Talk:French corvette Prony

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Pronouns[edit]

Per WP:SHIPPRONOUNS, either "she" or "it" is acceptable when referring to ships, but each article should remain internally consistent. This article currently uses "she", but I think it would be better if it used "it", for the following reason: Because this article does not have an image or much context in the lead, to a reader who doesn't know the word "corvette" (like me), it looks like it's about a person rather than a ship. To avoid causing this confusion to any future readers, I'm going to change the pronouns used in the article. —Mr. Granger (talk · contribs) 18:46, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

@Mr. Granger: - thank you for starting this discussion. It is good that you have done so, but the convention is that such changes are not made without discussion and achieving WP:CONSENSUS. I oppose such change, and would ask that you revert your edit whilst consensus is formed. Should you achieve such consensus, the you may remake the edit. Mjroots (talk) 19:05, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that your reasoning is sufficiently strong. True, the article doesn't have an image and I agree that it's pretty much a stub, but corvette is linked; second lede sentence says: "[She] was lost after running aground ..." – not something people normally do; and the third sentence in the lede uses the term 'vessel'. I think that you should revert to the form chosen by the original editor(s).
Trappist the monk (talk) 19:09, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. Of course you're right that there is enough evidence in the article to determine, upon careful reading, that the subject is a vessel rather than a person—otherwise I would never have been able to figure that out at all. My point is that at first glance, the article looked to me like it was about a person, with phrases like "She was lost" and the statement that Prony was planning on "observing" Union activity. When the first-glance impression is that Prony is a person, it is jarring to see phrases like "running aground" and confusing to see the word "vessel". I experienced this confusion, so it is reasonable to think that other readers might have the same experience in the future.
The MOS allows either convention, and as far as I can tell, there's no reason to prefer "she" in this particular article, whereas there is a reason to prefer "it", to avoid the confusion that I've just described. —Mr. Granger (talk · contribs) 19:25, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't see any grounds for confusion at all. The title of the article "French corvette Prony", which doesn't in any way sound like the name of a person. And if one were to read even the first sentence of the article, any conceivable minute chance of confusion would disappear immediately. No reason for changing the pronoun use. Manxruler (talk) 10:56, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
That may be true for someone like you who's familiar with military history, but I can tell you with certainty that there are readers for whom reading the first sentence of the article would not dispel the confusion—I am one of those readers. I read the first sentence and briefly skimmed the rest of the article, and because I didn't know the word "corvette", it was not at all clear to me that the article was about a vessel.
On a more careful reading, of course, I was able to figure that out, and presumably any other reader could too, regardless of which pronoun is used. But in my opinion, Wikipedia should strive to avoid confusion and be as understandable as possible to as many readers as possible, even if they're only skimming or reading a short part of an article. —Granger (talk · contribs) 11:33, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
  • If any of you still oppose the change to "it", could you please explain why you think "she" is preferable for this article in particular? —Granger (talk · contribs) 02:04, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Why not call it the "Prony"? Adamdaley (talk) 02:06, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
There's clearly not consensus for the proposed change. And the reasons have been explained above, by three different editors. "She" works just fine, and no sufficient reason has been presented for a change from the established style. Personal opinions are not sufficient reason.Manxruler (talk) 08:03, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
@Manxruler: I'm not saying that I don't like it. I'm saying that it was confusing to me when I encountered the article. To be honest, it sounds like you are using an WP:IDONTLIKEIT argument—none of you have given any reason why you think "she" is better. —Granger (talk · contribs) 11:24, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
In any case, I agree that it looks unlikely that a pronoun change will achieve consensus. So here's an alternate proposal for making the article less confusing: would it be acceptable to rephrase the beginning of the article to make it more obvious that it's not about a person? Something like "The Prony was a French Navy corvette during the American Civil War era, which was lost after running aground in stormy weather off Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina around 4 am on 5 November 1861." (Pinging User:Trappist the monk and User:Mjroots for their opinions as well.) —Granger (talk · contribs) 13:24, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
WP:SHIPNAME suggests that the definite article 'the' should not precede a ship name. Except that I would leave off the initial 'The', change 'which' to 'that' and end the sentence at North Carolina, I have no objections to your rephrase. I might even simplify it to this:
Prony was a French Navy corvette during the American Civil War that ran aground and was lost off Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina.
Trappist the monk (talk) 14:20, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Trappist's simplification. Mjroots (talk) 15:41, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the support. I'll go ahead and make the change using Trappist's wording. —Granger (talk · contribs) 16:31, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it looks fine. Manxruler (talk) 17:14, 8 September 2014 (UTC)