Talk:Li (surname)

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Untitled[edit]

top importance: stated as the most common surname on earth --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 20:24, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

There is a proposal to create a precedent that names are not encyclopedic. Articles about names regularly show up on various deletion pages and are summarily deleted. Perhaps - since you've been working on an article about a name, you hold a different opinion that you'd like to express. Please do: Wikipedia:Deletion policy/names and surnames SchmuckyTheCat 17:05, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Chinese Name[edit]

Don't you think it's better to put a person's Chinese name in each name written, like Ang Lee, could it be like this?

A-yao 04:33, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Lee & Li[edit]

I removed this somewhat obscure passage:

There is also another legend that the surname Li is actually a branch from the Lee surname due to a rebellion. There is evidence of a once great war, located in the outlying Lee villages. Weapons and armour can be found lying scattered across the fertile rice fields. Upon these items is the emblem of 'Lee' and 'Li'. The local villagers say that according to folklore, the Li were inevitably crushed by the superior skills and numbers of the Lee.

It somehow makes the assupmtion that Lee's and Li's are separate identities: these are transliterations and nothing more, so when referring to a war between two different Li's, then please use Chinese characters. As it stands here it's pretty nonsensical. JREL (talk) 13:38, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Fork[edit]

This article was forked into Li (李). Please discuss cleanup on that article's talk page. -- Robocoder (t|c) 05:08, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I see there are two other forks of this article. Therefore, I've converted this article to a dab page. -- Robocoder (t|c) 20:57, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguation Page[edit]

Shouldn't this be a disambiguation page? These are distinct names in Chinese, and the fact that English phonetics isn't robust enough to distinguish between them doesn't have anything to do with that.--Isaac R (talk) 22:21, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Related article naming discussions[edit]

Several pages were resorted and redirect and renamed, so the discussion of that occurred at what is now called Talk:Li (surname meaning "profit") -- 65.94.79.6 (talk) 07:09, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

There has been a sudden batch of controversial merges and moves. See Talk:Li (surname meaning "profit"). In ictu oculi (talk) 09:43, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

The recent discussion at Talk:Li (surname meaning "profit") draws the conclusion that we look for other solutions than using Chinese characters in article titles. Li Surname (郦), Li Surname (理) and Li Surname (莉) are recently created non-notable stubs written in poor English by a now-blocked user, whose creation of these articles was deemed disruptive editing, and there is little salvageable material. These should be merged to this umbrella article unless deemed independently notable. --Rob Sinden (talk) 09:51, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Also including Li (surname meaning "chestnut") and Li (surname meaning "whetstone") as these were created under the same auspices. --Rob Sinden (talk) 08:10, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
What is this? As above these moves and merges are already being discussed at Talk:Li (surname meaning "profit") together with previous discussion. In ictu oculi (talk) 09:58, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
That's the wrong place for this merger discussion. I already said that we should centralise here. --Rob Sinden (talk) 10:07, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
(Further reply at tail of original discussion) Re "already" - for the record the section on the batch of undiscussed merges and moves was opened at Talk:Li (surname meaning "profit") 09:25, 3 July 2013‎. User:Robsinden responded by "saying" discuss here Talk:Li (surname) 09:36, 3 July 2013, and then placing merge tags directing here at 09:45, 09:46, 09:47. In ictu oculi (talk) 10:18, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Close this discussion. Copy the existing discussion over to this page instead. You can use a {{moved discussion to}} / {{moved discussion from}} to indicate that the discussion was transferred. (The Requested Move should also be moved over, to provide context.) -- 65.94.79.6 (talk) 10:34, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
No - this is the proper place for this discussion, as it relates to merging specific articles to this article. The other discussion is mentioned above for reference. --Rob Sinden (talk) 10:39, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Merge or delete - I tagged the issues - are they even notable topics, even if put together? Without some WP:RS, what's to merge? This just looks like a mess that's worth starting again. Quite some disruption considering all the moot points above, articles should be based on RS, and incubated or userified until then. All seems a bit WP:DEADHORSE. Widefox; talk 12:16, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment – Agree with Widefox. Given the length of my editing to-do list, this issue is of such a low priority that I should just ignore it, as my mind went numb trying to make sense of the prior RM discussion, but since Rob asked me for further input, I'll add this. Look at Rose (name), a typical English-language dab "article" on "Rose (name meaning a type of flower)". Note from the languages links in the left margin that there are about ten interlanguage links including French and German, but none to Chinese. If someone could point me to a typical English-language name dab "article" that does have a Chinese interlanguage link, I'd like to see it. Also wondering if there are any notable Chinese who have English-language articles, but do not have romanized names, so we are forced to use their Chinese-character names to identify them. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:05, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
Good point, although WP:OTHERSTUFF applies. Fine to have any articles based on WP:RS, just can't make sense of it without RS. Even WP:SIAs such as Rose (name) need RS as per any list, (else we have a loophole for any random content). Widefox; talk 13:28, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your input, although I think you're looking at the wider scope for other "Li" surnames, rather than the three specific stub articles in question. We've already established that this is the "umbrella" article for all surnames romanised as "Li", so this discussion is to ascertain whether these three particular articles are notable enough to warrant a page of their own, or merely a mention here. --Rob Sinden (talk) 13:39, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Merge, largely per User:Widefox and my comments at the other discussion. I had also been essentially arguing against the individual notability of these names, especially in the English Wikipedia. I think that a merge is the best way to go, to create an article discussing the English surname Li, with that article still outlining the potential etymological differences in these identical-in-English surnames.  — TORTOISEWRATH 18:41, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Merge stubs with no discrimination against future splits Being the English Wikipedia does not mean we should only deal with an Anglocentric point of view, but I agree that for the time being we must be realistic and merge stubs that couldn't stand alone. Leave the big surnames like Li (surname meaning "plum") alone. _dk (talk) 19:18, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

*Delete zh:郦姓 - after seeing the rush of plain WP:INCOMPETENT comments above (exception dk) we should go there and delete the surname zh:郦姓 from Chinese wikipedia as well. After all if we're going to make a complete mess of Chinese surnames on en.wp we should go and mess up the names on Chinese wikipedia too. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:40, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

(ec) I wouldn't be so quick to proclaim Anglocentric or incompetence when it may be ignorance due to lack of RS. Add sources! Be aware of the irony of labelling editors by quoting WP:INCOMPETENT: "It does not mean we can label people as incompetent. For example, we do not say "You are incompetent because you don't know anything about the subject of this article. ... So if WP:COMPETENCE applies to an editor, it is usually not appropriate to tell them so." Widefox; talk 01:18, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
  • do nothing - lets let other discussions play out. There's no urgency here. Lets evolve an idea of what li (surname) should be and what it should contain, then merges or splits can be done later. This discussion right now only serves to fracture debate. Better let 1000 flowers bloom then collect them later if needed. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 05:20, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Questions:
User:Widefox. On what basis is zh:郦姓 not notable? Do you think there are not enough sources? What constitutes enough?
User:Wbm1058, same question. (in answer to "also wondering if there are any notable Chinese who have English-language articles, but do not have romanized names, so we are forced to use their Chinese-character names to identify them? - no, because those are articles about people so Andrew Lih could have "(writer)" added if there were two Andrew Lih not Andrew Lih (surname 郦). Second question, please clarify what "Given the length of my editing to-do list, this issue is of such a low priority" has to do with it? You are not the only editor available to edit these articles; there are plenty of WP:CHINA editors who can and will work on these articles unless they are prevented. In ictu oculi (talk) 01:10, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
User:TortoiseWrath, you mention "notability" and "English", so what does Wikipedia:Notability say about English sources? In ictu oculi (talk) 01:04, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Re: zh:... We're going round in circles, I seem to remember mentioning WP:OTHERSTUFF (also see WP:INN). About any sources there, yes, great!...didn't I right at the beginning ask for translation of non-English sources, which is per WP:NOENG . Widefox; talk 01:37, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't read or speak Chinese, so cannot assess zh:郦姓 for notability, as I don't know what that says. Alas, Chrome doesn't even offer to translate it. zh:Andrew Lih isn't a good example of what I was asking, as the Chinese article clearly has (Andrew Lih) (romanized name, not parenthetical disambiguation, I assume). Better example is zh:王鐘銘, which doesn't show an English name...oops, I see from the inter language link that he does have a romanized name, it's Chung-Ming Wang. So, every Chinese name can be romanized? The problem is that a dozen or more different Chinese names all romanize to the same English name "Li"? Why is that? Are they all pronounced the same, but just written differently in Chinese? I'm sure that WP:CHINA editors are more able and inclined to work on these than I am. I'm not sure who the intended readership of these articles is, just other WP:CHINA editors, or the rest of us too? I see Li (surname) seems to be a name disambiguation page that kind of answers my questions. Does that link to all the other "Li surname" articles? Do each of the "Li surname" articles hatnote back to Li (surname)? Hmm, this is interesting: I've found what appears to be a "Jimmy" disambiguation here: zh:吉米. I suppose that if the Chinese disambiguate with English, then it should be OK for English to dab with Chinese. Wbm1058 (talk) 03:12, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Close this discussion before it becomes a huge mess and bureaucratic nightmare. The discussion began on Talk:Li (surname meaning "profit"), and is still ongoing there. What we should avoid having is two different discussions on the same thing, which may potentially end up with two different outcomes. In such a case, which outcome do we follow? We'd just end up with even more bickering. Moving a portion of the discussion over here makes things confusing - some people already involved in the discussion don't know where to go, et cetera. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 04:28, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
No, this is the place for this separate discussion which does not affect the "sub-page" Talk:Li (surname meaning "profit"). This is discussing some non-notable stubs. In fact, any future discussion on the surname "Li" should be centralised here. --Rob Sinden (talk) 05:37, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
TortoiseWrath seems to have different ideas about what this merge discussion should include than you do.[1]. If we go by his interpretation, then this discussion does affect the "subpage". _dk (talk) 06:20, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
We certainly don't want overlapping discussions. The merge to location (here) is the default location, but doesn't have to be. Widefox; talk 07:47, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, these shouldn't be overlapping discussions. This is not about what to do about disambiguation as a whole, this is about three recently created non-notable stubs by a now blocked user. This merge should be a no-brainer. --Rob Sinden (talk) 07:53, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Make that five - Li (surname meaning "chestnut") and Li (surname meaning "whetstone") were created at the same time. --Rob Sinden (talk) 08:12, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Indeed, Talk:Li (surname meaning "profit")#Summary of the dilemma has an interesting table of eight Li (surname)s. Can that table be incorporated into this article? We need a base Li (surname) article that gives a good overview of the big picture, to help totally unfamiliar non-Chinese speakers begin to get a grasp of these concepts character meaning, rank and tone. Wbm1058 (talk) 11:18, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
This discussion wasn't intended to include the wider pre-existing articles, just the merging of recently created nonsensical stubs by a recently-blocked user. It should have been a fait accompli, but my redirects were reverted. --Rob Sinden (talk) 11:24, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Totally support this location/thread for discussing the merger of the new articles only. Widefox; talk 15:53, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Merge all except Li (surname meaning "plum") to Li (surname) - Not notable by themselves and confusing to a non-Chinese reader to have so many pages on Li surnames. There must be enough of a consensus to merge, shouldn't someone be doing it by now? Hzh (talk) 19:00, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
    • Check the full discussion, which spans multiple pages. We are nowhere near anything that even closely resembles consensus, to do anything. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 03:56, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
This discussion is only for the merge (the others are irrelevant here), and since the majority of the contributors want to merge, and there has been silence for more than a week (over a month in fact) here, per guidelines, that is good enough to suggest a consensus on this topic. The other discussion will then only be simplified considerably.
I only just recently came across the activity of the user Bmotbmot responsible for the creation of many surname pages (I suspect some of the IP editors traced to Korea are the same person as well), tried to fix some of his edits, but others are too terrible to of any use, too time-consuming to fix and not of enough significance to spend time fixing them, for example Si (surname), someone should just do a wholesale deletion if they can't be merged. Hzh (talk) 20:57, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose! I think the only reasonable way is using Chinese character. I oppose any other alternatives.--刻意(Kèyì) 18:59, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

What would a merged article actually look like?[edit]

I thought it might help the discussion if people saw what a merged article might actually look like... so I have taken the liberty of drafting one in my user space.

Note... It isn't complete. I did not cut and pages all of the information that could go into it. I present my draft as a concept to be examined and discussed, and not as a final product.
I ask people not to edit my draft version... if you all find the concept and rough format acceptable, however, feel free to cut and paste it to another page... as a starter for a more complete article. Blueboar (talk) 15:49, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Thank you. To me this looks like a good starting point. Some obvious edits will be needed - pronunciations are not always different for example. The merged article isn't overly long and it is informative. We should bear in mind, though, that if the article is extended, it may be appropriate to break out separate articles for one or more of the surnames. That will take us back to the question of how to disambiguate, but I still feel sure that with good faith we can find acceptable, if not perfect, solutions. Itsmejudith (talk) 17:40, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Looks good to me.--Wikimedes (talk) 17:59, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Random break for convenience[edit]

This has already been said, but maybe examples will help explain the difference between a WikiProject Anthroponymy surname article and a WikiProject Disambiguation dab article:

(1) WP Anthroponymy articles by family history:

(2) WP Disambiguation pages by random sound:

Just as Burges, Burgiss, Burgis may change in Portuguese-Galician, Castillian, Occitan-Catalan etc, so Chinese surnames change by region, by time, and by competing romanization systems. See Unesco Journal of Information Science, Librarianship and Archives 1979 Page 178 "Thus, the family name Deng must not be confused with another family name, Teng. Wade-Giles system writes Deng as 'Teng', and Teng as 'Teng'. By omitting the aspiration mark (') as very often happened, the two family names were confused ..." etc. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:27, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

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. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved/no consensus. At the present time, the opposition to move this title seems clear per consensus; however, at the present time, there is a related RfC happening on this page that may have an effect on future move requests for this topic. (non-admin closure) Steel1943 (talk) 21:56, 23 November 2013 (UTC)



Li (surname)List of surnames spelled Li

  • These are separate names that are spelled the same way in the most prevalent romanization style. It would be good for the title to acknowledge this fact.
  • I propose that this become a set index article along the lines of Dodge Charger. From the linked set index article guideline: "A set index article is a list article about a set of items of a specific type that share the same (or similar) name". Also: "A set index article is meant for information as well as navigation: just like a normal list article, it can have metadata and extra information about each entry". This article seems to fit those criteria well. Wikimedes (talk) 04:22, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - although technically these are only List of surnames spelled Li in toneless English reduction of modern North Chinese pinyin, it's still an improvement from the present highly misleading title. In ictu oculi (talk) 08:43, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support: An improvement over the status quo. --benlisquareTCE 10:06, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:UE. If they have the same romanization, they're effectively the same name in English. --BDD (talk) 17:42, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Assume that your name is Barry, and your sister's name is Valey; does that mean that the two of you have "effectively the same name" in Japanese? --benlisquareTCE 17:49, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
Probably. Would they be different on, for example, a Japanese census? --BDD (talk) 18:38, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
That's a difficult question, since gaijin aren't allowed to naturalize unless they adopt a Japanese name (even if they marry a Japanese spouse), and even so, they wouldn't be permitted to the household register, which would exclude them from the census. Today, there are millions of ethnic Koreans in Japan, born in Japan (for many generations) and without North/South Korean citizenship, who do not officially have Japanese citizenship, and are not allowed to vote, or apply for certain jobs. (It's a backwards system, but this is coming from the country that closes its hospitals on weekends, shuts down bank ATMs after hours, and rarely accepts credit cards in most stores.) --benlisquareTCE 11:19, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I guess it depends on what the article is about. If it were about the surname Li among American immigrants, for example, then it would be the same name. It appears that some of the Chinese-speaking editors want articles about surnames in China, in which case they would be different names. It seems to me that one of the big points of contention boils down to whether we allow articles (or sections) on Chinese surnames in China on the English Wikipedia or whether there should only be articles on surnames as they would, say, appear on a Census in a country where English is the only (de facto) official language. (Or looked at from another angle, whether an article about the surname called Li in the English speaking world should be allowed or if the fact that the name Li derives from several different surnames in China means that an article on the surname Li should be prohibited.)--Wikimedes (talk) 19:40, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • The majority of American immigrants wouldn't have the surname "Li", though. During the 1800s, Chinese immigration to the United States predominantly came from towns and villages that were Teochew and Taishanese speaking. Any influx of people named "Li" would have happened during the 1980s and 1990s, following one the opening up of the PRC (and hence, Mandarin-speaking northerners, for the first time after the Chinese Exclusion Act), two following the introduction of the Hanyu Pinyin system (any earlier, and it would have been "Lih", under older systems). In that case, since you make the "American immigrant" argument, why should Mr. Lee with his (relatively) notable surname be grouped together with Mr. Lei with his (relatively) notable surname on Wikipedia, within one article? Why shouldn't they be allowed to have their own separate surnames? --benlisquareTCE 11:09, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't see any reason why they shouldn't have their own articles if they're notable and someone has actually taken the time to write up decent articles about them. I just read the articles and they look keepable, though if Lí (surname) is spelled Lai where it is most common, it should probably be named Lai. The Vietnamese surname Lê should probably have it's own article as well, instead of just a mention in Lí (surname), it being the fourth most common surname in Vietnam. It just takes someone with the interest, competence, and time to write it, which unfortunately rules out me. It would be nice to see a graph of how all these spellings and names relate. It would help to decide what the best way to present the information would be.--Wikimedes (talk) 06:54, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per BDD. No objection to treating the page as a set index article, but that doesn't require a title change. (Otherwise it would have to be List of things called Dodge Charger, which it isn't.) Dohn joe (talk) 18:54, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
BDD cited WP:UE which has nothing to say on the subject, the relevant guidelines for lists are at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists. As for the comparison of Chinese families to List of things called Dodge Charger, I expect to anyone interested in improving Wikipedia's anthroponymy articles that will not sound like a relevant or serious or helpful contribution. In ictu oculi (talk)
Um, the nom introduced the example of Dodge Charger. I simply used that example to show why a set index article doesn't need to start with "List of...", and why the current title could serve perfectly well as the title of a set index article. A comment entirely relevant, serious, and helpful, if you please. Dohn joe (talk) 17:42, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
UE doesn't specifically talk about Chinese surnames in English, no, but it still applies. These surnames are the same in English, and we use English. --BDD (talk) 17:16, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose move per BDD, and also per the reasons I opposed a similar move at Talk:Xu (surname). - WPGA2345 - 05:31, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I see no benefit to the longer title and no reason that various origins of the ENGLISH-language surname can't be discussed in the same article. olderwiser 16:48, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
As previous, no one supports all Springfields being discussed on one page. So someone please explain what then is the difference between a surname homonym and a city homonym? In ictu oculi (talk) 06:11, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
  • The Chinese Li surnames (黎, 李, 理, 里, 郦, 酈, 栗, 厉, 厲, 莉, 利) are often transcribed as 'Lee'. Which may bring in English surnames "Lee" of native British origin. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 08:02, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Not all of them, however. The most common one, 李, is commonly transcribed as "Lee" in the English language, due to historical immigration trends from certain dialect-speaking regions (and perhaps also from Korea, where it is either pronounced 리 ri, as in Ri Sol-ju or Lee Kwon-mu, or 이 i, as in Yi Sun-sin or Lee Jae-Dong, again depending on regional dialect). However, yes, there will be overlap with the English-origin name "Lee" (e.g. Tommy Lee Jones) as well. (One question though, is Leigh etymologically related to "Lee" by any chance, or are they of separate origin?) --benlisquareTCE 16:07, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
  • According to Lee (English surname) yes. According to houseofnames.com yes [2] [3]. According to the internet surname database yes [4] or maybe [5] (Lee is mentioned on the Leigh page, but Leigh is not mentioned on the Lee page). I found these sites in a Google search and can't speak to their reliability.--Wikimedes (talk) 19:12, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
It would be interesting to see how another Wikipedia handles two English names that get merged in its language. --BDD (talk) 20:13, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
I thought that was interesting as well, so I looked at "Jean", which has an entry in the Russian WP under "Джин". Interestingly, that article covers both the feminine name "Jean" and the masculine name "Gene". So very similar to what we do here - two names that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different etymologies in the native language are treated in one article because they have the same spelling in the foreign language. Dohn joe (talk) 20:52, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
How is this relevant to the RM Li (surname)List of surnames spelled Li ? In ictu oculi (talk) 23:24, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is an overview of surnames that are all romanised to the same surname "Li" in English, and as a set index article does not require a change of name. Maybe now is the time to adopt User:Blueboar's attempt to tidy up the article (at User talk:Blueboar/drafts - Li (surname)). Some of the support !votes seem WP:POINTY in the wake of the recent AfD and seem to want to prolong the same argument. --Rob Sinden (talk) 13:36, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • But they're not the same surname in English. In English, these surnames would be Lee, Lai, Lei, Ly and Lik. What on earth could you be talking about, Rob? --benlisquareTCE 14:15, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
No, they would/should be at Lee (surname), Lai (surname), Lei (surname), Ly (surname) and Lik (surname). --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:29, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Good that we agree on something. Start a WP:RM and move them. --benlisquareTCE 14:54, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
WP:TNT is the only solution I think. --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:57, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Feel free to use my draft at User talk:Blueboar/drafts - Li (surname) if will help. It was my attempt to bring order out of a chaotic topic. My goal was to come up with something that clearly explained the complexities of topic from both the oriental and the English perspective simultaneously. Keep our audience in mind... the average WP.en reader needs one single article that a) clearly illustrate how there are multiple oriental names that are written in English as "Li"... and (in that same article) b) illustrate that none of these names are consistently written in English as "Li" (each of these names can also be written as "Lee", "Ly" etc). To help our readers make sense out of all this complexity, I strongly feel that we need to present our discussion of these names in one single article... an article that will incorporate explanatory text, visual charts... and multiple lists of names. Blueboar (talk) 14:48, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree that this single article, and much of your draft, is a useful collection of information for readers. I also think it's OK for separate articles to be spun out if 1) They contain enough content that a summary would fit more comfortably into this article (e.g. Li (plum)), 2) Are independently notable (again Li (plum)), and 3) Are of sufficient quality to rise above WP:TNT (I believe there are a few at this point). Wikipedia is a big place.--Wikimedes (talk) 21:32, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per other commentators above, I see no reason change this. Sure, the different names have different Chinese origins but in English they are all considered one surname. Furthermore, this could occur just as easily in English - for example Jonny, a name with a number of derivations, but all of which converge into one English and and are treated in one article.  — Amakuru (talk) 18:15, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
User:Amakuru - "for example Jonny, a name with a number of derivations"? Are John and Jonathan really different names in Hebrew? Both are forms of Yohanan "YHWH gives" ...in contrast these family-names are usually Chinese warlord fiefs meaning totally different things, from different counties, with different character symbols and different origins. How is that comparable to Hebrew Yohanan/Yohanatan? In ictu oculi (talk) 08:07, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
@In ictu oculi: OK, point taken, but even if they were of different origins I would expect the name to reside under one umbrella. Without resorting too much to WP:OTHERSTUFF, I have found another example: Gill (name). This has two completely different etymologies, one from Europe and one from India. All this stuff can be explained within the relevant article, but that's not in itself a reason to split it. The point is that the majority of native English speakers would write (and indeed pronounce) names Li and Gill the same regardless of origin, and in my opinion would expect them to be found in one location. Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 10:59, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
That's simply a dab list. We have a separate surname article Shergill for clan Gill in India. How is a dablist comparable with a surname article? Also like Li Gill is only one variant, why would English speakers expect a Scottish name article and an Indian name article to be together? In ictu oculi (talk) 00:28, 21 November 2013 (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 or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

RFC regarding multiple Chinese surnames transliterated to the same surname in English[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.

Sorry about the two-month long wait, folks. (Speaking of which, any one, admin or not, is welcome to help out over at WP:ANRFC-- we need you!) I've read over a number of discussions to help contextualize this discussion: this AfD, and its DRV, this archived Article titles discussion, and a few of the archived discussions here. I do not have any particular expertise in Chinese, but I want to make clear that it's not particularly important for the closer to have such expertise to evaluate consensus here.

There were two questions brought up in this RfC:

  1. Should we have separate articles for each surname transliterated to Li, or a single umbrella article?
  2. In what manner should Chinese surnames be disambiguated?

The first question is a false dichotomy, since it's very possible to have an umbrella article with some individual surname articles. In fact, this was brought up frequently by several editors in this and previous discussions. As it happened, there was simply not a very strong case for either extreme. There are a handful of surnames which editors agreed are sufficiently notable to merit their own articles. At the same time, editors noted that readers would benefit from having a central article for which all of these surnames can be found (even if they are not all homonyms of each other), such as when a Li is encountered as a name in English-language news sources. Therefore, consensus was in favor of using both an umbrella article for the Li surnames in addition to individual articles on demonstrably notable surnames.

The second question was in regard to how to disambiguate the multiple Li surnames. Suggestions included tonality, Chinese character, character meaning, and the most common English transliteration of the particular name. We've established the most common transliteration in English sources for all of these names is Li, so the last option is unhelpful. Editors variously favored that tonality and meaning because they help us stick to English-only titles (i.e. from WP:UE: On the English Wikipedia, article titles are written using the English language.) The thing is, these names are in English, and Li (surname) isn't sufficient disambiguation here. In a way, WP:UE basically recommends that we next look at English-language sources that do disambiguate sources to see what systems are used (i.e the non-anglicized titles Besançon, Søren Kierkegaard, and Göttingen are used since they predominate in English language reliable sources...)

Arguments favoring meaning or tone did not demonstrate English-language sources that use such systems to disambiguate different Li surnames, even if these systems allow titles to remain in English. Obiwankenobi however, presented many reliable sources in English (that focus on discussion of Chinese names/history) that use the Chinese character to distinguish names. Use of the character is also supported by the notion that if readers are looking to find a specific surname, they are more likely to have access to the Chinese character compared to knowledge of tonality or the particular meaning of the word. Furthermore, some surnames' meanings are disputed, complicated, or ambiguous, which present challenges in devising appropriate article titles. Therefore, consensus was in favor of using the Chinese character in the article title as a means to disambiguate Li surnames.

Consequently, these surname article titles will not entirely be in English...but before you get out your pitchforks and torches, I think many editors would agree that, strictly read, the current version of WP:UE was not intended to cover this kind of case. Notice that it does not even mention disambiguation, and instead focuses on single-entity cases (and maybe we should fix that.) Our guidelines cannot cover every possible circumstance, and so we must sometimes rely on good-faith and constructive ideas that fall outside the scope of our guidelines as they are now. I, JethroBT drop me a line 23:16, 15 February 2014 (UTC)


There have been various discussions over the last few months both on this talk page and at Talk:Li (surname meaning "profit") Archive 1, Archive 2 (and probably elsewhere, I can't remember!), resulting in a recent AfD, and subsequent overturning of the "merge" decision to "no censensus" at the deletion review. We seem to be at a stalemate situation, with one group of editors fully supporting a merge, and another dead against it, and to be frank, it has turned a little nasty. We really need wider views on this, but I hope any editor wishing to contribute here will take the time to read the previous history and fully take into account the points raised by both sides in the past. It may be a good idea for us editors who have been most active in the previous discussions to take minimal part in this one, in order to have some fresh opinions given, and to avoid the same spiral we have been going down. Points that should be addressed should consider whether there is a necessity to have separate articles, or whether a single umbrella article will do, and if multiple articles are deemed necessary, how these should be named with regard to the use of Chinese characters in the article titles. Thanks! --Rob Sinden (talk) 10:03, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

  • Merge all Springfield towns first - if it is confusing for users to have surnames Lee/Li, Li/Lik, Lei/Li or Lǐ (3rd tone) Lí (2nd tone) Lì (4th tone) and so on which are actually not the same family and not the same name (but can be made to look like wikt:homonyms by unhelpfully stripping tones and explanations from the title) then it must be even more confusing to have separate articles for towns with the same name which really are wikt:homonyms. So first merge all the Springfield articles, then worry about different Chinese families in the 100 Names which are totally unrelated. In ictu oculi (talk) 07:59, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
And so it deteriorates at the first comment. WP:POINTy. --Rob Sinden (talk) 09:45, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
He's right that these names are separate topics (with different origins, histories, etc.), only to be bounded by being homonyms by having the same spelling (for which a merge into one article is wrong, other than a disambiguation or list page). En.wiki articles are made for the topic (in this case the surnames) and not specifically for the word (not saying that a word can't be the topic), just like how the situation applies to the "Springfield" articles. Thus, there's dab pages for homonyms. --Cold Season (talk) 23:15, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Do you mean like Springfield, the dab page that points to all individual "Springfield" articles (and redlinks), or like Springfield (toponym), the article that discusses the placename in general? Dohn joe (talk) 18:40, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
I mean both/either but particularly the toponym article. Unlike the Chinese warlord fiefs these Springfields are actually all one name in English with a common etymology, the Chinese warlord fiefs/family names aren't. And yet we still don't merge all Springfields into either the dab list or toponym umbrella. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:45, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep umbrella article at Li (surname). There really is no reason not to have an umbrella article at Li (surname). Right or wrong, very few English-language sources distinguish among the various derivations of "Li". Importantly, that means that when our readers encounter "Li" in the real world, they will have no way to distinguish among them, either. There is thus definitely a need for an article on the surname "Li". That article (this article) should (and does) then describe both the anglicized "Li" surname and the various Chinese surnames that are romanized as "Li". This article could use some restructuring, but I think it does a decent job of conveying that information.

    As for subarticles, we're governed by our general rules on notability. If a particular surname has sufficient content, it should have a separate article, with a pointer to it from here. My !vote on naming them would be to use the Chinese character to disambiguate. As noted above, most English-language sources do not distinguish among the different "Li"s. Those that do, however, almost invariably use the Chinese character to do so, as opposed to using an English translation of the character, or referring to the placement in the 100 Names book. So, WP:UE somewhat paradoxically endorses the use of the Chinese character to disambiguate, as that is what the majority of English-language sources do themselves. Dohn joe (talk) 18:40, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

That is a good point from Dohn Joe, a good example is page 30 of Chinese American Names by Emma Woo Louie - the context, a discussion of cases where some Chinese families adapted their name-characters for reasons of persecution, e.g. due to an association with fallen warlords, much in the way that some Jewish families in the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Russia altered surnames to avoid discrimination. The interesting thing of page 30 is it discusses notability of two of the very "Lee/Li" family names that Rob Sinden wishes to merge, and other examples like Xu and Yee/Yu where apparently totally unrelated families are related. And, as per Dohn Joe and earlier Obi-wan Kenobi's point, the English book (like all others I have seen) uses both pronunciation and character to disambiguate. This is what all English sources on Chinese names do. If you look at the visual example given of Xu change to Yee/Yu it only makes sense with the illustration of the character. In ictu oculi (talk) 03:30, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Use the Chinese character to disambiguate , since the rest ultimately backtracks to the Chinese character. It's straightforward. Anything else is unfavorable and/or would make a inconsistent mess. Support on use of multiple and separate articles if they meet the criteria for inclusions. Homonyms does not equal the same topic as mentioned above, thus a merge is unsuitable. Neutral on use of umbrella articles , if they are treated as a list article for which they are (since they are divided by entries of different surnames, they are effectively treated so, whatever nitpicking one wants to have with the title). --Cold Season (talk) 23:15, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep this article. It is a useful collection of information for readers looking for any of the Lis. It clearly states in the first line that there are different Li surnames, and it is common to collect homonyms into set index articles. It is a good place to keep information on Li surnames that are not independently notable or do not yet have enough quality content written to have their own articles.
Keep: Li (surname meaning "plum"), Li (surname meaning "profit"), Li Surname (郦), Li (surname 栗 “chestnut”), and Li (surname 厉 “punishment”). These have enough interesting information for stand-alone articles and are well beyond WP:TNT. Li (profit) is short enough that I wouldn’t oppose merging. (Could someone please translate the bibliographic information in the citations in Li (plum) so that an English reader can see what the titles, authors, publishers, etc. are? By all means keep the original characters as well.) Li (profit) has been improved. Translation has been done.--Wikimedes (talk) 05:57, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Merge into this article: Li Surname (理) and Li Surname (莉). Thanks to recent edits by in ictu oculi, these are no longer in need of TNT. However, I don’t see notability firmly established in the articles (though what constitutes notability for surnames hasn’t been well defined as far as I know) and they are short enough that they will fit easily into the parent article. (Again, could someone please translate the bibliographic information in the references.)
WP:TNT: None of the Li articles now. If in the future, articles such as this [6] appear, and after a week’s deletion discussion they have not been improved to where they demonstrate basic notability and meet basic quality requirements for article space, delete them and save everyone months of wrangling.
--Wikimedes (talk) 08:36, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Name articles using the most common transliterations when referring to the subjects of the articles. So if Li (profit) is about the Chinese surname (and not the word it transliterates to in English), and this Chinese surname is most common in Cantonese speaking areas, and the majority of sources (preferably in English) referring to the name in those areas transliterate it to “Lee”, the article should be named “Lee” + disambiguation. (I expect that this will be a high bar to demonstrate, and most names will default to standard Pinyin.) I’m neutral with respect to diacritics.
Disambiguating articles/sections:
Strongly support using meaning (or other English language disambiguator--Wm 2dec13). This is the easiest to remember for English speakers who do not read Chinese. Names that translate to something offensive (none of the Li names I think) can be considered on an individual basis. The original meanings of some names have been lost, but I don’t see how this is relevant; use a current meaning. Or if another description would be better, let’s discuss it.
Neutral on diacritics in addition to meaning. They tend to be ignored by people who don’t know what they mean (me for example), and are even hard to see, so I don’t see the harm. For the same reason, they’re not so good as a primary or sole disambiguator.
Weak support using tone. “Li (nth tone)” would be clear to English and probably Chinese speakers, but not as recognizable as the meaning (to English speakers at least). It’s also ambiguous since there is more than one 3rd and 4th tone Li.
Strongly oppose characters as the sole disambiguator. (Characters would be the sole disambiguator between articles titled "Li (surname 李)" and "Li (surname 郦)--Wm 2dec13)". These are much more difficult for English speakers who do not read characters to keep track of than meanings or even tone descriptions.
Oppose Weak support using characters as a secondary disambiguator in the title. (Back to oppose: There appears to be a conflict in WP:UE between reliable sources not disambiguating using anglicized forms and the need to transliterate foreign scripts. In reality, however, “Names not originally in a Latin alphabet, such as Greek, Chinese, or Russian names, must be transliterated.” seems pretty clear. The only exception written into the Use English policy is the combination of two Latin alphabet letters, a and e, to form the Anglo Saxon Ligature æ, which was in common use in English very recently. I believe that policy clearly favors using English, but there is a slight graying of the issue because reliable English language sources use characters.--Wikimedes (talk) 06:29, 2 December 2013 (UTC)) According to Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(use_English): “Names not originally in a Latin alphabet, as with Greek, Chinese or Russian, must be transliterated into characters generally intelligible to literate speakers of English.” There are a few exceptions, but a quick check shows that the all the following use Roman alphabet titles: the standard English keyboard characters (see the infobox at At sign), nearly all of the currency symbols (see same, ¥ is an exception, and I disagree that it should be), all the letters of the Greek alphabet, Arabic alphabet, Hebrew alphabet, Cyrillic script, and the few linked letter articles at Devanagari. A character or two in the title isn’t going to do any harm, but I don’t see a compelling need to ignore a rule.
Support continuing to group names by tone in this article. It works well; don’t change it.
--Wikimedes (talk) 08:36, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
One nuance I would add is that there is often more leeway given to the disambiguator than there is for the "meat" of the title. Here, the "true title" of the article is "Li" - all in nice English letters. The contours of applying titling policies to disambiguators is not clear-cut, but I am aware of several talkpage discussions where the leeway has been noted. Dohn joe (talk) 21:16, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Using translated definitions as a disambiguator is a valid solution, however there is one problem that needs to be addressed: there are Chinese characters that exist, and have no meaning. The following are just a few examples to explain what I mean, and aren't specifically related to names: Cases include purely phonetic characters (e.g. 咖 and 啡, which mean nothing by themselves, but together become kafei, the English loanword for "coffee"), characters derived from Sanskrit Buddhist texts (e.g. 迦, 閦, 薩, 卐), and characters written by a wrinkly old sage with a hairy beard a billion years ago that nobody today knows the meaning of (e.g. 𠔻). Now, I don't know exactly how many Chinese names fall into these categories, however there is one that definitely comes to mind, namely Li Surname (郦) - 郦 was the name of an ancient country, but other than that, nobody knows what it actually means. How would you suggest this case, and similar potential cases, be solved? --benlisquareTCE 10:48, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Taking the last first, how about "Li (surname from the Li State)"? Or, if the second origin needs to be included in the title, how about "Li (Li State or Xirong surname)"? (Update: See number 2 below here for why disambiguating with “Li State” doesn’t work. See number 1 and subsequent discussion for something that would work.--Wikimedes (talk) 06:34, 2 December 2013 (UTC))
The others may be beyond the scope of this RFC. Hypothetically speaking, for the phonetic characters, their transliterations would serve as a title. Further disambiguation, if needed (ka would need it), would be descriptive, e.g. "ka (Chinese phonetic character)" or "ka (Chinese surname)". Are you anticipating articles about the Sanskrit or ancient characters or names that contain them? It usually is possible to describe something in English, even if a bit is lost in translation.--Wikimedes (talk) 03:16, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Surnames may as well not be derived from state names and the opposite could as well happen.
Describing a Chinese character to disambiguate is pointless if there's a straightforward way, the Chinese character. --Cold Season (talk) 18:32, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
There is a problem with using the Chinese language to disambiguate things in the English Wikipedia; readers need to be able to understand the disambiguation. In the English Wikipedia this means using English. German Wikipedia has an article Vereinigte Staaten. It would be more concise to call it “United States” and much more concise to call it USA. But it’s not called “United States”, “USA”, or “Vereinigten Staaten (USA)”, even though German and English use the same writing system, and the acronym USA would be recognizable to quite a large number of German speakers. The case is much weaker for using Chinese characters to disambiguate English WP titles.
Words do get borrowed from other languages. German Wikipedia has an article called Valet Parking (though perhaps it will eventually be renamed “Parkdienst”). The English Wikipedia has an article called Qi, corresponding to the Chinese concept of life force. English Wikipedia also has articles on Qi (Henan), Qi (state), Qi (Five Dynasties), and Chi (letter). These 5 articles are not called 气 or Qi (气), 杞 or Qi (杞), 齊 or Qi (齊), 岐國 or Qi (岐國), and Χ or Chi (Χ) or Chi (χῖ), nor should they be.--Wikimedes (talk) 00:41, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Wikimedes - you make some very good points, and I agree with you in general. And the principle holds, even for several other "Li" articles, including Li (Confucian), Li (Neo-Confucianism), Li (unit), Li people, etc: generally, we should not use non-English characters to disambiguate titles. But when a simple dab is insufficient (as (surname) is, in this case), and reliable English-language sources overwhelmingly use the characters to disambiguate, we should, too. A reader doesn't need to read a lick of Mandarin to tell that "Li (李)" and "Li (黎)" look different. And that's the whole point of dabbing - finding the most effective way to say "these subjects have the same title, but are different from each other." Since our readers are vastly more likely to encounter "李" than "plum" or "100 Names rank 4" in the real world, it's actually the most effective way to let them know that they're at a different article. Dohn joe (talk) 01:19, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
{outdent}
“reliable English-language sources overwhelmingly use the characters to disambiguate”. This is by far the best reason put forth for using Chinese characters. If you provide sources to back up this claim, I’m sure you will convince some fence-sitters that it is OK to use Chinese characters in titles.
“But when a simple dab is insufficient….” Even when it is more concise to use a foreign language to describe something, we still must use English. Chinese characters usually take up less space than English words, and it would probably take up much less space to write the entire article in Chinese. Beyond that, each language has ways of describing things in that language that take much less verbiage than it would in another language. However, if you want someone to understand these concepts, they must be conveyed in a language that the person understands, even if it would be much easier to say the same thing in another language.
Li (李) and Li (黎) actually don’t look very different to me. With some effort I can tell them apart. But I still don’t attach any meaning to either of the characters, and I wouldn’t be able to describe them to someone else. If I wanted to return to one of the articles, I wouldn’t know which character to type in, even if I did know how to type characters. (Redirects would help with this, and maybe in my next TLDR post I’ll go into why this isn’t the best solution.) I had a friend whose surname was Li (plum). I’ve seen the character, been told what the tone is, and even learned how to pronounce it after a fashion. But all I remember about the name is that it meant “plum”.
People who don’t understand Chinese really don’t understand Chinese. It’s not a matter of speaking more slowly (or “shouting at foreigners” if you’re a Terry Pratchett fan). It’s not a matter of having bigger characters, or choosing characters that look extremely different to someone who understands them and presumably to someone who doesn’t. It’s not a matter of putting lots of characters into articles so that people encounter them all the time and eventually learn to tell them apart. To get English readers to understand the concepts, they really must be described in English.--Wikimedes (talk) 02:25, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
A problem is that there are still people who don't have Chinese characters installed, so all the different titles of pages using Chinese characters to disambiguate would look exactly the same (all Chinese characters would appear as simple squares or something equivalent). Hzh (talk) 21:32, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Almost all computers and smart phones nowadays have native support for Unicode. I don't recall having to install any additional software to read Chinese and Japanese for any computer/phone I bought within the last five years. -Zanhe (talk) 03:00, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
Which may well be true, but I only noticed it because I occasionally use an old computer with Windows XP SP2 (I think, it's not my computer) and noticed that all Chinese characters appear as squares. I'm sure lots of people are still using XP. Hzh (talk) 15:58, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
@Wikimedes:: For sources supporting the argument that “reliable English-language sources overwhelmingly use the characters to disambiguate”, see User:Obiwankenobi's comment in this discussion at WP:AT. -Zanhe (talk) 02:55, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment User:Wikimedes ‘’Thanks to recent edits by in ictu oculi, these are no longer in need of TNT.‘’ - thanks, but those were very quick token edits, not even the start of an example; just a taste that any Chinese surname generates 100s of hits in Chinese sources,10s in English books on the Baijiaxing, though neither may be OCRed. As long as the articles are not going to blanked or bundled by editors of whom we do not say "You are incompetent because you don't know anything about the subject of this article.", then there's every reason to expect all articles to grow as all other en.wp articles do. In ictu oculi (talk) 16:11, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
See how little effort in article space it takes to change the topic of discussion from WP:TNT to Merge? If these topics are notable and expandable, put evidence of notability in the articles themselves and expand them a bit. I would be happy to support an improved article. If, on the other hand, this RFC fails to improve these articles, merge them into the parent set index article (this one) until someone is willing to put the effort into expanding them. By far my last choice would be to spend the next 4 months debating the abstract right of these articles to exist while accomplishing nothing in the way of improving them.--Wikimedes (talk) 00:47, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Just a note that I think a table works better than the list here. Hzh (talk) 21:22, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Well done improving the articles. Thank you. Deleting Li Surname (莉) instead of merging here is OK by me. I believe the only bit of relevant information in that article that is not in this one is that the surname is common in the Yunnan region, so deleting and merging are nearly the same thing. Merging/redirecting Li Surname (理) to Li (surname 李) instead of here is also OK by me. Ordering the names in this article by "most common" instead of by tone also works well.--Wikimedes (talk) 03:04, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree with the reordering done by Zanhe - thank you. I went through and reordered the lead to emphasize that Li is a name in its own right. Dohn joe (talk) 04:07, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
I'll try to stay out of tinkering with the first few paragraphs as much as possible (counting Zahne, Dohn Joe, and Steel1943 there are already 3 active editors). However, the fact that Li (plum) is so prevalent establishes notability better than anything else. Could this be moved to the first paragraph?--Wikimedes (talk) 05:06, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Why are we even having this discussion again? Every point has already been discussed in July at WP:AT (archived here), where User:Obiwankenobi convincingly demonstrated that reliable sources overwhelmingly use Chinese characters to disambiguate. His argument received nearly unanimous support at that discussion. One of the few dissenters was the proposer of the current RfC, who seems to have conveniently forgotten about that long discussion. -Zanhe (talk) 02:37, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
I’m sorry Zahne, but there was no consensus at the subsection you linked. I count 3 supports for the exclusive use of characters (Obi Wan Kenobi, In ictu oculi, and _dk), 3 opposes (bd2412, Rob Sinden, and Vegaswikian) and 1 undecided (TheFreeloader). This was part of the section Inadequacy_of_current_WP:UE_guideline_with_regard_to_Chinese_names in which I get a rough count of 10 supports, 7 opposes, and 1 neutral in addition to 3 or 4 grey areas (names omitted to prevent clutter; I’ll provide them on request).--Wikimedes (talk) 04:35, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
I think you got the wrong impression because you didn't count the "Further discussion on Chinese characters" section. The heading was added to break up the long discussion for readability, but it was continuation of the discussion after Obiwan presented his evidence. I count additional supporters including Martinp, TheFreeloader, Heimstern Läufer, Benlisquare, Maunus, Dohn joe, and myself. Even Peter coxhead, who had been resolutely against using Chinese characters in the beginning, changed his position. -Zanhe (talk) 05:19, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
Most of those were in my count of 10 for the full section. I did not (and do not) see Benlisquare and TheFreeloader expressing a definite opinion. FreeLoader's posts throughout the full section seem to be suggestions for methods and criteria for resolving the issue, rather than his/her opinion on what the resolution should be. Re-reading Benlisquare's posts in the continuing section, he opposed Rob Sinden's phone book criterion and advocated a separate article for Li (plum), but I don't see his opinion regarding the use (or exclusive use) of characters. Since you bring up Peter coxhead, he supported exclusive character use as the "least worst" solution. I don't make too much out of his position change, although it does count as a support.--Wikimedes (talk) 05:43, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
Rereading the lengthy discussion more closely, I think you're right about Benlisquare and TheFreeloader not definitively supporting characters. On the other hand, several of the "no" votes were based on the argument that the different Li names were not notable, which is rendered moot now that the articles are no longer poorly-referenced stubs. Also it's worth noting that most people supported characters after Obiwan presented the evidence.
Votes aside, what are your thoughts on the more important point that reliable sources overwhelmingly use Chinese characters to disambiguate? -Zanhe (talk) 06:52, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
Hi Zahne. My position hasn't changed so I'll try not to repeat here. I'll provide a (much?) longer response on your talk page after I've had some sleep and spent some time in Real Life.--Wikimedes (talk) 10:00, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, "overwhelmingly" is a bit of an overstatement given the data at hand. It's good that a valid reason for use of characters has been put forward for people to consider. I get tired of Chinese speakers telling non-Chinese speakers how easy it is to read Chinese, how concepts can only be described in Chinese, how much more concise it would be to write in Chinese on the English Wikipedia, etc. (I think I've addressed those 3 arguments more constructively at least twice above. I hope I'm done. I won't clutter your talk page with yet another long response.)--Wikimedes (talk) 19:35, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thanks for being reasonable and open-minded. I share your frustration for having to repeat the same argument over and over again, but there are good reasons why reliable sources don't use the meaning to disambiguate. Firstly, at least one third of Chinese names are used exclusively in proper names and have no other meaning. Secondly, for the names whose characters do have other meanings, in nearly all cases the meaning is unrelated and merely a linguistic accident. This happens in English a lot too: the word John is a name and it also means toilet, but that does not mean the name John means toilet. Any English speaker would instinctively see the impropriety of titles like John (name meaning toilet), Sandy (name meaning full of sand), Randy (name meaning aroused), and so on, yet they don't easily realize that when Chinese names are concerned, due to the lack of cultural proximity. -Zanhe (talk) 00:40, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Good to be getting to the roots of the discussion. We’ve gone round and round about whether English disambiguators can or should be found, so I won’t repeat what I’ve written above, except to say that direct translation is not the only solution for disambiguation in English. I will address the John (toilet) argument:
You’ve made the John (toilet) argument in previous discussions, and since you’re making it again I will assume it has not been adequately refuted. John does not mean “toilet”, it is a slang term for toilet. It is also a slang term for “customer of a prostitute”. If you would read the first paragraph of the John (given name) article, you would find that John means “graced by Yahweh”. If John (given name) actually required disambiguation, a more recognizable choice would probably be John (Biblical given name). John (יוֹחָנָן) would be incomprehensible to most English readers unless they also read Hebrew.
The name Li (plum) was, in fact, chosen because an early ancestor survived by eating plums. Please explain to me why "Li (surname meaning “plum”)" is an unreasonable title.--Wikimedes (talk) 18:46, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
Informal or not, "toilet" and "customer of a prostitute" are the only English definitions for john per Google. Of course "Biblical given name" is a vastly superior disambiguator than "toilet", but that's only because such an alternative exists for the name John, which is not the case for the Chinese names being discussed.
As for the plum story, it is only folklore, and one of the several possible provenances of the name Li. I acknowledge that in this specific case, there is a (however tenuous) link between the name and the meaning of the word. But we're trying to find a solution that works for all names here, not just for a single case. And as I mentioned above, in the vast majority of cases, the modern meaning is unavailable or not applicable. Take a look at the book Genealogical Research on Chinese Surnames, pages 60-61 deal with four surnames spelled Feng and three spelled Fu. Out of the seven names, the author mentions the meaning only once, for No. 142 鳳 (meaning male phoenix), because that's the only one where the name is actually related to the meaning. And it's no accident that the title for every single entry is Spelling + Character. For the case of 鳳, I would not object to the article name "Feng (name meaning male phoenix)", although for the sake of consistency, character is still preferred as that's the only scheme that works in ALL cases. -Zanhe (talk) 20:03, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your reasonableness. If you asked someone named John (or their parents) they would tell you that it means "graced by Yahweh", even though this meaning is no longer in common use. People who do not know what the name John means nevertheless know that the name means something other than toilet (though people named John may be the butt (ha ha) of some jokes in elementary school). In the Anglosphere (linguistically) that I've encountered, people generally know their names' meanings and origins, and this sometimes comes up in conversation. Someone once told me that their name Li meant plum, so based on a sample size of 1, I'm guessing that similar conversations sometimes happen in Chinese, or at least when explaining things to people who don't understand Chinese. I don't dispute that it would be simpler to broadly apply a "use characters" rule, but I do think that it is worthwhile to use English where possible. Examining special cases would be informative.
  1. If someone told you that their name was Li using the fourth tone, what would be the most natural way of finding out which Li was meant? Anticipating your first answer, what if pen and paper were not handy:)?
  2. I tried to address Lì (酈/郦) above [7], but the conversation went off in another direction. What are your thoughts on my proposed solution? Is there a better wording?
  3. Do people named Lǐ (李) identify their name as meaning plum, even if the origin is in dispute?
  4. Many months ago, you brought up Jī (surname) (姬). Would someone with this name identify it with the word concubine, a Royal surname of the Zhou Dynasty, or the Ji River?
--Wikimedes (I seem to have been logged out while writing.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.210.134.54 (talk) 21:18, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
1. In Chinese, probably the most common way to "disambiguate" orally is to describe the character's components. For example, Lǐ (李) is commonly described as "Muzi Li", as the character 李 is composed of mu 木 and zi 子. Li 郦 can be described as beautiful 丽 plus "right ear" (just realized we actually have an article for that symbol!). Another common way is to name a famous person, e.g. "Li as in Li Bai". Meaning is also used for convenience.
2. That would bring us back to square one, as four Li surnames (黎, 栗, 厉, 郦) are named after four different Li states, each written with a different character. (It's actually more complicated than that, as sometimes a single state would split into several, all with the same name. It's beyond the scope of this discussion, but there's a chapter about the multiple Guo states (the main origin of the Guo surname) in Feng Li's excellent book Landscape and Power in Early China if you're interested in learning more.)
3. For convenience, it's common to describe one's surname in terms of the meaning of the character, even if the meaning is unrelated. But for the purpose of writing an encyclopedia, I firmly believe that academic soundness should trump convenience any time.
4. Ji is not common nowadays and I've never met anyone with that surname. But I can't imagine anyone with that name would identify with "concubine", just as I can't imagine anyone named John identifying with "toilet". If Ji were my surname, I'd certainly identify with the Royal surname of the Zhou Dynasty. -Zanhe (talk) 05:03, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
1. That's it! Would Li (surname 郦 "beautiful, right ear") be accurate and broadly applicable enough to use? (I reserve the right to support including "plum" in Li (李) regardless.)--Wikimedes (talk) 05:40, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, "right ear" is an extremely informal way to describe the symbol . It sounds quite ridiculous in English (to me, at least) and makes no sense to anyone who doesn't already know Chinese. -Zanhe (talk) 05:51, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Working backwards: Just having an English word to latch onto will make much more sense to someone who doesn't know Chinese than a naked character would. (The article could describe the composition of the character to explain the name.) Informal is fine, as long as it is commonly used (see WP:common name), but would "city" (Radical 163) be a better way to describe 阝? (Would ambiguity with 邑 be a huge problem?)--Wikimedes (talk) 06:21, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
A partial solution I've brought up before is to utilize WP:PRIMARYTOPIC: move the most common Li (surname 李) to Li (surname), with a hatnote to the list of all Li's. According to List of common Chinese surnames, the top 100 surnames account for 85% of Chinese population. If we add the names that don't need dab to begin with, but minus a few in the top 100 that still need dab, we can eliminate the Chinese character from the title for probably 90% of all user visits. -Zanhe (talk) 06:02, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Good idea as a partial solution. I'll think a bit more on it.--Wikimedes (talk) 06:21, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Frankly, I think the current system may actually be the best solution. We start with the base name "Li", which requires disambiguation, so we move to the next WP step, which is "Li (surname)". Since this is still not good enough, we move one more step, which is to add the Chinese character. I see this as a reasonable compromise position between those who want English only to dab and those who want Chinese only to dab. The current setup is already not simply a "naked character". All English speakers have the "surname" to latch on to. Again, once we get to that point, we should look to how English-language sources disambiguate - and that is with the character. I think we have found a reasonable solution to the naming issue. Dohn joe (talk) 06:35, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Good point about most English speakers only being able to distinguish as far as Li (surname). (Sorry I missed it the 1st 2 times you posted it on this RfC.) I'd still like to disambiguate completely in English if possible. It's about time for bed here. I look forward to continuing in the future.--Wikimedes (talk) 07:03, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
If I read you correctly, I agree that "Li (surname 李)" would be better for English speakers than "Lǐ (李)". Working up from there, "Li (surname "muzi")" would be better still, then "Li (surname "tree, seed")" (radicals 75 and 39?), with "Li (surname "plum")" probably being the best. Single characters and diacritics would tend to be ignored, and not be much help or hindrance.--Wikimedes (talk) 20:01, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. Any person who has a need to differentiate between various "Li" surnames likely has, in their possession, something which identifies the character in question, at which point it's simply pattern matching. I don't read Chinese, but I can tell that 李 is the same thing as 李 and that it's different than 郦. "tree, seed" or any of the other english-language attempts at translation fail primarily because the person who is stuck and doesn't know which Li to choose won't be helped by anything BUT the Chinese character, as the sources they might have, as I've pointed out elsewhere, use the character to disambiguate in the majority of cases. By suggesting disambiguation through "tree, seed" you're assuming that said person will be able to search on that, which isn't likely (same with "beautiful right ear").--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 20:21, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Information on how things are described verbally is also useful to readers. In addition to being a convenient way to remember and communicate the idea, the reader may be searching for something that has been described to them verbally. Also, if someone has left one of the Li articles and wants to go back to it, for many readers it will be easier to type (and remember) "Li (surname "plum")" than "Li (李)". (To be fair, redirects and pulldowns would help with the search, if someone could remember the character well enough to identify it.) So I disagree that only the Chinese character could possibly help people. Since it looks like Chinese characters will be included in the titles, here are the same titles with the characters in order of what I think is increasing utility to English readers who do not also read Chinese: "Li (李)", "Li (surname 李)", "Li (surname 李 "muzi")", "Li (surname 李 "tree, seed")", "Li (surname 李 "plum")". (Suggestions on improving formats, e.g. "tree seed" instead of "tree, seed", are welcome.)--Wikimedes (talk) 20:49, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
What about a compromise: we could have redirects for all of those things - eg Li (surname meaning plum, tree, seed) - that way, users searching will be able to easily find them, if they can't type chinese characters. I don't think it's appropriate for the title of the articles however, given that these translations are in most part not that meaningful as our Chinese-speaking colleagues have explained.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 15:15, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I hope User:Zanhe's recent sourced improvement of the articles, now ends the months of disruption primarily by 1 editor with no WP China or WP Anthroponymy contribution history and attempts to remove Jimbo Wales' preferred solution (characters) by various back doors through merging and blanking. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:46, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
AfD closure on individual families has been overturned: WP:Deletion review/Log/2013 November 10 In ictu oculi (talk) 02:47, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
@in ictu oculi – It does appear that everyone else supporting using English disambiguation has dropped out of the discussion. You do seem to be conflating me with several other editors who have supported merging (not really my position), and there was additional support for using English disambiguators until just recently. I realize "Months of disruption primarily by 1 editor" was not directed at me, but that is not how I saw the wrangling on all sides of the last several months.
If this RFC closes tomorrow in favor of using characters, then at least we can move on. In the meantime, could you provide a reference in support of “Jimbo Wales' preferred solution (characters)”?--Wikimedes (talk) 18:46, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
Hi, I have noted that you personally did not support merger of all articles - apologies for the conflation. The first discussion is at User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_15#English_Wikipedia.27s_policy_towards_using_of_Chinese_characters_in_title. There are several following discussions as well from 2006 all with the result that from 2006 a number of surname articles persisted with Chinese characters in the title until the recent objection by User Rob Sinden.
Personally I am not against use of English in title, I would prefer Lǐ (surname "plum" 李) in surnames where WP:RS English books on the Baijiaxing use all three "plum" and "Lǐ" and "李" I can't see why we can't serve both groups of Users in title - those interested in Chinese characters and those with no interest. I stated before that most readers of articles on Chinese names are likely to be those with some knowledge interest of Chinese characters and was told that my mouth was an anus dispensing excrement. Yet if you look at who buys and review print sources on Amazon.com it's evident that readers of books on Chinese names have that interest and authors of print sources cater to that interest - and have "plum" and "Lǐ" and "李" where possible ("plum" is not always possible, a geolocator may be possible when "plum" isn't). But at the moment I'm happy to go with Zanhe, BenLiSquare and the others who are actually building and contributing to WikiProject China and WikiProject Anthroponymy content. In ictu oculi (talk) 03:07, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
For the record, I'm by no means against the use of English for disambiguation. I'm only against using English solely for convenience, but at the expense of academic soundness. -Zanhe (talk) 05:45, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Interesting that users claim support for disambiguation by Chinese symbol from “Jimbo Wales' preferred solution (characters)” when it states "I am deeply, deeply opposed to the use of ALL non-English characters in the titles of articles in English Wikipedia in most cases", and then goes on to say "In the case you are considering... purely for disambiguation purposes, the subject of the page is, in a sense, the character itself. I find this to be an interesting proposal, and I promise not to blow a gasket about it." I'd say that this is not an endorsement. --Rob Sinden (talk) 16:28, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Incidentally, I've stopped commenting here simply because it was too much effort (and have removed the articles in question from my watchlist to preserve my sanity). Despite massive opposition in previous discussions, certain editors have seen it fit to do whatever the fuck they want anyway and reinstated the use of Chinese characters, directly against policy. It's almost as if the previous months have discussions haven't happened, and certain users have used this RfQ to start afresh, ignoring all the prior arguments against them. It really should be taken further, but frankly I haven't the energy. --Rob Sinden (talk) 16:33, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  • While I would prefer not to use characters in titles, that for all practical purposes are unrecognizable to most English speakers, if there is consensus that that is the best way to distinguish the terms that is OK. However, I still very strongly feel that Li (surname) should remain the central summary-style article and that individual articles should only be spun out if there is sufficient material to warrant separate treatment apart from the main article. olderwiser 12:18, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree with your point that individual articles should be spun out only if their creators can sufficiently demonstrate the notability and distinctiveness of the new topics. So many hours have been wasted debating the issue because the now-blocked User:Bmotbmot created a bunch of poorly-written stubs. I really hope to get this issue behind us once and for all, so we can all focus on the far more important task of creating content. -Zanhe (talk) 22:16, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Relatively unfamiliar as I am with Chinese characters, I would prefer disambiguation by Roman characters (i.e., English words) rather than Chinese characters simply because it will be far easier for most users of the English version of Wikipedia to read and type (assuming most cannot type Chinese characters on their keyboards and would otherwise have to go to a disambiguation page to find the desired article). In any case, I would recommend having redirects between the disambiguated titles with Chinese characters and their English meanings.
I support retaining the current article at Li (surname), which provides a useful summary and a list of articles with both the Chinese characters and a variety of English meanings to assist the reader.
Unless I am mistaken, it appears that Li (surname 利) and Li (surname meaning "profit") serve the same topic, a situation that is deplorable and cannot be allowed to continue. We cannot have multiple articles on the same topic. Those pages must be merged into one or the other title.
sroc 💬 03:23, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Use the chinese characters to disambiguate... but do so within the context of one umbrella article. I will (once again) point people to my suggested remedy at User talk:Blueboar/drafts - Li (surname). I created it to show that it is quite possible to clearly explain the complexities of the situation... all in one single article. Not to toot my own horn, but I think it is the best way to explain the issue clearly. I once again recommend it. Blueboar (talk) 19:15, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I prefer the list format as it feels less cluttered, but I have no objection if you or someone else change it into a table. -Zanhe (talk) 05:48, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure who to request this from, but can someone summarize the results of this RfC for posterity? It's very long, and usually the result is included in the closure tag. According to a discussion at |Zanhe's talk page, as an active participant in the discussion, he does not feel comfortable declaring the results. Admin or Wikiproject participant, maybe? 0x0077BE (talk) 00:12, 5 February 2014 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.