Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 39

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Archive 35 Archive 37 Archive 38 Archive 39 Archive 40 Archive 41 Archive 45

When the most common name is not a "common name"

We should note that, even though it should be "Lion", not "Felis leo", it should nevertheless be "Thylacine", not "marsupial wolf." Some times the "common name" is not the most common name. There're at least two meanings of the term "common name". Pretty much everyone nowadays only calls it the Thylacine, and the so-called "common names" for it have fallen into disuse. WP:COMMONNAME refers to the literally most common name, not necessarily the biological term "common name". I want to add a caveat to these guidelines to that effect. Chrisrus (talk) 19:24, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

I agree (see Talk:Pseudoryzomys#Brazilian False Rice Rat for a similar discussion), but the thylacine is a bad example, since "thylacine" is in fact a vernacular name. If Thylacinus cynocephalus were the most common name for the animal in English, it would be a different matter. Ucucha (talk) 19:39, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Ok. What's our best example? Chrisrus (talk) 19:57, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps Arabidopsis thaliana. Ucucha (talk) 21:19, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose Proposed change vaguely stated. Specify more precisely what your proposed wording change is since the gist seems to be adding information on what all WP:COMMONNAME is not. I am sure others with different backgrounds will have other such exceptions to add, making the what-it-is-not list swamp the what-it-is list. Churn and change (talk) 20:05, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Hang on a bit, please. We're still talking about this. We haven't decided any fixed proposal yet. Your input and advice is appreciated, but we don't need up or down votes yet. Chrisrus (talk) 20:09, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

We are talking about whether in the abstract it might be a good idea to warn the reader about the fact that there is a biological term "common name" that is often but not always literally the most common name of a species or genus or whatever. Sometimes, the taxon is the literally most common name even though by definition a taxon is like the opposite of the "common name". This is confusing, please be careful. In this way, tt is possible that the sometimes the "common name" of a plant or animal is not the most common name, in the simple adjective-noun meaning intended by the authors of this article; the taxon is more common than the "common name". It is very easy to imagine that readers might get confused between these two definitions of the exact same term. Unless there are many other definitions of "common name", there is no slippery slope. Chrisrus (talk) 03:33, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Oh, yes. Chemistry has hydrargyrum (Hg) vs mercury (many elements and compounds like this). Organic chemistry has IUPAC names vs common names. Acetic acid vs ethanoic acid (an issue with most of the more notable organic compounds). The drug industry (biochem) has Ritalin vs Methylphenidate (an issue with practically every drug). See, for example Right in bold there is the phrase "common name" which you have gutsily appropriated for biology. Churn and change (talk) 04:13, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't think a fair reading of the commonnames section allows such a misinterpretation, but at the same time I have (too many times) seen how often people do not read carefully. Since I do think this is a not unlikely misinterpretation of what "common name" might mean, I would in theory support such a clarification. Let me throw out something concrete just to play with. How about a footnote like so: "...whether the official name, the scientific name, the birth name, the original name or the trademarked name."[1]
  1. ^ Remember that prevalence in reliable English-language sources is the touchstone of commonality. "Common" does not necessarily mean made up of a common word or words. For example, in some cases the Latin, scientific name may be the common name in sources, even though a colloquial name or phrase exists in English. For example, Arabidopsis thaliana is the prevalent title in reliable English language sources, not mouse-ear cress, by which this plant is sometimes, but more rarely, called.
--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:23, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Note:, the first footnote above is an artifact of a citation higher on this page; ignore)
Ok, that is better. Some ce (drop the first sentence as redundant; instead of prevalent title, 'prevalent name'; change ending to 'by which this plant is at times called' (prevalent at the beginning implies this is more rare). Important that the wording not contain references to any biological term "common name". It doesn't clarify much and doesn't cover the issue. Churn and change (talk) 04:40, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

"I want to add a caveat to these guidelines to that effect (Chrisrus)". For clarity of definition: AT is a policy not a guideline. Its naming conventions are guidelines. This policy already contains a footnote of a type you are proposing (see here footnote 4). I think it would help if it were moved from its current location lower down the section the end of the phrase where "common name" is first mention in the first mention in the section Common names (which is after the comma in the second sentence "The most common name for a subject,"). -- PBS (talk) 08:16, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

The only thing I can say to that is "D'oh!" So possibly we're left with tweaking/expanding that preexisting footnote and moving it.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 12:29, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
As I proposed above: I have moved the footnote up to the first mention in the section. That has changed its ordering in the footnote list. It is now footnote 3 (text). I think the links it contains clears up any ambiguity and I will be surprised if further tweaking will improve it. -- PBS (talk) 08:44, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
There is an entire article (guidelines, not policy) on naming conventions for flora: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (flora) The Arabidopsis example is best added there. I assume you could add a similar example to the fauna section too. Churn and change (talk) 17:25, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia has many naming conventions relating to specific subject domains (as listed in the box

at the top of this page). [C&C's comment: Nature/flora is listed in that box] Sometimes these recommend the use of titles that are not strictly the common name (as in the case of the conventions for flora and medicine). This practice of using specialized names is often controversial, and should not be adopted unless it produces clear benefits outweighing the use of

common names; when it is, the article titles adopted should follow a neutral and common convention specific to that subject domain, . . .

What the nom is asking for is then a change in policy (at least the only concrete proposal posted here would be a change in policy, generalizing from the domain of biology), not a minor addition to a footnote or a guideline change. Not being a subject expert and not being involved in the discussion on the new consensus (was there one?) I will not be discussing this more here. Just wanted to make sure everybody was on the same page on what the change involved, and what the old consensus was. Churn and change (talk) 18:22, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, let me start again:
The common name is not always the most common name. This can confuse. So I brought it up. I somehow missed the footnote intended to stave off such confusion.
I make no specific proposal. Do with this what you will.
That is all. Chrisrus (talk) 21:23, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Isn't the footnote good enough? WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:56, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
In theory, it should be, but could incorporating it into the text somehow be even better? Chrisrus (talk) 13:53, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Opinion requested...

hi guys - could we get someone to drop by Talk:Speech-generating_device#Rename... and give an opinion? We've in need of more voices I think... Fayedizard (talk) 21:04, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Is there a reason you're not using WP:Requested moves or Template:RMtalk? Jojalozzo 00:28, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
For me an immediate red flag is "So a rename happened recently". If this is the case the last thing to do is list it at WP:RM which would just create confusion rather than resolution. Asking for help is completely appropriate, in my opinion. Log: 11:52, 2 September 2012 Tony1 moved page Speech generating device to Speech-generating device Apteva (talk) 01:34, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Is there an exception to WP:MODERNPLACENAME? - an RM to consider

Related to the discussions above... but I thought it might be worth separating out and discussing on its own.

RE: the use of historic vs modern names. There are some places in the world that are known almost exclusively for a historical event... where there are thousands of English language sources that mention the place in an historical context, and almost no English language sources that mention it in a modern context. I am not talking about a place like Constantinople/Istanbul, Calcutta/Kolkata or Stalingrad/Volgagrad (where there are lots of English language sources that discuss the places in a modern context) I am talking about a place like Manzikert/Malazgirt (which is almost exclusively written about in the context of history).

I don't think there will be many of these situations... but I do think the few that do crop up should be exceptions to WP:MODERNPLACENAME. Looking at this in terms of the five basic principles layed out at WP:Article titles ... in these rare situations, the historic name will be far more recognizable than the modern one... the historic name will also be far more natural and consistent (since it is likely that the geo-article about the location will primarily be linked to in other articles that mention it in its historic context). I would like to explore this idea further... and to give us a test case, I have proposed the following move at RM: MalazgirtManzikert. Please comment on that specific example there - but we can discuss the concept further here. Blueboar (talk) 19:53, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Per my comments in that previous section and at the RM, I'm not sure we have quite the problem or contradiction here that is suggested. Again, we are a modern encyclopedia and should go by the modern common name, and we should not allow exceptions to that combined principle, as articulated by a combined reading of WP:TITLE and WP:NCGN. Allowing the prevalence of references to ancient events - especially, for example, battles that will have their own pages anyway - to affect naming of entries for the modern places seems unhelpful to me, and not common practice in any other reference works or encyclopedias. I'm also not sure opening a specific RM alongside this thread as a test case is a good idea. Apologies - on reflection that sounds like an admonishment, which was not intended - I just mean, as an observation, that I'm not sure it will help clarify or focus the issue. N-HH talk/edits 09:00, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
(no need for apology... I took your comments as intended) But when a local is primarily (even overwhelmingly) known for being the site of an historic event, that fact affects the focus of the article (or at least it should, if we are not being POV), and the article should be entitled to match that focus. I think there is a difference between a place like Manzikert/Malazgert and other historic places like Stalingrad/Volgograd or Constantinople/Istanbul. With those other places we have tons of sources that discuss the locations in a modern context. That is not really the case with Manzikert. There are virtually no sources that discuss the town in its modern context... Almost every English language source discusses the location in historic context. Indeed, it is the historic context that primarily makes the location notable. This affects the recognizability of the two names. It is likely that our readers have heard the name Manzikert... it is unlikely that they have heard the name Malazgert. That is why I think there is an exception to MODERNPLACENAME in situations like this. The historic name is significantly more common. I am not saying we should ignore the modern name, nor am I arguing that the article's text should not use the modern name when discussing the modern town... I am saying that there are a few locations in the world where we should use the historic name as the article's title... because that name is significantly more recognizable, natural and consistent. Blueboar (talk) 14:34, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Beatles RfC

You are invited to participate in an RfC at Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/The Beatles on the issue of capitalising the definite article when mentioning that band's name in running prose. This long-standing dispute is the subject of an open mediation case and we are requesting your help with determining the current community consensus. Thank you for your time. For the mediators. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 21:48, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

RFC in progress

I started an RFC about bird names, if you want to participate. Hill Crest's WikiLaser! (BOOM!) 20:15, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Requested move

Similarly to an RfC, there is a discussion at the character page The Avenger (character), over a requested move to Avenger (character), at Talk:The Avenger (character)#Requested move. --Tenebrae (talk) 17:13, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Chicken and egg

I ran across a comment elsewhere that indicates that at least some editors believe that the title "defines" the scope of the article, rather than the topic determining the article's title. That is, he seemed to believe that article creation is "First, pick your title. Then, write an article to match it." In fact, it's the other way around: first you pick your article's subject, and only then do you choose a title to describe that subject.

I think the problem may be a misinterpretation of the word define used in reference to "Precision". Would anyone mind if we changed "to unambiguously define the topical scope of the article" to the perhaps more precise "to unambiguously describe the topical scope of the article" or "to unambiguously delimit the topical scope of the article" or some such phrase? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:30, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Ideally, the title, the scope, and the topic all work together... (I would say the topic defines the title when starting a new article, but once written the title generally defines the continued scope of the topic - unless there is consensus to change the scope, and thus the title).
The hard part is when editors can not agree on whether to change the scope (and thus the title)... For example: suppose one group of editors have written an article with an intentionally narrow scope (a narrow topic article). A specific title may have been chosen to indicate that the article is about that narrow topic and not about related broader topics. If another group of editors come along and want to include things that are beyond the original narrow scope, I think it reasonable for the first group to say "No... this article is about the narrow topic... Look at the title... it defines the scope of the article and your additions fall beyond that narrow scope".
this does not mean they are correct to say this... just that the response is reasonable. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to such debates... sometimes the narrow scope is appropriate, and sometimes it isn't. Sometimes a narrow scope gives us the opportunity to explore a topic in depth, and the broader topic should be discussed in a related "overview" article (with a different, broader title)... on the other hand, too narrow a scope often a red flag that there is POV pushing going on... in which case it is appropriate to broaden the scope (and perhaps change the title to reflect that broadened scope). Each case has to be examined separately. Blueboar (talk) 22:02, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree with you, and add people trying to rename incomplete articles because the current contents only cover (invented example) Diagnosis of cancer even though the goal is to eventually have an article about Cancer in general, to the list of mistakes inexperienced people sometimes make.
But the fact remains that in telling people how to choose an appropriate title (the subject of this policy), we're not starting from the position that the title controls the article. We are definitely intending for the editors' choice of subject (which might be narrow or broad or in-between) to control the title. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
Since nobody has objected for two weeks, I've made a change to "unambiguously identify". Let's see whether there are now any objections. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:13, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Title stability


"If an article title has been stable for a long time, and there is no good reason to change it, it should not be changed."

Given that most users (myself included until an hour ago, until I asked on the helpdesk) do not even know about this link, I think it may be a good idea to have some type of "grace period" for high visibility and stable articles, so one does not have to have a RM fiesta once someone boldly moves a stable page, and waits to see if someone objects.

This just happened and I suggested to another user that:

  • If a page has not moved for N years (N = 3 or 5, etc.)
  • and the page is high visibility, Total views greater than T per month (T > 10,000 or 15,000 or so)
  • Then any page move should be subject to a 3 day grace period, so discussion can take place,

so people watching the page are not caught by surprise and do not have to waste time

Ideally this should be enforced by software, and when the Move button is clicked, the 3 day process starts. If no objection, it happens in 3 days. Ideas? History2007 (talk) 15:35, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

  • High traffic articles that go via a redirect are surely a heavy load on Wikipedia.
  • It surely saves a lot of arguments to have clear criteria for deciding, or changing, article titles—and for providing adequate notice of proposed changes to people who are likely to find any changes to be controversial.
  • You suggestion sounds like a good idea even for articles that have not been moved for one year and that get 3,000 monthly pageviews—there seem to be few articles on Vietnam that get this level of traffic, and there have been annual moves to and from diacritics (see here). LittleBen (talk) 02:06, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
The reason I suggested those numbers (and they are of course just suggestions) was that lower barriers may have given rise to the the counter-argument that it would restrict freedom too much. So if the idea looks right, then the two numbers N and T can be decided afterwards. My guess is that for N > 5 years of no move and T > 100,000 views a month many people would support the idea. So if we start there, then we can see what the lower bounds of acceptance on N and T may be. History2007 (talk) 14:08, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Two comments:

RfC: RM is standard practice for reaching broad consensus for controversial page moves

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this RfC was: leave current wording unchanged. The concerns expressed in the comments were largely that the proposed wording weakens the statement with the requirement for "broad consensus", which is poorly-defined, while simultaneously using the word "must" to make WP:RM a requirement, which it is not. — Hex (❝?!❞) 11:34, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

I propose replacing the second paragraph in Considering title changes
Any potentially controversial proposal to change a title should be advertised at Wikipedia:Requested moves, and consensus reached before any change is made. Debating controversial titles is often unproductive, and there are many other ways to help improve Wikipedia.
Broad consensus must be reached before making any potentially controversial title change and advertising such proposed changes at Wikipedia:Requested moves is standard practice.
Jojalozzo 01:18, 1 September 2012 (UTC)


[EDITORS: please confine all discussion to the discussion section (see down below); discussion includes comments on comments, rejoinders, rebuttals, debating points, and so on. This survey section is a survey of opinions, given as votes or initial comments. Such sections are distinct for a very good reason, on Wikipedia. ☺ NoeticaTea? 05:24, 2 September 2012 (UTC)]

  • Support as proposer - By adding a requirement for broad consensus and acknowledging RM as standard procedure, the ambiguity of the current language is greatly reduced without locking us into RM. I think the second sentence about debating is a distraction. Jojalozzo 01:18, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This represents a needless alteration and loosening of accepted practice (settled as policy since September 2009). There is no good reason for making advertisement at WP:RM merely optional, as this change would do. WP:RM is solidly established as the central clearing-house for all potentially controversial move proposals, and so it should remain. Avoiding such transparent notification may sometimes conceal attempts to sneak moves through without proper scrutiny, as has been alleged in a recent case for a notoriously controversial article. (My declaration: I was heavily involved in attempting to sort out the continuing mess that arose from that move, which was not advertised at WP:RM – or anywhere, in fact.) Keep policy definite and simple. Alternative wording (see underlined) that I would accept:
    "Broad consensus must be reached before making any potentially controversial title change, and all such proposals must be advertised at Wikipedia:Requested moves."
NoeticaTea? 09:53, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose—I can live with "should", which is unequivocal (despite a most unlikely interpretation put about a while ago). But "must" is better, because it's stronger. If the present wording is open to abuse, so is the proposer's wording, by using the weak expression "standard practice". Tony (talk) 10:04, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose—The current wording is better. If a move is controversial enough to require community-wide input, it should (perhaps with rare exceptions that are obvious when they occur) be advertised at the normal place for such controversial moves. If anything, "should" should be strengthened rather than weakened. --Boson (talk) 11:33, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment—Though I don't think we need more flexibility regarding the forum for discussing really controversial moves, I think a later discussion should perhaps focus on clarifying the interpretation of "potentially controversial". -- Boson (talk) 11:33, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Support Jojalozzo's proposal - and utterly oppose Noetica's suggested change to make RM a "must". Broad consensus is required, using the RM mechanism to achieve a broad consensus is not... using RM is, however, standard practice and we should acknowledge that fact.Blueboar (talk) 11:47, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This wording implies that a Requested Move cannot be made without prior discussion and consensus. In fact, the RM itself is a vehicle for any potential discussion. In other cases, controversy may center around technical considerations of title policy, and can be managed by the admin who closes the move request. Many RMs attract no comments at all. It's simply a mechanism for listing moves in a place where an uninvolved admin is available to close them. Neotarf (talk) 12:30, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I agree with Neotarf in that this will allow an avenue for wikilawyers to wreak havoc by challenging just about any move as potentially controversial. For completely opposite reasons from Tony, I can also live with "should" in that it does not imply an absolute obligation, merely a recommendation. For me, I think the issue is that we cannot and do not want to stop editors from being bold by forcing every move to go through a bureaucracy. However, we do want to give stronger guidance that boldness is undesirable if there are any indications of previous disagreement regarding the title (or if the topic is associated with subjects that are affected by controversy). olderwiser 14:50, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose the proposal. I would also oppose changing "should" to "must," though in practice they're going to mean the same in this context, in the sense that if anyone requests or sets up an RM, that's the process that people will expect to see followed. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:57, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Bit confused now, as I see there was a recent RfC on this. An RfC would be fine rather than an RM - an RM is a form of RfC, so I wouldn't want to see people forced to call it one thing and not the other. The point is: if the move is contentious, make sure you get fresh eyes on the page and that it's advertised in all the right places, and the best right place is the RM page. But would it matter if someone gained consensus for a page move via RfC instead? I can't see that it would. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:51, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
I have restored this thread from below. Someone move it to make things tidy, but obviously SlimVirgin is looking for an answer in the same place where she asked the question, and is not finding it. [[[User:Neotarf|Neotarf]] (talk) 22:32, 2 September 2012 (UTC)]
    • Bit confused now, as I see there was a recent RfC on this. An RfC would be fine rather than an RM - an RM is a form of RfC, so I wouldn't want to see people forced to call it one thing and not the other. The point is: if the move is contentious, make sure you get fresh eyes on the page and that it's advertised in all the right places, and the best right place is the RM page. But would it matter if someone gained consensus for a page move via RfC instead? I can't see that it would. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:51, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I guess you would have to read the debate above and look at the recent messes at talk:Men's rights (and a follow up Archived ANI) and also another example at talk:Burma. Also see the points made above about an RfD deceiding on a move rather than a delete. -- PBS (talk) 20:35, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • That confusion is perfectly understandable, SlimVirgin. The best conspectus of the issues might be had from this final version of my request to ArbCom, for review of KillerChihuahua's action that precipitated all this drama. It comes later than the hectic treatment of the affair at WP:ANI (virtually a prescribed step, often unpleasant, that has to be endured before anyone approaches ArbCom to request a case).
    NoeticaTea? 06:12, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
SlimVirgin, why is RFC is not recommended for moves? Here are four diffs from the above discussion: Mike Cline explains it best. [1][2][3][4] Neotarf (talk) 22:16, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Weak support; I like the beginning but again, would prefer to avoid the "should" which has caused the previous (and ongoing) confusion. KillerChihuahua?!? 22:12, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Broad consensus" is open to interpretation and by describing something as "standard practice" makes it seem optional. Messy page moves are sometimes difficult to reverse if editors have already started altering links, so do it right do it once. Betty Logan (talk) 03:09, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: Advertising a pagemove, so that more people can comment, is the main point. AFD, and RFC, and informal talkpage discussions are perfectly valid methods for gaining broad feedback in order to arrive at a decision (as long as broad feedback is received, the method is not crucial).
    As long as noone is attempting to game-the-system, then they work fine, and if we (tried to) clarify the rules to eradicate every single potential or previously-used system-gaming tactic, the Policies&Guidelines would grow by an ungodly amount. RM is recommended, preferred, encouraged, and endorsed, but is not obligatory in all "potentially controversial" moves, and to make it so will just lead to more problems in the future, with editors crying-foul when a move-decision was arrived at via another reasonable method. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:12, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose, i.e., I slightly prefer the current wording to the proposed replacement; OTOH, a compromise between the two would be even better IMO, e.g. “Any potentially controversial proposal to change a title should be advertised at Wikipedia:Requested moves, and broad consensus must be reached before any change is made.” (I fully agree with the second sentence of the current wording as a factual statement, but that's not something specific to article titles, and in that context it sounds to me like a dig at people who participate in RMs.) — A. di M.  11:14, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep RM optional Cases such as yogurt/yoghourt/yoghurt show that any title change has potential to be controversial. RM is a bottleneck and so its use for any or all moves should be optional. Warden (talk) 11:49, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written. The future-predicting and nebulous "potentially controversial" should not be combined with the inflexible "must". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:53, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose I don't like the term 'broad consensus' (RM consensus is rarely broad) and am not keen to see "standard practice" codified. --regentspark (comment) 12:08, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep RM optional. Broad consensus is necessary and RM is just one way to achieve it. Making RM a must may sometimes lead editors who don't like the outcome of an RfC to cry foul and claim, erroneously, that the move was controversial, as has been alleged in a recent case. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 12:33, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose new wording There is no compelling case to change the wording in this section. --Mike Cline (talk) 15:36, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - Controversial moves can often be sorted out on the article's talk page without bothering with RM, and the sentence "Debating controversial titles is often unproductive, and there are many other ways to help improve Wikipedia" is subjective and inappropriate. If a move is not wanted then it will quickly be opposed by the community; there's no need to tell people it's "unproductive" to even bother starting the discussion. It rings as rather BITEY to newish editors, perhaps not experienced with page moves. —JmaJeremy 18:31, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose anything requiring "broad consensus". Any consensus not including "me" is never broad enough. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:56, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Support not requiring bureaucracy. RM is one way of proceeding--but if it is going to be a real mess, there are others that might get yet wider attention. But "Broad" consensus is, as mentioned by others, an unrealistic requirement--except to the extent it means, as SV says, getting opinions from those not previously involved. DGG ( talk ) 01:25, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Support but with "must" changed to "should" (in "Broad consensus must be reached...). "Must" pretty much never really applies here [except where legal issues like libel or copyright arise] and it runs directly afoul of WP:BOLD, WP:IAR, WP:BRD etc. There are plenty of cases where a "potentially controversial" rename must be done for some actual reason (reliable sourcing, BLP issues, trademark law, whatever). The fact that various random loudmouths will argue everyone to the point of murderous thoughts over the matter doesn't mean that such a pointless bunch of noise MUST happen and be resolved (which is often impossible) before the move takes place. And darned near everything and anything on WP is "potentially controversial"; all it takes is one nutty but charismatic blowhard who can write well to generate a lame, tiresome "controversy". I think "not requiring bureaucracy", as DGG put it, is a genuinely Wikipedian mode. PS: A comma is also needed in the proposed new wording, between "title change" and "and advertising". — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 08:54, 4 September 2012 (UTC) INS Update: I've added some further rationale, below, in the "Discussion" section. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:31, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. First, I totally agree with, and second, everything Noetica said above in his !vote comment. I was nodding my head in agreement as I read the entire comment, and when I came to the sig I about fell out of my chair. But there it is. It must be emphasized that we're talking only about potentially controversial move proposals, and I disagree with the assertion above that all retitles are potentially controversial, or that Yoghurt/Yogurt serves to illustrate that they are. That example does show that retitles based on regional differences in spelling are potentially controversial.

    But equally important in my objection is the misuse of the term (and underlying concept) "broad consensus" in the proposed wording. Broad consensus is exactly what can not be achieved in a single RM discussion, or in any single discussion for that matter. A single discussion can only achieve local consensus, at best. Broad consensus is what gets established through multiple discussions on the same issue, all or mostly going one way or the other, and it's always regarding something general that applies to many articles, not something like a specific title decision that applies only to one article. --Born2cycle (talk) 21:26, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Support in prinicple – the wording can be tightened or improved, particularly to define "potentially controversial". I don't have a difficulty with "should" provided it's defined as in RFC2119, this could be done with a footnote. . . dave souza, talk 08:31, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose The current wording reflects an imperative and a reality. The imperative is to list a proposed likely-to-be-challenged move at a globally agreed place so it can't be sneaked in. The new wording weakens the requirement for controversial moves too, for unclear reasons. For noncontroversial moves the procedure is different anyway. The reality mentioned in the second sentence of the current wording is also worth keeping. Controversial move discussions are unlikely to reach a consensus, and serious Wikipedians are better off doing other stuff. The advice is a warning for the new and a reminder for the old. There is nothing distracting about it. Churn and change (talk) 06:08, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per wording including "broad" and "must." Sounds like good intentions, but I forsee difficulties. --Nouniquenames (talk) 16:05, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment the original is wordy, goes off topic and at the end is patronising. So I'm in favour of improving it. I know that doesn't answer the question about whether the new is better but it does say the previous wording should change. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 15:05, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose Whatever the intent, this looks to me like a watering down of the existing phrasing, which I can't help but think will create more dispute and uncertainty in the long run than it prevents. Anaxial (talk) 19:46, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose I prefer the existing wording, even though I'm not crazy about the subjective sentence about discussing controversial page moves usually being unproductive- even though I do agree. I'd be fine with that sentence being removed, and I'm against the word must (as in, "broad consensus must be reached") in the proposed wording.--Slon02 (talk) 15:12, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose Since name changes can be very disruptive, need clear language to explain policy to people who may not want to hear it, in my personal experience. CarolMooreDC 01:37, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose I prefer the more flexible original wording, and I strongly object to removing the sentence "Debating controversial titles is often unproductive, and there are many other ways to help improve Wikipedia." That is something that people often need to be reminded of. --MelanieN (talk) 22:50, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Hi. I think the new text expends a lot of words putting a looser requirement on a discussion in Wikipedia:Requested moves but makes broad consensus a strict requirement. Now, "broad" is not a measurable amount but it does a very good job of hindering consensus building processes; it enables a small group to unjustly veto the current consensus without actually changing it. Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 12:27, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. G'day. Prefer the existing wording, and am strongly opposed to using the word "must" per Slon02 above, and consider that if this change goes ahead, the word should be "should". Moves of obscure articles in the backwaters of WP are often discussed (and edited) only by a small number of editors. If a previously uninvolved editor suddenly appears and voices a contrary opinion, the word "must" unnecessarily straightjackets the process. Peacemaker67 (talk) 00:36, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is worse than the existing wording, and it's not going to stop good-faith moves that others object to, nor bad-faith moves that others object to. (1) I have no idea what "broad consensus" means - 2 out of 3, 51 out of 100, 99 out of 100? (2) there's a contradiction between use use of "must" and "standard practice" - if it's standard practice then it's usual but not compulsory (3) it also has the same problem as the old wording in that there's no way for a user to tell if a move is going to be controversial. --Colapeninsula (talk) 10:17, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Straw poll

What support is there for this more imperative and explanatory language?
Proposed changes must be advertised at Wikipedia:Requested moves and broad consensus must be reached before making a title change when any of the following situations applies,
  • There is an existing article at the target title.
  • There has been any past debate about the best title for the page.
  • Someone could reasonably disagree with the move.

In the spirit of a straw poll, I recommend voting with minimal comment and returning to the discussion section for any follow up. Jojalozzo 17:57, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

This is already part of the policy at WP:RM/TR. What is changed here? Only getting rid of the word "should", which is used for lists of rules in both BrE and AmE, and replacing it with the fussy British word "must", that Americans associate with foul odors. So many fixes, but for what? What is broke? Neotarf (talk) 18:47, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
"British"? Harvard disagrees with you. -- Hex [t/c] 08:18, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Check again, Hex. That is a standard for writing software specifications for a particular project, not the rules that other people's documents must follow. Neotarf (talk) 13:02, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
You are both wrong (RFC 2119 sets out rules for the use of terms when writing IETF standards track documents) and missing the point, which is that American-authored documents such as RFC 2119 use the word "must" frequently in a formal context; your original contention is also wrong. — Hex (❝?!❞) 11:18, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose, RM is not required, therefore "must" is inaccurate. KillerChihuahua?!? 15:07, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. To say RM is "not required" is to prejudge the real issue that people are choosing to discuss in this RFC. On the most natural reading of WP:TITLE, RM is required when a proposed move is potentially controversial; so it makes perfect sense to replicate the existing clarifications from WP:RM here. That would certainly help prevent misreadings, intentional or otherwise.
    NoeticaTea? 22:43, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
    • RM is definitely not required. It was created as a convenience, and is only that. In most cases moves are just made. The purpose of the talk pages is to allow discussion on merits, and in many cases discussion goes on for years before it gets to a vote. WP:RM is a formal procedure that makes that vote easy, but it is hardly the only way to resolve controversial moves. Apteva (talk) 08:38, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose insertion of "must" which would be a policy change contravening current practice as shown by Arbcom discussions, where other processes can be used under certain circumstances. The same clarification would work with "should" in its normal meaning, as understood by many if not all editors and as discussed below. Please note that this definition is not part of policy, as WP:RM is not a policy. . . 19:00, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose as unnecessarily restrictive. Even if it has been debated common sense should be used: if the debate was a long time ago and policies have changed, or the debate was malicious/stupid/inconclusive/minimal, or the article has changed substantially, or you can't find the debate (e.g. it was on a project page), or you don't think anyone really cares any more. Regarding someone disagreeing with the move, someone could think of an alternative to most moves, and hence disagreement is likely, but often thanks to redirects it does not matter. This policy suggests that almost all moves should be debated, which isn't necessary. You should consider in what cases a debate is actually useful. --Colapeninsula (talk) 10:36, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Broad consensus vs local consensus

I continue to see a lot of misuse and confusion over the term "broad consensus". Broad consensus cannot be determined or developed by any single discussion, including any one RM discussion. What occurs there is the epitome of WP:LOCALCONSENSUS.

In contrast, broad consensus is what is developed and/or determined by a series of similar discussions in which the outcome consistently comes out to be on one side or the other. There is no other way to develop or determine broad consensus, because too few people participate in any one discussion. Even if you have a hundred people people respond to an RFC, that's still only a faction of the total population, and not necessarily a fair sample. Only with a series of discussions about a given issue can we know that a reasonable and fair sample of editors is participating, and that any consensus determined or developed from that can be deemed to be broad. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:33, 5 September 2012 (UTC)


[EDITORS: please confine all discussion to this discussion section; discussion includes comments on comments, rejoinders, rebuttals, debating points, and so on. The survey section is a survey of opinions, given as votes or initial comments. The sections are distinct for a very good reason. ☺ NoeticaTea? 11:42, 1 September 2012 (UTC)]

  • This proposal arose from Proposed verbiage 5 as well as other discussion in the retracted RfC above. Jojalozzo 01:18, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Maybe it sounds better. I'd say that any proposal to rename a page that proves controversial must be listed at WP:RM. if there is an associated RFC, it can still be advertised through RM, although a running RFC would mean that it won't be closed at seven days (not that that happens much). This probably doesn't apply if the rename proposal arises at AfD and is resolved there. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:18, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
[Editors, please keep things readable and orderly. Comment on Tony's vote, moved from the survey to the discussion section by Noetica:]
  • Tony, ""should", which is unequivocal"?? Was that a typo? "Should" invites exceptions. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:21, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Technical problem: This RfC seems to be advertised at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Unsorted. Was that the intention, or did something go wrong? --Boson (talk) 11:48, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
    Fixed now, Boson. I have amended the markup. Hope you don't mind: I've refactored your technical aside so that it doesn't upset the flow too much. (Let's check a little later: should be listed correctly before long.) ☺ NoeticaTea? 12:08, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment - I think there is a flawed assumption being made by those who wish RM to be a "must" - the assumption being that that RM guarantees a "Broad Consensus". It doesn't. There are many RM requests that are closed with as few as four or five comments. Now, if all four or five comments agree, we can certainly say that there is a solid consensus, but these four or five comments hardly constitutes a broad consensus. Indeed, a well advertized RFC could have resulted in more editors being involved... thus achieving a broader consensus than was achieved by going to RM. Blueboar (talk) 12:20, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I think of RM as an indexing service for rename discussions, particularly relevant for RM closers. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:29, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Blueboar, with respect: that is fallacious reasoning. No one claims that WP:RM is perfect, or that it will always draw impartially on enough editors to ensure a true assessment of consensus. No, the claim is that WP:RM is the long-established central registry of proposed moves that may be controversial and need wide discussion. Nothing else comes close. We have seen, with Talk:Men's rights (famously controversial!), that an RFC can be falsely advertised so that the wider community is kept completely in the dark. The chaos we now see is a direct result of that anomaly. Furthermore, WP:RM now has an appeal process: Wikipedia:move review. It therefore gives the best available assurance of due process, and centralised information so that no one is ever excluded when a move is proposed for discussion, or proposed for review. NoeticaTea? 05:35, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • There was nothing controversial with Talk:Men's rights movement. It was just you crying foul because the RfC didn't go the way you preferred, establishing the same consensus to move as last year's RM. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 12:19, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Palpably false assertions, Sonicyouth; and a serious breach of the conditions ArbCom has imposed on this talkpage. I am taking the matter to your talkpage now, as a first step in dealing with the matter. Meanwhile, I advise you to retract those assertions about me immediately. NoeticaTea? 12:41, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • What is important to me is that the move discussions should not slip under interested parties' radar. Since project-wide consistency is an important consideration for article titles, it is important that people who look out for such things should not miss the proposal. That is, for me, the main reason for having a single place that can be watched where such discussions are "indexed" I suppose that could be handled by having an RfC class for page moves, but that is really what RM is. The discussion on the talk page and appropriate flags should take care of people interested in the precise topic. There may be an additional requirement that people interested in the general topic should be informed. This might be an argument for (additionally) placing some sort of notice about the RM at the appropriate RfC topic location. Perhaps the RfC bot could be trained to link to RMs as well.--Boson (talk) 22:33, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Blueboar is entirely correct on this. Listing at RM does not guarantee broad notice or consensus. All it guarantees is that some RM watchers (i.e. misc. gnomes and admin, plus various people with too much time on their hands, like all those people who do nothing but fight at XfDs and don't write/improve articles) will see it. While that is "broader" notice, it's often not "broad", and the breadth, such as it is, does not equate to relevance or quality of input. Suggesting it as recommended practice, as better than nothing, is okay. "Must" is far too strong, especially for a "remedy" as ineffectual as RM often is. RM is even sometimes counterproductive, because it attracts kneejerk voters, instead of Wikipedians with any experience in the topic at hand who understand all sides of why such a rename might be controversial. RM has often badly muddled or even derailed perfectly reasonable renames that ended up taking place much later, after another consensus discussion that did not involve noisy, topically-ignorant "driveby voters". It's generally much more useful to notify a) the most active editors on the article, and b) the most relevant WikiProject(s), directly via their respective talk pages. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:29, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: second problem with wanting "must" - RM is not required, even for extremely contentious page renames, as evidenced by ArbCom as recently as Dec 2011, in the Abortion case, and less strongly, in their rejection of the Men's rights request. KillerChihuahua?!? 22:15, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • KillerChihuahua:
  • I made the "Men's rights" request to ArbCom (preserved here); and I am delighted with the exposure it gave to the issues and to people's opinions. Some contributors to the discussion thought you had made a mistake, but not one serious enough to warrant any action from ArbCom. I agree! A pity there was no other channel open to me, as I had tried the talkpage of the article, and your own talkpage, and ANI – all in the proper order, and all perfectly normal in seeking review of an admin's action. One arbitrator commented (in part): "Being occasionally slightly unaware of appropriate procedure is quite normal for any Wikipedia user, even an admin. It is how we handle ourselves when challenged about our knowledge that matters, and it appears that the Article titles discussion that KC started in response to this, is productive." Very well: let it be productive. It has not been so far, it seems. I note that you have not retracted or budged an inch; more worryingly, you fail to declare your interest at RFCs in which attempts are made to change policy – to a wording that just happens to support your action that precipitated all this time-wasting work. (Compare my own declaration, in my vote above.)
  • You continue to assert that "should", in the contested wording that has stood in WP:TITLE since 2009, means something quite different from "must". SlimVirgin (see Survey, above) disagrees. So do others; so do I. A question for you: if I bring evidence from OED and from at least three recent major descriptive grammars of English to show that "should" and "must" both express obligation in the context we are dealing with, will that make any difference to your opinion, or would we be wasting still more of my time and everyone else's? I expect a full answer to this question, please. ☺
NoeticaTea? 06:05, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
I haven't read the whole discussion, but this hit my eye so here's my two cents: “should” may well express obligation in such a context, but there are plenty of other contexts where it doesn't (see e.g. RFC 2119); so if obligation is what we mean, we had better use “must” than “should”, so we don't risk to confuse readers familiar with such different conventions. Using different words in the same context to mean the same identical thing is not usually the best way to avoid confusion. (To tell the truth, I wouldn't mind explicitly adopting the convention of RFC 2119 – but preferably sans screaming capitals; but I know that's not going to happen.) — A. di M.  21:53, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
The entire reason we are here is due to Noetica's confusion that should, in this context, means must. If Noetica has substantial evidence that "should" means "must", that is even more reason to change the verbiage, as RM is not required, per standard practice and ArbCom. I speak of course of the 2011 Abortion case, etc. KillerChihuahua?!? 20:51, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
I think that it would be desirable to adopt RFC 2119 as the formal standard for what those words mean. "Should" IMO means "there may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances to ignore a particular item, but the full implications must be understood and carefully weighed before choosing a different course". For example, you should be helpful and friendly and welcoming to new editors, but you must be civil even to the trolls. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:06, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
Strong agreement with adoption of RFC 2119 as the formal standard for the meaning of "should" in this context, this could be done with a footnote. This is in line with the Arbcom decision to reject Noetica's request, making the point that while controversial moves should generally go through RM, there is wide consensus that RfC process can under some circumstances also be acceptable. . . dave souza, talk 08:51, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Also support adding the footnote regarding the usage of "should" referencing RFC 2119. It is the insistence that "should" means "must in all cases, no exceptions" which is causing confusion here. KillerChihuahua?!? 20:04, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Request for clarification from Neotarf, re "This wording implies that a Requested Move cannot be made without prior discussion and consensus. In fact, the RM itself is a vehicle for any potential discussion." I don't read it that way. It says a potentially controversial move must have broad consensus and that listing a controversial move at RM is standard practice. I don't understand the wording to imply any sequencing of discussion/consensus followed by a Requested Move, nor any other prerequisite for a Requested Move. Please explain how you arrived at your interpretation. Thanks. Jojalozzo 01:13, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Maybe it would help to know what you were trying to do here. I have already expressed my reservations for "broad" and "must" and any wording that doesn't use imperative above; now there is a "practice" instead of a policy, and a "standard" one at that, as if there were workable "non-standard" practices for moves and this was some kind of tutorial and not policy. And what if there is not a consensus? The move can still happen if it is supported by WP:TITLE policy, which implies a built-in consensus and not one formed on the talk page with a "broad" agreement between a few of the same old involved editors. Maybe it would help you to go to WP:RM and read through some of the current discussions. Neotarf (talk) 21:00, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: I didn't realize that allowing approaches other than RM for controversial moves was disputed or I would have started an RfC to reach consensus on that. I don't think we should proceed here until we settle that question. I propose we table this question and start another RfC concerning a requirement for RM for potentially controversial moves. Are there any objections? Jojalozzo 01:19, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Question I just noticed Centralized discussion says this RfC asks "are all controversial page moves to be listed at WP:RM?". I am not sure why. Do others here think the proposed statement says that? Jojalozzo 04:35, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Well Jojalozzo, I put that notice there – after I repaired the faulty RFC markup and tidied loose ends so that the RFC you started would be duly listed and navigable for everyone, especially newcomers. Some remarks and suggestions:
  • You started an RFC on essentially the same topic as the sprawling one above. It has not been closed, and from KillerChihuahua's recent editing it seems she still thinks it is active. That was not good procedure, and can only promote confusion in the community.
  • While I do not doubt your good faith, both that RFC and this one are prejudicially framed. They ignore the requirements laid out at WP:RFC, in that they presuppose a reading of the policy wording that is not shared. Some people interpret "should" one way, some another way. So WP:NPOV is not respected.
  • The wording at Centralized discussion describes the real issue that people are discussing so far in this RFC, as in the last one. That should tell us something, perhaps.
  • When the time is right and people are ready to address the underlying question in an orderly way, I will be ready to present evidence that "should" has the same obligatory force as "must", in the disputed wording.
  • I do not think that the time is right; if you want to call for this RFC to be wound up, and the other one also, I would certainly support that action. Meanwhile, it looks as if your well-meant efforts have been premature.
  • I have experience in assisting RFCs through to consensual conclusions. If you or anyone else would like my help to sort things out, I am ready to give it.
NoeticaTea? 06:30, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
I proposed tabling this RfC and starting one on "must/should" just above. I take your comments here as support for that. While I welcome help in working on this article, I do not appreciate your redirection of my neutral proposal of alternative language to address your own concerns. If you consider this RfC to be flawed, POV and premature why did you advertise it at CENTRAL rather than discussing it here!? Jojalozzo 15:18, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
[Editors, please keep things readable and orderly. SlimVirgin's call for clarification (and PBS's response), moved from the survey to the discussion section by Noetica:]
  • Bit confused now, as I see there was a recent RfC on this. An RfC would be fine rather than an RM - an RM is a form of RfC, so I wouldn't want to see people forced to call it one thing and not the other. The point is: if the move is contentious, make sure you get fresh eyes on the page and that it's advertised in all the right places, and the best right place is the RM page. But would it matter if someone gained consensus for a page move via RfC instead? I can't see that it would. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:51, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I guess you would have to read the debate above and look at the recent messes at talk:Men's rights (and a follow up Archived ANI) and also another example at talk:Burma. Also see the points made above about an RfD deceiding on a move rather than a delete. -- PBS (talk) 20:35, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
  • That confusion is perfectly understandable, SlimVirgin. The best conspectus of the issues might be had from this final version of my request to ArbCom, for review of KillerChihuahua's action that precipitated all this drama. It comes later than the hectic treatment of the affair at WP:ANI (virtually a prescribed step, often unpleasant, that has to be endured before anyone approaches ArbCom to request a case).
    NoeticaTea? 06:12, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
SlimVirgin, why is RFC is not recommended for moves? Here are four diffs from the above discussion: Mike Cline explains it best. [5][6][7][8] Neotarf (talk) 22:16, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Question: How are we to interpret !votes to "Keep RM optional"? I assume those with this opinion take the view that "should" allows for other approaches and, as I understand "standard practice", my proposal also allows for variation in practice. Since both wordings keep RM optional for controversial moves, these !votes don't tell us whether the proposal is preferred over the current language. I think this may be due to confusion (at least among those who interpret the current language as not requiring RM) due to the wording of the RfC's announcement at centralized discussion which said the RfC was about requiring RM. I think this is more support for tabling this proposal and addressing the question of RM being optional or required for potentially controversial moves. Jojalozzo 18:42, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Though I think the survey so far shows that there is no consensus for changing the current wording, I also have difficulty understanding what the opinions actually mean, partly because people appear to understand the current wording in different ways. In addition to the different understanding of the current wording, I think there is confusion because a number of issues that should perhaps be discussed separately, are being conflated:
  1. Desired location of wider move discussion and exclusivity of that location: only RM allowed, RfC allowed, both allowed in each case (simultaneously, consecutively?), etc.
  2. What is the intended degree of deonticity regarding the location (how obligatory is the rule to be from now on?), e.g. suggestion, recommendation as preferred or standard, deviation only in exceptional circumstances, no deviation whatever allowed (except where IAR justified)
  3. How should that intended deonticity be unambiguously expressed? Are modal verbs like "should" and "must" adequate, or should we look for clearer ways of expressing things?
  4. When is a wider discussion required? Practically any move proposal could be regarded as potentially controversial. Should the wording be modified to explain in more detail when moves can be made without discussion, when a discussion on the talk page is appropriate, and when wider discussion is required. Should we write "is controversial or is likely to be controversial" rather than "is potentially controversial? If there is no other evidence, can a discussion on the talk page be used to establish that a move is not controversial? When should a move be presumed controversial?
  5. Who do we want to reach (or not bypass) by advertising proposed moves (people interested in the general topic, people who look after adherence to consistent naming conventions, etc.)?
  6. Nature of this discussion. Are we discussing what policy should be or merely describing current practice (even if that practice violates the wording of the current policy as interpreted by the consensus here)?
--Boson (talk) 19:53, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for putting it more clearly and usefully than I was able (and for the vocabulary lesson). I agree that we need to disentangle these questions and address them individually unless they necessarily interact. I suppose the first task is to determine an order that is likely to establish common ground most expeditiously. Jojalozzo 20:54, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Born2cycle answers Joja/Boson. Since Joja agreed Boson's breaking up was more clear and useful, I took the liberty to number Boson's sub-questions. Here are my answers.
  1. I agree with others above who noted that an RM is a form of RfC, but a formal RfC typically gets more/broader attention. I would say that if a potentially controversial move is involved, it should be minimally listed at RM. There may also be a formal RfC (typically when consensus cannot be reached in the RM discussion, but can also be created initially as an RfC, as long it is listed at RM too).
  2. Strong degree of deonticity - no listing at RM for a potentially controversial move only when supported with good reason per IAR (for example, if the current title is a BLP violation, but all alternatives are potentially controversial, a move to any one of the alternatives without RM listing would be justified, as long as it is then listed).
  3. I think should is fine. A user with a history that demonstrates knowledge of the should rule who never-the-less moves a potentially controversial title without first listing it at RM is being demonstrably disruptive.
  4. I disagree that "Practically any move proposal could be regarded as potentially controversial." There are countless moves every day that are not controversial. Places, people, things in the real world are renamed, policies/guidelines are updated, newbies create articles with inappropriate titles... all these situations often require non-controversial renames. That said, I have no problem with rewording "potentially controversial" as "is controversial or is reasonably likely to be controversial". A discussion on the talk page is unlikely to be sufficient to prove lack of controversy. The people watching a giving article are likely to be biased one way or another. In fact, the mere existence of discussion about a title on the talk page, even if all those participating agree, is more likely to be evidence of potential controversy. Good evidence of lack of controversy could be multiple unchallenged moves, at least some of which went through RM, of similar titles. For example, if some film is named Name (movie) its move to Name (film) (or to Name (year film) if there is another film of that name) would be uncontroversial, since "film" (or "year film" when necessary) is the standard disambiguator for such topics.
  5. We want to reach anyone and everyone who might be interested for any reason in weighing in on a given move proposal.
  6. I don't think there is any difference in this case regarding what is practice and what should be practice. If there is a problem, it can be addressed by tightening up the wording a bit. I don't think the current wording is especially problematic, but there is always room for improvement.
--Born2cycle (talk) 22:09, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: Language is important and although the words: Controversial and Disputed mean essentially the same thing, sometimes I think characterizing title discussions as controversial maybe counterproductive. Most title discussions are choices between two or more alternative titles, all of which in most cases, would be a suitable title for a WP article. We've discussed finding the Best title before on this page with little progress. Title decisions, as WP:title says is a balance of our five criteria, MOS, Commonname, Primary topics and assorted naming conventions. When evaluating title alternatives, opinions vary on the weighting and contextual substance of all these elements, thus many times there is no clear consensus as to which alternative is best for WP and its readers. These I contend are healthy debates, not controversies or disputes. Maybe we should reconsider our characterization here. --Mike Cline (talk) 22:43, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
You seem to presume that controversy and healthy debate are mutually exclusive. If so, I disagree. Healthy debate is what we strive to have when there is a controversy... or any disagreement. --Born2cycle (talk) 23:40, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
I presume nothing. I just suggested that the characterization of title discussions as controversial maybe counterproductive on the basis of the language used. B2C, we are on the same page here. --Mike Cline (talk) 02:20, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
I suggest that "contested" is a better word here than either "controversial" or "disputed". Controversial has negative, emotive, conatations. “Disputed” has a flavour of singel or minority opinion, anger, and even rhetoric. Contested, on the other hand, feels less emotional, and feels to include the notion of strength of argument, rather than numbers, and is better in keeping with our ideals of consensus building. “Potential” is not good because it asks for a subjective crystal ball judgement by the move-proposer.
I suggest:

Any rename proposal, or recent rename, that is contested [in good faith] should be listed at WP:RM.

I suggest that we do not paraphase WP:TITLECHANGES or WP:RMCI as to what happens before or after listing at WP:RM. Other places explain better how to reach consensus. “Debating controversial titles is often unproductive, and there are many other ways to help improve Wikipedia” reads as condescending. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:17, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
In these terms current policy and practice is to list on RM any proposal that is potentially (or reasonably likely to be) contested, not just those that have actually been contested. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:40, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Agree with Born2cycle: Surely "diacritics in article titles" is one of the issues that is being obliquely referred to. There have been repeated failures to reach consensus on this, so it is obviously controversial, but a small group of editors has been successfully getting around this by using RfCs to disguise moves, by moving articles without asking or notifying anybody, by intimidating and blocking editors who favor English, and by claiming that because the extended Latin alphabet is derived from basic Latin characters then any words written with diacritics qualify as "English" and can be used in English Wikipedia article titles—despite the fact that the majority of Wikipedia users cannot read, write, pronounce or remember such titles. I don't see any problem in using foreign words together with their romanized equivalents in the lede and body of articles—so that users have the choice whether to learn a foreign language or not—but I feel that blanket use of foreign words (that the majority cannot read, write, pronounce or remember) in article titles is unacceptable, and Wikipedia policies should spell this out more clearly. In many countries there are web accessibility laws that require proper semantic (e.g. language) tagging—Wikipedia has language templates—but this is largely not being done on Wikipedia. LittleBen (talk) 05:50, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I now see and believe that the wording “potentially …” is an oblique reference to things that regular wikipedians know are controversial. That explains the use of the word “controversial”. I think this is less helpful to the less experienced Wikipedian, the sort of person pages like this are supposed to inform. I suggest explicit mentions of historically controversial rename proposals. Does such a list already exist? A rename that is similar to a previous case that was contested/controversial should be listed at WP:RM. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:47, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  • WP:RM/TR gives a helpful definition: "f any of the following situations applies to the requested move, it should be treated as controversial: •There is an existing article at the target title •There has been any past debate about the best title for the page •Someone could reasonably disagree with the move. This page should include that definition rather than hoping editors might find it under the heading "Requesting technical moves". . . dave souza, talk 08:51, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Including that definition on this page is an excellent suggestion and should address SmokeyJoe's concern. --Born2cycle (talk) 17:11, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  • You can see how some of the people involved follow others around and try to intimidate them here, and you can read Jimbo's opinion (which has been quoted to them) here. They refuse to stop doing this. The guidelines on using English in article titles surely need to be spelled out more clearly. But Wikipedia seem to be rapidly degenerating into a "I can do what I like, regardless of guidelines, if I have a bigger band of cronies with sticks and am more determined". ANI is here. LittleBen (talk) 01:44, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
So long as we do not misrepresent RM as a must, rather than a recommended, method of determining consensus. As a recent naming dispute was so contentious that it went all the way to ArbCom (and was accepted as a full, and rather lengthy, case) and ArbCom instructed editors to find consensus, and recommended RM, but the editors chose Rfc as the method and that was acceptable to ArbCom, it is clear that RM is not mandated. As Blueboar put it so succinctly, "The POLICY point is "Don't change the title without consensus"... the bit about RM is advice on how to achieve that consensus." and advice is not a mandate. The most contentious Title battle in Wikipedia history was decided by a complex vote, a structured Rfc, rather than RM. It has held up well. KillerChihuahua?!? 20:02, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Presenting WP:RM as a "must" would not be a misrepresentation. You assert repeatedly that "must" has obligatory force but "should" does not, in wording such as we have had in WP:TITLE policy since 2009. But mere assertion, strident or otherwise, is worthless. You give no evidence on that question; and when I offer evidence and call for your answer, you are silent.
  • You appeal to the case of Abortion articles; but that was not a simple matter of moving an article. ArbCom itself put a broad construction on the complex of issues involved: "Administrators are instructed to only move or rename pages relating to the topic of abortion (broadly construed) in the presence of a demonstrable community consensus (such as the result of a proper Requested Move discussion)." Obviously the way Wikipedia deals with abortion, that hottest of controversial topics (especially in US politics), goes beyond the business of individual page moves. The provision in WP:TITLE that we are discussing concerns the smaller matter of page moves in isolation.
  • On the other hand, if you do appeal to ArbCom's decision on the abortion articles, why did you ignore this part: "Administrators are instructed to only move or rename pages [...] in the presence of a demonstrable community consensus"? The move that gave rise to the present discussion is your own, of Men's rights. There was no "demonstrable community consensus", because the move proposal was not advertised to the community at all. The only advertisement of the RFC was deceptive, and did not mention the matter of titling at all. Also, it came from a single-purpose account: but this was ignored in just this instance, although the page remains under community probation because of single-purpose accounts being used to manipulate things. Also, you were involved as a commenter on a central issue in the RFC, when you came to my talkpage during the 2011 RM and expressed your opinion on that issue. It is to guard against such irregularities that WP:RM is established as the central resource for advertising potentially controversial moves. From the vigour with which you oppose its central role, it is reasonable to suspect a vested interest. [Added later, before any answer from KillerChihuahua:] This from WP:POLICY may be relevant: "Editing a policy to support your own argument in an active discussion may be seen as gaming the system, especially if you do not disclose your involvement in the argument when making the edits." That is what you did, KillerChihuahua, an hour after closure of the ANI discussion of your questionable treatment of the RFC at Men's rights, and while further action was pending.
  • Your references to the Gdansk case are impotent as evidence here. It was in 2005: ancient history, when procedures were not yet settled as they are now. If that's the best you can adduce, there is indeed little to support your case for weakening WP:RM.
  • In the very few cases where the issues are so large that WP:RM is an inadequate mechanism by itself, proposed moves can still be advertised there – as editors will always expect. WP:RM does not rule out collateral or over-arching procedures to deal with larger issues.
NoeticaTea? 00:18, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Quick note: Should vs Must = as linked in Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines#Content and used prolifically worldwide. —Quiddity (talk) 00:58, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Quiddity. I am well aware of that stipulation from 1997, much cited for specialist technical documentation (in such memorable tomes as Building Hypermedia APIs with HTML5 and Node, for example). That is exactly what it is: a stipulation, for usage in documents that have little to do with natural-language, non-wikilawyering usage on Wikipedia.
So thoughtless is that external document that it includes this use of "should": "This document defines these words as they should be interpreted in IETF documents." If "should" is interpreted as the authors of this IETF document propose, this wording makes their interpretation of "should" non-obligatory in IETF documents! Go figure, as they say. Surely they mean "must", right? For more fun and games, visit the errata report for that document, and search on "should". (Amateurs ☺!)
And yes, it is linked where you say it is; I knew that too. It was placed there some time ago by User:WhatamIdoing, with an edit summary that gives no indication of its provenance – nor its supposed justification as an external link embedded like an Easter egg in Wikipedia policy. Its message runs directly counter to normal, everyday understandings of "should" in contexts that are at all relevant to the wording we discuss here. I have shown, and it is easily verifiable, that policy and guidelines take no note of it at all. Even Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines, which you cite. Nor does ArbCom, to which it is fashionable to appeal lately, make the recherché and artificial distinction that the external document proposes. (This is relevant, also from WP:POLICY but with my underlining: "There is no prohibition against including appropriate external references to support and explain our policies or guidelines, but such sources are not authoritative with respect to Wikipedia, and should only be used to reinforce consensus.")
On the other hand, OED and the major descriptive grammars of our time show that "should" and "must", in the contexts of interest to us here, are both used to express obligation.
NoeticaTea? 01:23, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Noetica, please cease your wikilawyering: should and must are different words which are used to express different degrees of obligation. The former means you ought to, in general circumstances, the latter means that it is mandatory. There is a clear consensus that in some circumstances a RfC can gain the necessary consensus for page moves, and this has been repeatedly accepted by Arbcom. I have no objection to "should" remaining as long as that is clear, and the footnote would be a useful way of reinforcing that consensus about this policy. . . . dave souza, talk 07:40, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I can see two separate issues here: 1) whether to recommend or require RMs potentially controversial title changes, and 2) which words to use in WP:AT to express this recommendation or requirement. As for 2), since it's now clear that some readers at least will interpret “should” as a recommendation and not a requirement, if a requirement is what we mean, we had better use “must” than “should” because it won't be misinterpreted that way, unless there's some drawback with using “must” that I cannot see right now. As for 1), I can't see any good reason not to file a RM when considering a potentially controversial title change, so I think it should be a requirement unless there's some such reason I can't see right now. — A. di M.  10:36, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Dave souza and A. di M. that despite whatever evidence Noetica might think he has amassed, should is clearly ambiguous in that some readers will understand it as obligatory and other will read is as a strong recommendation, but not absolute or inflexible. olderwiser 11:01, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment There is nothing mandatory about using WP:RM. Most moves are done just by clicking the move tab. When a move is controversial it is often easier for the involved editors to hash it out on the talk page. See for example Talk:Kiev, where listing it is pointless. The purpose of WP:RM is not to make sure that everyone knows about the suggested move, but so that more people can be brought into the discussion. There is an important distinction there. In the case of for example deleting an article, you have to have consensus of the entire WP community before you delete. In the case of a move, you only need the consensus of enough people for it to seem like a good idea. You are not deleting anything, you are just changing the title, and that makes a huge difference. While it is a good idea for everyone to look at AfD, it is only necessary for a few experts to look at WP:RM. Recently someone listed an article at WP:RM because it had been "discussion which has already been open for 11 days, without being listed". So? As long as everyone was happy, there is no reason for listing it even if it had been "open" for 1100 days. Apteva (talk) 08:24, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

A possible alternative?

How would people feel about amending the sentence to:

This would remove the entire "should" vs "must" debate (and, I think, would reflect reality). Blueboar (talk) 13:14, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Oppose. There really is no "best" practice. There are many ways of accomplishing the same result. WP:RM is only one way. No way should it be separated out as any better than any of the other methods (moving it yourself, asking someone to move it, opening an RfC, discussing on the talk page, to name a few). Best to just say that it may be used. Definitely not that it should, must or is the best thing to do. Apteva (talk) 01:21, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Do you mean to support making a potentially controversial page move ("move it yourself or ask someone to move it") without consensus? Jojalozzo 02:05, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
So instead of 'Best'
  • Standard practice is to advertize potentially controversial changes at WP:Requested moves or
  • Normal practice is to advertize potentially controversial changes at WP:Requested moves or
  • Accepted practice is to advertize potentially controversial changes at WP:Requested moves
Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 02:15, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
None of the above. I mean that there are many ways to come to consensus on a potentially controversial page move and the more controversial the less likely that it will involve WP:RM. WP:RM works best with pages that have little editor participation and minor controversy. It is monitored by a few editors who have a large expertise in naming conventions and in many cases can be very helpful in pointing out helpful information such as if someone wants to change Tulsa, Oklahoma to Tulsa, in violation of an explicit naming convention that many if not most editors are not aware exists. I can see the confusion of some people over the last three years thinking that there was a requirement of listing at WP:RM, the word "should" was introduced with this edit[9], and definitely needs to be changed, as it is completely misleading. Removing "Any" and changing "should" to "may" will fix that confusion. "Potentially controversial proposals to change a title may be advertised at Wikipedia:Requested moves" Apteva (talk) 02:40, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
  • There is a related "title stability" criteria suggestion re. moves here. LittleBen (talk) 02:13, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Impartial study of the effects of using diacritics in article titles

  • I am doing an impartial, transparent (you will be able to check the results for yourself), but unofficial study of the effects of using diacritics in article titles. I plan to publish a brief summary of results and my conclusions here.
  • I am seeking the names of popular articles that have been moved from plain English article titles to article titles with diacritics—or vice versa.
  • By popular, I mean articles that are (or were) getting around 100 daily page views as a minimum. (Such a level virtually guarantees that results will be statistically significant in about one month). You can find a link to the number of page views that an article gets on the History tab of the article, near the top of the page. I already have some examples for Vietnamese, and am primarily seeking some examples for other (e.g. European) languages.
  • You can leave the (article title) names below, or on my talk page. You can even email them to me via my talk page if you do not wish your user name to be seen as contributing to this study.
  • TIA: (many) Thanks In Advance. LittleBen (talk) 13:53, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
I like that relatively impartial study idea, and I unsuccessfully spent an hour searching for examples. Ideas? 22:12, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps you could team up with someone like In ictu oculi (talk · contribs) to do the impartial study. --Boson (talk) 09:59, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • As stated above, (1) I'd welcome names of any articles that fit the above profile. (2) I will summarize the data, and describe how anybody can check the data (and get the same numbers) themselves. (3) I will also draw conclusions, and welcome discussion and interpretations that differ from my conclusions.
  • I plan to search Wikipedia:Vital articles, Wikipedia top 1000 and other historic traffic data for possible candidates that meet the above criteria.
  • Any cooperation—whether public, or private(email)—will be welcome. LittleBen (talk) 13:51, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
After looking, I don't know that there are enough articles meeting your proposed criteria to support such a study. You may have to lower your minimum page views. Anyway Galápagos Islands; moved on August 11, 2012; gets thousands of page views per day.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 14:34, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • To be perfectly blunt, nothing you do in this area will be considered impartial, though transpacency is appreciated. And no, one month's data is not statistically significant for rather transparent attempt to manufacture an argument that moving to diacritics lowers page views. Many articles (e.g. and especially sports people) will see significant fluctuations in page views for various reasons (in this example, off-season vs. in season). Something like this would need at least one year's data as an annual total is much less prone to such fluctuations, and allows for a solid set of year-over-year data. Resolute 15:02, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I know of no simple way to know if an article has moved.
Above are some possibilities to check out Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 00:59, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
You'll find common diacratic typos here and that likely means the page moved at some point. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 01:23, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't know of a simple way either, and I didn't find any relevant moves in the list above. I didn't find any in the AWB examples either, although I didn't check them all.
The Noël Coward move already mentioned isn't very helpful because its edit summary refers to an earlier cut and paste, so I don't know if the reader would have noticed a difference on April 4, 2008. For what it's worth, there were 1139 visits to the page in January 2008, 980 in February, 1126 in March, and then after the move it jumped abruptly to 2807 in April, and stayed about there for most of the year, implying that the dieresis somehow made it easier to find. But after that, there were more erratic jumps punctuated by calm periods. Specifically: 2807 in April 2008 was followed by 3099, 2901, incomplete data for July, 3254, 3168, 3124, 3758, 4079, 6560, 5872, 9001, 10527, 7776, 7982, 19097, 66161, 15850, 19526, 17185, 21228, 24576, 24497, 21207, 21320, 20128, 13464, 15203, 25223, 27036, 26789, 26193, 29203, 31642, 27560, 31677, 24914, 28973, 25546, 22725, 23512, 18855, 28136, 27708, 26211, 31686, 28322, 30615, 29740, 30679, 29757, 27975, and 27039 in August 2012. So it would take a lot of data to overcome the noise and show a pattern. And I didn't find any.
The Galapagos Islands article's edit history doesn't show an edit on August 11, 2012. Even if I'm missing something, a move last month won't show usable data until at least October and preferably several months longer.
I looked by clicking edit history, clicking 500 at a time, searching for "(moved" and expecting some false positives. But more recent moves have an edit summary that starts with the editor's name, and older moves have edit summaries that apparently weren't formatted at all by the software.
A relevant move is a move that changes only the diacritics. It occurs after December 2007 because the edit counter doesn't work before that time. And it isn't immediately reverted (which happens for a history merge, or because of the diacritics war). Signed later, Art LaPella, 5:20 10 September 2012
Whoops. August 18, 2011. By the way, if it's any help, I found this through this search.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 06:33, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the list helps (not Galapagos Islands, which was moved and then quickly reverted; I excluded such articles because the move wasn't there long enough to give useful statistics.) These moves removed diacritics: [10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]. These added diacritics: [18][19]. Those two articles appear on both lists because adding the diacritics was reverted years later, not months later, allowing for meaningful statistics during the period with diacritics. When diacritics are removed, there are an average of 71.4% as many page views 7 months before the page move, as there are in the month of the move. That explains the first entry in my table, and the rest are defined similarly:
-7 months 71.4%
-6 months 60.3%
-5 months 60.7%
-4 months 59.9%
-3 months 63.0%
-2 months 67.7%
-1 months 65.8%
0 months 100% (by definition)
+1 months 211.5%
+2 months 236.3%
+3 months 255.4%
+4 months 258.6%
+5 months 253.3%
+6 months 247.1%
+7 months 270.7%
But when the page move adds diacritics:
-7 months 71.5%
-6 months 89.2%
-5 months 102.6%
-4 months 103.6%
-3 months 103.0%
-2 months 92.9%
-1 months 98.9%
0 months 100% (by definition)
+1 months 72.7%
+2 months 60.3%
+3 months 53.2%
+4 months 39.2%
+5 months 35.6%
+6 months 45.3%
+7 months 38.3%
Conclusion: Although the data is erratic, those averages are still pretty good evidence that diacritics make a page less likely to be clicked. That isn't what I expected to show, because if you ask for the Jose Cuervo article, you would have gotten it even when there was a diacritic in the article title, whether you used a wikilink, a search box, or Google. But at some point, it isn't scientific to argue with the data. Maybe people find Jose Cuervo with Google, and then try to type the name instead of knowing they can click it, and then give up when they get to the diacritic, because they also don't know that a plain "e" will work. But I read somewhere that only about half our users arrive at articles using Google, so that theory seems insufficient to explain those numbers. Maybe people find Jose Cuervo once, and then try to return to the article again by typing the name in the search box, except they give up because they can't type the diacritic – or perhaps reuse the old copy of the article rather than try to enter the diacritic to re-enter it (again assuming they don't know that typing an "e" will work). It still doesn't seem enough to account for those dramatic numbers. Weird. Art LaPella (talk) 06:08, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
One thing to keep in mind is that as long as there is a redirect from the version with/without then both show up as an autocomplete option in the search box. As such its very likely that people just click on whichever one they see first or "seems normal" to them. So the numbers could quite likely be biased that way. -DJSasso (talk) 13:53, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Art, thanks for all the work you have put into this. (I have been swamped with other stuff and have only partially analyzed some Vietnamese articles). I discovered that the Wikipedia stats counter gives statistics both for the article name without diacritics and for the article name with diacritics. When I looked at the figures before and after a Vietnamese article move from diacritics to no diacritics, I found that the diacritics number was higher than the non-diacritics number. The reason for this is almost certainly Wikilinks that still point to the name with diacritics. Because the count for the name without diacritics was higher than the count for the number without diacritics after the redirect to the latter, the stats counter is not counting once when somebody lands on the former and once when it is redirected to the latter—it is only counting whichever of the two versions the user lands on first. So to measure total traffic to the page it looks as if you have to sum the stats. Of course if the total goes down significantly after most moves to diacritics then this indicates that many Wikipedia users don't like foreign words that they can't read in article titles. It's worth checking the stats. one or two months before and one or two months after a move (such as to avoid months with traffic spikes [outliers] that would skew the results) and also look at the figures one year before and one year after, because there is likely to be a seasonal variation in traffic.
  • Quote: "Conclusion: Although the data is erratic, those averages are still pretty good evidence that diacritics make a page less likely to be clicked. That isn't what I expected to show".
  • Yes, that is my impression too. But that is exactly what I would expect the results to show. The reason is explained above in the paragraph starting with "Nielsen coined the phrase above the fold". Nielsen found that the average web user takes only about 15 sec. to decide if he or she has landed in the right place. Typically 50-70% of visitors to almost all web sites take one look at the title and headings (without scrolling) and are gone in less that 15 sec. ;-) In the diacritics case, I think they look at the title, say to themselves, "I can't read that s...t" and are gone ;-) It would be even more noticeable if the article title were Chinese, Japanese or Korean. Surely that's why the Wikipedia guidelines say "Use English".
  • It's a pity that Wikipedia doesn't seem to have decent web analytics—any decent web analytics software can tell you where the users are coming from (are the Vietnamese articles mainly used by Vietnamese—who might prefer diacritics—seeking to brush up their English, or are most of the readers from English-speaking countries?), and how long they spend on the page (do they give up more quickly when the page has a lot of diacritics?) It would be even more conclusive than a simple traffic count. LittleBen (talk) 15:03, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Actually, the numbers presented are fatally flawed, because Art is misreading what is telling him. The data he is seeing is hits to a specific URL. However, when Wikipedia encounters a redirect, it does not change the URL. So right now, will still send you to Wagyu without the diacritic, but the URL still uses the diacritic. As such, to accurately determine how many page views an article is getting, you have to compile the sum of the article at its current name, and all redirects. For example, the two moves to redirect forms:

  • José Cuervo. Moved September 2008. Views in August, 2008 (full month data, pre move): 7885 views at URL without diacritic; 25 views to URL with; 7910 total. Seven full months after move (April 2009): 3069 views without diacritic, 3573 with. 7642 total.
  • Wagyū. Moved June 2009. Views in May, 2009: 24,788 without diacritics, 0 with, 24,788 total. +7 full months (December 2009): 9187 without diacritics, 19,510 with, 28,697 total.

In short, the total number of views does not change due to the addition or removal of diacritics. I would suggest that internal linking is the reason for the variation you are showing above. Because you were getting stats for the URL with diacritics post-move, you were not seeing the hits for users that clicked through a redirect on another article that had not updated to use the title with diacritics. Resolute 15:11, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

  • As you yourself mention above, it's a good idea to look at data one year before and one year after, because seasonal (monthly) variation can be quite high. Also I'd expect results to be more marked if the article not only has had complex diacritics inserted in the title but also has had diacritics splattered through the top part of the article. One look and it's easy to see that it will be painful to read. The usability guidelines in the MoS for Chinese seem to me to be thinking of the user first (see my essay here). LittleBen (talk) 15:25, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
  • You're right, "fatally flawed". I wonder whose ox will get gored when I get some more time to fix it? Art LaPella (talk) 02:31, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Thanks. It looks as if it has always had that title. Besides, I think España is a widely-known word with diacritics; surely it would not be difficult for most people to read or remember. I'm really looking for examples of articles where the title would be difficult for people to read and remember, and (ideally) also with the body of the article full of many difficult-to-read diacritics. LittleBen (talk) 02:06, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
  • No, it hasn't always had that title. But the title "Tour of Spain" lasted only 41 minutes before it was reverted. I didn't include moves like that because 41 minutes, or even a few months, weren't long enough for the statistics I was doing. Also, I only included moves that changed only the diacritics (Vuelta a Espana --> Vuelta a España, not Tour of Spain which is a different kind of move). Art LaPella (talk) 05:57, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
  • There are discussions about using diacritics in article titles here and here. LittleBen (talk) 05:19, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

I repeated my calculations, including the redirect traffic this time. The traffic advantage for a title without diacritics is much less now. I don't think it's statistically significant.

I didn't include every redirect for each article, as was suggested. I included only the old title and the new title. Improving the accuracy of the results, if desired, could be accomplished much faster by adding more examples from Fuhghettaboutit's list than by including every redirect of every article. Jose Cuervo, for instance, has 6 redirects, and Angstrom has 13. A couple of those redirects have about 2% of the total traffic each, and most of them have far less. Furthermore, there is no obvious reason why a redirect's traffic would be correlated with a page move, when the redirect is neither the old page name nor the new page name.

Here is the correction of the above table, when removing diacritics:

-7 months 96.9%
-6 months 88.0%
-5 months 91.7%
-4 months 86.5%
-3 months 91.4%
-2 months 96.8%
-1 months 101.0%
0 months 100% (by definition)
+1 months 104.4%
+2 months 100.5%
+3 months 105.0%
+4 months 103.4%
+5 months 98.7%
+6 months 99.7%
+7 months 105.4%

But when the page move adds diacritics:

-7 months 70.4%
-6 months 87.8%
-5 months 100.9%
-4 months 102.0%
-3 months 101.2%
-2 months 91.3%
-1 months 97.0%
0 months 100% (by definition)
+1 months 70.4%
+2 months 98.2%
+3 months 87.6%
+4 months 84.0%
+5 months 86.4%
+6 months 98.8%
+7 months 96.7%

Conclusion: One reason I don't think this is statistically significant, is that no plausible explanation has been presented why a reader would be more likely to click an article without diacritics. In LittleBenW's own words, "In the diacritics case, I think they look at the title, say to themselves, 'I can't read that s...t' and are gone". That obviously happens, since no frequency was specified. But by the time the reader "look[s] at the title", has already counted him. So there is no direct reason why the statistics should be affected by diacritics in the title. There are some indirect reasons, but I wouldn't expect more than a fraction of a percent of difference. And detecting it would be impractical (short of convincing some developer to spend months writing software to measure the whole database).

When poring over these numbers, consider other factors besides diacritics that may be affecting them: A page move is likely to be the result of a big debate that causes the page to be loaded more often in the weeks before and after the move. Also, Wikipedia's overall growth could cause an increasing trend over 14 months. Art LaPella (talk) 03:54, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Art comments "But by the time the reader "look[s] at the title", has already counted him. So there is no direct reason why the statistics should be affected by diacritics in the title". But if the article is a significant one, rather than a stub, the reader will often not read it in one sitting. If the reader considers it a good article, and easy to read, then the reader will come back again. Readers who do not want to be forced to read diacritics are likely to immediately leave the page and not return.
  • This trend would be much easier to show if Wikipedia had proper web analytics—it is easy to measure the percentage of people who bounce (give up on the page virtually immediately), easy to measure the repeat visitors, and also easy to measure which countries the visitors to a page are coming from (are they primarily coming from English-speaking countries?)
  • Nevertheless, I think your figures suggest that simply adding diacritics to the article title results in a 10-15% drop in traffic—and surely other such articles should show the same trend. LittleBen (talk) 15:40, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Rereading is an example of what I meant by indirect reasons. I'll look at it again later --- Art LaPella (talk) 16:10, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
  • "Customer" engagement (time on page/time on site) and customer retention (does the "customer" come back to the same page?) are extremely important. Wikipedia may be unique among major web sites in apparently not having web analytics that make it easy to get such metrics. LittleBen (talk) 16:17, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Wikipedians often miss the forest for the trees, by forgetting the goal of customer engagement and customer retention. But that goal depends on many things besides diacritics in the title (even though diacritics in the article are likely to be correlated with the title). If customer engagement drops 10-15% due to a rereading effect alone, then customer retention must drop much more, which is implausible resulting from nothing but diacritics. Unfortunately, Fuhghettaboutit's list ended after I found one more diacritic-adding example (there were also 3 diacritic-removing examples) at Battle of Hürtgen Forest, which happens to show a drop of 6% after adding the umlaut, not 10–15%. I didn't find any more examples elsewhere, although I can find examples like Manuel León Hoyos that fail the 100 per day criterion. Art LaPella (talk) 06:25, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I didn't find any in the French category. I didn't even find a diacritic-only move to be rejected for being reverted too quickly. So I don't think that's the way to find qualifying moves. (No, I didn't check all the articles. Most of them couldn't be moved to a reasonable title that changes only the diacritics. For example, "baguette" has no diacritics in English or French according to its article's first sentence. And you wouldn't put diacritics in English titles like "History of France".) Art LaPella (talk) 18:49, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
  • As mentioned here, no major publisher would be so foolish as to publish a Vietnam-related book (other than perhaps a Vietnamese language textbook) intended for English-speaking readers and give it a title written in complex Vietnamese diacritics. Of course the same is true for movies. I'm currently checking Vietnamese articles. It seems fortunate that the people who continue pushing for complex diacritics in article titles have mainly focused on stub articles that get almost no pageviews—articles that almost nobody reads really make no difference to the perceived quality of Wikipedia. LittleBen (talk) 01:53, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I created a comparison table for User:LittleBenW/Thich Quang Duc, but results are inconclusive.
  • Quote: you wouldn't put diacritics in English titles like "History of France". Hopefully not, but one person is creating mixed Vietnamese and English titles like Buôn Ma Thuột city (because it's impossible to disambiguate foreign-language titles without such a mishmash). LittleBen (talk) 01:43, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
  • The discussion you are refering to rather than supporting your view was actually closed yesterday as having gained no traction. Also your statement makes me think of the recent push of another diacritic hater who who went around writing nonsense in low-page-view articles but did not dare to do so in high-page-view articles. Why would we get things wrong on purpose just because fewer people are watching? Yes some vandalism might stay for years on low traffic articles, we don't think of making a rule that every low-traffic article has to be vandalized. The opposite, once we realize the vandalism we revert it. Agathoclea (talk) 13:59, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Multiple article titles

It says on this project page that an article can have only one title. Why is this so? Having closely followed (but not participated) in the endless naming disputes - Burma/Myanmar, Senkaku/Diaoyu, Tenedos/Bozcaada, Kolkata/Calcutta - it seems that this limitation is the cause of the disputes. There are already redirects covering all possible names that users would enter, so these naming disputes are basically about that very slight primacy of what is THE article title. The problem would be solved if an article can have two titles, and the one displayed is the one the user searched for or typed in, or the one that is linked (so it would be whatever is appropriate in the context of the source - Ishigaki, Okinawa would link to Senkaku Islands and Toucheng, Yilan would link to Diaoyu Islands). It could be something like the automatic conversion used on Chinese Wikipedia where edits to any version are converted to all versions. Kraikk (talk) 11:34, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Presumably excluding links through redirects with an {{R from misspelling}} category, and maybe some other Category:Templates for unprintworthy redirects. Art LaPella (talk) 20:16, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
That is actually a feature proposal and should be discussed at WP:Village pump (proposals). There isn't a need to duplicate content actually. But before posting a proposal there, you should think of all possible situations—Google searches, WP searches, redirects, wikilinks, entries in categories, entries in lists, and so on. Churn and change (talk) 16:45, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
The question is whether Kraikk's suggestion is technically possible, given the programing that makes Wikipedia work. Remember that the "title" is also part of the URL for the page. As far as I know, a webpage can not have two URLs at the same time. A lot of what we say in this policy is based on the fact that (so far, at least) it isn't. Blueboar (talk) 17:28, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
A webpage can have two URLs at the same time. That is how tinyurl ( works, for example. The number of HTML requests the browser generates may not be the same for the two URLS navigating to the same page. The software change is possible, but clearly is not easy for a project as massive as Wikipedia (possible extra load and so forth). But beyond the technical issues the developers would look at, there are the issues the WP community has to consider, as I noted above. Churn and change (talk) 01:15, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Should we change all "Naming conventions" to "Titling conventions"?

I note that WP:SAL still referred to this policy as WP:Naming conventions (the old title of this policy). Several years ago, this policy stopped referring to article "names" (a word which has all sorts of baggage attached to it), referring instead to "Title". I think that change has helped people understand that the title of an article does not necessarily have to be the subject's "Name" (a clarification which has, in turn, helped people get through debates over which "name" is correct). I have corrected the link, but...

This made me wonder how many other guidelines refer to this policy by the old name... which in turn made me realize that the change to "Title" is incomplete... we still routinely use "naming conventions" at the guideline level. I think it is time we changed all our "WP:Naming convention (X)" guidelines to "WP:Titling convention (X)"... to bring all our guidelines into sync with the terminology of the policy page. It is a daunting task, but I think the right thing to do. Perhaps we could accomplish this fairly easily with a bot? Thoughts? Blueboar (talk) 16:09, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

That's a good point. "Titling" is more in line with WP:PRECISION than "naming", which is more vague. Chrisrus (talk) 16:16, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Good point and would agree but no bot edits until consensus is established and then it maybe wise to move things manually. Like you say there is a lot. All these these and these. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 16:27, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Yeah... I raised the idea as an initial exploratory question, not a call to action... If people here think it a good idea, the next step would be to broaden the discussion (say at the Village Pump) and build a broader consensus. There would have to be a lot of ground work laid before we would act on the suggestion and change all the titles... It will be a big change for some people, and we should definitely go slowly and deliberately. Blueboar (talk) 16:55, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Please no on "titling". How about just the straight-forward: "Article title conventions"? - jc37 18:18, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
That works for me. Blueboar (talk) 22:05, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
The name should not contain "Article title" because previously when this page was "Naming conventions" people used to get muddled between the policy and the guidelines. So while I am happy with the current names, and have not objections to "Titling conventions", I do object to using "Article title conventions" because it can easily lead to confusion and a misreading of the policy and guidelines. -- PBS (talk) 16:09, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand what the "confusion and a misreading" is that you are concerned will occur if we use "Article title conventions". What will be confused with what? What will be misread as what? --Born2cycle (talk) 16:13, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
"Article title" is a policy page. Naming conventions are guidelines, not policy. Adding "Article titling conventions" to the naming conventions page will confuse people on what is a policy and what is a guideline. Churn and change (talk) 16:39, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Article title conventions or Title conventions, is acceptable. GoodDay (talk) 16:16, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
But very awkward and artificial. A naming convention is used to choose an article title, and WP:Article titles shows what those naming conventions are, and as pointed out, are guidelines, not policy. Apteva (talk) 00:57, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
I have fixed a lot of the remaining links to "WP:Naming conventions", but this one could use someone elses help: Wikipedia:Guide for Indymedia authors#Changes to make says "See the naming conventions for all the details." All the details??? Really? Apteva (talk) 01:32, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Does the Tenedos/Bozcaada contention indicate a flaw in policy?

Having been involved in the Tenedos/Bozcaada move discussion (mostly as a moderator, but I did explicitly support the move) and the subsequent contention over the close decision, I began to get curious as to “why” this naming decision is so difficult. My thesis so to speak is this: Is there something flawed in our title policy/guidelines that prevented rational editors from coming to a reasonable conclusion without such contention. Now I clearly recognize the impact the history of Greek/Turkish relations and understand how a subject like Tenedos could be culturally contentious. However our policies/guidelines ought to help us either diffuse or mitigate these culturally contentious title discussion with greater ease and clarity. I am not interested in “what” the specific facts are in the Tenedos discussion, but more interested in examining policy/guidelines that rely on facts to support a decision. Two bits of title policy/guidelines seem to apply here to this discussion. WP:Commonname and WP:MODERNPLACENAME. Given these guidelines, shouldn’t the Tenedos/Bozcaada title decision have been easy (assuming all cultural contentions and bias were eliminated from the discussion)? If not, where do these guidelines fail us? --Mike Cline (talk) 18:42, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

WP:COMMONNAME is supposed to make it easier for us by providing a non-POV route to naming articles. On the whole, I think it works well but, of course, it does break down on occasion, particularly when the common name is ambiguous (the Burma/Myanmar naming dispute being the best example around). The Tenedos case is also a tad murky because both titles have, to differing degrees, a common name claim (though the Tenedos seems the more common based on the evidence in the discussion). In both cases, the status quo is the non-official name and common sense seems to dictate that, other things being nearly equal, the official name should get preference. One possibility is that we modify Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names) to give a preference to official names when there is ambiguity in which name is more 'common'. ON the other hand, this may be a dangerous idea because the naming policy does mostly work well and we are likely to see some unintended consequences if we tinker with the policy. --regentspark (comment) 19:12, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Tenedos seems the more common based on the evidence in the discussion -- this statement is an illustration of why the discussion was problematic. I did not participate, though I have been following the discussion. My reading of the evidence is completely the opposite -- that Bozcaada is significantly more common in contemporary usage. olderwiser 19:48, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
That may very well be the case. I'm basing my conclusion on a cursory reading of the discussion and on the closing remarks by Drmies. I'm striking out that part of my remarks because I really should be more careful than that. Regardless of that, my point is that both names are reasonably common and, when that is the case, we usually end up with a 'no consensus' decision that is unsatisfactory and doesn't end the discussion. --regentspark (comment) 21:24, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Realizing Commonname is policy and this lead from WP:MODERNPLACENAME For an article about a place whose name has changed over time, context is important. For articles discussing the present, use the modern English name (or local name, if there is no established English name), rather than an older one. is a guideline, is there a disconnect between Commonname application and modernplacename application. At this point, I am not advocating tinkering with the wording, but rather examining if some kind of disconnect contributes to more indecision rather that easy decisions. --Mike Cline (talk) 20:05, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point. Since common name is a policy (and naming conventions are guidelines), it should and does get preference. However, when common name is ambiguous, perhaps the modern place name argument should be the deciding factor. The text at commonname merely asks editors to reach a consensus as to which title is best by considering the criteria listed above (recognizability, etc. I presume) but there is no mention of using other guidelines. --regentspark (comment) 21:34, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
It should say something like "Check the maps. If they agree, use that." Of course, we should say what we mean by "maps": the lastest English language maps published by RandMcNally and such. And then say "If they don't agree..." and go on to step two. If we did that, we wouldn't have the systemic failure that the Tenedos debacle represents. Chrisrus (talk) 22:04, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Not sure what this means. Maps may use only official names and are not necessarily a reliable indicator of common name. --regentspark (comment) 20:35, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
I mean, we should only worry about other things like "commonname" if the maps don't agree. So first, check the maps. If the maps agree, use that. If they don't, step two might be to start to look at other things such as which name is most common in books and such, which then can get complicated. Why bother with other things like that if the maps all agree? That would save a lot of headache. Chrisrus (talk) 20:42, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
If the latest English language maps from major well-known map companies agree, why not just use that and forget anything about any other factors? This is the situation with Bozcaada. A bunch of mostly Greek editors want to go with the historical name it had before it became a Turkish island, Tenedos. It's the name the majority of locals, who are ethnic Greeks, use. It's the name that appears in comparitively high numbers in Google Books and Google Scholar searches because back when it was called Tenedos it had some somewhat important roles in history at a couple of points and now practically no one talks about it anymore; and when they do, the first thing they say most of the time is that it used to be called Tenedos and the locals still call it that, so the word "Tenedos" is more common than "Bozcaada" in books. Does any of that matter if all the maps call it Bozcaada? All the modern English language maps published by major cartographic companies call it Bozcaada, for whatever reason; don't ask why; the fact is, they do; period. We're just supposed to report what experts say and not get our own ideas about things. Ours is not to reason why or to second-guess. The cartographers are the experts and they are paid professionals at deciding what places are to be called, so we should do what they do and that's all and not argue about it and bring in other factors because there should be nothing to discuss if the maps agree. Who cares about these counts for common name if the cartographers agree? This common name business is maybe useful if the maps don't agree, and articles with titles that none of the major maps call use and one major tedious entmoot after another; when it would all be so simple if this just said "Look, if all the maps call it X, the article title should be X." Period. Be done with it. If the cartographers disagree, well then we can look at Google Books and whatnot or whatever we think is best to do in that case. But if the maps agree, use it. What do you all say? Is that agreed in principle? Chrisrus (talk) 01:12, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
What's so special about maps? Many more English-speaking people read stories from books expecting to see "Tenedos" rather than open maps looking for "Bozcaada". Maps are not necessarily representative of Common English usage. Also I really would appreciate if references such as A bunch of mostly Greek editors... were omitted for multiple reasons. First, from a cursory look at the various move debates on Talk:Tenedos one can see that there are many other editors of American, English and other-than-Greek backgrounds who agree with the Greek editors. So trying to deprecate the opinion of the Greek editors alone does not make logical sense. So IMO, references to nationality should better be left out and arguments should be focused on substance not nationalities. And you know what the funny part is? "Tenedos" is actually the de facto English WP:COMMONNAME. How do I know? Ask any English-speaking person what the actual name of the island is. I bet 100%, not 99% but 100% [of those who know the answer]<added per Art's comment>, are going to answer "Tenedos". Chances are that the average English-speaking person never even heard of "Bozcaada" and even if they heard it I bet they could not pronounce it. So much for WP:COMMONNAME in the English language. Let's get real here. So using the principle of least astonishment we should go by what the average English-speaker expects to hear and not what the elites like the specialist map-maker or the Istanbul-based NYT reporter call "Tenedos". As soon as we rename the article "Bozcaada", I bet the average English-speaking person's jaw is going to drop. I am not a linguist but I think that the consonant combination "zc" in "Bozcaada" is completely foreign to the English language. How can we inflict such exotic sounds on the American or English populations and call them the WP:COMMONNAME in the English language? Is this some kind of cosmic joke? This is one rare case where WP:COMMONNAME can only be determined by taking an actual poll of the average English-speaking person rather than relying on specialist usage. Don't get me wrong; I know that many people wouldn't have expected me to say this, but if it ever happens and the article moves to "Bozcaada", I will actually be ROFLing for quite some time, just thinking that that name is what the average American or Englishman expects to hear and getting even more laughs trying to visualise the actual native English-speaker trying to pronounce "Bozcaada" without actually getting his tongue twisted. Can we really imagine a WP:COMMONNAME that few average native English-speakers had ever heard and even fewer could pronounce? This is just not natural. It is top-down linguistic engineering. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 03:45, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
"Ask any English-speaking person what the actual name of the island is." I bet over 99% will say "I have no idea", for the same reason you don't have a favorite name for nearby Anderson Island. If one name for Tenedos is more popular than the other in the U.S., it is by a margin like 0.05% to 0.03%. Art LaPella (talk) 05:05, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
Really. Common people don't even know the island exists, and even if they do, what do they know? Cartographers are pros and experts. It's their job to tell us what places are called and where they are and so on. That's "what's so special about maps"; they are made by people who are professional cartographers and experts with degrees in this and professinal map-making processes peer review systems they know about all the facts that you all have brought up and more and thought it all through so we don't have to. There's nothing common people can tell map makers about where places are and what they're called at different points in history. What's so special about maps? Maps tell common people where places are and what they're called, that's what they're for and why we pay cartographers. Chrisrus (talk) 06:12, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @ Art: Unfortunately I have to agree with your 99% figure, although I doubt Bozcaada will reach 0.03% of the positive replies; I would guess more like 0.005% if we assume 0.05% for Tenedos. Checking the Wikipedia page-view stats, we get 686 hits for Bozcaada and 6656 hits for Tenedos, mirroring roughly the 10:1 Google books ratio in favour of Tenedos. The stats indicate that "Tenedos" is the familiar search name for the readers of the English Wikipedia by a wide margin. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 06:25, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
@Chrisrus. I disagree. Cartographers, being experts, are free to use up-to-date information and new terms/names for geographical locations. But they do not determine common-name usage. They cannot change the entrenched terminology embedded in the language through hundreds of years of practice and tell the population to artificially change time-honoured names just because a new term has been imposed by the Turkish government. Language and onomatology do not evolve that way, i.e. from the top down. That's linguistic engineering. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 06:33, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
  • If Wikipedia used JavaScript-based web analytics software, then it would be very easy to measure which of the two article names the majority of people who came to the article through search engines were searching for. LittleBen (talk) 06:50, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The short answer to the question that introduces the thread is surely, "Not really" and the answer to the question, "Shouldn't this have been easy" is, "Yes". The bottom line of the problem in this case is as follows - there is pretty clear evidence from atlases, guide books, media reports, and explicit statements to that effect in sources etc that the common English-language name of the island, when referring to it as a 2012 entity, is the Turkish name "Bozcaada" (some have contested that, but without without much foundation - please, let's not open this point of detail here). Even if we don't take the maps as definitive on their own, they weigh heavily in that consideration, per guidelines and policy. However, it is probably equally fair to say that up until the 20th century, the Greek name "Tenedos" was more common. Given that it is probably more written about as an island in pre-classical and classical history, and in the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, than today as a modern Turkish island, a straight Google Books search by contrast favours Tenedos by quite a margin. That's still the case even if you narrow it to recently published books, since most are about aspects of mythology or history. Currently, NCGN says in the "Widely accepted name" section (I've lost some of the original italics but added some of my own for emphasis) -

  • "When a widely accepted English name, in a modern context, exists for a place, we should use it. This will often be identical in form to the local name"
  • "Consult Google Scholar and Google Books hits ... where the corresponding location is mentioned in relation to the period in question"

Then, at "Modern name" -

  • "For an article about a place whose name has changed over time, context is important. For articles discussing the present, use the modern English name (or local name, if there is no established English name), rather than an older one"
  • The section then goes on to list examples, including Istanbul and Gdansk; both btw lose out on Google Book searches to Constantinople and Danzig, even today

It seems to me that the current rules are pretty explicit - we look at modern sources and use the modern name. We look at atlases, dictionaries, other encyclopedias and news sources. We use Google Books, but don't just take the raw numbers. Where there's been a real or purported name change, we discount historical sources or modern sources that refer to a historical context. Everything about this case points to an article that should be at Bozcaada, with the opening sentence -

  • "Bozcaada, known historically and in Greece as Tenedos, is a Turkish Aegean island .."

Tenedos would be a redirect to the page. In the parts of the articles referring to history, we would probably use Tenedos in those sections, based on its use in sources to refer to the island in a historical context. I'm not sure we need radical change here as to how our rules direct us to make decisions on titles, at least on the basis of this kerfuffle. N-HH talk/edits 14:54, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
Btw I'm not sure the stats as to what people aim for tells us much. Won't that include people coming via internal wiki-links? That merely shows us that WP uses Tenedos in other articles as well. Equally, we don't know whether they were looking for material on the island as mentioned in antiquity. Also, if practice started factoring such stats in, it could ultimately see WP titles being based on commonly used "wrong" terms, such as "England" for "Britain". N-HH talk/edits 14:54, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

@Dr. K - I am wondering if the page view stats you speak of aren't flawed because of the way we wikilink pages. If you look at What links here for Tenedos, there is ~ 10:1 in favor of links directly to Tenedos. Which page gets the page view when a user clicks on this link [[Tenedos|Bozcaada]]. I would suspect the page view accrues to Tenedos not Bozcaada. And in fact if all the wikilinks to the redirect Bozcaada were fixed to elminate the redirect, Tenedos page views would go up. I find it tough to equate page views with any empirical certainty with common usage in reliable sources. --Mike Cline (talk) 15:51, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I agree that the page view stats are nothing more than an empirical indicator. Your analysis points to obvious flaws and there are more uncertainties. Its use isn't policy-compliant anyway. I just used it as a rough indicator to support my guess viz. "Tenedos" without further ambitions for its use in any actual decision. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 03:55, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Seems to me the Tenedos of the past is different from the Bozcaada of today. So it makes sense to have two separate pages. I am sure people will find enough to fill both. Even today, they could both be start-class articles, at the very least. This isn't my proposal originally, but finding again who originally proposed it in that thicket is impossible, so I have to skip attribution. Calling the proposal the Judgment of Solomon isn't a counterargument. Churn and change (talk) 05:05, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, they're the same place of course. But like all places the island has a history, and like many places it has been known by different official and common names at different points throughout that history. As an island, it's probably got more continuity as an entity than most cities, which grow and expand, are refounded etc. As the person who made the point, I think the description of Judgment of Solomon is fair, in that it's a proposal for a split, which seems superficially fair and as if it might solve the wrangling, but is essentially flawed (and simply saying that it "isn't a counterargument" is not, in turn, a counter-counterargument to that suggestion). We don't do forks and this small island and its backstory can undoubtedly be covered in a summary/encyclopedic fashion in the one page, like most small islands. And at what date would be make the split? What would we call the pages: "History of ..."? "X in antiquity"?
More on point for general title naming, I think our policy is fine. It just needs to be applied properly. Where I think there might need to be changes is in the RM process. Currently we just have an admin pass by, get a feel for apparent consensus or otherwise and close accordingly. Even if they do read the article in detail, fully review the evidence presented and weigh the arguments presented properly, they're usually bound to go with the majority if they feel it's big enough. Equally, if there's more than 20% of contributors opposed, they'll usually close as "no consensus". We pretend these things are not a vote, but they are in reality - and a vote with the right of effective minority veto, regardless of the value of that minority's argument. When you've got a 50-50 call, maybe that's the best we can do. However, if an article is at a more obviously "wrong" title, it's stuck there forever so long as as few, sometimes, as 2-3 people insist it should stay there and can offer a remotely plausible argument for it. Maybe it's not for WP:TITLE itself (and I think this is now being raised on the move review in question, although I'm absenting myself from that page now) but I'd prefer to see a bit more of an activist, French-style inquisitorial approach to move requests. The closer should take responsibility for marshalling the debate a bit and narrowing it down to key points, as well as questioning the evidence and arguments being put forward, and assessing those a bit more forensically against WP:TITLE and the naming sub-guidelines. N-HH talk/edits 09:11, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Answering the first part: we do have precedence. There are two articles for Constantinople and Istanbul. The difference from the Constantinople/Istanbul case is one of whether there is sufficient material to fill two articles. In just a few minutes of searching, I found lengthy RS material, another 25-page RS . The article is short not because modern Bozcaada is that non-notable, but probably because the talk page scares editors away. We would call the pages "Tenedos" and "Bozcaada." As to the point where the split is made, I think there would be some gradually tapering overlap, and it is upto the editors (as a note, Turks have called the place Bozcaada for centuries per this RS, so the Ottoman empire's start is a good break point, with the understanding both articles can summarize things on either side). No, even as an island, it didn't have continuity; populations emigrated and immigrated and the language has changed (there are few Greeks—Rum Orthodox—left there now); things such as what resources the island has, and obviously physical geography, have stayed the same. I agree if there were to be just one article, it should be called by the modern name. Otherwise we would still be calling Volgograd, Stalingrad. Am keeping this entire discussion here, since the two-page solution is linked to article titles (ancient-name for a page on the ancient town). Incidentally, per this reliable source, 'Bozcaada' ironically means barren island. Churn and change (talk) 18:02, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

@Mike Cline - I don't think there is a disconnection between the policy and the guidelines. The problem we had/have with the article was Google Books results being given infinite weight despite the numerous amount of evidence for the proposed name. The policy (WP:TITLE) says this on the matter: "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." It continues to mention search results as something that can be helpful but the wording suggests that we should look at the sources that are listed in the quotations. The policy also points out to how those search results can mislead: WP:GOOGLETEST. We're also directed towards WP:MODERNPLACENAME: "For ideas on how to deal with situations where there are several competing foreign terms, see "Multiple local names" and "Use modern names" in the geographical naming guideline." So, even though policy may seem to trump over guidelines, the policy shifts the weight to guidelines to deal with such issues. I look at it as a pyramid structure where you have the general values on top and guidelines trickling down to bottom. TheDarkLordSeth (talk) 13:46, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

  • It is important to remember that the title of a Wikipedia article about a place does not necessarily have to be the "name" of the place. Yes, for many (even most) articles on geographical places, the best title will be the place's "name". However, using the place's "name" as a title is not required. This is what both WP:OFFICALNAME and WP:COMMONNAME are trying to point out. Indeed, perhaps we should change the shortcut from "WP:COMMONNAME" to "WP:COMMONUSAGE" to clarify and emphasize this point. Blueboar (talk) 15:08, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is confused about that. TheDarkLordSeth (talk) 15:38, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Excuse me.

When we want to know what a word means, we check a dictionary.

When we want to know the name of a place, we check the appropriate map.

It should be easy, but the above conversation is very long and convoluted.

On the principle that we just report what experts say, if all the maps agree, we should go with that.

We should word this in such a way that it gets this idea across: "in the case of place names, check the maps. If the maps all agree, use that name." Period. We need to specify what we mean by "maps", and what to do if maps disagree.

The obvious systemic flaw exhibited by the article Tenedos is that we're sitting around discussing the relative merits of different measures of commonality and existentionalist questions such as "what does the word 'common' really mean, anyhow?", entmoots which can be easily avoided. That's the cartographer's job, not ours.

Or in other words: "Ladies and Gentlemen, THE FOUR LADS!!!!"

Chrisrus (talk) 16:19, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

It's not quite that simple. Yes, we should look at how maps to see how cartographers refer to the location... but, we should not stop there... we should also look at how the location is referred to in scholarly political science journals, respected encyclopedias and almanacs, and other reliable sources (including the mainstream media). Cartographers are not the only experts, after all, and we do need to check to see if experts in fields other than cartography routinely refer to the place by a different name than the cartographers do. Blueboar (talk) 19:36, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
In the name of reason, why not? Why not just stop there? If all the maps agree, why keep looking? "we should not stop there...we should also look at how the location is referred to in ...." for what reason? Cartographers are the ones to listen to about what the name of a place is in English usage. You are just complicating this for no reason I can imagine. Tell me why we should close the book on something if all the maps agree. So we can talk about what other names are used in the body of the article? We're just talking about the title here. If all the maps agree, stop. We're done. Chrisrus (talk) 23:23, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Hmm... Having just spend some time reading the debates on the article talk page, what has become clear to me is this: both names seem to be common, and neither name is significantly more common than the other (both sides can and do point to different sets of statistics to demonstrate that "their" preferred name is more common than the other). In other words, I think that to resolve the Tenedos/Bozcaada title dispute, we are going to have to look beyond WP:COMMONNAME. I have suggested doing so on the article talk page. Blueboar (talk) 20:33, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Blueboar, the reason "Tenedos" is still common is the same reason "Constantinople" is still common. The name of this island has changed. Is not all evidence you have seen consistent with the conclusion that the name of this island has changed? When the Turks took it over, they changed the name. Chrisrus (talk) 02:54, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I know the history. Wikipedia does not really care whether the Turks officially changed the name of the island - if a significant majority of English language sources ignore this fact. We follow the sources, not officialdom. The relevant policy statement is:
  • Wikipedia does not necessarily use the subject's "official" name as an article title; it prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources. This includes usage in the sources used as references for the article. If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes, then more weight should be given to the name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change.
Now, most of the time, the sources will refer to a place by its "official name"... but not always. And when a name gets changed there is almost always a period of confusion in the sources... Sometimes when a name is officially changed, the name change takes time to be reflected in reliable sources.... some reliable sources will continue to use the old name for a while. Some reliable sources use the new name while others continue to use the old name. And there is no set time limit for this period of confusion. Indeed, the period of confusion can last for years.
That is what seems to be happening in the Tenedos/Bozacaada debate. Unlike "Constantinople" (which is only used in historical contexts by English language sources) it seems that while a lot of modern English language sources call the island Bozacaada, a lot of modern English language sources call the island Tenedos... in other words, the sources are mixed in their usage regarding Tenedos vs Bozacaada. The debate on the talk page of the article is whether there is a significant majority of English language sources that use one or the other. Both sides point to various usage comparisons... with those who wish the article to be entitled "Tenedos" saying: According to comparison X, more English language sources use Tenedos... and those who support "Bozacaada" saying, "According to comparison Y, more English language sources use Bozacaada". As a neutral outsider in the debate (who does not really care one way or the other how we title the article), I looked at these comparisons, and find both arguments convincing. Which leads me to the conclusion that neither name is significantly more common than the other... and so WP:COMMONNAME will not resolve this debate. We must look to other provisions of WP:AT to see if they can resolve the debate. Blueboar (talk) 12:55, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
But there is virtually no evidence that Tenedos is in common use as the name for the island in a modern context. The sources are not mixed, at least if we look at contemporary references in contemporary sources. Please, look at the evidence again, or in more detail. The only evidence presented for "common" use was the Google Book numbers. When you actually look at those hits, it is clear that this is because so much is written in books, even now, about the history of the island in Greek mythology and classical antiquity; Tenedos was also a common name with reference to Byzantine and even into late Ottoman times, when Bozcaada also began to be used. However, there are virtually no sources - books, atlases, international institutions or media - that use Tenedos for the modern island, in 2012. Your premise is false, so the point is moot. N-HH talk/edits 13:10, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @ All – Good discussion. Thanks. A couple of points of summary, and thanks to Blueboar for highlighting these.

  • WP:COMMONNAME is good policy, but our ability to determine a common name (or common usage) is flawed when two alternatives are equally common, thus we must move elsewhere for a deciding factor.
  • In the case of geographic place names WP:MODERNPLACENAME seems like the logical next decision point.
  • However, the path from equally Common Names to Modern Place Name is unclear in policy/guidelines and thus as currently written does not provide the necessary guidance to support an RM discussion/decision.

Again, Thanks now let’s close this discussion and move on. --Mike Cline (talk) 13:13, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

    • I think that is a bit hasty. Nobody has produced any evidence Tenedos is used in a modern context (without Bozcaada at least in parentheses); they have just stated they think so from reading what others wrote. And, no, there is no consensus the path from equally common names to modern place names is unclear. I saw the assertion modern place names should take priority by at least two editors, and saw no rebuttals, except the mistaken assertion the modern usage too is mixed. Churn and change (talk) 15:49, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
      • On the path from Common Name to Modern Place Name, the path in policy/guidelines is unclear. That said, the logic that the path is right path to follow for equally common geographic place names, is good and that's where the editors you mentioned above found their opinion. The root cause here I believe is an inconsistent methodology for determining Common Name. Until we resolve that in some way, we will still have these kind's of debates. Remember this question was not about the merits of the Tenedos discussion, but rather what could we learn about our policies/guidelines that would make resolving such debates easier. That, I believe has been answered sufficiently. --Mike Cline (talk) 15:58, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't see how it's unclear. In what way would a person be confused when s/he goes to Common Name? TheDarkLordSeth (talk) 16:41, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
The path is unclear. In common name there is this statement in the first paragraph: 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. there is no indication that in the case of a geographic place name, the way to chose one of the others is WP:MODERNPLACENAME. In other words, the path from Common Name policy (when it doesn't provide resolution) to a WP Naming convention is unclear. If you were completely unfamilar with Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names) how would the current wording of Common Name lead you to WP:MODERNPLACENAME AND convey that Modern Name is the next logical step in determining the title? Whether that is the right path or not is not what is discussion is about, but whether the path is clear.--Mike Cline (talk) 16:51, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
I see. In this case, I believe we're missing the WP:UE part where most of these conflicts may arise from use of foreign names in English. There, we are directed to WP:MODERNPLACENAME explicitly. Now, I don't know of any non-foreign examples that would create such a conflict about using the modern name. However, I've seen the section you referred to being in play. The Shooting of Trayvon Martin article had a heated debate on what to call it exactly; Shooting of Trayvon Martin, Death of Trayvon Martin, Murder of Trayvon Martin, etc. In that case it's more about consensus. TheDarkLordSeth (talk) 19:44, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
The path is unclear because it is already summarized in the policy itself, WP:Common names: "If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes, then more weight should be given to the name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change." In this case policy fails us because most of the publications after the name change refer to the entity that existed before the name change (the informal name change was around the Ottoman empire times and the formal one I think in 1923). Hence my suggestion to consider the two as separate entities, instead of the current mess of using an ancient name for a modern city everybody else refers to as "Bozcaada" in a modern context (say if you want to buy an air ticket to go there; try asking for a ticket to Tenedos). Churn and change (talk) 20:27, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Hold on a second... the policy does not say the sources must refer to the place in a modern context... it simply says we should give more weight to sources published after the name change. This may be the historian in me speaking, but I think we should give just as much weight to modern sources that refer to the location in a historical context as we do to modern sources that refer to it in a modern context. Especially if the location is primarily known for a historical event. In cases where a place is primarily known for a historical event, then chances are the historical name will be more Recognizable (and there are probably links in other articles to the historical name... which involves the principle of Naturalness and Consistency). That could mean three out of our five basic naming principles would favor using the old "historic context" name over the new "modern context" one. (Note... this is a generalized comment, not directed to the Tenedos/Bozcaada debate... I have no idea whether there is some historic event that happened on that island which might make the comment relevant.) Blueboar (talk) 21:35, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
It does actually. WP:MODERNPLACENAME: "For an article about a place whose name has changed over time, context is important. For articles discussing the present, use the modern English name (or local name, if there is no established English name), rather than an older one. Older names should be used in appropriate historical contexts when a substantial majority of reliable modern sources does the same; this includes the names of articles relating to particular historical periods. Names have changed both because cities have been formally renamed and because cities have been taken from one state by another; in both cases, however, we are interested in what reliable English-language sources now use." We're supposed to use historical names in context. TheDarkLordSeth (talk) 22:00, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant the WP:AT policy does not say the sources must refer to the place in a modern context. On the broader sub-topic... I agree that context is important, and that when you have two sources... one favoring a modern context name and the other favoring a historic context name, the modern context should be give more weight. But if we have only 100 modern context sources and 1,000 historic context sources, we should not simply disregard the historic sources. Blueboar (talk) 23:04, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Not really. We'd be using those 1000 sources to either open a new article about the historical aspects of that particular location just like we do for Constantinople. There are 16,800,000 results for Contstantinople and 495,000,000 results for Istanbul. Should we change that name too? Of course not. No where in any of Wikipedia's policies does it tell us to rely on Google Books results. That's why I kept asking you on how you reached your conclusion that the no consensus was acceptable. Wiki, on the other hand, tells us to rely on reliable English sources though as I showed before. One more thing; is it even possible that there are 16,800,000 books for Constantinople? It's a very unreliable way to see if a name is more common. In my opinion it should only be used to see if the searched name is non-existent, rarely used or common. It doesn't tell much about whether it's the preferred name for the modern context. TheDarkLordSeth (talk) 23:19, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
User:Blueboar is right policy doesn't state references in modern context (hence my statement policy fails us here). But there may be a history bias in seeing the policy as 'natural.' As others state, modern names matter more; else Volgograd would still be stuck at Stalingrad. The WP:MODERNPLACENAME, just a guideline and not specifically for article titles, suggests the article use Bozcaada when talking of the modern city and Tenedos talking of the ancient one. So is the title referring to the old or the new? The single thread running through the article is just a geographic landmass, which (unlike, say, the Alps) has had no name independent of the human society inhabiting it. That society has been two different entities in two different times, differing in language, religion, demographics and the larger political entity, and people use two different names to refer to the distinct entities. We are forcing a merger and hence finding it hard to name the merged entity. The difficulty in naming, the original question, may show a deep problem not in policy but in content. Churn and change (talk) 23:41, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
I did quote the place where the preference is stated. A policy page, WP:UE, explicitly refers us to WP:MODERNPLACENAME where we can read the preference. That said, where in the policy, or even in any guideline, it says that we should take Google results over any other evidence? TheDarkLordSeth (talk) 23:56, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Your response is tangential to my main point, which is splitting the article. But a few quick points: WP:UE applies to names not using Anglo-Saxon ligature or Anglicized spelling, and that is not at issue here. WP:MODERNPLACENAME applies to all references to the place in an article, not specifically the article title. Per that guideline, we should use Tenedos when referring to, say, the Illiad, in the article, and Bozcaada when referring to, say, Ottoman rule. Applying the guideline to the title requires us to fix whether we are talking largely of the ancient city or the new one. We are forced to choose because the article is a patch-up of the two entities. Right now, editors kind of alternate between Tenedos and Bozcaada within the article; the issue permeates it through and through, not just at the title level. Hence the call for a split. The naming problem reflects the content issue. Churn and change (talk) 00:08, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Which Tenedos and Bozcaada both fit that, just like Istanbul and Constantinople. None of them are English in origin. The current article is about the modern island. Check Constantinople for an example of a historical name usage. If there is enough substance for a historical article it can be created but it wouldn't really be a split as we can't simply strip the article of it's ancient history. Everybody knows that Tenedos is used to be used when we're referring to ancient history of the island. That was never unclear or an issue. TheDarkLordSeth (talk) 00:42, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't think WP:UE is talking of names of non English origin. Many American place names are of non English origin. It is talking specifically of cases where spelling and the other never-ending argument, diacritics, differ in English and native use. No, we can't just take out ancient stuff and have an article on Bozcaada simply because the article is titled 'Tenedos' and every discussion on changing that has been stalemated. That will continue for the simple reason we have packed two different entities into one article and there is no way to use one name to represent both. Churn and change (talk) 01:28, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
We're not talking about towns in U.S.A. though. Tenedos is Greek and Bozcaada is Turkish. They're both foreign names that are used by English. Borrowed names to be precise. WP:UE doesn't only deal with anglicization but "Foreign names and anglicization". There is no need at this point to split them. Otherwise every such article would be split. Istanbul has a rich and long history. It's normal to split that but there isn't enough substance at this point to create a totally new article for a few paragraphs. TheDarkLordSeth (talk) 01:42, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Isn't the original premise of this part of the debate a bit flawed? I'm not sure the process is that we have to move from "common name" in WP:TITLE to "modern place name" in WP:NCGN because the former isn't clear, let alone that there's some disconnect or broken path there. There's a false dichotomy being presented here, as if we rely on one or the other and as if we have an implicit contradiction of some sort. Surely what we do is rely on the more detailed guidance in modern name to understand what we mean by common name, especially in relation to places. The more focused guideline helps interpret the broad policy, as is normal practice anywhere in the real world. It's also surely implicit anyway that in a modern, up-to-date encyclopedia - as opposed, say, to a dictionary or encyclopedia of historical place names - that we title articles by their modern, up-to-date name, as recognised by multiple other sources discussing the modern context? There's no need for TITLE to say that, given that we have both common sense and the additional guidelines to help us out as and when it does become an issue. N-HH talk/edits 10:29, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

If maps agree, stop!

If all the maps agree on a name, use it.

Why keep looking if all the appropriate maps agree?

You say "It's not quite that simple", Ipse dixit and go on to prove how complicated it can be if we don't stop upon determining universal cartographic consensus.

I say "Yes, it is that simple": Universal Cartographic Consensus

  • If all the appropriate maps agree, we don't have to worry about WP:COMMONNAME because the experts have told us what the common name is. It's the mapmaker's job to determine common modern English language place name, not that of Wikipedians; that is covered by WP:OR. It is they who have to check usage commonality in news reports and books, not our job. Let them do the job they were trained to do and are paid to do. We are not trained cartographers, they are. We should respect their authority.
  • To ask WP to do different searches to determine commonality, once cartographers have spoken, is asking for needless WP:SYN, if the maps agree.
  • If we have to wait for Google Books searches and such to catch up with the maps, that will not allow places names to change. Wikipedia place names will be out of date. We will be far behind the maps. In this case, we are like 90 years out of date, because the island was much more famous before its name was changed and is still discussed in a historical context and we keep needlessly weighing different measures of commonality.
  • By stopping after checking the maps and finding them all in agreement, we ensure that Wikipedia will be able to react in a timely manner when the name of a place changes.
  • Anyone who hasn't yet heard the news that the name of a place has changed and searches for the old name will be best served by immediately learning right up front in the noun clause that serves as the subject of the very first sentence of the lead of the article that the name of this place has changed. That is quite rightly the first thing such as person should be told about the place. Chrisrus (talk) 16:34, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Crisrus, what if there are other reliable sources that disagree with the maps? I hope you would agree that we should look at all reliable sources and not just maps. Blueboar (talk) 19:52, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Looking at other reliable sources is the job of the cartographers. They have already done that for us before deciding on what to put on the map, it's safe to assume. Luckily for us, we don't have to do searches of other reliable sources to see what they call it in what context and how much weight to give to each one. They are paid to do that so we don't have to and they have procedures for such checking and double-checking such things for peer review and they know what they are doing so listen to them when they speak. They've made a ruling based on available evidence already, and they are experts and pros and it's for them to look at such things, so let's leave that to them and not get the idea that we can do a better job than they can as they are cartographers and we are just faceless screen names so why should anyone listen to our ruling over theirs? If the maps agree, look no further. Chrisrus (talk) 20:16, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
"it's safe to assume."... Never assume. I have to disagree with your undue deference to cartography... I am sure that if, for example, political scientists routinely use a name that is different from that used by cartographers, our Wikipedia colleagues who are political scientists would say that they are the experts, and not the cartographers. They would say we should defer to them. And if the media uses something different from cartographers and political scientists, I am sure they would claim that they are the experts. The simple fact is, we should never defer to one profession or academic discipline over all others. All reliable sources must be considered and weighed. I would agree that cartography should receive a fair amount of weight... but that does not mean we should ignore the conventions of other disciplines and professions. No profession or discipline should be given exclusive weight. Blueboar (talk) 20:45, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
To use your example, if the universal consensus of political scientists is that the form of government in a place is "constitutional monarchy", we should say that. If the universal consensus of cartographers is that the name of a place is X, then X it is. To each field of expertise the deference it is due. Chrisrus (talk) 02:32, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, we must agree to disagree... my feeling is that if political scientists all call a place X and cartographers all call it Y, then the article title should probably be either X or Y... however, there is a legitimate debate as to which we should use. It isn't going to crop up often. Blueboar (talk) 03:42, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point: if the cartagraphers say that the name is X, it's highly unlikely that the (for example) political scientists are going to call it something else. This is because the cartographers track expert usage in different fields and the experts in other fields know how to read a map. All the more reason why it's pointless to keep looking after you've checked all the maps and they all agree! If you do find disagreement in the commonality tests in other fields, it'll be something like this case, where those who are still calling it "Tenedos" do so for the same reason an historian would say "on that day, a ship set sail from New Amsterdam instead of New York City. Having us Wikipedians keep investigating even after we've already seen that the maps agree, in the case of a place whose name has changed, is obliging us for no good reason to investigate the context in which each usage appears, a pointless waste of time if you've already checked the maps and they all agree. Once you've found universal cartographic consensus, you've found your title.. These other concerns of yours and other measures should come into play if and when the appropriate maps disagree.
As the Horn Orchestra sing, when the old name of a place is a long time gone, it's pointless to argue about it. Chrisrus (talk) 05:14, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I thought this discussion might benefit from some input from the WikiProject Maps. so I asked them to join. --Mike Cline (talk) 13:01, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Coming from WP:Maps and as a cartographer - maps should be treated as a source, they should be given no more and no less weight than other sources. Kmusser (talk) 14:38, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
I'll add that cartographic consensus on place names is actually kind of rare, so when you do have it that is a pretty significant argument for using that consensus. Kmusser (talk) 15:02, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Hello Kmusser and thank you for your kind attention. If you would, can a modern common place name be established by looking at the appropriate maps? Chrisrus (talk) 18:46, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Usually, but not necessarily always. Cartographers are generally going to use the official name if there is one. So in this case the cartographic consensus is really just confirming that Bozcaada is the official name, which doesn't look like it was in dispute. If the official name and the common name aren't the same thing you might still have a problem. I haven't delved into the dispute that sparked this, but I'm not sure that's really the relevant question for this case as it looks like Bozcaada vs Tenedos isn't so much an official vs common debate as it is modern vs historical one. Kmusser (talk) 21:23, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay in replying, I hadn't noticed you'd responded.
Thank you for your reply. So English language cartographers generally use the official English language name if there is one. What else do they look at?
Thank you for your interest in that particular case also. You are right, it's a case of offical historical vs. official modern. The name has offically changed and unofficially changed, too. It's called Tenedos in historical contexts and Bozcaada when referring to the place after the name was changed. Chrisrus (talk) 08:06, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Different mapping services have different naming policies, if an official name doesn't exist, or is disputed, some (like National Geographic) will go for whatever the name is in the local language, some will follow whatever the U.S. government uses (which can be found at, some (like Google) will try for whatever the common name is - there really isn't a general standard. Kmusser (talk) 16:22, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Very good. They take different things into account: official names, local names, US government usage, and measures of commonality. In cases where all the maps agree, it appears all these considerations have come to the same conclusion. Do I understand you correctly? Chrisrus (talk) 17:23, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Except that the official name is usually going to trump all other considerations, if one exists they aren't going to bother looking at anything else. If all maps agree there then either A) an official name exists or B) a variety of considerations leads to the same name, i.e. the place really only has one name. Option A is by far the more common answer. Kmusser (talk) 15:01, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Which is why we do look at maps... but don't stop at maps. We look at a wide variety of sources to determine what the COMMONNAME is. Something to remember, the COMMONNAME might well be the "Official name"... in fact, I would say that usually the "official name" (as used on maps) will be the COMMONNAME... just not always. Blueboar (talk) 15:24, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Why, after having found that all maps agree what the name of a place is, should we keep looking? It's unnecessary and asking for trouble. For example, what if the name of a place has changed? Then other measures of commonality, such as Google Books searches, will show a bias towards the old name long after all the maps have changed the name. It allows people who don't like the name change to prevent Wikipedia from being up-to-date. In the case of this island, we are almost one hundred years behind everyone else because some Greek patriots and classisists hate the new name. We are not qualified to determine common names overruling all the best maps based on Google books searches and such. We need to stop looking for the name of a place if all the maps agree. Chrisrus (talk) 17:01, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Because maps are only one segment of the potential sources. Our policy is that our titles need to be recognizable and natural... to achieve this, we look at the sources and entitle our articles with the name that is most commonly used. Maps are good sources, but only one segment of sources. Suppose there are 20 maps that show a location (calling it X)... but 1,000 news reports and encyclopedias that discuss it (calling it Y). How can we ignore what thousands of sources say? We are not qualified to determine what is "correct"... but we can count... we are qualified to determine what is most commonly used. We let the sources determine the outcome. Blueboar (talk) 20:10, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

If one wants to know the atomic weight of Chromium, all you have to do is check a periodic table. I suppose one could then go on to say "wait, I'm not finished, let's check other sources". But why? Is there some reason for doubt? What would be the point in looking further once one has checked a proper array of periodic tables? That's what the periodic table is for.

When one wants to know geographical information, we check maps. It's what people do when they want to know such things. When people want to know such pieces of geographical information as the English-language name of an island at a particular point in time, one checks maps. That's what maps are for.

Now, of course, if maps don't agree, we might want to check something else. We should continue to look if there is some reason for doubt. There is no reason to look further if the appropriate maps all agree. The map people check various things such as maybe official names and maybe newpaper reports and such as they deem appropriate - that's their business - not ours. Assume they know what they are doing and when to look at what and what trumps what and so on and make their rulings. That's why we pay them. Their standards may differ one to another, but if you've got universal cartographic consensus, we're done, why argue? Only if they don't all agree might we need to start looking elsewhere. A bunch of Wikipedians overruling universal cartographic consensus based on our own Google Books hit counts is OR. Chrisrus (talk) 04:56, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Repeating the same argument multiple times does not lend weight to that argument. Wikipedia uses all available reliable and relevant sources to establish the facts and to provide article titles. Yes, in most cases maps are an excellent source for names of places, but they are not the only source and should not be used to the exclusion of all others. We need to seek a balance giving due consideration to all the sources, one category of source does not trump all others. - Nick Thorne talk 21:38, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
You are right, Wikipedia could check absolutely all available sources to find out the WP:MODERNPLACENAME of an island, but what's the point, if all the maps agree? They can't all be wrong! We need a practical procedure becuse when the name of a place changes there can be a group of dedicated people don't want it to have changed even after the whole rest of the world has long since moved on. Instructing us to figure out whether the modern or historical name is more common by looking at every possible measure is not necessary, totally impractical, and invites major unnecessary trouble. It's a real problem that needs fixing and this is a good answer. So although Wikipedia could go on checking all the WP:RSes until the last one is exhausted before arriving at a title, that should not be the procedure.
So, say you want to know the name an island, for example the one at 39° 50' 5" N, 26° 4' 10" E. What's step one? We need a reasonable procedure. Chrisrus (talk) 05:21, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
You are talking about an entirely hypothetical situation, in fact no problem actually exists except in your perception. The current process has not resulted in an enormous number of articles with problematic titles. The wall of text you have produced here about what is really a trivial issue demonstrates only one thing: it is time for you to drop the stick. - Nick Thorne talk 12:06, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

You are mistaken. Scroll up, we are talking about the non-hypothetical of the name of the island at 39° 50' 5" N, 26° 4' 10" E, and what it means for improved article title policy. Second, see WP:JUSTDROPIT a nutshell: "If you want an argument to stop, stop arguing......"Just drop it" is a sentiment sometimes voiced during heated or protracted disputes on Wikipedia. It may also be used when one party is advocating a position unpopular with a number of other respondents. While some users do behave in a tendentious manner, others may be voicing heartfelt concerns. "Just drop it" is not a very useful response in either case." Chrisrus (talk) 14:20, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Well, no one else seems to agree with you. BTW, I did not suggest you just drop it, I suggested you drop the stick which is an entirely different essay. Furthermore, I don't need you to insult my intelligence by quoting blocks of text from such an essay, I am quite capable of reading it myself thank you. The point here is that you are pushing you own POV against consensus that one class of source should trump all other sources. This is a ridiculous position. I agree that maps often are excellent reliable sources for geographic place names. However, they are not the only ones. In any given situation editors need to be able to use sources from any appropriate category as may be relevant to the particular case. We should not be prescribing what ones should be used other than that they should be reliable sources. End of story. - Nick Thorne talk 21:35, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Ridiculous? When one wants to know the name of a place, one checks maps. Not accepting the result is ridiculous. It's very strange behavior. I can only speculate what could possibly motivate a person to want to keep looking after having gotten a definitive answer from not just one appropriate maps, but actually all of them. It must be a case of WP:IDONTLIKEIT or something. Imagine someone asked you what the name of a place was, you'd look it up on a map. Having found the answer, the person asks you to check another and another and finally to move beyond maps to other sources. That's bizzare. Using maps to determine such things as the name of a place is normal. If maps agree, sane rational people would drop it right there unless they really didn't like the answer or something. Your objection to this is ridiculous. Chrisrus (talk) 14:53, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
"When one wants to know the name of a place, one checks maps".... one also checks almanacs, encyclopedias, books, newspapers, magazines and a host of other sources. We don't ignore the maps, but they are not the be-all-and-end-all of geographic information. Blueboar (talk) 15:54, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
But what's the point? Procedures should be exactly as complicated as they need to be and no more. Imagine I want to know the name of the capital of Elbonia. I check umpteen maps and they all say it's called "Patriopolis". What would be the point in spending hours checking encyclopedias and books and on and on and on getting the same answer over and over and over and still I go on checking? You'd see that behavior as strange and irrational, and quite rightly so. You'd wonder what was wrong with me, if I've got some personal problem with the name of the capital of Elbonia being Patriopolis, that I just don't want it to be true for some reason. Telling users to keep checking long after a good answer has been found long ago is asking for trouble and a cause of the failure in the system referred to above. Please tell me what the point is in having the people keep checking if all the maps agree. Chrisrus (talk) 17:11, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
The point is to be thorough in our research. Just looking at one type of source may be enough for the average man in his daily life, but as editors of an encyclopedia we strive for a more complete examination of all sources. This thoroughness allows us to achieve a Neutral Point of View, and a greater degree of accuracy. We may discover that while maps agree on one name, media sources consistently use another, and almanacs use a third. If we do not account for all these viewpoints, we are not giving our readers complete, accurate and neutral information. Blueboar (talk) 18:07, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. Follow maps, if the maps agree ... with other sources. BTW, my map gives the name as "Τενεδος". Should we therefore move the page to that spelling? A quick sampling of the lit will indicate if there's significant variation. — kwami (talk) 23:28, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

List of dogs

The most important thing about article titles is that they clearly indicate what the article is about and distinguishes it from other articles. "List of dogs" does not do this. If you haven't seen the list, just by the title, what would you think it is about? "Snoopy, Bolt, Krypto" is a list of dogs found on List of fictional dogs. The title "list of dogs" does not distinguish it from that article. "Beagle, Portuguese water dog, Neopolitan Mastiff" is also a list of dogs, and "list of dogs" does not distinguish it from "List of dog breeds. "Pariah dog, Hunting dog, Sled dog" is also a list of dogs, but the title does not distinguish it from that list.

The reason the title "List of dogs" fails to achieve its primary purpose, to identify and distinguish, lies in the guideline that articles not include the words "famous", "notable", or the like. This is generally a good guideline, because such words are generally redundant or unnecessary. The article "List of Canadians" is not improved by adding the word "notable", as this is an encyclopedia and there is no reason to say "notable" because everything in an encyclopedia is assumed to be notable. When this guideline was written, however, we had not thought of every possible situation. It turns out that, in the case of "List of dogs", it is actually necessary to say "famous" or somesuch in order for the title to achieve its primary purpose, to clearly identify and distinguish. Chrisrus (talk) 14:14, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Guidelines are not meant to be firm and fast "rules" with no exceptions... if there is a need to include words like "notable" or "famous" in a title... then do so. List of notable dogs and List of famous dogs are both perfectly acceptable titles. If you wish to exclude fictional dogs, that can be made clear in the article's lede. Blueboar (talk) 15:00, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Several times, most recently by me, List of dogs has been moved to List of notable dogs, only to be reverted by someone citing WP:LISTNAME or something, most recently here: Chrisrus (talk) 01:58, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Hi Chrisrus. You may know all this already but I'll say it anyway: after you are reverted on some matter, be it a page move or something entirely different, first discuss with the editor and if that is not fruitful, seek consensus from a cross-section of users (that can often be initiated through an article talk page note). I know this thread might seem like doing exactly that, but I think the more targeted way to do so here is by making a move request; follow the instructions at Wikipedia:Requested moves#Requesting controversial and potentially controversial moves.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:34, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
As you can see here, I first discussed the matter with the editor, but it was not fruitful. You will also find that I had been discussing this on the article talk page. You might want to check whether or not someone has already done something before telling someone that they should have already done something. Chrisrus (talk) 05:15, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
You did not make a move request, which is what I'm suggesting.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 12:33, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
As the editor who moved the article, I disagree with the assertion that "notable" or "famous" or some other subjective (and thus original research) term needs to be in this title; in fact WP has NO articles, the titles of which begin with "List of famous". I would be amenable to a compromise, such as what we have at List of historical and fictional birds, but we seem to do fine with List of cats, List of individual apes, List of trees and many, many others, with any clarifying or "For . . ., see . . ." information included as text at the start of the article. UnitedStatesian (talk) 02:47, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't necessarily disagree with you UniteStatesian, but actually we do have some: List of famous gemstones, List of famous stolen paintings, List of famous amateur chess players, List of Famous Idaho Potato Bowl broadcasters, List of notable asteroids and List of notable United Kingdom House of Lords cases.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:02, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for this. Please let's look at these together and see why Wikipedians have chosen to use such adjectives despite the quidelines.
Take the titles List of famous gemstones vs. List of diamonds. If the former were simply "List of gemstones", we wouldn't know if it were a list such as "Hope diamond, Bahia Emerald, Black Prince's Ruby,....", or a list such as "diamond, emerald, ruby,...". On the other hand, in the case of List of diamonds, the adjective goes without saying, because, you know, what else is it going to be? A list of diamonds in an encyclopedia will obviously be a list of famous ones. So here, the adjective is necessary to indicate what the article is about and to distinguish it from other articles. When the adjective is not so needed, it is not used.
Consider the title List of notable asteroids. Here, the word "notable" defines the nature and scope of the list for contributors as well as users. Without it, it would be List of minor planets, which aims to be a list of all kazillion asteroids known to man. The word "notable" defines the limits. It helps to maintain the nature and scope of the article from excessive contributions and makes the nature of the article obvious to users without having to click on it and download the entire article before being able to figure out what List of asteroids is.
We find a similar pattern with the other examples you have given. That guideline should should clarify that such adjectives should only be used to indicate what the article is about and to distinguish it from other articles, and not when they go without saying. Chrisrus (talk) 06:57, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

I have started an RM. Hopefully, that will allow us to determine consensus. Blueboar (talk) 13:22, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

The result of the RM will be that some people agree and some do not agree, and will come down to what the guideline says. But the important thing is what the guideline should say, because this is about not just list of dogs per se but also some others, such as list of trees. Chrisrus (talk) 14:58, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
I have amended WP:SAL to indicate that while we normally do not include "famous" or "notable" in list titles, it isn't a firm and fast "rule"... there are exceptions (especially in cases where omitting one of those words would cause ambiguity). Blueboar (talk) 15:49, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! Chrisrus (talk) 21:52, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
And I (partially) reverted the amendment to the guideline, because I think it requires more extensive discussion on that guideline page first. UnitedStatesian (talk) 11:05, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
No problem... I have started a thread at the guideline talk page for us to discuss it. Blueboar (talk) 15:23, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
That thread shows agreement that in some, but not all, cases, such adjectives should be used. The discussion is about which of them to use in that particular case. Amending this guideline now would help that case move forward by varifying that to do so is permissable. Please let's change it back to the way Blueboar had it or something similar. Chrisrus (talk) 17:50, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Ok, that's done, thanks for doing that. They decided to go with List of individual dogs, and to direct "List of dogs" to a disambiguation page. So that's more proof that that this page should say that we should (as with List of famous gemstones) use such adjectives when we need to, in order to make the title "recognizable to readers" and "unambiguous" as the "in a nutshell" section of WP:TITLE says. And also that furthermore, we should not use one of these adjectives when, given the context (an encyclopedia article title), they go without saying, as with List of diamonds, as per WP:USEFEWWORDS. Chrisrus (talk) 03:18, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

RfC: Acronym and Initialism

I would like to have Acronym and initialism removed as an example in the Titles containing "and" section. (If/when this is done, I indend to propose a move of that article to Acronym in that article's talk page.) Rationale is as follows:

  • "Initialism" has very scarce representation in mainstream dictionaries, and generally in reliable sources
  • Google count: 1 million for initialism versus 150 million for acronym (Google news: 244 vs 167,000; Google books: 11,600 vs 1,500,000)
  • Even Pain and nociception has finally moved to a sensible title
  • Initialism is essentially a historical trivia, and in its article it is receiving undue weight
  • In some points, info about initialism in that article lacks supporting reliable sources and it smells of original research. For example, the last part of the Nomenclature section.
  • Current title is not encyclopedic. Encyclopedias tend to avoid "and" in titles, unless the article discusses dual concepts, or anyway concepts that naturally have comparable notability
  • Current title is in conflict with many other WP:TITLE guidelines and principles, and I quote:
    • Generally, article titles are based on what the subject is called in reliable sources
    • When this offers multiple possibilities, editors choose among them by considering several principles: the ideal article title resembles titles for similar articles, precisely identifies the subject, and is short, natural, and recognizable.
    • Article titles are based on what reliable English-language sources refer to the article's subject by
    • Recognizability – Titles are names or descriptions of the topic that are recognizable to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic
    • Naturalness – Titles are those that readers are likely to look for or search with as well as those that editors naturally use to link from other articles. Such titles usually convey what the subject is actually called in English.
    • Precision – Titles usually use names and terms that are precise enough to unambiguously identify the topical scope of the article, but not overly precise
    • Conciseness – Titles are concise, and not overly long
    • 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 most common name for a subject, as determined by its prevalence in reliable English-language sources, is often used as a title because it is recognizable and natural.
    • Article titles should be neither vulgar nor pedantic. The term most typically used in reliable sources is preferred to technically correct but rarer forms
    • Other encyclopedias may be helpful in deciding what titles are in an encyclopedic register as well as what name is most frequently used [...] A search engine may help to collect this data
    • When this title is a name, significant alternative names for the topic should be mentioned in the article, usually in the first sentence or paragraph

Just for sake of clarity, please note that I am not seeking to drop the whole Titles containing "and" section, which has its place, but simply to drop Acronym and initialism as an example for that guideline (if anything, in my view it should be cited as a counterexample). Thanks. (talk) 06:45, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

  • Support, but this really does not need an RfC to decide. Unless anyone disagrees I recommend deleting the RfC template and making the change. There are certainly thousands or at least hundreds of examples that are better than "and initialism"! I recommend going ahead with moving, or at least propose moving the article to Acronym and replace in this policy with a better example. I got 14,900 from google books - trending up? Just kidding. Not used often enough to support using and. And is used when two different subjects are combined, not when two synonyms are used, with one of them almost never used. Apteva (talk) 00:39, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. As replacement examples I can offer: Laurel and Hardy (famous duo), Supply and demand (phrase/idiom), Ying and yang (dual concepts). (talk) 14:02, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
DONE... Example removed... No need for a replacement... we give enough other examples to make the point. Blueboar (talk) 14:50, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, removing RfC and bringing this to the Acronym and initialism talk page. (talk) 23:26, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Common name vs. naming convention, again

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor → F-22 --Born2cycle (talk) 22:46, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

The snowball of opposition there confirms that the community does not value conciseness above all else, as you do. Dicklyon (talk) 21:42, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
One discussion can confirm nothing about what "the community" values. In this case the participants are obviously active editors of that and similar articles, with a bias accordingly. --Born2cycle (talk) 23:45, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
And as I have stated many times in the past, the current WP:RM process introduces a major bias since the vast majority of participants are likely to be article editors who may have a different focus then the community in general. Vegaswikian (talk) 00:07, 17 October 2012 (UTC)


Which U.S. cities require disambiguation by state? Example: Atlantic City or Atlantic City, New Jersey?

See Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions_(geographic_names)#RfC:_US_city_names. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:28, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Question at FAC

In Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian)/archive1, please see the discussion at "I can't think of another FA that gives three different ways of describing the same thing in the page title" ... and I can't. Does this look right to you guys? - Dank (push to talk) 05:32, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

Does the MoS trump the conventions of primary sources?

For example, UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic is currently titled with a period after "vs". The official poster for the event (seen in the article) does not. I brought this up at the MMA Wikiproject, and was answered with keep status quo, per MOS:ABBR#Shortenings. The way I see it, this doesn't apply, since we wouldn't be shortening "versus", just copying the already-shortened "vs". I'm not asking what we should title it (there are other guidelines to consider for that, such as COMMONNAME), only whether MOS:ABBR applies to cases like these.

Also, does the exact title used by the creator of a show carry more weight or less than a title used by multiple secondary sources?

If this has been discussed elsewhere, a link would be appreciated. I'm not here to make people repeat themselves. InedibleHulk (talk) 21:18, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

This is not a good case for this question, since their other primary source includes the period. But in general, we should put less weight on primary source styling, and more on secondary sources for how things are referred to. Our own MOS also should get a lot of weight, though I'm not sure "trump" is always the right concept. Dicklyon (talk) 22:46, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed that first point (pun intended) after I asked here, and subsequently dropped my argument at the Wikiproject. But, theoretically, if every single source spelled it without a period (or styled anything differently than Wikipedia suggests), would the MoS on shortening apply? InedibleHulk (talk) 23:45, 13 November 2012 (UTC)?
Probably this is more like a case for MOS:TM. If every single source formats a title or trademark the same way, we would, too. Otherwise, we choose the most "normal" from among the styles in secondary sources, typically. Dicklyon (talk) 00:00, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
In other words, no, but common usage does. We do, however have specific limitations on trademarks, and avoid unusual capitalizations, for example. According to primary sources, the actual name of the Atlanta airport is Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International Airport, but according to an overwhelming number of secondary sources, the name is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. According to the city council, who named it, the first is the name, as well as to the FAA, and some of the airport signs, but the airport website uses the latter, and the ordinance that changed the name is even more confusing because it starts out by saying this is an ordinance to change the name to Hartsfield - Jackson, and ends by saying therefore the name is Hartsfield-Jackson, which is the name most commonly used. Apteva (talk) 00:18, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
This discrepancy between hyphen and spaced hyphen is less confusing when you realize that both of those are typical typewriter styling (or MS Word styling) of an underlying intended dash (spaced is more often for em dash, but is also sometimes used for en dash). You can read about that in guides such as this one and this one and this one; and here and here and here. As many of these guides point out, these styles are converted to proper dashes in styles that use such typography; we do that in WP. Dicklyon (talk) 03:40, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

The short answer is 'yes'. Substantial elements of the title are covered here; stylistic elements are covered by the MOS, and we do not generally copy the stylistic choices of our sources. With rare exception, style is not an inherent part of the title, and varies from source to source. — kwami (talk) 00:35, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

But in cases where sources are largely consistent in style, which are plentiful, many, including myself, believe we should follow the sources rather than some MOS contrivance. --Born2cycle (talk) 00:48, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
MOS style isn't "contrivance. It's arrived at by consensus developed often through deep consideration and discussion. Of course, there will always be potential exceptions that we need to discuss, but I don't feel this ("vs." vs "vs") is one of them. Where they exist and may conflict with external guides, our MOS should still be observed within these 'walls'; the possibility of re-evaluating our MOS always exists in cases where influential external guides (such as the CMOS) preponderantly choose one style. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 01:35, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't necessarily talking about this particular vs. case, about which I have no opinion. I'm saying in general, if the sources are generally consistent with some usage, we should favor following that usage over whatever the MOS says. It should go without saying that MOS should apply only in those cases where we don't have a clear answer from usage in sources. It's a tie-breaker, if you will. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:04, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Nonsense. PMAnderson's "follow the sources" approach was removed from the MOS; without dissent iirc. Dicklyon (talk) 05:10, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
That's probably because those who follow usage in sources pay little attention to the MOS, and rightfully so. I, for one, don't have it on my watch list. --Born2cycle (talk) 07:45, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
I see sanity and common sense has prevailed, at least with respect to diacritics: "The use of diacritics (such as accent marks) for foreign words is neither encouraged nor discouraged; their usage depends on whether they appear in verifiable reliable sources in English and on the constraints imposed by specialized Wikipedia guidelines." --Born2cycle (talk) 07:50, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
But remember that MOS is a guideline about style that is overridden by crucial WP:V policy. If there is even a single English-language reliable source that uses a subject's properly-diacritically-spelled name, the fact of that more specific spelling is forever reliably sourced, and no amount of "I hate diacritics" wishing is going to make that fact go away. Anti-diacritics people also keep confusing the idea behind WP:COMMONNAME with some kind of imagined principle that "whatever USA Today does is what WP must do, everywhere". COMMONNAME is a policy about "principle of least astonishment" with regard to article titles and article titles only, and is very frequently overridden by WP:COMMONSENSE, which includes the fact that no non-imbeciles are astonished by diacritics. COMMONNAME is part of WP:AT, and WP:AT derives its style rules from WP:MOS, and logically must, or article titles would in tens of thousands of cases of all sorts (not just diacritics) start diverging from what their text says. Nothing in WP:AT, or WP:V, or WP:MOS or anywhere else even vaguely suggests that just because certain classes of populist and often hastily prepared sources, written and edited by people with limited linguistic backgrounds and far more urgent concerns than letterforms, and intended for a lowest-common denominator, can somehow be considered a "magically reliable super-source" that trumps all others, no matter how common they are. Wikipedia couldn't care less whether 9 out of 10 newspapers use "Renee Zellweger" because the people who work at them don't care or can't figure out how to use extended characters, and their readers don't care either; we have other more reliable sources that correct her name to Renée Zellweger, and that is that. "Follow the sources" is an (increasingly disused), confusingly ambiguous idea, misunderstood by half the people who use it, including its coiner. We follow the sources to what the reliable facts are, not to what the least-common-denominator, dumbed-down, ignorant, laziest writer/editor/publisher result is. (Conversely, as explained at WP:SSF, it also doesn't mean we follow only sources that are "ivory tower", specialized, exclusivist publications, especially when they disagree with basic English grammar rules and style conventions; that way lies an endless stream of varying forms of madness.) — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 13:42, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Generally yes, per Kwami and Dicklyon above, and for reasons I've enumerated at WP:SSF. Namely, specialist sources (academic journals on particular topics, etc.) are often – not always, e.g. palm-reading magazines on how reliable palm reading is! – reliable sources on independently verifiable facts relating the topic they specialize in, but they are not magically reliable sources on how to best use the English language for online encyclopedia purposes. It's astounding how many people suffer serious cognitive dissonance about this obvious fact. But it's really almost as simple as the difference between the map and the territory, the menu and the meal. A sport governing body may well be the #1 most reliable source for statistics about officially sanctioned players in their league system, but they are not somehow any more reliable than my plumber about the proper spellings of those players' names. Any source that provides a more specific, linguistically-reliable spelling trumps them on that point. A manual of Pakastani government employment positions is a pretty good source for what positions exists and what their job duties are, but if it happens to capitalize all job titles, like "Sanitation Engineer" is does not somehow transmutate into a good source on use of capital letters in normal English prose. (Innumerable specialist publications in almost all fields, wide and narrow, important and banal, capitalize things important in that topic, for emphasis; meanwhile MOS specifically deprecates ever doing this, at MOS:CAPS), because it looks farcically illiterate outside of the specialist context.) See my earlier comment, above, for the inverse case, where "most low-brow magazines and newspapers use this sloppy spelling, so Wikipedia must do so, too" nonsense argument that badly misunderstands the idea of "following the sources"m as a matter of doing a headcount of publications without regard to the quality of their research as it relates to the style question at hand (hint: the more populist the source, the lower that quality almost inevitably will be, and most of them have in-house style guides that call for intentional dumbing down, a practice that WP does not engage in). — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 14:00, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── We decide on the spelling of names by frequency of usage in reliable English language sources eg Kiev or Kyiv and diacritics usage are no different from other spellings. We decide this on common usage and "Recognizability – Titles are names or descriptions of the topic that are recognizable to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic." specifically covers the issue of using names that are used in or by expert sources. I do not see your argument about "good source" applying to the policy because "good" is not quantifiable in the way that "reliable source", "specialist/expert source" can be ("good source" tends to come under the Humpty Dumpty maxim "'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean'"). While researching for the discussion on Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Proper names where it was claimed that the Chicago MOS supported the the exclusive use of diacritics I came across the Chicago MOS: Q&A: Proper Names page (3), and I think that the editor of the Chicago MOS makes an interesting point to the question "Hello from Poland... would be grateful to know if CMOS addresses the question of translating given names" which seems to support the "Recognizability" bullet point (and tends to reflect usage found by a survey of frequency of usage in reliable English language sources):

Hello from Chicago! In the books that we publish, we depend on our authors to understand their audience and to style names accordingly. If the book is for a general audience, then names will probably appear in a form familiar to English-speaking readers. If the subject of the book is more narrowly defined and will be read by specialist scholars, the author might prefer to use the original-language names. Sometimes an author writing for a general audience will wish to educate readers by using the original names, but will introduce them by popular name.[20]

--PBS (talk) 18:45, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

J/ψ meson

Does this comply with the MOS? I haven't found much for or against it, but it seems awkward as I don't really think the average reader would be able to comprehend how the ψ is pronounced. All the other mesons/quarkonia (as listed in this template) are named with the English name of the Greek characters instead. Maybe it's because of the slash but I'm not sure as to the circumstances of the article's naming. 8ty3hree (talk) 01:32, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

The term "J/psi meson" is much more common in books. I'm not sure what the MOS says about such symbols. Dicklyon (talk) 04:39, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
Don't know about the MOS, but as 83 points out, the other meson articles spell out the names of Greek letters, so I moved the article. I'm more used to "J/ψ", but I think that's just from being more familiar with research articles, which generally use short forms. "J/psi" is more accessible to our readers. — kwami (talk) 05:27, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
Sounds right to me, too, Kwami. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 14:02, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

WP:TITLE vs ACRONYMTITLE inconsistency

WP:ACRONYMTITLE says to use an acronym when it is "almost exclusively known by its acronym or is widely known and used in that form" while the subsidiary WP:TITLEFORMAT says to avoid one unless it is "almost exclusively known by its abbreviation," though it defers to ACRONYMTITLE for more details. Consensus has gravitated more towards the ACRONYMTITLE explanation for titles like HIV, MRAP, DARPA, DSL modem, LGBT etc. where the usage in reliable sources is not almost solely the acronym. I propose TITLEFORMAT be brought into consistency with the former policy. Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 07:48, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Suggested wording? Blueboar (talk) 13:36, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Just needs the "or is widely known and used in that form" bit added on. Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 15:56, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
No objections from me. Blueboar (talk) 15:57, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Incorrect use of “transliteration”

In Wikipedia:Article_titles#Foreign_names_and_anglicization:

Names not originally in a Latin alphabet, such as Greek, Chinese, or Russian names, must be transliterated. Established systematic transliterations, such as Hanyu Pinyin, are preferred. However, if there is a common English-language form of the name, then use it, even if it is unsystematic (as with Tchaikovsky and Chiang Kai-shek). For a list of transliteration conventions by language, see Wikipedia:Romanization.

The language is imprecise and incorrect. You can't transliterate chinese, because it is not written with letters. The more general term is romanization. I suggest:

Names not originally in a Latin alphabet, such as Greek, Chinese, or Russian names, must be romanized. Established systematic romanization systems, such as Hanyu Pinyin, are preferred. However, if there is a common English-language form of the name, then use it, even if it is unsystematic (as with Tchaikovsky and Chiang Kai-shek). For a list of conventions by language, see Wikipedia:Romanization.

 Michael Z. 2012-11-29 23:44 z

The language is correct. You can transliterate Chinese because you're replacing the Chinese characters with the symbols of another writing scheme. The Latin littera may mean "letter", but the English "transliterate" is not so restricted. Just like Chinese people can be literate without knowing any letters, Chinese has literature that's written without letters, and ancient Chinese texts without letters might still be obliterated. -- JHunterJ (talk) 02:48, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Section'Titles containing "and"'

It says

For example, use Islamic terrorism, not "Islam and terrorism"

Is a slightly incorrect advice, because the second title is ambiguous. I was going to suggest the text:

For example, use Islamic terrorism or Islamic views on terrorism, not "Islam and terrorism"

however checking the redlink I immediately run into the page Islam and violence... And I cannot think of a better title.

Any thoughts about the two my points ? (I mean both policy text and the "IaV" article title). Staszek Lem (talk) 01:57, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Yeah... the article Islam and violence should probably be broken into two articles... the first half seems to deal with Islamic views on violence, while the second half deals with Violence in Islamic countries. Blueboar (talk) 03:18, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Korean naming convention guideline

There is a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions_(Korean)#Common_name regarding possible differences between WP:COMMONNAME and Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(Korean). You are invited to participate.—Bagumba (talk) 21:06, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Common names

There are a number of problems with this section.

  1. There are seven times as many examples (21) of this simple principle than are needed.
  2. Comet Hale-Bopp was deliberately added solely as an attempt to disrupt Wikipedia to make a point.
  3. Comet Hale-Bopp is not even commonly spelled using an endash - it is both correctly and per common use spelled with a hyphen, so what is it doing in the common names section?
  4. Hale-Bopp is both the official name and the common name. Just like people, many comets have the same name, so there is a designation, sort of like an ID#, but it is not a part of the name.
  5. Hale-Bopp is not a good example to use because it is currently incorrectly spelled. If it is used, it should be spelled correctly, with a hyphen, but with over 15 examples already the point is made five times over, even without including it as an example.

I would recommend including the following, please edit this list to choose a consensus list of which ones to include.--Apteva (talk) 20:40, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Draft list of common names examples
It would have been more straightforward to simply clarify COMMONNAME so it says that it does or doesn't apply to dashes (or punctuation, or you might prefer the more nebulous word "style"). Or has that been tried, and abandoned for lack of a consensus? Art LaPella (talk) 22:31, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
That is covered in WP:Title punctuation. But the number of examples here was getting ridiculous. Bear in mind that there are two types of names that can be used, official or common name. Apteva (talk) 01:06, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Apteva, I understand your frustration that Hale–Bopp was added to the examples. Yes, everyone knows you don't like it. But please assume good faith, rather than attributing the worst motives. In fact it is an excellent example to include, because that is the form used in the WP article Comet Hale–Bopp, and it is included also at WP:MOS (after thorough testing of consensus in the Great Dash Consultation of 2011, with which you are familiar). Its occurrence both here and at MOS helps editors understand the mechanisms in play at each of these major resource pages. There is no disharmony between title policy here and style guidelines at MOS. A small minority wants to find and even promote conflict; but most editors are fed up with that. Please back off. Consensus at RFC/Apteva over such disruption is clear. ☺ NoeticaTea? 02:09, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

It has nothing to do with frustration with Hale-Bopp. It is absolute stupidity to use Comet Hale–Bopp with a dash when that is a) not its name and b) not the name it is commonly known as, in a section called "Common names". It was clearly put there simply to disrupt Wikipedia to make a point. But seriously, using a comet as an example? There are only a few dozens of comet articles. But Halley's is no better - Halley's is its full name. Apteva (talk) 06:03, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I changed Hale~Bopp to Halley's to avoid hyphen/dash drama. The list has begun to get bloated of late, however. Perhaps a paring is warranted? Dohn joe (talk) 02:24, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
There is no drama really, Dohn joe: except for those who need it to promote a partisan view that was set aside as against consensus, in 2011. I have argued in support of the harmonious use of examples at WP:MOS and here. If you want to promote disharmony, that is your choice. But the time for tolerating the view that clashes are normal is over. If the list of examples needs trimming, go ahead and trim it. But leave the most instructive examples in place, so that editors can see how the policies and guidelines work together to promote excellence and certainty in the development of Wikipedia.
I have restored that instructive example. NoeticaTea? 03:45, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
This is the typical edit warring that goes on at the MOS. There is absolutely no consensus to replace Halley's with Hale-Bopp. "Undid revision by User:Dohn joe; the inclusion of Comet Hale–Bopp has supported with argument on the talkpage, as reflecting a well-tested consensual form instructively included at WP:MOS also, and as at the WP article itself; discuss!" This is absolute nonsense. Apteva (talk) 05:56, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Noetica, I'm glad you saw the point of it, which was to help dispel Apteva's unsupported idea that MOS and TITLE are in conflict, by using an example where COMMONNAME is not the same as common style. The Comet Hale–Bopp example is particularly apt, since an editor elicited a statement from the IAU (the naming authority for comets) that the name itself (with hyphen or otherwise) is not offically preferred, but that the official designation should be used. So, since WP prefers common names, this is a good contrast. Since WP also has a manual of style, this is a good chance to show that the MOS styling is not in conflict with using the common name. There may be other good examples we could use here, but this one was current, and Apteva's oddball take on it was firmly rejected by an overwhelming consensus at the RFC/U. Nobody else objected, so it seems like a good item to keep, even if we do reduce the list. Dicklyon (talk) 06:01, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
There's that word point. This was solely put there to attempt to disrupt Wikipedia to make a point. "I'm glad you saw the point of it". Apteva (talk) 06:08, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Apteva, the word "point" is not by itself of interest. The mere fact that Dicklyon happened to use it does not show WP:POINTiness. The inclusion was not with you in mind personally; but it has the great benefit of illustrating how things work consensually on Wikipedia, as opposed to a view you hold that has been set aside as non-consensual.
It so happens that yes, you sought to have the article Comet Hale–Bopp moved; and consensus was against that move. It so happened that yes, you have tried at many forums, many times, to bend policy and guidelines your way; but consensus is revealed as contrary to that way.
Good guidelines and good policy do not shy away from ruling on cases that have been controversial but are now settled. Such settled precedents and decisions are exactly what editors look for in policy and guidelines.
Move on?
NoeticaTea? 06:40, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
  • No consensus to add 'Comet Hale-Bopp': Considering the recent, intense discussions to force dashes into titles where the wp:COMMONNAME has used hyphens for over 120 years (as: Michelson-Morley experiment), then the addition of endashed title "Comet Hale&ndash;Bopp" (where both the dash and the word "Comet" have been questioned) was certain to generate controversy, and could be judged as easily disruptive to editing the policy wp:TITLE. Might as well list "Pro–abortion (not pro-choice)" as an example and expect no controversy. I have removed example "Comet Hale~Bopp" until clear consensus to re-add. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:48, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Use italics only for italicized species or such: Another major issue is the rampant use of italics, where instead, many editors have spent years to clearly italicize films, genus or species names. I suggest to use prefix "not:" (with colon) and italicize the Guinea pig's species name, "Cavia porcellus" (as the official alternative):
Also, perhaps add an example of an italicized species name, and a film name, as the common names. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:48, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree with your suggestion on formatting. It's much clearer and less ambiguous. I also think a film title would serve as an easily recognizable example of what to do and what not to do. How about an "English vs. foreign" example, like "Seven Samurai (not: Shichinin no Samurai)", and/or a "short vs. long" example, like "Dr. Strangelove (not: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) szyslak (t) 14:38, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
The current wording is much better. The colon adds nothing, nor does the italics,[Adding the colon is fine, and losing the italics,] especially because one of the examples is in italics. But please, if anyone wants something included, just add it to the draft above - but also, if someone removes it, obviously the addition needs to reach consensus before it is re-added. I took out guinea pig because it duplicates the caffeine example. Both, though, are excellent examples of the principle involved. Apteva (talk) 19:57, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Does anyone else want to add Guinea pig or a movie? Apteva (talk) 00:56, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Are any other examples needed, or are three plenty? Apteva (talk) 06:36, 6 January 2013 (UTC)


Since this is about common names, rather than hyphen usage, I have replaced HB with Halley. The next person to change it gets an Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement block. *points to yellow light up top* --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 16:19, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Not from you, though. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:35, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not involved. I don't care which way the hyphen goes, I care about people edit warring over it. Therefore, I've removed the reason to edit war, which I have the authority under WP:Discretionary sanctions to do.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 16:42, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I care about people edit warring over it—So why did you participate in the edit war? Should I block you, or did your edit warring come in just in time? I think you're involved now that you took a side. The debate was: is Hale–Bopp an instructive example or is a needless distraction b/c it has controversial punctuation? You took a side. You seem involved to me. I don't have a problem with the WP:AC/DS warning, but you shouldn't be the one to do it. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:52, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I stopped an edit war by removing a needlessly-controversial example. That's NOT involved. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 16:57, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
The entire edit war was over the question about whether to include it. How can taking a side on that not make you involved? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 17:11, 3 January 2013 (UTC) Sorry this is probably not the best place to discuss this, I'll take this elsewhere.ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 17:15, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
There is a discussion related to this at Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy that is parallel to discussions at WikiProject Editor Retention about bullying behavior by admins. Neotarf (talk) 01:10, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Like I said, I didn't mean to start a fight (much less a wheel war), just wanted to see if anyone objected. Apteva and WIkid77 do. There's plenty of evidence elsewhere that consensus is against them on the relevant point, that COMMONNAME is not about styling. I think we'd be better off to address that directly, with some words to say that the MOS specifies styling and that COMMONNAME is not saying take the common styling. I don't have time to draft the language right now, but if someone wants to, I expect it will not be hard to get to a consensus (that doesn't make these two happy). Dicklyon (talk) 17:35, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

That clearly then would not be a consensus, and this is a non-starter. By the way, it is not a wheel war just because an admin reverts another admin - it would be a wheel war if another admin reverted the last edit because it was done as an admin action. The previous edits were just an edit war, and the editor who was an admin who was participating in the edit war was not doing so as an admin. Or might I say soon to be former admin if that activity continues. Apteva (talk) 20:01, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
WP:CONSENSUS disagrees with you over what a consensus would be. On Wikipedia, it doesn't mean 100% agreement. -- JHunterJ (talk) 20:16, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Nor does it ever mean 100% agreement when large groups are involved, but it does mean that if there are valid disagreements, there is no consensus. "Decision-making involves an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Wikipedia's norms." (emphasis added) The very core of using consensus is that even if 6,000 agree with something and only one disagrees, that one just might be right. By the way, though, the origin of consensus decision making was the argument that there could never be more than one correct answer, and as such when that answer was found everyone would certainly all agree. Apteva (talk) 20:41, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Right. And such effort has been made, although not to your satisfaction. So it goes, and consensus is still achieved. The very core of using consensus is that even if the one voice might be right, it's better for the encyclopedia to continue on with the consensus rather than grind to a halt while that one continually tries to sway each of the other 6,000. You don't appear to allow that the one voice might be wrong. -- JHunterJ (talk) 21:07, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
WP does grind to a halt occasionally, but only due to server issues, and then only briefly. There is never a reason to not bring up issues when they are observed. If two, three, or a dozen editors want to discuss an issue for a megabyte or a gigabyte, that will never have even one iota of any impact on wikipedia or on any other editor. Telling any of those editors not to bring it up or not to discuss it though, is a huge problem, and violates the basic principles of Wikipedia. Apteva (talk) 00:21, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Right, JHJ. Firm consensus has been settled on this issue, and it is a blemish on Wikipedian process that the result of a consensus cannot be enshrined instructively on a policy page, because one side militantly refuses to accept it. And by the very title and first line of this section (initiated by Sarek himself), he has bullied his way into the dispute in a way that assists a disruptive minority. That's all I intend to say here on a topic introduced by Sarek himself. Admin Erik was right to take the matter to Sarek's talkpage; I have contributed there too, and I suggest that others do the same. NoeticaTea? 22:05, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
A review of how comet Hale-Bopp (and by the way correcting Hale—Bopp in another editors comment is not appropriate) got into the MOS reveals that there was no consensus for it to be included, and is far from being a "firm consensus". Apteva (talk) 00:21, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
While it may be technically accurate to say that "COMMONNAME is not about styling", it's a point that ignores the broader principle upon which COMMONNAME is based: follow usage in reliable sources. Now, if there is no clear and obvious answer from usage in RS, then it makes sense to look at our own conventions. But if a given style is clearly most commonly used in RS, we should reflect that in WP, and it is not to be trumped by some arcane MOS guidance. --Born2cycle (talk) 22:18, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. Apteva (talk) 00:21, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Backwards. (1) If it doesn't matter, then it doesn't make a lot of sense for people to be endlessly warring over them; but it takes two sides to make a war. (2) This isn't about exceptions to a guideline (see WP:GUIDES) where it isn't even obvious that the guideline applies. This is about disregarding a specific MoS guideline altogether in the case of Hale–Bopp, against consensus and without bothering to change the guideline. If that attitude doesn't cause edit warring, it's hard to imagine what would. Art LaPella (talk) 01:34, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately there are other guidelines, like "Use English", that have been widely ignored because some people prefer to intimidate people who try to follow guidelines—and recruit armies to ram through their POV in RfCs and RfMs—rather than try to change MOS. Sometimes it makes sense to defer to regional English usage or to the (peculiar, or otherwise) usage of people who are specialists in a particular narrow field, rather than try to impose one set of rules on the whole world. Sometimes real-world usage doesn't follow MOS (or dictionaries, for that matter). In Wikipedia, we are surely supposed to report established real-world stuff rather than create "original research". LittleBen (talk) 01:52, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) is vague, and interpretable or misinterpretable (it excludes diacritics, if you're resurrecting that issue). Hale–Bopp is an explicit example at WP:ENDASH. If you don't think Wikipedia is supposed to say Hale–Bopp, argue your case there. All horizontal line crusaders should be quarantined to that one talk page. Art LaPella (talk) 02:26, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't think the issue is worth arguing about, but do I think it would be a good idea to invite ONLY people who have contributed to the Hale-Bopp article to an RfC on the topic of hyphens vs. dashes in that article, rather than have people who have never contributed to the article and have no interest in—or knowledge of—the topic trying to bully the contributors around. LittleBen (talk) 02:33, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
If the guideline has no practical effect, it should be removed. Art LaPella (talk) 02:43, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I'd agree, but it's like many laws that are no longer relevant—they are not repealed because that would be too costly and too much trouble—and so they are ignored. I'd like to think that a Simple MOS would eliminate attempts to micromanage Wikipedia, but there will always be people who insist that MOS is the final word, and that the Strunk and White approach to English is rubbish. ;-) LittleBen (talk) 02:58, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
We should also limit any discussion of titles to those working on the article, so that WP:TITLE is not used to bully people who don't like it. For instance, people working on Korean topics might prefer an article title to be written in hangul, and it's nobody else's business. Likewise, references shouldn't be required if the people actually working on the article don't want to use them. And only people who actually helped write an article should be allowed to vote on it becoming FA. — kwami (talk) 03:01, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  • <Quote>For instance, people working on Korean topics might prefer an article title to be written in hangul, and it's nobody else's business.<Unquote> For instance, people working on Korean topics in English Wikipedia might prefer much of an article to be written in Hangul, but a majority of users would not be able to read it, so surely they would be creating huge usability and accessibility problems for the majority of users if they were allowed to get away with this. Reliable references are also important. LittleBen (talk) 04:45, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  • The Hale–Bopp guideline isn't repealed because it's a consensus. One thing we can be sure of is that it isn't "ignored"!
  • Hale–Bopp editors are experts on the comet's orbit etc. but not on punctuation. But if every article chooses its own style, just change the MOS to an essay and I'll find something else to do.
  • Simple MOS wasn't intended to change the MOS's authority. It just makes it easier to understand.
  • Strunk & White is a style manual, so MOS is the appropriate place to promote them too. Art LaPella (talk) 03:36, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  • The irony is that MOS is probably not used (or little used) by people who write, or polish up, featured articles—they already know how to write good English. MOS is also not used (or little used) by people who might benefit from it—because pieces of it are scattered all over the place, rather than the all the pieces that make up MOS being in a well-indexed and categorized, individually-searchable MOS namespace. LittleBen (talk) 04:54, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
"I think it would be a good idea to invite ONLY people who have contributed to the Hale-Bopp article to an RfC on the topic of hyphens vs. dashes in that article, rather than have people who have never contributed to the article and have no interest in—or knowledge of—the topic trying to bully the contributors around." Really this exact topic has been discussed numerous times, at the CHB talk page and elsewhere. See this. Also, I think you should check out WP:SSF. AgnosticAphid talk 17:14, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Strunk&White, despite being titled "The Elements of Style" is not a style guide in the sense that the MOS is supposed to be a style guide - a description of how articles are constructed. Instead it is a guide to good writing. All of the advice from Strunk&White that is in the MOS does not belong there, because it is beyond the charter of the MOS to attempt to teach good writing and correct punctuation. Apteva (talk) 21:16, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

[Outdent from all this repetitive noise that Apteva and Wikid77 and LittleBenW and Enric Naval keep re-re-re-re-re-re-re-rehashing in every forum they can think of in what is probably the largest wave of WP:FORUMSHOPping in Wikipedia history. If it does not stop I swear I will take all four of them to ARBCOM for sanctioning. Their incessant tag-team browbeating on this non-issue has been the most disruptive flood of verbal diarrh[o]ea I have ever seen in my seven+ years as an editor here, even counting the 10 or so tendentious "capitalization warriors" at a certain zoology project.] WT:AT very badly needs to make it clear that it follows naming usage in reliable sources, not style usage, which is completely severable from the core facts of a name (it's Hale and Bopp, not Hall and Boop, and it goes in Hale–Bopp order, not Bopp–Hale, and "comet" comes before not after, and in English, etc.). Style is what MOS is for. AT has no reason to ever get involved in what glyph is being used for what purpose, or any other style matter; that's utterly outside AT's scope. AT and the NC pages necessarily and demonstrably derive their style guidance directly from MOS. This is and always has been the case, otherwise we would have tens, even hundreds, of thousands of articles whose titles did not agree with even the first sentence of their lead sections. QED.

PS: As I've pointed out everywhere Apteva and his gang try to ask yet another WP:PARENT, a) online sources lean towards hyphen for simple expedience (keyboards don't have dash keys), so it's a meaningless statistic (even aside from the fact that online prose is prone to ungrammaticality and sloppy style); and b) offline sources cannot be proven to be doing one thing or another – without access to the exact font files used by the desktop publishing system that eventually resulted in the print publication, Apteva or whoever cannot prove what glyph is actually being used, since many fonts make no size distinction between hyphens and dashes at all. MOS routinely picks one option from various available options and says "do this on Wikipedia, for consistency"; this is such a case, and that is what MOS exists to do. MOS is by definition prescriptive; it is an in-house style manual, just like that at the New York Times or a the British Journal of Herpetology or whatever. If a grand total of four editors simply refuse to let this sink in and cannot stop disrupting WT:MOS and other forums with their obsessive, non-stop whinging about hyphenation, then they need to walk away, or the community will make them walk away, via WP:AN or WP:ARBCOM if comes to that. WP:5THWHEEL and WP:NOTHERE are strongly applicable to these four. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 19:27, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

What, more disruptive than the date delinking drama? The underlying problem is that Wikipedia is based on a public academic subculture. Therefore, it lacks a good way to prevent dramas from continuing for months or years. Therefore, refusing to cooperate, and making common cause with others who won't cooperate, is the easiest way to get more attention than Jimbo. It wasn't this bad when I worked for Boeing. Art LaPella (talk) 20:21, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Hyphen anecdotes

The well-established harmony between WP:TITLE and WP:MOS

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Superseded by an RFC (below on this talkpage)

NoeticaTea? 06:17, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

To address points raised by Born2cycle above, in a section concerned with a specific point of editing and with administrative oversight of WP:TITLE, I am starting a new section, with a sequence of numbered points. (Responses below my post please, not within it.–Noetica)


  1. There is no lack of accord between the two long-established pages WP:MOS and WP:TITLE. Each has its role on Wikipedia. A small minority does not like this. You speak pejoratively of "some arcane MOS guidance"; but it is all derived consensually – arguably far more consensually than certain tight and untested algorithms that have been promoted and included in WP:TITLE.
  2. Note especially: ArbCom sought in 2011 to resolve a long dispute over hyphens and en dashes in titles (notably Mexican–American War). It called for a community effort to settle the matter once and for all. The effort began at WT:MOS, and was soon moved to a huge subpage of WP:MOS by PMAnderson. So that MOS subpage was initiated by the most implacable activist against MOS at the time. The matter was resolved, to the satisfaction of ArbCom and almost everyone else, through wide well-advertised consultancy involving 60 editors. Included squarely in that consensus was specific acceptance of Comet Hale–Bopp, and rejection of the form with a hyphen.
  3. Clearly then, ArbCom itself recognises the crucial role of MOS, and the inevitable inclusion of article titles in the scope of MOS.
  4. MOS is not obliged to use reliable sources in fashioning Wikipedia style guidelines. Provisions for reliable sources explicitly address articles. However, MOS does respect all relevant reliable sources anyway (far more than anything in WP:TITLE ever has): and those are major dictionaries, major style guides, specialist style guides, and best-practice publishers. That is how manuals of style work. No other take on how to develop a genuine manual of style is at all coherent.
  5. A small majority fail to understand this history, and these ideas. It would be helpful if they would take a fresh look at the situation. If they refuse to do so, the community is justified in asserting itself. We should follow well-established consensus; we should make policy and guideline provisions fit consensus, rather than contorting them to accommodate views known to be against consensus.
  6. Consensus can change on these matters; but no change has been demonstrated. Noisy persistence from a few is no mark of changed opinion in the community.

NoeticaTea? 00:44, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Claiming that reliable sources (and NPOV) are irrelevant as guides to proper English usage is surely like saying that (your) "original research" is preferable to reliable sources. To state your claim backwards: reliable sources are not obliged to follow MOS, and common usage is not obliged to follow grammar textbooks or dictionaries. Surely common usage defines what goes in dictionaries, not the other way around. LittleBen (talk) 01:22, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    • Which is also what encyclopedias do - while they are traditionally written by experts in each field, those experts do not put their current, unpublished research into the articles, but stick with established well agreed facts. The current MOS has strayed far from what it should be saying. FYI, Arbcom does not address content disputes, but only conduct disputes. MOS has a huge conduct problem. Apteva (talk) 01:33, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Little Ben:
  • Who makes that claim, though? I certainly don't. I collect and study works that serve as "reliable sources" for MOS. Do you? And of course "common usage defines what goes in dictionaries", as you write. Who says otherwise? I don't!
  • For most of that, I can't see the relevance. As for a "huge conduct problem" at MOS, RFC/U is an appropriate means for dealing with any such impediment to collegial development of the guidelines. So is ArbCom, if necessary. The problems that were solved in 2011 were basically conduct problems, and the solution was to get clear about the content of MOS and to confirm that the provisions there do apply to titles. ArbCom oversaw the process, with a profound effect on conduct generally, but also on clarity in the style guidelines and on the question of their coverage. Let's hope we don't need a repeat of it all, as some people seem determined to bring about. It is unfair when others are swept up in the ensuing turmoil – others, who simply want to achieve consensus decisions and then see them implemented.
NoeticaTea? 02:11, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  • <To quote you:> 4. MOS is not obliged to use reliable sources in fashioning Wikipedia style guidelines. <Unquote> (Incidentally, I don't think that MOS fashions Wikipedia style guidelines. Surely individual people fashion the Wikipedia style guidelines in MOS.) LittleBen (talk) 02:37, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
So what? That is not the same as what you attribute to me: "Claiming that reliable sources (and NPOV) are irrelevant as guides to proper English usage." And you completely ignore my continuation anyway, along with my direct question to you. Read, study, think, ... and then perhaps respond. (The order is important.) As for "MOS fashions", that's an ordinary and harmless use of metonymy. NoeticaTea? 02:54, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not going to wade through all that. Show me a link to something that substantiates with community consensus or an arbcom decision that MOS trumps clear usage in reliable sources. --Born2cycle (talk) 02:23, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Nope. That's not what I said, anyway. Focus. WP:MOS and WP:TITLE are not at loggerheads in a game of cards. They are in harmony, though a minority refuses to accept their accord. WP:TITLE is about choice of titles for articles; MOS is about styling all parts of all articles, including of course their titles. ArbCom accepts that, as explained above in detail. So does almost everyone else. If it were otherwise, consistency within articles could not be achieved for a start.
NoeticaTea? 02:54, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Arbcom does not deal with content, only conduct. What they did say, is that MOS does not affect content. Article titles are content. Apteva (talk) 06:04, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Sure, article titles are content. And like all other content, styling is applied to them. And that is the province of MOS. That is the view that ArbCom endorsed; and it is almost impossible to articulate a coherent alternative. NoeticaTea? 08:52, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  • <To quote you again:> 4. MOS is not obliged to use reliable sources in fashioning Wikipedia style guidelines. <Unquote> (Incidentally, I don't think that MOS fashions Wikipedia style guidelines. Surely individual people fashion the Wikipedia style guidelines in MOS.) LittleBen (talk) 03:02, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    Who the blank is "you"? And please, do not answer that question. Per WP:FOC focus on content, not on the participants in the discussion. As stated above, "MOS is not obliged..." works far better. Yeesh. But no, Title and MoS currently conflict with each other, and that can only be fixed at MoS, not here. Delete the section on Article titles and replace it with "Article titles are determined by the Wikipedia:Article titles policy." If the MoS says nothing about titles it is impossible for it to be in conflict with Title. Apteva (talk) 03:09, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    Perhaps, but I suspect that you will continue to complain that it is, since your objection is to any consensus that you disagree with. — kwami (talk) 03:26, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    It is certainly worth trying. I know that I will not complain about any consensus (by definition of consensus). Apteva (talk) 03:33, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Little Ben, why do you repeat the same post (see 02:37, 4 January 2013, then also 03:02, 4 January), almost word for word? I answered you the first time. Please strike out the second occurrence, because it might unfairly appear as if I had not answered you. NoeticaTea? 05:06, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps Ben thinks he was unclear, or your answer did not satisfy. There is zero reason to ask someone to strike what is not a personal attack or other objectionable content such as a BLP violation. You can try to respond again, or ignore, your choice. KillerChihuahua 05:48, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Not so, KillerChihuahua. There is excellent reason for such a request. In fact, I gave the excellent reason. Little Ben has posted a few times here without considering readability, and a few of us have had to refactor so everyone can follow the discussion. Little Ben quoted me out of context – and the context I had given made perfectly clear what I meant. It is captious and juvenile to do such a thing, and then to do it again, when the flaw had already been pointed out once. ♥
NoeticaTea? 06:14, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Refractoring another's post is discouraged. What can be done is ask the editor in question on their talk page if they could refractor it, but if they choose not to, or never make another edit, it is best left as it was. The exceptions are fixing indenting and changing section headings to a more neutral heading, or placing new sections at the bottom of the page, but that is about it. See WP:TPO for details. The purpose is not so that it is understandable, but so that it does not offend anyone. Apteva (talk) 07:53, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Sure refactoring actual talkpage comments is discouraged (though there are exceptions). The refactoring that others have done to correct around Little Ben's interruptions of posts, and confusing fragmentation, are perfectly standard. And I, for one, will not strike out his inexplicably repeated post, which I had already fully addressed. Better that he fix that. NoeticaTea? 08:52, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Better that you ignore it, rather than bother asking him to strike it. KillerChihuahua 12:20, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Noetica, given the well-established harmony, long practiced, and the months of discussions that clearly reject Apteva's claims of a conflict, it seems that we need to put something more explicit into the title policy page, since the same tired arguments have been brought to complain about a clarifying example. Perhaps a COMMONSTYLE section that says titles are styled in common with the text, according to the MOS, and that COMMONNAME doesn't mean we defer to content sources for style. Obviously this is not in conflict with our respect for sources, for both content and style, since we use style sources for style issues and content sources for content issues. If you or someone will draft some language, it shouldn't be hard to converge on an appropriate clarification. There are already words to that effect in the MOS, so maybe we just need to include something like a copy of those. It may be hard in the current disruptive climate, where certain editors won't admit what consensus clearly has established, so I'm wondering what suggestions others have, too. Dicklyon (talk) 06:09, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. I would like to see that consensus confirmed, and formally incorporated into WP:TITLE. So far it's only there only implicitly, since the page barely touches on style matters (the province of MOS, as ArbCom and almost everyone else sees it). I agree also that this may not be the right time. A silly season, as everyone settles down after Christmas and New Year. On top of that, delayed resolution of an RFC/U is holding up development at WT:MOS, and here too I'm afraid.
So I would defer the matter for a couple of weeks at least, then check whether the talkpages are more settled and ready for collegial work.
NoeticaTea? 06:25, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Suggest linking to the relevant part of MoS in the See Also, and leaving it at that. Duplication of content is undesirable, and lengthening any policy any more than necessary doubly so. You cannot prevent all title disagreements by adding MoS to the AT policy page; I venture to say you will prevent none or close enough to none as to make the additions a negative net on the policy. KillerChihuahua 12:29, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
The relevant guidance is already linked in See also. I added a brief note there about what can be found there. Probably it makes sense to link it in the COMMONNAME section as well, as that's where the confusion seems to come up with a few editors. Dicklyon (talk) 16:28, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Strongly agreed. This is perennial nonsense based on ignorance of the AT–MOS relationship that Noetica outlines so cogently at the top of this thread. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 06:54, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • The conflict talked about above seems to me to rest solely in the minds of certain editors who cannot accept the non-binary or non-algorithmic nature of this publication. They can shout about it until they turn blue, but it won't affect the fact that reliable sources are not determinate in such a case. The use of hyphens and dashes is highly trivial to the majority of editors. Their use is purely a matter of editorial preference of this encyclopaedia, and we are free to so determine from time to time – in consideration or in denial of other sources, and a minor one at that. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 06:32, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    Agreed that the proposed intrusion of MoS content into this policy is not a good idea; and that most editors couldn't give a rat's ass about hyphens vs. dashes; cluttering up the policy with minutiae on such matters is unlikely to cause some reversal in this. If they care, they'll wade through the MoS; if they don't, cluttering up this page with it won't help. KillerChihuahua 12:29, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    There is no question of intrusion, KillerChihuahua. You seem in thrall to the myth that content and styling of content are not separable. Well, they must be separable. By definition. The associated myth is that this policy and those guidelines are in conflict – a tug of war over article titles. Wrong! It's just that a few editors, who cannot accept well-settled consensus at MOS and who are welded to minority opinions about style, refuse to accept the role of MOS on Wikipedia. And they cause disruption over what should be a non-issue. PMAnderson was banned, then blocked for a year; when he comes back he will still have an indefinite topic ban. That suggests the level of fanaticism the developers of a consensual MOS must contend with. They don't want an interminable fight! Nor does ArbCom. It called for, supervised, and accepted unprecedentedly consensual refinements to style guidelines (that is, of course, at MOS) to deal with poor behaviour from such zealots. And it was all about article titles. The present conduct difficulties are just a re-run of the first round. Editors at MOS are totally fed up with it all, and I'm sure they look forward to formal endorsement of a current RFC/U that definitively rejects such disruption.
    Better perhaps if you spoke for yourself, rather than asserting uncivilly "most editors couldn't give a rat's ass about hyphens vs. dashes". Belittling the dedicated work in a sector of Wikipedia that you neither know nor care much about is unbecoming. Stick to whatever you might be good at, and let others get on with work that is their specialty, and their contribution to a better encyclopedia. NoeticaTea? 13:58, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    You clearly didn't understand me; let me try to be more clear. MoS is already bloated; there is no reason, and significant reason not, to place what is properly MoS here. Adding such detail here would have, among other things, a discouraging effect on editor contribution. This is not desirable. It would also replicate instructions, which is to be avoided, as that is the road to contradictions as editors change one and not the other. Is that clear enough, or should I rephrase again? KillerChihuahua 16:14, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    KC, is anyone suggesting doing that? ie, copying a bunch of stuff from MOS to here? If so would you give me a pointer to that proposal? Thanks! ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:21, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    Here; "Perhaps a COMMONSTYLE section that says titles are styled in common with the text, according to the MOS, [...] Obviously this is not in conflict with our respect for sources, for both content and style, since we use style sources for style issues and content sources for content issues. If you or someone will draft some language, it shouldn't be hard to converge on an appropriate clarification. There are already words to that effect in the MOS, so maybe we just need to include something like a copy of those. " KillerChihuahua 16:32, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    Ok; I don't read that as suggesting copying any "such detail" here, duplicating instructions. I think Dicklyon is just suggesting that there be a comment that article titles should be styled as the phrase would appear in the text of the article. See the WP:TITLEFORMAT section, there's already a note there that capitalization should be as in running text except for the first letter, there could be another comment about style/punc also being as it would in running text. Was that your take on Dicklyon's suggestion? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:43, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Links to the ArbCom-ruling-initiated discussion that yielded dashed version of the comet name: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 123#Dashes: a completed consensual draft for inclusion in WP:MOS (click [show] to reveal the draft), from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard/Archive 7#Arbitration motion regarding hyphens and dashes, from If what's gone before is too long for you to read, you should not assume that the it doesn't exist until someone else digests it for you. -- JHunterJ (talk) 12:33, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    The essential links, JHJ. Thanks for tabling them here. But will you please clarify: you are addressing B2C, right? NoeticaTea? 13:58, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
    His were the comments that prompted me to dig up those links, yep. -- JHunterJ (talk) 14:05, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

JHunterJ thank you for those links, I skimmed them and I do not see where information on this debate was published on this talk page (presumably it is in the archives of this talk page), and I do not see where the decision was agreed that the MOS should override COMMONNAME or where Arbcom accepted that decision.

"The well-established harmony between WP:TITLE and WP:MOS" Yes the MOS is a guideline and this is a policy, nothing in the MOS is binding on this policy and I think that all wording in the MOS that implies it is ought to be removed. I am not concerned with what should be done as a style, (whether a hyphen or an ndash some other thing is used within a title) when an outside authority has not mandated what to use -- I see this as similar to converting UPPERCASE names to first letter upper-case followed by lower-case.

A an aside it seems to me that the debate about Mexican–American War or Mexican-American War depends on whether the term used in the article title is viewed as a description of an event or the name of an event. If the former then I would have though that Mexican–American war would be the correct format for the article title.

What concerns me is the dismissal by some of the argument recently put forward on the MOS talk page of always ignoring an outside style in favour of an in-house style. The example given is that some professional bodies may mandate a style for the area where they are the world authority on the formation of the names to be used including the use of hyphens or dashes. If that style is followed by the majority of (non expert) reliable sources, then I think Wikipedia should be guided by the usage in reliable sources, and in that case Wikipedia guidance should be to follow the usage in reliable sources. -- PBS (talk) 00:18, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

One point that may be missing in the discussion is the fact that WP is in a position where it can influence the common name and and is cited when discussing the spelling of names of local interest. So if we are being looked at as a source for determining the common name, should the MoS override the other sources? I'm not sure what impact this view should have on these discussions. Vegaswikian (talk) 01:41, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
However we choose to punctuate a title, I think we agree the same phrase should be punctuated the same way throughout the article, and in other articles. From a copyeditor's point of view, if the MoS guideline (or any guideline) says "Hale–Bopp", and nobody changes it, then that should be the end of it. If it isn't, that won't make me go through the entire library looking for different kinds of usage, each time I find a punctuation mark. It will make me ignore all of you, and find something else to do. Art LaPella (talk) 03:57, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.