|This page in a nutshell: Redirects from other languages should generally be avoided unless a well-grounded rationale can be provided for their inclusion.|
The guideline for deleting redirects suggests that redirects in languages other than English that point to topics that are not especially associated with that language (or a culture that speaks that language) should generally not be kept. This page lays out good and bad examples, and explains the reason for this guideline.
Examples of appropriate non-English redirects include:
Examples of inappropriate non-English redirects include:
Examples of redirects that may have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis include:
- Topics for which a non-English title is in common use even if that is not the common English, the official or the original name (such as Malines (French for Mechelen))
This wiki serves English speakers. Having a large number of unrelated redirects in other languages presents problems for both our readers and editors.
A major problem with non-English redirects is that the differing meanings that languages give the same spelling. The word dam, in various languages, can mean stable, pond, checkers, price, and numerous other things: linguists call these meanings false friends. None of these meanings belong at Dam (disambiguation), so none would be appropriate as a redirect if English didn't have such a word.
In addition, having redirects from other languages gives readers the impression that a page exists in their native language. This is not always the case. Due to how third-party search engines work, readers could be forwarded to the English Wikipedia without any reference to a page in their native language, especially when the page does not exist in the Wikipedia of the redirect's language. This issue can hinder the potential for the creation of an article or redirect for the subject in the Wikipedia of the redirect's language.
The presence of non-English language redirects creates the false impression that you can navigate the English Wikipedia in another language. If, for example, we had a redirect from Bodem (Dutch) to soil, a Dutch speaker might get the impression that all of our articles have Dutch redirects. This could become more problematic if that Dutch reader searched from Klimaatverandering and found nothing. They might then assume that the English Wikipedia has no article on the topic, when we do. This problem can also be compounded with the previously mentioned problem of multiple meanings for the same word across multiple languages: A German-speaking reader with low English proficiency misled into thinking that English Wikipedia supports redirects from German words might think that Gift is about poison. Different languages may also have different primary targets for the same phrase, causing confusion if we were to try to support cross-language redirects for a language's entire vocabulary. For instance, stormur means "storm" in Icelandic, but a reader searching for that string on English Wikipedia is much more likely to be looking for Stormur, a song by Sigur Rós; had we preemptively redirected Stormur to Storm, we would have only inconvenienced such readers.
The presence of arbitrary non-English redirects can also encourage editors to try to create new articles in their language of choice, which will either need to be deleted or moved to another project.
Finally, the only language we can rely on our editors speaking is English. Often it requires a strong working knowledge of a language to evaluate and understand redirects – for example, being able to identify that a Chinese redirect is using the wrong character, or a Romanian redirect has an incorrect diacritical mark that looks almost identical to the correct one. Also, redirects need maintenance, as pages change titles, get merged, or the redirects get re-targeted. We rely on editors to watch for errors on redirects, but this is much harder to do if you don't know the language.
- ^ "Original" is meant only to contrast with the English name and is not intended to force a particular choice in areas where the "official" or "original" name is open to interpretation. All notable variants would generally be acceptable redirects. For example, Vilna (Yiddish) and Wilno (Polish) are appropriate redirects to Vilnius (official Lithuanian and English).
Likewise, historic names that were once in widespread use are acceptable. For example, Mazaca (original name), Eusebia and Caesarea (name during the last centuries BCE and first few centuries CE) and Kaisariyah all appropriately refer to Kayseri.
- ^ An additional problem worth mentioning is the accidental inclusion of offensive terms. The average English Wikipedia editor has no way to tell Хэрри Поттер from Хуйрри Поттер, both of which are vaguely plausible as phonetic equivalents to Harry Potter in English. One of them has a swear word in it in Russian, but they're also both simply wrong: most languages that use the Cyrillic alphabet spell it Гарри or Хари.