Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Proper names

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WikiProject Manual of Style
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Proposed change to the second sentence in the Diacritics section[edit]

The second sentence in the Diacritics section is open to misinterpretation that contradicts the main MOS page. I therefore propose to change

Wikipedia normally retains these special characters, except where there is a well-established English spelling that replaces them with English standard letters.

to

For details of how decide on the appropriate usage, see the section Foreign terms on the main MOS page.

-- PBS (talk) 16:36, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

This concise statement about names seems better than the rambling section about terms that you linked. If we can point out what you think the inconsistency is, we can talk about how best to fix it. Moving away from this clear statement without a good reason doesn't seem like the right step. It might be better not to say anything about proper names in the section on foreign terms. Dicklyon (talk) 17:37, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
The subsection in the section foreign terms is called "Spelling and romanization" but that is not a subsection formed by a formal subsection header that appears in the TOC. We could create an anchor to the appropriate paragraph and then link to it. I do not think it wise to copy the text from the main MOS page as that invites the two to diverge in the future. The paragraph that I think is most appropriate starts "Spell a name ... and continues with another sentence that I think the current second sentence here can be read as contradicting "For foreign names, phrases, and words generally, adopt the spellings most commonly used in English-language references for the article ..." -- PBS (talk) 20:20, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
  • I would support this. There are so many ambiguities and lack of clarity in guidelines scattered across wikipedia. It's why editors pick the guideline that best represents their own pov. A simple link to the Foreign terms section is best here. Fyunck(click) (talk) 01:57, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
  • I support PBS's proposal. This page is a secondary guideline and should be consistent with the better-known guidelines such as WP:DIACRITICS and WP:UE. The only thing I find problematic in the current phrasing is the "well-established" part. This suggests that established English spelling isn't good enough for Wiki. "No established usage" is the phrasing used in WP:AT, and the phrasing here should correspond. Kauffner (talk) 18:04, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
    I think you are mixing up article titles and names within a page. WP:DIACRITICS and WP:UE are guidelines (naming conventions) for article titles policy. This is a MOS guideline and hence an issue of consistency across the MOS. Therefore this page should be consistent with, and not contradict, the main MOS page. The appropriate section on the main MOS is MOS:FOREIGN, hence my linkage. -- PBS (talk) 20:20, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - this is a disruptive change. The text as stands reflects editor reality established across 4 million articles by 1000s of editors.
Fact : Wikipedia normally retains these special characters, except where there is a well-established English spelling that replaces them with English standard letters.
If anything this is an understatement. Wikipedia normally retains these special characters, even when there is a well-established English spelling that replaces them with English standard letters. As testimony to this how many of the 4 million articles relating to European Latin alphabet terms have diacritic-less spellings? - 8 tennis BLPs, 1 remaining Czech ice hockey player, 1 Bosnian geo article subject of undiscussed move. Have I missed any? Does anyone know of any apart from these 10? Each of these 10 has been the work of disruptive editing. And we're going to rewrite the MOS page to allow more disruptive local editing as in the case of these 10, rather than the peace and consensus that surround the other 4,000,000 articles? In ictu oculi (talk) 01:02, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
This is an interesting and informative post, given that you have always applied the opposite logic to Vietnamese. Kauffner (talk) 04:44, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Kauffner, please read again, read more carefully. I personally actually would apply exactly the same logic to Hawaiian or Vietnamese as to French or Czech. That we should follow the "best such sources" and aim the highest standard of accuracy. The only 2 differences between French and Czech and Vietnamese are (1) there was never the de facto 100% consensus for accurate spelling with Vietnamese as existed with European articles - even before July 2011 when you initiated your 1,400x undiscussed moves somewhere around 10% of the article corpus of WikiProject Vietnam as of July 2011 did not have Vietnamese titles. Now and again I occasionally find articles that have not been moved by you, but already had no Vietnamese. (2) the second difference is the font/input is more difficult than Czech, or at least was (I personally find the new Windows VN input more convenient than Czech). What we can do here is include the term "European latin-alphabet" because that is where defacto 100% consensus exists. That allows Vietnamese to stay out of it. I personally don't see any difference between Noël Coward and Ngô Bảo Châu, but apparently some editors do. In ictu oculi (talk) 05:32, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
July 2011 is your based-line? Why don't we revert to 2006? At that time, everything was at an ASCII title. Kauffner (talk) 15:11, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Iio, it seems to me that you are confusing article titles, which come under WP:AT and its naming conventions, and this guidance in the MOS which is to do with usage within articles. -- PBS (talk) 09:04, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Invert it – change the section on foreign terms to point here for names, where the concise "Wikipedia normally retains these special characters, except where there is a well-established English spelling that replaces them with English standard letters" reflects actual practice and consensus better. Dicklyon (talk) 05:06, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Are you suggesting that Wikipedia should not base its spellings on usage in the reliable sources used within an article? Is that not a contradiction of WP:V? -- PBS (talk) 09:04, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose original proposal and support proposal to amend the text of the other guideline. The existing statement is sensible, clear and to the point. When interpreting the general guideline, proper names require special interpretation. Most common nouns, such as "tree" designate classes of entities for which it is normal to have an established term in different languages. Such a word is established by being used innumerable times throughout the language community. Proper names, on the other hand, normally designate unique entities that exist primarily in the country where they are normally located. It is quite exceptional for such entities to achieve the same degree of notabilty in other cultures. Using an invented spelling raises the issue of giving undue weight to the culture where the entity enjoys lesser notability. Most people and geographical locations have one name, not an English name and a "foreign" name. There are occasional special cases, such as British composers who were born in Germany but emigrated to England. If the other guideline does not take this into account, it would be more appropriate to change it to refer to and/or correctly summarize this more specific guideline. --Boson (talk) 13:13, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Boson, eminently sensible. In ictu oculi (talk) 13:26, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

This discussion seems to be the latest one to have stalled here, so I'll post this here: this should be resolved in a more general manner, cf. Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (use English)#diacritics flamefest. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 10:14, 16 August 2013 (UTC)


About this page?[edit]

Three questions:
(1) What is the legitimacy of anything decided here? Seriously, the talk page of a MOS page is a self-selecting group. Are talk pages like this immune from WP:LOCALCONSENSUS and WP:OWNER issues?
(2) Should edits to a page like this take into account reality in article space? user consensus in RMs? Two examples:
  • if article space had 100% n-dash, RfCs with majorities supporting n-dash, should a local majority of 3 or 4 n-dash averse editors create a guideline on a MOS page that says "hyphen and n-dash should be decided on the basis of Googling websites" (that's an example, I have no interest in n-dash/hyphen).
  • if article space is 100% American English, RfCs with majority American English, should a local majority of 3 or 4 American English averse editors create a guideline on a MOS page that says "American or British English should be decided on the basis of Googling websites" (that's an example, I have no interest in American/British English).
(3) And why should editors pay any attention to MOS pages if/when the Users on MOS Talk differ in what they want from what the majority of editors in article space and RMs want?
In ictu oculi (talk) 00:54, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
I think you are confusing the WP:Article titles policy and its guideline (naming conventions), which are used to decide RMs and the MOS pages which are to do with the names used on within articles.
For example the article of Napoleon has a title (decide with guidance from WP:AT), and that spelling and format will be appropriate for some articles. However in others another format may be appropriate. For example in an article about some aspect of his life before he became Emperor, "General Bonaparte" might be more appropriate. It may be in some disciplines such as an article on period furniture or the theatre that it is common to add a accent to "Napoléonic". What the main MOS page says is "For foreign names, phrases, and words generally, adopt the spellings most commonly used in English-language references for the article, unless those spellings are idiosyncratic or obsolete. If a foreign term does not appear in the article's references, adopt the spelling most commonly used in other verifiable reliable sources (for example other English-language dictionaries and encyclopedias)". This seems to be guidance in line with the Wikipedia verifiability policy, and will usually lead to an informative name that is of least surprise for the readers.
-- PBS (talk) 10:10, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
PBS,
Thanks for your thoughts, but I'm sorry but I cannot see any direct relationship between this block of text to the three questions I asked. If you want to have a discussion with someone else about names and sources I suggest you use Chloë Grace Moretz as a more relevant/current example than a dead French emperor. And also one where potential "foreign" issues aren't in play. You may find other contributors will be more interested to discuss Chloë Grace Moretz than the somewhat outdated and outlier example you have chosen. In ictu oculi (talk) 12:33, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Everyone,
I will restate and simplify the questions:
(1) What is the legitimacy of anything decided here?
(2) Should edits to a page like this take into account reality in article space?
(3) And why should editors pay any attention to MOS pages if/when the Users on MOS Talk differ in what they want from what the majority of editors in article space and RMs want?
In ictu oculi (talk) 12:28, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Important discussions here have often been listed in Wikipedia:Centralized discussion, to make sure that anyone who cares about guidelines and policies has a chance to participate. Feel free to list anything that you think isn't getting broad representation. I'm not aware of any guideline that suggests that something "should be decided on the basis of Googling websites". Dicklyon (talk) 19:37, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Merge to Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (capitalization)[edit]

This page, Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Proper names should be merged into Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization). The target is older, and logically encompasses this one, and neither are very long. Marshman (talk · contribs), in December 2003, should have started this as a new section in the target, which began with mention of proper nouns. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:19, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Naming conventions explain the WP:AT policy page an are limited to the title of articles. This page is a guideline about the names of people and things within a page. Although there is overlap the two should be kept distinct. -- PBS (talk) 13:26, 27 April 2013 (UTC)