Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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.
 

Common name, birth name and post-nominal initials[edit]

I noticed an editor making a excellent job of cleaning up bios to conform with the MOS. In one case Mark Evaloarjuk, I notice that the style guide does not give any information as to the correct format. Is the current opening correct, with the exception that "nee" should be "ne", or should it be '''Mark Evaloarjuk''' (né '''Evaluarjuk'''), [[Order of Canada|CM]] (died [[July 3]], [[2002]] By the way would it be possible to rewrite Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies)#Maiden names so that it applied to both women and men?

de, von, van, etc[edit]

Can someone advise me where the policy for capitalization of such name particles is, for use in running text? I mean in cases such as Charles de Gaulle or Vincent van Gogh, not when the particle is normally capitalized, e.g. Dick Van Dyke. There is inconsistency in the articles (He knew de Gaulle, He knew Van Gogh). In other articles, e.g. Alexis de Tocqueville, Marquis de Sade, the particle is omitted (He knew Tocqueville, He knew Sade). Thanks! Spicemix (talk) 16:05, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Probably not exactly what you're looking for but maybe have a look at WP:MCSTJR, 7th bullet (discusses sorting of such names in categories, which is sorting by last name). --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:31, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Francis! I'm thinking if you know policy as hidden as that, but don't know of a central guideline, then there probably isn't one. My current view is that the running text should be consistent with the article name (He knew de Gaulle, He knew van Gogh, he knew Van Dyke). In cases like Tocqueville, the particle can be lost if that is accepted usage. But I think MOS should say something on this topic. Spicemix (talk) 17:15, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
There are two issues:
  1. When is the particle dropped?
  2. When a lower case particle is not dropped, when does it change to upper case?
Language of origin plays a part, country of origin too, for the first question I suppose also habit plays a part.
Some examples regarding the first question:
  • (German:) Beethoven, Bismarck, but Von der Leyen: I suppose the rule is: the higher your fame, the more likely people start referring to you without the particle.
  • (French, France:) de Gaulle, but La Fontaine (not de La Fontaine): maybe de rule is that the "de" particle normally gets dropped, unless the last name is so short it stops making sense. It might also be that a difference is made when referring to nobility ("de" always dropped, which would also explain Sade while Marquess, but not Tocqueville) and regular last names. So, habit (???)
Note that generally "de" in French means "of" in English (which is not the same as "de" in Dutch, which means "the" in English - "of" in English translates to "van" in Dutch, "von" in German - Dutch "van den Bogaert" would translate as of the Orchard in English) - Thomas Percy, 1st Earl of Worcester is shortened to Worcester (without "of"), so it shouldn't surprise that Marquis de Sade is shortened to just Sade.
  • (Dutch, Netherlands - Dutch, Belgium - French, Belgium): all particles always kept afaik
Re. 2: more complications, but there are definitely rules:
  • (French, France): de Gaulle - same capitalisation as when the name is written in full
  • (Dutch, Netherlands): Van Gogh - first letter of the first particle changes from lower case to upper case when not preceded by a given name (and all particles always lowercase when preceded by given name) - I think these are also the German rules.
  • (French, Belgium): no lower case to upper case changes: de Bethune (nobility, "de" stays lower case) - d'Udekem d'Acoz (nobility, all d's stay lower case) - De Decker (no nobility, "De" stays upper case)
  • (Dutch, Belgium) Since the first letter of the last name is always capitalised, there are no lower case to upper case changes necessary, e.g. Van den Brande. Note that normally only the first article gets capitalised (Pol Van Den Driessche is not correct I think - though it should be noted that many Dutch speaking Belgians capitalise all particles of their name which are in fact the French/Belgium rules for non-nobility - habit can be stronger than rules I suppose?)
  • more errors: Chris van den Wyngaert should follow Dutch/Belgian rules, but since she works in the Netherlands someone must have thought it better to have her follow Dutch/Netherlands rules. Anyway, by last name she would be Van den Wyngaert (although in Belgium also Van Den Wyngaert would not really be considered wrong - that was also how it was written in English by her employer at The Hague [1])
To say something on the matter would take a lot of place, I don't even think it is possible to find someone who is sure of the major rules. Although... maybe this summary might be effective:
Dropping a particle when the surname is mentioned in running text (without given names) follows convention (see what others have done before you);
Regarding capitalisation there's maybe only one rule worth remembering: nothing changes except for German names (in German-speaking countries) and Dutch names (in or from the Netherlands) where the first letter of the first particle changes from lower case to upper case.
--Francis Schonken (talk) 18:50, 28 May 2014 (UTC), updated Francis Schonken (talk) 09:30, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you Francis. I was unaware of the Dutch convention to capitalize the particle when not preceded by a given name; however, from limited research at German Wikipedia I see that the particle (when it is retained) stays lower case there – see Manfred von Richthofen for example. You'll see too that they follow their own convention, not the Dutch, at Vincent van Gogh – and I think they have a point. English Wikipedia should not necessarily follow foreign language conventions.

Like you, I was thinking that the particle is more likely to be omitted when the subject is noble, but there will be doubtful cases when the subject is more remote from the aristocracy. I agree that convention (the sources) should be our guide there. Spicemix (talk) 15:45, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Struck the German thing. Anyhow, no there's no reason. Why not move Chris van den Wyngaert to Chris Van Den Wyngaert with the capitalisation as in reliable English-language sources? No need to go through all the complexities at WP:NAMESORT any more. But yeah then there are all the sensitivities... Someone took the trouble of moving Chris van den Wyngaert to that version of the name, but believe me there's much more.
In sum, maybe this: do as good as you can, but don't worry if there are minor culture-specific issues you'd have missed - a bot might come around, or another editor more knowledgeable in the field, and will adjust (e.g. [2]). Or nobody's bothered, and then your version is fine. In most cases multiple versions are arguably correct in English. Try to keep coherent on one page though. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:13, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Francis, I've learned a lot talking to you. Spicemix (talk) 13:12, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

On a related issue, what is the MoS policy on alphabetical sorting of such names. Our article Dutch name says that while in Dutch directories, the prefixes are ignored for the purposes of sorting, in English directories "may be ordered on the full name including all prefixes". Is this enshrined as policy anywhere? Should it be? Kevin McE (talk) 19:52, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Well, WP:NAMESORT is a guideline. I don't think we need a hard policy on sorting of names - is it often a problem? bobrayner (talk) 22:01, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
In Dutch (with Dutch = language) directories from Belgium the prefixes are not ignored for sorting. "...in Dutch directories, the prefixes are ignored for the purposes of sorting" is only correct when Dutch = from country (namely: from the Netherlands). --Francis Schonken (talk) 00:51, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, it leads to absurdities. See for example LGBT writers in the Dutch-language area#Dutch-language sources: in an attempt to sort alphabetically I put Ronny De Schepper (Dutch/Flemish) before Ed van Eeden (Dutch/from the Netherlands). I'd be very much pleased with a more uniform solution for such sortings. --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:31, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

en.wikipedia is an English language source, so should follow the rules of English. Identification of which of an individual's plural names is to be indexed is dependent on the language/culture of the person in question, but once identified, English treats that as a single entity, even if it is more than one word: prefixes are considered within alphabetisation.
That does not overrule wp:commonname in relation to when the prefix is dropped. Kevin McE (talk) 13:19, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that's correct, at least not for all languages. You won't normally find Beauvoir, Sade etc shelved under "d". Formerip (talk) 14:07, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
It looks like you didn't read what I wrote.
A) We are talking about indexing for an English language resource (en.wikipedia), so it is only about one language;
B)"That does not overrule wp:commonname in relation to when the prefix is dropped." Kevin McE (talk) 16:45, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Are we aiming to be descriptive, here, or prescriptive? Describe what is currently done, or establish the best way of doing things? The two differ.
If we're just going to be prescriptive, then French prefixes (and to a lesser extent some other western European languages) are recognised as separate entities, not as part of the name itself to be used for sorting; maybe that's helped by French's long status as a prestige language. However, common English usage is less likely to extend that courtesy to other languages. The same happens elsewhere - prefixes, titles &c do tend to get absorbed into names over time. I'd like to hope that an encyclopaedia can avoid that entropy and try to steer towards more faithful handling of names. 14:05, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Sex/gender in the opening paragraph[edit]

Should we treat sex (or gender) in the first paragraph like ethnicity and sexuality, for the same reasons, and on the additional grounds that the person's sex will become clear upon first use of a pronoun? I'm looking right now at a new article, Betty Harris (scientist), that describes her as "an African-American female chemist". Even just as "a female chemist", this doesn't sit right with me. She's a chemist, period, as far as the source of her significance is concerned. OK, an American chemist. —Largo Plazo (talk) 20:35, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Yes, "American chemist" is sufficient - no need for her ethnicity ("African-American") or gender ("female"). GiantSnowman 08:10, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Agreed - sex should only be included if it is sufficient notable eg Margaret Thatcher being the first female UK prime minister. Bladeboy1889 (talk) 09:26, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
The lede should describe a person and emphasise why they are notable. We shouldn't emphasise gender or colour unless they are closely related to the subject's notability - Margaret Thatcher is a great example.
Few chemists are notable. Few patent-holders are notable. Harris seems to be different in that she is listed in various websites showcasing "black inventors" &c, so it's reasonable for the first sentence to mention that she's African-American. Strangely, I can't find anything from the horse's mouth about the "Trailblazer Award" - but there are plenty of other women who received a "Trailblazer award" from the "New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women". If her gender was a factor in her only significant award, then yes, we ought to mention gender somewhere in the lede.
As an aside, the article also says "She is recognized as a distinguished African American Scientist by the National Academy of Sciences", which makes it sound like some kind of title or certificate that one might hang on the wall; the reality is that there's a bio page on a NAS website. bobrayner (talk) 14:24, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Including both middle name and married name in intro[edit]

As discussed in the appropriate talk page, there's an editing dispute in the article about Shelley Moore Capito, whose middle name is Wellons and married name is Capito. Another editor excludes the middle name for being confusing to readers, despite my pointing out that articles about Holly Robinson Peete and Hillary Rodham Clinton - two other women who use their married names professionally - open with their subjects' middle names. Is there a definite standard for these types of situations? Arbor to SJ (talk) 06:16, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

@Arbor to SJ:If the two names are significantly different, as with Ray Manzarek, isn't the standard to state the WP:NATURAL which is usually their given name from birth; and then parenthetically state the WP:COMMONNAME which is usually their current, married, name? That's how I've always seen it. It's the same with stylized brands, to state the de-stylized name followed by the "stylized as" or "sometimes referred to as". The point is that the natural takes precedent over the common, but you never totally lose either one. — Smuckola (Email) (Talk) 20:29, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
With women who change their name on marriage, I think the standard is rather to give the married name first (unless they are still better known by their maiden name, perhaps). This isn't exactly the question being asked, though. W. P. Uzer (talk) 20:58, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Correct. The Sarah Michelle Gellar article opens with her married name (then her maiden name) since she doesn't use her maiden name legally now, in comparison with the Clinton and Peete articles I linked earlier. But Capito uses both her maiden & married names professionally. My question is if there's a consistent standard of including middle names in introductions of articles about women who changed their names in marriage. Arbor to SJ (talk) 18:02, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

The article says this: they should not be mentioned within the opening brackets. Why is this mysteriously in quotation marks and where are the RfC discussions that the latest edits refer to about this subject? Thanks. — Smuckola (Email) (Talk) 19:43, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

I think you're looking for the very long thread titled #OPENPARA, higher up this page. W. P. Uzer (talk) 20:40, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Policy regarding death details in biographies?[edit]

Do we have a policy regarding when to include details of death, including how, where, location of burial, etc? I believe these details should only be included if they are a notable aspect of the person's biography. For a typical death, the date of death is sufficient.--Karinpower (talk) 04:13, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't agree - I think these are facts that many readers would expect to find in a biography. If we have such information from good sources, then it should certainly be included. W. P. Uzer (talk) 06:55, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
Why is this even a discussion, there is no Death section in the guidelines WP:MOSBIO, the current crisis on the Robin Williams page has definitely brought this issue to the forefront. --[[User:Slave28|Slave1]] (talk) 01:25, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
There's no "crisis" at the Robin Williams article. There's one editor (Slave28) making a mountain out of a worm hole that doesn't even really exist. -- Winkelvi 01:33, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Obviously it exists if you made your way here to debate the issue, I am not the only one who brought up issues regarding descriptions regarding his death, both pro and con, don't be making accusations you can't back up. Had I been making edits to go with my remarks on the talk page fine, but all I have done is brought up issues I thought needed to be addressed which I saw as not appropriate for an encyclopedia, only to watch the same group continually outvote any idea put forth by anyone. You wanted citations and guidelines, I gave them to you, don't come on this page and make accusations. --[[User:Slave28|Slave1]] (talk) 01:40, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I made my way here via looking at your contributions log. My purpose in commenting is to dispel the hyperbole you are engaging in at this talk page. I've made no accusations, however, you are making threats. And in light of that, I'm advising you to back off and change your tone and attitude or the way this is starting to go will not end well for you. -- Winkelvi 01:55, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I will not comment on that, it is taking us away from what this section should be about, therefore I will simply return to the topic. Still no death category suggested on the guidelines for biography. So when did the whole death category get started without this page ever getting updated? --[[User:Slave28|Slave1]] (talk) 02:18, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I think there is a good reason why we don't have a death section. Because, at this time, if a figure is confirmed dead they do not fall under the current guideline unless there is contentious material being added, in which case the recently dead can be covered by our policy up to 2 years. However....if the information is public and encyclopedic (where someone is being interred is very much encyclopedic content) it should be included, just as how, and where they died would be included.--Mark Miller (talk) 02:36, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Hmm ..very interesting point, thanks for your view on the matter Mark Miller. --[[User:Slave28|Slave1]] (talk) 02:46, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Now...having said that I also know that there are many biographies where there is no mention of the location of the cemetery etc., but...in cases where the subject had great "fame", such as Marylin Monroe: "Monroe was interred on August 8, 1962, in a crypt at Corridor of Memories No. 24, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery" (From our article), so it is not out of place or odd to mention where celebrities are buried. Monroe's article even includes a picture of the crypt.--Mark Miller (talk) 05:27, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I can definitely see a burial location as being part of an article. That would certainly fall within the boundaries of important facts for encyclopedic requirements. --[[User:Slave28|Slave1]] (talk) 05:33, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Lots of articles do have a "Death" section (or something that includes it, e.g. "Later life, and death", "Abduction and murder", "Disappearance and death", "Retirement and death", "Battle with cancer, and death", "Exile and death", "Imprisonment and death", "Mystery surrounding death", "Fatal stunt", etc., etc.). Whether to include such a section is a matter for consensus at the article in question (and the answer is usually "no", unless the death itself was important to understanding of the subject, or was a natural or contingent consequence of something that was important to understanding the subject, or the article is quite long and needs a denoument section for the end of the subject's life). Regardless, it's absolutely routine to include basic death information, including cause, in any non-BLP bio, usually in the "Personal life", "Non-professional life" or similar section after the meat of the subject's career is covered. It's expected information, and if it's removed, someone will just re-research it and add it again later.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:25, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for weighing in SMcCandlish. I fully agree with you, there has been sections regarding individuals deaths for quite some time in biographies. My main concern was the direction of the article in question. I am a recent addition to the editors on Wikipedia but have been reading for as long as I can remember, and I have quite a fondness for it. But I think the current case regarding Robin Williams is of particular interest. It does touch on what you have mentioned above, yes I agree his death should be reported, but to what extent, and in all honesty, should details of how he proceeded to end his life truly necessary for encyclopedic material, on this I disagree, which has been the impasse I was having on the talk page there. The details have been toned down dramatically since they first began to appear, which is progress, I simply think that on the matter of suicide, it is probably best that the editors of Wikipedia should come together as a group, and for the better of not only Wikipedia itself, but for those who suffer from any form of mental health issues who may be tempted to follow the path a celebrity may have taken, use the tools we so glamorously put on display. I tried leading everyone to this talk page for a discussion as it seemed the appropriate forum, since it was the base page for biographies, and it does use the term, guidelines, which is a term that keeps getting pointed out to me on a regular basis. Finally, would you agree that a persons death should be a subsection as opposed to a section in itself. Based on the Infobox Biography, that would seem to fit the guidelines, as OCD of me as it sounds (sorry, I am OCD LOL, Order not Chaos & Disorder is what I call it, makes me feel better about the condition). --[[User:Slave28|Slave1]] (talk) 12:18, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I see what your concern it, but it's not an MOS matter at all, it's about appropriateness and relevance of content in the context in question. No one's bio article should be dominated by detailia about their death, except in the case of someone principally or only notable because of how (or controversy about how) they died. There'll never be a "Wikipedia does not provide suicide details" policy here, because (except when people wrongly add WP:Original research against our rules), everything in WP has already been published elsewhere, and Wikipedia is not censored.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:58, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
So it is fair to say, based from what I am reading, in regards to suicide, yes we should post it, it's details to a certain extent, but not a full section on the subject. A mere passing mention that a person committed suicide in such a way, should be sufficient for an individuals biography. And I fully understand that Wikipedia is not censored but that it also has limitations on what can be posted, so there would be a line that could not be crossed of course. I sincerely appreciate you time on this matter SMcCandlish, at the very least, it has answered some of concerns. On another matter, what do you think of adding a parameter for Widow to the Infobox Biography, since spouse no longer correctly applies after ones passing. --[[User:Slave28|Slave1]] (talk) 13:26, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Others may contradict me; I don't make any rules here. I'm trying to get across that I think how and whether to present suicide-related details is just like most decision about how and whether to present details at an article - it's up to editorial discretion at the article, unless there is some external rule (at MOS or where ever) that could affect it. This one doesn't seem to be an MOS matter. Neither is whether the parameters at {{Infobox Biography}} are adequate; that's a matter for that template's talk page.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:23, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Sounds good SMcCandlish, thanks for taking the time, much appreciated. --[[User:Slave28|Slave1]] (talk) 14:32, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't think "spouse" should be changed to "widow(er)". We expect all of our subjects (and their partners) to die at one time or another, and we don't have to write everything from the point of view of here and now. When a person has passed away, we say who that person's spouse was, when they were alive. (I'm not sure that information necessarily belongs in the infobox in all cases, but that's another question.) W. P. Uzer (talk) 17:49, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Hi there W. P. Uzer, my thought was only adding a new parameter not changing the current one. People sometimes remarry so they definitely will have ex-spouses but in the case where someone is deceased it somewhat seems a little more then bizarre not only to have their current spouse listed as ending when they died, when technically the relationship was not necessarily terminated, hence my recommendation for adding an extra parameter to compliment spouce, widow & widower. In a case where the person ever officially divorced they could be moved. Patrick Swayze for example, his widow Lisa Niemi, is a perfect example of where this would be appropriate. --[[User:Slave28|Slave1]] (talk) 18:31, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Inclusion of future job positions in infobox, list, etc.[edit]

Should future job positions be described in the infobox, lists of people with that job, succession boxes, and so forth? Or should they only be described in article prose?

Background:

This dispute has to do with the appointment of Catholic bishops, but I am seeking a wider consensus, because in over three years none has been reached, and there has been no central place to discuss it exhaustively.

In a nutshell, the problem is that appointments of bishops makes big news, and installation is not so newsworthy. But bishops retain their previous post and do not assume responsibilities of the new job upon appointment, but upon installation. So what we have is everyone changing the infobox, lists of bishops, succession boxes, and other things to indicate that new bishop has assumed his post when he has not yet done so. Contrast this with the way it is done by WP:ACTOR. An actor takes a job starring in a film, and this can be described in the article, but not placed in the filmography until the film begins principal photography. Contrast this with the President of the United States. Barack Obama was elected first in November, 2008 but did not assume his duties until the Inauguration of January, 2009. I have verified that the infoboxes were not changed, some lists were updated but it was made abundantly clear with italics and so forth that he was President-elect and not yet President.

So I am asking for consistency, please. Either change the way everything else is done or change the way episcopal appointments are handled to have it line up with the way we already do everything else. Thank you for your consideration. Elizium23 (talk) 18:03, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

A couple of thoughts from my experiences. I have been through a couple of interregnums of bishops and they are not as black and white as you make them out to be. First of all bishops rarely succeed each other the way presidents do. Presidential succession is instantaneous, more like a monarch, than a bishop. We know who will become president should the president become permanently incapacitated or after the Electoral College has met. While I have not done a comprehensive study on this, there are numerous presidential and constitutional scholars (and others) who say a person becomes president at a particular point in time and not when the oath of office is administered. In other words, LBJ took over the presidency when JFK died not when the oath was administered on board Air Force One. This also came up last year when the constitutional Inauguration Day fell on Sunday. There were many who said Obama did not need to swear the oath twice (the formal inauguration ceremony is traditionally not held on Sunday) because he automatically becomes president at noon on January 20th regardless of when the oath of office is administered. They held the swearing-in ceremony at the prescribed time in the White Hose just in case. I realize all this is debatable, but my larger point is that there is a particular point in time when a person becomes president regardless of the circumstances and ceremony. The only time that happens with a Catholic bishop is when there is a coadjutor bishop with the right to succession. While there is no prescribed date or time, the coadjutor automatically takes over the see when the previous bishop dies or when his resignation is accepted by the pope. There is also no installation ceremony. A coadjutor bishop is welcomed, but not installed. (Of course, he is also ordained a bishop at that time if not already a bishop.)
Most episcopal successions do not happen that way. The previous bishop either dies, is appointed to a different position, his resignation is accepted, or he is declared incompetent for any one (or more) of a variety of reasons. This results in an interregnum which lasts for an undeterminable amount of time until a successor is named and put in place. (Although since John Paul II resignations are generally not accepted until a successor has been named so the interregnum is of a determined length of time in that instance.) Once a bishop is named to a diocese, and it is publically announced, he is by and large in charge. He is regularly consulted as to decisions that have to be made although most decisions can be delayed until he is installed and can give his undivided attention to the matters of the diocese. Some decisions he, or anyone else, are forbidden to make by canon and/or civil law until he is installed. This is more common sense than anything. Bishops who are corporate souls tend to take over that responsibility before their ceremonial installation. It could be a difference in time of several minutes to about a day, but generally not longer than that so there is not a huge time difference. Priests who are named bishop may also start wearing certain elements of episcopal attire such as the zucchetto and I believe the pectoral cross. However, they cannot wear the mitre, the ring or carry a crosier unless they are abbots. So while they may not formally be a bishop, or yet installed depending on the circumstances, they are acting the part. The Rite of Ordination of a Bishop, or the Rite of Installation, should not be viewed as a magic act either- now you aren't now you are.
All this is a process. It is a bit like the Eucharist Prayer. The western church feels the need to determine the exact moment the bread and wine are transformed, namely the Institution Narrative, while the eastern church (and the orthodox) view the whole prayer as consecratory and they don't want to single out an exact moment. That's part of the reason why I say it's not as black and white. It is also instructive that the Diocese of Wichita claims James O'Reilly as its first bishop even though he died before he was consecrated. He is placed at the head of the list on the diocesan Wikipedia page as well.
In many cases there are differences between dioceses and those called to be bishop and the particular circumstances of their appointment. It's also important to note that the Roman mindset tends to be less legalistic in these matters than the American mindset. In general, Toledo, Ohio is no longer considered an open see because Pope Francis named Bishop Daniel Thomas as its bishop this week.
Wikipedia is a resource and not a legal document. I don't think its necessary to get tied up in the minutia, especially when the minutia is firmly in the grey areas and not in the black and white. If someone is announced as the new bishop of a diocese I believe he can be listed as such and placed in an infobox with the appropriate notation of his status. All of this can be easily changed on the day of his ordination and/or installation. God knows why, but I generally follow these things and, all things being equal, can make the necessary changes in a reasonable amount of time. I suspect a few others are the same. That's the beauty of this resource. Doing so is not so much the crystal ball-gazing that you accuse others of doing. These things are already determined and the process of becoming the diocesan bishop has begun before anyone even thinks of editing a Wikipedia page. (I guess that was more than a couple of thoughts.) Farragutful (talk) 19:24, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
There are legitimate technical issues about when a bishop become the bishop - but I prefer to look at things from a casual user's perspective. I can easily understand how someone can hear a passing reference to a bishop change in their local area and then consult Wikipedia for more information. In the case of a newly named bishop, that means, imo, the information regarding the recent change should be prominent in the article. The exact wording and format can be discussed, but information on the change should be added as soon as possible.Dcheney (talk) 04:27, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Of course the information should be prominent in the prose, I am not disputing that. The fact is that many, many other WP:BLPs do not put future jobs in infoboxes, lists, etc. and this bishops case is an outlier. I'm asking for consistency or some explanation and consensus about why it simply must be done differently. Elizium23 (talk) 00:43, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
  • We can take the lead from how sources discuss these things. If it's really the case that there's extensive coverage of appointments rather than installations, then appointments deserve mention in articles - and in infoboxes too. bobrayner (talk) 17:13, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Of course appointments must be mentioned in articles. There's no dispute about that. Now, how can we mention future events in infoboxes without cluttering and confusing them? This article is an example of my work after the last ANI thread regarding this dispute. As you can see it is cluttered and silly-looking with both present and future jobs in the infobox. I feel it is pretty much stupid to do it this way but that was the suggestion. Are you supporting that proposal? How would you change that particular article? Elizium23 (talk) 00:41, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
I am sorry. I did not mean to characterize the proposals here as silly or stupid. I should clarify what I mean by this. The current status quo is to strip out all the old information and put the new in. This is deleting sourced, verifiable and true information and replacing it with factual errors. This is what must be stopped without question. Now if the proposal can be made to modify the infoboxes, so that the current and future information can coexist there, that is something I can support, with reservations. I have reservations only because it isn't really done anywhere else on Wikipedia. I am not sure why Catholic bishops have to be special-cased. But anyway, I will go ahead and modify the relevant infobox template(s) with future job fields and we can see how that works out as more appointments roll in. Agreed? Elizium23 (talk) 01:07, 31 August 2014 (UTC)