Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 34

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 30 Archive 32 Archive 33 Archive 34 Archive 35 Archive 36 Archive 40

Contents

Misunderstanding of WP:AND

WP:AND states:

Sometimes two or more closely related or complementary concepts are most sensibly covered by a single article. Where possible, use a title covering all cases: for example, Endianness covers the concepts "big-endian" and "little-endian". Where no reasonable overarching title is available, it is permissible to construct an article title using "and", as in Acronym and initialism; Pioneer 6, 7, 8, and 9; Promotion and relegation; and Balkline and straight rail.

This wording has been used to justify using two names for the same subject in one title: Sega Genesis and Mega Drive ("Sega Genesis" and "Mega Drive" are two names that Sega used to refer to essentially the same product because it couldn't use "Mega Drive" in N. America due to copyright issues). This seems to me to obviously not be a case of "two ... closely related or complementary concepts"..., yet this wording was used to rationalize this title. See also a current discussion about that particular title: Talk:Sega_Genesis_and_Mega_Drive#Requested_move.

I don't know of any other article that constructs its title from two names like this based on WP:AND. Does anyone else?

Anyone agree or disagree this title is based on a misunderstanding of WP:AND? If agree, any suggestions on how to change the wording to be more clear about this? Thanks. --Born2cycle (talk) 04:26, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

They are not quite the same. They are very similar, but not the same as Yoghurt and Yogurt.Jinnai 04:28, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that particular title is misunderstanding of policy so much as it is a dispute resolution compromise. While we generally try to follow policies and guidelines, they are not absolute, if there is a good reason to ignore them, and consensus to do so in a particular case, then we ignore them. Changing the wording of the policy isn't going to undo an application of WP:IAR. Monty845 04:41, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, except the justification for this title is not based on WP:IAR. Just above Jinnai is still hanging on to the idea that the two are "not the same" (and therefore WP:AND applies). This is an untenable position. The lead of the article itself clearly says so, "The Mega Drive (メガドライブ Mega Doraibu?) or Sega Mega Drive is a fourth-generation video game console... The console was released in North America in 1989 under the name Genesis and commonly referred to as Sega Genesis". If that's not describing two names referring to the same concept, as opposed to two distinct (but closely related) concepts, I don't know what is.

Further, WP:IAR is supposed to apply if there is a good reason. An inability for a dozen or so editors to pick one name out of two is not a good reason to "ignore all rules" and combine both in the title. It's a good reason to try harder. --Born2cycle (talk) 04:52, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Who cares whether the justification is based on IAR, as stated by Jinnai or anyone else? The point is, can it work? If there were some clear marginal benefit to "trying harder", then I'd be behind that, too. In this case, there is not. You seem to be arguing that we need to keep the fight going until someone wins by attrition, because that's preferable to a compromise that allows us to move on now, instead of six months down the road. That's very, very misguided. The best solution is the one that allows us to return to editing the soonest.

If you can end this dispute by deciding the current name it fine, and letting it drop, that makes you a hero. If you decide you're going to hold stability hostage to your idea of how hard we need to work on titling questions (hint: No we don't), then you're not a hero. What we need to "try harder" to do is to find a way to stop caring about the details of titling policy, and write an encyclopedia.

Demanding that others "try harder" when they're not being paid, and when you're not helping facilitate the goal you insist that they reach, is rude as hell. Cut it out, already. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:52, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Cut what out? The point is to find a stable title; the current title obviously is not. I'm not the one who initially brought the issue to this page. I wasn't even the first who agreed it was a problem. I saw an existing problem, and made a proposal on how to resolve it, a proposal that prompted further discussion and, possibly, even a better solution now. I'm not looking to be a hero. I'm just trying to help. --Born2cycle (talk) 23:13, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
We DID decide on a final title. It was no longer an issue. You decided to come and throw a wrench into the situation, reopening the wounds all over again, for no real specific reason outside of apparent noncompliance with title guidelines. Your obsessiveness with article naming regardless of actual functionality is keeping us from improving that article. You're not helping, you're the one causing the problem here. Wolftengu (talk) 23:31, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree that wp:AND doesn't support doing this. IAR might, but AND doesn't, and I think this is not a good solution. Feels like splitting the baby to me. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 05:32, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Got something better, Solomon? Something that will fly? -GTBacchus(talk) 17:53, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Is this flying? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 17:57, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Early to say. There are about 3 people pitching a fit. If they can be convinced to walk away from the dead horse, then maybe it will. Nobody's given it a chance yet, you see. Do you think it should get a chance? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:00, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
This is the perfect case for WP:AND. It's two marques of the same machine, both of equal weight overall. You can't just pick one or the other. This is a neutral combination of the two. It's not promoting one name over the other, outside of sorting the names alphabetically. Wolftengu (talk) 17:39, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
WP:AND applies when we have "two or more closely related or complementary concepts". "Two marques of the same machine" are NOT "two or more closely related or complementary concepts". Otherwise we would have Volkswagen Golf and Rabbit. --Born2cycle (talk) 17:57, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
In other words, you found a hair you can split, so you're going to lawyer over it to the death? How about giving the compromise title a chance for a few months? Why not? When's the deadline? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:00, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Must I repeat myself? Really? I suggest I've said enough. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:08, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Really? So you're done caviling over titling rules, and you're going to let it drop, and go work on article content? Awesome! -GTBacchus(talk) 18:14, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Just how exactly are they NOT complementary? Do you even understand the longstanding problem we've had with that article? This isn't a matter of the editors just not getting it or something. Neither name can just be picked over the other, and the other combination "solutions" like "Sega Genesis (Mega Drive)" or some permutation of that style just preserves the source of the drama. I've already explained this whole thing to you ad nauseum on the article's talk page. The horse isn't just dead, it's been cycled through Saṃsāra a few times and ground into sausage. Wolftengu (talk) 18:15, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
To be complementary concepts they have to be distinct concepts. The lead and content of the article indicates that each of the two names refers to the same concept, not to two distinct concepts. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:41, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
And why should we care? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:42, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
After all this, you're still conveniently ignoring the basic issues with the article in order to push your agenda. I'm done here, this is a waste of time. Wolftengu (talk) 18:46, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
GTB, I presume someone who thinks it's important and relevant to point out that two concepts are complementary would care that they're not actually two concepts, practically speaking. I wouldn't expect you, personally, to care.

Wolf, I'm not ignoring anything. I suggested the title I suggested as a result of that understanding, combined with my understanding of consensus -- a reflected in policy and guidelines -- about article titles. Now others are making even better suggestions. It's all good. Yeah, my big evil "agenda" of striving for better consistency and predictability in article titles. How terrible! --Born2cycle (talk) 22:23, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Good point, re your responding to his question. Regarding your agenda, there's nothing "evil" about it. If it causes more heat than light, though, that's a major factor to consider, which changes everything. If you're not considering how much heat versus light is generated, then you're proceeding irresponsibly.

As far as I know, the project has not been hurting for lack of consistency and predictability in article titles. We've actually been doing fine, following our usual well-supported practice of generally ignoring rules, and keeping red tape to an absolute minimum. We didn't need a lawyer to come in, decide this aspect of the project needs an overhaul, and then start carrying that out, without any apparent regard for the amount of disruption involved.

Invoking a superstitious concept such as "evil" seems extremely prejudicial and unnecessary. I'm only trying to talk about this world. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:35, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

I did find another example of this kind of title: Hellmann's and Best Foods. As far as I can tell, it was created that way in 2005 and has never been moved.

As always, I'm motivated by both getting our policy and guidelines better in line with consensus, or getting our titles better in line with consensus as reflected in our policy and guidelines.

In this case I see a conflict, and the solution can be achieved with either titles changes or with policy/guideline changes. I'm open to either. --Born2cycle (talk) 19:08, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Why not leave it alone because it's not causing any problems? Being motivated by "getting out policy and guidelines better in line with consensus, or getting our titles better in line with consensus as reflected in policy and guidelines" is great, if you can do it in a manner that causes less disruption than leaving things the heck alone. I don't see that happening, and I don't see anyone else saying we've got a problem that needs addressing.

Simply getting the guidelines and the titles to line up is not a worthwhile end in itself. The product is no suffering, so there is no problem to fix. The community has never made it clear that we want entirely consistent titles, guidelines and policies. In fact, if the cost of obtaining those is tens of thousands of words of debates, then it's abso-darn-lutely not worth it.

When did you carry out this cost-benefit analysis, and decide that your goal is worth all the static that you're generating? Can you unpack that reasoning for us, please? -GTBacchus(talk) 19:26, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

An alternative ... one that has no problem with WP:AND ... use the word "or" instead. Thus the title would be Sega Genesis or Mega Drive. (I actually think this would be more accurate... the console was either called "Genesis" or called "Mega Drive"... depending on where you lived... but at no time or place was it known by both names at the same time.)Blueboar (talk) 20:40, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
That one I could see as a reasonable alternative. How well it will go over at the article's talk page, I don't know.Jinnai 23:39, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
If this is not to take the compromise title, it seems to me this is a good place to extend the idea in MOS:RETAIN by analogy; a pox on everyone's houses; whichever came first wins, and the other redirects. In this case, Sega Genesis was created on December 1, 2001 and so would be the title. Let the article content describe the use of both names.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 23:49, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Discussion did resolve the issue for both sides though. RETAIN is only if discussion could not.Jinnai 00:06, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Thus the first part of my sentence, before the comma. Since we are here and there discussing the title, after the "resolution", there is at least a glimmer that the past tense of resolve, may not be so resolute.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 00:16, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
The title indicated by MOS:RETAIN is consistent with policy, guidelines and conventions, and thus known to be supported by consensus at large. The title that "resolved" the issue for both sides is not, and thus there are many strong arguments for moving it. If the article is moved back to Sega Genesis per MOS:RETAIN, there is no reasonable argument for moving it again. That might be the only stable solution. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:17, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Ahem... "thus known to be supported by consensus at large". That's a bold and highly dubious claim. RETAIN was not written with Sega Genesis in mind, and it's not at all clear what a broad consensus says we should do in that particular case. A question like this calls for very deliberate motion, always with an ear pressed close to the ground. We know nothing - we have to read the community. It takes time. Give it time, and let the guideline catch up when we're certain. It might be a year; that's fine. -GTBacchus(talk) 20:04, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
For the record, it took less than 2 weeks, not a year. After over a week of discussion, including a collaborative effort to weigh the pros and cons for each of the potential titles, a straw poll held on Oct 27-28 revealed strong consensus support for the title, Sega Genesis. This was confirmed in an RM discussion shortly thereafter. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:15, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Refocus

We are getting off track... this isn't really the appropriate venue to determine what the best title for a specific article is... there is an ongoing Move request RFC for that. The question we should be discussing here is whether the issues being discussed at that Move request indicate a need to change this policy in any way? I don't think they do, but perhaps I am missing something. Blueboar (talk) 00:44, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes, the focus should be on how the wording can be changed here. I think WP:AND would be helpful in such cases if it made one of the following clarifying statements, or something similar.
  1. When a company has marketed a product under two different names and no reason can be agreed upon by consensus to choose one or the other for the title of the article about that topic, it can be acceptable to combine both names in the title, as in Sega Genesis and Mega Drive and Hellmann's and Best Foods.
  2. When a company has marketed a product under two different names and no other reason can be found to choose one or the other for the title of the article about that topic, instead of combining both names in the title, apply the WP:RETAIN principle and use the product name which was first used as an article title in Wikipedia.
  3. When a company has marketed a product under two different names and no other reason can be found to choose one or the other for the title of the article about that topic, instead of combining both names in the title, choose the product name for the title which is first in alphabetical order.
--Born2cycle (talk) 16:04, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
The only thing that I would suggest changing is something to clarify what WP:AND is actually trying to say to prevent any potential misunderstanding. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 16:13, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, it's clear that WP:AND applies to cases where there are two distinct concepts that are related in a way that can be combined into one meta-concept, as is exemplified by Endianness, which, if there wasn't a good combo-name like that for this meta-concept, could be titled Big-endian and little-endian. This is demonstrated by Acronym and initialism. I don't think there is any dispute about that.

What is not clear, at least to some, apparently, is that this only applies to cases where the two names each individually refer to a distinct concept. "Big-endian" refers to something different from "Little-endian"; "acronyms" are not "initialisms".

One area, perhaps the only area, where this is unclear is when a company markets the same product under two or more distinct names. This is why I suggest we choose one of the statements above. --Born2cycle (talk) 16:32, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Honestly, I'm not crazy about any of the above statements. We shouldn't use Sega Genesis and Mega Drive as an example because it's too unstable. Another move request was started a couple days ago. Who knows what it will be called next week? Hellmann's and Best Foods isn't a good example either because it's a start class article and no one is working on it. In fact, there were only 17 edits on it all year. No meaningful concensus can be derived on what the community is actually doing and expects from articles that are unstable or no one is working on. We should be looking at articles which are stable and have lots of editors working on them, preferably ones that have FA (or at least GA) status. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 18:15, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, the main reason that Sega Genesis and Mega Drive is unstable is because there is no consensus-supported-convention reflected in policy that supports it. I mean, we can't say we won't change policy to support it because it's not supported in policy, which is essentially what we're saying if we object solely on the grounds of it being unstable. Got a better reason? --Born2cycle (talk) 18:33, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
It's not clear that's the main reason. There's a simple experiment to determine the truth of this assertion, but we haven't attempted it. It involves giving it a chance, for six months, and seeing whether any objections arise for any reasons other than policy-centric ones. I suggest trying it. If it works, then we might have something to document in policy. Trying to get practice and guideline to line up today, when these things take time (six months is nothing) to read properly, is inappropriate. -GTBacchus(talk) 20:02, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Policy is supposed to reflect reasons supported by broad consensus. Of course policy is an imperfect approximation of the actual reasons, but I don't see how you clearly separate policy-centric reasons from those that aren't policy-centric. I mean, for almost every "policy-centric reason", like, "WP:AT calls for concise titles", or "The combo-name violates WP:COMMONNAME", there are non-policy-centric reasons, like, "our titles should not be unnecessarily long" and "that compound name is not commonly used in reliable sources, but X is".

Do we really need to list and count all the individuals who have already objected to the current title, and summarize their reasons?

Oy. Lost focus again! --Born2cycle (talk) 21:20, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Personally, I object to the use of COMMONNAME as a bludgeon to decide which name of a controversial set should be used. I would prefer WP:COMMONSENSE being the overriding principle; in the console discussion, using only one of the names would piss off either American or European editors, so bending policy a bit to find stability is not just acceptable, it's encouraged. Sceptre (talk) 20:53, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
IAR requires a good reason to ignore the rules. I wouldn't think appeasing a small group of editors - not to mention the much larger group that is pissed off by the unconventional compromise choice - constitutes a good reason. Got any other reason to IAR in this case? --Born2cycle (talk) 21:30, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
The article titling policy is not scripture ordained from heaven and burnt into every article. It, like every other policy (apart from NPOV, V and NFCC) are written and designed that the improvement of the encyclopedia should override all concerns. Look at the talk page: weeks were wasted arguing about the name when the article when it could've been improved; indeed, after settling the name issue (relatively quickly), they quickly started talking about improving the article. And really, who's annoyed about this title change apart from policy wonks? Sceptre (talk) 00:18, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
First, even if was only "policy wonks" that were annoyed, there are many more of them than there the total number of editors who are annoyed by either Mega Drive or Sega Genesis. Second, it's not just "policy wonks", but "consistency valuers" - people who value Wikipedia being consistent and not confusing to readers and other editors. --Born2cycle (talk) 01:40, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Consistency for the sake of consistency has never been and never will be a good argument. Policy, with very few exceptions (AT not being one of them) is driven from the ground up. If you feel it violates AND fine, but it wasn't clearly stated there. I read it and so it others here and no one seemed to care except for Miremare who's been on record of opposing any name but Mega Drive (his preogrative, but it should be taken note). From there only those who watch AT cared about this, non of whom, except for Miremare seem to care a lick about the article beyond "conforming to the policy at it currently stands", even when the policy can and has been determined by a group of independant editors to allow such a title (or at least not disallow it).

As said, give this a few months instead of bringing a challenge after hugely debated naming dispute that was resolved. If no one bring up a non-policy issue that has reasonable merit why then it should be fine.(No one from either side, those who oppose the current name or those who support it should do so either as they would be trying to push a point with a likely biased agenda. If made it can be debated on the merits outside policy.Jinnai 02:41, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Consistency is a naming criterion supported by broad consensus. That doesn't mean it's the most important criterion, but nobody has indicated any other criteria that warrants using an inconsistent title here. And using two names in a compound contrived title is not just inconsistent, it's highly unusual. --Born2cycle (talk) 03:42, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
FYI, criteria is the plural of criterion. Dicklyon (talk) 05:20, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. Fixed. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:23, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Recognizability. It's obvious that using either Genesis or Mega Drive causes recognizability issues. Using a term like Sega 16-bit console also fails that. Using both in the name solves that issue and does so with complete neutrality. The other would be Precision. However, pretty much every title (except the alternate 4th-generation console proposed on the talk page) would pass that, including the current one as it is still precisely what the article is about. As for consistancy arguments, IMO they don't apply here. Every article you've brought up has a valid reason why its like it is, mostly because the name originates in an English country or there is a clear case for one being more well-known on multiple benchmarks. When talking about video games consoles specifically the only ones with a rebranding would fall under WP:ENGLISH, notably the NES and SNES. If any criterion Sega Genesis and Mega Drive has an issue with its naturalness. However, I'd say that crietion can be waved considering that lack of any clear indication that Mega Drive or Genesis is the "most common" and that both editors and readers have disputed whichever name was used in the past.Jinnai 06:29, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Just weighing in here. The current policy appears to support the current naming clearly, since the Megadrive and Genesis are closely related(the same hardware and game library) although not the same(different shell cases, different adverting, different names, different pop culture references, etc). Since the article seeks to cover both the Genesis and Megadrive, and since an all inclusive title to the effect of "4th Generation Sega Console" cannot be reasonably formed, a compound title including both Genesis and Megadrive seems the best option, and supported by the current policy wording.AerobicFox (talk) 03:56, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
"And" seems fine per AerobicFox, however if the two names were for the identical thing, then, while there are various rules for "primacy", it would seem "or" would be a valid solution, with all the necessary redirects of course. Rich Farmbrough, 20:53, 23 October 2011 (UTC).
The problem with allowing "and" to be applied with two names for the same (or almost the same) object are many - worst of which is that there are some objects with a dozen or more common names. The Agaricus bisporus mushroom would thus be titled Agaricus bisporus and common mushroom and button mushroom and white mushroom and table mushroom and champignon mushroom and crimini mushroom and Swiss brown mushroom and Roman brown mushroom and Italian brown and Italian mushroom and cultivated mushroom and Portobello mushroom! There are hundreds of articles about cars where the car was badge-engineered for different markets with different names, sold under license to other car companies, etc - resulting in some cars having a half dozen names. There are books and movies that were retitled in different markets. Using "and" or "or" or any other way of placing all of the applicable names into the article title would be absolute ungodly chaos! So option (1) above does not seem tenable. We do indeed need some cast-iron rule to arbitrate which common name is used - be it coin-toss, alphabetical, WP:RETAIN or whatever...but "and" or "or" are not tenable options. Personally, the "WP:RETAIN" approach seems best in order to avoid thousands of articles needing to be renamed as a result of this clarification. SteveBaker (talk) 15:35, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Or just leave it as a valid instance of ignoring all rules as a means to preventing the naming conflict that has plagued the article since its creation. The world won't stop turning if we bend the rules to prevent conflict. Oh, and I belive that articles about books and movies follow WP:ENGVAR: as Harry Potter's closely tied to the United Kingdom, then we should use the British variation. Sceptre (talk) 14:27, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm a little late to this party, but I wanted to weigh in a bit: I originally helped formalize the proposal for applying WP:AND to the Mega Drive/Genesis article (and am kinda regretting it now because of all the controversy it seems to have created). The reasoning, which at the time it seemed everyone could at least live with if not agree to, was that the compound name gave equal weight to both machines and at least implied that they were about the same overall topic. I acknowledged a risk that it could confuse a non-savvy reader by making them think the article was about a single object whose title was "Sega Genesis and Mega Drive", but the initial discussion seemed to dismiss that possibility. I'm a bit dismayed that the discussion has spiraled so far out of control since then, but at least it points to disagreement on what the proper application of this policy should be.

IMO, a compound name like this should be allowed to give equal weight to situations like this. We've already hashed the comparison and contrast issue to death, so I won't bother repeating it here, but as has been pointed out, there isn't really a clear winner for either name. Sufficient arguments on both sides to support or rebuke both names. But since people can't agree on the compromise EITHER, and other generic names (like "Sega 16-bit Console" and "Sega fourth-general console") have been rejected, I think this does say that the policy could use clarification - if nothing else, more specific examples of article titles where people DO agree that it applies.

I would go so far as to say that the outcome of the current round of discussions should be reflected in an explanatory comment related to this policy, since it is a significant factor. If we decide to ultimately reject the compound name, I think this policy should have a note on that specific debate so that we can avoid having similar fiascos in other articles. — KieferSkunk (talk) — 20:38, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Policy Advice

From an outsiders' perspective, the truly horrible thing about this protracted and often bloody argument is that the outcome (between Sega Genesis and Mega Drive) is utterly irrelevant. Nobody outside of the protagonists in the debate gives a damn which it is...honestly...nobody. The overriding concern for the encyclopedia is not which name wins or why - but that whichever name wins does so sufficiently conclusively that nobody in the future will be able to start another massive debate about it again. The many outsiders who entered the fray (I'm one of them) really wanted the silly "compromise" titles to 'go away' more than to choose a particular title from the two obvious ones. The problem is entirely that the original editors of the article became so entrenched in their positions (and many of them still are) that they'll accept absolutely any title - including the most horrible ones - so long as the other name isn't the title. Quite ridiculous behavior.

Even now that it is overwhelmingly likely that Sega Genesis will win, we have editors who are trying to insist that we place "Mega Drive" in the lede sentence of the article ahead of "Sega Genesis"! The intransigence over these trivial matters is quite incredible.

Lessons I have learned from this fiasco:

  1. There is no arbitration mechanism in the whole of Wikipedia that could step in, toss a coin, and make the results binding on all concerned. OK, maybe not immediately toss a coin - but examine the evidence, weigh the opinions, check the policies and guidelines, examine the entrails of a recently slaughtered goat in the light of a full moon at midnight on the first Thursday when there is an 'R' in the month...then go ahead and toss the coin. I'm astounded that such a thing doesn't exist...it really should.
  2. WP:TITLE is poorly drafted. It should really have a set of cast-iron rules for determining how to resolve this kind of dispute.
  3. The issues of how a prior WP:LOCALCONSENSUS stands when a wider group see problems and step in to try to resolve it - are poorly stated.
  4. Precedence (ie how other articles with similar titling issues handle these problems) should be more strongly stated. Consistency in how Wikipedia titles article is quite important. In this case, Sega Genesis and Mega Drive should never have been picked - not just because there is some half-stated wikilawyered reason - but because there are hundreds or even thousands of precedents for not doing it like that. IMHO, consistency is by far the most important principle when picking article titles.

SteveBaker (talk) 21:43, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Yet, I see that we have an extremely clear mechanism that certain editors don't want to see because they don't like the outcome. The current draft is quite clear, in my mind, and comports with the spirit of Wikipedia and the core pillar of neutrality...simply look to the number of english language reliable sources. If that doesn't produce a significant majority, answer the five questions. If we need another step, that's fine. The editors here seemed fine with the compromise title, which was an excellent compromise. But the fact is, we never needed to get past step one because of the overwhelming majority of reliable sources pointing in one direction. The issue is whether any editors are right to read ambiguity into a very clear guideline.LedRush (talk) 21:49, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
The problem with counting reliable sources is that there is no easy way to do that. In the case of the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive debate, we would have to somehow find all the back-editions of all those magazines from countries all the way around the world. That's a non-trivial problem. What would happen in this case is that the most enthusiastic editor would 'win' the contest. If we had (say) a British Sega fanatic who has every back edition of Mega-Drive-Monthly (or whatever it was) stacked up in his basement, he could easily bring more evidence to the table than a dozen 'typical' Wikipedia editors surfing the web. That doesn't seem like a good way to choose a title. SteveBaker (talk) 22:24, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, after SteveBaker, I wish that Jimmy Wales had appointed a salaried Chief Editor to decide these things, and that we don't have this makes us function poorly. It's too late now for that and there's no alternate mechanism. The idea of an elected "editorial ArbCom" to resolve intractable content issues (as the ArbCom resolves behavior issues) has been mooted and that also would suffice, and is the only such mechanism that could realistically be put in place, I think. This kerfluffle highlights the need for such a body and I urge Wikipedians to support the creation of such a body, whenever it comes up. I don't know what actual steps to take to create such a body, but continuing to talk it up is a start, I guess. Herostratus (talk) 00:17, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
That could be a problem in some rare cases where there are close calls, but if it's a close call it's by definition not a significant majority. Here we have a friggin' overwhelming majority of at least 700-1000% more reliable sources. All of this extra noise is just a distraction from the fact that we have a clearly worded policy with a clear result. If people don't like it fine. That's why they'd come to this board and get the policy changed. But I still don't see a good argument for changing the policy as the current was is neutral, fits in with the spirit of Wikipedia, and is fairly easy to administer. This is just a case of people trying to Wikilawyer out of a result they don't like.LedRush (talk) 03:13, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, how did you arrive at that 700%-1000% figure? APL (talk) 04:16, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
In a comment on my user talk page User_talk:SteveBaker#Your_argument, LedRush said "google scholar and google books produce results for Genesis of, at a minimum, 700% to 1000% more than the Mega Drive;" - I'm not sure what precise search terms were used. The trouble with this is that google scholar and google books are not the kinds of places where you find sources that discuss video game consoles. The Mega Drive proponents will point to things like the huge British video game magazine culture (which I know from personal experience was far greater than the US video game magazine business in the era when the Genesis/MegaDrive were sold)...those magazines are pretty good WP:RS for this kind of subject - and they aren't scanned by Google so they don't show up in the search results. This is why I have a problem with the idea to take a simple majority of uses of a title in reliable sources - we have no simple way to enumerate such sources when they are in dusty old magazines from 20 years ago. Now consider how likely it is that we could also count articles from magazines in other countries - Australia, India, etc.
The bottom line here remains the same. So long as both names are widely represented in reliable sources (which in this case, they undoubtedly are) - then both names are perfectly valid as the title of this article. The fine point of which is more valid is quite irrelevant to Wikipedia as a whole because we have such a good redirection system. So long as someone can type in either title and arrive at the correct article - which says (in the very first sentence) that both names are applicable - then that's plenty good enough. This approach works for hundreds and perhaps thousands of other articles. So why didn't it work here?
Only the very few editors who are fanboys of this console give a damn which of the two names is in the title and which is the redirect...and they will continue to argue until hell freezes over simply because that's what fanboys love to do. For the rest of us who are merely trying to write an encyclopedia, we just need the problem to go away. We need to just pick either name (we shouldn't care which so long as the chosen name is widely used in WP:RS) and - most importantly - stick to it and to defend it against the assaults of subsequent fanboys.
However, that doesn't fix this policy. In the event that there are warring fanboys - it would be exceedingly useful to have a ruling that can be cleanly applied (a coin toss would be just perfect!) to cut off these debates. The idea to use a majority of WP:RS sounds OK on paper - but it suffers from this difficulty of counting RS's without somehow doing a survey of everything ever written about the subject and automatically counting them. In the Internet age, that seems easy ("just google it") - but for subjects like this one where the preponderance of sources are in print media that has not been scanned and OCR'ed - it's a terrible method because it results in precisely this kind of dispute. Truly, a coin toss would be better. IMHO, we should have a WP:RETAIN policy. It beats a coin toss only because it saves us the hassle of renaming the article in the first place.
SteveBaker (talk) 14:02, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I can't understand your argument. Wikipedia has a very clear policy of deciding the name: when there is a significant majority of english language reliable sources calling the subject one name, and there aren't otherwise problems, you use that name. We have a very clear answer in this case...in fact, the number of confirmed reliable sources is staggeringly overwhelming, despite fuzzy claims of English language Indian magazines being a treasure trove of information on the subject. I believe the policy is correctly written, is fundamentally neutral, and the best for the article. But those who agree with this position are somehow fanboys to you. Whatever. You came here to whinge about the title being an "and" title, and the majority response seems to me to clearly indicate that the neutral editors on this board don't have a problem with the current title. But because you misapply the current commonname policy, and because you hold a minority on the "and" naming policy, now you want to add a completely unnecessary mechanism put in place to address an issue that is already completely addressed by policy. You have been wasting everyone's time for weeks now, and it would do everyone a service if you would drop your crusade and just allow consensus to stand- bot the consensus here and the one on the article talk page.LedRush (talk) 01:57, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
The forms "Sega Mega drive / Genesis" and "Sega Genesis / Mega drive" are both well enough attested, and less misleading than the "and" form at the moment. Forward slashes are not forbidden in article titles (they create a slight technical issue with archiving, but not a serious one). Is there a reason why one of these hasn't been chosen?VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 03:46, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Have you read WP:Lame?

To address your point about "Forward slashes are not forbidden in article titles" It has long been agreed that this is not the way to go because then all that happens is people move the squabble on to which name should come first. Take for example the dispute over Liancourt Rocks there was months of dispute over whether Dokdo should come first because it comes first in the alphabet or Takeshima should come first as the name is Japanese and Japan comes before Korea in the alphabet.

In this case there would be that argument coupled to precisely the same arguments you have been having about sources.

To repeat what I said before: In cases like this it is best to revert to the last stable name and failing agreement on that use the name used in the first version after the article was not longer a stub. That is the method that has worked for lots of articles eg gasoline and tram (to name on from either side of the pond). --PBS (talk) 05:31, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

In the instant case, everyone agreed to the current order of names without much controversy at all. Also, seeing as we have a very clear naming policy...LedRush (talk) 12:29, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Assuming good faith, the very fact there is so much disagreement over application suggests that the policy is not, in such a case, actually entirely clear. SamBC(talk) 13:14, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, the policy is extremely clear, and so far no one that I'm aware of has disputed it based on its current terms. The arguments have been (a) the terms don't apply here ; (b) the terms shouldn't apply here ; (c) the terms as written are not neutral and we need to read neutrality into it. None of these arguments are supported by policy, and none change the fact that the policy as written is clear. It is only that people don't like the clear outcome, and then attack the policy.LedRush (talk) 14:33, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
A "clear" policy is not always an "easy to implement" policy. Even if everybody can agree that the case should be decided by a simple majority of sources, actually counting those sources is not simple or without controversy. APL (talk) 21:04, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Yep - to apply this "clear" guideline in the case in question would require making a pile of every book or magazine that mentioned this console - going through them all article by article and counting which ones say "Sega Genesis" and which ones "Mega Drive". Using a google search is totally invalid because magazines aren't scanned by them - and those were the predominant reliable sources for video game consoles in the early 1990's. You have to actually grab all of the magazines and count the number of references to that name in all of the articles.
How stupid is that? Well, let's guess: The console was around for maybe 10 years - the magazines started to appear a couple of months before the console hit the shelves - and continued in print for a couple of years after they stopped being sold as new games slowly ceased to be published. In the UK alone there were at least three magazines dedicated to the Mega Drive - a couple more dedicated to the Genesis in the US and (I'm sure) lots more in Japan and other places where it sold. Then there were numerous magazines that were about video games in general that would have mentioned the console fairly frequently and there are magazines about high-tech gadgets - doubtless the console was mentioned in newspapers and books too - but not to anything like the same degree. That could easily be 120 monthly editions of (let's say) 100 magazines, each with maybe 10 relevant articles - means that there could be 120,000 reliable sources for the naming of this console in magazines alone. Since those are not scanned by any of the search engines and they aren't available online (AFAIK), we can't count the number of reliable sources by any means that could be reasonably imaginable.
Even supposing we did that - there would still be arguments about whether every one of the 120 articles in "Sega Genesis Monthly" (or whatever the magazine was called) counted - because some of them would be regular series with that name in the title. Do we count that as 120 separate RS's or just one? Even when we can use google to do the search reliably, it's very patchy - a lot of the stuff we pick up may not be reliable sources...things like self-published material by fans of the console would be inadmissible under Wikipedias guidelines for reliable sources.
Truly, this may be a "clear" guideline - but it's totally impossible to use it in practice. You might as well demand that we examine the entrails of a unicorn under a full moon to determine which we'll choose - sorry we can't find a unicorn - but we can't find all 120 editions of the "Bombay Mega Drive owner's club journal" either.
It's an unreliable approach (because the search will always be incomplete). It's impossible to verify (who knows whether the one fanboy who actually collected all 120 editions of "Mega Drive Universe magazine" lied about the number of times he counted the word "Sega Genesis" in its pages?). It's just as arbitary as a coin toss (because countries with a culture of magazine sales to kids will have more "votes" than countries where magazines were never popular - so this actually tells you nothing about which title was the most popular - only about who had the most printing presses available).
So, yes, this is the guideline - and it may work OK for some kinds of article - but in this case, it's useless. The acid test here is whether, having applied the 'test', everyone can immediately agree on the answer - put down the pitchforks and get back to editing. In this case, doing the test just made matters less clear - with both sides claiming victory on the basis of one set of arbitary search term or another.
SteveBaker (talk) 22:46, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
SteveBaker (talk) 22:46, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
If you want to interpret the policy in the most preposterous ways possible, of course it will be impossible to implement. I don't read in the policy the need to do any of that stuff. In fact, what I read says "In determining which of several alternative names is most frequently used, it is useful to observe the usage of major international organizations, major English-language media outlets, quality encyclopedias, geographic name servers, major scientific bodies and scientific journals. A search engine may help to collect this data; when using a search engine, restrict the results to pages written in English, and exclude the word "Wikipedia". When using Google, generally a search of Google Books and News Archive should be defaulted to before a web search, as they concentrate reliable sources (exclude works from Books, LLC when searching Google Books.[4]) Search engine results are subject to certain biases and technical limitations; for detailed advice in the use of search engines and the interpretation of their results, see Wikipedia:Search engine test." Pretty darn clear. And in the instant case, there has been no evidence whatsoever that the overwhelming majority of reliable sources on the subject are undercut by an unaccounted for batch of reliable sources. Speculation does not equal evidence.LedRush (talk) 23:55, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Ok, but when the majority of sources are not digital and not searchable, even determining a rough estimate is open to huge debate. (As seen on the Sega Genesis/megadrive talk page.) I've often been surprised by the number of high quality niche magazines that seem to be printed in Britain on certain topics, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if there were more publications that referred to the device as Megadrive. Off the top of my head, I don't know how I would easily measure that without going to a library in Britain. On the other hand, if every newspaper in America mentioned the device even once, that could easily overwhelm any "majority of sources" Britain could produce. Again, I'm not sure how to measure that without visiting the microfilm room.
Keep in mind, both myself and User:SteveBaker have advocated naming the article "Sega Genesis". So I'm not arguing with you about that. I'm just confused by your repeated assertions that the matter can be easily solved, without guessing, through strict application of WP:CommonName. In my opinion WP:CommonName simply isn't equipped to handle naming disputes that break along USA/Commonwealth lines. Not if the item in question is popular in both regions. APL (talk) 00:13, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I guess I'm just not seeing the same problems you are. The instant case is so clear it's frightening, yet closer calls have been able to be resolved in this manner. And when they can't, then you go to the 5 core questions. At the end of the day, like anything on Wikipedia, you're always going to need a consensus and there will be no bright line rules upon which everyone agrees. And I gotta say, when you are presented with overwhelming evidence as in this case, and you still won't agree, I don't think that that's necessarily a problem with the policy. My guess is, people would find other grounds upon which to object.LedRush (talk) 00:28, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
As a point of record - I'm not saying that the article should be called Mega Drive - I'm not even especially wedded to Sega Genesis (although I !voted for it). In my opinion, it doesn't matter which of those two titles the article gets - so long as the community of editors agree to disagree and then align to back up whatever choice is made against future opposition even if it was not their personal preference. A guideline that is clear, verifiable and therefore indisputable would undoubtedly have saved a lot of editors a lot of hours here. The present rule is clear - but it's not remotely verifiable. We can't count the reliable sources...not even approximately - so the ruling cannot be verified to the standard most people will accept. That leaves us with a contestable title...which (for some bizarre reason) is indeed hotly contested. This kind of dispute is pretty rare though. In hundreds of other cases like this, there is a brief debate, a consensus poll picks a name - and then everyone moves on with a minimum of discussion. That's because it really doesn't matter a damn which of the commonly used names the article gets as the title and which is the redirect. The largest problem here is that the editors cared so insanely much as to which was chosen. SteveBaker (talk) 13:32, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
It is funny, Steve, that you so persistently attack the compound title on principle grounds despite what appears to me to be a majority of people on this board that disagree with you. At the same time, though, anyone who cares about following the precedent of commonname, how it's used, and how it's been interpreted for any article I've ever been associated with, is in your mind a deranged fanboy devoid of reason. The article should have been name "Sega Genesis" because there is an extremely clear policy which says that's the way it's supposed to be. I think the policy is well written and clear, and only in cases of bad faith can outrageously overwhelmingly majorities be turned into potentially less than significant ones.LedRush (talk) 14:58, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
That's funny, Without actually counting, my impressions has been that the overwhelming majority of third party opinions have been variants of "They can't do that, make them choose a name like everyone else."
In any case, I agree with Steve that while the policy is well written and clear, it also provides no practical way of resolving anything other then an overwhelming source preference for a given title. Instead it gives absolute authority to a quantity that can't be measured, only estimated. The history of science has taught us that estimates, even by the best of us, are pretty much guaranteed to be biased.
So you wind up with two groups of editors that have each estimated the number of sources for the options and found a number in their favor. Each of those groups will point to commonname and say that it gives their own estimate the weight of policy.
Trying to then evaluate the estimates is a quagmire because by necessity they have to be rough estimates. They're probably just Google results. So then you've used your perfectly clear and well written policy to give weight to an argument over who's search terms are best. (Of course, Google inflames the issue by adjusting your search results based on region and prior search history, so they're going to give you answers you like.)
What's needed, or perhaps not 'needed', but at least potentially 'useful', would be a way to break commonname ties without spending a month debating over whose Google results are best. APL (talk) 20:24, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
(1) Please see [[1]]
(2) I am not aware of any instance where anyone made the argument that the Mega Drive had more english language reliable sources than the Genesis. I have read the arguments that we came here to ask: can we discount RSs or weight commonname based on population, geographic region or other non-neutral metrics. The answer seems to be no.LedRush (talk) 20:33, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Then you have an extraordinarily poor memory. That argument has been made many times. Here is an incomplete list of users who have made that argument (among others, of course) : User:X201, User:Miremare, User:Noleander, User:WhisperToMe. (I just now found those by skimming the first 50% of Talk:Genesis, then I got bored and stopped looking.) Perhaps if your memory was a bit stronger you'd remember that not only does that point come up relatively often (It even appears in the summary list of bullet points.) you, personally have replied to it several times.
APL (talk) 00:03, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I do. I remember users making the following claims: (1) the methodology favoring the Genesis is flawed; (2) google hits favor the mega drive (these are not english language reliable sources (and the claim is demonstrably untrue)); (3) your proof is incomplete because of some unknown and unkowable number of written sources which may or may not favor the term Mega Drive. All three of these claims are ill-informed and ill-suited for the immediate topic. Could you point me to the arguments in which people provided evidence of more English-language reliable sources favoring the Mega Drive? (this is not a flippant request...I've been discussing this for weeks now and I really don't recall any such arguments being made). (also, if you do find the sources and I don't respond for 14 hours, it's because I'll not be around a compute)LedRush (talk) 00:15, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
also, the summary list of bullet points lists under Mega Drive cons that is used less frequently in english language reliable sources, and the Genesis pro list says it is found more often. We got consensus around that. While some people disputed the claim that the Genesis had the most, I really don't recall anyone providing proof that the Mega Drive was found in the majority of RSs.LedRush (talk) 00:20, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
We're trying to tell you that proof is impossible. So, no, I can't provide evidence that anyone has it. Obviously.
APL (talk) 00:45, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'm not sure if you're being serious or not, but obviously, I've provided much evidence and proof of my position. It has been attacked on various grounds, but it has still been presented. My point is that I don't recall anyone providing any evidence that the name "Mega Drive" exists more frequently in English-language reliable sources than "Genesis". Perhaps you're being hung up on semantics, but my point is this: I've provided a ton of evidence regarding the "Sega Genesis", and while people have criticized the policy and the methods, I have not seen anyone provide evidence that the opposite is true.LedRush (talk) 15:36, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

I can understand what the others are trying to say to you LedRush, look at it from the other angle. Forget the evidence that you've provided for Genesis and think about this in another way. Imagine that your task is to prove that Mega Drive is the name with more sources. OK? I have a complete collection of UK Mega Drive Magazine MEGA that would be of use to you in proving your point. You have to report what you've found to this page. How will you report the references from my magazine collection?. - X201 (talk) 15:54, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
I guess I don't think that anyone should be coming at this task looking to prove one side or the other. We should be looking at this trying to see which name appears more frequently. In your example, I'd first see if this megazine is, in fact, a reliable source. It seems to be to me (but I haven't really checked), so then I'd say, ok, it had about 36 issues, so let's add that to the Mega Drive tally.LedRush (talk) 16:03, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Firstly, we shouldn't be talking about the Sega Genesis article specifically - this is a general discussion about how the WP:TITLE rules should be set up. That said, it's a useful example. So I think we may dispense with the who-knew-what-and-when stuff and just ask whether the criteria of 'majority of reliable sources' is sufficient to break ties of this nature. The assertion by LedRush is that a general Google search includes a lot of things that are not reliable sources - this seems an entirely reasonable position to take. Instead, he uses Google Scholar searches.
OK...so let's look at the results we get from a Google Scholar search for the term "Sega Genesis":
  1. I get 2,980 hits.
  2. That number changes +/- 10% depending on which of my accounts I make the search from! Hardly a reliable figure. If I do it from my regular user account, I get ~300 fewer hits than if I log in as sys-admin on my computer. That's probably because Google knows that I've been doing many searches for Mega Drive and Sega Genesis and from that context can narrow my search results. My sysadmin account hardly ever does google searches - so it has a very different history and google obligingly provides a wider search 'net'.
  3. On the first page of results - I see 10 links - all of them to US Patents describing some aspect of the Genesis itself or some peripheral or game. The trouble is that patents are explicitly excluded (See WP:SPS) - they are NOT WP:RS and so we mustn't count them. Oh dear...our numbers are all wrong aren't they. Worse still, there are many MANY more Sega Genesis patents than Mega Drive patents - which would mean that the Google Scholar results are horribly skewed. So the entire first page of search results are completely invalid.
  4. And so is the second page...more patents...
  5. And so is the first half of the third page...more patents...
  6. Then finally, we reach "Exploring common conceptions about boys and electronic games" from a paper by the Comp.Sci department of the University of British Colombia. OK - so ONE RS in favor of "Sega Genesis" so far! Wooohoo! Well...maybe. This an article about psychology - written by a psychologist. Can he be considered a reliable source on video games? After all, WP:RS says "Sources should directly support the material presented in an article and should be appropriate to the claims made." - is an article about psychology 'appropriate' and does it 'directly support' the use of this name for a game console? How is this article more or less relevant than an email I sent to my friend Joe last week when I asked about his Sega Genesis? The idea of reliable sources is that the journal in question does fact checking. Do we think it fact-checked the name of this console? Well - I guess we might count it - but not without some argument at least.
  7. More patents...hey, some of these look kinda familiar. Oh...so Google Scholar sees the same patent listed in different patent databases and counts them as separate hits. That kinda inflates the numbers...urgh.
  8. Then another paper - in a reliable journal - Woohoo - now we have two maybe-RS's. Oh...but no. When I actually read the paper, the words "Sega Genesis" only come up in the title of a different paper that this paper is citing as a reference. This paper isn't a RS for the name "Sega Genesis" - it's merely contains a reference to a paper that talks about the console. Sadly, this one doesn't count - so back to one (maybe) RS.
  9. Yep...more patents...
  10. On page four of the search results, there is one more paper - sadly, behind a paywall - so we don't know whether it's a valid RS or another cite of that same paper. Who knows? Someone will have to pay to get access to some library of papers about education so that we can find out whether it says "Sega Genesis is the name of this console" or "This game console is never called 'Sega Genesis' by anyone ever". (Yeah - we can guess that it's just using the name in passing - but we're supposed to do this properly).
  11. Well, let's skip on down a ways - we know that the further down you look, the less good the 'fit' of the results...so let's look down on page 13: The first hit on this page is a legal decision in some court case about Sega and the title of some game for the Genesis. Sadly, another non-RS.
  12. How about page 64 (I'm skipping down at random) - an essay about feminist sci-fi and cyberpunk which has about 4,000 random 'keywords' in a hidden section at the bottom of it - evidently search-engine-bait because the words "Sega" and "Genesis" don't appear anywhere in the article.
  13. By page 82 we're getting more foreign language hits than English - French, Polish...all sorts. These are not allowed to attest to the commmon-name of the console in English - so they have to be discounted.
  14. Page 100 or so, we're looking at novels and screen plays and other things that (because they are works of fiction) don't count as WP:RS.
Basically, this is 99.9% junk. Maybe 0.1% of the hits are actually Wikipedia-acceptable reliable sources that this name was used for this console. My brief search through the results suggests maybe there are a dozen truly reliable sources in Google Scholar for this search term. That is totally and utterly overwhelmed by the hundreds and thousands of magazine articles about these two consoles that are "dark sources" - places we can't count automatically or (probably) even find to read.
Doing a simple count using automatic means of a small fraction of the publications (no magazines, for example) is clearly a terrible way to determine which name was most commonly used. It's just stupid.
Now, again - I'm very carefully not saying that this means that "Mega Drive" should have been the title of the article. Not at all. What I'm saying is that using this policy to choose the title by the 'majority of reliable sources' method is 100% useless...meaningless...untestable, uncheckable, unverifiable, unreliable. For that reason it totally fails to convince those on either side of the debate - so we get this fiasco as the result. We need a better guideline when obstinate people attempt to choose between two titles that are both fairly common-names. SteveBaker (talk) 17:55, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
If I might tl;dr that for you a little... arguable unreliability of pretty much every method of counting sources means that it is not practical, in cases where there are multiple names that fit the definition of 'common name', simply say "use the one that's more common". Sometimes there will be clear consensus that one is actually more common, such as where someone brings up a fringe name that still manages to meet mechanistic criteria, but there will be cases, like this, where two names are clearly 'common' and conventional, and it's not practical to pick between them. So, how could policy or guidelines help in this situation? Actually saying "grow up and pick one"? SamBC(talk) 18:15, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
In this case, it's quite easy to pick the one with an absolutely massive majority of use in english RSs. But, if that weren't the case, you just go to the 5 core questions. If those are answered equally well, then you have a problem. But this arises very infrequently.LedRush (talk) 18:38, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
You keep saying that, but have you explained how? Even in the best of conditions Google is very dubious for reference counting, That's not what it's for and they make no attempt to give you accurate or consistent counts. Just as important it's entirely reasonable that the large majority of on-topic sources (especially those from outside the USA) are not in the Google database in any way.
So how are you counting references and determining which one has the most? How are you even estimating that? APL (talk) 20:32, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
It's easy enough to exclude patents (there's even a button for it). When you do that you still get an overwhelming majority of hits for the Genesis. I now have to question whether or not you are even engaging in this discussion in good faith. If your point is that under this policy it may be difficult to judge who has a simple majority of hits in English-language reliable sources, that's fine and acknowledged. The policy then asks us to move on to other criteria which are even fuzzier. But in the instant case, we have an overwhelming majority and the second step is unnecessary. Your assessment that the hits are 99.9% junk is laughable (and belies your bad faith on the topic). When I search the results, I get very few foreign language hits for Genesis, but a huge number of foreign language hits for Mega Drive. And, excluding patents, the Genesis already has an overwhelming majority. For each Mega Drive hit in a foreign language it would take several Genesis ones just to keep the ratio intact. But the Mega Drive has far more foreign language hits, making the majority even more overwhelming for the Genesis. Your examply proves my point...we can make the search parameters more precise (and you are absolutely 100% to exclude patents and make my searches better), but we can still get good results. And in the instant case, the majority is so massive that even making these changes doesn't effect the analysis.
I think I've had enough of this discussion, seeing as no one is making any new arguments, and people are beginning to either deliberately distort my own and otherwise engage in conversation which makes reasoned discussion impossible.LedRush (talk) 18:36, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The one about an unknown number of the Scholar hits being citations of other papers is a new and good point. It's a pretty frustrating aspect of trying to use Google Scholar for actual academic literature searches. Another point is that you suggest physical magazines should only count once for each issue, while using news or scholar will give you one for each item/story/article. But hey, you can carry one responding with "BUT LOOK AT THE NUMBERS!!!" as long as you like. SamBC(talk) 19:32, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

How do we? (or indeed, do we bother to?) account for the historic advantage that certain countries have as regards use of the Internet and the amassed cache of data they have produced. i.e. North America had earlier and wider access to the net, along with large usage, i.e percentage wise they produce more content. Australia (Just to pick a random developed nation with a low-ish population) had later access to the net, lower uptake and a small population and so produce less content. So if a wiki debate arises concerning a term/name/something used by those two nations Australia will be at a disadvantage when it comes to pure numbers. Even if the Australia term is the "correct" one, common sense could be bettered by someone saying look at the numbers. Any system must account for this potential for systemic bias. - X201 (talk) 21:50, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

If earlier technology access allowed a region to produce more total sources then I don't think we're supposed to compensate for that. That's just life. But if earlier Internet access allows one region's sources to be google-searchable, and the other region's sources are available only on microfilm, I think we are supposed to try to compensate for that, because we're not supposed to give Internet sources any undue weight over non-Internet sources. APL (talk) 20:37, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Rewriting Naming conventions for ethnic groups

A new proposal for ethnic groups naming conventions can be found here: Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (people)#New proposal for "Articles on peoples (ethnicities and tribes)". -Uyvsdi (talk) 19:31, 13 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Commonname and conflation of China as the PRC

In regards to the "China"/"People's Republic of China" dispute, a group of administrators merged the articles on "Chinese civilization" and the "People's Republic of China" together at "China" The administrators argue that they are following Wikipedia:Article_titles#Non-neutral_but_common_names since "China" has been used to refer to both the civilization and the current PRC government on the Mainland I argue that it is advancing the POV that the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government of China, and that "Non-neutral_but_common_names" does not apply since the words "Taiwan" and "China" are being used in a partisan manner, and that this is still a contentious political issue. Please see: Talk:China#the_article_was_merged.2C_not_moved.21 WhisperToMe (talk) 00:42, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

However, both "Pro‑choice"...

This sentence "However, both "Pro‑choice" and "Pro‑life" redirect to more neutral titles, in keeping with point #3, above." is not a good example because it is essentially an American POV problem, and the phrases mean something else in other National varieties of English. I suggest we delete them and replace them and if someone wants such an example replace them with something else that does not carry such nationalistic baggage. -- PBS (talk) 02:37, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Sorry I though they were still being dealt with. I see the current names are upheld so ArbCom has essentially agreed with the non-use of pro-life and pro-choice so the policy has been affirmed. I do not believe they mean much different in other countries.Dmcq (talk) 09:54, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
If you were to stop people in the street in England and ask them "Are you pro-life?" They would ask you to explain what you meant you would have to say against abortions for them to understand what you were talking about. The issue just does not have the same political or religious divisiveness in England and Wales that it does the US as the vast majority of people agree with the political compromise that Parliament have agreed upon. Pro-life could just as easily be about life imprisonment meaning life with no parole or about euthanasia, it just depends what was the topic of the week with the chattering class. -- PBS (talk) 10:46, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Somebody has gone and deleted that bit again without coming to the talk page. It was put in by WT:Article titles/Archive 33#RFC: is POVTITLE appropriate policy?. There is no current ArbCom case about it and even if there were it is not a good idea to go rewriting the policy on the basis that ArbCom might do something. Meta:How to win an argument item 4 about being bold editing policy is not a good idea! Dmcq (talk) 19:21, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, actually it's exactly the other way around. Those paragraphs were added in response to the abortion discussions while the arbitration case was still ongoing. The arbitration case is not done yet, and as it looks thus far, it seems that the result of it will be that even more discussion will have to take place to finally decide on the appropriateness of these titles (see here). So as I see it, it is still far too early to mention the abortion advocacy articles as an example here. I also think that to any extent POVTITLE has been changed in response to the abortion naming discussion, it should probably, at least temporarily, be reverted back.TheFreeloader (talk) 19:38, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Dmcq, I'm having a very hard time following your arguments, so I'm not exactly sure how to counter them. But one thing that's abundantly clear is that the question concerning the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" is controversial and is currently at ArbCom. Examples given in this policy should reflect well-settled titles, not ones actively being fought over. Policy does not prescribe, it describes. And I have no stake in the abortion disputes here at Wikipedia, as I have a strict personal policy of not edited or adminning that topic. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 00:41, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
My mistake. I had a look at one of the talk pages and a quick search and didn't find the current ArbCom case, I thought that the thing I saw from last July had finished. Thanks for pointing it out.
My argument was that the change was put in after an RfC here and the removal was a bold edit which cited an ArbCom still in progress. I agree now the RfC was during an ArbCom case and something else should have been used as an example in that circumstance. Just because a case is in progress is not a good reason to change policy and can be a bad idea. An editor should make the circumstances of any such desired change abundantly clear on the talk page as it can look like trying to game the system. An ArbCom case in progress is not evidence that consensus has changed. Dmcq (talk) 01:55, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it can look like gaming the system, which often results in an unfortunate sideshow, but while we're on the subject, can anyone come up with a second example? I can't think of anything offhand. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:24, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
How about Dokdo and Takeshima? See the entry for Liancourt Rocks in WP:LAME. -- PBS (talk) 10:46, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

User seemingly rampantly violating WP:Naming_conventions_(clergy)#Syriac_bishops

Please consider weighing in on discussion at Wikipedia Talk:Naming_conventions_(clergy)#Mass_moving_of_articles_on_Syriac_bishops. Seemingly without discussion, User:Karnan on Nov 19 and 20 massively moved large numbers of Wikipedia pages - perhaps 50 - to new titles. He is adding "Mar", which means "Bishop", to the titles of Syro-Malabar Bishops. -- Presearch (talk) 00:51, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Principle of least astonishment

I think it would be a big help and clarification to incorporate the principle of least astonishment in this policy. (And that article needs to be expanded because the principle applies to much more than user interface design, software design, and ergonomics.) --Espoo (talk) 21:44, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Why has this become such a fashionable suggestion at the moment? Has somebody started a new cult and not invited me? --FormerIP (talk) 22:00, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I am likely to agree with the proposal; but I would like to see the matter fleshed out with examples. Elaborate, please?
NoeticaTea? 22:07, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
To get the discussion started, I have drafted a proposed change to the common names section of the policy, as follows (addition in green):
Current text

Titles are often proper nouns, such as the name of the person, place or thing that is the subject of the article. The most common name for a subject is often used as a title because it is recognizable and natural; one should also ask the questions outlined above; ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources. Neutrality is also considered; our policy on neutral titles, and what neutrality in titles is, follows in the next section. When there are several names for a subject, all of them fairly common, and the most common has problems, it is perfectly reasonable to choose one of the others.

Replacement text

Titles are often proper nouns, such as the name of the person, place or thing that is the subject of the article. The most common name for a subject is often used as a title because it is recognizable, natural and upholds the principle of least astonishment, i.e., when a majority of people are familiar with a certain topic by a particular name, and thus are likely to search Wikipedia for the topic by that name, they should not be astonished when they find the topic existing here under an unfamiliar name. However, one should also ask the questions outlined above; ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources. Neutrality is also considered; our policy on neutral titles, and what neutrality in titles is, follows in the next section. When there are several names for a subject, all of them fairly common, and the most common has problems, it is perfectly reasonable to choose one of the others.

--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 22:31, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Seems reasonable to me. Although it does sneak in the concept of looking at what people would search, which I think might be used for skewing the way common names are determined. This could be interpreted as meaning we should prefer the short forms that people use for searching with, like for example writing "US Constitution" to get to the United States Constitution or writing "Fed" to get to the Federal Reserve System, instead of the current names which widely used by our sources.TheFreeloader (talk) 22:51, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm. Good. But the wording is not optimal. Readers' astonishment is not something we can make rules for! We can only set out principles that are likely to diminish the likelihood of such astonishment.
And I would also want this converse principle: "Minimise the probability of readers being astonished to find an unexpected topic when they go to an article." A resident of Cape Town looking at Little Bow, for example, when Khoisan weaponry is the topic of interest. (And don't talk to me about capital letters as disambiguators, please!)
NoeticaTea? 23:01, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand what you are saying. How is your addition "converse"? Perhaps all of you could take a look at Talk:Flim-flam for a simpler example and participate in that discussion and Wikipedia_talk:Disambiguation#Naming_the_disambiguation_page. --Espoo (talk) 06:05, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Two sorts of astonishment might occur:
  1. A reader is astonished to find that searched-for topic is covered under an unexpected title.
  2. A reader is astonished to find that an article consulted does not deal with the hoped-for topic.
These are converse, or complementary, or mutually reversed. In 1, the topic is certainly covered; but the expected title or titles may be missing altogether. In 2, the topic may not be covered anywhere; at least it is not found where it had been expected. The wording proposed deals only with 1:

... –when a majority of people are familiar with a certain topic by a particular name, and thus are likely to search Wikipedia for the topic by that name, they should not be astonished when they find the topic existing here under an unfamiliar name ...

But I gave an example of type 2.
NoeticaTea? 08:49, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Are there any examples of this actually being an issue with regards to article titles? -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 08:55, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Do you think that the second sort is less common than the first sort? Happens to me all the time. How about French Quarter, consulted from here in Australia? Or type "lawn garden" progressively into the search box and see the prompts as they evolve; then look at the article you end up with. The example for Little Bow is a good illustration. I can't say that it has happened. But note: most of the anglophone world is not in Alberta, Canada. Type "little bow" into the search box slowly. Do the same with "big bow", then "long bow", and then "short bow". Take a deep breath; put yourself in the position of a naive interrogator of Wikipedia who knows nothing of the principles in WP:TITLE or any other concerns that we have firmly in view. And ask yourself: is astonishment of the second sort at all improbable?
NoeticaTea? 09:38, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not really sure how we can solve this problem, I suppose we could make French Quarter a disambiguation page if its unclear, but we can do that anyway if it can be shown that a lot of sources don't use it to refer to district of New Orleans. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 09:54, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think this change is actually helpful. It's not wrong; it's just not producing any extra value despite adding many extra words. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:03, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Besides the point made above about common search terms often not being professional or encyclopedic sounding, there's also the problem that the concept of astonishment is so culturally specific that I worry that enshrining it as policy would lead to more POV warring. I think Brits might not like the result: Since they tend to be familiar w American expressions, but not vice versa, 'least astonishment' would suggest titling everything in American English. The concept of astonishment is already covered w current criteria like CommonName, and that's probably sufficient. — kwami (talk) 23:27, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Input needed at WT:MOSTM

Editors (especially any with expertise in intellectual property law, or corporate law) may wish to contribute at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Trademarks. The issue of extending the coverage of the page to trade names as well as trademarks may not be as simple or automatic as some assume.

NoeticaTea? 22:07, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Could be worth a note at the VP. And mid next week, when I'll have more time for WP, I could hunt down some legal-eagles via categories and page histories. Tony (talk) 03:39, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Shouldn't these be in English

I'm not really all full on 100% positive, but shouldn't these three pages be titled in English?:

It seems to confirm so at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books) (Which I should have began this discussion, but that talk page is not watched very often, and the last thread was begun in August, and did not get a single reply, so I decided to start the discussion here, in hopes of getting a broader opinion base), and at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English). I don't know the translation or I may have just done it myself. I could look it up, but am too afraid of stepping on toes or pissing someone off (Which never happens in our little land of Wikipedia).--JOJ Hutton 00:02, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Are there verifiable English names by which these are known? If not, leave them untranslated. Dicklyon (talk) 01:34, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Even less English is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. I have a requested move for this one, which is active. (No one has voted so far. Be the first.) Another example of a non-English title is Praha hlavní nádraží. Kauffner (talk) 02:36, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Talk:Libingan ng mga Bayani#Rename comes to mind. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 03:56, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't know if there are verifiable English names,I don't speak whatever language that is. All I know is that its not English.--JOJ Hutton 12:34, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

If there's no verifiable English name, we must use the original. Sometimes there just isn't a commonly used English name. Consider La traviata and Der Freischütz, for example, whose titles are not easy to translate and thus are pretty much always named in the original languages. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 15:11, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
WP:TITLE says, "In deciding whether and how to translate a foreign name into English, follow English-language usage. If there is no established English-language treatment for a name, translate it if this can be done without loss of accuracy and with greater understanding for the English-speaking reader." WP:Naming conventions (books) says, "books that haven't been published in English (yet) are preferably referred to by an English version of the title." So to answer the original question, yes, the titles need to be translated. Kauffner (talk) 15:17, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
That sounds like a bug in the guideline. Translation is appropriate for descriptive title, but less so for articles on titled works. Or perhaps the clause "if this can be done without loss of accuracy" covers that case; if we make up a translation for a title work, it will certainly not have "accuracy"; an approximate translation can always be put into the article, and even as a redirect if that's helpful for some reason. But we shouldn't make our own translations of titles. Dicklyon (talk) 17:27, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
From what I can tell, our naming guidelines are a fair mess of contradictions, I suspect because of the differing opinions of those who've written them. I don't think there's a lot of good to be had in citing them. Instead, let's remember that reliable sources are fundamental and no Wikipedia guideline should ever be interpreted in isolation from that. If we have no or inadequate reliable sources for an English name, it doesn't belong as an article title, as no guideline can override the need for reliable sources. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 01:53, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree. The problem is Anglophone affinity for new words allowing nearly anything that is barely comprehensible and labeling it/them as "interesting," rather than the official policy of "have not entered the English language and therefore not allowable." As I've mentioned above, I have my hands full with Japanese.
The admins are worried about vandals eventually overwhelming the project. I think in the near term, the danger is more non-English terms and articles.Student7 (talk) 20:50, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
I think you must have misundersood or imagined something somewhere along the line. There is no rule or policy or anything forbidding "non-English terms". If we're making a choice between two terms, then insofar as the choice is made based on commonness of usage, it's commonness of usage in reliable English sources that we emphasize. But if a "foreign" term is commonly used in English, or if there is no alternative, or the use of any alternative would result in (say) loss of accuracy, then it's perfectly fine to use the foreign term. Just as any other writer of English would in such a situation.--Kotniski (talk) 08:36, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
But it has to have entered the English language. Like Samurai, Mikado, Ninja, and Shinto. The words above have not yet entered the English language, and (in the case of Fumi-e) probably won't. Is there a reason, or is there no reason for the WP:ENGLISH policy? Can this simply be ignored? If so, why can we not expect entire articles, in (say) simple French or German. Many of us could probably figure them out. No limitation? Why not? Student7 (talk) 22:40, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
No, it doesn't "have to have entered the English language". That standard tells you whether the word itself is now considered English, not whether it's the right choice for the title.
Please actually read the guideline you're citing. It says, for example, that if a "native version is more common in English-language usage, the English name should be mentioned but should not be used as the article title." That is, WP:ENGLISH says not to use the English name in some situations. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:40, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I have, BTW, just updated ENGLISH to deal with the case of established usage, especially when the established usage in English sources (e.g., for La traviata) is plainly not to use the English translation. The cases of "divided usage" and "no established usage" were pre-existing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:01, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Student, surely you can see the difference between writing an article (or a sentence) in a foreign language, and writing it in English but including an occasional foreign word for which no accurate English equivalent exists? Doing the second doesn't set us on a slippery slope towards doing the first.--Kotniski (talk) 09:45, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
La Traviata is a common opera performed in English-speaking countries. It probably would not be recognized in its translation. So it is the "common name in the English-speaking world." Gozoku doesn't come close. There's a long o which doesn't appear on my keyboard. (Another gripe, it misses searches for that reason). No one but a few Japanese specialists would recognize it at all. It translates easily as "lord" or "liege lord." So the only reason for not using English is the Anglophone affinity for the shorter word. But our automatic affinity should not be the basis for attempting to make the word part of the English vocabulary when it isn't and never has been. Unlike La Traviata which has been around for a century, I suppose. Wikipedia editors did not force it onto a populace which had never heard of it before. That isn't our job anyway. Student7 (talk) 19:57, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
You still seem to be seeing demons that aren't really there. No-one is trying to force new words into the language or onto people - they're just trying to convey, in English, certain concepts that are best expressed in encyclopedic English by using some words that are not normally part of "English vocabulary". This is perfectly normal practice among writers everywhere.--Kotniski (talk) 09:02, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
So is the threshold (if there is one) "Use English if you can, but if not, what the heck?" It seems to me that there have been inadequate attempts to translate easily translatable terms into English.
As an example, try looking at the bible. We are still frustrated today at the fact that Ancient Hebrew/Aramaic and Modern English do not translate one-for-one (true of any language but worse with non-European ones). The few words that trickle through in ancient Hebrew are (ironically) words in which the reader could usually care less about. But a valiant effort was made.
For Japanese articles/names, particularly, there is a certainty on the part of the translator that Europeans/English "couldn't possibly" have a similar event/problem/word. This is usually untrue. I don't see where the effort has been made. "Liege" serves perfectly well for gozoku, for example. But the pretense was made that no comparable word existed in English.
This is perhaps true for "samurai." The European feudal system did have knights as a "standing army" but not quite samurai. "Japanese knights" might not have sufficed. But this is not true of every single feudal word, or non-feudal one. Feudal systems didn't differ that much! And modern Japan has rather deliberately copied Western models. Student7 (talk) 22:49, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Samurai (ninja, katana and the like) have also entered the English language as commonly used terms.Jinnai 22:58, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
And we generally follow the pattern in English-language reliable sources. If Gōzoku is the name used in reliable sources for the concept of a liege lord in a particular point in Japanese history, then we use it, too. It's not up to Wikipedia editors to decide whether "liege lord" is an adequate translation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:20, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
It might be nice if these were reliable (scholarly) sources written in English! Student7 (talk) 13:45, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

When each reliable source uses two different names for a subject, which name is the common name?

Specifically, I just closed a discussion at Talk:Kodak#Moving_back_to_"Eastman_Kodak" as "no consensus" because editors couldn't agree on this point: business articles discussing the company generally start in the first sentence with "Eastman Kodak", but then through the body of the article shorten this to "Kodak". Some editors argue that this means "Kodak" is the common name for the company; other editors argue that using "Kodak" in the body of the article is just convenience, analogous to using "Obama" in the body of an article which started by referring to "Barack Obama". Which is correct? Edit: I'm looking more for answers regarding the general case of when our reliable sources use two different names like this; if you answer only regarding Kodak, it's not as helpful.--Aervanath (talk) 17:43, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Commonness isn't the only criterion, and you might find it easier to resolve the question by looking at the other criteria. "Kodak" is more natural (i.e., what the average American calls the company), but "Eastman Kodak" is more precise (can't be confused with the company's brand; "Eastman Kodak" is the company, but the cameras and film are just plain "Kodak") and more consistent (articles about publicly traded companies are normally given their formal names). WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:32, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Yea, that is one good way of putting it. There are brands and there are companies. The name may or may not be the same. From an article perspective and for accurate categorization splitting brand and company articles has some advantages. Walmart is another case where the company and it's other brands are lumped in one article about the major brand. And we lack an article on the major brand. Heck, it is not even mentioned in {{Walmart}}! Vegaswikian (talk) 18:46, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Your points were covered in the discussion, actually. After looking at the discussion, it seemed to me that none of the other criteria were decisive in this particular case (this is the first case I can recall where it came down, in my mind, to this specific issue). What do you guys think about the question I posed above?--Aervanath (talk) 00:44, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
Not necessarily disagreeing with the above answers, but to specifically answer about what to count as the common name, I agree that the full name first used in reliable sources is always the common name. "Common" name does not refer to a shortening of a full encyclopedic name just because it's used more often when mechanically counting. It means the full name as used in most reliable sources without regard as to whether it's also the topic's official, technical or scientific name. It's common journalistic practice to refer to a person or organization by its full name in the lede and thereafter repeatedly to a shortened form(s) such as surname, title or acronym only, but that doesn't make those the "common name" for titling purposes. Station1 (talk) 20:17, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
I would have opposed the move had I known of the discussion... Yes, the "official name" is Eastman Kodak... but we don't care about official names... and it is far more commonly referred to as simply "Kodak", and that is what most readers would search for. I would have opened the article with "Kodak (officially the Eastman Kodak Company) is...".
However... this is a case where we could probably go either way without any harm... no matter which name we chose as the title, the typical reader will be surprised to find themselves redirected when they search the other name. Blueboar (talk) 23:21, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
When you say "this is a case where we could probably go either way without any harm", do you mean in the case of Eastman Kodak specifically, or in the slightly more general case of both names being used in the articles we use as reliable sources?--Aervanath (talk) 00:44, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
This thread again demonstrates how we need to carefully firm up parts of WP:TITLE. Style guides and policy are meant to minimise debate (and disputes), and I find the guidance leaves us wondering about the basics. I want to be educated. It's clear, IMO, that part of the decision-making apparatus WP:TITLE shoul present as simply and briefly as possible is how to weigh up competing factors in the commonest scenarios: these competing forces can include the desirability of WP-wide consistency, what external style guides say, what is used in specialist sources (often chaotic in stylistic terms), and more general usage. It's not simple, but we're not helping editors at the moment. Examples either side of the boundaries we establish by consensus should be provided in the policy. While it may not be possible to cover every scenario, conveying a feel for the right decision-making can be conveyed/supported by examples. Tony (talk) 03:33, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
No, this thread demonstrates precisely that we don't have to. It is the sort of conversation that WP:AT was meant to inspire; that we have come to a common conclusion based on these general principles shows that they are sufficient. The only problem with it is that it didn't take place on the article talk page, and the conversation there is enough. JCScaliger (talk) 17:49, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
Ideally we'd want to avoid discussing this at all, so I agree with Tony. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 19:06, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
A truly Utopian ideal. If somebody asks "why Kodak?" or "why Eastman Kodak?" (whichever it is), that's a discussion; especially if he gets an answer. (If he doesn't, there may be a unilateral move.) As it is, the RM is the answer to the second question (no sound reason, let's change it), and we can refer to it when the first question comes up. But the case involved, a company so closely identified with a single product, must be truly rare. JCScaliger (talk) 00:56, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
Not surprisingly, I am convinced that "common name" does not refer to a simple mechanical counting of references, but must take into account the style of the sources being used. That most reliable journalistic sources use a company's full name on first use (only shortening to a nickname or acronym later) is absolutely strong evidence that we should title our article with the full name. Powers T 18:57, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with Powers. That the sources often use a short form, nickname, or initialism doesn't make the short name the common name. In most sources on heart attacks, you'll find far more instances of MI than the spelled-out myocardial infarction in the world, but that doesn't mean that MI is the common name. We also don't declare Obama to be the common name, even though almost zero sources use anything except solely his last name after the first mention, and a quick search on Obama -"Barack Obama" shows thousands of sources that never use his first name at all. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:52, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
All very good points. that said, I do want to remind everyone that there is a distinction between a subject's name and the title of our article on that subject. Yes, the subject's name is often the best title... but they are not the same, and the the title does not have to be the subject's name if there is a better title.
Getting back to the issue: Some times title disputes comes down to a choice between two equally acceptable titles... and in those cases, all we can do is go with the one more editors prefer. In the case of "Kodak" vs "Eastman Kodak", both potential titles are more or less equally acceptable according to this policy... we may disagree as to the one we prefer, but neither is "bad". Blueboar (talk) 03:23, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
Quite so; the choice between them is partly the choice of emphasis in the article: the company as an organization, or its chief product line? We cannot decide that here, a priori. JCScaliger (talk) 19:17, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

ArbCom election reminder: voting closes soon

All editors are reminded that voting closes for ACE2011 in just over a day's time (Saturday 10 December at 23:59 UTC). To avoid last-minute technical logjams, editors are asked to vote at least an hour before the close, that is, by:

  • Saturday 15:00 (3 pm) on the west coast of North America;
  • Saturday 18:00 (6 pm) on the east coast of North America;
  • Saturday 23:00 (11 pm) in the UK and Ireland;
  • Sunday 01:00 (1 am) in South Africa;
  • Sunday 06:00 (7 am) on the west coast of Australia; and
  • Sunday 10:00 (10 am) on the east coast of Australia; and
  • Sunday 12:00 (12 noon) in New Zealand.

For the election coordinators. Tony (talk) 14:06, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Ambiguous or inaccurate names, versus common names

Which naming principle should take precedence, #1 avoiding ambiguous or inaccurate names, or #2 using the common name as found in reliable sources? The recent, highly controversial move of the People's Republic of China to "China" relies upon the latter. Related to such are other articles Hirohito and Ireland. Ngchen (talk) 03:56, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Are you asserting that these common names are ambiguous? or inaccurate? Dicklyon (talk) 04:34, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes Those who are familiar with the complicated history will note that despite its claims, the PRC never succeeded in taking over "all" China. Precision would have the PRC listed under "People's Republic of China." If one examines the discussions that took place with regard to the renaming, one will find that it was very controversial for this very reason. Related to such is a drive to rename "Republic of China" to "Taiwan," which would cause even more grief since the ROC didn't possess Taiwan when it was founded, but is largely limited to Taiwan de facto today. That being the case though, it's true that the common names for the two sides are China=PRC, and Taiwan=ROC. It's also instructive to look in the archives of the Chinese-naming conventions. Ngchen (talk) 18:27, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't really see how there is any inaccuracy or ambiguity in the use of China to refer to the People's Republic.
And the fundamental difference with Ireland is that the term is regularly used to refer to the whole island rather than just the Republic. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 08:01, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
I also dispute the use of the term "highly controversial" - please see WP:CONSENSUS and WP:NOTVOTE. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 08:15, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
This striving for accuracy is misplaced. Words are created by humans and given the definition humans give them. A name, being a representation of the object itself, can't be inaccurate. A rose by any other title would have the same subject. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 10:37, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
From everything that I've read, the WP:CONSENSUS on the change to that article ran counter to what the 3 Admins did. They contravened WP:CONSENSUS. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 159.53.78.140 (talk) 18:01, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
No they didn't. The move arguments were stronger and much better backed up by policy. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 18:08, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
That is an outright untruth, and I encourage you to continue to propagate it. The arguments were not any stronger than they were in 2008. Essentially, the move faction was asking for a consensus simply for the sake of a consensus, meaning the decision process was entirely rushed. If I recall correctly, one of the administrators had been a major participant in the discussions and had effectively already made up his mind before he joined the so-called triumvirate. GotR Talk 21:23, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
The editor who had participated in previous discussion is well known for mediating complex move discussions. And the arguments were stronger than they were in 2008 as no massive list of sources showing overwhelming usage for China to refer to the PRC was produced. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 21:26, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
That you personally disagree with the outcome doesn't make it invalid or 'not consensus', GotR. I wasn't involved in the move discussion and had no firm opinions on which name was more appropriate until I read the discussion. The admin decision was correct, the move arguments were stronger, better seated in Wikipedia's policies and generally far more persuasive. I do understand that you, being of the opposing viewpoint in that discussion, disagreed with its outcome, but crying foul is uncalled for. The whole reason three admins were involved in the decision was to make it clear that it wasn't simply a case of bad judgement or misinterpretation. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 22:17, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
Short answer: it depends.
As a general rule, I think we need to be careful about counting uses by "reliable sources". We should not necessarily count uses that are not intended by the source to be (a) neutral and (b) unambiguous without reference to context. This means that there is no single answer for which takes precedence; we need to consider the semantics of the individual case and other policies such as WP:NPOV.
  • Non-neutral names: The apparent common name may actually be the common name for a particular view of the subject. For instance a particular name for a geopolitical entity may be used to imply acceptance of a claim to an exclusive mandate. If the author of a particular "reliable source" has a point of view that is not shared by virtually the entire English language community, it may be appropriate to discount such use when determining the common name.
  • Ambiguity without reference to context: When talking about unique entities (e.g. Barrack Obama) we should count only those uses that are intended to refer unambiguously to a unique entity without reference to context. In context, "the President" or "he" may be unambiguous, but such uses should be ignored.
Naturally, individual cases are a matter of judgment. It is fairly obvious that "the idiot in the Oval Office" should be ignored for both reasons, regardless of frequency of use. It is not obvious (but could be argued) that "Ireland" should be ignored, as an article title candidate for the state, when used by authors who believe that the sovereign state of Ireland should include the whole territory of the island of Ireland. Queen Elizabeth II may also be potentially ambiguous but chosen because normal methods of disambiguation by country are inappropriate in this particular case.--Boson (talk) 12:16, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
The answer to the question of which principle takes precedence is: Neither. In choosing the best title for an article we should consider the issue of Recognizably (or commonality as demonstrated by use in reliable sources), and precision (or ambiguity) at the same time (and we would also consider issues of naturalness, conciseness and consistency at the same time as well).
That said... and as we say in the policy... sometimes it may be necessary to favor one or more of the principles over the others. Which gets favored will be different from article to article, because each article is unique and has unique factors that need to be considered when choosing a title. Thus, the determination of which principle should take precedence in choosing any specific article title is ultimately determined by consensus - and the consensus about one article may well be different than the consensus about another. That is both intentional and OK. Blueboar (talk) 14:05, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the other commenters: There is no single principle that always trumps any of the others. Editors are going to have to use their best judgment, taking all the facts and circumstances into account for the specific article in question. (If it was as simple as "Always prefer this particular principle", then we'd have already written that into the policy.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:55, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
In other words this is the spirit of the fifth of Wiki's Five Pillars. A tragedy that this has been overlooked. GotR Talk 21:23, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
Please read WP:AGF. Our Five Pillar principles and our varying policies were not overlooked, they were weighed by many of the editors involved in the discussion on both sides. It's fine that you disagree with the outcome, but you need to stop implying or outright alleging that the final decision, made unanimously by three separate admins, was done ignorantly or in bad faith. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 22:22, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
It is not as if I am assuming bad faith, it is merely that the facts are incontrovertible. Moreover, I see zero evidence to assert your first claim as it relates to the move faction.
Regarding the ROC discussion, you cannot say that everyone participating in a discussion will be fully cognizant of the subtleties of the differences of a few terms. In fact, one editor admitted himself he failed to do exactly that. The ability and willingness to do this is very important in life in general and crucial for an encyclopaedia that wishes to build itself up as an authority; again I am not implying that some are definitely wanting to compromise Wiki but their actions certainly have that effect. GotR Talk 22:39, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
You likewise have no evidence that people failed to take account of relevant policies, especially as applied to the three admins that made the decision. An editor saying he failed to take something into account is hardly a reflection on the large number of people who were involved in the discussion, and even if a lot of editors had voted poorly, the admins would have disregarded weak arguments in their decision. It's really not appropriate to be making assumptions about how people came to the conclusions they did that aren't explicitly stated in their reasoning. The move request was a discussion, of course people aren't necessarily going to be fully aware of every aspect, but editors can and do change their votes based on the persuasive arguments of other editors. The closing admin's job is to assess all of the discussion, weigh the merits of each argument against Wikipedia's policies, and determine which is the strongest and most supported argument out of the valid arguments. There's no reason to assume that the admins didn't do their job in this respect and discount arguments (on both sides) that weren't strong enough or were outright invalid. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 22:47, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

It might help to point out that "ambiguity" isn't normally considered a weakness of an article title provided that the subject of the article is the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC for the title. We don't mind titling an article Michael Jackson even though there are many other people, some fairly notable, with that name. Similarly we don't mind titling an article China even though there are other entities that are or have been referred to as China. Nearly all WP articles on modern countries are titled using the common short form of the country's name, and it was highly egregious to do differently for that one (for no apparent reason except something to do with Taiwan that has no influence on the English-speaking world's actual usage of the term "China").--Kotniski (talk) 11:35, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (cuisines)

Could someone add Wikipedia:Naming conventions (cuisines) to the list of naming conventions? --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 05:49, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Use of Japanese

A guideline proposes using English in titles: Wikipedia:Article_titles#English-language_titles. I've been having a problem with Japanese articles. Most recently with Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Fumi-e. A closed discussion, incidentally. Quick! Before looking, what is Fumi-e? If you had to look first, it is not in general use in English.

Three problems here. Two are similar. Both English and Japanese are "language sponges" trying to adopt new words from other languages, quite contrary to the norm. The third is that Japanese are much closer in time to their feudal period than European cultures. They believe them totally unique, though there are English words quite capable of describing them. The other day, I tried to introduce "liege lord" to a Japanese-Anglophone editor. He found, instead, a band with that name, perhaps not realizing it was named after a common English-related feudal expression.

I lost the Fumi-e argument after one day of allowing editors to contribute. Several were editors on the article itself and hardly neutral. Right now we have hundreds, if not thousands of non-place articles with Japanese words that have not entered English and for which there is an English equivalent. I'm looking for support here (not votes. Too late for that!  :). Student7 (talk) 13:51, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't know if there is a general problem, but I honestly can't see your point on Fumi-e. What normal English concept should this be covered under, exactly? SamBC(talk) 23:55, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Gōzoku another. Tell me what it is before you look it up please. That will show that it is in common use in English. The question is not: "is there currently a term for gozuku in English?" Which appears to be the question asked above.
BTW, had to copy term since I don't know how to get a long O on my keyboard - part of my Japanese training, apparently.
The question is "Will the use of English prevail when translating Japanese terms into English. i.e. will Wikipedia be used to introduce terms into English that were not there earlier.
The question of course, for Fumi-e: did religious zealots ever ask presumed "heretics" to spit on a cross or an icon, desecrate a Koran, or whatever? The "necessity" for the blatantly Japanese-only term of Fumi-e presumes that religious questions of this type never arose in English-speaking countries. Or in Europe and translated into English. Otherwise, why would we be forcing a term on an English reader that s/he had never seen before. Student7 (talk) 01:22, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Your arguments might begin to be slightly convincing if you could actually tell us the English terms that you would use instead of these Japanese ones (i.e. if you proposed to rename these articles to specified titles, or merge them with specified existing English-titled articles). Proposing deleting them seems rather pointy and the wrong way to go - if that were done, the information might be lost altogether.--Kotniski (talk) 06:58, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
They are not English, nor in common use as English. The question is not whether "snartlefarb = a cane for beating kangaroos in Bohemia" is a "better" word that one in English, but whether the general public would recognize "snartlefarb!" They wouldn't. Therefore no article on snartlefarb, no matter how "efficient" the term might "seem." "Seem" BTW, implies WP:OR judgment, which is out of place in making the decision. Student7 (talk) 15:00, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
We don't generally title articles according to what the general public would recognize, but (rather) according to what people who are familiar with the subject would recognize. There are vast numbers of obscure subjects covered on Wikipedia - most of them don't have any name that the general public would recognize, because the general public have no idea that these concepts even exist. So we have to use the obscure names that the specialists use. Whether the obscure names are adjudged to be "English" or "foreign" is neither here nor there. --Kotniski (talk) 16:45, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Does not concur with MOS:JAPAN which limits words to those than have entered the English language. Student7 (talk) 15:58, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Don't know where you're seeing that.--Kotniski (talk) 16:32, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
That's just it. I'm not. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gozoku . http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fumi-e . But I am supposed to since there is an article name and it is not a place or proper name. Student7 (talk) 21:05, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood Kotniski's question... where do you see MOS:JAPAN limiting words to those that have entered the English language? Blueboar (talk) 21:50, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't see an example for fumi-e. There are a few others such as miko which have been translated in numerous texts as "shrine maiden". But neither term is exactly mainstream.Jinnai 00:08, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
@Student7: see my response in the thread below. You seem to be imagining a rule that has simply never existed - there is absolutely no rule or custom, nor would we wish there to be, that every Wikipedia article title has to appear in English dictionaries (even excluding defined categories such as places and proper names).--Kotniski (talk) 08:40, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
And to continue: your comments at the gozoku discussion seem to indicate that you think Wikipedia is inappropriately "introducing new terms into the English language" in this way. Well, not really - Wikipedia is not an English dictionary, so by titling an article "gozoku" we're not saying that there's an English word "gozoku". What Wikipedia is is a compendium of reliably sourceable knowledge, that uses the English language as a medium to convey that knowledge. In situations where that knowledge can't be accurately conveyed using established English terminology (remember that the sources don't have to be in English), we do what English writers often do - use the available foreign-language terminology (preferably indicating that it is foreign, e.g. by italicizing, and providing an explanation of what it means, which we are often able to do conveniently using wikilinks).--Kotniski (talk) 08:51, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I must not be understanding this complaint. Is the complaint:
  1. the title needs to be translated (to what?), or
  2. subjects whose titles can't be rendered conveniently in English do not deserve articles on the English Wikipedia?
I don't have a lot of sympathy for the complaint that the average English speaker won't recognize a given title. We have an enormous number of articles for which a recognizable title is simply impossible (nearly all articles in Category:Asteroid stubs, for example). We would like the most recognizable title, but in some cases, zero of the available titles are going to be recognizable to anyone except a specialist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:36, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I was sticking with Japanese (as opposed to La Traviata and other European borrow words) because it was "easier" to argue. As pervasive as unfamiliar Japanese is in Wikipedia, the presence of European languages is much worse. It was easier to argue that fumi-e would not be recognized by Anglophones and never would be and wouldn't be needed either. A bit harder to argue the extremely pervasive French, Spanish and German words scattered throughout the articles which are easily understood by college educated Anglophones. Like "tres bien" or "dosvedanya" or "adieu" etc.
People seem to love the very unfamiliar Japanese because English is a "language sponge." But it is not our job to introduce these words without due process which hasn't been demonstrated. Not everyone understands them. It smacks of elitism.
I just edited "troisieme" from an article someone translated from French. I doubt that it meant "third" in the usage that was presented, but rather something else unfamiliar to the reader. (I expect that other editors there will help). The trouble when you start using foreign words/languages: it's a bit hard to know where to draw the line. The current bar to unfamiliar non-English words is way too low IMO. Student7 (talk) 21:44, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
The current "bar" is that we do whatever the English-language sources do. Translating a title just to make it be in English, when all the sources refuse to translate it, is a WP:NOR violation.
Recognizability (whether an Anglophone reader has any hope of recognizing what the word represents) is only one principle among many. In many cases, the translated word is actually less recognizable: even a complete English monoglot has a chance of recognizing that La traviata is the name of an opera and that a tsar is a kind of king. We should not rush in to translate where our sources refuse to do so. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:47, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
I feel like the man from AA in a bar trying to recruit! No one will admit that alcoholics even exist! If fumi-e isn't a stumbling drunk, I don't know what is. Having said that, it is true that a word may be needed to describe such artifacts and, being English, we will probably discover an acceptable term in another language.
But automatically assuming that one-word (foreign language) hits are automatically superior to "two word" (English language) hits (it depends on the two words selected. Don't have that problem with the one word) is not crisp logic IMO. Student7 (talk) 17:51, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't care how many words are in the title. I care which words are in the reliable sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:29, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
And if they are all Japanese RSes? While it would be unusual, there is nothing against policy about that.Jinnai 16:14, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Then one follows WP:ENGLISH#No_established_usage_in_English-language_sources, which in such a case would use the Japanese name (assuming the reason that all of the RSes are in Japanese is because it's a Japanese-related subject). WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Just a quick note... Christies auction house] (one of the more prestigious auction houses in the US) appears to accept and use the Japanese word "Fumi-e" to describe these objects (although it also uses the word "Icon")... so at least one reliable English Language source uses the term. So I am not sure that WP:ENGLISH#No_established_usage_in_English-language_sources applies in this case. Blueboar (talk) 13:19, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Variations on precision

Related discussion on using qualifiers when not needed: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject New York City Public Transportation#Using qualifiers when no ambiguity exists -- JHunterJ (talk) 13:39, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Ambiguous or inaccurate

PMA when you made this change on 22 August 2011 I think you made an inadvertent change in meaning, or at least it can be read that way.

Before there was as sentence:

The ideal title for an article will also satisfy the questions outlined above; ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources. Hidden comment BETTER EXAMPLE NEEDED For example, tsunami is preferred over the arguably more typical, but less accurate tidal wave.

It is clear from this sentence that ambiguous or inaccurate is referring to the bullet points in questions outlined above. But then it was a stand alone sentence at the bottom of the section. Now it is in the first paragraph:

Titles are often proper nouns, such as the name of the person, place or thing that is the subject of the article. The most common name for a subject is often used as a title because it is recognizable and natural; one should also ask questions outlined above; ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources. For a discussion of neutrality in titles, see below. When there are several names for a subject, all of them fairly common, and the most common has problems, it is perfectly reasonable to choose one of the others.

The problem is that by extracting the phrase "ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources". Which after all comes after a semicolon, it can be used to support the "correct" name and ignore the common name. See this posting in an RFC at Use English. Now I happen to know that this is taking part of a sentence out of context, but I suggest that we either move the sentence back down the section, or we rephrase it to make it clear that we are talking about Precision and Conciseness --PBS (talk) 22:34, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

The before and after both present considerable problems. Mr Anderson is not permitted to respond to your question, so please take this into consideration when thinking of directly addressing him here. Tony (talk) 10:31, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
I did not know that. So what do you think should be done? -- PBS (talk) 10:48, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
News to me too; I am inhibited from discussing technical aspects of English. Septentrionalis PMAnderson
  • PMA is prohibited from discussing issues around the technical use of English. I think it is safe to ask what he meant by his edit, as the guidance under discussion is about what the subject is normally called. I appreciate Tony's concern that this discussion may descend into an argument about phrasing - which would violate the technical use of English ban for certain. I will keep an eye on here, if people are concerned.Elen of the Roads (talk) 17:13, 21 November 2011 (UTC)


The second version has two semicolons without having parallellism. There seems a clear solution, which also may address the problem which brought me here (this move discussion, in which the nominator quotes consistency as though it were the whole of the policy); break after "questions outlined above".

None of the questions decide article titles by themselves; in particular, ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are sometimes avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources.

JCScaliger (talk) 04:35, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

As for the substance, while the two semicolons are clumsy (my fault), I don't think trying to fine-tune implications works; too many readers understand them differently. What do you want this to convey, Phillip? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:27, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
When linked to the old tsunami example it was less likely that phrase "ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources." could be extracted to justify using the "correct" name (because the common name is "inaccurate"). In the context of the paragraph that is not what is meant so because this phrase can be extracted an used that way I suggest that we amend the sentence so that this phrase can not be extracted in this way. The sentence needs to be clearer, and probably more succinct, eg (as a first draft improvements welcome):
We decide on the common name through the frequency of use in reliable sources. Titles are often proper nouns, such as the name of the person, place or thing that is the subject of the article. A common name for a subject is often used as a title because it is recognizable and natural, but the consideration should also be given to the other questions outlined above in the section "deciding on an article title".
I have also added in a definition of common name as the phrase pre-dates the introduction of reliable sources into this policy. But it is not my major concern at the moment removing "inaccurate" is, so if anyone objects to the definition, then just remove it from the proposed word change. --PBS (talk) 20:13, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that the phrase, "We decide on the common name through the frequency of use..." is such a good idea. That might be read as something like, "We decide to use the common name whenever we can find one that is used frequently..." What we actually mean here is something closer to, "If multiple options for a title exist, we decide which of these options is the most common name for a subject according to the frequency of use..."
I suspect that we do sometimes reject names because they are "inaccurate". For example, some medical conditions have changed names over the years, usually because the initial name suggested a specific etiology that was later proven wrong. We might also reject a title as "inaccurate" due to being out of date (e.g., a business changed its name). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:51, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it can be read that way. Suppose, as is almost always the case, there is only one statistically significant name then it is not a choice between, multiple options. Multiple options is the exception rather than the rule (and is covered in the phrase because the phrase begs the question "What if there are multiple common names?" as it is quite possible to have a "frequency of use in reliable sources" that throws up more than one name, but it is still the "frequency of use in reliable sources" that defines common name[s]).
As for the inaccurate that should be dealt with in a different way. There was a realllllllllllly lllllllloooooonnnnng debate over this some time ago,It all started with the renaming of Roman Catholic Church to Catholic Church where some wording in the old Naming conflict guideline conflicted with WP:AT. Both on the talk page of that guideline and on the talk pages of WP:AT. eg see these sample sections 1 and 2. using "Muhammad Ali" and "The artist formerly known as Prince", what you need to do in those cases, is shorten the time sample (to after the announcement of the name change). If Wikipedia had existed when Cassius Clay change his mane to Muhammad Ali, we should wait until there is significant coverage in reliable sources from the time that he made the change, before making the change here. Now in most cases when a person or an organisation changes its name this rapidly reflected in reliable sources, but we should not change the name just because it is "inaccurate" if we follow that line of reasoning then all articles would be under their "correct" name and not their common name. -- PBS (talk) 22:45, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
No, I did read it that way the first time, so it can be read that way. Perhaps you mean that you didn't intend for anyone to interpret it that way? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:14, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Ah. Here we come to the point of the tsunami example. There was a long period when both tsunami and tidal wave were common enough to be recognizable, but tidal wave was statistically more common (the reason we no longer have it is that the period may have ended). In this case (and it's a shame we haven't found another), the weight given to the somewhat more common name was overridden by the utility of having a name that wasn't acknowledged by reliable sources as wrong.
Philip, would your concern be met if that were worked into the language? The point about tidal wave being regarded by sources in general as inaccurate might resolve some of the abuse here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:41, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Fair point, perhaps a rewrite along the lines I've given and an additional sentence to cover the point of incorrect as mention in reliable sources. BUT it will have to be worded carefully as there is a danger that if one source says a name is incorrect then it will be used to justify a name that is technically correct in the opinion of a small minority of reliable sources, but not commonly used that way in most reliable sources. For I am sure it is possible to find a reliable source that says Big Ben is only the Bell, some pedants will use such a source, if this policy is loosely worded, argue that the Wikipedia article should therefore be under Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster (even though many reliable sources note that "The name Big Ben is often used to describe the tower, the clock and the bell but the name was first given to the Great Bell.". (BTW if one lives in the Netherlands or London its tidal waves that are the concern not tsunamis.) -- PBS (talk) 02:12, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Seems to me the problems of phrasing perhaps arise because we still haven't completely got away from stating things as "if...then...else..." conditions or would-be algorithms, rather than acknowledging that there are simply various factors that may be taken into account when deciding on titles (probably more than the five bolded ones we list in the opening section), and that these are weighted and balanced in any given case to provide what we hope to be a satisfactory answer.--Kotniski (talk) 10:02, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Not sure that I agree with you, on that. As no one seems to be springing to the defence of he current wording, unless there are any objection in the near I will drop my proposed first sentence until there has been further discussion but implement the second one. To cover the second point I would suggest that we add a sentence about name changes.
"If a person or an organisation changes name, then more weight should be given to name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change".
-- PBS (talk) 04:00, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Or "thing"? Product name changes are not uncommon. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:22, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Although I understand your point, a thing can not change its name, so would you like to propose some alternative wording that includes things? If not I'll go with the former and changes can be made once the text is in the policy to incorporate the changes in the name of things. -- PBS (talk) 07:47, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes... would cover things. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:00, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Born2Cycle you reverted out the inclusion of this paragraph

We decide on the common name through the frequency of use in reliable sources. When there are several common names for a subject, it is perfectly reasonable to select as an article title the name that best fits the other criteria in this policy. If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes then more weight should be given to name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change.

With the comment

Revert. Strongly disagree there is consensus support for this change, certainly not mine. The MOST common name is given preference, and policy should continue to reflect that. Please discuss first such a radical change.

As you can see it has been discussed. What exactly is it in the wording I introduced that with which you disagree, or perceive there to be a problem? -- PBS (talk) 08:56, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

  • These long and convoluted threads are hard to follow. Even when I think I understand what the issue is, it sometimes turns out that editors are citing this or that policy to buttress their point but their real reason for opposing/supporting is based on something else. So will someone please precisely explain what the debate here is exactly about? I’ll see if I can help to reach or contribute to a consensus. Greg L (talk) 01:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

    @Septentrionalis PMAnderson: Your editing restrictions (detailed at Wikipedia:Editing restrictions#Placed by the Wikipedia community) are quite clear. You are Topic banned from WP:MOS and discussions anywhere on the project concerning the Manual of Style or technical aspects of the use of the English language anywhere on the project, including his own talkpage, for a period of one year. So what is your rationale for weighing in here notwithstanding that? Is there a tacit understanding with someone in power that you can weigh in on these types of discussions if you can behave yourself? Or are you seeing how thin the ice is by simply walking out on it with your arms outstretched? I personally find my own views on wikimatters are typically extremely well aligned with yours; more so than most other editors on these types of pages. But there will be precious little slack cut for you if you revert to your old ways. Please explain your presence here. Greg L (talk) 02:22, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

This last comment does not exactly help keep the section succinct and would probably have been better off on PMA's talk page, but to answer your question please see the comment by Elen of the Roads (who implemented the ban) near the start of this section. -- PBS (talk) 03:26, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • My comment is appropriate in both places. I’ve seen Tony recently remind PMA on his talk page only to see PMA promptly delete Tony’s post and then do as he pleased in debate venues like this. (So much for leaving a “little pinky-out” notice on PMA’s talk page.)

    As was amply demonstrated at Talk:Yogurt, PMA’s inflammatory manner of contributing would result in flamewars. Only after someone pointed out there at Talk:Yogurt that PMA wasn’t even supposed to be weighing in there did one editor write what amounted to “Oh… well if I had known that in the first place, I wouldn’t have taken the bait.” Ergo, since few editors new to discussions start from the very top and catch every post, it is appropriate and helpful to remind both PMA and the community that he isn’t supposed to be here anyway—as I just did, and rightly so.

    There is probably no single ideal way to get PMA to comply with his editing restriction and it is obvious he is intent on testing the limits and wants to push them back. Given that he knew he was treading on thin ice at Talk:Yogurt and still managed to tick off some editors, I personally see no point to just pretending he has no editing restriction, ignoring that he is being provocative in places he is not supposed to be, not letting others know that they needn’t take the bait, letting him slowly devolve into his old habits, and finally letting a shoe drop at at ANI. ANIs are ugly and an utter waste of the community’s time if they can be avoided with a polite but direct reminder that it is not too much to ask that an editor abide by an abundantly clear and unambiguous editing restriction.

    But, thank you PBS, for reminding me that it would be helpful to provide a fuller accounting here of just why it is so hard to reign in PMA. Perhaps you might try your hand at reminding him of his editing restrictions on his talk page; maybe you will have better luck. Happy editing. Greg L (talk) 04:05, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Born, the fact is that we don't always use "the MOST common name", especially if "the MOST common name" is used by less than half the sources (which happens not infrequently when more than two alternative names exist), but my bigger concern is that you seem to be engaging in sloppy reversions. Do you actually have something against the idea that "If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes then more weight should be given to name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change", or was this just a mindless reversion of a good change, that you're now going to correct? WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:32, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

My objection is this line: "When there are several common names for a subject, it is perfectly reasonable to select as an article title the name that best fits the other criteria in this policy." Two of the five criteria support selecting the name most commonly used in RS: Recognizability and naturalness. Therefore the way this statement can be interpreted is that it's "perfectly acceptable" to pay no mind to those two criteria, and simply select based only on conciseness, preciseness and consistency.

Example: Say A is more natural, more recognizable, more concise and just as consistent with similar titles as B, but B is more concise. Even though A is favored by 3 of the 5 criteria, and a wash on a 4th, this statement suggests that choosing B is "perfectly reasonable" because, ignoring the common name criteria, B is favor by one of the remaining 3 criteria, and so is A. I don't think that reflects actual practice. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:43, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

To illustrate my point with a real example, consider Talk:David_Owen#Requested_move where David OwenDavid Owen, Baron Owen was proposed by Jimbo himself, and part of his argument in favor was to discount WP:COMMONNAME because simply following it in such a clear-cut case "is at odds with long-standing consensus" for "other factors" to be considered. Consensus clearly disagreed with that argument, at least there, and it I thought that to be typical, not an aberration.

Now, if there are multiple common names and none is clearly the most common, then, sure, we use other factors (i.e., consistency, concision and precision) to decide. But if one name is clearly the most common, then usually it's favored, and it's not "perfectly reasonable" to pick one of the other common names because it best fits the other criteria of the policy. --Born2cycle (talk) 17:39, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

I think that I'll just chip in with one observation that I believe B2C will recognise from elsewhere... it's problematic to suggest that it's generally possible to determine the "most common", as there are instances in which it can't be determined with great confidence, due to a bias towards finding online sources. This can mean a bias towards certain regions (due to earlier widespread internet adoption or fuller digitisation of sources) or to sources that are more recent (or, theoretically, sometimes to older sources because they are out of copyright). It's only really fair to operate on the basis of the most common name if it is absolutely uncontroversial (and not just seen by some editors as uncontroversial). SamBC(talk) 23:13, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
There are certainly the situations where the answer to the question of the most common name is controversial, but that's not a reason to not use such a name. That is, if the other factors indicate it should be the title, the controversy over it being the most common should not be a reason to not use it.

But in the vast majority of cases we don't have such a controversy about most common. My concern with the proposed wording is that it would seem to discourage using the most common name in situations where there is no controversy about that, like in the David Owen example I just gave above, but other factors (like consistency) indicate another title. --Born2cycle (talk) 01:04, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I think that WhatamIdoing's changes put in most of what I was saying anyway. But it only touched one third of it. The other two were the addition of:

  • "If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes then more weight should be given to name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change."

and the second issue was what to do about the sentence "Ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined by reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources." because in at least one occurrence of a guideline discussion this has been used to justify using the "correct" spelling, eg a persons name in their passport as opposed to the name used in reliable secondary sources. (See this posting in an RFC at Use English). If reliable sources meant documents as opposed to for example experts then changing the phrase "used by reliable sources" to "used in reliable sources" would bring clarity to the sentence, but would that be acceptable as the reliable source could be an expert publishing in what what would otherwise be an unreliable source. -- PBS (talk) 06:09, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Okay, Born, what I read above is that you're either being sloppy or lazy and reverting 100% of changes even if you only disagree with 30% of what was done. So as soon as this page is unprotected, I expect you to go back and restore the text you deleted despite (1) it being discussed here and approved with no objections, and (2) you personally having no objection to it. And I hope in the future that you'll quit behaving in such an uncollegial, uncollaborative, and destructive manner. If you disagree with part of a change, you should only remove that part. Only clueless newbies and bad editors revert things they agree with merely because they happened in the same edit as something else. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:07, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Parenthetical disambiguators used for context

Catholic Memorial School redirects to Catholic Memorial School (West Roxbury, Massachusetts). A move request failed, even though similar moves have been treated as completely non-controversial in the past. If this were a case where "Catholic Memorial School" was ambiguous, the failure of the move would be understandable. But that was not what was argued -- and in fact, the base name continues to be a redirect, not a disambiguation page. Rather, the argument was that the parenthetical provided necessary context.

We have absolutely no tradition of using parenthetical phrases for anything other than creating a unique page title. If we are going to start using them to provide context to the casual reader, we must update our policy documentation accordingly. Alternatively, if we are not going to start using them in that way, we need to re-inforce that determination and make it much more clear, as it apparently is not currently.

-- Powers T 01:28, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree that it would be nice to nail this down in the guideline if it is being interpreted this way; see above: WT:AT#hopelessly vague title ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 02:02, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
That's outrageous. As far as I can tell, there are just a few users who tend to support adding or retaining unnecessary disambiguation in titles like this (see section above). When only a few participate in these moves, four is more than enough to sway local consensus. That particular one needs to be reopened and relisted and tagged as an rfc, or a new discussion needs to start. --Born2cycle (talk) 02:15, 20 December 2011 (UTC) updated to not refer to anyone specifically. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:41, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
The discussion has been re-opened. --Born2cycle (talk) 02:46, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
What are you talking about? I don't see any recent comments of mine on any other RMs that could lead you to say that I am "behind this movement to add or retain unnecessary disambiguation in titles." Or necessary disambiguation, either, for that matter. Are you just reacting to my recent complaint about your own disruption in RMs? Dicklyon (talk) 05:35, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, perhaps I have you confused with someone else, but if my mind is not playing tricks on me, you have favored more descriptive titles when more concise titles were unambiguous within the last year. Do you deny this? Apologies in advance if I'm mistaken about that. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:47, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't deny that I sometimes favor less ambiguous titles; I'd have to see examples of what you mean to say if I've done what you say. In any case, I'm not part of any "movement". I do look at RMs and comment on some of them. Dicklyon (talk) 06:02, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Okay, never mind. Sorry. I've updated my comment above to not refer to anyone specifically. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:41, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
OK but it's still not clear what you're claiming is outrageous, or why you re-opened this particular RM that clearly didn't have consensus to move. Dicklyon (talk) 06:44, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
It wasn't I that re-opened it. In light of the discussion above where consensus is clearly against predisambiguation, it's outrageous to retain a predisambiguated title supported largely only by those who support the predisambiguation position in the above section. That's not reflecting community consensus. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:49, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Ah, so B2C was recalling my comments at Talk:Crime_Patrol_(TV_series)#Requested move, which had nothing to do with "retaining unnecessary disambiguation in titles", but was a "primarytopic" discussion. I admit that I have been generally opposed to a number of claims of "primarytopic" where some decent disambiguation makes more sense. As for who re-opened it, it was B2C who asked for it to be re-opened, after it had already been relisted to get a wider sampling of community consensus. It seems odd to be accusing those who participated for the low participation. As for outrageous, I think it's to be expected that sometimes the particular article decisions may seem to be not well aligned with the articulation of general principles; that not's really outrageous, just means that there's still work to be done to reflect the consensus practices in the guidelines. It's not always going to be easy. In the disambiguation question, the issue of what's "unnecessary" may be tricky, possibly depending on whether one considers the universe of existing WP titles, or the universe of topics that readers are likely to be interested in, for example. What's "unnecessary" to one may be "useful" or "crucial" to another. Dicklyon (talk) 05:50, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Dick, this !vote comment of yours in opposition to Crime Patrol (TV series)Crime Patrol is an example of supporting the "movement to add or retain unnecessary disambiguation in titles." In this case "TV series" is the unnecessary disambiguation because it's the primary topic. You even argue, "there's no need to claim a primary topic" because "Crime Patrol" is not "universally known". No need? Really? Because it's not "universally known"? I'm sorry, but "universal recognition" has never been a factor to be considered in deciding whether a given topic is primary or not. All that matters is recognition relative to the other uses of that name. It's the same argument because it's not really a primary topic argument; you're saying primary topic should not apply because it's not "universally recognized" - you're arguing that the unnecessary disambiguation should remain for the title to be more descriptive regardless of what WP:PRIMARYTOPIC says...

This argument of yours is similar in principal to what you said at Talk:Catholic_Memorial_School_(West_Roxbury,_Massachusetts)#Requested_move: "Unnecessary deletion of useful disambiguation." That's inverting what WP:PRECISION says, which is to avoid unnecessary precision, where "necessary" means necessary for disambiguation from other uses. It doesn't say to avoid deletion of precision that is not necessary for disambiguation; it implies the exact opposite of what you're arguing. And it has nothing to do with any other meanings of "necessary" or "unnecessary" as you try to imply it is when you say above, "What's 'unnecessary' to one may be 'useful' or 'crucial' to another.". I will also note that back on December 6th, LtPowers (talk · contribs) grouped you along with Noetica and Tony as "the opponents of this process [to remove unnecessary disambiguation]"[2], so I'm neither the first nor the only one who has noticed.

You're free to argue anything you want, of course, but to me this is an example of arguing a fringe position, directly opposed to policy and consensus-supported practice, that you and a few others support. And if you keep doing it without persuading anyone beyond your group of 3-5 editors pushing this POV, at some point that becomes disruptive. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:01, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

And you are free to call my opinions part of a "fringe position" and part of a "movement" and "outrageous". I see it more as just some reactions to the questions at hand. How you can call it "disruptive", in light of all the disruption you cause yourself, is more mysterious to me. Dicklyon (talk) 06:09, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't repeatedly argue in favor of positions that are clearly contrary to policy and broad consensus support. You do. See WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT: "... sticking to an unsupportable allegation or viewpoint long after the consensus of the community has rejected it, repeating it almost without end,... Such an action is disruptive to Wikipedia. Believing that you have a valid point does not confer upon you the right to act as though your point is accepted by the community when you have been told that it is not accepted." Consider yourself told that the point you, Tony and Notica keep repeating -- essentially, that WP would be improved if titles of articles about topics that are not universally recognized were more descriptive (a.k.a., disambiguated when the disambiguation is not necessary for disambiguation) -- is not accepted by the community. Thank you. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:19, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
You're ranting again. Whatever you think I've done that's not quite right, I certainly am not doing it "repeatedly". Am I "sticking to an unsupportable allegation"? Tell me what, if so. Has the community rejected my contention that the TV series is not the primary topic for Crime Patrol? Maybe if you lump me with others making similar points it feels like "repeatedly", but then, maybe that's a reflection of some reasonable part of the community? Dicklyon (talk) 06:33, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Dick, you're either being coy, or you're not understanding your own words, much less mine. You did not contend that the TV series is not the primary topic (which is an untenable position anyway given the overwhelming page view count ratios). You argued that since "Crime Patrol" is not "universally recognized", there is "no need" to claim a primary topic. That's the position -- that "universal recognition" is relevant to title determination -- the community has rejected. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:41, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
If that's what you're complaining about, that's quite different from what you were accusing me and two others of above. But I don't buy it. WP:PRIMARYTOPIC includes the words "There is no single criterion for defining a primary topic." This gives me some latitude, I hope, for having an opinion separate from your counting-based position. You may recall that I've referred to you as "Born2Count" on more than one occasion, which you've admonished me about, but here you are again promoting "page view count ratios" as the critical factor in determining a primary topic. My point is that WP:PRIMARYTOPIC is clear in saying that there's not alway a primary topic. We don't need to pick one. Just because a recent TV show is getting most of the hits doesn't make it primary (does it have "significantly greater enduring notability and educational value than any other topic associated with that term"? I doubt it.). The disambiguation is necessary. Dicklyon (talk) 06:57, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Now you're arguing it has no primary topic - but that was not your argument over there. Anyway, this discussion should be held over there. --Born2cycle (talk) 07:58, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I think it's consistent with what I said there: "there's no need to claim a primary topic in cases like this where several things share similar names." The guy was claiming that the TV series should be the primary topic. I argued that it's ambiguous, so we don't need to pick a primary topic. But feel free to pick on the different wording if it makes you feel superior. Dicklyon (talk) 08:04, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I argued that it's ambiguous, so we don't need to pick a primary topic. That makes no sense. The concept of primary topic only applies when there is ambiguity. We look at the different uses of the given ambiguous name, and decide which one, if any, is primary. To say we should not claim a primary topic for a given name because the name is ambiguous is like saying we should not ride a bicycle because it has wheels. Ambiguity is a reason to look for a primary topic, not a reason to not look for one. --Born2cycle (talk) 11:03, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Life Safety Code

  • I see now that Life safety code (US fire protection) has been moved to the oh-so-clear Life Safety Code. I'm not so concerned about the caps as the impenetrability of the vaguer title. Tony (talk) 07:11, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    • As you know, it was a revert of your unilateral move to the predisambiguated title for which there is no consensus support. --Born2cycle (talk) 07:30, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    • Titles are allowed to be vague as long as they're unique, recognizable, concise, natural, consistent, and accurate. Powers T 16:12, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
      Do you realize this is a discussion about changing that guideline? Tony's point is to note a disadvantage with the status quo; reiterating what the status quo is does not seem like an effective response. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:18, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Right, Tony and some others want the title of an article to incorporate context they feel is necessary for article titles they intuit to be ambiguous. However, there is no specific proposal as to how to do so consistently or what the scope for applicability might be. As such, in a general sense such abrogation of well-established practices is baseless. olderwiser 16:42, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
👍 Like. To emphasize: "there is no specific proposal as to how to [incorporate context they feel is necessary for article titles they intuit to be ambiguous] consistently or what the scope for applicability might be". As such, there is nothing even to discuss here. In fact, these discussions without such a proposal, and move proposals (not to mention unilateral moves) based on the premise that there is such a proposal and it has been adopted, are all very disruptive. --Born2cycle (talk) 19:00, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Considering I started this discussion, I object to you calling it disruptive. Powers T 00:13, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry! I meant the ongoing discussion to which yours evolved, about changing our conventions, not the one you started. I've created a subsection to clarify this is a separate discussion. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:20, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Erik, no, I wasn't aware this was a discussion about changing the guideline. Considering I started this discussion, though, I think my opinion might hold a bit more weight in such matters. Powers T 00:13, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    • Tony, do you really think this one should be lowercase? It is not a set of laws, as the title might make you think. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:18, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
      • Erik, as I said at the top, "I'm not so concerned about the caps as the impenetrability of the vaguer title". The policy says: "In discussions about page titles, consensus has generally formed around answers to the following questions: [1] Recognizability – Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic?" Tony (talk) 06:31, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I think you've gone astray on this one, Tony. Maybe a suitable alternative fix would be to set the title Life Safety Code in italics. As a title of a copyrighted work it's really not different from Moby-Dick: the title of a book. The italics would serve to indicate that, rather than have it sound like an ambiguous generic, which is how you treated it. The article as recently hacked also needs to be fixed; it's written like it's about the trademark, which is lame; it's better to say what it's about, which is the document. Besides, if it were a generic, it would be hyphenated: life-safety code. Dicklyon (talk) 06:44, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't mind italics, but that face doesn't show through at category pages—it's been reserved for the occasional section link, which I find a questionable priority. Can someone tell me what purpose category pages serve? I've reverted the recent changes to the policy pending talk-page consensus. Tony (talk) 07:17, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
"The central goal of the category system is to provide links to all Wikipedia articles in a hierarchy of categories which readers can browse, knowing essential, defining characteristics of a topic, and quickly find sets of articles on topics that are defined by those characteristics." Powers T 18:56, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Surely you're not claiming that people looking for the Life Safety Code will fail to recognize "Life Safety Code" as a title pertaining to that topic? Because that's what the Recognizability criterion means. Powers T 18:56, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Recognisability: plotting a compromise pathway for readers and editors

I baulk at this title: Financial Instruments and Exchange Law (it's a Hong Kong law, actually), and Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (New York, actually).

In the thread above, the term recognisable is being bandied about as though it's easy to define. Why do I get the feeling this is on purpose, to make article titles as unrecognisable as editors please. There are several reasons we need to spell out some instances where locations can be included in titles:

  1. many titles are almost useless in category lists and even in google searches;
  2. at the moment, there's inconsistency on this count, no matter how loudly a few people might bellow here;
  3. we're making a lot of trouble in the years ahead when more articles will be added that will vie for the same title "space".

I suggest that some exceptions be included—for example, when a financial instrument, organisation, or (workforce) position could refer to multiple topics, it's permissible to add the name of the location in parentheses after the wording, in short form where possible (HK, NY, US, UK, etc.). Tony (talk) 10:09, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Again, the longstanding practice has been, for many good reasons, that the only requirement of titles in terms of recognizability is that the title should be a recognizable name or description of the topic to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic. This is not a difficult or complex issue. --Born2cycle (talk) 10:11, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, "for many good reasons" isn't a debating tool. Can you explain? Second, where are the boundaries between non-familiarity, familiarity, and expertise? This is the burning question. Tony (talk) 10:21, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I think EdChem explains it quite clearly, just above. --Born2cycle (talk) 10:28, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
No, he's confusing expertise with notions of uniqueness. Here's another issue: Verified Audit Circulation. Given the widespread over-capping only now being addressed in WP's titles, what are we to make of this? Any guesses? Ah, it's a corporation. Right. Tony (talk) 10:30, 21 December 2011 (UTC) PS And could someone explain the meaning of this, which I just found in a prominent part of the policy? "Consensus titles usually use names and terms that are precise (see below), but only as precise as necessary to identify the topic of the article unambiguously." How does "Verified Audit Circulation" identify the topic of the article unambiguously? Tony (talk) 10:36, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I admit I had no idea what Verified Audit Circulation was. But here's the thing... So what? You present this as if it's an obvious problem. What's the problem? State it as clearly as you can... The title Verified Audit Circulation does not make it possible for someone unfamiliar with it (most readers) to recognize it to be a company. The problem with that is ________ (fill in the blank).

As far as how "Verified Audit Circulation" identifies its title unambiguously... it does that because there is no other topic in WP to which that name refers. This is explained in detail at WP:PRECISION, including this statement: "when a topic's most commonly used name, as reflected in reliable sources, is ambiguous (can refer to more than one topic covered in Wikipedia), and the topic is not primary, that name cannot be used and so must be disambiguated." Here you see "ambiguous" is clearly defined in terms of other topics covered in Wikipedia. It is in that sense that unambiguously is intended to be interpreted in "identify the topic of the article unambiguously". --Born2cycle (talk) 10:52, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

  • How does this play into utility in category lists? Tony (talk) 11:19, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    • In many cases the category itself provides sufficient context, but in some cases having a more descriptive title would make category lists more useful. What's your point? --Born2cycle (talk) 12:23, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
      • So you agree that the context of category lists presents significant problems for the examples I've cited here? Who uses category lists, anyway? I'm genuinely interested to know whether it's readers or just editors. Tony (talk) 13:31, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
        • Categories as currently implemented and utilized are an abomination. Many categories use a strictly hierarchical attribute-based structure (that is, an entity in the category is of a type described by the category). Other categories define membership based more loosely on having some association with the topic of the category. These are two very different sorts of categorization schema that, IMO rather confusingly, share the same mechanism. But apart from that, I've about given up on categories largely because of the obsession with making the categories so specific that it makes navigating the category tree painfully tedious and confusing. olderwiser 14:08, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
          • Bkonrad, I must say I've never delved into the business of categories, and have rather accepted them as part of the furniture for all this time. It disturbs me to hear you say this. Is it a widely held view? Is there a possible solution? Is it also entangled with the debate about the specificity of article titles? Tony (talk) 14:51, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
            • My opinion is my own. The problems with the competing schema are well-known. How widely my estimation is shared I couldn't say. I have only been keeping the intermittent tabs on categorization discussions. I think many regular categorizers would prefer that categorization follow the hierarchical "IS A" model. In the past there had occasionally been some discussion of implementing a separate mechanism for associative tagging, but I'm not aware that has gone anywhere. But even within the strictly hierarchical tagging schema, the lack of an easy to use mechanism for viewing the aggregate collection of pages with subcategories of a category or of viewing specific intersections or unions of categories really limits the usability of categories. For example, if I am interested in examining townships within a U.S. state, currently these are sub-categorized by county. There is no way that I'm aware of within the mediawiki software to view all the townships within a state by categorization -- instead, it requires tediously navigating to each and every subcategory. There is at least one tool, CatScan, and possible others at toolserver, but these are not readily available for typical readers. Of course there are list articles for some such views, but not being able to do this with categories seems to me a limitation on the usefulness of categories. Someone else has already mentioned earlier on this page, the suggestion to have some sort of DISPLAY_TITLE attribute for categories to display a title different from the article title. IMO, that would help to address another limitation of category usability. olderwiser 15:34, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
              • Categories are a substandard tool, I certainly agree with that. I think they're something the developers created at one point a long time ago and then more or less gave up on. If they were slightly more cleverly/flexibly designed (the DISPLAYTITLE idea is just one of the improvements that users seem to recognize but no developer considers worth working on) they could be genuinely useful. (I'd like to see an expandable category tree structure in the left-hand side-bar of each article, but given the change-phobia of Wikipedia that's probably just a dream.) I don't think we should make major changes to our article-titling practices just to try to make categories a bit less useless (though I admit I like to see similar articles in a given category titled in a uniform way, if there's no reason other than random variation why they should be different).--Kotniski (talk) 18:19, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
                • Re "expandable category tree structure". This is part of a debate that took place computer science in the 1970s between the hierarchical database model and the relational database model. The hierarchical model was largely rejected in favour of relational model, so it is not surprising if the developers consider further development of categories sticking plaster programming. -- PBS (talk) 20:57, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Wow, I couldn't be more opposed to this. I do not have time right now but I will elaborate. Just placing this here to give a prod to not change any language precipitously.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 15:02, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
To what are you opposed?Kotniski (talk) 18:19, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I assumed he was referring to the final paragraph/sentence of Tony's opening comment in this section, but it would be good to verify. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:29, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Oh deary me. Please refer to my comment of a couple of minutes ago in the section above - the general sense of it fits here as well. SamBC(talk) 17:17, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Verified Audit Circulation sounds like a generally used term of art within its sphere, but instead it refers to a specific company. I did not expect this, and nobody who happens to be unfamiliar with the company could be expected to know. Even if one is looking for the company, a reasonable qualifier , like (company) is helpful. (I am, for example, familiar with the concept of audited circulation figures for publications, but I've never heard of the company & unless I'm mistaken, it is not the major company in the field--and even if it is, the article does not say so.) Similarly, if one is looking for a law with a rather general title, one is normally looking for either a comparative study of such laws, or the law in a particular jurisdiction. A heading such as[[[Financial Instruments and Exchange Law]] is useless--unless that jurisdiction happens to be Hong Kong, one doesn't know if there will be any information there. If one is very familiar with a law of a similar title elsewhere, confusion will also occur. enWikipedia covers the world,so things which are likely to be meaningful only in a particular part of the world need specification, which should bethought of as different for disambiguation. Here's an example:redirects to [[Securities Regulation in the United States]--specifies exactly what it was about and anyone who wants to know about the general concept or about the law elsewhere, which will probably be about half the users, will know to go elsewhere (not that many of the other articles have been written). But unfortunately the general term Securities law redirects to just this article, which is a useless and incorrect redirect at least half the time--this may be another problem, but its part of the confusion about the need to identify subjects. We are writing an encyclopedia not as a work of logical organization, but as something to be of immediate use to real world users. It doesn't matter if the qualifiers are sometimes unstandardized; it matters that the exist. The proper term I suggest is that the title must be clear to someone with a basic knowledge of the subject field. I don't expect Euler identity to be comprehensible to someone totally unfamiliar with mathematics--and even if it is, the article won't be of much value to them, but even here it would help if it was qualified as (mathematics), because though a mathematical may immediately realize Identity is used in a special way, others will not. A related article Euler's formula needs to clarify in the title whether it's mathematics or chemistry.Not doing so helps nobody. The principle is that Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia, not a specialized one. DGG ( talk ) 00:17, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Of course those of us unfamiliar with "Verified Audit Circulation" wouldn't know it's a corporation from just looking at the title... so what? In what contexts besides maybe in some kind of category list, would it matter? I mean, either you're looking for it, and so know what it is, or you run into it in another article which almost certainly provides the necessary context, as in, "While John Doe was CEO of Verified Audit Circulation, ...". What's the problem?

I also don't see the distinction to which you refer in practical terms. Can you (or someone) provide an example of a title what would be recognizable to someone familiar with the topic, but not to someone "with a basic knowledge of the subject field", or vice versa? --Born2cycle (talk) 00:44, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Oh, I now see what the problem is and where potential difficulties may arise. B2C points to the need for context. It's counter-intuitive to need to rely on context, because what happens in most cases people doing web searches for 'audit circulation'? This is where WP:AT fails. The reader will see this WP article among the first GHits, but will be disappointed by the result; they will not know that WP does not have an article on the subject they are searching for, and so are misled and may feel deceived. The corporate name in this case really ought to be qualified or dabbed because it sounds too generic, same applies in the case of laws or government agencies or bureaux where the jurisdiction is not in the title. Web searched may not necessarily be aware that the use of capitals here denotes a proper noun because Gsearches are case insensitive. However, if it's made clear from the outset that an article actually refers to "Verified Audit Circulation Corp" or "Verified Audit Circulation LLC" or whatever the legal form is, they will know not to waste their time clicking on that link. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 04:36, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • But it does not fail because in the example you give the Google search also returns the first sentence of the article "Verified Audit Circulation is a U.S. company that conducts circulation audits of both free and paid print publications and of traffic figures for websites". I had this discussion over Oliver Cromwell see Talk:Oliver Cromwell (died 1655)#Move. But it does mean that the first sentence has to get in the most relevant points (as is done in the first sentence of Verified Audit Circulation). Perhaps to help navigation from search engines this could be suggested as desirable in the the policy. -- PBS (talk) 20:26, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • So, I believe you're saying that in the case of relatively obscure topics with names that are likely to be used as search strings, the title should be disambiguated. Well, then, we've reach the same point here as I did with SamBC above (where it stalled). At this point I say... As always, the devil is in the details.

    Specifically, how do we express and convey this in this policy without creating a situation in which article title discussions are even more contentious than they already are? How do we determine whether a given name is sufficiently likely to be used as a search string to warrant this special treatment? How do we decide what exactly that special treatment should be in each case? And, perhaps most importantly, how does this really change anything?

    In the current situation, someone searching with "audit circulation" -- the first ghit, by the way, at least for me, is the website of Verified Audit Circulation - verifiedaudit.com -- might come upon our article at Verified Audit Circulation. They will realize it is not their article seconds later after reading the lead.

    Now, how would the situation change if we followed one of your suggestions, say by moving the article to Verified Audit Circulation Corp? Well, the same user would end up at the same article, with a slightly different title. They will realize it is not their article a few seconds later after reading the title and/or the lead. I'm sorry, but I really don't see a big difference here. In fact, at least in the current case they are likely to realize that WP has no other article named Verified Audit Circulation, but in the suggested situation, being at Verified Audit Circulation Corp is likely to wrongly suggest to them that there is another article named Verified Audit Circulation. So at best, it's a wash, and it's likely to make matters worse. Please explain how this would be an improvement. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:27, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

  • I believe I already explained it above, it lies with anticipating readers' expectations. The current way titles are configured for generic-sounding names (no, I'm not talking about relatively unique names such as 'Intel' vs 'Intel Corp') potentially leads the searcher/reader to fall on the wrong article more often than not. You seem to believe that it doesn't matter but I think it does. Still using the above example, amigo, if you can't see the difference, then perhaps the problem lies with you and not with me. At present, a Gsearch for 'Verified Audit Circulation Corp' doesn't show the WP article, whereas the WP article for the company shows up when searching for 'audit circulation'. So it is a problem, n'est-ce pas? --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 06:52, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • No, I really don't understand. I'm not denying the possibility that the problem lies with me - I might be having a dense moment. If so, I just need a clear explanation of what you're say, and I'll get it. Believe me.

    You say "the current way" "potentially leads the searcher/reader to fall on the wrong article more often than not". Please explain how changing the name of the article currently at Verified Audit Circulation to Verified Audit Circulation Corp would even affect the likelihood of users searching with, say, "audit circulation", reaching this article, much less make it less likely. If you believe the same article, when moved to Verified Audit Circulation Corp, will be less likely to show up in the "audit circulation" search results simply because of the title change, then you don't understand how google searches work. First, Verified Audit Circulation will remain a redirect to the article. More importantly, google will "learn" where the new article has been moved. Remember, it's reporting results largely based on article content, not the article title... we can move the article to Red fairies in Volkswagens, and google will still find it. I think you're assuming the title in general, and even a minor change in the title, affects search results much more than it actually does.

    You say, "a Gsearch for 'Verified Audit Circulation Corp' doesn't show the WP article". Right. So what? Who is going to be searching with that string? What does that show?

    You also say, " whereas the WP article for the company shows up when searching for 'audit circulation'." Right. Again, and why do you think that will change if the article is moved to Verified Audit Circulation Corp? People will still be searching with "audit circulation", and the article now at Verified Audit Circulation Corp will be just as good of match, and will show up the same spot (all other factors held equal) in the search results.

    What am I missing? --Born2cycle (talk) 07:35, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Also, note that both Google and WP results don't just present a list of titles - they also display snippets of the article lead, so it's easy to see what the article is about without relying solely on the title, if that's what you're thinking. --Born2cycle (talk) 07:57, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • OK, now let me use some other examples to illustrate how I believe article titles ought to be named: cases where the terms are generic or names common, our policy ought to mandate disambiguation from the outset. It would have the advantage of clarity, and the dab page would be a first stop where namesakes can be listed whether there is an article or not. Red links can serve the purpose of inciting users to create articles of notable instances. The principle seems to be well applied in cases such as Peter Jones and Paul Smith, both of which are disambiguating pages notwithstanding very prominent examples (Peter Jones (department store) and Paul Smith (fashion designer)). As I am myself a minimalist, I believe that simplicity is good, but oversimplicity can be a disservice to readers by the ambiguity it creates. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 04:46, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Okay, let's add you to the group of editors — along with Dicklyon, Noetica, Tony1 and SamBC — who want articles with "generic sounding names" to be predisambiguated (disambiguated even when there is no conflict with any other uses of that name in Wikipedia).

Like I've said four times now (search for "devil" on this page), the devil is in the details. How do we express and convey this in this policy without creating a situation in which article title discussions are even more contentious than they already are? How do we decide whether a given name is "generic sounding", or not? How do we decide how to disambiguate it if there are no other uses to disambiguate from? That is, Cork (city), for example, is disambiguated with "city" because it is the only use of "cork" in Wikipedia that is a city... but we need to have other articles to know that. If there were other cities named Cork, the "city" would not be an appropriate disambiguator (unless it was the primary use relative to the other cities). If there were no other uses at all of "Cork", then it could just be at Cork. Our whole system of deciding how to disambiguate is based on looking at other uses in Wikipedia; so how do we decide how to disambiguate when there are no other uses?

Finally, and most importantly, what problem is solved by introducing all these complications? How is Wikipedia improved if we start predisambiguating titles of articles about topics with generic names?

Now, what typically happens in these discussions when they get down to these nitty-gritty questions is... the discussion ends. Over and over, and we never get anywhere. That's the point.

With regard to Peter Jones and Paul Smith, there are over a dozen other uses of each in WP, and we've decided that among them there is no primary topic. That's a separate issue, one that we're accustomed to handling. The issue we're talking about is disambiguating something even when there are no other uses in WP. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:32, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Do not speak for me, or assume that I will support the same approach as some others, even if we agree more often than not. And if you want to see discussion, try limiting your own posts to no more than about 20% of the total, instead of your typical 40%. It's not reasonable to expect others to answer every one of your questions when you have such a history of dominating discussions and not listening or allowing others to help frame or lead the discussion. Dicklyon (talk) 18:44, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Queries that may be related to the above

Colleagues, it seems useful to gather here a few imponderables that might have a bearing on our discussion above. I approach these from a position of ignorance. Please add to this list, anyone, article titles that might help us to sort out what to do.

  • Pension administration (US). This is as I found it. Do the current rules disallow this kind of specificity in a title? There seem to be no other contenders for the title "space", but I'd find "Pension administration" impossibly vague.
  • Unit Investment Trust. No "(US)", and close by the first one in the same category list. Now given the caps, I clicked on this one thinking it was a formal title (of a company?), and when I saw the opening phrase I almost clicked away:

    "A Unit Investment Trust (UIT) is a US investment company offering a fixed (unmanaged) portfolio of securities having a definite life."

    Ah, but read on, way past the opening text that would appear in a google search entry: if you missed the opening "A", you'd fail to understand that it's actually a type of investment company. I'd rather have the "class of ..." or "type of ..." up-front at the opening; this is part of a larger problem that occurs when articles are not themed clearly as generic or titular, and it brushes up against the practices of naming titles. So I suppose it should be downcased per MOSCAPS, although I've had to mount an RM to have it moved (sigh). Chaotic casing and unclear openings are not helping the recognisability issue one bit. Another little issue is that the UK equivalent is called Unit trust, as it notes at the top in tiny print. I find this rather unhelpful to the readers.

  • Payments Council: I have a real problem in the field of finance, banking, tax, accounting, where the titles might sometimes be unique (on WP anyway) but conceptually are unhelpful, even frustrating.
  • Banking Code. Hmmm. I've read this short article and I still can't work out what it is, exactly. Tony (talk) 12:48, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Dohn Joe, I trust you will not launch in and change the first one while this issue is being discussed (as you've done previously when I've raised examples here). Tony (talk) 10:59, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Is this a new game? Guess the article content from the title? Or is the game to find articles with a poorly written lead? Sounds like fun! Let's see what gems Random article bring us. Here are several that I have no idea what the topic is by looking only at the title: Tatra 57, Old and in the Way, or how about Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility -- which Mount Pleasant is that? Or might it be the facility in Mount Pleasant, NC with a different name? Or might it even be an arcane way to refer to Sing Sing, which was built in the town of Mount Pleasant, New York? Or how about Bacabeira? Is that a place name? Or a biologic taxa? Or maybe a nickname for a footballer? The point is that few expect an article title to summarize article content.
I'll grant that the lead to Unit Investment Trust is poorly written, though that alone is no reason for renaming. I'd agree with renaming as Unit investment trust since it is not the formal name of any entity. It might even be that a merger with Unit trust is appropriate. You note the tiny print of the hatnote, but unless you've modified your CSS, the size of the hatnote text is the same as the article text and hatnotes ARE one of the methods for addressing ambiguity on Wikipedia.
You say that Pension administration (US) is as you found it -- but you moved that page on Sept 28 from Pension Administration.
In principle, I don't have that much of an issue if a generally supported naming convention recommends pre-disambiguation in some circumstances, such as Wikipedia:Naming conventions (government and legislation) or Wikipedia:Naming conventions (royalty and nobility) or WP:USPLACE. These define the scope of applicability and provides guidance for consistent application. I very much oppose the notion that a fundamental principle of Wikpedia's article naming practices needs to be changed. olderwiser 14:02, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Tony, how many times will you bring up the same point, and elicit the same explanations, like Bkonrad has taken the time and energy to do, again, here, which you will not address, only to bring it up again and again and again? Enough!. If you just repeatedly raise the same issue and don't engage in constructive dialog, you're just being tendentious and disruptive, by definition. See WP:TE. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:59, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

  • UIT – I worked on Unit Investment Trust a bit; it needs to be downcased still. It's nothing to do with the US. If we had all these generics in lower case, maybe we'd have a better chance of understanding upper-case terms as names; but we're still a long way from getting there, so I agree that the extra disambig can sometimes be an important clue; we should not expunge those just because we can, title-ambiguity-wise. Dicklyon (talk) 22:53, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
This appears to be a rare occasion I agree with you, Dick ;) Unit investment trust should be downcased. Pension administration (US) is an inappropriate title, the Wikipedia norm for this type of name would be the descriptive title 'Pension administration in the United States'. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 23:18, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Here's another weird one that seems to be enforced by the current practice: Basic Safety Training. It's downcased in the article text, BTW. Tony (talk) 13:11, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Like many articles, it is capitalized where it should not be. Yet other articles are not capitalized, and ought to be. Neither of these is "enforced" by anything. Tony has spent some time usefully decreasing the first set of errors; but this campaign is now increasing the second set about as fast. Please do this one and stop. JCScaliger (talk) 21:22, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
And get a load of this: Electronic Filing System ... um ... Singapore judiciary got its hands on this article title "space" first, so finders keepers.
Folks, our articles generally fall into one of two categories: Those with names and those without names for which we have come up with a descriptive title. I suppose we're talking about what some perceive to be a gray area - topics with names that look like descriptions. But, here's the thing -- if it's the only use of that description-looking name in WP, we still use its name as the title of the article. If there ever is another article about a topic that uses that name, or an article for which that name is an appropriate descriptive title, then we disambiguate. To say that we should always disambiguate "such titles" brings us back to the devil that is in the details" I keep bringing it up (and I won't again - just search for "devil" on this page). --Born2cycle (talk) 18:52, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Weakening the wording of WP:ACRONYMTITLE

Of late, I've been involved in a few page move discussions (most notably for USB, which is currently at DRN) related to WP:ACRONYMTITLE. In my opinion, the present wording is overly strong and doesn't reflect the general consensus on titles (particularly WP:COMMONNAME). Suggested rewording of the section in WP:NAME:

Avoid ambiguous abbreviations
Abbreviations and acronyms are often ambiguous and thus should be avoided unless the subject is known primarily by its abbreviation and that abbreviation is primarily associated with the subject (e.g. NATO, laser, USB). The abbreviation UK, for United Kingdom, is acceptable for use in disambiguation. It is also unnecessary to include an acronym in addition to the name in a title. For more details, see WP:ACRONYMTITLE.

And the corresponding line in WP:ACRONYMTITLE:

An acronym or initialism should be used in a page name if the subject is known primarily by its abbreviation and that abbreviation is primarily associated with the subject (e.g. NATO, laser, USB). In order to determine the prominence of the abbreviation over the full name, consider checking how the subject is referred to in popular media such as newspapers, magazines, and other publications.

Thoughts? As it stands, the wording plainly doesn't reflect the way moves are being closed, as the community seems to prefer WP:COMMONNAME to override the "avoid" stance unless there's genuine cause for confusion. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 12:58, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree with this. There is no real good reason to be avoiding acronyms in general. If they are ambiguous and not the primary topic, then of course consider using the full name. But I don't think there should not be made any special exceptions from WP:COMMONNAME for acronyms.TheFreeloader (talk) 16:14, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I would agree with this proposal. It seems that WP:COMMONNAME is not only more strongly supported but actually works better. It seems unhelpful to name articles not according to how they are best known. I think the policy should be that, unless there is an issue with ambiguity (ie, the common names of two equally notable/common/searched for objects are the same), an acronym is an acceptable common name and title. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 19:49, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I think we need to be careful here with swinging the pendulum too far. USA is a very common acronym for United States of America and the primary use of USA acronym in general. However, I do not believe that article would be better served by changing the country name to an aconrym and it would be hotly cotested if COMMONNAME were to apply. I'd say it would have to very clear that the acronym was more common before it should replace the word usage. If its close or unclear, it should not.Jinnai 20:09, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Ah yes, I hadn't thought of that. I think the distinction between USB and USA is that people understand United States of America and use the name America as commonly as USA; with USB, the term Universal Serial Bus is not so well known, nor is any variant other than USB used. A policy would have to encompass that nuance, I think. That is, if policy is the best way to deal with the issue. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 22:04, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. Even if "USA" is the dominant name for the subject, it is not strongly so next to the alternatives. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 09:21, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I am not sure if we need to change the policy. USB is like NATO, overwhelmingly referred to by its accronym... so it is already covered. Blueboar (talk) 23:56, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that both the current and proposed wording support USB rather than Universal Serial Bus, United States of America rather than USA, and NATO and Laser over whatever they stand for. So I don't have a problem with the change, nor the current wording. Practically speaking, I don't see a difference.

Does anyone know of a case where the proposed wording would indicate a different title from the current wording? --Born2cycle (talk) 00:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

"USA" is a bad example, without recognizing that "USA" is already outlawed (or whatever word satisfies the "it's only a guideline" people) at the "US and U.S." paragraph of MOS:#Abbreviations. Art LaPella (talk) 02:07, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Huh, I'd never noticed that before. It's interesting that you mention it now, because the folks at Meta (who are working on the revised terms of use for all WMF sites) are unhappy with "United States". It turns out that "USA" is unique, but "United States" is distinctly ambiguous for a substantial number of Spanish speakers (since it can refer either to the United States of America or to the United States of Mexico). WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:37, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The thing is, in several cases people have argued that the wording prohibits the likes of "USB" (another recent example which subsequently passed unopposed was OLED). Weakening the wording a little would hopefully prevent situations where people make arguments based on a reading of the guideline which is stronger than intended. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 09:24, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I have to oppose this strongly, except for acronyms that have been reassimilated into the language as simple words (scuba, radar, laser). Already it is far, far too frequent for editors, especially newer ones, who outnumber the experienced ones, to use only the acronym when referring to something they know and just assume everyone does. I've sometimes fixed that error 5 times in one day, without even looking for them. The change suggested here would turn this annoying trickle into a flood, and it would be very problematic, because the editors who do this often either link only to an acronym that ends up being a disambiguation page or they don't link at all, leaving later editors to guess where they're trying to point. Given that the acronym will redirect to the full article title, or to a necessary disambig page, there isn't any utility at all to putting the article at the acronym name. Especially for something like NATO. It's instantly and undeniably useful to have the real, full name be the title, since you see the title and the acronym expansion and now know what it means. If it were normal to have the articles be at the acronym, in many cases stub articles on such topics would be written without expanding the acronym anywhere at all. The current system isn't broken in any way, so don't "fix" it. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 01:43, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
I avoided commenting on this one but I'm inclined to side with SMcCandlish on this, and I'd go as far as to say I think the guideline needs strengthening, not weakening. I think there's a fine line in what constitutes a different name for the purposes of WP:COMMONNAME. I didn't participate in the vote but I agree with the move of People's Republic of China to just plain China because they're different names, and one is the far more commonly used one. But I would treat acronyms differently - an acronym and its expanded version are fundamentally the same name, just being rendered differently. NATO and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation should be treated at a fundamental level as the same thing with respect to article titles, and as SMcCandlish mentioned, the latter is far more appropriate for an encyclopedia title. USB being there instead of at Universal Serial Bus sits very uncomfortably with me here. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 22:28, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Almost no one calls it a Universal Serial Bus, even among the more tech inclined. USB is the name that has entered the lexicon, not Universal Serial Bus.Jinnai 18:40, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Coming late, I know, but I just studied the USB thing and this proposal that came out of it. I basically like the proposal, saying to mostly avoid acronyms except really good cases, as opposed to the old way that said to use good ones. But I would object to putting USB into that list; it would be much better to use examples that don't carry the baggage of controversy. I'm a bit confused by the comments of TechnoSymbiosis, who says he agrees with SMcCandlish, but appears to want more acronyms, not fewer; and by SMcCandlish's comments, who seems to think this change will encourage acronyms, when it seems more intended to discourage them. Am I reading things wrong? Dicklyon (talk) 04:47, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure how you read that I want more acronyms. I'm certainly a proponent of expansion - acronyms don't belong in article titles in the majority of cases. USB should be at Universal Serial Bus, NATO should be at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and so on. Rare exceptions (like IBM) may apply but the general rule should be expansion, not contraction. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 22:44, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure either. I think your call for "strengthening" the provision looked like in favor of a suggest to "use acronyms". I'm glad that's not what you intended. Dicklyon (talk) 23:24, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I suppose that wasn't as clear is it could have been. I'm in favour of strengthening the current wording (not the proposed wording), to more strongly recommend expanding acronyms. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 02:02, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

hopelessly vague title

Can anyone give one good reason that National Tax Agency is not National Tax Agency (country name)? The title is a translation into English, too. This is where previous practices relying on "primary topic" are becoming ludicrous. I arrived there from a category list. Tony (talk) 02:47, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I would certainly move it to NTA (Japan) or Japanese NTA, regardless of whether there is another article with that title. — kwami (talk) 02:59, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
One good reason is that it's its name.[3] Another is that nothing else on WP has the name, to the best of my knowledge. This has nothing to do with "primary topic". It's the only topic on WP using that name. Station1 (talk) 03:29, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
National Tax Agency (Japan) would be the epitome of unnecessary disambiguation. It would be unnecessary because National Tax Agency is its name, is natural, precise, concise and consistent with other titles. There is no basis in policy or practice to disambiguate this title. As has been explained countless times to you guys, the purpose of an article title for a topic that has a name is not to describe that topic, but to reflect its name.

I should also add that if the article was at National Tax Agency (Japan) it would wrongly imply that there are other topics in WP whose name is "National Tax Agency", and this one is not the primary topic. That would be misleading. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:04, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Extremely inconvenient for readers and editors. So uniqueness trumps clarity, does it? This is a ham-fisted, easy-peasy policy we've allowed to fester into bad, misleading google hits. Tony (talk) 05:14, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Since "clarity" about what the topic is for people unfamiliar with the topic has never been something that titles are supposed deliver, yes, uniqueness and conciseness trump clarity. For every topic there are two types of readers - those familiar with the topic and those who are not. If a reader in the latter group stumbles upon a title, the title is not supposed to tell him what the article is about - only the name of the what the article is about. Why is this so difficult to accept for about a half-dozen of you? --Born2cycle (talk) 05:27, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Sheer blind impenetrable legalistic rule-mongering. Of course it is desirable that the title should suggest the topic in a helpful way. By the reasoning of the small coterie of zealots who serve WP:xxxxxx rather than the readers, we might as well give each article a serial number as a title, instead using English words. (Yeah yeah: I know that is against policy.) Nothing seems to jog people out of this weird obsession with parochialism and obscurity. Such a waste of potential; such a detriment to the Project. NoeticaTea? 06:43, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
The alternative is creating bottomless quagmires of dispute. Take this example... Sure National Tax Agency (Japan) is more descriptive than National Tax Agency, but National Tax Agency (Japanese tax collecting agency) is even more descriptive. Which should we use, and why? Based on what criteria? We already have criteria, and that criteria indicates National Tax Agency. What you're proposing is a change to the criteria. Fine, propose that. But I honestly don't see how you could change the criteria to allow for more descriptive titles without creating that quagmire. --Born2cycle (talk) 07:31, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
B2C, I'm not sure where you're going with this example. Why would anyone suggest National Tax Agency (Japanese tax collecting agency)? I don't even see how it is more descriptive, let alone how it could be a serious contender. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 08:12, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Is that so? Then you are, equally honestly, incapable of thinking the issue through. No one is suggesting such lengthy qualifiers as that. In the present case, "national" already marks the agency as unique for a certain nation. The only question facing our worldwide readership is this: "Which nation?" And rather than spend seven characters to show that information, you opt for retentiveness at all costs. Such an attitude is normally a manifestation of some deep-seated psychological need. In the oxygen-rich world of actual readers, it withers and good sense prevails. Here, where a certain narrow rule-boundedness wins favour, it has been allowed articially to thrive. A pity. A pity we can't clear the area of fundamentally misguided binary thinking: my way, or a "bottomless quagmire".. At least learn this, beginners: "criteria" is the plural and "criterion" is the singular. NoeticaTea? 08:35, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
You supported Tony1 on this issue back in October, and moved a page after I mentioned it in the then current discussion. history: Financial Management Standard. -- PBS (talk) 09:33, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

While I generally dislike redundant disambiguation, I find it more of a good thing in cases like this, where the "name" on its own is really just a generic description. (It's not really "the" national tax agency, it's just "a" national tax agency which happens to be the only one that Wikipedia currently titles with those exact words.)--Kotniski (talk) 08:49, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm with B2C on this. Does every article on Wikipedia about British place names now have to have nation attached to them? eg Moreton-in-Marsh --> Moreton-in-Marsh, England or should it be Moreton-in-Marsh, United Kingdom? Because as far as I can tell that would be the logic of this suggestion.
Tony1 has raised this issue twice in the last 3 months see also Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 33#Article specificity (17 September) and Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 33#Motion of no confidence in WP:PRECISE and WP:PRIMARY TOPIC (8 October) and it was rejected both times. Has enough time passed for this to be discussed for a third time? -- PBS (talk) 09:21, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I definitely see where Tony and Noetica are coming from, but I think it would start us down a slippery slope where suddenly everything that has a title that isn't universally known must have a qualifier added to it. I also find it interesting that these discussions usually display our systematic bias. Or would you guys also support tacking "(United States)" onto Internal Revenue Service? Jenks24 (talk) 09:44, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
There could be a difference, though, between the ways we treat "real" names and translated names.--Kotniski (talk) 09:52, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Their Web site says "(c) Copyright National Tax Agency Japan". In the preface of the English-language version of their annual report, it says "National Tax Agency, Japan". So that's what I'd suggest as the article title. The title should approximate what people in English-speaking countries would actually call the subject. Whenever this agency appears in non-Japanese RS, there is something that tells you it is Japanese: Japan's National Tax Agency, Japanese National Tax Agency, etc. Article titles perform the vitally important function of providing the common or most useful name of the subject. They should not be expected to be unambiguous, to identity the nation-state an entity is located in, give an individual's career, or leap tall buildings in a single bound. Kauffner (talk) 10:44, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Kauffner's last comment.

I agree with Noetica's comments.

Kotniski, some good points.

B2C, it's not just that the way it's been set up, this uniqueness trumps clarity thing. In fact, it's worse than that: it's that uniqueness as a WP article title, as a topic that is treated in a WP article, trumps clarity and utility, both in WP categ. lists and more importantly on google search displays. For example, there can be scores of vehicle motor taxes, but the one WP means is that in Ireland. Very irritating to have to travel to the article to learn this. And the response from these realms: "Oh ... but it's the only article we have on vehicle motor tax, so finders keepers." I don't buy it. Truth is, a more nuanced, explanatory policy is required to avoid these most unsatisfactory effects.

Jenks, the "slippery slope": yes, I understand your concerns, and I too have done thought-experiments that have shown the dangers of title-bloat. So what I'm asking is that we get together and work out real examples of where the boundaries lie so we can develop guidance that allows these "National Tax Agency" tragedies to be fixed where this can be done with minimal extra characters, but so that for the overwhelming majority of cases the policy still insists on the discipline that produces brevity, succinctness. Tony (talk) 14:29, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree about the "finders keepers" thing is a problem. I went to The King's Academy, but not The King's Academy (maybe the subject of that article is extraordinarily significant and this is a bad example, but my point remains). I think there is some balance we should be able to find here. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 15:30, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, in the past, I was inclined to support the arguments in favor of pre-disambiguation of topics in specific domains for the sake of consistency, such as television episodes. It made sense to me then that the title of an article on a topic of relatively specialized interest would benefit readers by clearly indicating what type of specialized thing it was. However, pre-disambiguation was soundly thrashed in the ensuing discussion and that has been the law of the land since. I've come to accept that and support the position that unless there is ambiguity within the context of Wikipedia, then no disambiguation is necessary. However, at times I can sympathize with Tony and other's view about topics where some relatively obscure, generically named topic becomes the primary topic by default by virtue of being the only topic with that name. However, what happens to the undisambiguated title in these cases? Unless there are other topics that treat the subject sufficient to create a disambiguation page, the undisambiguated base name will redirect to the disambiguated title. So for example, if readers search for or link to National Tax Agency, they would still go to the article on the Japanese agency. So how does having a disambiguated title help such readers? And in article text, links to disambiguated titles are most often piped such that most readers would not see the dismabiguated title until they click on the link. In sum, I find Tony's irritation at having "to travel to the article to learn" that the topic is on a specific subject to be unconvincing and a poor reason for changing policy. Finder's keepers is also a red herring. If other encyclopedic topics are later created, then principles of disambiguation apply. Unless one of the topics is the primary topic, the titles would then need to be disambiguated. This happens all the time as part of how Wikipedia develops. I do not think we should be using crystal balls to try and guess which topics might possibly one day in the future have an article written on the subject that would require disambiguation. olderwiser 16:04, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
👍 Like --Born2cycle (talk) 17:41, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
older/wiser—you're missing the point about finders keepers. "finders keepers" is not a good name for it, I think, so that is understandable. I don't think anyone is saying that when a new article is made that the dab can't be created then. That isn't the point. The point is that if the topic is not the primary topic for the term, then it seems odd to name it differently just because we don't yet have articles for the other topics for the term. So, in the case of someone searching for my high school, they'll find an article about a different high school. Sure, they can figure out pretty fast that it isn't the one they were looking for. But Wikipedia is saying that this is the "The King's Academy", and my HS is not the main one. Now, I suspect that the Japanese "National Tax Agency" is in fact the "National Tax Agency" (ie, really the primary topic for the term), so I don't think it's really a problem that National Tax Agency is about the one in Japan. But generally, I don't think it's best to only disambiguate when there's "ambiguity within the context of Wikipedia". ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 19:41, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
But that is exactly the issue -- what process of divination shall we standardize on to try and guess which topics might possibly one day in the future have an article written on the subject that would require disambiguation? If there is only one article with an ambiguous title, no disambiguation is necessary within the context of Wikpedia. As the need arises when new articles are created, then existing articles can be disambiguated appropriately. This is standard operating procedure, and aside from occasional lapses (which will happen regardless of whether guidelines say to do it one way or another), there have been few significant problems. olderwiser 20:07, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Again, you're missing the point. Even if no other The King's Academy ever gets an article, the problem remains. Not having the disambiguating parens implies something about the subject—that it is the primary topic of this term. In almost all cases, the common name for the subject either has a clear primary topic or several topics with articles; in those cases, what we do now is fine in general, I think. I'm talking about topics of marginal notability, for which there are many subjects with the same name. When considering an article like The King's Academy, no divination is required to determine whether it is the primary topic or not. Note that WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, if taken literally, supports what I'm saying, although I kind of doubt that was intentional. My claim that no disambiguating parens implies primacy on its own could be debated, of course. If we think it's true, though, then articles like this should have disambiguating parens even though we don't need to disambiguate with other WP articles. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 22:52, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
All it implies is that Wikipedia has no other article that competes for that title. Period. If there is no other article, then the base name would still be a redirect to the disambiguated title and that would do little or nothing to help anyone. If the article were located at The King's Academy (Coulby Newham) (or something similar), most readers would still click on links where the only visible text is The King's Academy (which might be a piped link or might be a redirect) or they would enter that into search and would be none the wiser until reaching the article. Currently the only competition for the title is a partial title match at King's Academy, which is disambiguated by hatnote. While it might satisfy some abstract notion of fairness, it would not actually help readers looking for one or the other to force them to go to a disambiguation page with only two entries. On the other hand, if you wanted to write articles for other schools with the name, or even create a list article identifying all such schools, then there might be something else to disambiguate. But as it is, having an undisambiguated title mean only that there are no other topics with that title in Wikipedia. olderwiser 23:19, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
If you're missing something, then so am I. Erik, please explain what you would expect/prefer to see... nothing (redlink) at The King's Academy? A dab page with one entry? What? --Born2cycle (talk) 00:03, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure; I guess a dab page. It would have at least two entries at this point, though. In general, I think the answer to your question might be a dab with a link and possibly some red links. I don't think this question is the interesting one here, though. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 02:09, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

At the top of this section Tony wrote, " I arrived there from a category list. ". Per Bkonrad's explanation (excellent, BTW) this issue doesn't matter, except for the one context of category lists. But let's look at these; this particular article belongs to four cats.

  1. Category:Tax stubs - for editors only
  2. Category:Japanese government stubs - for editors only; category name itself provide descriptive context
  3. Taxation in Japan - category name itself provide descriptive context
  4. Revenue services - only context in all of WP where this is even an issue

I concede that for the specific context of certain category lists (general categories; specific categories provide the necessary context themselves), having more descriptive titles would be helpful. But that's the only upside there is to this, and its very limited - the main downside I see is that it would complicate our already all too contentious title decision process by adding another consideration into the mix that would apply to any topic with a unique name that is not widely recognizable to the public in general... something like... make the title sufficiently descriptive so that people unfamiliar with the topic can get a reasonable idea of what the topic is from just the title. The complications are:

  1. How do we decide whether a given title is widely recognizable with just its name, or whether it needs additional descriptive information in the title?
  2. If we do decide a given title needs additional descriptive information, how do we decide what that is? How much description is enough?

Further, as Bkonrad notes, there is strong consensus in the community against adding such information even for cases where #2 is not an issue because there is a convention for what the descriptive information should be (e.g., for TV episode names it is the TV series name in parentheses).

Kotniski's and Kauffner's argument for this particular case aside (special case translated names and treat them as descriptive; "Japan" is part of the name used in RS to refer to this topic, which is not an argument to add descriptive information, but to better reflect usage the most common name used in RS), I think #2 adds a lot of burden to the process for little benefit. Further, a point I keep repeating but is never addressed, there is a benefit to the reader when we disambiguate only when necessary - and that is that we inherently convey information about how the name is used in RS. That is, if we always disambiguated government agency names with the name of the country, then, for example, readers would not have an inkling of whether "Internal Revenue Service" is a name unique to the U.S. agency, or whether it's commonly used in other nations. Under the current system because it's at Internal Revenue Service, and not at Internal Revenue Service (United States), that tells us something about usage of the name "Internal Revenue Service" in RS that we would not convey if we systematically predisambiguated names that were not ambiguous with other uses.

In short, we all get where you're coming from, but what you're advocating is a solution to a little problem (improve usefulness of certain general category lists); a solution that creates problems bigger than the little one it's addressing. So, unless Tony, Noetica, et. all can come up with new arguments, I'm with PBS. Enough already.

--Born2cycle (talk) 17:41, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

One solution, specifically for categories, is to have a redirect from National Tax Agency (Japan) and place the category tag on the redirect (and a hidden comment on the article itself, to avoid duplication). This will serve those readers who navigate by categories without inconvenicing the rest of us. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:53, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
The unsatisfactory thing about this solution (which I know is used on various articles for various reasons) is that the category then doesn't appear at the bottom of the article itself. You really need to have the duplication.--Kotniski (talk) 17:57, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Not really; but you are right that you need an open comment, which could be a template. "Category X appears on page Y, which redirects here." Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:36, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Ideally we would be able to specify a display name in the reference to the cat, something like
[[Category:Things|title + description to display in category list]].
--Born2cycle (talk) 19:30, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. We use that syntax now to imdicate that we should alphabetize the cat using that key; displying the key should be a simple fix. Anybody want to go to bugzilla? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:12, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Would it help if we made an article on Spain's "Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria" and called it National Tax Agency (Spain), as it's often translated? Dicklyon (talk) 00:53, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

The agency gives their English-language name as, "Spanish National Tax Agency", so it's not a problem. Kauffner (talk) 04:31, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
The "Spanish" there is a disambiguation, not a translation. There's no España in "Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria". Dicklyon (talk) 16:08, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, and if you could show that it's reasonably often referred to as "National Tax Agency" in reliable sources, then that's enough to move National Tax Agency to National Tax Agency (Japan) and create a two-entry dab page at National Tax Agency. That's how it works. --Born2cycle (talk) 01:12, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I think there's a huge difference between a name that's unique because it's not used for anything else, and a name that's unique because no-one has yet bothered to write a WP article on its other uses. In the first case a reader will most likely be looking for the article we have, but in the second case they will often be looking for something else. "National Tax Agency" does not imply Japan; the fact that we only have it for Japan is simply a quirk of WP. If other countries use the phrase IRS then we should dab that name as well, unless the others are obscure, in which case we can make do with a hat note. But the Spanish NTA is no more obscure than the Japanese one, and we should reflect that regardless of whether we have an article for the Spanish NTA. Our titles should reflect external reality, not just the chance existence of a WP article. — kwami (talk) 01:17, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
It does not fit in with Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. Many subjects of biographies have the same name, but we do not make the assumption that every subject of a biography name is not unique and pre-emptively dab them. The problems it would solve for the future changing of links etc, are most likely outweighed by the initial debates of whether the first instance is then most notable (so does not need disambiguation), or whether there is another person with the same name notable enough to be included. The whole point of the current system is KISS. -- PBS (talk) 02:12, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
WP:CRYSTAL ball concerns our avoidance of predicting the future in the real world, not of the practicality of assuming that other WP articles will be necessary, even inevitable, that might have used exactly the same title. Now I see that that someone has moved Quota Elimination (WTO) to just Quota Elimination. That will be more useful in a google search. Tony (talk) 02:57, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
WP:CRYSTAL is not what I was referring to except by way of allusion. The point is that unnecessary disambiguation requires a determination by an editor that a topic is ambiguous, even though there is no evidence for such ambiguity within the context of Wikipedia. This runs squarely against WP:Verifiability. Without evidence of ambiguity within the context of Wikipedia, it is inappropriate for an individual editor to determine that a topic requires disambiguation simply because that editor knows it to be true. olderwiser 03:15, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't think we should bring higher principles like verifiability into this; this is the kind of editorial decision we make all the time (is X the primary topic for Y? is the mention of Y in article Z enough to warrant a hatnote at X? etc.), and isn't the same as including unsourceable statements of fact in articles. (And if policy forbids redundant disambiguation, then all those Americans who insist on including the state name in all their place-name articles, and the peerage and royalty and shipping buffs who do similar things, must be well out of order - would that it were only so.)--Kotniski (talk) 12:28, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I understand what you're saying, but when there are no clear indications of ambiguity I'm extremely skeptical that we should be naming articles based on an individual editor's intuition that something is too generic a title for a specific topic. If discussion, preferably with input from diverse points of views and with evaluation of credible evidence rather than only likeit/dontlikeit opinions, makes a determination, that is just fine. olderwiser 13:44, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
The credible evidence can be presented at move discussions even if the other topics of the term do not have wikipedia articles. There are no problems here wrt WP:V. Maybe we only want to disambiguate w/in WP anyway, but we don't need to just because of V. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 20:22, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
But my point is that if there is no verifiable evidence of ambiguity within wikipedia -- then what is the disambiguation to be based on? Disambiguation pages do not introduce facts or assertions that are not supported by a linked article. If there is no article that supports the ambiguous usage, then there is nothing to disambiguate within the context of Wikipedia articles. And so far as content within an article must be verifiable within the scope of WP:V, content in a disambiguation page is also similarly subject to WP:V. olderwiser 23:01, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Personally I think it reasonable to declare the primary topic for "national tax agency" (however capitalized) to be Revenue service. But that doesn't solve the problem we've seen in some such cases in the past, where some obscure country (sorry, but some things are obscure to the bulk of our English-speaking readership, whether or not you want to call that "systemic bias") has a government agency or department with some generic-sounding but probably unique name (department of fishing and horticulture, or something a bit along those lines - I don't recall the exact situation). I seem to recall that in such situations consensus has quite often been that we should include the country by way of "disambiguation", not because there's real ambiguity, but because the name "sounds too generic" otherwise.--Kotniski (talk) 09:05, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
PS One such discussion was at Talk:Census and Statistics Department (Hong Kong). No consensus was reached, though a majority supported keeping the "redundant" disambiguator. Though I notice there's something of a mixture in the way such articles are titled.--Kotniski (talk) 11:45, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
And is that such a bad thing? I know we seek consistency between articles to aid navigation, but not at the expense of other principles such as naturalness and recognizability. Blueboar (talk) 12:18, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
In this case I don't see any higher principles being applied; it's just that editors happen to have decided to go one way in some cases, the other way in others.--Kotniski (talk) 12:21, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
That discussion referred to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (government and legislation), a backwater Naming Convention I hadn't come across before. But it does appear to address the specific situation here. Kotniski also may be right that national tax agency should redirect to revenue service. While I'm no fan of the royalty naming conventions, I think where there are conventions with defined scope of application, reasonable rationale, and some modicum of consensus, I really don't see much of an issue with using more specific names as the title. Personally, I'd prefer to see such cases use natural language forms rather than parenthetical, but that may just be a preference. The implication is that while natural language form might not be the most common form, it is a name that is actually used for a subject. Parenthetical disambiguators are almost never a part of the real world name of a subject and are purely a Wikipedia contrivance -- and within the context of Wikipedia, a parenthetical disambiguator generally indicates there is one or more articles at the base name, but that is not necessarily true with natural language disambiguation. olderwiser 13:44, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
(left) What the NC says is: Disambiguation is unnecessary ...[other cases omitted]...if the agency or office name is unique or is by far the most common meaning, or primary topic (Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Foreign and Commonwealth Office). Care should be taken to avoid convoluted or artificial constructions: Something of Something of Jurisdictionname. The editor who appealled to it seems to have missed that. JCScaliger (talk) 22:50, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
  • There should be some scope to insert a country-name after departments and organisations that are described with an apparently very generic title. This is an international project. Of course they don't bother to put (HK) after it in HK itself (although many organisations there are likely to have the name of the jurisdiction embedded within them (from memory, for example, The Hong Kong Port Authority). I'd be inclined to do it on a case-by-case basis, and to use the shortest possible character length (Internal Revenue Service (US)), Car registration fee (UK)). We shouldn't be hostage to whether or not a body embeds the jurisdiction within its title. Our readers' needs are the same in either case. There must be a way of minimising the cumbersome and avoiding country names altogether in some cases. Isn't it a case of establishing what the balance is between familiarity to readers of en.WP and the clutter? Nor do I think our readers and editors should be hostage to whether a title is unique among WP article topics, or is unique in the real world. For example, it's very awkward that while we're allowed Fringe benefits tax (Australia) because there are also articles on the NZ and Indian equivalent taxes, we're not allowed to know where Bank account debits tax comes from. (What does Encyclopedia Brittanica do?) Tony (talk) 12:29, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
"There should be some scope to insert a country-name after departments and organisations that are described with an apparently very generic title." If there should be that, than should there also not be some scope to insert a country-name after place names that are not universally well known? Should there not also be some scope to insert the TV series name after every TV episode name? If not, what is the distinction? If so, are you suggesting that we predisambiguate all place names, TV episodes, and a myriad of other articles, too? Or are you drawing a line somewhere? If so, what is that line, and where is it?

Please convince us that you understand what you are suggesting by being clear on what exactly you're seeking; please answer these questions as completely as possible. Thanks. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:15, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Well, I think that if you look at UK building articles, you will find many that include the location, even when disambiguation is not needed. But is adding the location disambiguation? Or do we just like to classify it as disambiguation since it is comma separated? Examples include St Botolph's Church, Heene, St Cyprian's Church, Hay Mills or St Berres' Church, Llanferres. This is just one type of example. If you look at various move discussions over the years, you will find comments rising above the background noise that favor the inclusion of information that either identifies the location of something or to give some idea what it is (say a fish or a plant). Sometimes these points get consensus. More often, they run into the the red herring of we don't pre disambiguate or someone waving the WP:PRECISION flag. But does WP:PRECISION really say that we can't include correct valid and helpful information that unambiguously identifies the topic? If so, they we need to rename a large number of articles. However if the policy is not followed in practice and does no harm, should the policy be tweaked after a discussion? Vegaswikian (talk) 19:51, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes it does say that, and it should. The bad example given in the policy ("United States Apollo program (1961–75)") contains nothing incorrect or invalid, and the information will be helpful to some people; but there is no stopping on that road short of making the entire article into the title. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:51, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Note that this section lists four other Churches of Saint Botolph, three of which have articles. The fourth might well - and there's still Boston itself. Any of them could be titled St. Botolph's Church; that's actual ambiguity, which needs disambiguation. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:02, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
That just means we need a dab page to justify the extra precision for that one. Vegaswikian (talk) 20:16, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
A dab page would be useful; but we need to disambiguate whether there is one or not - because we have several articles; so also for St. Cyprian's Church, Hay Mills and St. Cyprian's Church, Sneinton. It would take a very obscure saint indeed to have only one church in the world; not even St. Berres manages - there's one in Llanferres, but all the towns in France called Saint-Brice have the same patron. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:35, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
This illustrates another problem with predisambiguation - the undisambiguated base name is often neglected and remains a redlink. When this is pointed out it can be easily remedied, of course, but that's beside the point. The point is it's an inherent systemic problem with employing that approach. People are likely to overlook properly handling the base name, and years can go by before an editor becomes aware of it and fixes it.

And, yes, adding additional place information to a title is predisambiguation if the article could be at the plain base name, by definition.

The inclination to want to make a title more descriptive is understandable, and certainly achieves local consensus support in some cases, but I see no broad community support for the practice in general. It has even fallen out of favor to some extent in some categories of articles, like WP:NCROY, which arguably once was the bastion epitome of predisambiguation. --Born2cycle (talk) 21:53, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Sigh. It would be nice to have a disambiguation page at the base name, but if nobody notices we don't have one, nobody has been harmed. If you type in St Botolph's Church into our search engine, you will get six possibilities.
These are two competing non-solutions "fixing" a non-problem. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:00, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
While red base names are not a problem for searches, it is a problem for disambiguation bots as they check links against disambiguation pages! If I put some text into a page and it includes a red link to a church I assume that no article has been written about the church not that there are half a dozen about different churches one of which may be the one I want! I assume the same with links to biography articles, because up to now the usual way is to write an article and then move it if later if a disambiguation is needed, or a hat note is added if the name is the primary one. -- PBS (talk) 03:49, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

FYI... Since it was raised, I have created a dab page for St Botolph's Church. Blueboar (talk) 16:02, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

The problem with predisambiguation that I brought up and the ramifications of which PBS explained with greater clarity (thanks!) is easy to dismiss precisely because it is so insidious. The article about St Botolph's church was created in 2002[4], but apparently as Boston parish church. However, it was moved to St Botolph's Church, Boston in 2007, [5], which means the St Botolph's Church redlink that Blueboar just finally fixed, and all the associated problems with it to which PBS refers, has been there for over four years. St Botolph's Aldgate has also been around since 2007. These redlinks are very difficult to find because it means undisambiguating every disambiguated title to see if anything exists at the base name.

This is just one example that happened to be raised in this discussion, but there are undoubtedly a plethora of them. Any proposal that encourages more predisambiguation just exacerbates this problem. Let's not make matters worse. --Born2cycle (talk) 21:02, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

And confusing title clarity with the red herring of predisambiguation is probably a larger problem. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:44, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
There is no confusion. We're talking about the same thing... additional precision in the title beyond just the name of the topic, if you will. The motivation for adding more precision to a title might be for clarity or it might be for disambiguation, but, mechanically, if the additional precision is not needed for disambiguation, then, by definition, it is predisambiguation, regardless of whether it's being done to add clarity or to anticipate a need to disambiguate in the future.

Ultimately, this is just a matter of semantics... how does what we call it create a problem at all, much less create "a larger problem" than the redlink one PBS and I have described? --Born2cycle (talk) 23:02, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

Clarification of recognizability lost

Above, it is being argued (in essence) that a title like Crime Patrol, since it is not universally known, does not meet the "recognizability" criteria, and, so, should have more precision (or predisambiguation) in order to be more recognizable to readers and editors unfamiliar with the topic.

The recognizability criteria question is currently stated as:

Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic?

However, a few months ago, and for many years, it said this:

an ideal title will confirm, to readers who are familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic, that the article is indeed about that topic.

This fundamental change was made in May of this year [6], with edit summary "Changed Recognizability point based on discussion on the talk page".

The change was discussed by 3 or 4 editors on this page, now archived here. However, I don't see the question of "recognizable to whom?" being addressed there. It appears they did not understand they were changing the meaning of the criterion by implying it needs to be broadly recognizable to meet the criterion, rather than simply be recognizable to those familiar with the topic, which is a huge change. The long-standing original wording emphasized that titles don't need to be "universally recognized" to meet the criteria, but only have to be recognizable to those familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic. I see nothing in that discussion to indicate that the change in meaning by the removal of this qualification was intentional, and, so, I think we need to re-insert them.

So, I've essentially restored the original wording and meaning to be this:

Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic?

--Born2cycle (talk) 07:13, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

discussion about revert

Administrator assistance requested

Recognizable to people familiar...

The bit about "recognizable to people familiar with the subject", I think, was lost accidentally at one point and ought to be restored. We don't expect titles to be recognizable to people who have no familiarity with the subject at all (most articles on Wikipedia are about things that most of us have never heard of; we don't generally worry that the titles we choose are consequently unrecognizable to large swathes of the population).--Kotniski (talk) 09:15, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Thank you. Exactly. Believe it or not, that bit is all that is at issue here (I think some other changes - inconsequential tweaks - also got mixed into the reverts), and it sure seemed straight-forward to me. --Born2cycle (talk) 09:20, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Ah, sorry, just noticed the link to the archived discussion given above, so the change wasn't entirely accidental. But still I don't think the 2/3 editors who made that change really understood the intent of the wording that was removed. We don't add stuff to article titles to try to make them recognizable even to people who are ignorant of the subject (we don't say Fred Smith (actor, you know, the fat one on Eastenders), or anything like that).--Kotniski (talk) 09:23, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
There is simply no need for haste of that sort. Obviously, the matter is sensitive through and through. Nothing is lost by waiting. I have restored the version that was in place for many months, until a few hours ago. Now, let's see some testing of consensus. When (and if) there is consensus to change the text of the crucial wording of a main principle in policy, we can agree to do it.
NoeticaTea? 09:30, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Why exactly are you in such a rush to restore the other version, then? If this is a major change, then you can surely see from the discussion that led to it (linked above) that there was never anything like full discussion of the original change? We are really just restoring the version that really did come out of a major discussion process some time back. It was never anyone's intention to change titling policy completely, by requiring that titles somehow be recognizable to everyone.--Kotniski (talk) 09:39, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Kotniski, on what basis do you have consensus to make this sudden change to the policy page? Tony (talk) 09:45, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Like I say, it's not a sudden change, it's just undoing a change that was made a while ago without proper discussion (or apparently any particular understanding of the consequences). I mean, either the change makes little difference (it's just a wording tweak without any significant change of meaning - in which case, why are we worrying about it); OR it really does represent a significant change to the meaning of the policy, in which case the removal of the words obviously wasn't properly discussed on that basis. --Kotniski (talk) 09:47, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm not in a rush to do anything – except to get people not to be in a rush. The provision sat quietly in place as part of core Wikipedia policy for months. Many editors would expect the wording to stay as it is now (rather stably), unless there is slow and careful discussion to change it. With wide consultation if necessary.
NoeticaTea? 09:52, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
(e.c) Response to Kotniski: Is that the way it works? Born2cycle sees me quoting something from WP:TITLE that he turns out not to like, and unilaterally changes it without notice of more than one minute after posting about it here? There's too much aggressive action going on, such as his recent request for the re-opening of an RM that didn't go his way. I don't recall whatever change was made to WP:TITLE, but if you and/or B2C want to change the current version, you need to discuss it here first. Tony (talk) 09:54, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Well if you're quoting from the policy as it is now, and he's claiming that it would be more accurate to quote from the policy as it was then, then that implies there definitely is some difference in the interpretation (i.e. the policy actually was substantially changed). And since there was no indication in the discussion that led to it that any substantial change (as opposed to removal of verbiage) was intended to be made, then I think we have to go back to the original until the matter can be sorted out. --Kotniski (talk) 10:00, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

On the substantive issue (and noting that I couldn't be less interested in the background dispute), it is ridiculous to suggest that titles need to be recognisable to those totally unfamiliar with the subject. To give an example, the esomeprazole article is so-named because it is the pharmaceutical name for the compound; it is the recognised name, as would be expected by those with medical or pharmaceutical training. The article isn't at Nexium (the trade name, like a lay-person might expect), nor at (S)-5-methoxy-2-[(4-methoxy-3,5-dimethylpyridin-2-yl)methylsulfinyl]-3H-benzoimidazole (the IUPAC name, like a chemist (not a pharmacist) might expect). It certainly isn't at "drug for treating heartburn", an arguably "recognisable ... description of the topic" for a passer-by with no familiarity with the area. As another example, my FA article on rhodocene... I have no doubt that lay people would not recognise the name, nor be able to describe the topic, but I am sure that the article title is appropriate because it would be recognisable to anyone familair enough with chemistry to know about the topic. Please, a suggestion... restore the sensible clause regarding topic familiarity and then find something to do that is more worthy of your time. EdChem (talk) 10:17, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

esomeprazole as a name is highly unlikely to stand for anything but a single entity. Fine, but this is where the notion of expertise is being confused. An article, say, on Financial institutions duty that stands for the one in Zimbabwe (where the tax people might well use lower case, as the Australian Taxation Office does for taxes) is not satisfactory: it's likely that most readers and editors will wonder how many of these taxes of the same or similar name exist in the real world, even if no others have nabbed the title "space" first off. Not many people will search for esomeprazole, but Financial institutions duty is likely to come up in a lot of searches. Tony (talk) 10:27, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
So what are you saying? That if a topic has a name that is likely to be used to search for something else, then the title of the article for that topic should be expanded to be more descriptive and unique, even if that something else is not a topic for which we have an article in Wikipedia (we already handle the cases where we do have an article for that something else)? The problem is, if we don't have an article for that something else, how do we decide it is a something else? With what criteria? --Born2cycle (talk) 10:39, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Yes, I think if any change in practice is to be considered here (I don't think anyone's proposing adding disambiguation to unique but specialized names like esomeprazole), it would have to be based on a different treatment of names that "sound generic" (like financial institutions duty). Generally speaking we don't do redundant disambiguation (except in particular topic areas where groups of editors have decided they want to make their own rules, like U.S places - that's a different topic), but there does seem to be a certain sympathy for it in these "generic-sounding" (for want of a better word) cases.--Kotniski (talk) 10:45, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
(e.c. x 2) Tony, we are talking about whether recognisability should be recognisable to anyone or to someone with familiarity of the topic. Whether an article on FID would be expected to be generic or specific to a single country seems to me to be unrelated to whether the title is suitable recognisable. I would like make FID generic (or with a list, like finance minister) and FID in Zimbabwe (or similar) for the specific case, but I don't see it as a recognisability issue but rather one of precision. EdChem (talk) 10:47, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I refuse to wade through a wall of text of ad hominem attacks and people telling other people to "slow down". It's ridiculous and unproductive. I've read the policy before and after the change. It looks clear to me that it needs to be reverted back to the way it was. EdChem makes some nice points, and I agree with them 110%. As for Tony's reply, if people are looking for related articles, we should categorize them together and use "See Also" judiciously, not mangle the title with overdisambiguation. -Kai445 (talk) 16:14, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Just throwing in my opinion here, as the discussion would appear to be looking for substantive points about the actual point in question. I agree that we should generally be concerned about recognisability for those with some familiarity with the subject, as the proposed change suggests. On the other hand, I also agree that some title could do with "pre-disambiguation", if for no other reason than that they will appear in category pages that do not provide enough context for anyone to have any idea what they're referring to. From a point of view of user-friendliness, it would seem sensible to think about the degree of confusion such category listings will produce. For example, the pharmaceutical names are rather unlikely to appear in a category (other than meta stuff) that would lead to insufficient context, but taxes, legal instruments, national organisations... they could possibly do with contextualisation. Now, an idea technical fix would be to add a meta field to articles that would appear next to the title link on category pages, but that not being an option right now, contextualisation of the title should be considered on a case-by-case basis. It should be unusual, but not forbidden or presumed so strongly against as some seem to want. Of course, where a particular item is well known in the English-speaking world, that would not be expected to need such contextualisation (such as the FBI, say). This, I feel, strikes a balance between the principles that we have already outlined, and a basic principle of user-friendly presentation. SamBC(talk) 17:15, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

You've clearly expressed the problem and goal, as have Dicklyon, Noetica, and Tony1. As always, the devil is in the details. How do we express and convey this in this policy without creating a situation in which article title discussions are even more contentious than they already are? Or are the benefits of having a few titles predisambiguated sufficient to warrant the additional consternation? I, for one, believe it is not.

Speaking of details, do you object to returning the original words about recognizability to the policy as proposed here? --Born2cycle (talk) 17:28, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

The original wording is clearly superior; it's a shame that was removed without full discussion of the implications. Powers T 19:03, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the previous wording was superior, but to be so it has to include the parenthetical "(though not necessarily expert in)". -- PBS (talk) 20:17, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

RFC on Recognizability guideline wording

We need to have a thoughtful discussion of the wording of the title guideline at Wikipedia:AT#Deciding_on_an_article_title concerning recognizability. It was changed last May in this diff (at which the old and new versions can be compared) after this brief discussion, and now there are suggestions to change it back, or perhaps change it to something different (it was subsequently rephrased as the current question form "Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic?" so that's also an option). This RFC is a subsection of a section about it, but reading and responding to that argument may be counter productive, so let's have a focused discussion here instead. Please say which version you prefer, and why, or suggest something better. The "Compromise" discussion below may also be relevant. Let us proceed at a moderated pace; be not quick to counter, so we can see where we stand and collect some ideas. Dicklyon (talk) 21:48, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

See #Clarification of recognizability_lost for the details of the specific proposal, but the two versions of the wording in question are:

Version 1/original (adapted from May 2011 wording): Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic?

Version 2/current: Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic?

--Born2cycle (talk) 00:13, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • The following comments favoring Version 1/Original were made within the last 24 hours just above:
    • "We don't expect titles to be recognizable to people who have no familiarity with the subject at all " --Kotniski (talk · contribs):
    • "It is ridiculous to suggest that titles need to be recognisable to those totally unfamiliar with the subject." --EdChem (talk · contribs)
    • "I agree that the previous wording was superior, but to be so it has to include the parenthetical '(though not necessarily expert in)'" PBS (talk) 20:09, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
    • "It looks clear to me that it needs to be reverted back to the way it was." --Kai445 (talk · contribs)
  • --Born2cycle (talk) 00:13, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Version 1/Original We generally do not try to make titles recognizable to everyone, just to those familiar with the article topic. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:13, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Alt version – I see problems pointed out with all those versions, so here's another idea, adapting comments from DGG below: Dicklyon (talk) 00:27, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Version 3/mix: Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic, to someone familiar with the subject area?

  • Comment. As noted below, I don't understand where this alt wording would make a difference, and "topic" is much more specific. In many cases it may not be clear what the "subject area" is. I see no point in bringing in this ambiguity. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:48, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Uh huh. If you don't understand something, ask, think, take your time. Reflect on the fact that other people are endowed with intelligence and insights also. Other people also have a sense of proportion and fair procedure. Watch a bit, and learn.
I think all the issues concerning this provision need clarifying. It is not a simple matter of patching up the wording with minimal depth of discussion. I am unwillingly to spend much time on this right now; but it certainly needs to be done. Editors use this part of the policy at RMs as if it were Holy Writ, and according to their own sectarian interpretations. Big reforms are needed.
NoeticaTea? 02:01, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm not really sure what the kerfuffle here is about, and I'm even less sure that I care. The only comment that I have is that the change back in May (right?) was made with an eye to simplifying what was being said. If what you're trying to add to a policy requires a long winded explanation (which the "old" version is certainly an example of), then that seems to be a good indication that something is wrong with either the approach that is attempting to be taken or that something is wrong with the advice in general. Anyway, it looks like y'all are hashing this out just fine, to me. Have fun arguing at each other.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 01:56, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
    • I presume this confirms you did not intend to change the meaning of the policy with that edit. Though apparently no one realized it at the time, many of us now believe the edit did substantially change the meaning, or at least made it likely to be interpreted in a very different way (to mean that we try to make titles familiar to everyone, not just those familiar with the respective topics). Do you have any objection to the Version 1/Original wording? Do you have a position on the scope of "recognizability" that is at issue here, and how these two versions convey that? Thanks! --Born2cycle (talk) 02:02, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Version 1/Original. This version retains necessary clarity that was lost with the revision. Without the caveat, it renders the task of naming articles nearly impossible, as it requires the titles to be recognizable even to people unfamiliar with the topic. That will produce unnecessarily complex and lengthy titles. Powers T 01:59, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
The idea that it means "everybody" is just silly. Did you read the prior discussion? They directly addressed the idea that this extra bit of verbage seemed unnecessary. You can disagree with the conclusion, but it doesn't help to trivialize the question this way. We seem to have no more trouble titling articles than before under this guideline. Dicklyon (talk) 02:10, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
It's not silly at all to assume others interpret it to mean "everybody". That's exactly how Tony interpreted it, apparently. Above, at #Life Safety Code, he quoted the current wording to support his concern that Life Safety Code was too vague. Too vague for whom? The most reasonable answer to that question is everyone; certainly not those familiar with (but not necessarily expert in) the topic. That's the problem... it's too easy to interpret to mean everybody (or nearly everybody). --Born2cycle (talk) 02:23, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Version 1/Original or Version 3/Mix, but not Version 2. Since we get occasional complaints that "I didn't recognize it, so it's not recognizable", it seems useful to specify who ought to be recognizing the title. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:35, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • 1 or 3 for now. Perhaps in the long run we should try writing a paragraph on the subject, and return to 2 as simplest, with a link to the paragraph. On the underlying dispute, I oppose the unnecessary disambiguation involved in National Tax Agency (Japan); adding disambiguation for consistency (as in some of the examples above) is best discussed in the section on overall reformulation below. JCScaliger (talk) 23:28, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Version 1/original, article titles are supposed to be short. Making all titles recognizable for everybody would force us to create convoluted titles. For example, moving Public Achievement to Public achievement (US civic scheme), (move discussion). I think that removing the "expert" bit in version 3 makes the definiton of "familiar" too vague. --Enric Naval (talk) 14:48, 23 December 2011 (UTC)


I don't see why these are special cases. Check for usage of "Crime Patrol" in reliable sources. If it is used to refer to both generic and specific topic, then the phrase is ambiguous. If there is a strong bias towards a particular topic, then the phrase has a primary use. Follow standard procedures: deploy disambiguation pages, hatnotes and redirects as required. There is nothing here that isn't handled neatly by the broader policy, so why introduce wording that treats it as a special case? Hesperian 01:03, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Consensus clearly supports Version 1 over Version 2

As if it wasn't obvious before, it should certainly be clear now to even the most obstinate supporter of unnecessary disambiguation that Version 1/Original has consensus support, and Version 2/Current does not, as it always has. There is no justification whatsoever for continuing to have the policy reflect Version 2 rather than Version 1. Does anyone (besides perhaps Noetica, Dicklyon or Tony1) disagree with this assessment? --Born2cycle (talk) 02:07, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

  • You seem to be discounting or trying to dismiss certain views in arriving at your conclusion. Noetica, Dicklyon or Tony1 are all part of the community and have a right to have their views considered with equal weight. Anyhoo, taking your premise, I think there are far too few expressions of opinion for anyone to say that that is the case. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:17, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
The trouble is just that there hasn't been any airing of ideas, or discussion of problems. I made a midway proposal that got some support, but B2C has stacked the discussion so we don't have much way of gauging community reaction. I have not yet expressed a preference, because it's not yet clear what the issues are. I don't recall Noetica or Tony expressing a preference, either, other than a preference that B2C not railroad through his change in the heat of a related argument. As I said, I'm willing to give it up, unless people like you come up with a way to turn it back into a productive discussion. Dicklyon (talk) 02:26, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
To make it productive, I think we have to stop focusing on that particular sentence in the policy (which is anyway hardly relevant to the substantial matter under dispute), and discuss what really seems to be concerning us, namely that some people would apparently like to introduce a principle that "generic-sounding" names (perhaps someone can phrase it better) ought to be disambiguated even if there's no other specific topic to distinguish them from. Arguing about the sentence is a silly distraction, though nearly all the substantial views expressed seem to support the longer and better-estabilshed version, so it seems clear enough (without prejudice to any continuing discussion about the pre-disambiguation thing) that that's the version that should be restored.--Kotniski (talk) 10:55, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
If we went back (in the archives, not just the current page) and compiled all the times they tried to bring up this issue -- that "generic-sounding" names ought to be disambiguated even if there's no other specific topic to distinguish them from -- we would have a good case for tendentious editing. Each time they bring it up, in one form or another, specific questions are asked about how exactly to implement it, and this is never answered. In each case, they bring it up, they are questioned, and they drop it. We're not idiots. We understand generally what they want, and, that, on the surface, it's not an outlandish idea or anything. But as I keep saying (well, this is the third time on this page - search for "devil"), the devil is in the details, and nobody has been able to articulate anything close to something that could be reasonably implemented in policy, or consistently carried out in practice. In the mean time, they're using this "let's talk about (without talking about it)" approach to filibuster against this proposal. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:07, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Ohconfucius, I'm not discounting anything. Noetica and Tony have yet to say anything substantive in objection to Version 1, or in support of any alternative. All they've objected to, repeatedly, is lack of discussion. Well, discuss already if there is anything to discuss! Dicklyon to his credit at least expressed some objection to Version 1, but even then all he said was, "I see problems pointed out with all those versions". Do you have any idea what those alleged problems are? I don't either. And neither does anyone else, apparently. I'm not discounting any of this because there is nothing to discount! Even Dick is conceding this is not a productive discussion, though he blames me for that... for "stacking the deck" (never mind that that has not stopped plenty of non-substantive discussion like this - why should it inhibit any substantive discussion?). Speaking of substantive discussion, now I'll go and respond to your latest below, which I just noticed. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:18, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
I was referring to problems pointed out in the previous discussion that moved us away from that version. You should review it. Dicklyon (talk) 18:26, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Please quote what specifically you're talking about. All I see is a discussion about simplifying the meaning with no intent to change meaning, and no direct mention of the specific words in question here, or the impact of removing them. --Born2cycle (talk) 19:42, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
One of the editors there wrote "If you say it is 'slightly winged' from "article titles should be the most recognizable description of the topic", then why don't you just say so, plain and simple? And skip all this nitpicking ('readers who are familiar with (though not necessarily expert in'... although not complete ignoramuses; while keeping in mind some of them may be ignorant but they hold the are not.....)) ... In other words, my original question may be narrowed down to: What does the discussed definition include important beyond the boldfaced quote..." I haven't seen a good answer to why we want that wording in there; being familiar with the topic seems way too narrow, for one thing; that's why DGG's suggested "familiar with the subject area" seems like a sensible compromise. For example, a person familiar with chemicals will recognize a chemical name even if he was familiar not with the particular chemical. Dicklyon (talk) 20:13, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
No, I think it's familiarity with the specific topic that we mean - if there's an obscure footaller called John McHaggis, we title his article John McHaggis, without extra information (unless disambiguation happens to be needed), despite the fact that most of the world's football buffs will never have heard of him and so will fail to recognise his name. --Kotniski (talk) 20:36, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
All that comment reveals is a lack of appreciation for the difference in meaning between recognizability in general and recognizability to those familiar with the specific topic (what was dismissed as "nitpicking"), perhaps because of what was then a somewhat convoluted wording. In any case, it shows no intent to change the meaning - the person obviously thought the suggested wording was a simpler way to say the same thing.

I know of no support for the "familiar with the subject area" interpretation in actual usage; as Kotniski explains, it's not what is meant by recognizability in WP. --Born2cycle (talk) 17:22, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Please remember that we entitle our articles for the convenience of our readers... We want to choose titles that will be recognizable to people searching for an article on a particular topic. Such readers may or may not be knowledgeable in the topic, but they will have a goal in mind. They will enter a name, or a descriptive phrase into the search box... and we want them to be able to quickly look at the results and say "ah, yes, there is the article on the topic I was searching for". Thus, the name or description we choose as a title should be the one that is most likely to be searched for by our readers. That is what is meant by "Recognizability". Blueboar (talk) 17:49, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
To clarify, how well do you think this meaning is conveyed by the current wording, which is version 1: "Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic?" --Born2cycle (talk) 19:01, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
To be honest, I don't like either of the versions... I would prefer something like: "Is the candidate title the name or description that the average reader would search for when trying to find this topic? Would the average reader be surprised or confused to find the topic under the candidate title?" Blueboar (talk) 21:29, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
I would like to avoid the clumsiness of the parenthetical remark in the current wording, but at least it explicitly states we're referring to those who are already familiar with the topic, whereas with your suggested wording it's only implied (you'd have to be familiar with it to some extent to be searching for it). Also, your wording unnecessarily discusses the reasons for having the recognizability criteria, rather than sticking to simply stating what "recognizability" is. --Born2cycle (talk) 22:25, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Abandoning this RFC

It is remarkable that an effort to resolve this issue has been hijacked for partisan purposes in such a flagrant way. At an RFC we ask the community to comment in slow, orderly, and respectful fashion. We work together to structure the discussion to tease out all issues; we wait to see whether our "opponents" (or rather, colleagues) have points to make that did not occur to us. We do not flood the attempt to achieve this with selected comments from an earlier discussion.

I will not participate in such a mockery of an RFC. I thank Dicklyon for starting it. Carry on with it, or finish it, whoever wants to. I have more productive things to get on with.

An RFC like this can have no respect from the community, and any "consensus" purported to arise from it will be worthless. Expect more orderly initiatives later. ArbCom had to supervise many weeks of action to get WP:DASH sorted out. In that case, the content was endorsed by the community, and some useful clarifications were added. No one wants all that fuss here; but the way to avoid it still seems to elude certain editors. I seriously doubt that the community accepts the provision that we have been concerned with here, along with its neighbours. Probably not more than a couple of dozen very active editors, who invoke them in pursuit of a very particular agenda. Still, that's just my considered opinion.

Threats to take editors to WP:AN/I (see edit summaries) do nothing toward respect and cooperation. Let's do without those in future.

NoeticaTea? 02:41, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

I tried to counsel him on his talk page (User_talk:Born2cycle#RFC) to no avail. I warned him that a fourth revert of this removal of his improper refactoring of the comments of others would violate 3RR; he did it anyway. Should I report him for 3RR and risk getting the lot of us blocked for edit warring? Or give it up like you're doing? I'll think on it... Dicklyon (talk) 02:47, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
And he also takes on the authority of deciding which parts of the previous discussion are substantive, and which are not, blanking the parts he doesn't want people to be distracted by, even while copying his favorite bits into the focused RFC. You've got to admit, it takes balls. Maybe AN/I makes more sense than the 3RR report. Dicklyon (talk) 03:17, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
3RR, being a simple, "mechanical" decision, is usually less drama-oriented than ANI, but ANI is not unreasonable because of the breadth of behavioral concerns. I'm just not sure that it will actually resolve the disputes. It could easily have the effect of spreading it to another page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:39, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Multiple people complained about that section being difficult to navigate. So I tried to hide the parts I genuinely felt were not substantive. I really wish you guys would take a big gulp of AGF, because comments like "he also takes on the authority of deciding which parts of the previous discussion are substantive, and which are not, blanking the parts he doesn't want people to be distracted by, even while copying his favorite bits into the focused RFC" indicates to the contrary. For example, if you think my hiding was incomplete, why not hide the parts you think are not substantive that I missed, or unhiding the parts you think were substantive that I hid, instead of reverting the whole thing? --Born2cycle (talk) 03:48, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Selecting hiding, by a deeply involved and controversial principal in an argument, is a really terrible idea. Why can't you see that? And repeating controversial biased/biasing actions after they are objected to and reverted is also contrary to movement toward resolution; and obnoxious. Did I say obnoxious? Dicklyon (talk) 03:51, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Oh, please. Initially, I hid a large section that was obviously non-substantive. You complained and reverted; part of your complaint was that I didn't hid everything that was non-substantive. So I tried again, this time trying not to miss anything. Again, instead of just whining and complaining, how about helping clean up that section by hiding the parts we all agree are non-substantive (you know, where actually talking about the proposal is substantive)? --Born2cycle (talk) 03:59, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Besides, it's not like the hide template (ah hem) deletes anything. Everything is still visible with just one quick click on the "show" link. --Born2cycle (talk) 04:02, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

I have registered my complaint at AN/I, and asked for feedback. I don't see how it can be possible to recover from this toxic mess. So whatever; if people want to take it back to some old wording instead of trying to work out an improvement, I'll stay out the way (whether due to a block or otherwise). Dicklyon (talk) 03:56, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

"Take it back to some old wording"... your intent to frame its previous incarnation in a negative light is ridiculous. The old version is the improvement, where the 'current' incarnation is concerned. If the hidden sections are the ones where people are bitching and whining instead of discussing the issue, I'm in favour. -Kai445 (talk) 17:57, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Recognisability: plotting a compromise pathway for readers and editors

I baulk at this title: Financial Instruments and Exchange Law (it's a Hong Kong law, actually), and Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (New York, actually).

In the thread above, the term recognisable is being bandied about as though it's easy to define. Why do I get the feeling this is on purpose, to make article titles as unrecognisable as editors please. There are several reasons we need to spell out some instances where locations can be included in titles:

  1. many titles are almost useless in category lists and even in google searches;
  2. at the moment, there's inconsistency on this count, no matter how loudly a few people might bellow here;
  3. we're making a lot of trouble in the years ahead when more articles will be added that will vie for the same title "space".

I suggest that some exceptions be included—for example, when a financial instrument, organisation, or (workforce) position could refer to multiple topics, it's permissible to add the name of the location in parentheses after the wording, in short form where possible (HK, NY, US, UK, etc.). Tony (talk) 10:09, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Again, the longstanding practice has been, for many good reasons, that the only requirement of titles in terms of recognizability is that the title should be a recognizable name or description of the topic to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic. This is not a difficult or complex issue. --Born2cycle (talk) 10:11, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, "for many good reasons" isn't a debating tool. Can you explain? Second, where are the boundaries between non-familiarity, familiarity, and expertise? This is the burning question. Tony (talk) 10:21, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I think EdChem explains it quite clearly, just above. --Born2cycle (talk) 10:28, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
No, he's confusing expertise with notions of uniqueness. Here's another issue: Verified Audit Circulation. Given the widespread over-capping only now being addressed in WP's titles, what are we to make of this? Any guesses? Ah, it's a corporation. Right. Tony (talk) 10:30, 21 December 2011 (UTC) PS And could someone explain the meaning of this, which I just found in a prominent part of the policy? "Consensus titles usually use names and terms that are precise (see below), but only as precise as necessary to identify the topic of the article unambiguously." How does "Verified Audit Circulation" identify the topic of the article unambiguously? Tony (talk) 10:36, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I admit I had no idea what Verified Audit Circulation was. But here's the thing... So what? You present this as if it's an obvious problem. What's the problem? State it as clearly as you can... The title Verified Audit Circulation does not make it possible for someone unfamiliar with it (most readers) to recognize it to be a company. The problem with that is ________ (fill in the blank).

As far as how "Verified Audit Circulation" identifies its title unambiguously... it does that because there is no other topic in WP to which that name refers. This is explained in detail at WP:PRECISION, including this statement: "when a topic's most commonly used name, as reflected in reliable sources, is ambiguous (can refer to more than one topic covered in Wikipedia), and the topic is not primary, that name cannot be used and so must be disambiguated." Here you see "ambiguous" is clearly defined in terms of other topics covered in Wikipedia. It is in that sense that unambiguously is intended to be interpreted in "identify the topic of the article unambiguously". --Born2cycle (talk) 10:52, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

  • How does this play into utility in category lists? Tony (talk) 11:19, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    • In many cases the category itself provides sufficient context, but in some cases having a more descriptive title would make category lists more useful. What's your point? --Born2cycle (talk) 12:23, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
      • So you agree that the context of category lists presents significant problems for the examples I've cited here? Who uses category lists, anyway? I'm genuinely interested to know whether it's readers or just editors. Tony (talk) 13:31, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
        • Categories as currently implemented and utilized are an abomination. Many categories use a strictly hierarchical attribute-based structure (that is, an entity in the category is of a type described by the category). Other categories define membership based more loosely on having some association with the topic of the category. These are two very different sorts of categorization schema that, IMO rather confusingly, share the same mechanism. But apart from that, I've about given up on categories largely because of the obsession with making the categories so specific that it makes navigating the category tree painfully tedious and confusing. olderwiser 14:08, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
          • Bkonrad, I must say I've never delved into the business of categories, and have rather accepted them as part of the furniture for all this time. It disturbs me to hear you say this. Is it a widely held view? Is there a possible solution? Is it also entangled with the debate about the specificity of article titles? Tony (talk) 14:51, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
            • My opinion is my own. The problems with the competing schema are well-known. How widely my estimation is shared I couldn't say. I have only been keeping the intermittent tabs on categorization discussions. I think many regular categorizers would prefer that categorization follow the hierarchical "IS A" model. In the past there had occasionally been some discussion of implementing a separate mechanism for associative tagging, but I'm not aware that has gone anywhere. But even within the strictly hierarchical tagging schema, the lack of an easy to use mechanism for viewing the aggregate collection of pages with subcategories of a category or of viewing specific intersections or unions of categories really limits the usability of categories. For example, if I am interested in examining townships within a U.S. state, currently these are sub-categorized by county. There is no way that I'm aware of within the mediawiki software to view all the townships within a state by categorization -- instead, it requires tediously navigating to each and every subcategory. There is at least one tool, CatScan, and possible others at toolserver, but these are not readily available for typical readers. Of course there are list articles for some such views, but not being able to do this with categories seems to me a limitation on the usefulness of categories. Someone else has already mentioned earlier on this page, the suggestion to have some sort of DISPLAY_TITLE attribute for categories to display a title different from the article title. IMO, that would help to address another limitation of category usability. olderwiser 15:34, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
              • Categories are a substandard tool, I certainly agree with that. I think they're something the developers created at one point a long time ago and then more or less gave up on. If they were slightly more cleverly/flexibly designed (the DISPLAYTITLE idea is just one of the improvements that users seem to recognize but no developer considers worth working on) they could be genuinely useful. (I'd like to see an expandable category tree structure in the left-hand side-bar of each article, but given the change-phobia of Wikipedia that's probably just a dream.) I don't think we should make major changes to our article-titling practices just to try to make categories a bit less useless (though I admit I like to see similar articles in a given category titled in a uniform way, if there's no reason other than random variation why they should be different).--Kotniski (talk) 18:19, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
                • Re "expandable category tree structure". This is part of a debate that took place computer science in the 1970s between the hierarchical database model and the relational database model. The hierarchical model was largely rejected in favour of relational model, so it is not surprising if the developers consider further development of categories sticking plaster programming. -- PBS (talk) 20:57, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Wow, I couldn't be more opposed to this. I do not have time right now but I will elaborate. Just placing this here to give a prod to not change any language precipitously.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 15:02, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
To what are you opposed?Kotniski (talk) 18:19, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I assumed he was referring to the final paragraph/sentence of Tony's opening comment in this section, but it would be good to verify. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:29, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Oh deary me. Please refer to my comment of a couple of minutes ago in the section above - the general sense of it fits here as well. SamBC(talk) 17:17, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Verified Audit Circulation sounds like a generally used term of art within its sphere, but instead it refers to a specific company. I did not expect this, and nobody who happens to be unfamiliar with the company could be expected to know. Even if one is looking for the company, a reasonable qualifier , like (company) is helpful. (I am, for example, familiar with the concept of audited circulation figures for publications, but I've never heard of the company & unless I'm mistaken, it is not the major company in the field--and even if it is, the article does not say so.) Similarly, if one is looking for a law with a rather general title, one is normally looking for either a comparative study of such laws, or the law in a particular jurisdiction. A heading such as[[[Financial Instruments and Exchange Law]] is useless--unless that jurisdiction happens to be Hong Kong, one doesn't know if there will be any information there. If one is very familiar with a law of a similar title elsewhere, confusion will also occur. enWikipedia covers the world,so things which are likely to be meaningful only in a particular part of the world need specification, which should bethought of as different for disambiguation. Here's an example:redirects to [[Securities Regulation in the United States]--specifies exactly what it was about and anyone who wants to know about the general concept or about the law elsewhere, which will probably be about half the users, will know to go elsewhere (not that many of the other articles have been written). But unfortunately the general term Securities law redirects to just this article, which is a useless and incorrect redirect at least half the time--this may be another problem, but its part of the confusion about the need to identify subjects. We are writing an encyclopedia not as a work of logical organization, but as something to be of immediate use to real world users. It doesn't matter if the qualifiers are sometimes unstandardized; it matters that the exist. The proper term I suggest is that the title must be clear to someone with a basic knowledge of the subject field. I don't expect Euler identity to be comprehensible to someone totally unfamiliar with mathematics--and even if it is, the article won't be of much value to them, but even here it would help if it was qualified as (mathematics), because though a mathematical may immediately realize Identity is used in a special way, others will not. A related article Euler's formula needs to clarify in the title whether it's mathematics or chemistry.Not doing so helps nobody. The principle is that Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia, not a specialized one. DGG ( talk ) 00:17, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Of course those of us unfamiliar with "Verified Audit Circulation" wouldn't know it's a corporation from just looking at the title... so what? In what contexts besides maybe in some kind of category list, would it matter? I mean, either you're looking for it, and so know what it is, or you run into it in another article which almost certainly provides the necessary context, as in, "While John Doe was CEO of Verified Audit Circulation, ...". What's the problem?

I also don't see the distinction to which you refer in practical terms. Can you (or someone) provide an example of a title what would be recognizable to someone familiar with the topic, but not to someone "with a basic knowledge of the subject field", or vice versa? --Born2cycle (talk) 00:44, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Oh, I now see what the problem is and where potential difficulties may arise. B2C points to the need for context. It's counter-intuitive to need to rely on context, because what happens in most cases people doing web searches for 'audit circulation'? This is where WP:AT fails. The reader will see this WP article among the first GHits, but will be disappointed by the result; they will not know that WP does not have an article on the subject they are searching for, and so are misled and may feel deceived. The corporate name in this case really ought to be qualified or dabbed because it sounds too generic, same applies in the case of laws or government agencies or bureaux where the jurisdiction is not in the title. Web searched may not necessarily be aware that the use of capitals here denotes a proper noun because Gsearches are case insensitive. However, if it's made clear from the outset that an article actually refers to "Verified Audit Circulation Corp" or "Verified Audit Circulation LLC" or whatever the legal form is, they will know not to waste their time clicking on that link. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 04:36, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • But it does not fail because in the example you give the Google search also returns the first sentence of the article "Verified Audit Circulation is a U.S. company that conducts circulation audits of both free and paid print publications and of traffic figures for websites". I had this discussion over Oliver Cromwell see Talk:Oliver Cromwell (died 1655)#Move. But it does mean that the first sentence has to get in the most relevant points (as is done in the first sentence of Verified Audit Circulation). Perhaps to help navigation from search engines this could be suggested as desirable in the the policy. -- PBS (talk) 20:26, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • So, I believe you're saying that in the case of relatively obscure topics with names that are likely to be used as search strings, the title should be disambiguated. Well, then, we've reach the same point here as I did with SamBC above (where it stalled). At this point I say... As always, the devil is in the details.

    Specifically, how do we express and convey this in this policy without creating a situation in which article title discussions are even more contentious than they already are? How do we determine whether a given name is sufficiently likely to be used as a search string to warrant this special treatment? How do we decide what exactly that special treatment should be in each case? And, perhaps most importantly, how does this really change anything?

    In the current situation, someone searching with "audit circulation" -- the first ghit, by the way, at least for me, is the website of Verified Audit Circulation - verifiedaudit.com -- might come upon our article at Verified Audit Circulation. They will realize it is not their article seconds later after reading the lead.

    Now, how would the situation change if we followed one of your suggestions, say by moving the article to Verified Audit Circulation Corp? Well, the same user would end up at the same article, with a slightly different title. They will realize it is not their article a few seconds later after reading the title and/or the lead. I'm sorry, but I really don't see a big difference here. In fact, at least in the current case they are likely to realize that WP has no other article named Verified Audit Circulation, but in the suggested situation, being at Verified Audit Circulation Corp is likely to wrongly suggest to them that there is another article named Verified Audit Circulation. So at best, it's a wash, and it's likely to make matters worse. Please explain how this would be an improvement. --Born2cycle (talk) 06:27, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

  • I believe I already explained it above, it lies with anticipating readers' expectations. The current way titles are configured for generic-sounding names (no, I'm not talking about relatively unique names such as 'Intel' vs 'Intel Corp') potentially leads the searcher/reader to fall on the wrong article more often than not. You seem to believe that it doesn't matter but I think it does. Still using the above example, amigo, if you can't see the difference, then perhaps the problem lies with you and not with me. At present, a Gsearch for 'Verified Audit Circulation Corp' doesn't show the WP article, whereas the WP article for the company shows up when searching for 'audit circulation'. So it is a problem, n'est-ce pas? --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 06:52, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • No, I really don't understand. I'm not denying the possibility that the problem lies with me - I might be having a dense moment. If so, I just need a clear explanation of what you're say, and I'll get it. Believe me.

    You say "the current way" "potentially leads the searcher/reader to fall on the wrong article more often than not". Please explain how changing the name of the article currently at Verified Audit Circulation to Verified Audit Circulation Corp would even affect the likelihood of users searching with, say, "audit circulation", reaching this article, much less make it less likely. If you believe the same article, when moved to Verified Audit Circulation Corp, will be less likely to show up in the "audit circulation" search results simply because of the title change, then you don't understand how google searches work. First, Verified Audit Circulation will remain a redirect to the article. More importantly, google will "learn" where the new article has been moved. Remember, it's reporting results largely based on article content, not the article title... we can move the article to Red fairies in Volkswagens, and google will still find it. I think you're assuming the title in general, and even a minor change in the title, affects search results much more than it actually does.

    You say, "a Gsearch for 'Verified Audit Circulation Corp' doesn't show the WP article". Right. So what? Who is going to be searching with that string? What does that show?

    You also say, " whereas the WP article for the company shows up when searching for 'audit circulation'." Right. Again, and why do you think that will change if the article is moved to Verified Audit Circulation Corp? People will still be searching with "audit circulation", and the article now at Verified Audit Circulation Corp will be just as good of match, and will show up the same spot (all other factors held equal) in the search results.

    What am I missing? --Born2cycle (talk) 07:35, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Also, note that both Google and WP results don't just present a list of titles - they also display snippets of the article lead, so it's easy to see what the article is about without relying solely on the title, if that's what you're thinking. --Born2cycle (talk) 07:57, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • OK, now let me use some other examples to illustrate how I believe article titles ought to be named: cases where the terms are generic or names common, our policy ought to mandate disambiguation from the outset. It would have the advantage of clarity, and the dab page would be a first stop where namesakes can be listed whether there is an article or not. Red links can serve the purpose of inciting users to create articles of notable instances. The principle seems to be well applied in cases such as Peter Jones and Paul Smith, both of which are disambiguating pages notwithstanding very prominent examples (Peter Jones (department store) and Paul Smith (fashion designer)). As I am myself a minimalist, I believe that simplicity is good, but oversimplicity can be a disservice to readers by the ambiguity it creates. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 04:46, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Okay, let's add you to the group of editors — along with Dicklyon, Noetica, Tony1 and SamBC — who want articles with "generic sounding names" to be predisambiguated (disambiguated even when there is no conflict with any other uses of that name in Wikipedia).

Like I've said four times now (search for "devil" on this page), the devil is in the details. How do we express and convey this in this policy without creating a situation in which article title discussions are even more contentious than they already are? How do we decide whether a given name is "generic sounding", or not? How do we decide how to disambiguate it if there are no other uses to disambiguate from? That is, Cork (city), for example, is disambiguated with "city" because it is the only use of "cork" in Wikipedia that is a city... but we need to have other articles to know that. If there were other cities named Cork, the "city" would not be an appropriate disambiguator (unless it was the primary use relative to the other cities). If there were no other uses at all of "Cork", then it could just be at Cork. Our whole system of deciding how to disambiguate is based on looking at other uses in Wikipedia; so how do we decide how to disambiguate when there are no other uses?

Finally, and most importantly, what problem is solved by introducing all these complications? How is Wikipedia improved if we start predisambiguating titles of articles about topics with generic names?

Now, what typically happens in these discussions when they get down to these nitty-gritty questions is... the discussion ends. Over and over, and we never get anywhere. That's the point.

With regard to Peter Jones and Paul Smith, there are over a dozen other uses of each in WP, and we've decided that among them there is no primary topic. That's a separate issue, one that we're accustomed to handling. The issue we're talking about is disambiguating something even when there are no other uses in WP. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:32, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Do not speak for me, or assume that I will support the same approach as some others, even if we agree more often than not. And if you want to see discussion, try limiting your own posts to no more than about 20% of the total, instead of your typical 40%. It's not reasonable to expect others to answer every one of your questions when you have such a history of dominating discussions and not listening or allowing others to help frame or lead the discussion. Dicklyon (talk) 18:44, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Queries that may be related to the above

Colleagues, it seems useful to gather here a few imponderables that might have a bearing on our discussion above. I approach these from a position of ignorance. Please add to this list, anyone, article titles that might help us to sort out what to do.

  • Pension administration (US). This is as I found it. Do the current rules disallow this kind of specificity in a title? There seem to be no other contenders for the title "space", but I'd find "Pension administration" impossibly vague.
  • Unit Investment Trust. No "(US)", and close by the first one in the same category list. Now given the caps, I clicked on this one thinking it was a formal title (of a company?), and when I saw the opening phrase I almost clicked away:

    "A Unit Investment Trust (UIT) is a US investment company offering a fixed (unmanaged) portfolio of securities having a definite life."

    Ah, but read on, way past the opening text that would appear in a google search entry: if you missed the opening "A", you'd fail to understand that it's actually a type of investment company. I'd rather have the "class of ..." or "type of ..." up-front at the opening; this is part of a larger problem that occurs when articles are not themed clearly as generic or titular, and it brushes up against the practices of naming titles. So I suppose it should be downcased per MOSCAPS, although I've had to mount an RM to have it moved (sigh). Chaotic casing and unclear openings are not helping the recognisability issue one bit. Another little issue is that the UK equivalent is called Unit trust, as it notes at the top in tiny print. I find this rather unhelpful to the readers.

  • Payments Council: I have a real problem in the field of finance, banking, tax, accounting, where the titles might sometimes be unique (on WP anyway) but conceptually are unhelpful, even frustrating.
  • Banking Code. Hmmm. I've read this short article and I still can't work out what it is, exactly. Tony (talk) 12:48, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Dohn Joe, I trust you will not launch in and change the first one while this issue is being discussed (as you've done previously when I've raised examples here). Tony (talk) 10:59, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Is this a new game? Guess the article content from the title? Or is the game to find articles with a poorly written lead? Sounds like fun! Let's see what gems Random article bring us. Here are several that I have no idea what the topic is by looking only at the title: Tatra 57, Old and in the Way, or how about Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility -- which Mount Pleasant is that? Or might it be the facility in Mount Pleasant, NC with a different name? Or might it even be an arcane way to refer to Sing Sing, which was built in the town of Mount Pleasant, New York? Or how about Bacabeira? Is that a place name? Or a biologic taxa? Or maybe a nickname for a footballer? The point is that few expect an article title to summarize article content.
I'll grant that the lead to Unit Investment Trust is poorly written, though that alone is no reason for renaming. I'd agree with renaming as Unit investment trust since it is not the formal name of any entity. It might even be that a merger with Unit trust is appropriate. You note the tiny print of the hatnote, but unless you've modified your CSS, the size of the hatnote text is the same as the article text and hatnotes ARE one of the methods for addressing ambiguity on Wikipedia.
You say that Pension administration (US) is as you found it -- but you moved that page on Sept 28 from Pension Administration.
In principle, I don't have that much of an issue if a generally supported naming convention recommends pre-disambiguation in some circumstances, such as Wikipedia:Naming conventions (government and legislation) or Wikipedia:Naming conventions (royalty and nobility) or WP:USPLACE. These define the scope of applicability and provides guidance for consistent application. I very much oppose the notion that a fundamental principle of Wikpedia's article naming practices needs to be changed. olderwiser 14:02, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Tony, how many times will you bring up the same point, and elicit the same explanations, like Bkonrad has taken the time and energy to do, again, here, which you will not address, only to bring it up again and again and again? Enough!. If you just repeatedly raise the same issue and don't engage in constructive dialog, you're just being tendentious and disruptive, by definition. See WP:TE. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:59, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

  • UIT – I worked on Unit Investment Trust a bit; it needs to be downcased still. It's nothing to do with the US. If we had all these generics in lower case, maybe we'd have a better chance of understanding upper-case terms as names; but we're still a long way from getting there, so I agree that the extra disambig can sometimes be an important clue; we should not expunge those just because we can, title-ambiguity-wise. Dicklyon (talk) 22:53, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
This appears to be a rare occasion I agree with you, Dick ;) Unit investment trust should be downcased. Pension administration (US) is an inappropriate title, the Wikipedia norm for this type of name would be the descriptive title 'Pension administration in the United States'. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 23:18, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Here's another weird one that seems to be enforced by the current practice: Basic Safety Training. It's downcased in the article text, BTW. Tony (talk) 13:11, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Like many articles, it is capitalized where it should not be. Yet other articles are not capitalized, and ought to be. Neither of these is "enforced" by anything. Tony has spent some time usefully decreasing the first set of errors; but this campaign is now increasing the second set about as fast. Please do this one and stop. JCScaliger (talk) 21:22, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
And get a load of this: Electronic Filing System ... um ... Singapore judiciary got its hands on this article title "space" first, so finders keepers.
Folks, our articles generally fall into one of two categories: Those with names and those without names for which we have come up with a descriptive title. I suppose we're talking about what some perceive to be a gray area - topics with names that look like descriptions. But, here's the thing -- if it's the only use of that description-looking name in WP, we still use its name as the title of the article. If there ever is another article about a topic that uses that name, or an article for which that name is an appropriate descriptive title, then we disambiguate. To say that we should always disambiguate "such titles" brings us back to the devil that is in the details" I keep bringing it up (and I won't again - just search for "devil" on this page). --Born2cycle (talk) 18:52, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Taking a holistic approach to Wikipedia title policy – Is it an idea whose time has come?

Having been following WP titling policy for several years and more recently actively participating in the RM process, I am convinced that our titling policy is much too complex to be applied effectively. I don’t think the complexity is intentional, but comes as a result of our failure to take a holistic view of titling policy while making a whole myriad of incremental changes to a variety of policy, guidelines and MOS related to titling. Add on top of that is the litany of advice from WikiProjects laying out naming conventions for particular categories of articles and we have a proverbial Tower of Babel when trying to apply all this to any given article title. Think about it. We have WP:NAMINGCRITERIA—Recognizability, Naturalness, Precision, Conciseness and Consistency. On top of that we can invoke WP:COMMONNAMES, WP:POVTITLE, WP:PRECISION, WP:DAB, WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, WP:MOSCAPS, WP:DIACRITICS, WP:EN and WP:ENGVAR. (I suspect I missed a few and intentionally didn’t list all the project level naming conventions). All these can and do trump each other when applied to individual articles. Imagine a new editor trying to avoid running afoul of all these conflicting rules.

There are several truths associated with WP article titles—every title has to be unique (all 3.9 million of them), every title probably has a logical alternative, and for every title, there is probably at least one editor who vehemently disagrees with it and has a better alternative. For some reason, editors become emotionally attached to their favorite alternative titles and the selective rationale for them. That emotion leads to a lot of unnecessary incivility and contentiousness over article titles. Over the next ten years, the probability that WP will have 6 million + articles is high. That’s 2 million new titles and millions more alternatives. There’s another truth associated with Wikipedia article titles and the things editors say about them is that it is pure fantasy to think that any editor can proclaim how millions of readers are going to behave if a title isn’t precisely the way they believe it should be. Everytime I read readers are going to do this or readers are going to do that in a move discussion, I cringe at the lunacy of such statements. Readers don’t visit WP for titles, they visit WP for content and our titling policy doesn’t recognize that. Yet, we continue to debate (and expend valuable volunteer energy) the silliest title changes when that energy would be much better spent improving content.

Here’s a little metaphor to explain my point a bit more graphically. Imagine we had an article entitled Dog Shit and in reality, from a content perspective, it is metaphorically a pile of crap—no sources, bad lead, bad prose, bad formatting, etc. Someone thinks there’s a better title for the Dog Shit article—alternatives (Dog shit (MOSCAPS)), (Dog feces (Precision)), (Dog poop (POVTitle)), (Dog crap (Commonname)), and my favorite (Hundekot (because the crap was taken by a German Sheppard)). We could select anyone of the alternative titles (although Hundekot would be a stretch), but in the end, the article’s content would still be a pile of crap (metaphorically at least) because an article title (no matter what it is doesn’t make up for bad content).

If anyone has got this far and wants to invoke WP:TLDR, don’t. Sometimes you just have to listen first, before evaluating an idea. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mike Cline (talkcontribs)

Proposal for a proposal

I believe we need to accomplish two things relative to article titles. One, we need to drastically simplify WP:Titles and the associated guidelines and MOS. And when I say simplify, I mean a reduction of at least 2/3rds of the collective Babel it contains now. Two, we need to change the focus of titling discussions (including our formal processes) in a way that not only stabilizes titles, but makes titling an afterthought when compare to the imperative of creating and maintaining good content in WP. I have an idea as to how we might do this, but I want to point out how we might simplify our naming policy. Currently our five naming criteria—Recognizability, Naturalness, Precision, Conciseness, Consistency could be reasonably reduced to three, eliminating two that are nearly impossible to define let alone interpret and implement.

  • Recognizability (not a real word) doesn’t say what it means. What is means is: Article titles should be representative or reflective of article content. (i.e. We wouldn’t name the article on Cleveland, Ohio Chicago, IL)
  • Naturalness is not definable or interpretable – its lunacy to think we can deduce what millions of editors think. Giving license to that lunacy in policy is a colossal mistake. This one goes.
  • Precision is another criterion that should go. Precision is essentially impossible when there are multitudes of alternative titles. What is more precise—Water or H2O? This criterion has spawned all sorts of Babel with PRIMARY TOPIC, COMMONNAME, etc.
  • Conciseness is a criterion that is easy to understand and interpret. Some titles are more or less concise than alternatives. Some level of conciseness is desirable and easy to determine and our policy doesn’t need to be The most concise title
  • Consistency, which I believe, is the single most important criterion and unfortunately the most ignored in the sea of Babel around titling. We should be able to establish reasonable naming conventions for different types of articles, use and enforce those conventions.

So how do we go about simplifying our titling policy and associated guidelines and MOS without disrupting the encyclopedia? It won’t be easy, but if we take an objective look at it, it would be possible. I’d like to see a couple of things happen.

  • Establishing a defacto moratorium on WP:TITLE policy changes for the next 12 months. In the last 12 months there’s been over 500 edits to the policy page, who knows how much energy spent in discussion around those edits and all we’ve accomplished is a rearrangement of the dysfunctional Babel that is our titling policy.
  • Establishing a WikiProject Titles (or some other venue) that can systematically and rationally take a holistic examination of our titling policy. (We have 3.9 million examples to work with). This might take a year, but a project like this could recommend changes in policy and process that would not only simplify titling, but would refocus titling processes to put the emphasis on good content versus titling for titling sake.

In my view, the key ideas here are simplification and content taking priority over titles. We can’t do that without taking a reasoned, systematic, holistic look at this. Sustaining and incrementally modifying the current state of Babel that is our titling policy will not bode well for us as we generate the next 2-3 million articles. --Mike Cline (talk) 17:41, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree with you in principal, but disagree on some of the important details.

In a sense I agree that "consistency" is most important, but there are two ways "consistency" is commonly interpreted, which I refer to as the narrow and broad sense of "consistency". The narrow way is the interpretation intended in the listed criteria on this policy page - for articles to be named consistently with other similar articles. This is why it's often not given high priority, because doing so often conflicts with other criteria and is often considered less important (New York City, not New York City, New York, Catherine the Great, not Catherine II, etc.). The broad interpretation of consistency is that all titles should be consistent with the broad naming principles of Wikipedia - this makes titling more predictable and less contentious.

Recognizability and naturalness are really just attempts to explain the underlying reasons for using common names - and using common names is a fundamental guiding principle in the vast, vast majority of our articles' titles.

In addition to consolidating and simplifying this policy and all the related guidelines, I think the main missing piece is a method for how to prioritize, or at least weigh against each other, the various "rules" when there are conflicts. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:53, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

(ec) I think you exaggerate the problem - for the vast majority of articles, there is no dispute over the right title. But I agree this whole page could be rewritten (again) to make it clearer how titles are chosen in practice. Although any attempt to describe the process "holistically" will mean admitting that there we tolerate certain inconsistencies just because editors in certain subject areas have made it a matter of faith that they need to do it differently and will not agree to standardize (place-names in the U.S. with redundant disambiguation,and so on).--Kotniski (talk) 18:58, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Consistency is the least useful. Its use reminds me of the old WWI marching song "We're, here, because we're here, because we're here, because we're here" (to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne"). The justification for keeping Zurich Airport at Zürich Airport was because Zurich was at Zürich and guess what one of the arguments for keeping Zurich with dots was because articles like the airport article used them. I think consistency is a problem because it is easy to be seduced into seeing consistency in data sets that does not exist (Martian canals). While consistency has its place, it should be subservient to common name (it took a long time to get that agreed at WP:NCROY and WP:FLORA), and also to a lesser extent to the other bullet points. -- PBS (talk) 21:08, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Consistency is important, but PBS does make an important argument of what can happen if its placed too high up. People will end up locking things into one form or another because another page uses it. I still believe he goes too far by saying its the least important.Jinnai 21:58, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
The trouble with consistency, as B2C has intimated, is that people who insist on being "consistent" in certain areas actually end up causing inconsistency. This is most obvious in the case of place-names - people try to enforce religiously the conventions that have been worked out for places in particular countries, on grounds of "consistency", but because these various conventions are not uniform, we actually end up with inconsistent titling between places in different countries.--Kotniski (talk) 10:27, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
As far as I am concerned, Recognizability does mean what it says. Why do we use United Kingdom and not UK, which may well be now rather more common? One minor reason is the slight ambiguity with the University of Kentucky. Another is tone, which is not one of the questions (although I would call it Naturalness if pressed). But surely the chief reason is that most people will more quickly recognize what article they are at? JCScaliger (talk) 00:21, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Naturalness is the most important of the criteria; why would you recommend removing it entirely? The important thing is for readers to be able to find the article they're looking for as quickly as possible, and using the most natural title possible is the best way to ensure that. Powers T 04:07, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I don't think consistency is the most important, but it's important. And just because naturalness and precision are hard to define doesn't mean we'd be better off to ignore them. I pretty much agree with the comments on recognizability and conciseness, but it's less clear where that should take us in re-expressing the guidelines. I think the problems we get into are about trying to find narrow interpretations of these points, or to apply one over another, rather than be open to what's a better title for a particular article. Dicklyon (talk) 04:34, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

"Recognizability – Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic?"—there was never consensus for this. Tony (talk) 02:05, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
If you've worked out where it came from, or where we can find discussion about, let us know. Dicklyon (talk) 05:55, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
It was part of what came out of a massive discussion and reconstruction process some time (2 years??) ago. The discussion thread above seems to show that it is still generally supported. Of course, this page is still structured in a less-than-straightfoward way and could be much improved, but I don't think there's any special problem with this phrase - it just means that we want an article title to be recognizable to the sort of person who might be looking for that article (i.e. someone who has heard of the topic - otherwise why would they be looking for it? - but isn't an expert in it - otherwise what would they be expecting to learn by looking it up on Wikipedia?)--Kotniski (talk) 10:01, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
Ah, I see it was your words that we're arguing about; this 17 Aug 2010 diff. There had been language before about how the title was more for the general reader than for the experts, which I think is more along the lines that Noetica is concerned about. That was removed as "fluff" in this 25 Sept 2009 diff; taking it out of the familiarity clause may have been part of the present disagreement. Dicklyon (talk) 23:57, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

How to start

As with many discussions, it is possible to wander off into abstraction where debate can circle about until everyone despairs over any advance. Maybe it would be helpful to identify a particular example, or a class of examples, where some problem has arisen and discuss that to see whether any general principles come out of it.

For example, we presently have Coriolis effect as the title of an article with a redirect from Coriolis force. In terms of Google searches, the latter is the more common terminology: is a Google search a definitive selection criterion?

From a different stance, Coriolis force is a force, not an effect, technically speaking, so maybe the more precise usage is a criterion?

We also have Coriolis effect (perception). In this field there is no ambiguity: Coriolis effect is always used, never Coriolis force, and in fact, the Coriolis effect has nothing to do with the Coriolis force of physics, and it is related to rotation in a completely different way. (It's related to the construction of the inner ear.) So in the case of these competing definitions, do we take the unambiguous usage as paramount over an ambiguous usage?

Is the solution to use Coriolis force for the physical force, and a disambiguation page for Coriolis effect subdivided into Coriolis effect (perception) and Coriolis effect (physics)? Is the solution in this instance amenable to generalization?

Any thoughts? Brews ohare (talk) 18:29, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

I suppose it depends what we think the primary usage for "Coriolis effect" is (what, if anything, do we think a clear majority of readers are looking for if they type in "Coriolis effect"?) If we don't find either of the two meanings to be primary, we go for a disambiguation page (though that's not a particularly helpful solution when there are only two topics). At least, that's the way it's handled according to existing principles - are you suggesting that these be modified in some way?--Kotniski (talk) 18:34, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
It's highly conjectural what the majority of readers are looking for. The majority of medically minded readers or airplane pilots are looking for Coriolis effect (perception), The majority of physics readers are looking for Coriolis force. By about two-to-one google searches favor Coriolis force. My solution would be to use Coriolis force for physics and Coriolis effect for perception with a For...see note at the top of each page referring to the other usage.
My basis would be that Coriolis force is unambiguously physics, and Coriolis effect has a clear meaning in perception, although it can be confused with physics. So some physics readers will be subject to an inconvenience, but not the majority, and medical readers will be unencumbered.
I am unsure how to formulate the general principles that apply here.
Of course, that leaves aside the politics of dealing with the ruling clique at Coriolis effect.Brews ohare (talk) 18:48, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
This search on "Coriolis effect" that excludes poetry and includes "ear" produces 164,000 hits; this search that excludes "Coriolis effect" and references to poetry produces 92,300 hits and this search for "Coriolis force" that excludes "Coriolis effect" produces 319,000 hits. I conclude that the majority of readers use "Coriolis force" to find "Coriolis force", and the majority of those using "Coriolis effect" are looking for "Coriolis effect (perception)" and only a minority group use "Coriolis effect" to find what is actually "Coriolis force". Brews ohare (talk) 19:31, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
It's tidy, but I don't follow the logic of your counts. If you look at books, it seems apparent that the physics (esp. geophysics) topic is primary for Coriolis effect. Dicklyon (talk) 20:14, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
I suppose the "logic" at issue here is how to set up a search, assuming that it is agreed that a search is a useful way to evaluate a choice of titles. I find that this Google book search on Coriolis effect excluding poetry and perception produces 91,300 hits while this Google book search arranged to include perception has 1380 hits. On the other hand, this Google book search on Coriolis force that excludes poetry and perception comes up with 325,000 results. So I conclude again that most readers of WP use "Coriolis force" to search for Coriolis force, while about a third as many search on "Coriolis effect" for this purpose. A much smaller number search for "Coriolis effect (perception)" using Coriolis effect, and of course, they are not looking for Coriolis force.
So based upon Google book searches we end up with Coriolis force as the practical title, and two choices for Coriolis effect: have it refer to the perception (a convenience for medical readers) or have "Coriolis effect" redirect to Coriolis force with a For...see for medical readers directing them to Coriolis force (perception).
The fundamental question, though, is whether Google searches are to be the main determinant in this way, or Google book searches, and if so, how are such searches to be constructed (it is an art). Alternative to Google searches, or supplementing them, one can try to use some other rationale like connection to fields where the terms are unambiguously used, or minimal disturbance to readers, or something.
As another wrinkle, isn't it common in WP to use titles with parenthetic end-qualifiers as members of a family of such titles distinguished by different parenthetic back ends in conjunction with disambiguation pages? Brews ohare (talk) 21:37, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Recognisability: the "restored" version is not well founded; what to do next

[Editors, please comment after this post, not within it. NoeticaTea? 23:44, 26 December 2011 (UTC)]

I have been looking through the archives. I see a great deal of discussion of the fundamental questions and principles (or of what preceded them) in late 2009. But I see no agreement on the wording that has now been put in place for recognisability. I find no endorsement of that by the community, or even any well-notified attempt at wide consultation. It is possible that I have missed something that should stand out as obvious in those reams of dialogue. I hope someone will point it out for us. So far it seems that the present wording was invented by Kotniski in this edit of 18 August 2010, and not addressed specifically in the ensuing discussion (though some called for a closer consideration, and caution in supplanting long-established wording: see this archived discussion). [Amended after Dicklyon's new information, above.–N]

It is interesting that Kotniski has supported Born2cycle's reversion to an earlier version. It is, as it turns out, Kotniski's version. Kotniski's edit summary: "let's not get silly about this - this is the wording that (a) is longer established, and (b) is the one the majority clearly support". Majority support? Hmm. Let's not get silly about this, indeed. [Added after Dicklyon's new information, above.–N]

The wording Born2cycle has now removed was discussed by five editors (not "two or three"), in a section specifically dedicated to it, from 20 to 22 May 2011. See Recognizability, in Archive 32. The result of the discussion was a reversion (in this edit) to the core of the provision, without any complex qualification:

Recognizability – article titles should be the most recognizable description of the topic.

That text was soon simplified (see edit), with a reference to the discussion I have just linked:

Recognizability – article titles are expected to be a recognizable name or description of the topic.

This developed into the question form that has stood until supplanted in recent days:

Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic?

The participants in that open and well-labelled discussion:

User:Kaligelos
User:Ohms law
User:Tony1
User:Pmanderson
User:WhatamIdoing

In the months that followed there was extraordinary action, involving attempts to present relevant portions of the page by transclusion from another page (by Born2cycle, with heavy resistance from others), and the linking of an essay by Born2cycle (also resisted, and not currently implemented).

Born2cycle has placed transclusion features (against objections) that persist in the present version of the page. One regrettable side-effect of an earlier attempt: when we consult certain earlier drafts of the page (this one for 15 July 2011, for example) we are misled. The current text concerning recognisability (and adjacent provisions) is displayed in that dated draft, not the text that was in place at the time.

It is plain to me, at least. The evidence suggests a bad case of WP:OWNERSHIP. It is extremely difficult to plot the development of the page because of those unilateral shifts, and what might be regarded as smokescreens and distortions of history. Equally, it is perilous to claim that there is consensus for any historical version under such conditions of documentation.

The extended chaotic discussions above this section are cause for concern. There was a unilateral restoration of a provision claimed as "consensual" and in place "for years" (though see my critique), countering a later discussed changed that stood for seven months. There were appeals to WP:AN and to WP:ANI, where Born2cycle was counselled to go back to the page and wait for discussion; and another admin proposed that he absent himself for a week from this page. He did not even acknowledge those suggestions (though he had sought advice); he pressed on with a campaign for his wording here, and diverted attention at WP:ANI to those who opposed the speed and belligerence with which he pursued that course. Some editors have endorsed the restoration; but the discussion has been laughably shallow and narrow; and an impartially presented RFC has been hijacked, against the possibility of broad consultation and quiet consideration.

As I write, Born2cycle's last edit of the page (soon after the WP:ANI section had been archived) restored his favoured text and removed the "under discussion" tag. Almost simultaneously, though, he continued the discussion with a reply to Dicklyon, and an invitation for Dicklyon to continue the discussion: "Please quote what specifically you're talking about."

Now, this is not a page for discussing user conduct. But it has been impossible in recent times to separate such conduct from content development, such is the domination of one editor here. I do not call for sanctions or penalties; I just want the history of these core policy provisions to be clearer. If anyone can add clarifying facts, or fill in missing episodes, that would be useful too.

What to do next? I can only speak for myself. I have not addressed content in the recent discussions, because conditions were plainly against calm deliberation. I have pointed that out consistently. That is how things remain. I propose that we put this issue aside to be dealt with later.

A core, contested provision on the page has no demonstrated consensus. It cannot be claimed as representing a status quo in future discussions.

NoeticaTea? 23:44, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Wow, the history around July 14-15 is indeed rather confused and amazing, with Born2cycle repeatedly warring in his templated version of the provisions over repeated objections from Blueboar and others. But when I look at the transcluded template history, it seems to not exist until July 19. Did it get deleted and come back, or what? That hack sure does make it hard to understand what old versions looked like at the time. As for Kotniski's 17 Aug 2010 introduction of the currently controversial wording, I find nothing in the talk page related to it at all. Dicklyon (talk) 05:41, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
Wow. Well my 2 cents is that I think recognizability as it is worded in the pre-Kotniski version and moreso Kotniski version is the issue itself. It seems to trump almost every other criteria when it should be of those one of the lesser ones as it isn't (by the pre-Kotniski edit version based on reliable sources. COMMONNAME should apply primarly to RSed items. Actually, easy-to-find and recognizable should probably just be merged. They basically say the same thing but one we rely on credible sources and the other we ignore them which goes against stuff like WP:RS and mostly use google hits which are far from perfect even when narrowed down.Jinnai 06:45, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
You are all making one hell of a fuss about something that really is very trivial. All the sentence is doing is documenting the very well-known fact that we don't add extra information to titles to try to make them "recognizable" to people who aren't familiar with the topic at all. (We don't put "(footballer)" after the name of every obscure footballer, for example - we only do it if disambiguation is needed.) It's been like that on this page for ages, and didn't require discussion when it went in, because it isn't controversial. The RfC above confirms that this version continues to be supported. So what exactly is the problem? I certainly don't see a need to mark that whole section with a "neutrality" (?!) tag, when the dispute (insofar as there is one) concerns just one sentence, which is already marked as under discussion.--Kotniski (talk) 08:26, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
Some of it is simple rephrasing of prose, but other prose changes change the meaning substantially.Jinnai 18:11, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
Some of what?--Kotniski (talk) 21:00, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Recognizable - that one did not have the idea that it was "readers who are familiar". It was only that the names appear in RSes.
  • Easy to find (i think became commonness) which did not have any burdern on RSes nor did it try to push that "easy to find" aka commonnness is akin to COMMONNAME, the most often cited part of this policy.
  • It removed precision entirely (being common or recognizable does not mean something is precise. Take, FE: Role-playing video game. It is not the common term (Role-playing game is and will never be avialable for that article because its broad-topic article), its not exactly all that recognizable though it is used by a few reliable sources, but it is precise. Instead Precise was replaced with disambiguate note that moved the text from the lead to where it would be. Moving the text there in and of itself is not inherently a malicious move as it could make it more clear, however, removing precise does appear to be a major change in policy that came under the guise of "not having any other meaning not covered" when there was no debate on that.
  • Consise - dropping the note that disambig portion is also part of consise is a major change as without it there could, and have been, arguments that the disambig part isn't really a part of the title.
  • Consistency change would have done better to give an internal link on the page, but I don't think there was any major changes here.Jinnai 21:26, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

As to what to do next, like I say, I don't see any problem (except for the fact that a few editors have suddenly and coincidentally arrived at this page to make a fuss about it) with the particular "recognizability clause" (it's only descriptive, anyway - "consensus has generally formed around the following questions"), but we might take advantage of this sudden surge of interest in this page to make a new, more comprehensible draft of the policy - I'm sure we can describe the process by which we arrive at article titles in a more simple manner than this page does at the moment.--Kotniski (talk) 08:33, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

It could also be argued that it was an attempt to sneak a major change in under the guise of a copyedit or clarrification edit. I'm going to assume that was not the case and if so, you shouldn't mind debating the changes and their merits since it has been brought up for discussion.Jinnai 21:26, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
You know, we just had an RFC on this very point. A substantial majority preferred the present wording; nobody who didn't come in to complain about this was convinced. Vast amounts of Wikidrama were produced.
Now, in an editor who didn't insist so loudly, elsewhere, that consensus is required to change even a guideline (much less a policy), I would be more persuaded that this is simply a variant definition of consensus; but not here. Please drop this, together with the unnecessary and unpopular disambiguation it is in aid of. JCScaliger (talk) 21:46, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
With respect, JCS, you seem not to understand what is going on. Have you fallen victim to Twitterdom, so that you no longer read sustained argument? You write:

"You know, we just had an RFC on this very point. A substantial majority preferred the present wording; nobody who didn't come in to complain about this was convinced."

Did you not notice that the process (started correctly by Dicklyon, with a call for new input and moderation) was immediately subverted by unilateral tabling of selected old input and a call for a most spurious "status quo" to be accepted without further question? Did you not notice that this disruption occasioned action at WP:ANI? I am surprised. After all, you were there yourself, complaining about those who deplored the subversion of due process at this page. (Review the discussion at ANI here.) If you are partisan and have some relevant history, just declare it. Then we'll all understand.
Recognisability, as it is presently constructed (after resurrection to an earlier state over objections that have not been met), is just one of the ill-considered provisions that need review on the page. Obviously some are uncomfortable with that; and they hasten discussion and belittle any objections to keep their rather convoluted version in place. That has nothing to do with discovering consensus.
This page, and this talkpage, could do with the sorts of reforms we have seen at WP:MOS and WT:MOS. Things are much calmer and more respectful there, since the cessation of earlier hostilities, and a move away from sharp practice. Till that is achieved, WP:TITLE is flawed. Nothing can be done about that unless we respect Wikipedian norms for collegial development of policy.
NoeticaTea? 23:13, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
I noticed both of you attempting to impose "rules of order." Both of you seem to have been making them up; Born2Cycle at least appears to have been adjusting mainly his own contribution, which is what WP:REFACTOR says to do.
But the opinions on the question of substance are still on this page; they are not in favor of what you demand.
You also have been adding a {{NPOV}} banner to the section at hand; this is unjustified by your own arguments. Even if an argument were made that it somehow produces unneutral titles, this is the wrong tag, and redundant with {{underdiscussion}}. Please stop adding drama. JCScaliger (talk) 23:28, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
JCS:

"I noticed both of you attempting to impose 'rules of order.' Both of you seem to have been making them up; ..."

Not so. Just for a start, review the instructions that appear on the top of a policy page when you set out to edit it:

You are editing a page that documents an English Wikipedia policy. While you may be bold in making minor changes to this page, consider discussing any substantive changes first on the page's talk page.

It is no minor change, as evidenced by the vehemence with which it is promoted or resisted. Now, read my account of B2C's other departures from accepted standards above.

"Born2Cycle at least appears to have been adjusting mainly his own contribution, ..."

Factually wrong, as inspection of the history of this talkpage shows.
The {{NPOV}} tag is most appropriate. It is clear that there is a push to maintain the present wording of major provisions, and it is supported by distinctly non-neutral, partisan means. As for drama, you add to it when you rail against calls for good order, and dismiss them as inappropriate.
I call for acceptance that things are broken here, and they can't be fixed until we let the oxygen of impartial scrutiny in. Wide community consultation and review, with systematic supervision from concerned admins if necessary. I am not calling for immediate action; people here are plainly not ready to settle down to it. But I want it on record that the page is seriously compromised by zealotry. And let me preempt any suggestion that I push any agenda of my own in editing the page. Review my 24 well-explained and orderly edits before making any such claim.
NoeticaTea? 23:47, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
Concerning the NPOV tag, please discuss Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines#Not part of the encyclopedia, which I interpret as supporting JCScaliger's interpretation. Art LaPella (talk) 00:13, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. To quote:
Wikipedia has many policies and guidelines about encyclopedic content. These standards require verifiability, neutrality, respect for living people, and more.
The policies, guidelines, and process pages themselves are not part of the encyclopedia proper. Consequently, they do not generally need to conform with the content standards. It is therefore not necessary to provide reliable sources to verify Wikipedia's administrative pages, or to phrase Wikipedia procedures or principles in a neutral manner, or to cite an outside authority in determining Wikipedia's editorial practices.
Indeed, the whole point of these pages is not to be neutral, but to express one side, when we agree on it. We may differ whether these five points are more rhetorically effective as questions, as criteria, or as demands; they've been all three. But none are, or are intended to be, neutral. JCScaliger (talk) 00:32, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thanks for the technical advice, Art. I have put a more appropriate tag in place. No one will deny the need for consensus in that crucial section, I hope.

NoeticaTea? 00:40, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

And will any deny that this new tag is redundant with {{policy}}? Let's see what other people think. JCScaliger (talk) 00:53, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
That's in {{policy}}, which is at the top of the page. JCScaliger (talk) 01:07, 28 December 2011 (UTC)


I have applied a better tag, adapted exactly for disputed wording in policy. Sorry: took a while to find the right one.
NoeticaTea? 00:56, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Having placed {{Need consensus}} which is intended for articles (it plsces them in Category:Accuracy disputes; being designed for cases when an editor thinks particular information being deleted from an article or section is relevant and therefore should be allowed in the article or section); Noetica now places a tag which is completely redundant with {{underdiscussion}}, which has been present all along, and is more suitable to less than a dosen words. JCScaliger (talk) 01:07, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your observations, JCS. Please note that the wording of the section is disputed, not merely under discussion. Rather than edit-war with the two editors who have restored an old wording, even as discussion continued and without any proof of consensus for that change, I mark the wording as disputed. In fact, the whole section is disputed; it's just the recognisability part that is the focus of current disagreement.
Squash discussion if you must; and support non-consensual editing of the page at a crucial point. But do not extend the campaign to suppressing a template that shows there is dissent.
NoeticaTea? 01:21, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
To summarize:
  • Is it disputed or discussed? Sounds like counting angels on the head of a pin. Without a dispute, why would we discuss it?
  • Is it duplicated? Well, what if it is?
  • Do we dispute the section or just recognizability?
It sounds like you might both agree to keeping the section warning without the duplicate warning below. Art LaPella (talk) 02:12, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I'd happily agree to that, Art. The dispute is the crux, along with contested editing that I for one do not wish to escalate into an edit war. It does affect the whole section, since the recognisability provision is intertwined in contested ways with the other provisions (though that is not highlighted here). For example, it is uncertain how the provision could be consistent with this (lower in the section):

The choice of article titles should put the interests of readers before those of editors, and those of a general audience before those of specialists.

The present qualification for recognisability considers the needs of those already familiar with the topic, not the "general audience". And it works in particular for the convenience of editors concerned with the article in question, who almost certainly have become familiar with the topic.
We are simply not ready to settle these things in the present climate, and I want no war on the page. But the dissatisfaction and discord needs to be signalled, even while a version that some of us consider non-consensual stays in place.
Would you please make that change then, Art? Assuming there are no objections. Do we also agree to enclose this whole discussion of tags in a navbox, or similar? It is a peripheral, procedural matter.
NoeticaTea? 03:00, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Sure, if there are no objections. I think you meant {{hat}} or its variations, not WP:Navbox. Art LaPella (talk) 03:16, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
OK. If there are objections, let it stay as it is. And no, I meant {{navbox}}, or the related {{hidden}} that was used tendentiously on this talkpage (a trigger for the ANI discussion referred to above). We can agree to hide merely procedural text.
NoeticaTea? 03:39, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

In reference to the July discussion about templating (selective transclusion, really) - all the concerns were addressed and all the issues were resolved; and that's why the changes were accepted. The new methods developed were documented at WP:SELECTIVETRANSCLUSION. There again is a great example of how WP should work (well, some collaboration would have been appreciated, but at least others clearly explained their objections so I could address them, and that certainly helped achieve a robust, general and minimally intrusive solution), and yet it's referenced above as if it was a bad thing.

As to the supposed contradiction between the current recognizability wording and the later wording about serving general readers over specialists, there is no contradiction. That's why the recognizabilty wording clarifies, "but not necessarily expert in". We try to make our titles recognizable to general readers who are familiar with the topic - not just to specialists or experts in the field. But no, we do not try to make titles of topics recognizable to general readers who are totally unfamiliar with the topic at issue. As has been noted time and time again, that would mean almost all of our titles would be more descriptive than they are. Since they aren't that descriptive, clearly that's not supported by consensus.

Finally, I'm sick and tired of being accused of violating WP:REFACTOR. Nobody provided a single diff at the AN/I to back up this absurd claim - I suggest this is because there aren't any. --Born2cycle (talk) 08:30, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Born2cycle, you appear to answer selectively, where you think you have a strong case. You are silent about the rest. But even on those selected points you revise history. For example, you know very well that your intrusive transclusion experiments were strenuously resisted. I have pointed out one abiding transclusion problem (see above) that you fail to address at all. You do not acknowledge it, but I warned that at the time that such innovations compromise the page's development, and its documentation. Others warned you also; but you do not listen.
I hope one day you will be ready to take the advice that you solicit at WP:AN (see material now moved to an WP:ANI archive, linked above) and wait for orderly discussion; or take a week off when things get heated, as another admin suggested. Till the climate changes here we cannot conduct the proper business of the page. At the very least, you could hold off from removing tags indicating discussion even as you continue it, restoring your contested wording. It is only because others back down, not wanting an edit war, that the historical version you favour is in place as I write. It has no consensual backing beyond what you have invented for it, and it was removed seven months ago following open discussion at this talkpage – with no complaint.
You do not have privileged authority that you regularly assume for yourself at this page, and in your dealings at RMs. Writing with boundless confidence here is one thing; having the genuine confidence to back off in favour of fresh community discussion is another.
NoeticaTea? 08:58, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Noetica, you seem to have arrived here and created a huge amount of unnecessary and unproductive drama over what appears to be some petty issue - please can you finally get to the point and propose and reason for a concrete change so that we can have some on-topic discussion? Thanks.--Kotniski (talk) 09:08, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Seems that way to you, no doubt. And it is easy to make it appear that way to others. You have reinstated wording that you invented in 2010, claiming vaguely that it was the result of a big discussion two years ago. No one has found any frank discussion, let alone endorsement, of your innovation in 2010. It was part of a major rewrite in a single edit. When it was squarely addressed (see my initial post in this section), it was rejected. This is not a consensual endorsement of your wording, whose introduction you are so unclear about. It is quite the opposite.
You can denigrate my objection as "a huge amount of unnecessary and unproductive drama"; if the consensus is that from now on we make policy by stealth, bullying, and obfuscation, I will withdraw. But I do not think we have consensus for that innovation, either.
You want to know my objections? Then clear the decks, start anew; and when we are all ready for a breath of fresh air, we can open the doors for a wide, genuine RFC to work things through. I'll have a lot to say then. But we are not ready yet.
NoeticaTea? 09:21, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
If you've got a proposal, then I think we're all ready to hear it. Since you insist on tagging a section of the policy as "disputed", I think it's up to you to say what you would like to change as regards that section. If you've got nothing to propose, then please remove the tag until you have.--Kotniski (talk) 09:35, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
You think "we" are ready to hear it, do you? Never mind all that I have said here, addressing your misrepresentations on this talkpage and your modifying policy without discussion, against the last discussion of the provision on this talkpage in May 2011. Here's a proposal, which "we" are ready for: answer what I have said and documented. Admit your role in inventing the wording you yourself have restored (passing it off as the result of "discussion", "two years ago"); undo your unjustified restoration of that wording. Then we might have the beginnings of a way forward.
NoeticaTea? 10:23, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
This is more procedural complaint. Does Noetica have a substantive proposal on what the policy should say? If there has been one, I don't see it either. JCScaliger (talk) 18:23, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
The last substantial discussion on this topic can be found higher up this page; it seems clearly to support the current wording. At least relative to anything else that's been proposed so far. Do you have any new suggestions as to how it might be worded? --Kotniski (talk) 11:46, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Nonsense, as demonstrated. The last substantial discussion on this topic took place from 20 to 22 May 2011. The "discussion" above merely wrestles around a removal of the simple collegially discussed wording that was adopted seven months ago.
But let's move on now, with the "fresh debate" that Tony has started, in a section below.
NoeticaTea? 21:20, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Noetica, I'm addressing all that I realize is worth addressing. If I miss anything, let me know.

Your objection to the selective transclusion, as I understand it, is a) new (never heard it before) and b) hilarious. The whole point of it is to be able to quote a section of a policy page like this one in a way that is automatically updated every time the main page changes so that editors don't have to make the same change twice.

As to the 5 editors who supposedly supported the change to the wording, what they supported was a simplification of the wording without changing the meaning. If you look at what they discussed, there was obviously no recognition that taking that out changed the meaning. All have been notified. None have said anything about their views being misrepresented.

Anything else? --Born2cycle (talk) 19:01, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Born2cycle, when you last asked if there is anything else or whether you are missing something, you proceeded to conceal my answer and embroil me in discussion of a complaint against you at WP:ANI. Yes, there is plenty else. But let's move on. See the new section that Tony has started below, where he begins a "fresh debate". That is what I have been calling for, instead of spurious resurrections of non-existent past consensus, supplanting the closest thing to simple, comprehensible, consensual wording we have yet seen.
Take issue with that if you want to; but it is better to leave this and take a step forward instead.
NoeticaTea? 21:20, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
If you actually contribute something to that new section which moves discussion forward in some substantive fashion, whether I agree with the direction of the motion or not, I will respond with a 👍 Like template. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:08, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I tremble in anticipation of such an accolade. Move on; and read on, in the current discussion below. NoeticaTea? 00:59, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Pardon me for adding my tuppence here, but I find the above comments not only condescendingly dismissive of the concern of others, but downright arrogant. Looks like there may be a showdown at sundown. Where's the sheriff, or have you already shot him? --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 01:24, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
You know, Ohconfucius, I thought we were making some progress back on the 23rd, but you dropped that thread. Not sure what to make of that.

As to what you just quoted here, I'm sincerely hoping for Noetica to contribute something substantive to the discussion. A concrete explanation of an objection to the current wording. A concrete proposal. Something! Is expressing such hope arrogance? Sorry! --Born2cycle (talk) 02:15, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Ohconfucius, if you answer that last question Born2cycle is likely arrogantly to suppress your answer by hiding it from view. See greyed-out examples, earlier on this talkpage. For current, contentful discussion of the inadequacy of the section that includes recognisability, let's all adjourn to the active section below: #Fresh debate: recognisability and related questions (or later sections that may be started). Let's not fragment the discussion, or divert attention from the issue: the unacceptability of the non-consensually resurrected text.
NoeticaTea? 02:29, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • It's not easy to participate in a discussion on a single issue spread over maybe four/five different threads. I think Noetica below has it about right, that these threads should be closed off and a discussion be reunited in a single thread. As to 'arrogance', I was particularly struck that you you deigned to suggest you would use the {{like}} template to manifest your pleasure, as if the whole world would stop and applaud your stand. Perhaps this is the 'weapon of choice' to supplement your use of the {{hidden}} template, as pointed out by Noetica. ;-) --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:35, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

WP:Update

This is one of the tougher pages for me to do for the quarterly update; I'll just give the quarterly diff, and if anyone wants to break it down, great. - Dank (push to talk) 03:37, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Dank, I am not yet happy with that. I appreciate what you do! But at this very moment there is a contested provision for recognisability on the page. That's the first item in a crucial section. I do not want to war about it, so I leave it in place with a disputed template marking the dissent. If an update duly records the message of that template, all's well. Otherwise we have something to sort out. It should not be that tendentious editing gets "endorsed" in a quarterly update, while restraint and a call for due process are unacknowledged.
NoeticaTea? 03:47, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm still waiting to see a clearly stated objection to the recognizabilty provision, other than it undermines a tiny minority view advocated by 3-5 editors that favors the notion that titles of articles about topics with "generic sounding" names should be disambiguated (with additional precision) from other uses of that generic name, even when that name is clearly favored by reliable sources, and none of those other uses have articles in WP. That's the only objection, isn't it? Is that objection shared by anyone other than Dick, Tony and Noetica? Has anyone addressed by "devil is in the details" questions about this objection (search for "devil" on this page)? --Born2cycle (talk) 08:38, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm still waiting too.
  • For one thing, I would like you to correct numerical errors. The wording that you favour was discussed by five editors (named above), not two or three as you have earlier misleadingly stated, in presenting your fait accompli reversal of it. You gain respect if you admit errors, especially plain misrepresentations.
  • For another thing, I am waiting till it is possible to call for fresh discussion without you sabotaging it immediately. I can show you how to manage a fair RFC, if you like. We've had some good ones at WT:MOS. You don't know how many support the present wording or how many support the simpler version that was in place for seven months, until people come in without being bullied, ridiculed, and jeopardised at WP:ANI for disagreeing with you.
  • For a third thing, I am waiting for you to desist from claiming your favoured wording as "years" old, when it was invented by Kotniski in 2010, never discussed, and supplanted in discussion in May 2011.
And more. But those would be good for a start. You and I might usefully leave this for a while though. Not all of us are in a hurry to change the world to match our own ideals, or even this page. WP needs stability, and it needs good will and due process.
NoeticaTea? 09:11, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
It sounds like this isn't going to be resolved in a few days; I won't describe or explain the differences, I'll just give the single link with a diff (which seems to be the usual for the page, I have a hard time following the changes). - Dank (push to talk) 13:39, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I have a hard time following the changes -- heh, you, me, and most other people, including the principals involved in the discussion. olderwiser 13:43, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Nothing substantial has changed, as far as I know - just a few tweaks of wording to try to describe practice better. --Kotniski (talk) 14:27, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I think you're right that the actual changes to policy have been minimal. I guess I was referring more to the volume of smoke on the talk page. olderwiser 15:31, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Expect loud protests and wrangling when the history is misrepresented and there are flagrant abuses of process on the talkpage for a vital policy page, ≠. We'd be in a sorry state if that were not so. But as you can see, there is a new section below. An opportunity for people to behave better and get something achieved. Let's all try to do that.
NoeticaTea? 21:29, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Fresh debate: recognisability and related questions

  • Clearly we need a fresh debate. It's not an easy thing to solve, because the text needs to attempt three things: (1) as much simplicity and brevity as possible; (2) encouragement to choose titles that are as short and succinct as possible; and (3) encouragement to choose titles that are reasonably helpful to readers and editors. The last thing we want is editors systematically going around adding parenthetical disambiguators to everything without regard to a fair balance between 2 and 3. Tony (talk) 12:20, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
    So do you have any ideas as to how to define the cases where you think parenthetical disambiguators should be added (other than the uncontentious cases where the article topic is not the Wikipedia primary topic for the name)? Is "generic sounding" the right general idea? --Kotniski (talk) 12:45, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
To me it seems that the problem is that a few editors want hard and fast formulas to rely on, rather than try to balance these inherently conflicting criteria on a case-by-case basis. Born2cycle has even written an essay with an algorithm to follow in titling an article, in which different criteria are necessarily strictly ordered in priority. This way lies madness. In the arguments we end up having, he tends to stick to strict interpretations of one provision, while narrowing another to get it out of conflict, rather than considering what's the best title for the case in hand. I agree with Tony that it needs to be about balance instead. Dicklyon (talk) 15:18, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, that's what the policy basically says - there are these criteria (some people have interpreted it as meaning that these 5 are the only allowable criteria, but I don't think that was ever the intention), which can be weighed up to decide on a title. And that's what happens - there is no algorithm in the policy. Is there something in the policy you would like to change? And if so, would it be to make the policy more accurately descriptive of current practice, or would it be based on a consensus to effect a change to current practice?--Kotniski (talk) 15:26, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Added a few words to say that there are other questions. Can anybody come up with a fairly common sixth question? JCScaliger (talk) 18:35, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
My preference would be not to work harder to "define the cases", but to leave it more as it was, with things to consider. Every time someone tweaks the wording, it seems to be to try to narrow down the meaning – by too much usually. In the recognizability case, omitting who it is recognizable to doesn't mean to everybody, as some say; narrowing to those already familiar with the topic is going too extreme. If we leave it open, it can be interpreted as "to as many people as possible, as balanced against all the other criteria" or something to that effect. Trying to pin down how to use it is not all that helpful; except for some principles like making life better for our readers. I believe Tony has expressed the goals in a way I like; you came back and asked him "how to define the cases"; bad idea – too algorithm-like. Dicklyon (talk) 02:50, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • As I lamented above and relatively no one showed much interest, we need to step back from these discussions on fragments of the titling policy and take a holistic look at it. Right now, we are just rearranging the Babel on the Tower of Babel. I do not see how we can devise coherent titling policy that must apply to 3.9 million articles (+ millions more in the future) when all we ever do is try and craft policy around one or two examples in the lunatical hope that it will work for 10,000s of other articles (now and in the future). When it doesn't, we just recycle the same old lunacy with new examples. I really wish we could step back and craft a longer term approach to simplifying this policy and refocusing its importance on content, rather than isolated page names. --Mike Cline (talk) 15:30, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at. Can you suggest anything more specific?--Kotniski (talk) 15:37, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I'll try and say this in a slightly different way (with no malice toward anyone who's commented on this page). If you look at this current content of this talk page today, it is dominated by two elements of our complex titling policy--Recognizability (not really a word) and parenthetical disambiguation. There is clearly no broad WP consensus being displayed in these discussions, and limited local consensus. Yet we are attempting to rewrite policy that should apply to 3.9 million articles. In the simpliest of worlds, we ought to know a couple of things about Recognizability and parenthetically disambiguation before we rewrite the policy. How many of WP articles today have Un-recognizable titles? What is an Un-recognizable title anyway? How many WP articles have parenthetical disambiguation? Is there any consistency here? Are there inconsistencies that need to be addressed by policy? Does parenthetical disambiguation contribute to better content or detract from article content? What do 1000s of articles of a similar genre look like collectively--with and without parenthetically disambiguation? We can't hope to answer these types of questions with the aim of simplifying titling policy through sound-bite type discussions using one or two articles as examples. This entire policy needs a good, thorough review and scrub. That's a long-term, lot of hard work project. All the energy going into these sound-bite improvements is wasted IMHO. --Mike Cline (talk) 16:05, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it was ever intended that recognizability dominate; a use for it (aside from WP:COMMONNAME), is the discussion on fumi-e, above; a claim that the Japanese term is not recognizable. Ideally, this policy should deal with principles to which there are quite few exceptions (aside from conflicts between them): that there are some demonstrates it's a real issue; that there are few demonstrates that most editors do it one way.
JC, when I said dominate above, I meant it to mean that we are focusing on small parts of the policy, absent a bigger picture look at not only the whole policy, but how does the whole policy reflect the practice of 3.9 million articles. I wasn't refering to the role of recognizability (not a word) in the policy. We can continue to make small changes to small elements of the policy but to what end? In an ideal world, our titling policy would be so simple as to make the Yogurt - Yoghurt debate unnecessary. Our titling policy has lost sight of what this encyclopedia is all about--encyclopedic content. We are not an encyclopedia of 3.9 million perfect titles, yet we continue to try and micromanage every element of an article title. --Mike Cline (talk) 19:01, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Ah I see. Sorry to misread you. I think you are looking at a tempest in a teapot. I don't think this policy is intended to micromanage, but to provide ideas on which to base discussion; at least that's what policies are supposed to do. JCScaliger (talk) 19:08, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I would be content to reorder the five points if that will help; the only problem that would produce is making some old discussions less clear. JCScaliger (talk) 18:20, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This section represents a more reasonable way to proceed. Thanks to Tony for starting it, though I have renamed it – for the archives, and so that everyone can see what we're talking about. I have also restored and updated the "disputed" template at the relevant section of the project page (removed by JCScaliger), and taken out the old "discussion" template that applied to only one provision among several that are intertwined and therefore up for joint treatment here.

I am impressed by Mike Cline's more comprehensive approach. I liked what he initiated a few sections back, on taking a holistic approach. I feared then that the talkpage was too disorderly for anything useful to be transacted. I hope that's beginning to change now.

It would be best if we agree to deliberate calmly and respectfully, without distortions of any facts. I remain concerned about certain unanswered questions in discussion before this new section. The present wording does not represent calm, collegial discussion over recognisability. That last took place from 20 to 22 May 2011, without haste, abuse, misrepresentation, shouting down, or referrals to WP:ANI. The wording has been altered since then without due process.

If that is left plainly recorded and undisturbed, and the template is left in place on the page, I am happy for us to move forward. All of this should go to a well-designed, disciplined, and impartial RFC process when the time is right. And that must be advertised very widely to the community, if we are to make any lasting progress.

NoeticaTea? 21:05, 28 December 2011 (UTC)0

I think the issue with recognizability is that TITLE has allowed COMMONNAME, and specifically google hits, to be the dominant factor in deciding titles. It should be a factor, but lesser than others. I think precision and especially consistency are probably better when we go we are dealing with trying to make something that can be applied everywhere. We should also be discouraging, not encouraging, disambigs if there is a name that's fairly short and obscure. Obviously concerns about consistency becoming a immovable because so many pages use that form, but there are ways to deal with that.Jinnai 21:49, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I see your problem; but what you demand will not affect it. Changing this page has limited effect on practice anyway; the real policy is what gets done, and we are merely documentation.
COMMONNAME is older than the five points; some people insisted that it be the only test for titles before they were written, just as they do now - more often for ideological convenience than as a Wikipedia princeiple. Indeed, recognizability and naturalness are a hedge against the "MY name has 51% of usage, it must be the title" argument; the 49% name is likely to be equally natural and recognizable; as we expressly say When there are several names for a subject, all of them fairly common, and the most common has problems, it is perfectly reasonable to choose one of the others. Quote that, or quote the questions; that's what they're for. JCScaliger (talk) 22:35, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm still not really clear what anyone is proposing or what justification there is for having a "disputed" tag hanging over the whole of a well-established policy section (I hope when emotions subside over the next few days everyone will realize that it's quite inappropriate - "under discussion" might be more suitable). But anyway, can we have some reasonably concrete proposals for change? And it would help to know whether the proposals are intended to change current practice or only to document it better. (Personally I think listing five "criteria" and simply saying that we "weigh them up" doesn't give full information about the way we do things. We actually apply the particular criteria in quite specific ways - we almost always want "a" common name (though not necessarily the commonest) if there is one; we almost always add disambiguators if needed but not for unambiguous terms or primary topics. There are also other, perhaps equally important criteria, that people have identified but are not listed, such as encyclopedic register and neutrality. And there are things missing from the whole policy because of past wiki-politicking, like the fact that titles normally conform to Wikipedia's MoS over things like punctuation. So we could do much better at describing currently accepted practice. And - but we should treat this as a separate issue - there may be good reason to make some changes to currently accepted practice, for example over when we should add parenthetical disambiguators, but that should be done with a properly formulated proposal, if someone would like to make one.)--Kotniski (talk) 11:42, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I too am unclear on what anyone is proposing. More importantly, I'm unclear about what in the current policy is being disputed. Typically we would see something like a quote of the words at issue, and an explanation of what is seen as a problem with that wording, and usually a proposal for alternative wording that attempts to address that problem without creating new ones. Until we see something like that here, I don't see what there can be to discuss. --Born2cycle (talk) 17:33, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

This section alone is now over 36 hours old, has, about 15 comments, and still there is nothing stated with clarity regarding what is disputed in policy, or what is proposed, or anything like that. Same with all of the blather above it. There is no dispute. There is not even a discussion. There is nothing to discuss! Unless something substantive is offered soon (say within 24 hours), the dispute/under-discussion tags must go. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:17, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

You replaced a version of "recognizability" that had been openly discussed with one that had not been discussed when it was put in earlier. Some of us objected. The version you like makes "recognizability" to most readers irrelevant, effectively demoting it to below all the the other criteria. Is this really what we want? Until we can have an open discussion of it, not run roughshod over by you, we won't likely be able to even consider a middle ground or other ways to resolve this. Let me know when you're ready to back off. Dicklyon (talk) 00:25, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
First, I simply restored wording for which we had consensus support before it was removed earlier this year, and for which we still have consensus support, which has been abundantly shown above. Stop misrepresenting what happened. As over a dozen editors have explained in a variety of ways, yes, for relatively obscure topics, we do want to make "recognizability" irrelevant to those (which is most) readers who are so unfamiliar with the topic, they won't even be searching for it (if they are searching for it, then they are in the minority that is familiar with the topic, and we do want to make the title recognizable for them).

Second, I restored that wording eight days ago, and during those eight days there were a few where I didn't check in at all. And, yet, there is nothing here. No dispute. No discussion. Nothing substantive at all; just several variations of WP:JDLI, like the one you just posted. If you have something to dispute and discuss, please do so. This is what I asked for when Tony first reverted the restoration of the original wording. None of you who supposedly object have even addressed my initial explanation for restoring that wording. It's unbelievable, really.

In short, if you've got something, spit it out already. If not, quit the blather and remove the tag. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:45, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

On what are you basing your assertion that your version had consensus support at some point in the past? I have been unable to find any discussion of it. I hope you're having a happy holiday. Dicklyon (talk) 00:53, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I'll take your silence here as a withdrawal of all previous claims that your version had some kind of consensus. Dicklyon (talk) 02:40, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Fine by me, B2C. Skip your blathering and bullying, and restore the wording that you have recently supplanted, and then we can remove the dispute tag.
The dispute tag represents a peacemaking concession to your belligerent editing. The wording you have retrieved from the archives was never discussed, so far as anyone has been able to show. There was support in May for the simpler wording that you removed, and there is support now. Blueboar has very recently written this (see above, from this edit):

Please remember that we entitle our articles for the convenience of our readers... We want to choose titles that will be recognizable to people searching for an article on a particular topic. Such readers may or may not be knowledgeable in the topic, but they will have a goal in mind. They will enter a name, or a descriptive phrase into the search box... and we want them to be able to quickly look at the results and say "ah, yes, there is the article on the topic I was searching for". Thus, the name or description we choose as a title should be the one that is most likely to be searched for by our readers. That is what is meant by "Recognizability".

That sounds reasonable to me; so do Mike Cline's remarks in the present section. So does other dissent from the narrowed wording that you impose, and that Kotniski invented in 2010 and seeks to pass off as the result of long-established, historically entrenched consensus. Blueboar doesn't much like "either version" (see his follow-up); I don't much like the whole present set of questions, and I like less how they are imposed and how they are abused at RMs. But the simpler, less doctrinaire version is preferable by far. You famously want the process of naming articles to follow an algorithm; others see that this is counterproductive. Let editors work their own ways with the broadest principles. Your narrowing of them is unhelpful. Such partisan micromanagement has failed, and occasions problems at RM discussions.
There is discussion here, and there is unfortunately dispute. You engender dispute when you edit tendentiously. Let the page have that dispute marked, because this is no trivial disagreement. Myself, I agree with several others here in favouring the simpler wording, which represents the genuine and long-established principle concerning recognisability to the general reader. I also hope for broader, calmer discussion that will not distort the facts; the whole section needs review. Stop pressing people to meet your deadlines.
NoeticaTea? 00:51, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps my favorite repetitive argument on Wikipedia is when I read pages of dispute over whether there is a dispute or not. That's why I added the "Dispute tags" section to User:Art LaPella/Devil's Dictionary of Wikipedia Policy years ago. As I understand it, neither side wants to justify its preferred wording because that might jeopardize that side's claim to be the original text; is that about right? Art LaPella (talk) 01:18, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Art, I have no fear of jeopardising the wording that I support. I actively call for more participation, and time to debate the matter – with suitable Wikipedian procedures and checks in place. I am confident that it will stand up to wider scrutiny, when we are all settled and ready for a big reconsideration and RFC (or series of RFCs). As I say, it is plain that there is a dispute if people are, well, ... disputing. We are. In this section. And again, if anyone wants no dispute let them withdraw a contentious alteration of the page. Everything was fine for seven months; and now this. I have no part of the blame for that; but I appreciate the ingenuity of those who would like to deflect attention to me, and to the others who insist on a more consensual approach.
(Appreciate, not approve.)
NoeticaTea? 01:38, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Art, no, not in this case, at least not with respect to the current/original wording. This wording has been justified numerous times by numerous editors as reflecting actual practice, and desirable, which can be quickly confirmed at any time by obtaining a reasonable sample of article titles by clicking SPECIAL:RANDOM about a dozen times. For example: Homerusbuurt, Tyler MacDuff, That Kind of Woman, Trevoa trinervis, New Anshan Railway Station, Siege of Valenciennes (1793), Meld (Star Trek: Voyager), Ritch Savin-Williams, Aaron Sachs, Danvou-la-Ferrière, Ron Atchison, Laurel Mountain (West Virginia).

As with just about any randomly selected dozen titles, we can see that most titles are not recognizable to those who are not familiar with the topics. For those that look like names of people, we don't know if they're actually names of people or names of books or characters or what, much less whether they're actors, writers, or baseball players if they are people. In this particular list I presume Siege of Valenciennes (1793) is some kind of battle, Laurel Mountain (West Virginia) is a mountain in West Virginia, New Anshan Railway Station is a railway station in a city called New Anshan (but I have no idea where that is), and Meld (Star Trek: Voyager) is an episode of Voyager. But these are obviously exceptions, as I can't even guess about the others with much reason.

And, again, what exactly are we proposing? That titles like That Kind of Woman (because it's "generic sounding") be treated with additional precision to make them more recognizable to even those of us who are unfamiliar with it? So, in this case (I looked it up - it's a film), all films should be disambiguated with at least (film), if not (year film)? After all, the vast majority of film titles are "generic sounding" and are not recognizable as films to most people.

In any case, the current/original wording does reflect how we currently name articles, and have always named articles, and this is so obvious that nobody has even disputed the policy saying so since it was first said, until 8 days ago. And, no, when the wording in question was removed, along with some other wording, back in May, it was not disputed. That was just an effort to simplify the wording that went too far, and changed the meaning inadvertently when those words were removed. None of the editors involved in the May over-simplification has objected to restoring the wording.

But, now that you mention it, I have not seen a justification for the wording that we had between May and 8 days ago - the wording apparently favored by at least Noetica and Tony (not sure about Dicklyon or anyone else). But they won't be definitive about even that. --Born2cycle (talk) 02:04, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps Noetica feels he has answered the question with phrases like "But the simpler, less doctrinaire version is preferable by far." But I didn't find anything like "Here is my answer to Born2cycle's question:". From a mediation point of view, that request seems easily granted. Art LaPella (talk) 02:24, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Art, I answer questions when they are fairly posed. I at least give a general indication of preferences, and of what substantive contributions I agree with here; but I do not take well to bullying. Born2cycle has seen to it that I was in jeopardy at WP:ANI. I do not take well to that, when I had no part in initiating or supporting such action myself. B2C may be impatient; but that's not my problem. The climate is not one of conciliation or mediation, when one side continues to misrepresent facts (as in B2C's last statements above), to threaten, to insist that there can be no reasonable dissent from his view, and to attempt even to suppress my flagging to the community that there is a dispute.
If B2C were genuine about real dialogue, he would not edit the page as he did. He would back down and acknowledge that he was hasty, and he would take the advice of admins that he himself sought at WP:AN and WP:ANI – to go away for a week, and simply to wait for discussion. He demands it, now. ("Spit it out!" he says.) Always on his terms, with his interpretation of history in view, and subject to his redaction of responses.
But you want content? I'll give you content. I supported what Blueboar has said, and what Mike Cline has said. I said something myself: that such a closely worded and restricted version for recognisability is counterproductive, representing an avowedly algorithmic approach that has caused great dissatisfaction at RMs. Not just for me!
I have no more to say right now. I invite B2C once again to slow down, and to let some comments come in without the prospect of browbeating. In fact, I have work to do now and must withdraw for a while. I think that's fair, and that no one will object.
NoeticaTea? 02:46, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Bullying? With electrons? Please! I saw to it that you were in jeopardy at AN/I? What? You are responsible for your behavior; I for mine. Stop blaming others. Mike Cline has made some very general statements in a discussion that went no where. Blueboar made a suggestion - I raised some concerns about that - and those have not been addressed. If this is all you're willing to contribute, I say remove the tag. --Born2cycle (talk) 03:56, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and as to this... "such a closely worded and restricted version for recognisability is counterproductive, representing an avowedly algorithmic approach that has caused great dissatisfaction at RMs."... what is one to do with this? This "closely worded and restricted version" accurately describes actual naming practice here since the beginning of WP. This is unchallenged. Noetica does not like that. He can say this over and over, but his opinion/preference adds nothing substantive to the discussion, and does not address, much less refute, the multiple explanations from multiple editors regarding this wording. That it represents an algorithmic approach I won't deny, and of course I think that's a good thing. He claims it causes great dissatisfaction - I suggest wording that is less algorithmic (more vague - leaving more open to JDLI arguments) will cause even more.

Is this browbeating? Sorry. I call 'em as I see 'em, and I still see nothing here. --Born2cycle (talk) 04:10, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

You're asserting that recognizability in naming has traditionally not been a concern except for people familiar with the topic; how can you support such an assertion? Dicklyon (talk) 04:26, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
What I'm asserting is that recognizability in naming has traditionally only been considered with respect to people familiar with each topic. As I explained just above, and you're ignoring, that's obvious from just looking at our titles, which generally are only recognizable to people familiar with the topic, unless they're disambiguated because they conflict with other uses in WP, or because the title is inherently generally descriptive. Check out the 12 random examples I listed above. Or pick your own 12 by using SPECIAL:RANDOM. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:26, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Example of a recognizability problem

At Talk:Nitrogen group#Requested move, we have a proposal to move to Pnictogen. I suspect the latter term is recognizable to people familiar with the topic; but it's not to me, and probably not to millions of others who vaguely recognize "Nitrogen group" from chemistry class. Is that all the recognizability we want? Dicklyon (talk) 05:19, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

That can and should be opposed based on current wording; and I did. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:33, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the intention of the current wording is precisely to reflect the community's general support for titles like "nitrogen group" over titles like "pnictogen". Those who vaguely remember nitrogen group from chemistry class are familiar with the topic (but not expert in it), so they are the sort of people to whom the title should be recognizable. Of course, it's quite possible that the wording could be improved, but we still seem to be awaiting any proposals in that direction.--Kotniski (talk) 08:43, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Thank you both. I'm glad we agree on the intent at least this far. But as I point out, the recognizability clause is drawn so narrowly now that it doesn't help distinguish these names very well. There will be other examples even closer to the line if you think this one is just a few chem insiders going too far. Dicklyon (talk) 17:34, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Are you saying the previous (May-December) wording would have helped distinguish these names better? Or do you have better wording in mind? --Born2cycle (talk) 18:04, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

We should abandon Naturalness and Recognizability (not a word) as title criteria because …

If you seriously examine the five criteria we now have—recognizability, naturalness, precision, conciseness and consistency—one finds that only three of those can actually describe the characteristic of a title.

Meaningful criteria

  • A WP title should be concise-Concision is relative to context, but clearly describes a desirable title characteristic. Concise: expressing or covering much in few words; brief in form but comprehensive in scope; succinct; terse An example of an (un-concise)=wordy title might be New York City, United States when New York City works just fine.
  • A WP title should be precise-Precision is relative to context, but clearly describes a desirable title characteristic. Precise: Exact, as in performance, execution, or amount; accurate or correct. An example of an imprecise title might be: Great Basin Pocketmouse when Great Basin Pocket Mouse is the precise term.
  • A WP title should be consistent-Consistency is relative to context, but clearly describes a desirable title characteristic. Consistent: Being in agreement with itself; coherent and uniform. Unfortunately, WP is full of inconsistent titles. Look at this category: Category:Film and television discographies Within 64 titles, all about the same type of article, there are at least five different title conventions used. Consistency is easy to understand, establish and apply. Our various naming conventions do this reasonably well. We just need to get better at applying it.

Meaningless criteria

  • A WP title should be natural?? What does that mean? You can’t apply the definitions of the word natural to it. What is an un-natural title? We describe it as What title(s) are readers most likely to look for to find the article? Which title(s) will editors most naturally use to link from other articles? Unfortunately, that describes the behavior of editors, not a characteristic of a title. It forces us into the lunacy of trying to reach consensus about how millions of editors might behave. I cringe when I read statements like this that lump every reader into the same behavioral bucket: Please remember that we entitle our articles for the convenience of our readers... We want to choose titles that will be recognizable to people searching for an article on a particular topic.
  • A WP title should be recognizable? Really, show me one that isn’t. On my PC I recognize every title on every article I look at. It’s in big bold letters at the top the screen. Here are three definitions of the word recognize: To know to be something that has been perceived before: recognize a face., To know or identify from past experience or knowledge: recognize hostility, To perceive or show acceptance of the validity or reality of. Again we are trying to define the behavior of our readers, not the characteristic of a WP title which leads to lunacy when trying to deduce how millions of readers will behave as regards any given title.

Replace Naturalness and Recognizability with what we really want

If you examine what we really want from Naturalness and Recognizability (not a word), I think we could sum it up with something like this: A WP title should faithfully represent the content of the article using common English as demonstrated by reliable sources. The key word here is Represent which has a number of meanings[10], the most telling of which is: To present clearly to the mind. By abandoning the ill-conceived, but well intentioned—Naturalness and Recognizability—with Represent we would be describing the characteristic of a WP title that we want and not the behavior it is supposed to elicit. It would significantly simplify the policy and its resulting processes. WP:COMMONNAME, WP:ENGVAR and all the other Babel would flow nicely from this. Combined with the meaningful criteria--conciseness, precision and consistency, adjudacating a title would be much simpler.

FYI-this is not intended as a verbatim suggestion to replace specific wording but a conceptual argument that says Naturalness and Recognizability are a poor choice of words for what we are really attempting to say. --Mike Cline (talk) 16:47, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

I just skimmed this, so I might very well be mistaken, but it seems to me you've taken the names of each criterion, like "naturalness", assigned whatever meaning you wanted to it, and questioned that, rather than going with the meanings (now expressed as questions) that we actually have. No? --Born2cycle (talk) 17:52, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Not at all, I am conceptualizing how the five criteria are applied to WP article titles. Our wording for Conciseness, Consistency and Precision are OK as these terms are actually definable and desirable characteristics of a WP title. Additionally, the real world definition of these terms comes close to what we are trying to convey. On the other hand, it doesn't much matter what we say about Naturalness and Recognizability because as described now, they describe editor behavior (a real stretch) and not a title characteristic. And the real world definitions of these terms aren't even close to what we are trying to convey. So I say abandon them (not the sentiment) but the words and use Represent instead. --Mike Cline (talk) 18:03, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I read it more carefully now. You discount "naturalness" - and yet it is clearly defined as "convey[s] what the subject is actually called in English". What's wrong with that? That has always been a key characteristic of WP titles - it is the essence of WP:COMMONNAME.

You also dismiss "recognizability" even though one of the definitions you provide - "To know or identify from past experience or knowledge" - is exactly what is meant. People familiar with the topic should be able to identify the topic from the title from past knowledge. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:01, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Both Naturalness and Recognizability as we define them, are describing the behavior of readers, not the characteristics of the title. Although Naturalness might be considered a characteristic, if you look at the real world definitions of Natural [11], they don't describe what we want, so we have to contrive a meaning. Why don't we just say what we want in definable, applicable terms so that we aren't constantly having to explain what we really mean. Although not a specific proposal, if our 4th and final criteria was: A WP title should faithfully represent the content of the article using common English as demonstrated by reliable sources. we would not have to constantly interpret Naturalness and Recognizability and we would not put the burden of title adjudacation on predicting the behavior of millions of readers. --Mike Cline (talk) 18:29, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Re the essence of WP:COMMONNAME. B2C you stated: Naturalness--That has always been a key characteristic of WP titles - it is the essence of WP:COMMONNAME.. I would fundamentally disagree with you that Naturalness is the not essence of COMMONNAME. It may be the rationale for (although poorly worded) for COMMONNAME, but not the essence of. The essence of COMMONNAME is that we use titles most commonly found in reliable sources covering the topic of the article. The reason we do that is that we require titles that best represent the subject of the article--its the professional thing to do. --Mike Cline (talk) 18:39, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
The whole idea of basing common name on usage "in reliable sources" is relatively new and happens to be a very good way of determining common name, but the reason we use (for example) Bill Clinton rather than William Jefferson Clinton - which has long been the epitome of "common name" listed on this policy page -- is because we prefer to use names people actually use; it has nothing to do with being more professional. Arguably, William Jefferson Clinton is the more "professional" choice; but Bill Clinton is more natural. --Born2cycle (talk) 19:37, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
You have responded to a twisted misreading of Mike's comments, rather than to what he said. Dicklyon (talk) 21:20, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
B2C - The Professional comment above has nothing to do with one title or another. It was meant to say that using the most representative commonnames from reliable sources was the right way to decide our title. The problem with Natural and Recognizable is that these words are poor choices for our title policy. They always required some sort of: Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do! for editors to figure out what they really mean and how to apply them in any given situation. I would defy anyone to say why Bill Clinton is more natural than William Jefferson Clinton without refering to the commonness of Bill Clinton in reliable sources compared to William Jefferson Clinton. There is nothing Natural or Unnatural about either of these and trying to say something is more natural than something else is pure fantasy. We don't concoct our titles out of water, minerals, chemicals and organic materials then decide the most natural based on the about of organic material used. We concoct our titles based on what RSs say. Why can't we simplify our policy along those lines? --Mike Cline (talk) 22:46, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Come on. Obviously natural is not meant here literally. Per my google dictionary, this is the definition of natural that is obviously intended here:

Occurring as a matter of course and without debate; inevitable.

° Ken was a natural choice for coach

The way I think of it, is: if someone is referring to the topic in question at a cocktail party, what name are they most likely to use. Of course, we have no way to determine that, so we use what is the likely determinant of what someone is most likely to use... usage in reliable sources. That is, the reason we use the most commonly used name in reliable sources is because that is likely to be the most recognizable to most people, and what they themselves are naturally most likely to use when searching for the topic.

"Bill Clinton" is more natural than "William Jefferson Clinton" because its use occurs much more often as a matter of course when people are talking and writing about him. --Born2cycle (talk) 23:01, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Part of the reason we have these words is to do with word ordering in titles (naturalness). For example we could describe places by State, region, sub-region .... United Kingdom, London, Southwark, Borough, or a more common example is surname, given names (as is done in many encyclopaedias and other reference works and is used in Wikipedia categories). There is no reason why we should not use Clinton, Bill or Clinton, William Jefferson other than naturalness. While to some in a bureaucratic organisation like a military logistics system "clothing, coat, great, male" may seem natural, in none bureaucratic text one would usually write "a man's greatcoat is ...", and that is the whole point of the sentence "Which title(s) will editors most naturally use to link from other articles?", and from that it follows that whether we use "William Jefferson Clinton" or "Bill Clinton" is a further refinement of that principle, as the natural name to use in a reference work such as this will depend on which is the most frequently in what we call secondary sources. We could change the article titling system radically and start to introduce systems such as surname first, or go one step further and use that of the online ONDB and use a unique number . doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/94837.  Missing or empty |title= (help)) but we have chosen to use our own method James Callaghan based on naturalness. I think if at the start of the project articles had been placed under a unique number with text redirect to that number, then lots of the disputes over article titles would have been avoided, and I would be pleasantly surprised if we were ever to go over to that method. -- PBS (talk) 23:12, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

More revert warring

Given the discussion above, and the apparent withdrawal by Born2cycle of any claim that his and Kotniski's version ever had consensus, or even a discussion, prior to this one, it seems justifiable that Noetica has again restored the version that was stable for months after it arose from a discussion here. Yet Born2cycle put it back again and threatened to take him to AN/I again. I had earlier explained to him on his talk page that his owership issues here are disruptive, but he fails to see that.

I fully respect those who prefer the version that he is warring about; I still think we'll find a mutually agreeable compromise in here somewhere. But let's converge first, not go back to a never-discussed version by force of editing warring. Dicklyon (talk) 06:56, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

If you don't see that V1 clearly reflects actual practice much better than V2, I suggest you review the comments at Wikipedia_talk:TITLE#RFC_on_Recognizability_guideline_wording with explanations from 9 different experienced editors about that exactly. It wasn't discussed when the change was first introduced by Kotniski because it was obvious to everyone involved that it reflected actual practice. Even though there was no discussion, it had WP:CONSENSUS support. See Wikipedia:Consensus#Reaching_consensus_through_editing, which is the much more common way to reach consensus in WP.

The change in May, however, apparently missed everyone's scrutiny, because when it was brought to everyone's attention, everyone who looked at it (9 out of 9) agreed V1 was better. No one who looked at it argued that V2 was better.

There is absolutely no basis whatsoever for restoring the V2 wording at this time, and, unfortunately, I see no recourse but to file an AN/I, unless Noetica restores the V1 wording himself. I've explained this in more detail at Noetica's talk page. --Born2cycle (talk) 07:24, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

And now Born2cycle has made an explicit threat, with short deadline, to take Noetica to AN/I again, on User talk:Noetica#WP:TITLE. Is this any way to try to find consensus? For his claim of consensus he relies on the RFC that was abandoned after he hijacked it by speaking for many others. Dicklyon (talk) 07:24, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

No. The way to find consensus is through discussion. See Wikipedia_talk:TITLE#RFC_on_Recognizability_guideline_wording where consensus was found in that manner, and it was practically unanimous. I didn't highjack anything - the section remains open for editing even today. It's not my fault the 3 of you who disagree with consensus are unwilling or unable to even state a coherent argument in favor of your position, much less persuade anyone else, and, so you choose to abandon discussions, repeatedly, that are not going your way.

When Noetica edits policy so blatantly contrary to consensus, I see no recourse besides AN/I, but I'm open to suggestions. Got any? --Born2cycle (talk) 07:30, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Oh for heaven's sake, stop this edit-warring: B2C, you've been acting as though you own this page, and you're allowing yourself to be unnecessarily wound up. I note that when you marched onto my talk page last week to upbraid me, I responded with goodwill, which you then threw back in my face. I don't mind, personally, but please calm down (you and the others). This current imbrioglio should be sorted out on the talk page, not at the actual policy page. Tony (talk) 07:34, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I had suggested before that you back off and let us discuss it. You seem determined to not do that; in the RFC, you quickly introduced a ballot and filled in your vote count before anyone had a chance to respond to the request for comments; how is that not hijacking? And it was your removal of the "under discussion" tag a few minutes ago that prompted Noetica to go back to the stable version. You can't have it both ways. Dicklyon (talk) 07:35, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Removing the tag, as I noted in the edit summary, does not preclude further discussion. But we can't have tags on policy pages when there is no specific objection. Without a specific objection, there is nothing coherent to discuss, and that's where we've been for over a week. I'm not doing anything to prevent discussion. Again, all the sections above are open for you and anyone else to say whatever you want, present whatever evidence you want. In fact, I would love to see that. Several of us have been asking for weeks, perhaps even months, for you three to come up with something coherent and substantive. That would be great to discuss. As far as I know, the only specific point that was finally conveyed was that there is concern about titles that are "generic sounding". That helped a great deal, because it finally gave us something specific. But we need far more than that. What exactly do you propose we do differently with "generic sounding" titles? What exactly constitutes a "generic sounding" title? etc.? I don't understand what is preventing you from expounding on all that. --Born2cycle (talk) 07:54, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I see that now Kwamikagami has taken it back to the pre-edit-war (Dec 12) version that arose from discussion earlier this year. Maybe we can focus on exactly what the shortcoming of that version is, and how best to fix it. Your objection, as I understand it, is that it is not specific enough about who the title should be recogizable to. I'm less sure that's a problem, but willing to discuss ways to fix it. The fix you particularly like seems so narrow, though, since just about any obscure or official title can be justified as familiar to a narrow enough group of people familiar with the topic, as in pnictogen that is recommended by the IAUPC and hence favored by at least one editor even after the recognizability to people "familiar with chemistry" was offered to him as a criterion that would rule it out. I'm not saying this is the best example, or a direct result of any guideline wording, just that it's the sort of thing I worry about. Dicklyon (talk) 16:10, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If I understand correctly, the issue is deciding which of the following should be used in the guideline:

Version 1: Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic?

Version 2: Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic?

(Note that I had to dig the above two quotes from one of you guys’ talk pages since I can’t find much meat & potatoes here.)

Can someone offer up two pairs of article-title examples that could exemplify how the above differences could affect things? For instance, would one permit Octomom whereas Version 1 would require Nadya Suleman ?

The trouble with trying to establish a consensus on Wikipedia is it can often be difficult for others to jump in because the core of the dispute is often cloaked behind abstruse wiki‑slogans (“Well… WP:Unicorn tears anoints and washes my position with goodliness”) when the real reason is at least one of the editors—often both—have a pattern of pushing a particular agenda and there is suspicion that the other editor will use a seeming innocuous change in a written guideline to revisit a long-dead issue.

In short, will someone please explain what this is really about? Greg L (talk) 17:43, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

The core is that Tony, Dicklyon and Noetica don't like titles that sound "generic", like Public Achievement, and they want to increase precision by moving them to titles like Public achievement (US civic scheme), (move discussion).
The old wording (version 1/original) doesn't favor this sort of moves. Thus the editwarring[12][13][14][15][16] and the tagging [17][18][19][20] --Enric Naval (talk) 17:53, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Holy Crap!, Enric, could you be more dishonent in representing what happened at Talk:Public_Achievement? It was I who re-wrote the article to be about the proper-named Public Achievement after you tried to make it about the generic! What the heck are you trying to do by telling such stories? I invite anyone to review the RM discussion and article edit history to see what a fuckwad liar you're being. Dicklyon (talk) 18:04, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I note that the move discussion was precipitated by one of those “It’s A Title In All-Cap®™©” (proper noun) deals (1992 Los Angeles Riots v. 1992 Los Angeles riots”). Moreover, the distinction between Ver. 1 and Ver. 2 pertains to the reader having some pre-existing familiarity with the subject (or not) whereas the move discussion intertwines specificity in the nature of the article, parenthetical disambiguations in the title to address the specificity, and (as I already said) issues pertaining to the use of all-cap proper nouns. I fail to see the connection. I’d like to see if everyone involved here also sees all that as being swept up in wording regarding the reader already has some familiarity with the subject matter. Greg L (talk) 18:05, 31 December 2011 (UTC)


P.S. As I am rather expert on words like “fuckwad” (having authored “"Fuck” is not necessarily uncivil”), I believe your use here would fall under the “descriptive” classification as well as its generic use as an intensive. I think I’d like to use that as an example on my essay. May I? Greg L (talk) 18:10, 31 December 2011 (UTC)


P.P.S. BTW, I note that Dicklyon’s response indicates that he doesn’t wholeheartedly embrace Enric’s sentiments as to what the core issue here is really about. It would be splendid if Born2cycle could weigh in. Greg L (talk) 18:14, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, Tony moved Public Achievement to lowercase when the lead sentence said "Public Achievement involves young people working in teams on a public work project of their choice," which gave no clue that the underlying topic was intended to be the proper-named thing. Noetica then added the parenthetical, since such a generic title lacked any precision. Enric tried to write it as a generic here. I took a look, sorted out what it was supposed to be about while reserving judgement on the RM caps issue, then fixed the article and made everyone happy; after it was clearly a proper name, someone else removed the disambiguator. There's no bloc here, no aversion to correct proper names, nothing like what Enric asserts. Dicklyon (talk) 18:11, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I see you had second thoughts about describing Enric as a “fuckwad” and replaced it with the far less objectionable “liar.” Well done; your latest choice removes any ambiguity as to whether you’d invite Enric over to your house for Thanksgiving dinner next year. I conclude also, that my stepping into this dispute is akin to mowing the side lawn with my new sneakers (with very aggressive cleating to the soles) after the wife overlooked one of the doggy droppings hiding in the grass. It would be a true pleasure if we could stop with the Turkish-prison butt stabbings (“It ain’t attempted murder if you shank them below the waist”) and if someone could explain what editors really think would be the practical difference between Ver. 1 and Ver. 2. Greg L (talk) 18:23, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't think Born2cycle has a clear idea what the issues are, since he hasn't been able to listen. He doesn't seem to understand that re-inserting a version that has never had consensus nor any positive discussion at all is something that should legitimately be reverted and lead to discussion. As to the substantive details between the versions, I'm not sure I know, either; but I respect the right of editors like Noetica to have it out until it's discussed and achieves concensus. The claim to consensus that Born2cycle makes is based on a heated turmoil during a revert war, followed by his hijacking an RFC by converting it to a two-way vote and filling out all the ballots on his side. But that's all history; a discussion has finally gotten underway below (#Naming_criteria_section_wording), so it looks like progress is possible now. Dicklyon (talk) 18:25, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Quoting you: As to the substantive details between the versions, I'm not sure I know, either. I thought that might be the case. Now…

This is directed to you, B2C. WP:Consensus can change and consensus is not defined by who can be the most tendentious while editwarring with four-word edit summaries. Consensus is established here on this talk page. Moreover, if you resort to {dispute], {biased}, {I didn’t get my WAAAAAY}-tags, slapped up at the top of articles after loosing to consensus as small as a 2:1 margin here, a poll can be conducted as to whether the tag is warranted and whether the issue is resolved (which is to say, whether a consensus had truly been achieved the first time around) and then the tag goes. Someone please alert me on my talk page the next time there is editwarring or editing against consensus here. Greg L (talk) 18:40, 31 December 2011 (UTC)


P.S. I won’t be able to weigh in with a !vote in any RfC or poll here because no one has been able to explain what the underlying issues are really about. I suspect B2C has been doing the ol’ stunt of reverting editors because 10 neurons and 30 synapses in his brain are now wired for knee-jerk, reflexive reverting of certain editors without comprehension of the issue nor desire to discuss. I’ll leave the substantive discussion and !voting to editors who actually discuss things and have a flying clue what is going on here.

Finally, Enric’s 17:43 post, above, wasn’t at all helpful and I have a hard time believing he didn’t know full well what he was going when he wrote that (WP:BAIT). Moreover, he wasted Dick’s and my time this morning. I apparently value my time this morning more than he values his. That sort of stunt here won’t be tolerated. Greg L (talk) 18:50, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Hi Greg, I will try to address all your points. If I miss something you wanted me to address, please let me know.

You start by saying you had to dig the two quotes from a user's talk page. Why didn't you just look at the section where all this started on this talk page, here: #Clarification_of_recognizability_lost. If you don't look at that, you're missing some important context. Also, reading the section that follows that, #RFC on Recognizability guideline wording, is important to understand what happened here, starting over a week ago.

I agree that "consensus is not defined by who can be the most tendentious while editwarring with four-word edit summaries." Do you think I was editwarring with four-word edit summaries? Where? When? Last night I reverted Noetica twice, each time linking to one or two sections with long explanations. Did you read those? I also created a section below that explained how and why the original Kotniski wording had consensus support, but originally via consensus-by-editing, and recently via consensus-through-discussion. Did you read it? Here it is: #Consensus support for "recognizable to someone familiar" wording is established

In a paragraph directed at me, you state, "if you resort to {dispute], {biased}, {I didn’t get my WAAAAAY}-tags, ..." You seem to believe I have been adding tags like that. I haven't added any tags of any sort. Are you aware of that? If so, why did you say this to me?

You also refer to "loosing to consensus as small as a 2:1 margin here". I don't know what you are referring to, but in the discussion about V1 vs V2 which you can see at #RFC on Recognizability guideline wording, the margin was 9:0, since 9 editors favored V1, and gave reasons/arguments for it, and no one gave an argument favoring V2. That was 9 days ago, and still no one has presented an argument favoring V2. If I'm wrong about that, please, quote even one coherent statement supporting the use of V2 over V1 that has been stated on this talk page, and that has not been addressed and refuted.

Instead, there has been nothing here but filibustering by three editors who seem to favor V2, but cannot articulate a coherent argument that supports their position, much less one that anyone finds persuasive.

You say you want to be alerted "the next time there is editwarring or editing against consensus here." Well, last night I removed the tag because there was no consensus for it, and no substantive discussion about that section in over a week. No one had even stated a coherent objection to the V1 wording. Again, if I'm wrong, please quote it. I'm dying to know what it is. Was that editwarring or editing against consensus? How? Then Noetica replaced the consensus-supported V1 wording with the V2 wording in this edit. That seems clearly to be editing against consensus. No? How is it not editing against consensus, since consensus favoring V1 is clearly established, and nothing has even been presenting favoring V2, much less something showing consensus support for V2.

Since it was editing against consensus, I reverted it, restoring the V1 wording, and not with a 4-word explanation, but with a link to the section where discussion revealed it was V1 that had consensus support. Is this editing or editwarring against consensus? How so?

Never-the-less, Noetica reverted this again, with a #Wikipedia_talk:Article_titles#Fresh_debate:_recognisability_and_related_questions reference to a discussion section where he says the section "is disputed", but which says nothing substantive favoring V2 over V1, much less shows that V1 does not have consensus support, or that V2 does. That sure seems like editwarring against consensus to me. No?

So I restored the consensus-supported V1 wording again, this time after writing a full explanation on Noetica's talk page and linking to that, as well as providing a link to this section.

I don't understand why the V1 wording has not been restored. What's the point of developing and showing consensus if it is ignored?

Does that explain what this is really about? --Born2cycle (talk) 20:25, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Yes, that helps. Unfortunately, the distinction between V. 1 and V. 2 seems superficially innocuous. The behavior of editors here looks as if there is an undercurrent of meaning that no one is talking about in the open, such as Wikipedia values diversity, which seems unarguably pleasant sounding, nice, and swell, oddly encounters great opposition because others harbor suspicions the editor advocating adding that language actually thinks it could reasonably be interpreted as Your dog can take a leak on the keyboard and whatever short-circuit crazy crap uploads to Wikipedia has as much merit as the writings of an actual human who knows what he’s talking about. I’ve tried before here to get to the bottom of what people are actually driving at but was met with silence (as if everyone looked at each other with a puzzled look, stuck their hands in their pockets, and started doodling in the dust with their toes—in one of those “Uhh… we’re just hanging out and talkin’ here.”) Greg L (talk) 22:33, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. Did you read the opening comment of #Clarification_of_recognizability_lost? I think it's all there... the difference is that V1 restricts the scope of recognizability of a given title to those who are familiar with the topic in question, while V2 omits that restriction in scope. The implications are huge. With V1, obscure topics with unique names can have just those unique names as their titles, which is how articles have been named traditionally in WP (click SPECIAL:RANDOM about a dozen times for probably at least six examples); V2 indicates more descriptive information should be added to such titles, which is contrary to what is actually normally done: only when the additional descriptive information is actually needed for disambiguation per WP:D and WP:PRECISION.

Since those who favor V2 cannot or will not even articulate an argument in favor of their position, all we can do is speculate, but as far as I can tell they just are looking for as much leeway in policy as they can get to allow them to move articles to titles that are more descriptive. I really don't think there is much else going on. --Born2cycle (talk) 22:56, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

B2C keeps claiming that he developed a consensus on this very page. Can anyone else find that? Dicklyon (talk) 22:42, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I never said I developed a consensus. In the section which you started, #RFC on Recognizability guideline wording (including comments I summarized from the previous section #Clarification of recognizability lost), nine different editors -- Kotniski, EdChem, PBS, Kai445, B2C, Powers, WhatamIdoing, JCScaliger and Enric Naval -- explained why V1 was preferable to V2, and no one has made a single coherent statement favoring V2 over V1 anywhere on this page. That's not developing consensus, that's just showing what it is (on the V1 vs V2 issue). --Born2cycle (talk) 22:56, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I misinterpreted your rhetorical "What's the point of developing and showing consensus if it is ignored?" I figured you meant both parts to refer to you, since you are the one claiming the consensus. Dicklyon (talk) 23:27, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I'll be happy to examine your claim above. Yes, you inserted previous comments from something like 9 users, rather than letting them speak for themselves. Before the RFC was abondoned in reaction to your unwillingness to let people speak for themselves, the RFC section was editing by me (4 times), by Noetica (4 times), by you (10 times), and by WhatamIdoing, LtPowers, and OhmsLaw; that's all; not many of the list you're counting toward a consensus. You also conveniently ignore comments by people who didn't take sides in your polarizing framing of the discussion, like SamBC, Hesperian, DGG, myself, Tony, and Noetica. And you ignored all support for a compromise attempt, supported by DGG, me, WhatamIdoing, JCScaliger. By insisting on counting votes on a two-way partition, inferred from comments made before the RFC and before any discussion toward finding a compromise, you created the mess that we're now starting to try to discuss our way out of. Don't do it again. Dicklyon (talk) 23:27, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Dick, let's review the facts, shall we?

  1. Eleven days ago, on Dec 20, I made a small 11-word edit to the policy replacing V2 wording with V1 wording from earlier this year that I simultaneously fully explained in a new section on this page, here: WT:AT#Clarification_of_recognizability_lost. It should be noted that the explanation I provided there was essentially endorsed by nine editors within the next few days, supporting my contention that this should not have even been controversial and should not have required discussion prior to the change, which is why I made the change boldly and the explanation simultaneous. Of course, that presumed people would read the explanation prior to reverting the change.
  2. Within 2 minutes, obviously without even reading that explanation, my edit was reverted[21] by Tony1.
  3. Then, instead of having a substantive discussion about the edit per WP:BRD, the three of you -- Dicklyon, Tony1 and Noetica -- made all kinds of disruptive comments about process and behavior in that section.
  4. Never-the-less, some other editors did contribute, and several explained why V1 was better than V2. No one argued that V2 should be favored over V1.
  5. Within a few hours, perhaps not liking the direction that discussion was going, you, Dicklyon, started a new RFC section which disrupted the ongoing discussion in the section I had created. #RFC on Recognizability guideline wording.
  6. In the RFC you made vague references to the options, so I made them more specific, introducing the V1/V2 nomenclature. I also summarized the relevant quotes from the previous discussion that favored either version (it's not my fault that none favored V2 - if there had been any, I would have included them).
  7. Others chimed in, and by the next day it was clear that V1 was unanimously favored. At this point Noetica dramatically announced that he was "Abandoning this RFC", but others continued to participate for another day or two, and in the end nine separate editors --Kotniski, EdChem, PBS, Kai445, B2C, Powers, WhatamIdoing, JCScaliger and Enric Naval -- all clearly explained why V1 was better than V2, while none favored V2 over V1, and there was a smattering of expressions of preference for various other changes, but nothing really specific that was favored by more than one or two people.
  8. By December 25, despite all kinds of discussion, there was still not even one single statement made by anyone in support of V2 over V1, so I again restored the V1 wording[22], which was disruptively reverted by Noetica[23], and restored by Kotniski[24].
  9. At that point Kotniski added an "under discussion" link/tag [25] as well.
  10. Five days later, on Dec 30, last night, with still nothing stated favoring V2 over V1, nor even anything specific stated objecting to anything in this section, I removed that tag[26], noting that this of course does not preclude discussion from continuing.
  11. Noetica then disruptively again replaced the V1 wording with V2 wording. [27].
This disruptive filibustering has been going on for 11 days now. We can have other discussion about making other changes, but the argument favoring V2 over V1 simply is not there. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:25, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Yes, B2C, I saw #Clarification_of_recognizability_lost. And it still as unobvious as ever what the distinction is meant to accomplish. I note your own WTF there when you wrote However, I don't see the question of "recognizable to whom?" being addressed there. It appears they did not understand they were changing the meaning of the criterion by implying it needs to be broadly recognizable to meet the criterion, rather than simply be recognizable to those familiar with the topic, which is a huge change.

It would be exceedingly helpful if editors proposed guideline text that made it perfectly clear what the meaning is of the guideline via examples (*sound of audience gasp*). Note my very own effort on this regarding linking (here at MOS:Linking), which was a jihad effort on both sides, with plenty of wiki‑suicide bombings, ArbCom tongue removals, and ample Turkish butt-stabbings. Yet, when I crafted a proposed guideline that was unambiguous and clear as glass as to its scope and applicability, peace fell upon the land and editors no longer feared their crops would wither, livestock die, and midwives weep. I suggest the same here. The clear-as-glass guideline is as follows:

Month-and-day articles (February 24 and 10 July) should not be linked unless their content is germane (relevant and appropriate) to the subject. Such links should share an important connection with that subject other than that the events occurred on the same date. For example, editors should not link the date (or year) in a sentence such as (from Sydney Opera House): "The Sydney Opera House was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007", because little, if any, of the contents of either June 28 or 2007 are germane to either UNESCO, a World Heritage Site, or the Sydney Opera House.

References to commemorative days (Saint Patrick's Day) are treated as for any other link.

Intrinsically chronological articles (1789, January, and 1940s) may themselves contain linked chronological items.

I suggest others try to be as equally clear by using language that begins with wording like “For example…” Greg L (talk) 23:33, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

That's probably a good suggestion and a valid criticism, but it's not really specific to this issue, as the wording has always lacked examples. I'm open to discussing all kinds of general improvements like this, but I would really like to focus on the V1 vs V2 issue. This was resolved on the talk page over a week ago, and yet is still not reflected on the policy page. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:32, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
There is no practical and real distinction between the two except for that which is imagined by those who stare at them too long and debate this nonsense until the heat death of the universe. Until someone has the balls to get explicit with better wording and add specific examples of how the principle is applied, this conflict is just bickering over points of order and theological debate where the monks practicing their art believe there are hidden meanings to their chants and hymns. Someone please give me a holler on my talk page when someone here finally figures out and explains precisely what the distinction between the two is insofar as other editors crafting actual titles to actual articles in actual, real-world circumstances. Greg L (talk) 02:12, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I tend to agree that there's not a heck of a lot of difference, which is why I wanted to not pick a side until after discussing it, but the titling discussion that provoked B2C to insert the narrowed version is to be found above at #Life Safety Code, where Tony invoked the recognizabililty provision. It's not actually a very good test case, and not one on which Tony and I were in agreement at the time (on unrelated grounds; he may have come around to seeing it my way, not sure). In any case, B2C figures that if someone invokes a guideline against you, just change it! The narrower he can make the recognizability provision, the better he can argue against the sort of recognizable titles that Tony and Noetica have sometimes proposed, and that I have on occasion supported. Maybe he can find you a better example. Dicklyon (talk) 02:34, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree there isn't a great deal of difference between the two versions, and our time would be much more valuably spent discussing rewriting the whole section, as is happening below, but when we had a substantial discussion specifically on the two (or three) versions, almost everyone who had anything substantial to say preferred the older (longer) version. The reason is quite straightforward - Wikipedia's general practice has always been to name things using their common names, without any extra fluff to make those names "recognizable" to the (often very large) percentage of the population who have never heard of the subject in question. (We don't do things like James Onlyheiscalledthis (footballer) or Tom Smurk (actor who played Dick Woob in Baywatch).) If the wording difference actually makes any difference at all, then it's the longer version that makes this practice clearer. But in any case, as a matter of principle, I think we should be respecting the result of on-topic discussion, not allowing the content of the page to be dictated by drama-mongering and edit-warring. Surely you guys have had enough problems of this kind from various troublemakers at MoS to recognise it here (even though, surprisingly to me, the main culprit this time is someone I'd always associated with defending MoS against exactly this kind of thing).--Kotniski (talk) 13:56, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Subtitles in smaller type

While we're on parenthetical disambiguators, this may be a good time to re-raise an idea that has had some support in the past - make the parenthetical bit of the title display in smaller type, so that it looks more like a "subtitle". That way we go some way towards having our cake and eating it - we get concise "titles", while the heading as a whole provides the precision and (perhaps) consistency. (For another possible advantage of this approach, see my last comment at WT:Disambiguation#Disambiguation of two topics.)--Kotniski (talk) 12:55, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Possibly useful. Is there a template that will do this, or do we need to demonstrate consensus enough for a bug report? — Preceding unsigned comment added by JCScaliger (talkcontribs) 18:26, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Last time it was discussed, I think someone rigged up a template. That's not a problem, though it would then have to be applied, gradually, to hundreds of thousands of pages. The other alternative is to ask for a change to the software (though my experience is that getting the devs to do anything useful takes so long that it would almost certainly be simpler to have a bot apply the template everywhere). In either case, though, the main issue would be detecting and excluding the exceptional cases where the parenthetical is actually a full part of the title.--Kotniski (talk) 11:20, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Advice

Should all official names of settlement be mentioned in Infobox part official name and in leade. Also, which percentage of community is considered sufficient to add a minority language in leade, and which in name section where language is not official (Specifically, 50% is enough?). This will be useful in specific discussion, but be also sure to specify it in the rules in article (about that we have great debate).--MirkoS18 (talk) 01:28, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

50% seems like enough. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 11:27, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Infoboxes are a separate thing from the article title... They are essentially part of the article text. Thus, what should (or should not) go into them is not really within the scope of this policy. Blueboar (talk) 12:02, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for your advices.--MirkoS18 (talk) 14:23, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
No, not all. There are cases where the question of who is official is disputable (and this is when some editors want to insist on it, unfortunately); to include an official name under such circumstances is POV. JCScaliger (talk) 03:47, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Case at dispute resolution involving article titles

This case may be of interest to some of you here. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 03:06, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Consensus support for "recognizable to someone familiar" wording is established

The "recognizable to someone familiar" wording that clarifies that we strive for our titles to be recognizable to those who are familiar with the topic in question, was added by Kotniski on August 17, 2010 with this edit.

Kotniski was clearly editing in good faith, and seeking review, as is revealed by the edit summary, "an alternative formulation for your perusal and possible reversion ("easy to find" and "precise" seem not to have any meaning not covered by the other crietria". This method of building consensus is more commonly used than Reaching consensus through discussion, and is known as Reaching consensus through editing. Within hours of that edit, Knepflerle (talk · contribs) made another edit to the same section[28], signalling acceptance of Kotniski's change. A few minutes later Hesperian also made edit, and also left Kotniski's wording largely intact[29]. Then, PBS reverted the whole thing [30], but Knep insisted [31], another revert from PBS [32], and then another restore by Kotniski [33]. The next day PMA also made an edit, also signalling acceptance [34]. A few days later, on the 24th, another editor made changes to that section, without changing the wording [35]. In short, a number of editors clearly looked at this wording and accepted it. That establishes consensus, even though there was no discussion about it.

In theory, a similar argument could be made about the recognizability simplification edit in May 2011, except when the ramifications of the oversimplification was pointed out a week ago, consensus clearly favored restoring the previous wording (nine different editors explained why that wording was better; no one argued in favor of the simpler wording).

Now, those are the relevant facts that I'm aware of, and they seem to clearly indicate that consensus supports the "recognizable ... to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic" wording over the "plain" recognizable wording, but maybe I'm missing something. Am I? If so, what? If not, I hereby refute the argument that this wording has no consensus support, which, frankly, I'm sick and tired of fielding (this argument was made in the first sentence of #More revert warring just above). But at least now I have something to refer to if it's ever presented again. --Born2cycle (talk) 08:28, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

@ all, I've reverted the contested point to the Dec. 12 wording, before the current edit war. Please work out the wording on this talk page, rather than in the edit summaries. That's getting disruptive. Given the number of people who edit this article, protection isn't really an option, which means I'm left with blocking people. — kwami (talk) 08:52, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Kwami, how much of this page did you read? If you look at this section, Wikipedia_talk:Article_titles#RFC_on_Recognizability_guideline_wording, you'll see that the wording you reverted is unanimously supported by consensus. I'm not counting !votes, BTW, but arguments. Yes, there are three people, Noetica, Tony and Dicklyon who express a preference for the simpler wording, but with no argument. No argument at all has been presented favoring the wording that you restored (note that anyone is free to reply after this with and edit diff to such an argument, but they won't, because there isn't one).

How can anything be resolved with such obstinacy? If they refuse or are unable to engage in substantive discussion, what is there to discuss? --Born2cycle (talk) 09:10, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, this really is bizarre. We discussed this, got clear support for a particular wording, and now suddenly the wording that was rejected in the discussion is back in place, and any indication that it is disputed or under discussion has miraculously disappeared. What is the point of all this discussion if all that's going to happen is that the results are going to be overruled by edit warriors?--Kotniski (talk) 10:19, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Funny, I thought that it had already been worked out on the talk page, and that we had generally agreed that what Kwami restored was the least desirable of the three significant options presented. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:10, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. I think Kwami must have looked only at the edit and flame wars and not at the on-topic discussion (as admins are unfortunately wont to do).--Kotniski (talk) 09:27, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
And this has happened again. We had a poll on this, after extensive discussion. I believe that more people have now installed the longer and long-established version than ever argued for the short version. If this continues, we may need some adult supervision. JCScaliger (talk) 01:51, 13 January 2012 (UTC)