Category talk:Transmitter sites in the United Kingdom

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Article names[edit]

see Talk:Winter Hill transmitting station#Winter Hill transmitter for a discussion in August 2006

SilkTork has moved a number of 'transmitting station' articles to the equivalent 'transmitter' article name. I assume he did so unaware of the big discussion we had about this a couple (?) of years ago (which unfortunately got deleted when this category got moved). As can be seen from the articles in this category, there are dozens of them and 'transmitting station' has been the established standard for some time. I do not think anyone should be making such a large alteration either piecemeal or without gaining consensus first. Therefore I'm reverting those pages to the 'status quo' pending any consensus for a move that may emerge on this talk page.--Harumphy (talk) 11:34, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

If there as another discussion (other than Winter Hill) that is now deleted, please let me know on my talk page the page name it was on. --PBS (talk) 10:47, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree, there was a discussion a couple of years ago about what to do with these and the consensus reached was that we should use the correct name for all the articles i.e. "transmitting station" and then redirect from "transmitter". Some of the reasoning is as follows (and there may have been other reasons):
  • A "transmitter" is a box of gadgetry, usually a few cubic feet in volume. Describing a mast/tower, associated buildings, grounds and plant as a transmitter is more than just a small technicality, it is entirely wrong, and would be a poor precedent to set in an encyclopaedia.
  • The broadcasters themselves describe their installations as "transmitting stations" not "transmitters". For example:
http://tx.mb21.co.uk/gallery/belmont/belmont1.php
  • I do not believe that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Name#Use_the_most_easily_recognized_name should be applied here. This policy appears to be for a situation where an object has two legitimate names, and directs the use of the most common one. This situation is different however: although the public may use "transmitter" more often, they are actually wrong in doing so. After all, this policy is not used for London landmarks such as The Gherkin or the NatWest Tower. Both of these articles are called by their technically correct names, 30 St. Mary Axe and Tower 42 respectively, not their much more commonly known nicknames or previous names. IMO the same logic should be applied with the tx stations.
Chillysnow (talk) 12:24, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
After reading User_talk:SilkTork#Crystal_Palace_transmitting_station.2Ftransmitter, I have a few comments to add:
  1. The Google book search on 'Crystal Palace transmitter' throws up many hits, but if you look at them they are referring largely to transmitters at Crystal Palace - they do not for the most part describe the whole facility as a 'transmitter'. The article is about the whole facility.
  2. In colloquial British usage, these places are most often called 'masts' or 'TV masts', not transmitters. By choosing 'transmitter' we would be getting the worst of both worlds: it's neither accurate nor the most common lay term.
  3. The Crystal Palace 'transmitter' does not belong to the BBC, and has not done so since privatisation the mid 1990s. The BBC is dominated by arts graduates who get their undergarments in a frightful twist when they worry their pretty little heads about anything technical or new-fangled, or old-fangled for that matter, the poor dears. Anyone who knew what they were talking about got 'downsized' ages ago. In other words the BBC is not a credible source on this stuff, IMHO.
  4. The word transmitter is undoubtedly more frequently used, but usually to refer to a 'metal box' within the station, not the station itself.
  5. The discussion took place in a number of places - primarily (IIRR) on Category talk:UK transmitter sites which got deleted when this category got its present name. A clear consensus emerged then which has stuck across dozens of articles for two years now. BTW Justin Smith is not in the business, he's in a related but different business (i.e. the domestic aerial trade, not broadcast transmission).
  6. I used to work at these places myself, some years ago. We knew them as transmitting stations. And that is what it sometimes said on the sign on the gate - never 'transmitter'. Here's a couple more:[1][2] --Harumphy (talk) 13:33, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Copy of discussion so far[edit]

Hi Chilly. I note that in 2006 you moved Crystal Palace Transmitter to Crystal Palace transmitting station, and I understand the reasons why you did this. However, it is out of sync with what it is called, and what people would be looking for. The common and most easily recognised name is the "Crystal Palace transmitter". My proposal is that we move the article name to Crystal Palace transmitter, and then to make a mention within the article that the "Crystal Palace transmitter" while being a Transmitter can also be called a "transmitting station". This move would be in accord with Wikipedia:Name#Use_the_most_easily_recognized_name, which gives a fuller explanation of the policy regarding using common names. I am aware that there are a number of other articles which have also been named "Foo transmitter station" rather than "Foo transmitter" - I have done a random check and noted that Heathfield transmitter gets more Ghits than Heathfield transmitting station, as does [Black Mountain transmitter over Black Mountain transmitting station. I also note on List of transmission sites that other articles on transmitters, such as Gaisberg Transmitter and Topolna transmitter use "transmitter" rather than "transmitter station". So I propose moving all "Foo transmitter station" articles to "Foo transmitter" articles would would ensure a consistency across Wikipedia, which aids navigation and reader experience. I am aware I may have missed something important, so I'll pause for your response before carrying out the moves. Regards SilkTork *YES! 09:11, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Silk, thanks for the message re the naming policy for these stations. There was a discussion a couple of years ago about what to do with these and the consensus reached was that we should use the correct name for all the articles i.e. "transmitting station" and then redirect from "transmitter". The reasoning is as follows:
  • A "transmitter" is a box of gadgetry, usually a few cubic feet in volume. Describing a mast/tower, associated buildings, grounds and plant as a transmitter is more than just a small technicality, it is entirely wrong, and would be a poor precedent to set in an encyclopaedia.
  • The broadcasters themselves describe their installations as "transmitting stations" not "transmitters". For example:

http://tx.mb21.co.uk/gallery/belmont/belmont1.php

  • I do not believe that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Name#Use_the_most_easily_recognized_name should be applied here. This policy appears to be for a situation where an object has two legitimate names, and directs the use of the most common one. This situation is different however: although the public may use "transmitter" more often, they are actually wrong in doing so. After all, this policy is not used for London landmarks such as The Gherkin or the NatWest Tower. Both of these articles are called by their technically correct names, 30 St. Mary Axe and Tower 42 respectively, not their much more commonly known nicknames or previous names. IMO the same logic should be applied with the tx stations.

Regards Chillysnow (talk) 17:57, 12 October 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for getting back to me Chilly. And thanks for the link - however, I think the point is not that the phrase transmitting station is never used, but that transmitter is used more often. And for every example that I have noted of transmitting station being used I have found rather more examples of transmitter. I noted the amount of books which use the phrase "Crystal Palace transmitter" - [3]. And I also noted that on the Google box on my browser which offers suggestions for words I type, when putting in "crystal palace t" it offers 10 suggestions, including crystal palace transmitter, but not crystal palace transmitting station - even when I type "crystal palace transmitting".
It is usually best to follow policy as there are reasons why policy was drawn up. The wording of the naming policy is very apt here, so I quote it in full: "Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature. This is justified by the following principle: The names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists. Wikipedia determines the recognizability of a name by seeing what verifiable reliable sources in English call the subject."
As the Crystal Palace transmitter belongs to the BBC, it seems they would be the most reliable source. [4], [5], [6], [7], etc. I found no BBC sources (other than a learning English blog) in which "Crystal Palace transmitting station" is used.
As transmitter is used more often than transmitting station, as most books on the subject use transmitter, as the most authoritative source uses transmitter, as Google defaults to transmitter, and we want the articles to be easily found by the most readers, then it seems the best action would be to move the articles to transmitter.
I did take a look at the discussion you mention. [[8]]. I see no clear consensus there. Indeed, I see this comment: "I don`t really consider all of this to be a big deal but I`m in the business myself (site www.aerialsandtv.com) and I have only ever once seen transmitters referred to as "transmitting stations". Even the BBC website (on its reception advice page) refers to them as transmitters. Furthermore we have a stats package on our site (and can see what search terms are requested) and I can`t remember ever seeing anyone request "XXXXXXX transmitting station".I would have thought this last point is the most relevant." by User:JustinSmith.
I will proceed with the moves as suggested as the evidence is compelling. If you still feel strongly that there is a special case here for these articles going against reliable sources and Wiki policy, you could raise the issue on Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions. Regards SilkTork *YES! 00:23, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Further discussion[edit]

In further support of Harumphy's statements above, SilkTork says he could not find any BBC sources that mention "Crystal Palace transmitting station", but there are in fact many, including one of the articles he himself cites. [9], [10], [11] [12], [13], [14] etc., and this is in addition to the learning English blog (which is no less valid than the others). It is important to draw a distinction when citing these examples as to whether the author is referring to the installation as a whole or to the individual service/apparatus transmitting that service. If it is the former, then "transmitting station" should be used, and if it is the latter, "transmitter" should be used. Chillysnow (talk) 14:08, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

There seems to be no disagreement that transmitter is more common in what Wikipedia classes as reliable sources, the disagreement is about correct usage. The Wikipedia:Naming Conventions are clear on this issue. The first section states "Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature." it goes on to say "The names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists". The qualification is to keep the muppets under control -- so it must be a name used in reliable sources not a Google tally of blog sites. So User:Chillysnow I think you are misreading the policy. If the name transmitter is used there is no reason why there should not be either an annotated note or a sentence near the start of the article that explains the technical difference between a transmitter and a transmitting station. --PBS (talk) 10:47, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Surely the policy cannot and should not be applied when the name to which the articles are proposed to be changed is actually wrong? And, for the record, I am disagreeing that the term transmitter is in more common usage. Transmitter is used in the cited articles in the context of a service from the transmitting station being off-air/upgraded/modified/whatever. These reliable sources are generally not actually talking about the installation as a whole, they are referring to the transmitter (i.e. box of gadgetry) that transmits the service or group of services. To confuse the two in Wikipedia is to compound the misconception. After all, we do not have the Vacuum Cleaner article titled Hoover, or the Sticky Tape article titled Sellotape, or the 30 St. Mary Axe article titled The Gherkin, the Tower 42 article titled NatWest Tower, the One Canada Square article titled Canary Wharf, etc. etc. In each case, the object concerned is much more widely known by the incorrect latter name, but we retain the former as the proper article title as it is correct, which is surely what an encyclopaedia is all about? Chillysnow (talk) 13:41, 14 October 2008 (UTC)


The thinking behind the policy is that an encyclopedia is a summary of knowledge for the general public. People look up the common name for something they wish to know more about. The brief article on the topic supplies basic information, part of which may be to give and explain the scientific or specialised name of the topic. The articles are not written FOR the specialist, though they may be written BY the specialist. The naming policy was drawn up to remind specialists that the intention of the article should be to inform the general reader. Wikipedia is not a specialist paper, so jargon and specialised terms and language should be explained to the reader. As for articles on Wikipedia using non-common terms - there may be some examples, and there may be reasons for each of these (we tend not to use brand names for example), or it may be that nobody has yet challenged incorrect usage. I took a look at the Wiki article on Common names and looked at Common_names#Examples - articles on these tend to use the common name not the scientific name.
As I said when I first approached Chillysnow, I understand the desire for specialists to want to have the "correct" terminology for the name of an article. But the name of the article is what turns up on Google searches, etc, and the name is what navigates people to an article. Using the most common name is the most helpful thing for the common reader, and for the article, as it will deliver more readers to the page.
And talking of delivering more readers - we now have a wonderful tool which records the number of searches people make on a term for each month. Crystal_Palace_Transmitter gets 2599 searches, Crystal_Palace_transmitting_station gets 645 searches. 4 times as many people are using the term Crystal Palace Transmitter.
I accept that Chillysnow and Harumphy are not comfortable with using the term Crystal Palace Transmitter as they feel, being specialists, that the term is not technically accurate. What I'd like to see from them is some awareness that Wikipedia is written for the general public, and that sometimes we need to use the less technical terms in order to aid the general public to a greater understanding of the topic. SilkTork *YES! 20:05, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
The search issue is a red herring, because anyone searching on 'Crystal Palace transmitter' or any of several other terms will be redirected to the article anyway. It is not the job of an encyclopedia to pander to popular ignorance: a majority belief that the moon is made of cheese does not make it a fact. To suggest that 'transmitting station' is too technical a term for the lay reader to cope with insults his intelligence and seems somewhat obtuse, IMHO.--Harumphy (talk) 21:10, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia articles are searched on Google, and we sometimes give out advice to use Google as a search tool for Wikipedia: Wikipedia:Searching#External_search_engines. As such we try to give the names of articles the same sort of names that people use when entering a search on Google. I don't think I follow the comments about pandering to popular ignorance, and intelligence being insulted. If there is a relevant point being made there, would you re-phrase and expand it for me. If it's a throwaway comment, then fine, just leave it. SilkTork *YES! 23:27, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
The point is very simple. We should call things by their correct name, not by what Google searchers mistakenly think is the true name. A transmitting station is not a transmitter. To conflate two different things, wrongly, into a single term would merely add to the confusion that seems to exist. I'm aware it's part of Wikipedia's cult of truthiness to elevate popular misconception to a higher plane than objective fact, but that is not a good thing. On the contrary, it's a strategy for displacing knowledge with ignorance.--Harumphy (talk) 08:33, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
User talk:Harumphy you write "The point is very simple. We should call things by their correct name" is a breach of the Wikipedia POLICY WP:NC which is to use common names. If a page is put up for a WP:RM then the administrator who considers the opinions expressed is bound to follow Wikipedia long standing policy on this issue. Let me give you an example in another field there is an editor who thinks that battles on the Eastern Front during the latter half of World War II should use Soviet naming for articles. For example the Battle of Berlin should be renamed Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation or the Prague Offensive should be renamed the Prague Strategic Offensive Operation because they are technically correct names under Soviet military doctrines. The Battle of the Bulge is a well known name in English but a more accurate name and technically correct is Ardennes Offensive or in American military histories Battle of the Ardennes. I hope this helps explain why we use common names and not technically accurate ones. --PBS (talk) 11:47, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
First: we have been offered no credible evidence that (e.g.) 'Crystal Palace transmitter' is the common name. (From my own real-life experience having lived in South London as well as having worked at such places it is just one of several.) Second, WP:RM is no substitute for consensus on this talk page - it would be quite wrong for an admin to make the move without consensus (and that is the sort of behaviour that has already driven huge numbers of editors away from WP in disgust). Third, to describe a transmitting station as a transmitter is not just 'technically' wrong, it's factually wrong. These stations are not transmitters: they are installations covering up to around 300 acres of land and containing a wide variety of equipment of which the transmitters (plural, usually) are just one element. Fourth, there is no consensus for the proposed move so please stop wasting our time with this pestiferous pedantry, because it makes contributing to WP a misery for the volunteers who give freely of their time to the project.--Harumphy (talk) 13:21, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
"First: we have been offered no credible evidence that (e.g.) 'Crystal Palace transmitter' is the common name." Sorry until now from the conversation above I did not think that you were disputing that "fact". If you are then that is a whole different debate. Second Yes debates about moving a page should go to WP:RM and the closing administrator will decide given the arguments presented what is the best name to use. I refer you to WP:CONSENSUS "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale." I think that you third point has already been discussed ... and as to your fourth point do you think that anyone contributing to this talk page is anything other than "volunteers who give freely of their time to the project"? --PBS (talk) 16:06, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

OK. From what's transpired in the discussion so far, we need to focus on the 'common name', if there is one. ISTM there isn't. Certainly, in practice, some people, refer to the 'Foo transmitter'. When they do so they may mean either (a) Foo transmitting station or (b) a specific transmitter (one of several) at Foo transmitting station. Web searches etc., will produce results that conflate the two. Also, in practice, some people refer to the 'Foo tower' or 'Foo TV mast', and other terms. Furthermore, each site may commonly be referred to by several local place names, e.g. Winter Hill / Horwich / Rivington Moor. In these circumstances there is often no single 'common name' so the logical thing to do is to use the 'official name' and as many redirects as are necessary.--Harumphy (talk) 16:25, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I entirely agree with Harumphy's consise summary and conclusion. Chillysnow (talk) 21:21, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
User:PBS, your citation of the examples of the Battle of Berlin and the Prague Offensive are bogus and irrelevant to this discussion. Both of these names are not factually incorrect names for these events, they are simply alternative names used by different nations involved in the same battle. However the use of Transmitter for Transmitting Station is factually wrong.
Indeed, your reasoning of applying WP:NC to this situation could have far-reaching consequences. If this policy is to be applied where the majority of the general public are using the wrong nomenclature, then this discussion should be broadened to include renaming both The Gherkin and the Canary Wharf Tower. And while we're at it, here are a few others:
If we are going to insist on calling it whatever the uninformed man in the street thinks it's called, then we should (as Harumphy points out) call it the Crystal Palace TV Mast. This is in far more common use than ...Transmitter. This would be an interesting turn of events, as it is not a mast, it transmits many more services than just TV, and the installation is significantly more than just the tower.
Where will this leave our encyclopaedia? Somewhere around the level of Conservapedia IMO. Chillysnow (talk) 00:01, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
It will leave our encylopedia in a death spiral, as the uninformed man in the street and WP feed off each other's ignornace. Unfortunately there are people round here (a) who elevate opinion above evidence and (b) whose research skills are limited to the web-based variety and are thus unable to assess sources critically.--Harumphy (talk) 08:11, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
This is not the place to argue the failings or otherwise of Wikipedia Policies, that should be done on the talk pages of the Policies. Please note that it is not the most common name, but the name most commonly used in reliable sources (See also common names). As to what are reliable sources one has to looks ate WP:SOURCES and WP:PSTS. BTW your examples of Sellotape and Hoover are genericized trademarks and are the universal names for these items which is why the articles are not at those names unlike for example escalator.
So please can we restrict this conversation to an examination of the common name as used in reliable sources for these transmitter sites. --PBS (talk) 10:00, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
OK, here goes. However the subject is such a specialised one that almost all the authoritative sources are 'insider' ones.
  • "In order to cover the whole country, 50 high-power main television transmitting stations and hundreds of smaller re-broadcast relay stations are required." - BBC Handbook 1980, p.191. London, BBC. ISBN 0 563 17811 6
  • Independent Television: Engineering for Colour.[15] (12MB) This booklet consistently uses the term transmitting station, and uses the term transmitter to mean a metal box.
  • "The total number of television transmitting stations carrying BBC programmes ..." -- Pawley, E (1972). BBC Engineering 1922 - 1972, p474. London, BBC. ISBN 0 563 12127 0. --Harumphy (talk) 10:50, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
User:PBS, I am not arguing with the policy, I am arguing with your interpretation of the policy in regards the article in question. That makes this precisely the right place to have this discussion. At the risk of repeating myself, it seems clear (and logical) that the policy was designed for deciding the naming for articles such as Mount Everest, which also has the arguably technically more correct native name of Qomolangma. However, both names are factually correct, so the policy is enacted and the more common English name is adopted. That cannot be applied here, as we are not deciding between two factually correct names. We are deciding between a factually correct widely used official name, and a common misconception, which should have no place in a supposedly accurate encyclopaedia. As far as WP:SOURCES is concerned, Harumphy's three examples above, plus my six from here is ample and overwhelming evidence to satisfy that policy. Chillysnow (talk) 13:36, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
And incidentally, I note that my question of whether WP:NC should be applied to other London landmarks has been consistently ignored. If WP:NC should be applied to Crystal Palace transmitting station then it should surely be also applied to 30 St Mary Axe, Tower 42 and Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster. Please address this issue. Chillysnow (talk) 13:41, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Your interpretaion of the Naming Convention is not the common one and you would have to explain away the very first section Wikipedia:NC#Use_the_most_easily_recognized_name which includes the statement "The names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists" But I said above "This is not the place to argue the failings or otherwise of Wikipedia Policies, that should be done on the talk pages of the Policies", this is also not the place to discuss the naming of Big Ben or any other page not directly related to this discussion. Such page names should be discussed on the relevant talk page ( eg. Talk:Clock_Tower, Palace of Westminster#Requested move). Just because some pages are in you opinion in violation of Wikipedia policies is not a president or justification for ignoring the policies. So please can we restrict this conversation to an examination of the common name as used in reliable sources for these transmitter sites. --PBS (talk) 17:46, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
You have yet to show any policy statement that indicates that a correct name should be replaced by an incorrect name, widely used or otherwise. Implicit in WP:NC is both names under consideration should be factually accurate in describing the subject matter. The use of the word "transmitter" for a transmitting station is clearly not. Further, no "reader" or "general audience" is going to be left in any doubt whatsoever as to exactly what the article is about, so there is nothing to "explain away". Lastly, Harumphy and I have now come up with a significant number of WP:SOURCES to indicate the wide use of "transmitting stations" so I trust this will be the end of the matter. Chillysnow (talk) 22:00, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Nowhere in the Naming Conventions policy page will you find justification for naming an item because it is "correct". The naming if items should usually follow general usage, although in several areas like monarchs and ships there are further guidelines to follow specific naming constructions. You will however find justification for naming things under their common name (whether it is "correct" or not). If reliable sources use a phrase to describe a thing or a person then the description is not incorrect, and I think that it would be arrogant of a Wikipedia editor to state that a common name used in reliable sources is incorrect. The usual response to such a statement is to explain that to justify a statement one has to use reliable sources (see WP:BURDEN part of WP:V another Wikipedia policy), and if most reliable sources are using the description that is "not correct" ...
Congratulations on finding lots of sources to back up the name that you want to use, that is all that you have to do to support the name that you wish to see used, that is what the Naming Conventions insist on. Please note that nowhere in my discussion on this page have I argued in favour of any particular name. My concern is the justification some have used for naming an article outside the Wikipeida policies. If the sources User:Harumphy and you have found turn out to be a minority of all reliable sources, then the name should go with the alternative common name. If there is not common name (for example there is no clear name mentioned in reliable sources more often than the other alternatives) then the name used should be that over which a local consensus forms. But what is outside Wikipedia policy (the Naming Conventions are policy) is to pick a name that is "correct" and argue that because it is "correct" and there is a local consensus to use it, that is what should be used. That is the whole point of the phrase in WP:CONSENSUS "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale." because Wikipedia policies reflect the consensus on a wider scale. --PBS (talk) 08:51, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

(undent) I am in favour at this point in following Philip's suggestion and taking this matter to Wikipedia:Requested moves for a neutral admin to consider the issue. In my experience admins at RP tend to be conservative and will plump for the status quo if there is some dispute, so that would favour Crystal Palace transmitter site Crystal Palace transmitter station Crystal Palace transmitting station remaining as it is. I am quite happy with that situation if that is what happens, and I think Philip would accept that. At least then we can feel that we have raised the issue in the appropriate places and done our best. SilkTork *YES! 17:54, 18 October 2008 (UTC)