Talk:Chief mechanical engineer/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Rating class

I had originally put NA because this is a list. Since there's some disagreement, I've now put it at Start class. Please review the quality rating scale and reassess as needed. Slambo (Speak) 11:19, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I think it needs a lot more work and better definition of what a CME was. I get the impression that Locomotive Superintendent was a bigger fish in the hierarchy with more responsibility and power although there may have been some variation according to the company and the character of the person holding the office.--John of Paris 08:16, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Scope of article

Didn't know this article existed! It is obviously not as well-linked as it might be. Having found it, I see it is in need of work. For a start we need to define the responsibilities of a CME, and explain when the title was first and last used, whether it was a UK-only thing, etc.

Next we need to sort out the list of names. At present it is A-Z by surname. I'm not convinced this is the best way to show them. There are enough of them to justify a Category:Chief Mechanical Engineers of railways of the United Kingdom, in which case an A-Z list would be redundant (and the dates/railways would be shown on their own articles). Also, there are an awful lot of names missing.

Perhaps it would be more useful to list all CMEs in chronological order per company, showing the dates served. This also would permit links to sub-pages like: List of Chief Mechanical Engineers of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (and the equivalents for the Big Four).

Something for the WikiProject:UK Railways ToDo list? A possible collaboration in due course?

EdJogg (talk) 13:15, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

PS - Note that Category:Locomotive superintendents already exists! -- EdJogg (talk) 13:20, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Requested move

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: close for now with no move, pending outcome of RFCs. Once these have closed, a new discussion may be initiated, and one option would be converting the article to a list. Favonian (talk) 10:31, 26 September 2011 (UTC)


Chief Mechanical EngineerChief mechanical engineer

Next we'll have Garbage Collector. Per WP:CAPS and WP:TITLE, and because this is a generic, common noun, not a propriety term or a title, the article title should be downcased. Also please see Category:Transport_occupations. Relisted, RFC in progress. Favonian (talk) 09:08, 12 September 2011 (UTC) Tony (talk) 06:05, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Oppose per WP:V. Books dealing with those people who bore these job titles normally capitalise. Examples:

John Miller, the Chief Civil Engineer, A.J. Hill, the Chief Mechanical Engineer, and H.W. Firth, the Electrical Engineer, all had their parts to play ...

Cecil J. AllenThe Great Eastern Railway (2nd ed.). Hampton Court: Ian Allan. 1956 [1955]. p. 78. 

Stanier was approached in 1931 and after discussing matters with Collett, his own Chief, he joined the LMS as Chief Mechanical Engineer on January 1st 1932.

—John E. Bellwood & David JenkinsonGresley and Stanier: A Centenary Tribute. London: HMSO. May 1976. pp. 5–6. ISBN 0 11 290253 7. 

At the 1923 Grouping, Maunsell was appointed Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway ...

—D.L. Bradley, The Locomotive History of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway (2nd ed.). London: RCTS. April 1980 [1961]. p. 5. ISBN 0 901115 49 5. 

Early in 1902 Thomas Parker Junior, the Carriage & Wagon Superintendent, was asked to resign ... on 1st May of that year Robinson took over the combined locomotive, carriage and wagon departments with the then new designation of Chief Mechanical Engineer ...

George DowGreat Central, Volume Three: Fay Sets the Pace, 1900-1922. Shepperton: Ian Allan. 1965. p. 22. ISBN 0 7110 0263 0. 

George Jackson Churchward, who succeeded [William Dean] as Locomotive, Carriage, and Wagon Superintendent ... entered on his duties as head of the Department on 1st June 1902, was accorded the title of Chief Mechanical Engineer early in 1916 ...

—E.T. MacDermot, History of the Great Western Railway, vol. II: 1863-1921. Paddington: Great Western Railway. 1931. pp. 567–8. OCLC 55853736. 

The career of Sir Nigel Gresley has no parallel in British locomotive history. First as Locomotive Superintendent of the Great Northern Railway, and then as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the L.N.E.R., his chieftainship ...

O. S. NockThe Locomotives of Sir Nigel Gresley. London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1945. p. 9. 16925. 
--Redrose64 (talk) 16:38, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is a job title but within each company was unique and is therefore correctly capitalised. NtheP (talk) 17:36, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose The title, capitalised, is still in use- for example the Chennai Port Trust has a CME.Ning-ning (talk) 17:49, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is a job title, but within each pre-grouping railway company was unique and is therefore correctly capitalised. Pyrotec (talk) 19:09, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Proper nouns are always Capital Letters. Mjroots (talk) 20:47, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
The article title needs to include the company name if it's unique to that company; otherwise it's a generic term, and there are chief mechanical engineers everywhere (hundreds of thousands of them, at a guess). It's not a proper noun, unless garbage collector or chief garbage collector are. Whether it's "in use" on payslips and job ads, and CVs where people feel they need to pump themselves up, is irrelevant to the house style of WP and that of many authorities. If this one doesn't change, we'll need to embark on a truly massive changeover of thousands of article titles. Category:Transport_occupations is just one of a huge number. Who's gonna start the ball rolling? Anyone for Gate attendant -> Gate Attendant? Bicycle messenger -> Bicycle Messenger? Second assistant engineer -> Second Assistant Engineer (which I notice was downcased by someone else last year)? BTW, I'm trying to determine whether there's been a breach of wp:canvass here; I hope there was a neutral message in a very public place. Tony (talk) 02:04, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Your hope has been fulfilled- neutral message in public place at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject UK Railways. Ning-ning (talk) 04:00, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
So does a station cleaner become a Station Cleaner just because they work for British Rail? When a child says "I want to become a station cleaner", they're breaching accepted style, are they? The article is not about British Rail chief mechanical engineers (note plural), nor even UK chief mechanical engineers: it's about chief mechanical engineers generically. Please see WP:CAPS. Tony (talk) 04:53, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Memo to Mjroots, who cites proper noun. That article opens with this: "A proper noun or proper name is a noun representing a unique entity (such as London, Jupiter, John Hunter, or Toyota), as distinguished from a common noun, which represents a class of entities (or nonunique instance[s] of that class)—for example, city, planet, person or corporation).[1] In English, proper nouns are not normally preceded by an article or other limiting modifier (such as any or some), and are used to denote a particular person, place, or object without regard to any descriptive meaning the word or phrase may have." Tony (talk) 04:56, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
If you think the article's about chief mechanical engineers, write something about chief mechanical engineers. Ning-ning (talk) 06:40, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Until it's verified by a reference, it's unclear what the article is about. But if its theme is in fact a position designated in British, Australian, and NZ railways, and nowhere else, that would need to be in parentheses in the article title: otherwise, a generic "Chief mechanical engineer" article cannot be titled as the generic. And, BTW, ferries also have these folk; so do aeronautic vehicles and the military. Why is a very general title (oddly with caps) hog the whole theme by jumping in first? Please see the WP:TITLE policy. Tony (talk) 06:48, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

(Out Dent) I'd support that- a move to C…M…E… (Railway) or similar, and a generic C…m…e… Ning-ning (talk) 10:18, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

In the words Chief Mechanical Engineer, there isn't the slightest shadow of a proper noun.
--Nnemo (talk) 21:35, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per User: Redrose64. It is an established convention in this case, the right thing to do here, irrespective of what may be right elsewhere. Style manuals etc. may be lacking sufficient subtlety to understand this one. I would have difficulty explaining logically why it is right, but I do know that insisting blindly on consistency does not always provide the best answer. Oh, and I have not been canvassed, I got here under my own steam. Globbet (talk) 10:27, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Oh, are you from the UK Rail WProject too? I really don't think that counts. And if it's too subtle for you, how can you have made up your mind? Ning-ning, chief mechanical engineers do work in industries aside from railways, so your proposal won't do, I'm afraid. Tony (talk) 11:24, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
No I am not, so perhaps it does. If you read, I said it's too subtle for the style manuals, not for me. Globbet (talk) 01:40, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment The notice posted at WP:TWP meets the requirements for neutrality and does not fall foul of WP:CANVASS. Mjroots (talk) 11:34, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
It might well, but the title is unacceptable by the WP:TITLE policy, because it pre-empts a generic term. It will have to be changed to something more specific, and even then, it's doubtful whether the caps can remain. Mjroots, are you going to change all of the occupations to caps? There are thousands of them. I'd like an answer, because you can't have it both ways. Tony (talk) 11:38, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
It meets WP:Title through WP:CAPS, Chief Mechanical Engineer is capitalized in the middle of a sentence, as has been shown above. Mjroots (talk) 14:13, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to set the record straight. I only noticed that this had gone to WP:RM because I have the page on my watchlist. Disagreeing with the proposal, I posted my opposition. at which point I noticed that mine was the first comment - some ten and a half hours after the proposal. Only then did I wonder who else might be aware: so I checked the contributions of the proposer, and could find no evidence of anybody or any WikiProject being advised of the move. I then checked the top of the talk page, and advised the only WikiProject mentioned: see here. Being very familiar with UK railway history, and of how "important" the CME of a pre-1948 railway is held to be, I decided to also inform WP:UKRAIL. This second notice may have been a violation of WP:CANVAS (but I'm certain that the first wasn't) and I invite advice as to where I fell foul. --Redrose64 (talk) 15:12, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Redrose, there was no violation of WP:Canvass. The subject of the discussion is germane to both TWP and its child project, UKT. The notice only informed that there was a discussion going on, and made no attempt to influence how a respondent should !vote in the discussion. Mjroots (talk) 18:32, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
  • You're still not answering the question: when will you begin the process of moving every occupation article to caps? Tony (talk) 14:32, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
    • Since there were never more than about 200 railway companies in the UK at any one time, and the typical CME would hold office until retirement (say 15-20 years, but 30+ years was not unknown), it's unlikely that there were "hundreds of thousands of them" (I have noted your use of "at a guess"). The comparison of the CME with such multi-person roles as garbage collectors, gate attendants, bicycle messengers, etc. is invalid. The CME of a railway company was not a generic job title, but a particular appointment, very high up the management ladder: he (they were all men) would head up the entire department. On some railways the CME reported to the Chief General Manager, who in turn reported to the Board; on others, the CME was responsible directly to the Board. No railway would have more than one CME at any one time, although as the current CME approached retirement, an Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer might be appointed for a few months to smooth the transition. --Redrose64 (talk) 16:07, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) When you show sources that capitalise every occupation in all uses, including the middle of a sentence. This discussion can be characterised by your saying "WP:CAPS and WP:TITLE say this shouldn't be capitalised", everybody else says that "normally we would agree with you, but this is an exception because...", and then you replying with "But WP:CAPS and WP:TITLE say this shouldn't be capitalised.". You're not going to convert anyone to your position until you explain why this article shouldn't be an exception, with reference to the reasons people are saying it should. What other articles are titled is not relevant - everybody understands what the style guidelines say, but they think this should be an exception. Thryduulf (talk) 16:18, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment - I think this article should be titled something like "List of chief mechanical engineers of British, Australian, and New Zealand railway companies". The article isn't about CMEs; it's a list of persons who have held a specific post in a specific industry. The name of the CME role should be lower case just as "king" in List of Assyrian kings (I know, there are plenty of violations - e.g. see Category:Lists of monarchs). According to MOS guidelines, titles such as military rank (General X), government posts (Governor X), noble titles (Duchess X) and job titles (Executive Director X, Chief Mechanical Engineer X) are capitalized when they come before a person's name but the same words when used as roles ("She is a general/governor/duchess/executive director/chief mechanical engineer.") are not. The usage here refers to the role of the persons being listed; "chief mechanical engineer" should "start with a capital letter only when followed by a person's name" (see WP:JOBTITLES).
Note: I came here after reading a posting on the talk page of Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters#When is something a proper noun? where Tony mentioned this discussion as an example of the issues being discussed there. Jojalozzo 16:26, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. whilst I agree with the nom, Jojalozzo has it about right about this article. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:48, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- This page describes something very specific, to a specific industry, and the capitalisation is appropriate as per common usage in references (and most appropriate for wikilinks from articles about CMEs). If at some stage in the future there becomes a need to describe what a 'chief mechanical engineer' is/does, then a page move might be needed, but I can't imagine that you couldn't describe a 'chief mechanical engineer' as anything other than the most senior 'mechanical engineer', so a sub-section of another article would be more appropriate. A Chief Mechanical Engineer is so much more than 'the most senior mechanical engineer'. -- EdJogg (talk) 13:15, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Then if it's specific to a specific industry, please name the article accordingly. Because of the redirect, it's currently impossible to start an article describing chief mechanical engineers as a generic class, which is what all of the related articles are about. Again, this violates WP:TITLE's insistence that related articles be named consistently. Tony (talk) 13:40, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, WP:TITLE insists on no such thing, the relevant part actually says: "In discussing the appropriate title of an article, "Nor does the use of a name in the title of one article require that all related articles use the same name in their titles; there is often some reason, such as anachronism, for inconsistencies in common usage." Also, the presence of a redirect does not prevent an article being written at that title (if it did we would not have the {{R with possibilities}} class of redirects, if/when such a generic article is written then the two articles can be linked via hatnotes. Thryduulf (talk) 23:44, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't understand your point. The article needs to free up the generic title for an article on the generic topic. This one can still keep the "Chief Mechanical Engineer" as a redirect, since there are a few link to that. But the article title needs to change to match what is in the article text, and that is clearly not about the generic topic: it seems to be a mish-mash list of a few historical chief mech. eng.s who work for railways in particular, in three countries. On what basis were these people selected? I still can't fathom the theme of the article, but it's not generic, and needs something in parentheses after it. Tony (talk) 02:06, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
    • Is there any non-railway context in which a chief mechanical engineer is encyclopaedically different from a (chief) (mechanical engineer)? I've not spent hugely long looking, but I'm not seeing anything that would support any thing more than a redirect to mechanical engineer. Thryduulf (talk) 10:01, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support—We defer to reliable sources for verifying information, but not necessarily bad capitalization. We don't write Chief Executive Officer, Janitor, Lawyer, Doctor of Medicine, etc. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:47, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
    I'll note also that WP:Job titles is pretty clear; this should be lower case. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:53, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - per WP:Job titles Jojalozzo 17:13, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support – given that 6 of the first 10 book hits on this search use lowercase, it's clearly a stylistic choice. And WP style is to not over-capitalize. Dicklyon (talk) 01:13, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
    • I just clicked that search results link and got 7:3 in favour of "Chief Mechanical Engineer". --Redrose64 (talk) 13:21, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
      • Link reveals, in lower case, two US engineers from private builders (Alco and Eames), a French engineer, a British Rail engineer, then a South African Chief mechanical engineer, and a typo about Stanier (Chief mechanical engineer). Otherwise in caps. Note the Ugandan CME. Ning-ning (talk) 14:24, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
        • Yes, it can be tricky to count book hits. The snippets prefer to show titles, so tend to show title case; you have to actually click and look to see if the same text contains a lower-case version in sentence context. I did that, and got 60% lower case; but even if it were 30%, that's clear evidence that the job title is not uniformly considered a proper noun. Even if you restrict to just British rail companies you can find some lower case (here's one [1], a British magazine talking about an individual, "British Rail's chief mechanical engineer"). Yes, styles vary, and British rail companies more often use upper case, but that's hardly a reason to warp WP style to do so. Dicklyon (talk) 20:31, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
          • And using "railway" instead of "railroad" (as per the original search) gives another set of results, biased towards Chief Mechanical Engineer. Ning-ning (talk) 20:49, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
            • I'd also like to point out that during the British Railways/British Rail period, the title "Chief Mechanical Engineer" (or lowercase) wasn't used much: whilst the four pre-1948 railways each had a CME, the nationalised British Railways divided the responsibilities of the erstwhile CMEs among three men: R.A. Riddles was appointed member of the Railway Executive for mechanical and electrical engineering ... R.C. Bond as chief officer (Locomotive Construction and Maintenance) and E.S. Cox as Executive Officer (Design) - Gilbert, P.T.; Chancellor, P.J. (1994). Taylor, R.K., ed. A Detailed History of British Railways Standard Steam Locomotives - Volume One: Background to Standardisation and the Pacific Classes. Lincoln: RCTS. p. 15. ISBN 0 901115 81 9.  Using "British Rail" within a search query is not likely to turn up much. --Redrose64 (talk) 21:25, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose I suggest that the historical unique job office stays under this name, if someone has material to write an article about the generic job position, then it should be placed under chief mechanical engineer (currently a redirect). An example of this: the generic position of chief scientist versus the specific unique office of NASA Chief Scientist. Another one: generic science advisor versus unique White House Science Advisor.
WP:Job titles also says "The correct formal name of an office can be treated as a proper noun, (...)." This article appears to be about the specific office of British Railway Chief Mechanical Engineer, and about the specific offices historically derived from it. It also says "Exceptions may apply for specific offices", but I see no explanations of why this specific position needs an exception. And proper nouns are capitalized in wikipedia (WP:MOSCAP).
Looking at Dicklyon's book search, I must be getting different results, because most books use upper case. Ngrams also shows that most books use the capitalized form[2]. Of those that use lowercase in Dicklyon's search, three deal with American positions[3][4][5], which are not derived from the British historical office.
Also, all opposers (except me) seem to work regularly in train-related articles and wikiprojects, and they are bound to be familiar with how job titles are treated in railway literature. None of the supporters seems to have worked in this area. Note for the closing admin: The last three supporters appeared shortly after not-very-neutral canvassing in three different pages of the Manual of Style by the person who opened the request "Now, the railways editors really care about the notion of chief mechanical engineers—in good faith, like the wider phenomenon of corporate and professional upping of importance via capitalisation—but where will it all end? They descended on the RM and !voted en masse against downcasing. (...) Why must this one stick out? And is it hogging the name-space of the generic article that probably should/will be created on chief mechanical engineers? " here, here and here. --Enric Naval (talk) 14:40, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
I think it's kind of silly to call a post pointing to a discussion like this fom WT:MOSCAPS canvassing. Also please note wp:LOCALCONSENSUS: "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. For instance, unless they can convince the broader community that such action is right, participants in a WikiProject cannot decide that some generally accepted policy or guideline does not apply to articles within its scope." ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:40, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
So what is the mechanism for "convincing the broader community"? 4,000 individual messages stating the case? Ning-ning (talk) 19:41, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
I would suggest WT:MOSCAPS, since it is the talk page of the guideline that you would like to change. I could be wrong, but I don't think such an effort will have much success. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 22:36, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
“And proper nouns are capitalized in wikipedia (WP:MOSCAP).”
Like in this sentence, hmm ? ;-)
--Nnemo (talk) 22:40, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There is no need to change the guide lines. This requested move is being made by partially quoting the relevant guidelines. Not quoting the whole of the guideline (see WP:Job titles). What the guide lines state is:

"Offices, positions, and job titles such as president, king, emperor, pope, bishop, abbot, executive director are common nouns and therefore start with a capital letter only when followed by a person's name, in other words when they have become part of the name: "President Nixon", not "president Nixon". When used generically, they should be in lower case: "Mitterrand was the French president" or "There were many presidents at the meeting."

The correct formal name of an office can be treated as a proper noun, so it is correct to write "Louis XVI was the French king" or "Louis XVI was King of France". Exceptions may apply for specific offices.

In the case of a compound word such as "prime minister" or "chief executive officer", either all parts begin with a capital letter or none (except at the beginning of a sentence).

Capitalize styles of nobility: "Her Majesty" or "His Highness"."

Of relevance is: "In the case of a compound word such as "prime minister" or "chief executive officer", either all parts begin with a capital letter or none (except at the beginning of a sentence).", so when used as a compound word, Chief Mechanical Engineer and chief mechanical engineer are both permissible, unless they occur at the beginning of a sentence. Pyrotec (talk) 22:59, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Right, so it should be lowercase. I don't understand what part you think I missed? The 2nd to last sentence just says that if there is a compound that should be capitalized, then you capitalize each word, it doesn't undo or contradict the rest of the guideline. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 03:53, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Just a note here, your interpretation of this clause suggests that it might be ok to capitalize a job title just because it is a compound word. That is absurd; this clause is just here to make it clear that when it is appropriate to capitalize a compound title, you don't just capitalize the first word. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:43, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm pleased to read that you regard my interpretation as absurd, many of your fellow travellers are not so scrupulous. I did not say that is is "OK to capitalize a job title just because it is a compound word". Those are your words. Let's ignore the "(except at the beginning of a sentence)": I'm not arguing about it, are you? It states "either all parts begin with a capital letter or none"; so there are two possible choices e.g. "prime minister" and "Prime Minister". As far as I can see, by what is being written on this talkpage and what is being done in the article, every occurrence of "Chief Mechanical Engineer" and similar is being changed to "chief mechanical engineer" (full stop). Interestingly, this episode started off as a request to change the title of the article from "Chief Mechanical Engineer" to "Chief mechanical engineer" and, because of disagreements, it then became a criticism of the scope of the article with a suggestion that it should become (say) "Chief mechanical engineer (railways in Britain, Austria, New Zealand, Spain and France)", then it became detailed criticism of the article, its lead, individual statements in the article, claims of canvassing by WP:UK rail, a very far from neutral canvassing of WP:CAPS and WP:TITLES and now criticisms of individual editors (read this talkpage) as well as the "UK rail buffs" as a whole. We who don't want your unthinking "lower case without exception" really do seem to have got the "lower case" follow travellers rattled. Pyrotec (talk) 17:28, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm glad you didn't mean to suggest that it is "OK to capitalize a job title just because it is a compound word". But now I just don't know why you brought up this clause. Nobody is suggesting "Chief mechanical engineer" or "Chief Mechanical engineer" in running text, are they? We're discussing Chief Mechanical Engineer vs. chief mechanical engineer. The clause you quoted has nothing whatsoever to do with that question, so I am confused. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 18:44, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
If I'm talking (say) about the (British) Great Western Railway in 1847 I might say "in shorthand" that the Chief Mechanical Engineer and the General Manager had a disagreement over .... I'm usually talking about a specific day (or month) (and year) and a specific railway so there is only one General Manager and one Chief Mechanical Engineer and I probably know their real names but I might not have written them down in that sentence. One side is saying those are just job titles so the "the chief mechanical engineer and the general manager disagreed..." I find that intuitively wrong, in the context I've outlined "the Chief Mechanical Engineer and the General Manager disagreed....". Also, I'm using "Royal Engineer" as shorthand for "Corps of Royal Engineers" and no it has to be "royal engineer". My answer is "Bull Shit", I can't understand way it has to be either "Corps of Royal Engineers" or "royal engineer" and not "Royal Engineer" - its a proper name of a specific kind of soldier/officer not a job title. Neither can I understand why your fellow travellers state: if you want to do that you've got to get the WP: MOS changed and you've got no hope in hell of any such change. Pyrotec (talk) 19:50, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Ah, I see! Well, regarding using "Chief Mechanical Engineer" as shorthand for "Chief Mechanical Engineer Smith", I guess I don't have an informed opinion about that; you have a point. But to be clear, that is not what is under discussion; the title of this article is not such a shorthand, right? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 20:11, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for such an illuminating question. Unfortunately, it's no longer that black and white. This section was (is) about a move of page from Chief Mechanical Engineer to Chief mechanical engineer but its also being used as an argument over Caps and titles. There is a separate section Talk:Chief Mechanical Engineer#Capitalization of "Chief Mechanical Engineer" and "Locomotive Superintendent" below where we are having the same arguments over caps and titles within the article and it is linked to a Request for Comment. The short answer to your question is that my rant is in the wrong section, it should go into the other one. Pyrotec (talk) 20:34, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
In the chief mechanical engineer, you don't need to capitalize to mean that there is only one. The definite article the says that we know the one we are speaking about. Contrary to a chief mechanical engineer.
--Nnemo (talk) 21:58, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I clicked on the capitals link in your ngram, and found that many of the results in the search for "Chief Mechanical Engineer" use lower case in running text. You are doing something wrong; please see Dicklyon's comment for more tips on doing google searches. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 04:02, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
    Ngrams is case sensitive, but actual Google searches are case insensitive, both links will give you the exact same search results, with both capitalizations on it. I already knew all those tips, thank you. --Enric Naval (talk) 07:31, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
    If a source has the phrase in the title, where it is capitalized, and also in running text, where it is not, then how will that be counted on the ngram? thanks, ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:31, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
    Since they are treated as different "n-grams", that book would be counted twice, once as using capitalized and once as using not-capitalized. But, what percentage of books has this problem? You need books that both a) use "chief mechanical engineer" in a section titles or chapter title, and b) use the uncapitalized form in the running text. --Enric Naval (talk) 18:49, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
    Each n-gram will be counted as many times as it occurs; it's counting n-grams, not books. Dicklyon (talk) 03:37, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
    You are right, I should have read better their research paper "Usage frequency is computed by dividing the number of instances of the n-gram in a given year by the total number of words in the corpus in that year." [6] (free registration required). --Enric Naval (talk) 11:35, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Redrose64. This is a well-known job title which is capitalised in the literature. Lamberhurst (talk) 09:22, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
    It doesn't seem to be capitalized overwhelmingly in the literature. Why not be consistent with the rest of Wikipedia? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:31, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
    I strongly suspect that it depends on the date of the literature. There are British contemporary reports from the 1840s (some now on Google Books and other archives) which use contemporary spellings such as Chief Mechanical Engineer and there are also British books from the 1990s covering the same period of railway history that use modern spellings (e.g. wikipedia MOS) such as chief mechanical engineer. I'm using both; and both of these sets of literature can be regarded as Reliable Source, so potential arguments over which are RS and which are not really don't apply; similarly, as they are British-English, potential arguments over British-English / American-English don't apply either. Pyrotec (talk) 16:50, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
    WP:MOS should not be used to re-write history so that it conforms to Wiki practice; WP:IAR applies equally here. I have copies of histories of railway companies from the 1890s to the late 1980s. I'm checking each one but so far none use CME in its uncapitalised form. In fact, I would add that all job titles are, by custom in this area, capitalised, e.g. District Loco Superintendent, Assistant Traffic Manager and Loco Running Superintendent. Lamberhurst (talk) 20:16, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
There's no problem capitalizing all job titles, if that's your style. But it's not Wikipedia's style. At least now we know that most books aren't treating this particular job title as special. Dicklyon (talk) 22:57, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Both capitalized and uncapitalized versions appear in the literature, so we can select the one consistent with our style. I see no basis to treat this title differently then chief executive officer, chief financial officer, or custodian. Kauffner (talk) 10:39, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • There are very good reasons for giving a different treatment, and they have been explained above. Those articles are about general job types, while this article is about a specific unique historical office in a specific type of company. And it is capitalized in the relevant literature. --Enric Naval (talk) 11:43, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • And, as pointed out by me and others, the capitalized form is quite more frequent in the literature than the non-capitalized one. --Enric Naval (talk) 18:09, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
"Quite more frequent" by only about a 2:1 margin is not really evidence of it being a proper name. If independent British railway magazines like this one and this one use lower case, it suggests that the companies' attempt to pump up the prestige by referring to the job in upper case had not really been accepted by the wider field of writers. Dicklyon (talk) 05:43, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Did you take into account that some of the uncapitalized occurrences will be for the generic position? Also, cherry picking magazines that support your position, while ignoring history books that don't. --Enric Naval (talk) 14:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
It's interesting to play around with the variables- British English and a smoothing of 20 gives quite a different result to American English. Bear in mind that the texts appear to be OCR versions, with errors- one experiment I did with it revealed that the name of a type of fish had been "corrected" to a common insult. Ning-ning (talk) 21:29, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Not a single reference

In any case, the article cannot survive without verification. Can anyone assist on that count? Tony (talk) 11:29, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

There seem to be a few references that could be used in the above move discussion. Maybe a google would also produce some references. Mjroots (talk) 11:37, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm talking about the entire article text. It will need to be deleted if adequate referencing cannot be found. Tony (talk) 11:39, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks to the editor who has added references to some of the claims. The article is still weird:

  1. there's no proper lead,
  2. there's no justification of the claim that it's just UK, Australian, and NZ railways that use the term chief mechanical engineer among all railways, and no explanation of the fact that the term is used in many industries,
  3. the examples don't seem to relate to the title either—is it List of chief mechanical engineers of UK, Australian, and NZ railways?

It just doesn't seem to have any proper theme or logical flow. Tony (talk) 14:52, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

I would have added more source citations, but my internet connection yesterday failed for most of the day. I'll try to get back to add more and see how much more improvement I can add this week. Slambo (Speak) 10:59, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
This article is not supposed to be just a list of CMEs. If you look carefully, the text says 'Here are some examples:'. I don't think this list needs expanding (it could be argued it is already too long). What is missing from the article is the description of what a CME actually is and its significance (as explained by several respondents above). As you would be able to tell from many references 'CME' was an extremely important role within a (UK) railway company, to the extent that the history of the larger companies is related in eras corresponding to the CME at the time (not the General Manager or any particular director). THAT is why we are placing such significance on this matter.
As for renaming the article, the present title is the most appropriate use as a wikilink from the articles of the many CMEs described in Wikipedia. When there is another article about some other kind of "chief mechanical engineer" (generic job title), then we can consider moving the article, but there is no problem at present (and I can't really see there being such a generic article written, any more than I would expect to see one about a "senior software engineer").
EdJogg (talk) 13:07, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

WP's article naming policy and style guide

British Rail might well employ a grade of "Toilet Cleaner" on their payroll, and may well capitalise the item in their HR literature. But that is not a normal use of what is a common noun. "Chief" makes no difference to the capitalisation (unless royalty is at issue—is it?). As soon as the plural of the article title makes sense, it becomes generic. So "John Smith, Chief Mechanical Engineer (British Rail)" is fine, especially as his name precedes it. Chief Mechanical Engineers, like those listed in this weird article, is not.

Wikipedia:Article titles says titles should "follow the same pattern as those of similar articles" (see the category cited above). It also says "titles usually use names and terms that are precise ... , but only as precise as necessary to identify the topic of the article unambiguously. For technical reasons, no two Wikipedia article titles can be identical". This article appears to concern chief mechanical engineers employed by a small subset of all railway companies. It does not concern chief mechanical engineers in general (e.g., those who work on ferries, or at airports, or power stations). Thus, something needs to appear in the title in parentheses, as well as the downcasing.

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization) says "For page titles, always use lowercase after the first word, and do not capitalize second and subsequent words, unless the title is a proper noun. For multiword page titles, one should leave the second and subsequent words in lowercase unless the title phrase is a proper noun that would always occur capitalized, even in the middle of a sentence." (Boldface in orig.) So, how many chief mechanical engineers (or station cleaners) are there in the word?

It goes on to say: "Outside Wikipedia, and within certain specific fields (such as medicine), the usage of all-capital terms may be a proper way to feature new or important items. However these cases are typically examples of buzzwords, which by capitalization are (improperly) given featured status."

The article proper noun, referred to at the preceding policy page, says that "a proper noun or proper name is a noun representing a unique entity (such as London, Jupiter, John Hunter, or Toyota), as distinguished from a common noun, which represents a class of entities (or nonunique instance[s] of that class)—for example, city, planet, person or corporation)." Tony (talk) 03:14, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes, and? We're already discussing the title of this article in the section above that you started. Thryduulf (talk) 11:15, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Now there's an Argentinian in the "examples" ...

The lead says British, Australian, and New Zealand; where will it stop? Why is the lead now dissonant with the scope of the examples. And why is the article 98% examples and hardly a thing about what chief mechanical engineers do? Why is it railway-focused, when the scope doesn't appear in the article name? Tony (talk) 16:36, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Well if you know anything about railways you would know the answer. Perhaps of more importance is when will you stop your diatribe?critical reviewes? Pyrotec (talk) 22:15, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Please note the WP:NPA policy: accusing someone of mounting a diatribe when they are merely participating in an unfolding debate is a personal attack. Would you like to withdraw the word? Tony (talk) 02:08, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I did consider replacing diatribe with a synonym (or a phrase) and I got both a dictionary and a dictionary of synonyms/antonyms out to try and find something suitable. But, Really, why should I when you choose make specific comments below: "Good that someone's expanding it: I'm still not clear about where the theme will end up though—it's like watching a short story in the writing, when the writer has no idea of the story arc and works it out on the run."? I do happen to know the story arc, but what I don't have is all the citations to hand. I'm not going to add uncited material to the article just to enable you to add further disparaging comments/participate in the unfolding debate (take your pick). I've all in favour of assuming good faith but it does work both ways, e.g. from your viewpoint you assume good faith but I/we don't (from our/my review point I tend to see the exact opposite). Perhaps this is a language problem rather than personal attacks. Pyrotec (talk) 19:49, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I decided in the end to change it to critical review. I have better things to do with my time than get into a digression of personal attacks: its hardly a productive use of editors' time. Pyrotec (talk) 10:15, 11 September 2011 (UTC)