To refactor refers to the process of editing (rewriting and reorganizing text) in a wiki. The benefits of refactoring (if it is done well) are:
  • reducing the word count
  • increasing readability
  • improving conformity to the appropriate template for that kind of page.
  • building consensus debate by edit and approval by edit
  • improving the organization of the wiki.

Types of refactoring

Integrate pages

When there are multiple pages addressing the same or overlapping subjects an editor can integrate pages, eliminate redundant pages, and avoids wasting time.
Most frequently, integration is required when someone starts a page with a bad page name (perhaps because they couldn't find the page they were looking for) that must be eliminated before anyone starts linking to them.
It is also necessary when there are parallel pages from a different point of view that have an identical scope.

Disambiguate pages

A disambiguate operation is required then a page name can mean several different things, or similar things in different jurisdictions. Disambiguation creates a list of options on the page being disambiguated, and moves content to a more accurately named pages according to the naming conventions.

Subdivide pages

A Subdivide is necessary when a page grows beyond its original context to encompass many issues that each need their own subpage. Generally, no page content should exceed 1000 words.

Refactoring for POV

Often contributors will adopt an inappropriate point of view (POV), with reguard to that page. (i.e. speak from the first person) Refactoring for POV removes personal statements and rhetoric from wherevever they don't belong.

Refactoring Best Practice

Refactoring is a very common operation and everyone should feel free to do it. The best practice is to follow these steps (yes, in order).

  1. consult the list of all issues or list of process terms to find the related terms.
  2. determine how many pages should exist - consider integration, disambiguation, subdivision, POV, etc. For a popular issue, all positions may need a separate page for their own point of view. Be sure you have determined exactly how many such pages should exist before you start.
  3. pick the best page name for each page according to the naming conventions. When in doubt, do exactly what wikipedia does. Name the neutral point of view pages first.
  4. if there are very specific names for positions, slogans, articles, or essays involved, then, redundant content is acceptable and probably necessary - be sure to link each the neutrally named page.
  5. move any speculation or prediction onto its own page that fits the standard for predicted events, e.g. a future election
  6. if there are any pages that do not fit the new scheme add a notice about a redundant page at the top of the best named page.
  7. cut and paste all content into the correct parallel page so that others can integrate the content. (You can try to integrate pages yourself if you want.)
  8. if you do not have time to create all the pages or cannot write the page from a point of view other than your own, place an OP directive on the pages from that point of view advising others what content to take that view on, on that page.

The main criteria for success is whether the end result is a set of pages with clear simple names, each of which unmistakably says exactly and only what is the scope of what is on that page, and that each parallel page is in the correct namespace.