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Chairman vs. Chair[edit]

There has been a long discussion about the proper and most suitable title of this article, particularly about the use of "chair" vs. "chairman." The result of the discussion repeatedly comes out in favor of "chairman." The history of this discussion is in the archived talk page, which probably should be reinstated here. It's not a good thing to archive the discussions, then to change all the "chairman" references to "chair." Lou Sander (talk) 03:00, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

In academia, government and non-profits (but especially in academia), "chair" is used. In business, it is "chairman" even if the person is a woman. Hanxu9 (talk) 04:54, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Disputed etymology[edit]

I restored properly cited material about "chair" and "man." If editors dispute it, the solution is not to remove it, but to cite different material and mention the difference between the two. This was also discussed in the newly-archived material from this page. The bottom line is that if you want to assert that chairman is somehow not gender-neutral, you need to cite some sources for your claim, and juxtapose them with the properly-cited sources that say that it is gender-neutral. Lou Sander (talk) 03:19, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

I removed this again, because multiple dictionaries give the etymology as exactly what you would expect - i.e. that "man" derives from "man" meaning male person. In the face of these official etymologies I dispute that a book on rules of procedure is a reliable source for etymology. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:58, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia's policy on Verifiability states "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—that is, whether readers are able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether we think it is true." The material you removed is eminently verifiable. I understand (but disagree with) your strongly-held personal point of view that the cited material is "wrong," and that an authoritative book in the field somehow isn't a reliable source. Unfortunately, strongly-held personal points of view are disallowed from appearing in Wikipedia. If you want to include material on etymology, PLEASE provide some references, and PLEASE do not remove properly-sourced material just because you disagree with it. There is quite a bit of discussion on this in the Archive, right at the end. Lou Sander (talk) 01:31, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
As I stated above, it is not clear to me that a book on parliamentary procedure is a reliable source for etymology. Can you offer any evidence that it is, such as perhaps the etymology reference cited by the book?
Your edit gave the 'manus' etymology as if it were the 'correct' etymology, whereas in fact a large number of dictionaries (which unquestionably ARE reliable as etymology sources) give the etymology of chairman as being the same as the suffix "man". I would be happy with listing the 'manus' etymology as an alternative if it can be shown that it is a view held by etymologists and not merely a parliamentary procedure author. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:19, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I also looked at the archive, which completely backs up my view. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:30, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Just saying, it may help if you actually cite these large number of dictionaries. Just as a start. -Andrew c [talk] 18:19, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Certainly. Try The American Heritage Dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, the online edition of the current Merriam-Webster dictionary, Word Origins by Anatoly Liberman (page 88), Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (page 235), and I've more if you need them. DJ Clayworth (talk) 18:25, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I think that Andrew c might be suggesting that you provide some proper inline references to support your claims. I also think that all of us realize that from your point of view, the Riddick book isn't a reliable source. But it certainly IS a reliable source according to Wikipedia's content guidelines. IMHO it's not a good practice to substitute one's personal feelings for good, hard, references that conform to WP:RS. Lou Sander (talk) 22:39, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Again, please stop telling me what my personal feelings are. They irrelevant to the discussion and to you.
My "point of view" is also not relevant to the reliability of Riddick. Riddick is outside his area of expertise when talking about etymology, and given the huge number of references that disagree with him from people with etymological expertise his opinion has to be considered a minority one. I have already added inline references. I assume that means you no longer have any objections to the content as it stands? DJ Clayworth (talk) 22:48, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Riddick and Zimmerman are reliable sources, regardless of DJ's unsubstantiated personal opinions. DJ has removed the clear, informative, plainly stated material from them, and replaced it with a paraphrase that has the flavor of original research. This is not proper editing. He/she has added a Wikilink to the Riddick book. This is good editing and improves the article. The strength of the claim about "etymologists" is weak. The citation is an opinionated blog with a questionable reference to OED, and hardly a reliable source. I intend to restore the Riddick and Zimmerman material, leave the Wikilink to Riddick, and delete the poorly sourced stuff. I'll first leave some time for comment, of course. (I will disregard further opinions that Riddick and Zimmerman are not reliable sources. This stuff is discussed to death in the archive.) Good Cop (talk) 04:03, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but which of the dictionaries I quoted do you consider to be an "unreliable source"? DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:58, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
He might be talking about the wordorigins blog. Also, you very much need to stop removing well-cited material from this article. Also, your pronouncement about "the real etymology" is original research by you. Please stop. Cleome (talk) 17:13, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Regarding the blog, I think it is a WP:RS, due to Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. , as Dave Wilton is author of Oxford University Press publication Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends.-Andrew c [talk] 21:04, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

I removed nothing from the article. Riddick's view of the etymology is given at the bottom of the section. The real etymology is cited in the article, and is not original research. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:42, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Support Good Cop's proposal. Cleome (talk) 17:13, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Support. Well reasoned proposal. Lou Sander (talk) 22:07, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

" In his 1992 State of the Union address, then-U.S. President George W. Bush used chairman for men and chair for women. " - either the date or the name is incorrect, and the statement isn't cited so difficult to check, also citing either Bush as an authority on language is questionable, this should be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mphilips (talkcontribs) 02:03, 10 November 2012 (UTC)


While I don't doubt the strict correctness of "A vice chairman is sometimes chosen to be subordinate to..." I don't believe it's as clear as it might be. All members of a board are in some sense "subordinate to" the chairman, and the vice-chairman is selected for a specific task. I entered "deputize for" as being more specific. Does the vice-chair have any function other than to execute the functions of a chairman when (s)he is absent? if so then maybe we could be specific about them. DJ Clayworth (talk) 22:51, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Please. The reference says what it says. What you believe about it (a.k.a. your point of view about it) is something different. If you'd like, find a reference for it and put it in. Lou Sander (talk) 02:41, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
What I'm asking is "what does it mean?". Did you put this in as a direct quote without working out what it meant? DJ Clayworth (talk) 04:08, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
DJClayworth: The meaning is perfectly clear, and a reference has been cited. The vice-chair is subordinate to the chair. This is an important point in parliamentary procedure, as are many other matters of precedence and authority. But you say that you don't get the meaning. Then you make edits that change the meaning. You are politely asked to provide a reference to support your changes, but you fail to provide one. When your unsupported, meaining-changing edits are removed, you re-insert them. They are original research, and when challenged, they cannot be allowed to stand. Persistence in making changes is no substitute for providing citations. Good Cop (talk) 22:43, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
In what way is a vice-chairman subordinate to a chairman. A janitor is also subordinate to a chairman, and so is a secretary, so just saying he/she is 'subordinate' tells us nothing. Now you and I actually know the answer - that the vice-chair assists the chairman and substitutes for him/her when absent. Since we know this to be true, why don't we write it? Or are you more concerned with getting a version that you wrote into the article than explaining what a vice-chairman does?
As for 'persistence in making changes' I find that it is often necessary when dealing with people whose approach is to ignore questions and refuse to discuss things. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:06, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Major changes to "Corporate governance" section[edit]

This section has been problematic for at least three years. In addition to often being poorly constructed, it has contained material only indirectly related to the subject of Chairman. As of yesterday several of the references didn't support the general claims made in the article, but applied only to specific corporations. Also, much of the material in this section has applied to corporate governance in general, and only peripherally to the role of Chairman.

I have been bold and removed all or most of this inappropriate material. The remaining material relates to the two basic types of Chairman in public corporations, and includes citations that directly support the claims made in the article. I've renamed the section "Public corporations" to reflect its current focus.

Most of the stuff that has been removed is valuable in its own right. It just doesn't apply to this article. --Lou Sander (talk) 13:09, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

I have no idea why you deleted this. Being "bold" isn't deleting stuff. That's just lazy, especially if you've been watching it for 3 years. Being bold, I'd suggest, means writing something new. Wikidea 08:09, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


The reason I have moved this - and yes I know it won't save the history, but there's always backlogs, and perhaps an admin can help - is that Wikipedia should not reflect social stereotypes in common usage of language (unlike modern law, eg in the UK corporate governance code). I understand there may have been previous discussions and one proposal was "chair". I don't really care. Chairman is wrong. If anyone objects to this, I'm just going to write a chairperson page in its own right (and it'll be much better), and then this page can explain why the concept of a "chairman" is distinct from a "chairperson", and perhaps why our language might still be stuck in the 19th century. And that person can also write a "chairwoman" page, and explain why that's different too. Hopefully nobody's so dumb to object though! Cheers, Wikidea 07:51, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

"Move" reverted, because what you did was not a move, but a copy-and-paste; this is improper because it leaves the article without its history. You say you know this is wrong, but you did it anyway. If you think a move is needed, use the "move" function, and if you think the move is going to be controversial (as your comment above strongly implies you do), then you should put a {{requested move}} template on this talk page and see if there is a consensus in favor of the move. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 10:29, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Groan. Wikidea 20:37, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Public corporations[edit]

I moved this section to the end, since it provides specialized information, rather than the rest of the article's general information about the position and the various aspects of termiology, etymology, etc. Lou Sander (talk) 14:58, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Public corporations: Types of chairman[edit]

This section is confusing. Editors have struggled with it for years. Currently the citations are not well-presented at all. I suggest rewriting it along the following lines:

  • Main Point. There are two types of chairman: Executive and Non-executive. The Executive type wields influence in the operation of the company, while the Non-executive avoids that. (This is the most important distinction between the types of Chairman). Americans tend to favor the Executive type, while Canadians and the British tend to favor the Non-executive type.
  • Subordinate Point under Executive Chairman. Often, but not always, the Executive chairman wields his influence over operations by having the additional responsibility as CEO. The two functions are separate and distinct: the CEO runs the operation of the company, while the Chairman runs the Board. It sometimes makes sense for the same person to perform both functions and have both titles. Even if he/she is not the CEO, the Executive chairman still leads the Board and wields influence over company operations, even though he/she is not directly in charge of them.
  • Examples. After those points have been made in the article, examples of all the cases can be presented: 1) the Executive Chairman who is also the CEO, 2) the Executive Chairman who is NOT also the CEO, and 3) the Non-executive Chairman.

I can do the rewriting, but I'd prefer to do so after getting some consensus that it would make sense. Lou Sander (talk) 23:01, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

Would like to note that "Executive chairman" entry contains an in-depth example of HSBC. This may or may not be appropriate in this article, I don't know. What I can say is that it's inconsistent with the others, which have no such detailed examples. Ligart (talk) 01:23, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't much like that extended example. Lou Sander (talk) 03:09, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 17 February 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not Moved There is clear consensus in discussion below to keep current title which by all accounts appears consistent with the spirit and intent of applicable guidelines Mike Cline (talk) 07:23, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

ChairmanChair (position) – (add: please also see nominator comment below.) This is a simple NPOV request. Within government committees and NGOs the typical designation used is chair. I business the name chairman is often used sometimes even when the person is a woman although "chairwoman" (which currently redirects to chairman) is also used. I appreciate that the words like "position" or "role" are not greatly specific in regard to disambiguation but I think that this is preferabe to what I regard to be this current gender preference within Wikipedia. The present tense of the verb involved relates to the chairing of meetings. GregKaye 09:20, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

In ictu oculi please consider also the proposed designation as suggested/supported below. Thanks. GregKaye 18:45, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Oppose also chairperson, while more common than fisherperson and fireperson still not the common term. In ictu oculi (talk) 01:14, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose – per WP:NATURAL and WP:NATURALNESS, and also because many sources flat-out prohibit the word "chair" or "chairperson" as standing in for "chairman" (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the BBC). "Chairman" is the most natural designation for this position, is used by the vast majority of RS, and "chairperson" is expressly prohibited by many RS. There are no grounds for switching to "chair person", which is non-existent. Please also note that the "man" in "chairman" is gender neutral, and is considered as such by Robert's Rules of Order, thereby satisfying WP:GNL. Please note that many chairmen are women, and that these women are often addressed as "chairman". This is a form of advocacy on the part of the supporters, in that they wish to change English to suit their own political ends. Sadly, we use the English of the people, here. We do not use forms explicitly prohibited by the style guide of the most prestigious American newspaper. RGloucester 19:27, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
You confuse the editing standards of RS with the RS saying something. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 19:35, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Or, perhaps I could say that you confuse "man" with "male"? We do not use foreign constructions (neologisms) created to express a political point. RGloucester 19:37, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Not a neologism. See this nineteenth-century usage, for example. Dohn joe (talk) 20:03, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Cherrypicking as well. MLA, APA, ASA, AMA, Chicago Style Guide, even Wiley-Blackwell Publishing House. That there is no consensus among publishers and styleguides would suggest we should follow our own guidelines. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 20:05, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
It is a neologism, then as now. Don't try and claim that "chairperson" was commonly-used in the 19th century, as it is easy to prove that false with Google Ngrams. See where the poor little "chairperson" languishes at the bottom of the chart, even into the 21st century? Chairman remains overwhelming dominant, and that's that. Please see WP:UCN. Our own guidelines say to use gender neutral language, and the word "chairman" is gender neutral. "Man" refers to mankind, not male men. I've shown above where women that are chairmen are referred to as a "chairman". This is common. Sadly, common usage dictates that "chairman" remains. RGloucester 20:09, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
You insist on proscriptive language despite the fact that many authorities disagree with your assertions. Chairperson and chair are as widely used as chairman now. I can show you many places were "chair" or "chairperson" are used when referring to women (e.g., Janet Yellen). Chairman is no longer widely considered neutral. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 20:14, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, but WP:UCN is policy. Ngrams doesn't lie. Neither does The New York Times, nor Robert's Rules of Order. "Chairman" remains dominant, and remains gender neutral. It is true that some people use "chairperson", but that is a minority usage in actual practice. As per WP:TITLECHANGES, such a controversial change that would institute a title that is patently forbidden by many style guides and is contrary to common usage is simply not something that can be done. As another example, British companies law mandates the use of chairman (gender neutral). RGloucester 20:52, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Still cherry picking. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 01:45, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
How is Ngrams "cherry-picking"? There is nothing for me to "cherry-pick" from Ngrams. How is British companies law "cherry-picking"? It is written into the law of one the main English-speaking nations that the word "chairman" is gender neutral. RGloucester 01:49, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Because you're ignoring the other sources, including academic ones, that disagree with you. Repeatedly. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 01:52, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
What difference does it make what a style guide says? Actual practice is what matters, which is why we have WP:UCN. In actual practice, "chairman" is what people use most often, and I've provided evidence of this. "Chairman" is written into British law as gender neutral. As an example, BBC Trust refers to its leadership as "Diane Coyle, Vice-Chairman" and "Rona Fairhead, Chairman". I wonder why it is that one of the most important entities in British media uses a term that a one Fir Tree refers to as "no longer widely considered neutral". Do you know that the BBC has very, very strict anti-discrimination guidelines, perhaps more strict than with any other company? If they thought that "chairman" was in anyway "non-neutral", it would be gone from these ladies' webpages. It isn't. In fact, you're the one ignoring sources that you dislike, and ignoring centuries of traditional practice at the same time. The fact remains that "chairman" is the most common designation, and is gender neutral. The present title remains, and your arguments are bunk. RGloucester 01:58, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── So gender neutral it was raised as an issue in 1987 to UNESCO, who recommends gender neutral language? And the UK government? And the United Nations Development Program (p. 22)? And the World Health Organization (p. 61)? And the European Union (p. 54, section 14.4)? The government of South Africa (p. 2)? Why, it would seem quite a bit of the English speaking world doesn't use Chairman as a neutral term. How strange. Enough of your "but the BBC!" How many more governments, policy setters, academic organizations, and journalist organizations do I need to trot out for you? Your insistence that "chairman" is gender neutral is an essentially an etymological fallacy. It may have once been, but is not more. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 03:51, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Merely because it is not neutral to you does not make it not neutral. Common usage is what we go by, and as demonstrated above, chairman remains the most common. You are trying to make a political point, and failing. Words cannot change in their gender neutrality. They either are or they are not, and chairman is gender neutral. Your "UK government" sources is particularly fun, given that it does not say anything about proscribing "chairman". It simply says "
chairman, chairwoman, chairperson: Lower case in text. Upper case in titles, eg Spencer Tracy, Chairman, GDS.

Great source. Really supports your position. Once again, the position of individual government documents is irrelevant. The only relevant thing is common usage. Common usage is in favour of "chairman", as was seen in the Ngrams. Sorry. Get out of your ivory tower. RGloucester 03:58, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

In your imaginary world it's common usage. I've demonstrated that "chairman" is not considered neutral by global authorities. You've offered BBC. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 04:00, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
My imaginary world? Are you kidding me? You are denying that the word "chairman" is common in English usage? Are you mad? All sources point otherwise, including Ngrams. You simply are delusional. That must be why you are misusing sources, and claiming that they support a position that they do not. RGloucester 04:08, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
@Rreagan007: Some things have not changed, others are in the midst of changing (e.g., freshmen to first years). But chairperson has been around for a while. Decades. I agree COMMONNAME and NATURALNESS would absolutely apply to the examples you mentioned, but I don't think it's accurate to compare those to this particular case. The flip argument could be made for comparing it to police officer, firefighter, and flight attendant. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 06:28, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Police officer, firefighter and flight attendant are completely different cases, as "policeman" and "fireman" were never used to refer to women and "stewardess" was never used to refer to men. "Chairman", on the other hand, was (and is) used to refer to women as well as men. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:55, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Chairmanship, Brinkmanship, Sportsmanship, Penmanship, Salesmanship, Gamesmanship etc. are acceptable because they are not referring to a person. STSC (talk) 13:24, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose "Chair (position)". "Chairman" is the most common and most natural term, and that is what the article title should be per WP:COMMONNAME and WP:NATURALNESS. For the same reasons, I also oppose "Chairperson", though less strongly than I oppose "Chair (position)". Rreagan007 (talk) 05:40, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose positions of "chairs" as in the furniture are also of political importance. Chairperson would be the proper title for this article -- (talk) 06:24, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Note:This appears to be support for the nominator's (revised) request. --Boson (talk) 09:32, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support move to "Chairperson" per Wikipedia:Article titles#Precision and disambiguation. "Chairman" is ambiguous (and/or inexact) because it is unclear whether the article is about male chairpersons or chairpersons of both genders. "Chair" is ambiguous because the primary topic is an article of furniture. "Chairperson" provides natural disambiguation and the correct level of precision. Parenthetical disambiguation should be used only if natural disambiguation is not possible.--Boson (talk) 09:25, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose move to chair (position) or chairperson, but support a move to chairwoman, which was more common than chairperson until 1972. Srnec (talk) 16:24, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
    This is obviously(?) sarcastic, but I can't tell in which direction. Dohn joe (talk) 16:59, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Until fairly recently, "chairman" was commonly used for everyone in this position, whether male or female, with "chairwoman" usually restricted to those chairing specifically women's organisations. It's still commonly used by many people and organisations, probably far more than "chair" is and definitely more than the horrible "chairperson". It's also natural disambiguation. -- Necrothesp (talk) 16:31, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
    The question is not the commonness - I think everyone would agree that "chairman" is more commonly used than "chairperson." The question is whether "chairperson" is a better choice, given WP:GNL. We are expressly given the option at WP:COMMONNAME of using a less common name when the most common "has issues," such as non-neutrality. Dohn joe (talk) 16:59, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
    I don't believe it does have such issues, since it was used for women as well as men (and still often is), unlike policeman, fireman, sportsman, etc, which were specifically used for males in those roles. It was a gender-neutral term until the PC brigade decided it wasn't. -- Necrothesp (talk) 11:19, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose "chairman" is already gender-neutral. Rhoark (talk) 17:27, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
I have a large list of style guides that say it's not if you're interested. They're in the collapsed box above. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 17:31, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support changing to Chairperson. This is already commonly used and is appropriate for a general article about this corporate or organization position. When referring to an individual, Chairman or Chairwoman is preferred. Liz Read! Talk! 17:36, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I dislike all attempts to re-factor this word and make it PC. To me it's PC already and all other forms of it just don't have the right fit in English. I say this as a woman and a feminist. We don't change words like ombudsman and such; I don't know why chairman has gotten such a bad rap since the 1960s. To me this particular word is gender-neutral as is. Softlavender (talk) 11:06, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support changing to Chairperson. As Liz says, this term has been around for decades and is commonly used as a general descriptor for this position within a group. To refer to someone as a "chairman" is to imply that the person is a man, especially since "chairwoman" and "chairperson" are also commonly used. Therefore, since "chairman" is not gender-neutral (or at least not as gender-neutral as "chairperson"), "chairperson" is preferred over "chairman" per WP:COMMONNAME. Ca2james (talk) 20:05, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Chairman" is gender-neutral enough. This is PC nonsense. TL565 (talk) 04:05, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
MOS:GNL is guideline, not PC nonsense. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 04:12, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Nobody said it was. The statement was that the claim that "chairman" was gender-specific was nonsense. Which it is. See several comments above. And before you say it, the opinion of a few style guides is irrelevant. It's common usage that's relevant. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:53, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
The problem is that chairman is used in a gender-specific way (e.g. chairmen and chairwomen") and in a gender-inclusive way. --Boson (talk) 11:31, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but as I have already said, "chairwoman" was usually only used for female-only associations when the holder couldn't actually be a man. It was not commonly used in other organisations, even when a woman occupied the position. It is therefore an entirely gender-neutral term. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:01, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
If it's "entirely gender-neutral," then why do we have "chairwoman" at all? Shouldn't all women be "chairmen," regardless of the makeup of their organizations? Dohn joe (talk) 14:36, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Is "actor" not entirely gender-neutral then? In the past it exclusively meant a male, to most people in common usage it still exclusively means a male, but to some it now means a male or female and we use it as a gender-neutral term (as it is mandated by PC). Chairman, on the other hand, has always meant a male or a female, yet some here are arguing it isn't gender-neutral! How ironic is that! -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:36, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Neither "actor" nor "chairman" is entirely gender-neutral. Both can be used or intended as such, but that doesn't mean there aren't actually gender connotations in their usage. You may not notice or intend them, but they're still there. Again - why have "chairwoman" if "chairman" is truly and entirely gender-neutral? Dohn joe (talk) 17:22, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Chairman is already gender neutral in common parlance, this seems to be a case of recentism. Don't make problems where there are none already. Acather96 (click here to contact me) 11:52, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
I wish people would actually read the discussion. 1980s is not recentism. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 16:59, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
@EvergreenFir: I did read the discussion, I just came away from it with a different opinion than yourself. I am surprised I have to remind an established editor to at least try and assume good faith, a fundamental element of any productive interaction. Acather96 (click here to contact me) 21:05, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment:
  • PC - If anyone has an issue about PC, they should discuss on the Talk page of WP:GNL. Wikipedia has established the GNL policy guideline and we editors just follow that policy guideline.
  • Common name - In WP:TITLE, it states that "Ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined in reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources".
STSC (talk) 03:49, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose i can't believe i caught this one. chairman is chairman. i dont know how chairman is ambiguous or inaccurate were all the other chairmen in history inaccurate. that is strange argument, strange. chairman cannot be inaccurate, else would not be used by mao or other chairman. in japanese we call chairmen kaichou. always translated as chairmen never chairperson in sources. just dumb argument. user above says gnl is wikipolicy. guess what, i click link to see what he say for maybe he knows. what do i see? it says at top of WP:GNL 'While this essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline itself'. what garbage this guy writes. weird, right! so i check to see what else it say, it says 'it is intended to supplement the Wikipedia:Manual of Style's Gender-neutral language subsection'. okay! getting somewhere, maybe there is more! i click link. what say. this is some other guideline called manual. okay, whati s guideline? wikipedia is so labyrithine. i can't even read all this garbage to sort. but anywa,y click link to guideline. guess what! it says guideline ' sets of best practices that are supported by consensus. Editors should attempt to follow guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply'. and it say polciy is something else. so confused. but, whatever, in end it seem that this gnl is not policy. the one above editor talked about says 'not policy or guideline'. the other one in manual is just guideline not policy. it has common sense. common sense say use name peopel use. no one use this person. weird stuff. it always chairman in sources, when i learn englishi t was always chairman — Preceding unsigned comment added by Togashi Yuuta (talkcontribs) 06:31, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia Essays are advices based on Wikipedia policies; I have amended my comment accordingly. STSC (talk) 08:01, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Chair (person) - This is another alternative for consideration; many minutes of meetings are using the "Chair" instead of "Chairman" (male or female) and I would support this as well. STSC (talk) 08:31, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Strong oppose. According to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, "Chairman" is the preferred term for the person in charge of an assembly (assembly = the most general term for the group being referred to). When speaking to the Chairman, the preferred usage is to address "the chair". "Chairperson" is a relatively infrequent, but allowable, term for the person in charge. Various organizations and publications have their own styles for referring to this position, of course. The article should be, and is, "Chairman". It should include encyclopedic mention of the alternative terms, and for the most part it already does. Lou Sander (talk) 14:21, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

I have done some word counts in Robert's Rules of Order, it has used more "chair" than "chairman" to describe the chairperson in charge. In Wikipedia, we follow the GNL guideline and the Naming Conventions policy. STSC (talk) 16:53, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
@STSC: The name of the office is "Chairman". When addressing that person in a meeting, the proper usage is to address "the Chair". That is probably the reason the number of instances of "chair" in Robert's is so large. Robert's is full of examples showing the proper way to conduct business; many of these involve addressing the chair. Lou Sander (talk) 02:51, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Further comment. The 'Terminology' section already covers the different terms for the basic, longstanding, and widely understood concept of "Chairman". These include "Chairwoman", "Speaker", "Convenor", etc. Considering the great interest in the variety of terms, it should probably include a paragraph or so about "Chairwoman", and brief discussion of the use of "madam Chairman", "madam President", and the like. It might be good to include a subsection on 'Gender neutrality' in the 'Terminology' section. I am pretty familiar with this subject area and with the various terms, and would be glad to write an expanded and thoroughly referenced Terminology section, once this move request is settled. Lou Sander (talk) 14:42, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

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

Proposed rewrite[edit]

I propose to rewrite the first part of the article, posting drafts where people can see them and comment on them, perhaps here or in a section of my user page. I hope to do it in such a way as to minimize further discussions involving mere terminology. In the past, these discussions have become long and heated, and in the end, IMHO, they have not been very productive.

Some general principles of the rewrite will be:

  • The title of the article is "Chairman", which is a widely-accepted term for the person chosen to head a group, regardless of that person's gender, or of the specific term used by any one group.
  • The purpose of the article is to discuss the office. The various terms for it are an important, but subordinate, subject.
  • The other terms for the office include such things as "speaker", "moderator", "convenor", etc. These need to be mentioned, but are generally not very controversial.
  • Some of the alternative terms are designed to enhance "gender neutrality". Typical of these is "chairwoman", which is a term widely used in some contexts but not in others. These terms and their usage deserve specific discussion.

Before embarking on the rewrite, I seek comments on the ideas presented above. Lou Sander (talk) 23:33, 26 February 2015 (UTC)