Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2005-02-21/Gdansk or Danzig
New push to resolve Gdansk/Danzig naming dispute
A vote has been started on Talk:Gdansk/Vote to resolve the multi-year, multi-article dispute about the naming of Gdansk/Danzig, a city with a rich history shared between Poland and Germany. The discussion and dispute on Gdansk is nearly as old as Wikipedia itself, with the edits about the dispute reaching back even beyond the first history entry on December 2001. The dispute caused frequent edit wars on the article, and extended discussions on Talk:Gdansk were unable to find a compromise. Over time these edit wars have also spread to many articles that refer to this city, fighting over the name to be used.
In a way, this article epitomizes the many places in this area of Europe that have changed from one country and language to another. Similar disputes have happened regarding other places that also changed ownership between Poland and Germany, and frequently an edit war regarding one would spill over to affect others. Collectively, the issue is arguably the largest and longest-running article content dispute on Wikipedia.
Organization of the vote
To resolve this dispute, a major vote has been organized on Talk:Gdansk/Vote by Chris 73 and John Kenney, with help from Szopen. In order to deal with the subtleties of the issue, the vote is broken down into 10 separate questions.
The first six questions deal with the naming of the city during different periods of its history, corresponding to changes in political control of the city. The next question handles the naming of locations in biographies of Polish and German persons, asking if the national language name is to be used, with a cross reference to other languages. Two more questions ask if a cross reference to other names should be given at the first mentioning of one name in an article, not only for Gdansk/Danzig but also for other locations that share a history between Poland and Germany.
The last question aims to gather support to enforce the voting results, allowing users to revert changes to place names that do not conform to community consensus. It proposes that persistent edits of this nature may be treated as vandalism, with the implication that reverts of such edits are not subject to the Three revert rule.
The vote started three days ago on Friday, February 18 0:00, but already has a pretty good turnout, with over 50 voters so far. The interim results show a strong preference to use Gdansk before 1308 and after 1945, and a strong preference for Danzig for 1308 to 1466 and 1793 to 1945. Only the period from 1466 to 1793 is about evenly matched, probably due to the German speaking city being under Polish overlordship. Related to this uncertain period, a discussion at the end of the vote page was started that points out that English language sources generally use Danzig when referring to the city at this time. The votes on naming for biographies, and the cross naming for Gdansk/Danzig and other location names so far received the majority of the support, with some users additionally preferring the Polish name only after 1945.
However, the vote runs for almost two more weeks till Friday, March 4 0:00, and the results may change from the interim results. Interested users may vote till then on Talk:Gdansk/Vote.