Talk:Indian River, Michigan

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Article Name[edit]

The name of this city is Indian River, not Indian River, Michigan. This is the only city with this name. There are rivers with this name, but not other towns or cities. See Indian River. Therefore, the disambiguation information for this article should distinguish from the Indian River by specifying that this one is a town, not where it is (Michigan). Therefore, in accordance with Wikipedia naming and disambiguation conventions, the title of this article should be Indian River (city). --Serge 18:26, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

This is nothing more than an extention of Serge's quixotic quest to overturn the U.S. cities naming convention. The current name is unproblematic and is widely accepted as a perfectly appropriate implementation of Wikipedia naming conventions. Heh, besides that Indian River (city) woudl be entirely wrong because it is not a city -- it is not even incorporated. olderwiser 19:09, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Then it should be Indian River (town) or Indian River (unincorporated town). The disambiguation information detail is not that important. What is important is that it effectively disambiguate for the particular ambiguity problem that we have, and still make the name of the town clear: Indian River (not Indian River, Michigan). --Serge 21:01, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Nonsense. Nobody but nobody refers to it in that way. But it IS very recognizable and often refered to as Indian River, Michigan. There is no point to making up ugly neologisms just to satisfy your idiosyncratic interpretation of the naming conventions. olderwiser 21:22, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Whether you like it or not, it is in accordance with standard Wikipedia conventions to use disambiguation information in parentheses that creates titles of articles that do not correspond (because of the disambiguation information in parentheses) to the way anyone refers to the subject of the article. The disambiguation information in paretheses is in parentheses precisely to denote this - it's a parenthetic remark used to disambiguate one usage of the name from another. So the fact that "nobody but nobody refers to it in that way", when that way includes the parenthetic remark, is irrelevant.
Whether it is "very recognizable and often refered to as Indian River, Michigan" is also irrelevant when it comes to its name, which is simply Indian River.
The title of every encyclopedia article has one primary purpose: to inform the reader of the proper name of the subject of the article. Anything that gets in the way of doing that, which adding , Statename does, is interfering with the primary purpose of the title.
Say a non-American reader stumbles onto this article with its current title, Indian River, Michigan. Will he think the name of the town is Indian River, Michigan or Indian River? Now say he stumbles onto Indian River (town). Will he know the name is Indian River? Or will he think the name might be Indian River (town)? --Serge 21:39, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Parenthetical disambiguation is not a requirement. See [1] for an opinion in an arbcom case indicating that at least some consider parentheses to be avoided if at all possible. The related arbcom case confirmed that the use of parentheses for disambiguation is not required. [2] See, in actual practice, terms can be disambiguated by using natural language alternatives, by comma-separated phrases, or by parenthetical phrases. There is NO obligation to prefer one over the others. The appropriateness is determined by context.
It is entirely relevent that it is commonly referred to as "Indian River, Michigan" and almost never as "Indian River (town)". That is a large part of what use common names is about. We give preference to using commonly recognized names over uncommon neologisms.
Is your hypothetical non-American reader happens to stumble on the page, whatever momentary confusion *might* possibly arise would easily be dispelled by reading the first sentence. olderwiser 23:13, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
First, nothing I've said rests on the premise that parenthetical disambiguation is a requirement, so I don't know why you felt compelled to prove this. Never-the-less, parenthetical disambiguation is the standard method [3].
That fact is relevant not to the question of whether comma-separated disambiguation is valid, but to the interpretion of any Wikipedia title that utilizes parenthetic disambiguation. The Name (disambiguation) format is a standard convention. In interpreting any such title it is normally understood that the disambiguation information is not a part of the name. To contend that Springfield (Illinois) and Indian River (town) are poor choices because no one refers to Springfield and Indian River like that requires interpreting those titles in a manner that ignores Wikipedia standard parenthetical disambiguation: that the parenthetical disambiguation information is part of the name. Don't do that. Please.
On the other hand, using the Name, Disambiguation format, particularly in the case of Cityname, Statename, blurs the distinction between Name and disambiguation information. Most editors who use it don't even realize the distinction, until it is pointed out to them, it is so blurred by this method. --Serge 23:44, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you think this indicates that "parenthetical disambiguation is the standard method" -- that statement merely indicates that SPUI rejected binding arbitration on the basis that HE thought parenthetical disambiguation was standard. The arbcom decision was not endorsing his belief.
Sorry if I misunderstand, but your position certainly does seem to assert a preference for parenthetical disambiguation over comma-separated. I was pointing out that neither is required and there is considerable variation in which method is to be preferred in different contexts. For U.S. cities, as much as you may think it is stupid and ugly or what-not, comma-separated disambiguation is the accepted standard. If there are choices between easily recognizable terms or phrases and unnatural neologisms, preference is given to using the more recognizable form. By your own reasoning, the comma-separate portion IS the disambiguation phrase. You are simply trying to interpret the conventions such that the comma-separate portion is a part of the disambiguated name. olderwiser 00:31, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I understood it to be a unanimous vote agreeing with SPUI's ruling based on the premise that "parenthetical disambiguation is the standard method".
It is in the section of Proposed findings of fact in the case. If the arbcom had been selecting governing principles for the case, it would have been in the Proposed principles section. BK
Anyway, the issue is not how I'm interpreting, or "trying to interpret", the title of articles named according to the city, name format. It is how others are interpreting it. It seems obvious to me that parenthetic disambiguation makes the distinction between the subject name and the disambiguation information much clearer than does comma-separated disambiguation; that, for example, in titles like Indian River, Michigan, the , Michigan portion is easily interpreted as being part of the name of the town. But if you are not willing to concede that point, then I can try to find data to convince you. --Serge 01:59, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, good luck with that. Comma-separation is a pretty common method for distinguishing the names of populated places among native English speakers, not only the U.S. olderwiser 02:14, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Just to be clear, are you saying that comma-separation being a pretty common method (which I'm certainly am not disputing) for distinguishing the names of populated places is some kind of evidence that doing so does not blur the distinction between the name and the distinguishing information? --Serge 02:45, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
If what you are asking is whether most native English speakers will readily recognize that a comma-separated place name is a hierarchical presentation, then yes. That is, I do think that most native speakers will readily recognize that a title like "Indian River, Michigan" describes a place named "Indian River" in a place named "Michigan". olderwiser 12:28, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
<-----------

No, that's not what I'm asking. Sure, if you ask them certain carefully worded questions that causes them to think hierarchically they will probably get it. But imagine if it was possible to call or IM anyone using Wikipedia, and to ask them the name of the subject they're reading about. Do you think they're any more or less likely to think and respond "Indian River" rather than "Indian River, Michigan" if they're on a page entitled Indian River (town) or Indian River (town in Michigan), rather than Indian River, Michigan? --Serge 14:51, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Well I guess I still don't really understand what you are getting at with your own versions of "carefully worded questions". If you ask someone reading the article titled "Indian River, Michigan" what they are reading about, I don't see what difference it makes whether they respond "Indian River" or "Indian River, Michigan". They refer to one and the same thing. I think that most native speakers of English will understand "Indian River, Michigan" to describe the place named "Indian River" in the place named "Michigan". There is no special "carefully worded question" necessary to make the hierarchical association. olderwiser 15:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, if you yourself have trouble appreciating the difference between the name of something (e.g., Indian River) and a reference to that same thing (e.g., Indian River, Michigan), that explains much, as does a lack of appreciation for the role of the encyclopedia article title in specifying the name of the subject of the article. That is the key: the title of an encyclopedia article is the place where the name of the subject of the article is specified. This is why I think it's important to specify only the name whenever possible. When it's not possible to do so - then we compromise the title, the name specification, with disambiguation information. It's important to appreciate that as soon as we do this, we have compromised from the ideal - specifying the name only. So now we are faced with how to specify the name and the disambiguation information in a manner that minimally compromises the purpose of the title: to specify the name of the subject. If this is not valued, then my whole point is going to appear moot.
I think it is undesirable for an encyclopedia to imply that the name of Indian River is Indian River, Michigan. I think this encyclopedia does that by entitling the article about Indian River with Indian River, Michigan. The city, state form is not an obvious disambiguation. The , state part looks like it's supposed to be there, not that it's there for disambiguation purposes. Indeed, the current convention is to include , state even when it's not needed for disambiguation. That's why this form implies that the name of the city or town includes the , state. On the other hand, the parenthetical remark in the parenthetical form, as in Indian River (town) or Indian River (Michigan), is much more obviously there as disambiguation information and not a part of the name. This is why I say the comma-separated disambiguation format blurs the distinction between the disambiguated form and the actual name of the subject. And, once again, I point out that no other enyclopedia, online or in print, uses the city, state form for city articles, for good reason... the professional editors realize it would be inappropriate, unprofessional and unencyclopedic to do so. The article should be titled with the name of the city only. If that's not possible, then any required disambiguation information should be included in a manner that minimizes blurring with the name specification. How long before the amateur editors at Wikipedia make this realization too? --Serge 16:01, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
No, not quite. The comma-separated forms is still a disambiguation. The simple name of the place is "Indian River". However, it is also known as "Indian River, Michigan". Many things have more than one name. What is the problem with that? That is one strategy used for disambiguation on Wikipedia. Where a term may have multiple meanings and the terms also have alternate forms that are not ambiguous, we use the unambiguous forms. You are attempting to read too much into what the title of an article implies regarding the actual name of a place. I'll repeat once more, for most native English speakers, there is no confusion regarding comma-separated terms in place names and what that implies for the simple name of a place. The fact is the name of the place IS "Indian River, Michigan". The name is ALSO simply "Indian River". It might well have other names as well. (I can't think of any that would apply in this specific case, but in another case the "City of Springfield" IS the name of the place as well as "Springfield" and Springfield, Illinois".) While the parenthetical forms may seem more obvious to you, I disagree that the hypothetical confusion that you describe is a serious problem. As discussed elsewhere, the parenthetical form is used to differentiate geographical features with the same name (at least in the US and I believe Canada and Australia) and throwing populated places into the mix would simply result in making things less consistent and more difficult to use.
I'm sorry you are disappointed with what you consider an aspect of the amateurishness of Wikipedia. I simply disagree completely with you on this point, and I do wish you would stop making disparaging comments in that vein. I might point out that the Columbia Encyclopedia 6th edition uses a sort of comma-separated disamiguation (although much inferior to Wikipedia, IMO). [4] [5] Britannica Online uses unique numeric article identifiers, so that duplicate titles make no difference in linking--this would be a nice solution, but I suspect it would involve a major overhaul of Wikimedia software. MSN uses parenthetical disambiguation, but then it doesn't have even a tiny fraction of the articles that Wikipedia has. For instance, there does not appear to be any entry there for a place named Indian River in Michigan. I suspect this is true of most other encyclopedias--the expansive coverage of Wikipedia leads to more terms requiring disambiguation here than in the others. But I digress. I guess my point is that there is noting at all unprofessional about comma-separated disambiguation. Simply because other encyclopedias use other strategies is not in itself proof that the method is somehow inappropriate, or less professional, or less encyclopedic. olderwiser 16:51, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Allow me to define a term, "encyclopedic name". The "encyclopedic name" of something is the name it is given in an encyclopedia - the name by which the subject is most commonly referred. For example, for people, their most common/popular name is used. Hence, for Madonna, her encyclopedic name is Madonna, not "Madonna Louise Ciccone" or "Madonna Ciccone". Note that the title of an article is not necessarily the "encyclopedic name" - for the title may also include additional disambiguation information. In the case of Madonna, for example, the article title is actually Madonna (entertainer). But it is clear that the "encyclopedic name" is Madonna, and that the parenthetic remark, "entertainer", is merely there to disambiguate.
We agree that the subject of this article is known as both Indian River and Indian River, Michigan. Allow me to rephrase what I tried to say above in terms of this concept, "encyclopedic name". The purpose of the title of an encyclopdia article is to specify the "encyclopedic name" of the subject of the article, and, optionally, any disambiguation information. I find the Columbia (bartleby.com) example to be very interesting. Yes, they use comma separated disambiguation, but the "encyclopedic name" is still clearly distinguished by the fact that the word after the first comma describes the type of the subject. By the way, it's heartening to learn that at least some professional encyclopedia editors agree with me that it may be appropriate to specify type, city in this case, as disambiguation information in the title of an article about a city (similar to my suggestion to specify "town" in the parenthetic disambiguation remark in the title of this article).
What this clears up for me is that my objection is not comma separated disambiguation per se, and it's not including the state as disambiguation information. But it is disambiguating in a manner that makes the "encyclopedic name" of the subject of the article unclear. For example, for this article entitled Indian River, Michigan, is the "encyclopedic name" Indian River or Indian River, Michigan? I submit no one knows, or can know. It's completely unclear. And for every editor or reader who says it's Indian River, you can probably find one who says it's Indian River, Michigan. I don't mean to offend, but that lack of clarity in specificity is what makes it amateurish. --Serge 17:49, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, no offense, but I think whatever confusion you may see over what a title with comma-separated terms means is mostly self-induced. You've suceeded in defining your terms such that you reach your pre-determined conclusion. I submit that it is perfectly clear to most native speakers of English that a comma-separated form such as "Indian River, Michigan" refers to a place named Indian River in a place named Michigan. Your definition of "encyclopedic name" seems contrived and your hypotheticals are little more than a lot of smoke, obscuring common sense. I simply do not agree that "Indian River (Michigan)" is in any way inherently more clear than "Indian River, Michigan". olderwiser 18:23, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Come on. Just like the title Madonna (entertainer) is crystal clear about what the most common/used name is used to refer to her, Indian River (Michigan) is obviously more clear about one specific key fact: that the most common/used name/reference for the town is "Indian River", not "Indian River, Michigan". The title Indian River, Michigan is not nearly as clear about that. Arguably, it's not clear about that particular naming issue at all.
Disagree? Well, then, what exactly does the title Indian River, Michigan clearly tell you about the most common name/reference for the town that is the subject of this article? Is it "Indian River" or "Indian River, Michigan"? And, whatever you think the answer is, how does the title specify this to you? --Serge 19:29, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
How many times do I have to repeat myself? It is completely obvious that "Indian River, Michigan" refers to a place named "Indian River" in a place named "Michigan". No, I do not find "Indian River (Michigan)" to be any clearer. I don't understand what you mean by asking "whatever you think the answer is, how does the title specify this to you?" There is a place name in the first position which is the primary place name and another place name in the second position. The first place name is within the second place name. Is that so difficult to comprehend? Do you really think that is so non-obvious? olderwiser 20:01, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps you don't realize it, but you're avoiding the question. Let's see if multiple choice will clear this up.
1) What does the title Indian River (Michigan) clearly tell you about the most common name/reference for the town that is the subject of the article with this title?
a) The most common/used name/reference is Indian River.
b) The most common/used name/reference is Indian River, Michigan.
c) The most common/used name/reference is Indian River (Michigan).
d) None of the above.
2) What does the title Indian River, Michigan clearly tell you about the most common name/reference for the town that is the subject of the article with this title?
a) The most common/used name/reference is Indian River.
b) The most common/used name/reference is Indian River, Michigan.
c) The most common/used name/reference is Indian River (Michigan).
d) None of the above.
--Serge 20:13, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

It seems obvious that one (or perhaps both) of us is either incapable or refusing to understand what the other is saying. Regarding your contrived survey questions, my response to both is a. olderwiser 20:41, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. To me, the answers are clearly 1a and 2d. I say 2d because it could be either 2a or 2b. So that's where the difference lies betweeen our perspectives. I might try posting this somewhere else and see what kind of responses we get from others. --Serge 21:23, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I vote for Indian River, Michigan, which is consistent with other placenames in the U.S. -Will Beback 22:36, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

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