Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters

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Exceptions to Small Caps[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Overall, there appears to be a consensus that all-caps is useful in a few cases. From this discussion, the only use is when not using all caps would change the meaning of the thing in question (ie. scientific names etc.), however others may crop up, which should be discussed before being widely used. In the case of quotes, the consensus is that this should follow the existing guidelines, and all-caps used for emphasis be replaced with existing markup, else removed. Mdann52 (talk) 18:48, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
In order to clarify all this, essentially the consensus is that all caps should not be used, except when omitting them gives the section a completely different meaning, such as in scientific terms. In essence, this enforces the change to the template in terms of references. MOS does not seem to apply to references using a style using these (such as BlueBook). In any case, changes to citation style should be made at WT:CITE, not here. Mdann52 (talk) 17:52, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

The current phrasing of the section suggests that all use of caps should be avoided. There are however several cases where it is perfectly acceptable to use all caps. One is in reference list for authors names where it makes it easier to pick pout the author names in the reference list. Based in a strict reading of the current wording some editors have no removed the ability to add small caps to author names in citation templates. This is in effect a violation of our policy that states that we have no house citation preference, but all systematic citation styles are welcome. Another example where is in linguistic interlinear gloss examples where it is standard practice to use small caps for grammatical glosses using the Leipzig glossing rules. The current wording is too categorical and should be changed to accommodate exceptions where local consensus requires small caps. If the MOS as it is now worded is taken literally I will be unable to write linguistics articles that live up to the international standard of notation. Other exceptions are quotes of text written in all caps, which should of course also be represented in all caps. I will add these exceptions to the MOS. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:32, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

The added instruction "All caps can be used when rendering quotations of texts that use all capitals or small caps" is in direct opposition to the existing "Reduce proclamations, such as those for the Medal of Honor, from all capitals." It also pretty much flies in the face of the the existing "Reduce newspaper headlines and other titles from all caps ..." It is confusing at best, and at worst a sea change. Wikipedia's long-standing style is to avoid all-caps text. You say "of course" as if that takes the place of establishing a consensus. Chris the speller yack 20:08, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
No, proclamations or titles are not quotations, neither are headlines. A quotation is a verbatim repetition of some text written by someone else used as an illustration of what the original author wrote. And it should be obvious to everyone that for example if a text uses all caps for emphasis changing that to italics or some other means of emphasis would break with accepted standards of scholarship. The MOS needs to state that this is of course an acceptable use of all caps.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:26, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Maunus asserts that "This is in effect a violation of our policy that states that we have no house citation preference." I'm inclined to agree, but I have issues with how this discussion is being conducted. The guideline (not policy) referred to by Maunus is contained in WP:Citing sources#Variation in citation methods. But there was an RfC at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 128#Which guideline for citation style? which did not reach consensus as to whether this page or WP:Citing sources controlled citations; all that could be agreed to was the two guidelines should not contradict each other. So this discussion should be an RfC, since the outcome might resolve an inconclusive RfC. Also, no notice of this discussion was made at WP:Citing sources. Jc3s5h (talk) 20:11, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
It is all right and fine that you dont like the way the discussion is being conducted, but the changes to the scaps parameter were made with no discussion or notification at all. I am merely trying to have some sort of community involvement. If an RfC is better then that is just excellent, let's make one. And also lets put notifications at all the rlevenat WP pages.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:28, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
For the record, Wikiproject Mesoamerica (of which you are a member) was invited to join the original discussion on removing the scap option in December but apparently no one from the project responded to the original request for input. Dragons flight (talk) 20:43, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Well that was good, but several of our editors clearly missed that. It was posted during christmas which may have been a reason, also the entire discussion seems to have lasted very briefly before it was implemented.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:58, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I have reinstated the edits which have by now been the collaborative work of three editors, myself, Kwamikagami and Erutuon - and which are supported at least partly by 10 editors in the discussion below and only opposed by three. Furthermore the edits are necessary because they in fact describe an already established practice, the use of small caps in bibliographies have been in continuous use since 2005, and no discussion has ever succeeded in removing them or WP:CITEVAR, so adding this addition simply makes the MOS conform to the status quo. The new thing is the interpretation by some that the deprecation of the small caps in article text also extends to the references - this new strict interpretation of the MOS text prompted the necessity for the addition of this text to the MOS. The addition therefore clarifies and codifies already existing practice, it does not actually create new rules or exceptions. And while I am the proposer it seems clear that there is consensus for adding at least some of the proposed exceptions, and perhaps even additional ones. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:31, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
    • You proposed three changes and the response has been mixed, so this is not a simple yes/no. And some responses have no other rationale than "I like it." --  Gadget850 talk 20:31, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Which per CITEVAR is enough of a reason to allow the exception, whereas "I dont like it" or "only niche styles use it" is not enough.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:35, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

RfC: Proposed exceptions to general deprecation of Allcaps[edit]

This RfC discusses the merits of this change to the MOS. The change introduces three proposed exceptions to the general rule against using all capitals. The proposed added text is:

  • All caps can be used when rendering quotations of texts (not headlines or proclamations) that use all capitals or small caps for effects, where removing it would constitute a significant change to the original author's style or intent.
  • In reference lists author names can be given in small caps, if a citation style is chosen that uses this feature.
    Example: Kipfer, Barbara Ann (2000). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. ISBN 0-306-46158-7. OCLC 42692203.
  • In Interlinear glossing of linguistic examples following the Leipzig glossing rules, small capitals can be used.

Respondents are requested to comment on three separate questions:

1. Whether it is a good idea to have additional exceptions for the deprectation of allcaps?
2. Whether each of the proposed exceptions are warranted, or if they should be modified, or if some should not be included?
3. Whether more exceptions should be added? User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:51, 16 February 2015 (UTC)


  • Comment As proposer I consider the deprecation of all caps to be too broad, and to interfere excessively with the freedom of editors to choose citation styles, and representation styles in articles. Leipzig gloss (which uses small caps) is the defacto standard for linguistic interlinear glossing and has been chosen as standard by WP:LINGUISTICS, bibliographies with author names in Small caps has been the long accepted standard for bibliographies in WP:MESOAMERICA, and changing capitalization in quoted text (for example literary texts) is a kind of falsification of quotes. Therefore I think it is absolutely necessary that there be more leeway in the use of capitalization. I would personally prefer that the policy state that it is the choice of a given editor or local consensus when capitalization is permitted in a given context, but at least we need to introduce these exceptions to make the MOS conform with the rest of our policies and with common sense. Btw. capitals are also used in many systems for transliterating ancient scripts, to distinguish between the transliteration and translation. For example when transliterating Maya hieroglyphs capitals are used for logograms to distinguish them form syllabograms and phonetic complements. I believe a similar use is standard for Egyptian hieroglyphs. I note that a couple of users are opposing on aesthetic grounds, or because only some citation styles use small caps - this of course in contravention of WP:CITEVAR which remains in effect and allows users to use any citation style of their choosing even if deemed aesthetically displeasing by others. In effect such an argument moves toward the introduction of a house style by gradually disallowing certain citation styles. Other users object on procedural grounds - here I would like to point out that this feature has always been in use on wikipedia, and the ability to use small caps in references was only removed this week with changes to the CS1 template which had been discussed by only a couple of technically savvy users, without consulting with those who used that feature of the template or with the community in general. Surely this discussion, even if it could have been better organized, is a better alternative than no community discussion at all. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:51, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support As someone who has been using smallcaps for author names for years, I wholeheartedly support this change to MOS. I support (1), it is a good idea, and supports the freedom of choice for citation styles within an article. I find it much easier to pick out an author's name when scanning through reference lists. For (2) I also agree, as for (3), I have no further suggestions. Personally, my main interest is to be able to reinstate smallcaps use in reference lists. Simon Burchell (talk) 21:13, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Follow the reliable, published sources I agree with the proposer that the deprecation of small caps on Wikipedia is overly broad. Wikipedia's practice is contrary to the practice of style guides for scholarly publishing that assign specific roles for small capital text in distinction from other kinds of text markup. The proposer's example comes from linguistics, a topic in which I also edit, and I must go on record as saying that I would expect a Wikipedia article on any topic in linguistics, or on any other topic for which standard reliable sources use small capitals, to use small capitals the same way the better sources use them. It is helpful to readers of the encyclopedia to follow tried-and-true typographical conventions that have been developed over decades. We should readily admit any exception that we can document with a reliable source as a general scholarly publishing practice. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 21:16, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Agree in part, abstain in part. The long-standing guidance at WP:CITEVAR that any consistent style may be used is effectively destroyed if the "Manual of Style" and its subsidiary pages are interpreted to apply to citations. The popular printed style guides such as those from the Modern Language Association, the Chicago Manual of Style, and "APA Style" contain many rules and some of them are bound to disagree with the "Manual of Style" and its subsidiary pages. Thus, the proposal is too restrictive; rather than saying small capitals can be used in citation reference lists, it should say capitalization in citations is controlled by the citation style chosen for the article. I also agree that if small capital letters in a quoted passage carry meaning, they should be preserved. I don't have any opinion about interlinear glossing. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:20, 16 February 2015 (UTC), modified 23:26, 17 February 2015 UT
  • Comment. Note that I added an example of a small caps citation to the proposed text. Dragons flight (talk) 21:43, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
@Dragons flight:, I suggest you give a citation example that does not rely on any template. Depending on the outcome of the RfC, the template may be modified to act differently, which will be very confusing to anyone who reads the RfC months or years after it concludes. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:49, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
What template? I didn't use a template above. It is copied from a citation in use, so the ISBN and other elements might be superfluous to the point being made here, but I didn't use a specific template. Dragons flight (talk) 21:53, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I saw "citation book" and mistook it for a citation template. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:50, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment An additional exception should be included for examples of Latin and Greek orthography during the Old, Classical, and Late Latin periods and the Archaic, Classical, and Koine Greek periods. These examples are sometimes presented in uppercase or small caps, as in Ancient Greek phonology, Archaic Greek alphabets, Latin spelling and pronunciation, and Augustus (the note in the lede on his name). In early Greek and Latin alphabetic forms, there was no distinction between uppercase and lowercase, and letterforms were usually similar to modern uppercase. (To be more specific, Roman inscriptions frequently used Roman square capitals, which are almost identical to modern serifed uppercase, whereas handwriting used other letterforms like Roman cursive, which are, I think, the precursors of modern lowercase.) The best way to illustrate this early Latin and Greek spelling convention is with small caps or uppercase. — Eru·tuon 21:50, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support the exception for interlinear glosses as well, and mild support for the exception for authors' names in refs. I have only used the citation style with smallcaps for authors' names outside Wikipedia, and it has something going for it, since it provides a further visual cue differentiating parts of refs, similar to the existing visual cues of quotation marks for chapter headings and italics for titles. — Eru·tuon 23:46, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment "if a citation style is chosen that uses this feature" This presumes that Citation Style 1 and Citation Style 2 are not styles in and of themselves. If so, then they are misnamed and all options should be opened to allow any sort of style to be formed with these templates. Thus if this passes, then another RFC should be triggered. --  Gadget850 talk 22:05, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Why is this assumed? Since we dont have a house citation style one is free to choose other styles even if CS1 and CS2 are considered styles unto themselves. (I consider them templates that should accommodate as many different styles as possible).User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:13, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
The templates have many advantages with respect to formatting and error checking. As a general rule, I think it is better that the templates are flexible and accommodate different styles rather than having people abandon them in favor of different templates (that also have to be maintained, separately) or manual entry of citations where inconsistent formatting and errors would become more common. Personally, I would be happy to abandon WP:CITEVAR and actually adopt a Wikipedia house style, but as long as CITEVAR is the rule I think it makes sense to keep the templates flexible enough to support a limited set of widely used variations. That way the templates that do exist can be maintained in a unified way. Dragons flight (talk) 22:35, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
But we self-evidently do have WP house citation styles, Citation Style 1 and Citation Style 2, and they are in fact styles in and of themselves. We've developed them specifically to forestall further attempts to impose any of dozens of major citations styles from off WP onto our articles by people who, due to school or professional familiarity, keep trying to impose them. The fact that our two styles borrow features from various other styles, which we've arrived at a consensus to include as features here because they are useful, does not mean we will willy-nilly import other features of external citation styles, especially when they've already been proposed and rejected many times, call-capping of author names being chief among these failed perennial proposals.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:06, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the CS1 templates are highly unstable, with constantly shifting parameters, so their use is becoming increasingly cumbersome. Simon Burchell (talk) 11:21, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Question "if a citation style is chosen that uses this feature" What citation styles use smallcaps? --  Gadget850 talk 22:10, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Many publications use small caps in bibliographies, and it is mentioned as an option in Chicago style. Here is an example of a publication that requires it the International Journal of American Linguistics[1]. The style sheet of the journal Language, pulished by the Linguistics Society of America requires small caps both for interlinear gloss and author names.[2]User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:13, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • We have {{Cite LSA}} which after the three years since I renamed it is used only in two articles, and it does not use smallcaps.
  • Chicago 16 §14.284 mentions Bluebook using small caps but "The examples in this section use a simpler style advocated by some law reviews, substituting upper- and lowercase roman type for caps and small caps."
  • Chicago 16 §16.140: "If, for example, names of writers need to be distinguished from names of literary characters, one or the other might be set in caps and small caps."
  • Chicago 16 §16.145 Notes the use of small caps in indexes which we don't use.
  • Bluebook is represented by {{Cite court}} which does not use small caps.
--  Gadget850 talk 23:01, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
I may have been mistaken about Chicago style, but if the LSA template does not use mall caps for authors then it is not in fact LSA style which may explain why nobody is using it (I personally didnt even know it existed).User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:09, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
It was named {{Harvrefcol}} until three years ago which did not help. I only found it during one of my sweeps of cite templates. --  Gadget850 talk 23:20, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Ok, I have actually used harvrefcol. But combined it with a citation template that used small caps in the bibkliography.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:29, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Agree in part, abstain in part. I agree that caps may be used in direct quotations where they are appropriate to preserve the original author's emphasis, though they shouldn't be required for all direct quotes. We don't necessarily need quotes about "REALTORS®" and "TIME Magazine" just because added capitalization is the brand owner's personal preference. I don't have a strong opinion about the use of small caps in citations. I think it is a somewhat silly stylistic choice, but not dramatically more so than other allowed stylistic choices. Given that CITEVAR exists, and is unlikely to change, I don't really care whether authors names are represented in small caps or not. With respect to the use of small capitals in annotation (e.g. List of glossing abbreviations), I think that is probably appropriate in technical articles where small cap notations have been the standard in the field, though I don't imagine them being relevant very often. For less technical articles it is probably better to avoid notations that the typical reader may be unfamiliar with. I'm also not sure whether the statement should reference "interlinear" glossing specifically or "annotation" more generally. Are small caps only used as a form of annotation in the interlinear style? If not, then a more general statement is probably appropriate. Dragons flight (talk) 22:21, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Interlinear gloss is a kind of linguistic convention for annotating the analysis of grammatical expressions, but I agree that probably it is better to make a broader statement allowing it for all kinds of annotation where small caps or caps is the standard (e.g. transliteration of hieroglyphic text, and other annotation systems).User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:26, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support an exception for technical fields (grammatical abbreviations in interlinear glosses; transcription of logograms in Egyptian, cuneiform, and Mayan; rendering Classical Latin and Greek, etc.). Not sure about emphasis in quotations -- usually that's best replaced w bold or italics, just as are underlined and expanded text (letters of the emphasized text separated w spaces, nowadays almost universally replaced w italics), though perhaps Maunus can give an example of a case where it would be good to keep. I think the MOS should head off arguments about whether e.g. TIME Magazine should be capitalized. Don't know about authors' names in refs. I've done that myself, only for it to be changed later, and I didn't particularly care.
For many of the tech uses, caps are not a stylistic issue: they distinguish meaning. The Mayan glyph BE may not be the same as the glyph be, the linguistic gloss ART is not the same as the gloss art. For Classical Latin, it is a stylistic issue, as monocase text could be written in all lower case, but a practical one: People might "correct" all-l.c. text by e.g. capitalizing the first word of a sentence.
Another sometimes important use is to capitalize surnames. Sometimes the surname is at the beginning or in the middle of a name, or may be more than one non-hyphenated name, and many authors find capitalization to be the easiest way to indicate this. — kwami (talk) 22:58, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Well I can't give an example off hand, but let's say that a modernist poet or author chooses to use capitals as a typographical device (I have definitely seen this done by some poets, with entire poems written in all caps) then we really have no business second guessing that artistic choice if we quote them. Or if an fiction author uses all caps to illustrate someone yelling, or writing in all caps within the fictional setting, it would also be messing with their intentions if we changed their choice of emphasis in the quotation. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:38, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
I disagree. We don't generally follow stylistic choices in quotations. For your hypothetical about yelling, retaining the caps would serve no purpose, as our readers would not recognize it as yelling. I once read a novel that used different quotation marks for each character, so that you always knew who was speaking without the author ever having to say "and Foo replied ...". But it would not be useful for us to retain that convention in quoting the novel. For all your other exceptions, you have a clear reason. This case seems to be a solution in search of a problem. I don't think we should include it until we come across an actual problem that needs solving. — kwami (talk) 01:03, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
It is not only useful it is necessary. It is not a quote if you alter what was originally written by the author, then it is a paraphrasing. In literary studies it would be considered a form of falsification to alter this kind of stylistic choices. You also can't mess with James Joyce's punctuation just because the MOS says to follow Strunk and White. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:08, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Then you have a much larger problem, as our quotation guidelines specifically allow such changes. There have been several discussions on this, and AFAIK it is allowed by major style guidelines. For example, if a typewritten source uses underlining for emphasis, it is standard practice to replace it with italics. Sentence-initial capitalization changes when embedding a quotation in a text. When quoting Swift, we don't capitalize every noun. It is also standard to correct typographic and punctuation errors, except when extraordinary fidelity is required, as in transcribing ancient texts. I think you'd need to come up with an example where all caps cannot be replaced with e.g. bold or italics before we give that exception, or how are readers of the MOS supposed to know if their case is analogous? — kwami (talk) 01:14, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Ok here is an example, if for some reason we were to quote this passage [3], it is not possible for us to swap "Give me the keys, BITCH. He yelled." to "Give me the keys, bitch. He yelled.", without doing violence to the authors work. In my view there is a gigantic difference between changing systematic use of underlining in a typewritten manuscript to the deliberate use of caps (or punctuation) for artistic effects by an author. It is not up for us to second guess the author in those cases. (Changing Joyce's deliberate use of non-standard punctuation would be an outright literary crime) You simply don't change that kind of thing. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:17, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Okay, that's a good place to start a discussion. It seems reasonable, and could probably get consensus fairly easily. — kwami (talk) 01:22, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
I think the point is that the MOS should not prohibit this kind of thing outright but simply make it up to an editorial decision and consensus whether a given case can or cannot use caps in a specific quotation. What I am advocating is flexibility and editorial freedom. So rather than keep a broad prohibition to avoid having "TIME magazine" then we make it up to editors on a given talkpage to decide how to represent caps in cases where there is any reasonable doubt.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:27, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Flexibility is good when we have good editors. The problem is that's not always the case. It's hard to write guidelines for all situations. I don't think it's a bad idea to come here to discuss new exceptions, as you have, rather than having hundreds of little walled gardens. — kwami (talk) 02:21, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
You're right, it isn't a bad idea to discuss exceptions here... however, that does not mean we have to explicitly spell out every exception that is made, in the text of the MOS. for one thing, there is no way to do so without ending up with a bloated guideline. We need to resist the temptation to engage in instruction creep. Blueboar (talk) 16:29, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Comment – I have a few reservations. One is that the vast majority of editors don't know anything about logograms or the Leipzig glossing rules, and don't care. I would strongly prefer to keep esoterica out of the MOS. If editors in these fields want to define special typgraphic rules for things like interlinear glosses, they should do so in the appropriate place and link to it from the MOS. I notice that nobody is complaining about the small caps in Interlinear gloss. So I doubt that there would be objections to such a style guide.
Another is that if we are going to start listing exceptions in the MOS, we should start with the uses recommended in Bringhurst. Things like abbreviations and acronyms in the midst of normal text.
Another is whether small caps will improve or degrade the on-screen typography of the encyclopedia. Bringhurst recommends appropriate letterspacing and the use of well designed small caps, which are different from shrunken capital letters. Obviously browsers aren't going to do that for us. But how bad is it going to look? Most users are probably using Arial or some other sans serif with a large x-height. Before encouraging wider use, I think we should look at some screenshots and decide if small caps are tolerable or not, when actually displayed on a screen. – Margin1522 (talk) 03:08, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

The point of including the technical stuff is that we are certain to get editors who insist on removing caps from interlinear glossing cuz that's what the MOS demands. We can certainly move such details somewhere else, but at some point scattered mini-MOS's become more of a hassle than they're worth. — kwami (talk) 03:58, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Comment OK, first about the typography, I like small caps and often lobby for using them, in print. But the small caps that you get from Word and browsers are a travesty. It is possible to do small caps properly on the web (e.g. here), but not on Wikipedia. If and when Wikipedia gets a mechanism to do them properly, then OK, but we don't have one now.
There are also bibiographic issues. Note that the LSA style guide says "Author names should be given in small capitals (if you cannot easily set small capitals, please leave them in regular font—do not set them as all capitals and/or in a smaller font size)." They want their authors to submit Word documents with the font properties of author names set to small caps. That is, set to a display property, like bold, green, or italic. But they want the original data to be "Jones", because that is what libraries and indexing services want. Note also in the other example, the International Journal of American Linguistics page. They do it like this: J<small>ONES</small>, which gives "JONES". Bibliographically this is terrible. We could recommend that editors use {{Small caps}}, which doesn't have this problem. But many of them won't. They will just start writing names and titles in capital letters.
{{smallcaps}}/{{small caps}}/{{aut}} is not a solution as it pollutes the template metadata. --  Gadget850 talk 18:15, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree. If we were going to do this, I think the best way would be to revive the "|authorformat=scap" parameter in the cite templates, which is how this discussion got started. That could be done with the "font-variant:small-caps;" CSS style in the Liberty Bell example that you found. With the style applied it displays as Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land. But if you copy it to a text editor, it reads "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land". That's how it should work. – Margin1522 (talk) 20:02, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
About the interlinear glossing and ancient Greek, I really want to keep this esoterica out of the MOS. New editors are already complaining that our guidelines are too dense and hard to understand. If and when somebody starts messing with interlinear glossing because of the MOS, we can deal with it then. – Margin1522 (talk) 17:15, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Comment Perhaps the linguistic community at Wikipedia:WikiProject Linguistics could come up with a set of guidelines for linguistic examples, and the exception for interlinear glossing be listed there. Information on IPA and the significance of angle brackets, square brackets, and slashes could also be included, and a list of abbreviations for morphological, syntactic, and semantic terms. I'm not sure if something like that already exists or not, but creating subject-specific guidelines could allow simplification of the general guidelines. — Eru·tuon 03:47, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Generally support - I am not that convinced about use in references though. Such a practice, while not specifically excluded at citations, does go against the apparent intent (before edit) at caps, which was fairly limiting. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:51, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose reference lists author names exception. I have never seen this style in WP refs, and hope never to see it. The other exceptions I don't know or care much about. Dicklyon (talk) 04:16, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose small caps in CS1- and CS2-formatted citations. As Wikipedia has evolved, CS1/CS2 have become their own "house style" alternatives to other citation styles used in other places. These other styles, like APA, MLA, Chicago, etc., can be used in articles per policy, but it's about time that we recognize that CS1 and CS2 are their own styles. The templates like {{cite web}}, {{cite book}} and {{citation}} that generate references do so in CS1 or CS2 format, not APA, MLA or another style. In generating CS1- or CS2-formatted citations, these templates and their related style now follow the MOS guidance which has prohibited small caps in general usage. If editors want templates to generate other citation styles, then they should create {{APA book}}, {{MLA book}}, {{CMOS book}}, etc and other templates to affect citations of books in various styles. However, {{cite book}} should stay in the CS1 style. Imzadi 1979  05:56, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't have strong opinions on the quotation issue (which can probably be taken too far in obeying corporate marketing dictates about ALL CAPS for their important brand names) nor in citation styles (where I think the freedom for editors to choose different styles for different articles is a bit unfortunate, although if it were possible for readers to choose different styles in their preferences that might be a better thing). The technical usage for linguistics seems reasonable enough to me. But I'd like to suggest a fourth exception: post-nominal letters (as used in Wikipedia, usually only at the very start of a biographical article where we give the subject's name in full). Making these smaller than full capital letters is a standard way of making them less obtrusive and I think that's a good thing. They're not really small caps (letters that are grammatically lower case but formatted as smaller versions of upper case letters), rather they're grammatically upper case but formatted smaller than usual, but as it is now I think the policy can be read as prohibiting smaller formatting for them and I think that should be allowed. —David Eppstein (talk) 06:08, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support – Although it shouldn't even be necessary to include the reference author exception, since the MOS (including SMALLCAPS) does not apply to references. On the other hand, since SMALLCAPS has been invoked as a reason for not allowing small caps in citations, it better to explicitly state this exception. Also per Dragons flight, CS1 should allow some flexibility in how citations are rendered. This flexibility makes it easier for editors to comply with CITEVAR and reduces the need for parallel sets of citation templates. Boghog (talk) 07:54, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose as worded – firstly the change to the MOS should not have been made before this discussion; rather it should have been proposed here and then discussed. I am opposed to allowing small caps or all caps in citations; it's unnecessary and distracting. There may be a few more cases where small caps could be justified, but each one needs to be discussed separately, not in some vague blanket discussion. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:08, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Partially support --  Gadget850 talk 10:57, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • All caps can be used when rendering quotations of texts (not headlines or proclamations) that use all capitals or small caps for effects, where removing it would constitute a significant change to the original author's style or intent.
Support Example: Liberty Bell#Inscription.
  • In reference lists author names can be given in small caps, if a citation style is chosen that uses this feature.
Oppose As best I see it only niche styles such as Bluebook and LSA use small caps (but the current templates that use these styles don't use small caps). Chicago only uses it for indexes and APA for certain chemical compounds.
  • In Interlinear glossing of linguistic examples following the Leipzig glossing rules, small capitals can be used.
No opinion Not my area of expertise here.
  • Support - The referencing rule goes without saying (as multiple citation styles are accepted, restricting smallcaps would be contrary to that long-established policy), the others make sense, and I rather suspect that there still more situations where having a smallcaps option would improve the encyclopedia. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:09, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • On second thought, even this is still restrictive, as the Bluebook can require the use of smallcaps for the publication name as well. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:14, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
"Long established" would be two years. Module:Citation/CS1 was created in Feb 2013 with |authorformat= which was never documented on any of the template pages. A search shows currently 902 pages using authorformat=scap. Before the module we had {{Citation/core}} which did not support small caps. --  Gadget850 talk 22:56, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
WP:CITEVAR is as old as wikipedia, and that is what Philosopher is referring to, not the Cs1 template. Smallcaps have been used in bibliographies since 2005, it is not our fault that it took the developers so long to make a template that accomodates it (accomodaiton which they then promptly removed). Before 2013 we used an another parameter parameter to add caps to author names this was then removed and the scaps was introduced instead.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:05, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Maunus, that is what I was referring to. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:56, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Matter to be clarified - I had a look at authorformat=scap, and at the articles. Now, perhaps I missed something but it appears that the functionality of the authorformat argument in the citation module has been disabled. Is there any discussion regarding this and is it relevant? I perceive this is the catalyst for the discussion we are having here? Cinderella157 (talk) 03:12, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

It's a bit off-topic here, but the citation templates have been quite unstable for the last few months. User:Trappist the monk has been deciding that certain previously-widespread usages are mistakes, modifying the templates to forbid them, causing the templates to break. In most cases there has been discussion on a talk page that is only relevant for a subset of the templates, with users of other templates finding out only later. In this case I know of no discussion at all. I know of no instance where he has been willing to even consider or discuss backing out of one of these changes, and after I complained about previous ones he has explicitly stated that he is not willing to have any discussions with me. Sometimes bugs rather than intentional changes have been introduced, also breaking things, and are also not backed out until the next scheduled update, leaving broken pages around for approximately a month at a time. The roughly 1000 articles broken by this particular change are few compared to some of the other ones. So, with that as background: yes, this should have been a discussion on the citation template pages, but now that it's happened, nothing is likely to happen over there unless we get a clear consensus here to re-allow this previously-accepted citation format. Even a clarification that this guideline wasn't intended to apply to citations (rather than an explicit exception for this style in the guideline) probably would be too ambiguous to cause this change to be undone. —David Eppstein (talk) 03:58, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
I would consider this background quite relevant. I have found the following: Help talk:Citation Style 1/Archive 7#Separator parameters and Help talk:Citation Style 1/Archive 7#Undocumented parameter? which are discussions. It appears to be a matter where relative silence was construed (not incorrectly) as consensus. However, consensus can change when the ramifications become more widely know - as would appear here. It is being made to sound like the citation module is not subject to the normal 'rules' of consensus. Cinderella157 (talk) 05:41, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Comment - I suggest that there are quite a few that would oppose the use of caps/small caps in references; however, I also acknowledge the longstanding determination not to specify a particular referencing style. Having said that, I would conclude, from what has been said here, we probably don't want to encourage the use of such styles either. I think that WP:BEANS is probably appropriate to consider in this instance. For this reason, I would suggest and advise against making a specific reference herein. As a solution and on the presumption that there is a general acceptance of the position I am outlining here, I would suggest going back to WP:Citing sources to clarify that the matter has been considered here and, while not supporting [optional if people don't like this phrase then remove], it has been determined that Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters does not preclude referencing styles that use capitals or small caps for author names or as another component of the bibliographic style. I would also suggest that this comment be inserted as a footnote. By this, it would be a matter of record but not part of the main text. I do appreciate that this is perhaps not as simple to do as it sounds and that there are certain niceties that need to be followed. This is a suggestion and I am not assuming support for this - it would need to be established. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:12, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Support for quotes. Here's Mel Lyman for instance: "I only knew that I was going to make this world a beautiful place to live in because I couldn't STAND it the way it WAS; the understanding of how I would DO it came with the experiences I had in TRYING to do it. I was going to bring heaven to earth or earth to HEAVEN, however you want to look at it and let me explain NOW what I only SENSED then" (he wrote like that a lot, God knows why; IIRC Herbert W. Armstrong did too). I would not be in favor of de-capitalizing this direct quote, no. Has this been a problem? Have people been doing this? If so they should stop. I think there's probably already a rule somewhere (or should be) that says "don't edit direct quotes beyond common sense and necessity" that ought to be sufficient and override anything said here about but caps, but if another rule here would help, fine.
The other stuff is above my pay grade. Interlinear glossing, fine, OK, add that somewhere, not necessarily in the main body of the rule. Maybe a footnote or subpage. Citations, don't much care. I'm OK with people citing how they like, within reasons, so that's OK with me too I suppose. Let a hundred flowers bloom. Herostratus (talk) 13:02, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment re quotes Several comments above support using all capitals in quotes if the source does. This is not what the MOS says at present. MOS:QUOTE says Formatting and other purely typographical elements of quoted text should be adapted to English Wikipedia's conventions without comment provided that doing so will not change or obscure the meaning of the text; this practice is universal among publishers. For example, if the source uses caps for emphasis, then italics should be substituted. So this part of the MOS would also need to be changed if all caps were allowed in quotations. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:14, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
    Your statement "this practice is universal among publishers" is a strong one, and if true, is compelling enough for me. In the Mel Lyman example shortly above, I don't see the harm in replacing the unnecessarily capitalized words with bold, italic, or bold+italic formatting. I see a small amount of value for using small caps in interlinear gloss notes. But I don't see the value in using small caps for author names in references; I've never had a difficult time finding the authors' name when I wanted to know it. Xaxafrad (talk) 21:13, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Just to be clear, the green text is not "my" statement; it's what the MOS currently says and what is being disregarded above. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:17, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Well regardless, the statement is false. It is not universal practice among publishers to change one formatting for another, if that can be said to constitute a change in the authors original intent. It is only normal to do this if a typewritten manuscript adopts a convention such as underlining or caps simply for emphasis which the publisher then translates into the desired form of typographic emphasis in collaboration with the author (i.e. the authors intent was for the emphasis to be expressed in italics, which was simply coded with caps in the typescript). As a scholarly practice it would be considered quote falsification to change someone elses typographic conventions in quotes. So the MOS is simply wrong on this point. As for "not seeing the value" that is not really relevant since per WP:CITEVAR it is enough that someone else sees the value in a specific citation style. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:28, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Note the proviso, "provided that doing so will not change or obscure the meaning of the text". That was Taivo's point: sometimes changing from all caps might change or obscure the meaning of the text. (And why I asked for an example.) But formatting *is* generally adapted to the local standard: spaced en dashes vs em dashes, reversed quotation marks or other national conventions, changing indented paragraphs to spaced paragraphs, etc. None of those things are relevant to the meaning, and so are commonly changed without comment. On the other hand, when graphic fidelity is desired, a quote may even reproduce line breaks in the original places, but that's not the norm. — kwami (talk) 00:03, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
Are we coming to the conclusion that all of these exceptions are already acknowledged either directly or indirectly? If this is the case, do we need to make these explicit in the body of the text? If we do need to make a record for clarification, would a footnote be better? Cinderella157 (talk) 01:19, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose as presented, per Peter coxhead's reasons. I would support the first and third cases, but they should have been discussed here first. Using smallcaps in reference lists is problematical, needs more consideration. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:16, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
More consideration, using Smallcaps in reference lists has not been considered problematical for the past 10 years where it has even been used in FA articles - so it is not as if it is some new thing that people are asking permission to do. In fact it is a right that has always existed and has only been removed now because some template editors took the MOS too literally and didnt realize that WP:CITEVAR clearly permits this feature.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:42, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, see rongorongo and decipherment of rongorongo, which both went through a long and arduous FA confirmation. I don't think the caps in the refs were ever even mentioned. — kwami (talk) 00:03, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
By "more consideration" I mean deeper than a few comments here. Use of smallcaps in reference lists should be discussed in a venue more particularly relevant to such use, such as WP:CS. Also, you have over-interpretedWP:CITEVAR: it provides guidance, not rights, and certainly grants no "right" to use all-caps. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:20, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
Please explain in what way the guidance in WP:CITEVAR is compatible with disallowing the use of reference styles that use smallcaps for author names. On wikipedia there is no such thing as "deeper consideration" than a widely publicized RfC.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 23:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Partial support - All caps can be used when rendering quotations of texts...... Undecided on remaining two as I have concerns about consistency. AtsmeConsult 13:45, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
The last is necessary, and has long-standing consensus, as transcriptions without caps would be wrong. It's not a matter of style, but of meaning, as with acronyms. If "art" and "ART" have two different meanings, we cannot change one into the other. I clarified in the lead that the proscription is about the stylistic use of all caps. — kwami (talk) 18:30, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
That was a good point, and maybe the basis for a consensus here. There is a lot of support for ALL CAPS when they are (arguably) semantically significant. Small caps for author names gets less support because it's a matter of style. Semantically the rongorongo cites are just the same as before, small caps or not. (And BTW they still look great to me – I really like those hanging indents.) – Margin1522 (talk) 00:00, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose references list case; WP has it own citation styles. It does not (and does not need to) attempt to emulate others. That style has been proposed many times here (and at WP:CITE, and Template talk:Cite, and Help talk:Citation Style 1, etc., etc.) and rejected consistently. Oppose "original author's style or intent" case, as overbroad; "for effects" is too vague (and ungrammatical – the expression is "for effect"), and "the original author's style or intent" is tautological and all-encompassing, such that we would always and without exception use the caps because the original author did. Maybe there is the germ of some kind of valid point in there, but it's not been expressed in a way MOS can implement. Tentative support of Leipzig glossing rules case, but only as a separate proposal, with substantial input from WikiProject Linguistics; just because a convention exists somewhere does not mean it is one that WP should adopt and promote. If Kwami is right (and I think this may be the case), then this change probably should be made, as it's not really a style matter, but a semantic one in linguistic contexts, that can be mistaken for stylistic (much like use of single quotation marks in glosses, and the asterisk to indicate extrapolated words and roots that are not attested). Mixing that case in here with two stylistic proposals is confusing and will not lead to a clear consensus. As for the other two, limiting "citation styles, and representation styles in articles" is much of the point of the rule against ALL-CAPS to begin with. MOS exists to provide WP with a consistent style, and this is by definition a constraint on editors doing whatever they feel like just because they like it or are more familiar with it. This is true of all style manuals.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:47, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
  • While CS1 and CS2 were created on Wikipedia, neither one is the "house style". As WP:CITEVAR notes, there is no house style on Wikipedia. This follows the same principle as WP:ENGVAR - and the philosophy behind both of them is quite basic to Wikipedia. There is a difference between a "widely-used, locally-created" style and a "house style" and the MoS should always reflect that. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 18:22, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
  • The Wikipedia MOS is different from other manuals of style because most other manuals cover both the main body of the text, and the citation style. You can tell Wikipedia's MOS doesn't cover citations because it doesn't provide nearly enough information to write citations. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:40, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support and suggest additional exception for ancient/archaic languages without miniscule characters as described above by other editors. // coldacid (talk|contrib) 00:09, 7 March 2015 (UTC) // coldacid (talk|contrib) 00:09, 7 March 2015 (UTC) Summoned va WP:FRS; please {{Ping|coldacid}} if you respond to my comment.
  • Comment: It has just come to my attention that we alreayd have a Template:Cite_LSA, a LSA style citation template that uses small caps for author names. If the MOS is not reworded to specifically allow the use of this citation template, then we have a problem. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 00:10, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: I haven't read through the entire discussion here but I would like to add another exception: inscriptions on artworks which are all in capitals. It's common practice in art history books for these to be transcribed in small caps. This is in the same spirit as what Maunus said above: "Other exceptions are quotes of text written in all caps, which should of course also be represented in all caps." Ham II (talk) 08:37, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Smallcaps for coins? I'm copyediting over at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/McKinley Birthplace Memorial dollar/archive1. Wehwalt says: "I really think small caps are the most effective and understandable way of conveying legends on coins. People have seen coins and that they are generally (mind, I said generally) in capital letters." RHM22 says: "I agree with Wehwalt regarding the use of 'small caps'. I have used them in the my articles, and I find them to be the most effective at conveying what is actually written on the coins. Not everyone knows how U.S. coins are designed, so it's probably unclear to most whether or not capital lettering is used. If instead of "MCKINLEY DOLLAR", we say ""McKinley Dollar" (in capital lettering)", then how did we decide to capitalize "Dollar"? Coin inscriptions aren't mentioned in that section of the MOS, and in my opinion, that exemption should probably be codified." - Dank (push to talk) 23:00, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
  • This is getting ridiculous. How difficult can it be to close a discussion where the only relevant argument is WP:CITEVAR.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 23:59, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Support with exception not just for author's names in references, but when it is required by the citation style, such as Bluebook's use of smallcaps for book titles, journal names, etc. GregJackP Boomer! 13:30, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

"Scientific names" clarification[edit]

Just for the record, the close imprecisely says "the only use is when not using all caps would change the meaning of the thing in question (ie. scientific names etc.)", when it really only refers to one particular usage in linguistics. This should not be taken to imply that cultivar trade designations given with botanical/horticultural scientific names should be given in smallcaps style. There is actually no prescribed style (even in the off-WP literature) for it. Some sources use smallcaps, others use some other typographic change (e.g. different typeface), other than italics (reserved for genus, species, and subspecies). MOS has no rule on it, and the general rule against smallcaps "except when omitting them gives the section a completely different meaning" as the closer put it, clearly precludes using them for this purpose. That's the status quo right now. It would not be unreasonable to propose that MOS have a specific rule on this, if (and perhaps only if) it comes up frequently enough to be an issue we need to address, but our general aversion to smallcaps would probably call for some other convention, e.g. use of serif font or something. (Opinion: If we did go with smallcaps, I'd be okay with it, since some reliable sources use it, and it's not frequent enough that we'd be peppering smallcaps all over the place. And I say that as someone who otherwise opposes almost all use of smallcaps, including – nay, especially – for titles in citations.) PS: The slowly-developing draft MOS:ORGANISMS addresses this, but is presently not a guideline.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:26, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

Large RM on decapitalization[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Talk:Lindy Hop#Requested moves of the remaining inconsistent dance-related articles, 27 June 2015  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  17:36, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Material design/Material Design[edit]

There currently is a small discussion on the proper capitalisation of the design language of Android. Since there doesn't seem to be more widespread interest and the discussion has stagnated, I would like to ask for some more input from other groups. The discussion can be found here: Talk:Material design#Title capitalization.–Totie (talk) 09:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Olara Otunnu[edit]

Your kind expertise is needed at this article regarding several ongoing capitalization issues. Thanks. (talk) 21:39, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Titles of works[edit]

I have noticed a significant number of online resources that now give work titles in sentence case, over the last year or eighteen months. Perhaps this is partly the influence of our own "down" style. It may be that this is something we have to re-consider in a couple of years if it becomes more widespread. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 13:13, 5 July 2015 (UTC).

Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative[edit]

I am not sure whether the capitalization is correct here. Should it really be all lower case as stated on Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Capital_letters#Section_headings? It looks weird to me. --Ysangkok (talk) 12:43, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

  • IMO, all of the section headings should be changed from title case to sentence case. GregJackP Boomer! 01:14, 7 July 2015 (UTC)