Wikipedia talk:Article titles

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


Full disclosure: I came to this page again from a discussion at Talk:May 1968 events in France. This edit by me is not related to any of the arguments from that discussion, however. —Sangdeboeuf (talk) 02:14, 15 November 2019‎ (UTC)

RfC: Shooting or Death or Killing or Murder?[edit]

Revised version per comments below

Should the above flowchart be adopted as a guideline for determining the default titles for articles about a notable death? --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 20:48, 7 October 2020 (UTC)

Responses, shootings flowchart (yes/no/other)[edit]

  • Yes. This, like any guideline on, is not intended as a prescriptive rule. Just a general framework from which there will be exceptions based on consensus. The flowchart also includes a footnote about WP:COMMONNAME, for cases such as Death of Adolf Hilter. I support this as the proposer per my comments in the many discussion about this subject linked in the discussion section below. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 20:48, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes, but with a clear "generally" caveat. It's a reasonable guideline that should hopefully reduce the number of move discussions that take place. It's not ironclad, though—for instance, as I pointed out in the previous discussion, many natural death articles may be better served by a title like Drowning of [name] than Death of [name]. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 20:59, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
  • No. Some observations.
  • If "homicide" means "criminal taking of someone's life", then a determination of whether a death was a homicide is tantamount to an affirmative answer to "was there a murder conviction", so they should be one decision point, not two that are separated by two others.
  • If "homicide" means "death caused by another person", then medical malpractice, deaths from risky medical procedures even when the risks were known and accepted by the patient, and accidental shootings fall under both "accidental death" and "homicide".
  • I see no need to go beyond "killing". "Killing" suffices with or without a murder conviction, and covers manslaughter convictions as well. In the case of an article created before a conviction, I see no reason to rename it after a conviction when the existing name is still fitting.
Largoplazo (talk) 21:13, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
"Homicide" is a determination by a coroner, a coroner's jury, medical examiner, or other such authority. We routinely move pages from "Death" to "Murder". --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 21:51, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
  • No as proposed. Assassination is not covered, but we have a large number of "Assassination of" articles. Is the proposal to move, for example, Assassination of Abraham Lincoln to Killing of Abraham Lincoln? (Booth was shot before he could be convicted of murder). If not (and I assume it isn't), we should cover assassinations explicitly, rather than having to put together an exception for every assassination. Tevildo (talk) 21:25, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    No, in such cases, the COMMONNAME will resolve such issues. There are always caveats. There is no quick question to ask for whether a death is an assassination. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 21:49, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    But there's already an explicit treatment of executions, which (as others have pointed out) is a far more contentious issue: Ceaucescu was summarily shot with only the most minimal of legal process, certainly not a fair trial, but his article is still at Trial and execution of Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu. Assassinations should be easier to deal with. Tevildo (talk) 22:36, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    I am afraid assassinations are not easy to deal with without COMMONNAME. This issue came up at Killing of Osama bin Laden and Assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. Only COMMONNAME was able to resolve those cases.
    "execution of Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu" is the COMMONNAME. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 22:46, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    Suggestion. (1) Remove the "execution" branch. (2) Start the flowchart with something like "Is the event described in reliable sources as something other than 'Death', 'Killing', or 'Murder'? (for example, 'Assassination', 'Execution', 'Lynching') If so, use that description. If not [continue flowchart as written]". Tevildo (talk) 22:56, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    That is already baked into the footnote about COMMONNAME. As was pointed out in the pre-discusion at WT:RM, we cannot remove "execution" because an execution, even a legally mandated one, is by definition a "homicide". --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 23:37, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    As a minimum, then, the most important element of the chart (COMMONNAME) should be at the start, not in a footnote. And we have to make it clear that we can't use COMMONNAME to generate "Murder". Tevildo (talk) 00:28, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    No objection. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 02:29, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
  • No. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:39, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
No, not ready. Too simple. I oppose not allowing “execution” for criminal executions. I oppose “murder” for qualified “murder”, such as second and third degree murders. These can be technicalities. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:00, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
SmokeyJoe, in what situation, besides COMMONNAME, would we call a "criminal execution" an "Execution of ..."? I have no reply for "second and third degree murders" --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 22:04, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
Eg the Romanov family. Execution of the Romanov family. They were executed, it was not legally sanctioned. “Besides COMMONNAME” is not ok, if it means discarding most inconsistencies. The flowchart should harmonise with COMMONNAME results. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:20, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
SmokeyJoe, "Execution of the Romanov family" is the COMMONNAME. The flowchart is meant to resolve the countless cases in which COMMONNAME has failed to render a result. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 22:31, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
Understood, however, if the flowchart does not produce the same results as COMMONNAME, for cases where there is good COMMONNAME evidence, then the flowchart fails. If there is insufficient sourcing to talk COMMONNAME, then there is insufficient suitable sourcing to make fine detail decisions as to whether it was a legally determined murder, or whether the execution was legally sanctioned, and whether the legal system was legitimate. No, the more I look, the more I think the flowchart is wrong. It invites primary source sleuthing for poorly sourced cases. I think that maybe "Killing of ..." should be the default, where the person died, unless there is COMMONNAME evidence for something else. COMMONNAME evidence does not include court documented findings, or scholarly legal papers on the legitimacy of a revolutionary regime. The flowchart has to be an harmonious generalization of COMMONNAME cases. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:27, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
I think you have not grasped the issue this is trying to solve. Take for example the Killing of Greg Gunn, which was titled a "shooting" until very recently. Sources variously describe it as a "shooting", "killing", "death", "fatal shooting", or "murder". We can argue in circles about which is the COMMONNAME. The fact that it is a "homicide" was determined by a medical examiner and reported by secondary sources. The perpetrator was charged with murder and manslaughter, and convicted for manslaughter. No amount of analysis (Google sleuthing) of RS will lead to a conclusion on the COMMONNAME (it is too soon for Ngrams). Some sources go too far and call it a murder and some sources don't go far enough and even avoid calling it a killing because the perpetrator is a police officer, even though by any definition of the word "manslaughter" is a "killing" (undeniable) and "homicide" is also a "killing", while some Wikipedia editors have even argued against that. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 02:16, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
Still no, having read all subsequent comments. The flowchart encourages the use of loaded "suicide", "execution" or "murder" in cases where sources can't justify it. It is assumed that there is no COMMONNAME evidence, which means there are not secondary sources describing the death. It is calling for primary source sleuthing. This is the wrong way to go. Instead, in the absence of sourced topic labelling, Wikipedia should be conservative, not provocative. If "suicide", "execution" or "murder" cannot be sourced from reliable secondary sources that introduce the topic with these words, then they should NOT be used unqualified in big text in the title.
In the absence of source=based COMMONNAME justification for specific modes of death ...
Use "Death of" by default, where the topic is the death of someone.
Use "Killing of" be default if the death was unambiguously caused by one or more others.
Do NOT write into Wikipedia policy assumptions about how or who determines what killing is a murder, or what death is a suicide. In the absence of sources, be generic. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:58, 5 November 2020 (UTC)
  • This flowchart is confusing, and this amount of prescription is unnecessary. Natureium (talk) 22:47, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support fully as proposed Is a comprehensive, well-designed, neutral and clear guideline. It is easy to follow, logical and not inconsistent with other policies, with clear guidance to defer to COMMONNAME where it exists. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 23:54, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Good enough I have nits to pick, but in general I think this aligns well with how we title articles. If there's a murder conviction, we call it a murder conviction. If it's a suicide, we call it a suicide. If it's a non-fatal assault of some kind, we describe the act as best as possible (e.g., shooting, stabbing, etc). If it's a generic death we just call it a death. I think "legally mandated" as a precondition for "Execution" is too rigid per SmokeyJoe, but I'm not convinced it's a serious enough problem to prevent adopting what seems to be common sense guidance for a topic area in which we've had significant number of disputes. Wug·a·po·des 00:44, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes - True, to follow international flowchart standards, the questions should be in diamonds and the answers should be on the lines instead of inside a shape, so it looks like File:LampFlowchart.svg. But that's super easy to adjust. The flowchart provides an easy to follow guide for the titling of articles in the absence of a common name (anyone who thinks it's confusing should please elaborate on what they find confusing so we can make it less confusing). When I created Killing of Rayshard Brooks, I wasn't sure what to call it (shooting of? death of?), and there was nothing really to guide me; when I created it the day after the shooting, it was too soon to determine a common name. I picked a title and of course it went to RM (just like Killing of George Floyd and all these articles go to an immediate RM after creation), and in the RM nobody had any policy to back up any of their arguments, and even weeks after creation, there was no clear common name. This flowchart fixes that: it provides a default guide for article titling in the absence of a common name. Sure, it doesn't cover every single possible permutation (drowning, extrajudicial execution, etc. etc.), but it breaks it down into several discrete, objective categories, that basically follows the consensus that already exists (e.g., non-fatal shooting = "shooting of", fatal shooting = "killing of"). Improvements can and should be made, but let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good. As Wug says, this is good enough, and it will be very helpful to bring order to the chaos that currently exists when it comes to the titling of these types of articles (see #Table of RMs). This flowchart should be adopted as the "default" for article titling, and then if anyone thinks a particular article should deviate from the flowchart (e.g. because of its common name), that can be handled with a bold move or an RM. Lev!vich 03:28, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
  • The issue with creating a default and tacking an exception onto the end is that the default carries a lot of weight. Move the bottom part about common name up to the top, as the first branch in the flow chart rather than a "by the way" at the end. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 03:48, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    That is indeed nitpicking to the extreme. It's highlighted in a bright colour in a big box! It's the default because it applies in most cases. You can pick out a few infamous examples that have a COMMONNAME, but you forget that the majority of articles on deaths (ie the ones you couldn't name without running a search) we have do not have a clear COMMONNAME. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 09:58, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    That is indeed nitpicking to the extreme - No, it's not. If the idea is to replace judgment with a flow chart, the flow chart needs to be spot on, because people will use it as a shortcut to deliberation. And FWIW I didn't mean put the box at the top; I meant make it a branch in the flow chart. FWIW. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:07, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    Ah, I see now. Does User:Coffeeandcrumbs/sandbox#alternate resolve your concern? As an aside, I don't think formatting differences are reasons to not support a guidance being enacted. Like all guidance, stylistic differences can always be sorted out. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 13:09, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
    [just looking at the top -- haven't checked to see if this diverges from what's above otherwise] - yes that's basically what I mean. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 02:30, 10 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment I have created a revised version per the comments about format and wording. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 12:29, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP. We already have a reasonable general guideline: WP:COMMONNAME. The proposed flowchart seems too prescriptive, contrary to WP:NOTLAW, and may be buggy. For example, consider the first question "Is the person dead?". Everyone dies eventually and so the question will not work well in retrospect. Andrew🐉(talk) 16:24, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    Other than for Schrödinger's cat, "Is the person dead?" is a pretty easy yes/no question to answer. Lev!vich 16:51, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    I recently looked into the case of Konrad Steffen which came up at ITN. Our article still says that he drowned but I found that he actually disappeared. No body was found – they only found a hole and so supposed that he fell down a crevasse. Whether he died from trauma, hypothermia, shock or whatever is not known. We have lots of cases of missing people which are commonly titled "Disappearance of..." They are often controversial – cases like Lord Lucan and Madeleine McCann – and it may be quite uncertain whether they are dead or not.
    This flowchart just seems to be designed around a narrow type of AP issue like George Floyd. But when you get beyond the Americentrism, there are lots of other possibilities. The natural tendency will then be for the flowchart to be expanded and so get ever more complex, controversial and creepy.
    Anyway, back to that first box. Let's consider a case of extrajudicial killing that I literally looked at last year – the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Consider that pretty easy question "Is the person dead?". Who is "the person" supposed to be? Wyatt Earp, Billy Clanton or any of the many other people involved? It's not so simple, is it?
    Andrew🐉(talk) 09:45, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    This flowchart just seems to be designed around a narrow type of AP issue like George Floyd ... Yes this flowchart is specifically for "Death of" articles. It might seem like a narrow issue but as the #Table of RMs shows, this narrow issue results in frequent RMs. The point of the flowchart is to give us a guideline so we don't have to have an RM for every such article. So the flowchart would not even apply to articles like Shootout at the OK Corral or an article about someone's disappearance (or any article with a common name). Lev!vich 16:24, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support provides helpful, common-sense guidance for the cases where common name doesn't yield a clear answer. (t · c) buidhe 00:08, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Useful / support I honestly think this provides some very useful guidance as to how articles should be titled, and this is a very common topic of discussion. Putting it in the guideline standardises the titling of many articles. As stated above it provides guidance but there will be times when there needs to be discussion about specific titles, I don't see that as a problem with including this. If anything this just raises the bar slightly and helps standardise this issue for many articles but leaves some leeway for when a more specific title is required.--Tom (LT) (talk) 03:01, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support as a general rule of thumb, though I also think we should consider adding an additional criterion for murder vs. assassination. Kurtis (talk) 06:28, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
    Any notable assassination will have a COMMONNAME. The purpose of this guide is not to replace COMMONNAME, it's to prescribe guidance where one doesn't really exist. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 13:05, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
    Perfect. I can definitely support that. Kurtis (talk) 06:56, 10 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes to the alternative version. It is an excellent starting point, easy to follow and future versions can be tweaked as necessary. It seems to follow how these articles eventually get named and should help to reduce the time spent arguing over requested moves. AIRcorn (talk) 22:26, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Very Strong "No" – this is clearly going to cause more trouble than it will ever resolve (a.k.a. WP:INSTRUCTION CREEP). For the difficult cases there's no help in this, and for the simple cases, nothing needs to be added to current guidance. I object to the assumption that "COMMON NAME" trumps all, as it is in the current proposal. The general article titling policy requirements are based on five WP:CRITERIA, and these five criteria can not be reduced to "COMMON NAME" (believe me, it has been tried before, time and again causing more discussion and discord than such a simplification could ever achieve to reduce). WP:RM is the way to go for the difficult cases, not this proposed scheme. If you think it could be helpful, put it on an essay page, but never in the WP:AT policy. If after a few years, the scheme (or, more likely: an improved version of it) proves beneficial, then maybe a guideline (e.g. appended to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (events)), but for policy this is clear and unambiguous WP:CREEP. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:19, 10 October 2020 (UTC) Updated after Paty case (see #Table of RMs below) which amply illustrates how counterproductive the OP's proposal is (yes, indeed, also its updated version). --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:28, 31 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support, with the caveat that special cases ("Assassination of"; "Execution of") override the chart. BD2412 T 16:47, 10 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support revised flowchart. This isn't creep; this is settling a debate we've had repeatedly over the years. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 18:20, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support in principle I have not given a great deal of thought to whether this is the best potential flowchart, but it seems broadly reasonable. I disagree that this is WP:CREEP and support finding some sort of uniform way to determine titling of articles like this. Calliopejen1 (talk) 22:42, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support As with all rules, this need not be utterly binding. But having a guiding chart would be very helpful, as the nicely curated list below suggests. There have been many nasty naming discussions as of late over this very issue, this should hopefully make future incidents less disruptive. After someone is killed, especially when its high profile, there tends to be multiple move discussions, which is very disruptive. That needs to stop. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 03:29, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Not as current. It's close, and I appreciate the prominent disclaimer for COMMONNNAME, but the "was there a murder conviction y/n" would invite more endless RMs for cases that were very clearly murders but there was technically no conviction (because the case is hundreds of years old, because the murderer also died in the incident, because the murderer was discovered conclusively but too late after they died / fled the jurisdiction, etc.). Additionally, there are cases like felony murder where there very well might be a "murder", but the killing was committed by someone other than the person convicted of murder. That one just needs to be a text box that says "Use your judgment, check COMMONNAME, don't use 'murder' without solid, non-tabloidy sources backing this, especially if there is no conviction." SnowFire (talk) 06:45, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
    • I agree about “murder”. Unqualified murder is unqualified murder, which does not include second degree murder. Keep in mind that this is for cases with no COMMONNAME evidence, which means no quality sources introducing the topic. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:36, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: Hidden in the proposed flowchart are several substantial changes of Wikipedia typical convention. One of the issues is that nearly all articles about non-murder fatal shootings are currently at titles that start with "Shooting of", which the flowchart would say should be moved to "Killing of". The proposer has been an advocate of such changes recently, and it is important to notice that this is an advocated significant change of typical convention, not just a documenting of ordinary typical practice. Per several dictionary definitions discussed in recent RMs, the title "Killing of" would tend to imply deliberation and intention in a way that is not broadly appropriate. Another issue is that there are many articles that currently use "Murder of" that this would say should be moved to "Killing of" (e.g., Murder of Seth Rich). I tend to be somewhat conservative about labelling deaths as murder, but it tends to be important to note that there is a distinction between the colloquial definition of murder and the legal one. The flowchart is generally too prescriptive. Also, in some of the relevant articles and RM discussions, there have been particular aspects relevant to the topic that I believe any such flowchart would tend to treat in too simplistic a manner. I don't see a big problem in current typical practices that needs changing, but this is proposing a rather big change. —BarrelProof (talk) 01:06, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'd prefer to see all deaths named "Death of X", unless most RS have chosen a different name, e.g. Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Where the RS have clearly and overwhelmingly chosen a certain name, we should follow suit, but otherwise "Death of" is the most straightforward. SarahSV (talk) 05:24, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support. Can be implemented with a nice overlay of common sense, and will straightforwardly get rid of a whole lot of unproductive argument. --Yair rand (talk) 09:41, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support as a guide and as the default subject to local consensus otherwise. Guy (help! - typo?) 11:34, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support as this is an issue of Wikipedia's unintentional but systemic racism. We need to recognize that, completely unintentionally, we're not treating deaths of people of color the same as we treat white people. We need to fix this. —valereee (talk) 02:05, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose A flow chart is not the way to explain meanings of English words. It suggests more precision than is really reflected. And anyway it is rather poorly formatted. −Woodstone (talk) 16:00, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    The purpose of the flowchart is not to explain meanings of English words, but to provide guidance about how articles about deaths should be titled when there isn't a clear common name. Lev!vich 18:22, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support, in principle, although there will always be exceptions when someone runs into someone else's knife ten times. Sceptre (talk) 18:18, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support as someone who's been rigorously only using "murder of ..." in article titles in cases where there has been a conviction for that offense. I still would prefer to use "X homicide" in cases where there hasn't been a conviction, much less an arrest, but the bigger battle here was over limiting "Murder of ..." to cases with actual convictions, which is totally in keeping with not only the current Associated Press style guidelines but several of our own key policies—BLP, OR, CRYSTAL, and NPOV—and that looks like it is now more settled than it was even three years ago (I also do understand that "homicide" in that context does sound distinctly American to British readers, although the National Statistics Office and CPS already recognize that use). Daniel Case (talk) 03:59, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Just use the common name. If reliable sources call it a shooting then its a shooting. If reliable sources call it a killing then call it a killing. If reliable sources call it murder then its murder etc. FOARP (talk) 13:03, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
    FOARP, what do we do when RS almost equally call the event a "shooting", a "fatal shooting", a "death", and a "killing"? --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 14:58, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
This actually doesn't happen though. You never get that kind of absolute balance with all four terms in perfect equipoise - sources always tend to favour certain formulations over others and it is the job of the editors to try to determine what that is. This is an excuse not to try to actually identify the WP:COMMONNAME but instead follow a flow-chart because its easier for people to pull stuff out of their ear-holes than to do the actual job of research. There's also a serious issue of the Wiki name shaping the name that is used in other sources, meaning that the name that is used on here (before reliable sources can decide how to refer to it) becomes the name that reliable sources use as it is the one that is surfaced by e.g., Google. It also labours under a false understanding of the range of potential convictions for homicide (to name some: manslaughter, infanticide) instead assuming murder is the only possible outcome of a conviction. FOARP (talk) 15:26, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support as guideline (conditional on there being an amendment for "Shooting of" if the death was caused by a firearm) -- there will obviously be many exceptions to this (and it's always possible that an "Assassination of" or "Lynching of" or "Defenestration of" etc will be the COMMONNAME), but those would be a controversy anyway -- this isn't generating drama -- and it seems to me like it would cover most cases. jp×g 01:07, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose: I'm generally very wary about changing our conventions, and the flowchart above has too many for me to support. Rather than trot out arguments already made, the ones by BarrelProof and Francis Schonken are the best (in my opinion). Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 16:01, 25 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose per BarrelProof's and Francis Schonken's reasoning. --‿Ꞅtruthious 𝔹andersnatch ͡ |℡| 07:22, 30 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose. While in theory it's appealing to have a "go-to" flow-chart for consistency, in practice I think it's likely each article will still need to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Case in point: Shooting of Justine Damond, where there was a (third-degree) murder conviction, but the pertinent RfC ended with no consensus to change the title to Murder – mainly for legal/technical reasons. Muzilon (talk) 07:39, 31 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support - Even though the flow chart is not perfect, it is a good guideline to follow, and can be revised as needed. --Jax 0677 (talk) 13:34, 2 November 2020 (UTC)
  • No. The intent is good but it is too simplistic as there are many scenarios it doesn't even start to consider. It might work for the few very high profile "death of" articles the author(s) are intending it to be applied to but it will be applied far wider than that. It will definitely fail for situations/jurisdictions without a clear homicide/natural causes dichotomy. It will fail where the verdict is disputed (e.g. if a regime declares the death of a protester against that regime to be the result of natural causes but the opposition say it was homicide?). It will fail where the answer to the "is this person dead?" question is unclear or disputed. Additionally, the COMMONNAME question should be part of a flow chart not separate from it. All these possibilities (and others I've not thought of) mean any flow chart is probably going to be either too simple or too complicated. Thryduulf (talk) 15:42, 5 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes. This is helpful for editors who may be creating articles immediately after an event. These is little reason to not have a guideline for future articles. The COMMONNAME note solves most of my concerns relating to this. I don't think that WP:CREEP applies here because this is just a guideline. I would however, oppose renaming existing articles en masse. Gsquaredxc (talk) 22:23, 5 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Neutral - knowing the difference requires basic comprehension and copy editing skills; i.e., WP:CIR. Atsme 💬 📧 10:52, 9 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Support (Prefer revised version) - The "Further discussion" and "Table of RMs" sections show that there have been some problems with regards to articles where the COMMONNAME is not clear. Given that the proposal is limited to those articles without a COMMONNAME, I believe that some of the concerns above are misplaced. The concern I do somewhat agree with is with Andrew Davidson's above in that there are also situations with missing people. I believe that the flowchart could be revised or updated to include situations like that, but for now I feel like the flowchart does help right now when there are situations where the COMMONNAME is not clear. --Super Goku V (talk) 03:26, 21 November 2020 (UTC)

Further discussion (shootings)[edit]

The above list of previous discussions is not yet exhaustive. Please feel free to add to it (with your signature). --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 20:48, 7 October 2020 (UTC)

I struck out the George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Jonny Gammage entries in the list above, since the heading of this section says it is a discussion about shootings. None of those were shootings. —BarrelProof (talk) 01:16, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Other RM discussions:

BarrelProof (talk) 00:52, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

I considered many locations for starting this discussion. I concluded this was the best place since this page has a good number of watchers and is a relevant policy page. For wider advertisement per WP:APPNOTE, notices have been placed at WP:CENT, at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy), at WP:BLPN, at WT:Naming conventions (events), at WT:Naming conventions (people), and WT:RM. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 20:48, 7 October 2020 (UTC)

  • A minor note: this flowchart will need to be encoded in words so that the naming convention is accessible. --Izno (talk) 20:58, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    Izno, User:Coffeeandcrumbs/sandbox is a rough draft. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 21:55, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Technical points: Diamonds are decision elements, not outcomes. Rectangles are processes, not questions. See Flowchart. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 22:03, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    We have bigger fish to fry. The image can be remade in what ever format you prefer. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 22:05, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    It's a very bad flowchart, I can't follow it - and I am a qualified computer programmer. Most of the diamonds (which as Martin writes, are decision points) have a single exit implying a forced outcome regardless of the circumstances; but one of them has three exits, and the decision described by that diamond is the enigmatic word "Yes". --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 22:15, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    Redrose64, here is a text version, maybe that is easier to understand. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 22:34, 7 October 2020 (UTC) which I've added an alternate form because it ammused me to do so.
    Trappist the monk (talk) 00:20, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    When the red-links collide... ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:25, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
  • I am thinking to create a new draft flow chart.
    I think that "Death of" followed by "Killing of" should be prominant as the defaults where there is a lack of evidence in secondary sources.
    "Suicide", "Execution" and "Murder" should probably be reserved for compelling source-based COMMONNAME evidence.
    Where the subject is not dead, the topic should be treated differently, as a WP:EVENT. If the subject is not dead, the facts of the story are likely to continue, and this is quite a different situation. Take non-dead subjects out of the flowchart.
    --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:14, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    The inclusion of the "death" gate is important because a large part of the issue is that killings of African Americans are often titled "Shooting of ..." This is an issue that has plagued many pages and the reason the issue first came to my attention. See Shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams who were each shot at least 23 times but the article before it came to my attention barely mentioned the fact that they died. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 01:59, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Perhaps it would be better to address the elephant in the room, which is that WP:BLP1E is now effectively a dead letter and all these articles should just be at the name of the victim or perpetrator. But this is the wrong place for such a discussion. Tevildo (talk) 00:04, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Very good-looking flowchart! How should the flowchart be interpreted regarding killings in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? There are two special circumstances that come up frequently enough. First, combatants v. non-combatants. An Israeli soldier entered a Palestinian refugee camp and a Palestinian dropped a stone at his head so he died. The Palestinian will stand trial in Israel and will either be convicted of murder or manslaughter. The second circumstance are Palestinian attackers that are themselves killed by Israeli security forces before standing trial. ImTheIP (talk) 11:32, 10 October 2020 (UTC)
  • It is probably not necessary to include what I would presume branches for "Is the person notable?" and "Is their death covered in so much detail as to mandate a separate article?" facet? Those could be added but that may muddy the waters. --Masem (t) 19:33, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    I think it's better to not get into the "should we have a page" questions at all only because this is WP:AT and AT shouldn't address what are really issues of WP:N. (In no small part because AT is a policy and N is a guideline.) However, I think Masem's substantive point is solid, which is that N (or somewhere) could use some guidance about when to create these pages at all. (Maybe even an NDEATH.) Alternatively, and perhaps preferably, "NDEATH" should be handled as an aspect of WP:BLP policy, because it's really about WP:BDP. I would welcome some expansion of BDP that addresses Masem's example questions and similar questions. Lev!vich 19:38, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

Technicalities and nitpickery[edit]

  • This should really specify that the person is dead of something specific, perhaps? If somebody's shot, they survive, then die of cancer 50 years later, and then we discuss the shooting on Wikipedia, we shouldn't change the thing just because they're now dead. (Yes, nobody would actually think that the policy means that, but still...) --Yair rand (talk) 22:55, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    Yair rand, in the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, the death of James Brady 33 years later was ruled a homicide from the gunshot wound he received during the incident. If that case had been independent and a standalon article. It would have been titled the Killing of James Brady. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 23:43, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
    "Ruled"? Buy who, with what authority? By a medical examiner, not a court. I thought for murder, the victim needed to die within thirty days. But you said "homicide". Homicide is a broad term, people can think it is well defined, but it is a pseudo-technical synonym to "killing". As with my comments above, this has gone over the edge into WP:NOR violating primary source sleuthing. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:35, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    The flowchart is based on a determination of "homicide" by a medical examiner which is often reported in secondary sources such as newpapers. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 01:53, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    "Determination determination of "homicide" by a medical examiner" sounds like primary source sleuthing, which is not allowed under WP:NOR. "which is often reported in secondary sources such as newpapers"? Either the term is used in secondary sources, or it is not. If it is, COMMONNAME applies. If it is not, it is primary source sleuthing. Newspaper reports, the ones that repeat the facts, without comment or analysis of the facts as supplied, are primary sources (historiographically speaking), mere repetition does not turn a primary source into a secondary source. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:49, 5 November 2020 (UTC)
  • "legally mandated execution"? What if the execution was legally authorized, but somebody had some discretion, and so was not "mandated"? I believe that this is very common. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:38, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    "mandated" may be a bad choice of word. Removing it may be an option: simply saying a "legal execution". --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 01:54, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
    I think the term I was looking for was "capital punishment" or "judicial execution". --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 02:27, 8 October 2020 (UTC)

Table of RMs[edit]

Date fatal weapon link from to !voters outcome
2018-10-16 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Yoshihiro Hattori#Requested move 16 October 2018 Death Shooting 6 Yes
2019-05-03 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Justine Damond#Requested move 3 May 2019 Shooting Murder 7 No
2019-10-19 fatal gun Talk:Murder of Renisha McBride#Requested move 19 October 2019 Shooting Murder 4 Yes
2019-11-23 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Terence Crutcher#Requested move 23 November 2019 Shooting ? 4 No
2019-11-24 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Patrick Harmon#Requested move 24 November 2019 Killing Shooting 2 Yes
2019-12-13 fatal gun Talk:Murder of Laquan McDonald#Request for comment on the title of this article Murder Shooting 14 No
2020-01-03 fatal knife Talk:Killing of Tessa Majors#Requested move 3 January 2020 Murder Death 30 No
2020-06-02 fatal knife Talk:Killing of Tessa Majors#Requested move 2 June 2020 Murder Killing 25 Yes
2020-01-08 fatal gun Talk:Killing of Osama bin Laden#Requested move 8 January 2020 Death Killing 17 No
2020-09-06 fatal gun Talk:Killing of Osama bin Laden#Requested move 6 September 2020 Death Killing 11 Yes
2020-05-12 fatal gun Talk:Killing of Ahmaud Arbery/Archive 5#Requested move 12 May 2020 Shooting Killing 34 No
2020-06-21 fatal gun Talk:Killing of Ahmaud Arbery/Archive 8#Requested move 21 June 2020 Shooting Killing 16 Yes
2020-05-14 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Atatiana Jefferson#Requested move 14 May 2020 (multiple) Killing Shooting 10 Yes
2020-05-23 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Breonna Taylor/Archive 1#Requested move 23 May 2020 (multiple) Death Shooting 7 Yes
2020-10-27 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Breonna Taylor#Requested move 27 October 2020 Shooting Killing 8 No
2020-05-27 fatal physical pressure Talk:Killing of George Floyd/Archive 1#Requested move 27 May 2020 Death Killing 230ish Yes
2020-06-02 fatal physical pressure Talk:Killing of Eric Garner/Archive 2#Requested move 2 June 2020 Death Killing 31 Yes
2020-06-02 fatal physical pressure Talk:Killing of Jonny Gammage#Requested move 2 June 2020 Death Killing 10 No
2020-09-13 fatal physical pressure Talk:Killing of Jonny Gammage#Requested move 13 September 2020 Death Killing 7 Yes
2020-06-02 fatal gun Talk:Murder of Seth Rich/Archive 13#Requested move 2 June 2020 Murder Death 10 No
2020-06-03 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of David McAtee#3 June 2020 Shooting Killing 10 No
2020-06-03 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of James Scurlock#3 June 2020 Shooting Killing 6 No
2020-06-06 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Oscar Grant#6 June 2020 Shooting Killing 5 No
2020-06-06 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Kathryn Johnston#6 June 2020 Shooting Killing 5 No
2020-06-04 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Sammy Yatim#Requested move 4 June 2020 (multiple) Death Shooting 4 Yes
2020-06-14 fatal gun Talk:Killing of Rayshard Brooks/Archive 1#Requested move 14 June 2020 Killing Shooting 41 No
2020-06-18 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Roni Levi#Requested move 18 June 2020 (multiple) Death Shooting 3 Yes
2020-06-26 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Benno Ohnesorg#Requested move 26 June 2020 Death Shooting 3 Yes
2020-06-26 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Chaiyaphum Pasae#Requested move 26 June 2020 Death Shooting 4 Yes
2020-07-02 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Neda Agha-Soltan#Requested move 2 July 2020 Death Shooting 9 Yes
2020-07-03 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of James Ashley#Requested move 3 July 2020 (multiple) Death Shooting 5 Yes
2020-07-27 fatal gun Talk:Suicide of Kurt Cobain#Requested move 27 July 2020 Suicide Death 35ish No
2020-08-19 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Walter Scott#Requested move 19 August 2020 Shooting Murder 7 No
2020-09-03 fatal gun Talk:Killing of Greg Gunn#Requested move 3 September 2020 Shooting Killing 17 Yes
2020-09-04 fatal gun Talk:Killing of Lizzie O'Neill#Requested move 4 September 2020 (multiple) Killing Shooting 8 No
2020-09-26 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams#Requested move 26 September 2020 Shooting Killing 6 No
2020-09-26 fatal gun Talk:Killing of Muhammad al-Durrah#Requested move 2 October 2020 Incident Killing 7 Yes
2020-10-09 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr.#Requested move 9 October 2020 Shooting Killing 4 Yes
2020-10-16 fatal knife Talk:Murder of Samuel Paty#Requested move 22 October 2020 Murder Killing 17 No
2020-10-27 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Alvin Cole#Requested move 27 October 2020 Shooting Killing 5 Yes
2020-10-27 fatal gun Talk:Shooting of Dijon Kizzee#Requested move 27 October 2020 Shooting Killing 4 Yes

Please feel free to add to and correct the table. Lev!vich 02:48, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Nice table. I changed "unarmed" to "N/A", since the police were armed. I also added Talk:Muhammad al-Durrah incident#Requested move 2 October 2020 and two RMs for Talk:Killing of Tessa Majors (for which the number of participants are just rough estimates). —BarrelProof (talk) 04:15, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, BarrelProof. I neglected to mention that all of my participant counts are also estimates or rough counts; just to give a sense of scale. Lev!vich 04:36, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
I added a few more, and still have a few more I plan to add later. Please note that some of these were multi-article RMs, and the table doesn't capture that. Within the multi-article RMs, there may have been some variety of different name types. —BarrelProof (talk) 04:56, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
I think that's OK (the bundled multis) because it's a Table of RMs (requested moves, i.e. discussions), and not a table of pages that were/were not moved (which would be much longer and include unopposed bold moves, articles that were never moved because they were created at the consensus title, and so forth). Each row represents one discussion reaching (or not) consensus. Also, just my preference, but I think 2018 is too old to be helpful in late 2020. We have a reasonable shot at compiling a complete list for 2019-2020. Lev!vich 05:06, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
Although the Hattori discussion of 2018 is a bit old, it was mentioned as precedent in several of the recent RMs. —BarrelProof (talk) 08:35, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
After second thoughts, I changed the "N/A" to "physical pressure". — BarrelProof (talk) 15:37, 30 October 2020 (UTC)
  • added a very recent one (yesterday); a renaming has been proposed (without reaction thus far), but no formal RM yet. The current name does not conform to the flowchart proposal above (assuming that there are still too few sources to speak of a "common name"). I don't think the flowchart would be helpful here either. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:27, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    The flowchart would say that article should be at "Killing of Samuel Paty", and would save us from having an RM about it at least until a contrary commonname emerged (which, with this case, it very likely will). What's the problem? Lev!vich 16:31, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    Re. "... would save us from having an RM about it ..." – would smile at this if it weren't so sad. As said: there is no RM. Making the flowchart a rule would more likely trigger one, rather than "save us from having" one. FYI, shortly after the two preceding comments, the page was moved to "Killing of ..." (16:32), being moved back to "Murder of ..." a few minutes later (16:39). I'd concentrate on improving the article's content, instead of trying to get a flowchart approved that, at least in this case, would be rather counterproductive. In general, no actual advantages of the flowchart have been demonstrated thus far: the whole defence of it rests on wishful thinking that it may make things easier (I'm rather convinced it would have the opposite effect). Hence my proposal to start by making it an essay, and if that really proves useful (likely with some amendments to the idea before that would be even possible), then, in the future, try to move it up to guideline. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:00, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
In many cases, such as the murder of Samuel Paty, it's clearly murder but prosecuting the killer is impossible due to him dying. We shouldn't be prevented from defining it as murder in the title, categories or body of the article simply because of a lack of a conviction. Of course cases in which the (suspected) killer is awaiting trial or has been convicted of a lesser crime such as manslaughter in relation to the killing it shouldn't be classed as murder, but there's no doubt in this case. Reliable, mainstream sources define it as murder. Jim Michael (talk) 11:46, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
This is exactly the situation that this flowchart is made for. If RSes call this killing "murder", then it will have a common name, and we should use that common name for the article title ("Murder of..."). However, if not, we as Wikipedia editors cannot declare, based on our own WP:OR, that a killing is "clearly" a murder, and title the article "Murder of...". It violates our core content principles, plus it's contrary to the definition of murder. That's why it's Murder of Seth Rich (not moved after RM, because common name), but Murder of Tessa Majors was moved to Killing of Tessa Majors (no common name, no conviction) (links to both in the table). Lev!vich 17:08, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
The Majors' case is substantially different in that defendants are awaiting trial for murder, which is an important reason to use killing in that title rather than murder. Jim Michael (talk) 18:30, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
What's the difference? The cases are the same. In the Majors case, the defendants may be acquitted of murder; it's possible, we don't know for certain. In the Paty case, if the defendant were still alive, he, too, might have been acquitted of murder; it's possible, we don't know for certain (and there are other defendants who may be convicted or acquitted of various crimes). We can't say for certain how either of those cases would go. Thus, we can't call either one "murder", which is defined as an illegal killing. We can't say a killing was "illegal" based on editors' OR; we need either the legal authorities to determine legality (flowchart), or RSes to determine legality (common name). But we can't call it "murder" because Levivich or Jim Michael think a beheading is obviously murder; that is OR, and it's not good enough for the encyclopedia. Lev!vich 18:36, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
Does the President of France describing it as a murder not qualify it as such? Jim Michael (talk) 18:44, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
No! Definitely not. The Pres of France doesn't have legal authority to decide murder under the laws of France (that's for courts); and the Pres of France isn't even a reliable source. If the courts said it was murder, that would qualify; if all the newspapers referred to it as murder (which I predict they will), that would qualify. Lev!vich 18:47, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
Some mainstream media sources in France & other countries have described it as a murder. Jim Michael (talk) 18:51, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
And the flowchart gets us to the right place: if "murder" is the common name for this killing, then the flowchart says use "murder". In the absence of that, the flowchart suggest using "killing", which avoids violating WP:OR. The flowchart is particularly useful when creating the article, because it guides editors about what title to use (in the absence of a common name, which, for these types of articles, is usually the case upon creation). That's why the flowchart reduces the likelihood of an RM, especially an RM with no consensus. It suggests what to do when there isn't a common name, and what to do when there is. Lev!vich 18:56, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
The flowchart is incompatible with the outcome in this case. I'm very strongly rejecting the idea that the flowchart might somehow become active guidance: it causes more trouble than it resolves. For article titling guidance there's a very clear principle: follow the outcome of regularly conducted RMs that show a broad consensus (which was the case here). Article titling guidance that follows the preferences of a few editors against such broad consensuses has little chance of survival, and is better done away with immediately. So, changing my suggestion above that "essay" might be an acceptable level to introduce the flowchart: it is too unhelpful even for that. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:22, 31 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Added another one (first suicide-related one) — again an example where the flowchart would have been counterproductive (and anyway would not lead to the same result as a fairly well-attended RM) → imho, time to call a spade a spade: this is a no-good proposal. Further, I think that in the table above a vital element is missing: could somebody please check how many of these RMs result in what the proposed flowchart would have? I don't think there's much good in having this table if it isn't intended as a reality check on the proposal. Further, I saw the OP proposing argumentation, in at least a few RMs, that is incompatible with the flowchart they proposed in this RfC:
    • In the Paty case, arguing "common name" (questionable enough only a few days after the event), but that's not where it gets really contradictory: instead of going for the common name (as defined by AT policy) they didn't like that common name (or at least wouldn't consider it), but just argued that amongst two less common names, the somewhat more common of the two should be chosen. In other words, not following the flowchart at all, which, after determining whether "common name" applies, does not return to that option after determining it doesn't. So illustrating that the flowchart would be of little help for streamlining such RM discussions.
    • In the Cole discussion proposing to go away from what is consistent with the flowchart, for some ill-defined "consistency" (which is clearly another kind of consistency than the consistency the flowchart is aiming at).
All in all, I've come to think that the major flaw of this proposal is that it didn't assess RM outcomes as a starting point, but started from some ideology about what should be – an ideology that is as impractical as it is incompatible with what editors want (meaning: as expressed in RMs). --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:57, 1 November 2020 (UTC)
You're completely missing the point of this proposal. It's not to streamline RMs. You also seem to be missing that the table shows you whether or not those RMs match the proposed flowchart outcome. (That's what the "fatal" and "weapon" columns are for.) You also seem to be missing that the whole purpose for this proposal is because there is not enough consistency in RMs (although there is a general trend, and that trend matches the flowchart). To suggest that this proposal didn't assess RM outcomes reveals that you must be unaware of the many months of prior discussion that led to this proposal being made. The notion that this started with an outcome in mind and worked backwards is almost insulting to the amount of effort C&C has put in to trying to build consensus and bring order to chaos. You're basically criticizing the proposal because it doesn't do something other than what it is being proposed. If you're looking for something to streamline RMs, you won't find it in this flowchart. If you're looking for guidance outside of RMs (e.g., when there is no clear single common name, when an article is being created), then this flowchart will help. Lev!vich 02:42, 2 November 2020 (UTC)
Two other things: When you added Suicide of Kurt Cobain, you also rearranged the order of the rows; please don't. The order is the way it is for a reason: multiple RMs of the same article are grouped together. The purpose of this is to show that where an RM had an outcome that did not follow the table, a subsequent RM usually (always?) had an outcome that did follow the flowchart (e.g. Osama bin Laden, Tessa Majors). If you want to sort the list chronologically, just click on the "date" header and it'll autosort that way. As to your addition of Kurt Cobain: (1) that was decided on common name, so it's "pink box" part of the flowchart and would not follow the rest of the flowchart anyway, and (2) actually, the outcome did follow the flowchart: the flowchart would say name it "suicide", and that is what the article is named, and the proposal to move it to "death" failed. So the one you added supports the flowchart, not contradicts it. I don't mean to be disrespectful or to insult you, but I genuinely believe you genuinely do not understand this proposal and its purpose. Lev!vich 02:55, 2 November 2020 (UTC)

Naming convention for a closed university?[edit]

Kansas City University is about a university that closed in 1933. Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences recently changed its name to "Kansas City University." What is the best/correct way to handle the renaming of these articles? ElKevbo (talk) 01:46, 5 November 2020 (UTC)

Not sure what the rules say but you could re-name the older university as Kansas City University (1896-1933) MilborneOne (talk) 15:18, 12 November 2020 (UTC)
Disagree. As the defunct one was located in Kansas City, Kansas and the renaming one is located in Kansas City, Missouri it seems far more logical to disambiguate by the state in which the university is located (rename either the article on the former one to a name including the state, or the article on the newer one, or both – in the last case Kansas City University would likely become a disambiguation page). Anyhow, there should probably be a WP:RM to decide on these matters. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:50, 12 November 2020 (UTC)
This assumes a single physical central campus, quite a thing of the past. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:42, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. I've tabled this until someone can provide solid evidence that Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences has actually changed its name or at least convinced a significant number of sources to refer to it by its new preferred name. Right now it looks like they're trying to rebrand themselves without going through a legal name change so we need to wait to see if their attempts are successful. ElKevbo (talk) 03:33, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Disambiguate by (YYYY-YYYY). This very concisely gives a lot of information, now closed, when closed, and the date range is very probably very helpful is recognition and avoiding misrecognition. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:39, 21 November 2020 (UTC)


Does our policy on article titles also apply to pages that are not articles? I notice that many pages such as WP:COI are in sentence case, but the Main Page is capitalized. How should we treat those titles? Interstellarity (talk) 13:26, 12 November 2020 (UTC)

  • Comment: The Main Page is in title case because that’s how the software makes it by default. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 14:09, 12 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment: From Wikipedia:Article titles: "This page explains in detail the considerations, or naming conventions, on which choices of article titles are based. This page does not detail titling for pages in other namespaces, such as categories." Main Page is technically in mainspace but this policy certainly doesn't say it should be in sentence case. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 14:48, 12 November 2020 (UTC)
  • The exact string WP:COI is in capitals because it is an acronym, which would be capitalized in this policy regardless. Perhaps the most interesting non-main space/acronym use is Manual of Style, but those pages have had at least one declined move request to the lowercase I think (which I can't find). (From memory, some editors consider that a work so it doesn't matter whether it is capitalized. I am not sure I subscribe to that view.) --Izno (talk) 15:00, 12 November 2020 (UTC)
    @Izno: Actually, what I meant to say is the title Wikipedia:Conflict of interest which is not Wikipedia:Conflict of Interest. It seems like sentence case of used most of time except on certain pages. Interstellarity (talk) 15:38, 12 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment: I do see some inconsistency in title case vs. sentence case for project page titles, and it'd be nice to see that standardized to make it easier to remember links. That said, I do feel this is a low-reward, high-effort initiative, both because there are editors on either side ready to get more invested than warranted, and because moves of important project pages can have unexpected technical hurdles. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 16:22, 12 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment – I've always wondered about the inconsistencies in WikiProject capitalization. (talk) 01:57, 13 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment − like Sdkb, I don't really have a horse in this race, but from memory, Wikipedia namespace articles seem to be pretty consistently in title case (except for the Main Page and other weird quirks that are mandated by software). But it seems like an attempt to pin it down for a guideline would result in a lot of people getting mad online. jp×g 11:13, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Wikiprojects are almost always an exception despite not being mandated by software, no? (talk) 03:50, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
    WikiProjects are a relic from the period of exponential growth of Wikipedia (See Growth of Wikipedia and WP:GROWTH)), which was approximately 2003-2007. WikiProjects spontaneously arose with editors coordinating with new editors or help be organised in adding new articles. Now, most are relics of the past, with a some exceptions that remain strong. Mandated by software? No. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:00, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
    @SmokeyJoe: Given that they're a relic of Wikipedia's early years, should we, in your view, change their capitalization to conform to our standards for other pages? (talk) 05:09, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
    Your question implies a hierarchical authoritarian view on how things are done. If the standards are a good idea, won’t the WikiProject members already be in agreement? If not, why not? What about inactive WikiProject? What is the advantage of the action? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:22, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
    Surely you're not suggesting that any application of WP:CONLEVEL – like, to use one example, the use of the article title policy – is "hierarchical" or "authoritarian".
    If the standards are a good idea, won’t the WikiProject members already be in agreement? Why would we choose to do that for one WikiProject but not another? Are there, in your view, cases where it would be desirable in the case of one WikiProject but not another? (talk) 05:34, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
    Titling policies and guidelines apply to mainspace. If they were to be extended to cover small editor group activities, essays, and userspace, that would be "hierarchical" and “authoritarian", if the rules were applied without involving the stakeholders. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:14, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
  • The question seems to assume that there are rules that are applied. Many think this, but it is not true, and should not be true. Instead, policies document what we have agreed is a good idea. Generally, if something is a good idea for articles, it could be a good idea for documentation pages too. WP:THE, for example, is a good idea, for the reasons given on that page, and these reasons apply generally and not just to articles. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:03, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
  • I would agree that Main Page would be better off avoiding the extra caps. For pages not in main space, it matters little. Dicklyon (talk) 05:16, 21 November 2020 (UTC)

Rhode Island example soon to be obsolete[edit]

Just a heads-up: please watch for certification of the Rhode Island referendum, after which the Rhode Island example in the "Conciseness" section will cease to be true. A simple verb change ("is" to "used to be") would fix it, but I don't know if we want to keep a deprecated example in a policy page. Thanks, Mathglot (talk) 06:14, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

Article title and focus[edit]

I would like to invite you to comment on the following issue:

Talk:Michael Fagan (intruder)#Article focus

Cheers, CapnZapp (talk) 16:17, 18 November 2020 (UTC)