Chalo Chatu:Article titles

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia

An article title is the large heading displayed above the article's content and the basis for the article's page name and URL.[1] The title indicates what the article is about and distinguishes it from other articles.[2]

The title may simply be the name (or a name) of the subject of the article, or it may be a description of the topic. Because no two articles can have the same title,[3] it is sometimes necessary to add distinguishing information, often in the form of a description in parentheses after the name. Generally, article titles are based on what the subject is called in reliable sources. When this offers multiple possibilities, editors choose among them by considering several principles: the ideal article title precisely identifies the subject; it is short, natural, distinguishable and recognizable; and resembles titles for similar articles.

This page explains in detail the considerations, or naming conventions, on which choices of article titles are based. This page does not detail titling for pages in other namespaces, such as categories. It is supplemented by other more specific guidelines (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.

If necessary, an article's title can be changed by a page move.[4] For information on page move procedures, see Chalo Chatu:Moving a page, and Chalo Chatu:Requested moves.

Deciding on an article title

Article titles are based on how reliable English-language sources refer to the article's subject. There is often more than one appropriate title for an article. In that case, editors choose the best title by consensus based on the considerations that this page explains. A good Chalo Chatu article title has the five following characteristics:

  • Recognizability – The title is a name or description of the subject that someone familiar with, although not necessarily an expert in, the subject area will recognize.
  • Naturalness – The title is one that readers are likely to look or search for and that editors would naturally use to link to the article from other articles. Such a title usually conveys what the subject is actually called in English.
  • Precision – The title unambiguously identifies the article's subject and distinguishes it from other subjects
  • Conciseness – The title is no longer than necessary to identify the article's subject and distinguish it from other subjects.
  • Consistency – The title is consistent with the pattern of similar articles' titles. Many of these patterns are listed (and linked) as topic-specific naming conventions on article titles, in the box above.

These should be seen as goals, not as rules. For most topics, there is a simple and obvious title that meets these goals satisfactorily. If so, use it as a straightforward choice. However, in some cases the choice is not so obvious. It may be necessary to favour one or more of these goals over the others. This is done by consensus.

When titling articles in specific fields, or with respect to particular problems, there is often previous consensus that can be used as a precedent. Look to the guideline pages referenced. When no previous consensus exists, a new consensus is established through discussion, with the above questions in mind. The choice of article titles should put the interests of readers before those of editors, and those of a general audience before those of specialists.

Redirects should be created to articles that may reasonably be searched for or linked to under two or more names (such as different spellings or former names). Conversely, a name that could refer to several different articles may require disambiguation.

Use commonly recognizable names

In Chalo Chatu, an article title is a natural language word or expression that indicates the subject of the article: as such the article title is usually the name of the person, or of the place, or of whatever else the topic of the article is. However, some topics have multiple names, and some names have multiple topics: this can lead to disagreement about which name should be used for a given article's title. Chalo Chatu generally prefers the name that is most commonly used (as determined by its prevalence in a significant majority of independent, reliable English-language sources) as such names will usually best fit the criteria listed above.[5] When there is no single, obvious name that is demonstrably the most frequently used for the topic by these sources, editors should reach a consensus as to which title is best by considering these criteria directly.

Chalo Chatu does not necessarily use the subject's "official" name as an article title; it generally prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources. This includes usage in the sources used as references for the article.

Editors should also consider the criteria outlined above. Ambiguous[6] or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined in reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources. Neutrality is also considered; our policy on neutral titles, and what neutrality in titles is, follows in the next section. Article titles should be neither vulgar (unless unavoidable) nor pedantic. When there are multiple names for a subject, all of them fairly common, and the most common has problems, it is perfectly reasonable to choose one of the others.

Although official, scientific, birth, original, or trademarked names are often used for article titles, the term or name most typically used in reliable sources is generally preferred. Other encyclopaedias are among the sources that may be helpful in deciding what titles are in an encyclopaedic register, as well as what names are most frequently used.

The following are examples of the application of the concept of commonly used names in support of recognisability:



In determining which of several alternative names is most frequently used, it is useful to observe the usage of major international organizations, major English-language media outlets, quality encyclopaedias, geographic name servers, major scientific bodies, and notable scientific journals. A search engine may help to collect this data; when using a search engine, restrict the results to pages written in English, and exclude the word "Chalo Chatu". When using Google, generally a search of Google Books and News Archive should be defaulted to before a web search, as they concentrate reliable sources (exclude works from Books, LLC when searching Google Books[7]). Search engine results are subject to certain biases and technical limitations.

Name changes

Sometimes, the subject of an article will undergo a change of name. When this occurs, we give extra weight to sources written after the name change is announced. If the sources written after the change is announced routinely use the new name, Chalo Chatu should follow suit and change relevant titles to match. If, on the other hand, sources written after the name change is announced continue to use the established name, Chalo Chatu should continue to do so as well, per COMMONNAME.

We do not know what terms or names will be used in the future, but only what is and has been in use, and is therefore familiar to our readers. However, common sense can be applied – if the subject of an article has a name change, it is reasonable to consider the usage following the change in reliable, English language sources. This provision also applies to names used as part of descriptive titles.

Neutrality in article titles

Conflicts may arise over whether an article title complies with Chalo Chatu's Neutral Point of View policy. Resolving such debates depends on whether the article title is a name derived from reliable sources or a descriptive title created by Chalo Chatu editors.

Non-neutral but common names

When the subject of an article is referred to mainly by a single common name, as evidenced through usage in a significant majority of English-language reliable sources, Chalo Chatu generally follows the sources and uses that name as its article title (subject to the other naming criteria). Sometimes that common name includes non-neutral words that Chalo Chatu normally avoids. In such cases, the prevalence of the name, or the fact that a given description has effectively become a proper noun (and that proper noun has become the usual term for the event), generally overrides concern that Chalo Chatu might appear as endorsing one side of an issue.

Notable circumstances under which Chalo Chatu often avoids a common name for lacking neutrality include the following:

  1. Trendy slogans and monikers that seem unlikely to be remembered or connected with a particular issue years later
  2. Colloquialisms where far more encyclopaedic alternatives are obvious

Non-judgmental descriptive titles

In some cases a descriptive phrase (such as Restoration of the Everglades) is best as the title. These are often invented specifically for articles, and should reflect a neutral point of view, rather than suggesting any editor's opinions. Avoid judgmental and non-neutral words; for example, allegation or alleged can either imply wrongdoing, or in a non-criminal context may imply a claim "made with little or no proof" and so should be avoided in a descriptive title. (Exception: articles where the topic is an actual accusation of illegality under law, discussed as such by reliable sources even if not yet proven in a court of law. These are appropriately described as "allegations".)

However, non-neutral but common names (see preceding subsection) may be used within a descriptive title. Even descriptive titles should be based on sources, and may therefore incorporate names and terms that are commonly used by sources.

Explicit conventions

Chalo Chatu has many naming conventions relating to specific subject domains (as listed in the box at the top of this page). In rare cases these recommend the use of titles that are not strictly the common name. This practice of using specialized names is often controversial, and should not be adopted unless it produces clear benefits outweighing the use of common names; when it is, the article titles adopted should follow a neutral and common convention specific to that subject domain, and otherwise adhere to the general principles for titling articles on Chalo Chatu.

Precision and disambiguation


Usually, titles should be precise enough to unambiguously define the topical scope of the article, but no more precise than that. For instance, Lusaka City, Zambia is too precise, as Lusaka is precise enough to indicate exactly the same topic. On the other hand, Mulikita would not be precise enough to identify unambiguously the famous classical photographer Jason Mulikita.

Exceptions to the precision criterion may sometimes result from the application of some other naming criteria

English-language titles

On Chalo Chatu, article titles are written using the English language. However, it must be remembered that the English language contains many loan words and phrases taken from other languages. If a word or phrase (originally taken from some other language) is commonly used by English language sources, it can be considered to be an English language word or phrase (example: coup d'état).

The English language names of some topics may differ according to how names are anglicised from other languages, or according to different varieties of English (e.g. American English and British English.).

Treatment of alternative names

The article title appears at the top of a reader's browser window and as a large level 1 heading above the editable text of an article, circled here in dark red. The name or names given in the first sentence do not always match the article title.

By the design of Chalo Chatu's software, an article can only have one title. When this title is a name, significant alternative names for the topic should be mentioned in the article, usually in the first sentence or paragraph. If there are at least three alternative names, or there is something notable about the names themselves, a separate name section is recommended (see Lead section). These may include alternative spellings, longer or shorter forms, historic names, significant names in other languages, etc. There is also no reason why alternative names cannot be used in article text, in contexts where they are more appropriate than the name used as the title of the article.

All significant alternative titles, names, or forms of names that apply to a specific article should usually be made to redirect to that article. If they are ambiguous, it should be ensured that the article can at least be reached from a disambiguation page for the alternative term. Note that the exact capitalization of the article's title does not affect Chalo Chatu search, so it is not necessary to create redirects from alternative capitalizations unless these are likely to be used in links.

Piped links are often used in article text to allow a subject with a lengthy article title to be referred to using a more concise term where this does not produce ambiguity.

Article title format

The following points are used in deciding on questions not covered by the five principles; consistency on these helps avoid duplicate articles:

Use sentence case
Titles are written in sentence case. The initial letter of a title is almost always capitalized by default; otherwise, words are not capitalized unless they would be so in running text. When this is done, the title is simple to link to in other articles: Rusangu University offers more graduate work than a typical unza. Note that the capitalization of the initial letter is ignored in links. For initial lowercase letters, as in PilAto.
Use the singular form
Article titles are generally singular in form, e.g. African bush elephant, not African bush elephants.
Avoid ambiguous abbreviations
Abbreviations and acronyms are often ambiguous and thus should be avoided unless the subject is known primarily by its abbreviation and that abbreviation is primarily associated with the subject (e.g. UNZA, CBU, ECZ). It is also unnecessary to include an acronym in addition to the name in a title.
Avoid definite and indefinite articles
Do not place definite or indefinite articles (the, a, and an) at the beginning of titles unless they are part of a proper name or otherwise change the meaning. They are noise words that needlessly lengthen article titles, and interfere with sorting and searching.
Use nouns
Nouns and noun phrases are normally preferred over titles using other parts of speech; such a title can be the subject of the first sentence. One major exception is for titles that are quotations or titles of works: A rolling stone gathers no moss, or "Try to Remember". Adjective and verb forms (e.g. elegant) should redirect to articles titled with the corresponding noun. Sometimes the noun corresponding to a verb is the gerund (-ing form), as in Swimming.
Do not enclose titles in quotes
Article titles that are quotes (or song titles, etc.) are not enclosed in quotation marks (e.g. Dear Mama is the article title, whereas "Dear Mama" is a redirect to that article).
Do not create subsidiary articles
Do not use titles suggesting that one article forms part of another: even if an article is considered subsidiary to another (as where summary style is used), it should be named independently. For example, an article on transport in Lusaka should not be given a name like "Lusaka/Transport" or "Lusaka (transport)", use Transport in Lusaka.

Special characters

There are technical restrictions on the use of certain characters in page titles. The following characters cannot be used at all: # < > [ ] | { } _

There are restrictions on titles containing colons, periods, and some other characters, which may be addressed through Template:Correct title. Technically, all other Unicode characters can be used in page titles. However, some characters should still be avoided or require special treatment:

  • Characters not on a standard keyboard (use redirects): Sometimes the most appropriate title contains diacritics (accent marks), dashes, or other letters and characters not found on most English-language keyboards. This can make it difficult to navigate to the article directly. In such cases, provide redirects from versions of the title that use only standard keyboard characters. (Similarly, in cases where it is determined that the most appropriate title is one that omits diacritics, dashes, and other letters not found on most English-language keyboards, provide redirects from versions of the title that contain them.) However, avoid combining diacritical marks, which are difficult to type and interfere with adjacent characters.
  • Quotation marks (avoid them): Double ("...") and single quotation marks ('...'), as well as variations such as typographic (curly) quotation marks (“...”), "low-high" quotation marks („...“), guillemets («...»), and angled quotation marks or backticks (`...´) should be avoided in titles.
Similarly, various apostrophe (-like) variants (ʻ ʾ ʿ ᾿ ῾ ‘ ’ c), should generally not be used in page titles. A common exception is the apostrophe character (') itself (e.g. Anthony d'Offay), which should, however, be used sparingly (e.g. Quran instead of Qur'an). If, exceptionally, other variants are used, a redirect with the apostrophe variant should be created (e.g. 'Abdu'l-Bahá redirects to `Abdu'l-Bahá).
  • Symbols (avoid them): Symbols such as "♥", as sometimes found in advertisements or logos, should never be used in titles. This includes non-Latin punctuation such as the characters in Unicode's CJK Symbols and Punctuation block.
  • Characters not supported on all browsers (avoid them): If there is a reasonable alternative, avoid characters that are so rare that many browsers cannot render them.

Italics and other formatting

Use italics when italics would be used in running text; for example, taxonomic names, the names of ships, the titles of books, films, and other creative works, and foreign phrases are italicized both in ordinary text and in article titles. Italic formatting cannot be part of the actual (stored) title of a page; adding single quotes to a page title will cause those quotes to become part of the URL, rather than affecting its appearance. A title or part of it is made to appear in italics with the use of the DISPLAYTITLE magic word or the {{Italic title}} template.

Standard English and trademarks

Article titles follow standard English text formatting in the case of trademarks, unless the trademarked spelling is demonstrably the most common usage in sources independent of the owner of the trademark. Items in full or partial uppercase (such as Invader ZIM) should have standard capitalization (Invader Zim); however, if the name is ambiguous, and one meaning is usually capitalized, this is one possible method of disambiguation.

Considering changes

Changing one controversial title to another without a discussion that leads to consensus is strongly discouraged. If an article title has been stable for a long time, and there is no good reason to change it, it should not be changed. Consensus among editors determines if there does exist a good reason to change the title. If it has never been stable, or it has been unstable for a long time, and no consensus can be reached on what the title should be, default to the title used by the first major contributor after the article ceased to be a stub.


<templatestyles src="Reflist/styles.css" />

  1. Specifically, it is the <h1 id="firstHeading"> HTML element that appears at the top of the article's page. It should be the only <h1> element on the page, but because editors have the ability to add any level of heading to a page's text, that cannot be guaranteed.
  2. The title displayed as the article's main heading is usually identical (and always similar) to the stored title by which the page is referenced in category listings, recent changes lists, etc., and that appears (suitably encoded as necessary) in the page's URL. For technical details, see Chalo Chatu:Page name.
  3. It is technically possible, but undesirable for various reasons, to make different pages display with the same title.
  4. When an article's title is changed, its database entry is altered but not actually moved. For this reason, a title change is sometimes called a rename, although move remains the most common term.
  5. "Common name" in the context of article naming means a commonly or frequently used name, and not necessarily a common name as used in some disciplines in opposition to scientific name.
  6. Ambiguity as used here is unrelated to whether a title requires disambiguation pages on Chalo Chatu. For example, "heart attack" is an ambiguous title, because the term can refer to multiple medical conditions, including cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, and panic attack.
  7. Add this code in the search: -inauthor:"Books, LLC" (the quotes " " are essential); Books, LLC "publishes" compilations of WP articles.

External links

  • ngrams viewer; a graphic viewer of case-sensitive frequency of multi-term usage in books over time, through 2008.