User talk:Giraffedata

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I have deleted the talk for 2008. There is not much there of reference value, so I just summarize it here. Of course, you can see the original discussion in the history of this page: just look at the last revision of 2008.

All of the comments but one were about edits I made to the phrase "comprised of." In September, I created my user subpage covering that topic and the comments dropped off sharply.

Two comments simply asked for an explanation of the edit.

15 commenters objected in some way to the "comprised of" work. The objections ranged from pointing out that I had introduced a typo in the process, which the commenter had corrected, to open personal insults.

4 comments expressed support for the work, 3 strongly. One of them was from a former user of "comprised of."

I caution anyone who might be using these numbers to draw a conclusion about the consensus of English speakers on the validity of "comprised of" that this is in no way a representative sampling. The total number of commenters is a tiny, tiny fraction of the number of edits and the commenters self-select.

Objecting comments were almost entirely inspired by a particular edit someone noticed.

In 4 cases, the commenter says he reverted my edit. In 2 of those, there is no claim that the reversion improves the article, and I believe the point of the reversion, and telling me about it, was to make a point. In 2 additional cases, the commenter says he further edited my edit.

Several objections were based on the fact that dictionaries list the offending usage as one of the definitions of "comprise." I and one other commenter responded that a usage being listed in a dictionary doesn't mean you shouldn't avoid it. That's not what dictionaries are for.

One of the comments claimed the original "comprised of" phrasing was superior to my phrasing, but the commenter declined to explain. His response to my request for an explanation was a sarcastic insult, and my followup request was unanswered.

One objection seems to have been based on a misreading of the edit, but it isn't clear because the commenter concentrated on attacking me rather than discussing the article. The exchange ends with, "You are a silly, silly man who is simply incapable of ... Case closed."

One commenter took issue with my edit summary, "fix 'comprised of'," saying it implied "comprised of" is grammatically incorrect, while he believed it is not. I explained that I don't think "fix" implies grammatical incorrectness.

Another commenter thought my fix was an irresponsible hack job that corrupted the text, but after some discussion apologized and agreed that he had just misread what I wrote. And re-edited it to make it read better.

Three commenters discussed the futility of the work. They didn't say what they were assuming is the goal of the work, but it appears to be something like "eliminate 'comprised of' from the English language." I said that isn't my goal, but didn't say what my goal is.

The only comment not about "comprised of" was a question asking, since I was interested in grammar disputes, what I thought of "color" vs "colour." I said I think that is in a whole different category (and that I'm perfectly OK with them being used in their respective dialects, but that I would have opposed "color" when it was new).

Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk)


I have deleted the talk for 2009. There is not much there of reference value, so I just summarize it here. Of course, you can see the original discussion in the history of this page: just look at the last revision of 2009.

Like in the previous year, all the comments but two were about edits I made to the phrase "comprised of." There were fewer negative comments in 2009, though, and more positive ones. I believe this is because late in 2008, I created my user subpage covering the topic and would-be commenters read that first. It could also be that I stopped using an edit summary that may have evoked an emotional response in some: "fix 'comprised of'." There appears to have been some public call for participation that resulted in about half of the discussion.

10 comments objected in some way to the work. 7 comments (not counting mine) were favorable. As always, I caution anyone who might be using these numbers to draw a conclusion about the consensus of English speakers on the validity of "comprised of" that this is in no way a representative sampling. The total number of commenters is a tiny, tiny fraction of the number of edits and the commenters self-select.

One comment took issue specifically with the edit summary "fix 'comprised of'," taking it to mean that the original text was grammatically incorrect and saying that on that basis the commenter almost reverted the edit. I responded that I don't think "fix" implies a grammatical correction. I also said a false accusation of incorrect grammar isn't a reason to revert anyway. But I said that I would nonetheless stop using that phrasing in order to avoid such reversions. (I switched to simply "comprised of" in quotes for the edit summary).

One commenter asked my opinion on another questionable use of "to comprise": to make up or constitute as in "red balls comprise half the entire selection." I said I hate that too.

One commenter wanted to take issue with my description of my motivation in my user subpage about "comprised of," which said "I don't edit for personal preference." The commenter basically points out that I obviously prefer to edit than not to, so the edits are based on personal preference. I tried to explain the distinction I was trying to make, and ultimately said I would try a different wording.

Along the same lines, another commenter said because some people have no problem with "comprised of," then changing sentences to the wording I prefer is imposing my point of view on readers, in a way which is against Wikipedia policy. I said I don't believe the Wikipedia Neutral Point Of View (NPOV) policy applies to language issues and furthermore that I don't think the reader is imposed upon in any way by not having the opportunity to read "comprised of."

There was a discussion about which is better: "the band is composed of John Jones and Mary Mason" or "the band consists of John Jones and Mary Mason."

There were two comments not related to "comprised of":

An editor asked for my opinion on a dispute he was having with another editor about verbiage in an article dealing with who was Muhammad's true successor. This was interesting, because it is a very sensitive topic, and not one I have any particular interest or expertise in. The reason he asked is that I was one of the recent editors of the article. Why? Because it contained the phrase "comprised of"! Nonetheless, I researched the issue and rendered my opinion.

A commenter praised my extensive changes to the Restrictive Covenant article. This has no relation to the "comprised of" work -- it was just a topic I looked up because I was interested and happen to know a lot about.

Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk)


I have deleted the talk for 2010. There is not much there of reference value, so I just summarize it here. Of course, you can see the original discussion in the history of this page: just look at the last revision of 2010.

Like in previous years, all the comments but one were about edits I made to the phrase "comprised of." Continuing the trend, the distribution of positive and negative comments was more positive than the previous year. There were 9 positives and 7 negatives, and 5 of those negatives were only barely negative, many of them being combined with overall approval of the project.

3 comments pointed out that I had accidentally changed a quotation.

There was a short exchange with AnmaFinotera, who is strenuously against the project, to the point that she said her policy is to revert my edits even though she doesn't believe the reversion improves the article. She didn't go so far as to say what the point of those reversions is. This exchange includes various personal attacks on me (as distinct from discussion of my edits), and also a claim that consensus is against the project.

One comment says that "composed of" is better than "made up of" for geological composition, as in "the area is made up of granite and basalt." I said I'm OK with either, but still prefer "made up of" for that.

An editor reported three places that the "comprised of" project has been discussed. I added those references to my user subpage on the project.

An editor asked how I do the edits, technically. I explained and also added a section to the user subpage.

There was a brief discussion of the phrase "try and," which derived from a discussion of how people judge "comprised of" correct because they're used to hearing it, even if it doesn't make logical sense. "Try and" is a great example of the same thing because it's commonly used, but there is no logical sense in it at all.

The one comment not related to "comprised of" was a request from an editor for assistance in a Wikipedia technical matter -- getting a category to work. This editor came to me because I had done a "comprised of" edit on the article with which he was having the problem and assumed I was experienced in editing Wikipedia.

Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk)


I have deleted the talk for 2011. There is not much there of reference value, so I just summarize it here. Of course, you can see the original discussion in the history of this page: just look at the last revision of 2011.

Like in previous years, the great majority of the comments were about edits I made to the phrase "comprised of." But unlike previous years, there was very little criticism. There were two complaints, both essentially withdrawn later, after extensive discussion. There were four requests for more explanation or for advice. There were four compliments/thanks, including the Executive Director's Barnstar, awarded by the Executive Directory of Wikimedia The latter doesn't apply specifically to "comprised of" edits, but I know I was nominated, with the phrase, "The MOST AWESOME WikiGnome ever," based primarily on those edits. Five comments pointed out that I had inadvertently edited a quotation. I thanked the commenter.

One comment was about an edit I made to add "sic" to the phrase "chomping at the bit" in a quotation. The commenter wanted to know why I did it, and I explained that "chomping" is an error (the horse champs; it doesn't chomp). We also discussed the use of "sic" in general and the meaning of prescriptive grammar versus descriptive grammar.

One comment said simply, "do you have a life?" As silly as the comment is, I did answer (essentially, "yes").

One comment was a question about information I added to the Vortex86 article. I answered.

Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk)


I have deleted the talk for 2012. There is not much there of reference value, so I just summarize it here. Of course, you can see the original discussion in the history of this page: just look at the last revision of 2012.

This was the most positive year yet for comments on my project to remove the phrase "comprised of" from Wikipedia articles. There were 18 positive comments, compared to 2 negative. One of the negative comments just pointed out that I had inadvertently edited a quotation. The other negative comment stated (incorrectly) that "comprised of" is a matter of regional dialect and that it is fully accepted in the UK. I responded by saying I would try to get some numerical evidence one way or the other, and then that I had done so and the evidence showed the phrase is not more accepted in the UK. Many of the positive comments indicated that I had corrected the poster's work and the poster had learned something as a result and would refrain from making the mistake in the future. One of the positive comments, apparently referring to the fact that I live in California, was entitled, "A Californian lecturing people on English?" I asked what his point was (is there a stereotype of Californians being poor writers of English?), but didn't get a response.

One comment suggested that I add an "in a nutshell" summary to my "comprised of" article. I responded that I had done so.

One comment pointed out copious grammatical and other writing errors in my "comprised of" article. I responded that I had corrected them all and learned a few things.

There was one discussion that wandered into the topic of some other errors, including less/fewer and "irregardless."

An editor asked for help, from a grammatical point of view, translating the Afghan National Anthem into English. I offered a few corrections.

Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk)


I have deleted the talk for 2013. I summarize it here, and you can see the original discussion in the history of this page: just look at the last revision of 2013.

All of the discussion this year was at least tangentially related to my work on abuse of the verb "to comprise" in Wikipedia.

Most of the comments were praise. Other than people pointing out accidental edits of quotes, there were only two negative comments about the work this year.

One was from a person who watches the New Jersey articles and objected to receiving notifications of 30 changes I made in a day to them, adding a "sic" tag to footnotes. The New Jersey articles are a collection of a few hundred articles about municipalities and school districts in New Jersey that share some source that uses the phrase "comprised of," so that footnotes in all of these articles contain that phrase. These 30 articles were either recent additions to that collection or had recent updates to the footnote. The complaining editor apparently did not understand the function of the "sic" tag -- it doesn't affect the displayed text at all, but it prevents automated and semi-automated grammar editing processes from accidentally editing the quotation. I explained that.

The other negative comment was a fairly common request that I leave "comprised of" in a particular article alone because the requester functions as the owner of the article and doesn't believe there is anything wrong with "comprised of". The requester had apparently written "comprised of" in this article three times and each time I changed it about six months later and he changed it back immediately afterward. He argued that I don't have the right to decide unilaterally the grammar to be used in Wikipedia. I asked why that same argument doesn't apply to his insistence on having "comprised of" in the article, but did not get a response. I also pointed out that because the article read the way he wanted it all but a few days a year, he was already winning the battle to control the article. We both indicated we would continue our respective editing.

One comment suggested renaming my "comprised of" essay, for an interesting reason: The essay is widely cited and shows up in search results and reference lists and such, which increases the exposure of the phrase and will tend to cause people who see it to reuse the phrase themselves. I responded that while that effect probably does exist, I thought any alternative title for the essay would make it harder to understand what the essay is about and the cost of that would be higher than the cost of giving "comprised of" more exposure.

Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk)


I have deleted the talk for 2014. I summarize it here, and you can see the original discussion in the history of this page: Just look at the last revision of 2014.

All of the discussion this year was at least tangentially related to my work on abuse of the verb "to comprise" in Wikipedia.

The oversimplified positive/negative tally this year in the comments was 8 positive, 4 negative, 2 of which were just about an inadvertent edit of a quote. This is about the same as the previous year. The praise was actually less in absolute terms than in past years, and I suspect it is because of the advent of the "thanks" button in Wikipedia. I received a lot of feedback that way.

One of the true negative comments about the project (and the underlying grammar) was a thoughtful criticism of my essay explaining my reasoning for the edits. It offered rebuttals to "sources" in the essay that supposedly back up my opinion. I said those aren't sources, but just a collection of comments from other people. The comment also suggested switching my efforts to some other English usage that is more universally disliked.

The other negative comment simply rehashed the usual arguments: lots of people say it, at least some people have been saying it for a long time, the dictionary acknowledges that people say it, and language evolves.

There was a brief discussion of whether it accords respectability to a phrase that lawyers use it.

One of the positive comments was especially noteworthy, because it came from Andrew McMillan, not a regular Wikipedia editor, but someone who discovered my project in the process of researching the "comprised of" issue himself and was so impressed by it that he later wrote an article about it in Backchannel. That article seeded a weeklong flurry of publicity for the project and for me in February 2015.

One comment asked how I notice "comprised of" in an article almost as soon as it is written. I and another editor explained the Wikipedia search facility.

Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk)


I have deleted the talk for 2015. I summarize it here, and you can see the original discussion in the history of this page. Just look at the last revision of 2015.

There was far more talk in 2015 than in previous years because there was a flurry of press coverage of my work on Wikipedia, editing the phrase "comprised of", in February. Besides the talk about the media coverage itself, the talk was pretty much the same as in previous years, but with more participants and more extreme comments. The latter can probably be explained by the fact that in previous years, most people who discovered my work were regular Wikipedia editors, while this year, they were from all over.

Supporters far outnumbered detractors, more than in previous years. This is likely because this year participants weren't mostly people whose article I had changed.

A person asked what I think about "bored of" vs "bored with". I said "bored with" is more correct but "bored of" isn't exactly stupid.

A person asked whether it's "impressed with" or "impressed by". I said they mean different things, but usually "impressed by" is what you want.

A person asked for my advice concerning the article on The Jordan Institute, which was mostly a promotional brochure and which I had slightly improved by deleting one paragraph. I advised that someone should chop out everything else that isn't an encyclopedic fact from the article, but I hadn't had time to do it myself.

There was a discussion, which involved me by accident, of a bizarre use of "[sic]" in the article on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. An editor had used it on a non-quote sentence in an article, to indicate that the sentence was nonsensical. And defended the use at length.

One comment questioned my changing of the number style in an article and pointed out that I had misunderstood the Wikipedia Manual of Style on that point (in particular, I had changed large numbers from words to figures because I thought MOS required it, but it does not).

Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk)

A kitten for you![edit]

Kitten in a helmet.jpg

For the correction you made on two of my "comprised of" edits on Nanga Parbat. (Blame my Australian background for it, sorry! :-) )

Qwrk (talk) 07:51, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

"is consisting of"?[edit]

I hope you will agree that the result here [1] is clumsy. Why not "consists of"? Philip Trueman (talk) 04:43, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Yes, that is a typo. But "consists of" does not work; we need an adjective here (like the participle "comprised of"), not a verb. I meant to type the participle "consisting of". That at least fits the syntax. I'll fix it. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 04:50, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

February 2016[edit]

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  • An '''inorganic compound''' is a compound that is not [[Organic compound|organic]. The term is not well defined, but in its simplest definition refers

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Please be careful[edit]

In the Ishrat Jahan case article, your changes were inside of a block quote. Yes, your version was better, but it is not what the quoted source said. —BarrelProof (talk) 04:42, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

One reason I missed the fact that this is a quotation is that it is a large excerpt of a source, too big for an encyclopedia article; the article should instead paraphrase it and cite the source for people who want to see the original. Wikipedia:Do_not_include_the_full_text_of_lengthy_primary_sources. I won't do anything about that now, but I did tag the grammar problem that drew me to that article to prevent such a mistake in the future. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 08:08, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

A barnstar for you![edit]

Copyeditor Barnstar Hires.png The Copyeditor's Barnstar
Your many tireless edits constitute a body of very valuable work for this encyclopedia. LjL (talk) 22:01, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

I've been a busy Wiki "Creator Elf", recently making whole pages while overlooking some grammar hiccups. Thank you, again, for your careful reading and editing.Rockenthusiast1979 (talk) 05:31, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

Comprised of: thank you[edit]

Thank you very much for editing the mistakes.

Khubbajechele (talk) 19:25, 16 May 2016 (UTC)

(Moved from user page -- Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 20:13, 16 May 2016 (UTC))

An article featuring you[edit]

I was wondering if you'd seen this:

Yes, I have. That was part of a flurry of media coverage. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 08:08, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

And todayTamfang (talk) 22:18, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

Thank you for tirelessly working to fix the writing of hacks like me! :) Keilana (talk) 16:24, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

In case of...[edit]

Comprised of is an expression in English: X "is comprised of" Y means that X is composed or made up of Y, according to Wikipedia. Thanks. MusiCitizen (talk) 19:10, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

Yes, it is, but you should not use Wikipedia as a source for that fact; Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Instead, you should use one of the major English dictionaries, as you'll see in my essay on the topic.
And it should be noted that like many other English expressions, this one is not the best way to say something in most cases. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 19:58, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, such should be noted Face-wink.svg. Lizard (talk) 01:43, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm actually aware of that essay, and while I think its point is pretty weak, in deference to the folks who cared enough to write it, I try to follow it in Wikipedia articles. And I knew there was a good chance someone would bring it up and give me the chance to explain why it doesn't apply here!
It doesn't apply because I'm not really trying to say (right here, anyway) that "comprised of" isn't the best way to say "composed of". I'm saying that when one notes, as MusiCitizen does here, that the phrase exists in English, one should at the same time note that it's not the best way to say something. And by the way, dictionaries usually do just that. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 02:04, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

Comprised of[edit]

Hi, Giraffedata, I notice that your are replacing occurrences of "comprised of" with something else. Please note that, according to some, the expression is correct—see article Comprised of. But that's not the problem. The result of this change was "... a compilation CD, composed of unreleased compositions...", which was not an improvement, so I had undone your edit. On the other hand, as I don't like the expression either, I have now removed it altogether ([2]), resulting in "... a compilation CD with unreleased compositions..." Cheers. - DVdm (talk) 11:39, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Yes, the essay linked in my edit summary notes that some people are OK with "comprised of". In fact, that's pretty obvious from all the people using it in Wikipedia.
"Was not an improvement" is the wrong standard, by the way. Since you know the person who made the edit considered it an improvement, you shouldn't undo it unless you believe it makes the article worse. And since you shouldn't simply place your opinion over that of another editor (the two of us have equal right to choose the wording of this article), even then a simple undo shouldn't be your first choice, so I'm glad you found something that satisfies us both. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 15:16, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Comprised 23.7% of[edit]

You went for what appeared at first glance to be an instance of "comprised of" on the page for Marin County, California, but I think there was actually nothing wrong with the passage you corrected. The sentence said, "Immigrants from Asia comprised 23.7% of the county's foreign population." That is not an instance of "comprised of" but an instance of "comprised 23.7%" and "23.7% of." I have no issue with your replacement phrasing, but I think it was unnecessary, and I think you're being a little overzealous in your quest to stamp out the phrase "comprised of" Rlitwin (talk) 02:24, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

No, I didn't take that as an instance of "comprised of", but I do think that it's the same disfavored backwards use of comprise (i.e. synonymous with "compose"). In its primary and undisputed meaning, comprise means to include - the whole comprises the parts. I think this sentence wants to make a point about Asian immigrants being the parts and a 23.7% portion of the population being the whole. It doesn't make a lot of sense the other way, with the immigrants being the whole and 23.7% of the population being the included parts.
While "comprised of" is by far the most common use of comprise=compose, and the easiest to locate, "Xes comprise N% of Y" is also pretty common. So is "X, Y, and Z comprise C".
I know the edit summary is a little misleading. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 02:46, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

War of the Spanish Succession[edit]

[3] I'm wondering why you removed the text you did here, it seems to me like you've removed key details. WCMemail 19:39, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Well, I agree they're important details; they just didn't seem to be important enough to bloat the lead section, or necessary for the rest of the lead to make sense. The whole rest of the article is there for readers who want the whole story, but I found the length of the lead to be an impediment to getting a quick understanding of what the War was.
I didn't see these facts and determine they aren't worthy; I determined the lead was tiringly long and looked for what it could do without. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 21:53, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for noticing ![edit]

Thanks for noticing the new article I wrote and created, Trump Revealed ! What do you think of the article? Sagecandor (talk) 03:04, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

I didn't read the article. I'm just a wikignome copy editor, searching for grammar and style issues throughout the encyclopedia. Naturally, I get drawn frequently to articles that contain quotes from Donald Trump. But I don't read any more than I need to determine that the problem is inside a quotation and that the quotation is necessary. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 03:16, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

NEED Act[edit]

Greetings. You recently substituted the phrase "is comprised of" with something simpler and concise ("has") in the article NEED Act. Although the change is quite valid, please note that the original wording is not part of the article's text but comes from a cited source - and as such it is not permissible to alter it, not even with the simple aim of improving the language. Take care. -The Gnome (talk) 14:55, 28 June 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for telling me. I have tagged the phrase so this mistake won't happen again. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 15:22, 28 June 2017 (UTC)


It seems pretty obvious to me that you have been canvassed about this but, regardless, and since Chris the Speller refused to explain the MOS gibberish, is there any chance that you could explain how the title for a specific job at a specific place is "generic"? That's what I do not understand. - Sitush (talk) 16:15, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

I was not canvassed; I watch User:Chris_the_speller's talk page because I am a fellow copy editor and he knows more than anyone I know about Wikipedia capitalization, among other things, and I learn from it. He does enough volume of work on capitalization that his interpretation of MOS is pretty important if you care about consistency. What I learned today is that an article had improperly capitalized job titles, and I consider it my duty to correct errors in articles when I see them. Hence my edit.
I don't see gibberish in MOS:JOBTITLES - it's pretty clear English to me in grammar, semantics, and such. Gibberish is like, "’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe". I also don't think it actually forbids capitalizing Lecturer; it does so only when the word is used generically, and you can use Lecturer non-generically, as you did.
But the point is moot because you should use lecturer generically. I believe "he was Lecturer" and "he was a lecturer" say different things; it's a semantic difference, not a style one. The former tells you what the institution calls his position and where he fits in its specific staffing structure. The latter tells you what his job is, in common terms you can find in the dictionary. I believe most Wikipedia readers couldn't care less what the institution calls him. Lecturer might not even mean lecturer - it could be a historical designation for a position that's actually quite different from lecturer. I once held a position that my employer called "Data Entry Operator II". But if anyone asked me what I did, I said, "I'm a data entry operator".
MOS hints at this when it gives the example, "Mitterand was the French president". Mitterand's office (give or take a French translation) was in fact President, but we don't care, because he was also what the dictionary calls president, and that's useful material. So I think what MOS is trying to say, though it could be more direct, is that where the title is also a generic common noun, and the generic noun fits the sentence, we should use the generic, uncapitalized noun. If, on the other hand, the title is something like First Citizen, we have a decision to make: use the title, capitalized, or try to find a generic common noun.
I think another great benefit of the common-noun-instead-of-title rule is that capital letters are jarring in a sentence; as Chris once said, having every other word capitalized is as annoying as a jack hammer. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 02:26, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

You got me[edit]

Aaaah, you got me at Garlic sauce (comprised of). North America1000 01:31, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Questionable edits[edit]

This edit is one of many where you have falsely claimed that your edit is to address "questionable word usage in quotation to avoid copy editing interference". I don't give a crap that you are wasting your life with the self-assigned pointless task of "fixing" a now-standard usage of "comprised of". Where these usages appear in article text, your changes to wording are entirely unneeded. Where they appear in a direct quotation from a source -- be it a website, newspaper, magazine a book -- the change is even more useless. It's OK if you want you edit summary to claim that you are "avoiding copy editing interference", which might be accurate once you ignore the fact that the interference you are trying to avoid is entirely of your own creation. However, the claim that anything is "questionable" is out-and-out false; there is no question that the wording is used as quoted or that the usage is exceedingly common and widely accepted. Get rid of it word "questionable" and go on with correcting this non-problem. Once this is done, there's always the mindless task of working to boldly solve the split infinitive issue or dealing with the unnecessary correction of sentences ending a preposition with. Alansohn (talk) 03:01, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

I will be happy to remove the word "questionable". I believe this will make the nature of the edit less understandable to many people, but until I see that cause a problem, I don't see why I can't accommodate you.
I agree there is no question that the quote is accurate or that the wording is common. The question is whether the wording should be used. (I'm talking about original text, of course; there's no question that it should be used when quoting someone who used it). If you do any reading at all about this phrase, you cannot escape the fact that many people question whether it should be used. Maybe your view is that it's not a valid question because the answer is obvious, but we can't go around saying a controversy doesn't exist just because one side is wrong. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 03:27, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

Israeli Navy[edit]

Reverted your edit (but you will like it!! ;) ) Yosy (talk) 13:06, 28 October 2017 (UTC)

Looks great! Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 02:52, 29 October 2017 (UTC)

Why should we accept ridiculous redundancies just because some lay/industrial people do?[edit]

Hi, Bryan. Someone at Marvel One-Shots thought we shouldn't eliminate a ridiculous logical redundancy there, so I started a discussion on the talk page to dispute this ridiculous idea. Will you please come and support the correction of this error? Thanks, if you do. Be Your Own Hero (talk) 11:08, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Thanks very much, Bryan, for your contribution! I left you a more public reply there! Be Your Own Hero (talk) 06:42, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

Hey, the one disruptive editor is still fighting our consensus, and I've left him and you a new reply on the talk page. Will you please go back and continue the discussion according to our replies, friend? Thanks! Be Your Own Hero (talk) 10:47, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

Your recent edits comprised of attempts to avoid copy editing interference of "comprised of" in direct quotations[edit]

WOW! From this edit for Delaware Township School District to this one for Totowa, New Jersey, you made about 50 edits to articles in which your edit summary is "Tag word usage in quotation to avoid copy editing interference". Each one of these uses an official source from a state website, article or other source in a direct quotation that proudly uses "comprised of" to mean "composed of".

Isn't it time to give up and accept that the usage is broadly accepted among all but the most obsessive pedants? Alansohn (talk) 02:48, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

Or, it's because education in the U.S. is functioning as expected.   ~ Tom.Reding (talkdgaf)  03:19, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
It's hard for me to understand why this is such a hot issue for you that you don't seem able to let it go; we've been going around on this for years and the arguments haven't changed. The recent RfC failed to find anyone but you supporting your policy of excluding sic tags on "comprised of" in quotations in Wikipedia, and following that I thought we reached an understanding that if I used the particular edit summary that I did that you wouldn't fight my use of the tag. You had to expect the scores of New Jersey articles you were protecting from the tag would be affected. They are a unique set of articles in their use of "comprised of" in quotations - there is no other set of articles in the encyclopedia with this concentration (believe me - no one knows more than I do about where "comprised of" turns up in Wikipedia), and that's why I ended up doing 50 in a row today. (By the way, one of the reason for this concentration is that lots of articles have the same sources - it's not like there were 50 separate authors of 50 separate source documents choosing that wording).
As I've always said, "comprised of" is broadly accepted to mean "composed of". However, there is also broad support for not using "comprise" to mean compose in Wikipedia (and everywhere), not just among obsessive people; that gets demonstrated over and over as various people show up with the belief that I am the only person in the world who thinks "compose" is better writing than "comprise". Look at style manuals; look at Wikipedia talk pages; look at dictionaries.
Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 04:03, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:Fatima[edit]

The feedback request service is asking for participation in this request for comment on Talk:Fatima. Legobot (talk) 04:26, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Greetings. Do you think that this change was really necessary? The disambiguation page Fatima includes the topic Fatima (given name), which is both concerned with language and related to the discussion. —Sangdeboeuf (talk) 18:56, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

You're right. It belongs in the languages and linguistics category. I missed that. I've put it back. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 19:46, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:Dorothy Tarrant[edit]

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Comprised etc.[edit]

Thanks for your work on "comprised (of)". I admit that I used to prefer "comprised of X" to mean "composed of X", but I am now convinced that "comprised X" is better. However, I'd argue that "comprised" is best avoided in many cases:

  1. The word is not very common, and both meanings are found, so readers may be confused or surprised. It's best that word choice not call attention to itself, but communicate transparently.
  2. It is not clear whether "comprise" is intended to be exclusive. Does "The dish comprises fruit and sugar" mean that those are the only two ingredients? That is, it is a synonym of "consists of" or of "includes"? In patent claim filings, it is not exclusive. In a sentence like "the United Kingdom comprises the four countries of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland", it seems to be intended as exclusive. To be unambiguous, do we need to say "comprises exactly" or "comprises only"?
  3. It is abused and overused when simpler words would be clearer: why say "Deep-fried butter is a snack food comprising butter that is coated..." rather than "made of" or even "is"? see my edit

I get the impression that many editors use it because they think that it is more elegant or more precise or more elevated than "made of". It's a little like the overuse of "eponymous" on Wikipedia to mean simply "of the same name", where sometimes it's not even necessary to specify that. Do we need to write "the novel X and the eponymous movie"? or even "the novel X and the movie of the same name"? Why not just "the novel and the movie X" or "the novel X and the movie based on it"? Best, --Macrakis (talk) 17:35, 17 February 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for commenting. I agree with all of that, except a slight disagreement with the idea of avoiding comprise altogether. I usually recommend to people who are struggling to understand the proper use of comprise just never to use it; there are enough easier words that are nearly identical that it's not worth the trouble. However, I use it myself because I think it helps readers to see it correctly used, since they most often see it used in the disfavored backward "compose" sense. In fact, I first learned of the comprise=compose issue when I was in college and saw "comprise" used in the forward sense for the first time, and I realized there was a direct conflict between that use and the more familiar "comprised of". I went to the dictionary to understand the conflict, and have used "comprise" only in the forward sense since that day. Twice, I've seen someone on Wikipedia "correct" "comprises" to "is comprised of", only to be corrected by someone else and learn something. I don't go out of my way to use "comprise" for this pedagogical purpose, of course - I just use it when I think it really is the best fitting word.
The situation with exhaustive inclusion is clear to me: Comprise can be correctly used for nonexhaustive inclusion, but its preferred usage is exhaustive inclusion. Saying the UK comprises the four nations at least strongly implies that there aren't any others. I read this in a style guide in a list of commonly abused words, and I find it's consistent with usage and also logical. I personally don't see any reason to use it nonexhaustively, so I don't. And if I think there's a risk of misunderstanding, I'll say "consists of" rather than the arguably redundant "comprises exactly".
I don't know about other uses of "comprise", but I definitely think people say "comprised of" a lot when simpler language is available just to sound smart. "Made of butter" is obviously better than "comprising butter", but the latter is unusual enough that I suspect this sentence started off as "comprised of butter", to sound smart, and someone incompletely corrected it to "comprising butter". A Wikipedia editor once objected to my writing that a piece of land was "made up of" its various mineral components because "made up of" isn't snooty enough, like "comprised of". I don't remember what adjective he really used - probably "professional". I was taught that sounding professional is a bad thing - more vulgar language communicates better. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 02:29, 18 February 2018 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:"Polish death camp" controversy[edit]

The feedback request service is asking for participation in this request for comment on Talk:"Polish death camp" controversy. Legobot (talk) 04:31, 23 February 2018 (UTC)

Can you check the grammar for these three articles please?[edit]

Looks like you're a famous user,,, Anyway, I need you to check the grammar for UTV Software Communications, UTV Motion Pictures and UTV Indiagames please. These articles were primarily edited by Indian users so there may be a variety of grammatical errors lost in translation that even I couldn't identify. Thank you. Iftekharahmed96 (talk) 13:11, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

Done. They were already close to perfect, though. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 17:03, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Thank you so much for your contributions, though minor, they have made a positive impact to the readability of the articles. You don't mind also checking The Walt Disney Company India buy any chance too? as mentioned earlier, there may be grammatical errors even I couldn't identify. Iftekharahmed96 (talk) 18:04, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

A Barnstar[edit]

Working Man's Barnstar Hires.png The Working Man's Barnstar
Thank you for graciously accepting the request to check the grammar of the article I requested for you to check. Your contributions have increased the value of The Walt Disney Company India, UTV Software Communications, UTV Motion Pictures and UTV Indiagames with better formatting. Iftekharahmed96 (talk) 11:51, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

Please comment on Talk:"Polish death camp" controversy[edit]

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10 Year Anniversary of Your Quixotic "Comprised Of" Compulsion[edit]

I was reading an article in the UK's Guardian newspaper about you entitled, "Why Wikipedia's grammar vigilante is wrong". It clearly demonstrates that your single handed authoritarian scorched earth mission to rid the earth of any use, at all, of a term that you personally find absolutely and always unacceptable is wrong. You may by shear fanaticism have held back the water for a decade - but I can assure you that usage of the word in accordance with the OED will win out over time. Myself, I'm 20 years old and I have noted your edit history, a "road map" if you will. I will never be able to unwind the entirety of the literally tens of thousands of zealous attacks you've inflicted on well meaning editors who on many occasions made perfectly correct edits using the term, "comprised of". But I do promise to undo all of these fleeting and temporary edits of yours in which you have removed the term only to install a lesser choice for no purpose other than to stop the apparent "sound of fingernails scraping blackboard" effect it may have on you. The term "comprised of", will in the long run, return. Naturally. Just as water must seek it's own level, "comprised of" shall be used again here properly and in accordance with the OED. Time is on our side. (talk) 17:11, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

I remember that article. All it said was that people have been writing "comprised of" for a long time (I don't think it mentioned that people have also been correcting it for a long time) and it didn't make any case that it's superior to any other wording. Like any dictionary, OED doesn't tell you what it's OK to write in any particular place. It just tells you what people mean when they use a word.
Incidentally, you've misused the word "compulsion". A compulsion is something a person can't stop doing, even though he wants to. It's not just something a person does a lot. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 19:56, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
There's another statement in the above posting that deserves a response: "... attacks you've inflicted on well meaning editors ..." I have never attacked any editor via an article edit, and I never will. Any editor who feels attacked by having his words replaced or deleted in an article should refrain from editing Wikipedia, because it is a community project where everyone feels equal ownership over the articles. No one should take offense from the fact that another editor has a different opinion of what makes a good article. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 03:04, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
Attn: IP. Have you read any of this page? Bryan's a popular fellow on WP, the odd crank aside. And despite your hyperbole ("scorched earth policy"- really?) his work is entirely within both the letter and the spirit of the WP philosophy.
One's position on the acceptability of "comprised of" on this service comes down to one simple distinction: either you believe it's acceptable because "people do it", or you believe it's not because it's poor style. That's it. No scorched earth, no reign of terror, no dams holding back zealous attacks, or what have you. You either take the populist or the purist line, either of which are in themselves reasonable, and subject to the considered judgment of the WP community.
Most importantly, there is only one relevant measure of Bryan's edits: are they factually and grammatically correct? Whether you believe the expunged wording was already correct is utterly of no interest here. The question is: is the text correct now. If so, as I believe the standard American military response has it: "Pound sand." There's no place on WP for defending the honour of slighted words or syntax. Replacing correct usage with correct usage is perfectly allowable.
Bryan's contributions are unfailingly well-thought-out and his interactions with other editors civil and respectful. I've had the privelege of watching him defend himself against more than one rabid werewolf on this service, and have marveled at his sangfroid and unfailing politeness, in situations where I would long have devolved to obscenity.
This is an elementary question of encycolopædic style. A simple, gentlemanly "I disagree with your conclusion" is all that common sense allows here. Laodah 05:50, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
And another thing (a very important one, this.) You've said the following:
But I do promise to undo all of these fleeting and temporary edits of yours in which you have removed the term only to install a lesser choice for no purpose other than to stop the apparent "sound of fingernails scraping blackboard" effect it may have on you...
That behaviour is one of the most condemned and actively suppressed on Wikipedia. What you're proposing to do is called "wikistalking", and I heartily suggest you search that term on WP and read about the fate of others who have indulged in it.
Let me be categorically clear on this point:
You may not systematically revert the work of another editor.
Full stop. If you do, Bryan will not be the only WP editor reporting you to the guards, and insisting until they put a stop to you.
We are a coöperative, voluntary service, relying on the good faith and profitless contributions of well-meaning individuals, and none of us are empowered to bully others. If you had a vandalism case against Bryan things would be different, but since you don't the only recourse you have in your high dudgeon against his positive and selfless investment in this public service we all cherish is to grin and bear it.
Bryan is not alone here.
Laodah 17:43, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
Well, let's be honest, there's a third option besides stalking me and just putting up with me: the Wikipedia dispute resolution process for disputes about the conduct of another editor. Basically, you open a discussion in some appropriate venue and try to achieve consensus that this editing is not welcome on Wikipedia. But I wouldn't recommend it, because in the ten years this has been going on, several other people had the same thoughts and did this, and each time the consensus failed to go their way and that's why I'm still here. If there were demonstrated consensus against this editing, one would be justified in reverting all my edits, but one wouldn't have to, because I'd stop making them. On several other occasions, other editors tried the vigilante approach (only not anonymously), and were turned back either by other editors reverting the reversions or by an administrator threatening a block for editing against consensus. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 18:19, 19 March 2018 (UTC)


So, you've made the Guardian, huh? Re your edit to Supergroup (music), I suggest you visit [4] and compare the usage sections of 'comprise' and 'compose.' It's one thing not to like a word, but if you're gonna replace it, the replacement needs to be at least as appropriate, or better. The usage section of the respective pages shows that 'compose' is used rarely, if at all, to describe assembling groups of living entities, whereas 'comprise' is used for just such purposes. So I'm reverting. Yours unpedantically Tapered (talk) 07:41, 20 March 2018 (UTC)

I've made many newspapers. The Guardian is the only one critical. I take that with a grain of salt because The Guardian was late to the coverage, so presenting the alternative view was the reasonable thing for it to do. There is a complete listing of coverage of my comprised of project outside of Wikipedia in my essay (User:Giraffedata/comprised of).
I am very curious about this rarity of use of "compose" to describe assembling groups of living entities, as in all the years I've been studying these words I've never come across even a suggestion of that and I see teams and committees being composed of persons all the time. But I could not find any usage sections at Can you be more specific?
Incidentally, I don't object to using "comprise" to describe the relationship between a band and its members, but would use it in its undisputed primary sense and say "the band comprises John, Paul, George, and Ringo". Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 15:42, 20 March 2018 (UTC)
If you scroll down the pages you'll find examples of usage, first from The Daily Beast, and then historical examples. Tapered (talk) 08:51, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
OK, I see. I thought you were talking about usage notes like some dictionaries have that give advice on how to use a word. Every usage note I've seen addressing comprised of vs composed of says just always use composed of because language purists consider comprised of to be a mistake and some of them will be your readers.
The selection of contemporary examples at seemed really weird to me at first, and then I realized that it's just doing a search (of just the Daily Beast, as far as I can see) for the literal words "compose" and "comprise" -- not any other forms of the word. Well, in its primary undisputed meaning (the whole comprises the parts), it's extremely rare to see exactly "comprise" because comprise is virtually always used as a verb in third person singular conjugation ("comprises", or "comprised" in past tense). So every example presented of "comprise" is in the disputed secondary (the parts comprise the whole) sense.
If you instead search any large corpus of English for "composed of" and "comprised of", you'll find them used in the same distribution between compositions of living entities and compositions of everything else. And I think you'll still see more "composed of" than "comprised of". Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 02:55, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
Not very interested in the comprise/compose debate—since you seem to have a large posse behind you. I'll avoid comprise altogether here @ Wikipedia. I was especially annoyed with your edit because I had just removed some long-standing (truly grotesque to cultural history types) misinformation from the article. For structural reasons it was time consuming. While I'm not a defender of "comprise," I think any use of 'composed' as you used it in "Supergroup," is inappropriate. The word is often used in the context of geology, chemistry, and music. So it strikes me that its use to describe combinations of people is odd. The upshot is that I've changed the wording of the article entirely and added new references to corroborate the changed and original information. Tapered (talk) 05:23, 25 March 2018 (UTC)

LiveVantage Corporation[edit]

Hi. I noticed that you made some edits to Livevantage Corporation. I was wondering why the word LiveVantage redirects to a different page? I tried to fix that but I'm new so I'm assuming I'm doing something wrong. Could you possibly do this or let me know how I can? I think the redirect is confusing. Globe2trotter (talk) 09:24, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

(You mean LifeVantage, not LiveVantage).
I've fixed it.
What happened was that there didn't used to be a LifeVantage Corporation article, so LifeVantage redirected to the article on Protandin, a LifeVantage product. Then someone created a LifeVantage Corporation article and made LifeVantage redirect to LifeVantage Corporation. Then someone determined the LifeVantage Corporation article was largely illegally copied material, so replaced it with a redirect to Protandin. Then a bot saw that LifeVantage redirected to LifeVantage Corporation, which redirected to Protandin and collapsed that to a redirect directly from LifeVantage to Protandin. Then someone reinstated the LifeVantage Corporation article minus the copyright violations, but LifeVantage was still redirecting to Protandin.
I changed the LifeVantage redirect back to fix this.
I note a lot of history of the LifeVantage Corporation article coming and going as people disagree about whether it's a legitimate encyclopedia article or an ad for LifeVantage, so this will probably happen again. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 02:41, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification. I really appreciate the time. I must admit, I had to read the paragraph twice to actually understand the redirects :). I see the LifeVantage Corporate page no longer exists. Has someone deleted it due to notability concerns? Since it redirects, I cannot see any deletion log. Globe2trotter (talk) 19:17, 24 March 2018 (UTC)

It wasn't deleted technically; it was replaced with a redirect to Protandin, in a rare procedure where someone unilaterally decided it was not notable. See Talk:LifeVantage Corporation.
To access the redirect page instead of following the redirect, e.g. so you can see the history, click on the link in the "redirected from LifeVantage Corporation" message at the top of the Protandin page after you have been redirected. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 16:20, 25 March 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for the "compose of" as well.[edit]

Export hell seidel steiner.png Well, at first the change suprised me on Jeremy Levitt and i simply ignored it.

But, i did some digging and read everything about your project.

I simply wanted to post you a fun fact; in Greek we use "αποτελείται από" which translates into.. "is comprised of"/"composed of". You can see the use of a double "απo" (= from ) in just two words :D Kostas Greece91 18:47, 16 July 2018 (UTC)


I noticed your "comprised of"-fixing project and wondered whether there's any chance of semi-automating fixes for another very common error, "lead" for "led" (e.g. "this eventually lead to such-and-such"). Equinox 17:40, 25 July 2018 (UTC)

That would be pretty hard, since something actually has to parse the sentence and detect at least invalid verb conjugation and in some cases the actual sense of the sentence, to know it's the wrong word. Wikipedia search, which is what I use for "comprised of", doesn't do anything like that.
If we could automate that, there are a few hundred common errors just like it (where you need something smarter than a textual search) we could use it on, like "loose" for "lose", "women" for "woman", and "effect" for "affect". There are over a thousand common errors in an in-between class where the mere juxtaposition of words is a strong suggestion the wrong word was used, which means Wikipedia search can find them. See in Wikipedia:Lists of common misspellings/Grammar and miscellaneous. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 02:15, 26 July 2018 (UTC)


Bryan, I was wondering if you could help me out. How do I rid Wikipedia of the noxious and redundant "but are not limited to"? There are 2,190 pages with the phrases (though some of them may be in quotations, of course), so I can't do it by hand. Thanks! Drmies (talk) 21:11, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

I can't help much. I do all my copy editing manually; I don't think proposals for bots to make language usage changes are ever approved. This is a really easy edit (almost no thought required), but even at my top speed, it would probably take me more than ten hours. People use AWB for this kind of thing. The last time I looked at AWB, it wasn't fast enough for my purposes, and I instead created a program to generate a web page full of links. For example, I made one for [but are not limited to]. One could use this page with the terrific Chrome browser extension "linkclump" to open a bunch of these pages at a time and move through quickly with Chrome keyboard shortcuts, but that's the best I can do. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 16:45, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

Comprises of[edit]

It seems that a lot of "Comprises of" are still in Wikipedia: check this link

I've gotten rid of the "Comprise of" and "Comprising of" and some "Comprised of" but "Comprises of" isn't good. Redditaddict69 07:31, 16 August 2018 (UTC)

Yes, that's the third most frequently added problematic use of "comprise" in Wikipedia. This one isn't even mentioned in dictionaries, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone defend it. It comes from the same kind of sound-alike confusion that turned "composed of" into "comprised of". In this case, "consists of" and "comprises" mean about the same thing, so people have merged the two into "comprises of". This is a thing mostly in India, by the way. Anyway, I regularly work the two most common forms, "comprised of" and "comprising of", but get to "comprises of" only infrequently, so that's why you see so many. (Still, there are about a thousand fewer than there used to be).
Keep up the good work. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 03:14, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

Please comment on Template talk:Death year and age[edit]

The feedback request service is asking for participation in this request for comment on Template talk:Death year and age. Legobot (talk) 04:25, 17 September 2018 (UTC)