naming conventions

naming conventions

Naming conventions matter. If pages are poorly named, people will not be able to find them, start parallel pages on the same topic, and waste time. Since the point of using a wiki is generally to build consensus, having multiple pages on the same topic prevents a critical mass from forming. A well managed wiki maintains a rigorous name discipline.

In general, openpolitics.ca uses the most common, most accurate, shortest (in that order) name for each of its pages. A good page name is easy for people to find, and defines an issue without imposing a bias.

Not sure what to name the page? Don't worry. When in doubt, a senior editor or a chief editor can rename the page. Naming pages is an art, not a science.

Finding pages by guessing the URL

Openpolitics uses friendly URLs so that you can type openpolitics.ca/any+issue into your browser and usually get the page you were looking for. Currently the use of pluses for spaces is required.

Using Redirects

Similar, but less popular terms and plurals should be redirected to the most popular term. Examples:
Best nameOther names to redirect to best name
International Monetary FundIMF
oil supplypeak oil
aboriginal issuesnative issues, aboriginal peoples issues, first nations issues

The best way to do redirects is to link all the similar names in related issues when the page is created, then you or other editors can redirect them later.

Other means of finding pages

Openpolitics.ca Naming Conventions (In Detail)

  1. wikipedia conventions wikipedia has about half a million good page names going already. pick one of those copy it exactlyand you are pretty safe. By 2007 many wikis may be integrated.
  2. once it's exact, make it simple in almost all circumstances, the shortest possible page name that still describes the content and the scope is the best name.
  3. avoid punctuation computers hate punctuation in file and page names - ALL exceptions to this will be visible in all name precedents so be sure to consult that page.
  4. Ruthlessly remove prefixes and suffixes from words, the exceptions are:
  • "ing" when it creates the noun form of the word e.g. housing
  • plurals: "s" and "es" for pages that are intended to be used as a list. Example: taxes.
  1. Avoid adjectives and adverbs. They usually indicate a bias.
  2. check the lists and all name precedents. Before you create a new issue page, consult the list of all issues, and the same goes for process pages, with thelist of process terms or the list of policy terms, etc. Wikis intentionally try to maintain a limited vocabulary.
  3. Use Canadian Spelling - check Dave VE7CNV's Truly Canadian Dictionary of Canadian Spelling when in doubt.
  4. conserve capitals use capitals only for proper nouns.

  1. dates and times require very specific conventions for which there is absolutely no room for error or flexibility

When in doubt, editors can help and will (without asking, wikis operate on forgiveness not permission ) and will rename pages. If they leave a marker saying your name was a bad page name you must understand the argument they make, and learn the convention.
  1. pages pertaining to groups abbreviate their own names, and where possible the group's own abbreviation provides a prefix for that group, e.g. GPC for Green Party of Canada


Namespaces serve as "folders" for a specific category of content. For the list of namespaces used, see namespaces.

frequently used conventions

For easy reference, all frequently used naming conventions for specific types of pages should be recorded here

Naming conventions for senior editors.

they are never "done"

no one natural language dictionary is ever complete in a living language.

marking bad page names

Every page name becomes a link from other pages. Accordingly a bad page name must be spotted quickly, marked as such, and no new content added to it. Once something is removed and marked bad page name, it must not re-appear - please CHECK the page you are about edit before you edit it, it will ALWAYS tell you where the information actually goes. If you mark a bad page name, you must identify the proper page name using the following rules, and provide a link to it on the old badly named page:

naming principles and precedents

See name precedent and name discipline for the rationale for taking this seriously, and for removing editing privileges from anyone who doesn't take it seriously, given the damage it does to the mission.


scope of issue pages

When naming pages, try to use the shortest, simplest and least confusing title THAT GETS THE SCOPE RIGHT, e.g. you cannot cut Richmond Hill Ward 5 or Toronto Ward 5 to just "Ward 5". There are HUNDREDS IF NOT maybe THOUSANDS of Ward 5s in Canada. openpolitics.CA itself has a .ca domain name, so, names must be unambiguous within Canada. If there's more than one Richmond Hill then you need the province, e.g. Richmond Hill ON Ward 5. Use Canada Post conventions if there is no other choice.

Include dates for dated information

any information that is specific to a dated entity like a platform, e.g. Platform 2004 should have a suffix with the same year/date as that, e.g. Answering Citizen Questions 2004 which is the official policy on how to answer the questions regarding the 2004 platform

There is ONE date format, and it's YYYY-MM-DD - so meetings are named as follows:


avoid status words

Convention: "draft...", "proposed...", "...proposal" "...agenda" etc., are avoided because the status of the page will change:

Use spelled-out phrases rather than 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).

Do not use an article name that suggests a hierarchy of articles

Since Transportation in Azerbaijan could just as well be considered a subdivision of Transportation as of Azerbaijan, do not use a name like Azerbaijan/Transportation

Avoid special characters

Some special characters either cannot be used or can but cause problems. For example you should not use a piping character (|), an asterisk (*), an ampersand (&), a plus sign (+), curly braces ({}), or square brackets ([]) in a name.

Avoid Punctuation

By using the shortest word or phrase, it should be possible to avoid all punctuation

UNLESS it is used at Wikipedia, in which case do as they do.