Talk:Local nature reserve

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Comment on proposed move to Local Nature Reserve[edit]

My proposal to move Local nature reserve to Local Nature Reserve has been objected to on the ground that it is a common noun phrase which should not be capitalised. Local Nature Reserve is an official Natural England designation which gives sites legal protection, not an ordinary noun phrase. Other Natural England designations,Site of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserve and National Character Area are capitalised both by Natural England and Wikipedia. Local Nature Reserve is capitalised on the Natural England site at [1]. We should capitalise LNR both for consistency with how other designations are shown on Wikipedia, and because Local Nature Reserve is capitalised on the official site. If LNR is not capitalised on Wikipedia, then logically the other designations should changed to noun phrases.Dudley Miles (talk) 19:14, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Well argued, Dudley: I support your proposal. Headhitter (talk) 20:01, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks very much. Dudley Miles (talk) 20:39, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Request for help with move[edit]

This help request has been answered. If you need more help, you can ask another question on your talk page, contact the responding user(s) directly on their user talk page, or consider visiting the Teahouse.

Local Nature Reserve currently redirects to Local nature reserve, and I requested deletion of Local Nature Reserve so that I could move the article to this page. An editor objected, so I explained my reasons on the talk page (see above), and another editor supported my proposal, but I do cannot find how to proceed further, as none of the help pages appear to cover this situation. Thanks for any help. Dudley Miles (talk) 18:35, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

I've moved it per the argument above, which has been uncontested since 16 September. Dudley, for another time, listing on the requested moves page is your man, rather than a deletion request. Bishonen | talk 18:50, 29 September 2013 (UTC).

Even in British English books, the trigram "local nature preserve" is only slightly more often capitalized then lowercase, and that's because it often appears as part of the proper name of those named local nature preserves. The fact that it is an official designation does not make it a proper name alone. It should be lowercase per MOS:CAPS. Dicklyon (talk) 12:40, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Furthermore, the only cited source uses lowercase. Dicklyon (talk) 12:44, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
As stated, Wikipedia style is not to copy the capilisations other organisations use. Whilst Natural England use the capitalised style, many others don't - examples include the Scottish counterpark to Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage (, and many English councils (,
Mauls (talk) 12:53, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Any move should be done after a discussion in which interested editors can have their say, not by unilateral edit warring. Dudley Miles (talk) 12:55, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
"unilateral edit warring" is an interesting concept. I agree that an RM discussion would be most appropriate, as Bishonen noted in her comment before she capitalized it anyway. Dicklyon (talk) 13:10, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
My edit was not just to the capitalisations, but also a number of other points. I could point out that Bishonen reverted them all without discussion. Mauls (talk) 13:23, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm with Bishonen. The capitals are significant, they indicate a significance beyond the meaning of the individual words – in this case an official statutory designation – and they should not have been removed. This is a recognised usage of capital letters, not some trivial house style issue, whatever certain illiterates working in council press offices might think (to Mauls: that Epping Forest site you quote also talks about "LNR's"  with an apostrophe – shall we adopt that abomination as well?). There's a difference between a "local nature reserve" and a "Local Nature Reserve". My local nature reserve is Kinder Scout – but Kinder Scout is a National Nature Reserve. This modern obsession with minimizing capital letters is a nonsense (I disgreed with WP:BIRDCON too – not all common gulls are Common Gulls) and we're throwing away a nuance of meaning, and gaining nothing in return, by this philistine obsession with removing capitals. Dave.Dunford (talk) 13:32, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
The case is simple. If a body like Natural England comes up with a term in capitals that is specific to its area of responsibility, we should follow their line; otherwise we're inventing a new term (or misusing a generic term for a specific case). This problem has now arisen at National Character Area and Natural Areas of England which have now been put into a sentence case mode a la Wikipedia section headings. Bermicourt (talk) 13:41, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Last September I proposed a move from Local nature reserve to Local Nature Reserve. The only editor to comment supported the proposal, and so Bishonen carried out the move. The agreed move should not have been reversed without discussion, so Bishonen rightly reverted it. If there were other edits at the same time, these could be re-inserted. Dudley Miles (talk) 13:50, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
The changes to National Character Area and Natural Areas of England are even worse. The former means nothing as a generic term, and the latter could mean almost anything. The piece of woodland behind my house is a natural area of England, but it's very much not a Natural Area of England. Procedurally and grammatically these changes are all wrong. Dave.Dunford (talk) 13:56, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Agree. See my move requests below and on the other 2 pages. Bermicourt (talk) 14:01, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Good idea to take it to Requested moves. Meanwhile, I agree with Dudley and Dave that Mauls' revert of my move was unnecessarily high-handed. I didn't perform the move because I'm very sure what name the article should be at, but simply because there had been some agreement and no objections to Dudley's proposal, see above on this page. User:Mauls, you should have posted here and looked for consensus, not just reverted. As for my revert of your entire edit that you complain of, the only substantive change I saw besides the capitalization was the wikilinking of "National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act 1949". I went to restore that immediately after I'd reverted, but discovered it was a redlink, which hardly seemed useful, so I didn't. (I guess Dicklyon didn't agree, since he restored the redlink as a "linking fix".) I see Mauls has now fixed the link, to National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949,[2] which is great; since that article exists, it well deserves a link, obviously.
I don't plan to take any further part in this. I hope the move request will be productive, if not in the sense of moving the article yet again (I have no opinion about that, as I said; the arguments on both sides seem pretty good to me), yet in persuading all participants to discuss collaboratively and, you know, nicely. Pleasantly. Even if the caps/lowercase thing engages your passions. Bishonen | talk 14:38, 30 July 2014 (UTC).

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived 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. Jenks24 (talk) 14:03, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Local nature reserveLocal Nature Reserve – This is a proper name for specific sites in England designated by the official body, Natural England, not a generic article about local nature reserves around the world. They spell it with capitals even in mid-sentence. Bermicourt (talk) 13:52, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

  • Support. See my comments above on the original move to Local Nature Reserve. This also applies to the many similar moves unilaterally made by Mauls to other articles. Dudley Miles (talk) 14:02, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. My local nature reserve is Kinder Scout, but Kinder Scout is a National Nature Reserve, not a Local Nature Reserve. The small piece of woodland behind my house is a natural area of England, but it's certainly not a Natural Area of England – the term, and the article itself, is about a specific concept described by those words, the 120 areas defined by Natural England. The use of capital letters to indicate a significance beyond the meanings of the individual words is a recognised use for capital letters, not a nicety of house style. A Google Books search for "national character area" shows caps on all-but-one relevant results on the first page (and the one exception capitalizes "Character Area"); two out of three relevant results for "natural areas of England" use caps (and if you follow the link given for the exception, it capitalises "Natural Area" except in the extract that Google shows). Dave.Dunford (talk) 14:08, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment I merged all 3 RM's into this one, to prevent inconsistency. Either all the titles should be in title case or none. Dave.Dunford has already made a comment similar to the above at Talk:Natural areas of England, so he may wish to repeat it here. No such user (talk) 14:35, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
    Comment. It is not just those three. Mauls has moved dozens of articles to sentence case. See Special:Contributions/Mauls. Dudley Miles (talk) 14:43, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
    OK, these three are currently on the table, and we expect that the closing admin moves the rest according to the conclusions of this debate. What we don't want is to have three separate debates, with possibly different outcomes. Huh... Special:Log/Mauls has well over hundreds of entries concerning capitalization of similar entities. No such user (talk) 15:15, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose – the frequent occurrence of "local nature preserve" in lowercase in sources, such as in the only cited source in the article, means that it does not meet the criterion of MOS:CAPS of "consistently capitalized in sources" that would be required to consider it to be a proper name. Of course, we do capitalize it when it is part of the proper name of a specific area, which is what many of the capitalized uses in sources are, but to declare it a proper name just because it's an official designation is not appropriate. See for yourself. And Oppose the others, too; we don't normally give outside orgs like Natural England control over styling; they capitalize what is important to them, but that's not our way; see WP:SSF. And by the way, Natural England is a good example of an article that appears to have been written by one of them specialist ignorant of MOS:CAPS; it capitalizing all many of generic terms. Dicklyon (talk) 19:49, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
    • Comment A quick glance at your reference does not support your argument. Most of the sources capitalize the term. Of the couple that don't one is talking about South African reserves. I think the confusion may be (in this article's case) that the phrase "local nature reserve" is used generically around the world whereas those officially designated in the UK are capitalized. The solution therefore would be to have two articles: one in lower case for the generic name and one capitalized for the designated UK sites. Of course, when it comes to NCAs there is no contest; it is not really used generically, is it? --Bermicourt (talk) 19:56, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
      • Most of the sources that capitalize the term do so as part of a proper name, or as part of defining the acronym, or in a title, heading, or table entry; look at the others, for uses in sentences. And the criterion is not "most" anyway. Dicklyon (talk) 19:59, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose all, which represent the same capping creep. Dicklyon speaks sense here. It's easy enough to be beguiled by bureaucratese, by legalise. Folk in the civil service, as well as some journalists not aware of their own house style, soon get sucked into this disease of capitalitis. Often as not, the first sign of the rot is when someone thinks that because the term is often abbreviated (LNR), it should be reverse-engineered into the expanded form. Then there's the widespread confusion about proper noun vs proper name. Before we know it, the term "designation" that I see in the lead will be capped in official white papers (it's their specific Designation, not the one for my local shopping mall—how could I get that wrong). And we'll be bumping over "District Councils" soon, thankfully still in easy-to-read default form in the article. Worst is vanity capping, and those whose careers are related to local nature reserves in the UK might well appreciate drawing robust attention to the object of their pay-packets. But you'll find a mishmash of capping and lowercase even in official publications, I bet you a beer.

    Sorry, it has to stop, or the slippery slope will get us back to the German practice of capping anything in sight. Also bad for second-language speakers. Tony (talk) 00:56, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Comment The "capping creep" is, if anything, in the opposite direction, sadly – mostly, I fear, at the hands of design-minded types who put form over function and seem to think that italics and capitals are somehow "ugly". Use of capitals to indicate that a phrase is "more than the sum of its parts", or specific rather than generic, has a perfectly respectable heritage (e.g. in usages such as "the Government" to mean the particular government of the country in question, as opposed to governments in general; also, why do we have the phrase "small-c conservative" if not to reflect this usage?). What's the problem with capitals anyway? As I've pointed out elsewhere, there is a substantive difference between my claiming that Kinder Scout is a local nature reserve (which it is, from where I live) and that it is a Local Nature Reserve (which it very definitely is not; it's a National Nature Reserve). By insisting on lower case we lose this valuable distinction. Dave.Dunford (talk) 12:07, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose all, Our stylings are not source-based and instead follow MOS:CAPS, so there's little value to be gleaned from referring to the sources here. There is also little to indicate that these notions are specific (as opposed to generic) other than fulfilling the need of some faceless bureaucrats. -- Ohc ¡digame! 03:51, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
    • Comment According to WP:MOS, proper names should be capitalized. These articles are about officially designated and defined sites, not "generic" areas and they are officially capitalized by the authority that created them. So in this context, the names of these articles are proper names and are normally written in title case. To do otherwise is WP:OR as Wikipedia will be the only place where e.g. National Character Areas appear in lower case. Bermicourt (talk) 06:19, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
        • The OR here is in mistaking general categories of things (national character areas, local nature reserves), which are generic noun phrases no matter where they originate from (e.g. an organisation or a statute) for their specific, real-world members, which are actually proper names, e.g. the Dark Peak National Character Area, a specific piece of land surveyed and delimited by Natural England (in England itself, anyway). Few sources other than government sources or those aping government style ever even mention national character areas as a class, so extrapolating from the government-style ones that do so to an assumption about what all reliable sources would and should do is WP:SYNTH, and a WP:NOT#CRYSTALBALL problem, too. MOSCAPS and its applciation here requires no OR at all; it simply applies a straightforward style rule: If it's not a proper name, don't capitalize it. It's the same rule applied by all major off-WP style guides.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:28, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
    • Comment Given that these are bureaucratic terms (in the sense that they're used in the articles) I think the comment about "fulfilling the need of faceless bureaucrats" is self-defeating. That's the whole point we're trying to make: these terms have a specific statutory meaning beyond the meaning of the individual words. Conventionally, this situation is indicated by capitals (viz. the Republican Party – a specific party of that name – vs "a republican party", a party with that political tendency). I'm yet to see a convincing justification for losing that nuance. Dave.Dunford (talk) 12:15, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose all These are generic terms, for a type of thing - like you have 'county council' or 'Sussex County Council', equally there are 'national character areas' and 'Solway Basin National Character Area'. Proper nouns are quite specific, and categories are not proper nouns. As pointed out in the local nature reserve article, although Natural England choose to capitalise these terms (and fine, that's their house style), that is not universal - for example the equivalent Scottish body consistently use lower case when discussing a Section 21 local nature reserve. Fundamentally, MOS:CAPS applies, and to write 'National Character Area' or 'Local Nature Reserve' doesn't indicate that it is a place with a specific designation, but rather makes it sound like a very specific place called those things. To take a parallel that was brought up else where, WP does not capitalise terms like 'common gull', even though they could be read as 'a gull that is common', because group names are not proper nouns. Mauls (talk) 09:25, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment A search of shows that the term 'local nature reserve' is in any realistic sense a statutory term: it is used five times, all are in regulations not Acts of Parliament; one mention is as part of the name of a specific nature reserve; two (relating to pesticides regulations) are not defined; and the other two (telecommunications regulations) use the term 'local nature reserve' to mean a nature reserve designated by a local authority. Interestingly, of those two, one is defined with initial capitals, and the other all in lower case. Neither 'national character area' nor 'natural area' are in any way used as statutory terms in UK law. Mauls (talk) 11:47, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Mauls, interesting angle. I'm not sure that being a statutory term changes anything in terms of our house style. Lots of other terms, such as prime minister, are not generally capped in WP, but are surely statutory terms. Tony (talk) 12:12, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't believe it does change it either, but was just putting the information out there. Mauls (talk) 13:41, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia clearly needs a house style, but we already recognize the authority of organizations to name themselves or their products, even if they don't follow our convention at all: iPod, E.ON, K+S are all modelled on sources not on Wiki style. And while I have no difficulty with generic names like nature reserve, proper names for products or objects defined by an appropriate authority are a different matter. So when Natural England says e.g. "The coastline is therefore covered by a number of designations: Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and Ramsar sites. Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands are designated as National Nature Reserves, and the coastline has additional landscape designations of Heritage Coast and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty", we ought to follow their line (and that of the European Union in e.g. the case of SPAs) when referring to the legally defined objects in question. The capitals are there for a reason: to show they are not just generic names with no legal definition. Perhaps we should modify WP:MOS if need be, to make it more clear in such cases... Hope that helps. Bermicourt (talk) 18:45, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, but that is not correct. Wikipedia explicitly rejects following the way that organisations style themselves. See WP:MOSTM.
Furthermore, local nature reserve has no legal definition, as mentioned above it occurs nowhere in law. The legal term is 'nature reserve', and 'local nature reserve' is a generic term to indicate a nature reserve designated by a local authority.
Finally, these term 'local nature reserve' is not 'owned' by English Nature; there is more to the United Kingdom than England!
Mauls (talk) 11:00, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Sorry I've just rechecked WP:NCCAPS and offer the following extract which may be relevant: "Because credibility is a primary objective in the creation of any reference work, and because Wikipedia strives to become a leading (if not the leading) reference work in its genre, formality and an adherence to conventions widely used in the genre are critically important to credibility." ::Hope that helps. Bermicourt (talk) 11:23, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Mis-citation; this isn't a genre, so no it isn't relevant. The passage you're quoting out of context relates to the material you didn't quote, immediately preceding it: "In general, each word in English titles of books, films, and other works takes an initial capital, except ..." It's about capitalisation of titles of works, not about random noun phrases! Note also that NCCAPS, throughout, defers again and again to [[[WP:MOS]], WP:MOSCAPS, MOSTM and other MOS sub-pages. NCCAPS is not a conflicting guideline, it's an application of MOSCAPS, etc., to a small number of specific article titling issues, none of which are raised in this RM.

Also, ngrams show that the capitalised and non-capitalised frequency of "Local Nature Reserve" and "local nature reserve" track each other very, very closely. Firstly, even though there's a slight preference for capitalisation, the closeness of the call completely falsifies your claim that the term is normally capitalised in sources (there goes your misapplied COMMONNAME argument, and why it was misapplied in the first place is something I'll get to in a moment). Second, obviously the bit of a lead that capitalisation has at all is due to official government sources, the most common to use the phrase at all, capitalising as "Government Style", so the capitalisation argument fails again under MOSTM. There is no conflict between WP:AT and WP:MOS; the idea that there is one is an illusion. AT tells us what the common name is (it's "local nature reserve", not "regional natural preserve" or whatever); MOS tells us how to style it, while AT is style-neutral, and like NCCAPS explicitly, repeatedly defers to MOS on style matters. MOSTM and MOSCAPS are instructing us not to capitalise this.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:28, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Support:the capitals denote an official designation as opposed to the generic use of the term. So if I write that somewhere is say, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) it is clear that it is not just my opinion but an official designation. Clearly the capitals denote a title that has been given to places that have been given that official status. Richerman (talk) 22:52, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
    • That's not what "the capitals denote", though. Show me any policy or guideline here, any external style manual, any work on grammar and usage, any anything, that says "capitals denote an official designation as opposed to the generic use of [a] term". (BTW, even if some external style book did say something like that, we wouldn't necessarily follow it on WP, because we have our own.) You're making false assumptions about the nature of proper names, and confusing them with terms of art. Worse yet from a WP-writing perspective, you're making a terrible argument from a WP:ACCESSIBILITY perspective, expecting readers to magically be able to tell the difference between a capitalised and non-capitalised phrase when their screen-reader software does not in fact distinguish between them at all. The proper way to handle such cases is to simply write more clearly, e.g. "has been officially designated an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' by...", not simply writing that it 'is an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'".
      • "Show me any policy or guideline here, any external style manual, any work on grammar and usage..." How about the Oxford Manual of Style, p. 73: "Capitals make a word or words specific in their reference; distinguishing, for instance, between the white house (a house painted white) and the White House (the US president's official residence), or between a Christian scientist (a scientist who is a Christian) and a Christian Scientist (a member of the Church of Christ Scientist)." Which is exactly the situation we're talking about here. I can't find my Complete Plain Words but I am sure there is something similar there. I've yet to hear any convincing argument in favour of removing these capitals, other than appeals to some phoney consistency, or personal dislike. Dave.Dunford (talk) 07:51, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Proposal. I can see why people might object to Nature Reserve and Natural Area being capitalized because they are also used very widely in a generic sense, but National Character Area is very specifically a designated name, some might say an invented name, that is not really used generically at all AFAIK. In fact if the stats above are right there are 2 sites on the web that spell it in lower case, one of which (now) is Wikipedia. The rest all capitalize it. So it may make sense to break that one out of this debate and look at it separately in more detail, particularly with regard to the what the sources are doing. Bermicourt (talk) 16:13, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Bermicourt, you're essentially reiterating your "These articles are about officially designated and defined sites, not "generic" areas and they are officially capitalized by the authority that created them" idea here, without introducing anything new. It is a failure to understand the actual nature of proper names. "Aberlady Local Nature Reserve" is a proper name, but "local nature reserve" is not, despite referring to a particular class that exists legally, a legal term of art. Laws/regulations/statutes, and legal writing generally, often (though less so, in recent decades) capitalise any such phrase as a matter of field-specific jargon: "The Party of the First Part is subject to the Local Jurisdiction of the County Court and thus how Municipal Caselaw defines Mindemeanor as distinct from Felony..." blah blah blah. Many fields, in their own publications, capitalize terms of art particular to their purviews, but this has nothing to do with how Wikipedia is written (see the essay WP:Specialist style fallacy for why; we needn't re-iterate all that reasoning here). WP never capitalises any of that sort of material, while other sources make up their own minds for their own reasons whether to do so or not. For example, those closer to the legal profession and to politics tendi to capitalise legal terms of art more often, especially where the term seems to pertain to something concrete like a particular jurisdiction, and less so for a legal categorization (e.g. it's "capital crime", not "Capital Crime" even in most law journals).

For especially pertinent example: Even when used by itself and not as part of a proper name, unitary council is capitalised in statute, in most UK government publications, and (mistakenly) by some subset of erstwhile reliable sources, but we do not capitalise it here. Like "national character area", it's a governmental neologism, what Mauls earlier labeled a "statutory term" (itself a personal neologism), but this does not mystically confer proper name status on it; it's just a run-of-the-mill legal term of art. If this still isn't clear, consider that any given jurisdiction or authority might create, say, a class of vehicles to be licensed or taxed a particular way, and might capitalise it: "Vehicles Exceeding 0.5 Metric Tons and Having More than Two Axles". That doesn't make it a proper name, no matter how many other people (e.g. writers in transportation industry newsletters or licensing law journals) imitate the capitalised style for that term-of-art categorization of vehicles. The specific vehicle models that fall under the definition of that vehicle class are the only proper names in such a case.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:28, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
PS: As Mauls points out, "local nature reserve", for example, isn't even a term of art only of English Nature/Natural England (which only covers England not the whole UK, and I haven't seen any proof the term's not used even more broadly). The latent argument that could be summed up as "this is a special name made up by one organisation, so it's like a trademarked product" is false on its face, even if the "like a trademark" argument were not already dismissible and dismissed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:35, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

We're clearly not going to reach a consensus, so I withdraw this move request. Would an admin please close the discussion. --Bermicourt (talk) 11:30, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
There seems to be more weight in opposition, as well as nearly all the WP policy arguments. In any event, the seven days are up, so the discussion should be closed naturally, with an admin recording the decision reached. (talk) 09:42, 7 August 2014 (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.