Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters

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Capitalization of a list of military ranks held[edit]

I started a discussion at [[1]] about capitalizing every military rank that a person held. This is after my partial cleanup of the list was reverted. The MoS specification of "being used generically" does not seem to be easily understood by at least one editor. If anyone can clarify? Chris the speller yack 14:42, 23 February 2017 (UTC)


At least it looks that way for now. Chris the speller yack 20:50, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

RfC - please comment on discussion: Is it "The Gambia" or "the Gambia" in the middle of a sentence[edit]

Please comment on discussion here: Is it "The Gambia" or "the Gambia" in the middle of a sentence. —አቤል ዳዊት?(Janweh64) (talk) 03:06, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Capitalization of job titles in NASA[edit]

Please see the discussion at Talk:Payload Specialist#Capitalization, where an editor takes "used generically" and reads more into it than was intended. I think we may need to tighten up the MoS. Chris the speller yack 06:10, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

Discussions of capitalization of military ranks at Template:Infobox military person[edit]

An editor at Template talk:Infobox military person wants to uppercase "Brigadier general" to "Brigadier General" when it is used as a rank without being followed by a person's name, and thinks that this MoS backs him up. Again, do we need to tweak/expand the MoS to make it clearer? Chris the speller yack 14:01, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

  • That editor is me and I think we probably do. And for the records, we´re speaking about the case when it is not part of a sentence but on its own like within said infobox or in tables. ...GELongstreet (talk)
    • Agreed. It's a formal title and should be capitalized. If the MoS doesn't support that, it should, and someone should just go change it. I learned from some admins here awhile ago that anyone can re-write the MoS to anything they like, anytime they please without any consensus or even discussion. Pretty handy actually, being able to do whatever the fuck you like. Cheers, fellas... carry on. - theWOLFchild 18:29, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

I believe that the following commentary is consistent both with Wikipedia's style standards and most style standards in the English-speaking world. Ranks are only capitalized when directly preceding the rank-holder's name as his or her title (e.g., Brigadier General John Jones) or when used in addressing that person (e.g., "Good morning, General," which is really just a shortening of "Good morning, [Brigadier] General Jones." All other usages are "generic": The name of the rank is not a proper noun on its own, any more than the names of other jobs or positions (manager, team lead, employee, worker, writer, secretary, assistant, linesman, firefighter, technician, etc.). Even a U.S. Navy style manual ( affirms this, even though military, government, and other bureaucratic organizations are the worst offenders when it comes to what I call hyper-capitalization. Here is an excerpt: "civilian titles - Use full name and title or job description on first reference. Capitalize the title or job description when it precedes an individual’s name and do not use a comma to separate it from the name. Lower case titles when they follow the name or when not accompanied by one." Another excerpt: "titles - Capitalize titles when used before a name only. See titles entry in AP Stylebook." See also the usage of terms of rank throughout the guide.

As for infoboxes and tables, it seems that Wikipedia's standard is to use sentence case, not title case (browse several pages in diverse fields, and this is easy to see). Since titles used generically are not to be capitalized, and infoboxes and tables do not use title case, then titles should be in sentence case when they appear therein. Holy (talk) 17:00, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Problem solved [2]. Cinderella157 (talk) 23:52, 16 March 2017 (UTC)