Help:Moving a page

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From time to time, you may need to move (also known as rename) a page on Ballotpedia. There are several reasons why you might wish to move a page:

  • The title has been misspelled
  • The title does not follow established naming conventions.
  • The scope of the article has been reduced, expanded or otherwise changed

Please note that the terms "rename" and "move" mean the same thing. There are two ways that a page can be moved to a new location: manually or automatically using the "Move" dropdown. This help page will cover both methods, and when which of these methods should or should not be used. To move any page, you must first be logged in.

Ways to move

The "Move" dropdown

The link to the "Move" function can be found under the down arrow menu to the right of the star icon at the top of a page. If you do not see this option on the menu, you either do not have the proper administrative privileges to move the page, or the page has been move protected.

Help dropdown.png

When to use

In most cases, the "Move" dropdown should be used to move pages, rather than moving a page manually. This is because the move dropdown preserves page views and page histories. For example, if you are moving Page A, which has 2,353 views and a three year page history with 46 corresponding edits, then it is essential to use the "Move" dropdown so that all of that information stays with the content.[1] If you manually move the page, then all of that information will either stay on the page that you designate as a redirect, or, in the worst case, be deleted. Whenever possible, unless there are extenuating circumstances like vandalism, we want to preserve page views and history, and ensure that they stay with their content.

For instances when you should manually move pages, see the section of this page titled "Moving manually."

How to use

To use the "Move" dropdown:

  • With the page you want to move displayed on your screen, click on the down arrow menu to the right of the star icon. Under this menu will be an option to "Move".
If you do not see this option, you either do not have the proper administrative privileges to move the page, or the page has been move protected.
  • Once you have selected the "Move" menu, the following form will appear:
Moving a page.png
  • Designate the new name for the page
The page you are moving will be automatically populated in the "Move page" field. The "To new title" field will also be automatically populated with the current page name. This is the field where you will type the new name of the page. If you want to move the page into any specific namepace, such as "Help:", you can select that from the dropdown menu.
  • Fill out the "Reason" field to let other editors know why you have moved the page.
Filling this out can prevent the page from potentially being moved back to its original name. The reason that you give will also appear in the page's history.
  • In most cases, check the "Move associated talk page" and "Leave a redirect behind" boxes.
It is up to your discretion whether or not you want to check "Watch source page and target page." If you check this, the original page and new page will be added to your watchlist, and you will receive a notification any time either of these pages are modified.
  • Double check that you have designated the correct new name for the page, added a reason for the change and checked the appropriate boxes, then click "Move page."

You will receive a notice that your page has been moved; no other action needs to be taken, unless you believe a double redirect has been created.

Moving manually

When to use

In most cases, you should use the "Move" dropdown to move pages, but you may have to manually move pages in some instances. The possible reasons to manually move pages are:

  • You are splitting a page into multiple topics
When splitting one page into multiple pages, it is impossible to keep the history and page views with more than one new page. The best way to handle this is to use the "Move" dropdown to relocate the original page to one of the new locations, then manually create and split the content out into one or more additional pages as necessary. When manually moving the content into new pages, make sure to include information in the edit summary about the page where the information originated from, so that readers and editors can easily look at the older history of that information.
  • There has been extensive vandalism on a page, and the page views are low
If a page has experienced extensive vandalism and has low page views, it is sometimes better to manually move the page. However, you should always consider the age of the page as well (if possible, we want to preserve older pages), and try to clean up the page history before manually moving a page and possibly deleting its origin. If you find a page that seems to match this criteria, do not hesitate to seek guidance from another editor, particularly an administrator, before moving or deleting.
  • You are merging two pages into one
Sometimes, more than one page will be created for the same topic (for example, a lawmaker who goes by the name Jon Smith and Jonathan B. Smith might wind up with pages created for both names), or you will decide to merge two or more pages on a similar topic into one larger page. In this case, some type of manual moving will have to take place. You should always consider the number of page views, and length and strength of a page history when deciding how and where to move content. In some cases, merging may require a mix of manual moving and the use of the "Move" dropdown. If you are ever unsure of how to approach a situation like this, seek the help of an administrator.

How to use

Moving a page manually is a very simple procedure. To manually move Page A to Page B, follow these steps:

  • Create Page B
  • With the edit box on Page B still open, use another tab to open Page A
  • Open the edit box on Page A, and copy all of the text
  • Return to the edit box of Page B, and paste in the text from Page A
  • Save Page B, and create and save its talk page
  • Return to Page A, and delete all of the text that has been moved to Page B
  • Place a redirect from Page A to Page B on the page, and click "Save page"
In this example, the code for that redirect would look like this: #REDIRECT [[Page B]]. For more information on redirects and how to create them, visit Help:Redirect.
  • Go to Page A's talk page, and place a redirect to Page B's talk page, and click "Save page"

You have now manually moved Page A to Page B. Please note that the history and page views of Page A will stay on that page in this example, and do not follow the content to Page B. For this reason, manual moves should only be made in special circumstances; in most cases, follow the procedures in this section.

History and page views

Using the "Move" dropdown keeps the entire edit history of the page with its content. The move will also show up in the page's history, with the reason you enter for the move in the place that generally displays the edit summary. In addition to preserving the history of the page, the page views are also preserved and carried over to the new page name.[1] This is the reason that moving using the "Move" function is generally preferable to manually moving pages.

There are, however, some reasons why you might need to manually move pages. For more information on when and how to manually move pages, see the section of this page covering that topic.

Special cases

Merging pages

For information on merging pages, see the section of this page on "Moving manually."

Swapping pages

There may be situations where you wish to swap the content of two pages. In this case, you will want to keep the correct history and page views with the correct content. To do this, the content should be swapped using the "Move" option on the arrow dropdown menu.

To swap a set of two pages (for the purpose of this example, Page A and Page B) follow these steps:

  • Move Page A to Page C, a previously non-existing page
When moving Page A, make sure "Move associated talk page" is checked, but leave "Leave a redirect behind" and "Watch source page and target page" unchecked.
  • Move Page B to Page A. This is allowed because Page A was deleted when you moved it to Page C.
When moving Page B, make sure "Move associated talk page" is checked, but leave "Leave a redirect behind" and "Watch source page and target page" unchecked.
  • Move Page C to Page B. This is allowed because Page B was deleted when you moved it to Page A.
When moving Page C, make sure "Move associated talk page" is checked, but leave "Leave a redirect behind" and "Watch source page and target page" unchecked.

Moving categories

Categories cannot be moved. To change the name of a category, you must change all of the articles, media, and subcategories within the category in question. The old category must be removed from any relevant articles or media, and a new, correct category may be added. If a new category is added, do not forget to create the new category page. Once all pages, subcategories and media have been moved out of the former category, the now empty category can be deleted.

Moving redirects

A page that is a redirect can be moved using the "Move" dropdown like any other page. However, this is not advised, as changing redirects in this way will result in the creation of a double redirect and the loss of the history of the original redirect page.

If a redirect page does not send readers to the page it should be pointing to, the correct strategy for resolving this situation is to edit the redirect. To change a redirect, follow the information on the help page dedicated to redirects.

Moving over an existing page

Administrators can move a page and delete an existing page with a name equal to the new name of the moved page in one step. If the page you are moving over is an automatically created redirect, this amounts to undoing a move. However, if the existing page in question is a regular content page, and you are not an administrator, the wiki will tell you that you cannot rename the page.

In this case, you can choose to manually merge the two pages, which is the most preferable course of action even if you are an administrator, as it ensures that unique content is not lost. Alternatively, you may choose to delete one of the pages, and use the "Move" dropdown to move the remaining page over to the location of the now deleted page. Page deletions should always be seriously considered, and if you are unsure about or wary of deleting a page, check with an administrator first.

Text replace prior page name

After moving a page, please use the Replace Text tool to update any mentions of the original page name across Ballotpedia. You should follow this process regardless if when running the redirect/move you left a link behind or deleted the original page. If the page is only linked to in a small handful of places it may be best to replace the links manually instead of using the Replace Text tool. To locate where the page is mentioned/wiki linked, you can use the "What links here" tool located on the left side bar.

This step is helpful in clearing up unintentional double redirects, fixing errors in spelling across the site and reflecting the correct or better page title on all Ballotpedia pages. If a link was left behind during the move, readers will still be able to locate the page using the original page title.

If you are unable to perform a text replace based on your user status, please forward any pages that need replacing to

Undoing a move

Normally, to undo a move from Page A to Page B, simply move Page B back to Page A. However, if a vandal moved Page A to Page B to Page C, you would have to:

  • Move Page C to Page B
  • Move Page B to Page A

This is because the software requires that the redirect be pointing to the page you are moving it from, so you would not simply be able to move Page C to Page A.

Additionally, if any of the pages have been edited after the move or moves, you cannot simply undo the moving process. The steps to take in this case are:

  • Delete Page A
Before the page is deleted, you must verify that it has no useful history.
  • Move Page B to Page A
  • Delete Page B
You may choose to leave Page B as a redirect to Page A.

Move protection

Administrators can protect pages from being moved by using the "Protect" link under the arrow dropdown menu at the top right of a page. If a page is protected from moves, the "Move" option under the arrow dropdown will not be available. In cases of move protection, you can ask an administrator to move the page for you. Please do not manually move the page without consulting an administrator, because there is probably a good reason that page has been protected from moves. Pages that are protected from editing are automatically protected from moves.

Other considerations

Double redirects

Redirects that lead to other redirect pages are not automatically followed; this type of redirect chain is known as a double redirect. Any time you move a page, you should ensure that your move did not create one or more double redirects.

To check to see if a double redirect has been created, check the "What links here" option for the page, which can be found under the tools menu on the left side of page.

What links here.png

If there are multiple levels of redirects, as in the image below, you need to fix that situation. To correct the redirects, open all redirects that are not directed into the content page, and point to the new location directly.

Double redirect example.png

You can also see if your actions created any double redirects by checking the double redirect list, found under the special pages. To correct double redirects found in this list, open the first page in the redirect chain, copy the page name of the last page in the chain, and update the first redirect with your copied text.

Double redirects.png

Moving with talk page open

Avoid moving a page while the edit box of the corresponding talk page is open. If you move a page and automatically move its talk page, but then hit "Save page" on the open talk page edit box, then you overwrite the redirect to the new talk page. The system will not give you the usual warning that the page has been edited while your edit box was open.

Moving watched pages

Moving a watched page will not show up on your watchlist. After the move, both the old and the new name are watched.

Renaming etiquette

Article titles should not be moved (renamed) unless the current title contains an error or does not conform to Ballotpedia's naming conventions.

When the current title conforms to naming conventions and does not contain an error, but you nevertheless believe that the article would be better served with a different title, you should initiate a discussion about your preference on the article's talk page and work toward consensus before moving the page.

If you recently moved a page without going through these steps, the page may have been restored to its original title. If so, and you continue to believe that the article would be better served with a different title, you are encouraged to open a discussion on the article's talk page regarding your views on an appropriate title for the article. You can read more about Ballotpedia's edit review process here.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Page views can be seen at the bottom left of any page.