Proposal:Change name of operation "move" to "rename"

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Change name of operation "move" to "rename".


Change name of operation "move" to "rename" in MediaWiki and/or on Wikimedia wikis.


"Move" is not a word that is intuitive to describe what is being done. "Rename" fits better.

Why "Rename" is better than "Move"

  • On a wiki-newbie level, a title is basically the title of the rendered page, not the unique identifier of a set of revisions (= an Article). The page title gets renamed. Nothing is moved.
  • On a technical level, nothing is moved as well. The page title is a field in a database; that field is modified. The page gets renamed.
  • On a theoretical view of articles being drawers and page titles being labels on those drawers, there could be an infinite number of drawers, each identifiable by its unique label. In a finite subset of those drawers, there is actually content stored in it. Moving a page means to put all the content of drawer A in drawer B. The content is moved, the page title is not touched (or renamed).

(Perhaps there are also other ways of looking at it)

It seems to me that the most common is the wiki-newbie level. Although I have no empirical data, to back this up, I think very few users actually think of something moving; rather most users think of something being renamed.

Additionally, "rename" should be clear to everyone (even those who prefer "move"), while "move" is often confusing to newbies.


Pro Change

  • "Rename" is factually describing the operation better than "Move".
  • "Rename" is more intuitive for newbies.

Contra Change

  • Quite some work has to be done.
  • People have to get used to the new name.
  • "Move" is not totally unjustified - depending on the way you look at the operation.
  • If system messages and documentation are changed, but not the internal naming in MediaWiki's code, this could be confusing for new developers.

Key Questions

  • Is "Rename" really better than "Move"?
  • Are there other names that fit better?
  • Is it worth to put that much work into it?

Potential Costs

  • No monetary costs
  • There are about a hundred messages to be changed and translated
  • Documentation has to be changed
  • The internal naming in MediaWiki would be very difficult to change without breaking anything. Doing so wouldn't be wise.

The change of "Image:" to "File:" shows that renaming widely-used terms is doable.


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Change name of operation "move" to "rename".

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