Talk:Lech Wałęsa/Archives/2012/December

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Widely-used and widely-recognized plain English spelling in reliable sources

English Wikipedia is intended to primarily be a trustworthy reference as to majority usage in reliable English-language sources. This article has redirects from Walensa and Wasa, which surely indicates that people don't know how his name is spelled in plain English (such as by the Nobel Prize committee[note 1] and on his autobiography[note 2]). You can search for Walesa and Wałęsa separately in books[note 3][note 4] The newer books don't have diacritics, because publishers have learned that you can't sell books with foreign-language titles. If you eliminate non-English items from the Wałęsa book search you get only three or four items that spell his name with diacritics, vs. about 36 items with his name spelled in plain English. You get the same results if you search reliable sources such as the NY Times, The Guardian, and the BBC[note 5]—only two or three items out of over 3,800 show the name with diacritics in an English publication. The official English translation of his own autobiography[note 2] also shows the plain English version of his name. You can find English [note 6] and French[note 7] versions of Mitterand's memoirs on Amazon.


LittleBen (talk) 01:13, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Which is why it's "Lech Wałęsa". Look, this is you just engaging in POINTY behavior, after your latest anti-dicritic proposal (over at WP:BLP) failed to gain consensus.
And come on, the edit is pretty ridiculous: "better known in English as Lech Walesa"? Seriously, what exactly does that add to the article? In what way does it help the reader? Like, they will be uber confused if we don't tell them that Lech Walesa is the same person as Lech Wałęsa? Really? The answer of course is that it adds nothing to the article, it doesn't help the reader in any way, there's no consensus for this change (as evidence by a million and one discussions, here and elsewhere), all it is is you trying to turn this article, a GA, into a WP:BATTLEGROUND for the diacritic issue. If you feel that strongly about it, go to the article on François Mitterrand, or the hundreds, thousands of other articles of people with the marks in their names and put "better known in English as Frankie Mitterand" in there.
And of course, none of the sources listed actually support the notion that "Walesa" is the most commonly used form in English sources, they just give some examples of such usage.
 Volunteer Marek  01:20, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
You could at least bother checking that searches you link to are indeed composed of "English language sources", rather than Italian, French and German ones.  Volunteer Marek  01:31, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
This conversation has occurred hundreds of times, as you surely know. Why are you trying to argue it yet another time? There's no support for your position. I am not going to respond to arguments which have been raised and replied to many many many ... many many many many many many times before. That's a waste of time. Volunteer Marek  01:35, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
From an editor complete unfamiliar with the diacritics debate; Out of curiosity, how does one assess what the "majority usage in reliable English-language sources" is? NickCT (talk) 05:14, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
  • First people need to agree on what sources are widely considered to be trustworthy and reliable for English usage. An English version of an autobiography means that the author (such as Walesa) has personally authorized it (and the English spelling of his name). The Nobel peace prize likewise—he is free to refuse it if he really believes that a ceremony and citation in English are "grossly insulting". Other sources that are usually considered reliable, fair, and neutral POV include the New York Times, The Guardian, and the BBC. To eliminate any silly excuses about it being too much trouble to research usage in all of these, I created a template: {{User:LittleBenW/Template_test|Lech Wałęsa}} : Sources for Lech Wałęsa on Google. You can replace the name Lech Wałęsa with any other name that you would like to research in my list of reliable sources, and you can easily add other sources. I made another template that allows you to research usage excluding sites that are explicitly in Polish or explicitly in Poland (the template is described in the RfC below). {{User:LittleBenW/Template_test2|Lech Wałęsa|pl|pl}} : Sources for Lech Wałęsa on Google, excluding language(pl)/country(pl). This second template's results will include some non-English sources inside and outside of Poland, so you will have to manually exclude those when counting English sites. You can read more about diacritics issues here (RfC) and here. You can read more about smart ways to research stuff on the web at WP:Search engine test. Don't hesitate to ask if you have further questions, I'd be glad to help. LittleBen (talk) 10:55, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Looking at the copyright page of the English translation of the autobiography, it says "Wałęsa, Lech, 1943–" which I think is based on the LOC catalog record. This seems like an authoritative source to me. I know how hard librarians work on these things. (talk) 19:18, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Catalogue records are not a good place to look. A good librarian will ensure that the author's name is consistent across records, including across records for books in different languages. Formerip (talk) 17:31, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
So let me see... catalogue records are not a good place to look. Other encyclopedias are not a good place to look. Dictionaries are not a good place to look. Style guides are not a good place to look... Gimme a freaking break. Standard English reference works use diacritics regularly. Time to get over it.VolunteerMarek 21:44, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
But they also don't use diacritics regularly. It depends which ones you chose to accept and which one's you chose to ignore. And that only gives us some indication. The real test is how it actually appears in sentences. In, for example, the NYT or The Guardian. I haven't looked, but I can guess.
And given that the EL covers of the guy's own books and the banner on his own website think he's a no-squiggle, don't you think it would be a but perverse to say that the house style of some dictionary in particular trumps that? Formerip (talk) 22:49, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
LOL, it's not just us, they had trouble in Poland deciding whether to use diacritics in the airport named after him. I'm convinced now by Prolog's study that existing best practice for encyclopedias is to use the diacritics, so we should use them. I accept that newspapers might do something different, but Wikipedia is not a newspaper. I was also convinced (not the way the author intended) by the person (I can't find the diff) who argued basically that we shouldn't follow the practices of traditional encyclopedias, because our audience is much wider and by implication stupider, so we should do what they expect. I'd say, we're here to inform and not to pander. (talk) 23:28, 3 December 2012 (UTC)