Talk:Greek Orthodox Church

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Requested move 22 October 2016[edit]

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

The result of the move request was: Not moved. There seems to no consensus to move this article. The nominator has brought up good arguments in favour of moving, but the opposition have made stronger arugments against. The most debated subject here was that including church in the title was the common name, which the nom did not rebut entirely, saying the move was to simply "switch the title from a noun to an adjective". This exchange lead to the mention of WP:AT#Adjective, which, as it has been interpreted throughout this discussion, is in favor of not moving this page as well. Feel free to contact me with questions regarding this closure. (non-admin closure). Anarchyte (work | talk) 09:07, 3 November 2016 (UTC)



Greek Orthodox ChurchGreek Orthodox – The present title is non-standard and confusing, given that the scope of the article is the label "Greek Orthodox" and not an organization called the "Greek Orthodox Church" (as noted in the article itself, no such organization exists; rather, there are several Churches which use the term "Greek Orthodox" in their name, and several others that are unofficially given this label, with some ambiguity as to which precise Churches qualify). All other articles with a title of the form "______ Orthodox Church" refer to actual organizations, and not to labels applied to several church bodies. The closest parallel to the label "Greek Orthodox" is the label "Slavic Orthodox", and the article for that subject is called simply Slavic Orthodox. The title of that article is therefore an adjective rather than a noun, and I think this is important. A noun title, especially of the form "______ Orthodox Church", suggests that the article refers to a concrete organization, while an adjective title is clearly a label, and therefore fits the scope of this article better. Ohff (talk) 00:46, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

  • Comment: I am making this proposal after having reverted an edit by an anonymous user who introduced this article into the list of autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches in the list of Christian denominations, despite the fact that all the actual Greek Orthodox Churches (of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, etc) were already listed. This is not the first time I've had to do something like that. I find myself routinely having to fix edits, almost always by anonymous users, who - in good faith - assume that there is such a thing as an organization called "the Greek Orthodox Church", as opposed to this being a generic label for several Churches. So I have come to the conclusion that the name of this article is problematic and causes confusion. Ohff (talk) 00:52, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per nomination. —Roman Spinner (talk)(contribs) 06:13, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose. I am a Greek myself and I do not know the Greek Orthodox Church by other names. This is the name the adherents in both Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and the other countries use when referring to that body of several Greek churches. As per WP:UCRN, an editor can't request for it to be called by a name it is not. The name used by the adherents are two - Greek Orthodox Church (which is the most common) and Greek Orthodoxy (which is less common than the first one), not Greek Orthodox. This is an established fact. Editors can't request a name change for the body of churches which historically were known by that name, just because the name lacks any formality or causes technical confusion. Although Ohff's reasons are understandable and his arguments are valid in that the name is not referring to a formal organization, Wikipedia's rules are very clear about common names: we can not call something by a name it is not known as. The term Church in this case should not be perceived in the narrow sense of Church (specific organization), but for the bodies of Churches as well. The term Church (Ecclesia) is an ancient Greek word and its usage dates back to pre-Christian times, in the era of Ancient Greece, and can not be attributed exclusively to formal organizations just because formal organizations too happen to use that term. And, for everyone's information, the "Slavic Orthodox" can not be compared to this case here, because for the Slav adherents, their national churches were never known collectively as "Slavic Orthodox Church" (in fact, they do not even use a such term for their churches because the Slavs never had a shared and common origin of their own national churches as is the case with the Greek Orthodox Churches which all share the same byzantine Greek heritage). I am afraid this move request does not tackle accurately the historical aspects on how it happened for this collective body of churches to be referred as church, and the request does not reflect upon the common use of the term by the adherents and scholars alike. Thus, I suggest that it be withdrawn unless a better proposal is made. -- SILENTRESIDENT 22:21, 25 October 2016 (UTC)
Comment: "Greek Orthodox" is the adjective form that goes with the noun "Greek Orthodox Church". This is not a request to change the name, but rather to have the title of the article be the adjective rather than the noun. This move request does not imply that the body of several Greek churches is called "Greek Orthodox" (as a noun). That would not even be grammatically correct. "Greek Orthodox" is obviously an adjective. If the article were moved, the opening sentence would of course need to be rephrased a little bit, but the text of the article would remain the same. I am NOT proposing that we simply replace instances of the name "Greek Orthodox Church" with the term "Greek Orthodox". Again, that would not even be grammatically correct. I am only proposing that the title of this article should be the adjective rather than the noun, to avoid situations where people think the GOC is a formal organization. I understand and agree that the term Church (Ekklisia) in this case should not be perceived as referring to a formal organization, but the reason I am making this proposal is because I discovered that the term IS perceived that way by readers. As I said in my first comment, over the course of several years I noticed that anonymous editors keep adding the Greek Orthodox Church to various lists of formal Orthodox organizations. This means we are not being clear here. And the move request is my attempt to clarify things so that readers will stop confusing this with a formal organization. Ohff (talk) 00:46, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Your concerns are fully understandable, dear Ohff. And you are taking initiatives that aim to improve editorial life in Wikipedia and I am glad for this. The editors must always strive to improve Wikipedia and help overcome or tackle such confusions in its articles and they should be encouraged in their efforts. However I strongly recommend that the issue is tackled from within the article's body, not by changing the article's title into something that does not reflect nor refers to a historical ecclesiastical body. The editors who falsely perceive the Greek Orthodox Church as being a formal organization (church, ecclesia), do so either because 1) of ignorance and lack of education on this matter, or 2) because of the article being not clear enough to them, which seems to be the case here. But the thing here is, we can't just rename the articles just because editors happen to make mistakes related to its terminology. Such mistakes are unfortunate but very natural, but there are some solutions that can contribute in reducing or dealing with this kind of problem. Rather than just renaming it, I suggest we address the problem directly and to the core: the article itself needs to be re-written in certain portions and be expanded to be more informative about the term Church (sadly, currently it is not as informative as it should have been). This will allow the unaware editors to be better informed next time and the aware editors to not be confused with a name it was never used to refer to this ecclesiastical body. And if that does not work, (or if some editors here strongly believe a renaming to be better solution), then, I suggest renaming the article by adding a clarification in parenthesises ( ) while the title retains its current name by which it is known as. In Wikipedia, renaming an article into something different from what this ecclesiastical group was historically used to be known as, just because some editors make some unfortunate mistakes, is not the way to go, I am afraid. Renaming instead of explaining in detail, is a rather unencyclopedic approach. -- SILENTRESIDENT 09:35, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Thank you! I understand your point of view, and I really appreciate your courtesy, but I respectfully disagree. I don't think any amount of clarification in the body of an article can make up for a confusing title. This article already begins by saying that there are several Greek Orthodox Churches, in the very first sentence, yet that doesn't seem to prevent the misunderstanding. I believe that the most important thing in an encyclopedia is clarity, and I do not think the current title of this article makes it clear what the article is talking about. I understand that you believe it is more important to use the word "Church" in the title because that is used by Greek Orthodox Christians themselves, even if this may be confusing to others. But, in my view, the whole point of Wikipedia is to inform people who don't know about a topic, so every article should be written for readers who are not already familiar with the topic. I strongly believe that we should rename articles, and make other changes as well, if we notice that editors make mistakes related to terminology, because our mission is to inform people so that they stop making mistakes.
So we seem to have different editing philosophies. And that's okay! There are many different editing philosophies on Wikipedia. I think we've both made our case and now we just have to wait for other editors to express their views. Ohff (talk) 20:41, 30 October 2016 (UTC)
Like I said, this church is called "Greek Orthodox Church", not "Greek Orthodox". Your name request as it stands currently, goes against WP:UCRN and needs to be withdrawn unless a better one is made. -- SILENTRESIDENT 21:48, 30 October 2016 (UTC)
I simply do not see how you think that my proposed move implies that "Greek Orthodox" is the name of a Church. Of course it isn't. It's an adjective. "Greek Orthodox" is the term used to refer to people and things belonging to this Church. Your objection seems to be based on thinking that the renamed article would be using "Greek Orthodox" as a noun, as the name of a Church. And that would of course be wrong, but that is not what I am proposing. Ohff (talk) 22:10, 30 October 2016 (UTC)
Let me repeat what I said above and clarify: this church is called "Greek Orthodox Church" (called = referred to by everyone as such). I can't just call it something it is not. It doesn't go like that. It is kinda like requesting to rename Netherlands into Holland just because it might be confused by some editors for Neverland, even when its people call it Netherlands and not Holland. (well, it is a very poor example to draw, but I hope you get me what I am trying to explain here) Likewise, the Greek Orthodox Church can not be called by a mere adjective because it is not. Ecclesia is not an adjective itself and should not be treated as such. Turning the Church's name from its known name into a mere adjective chosen by an editor, or in general, such editorial ideas for names that are not supported by historical facts (facts, such as usage of said name), can dangerously amount WP:OR and this goes against Wikipedia's core policies. Furthermore, it is not common name and I can see more problems caused in the future - I can assure you that other editors will come with more rename requests and revert it back to its common name. You should really withdraw your proposal unless a more concrete and solid proposal is made that doesn't go against Wikipedia's rules. -- SILENTRESIDENT 00:20, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
The way I see it, this request is more like if I had requested that the article Anglicanism be renamed to Anglican, because for some reason the word "Anglicanism" turned out to be confusing. "Anglican" is the common name for someone or something that is a part of Anglicanism. "Greek Orthodox" is the common name for someone or something that is a part of the Greek Orthodox Church (which, like Anglicanism, is not a single organization, but rather a collective term for several organizations). This request can be voted down, and that's fine, but I will not withdraw it, because I do not understand your objection. It's not like I'm requesting a change to "Hellenic Orthodox" or something like that. The words "Greek Orthodox" are already in the title! I do not understand how you can think that "Greek Orthodox" is such a different term from "Greek Orthodox Church" that one of them can satisfy the common name policy while the other one doesn't. I see them as practically identical except for a very minor difference (noun vs. adjective), and I requested this minor change for the sake of clarity. I honestly expected this move request to be entirely uncontroversial. As things stand, I expect the request will be voted down, because you have made it so controversial, so you probably have nothing to worry about. I just think that's unfortunate, because I do not understand your objection at all.
But I appreciate your zeal, I really do. I think that if we could understand each other's reasoning better, we could collaborate really well. After this discussion is over, I hope we will work together in the future. I don't like causing controversy - this turn of events was completely unexpected. Ohff (talk) 12:51, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
No, you can't move Greek Orthodox Church or Anglicanism . You may not understand it, but this approach isn't helpful. You are tackling more than just a technical aspect here. You are changing its common or historical name. Wikipedia should refer to them by how most people do, not by a name YOU could prefer for it. I am very worried now. -- SILENTRESIDENT 17:19, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
The mistakes by other people on other articles can not justify a move from the Church's historical and most commonly used name into something of your choice. There are other solutions to this and you should listen. The problem can be tackled from within the article. Renaming it isn't helpful and no matter how you see it, it goes against Wikipedia's naming policies. I believe, if your priority is really not to rename the article but find a solution to the problem you have mentioned, then you should give the other solutions a try instead of insisting too much with this move request. Have you tried to work it on the article first? -- SILENTRESIDENT 19:04, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
But it's not a different name, it's the same name. This is why I don't understand your objection: I don't see why you believe that "Greek Orthodox Church" is a different name from "Greek Orthodox". I see it precisely as a technical aspect. Perhaps you and me are used to different ways of thinking about grammatical categories? I see - for example - "Anglicanism" and "Anglican" as the same word, but in different grammatical states. They are not different. They are the same. If one of them happened to be confusing, then the article should be under the other name.
And yes, you can move articles because you believe the title is confusing (assuming you get consensus, of course). Look at the requested moves page. Many proposals are based on one editor's opinion that the title is confusing or imprecise: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) etc.
Some proposals are successful and others are not. But I have never seen someone request that a proposal should be withdrawn because "you can't move an article just because you think the title is confusing". Yes you can, if enough editors agree. It does not appear that most people will agree with me in this case, and that's fine. I have no intention in pursuing this idea further, as it has already taken far too much effort for (what I consider to be) just a minor change. But I will not take the unprecedented action of withdrawing my proposal either (which I'm not sure is even possible), because I remain convinced that my proposed name would be better. If the majority disagree, then oh well, no problem. Ohff (talk) 00:55, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
To be clear: I am not insisting on this. I do not wish to continue the discussion. I just want to leave this alone, and see what happens, and move on. I feel the need to reply to your comments because I do not want to seem impolite or look like I am ignoring you. I value your opinion, and it's clear that you greatly care about the quality of Wikipedia. But we're not going to agree on this one issue. Can we just wait and see what happens and move on? Please... Ohff (talk) 01:01, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
Let me clarify on "you can't move an article just because you think the title is confusing": The thing here is that, more or less, everyone has known the Greek Orthodox Church by that historical name. However, moving it from its historical name (and most commonly known name) into something else less known, just because it may be confusing for some editors, in fact it can be EVEN MORE confusing, and this is not helping. We can't just have the Scholars and bibliography, as well as the adherents and most people, refer to it as Church but in Wikipedia to name it something it was not called/known by. There is a reason the rules WP:AT#adjective and wp:common name are made for: so we can avoid this. Because causing more confusion than trying to solve, is not the way to go. And the moves have one aim (as far as I am aware): to make it easier for EVERYONE (or as many people as possible) and not just for a select few editors with a tendency to confuse it (presumably due to lack of awareness) whose the facilitation is your target.
And like how I said above, I agree and I fully understand you. However I am obliged to express my concerns for the unforeseen consequences by completing such a move. I hoped you could understand me, but you said that you won't understand. So be it. At least the others have understood me in that (judging from their comments) and I am glad they did. There is nothing else for me to add here. My position remains the same: still strongly opposing the proposal, due to the concerns explained above. Have a good day. -- SILENTRESIDENT 01:51, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
Thank you! We can agree to disagree on this issue. That's okay - it's good to have editors with different perspectives. As I said before, I hope we can cooperate in the future, either on this article or on others. I admire your dedication, and wish you a good day as well! Ohff (talk) 03:36, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
That is true, but the proposal is to rename the article to "Greek Orthodox", which is the common adjective used to describe people and things that belong to the Greek Orthodox Church. The proposal is not to rename the article to some other, less common name, but rather to switch the title from a noun to an adjective. Both the current title and the one I am proposing are common names - one is the common noun and the other is the common adjective. Ohff (talk) 20:23, 30 October 2016 (UTC)
I was sure that somewhere, there was a policy or guideline on that, and that noun constructions were preferred... but I can't find it now. It may have been in a topic specific guideline... and there were 82 pages of those when last I looked... Andrewa (talk) 21:37, 30 October 2016 (UTC)
Interesting. Sadly I do not have access to that particular rule, if can someone give us a link? That will be appreciated. -- SILENTRESIDENT 21:53, 30 October 2016 (UTC)
Likewise! Another possibility is that it has changed; If so someone may have a link to the (probably archived) discussion that changed it. Andrewa (talk) 22:48, 30 October 2016 (UTC)
I think I have read something about the rule you have mentioned a long time ago, although I have my doubts it can apply for this case here. The Greek Orthodox Church is not a mere adjective, but a reference to a specific group of churches which share more than just a name and adjective- they share liturgy and use a certain flag and relate to each other in an way that the other Churches do not. It is very wrong in my opinion to describe a collective ecclesiastical entity like that with a mere adjective, because, albeit not a formal one, it is still a Church. -- SILENTRESIDENT 00:48, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
I see this as equivalent to debating whether the article Anglicanism should be moved to Anglican. Both terms are equally common and very similar to each other. The decision should be made based on what is more clearly understood by readers. Having the title be an adjective is not an insult to the entity discussed in the article. Ohff (talk) 12:36, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
No, no and no. If you do not understand, then let it go. These are historical terms you are touching here, not just mere definitions. Insisting on changing the names into something not known by, is only bound to generate more problems and risk debates. Please, do not do that, Wikipedia has has enough problems even without this. -- SILENTRESIDENT 17:19, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
But you can say "I'm an Anglican" just as easily as "I'm Anglican". Would you say "I'm a Greek Orthodox"? Wouldn't it be "I'm Greek Orthodox"? Andrewa (talk) 09:28, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
Found it... see #Discussion below. Andrewa (talk) 09:28, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Andrewa and Silent Resident. Dr. K. 19:09, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Discussion about the 22 October 2016 Move Request[edit]

See WP:AT#adjective, it was right under our noses all the time. Andrewa (talk) 09:28, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Much appreciated, dear Andrewa. Ok. So the #Adjective in WP:AT#adjective, "Greek Orthodox" is the noun/adjective in the case here? I.e. the title "Greek Orthodox Church" has to be "Greek Orthodox" like Ohff has requested? -- SILENTRESIDENT 09:53, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
I'm interpreting it the other way around... it should stay as the noun phrase Greek Orthodox Church rather than be truncated to Greek Orthodox which is the adjectival form, as I see it. Andrewa (talk) 10:04, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
I was afraid of that. Thank you very much, Andrewa. Like I said previously, this and the rule about common names, leaves us no room for accepting such a move request. I believe this move request is problematic as it stands now. It goes against the Wikipedia's rules and isn't going to solve anything, but cause more troubles. -- SILENTRESIDENT 13:52, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

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