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Old Chancellery[edit]

Relative to my recent revert - the marker at the old Chancellery, Wilhelmstrasse 77, has Hitler's photo on it. The marker at the new Chancellery, on the corner of Voss-strasse, does not. Adam 03:24, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was move. Do not revert this move. Philip Baird Shearer 17:43, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Proposed move June 2006[edit]

WilhelmstrasseWilhelmstraßeRationale: Since we are using a German word for the title of this page, we should spell it correctly. Stefán Ingi 19:33, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Support as nominator. Stefán Ingi 19:35, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, correct spelling of German name should be used since there is no English name. Angr (talk) 19:45, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support per Angr. Kusma (討論) 19:48, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support and list the 'ss'-transliteration prominently at the top. Haukur 19:54, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, {{foreignchar}} on top of the page (and a redirect of course) should be enough for users without the ß. --Qualle (talk) 19:56, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose Normally spelt in English without the eszet. (Mention at top as German name, of course.) Septentrionalis 23:23, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Strong support. As per above. Voortle 01:35, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support as per Angr. --Stemonitis 08:27, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose --Philip Baird Shearer 14:02, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose Currently it is at an "English" form of its German name, which is fine. No need to keep including non-standard Latin characters when not necessary. Charles 19:16, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per Septentrionalis. Jonathunder 06:52, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. —Nightstallion (?) 11:11, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Thumbelina 17:15, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose - J.J. Popplewick 17:57, 20 June 2006 (UTC)This user's account was created after this discussion began
  • Oppose - Bubba ditto 22:57, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support - Strasse mit "ss" ist schlicht und einfach falsch. Wrong! 11:29, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, as non-english characters are (too?) often used elsewhere. For proper english, use Williamstreet instead, then it complies with the names of monarchs used here, too. --Matthead 16:16, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support and agree with Angr and Kusma. Olessi 18:47, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose--Molobo 19:24, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Agree with Angr, below: "We don't think you're intelligent enough to understand a letter you might not have seen before. We have to dumb this down to your level, you poor slob." (although I might have phrased it differently). Eugène van der Pijll 09:48, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support I managed to learn the meaning of þ by reading Wikipedia, so I think others should be able to do the same with the ß. Blur4760 10:44, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Not using the ß leads to bizarre neologisms such as Voss-strasse, which is not a proper transliteration of Voßstraße in any standard, and thus original research. True, ß is sometimes written ss in the likes of information brochures to simplify things for tourists, but this is an encyclopedia, and German has established international standards for writing. Until the ß is abolished, we should use it when it appears in a German name. ("Strasse" is a Swiss spelling.) Other articles should follow suit.  ProhibitOnions  (T) 13:42, 27 June 2006 (UTC)


  • Oppose. English Wikipedia article titles should stick with English letters. --Elonka 18:11, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Survey Results[edit]

OK ten days is long enough. Would anyone like to raise any objections to any of the editors opinion being counted in the above survey ? --Philip Baird Shearer 18:50, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

From Philip's talk page, posted 18:57, 27 June 2006 (UTC): Adam Carr has not posted an official vote but his views are abundantly clear. He is also the one responsible for the current location of the article, see [1] and [2] but an article on the street existed before his time. As can be seen from [3], news of the vote has been posted on WP:RM (of course) but additionally on the German-speaking notice board (by Angr) and on User talk:Matthead (by me after he came in the middle of the discussion and put ß in the article but did not vote) and User talk:ProhibitOnions (also by me after I noticed that he was having an argument with Adam about the ß in Berlin related articles). Finally, a few of the votes might look a bit suspect with respect to activity on the wiki, especially J.J. Popplewick and the ip-address Stefán Ingi 19:09, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
I did vote, BTW. How's the policy on voters that get blocked for a year shortly after voting?--Matthead 23:31, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
I re-opened the survey, since opinions are still coming in, and no date/consensus was posted (the "requested move" tag was also still on the page). --Elonka 18:12, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Sorry I closed the survey and reopening it may be unfair because some who were in favour of the move may have seen the discussion and not expressed an opinion. --Philip Baird Shearer 13:55, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Now to counting the opinions. I make that 13-Support, 9-Opposed. But from the above discussion above one needs to be taken off each making 12-2support and 8-Opposed. Which just reaches the 60% threshold. I do not think that Adam Carr should be included in the survey if he does not wish to express an opinion in it.

So unless I have made a mistake with the counting (and I am open to being corrected as it makes the decision easier) I see two possibilities here:

  1. The article is moved as 60% is the WP:RM threshold.
  2. We reopen the poll for a specific time, to see if a better consensus can be built. (If we go with this, I would suggest until the WP:RM move on on talk:Voss-strasse is completed)

I have expressed an opinion in this survey so I think the best thing to do is to ask Stefán Ingi to decide which course of action he wants to take. I will move the page if he thinks that is best. --Philip Baird Shearer 13:55, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't think there is any hope that there will be a significantly better consensus reached so I don't see any point in keeping the poll open. Therefore option 1 is better in my opinion. Probably the only way to calm things down here is to adopt some sort of a laissez-faire strategy. Since this article was in a useful state at the Wilhelmstraße title for a long time this would support the move back to that title (although this is not meant to belittle Adam's contributions to the article). With the same aim, I will remove my vote from the Vo[ ][ ]stra[ ]e article and suggest to others who read this to do the same, in order to keep it at Adam's preferred choice at Voss-strasse. Stefán Ingi 14:22, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

I will not object to this article (and 17 June Strasse) being moved back to "Strabe" since that's how they were created. I will object to any of the articles I have created being moved. This is a silly state of affairs but since we can't agree on a policy it will have to do. Of course, as Kaiser Wilhelm II once said "If only everyone would do what I say, there would be no problem." Adam 14:35, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

All right. Looks like we have an armistice agreement. I'll go and remove my vote from Talk:Voss-strasse (though I'd still prefer Vossstrasse to that title). Haukur 15:10, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

My recommendation is to re-run the poll. It looks like the previous one was not very well known (I only just found out about it myself yesterday, and I'm always extremely interested in these kinds of situations). If the poll is re-started, notices about it can be posted at:
Hopefully with increased awareness among the Wikipedia community that this poll exists, it will be easier to obtain a clear consensus. --Elonka 17:25, 29 June 2006 (UTC)


All or nothing! Folks, make up your mind for one or the other. Either non-english letters and spelling is used for German words, too, as already in use in many other (e.g. Eastern European) context (see e.g. Talk:Bolesław I the Brave)', or stop fighting only against German Umlauts. --Matthead 16:34, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

That is a seperate issue with no bearing on this one. A lot of Polish editors at that page are rooting for inclusion of that peculiar 'l'. English should always be used in English WP, even if it's a matter of changing a non-Latin character to ss. The character ß may be a ligature of ss, but are we bound to write œ and æ for all words that historically contained it? Charles 18:53, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Normally spelt in English without the eszet. (Mention at top as German name, of course.) Septentrionalis 23:23, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

It isn't normally spelled in English at all, that's the point. This isn't like Munich, which clearly has an English name that is free of diacritics. Wilhelmstraße has no name but its German name. Angr (talk) 23:44, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Just for information, there has been a lot of discussion on the question of using ß or ss in the past, e.g. see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 23#German eszet. At present this is listed as a "disputed issue" at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English): "There is disagreement as to whether German, Icelandic and Faroese names need transliteration for the characters ß, þ and ð". Saint|swithin 21:08, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

I as I have pointed out several times, this isn't a matter of spelling (like Munich/Munchen), it's purely a matter of whether or not the English Wikipedia does or does not use a German orthographic convention which almost no-one outside Germany and Austria is familiar with. However since it is obvious that the majority of those above think that displaying their own uber-pedantic cleverness is more important than writing encyclopaedia articles which readers can actually read, I will save my breath. Adam 23:52, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

It is very much a matter of spelling. The difference between ss and ß is no mere "orthographic convention" in German; the two are not interchangeable. Masse "mass" and Maße "measurements" are different words, spelled and pronounced differently. Straße rhymes with Maße, not Masse, and is spelled accordingly. Using ss in place of ß is a kludge left over from the days when typewriters couldn't be relied on to have ß on them. Because this is an online encyclopedia, having the note at the top saying "This article title contains the letter ß" means that a full explanation of the letter in question is only a click away. The reader winds up having learned something about a street in Berlin and something about the Roman alphabet they might not have known before, instead of having their intelligence insulted by the attitude "Don't scare the reader with funny foreign squiggles". Angr (talk) 00:03, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Then how do the Swiss manage? --Philip Baird Shearer 14:02, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

As Saint Swithin notes above, I am within my rights to write articles for the English Wikipedia using English orthography, and I will continue to do so. I might point out that "strasse" is written both ways even in Germany. I wish now that I had taken a photo in the Berlin U-bahn last month when I saw two adjacent signs for the U-bahn station name, one using "straβe" and one using "strasse." I note also that we have an article on Rudolf Hess and not Rudolph Heβ. Adam 01:47, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Regarding signs reading both "-strasse" and "-straße", may I point out that even Germans make mistakes sometimes. If I relied on signs I'd seen on the street for my knowledge of English, I'd mis-spell all sorts of things. --Stemonitis 08:27, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Of course I should have known that you know more about the correct way to write German words than the Germans do. Adam 08:31, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

For an authoritative German spelling, see de:Wilhelmstraße (Berlin) (and note that there isn't even a redirect from the -ss- spelling on the German Wikipedia). And all I meant was that everyone makes mistakes. --Stemonitis 08:41, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I dare say there isn't a redirect from Forbidden City to 紫禁城 at the Chinese Wikipedia either. That's because in Chinese words are spelled in Chinese characters, whereas in English they are spelled in the Roman alphabet. Likewise, in Germany words are written following German usages, whereas in English they are written using English usages. (How shocking!) This is the English Wikipedia, which is read mostly by English speakers, almost none of whom know what "β" signifies. That is why we should render non-English placenames into the Roman alphabet and English usage, with appropriate recognition that in Germany they use the "β". This seems to me to be so elementary that I am amazed it needs justification. Only at Wikipedia, where no-one cares a toss about readers, or even seems to be aware that we have readers, and that we are producing Wikipedia for them, and not as a showplace for our own erudition, could this argument be necessary. Adam 08:58, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

German does use the -ss- spelling, but only in capital letters and places where ß (not β) is unavailable, most prominently URLs (e.g. [4]). Also, ß is of the Roman alphabet, being a ligature of two Roman characters, unlike Chinese characters. For both these reasons, the comparison with Chinese is unfair. And I think you underestimate the readership. --Stemonitis 09:07, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Readers interested in streets in Berlin will typically be familiar with the German alphabet or interested in learning it. Haukur 12:25, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
I am familiar with the streets in Berlin, but I disagree with you (So not surprises there then!) In German articles the German alphabet is the one to use, but not in English articles. --Philip Baird Shearer 14:02, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Currently it is at an "English" form of its German name, which is fine. No need to keep including non-standard Latin characters when not necessary. Charles 19:16, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

No, it isn't. It's at a misspelled version of its German name. If it had an English form (which it doesn't), it would be William Street. Angr (talk) 19:30, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
If I was still living in Germany, I might try to convince people otherwise as well. But this is English Wikipedia and ß exists also as ss. I study royalty and will note an example: Scions of the House of Prussia bear the surname Prinz/Prinzessin von Preussen abroad. Charles 20:27, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Not formal at best, but browsing through a few Google results seems to favour ss. It's what people use mostly in English lest confusion arise over what exactly ß is. Charles 20:30, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
It is obvious what it is, it is a "B" in one of those quaint Gothic fonts! --Philip Baird Shearer 08:28, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
You wouldn't believe how many times people have picked up a German book of mine and pronounced it like that! Charles 18:18, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

I have several times in the course of this dicussion typed "β" when I meant to type "ß" - and I'm someone who is supposed to know the difference. Readers cannot be expected to be familiar with foreign orthographic conventions. For Wikipedia to write straße instead of strasse just looks elitist and arrogant, and indeed it is. Adam 08:17, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Readers only need to be able to see the ß, not type it. For Wikipedia to write Strasse instead of Straße just looks condescending and insulting, and indeed it is. User:Angr 08:27, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
It's only insulting and condescending from a well-educated academics point of view - this is Wikipedia not "Academic-pedia" - we write for the lay person not the well educated and possibly snobbish elite. J.J. Popplewick 18:01, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
That might be the case in a paper encyclopedia where finding out more information about the letter would be difficult. But since adding the {{foreignchar}} template to the top of the page enables us to link directly to the article about ß, where the lay person can read all about this character he might never have encountered before, so that he has learned something new. By having it at Wilhelmstraße with a link to the article on ß we're telling the reader "Here's the correct spelling, which contains a letter you might not have seen before, which incidentally you can learn more about while you're here." By keeping it at Wilhelmstrasse, on the other hand, we're telling the reader "We don't think you're intelligent enough to understand a letter you might not have seen before. We have to dumb this down to your level, you poor slob." User:Angr 18:10, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
Wilhelmstraße is only the "correct spelling" in Germany. English does not have correct spelling (that is a French thing) it only has common usage. "Wilhelmstrasse (German: Wilhelmstraße)" seems to cover the problem of presenting the German spelling for those who are interested in a much better than using that awful {{foreignchar}} template. As the WP:NC says:
This policy in a nutshell: Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.
using the letter ß is not what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, nor at the same time making linking Wilhelmstraße to easy and second nature --Philip Baird Shearer 21:53, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Opening words[edit]

In order to prevent an edit war, and assuming that the requested move doesn't go through, let us discuss changes to the opening wording here. Haukur's change, to:

Wilhelmstraße, or Wilhelmstrasse when the eszett is transliterated,

is an elegant solution, but puts the wrong title first.

Adam Carr's preferred wording:

The Wilhelmstrasse (written Wilhelmstraße in Germany)

is also not ideal because the spelling does not apply merely to Germany, but rather to the German language everywhere (except Switzerland and Liechtenstein), and ignores the transliteration issue, which does need to be mentioned somewhere. There isn't anything like {{foreignchar}} for titles that don't contain a foreign letter, so I would like to propose a wording that contains some mention of the eszett issue:

Wilhelmstrasse (Wilhelmstraße in German: see ß)

It is concise, contains both titles, and links to an article that explains what ß is, and why we (sometimes) use -ss- where in German we would use -ß-. Any comments? --Stemonitis 07:36, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I think this solution is neat. Stefán Ingi 09:52, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
It's concise but it bothers me a bit to call Wilhelmstraße German, that sort of implies that Wilhelmstrasse is not German, which of course it is. I would prefer any of the following:
Wilhelmstrasse (a transliteration of Wilhelmstraße, see ß)
Wilhelmstrasse (or Wilhelmstraße, see ß)
Wilhelmstrasse or Wilhelmstraße (see ß)
Wilhelmstrasse (Wilhelmstraße, see ß)
But of course it's not a very big deal. Haukur 15:22, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that transliteration is quite the right word. After all, ß is a ligature of two 's' characters. But any of the Haukur's last three suggestions seem OK to me (perhaps the second one is best). I'd like to hear Adam Carr's opinion before any changes are made. --Stemonitis 15:30, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
Wilhelmstrasse (Wilhelmstraße in Germany: see ß)
is better. Stemonitis, is of course right that it is not only in Germany where this street name is Wilhelmstraße, but that might be a bit beside the point because in fact this street is in Germany so we should not need to mention how the name is written in Austria, say, in the lead. Again, this is not a terribly big point but I certainly think the ß link is useful. Stefán Ingi 15:39, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
The character ß may indeed be a ligature of ss, but are we bound to write œ and æ for all words that historically contained it? I would prefer Wilhelmstrasse (also Wilhelmstraße, see ß). Charles 17:26, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
ZLB-Berliner Ansichten-Januar.jpg
Wilhelmstrasse is neither a translation nor a transliteration of Wilhelmstraße: they are the same word, spelt the same way and written in the same language. The only difference is that one uses a German othographic device with which the great majority of Anglophones are not familiar, and one doesn't. As so often at Wikipedia, certain uber-pedant editors are trying to be Mehr deutscher als die Deutschen. Germans are perfectly familiar with the double-s form, as you can see if you click through to the high-res version of this map. Who are we to argue with the Great Elector? My preference would be: Wilhelmstrasse (Wilhelmstraße, see ß). Adam 07:51, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
This cannot be entirely true, since the German language has strict rules about when to use "ss" and when to use "ß". They are not interchangeable in German, so they cannot be considered the same spelling. I agree that "transliteration" seems to be the wrong word, but that doesn't justify your conclusions. I also suspect that the map dates from before the German spelling reform of 1996 and is thus outdated as regards orthography, regardless of who made it. --Stemonitis 08:19, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
With the foreignchar template there is no need to worry about ß scaring readers away, it would simply be better to include it because it is more accurate. But this is repeating myself and others, what I wanted to say was that if the information of the Image page of this map is correct and it is drawn in 1835 then this phrase: Until the German spelling reform of 1901, the use varied from region to region from our article on ß might be seen as being relevant. Stefán Ingi 11:35, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

The date on the map is 1685. Berlin was certainly much bigger than that in 1835. I only included it to show that the double-s form is perfectly familiar to Germanophones, whereas the ß-form is not familiar to Anglophones (English ufed to have a double-s ligature, af anyone who haf read old manufcriptf knowf, but it if no longer ufed). Adam 12:03, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

The text on the image says Gezeichnet von J.M.F. Schmidt. Berlin: Simon Schropp und Kamp 1835 which I think means drawn in 1835 but my German might be failing. In any case both 1685 and 1835 are before 1901 so my comment stands. I might then repeat myself again, and say that readers who are interested in an article on a particular street in Berlin are likely to either, know what the ß stands for or be interested in knowing what it stands for. Stefán Ingi 14:49, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

That is speculation. Here are some facts: ß is not an English usage; this is the English Wikiepdia; there is no policy requiring the use of ß; I am entitled to create articles with ss (just as others are entitled to create articles with ß and not have me change them). Adam 14:53, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Voss-strasse or Voßstrasse or ?[edit]

See also how Voss-strasse and Voßstrasse got pushed around recently.

There needs to be some policy taking care of that. I find it remarkable that English Wikipedia search yields lists 7 pages of results with strasse, but 11 pages with straße despite the alleged hardship of typing a "ß" --Matthead 14:00, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

When there is a policy I will comply with it. Since there is no policy, I am entitled to create articles with the English usage, and I will go on doing so. I will rvt attempts to shift them to non-English usages. Adam 14:05, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Then please move it to Voss street in the meantime. --Matthead 14:38, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I said "English usages" not "English names." Adam 14:39, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

The general Wikipedia policy is WP:UE, which boils down to "Use English". There is also a guideline in work, specifically related to non-English characters in article titles. To see the current status of the (proposed but not yet approved) guideline, please see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (standard letters with diacritics). It currently says that the "ß" character is okay for use within the body of an article, but to avoid various other problems, should probably not be used in an article title. --Elonka 18:11, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Umlaut and ß sources[edit]

At Wikipedia:German-speaking Wikipedians' notice board/Umlaut and ß I've been putting together some examples of how English language publications deal with ß and umlauts. Would anyone like to contribute? Discussions using reason and argument have so far only ended in stalemates, and I am hoping that if we can agree on how the matter is usually dealt with in printed English it might give us some clues on how to do so at Wikipedia. Saint|swithin 11:12, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Move request[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no consensus. GrooveDog (talk) (Review) 21:51, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

  • WilhelmstraßeWilhelmstrasse —(Discuss)— There was a move discussion about this in June 2006, closed as a move to Wilhelmstraße Wilhelmstrasse; do not revert. Now reverted without discussion by a single editor. This street is very well known in English, and we should spell it as English does. —Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:15, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
What are you talking about? The RM in 2006 was Wilhelmstrasse → Wilhelmstraße, The result of the debate was move. Do not revert this move. And what was supposedly "Now reverted without discussion by a single editor"? Please explain.-- Matthead discuß!     O       08:09, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Corrected false claims here and at Wikipedia:Requested moves. Wilhelmstraße is consensus, and no revert was made either. -- Matthead discuß!     O       19:32, 22 August 2007 (UTC)


  • Support as nom. See #data below. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:15, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Google Books is tricky, ß is often mis-OCRed as some other letter, most commonly b. I get a bunch of hits for "Wilhelmstrabe" but also some for "Wilhelmstraue", "Wilhelmstrage" etc. Many of those are in English. I don't think this name can be said to be commonly used in English so there is no English name and we should use the original name. Since the original name is in a Latin alphabet there is no need to transliterate. This is strengthened by the fact that the spelling with ß is used in a number of English works. Additionally, the spelling with ß is more accurate and informative and those interested in Wilhelmstraße are likely to be already familiar with German spelling or interested in learning about it. The 'ss' version can be given at the top of the article for anyone otherwise stumped and of course a redirect from it will remain in place, causing no problems in finding or linking to the article. Haukur 21:31, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    • I am sorry to see that Haukurth should take refuge in so implausible a statement. It may be possible to claim other Berlin streets are uncommonly used in English; but this one, because it is synecdoche for the Foreign Ministry, is quite commonly used in English. See, for one example of the 99,000, this PDF Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:49, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
      • I still don't think it rises to the level of the "commonly used English names" examples in WP:UE: Venice and Christopher Columbus. The average English speaking person is, I think, familiar with those two but not with this street. I'll concede, however, that it's more of a borderline case than some other names we've discussed. Haukur 22:08, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
        • As in other cases, WP:UE chooses the most well-known examples, so that every editor will know what they are. If it meant only to apply to names known to 99.99% of the English-speaking world, it would say so. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:30, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
          • I would be happy for it to be applied to names known to more than 20% of the English-speaking world. I don't believe Wilhelmstraße is. Haukur 22:34, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose move. Wilhelmstraße is more accurate and there is no reason to avoid the use of ß. Support use of {{foreignchar}} at the top of the page. Stefán 22:14, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Support It is not "more accurate", it is more German. There is a "more accurate" name in English, Wilhelmstrasse. Charles 22:24, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Support move to Wilhelmstrasse per Use English. I did a simple library search, and the overwhelming use is "Wilhelmstrasse" in English-language newspapers around the globe. New York Times, Miami Herald, UK's Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, London Financial Times, Scotland's Herald. Even the German news agency is using "Wilhelmstrasse" in their English-language articles. I reached out farther, and found even more. Toronto Star, Sydney's Sun Herald, the Papua New Guinea Post, the Slovak Spectator, the Agence France Presse... All use "Wilhelmstrasse." If anyone wants a specific cite, let me know. --Elonka 00:33, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    • The simplest explanation is that it's mostly spelt with "ss" instead of "ß" because the latter is uncommon for the English reader while it lacks the appeal of an umlaut. Most words containing an "ß" are probably spelt with "ss" in English newspapers. Yet this spelling difference doesn't make an English name. —AldeBaer 17:39, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
      • I thank AldeBaer for making the case for this move better than I have done: This English Wikipedia is also written for English readers, and should use ss for the same reasons newspapers in English do. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:44, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
        • If that's your rationale, you should make an according policy request at the village pump since current policy is clearly not in favour of renaming this article. —AldeBaer 19:10, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Contrary to what many people seem to believe, WP:UE does not call for the removal of ß; it calls (1) for titles entirely in other alphabets to be transliterated, and (2) for distinctly different English names, where they exist, to be used (the quoted example being Vienna as opposed to Wien). Wilhelmstraße falls into neither of these categories. Indeed, WP:UE is deliberately vague about ß, so that argument simply cannot be used. Representation of ß is not a matter of a different name, but only of traditional technical limitations. We have no such limitations at Wikipedia, and there is no reason not to use the correct spelling. --Stemonitis 05:23, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Support this is not the German Wikipedia, and should not use non-English characters in titles. 05:40, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    • It's also not the Greek Wikipedia, and yet... —AldeBaer 17:26, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
      • That page should be moved, if, as here, English usage is against it. Whether that is so, I do not know. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:44, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
        • However, the IP's argument for changing the name, "this is not the German Wikipedia, and should not use non-English characters in titles" is simply invalid. Hopefully this discussion is not going to be treated as a majority vote by the closing admin. —AldeBaer 19:07, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
        • I can't find the policy where it says so, could you help me out here? —AldeBaer 19:10, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    As Stemonitis says, Wilhelmstrasse is not an English name, it's simply the German name with "ss" substituted for "ß", therefore I'm inclined to oppose. —AldeBaer 17:26, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    • According to some rationales in this discussion, we could save some time and simply move ß to ss. —AldeBaer 17:39, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Ok, nevermind, WP:NAME appears to be in favor of the move. Being a native German speaker, the wrong spelling with "ss" simply hurts my eyes, but I can't expect others to understand that. —AldeBaer 19:19, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    • We are in agreement on something. Spelling this word in a way that it is hardly ever spelled by native speakers of English hurts my eyes. This is why we have separate English and German Wikipedias. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:00, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
      • Not the same thing. It's the name for a place in Germany, and the word Straße (=street) in it is correctly spelt with ß. Spelling it with ss is plain wrong. If the English Wikipedia prefers to adopt the wrong spelling used in newspapers, fine by me. But it's the wrong spelling, and nothing is going to change that simple fact. —AldeBaer 14:23, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
        • Correctly spelled in German, yes. But not in English; George Frost Kennan is not a newspaper reporter - nor is the OED a newspaper morgue. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:30, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
          • Straße is not an English word, and there can be no differing correct English spelling of a non-English word. English sources misspell it: ok. Wikipedia decides to misspell it, too: ok. But it's misspelling, period. —AldeBaer 15:05, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
            • Thank you for finding something we agree on. Straße is not an English word, no more than essen; but Wilhelmstrasse and delicatessen are. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:08, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
              • Wilhelmstraße is neither English nor German, it's a proper name. —AldeBaer 17:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
                • Comment If it is not German, how come German spelling conventions are being forced upon it? In English, it is wholly and completely acceptable to substitute the Eszett with ss. Charles 01:27, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
    Well, in my opinion the naming conventions are vague on this issue, the most relevant one is WP:NC(UE). It says Article titles should use the Latin alphabet. The opinion of many people is that ß is part of the Latin alphabet, that should follow from the fact that German uses the Latin alphabet. In the section WP:NC(UE)#Disputed issues it is explicitly mentioned that there is disagreement on whether ß needs to be transliterated. The most important reason for me to support the use of ß is that it is in line with the rest of Wikipedia. If you take a look around, and I encourage you to do so, then you will see that the use of diacritics is extensive. I believe that the reason for this is that the people who write and read these pages feel that having the title at Wilhelmstraße, Fucking Åmål, Þingvellir etc is most appropriate. Stefán
    I decided to withdraw my opposition, since as a native German speaker I'm obviously biased on the issue. —AldeBaer 20:17, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    • As I said to Aldebaer: my only interest here is seeing we use how English is actually spelt. All you need do to convince me to support Wilhelmstraße or Þingvellir is convince me that English actually spells them that way. This should not be hard for most Icelandic names, or indeed those cases where English actually does; see Talk:Val Passiria for an example. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:07, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
      Sure, we can eg. do a google book search for "the Wilhelmstraße" [5] and get 79 results, "the Wilhelmstrabe" gets 14 [6], those are just OCR errors, I don't know if the OCR can miss this phrase in more ways. If we are just into counting numbers then a search for "the Wilhelmstrasse" gives 8 times as many results as these, but still it is clear that both versions are used in English texts and there is nothing un-English about using Wilhelmstraße. Add to that the possibility of wikilinking ß with the foreignchar template and then I am confident that we are doing our readers the best service by using Wilhelmstraße and thus stand by my vote above. Stefán 21:39, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
      As I mentioned above, I can point to hundreds of English-language newspaper articles that spell it "Wilhelmstrasse". From the New York Times to the Papua New Guinea Post. If you can kindly tell me which source you would regard as most reliable, I'm happy to provide some specific citations. --Elonka 21:47, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
      • Or we can do a search on "the Wilhelmstrasse" and get 846 books. I congratulate Stefán on finding a method to separate the sheep from the goats; now if he would only use honesty as well as we shall see if his honesty equals his ingenuity. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:50, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
        Drop the constant charges of dishonesty. Stefán himself points out above that "the Wilhelmstrasse" gets many more hits than "the Wilhelmstraße" plus "the Wilhelmstrabe". He said 8 times but if you add his figures you get 9 times. Do you honestly think this is dishonesty on his part rather than a simple (and inconsequential) mistake? Haukur 21:58, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
        • The unsimple and consequential mistake is the failure to acknowledge that this is how English spells the name. Why else did he bring up his 93 strays? Most of them are translations from the German issued by German publishers; failures of Sprachgefühl of a common sort. But I have rephrased. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:12, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
          I don't think that this rephrasing of yours changes anything. In any case, my point is, say I can find 50 books in English which talk about Wilhelmstraße. Then we cannot just throw that variant out as being impossible to use in English texts. So, I feel I can use my jugdement as to which is more appropriate when I cast my vote here. Stefán 23:10, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
          No naming policy requires that the local name be unused in English; merely that it be suprising. This is. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:12, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Stemonitis and Mathead. This isn't a 7-bit wire report. Consistency with Voßstraße. Does this make me a "nationalist" again? ProhibitOnions (T) 19:43, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    • Those who behave like nationalists have no grievance at being judged nationalists.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:56, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    • Comment Consistency, while appreciated and personally desirable, has been knocked down as an argument so many times in move discussions. Charles 23:21, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Support - most commonly used form of name in English works. Noel S McFerran 04:26, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Question - Who refuses to acknowledge the above? Noel has access to the various sources and his word on the matter, in my opinion, is invaluable. Charles 22:00, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Note that the ß can also be mis-OCRed as two letters. I get 56 Google Books hits for Wilhelmstrafle, 119 hits for Wilhelmstrafse, 102 for Wilhelmstrafie etc. Haukur 16:12, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per Haukur and Stemonitis. Sigo 21:55, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


  1. Encyclopedias
    • EB: 2 uses of Wilhelmstrasse, under Spandau and Berlin; note that both of these are the physical street, not the metaphor. None of Wilhelmstraße.
    • Encarta none.Characteristically, the search does give two English results , with strasse, and one in German, with eszett, from the rest of MSN.
    • Columbia None.
  2. Other standard sources:
    • Paul Seabury: The Wilhelmstrasse, 1954. So spelled both on title page and in text (p. 2, usw.
    • Joachim Joesten: The New Wilhelmstrasse. 1952. Title in caps; so spelled p. 11.
    • Not used in country study of Germany or NCMH
    • Standard usage, for the Foreign Office, in Barbara Tuchman and George Kennan.
  3. Scholarly google.
    • Google Scholar. This has the problem that it turns up both results indistinguishably, and that it turns up German uses as easily as English. But forcing English by including Foreign and street both turn up several hundred results, with the overwhelming majority Wilhelmstrasse.
    • Searching Google Books for Wilhelmstraße turns up 2160 books; over half the first hundred are in English, and none of those use Wilhelmstraße.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:06, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  4. Media. See Elonka's post above. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:00, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  5. Oxford English Dictionary, quots:
    1914 in Conc. Oxf. Dict. Addenda. 1919 LD. F. HAMILTON Vanished Pomps of Yesterday i. 28 The Ambassador took the hint, and that was the last note in Russian that reached the Wilhelmstrasse. 1923 G. BUCHANAN My Mission to Russia I. iv. 45 The reception, however, accorded to this tentative proposal by the Wilhelmstrasse was not encouraging. 1938 H. NICOLSON Diary 21 Sept. (1966) I. 363 What remains of Czechoslovakia..must subordinate her foreign policy to that of the Wilhelmstrasse. 1956 S. BEDFORD Legacy III. iv. 143, I can't think what they made of him at the Wilhelmstrasse. 1979 G. ST. AUBYN Edward VII vii. 316 Chamberlain was resolved to seek partnership with France..should discussions with the Wilhelmstrasse break down. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Pmanderson (talkcontribs) 19:50, August 23, 2007 (UTC).


Totally disputed tag[edit]

Raise their hands who think that {{totallydisputed}} is appropriate for this page in its current state [7].

  • .

Raise their hands who think it is not appropriate.

  • Stefán 19:21, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I suggest we remove the tag for a couple of days and evaluate whether to put it back up after we see the results of this informal hand raising. Stefán 19:21, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

The good faith and general cleverness of the idea to use this tag in this way, during the ongoing move discussion, and including a revert of its removal is hereby totally disputed assumed, but not without some effort. —AldeBaer 19:42, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and Stefán, I vote in favour of removing that annoying accent aigu acute accent from your signature. The name Stefan is most commonly spelt without it in English speaking newspapers and boathouses all over the known multiverse. —AldeBaer 19:47, 22 August 2007 (UTC) Struck as inappropriate humor.
AldeBaer, the comment was immature and things like that should not be posted with the intention to incite an argument. Also, I am leaning to think that the tag is a bit inappropriate. The name is disputed. Charles 23:24, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
The first comment or the second one (which I'm striking right now as inappropriate humor)? —AldeBaer 12:32, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Charles, I disagree my comment was immature, and I most certainly did not post it with the intention to incite an argument. This and this combined do require some effort to assume perfectly good faith, !ronically precisely because things like that can incite an argument. Or how could it possibly be useful to tag the article with {{totally disputed}} during the ongoing debate? It was either unthoughtful (which I assume), or it happened in bad faith: Take your pick. —AldeBaer 19:21, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
  • (To Charles) In fact, I dispute the use of Wilhelmstraße in the text, both as POV and as erroneous; except of course to note it is the German spelling. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:58, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Pmanderson, I have always understood that moves and discussions are firstly to determine the name of the article itself. The content would later be changed to reflect that. Charles 21:39, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
    • The Keep !votes are are the ground that Wilhelmstrasse is not a English word (this still seems perverse for a word the OED lists); Wilhelmstraße certainly isn't, and we should at least italicize it. MOS goes further: "The choice between anglicized and native spellings should follow English usage." Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:40, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Precedent for (non-)use of ß, or specific to the former government location?[edit]

I am confused.

  • Do people who promote the "ss" argue that all German place names with "ß" need to be spelled with "ss" on English Wikipedia, especially Voßstrasse?
  • Or does this talk only cover "Wilhelmstrasse" as the in English well-known former address of German goverments?
    • If so, should the "ss" then only be applied in historic context, not to describe the present street?-- Matthead discuß!     O       16:36, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
And yet I adhere to the position so eloquently taken by Matthead at Talk:Free City of Kraków‎: we should title an article with what English usually calls its subject. Therefore: neither.
  • We should use ß when English usually does; Groß Gerau may be an example of this. If a street is so rarely discussed in English that we can't tell what English usually does, it is notable?
  • It covers both; an article on the stretch of pavement alone without its associations would not be notable either; Wikipedia is not a street map. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:21, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Being bold[edit]

The following message, from the closing admin at the last move discussion, encourages boldness:

I suggest that you consider boldly moving the page to the english spelling, and then placing the {{foreignchar}} template at the top of the page. GrooveDog (talk) (Review) 02:08, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Comments? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:03, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I carried out the second part of the WP:BRD cycle. Now for the third part, of course there has been a lengthy discussion of this issue before and the last one ended in a tally of no consensus. Nothing has changed since then. I have been thinking about whether we could merge this article with something else to get rid of this problem but I don't really see where to. The article outlines the history of the street since 1740 and has only two paragraphs on the Nazi era. For sure, I don't think we need an article on this street but what is there seems quite nice and I don't think it would be fair to get rid of the article just because we disagree on the name for it. Stefán (talk) 18:23, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Wilhelmstrasse is the English spelling of the word, as a synecdoche for the Foreign Ministry, without exception. (This also appears to be the more common usage of the word. It is the usual English spelling of the street name in English. Let us have reasons to not move it; preferably, of course, in accordance with our naming policy and guidelines.
But this ignores the obvious merge proposal: to merge with the primary usage of the word: Foreign Office (Germany). (This, like the location of the ministry, dates back to Wilhelm I, and appears, as far as I can tell, to be more common of the era before the First World War.)Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:34, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I guess I am not really opposed to the merge, and yes, perhaps another option would be to merge the Nazi era information on Wilhelmstraße/Voßstraße/Reich Chancellery into one article. One option for that name would be "The Wilhelmstrasse" (The "the" would not go into the page title, of course.) Then we could either delete these current articles or perhaps leave the street articles with the information about the pre- and post- history of the streets. Stefán (talk) 18:44, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
The Chancellery was not the Foreign Office, and the Foreign Office dates back to 1870. Two articles, therefore: one on the Chancellery, one on the Foreign Ministry. Since the street information is primarily encyclopedic because it deals with the topography before the destruction of Berlin, I would (independent of other issues) include it as a paragraph or two in each larger article. (We have section redirects now, and can redirect Voßstraße to the paragraph.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:03, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I have made a proposal for the Wilhelmstrasse and Wilhelmstraße (street). I feel that Voßstraße can be left as it is, and finally the bulk of the Reich Chancellery article should be replaced with a link to the Wilhelmstrasse. I don't think this creates significant overlap and I think it preserves all of the current information. Stefán (talk) 21:05, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Where is your proposal? (The English usage is clearly the Foreign Office only, answering to Quai d'Orsay, not to Whitehall.)
It's in the links above, but you are right, I extended the scope too far, it should only have been the Foreign office and thus my proposal is useless. (I will have it deleted tomorrow, since it is a copyvio in these sandboxes.) However, looking at our current article on Wilhelmstraße, I see very little that can go into an article on the German foreign office, perhaps only two sentences. Do you see any more than that? Stefán (talk) 03:55, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
I think we can include most of the article:
  • Wilhelmstrasse (2nd level header)
    The Foreign Office was colloquially called the Wilhelmstrasse, after the street on which it stood (German Wilhelmstraße)...
  • The street itself still runs south from the Unter den Linden, on a line slightly east of south...(and so on, as the present text).

(The paragraph on the Nazi rebuilding should go in the main section of that article, no matter what we decide). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:52, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Comments? If this proposal is unclear, I can do a demonstration edit.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:07, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I was hoping somebody else would comment. It seems to me that since we have so little to say currently about the foreign office that the present division between articles is appropriate. Stefán (talk) 01:06, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
That's a pity; it would give us more material for that stub, and the Nazi redesign should go in there anyway.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:52, 13 December 2007 (UTC)


But in the meantime, why not move? Spell the name as English does (always for the Foreign Office, which is primary usage in English; and usually for the street)> Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:52, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

In light of the recent consensus to use Franz Josef Strauss, is there a reason not to move this page to what English works usually call it? The evidence is above; but let's not have a WP:RM brawl if we don't need one. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:45, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Done; I will discuss here, or reduce the page to the compromise form shown at Voßstraße, in another 24 hours, whichever is called for. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:04, 4 January 2008 (UTC)