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Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. 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.

MeißenMeissen — Restorative move. The attributed support of the move of Meissen to Meißen was erroneous as the cited conventions do not support it. Meissen is the standard and dominate English name for the city. The conventions state: In the absence of a common English name, the current local name of a city is used by convention in Wikipedia. There is no absence of an English name. The convention supports the English name (Meissen) as do the Naming Conventions specifying English usage. Most English references use Meissen as well. —Charles 02:17, 12 June 2007 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support As nominator. Charles 02:20, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support Meissen is the long-standing English spelling. The German spelling is only used by German-speakers and pedants. -- Beardo 02:26, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Meissen" does not constitute an "English name", but is only a slightly and unnecessarily modified spelling of Meißen, the true name (as used by most other Wikipedias, incidentally). WP:GERCON lists the five cities which do genuinely have different names in English, and this is rightly not among them. --Stemonitis 06:53, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
    • WP:GERCON, is, as it says, "still under discussion and not final"; its talk page shows that these were the five John Kenny happened to think of. The list also omits Lubeck. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:16, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I like that original feeling, it gives us more international appeal. --Attilios 08:06, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support — per nom, Merriam-Webster, American Heritage Dictionary, Encyclopedia Britannica, Columbia Encyclopedia, & MSN Encarta. Actually I'm struggling to find the esszet (ß) version in authoritative English sources.--Endroit 12:04, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support - usage in English works. Noel S McFerran 12:24, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support - English usage, and ß is definitely not English, and shouldn't be used in an English language article title. 21:41, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Neutral. I think the ß can be used in English text, especially for the less known places like Groß-Gerau, but for Meissen there seems to be established use of the ß-less name, due to the porcelain. On the other hand, this is not a different name like München/Munich, just another way to write the same name. Markussep Talk 08:04, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Strongly support as before. Improper move. WP:NCGN discusses this point; there are cases like Istanbul, and this is one, where English does not use some local convention or diacritic; there are cases, even well-known places like Besançon, where it does; in either case we should follow English usage. I should note that Munich is simply the French spelling of Muenchen, adopted into English; they are the same name, as are Nuremberg and Nürnberg. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:36, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose (or do I have more weight if I say Superoppose :S) I agree with Markussep that the porcelain factory does make this case less straight forward than many others, but we can differentiate between the porcelain and the city. The chefs don't dictate the name of the city. Stefán 21:13, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment English usage, however, does. The English name of this city is Meissen, and before anyone argues that that is the German name "misspelled", it is the form used in English and therefore it has become the English name. Charles 21:19, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
    • Comment Much more information on English and American practice is available here; in brief, usage on the umlaut is divided; esszett is used only by guidebooks, and not all of them. As WP:NCGN remarks, this is determined by the purpose of guidebooks, which are intended to agree with the highway signs; but Wikipedia is not a guidebook. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:18, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
      • The Guardian is not a guidebook. Anyways, the fact that people who write about Meißen in English are often interested in getting people to go there should hardly be considered surprising. Stefán 22:38, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
        • That's one quotation of a German phrase; for the Guardian's more usual treatment, see these examples. When did I say that a guidebook agreeing with the highway signs was surprising? (Although even the Michelin Green Guide, which uses ß, also uses Meissen.) Now, the Grauniad being consistent - that would be surprising. ;-> Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:42, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
          • These other examples are from Guardian Online. Anyway, I am not saying that you will only ever find Meißen as the name of the city, rather you will find both. (Btw, that means I think this factual accuracy tag you put on the article is a joke.) Of the two, Meissen or Meißen, I think Meißen will better match the expectations of the readers of this article. Also, you didn't say that the agreement was surprising but the implication was that the usage in guidebooks should be discredited and my point was that guidebooks should not be discredited. (after edit conflict, regarding Meißen being a more borderline case than most, that is true but I have already stated my opinion on that above.) Stefán 23:13, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
            • You have presented no evidence for this opinion whatever; nor do I see any reason for the reader of this article to espect anything other than what English readers see. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:21, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
              • I have presented my argument in support of this opinion many times, eg here from almost a year ago. The best thing would be to do a reader survery of those readers who actually come and read this article, but perhaps it is not technically possible to set that up fairly. But now we are going through the usual rounds, we have the old crew commenting and a couple of people who probably saw this on WP:RM when they were proposing completely unrelated moves. I think there are at most two remarks which don't fall into this category. *sigh* Stefán 03:01, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support Where is Meiben?--Supparluca 07:19, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support An English encyclopedia should use English orthography. olderwiser 12:42, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • This article should be restored to Meissen and then discussed. Arlright 12:54, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support Meissen is the conventional English spelling. The fact that it is an antique reaction to a lack of German orthography is irrelevant. Mangoe 15:22, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Strong support. Non-English characters create a significant problem for other editors who are not familiar with the character, and may not be sure how to pronounce or alphabetize it. The spelling of "Meissen" is also standard practice in English reference works such as Encyclopedia Britannica.[1] --Elonka 15:32, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support per nomination, especially because of the impropriety of Stemonitis' page move, and to follow our naming conventions on using English. - Ev 04:43, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support We use English names and the English alphabet, and sometimes a few familiar diacritics. We do not write "Việt Nam" or "Plzeň", let alone KPHTH. Esszet is not English. --Macrakis 15:57, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support per lack of English sources using the current version. --Cheers, Komdori 18:40, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the Use English naming convention. There is no commonly used English name for the city so we use the native name. The native name is written in the Latin alphabet so there is no need for transliteration. Haukur 15:47, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment This is absolutely rich. If I took this as personally as half the people here seem to do, I would be insulted that you cite WP:UE in defence of an opposing vote. Absolutely unreal. The English name is Meissen. Maybe you should consult the sources that say so. Charles 18:21, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Well, what can I say to that? That I'm glad you decided—after given the matter due consideration—that someone citing a particular Wikipedia guideline in support of a particular position in a particular debate is not, after all, to be taken as a personal insult to you? If you want more detail on my opinion then, here goes. WP:UE says we should use the commonly used English name if there is one and gives Vienna as an example. "Vienna" is definitely a commonly used English name, it gets 40 million English language Google hits. "Meissen" gets only half a million, and half of those are probably about the porcelain. The average English speaker is likely to be familiar with "Vienna" and not with "Meissen". Thus, since there is no commonly used English name WP:UE tells us: "If there is no commonly used English name, use an accepted transliteration of the name in the original language. Latin-alphabet languages, like Spanish or French, should need no transliteration[.]" Since German is a Latin-alphabet language there is no need for a transliteration. Hence, I oppose the proposed move per the Use English naming convention. Haukur 19:46, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
  • I think you are confusing transliteration with transcription, since this is within one writing system. The common English name is Meissen and simply because that is the form used in German when the Eszett is not available does not discount its status as the English name of the city. If we are going to go the Google route, there are 277,000 English language hits for Meissen -porcelain -wikipedia. The average English language speaker is likely to be far less familiar with Meissen than Meißen. Charles 19:58, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
  • I understand the difference between transliteration and transcription. Changing Meißen to Meissen could be regarded as either, to me it is most naturally regarded as a transliteration. It is analogous to changing Wałęsa to Walesa, which I hope you agree can't be regarded as a transcription. The point is moot, however, because when WP:UE says that Latin-alphabet languages need no transliteration (like changing Wałęsa to Walesa) it sure doesn't mean that they need transcription (like changing Wałęsa to, I don't know, Vawensa?) instead. Haukur 20:40, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
The difference between the example you provide (Walesa and Wałęsa) and Meissen and Meißen is that the Eszett is directly equivalent to ss and the form with ss (Meissen) is the most prevalent in English. Charles 21:24, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
In what sense are 'ß' and 'ss' directly equivalent while 'ł' and 'l' are not directly equivalent? (Not a rhetorical question, I just don't understand.) And, just to clarify, do you think Walesa is not most prevalent in English? Haukur 00:15, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I say that the Eszett and ss are directly equivalent because that is how they are treated in the German language while 'l' and 'ł' represent different sounds. They are different letters while ß equals ss exactly (in Meissen). If Walesa is more prevalent in English, that should be used, but I am sick of being involved in Polish vs English language disputes. The point of the matter is that this page move concerns me while Walesa can concern someone else. Charles 01:06, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
No, 'ß' does not equal 'ss' in that sense. For example Masse and Maße are different words and pronounced differently. ß (in an environment like this) indicates that the preceding vowel is long while 'ss' indicates that it is short correction by Markussep Talk. Haukur 08:24, 17 June 2007 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

Septentrionalis, I don't understand your remark above I should note that Munich is simply the French spelling of Muenchen, adopted into English; they are the same name, as are Nuremberg and Nürnberg. "Munich" is not just another spelling, it's another name, just like Vienna, Wien, Bécs and Vídeň are different names for the same place. Markussep Talk 18:11, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Write my talk page. We may be disagreeing on "same", here. From my PoV, Vienna, Vienne, and Wien are different forms of the same name, once Vindobona. I doubt Bécs is; Vídeň may be. (I don't know the philology for those two.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:19, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
  • I will take the discussion with Stefan here. He has two arguments, which I will attempt to paraphrase.
    • It is a bad thing this discussion is being conducted by the WP:RM regulars and some random editors who came by to propose a move. That's not a bug; it's a feature. The core group provides continuity; the new editors, in proportion as they are a random sample, speak for the community as a whole. The minority has failed to convince any of the old majority; they are also not doing particularly well at convincing those new to the discussion. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:39, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Those readers who consult an article on Meissen are likely to speak German, and to be more comfortable with Meißen. The first is dubious; English speakers often have only one language; and we get an inordinate number of students. Germanists have better resources than Wikipedia, starting with Brockhaus. The second is false; or other works of general reference would use Meißen - that's why WP:NCGN recommends them. For myself, I expect to see Meißen in German - and Meissen in English. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:39, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
    I don't see any point of arguing with you if this is your idea of paraphrasing. I understand that it is much easier to win an argument if you get to choose what the opposing side says. FWIW, the quote of mine was readers who are interested in an article on a particular street in Berlin are likely to either, know what the ß stands for or be interested in knowing what it stands for. Stefán 17:35, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment This last argument actually made me laugh. This is the English version of Wikipedia! If such a reader is likely to read German, they should read the German Wikipedia to be comfortable with German characters. Charles 15:37, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
    Yes Septentrionalis's strawman was quite funny. Stefán 17:35, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
    It was a good-faith effort to make sense of your argument; indeed I still think the paraphrase makes more sense than the original. It doesn't happen to be the way Wikipedia does things, but neither is compelling the readers to consult ß. For those who might be interested in the subject, the text of this article linked to ß in the first line, before Stremonitis made it less intelligible to mere English-speakers by changing the English to the German form. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:57, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
    Yes indeed, a smashing effort. So what does not make sense about my sentence to you? I think you understand the first part: Those readers who consult an article on Meissen seems an appropriate paraphrase of readers who are interested in an article on a particular street in Berlin given the context. So please help me out with the second part. Is are likely to speak German, and to be more comfortable with Meißen supposed to paraphrase are likely to [] know what the ß stands for? And what happened to or be interested in knowing what it stands for in your paraphrase. Are there any vestiges of that left? Stefán 18:18, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
    Well, those who speak German do know what the ß stands for, and conversely. As for those who are interested in knowing what it stands for, I must admit what I do not understand this argument; we had a link in the first line for them. This is no justification for Meiben the rest of the time. How about those who are not interested in German orthography, but who actually want to know something about Meissen? Many of them will not have seen Meißen before. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:11, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
    So, if I want to prove All animals are elephants I can argue as follows. Well, all elephants are animals, and conversly. Brilliant. Stefán 21:23, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
    I suppose it is logically possible for there to be some people who use the English wikipedia and "know what ß stands for" but do not, in some sense, read German. When Stefán is through playing rhetorical games, he might explain how strewing this page with Meißens, which (by hypothesis) they cannot read but have to figure out from first principles, helps them. Certainly it helps noone else. I don't see it; perhaps I am merely dazzled by his brilliance. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:11, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
    The newest trick in this discussion is that Septentrionalis has shifted from saying speak German to saying read German. (If you think these are synonymous in Septentrionalis's mind, read on.) Then, resurfacing with the strawman, Septentrionalis says that unless you speak/read German you cannot have any understanding of what Meißen is. Is it not possible to contemplate the possibility that great many of the readers of this article can understand the sentence The city of Meißen grew out of the early Slavic settlement of Misni and was founded as a German town by King Henry the Fowler in 929. but they would have a great difficulty in understanding Meißen ist die Kreisstadt des gleichnamigen Landkreises im Freistaat Sachsen und hat knapp 30.000 Einwohner. Or are both these sentences equally foreign to your ears? 22:30, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
    Is the sentence with two foreign forms (one German, one Slavonic) less foreign than the one with 16 (counting the number with period separation)? Of course it is. One with none would be still less foreign.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:46, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

But the meat of this is: I admit, if both conjectures above are wrong, then I do not understand what Stefán's argument of a year ago means. No one seems to have understood it a year ago, either. And at this point, I will leave him to play rhetorical games with himself. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:46, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

The only game being played here is when you try and equate recognising the letter ß with the ability to speak German. Stefán 23:03, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Why do we not use Arabic characters for things that have arabic names as article titles, or Cyrllic, or Korean, or Japanese, or Egyptian Heirographics, or Greek? Why does German warrant special treatment? (This is about article titles, and not usage within the article) English Wikipedia should use English orthography or as this is a computerized medium, English ASCII characters. If we take the argument that people who would read about Meissen would obviously know German, we can take that to other locales, as someone who would want to read about Akihibara would obviously know Japanese, etc. Or that the character is commonly shown enough (how would you type it if you are a unilingual Anglophone, or someone with English as a second language and say... Chinese as a first) that it should be easily known... if that were the case... we all were taught Greek letters for science class and math class, so shouldn't all the Greek place articles have titles in Greek? 01:42, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Stremonitis' irresponsible edit[edit]

Stremonitis should never have moved this page; there has been long discussion of this matter, and his position has never been consensus. Having moved it, changing the spelling of Meissen throughout was simple vandalism no service to our readers. Still worse was that he changed the first line from using both spellings, bold, as WP:NCGN recommends, to using only one. Worst of all was that 'Meissen, which is at the least a common English spelling, was then completely unrepresented on this page. in text.

I consider his conduct shameful; and will cheerfully endorse an RfC. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:14, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Eh, Meissen appears in bolded italics at the very top of the article. Stefán 21:18, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
In fine print, outside article text. The mildly important piece of information: that Meissen is the English spelling, is completely missing, thanks to this alphabet-pushing. I acknowledge Stremonitis' message here, and regret the collateral damage; I trust that when this article returns to English the periods, next to invisible in a diff, will be watched; on the other hand, it would be nice if the cathedral picture credit survived too. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:23, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
I didn't realize it was small, apparently small tags don't work in my browser. I have changed it to normal size. Comment at Template talk:Foreignchar if you are interested. Stefán 21:40, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict)
There is a world of difference between boldness and vandalism. My edits were bold, but well-meant. There has never been much in the way of consensus about this page, so my changes were hardly against consensus. Indeed, the page only ended up at Meissen because it was moved unilaterally and no consensus could be found to move it back (its original position was Meißen). Since that time, it seems to me, there has been a gradual shift towards using ß where applicable, suggesting that it might now be considered desirable to move this isolated case of non-ß-usage to its German title. Now, that may or may not be the case (the WP:RM will hopefully decide), but to label my actions as "vandalism" is unacceptable. I spend a fair amount of effort combatting vandalism, and this is not how it is manifested. I was trying to improve the article, and that intention, regardless of the results, precludes it from being vandalism. The influence of the porcelain factory (which is correctly called Meissen porcelain) may be greater than I had reckoned in this borderline case, and I will, of course, abide by any consensus which may arise during the ongoing move request. I also feel that editors in general should think very carefully before bandying phrases like "vandalism", "irresponsible" and "shameful" about. --Stemonitis 21:33, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
We should not even be having this discussion.
As soon as it was clear that this "boldness" was going to be opposed, Stremonitis should have moved this article back where it was; and then, if he chose, launched a move request. As he knows, there has never been consensus for the view he supports; he took part in the last discussion. If he now does so, I will withdraw the word vandalism; if he can suggest another word for making the article less comprehensible to our chosen audience, I will gladly substitute it. I regret to see that some other editors have chosen to violate our content and process policies for the sake of a favorite alphabet; but Meissen is not so much a minority as he supposes. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:11, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Furthermore, this gracious offer to move back if there is consensus is insufficient. If there is no consensus in favor of his unilateral move, it should be reversed; as it should be reversed now. It should never have been made.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:27, 13 June 2007 (UTC)


I trust this will be for next time. WP:NCGN proposes six tests for widespread English usage.

  • Encyclopedias.
    • Britannica Online. I have also checked the printed Britannica (2003, Micropedia 7, 1021) and they do not even mention Meißen, although it is careful about German (it italicizes Land, for example). The Encyclopedia Americana, which was next to it, even goes so far as to hyphenate between the two s 's.
    • Columbia
    • Encarta
  • Google Scholar/Google books; there is a caution on false positives, suggesting an additional key word.
    • This is difficult, since Google Scholar does not distinguish between the two. But the first search page on Meißen Saxony contains over half Meissens, and the search on Meissen Saxony turns up only one Meißen, I have no doubt as to the majority usage in English.
  • Standard histories.
    • New Cambridge Modern History VI 603: A characteristic episode was the arrival in 1717, from Meissen in Saxony, of a workman who brought with him the secrets of porcelain manufacture; the subject here is Austria, as longer quotation would show and the reference is to the city, not the variety of porcelain. This appears to be the only reference to Meissen.
    • country study for East Germany (click on the section called Dissent) Standing workshops for peace were formed in numerous student communities, and peace seminars, often attended by hundreds of people, were held in Karl-Marx-Stadt, Meissen, Waldheim, Zittau, Kessin, and elsewhere. There is a country study for Germany, but it does not appear to mention Meissen.
  • News sources
  • Consensus in the discussion as to what English usage is. We are in fact close to that; the arguments against this move are arguments against our present policy, not that Meissen is not English usage.
  • Use of Meissen as a translation in texts addressed to anglophones.

More follows. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:12, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. 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.

This article has been renamed from Meißen to Meissen as the result of a move request. It seems that the influence of the porcelain factory on English-language texts was greater than I had anticipated. --Stemonitis 06:07, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I find the above comment to be incredibly tasteless due to the nature of the initial move to "Meißen" and the editor's weak reasoning for the aforementioned move. Charles 06:23, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
The only influence of the porcelain factory has been to cause Meissen to mentioned more often than Groß Gerau (for which there may be no widely accepted English form); thus making the general tendency of English to use ss more obvious here. But let us forgive and forget Stremonitis' bad sportsmanship, as long as he doesn't do it again; he did move it back, eventually. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:18, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

name vs. spelling[edit]

Meissen is not a different name, it's just a different spelling. Good to see that Wikipedia is spreading errors. User:Dorftrottel 20:49, January 15, 2008

Thank you for your constructive and helpful comments. In case you didn't know, English usage is not dictated by German spelling conventions. Charles 20:51, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Relax, nothing to get worked up about. You're just mixing it up: It's a misspelling, an error, due to the simple fact that most typewriters in English speaking countries didn't have an ß. And German spelling conventions don't try to dictate anything, these days. User:Dorftrottel 00:45, January 16, 2008
"Good to see that Wikipedia is spreading errors" doesn't seem like the most serene way of posting to me. I'm not getting worked up, I actually laugh when I see a ß-warrior insisting that English is wrong when it really isn't. English does not make use of the Eszett in most cases. It's a simple fact. Meissen is the correct name in English for this city and all of its previous incarnations as a margraviate, etc, whether or not it is a misspelling in German, which is irrelevant to the English language use. Charles 01:13, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
"ß-warrior"? "Serene"? However, it's really easy: Meissen is not an English word or name, it's the form that was used because ß was missing from typesets. Why continue this simple error, when it's totally avoidable today? Why would anyone actually celebrate past technological limitations? User:Dorftrottel 04:54, January 16, 2008
Regardless of your opinion of technical limitations, it does not matter. Meissen is used in more English sources than Meißen, simple as that. Meissen is Meissen in English, whether you like it or not. Sorry! Charles 17:54, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, you're probably right in that the foremost principle of the English language and the English speaking world is KISS. Unfortunate however, that this unwillingness to learn is being continued here at Wikipedia. As I said above: Good to see that Wikipedia is spreading errors. Good also to know who argues in favor of it. User:Dorftrottel 21:00, January 16, 2008
On the contrary, we have ceased to perpetrate a misspelling in English, and the spread of misinformation across the Wikipedias. English spells it Meissen; German Meißen, just as Hebrew spells it מייסן. That's one thing right. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:25, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


I took the time to look over the claim that "Miśnia" is in many English language sources in the the edit summary [2] attempting to justify adding the Polish variant to the article about this German town, and its reference... Other than primarily being written in the 19th century, with a few odds and ends from the 18th century, where do any of them claim Misnia to be a Polish variant? It seems to be Latin. Missed any references to the Polish language. Didn't see Miśnia in any of those English language sources either. Dr. Dan (talk) 15:25, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

File:Wappen Landkreis Meissen 2009.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Míšeň, Miśnia[edit]

Doing one hypocrite's work, which was supposedly already done, months ago, by the same individual. Nomina sunt odiosa. Skoranka (talk) 16:46, 29 July 2012 (UTC)