Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style

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

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Why does the Manual of Style recommend straight (keyboard-style) instead of curly (typographic) quotation marks and apostrophes (i.e., the characters " and ', instead of , , , and )?
Users may only know how to type in straight quotes (such as " and ') when searching for text within a page or when editing. Not all Web browsers find curly quotes when users type straight quotes in search strings.
Why does the Manual of Style recommend logical quotation?
This system is preferred because Wikipedia, as an international and electronic encyclopedia, has specific needs better addressed by logical quotation than by the other styles, despite the tendency of externally published style guides to recommend the latter. These include the distinct typesetters' style (often called American, though not limited to the US), and the various British/Commonwealth styles, which are superficially similar to logical quotation but have some characteristics of typesetters' style. Logical quotation is more in keeping with the principle of minimal change to quotations, and is less prone to misquotation, ambiguity, and the introduction of errors in subsequent editing, than the alternatives. Logical quotation was adopted in 2005, and has been the subject of perennial debate that has not changed this consensus.
Why does the Manual of Style differentiate the hyphen (-), en dash (), em dash (), and minus sign ()?
Appropriate use of hyphens and dashes is as much a part of literate, easy-to-read writing as are correct spelling and capitalization. The "Insert" editing tools directly below the Wikipedia editing window provide immediate access to all these characters.
Why doesn't the Manual of Style always follow specialized practice?
Although Wikipedia contains some highly technical content, it is written for a general audience. While specialized publications in a field, such as academic journals, are excellent sources for facts, they are not always the best sources for or examples of how to present those facts to non-experts. When adopting style recommendations from external sources, the Manual of Style incorporates a substantial number of practices from technical standards and field-specific academic style guides; however, Wikipedia defaults to preferring general-audience sources on style, especially when a specialized preference may conflict with most readers' expectations, and when different disciplines use conflicting styles.

More: Wikipedia:Manual of Style extended FAQ

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Welcome to the MOS pit

Style discussions elsewhere[edit]

Add a link to new discussions at top of list and indicate what kind of discussion it is (move request, RfC, open discussion, deletion discussion, etc.). Follow the links to participate, if interested. Move to Concluded when decided and summarize conclusion. Please keep this section at the top of the page.


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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)

  • 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)
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)
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)
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)
Ping to prevent archiving. EEng 12:49, 27 March 2020 (UTC)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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)

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)
(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)
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)
@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)
  • 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)
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)
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)
@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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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)

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)
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)
  • 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)
    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)
  • 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)
    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)

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)

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.

Clarification for tense (periodicals vs podcasts and the like)[edit]

The section states:

However, articles about periodicals that are no longer being produced should normally, and with commonsense exceptions, use the past tense. Generally, do not use past tense except for past events, subjects that are dead or no longer meaningfully exist, or periodicals and similar written material that are no longer being produced.

I find it a bit strange that we have this artificial split for periodicals but would exempt radio and TV shows, podcasts, and so on. So a discontinued magazine was but a discontinued radio/TV show or a podcast still is? What's the logic here? This leaves a lot of blurry boundaries not addressed. What about a website? What about a website that was both a podcast and a magazine? I think we should try to standardize this better. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 03:14, 28 December 2020 (UTC)

You can read the related RFC. I think introducing the inconsistency was rather dumb, and would prefer to return to the way it was (not least because several editors advocating for the inconsistency seemed not to want to distinguish between publisher and publication, and formal versus informal English and where each may be used), but there you go. --Izno (talk) 06:58, 28 December 2020 (UTC)
Yes, this is worth revisiting, but I'm of the mind that such matters should be left alone for at least a year, maybe two, or people get their undies in a bunch. Frankly, it helps to have a good list of problem examples, complaints, etc., arising over time to see if consensus will change.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:28, 4 January 2021 (UTC)

Tense seems inconsistent[edit]

Past tense

I'm looking at these three examples:

  • Earth: Final Conflict is a Canadian science fiction television series that ran for five seasons between October 6, 1997, and May 20, 2002.
  • A Prairie Home Companion is a radio show that aired live from 1974 to 2016 (not A Prairie Home Companion was a radio show).
  • Jumbo Comics was an adventure anthology comic book published by Fiction House from 1938 to 1953

Why are discontinued TV shows and radio shows in present tense, and discontinued comic books in past tense? —Naddruf (talk ~ contribs) 20:43, 6 January 2021 (UTC)

@Naddruf:, MOS:VERB says,

By default, write articles in the present tense, including those covering works of fiction (see Wikipedia:Writing better articles § Tense in fiction) and products or works that have been discontinued. However, articles about periodicals that are no longer being produced should normally, and with commonsense exceptions, use the past tense. Generally, do not use past tense except for past events, subjects that are dead or no longer meaningfully exist, or periodicals and similar written material that are no longer being produced.

Does that help? Your question was the subject of an Rfc (here). You could try raising the issue again, if you disagree with it, but the consensus is only six months old, so you could consider waiting a bit. Mathglot (talk) 22:17, 6 January 2021 (UTC)
I think your quote from the MOS doesn't really explain what the consensus is, because it doesn't state a difference between printed works and electronic media. However this is stated in the RfC in a slightly obfuscated way. So thanks for providing the RfC, this page is very confusing. —Naddruf (talk ~ contribs) 22:22, 6 January 2021 (UTC)
Literally the same discussion as the comment at #Clarification for tense (periodicals vs podcasts and the like); since you don't know why it is, you're looking for Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 219#RfC: Should "is" or "was" be used to describe periodical publications that are no longer being published?. As above, I am annoyed that we have now had to field 2 questions about it. --Izno (talk) 21:28, 7 January 2021 (UTC)
I've merged this to be a subsection of the original, to centralize discussion.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:32, 26 January 2021 (UTC)

Stress marks in Russian words[edit]

Stress marksEEng

Stress marks discussion[edit]

There is a dispute on whether the Russian terms and names should include the accents that mark the stressed vowel, as in "Никола́й Андре́евич Ри́мский-Ко́рсаков", or should the correct spelling be preferred ("Николай Андреевич Римский-Корсаков"). In fact, these accents are not part of the regular Russian orthography, it's rather a kludge that exists to compensate for the lack of a full IPA transcriptions. The problem is that most readers unfamiliar with Russian don't realize what it is, they just think that the words are spelled correctly. "Because I've copied it from Wikipedia!".

For a couple of years I've been cleaning the articles from that, and by request of one of the curious users I wrote an essay that describes the matter: Stress marks in Russian words. However, recently I've met a significant population of users (by the number of two) who oppose to my edits so strongly that I have to draw your attention now. Please see the current discussion and express your opinions.

See also:

Ideally, we should form a statement to be included in MoS, so that the controversies no longer arise. Even if we don't, any input will still be helpful. — Mike Novikoff 13:00, 23 January 2021 (UTC)

Taurus Littrow, who wrote an excessive amount of comments below, is now indeffed and furthermore globally locked (see CentralAuth), which ultimately resulted from his attitude to this very dispute. So I've taken the liberty to boldly mark his comments with <s>, in hope that the uninvolved users, whom I encourage to comment, can read the discussion. — Mike Novikoff 02:29, 12 February 2021 (UTC)
Important Note: Unlike claimed above, both spellings (stressed and unstressed) are correct. Taurus Littrow (talk) 07:47, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
Not exactly. The whole point is that the stress-marked variants are used very seldom and only on certain occasions, and thus do not represent the common spelling. You may call them "correct" only in a narrow sense.
And I strongly oppose that you edit the essay before gaining any consensus to do so. It now looks like I wrote something that I actually didn't. :\ — Mike Novikoff 12:34, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
The use of stresses is a different question. And what is "common spelling"? In encyclopedias, we have one common and accepted spelling (with stresses), and in books, another common spelling (no stresses). But you can't say that one spelling is correct and the other is wrong. That would be utterly misleading. Stresses are not mandatory, but they are not forbidden either. "Not mandatory" and "forbidden" are two different things. P.S. The essay doesn't belong to you; it's in common space, and some other users actually asked me to edit it. One other user edited it before me, anyway, and another after me (I also included a sentence suggested by a third user). You can give a link to the old version here, and we can discuss the whole thing on the talk page. Anyway, I tried to include both points of view, and I didn't remove most of your arguments (save for the irrelevant or misleading stuff). Let's not complicate things. Taurus Littrow (talk) 12:48, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
You didn't word this invitation neutrally. So I'll try to help clear up the situation a bit.
You have tried to get rid of stress marks in the Russian Wikipedia and failed. Here: ru:Википедия:Форум/Архив/Общий/2018/09#Ударения в русских словах. So it is not only two users. The whole Russian Wikipedia opposes you. --Moscow Connection (talk) 18:11, 24 January 2021 (UTC)
I'd like to echo this. This statement is certainly not neutrally worded, especially w.r.t. the mischaracterisation of accents marks. The description above could be interpreted as meaning that are an invention of Wikipedians, which is false. It is true that they are not a part of standard common everyday written Russian as is found in newspapers, books, signage etc. that is intended for normal L1 Russian speakers; however, they are common in texts for younger L1-speaking children or beginning L2 learners and, more relevantly here, have precedent in certain Russian-language encyclopaediae and dictionaries aimed at adult L1 speakers. Stephen MUFC (talk) 21:21, 24 January 2021 (UTC)
Yes, Mike Novikoff's statement is clearly very biased, one-sided and derisive. Frankly, I've got quite tired of this discussion, and I already listed my arguments for using accents (see the above links), so I will be brief this time and just say that using stress marks in Russian encyclopedias and dictionaries (in entries) is at least 200-year-old common practice which is still in use (see the Great Russian Encyclopedia in 36 volumes, published only recently, between 2004 and 2017, by the prestigious Russian Academy of Sciences). Stress marks are also used in all polysyllabic words in books for young Russian children and in reading books for foreigners. I guess that solves the issue. Taurus Littrow (talk) 13:51, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
> The whole Russian Wikipedia opposes you.
That's not even remotely true. The discussions on this matter appeared there since at least 2011 ([1], [2], [3]) when I hadn't even been there. @Jack who built the house: ping. — Mike Novikoff 08:09, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
Both discussions concern dictionary words. While what you do is removing stress marks from people's names. No one in the Russian Wikipedia would ever agree to that. --Moscow Connection (talk) 11:10, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
Just like in that old joke on the Russain army, where an officer says: "Hey, the three of you! I tell you both! Yes, you, man!"
In fact, there were much more than three discussions, some of them even successful, but I'm not going to reveal everything so that you don't go and edit war there now. I guess you are having enough fun there already, aren't you?
Back to the topic, there's no use to look at a non-consensus (there has never been one!) of a barbarian wiki that in 2021 still practices SOB-formed datelinks and infobox flags. They are copulating with geese, you see. — Mike Novikoff 13:50, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
I'd dare to suggest that your joke is completely irrelevant here. Also, please avoid personal attacks like this one: "I guess you are having enough fun there already, aren't you?" — No personal attacks or harassment. Let's be polite. Thanks. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 16:01, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
Well, I agree, this can be a real problem for those unfamiliar with the Russian orthography, who confuse the stress mark with other diacritics. Mike made a pretty strong argument in his favor. On the part of opponents, I see the argument that stress marks are used in Russian-language encyclopaediae and dictionaries (especially for children). However, here is an encyclopedia for adults in English.
P.S. At the same time, I have no opinion about the stress marks in the Russian Wikipedia, perhaps Mike really had no arguments to remove them in ru-wiki, but here is another case.--Nicoljaus (talk) 14:56, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
Nicoljaus "stress marks are used in Russian-language encyclopaediae and dictionaries (especially for children)" – There has been a misinterpretation on your part. Stress marks are used in: 1) encyclopaediae and dictionaries (which are intended both for adults and children); 2) books for small Russian children; and 3) reading books for foreigners (both adults and children).
"However, here is an encyclopedia for adults in English." See 3) above. Taurus Littrow (talk) 15:09, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
I don’t understand what you’ll argue with. Here, in any case, not a book for L2 learners. Give an example where a common English-language encyclopedia uses the Russian spelling with stress marks.--Nicoljaus (talk) 15:20, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
What exactly don't you understand? I explained that your statement re. children is wrong. And why don't you give an example of a common English-language encyclopedia that doesn't use stress marks? Note that stresses are used in Russian-English and English-Russian dictionaries (in Russian words), including those published in English-speaking countries. Can it be considered a strong argument for using stresses? One way or another, there is nothing wrong in using stresses in Russian words; they are just not used in "normal" books, newspapers, magazines, etc., where they are considered excessive. But even in those texts accents are still used in some words (e.g., to help distinguish words which are written the same). I repeat: it is not a mistake to use accents in Russian words. And stresses are used on a large scale for guidance purposes, including in texts intended for non-Russian speakers. I'd dare to say that English Wikipedia can be considered such a text. Taurus Littrow (talk) 15:34, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
And why don't you give an example of a common English-language encyclopedia that doesn't use stress marks? -- Well, for example see: Russian-English Geographical-encyclopedia there is nothing wrong in using stresses in Russian words -- I am not saying that using the stress mark is something wrong. I say that when a person, who does not know that this is a stress mark, sees such a spelling in the English Wikipedia, they will think that this is a common variant of Russian orthography. While this is a variant that is rarely used, only for special purposes. This can lead to confusion and you need to think about how to avoid it. At the same time, the information on where to put in stress is already given by the entry in the IPA.--Nicoljaus (talk) 16:03, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
OK, thanks. However, stresses are used in the English-Russian Russian-English Medical Dictionary and Phrasebook, published only recently, in September 2020. It only supports my statement that there is nothing wrong in using stresses.
Whether the IPA can be used to replace (rather than complement) the stresses has already been discussed elsewhere (see the links above), so I won't repeat the arguments pro and contra (I've got quite tired of this stuff).
"This can lead to confusion and you need to think about how to avoid it." – OK, we can discuss that, but just removing stresses (which are of great help) is obviously not a very good solution. We could probably write a notice to this effect and put it in some visible place, probably in the Russian language article. Taurus Littrow (talk) 16:27, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
Would a hover-over notice briefly explaining the situation with stress-marking accents be appropriate perhaps? Stephen MUFC (talk) 16:35, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
It sounds like a good idea. Whatever way we choose, I believe we could write a bot that would do the necessary changes automatically in all the articles. Taurus Littrow (talk) 16:38, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
Could it not just be added as a feature of the template used to demarcate Russian Cyrillic in the wiki code? Stephen MUFC (talk) 16:40, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
That would be perfect, sure. Taurus Littrow (talk) 16:54, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
If we were to follow the same kind of logic ("it's confusing, so remove it"), we could delete the patronymics as well. They are not used in "normal" texts either. Taurus Littrow (talk) 16:54, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
@Taurus Littrow:However, stresses are used in the English-Russian Russian-English Medical Dictionary and Phrasebook -- Yes, in dictionaries sometimes spelling with a stress mark is done instead of IPA, but I have never seen that both are used at the same time, this is really confusing. In encyclopedias in English I have never seen Cyrillic with stress marks.
We could probably write a notice to this effect and put it in some visible place, probably in the Russian language article. -- If you mean the Russian interwiki article, then I don't think this is a good idea, since it is unlikely that an English reader will go there. The notice ("a feature of the template") seems like a better idea.--Nicoljaus (talk) 13:10, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
Nicoljaus If you mean the Russian interwiki article – No, I meant the Russian language article on enwiki (where the use of stresses is actually explained). But I agree that "a feature of the template" is a much better idea. Taurus Littrow (talk) 13:29, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
Oops, I'm sorry for my misunderstanding.--Nicoljaus (talk) 14:37, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
If even the Russian Wikipedia disagrees with stripping these marks, that's suggestive that we should keep them as well. But the real question for en.WP is what do most modern, high-quality, English-language sources do, when they also present these names and terms in Cyrillic? And not dictionaries, since they may be including them for pronunciation-guide reasons. If it's usual to include them, then WP should include them. If it's not, then it's not.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:04, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
I think usually English-language encyclopaediae actually either don't include the Russian-language name at all or only use a transliteration rather than Cyrillic. Stephen MUFC (talk) 21:16, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
Which is one of the reasons I said modern, high-quality, English-language sources, not English-language encyclopedias.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:00, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
The two aren't mutually exclusive but apologies for too hastily reading your post. It is also true, however, that even history or politics books in English about Russia(ns) don't tend to provide Cyrillic but may give a transliteration. I can't say for certain that there are sources which do use Cyrillic - I'm sure there must be some out there - but I can't remember ever having encountered any and, although I'm not an expert, I (have) read a fair amount of relevant material. Stephen MUFC (talk) 22:55, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
Sure, I didn't mean they're mutually exclusive, but that one is a large class and the other a subset (which we already know is doing it for pronunciation reasons).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:43, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
SMcCandlish I believe that English-language sources (other than dictionaries and reading books) don't include Russian spellings (with or without stress marks) at all. You can only see Russian spellings in bilingual dictionaries and reading or learning books, and they are almost universally accompanied by stress marks, whose main reason is indeed to help with the pronunciation. So if you do add Russian spellings here or in an another encyclopedia, I don't see why you should exclude the stress marks. There's no harm in adding them other than a possible misunderstanding as to their use in normal texts, which can be easily solved by adding an explanatory note. Taurus Littrow (talk) 21:22, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
I'm skeptical that serious works of biography, etc., never provide the Cyrillic of anyone's name. I don't read a lot of Russia-related stuff, but it's certainly common in academic sources to include the Greek-alphabet name along with the Latin-alphabet transliteration when writing about Greek subjects. I'm not even suggesting this need be done on a case-by-case basis. If, for example, very few English-language sources on a new Russian movie star gave their Cyrillic name, that's irrelevant if lots of English book sources do give Cyrillic names of Russian politicians, generals, composers, authors, etc., and a dominant style (with the marks, or not) can be discerned from modern works of this sort. If a source analysis of this source proves fruitless, then I'm not sure I know what to !vote here. I like being consistent with ru.WP, but if they're only doing it as a pronunciation aid, because their equivalents of WP:NOTDICT and WP:AT are very different, then that wouldn't be a good rationale to apply at en.WP. But if these marks are common in everyday works like newspapers and adult books in Russian, that would refute the claim these are only used as pronunciation aids for children's/learners' materials and dictionaries.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:00, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
SMcCandlish Well, I've read a lot of Russian-related stuff in English, and I don't remember seeing Russian spellings. They just transliterate and translate anything written in Russian, including titles of books in bibliographies. Just checked some books on space exploration, and that's indeed the case; I could find nothing in Cyrillic in them. One book is actually a translation from Russian, and even its original title was transliterated. So the situation is completely different from that for Greek-related subjects. Weird, but true.
But if these marks are common in everyday works like newspapers and adult books in Russian – They're NOT common there, that's the point. Nobody uses them in Russian newspapers and books for persons older than 7 years or so.
that would refute the claim these are only used as pronunciation aids for children's/learners' materials and dictionaries – Well, this exactly what they say in the above-mentioned Russian-English Medical Dictionary and Phrasebook: "Russian words are provided with stress marks for proper pronunciation." Taurus Littrow (talk) 22:30, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
Alright, then. This "Weird, but true" situation is unfortunate, but I guess it is what it is. Unless there's some big trove of sources and facts we've missed, I'm more swayed by your argument. It sounds more and more like ru.WP is lacing its article titles with pronunciation information, which might be entirely normal under their own policies but is not under ours. One of the reasons I've held out a bit on this is that in the case of Spanish diacritics, they were originally introduced for a similar reason, and slowly became a norm of the language. But if there's no evidence this is the ongoing case in Russian, and considerable evidence to the contrary, I can't see a reason to treat these on en.WP as actual diacritics that are part of the natural language, even if we're normally skeptical of attempts to suppress diacritics (and "para-diacritics" like Vietnamese tone marks, which are part of the standardized language, not something limited to kids books and dictionaries).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:43, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
Please note that patronymics are not part of the natural written language either; they are only used in personal documents, such as passports, and you can barely see them in common English-language sources. In Russian, they are used sometimes in oral language, usually as a polite address (first name + patronymic; no surname). So one can take the arguments against using stress marks on English Wiki and apply them to patronymics. Same thing with the "Old Style" for birth and death dates, the pre-reformed Russian spelling for names, etc. Taurus Littrow (talk) 06:31, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
Greetings, SMcCandlish. No, the situation in Russian is completely different from Spanish. At first, stress marks were required in every word (and there were three types of them), but gradually they died away. In Russian encyclopedias (on which the ru-wiki is oriented), a variant with stress marks is traditionally given in the title of the article to clarify the pronunciation. It also can be used for some other cases. There is some information about this in the book: A Reference Grammar of Russian by Alan Timberlake. Also, this book says: "If stress is marked generally - it usually is not, but it can be, for example, in dictionaries or pedagogical texts for foreigners..." Taurus Littrow is right, and the use of Cyrillic in English books is quite rare, but I have found several variants and they are usually unstressed. The Russian-English Geographical-encyclopedia was mentioned above. Here's another one: The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft. By the way, I see that the Cyrillic alphabet is also used in educational books without stress: [2], [3].--Nicoljaus (talk) 14:33, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
Stress marks will never die out in Russian-language encyclopedias, because without stress marks there will often be no way to determine the correct pronunciation.

The stress in Russian words is most important. A misplaced stress may alter the meaning of a word (зáмок – castle; замóк – lock), or render it incomprehensible.

I can give more examples. Take Alexandra Trusova, for example. "Trúsova" means "Cowardova". But "Trusóva" would mean something like "Pantiesova". It wouldn't be nice to call her like that. --Moscow Connection (talk) 17:49, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
without stress marks there will often be no way to determine the correct pronunciation -- It's true for Russian-language encyclopedias, but here we have IPA--Nicoljaus (talk) 08:24, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
I already pointed out that, in my opinion, IPA can be used as an additional tool, but not as a replacement of such an easy and elegant solution as stress marks. Is there a rule that prohibits using both stresses and IPA? I don't think so. P.S. Note that the article you mentioned, IPA, actually uses stress marks. Taurus Littrow (talk) 08:55, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
Stress marks are the best choice if you know they are stress marks. The only thing that worries me is that in the overwhelming majority of languages there is no problem with stress at all (it is always in the same place) and the acute sign does not mean stress, but something else.--Nicoljaus (talk) 09:01, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
I already mentioned that the possible misunderstanding can be solved by adding an explanatory note or (as proposed by SMcCandlish below) by indicating both spellings, with and without stresses. But I definitely don't like the "confusing so delete" approach. Note that Russia-related articles are generally very confusing, especially if they are about people who lived before 1918: two birth dates, two death dates, two Cyrillic spellings, etc. etc. The patronymics are very confusing, too. I keep seeing serious sources using and misusing the patronymics. Some foreigners believe they are mandatory, while others treat them as if they were a second American name and abbreviate them (e.g., "Sergey P. Korolev" - we never do it in Russian). Taurus Littrow (talk) 09:15, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
tl;dr completely irrelevant to the topic. — Mike Novikoff 17:50, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
OK, I apologize for that. Anyway, some of the stuff in your essay on stresses is also completely irrelevant ("Russian Wikipedia (that has a series of similar technical cargo cults, such as reverse name notation [Surname, Name] in article names, as if there's no DEFAULTSORT [Wikidata shows that ruwiki is the only Wikipedia that has it], and so on"). --Taurus Littrow (talk) 15:09, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
something like "Pantiesova" – I see you are mostly concerned of the biographical articles. Once again, as Nicoljaus already said, "here is an encyclopedia for adults in English", not Simple English Wikipedia for children or people with disorders. There are many names (in various languages) that may seem funny to someone, or that someone may try to make fun of, but doing so is completely childish, and a reasonable adult won't even think of it. Remember what Wikipedia is not: "not a complete exposition of all possible details" (WP:NOTEVERYTHING), and in particular not a dictionary. Articles on persons are about persons, not about their names. It's necessary to give the correct spelling of a name (readers do search for names, and do copy names from Wikipedia), it's optional to give the pronunciation (that's what IPA is for), and to deal with the name's etymology is out of scope. Even a dictionary won't do that, unless it's a specialized dictionary of proper names. — Mike Novikoff 09:19, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
Actually, it is usually impossible to determine the correct stress placement in a Russian family name. I know this by experience. In October I renamed a number of Russia-related articles in the Spanish Wikipedia, and it was more than often that I had to go to YouTube to search for news announcements, interviews, etc. (Cause the Russian Wikipedia didn't have all the stresses marked. And it doesn't have many articles that the English and Spanish Wikipedias have. This is because the Russian Wikipedia is not as developed as the Spanish and English ones. And because it has stricter notablility rules.) --Moscow Connection (talk) 18:34, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
Potential solution: This appears to be analogous enough to different ways of transliterating Chinese, etc., that we already have a functional, well-accepted way to approach this: The article title should be in the Latin orthography that is most common for that particular subject in English-language reliable sources. The lead sentence of the article should give that spelling first, then parenthetically provide the bare Cyrillic and the stress-marked Cyrillic. It need not provide a stress-marked variant of the Latin-alphabet transliteration unless this is also showing up in sources (or, I suppose if that one does show up, but stress-marked Cyrillic hasn't been found in a source yet, then omit that one). Basically, just account for the variants found in sources, and make sure that for the Latin-script ones that they redirect to the same article. Maybe we can even create a template (or add features to {{lang-ru}}) to indicate with little links what these different orthographies are, as we do in {{lang-zh}} for different Chinese transliteration orthographies.

I think this would be an encyclopedic approach, since these marked-up spellings are attested in RS (for specific purposes today), and at one time, if I'm understanding Nicoljaus correctly, were much more common, such that older people or people reading older materials may be specifically expecting or searching for those spellings. So, we should just provide them all without trying to decide is one is "right" and the other(s) "wrong". WP:CONSISTENT is just one criterion and we have to treat it with WP:Common sense: It's perfectly fine if, for whatever reasons, some particular subject has become better known with those marks in the name than without them (in either orthography or both, though only the Latin orthography will matter for article title determination purposes at en.WP). But by default, we would not be adding the marks just to indicate punctuation the way ru.WP does; it's clear that their title policy is very different from ours.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:51, 26 January 2021 (UTC)

Yes, I agree with this solution, in general lines (minor details can be discussed). We definitely must use an encyclopedic approach since this is an encyclopedia. Just to clarify one thing: I don't know what kind of period Nicoljaus is referring to (when stress marks were mandatory), but these must be very old times, like 300 or so years ago. I've read many 19th-century books, and they don't have stress marks. So you have to be really old to expect to see stress marks in books, lol. Taurus Littrow (talk) 07:34, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
I was referring to the times before Peter the Great. The stress mark in handwritten texts (which were less affected by Peter's reforms) fell out of use in the second half of the 18th century (see paper in Russian).--Nicoljaus (talk) 08:21, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
Thanks, that's what I thought. Peter's reform of the Russian alphabet (1708–1710) is actually described here. Taurus Littrow (talk) 08:32, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
Thank you both for clarifying the origins of the subj, I didn't know that. Very interesting indeed. So for us contemporary Russians they originate in the first grade of elementary school, and historically they are from the epoch before Peter the Great, being abolished by him. Let's remember that for making any further decisions. — Mike Novikoff 10:30, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
Peter the Great didn't abolish the stress marks, their use just ceased to be mandatory. Taurus Littrow (talk) 14:32, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
There are no two Cyrillic Russian orthographies today, there's only one. And, unlike Chinese, it's not a transliteration of something else. I can't even imagine a subject that is "better known with those marks in the name than without them". For instance, they are never used in official documents that identify people (birth certificates, passports, etc). — Mike Novikoff 09:12, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
Note that birth certificates and passports always use patronymics. Does it mean we should use them on enwiki, too (in the name of an article, not just in the lead)? Taurus Littrow (talk) 09:19, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
I guess neither patronymics nor article titles are subject of this discussion. — Mike Novikoff 09:41, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
then parenthetically provide the bare Cyrillic and the stress-marked Cyrillic.Just no. We have too much WP:LEADCLUTTER already. Have in mind that {{lang-ru}} names are commonly provided for subjects associated with neighboring languages ({{lang-uk}}, {{lang-be}}, {{lang-kk}}), and having two near-identical Russian renderings next to each other would be a solution of a non-issue that would contribute to a much greater problem. No such user (talk) 10:03, 28 January 2021 (UTC)
SMcCandlish, greetings, and thank you for your approach. I've always thought you are against redundancy, just like me (and isn't it one of the main goals of MoS overall?), and now I have to agree with the user above: double rendering of Cyrillic Russian would be awfully redundant. I'm always fond of consistency too, so I'm for the consistent implementation of the IPA throughout the Wikipedia, regardless of the language.
And one more thing: there is no legitimate "stress-marked variant of the Latin-alphabet transliteration", it's a madness done by those who just don't know what they're doing. That's why I often refer to WP:RUROM that describes the correct current practice of transliteration from Russian. — Mike Novikoff 12:22, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
it's a madness [sic!] done by those who just don't know what they're doing. Please read Civility: "Avoid condescension. No matter how frustrated you are, do not tell people to "grow up" or include any language along the lines of "if this were kindergarten" in your messages." // That applies to everyone. Let's keep this discussion civil. Thanks. – Taurus Littrow (talk) 15:21, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
@Mike Novikoff: Well, okay. If they're just not used enough to really matter, then don't put them in the lead after all. Just create redirects so they work in getting people to the right page. I decline to stress about this. :-) PS: Can someone tell me the Russian term for this kind of "pronunciation markup" (in Russian and romanized), and is there a ru.wikipedia article about it, or section at least, if we don't have anything on it at en.wikipedia? Would like to read more about it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:18, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: The Russian terms are ударение (udareniye) and знак ударения (znak udareniya). See also Stress (linguistics) § Spelling and notation for stress. — Mike Novikoff 06:20, 16 February 2021 (UTC)

I do not have an opinion but want to set out the argument as I understand it. An example of the issue is diff which changed three {{lang}} instances including from the first of the following to the second.

Russian speakers refer to the schism itself as raskol (раско́л), etymologically indicating a "cleaving-apart".
Russian speakers refer to the schism itself as raskol (раскол), etymologically indicating a "cleaving-apart".

Should the article show how to spell a word (раскол) or how to pronounce it (раско́л)? According to comments above, Russian dictionaries etc. (and ruwiki) show the pronunciation for a word. The ruwiki equivalent of Old Believers in the example above is ru:Старообрядчество and it seems to use the example word without stress marks. @Kwamikagami: I've seen you working on things like this; do you have an opinion? Johnuniq (talk) 02:38, 31 January 2021 (UTC)

@Johnuniq: The ruwiki equivalent of Old Believers in the example above is ru:Старообрядчество and it seems to use the example word without stress marks. -- Have a better look: the Russian word does have stress marks, and so does the second Russian term: "Старообря́дчество" and "Древлеправосла́вие". Anyway, even if some Russian pages don't have stress marks in the entry word, that's because nobody bothered to put them, not because they are not necessary on ruwiki. P.S. Note that both Russian terms are a mile long, so it would be virtually impossible for a foreigner to tell where the (main) stress falls. – Taurus Littrow (talk) 15:27, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
I edited Mike Novikoff's essay on stresses to make it more neutral. I removed the irrelevant info and added both points of view. Everyone is welcome to leave their constructive comments and suggestions on the essay's talk page. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 15:45, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
When I search the wikitext of ru:Старообрядчество for the word "раскол" I get 10 hits (there are 39 hits for the text including not as a whole word). However, there are no occurrences of "раско́л". If you see something different, perhaps you could quote a few words so others can see it. That seems to support my above summary, namely that "раскол" is used to spell the word while "раско́л" is used to pronounce it. Do you disagree? Johnuniq (talk) 22:38, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
@Johnuniq: I was talking about the word "Старообрядчество". It is stressed in the lead, the first time it appears, in bold: "Старообря́дчество, или Древлеправосла́вие, — совокупность религиозных течений". No other words (including "раскол") in the article are obviously stressed, since the stress is only placed upon the entry word(s) and only once. No disagreement as to the spelling vs. pronunciation; the intention of the stress mark is to help with the pronunciation, that's correct. P.S. Just to clarify: Both spellings (stressed and non-stressed) are technically correct, so I wouldn't oppose the spelling to the pronunciation (if that is your intention). Stresses can be (and are) used, but only in certain texts. Please read the new version of the essay: Wikipedia:Stress_marks_in_Russian_words for more explanations. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 06:58, 1 February 2021 (UTC)
"раскол" is used to spell the word while "раско́л" is used to pronounce it – the short and simple answer is yes. — Mike Novikoff 22:55, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
Not true. Didn't I ask you on your talk page not to mislead non-Russian users? To show pronunciation in Russian, one obviously uses phonetic transcription, while the placement of a stress mark helps with the pronunciation (to pronounce a word in Russian, you basically only need to know where the stress falls). And one can't claim that a stressed word is not a valid spelling or something. Any spelling is used to spell, that's kind of obvious. I already explained all this stuff slightly above, anyway. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 07:19, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
You seem to be just playing with words. Your "helpful" variant exists solely for the pronunciation, and it's a special one, not the regular. — Mike Novikoff 09:30, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
No, I'm not "playing with words". A stress mark helps with the pronunciation but doesn't constitute a pronunciation as such. That would be the IPA or the Cyrillic phonetic transcription or something similar. A sign on an office door stating one's name, e.g., "John Smith", doesn't mean that this sign is actually John Smith. It only means that the office belongs to John Smith. Same thing with the stress. Anyway, both spellings are valid and correct; whether they are special or regular, that's a different question. P.S. In a nutshell: A stress mark shows the phonetic stress, nothing more. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 10:03, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Phonetic. — Mike Novikoff 10:39, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
That's what I said. And I doubt that a foreigner with very little knowledge of the Russian spelling who sees, for instance, металлообраба́тывающая ("only" 11 syllables) would be able to pronounce it, even if the word comes with a stress mark. So you cannot quite tell that the above spelling shows one how to pronounce the word in question. You'll need a proper transcription for that. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 11:03, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're arguing. Of course stress marks are phonetic (so they are about pronunciation), and of course IPA is much better. — Mike Novikoff 11:55, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Ruwiki is a very poor example since it never had a guideline nor even a consensus on these stress marks. The only thing that can be told for sure is that they never include them in article titles. The rest is chaotic: someone "bothers to put them" in leads just because they feel they should, and then gets very surprised to learn that there is no such requirement. — Mike Novikoff 14:30, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Those who remove stresses on ruwiki also get quite astonished when they are told that removing the stresses that were already placed "is not welcomed", to put it mildly. Adding stresses on ruwiki is OK, while removing them, not so much.
  • They never include them in article titles. — That would have been preposterous indeed. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 15:29, 2 February 2021 (UTC)

Maybe a single repetition of the word in accented Cyrillic, with a footnote to explain that the stress marks have been added for the benefit of the reader, and aren't normally found in print?

My opinion is that we should make WP as useful as possible. That's the general criterion I try to follow when deciding on things like this. And the accent marks are undeniably useful. Russian stress is unpredictable. Even disyllabic grammatical words include minimal pairs that differ by the position of the stress. (Not long ago I had to ask a native speaker about such a word, because it fit two dictionary entries and without stress marking I couldn't tell which.) But Russian orthography is otherwise close to phonemic. So if you are even slightly familiar with Russian, you can read it, as long as someone tells you where the stress lies. Without the stress assignment, you won't know how to pronounce the vowels, because they change drastically depending on stress. (E.g. unstressed a and o are pronounced the same, as are e and i.)

As for the contrary argument, that accent marks will confuse readers who don't know Cyrillic, I wonder why they'd be using Cyrillic in the first place. The situation is very much like English technical dictionaries, that mark stressed syllables and expect you to be able to pronounce Latinate words once that is given. Like Russian, English Latinate orthography is close to phonemic apart from stress. And I suppose that because of that convention, some people might conclude that English orthography includes an acute accent mark, but I would expect readers to educate themselves when they come across something new. There's only so far we can dumb things down.

Another parallel is vowel marking in Arabic and Hebrew, which is similarly useful in making written words pronounceable to L2 speakers but is otherwise only used for children and dictionaries.

I support stress marking in the Cyrillic, but would reluctantly accept removing it if the remover added the IPA to compensate, just as I would for English technical vocabulary. (I would prefer to keep the stress marking, in both Russian and English, and add the IPA as an additional key.) Or, as proposed above, have parallel Cyrillic with and without stress marking, parallel Arabic and Hebrew with and without vowel marking, etc.

The problem is Cruft. (Click if you dare.) EEng

The problem with these other solutions is cruft — they can lead to a ridiculous delay before you get to the topic the article is supposed to be about. And they tend to bloat over time. In a dictionary, you can skip the pronunciation, orthography and etymology sections if you're not interested and go directly to the definition. On WP they're all glommed together. I find it annoying to start the lead, and encounter a paragraph of detail about the keyword that has nothing to do with the subject. Repeating the keyword once in Cyrillic/Arabic/Hebrew/Devanagari/IPA is easy enough to skip, while being highly informative — that is, if we keep it short, there's a high ratio of utility to inconvenience. Repeat it two or three times, for Cyrillic with and without stress, or Arabic with and without vowels, or English with both IPA and respelling (or stress marks and IPA), and the utility ratio starts shifting the other way. I'd prefer a single repetition that covers orthography + pronunciation, and supply further detail if needed in a footnote.

kwami (talk) 22:34, 31 January 2021 (UTC)

  • Maybe a single repetition of the word in accented Cyrillic, with a footnote to explain that the stress marks have been added for the benefit of the reader, and aren't normally found in print? — Adding an explanatory note is an excellent solution in my opinion. I actually proposed it in this discussion already, and some users agreed with it. Just to clarify: we better only include the stressed word(s); the version without stresses would be redundant and confusing. Thanks.
  • Both the IPA and the stress(es) can be kept, sure enough. If you have a car (IPA), it doesn't mean you are forbidden to walk (stress).
  • Thanks for the information on stresses in English words; very useful and revealing. It looks like it's not "madness [sic] done by those who just don't know what they're doing", after all.
  • Your other arguments and suggestions look very good to me. (I won't list them and won't comment on them so as to keep this discussion short.) Thanks much. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 07:31, 1 February 2021 (UTC)
English technical dictionaries, that mark stressed syllables – Can you please name a few? I think I've seen some in my life, namely FOLDOC and The Jargon File, and they don't mangle the words with accents. The latter does this at most. — Mike Novikoff 23:57, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
I ... would reluctantly accept removing it if the remover added the IPA to compensate – That could be a feasible compromise, if we don't reach anything else. Another user had already suggested it: stress marks should not be used if IPA is present or added. It would also be in line with MOS:REDUNDANCY that says "keep redundancy to a minimum in the first sentence". (Most articles that I care about have the IPA already.) — Mike Novikoff 05:20, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
  • This would actually be no compromise at all, not on your part at any rate. This is something you have been claiming here for months if not years and which you mentioned in your essay: no stresses, including when we have no IPA. No, just nyet. The stresses should stay whether we have the IPA or not. There's no harm in using them. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 06:56, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
The dramatic track five of Battleship Potemkin. :-)
No matter what I've been claiming, I'm now ready to agree on something different. — Mike Novikoff 16:50, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
  • A stressed spelling would only be redundant if we indicated it along with a non-stressed one (раскол, раско́л), so that's really a non-issue. We do use respelling H:RESPELL for English words, after all, and nobody claims it's redundant. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 06:56, 4 February 2021 (UTC)

Another possible solution: Stressed vowels can be emphasized in some different way, e.g., by using bold: "Александр Сергеевич Пушкин" ("Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin"). Aamof, some Russian dictionaries underline stressed vowels, but, as far as I know, it is not recommended to use underlining on wiki. P.S. @SMcCandlish, Moscow Connection, Nicoljaus, Johnuniq, and Kwamikagami: What do you think? — Taurus Littrow (talk) 12:21, 2 February 2021 (UTC)

Acute accents are the standard convention for marking stress in Russian, and I see no reason not to follow it.
I don't care for emphasis by formatting. It's not stable, for one thing -- someone might want to copy these names into their own work, and the stress would be lost. It's easy enough to remove the stress marks if they want to, since they're combining diacritics and all they have to do is hit backspace.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we have one person who wants to change consensus, and everyone else keeping to the existing consensus? He's brought it up, didn't get any support, so he needs to follow consensus. He can continue to campaign for a change, of course, but meanwhile the current consensus is valid. It's not really up to us to convince him, but up to him to convince us. — kwami (talk) 06:43, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
You couldn't be more correct as far as that user's behavior is concerned. I also agree with your arguments regarding the use of accents vs. the formatting. Stresses are much more stable and common, indeed. I just tried to find a solution which would please every user, including the person you have just mentioned, but it appears that nothing would ever please him other than his own solution. Thanks. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 07:03, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Are we discussing my behavior? And can you please stop flooding? — Mike Novikoff 07:28, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Novikoff, please choose your words. I'm not "flooding", just explaining things. Taurus Littrow (talk) 07:40, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
@Kwamikagami: What "consensus" you are talking about? There hadn't been one so far, not even in ruwiki. I do have some support already, and the discussion is far from being over. BTW, you didn't answer my question above. — Mike Novikoff 07:28, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
The consensus is that we've been doing this for 20 years without a problem.
As for English tech dictionaries marking stress, sorry, I never bothered to keep track. Too trivial to think twice about. You could probably find something as easily as I could.
I do remember seeing this in guides to Roman and Greek names, both historical and mythological, where the only guide to English pronunciation was an acute accent. I believe there are two reasons for doing that: (a) there are different traditions for how to pronounce Classical names in English, and it would create a mess to try to give them all, while upsetting people if the editor took sides, and (b) those pronunciations are generally predictable as long as the placement of the stress is known, so there's no need to give the pronunciation beyond that. The latter is exactly our situation with Russian. — kwami (talk) 07:33, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Novikoff, please stop misleading people. Other users and I have already commented on the alleged lack of a consensus on ruwiki. This is what I wrote: Those who remove stresses on ruwiki get quite astonished when they are told that removing the stresses that were already placed "is not welcomed", to put it mildly. Adding stresses on ruwiki is OK, while removing them, not so much.Taurus Littrow (talk) 07:38, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
OMG, what a chaos. :(( You may repeat everything you've said some more times, in all possible threads, then it certainly becomes more convincing. :\ — Mike Novikoff 08:05, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Please see WP:CIVIL: Avoid condescension. No matter how frustrated you are, do not tell people to "grow up" or include any language along the lines of "if this were kindergarten" in your messages. — One way or another, even if I repeated a couple of my arguments, I only did so because this thread is very long and people might fail to notice them. Another reason for doing so is to rule out any possible misunderstanding; the fact is that some users tend to make clearly misleading arguments, which is not OK. P.S. I already asked you in this thread you to be civil, several times, but you keep ignoring my warnings. Should I ask an admin to intervene? — Taurus Littrow (talk) 08:24, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
In Hebrew Niqqud, e.g., vowel marking, is normal in, e.g., dictionaries, grammar texts, but is rare in, e.g., news, nonlinguistic texts. Would it be appropriate to make a similar distinction for stress marks? Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 15:09, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
@Chatul: I'm all for it. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 15:36, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a dictionary — Mike Novikoff 16:25, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Nobody claimed that it was. Wikipedia is, however, a collection of articles on diverse subjects, some of them on aspects of linguistics for which stress and vowel markings are appropriate. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 14:10, 4 February 2021 (UTC)

Should a translation show its pronunciation?[edit]

Would someone not involved in the dispute please offer an opinion on my question at 02:38, 31 January 2021 above. Rephrased, that question concerns Old Believers which concerns a schism between groups with different religious beliefs. After defining "Old Believers" and giving its Russian equivalents, the lead says:

Russian speakers refer to the schism itself as raskol (раскол), etymologically indicating a "cleaving-apart".

My question: should the translation of schism show how to spell the word (раскол) or how to pronounce it (раско́л)? It is conventional for pronunciation to follow the lead words that mirror the article title, as done at Raskol. However, that does not apply to schism. The MOS at this subpage includes "Normally, pronunciation is given only for the subject of the article in its lead section." That suggests the Russian word for raskol (раскол) would not indicate pronunciation. The counter view is that stress marks for pronunciation are useful for the reader. Does MOS have guidance on this? What should happen—an RfC? Johnuniq (talk) 09:05, 3 February 2021 (UTC)

Comments from the involved users
I'm very sorry to intervene, but as far as I understand, pronunciation is this: 1) pronounced [rɐˈskoɫ] or 2) /ˈvɛnɪs/ VEH-niss. As to the stress mark in Russian words, it only shows where the phonetic stress is to be placed, nothing more. A stress mark helps with the pronunciation (basically, it's the only thing you need to know to pronounce a Russian word), but a stressed word doesn't constitute a pronunciation as such. That would be the IPA. The Russians have their own phonetic transcription which uses Cyrillic symbols: 1) [рʌско́л] or 2) /трʌнскр'и́пцыэjъ/ (IPA: /trɐnskrʲˈipt͡sᵻjə/). See Russian Phonetic Transcription Translator and Pronunciation Dictionary or Orphoepic dictionary (in Russian). On the second site, just type the Russian word in and click the first button on the left (ПОИСК = search).
For "raskol", the second site says: Транскрипция слова «раско́л»: [рʌско́л]. Translation: Transcription of the word «раско́л»: [рʌско́л].Taurus Littrow (talk) 09:55, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
@Kwamikagami: Any comment on this? There seems to be a misunderstanding as to what pronunciation is. (I'll take all the blame for calling an involved user, lol.) — Taurus Littrow (talk) 10:15, 3 February 2021 (UTC)

The pronunciation is already there in the article linked to. But personally I think it would be nice to show where the stress is here too, so readers won't need to follow a link to know what sound should be in their heads when they read this article. Many readers won't and might end up hearing it as "rascal", so I'd add an acute accent. But since we're giving a transliteration, it might be better to put the accent mark there instead: raskól (раскол). But that's just a suggestion. — kwami (talk) 10:24, 3 February 2021 (UTC)

Comment. I noticed that the Venice article includes both the IPA and the "pronunciation respelling key" (H:RESPELL), so it looks like it's not really forbidden to use both the IPA and other pronunciation keys (that would be a stress mark in Russian words). Therefore, the argument "No stresses, only IPA!" is void. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 12:23, 3 February 2021 (UTC)

P.S. I wonder what would happen if someone started removing respelling from all the articles, arguing that this stuff "is not part of the regular English orthography", "doesn't represent the common spelling", "there's no consensus to use it", "it's madness done by those who just don't know what they're doing", etc. etc. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 12:33, 3 February 2021 (UTC)

It's such an obscure situation, to a general English-speaking reader, that it is not possible to resolve this by adopting some standard style for Wikipedia (and bearing in mind that readers hardly ever read the Wikimedia Manual of Style). So it would be necessary to indicate one of the symbol sequences is the word in Cyrillic script, and one of the symbol sequences is a pronunciation (and indicate which system of pronunciation symbols was used). Jc3s5h (talk) 19:22, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Comments from the involved users
@Jc3s5h: I'm compelled to intervene once again and repeat that "раско́л" is not a pronunciation but a word. Please read my explanations in the collapsed section above. This looks like a case of misinterpretation on Johnuniq's (and apparently your) part. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 19:43, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Misinterpretations all around! Can we just let the uninvolved users talk without us? That's what this section is apparently created for. Without you and me, in particular. — Mike Novikoff 20:20, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Like I said in the edit history, I'm not commenting on the MoS as such here, just clearing up an obvious misunderstanding. Oh well, I hope the two above users saw my explanations. P.S. Also, I didn't notice that your comment was there, so you really need to calm down. — Taurus Littrow (talk) 21:10, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Certainly you are doing The Most Important Thing Possible, which is above anything. — Mike Novikoff 22:20, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Yevgeny PetrosyanTaurus Littrow (talk) 22:46, 4 February 2021 (UTC)

Capitalisation for direct quotes?[edit]

I can't seem to find what I'm looking for in the Manual of Style, but does Wikipedia follow the MLA's style and capitalise the first letter of direct quotations? —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 21:11, 23 January 2021 (UTC)

I suspect the guidance you seek is at the end of MOS:CONFORM. — Preceding unsigned comment added by EEng (talkcontribs) 01:24, 24 January 2021 (UTC)
MOS:PMC is more pertinent to this, and CONFORM is "subservient" to it (i.e. outlines minor exceptions to the PMC general rule).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:57, 25 January 2021 (UTC)
Not sure. All I can say is I do as long as a capital letter appears in the original text. If it doesn't, I believe we should retain the lower-case treatment. Some editors go overboard with this, imo – retain the lower case and insert an opening ellipsis. To my way of thinking, the ellipsis is unnecessary. JG66 (talk) 01:53, 24 January 2021 (UTC)
Hmm, I personally wouldn't add the opening ellipsis either. I guess until this is revisited I'll just leave these cases be when I come across them. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 22:44, 24 January 2021 (UTC)
Yeah, only do that if there is missing earlier material that is contextually important, but in that case it's better to use a longer quote rather than make readers to try to find it in the original material.
@Tenryuu and JG66:The two typical approaches are these (and they can of course be adapted to blockquotes):
  1. According to Elbonian Prime Minister Jane Q. Public, it was "the worst disaster in the port's history".
  2. "[T]he worst disaster in the port's history" was Elbonian Prime Minister Jane Q Public's description of the event.
In neither case should this be changed to "The  ..." if the original material didn't have that capital T. If it did (e.g. because the original quote was "The worst disaster in the port's history was today."), then what you're looking for is 'According to Elbonian Prime Minister Jane Q. Public, it was "[t]he worst disaster in the port's history".' Honestly, I'm also skeptical that MLA would actually advise 'According to Elbonian Prime Minister Jane Q. Public, it was "The worst disaster in the port's history".', which is what the OP's characterization of their style guide suggests, but I have not read theirs on quotation matters in a long time (and if I still have a copy, it's in a box somewhere.) If they do, that's downright aberrant; I don't think any other style guide would agree with that.

PS: The answer to every single question that begins with something like "does Wikipedia follow the [some other publisher] style" is no, because WP has its own style guide. If MLA or APA or MHRA or AMA or whoever say something eminently sensible in their style guide and WP has a consensus it should be in ours, then it will be. MoS is largely built from averaging all the academic style guides, plus various WP-specific adjustment. If MoS doesn't address something at all, it means it's left to editorial discretion on a case-by-case basis, as something not likely to affect encyclopedic tone, accuracy, or reader comprehension (or to spark recurrent editorial strife). But for this particular matter, we already have MOS:PMC, and it's central concern is in fact accuracy.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:57, 25 January 2021 (UTC)

SMcCandlish, yep, I agree with that ("In neither case should this be changed to ..."). I imagine Tenryuu's referring to instances where the quoted text constitutes a full sentence in its own right – even with a phrase or word omitted up front – rather than just a fragment. That is, surely that's all the MLA style guide would be advising ... Otherwise, they seem to be suggesting the (gratuitous) use of an initial cap as some sort of secondary inverted comma. JG66 (talk) 05:29, 26 January 2021 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Well, that would be directly misleading, arguably outright falsification of source material. One of the purposes of logical quotation is to avoid manufacturing fake sentences and fake complete clauses out of partial source material. Lots and lots of fragments can by themselves incidentally form grammatically viable sentences, but we should not mislead readers into thinking that they were. Silly example: "Prosecuting animal abuse is my life's work" → "animal abuse is my life's work".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:20, 26 January 2021 (UTC)

Explicit translation as opposed to simple glosses[edit]

The MOS says use single quotation marks for simple glosses, e.g. "Cossack comes from Turkic qazaq 'freebooter'." But what about explicitly mentioning a translation, i.e. "The Turkic word qazaq means freebooter"? Is freebooter here being mentioned as a word, in which case it should be formatted in italics? But using quotation marks seems more common, and I sometimes see single quotation marks used, though this usage isn't really a simple gloss. The lang series of templates does this, e.g. {{lang-tr|qazaq|lit=freebooter}} gives "Turkish: qazaq, lit. 'freebooter'." Is it still a simple gloss if preceded by lit.? Or should double quotation marks be used? This would be correct if the sentence said: "The Turkic word qazaq is defined by the dictionary as "freebooter"." Is there a general rule that covers this though? --Paul_012 (talk) 11:31, 27 January 2021 (UTC)

@Paul 012: Yes, the general rule is MOS:SINGLE, which you are overthinking and trying to find a way around, for some reason. :-) No, 'freebooter' would not take italics here, since the single quotes are already serving as distinguishing markup (this time as a gloss or translation, rather than a stand-alone "words as a word" case). Otherwise, the examples in MoS would be of terms inside single quoted and also italicized, yet they are not. So, there was never any reason to suppose that italics would go here, as if MoS were still broken on this point after 20 years. Heh. Next, the {{lang-tr|...|lit=}} output is correct, and is consistent with the output of all similar templates. If they were wrong, this would have been noticed a long time ago. And, if the sentence said "The Turkic word qazaq is defined by [source name here] as 'freebooter'", then we would still use single quotes, because it still qualifies as a gloss or short definition. If it were a complicated and unique definition, then it should probably be directly quoted and given as a quotation rather than presented as if a gloss/translation (but we usually do not use dictionaries this way, anyhow, but summarize them as we would any other source material). A publisher has no copyright/plagiarism interest in a very short definition/gloss, especially one also appearing in other similar works, so we have no reason to treat it as a quotation. Aside: WP would never write "defined by the dictionary as" since there is no such thing as "the dictionary" from any kind of encyclopedic perspective, only particular dictionaries. Moving on, WP does not stylistically draw a distinction between a loose gloss, a simple definition, and a literal translation; they take single quotes, same as is typical in linguistics journals (when they are not doing something fancified like an interlinear gloss table). The distinction between them is quite blurry anyway; many concise definitions will precisely coincide with a gloss, and most translations of terms are glosses, except when they're being done morpheme-by-morpheme in the most technically literal way possible – which is not how WP does them except to illustrate specific linguistic points, e.g. about the grammar of a Turkic language. A simple example would be that Spanish perro will be glossed as 'dog', will be be defined in Spanish–English dictionaries as 'dog', and in a literal translation of a phrase containing it will be translated as 'dog'. If some dictionary somewhere has something complicated, such "dog, inclusive of any domesticated dog type such as a hound, but generally exclusive of a dingo or other non-domesticated canid", it's unlikely we'll have any reason to quote that verbatim.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:10, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
Thanks, SMcCandlish. I guess I am overthinking it. Maybe it's partly due to the current wording; "Simple glosses that translate or define unfamiliar terms take single quotes, with no comma before the definition" seemed rather specific, so it seemed unclear to me whether the above examples were actually simple glosses according to the guideline. That it's one of the less consistently followed aspects of the MOS didn't help either. Indeed, going through a few biology FAs, most of them actually seem to use double quotation marks for constructions like "Iguanodon (/ɪˈɡwɑːnədɒn/ i-GWAH-nə-don; meaning "iguana-tooth")". I wonder if these are trivial errors that should be corrected or a sign that this point of the MOS is not widely accepted. --Paul_012 (talk) 12:18, 7 February 2021 (UTC)
That's kind of ironic. :-) I crafted that wording to blur these kinds of distinctions on purpose (the first clause has "glosses", "translat[ions]" and "defin[itions]" in it, implying them being effectively equated for purposes of this MoS line-item). "Simple glosses" just means "as distinguished from interlinear glosses" (gloss tables), which WP doesn't use except when presenting complicated linguistic information. I think the original version just said "glosses" so people were sometimes putting single quotes around the English-language glosses inside interlinear tables, which isn't useful to do and which isn't how it's done in linguistics publications. "I wonder if these are trivial errors that should be corrected or a sign that this point of the MOS is not widely accepted": The former. Many of the foo meaning "bar" cases in articles pre-date the existence of MOS:SINGLE (or this part of it), and its important to remember that no one has to read MoS before editing here, nor does anyone memorize every single line-item in it. MoS primarily exists as a reference for WP:GNOME cleanup, and as a "rulebook" for dispute settlement, with goals of predictable and consistent output for the readers, and reduction in editorial strife over trivia. The average editor never reads a word of MoS unless led to it in the course of some dispute; most editors just write like they are used to writing, and other editors clean up after them later. That's how it's always been. There is no line-item in any guideline or policy that is universally followed, and if that were a requirement WP would simply have no rules at all. This particular line-item matters because quotation marks already serve other important purposes on Wikipedia, which can be contextually confused (the most obvious are actual literal quotations, and for words-as-words markup as an alternative to italics when italics are already used heavily in the same material for something else, such as non-English terms). This sort of potential confusion is why single quotes for glosses/definitions became a norm in linguistics writing to begin with (at least in works in which double-quotes are the normal style for direct quotations).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:37, 7 February 2021 (UTC)
PS: To clarify, if the interlinear gloss ends with a "free translation" (loose gloss) in English, that goes in single quotes, too. The word-by-word and morpheme-by-morpheme stuff doesn't (and would be much harder to read with that markup, as it is usually already laced with all kinds of special characters and grammatical-function abbreviations anyway).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:52, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

What should Sharif Sheikh Ahmed be called throughout the article?[edit]

If you have an opinion, please share at Talk:Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 16:49, 28 January 2021 (UTC)

Appropriate wording for when someone doesn't use gendered or non-binary pronouns[edit]

There is a discussion HERE on the talk page for musician Sophie's article over pronouns. Sophie preferred not to use gendered or non-binary pronouns (Pitchfork and Slate sources) so we're not sure the best way to phrase things without the sentences becoming very awkwardly written. Could we get some input? Thanks. Abbyjjjj96 (talk) 23:19, 30 January 2021 (UTC)

I would suggest using Sophie or nouns like "the musician" & "the musician's" as much as possible. It looks this has already been suggested at Talk:Sophie_(musician)#Pronouns, so probably best to continue the conversation there. Peaceray (talk) 23:27, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
I think this is a good suggestion and I second it. Jilliangrace (talk) 23:34, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
Someone with a better memory than me can hopefully point to some featured or good articles that deal with people whose pronouns are not clear (usually historical articles) and what the precedent is there. As for MOS:GENDERID, the relevant parts are: Give precedence to self-designation as reported in the most up-to-date reliable sources [...] Any person whose gender might be questioned should be referred to by the pronouns, possessive adjectives, and gendered nouns (for example "man/woman", "waiter/waitress", "chairman/chairwoman") that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification. To me I don't see a reason that shouldn't apply to a preference for averting pronouns entirely. — Bilorv (talk) 23:41, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
Here is a ship FA with no “she” or “her”: HMS Calliope (1884). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:53, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
That is, stylistically, a fine example of using a name and title, (such as "the musician") in lieu of pronouns. And I second Bilorv's last point, we should defer to Sophie's self-identification. I think we now have some guidance on how that can be accomplished. Jilliangrace (talk) 23:57, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I must dissent: that article contains some of the most wretchedly twisted-out-of-shape writing ever seen on earth or any other planet. For example:
The crew of the helpless and doomed American ship cheered Calliope as the corvette slipped past. The British ship's drive for the open sea was called by the American commander on the scene "one of the grandest sights a seaman or anyone else ever saw; the lives of 250 souls depended on the hazardous adventure." Making for the harbour mouth, the British ship's bow and stern alternately rose and plunged ...
Believe it or not, all the bolded stuff refers to the same ship, for crying out loud, and that's in Wikipedia's voice. I mean, seriously??? This is what's it's come to? (And while we're on the subject, see WP:Queen Elizabeth slipped majestically into the water. EEng 01:46, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
P.S. And, no, we shouldn't defer to someone's preference for averting pronouns entirely. Ridiculous. Singular they is fine. EEng 02:00, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
P.P.S. I'd completely forgotten that my esteemed fellow editor SandyGeorgia and I have discussed Calliope before -- see WT:Manual_of_Style/Archive_217#Commentary_on_"follow_the_sources". EEng 02:23, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
When a person has expressed a clear preference for pronouns not to be used about that person, I don't see any particular challenge in respecting that preference, myself. Newimpartial (talk) 02:05, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
And if they want us to refer to them as "The Emperor Eternal", then what? EEng 02:19, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
EEng, if this article is the most wretched writing you have ever seen, you need to get more active in the Wide World of Wikipedia. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:54, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
SandyGeorgia, you know I know better than to imagine there can ever be a final answer to the question, What is the most wretched writing on Wikipedia? Read what I wrote again, which was that it's the most wretchedly twisted-out-of-shape writing on Wikipedia (or, I actually said, in the solar system). That's different. For the amusement of the editors assembled here's a post of mine from the discussion just linked:
I'm compelled to say that the Calliope article shows only how to jump from the she frying pan into ... well, another frying pan. In an apparent attempt to avoid the she/it controversy, the Calliope article eschews all pronouns by indulging in an orgy of headache-inducing elegant variation:
  • After retirement from active service, Calliope served as a training ship until 1951, when the old corvette was sold for breaking
  • ... which gave the corvette one more knot of speed, a difference that would be crucial in the disaster that made Calliope famous
  • The vessel nevertheless was a fully rigged sailing ship
  • The ship was not activated until 25 January 1887, when the vessel was placed in commission for the China Station
  • The vessel was reassigned to the Australia Station later in 1887. The cruiser was in New Zealand at the end of that year
  • The crew of the helpless and doomed American ship cheered Calliope as the corvette slipped past. The British ship's drive for the open sea was called by the American commander on the scene "one of the grandest sights a seaman or anyone else ever saw; the lives of 250 souls depended on the hazardous adventure." Making for the harbour mouth, the British ship's bow and stern alternately rose and plunged ...
  • Captain Kane then took his ship to Sydney
  • Calliope returned to service on the Australian station after repairs were complete. At the end of 1889 the cruiser was recalled to the United Kingdom.
  • Calliope was returned to reserve and promptly stricken from the effective list. The cruiser laid up at Portsmouth, and in 1906 was listed for sale for a time. The next year Calliope was moved to North East England
First prize goes to ... cheered Calliope as the corvette slipped past. The British ship's drive for the open sea ..., in which Calliope, the corvette, and the British ship are all the same thing, but referred to by three different names to keep you on your toes, or possibly for comedic effect. It's like one of those bedroom farces in which the characters go out one door then reenter via another in different guises ("Let's see... so Count Evander and the undergamekeeper and the barmaid are all the same person ... I think ...") Truly wretched.
EEng 04:58, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
@EEng: You've summarized your statement as "or, I actually said, in the solar system" when what was actually said was "on earth or any other planet". This is obviously an attempt to retroactively construe the statement as excluding exoplanets, in light of recent revelations that even more wretchedly twisted-out-of-shape writing exists on Gamma Cephei Ab. For all intensive purposes I could care less, but it's high time to set the wrecker's strait and rain in the peddling of blatant Ms. Information. jp×g 21:45, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Your mother wears army boots.[FBDB] EEng 03:05, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
The challenge is honouring that preference while avoiding clunky sentences. E.g. this current sentence uses 'their': "At the age of approximately nine or ten years old, Sophie confessed to their parents a desire to drop out of school to be an electronic music producer (although they did not let Sophie do so, and Sophie continued their schooling)." What is the alternative way of writing that without resorting to the ridiculous "Sophie confessed to Sophie's parents"? And there's this sentence, "Sophie was asked by a half-sister to DJ her wedding, later Sophie admitted that the half-sister "didn't know what I was doing in my room on my own" and had assumed Sophie was a DJ." You can't even specify that it's Sophie's half-sister, unless you want to use "Sophie" five times in one sentence. Abbyjjjj96 (talk) 02:58, 31 January 2021 (UTC)

I think the rewrite is, At the age of approximately nine or ten years old, Sophie expressed a desire to drop out of school to be an electronic music producer (although Sophie's parents would not allow this, and Sophie had to continue in school). Not going to win a Pulitzer, true, but not unencyclopaedic or terribly contorted IMO. Newimpartial (talk) 03:43, 31 January 2021 (UTC)

I'm just going to say this again, and then I promise I'll leave the rest of you to it: It's one thing to worry about pronoun genders and so on, but the idea that we're supposed to go out of our way to accommodate someone's absurd pretension that they don't want to be referenced by any pronoun at all is just idiocy. I'm sorry but there's no other word for it.
Oh, but guess what? The source [4] doesn't say Sophie eschewed all pronouns; rather, it says that they preferred not to use gendered or nonbinary pronouns. They is neither gendered nor nonbinary. This entire discussion has been based on a failure to read the source carefully, or (though I'm not pointing any fingers) an apparent desire to find an issue where there is none. EEng 04:58, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
I am trying to think of prounouns that are neither gendered nor non-binary and am having trouble. I admit to having a couple of cocktails. Can anyone help me? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:11, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
They. It's neutral, a nullity. It's the NPOV of pronouns. EEng 05:19, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
"They" has at least three usages in English: as a plural pronoun, as a person-of-unknown-gender pronoun, and as a person-of-known-nonbinary-gender pronoun. Unfortunately, all (or at least most) of the potential uses of "they" in the article would have represented the last of these three, and for this purpose there is no difference between "they" and the nonbinary pronoun neologisms - this is what we are told Sophie preferred not to use.
On the bright side, first and second-person pronouns, and demonstrative pronouns, are apparently fine. :). Newimpartial (talk) 01:31, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
Isn't there still discussion on the article's talk page over whether that request is considered to supercede what reliable sources have referred to the artist as? —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 02:24, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
There certainly is still discussion, although the most recent RS follow the expressed preference and don't use pronouns. Newimpartial (talk) 03:57, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
The reported choice of wording is indeed questionable; why say "don't use gendered or non-binary pronouns" if the intended meaning is "don't use pronouns at all"? It would have seemed "nonbinary" was meant to refer to xe/ze etc. However, the Guardian does plainly say, "Sophie’s team said that pronouns should not be used when describing the artist."[5] I'm in agreement with EEng here though, in that it's not our duty to acquiesce to every absurd personal preference when it's going to be detrimental to our task of writing a readable encyclopedia (e.g., we're not referring to the subject as SOPHIE as some sources do, as the MOS is clearly against that). Pronouns are an integral part of the English language; would we be willing to follow a request to avoid adverbs or conjunctions in an article? The subject was also fine with being referred to as she/her a few years ago, according to the Vulture: "She offered no concrete details about herself, gave few interviews, and, until recently, didn’t use third-person pronouns in her press materials, leaving just enough space for most of the music media to assume she was a man."[6] It's not very clear whether the obituaries repeating the no-pronouns request are necessarily more up-to-date regarding the issue. --Paul_012 (talk) 12:32, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
Alright time's up and none of you have got the correct answer: it's John/Eleanor Rykener. This is what I was thinking of as the precedent for averting pronouns entirely on the biography of a person where it is unclear from the historical record which pronouns fit best. With the case of Sophie the sources seem similarly unclear and contradictory, and so I think the same outcome is logical. — Bilorv (talk) 23:33, 31 January 2021 (UTC)
  • The kow-towing to the old men who poke eyes out to get their way with sexist she-as-ship is shameful. These codgers scratch and shriek like cats when crossed. So no one's willing to take them on any more. Meanwhile en.WP lags in the wholesale movement of the English language toward non-sexist wording. Calliope certainly is a clumsy example of addressing sexism in a maritime article; I'd volunteer to fix it if I weren't scared of the nasties who would bite my head off. Tony (talk) 07:28, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
    • The question in this thread does not appear to be about whether we should use non-sexist language (singular they; of course we should do that when a subject requests it and in many circumstances even when they don't), but rather whether we should acquiesce to SOPHIE's wishes to always refer to SOPHIE as SOPHIE and not to use pronouns in order to ensure that we always write SOPHIE's name as SOPHIE in place of the more common ways we might fail to write SOPHIE's name when referring to SOPHIE. I don't consider that to be a reasonable request. Pronouns are a basic part of English grammar and, if this request was not made with promotional intent this time, it surely will in future. —David Eppstein (talk) 08:15, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
      In deference to my username, I request that future posts use no words which include the letter E. EEng 03:08, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
No, we should not "acquiesce to SOPHIE's wishes to always refer to SOPHIE as SOPHIE and not to use pronouns". This project is written in English. The language is a pre-existing thing. This language happens to make use of pronouns. We use the language as it exists. We should not be caving in to unreasonable demands. The English language also happens to sometimes use gendered pronouns in reference to inanimate objects, ships, for example. Some say this is sexist. I disagree. And I haven't heard any ships speaking up about this. Here is an article from 2018 from the exceptionally erudite The Economist, containing sentences like "She never reached her destination: in June that year she was sunk by a squadron of British ships. For more than three centuries her final resting place remained a mystery." Bus stop (talk) 03:27, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Please, not this shit again. You just can't resist shoehorning in your old hobbyhorse, can you? "Speaking of the weather, did I mention that ships are referred to as she?" You're like the honourable editor from the 18th century. EEng 07:51, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
I'm not "shoehorning" anything in, EEng. Bus stop (talk) 15:21, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
@David Eppstein: a stronger form of the argument to avoid pronouns goes as follows: it is not clear whether Sophie wished to use "she/her" or "they/them" pronouns, or something else entirely (as Sophie was known to avoid media appearances and withhold personal life details, this is not hugely surprising), and to demonstrate this ambiguity we have several editors completely confident that Sophie wished to use "she/her" only or wished to use "they/them" only. There is precedent like at John/Eleanor Rykener to avert pronouns entirely for a historical figure whose pronouns cannot be ascertained with confidence. There is no way to write an article with pronouns without implicitly assuming correctness of one of multiple valid but mutually exclusive perspectives on which pronouns are correct. This sidesteps the counterargument you make on the premise that people with COIs should not unduly dictate the content of our articles about them, because it becomes about us not knowing a piece of information rather than a figure making demands of us. — Bilorv (talk) 14:48, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Singular they is always correct regardless of subject preference. (It is not always the best choice — if we have a preference for he or she, or we have a well-established cisgender identity and no stated preference for he or she, then the gendered pronoun is probably better, but even then singular they would be valid.) —David Eppstein (talk) 18:10, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that that just isn't true. For example, in conversation about a trans person who uses "she" pronouns, to refer to that person systematically as "they" while respecting the gendered pronouns of other people discussed in that conversation would be a clear example of misgendering, and would rightly (IMO) be considered offensive. I don't see how the same principle wouldn't apply to written text. Newimpartial (talk) 18:22, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Do we actually defer to "exotic" pronoun usage anywhere? (As in, xir or any bespoke formulation etc. instead of he/she/singular they?) I feel like that's the moreover guiding principle. The MOS' respect for individual's gender expression is not a suicide pact, and indeed in looking at this in terms of branding (which it is, on top of gender expression) we don't honor stuff like ALLCAPS NAMES or putting trademarks and service marks in common language.
In the examples above, singular they would make the article read much better (although not without problems; in the example of schooling, you'd have to make it clear "they" referred to either the parents or Sophie.)
As to HMS Calliope (1884), that seems like a good place where "it" works much better than the constructions of trying to avoid "her", but also an example of where we should just be following the balance of sources. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs talk 15:14, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
The problem we have with that is that we have the singular they (indeterminate) and the singular they (nonbinary), and I don't see how we could use the former in the SOPHIE article without appearing to the reader to be using the latter - and the latter would be misgendering in two scenarios out of the three currently imaginable ones (if SOPHIE rejected the use of gendered and nonbinary pronouns, as the most recent RS state, or if SOPHIE preferred feminine pronouns, as some interview subjects and the record label imply). If we could somehow communicate that we were using the indeterminate they and not the nonbinary they, we would be off the hook, but I'm not convinced we have the linguistic technology to do that. Newimpartial (talk) 15:40, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
I don't see how we would be misgendering if we used "they". Bus stop (talk) 16:02, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
This BLP subject seemed to have expressed a preference for feminine pronouns some time ago, so using the nonbinary "they" would clearly be misgendering if that preference were still to apply, as some editors believe to be the case (and we don't have a way that I know of to indicate an indeterminate "they" rather than a nonbinary "they", within a WP article). I won't get into the more esoteric question of whether a nonbinary BLP subject can be misgendered through the use of "they" pronouns - some editors clearly believe this is possible, and some don't - because in this instance there is another unmistakable issue that emerges without invoking that rarefied concern. Newimpartial (talk) 17:40, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
MOS:NEO. --Izno (talk) 02:53, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
  • I would argue that as we have to stay written in an form of English that is understood by readers who may have English as a second language, that we can only respect the choice of using a non-gendered pronoun as "they", though as indicated above, it is often possible to write these articles clearly withough any pronouns, and thhis use of "they" should only be a fallback if there's no way around it. We cashould still identify (if sourcable) what their hav estated their preferred pronouns are in a section related to their gender identity, but outside that, we should default to "they" to keep the language as simple as possible. Introducing the odd varities like "xir" and "sie" will confuse readers. --Masem (t) 17:48, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
    • Agreed. I expect there is a strong consensus against the use of esoteric pronouns in WP articles no matter how strongly the BLP may express their preference for one or another neologism. Newimpartial (talk) 17:52, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
    • The playwright and performance artist Taylor Mac wishes to be referred to by judy rather than with conventional gender pronouns; our Taylor Mac article just repeats "Mac" a lot. I think it would be best in this case to avoid pronouns by recasting sentences or repeating "Sophie". Cheers, gnu57 18:15, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
      I think we have to bear in mind that this is not a legal document. "They" suffices for our level of need for specificity. If this were legal writing we would want to leave no room for loopholes. We would want to remove all ambiguity. This source writes: "Contract language is limited and stylised," says Adams. He compares it to software code: do it right and everything works smoothly. But make a typo and the whole thing falls apart. When errors are introduced into legal documents, they’re likely to be noticed far more than in any other form of writing, he says. "People are more prone to fighting over instances of syntactic ambiguity than in other kinds of writing." Bus stop (talk) 18:20, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Rewriting to avoid is probably the best option, but at some point WP:Common sense has to kick in, if that starts producing tortured prose. WP is here to provide a readable encyclopedia for our readers, not to pander to whims of celebs who try to make others' lives more difficult. The fact that a subject doesn't personally use singular "they" in no way actually ties WP's hands to not use it, since it has become a standard, accepted way of generalized writing in a gender-neutral manner (has become again – it was for a long time before Victorian-era prescriptivists effectively banned it for a century). A similar comparison is that Genesis P-Orridge used various idiolect neo-pronouns like "s/he", "h/er", and "h/erself", but this does in any way require us to use them in Wikipedia's own voice, or to avoid singular "they". Cf. also prior discussion of someone claiming their preferred "pronoun" is tree. We did not take this seriously, and neither did the press.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:43, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

Proposal to tweak MOS:CONFORM to avoid conflict with MOS:PMC and MOS:LQ[edit]

Over time, MOS:CONFORM (on making conforming changes to quoted material) has drifted away from the intent of MOS:PMC (principle of minimal change) and the rationale behind MOS:LQ (use of logical quotation for precision/accuracy, especially to avoid confusing readers about whether the quotation is a sentence or a fragment).

What it says now:

When quoting a complete sentence, it is usually recommended to keep the first word capitalized. However, if the quoted passage has been integrated into the surrounding sentence (for example, with an introduction such as "X said that"), the original capital letter may be lower-cased.

  • LaVesque's report stated: "The equipment was selected for its low price. This is the primary reason for criticism of the program."
  • LaVesque's report said that "the equipment was selected for its low price".
  • The program was criticized primarily because "the equipment was selected for its low price", according to LaVesque.

It is not normally necessary to explicitly note changes in capitalization. However, for more precision, the altered letter may be put inside square brackets: "The" → "[t]he".

  • The program was criticized primarily because "[t]he equipment was selected for its low price", according to LaVesque.

What it should probably say:

When quoting a complete sentence, keep the first word capitalized, even if the quoted passage has been grammatically integrated into the surrounding sentence:

  • LaVesque's report stated: "The equipment was selected for its low price. This is the primary reason for criticism of the program."
  • LaVesque's report said that "The equipment was selected for its low price".
  • The program was criticized primarily because "The equipment was selected for its low price", according to LaVesque.

It is permissible to make a change of capitalization with square brackets:

  • The program was criticized primarily because "[t]he equipment was selected for its low price", according to LaVesque.

If only the opening fragment is quoted, and is not likely to be mistaken for a complete sentence, it is permissible but not required to simply lower-case the first character without annotation:

  • The report did not specify who authorized the program's purchases, stating only that "the equipment was selected" and that the choice was cost-based.

This would better reflect actual practice (and even a recent discussion of such matters on this very page), has more in common with text treatment by other publishers with high textual-accuracy standards (i.e., academic vs. news publishers), actually acknowledges more variance in practice in some ways, is a bit less pedantically worded, and is more consistent with the rest of the guidelines, which are heavily weighted toward precision. That is, LQ and PMC are the rule, to which CONFORM permits some exceptions, not at all the other way around. We don't need to be excessive about this stuff, of course, like mandating "[...]" instead of just "..." as some academic publishers do, but we should not be undermining two important guidelines with one that is clearly subordinate to them.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:05, 8 February 2021 (UTC)


There is currently a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles#MEDLEAD about Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles#Lead (WP:MEDLEAD). Input from editors across Wikipedia would be most welcome. -- Colin°Talk 10:37, 9 February 2021 (UTC)

Gender identity[edit]

Duplicate discussion here closed. Main discussion is at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biography#Implementing deadname RFCs. Dicklyon (talk) 06:46, 14 February 2021 (UTC)

This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Not sure this section should be the biggest here....what talk was there about adding a mass amount of text here? Has this wording been vented? This seems overwhelming to say the least. Why is this not added to the main BIO page about this over all added here with no talk here?--Moxy 🍁 18:48, 13 February 2021 (UTC)

With transgender and non-binary gender people and similar cases, people should primarily be referred to with the gender (e.g. "man", "woman", "person"), pronouns (e.g. "him", "she", singular "they"), possessives (e.g. "his", "her", "theirs"), and gendered nouns (e.g. "chairman", "chairwoman", "chairperson"; but these are often disfavored - see MOS:GNL) they have most recently declared for themselves. People who have chosen names to match their gender identities should primarily be referred to by those names (most recent if changed more than once). Give precedence to recent reliable sources, even if a different name is more common in older sources.

Wikipedia sometimes mentions a name which the referent has asked not be used, known (sometimes pejoratively) as a deadname. These are minimized and mentioned but not used to avoid distracting readers who consider deadnaming offensive, and to avoid unnecessary harm to that person. Harm may range from mild distress to unemployment to death, potentially more serious if a name or pronoun reveals a previously private gender history. Wikipedia mentions these names when necessary to correctly inform readers about facts of public interest.

  • By default, use a person's chosen name and pronouns as the primary name (in main body text, infobox, tables, etc.) for events in the present, future, and past. Do not mention the name the subject used in the past, except as noted below and possibly in their biography as noted at MOS:DEADNAME.
  • If a person prefers the name and pronouns used at the time when discussing the past, make that name primary and use those pronouns. If they happily accept either, use as primary whichever form minimizes reader confusion, based on which name is better known or better matches context.
  • If a living person was not notable under a former name, the former name must not be included in any Wikipedia article (including direct quotations), even if it can be documented with reliable primary sources or a small number of obscure secondary sources. Treat that name with a strong privacy interest separate from the primary name. (See WP:BLPPRIVACY.) Self-disclosure can obviate the privacy interest e.g. if the name is mentioned in a recent autobiography, but WP:INDISCRIMINATE also applies.
  • If a living person's transgender status is not public, they must not be outed by Wikipedia; an even stronger privacy interest applies, as does WP:OR.
  • If a living person must be mentioned under a former name, e.g. as the author of a cited work, connecting that name to the current name (either with an annotation or by substituting a chosen name) would also be a violation of privacy unless the connection is already public and documented.
  • If a gendered name or pronouns are confusing or surprising to readers because of a perceived contradiction with other context, explain in a brief note in prose or footnote (depending on length of explanation, relevance, space available, readability, etc.) Examples:
  • Avoid unnecessarily creating perceived contradictions. For example, instead of (Jane Doe fathered a child) simply write (e.g., Jane Doe became a parent). If it is important enough to mention, Jane Doe's biography would already explain her transgender status, and this phrasing would be jarring to some readers without adding information. In other articles where that is not relevant, it would simply create the need for an off-topic explanation.
  • When describing names, never imply any name is not a "real" name. Use specific terms like birth name, legal name, credited name, chosen name but not preferred name which some people perceive as offensively implying that gender identity is simply a preference.
  • Avoid stating or implying that someone has changed gender or e.g. was previously a man when they report or it is presumed that they have always had the same gender identity. When discussing such changes, refer to gender presentation (as is done in the article gender transitioning). For example, say Jane was then known as John instead of Jane was then John because "known as" uncontroversially refers to a specific aspect of presentation rather than the essence of a personality.

A notable non-primary name (typically a "deadname") is sometimes mentioned when relevant to past circumstances:

  • When the non-primary name is part of a mentioned work, note the non-primary name in a brief parenthetical (or footnote if space is limited or the non-primary name is not well known). This may be necessary to find the work, verify the citation, or find mentions of a person in primary or secondary sources. Mentioning e.g. transgender status is not necessary to explain a simple name mismatch (it would be undue weight) unless it is relevant to the context. Examples:
  • Noting the non-primary name is only necessary at first prose reference, for prominent references (like an infobox or the first in a series of consecutive table rows), to prevent confusion, and to explain a perceived contradiction. For example, the actor starring in Juno (film) can be referred to as Elliot Page (credited as Ellen Page) on first reference and Page (following MOS:SURNAME) or Elliot Page later in the prose.

In direct quotations, when dealing with notable non-primary names (typically a "deadname") or mismatched gendered words:

  • It is strongly preferred to replace the quotation with a paraphrase or reduce the quoted material to avoid non-primary names or mismatched pronouns. This is very strongly preferred to avoid altering the quote in multiple places or avoid creating the type of perceived contradiction explained above (which would need explaining). Paraphrasing is generally preferred in encyclopedic writing in general (see MOS:QUOTE).
    Instead of: Critic X said "Juno needs a fine [actor] to play its pregnant teenage star, and [Elliot] Page has shown [himself] to be the perfect [man] for the job."
    write: Critic X argued that portraying the pregnant teenage lead in the film Juno required fine acting talent, and that Page had proved perfect for the job.
  • Paraphrasing or reduction is required if the alteration of a direct quote would result in outing; for example said "[he] was the clear winner" draws attention to the possibility that the original quote may have been "she was the clear winner" but said he was the "clear winner" does not.
  • In the rare cases where paraphrasing is not possible, quotes should be edited to use words compatible with the primary name and matching gender identity.
    • This must be done in a way that indicates to readers how the quoted text differs from the original, and must follow the principle of minimal change at MOS:PMC.
    • MOS:PMC does not consider using a different way to refer to the same person to be an impermissible change in meaning, and encourages this if it clarifies the referent. (For example, the same person might be referred to as "Richard Feynman", "Dick", "him", "her father", "the other guy", or "my honeybuns" with varying levels of clarity.)
    • Compatibility with the primary name and matching gender identity is important in quotes so that readers unambiguously know that the person referred to in the quote is the same person referred to in the rest of the article.
    • The non-primary name and misgendered words should be substituted out even if the non-primary name is documented in the article, because the primary name is expected to be the most visible name in and across article text and titles, because that is how the person will be referred to in present-day conversation, and for the other reasons mentioned in the intro to this section.
    • If possible, remove words without adding any new words to minimize changes and to avoid the perceived contradiction of using a name before the referent was known by that name. This often works when the last name has not changed. For example, "[Page] was outstanding" instead of "[Elliot] Page was outstanding". To avoid ambiguity over what is missing, it is preferred to use brackets around the last name instead of using an ellipsis to indicate a missing first name.
    • Substitute pronouns and derived possessives using brackets.
    • Consider using an ungendered alternative if that would avoid a perceived contradiction. For example, instead of "[his] depiction of a pregnant teenage girl was excellent" write "[Page's] depiction of a pregnant teenage girl was excellent".
  • In extremely rare cases where a quotation cannot be paraphrased and the name or pronouns cannot be altered (for example where there is a pun on the name or an intentional deadnaming is being exhibited) note the chosen name in nearby prose or footnote. It may be necessary to explain if the use of the name was intended to be offensive, or to represent a particular point of view, or that it was not considered offensive because that was the name the subject was known by at the time, or whatever the reason was for leaving it unaltered.
This is about Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biography#Implementing deadname RFCs. I argued over there that this should be a section at that page. It's too long for main MOS. Crossroads -talk- 19:14, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
Where does this text come from? Has it been vented by the community for here or anywhere? No text of this nature at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biography TEXT WAS RESTORED AT SOURCE PAGE.--Moxy 🍁 19:18, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
This wasn't anywhere in the RFC. A few points, yes, but nowhere near this body.
I would suggest that there are a few strong RFC-agreed MOS points that can be made, but most everything else at this point yet to have consensus, but have good advice that would be appropriate for a supplemental guideline or essay related to this which doesn't need to have consensus but should be recognized as not being MOS-level required standards. --Masem (t) 19:25, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
Are there actually any points made in the draft text that didn't reflect the two recent RfCs at WT:MOSBIO or their closes - or previous RfCs, in some cases? I get that we don't at the moment have any consensus as to where the resolution of these issues should reside in the MOS, but I didn't see anything in this draft that didn't emerge directly from consensus as articulated by the community at some length. Newimpartial (talk) 20:01, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
Questions of whether the text reflects the RFCs should be at the discussion started on WT:MOSBIO. --Izno (talk) 22:09, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
That would be fine, if participants here are willing simply to accept the insertion here of the text agreed upon at WT:MOSBIO. Is that a plausible assumption? Newimpartial (talk) 22:39, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
Er, that's not at all what I meant, though you're welcome to misinterpret, I guess. The 10 paragraph text needs discussion about whether it meets the RFC intents. Per WP:MULTI, that discussion started elsewhere, so don't fork it for no reason.
What is a reasonable question here or there is where it should live. I don't think that 10 paragraph version has any business living here. If a shorter version should show up, or a SUMMARY version show up, it should probably be a talk page discussion here. But that's not what you and Masem are discussing, and why I made the note. --Izno (talk) 00:41, 14 February 2021 (UTC)
So in your view, Izno, we should have a discussion at WT:MOSBIO to finalize implementation text and then another discussion here about how much of it should be in the main MOS? You don't think that where the text is going should influence what text is actually drafted? I'm still getting a NIMBY vibe here, as I mentioned in the MOSBIO discussion. The fact is that Masem's comment has not really been supported in either venue, and they are the only one that has questioned whether the draft text matches the RfC closes. As far as I can tell, Moxy had not read the RfC closes or the MOSBIO discussion at the time this section was created, so perhaps we could have a more focused discussion here about how much of the guidance belongs here, versus MOSBIO or a freestanding page, and stay away from max NIMBY. Newimpartial (talk) 00:51, 14 February 2021 (UTC)
You don't think that where the text is going should influence what text is actually drafted? I don't. If there's a reasonable consensus-based belief that the 10 para version, without unnecessary omission nor addition, accurately reflects the close of the RFC (and no, 2 editors who think that is not a consensus either), then that's a good start, but it has no bearing on what lives where. As it is, at least two editors here have objected to that version living here; I have objected specifically on point of its length on this page. I don't much care where the discussion about where it lives occurs, so long as appropriate notification is given; at this point, I'd say that this thread is sufficient notification that there is a discussion about implementing the RFCs.
Lastly, a minor issue: only a day or two was given for feedback on the version in question. We can and should give it more time to bake if we need to. --Izno (talk) 01:05, 14 February 2021 (UTC)
I'm happy to have this live on the Biography subpage; we were thinking it would be good to have a "Gender identity" section there. I put it here at least temporarily because the guidance on this page is now somewhat incorrect given the recent RFCs. I was expecting folks to move it to a better place if they had strong feelings about it, but not to just bounce it back out after it's been discussed for two and a half months. Placement on the subpage will require some readjustment of pointers. I will make an attempt. -- Beland (talk) 03:18, 14 February 2021 (UTC)
We should not have duplicate discussions about these matters open at the same time.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:13, 14 February 2021 (UTC)
  • NEWS FLASH: There should be one, not two, locations for this discussion. I believe WT:MOS is the preferred place. Tony (talk) 05:23, 14 February 2021 (UTC)

Foireign-language alternative names in the first sentence[edit]

As per MOS:NICKCRUFT, "foreign language details can make the lead sentence difficult to understand" and should be "avoided". However, on Talk:Michael_the_Brave#Hungarian_name? it is suggested that the policy is not violated when such foreign names are presented. There are even articles, like Matthias Corvinus, with 5 foreign-language names. Which are the recommendations is such cases? 77wonders (talk) 15:11, 15 February 2021 (UTC)

The capitalisation of "Internet" (referring to the global interconnected network generally used today)[edit]


I had a discussion with another person on the talk page of the article In Rainbows about the capitalisation of "Internet" (referring to the global interconnected network generally used today), as they changed the capitalisation back from how I had edited it (to capitalise the "I"). They mentioned that as there is no formal decision on this, people editing Wikipedia can do as they like, so it may be capitalised in one article and uncapitalised in another, depending on the consensus of that particular article. However, I consider this to be something of a problem. I think it looks rather strange if we have no formal consensus on this.

My position on this is that the word should be capitalised when it refers to the Internet (the one we are using right now) as opposed to an internet; this makes sense to me, as it makes for an easy distinction between "merely 'an' interconnected network" and "the main interconnected network most are familiar with".

The other person's position is there is no reason to consider Internet as a proper noun; therefore, it should not be capitalised. They cited some sources recommending that people no longer capitalise Internet (the talk page of the In Rainbows article contains the links to the sources in question).

So, there are three options here:

  • (A) Capitalise the word internet whenever it refers to the global interconnected network most commonly used today
  • (B) Don't capitalise the word internet in any case
  • (C) Per-article consensus on the matter, as it is now

Please indicate which option you prefer below, explaining why if possible. Regards, DesertPipeline (talk) 12:43, 17 February 2021 (UTC)

Addendum: Another way of looking at this, as Gah4 helped me realise with their comment in the Discussion subsection below, is that "Internet" is a name; "internet" is a term. DesertPipeline (talk) 05:33, 19 February 2021 (UTC)


Please place a comment in the subsection corresponding to your choice below, with your reasoning

Option A (Capitalise when name; lowercase when term)[edit]

  • Capitalize the proper noun name of our favorite network of networks, (also known as internets): The Internet or just Internet. As noted below, I don't know why it didn't get a nice name like everything else. Talking to someone who actually wrote the book about Ethernet (which is also capitalized as a proper noun), it seems that no-one thought about naming it before it was too late. Gah4 (talk) 06:01, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
    Ethernet is a trademark. Dicklyon (talk) 00:38, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    According to the article on Ethernet, it seems that it used to be a trademark, but it isn't any more :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:55, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Interesting. So I guess we'd have to say it's capped because it was a trademark. Dicklyon (talk) 01:03, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Presumably, yes :) In that case, though, there's no such thing as "ethernet" (I think?) – i.e. there isn't "Ethernet" (a single concept) and "ethernet" (a broader concept) :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:03, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Capitalize when used as a proper name, otherwise lowercase. Blueboar (talk) 21:20, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Capitalise if we're talking about the medium in which users can communicate globally. Otherwise, standard all-lowercase works for talking about the kind of network. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 22:02, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
"It behooves us" – Neigh! DesertPipeline
Bees don't have hooves, silly! EEng
They have bee feat.
"A shetland pony,
a bee, and a beefeater
walk into a pub...."
  • Capitalize in reference to the Internet; lowercase when referring to generic technologies (usuable on an intranet). We've been over this again and again and again (and the "give me lower case or give me death" folks really need to stop WP:FORUMSHOPping this again and agian and again in hopes of getting the answer they want). It does not matter that various newspapers and bloggers and so forth are too ignorant to know that the Internet is a proper name and that an internet is not, and that they are not the same subject. Wikipedia knows better, and our job is to be factual and to communicate clearly, not to immitate lazy, confusing style found in other publishers with lax standards. For those not aware of it, an internet is an (i.e., any) inter-network, what is more commonly called a WAN (wide-area network) today. This question also applies to [W|w]eb: Use Web when it means the World Wide Web. It's fine to lower-case both terms when used as modifiers and as generic technology descriptors, since they can refer to protocols from the Internet and the Web usable in an isolated intranet circumstance: "internet-technology server", "web developer", etc. When fully compounded, also use lower-case: website, webpage, internetworking (these terms are not proper names so should not be capitalized). Remember also that Internet of Things is a proper name. As a subset of the Internet, it would not be a proper name if the Internet were not one itself. And some modifier cases will remain capitalized, because they refer to (and may be definitional of) proper-name the Internet: "the Internet protocol suite", etc. See also Internet Standard, which is a proper name (a formal IETF spec); this is distinct from "an internet standard" a vague term we should not use which could mean "any standard pertaining to internet technology").  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:14, 22 February 2021 (UTC); revised 10:30, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    One quick question SMcCandlish: Is it then correct to say "Web page" (as opposed to "web page")? When I see "web page" I usually change it to "Web page" – although I do feel like "webpage" sounds better :) DesertPipeline (talk) 12:51, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    S, I never proposed "death" as the alternative, but it seems to me that treating "Internet" as a proper name is out of step with most modern style guides, so it behooves us to discuss when/whether to re-align with them. Dicklyon (talk) 01:01, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    I never proposed "death" as the alternative – But those of us following this thread are openly pining for it. Oh sweet release! EEng 04:29, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Admit it, EEng – you're just envious that I made a joke in this section before you, aren't you? ;) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:05, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Au contraire. It delights me to see other editors taking up the jokester's banner. EEng 05:56, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Another task ticked off the bucket list – "checkY Have work approved by EEng" :) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:06, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    I agree completely with SMc here honestly – just because other style guides are getting it wrong it doesn't mean we should follow in their footsteps ;) DesertPipeline (talk) 03:38, 23 February 2021 (UTC)

Option B (Lowercase always)[edit]

  • Lower case per Capitalization of Internet#Usage examples. Randy Kryn (talk) 05:19, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case per the majority of publications (eg the New York Times, the Associated Press, Chicago Style, Guardian, BBC, the Telegraph, Reuters). WP:MOSCAPS says: Only words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources are capitalized in Wikipedia. The old distinction between internet singular and internet plural is no longer in common use and doesn't matter. Popcornfud (talk) 21:00, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case always since I can't see any uses that I would think of as proper names. Like radio, television, and the mail, it's a medium through which businesses and individuals communicate globally. So what? No particular reason to ignore our own style guidelines on this one. Dicklyon (talk) 00:34, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    I wouldn't really say that radio, television, and mail are good comparisons – they're not words that can either be a term or a name. In this case, though, "Internet" is the name for the global internet we're using right now – and "internet" is just a term meaning "interconnected network". As someone (me? I can't remember) said previously: "The Internet is an internet, but an internet is not the Internet" :) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:25, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    I do understand that you want it to be a name. But I disagree that it is ever that. Dicklyon (talk) 06:49, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    I'll be honest: I don't understand why you think it isn't a name. I'd like to know why you think this way. Do you think you could explain to me? Thank you, DesertPipeline (talk) 10:14, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    And I don't understand why you think it is. A lot of things have names, like the Internet Engineering Task Force, Internet Protocol, ARPANET, but this thing we call the internet is just the agglomeration of everyone's networks. Nobody named it; they just took to capping it to indicate that if you're not on it, maybe you're on some other internet. That's a use of caps that's outside the uses that WP's and many others' style guides recommend. Dicklyon (talk) 04:37, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Well, I'll admit... I thought I read somewhere that someone had officially named it Internet, but... apparently that's not the case, at least according to the article on Internet :) Still though, language is just something we invented of course, so we could say "its name is Internet now because people call it that, even though it wasn't officially named that". Then again, maybe humanity should have a vote to decide on an official name, like... well, I don't even know what it could be called, but I guess it'd be less confusing if it wasn't called "Internet" :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:38, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Well, I think humanity did take a vote. Or least the part of humanity that issue style guidelines has pretty much converted on lowercase. Dicklyon (talk) 05:41, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I'd argue that the most likely reason style guides usually recommend lowercase nowadays is that they don't realise that it is a name (or at least that some people consider it a name)? I'm not sure though :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:49, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    You don't think they looked long and hard at the issue before changing their guidance? They just don't "realise that it is a name"? Yeah, that must be it; probably a bunch of new grads running that department now. Dicklyon (talk) 06:22, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    ...But would you be so shocked if that was the case? ;) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:29, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Same as "universe". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:26, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I'd say that the example of "universe" is another one that doesn't really apply here – it's not both a name and a term: it's just a term :) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:29, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I agree. But some want it to be a name, too. NASA style guide and many others say not to cap it, but there are outliers (billions and billions...). Dicklyon (talk) 06:57, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    To be honest, I wouldn't really mind either way myself – I mentioned this in the On Rainbows talk page, but if there are other universes then I feel like having a distinction between "the Universe" (ours) and "a universe" (any other universe) could be useful. DesertPipeline (talk) 07:01, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case per Dicklyon. --Khajidha (talk) 15:59, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case should be our default for all terms unless there's near unanimous consensus among grammarians and style guides to capitalize. pburka (talk) 04:31, 24 February 2021 (UTC)

Option C (Per-article consensus)[edit]

  • Per-article It really depends on the usage. For example, I do a lot of work on video game articles from an historical perspective and it is important to talk about the arrival of the capital I Internet (the global network), as well as the fact the video game consoles gained access to lower case "i" internet functionality. I would agree that if we are talking in the present tense in all sense, the lower-case "i" internet makes reasonable season, but the historical aspect needs to be considered. Hence, per-article consensus needs to be reviewed. --Masem (t) 04:50, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    If I'm reading this right, I think you may actually be in favour of option A? I agree with you that it should be capitalised only when referring to the Internet and uncapitalised when referring to any other internet :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:47, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I think he's saying that there may be historical contexts in which that distinction might still need to be represented via caps, but that most current stuff not. I'm not sure I get why, though. I don't know what video game consoles gained access to lower case "i" internet functionality means. Dicklyon (talk) 06:07, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Not to suggest that I can read minds (that would probably make life a little easier :D) but I think what's meant is that video game consoles gained access to internets in general – i.e., any interconnected network :) Maybe you're starting to see why some consider the distinction between capitalised I and uncapitalised I important now? ;)[note 1] DesertPipeline (talk) 06:13, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I didn't say anything about it not being important; just not capitalization relevant. But what internets did videogames have access to? Dicklyon (talk) 06:20, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Well, any :) If a computing device can connect to a network, then it can connect to any internet, including the Internet, although some manufacturers of video game consoles might try to prevent connection to internets they don't authorise – P.S. I'm not an authority on this subject if it wasn't already obvious, so my explanation isn't very good, sorry ;) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:25, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Hell no. This will just cause "slow-editwar" and WP:CIVILPOV activity by obsessives who want to eventually force all uses to lower-case or all of them to upper-case, and we'll have the same squabble break out page after page after page. The second purpose of MoS (after consistent and professional-looking output for readers) is forestalling repetitive, time-wasting editorial disputes over style trivia – not generating a perpetual stream of them. This really has nothing to do with what page the term appears in, but rather the contextual meaning. If what is mean is the the Internet then that is a proper name. If what is meant is internet-technology networking in general, including on an isolated intranet, then lower-case is appropriate. Same goes for [W|w]eb; if you mean the Web, then it's capitalized. If you mean web technology like HTML and CSS and HTTPS and whatever, then lower-case is fine. I.e., distinguishing between name and description, between the global network and the technologies that enable it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:20, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Many publications are switching to lowercase as someone mentioned above, so I think that should be the default. Just be consistent within the article. I would only distinguish the two (Internet v. internet) if it is absolutely necessary for the subject matter (I don't know, say talking about the early days of the internet and what people called it). Otherwise the distinction is likely to be distracting. Fredlesaltique (talk) 01:10, 24 February 2021 (UTC)


People should search before making proposals. 2020, more 2020, more 2020, 2019, 2012/2014, 2010, 2008, 2004 (eesh on that last). --Izno (talk) 16:28, 17 February 2021 (UTC)
Oh, it's the exact same editor as a half dozen of those discussions. Popcornfud, that you're still having this issue and across multiple pages doesn't look too good for you. Please stop pushing it until there is an actual consensus on the point. --Izno (talk) 16:29, 17 February 2021 (UTC)
"Half of a dozen of these discussions"? I think one - maybe two? edit: OK, three (though those were kind of all the same discussion).
I am not the one who is pushing anything; DesertPipeline wants to make this change to an article. Per the lack of consensus I see no reason to deviate from the WP:STATUSQUO. If a consensus emerges to change it (on that article, or at a MoS-wide level) then I will follow that consensus. Popcornfud (talk) 17:03, 17 February 2021 (UTC)
My apologies for starting another discussion on this when there's been so many; Popcornfud did mention that it's been brought up here before but always ended in no consensus. I guess discussing it so soon after the last time is probably not going to result in anything different? Also I'm not sure if I'm at the right indentation level and in the right place here to be replying to User:Izno... sorry, I still don't really know how talk page threading works exactly :( DesertPipeline (talk) 04:47, 18 February 2021 (UTC) Struck last part as I'm now at the right indentation level – I hope :) 05:20, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
  • I don't downcase it when I come across the cap, because I don't like complaints; but in my view it should be lowercase; and where some subset of the internet is intended, that should be clear from the context. Few readers appreciate the significance of the I vs i, anyway. Tony (talk) 05:17, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
    Well, it's not that the Internet is "a subset of the internet"; the article Capitalisation of Internet explains it quite well – "the Internet is an internet, but an internet is not the Internet". I do realise that nowadays most people don't care about this sort of thing, but I don't feel like we should lowercase the "I" in a context where it should be capitalised just because that's how most people do it. My opinion on this is that as an encylopedia, which should strive to get things correct as much as possible. To me, it would be like Wikipedia writing "COVID-19" in lowercase simply because most people do that nowadays, and fortunately we aren't doing that. DesertPipeline (talk) 05:26, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
Just to be sure, even though it says right in the Internet article, an internet is a network of networks. That is important for the scaling of network architectures, such that each host doesn't need to know the path to all others, but just to a router that knows which way to route it. Many large companies have their own private internet, and many are worldwide. Some companies need the security of not connecting their internal internet to the Internet. Many companies will name their internal network after the company. What does seem strange to me is that the Internet doesn't have an actual name other than Internet. Gah4 (talk) 10:04, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
What does seem strange to me is that the Internet doesn't have an actual name other than Internet. The Internet used to be also called the World Wide Web, but I think that name has fallen out of use a few years ago. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 16:58, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
No, the Internet and the World Wide Web are two very different things. It is true that there are commentators who lump them together, but they don't understand what either is. The WWW is an application that uses HTTP over IP, and no more the Intenet than Gopher, NNTP or SMTP. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 18:47, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
  • I was actually able to think of a much better reason for capitalisation thanks to Gah4's comment. "Internet", referring to the Internet, is a name; "internet" is a term. Would anyone say that provides a better case for standardising capitalisation? Also, I've added a discussion subheading and a survey subheading. DesertPipeline (talk) 04:47, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    Addendum: I also have to wonder if the sources that Popcornfud linked which recommend not capitalising the word don't realise that it is a name, rather than simply a term in all cases. I haven't read them though, so I'm just speculating here :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:01, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    Yes. Like Microsoft naming their word processor Word, our favorite internet is named The Internet. It might have had a fancier name, but it seems not. Gah4 (talk) 06:36, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    And even LibreOffice fell victim: They called theirs "Writer" :) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:42, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    I also have to wonder if the sources that Popcornfud linked which recommend not capitalising the word don't realise that it is a name, rather than simply a term in all cases. I haven't read them though, so I'm just speculating here
    Yes, the history of the term as a proper noun is discussed in those sources (here are some of them again: NY Times, Wired, New Republic, the Verge).
    I have to say that the fact that you didn't bother to read these - which I provided because you asked me for an explanation - and are now typing things to the effect of "I wonder what those sources arguing against my position say? guess we'll never know!" is sort of causing me to faceplam. Popcornfud (talk) 20:51, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
    I'm sorry, Popcorn :( The reason I didn't read the sources you provided is that I feel paranoid about visiting websites I haven't before – and I know the ones you linked are trustworthy, but my fear is just irrational. I thought you might be frustrated if I said I didn't read them, but I didn't want to act as if I knew – because I don't. I could read them with Lynx, a terminal-based browser, if you'd like me to (although my paranoia is such a problem that I even hesitate to do that, despite the fact that I installed Lynx specifically for situations like this). DesertPipeline (talk) 06:38, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    DesertPipeline, OK, that sounds tough. If you're curious, I would be happy to summarise what those articles say on your talk page, just let me know. Popcornfud (talk) 10:44, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    If you don't mind doing that, then sure, and thank you :) DesertPipeline (talk) 12:48, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case per Capitalization of Internet#Usage examples. Randy Kryn (talk) 05:19, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    Hi, would you mind putting this in the Survey subsection above and adding (B) to the beginning of your comment? Thanks, DesertPipeline (talk) 05:28, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    OK, added it there as well. Randy Kryn (talk) 05:40, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    Thanks :) I also decided to add subheadings for each option so hopefully things will be more readable. I moved your comment to the corresponding subheading (Option B). DesertPipeline (talk) 05:44, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Pinging everyone who participated in the discussion so far (except Gah4, because I mentioned it on their talk page and was intending to do that for the other participants but then realised it was way less efficient than just doing it here and using pings): User:Izno, User:Tony1, User:Tenryuu, User:Chatul (I think that's everyone). If you don't mind, can you add which option you're in support of to the survey? :) If you already gave your explanation in this section, you can just say something like "see my comment in the discussion section". I just want it to be clearer for whoever closes this what option each participant was for :) Thanks, DesertPipeline (talk) 05:12, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Someone mentioned universe, which it seems is not capitalized and not a proper name. There might be some astronomers who disagree, (that is, that we live in one particular Universe), but it reminded me of Earth and Mars, which it seems are proper names, though earth (synonym for dirt) is not. It might be that mars is a synonym for dirt if you are Mars. I don't see any discussion for capitalization in talk:Earth, but instead whether it is Earth or the Earth. Somehow that question was avoided here. In any case, I still believe that Internet is the proper name for out favorite internet, like Earth for our favorite planet. Gah4 (talk) 02:34, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Sometimes I see "earth" when it really means "Earth" (in an article where it was capitalised before) and I usually correct that. I've heard that in casual usage, people will just type "the sun", "the earth", "the moon" (etc), but weirdly enough I don't think that's done in the case of the other planet/celestial body names. I wonder why that is? P.S. I fixed the indentation of your comment :) Regards, DesertPipeline (talk) 03:21, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
  1. ^ "I can tell you right now, Dave... that monkey is indeed being cheeky!"

A drawing, photograph, or video who's direction of view, e.g. due north is known is better in many cases.[edit]

Rewording of hyphen section[edit]

I want to propose a simplification of the section on hyphens.


=== Hyphens ===

Hyphens (-) indicate conjunction. There are three main uses:

  1. In hyphenated personal names: John Lennard-Jones.
  2. To link prefixes with their main terms in certain constructions (quasi-scientific, pseudo-Apollodorus, ultra-nationalistic).
    • A hyphen may be used to distinguish between homographs (re-dress means dress again, but redress means remedy or set right).
    • There is a clear trend to join both elements in all varieties of English (subsection, nonlinear). Hyphenation clarifies when the letters brought into contact are the same (non-negotiable, sub-basement) or are vowels (pre-industrial), or where a word is uncommon (co-proposed, re-target) or may be misread (sub-era, not subera). Some words of these sorts are nevertheless common without the hyphen (e.g. cooperation is more frequently attested than co-operation in contemporary English).


=== Hyphens ===

Hyphens (-) indicate conjunction. There are three main uses:

  1. Personal names (Daniel Day-Lewis)
  2. Certain prefixes (vice-president, ex-boyfriend). Note that general usage tends to avoid hyphens for many prefixes (subsection, nonlinear). Use a hyphen in the following situations:
    • If it changes the meaning (re-dress dress again versus redress set right)
    • To separate the same letter (non-negotiable) or vowels (pre-industrial) unless doing so goes against general usage (cooperation not co-operation)
    • To avoid misreadings (sub-era not subera)
    • Uncommon words with no established usage (co-propose)

Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fredlesaltique (talkcontribs) 04:44, 21 February 2021 (UTC)

I think "personal names" is too telegraphic and open to misinterpretation. We only use hyphens to separate parts of the personal name of a single person; we do not use them to separate names of two people. The current text is worded circularly and doesn't clearly indicate this but the new wording is worse in this respect. —David Eppstein (talk) 08:29, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
@David Eppstein: I don't think such a misinterpretation is likely, and rewording would probably add to confusion. We could add a second well-known name for clarity, though. Fredlesaltique (talk) 10:04, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
I agree with the general trust of this, but concur with David (especially on his main point, that people will misinterpret this to mean "write Comet Hale-Bopp"; we know for a fact that various editors are perpetually confused about en-dash usage with human names so we do have reason to avoid worsening it). Given that names like Day-Lewis have a term for them and we have an article on it, at Double-barrelled name, just use that term and link to it. However, not all such surnames are hyphenated any longer. And it's not always surnames; hyphens are common between Chinese and Korean given names (in either family-name-first or Western order), and among some French and Southern US given-name clusters. So what we should probably say is something like the following (and I even managed to find someone with a hyphenated forename and a hyphenated surname):
  1. A double-barrelled surname or compound give name that is hyphenated for a particular subject in most reliable sources (Daniel Day-Lewis, Yu Myeong-Hee, Jean-Louis Vieillard-Baron)
This wording accounts for the fact that (especially for Asian cases) source treatment may differ as to the spelling, and we should use the dominant one in RS. And we should use cross-references more liberally, to avoid restating rules (which provides an undesirable opportunity for WP:POLICYFORKing). I notice that MOS:DASH not once but twice makes the point that double-barreled surnames take hyphens, and this would be better done with cross-references to the rule rather than restatements of the rule.
Next, "cooperation not co-operation" is flat-out wrong. The original text was correct about frequency of usage, but the revised version goes too far in marking one as an error. "Co-operaticon" "Co-operation" is a very well-attested spelling, and there's nothing wrong with it. Plenty of editors and readers prefer it. This vowel-separating hyphenation is only commonly used when pronunciation might be uncertain (esp. to a non-native speaker or school child) because the combination forms a common diphthong. The e[-]u case seems to be among the least frequently hyphenated, so a better example would be the following:
  1. ...
    • ...
    • To separate the same letter (non-negotiable) or vowels (pre-industrial) unless doing so goes against general usage (reunion not re-union)
Basically MoS shouldn't be prescribing against a usage that still has currency in formal writing, but should illustrate avoidance of a misusage that almost all readers would take to be an error.
Finally, remove "Note that"; just say "General usage tends ...", or "However, general usage tends ..." if we think that reads better. We should actually search all the MoS pages for "note that" and similar phrases, and remove them. We advise avoiding their use in articles, so MoS should practice what it preaches. PS: The footnote (to what MoS means by "recent", "current", "modern", etc.) will probably no longer be needed, given how this is being revised, so I've removed it (including from the original quote, since it throws an error here on the talk page due to the note itself being missing).
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:04, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
Co-operaticon (noun): A joint convention of fans of both Italian and German opera. EEng 15:41, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
Ha ha.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  13:31, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
Personal names: I think that lengthening the wording on personal names would make the principle more convoluted than it needs to be.
As I see it, the guide should simply answer the question "When do I use a hyphen" with "in personal names." In other words, if a personal name has a dash-like symbol, then it should be a hyphen. I don't think it needs to mention what all the specific examples of hyphens in names are; by keeping it simple they are all included anyways. The current and proposed wordings make no mention of when to remove a hyphen or keep it, since that is a separate issue. I also think that introducing new terms like double-barreled surnames is pertinent but not strictly necessary, and should be avoided to keep things concise.
What about changing the wording to "in personal names"? Then the question "how to combine two personal names" is neither raised nor answered, as far as I can see. Putting a note mentioning that the answer to this separate question is below, like one of you proposed, seems like a good solution, though I worry it just makes things more confusing. (Also I noticed John Lennard-Jones is used elsewhere as an example, so should not have been removed.)
  1. In personal names (Daniel Day-Lewis, John Lennard-Jones)
Prefixes: We can change the wording on prefixes to be less prescriptive, I was trying to make it more cut-and-dry but I may have gone too far. What about this?
  1. ...
    • ...
    • To separate the same letter (non-negotiable) or vowels (pre-industrial) unless doing so goes against general usage (reunion not re-union). Note that some words commonly lack a hyphen (cooperate versus co-operate)
Note that: the Manual of Style states "Avoid such phrases as remember that and note that, which address readers directly in an unencyclopedic tone and lean toward instructional." Since the manual is not an encyclopedia article but rather a guideline that is meant to instruct, I don't think using "note that" is an issue.
Wow that was a lot longer than I intended. Cheers, Fredlesaltique (talk) 13:08, 22 February 2021 (UTC)

Post–World War II or Post-World War II?[edit]

I left a message at Talk:Post–Cold War era#En dash o hyphen?hueman1 (talk contributions) 02:16, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

HueMan1, I agree with Fredlesaltique; should be a hyphen (particularly item 3). —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 02:54, 25 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment. According to the MOS, it should be an endash. See section, which addresses it directly. Good Ol’factory (talk) 03:39, 25 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment. Agreed, an en dash. It refers an era that is post the Cold War, not a war era that is post cold. Doremo (talk) 03:49, 25 February 2021 (UTC)