Good practices in naming wiki pages depends on what you want to do (see: DreamsOfWiki.)

Here on wiki, our priority is SenseMaking, so we put a lot of effort into making a good LinkLanguage.

For a good LinkLanguage:

For casual conversation, or general organizing:

We use two conventions for archiving pages:

We also have conventions for organizing series:


The most important idea is to use words or phrases that people already use for the idea.

If that’s not possible, then use words or phrases that people could use in conventional language. You want page titles to roll off the tongue effortlessly, without having to say (“see: XYZ.”) Above, I wrote “see: DreamsOfWiki,” which breaks the principle (in this sentence,) but at least it’s not: “see: ListOfThingsPeopleMightDoWithWiki,” and it’s definitely not: “WikiTheDreamAndThePossibilitiesByLionKimbro.” If it sounds like the title of a book, it’s definitely not the title you want. That is, we can imagine people saying, “One of the DreamsOfWiki is (XYZ,)” or someone could say, “I don’t think that’s one of the DreamsOfWiki.” That is, the ideal is for the word to be speech, not titling.

Prefer the general over the specific. In a sense, you want the wiki’s pages to be object oriented: Hold a preference for nouns. Make use of BigBucketsFirst – instead of “Tutorials for XML Processing with Python,” just use “XmlProcessing,” or even just “XmL”, and link to tutorials from there. This makes a point where additional relevant information can collect. Should the people accumulate 50 links to tutorials for XML processing, then break out a page: “XmlTutorials.” Not ListOfXmlTutorials, – just XmlTutorials. Should the community suddenly take a rabid interest in XML tutorial construction, and the page gets super-crowded with “how-to make an XML Tutorial” and “Why XML tutorials are super-important right now” and “Here’s 100 more items for the list,” – at that point, you may want to break out “ListOfXmlTutorials.” But not before.

Case Histories

“I believe there is a natural tendency for concepts to be given names and that these names will tend to further compressed through the use of communal acronyms. One example of this is the evolution of YagNi? that happened at C2.”HansWobbe

On WardsWiki, there was a page: Wiki:YouArentGonnaNeedIt, describing an engineering principle. This was reduced down to Wiki:YagNi.

To see examples of use in speech, look at back links. So, for example:

“This second option is favored by YagNi, performance, and simplicity: writing up a more generic framework is almost invariably more complex.”Wiki:CodeGenerationIsaDesignSmell
“BigDesignUpFront vs YagNi, ProgramInTheFutureTense vs DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork - I believe that each have their place in design and construction of software.”Wiki:ExtremeProgramming
“I am not a die-hard fan of all-out YagNi, but in this case it is strong enough to apply because vendor swapping is a remote change that requires a lot of up-front work to try to build a layer against.”Wiki:MirrorModel
“The proper thing to do is probably to let it go, kind of a YagNi of debugging.”Wiki:VendettaBug

See Also


Are there important things I’ve left out?

Any ideas for the page?


If you can provide any insights into how you see this page evolving, I might be able to help a bit since it seems to resonate with some of the work I have been doing recently on NameConventions?. For example…

  • I believe there is a natural tendency for concepts to be given names and that these names will tend to further compressed through the use of communal acronyms. One example of this is the evolution of YagNi? that happened at C2.
    • As this evolutionary process continues, it seems to become part of a craft-hall (or professional) community jargon that works effectively in ever small contexts. From what I’ve seen, it may be possible to define the scope of context through the use of an InterMap (type of) entry.
  • Obviously, symbols can be incorporated into this type of compression; raising the issues of the size of the alphabet (or encoding system).
  • I’m going to pause here, lest I create too strong a tangential force that distracts from your intentions.

Yes, I see the same thing, especially in work-places. And, yes: I see your point about icons/symbols.

I think we have material for a page on NameConventions?, here, and I request that you start that page, if that is your interest..! I know that DavidCary also has a lot of interest in exploring naming conventions, and has written quite a bit on it.

The intention of this page is primarily to talk about, “What makes good language for SenseMaking?”

I’ve included your notes on the evolution of wiki page names here.

So the original wiki, CommunityWiki, and Wikipedia have all converged on “use short page names, preferably nouns”.

However, there are a few wiki that have shaken off that tradition and use relatively long names for pages – complete sentences, even.

I think using a question as the wiki page name is a clever idea. Then the wiki benefits from ThePowerOfQuestions. Also, it helps a little with the LackOfReworking problem – it helps people focus on just that question, recognize when the page has completely answered that question, and encourages people to chop out rambling threadmode mess that doesn’t really add to the answer. (It doesn’t really encourage people to move blocks of text from a page where it is no longer needed to some other page where it would be more useful, but it’s not any worse).

I still think that using both long complete-sentence questions and short pages names in the same wiki is probably a mistake. But I’m starting to think that either one may be a valid alternative for a wiki.

Define external redirect: NameConventions ComputerAssistedLinking YagNi CamelCaseVsOthers

EditNearLinks: WardsWiki