Talk:Danah boyd/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Importance -- Is this person notable?

Danah is the premier researcher and commentor of on-line social network services and software. Her importance in that field is unquestioned by those in the field or close to it. She's much less a Yahoo! employee than an academic studying social networking services (and she's consulted with Google, Friendster, etc. too). If you doubt her importance, just take a look at her cv. -- Joebeone (Talk) 19:24, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

A few points:
  1. I'm not sure how familiar you are with the Wikipedia editing process, but when a template is added to an article, a discussion should take place on the article's Talk page before it is considered for removal. As far as I can tell, the template was up just a few hours before you hastily removed it. Perhaps this is due to your assumed personal association with boyd, in which case this article borders dangerously on that of a vanity page. Please consider your objectivity, as well as respect for the collaborative nature of Wikipedia, in your future edits.
  2. With all due respect, I'm questioning her importance. As I recall, boyd hasn't published a book, she doesn't hold a full-time research position anywhere, and she hasn't even finished her Ph.D. yet. She's consulted at major corporations, as have many others. While I'm deeply impressed by her publications and accomplishments, they hardly rival those of even her own mentors.
  3. On the other hand, if boyd is indeed "the premier researcher" in her field, the article should say so and say why (it does neither). Hence the importance template. The bulk of the article is currently about her background. No specific contributions to her field are listed.
With that said, let's get some discussion going about boyd's most significant contributions to the field of online social networks. The link you referenced above is a great starting point. In the meantime, I'm going to replace the template. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MaxVeers (talkcontribs)
As to 1., ok. I see so many anonymous strangeness that I probably did revert to quickly. I apologize. I would characterize my edits on this page being purely maintenance-related (IIRC).
As to 2., you seem to be correct under the current Notability guidelines for people. I don't believe she meets the "Published authors, editors, and photographers who have written books with an audience of 5,000 or more or in periodicals with a circulation of 5,000 or more" criterion. I think she definitely meets the proposed Notability guidelines for academics (although I'm not sure if that applies to students).
As to 3., I apologize but I don't know her work as well as someone in the online social networks field, she's just a fellow colleague and I watch her page.
I suppose you could propose this article for deletion and see if someone familiar with her work and in her field is watching the page and can add more context then merely a link to her cv. I feel she is notable... she's one of the most notable graduate students at UC Berkeley, I would say... I don't think I could prove that, however. -- Joebeone (Talk) 02:02, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Later: Actually, looking at her CV... the following might meet the above "publish" criterion (If Spolsky's book has sold enough and if you consider a periodical):
  • "Autistic Social Software ." danah boyd. In Best Software Writing I (ed. Joel Spolsky). Berkeley: Apress. 2005.
  • "Turmoil in blogland." danah boyd. op-ed. 5 January 2005.
  • "The New Blogocracy." danah boyd. op-ed. 28 July 2004.
Thoughts? -- Joebeone (Talk) 02:07, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
I've been informed by someone who knows more about the subject than I do that my above statement (the first in this section) is probably wrong. That is, Clay Shirky is probably the most prominent commentor and danah is close. As for research, I just don't know how to evaluate it but am probably also incorrect. Anyway, it appears that Justin Hall created the page (a friend of danah's) and that's getting awfully close to a vanity page. I am going to propose this article for deletion in a while (I'm waiting for others to chime in). -- Joebeone (Talk) 20:07, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Hi. I am in danah's field--I'm a graduate student at another university (my homepage is who once had danah on a panel that I organized. I think the first question we have to answer (and danah herself seems to have issues with answering this question, which i certainly appreciate) is what danah's field is. I agree that Clay Shirky is probably the most prominent commentator, so calling danah it is probably inappropriate. Clay Shirky, however, is not an academic. Howard Rheingold and Sherry Turkle are also likely close . . . I'll think more about this. danah, however, may be the most important young voice in the field . . . museumfreak
This is Clay. Given the importance of MySpace in the national debate on social issues of online spaces, and given danah's preeminence on that topic, I think she has become the more prominent commentator. That having been said, I think phrases like 'most prominent commentator' are probably not suitable for Wikipedia articles on living persons, given the fickle finger of fate. Superlative judgement is best tied to events or to historic performance ('Lance Armstrong was the preeminent competitor in the Tour de France in the early 2000s.') So I think danah merits inclusion, not least because she is visible enough that people will want to look her up, but I don't think the judgment to include her should rest on such superlatives, nor should they be featured in her page, or indeed on any page where such judgment isn't historical. Clay Shirky
I created the page because danah is inescapable in the contemporary conversations about online communities. I am social with her as well, so take it with a grain of salt, but I see danah publishing enough ground-breaking material about the emergence of a new medium (online social networks) to believe she warrants some mention here. You can measure her in terms of published books, or articles - these are traditional metrics of productivity. In the blog age? danah boyd has a lot of inbound links, and I think that counts for something. Most recently, her writing on teenaged socializing in MySpace pushed the limits of the dialog surrounding safety and children online. If she's mostly or nearly worthy now, granted her prodigious publishing rate and her young age, she is on track to make a significant contribution to her field. -- JustinHall 21:05, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Alright, I'm obviously not qualified and in no position given my social interactions with the subject to make a determination one way or another. -- Joebeone (Talk) 21:40, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
In order to verify the subject's notability, I would like to see a list of her published works added to the page. Specifically: What has she written, when, and who published it. Also, if she's genuinely well-known, then her name will have come up in other press. Listing a few of the more prominent mentions would be useful. The bit about the hat with the fuzzy ears also has to go, unless it can be shown that a mention of that hat has appeared in credible press. Otherwise it's "original research." (see WP:NOR) --Elonka 17:29, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Elonka, you can start with the link to her CV at the beginning of this thread. I could provide a list of instances that she's appeared in the press (including NYT magazine, IIRC). The hat with the fuzzy ears is one of danah's essential features and that has appeared a number of times in credible press. I have to do other things. -- Joebeone (Talk) 19:18, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
To be clear -- I am not volunteering to edit the article (I have plenty of other articles that I am working on), I am just offering advice on how to keep Danah's article from being deleted, since I have a fair amount of experience in what makes a Wikipedia article "stick". A verbal vouching from her peers, is not sufficient proof of notability on Wikipedia. Neither is it sufficient to say "Someone is notable, go verify it yourself." If an article is to avoid deletion, then the article needs to supply sufficient references and proof of notability. Linking to a resume or CV is not sufficient, since those don't count as "credible sources," though they can definitely give pointers to where credible sources can be found. To put it another way: If information has not been published elsewhere, then it shouldn't be on Wikipedia. If it's on Wikipedia, then it should have references to where it's been written about elsewhere. In terms of Boyd's notability, the Wikipedia article should spell it out -- not "of course she's famous", but "here is proof as to why she's famous." There's a certain amount of wiggle room in terms of personally-supplied information, like about schools attended and date of birth (see WP:AUTO), but to make a claim of notability, the proof has to be spelled out in the article itself. Does that make more sense? --Elonka 21:17, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for being specific. I'm hoping my recent edit [1] clears up this issue of notability and that we might agree to take the {{importance}} banner away in the near future.-- Joebeone (Talk) 23:22, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
At the moment, the article is borderline. It still feels too much like a case of "Her friends think she's famous" article, which isn't sufficient. To help convince me, please find one or more of the following:
  • An article on a major news site (CNN, BBC, FoxNews, something like that), that talks about her.
  • An article that Boyd has written for a major site ( counts towards notability, but isn't enough to make the "premier researcher" case). What else has she written that has shown up in hardcopy, or on a radio/televised broadcast?
  • Find some other *famous* blog (something that's famous enough to have its own solid Wikipedia page), and show a place on that blog, where a famous third party blogger has said, "Danah Boyd is the premier researcher". This one will still be a judgment call, but it'll help.
  • Ditto for the hat with the ears. Unless someone can provide credible press that shows that she's "known" for it, it has to be deleted from the article.
Good luck, and if there's anything else that I can do to help, or any advice that I can offer, please let me know! --Elonka 18:23, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, she was recently on O'Reilly's "The Factor" talking about MySpace... I won't cite that. I don't consider this borderline anymore, but will refrain from contributing for a bit to see if others add/etc. The fuzzy hat is a staple of her character, I'm not sure why a style (like Mr. T's style of mohawk) itself has to be notable for inclusion. Anyway, I'm nonplussed here. -- Joebeone (Talk) 22:10, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

When was she on the show? What date? Is her name listed on their website? List the URL. As for the hat, in my opinion, it makes the entire page look more amateurish -- it makes the information look like a promotional piece, instead of an encyclopedia article. My recommendation is to review the article from top to bottom (it's fine if you do it, Joebeone), but make sure that every single sentence is verifiable (please read WP:VERIFY), and from credible sources, which, where possible, are accessible to the general public so that others can verify them (that's another problem with, is that the articles are often buried behind password). It's also important to avoid emotional and promotional language, and to keep everything very dry and deposition-like. If the article sounds more like an encyclopedia article, and less like a Myspace profile, it will improve the article's longevity. --Elonka 22:41, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Of course, it's important to note that the hat makes the page look amateurish in your opinion. To danah, I believe, it is more something to shake up the traditional academics that she works with and presents her work too. I could not find a link on the O'Reilly Factor web page as it is a train wreck example of web design and they don't seem too interested in archiving things; I did find this, though[2]. I can send you a transcript of the interview retrieved from Lexis-Nexis (although, due to copyright concerns, I would be taking a big risk to put it on the public web.). -- Joebeone (Talk) 23:15, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

This page seems so silly. From her website it seems like she's just a smart student. Other bloggers come out of the wood work to say she's notable but does anybody in the academic community think so? Elonka says that she doesn't even have a PhD yet. If she's best known for her media appearances maybe she's just good at self-promotion. On the other hand Wikipedia seems more interested in documenting Star Wars characters than describing real people so maybe it's good to feature her, not her instructor, who seems to have no Wikipedia page of his own even though he has a lot more academic credentials and experience (try searching Peter Lyman). On his own website he doesn't even call himself "academic expert" as his student does here. If you have to call yourself an expert, are you one? 02:20, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

  • This is danah. I do not call myself an expert on my own page either. I've learned that what people choose to write about me on Wikipedia is beyond my control. - zephoria 21:50, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm assuming the issue of notability has been cleared up (the article sure looks serious enough now) but just in case, let me answer's question there, yes, us serious academics think she's notable too. Lijil 10:07, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Fuzzy Hat

So, should the line about her being known for her fuzzy hat be removed?

I can't imagine how I would find a cite for it (although a quick Google search[3] shows that many people consider it a trademark of hers). I don't think any of the press about her mentions the hat. It's not an essential part of the article although it does seem to be an essential part of her. If it must be cited or removed, I suppose it will have to be removed.

Well, it's not in her O'Reilly pic, and when I saw her speak at AAAS, to the best of my recollection she wasn't wearing it there either. If you can find multiple pics of her wearing it in various newspapers/magazines, then that would qualify as being "known" for it. Otherwise, I'd say remove it for now -- it can always be added in later if credible press picks it up. For now, as a rule of thumb, keep in mind that blogs and message board posts can't be used as Wikipedia sources. --Elonka 23:06, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, she is known for it, but I suppose not "known" in a manner that meets the WP:VERIFY criteria. I'll take it out. -- Joebeone (Talk) 23:16, 11 April 2006 (UTC)


Okay, I dug in and did the research for myself, and I agree at this point that she has a sufficient body of work to qualify for notability. I've done an extensive rewrite on the page, but am done for now, if anyone else wants to add anything. Or let me know what else you think might further improve it. --Elonka 16:57, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Danah subscribes to the "don't edit your own entry" philosophy and has just recently posted[4] a blog post to point out some errors in the current version and to criticize the current notion of WP:N. I'm going to make any corrections that still seem to be in order. -- Joebeone (Talk) 19:50, 16 April 2006 (UTC)


I removed one of the NPR listings from the "References" section, because I couldn't verify it. On Boyd's press page she says that she was on NPR twice, but upon closer inspection, I could only find one. The February 2006 segment was confirmed, but the August 2005 listing, though it says NPR, seems to have instead been an NPR podcast called "To the Point". I poked around but couldn't find a link to the actual episode (or any verification of Boyd's participation), so I've removed the link for now. If anyone else can dig up verification (like a link to the actual podcast), it can be re-added to the article later. --Elonka 17:36, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Renaming proposal

I am thinking that this article should probably be moved from "Danah boyd" to "Danah Boyd" (both names capitalized), per Wikipedia policy (Wikipedia:Naming conventions), which states that an article title should be that name by which a subject or person is best known. I am aware that many of Boyd's fans feel that her name should be lowercase, but the Wikipedia policy is to follow the usage of verifiable press (Wikipedia:Verifiability), not from personal knowledge or blogs or fansites. In all of the major media articles that I checked today (NY Times, NPR, USA Today, etc.), Boyd's name is capitalized normally: "Danah Boyd", so the Wikipedia article should probably reflect this usage, unless someone can come up with verifiable references to prove that she is better known by the lowercase spelling? The "also known as 'danah boyd'" can still remain in the article as a common alternate, but, here on Wikipedia, the primary article title should reflect the way it most often appears in the press. --Elonka 17:06, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

With all due respect, I personally think that this is silly... for example, it would seem that as long as the press consistently mispelled one's name, the Wikipedia article corresponding to that person would be located at the mispelling (with redirects from the correct spelling). Is there a specific Wikipedia policy page that mentions that, regardless of the subject's preferences, their name should be mispelled if the press doesn't abide by their spelling preferences? To be clear: I'm not going to argue with the Wikipedia rule in question, as it's consistent with other such rules, so go ahead and rename. It's just that this seems to be taking WP:VERIFY a bit far, no?
"No, i did not forget to capitalize that, but i've quickly learned that most people don't appreciate my decision to leave the capitalization out of my name. There are a lot of reasons that i got rid of the capital letters in the final name change, some personal and some political."[5] -- Joebeone (Talk) 19:14, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Later: I poked around the naming conventions link you've posted below and while I don't see this specific case (where a person's name is spelled different by the press than they would have it spelled), it seems that it flows from all the other wikipedia policy and guidelines. -- Joebeone (Talk) 19:35, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I still feel weird about this... shouldn't there be exceptions for facts when a living person can provide them? I would like to find a way to have the article reflect he preferred spelling of her name. But, I won't push it. -- Joebeone (Talk) 19:57, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

My name is legally lower-cased. Formal documents have my name in all caps (just like everyone else), but the signature on all documentation is lower-cased. (This is no different than my old advisor - van Dam.) My two diplomas are in lower-case, my school records are in lower-case, my employment papers are lower-case, all of my publications are lower-case. Wherever mixed case is the norm, my name is lower-case. The exception is newsmedia which often forget the 'h' and capitalize it because of their editor's rules. I've given up trying to fix it. Still, it is wrong. Why should Wikipedia duplicate this error? Would someone please revert my name to lower-case throughout the article? -- zephoria (Talk) 20:12, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

I've done this where it wasn't at the beginning of a sentence. -- Joebeone (Talk) 20:22, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Hi Danah. Unfortunately, you seem to have a misconception of how Wikipedia works. I strongly recommend reading the policies and guidelines at Wikipedia:Autobiography, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:No original research. In a nutshell: Wikipedia is not for placing "the truth", it is for placing summaries of information that is already published in other credible news sources. If you can't convince the NY Times, NPR, USA Today, and Fox News to lowercase your name, that makes a really tough case to argue on Wikipedia, since the policy here is to only incorporate information after it's been published elsewhere. If, however, you *can* convince the major media outlets to print it differently in future press, then that will make a stronger case to get the Wikipedia article adapted to match. Or in other words, don't sweat it for an immediate change -- take the long view. --Elonka 20:27, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Why is mainstream media the arbiter of truth? I find this *extremely* problematic. We all know that they're wrong quite frequently. Why shouldn't my public publications or diplomas have weight? Why can't the fact that i'm alive and know my own name matter? This isn't about policies and guidelines - this is about creating a meaningful digital encyclopedia. If the policies and guidelines are generating crap, they need to be revisited. That's been Jimmy's belief since the beginning. The only point of having policies and guidelines is to make a better site, not to rely on them just cuz. Of course, if you want a media confirmation, check out the San Francisco Chronicle profile - it begins with the casing issue (and has a picture of the fuzzy hat). --Zephoria 20:48, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm bowing out of editing this article for one week. -- Joebeone (Talk) 22:19, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
The issue is about common usage, and which name that a typical member of the public might use if they were looking for the article, or which spelling another Wikipedia editor might use if they were linking to the article from another location on Wikipedia. There are already other articles which reference the work of "Danah Boyd", using that spelling. It's true that the San Francisco Chronicle article from April 25, 2004 says "Danah boyd"[6]. However, their October 25, 2004 article [7] lists the name as "Danah Boyd". And if there's other major press using the lowercase, I haven't found it. Which, in my mind, makes a case that the lowercase is worth listing on the Wikipedia bio as an alternate spelling, and as a redirect, but not that it's the "most common spelling that a typical member of the public would use". I'm willing to go along with the consensus of other experienced Wikipedia editors though, if we can get some in here to offer opinions. I would also recommend reading the guidelines at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) and Wikipedia:Don't disrupt Wikipedia to make a point. --Elonka 23:05, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Speaking of not disrupting Wikipedia to make a point... We are talking about a person's name, which is not defined by popular consensus, or convention. Asking danah to "take the long view" and get the Wikipedia entries corrected through future engagements with major media is ludicrous. The most likely result of this strategy is fact checkers from the major media would go to Wikipedia, find "Danah Boyd" and alter the content to the detriment of all. It would just be a never-ending spiral of inaccuracy. Why not just get it right? (Anonymous comment posted by, 02:46, April 17, 2006)
Any "fact-checkers" who wanted to use Wikipedia as their one and only primary source, should be fired.  ;) I would also point out that it is not Wikipedia policy to present original research (see WP:NOR) -- it is policy here to present information as it already appears in other verifiable news sources. The best way to help her case right now would be to try to find other articles in major press, that present her name as "danah boyd". As I said, I have looked, but have not been able to find any. If someone knows of something I've missed, please bring it forward. --Elonka 17:29, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
lol, internet drama. seriously, "in other verifiable news sources". does it have to be news sources? isn't danah a verifiable source? or her writings? or any birth-certificate-like paper? :D get over it, and get it right. (Anonymous comment posted by, 14:58, April 17, 2006 )
For an explanation of what Wikipedia regards as "verifiable news sources", please check here: Wikipedia:Verifiability. --Elonka 23:32, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
still, it doesn't say it has to be a _news_ source? and on WP:AUTO you can read the following: "you should feel free to correct mistaken or out-of-date facts about yourself, such as marital status, sexual orientation, criminal involvement or lack thereof, current employer, place of birth, work done in foreign countries, etc." (Anonymous comment posted by, 23:55, April 17, 2006)

Correct, it doesn't have to be a "news" source, but to have the most weight, sources do have to be credible third-party sources, meaning something that someone else has written about Boyd, not that she's written about herself. I know that when dealing with an issue about someone you know personally, it can seem non-intuitive, but the point of Wikipedia isn't to let people post information about themselves -- it is instead to provide a summary of what *third party* sources say about a particular person. For more info, please see: Wikipedia:Notability (people).

I'm glad though to see that you're reading the Wikipedia policy at WP:AUTO, thanks for taking the time to check things out for yourself. Though, I'm sure you also saw the sentence immediately following what you quoted, which is, However, be prepared that if the fact has different interpretations, others will edit it. There's also the section further down about Self-published sources ... may be used as sources in articles about themselves . . . so long as the information is notable, not unduly self-aggrandizing, and not contradicted by other published sources.

As for the lowercase issue, it looks like that's already been discussed for the Wikipedia Manual of Style in another context, which is that of lowercased trademark names. After weeks of discussion, and a vote, the consensus decision was that even if a name appears lowercased in other contexts, that on Wikipedia, it's appropriate to capitalize it normally. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks) (and the associated Talk page if you'd like to see the discussion and vote). And if you still have questions, by all means keep asking! I do ask a favor though, which is, when you post something on a talk page, could you please "sign" your comments with four tildes? ~~~~ That will put a datestamp on your messages here, which makes conversations a bit easier to follow. Thanks! --Elonka 17:43, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Hello, I've stumbled across this discussion from external sources, but thought I might be able to help out before it escalates any further within wikipedia. There are a lot of seeminly overlapping policies about capitalization, but none of those should override our goal for accuracy. If the subjects legal name is all lowercase, that should be accomodated in as much as possible. The problem with full accomodation is in the MediaWiki software, as articles must begin with a capital letter. For a few examples of this see, EBay and the IPod. The notation you see at the top of the article is the standard way this is communicated to the reader. If you have any other questions about this let me know. - cohesion 22:57, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand why we use an incorrect spelling here. If this is her official name (If we really need to we can ask here for a copy of something official), why not use it? The technical problems surely are not that big of a deal. If we follow other people who make mistakes, then we will be cited and more people will use an incorrect spelling. I hate it when people misspel my name, so I think this is important enough.
It ismore important to have a correct, truthfull article then to blindly follow rules and guidelines. Remember that even Wikipedia has a rule that says to ignore the rules if it makes for a better article.HichamVanborm 21:43, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Changing the article title to lowercase, would not make for a better article. It makes things more difficult to link, causes more redirects, messes up categorization, and causes a host of other problems. These issues have already been debated, and the community consensus is to keep the name capitalized. Boyd's alternate spelling is included in the body of the article, which is sufficient. --Elonka 21:56, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Thing is that it is not an alternate spelling, it is the only correct legal spelling of her name (I mean we can trust her to know her own name,no?). Look at [eBay] it says that this is due to technical reasons. We could do the same on this page.
(I am quite new here on Wikipedia and have been trying to get an idea of how consensus building works, who owns Wikipedia, why it works liker it works... But most of the actual discussions or reasons are hidden in deep archives (or so it seems). Is there a place where I can find these things? On top of that, how does consensus change? We cannot just assume that the feelings of Wikipedians will always be the same on these things.)HichamVanborm
Capitalization and spelling are two different things. Remember this is the English encyclopedia -- this is important because the general rule on each language-based Wikipedia is to follow the rules native to its language, not the whims of the subjects it concerns. In English, "A" and "a" are the same letter. Again in English, it is conventional to capitalize the first letter of proper nouns. This is covered in almost every manual of style ever written. Lately (in the past couple of decades), "lowercase" proper nouns such as eBay and iPod have begun to crop up. Wikipedia's own Manual of Style covers this specifically at MOS:TM (with the discussion leading to the decision on the talk page). It says that lowercase proper nouns with internal capitals (eBay, iPod) are determined to have satisfied the "capital letter" requirement of English and thus the first letter does not need to be capitalized, even at the beginning of a sentence. If a proper noun has no capital at all, then the first letter should be capitalized (Adidas, Craigslist). This solves a number of problems, especially problems with readability in addition to those problems mentioned by Elonka above. -- Renesis13 23:55, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
I would think an encyclopedia is there to give 'facts'. Her name is not capitalised, so we should give that fact. I can understand the technical limitations, but the fact that it is English rules to capitilise seems, in my oppinion at least, outweight by the 'legal'(correct way) of spelling the name. For brands or nouns that don't have a capital, it is different, unless they actually state that it should be spelled one way or the other. The day Adidas decides that it can only be 'adidas', then that would be more important then the general rule. Rules have exceptions and this seems to be one. How does Wikipedia spell noble names (de Frenchnamehere,van Dutchnamehere...)?HichamVanborm 01:16, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
[DE-INDENT] What do the Germans call Germany? What is the proper name of Venice? Venice in particular has had discussion about why the article is not located at "Venezia" -- the simple answer is because in English, we call it "Venice". I understand that the subject in this case is also an English subject, but the principle is the same. As for Adidas, they HAVE decided that it can only be "adidas". Same with Craigslist, Thirtysomething, and Oneworld. Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (trademarks) has the full story. -- Renesis13 01:23, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Also, you'll notice that those articles treat the lowercase issue in the exact same way as it is treated in this case. The first use of the name is printed in bold and lowercase, but in subsequent references it is capitalized according to the Wikipedia Manual of Style. If Danah Boyd's "legal" spelling of her name being lowercase is a notable fact (which I suppose it is) then it can be mentioned, but it doesn't mean Wikipedia ought to indulge the entire copy of the article with a non-standard capitalization. -- Renesis13 01:29, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
I still think we should change everything to danah boyd. I can see that for know consensus for trademarks follows what you say, but for names it doesn't I think. I looked at the Wikipedia manual of style but couldn't find anything about changing capitalisation for names. Look at [Juan Ramón de la Fuente] and [Cristián de la Fuente] (just a name that came up first). Nobility seems to be often written with a lowercase as well (Though this might be a borderline case of titles). If we can't agree on this one, we might ask for a more open vote about this, so we can have this in the style manual.HichamVanborm 22:34, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

This might be sort of a late reply, but over the last few months, I have taken an interest in these kind of discussions and I'd like to offer my two cents: There has yet to be a policy or guideline to be put in place that explicitly allows exceptions from Wikipedia:Proper names#Personal names and the very basic grammatical rules attached to it. In past discussions on such issues, people have brought up Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) in defense of eccentric typography, yet this guideline does not mention capitalization with a single word. On the other hand, while designed for trademarks, Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks) elaborates on typographic issues at length, so one has to conclude that the current house style of Wikipedia is to spell a few things "wrong" for the sake of its readers. There is little novelty in that, many general-purpose publications do it, as it was previously mentioned in this discussion (I'm not referring to the missing "h", that's just sloppy editing).

With all that being said, I think there would still be no harm in notifying the reader of this peculiarity. Something like "Danah Boyd (born 1977, her name typeset as "danah boyd" in her publications)..." or " her own last name. She gives her name as "danah boyd" in her publications." (Biography section, first paragraph). - Cyrus XIII 06:51, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

A similar situation exists for Bell_hooks. Her name is used in lowercase consistently throughout her entry. I suggest we do the same here. 04:44, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree, and I think that not lowercasing her name is a violation of Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons policy. This talk page shows that the capitalization of her name is clearly controversial, and as sources exist showing that her name is lowercased[8][9], the uppercased references to her name should be removed. —pfahlstrom 23:03, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I have seen Boyd's name spelled both uppercase and lowercase in outside sources, but the majority have been normal initial-cap spellings. The Wikipedia article should reflect "most common usage in outside sources". However, it should also include the alternate spelling within the lead paragraph. That information was there until recently. I've gone ahead and re-added it. --Elonka 07:08, 5 March 2007 (UTC)


I work for Yahoo! but i do not speak as a representative of them - i speak as an expert on social technologies. I do not study social networks at Yahoo! The only talk that i've given based on resesarch i did at Yahoo! is the tagging talk at IASummit. For complete transparency, Y! did fund my travel to IASummit, Etech and SXSW this year, but this is only 3 of 21 conferences i attended this year. My talk at SXSW had nothing to do with Y! or my research there; my talk at Etech was mostly about my research on MySpace and Friendster, although i used my knowledge of Craigslist and Flickr to flesh it out. All of my research on MySpace and youth and social networks is funded by the Macarthur Foundation. I am part of a multimillion dollar Macarthur digital youth research grant (PIs: Mimi Ito, Peter Lyman, Michael Carter). I am co-advised by Peter Lyman and Mimi Ito. --Zephoria 20:55, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Ryan and i had an Epix account that we shared; Ry was online long before i was - i thought it was stupid. He taught me that the Internet had people. I can't say that i learned about the digital world through Epix - i learned about it through Usenet and IRC and BBSes; Epix was simply how we got online and the address of our email account. --Zephoria 20:55, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

I moved to San Francisco because i wanted to; V-Day was based in New York. V-Day understood that i needed to be in SF for my own sanity, but i did not move there because of them - i worked remotely. I started working for V-Day in 1999, after hosting one of the first college campaign productions of The Vagina Monologues. I built online communities for them from 1998-2003 (first as a volunteer and then as staff). --Zephoria 20:55, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

When i came to San Francisco, i started documenting the emergence of Friendster on my blog. THEN, through my blog, many people working on social software contacted me; only a fraction of them were building social networks systems. The folks at Friendster never wanted to talk to me - they thought i was wrong when i told them that they would lose users by attacking them. --Zephoria 20:55, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

I would argue that i'm best known for my research on social networks and online systems, not for my media appearances. I'm in the media because i'm an academic expert and because academics and industry folks point them to me because of my research. My media appearances take my research further, but i'm not simply a news face because i'm a news face. Of course, this is less a factual inaccuracy and more a difference in opinion. --Zephoria 20:55, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the above information. If you can provide links to specific articles or websites (aside from your own) that confirm the above, that'll help speed the editing process. The best way to do it is to use an inline citation, for example: "At the 2006 AAAS conference, Danah Boyd was one of several speakers presenting information about teen use of the internet." [10]. That makes it easy for Wikipedia editors to verify the information, and to include the necessary references in your bio. --Elonka 23:12, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Elonka: for the biographical details, why would her blog posts not be sufficient? --maru (talk) contribs 04:58, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
It's a Wikipedia policy thing. See Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Using online and self-published sources. --Elonka 05:35, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
I have corrected some of it, can you please explain how "She documented what she was observing on Friendster and other social-networking sites via her blog, and this grew into a career as she became a recognized authority on the subject." is substantively different than your explanation. It may just be my misinterpretation of the text, but any clarification would be helpful. - cohesion 23:14, 22 April 2006 (UTC)


This article makes claims of notability so needs to go through Afd to get community consensus for deletion. --FloNight 13:55, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. A speedy tag is not appropriate for this article. --Elonka 19:56, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
This absolutely is not speediable. There is a clear claim of notability, disqualifying it from WP:CSD#A7, and the article already survived one AFD.-- danntm T C 20:06, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Requested move

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.

Danah Boyddanah boyd — This has gone back and forth a few times in the past, but the lower case is what she is published under, and is the most common usage. According to her it is also her actual legal name. We have done this in other articles, I don't see why we would be so intransigent when the actual person has an interest. cohesion 11:57, 5 April 2007 (UTC)


Add  # '''Support'''  or  # '''Oppose'''  on a new line in the appropriate section followed by a brief explanation, then sign your opinion using ~~~~. Please remember that this survey is not a vote, and please provide an explanation for your recommendation.

Survey - in support of the move

  1. Strong Support WP:BLP says "We must get the article right." This article should have accurate information that can be reliably sourced, and this question falls under that banner. Wikipedia:Proper names#Personal names is completely silent (and thus not at all clear, contrary to what Cyrus XIII says below) on what to do with personal names one or more words of which begin with a lowercase letter. This should be addressed in an update to the guideline. Additionally, to dismiss idiosyncratic orthography out of hand is to introduce a POV contention that idiosyncratic orthography is not appropriate for an encyclopedia. It is the height of NPOV to simply relay information as it is without making such judgments. —pfahlstrom 22:42, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
  2. Support As nominator. I agree the policy is silent about idiosyncratic capitalization. It's not at all clear. I would also rather a general consensus occur about this, and have asked at that policy page. - cohesion 22:48, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
  3. Support Per BLP as noted above. BLP trumpts MOS period. Kyaa the Catlord 22:15, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Survey - in opposition to the move

  1. Oppose. Wikipedia:Proper names#Personal names is clear on this and it brings up NPOV concerns to dismiss stylized typography when dealing with company names, groups of artists (i.e. bands) and published works (all which is done regularly, following the Wikipedia Manual of Style) and then give special treatment to articles about people who happen be notable for what they do on their own. - Cyrus XIII 13:01, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
    It certainly is a violation of NPOV to treat one differently from the others, but that does not mean replacing two NPOV violations with one NPOV violations is better than replacing it with zero NPOV violations. Wikipedia should neutrally report all names as they are without forcing them to conform to someone's idea of orthodoxy. —pfahlstrom 22:51, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, I believe you have made it perfectly clear in previous discussions, that you strongly disapprove of any part of the Manual of Style which dismisses idiosyncratic capitalization. You also seem to have ceased most other activity on Wikipedia beside taking part in these discussions, which is a pity. - Cyrus XIII 23:15, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
    Isn't that a bit ad hominem and distracting? I'm not sure what my pattern of Wikipedia activity has to do with the discussion at hand, but I have been, and remain, a casual editor. I have always been primarily a reader of Wikipedia, and seek to improve it only when I find a lack of particular interest to me. If anything, my interest in this issue indicates an increase in my Wikipedia participation, not a cessation of other activity. However, I do not suspect that this increase will be sustained, since the experience has been disheartening, and that is indeed a pity. But what does that have to do with danah boyd's article title? Whether or not I have made my opinions known elsewhere, they are still relevant to this discussed move. I might as well say you have made your opinions known elsewhere, since you have, and the point would be...what, exactly? Better to just focus on the issue at hand. —pfahlstrom 00:07, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
    Oh, I absolutely agree that the focus of your activities has little to do with the discussion at hand, I merely sought to suggest that picking up a few mundane editing tasks in between of discussions helps to avoid Wikistress. Works for me at least, apologies if my remark was out of place. - Cyrus XIII 00:48, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
    I appreciate the sentiment, and pretty much agree—but a location more appropriate for it and less distracting to this survey would have been my own talk page. (Oh, and my wife sitting next to me says I care far too much about this and that it's definitely causing me Wikistress, and she would have said a month ago "Wikipedia sucks, oh well." I don't think Wikipedia sucks, but certain things about it disappoint me, as I said at the bottom of the xxxHOLiC move discussion.) This is just more distraction though, so if you really want to continue it, my talk page is available. —pfahlstrom 06:01, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
  2. Strong oppose. Wikipedia:Proper names#Personal names is clear that proper names should be capitalized. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks) also specifically covers the examples of what to do with a lower-case trademark -- On Wikipedia, our Manual of Style is to capitalize. Further, even if we had more discretion on this at Wikipedia, I'd say that regardless of how Boyd personally spells her name on her own blog, Wikipedia should follow the lead of reliable sources. San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and New York Times all use the spelling of "Danah Boyd." --Elonka 01:09, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
    Silence is not clarity. And there are other references above on this talk page to reliable sources which do use lowercase letters. Also, the trademark discussion is a complete distraction and not relevant to a personal name. —pfahlstrom 04:39, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
  3. Oppose per the manuals of style, and Elonka. Neier 10:25, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
    Again I must point out that the manual of style says nothing regarding this question. —pfahlstrom 21:22, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
    "As proper nouns these names are always first-letter capitalized" and "Wikipedia articles should heed these guidelines" are hardly "nothing". - Cyrus XIII 21:31, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
    Then you believe the guideline is meant to be interpreted to mean that the current usages of L. Sprague de Camp, Vincent van Gogh, Vasco da Gama, and Benicio del Toro are all incorrect? Clearly, the guideline has gaps. It says nothing about what to do with sections of names which are incorrect to capitalize. —pfahlstrom 02:22, 10 April 2007 (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.

WP:BLP covers contentious information about the subject, and by my reading of that page, capitalising someone's name according to the usual rules of grammar does not constitute a contentious stance. The subject would not win a libel case against a newspaper just because they wrote her name with capital letters, for instance. Given that WP:BLP doesn't apply to this facet of the article, the Manual of Style can, and does. We therefore follow other reliable sources (Elonka lists a few) and keep the name capitalised. It was requested that this article be renamed but there was no consensus for it to be moved. --Stemonitis 09:17, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Apr 8 RFC

  • Coming in off of the RFC (posted on April 8), my opinion: danah boyd's name is frequently used in lowercase as well as in first-capped mixed case. Since both variants appear in the published record, danah boyd's own statements about her name are helpful; they're certainly not self-serving and they don't present verifiability/NOR problems since there is significant evidence in the published record that she goes by lowercase d-b. This is a BLP issue, since it is principally about identities. BLP makes clear that things which reflect on core identities (religious beliefs, sexual orientation) should rely on the individual's self-identification. For whatever reason danah boyd has chosen to lowercase her name, that should be respected as much as any other core identity issue -- there is little that is more core as an identity than one's name. (The "it's not defamatory" is not a good reason: religious faith is not defamatory, and sexual orientation is not necessarily defamatory either. So "defamation" is clearly not the threshold.) --lquilter 23:34, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I think Boyd's printed name here should reflect her publications, and the media's representation of her name. K.d.lang has a long history both of performing and being billed as k.d.lang, and of the media referring to her as k.d.lang. Therefore her listing can rightly refer to her as k.d.lang. Such is not the case here. This is less a spelling issue and more of a typesetting one. If Boyd decided that she wanted her name written in green ink, she could make all the same arguments she has made earlier, and I still don't think Wikipedia should refer to her as danah boyd. Her personal wishes should not come into play on this discussion. This has to do with previously published references, and currently accepted practices. She is published under the name "Danah Boyd" in several media sources. I don't think it violates any guidelines to capitalize her name according to the standards of published third-party sources. Andyparkerson 10:35, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • if she legally changed her name to "danah boyd" then that should be the article's title. legal accuracy trumps MOS. Not a dog 01:32, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
  • The important references we have for her, the New York Times [11] and the Financial Times,[12] both use Danah Boyd. Therefore, it seems clear the mainstream media, and presumably the world, usually refers to her this way. So should we. --AnonEMouse (squeak) 16:31, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
    • your subjective claims that it "seems clear" and "presumably the world" are not good grounds for policy decisions, IMO Not a dog 16:49, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
      • That's pretty much what Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) is all about, actually. Note the part where it says "Wikipedia is not a place to advocate a title change in order to reflect recent scholarship. The articles themselves reflect recent scholarship but the titles should represent common usage." So what that means is you can put a couple of sentences there that on her site she claims that she got some kind of papers (note that she doesn't specify it was a legal name change) that use the lower case form. But the article title should be the mixed case form. See, for example, National Association of Realtors, which makes a big deal out of writing REALTOR all over the place - but we don't, because most people don't. See Jimmy Carter, for a far more important person - his name is James, but since the world calls him Jimmy, so do we. --AnonEMouse (squeak) 17:18, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
        • FWIW, she indicated here that it is legally lower-case. And my point is that just becuase the NY Times uses upper case isn't sufficient evidence for you to claim that "presumably the world" does too. Not a dog 17:29, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
          • Wikipedia should follow the lead of major published sources, per WP:V. Right now those sources use "Danah Boyd." If the majority of third-party sources start printing her name lowercase, then Wikipedia can follow that example. But so far I'm not seeing it. If there are third-party sources which use the lowercase version of her name, please provide them. --Elonka 19:28, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
            • even if the living subject herself states those "leading" third party sources are incorrect? why must wikipedia perpetuate their error? Not a dog 19:55, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
              • One might also argue that the editors of these sources merely decide to stick with basic grammar rules indiscriminately (in this case first letter capitalizing proper nouns), so that neither individual people, nor companies or brands get to stand out in any special way, as these publications write about them, not for them. I'd say this is the most WP:NPOV compliant approach possible, when it comes to typesetting. - Cyrus XIII 21:29, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
                • One might argue that (do you?), but I think they'd be wrong. The fact of the matter is "Danah Boyd" is not her name, "danah boyd" is. Do we need to ask her to produce the legal name-change documentation?? Not a dog 21:58, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
                  • No, just as Sony does not have to provide us with the paperwork which says that they trademarked the name of their latest home console in all-caps - apart from mentioning it, it's just not relevant to us a as mature, descriptive publication. - Cyrus XIII 22:13, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
                    • Well, I wish you luck, then, getting k.d. lang and other articles renamed as well. Not a dog 23:49, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
    • This is danah. My birth certificate says DANAH MICHELE BOYD - all birth certificates and driver's licenses in the United States are fully capitalized. My signature on all official documents is lower-cased. My name on my diplomas is lower-cased. My name on all of my own publication is lower-cased. There are plenty of journalists who have chosen to capitalize my name and quite a few who have called me "Dana Boyd" (lacking the 'h' in my first name), but this does not reflect accuracy. I find it peculiar that it is desirable to reproduce inaccuracies from news media simply because they are common. If you look at any of my publications in print, you'll find that my name is always lower-cased. Why wouldn't you default to the capitalization of my articles and suggest that the New York Times chooses to capitalize her name rather than the other way around? Why is the NYTimes by default more accurate in the capitalization of my name than I am when I write my own articles? When my book comes out with my name in lower-case, will the press' capitalization still trump my own capitalization? - zephoria 21:50, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
      • Capitalization is and always has been a style issue. D is the same letter as d. No matter how many publications one has, nor how many "documents" they can have produced with their desired spelling, no one can change the rules of English. If you want just the name of the article changed because of a "common name", I don't have a problem with that, but in practice that would only change the b since the D is required to be capital by technical limitation (at least in the URL) and I think that looks bad. Also, I don't know why we'd ever use signatures for spelling or capitalization; my signature doesn't even contain all the letters of my name. I could sign a triangle for all it matters, but it wouldn't mean I'd have a right to make Wikipedia refer to me as "Δ". -- Renesis (talk) 13:27, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
        • The lowercased-spelling of the name is already in the lead paragraph of the article (danah boyd). I see no need to also change the page title. Wikipedia guidelines are clear that the page title should be that name which is in most common use. And yes, that means that if all newspapers routinely spelled Boyd's name as "Dana," then that's what we'd use on the Wikipedia article title. We go by the most common spelling that a user would type into a search engine, and as such, we follow the lead of outside sources. For examples of other cases where an article title name does not match an individual's precise legal name, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names)#Examples. --Elonka 19:09, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
          • The title of this article should be the verifiably correct name of the subject of the article; the capitalized version is verifiably incorrect, so I really wonder how there's an issue here. Style guidelines do not trump accuracy. Ubernostrum 20:20, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
          • Additionally, the lead paragraph says the subject is "also known as" "danah boyd". It's inexcusable for a style guide to overrule factual accuracy to the extent that someone has to be "also known as" their own legal name. WP:IAR is the solution for the style guide's proscriptions here, because the style guide is getting in the way of the factual accuracy of the article. Ubernostrum 20:26, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
        • That seems a bit extreme to me. I think anybody reasonable can see the theory behind the common names policy. If there is something to be disagreed upon, we use the most common argument. However, if something is factually verifiable, such as the spelling of a name, and many sources seem to get the spelling wrong (for whatever reason), then it would be ridiculously obsessive of us to ignore the fact. Again, this doesn't fall under "spelling" since the letters are the same, but that is what has landed us in this muddy water. -- Renesis (talk) 02:08, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
          • I agree. It cannot be held against a publication (i.e. a newspaper) to do away with stylized typography in order to give each subject an equal weight (of sorts) within the typesetting. But the missing 'h' is just sloppy editing. - Cyrus XIII 09:52, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
            • I also recommend that we add a statement saying that the name change information is sourced from Boyd's website. That disclaimer was in an earlier version, but got removed somewhere along the line. In other words, say, "According to Boyd's website..." Personally, I'm inclined to take anything from Boyd's website with a grain of salt, as Boyd's area of research is social networking, and for all we know this is some grand experiment on how the rules can be pushed. Yes, I know we're supposed to assume good faith, but I'd also point out that Boyd's site indicates that she experimented with the last name of "Beard." Beard is actually a slang term meaning "fake" or "hidden." We have no other source for that name than her own site. That, plus the fact that Boyd has used her blog to try and encourage her fans to pressure Wikipedia on this issue, make me encourage extreme caution as to how much we rely on Boyd's website as a source here. --Elonka 18:05, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
              • Said disclaimer has now been re-implemented. Regarding good faith, well, I don't know about you guys, but my ability to assume good faith rarely reaches beyond my fellow editors and naturally, Zephoria does not register as such in the given context. Hence it all comes down to maintaining verifiability and a NPOV, coupled with a healthy dose of skepticism. - Cyrus XIII 23:34, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
              • Ouch. I did not "experiment" with the last name Beard. When my mother remarried, we changed our names to our stepfather's name; I was a child. You do not have to take my web documentation of this as "fact" - it is public record in York, Pennsylvania. While I cannot say many nice things about my ex-stepfather, I find it extremely offensive that you are suggesting that his family name is slang for fake or hidden. What value does that attack serve in this discussion? - zephoria 21:28, 15 July 2007 (UTC)


Please note that the MoS already covers this sort of thing. k.d. lang. e.e. cummings. catherine yronwode.

{{lowercase|title}} exists for a reason. DS 02:05, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, and that specific part of the MoS clearly states that the article title should reflect the majority of outside sources; that would be standard English capitalization in this case. Speaking of guidelines and policies, kindly take a look at WP:3RR. - Cyrus XIII 03:09, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm something of a newcomer to this particular debate, but as I see it other Wikipedia policies and guidelines trump MoS in this case. If mainstream news sources are verifiably inaccurate, then Wikipedia should not propagate their inaccuracies; instead, Wikipedia should provide verifiably accurate information from reliable sources.
In this case, danah has indicated that her name is legally lower-cased, and writings on her site indicate that this is an issue that's important to her; that brings WP:BLP into play, both as an issue of respect for the subject of a living person and as an issue of verifiability -- when the information provided by an article's subject is not "unduly self-serving", it is permissible to use that person as a source for the article. Furthermore, academic sources (the University of California, and various papers authored by or citing danah) list her as "danah boyd", not "Danah Boyd", and danah has mentioned that capitalization is not the only mistake news sources have made in publishing her name, which casts further doubt on the accuracy and verifiability of the news sources which have been cited to support the capitalized name.
Given the above, I think a combination of BLP and WP:IAR (a rule -- in this case the MoS -- is getting in the way of improving Wikipedia) are sufficient to justify 1) moving this article to "Danah boyd", with a redirect from "Danah Boyd" to aid searching; 2) Adding a note that the title of the article is properly lower-cased; and 3) removing the "also known as danah boyd" and converting all mentions of her name in the article to lower-case. Ubernostrum 03:33, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Considering the articles uses "E. E. Cummings" through, that is not eactly the most compelling example... Circeus 03:12, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, yeah. Cummings was a mistake on my part. However, consider the many proper names in [[Category:Wikipedia articles that should not have a capitalised title]]. Anyway, I interfered in this debate because the last few times I stepped in and overruled all debate, it worked out just fine. This time, it seems to be a bit more acrimonious, so I'm stepping back out. Settle it amongst yourselves. DS 13:25, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Try {{lowercase}}, maybe? (and really, I'm not coming back to this dispute.) DS 16:24, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
We've already discussed this extensively. Wikipedia follows the lead of outside reliable sources. If New York Times and television news spell the name "Danah Boyd", that's how we spell it too. If Boyd wants to get the Wikipedia article changed, talk to the Times and MSNBC first. If they change, we'll change. Wikipedia is not the place for original research. As it is, we've already got the alternate spelling of her name in the lead paragraph, which is plenty. I'm really having trouble understanding why people are so insistent that the article title be changed as well. --Elonka 18:41, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Elonka, I'd appreciate a reply to my concerns above about MoS being trumped by other Wikipedia policies. Additionally, the University of California and forty-odd academic citations I was able to find in a quick search use "danah boyd", so please avoid selectivity in your counting of the "majority" of sources. And please do not reference NOR when others are making reference to reliable sources; NOR does not apply to such situations.
As for the "insistence", it's a simple case of accuracy: danah's name is verifiably lower-cased. Propagating an inaccurate version for sake of a style guide is a clear-cut violation of both WP:V and WP:BLP. Ubernostrum 00:25, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Especially since this is really close to a WP:MOS-TM issue. The folks at REALTOR® know how they want to present their name, just as Ms. boyd knows how she wants to present hers. However, at Wikipedia, neither are shown favor, and we resort to a cultural-normal capitalization scheme. Neier 00:09, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
At the risk of violating WP:DNFTT... Capitalizing the name is neither a WP:BLP violation nor a WP:V violation. See AnonEMouse's post above for links to articles in the New York Times and Financial Times which capitalized her name. That's plenty verifiable per WP:V, and the New York Times is about as high quality a reference as you can get. As for WP:BLP, its main thrust is to prevent negative information from going into a biography of a living person. I see no reasoning that having Boyd's name capitalized is causing any negative impact, aside from the fact that She-who-is-also-known-as-Boyd doesn't like it. And again, the lowercase version of the name is included in the lead paragraph. I can't see as any reasonable reader of the Wikipedia article would be confused, and I can't see that changing the article title to lowercase would provide any benefit. --Elonka 19:20, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
The problem here is a conflict of sources: the NYT and FT spelled it "Danah Boyd", yes, as did other sources. But yet other sources which Wikipedia considers to be reliable (public institutions and academic citations) spell it "danah boyd". Now, one of these is right and one of these is wrong -- they can't both be "the" correct version. danah has indicated that her name is legally lower-cased, and pointed to other mistakes made by mainstream news sources in citing/identifying her; this calls the reliability of the NYT and FT articles into question. Furthermore, BLP states that the subject of the article can be used as a source when the information provided is not "unduly self-serving" and there is no reasonable doubt that the information truly is coming from the subject. Comments on the RFC above have already noted that this information is not "unduly self-serving", and there is no reasonable doubt as to whether danah is the one providing this information, which means that we can use danah herself as a source for this. I don't think anyone would argue that the New York Times -- in the matter of the correct spelling of the name of the person who is the subject of this article -- is a more reliable source than danah herself, which means that the most reliable source available to us (backed up by secondary sources in the form of the University of California and academic citations) verifies "danah boyd" as the correct version and refutes "Danah Boyd" as incorrect. Thus, per WP:V, the article should be moved and edited to reflect that, as I've proposed above.
And I'll also say something about BLP here, because I believe there is a BLP issue: danah's gone to the trouble of writing an essay explaining why she changed her name to lower-case, and used fairly strong terms: "that's exactly it - it's my name and i should be able to frame it as i see fit, as my adjective, not someone else's. Why must it follow some New York Times standard guide for naming? " This moves the issue squarely into BLP territory, both as a matter of "get the article right" and as a matter of approaching article subjects "with compassion, grace and understanding". Right now we're doing neither: we're getting the article wrong, and there have been comments which have been arguably disrespectful of her -- for example, one revert message left by a Wikipedia editor took pains to dismiss the spelling issue as danah's "preference", with quotes for emphasis. If that's not a BLP problem (especially with Wikipedia's recent increase in attention given to the wishes of living persons covered by articles -- see the deletions of Seth Finkelstein and Daniel Brandt, for example), I don't know what is.
Also, please don't throw the "don't feed the troll" policy at me -- remember to assume good faith, even and especially when someone's disagreeing with you. Ubernostrum 19:56, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Can we please stop calling capitalization spelling? It is not, and it never will be. A D is a d is a d is a D is a D. Repeat that if you need to. The point is, until many third party sources cite her with a different style (and places to which she submitted her own name such as educational institutions, for obvious reasons, don't count), we will not use that style. The End. A name is a proper noun. A name is also case insensitive. Proper nouns are thus capitalized, in English. That's just the way it is. -- Renesis (talk) 20:06, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, let's call it capitalization. Let's also call me exasperated, because I've been saying now for days that this is not a matter of style, it's a matter of fact: there is a person who is the subject of this article, and whose name is verifiably either "Danah Boyd" or "danah boyd". Wikipedia should take steps to find the most reliable sources available in determining which version is correct, and then use that version, and I've presented arguments which try to do just that, but those arguments have been effectively dismissed out of hand. If there is truly not an issue of fact here, and it truly is only an issue of style, please show me why that is. Let's also be very careful about throwing out entire classes of sources in the heat of a debate: it's not at all obvious to me that we should throw out anything she's put her name on, because her work goes through peer-review processes which can and should catch errors, and because her university isn't likely to have accepted her without doing some checking up to make sure she was who she said she was (if nothing else, I imagine that universities like to be able to collect tuition and pay necessary employment taxes, two things which requires them to verify someone's legal identity). Ubernostrum 20:30, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Since we all seem to be talking past each other here, I've posted a quick summary and link back here on the BLP noticeboard; perhaps fresh eyes will help resolve this. Ubernostrum 23:22, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Cyrus dropped the BLP tag, but I'm still maintaining there's a BLP issue here if we view the name as a matter of fact. danah has indicated that her name is legally lower-cased; a person's legal name either is some string of characters or isn't that string of characters, so we've got a question of fact here. And BLP says to "get the article right", not to "get the article right unless the facts are unconventional", not to "get the article right unless the facts disagree with Wikipedia's manual of style", etc. Either her legal name is "danah boyd", or it's not. If it is "danah boyd", then it should be verifiable -- and, indeed, we have a primary source and some secondary sources which say "danah boyd" is the name of the subject of this article. And if it's verifiable that "danah boyd" is the name of the subject of this article, then titling it "Danah Boyd", presenting the name throughout as "Danah Boyd" and giving her legal name as "also known as" would violate BLP's prescription to get the article right and to supply verifiable facts about the subject.

Also, in previous discussions, the response from some editors has been that danah (or perhaps someone else) should lobby the NYT, etc. to issue corrections, at which point Wikipedia might consider following their lead (though it's still not clear that these editors would -- the "get mainstream media to change" angle has been a minor thread). BLP places on Wikipedia the responsibility to get it right; it does not place on subjects the responsibility to obsessively police what others say about them.

And again I'll point back to WP:IAR, which I brought up when I first dove into this issue: there's a very good argument that presenting the subject's legal name would improve Wikipedia by adding relevant verifiable information to the article. WP:NAME is getting in the way of that improvement, so even if it's decided that style would otherwise trump substance, the naming convention should be ignored for this article per IAR. Ubernostrum 02:20, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

And just for kicks: Reliability of Wikipedia cites an article by danah, and attributes it to "Danah Boyd", in contradiction to the cited article. Can we get a WP:IRONY set up? Ubernostrum 02:40, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Well, if you want to wikilawyer, she acknowledged that her legal name is DANAH MICHELE BOYD in caps on her license, birth certificate, etc; and danah boyd is how she chooses to present herself. REALTOR is how the real estate association chooses to present themselves, and WP:MOS-TM is very clear on Wikipedia's stance on that stylistic issue. Governments (apparently?) take no stance towards capitalization (by listing everything in all-caps), and, it seems it is not an issue with the content, but with presentation. WP:BLP addresses content. The various manuals of style address presentation. Neier 04:08, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, care to address the IAR concern while you're here? Does WP:NAME mean that we should ignore the subject of the article, published work from reliable academic sources, and a notable and reliable public institution which identifies the subject using lower case? Cyrus expressed a concern that BLP is becoming an "all-overriding policy"; is there room for a concern that the MoS is being allowed similar latitude? Also, note that "idiosyncratic" capitalization of a number of trademarks is preserved in their Wikipedia entries, and that the guideline for trademarks specifically calls them out to indicate this; you can't, in fairness, call out REALTOR/realtor without also calling out the counterexamples of iPod, eBay, etc. How far is MoS allowed to degrade an article? Ubernostrum 05:55, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
The invocation of WP:IAR more and more strikes me as a Wikipedia-specific variant of Godwin's Law, that's probably why IAR is precisely the "rule" I've always chosen to ignore - in favor of Wikipedia:Interpret all rules, since that little essay actually helps resolving disputes in cases where the guidelines are not specific enough. The issue we are discussing here however, is addressed fairly clearly by the Manual of Style, so this is not one of those fringe case, which may be solved by out-of-the-box thinking. In short, we may continue this discussion ("Is!"/"Is not!") or the party dissatisfied with the current set of rules we have may put in for changes to them on the relevant talk pages. - Cyrus XIII 10:24, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
As I said above, debating the case of a word is not debating the content; it is debating the style. Your other guidelines are all attuned to dealing with subject matter, and not the font/color/case/boldness of the words which make it up. Calling the iPod (which is explicitly noted as an exception in WP:MOS-TM) an iPoop would be a POV content problem. Calling it the ipod would not be. By the same token, registering iPOd or IpoD as a trademark would not work, because again, it is not a new word, but just another way of presenting the already-registered word. While some sources may accede some of their editorial control to the whims of their subjects when it comes to the case of the words involved, the current Wikipedia policy is not one of those places. I agree wholeheartedly with Cyrus, and if the policies are changed, I will reassess my stance. But, today, it seems clear to me. Neier 13:20, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with Cyrus and Neier. Most sources write about her with expected capital letters, so the Manual of Style is quite clear on this. There's no reason to Ignore All Rules with regards to the MoS, as using lowercase names throughout would reduce readability and not add anything to the article and thus not help Wikipedia. Its not like using normal capitalization takes anything away from the informative content of the article (I wholeheartedly disagree that using uppercase disrupts the factual accuracy of the article - the article would still say that she styles her name with lowercase letters after all). So, it seems to me its [the wishes of the subject] vs. [most media sources and readability/practicality]. I don't think the article title at the top of the page is particularly important, but using lowercase letters throughout the article body would be obnoxious and against the MoS. Wickethewok 21:17, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm inclined to be extremely wary of the MoS in this case. And going by "media sources" is problematic -- it's easy to skew the debate by cherry-picking a couple of big sources and then relying on the fact that 10,000 newspapers syndicate those articles without even having a copyeditor look at them.
Meanwhile there's a notable body of reliable sources which identify her as "danah boyd", and we've had input from her directly and -- I assume since I linked it above -- we've read her essay on why she went through such a level of hassle to have her name changed. If this really is a case of "MoS applies and either overrules everything else, or nothing else applies", then I'd be inclined to take Neier's suggestion about lobbying to change the policy, but I'm concerned that it would be shrugged off. Wikipedia's policies on legally-registered names have some fairly glaring holes which haven't been patched, but there seems to be a fairly adamant group of users/admins who like things as they are, so there's not much encouragement to try to improve things.
I do feel strongly, though, that the current presentation of this article, even if it stays stuck with the MoS-mandated capitalization, is unnecessarily disrespecting its subject with the "also known as" line. She says it's her legal name, and there are plenty of reliable sources using the lowercase presentation, so Wikipedia shouldn't degrade that. Also, if (as some have argued above) lower-casing her on Wikipedia would be unduly confusing to people conducting searches and expecting capitalization, Wikipedia should avoid engendering similar confusion in people who read the article here and then see her essay on her name or see her cited/identified by a more respectful source. Would it at lest be acceptable to get info about the name change higher up in the article and write it a little more neutrally? Ubernostrum 05:21, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
I'd be okay on you going ahead and making an edit to show what you mean? Right now the lowercased-style is in the top line of the article, so I'm not sure how we could "move it up higher"? But if rewriting a couple sentences will lead to a compromise here, I'm open to seeing what you have in mind. --Elonka 07:07, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
There's info further down on her dropping various bits of her birth name and picking up the "boyd"; condensing that out into a sentence or two at the beginning of the article might be a better approach. Ideally, the entire name issue would be covered in one sentence. Something like
Danah Michele Boyd (born 1977 Danah Michele Mattas, later changed to danah michele boyd, most commonly identified in mainstream media as Danah Boyd),
It's somewhat long, but has the advantage of covering the whole thing up-front and staying as neutral and encyclopedic as possible within the proscriptions of the naming conventions. I'm still thinking about proposing a change to WP:NAME to allow this sort of thing to be handled more gracefully, though; it's clear from repeated discussion that there are folks other than myself who feel the policy has problems in cases like this. Ubernostrum 07:33, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
I have removed the supposedly disrespectful "also knows as" phrasing, but I do not agree that there is any need to differentiate at length between the lowercase and uppercase variants and to point out the preference of the "mainstream media", as this has a slightly judgmental they got it wrong slant to it, that will subsequently fall back on the Wikipedia article. - Cyrus XIII 11:26, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
Other than mainstream media sources, who's been cited as calling her "Danah Boyd"? Pretty much the entire MoS argument has rested on the assertion that mainstream media use "Danah Boyd", and I've repeatedly pointed out other reliable sources which use "danah boyd". Wikipedia needs to be honest about the fact that per policy it's simply repeating what the NYT and FT did, and that per policy it's choosing to ignore an array of sources which do not follow that lead. Ubernostrum 02:51, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
(←) It's not obvious in the least that one can change one's name to lower case, and the only source for this claim is Boyd's weblog entry, where she does not go into the legal details. She changed more than just the capitalization of her name, and I think it is much more likely that legally there is no difference between changing your name to danah michele boyd and changing it to Danah Michele Boyd. Until some independent, reliable source explains the legal aspects of lower case names, we should use due caution in repeating her claims on the matter. We don't even have the name change paperwork from the court, although I suspect it is a public document. Perhaps someone who lives in CA can look it up? — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:05, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
Neier and CBM/Carl are completely right. She is actually the only source that says her name is legally changed to lowercase. Definitely not a reliable third-party source, in this case. Ubernostrum, I find it strange that when it fits your arguments, you are "inclined to be extremely wary of the MoS in this case.", and inclined to disagree with the context of Wikipedia:Verifiability ("And going by "media sources" is problematic..."). These policies are in place for a reason. You can't pick and choose when they help or hurt your case. As many editors have said, this is not a BLP issue. The policies and guidelines we have in place are clear. Let the issue rest. -- Renesis (talk) 16:57, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
Please read WP:BLP carefully, specifically the sections regarding the use of the subject of the article as a source. Others have commented above that BLP's requirement that the information supplied by the subject not be "unduly self-serving" has been met, and there is no reasonable doubt that the information comes from the subject of the article, so BLP's guidelines would permit using danah as a source. Ubernostrum 02:41, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Boyd, or someone claiming to be her, says above "My birth certificate says DANAH MICHELE BOYD - all birth certificates and driver's licenses in the United States are fully capitalized." Given that this statement seems to contradict the claim that her name is legally lower case, and the lack of any other evidence that a name can be changed by law to lower case, it seems appropriate to explicitly attribute all claims about the capitalization directly to Boyd. Her weblog, which is clearly trying to persuade, can hardly be viewed on the same footing as a reliable external source. — Carl (CBM · talk) 03:07, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Most legal forms uppercase everything. If you want to argue from that, legal forms are a reliable source and there are probably far more of them (birth certificates, tax documents, licensing, etc. etc.) with DANAH MICHELE BOYD than there are newspapers which have used "Danah Boyd" -- would you like to move this article to an all-uppercase title, to reflect the commonality (based on counting the number of reliable sources) of that usage? ;) Ubernostrum 10:09, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Ubernostrum, I apologize for our difference of opinion here, but I feel that using Boyd's website as a source with respect to her claim regarding her name would be unduly self-serving. In fact, it's obvious, given the statements she has made on this talk page that this is the case. -- Renesis (talk) 04:11, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm genuinely curious as to how it's self-serving. The vibe that I get from her essay is "I went through a ton of legal hassle to get this changed, and I still get a ton of hassle from people with style guides so I'm going to write this explanation and point people at it", not "I am promoting myself by doing this". Ubernostrum 10:09, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm just as curious as to why this is such a big deal for Boyd. I mean, if someone wants to always sign their name in lowercase (or, as an author uncle of mine did, in green ink), that's up to them on how they live their daily lives, but I honestly don't understand why it's an issue that they want to push with the press. I personally see these kinds of stylistic changes as an idiosyncrasy at best, or perhaps a type of fan worship (is Boyd a fan of k.d. lang?) like when fans get the name of their favorite artist tattooed on a part of their body. There's also the self-promotion aspect, as people will dye their hair a neon-bright color, just to make themselves more visible at a convention. Or actors will deliberately misspell their name with a "Y" instead of an "I" in order to make their names more memorable. And at worst, I see some of these style changes as a deliberate attempt at social trolling, a technique by some who wish to thumb their nose at convention, through a self-centered desire to make everyone else adapt to their view of the world -- it's a power game played by the ultra-vain. As for if any of these apply to Boyd, I really don't know. I'm curious, but the answer doesn't matter all that much -- even if I personally sympathized with Boyd's reasoning for lowercasing her name, I would still insist that the Wikipedia article title conform to Wikipedia:Use common names. Which means the same style used by New York Times, Newsweek, and the other reliable sources, "Danah Boyd". For more info, see this essay,[13] which has a good point. If someone wanted to give themselves a name that was hundreds of characters long, they could do so, and it might even be legal. But if such a person were notable, popular press would doubtless come up with a "shorthand" version of the name (maybe "The Alphabet Man"), and then that's the version of the name that we'd use here at the Wikipedia article. --Elonka 17:20, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Personally, I thought the essay explained it rather well and didn't appear to be self-promotion at all. I don't personally know danah, so I can't speak to anything other than having read it and wondered why Wikipedia chose to ignore what is apparently a verifiable fact, other than to imitate "reliable" newspaper articles. And, again, I worry at the selective blindness with regard to sources -- look at the university's page listing her. Look at academic publications. Heck, look at the paper by danah that Wikipedia itself cites in the reliability article I mentioned above. These are reliable sources per Wikipedia policy and they use "danah boyd", but they've been either ignored or -- in one case above -- questioned as somehow suspect because danah might have had a hand in their adherence to the lower-case. Wikipedians have previously suggested that getting the "mainstream" media sources to correct themselves would be a productive way to get this changed, so it seems disengenuous to then follow up with "well, we may disregard anything that originated with her". If I hunted down wire articles that the paper I work for has run which use "Danah Boyd" and convinced our editors to issue a correction to "danah boyd", would that too be dismissed? Ubernostrum 10:23, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Also, the blog post you cite is about the clearest example of IDONTLIKEIT I've ever seen ;) Ubernostrum 10:26, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Hi, folks. This has now come up at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Danah_Boyd_or_danah_boyd. Danah Boyd is a friend of friends, so I'll stay out of the substance, but are you folks really unable to sort this out amongst yourselves? If the answer to that question remains "yes", then might I suggest you jointly prepare a summary of the points involved? Any by summary, I mean something short, with bullet points. That will at least aid other people stopping by, and will certainly make it easier if you pursue dispute resolution. William Pietri 04:42, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

The thread has already been archived due to lack of input Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive93#Danah Boyd or danah boyd. - Neier 09:12, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I'll make a start on one side of it, trying to summarize everything that's been said above or that's popped into my head while discussing this:

  • danah has an essay explaining that she went through a lot of hassle to get her name changed, and which criticizes style guides for imposing capitalization when it's not desired (this was part of why I felt it might be a BLP issue).
  • Her university and respectable academic publications all list her as "danah boyd".
  • danah herself gives her name as "danah boyd", and originally there seemed to be consensus that this didn't violate BLP guidelines on using the subject as a source.
  • Newspapers which use "Danah Boyd" are likely doing so out of conformance to a style guide rather than researching verifiable information about the capitalization of the name.
  • People who are conducting research on her will likely find the naming essay on her site and be startled that Wikipedia "gets it wrong", as evidenced by the number of times this has come up (that's how I ended up in this mess).
  • The MoS doesn't appear to be intended as absolute; exceptions have been made in the past for "idiosyncratic" capitalization (e.g., iPod, eBay, etc.) when backed up (as in this case with reliable academic sources) by actual usage.

If anybody thinks I've missed any important points on this side of the discussion, please fill them in. Ubernostrum 10:41, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

You should also add that you are the only one championing the cause of the lowercase spelling at this point, and even that is against any established policy or guideline on the matter. We have the concept of consensus for a reason; let's put it to work here. In addition, you point to the exceptions for "idiosyncratic" capitalization in the MoS (iPod, eBay). If you read the actual bullet points at WP:MOS-TM#Trademarks which begin with a lowercase letter, those exceptions exist only for trademarks in which the second letter is capitalized. It explicity states that "Trademarks rendered without any capitals are always capitalized". -- Renesis (talk) 15:55, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
So, again, are you arguing that MoS could conceivably trump any and all other policies on Wikipedia? If the NYT, FT, etc. all issued corrections tomorrow saying "our bad, her name's lowercase", would you still argue per MoS that Wikipedia couldn't lowercase the name? Ubernostrum 16:30, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
That depends. In that highly unlikely case that the NYT or another institution lowercases a name, I would probably review other similar cases. The MOS was made for a reason, though, and the first-letter/second-letter rule had consensus of dozens of editors (see WP:MOS-TM talk or archives). -- Renesis (talk) 16:53, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
And that's one of the things that's bugging me here: if we get to a situation where capitalization is a matter of verifiable fact and not just an issue of style, it appears that many people would still want the MoS to trump WP:V. That's why in the discussion above I've repeatedly been harping on whether the capitalization of danah's name is a matter of fact, because this article is a very strong example of why that policy (style over substance, essentially) is problematic. Ubernostrum 06:47, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
The difficulty with your argument is that capitalization is just a matter of style, never a matter of fact. In certain Asian locations, Boyd's name would be written Danah BOYD. In most American style guides her name is written Danah Boyd. Neither of these is "factually" correct or incorrect. The idea that an individual can exert control on the capitalization of his or her own name is an extremely recent idea, apparently invented by marketing departments, which does not have widespread support among publishers. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:00, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to offer some insight on the first letter/second letter exception: It was recently narrowed down to only apply to separable one-letter prefixes, in order to prevent abuse. As such, its reasoning is not only "this sort of typesetting does not hurt readability too much" but also "that prefix signifies a meaning". Well, in any case, it does not apply to an all-lowercased name. - Cyrus XIII 08:40, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Having other sources which produce the name in lower-case should do absolutely nothing to change the status here at Wikipedia. As I have said above more than once, it is not a matter of content, but of the presentation style. An iPod is an ipod is an IPod. Until Wikipedia policy regarding capital letters changes, it doesn't matter if the NYT calls her Danah, danah, or daNah. If they start calling her Dana, and it catches on, then, we have an issue for the common names; but, it would still be capitalized. Neier 14:05, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

[de-indent] Ubernostrum, as CBM says, facts are not the same as style. Feel free to add to the article that Danah says her name is legally changed to "danah boyd". Add the source as herself. I don't care. As for how Wikipedia writes that name, we are free to do whatever our style guide says we do; that's why the style guide exists. Again, the point here is: WP:V is for facts (content), WP:MOS is for how the writing appears (style). Capitalization is style, not content. -- Renesis (talk) 17:46, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

A Related Philosophical Issue

Concerning the controversy as to whether people should be referred to as they wish to be referred to or by some external "objective" standard, does Wikipedia have a policy on how to refer to transgendered persons? Do we simply say "this person wants to be referred to as (female/male), so let's respect their wishes," or do we ask them to disrobe so we can check specific anatomic features? (See Stacy Horn's book Cyberville for a fun discussion of how complicated this issue gets!)

For what it's worth, for both capitalization and gender I would suggest that we let the subject themselves choose how they wish to be referred to. YMMV. Asbruckman 13:46, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

I think the right answer both to capitalization and gender pronouns is that Wikipedia, as a tertiary source, should follow the conventions used by prominent secondary sources. We don't need to "decide" which gender pronoun to use, we can follow the published usage of others. But I think that gender identity is a much more important issue for us to worry about than "capitalization identity". — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:22, 10 July 2007 (UTC)


My own summary of the above discussion is this: Reliable sources such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, New York Times, Financial Times, Newsweek magazine, NPR, and others capitalize Boyd's name normally: "Danah Boyd". However, Boyd herself, Zephoria (talk · contribs), says both here in the discussion and on her webpage, that her name is legally lower-cased. The lowercased spelling has indeed been included in the lead of the Wikipedia article, but this does not appear sufficient to satisfy Boyd, who also wants the article title changed, and all references to her name throughout the article to be listed as lowercase. Ubernostrum agrees with Boyd, and argues that it's a WP:BLP violation to "misspell" the name, and Ubernostrum has posted as much on the BLP Noticeboard. Everyone else in the recent discussion (myself, Renesis, Cyrus XIII, CBM/CBM2, Wickethewok, Neier), says that the name should stay "Danah Boyd" per the reliable sources and Use common names. A drive-by admin, DragonflySixtyseven, tried to change the article title to lower case about a week or two ago, but was rapidly reverted, and has backed out, saying it's up to us to settle.[14]

From my read, the clear consensus is to keep the name at uppercase, "Danah Boyd", but Ubernostrum refuses to acknowledge the consensus, and continues to argue. It is my opinion that Ubernostrum's arguments have been listened to with great patience, civility, and good faith, carefully weighed, but ultimately rejected, and that several editors including myself have put in an enormous amount of time to patiently argue each of Ubernostrum's points. I would also like to say that I greatly appreciate that Ubernostrum has continued arguing in good faith and with great civility. He has presented his case in a thorough and articulate manner. However, I also believe that at this point Ubernostrum has presented no new substantive arguments, but basically just refuses to let things go, and refuses to acknowledge consensus. That is why we have asked at WP:AN, twice, for a third-party admin to come in and make a formal determination, but both threads seem to have scrolled out of WP:AN without substantial assistance. If we cannot get an admin that way, and Ubernostrum still refuses to acknowledge consensus, I recommend that we proceed to mediation, and request a neutral mediator from WP:MEDCOM to see if we can put the issue to rest that way. --Elonka 18:22, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Myself, Wickethewok, and CBM are administrators, however, I agree with William Pietri (below) that "administrator status" isn't the solution to this issue. If we can't come to a final agreement, we may need to go through WP:DR; however, I believe we have come to consensus already. It will be disappointing if this needs to go further. -- Renesis (talk) 19:46, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I can go a long way with you here, but... I'm questioning whether there's a consensus. There are two other previous discussions on this topic still on this page, and I'm far from the only one who's agreed that the article title should be lowercase (or at least that there are grounds for considering it). On the other side... well, there's you, Cyrus and Renesis consistently presenting the same argument over and over again, with little or no substantive change, while others question whether that's the correct way to go. Who's the consensus and who's refusing to acknowledge it? ;) Ubernostrum 23:43, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
And just to be clear, I'm not saying there is a consensus for "danah boyd" or that anyone's ignoring it, just pointing out that a history of inconclusive discussions, with people on both sides presenting good cases, does not a consensus make -- it feels like this article has ended up not with consensus, but with one side or another always just walking away exasperated after making no progress. I've got the energy to see this through as needed, so I'm trying to avoid having that happen again; a real resolution (and, if necessary, me wandering off to propose and argue for changes to MoS for a while) is what's needed here. Ubernostrum 23:49, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the summaries Elonka and Ubernostrum. That will make it a lot easier for others to sort through this. Personally, my opinion is that administrators are just editors who have access to a couple of special tools that they use on behalf of the community as a whole. Thus, I think WP:AN isn't the right place to resolve content disputes; it's WP:DR. -- William Pietri 18:35, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I strongly agree that administrator status is not relevant here, and would be glad to comment in any disput resolution process. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:19, 26 June 2007 (UTC)


Mediation of this dispute has been requested at Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Danah Boyd. I have listed the recent participants from the discussion at this talkpage. If anyone else watching this page would like to participate in the mediation, you are welcome to add your name as well. Or if you have questions about the mediation process, you can read up on it at Wikipedia:Mediation, or ask here and we'll do our best to answer.  :) --Elonka 00:07, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

After seeing the "progress" so far, I'm wondering what was the point of requesting mediation? It seems like issues only go there to die. I'd like to see this get resolved. -- Renesis (talk) 22:56, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
I looked at other cases that Daniel has mediated. The way that Daniel he seems to work, is that he accepts a case, reads up on it for a few days, and then requests everyone to post a statement on the mediation talkpage. To his credit, he did accept the case very rapidly (he could have waited out the entire week). If we want to push things along a bit, it probably couldn't hurt for each of us to post a statement at talk. I'd recommend something brief, 500 words or less, giving your "from the ground up" summary of the current dispute. --Elonka 23:04, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
(followup) It appears that a new mediator has been suggested, to help with the backlog. All parties are required to agree to the addition, before the case can proceed. Please check the mediation page when you get a chance, thanks. --Elonka 00:05, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Just to clarify: I never actually said I'd be mediating this case. What I did was accepted it for the Mediation Committee, because it met all the requirements we require, and it was then added to the list of Open Tasks in the "Unassigned" section. There's something written about this here. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to ask on my talk page or via email, and I wish you and Riana all the best! Daniel 09:14, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Elonka's summary above fails to mention the reliable sources which do use her name with lowercase letters. Whoever mediates this should see the archives, where they are cited. I was involved in this discussion, and hope for the correct outcome, but it became too disgusting and stressful for me to continue. —pfahlstrom 23:54, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Pfahlstrom, if you would like, you are welcome to join the mediation. We are currently each presenting a statement of our thoughts at Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/Danah Boyd. --Elonka 00:10, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate the welcome, but I find I'm unable to discuss subjects I'm passionate about without becoming overly stressed. I wish that weren't the case, but I don't feel this is a good time to try to acclimate myself. Perhaps in a few years. Until then, best wishes. —pfahlstrom 22:20, 11 August 2007 (UTC)


The article on me currently states: "According to her website, she experimented with different methods of spelling and capitalization for her name, and during college was known as "Danah Michele Mattas Beard", but after her mother's divorce, she chose her maternal grandfather's name, Boyd, as her own last name and eventually settled on giving her name as "danah boyd".[6]" This is inaccurate and does not reflect the cited reference. My mother was divorced when I was a child; I added the name "Beard" then (dropping Mattas but that's not clear on my site since I breezed through that section). Starting in high school, I petitioned to change my name to "Boyd" along with the rest of my family; this was completed during college. This did not take place right after my mother's divorce, but years later. Also, the webpage cited does not say anything about experimenting with spelling or capitalization. Zephoria 04:43, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

As far as I can see, the quote from this article has the same name as the source, "Danah Michele Mattas Beard" (and above it seems like you are saying there was no "Mattas") Did you at some point drop just the Mattas ("Danah Michele Beard"?) and would you like the article to state such? I'm not quite sure I understand what change you'd like reflected, though I've removed the spelling and capitalization bit. -- Renesis (talk) 06:21, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Another thing... I don't think that Jonathan Abrams would say that I was acquainted with the people starting the Friendster service - I don't think that he liked me so much. I became acquainted with a lot of people involved in Web2.0 but not the folks behind Friendster. -Zephoria 04:46, 16 July 2007 (UTC)