|This page documents an English Wikipedia editing guideline.|
It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
|This page in a nutshell: A term with many related meanings should be presented as an article on the broadest understanding of the term, rather than as a disambiguation page merely listing variations on that meaning.|
A broad-concept article is an article that addresses a concept that may be difficult to write about because it is abstract, or because it covers the sometimes-amorphous relationship between a wide range of related concepts. Due to the difficulty of explaining this relationship (and the comparative ease of merely listing articles to which the title relates), editors often create disambiguation pages for such titles, even though there is an unambiguous meaning that can be discerned from the relationship between the listed topics.
However, if the primary meaning of a term proposed for disambiguation is a broad concept or type of thing that is capable of being described in an article, and a substantial portion of the links asserted to be ambiguous are instances or examples of that concept or type, then the page located at that title should be an article describing it, and not a disambiguation page. Where the primary topic of a term is a general topic that can be divided into subtopics, such as chronologically (e.g., History of France) or geographically (e.g., Rugby union in the British Isles), the unqualified title should contain an article about the general topic rather than a disambiguation page.
A disambiguation page should not be created just because it is difficult to write an article on a topic that is broad, vague, abstract, or highly conceptual. Where there are additional meanings that are not instances or examples of a "Foo" primary concept or type, those should be included on a "Foo (disambiguation)" page.
Physics and mathematics
- Particle (previously a disambiguation page) is a broad and abstract concept used to address many different ideas in physics, generally relating to small units from which larger things are composed. Although there are many different kinds of particles at levels ranging from the subatomic to the macroscopic, the broad concept is properly susceptible to explanation in an article. Truly unrelated meanings, such as Particle (band), are only presented at Particle (disambiguation).
- Many definitions of triangle center are used in Euclidean geometry, which coincide only in the special case of equilateral triangles. The article lists a dozen of these, and also gives a validity criterion applicable to various definitions of "center".
Common types of government agencies, entities, and offices
- A Supreme court, National poet, or Finance minister (or Ministry of Finance) is each a kind of entity occurring in multiple countries and possibly in other political entities, and serving the same purpose in each. Rather than having disambiguation pages at these titles linking to existing articles on these entities by nation, each should contain an article describing in general terms what the concept is, and how the different examples of this concept relate to each other.
Overlapping geographic designations
- Central Asia, Northern Europe, and Southern United States are geographic designations that have been used with respect to different specific boundaries over time. Varying uses for broad geographic terms can be discussed in the context of an article describing the overall agreement of which areas definitely fall within that designation, and which areas are only occasionally described as falling with that designation, for certain purposes.
Common aspects of sports and games
- Football may refer to one of a number of team sports which all involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot. Although the word "football" can apply to whichever form of football is the most popular in the regional context in which the word appears, all of these variations share some common elements and can be traced to a common origin. Thus, the history and development of the general concept of football can be explained in its own article.
- The concept of a dead ball or a player being out of bounds are common across many different sports, and although the specific circumstances under which each can happen vary according to the sport, the general concept is capable of being discussed in an article.
Product brands and multiple commercial product lines
- The Microsoft Lumia is a cell phone with many different design models. The fact that different models in the same series of product by the same manufacturer may have the same name, or the same combination of name and number, does not make them ambiguous. The relationship between these design models can and should be discussed on a page describing products created by or licensed by the same manufacturer.
There are some common tests that can be used to determine whether an article can potentially be considered a broad concept article. One of these is "expert" test: could a person reasonably represent themselves as an expert in [name of page], without having to be an expert in multiple fields of knowledge (i.e. without having degrees from different departments in the typical university)? For example, although there are many species of tuna that are called "bluefin tuna" an icthyologist could be an expert in "bluefin tuna" without needing to specify a particular species. Compare that to a person claiming to be a "Mercury" expert, or a "battery" expert. The expert on "Mercury" would need to have both Roman mythology and astronomy in their knowledge base, along with chemistry. The expert on "battery" would need both chemical engineering and legal training, as well as some military history and (depending how significant the subtopic was considered) baseball.
In writing articles on these subjects, it is useful to directly address the scope of the term, and the history of how the concept has developed. Each of the examples of the concept or type of thing should be included at some point in the article, possibly in a list, so that no information is lost from what would have been presented in the disambiguation page format. Consider using summary style to incorporate information about the subtopics into the main article.
Pages needing to be expanded to describe the concept may be tagged with
Category:Broad-concept articles can be used for tracking.
- Wikipedia:Ambiguous subjects
- Wikipedia:Set index articles
- Wikipedia:General overview article (essay)
- Wikipedia:Chimera articles (essay)
- Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Broad-concept articles
- Category:Disambiguation pages to be converted to broad concept articles
- Template:Expand section
- Template:Missing information