Talk:Motor Gun Boat

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not exemplary examples[edit]

The choosen examples are bad. Both are not typical. Most of the MGB were much smaller (about 70 foot) and less armed.--WerWil (talk) 11:01, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

It would be better to simply have a list of MGB types here, with links to the companies that built them, and pages of individual MGB articles where written. I've started with the Cambell & Nicholson link. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.122.34.10 (talk) 12:37, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

More information required: turret positions[edit]

Article assumes knowledge beyond what could be expected of a lay reader: please provide more information. What are turret positions A, X and Y? (article notes: "By 1945 MGB 658 carried two power-mounted QF 6-pounders in the A and Y turret positions")--mgaved (talk) 17:37, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Std RN practise is to ref to positions alphabetically fore to aft. A is forward-most, B immediately behind that, C, D & E roughly midships, X & Y nearest the stern, generally. (Rarely, Z, too.) Exactly where they are on any given ship depends on the number of actual positions, so an MTB will have A in the bow, X sternward of midships, & Y dead aft. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 18:02, 24 October 2010 (UTC)


Requested move 20 October 2013[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: All pages not moved. The consensus is clearly against moving the capitalized titles to lowercase titles. During the discussion, there was also a alternative move suggestion for Harbour Defence Motor Launch. but it did not get enough attention to form a consensus. (non-admin closure) Steel1943 (talk) 06:31, 4 November 2013 (UTC)


– We don't capitalise acronyms when written in full (see WP:CAPSACRS) and we don't capitalise the article names of types of ship (eg destroyer escort, aircraft carrier, river gunboat, torpedo boat, torpedo boat destroyer, and so on). The general guidance at Wikipedia is "Wikipedia avoids unnecessary capitalization". I have also proposed this change at Motor Torpedo Boat, Motor Launch, Steam Gun Boat and Coastal Motor Boat. Shem (talk) 16:52, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

  • (Merged all six WP:RM proposals together to centralize discussion.) Steel1943 (talk) 07:40, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

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 policy on article titles.
  • Oppose the capitalization is as used in reliable sources. GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:14, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
Sources are for facts, not style. Wikipedia has it's own style guide. See Wikipedia:Specialist style fallacy. Shem (talk) 18:34, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, if I'm reading Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization) correctly, it comes down to whether names such as Motor Torpedo Boat, Motor Gun Boat, Steam Gun Boat - in these particular instances - are proper names (proper nouns), as opposed to "torpedo boat" which is a general term. I don't have access to the Chicago style guide or Fowlers at the moment but am going to the library tomorrow. GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:46, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
Plainly "steam gun boat" is not a proper noun or proper name. As proper nouns says, "A proper noun is a noun that in its primary application refers to a unique entity, such as London, Jupiter, Sarah, or Microsoft, as distinguished from a common noun, which usually refers to a class of entities (city, planet, person, corporation), or non-unique instances of a certain class." A good test (as stated in the article) is that "In English, proper names in their primary application cannot normally be modified by an article" - so a steam gun boat, but not "a HMS Dido". Shem (talk) 21:05, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
In your context, wouldn't you mean, hms Dido?
Cassell English Usage, very first page. "[...] the name of a particular thing, distinguishing it from others of its class. Thus man, horse, sword, computer are common nouns; but John, Dobbin, Excalibur, AppleMac are proper nouns.
Motor Gun Boat is a proper noun phrase. It refers to a particular thing within its class. However the class here is not "the set of individual boats", it is "the set of types of boat". Motor Gun Boats are motor gun boats – but they are also a particular set of motor gun boats belonging to the Royal Navy and meeting the RN's particular definition of MGB. The People's Revolutionary Vessel Shootski Bangski is also a motor gun boat, but it is not one of this specific class of Motor Gun Boats.
Note AppleMac. There are many AppleMacs, but the type AppleMac is specific within the class computers and so is a proper noun. Andy Dingley (talk) 21:30, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose all (although I'm unfamiliar with Steam Gun Boat). These are not the simple combinations of words as for aircraft carrier etc., but they are proper noun phrases, supported as such by the many relevant sources, and so should be treated and capitalised as such. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:04, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose These are technical terms & official designations, not mere "groups of words". AFAIK, there was never a designation "Aircraft Carrier", just a term; if "battleship" was ever one, it's become generic, so... By this reasoning, PT Boat should be pt boat... TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 21:33, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
What do the sources say? The RN clearly favoured these proper noun phrases. What was US practice? Andy Dingley (talk) 21:37, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
These are not proper-noun phrases, they're common-noun phrases. "Motor", "gun", and "boat" are all common nouns, and the phrase "motor gun boat" is also a common noun. That's not the issue here. — kwami (talk) 19:06, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Clearly Support Per WP:VOTE. Steel1943 (talk) 08:44, 31 October 2013 (UTC), since I proposed the move. I'm clearly disappointed to be in a minority of one (so far?), but hear me out:
    • This is not an attempt to belittle the boat type, or ill-intentioned. In fact, it is based on a clear understanding of the rules of grammar and how they are applied at Wikipedia. So, it is fatuous to suggest I would propose "pt boat" or "hms Dido". There are, as we all understand, very good reasons why these capital letters are used in these examples.
    • Stating boldly that "Motor Gun Boat is a proper noun phrase" doesn't make it one. As an analogy, and to paraphrase Andy's point, it is wrong to argue that "Steam Frigate is a proper noun phrase. It refers to a particular thing within its class. However the class here is not "the set of individual boats", it is "the set of types of boat". Steam Frigates are steam frigates – but they are also a particular set of steam frigates belonging to the Royal Navy". Steam frigate certainly isn't a proper noun either, we don't capitalise it at Wikipedia, and arguing that it forms a set within a set doesn't stand up, nor make it a proper noun. Let's be clear here, according to the rules of grammar, "motor gun boat", whether it describes the general or the specific, whether it's a technical term or an official designation, is not a proper noun. Don't take my word for it - check the Wikipedia guidance, read a style guide like Chicago, or read proper noun.
    • We don't disambiguate by capitalising. If we need to disambiguate a particular type of "motor gun boat" from a larger set of "motor gun boats", we disambiguate by naming the article Motor gun boat (Royal Navy) or something similar. I don't think anybody is genuinely arguing that there need to be two articles called "motor gun boat" - which means we need not concern ourselves that this article would be unsuitable as motor gun boat.
    • Sources are irrelevant to this discussion. The phrases are widely capitalised, but then so are other words in the same sources. Rif Winfield in The Sail and Steam Navy List capitalised the word "class" (eg Hermes Class - in common with many other great sources), but we do not do so at Wikipedia. As I've already noted, sources are for facts, not style. Wikipedia has it's own style guide. See Wikipedia:Specialist style fallacy for a fuller explanation.
    • Graeme has promised to investigate Chicago or Fowlers, and I'd welcome his response (although I already know what they say ... they say "motor gun boat" is an example of a common noun, is not a proper noun and doesn't take capitalisation).

There is a fetish at military articles to capitalise somewhat thoughtlessly; please don't let it happen here. Thanks for hearing me out. Shem (talk) 19:43, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

♠"it is wrong to argue that "Steam Frigate is a proper noun phrase. " Not the same thing at all. AFAIK, "steam frigate" has never been an official designation (rather than a descriptive term) for a class or type in the way MGB or MTB has, so it is comparable to remaking "PT boat". Clearly, "patrol, torpedo" is a descriptive, but it's also the official designation, so... In the same way, MGB. QED.
The US Navy clearly thought that "Steam Frigate" was a designation. "PT" is an abbreviation, and we capitalise abbreviations, along with the rest of the world. This is irrelevant. At Wikipedia we do not capitalise a phrase merely because it forms an acronym - see WP:CAPSACRS. Furthermore, I would note that the PT boat article is PT boat, not PT Boat. Shem (talk) 20:39, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
♠it is, I suggest, different between saying "motor gun boat" as a generic thing & "Motor Gun Boat" as particular thing. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 20:35, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
The set and subset you describe are indeed different, but neither are proper nouns. Shem (talk) 20:39, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
They are clearly not proper nouns, any more than "county" or "shire" is a proper noun when restricted to the context of England. However, proper nouns are only a subset of what we capitalize. The question is how we've decided through the MOS to handle such situations. For military ranks, which it seems to me are quite similar to this situation, we once capitalized, but after discussion decided not to, even in the case of US military ranks which are almost always capitalized in primary sources. — kwami (talk) 21:26, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Which is a badly mistaken decision, then, as it means a rejection of sources in favor of our own interpreation - which is very much against policy. - The Bushranger One ping only 23:37, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Your opinion is not policy. — kwami (talk) 01:32, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Dear Shem. I will thank you to not invent quotes and attribute them to me, even helpfully highlighting them in red. No-one, before you, mentioned "steam frigates". Steam frigates are not sourced as a phrase used as a proper noun, so why would they be capitalised?
I would address your other points, but quite honestly if you're reduced to inventing quotes for other editors I see little point in assuming GF any further. You Are Right, Wikipedia is wrong, and policy may and no doubt will be ignored (you've already stated, "Sources are irrelevant") as you simply use the "shouting loudest and most widely" approach instead. Andy Dingley (talk) 09:28, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry you've taken offence; I thought it was (and remains) quite clear that the words in red are a paraphrase to illustrate the point. Personally I assume good faith, and I'm grateful when others do the same. My point might have been clumsily made, but it's not malicious. Shem (talk) 19:35, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
But it does. The reason is that sources deviate from each other, and it's much easier to have a standardized MOS than to argue about every single article. If you don't like the MOS, the place to take it up is at the MOS. Trying to subvert it in individual articles is just disruptive. — kwami (talk) 01:32, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This may boil down to stylisations of Great Britain vs. stylizations of the United States. Wikipedia is clear on maintaining status quo in such cases. – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 20:18, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
This is not a US/UK difference, and in any case it seems that most British sources do not capitalize. — kwami (talk) 20:56, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, I could be wrong, but "seems" is not a very reassuring word in this case. – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 23:48, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Would it be more reassuring if I were dishonest and made a bald statement that it's definitely the case? Any such claim depends on the corpus you sample. In the first page of returns by GBooks, lower-case was in the majority. I've since come across other sources which use l.c. But regardless of whether it's an actual majority of references in the lit, it's certainly extremely common, which is all that's needed to demonstrate that capitalization is not reliably used to make a distinction (assuming that it's used at all). — kwami (talk) 19:06, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Support, pending an actual demonstration by opponents that a motor gun boat is not the same as a Motor Gun Boat. The lit is indiscriminate in capitalization, and this is not a proper name. — kwami (talk) 19:06, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Response(s) from Talk:Harbour Defence Motor Launch -
  • Why not just move to HDML? I only saw two real possibilities, and WP:TWODABS exists... Red Slash 18:24, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Response(s) from Talk:Motor Torpedo Boat -
No, "pt boat" is not next. Wikipedia doesn't capitalise "official designators". This discussion is being conducted largely at talk:Motor Gun Boat. Shem (talk) 20:36, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps this discussion should have been held in a more frequented place such as the WP:MilHist or WP:Ships talk pages? I've just thought of a few similar cases: Sea Control Ship, Aircraft Carrier (Medium), VSTOL Support Ship, Landing Craft Air Cushion etc. And other terms such as Fleet Landing Exercises. GraemeLeggett (talk) 21:10, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Graham, feel free to place a note at WP:MilHist & WP:Ships. I had thought of it mainly from a grammar front and placed notices at Talk:MOSCAPS and Talk:MOS. There are indeed a large number of over-capitalised names out there, and not just ship-related ones. Most of them are backwards capitalisations from the acronym, in my ever-so-humble opinion - and at Wikipedia we don't do that. Shem (talk) 21:24, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose as insitiuting our own, Wikipedia-only spelling/grammar standard is, despite the repeated denials of such, very much WP:OR. - The Bushranger One ping only 23:35, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
    Note: This editor also voted above on the orignal proposal for Motor Gun Boat. Steel1943 (talk) 07:40, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
This is nothing to do with OR. WP:OR says "The phrase "original research" (OR) is used on Wikipedia to refer to material—such as facts, allegations, and ideas—for which no reliable, published sources exist." This is about style and MOS. This discussion is being conducted at Talk:Motor Gun Boat. Shem (talk) 19:46, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Any additional comments:

I agree that we shouldn't dab through caps. Something like the suggestion of (Royal Navy) would be more appropriate. Also, sources capitalize the phrase even in the generic, so the number of sources that capitalize is not good evidence, unless they're RS's for capitalization. (A RS is only a RS for the topic it is a RS on, not for every detail it contains. A RS for Labor politics cannot be used to support a medical diagnosis, for example.)

Consider,

The Spaniards having sent out a great number of Motor Gun-boats and armed Launches.
— Nelson (1797), in Nicolas (1845) Disp. II.404

This is not the Royal Navy category in question, but it is capitalized regardless. Would anyone argue that we should capitalize launch (boat) because of this? Also,

This is the reception destined for the Gun Boat Armada.
—Larwood (1804) No Gun Boats, p. 40

Within the context of the RN, a motor gun-boat is just a motorized gun-boat, correct? We have de-capitalized dozens of military ranks which are specific to the military, and I'm not convinced this is any different.

"Motor Gun Boat" is clearly not a proper noun. It's a class of objects: The Motor Gun Boat, a Motor Gun Boat. If you stated "I boarded Motor Gun Boat", it would be considered ungrammatical. However, a proper noun is not the same thing as a capitalized noun. There's a fair correlation, but it's only approximate. We cannot capitalize this as a proper noun, because it's not. However, there are other reasons for capitalizing things. — kwami (talk) 21:14, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Sources that are written 100-150 years prior to the period in question - at a time when it was commong to capitalise lots of words in a way that is not common now - don't seem that useful. As to what an MGB is - this wikipedia's gunboat article says "A gunboat is a naval watercraft designed for the express purpose of carrying one or more guns to bombard coastal targets, as opposed to those military craft designed for naval warfare". An MGB is a motor boat armed with guns for use against similar sized vessels (rather than the torpedoes of a MTB).GraemeLeggett (talk) 11:48, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

You have a point. I gave those examples because they were in the OED, and were therefore not subject to accusations of cherry-picking. But updating sources doesn't make much difference. For example, we get the same thing in:

"A year later, he was appointed to a Motor Gun Boat Flotilla (precursor of MTBs) as a first lieutenant and boat navigator."
—Mark Zuehlke (2006) Holding Juno: Canada's Heroic Defence of the D-Day Beaches: June 7–12, 1944

There's no reason "flotilla" should be capitalized here, so this is another case of a book which capitalizes nearly everything, and their capitalization of MGB doesn't mean much. And we have many sources which do not capitalize at all:

"MGB — motor gun boat
"MTB — motor torpedo boat"
—Glossary of Angus Konstam (2013) British Motor Gun Boat 1939–45
"Still on his motor gun boat in the Old Entrance was Commander Ryder."
—Ken Ford (2011) St Nazaire 1942: The Great Commando Raid
"Besides the Campbeltown, the task force consisted of two escort destroyers, the Atherstone and the Tynedale, a motor gun boat, a motor torpedo boat, a number of motor launches and 621 officers and men. "
Life magazine, vol 14, no 21, p 79, 1943 May 24
"The original design provided for a boat which was convertible to a motor torpedo boat, motor gun boat and high-speed anti-submarine boat. Towards the end of the construction it was decided to finish the boat as a motor gun boat ..."
—David Brown (1996) The Design and Construction of British Warships, 1939–1945: Submarines, escorts, and coastal forces
"motor gun boat (MGB)"
—Matt Croucher & The Royal British Legion (2011) The Royal British Legion: 90 Years of Heroes

These are speaking specifically of the RN MGB's, and so should capitalize per the counter-argument here, but they don't. As a precaution against cherry-picking, these were all on the first page of Google Book returns. There were also two sources which did capitalize,

Angus Konstam (2003) British Motor Torpedo Boat 1939–45

(note that he doesn't capitalize in 2013) and

Gordon Williamson (2011) E-Boat Vs MTB: The English Channel 1941–45

Sources therefore seem to vary. This is precisely the reason we have an MOS: Sources disagree with each other, and in any case they are usually not RS's for punctuation and formatting. Given that we have no RS's for capitalization, and that RS's for the topic disagree on capitalization, the question is whether the MOS would prescribe capitalization in this case. — kwami (talk) 19:55, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Are you suggesting "a group of motor gun boats" is the same as "Motor Gun Boat 322"? Nonsense. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 22:19, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure I follow you. Kwami is saying the sources do not agree, and that we have a MOS for a reason. To clarify, I'm saying that "Motor Gun Boat 322 was in the group of motor gun boats" would be correct usage, and that therefore the article should at "Motor gun boat" (in the same way as Steam frigate and PT boat are in lower case, and not at "Steam Frigate" and "PT Boat"). What do you think I am proposing? Shem (talk) 13:17, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
I think part of the problem is that "gun boat" and gunboat are not synonyms and Motor Torpedo Boat is not a synonym of torpedo boat though the later may have a motor; and a Steam Gun Boat is far from the same as Gunboat#Steam_era. The capitalization adds distinction, and I'm surprised that of the sources Osprey changed capitalization for the 2013 edition (an ebook perhaps, or just a preview copy?) is interesting. GraemeLeggett (talk) 15:39, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Motor Torpedo Boat implies specifically a "motor", which in contemporary terminology meant a petrol motor, not steam. These thus became smaller (no large and heavy boiler) and with a smaller crew than previous steam Torpedo Boats. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:50, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
But this is true of many words which are not capitalized – traditional African religion, for example. There's no reason that motor gun boat (lower case) can't differ from gunboat with a motor. In general, whenever we have a set phrase, that phrase may take on meanings not deducible from its parts, but that doesn't mean it gets capitalized. Note I'm not arguing either way here (I haven't voted), because I don't know the answer, but I'm trying to demolish incorrect arguments so we can concentrate on factors which are actually relevant. In general, though, our approach is not to capitalize unless we have specific reason to, and so far I don't think I see reason to. — kwami (talk) 20:28, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
No-one is disagreeing with any of your initial comment. However within the domain of motor gun boats, the RN chose to capitalise Motor Gun Boat in reference to their use for a specific sub-class of such boats (and note that they didn't for steam frigate). This is notable and well-sourced. Just as we do for Snowy Egret or Dodge Charger, this is reason enough to capitalise. Andy Dingley (talk) 23:49, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
That may be. However, it would also appear to be well-sourced without the capitals.
On another topic, the opening line, Motor Gun Boat was a Royal Navy term for a small military vessel of the Second World War, is a violation of WP:REFERS: The article is not about the term Motor Gun Boat, but rather about the boats that go by that name. Better to have s.t. like The Motor Gun Boat was a small military vessel of the Royal Navy used in the Second World War (or whatever). MTB has the same problem: a paragraph that might occur in a section on the name is used instead as the lead, as if the name rather than the boat were the topic. — kwami (talk) 00:15, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
This article is not about motor gun boats, it is about Motor Gun Boats in that narrow and specific RN term. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:16, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Can you provide an example of a source that uses "motor gun boat" to mean anything other than "Motor Gun Boat"?
1947—GAS POWER: A gas turbine engine is fitted to British Royal Navy motor gun boat MGB 509, and is relaunched as MGB 2009, the first gas turbine powered naval vessel.kwami (talk) 18:29, 27 October 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.