Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Wikipedia talk:MOS)
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Manual of Style
WikiProject icon This page falls within the scope of WikiProject Manual of Style, a drive to identify and address contradictions and redundancies, improve language, and coordinate the pages that form the MoS guidelines.

Formatting titles of journal articles and book chapters in references[edit]

When formatting references I had always assumed that 'title case' was used for the titles of journals and books and that 'sentence case' was used for the titles of journal articles and book chapters. This is a style that is used by many scientific journals. I've now discovered that this choice is not explicitly specified in the manual of style which reads:

"The titles of articles, chapters, songs, television episodes, research papers and other short works are not italicized; they are enclosed in double quotation marks. Italics are not used for major revered religious works (the Bible, the Quran, the Talmud). Many of these items should also be in title case." (colour added)

So my question is, which of these items should be in title case? Or does WP:CITEVAR apply? Aa77zz (talk) 16:48, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

MOS:ALLCAPS. --Redrose64 (talk) 17:20, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree that this is a matter for CITEVAR: variations in this choice from article to article are ok but within a single article we should be consistent. My own preference, btw, is the one expressed at the start of this section: sentence case for journal articles and book chapters, title case for journal names and book titles. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:56, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
  • As long as it is consistent within the article, I agree with you and think that it's fine. I personally use Bluebook for articles I create, so journal articles are title case and in italics while book titles are in title case and smallcaps. GregJackP Boomer! 20:51, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I very grudgingly concede, temporarily, that CITEVAR probably applies sometimes, but: 1) use a consistent style within the article for the same type of source; 2) never change non-periodicals' titles to use sentence case; and 3) always favor title case for all titles when in doubt, for consistency between different types of sources. On that last point, I would further say never change periodicals' titles to sentence case unless it was used by the first major contributor, in properly formatted, complete citations – don't count copy-pasted, wannabe citations (e.g. <ref>"The unlightable beingness of bears", Jane Smith, Underwater Basketweaving Jnl, Jan 2016</ref>). Per WP:COMMONSENSE, it would also be reasonable to override CITEVAR for rational reasons, e.g. the first major contributor adding only one such citation, and not raising any objections after other editors added considerably more periodical citations using title case. We also often override ENGVAR for rational reasons, and we must not take "first major contributor" fetishism seriously. (This has been happening; I fairly often see attempts at WP:RM to extend the "first major contributor" concept to all sorts of things, and this problem is growing not shrinking.)

    I would prefer if WP settled on "use title case for titles", and just left it at that. It would eliminate all such disputes. It's more important for the project to eliminate recurrent disputes that pointlessly waste editorial time and energy for no reader benefit, than to do what some particular camp stylistically prefers in "their" articles because some journals in their field use sentence case. It's yet another example of the WP:Specialist style fallacy in action.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:21, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Well, WP:CITEVAR clearly applies, and that includes using a consistent style within the article. APA uses sentence case for journal articles, and if the first major contributor is using that style it should be allowed. If that means changing a title to match the requirements of the citation style used, that's what we do. Second, we use the citation style implemented by the first major contributor. By definition, if there is only one or two poorly formed citations in the article, there is not an established style and CITEVAR encourages editors to impose a citation style in those cases. Finally, WP:Specialist style fallacy is an essay by you, and of no more weight than WP:Generalist style fallacy if I should decide to write an essay on that subject. It is your opinion and not close to what is currently policy.
Finally, we don't impose a single citation style on editors, we allow them to use what they are comfortable with. I'm comfortable with Bluebook and prefer to use it on articles I create. If you prefer CS1/2, you can use that. If you prefer Chicago, use that. It is more important that we don't run off content creators by imposing styles that they don't like or feel comfortable with. GregJackP Boomer! 04:12, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
  • "Well," CITEVAR does not "clearly" apply or this discussion, and many previous similar ones, would never arise. Hyperbole isn't helpful, and simply restating your assertion after it's been controverted isn't a real argument. CITEVAR was intended for one, clear purpose, to prevent the wholesale alteration of citations from one major style (e.g. Help:Citation Style 1), to another. It was never intended to allow anyone to WP:OWN every nitpick of citations. It's been incrementally WP:CREEPing toward that un-wiki goal for several years now, and this has to stop. It's not an MOS matter, though, so I'll take that up at WT:CITE. Moving on, CITEVAR doesn't say what you seem to think it says; "first major contributor" (FMC, hereafter) is only one of multiple encompassed scenarios, and the FMC can be overridden. This is because the "we don't impose a single citation style on editors, we allow them to use what they are comfortable with" intent you point out is directly thwarted when the FMC picks something that doesn't work well in the context and/or that other contributors aren't comfortable with. WP:CONSENSUS applies to this as it does to everything else on WP. Even the FMC's ENGVAR preferences can be overturned. Citation styles don't "run off" anyone (cf. comment about hyperbole again). No one has ever been blocked for adding citations that weren't formatted a particular way, and people can add citation any way they like; they just don't necessarily get to tell others they can't reformat the citations. There is no principle anywhere on WP that you can't add information and citations to an article however you like, and leave it to someone else to tweak them later (though they may ask you on your talk page to respect CITEVAR and/or to use our citation templates).

    PS: I think you misapprehend the nature of WP:ESSAYs and why people mention them. No one is citing them as authoritative (or if they are, they are making a mistake, misunderstanding how WP:POLICY works). There is no assertion of "weight", and accusing me of making one is a straw man. People write essays to lay out frequently-repeated reasoning clearly, so they don't have to keep writing it out again and again every time the same issue comes up. That's all they are, and that's the only reason to link to one. If I or anyone else points to an essay, it means "this has already been addressed, and we don't need to rehash it at length here, unless we're adding something new." (As for that essay in particular, if the specialist style fallacy were not actually fallacious, someone would have long ago written a refutation, given how many people engage in that fallacy and are convinced they are right. Hasn't happened, because the reasoning in the essay is sound.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:46, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Well, I'm sorry, but CITEVAR clearly defers to the FMC, stating: "As with spelling differences, it is normal practice to defer to the style used by the first major contributor or adopted by the consensus of editors already working on the page, unless a change in consensus has been achieved." So if you want to change it, you get consensus to change it. It works the same way as anything else in WP. I'm also familiar with the purpose of essays. When they are good and well-grounded they serve the purpose you state. Unfortunately, the reasoning is not sound, nor, for that matter, does it do a good job of explaining the position, relying instead on "using emotive, even insulting language that generates heated responses and tends to derail discussions" as above. I get that you don't like CITEVAR and would apparently prefer a uniform system for all articles. But CITEVAR still clearly applies. GregJackP Boomer! 04:37, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you somehow seem unable to see the part that says "or adopted by the consensus of editors already working on the page" (trumps the FMC), and the part that follows, "unless a change in consensus has been achieved", which trumps both the FMC and a WP:LOCALCONSENSUS of the main editors of the page as a group, if (e.g.) an RfC decided the cite style they were using wasn't appropriate for the topic area. "It works the same way as anything else in WP"; yes, I just said that. I didn't say there should only be one citation style. Vague claims than an essay isn't reasoned well don't demonstrate that it's not reasoned well.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:56, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Commas and full stops (periods) inside or outside[edit]

The style given is just not being followed by WP editors and anyway is not the custom in the U.S. and Canada, so I was WP:Bold and simply deleted it. BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 23:54, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

For the record, BeenAroundAWhile, I reverted you because, while Wikipedia editors generally do not follow WP:Logical quotation, this subject has been repeatedly debated at this talk page and attempts to achieve WP:Consensus to remove that text have repeatedly failed. There should be WP:Consensus for its removal. Flyer22 (talk) 00:01, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Agree with the revert. Community consensus is established by discussion leading to guidelines, not by individual perception(s) of what's commonly done. ―Mandruss  00:06, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Agree with BeenAroundAWhile that WP:LQ needs to be replaced; disagree that "just be consistent" is enough instruction. The English language has two systems for dealing with this, and we should tell people how to use them correctly. WP:LQ is the single most challenged part of the MoS for good reason. As for consensus, 1) The last RfC we had on this issue was written in a biased manner; 2) while a majority of participants said that we should use only British punctuation, the majority of sources said the opposite. Wikipedia's not a democracy. We're supposed to care more about what's verifiable than about what people happen to like. The MoS shouldn't have personal preferences up there as rules. There's no reason not to use ENGVAR for punctuation. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:00, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Mandruss, if you're concerned about compliance and individual perception, we actually did check the last time this came up: [1]. Compliance with WP:LQ is pretty low. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:06, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Darkfrog has campaigned for internal punctuation on the internet more widely, seeing it as a nationalistic issue. But she fails to account for the fact that it crosses the boundaries of national variety. Tony (talk) 05:23, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
1) Tony I have no idea what you're talking about, "campaigning widely on the internet"? When WP:LQ comes up, I support changing it. 2) Don't make claims about how I do and don't see things. The way I see this matter is that requiring people to do things incorrectly is really mean and makes the encyclopedia look unprofessional. In American English, leaving periods and commas outside closing quotation marks is wrong, just like how spelling "harbor" without the U is wrong in British English.
3) No it does not cross boundaries of international variety. We found one American source that required British, one. All of the others required American, a 16:1 ratio: [2] Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:22, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
That was a little unfair of me personally. Retracted. Tony (talk) 05:45, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
Nevertheless, Darkfrog24, a sampling of articles says nothing about how many editors even know about the guideline. In my experience, even when an editor edits per MOS:LQ, they rarely bother linking to it in their editsum, so it appears they are just editing per their personal preference. This does nothing to educate other editors, and it's unwise to cite non-compliance to justify the elimination or modification of any guideline. ―Mandruss  05:29, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Compliance is high enough to keep LQ, for its precision. Editors like me regularly fix TQ when we encounter it. It's been this way for years. The sky has not fallen. A large proportion of MOS's guidance is expected to not be followed by casual editors, and implemented in cleanup by MOS gnomes; that's true of everything from date formats to spaces between measurements and unit symbols (and non-breaking ones at that), insertion of non-breaking spaces in various other cases, using the {{sic}} template, and on and on. "Not everyone does it" isn't a valid rationale against MOS recommending any particular best practice. Reversing it to a preference for typesetter's quotation (commas inside, sometimes referred to erroneously as "American style") would be a huge hit to accuracy and the precise parseability of quoted material, while not actually fixing anything. It would simply result in about as many non-North-American editors using the not-recommended style, as we presently have of North American editors doing so. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:37, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Mandruss, I wouldn't say it says nothing about how many people know about the guideline Since we can't read their minds, looking at what they do is a good indicator. I guess we could figure out a survey if we need to. SmC, "not everyone does it" might not be enough, but "only about 60% compliance, even in featured articles" is a little stronger than "not everyone."
SmC we're on the same page that Wikipedia shouldn't just flip it around and ban British and require American. That would be just as disrespectful of British editors and British English as the current situation is to American. ENGVAR is a proven policy. We should use that. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:22, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
For cases where MOS:LQ is not observed, looking at what they do is an excellent indicator that one of the following is true: (1)(anarchy) They are aware of the guideline, disagree with it, and don't observe guidelines that they disagree with. (2)(apathy) They are aware of the guideline and don't feel it's worth worrying about one way or the other. (3)(ignorance) They are not aware of the guideline. It tells us absolutely nothing about which of the three is more or less common than the others. You're correct, we could conduct a survey, but we haven't yet, so we can't deduce anything at all from the degree of non-compliance. Instead of a survey, we might as well just run another RfC. Guidelines represent community consensus and they should be followed except in the rare case where there is good reason to deviate, as determined by local consensus—whether we agree with them or not. We !vote in RfCs, and we live with the results even when they don't go our way. That is the meaning of consensus. ―Mandruss  11:55, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we don't know which of those reasons people use, but all three of them indicate that this isn't a great rule. Actually, per WP:NOTDEMOCRACY, no it's not about the votes, or at least it's not supposed to be. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:40, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
We don't have any rules. Whilst the MoS is a guideline, no one is required to follow the MoS when they create an article. That was mentioned above. RGloucester 12:48, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Exactly. No one is REQUIRED to obey MOS when editing. It's not a WP:DE problem unless someone goes around preventing others from complying with it (e.g. by editing articles to remove compliant style). So of the three possible cases for non-compliance, #1 and #2 simply don't matter, while #3 we really can't do anything about. Everyone ignores something in MOS either because they hate it or just can't be bothered (more like 50+ "somethings"). Like all style guides, MOS has more details than any normal human will remember; it's a reference work for polishing stuff after it's written, not a list of stuff to comply with before you write. It is not a content policy.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:14, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
That is not true in practice. I wasn't preventing anyone from doing anything and got brought up on ANI solely for using American punctuation, in articles that were already using it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:48, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Since the word "RfC" has come up, I'd like to say that if we do get to the point where we have one, we should engage a neutral third party, like a mediator, to work out the wording with us. Last time, there was a huge problem with finding middle ground. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:40, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Darkfrog, you're on this warhorse at least once a year. Every time you ramp it up, and every time you don't succeed. It is pure disruption. Tony (talk) 14:09, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
  • You mean a complete stranger challenges WP:LQ at least once a year and I say "you're right." Then I provide sources that back up the position. If you don't like that, you're on the wrong site. Stop acting like this is about me. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:25, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
It is about you. Your forum shopping, canvassing, and circumvention of consensus has been made apparent many times in many contexts. If you keep this up, I'm sure someone will take you to AE. RGloucester 15:04, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
RG, lay off the personal attacks. For the umpteenth time, publicizing an RfC is not WP:CANVASSING. Creating a new proposal when an old one fails is not circumventing consensus. You have your way of interpreting the rules, but that doesn't mean I'm breaking them.
Everyone else, RG is talking about his proposal to create a style noticeboard, which I publicized on related talk pages—it may be relevant that I supported the proposal. He is also talking about my proposal to endorse the MoS for Q&A, which I made after the noticeboard proposal did not get approval. These things are not only allowed on Wikipedia but encouraged. I don't know where he's getting forum shopping.
Note that none of this has anything to do with BeenAround's changes to the MoS or with WP:LQ. We should keep it on that. Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:59, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we should keep it on topic, and be mindful of the discretionary sanctions warning at the top of the page (which RG is close to transgressing by personalizing commentary and, ironically, making AE threats. I was just reading an AE thread regarding Gerda, and RG was warned very, very clearly about both battlegrounding and frivolous AE complaints, so should probably refrain from "going there". Anyone who would invite the hammer of admins, many of whom are not sympathetic to MOS/AT to get involved in punishing people for how they argue at WT:MOS is making a terrible, terrible mistake.
So, back to the topic: The fact is that LQ has been stable on WP for years and years and years. A few people don't like it, but there are probably zero line items in MOS that a few people don't like, so that indicates nothing at all. It works for WP, even if it's mostly made consistent incrementally and after-the-fact. The forum-shopping element to this (no matter who raises it) is "LQ is British, and the other way is American, so it's should be an ENGVAR matter." This has been discussed to death and beyond, and every single time it's conclusively proven to be false. Various British publications use typesetters' quotation, and various American ones use logical quotation. People can bring up this bogus ENGVAR argument 10,000 times per day, and it will never change this fact. LQ is used when precision is important, by all sorts of reputable publishers all over the world, more so, not less so, as time goes on. WP consensus is that precision is important in Wikipedia, and that LQ is helpful in this regard. As I say about twice a day, MOS is an internal style guide for how to write this encyclopedia, period, end of story. It is not a style guide for the whole world, so there are no WP:GREATWRONGS to right with regard to LQ on WP. This perennial noise about it is among the WP:DEADestHORSEs we have.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:14, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
It depends on what you mean by "stable," SmC. This think keeps getting challenged and not always for the same reason. Sometimes challengers cite lack of compliance, as here, but the fact is that it directly contradicts the overwhelming majority of the sources on correct English writing and many of Wikipedia's other polices, like WP:COMMONALITY and WP:V, and yes WP:ENGVAR. As of our last RfC on the subject, even with the biased initial wording, it was a lot more than a few people who thought it should be changed.
As for the "LQ is another name for British style" and "the current rule directly contradicts the rules of American English" those things have been proven true, not false: [3] [4] [5]. And those are just the sources that I had on hand. When did you think it was proven false? I'm not being rhetorical SmC. I want to understand why you think this. (And yes I've heard of your essay; it didn't help with this question much.) Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:46, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

no en dashes with "suffixes"[edit]

The discrepancy between our treatment of "prefixes" and "suffixes" (often elements of compounds rather than actual affixes) still strikes me as odd, as AFAIK is idiosyncratic to WP. Just came across the following in The Week, which attempts to be as accessible as possible:

"a Wild West–like gunfight" (2015 May 29, "Biker bloodshed in Texas")

kwami (talk) 17:27, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 160#Allow en dash in a compound modifier where the first element contains spaces (September 2014)
Wavelength (talk) 18:20, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, "Spanish guitar–player" is an even better example. Just thought I'd share, since AFAIK no-one apart from WP treats "prefixes" and "suffixes" differently. — kwami (talk) 17:58, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
In that discussion, no-one defended the status quo. There were people who dislike en dashes, but they wanted to get rid of them all, not keep this odd rule. I'll delete the comment, and leave it for someone to argue that we really should treat the two situations differently. — kwami (talk) 01:06, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
So under this guideline, "Spanish guitar–player" = "Spanish-guitar player", and not "Spanish guitar-player". That is what I presume. Why not use the hyphen in these cases, since a triple bomb isn't at issue? Tony (talk) 04:52, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
Currently we don't say anything at all.
Following the hyphenation rules strictly, "Spanish-guitar player" would be a player who is Spanish guitar, which makes no sense. But, usually people give things a bit more leeway than that, so I wouldn't have a problem with "Spanish-guitar player". I don't see how that could create any confusion. It wouldn't work for "Wild West–like", though. — kwami (talk) 01:23, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
See these search results for "united states based". The word "based" should be joined, probably by means of an en dash.
Wavelength (talk) 20:15, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
There's a third style, "foo-bar-baz". I use this. I have no idea how many external style guides would agree. Make of it what you will. But in this particular case, a "Spanish-guitar player" is a "player of the Spanish guitar", but we should use the second phrase for clarity. As a compound adjective, I'd hyphenate the entire thing: "...addressing Spanish-guitar-player concerns", but would really actually rewrite to avoid any such construction when possible, which it almost always is.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:21, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Titles of articles about pretenders and the like[edit]

There are a lot of articles on princes and so forth in monarchies that did/do not then exist. An example, picked more or less at random: Prince Pedro Gastão of Orléans-Braganza, the article about whom starts:

Prince Pedro Gastão of Orléans-Braganza (born Pierre-d’Alcantara Gaston Jean Marie Philippe Laurent Hubert d’Orléans et Bragance ; in Portuguese, Pedro de Alcântara Gastão João Maria Filipe Lourenço Humberto Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Orléans e Bragança e Dobrzensky de Dobrzenicz) (19 February 1913 – 27 December 2007) was one of two claimants to the Brazilian throne and head of the Petrópolis branch of the Brazilian Imperial House

I confess that I don't understand the term "imperial house", but when this fellow was born there hadn't been any Brazilian monarchy for over two decades. The article does say that he was merely a "claimant", but the article title suggests that he actually was a prince, a notion that's simply delusional (however desirable you may think a return to monarchy might have been).

(Of course there are plenty of encyclopedic Princes who weren't/aren't really princes: not only Prince but also for example Prince Buster. The latter article should be so titled because that's the name by which Cecil Bustamente Campbell is known; obviously that article neither misleads the reader into thinking that he's a prince nor appears to support any delusion about Jamaican royalty.)

There seem to be scads of these articles. (To pluck another, more or less at random: Maria Vladimirovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, born over three decades after Russia did away with its monarchy.) Should the titles of these articles parrot their biographees' claims? -- Hoary (talk) 11:32, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

The term "Imperial house" refers (in this case) to the House of Orléans-Braganza. Blueboar (talk) 12:00, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
-- and the article on House of Orléans-Braganza says that this is or was a "noble house", whatever this might mean. It seems to be a family about whom monarchical fantasies are constructed. Again, I don't begrudge people their fantasies; I wonder about titles that seem to reflect or even proselytize for fringe beliefs. -- Hoary (talk) 13:11, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Would WP:COMMONNAME work here? If referring to this person as "Prince" is standard, then it's not promoting a fringe belief. For example, if even books and documents that don't consider him the rightful claimant still call him "Prince," then it's all right for the article to do so. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:51, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
  • It's noticeable that "real" princes, like for example this chap's very distant relative Louis of Valois, don't usually get "Prince" in the article title. But ones that have nothing but their dubious title are so called by the Wikipedia snob-squad. We have a policy on using "King" and "Queen" in titles (executive summary: don't). Doesn't that cover this? Johnbod (talk) 17:34, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
  • WP:NCROY says "Do not apply an ordinal in an article title for a pretender, i.e., someone who has not reigned; instead call them what independent secondary sources in English call them. For example, use Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou, not Louis XX, for the legitimist pretender to the French throne. Such a person may however be referred to by a title, for example, Victor Emmanuel, Prince of Naples for the last Italian Crown Prince." Emphasis mine. If the articles on widely-recognized-as-legitimate princes et al did not normally include their titles, then I would find it bizarre to include pretenders' titles; however, articles like Charles, Prince of Wales do include their subjects' recognized titles. Meh. :/ -sche (talk) 20:02, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
  • My impression is that most of these imagined princes, duchesses, etc are negligible aside from their imagined titles. This being so, they excite little or no attention other than among trivia/curio-hunters, and so a large percentage of what references to them do exist will call them by their imagined titles. Not quite sure where this logic leads, though. Meanwhile, the "common name" guideline, though generally sensible, has an enormous exception for (genuine or presumed genuine) nobles: the articles on them generally have double-barrelled titles. Thus we have for example "Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon", a combination that I doubt gets much use. (I believe that his commoner names include "Tony Armstrong-Jones" and [unmodified] "Snowdon".) -- Hoary (talk) 23:25, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Seeking relevant section[edit]

Hi, is there a section anywhere in the MoS pages that deals with the disambiguation of people with the same name in article titles, e.g. the parts in brackets in "Joe Bloggs (actor)" and "Joes bloggs (politician)"? I can't seem to find it, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. (talk) 14:06, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

I think what you're looking for is linked from WP:MOSDAB, but it's actually Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Naming the disambiguation page. —C.Fred (talk) 14:09, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
For naming an actual article about a person, take a look at Wikipedia:Article titles#Disambiguation, and also at Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Naming the specific topic articles. Mudwater (Talk) 14:45, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Guidance specific to articles about people is at WP:NCPDAB. olderwiser 16:04, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the links. I have noticed that this disambiguation is not always done in a consistent way. Typical example: Sam Smith (actor), Sam Smith (painter), Sam Smith (journalist), Sam Smith (footballer, born 1904), Sam Smith (basketball, born 1944), Samantha Smith (tennis). Note that "basketball" and "tennis" are inconsistent with the others and (in my view) illogical. The relevant advice in the MoS is "The disambiguator is usually a noun indicating what the person is noted for being in his or her own right." Following this advice, and (in my view) logic, the disambiguators should be "basketball player" and "tennis player". I believe this issue has been discussed before, quite a while ago, and I think I may have participated in the discussion. I can't remember the outcome now, though it seems it did not result in any change being mandated. What is the current view about this? (talk) 17:24, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
While consistency is good... it isn't always possible (and in some cases trying to be consistent results in a silly title that simply does not make sense).
As for "(basketball)" vs "(basketball player)"... I don't think the word "player" is needed in most cases. Most of the time, it is enough to distinguish the Sam Smith who is (in some way) associated with the sport of basketball from the other Sam Smiths (who are associated with other things). There is no need for the article title to explain that he is a "player" if he is the only Sam Smith associated with Basketball. That, of course, changes if there are other Sam Smiths who are also associated with basketball (especially if those others are associated with the sport in other ways, such as being a coach or a referee). In that case we might need to include the word "player"... because just saying "Baskeball" isn't enough. Blueboar (talk) 18:29, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Could you give an example where consistency results in "a silly title that simply does not make sense"? (talk) 20:58, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps the silliest article title debate I can think of revolves around two ice hockey players named "Steve Smith". As one might expect, there are plenty of "Steve Smiths" in the world. Unfortunately for Wikipedia, our hockey Steve Smiths shared a lot in common. Seriously, a lot:
  • Their names: Both were known as "Steve Smith"
  • Their profession: Both professional ice hockey players
  • Their role on the ice: They were both defenceman
  • Their nationality: Both held Canadian citizenship
  • Their year of birth: 1963
  • They even shared their month of birth: Both were born in April of 1963
Literally, the only acceptable difference we could find was that one was born in Canada, and the other born in Scotland. Thus, we have the rather long, but still technically accurate, article titles Steve Smith (ice hockey, born in Scotland) and Steve Smith (ice hockey, born in Canada). Canuck89 (converse with me) 10:43, June 1, 2015 (UTC)
To me, this does not seem to be an example of consistency resulting in "a silly title that simply does not make sense". Actually, it is not even consistent in the sense relevant to my point, since it says "ice hockey" not "ice hockey player". (talk) 11:57, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

MOS:IDENTITY and personal names[edit]

Why does Wikipedia break it's otherwise good rules about the most common and recognizable name when referring to people who wish to change their genders? Bruce Jenner is still known more commonly as "Bruce" than "Caitlyn". Everyone who recognizes the name "Caitlyn Jenner" will also recognize the name "Bruce Jenner". Many people who recognize the name "Bruce Jenner" will have no clue who "Caitlyn Jenner" is. I understand that people want to try to be nice to transexuals, but creating a useful encyclopedia is more important. Any website that has an article called Nigger cannot say that is is trying to avoid being offensive to minority groups. Bobby Martnen (talk) 23:20, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

(edit conflict) – Apparently two of us were preparing comments on the same issue at the same time. My comment below suggests a potential specific action, although it seems you might advocate a different outcome. I have merged these two sections for discussion. (A couple of hours ago, I was arguing for Caitlyn Jenner to be reverted to Bruce Jenner, but right now I'm just trying to figure out whether the current MOS:IDENTITY phrasing is intended to apply to that question or not.) —BarrelProof (talk) 23:30, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

There is an issue that has come up in discussion at Talk:Caitlyn Jenner, regarding the application of MOS:IDENTITY in regard to personal names. Currently, MOS:IDENTITY says that there is an exception for gender identity in regard to "pronouns, possessive adjectives, and gendered nouns (for example 'man/woman', 'waiter/waitress', 'chairman/chairwoman')". The list of examples that is given does not include an example for the personal name of a person – e.g., "Charles" versus "Charlotte" (or, in that instance, "Bruce" versus "Caitlyn"). Should we add a personal name to the list of examples, to help clarify that this issue is intended to fall within the scope of "gendered nouns"? Is this phrase actually intended to cover personal names? —BarrelProof (talk) 23:25, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

I still think the article on Mr. Jenner should be called "Bruce Jenner" until the other name becomes the most common one. This is an encyclopedia, not a transexual activist site. Most people know him as "Bruce Jenner". Bobby Martnen (talk) 02:08, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • If anyone seriously wishes to challenge or change Wikipedia's established position on this, I would strongly suggest starting by studying the history of our articles on Chelsea Manning and Wendy Carlos and the extensive discussions about the naming of each on multiple noticeboards. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:26, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. Also check out Chaz Bono. You're allowed to challenge the rule if you want to, but check out the talk pages and see if your concerns have already been addressed to your satisfaction. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:02, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
This matter (well, to what extent does MOS:IDENTITY apply) is being discussed at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#MOS:IDENTITY clarification. A WP:Permalink for the discussion is here. Flyer22 (talk) 07:02, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
That discussion seems to be about a different topic. It seems to be about whether to apply MOS:IDENTITY to secondary articles that have no particular reason to discuss a person's gender and only cover the period of a person's life during which they were publicly identified by a different gender than their current self-identified gender. The question of whether or not MOS:IDENTITY is intended to provide an exception to WP:COMMONNAME in regard to personal names does not seem to have been discussed there. If that is a settled matter (and WP:Gender identity seems to say that it is, although that's only an essay), then I suggest that we add an example of this in MOS:IDENTITY. —BarrelProof (talk) 14:37, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
However, retroactive use of a new personal name would clearly seem anachronistic in some instances. In an article about the 1976 Olympic sports competition, it would probably make more sense to say that it was won by "Bruce Jenner" or "Bruce (now known as Caitlyn) Jenner" than to say it was won by "Caitlyn Jenner" or "Caitlyn (then known as Bruce) Jenner". So perhaps we should be cautious about that. In that regard, I suppose the Village Pump discussion is overlapping. —BarrelProof (talk) 15:03, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Why? We say that Michelle Obama was born January 17, 1964 and was raised on the South Side of Chicago even though her name at the time was Michelle LaVaughn Robinson. We say that Switched-On Bach is a musical album by Wendy Carlos (originally released under the name of Walter Carlos) We can and should say the olympic events in question were won by Caitlyn Jenner (competing under the name of Bruce Jenner). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Guy Macon (talkcontribs) 18:11, 2 June 2015‎ (UTC)
I think retroactive use of a new personal name can be strange in some cases, although it may be fine with some others. Michelle Obama wasn't very notable under her prior name AFAIK and it's so well-understood that this wasn't her original name that it's not necessarily worth mentioning, but articles about the early films starring Shirley Temple Black don't mention that name at all, even though I believe she would have been insulted to be referred to as Shirley Temple while serving as the Chief of Protocol of the United States – articles about her later life use her later name, but articles about her early life do not. I think it would be pretty strange to have an article about Robert Kardashian that says he married Kris Jenner, as she wasn't known by that name until after she was no longer his spouse – so the article about him describes her as "Kris Kardashian (née Houghton, later Jenner)". Switched-On Bach was released under both names, and Carlos was undergoing transition even before it was released, so it's not really on-topic here. Articles about the hit songs and albums by Cat Stevens (at least the ones I looked at) don't mention Yusuf Islam at all, and he's been primarily using that name for more than 36 years. —BarrelProof (talk) 01:17, 3 June 2015 (UTC)