Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Lead section

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Manual of Style
WikiProject icon This page falls within the scope of WikiProject Manual of Style, a drive to identify and address contradictions and redundancies, improve language, and coordinate the pages that form the MoS guidelines.

Translations in Lead, literal or not?[edit]

Hi Folks, with regard to titles that are based on foreign (non-english) languages (Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Lead_section#Foreign_language), should the English translation be direct (literal) or is it OK for it to be another phrase that is commonly used in a specific context? I have an example in mind, but I'd like to know what the thoughts are on this first. --Scalhotrod (Talk) ☮ღ☺ 22:27, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

It's hard to be specific without more context. But our articles are for the most part about things or concepts or people, not about the foreign-language phrase used to name those things or concepts or people. So per WP:COMMONNAME the English name that appears in the lead should be the common or idiomatic English name for that thing or concept or person, not necessarily a direct literal translation of what that thing or concept or person is called in some other language. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:02, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, so I'll be specific. In the StG 44 article about a rifle that was created during WW2, its fully designation is "Sturmgewehr 44" which translates to "Storm rifle 44". It is literally the firearm that every firearm that can be referred to as an "assault rifle" can trace its design lineage to and there's no dispute about this. But the term simply did not exist until this firearm came into existence and even then the tern "assault rifle" translated or otherwise, was not in common use until many years later.
So with regard to my question, I simply edited first line of the article to say, "The StG 44 (abbreviation of Sturmgewehr 44, "storm rifle 44") is a German selective fire rifle developed during World War II that was the first of its kind to see major deployment and is considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle."[1] But it was reverted to "The StG 44 (abbreviation of Sturmgewehr 44, "assault rifle 44") is a German assault rifle developed..."[2] with the claim that "assault rifle" is the "common translation". --Scalhotrod (Talk) ☮ღ☺ 01:17, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Ok, so my knowledge of German is not good enough to answer this. Is the "Sturm" in this name a literal storm (i.e. a type of weather) or it is the same meaning of "storm" as in the English phrase "have fun storming the castle"? Because if it's the latter, it's so close to the meaning of "assault" that I think you are unnecessarily quibbling and that "assault rifle" may be a perfectly good close-to-literal translation. On the other hand, if "Sturm" means only the weather, you may have a point. This is less about leads than about translation, but: the closest cognate English word is not always the most accurate and idiomatic translation, because meanings can shift or (as in this case) because the grammar of modifying "rifle" in this way in English requires a noun and the "assault" sense of "storm" can only be used as a verb. And in fact if "Sturm" means an attack in German, then your translation is wrong, because in the phrase "storm rifle" storm must be a noun, and can only refer to the weather. Or, to put it more briefly: translations must have the same meaning, not just use cognate words in the same order. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:23, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Assuming Sturmgewehr is the German word for "assault rifle", then "assault rifle" is the correct translation, just as you would translate Handschuh as "glove" and absolutely not as "hand-shoe". Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 00:55, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

TOC placement rules and "dead space"[edit]

This image sums up the problem.

The difference in that particular article saw the version depicted at the top of the image reverted to the lower one. Aside from directing me here, the reverting editor also maintained that screen readers wouldn't display the TOC. (I am unable to verify this, but even if true, would quibble as to whether or not it's Wikipedia's problem if third-party apps employed by a very small minority of users don't parse its layout correctly.)

Anyway, I'm looking for workable solutions to avoid these huge dead spaces. (The pics are screenclips from a 15" laptop; on a 27" monitor, the dead space is gargantuan.)--Раціональне анархіст (talk) 06:35, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Part of the problem, IMO, is the over-zealous sectioning of articles using "==", "===", "====" and so on which creates these long TOCs. If Editors would simple use a semicolon instead, it would simplify things greatly. If a section link is needed, then an anchor can be created. --Scalhotrod (Talk) ☮ღ☺ 01:38, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Semicolons should not be used to make pseudo-headings; see WP:ACCESS#Headings. It is Wikipedia's problem if screen readers cannot properly render a page. Johnuniq (talk) 02:24, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Point of note: I did not use semi-colons, and use of semi-colons won't jury-rig text to flow in the dead space anyway. As far as screen-readers go, are they really having problems decrypting Wikipedia pages with a "descended" TOC (i.e., made to display farther down the page than default)? I want to verify that that actually happens (as it was partial basis for reverting my "aesthetic" edit).--Раціональне анархіст (talk) 07:46, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
  • If the ToC is getting to long because of too many "===" or greater sub-subsections, the solution is {{TOC limit}}, not unsemantic markup (incorrect use of the semicolon) or futzing with the ToC's positioning (which causes sandwiching with the lead image). Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 00:49, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

addition to first sentence section[edit]

In Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section#First sentence a text can be added such as:

While a commonly recognisable form of name will be used as the title of biographical articles, more full forms of name may be used in the introduction to the lead. For instance, in the article Paul McCartney, the text of the lead begins: "Sir James Paul McCartney ...".

GregKaye 04:59, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Foreign language pronunciations[edit]

First it was foreign spellings, now it's foreign pronunciations. The lead sentence has turned into an unreadable dumping ground for meta-information about the title. Lead sentences like Belgium and Tunisia make me cringe. Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a translation dictionary. I'd like to propose adding the following sentence to the Pronunciation section: Do not include foreign language pronunciations. Kaldari (talk) 00:16, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Strongest possible oppose: This is exactly the kind of information I very frequently find myself visiting an article for. If it is getting out of hand for individual articles, then fix the problem so it's not out of hand—don't break the article by pulling out this basic go-to information. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 00:44, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
    • IPA pronunciations in foreign languages are certainly not "basic go-to information" for 99.9% of Wikipedia readers. Do you really think even 1% of readers can read IPA? Kaldari (talk) 00:01, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
      • Outside the native English speaking world? Yup! Over 800 million people speak English as a second language (who make up a very large percentage of Wikipedia readers), and a large percentage of them are familiar with IPA—they often learn IPA in school to cope with dictionaries and English class. And here I am, a native speaker, and as I said I rely on this information myself. There's a whole wide world outside of California, you know ... Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 00:32, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Agree. The first para of Tunisia's lead is a mess. There's all sorts of translation in foreign language scripts and pronunciation help. More than 50% of that para contains these information. Something has to be done (like a small box under the article title for these things). (talk) 15:39, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Agree. Four lines of junk in Tunisia between the subject and the verb of the sentence make the actual text very difficult to read. This information should be in the article somewhere, but the first sentence is the wrong place. —David Eppstein (talk) 17:04, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Agree - If we, as a project, believe that the IPA pronunciation information is useful to our readers, why would we present in the way that we do? This should be moved from the lead sentence to the article's infobox, a subtitle, or to some similar graphic device on the page. Making the lead sentence unreadable is simply not a sensible presentation of this information. Frankly, it would also be sensible if we had a more traditional pronunciation guide in English in addition to IPA, so that the majority of native English-speaking readers could receive pronunciation assistance, too. But that's another issue. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:48, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Concur with Curly Turkey: If a particular article has a messy lead, then fix that article, as I just did at Tunisia (BTW, Belgium is not problematic. If anyone can't read this, they're going to have a lot of trouble with most of Wikipedia's content.) Be bold and just get it done, don't create a bunch of drama about it. Odd, outlying cases are why WP:IAR exists. The fact that we occasionally have an instance that doesn't work too well with a general rule does not mean we throw the rule-baby out with the bathwater.

    I'd support the idea of clarifying the guideline to say something to the effect that if terminological information becomes unwieldy, it should be moved to the end of the lead paragraph, a separate paragraph in the lead, or even (for less basic, English-language information) a terminology section. We're already regularly doing this, so it would simply codify existing best practice.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:57, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Support. Too much clutter and difficult to understand. I would remove IPA for English too; I think most people would work out what bɛlʒik sounds like by reading Belgique. Better to offer audio in the infobox. Sarah (SV) (talk) 00:59, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Curly Turkey. -sche (talk) 03:01, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

Invitation to comment on VP proposal: Establish WT:MoS as the official site for style Q&A on Wikipedia[edit]

There is now a proposal at the Village Pump that WT:MoS be established as Wikipedia's official page for style Q&A. This would involve actively guiding editors with style questions to WT:MoS and away from other pages, which may include this one. The goal is to centralize discussion and make help easier to find without increasing opportunities for forum shopping. Participation is welcome, especially from editors who have fielded questions of this kind. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:13, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Integrating examples into flow of the guideline[edit]

This guideline is sharply diverging from the rest of MOS (and other such pages), by burying its examples in footnotes most editors will never read. I propose that the example material (vs. explanatory notes) be worked into the main flow of the document the way it normally is in policies and guidelines.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:20, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Example needs replacement[edit]

The example of:

Instead of:

  • The Oxford English Dictionary [...] is a comprehensive dictionary of the English language.


  • The Oxford English Dictionary [...] is the premier dictionary of the English language.

Both contain some redundancy, but the second is better because it tells us that the OED is the world's most respected dictionary of English.

needs to be replaced. First, it's wrong in calling the second one "better", because it's an obvious WP:NPOV policy violation to include a value judgement like that in Wikipedia's voice. Second, the present article text at Oxford English Dictionary looks nothing like this at all.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:38, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

Official Minority Names-additional advice needed[edit]

Recently I put one RfC at article Talk:Minority language#Minority languages ​​in geographical articles if we should add settlement name in minority language in lead section and info-box if that language have official status in that settlement. I was initiated by practice in many European countries that use European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and argued that it is beneficial for reader to be able to find info that some language is official and version of name in that language since she/he will find those names in all official local documents (village schools/statutes/plates/documents/books...)... Editor agree with that almost unanimously, and only two were against but both were blocked in the meantime (one because of disruptive editing and one because he was sockpuppet of the first one). Also I was told how to add minority name in info-box HERE. One editor express his concern how it will affect India case but it turned out that editors run different RfC and produced their consensus for this specific case. His concern was that we didn't have formal closure of RfC (I don't know if we have to close it formally?) and advised me to ask you for additional comments. I would really like to have neutral opinion (as with RfC) since I myself am member of minority group so I might not be completely neutral in my reasoning. If you have any advice I would highly appreciate them and they might be of help for editors. Have a nice day/night.--MirkoS18 (talk) 05:14, 16 June 2015 (UTC)