Talk:Long-period variable star

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I think LPV or Long Period Variable might be a (unnecessary) synonym to "a mira". It just sprains the tongue much much better to say "ellpeevee" than "meyeruh". Said: Rursus () 11:48, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

In error I was. Said: Rursus () 19:54, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Rename (2013)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Who decided? I was utterly amazed at the change, I've never used a dash. Turns out that using the dash is quite common, although the major variable star specialists don't seem to use one. Still, who decided? Lithopsian (talk) 20:20, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

That's a hyphen (-), not a dash (–). It's a non-controversial move, really, because it is obviously not a 'period variable that is long' (and hence it technically requires a hyphen). Hyphens are regularly improperly omitted, but that's no reason to do the same here. --JorisvS (talk) 20:34, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
I know you like your hyphens, and you probably know far more about them than I do, but from a background in variable stars I can tell you that these are called LPVs for a reason. They're not called LVs. You might find it grammatically non-controversial, but I beg to differ. The references and external links tell the story: two references with hyphens and the AAVSO link without one. Seems like there is a controversy after all. Lithopsian (talk) 20:44, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
"Long-period variable" is still abbreviated LPV. It is proper English usage to use a hyphen in situations like this one. As I have said, hyphens are regularly improperly omitted. This is a case of a common misspelling, not a case where references determine whether the common name (and hence article title) should have a hyphen or not. Now you could simply say "hmm, I've learned something" instead of making a fuss about what is proper English, but that's your choice. --JorisvS (talk) 21:04, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
If I call it a Long Period Variable, are you still going to hyphenate it? Lithopsian (talk) 21:07, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
You mean with the incorrect caps? --JorisvS (talk) 22:18, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
I mean as the name of a category of variable stars rather than as a description of variable stars that have long periods. Not all stars with long periods are Long Period Variables and not all Long Period Variables have long periods. Lithopsian (talk) 23:05, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
So are you saying the term is actually a misnomer? --JorisvS (talk) 08:53, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm saying the term is a title, not a description. Originally it would have been descriptive of the class prototypes which were Mira stars with periods of 100's of days. Now it is the title of a class of variables that are pulsating AGB stars. The periods of these variables is frequently over 100 days, but includes stars with shorter periods, or with no identifiable period at all. Other types of stars with long periods are most certainly excluded from the class. Lithopsian (talk) 12:07, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
You say that there other stars with long periods that are excluded, but what about variable stars with long periods? Anyway using caps is poor language because it is not a proper noun. --JorisvS (talk) 12:42, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, other variable stars with long periods. Misnomer may be too strong a word, but certainly "long period" is no longer simply a description. BTW, there is no such thing as a "period variable" ;) Lithopsian (talk) 14:23, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I know. That's why "long period variable" is nonsense. In general, there are instances where such a hyphen is the only thing that makes it clear which of the two meanings the term is supposed to mean. --JorisvS (talk) 15:26, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Now you're not making sense. If the hyphen is necessary to clarify between "(long period) variable" and "long (period variable)" and "period variable" has no meaning, then the hyphen is unnecessary. Chaucer might have insisted on it nonetheless, but many modern style guides say not to use it in cases where the meaning cannot be confused. To quote the Wikipedia style guide on compound modifiers: "A hyphen can help to disambiguate", not "use a hyphen or you will be shot". Lithopsian (talk) 16:05, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
It should also be written even when the term without one doesn't mean anything that exists or would be possible. "Long period variable" technically means 'period variable that is long' (the fact that that is nonsense does not matter for its meaning). At the very least it helps people unfamiliar with the topic to parse the meaning (for all they know a 'period variable' is something that exists). --JorisvS (talk) 17:31, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
While I have your attention here. I undid one of your hyphen changes in HIP 13044 which you may not have noticed, but it is a subtly different situation grammatically. There the term "horizontal branch star" is not a title (IMO), but the term horizontal branch is. These are not stars on *a* horizontal branch, but stars on *the* horizontal branch (a specific region of post-red-giant stars rather than any of the other horizontal branches on the HR diagram). The hyphen looks wrong to me, but it isn't quite the same situation as here, and I don't know what the rules are for that case. Lithopsian (talk) 12:07, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
One cannot use titles in the middle of a sentence. Terms cannot be titles, they can only be used as titles. "Horizontal-branch star" is hyphenated for exactly the same reason as "long-period variable", which I've explained there.
What matters in titles, per WP:COMMONNAME, is recognizability, and per Lithopsian's research it appears that the titles without the hyphens are more recognizable. What's more, Wikipedia is a technical encyclopedia, and so we should be expected to use technical terms on here. In this cases, and the others demonstrated by Lithopsian, the correct technical usage would be to not have the hyphen. Therefore, the hyphens should not be included. StringTheory11 (t • c) 03:20, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
It's not correct vs. incorrect. There is no astronomical committee that determines how hyphens are used. Some astronomers use them, some don't. Since we're a general encyclopedia and aim for clarity rather than for jargon, these terms should be hyphenated: we're not talking about horizontal stars, so we shouldn't say horizontal stars. And it's not a matter of "being shot", it's a matter of cleaning up sloppy writing. The fact that astronomers are frequently sloppy in their writing is not reason for us to be sloppy too. They can get away with it: their intended audience already knows the terms and is not going to be confused. We don't have that luxury.
COMMONNAME is not the issue. There is no debate over the name, only about how to punctuate it to make that name clear. It's a stylistic issue, and a clear style is appropriate for an encyclopedia.
This is like the argument over hyphenation in the carcinoma articles. An astronomer told he has giant blue cell carcinoma would be excused for thinking he has a giant carcinoma. The fact that an oncologist might laugh at such foolishness doesn't change the fact that it would be a very natural mistake to make. Similarly, an oncologist told about horizontal branch stars might be forgiven for wondering what a branch star is, and how it could be horizontal. The hyphen is used specifically to prevent such misreadings. — kwami (talk) 08:16, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
@StringTheory11. Wikipedia is not a technical encyclopedia, but a general encyclopedia: Even though it also covers technical topics, it is intended for a general audience. --JorisvS (talk) 14:26, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
I am aware of that, but on technical topics (like this one), it is necessary to be technical. StringTheory11 (t • c) 14:49, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Not unnecessarily technical: WP:TECHNICAL. --JorisvS (talk) 14:59, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
As long as it's understandable to the average reader, it's not too technical, and I have no doubts that the missing hyphen will cause ambiguity. StringTheory11 (t • c) 18:36, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
It won't cause ambiguity for you, because you're familiar with the concepts. But we write for everyone, and there's no reason to add unnecessary ambiguity when it can be fixed so easily. — kwami (talk) 21:17, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
It won't cause ambiguity for anyone because ultimately it doesn't matter whether someone interprets it to mean stars with long periods or period stars that are long (although it is hard to credit *anyone* would think the latter). The article explains what they actually are in language that anyone can understand, and if it doesn't then we need to change it. Lithopsian (talk) 21:35, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
It does matter, because one will be confused for a moment if one first parses it as a 'long (period variable)' and then the description says it is a '(long period) variable'. It is very much unnecessary to even potentially cause this momentary confusion to some. --JorisvS (talk) 11:53, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Let's try approaching this from a different angle, since arguing grammatical terminology is getting us nowhere. Possibly we can all agree that "long period variable" and "long-period variable" are different. After all, if they're unambiguously the same thing then this has all been a colossal waste of time. So then this article is about long period variables, slowly pulsating stars on the asymptotic giant branch. It is not about long-period variables in general. Specifically, it is not about eclipsing variables with long periods, not about those Cepheid variables that have long periods, not about supergiants that vary on periods of years or decades, not about dwarf novae that brighten at intervals of decades, and not about any other variable that might be described as having a long period. Including the hyphen is simply wrong, and all the grammar rules in the world can't change that. Lithopsian (talk) 12:55, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Sure they're different. However, you misinterpret what 'long period variable' would mean. If LPVs are a specific subclass of variable stars with long periods, then the title is insufficiently specific. From your description I understand that "asymptotic-giant-branch long-period variable" would be more accurate. --JorisvS (talk) 13:03, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Move? (April 2013)[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. Favonian (talk) 12:48, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Long-period variableLong period variable

  • WP:BRD, revert to the title prior to the bold move; per talk:Long-period variable, the hyphen is misleading and incorrect. (talk) 07:33, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
    • Comment this was a technical request at WP:RM/TR and should have been, per current practice, implemented as a revert, prior to opening a discussion to add the hyphen. That this was not done, is against the currently implemented practice concerning bold moves and RM/TR requests. -- (talk) 04:27, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per my above comment. This is a perfect case of WP:IAR on the hyphen rules. StringTheory11 (t • c) 14:19, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. In fact, having no hyphen would be misleading (as explained above). --JorisvS (talk) 14:22, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Support, as discussed at great length already. I just don't think you can change the name of something because of an overly strict interpretation of a grammatical rule. Lithopsian (talk) 18:09, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
    Comment: It's not a name, it's a (compound) term for a certain concept. Compound terms obey grammatical rules. --JorisvS (talk) 18:13, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Proponents are confused as to what a "name" is. This is the same name, and the style is correct per the MOS. The hyphen is correct, and omitting it would be misleading. It is undesirable for a general encyclopedia to make technical concepts unnecessarily ambiguous. This is not a term like "high school student" that is familiar to everyone and so can forgo the hyphen. — kwami (talk) 21:21, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose – this term is not a name, and is more meaningful when properly punctuated. Also, most scholarly sources do use the hyphen, so the basis for this RM is bogus on the face of it. Dicklyon (talk) 01:40, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose for all the ambiguity that would entail. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 03:29, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Agree that ideally, this move should have been reverted as a technical move per WP:RM/TR and WP:BRD - and if it closes as "no consensus", it should revert to the pre-move name. That said, I join the opposition here. A Google Books search shows that in the first 50 results, there are 29 instances of "long-period variable," with the hyphen. That's certainly sufficient for our purposes. Dohn joe (talk) 16:41, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose This RM serving as the D in BRD, this is an appropriate use of a hyphen. --BDD (talk) 21:46, 24 April 2013 (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.

Requested move 14 December 2014[edit]

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

The result of the move request was: page moved. Convincing evidence that adding "star" is not unusual among sources within this field and that it is clearer for readers not within this field. DMacks (talk) 05:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Long-period variableLong-period variable starWP:TITLE says we prefer nouns as title; this title is an adjective that in sources is almost always atteched to "star", except when it is being used as inside jargon for the category of such stars. The cited sources include stars as the noun explicitly, or implicitly at "Long‐Period Variables". The scholar search linked in the previous RM shows "star" included almost always. Dicklyon (talk) 18:05, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Support as nom. Dicklyon (talk) 16:53, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support as an improvement of the clarity of identification of the article's topic. —BarrelProof (talk) 23:19, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment that's quite not true. Many sources treat "long-period variable" as a noun and do not attach "star" right on the end of the term; [1][2][3][4] ; I however have no opinion on what the Wikipedia article should be called, since Wikipedia is not an astronomy encyclopedia but a general encyclopedia instead. -- (talk) 05:59, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I did note "except when it is being used as inside jargon for the category of such stars". A few of those show up in your search hits. Dicklyon (talk) 07:05, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Adding 'star' is completely redundant, because "long-period variable" cannot refer to anything but the type of star. Therefore, per WP:TITLE, the shorter variant is preferred (conciseness). Similarly we do not have "red giant star", nor "gas giant planet", but red giant and gas giant. --JorisvS (talk) 11:48, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
At least "giant" can be sensibly interpreted as a noun, unlike "variable". Dicklyon (talk) 04:34, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
"variable" is a noun, just look at how we use the word in algebra and computer programming. -- (talk) 04:59, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes it is, but that's certainly not the meaning it has here! Dicklyon (talk) 05:48, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
There is also the meaning inherent in here, look at wikt:variable#Noun #6. --JorisvS (talk) 09:38, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I am willing to stipulate that in astronomy, "variable" often means "variable star". Even more often, it is made explicit, which would be a great service to our readers if we did the same. Dicklyon (talk) 02:52, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Of course there should be a redirect because that form is also used, but beyond that the lead sentence should be what makes it clear what it really is (which makes it quite clear that it is a type of star). --JorisvS (talk) 12:41, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • ""variable" is a noun" is within a technical jargon unacceptable to a broad reference work title. "Variable" is an adjective for which the noun is often dropped but implied. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:58, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose; you say we prefer nouns, but in all astronomy contexts, "long period variable" is a noun, and refers to the class of variable stars. You never see the word "star" tacked on to the end, and thus such a name would violate WP:COMMONNAME. StringTheory11 (t • c) 16:29, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Actually, that's wrong. You do see "star" tacked on most of the time, as you can see in a casual glance at books or scholarly papers. I understand that to astronomers the adjective is used as shorthand for the star or the class of stars, but that's jargon, not really suitable to the general audience that WP targets. Dicklyon (talk) 04:34, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
One can also regularly see "star" tacked on to "red giant", "red dwarf", or even "brown dwarf" and "planet" to "gas giant", but because the shorter variant is unambiguous (i.e. it can refer only to one thing), there is no need to do that here. And not tacking it on is Wikipedia policy. --JorisvS (talk) 09:38, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
There is no Wikipedia policy that says that an article must have the shortest title that can be decrypted by people who are already experts on the subject matter. —BarrelProof (talk) 18:42, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Read WP:TITLE, which says: "Conciseness – The title is no longer than necessary to identify the article's subject and distinguish it from other subjects.". Adding "star" is not necessary to identify the subject or to distinguish it from other subjects. So yes, there is. --JorisvS (talk) 12:41, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Not exactly. Actually, WP:TITLE says a lot more than that. First of all, the quoted wording does not include the phrase "for subject-matter experts", and for non-experts, the inclusion of "star" is "necessary to identify the subject". On the contrary, WP:TITLE says that the title should be recognizable to someone who is "not necessarily an expert" on the subject matter. Second, Conciseness is only one of several considerations – it is not the only one – it is only one of five desirable characteristics provided as a list. Thirdly, WP:TITLE says that these considerations "should be seen as goals, not as rules". Taken as a whole rather than looking only at a selected out-of-context quote, the policy does not say that "not tacking it on is Wikipedia policy". We also have, for example, MOS:JARGON, which says that we should try to minimize the use of jargon and try to make Wikipedia understandable to as many readers as possible, and here the omission of "star" is clearly an expert jargon usage. —BarrelProof (talk) 17:45, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
It need not say that, because that is not the point of it. "Recognizability – The title is a name or description of the subject that someone familiar with, although not necessarily an expert in ...": someone totally lacking any knowledge about astronomy will not recognize it, but someone even a bit familiar with it will understand "variable" exactly as meant here. "Precision – The title is sufficiently precise to unambiguously identify the article's subject and distinguish it from other subjects.": The current title does this. Now, if you combine this with the conciseness goal, this gives that "star" should not be tacked on. Failing to do so would be a step away from that goal. --JorisvS (talk) 18:40, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support—My problem is that without "star" in the title, variable is the noun, which for all but experts changes the meaning. "Star" should be in the title, since we write for a wide readership, and if editors want to use the abbreviated form, that might be fine in the main text after first occurrence in full. Tony (talk) 12:45, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. The current title is ambiguous unless already in the context of stars. Of course, in the context of stars, "stars" will be dropped instead of being repeated in nearly every sentence. Encyclopedia titles do not exist primarily in the context of stars. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:55, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. The assertion that star is rarely or never tacked on the end is apparently false, based on my own findings and also Dicklyon's research below. It commonly does appear on the end. Therefore it clearly serves our readership best to use that form, since without it it is not at all clear what the article refers to. I would assume some sort of mathematical or computer science construct. I would also suggest that the equivalent move be applied to all variable stars, including Mira variable, Classical Cepheid variable, Algol variable, Orion variable, and others listed on Template:Variable star topics.  — Amakuru (talk) 15:06, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Data – showing JorisvS's and StringTheory11's conjectures are wrong[edit]

JorisvS conjectured that "'long-period variable' cannot refer to anything but the type of star". Here are multiple examples in books, where it refers to something unrelated: "long-period+variable", "long-period+variable", "long-period+variable", "long-period+variable".

StringTheory11 conjectured that "You never see the word 'star' tacked on to the end". But evidence in books shows that that is not even approximately close to the truth: [5]. The inverse is true: "star" is almost always appended. Dicklyon (talk) 04:20, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

It is true that "long-period variable" can also mean a mathematical/physical variable with a long period, but could that also get a stand-alone Wikipedia article? If so, then that would settle the matter. However, I doubt that that is the case, with little unique to tell about it and that should not also go into the more basic article. And then it is sufficient to include a hatnote mentioning it. --JorisvS (talk) 10:53, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
That narrow view of disambiguation, that it's OK for this title to be ambiguous jargon if there's no other article by the same title, never made any sense to me. But as it shows here, the "cannot refer to anything but" is not the only one that was wrong here. Why not at least go with the WP:COMMONNAME suggestion; dropping a word to make it more "concise" is not a benefit for anyone here. Dicklyon (talk) 16:50, 19 December 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.