Commons:Rename a category

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This page has instructions about how to “rename” or “move” a category, in order to associate an appropriate name with a given subject (Commons:Categories defines what a category is and declares general naming principles).

Unlike most pages, categories don't have a "move" tab or an easy way to move them. This is a known bug (5451, 8685, 3311).

Thus, renaming or moving of categories must currently be done by editing each of the relevant items in the category and changing the category to the new name, creating the new category and putting it in the same parent category.

Commons has several bots and scripts that can assist in this process. Whether or not it is appropriate to use them depends on the kind of "renaming".

Because moving all the items is still a manual fix, "revert wars" over the correct name for a category can be particularly harmful. If you are ever in doubt about what the correct name should be, seek advice from others first. Talk is cheap. Moving 300 items from A to B and back again, not so much.

Subject identification[edit]

The following presupposes that the category to be renamed has a unique subject which can be identified, and that this identified subject complies with Commons policy.

In the opposite case, categories should be emptied, then deleted (according to the deletion policy). Examples:

  • Category:Courageous people of Switzerland (indeterminate subject)
  • Category:Sugar and salt (inappropriate mixing)
  • Category:Sugalt (doesn't match an existing subject)

The subject of a category will be determined according to the following relevant clues:

  • current name of the category
  • text in the category page
  • interwiki links
  • parent categories

Notice that the contents (categorized pages and files) of the category doesn't matter, because each page or file has to be categorized according to appropriate subjects, and this process is not bound with any association of names to these subjects. In particular, most of the contents of a category could be wrongly categorized.

Types of renames[edit]

For controversial fixes, please discuss first
  • Trivial fixes: fixing spelling, capitalisation or number (most common nouns should be plural, i.e. Category:Things not Category:Thing). These can be done by bots without community input. Recall that both UK and US spelling are acceptable.
  • Unambiguous fixes: standardising the category name in line with Commons' naming conventions (currently: Latin binomial for lifeforms, usually English otherwise) and the hints given in the category naming guideline. Tag these with a {{category redirect}} notice for up to seven days; a bot will move the contents to an existing category with the correct name. Redirected categories serve only to redirect and cannot be categorised themselves. If a category has a lot of items, consider it a controversial fix instead.
  • Controversial fixes: where a category name has been in use for a long time or a lot of items, or where the naming policy is unspecific. Any category that has a corresponding Wikipedia article which has had a naming controversy over that article definitely falls into this lot. Tag these with a {{move}} notice. Start a discussion on a talk page, and link to it from any other relevant categories, consider posting a note on the Village pump and/or Commons:Categories for discussion too. Let consensus develop before going on with a bot rename.

Bots[edit]

Any bot doing category moving should receive community approval first as noted on the bot description page.

Should the old category be deleted?[edit]

This can be answered by answering this question: Is it likely that a new user might ever try to use this category by accident? With translations or just simple synonymy, the answer is yes. Therefore such categories should not be deleted, but instead marked like this:

{{category redirect|new name}}

Note that #REDIRECT [[:Category:new name]] should never be used for categories, because it does not work as expected due to Bugzilla:3311.

If the old category is a simple typo or you are the only person who ever used the category and you are the one fixing it up, it can safely be deleted. Request it for speedy deletion by marking it thus:

{{bad name|new name}}  

or

{{speedydelete|moved to [[:Category:…]] because…}}