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Wikipedia talk:Shortcut


RFC: Remove recommended numerical limit for amount of shortcuts on a page

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The guideline currently contains the following wording:

The point of these template boxes is not to list every single redirect for any given page (indeed, that's what Special:WhatLinksHere is for); instead, they generally should list only one or two common and easily remembered redirects.

This guideline has been largely ignored by the community for almost ten years and for good reasons, so I changed this to

The point of these template boxes is not to list every single redirect for any given page (indeed, that's what Special:WhatLinksHere is for); instead, they generally should list only one or two the most common and easily remembered redirects.

but was reverted.

I thus formerly propose this change be implemented as it reflects standard and current practice as evidenced by WP:V, WP:NOT, WP:DEL, WP:EP and WP:NPOV to name but a few core policy pages. While listing all possible shortcuts is overkill, it's also WP:COMMONSENSE that there should not be an artificial limit. If a page has four common shortcuts, they should be listed and if it only has one, so be it. Removing shortcuts solely for the sake of removing a certain number strikes me as following the letter of the rules for the sake of following the rules without thought of whether doing so really improves the project (something, ironically, I have been accused of in the past).

This RFC is only about whether the wording should be changed from "only one or two" to "the most".

Pinging editors who were involved in removing shortcuts: Johnuniq, Carl Tristan Orense, Galobtter, Izno.

Regards SoWhy 07:46, 12 September 2018 (UTC)


  1. As proposer. Regards SoWhy 07:46, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
  2. This is something that needs a local consenus. — BillHPike (talk, contribs) 13:32, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
  3. This can only lead to edit warring over which two shortcuts are the most significant. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) wumbolo ^^^ 13:50, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
  4. Airbornemihir (talk) 20:43, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
  5. It's a bit over-controlling to expect users to stick to a specific number, especially given that this is in WP space, not mainspace. Also, this wording reflects current practice, and these things should reflect current practice rather than try to alter it unless there is a compelling reason. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:11, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
  6. NOTBUREAU, and many times 3+ shortcuts need to be displayed. — Mr. Guye (talk) (contribs)  00:06, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  7. power~enwiki (π, ν) 02:10, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  8. Per Mr. Guye Tazerdadog (talk) 06:30, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  9. Proposal makes sense and is a pretty minor tweak. Bit over-bureaucratic this had to go to an RfC for me. --LukeSurl t c 12:01, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  10. This is common sense and reflects current practice since there are too many "exceptions" already. -- Tavix (talk) 16:04, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  11. Setting arbItrary number is meaningless. Leave it open, treat it on a case-by-case basis. –Ammarpad (talk) 18:24, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  12. Reluctantly supporting, because I would in fact support a hard numerical limit—it's just not a limit of two. I'd suggest four. The 18 (!) shortcuts currently listed at WP:SOAP are ridiculous. It would be different if we were deleting the redirects, but it's hardly like WP:NOTPROPAGANDA or WP:NOTPRESSRELEASE are easy and quick mnemonics we want to be promoting. If that's a couple of users' go-to, good, and if someone types it in just to see if it works, good, but there's no need for it to be in the shortcut box. (It occurs to me that my position is probably the same as most of the opposers, which indicates to me that a proposed change slightly less lax than "the most" may gather more of a consensus.) Bilorv(c)(talk) 23:41, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  13. It makes sense to leave the amount of shortcuts open, different pages will need different amounts. – BrandonXLF (t@lk) 00:40, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
  14. Sometimes it makes sense. No need for a fixed number. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:00, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
  15. Support - We're more than capable of dealing with this on a case-by-case basis according to common sense. Enforcing a numerical limit is a bit ridiculous, and the opposers are pretty unconvincing. Particularly the assertion that those little boxes create "barriers to readability". Please, no one even notices them most of the time, if you're unable to comprehend a page because there's four shortcuts listed instead of two, you're likely a CIR case anyway. Swarm 23:20, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
  16. Support - I see no harm in listing useful shortcuts, and a disservice to the reader is not doing so. "Barriers to readability" is a red herring, case-by-case with no pre-defined number is fine. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:23, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
  17. Support - not seeing any reason that this would be a bad idea. The number of shortcuts should be a case-by-case thing, as sometimes more than 2 shortcuts are used extremely often. Kirbanzo (talk) 01:14, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
  18. Support: oftentimes more than three shortcuts would be useful, and there shouldn't be any need to limit to 2 for now (although flooding the page with shortcuts is a bad thing too). Regards, User:TheDragonFire300. (Contact me | Contributions). This message was left at 05:43, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
  19. Support. Policies and guidelines should reflect actual practice - doubly so when the actual practice matches common sense. Thryduulf (talk) 11:09, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
  20. Support no reason not to link all relevant redirects, which may be more than one or two. L293D ( • ) 01:55, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
  21. Support as per the others here, limiting to 2 seems too restricting and should be handled case-by-case. Killiondude (talk) 06:15, 2 October 2018 (UTC)
  22. Support. Often two is fine, but for many pages, multiple shortcuts are used and should be considered on a case by case basis. There's no reason why longstanding, frequently used redirects should be removed solely because of a guideline, especially when that would only incentivize artificially splitting pages into sections to get around this. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 19:37, 3 October 2018 (UTC)


  1. I looked at WP:Not and it looks like that page is a catalyst for this discussion. I tend to agree with the other editors that want to trim the excessive and distracting use of shortcuts there. I don't think we should change the wording of the guide to encourage even more shortcut bombing and the use of generally covers edge cases anyway. AIRcorn (talk) 10:05, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
    Would you mind explaining how you came to the realization that 1 or 2 is the correct number and not 1 to 3 or 2 or 3? Regards SoWhy 10:34, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
    I am not arguing for a correct number. One or two just seems like the most logical fit. Saying 2 or 3 would not work as some will only have one. You could say 1 to 3 if you want, but that was not the proposal. From what I have seen I would veer on the side that less is mostly better and would like wording that encourages that. The use of generally and the fact that this is a guide gives us enough flexibility anyway if there are a few extra external links that editors feel must be mentioned. AIRcorn (talk) 11:34, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
    That's just it. When a vast majority of pages use more than two shortcuts, it's clear that "generally" is not correct. All I'm proposing is removing the numbers because it carries the risk that anything more than 2 is seen as excessive and needs a special reason. Regards SoWhy 11:44, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
    That is kinda what I am getting at. I am not stuck on two as a magic number, but feel we are better discouraging excessive numbers. To the right is the linkbox for Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a soapbox or means of promotion. When they get to that stage they start to distract from the actual policy itself. I would dispute that the vast majority have more than two. I went through a selection of policies listed at Category:Wikipedia policies and the vast majority had only the one or two links per linkbox, with a few having three. That is not even considering wikiprojects that almost always just have one or two. AIRcorn (talk) 00:43, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  2. Oppose watering down LINKBOX control. Linkbox clutter is jargon creating barriers to readability by newcomers. Two advertised shortcuts are more than enough. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:52, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
    I have been trimming WP:LINKBOX advertised SHORTCUTs for some time. In most cases, the uncrontrolled practice of letting anyone add any new idea for a SHORTCUT has led to ridiculous situations. Mostly, it is policy sections, sometimes even sentences within paragraphs of sections. Every page has LINKBOX advertised shortcuts, then every section. Often, the shortcuts are not short, but are big shouty slogans. These LINKBOX shortcuts are supposed to be for ease of reference and common recognisability, but this is lost when there are a multitude of options. For the ostensible purpose, one should be enough. Two is pushing it. More is ridiculous. WP:NOT is an example of LINKBOXes having adopted an entirely different purpose of bold shouty slogans, a bit like election posters on voting day, and a bit like the in-your-face style of WP:ENC, which is for linking for stubborn recalcitrants who just wont get it when calm explanation, WP:NOT is not the example to follow. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:58, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
    Barriers to reading. AKA sign clutter. And jargon. Simple to those familiar. Newcomers, are they meant to read the big bold blue, or the black text? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:01, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
    Oppose This is something that needs a local consenus. BillHPike (talk, contribs) 13:09, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
    @Billhpike: Please clarify. This proposal does not negate the fact that the question whether certain shortcuts should be included is subject to local consensus when there is disagreement. It just replaces an arbitrary number with a more open-ended wording. Regards SoWhy 13:29, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
    Misread the RFC, so striking and moving my !V — BillHPike (talk, contribs) 13:32, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
  3. I'm going to oppose this RFC per my comment below. There might reasonably be some consensus text, but removing entirely the "here's something [arbitrary] to shoot for regarding your shortcuts" isn't it. --Izno (talk) 04:20, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  4. Per Izno. Not sure why we'd need that many shortcuts listed anyway. Enterprisey (talk!) 20:24, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  5. I've encountered this issue several times and in some cases it just seems that editors just add their prefered style. Ignoring the basic fact that it just looks bad, this causes actual discussion issues. It's hard having a discussion on guideline related issues (such as move or deletion requests) when editors just link to various shortcuts, some leading to the same exact place and keeping track to what was said. In the example given here on the right, these all say the same thing, but used in a discussion would give an illusion of stronger point. In my opinion these should not only be limited but the redirects should be as well, as without it it's not a full solution. --Gonnym (talk) 22:17, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  6. It's a guideline and should provide guidance that generally applies. Exceptions such as WP:NOT list several shortcuts for a good reason. For example, WP:NOTPROPAGANDA might be too strong for a particular situation where WP:NOTADVOCACY would be better. The proposal is an invitation to add all redirects as shortcuts and let others prove that "most common" does not apply. More shortcuts mean more confusion and overchoice. Wikipedia:Five pillars has long been a favorite for those adding shortcuts including WP:5, WP:5P, WP:FIVE, WP:FIVEPILLARS, WP:PILLARS, WP:WPIS. Two is generally enough! Johnuniq (talk) 03:38, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
    I actually disagree with your example of WP:NOTPROPAGANDA and WP:NOTADVOCACY. In that situation the excessive use of shortcuts is even more apparent as both of those shortcuts lead not only to the same section, but to the same bullet-point. So while someone might be using one and someone else the other, they are both saying the same things, but give the illusion as if they are linking to different things. If both of those names are sub-par, a better name can be found which fits that section more, but there really is no need for 2 shortcuts to the same point. --Gonnym (talk) 09:43, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
  7. Most of the time one or two; exceptions can be made for pages like WP:NOT. More than two, maybe three, is clutter and not generally appropriate. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 08:11, 14 September 2018 (UTC)


At least for my edits, I didn't make changes because of a dogmatic adherence to the guideline but because I felt removing the shortcuts were an improvement - most pages have one shortcut that is used 90+% of the time (e.g WP:BLP, WP:V, WP:ANI etc) and it makes sense IMO to show that main shortcut rather than having say 3-4 shortcuts on display. 4 or more shortcuts can of course be displayed if indeed they are commonly used but as a general guidance I think having 1 or 2 shortcuts works well ("they generally should list only one or two common and easily remembered redirects." does not put a limit, but says to do so "generally", which it makes sense). Galobtter (pingó mió) 08:04, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

The WP:NOT sections are a bit of a special case where each point has a shortcut commonly used but even there the shortcuts might do with a bit of a trimming Galobtter (pingó mió) 08:07, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
Why does 1 or 2 work well and not 3? WP:V has three and had so for years. WP:ANI has four and had so for years. I'm not in favor of adding shortcuts for the sake of adding shortcuts but I fail to see why the guideline should contain a certain number, seeing as it leads - as evidenced by recent edits - to removals based on amount alone. Regards SoWhy 08:14, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
Has it needed 4? For all those years? Probably not. (Consensus is not decided solely by silence, nor solely by precedent, especially when someone objects.) That's the point of the guideline, regardless of the fact we might use the WP:2SHORTCUTS shortcut or otherwise. WP:ANI is really all it needs, though one might reasonably add WP:AN/I. I fail to see why we shouldn't have a certain number, to remind editors "hey, here's a number". --Izno (talk) 04:23, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

I am irritated with off-wiki nonsense at the moment so will leave only a grumpy message (more later): WP:2SHORTCUTS is often used as a rationale to resist the tendency of many editors who feel compelled to add every redirect as a shortcut. The fact that exceptions exist does not change the fact that 2SHORTCUTS is generally good guidance and is just a guideline which people are welcome to ignore when appropriate. Policies like WP:V and WP:NOT have multiple shortcuts so the appropriate one can be chosen for the task. What 2SHORTCUTS is really aimed at are places like WP:5P which does not need WP:5 and all the other cute redirects listed as shortcuts. Johnuniq (talk) 08:16, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

I generally agree with this sentiment. --Izno (talk) 04:20, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

How about a compromise? "...instead, they generally should list only the most common and easily remembered redirects (usually one or two)." --Bsherr (talk) 15:38, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

  • I feel that the phrasing could use some tweaking for clarity. The plural they generally should is referring to all shortcut boxes, leaving it entirely unclear as to whether the most common and easily remembered redirects is intended to recommend one or multiple shortcuts per shortcut box. These things should be idiot-proofed. You can kind of guess the meaning in the current wording but the proposed change is more ambiguous. – Reidgreg (talk) 18:06, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
  • I don't really understand why the objection to my edit was to call for an RFC for a guideline which has generally been used as the guideline figure it is. I removed less than half of the shortcuts at WP:NOTSOAP because they duplicate other shortcuts in all but the word "NOT". The point of the policy, of course, is NOT, not what it is (i.e. NOTSOAP, rather than SOAP), so I thought it was fairly reasonable to trim the ones that called for the latter rather than the former. (I have no issue of course retaining the redirects.) The fact that the count of shortcuts in the guideline is arbitrary doesn't mean we don't need the count--it just means we know we have a number to shoot for. In some cases, we won't get to that number because of consensus on the talk page or whatever. Generally, how I've treat it is "advertise 2, accept many", but for something like NOT where there may be 6 items per section, I think I quite reasonably got to "advertise each bullet OR SO, accept any number of others". --Izno (talk) 04:20, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
    I fail to see the confusion. This discussion was not started in response to your edits but to such edits by a number of users. However, as I pointed out, a guideline should reflect consensus and WP:NOT as well as countless other pages demonstrate that the "number to shoot for" is not followed by many editors but carries the risk that some editors start removing shortcuts merely for numerical reasons. In the end, this proposal merely aims to delegate the question of how many shortcuts ought to be used to the pages they are used on because there is no inherent "correct" number that possibly makes sense for a majority of policy or guideline pages. Regards SoWhy 07:18, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
The WP:NOT example described earlier may look like a great example to mention as some sort of WP:LINKCRISIS, but that guideline describes promotion as it occurs under fairly diverse activities (as mentioned earlier here by Galobtter). The guideline lists 5 categories, with 3 of those 5 listing multiple other categories. By my count, 10 types of soapboxing. While many could be condensed, others may present a challenge: Is recruitment the same as scandal mongering? Is marketing the same as gossip? Is advocacy the same as a press release? While some editors could legitimately argue that these are really all the same thing, others won't see it that way, and having a bit of specificity with regards to a phenomenon that goes by so many names to begin with can be useful.  spintendo  22:37, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
Those criticising the boxes at WP:NOT (or at least, me) are not arguing for deletion of any of these redirects, but for trimming of the shortcut box. You can still think "this user is continually adding content written in the style of a press release—that's one of those things Wikipedia isn't—I'll see if WP:PRESSRELEASE gives me the right page". You just wouldn't see WP:PRESSRELEASE as a prominently highlighted redirect if you arrived at that page through different means. But if you were looking at the policy page and thought "I'll remember this for future", you're better off remembering WP:PROMOTION because press releases are a subset of promotional material, so wherever you use WP:PRESSRELEASE you can always use WP:PROMOTION instead. And in fact, you won't even find the words "press release" mentioned on the policy page. Bilorv(c)(talk) 22:54, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
Agreed strongly. As others above have pointed out, on quite a few pages the threshold for which shortcuts get included is too low. Enterprisey (talk!) 01:47, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
While some shortcut boxes might be excessive, there is no magic number and removal should be done carefully - e.g. this edit was clearly done by someone who doens't know how this page is referred to - it removed WP:XNR which is one of the two most used shortcuts, but left WP:CROSS which is less used. Significantly better than drive-by removal would be to discuss on the talk page whether the editors of a page agree that there are too many shortcuts, and if so which are the least helpful. Thryduulf (talk) 11:15, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
Or just remove after checking relative usage counts, say if a redirect has <30 uses while the others have hundreds or thousands, which is what I did after that. Enterprisey (talk!) 04:00, 1 October 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
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