Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style

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Backlash against MOS?[edit]

My routine style adjustment work seems to have brought out some weird and wonderful new ideas about what WP style ought to be for capitalization. In spite of recent re-affirmations of MOS:CAPS at various multi-move discussions (Talk:Villatina massacre#Requested moves, Talk:Rock Springs massacre#Requested moves, Talk:Potato riots#Requested moves), my latest batch of MOS-compliance moves was all reverted, so I opened another multi-move discussion at Talk:Watts Riots#Requested moves. The centralized discussion listing of this discussion has brought out these interesting proposals for why various titles about riots and massacres and murders should be capitalized even though they are not typically capitalized in sources:

  • "These are historical events with proper names. There is no justification for decapitalisation in MOSCAPS or elsewhere."
  • "That's why God has sent me here, to protect these articles from the ugly candour of minuscule letters."
  • "These requests should be done separately, or through something else besides a multi-move request."
  • "I personally prefer the names we are accustomed to seeing in print."
  • "you might want to begin by updating MOS:CAPS so that it actually addresses historical events ... If the issue is not addressed clearly in MOS:CAPS, then I am inclined to oppose the whole list because of poor documentation of the guideline and questionable tactics for its implementation."
  • "if in doubt, capitalize to show respect!"
  • "Accepted full names of wars, battles, revolts, revolutions, rebellions, mutinies, skirmishes, risings, campaigns, fronts, raids, actions, operations and so forth are capitalized"
  • "These massacres were given an uppercase letter in reliable sources, likely to establish their place in history, along with battles. This mass move would be taken as consensus to make the word lowercase. Go to the manual of style and get consensus rather than picking a set of articles and moving them to different titles."
  • "Capitalization makes more sense for Wikipedia"
  • "Oppose for massacres. I'm neutral on the rest, but we rarely use that word massacre (in a non-figurative sense) unless it's in a proper noun."
  • "Britannica uses capitalisation, and so should we. We're not writing a rag paper."
  • "No where in the MOS does it say that capitalisation should not be used by default." (in an edit summary)

Some of the same are also at the earlier RM: Talk:Chicago Race Riot of 1919, and some twists such as:

  • "I don't care what Wikipedia style is. I care about what's right. It is right that proper names be capitalised, and this is a proper noun. That's that. Your tiny little consensus at those pages is hardly indicative of larger support. If I'd known of them, I'd have opposed with every fibre of my being. Good sources, such as the Britannica, capitalise this title. That's reason enough to maintain it."
  • "We don't object to MOSCAPS, we object to your false interpretation of it."
  • "I know what's right, and I'll make sure to do what I need to do as such. If you'd like me to stop cleaning up articles, I'd be happy to do so. Far from Mr Tony's arrogant claims, most of Wikipedia is a mess of dismal and dingy prose or proseline that has no semblance of style. If he'd like to continue living in such a squalid mess, that's up to him. Me, on the other hand, I like to keep my house in order."

So, did I misread or misinterpret MOS:CAPS? Do we need to amend it to indicate that we capitalize things that people want to show respect for, or to capitalize all titles that refer to events even when sources mostly don't, or what? Or go the other way and amend to specifically say that random events, riots, massacres, incidents, etc. are covered by the general principle of avoiding unnecessary capitalization, as repeated there several times? Or give up and let these categories of things remain rather inconsistent, rather than continue to work on cleaning them up? Dicklyon (talk) 06:46, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

It is telling that you have placed this comment here and not on the talk page of the Article titles policy (AT) page . I think this shows that you do not fully understand the relationship between the MOS and AT policy. It has never been the consensus on the AT talk page that the MOS guidelines applies to article titles. The policy revolves around what is common usage in reliable sources, not the dictates of the Wikipedia style guide. The Article titles policy has its own guidance on such things in guidelines that are called naming conventions. For example WP:AT has its own information on how to capitalise ( AT § Article title format ¶ Use lowercase, except for proper names and its own guideline WP:naming conventions (capitalization)).
In the specific case of Talk:Watts Riots#Requested moves you have made a specific mistake basing in on MOS:CAPS you should base such a requested moves on AT § Article title format ¶ Use lowercase, except for proper names. Also I think you should consider what Lukeno94 wrote in that requested move "Far too many things being proposed for change here;", as very few people are going to look through the whole list and agree that all of them or none of them should be moved having done a survey of all the reliable sources for all the articles. Even is some editors do survey of all the reliable sources for all the articles, they are unlikely to reach an unanimous agreement on what is reflected in all of the sources for each page. Therefore it is extremely unlikely that an informed consensus based on the AT policy will be reached for such a list. It would be much better to tackle such a list one item at a time on the talk pages of the individual articles, basing the request not on the MOS guidelines but on the AT policy. -- PBS (talk) 11:08, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
There's no dispute about titles, only about styling. We style text and titles the same way, don't we? And there's certainly no conflict here with WP:RECOGNIZABILITY as supported by WP:COMMONNAME, nor with "Use lowercase, except for proper names." Nobody has shown a good source-based reason to consider these to be proper names. Dicklyon (talk) 16:22, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Here's why we have to look at the sources... If the sources capitalize the word "Riot" when referring to the event, then we know that the word is considered part of the proper name of the event ... its similar to the way the word "Massacre" is part of the proper name in Boston Massacre. If, on the other hand, they do not capitalize the word "riot" when referring to the event, then we know the sources do not consider that word to be part of a proper name, but are merely describing the event as being a riot. Blueboar (talk) 13:58, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Of course we look at sources, as I said and showed; and I said "Nobody has shown a good source-based reason to consider these to be proper names." That means that when they look they do not find sources consistently capitalizing those words. If there's no consistency, there's no necessity, and WP style is to pick lowercase. Yet they object. Why? Dicklyon (talk) 05:56, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Oh PBS. No. Nobody is arguing that the titles of these articles should be capitalized differently from how they're titled (except for the first character), are they? Why do you keep bringing this up? Would you please stop? It's fine to talk about things in WP:MOS at WT:MOS. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 18:32, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
It is fine to talk about things in WP:MOS at WT:MOS... But PBS does have a valid point... I see a degree of WP:IDIDN'THEARTHAT behavior by some here on the MOS talk page whenever editors raise the issue of conflicts between the MOS pages and various policies and guidelines. Denying that there is a conflict does not resolve the concern. Blueboar (talk) 21:37, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Dicklyon's main objection seems to be that people are capitalizing things that are not typically capitalized in sources and that the MoS says not to capitalize them. PBS's response is that they are capitalized because they are capitalized in reliable sources and that the MoS doesn't apply. Unless this is like species names, where there is a clear specialist-vs-generalist split on this issue, the answer is clear: List all the reliable sources that use lowercase, list all the ones that use capitals and take a look. (If it were me, I'd do it on the talk page of the article(s) in question.) Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:03, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Listing them all would be a big project, but I've got pretty good summary stats and links for further inspection at the multi-move discussion at Talk:Watts Riots#Requested moves. This doesn't seem to affect the opinions of those who don't like WP style however. Look at for example the Watts riot, the Watts riots. Dicklyon (talk) 22:27, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
You may be right that doing them individually would lead to more sensible input. But it would have been nice if RGloucester has not mass-reverted the maintenance moves; if he had only reverted ones for which a glance at sources indicated an uncertain result, that would have been easier to deal with. I might even skip a few (like the Lager Beer Riot, which is lowercase only rarely) that would be marginal on the "consistently capitalized in sources" question. Dicklyon (talk) 22:27, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
It would be nice if I didn't have to revert mass moves to decapitalise articles against consensus. There was no "maintenance" involved on your part. Another editor, in October, did the exact same thing as you, and made tons of page moves to lowercase titles, including most the articles you moved. All of these were reverted after a long discussion, as they had no consensus. Likewise, your moves, a month later than those, have no consensus, and no basis in policy. Rightly, they were reverted. Now you can try and gain consensus for your position, which is antithetical to our article title policy. As you see, consensus is largely against it at this time. Therefore, your position is incorrect. RGloucester 23:26, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I am not aware that any of these had been moved before or discussed, or considered potentially controversial. Which ones? Can you supply pointers to relevant discussions? Dicklyon (talk) 01:02, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
By the way, the reason this discussion must be centralised is because the above editor and his decapitalisation cabal have been taking advantage of the fact that many of these pages are not watched by many editors. He has been using that to his advantage, having RM "discussions" with either no participation, or very little, and requiring multiple re-listings. He has done this to claim "re-affirmations" of a position that is not backed by a broader consensus. That's why I insisted on a broadly-advertised centralised discussion, where a large slice of the Wikipedia community could voice an opinion. It is necessary, or he will continue to game the system by making large amounts of small changes to claim "consistency" with guidelines. That type of WP:BULLDOZERING is unacceptable. RGloucester 23:29, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
RM discussions are always advertised centrally for this reason. I've never seen the WP:BULLDOZERING shortcut to Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point before, and don't see how it can be relevant here. I have a long history of constructive editing, cleanups, sourcing, etc., doing my best to follow and implement policies and guidelines. I don't look at how many watchers an article has, and I haven't seen multiple relistings, nor any cabal helping me. So I don't know what you're going on about. Dicklyon (talk) 01:02, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
It is quite relevant here. In fact, if you'd like to know its origin, I can inform you. It is rather humorous. One editor, who I'm not likely to agree with on anything, started an AN/I thread with the words WP:BULLDOZERING as a red link in the heading. The way that he went about this thread was so absurd that I thought that I should create the link, to remember the absurdity of the behaviour of certain editors who attempt to make a point that isn't much of a point at all. This absurdity even escalates to the point where usual words like "bulldozing" must be replaced with the bombastic "BULLDOZERING". You are taking your own interpretation of the guidelines as gospel, when they are not. RGloucester 01:34, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, then I object to that shortcut link; it is not meaningful. It appears that you made it up just to make some odd point yourself. Please remove it. Make an essay about bulldozering if you need to. Dicklyon (talk) 04:12, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Listing the sources isn't as much work as it sounds like. Remember, you don't have to list all the relevant sources yourself, Dicklyon. Just start two lists, add the sources you've been using to one of them, and invite others to contribute. If the opposition to your proposal is as vehement as you say, then you'll have all the help you need filling up the other list.
Previous example: here. The issue was whether to change "New York Theater District" to "New York Theatre District." Two or three editors put the lists together in a day or two, and a subsequent challenge to the page's name was later shut down with "you can challenge it if you want but reliable sources prefer this spelling 2:1." I've also tried this the last two times that WP:LQ was challenged. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:26, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, with 30 articles being considered, it's still a lot of work. Especially for those with hundreds or thousands of sources, where it would make more sense to do something like pick the first N pages of Google Books hits that have previews, or something like that, rather than have a stamina contest. And of course if people argue that 2:1 capital to lower meets the threshold for "consistently capitalized in sources", that will be a mess. Or if they argue that historians get precedence over general writers, that will be a mess. It's not clear to me what these lists are supposed to show, if the clear evidence of majority lower case use in books is not even enough to overcome the opposition. RGloucenter has consistently refused to consider such evidence as meaningful, so how are lists going to help him? Dicklyon (talk) 02:30, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Consider this RM that opened before the 30-article multi-RM: Talk:Pottawatomie Massacre#Requested move. Even if I stipulate that there has been a shift since the 1980s and now a slight majority of books using upper case, and even if we enumerated all those, how would that shifting style in the outside world affect our decision of whether to pay attention to our own style guide? It is abundant evidence that capitalization is not consistent in sources, so we should use lowercase. Why is this even being discussed? Please take a look and let me know. Dicklyon (talk) 04:09, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Just to note first that two editors who have come in to comment here have continually taken an anti-MOS line when it comes to the styling of article titles—as though the article text should be subject to different rules to the titles. WP:AT doesn't concern styling, and it's not tenable to encourage the notion that there are two sets of rules. This was resolved many many years ago.

    Second, RGloucester and one or two others have taken it on themselves to raise a flag for capitalisation, but never respond when asked to explain what they mean by "proper name". MOSCAPS says: "Wikipedia avoids unnecessary capitalization. Most capitalization is for proper names or for acronyms. Wikipedia relies on sources to determine what is a proper name; words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in sources are treated as proper names and capitalized in Wikipedia." (my bold)

    Given this clear wording at the top of the MOS, I rather think the onus is on them to (i) demonstrate consistent capitalisation in sources for each example, and (ii) provide whatever definition of proper name they are using to drive this capitalisation campaign. They have not done so, but instead have used a wall of pretty unconvincing comments, including those quoted by Dick at the top of this thread. Tony (talk) 06:32, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

I think the phrase "proper name" is obvious to anyone that has a basic level of English comprehension, Tony. One should also note that MOS:MILTERMS has its own definition. By the way, as I told you before, the MoS is only a guideline. It is not a straitjacket that is applied uniformly everywhere. It is subject to talk page consensus. WP:UCN is a policy, and makes clear that we should take questions of encyclopaedic register into account, weighing sources to determine what is more appropriate for this encylopaedia. I have provided encyclopaedic sources in cases where I oppose capitalisation, such as the Britannica, just as UCN says to do. When capitalisation is necessary to maintain the encyclopaedic register, it is necessary, and therefore not "unnecessary". I'm not opposed to lowercase titles, and I've mentioned the articles I agree should be decapitalised at the bulk move, as capitalisation is not supported by encyclopaedic sources or any sources at all in those instances. I find it queer that you refer to a "capitalisation campaign" when these articles were already capitalised and stable for years until you fellows started messing with them. No one has suggesting "capitalising" any new articles, as far as I can see. If I can present another argument, WP:TITLECHANGES suggests that no move should be made for reasons of stability. RGloucester 06:42, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
You say: "I think the phrase "proper name" is obvious to anyone that has a basic level of English comprehension, Tony." More hedging. Yet again, could you enlighten us to what your definition is, please? Without your proposed definition, we're at a loss to even start judging your argument. Tony (talk) 07:17, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Would you prefer if I call you "tony" because I cannot find any reliable sources that refer to you as "Tony"? Perhaps I should start a requested move on your user page. RGloucester 15:11, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
RG: No the MoS is not "just a guideline." It's called a guideline but what it really is is changeable but required set of rules. In practice, people who add new material aren't penalized for not following the MoS but people who change text from MoS-compliant to non-MoS-compliant can be penalized.
Read WP:LOCALCONSENSUS. No individual pages do not get to deviate from the MoS just because their editors think it's a good idea. If you think there's something special about these pages that means they need the extra capitals, then the place to discuss it is at the relevant MoS page so that an exception can be written into the rules.
I get that you think you're being clear, but Tony has asked you a serious question about a relevant point (by which I mean that Tony does not appear to be messing with you; he asks this kind of question a lot). There's no harm in coming out in saying either, "What I mean by proper noun is XYZ" or "I've just been using the regular definition of the term; can you be clearer about what it is that you need to know/why you're confused?" Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:16, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
None of these are "required rules". The MoS is a generally accepted documentation of good practice, not a straitjacket that is applied to all articles uniformly. MoS compliance isn't even mandated for GA status. The "capitals" are not "extra". Mr Lyon unilaterally moved articles away from their titles as supported by policy and the MoS. He did make some moves that were correct, too. Regardless, in most cases, the majuscule letters are mandated by WP:UCN, a policy, and by MOSCAPS. To be clear, talk page consensus explicitly is used to determine how to apply the MoS to specific pages. For example, see MOS:MILTERMS: "Where there is uncertainty as to whether a term is generally accepted, consensus should be reached on the talk page". The articles I'm referring to are not "deviating" from the MoS. The problem is that different people interpret the MoS differently. How it is applied to individual articles is determined through talk page consensus in areas of uncertainty. I'm not going to engage in nitpicking that will be used to weasel out of the common and generally accepted meaning of the phrase "proper name". RGloucester 22:57, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
WP style is to avoid unnecessary capitalization, but you have stated "I don't care what Wikipedia style is." Your comments about WP:UCN make no sense, as that bit does not relate to style (and the fact that it's part of a policy page has no particular significance, either). Start making sense. Dicklyon (talk) 23:41, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Not "WP style", but the Manual of Style-documented style, firstly, and secondly, it says "unnecessary". If it is necessary, it cannot be unnecessary. Strictly speaking, no capitalisation is necessary. One can convey a point without any capitalisation whatsoever. That's not what the MoS is implying we do. How can it "not relate to style"? It is about article titles. If reliable sources are capitalising a title one way, UCN demands that we follow their capitalisation. UCN also tells us to write in the encyclopaedic register, and to view fellow encyclopaedias as more valuable for these purposes than every other news article. It being a policy means that it is higher ranked than guidelines in the roster of Wikipedia conventions. RGloucester 00:29, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I think one point that should be addressed, and which makes reliance on sources somewhat problematic, is the issue of what the use of a common noun implies. Writing "the Boston massacre" (uncapitalized) uses the common noun "masssacre" in Wikipedia's voice, implying that "massacre" is a correct description of the event. Writing "the Boston Massacre" uses a proper name, which implies that this is the established name of the event but does not require that the event is (necessarily) correctly described by the common noun "massacre". If some sources represent the view that this event was a massacre, then those sources may justifiably (but non-neutrally) use the common noun "massacre" to describe the event from their point of view, while other sources may use an expression with a different common noun, such as "the unfortunate events in Boston". Perhaps WP:POVNAME should state (even more) clearly that the exemption from WP:NPOV applies only to proper nouns used in names. There may occasionally be a case for using POV common nouns in article titles, but I don't think they should be regarded as the default, on the basis of policy. None of this, of course, means that a proper name cannot also be a correct and neutral description (for instance, the President of the United States is indeed the president of the United States). --Boson (talk) 00:14, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree entirely with what you just said, Boson, and that's one of the reasons I argued against decapitalisation for massacres. We should not be using "massacre" in WP:NDESC titles. That's definitely editorialising, and entirely inappropriate. If we are constructing titles for events, the word "massacre" should not be included. RGloucester 00:29, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Massacre is a common noun, defined as "an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people". If sources commonly call something a massacre, then per WP:UCN, so should we. And if sources consistently capitalize it, as with Boston Massacre, we take that to mean that capitalization is necessary. If they don't, we don't. It's not that complicated. If sources have other terms they use, we can choose that instead, as long as we agree that it's at least as good, per the WP:CRITERIA. Per MOS:CAPS, we don't use case to signal our opinions about whether the UCN is a good one or not. Dicklyon (talk) 03:00, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
You didn't hear me. For titles that are commonly used per UCN, it is fine to use "massacre". However, for WP:NDESC titles that we construct ourselves, it is unacceptable. The difference between "massacre" and "Massacre" is that "Massacre" implies a commonly accepted name for an event, whereas "massacre" merely implies editorial description, per Boson. RGloucester 03:04, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
True, I'm not hearing you. So how does your "We should not be using "massacre" in WP:NDESC titles." relate to your comments supporting decapitalization at Talk:Carnation_Massacre that "These are all constructed WP:NDESC titles, and hence should not be treated as proper names." Dicklyon (talk) 04:22, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Personally, I'm of the opinion that the "Carnation massacre" is not a massacre, and should not be at that title anyway. In fact, I'm not sure it is notable at all. None of the cited sources seem to support calling it a massacre, though. Six people dead does not make a massacre. I'd much prefer "Carnation killings". However, I didn't want to rock the boat too much. If I did, I'd propose it for deletion. It really doesn't seem encyclopaedic at all. WP:NOTNEWS, and all that. RGloucester 04:28, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I might even agree with you. But you said it's a WP:NDESC and should be decapitalized, and then that we shouldn't use it in a WP:NDESC. I'll let it go at that. Dicklyon (talk) 04:33, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I still maintain that "massacre" should not be part of NDESC titles. The only reason I was not pushing for significant change here was to avoid making more of a mess than we already have. If you agree with me on this matter, perhaps we can work out a solution. Would you support either a deletion request, or a renaming to "2007 Carnation killings" or "murders"? RGloucester 04:35, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Find at least one source and I'll support moving to killings or murders. This one calls it a massacre. It's marginally notable, but I'd probably not delete an article on such an event. Surely there are news stories at least. Dicklyon (talk) 04:53, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
There's the rub, though, Mr Lyon. We're using a NDESC title, not a common name. That one source you provided did not refer to this incident as the "Carnation massacre". It editorialised with the word "massacre" in a sentence describing the events. The title we're using is constructed, a neutral descriptive title, not one used commonly. That's what a WP:NDESC title. They are necessitated sometimes when there is no one unambiguous neutral common name. Given that we are constructing a WP:NDESC title, we must construct one that neutrally describes the events. The only neutral description is as "killings" or "murders", which describe what took place, rather than editorialise with value-laden terminology that is specifically frowned upon by the MoS. As far as deletion is concerned, see WP:LASTING and WP:PERSISTENCE. There is no evidence that this event had a lasting impact, or that it has had persistent and in-depth coverage in the years following its occurrence. It doesn't seem to meet the event notability criteria. Regardless, if you won't support deletion I shan't push for it. Let's instead focus on giving it a neutral title, as I said above. RGloucester 05:00, 13 December 2014 (UTC)


@Darkfrog24 you wrote "PBS's response is that they are capitalized because they are capitalized in reliable sources and that the MoS doesn't apply." No that is not what I wrote what I wrote was "The policy revolves around what is common usage in reliable sources, not the dictates of the Wikipedia style guide. The Article titles policy has its own guidance on such things in guidelines that are called naming conventions. ..." and went on to describe what some of them are. -- PBS (talk) 15:15, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

@Dicklyon you wrote "and WP style is to pick lowercase." Yes! but that is lower case style decision based on AT policy not the MOS guideline " AT § Article title format ¶ Use lowercase, except for proper names" which is why when making such a move you should base your request on the AT policy not the MOS guidelines as you did in the Talk:Watts Riots#Requested moves. -- PBS (talk) 15:15, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Looking for proper MoS for 2013 Ben Ketai film Beneath[edit]

What is a proper title for this horror film IMDB Beneath. It has the same year, genre, and country as this film Beneath (2013 film). Valoem talk contrib 05:42, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

This is the proper MOS. For title, see WP:TITLE. Dicklyon (talk) 05:57, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Hyphenation of "open source" when used as a compound adjective[edit]

MOS:HYPHEN clearly states that a phrase used as a compound adjective should be hyphenated. Nevertheless, there are numerous instances in Wikipedia of the term "open source" used as a compound adjective without being hyphenated; examples include the titles of the Open source hardware and Open Source Architecture articles, as contrasted with Open-source software and Open-source journalism. In fact, the Open source hardware article was moved by consensus from a non-hyphenated to a hyphenated title in 2010, and moved back to the non-hyphenated title without discussion in early 2014 by a single editor whose stated rationale was that the phrase is "idiomatic". It seems to me that the inconsistency of hyphenation of the term calls for a Manual of Style consensus to be established, with article titles and text to be edited accordingly. — Jaydiem (talk) 05:41, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

There are numerous instances in WP of almost every compound used as an adjective without hyphens. Many of these are unclear, giving readers little or no clue about how to parse or interpret the meaning. Nothing special about "open source" in this respect. Where the hyphen helps the reader, go ahead and add it. Where such a phrase is "idiomatic" within the group who knows it, it is still usually helpful to the general reader to have the clue for how to parse it. If others disagree, some discussion may be in order. I went ahead and moved back the one that had a consensus on record. And worked on unsourced one, too. Dicklyon (talk) 05:49, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. In-groups, particularly engineering and scientific specialties, become loose about the typography that helps non-expert comprehension—since those specialties see the compounds every day and often address their texts only to those within their cloister. Here, we write for a wider readership. This is a good example of why we should not always regard specialist usage as ideal for our circumstances; and it's why serious publishers have house styles. Tony (talk) 08:26, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
You are correct, Jaydiem. Was there something you wanted to do about it or are you just here for confirmation? Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:44, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Comma-related RfC[edit]

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies#RfC: Comma or no comma before Jr. and Sr. W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:42, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Editor not seeing the benefit of WP:NOTBROKEN[edit]

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking#Editor not seeing the benefit of WP:NOTBROKEN. A WP:Permalink for the discussion is here. Flyer22 (talk) 22:59, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

What is this?[edit]

Can someone explain the origin of this bizarre note "The adjective Arab (never to be confused with Muslim or Islamic) refers to people and things of ethnic Arab origin. The term Arabic refers to the Arabic language or writing system, and related concepts (Not all Arab people write or converse in Arabic)"? Perhaps the note itself is fine, but the parenthetical "(never to be confused with Muslim or Islamic)" is absolutely absurd. I wonder why we have a specific note on this matter at all, given that no other ethnicity is given this special treatment. I also wonder who would confuse "Muslim or Islamic" with "Arab". Are we writing for the lowest common denominator, here? This just seems downright odd. RGloucester 17:53, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

As no one seems to know why this note exists, I'm considering boldly removing it. RGloucester 06:00, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
There have been lots of articles about Arab or Islamic scientists such as Alhazen where editors argue over whether to characterize them as Arab, Islamic, Arabic, or something else. I expect it arose out of some of those disputes. Dicklyon (talk) 06:10, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
I think you'll agree with me that the idea of confusing "Arab" with "Islamic" or "Muslim" is absurd, no? This strikes me as instruction creep, and downright absurd instruction creep at that. RGloucester 06:19, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
I think it's unclear to a lot of people how to refer to someone from that region and era, when they were both Arab and Islamic. Look at the usage stats. I'm not saying it's a great comment, just letting you know why it probably came to be put there. Dicklyon (talk) 06:27, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't see how it is unclear. They are not mutually exclusive. "Muslim" is not an ethnic identifier, and never has been. Regardless, perhaps that is how it arose, but that's not at all reason for a blurb in the MoS. I can easily name much more complicated ethnic/national identities that are not mentioned, and which are much more problematic. RGloucester 06:43, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think the unclarity is related to any issue of mutual exclusivity. Dicklyon (talk) 07:02, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
What is the issue? Follow reliable sources. Otherwise, if someone is "Arab" and "Muslim", one can call that person "an Arab Muslim". I don't understand what is hard about this. That's what the article you mentioned, Alhazen, does. RGloucester 07:12, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
In protracted arguments that I have seen, the sources are mixed, and in some cases seem to themselves be confused. It's very hard to know how to characterize people from distant history, in terms of the presumed religious, ethnic, and cultural situation of their time and place. Like the thing about whether Maxwell is of Scottish nationality. Simple question, complicated arguments. Maybe you can straighten them out. Dicklyon (talk) 07:22, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
It seems to have been inserted as part of this 2007 edit. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 06:38, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

Need some advice[edit]

After looking at WP:MOS in regard to religion, etc., I'm not finding anything specific in the way of what's acceptable and what's not when referring to religious figureheads/deities. Please refer to this edit [1] for a better idea of what I'm coming up against. Specifically, at the article Shema Yisrael, I don't want to anger the IP editor nor discourage them from editing or reading Wikipedia, but because they are essentially pushing a POV in how to write/not write the Judeo-Christian name of "God" (they have been changing it to G_d which is the correct honorific spelling for certain sects of Judaism). It seems to me that because Wikipedia is not a religious-based encyclopedia that spelling it G_d would be POV to a certain degree. Any thoughts, suggestions? -- WV 02:30, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

His edit summary, Fixed typo, does not suggest that he's serious. It's possible that he hasn't figured out that he is being reverted, so he keeps trying. And hasn't figured out from notifications that he has a talk page. Keep trying... Not much point worrying what MOS says if you can't get a discussion going. Dicklyon (talk) 02:39, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

Capitalization of "sun"[edit]

This has come up before, but It doesn't appear that a true, official consensus was formed.

i believe "sun" should never be capitalized unless it is the first word in a sentence, or other extenuating circumstances. Although the sun presently refers to a specific star to us, that was not known at the time the word came into being. And, if, let's say, what if you speak English but live on a planet in another solar system? Wouldn't the star your planet orbits be "the sun"? In English-language sci-fi literature and film, usually stars with planets orbiting them are referred to as "suns," as in the Star Wars universe, Tatooine has "two suns." In the Superman universe, Krypton had a red sun and Earth had a yellow sun that give him his powers. It simply doesn't make sense that all of a sudden the capitalization of a word would change. And NO, I don't want to call it 'Sol'. -- Dougie WII (talk) 08:49, 29 December 2014 (UTC)