Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Captions

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Indicating (center) and so on[edit]

I don't see any guidance on how to "point out" people and things in caption wording e.g. which is these is correct?

Smith (c.) with his brothers in Paris
Smith (c) with his brothers in Paris
Smith (center) with his brothers in Paris

Or maybe no italics? I will say right off that I prefer (c) since space is at an absolute premium in captions. Then there are the more wordy situations like

Smith (2nd from r) with his brothers in Paris
Smith (2nd from r.) with his brothers in Paris
Smith (2nd r) with his brothers in Paris
Smith (2nd from right) with his brothers in Paris

Once again, I prefer shorter, though (2nd r) is perhaps a bit too compressed. Let the arguing begin! EEng (talk) 02:25, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

I like "Smith (center)..." best, but wouldn't edit any of them if I came upon them, except perhaps to add a date or information about the significance of occasion. ke4roh (talk) 03:38, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Should we allow more detail in Ogg file descriptions[edit]

It was recently asserted that an article cannot be said to meet the FAC criteria (specifically #3) if it has captions that are longer than approximately one sentence, or are considered verbose. Since ogg files require more explanation than images, I suggest that we allow for a bit more detail in the description field of ogg files. I propose this additional language for the policy to be added to Succinctness:

Since an ogg file box lacks visual information regarding the content of its file, it is often desirable to include a longer description than is typically acceptable with image captions. As with image captions, care should be taken to include enough relevant information in-line so that the ogg file's relevance to the article is made explicit irrespective of the caption. As a general rule, retain the broader points relating to the file in the article, including specific points in the description field. For example, a statement such as: "'Yesterday' is one of the Beatles' best-known songs" might be more appropriate for the article body than a statement such as: "The string arrangement on 'Yesterday' utilises counterpoint, which complements McCartney's vocals by reinforcing the tonic", which might be more appropriate as the ogg description, especially if it pertains specifically to the contents of that file. This is particularly true regarding points that support the file's fair-use rationale. While there is no hard rule for how many lines of text are acceptable, the ogg description should not contain more lines than the accompanying paragraph of article text.

Any thoughts? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:20, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

If it helps, the key idea of succinctness is not brevity per se, but the absence of wasted words. A caption might be succinct yet long. Whether you want to try to explain that to the FA Know-It-All Gang is up to you, however. EEng (talk) 20:21, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I made that argument, but it fell on deaf ears. That's why I think we could use a little clarification that ogg descriptions are not the same thing as image captions. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 20:31, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. When I first penned these guidelines in 2004, I was certainly thinking explicitly of image captions, not of ogg file captions. I suggest rather than mentioning ogg files particularly referring to non-visual media, and things included by reference at Template:External media. The last sentence isn't necessary. Excellent example. -- ke4roh (talk) 01:54, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Ke4roh, I've made this edit. Does it address your above concern? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 16:15, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, thanks! -- ke4roh (talk) 18:33, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Should captions require citations if they restate info in the article?[edit]

Check out Hail to the Thief. None of the image captions have citations. This was deliberate, because the captions simply restate text from the article, which is fully cited (to my knowledge). Should the captions be cited too? Popcornduff (talk) 09:35, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

I've always thought of captions as comparable to the lead in this respect -- no cites needed to the extent the caption simply restates facts given in the main text. This is especially desirable given the extreme premium on space in a caption. If there's nothing anywhere touching on this, there ought to be. EEng (talk) 03:51, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. That was my reasoning too; I bring it up because another editor put a "citation needed" on one of the captions. I did search for some guidance on this, but couldn't find any, so maybe it should be added? Popcornduff (talk) 12:59, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
I halfheartedly agree. See SA-500D. Some captions have citations where others do not, and as you say, those that don't, which contain information from the body, have citations in the body. On the other hand, I'd think it useful to include a named reference in the caption in case the text and accompanying reference gets removed from the body. -- ke4roh (talk) 15:42, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

A better example needed[edit]

What is the purpose of the example depicting Burma-Shave - to demonstrate how not to do it? Captions should be factually accurate, and Burma-Shave did not introduce canned shaving cream. They sold their product - shaving gel - in jars, as Snopes makes plain:

Keep Well

To The Right

Of The Oncoming Car

Get Your Close Shaves

From The Half-Pound Jar


Our article Shaving cream credits two different companies with introducing canned shaving foam - neither of them Burma-Shave. --Pete (talk) 04:54, 30 January 2015 (UTC)