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Style discussions elsewhere[edit]

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Extended content

Non-breaking spaces with written-out units[edit]

As a follow-up to topic-specific discussions at Talk:Hassium and User talk:DePiep#MOS and NBSP, it seems that the current MOS guideline on the usage of non-breaking spaces when separating numbers from written-out units (e.g. 5 kilometers (instead of 5 km); 118 elements) is open to interpretation. It advises to use non-breaking spaces when line breaks are awkward, which they seem to be in this case; however, implementing this would apparently require making heavy changes to lots of articles, as it is not strongly established as are the examples given in the MOS section.

I thus ask, should the same guideline for quantities and abbreviated units be followed for fully spelled-out units? Should non-breaking spaces be used only with abbreviations, or always with units and quantities? I would like to establish a more definite MOS guideline, in which one or the other is widely agreed upon as common practice. ComplexRational (talk) 00:46, 10 March 2020 (UTC)[reply]

  • I really, really wish people would stop jumping straight into a project-wide RfC before working with other editors to frame the questions to be posed. I urge you to withdraw this. And MOSNUM is probably the right place for this. (Main MOS vs subsidiary pages is a longstanding problem.) EEng 01:26, 10 March 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Where else would you suggest discussing this, seeing as its outcome is not specific to the articles for which this was discussed, and the question is pretty straightforward from these discussions? If it can be held elsewhere, I will withdraw; however, I don't think that place is MOSNUM because this issue pertains to MOS:NBSP, which is not its own MOS sub-page. I'm open to ideas. ComplexRational (talk) 02:02, 10 March 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    I'd suggest discussing it right here (or at Talk:MOSNUM, but since ultimately it's an aesthetic, not technical, issue I guess here is fine.) There are plenty of people here who have thought a lot about formatting issues, and many have outside professional experience, and with their participation I suspect the issue can either be resolved or boiled down to a clearcut question. Open-ended RfCs like you've started, which pull random people from all over into an unstructured discussion, just end up a mess. EEng 03:28, 10 March 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Okay, I withdrew it as an RfC. Let's play it out as a regular discussion now; I apologize for being unaware of this potential complication. ComplexRational (talk) 09:53, 10 March 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Ping to prevent archiving. EEng 12:49, 27 March 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    I don't see the "jumping into an RfC" that EEng is referring to here. I do see a reasonable description by ComplexRational of a MOS detail to be clarified somehow. Do I miss some invisible redacted editing? Please clarify. As it stands now, the OP is correct and relevant to me. -DePiep (talk) 00:01, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Yes, obviously, like the OP said: he had set this up as an RfC but later withdrew it at my urging. EEng 00:28, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Eh, that 'obvious' part is not visible then?, like in an talk edited afterwards (ouch)? Must I do homework research to see it? -DePiep (talk) 00:34, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Jesus Christ, the OP wrote, just above here: Okay, I withdrew it as an RfC. 01:46, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
    I think the point that is puzzling both DePiep and me is there seems to be no trace of the !RfC for us to see what issues had been raised. Starting an RfC and then withdrawing it should surely leave something in a history somewhere. There are no links, nor anything in contributions that I can find. What am I missing? --RexxS (talk) 14:11, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    The most recent diff before I withdrew upon EEng's suggestion was [1]. All that changed since then was removal of the RfC template; the content of my original post is the same now as it was then. ComplexRational (talk) 14:43, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]

In traditional typography, typesetters would ensure that sentences didn't break onto another line at a point where the result was a new line starting with something that didn't make sense alone, or where the break would produce a semantic dissonance. So they would avoid lines starting with an abbreviation:

  • something something ... a distance of 15

as well as lines that changed meaning when the next line was read:

  • something something ... a cost of $5

In electronic document processing, when line length can change with screen resolution or window size, the non-breaking space was used to prevent those sort of breaks from happening. I don't believe there has ever been any rationale for placing a non-breaking space between numbers and normal recognisable English words, because those don't produce problems, other than in cases like the second example. There is really nothing wrong with seeing:

  • something something ... a distance of 15

and it is especially ludicrous to extend the fetish for non-breaking spaces in quantities to normal counted items. There is nothing wrong with reading:

  • something something ... a squad of 24
    football players

The examples at MOS:UNITNAMES reflect these simple principles, and I can't see what other interpretation could be made of the present guidance:

  • Use a non-breaking space ({{nbsp}} or  ) between a number and a unit symbol, or use {{nowrap}} ...
  • ... and a normal space is used between a number and a unit name.

If somebody wants to change those guidelines, then they really should be proposing what changes they want made and the reasons for them. --RexxS (talk) 19:07, 27 March 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Just for the record, I wasn't proposing a change. I was merely asking for clarification, and if any disagreement were to arise, then firmly establish one way or another. What is written here makes sense, now I only propose that it is made crystal clear for other (copy)editors in the MOS:NBSP section (to use only with abbreviations). ComplexRational (talk) 00:10, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
(ec) @RexxS:, these examples are undisputed, and are clear by WP:NBSP and WP:MOSUNIT. Minor detail: your example of 15<regularspace>kilometres is not in the MOS explicitly, but well observed, also by {{Convert}} — end of detail.
Note: for simplicity, an "_" (underscore) says NBSP.
A question arose when reading in MOS:NBSP: It is desirable to prevent line breaks where breaking across lines might be confusing or awkward. -- note the criterium "awkward". The examples given are (1) unit symbols - no problem, see before, and (2) exampes of number-in-proper-name (Boeing_747).
Some editors state that the "awkward" situation may also occur in situations with a number inline, i.e. in running text. Examples (in here): element_114, the expected magic 114_protons, ....
My (opposing) point is that such number-word combinations are not awkward, can reasionably occur in any running sentence, are part of a reading habit, and so are not 'awkward' and do not allow an NBSP. Otherwise, this whole enwiki could require a MOS-change in ~every article, or have inconsistent styles between articles re this line-breaking.
So, first question: do we recognise this is a Good MOS Question to discuss? -DePiep (talk) 00:25, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
There's long been a need for the nbsp/nobreak guidance to be improved. I've never done anything about it because I realized some cases would need a discussion. EEng 00:28, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@DePiep: It certainly seems that something ought to be done to educate editors about when to use (and not use) non-breaking spaces. I just looked at the Island of stability article you pointed out. Over 200 non-breaking spaces. Seriously? I've just removed four that you could see at a glance occur at places where the line could never break. No doubt somebody will revert me, citing MoS instead of thinking for themselves. I'm not sure repeating the already crystal clear guidance in MoS is the solution though. Either they never read MoS or they don't understand what a line break is. Either way, tinkering with the MoS won't have any effect on them. As for your actual examples, I've long ago given up trying to convince others that there's absolutely nothing wrong with reading
  • Flerovium, with the expected magic 114
    protons, was first synthesized in 1998
Although to get a line break there, you would have to be viewing on a screen with a maximum line length of less than 40 characters. Even my 1978 vintage TRS-80 could manage that. --RexxS (talk) 03:06, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • If 114 protons can't be broken, then you may as well say that every number has to be followed by an nbsp, always, and that would be silly.
  • I do think Z = 112 shouldn't break, though that would be better coded as {{nobr|Z = 112}} than the current Z&nbsp;=&nbsp;112
  • I'm not sure that all the examples at MOS:NBSP belong there, and I wonder if there shouldn't be some other cases listed.
EEng 04:20, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
User:RexxS: that is my understanding of MOS:NBSP too, including its background (typography). It's just, I stopped editing because of EW, started a talk, and involved editors correctly started a wider talk here. But I see no need to admonish other editors, instead we could use a clearer MOS text and explanation here, for fellow editors. -DePiep (talk) 08:28, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I now see that the section title here is a much narrower issue than the wide one ComplexRational and I were discussing/editing. As the Island of stability example show, it was and is about all of MOS:NBSP. This complicates/disturbs this talk flow, I must excuse. (how to proceed?). -DePiep (talk) 08:32, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@EEng and DePiep: Apologies, I was too focused on the quantities issues and not enough on the general nbsp guidance, which does seem to be missing. IMHO, we should have a guideline that says something like
  • Numbers followed by an ordinary English word (not an abbreviation, or similar) do not require a non-breaking space between them in normal circumstances.
There are also many circumstances where a non-breaking space is unnecessary because a line break can't happen there. There are three examples in Island of stability: in the caption of the infobox (the width is fixed, regardless of window size); in reference number 5 (too close to the start of a line for a line break to be possible); and in the table caption "Most stable isotopes of superheavy elements (Z ≥ 104)" (the table can't become narrow enough to wrap the caption onto another line). I've tried pushing the zoom up to 250% and narrowing the window to its minimum, but I can't find a setting that could cause a line break where one had been placed. Nevertheless, I don't suppose that is anything we can, or should, try to give guidance about in MoS for fear of causing more confusion. --RexxS (talk) 14:06, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
In the first image, a line break appeared at 70% zoom on my computer screen, and indeed was awkward. What exactly are you suggesting would risk more confusion? The MoS is supposed to make things as clear as possible, and I wouldn't have started this thread had it been clear from the beginning (echoing EEngThere's long been a need for the nbsp/nobreak guidance to be improved.). ComplexRational (talk) 14:40, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for explaining how you got the line break in the image caption; I hadn't considered zooming out that far. But do you think anybody actually reads Wikipedia at 70% zoom? I can't even get any of my browsers to zoom at 70% to see the effect. Still, it's possible, so best to leave in the {{nowrap}} in that case. The general point about infobox images with captions shorter than the image width is worth understanding, though.
What I am suggesting is that there are many cases where we simply don't need a non-breaking space, i.e. whenever it's not possible for the line to break at that point, but that it's difficult to try to give foolproof guidance to cover those cases, so I don't think we can come up with a form of words that would be helpful. Can you?
Do you agree with my suggested clarification above: Numbers followed by an ordinary English word (not an abbreviation, or similar) do not require a non-breaking space between them in normal circumstances. and if not, why not? --RexxS (talk) 16:33, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Makes sense, I understand what you're saying about captions. Would it then also be better to use {{nobr|1=''Z'' = 114}} (for example) throughout the article, if this would be preferred to a pair of nbsp's? (On an unrelated note, maybe a new template should be created following whatever this discussion establishes, as this is pretty common in chemistry and physics articles.) ComplexRational (talk) 18:18, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with this wording, it addresses the elephant in the room and is easy enough to follow. I would specifically use it as an antithesis to the MOS points advising nbsp with units (70_km) or parts of the name (Airbus_A380), though I suppose saying "not an abbreviation" already addresses that. The only thing that may raise questions is "normal circumstances" – I'd rather leave that out and add an additional bullet point saying something along the lines of Non-breaking spaces are not required in fixed-with table cells or image captions, especially when the text is not long enough to wrap., or else work out through discussion what the most common exceptions would be (that would otherwise confuse editors unfamiliar or too familiar with MOS). ComplexRational (talk) 18:18, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Most editors, in my experience, prefer {{nowrap}} over multiple consecutive non-breaking spaces in a phrase. It makes the wikitext more readable for other editors (the same reason we prefer to avoid html entities where possible).
The "normal circumstances" would be to cover exceptions like
  • ... his fee for the service was $50
where a non-breaking space between the number and the next word would avoid giving the reader the impression the fee was $50 until they read on to the next line. But I'm happy to accommodate other views such as giving examples of specific exceptions instead of stating "normal circumstances".
While I think about it, there is a good case for what I called the "semantic dissonance" to be noted as a rule in other places as well:
  • ... the great-grandnephew of Queen Mary
To anyone familiar with Tudor/Stuart history of England, it first reads as Mary I of England, then as Mary II of England when the next line is reached and obviously should be avoided. That represents one of the very few phrases where I would have no hesitation in recommending the use of a non-breaking space for cogent, rather than aesthetic reasons.--RexxS (talk) 19:26, 1 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]
This is already covered at MOS:NUM, to the extent any of this needs any rule-mongering. It advises using non-breaking spaces in strings like 5 cm, but it does not advise doing this when using spelled-out words. It doesn't advise against it, either. Like most things, it is left to editorial discretion. Nothing is broken. No, we do not need another template, since {{nobr}} and {{nbsp}} work fine. So does just using &nbsp;. Yes, it is WP:Common sense to non-breakify certain strings like "$50 thousand", and "Mary II". No, we don't need a rule about it, or we would've already had one by now. No, we do not need anyone going around inserting non-breaking spaces robotically in proximity to every number they see, per WP:MEATBOT ("ain't broke, don't 'fix' it").  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:29, 3 June 2020 (UTC)[reply]

NBSP for numeric followed by words[edit]

Hi all, I recently put up Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/1985 World Snooker Championship/archive2 for FAC. SandyGeorgia commented that there should be some additional non-breaking spaces for items such as "15 seeds, 103 entrants, 32 participants". I don't really mind putting these in, but wanted to clarify our MOS, and how it effects these types of phrases. My understanding at WP:NBSP is that we should use these on names, such as World War 2, and measurements, such as 10 Miles. However, should we also use these on regular expressions, such as "20 people"? I don't mind either way, but wanted to clarify before I do wholesale changes. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 14:19, 10 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]

The guideline gives patchy and somewhat conflicting advice on this entire subject. I'm going to give you what I think will be useful guidance, but we must brace ourselves for people to leap out at us from all corners of the project to denounce what I say as at best the product of unfathomable ignorance, and at worst detrimental to the moral fiber of the nation.
There are two (maybe more, but two I can think of offhand) things we're trying to prevent:
  • (1) You don't want tiny fragments that look odd alone stranded on the start of a line. Thus World War{nbsp}2 and Henry{nbsp}VIII.
  • (2) You don't want two things separated by a linebreak if the reader, seeing just the first part, will be momentarily misled and have to back up and rethink when he sees the bit on the next line. Thus $2{nbsp}million, because if the million goes on the next line the reader first thinks "Two dollars", and then when he sees the million he has to back up and think "Oh, wait, Two million dollars". (This is a peculiarity of the fact that money symbols go at front of quantities rather than at the end as with other units. Can anyone think of a similar example not involving money?)
(3) Notice that the logic of (2) doesn't arise with normal quantities like 15 seeds or 2 million dollars (i.e. no nbsp used in these cases) because as the reader scans "15<linebreak>seeds" there's nothing misleading about 15 alone at the end of the line, and the same for scanning "2<linebreak>million dollars" or "2 million<linebreak>dollars". When you think about it, if you required nbsp in constructions like that, then you're pretty much saying every number anywhere must be followed by an nbsp, and that can't be right. So I would not put {nbsp} in your examples.
(4) Units of measure are a special case. By the logic of (3), there's no {nbsp} in 10 kilometers. However, I think the guideline does recommend an {nbsp} in the case of 10{nbsp}km, because at the start of a line km looks weird in a way kilometer doesn't. (km is what's called a unit symbol, whereas kilometer is what's called a unit name, and there are several other ways in which unit symbols and unit names are treated differently, so there's nothing odd about treating them differently here.)
Perhaps the principles laid out above can be the start of a revival of this thread. EEng 03:04, 12 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Or perhaps not. In the meantime, here are some other places I think (comment invited, of course) nbsp would be needed or not needed. Probably some or all of these are give by others in the posts above but I want to get them down while they're on my mind.
  • In DMY dates e.g. 28{nbsp}May or 28{nbsp}May 1935, because at least some readers will find separation of the day-in-month from the month odd. (Further explanation on request as to why this is different from the case of 10 kilometers.)
  • In MDY dates e.g. May{nbsp}28, 1935, because "28, 1935" looks ludicrous at the start of a line.
  • He responded, "Better you than{nbsp}I." or The smallest reading was{nbsp}5.
  • 9:30{nbsp}a.m. because I think it's somewhat analogous to a unit symbol (see above); and definitely 9:30{nbsp}am, because "am" alone and separated from the "9:30" could cause the reader to trip and fall.
  • several{nbsp}.22 shells, because starting a line with a . looks weird
  • <certain image caption situations, details to be supplied (centered captions, left-aligned captions)>
  • Ellipsis or other fragments at the start of a quotation: He listed them as "1.{nbsp}Good goals, 2. Good planning, 3. Good execution; or The torn fragment read, "...{nbsp}for the love of God!"
  • July{{nbsp}}28, 1942 ????
Not needed:
  • 123 Main Street
EEng 00:48, 14 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I ask people here: how often have you struck a dangling numeral at the end of a line? Me: not that I can recall. Tony (talk) 07:08, 14 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    By struck do you mean "run into/happened to find" or "struck out/had to get rid of"? EEng 16:14, 14 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Perhaps that was meant to be "stuck", the synonym for "put". —⁠ ⁠BarrelProof (talk) 23:58, 13 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • I could see having a summary section somewhere (hopefully not in the main page, maybe in MOS:TEXT) about "Appropriate uses of non-breaking spaces" or some heading title like that, in which we could suggest these sorts of cases, without implying that they're required. People already rankle at the currently fairly-strongly-recommended ones in MOS:NUM and a few other places. So, there's opportunity to cry "WP:CREEP!" here if this discussion produces more rules, rather than optional tweaks for polishing up text for maximum usability.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:30, 15 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Definitely for FA-level polishing, mostly, but there's one situation where I've found it worth the trouble to apply nbsp/nobr fairly liberally: in image captions, because their short line length means bad breaks do occur now and then unless you prevent them. EEng 03:45, 15 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm surprised to see the above quote from MOS:NUM (WP:UNITNAMES): "a normal space is used between a number and a unit name". Personally, I would find a line break within the example's "29
    kilograms" rather ugly. —⁠ ⁠BarrelProof (talk) 00:05, 14 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Me, too. The position "you're pretty much saying every number anywhere must be followed by an nbsp" that EEng spoke against earlier actually seems to me to be the best practice. Your example of a break between 29 and kilograms not only looks "ugly", but makes me think that there has been a misprint of some sort causing me to have trouble understanding what is written. --Khajidha (talk) 19:38, 24 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • Somewhat related, but since the discussion here is almost-exclusively referencing insertion of NBSPs, I wanted to re-raise this previous discussion where I advocated for using Template:nowrap instead of NBSPs. The simple reason being that (at least on my system / in my browser) {{nowrap}} has the same effect as the insertion of NBSPs, without affecting spacing of the text the way NBSP does (again, at least on my system). Here's the example I presented:
Bare Wikilinked
Using {{nowrap}} World War I World War I
Using &nbsp; World War I World War I
Looking at that on my screen, the &nbsp; version has a much larger — in fact, uncomfortably large — space between "War" and "I", whereas the {{nowrap}} version is spaced normally. If we can protect phrases against wrapping without making the formatting look weird, I figure that makes the decision on when/whether to do so a bit less fraught. -- FeRDNYC (talk) 02:52, 15 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Something from somewhere else[edit]

From User:Tony1/Monthly_updates_of_styleguide_and_policy_changes / WP:Wikipedia_Signpost/2008-07-07/Dispatches --EEng 15:34, 18 January 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Non-breaking spaces. The narrower scope for using non-breaking (i.e., "hard") spaces was significantly clarified. They should be used:

  • in compound expressions in which figures and abbreviations or symbols are separated by a space (17 kg, AD 565, 2:50 pm);
  • between month and day in dates that are not autoformatted (August 3, 1979);
  • on the left side of spaced en dashes; and
  • in other places where displacement might be disruptive to the reader, such as £11 billion, 5° 24′ 21.12″ N, Boeing 747, and the first two items in 7 World Trade Center.

Improve Controlling line breaks section[edit]

It seems that it would be good if the example markup of 5° 24′ N included a non-breaking space between the 5degrees and the 24minutes and the N. DGerman (talk) 21:18, 6 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Does this still need to remain unarchived?[edit]

EEng? valereee (talk) 17:20, 20 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Along with patrollers reflexively responding to edit requests with "Get consensus first", it's one of those things I plan to get to sometime between now and when I die. EEng 17:31, 20 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Spacing RfC[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
In this discussion, Th78blue proposes a change to the way we format text in the editing interface. The proposed change would have no effect on the rendered page but would improve readability of the wikimarkup for some editors, such as the nominator who is visually impaired.
The community reflects on this suggestion and notes that the proposal would also decrease readability of the wikimarkup for those who use small screens such as phones. With my closer hat on, I give considerable weight to this concern because editors from some communities would be disproportionately affected. Wikipedians who aren't from wealthy Western democracies very often edit from their phones because they don't have access to a desktop or laptop; so the proposed rule has downsides and needs to be considered in the light of systemic bias.
In the discussion below, despite some articulate and well-argued dissent, the community reaches a weak consensus that what's called for here is guidance rather than regulation. Editors are invited to discuss how to phrase an appropriate edit to MOS:ACCESS that would explain the benefits of leaving a white line after headings for visually impaired people, and also the drawbacks for small-screen users. When the phrasing is agreed, the appropriate edit may be made.—S Marshall T/C 11:51, 30 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Should the MOS say that a space is required (or suggested) between each section and the content below it and sub-section and the content below it? Firefangledfeathers 03:42, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Adding the above so that this RfC has a brief neutral statement. Please read Th78blue's full proposal below. Firefangledfeathers 03:42, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hello all,

I have noticed that on user talk pages (see mine for instance) there is automatically a single line of white space in the source editor "back end" when you are editing, and that this line is helpful visually for people with me that have bad eyes because it presents the text more clearly as separate so that nothing mushes together. I have noticed on other main space articles that you can add a space on the back end of any article between a section or sub-section header, and it will not change the way it looks at all on the front end to the casual Wikipedia-reading public. I'd like to propose a minor change to the MOS, that a space be required (or at minimum suggested) between each section and the content below it and sub-section and the content below it. From an accessibility standpoint, this helps me greatly in reading the source editor (and I really do NOT like the "visual editor", call me "old school" that way). I do not think there is much of any reason to NOT allow for a space, because it does not affect the appearance in any way to the front end.

Example sub-section WITH a space below text as I am advocating for (notice ONLY appears different on backend/source editor)[edit]

  • Example content 1 (see the space just above this line—in source editing mode only)
  • Example content 2
  • Example content 3

Example sub-section WITHOUT a space below text, appears to "mushed" to me (notice ONLY appears different on backend/source editor)[edit]

  • Example content 1 (see that there is no space just above this line—in source editing mode only)
  • Example content 2
  • Example content 3

I hope I have made my point clear, and if so, I'd add a brief one line to the MOS in the "Spacing" section that outlines adding a space between headers and content as suggested or as mandatory. I have spent some time adding such spaces to thousands of articles, and no one has yet raised any concern, until just recently someone asked me why I added a space. I just want to make sure everything that is ever done has the community and MOS support. Thank you very much. Th78blue (talk) 13:19, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Survey (Spacing RfC)[edit]

  • Support suggestion rather than mandatory. I would hate for us to use this as another reason to yell at people for not doing; but I think making this an explicit suggestion is a good idea. No harm, all upside. --Jayron32 13:25, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support per MOS:ACCESS. Agree it is should be a recommendation rather than mandatory, but written in such a way that if one editor inserts the space, a second editor can't revert it saying that the MOS doesn't mandate it. In IETF RFC speak, a should rather than a must or a may. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 14:05, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I would be okay with language that says that such spaces should not be removed... --Jayron32 14:31, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment. I think the relevant MOS section is MOS:HEAD which currently says: The heading must be on its own line, with one blank line just before it; a blank line just after is optional and has no effect (but do not use two blank lines, before or after, because that will add unwanted visible space). If I understand correctly, you're proposing that the optional "blank line just after" be changed to mandatory or recommended. pburka (talk) 15:14, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you for pointing that out. Yes, I think then my thought would be to change that to mandatory or recommended. Perhaps just worded like this, "The heading must be on its own line; with one blank line just before it, and one blank line just after (but do not use two blank lines, before or after, because that will add unwanted visible space)." I also wonder if this includes sub-section "headers" and all? I would hope it would include all "headers" of all sections/sub-sections for my own eyesight benefit. I am happy to dedicate my entire bandwidth to helping to implement some of these changes as well. Thank you everyone for your interesting comments and insights thus far.Face-smile.svg Th78blue (talk) 15:34, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Do not support - The reason User:Th78blue started this RfC in the first place, is because I asked them why they seemed to be randomly going from article to article adding an extra line after section headings. I asked why they did this at Miami Beach, Florida, and they responded that "I have fairly bad eyes, and even with my glasses and enlarging the screen size, I find that a single line of empty space between each header or sub-section header, really helps me to read and work on the back end (source editor) for any and all edits that I do."
    But User:Th78blue had never edited the Miami Beach, Florida article before (or all the other articles they did this, like Moore Haven, Florida). Moreover, their first edit at Miami Beach was to add a space to a section that they made no other edit to. In other words, Th78blue was going from random article to random article adding lines...just in case they needed to come back in the future to edit which time it would be easier to see.
    I also pointed out that THE VERY FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THE MOS says, "When either of two styles are acceptable it is inappropriate for a Wikipedia editor to change from one style to another unless there is some substantial reason for the change", but that didn't seem to get repeated here in this RfC.
    In summary, I do not support this proposal, first, because I find the extra line annoying; second, because MOS:HEAD already permits the placement of an extra line; and third, because it would be disruptive to have editors frivolously going from article to article adding extra lines--which in no way improve the presentation for Wikipedia's readers--just in case, one day, they may want to go back and edit it, at which that time it will be easier to see. Magnolia677 (talk) 16:21, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thanks for your comment Magnolia677. Just for everyone's reference, I am linking here to my original comment that Magnolia677 is referring to on my talk page here. I appreciate the input from all, and especially the suggestion that this spacing helps from an MOS:ACCESS standpoint (credit for that point made by John Maynard Friedman (talk · contribs). I know consensus forming is never easy, but it is clearly an integral part of maintaining the encyclopedia. Th78blue (talk) 16:29, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Do not support A blank line here means there is room for one less line of text in an already small edit window and potentially more scrolling. I prefer only a single blank line before the header (and add them when they are missing), but never a blank line after the header. MB 16:58, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose per WP:COSMETICBOT. This is the definition of a cosmetic change to the wikitext: it does not make any difference in the rendered appearance. As the linked guideline notes, edits to enforce principles like the one proposed here "clutter page histories, watchlists, and/or the recent changes feed with edits that are not worth the time spent reviewing them" and "should not usually be done on their own". We should not be encouraging them. —David Eppstein (talk) 17:22, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    David, I don't think that there is any proposal for a bot to go round editing thousands of articles to apply this proposal. The nominator is saying that it is not a just cosmetic edit as far as they are concerned, they are saying in effect that the present default is disabling them. The ideal solution of course would be that the WMF would just make this the default appearance in main space as it is in talk space and nobody would complain. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 20:01, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Th78blue: It is fair comment that this should not be the only edit you make to an article. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 20:01, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you for that comment @John Maynard Friedman:, I would say that it is typically part of my search as part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Cities, to go through articles mostly on towns and cities from around the globe, and then fix typos, en dashes that were incorrectly listed as hyphens, and other small items (spacing just being one of them). So the spacing edit is rarely done in isolation, unless I find nothing else pop out at me worth "fixing." I believe you might say that I am the definition of a WikiGnome. I have been doing this in many states (and countries) and I always start from the top down based on lists such as List of municipalities in Florida in this case. I take my time with it, and I do revisit towns and cities as often as I can. That said, my aim is to make sure that I am working slowly, diligently, and thoroughly, but I do not believe that my behavior constitutes that of a "bot." It would help me greatly though to have this change implemented, and yes, I agree with you John that it would be much better if it were done in the manner you suggested, just as it already is in the talk spaces universally. Also, if there is concern that this may "clutter page histories", I can just click "Edit source" at the top once, and try and make sure I don't miss any header in one go. Ensuring as few edits as possible, and doing very little in the way of "cluttering" a page history. Th78blue (talk) 20:11, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Th78blue: - I also conduct a lot of edits that could be seen as simply changing "one thing" on an article, but a lot of the time, that's because I'm combing through an article section-by-section to see if there's any work that needs doing in terms of templates, layout and accessibility. Sometimes this only throws up one thing. It's to be expected, sometimes.--Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 11:13, 21 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - Nothing wrong with conformity. GoodDay (talk) 18:59, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • SUPPORT, I support the arguments in favor of moving forward with a suggested space beneath the headers (a change is warranted based on WP:ACCESS). Also, a single added space is a not really harming anyone as far as I can tell, though some my see it as annoying since it is a change from the status quo. I did not realize that it was already the case that there is an automatic space on all talk pages below headers, I did have to double-check that! One note though for @Th78blue: who authored this proposal. I think that your suggestion that you, "click 'Edit source' at the top 'once', and try and make sure [not to] miss any header in 'one go'..." is helpful. I've looked at your edit history and noticed that you often seem to add numerous spaces across a single page (as was done at Moore Haven, Florida, which I might add was recently reverted by Magnolia677). Why was that reverted with an edit summary of "Unnecessary"? It seems to me that it is still an open question regarding the consensus on this proposal @Magnolia677:? user:Th78blue, if you could just try and publish no more than one "spacing" edit per page, you have my support. Pulpfiction621 (talk) 00:24, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you for the comment @Pulpfiction621:, and the support of the proposal. Your suggestion is fair, and I can commit to editing in that manner with this added space as helping me to see more clearly and plainly what I edit. I really find the text all "mushed up" next to itself to be a bit too difficult to read/edit sometimes, and I appreciate anyone willing to listen and help out. Th78blue (talk) 03:19, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Pulpfiction621: I reverted the edit because it violated MOS:VAR. Magnolia677 (talk) 09:31, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment - Help:Whitespace only applies to rendered text yet I have seen plenty of edits that would remove such "white space" that doesn't render. I agree that whitespace in the classic editor makes it easier to navigate. It is particularly useful in editing threaded discussions. If one wishes to cite WP:COSMETICBOT to oppose the proposal, then one should also cite it to oppose the removal of such space. Let it be. But also, don't go around adding it, just for the sake of it. Perhaps we might emphasise this at Help:Whitespace. Cinderella157 (talk) 00:27, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose per David Eppstein. The Manual of Style should not dictate between equally valid wikitext styles that produce the same output. Ruбlov (talk) 12:11, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you for your comment. I fear that David Eppstein's point does not address the WP:ACCESS point raised by user:John Maynard Friedman, and the reason that I proposed this in the first place. Th78blue (talk) 17:13, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • OpposeWP:CREEP and not in scope of MOS:. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:49, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Hi @Michael Bednarek:, I was hoping that a tiny ask such as this would not have been controversial, however someone mentioned Parkinson's Law of triviality, and I fear that it applies here. My aim is to just at least have the option to add such a space beneath headers without being reverted. This helps me while editing any page in particular and hunting for typos etc. I wonder if people are opposing on the basis of a "requirement/mandate" or even as a "suggestion"? I am open to either, and this is such a small add in text, that I do not believe WP:CREEP applies to be honest. Especially if a "suggestion" only. Thank you for reading my comment. Th78blue (talk) 15:15, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Th78blue: One look at your edit history shows that having "the option to add such a space beneath headers without being reverted" wasn't at all what you were doing. You were going from article to article, adding extra lines, and then moving on to other articles. At Midway, Gadsden County, Florida, you made seven edits in a row just to add extra lines--and then moved on to the next article without making any other edits. The only thing this does is quickly increase your edit count. Can you add some diffs of editors who have reverted you after you added extra lines? The only reason you started this RfC is because I asked you why you were going from article to article adding extra lines. Magnolia677 (talk) 17:00, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Hi @Magnolia677:, I already stated that I can do those edits in one edit instead. My apologies if it appeared disruptive doing it in the manner I was comfortable previously. Regarding the diffs. I do not believe anyone has ever mentioned it, or reverted me before, for adding spaces like this. Surprisingly (or not), you are the first and only that I know of. Th78blue (talk) 17:16, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Also @Magnolia677: I have been nothing but cordial and patient with you. Please do not read motives into my actions that are not there, such as you did by stating, "The only thing this does is quickly increase your edit count." Thank you. Th78blue (talk) 17:18, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Lastly, I just removed any edit counter from my user page @Magnolia677:, just for you. 718smiley.svg Th78blue (talk) 18:51, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose There is no need to modify MOS for this. The current wording permits the blank line after the heading. I doubt that any otherwise useful edit that includes adding a space after a heading would be reverted because of the added space. There is no MOS:ACCESS issue because any editor making useful edits can add the space after headings to make it easier for them to read. However, editing solely to add the space is unnecessary, and this RFC seems to be intended to justify editing articles only to add the space. Schazjmd (talk) 17:29, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Schazjmd:, Thank you for your comment. If the edit were made as just one per article, I think that it would be minimally imposing. I was mistakenly making it for each section before, missing the now obvious that I could just click "Edit source" at the top for the entire article and go through and make the spaces, and then follow up to the article over time for typos and other very minor miscellany. Which is my preferred Gnome-like way of working. Face-smile.svg. Thank you. Th78blue (talk) 22:46, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Don't legislate this. This RfC is blind to 1) images inserted at sections and 2) {{main}} article templates that must follow section headings. SusanLesch (talk) 18:04, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @SusanLesch: I don't want to legislate a requirement at this point, perhaps just a suggestion. I just want to make sure that we don't legislate the other direction either (as I believe it may currently stand?). So that I can make this edit, freely, without fear of being reverted, and so that I can do so as a stand-alone edit. I then often go back to articles, and can read them more easily, finding typos and other miscellany more readily, and fix them. Thank you for your consideration, and for reading my comment. Th78blue (talk) 22:43, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Th78blue: So you want to make sure "we don't legislate the other direction", even though no editor has every reverted you after adding extra lines, and there have been no proposals to change the longstanding policy allowing editors to add extra lines? Is this correct? Magnolia677 (talk) 23:26, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Magnolia677:. I did not see the harm in asking to get clarity on a MOS suggestion. I often times edit an article in such a manner as that I "prepare" it for myself visually with these single spaces beneath a header, and then go back to it, even weeks later, and find more typos and such as part of the Wikipedia:Typo Team that I participate in. I really did not think that was such a contentious ask. However whatever the community decides, I will of course abide by. Thank you for your comment. Th78blue (talk) 23:45, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support making this best practices, if it's an accessibility issue. I don't want anyone to get growled at. :D But if this is helpful to some editors and doesn't harm others, why shouldn't we encourage people to do this? valereee (talk) 19:27, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Valereee:, thank you for your comment. Th78blue (talk) 00:25, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. I like MOS:VAR. Having that space is good. Not having that space is good. We don't need more rules. Masterhatch (talk) 19:56, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Masterhatch:, Thank you for your comment. Th78blue (talk) 17:16, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose I typically use visual editor, and when you create a section header and then text below it, it does not create this blank space. Therefore, I would not be following this suggestion unless technical changes are made, and still prefer no space when editing in source. There are a lot of cosmetic issues that you may perceive to be easier to read (hard to read a few words of text among a bunch of citations!), but I'm confused how this would be an accessibility issue. I honestly find it ridiculous that the proposer made over a dozen edits to Miami Beach, Florida that merely added line breaks to one section at a time with no difference in output. This is completely useless clutter, and you should only do it in the course of actually substantive editing. Isn't there also a way to color-code source text that should make identifying headers easier? Reywas92Talk 20:52, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Reywas92:, No disrespect taken! I appreciate your comment. And yes, I do acknowledge that one weakness of my proposal is that it essentially ignores visual editor. I prefer to work only "the old school" way in source editor, and that is where the spacing helps me most. I only do a single space, which doesn't render or affect anything else. I was hoping for this to be a lot less controversial than it appears to have turned out to be... Thank you for reading my comment. Th78blue (talk) 22:48, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose with respect to the proposer, but if we standardize on anything it should be to not have such a space, for me at least, as a space makes it harder to immediately see that the heading is then attached to its text as it would be if one were writing on a piece of paper. As well as making the whole wiki text occupy more vertical space in the window overall. I don't want to see lots of edits changing this from one form to the other on my watchlist either, that would be a lot of noise.  — Amakuru (talk) 21:05, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thanks for the comment @Amakuru:, I think there is a pretty clear consensus now on at least NOT MANDATING this suggestion, but what if we at least allowed the edit by itself. It lets me prime an article, that I often later return to, to find more typos and such. I don't want to clog up anyones feed though, so one thing that I've already suggested is that It shouldn't be done for each section as a separate edit, but rather one edit for an entire article. Then at most, each article would only ever have this edit appear once. Shouldn't be too much of an imposition then. Thank you for considering my suggestion. I really must have effed up on the wording here, because I do not mean for making a new rule or bothering anyone, but rather just wish to be able to make this edit as a standalone without being reverted (and then I can make other edits other times as well, but its easier for me to read then). Th78blue (talk) 22:40, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support this minor, simple add to the MOS if it helps those with accessibility issues. FactSuperNerd (talk) 13:29, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for your comment FactSuperNerd. Th78blue (talk) 14:12, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support as a suggestion: Some articles are incredibly dense in terms of source editing, and I can see how the addition of a blank line below a section heading would be useful for editors with poorer sight. It's a simple way we can make our encyclopedia more accessible to existing and potential editors.--Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 11:13, 21 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you very much for your comment of support Ineffablebookkeeper. I have come around to the "as a suggestion" point of view as well as being the only real path forward (and the better "suggestion" anyway!). I am hoping that we can build consensus around this then as a suggestion only soon. Thank you. Th78blue (talk) 12:54, 21 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support suggestion, I am in full agreement with one of the first editors to comment, @Jayron32: who summed up the suggestion as, "... rather than mandatory. I would hate for us to use this as another reason to yell at people for not doing; but I think making this an explicit suggestion is a good idea. No harm, all upside. I concur with the thinking here of Jayron32. It seems obvious to me that the downside to a suggestion (rather than mandate) to allow editors to insert a line of blank white space beneath headers, is minimal. Requiring this of all new edits, however, would be an undue new imposition that I would not support. Oopsemoops (talk) 03:33, 28 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Oopsemoops, thank you for your comment. Th78blue (talk) 03:00, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP; not significant enough to justify an inclusion in the MOS. --Aquillion (talk) 19:21, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you for your comment Aquillion If it is merely suggested, I think that might help, no? I think the mere fact that this was ever worded as a potential mandate has spooked many senior/veteran editors. Please consider what if you'd be equally opposed to a suggestion (or just allowing editors to place the space beneath a section header independent of another edit, because I often go back and more more edits later, but like to prime an article for me to then be able to read more easily). Thank you. Th78blue (talk) 05:15, 22 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. I suppose I don't really have a good reason to, but I don't really see how this would help improve readability except when the section titles are really long. Meanwhile, this would (unless I am mistaken) increase the length of articles a bit, potentially increasing the need to scroll (which is a real pain on mobile devices). I also find whitespace between the section header and the section content to be visually displeasing. If you are having trouble finding sections in source because it looks to be part of a paragraph while quickly scrolling, you can always edit individual sections directly. Compassionate727 (T·C) 01:02, 22 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I think the RfC should refer actually to "section headings." I have been adding spaces as optional beneath each heading. The length of the section headings is immaterial, but rather the fact that on a white screen, with lots of regular text (syntax highlighter helps a little), then it just makes it harder for me to differentiate text bodies of text at a glance for the sorts of gnome-like edits that I make (fixing hyphens that should really be en dashes is a big one). I really did not think there would be much, if any, opposition to this, since the objective would be to just allow for WP:ACCESS to be able to read pages and subsequently edit more easily, but I have found that to not be the case. Th78blue (talk) 05:12, 22 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose – per WP:CREEP. My personal preference is to add the blank line, and I always do in new articles; however there is no difference in the rendered page so MOS:VAR is in play here, and I respect anyone's preference to do it the other way if they wish. As far as changing from one to the other (in either direction) in an existing article, very strong oppose per MOS:VAR. Mathglot (talk) 22:26, 23 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Firstly, the RfC is flawed (being non-neutral). It gives only two options: require a space after a heading or suggest a space after a heading while completely omitting the MoS's stipulation (at the time this RfC began) that the space after the heading was optional. This omission guided respondents to choose between required or suggested and only an MoS familiar respondent would know to choose the status quo of optional, which is what I hope to see remain. It is not a function of our MoS to require or suggest one optional style over another and it's best that we keep it that way. Regarding MOS:ACCESS, that provision applies to the readability of the rendered page and does not extrapolate to editing the page's source code. Best regards.--John Cline (talk) 00:55, 24 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Final conclusion[edit]

Hello all,

After waiting some time now, it appears as if the 'consensus' is for a suggestion rather than any hard mandate. I will proceed with a slight wording change then to the MOS to reflect this unless there is any further comment or objection? Thank you all for participating, and please let me know how to "close" the RfC then. Do we remove this commentary from the MOS talk page? I am not familiar with all the steps. Th78blue (talk) 12:57, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Consensus? Where? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:58, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Th78blue: If you don't know how to close an RfC, you shouldn't be attempting to do so: the posts below demonstrate your lack of experience with RfCs. Since you initiated the whole thread and have posted numerous times since, you are not uninvolved and certainly shouldn't determine the outcome of what is clearly a contentious issue. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 17:09, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
My sincere apologies. Whom determines the closure then, just so I can follow along? Th78blue (talk) 17:20, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
For something this complex, any uninvolved admin - or a similarly-uninvolved experienced non-admin in good standing. You may file a request at Wikipedia:Closure requests. But it may be best to wait a few days, until Legobot removes the {{rfc}} tag, which should occur at 04:01, 20 March 2022 (UTC). More at WP:RFCEND. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 19:13, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for the help with this from a procedural standpoint Redrose64. I will wait until after that date and time has passed and then I will follow up with your suggestion via a closure request. I know "consensus building" can be excruciating, but I also do enjoy it. 718smiley.svg Th78blue (talk) 17:09, 17 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Discussion (Spacing RfC)[edit]

I already got growled at weeks ago, for deleting whitespace from the intro of articles. BTW: Why isn't there an RFC tag for this RFC? GoodDay (talk) 17:51, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Exactly the sort of issue that I am looking to fix by finally just having consensus around one way or another. Personally some whitespace (just one single line, and only underneath each header, helps me a lot due to my vision). I think your suggestion of an RFC tag is fine, I have not done many of these RfC's so I am not familiar with the format of that tag or where to put it, would you mind helping me out in this case then and I will then know for the future. Thanks in advance. Face-smile.svg Th78blue (talk) 17:58, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Done. GoodDay (talk) 18:09, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It's not being listed correctly because the statement is both too long and too complex - it contains subheadings. I don't know how many times I've pointed this out, but WP:RFCBRIEF is not optional. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 23:16, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for pointing this out. I apologize, as this is one of my first RfC's for any change/update to the MOS (even if small). I can sometimes be verbose in my explanations, but I really try to get it right, and ensure that I am being articulating my points properly. Also, my eyesight is rather poor, even with my prescription glasses and enlarged screen. I am asking that people consider support of this proposal, if not as a new mandate (which I can understand opposition to), then perhaps as a suggested acceptable edit at least (to add a single space immediately beneath headers). Thank you very much for reading my comment (also, on a somewhat related or unrelated note, I liked the picture on your user page that says, "We need people like these. The one at far left is being punished for trying to explain what accessibility means, and why it is a bad idea to deliberately ignore it." That really rings true to me right now. Th78blue (talk) 03:33, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I added a brief neutral statement above your proposal to comply with WP:RFC. Firefangledfeathers 03:42, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Wonderful Firefangledfeathers. That is much more concise than mine, perfect! Th78blue (talk) 04:42, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Feel free to voice a comment in the RfC itself if you'd like. I am trying to form consensus around this one way or another... which is never easy I find. Face-smile.svg Th78blue (talk) 04:48, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, that worked. Face-smile.svg Thank you --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 23:08, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Until I got a verbal spanking for it. You & I (@Th78blue:) were working in opposite directions. I had been removing white-spacing from the intro of articles, even when the spacing wasn't showing. GoodDay (talk) 23:33, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I don't think anyone should verbally spank anyone on this great encyclopedia. It is too bad we can't all follow WP:DBI. I am sorry you had to experience that. If my proposal loses out, so be it. It is the will of the community. Though I'm holding out hope that we can perhaps find some middle ground with a suggestion instead of a requirement worst case. Th78blue (talk) 23:40, 18 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose this new move toward WP:CREEP. Too trivial to legislate. And folks going around changing it should stand down per WP:STYLEVAR. Binksternet (talk) 00:44, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Hey @Binksternet:, thank you for your comment on this RfC. I believe you intended to leave your comment actually in the thread above this one "Discussion" subsection? Thank you. Th78blue (talk) 02:41, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@GoodDay, what was your thinking on the value of removing invisible spacing? valereee (talk) 11:16, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Gave me a gnome task, that would've lasted several months. GoodDay (talk) 18:07, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Wow GoodDay, I can really relate to this! It is almost therapeutic to have a nice "gnome task" to work on. Face-smile.svg Th78blue (talk) 01:31, 21 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
For gnome tasks that actually make a difference to readers, I like Wikipedia:Typo Team. I've got several I run checks for every once in a while. valereee (talk) 14:34, 20 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Th78blue, I wonder if this might be developed as something that could be opted-into via preferences? As an accessibility issue, if it weren't a daunting task, it might be of interest to developers. I like having spaces between lines of code when I'm working in source, too. It just makes things easier to find. valereee (talk) 11:14, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I have never seen the "u" ping before? Interesting! Well let me try it. Valereee, your suggestion is a highly interesting one, over my head to be sure as it relates to backend development, but I'd be happy to see a fix here implemented any way that we could. Th78blue (talk) 14:10, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Th78blue, sometimes a good place to start is Wikipedia:User scripts/Requests. If it's simple enough (and I have zero clue on that), there may be someone who can write a script that you can simply install. Make your request as brief and concise as you can, and head the section something like 'Accessibility for visually-impaired editors'. Lots of people are interested in helping make editing more accessible. valereee (talk) 14:37, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
That sounds like a great suggestion. Let us see where this particular proposal ends up, and then I will look into that. Thank you very much for caring! Th78blue (talk) 14:38, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Valereee: @Th78blue: I didn't know scripts like this existed - I actually popped in to say that I've talked to editors unfamiliar with accessibility templates like {{lang}} and {{transl}} before who have commented that they seem a lot of work, but it's really little gnome-like things that make a big difference. Are user scripts purely visual styles, like user-defined css?--Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 22:31, 21 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Ineffablebookkeeper, there's a list at WP:User scripts/List. One of them even automatically installs other scripts for you so that after you've installed that one, you don't need to screw with your scary (jcs?) page. valereee (talk) 22:38, 21 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Th78blue: anything that makes a link to a user page has the potential to trigger a notification. {{u}} is merely one of many templates that create a userpage link, as is {{replyto}} that I used here. See WP:MENTION. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 16:21, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Interesting. I traditionally always used the "ping" one, such as @Redrose64:. Is any one more "appropriate" for use than another or anything? I even saw someone use "yo" once, but when I tried it, it did not format correctly for me to them I believe. Th78blue (talk) 16:24, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
{{replyto}}, {{yo}} and {{ping}} are merely redirects to the same template (I don't like "ping" as a term, see this post for why). Which method that you use (a simple link such as Th78blue works just as well as any template) depends primarily upon the appearance that you desire. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 17:09, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you very much this information. I will forever more try and not use ping, just because. Why not!? I will thus @Redrose64: you here, and if it is not a reply, but a first reach out, then I might just use Redrose64 instead. Every single day I learn more on this great encyclopedia. Th78blue (talk) 17:14, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Is there any difference in terms of the "notification" that you receive on your end depending on whether it has the "@"-sign or not? Does that do or mean anything else? Th78blue (talk) 17:15, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
No. The text and formatting are exactly the same. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 18:00, 19 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
How about first creating a template for an options blank line, and stating that
  1. Editors should include that template in the lead of new articles
  2. Editors should not insert an initial blank line in existing articles.
  3. Editors should not remove an initial blank line from existing articles.
I see no reasons for any of the above to be MUST or MUST NOT. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 17:05, 20 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Chatul: This isn't about blank lines at the start of articles, but below section headings. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 22:31, 20 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Redrose64, I am open to any and all "compromises." It is never "my way or the highway" on the encyclopedia after all. Face-smile.svg I like your templated "options" @Redrose64: Th78blue (talk) 01:34, 21 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Whether it is merely allowed or is actively recommended, this is not the sort of edit that needs doing by itself. Nobody should be going around making edits that simply add this spacing without anything else. And ESPECIALLY shouldn't be going around doing multiple such edits to a single page by editing each section separately. --User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 16:44, 23 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Comment - @Th78blue: I hope you don't mind me clarifying a few things about this RfC and your reason for proposing it. I looked through your edit history in an effort to better understand this RfC, and what I noticed was that you were moving alphabetically through the Florida city articles. Your edits at first were useful cosmetic edits, but then you focused almost exclusively on adding extra lines under each section in the article, sometimes five or more edits per minute, each time adding an extra line under a section heading, saving the edit, then moving to the next section. Then you moved alphabetically to the next city. You made hundreds of bot-like edits until your reached "M"--Miami--when I left a message on your talk page asking why you were doing this. You then immediately responded by creating this RfC, explaining that you were adding all these extra lines because of a vision problem. But when I looked though those hundreds of edits, not once did you ever leave an edit summary explaining that your were doing this because of a vision problem. Did you explain this somewhere and I missed it? Thanks! Magnolia677 (talk) 21:21, 23 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Magnolia677, thank you for asking about this again. I appreciate your kind words as always. I edit as I do normally top down, alphabetically, and then (if you review my edit history it will confirm this) I often return to articles where I might have missed something after a first pass. I try to get things in one go, but hey, we all have different styles right? If you'd like, I can try and upload my eye prescription via wikimedia somewhere. Just let me know how to do so, and I will obviously black out any personally identifiable information before doing so. Would that help? Th78blue (talk) 21:33, 23 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Th78blue: Yes, you mentioned that you were going from article to article adding extra spaces, so that when you returned to do more editing, it would be easy to see. Yet, prior to my commenting about what appeared to be bot-like additions of extra lines, you returned to few of the Florida articles you had edited. And when you did, your vision problem didn't seem a priority. For example, at Avon Park, Florida, you made this edit to the "notable people" section, during which--along with other edits--you added an extra line after the section heading. But when they returned to that article three weeks later, you edited a table in the "geography" section, and didn't add an extra line under the geography heading. I'm just pointing this out because we are considering a change to the MOS that could effect thousands of editors. Magnolia677 (talk) 23:17, 23 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Okay Magnolia677, I will see how I can upload a picture of my prescription for you. In the meantime, I think we were looking into this as a suggestion instead of a hard mandate. Which should make it essentially a non-issue for any and all editors (was my hope and thinking at least) as it relates to how they edit now, and how they would edit in the future. I have added extra lines under many new entries since, but only when accompanied with another edit (that is all that has changed from before this MOS RfC to now). Prior to us having this discussion it was not clear as to whether or not an editor could add spaces underneath headers, and so I proceeded to do so without issue previously. Now, I am only adding spaces when it is accompanied by other edits. Such as I did recently at: Yankeetown, Florida, Worthington Springs, Florida, Windermere, Florida and dozens upon dozens others in FL (I am now done with my first pass through FL by the way... so it will be some time before I "touch" those again, but I never leave anything forever). My aim is not to make anyone's life more difficult or to make their editing style harder, but only to ensure that I can edit in a non-disruptive fashion without fear of being unexpectedly reverted myself. Not just by you mind you, but by anyone. I do my best to follow the MOS to a "T", but if there is an aspect of it that we can change (ever so slightly) for WP:ACCESS purposes, then I do not see any issue with that either. I have never uploaded an image for the purpose of just proving my bad vision before, where should I upload that to? If you could help, I'd be happy to do so. Th78blue (talk) 23:33, 23 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The current MOS text says the blank line after the heading is optional. Nothing needs to be changed in that wording to permit you to add blank lines after headings while editing articles for other purposes. Schazjmd (talk) 23:40, 23 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Th78blue and Schazjmd: The RfC question is "Should the MOS say that a space is required (or suggested) between each section". This is a major change, as thousands of new editors will start adding an extra line after each section heading. It is also quite wonderful that so many editors have sympathized with Th78blue's claim that they went from article to article adding lines in a bot-like way, because adding an extra line would somehow make it easier to edit at some point in the future when Th78blue returned to the article, even though when they actually returned to the article they edited a section that had no extra line (and didn't add one). I also noticed that last month another editor asked Th78blue "why do you make so many edits instead of just one?", and "I did mention those bulk edits because it seems like a potential case of editcountitis", and their response about why they edit that way didn't mention vision. Magnolia677 (talk) 23:55, 23 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Magnolia677 You've made your incredulity of my poor sight clear. Moving on to the next point, I refuted that already above for anyone who wishes to verify (with dozens of articles where I have continued over the past week [plus] to add lines beneath headers, but now only with an accompanying other valid edit). Also, I am not kidding about adding my prescription. I just need to figure out where/how best to do so (as I asked above, I am open to your feedback, hostile or not). Lastly, the RfC has hardly been a resounding string of support, there have been a number of editors that have said that they do not wish any change, and in that event, so be it. However, I was happy if we could even just move forward with the suggested wording. I myself am convinced that a "mandate" or "requirement" is a bit much at this stage to be frank. Th78blue (talk) 00:08, 24 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Friend, I'm not trying to embarrass you or hurt your feelings. I just care a lot about the project, and to be honest, the reason you gave (twice) last month for why you edit this way makes way more sense. Magnolia677 (talk) 00:18, 24 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Magnolia677 Understood, and I can see that you do care a lot about the project, as do I, which is good. As promised,
here is what I could upload just now.
My apologies for the delay, I wanted to properly cover up personal info for obvious privacy reasons, and digitally "redacting" and then uploading a form like this is new to me. Th78blue (talk) 03:16, 24 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Suggested followup RfC[edit]

I'd like to see an RfC about not opening community-wide RfC's out of the blue on random subjects about which there's been zero prior discussion to clear the ground or frame or focus the question. EEng 02:41, 24 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

718smiley.svg, sorry its been a bother. I am not super well versed in the proper goings on regarding a proper RfC yet... My apologies. Th78blue (talk) 02:57, 24 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It's not just you. This happens all the time. EEng 04:01, 24 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
This is why we have WP:RFCBEFORE. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 19:31, 24 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
But unfortunately what we don't have is WP:RFCBEFOREENFORCEMENT. EEng 22:48, 24 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@EEng: and @Redrose64:, you both appear much more "senior" than I. How can we tell when my original RfC is "done" and "consensus" is "reached" 718smiley.svg? Th78blue (talk) 03:02, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I initiated a request for closure here just now, just so all involved are aware. Wikipedia:Closure requests, thank you! Th78blue (talk) 21:09, 21 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Another example of an RFC with effectively no discussion on the issue is here. The creator of the RFC effectively based it on a comment by an IP made about 7 months ago, where there was no discussion or response. The question was also vague, but that is a different issue. 2601:647:5800:1A1F:889E:96A8:F1A2:A8E7 (talk) 23:06, 23 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
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.

"She" for ships[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
In this RfC, there were slightly more editors supporting the MOS change than those in favour of keeping the status quo, and there were a few neutral as well. Arguments in favour of changing MOS guidance on ship pronouns from "she" to "it" included that it would align with most style guidelines and that the use of "she" is an antiquated/informal/specialized appellation. Arguments against changing the MOS guidance included past precedent, MOS:RETAIN, and the continued usage of "she" by some navies and specialized sources.

I believe, based on the arguments presented, that there is consensus to change the MOS guidance—not delete "she", but change when it should be used. Per WP:TECHNICAL, "The content in articles in Wikipedia should be written as far as possible for the widest possible general audience." I believe there is a consensus that the usage of "she" (or gender in general) in referring to non-living entities such as ships is unconventional to unspecialized readers and unexpected (WP:PLA) in an English-language encyclopedia. The argument regarding style guidelines dissuading "she" is also pertinent. Editors/navies/academics remain free to use "she" outside of the project; a change to the Wikipedia MOS is not infringing on that. There was no consensus in regard to the RfC question specifically.

However, there was an additional argument about following what sources write depending on the ship, and there were also concerns about how such an MOS change would be implemented if there was consensus to do so. The fact that the MOS (such as GNL) is guidance is also a factor. Therefore, I believe there is also a consensus that ships currently using "she" should not be changed to "it" until there is a consensus on the ship article's talk page that a majority of relevant sources use "it" in referring to that particular ship. If it is determined that "she" is more prominent, a note of some sort indicating to readers why "she" is used would align with WP:AUDIENCE. I believe this caveat aligns with WP:V's "content is determined by previously published information rather than the beliefs or experiences of editors" and will result in the smoothest outcome for editors and articles alike. (non-admin closure) Heartfox (talk) 02:48, 11 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Should the MOS guidance about pronouns for ships be changed to prefer "it" over "she"? 16:47, 7 March 2022 (UTC)

Note: This discussion started on 3 March with the post below. Participants in the last RFC were pinged on 4 March. It was added to WP:CENT on 5 March. Due to the high volume of responses and !votes, I have added the {{rfc}} tag to it on 16:47, 7 March 2022 (UTC) with what I hope is a neutrally-worded, short question that summarizes the question up for discussion. If anyone thinks the RFC question is not neutral or should be improved, please feel free to change it directly. Levivich 16:47, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The issue is that by treating it as an RFC we are combining responses to the now-neutral notice, and to the previous non-neutral notice that predisposes the reader towards a particular conclusion. Because of this previous notice the normal consensus decision-making process has been compromised and it will be difficult, if not impossible, for a closer to determine the consensus here. BilledMammal (talk) 01:29, 17 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I understand that this issue has been previously discussed here. More supported than opposed by my count, but the vote was close to evenly split and the status quo remained in place. That was over two years ago, and is worth reconsidering as the modern English language continues to evolve; "she" for ships is in decline (Case-insensitive English Google Ngram). In popular parlance, the tradition of naming ships 'she' has now become less common. It's worth noting that the shipping industry newspaper, Lloyd's Register of Shipping, now calls ships ‘it’.[2] Using "she" instead of "it" to refer to a country, ship, or vehicle is now considered "old-fashioned".[3] Wikipedia itself no longer does this for countries or vehicles except in quotations, making ships the last remaining bastion of this tradition on the site.

It is more than just some grammar oddity, but has significance to tone, as it is a form of personification and isn't gender neutral. Consider this example, "Look at my new car - isn't she beautiful?" It personifies the object, regarding it as feminine.[4] According to O’Conner and Kellerman, "the personification of nonliving nouns (e.g., ships or nations) as 'she' has fallen out of common usage. It’s now generally considered quaint or poetic."[5]

This can tradition can be distracting, and even seem sexist to readers. This is because the tradition of gendering boats as "she" can be associated with portrayals of women as controlled by or as relying on men. That may sound like an extreme claim, but the military is a male-dominated sphere. Consider the following example from a U.S. Navy official website, "In the course of a ship's life, she may have had more than one husband but this had little bearing upon her true affections. Tradition has it, her love was saved solely for her sailors." As another example. an article in favor of calling ships "she" by Rear Admiral Francis D. Foley, U.S. Navy (Retired) argues that "Ships are referred to as "she" because men love them." This is not to say that there's anything violent or hateful about love and affection between men and personified objects, but rather that it's less appropriate for an encyclopedia, and ends up reinforcing traditional notions of femininity and heterosexuality, at least if we take the U.S. navy at its word.

This personification of objects is usually done for poetic effect or to show strong emotional attachment.[6] Once again, I have no problem with that but Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and should express a neutral point of view using an encyclopedic tone. One of our articles, She (pronoun), even states that "She can also be used for ships and other inanimate objects of significance to the owner." But Wikipedia shouldn't show affection for ships or treat them as if they carry any special significance to editors nor does it own any.

Other serious publications, such as the Associated Press, New York Times, BBC, Guardian, Reuters, National Public Radio, and the US Coast Guard use “it” or “its” to refer to ships and countries. And as previously mentioned, Lloyd's List, the 273-year-old London-based shipping newspaper, officially dropped the gender personification and now refers to ships with the pronouns "its" and "it" instead of "her" and "she."

Per Wikipedia policy to use modern language and gender-neutral language, I suggest we we do away with "she" for ships, as a fellow Wikipedian argued in The Signpost all the way back in 2014.

All this is relevant because of our current policy not really providing guidance on the issue (see: WP:SHE4SHIPS and WP:SHIPPRONOUNS). I've noticed that despite official policy stating that both both "she" and "it" are appropriate, only "she" is almost always used used, as enforced by warring editors (see: USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), USS John S. McCain (DL-3), HMS King George V (41), Soviet submarine K-278 Komsomolets, and Soviet submarine K-222). Talib1101 (talk) 18:04, 2 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

WP:ENGVAR would seem to rule here; especially the notion that one should not change between equivalent forms arbitrarily. If the first stable version of those articles used "she", then that pronoun should be maintained, and not changed to "it". The converse would also be true for ship articles that were started with the pronoun "it". Whether or not the guidance should be changed to recommend only "it" is another conversation to have, but only on your last statement regarding enforcement of "she"; if those articles started with the pronoun "she", then they should keep "she". If those articles started with "it", then they should continue to use "it" today. That's fairly simple. --Jayron32 18:54, 2 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I'm flabbergasted to learn that Wikipedia is still doing this. "She" for ships was already pretty archaic in British English when I was growing up in the 1960s. Is it really still acceptable in any other variety of English? Phil Bridger (talk) 19:02, 2 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I'm all for having that discussion. Someone who is concerned should maybe start a new, neutrally worded, RFC. People should be prepared to comment on that discussion with up-to-date style guides and other evidence. --Jayron32 19:16, 2 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Before someone starts this entire thing up all over again, there should probably be some evidence things have substantially changed in the past 2 years, enough that this should be discussed again. Two years is not a lot of time (how many editors showing up won't have already been here since the last time), and this has been exhaustively argued. Exhaustively arguing it again because Wikipedia isn't moving to their political timetable is not going to be a great foundation for an RfC. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs talk 19:55, 2 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I don't see any connection to WP:ENGVAR. There is no national variety of English involved.
And I am against any "first come first served" style rule so would not want to apply WP:ENGVAR even in principle. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 01:27, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The current situation is "first come first served" by virtue of MOS:RETAIN. Primergrey (talk) 12:52, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
MOS:RETAIN has nothing to do with pronouns, it has to do with article style (i.e. citations and date formats) and national varieties of english. Floydian τ ¢ 15:14, 24 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Before this discussion inevitably descends into personal attacks, accusations of sexism or worse like all the previous discussions on this subject here - may I remind everybody that MOS is subject to discretionary sanctions.Nigel Ish (talk) 19:58, 2 March 2022 (UTC) Bolding this to ensure that it is prominantly displayed. Cinderella157 (talk) 02:17, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
My feeling is we should avoid it simply because it is not precise language and I'm not sure it would be considered grammatically correct as English doesn't traditionally apply gender to non-gendered nouns. I personally see it as a term of endearment/respect and would be happy to use it in casual discussion but I prefer we use more precise language as a rule. I think we should avoid it for the same reason we should avoid many value laden labels, often they aren't precise, if you will, clinical terms. Certainly we should not avoid it in quotes or similar. Springee (talk) 21:21, 2 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I tend to agree with David, ie "what has changed"? Many navies continue to officially refer to ships as "her" - see Australia, UK, US and Canada. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 02:01, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Can someone close this? No evidence has been presented that usage has changed to justify another RfC on the matter from 3 years ago. It appears to be a waste of editor time to rehash it again.  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 02:07, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Agree with PM67 and Spy-circle. What has changed to justify another WP:BIKESHED. Cinderella157 (talk) 02:21, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Comment: The last discussion was in favor of using both "it" and "she", yet it seems that almost every article uses she, even some that originally used "it" when they were first drafted, which is not in accordance with MOS:RETAIN. What's up with that? It seems that despite the "it" variant being stronger, as per my reference to Google Ngram, "she" dominates Wikipedia due to a group of devoted fans. I've also noticed many articles using a mixture of "it" and "she", which is inconsistent and undesirable. And, regardless of what the U.S. Navy calls it, other encyclopedias such as Britannica refer to ships as "it" and "its", not "she", "her", and "hers". Talib1101 (talk) 05:09, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, reopen the discussion. Much has changed in five years. BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 05:24, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

We dropped almost 80,000 words on the topic ending "2 years, 2 months, 7 days" ago at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 217#"She" vs. "it" for ships. The closer wrote that there was a "neck-and-neck discussion, with neither side gaining a decisive advantage". We can do it again, and I'd like to get rid of what I see as an old fashioned personification of objects, but I think the odds of reaching a consensus for any change is unlikely just two years after we tried before. Give it say, three years from now, and try again. SchreiberBike | ⌨  05:54, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

My comment above was against having the discussion (and the incivility and bad faith arguments below support that thought), but now that we're having it anyway, I'll add that I support "it". Rather than making further arguments, I'll say that @Snow Rise: is making excellent points below. SchreiberBike | ⌨  16:36, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I prefer we use more precise language as a rule What is precise for one reader is imprecise for another. My experience it so find "it" for a ship to be imprecise, because, in sources I use, a ship is usually "she". Rewording some bits of Wikipedia with "it" would be a massive job, because there are many sentences here where "it" and "she" differentiate between a ship and some other inanimate object – simple substitution in those cases would leave massive ambiguity. This is just a battle against a useful grammatical diversity in the English language. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 09:13, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Using pronouns in this way does not produce clear prose. When there are two inanimate objects, it's much clearer to use e.g. "the ship" and "the dock" rather than relying on readers unfamiliar with maritime jargon to figure out that "she" illogically refers to one inanimate object and not the other. -- Beland (talk) 05:44, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • For what it's worth, I can advance the discussion very slightly. About a third of the way through, the point was brought up that somehow the political stances of the newspapers with the style guides were relevant, and a request was made for a newspaper with an opposing political stance to The Guardian to show that this wasn't just one political camp supporting this. Ironically, in the remaining discussion no-one pointed out that the answer was already there. The on-line The Daily Telegraph style guide from 2018 was cited as supporting "it". Interestingly, a quick search turns up the the Telegraph style guide from 2010 (Simon Heffer, ISBN 9781845136567) stating "she". "ships: they are of female gender, i.e. she." by Heffer in 2010 has become "ships: they are of neuter gender, i.e. it.". So it isn't a political thing based upon newspaper editorial stance.

    Anne Curzan wrote a book about gender shifts in English, and addressed the ships as "she" topic. But it was published in 2003. I wonder what M. Curzan has to say on the subject now, because if the Telegraph changed somewhere in the 2010s, there's probably a shift going on right now.

    Uncle G (talk) 10:04, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I think 2 years is too soon. Besides that, I think MOS:VAR is a great answer here. Articles that started with "she" keep "she" and articles that started with "it" keep "it". We don't need more rules forcing people to abandoned certain styles. Masterhatch (talk) 11:41, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

  • Oppose Broichmore (talk) 12:09, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • Thank you for taking the time to participate in this discussion. I have learned a lot from reading your comment. Levivich 16:02, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Keep the choice of pronoun consistent within an article, but no mass changes and no mandate for one over the other. Point of curiosity: what was the gender of the word in Frisian or whatever? --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 12:41, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • Not that it has any relevance to this discussion, but in Old English (the most recent ancestor of modern English that retains grammatical gender) the word scip ("ship") is neuter and the word bat ("boat") is masculine. Phil Bridger (talk) 14:37, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
      • Of more relevance is Wales 1996. You'll probably be surprised, given what you said above, that the dialogue in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three used "she" for the subway car in 1974 and that Vanessa-Mae used "he" for a violin in 1995. It's worth asking, too, what pronoun a Henry (vacuum) gets. Uncle G (talk) 17:27, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
        • Wales, Katie (1996). "'English as she is spoken': pronouns and personification". Personal Pronouns in Present-Day English. Studies in English Language. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521471022.
  • Oppose, common English language form. It is not for Wikipedia (or anyone) to mandate language. We are not the English equivalent of Académie Française. SpinningSpark 16:33, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Except that, on the subject of gendered nouns, we have mandated language in every case but this one. For planes, trains, automobiles and countries, none of these are to use a gendered pronoun. So sayeth the Wiki. Primergrey (talk) 18:02, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    But Primergrey, that is quirk with the English language itself, not with Wikipedia. Usage of she to refer to trains planes and automobiles has not been unheard of, but it has never been anything more than sporadic, while for ships it was the near-universal standard for centuries, and is still treated as the standard English by a sizable minority. The only other case I can think of that an argument could be made in favour of using here would be for calling countries "she", as that has also been fairly widespread, however, there are probably good reasons for us NOT to allow that for countries, here - nationalism and nationalistic factions are a big enough problem already, allowing "she" for countries would turn into a nightmare of edit wars between varies sides of geopolitical disputes. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:24EC:A979:EF51:C97F (talk) 00:39, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Agreed. I was arguing against the premise that Wikipedia does not "mandate language". We do it all the time. Primergrey (talk) 01:54, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Keep status quo. This has always struck me as a plain and simple WP:ENGVAR issue - we don't mandate one form or the other, but we ask articles to remain internally consistent and not change for the sake of change, and we can leave it at that. It works fine for more or less everything else, and it's what the previous eight discussions over almost twenty years seem to have concluded. I agree that the made-up explanations that get quoted for why "she" is used are often pretty awful, and at best are a bit cringe-inducing - cf the elderly naval officers quoted by the OP - but it does not mean that people are using this language because of those rationalisations. Andrew Gray (talk) 18:09, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • If there ever was a discussion that confirms that many editors of the English Wikipedia don't live in the real world where they converse with normal people in English then it's this one. Just try doing that and you will very quickly be told that calling ships "she" is a ridiculous affectation that will make you a laughing stock. Can't we just write things in standard English (of any national variety) where inanimate objects take the pronoun "it"? I despair. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:48, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • Just try doing that and you will very quickly be told that calling ships "she" is a ridiculous affectation that will make you a laughing stock - I must know the wrong set of people then, because just about everyone I know refers to their fishing boats in the feminine. Hog Farm Talk 22:51, 3 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
      • Maybe it's jargon used by the owners of fishing boats, but its use by the vast majority of English speakers who don't own boats is a pretentious affectation. And does just about everyone you know really own fishing boats? Phil Bridger (talk) 16:50, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
        • Is your point really that the language usage of those who have little to do with boats or ships over-rides the terminology of people who do? ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 17:32, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
          • Yes it is. Wikipedia articles should be written in standard English, of whichever national variety is appropriate, not specialized jargon. This goes well beyond ships: the worst offender is probably one of my own fields, mathematics, where many of the articles are incomprehensible to most readers. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:51, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
            • That would take us to the "dumbing down" argument, that I don't think we have space for here. It is not like we are talking about the most difficult word, and it is used in general English usage, though arguably less commonly when away from a maritime context. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 18:54, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
              • Not just dumbing down, and not just Mathematics. How do you deal with inconsistent nomenclature, e.g., is a field commutative? --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 19:42, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
                • You deal with it by explaining it, the opposite of dumbing down. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:26, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
                  • "It" is not dumber than "she"; neither carries any more or less information than the other. "It" might actually be clearer in some cases, especially for passages also making reference to a human woman or a ship with a male name, or with readers who are unfamiliar with the dated practice of referring to ships as "she". I suppose you could argue that readers who do know about the convention are "smarter" than readers who don't, but WP:JARGON says the goal is to make articles accessible to more people who don't know things, and recommends avoiding jargon and to "write one level down". The point of an encyclopedia is to explain complex facts, not to require readers to know them in advance to make sense of it. Jargon is best explained in a particular article on the topic, not used throughout the encyclopedia in order to "teach stupid readers a lesson". In this case, it's explained at Ship#Nomenclature and as an unimportant and increasingly uncommon quirk of grammar it would be undue weight to explain it over and over again on every single article that discusses a ship. -- Beland (talk) 04:22, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment Is there not some militaries that call their ships He. I remember reading something about it when I was quite young and found it a bit of a weird contrast. Keep it within the purview of the article writer. Either or. scope_creepTalk 00:33, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, "she" is commonly used in the military to refer to ships and the word is precise enough in most articles. (In the rare event that an article about a female person that's doing something notable with a ship, I would prefer using "it" instead to avoid ambiguity.) There's no reason to change that status quo unless the navies said otherwise. Furthermore, converting all articles to use "it" is a waste of time and a costly endeavour. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 06:00, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    "...converting all articles to use "it" is a waste of time and a costly endeavour." I'm sure everyone that is willing to spend the time and energy to change it disagree. Primergrey (talk) 03:03, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, the existing guideline allows for editors to choose either usage and it is significant that most editors who regularly work on ship articles have chosen to use the feminine. It seems to me we have a case of those who aren't interested in ships wanting to enforce their woke views on those who actually do contribute to ship articles. Nothing stopping them creating some ship articles using it and then they'll stay like that Lyndaship (talk) 12:21, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong oppose. Why do we even need to have these discussions? There was a similar debate about the usage of manned and unmanned which ended without consensus. Is it really that difficult to leave it up to the editors to choose which words they use? GreatLakesShips (talk) 12:50, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • My most recent book about maritime history, "Torn In Two - The Sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell and One Man's Survival on the Open Sea" (2016), refers to the ships in the book either by name, or as she. Ships are still widely referred to as she by both authors and sailors. The editors who put in the time and effort to research material and write the articles should bloody well be given the freedom to write how they want to. GreatLakesShips (talk) 22:41, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support another RFC, it should go better the next time around due to some of the most-vocal participants from the last RfC no longer editing. Wikipedia always lags behind on these things because of how many white men are active in these discussions but we get there eventually. Levivich 16:00, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • Support "it" for the same reasons all the other supporters have outlined above and below, which I needn't repeat. Mostly per style guides, and also because it's sexist and anachronistic. Levivich 16:50, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Just been through about the first 30 !votes of those who opposed last time. Only one participant (who was indeed very vocal) is no longer editing so I would suggest that having another RfC now is unlikely to produce a different result. Lyndaship (talk) 19:52, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support this change - it's simply plain English - and another RFC. Opponents to this change can't keep saying "not again!" for the rest of time and 2 and a half years seems like a reasonable time for a checkin. This will change on Wikipedia eventually, it's just a matter of time. Popcornfud (talk) 16:13, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong oppose: This is the point in the discussion where you can see that, generally, those who regularly edit articles that would be affected oppose the change, whilst those who never or hardly ever edit a ship article support change. (The edit histories of both groups are there for anyone to check.) This tells you that those who deal extensively with the sources for ships – on which such encyclopaedia articles should be based – oppose change. Those whose editing interests lie elsewhere, I presume, do not spend much time reading maritime sources. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 17:24, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Alternatively, it indicates that those who spend a lot of time working on ship articles don't see the bigger picture - that the language outside the narrow (and increasingly dated) world of those sources has changed. Wikipedia uses modern plain English for a general readership, not the specialised language of specialised sources. Popcornfud (talk) 17:28, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    What's with the increasingly dated bit? I have just reached out for the nearest book, published in 2005, and checked that is has "she/her usage" (which it does). And if you are presuming that it was written by a man, the author is Jenny Bennett, a journalist in the subject. Bennett, Jenny (2005). Sailing rigs : an illustrated guide. London: Chatham. ISBN 1-86176-243-7. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ThoughtIdRetired (talkcontribs) 17:43, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    A much more recent example of "she" for ships usage by an expert in the subject:[7] There are many, many more such examples, but I will get deleted off the page if I list all that I can find in a short while. This is the usage of experts in a specialist subject. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 17:49, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Get down, everyone - I'm about to toss a specialized style fallacy grenade. Popcornfud (talk) 18:10, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    (1) Read the last discussion on the talk page Wikipedia_talk:Specialized-style_fallacy.
    (2) Isn't one purpose of an encyclopaedia to provide a bit of education on the subject - getting across some basic terminology is surely the lowest level of introduction to a nautical/maritime subject. If Wikipedia did not do that, any encyclopaedia reader may wonder why it was left out if they explore the subject a bit more.ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 18:49, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Certainly the goal of the encyclopaedia is to teach readers things, so there's no reason why articles couldn't mention that "she" is used in some maritime sources/communities etc. That's not an argument for actually using it ourselves, though. Popcornfud (talk) 20:12, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    That sounds like an excellent way forward. Primergrey (talk) 12:50, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Not at all - the best way to teach anything is by example. Are we going to have articles with multiple footnotes to "it" saying that many people working in the field would say "she"? ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 13:17, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Nope. We'd use "it" everywhere, but have a sentence, or a section if enough material were sourcable, about the use of "she" and its etymology and history in whatever article it was appropriate to place it in. Just like every other piece of information we include.
    Your notion of "teaching by example" is silly - you might as well say the article about the French language should be written in French. The way Wikipedia teaches readers is by explaining facts, literally and factually, in plain English. Popcornfud (talk) 13:28, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Keep style current existing in articles, but allow new articles to use either "she" or "it". There definitely does appear to start to be a change see this, and an examination of the two most recent naval sources I could access quickly shows that one (Chatelain's Defending the Arteries of Rebellion uses she/her, while Bisbee's Engines of Rebellion seems to avoid the usage by constantly using the phrasing "the ship" or "the vessel"). Given that there is starting to be a change in recent RS it makes sense to allow it as a useable article style, but as the feminine pronouns are still commonly used in RS in the area, in no way should existing prevailing styles in articles change, much like when we deprecated many forms of parenthetical referencing. Hog Farm Talk 18:23, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support As I said the last time around, we should update the MoS to say that using she "should be generally avoided", but not expressly prohibited, to prevent the wholesale changing of thousands of articles across Wikipedia. "She" is most often used as jargon or in a poetic sense, and we should discourage its use in an encyclopedia. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 20:01, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Courtesy ping to those who participated in the last conversation who haven't yet commented here (1/3): @A D Monroe III, Acebulf, Alansohn, Ammarpad, Andrew Davidson, Aoziwe, Archon 2488, Atsme, BEANS X2, Beland, Bilorv, Blue Pumpkin Pie, Blueboar, Brandmeister, Buidhe, Bus stop, ChrisWar666, Clovermoss, Colin M, Crook1, Cthomas3, Czar, DannyS712, David Eppstein, Davidships, DeFacto, DePiep, Dhtwiki, Dicklyon, Doremo, Drmies, DuncanHill, Enterprisey, Ergo Sum, Facu-el Millo, Feminist, Future Perfect at Sunrise, Galobtter, GELongstreet, Genericusername57, Giraffedata, and Goldenshimmer: --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 20:31, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    (2/3): @Gonnym, GoodDay, GRuban, HAL333, Herostratus, Hijiri88, HiLo48, Hut 8.5, In actu, Insertcleverphrasehere, Izno, Javert2113, Jkudlick, Jmchutchinson, John M Wolfson, Johnbod, Johnuniq, Kablammo, Kaldari, Keith-264, Kirbanzo, L293D, Mackensen, Martin of Sheffield, Martinevans123, Masem, Master of Time, Michig, Mjroots, Mx. Granger, Nabla, Necrothesp, Newslinger, Nihonjoe, NonsensicalSystem, Oknazevad, Oldperson, Parabolist, Popcornduff, Renata3, Rhododendrites, and Rockstone35: --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 20:31, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    (3/3): @RTG, S Marshall, Sandstein, SandyGeorgia, Schazjmd, SchroCat, Scribolt, Sdkb, Sennen goroshi, Seraphimblade, Skyring, SMcCandlish, SmokeyJoe, Snow Rise, SportingFlyer, Spy-cicle, ST47, StarryGrandma, Stepho-wrs, Sturmvogel 66, Swarm, Tdslk, Teratix, The Huhsz, The Land, TheCatalyst31, TheDragonFire300, ThoughtIdRetired, Thryduulf, Tony1, Trappist the monk, Trovatore, Tupsumato, Vaselineeeeeeee, WaltCip, Wekeepwhatwekill, William Avery, Wugapodes, Xyl 54, Yair rand, and Yngvadottir: --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 20:32, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support change to "it". The Ngram link indicates that "she" is no longer predominant usage. Sandstein 20:40, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Note: I listed this at WP:CENT shortly after the above comment. Sandstein 08:55, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neutral - Always thought it strange that ships were given a gender pronoun. I know the female pronoun was used, as it suggested that a ship was like a female - unpredictable. It's up to all of you, if ya'll want to control what words to use or not use. PS: If the ships start getting called "them" or "they"? don't invite me to the next RFC. GoodDay (talk) 20:49, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    And looking forward to trans equality, of course. Martinevans123 (talk) 00:00, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment "This is because the tradition of gendering boats as "she" can be associated with portrayals of women as controlled by or as relying on men." I disagree. I think it's more about feminine nouns being seen as vessels, containers, receptacles, etc. Like cars. I've not done a search for etymological/ linguistic sources that might support this notion. Neither have I looked for any in-depth study of the gender of ship's names. No strong view on the question here. Probably neutral. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:52, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose The usage is traditional and readily understood. Per WP:ENGVAR, volunteer editors have reasonable freedom to write as they are accustomed rather than being subject to vexatious interference and diktat. Andrew🐉(talk) 20:56, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment I prefer it but would also support the status quo in existing articles. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 20:59, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - as a traditionalist, I disapprove. I also consider "it" to be equally as insulting as being referred to as a number rather than as a person. Atsme 💬 📧 21:03, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    You're welcome to hold personal opinions in your life, but when we're dictating Wikipedia policies and guidelines, we should look to what the encyclopedia's principles dictate, such as abiding by common usage. Just going by personal opinions is the route to systemic bias, as editors are not representative of the world, and by extension our opinions aren't either. I hope that the closer heavily discounts !votes such as this. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 21:26, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I'm really confused by this comment, Atsme, unless the implication is that you are a boat. You're saying that you're personally insulted when someone refers to an inanimate object as "it"? I've re-read a few times but I just can't quite understand what you're saying. — Bilorv (talk) 10:26, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    As am a fart in a fan factory. I simply don't see any purpose in changing tradition to make ships gender neutral. I echo the suggestion to follow the sources. I agree with you in that it's an inanimate object which is why I used the analogy to demonstrate that gender neutrality is inspired by people, not ships. I can certainly appreciate and understand why a person would prefer gender neutral language for themselves, and I respect that, but a ship doesn't care and those who respect tradition, don't want it changed. To do otherwise is an impediment to free speech and free thought. I'm a traditionalist – anchors away, mate. Atsme 💬 📧 16:31, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Err, "anchors away" is an episode of Sex and the City. You probably mean "Anchor's aweigh", literally the anchor is weighed, that is the cable is carrying the weight, not the sea bed. Once the anchor's aweigh she's free to move. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 17:08, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Opposed- While I do find that usage in sources is (slowly) changing in favor of “it”, I don’t think the change is far enough along to merit WP requiring “it” over “she”. At this point, imposing either would venture into RIGHTGREATWRONGS territory, and would simply cause disruption. Continue to allow either pronoun - with caveats to be consistent within any given article, and to not edit war about it - and re-examine the issue in 10 years. Blueboar (talk) 21:09, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it". MOS:GNL states:

    Use gender-neutral language – avoiding the generic he and generic she, for example – where this can be done with clarity and precision.

    That's a perfectly good approach, and a special carveout just for ships is unnecessary bloat. Calling ships "she" is antiquated, awkward language per Phil Bridger. It's no longer the common usage per the NGRAM data, as most people recognize that it's a callback to sexist notions of feminine grace. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 21:15, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support as per my last comment 2 years ago: "She" is figurative and poetic, while we're an encyclopedia, we're supposed to be literal, and dry as old paint. "She" is an interesting and historical usage, and I'd love it if we had an article about why ships were called she, whether it's nurturing, or goddess, or whatever. But I don't want it getting in the way of an article on the dimensions of the latest nuclear powered aircraft carrier. --GRuban (talk) 21:16, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Use "it" in most situations. "It" should be the default, but "she" should be allowed if a clear majority of recent sources (specialist or general) use that (if there is no clear majority for either, then use "it"), and obviously allow it in direct quotes. "It" is simply the overwhelming contemporary style in general sources, and Wikipedia is contemporary general purpose source. However, don't edit war and don't mass-change articles. (or nearly exactly what I said last time). Thryduulf (talk) 21:37, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, no need to change. If you don't like the English language, others are available. I like Blueboar's suggestion about coming back in ten years, and I also like Andrew Davidson's "reasonable freedom to write as they are accustomed". DuncanHill (talk) 21:38, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • STRONGLY OBJECT The usage is traditional and readily understood. Per WP:ENGVAR, volunteer editors have reasonable freedom to write as they are accustomed rather than being subject to vexatious interference and diktat.22:21, 4 March 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I see at least 3 editors above invoking ENGVAR, and that seems to be apposite here. The US Navy names most of its ships after men, so clearly they feel differently, and clearly many editors from different parts of the world feel differently (mocking "she" for ships is a whole section on EEng's userpage, but to me, calling a ship "it" is disrespectful. "He" would be wilful over-generalisation of the hoary old use of male terms to somehow include female, but one owes more respect than that to a pet, let alone the vessel that keeps you from death at sea. Others are free to differ, as the differing usage in our articles reflects, demonstrating that this is indeed a matter of variation in English usage. Yngvadottir (talk) 21:56, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    So would you be ok with the Royal Navy being exclusively gender-neutral? Primergrey (talk) 03:03, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, for two reasons, neither of which are an aversion to "it" per se. Firstly the review just over two years ago was very extensive, rehearsed all the arguments thoroughly, with a large participation, and reached a conclusion: maintain a rational guideline. I do not see any case for such an early re-run; it is too soon to make meaningful assessments of how editing has evolved in practice. Secondly, while I write naturally, and I hope thoughtfully, with she/her (and probably don't have enough decades left to unlearn that), I do not resist editing with it/its in accordance with the current guidance. I thoroughly agree with internal uniformity within articles (just as with EngVar or DateVar and the like), and edit accordingly either way round. As suggested above, there is probably still a significant proportion of articles that need appropriate editing, and they should be corrected as and when found, by all. Davidships (talk) 22:16, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • No. If we made this a rule we'd get editors adding it to autowikibrowser or otherwise making automated changes, and if the Manual of Style says we can't use feminine pronouns for seagoing vessels, then those editors will insist and refuse to be put off. It leads to utterly needless aggravation. We do not need a rule, and therefore we should not make one.—S Marshall T/C 22:23, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • I'm confused by this reason. "We can't make rules, people would just follow them!" doesn't make sense in the context of a style guide where the whole point is for it to be followed to produce a consistent and desirable style. This one is also supposed to avoid aggravation by settling disputes over style questions in one place, with one big discussion. The question is whether this would be a good rule or a bad rule. -- Beland (talk) 05:25, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
      • Let me help you with your confusion, Beland. Despite your enthusiasm for one consistent and desirable style, the reality is that we're working on Wikipedia, a site that doesn't have a rule to say if it's an encyclopaedia or an encyclopedia, but does have a rule to stop you edit-warring to change the original author's style from one spelling to another. We don't decide between "colour" and "color" or "grey" and "gray" but we stop you edit-warring to change the author's style there too. ENGVAR puts the original content creator in the privileged position of deciding which style to use. This is the right approach, and we should apply it here as well.—S Marshall T/C 11:48, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support I believe this is whether to open another RfC and not to make a change. Two years is plenty of time, and in any case this is a long overdue change. SportingFlyer T·C 22:44, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, because "she" sounds extremely dated and I'd do a double take running across it. It seems like current use of "she" is only in some specialized contexts, so since there's a ready alternative of "it" that's clear and obvious, we should avoid this particular bit of old-fashioned jargon. Using "it" a simple way to make articles more readable (less surprising) for general audiences, and there's not a loss of clarity for specialist readers. It also is distracting because it makes me as a reader think "wait, is this dated-sounding language also sexist?" (regardless of whether the etymology is sexist, bringing that question to the reader's mind is distracting from the article text). —{{u|Goldenshimmer}} (they/them)|TalkContributions 22:48, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose for the same reasons as last time. Two years is not sufficient time to wait, this smacks of "keep voting until you get the right result" as practiced by certain authoritarian bodies. Sailors have, and still do, refer to ships and boats of all sizes as "she". This smacks of a political agenda whereby the language has to be modified to stop thoughtcrime and not any real concern for an encyclopaedia which describes the real world. Do we need every article to shout "stop thinking about the article and follow the politics" when all you're wanting to do is learn about a boat. It breaks the flow and makes you stop to work out what is being referred to. EDIT: By the way, the "International regulations for preventing collisions at Sea" (aka COLREGS) published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) (which is a specialised agency of the United Nations) and endorsed by virtually all maritime nations uses "she" and "her". I think that ought to count as a WP:RS! Martin of Sheffield (talk) 22:54, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose -- "she" is still in common parlance. However, I think it should follow the language of reliable sources, in the same way that we allow gender neutral "they" instead of "he or she", or use "died by suicide" instead of "committed suicide". If reliable sources about a ship refer to the ship as "she", then we should use that language. If the reliable sources refer to the ship as "it", then we should use that language. Also, WP:GNL is not policy, but an essay. -- RockstoneSend me a message! 23:00, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • I don't see where anyone mentioned WP:GNL. The corresponding guideline currently in effect is MOS:GNL. But the question being asked here is whether that guideline should be changed. -- Beland (talk) 05:31, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • No more she for ships. It's outdated, plain and simple. We find both in print, but we all know which way the future is leaning. Drmies (talk) 23:24, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Retain Status Quo --English usage varies widely across subject and nationality. Maybe Lloyds refers to fugly container ships as "it" but navies like their traditions. MOS:VAR is good enough to keep editors from feeling aggrieved and at each other's throats. I recognise the desire for gender-neutral terms but I find the argument that sailors love their ship in some kind of gendered fashion to be grotesque. This is a point where we need not reduce everything to bland, flavourless, wikistyle devoid of all colour and whimsy. Give the readers something to enjoy. We can revisit this in a few years but for now gender is used for some ships and who is Wikipedia to dictate otherwise? --Pete (talk) 23:29, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Why are we bold-face commenting?. This is not an RFC and no-one started a straw poll. Bring actual style guides to bear and have the actual pre-discussion that's hinted at in the original comments of this discussion. --Izno (talk) 23:47, 4 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    "Even though I'm an Arbcom member, I'm just commenting here as an average, everyday editor."
    EEng on behalf of Izno
    Oppose rhetorical bold-face commenting. EEng 00:53, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    She's a fine looking lassie. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:33, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    You said I was the average, everyday editor, not me! Thank you for the validation. ;) Izno (talk) 18:34, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Well, this cat's out of the bag I guess. Support "it" categorically. Izno (talk) 18:34, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose The proposal is based on 2 facets: 1) the use of "she" is no longer used in the real world, 2) the use of "she" is sexist. If it is no longer used in the real world then why do editors keep trying to add it back in - obviously there is a large number of people still using it. It may be declining and it may no longer be used in some official organisations but it's not dead yet. And it is certainly not sexist. Traditionally, the sailor relies on his ship for his life and his livelihood. So he does his best to support his ship. It is an interdependence as strong as his marriage to his wife. The proposal has even said this in the quotes he gave. A very positive trait. This seems like those endless battles where it keeps getting raised and defeated until it finally gives the "correct" answer - even if by the slimmest of margins. And once it has the "correct" answer, anybody who suggests returning it back to the previous way is labelled as sexist by the politicly correct movement. Dramatic linguistic changes rarely happen over a 2 year period unless there is a sudden event that fills the newspapers - which did not happen. So revisiting this every 2 years is unproductive. Come back in 10 years instead.  Stepho  talk  00:02, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • This sort of remark shows exactly why this usage arises from a sexist culture, by assuming that sailors are heterosexual men. People still use the term "stewardess" as well, but to avoid using gendered language, Wikipedia doesn't. -- Beland (talk) 05:38, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • It "It" is simpler and plainer English than "she" and in any case MOS should make a choice. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 01:34, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • MoS doesn't dictate date format or variety of English. This is one of those things where we can have various formats according to context. --Pete (talk) 01:42, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose/She per the others above, especially Stepho-wrs and the fact that two years isn't all that much in terms of usage evolution. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 01:38, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Mildish oppose English speakers who don't know languages that are forced by their grammar to give everything a gender get absurdly worked up about the alleged sexism. 2 years is too short & I wasn't impressed by the opening argument - this is not personification at all, and so on. Johnbod (talk) 02:30, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    English speakers who don't know languages that are forced by their grammar to give everything a gender get absurdly worked up about the alleged sexism.
    There is a ton of even academic discussion, let alone community discussion, in gendered languages about the sexism inherent in their gendered characteristics. And how that gendering contributes to ongoing cultural sexism and issues like machismo. And papers, such as this, that have been published over the past several decades showing that gendered language usage within a community leads to worse outcomes and opportunities for women in those communities. SilverserenC 03:14, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Calling ships "she" sounds quaint and jargony, as agreed on by nearly every style guide (someone check on whether The Economist has finally come around). The ngram shows usage of "she" fading even further. Tdslk (talk) 02:49, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Both styles are acceptable, WP:RETAIN applies. BilledMammal (talk) 02:55, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Gendered language is actively harmful when used for non-living objects (and languages with generalized gendered terms for everything have massively greater disparities for women because of that term usage). There is a ton of academic level research showcasing this undeniable fact quite clearly. And in a variety of ways. So, the use of gendered language rather than a natural gender or genderless fashion is actively harmful to our readership. Anyone arguing based on "tradition" are inherently arguing from an anti-science standpoint. SilverserenC 03:15, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    If you look above you will see I support moving away from "she" but I don't think your evidence supports the discussion here. Most of those are papers talking about languages that are gendered (Spanish, French, etc) vs ones that aren't (English, Japanese etc). That isn't applicable here. Claiming this is actively harmful to readers is a huge stretch, almost certainly past a reasoned breaking point. Springee (talk) 05:11, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    They are perfectly applicable here. The papers are talking about gendered languages and this use of "she" for an object is one of the rare cases in English where similar gendered language is used. The same impact as broader usage of such language applies just as well. And since there is copious amounts of evidence showing that the use of such language is actively harmful for a community and its development, we shouldn't be perpetuating the same harms in our writing, especially when there isn't actually any reasoned argument to do so in the first place. SilverserenC 06:02, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you for your links to 5 paywall articles and 1 freely available article. The 1 freely available article basically said that there is a casual link between gendered languages and a gendered split in the work force, although it didn't provide a convincing argument whether language caused the work force difference or if other cultural factors might have caused both (they taught us to look out for that in first year statistics). Considering that women and men have different strengths and weaknesses, this is not surprising and not necessarily bad. It's only bad when some people insist that each side must have only the traditional roles and must never consider the other roles. The only other conclusion I can see from your argument is that we should disband the French, Italian, German and possibly other Wikipedias because they are harmful to humanity. You will have to raise this concern yourself on their talk pages.  Stepho  talk  05:55, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you for your links to 5 paywall articles and 1 freely available article.
    ??? Literally 1 is a PDF, 4 are open access, and only 1 is paywalled. So I'm not sure what you're talking about there. And I don't even know which one you're discussing. Nice strawman there though that nobody was arguing. There have already been efforts in other languages to reduce the usage of gendered language in society as a whole. And those efforts will continue. Do you have an actual argument for the studies that are openly available and you purposefully ignored? Or are you going to keep making up statements no one said? SilverserenC 06:06, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    A partials oops on my part. The first article was free and that was the one that I commented on (talks about the work force). The last 2 have prominent "Buy article PDF" buttons with €34.95 prices listed. The third last had "access options", a padlock symbol, sign on fields and no obvious way to see the article. The other 2 had "sign in" fields at the top and I hastily skipped the rest of the page - my mistake for those 2.
    The second article says that feminine labels (eg professoressa rather than professore) may led to less favourable outcomes for women. Sadly, this is truer that I'd like but it's more of a cultural thing that they are trying to avoid by language rather than addressing the underlying issue (same reason author DC Fontana used her initials instead of her first name on scripts). It's also not relevant because our discussion here is about she vs it concerning an object rather than she vs he concerning actual people.
    The third article talks about Hebrew mathematicians getting discouraged when addressed with masculine titles - the opposite to the previous article. And just like the previous article, our discussion is not a he vs she thing, so this article is irrelevant for our discussion.  Stepho  talk  06:56, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Deprecate "she"' since ships are not gendered. Dicklyon (talk) 04:04, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support; if anything, this is a readability issue. There is little confusion with using "it" to refer to ships; contrast the examples on EEng's talk page. (Is this intended to be an RFC?) feminist🇺🇦 (talk) 04:58, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    ... more conveniently packaged as WP:Queen Elizabeth slipped majestically into the water. EEng 06:15, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support the change, given the question seems to have been de facto reopened. "She" for ships definitely sounds dated or simply erroneous to a general audience, and that's why style guides for general-interest readers are being updated to only use "it", and even maritime-interest publications are moving in this direction. I mentioned this controversy recently to some U.S. political journalists in their 30s and they were surprised to hear that anyone would use "she" for an inanimate object. Wikipedia does not and should not use the same style of language as the military or any particular profession. That would result in jargony prose and incomprehensible abbreviations everywhere like SecDef and FLOTUS, which is surprisingly a "she" but not a ship. I don't think sexism is a factor for most readers, but to the degree that the whiff of potential sexism distracts a minority of readers, it seems like changing to "it" nicely solves that problem without making the article sound like it's doing an awkward touchy-feely tip-toe around some terminology for the sake of political correctness. I don't expect readers more used to "she" having a strong reaction in the opposite direction to what the n-grams show is the dominant form in the English language. Sailors don't write into the New York Times and complain The Grey Lady doesn't use the feminine pronoun for their ships, do they? As I mentioned last time, "she" for inanimate ships is especially confusing to readers for whom English is not their first language, and jarring when ships have male names. -- Beland (talk) 06:17, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose any change. This is something that should be down to creator's choice. Ships are traditionally referred to in the feminine. Having edited both styles, I find that the use of "she" and "her" makes for articles that flow better rather than articles written in the neuter. As has been shown above, the use of "she" is not blindly following an obsolete practice. Mjroots (talk) 06:32, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Follow the sources, as before. If the majority of sources use "she", the article uses "she". If the majority of sources use "it", use "it". Follow what the sources do. Seraphimblade Talk to me 08:45, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support deprecation of "she". Reviewing my contribution by way of FRS in the previous RfC, I can't really say that my opinion has changed, even when considering all of the previous discussion (including that which came after my original !vote) and additional perspectives shared here. Therefore, my response is substantially verbatim: neuter pronouns are clearly and overwhelmingly the common English pronoun when discussing vessels, as with essentially all grammatical objects referencing non-living subject matter. The assertion that certain specialized communities continue to use an archaic (and frankly, at this moment in time, clumsy and silly) idiomatic construction is really of no moment; as others have already noted above, our objective on this project is not to ape vernacular usage but rather to present our coverage such that it describes the subject matter in a fashion that is clear, accessible, and unambiguous to the largest portion of readers possible, using standard English conventions derived from common usage.
    Numerous of our core policies and the MoS itself make this priority clear, and even in instances where the sources in question use outdated idioms, we do not map our own usage accordingly unless it is a direct quote or in some way vital to describing the subject matter accurately and neutrally: we take our lead from reliable sources in which facts we present and how much weight to place on variant perspectives, but in no way does community consensus support a presumption that we will adopt the grammatical or style practices/idiomatics of particular sources (particularly with regrd to dated collquialisms), just because we happen to reference a source that uses one. And all of this presupposes that we even accept the assertion that there is a significant minority of relevant technical RS which use this idiosyncracy, when the evidence for this axiomatic assumption that I have seen presented seems to be fairly underwhelming. Lacking this evidence, I find the argument that vaguely defined "specialists" continue to use 'she' to be highly questionable: I'm guessing that the average naval/maritime professional today would be embarrassed for a colleague who adopted this out-dated usage. But again, even if such proof were, the argument would be quite besides the point under 1) all of our relevant policies, MoS standards in virtually all areas, 2) common usage, and 3) common sense. SnowRise let's rap 09:34, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose change. 'She' has a long tradition, so thus grammatically is not wrong; hence those who want to use 'she' should be allowed to do so. I suspect that earnest support for 'she' is higher amongst those who write and read our articles on ships than amongst the sample of editors represented here; that is also a reason not to impose rules. Personally I see it as a bit of harmless fun. I would also point out that there is nothing inherently weird about referring to an object using gendered pronouns: most European languages have gendered nouns and don't consider the practice sexist. Jmchutchinson (talk) 09:54, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it" and deprecation of "she" per my comment in the previous conversation. — Bilorv (talk) 10:26, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support deprecation of she although it's correct English it isn't very clear and it may well be seen as sexist. English doesn't have grammatical gender and using female pronouns to refer to inanimate objects therefore has the potential to be confusing, as well as potentially offensive to women. "She" tends to be used in poetic language, which isn't what an encyclopedia is supposed to consist of. I could understand if "she" was the dominant usage, but it isn't. Hut 8.5 10:35, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    "although it's correct English" - so you are trying to change the English language to support your personal viewpoint? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 10:43, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Virtually every contemporary English speaker in virtually every grammatical context uses a neuter pronoun to refer to ships. We are not working on a 19th century naval treaty or a Horatio Hornblower novel: this is an encyclopedia, with the purpose of educating a general audience on empirical subjects, for which we use the most broadly accessible and straightforward grammatical and style conventions. I Hut was clearly not arguing for "changing" anything to suit their personal whims, but rather their !vote makes it umabigous that they were advocating for an approach which they see as mapping to how almost all speakers (including modern technical experts in the relevant fields of naval and maritime operation, vessel engineering, and even contemporary works of history) actually speak about ships.
    Referring to ships as gendered entities is anachnostic, stilted, and occasionally even confusing to the average modern ear. With respect, when both the overwhelming common usage and overwhelming style guidance of almost every non-fiction English publication under the sun are in accordance with one approach, and there is virtually no practical reason militating for the alternative approach, it sure seems to me that it is the latter which relies on WP:IDONTLIKEIT reasoning, rather than the former, as you imply above. SnowRise let's rap 22:20, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Virtually every contemporary English speaker in virtually every grammatical context uses a neuter pronoun to refer to ships. Thou doest makest a point! Just not sure if its actually true. The sheer number of editors advocating "she" (roughly 50/50 so far) goes against the "virtually every" part of of your argument.  Stepho  talk  22:38, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    All I meant by "correct English" is that you're not breaking any of the rules of the language if you refer to a ship as female. That doesn't mean that this usage is suitable for Wikipedia. There are plenty of examples of English usage which are technically correct but which are misleading, dated, sexist, or not appropriate for encyclopedic writing. Using "she" for a ship is one of them. And this doesn't constitute "trying to change the English language", because using "it" is not only correct English but is the dominant usage. Hut 8.5 12:32, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • It seems like the best way forward (especially after reading WP:MODERNLANG and WP:GENDER) is to change the reccomendation to "it". However, I don't think mass-updating old aritcles would be productive. >>BEANS X2t 12:37, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it" because it's a boat [time]. (and per Beland's opening argument last time). The idea that two years is "too soon" to revisit a decision is kind of absurd. We're not rewriting a national constitution or redrawing a map here; two years seems more than enough to check to see how many of the "keep doing it because it's how we did it in the past" votes have come around. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:17, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it" for the same reasons I gave two years ago: English is not a gendered language; the usage of "she" as regards ships has always been subjective...When writing a modern, general-use encyclopedia, we don't retain archaic forms of language simply because they please us. Mackensen (talk) 15:26, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support She, but tolerate some "it"s if some writers insist on using them. Hopefully in a few years time this will be academic as ships will have AIs that tell us their preferred pronouns; But for the moment this is just one of the anomalies of English, ships have a gender and it is female. What I'd like to see is some sort of tailored skin options so that readers can choose which version of English they want Wikipedia displayed in and whether they want metric or imperial, centigrade or fahrenheit, CE/BCE or AD/BC. That would be doable, useful to readers, and might reduce interminable arguments by people who want to make Wikipedia more bureaucratic. ϢereSpielChequers 16:59, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it". A ship is an inanimate vehicle, not a person. It's not incorrect English at all. And blind traditionalism is an irrational position. oknazevad (talk) 17:02, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it: The majority of style guides show a preference for it and it's in line with common English referring to inanimate objects. Using she instead of it seems like WP:JARGON, it is less clear, and can be confusing for readers not familiar with this tradition, which is becoming less common. As Beland said above, jargon such as this is best explained in an appropriate place like Ship#Nomenclature rather than used in Wikipedia voice. Regarding the sexism argument, perhaps it wouldn't be valid if we didn't have such an easy way to fix it by using the equally-if-not-more valid it, and those saying it isn't sexist simply because other languages are fully-gendered are missing the point: the fact that this gendered pronoun is an exception to the English language itself is what makes it seems sexist, not just that it is written as gendered but that pretty much only ships are being written as gendered in Wikipedia. —El Millo (talk) 17:08, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support – I agree with Rhododendrites that two years since the last discussion is not "too soon." Two years ago, I opposed simply because I was wiki-lawyering the word "substantial." Having grown up in the Naval tradition, I personally use feminine pronouns in conversation to refer to vessels; however, I am convinced that doing so has largely fallen out of favor worldwide. Not deprecating such usage in this encycolpedia would pit us against most of the journalistic and academic communities in that respect. It will be a rather tedious process to comb through every article on a vessel and replace all appropriate instances of "she/her/hers" with "it/its" since it is not something a bot could do – a female Sailor or ship's sponsor might be offended by being referred to as "it," so it requires human comprehension to make the changes – but I will gladly assist however I can. — Jkudlick ⚓ (talk) 17:19, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • I am certainly against the (to my mind pretentious, only in existence because of ancient grammar books used to teach English, and just plain silly) practice of calling ships "she", but I don't consider replacing such usage as in any way a high priority task on Wikipedia. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:26, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
      • The best that I understand it, and per Mills 2012, p. 25 for just one example, modern linguists take it to be a form of marking to connote an additional emotional state, and they demonstrate this by noting the marked use of "it" with people to connote emotional repulsion just as "she" by men (and indeed "he" by women) with inanimate objects from transport vehicles to violins to connote emotional attachment (and indeed "he" by men and "she" by women to connote superiority). Of course, this modern linguistic view is a fairly good argument that a NPOV encyclopaedia should use the unmarked forms that have no connotation. But to do that one has to lay aside the view that this is because of "ancient grammar books", and accept the modern linguistic view (around since at least the 1960s) that there's actually more to this than arbitrary grammatical prescription. Uncle G (talk) 22:53, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
        • Mills, Anne E. (2012). "Semantic rules". The Acquisition of Gender: A Study of English and German. Springer Series in Language and Communication. Vol. 20. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9783642713620.
  • Support it – we should follow what's most common in reliable sources now, not what used to be most common many years ago. Not to mention that she for ships can sometimes be confusing, as other editors have noted above. —Mx. Granger (talk · contribs) 17:40, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose both it and she are common in English and to dictate removing she goes against what is seen used in English. We must allow both to be used and follow MOS:VAR. Here on wikipedia we allow both AD/BC & CE/BCE and it should, no, must remain that way with it and she so as long as both remain commonly used in English. Masterhatch (talk) 18:29, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "she". As any great man can tell you, we shouldn't be meddling with the language of our fathers and grandfathers. What are we going to teach schoolboys next? That wom Oh wait. Suport "it" because language evolves. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 20:53, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Mild support for "it" Empirically, this linguistic trait is falling out of fashion (example). It also reduces confusion considering that the actual correct English practice even when using "she" for a ship is to use nongendered relative pronouns (per this scholarly work on the English language, page 19). Since 1988, the AP style guideline has actively discouraged the use of "her" when speaking of ships. The New York Times style guide discourages use of "she". And it is confusing when a ship with a masculine associated name is referred to with a feminine pronoun. At any rate, the strongest justifications for using "she", especially the statements by the Royal Navy, seem to betray a strong sentimentality. An encyclopedia is not supposed to be sentimental. My look at this topic does demonstrate that "she" is still common enough, but if we decide to ignore this shift now I'm sure we'll be back here in 10 years. -Indy beetle (talk) 22:53, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment Procedurally close this discussion and open a formal RFC with CENT listing and neutral introduction. We aren't going to be able to change the status quo with a discussion, even one where a lot of people are !voting. BilledMammal (talk) 23:02, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment: If it can be shown that the overwhelming majority of reliable sources now use "it" instead of "she" (which I can't see in the mess of a discussion above), then nothing should be changed. If things are still pretty well divided in reliable sources (which is what I can see in the discussion above), then nothing should be changed here. And, if you want to have a discussion that will actually change things, I suggest following the advice of BilledMammal, above. The introduction to this discussion is extremely biased, basically telling everyone how they should decide on things. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 00:33, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The originator also admitted that the discussion from 2 years ago was close to evenly split and the current discussion also seems about the same. Nothing new has been brought forward by either side - just the same old arguments and the same old biases as last time. Time to WP:DROPTHESTICK ?  Stepho  talk  00:49, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, for what it's worth. "She" for ships is an awkward and antiquated affectation whose usage has been steadily decreasing for many years.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Pburka (talkcontribs) 01:08, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong oppose just to clarify my comments above, I oppose another RfC. As I linked above, US, UK, Australia and NZ all still refer to naval ships as "she" in official material. Claims based on nGrams are not reflected in recent academic works on war. For example, sitting on my desk is In From The Cold a 2020 Australian book about that country's involvement in the Korean War, edited by noted Australian military history academics. It includes extensive coverage of naval operations, and uses "her" to refer to ships throughout, although I have noticed an annoying and artificial tendency in some recent books to overuse the ship name to reduce the usage of the female pronoun. I have many more books on the shelf behind me that use "her" consistently. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 01:38, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    "Her" is used by other highly respected historians who have received awards for the quality of their writing, e.g. Antony Beevor. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 14:48, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it - As has been pointed out, archaisms like this just lead to too many absurdities to be taken seriously. There's also issues with referring to ships named after men "she". Reyk YO! 03:10, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The US Navy doesn't have a problem saying "she" for the USS Stein named after Tony Stein - see  Stepho  talk  03:25, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Yeah, but that doesn't really address the substance of Reyk's concern does it? Because both of those things can easily be true. Not that Reyk's last point is by any means really one of the more relevant reasons not to use she, but still: the conclusion that this usage cannot cause confusion does not logically follow from the antecedent that the US Navy culture sometimes employs this usage. However, I do appreciate you sharing the link, because I do think it sheds light on this situation, although not necesrily in the manner you emphasized. Let's actually look at the content of the post you were referencing, by a naval veteran:

    She was a a good ship. She was my home. I would have given my life to defend and protect her and her crew. For years after I left the Navy I could still smell her perfume, a concoction of NDF (Naval Distillate Fuel), JP-5 (Aviation Fuel), wet paint, salt water and a hundred other aromas that is part of life on board a ship. And sometimes long after I lost my sea legs gently she would still rock me to sleep. Some will say it is tradition to refer to ships with a feminine pronoun. Though I would argue that those who have sailed in vessels either on or beneath the waves, civilian or military, simply can't help themselves. She is your mother, wife, and mistress all rolled into one. In my minds eye I can still walk the whole of the ship. The 430 odd feet from stem to stern, from the signalman’s shack atop the bridge to the boatswain’s locker all the way forward in the bow, to aft steerage which is as far aft as one can go, lower engineering which is as far below the waterline as I ever ventured and nearly every space on the way and in between.

    Now that's a very romantic and evocative account--and in my judgement, a very valuable one. But that's just the point: it's a WP:primary source, and a deeply personal one. We are working on a tertiary source, an encyclopedia, and we should be using much more objective and dialecticaly plain language which describes subject matter of our articles using common usage syntax, grammar, and vocabulary; prose calculated to affect the most straightforward and factual presentation of the information to the broadest possible audience, and unembelished by sentimentality. Again, I'm grateful for the account of Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Davis: I think it is broadly educational on where the we might be unsurprised to find the colloquialism. But we are not here as old navy chums (even those here who have served in a navy) opining about the sensorium, fraternity, and other aspects of life on a ship, traditional or otherwise. We are here to provide WP:neutral, unadorned and fairly dispassionate prose about the subject matter of our articles. If that sounds a little joyless and devoid of passion, I remind you, this is an encyclopedia. Passion for the subject matter is one thing, but any time an editor finds that enthusiasm spilling into their empirical descriptions of the factual subject matter of our articles, they should be checking themselves anyway, because a deeply personal style is not consistent with our purpose here. SnowRise let's rap 23:03, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it – Different sources use "she" or "it", and the usage often depends on the context of the source (for example, "she" would be more likely to appear in a technical or military context than it would in a newspaper article written in 2022). As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has the ability to tailor its manual of style towards guidance that leads to clearer language in an encyclopedic context. A great example of this is the MOS's guidance on logical quotation: different sources or varieties of english use different quotation styles, but logical quotation is the one which creates the greatest precision and clarity, so it is commanded that we use logical quotation even though it is not used ubiquitously in sources. "She" is significantly more awkward, significantly more likely to cause confusion, and significantly more likely to cause offence than "it" is. Where one of the two linguistic styles that exist in sources creates better clarity and less confusion when used in an encyclopedia, we should encourage the use of the clearer terminology: it. Endwise (talk) 04:31, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I'd agree with the first half of that, but then you and I diverge. "She" is the natural term and "it" looks odd and makes you stop to see what is being referred to. Quite apart from anything else it breaks the flow of the text and makes you stop to consider what is being referred to just as throwing in foreign terms unnecessarily. It is far clearer, since any one of the hundreds of items abord ship would be "it" but the vessel alltogether is always "she". Martin of Sheffield (talk) 08:56, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it". It is high time we went with the flow rather than minority usage from two centuries ago. And for heaven's sake in naval/nautical articles please try to vary references to the ship, even if retaining the "she": "the [name]", "the ship", etc. Tony (talk) 08:47, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Unfortunately there are lazy editors whichever pronoun is chosen.Davidships (talk) 10:26, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • I support not gendering inanimate objects. Boats have neither sexes nor genders, and therefore in English should be referred to as "it". Using gendered language will confuse readers and editors as to what animal or person is being discussed when a vehicle is the subject of any given prose. On the other hand, even if some 18th-century editors or readers would prefer to call a conveyance "he" or "she", they will equally understand an article when "it" is used. — Fourthords | =Λ= | 18:21, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    That you think our readers are so dumb as to be "confused" by gendered nouns is noted. This is not the Simple English Wikipedia and assuming a certain level of linguistic sophistication in our readers is not untoward. Le Marteau (talk) 16:21, 24 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. We're not here to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. Other editors have provided numerous examples of ships being referred to with feminine pronouns in news sites and official sources. One editor has provided academic sources criticizing the usage of "she" as being harmful. First of all, the principle is we use the WP:COMMONNAME when we're choosing a noun to refer to an object, and I believe that should extend to pronouns as well when that doesn't conflict with MOS:GENDERID. If next year everyone decides to refer to ships with the pronoun "he" we should follow that as well. Second of all, WP:MEDSCI goes out and says "Be careful of material published in disreputable journals or disreputable fields. (See: Sokal affair.)" If these journals in the grievance studies would be worthless for describing medical topics outside their area of expertise, would they be worthwhile for describing other topics outside their area of expertise? I can't read the sources because paywall but I'm not taking as credible their stance on naval affairs. Chess (talk) (please use {{reply to|Chess}} on reply) 19:53, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    "Grievance studies" is a right wing trash term that has no place in any scientific discussion in the first place. The fact that the majority of studies even in the Sokal affair were rejected is telling in itself, but the whole point of the affair was to push anti-science conspiracy claims anyways. Furthermore, most of the studies I linked were in communication, education, and brain sciences journals. So you trying to push the claim that these fall under gender studies topics is a lie on its face. I don't take your opinion as credible for anything either. SilverserenC 21:33, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Umm, "Grievance studies" was coined by the trio of left-leaning academics who pulled that stunt, if I remember correctly. And I've found nothing to suggest that "the whole point of the affair was to push anti-science conspiracy claims anyways". That said, I think Chess' point is that simple WP:IDONTLIKEIT opinions of editors should not be used to determine our grammar rules on this matter in preference of common usage. Naturally, as I noted above I disagree with this common usage logic on the grounds that "she" is becoming less common for ships (in part because some of the public doesn't like it, which is genuine but is a matter for the English language community to decide, not us) and it can be confusing. -Indy beetle (talk) 00:16, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    if I remember correctly, one of the accepted grievance studies affair papers was published in Sex Roles, the same journal one of your sources [8] was published in. Chess (talk) (please use {{reply to|Chess}} on reply) 19:22, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose and keep as decided in former RfC, and per traditional and common use, aye. Randy Kryn (talk) 20:30, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • This discussion has made me reconsider whether I want to be a part of this project. It seems that the English Wikipedia is full of ridiculous people who think that they are nautical and who have no feel for the language. Once again, every normal person simply laughs at people who call ships "she", especially in an encyclopedia that is supposed to be written in standard English, where the pronoun "it" is used for inanimate objects. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:45, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • Shiver me timbers! You could just scuttle your account, I guess. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:59, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • This subject area seems to have fallen under a culture war, with a lot of people bringing up right wing conservative claims to defend the "she" usage. Which is telling on their own biases and lack of neutrality in being able to edit any article on Wikipedia. SilverserenC 21:33, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
      • It is a falsehood that this is political, evident from the spectrum of newspaper style guides alone as related above. It's not conservatism, or wings. It's marked forms versus unmarked ones. Both "she" and "he" are marked forms when it comes to inanimates, in speech and writing in the 21st century, just as "it" is a marked form for people. "she" is a marked form that (here) connotes an emotional attachment, which of course people who write articles about naval things might have to ships more than the general population of editors. If you want to make an argument that holds water, and not one that is clearly disproven by the newspapers, then the right argument in this regard is that Wikipedia is a NPOV encyclopaedia and should not connote such things, and so should use the umarked form. It's not sex. It's not politics. It's that the English language actually has a fair number of everyday unmarked/marked triads ("horse"/"mare"/"stallion", "sheep"/"ewe"/"ram", "chicken"/"hen"/"cock"), something that modern linguistics notices, but that isn't noticed by people who think that English has simplistic Latinate rules of grammar. Uncle G (talk) 07:36, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
        • Gee, what's the difference between horse/mare/stallion, sheep/ewe/ram, chicken/hen/cock, and ship/ship/ship? Levivich 15:17, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
          • The words that form the triad here are "he"/"she"/"it", which is amply clear from what I just wrote. Please don't be disingenuous. Uncle G (talk) 19:23, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
        • Horses, sheep, and chickens are sexually reproducing species. There is nothing unusual about having words for the male, the female, and an individual of unknown sex. Ships don't sexually reproduce, so those sequences of words aren't parallel.--User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 16:09, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
          • Yes, they are, because it's not about sexual reproduction. Trees are sexually reproducing too, but they are almost always "it". Your idea is not how English works.

            It's about markedness, which can be for many reasons. English has marked/unmarked pairs for juvenile/non-juvenile forms, for example. In "cat"/"kitten" the latter is marked for the juvenile form. I suggest learning about this; it's a fairly undertaught part of the language, but it is largely an accepted idea over the past half century. And it's been applied to "she" anaphoric pronouns quite a lot in the literature. "she" is a marked form when the antecedent has no sex, or indeed implies the opposite sex. "he" and "it" can be marked forms in the obviously analogous ways. And are. Jespersen started with the idea of personification, but later authors have pointed out that he didn't take a wide enough view, as "it" is used as a marked form for a sexed antecedent to connote, say, repulsion instead of attachment. (c.f. Morris 2021, which has an example of "it" for someone's wife in Nicholas Nickleby) Ironically, this actually forms a strong argument for "it", based upon the modern 21st century understanding of what "she" connotes, as I've pointed out already. Uncle G (talk) 19:23, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

            • Morris, Lori (2021). Duffley, Patrick (ed.). Gender in Modern English: The System and its Uses. Presses de l'Université Laval. ISBN 9782763756561.
    • Stick around & don't despair. This isn't the first time & won't be the last, this project will attempt or succeed in imposing 'word restrictions'. GoodDay (talk) 21:51, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • Phil Bridger@, I wish I had your ability to know what "every normal person" thinks. By the way, how to do we classify the numerous people above who thought the opposite? Or the sailors in the references we linked to that use "she" ? Quick - somebody call the thought police!  Stepho  talk  00:11, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • I still believe my corpus search posted in the 2019 discussion is correct, but I'm not sure what's materially changed since then in terms of editor opinions or manuals of style. Wug·a·po·des 22:06, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

    ...A search of the Google Books corpus shows that usage of "ship and her" has been steadily decreasing for the past century and the gendered variant has not been the majority use since 1940. For books using the phrase "ship and its" or "ship and her", the non-gendered variant is the overwhelming majority in published works, with 70% using "it" since 1980....The Chicago Manual of Style (17 ed.) gives the following example in 8.116 (bolding added) "USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was already on its way to the Red Sea." and gives explicit advice in 8.118: "When a pronoun is used to refer to a vessel, the neuter it or its (rather than she or her) is preferred." I see no real reason to encourage the use of "she" to refer to vessels when it is not common English usage and is not recommended by other style guides. No reason other than preference and anecdotal evidence has been given to support the continued use of "she" which is not persuasive. Wug·a·po·des​ 21:13, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

    I haven't seen any arguments above against the declining use of "she". It may well be that in 20 years it will be regarded as utterly demeaning to women or as quaint as using thee/thou/thy or please. Or we may all suddenly realise that attaching the feminine pronoun to something powerful that men depend on is a great asset to womanhood. Who knows - the future brings surprises all the time. We're not even arguing that it is in the majority use today. The point is that it is still in usage. Some sources such as the Chicago Manual of Style have decided to go gender neutral - that's their prerogative, good for them. And some sources have stayed with "she" - also their prerogative and also good for them. Cherry picking the ones that favour your choice and then trying to make the rest of us follow your cherry picked sources is not useful. Otherwise I could cherry pick Australian, UK and other navy sources and say that you must use "she".
    The real argument that I am trying to say is that both "she" and "it" are both allowed. Let editors make their own choice. If "she" is truly falling out of favour then it will naturally decline over time - so let nature take its course. If "she" stays in favour - then the people have spoken. All good either way. It's the must attitude of being forced to obey somebody's arbitrary agenda that bothers me.  Stepho  talk  00:11, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I mean, this argument that we should ignore trends and style guides in order to cater to a minority comes up pretty much every time we make a decision about word usage, and it's generally not very strong (as a topical example, it was unsuccessfully used to oppose moving Kiev to Kyiv in 2020). Some quakers still use thee and thou, but we don't cater to that minority community's norms of language use. Multiple dialects of English use negative concord negation, but we don't cater to those minorities' norms of language use. What makes this prefered minority style any better or worse? the must attitude of being forced to obey somebody's arbitrary agenda that bothers me. is an argument against manuals of style in general, and if we took it seriously we would never make decisions on any house style. That's we we generally reject personal preferences in discussions like this in favor of more objective metrics. We make decisions by looking at common language usage and manuals of style from peer organizations like Chicago, and last time I looked they show that use of "she" for ships is uncommon. Sure, there are hobbyists and traditionalists and people with political agendas who want to fight against the tide, but I don't think they're so special a group of langauge users that their anachronistic language use warrants special exception in our manual of style. Wug·a·po·des 02:01, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    So, your argument is that as soon as a usage hits second place then it gets banned? We're not talking like 2% usage by nobodies. We're talking about significant usage by authoritative institutions like government navies and books written by subject experts. Following the sources would surely allow at least some (but not necessarily all) use of "she". By the way, I never said "preferred" style - I said both styles should be allowed because both styles are still in common use. And you're still cherry picking the Chicago Manual of Style over what Australian, UK and other navies do.  Stepho  talk  02:20, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    That's obviously not my argument. I ignored your point about cherry-picking because it didn't make sense. The difference between an encyclopedia and a military branch seemed obvious to me. The Chicago MoS is literally listed on this guideline as a major influence; the British Navy is not. Wug·a·po·des 06:27, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    (ec)But specialised-subject matter style guides hold greater weight than general-purpose style guides within their subject domain, as I'm sure you know. That's the same thing we do with medicine, with sciences, with gender identity-related topics, and countless other niche areas. Now, I will point out that thou art engaging in motte-and-bailey fallacyes (the most absurd being the thee/thou argument, falsely claiming that words still in mainstream use - which we've proven - are comparable to words that have been archaic for the last 500 years!?) It's also interesting you brought up Kiev/Kyiv. That was far be it from any kind of natural language shift. That was an organised nationalistic campaign by a non-English country to get the English spelling of their city changed. Eventually all the sources complied, and THEN we did. Using a well known and documented ( Kyiv-not-Kiev) example of language activism in comparison with this doesn't quite reinforce the points you're trying to argue. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:6451:588A:E890:CE87 (talk) 09:34, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    "So, your argument is that as soon as a usage hits second place then it gets banned?"
    If by "as soon as" you mean 80 years later, at a point where it is clearly a niche idiomatic usage, then I would say yes, clearly we should be following suit.
    "Following the sources would surely allow at least some (but not necessarily all) use of 'she'."
    This is something that you've said several times now, and indeed it's a pervasive argument among many of the !votes here, this vague invocation of WP:RS and WP:WEIGHT to a style question. There's just one problem with that: this isn't remotely the way such questions are (or ever have been) determined on this project. Reliable sources are used to WP:VERIFY the factual veracity of information that we provide in our articles, but in no way do we map our grammatical and style choices to a census of what sources in a given topic area are doing. There is not a single piece of community consensus in the form of an editorial guideline or MoS directive that tells us to do that--and it would be an unworkable standard if we did, for countless reasons. Rather our style decisions are made more or less entirely on the basis of two factors: 1) what the community decides is the most practical means of conveying information clearly to the average reader, and 2) what other major style guides recommend. And even the second factor is only a function of/shortcut to what we believe to be the best way to affectuate the first.
    "And you're still cherry picking the Chicago Manual of Style..."
    Actually, it's not cherry-picked at all. Of the seven most influential style guides in existence for the English language, six (the Chicago Manual of Style, the AP Stylebook, the MLA Handbook, the Publication Manual of the APA, the Cambridge Handbook, and the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage) provide guidance against the gendered pronoun in this context--four of them specifically proscribe the use of "she" for ships, and the other two advise against any use of gendered pronouns for any objects. Only the Oxford Manual is silent on the question. On top of this, there are countless style sheets for influential publications which also expressly deprecate this usage as an in-house rule. And not just general interest publications either: Lloyd's List, probably the single biggest maritime interest journal in the world, changed it's style guide to allow only the neuter pronoun more than twenty years ago.
    Meanwhile, on the other side of this analysis, I know of not one single style sheet for any major publication that encourages or even expressly greenlights the gendered alternative. Do you know of one, even a single example, that you can tell us about? Because if you don't, then you might want at least consider the possibility that you're the one with a confirmation bias to the available evidence of commonly accepted best practice on this question.
    "...over what Australian, UK and other navies do."
    Interestingly, you don't mention the largest navy in the world. Is it possible that you noticed that the US navy's own style sheet specifically uses "it" to refer to ships? Also, it's worth noting that even if the UK and Australian navies do occasionally use "she" in certain contexts (mostly spoken English), the general style guides for official government publications for both countries expressly deprecate the usage. Beyond that, there is the point that there is no reason to presume that the idiomatic constructions employed as a cultural tradition in a given branch of a given military are appropriate idiosyncracies to import into the empirical work of an encyclopedia. SnowRise let's rap 07:26, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Snow Rise@, can you provide your source for the tipping point being 80 years ago? I'm somewhat less than 80 years old and this doesn't match what I have seen in my lifetime.
    I didn't mention the world's largest navy because that wasn't my point. I never said that all navies (largest or not) have gone to one side or the other. My point has consistently been that both forms are still in use in various places and therefore WP should continue to allow both forms.
    Can you point to the Australian and UK style guides that deprecate "she". Admittedly, it probably won't change my opinion (informal use is also enough to keep it alive) but I want to at least have an honest look at the facts and I try not to close my mind.
    I notice that all the style guides your mentioned supporting your case are American - except for the Cambridge Handbook and Lloyd's List.  Stepho  talk  11:25, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Hi Stepho: yes, if you think it will prove elucidating, I will be happy to post links to the relevant sections of the UK and Australian government publication style sheets (tomorrow at the latest--I am just out the door now). As for the places of publication of the English language's largest style guidelines, that's not something I can control for: I simply chose the seven most influential style guides in existence for English, five of which happen to be American publications, and two of which happen to be British. That's merely a reflection of a combination of historical accident and the volume of publications in the anglophone sphere. Regardless, virtually every professional publication in the English speaking world will use one of these as their default in-house style guide. SnowRise let's rap 05:03, 14 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    (Wugapodes: responded to you in the #Some ngrams of another (more accurate?) colour... discussion below. Mathglot (talk) 08:01, 13 March 2022 (UTC))[reply]
  • Support "it" per the arguments for that above, to which I have nothing to add. I strongly considered reformatting to an RfC, but I suppose that ship has sailed. Enterprisey (talk!) 22:22, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - "She" has always, in my experience, been informal English, and as such doesn't belong in an encyclopedia any more than using contractions. While it may still be common in official use in modern Anglophile navies, Wikipedia does not follow military usage in other areas, such capitalizing Soldier or Marine, so why do it here? However, I'll continue to uphold and support the status quo until it's changed. BilCat (talk) 23:11, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support our policies should change with the times to reflect current usage. Jake Wartenberg (talk) 01:12, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it" per my own comment in the last discussion and User:A D Monroe III's comment immediately therebeneath in combination with the fact that it's been two more years. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:41, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it". Wikipedia should use formal and neutral term instead of sticking to archaic industry jargon. Even in the industry, it's fast losing currency as evidenced by the resources provided by the nominator. – Ammarpad (talk) 08:13, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it, because she is pretentious and stupid. And BTW, it is running 2-to-1 over she at this point, so I think the "too soon to revisit this" argument is a now dead. Lady ships, your days are numbered. And always remember: Fearing that he might lose the prize if the winds changed, Morris rammed her. EEng 09:25, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    LOL! Was "it" really, now? By my count, your !vote tipped the balance one vote into the "it" column, marking the first time in this discussion that "its" had a lead over "shes" - 33 to 32 (not counting any votes below yours). 2 to 1 maybe just a BIT of a stretch, mate. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:6451:588A:E890:CE87 (talk) 10:25, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I guess we came up with different counts, mate. And it's certainly not looking good for she from here down either, is it? EEng 18:45, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Non-gendered ships are people too, you know! (or maybe not). Martinevans123 (talk) 22:57, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I had it as a dead heat in my tally somewhere around my vote, for what it's worth, although it depends how you classify the ambiguous ones (but not by much, only a few). Enterprisey (talk!) 00:14, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Common English, which referring to ships as "she" still is, should not be trumped by anything else. The statement that "the tradition of gendering boats as "she" can be associated with portrayals of women as controlled by or as relying on men" is utter rubbish. If anything, it's the other way around. Sailors rely on their ships, not vice versa. A perfect example of how something that is patently not true has been read into a long tradition in order to discredit it. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:29, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, keep status quo - banning words that are in common use in scholarly literature goes against the basic wikipedia philosophy. Furthermore, if there's multiple ways of writing about something, WE DON'T HAVE TO USE ONLY ONE OF THEM AND BAN ALL OTHERS! This is not the Simple English Wikipedia, people. If you want to read and write a dumbed down version of English, go there. We allow both "black Americans" and "African Americans", for example; we don't say you can only use one, and ban the other! And 25 years ago, it looked as though "black" was going to fade out of fashion. Now, it's stronger than ever! We don't dictate that no indigenous peoples can be described as aboriginal, nor do we dictate that they MUST not be called indigenous - we allow both. We talk about ENGVAR, but in American English articles alone both grey/gray, theatre/theater are acceptable, others probably as well. Etc, etc. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:6451:588A:E890:CE87 (talk) 09:56, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - this is a poetic, florid style that is inappropriate for an encyclopedia. --User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 15:33, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I've just finished watching a series on salvage ("Salvage Code Red"). The salvors from various countries around the world, particularly The Netherlands, UK and USA were not what I would describe as "poetic" or "florid". "Roughnecks" or possibly just "mad" rather come to mind! All used she/her, as did the narrator. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 16:19, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    It's about context, though, isn't it? In the context of a plain-English encyclopaedia for a general readership, "she" may very well appear poetic, romantic, florid, affected, etc to readers. Popcornfud (talk) 16:23, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    You could say the same about kneecap which is the normal English term, but redirects to the technical Patella. Why should we use a florid latinate term just because a few medics do? Or should we use the technical terms used by practicioners? Have you considered campaigning to change the article on stern to "back"? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 16:34, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Martin of Sheffield: Patella is the proper term for the body part. there could be reasons such as "kneecap" mostly referring to humans and the article is about a body part that is also found in other animals too. But terminology and pronouns are two different things. Calling a ship by any gender pronoun is a "tradition" and not following standard English rules. As seen here. It is a widely accepted tradition, but a tradition nonetheless. And Wikipedia should be as neutral as possible.Blue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 20:41, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I would hesitate to use examples such as that. Vandalism of museum property doesn't really come across as rational argument, more the sort of single-minded bullying that sensible people abhor. There may be things I wouldn't like in a museum, but I don't go around defacing the exhibits. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 20:53, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The article was presented because it confirms the choice to refer ships as "she" is a tradition. It says The Scottish Maritime Museum is to replace signs which use feminine pronouns for boats, a tradition which dates back centuries.. The subject of vandalism or whether the museum subjects to the changes of vandalism itself is not relevant to my point.Blue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 21:15, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    That article about the Scottish museum keeps being brought up as an example of an official institution modernising its language. In reality it is a reaction to vandalism of expensive signs (quite possibly by a single person) and the museum has decided that this isn't the hill that it will die on - ie they took the easy way out. The rest is just trying to put a good spin on it. And what's wrong with tradition? The majority of rules for the English language are really just listing traditional use. It's tradition that we add s to the end of a word to pluralise it - other languages often do it differently.  Stepho  talk  21:42, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Stepho-wrs: The news outlet didn't confirm that calling ships "she" was standard english. Only that it was a tradition that dates centuries. And i can use other outlets that elaborate even more that it is a tradition-based use. Even official Navies have confirmed it to be a traditional use. if its a tradition that lasted that long and still hasn't been officially recognized as standard english, then that means it must be a pretty subjective and specific. There's nothing wrong with following traditions outside of wikipedia. But wikipedia should strive to be the least subjective encyclopedia that covers all topics with equal scrutiny. If there was a "mariner/military" wiki out there that allowed the usage of "She" on every naval ship, plane, or tank, i think would be a healthy compromise. The english languaged being based on "traditions" does not mean that we should follow cultural traditions to use "she" for ships. And i could write a whole essay why i think that fallacy is just wrong, its best to leave it as that.Blue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 22:29, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    We seem to have different definitions of traditional. I would define it as something that has a long continuous history that may or may not be in current use. Your definition seems to be something that has a long continuous history but is definitely not in current use. To give examples, "thou" is traditional but not current, plurals with "s" suffix are traditional and current and "WTF" is non-traditional but current. Many people still say "she" when refering to ships, so it is still in current use by a significant number of people. Not in current use by everybody but that's true of almost anything.  Stepho  talk  08:34, 7 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Tradition is a lot more than what you described. By your definition, you could define the mere fact of existing as a tradition. And that's the fallacy, to make the definition so broad that it would apply to anything and therefore not a valid counterargument. But it is valid if you use the most accurate definition out there, not just personal interpretation. Using "s" at the end of a word to make it plural is currently standard English. Its taught as an official suffix that is taught at practically infancy for english or schools teaching english. Whether it may have been a tradition at one point isn't the debate. You can't argue that its a tradition. my point is it can't be tradition or standard english at the same time. Because admitting it is a tradition, is admitting its going gainst standard English conventions. and if this was standard practice, we would not be having this discussion. So many people are trying to say that this is WP:ENGVAR and in order to consider it Engvar, there needs to be some form of english that is region-based and not profession-based. If its region-based, its dependent on the official regional english we are aware of. So far WP:ENGVAR doesn't specify naval territories as their own version of english just to call ships as she. And if it is profession-based, than it easily falls into Jargon and we have no reason to discuss this further.Blue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 16:48, 7 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    See, your definition of traditional excludes current use. Therefore anything that is labelled as traditional is automatically excluded by you from common use. Yet many, many people use "she" today - and we're talking about ordinary people, not just sailors, and not just certain countries. It can have both a traditional origin and current use. If "she" is in common use and well understood by the majority of our readers then "she" should be a valid option for us ('it' also being an equally valid option).  Stepho  talk  22:54, 7 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I rather stick with the objective definition of Tradition than the overtly simplification. i'm not saying current or not current is the defining factor of what a tradition is. Yes, something can be "current" and a tradition at the same time. But once something is "standardized", it transcends the "tradition" definition. So that's why i'm saying that it can't be a tradition, and standard English at the same time. The fact that this is a debate, shows proof that this isn't as common enough to be considered a variation of english. Clearly when learning English at some point in our lives, no one taught them in schools whether Ships have to be a "she" no matter what. the fact that it is "confusing" already is enough. WP:PRONOUN says to avoid them unless necessary, and if you're going to say "it is just as valid", then you're admitting that "she" is not objectively necessary. We also have to understand that the choice to add gendered pronoun to any inanimate object is the act of personifying or adding affection for literally any other object when it comes to standard english, for ships to have this special exception only exemplifies a bias to the average reader.Blue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 14:12, 8 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. The Ngram link clearly shows that 'it' is currently the standard English usage and has been for a while. Wikipedia's Manual of Style should not be supporting outdated usage of the English language. Nosferattus (talk) 16:11, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Noting that I added an {{rfc}} tag to this with an explanatory note, above, because the horses have left the barns, the cats are out of the bags, the toothpaste is out of the tube, the milk has been spilled, and so forth. Levivich 16:47, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Spilt. The milk has been spilt. 18:45, 7 March 2022 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by EEng (talkcontribs)
    The milk has not been spilt in over 100 years, thanks to advances in grammar and container technology. Levivich 18:51, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I think MOS should recognize the spilled–spilt split. EEng 03:28, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it". I don't think encyclopedia articles should have ever adopted the gendered pronoun affectation of the maritime community. In 2019, the Scottish Maritime Museum switched to "it", saying "We are moving in line with other maritime institutions" (bold mine). The weekly shipping publication Lloyd's List has switched to "it". Wikipedia should as well. Schazjmd (talk) 17:11, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I believe that most of us (TINU) support an eventual change; the disagreement is on when and on what the details are. I voted opposed, but I expect that if and when "it" is used overwhelmingly more than "she" I would vote in favor of a SHOULD use "it" in new articles; I'd still vote against a mass change to existing articles, absent a compelling reason. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 18:16, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it". Deprecate "she". "It"'s arguably the more current per Lloyd's List use of "it". Paleorthid (talk) 17:51, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Just for info, since it's become something to be frequently flourished as some sort of trump card: Lloyd's List is a shipping business newspaper (for nearly 20 years in an online format), much more narrow in its field than, say, The Financial Times is in the more general business world; for decades (maybe even centuries) the vast majority of subscribers have been business firms. It has never been, as described above, a "maritime interest journal" - its coverage of wider aspects of maritime history, naval affairs, and sociological maritime matters, for example, is modest. It is of little relevance to most of the prose content of our encyclopedia. And for another editor further up somewhere, Lloyd's Register of Shipping is a completely different publication and organisation - the register itself does not use any pronouns for named ships. Davidships (talk) 19:36, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it. Well-established for years now, well beyond Wikipedia, as part of a general movement to avoid inappropriate gender references in English. The recent institutional support of this language, noted above, means that in making this change we would be a follower rather than a leader (as we should be in such cases). I think the time is already ripe; what is waiting more years going to accomplish? —David Eppstein (talk) 18:30, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • One problem with ngrams is that you can get conflicting results depending on the phrasing… for example: try her sails were against its sails were… (or for more modern ships: it steamed east vs she steamed east) - result is consistently in favor of “her”. Blueboar (talk) 19:40, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • So, if this discussion results in a change, what will be the net result of this? Will we see an actual plan on how to implement any changes, or will we just get a bunch of AWB drones mindlessly messing with hundreds of good and featured articles at high speeds? Hog Farm Talk 21:43, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The last time something like this came up that I know of was WP:BIRDCON back in 2014. I don't remember the details but someone put together a list of all the bird articles and lists and as a group we went through them systematically. AWB was helpful for some of the work, but of course it has to be used carefully. I suspect something similar would happen here. Everyone here wants the encyclopedia and the articles to look good. I don't think that the kind of people who do that kind of gnome work are going to be mindless drones. SchreiberBike | ⌨  22:21, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Veto No. This is a case of regionalisms, which is already covered on WP:ENGVAR, read it, this has already been thought and played out. In summary it would be ridiculous to have a special policy for every different regionalism, it would also be unfair to a specific region to chose one over the other, in-article consistency is valued, but consistency across wikipedia is not needed. Finally, these are a lot of words for something so inconsequential, be wary of wasting your time discussing things with such little impact.--TZubiri (talk) 22:43, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • How it the world does this issue have anything to do with regionalisms? EEng 03:41, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
      • It doesn't. The ideas that this is because of sexism, politics, or American/European differences are all false. The current understanding of linguists is that this is markedness, a thing little taught about the English language, but widely prevalent in its vocabulary. Now. In the 21st century. People use "she" for transport vehicles to mark an additional connotation in their writing, above the unmarked form "it". (And some of those people use "he" to express emotional attachments, e.g. Vanessa-Mae and her violin as aforementioned.) Only a subset of people have that emotional connotation to express. They aren't a subset by sex attitude, politics, or country. They are a subset by the fact that they have emotional attachment to ships. It should not be surprising that this seems to be a greater proportion when one looks at Wikipedia people who write articles about ships, or in navies. They like ships. Uncle G (talk) 07:36, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
        • Of course it is politics, gender politics. Appealing to linguistic theories developed by a bunch of Russians in a cafe in inter-war Prague isn't helpful, indeed betokens despiration. They were concerned with removing all irregularities in the language. I don't know enough Czech or Russian to know if it is percieved as a problem in those languages. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 09:13, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
          • You are clearly just mucking around, but for those who might take you seriously not knowing any better: Josef Vachek was professor of English Language at the University of Brno before the paper was published and went on later to be professor of English Language at Comenius University. 1964 wasn't inter-war, and Vachek was Czech, not Russian. It tends to upset Czech people calling them Russian, so have a care with your mucking around.

            In any case, Vachek in 1964 was preceded by Jesperson in 1949.

            Ironically, the people who were concerned about removing all irregularities in English were the 19th century writers like Richard Chenevix Trench. This yields further irony, in that the people saying here that "she" comes from "ancient grammar books" aren't aware that those writers often held forth that "it" was right, Trench saying in his 1855 lecture (for example) "It is only by an act and effort of the imagination that sex, and thus gender, can be attributed to a table, a ship, or a tree;". Trench's views do not represent even 20th century scholarship on the matter, let alone 21st, however. Linguists, starting with the likes of Vachek, Jesperson, and others, have come to realize that there is something else going on here, given that it has lasted some 6 centuries after Trench's "practical and businesslike character of the English mind" supposedly did away with something that is still visibly around today.

            It isn't sex; it isn't politics; and it isn't some continental divide. It's a genuine, under-taught, feature of the language.

            Uncle G (talk) 11:23, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

            • The Prague School from whence markedness comes started in 1926, which by my reckoning is inter-war (ie 1918-1939). Russian émigrés Roman Jakobson, Nikolai Trubetzkoy, and Sergei Karcevskiy sounds to me like a "bunch of Russians", though I agree it is unfair to René Wellek, Jan Mukařovský and Vilém Mathesius to call them Russian. Apologies for that oversight. Without visiting it I think it reasonable to assume that the "Café Derby" is infact a cafe. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 13:13, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
              • So saying that this is something that goes back to the 1960s has you namecalling people from 1926. You are clearly just mucking around. Linguistics has actually developed over the course of the 20th century, ironically in the reverse direction to what many people think. It has gone from firm declarations in the 19th century of the almost universal correctness of "it" (c.f. Hugh Doherty's An Introduction to English Grammar, on Universal Principles which only admits "she" for the "poetical") to recognizing that the world has simply not done that, but done something else instead. Modern linguistics' recognition of marked "she" is actually a strong argument for unmarked "it", as I have already explained. Uncle G (talk) 19:23, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it" (not to be confused with supporting the evil gigantic brian on Camazotz). As a general rule, we don't lead; we follow. Here, we should follow mainstream, well-established style guides. (I don't see how Lloyd's List being read by the shipping business should count against it here; our articles serve that audience, too.) XOR'easter (talk) 22:46, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • I just caution that LL's significance for the question in hand should ke kept in proportion - its importance tends to be exaggerated. Davidships (talk) 02:14, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it. Wikipedia appearing as sexist and archaic must be avoided. Yes, some people still use she, but less every year. We will be forced to switch to it at some point no matter what; the sooner we accept the inevitable, the sooner we can focus our limited editor bandwidth for discussions where the final outcome is actually useful to debate. --A D Monroe III(talk) 02:35, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment - Political correctness, will likely win out again. GoodDay (talk) 03:45, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • As above, see markedness and the Daily Telegraph. This isn't politics. But it is people not knowing the full depth of the English language as it actually is. Uncle G (talk) 07:36, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Yes, "it" should be preferred, as standard grammar. Common usage appears to be shifting to "it", too. In addition, at least in my experience reading some ship articles, "she" is often confusing. Tol (talk | contribs) @ 05:41, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. The Royal Navy uses "she" to this day (here 4 March: "And she scooped up ocean water..." and "She is one of the most environmentally friendly..."). I do not pretend to have made an exhaustive search of recent uses of the word, but claims here that the word is old fashioned, centuries old, unused in modern parlance, etc etc, seem to be incredibly far-fetched. I also note that some of this discussion seems to be opinion based rather than evidence based; as one editor said earlier, we should follow and not lead. Pickersgill-Cunliffe (talk) 13:42, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose any change. Looking at the ngram evidence, and from what I've seen in much of my own ship-related reading, feminine pronouns usage is still very common. Additonally, many of the 'oppose' !votes here are well-reasoned and persuasive, while conversely, it appears most of the 'support' !votes just seem to be personal opinions. - wolf 03:26, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Hmmm. I came to the opposite conclusion. Most of the opposes seem to be I like ships and use she or variations on retain because of it being a hassel to "fix", whereas the major reason for changing is that everyday language use is moving away from it (by it I mean she not it). Whether that is true or it has moved enough could be debatable, but it is a very valid reason for us (a generalist encylopaedia) to change our usage. Aircorn (talk) 18:05, 17 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Why bring this up again? It's been discussed ad nauseum and nothing fundamental has changed in 2 years. Both terms are still in common use. "She" is especially favoured by sailors, ship-enthusiasts, and sources about historic ships. The status quo allows for editorial discretion.
    The use of "she" may be in decline, but it's still to be found in numerous authoritative sources, and seems to be particularly common in British and Australian sources: the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy both use "she" (1). In many cases, Wikipedia allows the editor to choose from several words or forms where both are in common use (BC/BCE dates, for example: even though BCE is increasingly more common). Why should the same standard not apply here? Also, I'd like whoever gets to decide this to consider the fact that the status quo allows for both forms to be used, while changing would mandate only one. I think a consensus to change should have to be overwhelming.
    As a compromise, perhaps we could mandate "its" for ships built after a certain date (end of WWII, maybe). This would reflect the growing trend towards "its", while also reflecting the continuing and historic use of "she". Ficaia (talk) 18:46, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I think that's what's called cutting the baby in two. That has to be the worst suggestion I've seen at Talk:MOS in lo these many years. EEng 20:28, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The compromise idea was just a side note. My point remains: "she" is used by at least two major world navies (British and Australian) and probably more, I haven't looked yet. It can't be written off as merely "antiquated", "poetic", etc., as others here have tried to do. It's not like saying "quoth" instead of "said". It's an alternate form which can be found in countless published sources. Mandating only one form goes against Wikipedia's quite open style guide, which allows many different usages Ficaia (talk) 22:03, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    You nailed it: it's exactly like saying "quoth" instead of "said" (or, I guess, quothing "quoth" instead of "said"). It's antiquated, poetic, confusing, and stupid. It's pretentious lingo that gives its users the warm inner glow of knowing they're part of the hip and with-it in-crowd. EEng 13:31, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Your argument is really just a diatribe:
    1. "It's antiquated" - No. Still in current use, why else would there be a discussion.
    2. "poetic" - No. Every manner of speech and writing in prose.
    3. "confusing" - No. You seem to be able to understand it, don't assume our readers are thicker than you.
    4. "and stupid" - This is just your personal opinion and a quick way to insult those who disagree with you.
    5. "It's pretentious lingo" - I'd say pot calling the kettle black, but in this case the kettle is a nice clean shiny one.
    6. "gives its users the warm inner glow" - What on earth are you going on about here?
    7. "knowing they're part of the hip and with-it in-crowd" - As far as I know I've never been part of an "in-crowd".
    Really! Martin of Sheffield (talk) 17:56, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Where I said "knowing" they're part of the hip and with-it in-crowd, that thar was sarcasm. It's like when our railfanboys want to say consist (noun, stress on first syllable) instead of train. It's pretentious and stupid. EEng 21:59, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I've found that people who want to be part of the in crowd typically choose ultra politically correct memes to get their warm and fuzzy feelings - neutering language seems to be a favourite of the ultra politically correct.  Stepho  talk  22:52, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    You're going to find it particularly difficult to tar me with that brush -- see (for example) User talk:EEng#As compared to analog. EEng 05:29, 15 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strongly oppose mandating any change. Articles should be internally consistent, but nothing more, and especially not retrovandalising articles. We should not be mandating pronouns. Let each editor in creating an article choose the pronoun they prefer. and let subsequent editors honour the precedent in the artile. In the 18th century it was common when describing a military engagement between two ships to refer to ones own ship as "she", and the enemy ship as "he". This convention had died out and I am not advocating its return, though I like it, but as I write about vessels of the 18th and early 19th century, I like to preserve some of the usages to help readers who might want to research further. Thus, if the source refers to "Sincapore" I will use Sincapore. Lastly, I find folk etymoogies unconvincing as arguments. Acad Ronin (talk) 17:01, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Our readers will run into "she" as they go to the references we use; they can well be introduced to it here. However, and sadly, I think this ship has sailed. I used a quote from the Economist in my last support for "she". but their manual of style has changed slightly. Their writers persist in using "she" in articles about ships, but no longer in the Economist's voice. Instead they now quote nautical people. It will join the current depersonalization of language (writers, but not me, now say "the man that came to dinner" rather than "the man who came to dinner"). Soon everything will be boring objects. StarryGrandma (talk) 17:42, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • I was going to cite page 153 of ISBN 9780521471022, but I see that it has already been mentioned above. The real question is whether this encyclopedia should be written in faux-nautical, pretentious, "talk like a pirate", baby-talk or whether it should be written in English. And this has nothing to do with grammatical gender. The use of "she" is not tied to any particular word, but to the object described by the word, whether it's a ship, boat, vessel or something else. Or maybe people prefer to follow English as She Is Spoke? Phil Bridger (talk) 19:54, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support the use of "it". "She" is not commonly used, and seems to be against lay style guides. —AFreshStart (talk) 00:30, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose The status quo is fine. Attempting to impose language changes on a group that largely doesn't agree with them (that is likely a solid majority of those who regularly contribute to ship and maritime related articles) will only succeed in alienating them. Language and usages such as pronouns do evolve. But they do so organically. Dictates are counterproductive at best. At worst it will drive off contributors who will resent what they see as a wokish attempt at speech policing. -Ad Orientem (talk) 00:47, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • It's It's It's It's It's It's It's It's It's It's It's It's It's It's It's It's I know that makes me sound like a Neil Cicierega remi, but that's just how strongly I support it over she. (Frankly, gender is stupid anyway, but people actually use gender on other things such as humans. In English, nobody uses she for ships other then old-timey captains.) casualdejekyll 02:40, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    • And the Royal Navy, among others! So, this comment is, I'm afraid, utter rubbish. Wishing something to be true is not the same as it being true. -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:07, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment: We mandate "they" instead of "he" when we talk about a hypothetical person (if one were to... they would...), despite the fact that "he" is still in wide use, and we respect the right of our biographical subjects to choose their own pronouns, despite the fact that the world has not caught up all at once. I don't see how we can then claim laid-back descriptivism when talking about ships. Why not re-evaluate? theleekycauldron (talkcontribs) (she/they) 02:57, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Descriptivism is meant to be our default, except for such cases when taking a descriptivist approach could reasonably be harmful. A few editors have made that argument here, but it has not gotten widespread agreement. I think the most compelling point in that regard were some of the quotes of certain individual old codgers on the reason ships are referred to as "she", which were admittedly highly offensive and demeaning to women; however, most seemed to agree that those were nothing more than individual buffoons blowing hot air, that the reason had nothing to do with that. One of the most compelling reasons, as I see it, for us to maintain a strict descripticist approach to language is that, were we to allow full blown prescriptivism, the encyclopaedia would become open season for activists from all four corners of the universe to push their pet style, and the battlegrounds over this usage vs that usage would literally be endless. There's enough fighting already over what actual usage IS, if what usage OUGHT to be were fair game, it would be a disaster. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:9577:CEC2:EEDD:5F29 (talk) 03:58, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Your term "admittedly" is begging the question; I deny that calling a ship by a feminine pronoun is demeaning to women, and I am offended by PC of either the left or the right. I do admit, however, that the usage is quaint and may eventually die out, at which time Wikipedia should track the change in usage. And, no, it is not just old captains who use she/her, but also people who have never been at see in their lives. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 11:34, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The phrase "admittedly highly offensive" in the IP's comments was specifically referring to quotes justifying the usage of "she" such as it takes a lot of paint to keep her good-looking or without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable, as described here. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 15:18, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. I'm generally not an advocate of political correctness, but the feminization of ships is an absurd relic of bygone days. Ships are things. They are no more feminine or masculine than a rock or a pile of rubbish. Cbl62 (talk) 03:27, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Ngrams search is clearly in favour of "she". So there is no reason at all to change. WP is suppposed to be descriptive.−Woodstone (talk) 04:49, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it Consistent with most major media sources, this is standard grammar usage. "She" can be used in an endearing sense, but it's the wrong voice to be used that way in a generic basis in an encyclopedia. Reywas92Talk 16:06, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it going forward. I find the nominator's argument on personification convincing and feel Wikipedia should strive to use modern language. NemesisAT (talk) 17:34, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it"; "she" is an archaism with no identifiable advantages, and the nominator lays out a strong case. --JBL (talk) 17:48, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Why do people keep saying it is an archaism when it is still in relatively common use ?  Stepho  talk  23:01, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I think the "it-ers" (for want of a term for them) believe that if they talk about archaic usage long enough, it will come true. I have just noticed that the relatively recently publicly issued Times style guide is emphatic about ships and boats being referred to using "she" and "her". ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 23:16, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    As Lyndaship stated above, the majority of people protesting against this change are the ones who regularly write about ships and as such are quite knowledgeable on the subject. Those who call the usage of "she" sexist and archaic are just trying to force their views on this project. This is clearly a WP:ENGVAR issue as others have also pointed out. The current guideline which allows editors to choose their preferred style is a lot more practical. GreatLakesShips (talk) 23:26, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I am a mathematician. If I want to know whether a phrase that I use in academic mathematical writing is jargon or not, I don't ask other mathematicians, I ask a non-mathematician friend. Likewise, if you want to know whether "she" is a widespread usage, you should go ask people who do not spend a lot of time writing about ships, rather than the obsessives. --JBL (talk) 23:39, 9 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The issue is being used by some to say that the English language has passed some percentage usage trigger point that compels editors to always us "it". Any study of usage shows that both forms are in use, so the conclusion for Wikipedia is that we should reflect that diversity. The current compromise does this. You should also look at who uses "it", and why. Some strive for a perceived political correctness, others who try and connect with an interested but not necessarily specialist audience do not and use "she/her" - for example: [9]. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 09:14, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Do you refrain from using, e.g., abelian, associative, center, compact, countable, dense, derivative, Hausdorf, homology, ideal, measurable, normal, regular, topos, variety? Jargon is unavoidable in a technical discipline. BTW, I've never been to sea in my life, and the usage seems common to me, albeit quaint. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 09:50, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Honestly, I see this as a style issue, not a terminology issue. Popcornfud (talk) 14:26, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Sure. --JBL (talk) 15:17, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    When working in a technical field, it is generally unavoidable to use some amount of jargon. One important feature of writing a good encyclopedia article on a mathematical topic is keeping the level of jargon appropriate to the conceivable audience. As an example, I wrote Affine symmetric group about a mathematical object that one normally wouldn't encounter unless one were enrolled in a graduate program in pure mathematics, and the existing literature on it is entirely aimed at advanced PhD students and professional mathematicians; nevertheless, I strove to keep the jargon at a level such that the article should be accessible to readers who have only completed a good undergraduate course in abstract algebra. For a more prosaic example, see this edit (and the two that preceded it). Luckily, in the topic area "things that float on the ocean", it is much easier to eliminate insider jargon than in the topic area "advanced mathematics". --JBL (talk) 15:13, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    There's jargon as in abelian, and then there's jargon as in, say, "vote" as an uncountable noun, "aves" instead of birds, "retiring" risks or assembly instructions instead of simply eliminating or running them respectively, etc etc. Uncommon ways of saying common things. We don't use them. Enterprisey (talk!) 17:02, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    "She" is objectively not jargon. Jargon is like when you use an obscure word; 'she' is understandable to fluent speakers even if it sounds weird to them. Yellow Diamond Δ Direct Line to the Diamonds 06:52, 11 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it". Most other style manuals recommend using "it" rather than "she" for inanimate objects these days, it only seems reasonable that Wikipedia stay consistent with contemporary style recommendations. Best regards, wwklnd (talk) 02:18, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, which is to say, Support status quo. MOS:RETAIN seems like a good guideline to continue following, given the amount of arguments on both sides. And maybe now, when I find an article that uses "she", but where the original author wrote "it", I won't keep getting reverted when I change it back. Primergrey (talk) 04:26, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Keep status quo How about you busybodies leave the word choice to the people who actually write the fucking ship articles instead of being complete Randys in Boise? The fact that people are calling it "archaic" in this thread despite it still being the default for anyone who knows jack shit about ships paints a bleak picture of this website's userbase. Mlb96 (talk) 04:53, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Greetings, and welcome to Earth, where most people do not share your particular obsessions! --JBL (talk) 15:15, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I forgot that passion and expertise are frowned upon as "obsessions" on this website, while utter ignorance is exalted as a virtue. And then you all have the gall to lament the fact that subject-matter experts avoid this place like the fucking plague. Mlb96 (talk) 18:12, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    And for what it's worth, I personally have no interest in ships. But I will fight the Randy in Boise scourge wherever it rears its ugly head. Mlb96 (talk) 18:16, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Not sure if you're familiar with the history, but WP:RANDY was originally penned by someone (whom I will not name -- needless to say, it's not the person who posted it to the Wikipedia namespace at its current location) claiming to have specialist knowledge of a topic (mythology) and calling everyone who disagreed with him Randies, but it turned out he was just wrong, and belittling others for the hell of it. Many of these "Randies" actually no doubt had substantially more experience and knowledge of the relevant field than he did, given that he was so ignorant of the topic that he thought, for example, that "Greek mythology" meant "the study of Greek myths" and that "Indo-European mythologies" was an error because it would mean "the studies of Indo-European mythses". There are actually cases of Randies undermining legitimately knowledgeable editors (see Talk:Mottainai for a relatively recent [2019] example), but in my experience the latter tend to prefer just citing specialist literature that explains why the Randies' claims are wrong to citing that essay. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:07, 11 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it, mainly per Wugapodes above. (t · c) buidhe 05:28, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it"; the "she" usage has been in continual decline for over a century. The style-guide evidence below is compelling, as well.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:18, 10 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Although it's not an actual regional difference, I think the usage of "she" is kind of like a cultural thing in its own way and should be respected. In general I don't think there's any interesting reason to re-open this question if we talked about it only about two years ago.--Yellow Diamond Δ Direct Line to the Diamonds 06:48, 11 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. At this point, it's clear style guides prefer "it" to "she" for ships. Rejecting this change again is just prolonging the inevitable. Calidum 16:09, 11 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose: A classic case of WP:AINT in my opinion. The C of E God Save the Queen! (talk) 08:13, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Status quo. While official style guide usage has definitely been shifting towards "it", the dubious ngram accuracy brought up by others also definitely shows that common usage isn't shifting that way. Going by source, quotation, or whichever was first used in the article still appears to be a stable middle ground. To respond directly to Calidum: I'd say it's not prolonging the inevitable, but rather holding off while waiting for layman's terms to catch up. After all, we don't dictate how language changes. Kirbanzo (userpage - talk - contribs) 21:33, 12 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose as pedantic nitpicking and a non-solution to a non-problem (WP:AINT). This is an obvious example of the bike-shed effect, and so long an article is internally consistent, this is just a waste of everyone's time. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 00:35, 13 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. The current guidance WP:SHIPPRONOUNS and WP:SHE4SHIPS, allowing both "she" and "it" and applying MOS:STYLERET, is appropriate. This reflects the reality that sources use both styles. There is no need to prescribe consistency across all articles, or to create the temptation for mass edits. Adumbrativus (talk) 09:29, 13 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Let's split the difference and call half the ships "she" and the other half "he," else there won’t be sexual variation enough for them to maintain a breeding population. Hyperbolick (talk) 10:39, 13 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I'm shocked no one has suggested this yet. GreatLakesShips (talk) 13:48, 13 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    But now, which half gets "she" and which half gets "he"...? RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 13:55, 13 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Assuming ships are mammals, we would have to go by size. GreatLakesShips (talk) 14:40, 14 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    My sides. That would solve the sexism part of the issue, wouldn't it? Kirbanzo (talk - contribs) 19:04, 16 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Although it mentions countries, not ships, in particular, Fowler's calls practitioners of "ill-advised personification" "frigid", which is ironic, because that term has been used to insult women, the avoidance of such insults, I have to assume, is the goal of this perenial proposal. However, "she" for ships seems rather benign in terms of implying such insult. Also, we have at least one featured article that personifies ships and Wikipedia has a reason to be ecumenical in its style guide, as we want to have the least possible chance of driving away talented volunteer editors. Dhtwiki (talk) 13:00, 13 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose As long as articles are internally consistent, she or it are appropriate. As a ship editor, with a naval name, my experience with sources has been that they overwhelmingly use "she". Its a term of endearment and respect: sailors are very greatful to their ships, put a lot of hard work into said ships, and understandably seeky to personify something they are quite proud of. Naval authors have followed this trend. So while perhaps non-naval sources (magazines or newspapers) don't follow this trend, naval sources do. We should follow what topic area sources do, not sources at large. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 22:27, 13 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    "We should follow what topic area sources do, not sources at large." Except that's the polar opposite of how style guidance on this project is meant to work, to say nothing of being the least rational possible approach to this issue if our goal is to develop content that is as broadly accesible as possible. We utilize specialist sources to verify the information we are passing along to the reader because we trust such sources to have the relevant expertise on the underlying facts we wish to convey, but we base our editorial guidance on how to grammatically present such information from style guides, because we trust them to have the relevant expertise in how to effectively format content to conform to standard English conventions that will be most likely to be most effectively parsed by the average reader. Because Wikipedia articles are written with the target of a general audience's needs in mind, not the proclivities or expectations of specialists.
    This standard is clearly reflected in numerous content policies and provisions of the MoS where (to cite just one of numerous examples) we caution against excessive specialist jargon in technical areas and instead recommend more circumspect prose, if it is likely to be in the average reader's interest in digesting the content. And that's even in cases where there might be a legitimate claim for greater accuracy with more technical language, so it's even more clear that the average reader's interests must take priority here, where there is no counterveiling interest and "she" is in fact less accurate usage. I'm sorry, but what you recommend above is completely out of step with all Wikipedia methodology and basic logic, in favor of a hobbyist's affectation. Anybody arguing that we should use this idiom in our encyclopedia's prose because some specialist sources use it is employing a massive non-sequitor with regard to what reliable sources are (and are not) actually used for on this project, and I'm deeply concerned for our coverage of this topic area based on what I've read in this discussion from editors who don't seem to understand the distinction in process between how we verfify information and how we present it. There is not a single provision of the MoS that I am aware of which urges us to utilize the idosyncracies we believe we pereceive in a certain body of sources, even if this approach clearly conflicts with general style guidance from the entire world of English publishing.
    And that's if we take for granted your assertion that vaguely defined "naval" sources use "she" overwhelmingly--an assertion which seems pretty dubious on the basis of outside evidence (read: evidence other than the impressionistic perceptions of naval topic Wikipedia editors) presented throughout this discusiion. For example, in addition to only having general style guides which uniformly urge the use of "it", the largest navy in the world uses "it" to refer to ships in its own style guide, whereas not one single style sheet has been provided to suggest that so much as a single publication endorses "she" as good grammatical practice. All we have on the flip side is the assertion from some of our hobbyist editors that they continue to see this usage with a high enough frequency that it feels natural to them. Not exactly a stellar editorial argument for the purposes of Wikipedia's prose. So on the one side we have 1) Hewing to what is clearly the dominant, expected, and unmarked English usage, 2) Following the recommendation of pretty much the entire world of publication in our language, 3) conformity with the rest of our style guidance, where such needlessly gendered anachronisms have already been eliminated, 4) avoiding potential confusion in our prose by refering to a neuter concept as if it were a living and gendered entity, and 5) avoiding tin-eared prose that makes our content look dated, quaint, emotionally affected and possibly even sexist. And on the other, we have "some people still use it". The scales are not even close to being balanced here.
    "Its a term of endearment and respect: sailors are very greatful to their ships, put a lot of hard work into said ships, and understandably seeky to personify something they are quite proud of." Yeah, but we're not meant to be conveying information in a manner which prioritizes an expression of endearment, respect, gratitude, personal attachment, or pride with regard to the subjects we cover. We're meant to be presenting our content in an objective and empirical fashion. It's an encyclopdia, not a C.S. Forester novel... SnowRise let's rap 04:44, 14 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Should was also standardadise colour, favour and -ise/-ize endings? At the end of the day, this is nothing but a variant way to write English, and I'm not buying the sexism argument (most forms of discrimination are centered about negative stereotypes, and being the expressions of something seen "as a maternal protector" is, very obviously, not such a thing...). Of course we follow sources relevant to the topic area. Musical notes are described by their pitch, usually given as the name of a note ("the E-flat above middle C"), not by a frequency in hertz (311 Hz or thereabouts). Aviation terms are usually described in whatever the appropriate unit (feet for altitude, knots for speed, whatever else - its an odd mix); so on so forth (to take ships, distance and speed are usually in nautical miles/knots). Same here; and although the usage might be changing (after all, massive shipsbehemoths like Ever Given don't quite have the same charm as Old Ironsides or HMS Victory), both forms are still correct, and there's no good reason to waste such huge walls of text on such a trivial detail. The amount of effort required to standardise this, even if it were an actual problem, greatly outweighs the minute benefit (if such a benefit even exists) from it. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 06:00, 14 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I'm sorry, but not a single one of your analogies there at all holds up under scrutiny:
    -"Should was [sic] also standardadise colour, favour and -ise/-ize endings?" Are you honestly suggesting that the fact that spelling variations exist (and are tolerated by our style guidance) means that there is no justification for our style guide to advise against any form of idiomatic construction? Because that is clearly a ridiculous conclusion, and inconsistent with how the MoS works, top to bottom. One is a question of orthography (and indeed, very shallow variations in orthography at that with regard to the examples you cite) and the other is a question of grammar and accuracy; these situations do not impute the same considerations regarding clarity or encyclopedic tone.
    -"Musical notes are described by their pitch, usually given as the name of a note ("the E-flat above middle C"), not by a frequency in hertz (311 Hz or thereabouts)" To begin with, I'm not entirely sure you completely understand the basic relationship between those three concepts, because a musical note is not the same thing as a givenmusical pitch and neither of those phenomena are the same thing as accoustic frequency. You are describing three completely different conceptual terms that might be used to describe a given sound in three separate contexts. The first describes a percept, the second describes a notational unit of a method for organizing relationships between instances of percepts, and the third describes a physical property of sound. Recognizing the existence of three separate nouns which describe three entirely distinct phenomena is not remotely the same thing as endorsing a highly affected mode of speech for something that is already adequately and accurately described by the standard English neuter pronoun.
    -" Aviation terms are usually described in whatever the appropriate unit (feet for altitude, knots for speed, whatever else - its an odd mix); so on so forth (to take ships, distance and speed are usually in nautical miles/knots). Well...of course they do? How do you perceive that the existence of different units to describe different aspects of the movement of bodies in a space is somehow dispositive to the issue of whether or not to allow a pronoun to gender a genderless object? Because, again, the examples you choose are actually all separate phenomena which each have their own appropriate context. And even in cases where we have different units from different measurement systems that quantify the same value or phenomena (distance, for example), we in fact actually do have rules for when to use each.
    -"The amount of effort required to standardise this, even if it were an actual problem, greatly outweighs the minute benefit (if such a benefit even exists) from it." Does Wikipedia's entire effectiveness or reputation turn on this question? Of course not. But if that argument standing alone were to be viewed as sufficient reason not reach a sound determination rooted in pragmatics for a given grammatical issue, we wouldn't have a manual of style to begin with and two things would result: 1) our content would be of a much lower average quality and 2) there would be many more walls of text debating the exact same questions repeatedly on individual articles, rather than making the determination in one central space. Grammatical nuance may not be the most earth-shatteringly consequential type of question for this project, but this iterative process is how we improve our content over time, and the fact of the matter is that this question represents a situation in which we have abundant reason in terms of style guidance, clarity, and accuracy on one side and then a taste for romantic colloquialism on the other. If your argument is that this debate is not worth the trouble, then there's a clear standardized grammatical option that we should be defaulting to.
    So, I'm sorry, but it seems to me that none of your arguments hold water as good analogical reasoning for why we should not deprecate this usage of needlessly genderizing a neuter concept, nor for just ignoring the issue. SnowRise let's rap 13:54, 14 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The only one writing walls of text here is you. Whether you consider it "needless genderizing" or a matter of tradition or even entirely harmless seems to be a matter of personal opinion (there are plenty of people who don't give two farts about it), not of objective fact. I'm not going to waste time arguing against you, although I'd suggest you find another hill to die upon. Cheers, RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 14:14, 14 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    And you'll never even get her up that hill, anyway. So there. Martinevans123 (talk) 23:44, 16 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Collapsed. Enterprisey (talk!) 03:18, 16 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • @RandomCanadian:: you are not permitted to unliterally collpase the good-faith, on-topic contributions of other editors in an open discussion, just because you are not happy with your arguments being refuted: that is not how discussion on this project proceeds. Talk page guidelines make clear that collapsing in discussion spaces is only to take place in specific circumstances, none of which apply here, whatever your feelings about your rhetorical opposition's reasoning and no matter how loudly you make strawman arguments about another editor's supposed lack of objectivty compared to your own, as based one interaction. That's a weak rhetorical ploy utilized by those whose primary arguments on the actual issue under discussion are not suceeding, and I would recommend you avoid it altogether; I am only involved in this discussion because I was originally brought to it by an WP:FRS notice for community input: it is not a topic I am looking to engage with due to some deep underlying attachment, nor a "hill I am looking to die on" no matter how much throwing out such a random supposition may appeal to you as a quick and lazy way to undermine the position of another editor you disagree with, rather than engaging with the substance of their argument itself--or in this case, the refutation of arguments you made where the conclusions did not flow from your antecedents. Further, your edit (and edit war to restore it) also moved my comment, such that it appeared to respond to a different comment than it originally followed, which is also not permited under policy. If you edit war again to try to suppress my or another editor's comments (or to reframe them inaccurately by moving them or otherwise changing their content) again in this discussion, I will be seeking admintrative review of your conduct here. You do not get to pick and choose which responses to your comments will be displayed on screen. That is not the manner in which wikipedia's collaborative discussions operate. SnowRise let's rap 22:25, 15 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    WP:BLUDGEON is a perfectly valid reason to collapse posts, particularly when it is so obvious like here (in three comments, you have over 13 kb of text, which is obviously excessive - and even more staggeringly, you haven't addressed the key argument which is that A) this is just a matter of personal preference and B) it's a huge waste of time [as your walls of text are proving on their own]). And since you bloody insist, you were specifically asking for examples of Wikipedia following subject specific sources (like we do in plenty of topics). That you don't like it and keep dismissing it as being the fault of some vague "hobbyist editors" is not a convincing argument, and is further proof that this is just a matter of personal opinion - and if you feel the need the make ad hominems by implying that other editors are too biased to be able to make a correct decision, then that just reflects badly on you. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 23:22, 15 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    As to A), are you familiar with the logical fallacy of begging the question? The very issue the community is discussing right now is whether or not this ought to be left entirely as a matter of individual editorial discretion, or whether we ought to deprecate a usage in conformity with our own internal style guidance on other such colloquial uses of pronouns, the substantial entirety of the world of style guidance, and rational clarity for the reader's benefit. It's not compelling argument for the position you support if your line of reasoning amounts to you saying your prefered solution should prevail...because it should. Regarding B) Nobody is forcing you to engage here, my friend, and you're the one who engaged with my thoughts first--so why the sudden shock that someone might choose to refute your observations in that context? This is an open discussion and has had the volume of response from the community that it has because, even if its not something the project's direction is going to turn on, neither is it a completely trivial question: this will impact a class of articles that can be defined as "any Wikipedia article which mentions a ship". That's not a small number of articles. I personally completely understand why it as attracted the attention it has, and I think just loudly and repeatedly declaring that it's not important contributes nothing to reaching a consensus on the actual topic itself.
    Clearly it's important enough, and guess what: what's good for the goose is good for the gander--you can't stake out a firm position in a discussion and then start leaning on to how it's all just a waste of time anyway. What kind of reasoning is that? Nor can you extend that logic to hide behind relative volume of the comments: it sometimes takes a much longer amount of time to respond to poor arguments or incorrect information than it does to just throw the flawed suggestion out there in the first place. That's just the nature of things in a collaborative space. I responded to Eek's post (and your response to that comment) because I believed they contained some bad arguments and material mistakes about policy concerns, and (contrary to your own hot take on the question) that the issue was large enough that such errors deemed being addressed. For the record though, I also don't think this issue can be boiled down to just a 'hobbyist' vs generalist editor divide: I believe it is more complicated than that.
    But now this discussion truly -has- gotten meta and tangential to the actual discussion, which is why I self-collapsed my last post. Note that this is a very different matter from collapsing someone else's post, but I'm not going to edit war over it. If you should change your mind, please feel free to collapse the last three or four posts in our exhange: that will have no objection from me. But if you opt to do so, please leave my response to Eek and my post following your response visible, as I believe our discussion up until that juncture was on-point and germane and never should have been collapsed. Everyhting we have had to say to eachother since probably never needed to be said, so feel free to collapse it or even (as far as I am concerned) even delete or hide the text of the last few comments if you wish, and feel the thread will benefit from it--just be careful of breaking the formatting of the discussion. I have no more wish to bloat the discussion than you. SnowRise let's rap 01:04, 16 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Sidenote: As to the suggestion that I levelled an ad hominem at you, I reviewed the entirety of my exchange with you, and I don't see anywhere that I can be said to have done that. And I'd be surprised to have found something of that nature, as I try to make it a policy to frame any debate on this project in terms of the arguments themselves and avoid direct and generalized statements about other parties. If you feel there is somewhere where I have failed to adhere to this standard, please bring the matter to my talk page and clarify the specific statements and I promise I will address the issue there, including with an apology if I genuinely did employ an ad hominem or anything close. SnowRise let's rap 01:04, 16 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I can very well stake out a position against something and point out how absurdly long the conversation over it is. The bike-shed effect is not just fiction, it's a very real thing, and we should seek to avoid it as much as possible - something to which your comments of excessive length are not helping. If you can't make your point concisely, it's unlikely you're going to convince anybody. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 01:14, 16 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The scale of importance necesary to determine whether an issue is a "bike-shed" (in the meaning of that idiom) depends on what you think the actual structure of importance here is--and it's unclear to me what you think that larger issue is. If the larger interest is merely "Wikipedia as a whole", that's a poor argument, given Wikipedia is substantially a collection of many such small issues, each appearing trivial when examined on its own, but most of which need to be addressed in order for the smooth operation of the project's functions. Without having an interest more narrow than "all of wikipedia" but broader than "this question" it's impossible for me to know what you are trying to say when you invoke the bike-shed effect in this context. I will only repeat that, given the number of articles that could be potentially impacted by any result in this discussion (surely several hundred thousand at least), and given the numbers of editors whose interests the issue cuts accross, the scale of the discussion is not surprising to me. But anyway, I believe it would be in the best interest of readability of this thread, and permitting the discussion to move on from our difference of opinion here, if I were to collapse our discussion, starting from the post where I pinged you. Do I have your permission to do that? SnowRise let's rap 01:45, 16 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Collapsed thread. Excessively long comments. Enterprisey (talk!) 03:18, 16 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it" per Mackensen. Also, I wish maritime people could step out of that bubble for a minute and see how ridiculously anachronistic calling inanimate objects "she" sounds. Silver hr (talk) 04:11, 15 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • This discussion is too long so I'm just going to throw another anecdote at it - I live in a maritime island province with a shipbuilding history and active fishing economy, and it's still quite common here to refer to ships as "she", even among younger generations. People don't look at you funny if you call a ship "it", but they do grumble about the "mainlander" after you leave. This, of course, is not a data point in favour of nor opposed to making this change; we should follow common professional usage, and the analysis of style guides below is better than personal anecdotes like this one, or the opinions of anyone who is offended one way or the other (Wikipedia contains offensive material, though we try not to do so just to be offensive). Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:17, 14 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - This is simply an ENGVAR issue and there is absolutely no need to dictate to editors what is used. FOARP (talk) 11:15, 15 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose per GreatLakesShips. Re-litigating the matter after only a couple years since last discussion is poor form. Chris Troutman (talk) 23:23, 16 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Le Marteau (talk)I am not going to further overload this convo by citing anything other than my subjective opinion as a sailor and a traditionalist I think "she" for all craft which sails, flys or or travels in space is a delightful quirk in the language which deserves to be preserved.
EDIT for additional rationale: some editors do note that they find such usage as jarring, or even "disorienting". I can assure you that the feeling is similar on the other side of the fence... when I see a boat referred to as an "it", I find it equally as jarring and actually disrespectful. My experience is actually very common in the maritime communtity. In my opinion, in articles pertaining to maritime topics, all other things being equal, preference should be given to terminology generally used by mariners. Le Marteau (talk) 14:06, 23 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Le Marteau: your primary reasoning is WP:ILIKEIT. You have to put yourself outside of the maritime bias and look at the average reader. the fact you consider it "Disrespectful" means this is a very "personal" preference. It adds a tone to Wikipedia because its the only inanimate object that is allowed to be given a gender pronoun in all of Wikipedia. and that preferential treatment shouldn't be acceptable.Blue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 18:27, 29 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Blue Pumpkin Pie:It adds a tone to Wikipedia.... This is your subjective opinion. Mine is, that it is disrespectful, and considered as much by most mariners and many land lubbers, and I consider both yours and mine, valid rationales.Le Marteau (talk) 18:58, 29 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The fact you consider it "disrespectful" only proves my point further that it indeed adds a personal tone to it and removing it would cause some disrespect. Otherwise, removing pronouns would seem "an odd adjustment" at its worst. WP:PRONOUNS says to avoid them when unnecessary. And in this case, objectively, they're not. WP:TONE also pushes for a more formal and neutral tone. There are no female pronouns on tanks or airplanes anymore, despite some military biased individuals continuing to use them. So in your own words, as a Wikipedia editor first and maritime last, why should Wikipedia make naval ships the exception? The openly subjective perspective of this shouldn't be accepted in wikipediaBlue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 20:41, 29 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
WP:ILIKEIT. There you go, with my compliments. Not you, but I sense there's a lot of that on this RFC masquerading as objective judgement, but I'll go ahead and say it, and if you or the closer chooses to disregard anything I've said on this, or strike it, or remove it, I've stated my case and I'll rest satisfied with that. G'day to ye, matey. Le Marteau (talk) 21:03, 29 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
EDIT for additional rationale: When some of you read 'she' for 'ship', a lot of you hear an old salt, or others a bigot, or a mysogynist, or a poseur of some sort, and say it comes across as unnatural. For those of you, I encourage you to listen to ten seconds of this fine craftswoman say 'she' or 'her' three times, then tell me it does not sound completely natural, unaffected, and anything but mysogynistic or archaic. Tell me her words would sound better if she succumbed to the pressure of the 'she' haters and said 'it' insead. Because this is the kind of speech I hear in my head when I read such words. Cued up to the 10 seconds I'm referring to. Le Marteau (talk) 23:54, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Sounds overly romanticized and personalized for referring to an inanimate object to me. And it sounds even worse when used in an encyclopedic context. User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 16:35, 6 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neutral I don't have strong opinions either way. If the policy changes, I will adjust my writing accordingly. If it doesn't, I may adjust it nonetheless. Or not. Tupsumato (talk) 04:23, 23 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • 'Support i believe there are writing styles that some sources have chosen to do for the sake of tradition and not because it follows standard english writing conventions. Military/marine based sources or even news outlets closely tied to Marine/Military may continue to use she as a tradition but fully accept its not standard english. Most likely to avoid backlash from the readers who insist it is a she. In my humble opinion, its important to make that distinction. Is it formally taught in schools or in any english speaking courses to native or foreign speakers that all Ships are the exception and should be addressed as she? Overall Wikipedia isn't exclusive to just military and it should have some form of consistency, especially with pronouns. If i read the article on Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Americas or Bockscar, and they address these as "it", and suddenly go to Titanic and it is being addressed as she. It can be disorienting. It gives the impression that Wikipedia itself has a fondness of Ships over any other vehicle/inanimate object.Blue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 12:56, 23 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, leave as an ENGVAR Functionally this remains sufficiently as a legitimate disagreement of language, where both options are mutually understandable, and viable. That, left to my own devices, I'd probably use "it", doesn't mean it should be enforced. Nosebagbear (talk) 13:28, 23 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • No strong opinions from me either way, but just wanted to comment that some people (humans) use "it" as a personal pronoun. Some1 (talk) 01:27, 24 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Keep status quo. If the article already uses "she" it should stay using "she", if the article uses "it" it should be using "it" consistently. There is no need of "enforcement" for things like this. The energy that will be spent correcting "she" or "it" is better spend elsewhere. And the drama that will happen if regulars are templated because of "wrong ship pronoun" will waste so much time and energy. SunDawntalk 14:27, 24 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose keep status quo. There are clearly multiple approaches in practice and we shouldn't yet again take the prescriptive approaches of some style guides to enforce once version on all articles. There's enough pointless editing to declare only one recent approach to be correct when that doesn't reflect how things actually are and we shouldn't be adding to it. Timrollpickering (talk) 15:03, 24 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong support: Wikipedia accords with reliable sources, and those reliable sources (at outlined in the syle guides below) are telling us that generally scoped style guides have moved towards "it" for ships. Whether people like that societal change or not is immaterial, and I'd encourage the closing admin to discount !votes in that vein. See also Wugapodes' reasoning above. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 14:35, 25 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    There are countless reliable sources and several directly relevant organisations (The London Times, the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy) which still use "she". And I can find any number of UK government sources which use "she" (1). The spirit of the MoS is to allow editorial choice where different usages are in common use, and that is clearly the case here. Ficaia (talk)
    This is a style guide; the most appropriate reliable sources to align with are external style guides. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 17:05, 27 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it, "she" is way too outdated and weird to a modern reader. Renata3 23:02, 29 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Perhaps you would care to define "modern reader" in a way that doesn't alienate anyone older than you? Perhaps you should consider recasting your opinion as "way too outdated and weird to me". Martin of Sheffield (talk) 08:50, 30 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support it — no reason to keep this antiquated exception to MOS:GENDER. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 19:55, 30 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Given that MOS:GENDER currently allows "she" for ship, you really have not given a guideline or policy based reason for your opposition. I didn't either, and amended mine to citeWP:ILIKEIT Le Marteau (talk) 20:28, 30 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The Times style guide still uses "she". So does the Royal Navy. The onus is surely on those trying to take away our choice here. Ficaia (talk) 20:42, 30 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    We don't need a policy or guideline when the very name of this project is the "English Wikipedia", not the "Talk Like a Pirate Wikipedia" or the "I've Been to the Isle of Wight on the Ferry so I can Pretend to be a Sailor Wikipedia". Phil Bridger (talk) 20:49, 30 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    But we've already shown that "she" is still, to this day more prevalent than "it" in English wrt ships (though "it" has certainly gained ground). And the lowpoint for "she" was 30 years ago, even, and has been increasing since then. It might seem nonstandard to you, but what is "English" is surely not whatever you decide it is, facts on the ground be damned. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:4D69:F0F8:A0CA:5BC (talk) 03:17, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - The misogynistic implications of using she/her pronouns on ships are uncomfortable and inappropriate, especially in the neutral, formal tone of Wikipedia. PBZE (talk) 15:45, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    This is genuinely the first time I have seen anyone categorize this issue as one of misogyny. Thankfully, I don't see your point at all, or else I might be offended instead of bewildered. Le Marteau (talk) 16:14, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The opening statement of this discussion talks about how using she/her for ships is sexist. I also explained it in another talk page before I was aware this one existed:
    Additionally, it's possible that this usage is misogynistic and a subtle factor driving women away from Wikipedia. She/her pronouns were historically used to refer to ships and other personal items in order to emphasize that the ship was the owner's property that he took care of (carrying connotations of objectified beauty as well) similar to how women were viewed by their husbands. Even without this context explicitly stated, using "she/her" to refer to property, especially in the formal tone of Wikipedia, probably carries these underlying implications.
    PBZE (talk) 19:51, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I have never understood the usefulness of getting into disputes over whether she is sexist, or misogynist, or so on. Surely it should be enough to observe that it's pretentious and stupid. EEng 20:29, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I'm going to guess people don't use the "pretentious and stupid" argument because they know that is subjective, and that the closer will give more weight to policy or guideline based arguments. Le Marteau (talk) 21:38, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    It's because while the pretentiousness is annoying, it's a relatively minor issue. It's a big issue that Wikipedia has, in what is supposed to be in a neutral point of view, an outdated sexist convention which promotes a male-centric misogynistic bias that views even inanimate objects through the perspective of the heterosexual male gaze, and is potentially alienating to women readers. PBZE (talk) 23:17, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Facts claimed not in evidence; there is no consensus that "she" is any of those things. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 23:51, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    People doing something stupid and pretentious things always deny it's stupid and pretentious. EEng 17:37, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    You're very fond of throwing the word "pretentious" around. Have you read the dictionaty definition: "Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed; making an exaggerated outward display; ostentatious, showy"? How does a choice of pronoun attempt to impress, assign a greater importance, make an exaggerated outward display or become ostentatious? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 18:08, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Pretentious pretentious pretentious pretentious pretentious pretentious pretentious pretentious. We already talked about this, you and me. Search this very page for "warm inner glow". EEng 20:45, 2 April 2022 (UTC)                     Pretentious[reply]
    Pretentious                                             Pretentious
    Hmm, yes... I just bet that all this obnoxious and petulant rage is filling Martin with a "warm inner glow" at this very moment. How about it, Martin? Are you filled with a "warm inner glow"? I know I am. - wolf 23:12, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    (edit conflict) Seriously? That reads as utter twaddle. A "subtle factor driving women away from Wikipedia" – a few articles about ships will turn half the human race off Wikipedia? None of the women I know would think twice about it, indeed most if not all would use "she" in this context themselves. "to emphasize that the ship was the owner's property" weirder yet. I would refer to any ship, or boat for that matter, as "she" whether I owned it or not. How a man views his wife might be relevant only inasmuch as he should ask her and the two jointly agree on a course; if you try handling a sailing vessel as if it were a slave, then the sea and the ship will soon put you in your place! At least you have the good grace to use "it's possible" and "probably carries", it becomes clear that you don't know and are just expressing a vague idea. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 20:37, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    ...this. - wolf 01:16, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    A sailing vessel is property. It is an inanimate object. It has no agency and exists to be used as property by its owner, and sometimes to look pretty. Back in the days where the use of she/her pronouns on ships was introduced, that owner was always a man. The use of she/her on ships directly compares women to property, and there is no escaping that. PBZE (talk) 23:27, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Pbze, you've had your say, more than many others here, and certainly more than was required for the purposes of this RfA. Your remarks are becoming increasingly offensive and insulting, and imo are a violation of wp:npa. Referring to ships with feminine pronouns does not make an editor a "misogynist", and you repeatedly stating as such does make it so. And unless you have actual evidence that that use of "she" for ships in a small percentage of mostly naval articles is somehow driving away female editors in droves, you should probably let that go as well. - wolf 01:16, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I love how all of these MOS discussions eventually devolve into an 'omg it's gonna drive away [certain group of] editors if we don't do things a certain way!!'. It happened over at the Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 224#RFC on wheelchair-based language. I'm unsurprised to see it happening here. Some1 (talk) Some1 (talk) 01:53, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    The gender bias on Wikipedia is well-documented. The fact that this is a systemic issue means that we should be doing more as a community to make Wikipedia gender-inclusive.
    While this specific issue may not do much individually compared to everything else, small things can add up. We should be trying to get rid of sexism on Wikipedia wherever we can. PBZE (talk) 02:06, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I have not personally insulted anyone. The only thing I've criticized is the use of she/her pronouns on ships. It's blunt but I feel that it needs to be said. It's bad to downplay these issues when Wikipedia as a whole is known for systemic gender bias. PBZE (talk) 01:57, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Easy for you to say, you're not one being insulted, just the one dishing out the insults. But, whatever. You've made your opinion very clear, you think some of us are just a bunch of misogynists, (even the female editors that support and use "she for ships"..!) We got it, so why don't you move on to something else now? Have a nice day. - wolf 20:53, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I still see nothing "mysogynistic" in owning, caring for, and considering a boat feminine, and find the assertion a bizarre misuse of the term. But we are all entitled to our interpretations of the actions of others, and I thank you for your reply. Le Marteau (talk) 20:42, 31 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    It's nothing to do with property, sexism, misogny or similar - it's about respect. Long ago objects that we now consider to be "inanimate" would be considered to have souls, spirits, gods or similar; and if you offended them, they may seek retribution - perhaps by sinking the vessel to claim the lives of those causing offense. It may be superstitious, but at a ship's launching, we still break a bottle of expensive drink over the prow; and when the ship crosses the equator for the first time, we still throw something valuable over the side. These may or may not be sacrifices to Poseidon, Neptune or an equivalent deity of your choice - some people don't believe in gods but a sailor doesn't want to take the chance, so respect is always shown, just in case. Similarly, the vessel must always be respected because it is all that is preventing you from drowning, and using the term "it" is disrespectful. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 16:25, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Respect, as well as being a word beloved by gangsters, is something due to people, not means of transport. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:54, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Like I said, it's a superstition that many people are afraid to break, just in case it's true. Don't blame me if at some future time you happen to be on a ship that sinks. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 18:21, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Phil Bridger: "Respect, as well as being a word beloved by gangsters, is something due to people, not means of transport. " - wow. You know, I have some frinds in the Navy you should meet. You could head down to their favourite bar, have a few drinks with them and tell them allll about your opinions on ships. I'm sure it would be a very enlightening experience... - wolf 20:53, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support "it", per the reasons well-articulated above by User:Snow Rise, User:Skdb, User:Ahecht, User:Indy beetle, User:Jkudlick, and the nominator. Paintspot Infez (talk) 01:41, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • The use of "she" has been in decline for a long time, I support the change to "it" sooner than (too) late(r). Betseg (talk) 23:25, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose such a change per all the reasons I laid out the previous time this was discussed two years ago. This time if anyone is going to baselessly accuse me of being "sexist" for holding this position I will happily file a report at ANI, thanks.  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 00:57, 5 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Spy-cicle: oh, don't forget you're apparently a "misogynist" as well. (Just another in the lonnng line insults being posted against opposers here). - wolf 03:22, 5 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose compulsory 'it' – Many inanimate objects are referred to with gender pronouns, both in everyday use and in poetry. There's nothing misogynistic, paternalistic, denigrating, objectifying about it. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 14:32, 8 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Some ngrams of another (more accurate?) colour...[edit]

As Blueboar pointed out, running ngrams for phrases such as "her/its sails were" or "it/she steamed east" yields results that consistently and strongly favour she/her. For your convenience: her/its sails steamed east hull starboard

The "steamed east" one doesnt appear to have enough usages at all to be useful. "Her sails/hull/starboard" all more common than their "it" counterparts. Another point of interest, usage of "she/her" appears to have hit a low point in the 1980s and 90s, but has been n steadily increasing since (as has it; the gap is certainly more narrow than it was 100 years ago, but all y'all's claims of minority usage appear to be..mistaken. Credit goes to Blueboar for noticing this. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:6451:588A:E890:CE87 (talk) 01:21, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Of course ngrams that mention archaic modes of propulsion (steam, sails) are going to favor archaic pronouns. its/her gross tonnage shows "she" has been on a steady decline since 1900. --Ahecht (TALK
) 20:03, 8 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]