Renaming Wiki Pages

Sometimes a Wiki page drifts away from where you thought it was going, or you find out later what you wish you had known before. You want to rename the page.

Just do it.

  1. Edit the page, select all the text, and copy it to your copy buffer.
  2. Replace the text with "Moved to RenamedWikiName".
  3. Save the page.
  4. Reload the old page and click the question mark on RenamedWikiName, to enter the editor.
  5. Paste the text you copied, and save.
  6. Optional but polite: Go to the old page and click the page header to get all references to the bad name. Edit all those pages to point to the new one. Bear in mind that there could be recently created references which do not yet show up in the index. That may be why an old page came to attention.
  7. Others, when they see the Moved to message, won't edit the old page but will instead go to the new one.
  8. Soon, the old page drifts off the screen.
  9. Sometimes it may make sense to completely delete the old page (possible since December, 2000) but then 6. should be done before.

It's not exactly automated but it's easy enough.

If Wiki were "implemented" in Smalltalk, I'd just do senders of Goodstuff and change the ones I wanted to Betterstuff in the senders window. I'm starting to wonder why anyone ever programs any other way. ;-> -- RonJeffries

Isn't there a Swiki implementation in Squeak? How does that handle page renaming? AnswerMe

A SmartSystem could adapt, noticing that people were traveling from A to B to C, adding a direct link from A to C, then fading the link from A to B out as it became less traveled. This kind of thing is talked about in the PrincipiaCybernetica pages. I hope to do something similar in a Wiki-like environment, one day. -- DaveHarris

AtisWiki can rename pages. It's also smart enough to follow the backlinks and rename those too. Pretty nice! -- LarryKollar

It's worthwhile to ask that the renamer be careful to try to maintain parts of speech, if the original name was one likely to appear in a sentence. -- DavidSaff

Renaming pages in Wiki is hard. Here is how you do it. You copy the contents of the old page to the new page. You leave the old page around so people following links to the old one can find it. There is no easy way to fix all the links. You hope they get updated over time. The whole process is convoluted and inefficient.


Make these changes to the Wiki engine. Have a form and a button at the bottom of the page titled "Rename Page". When you rename a page this automatically updates all the existing references. The old page should just go away.

If someone is searching for the page they should be able to find it. Therefore: The new page could have a footnote: "Previous names of page: NameA, NameB, NameC". If someone is searching for the old page he can still find it by doing a special search. -- AsimJalis

It would be very convenient to move a page to another page automatically, but changing all the references seems like a recipe for disaster for me. Many Wiki links are written into text in such a way that they'll parse with the text they're in; changing them automatically could make them entirely nonsensical.

For example: If someone decided that the page CanAnArchitectureEmerge would be better named EmergenceInSoftwareArchitecture?, you wouldn't want to automatically change the references to it. Otherwise, sentences like

And all that leads us into the still-answered question: CanAnArchitectureEmerge?

would be automatically changed to

And all that leads us into the still-answered question: EmergenceInSoftwareArchitecture??

which would just be silly.

So it would behove the person changing the reference to also change the wording around the reference.

And all that leads us to the still-unanswered question: Does EmergenceInSoftwareArchitecture? occur?

See WikiRefactoring, RefactorByRenaming, RenamingComponents

CategoryWikiMaintenance CategoryWikiRefactoring

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