically created in the first renaming, has not been edited.

The result is that the history of the page is preserved (note that you may have to refresh the history page on your browser), but without any sign of the two moves. The edit history of the page with the intermediate title shows the latest move only. The information about the first move (including user name, date and time) is lost: it is no longer in any page history or on any watchlist or Related changes page, and not even in User contributions; only if the first move has been recent enough, then it is still available in the Recent changes; how long depends on the edit activity on the site; for example, one may be able to retrieve the edit lines of the last 2,000 edits, which may cover months or just a few hours. To avoid loss of information, copy the edit line concerned to one of the Talk pages. This has to be done before the second move, using the page history of the page with the original name; if the second move is soon enough after the first move, it can also be done afterward, using Recent changes.

The information about the second move is more complete in the Recent changes than in the edit history of the page with the intermediate title: it mentions "B moved to A over redirect".

More moves back and forth are possible, and always the page history of the current title does not show any moves, and that of the other title only contains the edit line of the latest move. There is no record at all of a "move war" (except again, on Recent changes) unless documented on the Talk pages.

Moving over an existing page

Administrators can move a page, deleting an existing page with a name equal to the new name of the moved page, in one step.

If the new title already exists and isn't just a redirect to the old title, with no history, and you're not an administrator, the wiki will tell you that you can't rename the page. You'll either have to manually merge the two pages together, or – only if there's no real content in the page – ask an administrator to have it deleted or list it on the pages for deletion page in order to make room for moving the page.

Move-protected pages

Administrators can protect pages from moves. If a page is protected from moves only, the "move" link will not be available. In this case, you can ask that an administrator move it for you, or you can manually move the page, by copying the contents to the new page and redirecting the old page to the new page. However, this is generally not recommended, and users are asked to request the moves instead.

Pages that are protected from editing are (normally) automatically protected from moves.

Other notes

Another thing to remember is that redirects to redirects aren't automatically followed (this prevents infinite loops and spaghetti linking). Always check the "What links here" for your page, and if there are multiple levels of redirects, go fix the links to point to the new location directly. But this can be troublesome because your new move could be reverted soon. Take some time to make sure there is no objection to your page move.

Avoid moving a page while the edit box of the corresponding Talk page is open: when you hit "Save page" you overwrite the redirect to the new talk page (you do not get the usual warning that the page has been edited while your edit box was open) and get a duplication of the contents of the talk page, with your latest addition added to the old instead of the new one.

It is useful to copy the message "Page ... moved to ..." to the new talk page, especially if there has been discussion about the name of the page.

Moving a page shows up in Recent Changes under "Move log", which links to a log of all moves. However, moving a watched page does not show up on the watchlist; after the move both the old and the new name are watched.

Subpages, such as the archives of a talk page, and the documentation page of a template, are not automatically moved along with a page move.

Undoing a move

Normally, to undo a move from page A to page B, simply:

  1. Move page B back to page A
  2. List page B (now a history-free redirect) on the pages for deletion page, or just delete it (administrators only).

Note that the usual "undo" link on history or diff pages does not work on moves. An easy way to rename the page back is clicking "View logs for this page" from the history page, and then "revert" link from the corresponding record in Special: Log.

The software requires that, however, the redirect be pointing to the page you're moving it from. Therefore, if a vandal moved page A to page B to page C, you would have to:

  1. Move page C to page B
  2. Move page B to page A

This doesn't work: move page C to page A.

However, if page A has subsequently been edited, or the move software is behaving weirdly, only an administrator can sort things out:

  1. Delete page A (make sure it has no useful history – you may wish to add an explicit author credit on a talk page to compensate)
  2. Move page B to page A
  3. Delete page B (should be a history-free redirect to page A)

"Move wars" are highly unproductive, and leave vast numbers of pointless redirects littering the place, which some poor soul will have to fix.

Swapping two pages

To swap pages A and B, including history:

  1. Move page A to page C (previously non-existing)
  2. List A on pages for deletion, or just delete it (admins only)
  3. Move page B to page A (allowed because A is deleted)
  4. Delete B as above
  5. Move page C to page B (allowed because B is deleted)
  6. Delete C as above

See also

  • Help: Merge for information about merging page histories

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