Hatnotes are short notes placed at the very top of an article or a section, like a hat is placed on the very top of a head. (See the note in italics immediately preceding the boxes above.) Their purpose is to help readers locate a different article if the one they are at is not the one they're looking for. Readers may have arrived at the article containing the hatnote because:

  • They were redirected.
  • They may be seeking an article that uses a more specific, disambiguated title.
  • They may be seeking an article with a similar name to, or that otherwise might be confused with, the article with the hatnote.

Hatnotes provide links to the possibly sought article or to a disambiguation page.

The five basic rules of hatnotes are:

  1. Link directly to other articles; do not pipe non-disambiguation links. Linking to redirects is typically not preferred, although of course exceptions can occur. Links to disambiguation pages should always end in "(disambiguation)", even when that version of the title is a redirect.
  2. Keep explanations to a minimum; explain vital information only, trusting instead in the article lead to clarify things for the reader.
  3. Mention other topics and articles only if there is a reasonable possibility of a reader arriving at the article either by mistake or with another topic in mind.
  4. However, if a notable topic X is commonly referred to as "Foo", but the article "Foo" is not about X, there must be a hatnote linking to the article on X or linking to a disambiguation page that contains a link to the article on X.
  5. Ideally, limit hatnotes to just one at the top of the page or section. Multiple hatnotes may be appropriate when they serve different purposes, such as disambiguating topics with similar names and explaining redirects.

For more information about methods of disambiguating articles, see Wikipedia:Disambiguation.

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