Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Lead section

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Translations in Lead, literal or not?[edit]

Hi Folks, with regard to titles that are based on foreign (non-english) languages (Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Lead_section#Foreign_language), should the English translation be direct (literal) or is it OK for it to be another phrase that is commonly used in a specific context? I have an example in mind, but I'd like to know what the thoughts are on this first. --Scalhotrod (Talk) ☮ღ☺ 22:27, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

It's hard to be specific without more context. But our articles are for the most part about things or concepts or people, not about the foreign-language phrase used to name those things or concepts or people. So per WP:COMMONNAME the English name that appears in the lead should be the common or idiomatic English name for that thing or concept or person, not necessarily a direct literal translation of what that thing or concept or person is called in some other language. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:02, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, so I'll be specific. In the StG 44 article about a rifle that was created during WW2, its fully designation is "Sturmgewehr 44" which translates to "Storm rifle 44". It is literally the firearm that every firearm that can be referred to as an "assault rifle" can trace its design lineage to and there's no dispute about this. But the term simply did not exist until this firearm came into existence and even then the tern "assault rifle" translated or otherwise, was not in common use until many years later.
So with regard to my question, I simply edited first line of the article to say, "The StG 44 (abbreviation of Sturmgewehr 44, "storm rifle 44") is a German selective fire rifle developed during World War II that was the first of its kind to see major deployment and is considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle."[1] But it was reverted to "The StG 44 (abbreviation of Sturmgewehr 44, "assault rifle 44") is a German assault rifle developed..."[2] with the claim that "assault rifle" is the "common translation". --Scalhotrod (Talk) ☮ღ☺ 01:17, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Ok, so my knowledge of German is not good enough to answer this. Is the "Sturm" in this name a literal storm (i.e. a type of weather) or it is the same meaning of "storm" as in the English phrase "have fun storming the castle"? Because if it's the latter, it's so close to the meaning of "assault" that I think you are unnecessarily quibbling and that "assault rifle" may be a perfectly good close-to-literal translation. On the other hand, if "Sturm" means only the weather, you may have a point. This is less about leads than about translation, but: the closest cognate English word is not always the most accurate and idiomatic translation, because meanings can shift or (as in this case) because the grammar of modifying "rifle" in this way in English requires a noun and the "assault" sense of "storm" can only be used as a verb. And in fact if "Sturm" means an attack in German, then your translation is wrong, because in the phrase "storm rifle" storm must be a noun, and can only refer to the weather. Or, to put it more briefly: translations must have the same meaning, not just use cognate words in the same order. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:23, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Assuming Sturmgewehr is the German word for "assault rifle", then "assault rifle" is the correct translation, just as you would translate Handschuh as "glove" and absolutely not as "hand-shoe". Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 00:55, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

TOC placement rules and "dead space"[edit]

This image sums up the problem.

The difference in that particular article saw the version depicted at the top of the image reverted to the lower one. Aside from directing me here, the reverting editor also maintained that screen readers wouldn't display the TOC. (I am unable to verify this, but even if true, would quibble as to whether or not it's Wikipedia's problem if third-party apps employed by a very small minority of users don't parse its layout correctly.)

Anyway, I'm looking for workable solutions to avoid these huge dead spaces. (The pics are screenclips from a 15" laptop; on a 27" monitor, the dead space is gargantuan.)--Раціональне анархіст (talk) 06:35, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Part of the problem, IMO, is the over-zealous sectioning of articles using "==", "===", "====" and so on which creates these long TOCs. If Editors would simple use a semicolon instead, it would simplify things greatly. If a section link is needed, then an anchor can be created. --Scalhotrod (Talk) ☮ღ☺ 01:38, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Semicolons should not be used to make pseudo-headings; see WP:ACCESS#Headings. It is Wikipedia's problem if screen readers cannot properly render a page. Johnuniq (talk) 02:24, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Point of note: I did not use semi-colons, and use of semi-colons won't jury-rig text to flow in the dead space anyway. As far as screen-readers go, are they really having problems decrypting Wikipedia pages with a "descended" TOC (i.e., made to display farther down the page than default)? I want to verify that that actually happens (as it was partial basis for reverting my "aesthetic" edit).--Раціональне анархіст (talk) 07:46, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
  • If the ToC is getting to long because of too many "===" or greater sub-subsections, the solution is {{TOC limit}}, not unsemantic markup (incorrect use of the semicolon) or futzing with the ToC's positioning (which causes sandwiching with the lead image). Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 00:49, 20 May 2015 (UTC)


Discuss how big the lead should be and what should be in it at Talk:Blue#How_big_should_the_lead_section_be_and_what_should_be_in_it.3F - cheers, Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:04, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Bolding of quote marks around a nickname[edit]

Regarding this:

If a person has a commonly known nickname, used in lieu of a given name, it is presented between quote marks following the last given name or initial, as for John F. Kennedy, which has John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy. The quotation marks are not put in bold.

My question is: What is the harm of bolding the quote marks? It seems to me that not bolding them causes actual harm in the form of apparently unnecessary complexity of the formatting that certainly casual editors won't be able to wrap their heads around. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 23:46, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

My guess would be that the material in bold is meant to be an exact representation of the subject, while its surrounding punctuation doesn't belong to the subject. So while John Fitzgerald Kennedy is the proper noun representing that person, and Jack Kennedy would be an alternative, and John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy would be a way to represent those alternatives, John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy would imply that the quotation marks are actually part of his name, which obviously they aren't, since quotation marks never belong in a name in English. That's my guess at least.  DiscantX 07:35, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. That reads like a reasonable guess. It would be useful if there was some kind of explanation on the manual page, though. At any rate, while I realize that quotation marks are not part of anyone's name, by the same token, I'm not entirely sure that term bolding was meant to only apply to parts that comprise the person's name, but to the subject of the article. So, it depends ultimately if Wikipedia decides that the quotation marks are part of the subject, where we are saying, in quotes, what the person's usual name or nickname is/was. Stuff to ponder. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 10:20, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
Looks like that bit was introduced in a 2010 edit by Lambiam. Maybe he/she can provide some insight into the policy?  DiscantX 11:44, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
When I put that bit in I basically tried to codify what already appeared to be common practice. I think – but this is merely a putative reconstruction of the underlying implicit collective reasoning process – that both John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jack Kennedy are reasonable search terms or page titles (in fact, the first is the actual title and the second redirects to it), and so it makes sense to make the corresponding parts in the first sentence bold, whereas the quote signs have no part in this. The "nuisance" of having to limit the scope of the boldifying markup is hardly onerous, considering that this surely amounts to less than one tenth of a percent of all keystrokes a regular editor enters.  --Lambiam 14:57, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
Egads, it's not about an editor's workload. It's about being something that the casual editor won't be able to wrap his mind around; it looks needlessly complex. And if search can't work around words surrounded by quotation marks, there's a serious technical issue in search. Give me a better reason to keep this styling. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 15:24, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
I was not trying to give a reason for keeping the non-bold quote signs but merely for the presence of the rule (existing practice), but if you want to hear one: unless you don't care about stylistic consistency across articles, there are already some 50,000 articles that use non-bold quotes around nicknames. The point I referred to about the search term was simply that John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy is an implausible search term to be entered by users. For the rest, quote signs in search terms tend to already have a special significance in search engines; whether that does or does not interfere with entering quotes in a search term that are meant as part of the search-term content has no bearing on the quality of the search method.  --Lambiam 19:27, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Location of tag[edit]

There is a dispute (and brewing edit war) regarding the proper location at which to place the refimprove maintenance/cleanup template/tag. Input of others would be helpful.

Discussion is here. --Epeefleche (talk) 22:24, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

addition to first sentence section[edit]

In Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section#First sentence a text can be added such as:

While a commonly recognisable form of name will be used as the title of biographical articles, more full forms of name may be used in the introduction to the lead. For instance, in the article Paul McCartney, the text of the lead begins: "Sir James Paul McCartney ...".

GregKaye 04:59, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Foreign language pronunciations[edit]

First it was foreign spellings, now it's foreign pronunciations. The lead sentence has turned into an unreadable dumping ground for meta-information about the title. Lead sentences like Belgium and Tunisia make me cringe. Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a translation dictionary. I'd like to propose adding the following sentence to the Pronunciation section: Do not include foreign language pronunciations. Kaldari (talk) 00:16, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Strongest possible oppose: This is exactly the kind of information I very frequently find myself visiting an article for. If it is getting out of hand for individual articles, then fix the problem so it's not out of hand—don't break the article by pulling out this basic go-to information. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 00:44, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
    • IPA pronunciations in foreign languages are certainly not "basic go-to information" for 99.9% of Wikipedia readers. Do you really think even 1% of readers can read IPA? Kaldari (talk) 00:01, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
      • Outside the native English speaking world? Yup! Over 800 million people speak English as a second language (who make up a very large percentage of Wikipedia readers), and a large percentage of them are familiar with IPA—they often learn IPA in school to cope with dictionaries and English class. And here I am, a native speaker, and as I said I rely on this information myself. There's a whole wide world outside of California, you know ... Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 00:32, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Invitation to comment on VP proposal: Establish WT:MoS as the official site for style Q&A on Wikipedia[edit]

There is now a proposal at the Village Pump that WT:MoS be established as Wikipedia's official page for style Q&A. This would involve actively guiding editors with style questions to WT:MoS and away from other pages, which may include this one. The goal is to centralize discussion and make help easier to find without increasing opportunities for forum shopping. Participation is welcome, especially from editors who have fielded questions of this kind. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:13, 21 May 2015 (UTC)