Redirect

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In HTTP protocol a redirect is a directive to replace the current page with another. It is used in exactly this sense in wiki software, as follows:

#REDIRECT [[target page name]]

There are many uses for this feature. Disciplined use of redirect makes wikis drastically more usable:

  • it's easy to be bold when refactoring pages since any bad page name can be redirected
  • many reasonable synonyms for the same word or concept can be easily supported as alternate titles (boldfacing these along with the page name is a wiki best practice)
    • typically, one may abbreviate names in standard ways, e.g. with acronyms and count on the correct page to appear, as when using a blog tag that is a shortcut or abbreviation for a specific wiki article - see tag:namespace
  • various workarounds to avoid mediawiki problems become much easier to accomplish
  • temporary redirects to pages that discuss specialized topics that will eventually have their own pages, and for which namespace must be reserved in order to ensure stable naming, but for which there is no time to devote attention to new pages now
  • two or more distinct reasons to link to a page - effectively typed links
  • Redirects make it easy to avoid anchor text by pointing many pages at one. Mediawiki keeps them separate, so that multiple different reasons to point at the same page are reported separately in what links here reports.

If redirects proliferate, it is easy enough to replace all links to the redirect name and then delete the redirect. This should not be done if there is a legitimate reason to differentiate the different links to a page, however, as in the alternate title case.

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