Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Wikipedia's Manual of Style contains some conventions that differ from those in some other, well-known style guides and from what is often taught in schools. Wikipedia's editors have discussed these conventions in great detail and have reached consensus that these conventions serve our purposes best. New contributors are advised to check the FAQ and the archives to see if their concern has already been discussed.

Information.svg To view an answer to a question, click the [show] link to the right of the question.

WikiProject Manual of Style
WikiProject iconThis 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.

Style discussions elsewhere [keep at top of page][edit]

Add new items at top of list; move to Concluded when decided and summarize conclusion. Comment at them if interested. Please keep this section at the top of the page.


(newest on top)


Extended content

MOS:GENDERID Suggested change[edit]

In MOS:GENDERID, the sentence "The MoS does not specify when and how to present former names, or whether to use the former or present name first." is potentially confusing because "present" is being used as both a verb and an adjective. I suggest changing to "use former names". Thanks. Jmar67 (talk) 23:59, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

Suggest changing the second, adjectival, use to "current". - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 03:27, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
Well, let's get present out of it entirely: The MoS does not specify when and how to use former names, or whether to use the former or current name first. EEng 03:50, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
I think this is a use-mention distinction question: just as we present non-standard pronouns (e.g., "Mac uses "judy" (lowercase) as a gender pronoun" in Taylor Mac) but don't use them, so too we present former names (e.g., "Cary Grant (born Archibald Alec Leach; January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986)" in Cary Grant) but use the best-known name (or, I guess, following MOS:GENDERID, the latest for transgender people). I suggest The MoS does not specify when and how to mention former names, or whether to give the former or current name first. Cheers, gnu57 11:22, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
This is a subtle but important distinction, thank you. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 00:42, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. I think that this sentence should note that MOS:MULTIPLENAMES does prescribe the mention of a former name if a transgender person was notable under that name. Jmar67 (talk) 02:24, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
I'd support Genericusername57's wording there. Maybe I'm the only one who read it this way, but "use former names" leaves the impression that MOS:GENDERID requires us to use a person's preferred pronouns but allows us to continue to use the person's previous name, which would be a weird policy. Maybe that sentence should include a link to MOS:MULTIPLENAMES as well? That policy offers a lot more clarity. Nblund talk 16:03, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
How about MOS:MULTIPLENAMES calls for mentioning the former name of a transgender person if they were notable under that name. Otherwise, the MoS does not specify when and how to mention former names, or whether to give the former or current name first. Jmar67 (talk) 00:22, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I'd support that wording. Cheers, gnu57 02:22, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

I took out the word "otherwise" because it was confusing me. After I made the edit I figured out the issue: "otherwise" has multiple meanings. I was interpreting it to mean "if not" but the intended meaning was "in other respects". I will leave it to others to determine if the sentence genuinely lacked clarity or if I was just being dumb. :) WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 04:30, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
WanderingWanda If you misread it, others will too. Something is needed at this point because the following sentence says that MOS does not take a position on former names, which contradicts the first sentence referring to MOS:MULTIPLENAMES. I will change to "In other respects". Jmar67 (talk) 04:42, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

I think broader changes to MOS:GENDERID are needed. The strange distinction it draws between main biographical articles and other articles is wishy-washy and confusing. There should be one simple, consistent guideline for all of Wikipedia. Also, I think this unified policy should draw on the use-mention distinction that gnu brought up.

Here is a draft (changes in bold):

For any person whose gender might be questioned:

Give precedence to self-designation as reported in the most up-to-date reliable sources, even when it doesn't match what is most common in reliable sources. Use the name, pronouns, possessive adjectives, and gendered nouns (for example "man/woman", "waiter/waitress", "chairman/chairwoman") that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification. This applies in references to any phase of that person's life, unless the subject has indicated a preference otherwise. Avoid confusing constructions (Jane Doe fathered a child) by rewriting (e.g., Jane Doe became a parent). Direct quotations may need to be handled as exceptions (in some cases adjusting the portion used may reduce apparent contradictions, and "[sic]" may be used where necessary).

Do not mention a former name if the person was not notable under it. If they were notable under a former name, MOS:MULTIPLENAMES calls for it to be mentioned in their main biographical article. In other articles, use context to determine if and how to mention it. While former names may be judiciously mentioned, they should never be used, unless the subject has indicated a preference otherwise. (See: use-mention distinction.) Use italics to indicate that you are mentioning but not using a name. For example, if Jane Doe won a gold medal under the name John Doe, do not write John Doe won a gold medal. Instead, you can write Jane Doe won a gold medal with a note saying she was competing as John Doe. Generally, do not go into detail over changes in name or gender presentation unless they are relevant to the passage in which the person is mentioned.

In addition to updating the MOS, I would also update any other guidelines that might contradict or supersede the MOS's guidance on gender identity. A sentence like this could be added to places like WP:TITLE, MOS:MULTIPLENAMES, Template:Infobox_film, etc:

In the case of transgender and non-binary people, always give precedence to their latest self-designation (see MOS:IDENTITY.)

WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 05:28, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

Sorry, I'm opposed to this proposal as written: I think it goes too far in prescribing what should be left to editor discretion on a case-by-case basis. If, for instance, Mikhail Gorbachev were to quietly change to a female identification and name, then of course Gorbachev's biography should be updated to reflect that, but I don't think every other page that references his role in the cold war should be changed—he's in the history books for what he did under his current name. Similarly, who knows what names or identities the children in the list of Scripps National Spelling Bee champions adopted in later life? The most practical approach is to give the names they were using when they won. Cheers, gnu57 15:26, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
I mean, obviously there would be no obligation for editors to go all private detective on a list of mostly non-notable spelling bee competitors. We'd still be constrained by the need to use reliable sources and by guidelines on respecting non-notable people's privacy. :)
As for the Gorbachev example, let's avoid hypotheticals and talk about real world examples instead. Take the case of transgender filmmakers Lana and Lilly Wachowski. For years, reliable mainstream sources have respected their gender identity by exclusively crediting them as women named Lana and Lilly, even when discussing old work they made before they came out (like The Matrix.) But for all that time, Wikipedia editors went against the mainstream and continued to refer to their old movies as if they were directed by a pair of Brothers. A recent contentious and drawn-out RfC finally brought articles about their films up-to-date, but this could have happened sooner and with less fuss if the MOS offered clearer, more consistent guidance about gender identity. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 17:35, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
I think that, because that RfC was so complex and as you call it contentious, its clear that we actually can't make these proposed changes to the MOS. In fact, I think an alternate proposal should be to suggest that, when gender is in question, avoiding use of any gendered language is preferable, replacing any pronouns with usage of a last name, etc. and using the names as they appear in the related sources per WP:V when discussing specific points in time prior to the name change. Frankly a change in name due to gender expression should be handled in the exact same way and via the same recommendations as we handle any other name change (MOS:MULTIPLENAMES) - and the the MOS should not carve out some special set of circumstances, limitations, or rationale. Take for example Victoria Beckham, who became famous under her maiden name of Victoria Adams. In sections of her article, and in Spice Girls, that cover the pre-1999 time clearly make use of "Adams" - everything after that and everything in more general sections not related to the timeline use her current name. In fact, in most cases, gender-based name changes are far less substantial an impact to an article, since they mostly involve first name changes only, and we rarely in prose use a first name by itself. -- Netoholic @ 19:15, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
The Wachowski RfC was contentious in part because the MOS has been failing to provide clear and consistent guidance on this subject. However, the RfC was ultimately able to come to a clear consensus, and it's a consensus that does not contradict anything in my proposed version of MOS:GENDERID.
...I say it's "my" version but it's really just an attempt to codify the mainstream stance. Ultimately, Wikipedia is supposed to follow the conversation and not lead it, and mainstream sources just don't misgender people any more. Here's a link to the first retrospective about Chelsea Manning I could find, and it conforms almost exactly to my version of MOS:GENDERID: In 2010, the Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, sent nearly seven hundred and fifty thousand classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. Note that even though it's talking about a period before Chelsea was out as a woman, it uses the name Chelsea, saying that Chelsea Manning did such-and-such. Also note that while it mentions her old name in an aside, it does not use it. (In other words, it does not say Bradley Manning did such-and-such.)
As for the idea that we should treat everyone the same! That idea is tempting but, well, everyone is not the same. Someone coming out as transgender is a very different thing from a cisgender person changing their name. I do not get the impression that mainstream sources or style guides treat trans former names and cis former names in the same way. (But, with that said, perhaps we should re-consider how we treat cisgender name changes, too. A policy that says preferred/latest names should always be used for everyone may not be a bad idea.) WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 02:07, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Support the simple change to "The MoS does not specify when and how to mention former names, or whether to give the former or current name first."
    Oppose the "I think broader changes to MOS:GENDERID are needed ..." massive change. Every clause of that would have to be hashed out, with great care. No section of MoS is harder to get consensus to change than this one. Every proposal about it generates massive tsunamis of drama.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:43, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
    Hmm, sounds like I may need to invest in a good raincoat. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 04:53, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
    SMcCandlish, the page already states "The MoS does not specify when and how to mention former names, or whether to give the former or current name first." Are you stating that you want to drop the recently added "In other respects"? Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 10:15, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    What I see above was that "in other respects" was proposed as an alternative to "otherwise', but I don't see either term in "The MoS does not specify when and how to mention former names, or whether to give the former or current name first." So, I'm not sure what to tell you. Maybe this needs to be re-opened with a list of numbered proposed re-wordings? I dunno. I'm happy with the version I said I support, and remain opposed to expanding this with new or substantively different rules without something like an RfC at VPPOL, given the extremely contentious history of this section and even small changes to it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:41, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
    SMcCandlish, MOS:GENDERID currently states, "In other respects, the MoS does not specify when and how to mention former names, or whether to give the former or current name first." That's why I asked if you wanted to drop the recently added "In other respects". Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:36, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
    Ah, ok. The complete passage now is: "MOS:MULTIPLENAMES calls for mentioning the former name of a transgender person if they were notable under that name. In other respects, the MoS does not specify when and how to mention former names, or whether to give the former or current name first." And "In other respects" certainly makes sense there. And it seems to have already integrated the "MoS does not specify when and how to mention former names, or whether to give the former or current name first" tweak. I think that removing "In other respects" would not be an improvement, and would lead to back-to-back sentences that appear to contradict each other.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:38, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support the "broader changes" proposed above, which I believe reflect the current consensus of the project as it has emerged in many, many separate conversations and as a clarification of (not a change to) the current MOS guidance. I do think the tone of the "broader changes" will require tweaking, as it does not seem especially MOSsy to me as presented above. Newimpartial (talk) 21:41, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Spin-off of MOS:GENDERID into its own sub-guideline[edit]

Please see

MOS:GENDERID is the focus of intense discussion in many places. This topic is overdue for having its own subarticle in the Wikipedia Manual of Style.

To establish this article, I attempted to avoid even presenting guidance, and instead compiled a list of many prior discussions on which basis we will collectively establish consensus.

If anyone has something to say about this then please comment on the talk page there at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Gender identity. Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:36, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

Bluerasberry, I question the title of the page since that page, in its current state, is not actually a guideline and Wikipedia:Gender identity is more of a guideline page than that one is. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:14, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
It was also tagged {{Essay}}, which would definitely mean move it somewhere else, like under Wikipedia:WikiProject Gender Studies or something. I've changed this to {{Draft proposal}}, since the intent appears to be actually drafting new language and proposing it, after the listed discussions are analyzed. I could see that living under "WP:Manual of Style" temporarily (several other draft proposals have).

However, only about a year or two ago we had a discussion about another draft of an identity-related MoS addition (which actually had a lot of input into it and substance to it, unlike this one). I even proposed integrating parts of it into MOS:IDENTITY, but the entire thing was rejected, moved somewhere else, and tagged with {{Failed proposal}}. A repeat is fairly likely. Back around 2016 or so there were also a slew of competing "harassment"-related proposals (all also deeply entwined with gender-identity politicking), and they all also came to nought. I don't think this will work either, because it's yet another attempt to WP:POLICYFORK instead of to propose a small incremental change to the existing guideline, and see if the community will accept it, and whether it has any longer-term fallout; then propose another small change. This kind kind of "suddenly remake Wikipedia in my own image, as drafted off on some other page by me and my buddies" stuff never works.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:22, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

@Flyer22 Reborn and SMcCandlish: At Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Gender_identity#Recommendations it says, "there is not yet identified consensus to make recommendations", which I think is where consensus for the Manual of Style is right now. I favor centralizing conversation on this topic in one place, and I think many people would watch and reply if conversation progressed there. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:53, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
The page at which to do that is this one, since people watchlist it and it's where MoS changes get hashed out, by people who actually have some experience thinking through what unintended effects any changes to these guidelines may have. Perhaps also later at WP:VPPOL, if the change seems major and also well-developed enough that the entire community needs to look it over. Some page no one's ever heard of isn't going to be very effective for this, and is apt to fall into WP:FALSECONSENSUS problems. (See, e.g., all the various "harassment"-related proposals a few years ago; they all turned into half echo chamber and half flame war, with no consensus emerging for any of them.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:47, 3 April 2019 (UTC); note added: 02:06, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Bluerasberry, yes, I saw that. Per what I stated above, I still don't think that the page should be titled as though it's a guideline. The page is not really a proposal. At least not yet. And we already have enough newbies and other less inexperienced editors confusing essays and other pages for guidelines and policies. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:10, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
I kind of agree with SMc. The MoS's guidelines on gender identity do need to be reconsidered and updated, but if the goal here is to come up with a whole page's worth of new guidelines and then get the community to agree to them, I am a little skeptical.
I do think the page is useful in the form it is now, however, with its annotated discussion timeline and its links to gender identity guidelines and essays. I could also see its talk page becoming a central place to talk about gender identity guidelines. I assume if, in the end, the page wound up as more of a link repository and discussion hub, rather than a set of specific recommendations, that it would have to be considered an "essay" and not an official part of the MoS? But I wonder, in that case, if it would be appropriate for the MoS to still link to it. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 14:47, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
A few MoS pages have informational supplement sub-pages (MOS:ACCESS has several). However, an index of previous discussions (which is all this is at present) really belongs as a subpage of Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive index, and wouldn't have its own talk page. However, about three years ago, a conceptually similar set of pages – hand-maintained sub-indexes of topics of particular interest to particular editors – was deleted at MfD (I think one of them got user-spaced by request rather than deleted) as basically a canvassing and PoV-pushing factory, since the exercise naturally involved a lot of cherry-picking of what to include, and the few people who were (and in this new case, are) creating and maintaining those pages are all of a single mind-set with a single goal of changing an extant guideline (an extant consensus) to something else. It has WP:NOT#ADVOCACY issues.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:47, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
As another approach, you could have a seperate guideline page that is wholly subservient to GENDERID, designed to provide more explanation and considerations into how to apply, rather than trying to define any new rules that GENDERID does not already say. It is like how WP:NFCC is a policy page on non-free content, whereas WP:NFC is meant more of a guideline and explanatory. Not only could this be done for GENDERID but also for issues related to dead naming, etc. since these all are closely linked. AGain, the new page should not be "new" rules, but how to interprete the existing ones, provide examples and guidance, etc. --Masem (t) 14:45, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
Possibly, yes. This is basically what all the MoS sub-guidelines are. However, almost all of them are old, and were spun out out simply for length reasons (WP:SUMMARY, WP:SPLIT). Getting the community to accept new ones is very difficult. After 18 years, how much new style guide can we possibly need? Most proposals to change or add to MoS at this stage are poorly reasoned (and PoV-pushing), and are rejected. I'll come back around to where I started on this: It's more practical to suggest specific, incremental changes, right here, and see if they get accepted, and to submit any really substantive changes as an RfC at WP:VPPOL or a WP:PROPOSAL at WP:VPPRO, and cross-reference from the other VP page, and use WP:CENT, and so on. No section of MoS has been subject to more heated debate and outright strife. The idea that we can just draft a sweeping change and everyone will go along with it is pure fantasy, I'm afraid. Changing a single word in this section is a challenge.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:47, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

I'm curious why this is called Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Gender identity rather than simply Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Identity, where we can document all of the various ways people self-define and self-identify and how we should defer to those. Gender, sexual orientation, racial identity, ability status, political persuasion, social class, religion, and so many more ways that people can identify which may contradict older reliable sources. To devote a MOS guideline to only one aspect of intersectional identity is exclusionary. -- Netoholic @ 19:26, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

Whether the scope of the page should be expanded is worth considering, but I disagree that focusing in on one particular group is necessarily "exclusionary". Gender identity seems to generate an especially large amount of argument and confusion on here, so it's easy to understand why it might get special attention. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 23:00, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) See previous comment; exactly what you suggest (a general identity guideline page) was already drafted, hashed out in great detail by many people, left stable for a while, proposed for formal adoption here, and ended up a {{Rejected proposal}}. (It began as "WP:Naming conventions (identity)" which now just redirects to MOS:IDENTITY. The draft is archived at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Identity (failed proposal); the discussion about it is archived at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 194#Merge draft WP:Naming conventions (identity) to MOS:IDENTITY?). Even MOS:IDENTITY's material on Arab/Arabic/Arabian and other such terms was relocated to MOS:WTW, and only after a lot of wrangling to keep any of it at all. There's a general community hostility to "legislating" about this stuff in the guidelines.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:47, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the links. Certainly if a broader identity guideline has failed to gain consensus, then its probably a waste of time and resources to deal with a more specific subset of identity, as it involves all the same issues. Should we mark Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Gender identity as a WP:REDUNDANTFORK of a {{failed proposal}}? -- Netoholic @ 02:19, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
if a broader identity guideline has failed to gain consensus, then its probably a waste of time and resources to deal with a more specific subset - This makes no sense to me at all. In general, broader proposals are naturally going to be harder to get consensus on than narrower proposals. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 15:40, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
We don't need a broader MOS guideline for identity in general because gender identity presents special style considerations, especially with regard to gendered language (i.e. he vs. she pronouns, etc.) that other forms of self-identity (race, ethnicity, linguistic, national origin, sexual orientation, etc. etc.) do not necessarily present. While those topics may have content-based considerations, and may need guidance in other parts of the Wikipedia help system, those considerations are not style considerations. The Manual of Style deals primarily with how to properly use language like grammar and spelling and the like, and not with the myriad other issues regarding identity. Of the various expressions of identity, gender itself presents a style concern, such as "which is the correct pronoun to use". --Jayron32 16:23, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
The other identity categories also have their own special style considerations, such as what term(s) for ethnicity someone may want to identify with ("Black" vs. "African-American"). Likewise, what terms they want to use to describe their ability status (ex. "deaf" vs "hard of hearing"). Certainly people want to define how to classify their political ideologies ("alt-right" vs "conservative"). And obviously sexual orientation has a myriad of terms across a spectrum. It seems incredibly narrow and dismissive to only focus on one class of identity (especially, and not being dismissive, trans status which applies to a much smaller set of articles than some of these other considerations). -- Netoholic @ 10:58, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
Those are important decisions to make, and perhaps Wikipedia should deal with them, but those are not the bailiwick of the style guide, which should deal with issues of grammar and spelling and punctuation and capital letters and the like. The MOS is not designed for handling every aspect of editing Wikipedia, merely those aspects that deal with style. --Jayron32 14:09, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

First-use acronym expansion within a quotation[edit]

Unless this is handled somewhere in the MoS I haven't found, I propose that we add to the MoS that if the first use of an acronym occurs within a quotation, the "expanded" acronym should be added in brackets after the acronym; and that if a link is appropriate, that the link occur on the expansion rather than the acronym. As an example, taken from this article section I've edited, the first-use acronym "CRM" would look like this:

"...resulting in a loss of control and their failure to abide by CRM [Crew Resource Management] principles of mutual support..."

This proposal resolves a discrepancy between:

  • The MoS rule here that "The abbreviation style used in quotations from written sources should always be written exactly as in the original source"; and
  • The MoS rule here that "When an abbreviation will be used in an article, first introduce it using the full expression".

Supporting my proposal:

  • I believe it's important to expand first-use acronyms for the lay reader, per the above policies
  • I believe we should not put words in the mouth of the original speaker or writer by just substituting the expansion for the acronym, particularly because browsers' in-page search will not find the quotation if we change it silently with a straight substitution
  • I believe in-quotation expansion is better than defining it before or after the quotation, for understandability as the reader reads, and also because doing so would be very clunky
  • I believe it is widely understood that in English, brackets indicate words not spoken or written in the original.
  • My proposal to link the expansion rather than the acronym is only because to me, it seems more apt because the expansion within brackets is a definition, and a link dives even deeper on the definition.

(I originally posted about this at the help desk here, where User:Teratix suggested I bring this up on an MoS talk page.) On Sober Reflection (talk) 12:19, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

No need for anything new in the guideline. The use of brackets to explain something unfamiliar in a quotation is, as you note, well established; linking here is completely natural; and this isn't peculiar to acronyms. What you did makes perfect sense. EEng 13:50, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
I'd just like to say that this is one of the most clean proposals that I've seen in a long time.Naraht (talk) 14:01, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
I agree, but there's still no need for a change to the guideline. EEng 22:11, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Huh? I'm replying to the OP. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 20:49, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Ok, now I get it. Quote. Disregard. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 20:52, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Well, you're onto something. The cleaner approach is to mention "crew resource management (CRM)" in the introductory material before the quote, so that "CRM" in the quote needs no explanation. That's much smoother than injecting a square-bracketed editorial explanation in mid-quote, when this "pre-mentioning" tactic is practical in the context. When it's not and an insertion is necessary, I agree with EEng that our existing rules already permit this, so not guideline change is needed. PS: It's not a proper name, so "crew resource management" not "Crew Resource Management".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:25, 2 April 2019 (UTC); revised: 02:09, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm against altering an original quote to add an expansion. While adding it in introductory material is cleaner, I'd take care to ensure that the source clearly specifies the expansion somewhere in the text, if not in the quoted part, to ensure that Wikipedia editors are not making an assumption about what the expansion means. Most of the time, there's no issue there (as in the CRM example). Although even here, absent a positive statement in that source, are you 100% sure or just 98% sure it's crew resource management and not cockpit resource management (a redirect in this case, but different words nevertheless)? If it's not expanded somewhere in the source, we shouldn't either. Mathglot (talk) 23:26, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes. Brackets are not for augmenting quotatons. I disagree that " in-quotation expansion is better" than anything. If the quoted material includes an expansion, but for some reason it is not suitable (too cumbersome?) for direct quotation, then brackets might be used for a summary paraphrase. But if the expansion was elsewhere in the source (or nowhere), then it should be presented prior to the quotation. Surely there are very few cases (if any) where this cannot be done. ♦ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:54, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

GENDERID -- specifically edits that change "he" into "their"[edit]

We REALLY need a MOS decision on Singular they#Contemporary usage in Wiki articles.

I don't want to revert something like this [2]. If you can't be bothered to follow the link, here's an example:

If a player possesses all the cards of one type, he effectively corners the market and gains the most value for his cards.

→ → →

If a player possesses all the cards of one type, they effectively corner the market and gain the most value for their cards.

Why? Not only is there no policy it goes against (except, possibly a parallel to how we don't change UK English to US English once it's establishedQuestion?), I don't want to get drawn into fighting the exact same fight over and over. I want to point to the MoS and a done deal.

On the other hand, I don't want "their" to creep into Wikipedia without a consensus! Having a myriad of solutions "he", "he and she", "their", rewritten phrases, etc etc makes Wikipedia look butt ugly. This is not a matter of "Australian-related material is written in Aussie English". There is no connection between a board game and gender identity.

Full disclosure: I personally think Wikipedia isn't yet ready for "their" on a site-wide basis. The risk of confusion ("their cards? Is the article talking about the cards of all players?!?") is simply too great. Compare the "kibibyte" debacle. But I would accept the ruling of MOS as long as it does rule something!


Either we should let changes like the one I linked to through... with the express goal of never using "he or she" and always "their"... or we should revert such attempts, with the MOS backing us up.

This needs an urgent en-wiki-wide decision. Letting the editors of each individual article decide locally is NOT acceptable (since it will mean fighting the same edit war on a thousand fronts)!

Thank you for reading CapnZapp (talk) 14:35, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

PS. Please note - I couldn't care less about the procedural aspect: where and how this is discussed (see the above attempt to generate an gender idenity subpage which immediately devolved into arguing about form rather than content). I simply need the MOS to no longer be silent on this issue, or we will have a giant fracking mess on our hands.

  • We need no ruling now. There's nothing wrong with using the singular they. --Jayron32 14:41, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
Sorry but you are not even trying to address the issue here. CapnZapp (talk) 20:07, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • MOS tries not to "rule" on things, and especially not until there's evidence of repeated, widespread inability of editors to agree in the context of individual articles, or of large amounts of time being wasted on debates that keep coming out the same way. EEng 14:45, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
I am aware the MOS is still trying to pretend there's no need to intervene. That is why I'm here - to increase pressure so that the point where resistance finally breaks comes earlier than later. There is repeated, widespread inability of editors to agree in the context of individual articles. My linked article is just one such example.
The main reason at least I don't waste large amounts of time debating GENDERID is that I consider it futile to enter debates while MOS doesn't say either way. If I did I would sure do - since this is an issue where positions are very locked and very hostile. In the meanwhile the consistency of the project is eroding. CapnZapp (talk) 20:07, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
Your linked article shows no evidence of disagreement about this in the article history, and nothing I can see on the talk page. No one expects you to "waste large amounts of time", but if there's as much trouble on this as you say, you ought to be able to give us at least, say, three diffs showing that. As for consistency, not everything has to be consistent article to article. See my Nobel Prize–winning essay WP:If MOS doesn't need a rule on something, then it needs to not have a rule on that thing. EEng 20:51, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
@CapnZapp: Do I understand correctly that you want the MOS to take a position on singular "they", i.e., either prescribe or forbid it? It seems unlikely that there would be consensus either way. Some sort of a compromise would be needed, one that basically leaves the decision to the editor in each case. Unfortunately, two editors can disagree on the best approach to using gender-neutral language. I think this simply has to be accepted in the WP environment. Jmar67 (talk) 23:10, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
No, that editors may disagree on the best approach doesn't simply have to be accepted. But we should accept it for now, absent evidence that of a need for the project to standardize the approach. See, I modestly urge again, my essay linked just a bit up from here. EEng 23:36, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
I really didn't think my section header was unclear... This is not about "gee, let's start a new article but the MOS tells me to use / not use singular they". This is about going into perfectly acceptable articles and changing the pronoun used for no better reason than "I don't like it", and whether to revert those changes. I might consider reverting since I don't feel one is better than another, but I can't bother to enter futile edit wars based on arbitrary and personal opinion since those are a forking waste of time. This is what Wikipedia needs to offer guidance on. Do we back up reverting random changes to singular they per my example edit linked? The very idea to "stem the tide" with no backing from MOS makes me ... so very tired. Alternatively, if MOS says it's alright, that's at least clarity and guidance.
Again, my best suggestion is to make it analogous to LANGVAR, to say something like:
  • The English Wikipedia prefers no variety of GENDERID over any other.
  • An article should not be edited or renamed simply to switch from one variety of GENDERID to another.
Okay? CapnZapp (talk) 09:49, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
The edit you cited was an attempt to implement gender-neutral language, not a change from one gender-neutral form to another. If the article had used the "he/she" approach, then a change to "they" would indeed be cause for concern and vice versa. You have a valid point there, and I agree that MOS should address it. However, your suggestion should read "The English Wikipedia prefers no variety of gender-neutral language over any other." Jmar67 (talk) 11:00, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
I think it is reasonable; we should use 1) for a single person of known gender, we should use that person's self-identified gender, and use the pronouns that and 2) For a single indeterminate person, or for a single determined person of unknown gender, we should only require consistency in gender-neutral language. Equivalent gender-neutral language (he/she ... he or she ... they ... etc, but not "he" alone) should not be swapped for other equivalent gender-neutral language. However, it should be fine to swap out gendered language ("he" alone) for one of the more acceptable gender neutral terms. --Jayron32 12:07, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
for a single determined person of unknown gender: Sorry, I think it's incorrect to use "they" in that case. I'm pained by sentences like In 2012, a sasaeng reportedly slapped Yoochun, of the boy group JYJ, in the face and justified themselves by saying that the idol would surely remember them from then on. (from Sasaeng fan) or ...the artist's approach to the subject is markedly different. They create a sense of foreboding using a vast horizon and an ominous hanging branch. (from Meditation by the Sea) Cheers, gnu57 15:35, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Agree with User:Jayron32. And ... singular they was perfectly fine for Shakespeare; and for Jane Austen. I hope I'm not neutering any males here by saying that. Tony (talk) 10:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

I am specifically talking about editors that dislike the very common usage of "he" to mean a user, player etc of indeterminate (and unimportant) gender. What should MOS say? Either "don't change one established approach for another" or "the old usage of he is discouraged, use xxx yyy zzz instead."
What I don't agree with is the notion that "he" is somehow a special case. When a board game is referring to a player's tokens as "his tokens" there is clearly no notion that this player is male. It is the current wild west of an open season on this older usage that I object to. Either we actively take a stand against it, or we discourage editors from changing away from it. CapnZapp (talk) 14:38, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
So, User:Jayron32: no it is not fine to "swap out gendered language ("he" alone) for one of the more acceptable gender neutral terms" without the MOS saying so. That's like skipping the entire debate I came here to find! When and where did "he" become unacceptable or discouraged?! The important bit here is for the MOS to not be silent. If y'all prefer Wikipedia to be cleansed of the established practice of using he to mean he or she, that's fine - as long as this isn't snuck into the project without MOS guidance. In other words, I don't care where you point me (for the answer to the question When and where did "he" become unacceptable or discouraged?!) as long as you point me somewhere. CapnZapp (talk) 14:38, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Regarding "...without the MOS saying so..." I'm not saying the MOS shouldn't say so, and saying that I am not saying it should. What I am saying is that you don't need written rules to make a Wikipedia article better. If an article is using a gendered pronoun incorrectly (like "he" when the subject is not unambiguously male), WP:SOFIXIT is all the rules you need. If Wikipedia is wrong, make it better. I don't know why you feel paralyzed by the lack of guidance in the MOS. The MOS is useful, but it certainly doesn't need to (and cannot) presuppose every wrong thing a person might write, and then have a "rule" for it. Some differences in style are equivalent and not wrong, as well not every wrong thing can always be anticitpated. That's why guidance like WP:SOFIXIT exists: Don't look for a rule to give you permission to make Wikipedia better. Make it better. Again, I am not saying that the MOS must be silent on the matter; if we do decide to change the MOS as I suggested above (and you'll note that I suggested a change to the MOS, indeed you quoted the changes I suggested!!!), but I also don't believe that we can't edit Wikipedia articles without rules. Guidance is nice, but not strictly necessary. This may be a place where it is nice, because I can see some disagreements, but what I find problematic is the insistence that the MOS must address an issue. There are no musts. We can if we choose and feel it would be helpful to add some guidance to the MOS, and I suggested as much in the passage you quoted, but must goes too far. --Jayron32 15:02, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
MOS:GNL is clear about avoiding "he" in the interest of gender neutrality. It justifies the type of edit originally cited. Jmar67 (talk) 15:33, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

My 2¢: singular they is fine. It's been around since at least early modern English and has billions of attestations in use; pedantry against it is a classic WP:SNODGRASS. It is so natural in use that the average pedant probably doesn't even realize that they've read it most of the time. Just like that last sentence.
The generic "he", on the other hand, is definitely outdated and needlessly gendered. Unlike "man", which was originally gender neutral, "he" has always been a gendered pronoun. The only reason "he" was ever used in such a fashion was an assumption of males as the default. Using it in 2019 is just piss poor laziness or obstinance. It should not be used.
Now, what should the main MOS say about it? What it already says. Nothing needs to be added; switching to gender-neutral language is already the guideline. The edits that prompted this question were already within guidance. Singular "they" is gender-neutral, generic "he" is not. oknazevad (talk) 16:42, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

The singular "they" may have been around for ages, but in a context like this it will be unfamiliar and confusing to millions of our ESL readers, who will look for a team/partnership. Work arounds like "the player" should be used where possible. Johnbod (talk) 14:20, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Let me point out that references to non-specific people, like the "If a player possesses all the cards of one type, he..." example, aren't (and shouldn't be) governed by MOS:GENDERID/WP:GENDERID, which is only about references to specific individuals (like Emma Sulkowicz). Like EEng, I'm not sure "player, he/they..." sentences have been disputed often or broadly enough to be worth trying to issue guidance on in the MOS (and I am sceptical there would be consensus for either totally banning or exclusively mandating "they"). In the case at hand, just reword to avoid pronouns altogether: "If a player possesses all the cards of one type, that player effectively corners the market and gains the most value for the cards." In other cases, pluralize: "If a player is dealt an ace, he loses his turn"→"Any players who are dealt an ace lose their turns" (I thought we already had guidance to that effect somewhere, but I may be thinking of some other organization's manual of style). -sche (talk) 21:49, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

WP:ERA addresses what I think is a similar situation (crusaders changing BCE to BC or vice versa), and I think its language could be adapted, if and only if there is a demonstrable problem. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 00:23, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

All of the reasons Wikipedia uses straight instead of curly quotes are no longer relevant in 2019[edit]

For reasons I don’t completely understand people are very strongly opposed to this. Closing. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 21:10, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Yes, I know this has been proposed a lot. MOS:CQ lists three reasons that Wikipedia uses straight quotes:

  1. Consistency keeps searches predictable. Though most browsers do not distinguish between curly and straight marks, Internet Explorer still does (as of 2016). Internet Explorer’s current market share is 2.56% and shrinking fast as Microsoft actively discourages its use in favor of its new Chrome clone (Chrome and Firefox both find curly quotes correctly).[1]
  2. Straight quotation marks are easier to type reliably on most platforms. On Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu, they are no more difficult to type than dashes. On Android and old versions of iOS, they can easily be accessed by holding down the apostrophe or quotation mark key as appropriate. On new versions of iOS, they’re even easier to type, because “Smart Punctuation” is automatically enabled in Settings, automatically replacing ' with its curly equivalent. Desktop version users can also insert them via the character insertion menu (currently under Symbols but this can be changed).
  3. MediaWiki's use of series of single quotes to create italics and boldface makes using these features complicated and error-prone for content that begins or ends with apostrophes. When editing pages using default settings (i.e. monospaced font), the two types of quotation marks are easier to tell apart than you might expect when reading. Click the edit button and see for yourself: '’ It’s actually less complicated than say, distinguishing en and em dashes in the source editor. What’s more, curly apostrophes actually fix a problem with MediaWiki surrounding formatting. Currently, if someone tries to write something like ''The Signpost'''s, the result is an improperly italicized apostrophe (The Signpost's), or worse if the italicized texts anywhere near bold text. As such, we need to currently use ''The Signpost''{{'}}s (The Signpost's). With curly quotes, this problem is removed, just type ''The Signpost''’s (The Signpost’s).

This is not a formal proposal; just something to consider. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 22:40, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

I wonder if curly quotes could reliably be substituted for straight ones automatically when clicking "Publish changes", if there's already Smart Punctuation software out there. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:08, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Single quotes may be paired or not, due to contractions and possessives. Double quotes may be paired or unpaired, because when using quotes to mark text that contains more than one paragraph from one source, or by a single speaker, there is a double quote at the beginning of each paragraph and at the end of the last paragraph. Jc3s5h (talk) 00:32, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
I agree that automatic quotation mark conversion is not a feasible solution. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 01:54, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
No. 2, Straight quotation marks are easier to type reliably on most platforms. This is still true. Since Windows is quite popular, proving it's true for Windows proves the statement is true. Easily typing characters that are not not on the keyboard requires a separate numeric keyboard, and requires memorizing the appropriate numeric codes. If one has a compact keyboard with no separate numeric keypad, entering characters not on the keyboard becomes excruciatingly slow. As for the buttons one could click on some Wikipedia editing interfaces, they are a horrible mess; one can't even figure out which one one is using without an hour or more of reading and testing. Jc3s5h (talk) 00:50, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Again, the above comments about typing difficulty are also true for dashes and accented characters, both of which Wikipedia uses. Same goes for multiplication signs on the Mac. (You need to enable the “Unicode Hex Input” keyboard, whose character codes are almost the same as the Windows codes, but in hexadecimal form.) —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 01:52, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
While em and en dashes might be as difficult as curly quotations to insert, quotation marks are used way more often than dashes (when people actually use the right dash) and accented characters. I would be very peeved to have to reach for a special combination of keys to make something possessive or to insert quotes for quotations or glosses. Also curly quotes often indicate a copy and paste job that lead copy editors to check for copyvios. I've been trying to figure out how to do this on Fedora for a few minutes and finally figured it out and it's ridiculous ... Compose+Shift+, then let go of , and press " for left double. Substitute period for right double. Single quotes are even more confusing because you have let go of shift and , then press the '. Getting the keys pressed in the right sequence is difficult while an em dash is just Compose+--- and an en dash is just Compose+--. In this case, Unicode would be easier to use but then you'd have to remember four codes. (There is probably an input source that simplifies this somewhat. US international with dead keys simplifies the doubles to Compose+Shift+[ or ].) I would not welcome curly quotes. PopularOutcasttalk2me! 04:15, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
I would also argue that while difficulty in typing is a reason not to make something mandatory, it’s no reason to deprecate it. I’m skeptical about bots or other automation being able to get quotes right reliably in edge cases or where complicated by typos, but I’ve never understood why we insist on straight quote-marks while encouraging usage of all manner of other non-ASCII characters, even providing buttons for many of them in the editing window. I also have long thought there’d be many technical benefits from using ‘proper’ quotes, not having to escape the ‘dumb’ ones to distinguish them from markup or code delimiters in templates &c., as mentioned above. (To get characters that aren’t accessible from my Mac’s keyboard I just use the menu-bar accessory—if the application I’m using doesn’t provide something similar. But all the common diacritics & printer’s punctuation marks are second nature to me by now, despite the illogicality of some of their locations.)—Odysseus1479 02:57, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Details on implementation would have to be settled later, but I would be leaning toward making them optional, but allowing users to change straight quotes to curly quotes if they choose. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 12:06, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Please, dear God in Heaven, NO! All other things being equal, I'd rather see us use curly quotes because they look better, but there are many little issues to be solved (as discussed on this page) and I doubt it's worth it given all the other real problems (which this is not) on which time could be better spent. But the idea of allowing users to change straight quotes to curly quotes if they choose is completely insane. It will create just one more ENGVAR/DATEFORMAT/RETAIN minefield for possibly the tiniest gain (of ... what?) imaginable. EEng 20:46, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • All this queer militancy has gone too far. Now even straight quotation marks are under attack. EEng 01:01, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I hear that. Ultimately, the parentheses are to blame! cygnis insignis 02:57, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm a curly quote supporter. (No comment on if this is related to me being a queer effete Mac user.) WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 02:32, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Curly quotes is an affectation that holds over from a particular style of handwriting. Straight quotes does not impede understanding, and we need a strong justification for any style that prefers using characters unavailable on the standard QWERTY keyboard. It does, sometimes, become unavoidable; but for normal running prose, in the vast majority of our writing (which is what our style guide should cover), we should continue to advise to use straight quotes across the board. --Jayron32 12:13, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I certainly prefer straight quotes and support WP's use of them in the interest of simplicity, but are there "reliable sources" that use the straight variety? Jmar67 (talk) 13:25, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
    Yes. If you were looking for a style manual for a reliable source, I would suggest that is not applicable, because
    • such sources often provide post-submission copy-editing support to authors
    • the text was probably typed in an environment that provides much better quote mark support than the wikitext editors
    • authors can be expected to devote more attention to publications that contribute to the success or failure of their career than to Wikipedia edits.
    Jc3s5h (talk) 14:13, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
    I was thinking more in terms of a media source. Just curious. Jmar67 (talk) 14:28, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
    To a point, the distinction between "straight" and "curly" quotes is a style decision left to the printer and is not a grammatical choice. It's like the difference between choosing a serif or sans-serif font: it imparts no real distinction in meaning, and the difference is mostly aesthetic. As such, there's no real reason to encourage their use since you don't find them on a QWERTY keyboard. --Jayron32 14:41, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
    Same goes for using double hyphens instead of dashes—it’s a stylistic and not grammatical choice. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 19:36, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
    For reliable sources: almost every printed source everywhere, including books, newspapers, and magazines (except some self published ones in any of those categories, but those are more likely to be unreliable) uses curly quotes. They’re common in online RSs too: see NYT, WaPo, AP. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 19:36, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

The present situation is that quotation mark style is mostly consistently "straight", and that when you see "curly" it's a pretty good indication that the text was copied and pasted from some online source and not much edited. If we change the guidance, we'll move toward much more inconsistency. I have a hard time seeing how this would be good. Dicklyon (talk) 19:55, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

MOS:PUNCT does not apply to URLs[edit]

I have seen in some revision histories where an ambitious editor changed the curly apostrophe in a URL to straight. In so doing, a link rot was created that returns a "Page Not Found 404". For example, Line 33 in the difference between revisions:  aren’t  in the URL was changed to  aren't  -- which resulted in "Page Not Found | Sorry, but we can't find the page you're looking for.". Restore the original punctuation in the URL and ... voilà!
I think the MOS punctuation guidelines should include an advisory about it being a guideline for punctuation in text, and not to be used to edit the punctuation in a URL. (I can only imagine how many external links have been screwed up by now that we won't discover until we try to access the affected source.) Pyxis Solitary yak 12:17, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

There's a limit to how stupid are the things we should tell people not to do. I doubt this person doesn't know URLs shouldn't be changed, but simply isn't reviewing his scripted changes before saving – if they did they'd realize. Should we also warn against changing & to and and # to number and 10 to ten? I will say, however, that we have way too many script kiddies running around using AWB to do marginally useful things without really understanding what they're doing. EEng 13:23, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
This is strictly about copyediting URLs. I don't see a burden in adding an advisory that the text editing guidelines do not apply to URLs. Pyxis Solitary yak 14:13, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
@Pyxis Solitary file an AWB bug report at Phabricator. Complaints there are, I think, more likely to result in improvement than complaints registered here because here, nothing can be done to improve how the general fixes part of AWB works.
Trappist the monk (talk) 13:32, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
But it's not a "bug" problem. It's a human-created problem. Misuse of AWB cannot be resolved with a bug report. Pyxis Solitary yak 14:13, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
You're right that editor inattention can't be fixed with a bug report. But, AWB should be fixed so that its general fixes option does not [convert] curly quotes to straight quotes per MOS:PUNCT and MOS:QUOTE in urls. Fixing that in AWB will prevent recurrence of this problem; not fixing it allows inattentive editors to continue to bugger up urls because of this flaw in AWB and their own inattention.
Trappist the monk (talk) 14:29, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
I wish I could say I'm surprised that the amateurs in charge of AWB don't know enough to exclude URLs from AWB's gentle ministrations. EEng 16:19, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

An amusement park with a Noah's Ark theme is...[edit]

This is for the Answers in Genesis page. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:16, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

  • The form without hyphens is clear, and I do not see a compelling reason to hyphenate. It could also be rewritten to avoid the question: "An amusement park with a Noah's Ark theme" (also the title of this discussion). Jmar67 (talk) 16:34, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I could read the non-hypened form as a themed amusement part under the brand name "Noah's Ark". I think the second with the single hyphen is correct, but yes, as Jmar points out, rewording is much easier to do. --Masem (t) 16:39, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, the day has come that we can combine hyphens with creationism. Now if we can only drag in Nazis and infoboxes somehow, we'll have achieved Nirvana. In the meantime, it pains me to say that none of the above is correct. An ndash is needed. Watch. Nothing up my sleeves...
A Noah's Ark–themed amusement park
See MOS:PREFIXDASH. The idea is that we want a bit more distance between Ark and themed than hyphen gives, because we don't want those two binding too closely to the exclusion of Noah's. EEng 16:52, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
That's reasonable. At the moment I don't see that covered under the section on hyphens. A reference there to the dash discussion would be good. Jmar67 (talk) 17:16, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
I just tried something along those lines, but the mass of dash-and-hyphen–related (or maybe dash and hyphen–related or dash- and hyphen-related) material is just too crushing. I barely escaped with my life. EEng 17:51, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
I added an ndash to the article. Thanks! --Guy Macon (talk) 12:15, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
EEng, the important thing is: it's definitely dash- and hyphen-related and not dash and hyphen–related unless you're referring to the Dash and Hyphen pub. (I never go there, the atmosphere is too uptight.) Levivich 21:08, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I feel there's a colonoscopy pun in there somewhere, but it's just not gelling. EEng 21:31, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
That's because your pun account is in a rears. This being MOS, I would suggest you start with semicolonoscopy puns. Then you can move up to innuendos. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:00, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Wow, you're good. Your contribution has been formally entered in the Great Register. EEng 02:52, 20 April 2019 (UTC)

given MOS:GNL, why do we still continue to distinguish between "actor" and "actress"?[edit]

I've always wondered this... why do we use the feminized version of actor, i.e. actress, to refer to women who are actors, in light of MOS:GNL? Except when we're discussing gender-segregated awards (Best Actor, Best Actress, etc.), I don't see why we couldn't just default to "actor". I've seen some women disambiguated initially as "Jane Chen (actor)" who have subsequently been moved to "Jane Chen (actress)", which seems particularly regressive. —Joeyconnick (talk) 00:08, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

This one has come up a few times but the problem seems to be the industry itself is divided on this and this runs well beyond awards. This piece in The Stage covers the ground on this and shows no real consensus as to which should be used, with some very strongly held opinions in both directions as to what "actress" means and implies. Timrollpickering (Talk) 00:36, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
MOS:GNL is a guideline which does not apply to WP:TITLES policy. -- Netoholic @ 00:41, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm confused by the notion, that I've heard a couple of times now, that MoS guidelines "don't apply" to titles. Is this the commonly held understanding? I know that the title policy has more weight than anything in the MoS guidelines (because of the "guideline" vs. "policy" distinction) but surely that doesn't mean that the MoS has no weight whatsoever. WanderingWanda (they/them) (t/c) 01:16, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Simply because the vast majority of "female actors" are still referred to and refer to themselves as actresses. It is still by far the commonest term for a woman working in the field. It is not our job to change English usage. It is our job to reflect common English usage. What right do we have to essentially tell a woman who calls herself an actress, "sorry, you're wrong, you're actually a female actor and that's how we're going to refer to you"? The term "actor" should only be used if it can be established beyond all reasonable doubt that that is the commonest way of referring to an individual and that's what they prefer (e.g. Helen Mirren, who does, I believe, refer to herself as an actor); otherwise the default should be actress. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:35, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
I disagree: you could just as easily say "actor" should be the default unless a female actor prefers "actress" (sources would be required if challenged by an editor). Tony (talk) 12:06, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
That would be going against common English usage, as I said. You cannot possibly with a straight face deny that most people in the English-speaking world (including them) still refer to a female actor as an actress! It would even more certainly go against common English usage for an actress who was active in the past. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:14, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
What they were called in the past is irrelevant—we don't call Amelia Earhart and "aviatrix". Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:39, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • On would imagine "actor" for some is a bit like using "he", as "gender neutral" language. In general, it's probably good though, not to be really prescriptive or proscriptive with a common word. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:16, 16 April 2019 (UTC) Now, thespian seems gender neutral, these days. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:34, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I suspect it has something to do with the fact that acting is one of the few remaining spheres of endeavor (along with modeling, prostitution, surrogacy, and so on) in which gender is a routine prerequisite for a given position – with exceptions now and then, of course. EEng 12:45, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    • EEng, I sort of agree, but because (in its own sexist way) female equivalents are embellishments of the male term, we're stuck with reducing them to remove undesirable gender-specific language: plain English is favoured, naturally. So we no longer say "conductress". And readers would trip over "aviatrix", which markedly draws attention to femaleness. BTW, in many other languages it's much harder to iron out gender-specific language; I believe in Portuguese, an agent's gender has to be chosen, and the effect sprawls through the grammar of the clause. Tony (talk) 04:24, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
      • Ironic that, after many years, French women have finally persuaded the Académie française to agree to female versions of job titles because they were fed up with being referred to using the male ones! A complete reverse of the mania in English. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:18, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Because no commonly used gender-neutral term exists. Given the prevalence of "actress", "actor" cannot be broadly accepted as being gender-neutral unless the "reliable sources" declare that to be the case by consistently employing the term for women as well. Jmar67 (talk) 16:15, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Please note that the MOS already directly deals with this, about 4 paragraphs below the section cited above. MOS:IDENTITY says, in clear and unambiguous terms "When there is a discrepancy between the term most commonly used by reliable sources for a person or group and the term that person or group uses for themselves, use the term that is most commonly used by reliable sources. If it isn't clear which is most used, use the term that the person or group uses." (bold mine). That is, if a person calls themselves "actress", then use that. If a person calls themselves "actor", then use that. Couldn't be clearer. --Jayron32 16:40, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    "That is, if a person calls themselves "actress", then use that. If a person calls themselves "actor", then use that. Couldn't be clearer." This only applies if the terms in RS sources are mixed. If the RS consistently use a term for a person, that's the term that should be used per MOS:IDENTITY, regardless of how that person refers to themselves. BubbaJoe123456 (talk) 18:38, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    That is not my interpretation. If reliable sources overwhelmingly call A an actress, but A prefers actor, then we nevertheless use actress. But if the sources reflect mixed usage, we use actor. Jmar67 (talk) 17:15, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    If reliable sources are using the wrong term, they aren't reliable for this purpose, n'est ce pas? If a source is demonstrably wrong, why are we calling it reliable? If some article called a person by the wrong first name, or misattributed their ethnic affiliations, or had the wrong birthdate, we wouldn't cite it because it isn't correct. --Jayron32 17:38, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    Disagree here. If Tom Cruise started insisting that he was the King of Denmark, then that wouldn't mean that all the articles that don't refer to him as the King of Denmark were somehow wrong. BubbaJoe123456 (talk) 18:38, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    That's a strawman argument. Tom Cruise doesn't refer to himself as the King of Denmark. He calls himself an actor. So we do too. That sort of fake controversy is why we mislabel all sorts of people (gender, nationality, sexual orientation) because we invent some hypothetical, snide, or bullshit reason why someone else's earnest self-identification is invalid. That's now how this works. --Jayron32 18:48, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    I'd be entirely fine with changing MOS:IDENTITY to make self-description take precedence over consistent RS, but that's not how it stands today, so I'm puzzled why you're citing it this way. BubbaJoe123456 (talk) 19:26, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
The problem is that there are two “correct” terms for a female performer. Some prefer to use “actor”, while others prefer “actress”. Which to use is not a matter of right vs wrong... but one of preference. Blueboar (talk) 18:01, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
No, it's a matter of self-identity. We don't deliberately mis-identify someone against their own professed self identity. You would not use a term for someone they themselves reject for just about anything else. Why this one? --Jayron32 18:46, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Except this is a case where one term (actress) is explicitly gendered, while the other one is much less so. While there may be performers who identify as men but prefer to be referred to as actresses, I'm not aware of any. BubbaJoe123456 (talk) 19:26, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Why does that matter? There are women who prefer actor and there are also some women who prefer actress. In each of those cases, use the term the person uses to describe themselves. --Jayron32 16:26, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Abbreviations: Saint[edit]

For arguments such as WP:NOTPAPER and the never ending variation of "St" and "St.", I have interpretated a general preference for "Saint" if sources largely permit it, meaning that WP:COMMONNAME doesn't always get its way. Is that correct? PPEMES (talk) 12:29, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

WP:COMMONNAME doesn't apply to formatting issues. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:33, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Numbering officeholders in infoboxes[edit]

Relevant RfC for any concerned: Template_talk:Infobox_officeholder#RfC_regarding_ordinal_numbering

"...instead supports the pseudoscientific creation science" or ""...instead supports pseudoscientific creation science"[edit]

The sentence in dispute, in full, is: "Out of belief in biblical inerrancy, it rejects the results of those scientific investigations that contradict their view of the Genesis creation narrative and instead supports the pseudoscientific creation science". The 'the' in bold was removed by ජපස on the grounds that keeping it "is a word choice that is incredibly awkward and probably not correct usage wise". Furthermore, he adds that "using a definite article implies that there are two forms of creation science, "the pseudoscientific one and the one that it not pseudoscientific"". I disagree with this, citing the example, "I asked Tom to give me an apple, but the lazy Tom said it was too much of a bother for him", where the article "the" makes the latter clause equivalent to "but Tom, who is lazy, said it was too much of a bother for him". Furthermore, I argue that removing the 'the' from both the example and the sentence in question results in confusion, creating the impression that "lazy Tom" is distinct from the Tom that has been asked to give an apple in the example, and that "pseudoscientific creation science" is a separate term in the sentence in question. Which version would be the most appropriate in this situation and, if neither, is there a workaround?OlJa 18:37, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

How about "Out of belief in biblical inerrancy, they support pseudoscientific creation science, rejecting the results of those scientific investigations that contradict their view of the Genesis creation narrative. BubbaJoe123456 (talk) 18:43, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Well, the issue is about the 'the' (or absence thereof) before "pseudoscientific creation science", so simply switching the clauses around doesn't really solve that issue. I was thinking something along the lines of "the pseudoscience creation science" but perhaps something less tautological? Also note that "creation science" itself is a pseudoscience.OlJa 18:48, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
In your example, I certainly read "the lazy Tom said" as implying that there are other, non-lazy Toms. When it comes to making it clear that the Tom in the second clause is the same person as the Tom in the first clause, the version without "the" is much clearer, in my view. Similarly, including "the" before "pseudoscientific creation science" creates the implication that there are other, non-pseudoscientific, creation sciences. BubbaJoe123456 (talk) 19:17, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
I would prefer Out of belief in biblical inerrancy, they support pseudoscientific "creation science", rejecting the results of those scientific investigations that contradict their view of the Genesis creation narrative.
MOS:SCAREQUOTES does not say that we cannot use scare quotes. It says that they should be considered carefully because scare quotes can imply that a given point is inaccurate. Which is exactly what we want to imply; we would write 'the thieves "liberated" several barrels of whisky' with scare quotes to signify that, while the thieves call it liberation, nobody else does. Likewise, nobody else considers "creation science" to be science. Creation science is to science what fool's gold is to gold or tofuky is to turkey. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:04, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Awful as tofurkey is, that's an insult to tofurkey. EEng 20:33, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
No one claims it to be science, but almost everyone, including opponents, calls it 'creation science' without quotation marks. There are numerous examples of terms with names that do not convey their meaning well: e.g. computer bug, deceleration parameter, etc. I think just saying that it is a pseudoscience will suffice.OlJa 20:42, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
This is taken from Answers in Genesis. It could also be phrased unambiguously as "...supports creation science, which is pseudoscientific." Or "pseudoscientific" could simply be omitted since there is a link to the Creation science article. Jmar67 (talk) 19:53, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
I agree that we could use "...supports creation science, which is pseudoscientific." but have no problem with "...instead supports pseudoscientific creation science" either the addition of the word "the" is awkward. Theroadislong (talk) 20:16, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
I definitely support this version. Simple and unambiguous.OlJa 20:42, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Ambiguity not detected; remedy not needed. The primary effect of "...supports creation science, which is pseudoscientific." is to add clutter. It also distances "pseudoscience" from "creation science" both visually, and syntactically. It is not the clearest way to write that snippet of text.
Regarding the original issue posted here, it would be difficult to defend adding "the" to the phrase in question. It impresses me as awkward and tone-deaf. Does anyone here other than OJ think it is a good idea?
This discussion really belongs back at Talk:Answers in Genesis. Just plain Bill (talk) 22:10, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Or Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language. It is not an MOS issue that I can see. Jmar67 (talk) 04:23, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

...instead supports creation pseudoscience. --A D Monroe III(talk) 00:54, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

I was thinking about this wording, and I must say I don't mind it, either. Apologise for my obsession with the article 'the', but I think it might also be appropriate here. As it is, your half-sentence is similar in meaning to "...instead supports pseudoscience to with creation science", leaving the possibility that legitimate 'creation science' science may also exist. While not a big deal, I think that adding a 'the' to the statement makes it more definitive, making it equivalent in meaning to "and instead supports the pseudoscience of creation science", which straight-up in the face says that creation science is a pseudoscience.OlJa 11:46, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • There is ambiguity (though not very pronounced) in either form, with or without "the". Both can be interpreted as (1) "creation science that is pseudoscientific" (a pseudoscientific variety of creation science) or (2) "creation science, which is pseudoscientific" (creation science is fundamentally pseudoscientific). I think most readers will infer (2) in either case, however, and I think either form is OK. Recasting as (2) is one way to eliminate any doubt. The criticism of "the" as awkward might indicate this an ENGVAR issue. Jmar67 (talk) 03:37, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
I think ENGVAR may be relevant, as I seem to be the only user (?) of British English in this thread.OlJa 11:46, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
I am a bit of a mix. I was raised speaking and writing the King's English, later purposely started using southern California spelling and phrasing, and often work with a bunch of strines and kiwis and pick up things from them without realizing it. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:30, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Nobody seems yet to have raised what seems to me to be the key usage question, which is whether the article is referring to some specific creation science or to creation science in general. In the former case, "the" should be used, as in "the creation science developed in response to modern evolutionary theory", but "pseudoscientific creation science" on its own would not taken a definite article. Newimpartial (talk) 16:44, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The problem is that it's neither: it is creation science in general, but creation science itself is always pseudoscientific. Thus, saying "pseudoscientific creation science" (without an article) is a bit like saying "British John Lennon". People here still appear confused as to what role the 'the' plays in my proposed version, so I thought I'd provide some more examples, but, this time, these are actual quotes of football commentators in some recent matches that I've watched: "...who lays it off to the brilliant Lionel Messi", "...fantastic feet there by the young Joao Militao". Hopefully, that clears things up.OlJa 17:49, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
I finally understand what you are getting at. You are trying to use the adjective as a proper epithet. This is fairly unusual in American English. jps (talk) 18:11, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
Not necessarily an epithet, but I guess there could be a connection. I now see that such usage of the article 'the' is perhaps not as common in the US as it is in Britain, which is, as pointed out by Jmar, one potential source of confusion.OlJa 22:08, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
To me, "the" in these examples is a sort of particle, inserted to make the phrase easier to say and emphasize the person when an adjective is involved. And I think it also has a similar function in the sentence being discussed. Very subjective I admit. Jmar67 (talk) 18:16, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
James, I believe what you are trying to do is something like a "substantive" usage. The problem is that, except for epithets, that usage has largely dropped out of all varieties of English. Newimpartial (talk) 18:25, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps there is an element of substantiveness in there, too, now that I read over it again. Although, addressing your last sentence, I must say that such usage is pretty common where I am from. OlJa 22:08, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
While that may be true in your speech community, the usages to which you refer haven't been evident in written English since before 1945, and probably longer ago than that. Newimpartial (talk) 22:38, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

WP:GNL practice[edit]

It appears that the most commonly followed rule when it comes to GNL is:

In general, try to use gender-neutral language. However, in situations where generic male language remains standard in reliable sources, Wikipedia should follow the sources and use generic male language.

How close is this to being accurate?? Georgia guy (talk) 00:41, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

What do you mean by "generic male language"? Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:43, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
Language that gives more visibility to males, such as generic he or fireman as opposed to firefighter. Georgia guy (talk) 10:23, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
No, in general practice is to avoid the generic male default (i.e. use singular they or a compound "he/she" or other similar constructions). Instead, we should use terminology which is gender neutral, where possible. --Jayron32 16:28, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
Not according to the recent discussion at Talk:Chairman. Georgia guy (talk) 16:42, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see anything there which disagrees with me. I see some people disagreeing with each other, and sometimes getting rude over such disagreements. That happens. --Jayron32 16:46, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
"in situations where generic male language remains standard in reliable sources"—this can't refer to generic he, which has always been a prescription. The practice is to avoid "generic male language" unless the alternatives don't have wide currency. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:40, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
...but that it's okay if they don't, which means that the MOS needs to emphasize the statement that sometimes they don't. Georgia guy (talk) 22:56, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Why would it need to emphasize that? Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:39, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
To make it clear that there's no complete consensus for the absoluteness of gender-neutral language. Georgia guy (talk) 11:55, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
What is unclear? Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 10:14, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
It appears to be saying that GNL is always better than non-GNL. But many Wikipedians prefer non-GNL for some purposes. Georgia guy (talk) 10:18, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
I think the discussions at Talk:Chairman make it clear that there is substantial support for the view that WP:AT (in particular WP:COMMONNAME) takes precedence over WP:GNL. Personally, I regret this, but it might avoid time wasting discussions if this were made clear. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:05, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
The difficulty lies in how to determine what the WP:COMMONNAME is. Language around gender is changing rapidly. People were trying to use Google ngrams during the chairman discussion, but they only cover until 2008, which is a universe away when it comes to thinking about gender. SarahSV (talk) 21:28, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
WP:AT is missing a GNL section, IMO. Levivich 21:41, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Language around gender may seem to be changing rapidly in areas which you are participating, but that is not reflected in evidence... and Ngrams is evidence. Wikipedia is not designed to reflect the whims of language (see WP:NEOLOGISM), but rather takes the long view, which a tool like Ngrams is very useful to determine. People experiment with language all the time, but society tends to move very gradually overall. For example, the brief flirtation with the term "chairperson" backfired because whenever it was used in practice, it was interpreted as referring only to women. In essence, the "gender neutral" term became itself gendered. -- Netoholic @ 00:31, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
One of the other proposals was for "Chair", which is both common and ungendered. Regardless, exceptions are to be expected for any guideline—we can't expect the guidelines to capture every edge case. We certainly don't want to grant editors licence to use gendered language simply because it's their "preference". Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 01:04, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Exceptions to guidelines happen, but we do not knowingly make exceptions to WP:Core content policies... So its best to think of chairman as an exception to MOS:GNL, not petition that it should be an exception to WP:V policy. -- Netoholic @ 02:02, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Old sourcing doesn't provide evidence of what the common term is now, and that's what we want to know. The question is what will our readers expect to see in 2019. I don't for one second believe that it's "chairman". SarahSV (talk) 02:07, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
If you develop a tool that can scan reliable sources and deliver such evidence as of the CURRENTYEAR, let us know. Until then, please keep your "beliefs" separate from Wikipedia discussions per WP:VERIFYOR policy. -- Netoholic @ 02:16, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I think that something has gone wrong with the way this has been evaluated. I simply don't believe that in 2019 the common name is still "chairman", so I'm questioning your claims about that, which I think must be based on old sources or perhaps sources stemming from one country. See the latest edition of Chicago Manual of Style, an influential style guide, 2017, 5.250, p. 318: "chair; chairman; chairwoman; chairperson. Chair is widely regarded as the best gender-neutral choice. Since the mid-seventeenth century, chair has referred to an office of authority." SarahSV (talk) 02:31, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
What part of WP:COMMONNAME says anything about what something is called "right now"? Nothing there says to give extra weight to sources from 2019, and reliable sources do not have an expiration date. I suspect that, even if you could somehow prove that 2019 is the Year of the Chairperson, that it would still not be COMMONNAME for quite some time due to historic usage prevalent in reliable sources. -- Netoholic @ 04:15, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
So should our articles on African Americans and Native Americans continue to use the current common name, or should we go back to the labels that were historically prevalent? Levivich 04:28, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
What's the equivalent of Godwin's law, but for race-baiting? -- Netoholic @ 05:33, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Netoholic, are you here to discuss, or to duke it out? Your unique interpretation of WP:COMMONNAME doesn't appear to be winning anyone over. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 07:42, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
"not petition that it should be an exception to WP:V policy"—this is a non sequitur. "Chair" and "chairperson" are well-attested, established terms, easily and copiously verifiable. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:26, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
But apparently not WP:COMMONNAME. I'm not going to re-litigate what's already been covered in Talk:Chairman#Requested move 22 March 2019. -- Netoholic @ 04:02, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
That's exactly the point—none of them (including "Chairman") qualify as WP:COMMONNAME. You don't seem to undertand the point of WP:COMMONNAME. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 07:40, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
(I think OP meant to refer to MOS:GNL, which is the guideline in question, and not WP:GNL, which is an essay.)
What should be recognized is that WP:MOS (and its many sub-guidelines) govern what Wikipedia writers have a choice over - the original text we create in order to present topics in the form of an encyclopedic entry - but not what by our WP:Core content policies, like WP:Verifiability, demand of us. We can't title something an obscure name, when it is verifiably called something else more commonly, for example. Titles which reflect the WP:COMMONNAME in reliable sources are automatically neutral. We cannot name things how we would want them to be - that is not the Wikipedia way. We have to describe them as the world does and wait for there to be evidence of a change. -- Netoholic @ 00:13, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
"Titles which reflect the WP:COMMONNAME in reliable sources are automatically neutral"—this isn't always the case. The WP:COMMONNAME of 2011 Canadian federal election voter suppression scandal is indisputably the "Robocall scandal". the article was moved to its current name because (a) the scandal it refers to wasn't over "robocalls" per se and (b) there were other "robocall" scandals in Canada in 2011 that didn't involve voter suppression. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 01:04, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
That's a matter of WP:Disambiguation - an unfortunate technical limitation of wiki-based articles that require unique names. -- Netoholic @ 02:02, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
It's not a matter of disambiguation—the other "Robocall scandal"s have not had articles created (yet), and you missed (a). Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:20, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
That's because (a) has no bearing on the title. If the COMMONNAME for it was "unicorn sparklepoop scandal", then that's what it should be named - even if no defecating monoceros was involved. -- Netoholic @ 04:07, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
GRACIOUS! <clutches pearls> EEng 04:17, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Your argument is divorced from the issue raised. The article title is where it is because of various issues including that it was not neutral, let alone "automatically neutral"—an assertion that was silly to begin with. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 07:40, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see that the article you mentioned has been through a formal RM discussion, so it doesn't seem like strong evidence of anything. That you admit it's COMMONNAME is indisputably the "Robocall scandal" seems to me that title should be formally considered. -- Netoholic @ 08:49, 23 April 2019 (UTC)


When writing articles about people that live outside their country of birth, for example if someone lives in the UK, but was born in the US, which variety of English should be used? The country they were born in or the country of residence. I would like to seek a consensus on which is better. Mstrojny (talk) 17:51, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Best to use the one for where they first became notable, or did their most notable stuff. Also, whether they ever changed citizenship (if you know) might be an issue. In many cases either may be acceptable. But if a style has been established, that should be continued. Johnbod (talk) 18:09, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Deleted sentence at Punctuation inside or outside / Proposed reordering at Names and titles[edit]


I almost boldly changed

"Life", Anaïs Nin wrote, "shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."


"Life," Anaïs Nin wrote, "shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

at Quotation Marks > Punctuation before quotations, in accordance with the style I had always seen, I thought even in British publications. I don't remember what stopped me from making this change, but whatever it was I was very surprised – and very pleasantly – to see that what I now see is termed "logical quotation" is now standard in Wikipedia. Despite the change I was about to make, I have for decades been an active proponent of what I would normally call British usage on this, which is both more logical and more attractive. Hooray Wikipedia.

The topics I am here raising, however, are not that but rather (1) my deletion – I hope not too bold – of a sentence in the subchapter Punctuation inside or outside, and (2) a proposed reordering in the subchapter Names and titles.

(1) When I noticed there was no sample given for the sentence "A question should always end with a question mark", I first added one:

Marlin asked Dory, "Can you read?"

I immediately had doubts about this, however. It wasn't really a question, but a declarative sentence quoting a question – and if I changed it to a question I wouldn't be sure how to punctuate it in approved Wikipedia style. Would that be

Did Marlin ask Dory, "Can you read?"


Did Marlin ask Dory, "Can you read?"?

Someone please tell me, thanks – though it seems fairly clear that the question needs two question marks in order to conform to the sentence it's supposed to illustrate.

What finally made me desist with trying to provide another sample, however, was not so much this problem but rather that there was no clause following the quote and I didn't know how to provide one, or even if the sentence without a sample necessarily referred to a quote with a following clause or not. So I deleted both my previously placed sample and the sentence, noting:

"Deleted previously added sample, plus the sentence "A question should always end with a question mark." pending provision of an appropriate sample, or perhaps new paragraph with same. Otherwise others than myself will be confused.

What I think I've done, then, is to prompt an improvement without having made or specified it myself. It may, however, be unnecessary to do anything more here at all, since "A question should always end with a question mark" may be taken as something rather obvious that neither belongs at this particular place nor merits a separate paragraph elsewhere.

(2) Continuing to check out the MoS, I noticed that the list item "and the section you are reading now." under Names and titles seemed out of place and should appear at the end rather than in the middle of the list. I tried to change this but couldn't, so I'm now suggesting that someone here who's able to do that make the change (assuming it can be changed by someone, as I suppose it can).


Roy McCoy (talk) 23:56, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Conflict in MOS:JOBTITLES?[edit]

A recent WP:ERRORS entry addressed an ITN blurb that stated "The former President of Peru Alan García commits suicide after a warrant is issued for his arrest." The word "President" was dropped to lowercase based on the argument that it denotes an office rather than a title. I agree with the change, but I do not think the office/title question is clear in this case. To me it illustrates a potential conflict in the rules at MOS:JOBTITLES, which prescribes capitals when used directly with the name but also calls for lowercase if a definite or indefinite article, or a modifier, is used. (I would have suggested recasting as "Alan Garcia, the former president of Peru, commits..." to avoid this conflict.) Jmar67 (talk) 04:39, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

Yes, but "President" wasn't being "used directly with the name" simply because of its proximity to it. "Used with the name" means directly directly with nothing intervening, i.e. "President Alan García". "President of Peru" is indeed an office not a title, we all apparently agree that the change was in order, I don't see that there's a problem with the style manual on this, and if it ain't broke don't fix it. –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:59, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

Another capitalization question[edit]

The following is the current lead of the article James Buchanan:

James Buchanan (/bjuːˈkænən/; April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868) was the 15th president of the United States (1857–1861), serving immediately prior to the American Civil War. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 17th United States Secretary of State and had served in the Senate and House of Representatives before becoming president.

Note that "president" is lowercased (twice) but "Secretary of State" is not. The general convention on articles on U.S. presidents is to indicate the ordinal rank in this form, with "president" in lowercase. However, in this example there is a capitalization conflict with "Secretary of State". Three other articles (James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams) also use "president" but "Secretary of State". The articles Secretary of state and United States Secretary of State treat it as a proper noun in the U.S. context and consistently capitalize it.

Is this lead MOS-compliant with respect to capitalization of these titles? Jmar67 (talk) 11:23, 23 April 2019 (UTC)