Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Naming conventions (subnational entities)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (subnational entities) (talk · history · watch)

View of Neutral Initiator[edit]


Ok, I saw this as a request on WP:TINMC, so I figured something heavy duty was necessary to get this debate solved. In order for this to succeed, all sides will need to be succinct and respectful. Since this is a proposed guideline, if no significant progress is made between the sides within a few weeks, I'll consider it unable to ever get enough consensus in an already horribly complicated and fragile policy/guideline creation system and delete it outright. karmafist 17:23, 22 December 2005 (UTC)


Ok, here's what i've seen.

  • Golbez (talk · contribs) seems to be the voice of reason here, he doesn't care about the dispute as much as solving it from how it sounds here and at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Tobias Conradi. I don't know if this is true or not, but i'm willing to WP:AGF, this dispute has been pointless for the most part and should be rectified as soon as possible.
  • William Allen Simpson (talk · contribs) and Tobias Conradi (talk · contribs) are two good faith editors that have forgotten that a trifling dispute which has escalated due to mutual mistrust and has detracted from this effort. Golbez appears to be on the side of William Allan Simpson, but only nominally since things have gotten ugly. This dispute is counterproductive, and both sides need to realize that if they just step away from their egos for a second that the policy itself is the important thing here, not what they think of each other.
  • Plan B seems the best, since it's similiar to other regular title naming elsewhere. However, Tobias(who does not specifically endorse Plan B) is correct in the idea that the official names should be incorporated with the articles, and I believe that the non-English names should always there as redirects, and the official names should always be stated in the first paragraph of any article. karmafist 19:03, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Involved Parties[edit]

View of William Allen Simpson[edit]

Previously, a third party (see 2005-12-09 16:07:28 Codex Sinaiticus) reviewed claims of "lies", concluding that the terminology disagreement was minor, and that the pages should not have been moved and "forked" by Tobias Conradi.

I'd hoped for quick mediation concerning the name calling and vandalism, so I filed Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal/Cases/12 December 2005/Wikipedia:Naming conventions (subnational entities), which is hereby incorporated by reference.

Since the Mediators seemed to have gone on hiatus, I've since filed Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Tobias Conradi, which is hereby incorporated by reference. I presume that the namecalling and other behavioural problems will be considered there.

Therefore, I'll just stick to issues concerning the Naming conventions pages themselves.

Background and History[edit]

A previous effort failed: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (provinces).

Circa August 15, 2005, a vote was taken on Proposals A (by Tobias Conradi) and B (by administrator Golbez), with plenty of opportunity for outside comment. Proposal A had only 1 supporter listed, and Proposal B had 8 supporters listed.

At that time, Tobias Conradi made numerous vitriolic complaints and petty accusations.

Instead of following the clear consensus, Tobias Conradi devoted the next several months to subverting the entire Wikipedia by moving thousands of cities, regions, and other (technical term of art) administrative divisions to conform to his Proposal A. There were revert wars, and many other objections.

Having discovered an incident of this problem (but not yet knowing the full extent of the subversion), I read all the background and talk pages, and attempted a synthesis proposal that adhered closely to Proposal B — yet taking a "middle way" on some issues between A and B, by re-introducing concepts already in wide use on other MoS pages (such as, checking existing practices).

The response by Conradi was rapid, personal, and nasty, and continues to this day. These include wiki-stalking and defacement of my User page. See Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Tobias Conradi for details.

Recent problems on the page[edit]

The page was repeatedly damaged by Tobias Conradi (there are usually multiple examples, these are just some of them in chronological order):

-- 2005-12-08 15:28:27

-- 2005-12-09 03:23:43, new day, still within 24 hours

At this point, it is obvious that Conradi games the system. Assuming he's run out of reverts for the calendar day, he begins moving instead.

-- 2005-12-09 13:45:50, all within 24 hours!

-- 2005-12-10 19:34:09

  • revert 1 by Conradi
  • another 9 edits by Conradi, again concealing the nasty changes in a flurry of frivolous edits.
    • This repeated use of the same technique shows deliberate gaming the system.
    • These edits are really defacement vandalism,
    • cloaked as "coloring" parts of the page,
    • while adding unhelpful comments in others' comparisons,
    • and changing the clear comparison word "Country" to the non-word "Someland".

-- 2005-12-11

-- 2005-12-12

-- 2005-12-13 edit conflicts!

-- 2005-12-14

-- 2005-12-16

-- 2005-12-17 After a pause of 3 days, Conradi begins another revert series. Because he's reverting to 12-13, he's blanking substantive Proposal UP text.

-- 2005-12-19

-- 2005-12-20 21:59:16

-- 2005-12-21, new day, still within 24 hours

--2005-12-21 17:28:56, all within 24 hours!

The minor flag is usually set for vandalism reversion. This is clearly vandalism reversion.

And thus we stand pat. The substantive text I've contributed has been blanked and vandalized. The comparison tables are damaged.

Response to Golbez[edit]

I agree that the recent Conradi vandalism on this page is/was about presentation and process, and that it might be best for another party to handle the comparison tables.

But Golbez is apparently unware that Conradi has been busily changing all the top level administrative divisions such as provinces (and oblasts) to Proposal A, instead of current consensus Proposal B. This has created consternation (and other revert wars) in several cases.

Conradi has also reached as far down as Hamlets in his quest to standardize everything according to his scheme, and I agree that these lower level divisions are the vast bulk of the disputed alterations of such pages. That's why my Proposal extends Proposal B to these additional levels.

--William Allen Simpson 10:31, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Can you cite an instance of Tobias moving top-level articles from Prop B-format to Prop A-format in the last two months? Also, I didn't make a proposal for them because I think they are best handled on the individual national level. We don't need a global standard of how to deal with U.S. counties and Dutch quarters and French cantons, IMO. My only goal was to create a standard presentation and disambiguation format for the top-level, since they interact with each more more often than second-level will. --Golbez 10:47, 24 December 2005 (UTC)


2005-11-02 Antioquia Department. The actual Columbian name translates to Department of Antioquia (matching While doing this, Conradi created a disambiguation page for Antioquia, but never fixed the ~100 references, and didn't even move the interwiki links to the new page.

There are many hundreds more examples, seen in the recent contributions pages, where Conradi has moved "district" to "District", "division" to "Division", "province" to "Province", even after having been explicitly told that the corresponding word (Finnish, Russian, Turkish, etc.) is not capitalized.

  • Talk:Provinces of Turkey says, "For cities that ARE the same name as provinces (iller), they distinguish between the city, calling it "center" merkez, or they will call it "province" il, for example Ankara (merkez)." There are recent examples of folks trying to move the Turkish names back to lower case.
  • Oblast (current as of today, but the page was recently in flux) says, "... province or region. In terms of administrative subdivisions, the latter two translations may be inaccurate or confusing."
--William Allen Simpson 18:28, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Guidelines versus Standards[edit]

My Proposal is not a "global standard" per se (unlike Proposal A), but rather a guideline — that the same attention to local language practice in Proposal B be extended to all levels. Thus, it will not require every place everywhere to conform to a single standard, but encourage consistency within a country. This also aids coordination between the various language Wikipedia. Golbez and I are in agreement on this issue.

Since I restarted the discussion, Conradi has redoubled his efforts to make the entire Wikipedia conform to his Proposal A at all levels, presumably to create a de facto standard.

--William Allen Simpson 18:46, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):[edit]

  1. William Allen Simpson 18:03, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

View of Golbez[edit]

I got involved in the naming of subnational entities back when I realized that many of such on Wikipedia lacked maps, so I started making them, and making stub articles to go along with them. In the process, I gained an idea of how such things should be named. I noticed Tobias Conradi had a different idea, and was getting in a lot of arguments with users over it. So, after some strife between us, I attempted to present a solution to the community. He did so as well. Things between us didn't get much better, but I finally advertised the proposal around and most of the votes supported mine, designated Proposal B.

Things were pretty okay after that - I shifted things slightly in light of some things Tobias suggested, and he has not so far reverted the few changes I made to fit Prop B. In other words, peaceful coexistence. Then William came along. I don't recall how the dispute began, except that William added a new proposal, and then Tobias edited it, in particular to rename it, and adding his comments to the proposal itself rather than below. Thus began the current troubles.

I should point out that I don't really care about most of what William says. Perhaps Tobias has moved thousands of articles - not my problem. I never made any illusions from the start that all I'm concerned with - at this moment - are the top-level divisions, those 2000-or-so states, provinces, and oblasts that make up the world. Much of Tobias's work has been on the second-level divisions - counties, departments, municipalities, etc. Up to thousands in each country. Not my concern.

However, I did think that Tobias was out of line with his editing the name of the proposal - a minor aspect, perhaps, but an important one, as he was claiming that the name of William's proposal (Proposal UP) was NPOV. We are not obligated to be NPOV in a policy discussion page, and I disagree that it was NPOV at all. This fight went on for some time until it finally cooled, but they have since been involved in a pointless and fruitless revert war over the same article, and for the life of me I can't determine why.

I don't know why William is calling for such harsh sanctions on Tobias. I just want them to cool down and leave the proposal as it was. Prop B was voted on by a small minority, but it still received the vast majority of votes by the people who did stop by and bother to vote. It most fits existing Wiki style, and only a few (I'd say fewer than 10) articles have had to be moved to conform to it. It was working out just fine, and so far I see no reason to change.

I think that is what this RfC is about, right? What proposal to use and what the problems on the proposal article are? I'm essentially a third party here - I know there's no settled law on Wikipedia, but the war is almost entirely about the creation of the proposal, rather than the superiority or inferiority of the proposal. It's an issue about the process of process, not the standard.

I have remained uninvolved in the revert war, except to point out faults and abuses of Wiki practices - such as marking a non-vandalism revert as a minor edit, or to make minor changes to format. I was involved early on, as I felt it was very out of line for Tobias to rename someone else's proposal, but apart from that, I have no dog in this fight. I am involved in the proposal process so I'm not about to use my admin duties to pick one over the other.

I emplore the mediator to make sure that he recognizes that there was a long period of peace/idleness after Prop B was seemingly approved by the few people who stopped by (I advertised the vote on the Pump and IRC, so I cannot be blamed), so the validity of the proposal doesn't seem to be an issue. It is not set in stone, nothing on Wikipedia is. It's used, without complaint, in almost every situation, and the ones that it isn't (if any) probably just haven't been consulted about it yet. The problems that drew you to this article are solely due to the creation of the new proposal, and the fight over it. So if this is about selecting a proposal, please keep in mind that one was already seemingly selected.

Thank you.

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):[edit]

  1. Golbez 10:01, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Tobias Conradi (Talk)[edit]

I would like to see evidence for Karmafists claims as bolded:

-- trifling dispute which has escalated due to mutual mistrust and has detracted from this effort. Golbez appears to be on the side of William Allan Simpson, but only nominally since things have gotten ugly. This dispute is counterproductive, and both sides need to realize that if they just step away from their egos for a second that the policy itself is the important thing here, not what they think of each other. --

Of course the policy is important. And that's why lies or wrong statements should be removed or at least marked as such. But William did insist on the lies/wrong statements and not marking them as such, therefor possibly totally mislead other users that read the page. And he did destroy the usefulness of the comparison table. And he called my edits vandalizm. And he accused me of using a robot and posted several other accusations on different pages.

I wrote on his talk page, I stepped away from naming proposal "UP" to more the consistent and neutral name "C", but he went on and on to revert everything I did and by doing so deleted lot of content. He accused Tobias Conradi to be a straw man of Tobias Conradi (yes!). He accused Tobias of WikiStalking, of using lots of small edits to make revert more difficult for others (how?). I don't see anything comparable by Tobias. Tobias was much more concentrated on the proposal and did not attack William. On one point he wrote something on the user page of William that should more correctly been placed on the talk page. This was after William did not stop to attack Tobias and after William posted Vandal accusations on Tobias talk page without signing. So maybe Tobias just lost nerves by this annoying large scale attacks from newbie William.

Tobias Conradi (Talk) 14:04, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):[edit]

View of Involved Party[edit]

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):[edit]

Outside Views[edit]

Outside view of[edit]

This is a summary written by users not directly involved with the dispute but who would like to add an outside view of the dispute. Users editing other sections ("Statement of the dispute" and "Response") should not edit the "Outside Views" section, except to endorse an outside view.

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):

Proposed Solutions[edit]

Proposed Solution by William Allen Simpson[edit]

Proposal UP is/was clearly defined. It has/had a text section that could be the final guideline for naming places within countries.

  1. Please remove the ridiculous and frivolous changes to the comparison tables and the sections describing the proposals.
  2. A fair opportunity should be had for others to evaluate Proposal UP, either as part of this RfC or after its conclusion.
  3. The thousands of placename alterations that have been made over the past year should be changed to conform with consensus.

Users who endorse this solution (sign with ~~~~):

  1. William Allen Simpson 18:22, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Proposed Solution by Golbez[edit]

If this is about picking a proposal, I suggest mine (of course), Prop B, it being the most used and having received the most votes. If this is about the recent edit wars, I suggest nuking it altogether, let William recreate his proposal, and let Tobias respond outside. Perhaps a third party should create a comparison table if necessary (and I disagree that it's necessary, we can read). Tobias should not be banned from doing anything in this. William wants the thousands of placenames changed to conform to consensus, but the funny thing is, Prop B was the consensus (as far as this argument goes), and Prop B has nothing to say about 99% of the moves Tobias made. Also, many of them apply to the Rivers, etc. naming standards, which should be considered outside the scope of this mediation.

So, my proposed solution? Status quo ante bellum. Simple as that. No bans, no sanctions, except warnings about edit warring and such.

Users who endorse this solution (sign with ~~~~):

  1. Golbez 10:04, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Proposed Solution by Tobias[edit]

Remove the lies of William about the officialty of "Comayagua department". Give him lessons about how to read the comparison table and teach him not to destroy by rename the rows and deleting rows. Teach him what is WP:Vandalism so that maybe one day he stops to call my edits Vandalism. Teach him not to make so many bad claims about other people (latest being stalking). Rename proposal UP to C , so that it is NPOV and fits the line A, B, C, D. Tobias Conradi (Talk) 03:59, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Users who endorse this solution (sign with ~~~~):

  1. Tobias Conradi (Talk) 03:59, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Proposed Solution by[edit]

Users who endorse this solution (sign with ~~~~):


All signed comments and talk not related to an endorsement should be directed to this page's discussion page. Discussion should not be added below. Discussion should be posted on the talk page. Threaded replies to another user's vote, endorsement, evidence, response, or comment should be posted to the talk page.