Talk:Hillary Rodham Clinton/Move rationale

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Hillary Rodham Clinton move rationale[edit]

A common name can change over time, for many reasons. I propose that the evidence that I provide below demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that in this case, the common name of the subject of this article is Hillary Clinton. The subject of this article chose to campaign under the name "Hillary Clinton", including in her campaign advertisements, where she states, "I'm Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message"; and chose to have her name appear as "Hillary Clinton" on the tens of millions of individual ballots issued throughout dozens of states during the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries. The net effects of this is that both supporters and detractors of the subject are many times more likely to know and refer to this subject as Hillary Clinton. Some international readers are completely unaware that any other word is part of this person's name, and will be confused and disoriented when taken to a page with a title containing that name. In general, people are more than fifty times as likely to search for "Hillary Clinton" than to search for all other variations of this person's name (including the current title) combined.

As to the outcomes of discussions in previous years (discussed below), consensus can change, and, more importantly, it should change when a review of these previous efforts indicates that substantial evidence has not previously been presented to the community for consideration. That evidence is presented here Furthermore, an examination of a wide variety of sources demonstrates that circumstances have, in fact, changed over the past several years.

Basic principles of article titles:[edit]

The basic principles underlying the titling of articles are set forth at Wikipedia:Article titles#Deciding on an article title. This section states:

It is well-established that a person's common name can change over time - even with no "official" announcement by that person, and that the article title then follows that change. This is exemplified by the title changes accompanying historic name changes:

Notably, of course, a name can also change due to a successful intentional rebranding effort, as with the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower).

I present the following evidence that "Hillary Clinton" is the common name of this subject, and the best title for this article according to each of these five characteristics.

"Hillary Clinton" is the most recognizable title[edit]

Merrimack, New Hampshire, 2008 Democratic Primary absentee ballot identifying the subject as "Hillary Clinton".
Carteret County, North Carolina Democratic primary sample ballot identifying the subject as "Hillary Clinton".
Los Angeles County, California, Democratic Primary ballot identifying the subject as "Hillary Clinton".
Michigan, 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary official sample ballot identifying the subject as "Hillary Clinton".
Fairfax County, Virginia, Democratic Primary official sample ballot identifying the subject as "Hillary Clinton".

With respect to recognizability: Wikipedia is an international resource, and it is reasonable for an article title to be the one best recognized both in English-speaking countries and around the world, if a single title will suffice for that purpose. I have personally spoken with some people from outside the United States who indicated that if they typed "Hillary Clinton" and were taken to a page titled "Hillary Rodham Clinton", they would initially believe that they had mistyped something and were on the wrong page.

2008 Democratic Primary ballots[edit]

Candidates have a great incentive to promote their candidacies using the name most commonly recognized by the general population. The Albany Times Union reported on April 30, 2007:

Stewart M. Powell, "Eliminating the 'Hillary Clinton' divide: Senator, presidential hopeful drops maiden name from campaign, Times Union (Monday, April 30, 2007), page A1 (emphasis added).

The subject thereby chose to use the name "Hillary Clinton" for the single most public and publicized use of her name in her life - a candidacy for the presidency of the United States. The evidence of this is in the ballots themselves.

Ballots printed by states that had primary elections in 2008 display the names of the candidates as submitted by those candidates, and as seen by each of the millions of primary voters. See, e.g., Florida Department of State Notice to Candidates, stating:

Many states or counties continue to host images of the actual 2008 election ballots, or of official sample ballots distributed in advance of the election, which faithfully replicate the content of the ballots as seen in the voting booths. In other cases, newspapers published articles including photographs of the ballot, or individual voters snapped pictures of their own ballot, or the display of their voting machine.

After looking through hundreds of sample ballots and snapshots of voting screens from counties all over the United States, and those distributed to Americans living abroad, I have found that in every single ballot to be found from the 2008 primary election, the subject of this article appears as "Hillary Clinton". This decisive fact has never been raised for consideration before, in any of the previous move discussions relating to this subject.

Furthermore, I note that although virtually every state requires candidates to use some variation of their own legal name on the ballot, wide latitude is given with respect to the presentation of a middle name, maiden name, or nickname (hence the appearance of "Jeb Bush" and "Mitt Romney" on ballots instead of legal names "John Eliot Bush" and "Willard Romney". Some states do require a candidate using a nickname (such as "Joe" instead of "Joseph") to spell out their full name, and to provide some indication that the nickname is not their legal name. In every ballot reviewed here, the subject of this article chose to appear as "Hillary Clinton", with no indication that this is anything other than the subject's actual, legal name.

One important thing to note about these ballots is that many other candidate names are reported inconsistently. For example, some ballots list "Joe Biden", and some list "Joseph R. Biden, Jr."; some list "Chris Dodd" and some list "Christopher J. Dodd"; some list "Dennis Kucinich" and some list "Dennis J. Kucinich"; and some list "Bill Richardson" while others list "William "Bill" Richardson III". However, every single primary ballot uniformly lists "Hillary Clinton".

Primary ballots could not be found for some states, generally those that have a caucus instead of a primary, including Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

Note that space considerations can not explain this usage.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

is 22 characters; however, the name "Hillary Clinton" appeared on many ballots containing candidate names that were longer than 22 characters. The New Hampshire ballot pictured above included:

Richard Edward Caligiuri

which is 24 characters. A number of different state ballots (including the Florida ballot pictured above) included:

William "Bill" Richardson III

which is 29 characters.

As the subject chose to appear on all available ballots as Hillary Clinton, who are we to take the subject's preferred name away?

Open ended public opinion polls[edit]

The single best way to determine the "common name" of something in the view of the average person-on-the-street is through open-ended public polling. Wikipedia generally does not refer to such data because it is generally not available - who is going around asking people what they call particular vegetable, bird, or country, and thereby generating data that can be used as a basis to determine what the common name of that subject is? Although Wikipedia is not in the business of conducting public polls, in this case we are fortunate that there are reliable sources - well-regarded public polling firms like Gallup, Zogby, and Quinnipiac. In particular, Gallup has conducted a poll for the past 68 years wherein it has asked:

According to Gallup, this survey is conducted by randomly asking over a thousand people this question, calling at least six hundred on land lines and at least four hundred on cell phones. See Frank Newport, "Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama Most Admired in 2012: Clinton has been Most Admired more than any other woman in Gallup's history", Gallup: Politics (December 31, 2012). As this article notes, "Hillary Clinton" has been in the top ten twenty-one times, and has been the "Most Admired Woman" seventeen of those times. This means that at least twenty-one thousand people have been asked the question, and, if we conservatively estimate that ten percent of respondents identify the subject of this article, that would mean that two-thousand, one-hundred people had made such an identification, providing an enormous statistical sample for the most likely response.

Newspapers, magazines, books, transcripts of reporting[edit]

A substantial number of books have been published where authors have identified this subject in the book title as "Hillary Clinton":

Mostly neutral
  • Ghattas, Kim. The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power. Times Books, 2013. ISBN 0-8050-9511-X.
  • Gutgold, Nichola D. Almost Madam President: Why Hillary Clinton 'Won' in 2008. Lexington Books, 2009. ISBN 0739133713.
  • Kornblut, Anne E. Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win. Crown Books, 2009. ISBN 0307464253.
  • Lawrence, Regina G. and Rose, Melody. Hillary Clinton's Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009. ISBN 1588266958.
  • Mueller, James E. Tag Teaming the Press: How Bill and Hillary Clinton Work Together to Handle the Media. Rowman & Littlefield, 2008. ISBN 978-0742555488.
  • Oppenheimer, Jerry. State of a Union: Inside the Complex Marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton. HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN 0-06-019392-1.
  • Smith, Sally Bedell. For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years. Random House, 2007. ISBN 1400063248.
  • Warner, Judith. Hillary Clinton: The Inside Story (revised and updated). Signet, 1999. ISBN 0-451-19895-6.
Op-eds by Clinton

Clinton has written many newspaper op-eds under the name "Hillary Clinton", and here are some examples:

Et cetera.

Search engine results[edit]

This Google Ngram showing a steady increase in the use of "Hillary Clinton" coupled with a steady decline in the inclusion of "Rodham". The Ngram covers the twenty-year period from 1988 to 2008, by the end of which, references not including "Rodham" exceed references including "Rodham" by approximately a three-to-one-ratio.

Video evidence[edit]

This is somewhat of a pile-on at this point, but there are many, many instances of the subject being formally introduced, endorsed, or otherwise referred to at official events as "Hillary Clinton":

Also, here is a C-SPAN video clip identifying the Secretary of State as "HILLARY CLINTON".

Furthermore, here is a recording of a "robocall" which begins, "Hello, this is Hillary Clinton for President calling".

And finally, of course, here are some examples of campaign ads for "Hillary Clinton" which end with the subject herself stating, "I'm Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message":

Note also that Wikipedia:Official names states that placing an article at an "official name" for the subject, as opposed to the "common name", is "contrary to Wikipedia practice and policy". A prime example of this is the name used in a swearing in to elected or appointed office - as with the swearing in of "James Danforth Quayle" at 16:49, and of "George Herbert Walker Bush" at 22:49 of this video; the swearing in of "Albert Gore, Jr." at 10:33, and of "William Jefferson Clinton" at 16:00 of this video; the swearing in of "Richard Cheney" at 20:03, and of "George Walker Bush" at 27:01 of this video; and the swearing in of "Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr." at 24:05, and "Barack Hussein Obama" at 31:52 of this video.

"Hillary Clinton" is the most natural title[edit]

With respect to naturalness: evidence shows that "Hillary Clinton" is both the title that readers are most likely to look or search for, and the title that editors most naturally use to link to the article from other articles.

With respect to searches for the titles at issue here, according to an August 12, 2013 search on Google AdWords, the phrase "Hillary Clinton" was searched for an average of 823,000 times per month over the past twelve months worldwide (550,000 times in the United States), while over the same period "Hillary Rodham Clinton" was searched for an average of 14,800 times per month worldwide (8,100 times in the United States). Searches for "Hillary Clinton" outnumber searches for "Hillary Rodham Clinton" by an astounding 55 to 1 ratio worldwide, and by an even more astounding 68 to 1 ratio in the United Sates.

With respect to links made to the term, although this page has been moved for brief periods at various times in its history to the title, "Hillary Clinton" (and to other titles, including "Hillary Rodham Clinton (feminazi)", "Hillary Rodham Clinton, looks like a man", "Hillary Rodham KKKlinton", and "Her Thighness"), it has spent virtually its entire existence at the title, "Hillary Rodham Clinton". Despite this relative stability, as of August 4, 2013, over 2,400 articles contained links to "Hillary Clinton", indicating a strong tendency of editors to link to that title. By contrast, fewer than 1,800 articles actually link directly to "Hillary Rodham Clinton".

"Hillary Clinton" is both the most precise and most concise title[edit]

With respect to precision and conciseness: Obviously "Hillary Clinton" is sufficiently precise to unambiguously identify the article's subject and distinguish it from other subjects, because it currently redirects to Hillary Rodham Clinton. "Hillary Clinton" also completely identifies the article subject. "Clinton" by itself is ambiguous due to the many people and places bearing that name; "Hillary" by itself is ambiguous, and is currently a disambiguation page because there are many people with the given name, Hillary, as well as notable people surnamed Hillary, such as the explorer, Edmund Hillary. It has never been proposed that "Hillary" should be anything but a disambiguation page.

"Hillary Rodham Clinton" is longer than necessary to identify the article's subject and distinguish it from other subjects. In fact, although there are several people named "William Clinton" (not to mention those named "Elizabeth Clinton", "George Clinton", and "Henry Clinton"), no other subject in the encyclopedia has a name that even remotely resembles "Hillary Clinton"; no other subject even has a name containing both "Hillary" and "Clinton", or combining any variation of either of them. It is therefore not necessary to include "Rodham" in the title to precisely, concisely, and unambiguously identify the article's subject.

"Hillary Clinton" is the most consistent title for a person's name[edit]

Finally, with respect to consistency, Wikipedia:Naming conventions (people) states that "Most biographical articles have titles in the form <First name> <Last name>" and that deviations from this convention occur "either because the person has no name in that form, or because they are much better known by some other name". (Emphasis added). For this reason, the vast majority of human name titles identify the subject only by a first name and a last name, and this is where readers can reasonably expect to find articles. Where two people have the same name, disambiguation is accomplished by inclusion of a middle name or middle initial, or the addition disambiguating material provided in a description in parentheses (i.e., George Clinton (musician), George Clinton (vice president), George Clinton (rugby league)).

Comparison with human names, generally[edit]

Scrolling through the category for living persons, the subject of this article appears on this page. Of the 200 results on that page, over 170 (85%) are identified by only a first name and a last name (including three who have disambiguating parentheticals indicating their occupation). Two more have a first and last name followed by "Jr."; eleven have a first name, middle initial, and last name.

Notably, the remaining handful of names that are not consistent with this pattern include several names originating outside the United States (the Spanish Joan Clos i Matheu and Carlos Clos Gómez, Brazilian Clodoaldo Paulino de Lima, and British noble, Stanley Clinton Davis, Baron Clinton-Davis).

Maiden names are only included where a substantial majority of sources use them[edit]

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, including relatively rare instances of women who have kept their maiden name as part of the name by which they are most commonly known. According to this New York Magazine article:

For the last two decades, the already small portion of American women who keep their maiden names has been shrinking. The highest that figure was was 23 percent in the nineties. By the early aughts, it had dropped to 18 percent. In 2011, surveyed 19,000 newlywed women and found that only 8 percent kept their last names; 86 percent took their husbands' names, with the remaining 6 percent presumably modifying or hyphenating.

Another source notes that about 5 percent of American women keep their maiden name, and about 3 percent of American women "use an alternative such as a maiden name as middle name". Bernice Kanner, Are You Normal About Sex, Love, and Relationships? (2004), p. 74.

Notable examples of women who have kept their maiden names in this way include Florence Griffith Joyner, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Coretta Scott King, Margaret Chase Smith, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Christine Todd Whitman. (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is not an example of this pattern; her maiden name was Bouvier, and she was only rarely referred to as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy or Jacqueline Bouvier Onassis). Notably, with respect to subjects falling within this exception, the subjects are almost always referred to using both maiden name and married name; references to "Florence Joyner", "Jackie Kersee", "Coretta King", "Margaret Smith", or "Kay Hutchison" make up a tiny proportion of references to these subjects, and the combined number of references to "Christie Whitman" and "Christine Whitman" is much lower than the number of references to "Christine Todd Whitman".

In all of Wikipedia, we have no other example of a person who is most frequently referred to in search engine results, in books, in news reports, and even on ballots, by only their first and last name, and yet has an article title including their maiden name. Even within Wikipedia, we have articles titled "Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, 2008", "Hillary Clinton presidential primary campaign, 2008", and "List of Hillary Clinton presidential campaign endorsements", which would be awkward and inaccurate to re-title, given the above evidence from ballots and campaign materials of this being her official name in connection with this campaign. (Compare: Coretta Scott King Award; Coretta Scott King Young Women's Leadership Academy; Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center (St. Louis MetroLink); Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center).

Comparison with categories for which this subject is a prominent example[edit]

The most prominent groups with which this subject is associated are United States Secretaries of State, United States Senators, and First Ladies of the United States. The vast majority of members of these categories have articles titled with only a first name, last name, and possibly a middle initial, but neither a full middle name, nor a maiden name.

Category:United States Secretaries of State[edit]

Only two other women have been Secretary of State; their articles are titled Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice. Of the two, Albright is married, and her maiden name, "Korbelová", is not included in her article title.

Category:Female United States Senators[edit]

Articles on female United States Senators are titled as follows:

Article titles including only subject's married name
  1. Hazel Abel (maiden name "Hempel")
  2. Eva Bowring (maiden name "Kelly")
  3. Barbara Boxer (maiden name "Levy")
  4. Jocelyn Burdick (maiden name "Birch")
  5. Vera C. Bushfield (maiden name, "Cahalan", for which the "C." stands)
  6. Hattie Caraway (maiden name "Wyatt ")
  7. Jean Carnahan (maiden name "Carpenter")
  8. Elizabeth Dole (maiden name "Hanford")
  9. Elaine S. Edwards (maiden name, "Schwartzenburg", for which the "S." stands)
  10. Dianne Feinstein (maiden name "Goldman")
  11. Deb Fischer (maiden name "Strobel")
  12. Sheila Frahm (maiden name "Sloan")
  13. Kirsten Gillibrand (maiden name "Rutnik")
  14. Kay Hagan (maiden name "Ruthven")
  15. Paula Hawkins (maiden name "Fickes")
  16. Nancy Kassebaum (maiden name "Landon")
  17. Blanche Lincoln (maiden name "Lambert")
  18. Patty Murray (maiden name "Johns")
  19. Maurine Neuberger (maiden name "Brown")
  20. Jeanne Shaheen (maiden name "Bowers")
  21. Olympia Snowe (maiden name "Bouchles")
  22. Debbie Stabenow (maiden name "Greer")
  23. Elizabeth Warren (maiden name "Herring")

Article titles including only subject's maiden name
  1. Kelly Ayotte
  2. Tammy Baldwin (never married)
  3. Maria Cantwell (never married)
  4. Susan Collins
  5. Heidi Heitkamp
  6. Mazie Hirono
  7. Amy Klobuchar
  8. Mary Landrieu
  9. Claire McCaskill
  10. Barbara Mikulski (never married)
  11. Lisa Murkowski
  12. Gladys Pyle (never married)

Other circumstances
  1. Muriel Humphrey Brown (first husband was Vice President Hubert Humphrey; title does not include maiden name, "Buck")
  2. Dixie Bibb Graves (subject's maiden name was "Bibb", but she married her first cousin, whose surname was "Bibb Graves")
Article titles including both subject's maiden name and subject's married name
  1. Maryon Pittman Allen
  2. Rebecca Latimer Felton
  3. Kay Bailey Hutchison
  4. Rose McConnell Long
  5. Carol Moseley Braun
  6. Margaret Chase Smith

Category:First Ladies of the United States[edit]

Articles on First Ladies are titled as follows:

Article titles including only subject's married name
  1. Abigail Adams
  2. Louisa Adams
  3. Barbara Bush
  4. Laura Bush
  5. Rosalynn Carter
  6. Grace Coolidge
  7. Mamie Eisenhower
  8. Abigail Fillmore
  9. Betty Ford
  10. Lucretia Garfield
  11. Julia Grant
  12. Florence Harding
  13. Anna Harrison
  14. Caroline Harrison
  15. Rachel Jackson
  16. Lady Bird Johnson ("Lady Bird" was a nickname; subject's maiden name was "Taylor")
  17. Dolley Madison
  18. Elizabeth Monroe
  19. Pat Nixon
  20. Michelle Obama
  21. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (subject's maiden name was "Bouvier")
  22. Jane Pierce
  23. Nancy Reagan
  24. Edith Roosevelt
  25. Eleanor Roosevelt
  26. Margaret Taylor
  27. Bess Truman
  28. Martha Washington
  29. Edith Wilson
Article titles including both subject's maiden name and subject's married name
  1. Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur
  2. Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston
  3. Lucy Webb Hayes
  4. Lou Henry Hoover
  5. Eliza McCardle Johnson
  6. Mary Todd Lincoln
  7. Ida Saxton McKinley
  8. Sarah Childress Polk
  9. Helen Herron Taft
  10. Julia Gardiner Tyler
  11. Letitia Christian Tyler
  12. Ellen Axson Wilson

Notably, an historic trend in the use of maiden names can be observed over time: the titles of articles on other first ladies for the past half century are: Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford, Pat Nixon, and Lady Bird Johnson.

Evidence from previous discussions[edit]

So as to avoid omitting any evidence of interest, here are some pieces of evidence posted in previous discussions:

Post-2009 results are "Hillary Clinton" -"Hillary Rodham Clinton yields 45,600 GBook results, "Hillary Rodham Clinton" 10,500.

Another search specifically for hits before 1993 yielded:

"Hillary Clinton"                   9,704
"Hillary Rodham"                    615
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"         404
from NewsBank search (English language news sources, United States)

Hillary Clinton: [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46][47][48][49][50][51][52] [53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63]

Rodham Clinton: [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74] [75] [76] [77] [78] [79] [80]

Both: [81] [82] [83] [84]. Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 04:42, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Google (general search)
"Hillary Clinton"                   39,500,000
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"      14,400,000
Google (general search)
"Hillary Clinton" -wikipedia                  146,000,000
"Hillary Rodham Clinton" -wikipedia         7,720,000
Google, News
"Hillary Clinton" -wikipedia                  62,900
"Hillary Rodham Clinton" -wikipedia     12,000
Google, Books
"Hillary Clinton" -wikipedia                  277,000
"Hillary Rodham Clinton" -wikipedia     127,000
Bing (general search)
"Hillary Clinton"                   4,240,000
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"         747,000
Bing (general search)
"Hillary Clinton" -wikipedia                  3,050,000
"Hillary Rodham Clinton" -wikipedia        519,000
googlesearch of
"Hillary Clinton"                   83,900
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"        5,780
internal search of
"Hillary Clinton"                   7,637
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"         982
googlesearch of
"Hillary Clinton"                   16,000
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"        3,040
internal search of
"Hillary Clinton"                   11,365
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"        3,894
internal search of
"Hillary Clinton"                   9,542
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"      4,622
internal search of
"Hillary Clinton"                   9,040
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"      1,920
internal search of
"Hillary Clinton"                   9,814
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"      9,107
googlesearch of
"Hillary Clinton"                   21,800
"Hillary Rodham Clinton"             99

[Highbeam reports]

Up to December 31, 2007 "Hillary Clinton" -Rodham 38,061 "Hillary Rodham Clinton" 62,209 "Hillary Clinton" AND Rodham 8,710

After January 1, 2008 "Hillary Clinton" -Rodham 63,294 "Hillary Rodham Clinton" 47,166 "Hillary Clinton" AND Rodham 4218

After January 1, 2012 "Hillary Clinton" -Rodham 12,705 "Hillary Rodham Clinton" 8,734 "Hillary Clinton" AND Rodham 710

After July 1, 2012 "Hillary Clinton" -Rodham 8,319 "Hillary Rodham Clinton" 5,621 matching articles "Hillary Clinton" AND Rodham 561

After July 1, 2013 "Hillary Clinton" -Rodham 558 "Hillary Rodham Clinton" 411 "Hillary Clinton" AND Rodham 87

Twitter name: It has been noted that the subject chose @HillaryClinton as her Twitter handle. Since there is a limitation on the length of Twitter handles and Twitter names, it was argued that this does not convey anything about the subject's intent. However, two other points are of note. First, the subject has over 1.17 million Twitter followers, whose exposure to this Twitter account will only expose them to Hillary Clinton as the subject's name. Second, although the subject has made some 50 tweets, with an available 140 characters per tweet, she has never used "Rodham" in any of her tweets.


Any comments relating to the above may be added here. Cheers! bd2412 T 12:05, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

I agree that she self-identified as "Hillary Clinton" during the two years of the 2008 presidential campaign. However, she self-identified as "Hillary Rodham Clinton" for eight years as First Lady, for eight years as Senator, and for four years as Secretary of State. She also self-identifies as "Hillary Rodham Clinton" on the cover of all of the books she has published. I believe those self-identifications should carry more weight. Wasted Time R (talk) 12:42, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
While I agree that self-identification is a significant factor (see, e.g., Chelsea Manning), it is only one of a wide array of considerations. There are legitimate points to weigh on both sides, but I think that from an encyclopedic standpoint, there is a lot to be said for the fact that "Rodham" is just not needed to identify the subject. bd2412 T 12:53, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
I am really confused what is BD2412's opinion on the question. BD, could you possibly please create a page somewhere, to clarify your view? --doncram 13:37, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
I will consider your comment in light of today's date. The irony is that I had put all this together last fall, with the idea of proposing the move at the beginning of the year, but then found myself quite on the fence about whether the outcome would be worth the drama, so I decided not to go forward with it. Then I saw that this proposal had been initiated, and figured that it would be a shame to let all this research go to waste. bd2412 T 13:43, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, it seems to me that self-identification should be the primary factor. WP is so formal in other respects - no contractions in writing, always refer to people by last name, use more footnotes than a law review article, etc - that the common name obsession has always seemed out of place to me. And WP is so deferential to BLP subjects - any derogatory statements without strong sources get thrown out on sight - that again, not calling people by their preferred name seems wrong. Now in practice, self-identified name and common name line up 95% of the time. Bill Clinton identified by that as president and in the books he's written, so he'll still be Bill Clinton. Ditto Jimmy Carter. John Wayne was that in his movie credits and Ringo Starr on his album covers and Cher in everything she does, so they would still be John Wayne and Ringo Starr and Cher in WP. But in cases where there is a difference, I say, go with what people prefer to use themselves. If Stephen E. Ambrose published under that name, go with it even though the form without the middle initial gets used more. If a sports figure officially changes their name (you had an example or two of this above), I say use the new one starting right away, don't wait until the majority of sportswriters start using it. Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali is a good thought experiment for common name vs BLP considerations, because for a couple of years a majority of people in the sports and news world kept using the old name, even though - or in some cases, because - he took great offense to it. What to do? I would have switched to Muhammad Ali right away. Wasted Time R (talk) 00:48, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
I have actually been arguing that for years, with no success, with respect to artists like P!nk and Ke$ha (despite their relatively consistent use of these forms, their articles remain at Pink (singer) and Kesha); but I would think my argument would be hamstrung if, for example, P!nk had campaigned for a music award under just "Pink". In fact, the Ke$ha argument is now effectively foreclosed because, despite several albums and concert tours under that styling, she now tweets as "Kesha". However, there is still a bit of distance between a stage name and an actual personal name, by which a person may be addressed differently in different circumstances. I note, by the way, that the Clinton Foundation website introduces the former president as "William Jefferson Clinton". bd2412 T 01:30, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
There may be a case for reconsidering WP:COMMONNAME but it should be at Wikipedia talk:Article titles rather than on individual articles. There are a lot of much clearer cases where the subject has an unambiguously self-used name that is clearly different from the article title but we've accepted commonname - e.g. Cat Stevens not Yusuf Islam or Lily Allen who changed her professional name to Lily Rose Cooper but it didn't catch on and after a year she changed it back - see Talk:Lily Allen#Requested move to Lily Rose Cooper where the BLP argument found no weight. Timrollpickering (talk) 10:53, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
When I've told people in real life that I'm caught up in yet another attempt to move the Hillary article title, they've suggested that someone call up her office and find out what she prefers. They are quite surprised when I tell them that counts for nothing in Wikipedia. And when I've told people with explicit feminist leanings who are aware of her career, they are even more surprised - 'But she made a decision to incorporate that into her name!' Again, I have to tell them that counts for zilch. Wasted Time R (talk) 11:41, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Per the Chelsea Manning case, it probably would have counted for something more if she had, at some point, issued a statement specifically asking that "Rodham" be included in her name. Instead, it seems that she chose to wage her most visible campaign under a name that did not include "Rodham". I certainly don't think that moving the page would cause anyone to be surprised, or cause any loss of credibility. bd2412 T 20:31, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Hillary did issue such a statement, in 1993 when she became First Lady. See this story for example. There was a good amount of attention given to it at the time, for which example caused one comedy movie to name all its female characters with "Rodham" as part of their name. As for the 2008 campaign, most of the branding was simply "Hillary", no last name needed. Has she always been consistent? No ... she's a politician, and cares more about simplifying her messaging and maximizing her appeal than she does about making my life easy here :-) But over all, it is clear that "Hillary Rodham Clinton" is how she self-identifies. Wasted Time R (talk) 00:03, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
I was thinking in more recent terms - 1993 was a long, long time ago, and her own press people dropped the Rodham around Aril 30, 2007 (which is also, at this point, a fairly long time ago). This undoubtedly was a political decision, although apparently she had polled better with "Rodham" included in her name. In light of the campaign, don't think that it's particularly clear how she self-identifies today, but with a few fairly specialized exceptions, article titles are about what the average person calls the subject anyway. In this case, I think that the subject has enormous power to influence that, and since the campaign she has certainly not gone to any lengths to dissuade people from calling her "Hillary Clinton". I don't dispute that there are fair arguments on either side, but all else being equal, I would just go with the shortest unambiguous title. bd2412 T 02:02, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
You're too focused on the campaign six years ago. (Although I admit you're getting a lot of !vote mileage out of that ballot thing, which kind of astonishes me. I can't wait for the RM to "Joe" Biden!) She spent four years as Secretary of State after that, and there are zillions of documents at the Department of State website that will tell you how she self-identified while there, including this one and this one and this one and this one and on and on. Moreover, there are a bunch of press releases from since then that will tell you how she self-identifies now, including this one just a few days ago and this one just a month old and this one and this one and this one and so forth. Wasted Time R (talk) 02:19, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
I don't think the focus is inappropriate; the campaign was a defining moment, and probably solidified an impression of the subject in public minds. Of course, that could all change if there is a future campaign where she uses "Rodham" in her name, but people tend to become identified with the name they are using when they reach the peak of their fame. By the way, I don't think that usage on the ballots is driving this response. I think people have all different reasons for voting as they vote, and are primarily driven by their gut reaction to the question, "what would I normally call this person"? bd2412 T 02:42, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
I didn't mount as strong a defense as I usually do. It caught me off-guard, I thought it would get shut down like the other IP address one was. When it wasn't, I was distracted by some content issues on the article and I was rushed to go to work and I didn't get my counter-examples in early and I didn't even sign my first post (as you discovered), thereby losing whatever persuasive effect that comes from being the person who's made 2,100 edits on this article. By the time I came home from work there were already lots of posts and your ballot images were up and the die was cast. RM's and AfD's have a herd mentality to them; people who don't know much about the subject at hand base their opinions on the strength and number of the early responses. In retrospect I should have put up a gallery of all her book cover images! Who knew ... Wasted Time R (talk) 03:26, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Consider the possibility that there have been so many move requests made (proposed by many different editors) because a lot of people really do think of this as the subject's common name. This may be a perennial issue, but I think that it is one that will keep coming up, because there will always be people who see the title and instinctively think that it is not right. If the article is moved, I imagine that in time there will be a similar propensity of editors making requests to move it back. In any case, I am finding myself exhausted with editing lately, and am going to take a break - at least until this discussion has been closed, so that I can avoid the temptation to jump back into the fray. Cheers! bd2412 T 03:38, 3 April 2014 (UTC)