Talk:Border Gateway Protocol/Capitalization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This discussion of the capitalization of Border Gateway Protocol and other similar articles took place just before and during a Requested move. I'm moving it to a named archive page so the size of it doesn't interfere with protocol-specific discussion, and so it is easier to refer to for future reference. --NealMcB 22:18, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

See also: Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions_(capitalization)#Capitalizing_standardized_names_for_protocols.2C_etc. --NealMcB 20:55, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Border Gateway Protocol (Capitalization)[edit]

Note: for a summary of some of the arguments, and the discussion and survey specific to the Requested move, see #Requested_move.

NB. Copying some previous discussion that was begun on my user talk page. Jon Awbrey 17:28, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

You changed the name of Border Gateway Protocol to Border gateway protocol. But the article is about a specific, named, standardized protocol which is always written with initial capitals. In accordance with the Wikipedia:Naming conventions it should be changed back, along with other similar articles. NealMcB 05:16, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: The way I read "most common usage" (MCU), it does not apply to orthography, and does not override local standards of orthography, as all sorts of people think that it's MCU to capitalize all of the major words in article headings, and then again we would have every condition in DSM being capitalized, for example, "Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder", but we don't do the likes of that here in a host of similar cases. Jon Awbrey 05:34, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Besides the common usage argument, this is also a proper name, one that won't change over time, unlike the DSM conditions which change with edition, author, etc. When referencing BGP from other articles, people will always want to refer to it as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). Changing that to lower case will make the text look bad and be confusing. --NealMcB 05:45, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

The words in the names of specific standards-track internet protocols are normally capitalized, so this article should be renamed, in conformance with the Naming policy, I think. --NealMcB 04:49, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: It makes for Ridiculously UnEnglishText (RUET), and since one can associate the acronym with the name on first use, it's not really necessary. WP naming conventions use caps only for titles of articles, books, and sometime propriety trademarks. Jon Awbrey 05:00, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

The official policy, Wikipedia:Naming conventions, says "Convention: Do not capitalize second and subsequent words unless the title is a proper noun (such as a name) or is otherwise almost always capitalized (for example: John Wayne and Art Nouveau, but not Computer Game)." In this article we are talking not about generic protocols near borders, but about a particular, standardized protocol. I.e. it is a proper name, always used with initial caps. --NealMcB 05:30, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I suggest that you consult a dictionary about the definition of "proper name" or "proper noun". Proper nouns do not take limiting modifiers. The article begins: "The border gateway protocol (BGP) is ..." — and the "The" is a limiting modifier. QED. Jon Awbrey 05:54, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Reading Simple:Noun, I see no such absolute rule, and in fact see "the Internet" as an example. The definition there clearly applies to this case. "The World Wide Web" is another case in point. --NealMcB 13:36, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: That means "Authoritative Dictionary" (AD), which WikiPedia (WP) is not. Terms like "border gateway protocol" (BGP) are not proper names. The capitals are used on first mention to telegraph the derivation of the acronym that follows, as in "First Order Logic" (FOL) and "eXclusive OR" (XOR), none of which telegraphy is considered proper orthography, here or elsewhere. Incidentally, to say that a revert is made per talk page discussion when there is no consensus on the talk page is considered to be a form of dishonest conduct. Jon Awbrey 17:22, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: In technical terminology, protocols and standards are typically capitalized. The article on Internet Protocol is a case in point of how this article should be titled. It is not the Internet protocol, but the Internet Protocol. In fact, the article even has a supposed limiting modifier at its beginning "The Internet Protocol (IP)". The same is true of User Datagram Protocol, Transmission Control Protocol, Stream Control Transmission Protocol, Internet Control Message Protocol and Address Resolution Protocol, to name but a few. Perhaps the contributor who used this argument should be more considerate of other obvious articles to refer to, and even more sparing in their usage of the term QED. The Internet Protocol should be referenced as a standard for naming in this case, and the article should once again be titled Border Gateway Protocol. QED. Unless a strong argument can be made that this article needs to be named with different rules than the 6 articles above on protocols, we should assume that there is consensus. MatthewWilder 20:25, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I am quite familiar with technical terminology in several fields, and personally somewhat fond of acronyms. But that has nothing to do with the orthographic standards that are required for composing a readable encyclopedia. English is a language that is notorious for its irregular exceptions, so the fact that we say "The Internet" (TI?) or "Art Nouveau" (AN) in a few isolated instances proves nothing. If you were familiar with tech terms in more than one area, and even some of the cult followings hereabouts — say, Conceptual Graphs or Ockham's Razor, just to recall two recent battlegrounds — you would know that everybody likes to capitalize their pet phrases, but the WP rule of MCU does not apply to orthographic peculiarities, and does not allow that for others, so there is no reason for one cult or field to have special privileges. Jon Awbrey 20:39, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: I admit that I am no linguist, but I hope you can appreciate that many acronyms have lexical capitalization (IBM, NATO). These protocols are abstract constructs, and not simple objects that we happen to interact with. Apparently, as we have progressed through the 20th century, we began to use acronyms more prolifically in order to simplify conversation. And of course, acromyms are simply abbreviated groups of words. In the case of protocols, they are clearly defined objects, that carry more meaning than the words themselves. Because there is an object that is referred to by the specific arrangements of word, I would argue that there is justification for capitalization. A house is a house is a house. You know it, because it is self contained. But the Internet Protocol is something very specific, that is only incited with a combination of individual words. The capitalization is a cue to the human mind that these words go together and mean something in a colaborative sense. To me, that sure beats underlining it. In the case of the Internet Protocol, if the words were not capitalized, someone could mistake it to mean an Internet related protocol, such as TCP, UDP or ICMP. This is why it is useful and even necessary in this case that the English language has evolved in this way. And regardless of why it has become this way, the Internet Protocol is understood as the Internet Protocol. I suspect that you might be trying to prove a point by removing capitals here first, and then extending the argument to the Internet Protocol and others, knowing that you have a better chance with that approach than working the other way around. However, I suggest that there is no such discussion with Internet Protocol, and so this dicussion should cease until there is a discussion there. And as far as Ockam's Razor, that is a case outside what I have described. That was probably capitalized in an attempt to immortalize the contruct. As for Conceptual Graphs, those also lie outside what I have described in this comment. They imply more of a method than a definite object. If there was one type of "Conceptual Graph" then that would be different. For a positive example that compliments what I have been saying, please refer to the GNU Free Documentation Licence, which is a specific object, only envoked effectively by capitalization. I haven't taken any linguistics, and all of the development of this comment I have done just now off hand. I don't mean for it to be conclusive, but it is an argument that I feel is fairly strong. I'll end with this thought. A specific object which has a name consisting of multiple words should be capitalized for two reasons. The first is so that the reader will automatically identify the group as a single object, and the second is so that a writer won't accidentally encite a more meaningful object by grouping together words that create a specific object. The phenomon of lexical capitalization of terms may be a more recent development in the English language, but I submit that it is necessary, and should be accepted as part of the evolution of the English language. MatthewWilder 21:40, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: There is no dispute about capitalizing acronyms. "International Business Machines" is a proprietary name, that is, the proper name of a legal individual. "North Atlantic Treaty Organization" is the proper name of a chartered organization. The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action is the name of a book by John Dewey. Again proper names. If there is a specific document called "The Internet Recipe Document: 7-11" (TIRD 7-11), then you can write an article about it and capitalize to your heart's content. But a protocol is an abstract noun, not a proper noun, and whether you refer to the border gateway protocal (BGP) or the eXclusive OR (XOR), the capitals are not demanded by syntax but only a helpful telegraphing of the customary acronym. Jon Awbrey 22:40, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: I appreciate your feedback, and I acknowledge that I would have distinguished this if I was familiar with linguistics. However, being unfamiliar with linguistics I believe I have the advantage of seeing how it should be as opposed to simply how it is. I hope that my previous comment explained in enough detail why it is useful and even necessary to have lixical capitalization on specific protocols. If the English language needs to be rigid in only allowing such capitalization to proper names, which includes organizations and documents, then the definition of proper names should be extended to include specific protocols, as there is not much difference between a protocol and document. The usefulness of capitalization is evident, and if the rules are to be obeyed, the definitions should be updated. You mentioned earlier that English is notorious for irregularities. That's because English wasn't built upon the notion of being pure and absolutely simple. It was build on the notion of being useful and effective. Because of that, it has adapted and evolved more quickly than any other language. I would suggest that rather than fighting that basis, we exploit it. MatthewWilder 22:56, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: The thing you have to consider in the Categorical Imperative (CI), Also Known As (AKA): "What If Everybody Did That?" (WIEDT?). We Would All Go Blind! (WWAGB!). Say G'Nite Gracie (SG'NG). Jon Awbrey 23:07, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: The funny thing is that I am not trying to justify the use of any of those examples you just gave. I am not talking about capitalizing any phrase I want. I am talking about capitalizing a specific and well defined object. Besides Categorical Imperative, not one of those acronyms could be even be considered a noun. And even then, Categorical Imperative is a philosophical concept, not a specific construct. My argument is that the protocols discussed look and act alot like proper noun. What makes a name a proper name? It's an entity that is specifically being adressed, often envoked by capitalization. While there are many internets, there is one Internet. While there are many liscences, there is a GNU Free Documentation Licence. While there are many gods, there is one God, and so on. In the same way there are many protocols, but there is one Border Gateway Protocol. It's as much a proper noun as a specific document. Or do you think the article on the United States Declaration of Independence should be retitled? Of course not, because that's a very specific document. Well, it seems obvious to me that this article describes a very specific protocol. MatthewWilder 01:41, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: The "United States Declaration of Independence" refers to a specific document. It's like the title of a book, which we have already discussed. The American Psychological Association (APA) style sheet actually requires writers to alter the titles of published works by lowercasing all but the first word. I'm agin it. But the point is that orthography is conventional, neither God-given nor god-given. But if you leave out the "United States", then it's no longer a proper noun, but an abstract noun or an ambiguous noun. The fact is that nobody is thinking of a specific document when they say "Border Gateway Protocol", or they would have to add epithets to give it a version number and date of issue, etc. They are thinking of any number of roughly "who-cares-about-the-implementational-details-beyond-a-certain-point" (WCATIDBACP) formal specifications. That is exactly like the Categorical Imperative (CI) or let us say the Pragmatic Maxim (PM1), but not like the Principia Mathematica (PM2). Jon Awbrey 02:02, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: As much as you dance around it, you still fail to acknowledge that these are well-defined, specific protocols. It's not as though there are several "border gateway protocols". There is one Border Gateway Protocol. It is unique, it is specific and it won't be envoked in lower case. It's that simple. You're right, nobody is thinking of a specific document, and that's because it is a protocol. And it doesn't matter what they are thinking, you are getting into intension and extension. The reality is that there is a perfectly definite object defined as the Border Gateway Protocol. Just because it is a protocol and not a document is a minute detail, and the only thing you demonstrate with that point is a narrow and incomplete view of how language works and should work (IMO). MatthewWilder 15:04, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: This has nothing to do with Universal Grammar (UG), Government And Binding (GAB), Principles And Parameters (PAP), Passive-Aggressive Behavior (PAB), or the Language Of Thought (LOT), except for the fact that even people who are rather broad-minded about how language works are flexible enough about it to follow a few "Simple Orthographic Standards" (SOS) for the sake of the readers' eyes. And whatever English is e-volving into, I doubt if it's e-volving into German. Jon Awbrey 15:28, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: I agree that not very many things need to be or should be capitalized. But you continue failing to show me why such a specific and well-defined protocol should be treated differently than a specific organization, agreement, or document. Show me why it's not in the same space, and please don't show me any more abstract theories that are very much unrelated. I keep saying I am talking about something different, so stay on topic, please. I am open to you proving why a specific protocol is significantly different than a specific document or agreement. For instance, have you heard of the "Kyoto Accord", or did you know that it is a actually the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. That's a protocol with in capitals. Please stop telling me why I shouldn't try to hurt your eyes, and tell me why the Border Gateway Protocol differs significantly from the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. MatthewWilder 15:44, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Look, these are two obvious. The Kyoto Protocol is a very, very, very specific document, opened for signature on a specific date (December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan), etc., etc., etc. If you want to refer to a specific document like that, then fine, but that is not the way the term border gateway protocol is being used in the sentences where it is used. Period. Jon Awbrey 16:00, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: Good, this is what I want to talk about. Sorry for being rude in previous comments, but this is the heart of what I would like to discuss. What immortalizes the name of an organization to the point of being considered a proper name? Is it incorporation, or trademanrks? What makes a document or agreement immortalized to the point of becoming a proper name? Is it publication? Is it signatures? What makes the title of a novel immortalized to the point of becoming a proper name? Again, is it publication? The answer to all of the yes/no questions is probably yes. Probably. The problem is that there is no consensus on the definition of a proper noun. That seems to be more a philosophical debate than practical, and it seems to lack much practicality. I would argue very, very fiercely that this is a very specific agreement or protocol, and though it is not published and there are no signitures, it is just as valid as a proper noun as is the Kyoto Protocol. It's worth noting that someone once said that proper names do not accept limiting modifiers. Clearly that can't actually be the case, as the Kyoto Protocol shows. That, or the Kyoto Protocol is just another special exception which will eternally frustrate readers of the English language. MatthewWilder 16:18, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: In the matter of distinguishing between proper noun and ordinary noun, you might point to the aspect of static vs. dynamic. There are different versions of a protocol, or it changes over time, you might say. So while you would not accept Border Gateway Protocol, you would accept "Border Gateway Protocol v2.0" and as an umbrella, border gateway protocol. This would probably satisfy you, but when books (aka publications) undergo revisions before re-release, they do not emulate this behaviour. The title that refers to the work is not changed to "To Kill a Mockingbird Original Book" to distinguish it from the movie and the condensed version published in the Reader's Digest in the summer of 1960. It is refered to as To Kill a Mockingbird. The book, the movie, and the condensed story have the same name, by defintion of proper names for works and publications. So, clearly the static versus dynamic argument is disproven. MatthewWilder 17:45, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Data On Capitalization Practices In English (DOCPIE)[edit]

JA: Watch this space " ". Jon Awbrey 17:40, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: Is this really on topic? MatthewWilder 17:54, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: You're the one who e-voked "The Evolution Of The English Language" (TEOTEL). But seriously, Folks, the old section was getting too large for my browser to edit. Jon Awbrey 18:04, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Exhibit 1. I don't know what you mean about the book/film issue:

MW: The disambiguation here is only on WikiPedia because it is necessary to distinguish between the two. Furthermore, you still didn't suggest what would be done about the condensed version of To Kill a Mockingbird from the Reader's Digest. View the publication history here: [1]. All I am trying to draw light to is the complexities that are ignored by trying to develop overly simply conventions. MatthewWilder 18:40, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I'm familiar with the "Trials And Tribulations" (T&T's) of complex bibliographies. While you're at it, though, check this out. The thing is that orthography is not determined at the Source context but at the Target context. Jon Awbrey 19:02, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Exhibit 2. We Just Don't Do It That Way Anymore:

  • Berkeley, George (1734), The Analyst; or, a Discourse Addressed to an Infidel Mathematician. Wherein It is examined whether the Object, Principles, and Inferences of the modern Analysis are more distinctly conceived, or more evidently deduced, than Religious Mysteries and Points of Faith, London & Dublin. Online text, David R. Wilkins (ed.), Eprint.

JA: Or, Do We? Jon Awbrey 19:18, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: I Don't, or at least I Try not to! The probelm again is that these cases don't address the major point which I have brought up. I am concerned that the overly legalistic application of traditional orthographic conventions is too restrictive too be reflective of necessary adaptations. I don't want to Communicate all Day in Capitals. I want to meaningfully apply capitals in a way that is useful. If the conventions of orthography are so iconic that they cannot ever be altered (consider though, they must have had a history that was evolved with time) then we should also accept the conventions given in the Wikipedia:Naming conventions. "Convention: Do not capitalize second and subsequent words unless the title is a proper noun (such as a name) or is otherwise almost always capitalized (for example: John Wayne and Art Nouveau, but not Computer Game)." Not only is Border Gateway Protocol almost always capitalized, it is in fact always capitalized. This goes well beyond the requirement, and so if we are to follow conventions with no consideration given to exceptions, then I believe the discussion is over, and we need to rename the article? Or is there an exception to this convention? MatthewWilder 20:27, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: The fact is that it is not a Proper Noun and it is only capitalized by Some People. There are are all Sorts Of Phrases (SOP's) that are not Proper Nouns but that are Very Insistently Capitalized (VIC) by Some People, and None Of Those are Regularly Capitalized in WikiPedia. If we let Internet Hacks do it, then believe me, Everybody Else will Demand the Rights Of Equal Citizens (ROEC) to do so and we'll be right back in 1734 before you can say Jiminy Cricket©. Jon Awbrey 21:04, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: Thanks again for yet another boatload of examples that have nothing to do with what I am talking about. Please stop getting carried away and distracting this discussion. My overall point is that the exclusivity of what you consider a proper noun should be examined more carefully. I am not saying that we should see ttyl, c ya and other insanity in the dictionary. So, before you get ahead of yourself again, let me revisit the meaning of a proper noun. I live in Canada, and my phone service comes from TELUS. In fact, it's not "TELUS", but "TELUS Communications Company". But people call it "TELUS" and guess what, it shows up in Wikipedia as "TELUS". Before you rant about how this is all capitals, and doesn't conform, blah blah blah, how can an article be based on a name that's not the incorporated name? And again, in case you are confused, I am not asking to remove all notions of convention. I think it is very good that there are people like you who are very much concerned about keeping English understandable, and under control. However, I am convinced that protocols such as the Border Gateway Protocol are no different fundamentally than liscences, agreements, and documents. It's simply in a different format. And this step to include the protocols as a proper noun is not revolutionary, it's evolutionary. Encouraging crazy sentances like you will probably do next would be revolutionary and would render our language annoying, but what I am proposing would be useful and effective. MatthewWilder 21:22, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Is "border gateway protocol" the name of an article, book, corporation, or document?[edit]

JA: No it's not. So let's put those comparisions aside for good. Jon Awbrey 21:28, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: Well, you had better go get rid of that offensive article about TELUS, beacuse it's actually "TELUS Communications Company". Also, you had better change the article on the Kyoto Accord, because the article calls it an agreement, not a document. MatthewWilder 21:34, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: For that matter, the American Civil War should be lower case, as should Great Depression, Fat Man, United Empire Loyalists and the Black Panther Party. None of those is the name of an article, book, corporation, or document. These are all examples of the failure of your definition. MatthewWilder 22:22, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Abbreviations for frequently cited works

  • M–W (not to be confused with MW) = Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged (1950).
  • Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged (1950), W.A. Neilson, T.A. Knott, P.W. Carhart (eds.), G. & C. Merriam Company, Springfield, MA. Cited as M–W.

MW: My point is simply that you have an overly restrictive definition of a proper noun. The Border Gateway Protocol, just like the Transmission Control Protocol, the Internet Control Message Protocol, and the Address Resolution Protocol (to name a few) is specific, unique, and identifiable, which are all properties of proper nouns. The problem you are hung up on is that it is not definitively a proper noun, even though I have shown it is characteristically a proper noun. And to suggest that language should remain entirely prescriptive, and not become desciptive is a narrow, inadequate and incorrect point of view. I won't be suprised when the definition of proper noun is changed to become inclusive of terms such as Border Gateway Protocol. You will be. Even though you don't agree that this protocol looks, smells and feels like a proper noun, and should be handled as such, the Wikipedia:Naming Conventions dictates that we will use the most common usage, which in the case of Border Gateway Protocol is not only the most common usage, but the exclusive usage. Please note that it should immediately be changed to capitals, as it should be. It was falsely changed before there was concensus indicating that capitals should be removed. Until you can actually discuss the reasons why it should be lower case (and convince us to the point of consensus) it should remain upper case. If you do feel like trying to prove to us that it needs to be lower case, please directly address the points being made here. MatthewWilder 16:40, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I see no evidence that we have reached a consensus here, so I would advise proceeding slowly. There are several steps yet to go in the "Dispute Resolution SOP" if we can't work it out for ourselves, and it is after all a weekend. Later, Jon Awbrey 16:52, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: I am fine with that, but I suggest that we revert it to the original, with capitals, as that is the standard. Maybe you weren't aware of the move being contraversial at the time, but it is fairly clear that it was contraversial. And so, to respect the process for moves, you should change it back and only move it to lower case if a consensus is reached to do so. And I am happy leaving it that way for now until we have a dispute resolution, as you have said. MatthewWilder 20:59, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

NealMcB: Yes. MW is right. For all practical purposes Border Gateway Protocol referrs to a document - one of a very few documents in the RFC series carefully defined to describe generally-interoperable versions of a specific protocol. This is a far more specific and useful definition than the question of whether, e.g., "The New Testament" refers to a clearly defined book or document. So lets do as MW and I suggest, and move the article back to the capitalized name until there is consensus to change it and all the other similar protocol-related documents like Internet Protocol, World Wide Web, etc. --NealMcB 04:28, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Tabula Rasa (TR0)[edit]

JA: I hope everybody is well-R&R'd. I know what you think, but this WikiPedantic stuff is not really the "Meaning Of Life" (MOL) in my book, so let me propose that we take our time to sort out the issues over the course of the week, and see what sense of the meeting we've reached when next it's time for TGIF, or as they say in Texas, where the drinking gets going early, "So Happy It's Thursday" — you do the acronym. I sympathize with this penchant for capitalist acronymphomania more than you know, having spent-wasted a ½-decade of my life in a Standards Working Group (SWG). But among the many things that WP:IsNot, it is definitely NOT a publisher of Technical Reports (TR1). Jon Awbrey 17:56, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Q1. What is a proper name (proper noun)?[edit]

MW: To be blunt, what's frustrating is that you (JA) have an unswerving affinity to derail the discussion, and take it to arguments not being made. The first comment I posted in this discussion referred to acronyms. I have come to understand that acronyms are not a basis for justifying capitalization. But I came to this realization by the time I posted my third comment. And yet, it is maybe the only point you have been harping on for your last 20 points, even though I keep asking you to talk about what we are talking about. We have "consensus minus one" to change the title back to capitals given that the move was contraversial. Out of respect to the other people here, you should be willing to change it to capitals and then only to lower case once consensus is reached that way. Now, as far as the proper name goes, I have brought up examples that you don't even attempt to explain. You narrowly defined a proper name, and I gave several counter-examples. You didn't admit that your definition was too narrow, or even explain why these were reasonable exceptions. Don't ask for discussion and then shy away from it when your position cannot be argued. Also as a matter of respect, you should be willing to admit when you are wrong. You claimed that the limiting modifier was sufficient proof (by virtue of your "QED") that the Border Gateway Protocol is not a proper noun. Again, I will allude to "the Kyoto Protocol". After all, the article opens with "the Kyoto Protocol". Further to including the use of the limiting modifier, that article also omits the majority of the title of the documet. After all, the treaty is really titled Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Does that mean that every time you want to talk about the agreement, you have to include the entire title of the document? Most people would never be able to tell you what it is! Or should "Kyoto Protocol" be lower case when mentioned on its own? Though you would demand that, it is impractical to take that stance. Nobody has made a fuss in that discussion page about the way "Kyoto Protocol" is referred to, and that's because the human mind identifies the "Kyoto Protocol" as a specific and identifiable object, worthy of capitalization on the grounds that it is essentially a proper noun. To refresh your memory on some other counter-examples, here we go again. I have ancestors who fled the United States on account of being United Empire Loyalists. I have never peronally known someone associated with the Black Panther Party. Finally, I am glad that I wasn't even alive when Fat Man fell or when people endured the Great Depression. These examples all go against your definition of proper nouns. I am referring to them because they challenge the status quo defintion that you have been suggesting. I would like to see your explanation for these. And if I haven't been clear enough, I would appreciate if you keep the discussion on topic, and move past your point of this "penchant for capitalist acronymphomania", because I moved past it several days ago. MatthewWilder 15:34, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I have no special definition of proper nouns. There's already one in the dictionary that I will copy out for our study when I get the time. The localized exceptions, context-bound, cult, disciplinary, and party honorifics that you point out are merely the kinds of exceptions that prove the rule. I already know from considerable experience editing WP articles -- there are presently 3916 of them on my watch list -- what the general standards and practices in WP are. I am just trying to assure you folks of their long-term global rationality, a rationality which comes from considering the consequences of doing otherwise.

JA: Some of the articles that you instance are valid proper nouns in ways that "border gateway protocol" is not. The Kyoto Protocol is not just an agreement, it is a treaty, a very, very picky piece of paper picked over by diplomats, and nothing not on that paper is worth the paper on which it's not written. A Marriage License is an agreement or contract, often inscribed in elegant script capitals on the document itself, but the term is not capitalized outside that context, because it is too generic. Have to break, my wife is calling me for lunch, and I'm contractually obligated to obey. Jon Awbrey 16:10, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: The Kyoto Protocol is not the title of a document, and therefore is not a document. So when someone refers to it as the Kyoto Protocol, whether they realise it or not, they are demonstrating the way that the human mind is understanding the agreement. It is almost secondary that there is a document. The significance of the Kyoto Protocol is that there is an understanding, an agreement (not the document kind) made by several parties. That agreement has been formalized in the form of an agreement (document kind). And the document would not be called "the Kyoto Protocol of ect, etc". You would not ask if someone had read the "To Kill a Mockingbird" and so if someone refers to the Kyoto Protocol, it is evident that they are referring to the underlying agreement (not document) that was reached. Here I am using the Kyoto Protocol as an example of how the underlying agreement, which is not a document, is referred to and used as a proper noun. In fact, you yourself used it in your last post as a proper noun, though not referring to the document name. It's almost irrelevant that the Kytoto Protocol is not the true title of the document, because we understand that the Kyoto Protocol is merely formalized within that document. In the same way, it is irrelevant that the documented form of the Border Gateway Protocol had to be submitted as a Request for Comments (RFC) for the original definition, and further RFCs for amendments. And of course a marriage licence (which is a generic and not specific) is not a proper noun, as it is a reference to a type of contract, not a specific one. In the same way, a declaration of independence is generic, though the United States Declaration of Independence is specific. So a protocol is generic and the Transmission Control Protocol is specific.

JA: Look, I think it's fairly obvious that the honorifics pertaining to titles of documents and titles of nobility also attach to their nicknames and other short forms. All sorts of articles, books, nobles and so on are referred to by titles that are shorter than their official titles:

JA: In any given literature, there are always customary abbreviations and nicknames for frequently cited works:

  • CE n, m = Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition, vol. n, page m.
  • CP n.m = Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vol. n, paragraph m.
  • CTN n, m = Contributions to 'The Nation' , vol. n, page m.
  • EP n, m = The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings, vol. n, page m.
  • NEM n, m = The New Elements of Mathematics by Charles S. Peirce, vol. n, page m.
  • SIL m = Studies in Logic by Members of the Johns Hopkins University, page m.
  • SS m = Semiotic and Significs … Charles S. Peirce and Lady Welby, page m.
  • SW m = Charles S. Peirce, Selected Writings, page m.
  • PEP = Peirce Edition Project.

JA: With regard to British peerage, for example, there are a whole host of "protocols" about what short forms are appropriate on what occasions:

  • Bertrand Russell, for one example, is more properly "Earl Russell", and even more properly "Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS".

JA: But to say in regard to the Kyoto Protocol that "it is almost secondary that there is a document" displays a startling lack of grasp of the situation, "to be blunt".

JA: The dictionary definition of proper name mentions the criterion of not taking a limiting modifier as a "rule of thumb" (ROT), not an absolute rule. All who wrestle with the Anglish Language very soon learn that it does not suffer an absolute rule to live. The good sense part of the rule in question is that proper names, "Under Normal Circumstances" (UNC), simply do not need a limiting modifier, as that would be redundant given the "Limitation Of Reference" (LOR) that is already implicit in the proper name itself. "Under Novel Circumstances" (UNC), however, a limiting modifier may indeed be called for. For example, if I say that I saw Elvis Presley buying chips and beer down at the 7–11 last night, you'd naturally just have to ask "THE Elvis Presley???". There's an important point here that I will elaborate on later. In the meantime, though, you might entertain yourself with the homework exercise of typing your own name into Google and seeing how many Doppelgangers you can find in the world. Jon Awbrey 19:44, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Some data: (See extended list further below. Jon Awbrey 04:10, 25 May 2006 (UTC))

Q2. What is generic? What is specific?[edit]

JA: Puhlease... Have you even read the article on the TCP? TCP is about as specific as a Marriage License in Massachusetts. Try this section just for starters:

Development of TCP

TCP is both a complex and evolving protocol. However, while significant enhancements have been made and proposed over the years, its most basic operation has not changed significantly since RFC 793, published in 1981. RFC 1122, Host Requirements for Internet Hosts, clarified a number of TCP protocol implementation requirements. RFC 2581, TCP Congestion Control, one of the most important TCP related RFCs in recent years, describes updated algorithms to be used in order to avoid undue congestion. In 2001, RFC 3168 was written to describe explicit congestion notification (ECN), a congestion avoidance signalling mechanism. In the early 21st century, TCP is typically used in approximately 95% of all Internet packets. Common applications that use TCP include HTTP/HTTPS (World Wide Web), SMTP/POP3/IMAP (e-mail) and FTP (file transfer). Its widespread use is testimony to the original designers that their creation was exceptionally well done.

The original TCP congestion control was called TCP Reno, but recently, several alternative congestion control algorithms have been proposed:

A proposed extention mechanism TCP Interactive (iTCP) allows applications to subscribe to TCP events and respond accordingly enabling various functional extensions to TCP including application assisted congestion control.

MW: Funny, you conceded that short forms for titles are acceptable. Border Gateway Protocol is part of the title "RFC 1771 - A Border Gateway Protocol 4". So "Border Gateway Protocol" is just as valid as "Kyoto Protocol". As for being specific, "Border Gateway Protocol" and Transmission Control Protocol are just as specific as To Kill a Mockingbird. Just because there is more than one release, doesn't mean it's not specific. The revisions and discrepencies arising from the mutliple versions of TCP are fully documented and identifiable. And since you have conceded that short forms of titles are acceptable, we should consider this case closed, should we not? MatthewWilder 21:04, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

NealMcB: The article on TCP is fully consistent with our arguments. Its name is Transmission Control Protocol (not the lower case form you link to). It uses and cites the upper case form of the name. There are a few generally interoperable versions of documents by that title which are referred to by the page. You seem to be confused by the references to various implementations of TCP many of which have their own names, which are only needed when the small distinctions need to be discussed. But again, they generally interoperate, which is why wikipedia and usage in general refers to TCP with caps, like other such names. --NealMcB 21:35, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

NealMcB: You ask What is generic? What is specific? An article title of "transmission control protocol" would be generic, and would be good for discussing generic protocools used for controlling transmission. But that isn't what the article in question is about. The article in question is about a very specific standardized protocol relating to IP, and thus the name is capitalized. If the name were not capitalized, readers would be confused and think it was generic. Same goes for BGP. --NealMcB 22:03, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Q3. "Linkage Protocols" (LPs)[edit]

JA: There has been some mention of "Ease Of Linkage" (EOL) issues, and I fully sympathize with the generic problems thereof. The more x-citing ½ half of my day yesterday was spent trying to fix a tangle of redirect loops, double redirects, and even a couple of triple redirects in one section of WickerWork that had gotten itself all wound all round about the following apparent multiplicity of terms, all of which actually refer to the same page:

JA: Lunch! Jon Awbrey 15:38, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: There are many, many similar terminological complexes in WP, many of them far worse than this one. How do they come about? Apparently, as it appears from my experiences with many similar tangles, a certain proportion of the people who take a course in, let us say, "Digital Electronic Circuit Systems" (DECSs), at their local poly-technic runs right out and writes a WP article on "Digital Electronic Circuit Systems" (DECSs), rarely if ever stopping to think that WP might already have the moral equivalent of the very same article already written up under, let us say, the singular form "Digital Electronic Circuit System" (DECS). And so it goes. And of course the title of that recent course experience appears with all due authority in eminent caps and imminent gowns in their Alma Mater's (AM)'s course catalogue, and of course it's e-blazoned in their digital memory like a Las Vegas Marquee (LVM). You cannot imagine — and I do not have to imagine — just how recalcitrant these devoted e-thusiasts will be to any proposal to mess with any ι or ˜ of their Holy Writ, just the way that "Good Old Doctor" (GOD) So-&-So duly baptized and catechized their assembled parish in it. Jon Awbrey 16:57, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: I wasn't aware that one could say the same old thing with different words so many times (STSOTWDWSMT). Sounds like broken record syndrome (BRS). We understand what you are saying, but we would appreciate if you move on, and address what we have discussed. Border Gateway Protocol is the meaningful part of the title of a document, and on that basis should be capitalized. After all, "it's fairly obvious that honorifics pertaining to titles of documents and titles of nobility also attach to their nicknames and other short forms." What do you have to say about this? MatthewWilder 17:20, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Well, golly, I've said it umpteen times already. We agree that the WP article currently entitled "border gateway protocol" contains a sequence of words that is one "meaningful part of the title of a document", no doubt a many-splintered variety and a veritable host of such documents. Where we differ is on the curious-to-me notion that a sequence of words that appears as one "meaningful part of the title of a document" must therefore be capitalized, et in saecula saeculorum. Otherwise, I would never be able, legally speaking, to mock a mocking bird, even in States Of The United States (SOTU's) betond the juris-dictionaries of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas where one is legally permitted to mock a mockingbird, without being obligated by the applicable IP laws to mock that mockingbird in capital letters. And that seems terribly inconvenient to me, to say the least, which I never do, as fond as I am of mocking mockingbirds. Jon Awbrey 18:42, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: Can you explain to me how you justify Border Gateway Protocol being "one" meaningful part of the title "RFC 4271 - Border Gateway Protocol 4"? I will re-iterate what I previously said, that it is THE meaningful part of that title. Anyone familiar with the RFC format would recognise this as a fact. But good for you for trying to belittle it. MatthewWilder 19:36, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: I am unfamiliar with the definition of umpteen, but in this context I can only assume it means zero, since that is the number of times you have agreed that Border Gateway Protocol is part of a title. And you really should take up a career in politics, because the flip-flopping here is outrageous. At one point you say "it's fairly obvious that honorifics pertaining to titles of documents and titles of nobility also attach to their nicknames and other short forms" while not much later you express that it is a "curious-to-me notion that a sequence of words that appears as one 'meaningful part of the title of a document' must therefore be capitalized." So, either Kyoto Protocol refers to a portion of a document name, and stands as a perfectly reasonable example of why Border Gateway Protocol deserves capitalization, or Kyoto Protocol refers to an abstract though, or collective thought (an agreement, or understanding, as they call it) and Border Gateway Protocol deserves capitalization. You can decide now which one it is, but it's one or the other. Or, you can backpedal (another common political exercise) and tell us where you were wrong in your previous statements. MatthewWilder 19:03, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Mathematical Note. Umpteen ≥ 1. At my age (≥ 50) I sympathize will STM-challenged individuals everywhere, but the fact is that somewhere in our first few (NB. few ≤ 5) exchanges on this page, I stipulated as follows:

JA: There is no dispute about capitalizing acronyms. "International Business Machines" is a proprietary name, that is, the proper name of a legal individual. "North Atlantic Treaty Organization" is the proper name of a chartered organization. The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action is the name of a book by John Dewey. Again proper names. If there is a specific document called "The Internet Recipe Document: 7-11" (TIRD 7-11), then you can write an article about it and capitalize to your heart's content. But a protocol is an abstract noun, not a proper noun, and whether you refer to the border gateway protocal (BGP) or the eXclusive OR (XOR), the capitals are not demanded by syntax but only a helpful telegraphing of the customary acronym. Jon Awbrey 22:40, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: "Moral Of The Story" (MOTS). People are prefectly free to refer to specific documents — myself, I'll wait for the movie — that contain the words "Border Gateway Protocol" or any orthographic variant thereof, capitalizing or not as they please, except of course in APA — no, the other APA —journals, where the style sheet over-rules even what's embossed in gold on rich Corinthian leather bindings. But that is not the usage that occurs in the WP article on the border gateway protocol, which by way of a clue, however fallible, begins with the English sentence "The border gateway protocol (BGP) is the core routing protocol of the Internet", the likes of which would invite Universal Mockery if one were to begin the article on the book To Mock a Mockingbird with a sentence of alleged English like "The To Mock a Mockingbird, more precisely, the To Mock a Mockingbird, And Other Logic Puzzles, Including an Amazing Adventure in Combinatory Logic, is a book popularizing an assortment of topics in logic and mathematics by Raymond Smullyan". So that is one way to hear the difference. Jon Awbrey 19:40, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: You are dancing in circles, and avoiding the points I am making, and I find it terribly frustrating. I am being explicitly rude, but you are being implicitly rude, by failing to conduct a real discussion. You aren't following the discussion, but keep falling back to points that have already been discussed. No matter how many times I ask you to keep up and move on, you fall back to the same 2 arguments:

  • 1) Just because you can abbreviate it with acronyms, does not mean it should be capitalised in standard form.
  • 2) APA is the mother of all things orthographic, and should be applied blindly in all situations, with no consideration of context OR of evidence that the blind application may be faulty.

MW: At least that's what I am reading out of your arguments. I already recognise and agree to the first one. The second one, I think it definitely made out of good intentions, but I simply want to know why Kyoto Protocol is a supposedly acceptable exception, and Border Gateway Protocol is not.

MW: To move back in time a bit, the first time you mentioned umpteen, you said "I've said it umpteen times already" and went on to say how we agreed that Border Gateway Protocol is part of a title. I can only assume that you are implying that you have agreed umpteen times. However, if in some convoluted reference, you were indicating that you have said umpteen times that acronyms are not a good enough basis for capitalisation, then I object, because umpteen is far too small an indication of how many times you have said THAT.

MW: I gave you three choices in my last comment, and you chose none. Those two statements are at odds. I don't care about acronyms, and I most certainly couldn't care less about APA. I want to hear you tell me which one of them was wrong. MatthewWilder 19:58, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Look, by way of avoiding what the cog.sci folks call an Einstellung effect (problem mindset), I made up a fictional title "The Internet Recipe Document: 7-11" (TIRD 7-11). But I thought the point was clear: If you want to write a WP article on a no-doubt-yet-to-be-notable paper, say Awbrey, J., Wilder, M., et al. (2006, forthcoming), "The Border Gateway Protocol Protocol", Journal of Irremockable Ensults vol. umpteen, then you can try to get it past the local sensors. But the subject of that article would not be in the same syntactic category as the subject of the current WP article on the border gateway protocol, which is not a specific document, however many documents it happens to mention with some orthographic variation and combinatorial permutation of those words in their titles. Which is what I've been saying since Day 1. Jon Awbrey 20:18, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: You have still done nothing to answer my question. This is what I am talking about when I say you go in circles. I understand that your allowances for capitalisation are very rigid because of the APA. However, your comment didn't discuss either of the two comments you previously made which go against one another, or the Kyoto Protocol. If you can't explain it, and you see a flaw in your argument, say it, but address it. To your point of uniqueness, uniqueness is not a requirement for proper nouns, which is shown by To Kill a Mockingbird. Though that article branches off to other pages for other releases of the work (including the film) it doesn't mean that a title has to refer to one work in order for it to be valid. The Boxcar Children and The Hardy Boys are examples of works that are non unique, and yet specific and referenceable. So, before you run back to some old arguments, I will ask it again, and I will try to be polite. You accept "the" Kyoto Protocol as I have reffered to it because it is part of a title, and yet you don't accept "the" Border Gateway Protocol even though it is the same effect at work. At one point you said "it's fairly obvious that honorifics pertaining to titles of documents and titles of nobility also attach to their nicknames and other short forms" while not much later you expressed that it is a "curious-to-me notion that a sequence of words that appears as one 'meaningful part of the title of a document' must therefore be capitalized." These statements are entirely at odds. MatthewWilder 20:36, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: By the way, you are right, and I do suffer a form of the Einstellung effect. I am accustomed to a collaborative problem solving method whereby when one person asks a question, the other person answers that question. MatthewWilder 21:07, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I only follow the stylesheet of the American Psychological Association (APA) when I write for a journal that dictates it. I already indicated that I follow a different rule here, since I tend to respect the data on the title page more than the APA does. The only reason for bringing all that up is to make the point that matters of orthography are customarily dictated by the target of the editorial morphism, not by the source.

JA: Let me ask it this way: You honestly think that the title of the article in question, to wit, the string "border gateway protocol", possibly with capitals, taken in the present interpretive context, denotes a particular document? For example, in the same way that the string "MatthewWilder", taken in the present interpretive context, presumably denotes a particular person?

MW: If you want to answer a question with a question, I will hop on that bandwagon. Do you really think that The Hardy Boys taken in the present interpretive context, denotes a particular document? MatthewWilder 21:17, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: Another question (please respond to both with answers); Does this reference to the Kyoto Protocol conform with the APA stylesheet? MatthewWilder 22:18, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was move. —Nightstallion (?) 13:06, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Border gateway protocol → Border Gateway Protocol - official protocol names like this, including Internet Protocol and Transmission Control Protocol, are capitalized because they are nearly universally spelled with capitals, when not used as abbreviations (BGP, IP, TCP), because they are names which simply and clearly refer to document titles in the the RFC series for internationally standardized protocols, and to simplify links. The article should be moved back. NealMcB 19:46, 23 May 2006 (UTC)


Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your opinion with ~~~~
  • Support. Stick with spirit and letter of naming conventions: follow common usage and avoid ambiguity of lower case, which doesn't properly signal the unambiguous character of the name. NealMcB 19:57, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This would violate naming conventions that are standard throughout the rest of WP, as can be seen from many examples listed above. It will lead to every "Special Interest Group" (SIG) everywhere demanding the right to capitalize their in-group phrases. WP does not currently sanction this practice, even in many other jargonesque technical fields and devotional communities. Otherwise, it's "Cry 'Havoc', and let slip the dogs of war" (CHALSTDOW). Jon Awbrey 20:14, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Support This article should be restored to Border Gateway Protocol to be consistent with the Wikipedia:Naming Conventions which require consistency with the most common usage. Furthermore, the article was contraversially moved (against the policies of Wikipedia) to lower case. This move would rectifiy that violation. MatthewWilder 20:29, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Why is this even a discussion? It's a proper noun referring to a very specific thing. Uppercase it. Dan Knapp 17:19, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Convention: Do not capitalize second and subsequent words unless the title is a proper noun (such as a name) or is otherwise almost always capitalized (for example: John Wayne and Art Nouveau, but not Computer Game). I have NEVER seen Border Gateway Protocol uncapitalized. Rob Gauthier 11:51, 26 May 2006 (EDT)

??? Except of course in this unsigned vote: Yes, I kinda suck at editing.


Part 1[edit]

It will help to start with this quote from Wikipedia:Naming conventions:

  • This policy in a nutshell: Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority 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.

See also discussion above(!) Here, I'll just note that 1) that when referencing BGP from other articles, people will generally want to first refer to it as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to clarify for readers that it is a name, not a general term, to clarify that it is usually referred to by the acronoym, and to clarify the acronym. Changing that to lower case will make the text look bad and be confusing, and 2) there are a few other pages like this linked to from BGP, also recently changed to be lower case, and they should also be changed back. --NealMcB 20:02, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

The fear of a "slippery slope" about "phrases" of technical jargon is not persuasive. Jargon is about language, not about standardized names. As such, it is indeed far too easy for people to capriciously switch the names and definitions they use for their favorite terms every few years, and invite a chaos of renaming. I agree that most of the terms that Jon Awbrey cites should not be capitalized. But the nature of protocol development, standardization and naming is very different. We are in fact talking about document names, and definitions that are generally constrained to be interoperable, so the protocol name is much more long-lived and reliable for use in capitalized form in an encyclopedia as well as in normal prose. --NealMcB 20:27, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Point 1. Notice that it says "give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize". The majority of English speakers could not care less whether a reference to "n-type metal-oxide-semiconductor logic" is spelled:

  1. n-type metal-oxide-semiconductor logic
  2. N-type metal-oxide-semiconductor logic
  3. N-Type Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor logic
  4. nMOS logic
  5. NMOS logic

JA: One eventually ends up having to create redirect pages for all of these, and many more you probably can't anticipate. Jon Awbrey 02:02, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

NealMcB: Again, please refrain from basing your case on examples we agree on. I am unaware of an unambiguous international standard document which specifies exactly what NMOS logic is, so I'd be easy to pursuade that it should not be capitalized. The point with BGP is that the reader is normally clued in by the capitilization to know that we're talking about a specific, well efined thing which one can check normative references on to find out exactly how the world has agreed to spell it, define it, and se it. And that is useful and important - in fact it is part of the miracle of Internet standardization, ubiquity and openness hich enables Wikipedia itself to exist. It would also help if you were to directly address cases like TCP - do you plan to move hem to lower case also? --NealMcB 04:33, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
MW: As Neal has mentioned at the end of his comment, you should have been clear about your objective from the first time you moved this page. It should have been done as a requested move, AND you should have requested a series of page moves, since your intention is clearly to have the entire set of internet protocols in lower case. MatthewWilder 15:49, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
MW: Apples and oranges. It is irrelevant how English readers will read and recognise NMOS. That is not the topic of discussion, and the discussion above has already identified key differences between NMOS and BGP. Point 1 appeals to the similarity that arises from both terms being commonly reffered to in acronym form. Again, there are important differences, so this point is not meaningful. MatthewWilder 15:09, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Point 2. There are standard techniques in linguistics for detecting the grammatical category of a given chunk of syntax. One of the most common is the substitution test, where you try fitting the expletive in question into a number of syntactic slots into which only a particular lexical category will fit. If the result is a "marked construction", which is what they call it when a lexical hand does not fit a lexical glove, then you must acquit the bit of being of that category. If the result is "unmarked", which is what they call it when their "informants", that is, people who would squeal on all the usual suspects, grammatically speaking, do not say Boo! about it, then the slot-filler must be convicted of that category. But it's late, so let's adjourn until tomorrow. Jon Awbrey 02:20, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: Kyoto Protocol is a very common (if not the most common) reference given to Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Similarly, Border Gateway Protocol is the most common (if not the only) reference given to "RFC 4271 - A Border Gateway Protocol 4". Both are documents, and in fact both are even protocols. The similarities of these two cases seems to be evidence enough that Border Gateway Control in capitals is definitely proper usage. In other words, the lexical hand fits the lexical glove. And as they say, if the glove fits, wear it! MatthewWilder 15:15, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Point 3. On the slippery slope. This happens to be something with which I have rather a lot of concrete experience. By way of hard data, I will copy into the current court of inquiry the list of articles that I compiled earlier. (See list of articles further below.)

MW: However "concrete" your "experience" is, we have already debunked this argument (please read the first comments in this section). In case you don't want to go back, I will summarize. The slippery slope is non-existent, as the demand for capitlisation comes because the Border Gateway Protocol is a well defined and standardized protocol, that is documented in RFCs. These other examples simply aren't, and so if this topic is successfully renamed, there would not be a substantial basis for renaming the other articles. MatthewWilder 21:41, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Part 2. Rules of Engagement[edit]

JA: I will need to break this into subsections, as my browser gets overloaded. I will first try to identity a few points of agreement, then I will copy out some of the recurring questions from above and try to give the shortest possible responses. Jon Awbrey 01:32, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: There are two types of rules in play here:

  1. Grammatical rules (Gram). These are determined by the choice of a particular language, and they determine to a great extent, but not completely, whether a given phrase is categorized as a Det, NP, VP, or so on, and then to a lesser extent whether an NP is subcategorized as a common noun, proper noun, or so on.
  2. Stylistic rules (Styl). These are determined by comparatively arbitrary conventions that rule over a particular context of communication, for instance, everyday speech, writing to Gramma, writing a sermon, writing an encyclopedia article, or writing a research paper for a particular journal.

JA: Generally speaking, minor orthographic details like capitalization and punctuation are not determined by Gram, but set anywhere from capriciously to judiciously by Styl.

JA: For example, Gram does not prevent "e.e. cummings" or "bell hooks" from being perfectly legitimate NPs, and proper nouns to boot. By the same token, the Styl in force at a particular publishing house or journal does nothing to change the proper-noun-oid status of a book title like "A Moveable Feast" or "The Sun Also Rises", no matter how it gets (de-)capitalized in actual print. Jon Awbrey 02:28, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: The following re*mark is, I think, very much on the mark:

MW: Kyoto Protocol is a very common (if not the most common) reference given to Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Similarly, Border Gateway Protocol is the most common (if not the only) reference given to "RFC 4271 - A Border Gateway Protocol 4". Both are documents, and in fact both are even protocols. The similarities of these two cases seems to be evidence enough that Border Gateway Control in capitals is definitely proper usage. In other words, the lexical hand fits the lexical glove. And as they say, if the glove fits, wear it! MatthewWilder 15:15, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I think we agree that the sequence of characters ""A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)"" is on a par with the sequence of characters "A Moveable Feast", at least as far as their status as NPs that denote what we call particular texts or works, in the usual way that makes a moveable feature of their plotting on a scale from token to type.

JA: And I think we agree that the subject in the title role of the WP article about A Moveable Feast is precisely the work of that name by THE Ernest Hemingway.

JA: The next question is: What is the subject in the title role of the WP article about the border gateway protocol? Is it the document "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)"? No, it is just not currently written that way. That particular sequence of characters does not even occur in the article until the very end, among the external links. Jon Awbrey 03:08, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Again, I think we agree that if the sequence of characters "Border Gateway Protocol" were being used as a "prune-de-nom" or monicker of the sequence of characters "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)", then it would legitimately inherit the title of proper nounship from the original title.

JA: But is it being used that way? It does not seem so. You can tell from the fact that it does not fit the same types of syntactic frames that the original title fits.

NealMcB: Again, an article titled "border gateway protocol" would need to talk about the concept of a border gateway protocol in general computer science terms, which would not at all be what the typical reader is looking for. And it is not what this article is about. This article is about the very specific protocol widely used in the Internet. Yes there are a few (just a few) variations, but they typically bend over backwards to maintain compatibility, a fact of great importance and interest to the reader. To reduce this ambiguity (a central goal of the Wikipedia Naming conventions quoted at the beginning), we capitalize this title - as we always have, for nearly all standards-track IETF protocols, as the world expects. Changing this would increase ambiguity and chaos, and cause much more redirection. I'd also like you to go on the record as to whether you think the articles on TCP, UDP, IGMP, etc should also be changed to be lower case. --NealMcB 05:14, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Too late to do anymore today. Jon Awbrey 03:58, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Part 3. Categorical Imperative: Consider the Consequences[edit]

JA: As many observers have already indicated, the decision to be resolved in the focal case of the border gateway protocol has consequences for the organization of the entire WikiPedia complex that go far beyond the content and the title glued on a single article. It is incumbent on prudent IT practitioners to consider the global system-wide consequences of the policies and precedents they chose to enact on each of the local cases that they encounter.

That is the reason why wise practitioners will trouble themselves to review respectable samples of real data on the global consequences of any local action they take. And that is why I have troubled the court with this samll sample of actual data on current customs and practices in WikioPolis:

JA: Maybe you think I'm exaggerating with examples like "Digital Electronic Circuitry Systems"? The fact is that "truth is far stranger than fiction" (Byron). To illustrate, here's a brand spanking new article that just came down the pike on 25 May 2006:

JA: It's pretty clear from the first main heading and other mentions that the "initial contributor" (IC) would have titled it "The Harvard Chart Method of Logical Equation Reduction" if that had seemed at all possible. The title is no doubt derived from a paper or workshop or something, but I can tell you that it does not depend on me touching it before some other WikiPunctilious editor changes the title to something more WikiProper. Jon Awbrey 12:50, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: These consequences are inconsequential. Why aren't you making a big fuss about Universal Serial Bus (USB) or Controller Area Network (CAN)? Is it because they are represented by standards, and not simple exploitations of physical study of the universe and materials? It is very obvious that Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), USB and CAN are different than first order logic (FOL), integrated circuit (IC) and Very-large-scale integration (VLSI). The difference is also very simple. The former group contains standardized technologies, which are well defined (and even change over time). The latter group contains constructs, physical manipulations and an approach to design of devices. And the latter group is not well defined and not standardized. The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Transmission Control Protocol, Internet Protocol (IP) and other Internet related protocols are well defined, documented and standardized technologies, and very clearly fit within the first group. They are standards, and should be handled as standards, not as non-standard technologies. MatthewWilder 18:49, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: The consequences are far from being inconsequential. They appear negligible if you are only thinking about a few items at a time, and cannot see why your cult's Holy Writ should not be imposed on the general populace. But if you find yourself having to face the consequences of letting everybody do that, which I for one do on a daily and hourly basis, then you quickly realize that the consequences are that we will soon have a WikiPandemonium that looks every bit as ugly as this:

  • Berkeley, George (1734), THE ANALYST; OR, A DISCOURSE Addressed to an Infidel MATHEMATICIAN. WHEREIN It is examined whether the Object, Principles, and Inferences of the modern Analysis are more distinctly conceived, or more evidently deduced, than Religious Mysteries and Points of Faith, London & Dublin. Online text, David R. Wilkins (ed.), Eprint.


I. Though I am a Stranger to your Person, yet I am not, Sir, a Stranger to the Reputation you have acquired, in that branch of Learning which hath been your peculiar Study; nor to the Authority that you therefore assume in things foreign to your Profession, nor to the Abuse that you, and too many more of the like Character, are known to make of such undue Authority, to the misleading of unwary Persons in matters of the highest Concernment, and whereof your mathematical Knowledge can by no means qualify you to be a competent Judge. Equity indeed and good Sense would incline one to disregard the Judgment of Men, in Points which they have not considered or examined. But several who make the loudest Claim to those Qualities, do, nevertheless, the very thing they would seem to despise, clothing themselves in the Livery of other Mens Opinions, and putting on a general deference for the Judgment of you, Gentlemen, who are presumed to be of all Men the greatest Masters of Reason, to be most conversant about distinct Ideas, and never to take things on trust, but always clearly to see your way, as Men whose constant Employment is the deducing Truth by the justest inference from the most evident Principles. With this bias on their Minds, they submit to your Decisions where you have no right to decide. And that this is one short way of making Infidels I am credibly informed.

JA: It's Happened Before, It Can Happen Again. That's (Inductive) Logic. Jon Awbrey 19:08, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I know, I know, you keep saying "It Kant Happen Here". They always say that. But many of the "Uploaded Technical Report" (UTR) articles in WP already look exactly like that, UTRly quaint, and UTRly unreadable, if you like that sort of thing. Jon Awbrey 19:20, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Part 4. Standard Of Practice: SOP To Cerberus[edit]

MW: Perhaps you didn't read past the first sentance of my argument. That would be consistent with your behaviour, as you have yet to answer two of my questions in an earlier section. NEWay, It's Happened Before, It Can happen Again. My point is that Border Gateway Protocol is a standard, much like Controller Area Network and Universal Serial Bus. It fits in with the standardized group, which is different than nonstandardized technologies (which all or your "concrete experience" seems to pertain to). So, as much as I appreciate Yet Another Useless Distraction (YAUD) from you (that doesn't address what is being discussed), you missed the mark yet again. MatthewWilder 19:43, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I read what you wrote. What I keep explaining is that it is not perceived to be true from every perspective, but only seems to be true from your POV. I know this because I have paid attention also to what people from other POVs say about their POV, and they are just as insistent that there is something specifically "special" and "standard" about their capital dis-criminations as you are about the ones you favor. Again, I have done time in standardization bodies and I can tell you that Chomsky Normal Form (CNF) and Conjunctive Normal Form (CNF), just for a couple of examples, are far more standard in their formal specifications than anything that comes out of, let us say, the IEEE P1600.1 Standard Upper Ontology Working Group (SUO WG), or any similar effort. Do you really think that hardware standards are any less standard than internet protocols? Jon Awbrey 20:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

NealMcB: References to those discussions would be helpful. Yes, CNF as a concept is better defined. But the difference here is that the name of Chomsky normal form is not standardized, and naming is what this discussion is all about. A better example is Backus-Naur form (BNF) (also known as the Backus-Naur formalism, Backus normal form or Panini-Backus Form). Because of this, I suspect I'd agree with you that the "f" should be lower case. Over time, formalisms like Backus-Naur form get refined by researchers and refactored and renamed, and the way they are taught over time changes. That is not the case with standards-track RFCs, which are defined by authoritative documents. A consensus process is used to name them, and after that there is huge pressure to preserve the name, and interoperability, over time. So there is little risk of an explosion of renaming and headaches for encyclopedia writers. And, as a bonus, there is a good reason to serve the reader of the encyclopepdia by honoring the article with upper case letters. Let me also add again to Matthew's request that you define the outcome that you would like to see. E.g. should the articles on TCP, USB, et al. be renamed? --NealMcB 21:56, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: The fact is that just about everything on that list I compiled is a phrase that was routinely capitalized and many of them still appear that way in standard textbooks, precisely because they are perceived to refer to an abstract form that is very "precious" and "special" in some way — Heavens to Betsy, some of them have even been canonized I even went out of my way to think up some phrases analogous to "The Kyoto Protocol" that I remember being capitalized when I took Gubermint in Gramma Skool, and what I got was things like English Common Law and so on. Lo and behold, even those have evidently been decapitated in the InterReaganRegnum. Jon Awbrey 21:14, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: What's funny is that if you had read my argument, I wasn't appealing to common usage there. I was appealing to a common basis of being a standard. In fact, that basis even supported decapitalising the topics you find so horrific when capitalized! Do you really have that much difficulty following arguments? MatthewWilder 21:24, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: As an electrical engineer, I will tell you right now that there is no fundamental difference between a hardware standard and an internet protocol. Because one is physical and the other is not does not differentiate the two to me. However, both CNFs you refered to are methods, not standards. On the other hand, Universal Serial Bus and Border Gateway Protocol are on the same playing field to me. What's utterly frustrating about your argument style is that you never directly answer the question at hand. Even politicians answer 40% of the questions asked by professional interviewers (and only 40% because the questions are often trapping). Check it out [2]. And you take the argument away from the focus (which in this case is a comparison to USB). Instead of explaining why USB and BGP should not be handled equally, you introduce a whole other type of "standard" which is more an approach, or a method, much like the software development process. I don't care about CNF and CNF. Did I ask about them? No, I asked about USB. So please, no more of this totally disrespectful approach to avoiding the questions raised. I am very frustrated. So, please, even though I have pleaded with you a half dozen times already, I would appreciate if you keep the discussion on track, and quit diverting to questions that aren't being asked. Again, I repeat that I have 2 questions in a previous section still unanswered, and NealMcB has a question that you haven't answered. So can you tell me, with direct reference to both USB and BGP, why the two standards should not be treated similarly in their capitalization? MatthewWilder 21:06, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Let me tell you what will happen to TCP and USB and all the rest. I will not touch them cause you will j'accuse me of being a prescriptive language reformer or Σting, which I am not. I am only reading you the handwaving on the wall. We've talked about the "Natural Evolution Of The English Language" (NEOTEL). Well, the NEOTEL is against you, as you can tell from reading the earnest sermons of Bishop Berkeley. Far more immediate and inexorable than that — than the long slow grind of evolution — the shift key is against you. The reason why we have acronyms in the first place is so that people can hold down the shift key once and punch x keys, where 2 ≤ x ≤ 10, and the moving finger writing that much will move on. So folks will use the acronym whenever they need to write about the thing in question, but they will quickly weary of the roller-coaster-keyboard-ride of a phrase like "Transmission Control Protocol" or "Traffic Control Person" or "Two Component Plasma" or "Tissue Culture Plate", and only the applicable IP Laws will force them to respect the legally fictive proper noun status of Top Cow Productions. Hear Me Now And Believe Me Later. Jon Awbrey 21:52, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

NealMcB: I did indeed take you for a prescriptive language reformer, and I'm curious about Σting - reference? And I agree that we're recovering from old-style capitalizations, and should give a thought to evolution. But on the other hand, it seems that the formation of acronyms is on the upswing. So I take it that you are suggesting that we will end up writing "[[transmission control protocol]] (tcp)".. Do you have a prediction on how long that will take? I figure the technological singularity will be sooner, and we'll have no trouble then fixing all this stuff, and understanding it too. So in the meantime, taking advantage of orthographic tools is helpful when warranted. --NealMcB 22:25, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
MW: Since you haven't been given an answer about Σting, I will attempt to answer it. Σ denotes sum, and when put with "ting" it produces "Sum-ting" (or slang for something) which is Jon's way of demonstrating that if we can get BGP in capitals, then all is lost. What he seems to be missing (besides answering some of our questions and requests) is that we aren't arguing for the removal of all English language rules. We are just asking him to stretch his own personal definition of what a proper noun is. MatthewWilder 18:29, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: The form of the answer I would appreciate most would be as follows:

  • "You are correct, Matthew, and USB and BGP should be handled the same way. They should both be in lower case as follows; universal serial bus and border gateway protocol. Standards are not recognised by APA style"

MW: At which point I would say:

  • "Well, then it appears that APA style should not be so readily accepted as representing Wikipedia standards and WikiProper in general. Unless I am mistaken, APA style 'is a widely accepted format for writing research papers, particularly for social science manuscripts'. That definition doesn't express the universal acceptance of that style."

MW: There's an example of how this discussion should have gone. Blunt. To the point. No topic changing. No beating around the bush. Brief. But, I digress.

MW: How long have specific technical standards and protocols been in existance? Less than 100 year? Standards are barely any different than titles of books, documents, or other works. For all intents and purposes. they are the titles of agreements. If the English language cannot adapt that minutely, then we have the worst language of all, even worse than French for being ignorant. It's good to be careful and exam the usage and development of our language - to a point. Did Oxford University pull the breaks on every new usage of a word? Of course not, and in fact, they documented the development of words in the Oxford English Dictionary. But I'm sure you were aware of this. My point is that you hold rigidly to a style sheet which isn't even designated as the accepted style for Wikipedia. MatthewWilder 22:20, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Part 5. Acronymania[edit]

  • Number of times that acronyms have been used as a reason for capitalization: 2
  • Number of times JA has argued that acronyms do not constitute reason for capitalization: 200 (give or take)

MW: Just thought I should summarize this for those, who like me, may have lost count. MatthewWilder 20:30, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Part 6. The Evolution of the Specious[edit]

JA: Historical Note. I wrote my last line of Pascal code sometime in August of 1989. The last time I used the ISO standard version was as a beginning grad student WayBack in the dimness of prehistoric times. I'm sure that I was less picky about such things then, but the text that was put in the bookstore as the "standard of reference", equivalent to the definition of ISO 7185-1982, was the one that I cited above, and so in the naivete of those days I'm sure that I just believed everything that my professors told me. But what was your point? Are you saying that a standard cannot be defined in a Host of formally equivalent ways? That it can be validated solely by a Laying Of The Hands Of The Reader on a one-of-a-kind token reliquary parchment signed in hemoglobin by the Hands Of Its Authors? I think we are no longer talking about Standards. I think you have in mind The Da Vinci Code. Jon Awbrey 21:05, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: There are certain indications that it is not a standard:

  • It was published as a book (this is a clue, not concrete evidence, I admit)
  • It was written by two people, not by a standards body (IEEE, ISO, etc)
  • It wasn't consistent in the naming of the "standard", as you showed
  • It isn't recognised as a standard (most important point)

MW: Any search on "ISO Pascal Standard" brings up sites that sell a book, not a standard from ISO, IEEE, or another standards body. Even the link to actual Pascal standards didn't recognise "ISO Pascal Standard" as a standard. And I'm sorry that your bookstore led you to believe that this was a standard. But as you yourself mentioned, not everything you learn at school is correct. There are The Da Vinci Code conclusions, and then there conclusions. The difference; my conclusion is based on actual evidence, not fictitious evidence. MatthewWilder 21:22, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: Does the title of this part imply that calling "ISO Pascal Standard" a standard is devoid of truth? Because I fully agree. MatthewWilder 21:40, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I have reported the facts and the history as well as I remember them. If you were familiar with either then I think you would comprehend that what I say is true. Jon Awbrey 02:42, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Part 7. Bill Gates Protocol (BGP)[edit]

Part 8. Feelings Of Entitlement (FOE)[edit]

JA: I think that it would be best to establish a base camp with the increment of Common Sense that has Pained us so much to reach thus far, and not allow ourselves to backslide or backtrack into a revisitation of all that Unpleasantness of Our Late Troubles in the Colonies.

JA: But for those of our Dire Readers who have yet to read Lewis Carroll's farce of the Dog Walking Protocol (DWP), there is always the question: What are the real titles of the so-called "United States Declaration of Independence" and the so-called "Constitution of the United States"? A Sample of Data, a Farce Kit for the Exercise of the Reader:

  • Declaration of Independence
  1. Item title: "In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America." Eprint.
  • Constitution of the United States
  1. Item title: "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union ..." Eprint.
  2. (12 Sep 1787). Printed copy with marginal notes by George Washington from September 12, 1987. Eprint
  3. (17 Sep 1787). "Introduction. Constitution of the United States, As Originally Adopted."
    1. Exhibit 1.
    2. Exhibit 2.

Part 9. [edit]

JA: Matthew, you appear to be trying to say something blunt about my rationality or my reading skills, but I fear that I have been in far too many, far worse brawls of WikiPugilism to appreciate your efforts. Or maybe you're just ly far too WikiPolite to put your into it and do a really job. But while we're exorcising our reading skills please review the first thing that I wrote about the Accursèd Pedants Asinine stylesheet, to wit, "I'm agin it", which is Disputed English for "I am against it". What part of "I'm agin it" do you not understand?

JA: The "United States Declaration of Independence" refers to a specific document. It's like the title of a book, which we have already discussed. The American Psychological Association (APA) style sheet actually requires writers to alter the titles of published works by lowercasing all but the first word. I'm agin it. But the point is that orthography is conventional, neither God-given nor god-given. But if you leave out the "United States", then it's no longer a proper noun, but an abstract noun or an ambiguous noun. The fact is that nobody is thinking of a specific document when they say "Border Gateway Protocol", or they would have to add epithets to give it a version number and date of issue, etc. They are thinking of any number of roughly "who-cares-about-the-implementational-details-beyond-a-certain-point" (WCATIDBACP) formal specifications. That is exactly like the Categorical Imperative (CI) or let us say the Pragmatic Maxim (PM1), but not like the Principia Mathematica (PM2). Jon Awbrey 02:02, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: It's funny that use the example of the United States Declaration of Independence, because that is actually not the title of the document. But because you and I have brains, we both understand that it is referring to the declaration of independence of the United States, signed on July 4, 1776 in Philadeplphia. It's also funny that you never really answered my question about the Kyoto Protocol. In one statement you suggested that documents can be referred to in short forms without losing their capitalization, and in another statement you expressed that it was a "curious-to-me notion that a sequence of words that appears as one "meaningful part of the title of a document" must therefore be capitalized". And the United States Declaration of Inedependence is simply another example of how a document is being referred to not by its actual title. So, thanks for that! MatthewWilder 15:10, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Now I realize that we were writing much longer paragraphs in the early decades of this discussion, and so maybe you missed it. The relevant point that remains is that publishers can dictate that stylesheet or any other Lot Of Stylistic Rules they want, simply because they can. They are not Bad People for doing that, and they do not believe that they are distorting either Grammar or Information in imposing that style, because that sort of Stylistic Detail is purely Incidental to the Grammatical Correctness and the Information Content of the Material that they in their Wisdom Elect to Publish. So I hope that is now clear once . Jon Awbrey 02:44, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: I'm not against the style so much, but I am more against you using the style as a claim that Border Gateway Protocol is not a proper noun, when even the OED definition does not clearly indicate that to be the case. And yes, out of frustration with your vagueness, I have accused you of a lack of direct answering. For instance, I say "A is like B, and therefore A should be treated like B". Your response has typically been along the lines of "Well, A is like C, and should be treated that way". So, instead of addressing what I have argued, you divert the argument completely. You would save alot of time if you simply said. "Yes, A is like B, and is also like C. they should all be treated as C". That way, I don't have to figure out or ask again why A should not be treated as B. Does this clarify where my frustration comes from? MatthewWilder 15:17, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: What I have been saying from is that the lion's share of the references to the border gateway protocol that appear in the WP article border gateway protocol are not to a concrete particular document, say, "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)". They do not have the grammatical form of such a reference. Speaking with regard to what is called a grammatically unmarked sense, one can say "The BGP", but one cannot in the same way say * "The 'A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)'", anymore than one would normally say * "The 'A Moveable Feast'" or * "The 'The Sun Also Rises'". Jon Awbrey 16:02, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: Before I forget to tell you another thing that frustrates me is that you change your tune without admitting it. You claimed that a proper noun cannot take a limiting modifier (which is a true requirement if you take proper noun from Meriam-Websters, but not OED). Then you fail to successfully explain why the Kyoto Protocol is alright. In fact, the first time you brought up limiting modifiers you claimed that the use of the word "the" was proof enough to rule out BGP as a proper noun (you said QED). That was an absolute statement that would have huge implications on other articles, which you appear to have realised. You later called it a "Rule of Thumb (ROT)". And though this is an example of where your absolutism has fallen through, you still have arbitrary constraints on other things. For example, no defintion of "proper noun" differentiates between a document and a standard. But you think that a document constitutes a proper noun, while a standard does not even though both are a "particular being or thing". It's that kind of arbitrary absolutism that makes arguing with you all but impossible. It seems that when you get backed against a wall you explain away, often in conflict with what you have previously said, only to run to another argument as quickly as possible. That is unfair, disrespectful, and worst of all, that inconsistency serves as an example of your inability to prove your point. MatthewWilder 18:37, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: They may not refer to a particular document, but they do refer to a standard. The standard is defined in the latest document defining the standard, so it does refer to a document, only with one degree of separation. Because you claim that the Border Gateway Protocol (specific) is actually an article on "border gateway protocols" (general), you should not change the name without changing the entire article so that the article contains information about "border gateway protocols". And the article does not read that way, it reads "the border gateway protocol" which suggests something specific. And "is it specific?" is the question to ask in determining whether something is a proper noun, not "is it a document?". MatthewWilder 16:43, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: Good, I think that this is definite progress. We agree that we are talking about a standard. A standard is a type of formal specification, and there are whole series of academic courses and industrial workshops devoted to such things in many different fields of application. Probably the first one that really caught my eye was the ISO Pascal Standard, standardly documented in Kathleen Jensen and Niklaus Wirth, Pascal User Manual and Report, 3rd edition, Springer-Verlag, but I'm getting all teary-eyed now, so let's move on. But wait, what does Standard Pascal have to say for itself regarding its own capitalization, assuming of course that we are, until further notice, using the string "Standard Pascal" as a nichename for something really officious like "ISO Standard Pascal {list of paramenters to be announced at runtime}"? now pascal is a language that i composed in lower case for a decade and half, and to the best of my anamnesis i can't recall any of the compilers or interpreters for the iso standard pascal, the ucsd p-system pascal, the borland turbo pascal, nor a host of others ever caring a whit about capitalization, so maybe we don't care how the iso standard pascal, as defined by its compiler, standardizes its own capitalization. But what about the "Pascal User Manual and Report" (PUMAR) itself? Looking to the Index of PUMAR for salient mentions of "{S|s}tandard {P|p}ascal", we do indeed find that the first indexed mention (p. 147) is spelled "Standard Pascal", but the second indexed mention (pp. 200–201) is spelled "ISO Pascal standard" [sic!]. Apparently the "shift key paradign shift" (SKPS) to which I alluded earlier has already bludgeoned the authors of this standard text into compliance with its Don't Care Condition (DGS) by the end of their own standard text! There's a lesson in that. Jon Awbrey 18:52, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: "standardly documented". WOW. wow. Just wow. I've never seen the writing of a book referred to in such endearing terms. What you refered to is a book, not a standard. And again, it's cute to see "standard text" [sic!] refer to a book. Lovely. The actual standards around Pascal may be found here: [3]. Any other "lessons in that"? MatthewWilder 19:53, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

MW: By the way, the more you speak with symbols and over-capitalizations common to "Disputed English", the more you show how heavily you have relied on such arguments in the past. Nobody could argue that CMOS is a proper name. A field effect transistor is not much different than a paperclip. It's an exploitation of our physcial environment that we happen to find useful. In fact, every item that you want decapitated...err...I mean decapitalized from your list fits in with the category of physical manipulations, and refer to things like paperclips, or in other cases topics. For example, first order logic and conjunctive normal form are both just ways of representing things. However, the Border Gateway Protocol is not much different than the Kyoto Protocol except for one thing, and that is the process of formalization. And though you would argue that All Hell Will Break Loose (AHWBL) if Border Gateway Protocol could be referred to as such, I remind you that I agree that first order logic should stay lower case. That's because it is not in the same category (proper nouns) that I am showing your Border Gateway Protocol belongs to. This is called categorization. And something that will make it hard for you to understand the argument I am making is that you have already rigidly categorized objects in your own mind. You think first order logic must be in the same category as Border Gateway Protocol, since it is to you. And so when you see me argue that Border Gateway Protocol should be capitalized, you are apparently overcome with the overwhelming thought of everthing ever uttered in the English language being considered as reasonable and acceptable. That would be a descriptive approach to Disputed English, though I am arguing for a prescriptive approach, just as you are (prescription and description).

MW: Allow me to justify why BGP belongs in the category of proper noun. The United States Constitution is a perfect example of an object that has changed over time, just as the Border Gateway Protocol has changed over time. The only difference is in the formalization of the changes. The United States Constitution has undergone 27 amendments (see History of the United States Constitution). Essentially, that is all that has happend with Border Gateway Protocol, accept that the amendments couldn't amend the document, due to the format and process surrounding RFCs. If the United States Constitution was formalized as a series of RFCs, it would no doubt read "RFC 1105 - United States Constitution", and "RFC 4271 - A United States Constitution 28 (USC-28)" with other supporting RFCs, such as "RFC 4272 - USC Personal Security Vulnerabilities Analysis". And what you are telling me is that because it is a different formalization process, in this case the United States Constitution would not actually be acceptable under that name, but would require articles surrounding United States constitutions, RFC 1105 - Obselete, United States Constitution, RFC 4271 - A United States Constitution 4 (USC4) and so on. Do we care whether King Henry VIII became a king officially when they put a crown on his head or when the put the scepter in his hand, or maybe when a trumpet blew? No, that process doesn't really make a difference, since the important thing is that he is a recognisable and specific king. The process of formalization should have no impact on a proper name (and any defintion of proper name and proper noun would support this), though you are arguing that it should. MatthewWilder 18:04, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: I think it woul be best to focus on the bit of progress that we have made, which is that we are mainly interested in the status of BGP as a standard. A standard is a type of formal specification, quite literally, a specification of a form to which something must conform in order to be positively judged as compliant with that standard. That seems like the standard wisdom in every consideration of standards that I have been cursed in which to find myself standing.

JA: That being settled, the next question is: Should names of standards always be capitalized?

JA: Satisficient unto the day and the week are the turtles thereof, however, so let us resolve to leave it there fora while. Jon Awbrey 04:44, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.