Wikipedia:Naming conventions (subnational entities)

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Proposals[edit]

Note1:To keep the representation as neutral as possible, the propasals are named with capital letters, in the order they were created.

Note2: In the following proposals, "X" refers to the name of the entity (i.e. Nevada, Fermanagh, Punjab) and "Term" refers to the type (i.e. state, county). "Term" means it's capitalized, "term" mean it's in lower case.

Proposal A[edit]

Regional disambiguation is done the same way as for cities namely with comma. "X Term" is used as for other geographical features e.g. "X Peninsula", "X River", "X Mountains", "X Island", "X Desert", "X Valley" and "X Empire". For maybe 80% of all entities only three (the first three) naming formats will be used:

  1. For article names use:
    1. "X" if
      • no disambiguation is needed. eg. Nevada
    2. "X Term" if
      • several things "X" exist. eg. Junín -> Junín Province
      • or: 70% or more of the sister entities use the form "X Term"
        • Note: you may opt for "X (term)", see there
    3. "X Term, Geographic specifier" if
    4. "X (term)" if
    5. "Term X" for entities of anglophone countries if it is predominantly used like this. e.g. Counties of Ireland
    6. "Term of X" if it can be proven that this is much more used in literature than "X Term" or "X Term" really is wrong.
  2. avoid:
    1. having things like "Saint George (parish)", "Saint George Parish", "Parish of Saint George" all at the same time.

Proposal B[edit]

Note: In this proposal, "X" refers to the name of the entity (i.e. Nevada, Fermanagh) and "Term" refers to the type (i.e. state, county). "Term" means it's capitalized, "term" mean it's in lower case. This proposal is primarily for first-level divisions; second-level and below can be handled similarly, with a few changes. I'd prefer to keep this vote to just first-level for now.

  1. Use local/official terminology for the name, short form if possible.
    • Examples:
      • If it is referred only by its short form, use that. Example: Nevada.
      • If it is referred to by "X Term", then use that. Example: Kagoshima Prefecture. WRONG, official/local is 鹿児島県 Kagoshima-ken
      • If it is referred to by "X term", then use that. Example: Comayagua department. WRONG, official/local is "Departamento de Comayagua"
      • If it is referred to by "Term of X", then use that. Example: Province of Rome. WRONG, official/local is Provincia di Roma
  2. If there is any confusion whatsoever, go with "X" if possible, or "X Term" if not, until locals or someone familiar with the country can offer a correct version. This is the least offensive choice, and is considered a temporary situation. See below for exceptions where "X Term" is preferred above all other formats.
    • The testimony of locals and people familiar with the country should be considered above Google evidence - Google is very likely to have many results from news organizations, which may be just as ignorant as naming standards as we are.
  3. If there is any naming conflict at all, disambiguate with parentheses, not a comma.
    • Disambiguate with "(country)" (i.e. "(Egypt)"), or "(term)" (i.e. "(state)"), or if required, "(country entity)" (i.e. "(Angolan province)"). The first usage is preferred, the second usage is useful if, say, there is a county named that, and a river named that, and a province named that. The third is useful if there is any confusion between different countries. Also acceptable may be "(entity of country)", i.e. "(state of India)", for times when the adjective is not desired; this may become the preferred method if it is preferred by most countries (added later to handle criticism; does not contradict anything in proposal)
      • This is better than "Name, Country" (i.e. "Georgia, United States" or "Amazonas, Brazil") because we almost never use a country like that except for cities. The name of the entity is Georgia; to add something after the comma implies that's part of the name, or is commonly referred to that by the people of that country. It also makes it possible to use the pipe trick.
  4. Use the official English name, both for the entity and its type (province, oblast, etc).
    • Use the English name if there is a official translation. If, for example, a country has "oblasts" but its government officially translates them as "republics", then we should use "republic".
  5. If there is not a official translation, then a translation or obvious cognate should be used, until we can find a better solution.
  6. If there is any disagreement, or confusion, a notice should be posted on the main list page (i.e. Provinces of Pakistan, States of India) that asks for a discussion on the move, and possibly a vote and notice on Wikipedia:Requested moves.
  7. Be standard within the country above all else. Don't have one article at "X Term" and another at "X". If most of the articles are at "X", then the remainder should be at "X (term)" or what not. Under no circumstances should "X" and "X Term" coexist.

The Cliff's Notes version: Respect for local short naming standards; consistency within each country; disambiguate with parentheses rather than commas; fits most existing naming standards; locals know more than we or Google do.

Elaborations to the above that should always lead to "X Term" usage or "Term of X" usage, unless we are informed differently by people who know better: (Minor in most cases, just mentioned as a general guideline):

  • If the term is an adjective and not a name, go with "X Term". The reasoning behind this is, if you're dealing with a name (i.e. Santa Rosa), then that's the name of the province. However, when you're dealing with an adjective (i.e. Somali, Central, Northeastern), then that's more of a description of the province, rather than a name. If the bulk of a nation's divisions are adjectival, then all of the divisions should probably be moved to that form; see Sri Lanka, which is mostly adjectival but has two "named" ones, which should stay at "X Province" for consistency within the country.
  • Furthermore, if all or a huge majority of the divisions in a country take their name from their central town, the style "X Term" should be used. Example: Ukraine, where you have "X Oblast", which is centered around the city named "X". In this case, the oblast is named after the city, so the city should get top billing, and the oblast should be named accordingly. This style seems better than "X (oblast)" because it is literally the oblast OF that city. (See also Italy; there are areas like the Province of Rome. In that case, that name is preferred to "Rome Province" because it's the province centered around Rome; in Italian, it's the province OF Rome. It exists because Rome does. It's not simply a province NAMED Rome. These usages will of course vary from country to country)
  • For the parishes of the various island nations of the Atlantic and Caribbean: These nations mostly have a common heritage and share so many similar names (There are several Saint Georges, for example) that a standard naming and disambiguation style should be used. This decision is unlikely to be offense to anyone, since these divisions are mostly irrelevant; in some cases, not even the census takers care about them anymore.

Proposal UP[edit]

Based on Usage and Parenthesis (for piping). Very similar to B, but with a different emphasis.

Note: In this proposal, "X" refers to the name of the entity (such as: Nevada, Fermanagh) and "Term" refers to the type (state, region, country). "Term" means it's capitalized, "term" mean it's in lower case. "Y" and "Z" refer to further levels of divisions (recursively). This proposal is for all divisions.

  1. Determine likely usage for the name:
    1. Is it mostly used as a full named link in other articles? Then, this entity name should be as complete as possible, with the disambiguation in comma form, ready for use in a sentence.
      • "X Term", "X Term, Y"
      • Example: "Adana Province" or "Adana Province, Turkey" — the reference is almost never likely to occur in the text without the "Province" and rarely without the "Turkey". Use one choice for the primary name and redirect from the other choice, to make writing and editting as easy and consistent as possible.
    2. Is it most likely a simple reference in other articles? Then, this entity name should be as simple as possible, with the full disambiguation in parenthesis. The disambiguation should match the long name version of the higher entity. Using the full disambiguation will make the sub-national administrative division clear at a glance.
      • "X (Y Term)", "X (Y Term, Z)"
      • Example: "Adana (Adana Province, Turkey) — the city name is rarely likely to occur in the text with the "Adana Province" and almost never with the "Turkey". (The single place being the city article itself.) All the references to the place will be (are) in other articles saying it's "near Adana", and there is no need to indicate the complete geographic location in the text. A prime choice for the "pipe trick".
  2. Use local/official terminology for the name, in order of preference:
    1. If it is commonly used in its short form, use that. (Example: Nevada.)
    2. If it is officially "X Term", then use that. (Example: Kagoshima Prefecture.) WRONG, official is 鹿児島県 Kagoshima-ken
    3. If it is officially "X term", then use that. (Example: Comayagua department.) WRONG, official is "Departamento de Comayagua"
    4. If it is locally/officially "Term of X", then use that. (Example: Province of Rome.) WRONG, official is Provincia di Roma
  3. Use the official English name, both for the entity and its type (province, oblast, etc).
    1. If, for example, a country has "oblasts" and its government officially translates them as "republics", then we should use "republic".
    2. If there is not a official translation, then a translation or obvious cognate should be used, until we can find a better solution.
    3. If there is any confusion whatsoever, go with "X" when possible, or "X Term" otherwise, until locals or someone familiar with the country can offer a correct version.
      • This is the least offensive choice, and is considered a temporary situation. A disambiguation page can always be added for either form later.
      • A notice should be posted on the main list page (such as, Provinces of Pakistan, States of India) that asks for a discussion on the move, and possibly a vote and notice on Wikipedia:Requested moves.
      • The testimony of locals and people familiar with the country should be considered above Google evidence — Google is very likely to have many results from news organizations, which may be just as ignorant as we are about naming standards.
  4. Be standard within the country.
    1. Don't have one article at "X" and another at "X Term".
      • That is, when one subnational entity has to be moved to "X District", then all the districts should be moved to the same "* District" form.
    2. Under no circumstances should "X" and "X Term" coexist.
      • That is, where an old X is found to be ambiguous, move to "X Term (fully disambiguated)", and change the new "X" redirect page to a disambiguation page, either on its own, or by pointing to a new "X (disambiguation)".

The Cliff's Notes version: Disambiguate with parentheses where most likely short name, and commas where most likely long name; respect for local short naming standards; locals know more than we or Google do; consistency within each country; fits most existing naming standards.

Proposal D[edit]

...try to avoid comma, use conventional bracket dab

Comparison[edit]

X is a name, like "Orange" or "Nevada". Term is term for subnational entities, e.g. state, province, county. Y is a higher level division with respect to X. Example: X Term, Y could be "Orange County, Florida"


General Proposal A Proposal B Proposal UP Proposal D
Coverage all subnational levels only first level entities all subnational levels all subnational levels
number of words / characters 205 / 1189 947 / 5547
special rule for Georgia yes: Georgia (U.S. state) yes: Georgia (U.S. state) yes: Georgia (U.S.A.) (U.S.A. is not the title of the corresponding country article) no: Georgia (United States)
special rule for carribean no yes no
Naming variants Proposal A Proposal B Proposal UP Proposal D
X yes yes yes yes
X Term yes yes yes yes
X (term) yes yes no yes
X term no, use: X Term or X (term) yes yes yes
Term of X no, use: X Term or X (term) yes yes, Country specific yes
X Term, Y yes yes yes no, use: X Term (Y)
X Term, Y, Someland yes no yes no
X Term, Y (Someland) no, use: X Term, Y, Someland yes no, use: X Term (Y, Someland) no, use: X Term (??? to be detemined)
X Term (Y, Someland) no, use: X Term, Y, Someland no, use: X Term, Y (Someland) yes to be determined
X, Someland yes (for cities, towns, villages) yes (?) yes (not cities, towns, villages) maybe for cities?
X (Someland) no, use: X, Someland yes yes yes
X (Somelandian province) no
because this is ambigous (Indian district refers to India?) see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (country-specific topics) use: X Term, Someland
yes no no
X (province of Someland) no
because this is ambigous (is X a province of Someland or is X in the province of Someland?)
yes no probably yes
X, Y, Someland yes no yes no
X, Y (Someland) no, use: X, Y, Someland yes no, use: X (Y, Someland)
X (Y, Someland) no, use: X, Y, Someland no yes
Sum 7 12 11


Examples[edit]

Long name Proposal A Proposal B Proposal UP
State of Georgia, United States of America Georgia (U.S. state)
[per rule 4]
Georgia (U.S. state)
[per rule 3, also fits current usage by sizable U.S. wikipedian population]
Georgia (U.S.A.)
[rule 1.2, disambiguation should match the long name version of the higher entity]
The Punjab state in India Punjab State
[per rule 2] or
Punjab (state)
[per rule 4]
Punjab (Indian state) or Punjab (state),
depending on discussion on talk page [per rule 3]
Punjab (India)
[rules 1 and 2.1]
Freestate of Bremen, Germany Bremen (state) Bremen (state) Bremen (Germany)
City of Bremen, Germany Bremen ??? ???
Province of Panjshir in Afghanistan Panjshir Province "Panjshir Province" or "Panjshir province" or "Panjshir";
someone familiar with the country has indicated the second is more proper, but this could be handled with a vote.
same as B
State of Amazonas in Brazil Amazonas State, Brazil
[per rule 3]
Amazonas (Brazilian state)
[per rule 3]
Amazonas (Brazil)
[rule 1.2, disambiguation should match the long name version of the higher entity]
State of Amazonas in Venezuela Amazonas State, Venezuela
[per rule 3]
Amazonas State (Venezuela) [The current format for Venezuelan states seems to be "X State", so this needs only be disambiguated with the country. This could be confirmed on the talk page though.] same as B
Provincia di Roma, Italy Rome Province
it could not be proven that this version is un-english
Province of Rome
[per rule 2; someone familiar with the country has stated "Rome Province" is incorrect on the appropriate talk page]
same as B
[rule 2.4]
Departament of Comayagua in Honduras Comayagua Department
it could not be proven that this version is wrong english. Someone thought lowercase is needed because spanish has lowercase, but then it is unspanish nevertheless because hispanics don't use this word order.
Comayagua department
[per rule 2; someone familiar with the country has stated this is more correct on the appropriate talk page]
same as B
[rule 2.3]
Prefecture of Kagoshima Kagoshima Prefecture Kagoshima Prefecture
[per rules 1, 4, and general deferrence to the large existing Japanese wikipedian population]
same as B
[rules 2.2, 3.1]
The Central Governorate of Bahrain Central Governorate Central Governorate
[per rule 4; official name]
same as B
[rule 3.1]
Littoral Department in Benin
(There are other Littorals in the world)
Littoral Department
[per rule 3; "X" is not possible because other "X" exist and beside one, the whole set needs disambiguation.]
Littoral (department) or Littoral Department
[per rule 2; if Littoral were the only department requiring disambiguation, then the first is preferred. If most of them require disambiguation, then go with "X Term" as per rule 2.]
Littoral (Benin) or Littoral Department, Benin
[rules 1, 3.3]


Voting[edit]

I added this section at 08:59, August 15, 2005 (UTC); I'm not sure if this is the proper method, but notice HAS been posted on both VP:Policy and RFC. --Golbez 08:59, August 15, 2005 (UTC)

Support Proposal A[edit]

  • So far I typically used the same conventions and feel them as natural. This doesn't mean that I strongly oppose B or oppose standardization. Pavel Vozenilek 22:15, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Support Proposal B[edit]

  • Looks better and is more thought-through; also, puts emphasis on what the actual term is, instead of Google. -- AlexR 09:03, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
  • This proposal seems to take in account all necessary considerations. Giano | talk 10:28, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Self-nom? Is this allowed? --Golbez 19:06, August 15, 2005 (UTC)
  • Strong support. Excellent work, Golbez et al. Hajor 04:49, 24 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. Markussep 12:30, 24 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Okay, but I object to "somelandian province" as many adjectives can be confusing (e.g. the "India" case mentioned). Please change to "province of someland", those articles are rare anyway. Also, the proposal has a number of items and it isn't clear which has precedence. Radiant_>|< 12:15, August 25, 2005 (UTC)
    • I tried to arrange it in order, but it turns out that there are two halves to the proposal - what name to use, and what translation to use. I'll rearrange it; basically, 1-3 go in order, then 4-5 go in order, and 6 and 7 are simply procedural. Thanks for the comment, the only issue is that there is one glaring existing contradiction - Georgia (U.S. state). Wait a minute.. maybe that's not a contradiction at all. The list of states of India is at States and Territories of India. The list of American states is at U.S. state. So maybe it should simply be changed to use the format of the "main" article. The point is, as long as they use parentheses, I'm happy, anything beyond that can be debated and discussed. --Golbez 13:01, August 25, 2005 (UTC)
  • --User:Sweets (talk) 12:47, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. --Lysy (talk) 07:08, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Support neither; please give reason[edit]

  • it was the initial idea of this page to get consensus and analyze the subject. not to do voting on an arbitrary proposal in the first place. brute force pushing towards voting does not resolve downsides of both proposals.
  • the main supporter of proposal B allready started moving before this voting started, thus I doubt he is interested in analyzing the matter.
  • instead of bundling all rules to a proposal A or B, some stuff could be split to get better results. e.g. vote seperatly on
    • upper vs lower case
    • comma vs. parenthesis for regional disambig

Tobias Conradi (Talk) 12:52, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Hello Tobias - Your accusations are becoming more unfair, and damaging to yourself, as time goes by. Who exactly are you claiming is the main supporter. Golbez has worked tirelessly to try and create some sort of proposal that would be agreeable to all, especially you. How can voting possibly be brute force, which of those who voted have been forced. It is becoming quite apparent that there is no pleasing you unless you can have completely your own way. Well you can't! Giano | talk 13:16, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
brute fore, because at one point he just decided "let use vote" put up a comparison table with lots of errors and let the people come in. My accusations cannot damage me. Yes he did a lot of work, and I also think he learned something about subnational entity names during this work. And of course there is no pleasing if I see people not considering certain problems. Tobias Conradi (Talk) 23:27, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure I haven't moved any since voting began, and we both moved before voting began, you far more than I. Also, it is my belief, backed up by the votes, that a general consensus is being achieved, through proposal B - it seems people agree with B about both case and disambig. However, I'm always willing to discuss flaws in it and such. This is not binding, but a general guideline as to how to go about things. Moves won't be made, for example, with the summary simply being a link to this article, without any discussion. --Golbez 13:27, August 25, 2005 (UTC)
I didn't say Golbez moved after voting begun. But he moved while we where working here, while we were working on a naming scheme. The first words on this page once said "

To all Wikipedians interested in subnational entities[edit]

Please let's all come together here. No quick polls, no quick solutions, no partial solutions. Let's try to find something that will last longer.

"

What I can see from different statements is Golbez allways wants something. Afghanistan: "I want them lower case". If it's just about wanting, why does he not take a paper, writes down the names in lowercase,and that's it. He could have his fun. And now he says: "I want all disambig in parenthesis, the rest can be discussed. Why does he make such an amount of work for this one-sentence desire "all to parenthesis" ?
OK: Dear Golbez, our proposals in a lot of points are not that far away. I also see bad downsides in Proposal A. eg. "Amazonas State, Brazil" while having the other states mostly at X and some at X (state). Tobias Conradi (Talk) 23:27, 25 August 2005 (UTC)


First use of name[edit]

Always search for the shortest form of the name. When the short form does not yet exist, while starting a new page, always check the What links here link on the creation page before saving it. If the name has already been used in articles for another purpose, use a Wikipedia:Disambiguation page instead.

This will give some inkling about how the name has already been used in existing articles, and whether a long form has already been established for that particular country.

Proposal UP text[edit]

Naming conventions (within countries) are a list of guidelines on how to appropriately name articles about places within each country. This style guideline is intended to make this process more efficient by giving article titles a consistent look, and avoiding distracting information.

It is important to note that these are conventions, not rules written in stone. As Wikipedia grows and changes, some conventions that once made sense may become outdated, and there may be cases where a particular convention is "obviously" inappropriate. But when in doubt, follow convention.

Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.

In addition to following the naming conventions it is also important to follow the linking conventions. Following consistent conventions in both naming and linking makes it more likely that links will lead to the right place.

Check for the name[edit]

Always search for the shortest form of the name. When the short form does not yet exist, while starting a new page, always check the What links here link on the creation page before saving it. If the name has already been used in articles for another purpose, use a Wikipedia:Disambiguation page instead.

This will give some inkling about how the name has already been used in existing articles, and whether a long form has already been established for that particular country.

Determine prevalent usage[edit]

There are two methods in primary use for the long form of disambiguating place names. One uses commas between the administrative divisions, the other uses parenthesis enclosing the administrative divisions. There are also hybrid variations.

Comma method[edit]

Is the place name mostly used as a full named link in other articles?

  • Then, this entity name should be as complete as possible, with the disambiguation in comma form, ready for use in a sentence.
    • Format:
      • "ShortName, HigherDivision"
      • "ShortName term, HigherDivision"
    • This reference is unlikely to occur in the text without the "term" or without the "HigherDivision".
  • Check all parts in the same manner as the short name.
  • Assuming no conflicts, name the article "ShortName term, HigherDivision", and use "ShortName term" as a redirect or disambiguation page.
  • If there are more conflicts, disambiguate "HigherDivision" using the same method.

Parenthesis method[edit]

Is the place name mostly used as a short name reference in other articles?

  • Then, this entity name should be as simple as possible, with the full disambiguation in parenthesis. This enables easy and consistent editting practice, using the Pipe trick.
    • Format:
      • "ShortName (HigherDivision, HighestDivision)
      • "ShortName term (HigherDivision, HighestDivision)
    • In many cases, most of the other references to "ShortName" are a list of related places. There is no need to indicate the complete geographic location multiple times in the text of those articles.
  • Using the full disambiguation will make administrative divisions clear at a glance.
  • Note: full disambiguation within parenthesis uses the comma method, not nested parenthesis.

Hybrid methods[edit]

  • "ShortName (term), HigherDivision" does not work with the "pipe trick", and is considered ugly by some editors. This should be used rarely and only with consensus.
  • "ShortName term, HigherDivision (HighestDivision)" can lead to inconsistent usage, and can impede future disambiguation efforts. This is deprecated (not recommended).

Terms in parenthesis alone[edit]

For other kinds of articles, the most common method uses a disambiguating term in parenthesis. This simple method distinguishes "(steel)" from "(city)", "(district)", "(province)", "(town)", or "(village)" with a minimum of effort.

Experience has shown that place names needing disambiguation will likely have many counterparts elsewhere, both within the same country and between several countries. Later disambiguation at higher levels can require hundreds of edits. It is best to nip the problem in the bud — use the most complete form of disambiguation at the earliest opportunity — thus helping future editors in advance.

For place names, the use of simple parenthetical terms alone is deprecated (not recommended).

Follow local conventions[edit]

There are several methods in common use for the form of place names. Usually, the shortest form is preferred. However, certain place names always have a disambiguating term as well.

Generally, use the official English name for the place and its type.

  • Example: the country has "oblasts" and its government officially translates them as "area", "region", or "zone", then they should never be renamed "province" to conform to the schema of another country.

If there is not an official translation, then a general equivalent or obvious cognate should be used, until a better solution is found.

When there is any confusion, use "ShortName" or "ShortName Term" (capitalized) as appropriate, until locals or someone familiar with the country can offer a more correct version. Either form an easily be changed to a disambiguation page later.

Nota Bene: The testimony of locals and people familiar with the country should be considered above Google evidence. Google is very likely to have many results from news organizations and wire services. These remote reporters may be ignorant about local naming standards.

ShortName term[edit]

When the place has an official English form that includes a lowercase "term", or the native language usually appends a descriptor that is lowercase, then that form of the term should be used in articles.

  • Example: Comayagua department

ShortName Term (capitalized)[edit]

When the place has an official English form that includes a capitalized "Term", or the native language usually appends a descriptor that is capitalized, then that form of the term should be used in articles.

  • Example: Kagoshima Prefecture

Term of ShortName[edit]

When the place has an official English form that includes a capitalized "Term of", or the native language usually prefixes a descriptor that is capitalized, then that form of the term should be used in articles.

  • Examples: District of Columbia, Province of Rome

Maintain consistency within each country[edit]

Where a place name article is found to be ambiguous, choose a fully disambiguated name, move the article, and change the old page (now a redirect page) to a disambiguation page, or a redirect to a "(disambiguation)" page. Don't forget to check the What links here for double redirects, and update any articles that reference the old page.

A notice should be posted on the appropriate talk page (such as: Administrative divisions of France, Provinces of Pakistan, States and territories of India) that asks for discussion about the move, and possibly a notice and vote at Wikipedia:Requested moves.

All place names in an administrative division should share the same form. For example, when one article has been moved to "X District", then all the districts within a country should be moved to the same form.

There is no expectation of consistency between countries. Sometimes disambiguation will require several administrative divisions, followed by the country. However, in most instances, one or two administrative divisions will be sufficient.