Community Wishlist Survey 2022/Miscellaneous/Check if a page exists without populating WhatLinksHere/Proposal

Other languages:
  • Problem: Does a wiki page exist? This should be a simple thing to check in a template or module, and it partly is – you can use the #ifexist parser function. However, due to the way that this has been implemented in MediaWiki, this has unexpected consequences: pages that call the templates/modules that do this check will now appear in Special:WhatLinksHere. These false flags cause significant problems for editors that are working on resolving misplaced wikilinks, such as links to redirects or disambiguation pages. That in turn leads to them objecting to the use of any template/module that checks for the existence of a page to see if they should link to it.
  • Proposed solution: Rework the MediaWiki database structure so that uses of #ifexist do not also appear in Special:WhatLinksHere – although this is not easy.
  • Who would benefit: Template developers who need to check if a page exists. Editors resolving disambiguation links on all wikis who don't want to see false links.
  • More comments: This is a perennial request to fix some long-standing technical debt. It has been proposed in the 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021 wishlists. There is a work-around that uses page protection information, see en:Template:Linkless exists, but this isn't a long-term solution.
  • Phabricator tickets: phab:T14019 (from 2007), phab:T268526 (the wider database structure issue)
  • Proposer: Mike Peel (talk) 19:04, 14 January 2022 (UTC)