Talk:Crowned crane

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Requested move[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. 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: moved.
As with other similar discussion of late, this debate is a specific instance of the wider disagreement about whether to follow the guidance WP:BIRDS#Naming, or the contrary guidance at WP:FAUNA#Capitalisation_and_italicisation. The WP:FAUNA guidance follows the principles at WP:NCCAPS; the WP:BIRDS guidance contradicts it.
Many guidelines have exceptions to deal with specific cases, so the community could decide to make the guidance on birds an agreed exception. However, I see no evidence that this is the case here. WikiProjects have an important role as custodians of topics within the scope, but they are not walled gardens with a licence to ignore a wider community consensus. Their own internal guidelines do not override community-wide policies and guidelines. In this case, there is no evidence that the guidance WP:BIRDS#Naming amounts to a guideline endorsed by the wider community; and per WP:CONLEVEL, "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale."
Since WP:BIRDS#Naming is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline, this discussion comes down to a disagreement between those editors who want to apply existing policies and guidelines, and those who wish to create a general exception for birds. Note that most of the editors arguing here for capitalisation do so not as a particular exception applying to these 4 pages, but as a general exception applying to all birds; effectively a broad exception to the guidelines.
Both views are supported here by similar number of editors, which ceteris paribus would amount to a lack of consensus. However, since those supporting the change are supported by Wikipedia guidelines, while those opposing it are not, I give significantly more weight to those whose arguments are upheld by policy ... so I weigh this discussion as a consensus to move.
Those who support the principles at WP:BIRDS#Naming may wish open an RFC to test whether there is a broad community consensus for the WP:BIRDS view that all birds should be an exception to Wikipedia's article naming principles. But unless and until such a community consensus is established at an RFC (or by clear consensus at a succession of individual discussions), the guidelines at WP:FAUNA and WP:NCCAPS take precedence. Note that the discussion below, which as been marked as an RFC, initially addresses the narrow question of these particular articles rather than the broader principle (although in places it does address the wider principle). I assume that editor who started it did so in good faith, but in effect it amounts to the opening of a parallel discussion to this RM, which is a form of WP:FORUMSHOPping. In closing this discussion, I have not attempted to include the views expressed in the RM below. -- BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:28, 26 March 2014 (UTC)



– These articles should be renamed as described above to respect correct syntax and orthographic conventions (notably, no need of capitals in species name). There is no reason not to enforce the guidelines of Wikipedia regarding animal species name and capitalisation (WP:TITLE, WP:FAUNA,WP:CONLEVEL and WP:NCCAPS). Thanks! Mama meta modal (talk) 14:39, 23 February 2014 (UTC) --Relisted. BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:34, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Don't confuse species name with common name. The naming convention for birds is to have Common names capitalized: see Wikipedia:WikiProject Birds and also Wikipedia:WikiProject Animals#Naming conventions. --Animalparty-- (talk) 18:22, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. Even if the consensus were in favour of useless capitals, renaming is needed to add the necessary hyphens. Mama meta modal (talk) 21:31, 23 February 2014 (UTC).
If I type in "crowned crane" into google books as here, it's a 5/5 split between caps and lower case for the name in the first 10 books. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:01, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
With the second 10 books, it is a 8/2 split in favour of capitalising "Crane" (Sibley uses caps I am 99% sure - can't link from here, will double check on that. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:04, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
An [https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Crowned+Crane+is%2Ccrowned+crane+is&year_start=1980&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2CCrowned%20Crane%20is%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ccrowned%20crane%20is%3B%2Cc0 ngram across millions of digitized books shows a clear preponderance of lowercase for "crowned crane is" (the "is" reduces the chance that the phrase was used in a chapter title or other heading. Dohn joe (talk) 00:11, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, interesting. It might also that some of the books that are using the term with lowercase letters are alot more wordy and use the phrase more. I'll go down a few more levels of ten in books. Third set is 2/5 with 3 I can't tell (one of the lower case is a kids' book) Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 04:15, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Also - if I try and capture official government websites (by typing "crowned" + "crane" + "gov") - there is a preponderance of capitalised Cranes. See 1-10 Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 04:37, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
https://www.google.com.au/search?q=gov+crowned+crane&oq=gov+crowned+crane&aqs=chrome..69i57.5463j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8
  • Support, but watch out--this move is going to run afowl of WP:BIRDS. (hahahahaha) Red Slash 03:02, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong support WikiProject Birds's preferences have long contradicted big policies like WP:FAUNA and WP:NCCAPS. This is sometimes defended by citing WP:LOCALCONSENSUS, which is ironic, since that page clearly states "participants in a WikiProject cannot decide that some generally accepted policy or guideline does not apply to articles within its scope." I know the IOC uses title-case capitalization for bird species, but we're not bound by their practices; see also WP:SSF. This is long overdue and should be applied consistently for all bird articles. While I'm optimistic that we will collectively see the light on this issue, it's more likely that this will set off a familiar cycle of bickering that ends in no consensus. But a man can hope. --BDD (talk) 19:49, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
BDD, just to let you know Wikiproject Birds only chooses to standardize on English names from the IOC. It does not use it for species classification. Wikiproject Birds also decided on capitalization rules separate from the IOC.....Pvmoutside (talk) 03:15, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Support regardless of the rules set by WP:BIRDS the proposed titles are constant with standard practice as well as more general guidelines.--70.49.72.34 (talk) 22:21, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
I suspect that IP' votes will not be counted. Snowman (talk) 13:35, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Um, why not? Unless you have reason to suspect this IP of bad behavior, IPs are equal contributors to WP. Dohn joe (talk) 16:56, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I do not know much about the IP and I do not suspect anything. There may be Wiki guidelines about IPs voting, but I have not got time to look them up at the moment. Snowman (talk) 17:01, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. No harm, no fowl. No real reason other than some people's sense of what's "right". What's the harm of letting sleeping bird-dogs lie, rather than open a can of worms? Furthermore, having capital titles distinguishes a Gray-Crowned Crane from any crane species that may happen to have a gray crown. When common names are standardized internationally, they should be considered equivalent to proper nouns in my opinion. --Animalparty-- (talk) 01:51, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
This is your opinion. But please also consider the fact that animal species names are not capitalised, both in Wikipedia (where is it explicitly recommended not to use useless unjustified capitals in this situation) and in the general usage outside. Mama meta modal (talk) 20:25, 8 March 2014 (UTC).
Look at the links above then, I would suggest that it doesn't support the view that bird names are generally uncapped. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 21:08, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
The ngram above does support that view. Dohn joe (talk) 00:11, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Further comment. I would also support the move of Crowned CraneCrowned crane as this is not a proper name. I'd also point out that changing three species names (which I still oppose) is going to create a massive headache as they won't match the other 9000 bird species articles, which are all capitalised. Having this discussion piecemeal seems problematic. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:27, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment, so personally my preference is to standardize with the most of the rest of Wikipedia and use lower case..... It would be really really cool to have all the birds show lower case though (or have the rest of Wikipedia joing WP:BIRDS and use capitals throughout)......Also, Wikipedia capitalization rules does give Wikiproject Birds an exception...As an observation, we are having an interesting discussion regarding Common Gull. The interesting thing is for some who choose to keep the name Common Gull they disregard WIKIPROJECT:BIRD rules (IOC) and cite general Wikipedia policy. Yet when it comes down to capitalization, they disregard Wikipedia policy and use WIKIPROJECT:BIRD rules.....just sayin'.....For me, whether capitalization occurs or not is cosmetic. Naming rules are a bigger deal to me...... Pvmoutside (talk) 02:20, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Unlike just about all other animals, birds have proper names (with ornithologists etc. discussing and determining them). If anything this is like astronomy where proper names are capitalised. Our job is to reflect consensus not make our own. e.g. see this list from the official world bird names site. As an example from Oz, see here from the official Oz checklist book - all title case/caps. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 06:09, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I should clarify that I do support the hyphens being included. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 19:55, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I corrected the request regarding the hyphens in the species name, except for the red-crowned crane where it is obviously needed. Mama meta modal (talk) 20:16, 8 March 2014 (UTC).
I may be clearer if User Casliber commented specifically on the move of "Crowned Crane to "Crowned crane", because this is a name of a group of birds and not a bird species name. Snowman (talk) 09:01, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
I'd leave the stem page without the hyphens. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:40, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per Cas, also no logic in lower casing just these four species of birds and leaving 9000 capitalised. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 07:20, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Incidentally, the hyphenation for the three relevant species is correct as per the IOC World List that the Bird Project uses so that we have a single international standard for English names. I think a change to not having a standard agreed naming system also needs justification. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 07:29, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Jim regarding the hyphenization issue. We should keep that as is. If we added the hyphens, then not only would our naming convention be violated, but it would cause confusion with regard to related species. In the example listed the Black Crowned Crane and Grey Crowned Crane are Crowned Cranes in the genus Balearica. The Red-crowned Crane is a Crane having a red crown......Pvmoutside (talk) 12:00, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Further comment. I would support the move of Crowned CraneCrowned crane ONLY, since full caps there makes no sense on any basic. Still oppose the others Jimfbleak - talk to me? 17:12, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We have a perfectly good convention already; I see absolutely no point to chnging it. Maias (talk) 07:39, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
There is not only one convention and this is exactly the point here. Why should these bird species not be named following the same guidelines than all other animals due to a unjustified specific rule contradicting the general use and both the Wikipedian conventions regarding animals and capital letters? Mama meta modal (talk) 20:14, 8 March 2014 (UTC).
I see both sides of the argument on this one, and in my eyes it's a fight over appearance over content. A reader will not get really confused either way whether we use capital letters or not. I think there should be conformity over species pages, so they all look the same style wise, but as many from Wikiproject Birds point out, the bird species titles are in reality proper nouns, so having them capitalized is grammatically correct. A dumb question, if Wikiproject Birds is using proper grammar to title it's species pages with capitals, why don't we use proper grammar and change all other species to capitals? It would be nice to have all species match whether it be birds, mammals, fish...........I'm sure someone can run a bot to make it workPvmoutside (talk) 01:02, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Several years ago, all animal and plant pages were capitalised. But there was a vote somewhere and they were changed over. No other organisms have decreed-upon proper names though. Recently there was some discussion at wikiproject plants querying the capitalisation debate again. Need to add permalinks when I have time. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 01:55, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Support per BDD et al. The reason to change the convention is because the bird project is out of step with general WP guidelines, with no good justification. We don't generally choose just one WP:RELIABLESOURCE when we look at article titles - we look to all reliable sources. In this case, it is clear that the majority of reliable sources lowercase bird names - so we should follow the sources and do likewise. As to why just these four, well, you've got to start somewhere... Dohn joe (talk) 16:56, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Also see this ngram posted above to show that most sources do use lowercase for "crowned crane". Dohn joe (talk) 00:11, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Symbol confirmed.svg Support, for the above-mentioned reasons, especially to have consistent practice, to respect the general guidelines of Wikipedia and to apply consistent and usual naming of animal species. I agree that the hyphen, needed for the red-crowned crane, is not necessary for the black crowned crane and the grey crowned crane (I corrected the request accordingly). Mama meta modal (talk) 17:14, 8 March 2014 (UTC).
So how do you explain ignoring official ornithological lists and government pages? Also, you should probably put this support under your nomination, otherwise it looks like you're voting twice. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 04:40, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Animal species names are not proper nouns. The argument that capitals would be useful to avoid possible confusion is some cases (e.g. Common Starling) is not valid as anybody can use link to Wikipedia articles to make everything clear (e.g. common starling avoid any potential uncertainty). I and others simply think that usual practice is more important than "governmental guidelines". External guidelines may not be consistent; for this and other reasons, Wikipedia has its own conventions. It seems obvious that the zoological conventions for fauna species name (see WP:FAUNA) as well as Wikipedia general guidelines (WP:CONLEVEL and WP:NCCAPS) should prevail here and also apply to birds. Mama meta modal (talk) 09:01, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
But this is the thing, they are proper nouns unlike any other animals and in fact like planets/asteroids/moons - there is a worldwide board of ornithologists that argues over them. You can't just pretend that doesn't exist. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:08, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I think that there is nothing wrong with using the capitalised versions of common species names for birds. The requested species moves would upset a traditional apple cart. Over 10,000 bird species pages and over 2,000 bird genus pages are set up for capitalized versions of bird names as well as all the Wiki links, redirects and so on. Incidentally, the extra hyphen in Red-crowned Crane does look inconsistent and it is probably worth questioning the IOC about this, perhaps it is because it is in a different genus to the other two and highlights a difference between a crowned crane and a crane. Note that words for groups of bird types like crowned crane and crane are not capitalised. Snowman (talk) 17:28, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Could not more Strongly Oppose the following:
Black Crowned CraneBlack crowned crane
Grey Crowned CraneGrey crowned crane
Red-crowned CraneRed-crowned crane
  • Support the following:
Crowned CraneCrowned crane
Those who don't understand bird naming conventions should probably defer to bird experts in a discussion on bird naming conventions. Common names in birds are official names, just like scientific names, and as with them, there are rules that govern their capitalization. They are proper names: they refer to a very specific thing (a species) to the exclusion of all others. As such, this is not merely a matter of style: these names are incorrect when not capitalized. A blue jay is not at all the same thing as a Blue Jay. By the way, this practice has spread into many other parts of the biological sciences, like butterflies, odonates, and mammals, so it's not "just birds" where this convention is used. Click on "Look Inside" on these examples:
http://www.amazon.com/Butterflies-North-America-Kaufman-Guides/dp/0618768262/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394433585&sr=8-1&keywords=kaufman+butterfly+guide
http://www.amazon.com/Mammals-North-America-Edition-Princeton/dp/0691140928/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394433621&sr=8-1&keywords=mammals+of+north+america
http://www.amazon.com/Dragonflies-Damselflies-Princeton-Field-Guides/dp/0691122830/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394433718&sr=8-1&keywords=dragonfly+guide
Natureguy1980 (talk) 06:54, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
That argument would be much more convincing if it reflected real-world usage patterns. Try a Google Books search for "red crowned crane is" and you will find that only 7 of 28 pertinent results use "Red-crowned Crane," with two more using "Red-crowned crane." That means that 19 of 28 books use "red-crowned crane." That's 68% of real-world published works using the lowercase version, and only 25% using the current Wikipedia title. And WP is not alone - Brittanica lowercases bird species names as well. Wikipedia gets it right by using lowercase for mammals, reptiles, and everything else - why are birds the exception? Dohn joe (talk) 15:06, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Except that many of the ones using lower case are kids books, travel books or odd sort of general books. Essentially by using caps we have nothing to lose and some meaning to gain - and the official sources use caps. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 19:15, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Nothing to lose except for adherence to our own standards, that is. --BDD (talk) 22:04, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Please, do not forget that Wkipedia is not a specialised database for ornithologists, some website cited above already have this task. Wikipedia is a general encyclopaedia for all publics ("In this case, it is clear that the majority of reliable sources lowercase bird names", Dohn joe, above). For these reasons, and others stated above, Wikipedia should reflect usual practice of people outside. But, most importantly, the titles of these articles should respect Wikipedia's own conventions (WP:TITLE, WP:FAUNA,WP:CONLEVEL and WP:NCCAPS).
Mama meta modal (talk) 21:30, 11 March 2014 (UTC).
Accuracy trumps accessibility. Always. There are some cases where material that is made too broad-access loses meaning. We've had this discussion about capitalised anmes as one of the biggest reasons to use caps. So we could talk about black ducks and Black Ducks for instance. and, I think people can still understand a name if in capitalisation, so the accessibility argument is extremely weak. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 02:40, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
What do you want to do with "Crowned Crane"? Is it an accurate name for Balearica? I don't see how WikiProject Bird rules support having a disambiguation page at "Crowned Crane". Should Balearica be moved to "Crowned Crane", or be the redirect target of "Crowned Crane"? Should there be a disambiguation page at "Crowned crane? Plantdrew (talk) 04:01, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Mysteriously, despite such objections we haven't heard from readers confused that White-tailed deer might be referring to any deer with a white tail, rather than a species. Likewise for American black bear, Common tree frog, etc. --BDD (talk) 16:11, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
None of those are common everyday descriptors that someone might use, like a simple colour or other adjective. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:24, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Then I appeal to Gray fox, Red king crab, and Blue whale. By the way, I hadn't even noticed that Black Duck was a dab, so that's not a very good example either. --BDD (talk) 16:39, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Support move of Crowned CraneCrowned crane, not weighing in on the other 3. The consistent use of capitals in bird names is supposed to indicate a precise taxonomic meaning; "common starlings" are not necessarily the species known as "Common Starling". Crowned Crane is a disambiguation page. If "Crowned Crane" has a precise taxonomic meaning it should not be a dab (and should presumably redirect to Balearica). If "crowned crane" does not have a precise taxonomic meaning, it should follow the normal standard for capitalization. I don't think redirecting to Balearica, with a hatnote for "Red-crowned Crane" is a great solution. The generalist audience for whose benefit common names are used is not likely to pick up on the taxonomic subtleties of "-crowned Crane" versus "Crowned Crane"; a hyphen and a lowercase c doesn't indicate a different genus to anybody who isn't already intimately familiar with IOC use of hyphens and caps. Move "Crowned Crane" to "crowned crane" and keep it as a dab. Plantdrew (talk) 23:58, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the sake of keeping things consistent, at least. Shyamal (talk) 07:43, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Consistent with what? Having a disambiguation page capitalized as Crowned Crane is not consistent with bird naming guidelines. Plantdrew (talk) 15:05, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
That specific move is an improvement but I am under the impression that this discussion is about that list of moves at the top. Shyamal (talk) 03:22, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose For reasons stated by me below the separate section heading for the RFC NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:09, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Consistency is paramount and within birds, we do use caps. speednat (talk) 20:20, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Our convention for birds makes a lot more sense than our general practice where species are concerned. In terms of WP:AT it would be far better to adopt this convention for all species; The use of capitals would enhance the recognisability of titles in many problematical cases, with no downside. The only barrier to this wider acceptance of capitals appears to be a legalistic interpretation of the definition of a proper noun. A more pragmatic interpretation of the function of proper nouns in English would permit and even encourage this wider usage of capitals, see #Another way forward below. Andrewa (talk) 14:30, 23 March 2014 (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.

New discussion[edit]

This important discussion moved to Wikipedia:Move review/Log/2014 March#Black crowned crane and now Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#A new proposal regarding bird article names.

Mama meta modal (talk) 20:58, 9 April 2014 (UTC).

The consensus is now clear. The relevant pages will soon be checked and made consistent with Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Bird common name decapitalisation.
H. H. Wander Strata (talk) 23:02, 2 May 2014 (UTC).

Request for comments[edit]

Hi everybody. The disambiguation page (Crowned Crane) and the three article pages (Black Crowned Crane, Grey Crowned Crane and Red-crowned Crane) about bird species are capitalised, probably due to the recommendation of the bird project (WP:BIRDS, "The common name of a species is always capitalised to differentiate it from more general terms.").

The justification given to support this is that capitals would be useful to avoid possible confusion is some cases (e.g. Common Starling). One can understand these concerns, but capitals are not needed to avoid potential misunderstandings: anybody can use direct links to Wikipedia articles to make everything clear (e.g. common starling avoid any potential uncertainty).

More importantly, the guidelines regarding titles of articles about fauna species recommends not to use capital letters in species names (WP:FAUNA, "Articles whose titles are the common (vernacular) names of animals are normally titled in sentence case—for example, Przewalski's horse, Black bear. Where a name contains a proper name, that word is also capitalised—for example, Small Indian civet.").

What is more, the more general conventions regarding titles of articles recommend to to use capitals in these cases (WP:NCCAPS, "Do not capitalize the second or subsequent words in an article title, unless the title is a proper noun." and "Common names of species generally do not have each word capitalized, except where proper nouns appear (maple tree, zebra, but Przewalski's horse).").

Considering all that, some argue that one should simply make an exception to general rules in favour of a local usage for birds. But Wikipedia explicitly state that local consensus cannot prevail over more general conventions (WP:CONLEVEL, "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale.").

Please do not hesitate to comment these and to give your opinion of the suggested moves.

Mama meta modal (talk), 21:35, 14 March 2014 (UTC).

  • See prior section This RFC section heading is an arbitrary break in the prior discussion and !vote.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:10, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
You can call this arbitrary but I did it only because it is recommended by the "request for comments" procedure (Wikipedia:Requests for comment, "Create a new section at the bottom of the talk page."). Mama meta modal (talk) 13:25, 16 March 2014 (UTC).
I didn't mean to imply a nefarious or pointless purpose, only that the break could have been five comments earlier, or later. The important thing is that the closer needs to consider both sections together. Sorry I wasn't clear with that loaded term. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:12, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Support changing the status quo to bring consistency (one of our core naming criteria) to capitalization of fauna articles—i.e., the sentence-case capitalization preferred by WP:NCCAPS generally and WP:FAUNA specifically. Arguments for the status quo, besides appeals to authority and instances of the specialist style fallacy, have been adequately addressed, such as the "possible confusion" referred to above. Again, this is long overdue but worth getting right. I'm hopeful we can come to a consensus this time. --BDD (talk) 21:50, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
But to ignore that birds have proper names is original research Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 06:17, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your contribution. But the general grammar rules are not defined by any committee of ornithologists. And please note that even the pages that you base your opinion on do not dare to say that bird species name are proper names (WP:BIRDS, "The common name of a species is always capitalised to differentiate it from more general terms."). And the potential issue about differentiation from general terms is addressed above (i.e. my message from 21:35, 14 March 2014). Mama meta modal (talk) 09:18, 15 March 2014 (UTC).
There are reliable sources of scholarly caliber that don't use title-case capitalization for bird names. Surely you know this. --BDD (talk) 16:21, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but the government pages and the official bird-name-list pages all use capitalisation. Are the caps really such an eyesore? Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 19:19, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Question. I'm all for having the broader discussion, but is this the best venue? Dohn joe (talk) 23:06, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Errr, nope. Suggest this be moved somewhere - best on naming conventions talk page I think. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 06:16, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Messages with links to this talk page were already posted on the related projects (notably Wikipedia:Requested moves, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Birds, Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (fauna), Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (capitalization), Wikipedia talk:Consensus, Talk:Species name, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Animals, Portal talk:Birds, Portal talk:Biology and Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)). Do not hesitate to advertise this discussion on other relevant pages. Thank you for your help. Mama meta modal (talk) 09:12, 15 March 2014 (UTC).
  • Objection to procedure. The request above is to move three bird pages. As I have pointed out, it makes no sense to lower case these three species and leave nearly 10,000 where they are. However it's totally inappropriate to piggyback a major request to move all bird articles on to a discussion about moving three. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 06:57, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Agreed, This should have started at Wikipedia Talk:WikiProject Birds or Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (fauna)NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:56, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, a discussion there might have been better. But it all started here. And it this discussion was clearly advertised on the pages you mention and on several other relevant talk pages (see above my message from 09:12, 15 March 2014). Mama meta modal (talk) 13:30, 16 March 2014 (UTC).
  • Mostly Oppose
Agree that the general group Crowned Crane should be moved to "Crowned crane", but oppose moving the specific species' pages because....
(A) For more than 10 years, the eds involved with Wikipedia Talk:WikiProject Birds have agreed that common names use caps.
(B) For about 8 years, with varying text Wikipedia:Naming conventions (fauna) has referenced the bird project consensus to use caps.
(C) In the battle between
- laudable efforts to standardize clarity in writing using common bird names,
versus the whiny
- we don't do that for mammals..... or we need to standardize
I'm mystified why anyone would want to chuck bird-common-name-clarity just so we can say every common name from every domain across our pages is capped (or not) the same, or why anyone thinks wikignomes' desired copy edit standards matter more than a 10+ year consensus of eds in the subject area.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:56, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Rebuttal argument In various comments above is the assertion that there can be no confusion over common names, but that argument is flawed because it implicitly violates WP:SELF. When our articles are reposted elsewhere, we have no way of knowing how the text will look or what disambig tools will be available to the reader of the mirror site. Will they be able to just know that "common starling" actually means Common Starling without our link to click on? Nope. Which is why the IOC has been working to standardize common bird names and publishing standards. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:06, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Support changing the status quo so that both (a) the encyclopedia can have a better stylistic consistency and (b) the common names of birds appropriate for a general encyclopedia (not a birding or ornithology encyclopedia) can be used. -- JHunterJ (talk) 12:26, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
    I don't understand the distinction you made, can you please provide examples that illustrate? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:40, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
    That illustration what? That bird articles use Title Caps, which is inconsistent with the rest of the encyclopedia, or that birds are commonly named with sentence casing in general sources? -- JHunterJ (talk) 21:37, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
    Well of course I meant examples that illustrate the distinction in your point (b) above. Specifically, please provide an example that demonstrates a distinction between
    (1) common names of birds appropriate for a "general encyclopedia" versus
    (2) common names of birds appropriate for a "birding or ornithology encyclopedia"
    Because when it comes to writing about common names with clarity, I fail to see how uppercase vs lower case letters really provides a basis for the distinction you are drawing.... quite the opposite, since "common starling" used loosely might refer to any one of dozens of species of starling, but thanks to the hard work of the International Ornithologists’ Union, even in lay media "Common Starling" always means Sturnus vulgaris. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:41, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
    A general encyclopedia would follow the capitalization of sources for the general public, such as National Geographic or the Chicago Tribune. Of course. -- JHunterJ (talk) 19:43, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
    Those are not examples of common bird names from either type of encyclopedia, much less examples that demonstrate the "appropriateness" of upper case letters in one type and the in-appropriateness of the same upper case letters in the other type. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:12, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
    Those are, however, examples that illustrate the distinction I made. I don't think anyone would be surprised that we disagree on their relevance. -- JHunterJ (talk) 10:24, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Note Per the "Campaigning" section of Wikipedia:Canvassing, Mama meta modal's postings regarding this RfC have been removed at VP:Poloicy and collapsed at VP:Misc. Sven Manguard Wha? 15:28, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Also, as the edit summary of those reversions state (at least at the V pump), the problem was that Mama's cross ref post was not neutrally worded, but could be replaced with neutral verbiage if anyone wants to do so. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:08, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose I have never commented on this and in the scheme of things think such a debate seems rather lame but the above policy page post brought me here and 10 years of consensus on a guideline seems not something to throw-over in the name of needless conformity, or 'let's change it up this way now' affecting many multiples of articles. Just as I would not support overturning the toss of a coin sentence case policy for other articles ('title case' - we should now do that --it's called title case for a reason - no, just no). Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:42, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • I think that the "Requested move" discussion above is an adequate request for comments and opinions; nevertheless, it seems to be another and perhaps needless re-run of similar discussions on the same topic. I see no need to follow this up with a widely signposted "Request for comments" on what looks to me like the same topic. To me, it seems likely that the outcome of the "Requested move" discussion will be that "Crowned Crane" will be moved to "Crowned crane" and that the three species of crane will not be moved, and I would be happy with that. Snowman (talk) 22:00, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree with that as the stem page (crowned crane) is not a proper name and hence not need capitalising. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 09:16, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Same hereNewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 10:48, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Comment Is there any intention on the part of the conformity-is-all editors to moving on to the Plant project next, where binomials are preferred to common names. You will find Pinus sibirica, and only a redirect from Siberian pine Jimfbleak - talk to me? 11:14, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
I can't speak for the whole cabal, but for my part, no. Generally, I prefer common (i.e., English) names to scientific ones, and I once had it in my mind to try to make FLORA more like FAUNA. But as I looked into the matter more, FLORA actually has some pretty solid arguments behind it, mostly that common names are implied inconsistently and often omitted entirely in reliable sources (since, compared to animals at least, more flora are covered only in scientific sources). I would like to see plant names err more on the side of common names, but that's a question for individual RMs. I've briefly considered proposing we avoid the capitalization debate by moving all bird articles to scientific names, but that's probably one of those types of compromises that would upset everyone, including me. --BDD (talk) 18:02, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Here's a rare instance where I'll claim personal knowledge - I've been birding over 35 years. The only reason sources are doing better with bird common names is because lots of people have been devoting effort at standardizing both the names and publishing guidelines. If anything, the "pretty strong arguments" to which you refer apply equally well to birds, and apply more strongly the further back in time you track the sources. So it seems to me that this effort to tell the International Ornithologist's Union what to do with their publishing standards would be a step backwards in terms of that "pretty strong argument" you mentioned.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:55, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
There, at least you can be honest and call them "publishing standards." I simply don't see the value in following an external sources standards when we have our own. If our standards (somehow) said Barn Swallow needed to be called, I don't know, Blue featherling, then I could see the cause for concern. When our standards say (as they do) that we should capitalize "Barn swallow" differently from the IOU, I don't see why that's so hard to deal with. (I thought it was the IOC? Maybe both? Not the point, I guess.) --BDD (talk) 22:14, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
WP Medicine use medical terms as page headings, which may not always be the most commonly used term; "pneumothorax vs collaped lung", "myocardiac infarction vs heart attack", "diabetes mellitus vs diabetes". I anticipate that they will give perfect good reasons to justify there page names, so there is no need to plague them with discussions about page names because you may distract editors from their work on enhancing Wiki articles. Snowman (talk) 21:53, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
I've had similar thoughts about MOS:MED, and I've advocated for making explicit at WP:COMMONNAME that medical articles are an exception. I understand in some cases the layman's terms lack something in accuracy, and in those cases, it's fine not to propagate false terminology. Where medical terms are completely coterminous with the common names, however, yes, we should use the common names.
Also, if you think title discussions are somehow a "distraction" from the real work, I think you're overlooking the importance of good titles. And hey, what are you doing here? Get back to work! --BDD (talk) 22:14, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Absolutely oppose per WP:COMMONNAME. Bird names are, in all cases, capitalised. They may be unique among fauna, but that's simply how it is; we do not need to rehash this argument for the thousandth time, and we absolutely do not need to have more "MoS-sanctoned WP:OR" in the name of consistency. Remember that WP:IAR is one of the Five Pillars. - The Bushranger One ping only 12:17, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Bushranger, all cases? This is demonstrably untrue; there are reliable sources that use sentence-case capitalization. --BDD (talk) 16:13, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Alright: 'all cases that aren't like treating the The Sun as a better authority on the name of a missile than the Ministry of Defense. - The Bushranger One ping only 19:21, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
No need to turn to the tabloids. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia (ISBN 0787653624) uses title-case capitalization, for example, as does Britannica (cf. American robin). The Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds (ISBN 1552977773) has an interesting practice, and one which might be one of the only viable compromises in this contentious discussion. It doesn't use "official" capitalization, but it capitalizes the first letter of each species name, even in running text (i.e., "Europe has a lot of Barn swallows"). This, at least, meets the purists' stated goal of distinguishing species names without resorting to Excessive Capitalization (except where the first word would be capitalized anyway, e.g., with nationalities or proper names). --BDD (talk) 22:47, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
The first two are tertiary sources - the last is offering a compromise that no-one is advocating for. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:54, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Is it unreasonable to expect Wikipedia, itself a tertiary source, to behave like other tertiary sources? --BDD (talk) 16:07, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, if the experts and rule makers of the scientific community for birds decide that it is beneficial to use all caps, do we feel it is necessary to disagree? The IOC and AOU both use caps, as do the SACC, Avibase, Birdlife International, IUCN...etc. need I go on. Next, as argued by so many it does not detract, but does benefit. speednat (talk) 05:43, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your message. But Wkipedia is a general encyclopaedia for all publics and not a specialised database for ornithologists. "Experts" have different opinions depending whether you ask a bird expert or a fauna or language expert. For me, we should do as the Oxford English Dictionary ("blackbird, n. A common Eurasian thrush, Turdus merula") rather than follow the internal uses of specific societies. What is more, one should ask why would all these capitals be necessary? If it is to avoid possible confusion is some cases (e.g. Common Starling),it is not needed as a single capital (e.g. Common starling) or - even better - a direct links to Wikipedia articles (e.g. common starling) make everything clear and avoid any potential uncertainty. Mama meta modal (talk) 20:26, 18 March 2014 (UTC).
There are two false understandings there. First, the International OC's recommended publishing standards are not just for the "internal use of a specific society" but are recommendations they make to everyone. Second, we can not address disambig problems with wikilinks alone because that violates WP:SELF, as I have said previously. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:07, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Could you quote the relevant passage of the Manual of Style and explain why in your opinion this recommendation would not agree with internal links to Wikipedia articles? Mama meta modal (talk) 05:46, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
The first sentence of the nutshell bubble at WP:SELF, "Do not assume that the reader is reading Wikipedia, or indeed any website". Doing disambig via links only works if we assume the reader is reading via the web. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 07:26, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
The false understanding there is that the IOC's recommendations dictate Wikipedia style; they don't. They're simply recommendations, and Wikipedia style does not give them more weight than, say, the Oxford English Dictionary. The other false understanding is that using the common name cannot avoid ambiguity problems; the common name and context can handle ambiguity; if there's still ambiguity, the prose can be rewritten to address it. -- JHunterJ (talk) 11:03, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Don't put words in my mouth please. I said that IOC makes recommendations for everyone, contrary to what Mama said about them just doing stuff for their internal use. As for the word "dictate" the way I see it, when you have a group doing the heavy lifting in a subject area, and they agree to a certain convention, and that consensus endures for 10 years, it seems like the respectful thing to do is to perform wikignome activities in such a way that thanks that group for their heavy lifting. If you were on the receiving end of a dictate from the style police to overturn a 10 year consensus effecting thousands of pages, how would you feel? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:32, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Don't put words in my mouth either. I am not suggesting any disrespect to the IOC. Wikipedia standards adhering or not adhering to any non-Wikipedia group has nothing to do with respectfulness. Calling the people you disagree with "style police", however, is disrespectful, and they've been doing their heavy lifting too. I have been in the minority on several style discussions that undid lots of heavy lifting, but when the consensus doesn't support the result, the amount of lifting involved is irrelevant. If your feelings are in the way of that, you've got emotional investment where there shouldn't be any. -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:00, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Please re-read what I actually wrote, take a break, and then read it again. I was referring to the eds who make the bulk of substantive edits to the bird pages, not the IOC. They deserve a great deal of respect for giving their free time to the content. In my view, trying to upset a 10-year consensus (now expressed as agreement to follow the international committee's publishing standards) does not exactly say "thank you" to that group of substantive-content editors. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:15, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Take a break, and then re-read it again. All editors deserve a great deal of respect. No one is trying to upset a consensus. What we are trying to do, though, is find out what the current consensus is, which does not depend on how grateful any subset of editors is on any other subset of editors. I am not here to thank them, nor to demand thanks for the effort I've put in to the encyclopedia. You are trying to inject emotional appeals, and I happen to disagree with them. -- JHunterJ (talk) 16:00, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
"I am not here to thank them..."..... that's too bad. I acknowledge your disagreement, but I'm not persuaded the 10-year consensus needs to be overturned. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:41, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
You may want to add "for the gratitude of every other editor" to Wikipedia:Why to contribute#List of reasons if you think it's too bad that one editor isn't here for that. -- JHunterJ (talk) 17:10, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
I had been tempted to initiate a conversation along these lines - putting it another way, one of the great things about editing is the egalitarianism of it, and having people who focus on style without contributing content seems to go against the spirit of that somehow. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 19:20, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Just for clarity, that's not quite what I was getting at. For my part, I am just as grateful to the WP:Wikignomes as I am to the major content editors. Gnomes provide a mighty important support role to the content eds. The project would fall apart without the gnomes. So thank you to all the gnomes out there! On the other hand, I just said that the gnomes support the content eds. In my view, the current proposal elevates form over substance, and in my experience that never makes the folks on the receiving end feel very appreciated. So go gnomes! Just please don't go too far. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:02, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
And for additional clarity, it goes against the spirit of the encyclopedia not at all. Egalitarianism-wise, it's good to have some people work on the style and some people work on the content and some people work on both. The gnomes support the encyclopedia, just as the content eds support the encyclopedia. The current proposal attempts no elevation of either. -- JHunterJ (talk) 20:33, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Disagree on that too. Earlier you said something-or-other about adding "being thanked" to the reasons to edit. What I've been trying to say has already been added to WP:RETENTION.... "Promote a more positive environment that editors want to participate in". In my view, we could better do that by deferring to the content eds' 10-year consensus. Go gnomes! Just please don't chase content eds out the door. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:53, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
And please don't chase style eds out the door. Working toward consensus, and even trying to identify a consensus that some editors don't agree with, is not chasing anyone out the door. The negative environment here comes from accusations of "style police", etc. -- JHunterJ (talk) 10:49, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Perceptions of a negative environment have various origins, depending on one's frame of reference. Some style eds might feel that way, I suppose. But that's just one perspective. If we are to promote a positive environment, we should all work harder to see things from multiple perspectives. If you read what I wrote carefully, you will find no accusation. Only a question about how you would feel if you held a certain different perspective. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:07, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Blaming the style eds for any "perception" of negative environment from the the label "style police"? No, we'll have to disagree on that. If you read what I wrote carefully, you will find I answered your question, since I have held both perspectives. Try it. -- JHunterJ (talk) 11:23, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Humor alert..... There can be a negative environment in the absence of contextual perceptions? Reminds me of McCoy's arguments during the debates on the secession of Vulcan: "You may say what you like," Selv said, "but even five violations [of the Prime Directive by Starship Enterprise] are too many! And your use of your data is subjective-" "Of course theyre too many!" McCoy said. "Do you think I would disagree on that? And as for my data, of course its subjective! So is yours! We are each of us locked up in our own skull, or maybe skulls, if youre a Vulcan and lucky enough to be successfully bonded. If you start going on about objective reality, I swear Ill come down and bite you in the leg!" NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:45, 20 March 2014 (UTC) PS And if you wish to continue back-and-forth dialogue I'll take your answer "off the air" but on my talk page, so others have a chance to raise new reasons pro/con on the proposal. Otherwise, take the last word here, whichever you like. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:48, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Seriously? Was this the best we could do? I don't know if I "support" or "oppose", but Sentence case should be the norm for all bird articles like it is for almost all other animal articles. And those exceptions ought to be changed, too. In other words: crowned crane, bald eagle, African swallow... Red Slash 20:42, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Another way forward[edit]

Lateral thinking department reporting in, sir. Please do not take the following comments personally if you feel they identify you in an unflattering light. Instead set sense of humour to max, and let's be serious.

It's a difficult issue that already has a long history.

Agree it would be very good to be consistent across species. But rather than change WP:BIRDS#Naming, the other way is to change WP:FAUNA, and work outwards from there.

Is that possible or even good? I think it would be. The function of proper nouns in English is to resolve exactly the sort of ambiguity that we are seeking to deal with here, and under WP:FAUNA we currently use this feature of the language poorly, while under WP:BIRDS the pragmatics are excellent.

The arguments quoted from the two references given at WP:BIRDS (Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott & Jordi Sargatal, ed. (1998). Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. p. 25, and Potter, EF (1984). "On capitalization of vernacular names of species". Auk 101: 895–896.is) are both in works specific to bird species, but assuming the references are being accurately quoted are equally applicable to all species, and probably to other topics as well.

Our goal here is not to change the language (however admirably), but nor is it to support and preserve features that don't work to our advantage. It's to build an encyclopedia. Suppose we were to regard the article title Brown Bear as applying to the species, and brown bear as being available as an article title to refer to all bears that are brown, whatever their species? It would cost us nothing. Similarly black crowned crane could and should mean any crane with a black crown... with context providing some qualification. But Black Crowned Crane is unambiguously the species... as now under WP:BIRDS.

There's one possible problem... suppose for example some irresponsible idiot with no consideration for our Glorious Wikipedia builds a nightclub with a construction industry theme and a logo featuring a crane surmounted by a black crown (or even by a Black Crown), and names his establishment the Black Crowned Crane? No problem really. Hopefully his establishment will never challenge the species as the primary meaning of Black Crowned Crane, and if it does we just need to disambiguate normally.

I would argue, on linguistic grounds, that to reject the capitalisation of species names is an old-fashioned and prescriptive approach. Those who do so on the grounds that species names are not proper nouns simply have not grasped the latest linguistic methods, which focus on structural morphology rather than synthetic grammar. But there's no need to go there. Rejecting the use of capitals for the titles of articles on species simply makes poor use of the address space available to us for article titles, and therefore makes for a more cumbersome encyclopedia. Accepting and encouraging this usage makes for a better encyclopedia in terms of general reader experience, with the only downside being that it offends some crusading and in my view misguided purists.

That is probably fighting words enough! Sense of humour still alive? If so, comments? Andrewa (talk) 18:25, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Bird species common names are not proper nouns. WP:FAUNA currently uses this feature of the language correctly (that is, it doesn't treat classes of things, like grizzly bears, as if they were proper nouns, like Old Ephraim). The ambiguity of brown bear referring to a species sometimes and to any bear that happens to be brown other times can be dealt with through proper phrasing, just as with any other word or phrase that has more than one meaning. Those who instead try to force capitals on those ambiguities as a cure-all simply have not grasped the robustness of linguistic methods. So, yes, I think the sense of humor lives on. -- JHunterJ (talk) 19:34, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
This isn't a cure-all, it's just a suggestion for broadening the very successful approach taken at WP:BIRDS to other species. The concept of using this feature of the language correctly (my emphasis) is not useful here, and it appears to be the only argument against capitalisation. Andrewa (talk) 00:22, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
It isn't the only reason. Naming conventions, common name, non-local-consensus, etc. The encyclopedia at large doesn't want to capitalize Aardvark (or Human) in running text. -- JHunterJ (talk)
I don't think anyone is suggesting that we should capitalize Aardvark (or Human) in running text. This is specifically about article names. The argument that we should not capitalise because of naming conventions is circular... it is these very conventions that we are discussing. Non-local-consensus is similarly circular... Consensus is exactly what we are seeking and will use to decide. Common name is the only relevant one here, and it's very important but needs to be both checked against the evidence and balanced against other considerations. Normally the common name is also the most recognisable, but that may not be the case here... the capitalised name is at least as recognisable, and arguably more so. And we should also check that the uncapitalised versions are genuinely the more common. Andrewa (talk) 07:01, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia uses the form used in running text for article names. When the genuinely more common uncapitalized versions are demonstrated in move discussions, those arguments are summarily dismissed as not relevant because of the IOC's naming convention. The uncapitalized version is at least as recognizable as the capitalized version, and more so outside of ornithologists and birders. Wikipedia's general naming conventions are not being discussed; so far, the birds project's naming convention has been discussed, and the (humorous?) proposal to extend to the fauna project's naming conventions has been raised. See WP:LOCALCONSENSUS for an explanation of my reference to those (I wasn't referring to WP:CONSENSUS). But we agree with the consensus part. -- JHunterJ (talk) 10:52, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, those caps sure confuse everyone - looks like names like Great Black-backed Gull are well-nigh unintelligible.....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:56, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. (;-> Andrewa (talk) 11:57, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, those uncaps sure confuse everyone - looks like names like great black-backed gull are well-nigh unintelligible. -- JHunterJ (talk) 12:14, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Nobody is suggesting that, but you did seem to suggest that capitalisation would be confusing, and it's not obvious to me how that would ever be so... example? I guess it seemed far-fetched to Cas Liber too, that's the reason for the irony. The uncapitalised forms on the other hand are needlessly ambiguous, although not seriously so in the case of great black-backed gull. It is more seriously so in the case of for example the Common Starling.
And then of course the perennial discussion centres on the desire for consistency, and to come to a consensus covering all articles, not one standard for birds and another for bears. That's exactly what the #Requested move above was attempting, and what also motivated my counter proposal, which is the topic of this subsection #Another way forward. Andrewa (talk) 19:56, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia uses the form used in running text for article names... if true, that's very relevant, but not necessarily a show-stopper. Is this policy documented anywhere? Link please.
In the two examples (aardvark and human) that you quote it's a moot point... the article name is a single word, so capitalisation (or not) is not realised in the title anyway, owing to long-standing software decisions. And there are other consequences of the title being a single word too.
Disagree that The uncapitalized version is at least as recognizable as the capitalized version. There is extra information in the term Brown Snake, we know by the capitalisation that it doesn't necessarily refer to all snakes that happen to be brown. And that's useful information.
When the genuinely more common uncapitalized versions are demonstrated in move discussions, those arguments are summarily dismissed as not relevant because of the IOC's naming convention - Interesting. Can you provide an example of this? WP:BIRDS seems to assume that the capitaiised names are more common in the best sources, for birds at least. Have we any evidence that this usage is restricted to birds?
While I'm trying to keep the discussion light, I'm actually quite serious about this as a proposal.
WP:LOCALCONSENSUS is just a section of WP:CONSENSUS. Is there any reason we should not comply with the whole of the policy rather than just this section? But it is a tricky area. See User:Andrewa/Consensus is consensus for some thoughts on this... it's just a user essay at this stage, note that well. Andrewa (talk) 11:57, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Andrewa - I am not sure I follow - what would you like an example of? Cas Liber (talk contribs) 19:10, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
An example where the genuinely more common uncapitalized versions are demonstrated in move discussions but those arguments are summarily dismissed as not relevant because of the IOC's naming convention. This suggests to me that such arguments are summarily dismissed repeatedly. If so, an example of a genuinely more common uncapitalised version of an article name that has been rejected would help focus our discussions on any real problems with this. Andrewa (talk) 19:56, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, there have been attempts here and there to move single or small numbers of bird species articles yes. Rating commonness is difficult - as you'll see further up this page, there were more uncapped "crowned cranes" on google but the official goverment pages and most proper bird guides use capitals. So it is also about the quality of the resources. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:26, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. And it is quite possible that there will be a similar difficulty in assessing whether the common names of other animal species are capitalised. Perhaps it has been attempted in the case of bird articles, in which case why reinvent the wheel, but I'm suspicious that even in these cases it may just be unsubstantiated guesswork, with the real motivation being a desire to "correct" English grammar in a way that is also questionable in my opinion. Either way the bland assurance that there are instances of the rejection of genuinely more common names needed to be challenged. Andrewa (talk) 23:55, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
There are some registers of plant names and (I think) butterflies, but none have any degree of official discussion like bird names do at all. Hence birds are the only organisms with proper names. Some sources capitalise other animals and plants, and they were previously capitalised on wikipedia until about five years ago when capitalisation was overturned. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 01:00, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
You don't by any chance have a link to the archive of that discussion about five years ago when capitalisation was overturned? Andrewa (talk) 03:28, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
No - it'd be a good thing to find - just looked briefly now and can't see it. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:06, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

A second set of examples[edit]

At the MR concerning the above move close, User:Shyamal commented:

tangential remark on capitalization prompted by those with no dog in this "debate"? Here are some Whippet, German Shepherd, Miniature Schnauzer... [1] (bolded as original, my italics).

This seems to be a second set of examples of use of capitalisation in English as a marker indicating that the noun phrase is being used in a special sense, rather than the common sense (common in its technical sense as in common noun), but which is outside of the strictest definition of a proper name.

Can anyone suggest others?

The distinction between proper noun and proper name also seems relevant here, in that the article titles in dispute are all noun phrases rather than simply nouns.

And am I reinventing the wheel here? Has it all been said before? Where? Andrewa (talk) 22:44, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

This is probably not the place to discuss any of this. Such things, including the dog breed example, have been discussed before, it is just that some people like to ignore what they do not like. Shyamal (talk) 05:27, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Agree that some people like to ignore what they do not like, or as Paul Simon said a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest. And that's just human nature. Agree that is part of the problem here.
But two questions: One, where has this been discussed before? It's important to link to these previous discussions.
And two, where would you see the discussion as appropriate? Andrewa (talk) 09:48, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
There are simply too many discussions on capitalizations spread out across projects. It is quite tedious to search for all of them and list them here (there is some kind of an index here). A place for discussion where this would be more appropriate would be Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style (or at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Capital_letters. Shyamal (talk) 11:02, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you! That user page link will save me a lot of time.
My feeling is that Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Capital_letters is the place, with a heads-up at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (capitalization), but it might be argued that it should be the other way around, as this discussion is currently focussed on article names. Heads-ups at a few current discussions and affected WikiProjects as well. Andrewa (talk) 03:05, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Discussion has now been started (not by me) at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Bird common name capitalization being pushed all over the place again and Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Proposal to close easily gameable and frequently exploited loophole. Andrewa (talk) 17:14, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Other examples[edit]

I now have several sets of evidence that capitalisation is used in English to indicate a special rather than the common use of a noun phrase in cases which fall outside of the strictest definition of a proper name, all of them relating to organisms:

  • Common names of birds
  • Names of dog breeds
  • Common names of species in the orders Odonata (dragonflies etc) and Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)
  • Names of rose cultivars such as Sun Flare (rose)
  • Common names of UK plants

The first two are well attested in reliable sources. I have not yet found examples of the insect common names... the Wikipedia articles seem instead to be titled with the binomial names. The rose example comes from my experience in the field, but this is complicated by the fact that the most of the more notable varieties (the ones with Wikipedia articles) either have a single word name so are capitalised by default, or are named after people, so are capitalised for that reason.

The plants claim comes from this edit which is an appeal for the use of binomial names instead of common names, but does as an aside make that observation. And if this were to be extended to trinomial names for dog breeds and rose cultivars, we might have another consistency problem as trinomial names in zoology are used differently to those in botany. Andrewa (talk) 17:24, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

You didn't link to a diff with your "this edit" link, but the entire history page of NCFLORA. You're also confusing "I can find an example of stuff being done here" with "there's a consensus to do this this way here". The capitalization of some insects and plants is even more of a WP:LOCALCONSENSUS problem than with birds. At least with birds there's a project saying do this, always; with the other two there are project saying it's okay if you do this. The arguments are for capitalization of breeds of plants and animals is different than for species, and may be stronger (or may not be). Your argument that capitalization is being used on Wikipedia by some editors to indicate a use that the users of it think is "special" instead of common is certainly true; see the WP:Specialist style fallacy essay for why these requests cannot sanely be honored.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:33, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

A small but strong consensus[edit]

At the risk of in part at least arguing from silence, there seems to be a consensus that it's desirable to conform to the guidelines of Wikipedia regarding animal species name and capitalisation across all such species, is that a fair statement? It seems to be supported by several contributors to the RM above, some very strongly, with no dissent so far that I've noticed. Andrewa (talk) 20:16, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

I think most of the silence is because this is the wrong venue for anything other than discussions on the title of this article. Shyamal (talk) 01:28, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it will need to be discussed more widely before any changes are made to the various guidelines and/or policies. I am just summarising what is said above, by several contributors, and it is relevant to the name of this article... and that is why it has been said above.
We need to start somewhere. I think we've made progress on a problematical and recurring discussion. Andrewa (talk) 03:24, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
I think that very little or nothing can be concluded about an overall consensus about species names from the discussion on on this page, because this talk page is a quite backwater where few people normally visit. Snowman (talk) 10:28, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
The level three sub-heading "A small but strong consensus" seems to me to be presumptive and inappropriate. Snowman (talk) 10:48, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough... What would you head it? Andrewa (talk) 12:04, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Does it need any heading at all? For instance, if we really wanted all organisms to conform, we'd push for them all to use scientific names, so it is the animals that deviate from plants and fungi in that respect. Fact is, almost all people that edit bird articles are voting for capitals, while most pushing for lower case don't edit them...and appear to be assuming that bird editors are completely off the mark in insisting on caps. So, maybe that needs a specific term...who knows....any descriptor is going to lose nuance. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:10, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it needs a section heading. Doesn't it? One of us is confused. Andrewa (talk) 01:02, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Attempt to get back on-topic[edit]

The above is all so patently off-topic that I'm going to repeat the topic...

  • Several people have commented above that they think it's important that the article names of animal species should be consistent.
  • Nobody has questioned this.
  • That seems to constitute a strong consensus.
  • The point on which we seem to have consensus may seem a minor point, but I think it's an extremely important one.

Now I'll go a bit further... that point, that consistency is important, if agreed would be so important to the discussion that I suspect that some of those who made it may now want to rethink their positions above, as they see where it might lead. It was generally advanced as an argument in support of a change WP:BIRDS (or at least of ignoring it), but it might also be one in support of changing other guidelines to conform to it.

And that's OK. Changing their minds would possibly remove the consensus we now seem to have, but it might also pave the way towards a new and better one, which is my hope.

Or, it may be that some rethink their opposition to WP:BIRDS as it is currently, if they still see consistency as so very important and come the the view that WP:BIRDS isn't going to change (or even be ignored), for whatever reasons. That again might produce a new and better consensus.

Either way would be progress. So that's the program. Anyone like to help? Andrewa (talk) 01:02, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Hmmm, if you're volunteering to coordinate this, then this is not a particularly good venue for this....and it will take a lot of time setting up. You're forgetting (a) that lots of folks, regard consensus as, "in agreement with me", and (b) as an encyclopedia we are supposed to reflect usage not reinvent it. Regarding "The point on which we seem to have consensus may seem a minor point, but I think it's an extremely important one." - I have no idea what you mean by this. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 01:26, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
No, not for one minute forgetting either of your points (a) and (b), which are both important. (a) is difficult, yes, it's human nature, I've found Wikipedia remarkably good at dealing with this (the commitment to NPOV helps) but not perfect. I agree fully with (b). But again, this is off-topic. I'll take your suggestions as to how to proceed on board, but it seems to me that establishing consensus here is a good first step.
And it won't be easy, agree. As demonstrated by this discussion.
The point on which we seem to have consensus is that it's important that the article names of animal species should be consistent. Do you agree we have consensus on this? Do you even agree that it's important that the article names of animal species should be consistent? Those are the intended topics of #A small but strong consensus of which this is a subsection.
And whether or not you agree, why? Andrewa (talk) 05:59, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

In that no-one speaks[edit]

Well, I've patently failed to gain any support at all for the thesis that it's desirable to conform to the guidelines of Wikipedia regarding animal species name and capitalisation across all such species, or the alternative thesis that it's important that the article names of animal species should be consistent.

The silence is itself revealing IMO. I'm not going to name the editors involved, but I must point out that the principle of sauce for the goose should apply. That's the real problem here. Editors are prepared to strongly support adherence to the rules or appeal for consistency when these arguments also support their personal preferences, but when these same arguments lead another way, they lose interest. Suddenly these same considerations of adherence to the rules and/or consistency (and consistency is the main purpose of style guidelines, both in Wikipedia and generally) no longer seem so important.

I'm sorry if that seems harsh. It's just an indication that the discussion is polarised. We need to overcome this polarisation in order to achieve consensus. Andrewa (talk) 23:40, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Not everyone is skilled at facilitation and moderating/arbitrating. Regardless of talent or skill in that area, it is liable to fail when one poses dramatically as the would-be leader of consensus building, but already has a very clear bias; when ones declares that consensus already exists (and does this in ways that alienate one's own allies on the topic); when one ignores multiple people telling one they've chosen the wrong place, that one's way of framing of the debate is confusing, and/or that one seems too involved in the process of it all rather than the espoused goals of conflict reduction and consensus-building; and especially, especially when one keeps telling anyone who says anything critical that their comments are "irrelevant" or "off-topic", and concludes by telling everyone who won't play by one's own rules that they're all basically a bunch of bad-faith people who only believe in rules here when they can use them against someone else. Wouldn't one think that if one had an ethical and behavioral credo to promote, one should practice it oneself, religiously and humbly, for a long time before thinking to judge others? So I would suggest.

The larger discussion fired up at WT:MOS about this was a total goat-ropin' for the exact same reasons (other than wrong venue). I'm actually kind of shocked any consensus has emerged from it, though not surprised as to what direction it went in. Some supporters of the capitalization are even reversing themselves now.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:31, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

New discussion[edit]

This important discussion moved to Wikipedia:Move review/Log/2014 March#Black crowned crane and now Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#A new proposal regarding bird article names.

Mama meta modal (talk) 20:58, 9 April 2014 (UTC).

The consensus is now clear. The relevant pages will soon be checked and made consistent with Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Bird common name decapitalisation.
H. H. Wander Strata (talk) 23:03, 2 May 2014 (UTC).

Contents of the "Crowned Crane" dab[edit]

A recent edit by an IP reverted the crane species names to lower case. Redirects are not used in a dab. The crane species articles have capitalized headings, so the listing on the dab should be capitalized. I have restored the capitalized format. Snowman (talk) 21:22, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

I was also going to revert but you beat me to it. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 22:57, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, redirects are often used on disambiguation pages, when they match the disambiguated term but the actual title does not -- so they aren't needed here. The reasoning on the caps is correct, so I've also reverted the IP. -- JHunterJ (talk) 10:57, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
The Red-crowned Crane is not called a "crowned crane". I think that it would be better to list it under a "See also" or "Not to be confused with" section on this dab. The genus of crowned cranes should also be listed. Snowman (talk) 12:21, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Does anyone know if any authorities or books use the common name "crowned crane" for the genus Balearica? Snowman (talk) 12:26, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, and I added it to the "thing" but as you suggested a couple days ago I converted the thing from DAB to SAI (see next thread) NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:24, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
In which case the genus should be listed as well. Snowman (talk) 21:55, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
  • The IOC have used the group name "common crane" for the genus Balearica. The IOC do not actively standardize group names within a genus; nevertheless, this genus does contain standardized genus names, as least for the extant species. I think that the ref about that the IOC do not actively standardize group names within a genus in the list/dab/SIA was irrelevant, because the Red-crowed Crane is in a different genus to the other two. Snowman (talk) 09:38, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Helpful guidelines: "A disambiguation page is not a search index. Do not add a link that merely contains part of the page title, ..."; see WP:NAMELIST. Hence, "Red-crowned Crane" should not be included in the main list. Also, note that the phrase "Three bird species have some form of "crowned crane" in their common name: " is not relevant to the Wiki (because of the implied inclusion of part names), so I have removed it from the dab. Snowman (talk) 09:49, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
  • As far as I am aware, SIA are a form of DAB, so I have amended the Wiki Project template to disabig class from list class. Snowman (talk) 09:49, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
    SIA are not a form of DAB. WP:SETINDEX: "A set index article is not a disambiguation page" and "Fundamentally, a set index article is a type of list article". -- JHunterJ (talk) 10:24, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
  • I did not know that. Thank you for providing a good link that explained it. Snowman (talk) 10:32, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Converted to set index[edit]

Oops my bad. When I converted the article from a DAB to a Template:Set index article, my edit summary alluded to a talk page discussion. Sorry! I had forgotten that this discussion underwent a change of venue (it migrated?). The discussion is not on this talk page, but rather at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Birds#Listing_on_the_dab_page. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:34, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

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