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Your recent americanisation of the article Circle[edit]


I reverted these edits, per WP:RETAIN. I started by checking out the oldest versions!

Consistency ios good, but in this particular case, this means consistent British usage, not consistent American usage.

Best, JoergenB (talk) 11:56, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Hi, again!
You're welcome to start editing wikipedia articles, and I hope you'll continue doing so. It is also rather good that you have found some of the policy and guideline pages, which in general are a great support for our efforts to extend and improve the wikipedia. If you wish, you could create a WP:User; this is what most experienced wikipedia editors do, but it is by no means a requirement. (Sometimes, an editor that is logged in may find that others take her/him a bit more seriously in discussions; this is not quite as it should be, as anybody should have the right to be considered from her/his contributions alone.)
There are many available pages for supporting new editors; seemingly, you have found at least some of them, since you are linking to several of them.
However, I find some of your edits in the article Circle, and in particular on Usertalk:Zundark, a bit provoking. This may be my mistake; perhaps you really mean what you write.
You ask a user, which explains that he is from England on his userpage, why he "misspells" the word center as centre. You repeatedly claim that center is the correct spelling, by referring to an American dictionary. As I said, it is easy to find such claims provocative; but perhaps they instead just are based on the best knowledge you have. Therefore, I would like to ask you a few questions about your views and knowledge of the English language, and also provide some information on the wikipedia consensus opinions. (If you feel I'm proceeding a little bit too didactically, you may be right; after all, I'm a teacher, and sometimes this may influence my actions a bit.)
  1. Question: Have you heard or read about different variants of English, such as American English and British English? If so, could you give one or two examples of the differences?
  2. Question: Do you think that "correct English usage" always is the same as "correct usage of English in the United States", or do you think that there may be other usage (like different spellings or choices of words) which are not correct in modern American English, but may be correct in other variants of modern English?
  3. Question: When you just think or speak about "English", are you then always referring to American English; or are you sometimes referring to other variants as well?
  4. Question: In particular, do you think that all articles in the English wikipedia (i.e., this wikipedia!) should be edited in accordance with what is correct American English usage, or do you think that different standards should be used for different articles?

Now, to the present Wikipedia consensus opinion in these matters. First of all, you have already referred to documents which describe these opinions directly, or which link to pages that describe the opinions, like WP:ENGVAR; however, if the idea, that there could be several different usages of English which are correct in different contexts, is new for you, you perhaps have not read and understood all of this. If you find my explanations below too elementary, I apologise; my experience as a teacher is that one unnecessary explanation does much less harm than leaving out an explanation of something that was not understood.
First of all, wikipedia recognises that there are different variants of English. They are described in different places, both in the article space and in the Wikipedia space. Wikipedia does not recognise only one variant as the only correct English.
Here is an extract of a table on spelling differences, found in the Wikipedia space article WP:MOSS. As you can see, the spelling "centre" is the more generally employed or recomended one in several variants of English - if you consider the United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada as at least partially English speaking countries.
UK & Ireland[1] South Africa[2] New Zealand[3] Australia[4] Canada[5] United States[6]
centre centre centre centre centre center
UK & Ireland South Africa New Zealand Australia Canada United States
In view of this, if you were genuinely ignorant of the fact that there are different ways to spell centre/center, which both are considered as correct in parts of the English speaking world, you might consider a revision of opinion (and possibly an apology to User:Zundark).
On the other hand, you may well be conscious of the facts, but disagree on their interpretation. Actually, from your IP i find out that you probably are affiliated to ""Mount Holyoke, a premier research liberal arts college for women, is renowned for its academic rigor and internationalism"; at least your IP address is found there. (By the way, one reason for many wikipedia editors to create a user login name and edit under that name is to safeguard their anonymity. You are not very anonymous, as long as you edit non-inlogged. However, many others, including myself, do not care; you may find out who I am and what I do by following the links from my wikipedia home pages.) If the staff at your college stresses internationalism and academic rigour, I do not think that it would be happy with students who do not know that "centre" is concidered as a correct spelling in a large part of the English speaking world; and even less happy about employees not knowing this. In this case, when you complain to an English person about his/her spelling "centre" as incorrect, perhaps you just express a personal opinion. Is it your opinion that all English written on the net should conform to the American English usage?

Next to the question of the policies and guidelines of the English wikipedia, with respect to its articles. As you can see in e.g. WP:ENGVAR, the wikipedia guidelines recognise that there are different variants, and that either variant may be used consistently in an article. At the same time, they do recommend that non-distinguishing variants be used, where it is possible to do this without other drawbacks, in order to make the articles maximally accessible for users with different kinds of English background.
The guidelines also provide rules for which variant of English to use in a particular articles. In my opinion, you have not followed these rules in your edits of the article Circle.
Not all wikipedia editors agree on the rules. In particular, some argue that the majority usage on the net should be followed; and that this means that American English should be the standard. If this is your opinion, please feel free to suggest a change of the rules. The rules are not set in stone; they are a "consensus", that most experienced wikipedia editors have agreed on. However, I strongly disrecommend you from trying to edit in manners radically different from the present consensus, as long as it is in force.
In my opinion, the respect for both the British and the American variant of English is one of the things which is accepted to a rather high degree, and I personally do not think that you will be able to change this easily. I do wish you to join us, and to feel very welcome to contribute, both with corrections and additions to the articles. In order for this to happen, I recommend that you mainly follow the present guidelines, even if you personally disagree with them.
Best, JoergenB (talk) 20:05, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
OK, if you are a highschool student, you may well have missed the fact that there are different kinds of correct English. I suppose that your teachers and books try to get the students to master a correct American English, in the first place, and do not wish to complicate matters by telling you that some of your spelling errors would not be spelling errors at all, if you e. g. were an Australian...
If you are using the IP address just temporarily, then you have another good reason to create a user account. You can access this from any computer with a connection to the web. If you haven't already done so, I recommend that you read Help:Logging in, and follow the method there, in order to create your user account.
In any case, I again wish you very welcome to the English wikipedia, and hope that you'll experience the satisfaction of knowing that you've contributed to the largest project on the planet (as yet) for making all essential knowledge universally accessible! (However, I am going to restore the original, British English spelling in the article Circle, if you don't mind.) JoergenB (talk) 13:56, 4 August 2010 (UTC)



  1. ^ British and Irish spellings: The Chambers Dictionary, Ninth Edition (2003). There are two British English spelling standards, with different requirements for -ise and -ize suffixes; see International organizations above.
  2. ^ Southern African spellings: South African Concise Oxford Dictionary (2002). Cape Town, Oxford University Press Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. ISBN 0195718046.
  3. ^ New Zealand spellings: The New Zealand Oxford Paperback Dictionary (1998). Melbourne, Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand. ISBN 0-19-558410-4
  4. ^ Australian spellings: Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  5. ^ Canadian spellings: The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition (2004). Toronto, Oxford University Press Canada. ISBN 0-19-541816-6. P. xiii: "the main headword represents the most common form in Canadian usage".
  6. ^ American spellings: The Chambers Dictionary (1998), page xx and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (2003). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc. ISBN 0-87779-809-5.