User talk:Skookum1/TheOldConsensus

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"The Old Consensus" is a term I've been using to conclusions and practices reached by wide-ranging group of editors trying to sort out conventions and precision for titles and categorization on geographic, indigenous and other titles back in 2006-2007 and maybe before. It's really a re-emergent consensus, in the wake of a host of RMs restoring undisambiguated and also, in many cases, modern endonyms, vs disambiguations and archaic terms that were imposed without discussion, or citation, over a certain period since.


This is not a discussion page, but a working document seeking to coalesce discussions from the early years of Wikipedia on the matters at hand. Disputes of what it says can be made elsewhere but are non sequiturs in the context of this page, which is meant to be a documentation summarizing earlier decisions by those working on the many related and interlinked articles involved. Links to older discussions re the following matters, and additions re other points addressed in the "old consensus" are of course welcome; I'll be adding such links once they are found in the various article, user, wikiproject and other archives. And also the names of editors who took part in the discussions and applying the consensus that was emergent from them. Ones that come to mind are Phaedriel, OldManRivers, Murderbike, Luigizanasi, Kurieeto and of course yours truly.

Part of the genesis of this summary goes back to 2011 when I noticed that long standing BC ethnonym titles, St'at'imc, Nlaka'pamux, Ktunaxa, Tsilhqot'in and Secwepemc had been moved without discussion or proper referencing to obsolete and out-of-use terms, i.e. Lillooet people, Thompson people, Kutenai people, Chilcotin people, and Shuswap people, all of which have confusion/ambiguity issues with well-known geographic toponyms in British Columbia, and in the case of "Thompson people", embarrassingly colonialist in origin. Seeing pages with the former usages replaced by bot to the older, archaic, inaccurate/misleading and now-awkward terms, and knowing that the peoples in question had "invented" the new spellings to distinguish themselves from the toponym-borrowing/corruptions of their names, I launched the five parallel RMs which were finally resolved, per sources and the rest of the issues herein, back to where they had been from early in their existence as articles and as established during the sorting-out of the various issues of the jumble of aboriginal names and terms in the region and beyond. Others like Dakelh/Carrier people, Wuikinuxv/Owekeeno people, and Sylix/Okanagan people have since followed suit by similar RM closures.

This is an attempt to summarize what I remember of it, and over time I will add links to discussions on various talkpages, either articles/catogories or personal or WikiProject talkpages, provided I'm not booted out of here by people hostile to my ideas and mere existence first. What we had in the old days was a willingness to learn that seem sorely absent in today's Wikipedia 'culture' and has been replaced by an ironclad instruction creep of guideline-invocation, quite often without any real appreciation of all of what the guidelines invoke actually say.


In recent discussions I've referred to the "old consensus" and because of the timesinks of the various battles thrown at me I have so far not had time to make notes about this; I'd tried to raise it in IPNA recently but was shot down and shoved aside (I was not informed of discussions at WP:NCL and at WP:NCP, of which the latter led to the creation of WP:NCET. In the meantme various guideline and title disputes have asserted various differences to the titles established for many years by that older consensus. The older discussions were never limited to IPNA discussions, and took in participants from various fields and wikiprojects, including regional WikiProjects for BC, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Canada, California and the Pacific Northwest and more; "we" never took the time to codify it anywhere. Discussions took place on various article and user talkpages, only some in the WikiProjects in question, whose archives I have not yet had time to dig through (same as with user talkpage etc.)

Evidence of the "old consensus" is all over category names and the original article titles, before they were dabbed by a one-guideline bandwagon that was never in keeping with TITLE/AT and other policies; though the vast majority were never changed, and those that were changed have been (mostly) reverted back to their original forms by consensus at RMs. It's important to understand re names and titles in the regions indicated above that the co-instances of town/county/region-names with aboriginal names is very, very common and emergent practice in English has been the adoption of "nativized" spellings into English to differentiate from those town/county/region names.

That modern trend of "nativization" of native neems is inherent in modern Canadian English usage, includng official usages, where such names are now the norm and accepted parts of English in our country, but I still hear/see Wikipedians asserting that such names are "not English"; typically those are Wikipedians in other countries who are unaware of, or who don't give a damn, about usages in {{tl}Canadian English}}, even for articles about subjects wholly within Canada; and who haven't actually done any research to said effect, but who point at guidelines they seemingly haven't fully read or taken as a comprehensive whole; an essay to this effect will be linked here, at present it can be found on the RM on the St'at'imc talkpage, along with comments from reporter Terry Glavin, who is a regular writer on native politics and culture in BC.

The old consensus "conclusions" were all discussed in the context of policies, and are mirrored in the consensus of the more recent RM closures (other than those by biased closers or those who never took the time to even read thearticle or pay attention to view stats etc and who quoted guidelines claiming they said things they didn't, and ignoring policies completely in asserting those guideline-claims). So this is not really an "old consensus" as I have been calling it, but the "original consensus".

Core points/conclusions per conventions applied at the time[edit]

Guidelines and policies observed by the "old consensus"[edit]

Guidelines and policies that were observed and integrated into the conclusions above, or which endorse the "new" emergent consensus, are:

from TITLE and UCN[edit]

    • These three points in the section (WP:CRITERIA) where the five characteristics of titles are described:
      • Conciseness – The title is no longer than necessary to identify the article's subject and distinguish it from other subjects.
      • Precision – The title is sufficiently precise to unambiguously identify the article's subject and distinguish it from other subjects.
      • Consistency The title is consistent with the pattern of similar articles' titles.


  • WP:CANSTYLE per WP:ENGVAR per common modern usages in Canada, vs older, often inaccurate and sometimes derogatory in origin; {{Canadian English}} exists, yet "global usages" (meaning UK and US usages, predominantly) have been held by some to supposedly be the wiki-standard and expected norm


  • unnecessary and ambiguous disambiguation ("people", "tribe") were to be avoided as misleading and often inaccurate or for various other reasons, unsuitable.


  • a closer reading of WP:UCN shows other elements which were observed during the evolution of the unwritten conventions of the "old" consensus but which have been disregarded in some closes and various unnecessary/undiscussed moves:
    • "Ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined in reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources." [italics mine]
    • "When there is no single obvious term that is obviously the most frequently used for the topic, as used by a significant majority of reliable English language sources, editors should reach a consensus as to which title is best by considering the criteria listed above." [i.e. conciseness, precision, consistency]
      • And while the wording here says "term", in many cases it's a simultaneous or parallel toponym and endonym that are issue (with the proviso that in Canada, modern self-idenification terms invented to distinguish the ethnonym from the toponym are now the norm)
    • "When titling articles in specific fields, or with respect to particular problems, there is often previous consensus that can be used as a precedent."
      • all to often this is ignored, or denied altogether, and is also CONSISTENCY, which is related

Guidelines and Essays used in dispute[edit]

These have been sometimes raised in disputes of reversion to "old consensus" titles

  • as if respecting what a people want to call themselves vs putting up with a name imposed on them by others is "righting a great wrong". "Perpetuating a great wrong" is often the result of using systemically-biased and older and/or still "global" usages in place of self-identification and accepted/emergent modern norms
  • as if using such terms and not the incorrect ones were "censorship"
  • as if the names in question weren't part of English, for any number of reasons alleged, sometimes the use of special characters, sometimes claims there is no pronunciation or that a name is unpronounceable, and other rationales;
  • see above about UCN re the Five Characteristics etc
      • sources often corroborate the indigenously-preferred terms, particularly when newer sources are taken into account; a passage on official name changes also applies here but is not yet copy-pasted here. Also re SOURCES, one closer claimed that only GoogleBooks and GoogleScholar are admissible per that guideline; it says no such thing, not even close.
      • Also, sources from government, churches, and academics are often viewed as {{systemic bias}} by indigenous peoples, and should not be given UNDUE weight based sheerly on numerical counts of sources

=====[[WP:TLDR has often been used as a reason to not examine points of information delivered up in response to simplistic misstatements of guidelines, or simplistic logics. In fact, it should never be used in guideline or other talkpage discussions and is about articles only. It is also unCIVIL, as it says so itself, but nonetheless has been used in discussions, and even as a pretext by closers to ignore information relevant to the issues at hand.

Main "conclusions"[edit]

    • CONSISTENCY per TITLE across categories and main article titles was a key goal, such that Skwxwu7mesh and Sto:lo in their full diacriticalized forms were parallels to those not needing special characters of the same kind; this was seen as a matter of fairness as well as of respect for native sensitivities. This is also why Syilx and Heiltsuk were used instead of "Okanagan people" or "Bella Bella people". Some names such as Haida were never subject to the "native" form (Xaayda) as not being used in English at all, same with the language name Haida Kiil (though it's been showing up in English language media since).
  • Ethno, language, government, reserve/reservation, community and other articles were all to be separated; many in Washington and BC and elsewhere had multiple categories on them from different trees; these have mostly been separated, or redirects put in categories where the titles in question belong, when such articles were not broken up into separate items (though nearly all have been now, especially re language articles being made separate). Of the "bulk category" articles that were extant at the time "we" began to clean them all up by breaking them up where able, many were language-titles that had "tribe" and "First Nations" categories on them, quite wrongly, as languages are not "tribes" or "peoples".
    • In all cases re the paragraph above, the ethno article was to be PRIMARYTOPIC and undisambiguated when possible; language, government etc are all secondary topics, same was placenames derived from the ethno names. Language titles that are "[peoplename]+ language" are inherently secondary topics by definition.
  • Re languages, when a language name exists in English, as do Halkomelem and Kwak'wala and Sm'algyax and others, in a form different from the "[people-name] + language" format, those would be the preferable usage; whether they were most common or not was not seen as an issue so long as they were current in English at all, which is also in various policies and guidelines in various ways. Halkomelem happens to have always been at "Halkomelem language" but that is a wholly unnecessary dab is there is no people named "Halkomelem" (though from various comments I've seen, it seems some people think there is such a people). Same as with why "Lushootseed" is not named "Duwamish language"....."FOO language" is also an adjectival form, not a noun usage, so is inherently a secondary topic
  • The "FOO people" problem - its syntactical duality and namespace collision with "people/individuals who are "FOO", was observed, and was one of the reasons that dab, though preferable to "tribe" and "nation", was to be only used when necessary, and category titles "FOO people" remain generally/overwhelmingly for "people who are FOO", with a few exceptions like "Mohawk people" (perhaps should be "Mohawk peoples") and "Squamish people" and only a few others as ethno-category titles
  • Native ethno article names were to be undismbiguated unless absolutely necessary. Items where titles are derived from those names were not seen as PRIMARYTOPIC candidates, inherently by dint of them not being single-word titles, e.g. rivers, counties, governments and other eponymous organizations etc. Only in cases where there was an overwhelming primary single-word usage would this vary. **Concomitant with that principle, misnomers and offensive/derisive exonyms were to be avoided e.g. Kwakiutl, Lillooet, Eskimo etc., whether in sources or not.
    • Also concomitant with that was the recognition of the redundancy of many names syntactically e.g. ***"St'at'imc" means "people of Sat'", "Esketemc" means "people of Esket"
      • "Secwepemc" means "people of Secwep" (shExwap),
      • "Haida" means "people" as with many other standalone names
        • Kwakwaka'wakw means "speakers of Kwak'wala", Lekwiltok means "speakers of Lik'wala"
        • all Lushootseed names ending "-mish",
        • "Gitxsan" means "people of 'Ksan" (there meaning the Skeena River, not the village of 'Ksan itself; ****likewide and all other Git- Tsimshian and Gitxsan names mean "people of" - Gitgaat/Gitgaata, Gitlakdamix, Gitselas, Gitanyow etc
        • With others such as "Sto'lo", "Nuu-chah-nulth", "Nuxalk" do not have a "people" morpheme (-mx, -aht, -'mc would be there otherwise, respectively) but are used in English most commonly without any modifier, such that "people" is understood; Kwantlen
          • In individual Nuu-chah-nulth and related names - Ditidaht, Hesquiaht, Mowahchat, etc the "-aht" people-morpheme is present (differences with placenames derived from them occur and the placename generally has a slightly different spelling
            • e.g. Hesquiaht vs Hesquiat, Opitsat vs Opitsaht (long list)
        • "Inuit" and "Inuvialuit" are implicitly plurals, and understood in English as such; their singular forms "Inuk" and "Inavialuk" are only seen when referring to specific individuals; the dual forms like "Inuuk" are rarely seen in English.
      • another syntactical point was that in any of the "FOO people", "FOO tribe", "FOO nation" or other dabs, "FOO" is an adjective, in "FOO" it is clearly a noun
      • It was also observed, as can be affirmed by a scan of Wikipedia articles, that all such names are commonly used in English without any modifier
        • in noun constructions: "the Haida built sea-going canoes", "many Sto:lo feel that the salmon fishery....", "Ktunaxa and Sinixt warred over the Arrow Lakes" , "the Tahltan and Kaska are part of a larger grouping sometimes called Nahani"
        • adjectivally they are used without any "people/nation/etc" dabs e.g. "Nuu-chah-nulth leaders met today", "the Nlaka'pamux do not have a single tribal council, but four",
    • Because disambiguations with comma-state are the norm for town-names in the US, , there was seen no need to disambiguate native names such as Snohomish, Skagit, Entiat, Walla Walla etc. as those could be standalones and per item one above should be as 'pure' standalone forms and also as the namesake of such placenames; both Snohomish and Walla Walla are large cities, but because dabbed not "standalone" primarytopic candidates. Nespelem is a small community within the Colville Reservation, but as "Nespelem, Washington" is disambiguated, "Nespelem" was just for the people (now at Nespelem people or Nespelem tribe - the latter misleading because they are not a separate federally recognized tribe but part of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation)
      • The lack of current in-use native names in the US Pacific Northwest was observed such that attempts to rename Nisqually to Squaliabs etc. were reverted.
      • For a while Lummi was at Lhaqtemish, Nooksack was at No7'wasaq etc but the norm within Washington English usage was reverted to. though as noted below some were at their aboriginal forms for a while in some cases, in others (Yakama, Spokan, Palus) "nouveau" native spellings were coined, like those in BC, by the groups in question, to differentiate from "white" adaptations thereof (Yakima, Spokane, Palouse) ; of those three only Yakama has been returned by RM and that was just to remove "people" (at the time the article on the Palus district of India had not yet been created so "Palus" was undisambiguated, which it can't be now at one t ime the Navajo category and main title was "Dineh" however, and I remember Cherokee having been Tsalagi at some point, and for a while Tlingit was at Lingit.
    • Also as the use of native-form endonyms was not so current and established as similar are in Canada, the "English" forms of the names would be used for groups in the US; and towns and places named for the people in the US, because they had comma-state disambiguations per WikiProject United States standards, were not considered as dab candidates; not all dab pages at standalone titles were changed, partly for lack of time and energy. Entiat, Nisqually etc were left alone, but more because "we" were busy elsewhere.
    • At the time in Canada, the no-comma-province for unique town names was not yet in place, so some dab pages were created, even when the modern native name was not the same as the older, more archaic and now-in-disuse "English forms"/anthropolists' names that some people still want to assert should be used. Native name-forms were seen as appropriate vs modern norms and also re self-identification; and also because they're now the modern norm in Canada e.g. Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka'wawk vs the misnomers Nootka and Kwakiutl. Nativized spellings of terms that are common in English with other PRIMARYTOPICs such as Tsilhqot'in vs Chilcotin were themselves invented by native peoples to reduce such confusions and also to distance themselves from white appropriation of their names for towns, rivers etc. In some cases e.g. Musqueam there are no currenty-in-use native forms though these do exist; Hwmethkwyem in that case; the list of town/region / native endonym pairings is long and will form an appendix to these notes.
    • "nation", "tribe", "people" and other dabs were seen as too vague and loaded with variable meanings and in "nation's" case a not-small-amount of POV (though common on the web at large) to be useful except when necessary e.g. re Mohawk people. "Tribe" was to be used for registered /federally recognized tribes in the US.....


Native names vs placename pairings, including misnomers:


  • Shuswap vs Secwepemc
    • Note: language article had been at Secwempemctsin for a long time; NB the Shuswap First Nation is not in the Shuswap Country but in the Columbia Valley/East Kootenay
  • Lillooet vs St'at'imc
    • Note:language article had been at St'at'imcets for a long time
    • Note: Lillooet is derived from a subgroup of the St'at'imc, i.e. the Lil'wat, and had originally as a placename referred to locations in that area (Mt Currie-Lillooet Lake); the name Lillooet at its current primary meaning was an adoption/appropriation by non-natives, with native permission, from the original name of the town/location Cayoosh or Cayoosh Flat
  • Kootenay/Kootenai vs Ktunaxa
    • note language article had been at Ktunaxa language for a while, and for a bit at Ksanka language
  • Coquitlam vs Kwikwetlem
  • Chemainus vs Stz'uminus
  • Sooke vs T'zouke
  • Squamish vs Skwxwu7mesh
  • Chilcotin vs. Tsilhqot'in
  • Chehalis (BC) vs Sts'Ailes
  • Bella Coola vs Nuxalk
  • Bella Bella vs Heiltsuk
  • Malahat vs Malahat First Nation
  • Cowichan vs Quwutsun; Quwutsun is the primary of the seven or so groups comprising today's Cowichan Tribes band government
  • Sechelt vs Shishalh
  • Nanaimo vs Snuneymuxw
    • Language is Hulquminum
  • Nanoose (Bay) vs Snawnawas
    • NB in older times had included the group who now style themselves as Snuneymuxw; as with Snuneymux their language is Hulquminum
  • Qualicum Beach/River vs Qualicum people/Qualicum Indian Band; no native form exists in modern English usage
    • their language is Hulquminum
  • Comox
  • Comox vs K'omoks
    • NB "K'omoks" is for the group anthropolists and linguists label "Island Comox", not for the Mainland Comox group, who, since the Indian Act and the reserve system and separate governments were imposed, were:
    • Sliammon vs Tla A'min
    • Homathko vs. Homalco (native endonym is out there, I'll be back with it)
    • Klahoose (has no placename parallel)
    • The Island group have adopted Lik'wala, a dialect of Kwak'wala, as their language; their ancient language aka Comox is formally extinct; using "Comox language" is inappropriate because it's not suitable for the mainland groups .... who do not use that name for themselves, or for their language (Thathloothem), either ("Sahtloot" is the old name for the main Island group; the Island Comox were really about seven peoples including the Sahtloot and Pentlatch) . "Comox" is derived from a Lik'wala word and was for the area originally not the people; and was applied to them via that Lik'wala loan into English
  • Puntledge/Puntledge River vs Pentlatch
    • absorbed by the K'omoks
  • Kwakiutl vs Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl is not a placename other than as a referencet to the Kwakiutl First Nation and as used by the Southern Kwakiutl groups and a certain tribal council, the Kwakiutl District Council)

Items where the placename is the source of the First Nation government-name (not including fully-English names such as Burns Lake Indian Band vs Burns Lake or Upper Nicola Indian Band or Seabird Island First Nation)

  • Nazko vs Nazko First Nation (who are Dakelh)
  • Spuzzum vs Spuzzum First Nation/Indian Band (Nlaka'pamux)
  • Matsqui vs Matsqui First Nation (Matsqui was a former district municipality now amalgamated into the City of Abbotsford)
  • Sumas vs native-band names (Upper and Lower Sumas FNs; Sumas, British Columbia was a former district municipality now amagamated into the City of Abbotsford)
  • Whonnock vs Whonnock Indian Band (who are now absorbed, I think, by the Kwantlen First Nation)
  • Popkum vs Popkum First Nation
  • Kamloops vs Kamloops Indian Band

Exceptions where a placename is MORECOMMON than the usual English name, and there is no other form of the native name. Some of these are:

  • Tahltan, British Columbia vs Tahltan - the latter is the people article; the place is only seasonally inhabited
  • Tsawwassen vs the Tsawwassen First Nation/people (Hunquminum form not used in English) - the placename is by far the dominant usage, as with other names in the list above e.g. Squamish and Bella Bella
  • Musqueam, though a placename for the reserve, and also in the name of the golf course and subdivision on their lands, which do not have articles and would be disambiguated anyway, does not yet have a people article
  • Kwantlen, though used for a major college/university, does not have a placename equivalent
  • Katzie is a placename usage for the reserve community of the Katzie First Nation but does not have its own article/title as such

Further notes[edit]