Talk:Controversies about the word "niggardly"

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as they now were called[edit]

Should that read "as they were now called?" (talk) 14:19, 1 August 2013 (UTC)


Was he forced to resign, or did he offer to resign? I sort of thought it was the latter. -R. fiend 1 July 2005 15:41 (UTC)


This article (school master reprimanded for referring to two black pupils and an Asian classmate as being "in the nig-nog corner") might be of interest to anyone reading around the subject. Far less defensible than "niggardly", of course, or maybe the teacher had been asleep for a generation or two. Hajor 5 July 2005 00:42 (UTC)

I don't think the two are at all similar. This controversy arose from people misunderstanding what the word niggardly meant – if anything it seems similar to the paediatrician/paedophile incident in the UK when a doctor was driven out of her home because people didn't understand the difference between the two words – sad but true and almost comical in the lack of understanding displayed by the mob [1]. Libby norman (talk) 11:38, 28 March 2014 (UTC)


I'm removing these statements:

The previous sentance establishes the point, but this statement is unecessary, merely an excuse to provide another slur? The word actually better matches Jewish stereotypical behaviour. Therefore, if it were based on a racial slur, it would make more sense for the word to be "kikedly" or "jewbaggedly".

This is blatently racist: Ironically, the only thing this incident accomplished was to prove the stereotype that black people are uneducated.

yes, that was vandalism by Tony Luigi (talk • contribs • deleted contribs • nuke contribs • logs • filter log • block user • block log). Apologies for not catching it. I have blocked him indefinitely. — Dunc| 21:29, 14 July 2006 (UTC)


is the comparison, or mention of the two words necessary? As is clear they have nothing to do with one another in meaning and have completely different roots. It is just testament to some people's ignorance that the assosiation has been formed. Should we therefore on this precedent mention that people in Britain harrassed a paediatrician thinking she was a paedophile in the article about paediatricians? It really has nothing to do with the subject matter [2]... It is an ancient word that appears in Utopia by Thomas More, among many other works and has absolutely nothing to do with "Nigger". Bensonby 14:56, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Anyone who makes the mistake and thinks that they are being racially insulted deserves to be humiliated. If someone uses a word they do not understand, try lookin in the dictionary, not jumping to conclusions.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Agreed. These people deserve to be pointed to and laughed at. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:18, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Seems relevant to me. Given that at least one guy lost his job over the word, I think Wikipedia would be remiss in not mentioning and clarifying it. The thing in Britain is a little more dubious (because unlike "niggardly" and "nigger," which are related only by coincidence, "paedophile" and "paediatrician" actually have the same Greek roots), but if people are going to get that confused, maybe so.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I have heard of more confusion between pedant and paedophile, not least because the ill-eduacted prefer the spelling pedophile, and because the first syllable of pedant and paedophile are often pronounced thn the same way, whereas paedetrician is nore commonly pronounced pea-dee-a-trician, but also because pedant is not such a commonly used word.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Referring to the entire United States and all who use US dictionaries as "ill educated" is not a way to win many friends on the internet. I would also say that the adjective form, pedantic, IS fairly commonly used. 22:27, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
But the original poster is indeed correct when alluding to the fact that "pedo" is an etymogically incorrect prefix. It should be "paedo" as it comes from the greek for "child" - (Pais). Pedophilia means (literally) "Love of the ground" - thus anyone who uses it instead of "paedophilia" is, indeed, ignorant. (talk) 17:11, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I would say that anyone who uses the word greek uncapitalized and who spells Greek using Latin characters is much more ignorant. Usage, not etymology, rules.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:24, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the above poster's point stands, how can he use Greek characters on a latin keyboard? His point remains valid... (talk) 12:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
No, it's not valid. Whoever thinks it is should familiarize themselves with this. "Usage, not etymology, rules" is the critical part. Pseudonymed (talk) 16:39, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Etymology of Nigger[edit]

Now, this page lists it as "... from French ... from Spanish". It seems entirely ludicrous to propose that French needs to get a Latin word through Spanish, not to mention the failure to mention the Latin root. To boot, the pages for Nigger and Negro agree with this assessment. Changing it. 04:25, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Requested move 2007[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

I think that this article should exist, but the title isn't right. Shouldn't the title be something like "Niggardly controversy"? HuskyHuskie 14:13, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

At the deletion discussion a good number of people wanted a change in the title, including me. It seems to me that since the word has become controversial at somewhat different times, it might be better to say "controversies", although they all seem to revolve around essentially the same issues. I'm not really sure whether "controversy" or "controversies" is better. I could accept either. Noroton 15:41, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
There's a naming convention that prefers singular words to plural in Wikipedia article titles (here: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (plurals)), but I don't think it applies here. Noroton 15:51, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure about plurals, but I'd prefer Controversies about the word Niggardly or something like that, just because niggardly is an adjective so in "Niggardly controversy" it looks like it's modifying the word controversy.Chunky Rice 17:26, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I didn't think of that. Good point. The title should be as short as possible, but that may be the shortest while also being the clearest. I guess the link from "Niggardly" will keep it accessable to people searching for something on this subject. If that link ever went, the article would be extremely difficult to find no matter what else we name it. The meaning of the title also fits the subject matter. You've capitalized "Niggardly" but we probably shouldn't, per Wikipedia naming policy. It's better that we don't put the word in quotes or italics (we probably can't put it in italics). Saying "the word" before "niggardly" makes it clear. I don't see a better substitute for "about" either: it's a good, plain word. Did you know there's a whole Wikipedia page not just on naming articles but on the use of capital letters in article names? It's here, but it all comes down to not using capital letters except for the first letter or in names. So: Controversies about the word niggardly Noroton 19:11, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
All right, just to make it more complicated, I used the Wikipedia "Search" and "Go" functions to look up "Controversies about", "Controversies on" and "Controversies over" and "over" is the word they use most. I personally like "about" but just so you all know, "over" is the word used more, if that matters. Noroton 19:21, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd support "over" or "about". I agree that the article is primarily about the controversies rather than the word; and I agree with the need to avoid quotes and to avoid making "niggardly" appear to be a modifier in the title. Mike Christie (talk) 19:23, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Lots of good info in this discussion on the name that I hadn't thought about. I really prefer shorter titles, but Chunky Rice is quite correct in his point about what looks like it is being modified. As to what preposition should be used, let me throw this suggestion out: Controversy regarding the word niggardly HuskyHuskie 22:28, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

So, I'm fine with Controversies about the word niggardly. Is there any consensus here? Chunky Rice 16:25, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I just took the initiative and moved the page since there didn't seem to be any singificant dissent about it.Chunky Rice 22:17, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Sappy personal story - really needed?[edit]

The interjection about the newspaper editors in Ohio is cute, but does it really help our understanding of the topic? I don't think so, and would recommend its deletion. Feralcats 14:20, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree; I went ahead and took it out. Mike Christie (talk) 14:31, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Cute and sappy don't do it for me either, but I think it shows how strong feelings can get about using the word, on both sides. That's why I included it. How many words that have a noncontroversial regular meaning can you say that about? It gives another example (and there aren't an enormous number) showing how offended people can get about it. Please reconsider. Noroton 23:47, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Hm. To me the story is interesting because it's not just about misunderstanding the word as most of the controversy is. It's about getting offended by the word, even understanding the roots and the fact that it has no racially based history. I think that we should keep it, with that context in mind. I realize that it spun out of the David Howard incident, but in that context it might integrate better into the last section, which I think needs some work, anyway.
At the very least, we should keep a link to the story as a reference. It's a good source.Chunky Rice 02:07, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Noroton, you have a reasonable point. I looked up the NYT reference and read it through; I remember reading that story when it came out. I think my question would be whether what it adds is what the article needs. If you decide to re-add it, I'd like to suggest that you mention that one columnist was African-American, and the other was white. Without that it wasn't clear that it was more than just a disagreement about editorial policy. The rest of that section mentions that almost all newspaper op-ed coverage argued for free use of the word; one of these columnists argued against it, so that might be a useful reference point.
Having said all that, I am still not really sure it's all that useful to add it. The rest of the section already makes it clear it sparked a national debate and gave rise to strong feelings. Still, if you feel it adds value I won't contest it again.
Thanks for the note to alert me to this, by the way. Mike Christie (talk) 02:17, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the input. Over the next week or so I'll look into it further and I may put it back in different form. Another thing I'd like to get in the article is more of the editorial comment on the overall subject. It was overwhelmingly against considering "niggardly" as a word people should be ashamed about, and we say that, but I think there should be more quotes and reporting on the reasons editorials gave. Thanks for the suggestions about the Ohio tiff. I'll try to incorporate them. Noroton 14:40, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Requested move back[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

I'm requesting a move back to Controversies about the word niggardly. The article is not about the word itself as much as about the controversies that have been caused by use of the word. Mike Christie (talk) 13:27, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't oppose the re-naming since the top content has been changed to suit it's new name. Wikidudeman (talk) 23:09, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Master of Ballantrae reference, other additions[edit]

Among other additions recently added to the "See also" section, I found this, which I removed:

If this is a case of "niggardly" being confused with "nigger" then, even though it might not be a controversy, it seems to me it would be of enough interest and related enough to the subject of this article that we could keep it in, but it would also have to be given an exact citation. And even then, the "See also" section is not the place for it. The article on Master of Ballantrae does not mention this. This article is about a sensitive subject, and we need exact citations even more for sensitive subjects. Noroton 03:51, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Needless to say, if there's disagreement about this we should come to some consensus here about whether to keep it in or out of the article, which I certaily don't own. Noroton 04:02, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Why not simply check the text? I found "niggardly dog" twice (used to mean stingy), but no use of "niggerly." It was either a misprint in an edition I didn't find, there is no controversy, or someone is trying to create one. Lee

Removal of paragraphs from top section[edit]

I added a brief explanation about the meaning of "niggardly" in the top paragraph and removed these paragraphs from the top section, since I can't see how they are necessary to this article. All the confusion comes from a simple similarity in the way the words sound, not because there's a controversy about how the words came into being. The origins of the words belong in articles about the individual words, not here:

"Niggardly" (noun: "niggard") is an adjective meaning "stingy" or "miserly", related to the Norwegian verb nigle. It is cognate with "niggling", meaning "petty" or "unimportant", as in "the niggling details".
"Nigger" derives from the Spanish/Portuguese word negro, meaning "black", and probably also the French nègre, which is likewise a racist insult derived from negro (the ordinary French word for "black" being noir). Both negro and noir (and therefore also nègre and nigger) ultimately come from nigrum, the accusative form of the Latin word niger, meaning "black".
The William Shakespeare play Macbeth, written several centuries before the development of the racial slur, uses the word niggard in its proper context, and is often used to demonstrate the unrelatedness of the words.

If anyone objects to the removal, please discuss the matter here and we can come to a consensus. Noroton 04:02, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

There is no article about "niggard" other than this one, so that should be restored. There is simply a statement that "niggardly" and "nigger" have completely different origins, and that needs to be elaborated in the article. --Scottandrewhutchins 17:10, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

  • I think that a brief etymology of both niggardly and nigger is appropriate, given the nature of the controversy. I removed the bit about Shakespear since I didn't see the relevance and it was a bit weasely. Who exactly are these people who use it as an example? We need a cite for all of it, but this in particular seemed suspect. -Chunky Rice 17:25, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

See also explanations[edit]

An editor removed the explanations after the dot points in See also, with the edit summary "We don't usually explain 'see also' items - the relevance should be obvious once the reader looks at the articles". WP:LAYOUT states "provide a brief explanatory sentence when the relevance of the added links is not immediately apparent", which seems to be the case for Tar baby and other links. So I'm restoring the descriptions, which help a user to decide whether they want to follow the individual links. –Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 03:25, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

On second thoughts, I changed to simpler descriptions which more clearly describe the relevance to this article. Nigger was linked in the article so I removed it, and Profanity says nothing about word meanings not in this article so I removed the suggestion that it did. –Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 03:51, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Student name removed[edit]

I thought we had a discussion on this page before about this subject. The name of a college student involved in one of the controversies has been repeatedly removed and put back in. It's my understanding that there are more editors who think the name of this nonnotable person should be left out since it contributes nothing to the article and there is the possibility that someone would be embarrassed by having a permanent record of one's views in a controversy while at college. If there were some reason why the person's name would actually add to the article, that would probably overrule these concerns. The name has been added back yet again, and I'm removing it yet again, and I suggest that we form a consensus on the subject on this page if it is to be added back, as per WP:CONSENSUS. If no consensus is reached and an editor starts an edit war, I feel strongly enough about it that I'll take the editor through a dispute resolution process.Noroton (talk) 18:30, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm in favor of leaving the name out, based on my understanding of the BLP policy. The student has no notability outside of this one incident. Including the name doesn't add anything to the article. -Chunky Rice (talk) 18:49, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I am sorry, but I cannot agree. There is no dispute regarding the identity of the person, it is not a situation where the name has been intentionally hidden due to a court case or the person being a minor. The person in question was directly related to to section in question - without this person, the section would not exist. I see no reason for not including the name, it seems to be in-line with other wikipedia articles, in which names of people involved in certain incidents are mentioned. This is an encyclopedia, making relevant information unavailable to readers, does not seem to be in the interests of wikipedia. Sennen goroshi (talk) 03:59, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Please review Wikipedia:Blp#Privacy_of_names. It seems to apply. Your reversion is currently against consensus. Noroton (talk) 04:25, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I read and reviewed it, it seems to say words to the effect of "if the name has not been made public, or there have been steps taken to remove it from the media, then dont reveal the name" this does not seem to be the case. The student is central the one of the sections within the article, without her the section would not exist - she is highly relevant. Her name has been mentioned in the media, and no attempts have been made by her or anyone else to have the name withheld. There is no dispute that she is the person involved, there are citations available. What is the problem? Sennen goroshi (talk) 13:56, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
The name adds nothing to the article; it only serves to cause online embarrassment to a real-life individual who said something very stupid. Leave it out.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 14:01, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Sennen, thanks for looking it over. The most important reason for leaving the name out is the one that The Fat Man Who Never Came Back gives -- it's just the right thing to do. A second reason is that we don't read a section of WP:BLP in a way that violates the spirit of that policy. I won't deny that you could interpret the wording of Wikipedia:Blp#Privacy_of_names to allow use of the name as someone directly involved in an article's topic, but the direct involvement of a college student, years ago, in one event of a multi-event article, doesn't seem to warrant a name being used when more important considerations are the overall spirit of WP:BLP -- to keep Wikipedia a fundamentally decent source of information on encyclopedic topics without harming the human beings who are discussed in its articles. From the nutshell box at the top of BLP, to its first sentence, to the sections surrounding the "Privacy of names" subsection to the language of that section itself we're urged to be fundamentally decent to the people who appear in our articles: This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia articles can affect real people's lives. This gives us an ethical and legal responsibility. [...] Editors must take particular care adding biographical material about a living person to any Wikipedia page. Such material requires a high degree of sensitivity [...] When the name of a private individual has not been widely disseminated or has been intentionally concealed (such as in certain court cases), it is often preferable to omit it, especially when doing so does not result in a significant loss of context. Unless there's a reason to name her that justifies Wikipedia continuing to publish her name years after the event, the policy is to keep her out. The policy also recognizes that the particular circumstances of each case are important, which is why "Privacy of names" states, In all cases where the redaction of names is considered, editors should be willing to discuss the issue on the article's talk page. So Sennen, you've now got a continuing consensus to keep her name out, with three editors who disagree with you. But let's keep our minds open. Is there a reason to keep her name in that would particularly help the reader? Is there something about naming her that would give the reader more insight into the subject? If there is, then perhaps that outweighs the reasons for keeping her name out. Abstract reasons that her name should "in principle" appear in the article are not going to cut it with me -- is there a concrete, practical way that her name improves the article? Otherwise, let's just be nice to someone who isn't a well-known public figure. Noroton (talk) 14:56, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
That's nice, on a few points I have to agree with you, I always considered the spirit of the rules to be the most important.

Is it the right thing to do? Yes, I think so - she made the complaint and was more than willing to go on record in relation to the incident. She was given the choice and due to her choice to go on record, there was a news story - and a section in wikipedia. She is not some unwilling victim of a crime, she is someone who was more than happy to tell people about the incident.

Is it in the best interests of wikipedia to show her name? Yes, I think so - relevant information should always be shown, unless there is a major privacy/safety/legal issue preventing it. In 50yrs time, no one will remember her name, in the same way that no one will remember that the drummer of the Inspiral Carpets was called Craig Gill.

Should we limit names to those who have only acted in a blatantly positive manner? or should wikipedia require that for someone to be named that there must be a minimum of 100 news articles written about them? She isn't famous, but there are no major privacy issues, no doubt that she is relevant to the section, no legal issues, and no attempts elsewhere to hide the name.

Her name improves the article, because it's a fact, that is what wikipedia is striving for, facts. Wikipedia is not a promotional website, trying to give opinions. Perhaps she is embarrassed about the whole incident, I don't know - but at the time she was more than happy to appear before a Faculty senate and make a statement, this does not seem like the act of someone who wishes to stay out of the limelight - she must have been aware that such things would be made public, her name used and her statements quoted.

Sennen goroshi (talk) 15:40, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for that thoughtful response, but I find your reasons are abstract, something that I've already considered and rejected as not important enough to use her name. Wikipedia isn't looking for any fact related to the subject, just relevant facts that help readers understand the subject better, and this one is minor and marginal. If I didn't see a good reason to leave it out, I'd have no problem with including a minor, marginal fact, but the reader isn't helped enough to outweigh even the possible bad effect of putting this weak spotlight on her. She didn't know Wikipedia would use her name nine years later, and in 1999 it was easy not to realize what kind of information would be kept on the Internet in 2008. For those who do realize Wikipedia might use their names in an article, there might be a chilling effect on campus speech. Let people express themselves fully as college students, make their own mistakes (for the sake of discussion we can assume this was a mistake), learn from the experience and move on. A lot of people look back on what they said and did in college and shudder. Wikipedia shouldn't be a part of putting the old statements around their necks like an albatross nine or more years later. If she were older or a public figure, I'd agree with you. Noroton (talk) 18:26, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree with The Fat Man Who Never Came Back and Noroton. Why did you put the name back, claiming "false consensus", when you are the only one arguing for the name to be placed in the article? How do you define consensus? (I'm not being sarcastic, I'd really like to know how this is supposed to be resolved.) --JaGa (talk) 15:26, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Sennen goroshi, despite the fact that there was an already existing consensus, you added the name back; when invited to discuss the matter, you were the only one favoring your position as opposed to me, The Fat Man Who Never Came Back, and (previously) Chunky Rice. While we discussed the matter and for more than a day afterward, no one reverted your edit to keep the name in the article. After the discussion died down, and with a consensus still in place not to name her, I eventually reverted your edit. Now you again add her name back without a consensus and without further discussion here. I have the same question that User:JaGa has. Noroton (talk) 17:42, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
consensus is not reached by a vote. there is nothing in wikipedia BLP to suggest that her name should be removed. If you wish to obtain consensus, then I suggest you propose some changes to BLP which I will obviously respect. Just because you don't like the name being here is not really relevant. It is a cited fact, it is the name of someone central to the section and no attempts legal or otherwise have been made to remove the name from the media. Sennen goroshi (talk) 17:53, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Now I have looked a little further into the edit history of this article, it seems that a number of previous editors have tried to put the name into the article, only to have the above editors revert them. It is rather interesting that you claim that I am the only person in favour of keeping the name, when you are more than aware (having reverted previous editors yourself) that I am certainly not the only person in favour of keeping the name. Sennen goroshi (talk) 18:01, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Consensus can happen when other editors accept it, or, as in this case, when a discussion ends with a minority of one. Consensus also determines application/interpretation of policy. This consensus is well within WP:BLP, as has been pointed out. You might want to review WP:CONSENSUS and Wikipedia:Disruptive editing and consider the spirit of the policy and the guideline. Noroton (talk) 18:40, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
thanks for the links. I found Consensus can be assumed to exist until voiced disagreement becomes evident to be interesting. Sennen goroshi (talk) 18:44, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Which is why I said consider the spirit. What you've just done is an example of wikilawyering. Noroton (talk) 18:49, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Can someone explain if consensus states that the names must be removed, why in the Wilmington, North Carolina incident section of the same article, the names are in place? seems a little strange to me. Sennen goroshi (talk) 18:48, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
and in the David Howard incident, the names have not been removed either? Does BLP specifically protect students? it seems as those two sections kept the names for such a long time, than consensus supports names remaining. Please explain why those names should remain, while the name in question should have her name removed, before reverting any edits Sennen goroshi (talk) 18:51, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Neither involved the expression of an opinion by someone in college or younger. It wouldn't bother me either way if the youth's name in the Wilmington incident were removed. Noroton (talk) 18:55, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Are you trying to say that BLP specifically protects those in college or who acted while in college? Sennen goroshi (talk) 19:00, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Please take the time to look over what I've said from the beginning. I've been very clear. So has The Fat Man Who Never Came Back. And we're talking about this specific case. Circumstances may call for something different in other cases. Noroton (talk) 19:05, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
I am sorry, but to put it as simply as possible, I do not agree with your opinion neither do I agree with those of the fat man. It seems to me as if there is nothing against wikipedia guidelines, or the spirit of the guidelines. It also seems as if you are willing to disregard the consensus that has been reached on BLP, in order to have your own special rules for your own special article. From the previous edits that have been constantly reverted by yourself, you should be aware that I am not the only editor who does not agree with you. From the names being included in other sections, it would seem your edits are not consistent and apart from the fact that the student made the comments in question while she was a student, you have no reasons for removing the name. Sennen goroshi (talk) 12:50, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Please stop playing WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. None of the other cases involve someone giving their opinions on this kind of topic at such a young age. You can see that. The consensus is to keep it out, it's allowed under policies and guidelines for us to make content decisions for this article on this talk page, as you know. Noroton (talk) 04:00, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
How old was she, when she made the statement? Sennen goroshi (talk) 04:06, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
College age. Noroton (talk) 04:31, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Care to put that in years? Was she under 21? Was she a mature student? Seeing as your only reason for removing the name is her age, surely you should know how old she was at the time. Sennen goroshi (talk) 05:06, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) No, I'm comfortable with an assumption on that one. Looks like the rest of the consensus is, too. Noroton (talk) 05:35, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

This quote from an official interpretation of Wikipedia policy might be apropos: "Wikipedia articles that present material about living people can affect their subjects' lives. Wikipedia editors who deal with these articles have a responsibility to consider the legal and ethical implications of their actions when doing so. In cases where the appropriateness of material regarding a living person is questioned, the rule of thumb should be 'do no harm.' This means, among other things, that such material should be removed until a decision to include it is reached, rather than being included until a decision to remove it is reached." Based on this, I propose to remove the student's name keep the student's name out of the article until such time as full agreement can be reached on whether it should be included or not. (talk) 05:47, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
to the IP editor, the inclusion of the name would not affect the life of anyone, the name is online - along with many far more personal details than a mere name for people who wished to use a search engine. We are not talking about someone who was accused of a crime, we are talking about someone who made a complaint about the usage of the word "niggardly" - it is rather unlikely that there are going to be vigilante groups outside her front door, if the name is included.

to Noroton, don't you think it is a little strange to remove a name from an article, based purely on the age of the person at the time of the incident, when you don't actually know how old she was at the time? Your whole argument is based on her age, so either state her age at the time, or cease using that point. If you don't know how old she was, then I think she was 30 at the time. Sennen goroshi (talk) 14:20, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
30? Why do you think that? Sounds like an assumption when assuming a regular college age is the only rational assumption. If you can show she was 30, I'll support using her name. Noroton (talk) 14:47, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think she is 30, I don't know how old she is. 30 is as good an age as any - and at the moment, saying she is 30 is accurate as anything you have said. The point is that you don't know her age, and you are basing you decisions on her age. Do you not see how absurd that is?

Sennen goroshi (talk) 14:50, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

I guess we have different definitions about what a reasonable assumption and an absurd assumption are. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. You don't seem to be convincing anyone else so far. Have any other arguments you'd like to bring up? Noroton (talk) 14:56, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
You're right. We are going round in circles and not getting very far. You don't know how old she was at the time. You stated that if she was over 30, you would support using her name, I wish I could prove she was over 30, but I can't. I would suggest that saying over 30 is a touch too old, I would suggest that if she was over 18 at the time, then there should be no issues with her name remaining, if she was under 18 then perhaps, I should put this down to her being a kid at the time and not push the issue. Does that sound OK? I have wasted too much time on this article. Sennen goroshi (talk) 14:58, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
"College age" has always been my position, and that's broadly 17-23 years old. Being in college, like being on Wikipedia, can sometimes lead people to say things they'd later regret. Someone older, who's been out in the world and then comes back to college, has more experience behind them and presumably can better handle the debates around them. That's my thinking, anyway. Noroton (talk) 15:22, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
oh and I have removed the name from this talk page, until things are resolved Sennen goroshi (talk) 15:02, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for that. Noroton (talk) 15:22, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
No problem. I tend to think that 18 plus is an adult and capable of making mistakes that they have to live with. But I have no idea if wikipedia has any guidelines on ages like this. I think we have both come a little too close to edit-warring on this article, so I'm gonna chill and play some games, instead of stirring this up any further for the time being. Sennen goroshi (talk) 16:01, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
(In reply to your comment "it is rather unlikely that there are going to be vigilante groups outside her front door,") No vigilante groups, but I was thinking about general reputation. However, I just googled her and found out that she is now quite successful professionally. (talk) 06:33, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
To the IP editor, my signature was not removed, you added a comment in the middle of my comments. Add comments to the bottom of the article, not in the middle. If you wish to respond to a specific statement, then quote my statement in your contribution, its easier that way. Sennen goroshi (talk) 12:50, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


I predict that the word will pass out of use. What is ironic is that the common stereotype of African Americans is that they are the opposite of niggardly, that is they spend their money too freely. Scots, on the other hand, are said to be niggardly. Redddogg (talk) 17:16, 23 August 2008 (UTC)


I know this has nothing to do with editing the article, but I just can't believe that people are this PC Fanatical that you can't even say a word that means something completely different than the N word, and is not even derived from the same word. Niggardly should not be a controversial word. NIGGARD NIGGARD NIGGARD!!!!!!! Why has America become so obsessed with being politically correct, if you make "Merry Christmas" taboo, you are offending every christian in America. The right of freedom of speech allows us to be as offensive as we want, besides hasn't anyone ever heard "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Now I know that we need to be polite, like not saying words like "n*gg*r" or "F*ck you", But it is also very rude to make a federal case about a word like "niggard".--Banditda (talk) 23:20, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Our personal opinions on the topic of the article aren't really relevant, not even on the talk page. See WP:TALK. Mike Christie (talk) 23:31, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
Niggard. --Kizor 10:03, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

What was the disgusting habit in McClure's magazine? Nygard Please (talk) 21:56, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Recent name change[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. 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 move request was reverted to original name. Aervanath talks like a mover, but not a shaker 07:30, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

In the past few days the name of the article was changed from Controversies about the word niggardly to Controversies concerning the word "niggardly". I don't like this new name, and I think we should have a consensus on any new name. Some background: There had been a discussion about the name back in '07, resulting in "...about the word niggardly" (see above: Requested move and, two sections below that, Requested move back.

I prefer the word "about" to "concerning" because the first word is shorter, simpler and easier to type, and we discussed that word in the previous discussion. I prefer not to have quotes in the title because I don't think they're necessary -- it's already clear that we're talking about a word when "the word niggardly" are the last three words in the title, so people shouldn't have to do the extra typing to write out the article name. If there's a style guideline about any of this, I'd be happy to follow it. This isn't an important matter, of course, and I think the previous discussion showed a lot of flexibility about the name. -- Noroton (talk) 18:24, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Noroton; I prefer the earlier name. I think "about" is definitely preferable to "concerning"; I would be OK with retaining the quotes, though, since I think that would be correct usage. As Noroton says, I'd defer to any relevant style guideline.

Noroton, are you planning to post this at WP:RM? Mike Christie (talk) 19:00, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Requested move 2009[edit]

Yes. It took me a while to figure it out, but it's there under Jan. 4. I think I did it right. Seemed like a lot to go through. Overall with this, I think the goal is to be both as clear as possible and make it as easy as possible for the reader to find, understand, remember and type the article name. -- Noroton (talk) 20:54, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Why not just move the article to Niggardly? It redirects here, and a good portion of the article is about the word and not the controversy about it. TJ Spyke 00:25, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Please look again. -- Noroton (talk) 04:25, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Whether it is renamed or not, it should retain the quotation marks around the word concerned. (talk) 02:32, 6 January 2009 (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. No further edits should be made to this section.

"the school's unconstitutional speech code"[edit]

Um, was it found to be unconstitutional by a Court? maybe we should strike that word as not NPOV. (talk) 08:33, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Ridiculous and biased article[edit]

This article has merit, I think it should stay (with major changes though), but clearly language and word meaning change and to say that this word is a part of our lexicon based on the Old Norse origin is delusional and convenient for racists.

The word "faggot" may have had an innocuous definition 200 hundred years ago, but does anyone refer to a bundle of sticks as a faggot these days? --DCX (talk) 21:30, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

The article contains several examples supporting your point of view, so it does appear the article is balanced. Rklawton (talk) 13:33, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Or maybe just a "ridiculous and biased" complaint. (Sorry, just using "DCX"'s own words.) While the word may become a convenience for snide racists, acknowledging the correct, entirely current meaning of the word is certainly not "delusional"! While you're at it, get rid of nasty words like "thespian" and "homogeneous"! (talk) 12:04, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Firstly i would say your first point is unfounded as from the page and dictionary definition that the word hasn't be used in an racial way. Secondly i think you will find in england that you can buy faggots and when people say they are going for a fag it means to have a cigarette.
Yes, in British English, nobody would bat an eyelid if you said you were 'going outside for a fag', as this is entirely understood to mean a cigarette. The usage of 'faggot' to mean homosexual is likewise very much a minority usage here, and regarded largely as an americanism. You still buy faggots at the butcher's shop as a foodstuff, and bundles of wood are indeed still sold as 'faggots' (always in the plural), mostly in the north of England. This word does not have the overtones in the UK that it has in the US. JulesVerne (talk) 13:52, 7 February 2011 (GMT)
Opinions and debates about such things are not permitted on the talk page. Guidelines are NPOV, and properly citing reliable secondary sources. ScienceApe (talk) 17:07, 3 February 2012 (UTC)


In the British comedy Yes, Prime Minister, (from memory) Humphrey Appleby - referring to a new and unknown African leader - says "All we know about him is that he is an enigma." The PM bridles saying "I don't like that word!". HA asks "You don't like the word 'enigma'?". Realizing his mistake, the PM changes the subject. Myrvin (talk) 09:26, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Delete this article[edit]

Please delete this article, as the only controversy is that people don't know how to use a dictionary. Every example stated in the article is insignificant and does not show that any "controversy" exists on any great scale. Are we to create a wikipedia article for every commonly misunderstood word? We might as well have a "controversies about the word epidermis" article. (talk) 05:39, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Please do NOT delete this article. Fictional misunderstandings ("epidermis") are irrelevant, for one thing. Several given examples ARE significant and DO show that controversy exists on a sufficient scale! (talk) 11:39, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

PLEASE DO NOT DELETE - People often confuse these terms and misspellings between them are common. These are 2 different terms in the English language that need to be defined and kept separated, as they are often misused/misspelled. If anything, there should be a reference in regard to the term, "nigger" with reference linked to the other locked wiki page reference. As the other page is locked, I believe some may have added missing etymology information that is better suited for that page, but also some reference here should be left for disambiguation between the 2 terms. Keeping the variations is important to discern between these two terms, but better separation and link(s) to the locked reference page may help. One term is often used in a disparaging manner, but the other has equally important historical and word origin/conflict information in regards to its separate meaning.

Requested move to just Niggardly[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion 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.

No consensus to move. Vegaswikian (talk) 01:12, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Controversies about the word "niggardly"Niggardly – Wikipedia policy is not to include unnecessary disambiguation. The Controversies about the word part of the title is just that. As their is no article titled niggardly, this article should have that title instead. Also, no one will search for the current long title, but many will search for niggardly. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 01:30, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Support per nom. The controversies make the word itself encyclopedically notable, hence the inclusion of relevant etymologies. —  AjaxSmack  04:39, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose this is not unnecessary disambiguation, this is the subject of the article. The proposed title is not the subject of the article, since the article doesn't cover the subject of being niggardly, nor does it cover the subject the word niggardly. It only covers the subject of controversies about using the word niggardly. This is not the same as covering the origin, diction, and usage of the word niggardly, of which controversies is a subtopic. Nor is it the property of being niggardly, which is a different subject from the word niggardly. (talk) 05:12, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Per nom. Article should be about the word, and re-written to include a controversy section. Word is notable in its own right.--JOJ Hutton 23:05, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose We do not generally have articles on words; that's what Wiktionary is for. Furthermore, 95% of this article is about the controversies; if we retitle it, it will violate WP:COATRACK. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 07:31, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose; the article's title correctly delineates its scope in the most succinct manner possible. Powers T 20:37, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, I'm as big an advocate of COMMONNAME as there is, but the subject of this article is not the definition of Niggardly, which is what that title would incorrectly imply. This is not a topic with a name - it's a contrived topic for which we must conjure an appropriate descriptive title per the WP:CRITERIA. And that's exactly what we have here. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:45, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. 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.

Biased edit[edit]

This was put in the article today: 'Assigning a racial component to this word betrays severe lack of semantic sophistication, not to mention self-righteous hypersensitivity.' I think it doesn't convey the neutral point of view policy properly. Anyone with me? BlueRoll18 (talk) 22:34, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Resolved: Since reverted. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 01:07, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Move to ""Niggardly" controversy"?[edit]

That title is more succinct than the current title, and means exactly the same thing. Epicgenius(talk to mesee my contributions) 00:31, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Deletion of "nigga"[edit]

"Nigga" is not the same word as "nigger", so why are they being listed as such? "Nigger" is derogatory. "Nigga" is a brotherly term against African-Americans. While the two words are related etymologically, they have two totally different meanings. Epicgenius(talk to mesee my contributions) 00:01, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Hey, I'm not going to template you right now, but stop edit warring. It's called Bold, Revert, Discuss, not Bold, Revert, Revert, Revert. In any case, nowhere in this article does any source mention the shortened word "Nigga", so stop adding it to this article. Stating "why are they being listed as such" is false. It's not brought up in this article, and as far as I can tell, from the reliable sources in this article, should not be. Thanks. Dave Dial (talk) 00:21, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
It doesn't need to be from a source in the article (and even if it does, I can pull some up right now.) The two words (nigger and nigga) are not the same, as said right here. "Nigga" is not a shortened version of "nigger". Epicgenius(talk to mesee my contributions) 23:59, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
You are making absolutely no sense. Of course it would have to be sourced. And it would have to be weighted, and related to THIS(Controversies about the word "niggardly") article. Why is that so hard for you to understand? So do not keep reverting this to your preferred version. You made an edit, and it was challenged. Now it's up to you to either gain consensus for the edit, and show why it should be in the article, or drop it. Thanks. Dave Dial (talk) 00:41, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't think discussion of nigga belongs in this article. The controversies are due to confusion of niggardly with nigger, not with nigga. Though I have added a link to Nigga under See also as potentially of interest to readers of this article. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 13:12, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Controversies about the word "niggardly"/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

The article seems to have lots of information, but does not cover the topic evenly. Otherwise a good little article, particularly since it includes refrences.

Last edited at 16:20, 8 December 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 12:14, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

It should read "Controversies about the word 'nigger'"[edit]

Since "niggardly" predates "nigger", it technically can't cause controversies as "niggardly" was already a word when "nigger" came into use. -- (talk) 20:30, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

A controversy occurs because some people take exception to something, justifiably or not. This article clearly documents the various events of a controversial nature regarding this term. Mindmatrix 01:27, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

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