Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 29

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"Common Name" by population, or by universality?

Arguments have been made that, for example, Ganges should be moved to Ganga because that's the form used in Indian English, and India has a larger English-speaking population than the US or the UK, and therefore takes precedence for WP:COMMONNAME; a related argument is that e.g. Ganda language needed to be moved to Luganda because Ugandan English should prevail per Wikipedia:Manual of Style#National varieties of English (though of course that only addresses orthography). These issues aren't explicitly addressed anywhere I've seen. I've raised this and a similar request for clarification at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (use English)#Using local terms for local phenomena.

(Please keep the discussion on that page.) — kwami (talk) 19:35, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

I think this could be best addressed by adding something like especially when local usage is itself divided, we do not necessarily follow the majority or plurality of local English usage against the rest of the English-speaking world: Ganges, not Ganga. to our section on National varieties of English. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:38, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Seeking third-party input for album title

A group of editors, including myself, are trying to come up with the best article title for Underoath's upcoming album. It was revealed yesterday to be titled Ø (Disambiguation), and we are not sure what to do with the symbol and if there would be any issues with having 'disambiguation' in the title since Wiki has disambiguation articles and this could be confusing. The discussion is at Talk:Underoath#Fifth album title. Thanks! Fezmar9 (talk) 20:34, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Alternative formulation of criteria

As you will have noticed, I've tried to rewrite the initial section on criteria in a way that seems to me slightly more logical (diff, new version of page - feel free to revert). Starting a new section for comments.--Kotniski (talk) 07:54, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

To explain briefly, I don't see any meaning for "precise" and "easy to find" that isn't already covered by the other criteria, so I eliminated those, but I added "disambiguation" (maybe this was just what "precise" was supposed to mean), and "commonness" (which I don't believe is really the same thing as recognizability). Perhaps we should add something about descriptive titles as well (maybe "neutrality" as a criterion, specifying also what it doesn't mean).--Kotniski (talk) 07:59, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
(As regards the cosmetic issue of conciseness vs. concision - "conciseness" sounds far more natural to me, and (the Revised) Fowler seems to agree, but maybe that just proves I'm old-fashioned.)--Kotniski (talk) 10:53, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

I have revert back to the version on the 14th and lets talk about changes. There should not be large changes to a policy page without considerable more thought. Now can we get back to the change I wanted to make? which is the point of the RfC? -- PBS (talk) 11:12, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

You reversion the version of the 14th as more "stable" or preferred reversion is strange indeed, and you have given no reason for a clumsy wholesale reversion. There has been no "large changes", and certainly no substantive change whatsoever to the meaning or advice in the policy. There have been minor rephrasings and clarifications - if you disagree with any of them, please present them here. Knepflerle (talk) 11:29, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Regarding your statement "Now can we get back to the change I wanted to make? which is the point of the RfC?", it should be pointed out that the rest of the community and the rest of the page does not go on indefinite hold whilst the change you personally want is discussed. If there is any community interest in you change, it can be incorporated into the page as it stands at any point, and it's certainly no excuse for a reversion to other parts of the page not even connected. Practically none of the edits you reverted were uncontroversial and had nothing to do with the consistency clause. Knepflerle (talk) 11:36, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
9ec) Yes, when I said feel free to revert, I did kind of mean for explicit reasons. Doesn't matter much which version we leave on top for now, but PBS, what is it you object to? (The change you wanted to make is a separate issue - when there's consensus for it, it can still be incorporated mutatis mutandis into the revised wording.) --Kotniski (talk) 11:38, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
But I see PBS is reverting not just my changes of today, but other changes made previously. With no objections being stated, this is starting to look like ownership behaviour again - "you'll all agree to the change I want to make, or I won't let anyone else make any changes whatever". --Kotniski (talk) 11:44, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
I think you will find over the last 500 edits you have made over 100 I have made under 40 so why the accusations of bad faith with "ownership behaviour again" -- PBS (talk) 12:21, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Obviously not every edit represents ownership behaviour.--Kotniski (talk) 16:33, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Oh actually, all the changes may have been made "today" in some time zones. But still, unilaterally blanket reverts with no reason given are not helpful.--Kotniski (talk) 11:55, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps we need to find a more comprehensive solution and agree on a draft before effecting change, rather than engage in "goldfish editing", i.e. nibbling at the existing text, but forgeting what changes went before. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:50, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
That really is necessary only in the case of major changes. Tweaking of the wording (the normal Wiki method) works OK as long as everyone is prepared to explain every change they make when disagreement arises. That way we find out what points really need discussion, and which are just uncontrversial clarification.--Kotniski (talk) 11:54, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Of the changes to date I could live with them up to "15:44, 17 August 2010 Knepflerle" I have not chosen this one because I think that any changes made should be discussed in detail. Just because I can live with that one does not mean that everyone can. You are making very large changes to the page and there has been little discussion here of those changes. Just one example the first sentence Before it said "Every Wikipedia article must have a unique title" Now it says: "Most generally, article titles are based on what reliable English-language sources call the subject of the article." Well no that is not true. It depends on whether it is descriptive or not: descriptive names are not based on what reliable English-language sources call the subject and things like NPOV come into play for those names. This just the first sentence and a major change -- PBS (talk) 12:01, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

No it isn't - I just moved the previous first sentence into one of the criteria (as you'll see if you look more carefully).--Kotniski (talk) 12:11, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
"because I think that any changes made should be discussed in detail" - that is simply not how the project works. There is no policy requiring a priori consensus building of uncontroversial edits. WP:BOLD and WP:BRD exist whether you like it or not, and reverting "just so there is a discussion" even if the edit is uncontroversial is veering strongly into WP:POINT territory.
""Most generally, article titles are based on what reliable English-language sources call the subject of the article." Well no that is not true. It depends on whether it is descriptive or not: descriptive names are not based on what reliable English-language sources call the subject and things like NPOV come into play for those names" - the clause is true thanks to the use of "most generally" - the vast, vast majority of article names are not in this class of "descriptive" names. Knepflerle (talk) 12:10, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
This is not an article it is a policy and "Changes made to it should reflect consensus." Bold changes were made the were reverted. We should now discuss those changes and see if there is a consensus for them. -- PBS (talk) 12:21, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
"Most generally," has a different meaning to "Generally" what you are arguing is for the term "generally" not "most generally". But it is nuances like this that need discussing and there is no doubt that there are substantial changes it these new words from the old ones. This is only the first sentence! -- PBS (talk) 12:21, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
"Minor edits to existing pages, such as formatting changes, grammatical improvement and uncontentious clarification, may be made by any editor at any time." - WP:EP#Editing policies and guidelines. Your personal editing model you are imposing on everyone else is neither policy nor practice. Declaring every edit "potentially controversial" has the same effect, and is the veering into WP:POINT territory I outlined above. Knepflerle (talk) 12:27, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
It has yet to be shown that these changes are just grammatical, and clearly they are not "uncontentious clarification" because they have been reverted, we should discuss them before re-implementing them. I do not think that a change of 41 lines in 24 hours are minor edits to a policy page. -- PBS (talk) 12:35, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
"and clearly they are not "uncontentious clarification" because they have been reverted"" - you completely undermined that line of argument when you stated just 30 minutes age: "Of the changes to date I could live with them up to "15:44, 17 August 2010 Knepflerle" I have not chosen this one because I think that any changes made should be discussed in detail. Just because I can live with that one does not mean that everyone can." - having admitted preventative reversion of edits in case of potential contentiousness, playing that card rings hollow indeed.
Resorting to counting the number of edited lines as a measure of contention is bizarre and untenable. If sections are (uncontentiously) swapped in order or one line is moved, the Mediawiki software can interpret this as edits to the intervening lines under certain conditions. Uncontentious edits to 300 lines do not make a contentious edit.
Can you please come back with some actual points of contention which can be addressed individually, rather than further ad hoc post-rationalisation of an untenable wholesale revert? Knepflerle (talk) 12:51, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, reverting something because it's allegedly contentious, and then trying to demonstrate that they must be contentious because they've been reverted, is arguing in a circle. Why do you oppose this "generally"->"most generally"? Does it matter? If it does, revert just that.--Kotniski (talk) 13:04, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Just to explain, to me (I don't know if this gets through to others reading this) "generally" means "usually, in most cases"; while "most generally" means "as a most general principle".--Kotniski (talk) 16:33, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Precisely. We have two classes of article title, "most generally" encompasses both. That is not what is meant as descriptive titles are not based on sources, but are based on describing the content of the article/limiting its scope etc, but "they are not [based on] what reliable English-language sources call the subject". The old Hippocratic Oath has an overarching principle "Do no harm" which could also be written "Most generally do no harm" which frames the rest of the oath. "Generally do no harm" would make the oath very different. -- PBS (talk) 20:05, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
I think in a most general (i.e. vague) sense, even descriptive titles are "based on" sources to some extent. But if people think this may mislead, I've no objection to it being just "generally", as it was before.--Kotniski (talk) 07:31, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Kotniski's changes are quite large. I do not agree with any of his "not understandings" - as often. Precision (which I believe he worded himself, some months ago) is not just disambiguation; common names are an aspect of recognizability; and naturalness (which was Easy to Find, but there is no tolerable noun for that) is neither. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:37, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

For example, there is a current move request for Table of graphs. It's a table of the number of graphs which meet certain conditions; as far as I can tell, it's not ambiguous with any other article, but it is fatally imprecise. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:25, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
OK, let that be included under precision (I'd have thought it came under recognizability as I worded it, but perhaps not everyone would, er, recognize that). I don't get this naturalness thing either - can you give an example of a title which is "natural" in a sense that isn't just a synthesis of common, recognizable and consistent? (And is commonness really just a sub-aspect of recognizability? All these things are interrelated, I suppose, but just observing move discussions, commonness itself seems to be the most common argument.) --Kotniski (talk) 16:34, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Naturalness is largely the countervailing force to consistency and precision. But if I come up with a clear example, I'll let you know. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:49, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Having cogitated a bit, I think there are actually two levels of criteria. One level is the purposes we ultimately want to achieve with article titles: uniqueness because we have no choice, plus perhaps recognizability (telling readers they're in the right place) and something not so far defined but which we might call accuracy (not misleading readers as to how the thing is referred to - at least in the contexts and registers to which Wikipedia titles are normally suited). Then things like commonness, precision, conciseness and consistency are what we consider in practice in order to achieve those fundamental objectives. (Don't know if any of that is worth putting in the policy, which after all is not meant as a theoretical treatise.)

I still don't see a separate place in any scheme for the property of being "natural" or "easy to find". If no-one can come up with a reason for listing it, can we apply Occam's razor and remove it?--Kotniski (talk) 09:47, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

I'd rather not; it's a longstanding part of this policy, and serves - at least - to keep consistency and precision within bounds ("No, we don't want to add parenthetical disambiguations everywhere; nor do we want all the titles of Nicholas II"). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:52, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Aren't those things covered by conciseness, and by "only as precise as necessary"? --Kotniski (talk) 09:39, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Not entirely. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:38, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree that Accuracy is a far more important criterion for an encyclopedia than things like naturalness. An article title should be as accurate as reasonably possible, and that should be one of the top criteria. Accuracy is a quality additional to and different from that currently defined in the list as "Precision." Xandar 12:21, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
I would strongly object to making Accuracy a criterion. When it is consensus, as with tsunami against tidal wave, that one name is more accurate than another, it will be adopted naturally, and what we now say on the matter is enough. When it is not consensus, such a criterion will be used by our mass of POV-pushing bores to insist that their view of the world be reflected in the title. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:47, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree with PMA. The complexities of whether a name is more "accurate" than another, and whether that leads to preferment, will play out in the real world. We need only reflect that by following usage in reliable sources. Conversely, if reliable sources for some reason prefer a less "accurate" term to a more "accurate" term, then it would be pedantic to reject the former in favour of the latter. Hesperian 08:57, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I like Kotniski's suggestions of 20 August to divide attention by uniqueness and commonness (to pick two of his adjectives. May not be quite the right ones when actually published). Policies (and discussion) addressing these topics might prove useful. Having said that, they may not provide a precise/non-contradictory answer to all of our examples we've given! Student7 (talk) 13:04, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Please note how I phrased the "accuracy" criterion - it wasn't as Xandar (if he is still the Xandar of old) would probably define it, and indeed "accuracy" probably isn't the best word for what I mean. It's that we should aim not to mislead the reader as to what something is usually (or acceptably) called in a certain register or context. Like the other aims (except uniqueness, which is a given), it's not an aim we can hope to achieve perfectly, but I see it as one of the basic purposes we hope to achieve by titling articles right. And it tends to be achieved by (a) following common usage in reliable sources (for obvious reasons), and (b) preferring to be consistent between titles (so that the register or context - though undefined - at least remains more constant). Recognizability is another basic purpose which is helped by following common usage in reliable sources.--Kotniski (talk) 18:42, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
That is a genuine good - although rarely considered in practice; it includes informing other Wikipedias what English actually calls the subject - something also rarely considered. This seems to me to fit with Naturalness, also an imperfect term. Suggestions are welcome. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:59, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Since nobody came up with a better idea, I added this to Naturalness. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:44, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Title format for objectivity

I think that titles, where possible and reasonable should have nouns first, modifiers second. For objectivity. An article might be named "Faults of Entity", which suggest that other groups might have faults (similarly named articles) rather that "Entity Faults" which suggest ownership. In other words, forget Strunk and White! This isn't a newspaper. This would help eliminate some of the worst problems that we have encountered with some titles. Student7 (talk) 13:12, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Talk:Senkaku Islands#Requested move

There is an ongoing discussion to move Senkaku Islands to Pinnacle Islands. An interesting interpretation of Naming conventions is discussed there. Please participate in the discussion. ―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 04:00, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Very interesting proposal

I draw people's attention to the proposal at WP:VPP#Subtitles on Wikipedia, where it is suggested that articles have a main title and subtitle (disambiguator) in smaller type underneath.--Kotniski (talk) 09:20, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Patterson's Curse versus Echium plantagineum in Australia

There's a discussion going on at the Wikipedia:Australian Wikipedians' notice board about the best title for an article about the significance/impact of an invasive plant species in Australia. In that specific context the species is commonly known as "Patterson's Curse", so that was used as the article title:

"I have been using the common name followed by the country to write article about plant species in a particular country... Patterson's Curse rather than Echium plantagineum in Australia or Patterson's Curse in Australia would be the recommendation per WP:NAME. The former could be a redir and in the latter Australia is redundant since Patterson's Curse is a uniquely Aussie name."

However I am arguing that

"'Patterson's Curse' means E. plantagineum. It may be an Australian name, but it is still a name for E. plantagineum, not 'E. plantagineum-in-Australia'. The current title grossly mis-scopes the article."

I'd be interested in WP:AT regulars' views on this situation. Hesperian 00:53, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Talk:Jesus in Islam#Requested move

There is an ongoing discussion to move Jesus in Islam to title with word "Isa" in it: "Isa(Jesus of Islam)" or better. Jesus in Islam is known by Name "Isa", about 1200 million english reading people(Muslim+Hindu) know him by only name"Isa", there is Reliable english Sources available confirming the name.

Recognizability and Naturalnessguidelines of policy on Title selection seems perfectly complied, still there is resistance on the move from one quarter,which was discussed.May please participate and provide valuable suggestion if anybody still have difference of opinion.--Md iet (talk) 09:49, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Pennsylvania townships

It has come to my attention that all townships of Pennsylvania are in the [blank] Township, [blank] County, Pennsylvania. This is against naming conventions, right? Should I mass move them back to the original target if there are no dab issues? ~EDDY (talk/contribs/editor review)~ 19:21, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Why did "common usage" become "naturalness"?

I see some discussion two archives ago -- which is what happens when you have a 21-day archive cycle. One thing about the change is bizarre and the objections to it were not focused as I do so now: Why did "common usage" become "naturalness"? It's really not helpful to replace something that is discoverable and quantifiable like how is something named in things that one can read and cite (i.e. "common usage") with something that lacks a definition, i.e. "naturalness", about which people can argue but without a framework to discuss, characterize or quantify "naturalness" among alternative article titles. Could the advocates of "naturalness" speak to why it is an improvement over "common usage"? (See patsw (talk) 14:28, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

I had not noticed that change... I agree with challenging it. "Common usage" is and should be the standard. Blueboar (talk) 14:32, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I think common usage actually became "recognizability". Common usage is still there in several places; the philosophical exposition just took a step back (what do we achieve by using common names?) As I've said before, I think there are still improvements to be made in this description. --Kotniski (talk) 14:47, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

An example for concepts not normally "anded" in the sources would be so much clearer

I've just run though the last para of the "And" section. I'm struggling for an example of the very last point. Tony (talk) 04:09, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

RfC: United Kingdom Peerage titles

use national or international English?

I've asked this before, and couldn't get a straight answer, so I thought I'd try again.

If one term is more common internationally, but a competing term is more common locally, which do we use? Take, for example, Indian English:

The "Ganges Canal" is generally known as the "Ganga Canal" within India. An Indian editor could rightfully argue that "Ganga" is English even if most non-Indians would not recognize it, and given how local the topic is, it may also be the more common name. But the river is generally known as the Ganges, not the Ganga, and "Ganges Canal" has a longer history, if mostly colonial. So which name to use?

Now, there are enough speakers and writers of Indian English that Indian names for Indian topics may be more common in the lit than international English equivalents, though my question also pertains to Jamaican English, Guyanan English, Bajan, Irish English, Ugandan English, Scottish English, etc., which cannot compete in sheer numbers. If an article is on a Ugandan topic, should Ugandan English names be used, even if different names are used outside of Uganda or East Africa?

kwami (talk) 06:48, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

I think WP:ENGVAR is fairly clear that it should be the local form that's used. But that might need revisiting if it's causing problems.--Kotniski (talk) 07:27, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
kwami I am going to revert you last edit because this issue is addressed by the section Wikipedia:Article_titles#National varieties of English not in Wikipedia:Article titles#Foreign names and anglicization which is about foreign names not about dialects of English.
I was heavily involved in developing the MOS section that the redirect WP:ENGVAR links to, but the MOS is a content guideline and does not cover article names which are related but different (think of this policy and its guidelines and the content policies and their guidelines as part of the same building but two semi-detached houses). The decision on the spelling of article titles in local dialects were largely bough to a head and decided in the naming of a number of Indian subcontinent places particularly Talk:Kolkata/Archive 3#Straw poll on the move of Calcutta to Kolkata in 2005. It has also been influenced by the Gdansk/Danzig decision so we still have articles like Black Hole of Calcutta because that is what reliable sourced histories still use. As to which dialect to use, we tend not to go into UK dialects as the formal usage in the UK is usually British English, and we relay on written reliable sources which are usually written in formal English, so for example I can't see us ever naming the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral after either of its local dialect names. On the questions you have raised above I would say that it depends on the local reliable sources and if the country really has an widely used (or formal English) English that is different from that widely used abroad. I suggest that for cases like this they should probably be decided on a case by case basis using the WP:RM process if there is disagreement on the talk page. -- PBS (talk) 08:49, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Input from others?

Perhaps someone with interest in the general subject of usage of common names could comment on the deletions of the more common names in this article. An editor is suggesting that only a name not commonly used by the RSs be used, and the commonly used descriptors be deleted. Thanks.--Epeefleche (talk) 22:08, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Requests for comment:Use of italics in article titles

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This discussion is a continuation of the recent Rfc here.

The current policy for article titles (listed in Wikipedia:Article titles#Special characters and formatting) states:

Do not apply formatting: Formatting, such as italics or bolding, is technically achievable in page titles but is used only in special cases, one example of which is taxonomic names of genera and species. (See italics and formatting restrictions.)

However, other WikiProjects (such as those for special journals and most recently comics) have created a small consensus within their groups to also italicize certain titles, citing the ambiguously phrased "special cases" in the policy.

My question: Should each specific WikiProject decide how to format their article titles, or should there be one set guideline that is consistently applied throughout Wikipedia? Ωphois 15:08, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

  • One guideline/policy. WikiProjects can sometimes be something of a ghost town, with few active members—perhaps even fewer after an upset over an "internal" argument about a style question, such as the very one that prompted this RfC. There are some interesting points raised in the first part of the RfC, and I'm personally still undecided about whether we should encourage italics/quotes in article titles at all, and if so, what criteria we should apply. However, in my opinion it would be best for everyone (including WikiProject members) if decisions about such matters of style (which affect the consistency of Wikipedia, not just the articles "owned" by a project) could involve the whole community; therefore, I think they should be defined in a single document, maintained by the wider community. PL290 (talk) 16:01, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One guideline/policy - WikiProjects should not have any ability to declare it acceptable to override the overall MoS of Wikipedia, nor to change the formatting of article titles. Further, such changing in formats, such as italics and boldings, should not be allowed. Article titles are just that, the titles of Wikipedia articles. Newspapers do not italicize their own article titles nor do magazines. Television episodes do not put quotes around the on-screen titles either. See also my comments at the aborted RfC at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Request for comment: Use of italics in article names (which I do not believe has been properly closed yet), and at the previous RfC (Template_talk:Italic_title#RFC:_Should_this_be_used?) -- AnmaFinotera (talk ~ contribs) 16:29, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One Policy - many guidelines We should have one over-arching policy, with multiple guidelines that focus on how to apply that policy to individual topic areas. The policy take precidence, and would govern how to title articles Wikipedia wide (including such issues as formatting)... However, since there are titling issues that only relate to specific topic areas, there is a need for the various Naming Convention guidelines. The key is to ensure that these guidelines are subservient to, and remain in sync with, the over-arching policy. I think the way that WP:NOTE and the various topic area Notability conventions (usually) support each other is a good model. Blueboar (talk) 16:53, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Concur with Blueboar--Mike Cline (talk) 17:00, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Support Blueboar's approach. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:52, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
      • By "specific topic areas", what exactly are you referring to? Topics such as comics or books, or the more general topic of copyrightable works? If it is the former, then that just allows the problem of inconsistencies to grow. To me, the only way to allow for different "topics areas" to decide is if the topics are as general as possible. For example, the three topics I can think of would be the genus/species scientific names, media/copyrightable works, and ship names. Ωphois 16:58, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • *One guideline/policy - After having looked at several paper encyclopedias and dictionaries (including Britannica, New World, Collier's, The Grove Dictionary of Opera, The Film Encyclopedia, and others) it appears that the format used in published encyclopedias/dictionaries never uses italicized titles for its atricles/entries. They likewise do not underline titles or place them in quotes. The titles of artistic works, be they music, literature, plays, films, paintings, comics etc. are not ilalicized. Species and genus names are also not italicized in the heading, nor are any Latin or other foreign language words. Other commonly italicized words, such as court cases, are also not italicized in headings. This seems to be a universally applied stylistic format for encyclopedias and dictionaries with the exception of some specialized science publications. I agree that consistancy across the encyclopedia is the best policy. Inevitably the inconsistant application of italicized titles between various subjects, both in the rules and in reality (people forgetting to italicize the right articles or italicizing the wrong ones), will result in time waisting clean up for everyone and the obligatory edit wars. The best option would be to simply remove the option to have an italicized title. It saves on having to clean up messes, mediate fights, and creates consistancy here and with other well established encyclopedias.4meter4 (talk) 17:16, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Support italic titles—I agree with Blueboar's comments above. I disagree with some comments here that seem to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" in a manner of speaking. Yes, editors fight over the strangest things sometimes resulting in weird edit wars. Edit-warring, regardless of the reason, is always bad. Yes, there will always be an odd article out there that doesn't follow a style guideline, a referencing policy or whatever. I don't see the need to remove italic titling capabilities just to prevent potential fights or to enforce consistency between articles, when it forces an inconsistency in an article. To my knowledge, there are currently two special templates that can change the formatting of the appearance of an article's title. One places the first letter in lowercase, allowing iPod to appear as "iPod" even though the actual article title in the software stores it at "IPod". The second allows the title to be wholly or partially rendered in italics. I actually would suggest that if desired, a third could probably be developed just as easily to allow a title to be rendered with quotation marks even though the physical name in the server's database does not contain them. Removing the option for italic titles will only remove one specific potential for messes, fights and inconsistency. The only way to remove all such potential is to full protect the encyclopedia: there can be no edit wars on articles when there are no edits, and all changes would have to meet some kind of vetting through edit-requests, ensuring cleaner, consistent appearance. Since this is "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit" we have to accept that there will always be some level of "mess" and the solution is more informed eyes making more informed and better edits. Imzadi 1979  18:04, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Just so it is clear... my comments were not intended as support for using italics in titles. Quite the opposite in fact... In my conception of how Policy and guidelines work, since acceptable formatting is an issue that relates to all projects, it would be governed by the Policy... and, I assume, the Policy would reflect the current community consensus that italics should not be used. This would, in turn, be reflected and supported by all project guidelines. Blueboar (talk) 18:40, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Except that if the policy were changed to be less restrictive on this point (which I and others am encouraging), then having the guidelines match the policy could have the effect of increasing the use of italics. It depends on what happens to the policy itself. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:56, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One policy, no need for additional guidelines: This is a matter of style. As it pertains to article titles—a prominent feature of every article here—it's fair to call it a fundamental matter of style. In dealing with a fundamental matter of style, we must seek to promote a system that demonstrates clear logical consistency. Only two approaches to article titling do that: (1) Italicizing terms normally italicized in running text and (2) Italicizing no terms at all. (I happen to favor #1 on the grounds of precision and the belief that consistency within an article takes precedence over consistency across articles—though #1 promotes that as well, as a side effect: everywhere term X appears it would appear italicized.) The present approach—in which some terms normally italicized in text are italicized in titles, and others not, on no logically consistent basis between subject fields—is ridiculous in concept, convoluted in procedure, and graceless in effect.—DCGeist (talk) 18:36, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

(after edit conflict):

  • One policy, no need for additional guidelines Wikipedia:Article titles is a policy, not merely a guideline, because the way articles are titled is important to the encyclopedia's organization as a whole and consistency is important. To achieve consistency, the policy on titles, including the use of italic, must be easy to apply. In my opinion, only two policies are sufficiently clear and easy-to-apply with consistency:
  1. Italic is used in article titles the same way it is used in text according to the Manual of Style.
  2. Italic is never used in article titles.
Anything in between will be a constant source of confusion and unnecessary conflicts. Of the two choices, I favor #1. The only advantage that #2 has is utter simplicity.
The present policy, no italic except for "special cases," is too vague. Worse, this policy in effect adopts WP:Naming conventions (technical restrictions)#Italics and formatting, which is a guideline. That guideline limits the "special cases" to genera and species, journals, and comics. Comics but not books??? These "special cases" aren't sufficiently special to be the sole departures from a policy that otherwise prohibits italic in article titles. In real world publishing, the use of italic for titles of books, some other types of titles, and foreign words and phrases is just as widespread these so-called "special cases". The last thing Wikipedia needs is disputes about what pet subjects should be "special cases". That leads me back to the two choices I enumerated above.—Finell 18:45, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Stay as we are; only for biological I disagree with DCGeist. Biological taxa are italicised in text because they are foreign terms (in Latin). The titles of copyrightable works such as books, albums paintings, newspapers & periodicals are italicised in text for a different reason - to distinguish them from normal text. These latter are not normally italicised in titles by academic publishers, especially when they are all of the only title, as in WP, and should not be in our titles (many x 10,000 would need changing). Earlier debates have shown strong feeling among scientists that the biological taxa should be capitalised in titles. I am happy to go with that, as there is no difficulty whatsoever in distinguishing between a species of animal and a copyrightable work. We could also italicise non-English terms that would be italicised in English (including copyrightable works) If we must be totally consistent, and I see no reason at all for this, then don't italicise anything. As it is, we should just remove exceptions other than taxa. Johnbod (talk) 18:53, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
"Only for biological" is not "as we are". The way we are in titles is: italic for taxa, but not for other foreign words; italic for comics and journals, but not for books. How logical, or simple, is that? Italic is used for titles of books and certain other works of literature and art almost universally in general trade publications; that convention is more relevant to Wikipedia, which is a general encyclopedia, than the conventions of "academic publishers", by which I believe you mean scientific journals, since the University of Chicago Press is surely an academic publisher and its widely used style manual prescribes italic for titles of books and periodicals (it does not prescribe italic for comics) and foreign words. Also, we have article titles that contain both the titles of works and other words: e.g., Euclid's Elements (or Euclid's Elements?) And then you suggest adding italic for foreign words (which is not "as we are", but which many of us believe is where we should be), and then suggest the alternative using no italic at all. Why shouldn't we be consistent?—Finell 09:43, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
A comic is a periodical (one-off comic books are not meant to be covered by the recently-added exception); the comics "exception" has only been there 2 days. I certainly don't mean "scientific journals" by "academic publishers", but University of Chicago Press would be one. However I don't see italics in their own list of titles, either collectively or individually - in this they follow the practice of nearly all such publishers. The scientists seem to feel strongly they need italics for the taxa, but if and when this debate receives more attention you will see plenty of opposition to extending italics to article titles for all copyrightable works. Either of my proposals is more logical, and consistent with good usage outside WP, than the present situation. Johnbod (talk) 10:32, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
I had no idea that comics was a recent exception. That still doesn't explain italics for journal titles, but not for book titles. That is another reason why article titles, including the use of italic in them, should be the subject of an en-Wikipedia-wide policy, not subject to the whims of editors in particular fields or projects (even scientists who "feel strongly they need italics for the taxa" or whatever). Almost anything would be more logical and consistent than the current policy + guideline.—Finell 16:50, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • At least keep the biological italics. I really don't see the need to hardcode this in policy; I think it's reasonable to allow editors who concentrate on a given subject matter to decide for those subjects. Wikipedia is many things to many people, and I don't think the case has been made that a centralist decision here is really necessary. But if one has to be made, it should at least keep the italics for the taxonomic names, which look much more professional that way. --Trovatore (talk) 21:22, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
This is already "hardcode[ed]" in policy, and the reason is that this is something that should be consistent throughout the encyclopedia. The issue in this RFC is whether the existing policy should be changed to something that makes more sense.—Finell 09:43, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, we have the option to de-hardcode it. But my main concern here is that the taxonomic names stay in italics. I don't care all that much what happens to the comics. I do somewhat object to the centralist impulse animating many of the comments, though. In many cases editors familiar with the subject matter understand the stylistic exigencies of their field better than people working from general style considerations do. --Trovatore (talk) 18:05, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I can see taxonomic names staying italics because it is formatted that way for an entirely different reason than the other examples (such as media/copyrighted items). Ωphois 18:26, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One guideline / status quo. The whole affair is an inflated nuisance. Adding italics somewhat messes up page layout, but it's not really important - text remains readable as long as it's black on white and doesn't blink. I'm more concerned about disruption of the human network, the liliputian egg wars that do harm relationships. Wikiprojects enjoy quite a degree of liberty, but many are too small and too isolated to use it for good. They need a very clear advice: stop egg wars, write an encyclopedia instead. East of Borschov 05:52, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • No change. Wikiprojects have a well discussed and well reasoned stance on the various aspects of the title format in their area. They continue to be best placed to determine the use of italics in titles relating to their project. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:01, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One policy / status quo. The current, concise and consistent, naming policy is to not use {{lowercase}} or {{italic title}} unless the title would look actively weird or misleading without it. Thus pH and iPod, rather than PH or IPod. For certain scientific terms, italics are also universally prescribed: Escherichia coli or e (mathematical constant). On the other hand, there's nothing per se inappropriate about, say, Science (journal) or Preacher (comics) as titles – after all, even the works themselves don't use italics on the cover.
    Note, incidentally, that the rule for italicizing certain biological terms is not an instance of some general style principle about italicizing all foreign phrases, but applies to taxa at or below genus level only. For example, the family Enterobacteriaceae is never referred to as Enterobacteriaceae.
    As has also been pointed out previously, the superficially simple proposal to just apply the same rules to title formatting as to names in running text is inherently problematical with respect to quotes, as currently used for, e.g., song or TV episode titles. And allowing each wikiproject to decide on its own what to do about title formatting is just a recipe for chaos: what if, say, WP:TV and WP:FILM settle on incompatible rules? This seems to already be happeniing with WP:COMIC vs. WP:BOOK, and needs to be nipped in the bud. Hqb (talk) 11:50, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Neither The New York Times nor The New York Times looks "actively weird or misleading" as the title for Wikipedia's article on the subject. Ditto for Gone with the Wind versus (versus?) Gone with the Wind. References to either publication in text, in Wikipedia and generally throughout publishing, would use italics. The current naming policy, which you say is "concise and consistent", requires italics for the first, and forbids it for the second. Please. How publications set their titles on their own covers or title pages has nothing to do with the conventions for referring to those titles in other published works (we don't follow the typographic style of a publication's cover or title page in our article titles or text). I agree that we need consistency throughout the encyclopedia. Projects serve merely as a way to organize the efforts of editors who are interested in a particular topic. Projects, which are self-appointed and vary widely in size, have no special status on Wikipedia, either as to policy or as to the editing of particular articles.—Finell 16:50, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
That was exactly my point: The New York Times or Gone with the Wind are not inherently problematical as article titles, so current policy is to write them exactly like that. On the other hand, Escherichia coli gives scientists hives, so the policy allows for Escherichia coli. I note that you didn't address the main problem with the "formatting everywhere" approach: we are already writing "Thriller" in running text, but Thriller (song) as a title, so perfect consistency between the two usages is unachievable anyway; or do you propose that we use DISPLAYTITLE magic for song titles as well, or perhaps actually embed the quotes in the real page name? Hqb (talk) 17:48, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
No. Current policy (although it is not being followed in practice) is to use DISPLAYTITLE to display the title of The New York Times article in italic because it is a periodical, which is a "special case", but not to display the title of the Gone with the Wind article in italic because a book is not a special case. I am glad you agree that this distinction in the existing policy makes no sense. Further, neither Wikipedia's policy nor the appearance of its pages is or should be dictated by any group's emotional reactions or dermatological manifestations, be they scientists or comic book aficionados. Should it make a difference if typographers who edit Wikipedia claimed that seeing the title of Carpe diem in roman type gives them vertigo? I could go along with a policy that prohibits displaying any article title in italics (although that is my second choice), but not one that makes exceptions without a consistent or rational basis. This RFC is only about italics, not quotation marks or other attributes.—Finell 20:34, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
That is true, but do note that if the policy is set to have italics, then there is still an inconsistency with formatting if quotations are not included. Ωphois 20:40, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One policy I really don't like the idea of letting individual WikiProjects develop their own article guidelines. One site-wide policy is best. It can be ignored in special situations where consensus prevails, but it should be followed in normal situations by all Wikiprojects. ThemFromSpace 15:00, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • High-level policy/multiple site-wide guidelines for certain fields where needed (eg the notability approach). But it cannot be done at the Wikiproject level. Basically, the Comic book project should not be deciding to use italics without involving any other field where italics are often used to represent the name of the work (like books, magazines, newspapers, etc.), so that really the decision to use them should be a consensus of a large number of projects (effectively site-wide). Same with latin organism classifications, etc. --MASEM (t) 15:21, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One policy across the board. (talk) 16:07, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One looser policy, as many guidelines as actually necessary. The main point here is "Do not name a page so that the article's URL is''Eagle'' (comic). I think we can all agree on that. I have no problem with using italics in the =Level 1= header that we use to display the name of the book/comic/whatever, or in the first sentence, if that's a normal way of displaying text for that kind of thing. In the instant example, Eagle (comic) is particularly nice, because the text formatting clearly indicates that "(comic)" is not part of the publication's title. I think that the "Do not" advice is unnecessarily restrictive, and is largely aimed at people who want their business name in bold-italic-small caps, not books.
    On the general point -- and I know that I say this a lot -- we've got a written statement of the community's consensus on the rights of WikiProjects to give advice at Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Guide#Advice_pages, and its major point is that editor(s) who call themselves a "WikiProject" do not magically get more rights than editors who call themselves editors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:49, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Clarification: We are only discussing the use of italic in how titles of articles display in a browser. In Wikimedia software, that does not affect the URL, which is the reason that we can discuss the subject. Nor are we talking about headings (which is not the same thing as headers). You can't have consistency or rationality without following a policy or guideline; any policy or guideline is restrictive by definition and necessity—otherwise individual editors do whatever suits their mood of the moment, which leads to unnecessary chaos and conflict.—Finell 17:02, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One policy across the board. --LilHelpa (talk) 17:25, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Many of us share that view, as does the existing policy. The question is, What should that policy be?—Finell 20:34, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
I think that this discussion should be to gain consensus on the use of consistency (notably getting rid of the "special cases" clause), and then have another discussion to set the policy. Ωphois 20:42, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
That seems clearly the wrong way round! Johnbod (talk) 20:46, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Maybe so, but there haven't been enough specifics provided in the comments to crank out a policy, IMO. Everyone is pretty much agreeing about having a set policy, but are differing in what that policy is. The question of the Rfc was whether to have a set policy or not. Ωphois 21:01, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Though I guess after another day or so, we can gauge the consensus, and then offer choices which people can then respond to. Ωphois 21:03, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
This is clearly the right way 'round. First we decide whether to (a) maintain the status quo or something like it, allowing WikiProject-driven "special cases" or (b) institute a more consistent policy. If (b) achieves a consensus, which appears to be happening, then we move on to decide what that consistent policy should be.—DCGeist (talk) 21:15, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, this is my first time doing Rfc. Ωphois 23:29, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
I think you've done just fine.—DCGeist (talk) 23:33, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Article titles are labels, not part of the running text, and there is no reason to italicize them or otherwise style them. As 4meter4 pointed out above, professional dictionaries and encyclopedias do not italicize the labels of their entries or place them in quotes. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:54, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One policy: No italics per 4meter4. Ozob (talk) 23:59, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One policy, several guidelines with italics always being used for taxonomic names and no opinion on books, journals, etc. fetch·comms 01:12, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Policy: No formatting, but exceptions may be allowed iff generated by consensus at a centralised venue (such as Village pump or the policy talk page), and explicitly enumerated on the main policy page. --RexxS (talk) 01:28, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
  • One policy. As several editors have already pointed out, Projects are severely neglected and unsuitable for decision making. If there are exceptions to be made, they need to be made at the policy level. Certainly not by the Projects. Student7 (talk) 17:49, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I prefer one general policy, namely the option listed below as "Italics for all terms normally italicized in text" (for example RMS Titanic, and more in general such formatting and fonts as would normally be used in text; for example eBay rather than EBay, and ω-consistent theory rather than Omega-consistent theory), while leaving it to the various Projects to determine by consensus which terms are "normally italicized" for topics in their purview. This could be supported technically so that, for example, the wikitext [[RMS Titanic]] is presented in text the same as the display title, RMS Titanic.  --Lambiam 01:10, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Note that "ω-consistent theory" is not italicized, although it can be: "ω-consistent theory". I don't care for that font. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:03, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Italics in article titles: options

Okay, it appears to me that there is a consensus to have one policy that applies to all, but there is some debate about what that policy should be. From everyone's comments, it looks like the three main suggestions are: *No italics

  • Italics for those specified within this project, such as taxonomic names
  • Italics for all

Revised options (per Johnbod):

  1. No italics displayed in any article title
  2. Italics displayed for certain types of article titles only: A -taxonomic names, B -scientific symbols, C -academic journals (please specify which should allow italics, and any additional types that should)
  3. Italics in article titles for all terms normally italicized in text Ωphois 19:52, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

What does everyone think? Ωphois 16:03, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Comment: Ophois, the wording of those options is going to be very confusing to anyone just arriving at this discussion.

  • "Italics for those specified within this project, such as taxonomic names". "This project"? Which project is that? How about:
  • "Italics for terms, such as taxonomic names, specified by projects".
  • "Italics for all". "Italics for all article titles"? Really? For Life itself? How about:
  • "Italics for all terms normally italicized in text".—DCGeist (talk) 18:49, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I meant "this project" as in Wikipedia:Article titles. I assumed people who voted would read the discussion, but I will amend the options just in case. Ωphois 18:59, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure that must be a typo, and it should say "this policy"? PL290 (talk) 18:31, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Ah yes, of course you're right. Still, it should be additionally emended:
  • Italics for only those terms, such as taxonomic names, specified within this policy.
That is, I think almost no one is happy with the effect of the current special cases clause, which has led to comic book series titles being italicized, but not book titles.—DCGeist (talk) 18:49, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
(Inevitable edit conflict) Agree. The following might be better:


  1. No italics displayed in any article title
  2. Italics displayed for certain types of article titles only: A -taxonomic names, B -scientific symbols, C -academic journals (please specify which should allow italics, and any additional types that should)
  3. Italics in article titles for all terms normally italicized in text

Johnbod (talk) 18:58, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

What is the reasoning for italicizing academic journals? Ωphois 19:02, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Remembering that Ophois intends these only as suggested main options from the foregoing discussion, and that with the reply format we have, folks are free to specify their own position, I nevertheless suggest that option 2 should explicate "certain types ... specified in this policy", since consensus appears already to have moved beyond referring out to other guidelines for that. PL290 (talk) 19:36, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand how this discussion managed to focus so narrowly on genera/taxa, scientific symbols, and academic journals. First, shouldn't comics, which apparently started this debate, be considered? But more importantly, there is a list of 22 bullet points at the beginning of Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting)#Italic face for which italics are mandatory on the English Wikipedia. Is this discussion to be repeated if the WikiProject Law should decide to italicise all court cases? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:19, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't focus narrowly on those topics. They are just used as examples since they are the "special cases" currently listed in the policy. Should Option 2 be used, then the discussion would then choose exactly which are italicized. Comics are not specifically focused on because it fits within the wider range of copyrightable works. Either all copyrightable works are italicized, or none at all to create consistency. Ωphois 05:24, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I'd prefer no italics, period, but I'm willing to let taxonomic names lie, in addition to the occasional italic/formatting exceptions noted above (like e, and those that require tweaks to display correctly, like pH/iPod). Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 16:58, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Leaning towards no italics. I'm quite taken with the idea of both quotes and italics in titles, but I'm currently swayed by the view that the article title is just a tag and they should all be in the same format: no italics. PL290 (talk) 17:31, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
  • No italics period J04n(talk page) 18:18, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
  • No italics. Per 4meter4 again; as he said above, the universal style in all print encyclopedias is to use no italics; and any system which italicizes some article titles but not others will lead to endless arguments and edit wars. (Indeed, this is at the heart of the present discussion: We have a system that italicizes some titles and not others, and now we're quarreling over which titles get italicized.) Ozob (talk) 23:52, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Why do you think a system that italicizes all terms normally italicized in text would lead to endless arguments and edit wars? I don't see endless arguments and edit wars over italicization in text.—DCGeist (talk) 00:19, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
He said some titles, not all. Ωphois 00:23, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
That's right, I was thinking of the present system, which discriminates articles essentially based on topic: Some topics get italicized titles, others do not.
I didn't address the possibility of italicizing everything that would be italicized in running text because I think it's ridiculous. There are only two reasons I can think of for doing that. One is that these nouns are italicized in running text, so for consistency's sake they should be italicized everywhere. But this is false. Article titles are not running text. You italicize things in running text so that they stand out; but article titles already stand out. So this is no reason at all. The other reason I can think of is that certain names are intrinsically italicized; it's like saying that "Homo Sapiens" is really a misspelling of "Homo Sapiens" and should be treated the same as "Homp Sapiens". This is both false and laughable: Words do not come with typefaces. So as far as I'm concerned, option 3 is plainly wrong. Ozob (talk) 00:05, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
From a scientist's perspective, "Homo Sapiens" is wrong (even if "misspelling" is not entirely the right term), not only because the second word should not start with a capital, but also because it is missing italics. Scientific genus and species names are, indeed, intrinsically italicized by convention; those who do not italicize them only show their own ignorance. Ucucha 12:21, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
In running prose, maybe, but article titles? I'm quite taken with applying the same rules to article titles as running prose, but I'm forced to see what others have pointed out, namely that it doesn't seem to be a widely adopted convention, and it may be best to treat the title as simply a tag, and make them all the same: no italics. PL290 (talk) 13:20, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Errors in the Encyclopædia Britannica that have been corrected in Wikipedia. Ucucha 18:13, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
...which doesn't appear to include "Failure to italicize biological genera in topic headings". Face-tongue.svg — JohnFromPinckney (talk) 19:16, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is incomplete. Ucucha 08:35, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for the correction on capitalization. I'm a mathematician, and I don't usually work with species names.
If I understand your argument right, you are saying that some words come with not only spellings but also typefaces. As I said above, it seems that you consider Homo sapiens as much a misspelling of Homo sapiens as, e.g., Gomo sapiens. I think this is ridiculous. Is Homo sapiens a misspelling? What about Homo sapiens? Or HOMO SAPIENS or homo sapiens? Homo sapiens? Homo sapiens? Homo sapiens? Homo sapiens? Homo sapiens? Homo sapiens? Aren't words just determined by their letters? (Please note, I am completely serious.) Ozob (talk) 04:53, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think exactly what you say. I think "misspelling" is the wrong word to use, and I don't think "Homo sapiens" is as bad as "Gomo sapiens". The italics are part of the word and define its meaning; for example, Murina is a genus of bats, and Murina is a (hypothetical) subtribe of rodents. Don't mathematicians do the same with (for example) italics for variables and bold for number sets? Ucucha 08:35, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
I can't think of a better word that "misspelling"; perhaps "misprinting"? Is that more like what you're thinking of?
Mathematicians don't do quite the same thing. Variables are generally italicized so that they stand out, but certain things are printed in upright type (e.g., objects printed in boldface, as vectors sometimes are, and objects whose notations consist of more than one letter, e.g., the determinant function.) There are conventional names for certain objects: e.g., C denotes the set of complex numbers. But that's not the only option; one can also use blackboard bold (as in ) and everyone will recognize it as the same object. And these conventions can be overridden. Someone told me that he once saw a paper which began, "We fix an arbitrary algebraically closed field of characteristic zero, which we denote by C." In general, this C may not be the complex numbers, even though it will be a number system with almost exactly identical properties! The sentence makes sense only because C is not a name, that is, it is not a proper noun; it is (in math jargon) notation, meaning that it stands for whatever the author says it stands for. The correct name for the complex numbers is the complex numbers, and "complex numbers" is printed according to the same conventions that everything else is. But even that is just a short hand for more formal definitions.
You seem to be claiming something different: That Homo sapiens is the only way to write the name of the human species. Well, I disagree. Homo sapiens, with no italics, is the same proper noun. It has the same letters in the same order and it is pronounced the same way. I am still curious to know whether you think Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens denote the same species or are species names at all. Ozob (talk) 22:33, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
  • No italics. The use of italics in titles is bad grammar. The grammatical reason for using italics is to distinguish certain words from others within a running text. A title stands alone and is not in a running text, and therefore does not need to be distinguished. The application of italics in titles is therefore not only unnecessary but also a misapplication of italics. All major general encyclopedias in print do not use italicized titles, even for genus and species names. They didn't just choose that format willy nilly; they chose it because it follows the rules of English grammar. Wikipedia should follow the same guidelines used by print encyclopedias.4meter4 (talk) 00:55, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I had thought it was one of our core aspirations to improve on and surpass the traditions of print encyclopedias. I regard this as an opportunity to do just that.—DCGeist (talk) 02:52, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Certainly, but adopting bad grammatical practices is hardly an improvement.4meter4 (talk) 03:21, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • But there's no issue of bad grammatical practice here. As the Chicago Manual of Style plainly states, "Some names of things and titles of works are conventionally set in italic type." It is the inconsistent application of this convention by traditional print encyclopedias—apply the convention here, but not here—that is questionable style. We are in a position to correct that long-standing inconsistency. Let's do so.—DCGeist (talk) 03:48, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • You are misapplying/cherry picking what the Chicago Manual of Style is saying. What it is referring to is certain practices of the use of italics in running text (i.e. within a complete sentence). The use of italics within a stand alone title is a completely different grammatical issue. It is certainly not a conventional practice to use italics in titles, and in fact is grammaticaly wrong.4meter4 (talk) 04:30, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't believe it is "grammatically wrong" at all for italics to appear in titles. I know of no style manual that makes such an assertion. And I observe that most ordinary grammatical rules simply do not apply to titles in conventional practice. Please explain why you believe that "in fact it is grammatically wrong" for italics to appear in titles. "In fact"? I'm surprised. If you can point us to a standard style manual or respected grammarian that supports your position, that would be very helpful. I am entirely open to being reeducated by good sources, if they exist.—DCGeist (talk) 04:44, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Underlining and putting into italics is the same thing - both are used for the same purposes - either for emphasis or for distinction. When there is no need to emphasis or distinguish, then we have no need to use them. I don't think there is a guide to say don't underline or put a title in italics because on the whole it's not done (why emphasise or distinguish that which is already distinguished and emphasised?). However, as grammar is a guide to usage rather than a rule, and is ever fluid, there are books and magazines and films, etc, which have been underlined or placed in italics, such as [1], though they appear to be the exception rather than the rule. I have no opinion either way on this topic, just making a neutral observation. SilkTork *YES! 09:08, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Italics for all terms normally italicized in text: Three primary reasons:
    • Cross-article consistency: Any system under which some terms normally italicized in text are italicized in titles, but others are not is blatantly bad style. That leaves just two acceptable options for article titles: no italics at all, or italics for all terms normally italicized in text.
    • Internal consistency: The fundamental principle of internal consistency indicates that if a term is italicized in the text of the article devoted to it, it should be italicized in the title of the article devoted to it. This is good style, and one of its effects is to reduce the potential for confusion among readers as regards the proper styling of terms that are conventionally italicized.
    • Wikipedia stability and comity: It is evident that certain Projects feel very strongly that article titles in their fields should be italicized as appropriate for terms normally italicized in text. As the present system, allowing for and effectively encouraging exceptions and special cases is unacceptably bad style, the one viable way of accommodating these Projects is the institution of a system in which all terms normally italicized in text are italicized in titles. There is no evidence, and it is implausible to predict, that there would be any significant resistance to this from other Projects that deal with fields where many terms are normally italicized in text; indeed, it is likely there would be some significant level of support for the new rule.—DCGeist (talk) 01:50, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Italics for all terms normally italicized. - I concur with the above. I have recently run into this problem with an article, IBM and the Holocaust, which is a book title — but looks like a subject on the page. WP style rules don't even allow IBM and the Holocaust (book) it seems, which would have added clarity. Carrite (talk) 17:20, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Excellent point. There's a huge difference between "Wikipedia has an article on IBM and the Holocaust" and "Wikipedia has an article on IBM and the Holocaust". I might have to re-think this. - Dank (push to talk) 18:16, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but a better way to solve that might be to name the article IBM and the Holocaust (book). As a complicating example, what if we have an article about a book named RMS Titanic? Do we use RMS Titanic, RMS Titantic (book), or something else? Of course, all of this may be carrying things a bit far--I'm not sure that the presence or lack of italics with make much difference in terms of confusing the reader, given that the first 1-2 sentences in the lead would clarify matters. --Nuujinn (talk) 20:24, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Italicizing the article title is a separate issue from italicizing a piece of running text. Standard practice is to write, "Wikipedia has an article on IBM and the Holocaust", or if that's not clear enough, "Wikipedia has an article on the book, IBM and the Holocaust". Everyone agrees on this; it has nothing to do with the style of the article title. The article title (as displayed on the article page) should remain in upright type (for reasons I and others have given elsewhere). Ozob (talk) 22:53, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I think we are just talking titles here at the moment, and fwiw, I do prefer plain text for titles. My point is simply that we're not going to be able to elegantly capture all cases. --Nuujinn (talk) 23:36, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3 Italics in titles are useful on Wikipedia to distinguish the title part from disambiguators, a problem that printed encyclopedias do not have; e.g. Batavia (opera). -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:19, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
PS: The distinction between "running text" and "article titles" as the subject of italics seems to me to be contrived; all works to which WP:ITALICS applies are also italicized in references, lists, tables. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:41, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1 (no italics) preferably. (Could also accept negotiation down to 2A, 2B, or 2AB, but 2C is silly.) I don't think italics are appropriate for article titles because they're article titles, not biological genera or book titles. If an article is about a bacterium or a book, then mentions of the subject within the article should be italicized, but not the label for the article.
By the way, I'd like to respectfully but pedantically complain about the inaccuracy of referring to "copyrightable" materials. That drags a new, legal component into the discussion that just leaves a sticky residue on everything. If you want to refer to substantial works of art, then go ahead, but feature films of this week and a century ago both deserve to have their titles italicized in running text, no matter what license they're created under, in whatever jurisdiction, no matter the applicable law. Short films and one-off TV shows and short stories and magazine articles and a poem by Michelle Obama and a scientific report in JAMA and Eminem's latest single are all presumably copyrightable, but wouldn't deserve italics either in WP article titles or running text. We don't need a bunch of copyright lawyers running around here; it'll be crowded and noisy enough when the biologists find out what we're talking about. — JohnFromPinckney (talk) 05:49, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
It is merely a shorthand way of referring to books, newspapers, paintings, plays, operas, magazines, albums, symphonies, ballets, films, sculptures, tv shows, academic journals and articles in them, and all the many other types of work that Option 3 would bring in. As someone says here there are 20 or more types of work listed in the MOS as needing italics in text. Please note the difference between "copyrightable" and "in copyright". Another legal shorthand term would be "creative works", but I think people would find this more confusing, as the sense of "creative" is different from that in everyday use. I think it remains a useful way of distinguishing between the groups - the taxa/symbols can't be copyrightable. I'm not saying it should be used in the actual policy, so feel free to ignore it. Johnbod (talk) 09:18, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1 no italics per reasons already noted, and silliness in self-styling the titles of articles that shouldn't be styled. They are not the actual genera, media titles, etc, they are the names of the articles, which should not be italicized. -- AnmaFinotera (talk ~ contribs) 06:06, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 2, Certain types only, 2A & 2B (taxa & symbols), no copyrightable/creative works. Johnbod (talk) 09:18, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 2AB, for the same reason as we allow {{lowercase}}, i.e., the title would look wrong without it. Could also live with just 2A. Absolutely not 2C: If we ever have to italicize titles of "academic" periodicals differently from "non-academic" ones, there will be chaos. Why should New Scientist be distinguished typographically from Science? (If you think NS could qualify as academic, what about Popular Science? Discover? Omni?) Same for other kinds of media-specific exceptions (comics, etc.). Option 3 would cause an ugly inconsistency between italics-based and quote-based formatting in titles. Hqb (talk) 10:41, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1 - Its the easiest for us old guys to remember.--Mike Cline (talk) 13:46, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1 no italics, for reasons stated above. Rreagan007 (talk) 00:44, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Options 2A and B. I think we really need to italicize biological genera and species names, and I have been convinced by the example of e; However the idea of italicizing academic journals but not popular magazines, comics but not books, etc. seems ridiculous. LadyofShalott 17:30, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1 ideally. FWIW, species names are not always in italics in titles of books, see [for example]. --Nuujinn (talk) 22:35, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Given that the title also capitalizes the specific epithet as "Streptococcus Pneumoniae", I suspect that the book cover formatting was left entirely up to the graphic designer, and not even confirmed with the author. Also, in light of Philip M. Parker#Automatically generated books, I wouldn't necessarily assign much scientific authority to that particular book. Hqb (talk) 09:14, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3, with the understanding that it is left to the various WikiProject to determine by consensus – possibly expressed in guidelines – which terms are normally italicized for topics in their purview. More in general, the displayed article titles should have formatting and fonts as would normally be used in text; for example eBay rather than EBay, and ω-consistent theory rather than Omega-consistent theory). This could be supported technically so that, for example, the wikitext [[RMS Titanic]] is presented in text formatted the same as the article's display title RMS Titanic. --Lambiam 01:25, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
    The discussion consensus has already determined that it is not left up to the projects. Ωphois 02:06, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
    That would then imply that if option 3 is chosen, the decision what is normally italicized in text is also not "left up to the projects", otherwise we get an inconsistency that is worse than what we have now. So, for example, whether a ship's name is italicized, but not the prefix – USS Nimitz (not "USS Nimitz" or "USS Nimitz"), as specified now in Wikipedia:WikiProject Ships/Guidelines#Referring to ships, would no longer be up to WikiProject Ships to determine but must be part of the policy? In that case I am against option 3 as being both not workable in practice and very much against the wiki spirit. However, I don't interpret the discussion consensus you refer to as excluding what I suggest, just as now the Wikipedia:naming conventions policy does not preclude having many guidelines for working out topic-specific detailed consequences of one general policy, such as, for example, Wikipedia:Naming conventions (birds) specifying details of capitalization.  --Lambiam 13:14, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
    The text at WP:MOSSHIP is referring to article text, not page titles. Very few ship editors have italicized the page titles. - Dank (push to talk) 16:14, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
    You are missing the point. Option 3 proposes: Italics in article titles for all terms normally italicized in text. Supposing that option 3 is selected, who is going to decide which terms are "normally italicized in text"? Is that going to be a centralized diktat, or is that left to the WikiProjects as it is now? If it is left to the WikiProjects, that's fine, it's what I'm in favour of. If the discretion to determine which terms are normally italicized in text is taken away from the Projects, as suggested above by Ωphois as a consequence of a consensus that has "already determined that it is not left up to the projects", then that would be most unfortunate. It would also be unfortunate and quite unworkable if there were two separate notions of "normally italicized in text", one applied only to article titles and centrally decided, and one for other text, decided as now.  --Lambiam 19:05, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1: no italics. I mean, what's the point? Italics are meant to distinguish or highlight words, and that's not an issue in the title.  Sandstein  15:58, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
    We have an article whose display title is "Brazilian battleship Minas Geraes". I find that much clearer than "Brazilian battleship Minas Geraes" and see no reason why this should be disallowed. I would find it an improvement if the article "Interpretations of Fight Club" had the display title "Interpretations of Fight Club", but that seems to be forbidden by options 1 and 2.  --Lambiam 19:20, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
    Yes, I see your point. I'm not against allowing italics where part of the title needs to be highlighted, but against writing the whole title in italics just because the word(s) would have been italicized if they were to appear in a text.  Sandstein  07:25, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
    Shouldn't it be Minas Geraes (battleship)? Ozob (talk) 21:38, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
    Or just Minas Geraes, unless there's a need for disambiguation. --Nuujinn (talk) 21:55, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
    We're getting off the point of italics, but it's located at "Brazilian battleship Minas Geraes" as part of a standardized military ship naming system. I think the relevant guideline is WP:SHIPNAME#Military ships. The name was also briefly discussed during the article's FAC. Just to note, I wrote this particular article. :-) Regards,  Ed (talkmajestic titan) 23:56, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
    I see! Not the convention I would have thought of myself, but I know very little about ships. Ozob (talk) 22:53, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
  • 2, not so much because I'm in favor of #2 as because WP:TITLE is content policy, so it will take a stronger consensus to change it than if it were just some essay, and while people are making some very good arguments, I don't think I'm seeing consensus (yet) strong enough to change the policy. My own personal and biased perspective is that I'd like to get more copyeditors and more academics interested in Wikipedia, and the more arcane Wikipedia becomes, the harder that is to do. So, I don't want to have to say this to an American copyeditor: "I know you learned per AP Stylebook that headlines never have italics and by your experience that book and chapter titles tend not to follow the normal italics conventions, but we do things a different way here with page titles. Just study up on the following 100 sets of rules handed down by the various wikiprojects on what they want to italicize, then add the magic code "{{DISPLAYTITLE:[be sure to type it with the right wikiformatting here!]}} at the top, then ..." At that point, I've already lost them ... not because they're incapable of learning a new rule set, but because they're pretty sure that headlines shouldn't be italicized from their previous experience, and, rightly or wrongly, they think we don't know what we're doing, and they don't want to keep a complicated set of wiki-rules in their heads that contradicts what they already know. - Dank (push to talk) 16:33, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure your argument is going the right way there; scientific names are commonly italicized in titles of American journal articles and books. There's usually no need for DISPLAYTITLE, by the way; {{italictitle}} does just as well and infoboxes, including {{Taxobox}} automatically italicize titles. Ucucha 16:41, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
      • Commonly, but not exclusively, and in those cases generally I would argue to distinguish the scientific names in a the title from other words in the title, something I think by and large we need not do. But I do not personally object strongly to the notion that scientific names might be an exception to the general rule. --Nuujinn (talk) 18:39, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
      • Your argument is good, Ucucha, but so is mine: wander randomly through book titles at Amazon that embed things (such as other titles) that would usually be italicized in text, and you'll see they're rarely italicized. FWIW, North Americans tend to be a little more optimistic than others that we can get people to agree to some common, simple (in this case, non-italicized) format, and U.S. academics and scientists sometimes prefer special orthography, while U.S. publishers and journalists (and therefore the general reading public, who read a lot more books, magazines and newspapers, on- and offline, than journal articles) love being able to grab Webster's New World Dictionary or Chicago or AP Stylebook and find "the answer". - Dank (push to talk) 20:01, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Dank, I read your arguments twice, and although you start with 2, it appears you are actually arguing for Option 1 (no italics). Which do you really suggest? — JohnFromPinckney (talk) 19:00, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
      • I think my argument is consistent with Options 1 and 2; hopefully copyeditors will understand that articles targeted at a specific readership should probably try to conform with whatever those readers are used to. But most Wikipedia articles target a wide readership. I wouldn't have any problem following either of those options at A-class review and FAC; whatever the community decides is fine. - Dank (push to talk) 19:45, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 2. Whenever I am reading a book or article and I see Homo Sapiens or Homo sapiens I roll me eyes and mentally sneer at the copyeditor who let that one slip through. Genera and species names should always be correctly formatted and capitalised (the only exception would be where the common name and generic name are the same - example cutia/Cutia). It astonishes me we are still having this discussion. Sabine's Sunbird talk 20:41, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
    When I see RMS Titanic or RMS Titanic in a book or article, I gnash my teeth and mentally make a smudge under my thumb of the responsible – or, rather, irresponsible – copyeditor. Ship names should always be correctly formatted and italicized. It astonishes me that, by choosing option 2, you want to disallow such correct formatting in Wikipedia article titles.  --Lambiam 03:39, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
    Meh. I guess I wasn't paying attention, I'm not sure books and such should be italicised (I'd be hard pressed to venture an opinion), but I concede the point about ships, which I agree are typically in italics. So... Option 2.5? Sabine's Sunbird talk 05:11, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
    I agree with the two of you as far as running text is concerned. I still do not understand the justification for article title italics. Ozob (talk) 22:39, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
    Um.... I don't understand why you don't understand. If Jean Paul Gautier (all caps) is correct in running text, it is surely not correct to render it Jean paul gautier in a section header or title. Why do you want to render something that should be Homo sapiens as Homo sapiens in the title? Are we trying to look stupid? It should correctly be Homo sapiens, we have the ability to make it Homo sapiens I can see no reason not to make it so. Sabine's Sunbird talk 08:29, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
    Well, standard English convention is that we use capital letters for proper nouns such as names, so "Jean paul gautier" would be wrong. Standard English convention is indifferent to typeface, so Homo sapiens is exactly the same thing as Homo sapiens. Let me ask you a question I asked above: What do you think of Homo sapiens or Homo sapiens? Are they misprints for Homo sapiens? Do they count as species names? Ozob (talk) 22:57, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
    Let me add to this one other thing. Occasionally large stretches of books are printed in italics. For example, this happens in extended quotations. If species names must be printed in italics, then they would have to be printed in italics in these extended quotations. Consequently they would not stand out; they would look like everything else. My own preference would be to unitalicize them; as far as I'm concerned, species names are italicized only because they're foreign words (usually Latin or Greek), and from that perspective, they ought to be unitalicized when the surrounding text is italicized. Do you agree or disagree? Ozob (talk) 23:12, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not use italics for quotes. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:37, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes. My question is not particularly relevant to Wikipedia, but I think that clarifying this issue will help to clarify the present discussion. Ozob (talk) 11:56, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm really confused now. If standard English convention is indifferent to typeface, and Homo sapiens is exactly the same thing as Homo sapiens, why are people arguing that italics are conventionally wrong? To answer your questions, bolding to me just denotes emphasis, italics denotes Linnean binomial (or trinomial). It's not about emphasis, it is about conveying specific (no pun intended) information about the words. It says, in much the same way that a capital denotes a proper noun, that is a specific type of noun related to taxonomy. And yes, if all text is in italics then binomials are unitalisised. Sabine's Sunbird talk 05:22, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
    "Convention" wasn't the clearest word, sorry. I think "meaning" would be better; I mean "meaning" in the sense of "the denotation and connotation of the word, its proper grammatical usage, and so on". Words don't change their meanings when you switch typefaces. As you say, to you bolding denotes emphasis, not a change in meaning. Even when Homo sapiens is in upright type, I expect that you recognize it as a species name and assume that it follows the same grammatical rules as any other proper noun.
    As I said before, as far as I'm concerned, the reason to italicize species names is because they're foreign words. Foreign words share the same rule that you stated above: When the surrounding text is italicized, they are printed in upright type. To me it seems we would be justified in treating articles titled in a foreign language the same way we would treat articles titled after species names. If we italicize Homo sapiens, it seems to me that for consistency we should italicize titles of the articles carpe diem and joie de vivre. Ozob (talk) 11:56, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
    You say that "Words don't change their meanings when you switch typefaces."—that is false in at least some contexts. I mentioned Murina and Murina above; another example is Patagonia, a region in Argentina, and Patagonia, a fossil marsupial. Fossa is not the same as Fossa.
    I think the idea that scientific names for genera and species are italicized because they are foreign words is also mistaken. They are italicized because that is the convention. Scientific names for families and other higher taxa, which are as foreign as those for genera and species, are not. Ucucha 12:08, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
    Following on, in my own field; the pittas have recently been taxonomically reshuffled, (something we haven't actually updated on their article yet), so while all Pitta are pittas, not all pittas are Pitta. Similarly with the fulvettas, not all fulvettas are Fulvetta. Again, words change meaning when you switch typefaces. Sabine's Sunbird talk 19:38, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
    To me it seems rather that two different things have the same name. There is a jargon sense, where Pitta is the proper name of a genus and is therefore capitalized and italicized, and there is an informal sense, where pitta denotes certain kinds of birds (if I'm reading the article right, the birds in the family Pittidae). There's nothing intrinsically wrong or impossible about a word having multiple related meanings, though it can be confusing. The convention of using italics to denote genera does help to distinguish the two. But words are determined by their letters, and therefore Pitta and pitta are two meanings of the same word. I would still be technically correct if I wrote "the genus Pitta": It is absolutely clear what that means, even though it ignores convention and is more prone to misinterpretation.
    Let me phrase my objection in a different way: Do you think that "book" and "book" are the same words, or not? If I write, "Moby-Dick is a big book", do you think that could ever mean anything different from "Moby-Dick is a big book"? Ozob (talk) 22:15, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
    "I see a Fossa" means something different from "I see a Fossa". "Book" is an irrelevant example, since it's not a scientific name. Ucucha 22:33, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
    I agree that they're different. I think we disagree on why they're different. If I were to write a dictionary, I would say something like: "Fossa (n) 1. A cat-like, carnivorous mammal that is endemic to Madagascar. 2. A genus of mammals endemic to Madagascar." If I understand you properly, you'd have two separate entries, "Fossa (n) A cat-like, carnivorous mammal that is endemic to Madagascar", and "Fossa (n) A genus of mammals endemic to Madagascar." Am I right? Because if so, this explains our difference over the word book. I am asking you if it would make sense to have two dictionary entries, "Book (n) A codex", and "Book (n) Something else." If that doesn't make sense, then why does it make sense to do it for scientific names? Ozob (talk) 23:25, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
    Why dictionary entries? All I am arguing is that scientific names are usually italicized, that not italicizing them is sometimes ambiguous, and (as Sabine's Sunbird says) that people who don't italicize them look ignorant. (I am, of course, not arguing, that we should have separate articles titled Fossa and Fossa.) Ucucha 06:32, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
    Well, above I expressed my opinion that Fossa and Fossa are two meanings of the same word. Do you agree with me that they are two different senses of the same word? That is the core of my dictionary question. Ozob (talk) 11:44, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 2A and probably B Change to Option 3, based on the significant evidence provided by User:Wareh below showing that modern scholarly encyclopedias use italics, when appropriate, in titles. Wikipedia should do the same. First Light (talk) 00:39, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Taxonomic names are always italicized in context, and certainly often enough in Reliable Source book titles that we can/should do so.[2][3] First Light (talk) 05:05, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Honestly, I don't really care about any of this as long as ship names are italicized correctly in titles to match virtually all scholarly literature on the topic. See more at WP:SHIPNAME. Thanks,  Ed (talkmajestic titan) 23:47, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
  • No italics for books, films, musicals, operas, etc. I think the current policy is fine. -- Ssilvers (talk) 23:54, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
  • No italics in any article titles or section headers. Italics may be used in text. Mjroots (talk) 07:07, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
    • So we should just look stupid to anyone with a smidgen of scientific background. No aspirations to look, I dunno, professional, or anything? Sabine's Sunbird talk 08:29, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
      I see your ad hominem and raise you one insult: You are an ex-parrot! Sorry, couldn't resist. Ozob (talk) 23:03, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
What makes you think those comments were a) ad hominem; b) directed at you? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:37, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
      • Not an ad hominem, I really do think people who write about biology and don't render binomials properly are idiots. It was beaten into me at the start of my biology undergrad, and ever since, if I'm reading a paper and I see them done wrong, I start looking more closely for other bone-headed errors. Sabine's Sunbird talk 05:22, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
        Well, I hope that you will not treat anyone here as a stupid idiot (until the present discussion is over). Ozob (talk) 11:56, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
        • My concern is that I will have to look like an stupid idiot in order to conform with your mandated aesthetic preferences. I, irrationally, dislike looking like an idiot, particularly when I am aware of it. Sabine's Sunbird talk 20:37, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Article titles, no (I agree); section headers, yes (I disagree). Surely a bio, for example, on Rihanna ought to have a possible section titled 2007–08: Good Girl Gone Bad era or one like Judy Garland enjoy the increased clarity of a section headed A Star Is Born about the film, rather than her. — JohnFromPinckney (talk) 11:12, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1, concurring with though not reiterating the excellent arguments of those preceding me. — pd_THOR | =/\= | 22:34, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 2A That is, keep it how it is now. fetch·comms 21:30, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3 although I see many think differently. The reason italics are used in text is not decoration ,but clarity. the same applies to article titles; it aids recognition of what the article is about. (that's the reason for the use for journal titles, for example). DGG ( talk ) 05:40, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • One policy, many guidelines. Guidelines for italic title use can be easily incorporated into existing article title naming conventions, as has been done with WP:FLORA, for example. I think the !votes here have gone far-afield of the original question. Several folks above seem only to have !voted to abolish all {{italic title}} use. Italics for taxa at the genus rank and below are not controversial and should be used (and are used) in all acceptable cases. As I said in the first RfC in 2009, I'm rather indifferent to the use of italic titles for the various literature uses, but I don't see much of a problem with it. People often expect books, scientific journals, etc. to be in italics. Don't know what everyone here is so afraid of... Also would have been nice if someone had dropped a note about this RfC at Template talk:Italic title (where the first RfC occurred) or at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Tree of Life, since folks are bringing up the original exemption for taxa. Both pages now have notices. Rkitko (talk) 16:18, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
    The discussion here shows that usage of italic titles for taxa is indeed controversial. As you can see from the surrounding discussion, there are a not insignificant number of people opposed to italic titles anywhere. Ozob (talk) 22:53, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
    The discussion here has been poorly constructed. I wouldn't trust the results at all. First, many of the !votes above don't seem to be informed about the previous consensus that taxa titles should be italicized (a link to the first RfC would have been nice). Second, the folks who edit in the Tree of Life WikiProject were not notified of this discussion until recently. Even more disturbing, other projects, such as those mentioned below among the realms of literature, were apparently also not notified. And worst of all, the original RfC question had nothing to do with whether or not we should have italic titles at all or whether taxa should be de-italicized. There's also a certain bit of anti-expert feeling to some of the above comments: "Oh, you're just a biologist; what do you know about article titles in encyclopedias?" Well, we know that taxa, wherever written, should be italicized. This is not an argument at the moment because of prior consensus. If we want to have that discussion, a different RfC needs to be started. Rkitko (talk) 07:16, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3: Italics wherever appropriate in article text. The objection of 4meter4 about the standards of good grammar and correct practice elsewhere is not sound; the best online, peer-reviewed, scholarly encyclopedia I know, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, gives e.g. A Priori Justification and Knowledge for its lemma. Another top-quality print scholarly encyclopedia, the Spenser Encyclopedia gives an article on Awe followed by an article on Axiochus (the pseudo-Platonic dialogue). The article in the Dante Encyclopedia on the Vita Nuova is entitled Vita Nuova. If Wikipedia wants to follow the standards of well-edited and correct English usage, this is the overwhelmingly attractive choice. Yes, some good encyclopedias format their lemmas in any number of ways (e.g. all caps), but that's a red herring. As a matter of procedure and politics, I regret that knowledgeable subject-matter editors in book-related disciplines (for example, WP:BOOK, WP:WikiProject Philosophy, WP:CGR, everything at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Literature#Related_Wikiprojects, etc.) were not recruited to participate in this discussion. If notices had been placed in all of those parts, we'd have an awful lot of Ph.D. Wikipedians chiming in here to ask that book titles be italicized when the subject of our encyclopedia articles (something very rare, by the way, in print encyclopedias: encyclopedias on individual authors are a good exception, which is why I thought of the Spenser and Dante encyclopedias, which gave me a 2-for-2 confirmation of my view). The current policy of unitalicized book titles is an embarrassment to Wikipedia (in the opinion of this literary scholar), and the Spenser and Dante encyclopedia examples I've cited will, I hope, put an end to the falsehoods blocking adoption of standard usage. Wareh (talk) 18:27, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Few Wikipedians with PhDs advertise the fact, due to a vocal minority of anti-expert editors. There are probably already PhD Wikipedians commenting in this section. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:09, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
      • I'm sorry, and I wish I hadn't said something that could come off so badly and distract from my point. Also, since I went and posted some notices on some book-related project pages, I am in danger of being disappointed with the absence of any onrush of scholarly indignation here! Of course I want to have the discussion on its merits, and the only Ph.D.'s we should be concerned about are the estimable authorities who have put together such works as the Spenser Encyclopedia, the Dante Encyclopedia, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. As long as our argument considers those works and doesn't call them ungrammatical or poorly edited, I will have made my contribution. Wareh (talk) 19:27, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
    • I am not quite sure what your argument is here, but as best as I can tell, you are saying that because a minority of specialist encyclopedias italicize titles, we should too. I think I am misunderstanding you. Please explain. Ozob (talk) 22:58, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
      • Indeed you have misunderstood me, so thank you for inviting clarification. Thinking of book titles and foreign-language terminology, I asked myself, "What do excellent scholarly encyclopedias do?" Three excellent scholarly encyclopedias on book-related subjects came to mind. I checked them, and found that, in this unscientific but also unprejudiced sample, all used the "Option 3" style. I imagine that if we surveyed all recent scholarly encyclopedias devoted to subjects where several articles will be on books (e.g. author encyclopedias), the figure would not remain at 100%, but would continue to be a majority, not a minority. I also wanted to make clear how plainly this refutes claims that absence of italics in lemmata is "universal" in print encyclopedias, etc. Wareh (talk) 00:13, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3: Italics wherever appropriate in article text. Formatting in titles should be consistent with formatting in content. Arguments from personal aesthetics (that the italics are ugly in titles) or from paper encylopedia practice (evidently not entirely representative) have carried this issue before; I find them uncompelling. —chaos5023 (talk) 18:53, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1: No italics in article titles please. BritishWatcher (talk) 19:28, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3: Italics wherever appropriate in article text, but not strongly. Could add an extra bit of distinguishing info to some article titles: Julius Caesar (play) or The New York Times crossword puzzle. The use or non-use of italics in newspaper headlines for titles is not applicable: Associated Press style has been to enclose titles within headlines in single quotes in lieu of italic. This is a dinosaur convention that dates to the age of manual typesetting, because italics complicated the process, and even in the early era of electronic typesetting still created problems of kerning in relation to narrow column width on a multi-column page. Cynwolfe (talk) 20:23, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 2A and 2B since, much like pH, these are the proper names of these things. Not for journal titles, since that is just a stylistic issue. No for ship names and the like - after all, they don't use italics on the side of a ship. Guettarda (talk) 22:18, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
    So, let me ask you a question I asked above but didn't receive an answer to: If you were putting together a dictionary, which of the following would you do and why: (a) Have a single entry, "Fossa (n) 1. A cat-like, carnivorous mammal that is endemic to Madagascar. 2. A genus of mammals endemic to Madagascar." (b) Have two distinct entries, "Fossa (n) A cat-like, carnivorous mammal that is endemic to Madagascar", and "Fossa (n) A genus of mammals endemic to Madagascar." If the former, please explain why it is not necessary to italicize the headword Fossa. If the latter, please tell me whether you think there could be a word Book which was not the same as the word Book. Ozob (talk) 23:01, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
    A specious argument. That's why we have disambiguation. And Wikipedia is not a dictionary. When we have an article on a taxon, the title is italicized, as it should be. Articles will not have multiple scopes. Disambiguation pages with their multiple entries and meanings, the closest analogous page to your dictionary argument, have not and should not be italicized. Rkitko (talk) 07:23, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
    So, do you think it would be acceptable to have an article named Fossa and an article named Fossa (assuming there were no technical restrictions)? If that is the case, let me ask: Would it be acceptable to have an article named Book and an article named Book? If not, how is this any different? Ozob (talk) 02:43, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
    And now a straw-man argument? I will not argue hypotheticals. There is a technical restriction that likely won't be going away. Why spend time arguing over a possible alternate reality in which it were possible? Further, given the current naming guideline for animal taxa, the second article would not exist at that title. You can't base your objection to italicized titles on an assumption that disambiguation pages don't exist. Two simple facts are necessary to support italicized titles: 1) We have the technical ability to do so, which will not interfere with the already existing purpose of disambiguation pages and 2) as a manual of style issue, italics for taxa, mathematical symbols, books, journals, etc. are required for us as an encyclopedia to look professional (see previous examples above of literary encyclopedias that use italic titles for entries). By bringing up this straw-man, you're losing ground on what I think is the most defensible position on whether or not the encyclopedia should apply our manual of style guidelines on italicization to article titles. That's the only true argument here. Rkitko (talk) 02:58, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
    Please allow me to try again: Do you believe that Fossa and Fossa are distinct words? If yes, are they also distinct from Fossa and Fossa? If no, then is it acceptable to refer to "the genus Fossa"? If you reject my primary question again, then please answer both my secondary questions. Ozob (talk) 11:52, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
    Not sure what you're getting at here, and I'm not sure if it's relevant to the matter at hand here on Wikipedia. If two articles are to have the same title, we need to disambiguate them with additional, usually parenthetical, terms. You're getting into the realm of semantics; I could counter with a question, asking you to define what you mean by distinct. Is the spelling the same? Yes. Is the formatting the same? No. Does that make it distinct? Umm... Does that matter here? The matter at hand is whether or not you think article titles should follow our manual of style with regards to italics. Your questions get us no closer to a resolution for that question. See the two excellent answers below for your second question; I cannot add anything further. Rkitko (talk) 14:52, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
    Seeing as the RFC at hand may change the Manual of Style, I reject your insinuation that I do not want articles to follow the MoS. I also reject your statement that my questions get us no further towards a resolution: I am trying to understand how someone could support option 2, which I see as illogical, and my questions are responses to what supporters of option 2 have said. I have not seen you offer any support for your own statements. You prefer to deride this discussion ("The discussion here has been poorly constructed", "This is not an argument at the moment because of prior consensus"), assert your authority ("Well, we [biologists] know that taxa, wherever written, should be italicized"), and mock my questions ("A specious argument", "And now a straw-man argument?"). I do not think you are interested in consensus. Until I am convinced otherwise I will ignore you. Ozob (talk) 04:14, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
    If I might chime in on this discussion: I would consider them two styles of writing the same word, which suggest (but don't define) different meanings. However, if you mean the genus, it is correct to italicise it (Fossa) where it is technically possible to do so. In a plain text file, "the genus Fossa" would be acceptable. The comparison with "iPod" has been made before: if only block capitals were possible, IPOD would be acceptable; where both cases are available, iPod is the correct form. Thomas Kluyver (talk) 12:23, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
    In hurried email correspondence, some professional taxonomists will leave scientific names unitalicized even in rich text, but others will use plain text "markup" conventions and write /Fossa/ or _Fossa_, to suggest italics or underlining.--Curtis Clark (talk) 12:45, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
    To me, these both seem to be arguments for option 3. Thomas Kluyver, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that there is a word, Fossa, which has two distinct meanings, one of which is conventionally italicized and the other of which is conventionally left in upright type. Your argument for italicizing article titles is that we should respect these sorts of typographic conventions; if this is true then taxa are no different from anything else that might be italicized (such as book titles). And Curtis Clark, you seem to suggest that when taxa are left unitalicized, they are still understood. These suggest to me that italics are a typographic convention that does not change the meaning of words (assuming that the words have only a single meaning in context, as in my question about "the genus Fossa" above). From this perspective option 2 makes no sense; option 2a argues that there is something intrinsic to scientific names—something not shared by other phrases conventionally set in italics—which forces them to be italicized even when other phrases are not. Options 2b and 2c enlarge this exception but do not alter its nature: It discriminates on the basis of content; certain content gets italic titles while certain other content does not. This is not the case for options 1 or 3, which pay no attention to content. So far I am not aware of any reason why we should grant some but not all content italic titles, so I think of option 2 as unreasonable.
    (Both of you voted for option 3 below, so perhaps you are not particularly interested in defending option 2. I should say that I am not particularly opposed to option 3; I may not be convinced that it will work out, but I think it has merit.) Ozob (talk) 04:14, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
    Option 3 is my favourite of the options we're !voting on. More specifically, I think that people with an interest in each area should discuss whether italics in titles are appropriate—it's not for me to say whether mathematical symbols, for instance, should be italicised or not. With respect to taxonomic names (which is my area of interest), I think the 'convention' is rather stronger than for, say, book titles. As in my comparison with the iPod, italics is considered the correct way to write genus and species names where it's possible. Of course it's understood without; you'd understand if I wrote Ipod, but in an encyclopaedia, I would expect to always see iPod. Thomas Kluyver (talk) 11:37, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Italics: Arbitrary break

  • ~Option 3: We can have a general guideline that plain text is the default, but we should leave it up to people who know a specific area to reach consensus on exceptions. Failing that, 2A as an absolute minimum: genus and species names should always be italicised. Thomas Kluyver (talk) 09:43, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • My opinion is that binomials and math, and everything else, should be considered somewhat separately. Binomials and math should be italicised in my opinion; I don't care whether other articles are, but if, say, journals are italicised, so should books, films, and so on. —innotata 18:09, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Option 3 but not verys trongly, see above. —innotata 19:29, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3 seems most reasonable to me, but the only parts I have strong feelings about are scientific names and mathematical symbols, and the latter only because it's a cleaner solution than using the 𝑈𝑛𝑖𝑐𝑜𝑑𝑒 𝑃𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑒 1 𝑚𝑎𝑡ℎ 𝑠𝑦𝑚𝑏𝑜𝑙𝑠.--Curtis Clark (talk) 03:28, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3 per duh (i.e User:Wareh). If you italicize in text, then italicize in title as well. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 06:52, 11 August 2010 (UTC))
  • Also a note, option "2C" is an example, it should not be restricted to academic journals. However right now, italicizing journals has been a standard practice for at least one year now (which is why it is mentionned). The reason is that Nature refers to Nature (journal), while Nature refers to nature. Likewise for things like Oncogene, Genome Research, etc. This really should be about titles of work in general, for example italicizing Design Patterns tells you this is about a work, and not about design patterns. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 18:04, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3 per my comments above. Option 1 is my second choice. Option 2, including all variations of it (which includes current policy), is not logical.—Finell 22:34, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 2A, 2B Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:11, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1. Article titles are not running prose and should not be treated as such. Powers T 17:58, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3 Ideally there should be agreement between text and title. mgiganteus1 (talk) 19:16, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3 Consistency and clarity are gained, nothing is lost. Iterations of 2 are senseless—a taxonomic name is no more "properly" italic than is the name of a book or a film. And I'm afraid those who have suggested there's an issue of "grammar" here are confused about what grammar is. DocKino (talk) 00:22, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 3 I'm ok with this being used everywhere that the community deems is appropriate (or is that Option 2?). I can see how it can help to distinguish article titles that include and to link two works. I do think caution should be used so that if {{italic title}} is embedded into other templates, it is parameter controlled so that pages with multiple infoboxes do not get all or part of their titles accidentally italicized (e.g., {{Infobox comic book title}} on Blue Beetle). —Ost (talk) 16:05, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment I realize this isn't a vote, but here is some interpretation of sentiment. After nearly one month of comments, and interpreting some comments that didn't give a specific 1, 2, or 3 option, sentiment is running approximately: 1: 14 comments favoring no italics- 2: 10 comments supporting italics for certain article titles only - 3: 19 comments supporting italics in titles for all terms normally italicized in text (for example, I counted the !comment "I don't really care about any of this as long as ship names are italicized correctly in titles to match virtually all scholarly literature on the topic" as a 2). There is a definite trend toward 3, with 7 out of the last 10 comments supporting it, and two supporting 2. It seems that there is fairly strong support for continuing some use of italics in titles. Perhaps there needs to be further discussion on each particular use, or to simply allow the specific article naming conventions to make that decision. First Light (talk) 19:57, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment. I have been a little mystified that this previous discussion/RfC, which does not appear to have been formally closed (and seems to have been considerably less visible than the discussion here) has served as warrant for italic titles to be stripped via AWB (an issue I complained about here and which brought this question to my attention). I an not a Wiki-Lawyer, but my hope would be that this broader discussion (and I think First Light well summarizes its mixed results and tendency, though I think someone who says "as long as ship titles are right" is pretty sympathetic to literary editors who say "as long as book titles are right" and is thus a bit closer to Option 3), which still less shows any consensus against use of Template:Italic title where subject editors consider it appropriate, can at least put the brakes on such automatic/mass regulation of the title formatting. Wareh (talk) 20:39, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I wonder if the trend you see towards option 3 could reflect more involvement from people involved with the specific areas in question. For instance, I joined this discussion (!voting 3) after it was mentioned on wikiproject plants (for taxonomic names). Thomas Kluyver (talk) 22:21, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Option 1: No italics, with absolutely no exceptions. Article titles are page locators, not part of the text, and often include clarifiers that are invariably omitted from links in text via pipe-linking. (There is the exception of disambiguation pages, but these don't really count as articles anyway; besides, in dab pages the title refers to several different concepts and it is rarely possible to apply italics to it.) Call me a formatting conservative if you like, but I like the consistent look of an unformatted article title, followed by the project's tag-line. I think we can agree that "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" is also not part of the article, so why should the part before it be? URLs are not formatted, and I don't hear anyone complaining; article titles play exactly the same role within the project. I understand the argument regarding the importance of italics in certain scientific contexts, but how is it relevant here when we cannot use italics in the search box? Waltham, The Duke of 12:32, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
    • I don't see the point of discussing URLs or the search box; that's not what we are discussing and it's a different situation anyway, as it is not (as far as I am aware) technically possible to have italicization there. It is technically possible to apply correct italicization to article titles; why not do that? You say you like the consistent look of non-italicized titles, but perhaps I like the consistent look of having a scientific name equally italicized in an article's title and lead sentence—how is that argument any weaker (or stronger—neither is very convincing to me)? Ucucha 12:36, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
      • It isn't. We all have our preferences but mine is not why I oppose italicisation in article titles; I am sure that, in time, I could get used to the sight of italicised level-one headings, even though I now find them rather odd-looking. My main argument, which I fear that you are not addressing in your reply, is that I do not consider article titles to be part of articles. They are not editable, they do not follow the same formatting conventions as the rest of the articles—"Disneyland with the Death Penalty" has no quotation marks in the title; using italics for magazines and not quotation marks for magazine articles would be a major inconsistency—and we have naming conventions of which the sole purpose is to help us determine the exact phrasing of article titles. They are part of the interface, as much as the sidebar, the search box and the licence at the bottom of the page; they are common to all editable pages across Wikipedia, and their form is constant and predictable in all these pages. This is why I believe that, even though we can create italicised article titles, we shouldn't. I reiterate that the purpose of article titles is to serve as page locators and not to summarise or define the article's subject—that's a job for the first sentence of the lead, which does it much more successfully. Therefore, I find that the functional considerations of titles will be better served by a uniform appearance and by a lack of stylistic treatments and subtleties (largely redundant to parenthetical clarifiers) that would detract from what titles essentially are: a brief piece of text that serves as a reliable visual anchor for the reader's eye and as a starting point for their exploration of the page. Waltham, The Duke of 17:28, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
        • Article titles are part of the articles, and not merely "page locators", since they are conveying information about the article's content—just as book titles are part of books. That's why some academic book publishers italicize taxonomic names in their book titles.[4] [5] [6] [7] Those book titles are conveying information through the use of italics: namely, that those terms are taxonomic names. Indeed, it does come down to personal preference, since not all book publishers follow that higher standard. At this point, there does not appear to be consensus/preference to overturn the last two year's use of italics for taxa article titles, and there are many people who would prefer to expand their use. First Light (talk) 20:25, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
          • Two years? I hadn't realised it was this much, but again, I understand this was a WikiProject decision at first, with no community sanction for half this time period. Your examples raise an interesting question: if book titles can include italics, should we stop writing The Rise of Homo Sapiens and instead adopt The Rise of Homo Sapiens? Well, maybe not that interesting; it seems to me self-evident that such a practice would be highly problematic and would defeat the point of italicising book titles in text. But I digress.

            You say that article titles are a part of articles in the same way that book titles form a part of the books on which they are printed. But the thing is, I don't deny that article titles form a part of the pages on which they appear; I was only referring to the articles themselves, which is to say the content: a reader's understanding of a subject does not begin with the article title but with the first sentence of the lead. And although this could be seen as a relatively minor point, there is a bigger problem with your comparison: Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia—by definition organised as a directory—and as such (with the exception of the likes of Knol) there is only one article for each subject. This is clearly not the case with books, where you can have thousands of them on roughly the same subject. Add the commercial needs of the publishing industry and you end up with pretty descriptive titles, often complemented with subtitles. While Wikipedia's article titles offer the bare minimum of information required so that the reader may know they have found the correct article, the titles of books are supposed to make people want to read them. The philosophies behind these two cases are fundamentally different.

            To return to your examples, First Light, I must say that I remain unconvinced, given the weight normally given to aesthetic criteria on books' covers. What I'd write as A Taxonomic Revision of Lamium (Lamiaceae) is actually written as A TAXONOMIC REVISION OF LAMIUM (Lamiaceae), and in the case of The Rise of Homo Sapiens, "Homo sapiens" is written not just in italics but in a much larger font than the rest of the title, even though they belong to the same phrase. By the way, I realise that "Homo Sapiens" is erroneously capitalised, but, as with the italics, it would be wrong not to use title case when referring to a book title. Which seems to create a new kind of use–mention distinction: one can apply certain conventions in, or take certain freedom with, book titles, but when referring to them one must adopt a specific style overriding said conventions and freedoms. At the end of the day, conventions restricted to specific fields have necessarily limited application when they conflict universal typographical practices.

            Italics are essentially a different kind of quotation marks, and we use neither in our titles; italics may have a disambiguation role in biology, but we already have a disambiguation system in place and therefore they are redundant. Our system of article titles is as lean and consistent as possible while still providing precise and recognisable titles. Claiming that we must have italics in titles because the lack thereof may cause confusion is pretty odd under the circumstances. With that set aside, all that is left is a stylistic preference for italics that would have us treat certain terms one way and everything else another way. And then it all comes down to this: is it more important to have consistency amongst titles or between a title and its article? Considering that a disambiguated title does not appear in its article in the same form, and that the mechanics of titles make them more an element of the interface than a part of the article, I go with the former choice. It's pretty simple, really. Waltham, The Duke of 23:52, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

We will have to agree to disagree on what I see as central to the discussion. Where you say "a reader's understanding of a subject does not begin with the article title but with the first sentence of the lead", I say that a reader's understanding of an article indeed begins with the title. That's one reason why we see such heated discussions about article titles. They are not simply an organizational convenience with no contextual relationship to the article's content. First Light (talk) 02:54, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Closing this discussion

It has been well over a month since this RfC began and over a week since the last comment. It seems time that some neutral party closed the discussion. Ozob (talk) 14:57, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Here are three counts. Several people supported in somewhat ambiguous ways, so I have tallied the votes according to three distinct rules. Approval voting is a system where you get to cast up to one vote for any option you would be satisfied with. "By most pro-italic vote" means each person got one vote, with higher numbers and letters getting precedence. "By most pro-upright vote" means each person got one vote, with lower numbers and letters getting precedence. My (probably slightly incorrect) tallies are:

Option Approval voting By most pro-italic vote By most pro-upright vote
1 18 15 17
2A 12 2 9
2B 8 6 0
2C 2 2 0
3 19 19 17

Under the most pro-upright conditions, therefore, there is still a 2:1 majority in favor of some italicization. So I judge the pro-upright case to fail; while I support it myself, there is no consensus for it (at this time. Just you wait!)

That leaves us with 3 and variations on 2. 3 is the clear winner here. Not only did it gather much more support than any of the 2 choices, but as the poll progressed, new votes for 2 dropped off and new votes for 3 accelerated.

Those of us who supported 1 may not be too happy with 3, as it is the practical opposite of what we were hoping for. But I think that 1 and 3 share a lot of intellectual middle ground; they both construct their cases on purely typographic grounds, not on content grounds like 2 does. For those of us who support 1, 3 is a better place to begin further discussion than 2. There is the objection that, if the 2 votes are left out, 1 and 3 drew about the same amount of support; and how can I call it consensus if the split is just about even? But most of the 2 votes are vocally, sometimes rabidly and hostilely, opposed to the idea that we would not italicize certain article titles (specifically, taxonomic names). In that sense they are far more pro-3 than pro-1, and that, I judge, weighs in favor of 3.

I have updated the policy accordingly. Ozob (talk) 01:53, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


  • So many discussions everywhere, so hard to find the ones that really matter until you end up seeing the results of them applied where you edit. Oppose italics. Yes i know this is closed but this is the talk page for this and well this is where the very archive notice above says to comment :P It wasn't until Xeworlebi started adding {{Italic title}} to all of these tv show articles in my watchlist that i became aware of this template let alone any discussion on it. When Xeworlebi reverted all edits made it really got my attention. Then Xeworlebi re-reverted the edits (putting italics back in). I went looking and eventually found this.
  • Someone above made the comment: Article titles are part of the articles, and not merely "page locators", since they are conveying information about the article's content—just as book titles are part of books. That is a clever argument save for i know of no standard for italicising of titles ON THE BOOKS THEMSELVES. Flawed comparison as i have some 200 books just on a shelf beside me and i see not one of them with an italicised title on the spine.
  • As to the closing, the tally table looks to me like a VERY split vote. I would strongly advise against using it to declare any policy or guideline being approved.
  • Conversely i would like to put forward the proposal that all things that are put in quotation marks within articles be titled as such for the same reasons that this was approved. From my corner of editing that would principally cover songs and episode titles of tv shows. Dream On (Aerosmith song) becomes "Dream On" (Aerosmith song) and Pilot (Lost) becomes "Pilot" (Lost)
    Or not do any of this at all delirious & lost~hugs~ 04:19, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
  • My confusion was becaue I saw this discussion. I'm used to have the outcome at the top, but here the previous policy was at the top. After reading more closely and seeing the final line "I have updated the policy accordingly". I was sure that the policy was updated (which I've seen often not done (for years) after a discussion ended).
  • The book argument is off course quite silly, since we put the name of the book in italics in the text despite it not being in italics on the book. Books, movie, TV series etc. are in italics on wikipedia. Don't mind how the book itself is formatted.
  • 18 vs 41 isn't a very split vote. That's near 70% approval for italics.
  • The quotes you bring up are a valid point, moving the pages would be inappropriate, rather create a similar template {{Quoted title}} for these. Xeworlebi (talk) 14:48, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't look like 18 to 41 to me. It looks more like 18 against, 22 supporting limited (scientific) use, and 19 supporting widespread use. Clearly, no consensus to apply it to titles of fictional works. Even more clearly, ~60 people is not enough to form any Wikipedia-wide consensus on such a prominent change in policy. Axem Titanium (talk) 20:51, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
If i had found out about this in time to vote it would be 19 against, 22 limited use, 19 widespread use. Still that is only 60 votes. An RfA will get more attention than this had and this is project-wide main-space affecting policy change. Those supporting limited use presumably object to the widespread use and thus could be according counted in the "nay" regarding all things not specified in option 2 but covered in option 3. The only fair extraction of consensus is for that which covers the limited use option 2 as defined near the top of the above RfC. Anything else is finding what is not there to be found. The change in policy was made against consensus.
This is one area that i am not too familiar with. Do i file an RfC on the closing of the above RfC or is there something else i ought to do?
The book comparison was not mine but i did find and respond to it. I purposefully did NOT make my comment a new section. I guess this is my saying i "re-re-factored" the section with what i would have used had i wished my comment to be separated from the RfC. delirious & lost~hugs~ 15:51, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Quotation marks

I have added explicit mention of quotation marks to the page under Italics and other formatting. My new text says that quotation marks are not to be used in article titles, even when they would be used in running text (per the MoS, for example, which I did not mention). I believe this explicit mention is necessary because of the discrepancy between the italics policy and the quotation marks policy.

The RfC above was explicitly and solely about italics, and the discussions (still above and elsewhere) did not indicate a widespread readiness to do the same thing with quoted titles as even the proponents wanted to do with italics.

So now the policy says, "no quotation marks in article titles", and it would be great if anybody (everybody) could assure me that we don't already have some example of quotes in a title somewhere (violating policy). — JohnFromPinckney (talk) 23:46, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Probably, somewhere, but that doesn't mean we oughtn't to discourage it. In fact we already did have such a statement in the policy - I've modified your text to point to that statement.--Kotniski (talk) 08:02, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, thanks for your improvement. And what I meant was, our explicit discouragement of using quotes is a problem if there are 40-some articles that use and need them already (although I can't think of any examples). Since we already did have that in there, though, I'm less worried. — JohnFromPinckney (talk) 11:20, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
You might have misunderstood my point. For the same flawed reasoning that italics are being added to titles so should quotation marks. The support comes mostly from wanting titles to match how the words are formatted in the article. On that principle if italics are used then quotation marks ought to be used too. I personally am against both italics and quotation marks. Just pointing out the blatant double standard that has been pushed through. delirious & lost~hugs~ 15:19, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I suppose it could be argued that the quotation marks are not part of the title, since they go outside it, while the italics are essentially "part of" the title. Though I would actually prefer to use quotation marks in a title where the quote or song title is just part of the article title, like Cultural significance of "I'm a Little Teapot", if there are any like that.--Kotniski (talk) 06:36, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Or "Oops!... I Did It Again" (song) (which is not the same as Oops!... I Did It Again)? — JohnFromPinckney (talk) 08:08, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Just as a matter of personal taste, no, I wouldn't want to see quotes used in titles like that (they clutter up the title without providing any additional clarity).--Kotniski (talk) 08:35, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Improper close?

PMFJI, but seeing User:Deliriousandlost's plea in history, I must comment. Generally a closer should put the result up top, which is clearly no consensus, as there is no majority anywhere, but this was not done. Generally in obvious nonconsensus cases a closer should not add a separate gigantic section with a consensus rationale, archive them both simultaneously, and immediately implement the perceived consensus result, but that is what appears on first glance. Further, as a mathematician, I note that no three-way poll is ever fully fair, and this is a sterling example. The above interpretation refers to a distinction between 1 and 2+3, awards the win to 2+3, then awards the win to 3 over 2. One might just as well refer to the distinction that 2 is a compromise and 1+3 aren't, or 3 is a major change requiring serious coding awareness and 1+2 aren't, and there are ways to make even 2 the winner. That is, a sudden policy change should not be predicated on a nonconsensus poll, and so I have supported the reversion to the prior policy statement. Further, a malformation of the poll also permits a "divide-and-conquer" reading, and it is hard to avoid that reading here.
Without reading the votes in much detail, my opinion is 1 or 2A and/or 2B; individual groups have the manpower to maintain enforcement of projectwide italics, but to expand this to books, movies and TV is utterly ridiculous and an imposition upon ordinary editors of the hobgoblins of petty-consistency types. Further, my reading of the close beyond its obvious nonconsensus nature is that the 2A+2B types argue for status quo, the option 1 types argue for a slight simplification (the science topics are closely monitored), and the option 3 types argue for an irresponsible expansion (the creative topics are much more scattershot). There are other reasons. The status quo is more acceptable to option 1 and less so to option 3. Thus the status quo is a more reasonable result in the absence of better isolation of the concerns of the option 3 types than has already happened. JJB 16:50, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm confused; it sounds like you've misread the options, from your saying "the option 1 types argue for a slight simplification (the science topics are closely monitored)". "Science topics" is relevant to option 2; option 1 is no italics ever. Anyway, I don't agree in general; I think it was a good, if inevitably controversial, close, though of course since it was in favor of the option I prefer I am doubtless biased. —chaos5023 (talk) 17:09, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
If there were objections, they could have been made straight away - please don't be disruptive by trying to impose your own interpretation by force. We can discuss this further, but the best thing to do might be to ask a few administrators for their opinion as to what the decision was and what should be done now.--Kotniski (talk) 17:28, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Here is my objection, again. It was initially just below the RFC. I only found out about {{Italic title}} from its implementation on specific pages. Today i realised it was put into the infoboxes to keep it from being removed in protest to the misrepresented close and corresponding change of the policy. People who like the change surely will not want it undone. Those who don't give a toss either way will call for the status quo. Those who object will want it undone. I am not a fan of italics in this use. No surprise there. If the consensus had been obvious, overwhelming, and simple then i would have never complained more than a grumble or 17 in my irc channel. Having read the RFC and the other RFCs therein linked the support for italics in titles is no where near sufficient to warrant policy change. Hence i grumble and complain here instead of my irc channel. What makes it all the more confusing is that the person who closed the RFC was not in favour of italics but somehow found that the majority was in favour of widespread use. delirious & lost~hugs~ 18:04, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Which tends to support it being a good close. Some trouble here comes, I think, from there being many important differences between what you read the closer as doing — finding what "the majority was in favour of" — and what the closer was actually doing (and IMO did), which is finding WP:CONSENSUS. —chaos5023 (talk) 18:19, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh, also. Your interpretation of the infobox implementations is a fairly serious failure of WP:AGF. You might want to look into that. —chaos5023 (talk) 18:20, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Um, yes, option 1 was in favor of undoing the current italics on science topics. Um, yes, I made the objections straight away upon noticing the issue, in order to re-jump-start the dialogue. What would be a good board other than this talk? JJB 17:32, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Ah, okay. So that language makes sense in light of your seeming overall interpretation of the policy change as representing, in some sense, "marching orders" -- because scientific articles are managed by a tight-knit group, the "imposition" of a change is lessened. Have to say, I think you're overblowing the whole "imposition" thing considerably. Nobody is going to, or can, go out and coerce editors into doing the work necessary to generate widespread consistency with the policy change; rather, the change protects people who are interested in doing said work from having their efforts reverted. And the amount of work is not necessarily large; WikiProject Albums and WikiProject Films implemented it consistently with very little muss or fuss via {{Infobox album}} and {{Infobox film}}. —chaos5023 (talk) 17:40, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Similarly with ships. I think a lot of the objections that are suddenly appearing are largely a result of surprise at seeing something familiar change - that always happens when a noticeable presentation change starts being implemented. But I would suggest the best place to make objections against the previous close, if you really have to, would be the admins' noticeboard.--Kotniski (talk) 17:43, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
The implementation into {{Infobox album}} is where this revival of my complaint comes from. I didn't find the template in the article itself so i looked at the infobox template and tada there it is. So yeah, there was no fuss at adding it. One can not possibly track and watch every article, template, and notice board. I can however watch articles and when i see expanded implementation of a change in policy that i am currently contesting then yes the fuss is raised a little louder. delirious & lost~hugs~ 18:04, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
While my review of implementation seems smooth, the painful facts remain that the close was clearly an improper determination of consensus, and more so due to the closer's deep involvement in the discussion, which is not exculpatory; and there is serious newbie-biting involved in expecting them to understand how to write [["Pilot" (Lost)|"Pilot" (''Lost'')]] (or variations), let alone how to put the "nowiki"s around them when they want to talk about it, or tell the difference between " and '' when someone else does. So I hope D&L will start a new separate-page RFC and link it at WP:CENT, and we can get a real community consensus or lack thereof. JJB 19:20, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
This "clearly an improper determination of consensus" is your interpretation, and I do not agree with or support it. As to the rest, that is not what WP:BITE means, no harm is done if a newbie writes [[Pilot (Lost)]] (an experienced editor may upgrade the style to WP:MOS standards at leisure), and this issue you are now introducing of quotes in titles is another matter which isn't relevant here. —chaos5023 (talk) 19:23, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

The one thing I'd like to add to this discussion is that, in my opinion, there was never a broad-based consensus for the previous "no italics" state-of-affairs, either. If it should be decided that the determination of consensus here was improper (and I think per WP:CONSENSUS it is perfectly defensible), then I think the result is, "Wikipedia has no settled policy on this." If you disagree and believe there was a previous consensus-based policy, show me the discussion. This "RfC" is all I'm aware of previously, and (1) it was not properly closed, (2) it attracted very narrow attention, being visible mainly to biology editors who were more concerned about their internal issues than with what should happen in other kinds of articles. The kind of evidence brought into the discussion here, for example, that high-quality online & print scholarly encyclopedia articles quite often italicize titles by the criteria now enshrined in WP:AT, was not considered at all previously. So: (A) I believe this is a defensible consensus. (B) Yes, no consensus means no change...but the real status quo ante in this case is no consensus-based policy whatsoever, anarchy, WP:IAR. (Which might actually be productive: show how often and how far subject editors persuade their colleagues to use italics in different kinds of articles, and open this back up, if needed, after that is breaking down.) Wareh (talk) 20:12, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

What implementation has done is bring this to the attention of those who do not typically stalk discussions but spend more of their time on content. I would support no policy whatsoever. The one flaw in leaving it open to sample usage preference is incorporating italics into broadly used, protected templates. Unless one creates an anti-italics template to counter the one in the infoboxes there is no way to see what the larger community really thinks of this.

Substantive changes should be proposed on the talk page first, and sufficient time should be allowed for thorough discussion before being implemented.

If one reads that literally then a long discussion is required but the outcome is implementation of the proposal even if all but the one proposing it oppose it.

Sometimes voluntary agreement of all interested editors proves impossible to achieve, and a majority decision must be taken. More than a simple numerical majority is generally required for major changes.

I call this not a minor change. It also does not have more than a simple numerical majority. Depending on what you want to consider it doesn't even come close to 50%+1. That would be no consensus.
delirious & lost~hugs~ 20:32, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I saw your comment at my talk page and responded there first, but I suppose I should respond here too.
My position is: I tried to be neutral and pick the option that was closest to consensus. However, I am not perfect, I have never closed an RFC, and as I think I made clear in my decision, I am not completely objective. If you can find a neutral party to read this discussion, evaluate it, and determine consensus, then go for it. I closed it because nobody else was going to. (Look at the timestamps and count how many days there were between the last comment and when I asked for a close and how many more days there were between that I when I did close.) If what I did was improper then I invite the feedback and criticism of others. Ozob (talk) 21:23, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

I disagree that there was a consensus to change the policy, and there were relatively few editors participating. I'd suggest that you ask for comments on Signpost and see if we can get a clearer consensus. -- Ssilvers (talk) 21:55, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

I was not aware of the RfC but support italicizing the article title. Being consistent with the running text makes sense. I think it also helps make distinct the work's title in a full article title like List of accolades received by American Beauty. Erik (talk | contribs) 11:48, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
It appears that i forgot to save the edit in which i asked.... How does one get such notice put in the Signpost? delirious & lost~hugs~ 09:21, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Talk:Jesus in Islam#Requested move

There is an ongoing discussion to move Jesus in Islam to title with word "Isa" in it: "Isa(Jesus of Islam)" or better. Jesus in Islam is known by Name "Isa", about 1200 million english reading people(Muslim+Hindu) know him by only name"Isa", there is Reliable english Sources available confirming the name.

Recognizability and Naturalnessguidelines of policy on Title selection seems perfectly complied, still there is resistance on the move from one quarter,which was discussed.May please participate and provide valuable suggestion if anybody still have difference of opinion.--Md iet (talk) 09:49, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

There is no reply on above at this page. There is continuous discussion going on at talk page of main page: Jesus in Islam.Please refer the page, There is no reply forthcoming on last analysis done by me considering Wiki policies in detail. All the points favour page move considering Title policy of Wiki. If any body still have any difference of opinion ,may please be comment ,such that decision on page move can be taken.--Md iet (talk) 09:52, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm not going to read the entire very long discussion, but it seems to me that the present title is quite satisfactory - the point is that (I would imagine) very few "English-reading" people know him only by the name Isa - if you speak English and you know who Isa is, you also know that he's called Jesus in English (and if you don't know, then you'd certainly profit from finding out). The present title also seems to me to be more natural in English.--Kotniski (talk) 10:05, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

At what point can we move toward making Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Tibetan) a policy?

I wrote up a new proposal for Tibetan naming conventions on April 25 and advertised it to get responses from the community. Now that there has been plenty of time for discussion, what is the next step? The results of the talk page discussion are roughly as follows: comments in support of the proposal from four Wikipedians (Keithonearth, Skinsmoke, Septentrionalis, and Moonsell) plus myself, the proposer. One strong oppose from 虞海 (Yú Hǎi). Two of the supporters (myself included) responded to those objections, but no further discussion has resulted. At what point can we move toward changing this from a proposal into a policy?—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 01:12, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

I would suggest that four favorable opinions and one opposing view is not enough to say that your proposal has gained a community consensus (either for or against it)... Try advertising that it exists (at places like the Village Pump) to get more opinions... Personally, I think we have too many damned naming conventions as it is, and don't need more. Blueboar (talk) 02:36, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
I think that's fair, Blueboar. I had already advertised the naming conventions proposal in various places, but I will try contacting specific users to ask for their input.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 15:29, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

虞海's comments

General idea: In Wikipedia, we should show respect to the natives. "Common" name in a certain language is referable but not always fair and reasonable. For example, the Japanese used to call China "Shina" during the WWII, but now they do no longer use it (as least in Japanese Wikipedia). A common name, even looks non-abusive (the name Shina is origin from the word China/Cina and eventually Chin), may harm the natives. For the same reason, the Chinese Wikipedia use the word Shou'er instead of Hancheng to refer Seoul. In Wikipedia, we should have a global view, rather than a western viewpoint. When needed, we can refers it as "Native name (Common name)" pattern.
  1. Issue concerning common Chinese names: Follow the general idea, we should always use the Tibetan name when the Chinese name is of Tibetan origin, no matter what the overseas Tibetan uses. The geo-name in Tibet should be defined by the Tibetan people who borned and lived in Tibet, a.k.a. the natives. So we should use name Lhoka instead of Shannan because Shannan is a name origined from Lhoka. However, Kangding/Darzêdo might be disputable because the 2 name are of different origin, so we can't define who're the natives of Kangding/Darzêdo (Tibetans? Tibetans and Han Chinese? Tibetan, Han Chinese and Manchus? or Tibetans and Qiang?).
  2. Wylie/THDL/ZWPY: I don't know why there're so many conflicts with them, but they're 3 different kinds of Romanizations. Wylie is a transliteration, THDL is a simplified transliteration and "Tibetan pinyin" (if that's the proper name) is a phonetic transcription. So they should be used in different environment. The former two are not Romanizations of Tibetan language, but Romanizations of Tibetan script, while the latter one is Romanization of Tibetan language. As for the conventional English name, according to the native laws in China, to guarantee the rights of minorities, minority toponyms, names and cultural terms should be transcripted into foreign language within Romanization of minorities' languages established by the native peoples' government.
The bold text is a "in-a-nut".
--虞海 (Yú Hǎi) (talk) 06:52, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
For discussions of the specific merits of the proposal, let's stick to using the proposal's talk page.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 15:29, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I have replied to Yú Hǎi on that talk page.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 02:55, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Talk:El Zaribah Shrine Auditorium requested move

Interesting case that could use some outside opinions to resolve deadlock on consensus. Here is the quick and dirty... This is an article about a building in Phoenix, Arizona. It was originally built by the Shriners in the 1920s. They sold it to the Arizona Dept. of Mines and Minerals in the 1980s and moved to a new building. The ADM&M use the building as a Science Museum.

We have three possible names for this building that are being discussed

  1. the historic name (El Zariba Shrine Auditorium)
  2. the descriptive name (Arizona Mining and Minerals Museum)
  3. the official name (Polly Rosenbaum Building)

Additional wrinkles... a) when the Shriners moved, they built a new "El Zariba Shrine Auditorium". b) the historic building is soon to change hands again, and will become the "Arizona Centennial Museum". We don't know if they will change the "official" name.

Your input would be appreciated. Blueboar (talk) 13:00, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Done Blueboar (talk) 23:04, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Neighborhoods of U.S. cities

There is a discussion about how the principal naming criteria specified in this policy applies, or should apply, to the naming of neighborhoods and other subdivisions of U.S. cities here. --Born2cycle (talk) 17:47, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Again? Blueboar (talk) 23:13, 10 November 2010 (UTC)


The description of Consistency currently states this:

  • Consistency – titles which follow the same pattern as those of similar articles are often preferred. Many of these patterns are documented in the naming guidelines listed in the Specific-topic guidelines box above, and ideally indicate titles that are in accordance with the principal criteria above.

To clarify when consistency in naming with other similarly named articles is especially applicable, it was changed[8] to this:

  • Consistency – titles which follow the same pattern as those of similar articles are often preferred, usually when the most common name of the topic is ambiguous, the topic is not primary, and so more precision in the title is required to make the title unique. Many of these patterns are documented in the naming guidelines listed in the Specific-topic guidelines box above, and ideally indicate titles that are in accordance with the principal criteria above.

The clarification was then reverted [9], with the edit summary comment of, "No consensus for this; it 'conflicts' under those conditions."

I don't understand the objection. Is it not true that article titles follow the same pattern as those of similar articles usually when the most common name of the topic is ambiguous, the topic is not primary, and so more precision in the title is required to make the title unique? What is the "conflict" under those conditions? --Born2cycle (talk) 22:07, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

No, it ia not true. When those conditions hold, the article title almost always follows the pattern of other similar articles. Much the same is true of all of the five principles: when the others are indecisisive, the principle in question almost always prevails (excluding human error). Should we add a verbose clause to all of them? Why? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:18, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Wait. You're saying it's "not true" because it says "usually" rather than "almost always"? What patterns of other similar articles do, say, Cork (city), Cork (material), Boot (torture), Boot (real estate), Cougar (comics), Constellations (journal), Limerick (poetry) follow? You don't think there are enough examples of these types of disambiguations that don't follow patterns of other similar articles to warrant saying that such patterns are "usually" rather than "almost always" followed?
What is the conflict to which you referred in the edit summary of your revert?
Does anyone else object to, or support, the change? --Born2cycle (talk) 22:38, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
My objection to the edit is that it is not only erroneous but (even were that fixed) redundant. If it said alsmost always, it would be equally true mutatis mutandis, of the other four principles - and redundant with the discussion of conflict immediately following the bullet points. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:43, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Let's see if I get this right.
  • The proposed wording is a "conflict", "not true" and "erroneous" because of using the word "usually" rather than "almost always" (my challenge to this above remains unaddressed)
  • By replacing "usually" with its near synonym "almost always" we go from "not true" to "redundant".
  • The proposed change, with the almost always "fix", would also be true for the other four principles. Really? Recognizability, Naturalness, Preciseness and Conciseness are almost always preferred "when the most common name of the topic is ambiguous, the topic is not primary, and so more precision in the title is required to make the title unique"? That makes no sense with respect to any of these four other principal criteria.
--Born2cycle (talk) 22:57, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that makes no sense; none of it is what I said. Jumbling words up in a ramdom order rarely preserves meaning; confounding differences destroys meaning. Usually and almost always are not synonyms, and the distinction between them is vital here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:43, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

I never understood this objection above. Apparently, if "usually" was changed to "almost always" then it would be "redundant". Today, the revert was reverted by PBS, and then reverted again by Arthur Rubin. Can we please discuss this here? In particular, what exactly is the objection to the wording? Thanks. --Born2cycle (talk) 20:50, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

I don't agree with PMA's reasoning, but I do agree it's a signficant change which has previously been rejected by consensus. When "...the most common name of the topic is ambiguous, the topic is not primary, and so more precision in the title is required to make the title unique." is relevant, than one of the other guidelines would have had to be violated. The change relegates "consistency" to a secondary criteria, describing what the article title would be when the other criteria conflict. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:04, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
From the history "20:30, 10 November 2010 Arthur Rubin (Undid revision 395996076 by Philip Baird Shearer (talk) I'm afraid PMA is correct here, per consensus)" Please show in the talk page archives where this consensus was reached. -- PBS (talk) 22:42, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
Please show in the talk page archives where consensus for B2C's change was reached. It appears that the "usually..." is not usually in the guideline. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:42, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
I did not claim there was a consensus for what B2C wrote so why are you asking me for a to show a consensus? You wrote "I'm afraid PMA is correct here, per consensus" where can I find this consensus on the talk pages? and what guideline are you referring to? -- PBS (talk) 10:53, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
I didn't say his reasoning was correct; he was correct in that B2C's edit had no consensus. However, my recollection is that B2C argued his point the last time "Consistency" was discussed (or, at least the last time I was here when consistency was discussed), where he wanted "consistency" to apply only if there is a conflict between the other criteria. There was consensus against that interpretation. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 15:38, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
The key to this is that consistency is preferred, but not required. I think this is all we really need to say. Blueboar (talk) 16:46, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

As to PMA's original revert, claiming lack of consensus for a particular change is not a helpful reason to revert a change - you should provide a specific objection to the change. See Wikipedia:Don't revert due to "no consensus". I started this section to find out what PMA's specific objection was. I cannot understand his explanation, and apparently no one else can either. This is not constructive discussion.

As to Arthur's revert, his was based on the claim that there was consensus against the change, which is much better, if the claim is true. When PBS challenged this, Arthur relies on showing that there was consensus against a rather different position ("consistency" to apply only if there is a conflict between the other criteria). How is that an objection to the change that Arthur reverted?

I still don't see an objection to the specific change I made, and which PBS (and perhaps BlueBoard too?) supports. I mean, isn't it true that when articles are named to be consistent with other similar articles, more often than not (usually) the following conditions are true: "the most common name of the topic is ambiguous, the topic is not primary for its most common name, and so more precision in the title is required to make the title unique." Besides US cities and some neighborhoods, what articles are named to be consistent with other similar articles when these conditions are not true? --Born2cycle (talk) 17:14, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

The outcome of this discussion seems likely to affect the outcome of the Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (geographic names)‎#Neighborhoods of US cities, which in turn will affect the 40-page move proposed by Born2cycle at Talk:Allied Gardens, San Diego, California‎. I can't help feeling that they're related. This seems to be related to an anti-naming convention campaign.   Will Beback  talk  19:40, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Since the proposed wording here hinges on usually, I don't see how it is likely to affect the outcome of any particular discussion. I mean, neither the original nor proposed wording dictates anything; they're just a statements about how things are. --Born2cycle (talk) 03:52, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
The proposed "clarification" implies that "consistency" usually applies only if there is a (one of a few specific) conflict(s) among the other criteria. I don't see any reason why this "clarification" is significantly different than the rejected proposal that it applies only if there is a conflict among the other criteria.
I'm not sure I agree with Will. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 04:23, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, the difference seems as significant to me, as, say, February only has 28 days vs. February usually has 28 days. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:03, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Not really. It's more like the difference between "'Consistency' applies only in case of conflict among the other criteria" and "'Consistency' usually applies only in the following cases" (which are all obviously conflicts among the other criteria). Not much difference. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:06, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Ah, thanks, now I finally understand your objection. However, there is no "only" in the suggested wording. You seem to read it as if it is implied. And I don't see why you think "when the most common name of the topic is ambiguous, the topic is not primary, and so more precision in the title is required to make the title unique" implies conflict among the other criteria. These are facts about the most common/natural name of the subject and don't say nor imply anything about the other criteria.

I don't deny that I think Wikipedia and its users would be better off if the naming policy said that consistency only applies when disambiguation is required, but I understand we don't have consensus for that. However, the suggested change in wording means something different. It simply says that we usually don't add more precision to a title beyond its common name unless the most common name is not available for that article's title ("when the most common name of the topic is ambiguous, the topic is not primary, and so more precision in the title is required to make the title unique"). Isn't that true? --Born2cycle (talk) 09:57, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

What does that statement have to do with "consistency"? When disambiguation is required (often indicating a conflict between "recognizability" and "precision"), "consistency" as to the form of disambiguation is a form of "consistency". But there are other examples of "consistency", which you apparently do not recognize as appropriate. However, you should recognize they exist. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 10:12, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── How does a need for disambiguation ever indicate a conflict between recognizability and precision? Recognizability is the title characteristic of being able to "confirm, to readers who are familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic, that the article is indeed about that topic". Unless a title is disambiguated in a manner that makes the title worse in terms of confirming to the reader that he or she is at the right topic (which would be doing something other than adding more precision to the title), adding more precision does not adversely affect recognizability, and so there is no conflict.

But yes, I don't agree that, for example, articles about people tend to use First Last to be consistent with other people article titles; First Last tends to be used because First Last is the most common and natural way to refer to most people in English. This is made evident by the fact that for the relatively rare person for whom the common and natural name is something other than First Last, that something else is used. See Cher, Madonna (entertainer), Queen Victoria, Prince (musician), etc.

However, there are some subjects for whom the common/natural name is not obvious (ship names, highway names, etc.), and consistency with other similar articles is relied on for them. But that simply indicates an adjustment should be made to the proposed wording, like this:

  • Consistency – titles which follow the same pattern as those of similar articles are often preferred, usually when either the most common/natural name of the topic is indeterminate, or when the name is ambiguous and the topic is not primary (and so more precision in the title is required to make the title unique). Many of these patterns are documented in the naming guidelines listed in the Specific-topic guidelines box above, and ideally indicate titles that are in accordance with the principal criteria above.

Better? --Born2cycle (talk) 10:51, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Not really. I may be biased, having argued this previously, but I thought the consensus was that "consistency" is one of the five principle criteria. I'd trim the present state further, removing "and ideally indicate titles that are in accordance with the principal criteria above," as that should apply equally to the other 4 criteria. However, I don't want to do it myself until a consensus is established. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 15:52, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
There has never been a consensus that consistency was one of the five principle criteria it was added to this policy page without any prior discussion to add it and it has been challenge many times since. If it will help you I'll provide the links to the archives to show this. -- PBS (talk) 19:43, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Whether consistency is principal is not at issue here, and I'm not asking about what consensus was. Per WP:BRD#Tactics ("After someone reverts your change, thus taking a stand for the existing version, you can proceed toward consensus with that one person"), I'm trying to come up with wording that is not objectionable to you, so I'm asking you about your specific objection(s) to the wording.

Another good example of articles with "indeterminate" most common/natural names is plants. At least that's part of the argument given for using the scientific Latin name for most plant articles rather than an English "common name" (which is often indeterminate because there are several among which the "most common" is unclear, their usage is usually region specific, and often none of which are used as commonly as is the scientific Latin name, especially in reliable sources).

Are you contending that consistency regularly or often applies to articles for which the following condition is not true: "when either the most common/natural name of the topic is indeterminate, or when the name is ambiguous and the topic is not primary"? If so, can you please identify such articles (other than US cities) and explain how it applies to such articles? If not, what, again, is your objection to this change in wording? --Born2cycle (talk) 16:17, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

The phrasing I would use is something like. "This criterion is most often important in articles when the most common name of the topic is ambiguous, the topic is not primary, and so more precision in the title is required to make the title unique." The phrase "is most often important ... when" may need some more work; another phrasing that might be considered are "usually effect the title of the article ... only when". The criterion always applies, but usually doesn't lead to results in conflict with the other criteria. (I'd still also remove the last sentence, but I don't think WP:BRD in guidelines is appropriate.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:41, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Common names

Any reason for the current selection of italics and quotation marks in the "Common names" section? It seems inconsistent to me. It says:

I think I would prefer a consistent use of italics and non-use of quotation marks. i.e.

But I am open to alternative suggestions.

Yaris678 (talk) 16:52, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

 Done--Kotniski (talk) 11:59, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Cool. Thanks. Yaris678 (talk) 12:58, 12 November 2010 (UTC)