Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Cue sports

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WikiProject Cue sports (Rated Project-class)
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Rationale: Consensus and consistency needed on spelling to prevent ambiguity & confusion[edit]

Especially for nine-ball but also for eight-ball, one-pocket, etc., I firmly think we need to come to, and as editors enforce in article texts, a consensus on spelling conventions and implement it consistently throughout all of the cue sports Wikepedia articles. I advocate (and herein attempt to justify) a system of standardized spellings, based on 1) general grammar rules; 2) basic logic; and 3) disambiguation.

This article is a draft submission to the active editor community of billiards-related articles on Wikipedia. It is intended to ultimately end up being "[[User:Wikipedia:WikiProject Cue sports/Spelling conventions]]", as its first documentation output.

Anyway, please help me think this through. The point is not for me to become world famous™ for having finally codified billiards terms and united the entire English-speaking world in using them (hurrah). I simply want the articles here on pool and related games to be very consistent in application of some new consensus Wikipedia editing standards about spelling/phrasing of easily confusable billards terms that may be ambiguous to many readers in the absence of that standard.


  1. "While 9-ball is a 9-ball game, the 9-ball is the real target; pocket it in a 9-ball run if you have to, but earlier is better." (Huh?)
  2. "While nine-ball is a nine ball game, the 9 ball is the real target; pocket it in a nine ball run if you have to, but earlier is better." (Oh, right!)

That's the super-simple "use case" I make for this proposed nomenclature. If you think that the differentiation didn't cut it please TELL ME, and say how you would improve it.

SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 10:50, 20 November 2006 (UTC) [Imported from Talk: Carom billiards because it's more relevant here:]

I realize that was just an example, but how about this:
  • "While 9-ball is a game of nine balls, the #9 ball is the real target; pocket it in a nine-ball run if you have to, but earlier is better."
where the name of the game is italicized, and the "#" symbol (which might be too much) is used when referring to the ball itself. Notice also that a hyphen is added to "nine-ball run", which I believe is the correct way to phrase this (not only in billiards, but in general). Just my thoughts. --ChaChaFut 05:58, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Interesting, but I think it poses some problems. Italics is generally a form of emphasis, except when it is used to denote foreign words or used to indicate that something is a book (movie, etc.) title. I'm skeptical that we could get article authors to use the italics consistently, and more to the point that it would have the desired effect; I suspect strongly that readers of the encyclopedia would mistake it for stress/emphasis and become confused. The 9-ball usage as the game name would also still not do anything about the problem of this not being a grammatical way to begin a sentence, since it can't be capitalized. I don't think anyone would use "#9 ball"; we don't say "number nine ball" out loud, so I don't think it will "gel" in people's minds (though I agree it otherwise makes a certain sense.) The hyphenation of "nine-ball" in "a nine-ball run" is grammatically optional (which is why I deprecated it in the draft guideline when one of the words is a number); it's not "required". Not in American English anyway, where hyphenation of compound adjectives is on the decline (cf. "the World Wide Web" vs. "the World-wide Web"). That is to say, the guideline draft as written now isn't violating any grammatical rules. And while "9-ball" is arguably more common in the industry as a name for the game (I surmise this is because in advertising it scans faster) it actually IS ungrammatical (numbers should generally be spelled out when they are not currency, etc.), is difficult to use (the sentence beginning problem), and too ambiguous for WP article space; that's my contention anyway. Is there anything about the draft guideline that you find unbearable, illogical or practicably problelmatic? — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 01:31, 24 November 2006 (UTC)


I would like to propose that this standard be adopted as a consensus agreement by the regular editors and "clean-up crew" on the billiards, nine-ball, snooker and related articles, as "official" documentation for WikiProject Cue sports. As it stood when I began writing this, these aritcles were somewhat hard to read and tedious to parse even for someone who is a native English speaker and avid pool player. I felt very sorry for those who do not yet know anything about the game of nine-ball, and/or are ESL learners. Heh.

I would like to see consensus — not just a "you're out-voted!" (coming from fellow editors or me), but a genuine understanding of the reasoning behind whatever standard emerges (the one I've proposed or an alternative), and at least tacit acceptance of its necessity even by those that may disagree on a specific small point. If consensus is reached I would clean this up even more (it's already formatted pretty heavily, but has too many asides and may still have some first-person in it). After launch of WikiProject Cue sports, it could also be derived into something shorter and article/category specific and proposed as an official WP Naming Conventions Guideline and one about article text to become a WP Manual of Style Guideline. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 10:50, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. I concur. You've given this a lot of thought and have done your research, looked at precedent in other published works, and have experience at this, so I respect that. And the usages and your arguments for them all make sense to me. --GregU 07:53, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Correcting spelling [@ one-pocket][edit]

[Copying this over from the one-pocket article's Talk page, since it is as relevant here as there.]

The original article mostly (though not entirely consistently) used the spelling "One Pocket", which is doubly wrong. It is not a proper (i.e. capitalized) noun - cf. "chess", "football", etc., which we do not call "Chess" or "Football". And it is a compound noun, requiring a hyphen. "One pocket" means "a single pocket of some sort, somewhere", while "one-pocket" indicates "something, such as a game, called 'one-pocket'". Moving article and adjusting redirects to comply (esp. since the "One Pocket" article title actually violates WP article case conventions, too. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 13:23, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I submit that given usage, the game is called One Pocket with no hyphen. This is consistent with:
  • All the Accustats match videos
  • All the Accustats instructional videos (except Bill Incardona and he is a functional illiterate)
  • Eddie Robin's books -- which are accepted as THE definte works on the subject
— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Random books and videos about pool are not authoritative sources for how/why to hyphenate in English (though they may or may not be authoritative, on a case-by-case basis, about pool). Speaking of "functionally illiterate", here's a hilarious example: Pocket Billiards Position Play for Hi-Runs, Johnny Holiday, Golden Touch, Florida, 1973". What the fudgecicle is a "Hi-Run"? >;-) Your beloved Eddie Robin couldn't even agree with himself about how to spell billiards game names. His first book on carom games, Position Play in Three Cushion Billiards (1983), spells the number out and doesn't hyphenate. His second does just the opposite of both: 500 Essential Shots of 3-Cushion Billiards (2000). Hardly a consistent source to cite!  :-) And it absolutely should not be capitalized as "One Pocket" as you've done above, regardless of the hyphenation issue. We simply do not do this with game/sport names in English. When was the last time you played Volley Ball or went Water Skiing? All that said, common variants like "one pocket" and "1-pocket" should be mentioned in the article intro sentence as colloquial variants (see nine-ball for an example).
Anyway, please see the draft guideline in detail... The goals of normalizing the spelling on Wikipedia are article consistency, non-ambiguity and parseability (we don't really care at all whether the rest of the world adopts Wikipedia spelling guidelines, because their purpose isn't to influence language evolution, but to make Wikipedia easier to use.) It is really of no consequence at all that a video company and an author prefer "one pocket" over "one-pocket"; "one-pocket" is more grammatically correct, is less confusing and will be consistent with other article titles in this articlespace (eight-ball, three-cushion billiards, etc.) Likewise, it is of no consequence that some events are "Nine Ball Tournament"s while others are a "9-ball Tournament" or "9-Ball Tournament" or "Nine-ball Championship", etc., etc. The industry and sport itself do not consistently use (or not use) hyphenation or spelling-out, and even where they may lean toward "9-ball" this has more to do with advertising (the "9" is parsed by the brain faster than the word "nine" on a 15-sec. TV spot or in an ad in a pool magazine someone is flipping through), and presents significant problems when used as a game name in a Wikipedia article (it is confusable with "the 9 ball", and one cannot grammatically begin a sentence with "9-ball" (or "1-pocket", "3-cushion", etc.) because it can't be capitalized; and so forth.
SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 00:50, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

British/snooker terms[edit]

Resolved: WP:CUESPELL updated to account for the broad issue raised here.

"Rest" is the term used in snooker for the mechanical bridge and should be included. 11:08, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure it's really relevant here; this is more about disambiguation, capitalization, etc. The term "rest" (in fact every single kind of rest) has been enumerated in the Glossary of cue sports terms, never fear. You might be raising a broader point (and if not, I will raise it for you) that the guideline should probably say something about using proper terms for the games in which they appear (e.g. "pot" not "sink" or "pocket", when referring to snooker), and use British English consistently for British-dominated games like snooker and English billiards, American spelling for quintessentially US-dominated games like nine-ball, and otherwise follow the general Wikipedia MoS rule of sticking with whatever the article was started with, be it British or American. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 12:19, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

"Cue Sports" and "pocket billiards" as terminology used in articles[edit]

[This thread was refactored in from User talk:SMcCandlish since it is more salient here.]


I learned a new term today, thanks to the move of billiards to its new location. Since it seems from the talk page that you championed this, I thought I'd stop by to let you know. This doesn't constitute an objection, or anything, but I must concur with Robert West's observation that I wouldn't have guessed that article name in five trillion years. If you're keeping any kind of informal measure on the currency of the term, lump me in with the confused. In it's own way, this is very fitting, as I'm quite bad at all forms of the game! :) Best wishes, Xoloz 21:02, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

If you are bored and read the entire debate there (it is quite tedious, I warn you), I addressed West's issue that you raise here also. No one is suggesting that the average joe on the street says, "hey, Jane, let's go have a beer and play cue sports". The term is simply a classifier, and with this particular topic a disambiguator, because "billiards" means at least 4 different (conflicting) things to different people. The English folks were quite irritated that the main, general (now-) "Cue sport" article was (back then) "Billiards", because to them that word means "the game of English billiards, and no other". Meanwhile many but not all Americans interpret the term to mean "carom billiards games, as a class", as do many non-native English speakers. Other Americans mean "pool", period, not even being aware that carom billiards games exist, and yet other Americans, and many non-English speakers of English elsewhere (Hong Kong, New Zealand, etc.), and the rest of the non-native English speakers, mean "cue sports, in general" by this term. "Billiards" is just hopelessly ambiguous. I think it might even set a Wikipedia record for, well, uselessness as an article title. Kind of by default, we have it redirecting to "Cue sport". So, the unlikelihood of someone manually entering "cue sport" into the Wikipedia search box really isn't an issue. There are loads of articles like "Mike Smith (actor)", "Mike Smith (physicist)", "Mike Smith (Pokemon character)", etc.; no one is expected to literally enter those text strings as search terms either. Hope that helps explain the situation. PS: See also "water sports", as another example. If people want to go water skiing or surfing, they say so, not "let's go do water sports". That is, the everyday use of the term isn't really an issue at all; the value of the term as an unambiguous top-level classifier is where the value is.  :-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 03:36, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Stanton, if I might chime in. While I agree with your summary above, I am concerned about its usage in the text of articles. I think we need it as a disambuation term for organizational purposes (I think you've heard me say this a few times but I don't think I've ever embellished), but I think its use in article prose should be minimized as much as possible for the very reasons detailed in Xoloz's post above. Oh, and on a complete tangent, remeber that patent url we looked at for the game Blazz? Well get this: the game actually has an entry in Shamos.--Fuhghettaboutit 04:09, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Wow, are we actually gonna argue for once? >;-) Gimme some examples of over-use, perhaps. I stand by the sourcing I did in the rename debate - it's a legit term, used (internationally) in the industry, and remains the only truly non-ambiguous blanket term for the whole shebang. I'm also trying to be sensitive to User:Alai and other Brits about "billiard[s]", without going too far in that direction. I'm thinking (favorably, I mean) of usages like the text in William A. Spinks that says "his lasting contribution to cue sports" - billiard chalk really does seem to apply across the whole board. And note I didn't call it "cue sports chalk". Heh. If there are other, dumber, examples I doubt I'd mind undoing them. There probably are some, but I'm not remembering any of them (or probably would have already dealt with it!) I tend to treat "pocket billiards" the same way. The industry has preferred this term for almost a century, but because it isn't used much by "real people" I try to only use it as a classifier in reference to the table type (e.g "snooker is a form of pocket billiards" - but emphatically not of pool, per se). I've probably poohed that screwtch a couple of times too, but I'm sure those can be edited away over time. Jist: Not trying to be particularly argumentative, but not aware of any particular, egregious "industry terminology geeking" instances. :-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:25, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I think either you're reading more into my post than I meant, or I implied something I didn't mean to with loose writing. I've only noticed its use in prose crop up a few times and the one for which I objected to I edited it out (I forget which article). I don't really like the beginning of the main article cuesports, but I haven't thought of a good change. What I meant to say, is that we should strive to keep in mind that it shouldn't be used generically all over for the reasons Xoloz brought up, and we should keep an eye out for its overuse, without implying that it's currently a problem.--Fuhghettaboutit 05:14, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Right! I do remember the revert you are talking about; it was "back when", but I saw it and thought "oh, yeah, there wasn't really any reason at all to use that longwinded term there". Heh. Anyway, there probably are a few unnecessary uses of "cue sports" (and "pocket billiards") here and there. I'm with you that Xoloz's and (Robert West's) concerns have a valid ultimate base. If I go to the Efren Reyes article and see "is a Filipino professional pocket billiards cue sport player..." I'm going to cough up my own skull. >;-) I do think the terms have some value in introductory materials about the actual sports, as such, e.g. snooker, but thereafter do not need to be used in such articles at all. Also think the utterly general, all-inclusive stuff like Cue sport, Glossary of cue sports terms and Category:Cue sports are properly named, but would resist renaming billiards table and billiard balls, because literally no one actually uses phrases like "cue sports balls", even among industry marketing flacks. It's one thing to use cue sports as a generic classifier, but quite another to impose it as name, per se. Are our wavelengths any better synched now? If not lemme know. E.g. I'm not certain you'd agree with using the c.s. term to explicate what snooker is, for example, or concur with my use of it in William A. Spinks. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:44, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I think we're pretty jibed. Note that if I ever get around to writing it (I'm not touching it unless and until I get the Stein/Rubino encyclopedia back), I would call an article on the history of the sport, "History of billiards" because that is what it is called historically. Of course, writing all these articles with history is laying the groundwork for that eventual article, which, by the way, is the best prospect I see in the subject area for an article that would lend itself to being an FA.--Fuhghettaboutit 07:01, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Concur on all points, I think. "History of cue sports" is kind of plausible, but only from a late 20th to early 21st century perspective, and just doesn't sound right, even if Category:Cue sports does; the latter is a thoroughly modern classifier. I think I'd only go with "History of cue sports" if the article ended with "And this month's tournament winners are..." Heh. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 07:25, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I saw this discussion and thought I would add my 2-cents (which is too late since the matter has been resolved). The U.S. Patent Office has been dealing with descriptively classifying cue sports for a very long time and probably to as great of extent as any other organization. They actually settled on calling it "billards or pool",[10] which supports the idea that the term "billiards" or the term "pool" is not sufficient by itself to convey the topic name, even in the United States. I could not determine how the United Kingdom patent office handled the name issue. The analogy to water sports is good. In reply to a post above, if there is a desire to modify the beginning of the cue sports article, this description might provide some ideas. -- Jreferee 06:38, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the link; may come in handy, as someone has tagged the main article's intro as insufficient. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 06:52, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Addition of guidance on handling of championship titles and rulesets[edit]

I added short sections on how to write (and not write) championship titles and the names of rulesets. I think they are self-explanatorily sensible, but one editor at Talk:List of World Eight-ball Champions disagreed with the addition (it's unclear if the dispute is only on principle because editor feels it could affect a debate there, which it won't, or with actual substantive reasons). Anyone else have a problem with it? — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 15:50, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Please update Dates section[edit]

Could someone please update the first bullet in Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Cue sports#Dates based on MOS:UNLINKDATES? Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 15:59, 8 June 2012 (UTC)