Meta:Naming conventions

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This page is a list of guidelines on how to name pages.

Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature. Beyond this general statement, the most important sections to read are the first few sections: Simplicity, Precision, Capitalization, and Pluralization.

The purpose of these policies are twofold. First, to allow web users to easily judge from the results turned up by a search engine whether the article is likely to contain information they are seeking. Second, to make creating new pages with appropriate links easier.

When writing pages on any subject, names, words, or phrases that you think should be linked to further information should be bracketed so that they will appear as links. Following consistent conventions in both naming and linking makes it more likely that these links will lead to the right place.

It is important to note that these are conventions, not rules written in stone. As OpenCongress grows and changes, some conventions that once made sense may become outdated. But when in doubt, follow convention.

Contents

General conventions

Lowercase second and subsequent words

Convention: Unless the term you wish to create a page for is a proper noun or is otherwise almost always capitalized, do not capitalize second and subsequent words (otherwise known as "title case"). Rationale and specifics: See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization) and wikipedia:Canonization.

Exception:Portal names: The names of portals are considered proper names in and of themselves ("The Legislation and Issues Portal") and as such should follow normal title case.

Prefer singular nouns

Convention: In general only create page titles that are in the singular, unless that noun is always in a plural form in English (such as "economics" or "trousers"). Rationale and specifics: See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (pluralization).

Use English words

Convention: Name your pages in English and place the native transliteration on the first line of the article unless the native form is more commonly used in English than the English form. Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English).

Use common names of persons, companies, organizations and things

Convention: Use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things. Rationale and specifics: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names).

Often companies and organizations will be known by different names. In naming an article, it is best to name the primary article by the most common name that general Internet users are likely to use as their search term and avoid including organizational descriptors such as "Inc", "LLC", "Corp." etc in the title. Article titles based on the most commonly used name of an organization will attract the most traffic and rank higher in search engine results. If a company is known by several names, additional pages names can be created to redirect searchers to the primary article. For example, McDonald's is the correct name of the fast food company but some people may forget the apostrophe and search on McDonalds. So a redirect has been created on the latter, to ensure that one way or another searchers find their way to our primary page. (See Help:How to use redirect pages).

Be precise when necessary

Convention: Please, do not write or put an article on a page with an ambiguously-named title as though that title had no other meanings. Rationale and specifics: For example, if you create an article "Legislation" but the content is solely about legislation governing the mining industry in the U.S., readers are justifiably likely to be annoyed. It is also worth remembering that articles with specific titles can be grouped with other articles on a similar theme by the addition of a category tag. This automatically indexes all articles with the same tag so that they can be easily viewed as a group. See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision) and Wikipedia:Disambiguation.

Prefer spelled-out phrases to acronyms

Convention: Avoid the use of acronyms in page naming unless the term you are naming is almost exclusively known only by its acronym and is widely known and used in that form ("NASA" and "radar" are good examples). Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (acronyms).

Legislation, regulation and policy

When naming articles on government policy, use:

  • "legislation" when the article is principally covering acts of a legislative body (such as Congress). For example, actions by Congress that affect Medicare are covered in the "Medicare legislation" article;
  • "regulation" when the article deals significantly with regulations issued by regulatory bodies and when the article covers restrictive governmental actions. For example, the government restricts what media companies may own so there is an article on "media ownership regulation"; or
  • "policy" when the article deals with governmental actions that are proactive/creative. For example, copyright law established protections so there is an article on "digital copyright policy".

Historical names and titles

Convention: In general, use the most common form of the name used in English and disambiguate the names of monarchs of modern countries in the format [[{Monarch's first name and ordinal} of {Country}]] (example: "Edward I of England"). Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (names and titles) and Wikipedia:History standards.

Movie titles

Convention: Oftentimes movies share the same name as other movies, books or terms. When disambiguating a movie from something else use (movie) in the title when only one movie had that name and (YEAR movie) in the title when there are more than one movies by that name (example: "Titanic (1997 movie)"). Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (movies)

Country-specific articles

Put the name or abbreviation of a country in parentheses at the end of an article title when the article applies specifically to one country. Use (U.S.) for the United States of America and (UK) for the United Kingdom. (Follows Wikipedia convention)

Other specific conventions

These guidelines have been adapted from Wikipedia:Naming conventions. Additional guidelines can be found there.

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Acknowledgement: the content of many of the help pages in OpenCongress have been adapted from Wikipedia and SourceWatch.

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