Help:Conflation of two people

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Once in a while, we may come across items that conflate two or more people. Such amalgamation can happen, for example, when individuals have similar names and are active in related fields. It may be an internal issue at Wikidata or reflect confusion at Wikipedia or other sources. What to do?

Identify[edit]

An item conflates two people when it includes one or more elements that come from each, such as the dates of one and the achievements or function of another.

This is different from an item that merely includes a fact about another person.

Determine the course of action[edit]

Revert[edit]

If the information about the second person was added just recently (e.g. through a merger of items this week), it's usually best to revert this to remove the information.

Split[edit]

In other cases, it's preferable to split the item. See below for details.

Split: update P31[edit]

In case of a conflation, identify this on the item:

Split: create new items[edit]

First create new items for each person,

then move statements from the original item to the correct one. The user script User:Matěj Suchánek/moveClaim.js, to be installed in Special:MyPage/common.js, can be useful to move complete statements including qualifiers and references. To move sitelinks to the new items, there is a "Move" gadget available via Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets.

  • If an identifier is defined with elements of both people, leave it on the original item. DO NOT attribute an identifier that conflates to persons to a single person.
  • If a reference mentions a fact of one person, but attributes it to the other, add it also with deprecated rank to the other.

Split: Update internal links[edit]

Check the links from other items and update them to the new item about the correct person.

Split: Result[edit]

Delete[edit]

If all statements were moved to the new items, the original item can be deleted. Please list it on Wikidata:Deletion requests with the explanation "[[Help:Conflation of two people|conflation]], split into [[Q1]] and [[Q2]]". The IDs of the new items should then appear in the deletion summary of the old item.

It may be tempting to redirect the original item to one or the other new item, but this may lead users of the original item to refer to the wrong person.

Keep[edit]

The original item should be kept if some identifiers remain. This avoids that:

  • identifiers are re-added to the wrong item
  • people using these identifiers add statements to the wrong item

Descriptions should be deleted or updated to indicate "conflation".

See also[edit]