Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style

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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

Note about quotation marks[edit]

A note about the use of curly quotation marks reads as thus:

Curly quotation marks and apostrophes are deprecated on the English Wikipedia because:

  • Consistency keeps searches predictable. Though most browsers treat curly and straight quotation marks interchangeably, Internet Explorer does not (as of 2022), so using the browser's find function to search a page for Alzheimer's disease will fail to find Alzheimer’s disease and vice versa.
  • Straight quotation marks and apostrophes are easier to type reliably on most platforms.

Internet Explorer has been deprecated, so the first point is moot, unless we find another major browser that does distinguish the two sets of quotation marks. What should we do about this argument?

Note: I'm not advocating the revocation of this rule. --ItMarki (talk) 16:52, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@ItMarki: Is it the case that all browsers now require ticking a "Match Diacritics" box (or similar) in order to distinguish the different kinds of quotation marks? 0DF (talk) 03:14, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pretty much nothing can be true of "all browsers" when it comes to their interface controls, because they're made by completely different software companies (or free-software dev teams).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:06, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
IE represents 0.4% of desktop browser usage—obviously it's less when factoring in mobile, but arguably the find function is really most relevant for desktop users anyway. I actually made the same change approximately a year ago, when it was about 1%. That change was reverted on the basis that 1% may represent millions of users and the bug may happen in other browsers as well, but I think neither of those make much sense. Millions of people are not using IE's find function in searches that include quotes or apostrophes, and I have been unable to find another browser that behaves the same way. (I prefer to see positive evidence for supposedly similar browsers rather than mere possibility.)
At this point the overwhelming practical concern is that curly quotes are hard to type. I think it is sensible to cut the search rationale. — HTGS (talk) 01:53, 4 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Chrome suffers from the opposite problem – it's not possible to restrict a search to either straight or curly apostrophes/quotation marks, behaviour that makes targeted editing of MoS compliance impossible. Keeping the current practice (not having curlies) makes that easier. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:14, 4 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not "impossible", since wikEd and various other tools provide better in-text search functions. (I use one all the time, though I honestly am not certain where it came from; it's not wikEd nor one of the other Gadgets or Betas from what I can tell, and I'm not seeing it in my common.js, but it provides an hourglass search icon at the righthand side of the toolbar when in editing view, and that search function distinguishes between these glyphs. Anyone know what this is?)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:48, 4 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Michael Bednarek: I’m not sure I understand why Chrome’s function changes much? But in any case, I can’t see that the function of a functionally-dead browser matters much. Nobody uses IE; can we just cut that first bullet? — HTGS (talk) 04:22, 17 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would not object to rephrasing that note to "Though most browsers treat curly and straight quotation marks interchangeably, Internet Explorer does not (as of 2022)some do not, so using …". -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:35, 17 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I cannot find any other browsers that function the same way, do you know of any? At this point it should be straightforward to just cut the whole thing, especially as IE is now rounded down to 0.0% of all traffic (desktop and mobile). — HTGS (talk) 04:50, 17 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, it's a bit more complicated. As I wrote above, Chrome has no way of searching for straight or curly signs specifically. That makes searches for non-compliant signs impossible. This is admittedly not a concern for readers. However, as long as we have the rule MOS:STRAIGHT, that's a concern for editors. I don't know whether this needs to be mentioned in that footnote. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:41, 17 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"That makes searches for non-compliant signs impossible.". Nah. In the standard editing tools (if you haven't replaced them with WikEd or VisualEditor), if you click "Advanced" in the top toolbar, you get a secondary toolbar right below it, and the far-right of that has a magnifying-glass search icon. This search feature is glyph-specific (and also has a regexp feature). WikEd itself, I'm told, has similar features. So, the only ones left out are VisualEditor users.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:02, 17 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Visual Editor can and does distinguish, and a simple [“”] in regex will find both characters, while avoiding ".
Unless anyone objects with good reason, I am going to just remove that bullet point about IE, per ItMarki's original comment. — HTGS (talk) 22:26, 23 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hyphenating racial identities, again[edit]

Back in 2021, there was a discussion about hyphenating ethno-racial descriptors like "Asian American". There was never a formal closure, but it might reasonably be said that there was either no consensus or consensus to recommend against hyphenation. In June 2022, that guidance was added to MOS:HYPHEN. As far as I can tell, it's been in the MOS ever since.

Given the uncertainty of consensus on this point, I'd appreciate some input on whether the current guideline is supported by consensus and common practice. I'm prompted by some recent page moves conducted by Iljhgtn, whose thoughts I'd like to hear. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 13:49, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The standard "rule" I follow is no hyphen when used as a noun, hyphen when used as an adjective: thus eg, 'Asian Americans are . . .' and 'the Asian-American history movement . . .'. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:56, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i came across that "rule" where it is noun vs.adj only according to grammar blog site grammarist, the article can be read here. Iljhgtn (talk) 14:02, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, it's pretty standard grammar that compound adjectives always get a hyphen because they are meant to be read as one thing, not two things, modifying/describing something else . Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:08, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm surprised grammarist hasn't been evaluated at WP:RSP yet. ~TPW 14:09, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
good side point, grammarist sure should be on there. Iljhgtn (talk) 14:18, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
looking at the MOS i concluded that the african american should not be hyphenated. also, seems to be the decision of the APA in 2019 and other guidelines, as well as nearly all african american museums do not use it see here, here, here, here, here, here and literally every single other one that I can find. Iljhgtn (talk) 14:00, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When it is part of a name, you are not going to use a hyphen. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:05, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
all of those museums also officially give their blessing to the no hyphen more generally, from what I can find, see the educator resource from the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Iljhgtn (talk) 14:23, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Iljhgtn changed more than a dozen article names, and I think such changes should have been discussed. Since our normal, established style is with hyphen (when used as a modifier), those changes only cause inconsistencies. Rsk6400 (talk) 15:37, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Rsk6400: That's why we have Wikipedia:Requested moves#Requests to revert undiscussed moves.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:45, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
there was already a inconsistency, it should be corrected on all articles, but i am not going to edit any others right now. Iljhgtn (talk) 15:58, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why would we need to go over this yet again? If it's a noun phrase, don't hyphenate: She is an Asian American. If it's a compound adjective, hyphenate: an Asian-American social organization. There's nothing even particular to ethnicities about this; it's how we handle writing in general: Carom billiards uses two cue balls.; a complex cue-ball path.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:04, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See also the middle entry in this move log. Rsk6400 (talk) 18:18, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
At least it seems American English does not agree with that. all of the African American museums, as well as the American grammar styles APA, MLA, etc., all appear to drop the hyphen for ethnicities at least post-2019 or thereabouts. We may want to distinguish this with an ENGVAR component then too. Iljhgtn (talk) 18:19, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, MoS isn't determined by the APA or MLA house styles (I'm hard-pressed to think of anything at all that we've adopted from either of them in particular), much less those of some particular museums. Two book examples isn't "all". Garner's Modern English Usage (one of the style guides MoS is actually based on) is entirely clear about the noun phrases versus compound adjectives split and makes no special exception for ethno-cultural terms. Same with The Penguin Handbook, the main style guide used for university-level writing in the US. The Chicago Manual of Style (another MoS-formative style guide) does now prefer the unhyphenated form for such terms as a special class, but provides no rationale for why. They say elsewhere that they have switched to a "hyphen minimizing" style, so that is probably the explanation. (MoS, meanwhile, has not; given the breadth of our readership, the meaning precision provided by some hyphens that Chicago now considers optional is more important than the expediency Chicago seems to be moving toward, at least on this particular point.) So we have a conflict in the sources that MoS is actually built from, but no clear reason to prefer Chicago style over Garner style, expecially since the former is inconsistent with all the rest of our practice, and produces reader-confusing constructions.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:45, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
SMcCandlish, sorry to be bringing it up again. Your analysis is at odds with the current guideline. My understanding of the mixed state of external style guideline advice and of the best choice for the MOS matches yours. I'm hoping we walk away with either a clear endorsement of the current guideline or a removal of it. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 18:52, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The key question to me is, what could we possibly gain from dropping these hyphens? It produces confusing constructions, and is generally incompatible with our entire approach to compound modifiers, but to what end? A "consistency" with some subset of external writers that some editors prefer? Why would we trade actual internal consistency for a half-assed and biased pseudo-consistency with off-site interests, at the expense of clarity to boot? I just don't see a good rationale for doing this. It would make no objective improvement to the encyclopedia, only satisfy a couple of activistic interests who keep trying to conform our style guide to those of organizations they are personally alinged with for socio-political reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:59, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with most of that, and my disagreement—mainly about the motives of those advocating for the hyphen drop—isn't particularly important. Since we both think the current guideline is unhelpful, why not keep discussing it? There's a fresh multi-page move discussion in which a "per MOS:HYPHEN" argument is likely to win the day, I'm thinking this is the time to question whether the current guideline has enough support to stick around (or if it ever did). Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 20:04, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The poorly written "magical exception" for ethno-national terms that someone injected in there without a clear consensus has been removed by someone else already. I tracked it to this edit by Caorongjin who says it was their "2nd attempt", so it must have been reverted previously (it was, by Imaginatorium). Cites this archive thread as their rationale for adding this "rule", but that discussion did not come to a consensus in favor of the idea. Four editors favored retaining the hyphen on various grounds ranging from clarity and consistency, to opposition to instruction creep. The supporters of the change were also four, on arguments that range from "a trend" in other style guides (ones with almost no impact on MoS, actually) of dropping the hyphen, a suggestion that the hyphen somehow suggests a bias, a strange claim that "we could definitely use the consistency" when this would just lead to obvious inconsistency with all other compound modifiers, and in one case no rationale but the common-style fallacy. The opener of the question did not take a position on it, and two other editors also commented without taking a clear side. That's hardly a consensus to change long-standing consistent treatment of these modifiers, in ways that would affect the content of tens of thousands of articles and titles of at least several hundred (and the fact that it was in there for over a year without having any actual effect on our content suggests there is no community appetite for it at all). There's yet another whiff of misusing Wikipedia for "culture warrior" language-change-advocacy activities about this.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:58, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
First, thank you for tagging me, as I would not have known this conversation was going on otherwise. This talk page is really hard to follow, tbh. Having said that, I'd appreciate it if you do not dismiss my changes as "magical". I have tried to be clear of intentions and engage in discussion as best as I could; and, as you have noted, I have documented in this (unwieldy) talk page the two times I made a change to the article page. The "2nd attempt", as I described it, was meant to convey that it was taking @Imaginatorium's comments into consideration; I was not intending to convey I was edit warring or anything of that sort.
It is inaccurate to describe dehyphenation as a common-style fallacy, which, as described in that essay, is "flawed reasoning that if a particular typographic stylization turns up commonly in newspapers, blogs, and other popular publications with a less formal register of English usage than the precise language of encyclopedic writing" that is "newsy or bloggy stylization." If this is the case, you are calling MLA, APA, and CMOS popular style guides that are newsy or bloggy (I suppose that can be applied to AP, if you stretch it).
It is also inaccurate to say the previous discussion had 4 oppose and 4 support. Perhaps they can speak for themselves, but the supports seem to include @Bagumba, @Kokopelli7309, @Jurisdicta, @Chumpih, @Almaty, and @Caorongjin (myself). It was also suggested by @Andrewa that my first attempt was a good consensus, and suggested a second attempt. So is that not 6 or 7 who voted in support?
As I see it:
  • The main argument against dehyphenation is English grammar has different rules for adjectival or nominative uses. True… to an extent. English is a living language, making the grammar an evolving set of rules. English grammar has pluralization rules around pronouns as well; but now due to changing arguments around gender identity, there is the use of the singular they. And the (growing) academic consensus is to dehyphenate ethnic descriptors, due to a large extent to the century plus problem of hyphenated American.
  • The main argument in support of dropping the hyphen is around WP:COMMONNAME, both of organizations and of how all of these subjects are discussed in the majority of English-language sources, especially academic sources. This latter point is partly due to the increasing changes in styleguides, academic and otherwise, to attend to these differences; but the dehyphenated forms also predate these changes.
Caorongjin 💬 08:10, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
right, all the style guides, as well as all institutions (nearly all) that use the phrase "African American" in particular, are dropping the hyphen. this is not a case of "righting great wrongs", but is just wikipedia catching up to the conventions and norms related to the hyphen being dropped in african american.
though honestly, i do not care strongly either way, and will get back to editing other things. this conversation itself is getting unwieldy.  Iljhgtn (talk) 11:06, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Microsoft grammar checking now also marks as an error "African-American" too. with a double underline and something to be corrected for. just hope that we can at least add in to the MOS that it is wrong or incorrect sometimes, and make that distinction, and not leave it in all cases, even though it is only on wikipedia and no where else that it will remain.. for whatever reason we want to retain it here.. Iljhgtn (talk) 11:14, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Two or three books is not "all". And WP doesn't care what Microsoft thinks is proper writing; their house style is not our house style (nor does a double underline in Word indicate an "error", but rather somoething their software suggests you might want to change; the most common case is two spaces after a period, which is not an error but a style choice.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:25, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
not two or three books, all american style writing books, as well as academic institutions, museums, and other orgs use "African American" not "African-American." But if wikipedia wants to go its own way then it is what it is. Iljhgtn (talk) 13:55, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you want to go long-form, I guess we can go long-form. I didn't say you personally were engaging in a WP:CSF, I said one of the respondents in the earlier thread was. The fact that one style guide MoS is based on, CMoS, is going along with the hyphenless form for unrelated reasons (a general shift away from using hyphens the CMoS editors don't consider necessary, for the kind of academics-writing-for-other-academics writing CMoS is principally concerned with) isn't much of a point in favor of the idea; it's coincidence. Two style guides MoS is not based on, APA and MLA, supporting such a change is probably an argument in its favor (though I want to see whether they, too, are dropping other kinds of hyphens), but not a terribly strong one. That's because our reasoning for using the hyphenation is clarity and to a lesser extent consistency, not tradition or popularity. We'd need to see a near-universal dropping of this hyphen to drop it ourselves. I.e., proof that for whatever reason(s), nearly all modern writers had dropped it in spite of the improved clarity of using it and in spite of the blatant inconsistency of dropping it. (It is fair to characterize the idea as a "magical" exception; it's one not grounded in any reasons that have to do with grammar, clarity, or other concerns related to writing well, but rooted in extraneous reasons of being seen as aligned with a particular socio-political stance.)
The ongoing evolution of English has only the slowest and most cautious of effects on WP's own style, which does not change on much of anything unless there it is objectively a writing improvement, or on a more subjective idea that comes at real costs like this one, if there is overwhelming evidence of a change across all of contemporary English writing, including most or all of the style guide ours is based on, not just one of them. A couple of other organizations' house-style manuals don't change anything; their house style is not our house style, by definition. Nor do we care at all about a style guide for newspapers (WP:NOT#NEWS: "Wikipedia is not written in news style."); MoS has borrowed either nothing or very, very close to nothing from AP Stylebook. It took about a decade of on-site debates about growing acceptance for singular-they to turn into actual acceptance of it on Wikipedia (and there are still many editors who would rather write around it), and it didn't happen until after the usage became accepted across CMoS, Garner's, Fowler's, and New Hart's/Oxford, and even then after a tremendous amount of evidence-showing that usage had palpably shifted to support it across all sorts of writing (not just news or a few particular organizations). See also several years of still-ongoing debate about whether we should stop using the phrase "committed suicide" (last result: no consensus reached, despite arguments that closely mirror this case: support for the change in some organizational style guides, some but not overwhelming evidence of general usage change, and activist stance-taking in favor of the change).
COMMONNAMEs of organizations are irrelevant; we don't rewrite organizations' actual names to comply with MoS ideas. (And the implication, that organizations have all dropped the hyphen, is false anyway. Maybe you'd like to write a letter to the Scottish-American Military Society and surely hundreds of others and tell them their own names are wrong and have to change? Next will you write to Bob Callahan and tell him his The Big Book of Irish-American Culture has to be republished under a hyphenless title? Will you tell the Library of Congress it's wrong for using "African-American" as an adjective[1]? And so on.) The fact that hyphenless forms of these terms pre-date some style guides recommending them is obvious and irrelevant; style guides don't recommend imaginary usages, and both news-speak and bureaucratese have been engaged in something like a war against hyphens for about a century. Trying to bring the "hyphenated American" insult that was in vogue from 1890 to 1920 into this is also irrelevant, and contradictory of your 'English is a living language and its usage can change' lynchpin argument. It also makes it clear that, as I suspected, this is some kind of highly Americans-specific WP:GREATWRONGS thing. And one that is easy to argue against: e.g., referring to Obama as "the first African American President" instead of "the first African-American President" actually directly undermines the perception of his Americannness and just helps to feed "birther" conspiracy-theory nonsense about him really being from Kenya. I'm also strongly reminded of various provisions in MoS about not inappropriately stressing ethnicity (or origin-nationality), which the hyphenless usage does, and also reminded of the RfC that removed the |ethnicity= parameter from {{Infobox person}} because it was so often misused for such inappropriate attention-drawing. "The main argument against dehyphenation is English grammar has different rules for ..." - Except no one in either edition of this debate has ever mentioned English grammar "rules" as a rationale, so you're just making stuff up. As for propriety, it was quite inappropriate to push in a change you knew had substantial principled opposition, then do it again after being reverted, and just pseudo-announce the change by editing an archive page virtually no one would ever look at. Even worse is you WP:CANVASSING now by pinging everyone you think is on your side from the old debate, but no one else.
I'm going to repeat my earlier question, because nothing I raised was addressed at all: What could we possibly gain from dropping these hyphens? It produces confusing constructions, and is generally incompatible with our entire approach to compound modifiers, but to what end? A "consistency" with some subset of external writers that some editors prefer? Why would we trade actual internal consistency for a half-assed and biased pseudo-consistency with off-site interests, at the expense of clarity to boot? I just don't see a good rationale for doing this. It would make no objective improvement to the encyclopedia, only satisfy a couple of activistic interests.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:25, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm glad that sneakily added bit has now been removed. The only discussion in 2022 was this remark added to an already archived discussion. Dicklyon (talk) 00:19, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Plifal, EEng, Only in death, Tvx1, Blueboar, Khajidha, Firejuggler86, and Mikehawk10: pinging everyone from the previous round of this discussion (2022) that Caorongjin left out in his ping of just people who supported his viewpoint. If we need to RfC this to reach a resolution this time, then we should just do it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:25, 20 September 2023 (UTC) @Red-tailed hawk: re-pinging user whose username changed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:31, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

sounds like resolution one way or the other should be found. the only one i asked about was African American, but a more general rule would cover that one as well. Iljhgtn (talk) 13:57, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Editing-in a new exception to the Wikipedia MOS? What you mean to do (whether you know it or not) is to force Wikipedia editors to change the way they write, when they write in a way that is common for clarity. Such an anti-hyphen move is worse than worthless. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:04, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • If one writes "an African-American senator," it refers to a senator who is African American, while if one writes "an African American senator," it would refer to an American senator who is African. Why on Earth would one adopt a rule that banned the use of such a clarifying hyphen? AuH2ORepublican (talk) 21:08, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Without revealing on which side I fall in this debate, I'll point out that if one writes "high-school student", it refers to a student in high school, but if one writes "high school student", it would refer to a school school student who's smoked a little weed. Or does it? EEng 21:49, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Is the "school school" smoking weed because it's cool cool? Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 21:54, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Man, you are a COMPLETE BUZZ KILL. EEng 23:20, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You'd have hated my college friend group. We used to get high, put on some instrumentals, and criticize each other's grammar. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 00:20, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    dont ask me. this is not my idea, this is what the USA and the American English speaking world decided. the "righting great wrongs" side of things therefore falls on those that wish to include the hyphen as African-American. Otherwise, there is a change that needs to be made over at African American (currently hyphenless) and many other pages... as of right now, while it might be "wrong" to include the hyphen, it is not our job on wikipedia to "right" such "wrongs", from WP:RGW, "We are, by design, supposed to be "behind the curve". This is because we only report what is verifiable using secondary reliable sources, giving appropriate weight to the balance of informed opinion." Thus, at least as of September 2023. The no hyphen "African American" is what all American English manuals for writing suggest using, as well as every African American Museum in the United states.
    Seems to me that the rule should only apply then for ethnic groups that have a strong United States connection. I don't know if anyone proposed that though? Might be more worthwhile given that there are such strong feelings to the contrary coming from the United Kingdom editors. For what its worth, I am in Richmond, Virginia, so attribute any bias that i might have tied to my geography accordingly. Iljhgtn (talk) 22:36, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Repeat: What could we possibly gain from dropping these hyphens? It produces confusing constructions, and is generally incompatible with our entire approach to compound modifiers, but to what end? A "consistency" with some subset of external writers that some editors prefer? Why would we trade actual internal consistency for a half-assed and biased pseudo-consistency with off-site interests, at the expense of clarity to boot? There is no sensible rationale to make some "magically special" carve-out for ethnic terminology in a particular country. That would just compound the confusing inconsistency.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:16, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Joking aside, "it would refer to an American senator who is African" is not an idle concern at all. See List of foreign-born United States politicians.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:16, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Slight diversion:Anglo-American, etc.[edit]

I not-so-guiltily confess that I haven't had the tima and patience to read through and absorb all of the discussion above, let alone the related discussions elsewhere, but one secondary point (if it hasn't been raised before) is that formulations such as Anglo-American and Franco-American usually demand a hyphen because Anglo and Franco are not usually stand-alone words. [In fact omitting the hyphen in Anglo American would now make that combination refer to an American of Anglophone or non-Hispanic extraction or identity, while an Anglo-American would mean someone who has both English (or British) and American birth, ancestry, citizenship or identity]. This is becoming rarer as combinations such as Italian-American (or Italian American) have gradually supplanted the once-more-common Italo-American. Afro-American was certainly hyphenated, but has given way to African American (or African-American) — which raises at least the possibility of a parallel distinction between Americans born in Africa or whose parents or grandparents were African, and African-Americans (or African Americans) descended from many generations of American-born ancestors. I apologise for any incoherence in my language or logic and I don't know where this would lead in the debates above. —— Shakescene (talk)

No one seems to be proposing to not use hyphens with prefixes such as Anglo-, Franco-, Sino-, etc.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:35, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
MORE THAN A COINCIDENCE??? EEng 07:46, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is right. If you look at even the African American page, Afro-American is considered acceptable. Again, this isn't my choice one way or the other. Wikipedia follows established trends and manners related to all of these things. i didn't say it was always consistent or made perfect sense, but that is not for us humble editors to decide for the world. Iljhgtn (talk) 12:26, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You misread and misconstrue the Wikipedia African American article, first it's not an article on English writing, and second, African American as a noun or the subject or title of an article does not get the hyphen, only when it is used as a modifier, see eg the Juneteenth article has African American, when a noun, and African-American _______, when an adjective. ("African Americans were often prohibited . . . African-American memories" - that last part is not talking about "American memories" in general, it is clearly referencing "African-American memories" in particular) -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:32, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
do we spell out that difference between nouns and adjectives in the MOS already? If so where? Iljhgtn (talk) 16:36, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The MOS section we are talking about is all about modifiers, the textbook modifiers are adjectives and adverbs. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:52, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
frequently i see both "african american" written in articles, even when it is not a modifier. I just wanted clarity in all cases, which is correct to use? If there is no disagreement, and its "noun" (African American) "adjective" (African-American) then we could close this conversation and make sure the MOS just makes that extremely clear. Iljhgtn (talk) 17:08, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think most all the time in prose, it will be clear whether its used as in subject/noun, and when it is used in describing/modifying some other subject. And feel free when a noun or subject, to remove the hyphen if you think it's improved, or add hyphen when it is used as a modifier, as needed. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:37, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem is the usage is generally consistent, with the exception of ethnic nomenclature. For instance, you will be hard pressed to find hyphenated usage of "African-American studies" or "Asian-American studies" even though they are being used as adjectives. —Caorongjin 💬 19:02, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"You will be hard pressed to find ...." - Nope. From very first page of search results: "African and African-American Studies", Kansas U. (note also "African-descended", another modifier) [2]; "Institute for Research in African-American Studies .... The Institute for Research in African-American Studies was established .... The African-American studies curriculum explores the ....", Columbia University [3]; A Companion to African-American Studies by Gordon & Gordon, Wiley Press [4]; "Social Movement Tactics, Organizational Change and the Spread of African-American Studies" by F. Rojas, Social Forces journal; U. of N. Carolina Pr. [5]; "Departmental Conditions and the Emergence of New Disciplines: Two Cases in the Legitimation of African-American Studies", M. L. Small, Theory and Society jnl., Springer [6]; and so on. It is true that universities tend to avoid hyphens in any of their curriculum names, but this isn't particular to ethnic terms, and doesn't have anything to do with encyclopedic writing. It is probably because, firstly, academic institutions' house-style is based on marketing and news writing, which is generally anti-hyphen, and secondly, as someone else observed below, "African[-]American Studies" is itself a noun phrase, so some people aren't sure whether to hyphenate the modifier inside it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:29, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are those current usage? Hard pressed to find post c. 2019 when this change seems to have gone mainstream. That is an important timing point. Iljhgtn (talk) 11:50, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hard pressed is not the same as impossible. FWIW, my Google search found one entry of "African-American Studies" on the second page (University of Kansas), one on third page (Columbia University), and none until sixth page (University of Central Arkansas). The same query for "Asian-American Studies" returned one as the last entry of the eighth page for Merritt College.
Re: @SMcCandlish and @Alanscottwalker's comment about noun phrase (completely honest question): how are you differentiating between a noun phrase and an adjectival usage? The only noun phrase mentioned thus far is that "XY Studies" is a noun phrase (and the "Studies" should be capitalized, although they have been lowercased in Wikipedia). What about XY… literature, film, history, experiences, culture, society, etc.? —Caorongjin 💬 18:21, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ultimately, why care? We have our own style guide for a reason, and there is no compelling rationale to make a "special exception" in it to the general, across-all-topics "hyphenate compound modifiers" rule just become some other publishers who are not us like to make an exception. I'm going to repeat myself yet again, because no one can answer this question so far, much less do it satisfactorily: what could we possibly gain from dropping these hyphens? It produces confusing constructions, and is generally incompatible with our entire approach to compound modifiers, but to what end? A "consistency" with some subset of external writers that some editors prefer? Why would we trade actual internal consistency for a half-assed and biased pseudo-consistency with off-site interests, at the expense of clarity to boot? I just don't see a good rationale for doing this. It would make no objective improvement to the encyclopedia, only satisfy a couple of activistic interests. PS: In answer to your first question, the "African-American" in "African-American [noun here]" noun phrases is a compound modifier and should thus be hyphenated. This is pretty obvious, but some people seem somehow confused by it, even though they don't seem terribly confused when something other than an ethnical label is in question. Who doesn't understand that "curly-coated dog" or "second-stage rocket" are noun phrases that contain compound modifiers?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:49, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And, honestly, "pretty obvious"... "somehow confused". This is just such a belittling and condescending response. —Caorongjin 💬 21:01, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Said this before about 1,000 times: COMMONNAME is about what basic name is used for something (e.g. "African[-]American studies" versus "Black studies" versus "Afro-American studies" versus "African diaspora studies", versus etc., etc.), regardless how it is styled; it is not about what style to apply, and it logically cannot be or it would not be possible for WP to have a style manual (at least not one that could ever apply to titles). We would necessarily never do anything but choose the most popular style in the majority of sources. Yet this is not at all how article titling is done on Wikipedia. We every single day apply MoS to article titles, and we expect our title style and our prose style to be in agreement at our articles. You're engaging in what's known as the common-style fallacy, the false assumption that whatever the most common stylization of something is in the sources we happen to have found for it is the style WP must use. Various people in the past have proposed trying to shoehorn style considerations into WP:AT policy, and they have failed every single time.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:18, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I never said WP:COMMONNAME was the rational for changing WP:MOS. I am saying the debate outside of Wikipedia is or has been siding with no hyphen, and this is reflected in both (1) common usage and (2) academic (and newspaper) style guides. It is because of the latter, external style guides, that I made that change. And it is also because of the academic guidance and usage that I don't see it falling under WP:CSF.
You say WP:MOS is based off of x, y, and z style guides and not k or l. OK. I was not aware of that. But this does not mean that the change is invalid but, rather, that it needs to be discussed. We are clearly of different opinions and, it seems, cannot convince one another otherwise.
You said in a separate post "If we need to RfC this to reach a resolution this time, then we should just do it." Can you please just start an RfC about this (tbh, I am not sure how to do so but can if you point me to the appropriate guidance)? —Caorongjin 💬 08:14, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't said that you said COMMONNAME was "the rational[e] for changing WP:MOS". You're misusing it as a rationale to change article titles in a way that is incompatible with MoS (not just with a line-item in it, but with its entire treatment of compound modifiers as a class), and that is fallacious and problematic. Yes, I can open an RfC on this, but the currently ongoing discussion should wrap up first, either with a consensus (obviating a need for an RfC) or without one, but we should not have two competing discussions going on at the same time (WP:RFCBEFORE, [{WP:TALKFORK]]).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:27, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i just want to mention that this was not about article titles per se, but about all uses of these hyphens when between ethnic words. i read above a few mentions where it seems like this was just about article titles only. Iljhgtn (talk) 11:16, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And COMMONNAME has nothing to do with article content anyway. I think you simply do not understand the policies and guidelines enough to be constructive in this discussion. Again, the usage in the prose needs to match the usage in the title, so trying with one hand to make it about title policy is a non-starter, and trying with the other to make it about content guidelines as severable from titles is also a non-started. I'll repeat myself again: every single day, we apply MoS to article titles as well as to in-article content.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:27, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
its fine to do that, to apply it to both, but i was just saying not to apply (seemingly) to just one or the other. i am on eastern usa time by the way, and just starting my morning. where are you? I feel like were discussing this both when i went to sleep and now first thing in the morning. i will edit other articles now.. Iljhgtn (talk) 11:30, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is it possible that some orthography/usage/syntax/mechanics of words in specific combinations is just as clear, without hyphen? Sure, for some readers. Anything is possible, and "African American Studies" because of the combination of capitalization may be just as clear for quite a few readers, but we at Wikipedia have set for ourselves to be writing for the broadest audience possible across all national borders and even whether English is first, second, or third language, and the default hyphen-when-modifier, answers that call, most all the time. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:30, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i just ask is it for us wikipedia editors to decide? or is the decision made by others? grammar guides? reliable sources? museums and other institutions? Iljhgtn (talk) 20:40, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm finding it hard to believe you're even asking this question. Of course it is for Wikipedia editors to decide, like all other style matters here (and all other matters that pertain to how we build this encyclopedia, with the sole exception of legal requirements imposed by external forces). It would be literally impossible for WP to have its own MoS if we were beholden to external third parties to make style decisions for us. We take their views and the rationales for them into consideration when making our decisions, of course. But so far no consistent rationales are even emerging. Some have exceptionally dubious socio-political claims behind their decision to not hyphenate these particular terms; others have a generally hostile stance to hyphenation in general; and others provide no rationale at all. The rationales are not compatible with each other, and do not (singly or together) somehow overcome our own internal concerns with regard to clarity, precision, and consistency for our readers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:51, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"African American Studies" is a noun phrase so what you should be doing is capitalizing [S]tudies, which makes that clear. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:53, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
in the titles of many of these articles would need to change maybe Iljhgtn (talk) 19:56, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Alanscottwalker Just a heads up, that is not the style used on Wikipedia. Please use African American studies or African-American studies, per MOS:FIELD. — HTGS (talk) 00:46, 19 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
if that is the case, we really should make that clear in the MOS. that is consistent with my findings @Caorongjin Iljhgtn (talk) 19:11, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe that it is standard for universities to write "African-American Studies" without the hyphen; it's use certainly varies, even though it is pretty common to forgo the hyphen in the adjectival phrase when the modified noun is in uppercase (as generally is the case for the word "Studies" in a college faculty or a course name). And as for those who claim that ethnic nomenclatures should never be hyphenated--even when the rules of grammar dictate that they should, as in the case of modifiers--because the elimination of such hyphens somehow makes language more "inclusive," please note that Alabama State University, which is a historically black university and a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (and thus unlikely to be insensitive to the concerns of African Americans), has an "African-American Studies" department with a consistently used hyphen: [7].
Grammar is grammar, and adjectival phrases should be hyphenated, whether one is referring to a "red-tailed hawk" (a species of hawk with a red tail; a "red tailed hawk," on the other hand, would be a red hawk that has a tail), an "English-muffin recipe (a recipe for English muffins; an "English muffin recipe" would be a recipe from England for perhaps blueberry muffins) or "Chinese-American cuisine" (cuisine created by Chinese Americans; "Chinese American cuisine" would be American cuisine as served in China, such as at a Beijing burger joint). AuH2ORepublican (talk) 23:09, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just sharing this here in case others have not read it. This has a larger component at play, when the racial/ethnic component is involved only. that is all this discussion entails. And to be clear, this discussion already in the united states seems to have been undertaken, so it is not a WP:RGW to keep the hyphen, in fact, we are "righting" it it seems only if we are keeping the hyphen at this point. all of the perfectly sound grammarian arguments above notwithstanding... [8] Iljhgtn (talk) 23:29, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
maybe it makes sense to restrict the scope of this further to just racial or ethnic descriptors within the united states. I know the united kingdom readers had strong feelings against, and i do not see anything to think that this should apply to the british english pages, but only american english, and thereby this is an ENGVAR thing too, and does not need to be made universal. Iljhgtn (talk) 23:30, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
FYI, I am not a Brit; I'm American. Do you think that Brits are the only ones who use proper grammar? And the articles from which you removed all hyphens from "African-American" when used as a modifier, both in the title of the article and in its text--without even discussing it with editors, much less obtaining a consensus--were articles about American politics written in American English and edited by Americans. And I doubt very much that Alabama State University has a lot of Brits in its faculty, much less within its African-American Studies department, and they sure rock that intra-modifier hyphen: [9]. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 03:22, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My understanding is that the main difference in hyphen usage between UK and US English relates to words that are commonly run together or compounded in American English, like midline or readjust, which British English would tend to hyphenate, as mid-line or re-adjust. That isn’t relevant here. Otherwise in both my understanding is that hyphens are typically used for compound adjectives but not compound nouns, so ‘he is an Italian American’ but ‘he is an Italian-American gangster’ and also used when there could otherwise be ambiguity, thus ‘he is a small-businessman’, to avoid it otherwise looking like a comment on his size. (Edit/ other sorts of gangster are of course available, before anyone complains) MapReader (talk) 03:43, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, all of that is consistent with a detailed read across a bunch of major academic-leaning style guides, on both sides of "the pond" (which is how MOS:HYPHEN arrived at what it says, after all; it's not like WP editors just made it up out of nowhere). Now, long after the fact, a few style guides (only one of which MoS is in part based on, Chicago) want to make an exception, but no clear rationale is provided for doing so, much less one that overrides our precision/clarity needs for our audience.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:34, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
'frequently i see ... "african american" written in articles, even when it is not a modifier.' It's supposed to be written as "African American", no hyphen, when it's not a modifier. How is anyone still confused about this? It's exactly the same as writing "the author is well known" (not a modifier) versus "a well-known author" (modifier). Or "I spent a long time in the organization" (not a modifier), "my long-time association with the organization" (modifier). PS: I don't think we're in a position to take any kind of style advice from someone who doesn't capitalize anything, including "African[-]American".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:15, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I had a thought today that i do not think has been introduced into this conversation, so let me introduce it.
I think this whole conversation relates to how most sources are now treating "African American" vs. "African-American", which are, or at least can be, two different things.
African American refers to an American that may have some distance African heritage. African-American on the other hand, may refer to relations of the two countries, such as if Uganda were to enter into a pact with the USA over some trade deal, this would be an African-American trade deal. I think this is also addressed in the noun versus adjective discussion above, but I think one refers to actual African country known connections, whereas in the case of many African Americans today, there may be no way to know what "African" lineage the person in question may or may not have, and therefore the fact that they are really not both "African" and "American", these two things are not being merged together or connected, but are in essence one and the same thing. Sorry if I am not making sense... I can try to explain more if needed. Iljhgtn (talk) 13:44, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
African–American with an en dash refers to relations between Africa and the US (see MOS:DASH). And Africa is not a country.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:12, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ever since Jesse Jackson popularized the term "African Americans" to refer to the people to whom theretofore had been referred as "blacks" (and, a bit before my time, as "Negroes"), the term has been used in precisely the same way as the terms "Mexican Americans," "Italian Americans," etc., had been used for decades: to describe Americans of (sub-Saharan) African descent. It has nothing to do with relations between the United States of America and the continent of Africa.
And the presence of the hyphen varies based solely on whether or not the term was used as a modifier, not on whether one is talking about a hypothetical "African–American cultural exchange (which, as previously noted, required an "en dash," not a hyphen). The terms "African American" and "African-American" are used in exactly the same way as are "Mexican American," "Mexican-American," "Italian American" and "Italian-American." For example, just as we write that Nomar Garciaparra is a Mexican American and that Selena Gomez is a Mexican-American actress, and that Frank Sinatra was an Italian American and that Joe DiMaggio was an Italian-American ballplayer, we write that Jackie Robinson was an African American and that Diana Ross is an African-American singer. There is absolutely no difference in the usage of those terms, and it makes no sense to try to create a distinction where there isn't one. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 17:51, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well said AuH2ORepublican. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:08, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i dont think my keyboard can even make an en dash. anyone know how to do that on a dell/pc computer? Iljhgtn (talk) 22:58, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A standard keyboard only provides access to a hyphen. However, text editors (such as the standard WP editing interface) do provide access to extended character sets. On the standard WP interface, both the en-dash an the em-dash have quick access from the section immediately below the editing screen immediately after the text Insert: which appears in bold. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:15, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And even if you've done something to somehow mess up the built-in Wikipedia interface tools, a "Dell/PC", i.e. any Windows computer, has a built-in program called Character Map. It's very handy, though I prefer the (non-free) program PopChar for access to non-keyboard characters. Also exists for Mac.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:39, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or you use the numeric keypad and type Alt+0150. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 03:59, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is Windows the only platform for computers? Tony (talk) 08:02, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Is Windows the only platform" - naughty, don't mock the afflicted. :) More seriously: Compose--. for Linux implementations. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 08:58, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On a Mac, it's even easier: Option-hyphen (Option-Shift-hyphen makes an em dash).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:42, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
am i able to see that "insert" here in this reply? I don't see it. Iljhgtn (talk) 22:56, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
or you just mean when making edits on pages? Iljhgtn (talk) 22:57, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When making edits on article pages—or here, if you click on "Edit" and not on "Reply." AuH2ORepublican (talk) 23:05, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Any page you edit. Use Ctrl+F and type in insert in the search box to find it. But this is if you are using the standard classic editing box. If you are using another editor it might be a bit different. Cinderella157 (talk) 23:15, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Cartoon from Puck, August 9, 1899, by J. S. Pughe. Angry Uncle Sam sees hyphenated voters and demands, "Why should I let these freaks cast whole votes when they are only half Americans?"
Discussing about emdashed Americans seems to be a method for refusing the existence of the Hyphenated-Americans. And pretending that this could depend from whatever Manual of Style appears rather as a kind of blindness from some White-White-Americans, you know these English-Americans whose faces are ranging from pink to red(emdash/endash/hyphen)pink --don't ask why. May be there is some letter soup item about inclusiveness. Pldx1 (talk) 16:03, 12 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
maybe that was the correct use in 1899, but in 2023, the unhyphenated appears to be the widespread use. Iljhgtn (talk) 16:19, 12 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Serious conflict between MOS:LQ and something added to MOS:CONFORM[edit]

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.

This should be replaced with something like When quoting a complete sentence, keep the first word capitalized, and if the quoted passage has been integrated into the surrounding sentence, lead into it with a colon (X wrote: "[Full sentence quoted here.]")

The current terrible advice (I'm not going to diff-dig to try to find out who did this) is in direct conflict with MOS:LQ, the entire point of which is to accurately preserve the presence or absence of original punctuation and capitalization so as not to mislead readers about the exact nature of the material. The practice of lower-casing that this passge added to CONFORM is endorsing sorely misleads the reader, implying strongly but wrongly that the quotation is a fragment and is missing anterior material. It's directly analogous to why we do not permit injection of periods (full stops) at the ends of quoted fragments, wrongly implying that the material ended there when it really has posterior material that we have removed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:04, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Same goes for the line-item right after that: It is normally unnecessary to explicitly note changes in capitalization. However, for more precision, the altered letter may be put inside square brackets: should be replaced with something like Changes in capitalization may be made, with the altered letter put inside square brackets:  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:07, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

MOS:LQ is about "Punctuation inside or outside", not capitalization, so obviously there is no conflict here. Moreover, well-known style guides such as CMOS also allow changing the case of the first letter of a quote to fit the surrounding context. Gawaon (talk) 10:13, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe these examples given are or should be correct:
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".
And these would be incorrect:
LaVesque's report said that "the equipment was selected for its low price."
LaVesque's report said that "The equipment was selected for its low price."
Whereas, if we used the traditional style with a comma instead of the colon, this would be correct:
LaVesque's report said, "The equipment was selected for its low price."
My two cents. —DIYeditor (talk) 10:19, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nah, this is a WP:POLICYFORK without consensus. It directly conflicts with the entire rationale of MOS:LQ. The single purpose that rule has is ensuring that quotations are not substantively changed in ways that can mislead or confuse readers (or, as a side concern, result in WP:RESUSE of our content that perpetuates blatant misquotation with WP's name all over it). But let's put this another way: Why on earth would anyone want to copy-paste quoted material verbatim, and then rather than just stick a colon in front of it, start monkeying with the content inside it? What possible encyclopedic purpose could that have? What could we possibly gain from doing it? We already know that it can cause confusion and mislead readers about whether the quotation is a complete sentence or not (and result in later misquotations that are taken as if valid), so we already know what some of the costs are. What is the amazing, astoudning up-side to screwing around substantiely with the quoted material, that somehow blows away the costs and concerns of doing it? Quotation verge on sacrosanct around here, and even getting the [legitimate, consensus-agreed] alternations allowed CONFORM, like fixing dashes and removing extraneous spaces and reducing ALL CAPS to another form of emphasis, took a long period of consensus discussion and wrangling. The willy-nilly addition of radical changes to it that conflict with the entire raison d'etre of other parts of MoS is just beyond the pale.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:39, 25 September 2023‎ (UTC)Reply[reply]
As Gawaon I don't see how this even relates specifically to MOS:LQ, which is basically just saying use British-style punctuation on quotes. Where does anything say one must quote a complete sentence as a complete sentence rather than as part of the Wikipedia sentence? —DIYeditor (talk) 10:57, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Huh? It's not about "British" anything. (There is no such thing as a consistent British quotation-punctuation style, BTW. If you actually read British style manuals, and I've read very nearly every one of them published since the late 19th c., there are over ten somewhat variant quote-punctuaating styles advocated by different major UK publishers and producers of UK-oriented style guides, none of them consistent with each other, and all offering conflicting rationales, when they offer a rationale at all). And no one ever said anything about "must quote a complete sentence as a complete sentence". If you want to quote some fragment of a sentence, then do so, but do not fake the reader out and trick them into thinking it's a full sentence, and likewise don't quote actually a full sentence and then alter it to mislead the reader into thinking it's a fragment. WHY, WHY, WHY would anyone ever do that? What possible purpose could it serve? In what way could it ever produce more reliable or more precisely understandable output for our readers? I'm going to keep asking question like this until someone provides an answer that is solidly defensible and somehow overwhelms the central accuracy and clarity concerns that our MoS is built on. Repeat: The entire point of LQ is to not substantively change the quoted material. See also MOS:PMC: Same rule, different wording and a different focus on slightly different bad things to not do, and what good, precise, accurate, confusion-preventing, misquotation-preventing things to do instead. We have three statements of the same rule/principle: do not substantively modify quotations without annotating the modification with square-brackets or ellipses, but it's okay to modify in non-substantive conforming ways like fixing spacing or replacing obsolete glyphs. So, WHY WHY WHY would we even contemplate tolerating an insertion into one these three rules that invalidates the entire rationale of all of them at once?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:49, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I completely agree with SMcCandlish. This sneaky gradual changing of MOS—without even a mention on the talk-age—is alarming. I suggest the passages involved be reverted to the way they were. Tony (talk) 12:02, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It certainly doesn't look like a "sneaky gradual changing" though, that's for sure. The criticized sentences are at least one year old. (I didn't check further ago, so I have no idea when they where first added). So I'd say that, whatever else one might say about them, they have withstood the test of time and changing them now will surely require an RfC. Gawaon (talk) 12:10, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, I'd doubt that many editors or style guides would consider a case change of the first word in a quote a "substantial modification". Which is precisely why it's allowed not only by MOS:CONFORM, but also by many other style guides. Gawaon (talk) 12:13, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Stood the test of time my shiny metal ass, as Bender would say. Bad changes to various guideline pages go unnoticed for longer than that on a pretty regular basis, especially on MoS pages because there are so many of them with so many details, the interplay between which is not apparent to anyone but the most studious (until conflicts arise because of that interplay, which is exactly why this discussion is happening). Sneaky may not be best term, but it is problematic when people make drive-by substantive changes to WP:P&G pages without gaining consensus first, and without serious consideration of how the proposed changes will work with or against other rules. What we have here is a direct conflict between the intent of an addition to CONFORM and all the rest of CONFORM, and LQ, and PMC (and probably something somewhere else, too). That is by definition a POLICYFORK, and there is absolutely no time limit on resolving it. We do not tolerate conflicts between P&G material, no matter how long it takes someone to notice that there is one and bring it up for resolution.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:20, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm with User:DIYeditor: it's entirely normal in quality writing, academic and otherwise, to integrate the start of a quoted sentence into prose without capitalising: Gloucester laments that we are "as flies to wanton boys" to the gods. Some editors might wish to be more informative and do ... we are "[a]s flies to wanton boys", but that is increasingly unusual in professional writing, and mandating it would be very much a case of instruction creep, as well as against the de facto consensus by which either can be used at editorial discretion. UndercoverClassicist T·C 12:32, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. This is a case where editorial discretion should be allowed; the rare cases where changing capitalization might materially mislead the reader can be dealt with via talk page discussions if necessary. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:02, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't understand that this (seemingly) small punctuation change was an important topic and only came here because of Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch#Proposed clarification on scare quotes by User:Herostratus. I don't have a strong opinion or precisely understand what the argument here is about. Unnoticed drive-by bold edits to important pages are a problem and shouldn't be allowed to persevere without good cause. Why wasn't the page being watched when it happened, nobody cared, or the change is too minor? —DIYeditor (talk) 13:54, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that it’s not a “serious” issue. The effect of the revised wording proposed above, ISTM, is to mandate the use of the colon when full sentences are quoted, and thereby to eliminate usage such as the third example given in CONFORM, The program was criticized primarily because "the equipment was selected for its low price", according to LaVesque., which wouldn’t scan with colon and the comma after the quotation. Is this what we want to do? Editor discretion does seem a better path; provided all the formats are consistent with proper punctuation, it is hard to get excited about the opening capital letter becoming lower case? MapReader (talk) 14:08, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Out of curiosity, I did a search for how that third example I reference above - the one without the colon and with the lower case at the beginning of the quoted sentence - got added into the MoS, and uncovered this edit from January 2018[10]. It would appear that this example - the one that would be outlawed by the proposed revised wording above - was originally EDITED INTO the MoS by one SMcCandlish. Does anyone know what happened to him? ;) Subsequent edits have made the somewhat anal square bracketing of the changed capital letter optional, which seems common sense to me. MapReader (talk) 16:50, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If I put an example in there that helped lead to the current snafu, then I'm certainly sorry I did that. Was I badly caffeine deprived? Was it before all three guidelines were otherwise in agreement? What is before I'd absorbed them all and understood how they interrelate? I'm not sure; it's too long ago. What I'm sure of now is that this is a fundamental conflict between 1/10 of one guideline, and the other 9/10s of it plus two related guidelines, and this is a problem. That a few people here don't seem to understand the problem indicates I'm doing a poor job of explaining it, so maybe someone else who understands it can re-explain it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:26, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don’t think there’s a snafu or a significant conflict. LQ is about preserving original punctuation (although not always - for example original commas at the end of a quoted phrase are nevertheless put outside the quote, or omitted, for readability) but I can’t get excited about original capitalisation at the beginning of a quoted sentence. Neither, it seems, can other editors in the discussion above, nor was your former self bothered about it as evidenced by the edit history. And for any editors who might worry about it, the current wording of the MoS permits the square bracketed opening letter, which IMO looks horribly clunky but remains an option at editor discretion. MapReader (talk) 02:49, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The clunkiness-avoidance solution is, obviously, to write 'According to Smith: "Full sentence quoted here."' There is no reason to violate the integrity of the quotation by doing 'According to Smith, "full sentence quoted here but with the 'F' changed to lower case for no damned reason."'  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:04, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am of the view that quotations should be reproduced fairly faithfully and whether a quote is a complete sentence or sentence fragment. This intrinsically means to not change capitalisation unless this is indicated. I don't particularly see why it should be changed in the case where it is indicated as being permitted. For the following example that permits changing to lowercase:

  • LaVesque's report said that "the equipment was selected for its low price".

It could be written as:

  • LaVesque's report said that "The equipment was selected for its low price".
  • LaVesque's report said that the "equipment was selected for its low price".
  • LaVesque's report said that "[t]he equipment was selected for its low price".

Cinderella157 (talk) 07:18, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So internal angled quote-marks shouldn't be changed to ' and '? Tony (talk) 09:37, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, that's always been permitted by CONFORM because it's just a glyph substition that doesn't affect the meaning or implication of the content to the reader. PS: The list above is missing LaVesque's report said that: "The equipment was selected for its low price"., which is also fine, and may be preferred by people who don't like following "that" immediately with a capitalized sentence-starting quotation.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:01, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Add (per MOS:QUOTECOMMA), LaVesque's report said that, "The equipment was selected for its low price". There are lots of ways to skin this cat. :) Cinderella157 (talk) 12:09, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was always taught to prefer the direct speech approach where the quoted sentence is complete, as noted by DIYeditor above: LaVesque's report said, "The equipment was selected for its low price." Has it come to be deprecated over the intervening decades? To me, the insertion of a superfluous 'that' in the immediately above examples seems ungrammatical. Davidships (talk) 20:57, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And double quotes to single quotes, since what was quoted in the original is now a quote within a quote. Cinderella157 (talk) 12:02, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can we specify a space after "c.", please?[edit]

I see too many instances of "c.1936" or the like. Can we please specify here that "c." is followed by a space before the year? BD2412 T 19:56, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's already the case. The recommended way is the {{circa}} template which does the right thing: c. 2023. Plus MOS:CIRCA recommends putting a non-breaking space after "very short modifiers such as c., fl., r., b., and d." Gawaon (talk) 20:34, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As circa is simply a shortened form of a word (circa), specifying that a space should follow it would be tantamount to reminding editors that words generally need to be followed by a space: I think that would be instruction creep. UndercoverClassicist T·C 21:01, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Much as I would like to agree, I see too many actual instances to believe editors understand the need for the space. Moreover, I am concerned that if I start fixing those without a policy to which to point, it will be fought over. BD2412 T 21:52, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why not just point to MOS:CIRCA and try it? (In my view, it's already there, if maybe not quite as explicit as it could be said.) Gawaon (talk) 22:00, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've been fixing those for years and I don't recall any objections that a quick link to MOS:CIRCA hasn't solved. I don't see a need for a change. SchreiberBike | ⌨  22:19, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll give it a go, then. BD2412 T 23:25, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@BD2412, this sounds like a task ripe for an AWB run. I used the query insource:/ c\.<100-3000>/ to find a bunch of instances of the error, and then the find-and-replace \sc\.(\d{3,4})(\D) {{circa|$1}}$2 to change to the preferred format.
Results from the run are here. I ran into a fair number of false positives, including instances where the unspaced format was part of a book title and where c.[number] appeared as part of a legal code or scientific measurement rather than a year. Results within file captions seemed to have the most success, so filtering for that might make the early run faster. There was also some trickiness due to instances where a circa date range was used, often incorrectly (in these cases I generally had to fix it manually to use the {{circa|approx start|approx end}} format). Further, MOS:CIRCA seems to specify that the tooltip is preferred only at the first instance, with later ones able to use |lk=no to suppress it.
Given these factors, I think you'd have to do a fair amount of refining before it'd be possible to make this ironclad enough to turn into a bot task. But if you're willing to check each edit manually, then have at it! Cheers, {{u|Sdkb}}talk 05:57, 4 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's even more common to run into non-standard handling of page numbers: "p33", "p.33", "p 33", "pg33", "pg.33", "pg 33", "pg. 33", etc.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:51, 4 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's yet another reason to modernize citations to CS1, which I believe fixes page number formatting. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 14:24, 4 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, and I do it all the time, but it's very tedious.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:41, 4 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am working through those as well. Tedious, indeed! BD2412 T 18:37, 4 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Re: "the use or non-use of periods (full stops) should also be consistent with other country abbreviations in the same article (thus the US, UK, and USSR, not the U.S., UK, and USSR)"

Consider the article that refers to "U.S." dozens or hundreds of times and does not contain abbreviated references to the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, etc. Then, one day an editor adds a reference to "UK". While the reasonable thing to do would be to change this to "U.K." for consistency with the dozens or hundreds of "U.S.", this is not supported by the above clause; rather, it implies that the dozens or hundreds of "U.S." should be changed to "US". Does this need improvement? ―Mandruss  13:24, 5 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thats not what the clause says or implies. It just says it should be consistently one or the other, not a mixture of both. Either changing UK to U.K. OR changing all the U.S. to US would make it compliant. But changing U.S. to US dozens-to-hundreds of times to match one UK would rightly earn a trout. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:34, 5 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have never seen U.K., and I think it's fair to say that it amounts to a neologism. Remsense (talk) 19:52, 6 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
More likely it has dropped out of use due to the pressure from journalists. It certainly is not a neologism, unless you consider 60 years "neo". Martin of Sheffield (talk) 22:10, 6 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, U.K. is not an accepted format. The point with US/U.S. is that both formats are acceptable in American usage (for example CNN always uses US) and hence when other such unpunctuated forms appear - EU, UK, USSR, GDR, etc, these are always accompanied in the same article by US, not U.S. MapReader (talk) 20:27, 6 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Honestly, I think that is mostly the correct read, though it may seem inconvenient. Pragmatically, I think the two sensible options are
  • U.S.US
  • always writing United Kingdom (et al.) in said article.
To me, U.S. implies a rather insular tone, since it is such a particularly American initialism, so if the article adopts a more international scope, US should probably be heavily preferred. Remsense (talk) 19:55, 6 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally, I agree, but so long as editors from the US want their country to remain dotty, the punctuated form is likely to persist as acceptable usage, mostly in U.S.-specific articles where other forms like EU or UK aren’t going to appear. Which is fair enough; call it nostalgia, like clinging onto Fahrenheit ;) MapReader (talk) 20:32, 6 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fahrenheit is totally fine for what it is if you ask me, at least it doesn't leave one pausing when trying to end a sentence with °F. :) Remsense (talk) 21:59, 6 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed with Remsense. This section has never implied or been meant to be intepreted to imply that we would write "U.K." just to avoid changing from "U.S." to "US". "U.K." is almost unheard of in modern source material. And "US" is certainly very, very common in American source material. The idea that a US-English article here must use "U.S." is pure nonsense. So, yes, MOS:US does mean that eventually many on-Wiki uses of "U.S." will go away, but we've always known this, since it is inconsistent with MOS:ABBR more generally, and its off-site use in reliable sources (even American-published ones) is continually declining. MOS:US is basically a temporary bone thrown to old US-based fuddyduddies who keep wanting to write "U.S." (and I say that as an aging American curmudgeon myself). Being permissive with regard to it is okay, as long as it doesn't lead to inconsistency within the same article. When it eventually does, it needs to go. Or, yeah, you can try writing out "United Kingdom", but if you do that over and over again people are going to notice and will object and switch to "UK" and "US", and it's perfectly fine to do so.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:57, 6 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree. Indeed there was a time when you might see things like U.N.E.S.C.O. and U.N.I.C.E.F., but I believe such forms nowadays are archaic? Readers have got used to the idea of acronyms as words in general usage, and no longer need the dots to flag the fact. MapReader (talk) 05:56, 7 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
FYI: what we were taught at school in the 1960s was that acronyms that were pronounced did not get full stops: NATO, UNICEF but abbreviations that were pronounced as letters did get full stops: U.S.A, U.K, E.E.C. Whether the 1960s counts as archaic I leave as an exercise for the reader. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 09:18, 7 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is interesting. I wonder if there's a throughline between modern acronyms and initialisms and say, the abundant use of scribal abbreviation. Remsense (talk) 11:35, 7 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Only in the sense of not spelling out a well known word or phrase, something which nearly all writing systems do. For instance IVP·OPT·MAX could only mean "Jupiter the greatest and Best" to a Roman and saved an awful lot of plinth space. The modern descendant of scribal abbreviation is surely shorthand. Many of the scribal abbreviations would be indecipherable to a normally literate reader, see the second paragraph of the history section. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 12:01, 7 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The '60 definitely counts as "old" for our purposes. I don't think MoS-shaping discussions, even the earliest ones, have paid any attention to style-manual material that pre-dates 2000. (By way of comparison, imagine writing a style guide in 1923 but basing it on notions from the era of the US Civil War and the mid-period of Victoria's reign in the UK.) And that pronunciation-based distinction isn't what's found in style guides. (Even ones going back into the '60s as I recall, though I no longer have a big collection of old style guides after moving into a smaller place and downsizing my library. Chicago 12th ed., 1969, is available through Internet Archive Open Library, and already consistently had "NATO" and "USMC", but was not entirely consistent yet, also using "U.S." and "U.K.") Even today there are a tiny number of holdouts among particular publishers' house style manuals that prefer the dots, at least for initialisms sounded out letter-by-letter (The New Yorker may be the only notable one left). Most style guides today recommend no dots for any, regardless whether they're said as words or sounded out as letters. Another vanishingly small number (The New York Times, The New Yorker, and one or another of the British news publishers, I forget which) want to render "word acronyms" in a curious "capitalize the first letter" style, e.g. "Aids", "Unesco", "Nato", "Nasa"; but that's a confusing practice WP would not adopt (both because it masks the fact that they're acronyms and it often applies a leading capital in proper-name style to things that are not proper names, like diseases/conditions). Anyway, the only modern publisher I've seen that would write "F.B.I." but "NATO" (and actually they would use "Nato") is The New Yorker, and they've admitted that the no. 1 form of complaint letter they receive from readers is about their archaic English-language style peccadilloes (which include "coöperate", etc.). The New Yorker has nothing to tell us about how to write encyclopedically in 2023 for a broad audience. Back to the central topic, there are US-based publishers, mostly in news, who prefer "U.S.", but they are fewer all the time. The rationale for it has always been potential confusion with the word "us", but with the near-death of HEADELINES IN ALL-CAPS instead of just in boldface and a bigger font, this is no longer a major concern for such publishers, and it has never been one for WP at all.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:31, 7 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This American prefers "U.S." and doesn't see much need for arbitrary consistency in the use of dots in country abbreviations (he can't imagine how that benefits readers). He has zero problem with "U.S." and "UK" in the same article. He also has higher priorities than his personal opinions and preferences. If there is so much authoritative support for "US", has there been a concerted effort to change the MoS to support it? Like RfC at VP (I don't think there's enough visibility at MoS for such things)? ―Mandruss  18:31, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How much does the archaic preference of a single editor count, when weighed against the established style preferences of authoritative publications around the world? MapReader (talk) 19:06, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think that's a fair characterization: the question is why acronyms and initialisms should be consistently formatted within an article. I personally think they should, just because it looks awkward when those with different formats are juxtaposed next to each other in a paragraph or table. Remsense 19:08, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It shouldn't count for anything. As I said, I have higher priorities. MOS:US seems currently written as a compromise to appease a certain group of editors, apparently some Americans if the above comments are correct, and it does so to the detriment of the project over all. That seriously needs fixing in my opinion. ―Mandruss  19:13, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By the way, and not to put too fine a point on it, I'm not a big proponent of compliance with the major style guides. They have their preferred styles, we can have ours. For example, I've witnessed our MoS deliberately being made to differ from the major dictionaries on certain capitalizations, without much support from major style guides. We conform to outside authoritative references when it suits us. But, given that many editors do think we should defer to the style guides, I view them as merely the most powerful means to an end, that end being simplification of our MoS and site-wide consistency. The current MOS:US satisfies neither. ―Mandruss  22:05, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's also important to realize that dictionaries (major or otherwise) are not anything like style guides. The purpose of a dictionary is simply to record observable usage. For this reason, you will find things in them, like "irregardless", that are near-universally viewed as erroneous, recorded simply because they can be observed to be in usage. "I found it in a dictionary" doesn't mean it's a good idea.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:38, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure, and style guides reflect one educated guy's preferences, or a small consensus within the entity that he works for.</sexism> Call me a populist, I've been called worse. My dictionary of choice shows "irregardless" as nonstandard, so we would obviously avoid it. That all you got? ―Mandruss  22:51, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On dictionaries ―Mandruss  22:36, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You know darn well there has never been a "correct" English language beyond what people say ("observable usage"); otherwise we would be writing this encyclopedia in the language of Beowulf. The language evolves, the dictionaries evolve with it, and that represents the current correct. So dictionaries are, simultaneously, descriptive and temporally prescriptive. Their function is to document the current state of the art in English vocabulary, and that makes them authoritative sources.
Contrast to style guides, which don't document usage as impassive, neutral observers but seek to dictate it based on their own opinions.
If enough people used "irregardless", it would become standard usage (current correct) no matter how grating it was to the likes of us. The academic grammarians could kick rocks. The language has no shortage of such things already. Why do we say "preventative" but not "preventate"? Shouldn't that be "preventive"? Some people think so, including me, but both "preventive" and "preventative" are standard usage (and Wikipedia says "preventative not punitive").
Why do we say "presentation" but not "preventation"? Alternatively, why do we say "prevention" but not "presention"? Why do we like to add extra syllables to some nouns but not others? Because reasons.
And so on, and so on. The language is a rich, chaotic, glorious mess, full of inconsistencies, contradictions, and broken "rules". That's what happens when you crowdsource a language. ―Mandruss  17:48, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think any worthwhile consensus in a place like WP:MOS (or, if you have to fall back on pragmatics, any lasting consensus) has to rely on both canonicity and logic. Therefore, I don't really think it's worthwhile to lean exclusively on one or the other when making an argument for a particular convention. Remsense 23:14, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I have pointed out before, writers of formal American English strongly prefer U.S. and will continue to do so because American culture is so legalistic. We're talking about a country where a significant percentage of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were lawyers (more than half for the latter). Everyone gets exposed to the courts one way or another, through getting summoned to sit on a jury, getting dragged into court as a defendant, or just watching television (e.g., court shows and Court TV).
When nonlawyers run things by counsel for approval, counsel insists on "U.S." and not "US". This is why so many government and corporate Web sites use "U.S.", especially for any formal prose that probably was approved by a lawyer.
American legal culture is highly elitist. Graduates of top research universities and top-tier law schools overwhelmingly dominate the professoriate at all American law schools. Most of the top-tier law schools use the Bluebook as their legal citation standard. The Bluebook, the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation, most federal courts, and most state courts all require the use of U.S. for "United States". All first-year law students quickly learn that they must conform their writing to that standard, among many others, if they want to have any chance of earning decent grades, making law review, or getting decent jobs. The students who are unable to conform their writing to any coherent citation standard either don't graduate, don't pass bar exams, or don't have very have successful careers. Their sloppy citations and abbreviations tip off opposing counsel and judges to the fact they're not detail-oriented. Then they get torn apart.
The point is that successful American professionals use "U.S." in their formal writing and they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, as each new generation conforms to the existing standard in order to get to where they need to go. WP policy is to follow, not lead (see WP:NOT, specifically, WP is not a soapbox or means of promotion). MOS:US and MOS:TIES together constitute a satisfactory compromise between American English and British English on this issue. --Coolcaesar (talk) 00:14, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's one viewpoint. Again, this needs to be an RfC at VP. If you can persuade enough editors with that argument, so be it. It's not constructive to limit the debate to self-selected MoS wonks. Plenty of editors would have legitimate opinions to offer about certain MoS issues but don't hang out at MoS. We have other things occupying our time. ―Mandruss  00:27, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP policy is that the editor initiating a significant change to a longstanding consensus version has the burden of showing why change is necessary (see WP:NOCONSENSUS). I'm defending the traditional version. If you feel change is needed on this issue, then feel free to initiate an RfC. --Coolcaesar (talk) 00:53, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, I didn't mean to suggest that the RfC should be initiated by you or any other supporter of the status quo. But I think there are editors better suited than Mandruss, who is supposedly semi-retired and doesn't wish to invest that much of himself. Probably sucked too far in already. I'd !vote if I saw the RfC, but that's as far as I'll go. ―Mandruss  01:13, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As SMcC has pointed out above, in time there may be a point where a consensus to move to common unpunctuated format could be achieved, but every time this comes up it is clear we are still a long way from that. Anyone can start an RfC but I doubt there is much appetite for one among more experienced editors, because most of us can see that the respective opinions would all be set out at length, all of which carry arguments in their favour (such as the one above about current US governmental usage) and the result would be an absence of clear consensus for change. MapReader (talk) 04:23, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's why I asked whether this had ever been an RfC at VP, which could easily yield a different result than an RfC here (and higher participation is never a bad thing). I didn't get a reply to that question, but I'm assuming the answer is no. If no editor wants to give it a shot, oh well. I'm semi-retired for a reason. ―Mandruss  04:34, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's a whole lot of stuff to cover up there. In short form: Yes we sometimes make MoS differ from major dictionaries or even our preferred style guides; we do this when (i.e. iff) there is a Wikipedia-specific reason to do it. E.g., the propensity for MOS:LQ to accurately preserve quoted material without "polluting" it with extraneous material (which people would quote further and "blame" on Wikipedia); LQ matches neither typical American style nor, exactly, any of the competing British/Commonwealth styles propounded by various publishers, and was adapted from literary criticism, philosophy, and computer science. "We conform to outside authoritative references when it suits us" is exactly correct, and not a problem. One can call this "crowdsourcing the language" if one likes, but this sense of "crowdsourcing" is how all of WP is created, from our policies (aside from WP:OFFICE legal matters imposed on us externally by WMF) to our content. Sure, if "irregardless" became the dominant usage in English over a long span of time, WP would use it. But it has not, so we don't. It doesn't have anything to do with whether dictionaries include it or not (most of them do now). The style guides MoS is based on, combined with detailed surveys of usage patterns that various of us engage in, together inform us what nascent usages have actually taken hold and might make for a change in our style guidelines (thus singular-they, no comma before "Jr.", no "Jesus'" exception to "'s" any longer, and various other alterations over the years). How American lawyers write is irrelevant to us (except for perhaps things like the official names of legal cases); in the mid-20th century there was a movement to standardize American legal writing in a number of sensible ways, including clearer wording, use of LQ, and several other features, but it failed to gain any traction because the courts themselves started issuing stringent style requirements, and these (through the efforts of successive editions of Black's Law Dictionary, the Blue Book and the Red Book, all written with deep consultation with courts) have become increasingly standardized and ossified into a particular US legal style that is at odds with all other English usage trends on many points. It doesn't tell us anything about how to write English for a general audience. Back to the main subject: "in time there may be a point where a consensus to move to common unpunctuated format could be achieved, but every time this comes up it is clear we are still a long way from that." Yes; if I thought that time had arrived, I would open Mandruss's VPPOL RfC right now. But being open to some continued use of "U.S." when it doesn't cause other problems doesn't mean I'll remain quiet when people suggest introducing new problems like "U.K." just to keep using "U.S." at a particular page where it has come into conflict with the way we treat acronyms more generally.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:33, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Would this citation style be deprecated?[edit]

I was updating a niche reference template to work on mobile and noticed that it's used in a few articles to create what is probably the deprecated kind of parenthetical footnote as the citation details are in the body text and not the linked footnote. Is this currently accepted? And if not, would it be fine to update the template/documentation to discourage it?

Body text of the article.[Beit-Hallahmi 1992]: 6 


  1. [Beit-Hallahmi 1992] Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin (28 December 1992). Rosen, Roger (ed.). The illustrated encyclopedia of active new religions, sects, and cults (1st ed.). New York: Rosen Pub. Group. ISBN 9780823915057.

Rjjiii (talk) 01:24, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

These aren't parenthetical references, per the definition provided in the deprecation RfC. Nikkimaria (talk) 01:36, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They look like parenthetical references, except they use brackets and are superscripted. This template, {{listref}} and is sibling {{listref/reflist}}, are certainly bizarre. They create clutter in the citation and in the "References" section – see "Main sources" at List of new religious movements. I don't see how it can be an improvement over the {{sfn}} mechanism.
Body text of the article.[1]
-- Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:11, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, that is certainly the deprecated WP:PAREN style. The only difference is that a smaller superscript font is used, but the main argument for deprecation was that this style causes needless clutter that interrupts the reading flow. And that's true regardless of the font size. So yes, a warning should be added to the template to point out that such usage is deprecated and existing occurrences should be converted to a different style. Or maybe it's even possible to edit the template in such a way that that happens automatically (making its output looking more like that of {{sfn}}? Gawaon (talk) 06:08, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks Nikkimaria, if there is any debate about whether they are deprecated, I'll leave them be and move on. Gawaon, the purpose of the template is probably unclear from that example because it's using the template to do something awkward. The intended use for {{listref}} and similar templates that do not create back-links is either to reuse the same reference so many times that the backlinks would become unmanageable or to create references in a place where backlinks create some technical problem. Regards, Rjjiii (talk) 06:40, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, I see that in the examples you provide the freestyle style of the template is used to create author–year citations in a way that doesn't show up in the documentation and was probably not foreseen by the template creators. So it seems the template itself is not to blame. Still, I think a note such as "Don't use this style to create author–year citation references, which are deprecated" wouldn't hurt. Gawaon (talk) 07:11, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Tend to agree with Gawaon, but this is really a matter for WT:CITE not WT:MOS.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:37, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This seems an ideal opportunity to plug the style used by the most elite and sophisticated editors: {{rma}}. By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen. EEng 19:56, 8 October 2023 (UTC) P.S. See it in action at Phineas Gage.Reply[reply]

"Utilize" vs "use"[edit]

Hey, I've been occasionally replacing instances of "utilize" with "use"; I think that "utilize" is unnecessarily jargon-y and "use" is just a much better, commonly-used alternative. I wanted to get a rough sense of consensus on this; what are your thoughts? Thanks! — Frostly (talk) 04:22, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Generally, I would agree with such a simplicity and concision change, but there are specialized uses of utilize, so don't be robotic about it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:57, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think "utilize" is particularly technical but it is usually unnecessarily prolix. "Make use of" is another common way of making "use" longer without adding much meaning. —David Eppstein (talk) 07:11, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. And let's replace the long-winded "utilisation" with the concise "usage" too. 𝕁𝕄𝔽 (talk) 07:54, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Concision is good but let's not be prescriptive: it's something best left to editorial judgement in context. I used to think using use repetitively can be overuse and is of no use. DeCausa (talk) 08:55, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I too vastly prefer the shorter "use". But beware that "utilize" is perfectly valid English. If you get kick back from your changes then best to leave that article alone.  Stepho  talk  10:00, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think the Manual of Style should give advice in this matter. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:38, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let’s not. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 11:44, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@SMcCandlish: What are these specialized uses of "utilize"? Popcornfud (talk) 14:21, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Others already addressed this in part below, but it also can be used to imply effective use, or efficient, or profitable. Just look it up in various major dictionaries.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:27, 15 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Utilize" usually appears as a high-falutin' substitute for "use". In that case, replacing it with "use" is a good edit. I don't know if anyone else thinks of it this way, but I think of "utilize", as well as "make use of", as more intentional, perhaps as implying that something is being put to a purpose to which it isn't ordinarily put, or to solve a problem. "Don't use a spoon to eat cake, use a fork" but "he utilized a fork as a pry bar" (though "use" would be OK there as well). I don't think this belongs in the MoS, though. Largoplazo (talk) 11:50, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's my understanding as well, that "utilize" originally had a connotation of "use in a way other than the usual purpose". Though I believe any such connotation may have been lost due to overuse. Either way it's not something that belongs in the MOS, per WP:CREEP. oknazevad (talk) 12:38, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Use would be preferred generally, following WP:COMMONALITY MapReader (talk) 12:29, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Definitely not something for the MOS, any more than we tell people not to confuse the verbs "to lie" [to tell lies, to lie down] and "to lay" [an egg]. Grammar correction is just a routine part of copyediting.
"Utilize" and "utilization" are examples of franglais (for ex, to use a word is an example of its usage translates to French: utiliser un mot est un exemple de son utilisation). Yes, language changes, develops and absorbs other languages so we don't want to become language police but it is reasonable for an encyclopedia to require a degree of formal English. How else is ChatGPT going to learn to talk proper? . 𝕁𝕄𝔽 (talk) 15:55, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
After I left my comment above it occurred to me, indeed, that "utilize" is from French utiliser, which is an ordinary word with the same meaning as "to use". So I was thinking that maybe I should lighten up. But then I remembered that the other ordinary French word for "to use" is employer, and I don't think anyone would disagree that "Don't employ a spoon to eat cake, employ a fork" would be insufferable. Etymology gets us only so far. Largoplazo (talk) 16:33, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Depends. Does the spoon have a better résumé than the fork? Because if I'm hiring a utensil I want the best candidate for the job. 😉
That said, using it in that fashion is not incorrect English, but it's one of those cases of using a needlessly fancy word when an ordinary one will do. Can be employed to avoid repetition, though. oknazevad (talk) 17:59, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Haha, I see what you did there. 😄 Largoplazo (talk) 18:34, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

FWIW, this article has a few examples where the connotations of 'utilize' add something to the text that is not carried as well with 'use'. olderwiser 17:59, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's a manual of style, not a guide to effective writing. I suspect we already cross the line elsewhere; that's not a reason to make it worse. ―Mandruss  18:45, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not sure if this reply was to something I said. I was not suggesting to make any change to the MOS. A few people above had asked for some examples. That's all. olderwiser 18:51, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, it wasn't. Just a reply to the OP. WP:THREAD has its limitations. ―Mandruss  19:00, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Utilise/ize is one of the ugliest words in English, and has a nice, simple alternative. Tony (talk) 11:39, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1. Popcornfud (talk) 12:15, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So normally, "use" should be used, but "utilize" may sometimes be utilized to achieve specific connotations not available when "use" is used. —Kusma (talk) 12:36, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yep. And it's not something MoS should have a special line-item about. WP:MOSBLOAT.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:10, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use of green and red in `xt` et al. templates[edit]

I think it's outmoded, and it would be a relatively simple swap. This is what the templates look like with simulated deuteranopia red–green color-blindness.


versus replacing green with blue, which gets us

—though of course these are not final selections, I've changed the colors here to #005F7B and #990000. I do notice that's difficult to distinguish links from valid examples, but I'm sure that can be worked out too. Here's the colors as normal:

Remsense 21:54, 14 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Outmoded" doesn't really make much sense, since this is not a mode (fashion) that has come and gone; it's a solution to a need, that helps most people without harming anyone. Switching to blue would confuse nearly everyone (including those with deuteranopia) into thinking it was a link, and would not work anyway for those with forms of colorblindness that involve blue (you'd be robbing Peter to pay Paul). That said, someone with more experience with MOS:ACCESS and color issues could look into changing the exact luminosity of the green and red used to better distinguish them in various forms of colorblindness.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:03, 15 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I would be happy with any change that makes things more accessible, I just wanted to start the conversation. Remsense 03:07, 15 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've dropped a note about this thread at WT:MOSACCESS so hopefully some of the regulars there will be along shortly. But it's important to keep in mind that before these templates, all this text was just in plain black, and no one's head asplode. They should still be used with clear introductory text that makes it plain whether the example is meant to be positive or negative, since we've known all along that the color "information" of the templates would not be accessible to every reader.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:21, 15 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
thank you kindly! :) Remsense 05:07, 15 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stylizing of product and company names within prose[edit]

Little Lord Fontgoofery

If a company or product name is stylized a certain way, do we always match the trademark owner's desired style? For example, I see referenced as such in references, but the company's public relations agent changed the styling to match that of how it's used by the company so every single mention within prose reads Other examples are trade names like REALTOR, NARCAN and similar that are all in upper cases. Graywalls (talk) 07:53, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Generally no, most especially when it comes to SCREAMING ALL-CAPS, excessive lowercasing, bold or italics in the middle of a name, colorizing, and other font goofery. Covered at MOS:TM. But camelcase like this is frequently used in company names (DaimerlChrysler, etc.), and there's no particular reason to avoid it. It can actually make the trademark easier to parse. And somewhere or other, we actually recommend doing it with domain names in particular, for that reason:,, etc. I wouldn't be worried about it in this case, unless "" is unattested in sources.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:20, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Font goofery"—love that. I agree with SMcCandlish about the screaming: all-caps really interrupts our reading. Acronyms are usually short, but the all-caps we're talking about involves longer strings. Tony (talk) 09:03, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's written as "" in not it was changed to by the company's PR rep. Graywalls (talk) 09:54, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm seeing usage fairly evenly divided in search results. MOS:TM says 'Trademarks in "CamelCase" are a judgment call; the style may be used where it reflects general usage and makes the trademark more readable; however, usage should be consistent throughout the article.' I don't have any problem with these edits, despite who made them. Largoplazo (talk) 10:34, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Same here, but it would be a very different matter if they wanted to write "" or "" or "", or other such nonsense to mimic logo stylization.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:09, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


For dual nationalities, the manual suggests using a hyphen for "people and things" and an en dash for "association"s. What exactly counts as an "association" here? For example, the manual gives the example of a crossing ("border crossing") as an "association", but we could also interpret "crossing" as a "thing", no? And similarly, the manual gives the example of a rivalry ("France–Britain rivalry") as an "association", but "rivalry" is also a noun, which makes it a "thing"...? Thatsme314 (talk) 08:45, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My view is that an en dash is not wrong in any of these "appositional" contexts. But for dual nationality I normally accept a comma. Tony (talk) 09:01, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A comma, or a hyphen?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:03, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, hyphen. Tony (talk) 11:37, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Noun" and "thing" aren't synonyms. "Philosophy" is a noun, but you can't pick up philosophy and hold it like a potato. The "association" stuff is when you are dealing with relations between two entities.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:03, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can think of association (with a dash) as allowing reversibility in principle; for example, an "Italian–Swiss border crossing" = "Swiss–Italian border crossing", or a "France–Britain rivalry" = "Britain–France rivalry". This reversibility is not possible with a substantivized thing (with a hyphen); for example, an "Indian-American scientist" ≠ "American-Indian scientist". Doremo (talk) 09:06, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not so sure about that; constructions like "British-Indian scientist" (where an American would have said "Indian-British scientist", i.e. a scientist who is a British citizen of Indian descent) are pretty common in British English from what I've seen.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:28, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
True, the colonial relations may blur issues. A better example would be "African-American culture" ≠ "American-African culture". Doremo (talk) 09:41, 17 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is that true? To my ears at least "British-Indian scientist" and "Indian-British scientist" sound perfectly symmetrical with respect to being a citizen of descent, with the order being more of a pronuncability and convention thing than anything else : I wonder if Wikipedia would describe my children as "franco-english" or "anglo-french". 2A01:E0A:D60:3500:F8C0:6C77:38AA:8D84 (talk) 14:42, 18 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe BrE has more variability in this regard. I would expect the modifier German-American for an American of German descent, not American-German, Japanese-American for an American of Japanese descent, and so on. It would never occur to me to reverse the adjective order. Doremo (talk) 15:50, 18 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And then some! As the hatnote to Anglo-Indian people explains "It's complicated". --𝕁𝕄𝔽 (talk) 15:55, 18 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Avoiding "impact" in headings to refer to the aftermath, results, effects, outcomes, consequences, repercussions, legacy, analysis, historical perspectives, reception, controversy, debate, discourse[edit]

I think the figurative sense of "impact" to refer to any or all of these things is incompatible with WP:FORMAL. Is there an existing consensus about this specific usage of "impact" in headings/titles? I strongly dislike "Impact" headings in articles. —Alalch E. 20:27, 20 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Alalch E.: What replacement(s) would you rather see used? Any and all of the above? Or did you have something more specific in mind? "Impact" seems pretty ingrained, both in everyday usage and on Wikipedia, though there is no rule requiring it, or guideline suggesting it, if course. This might really be a discussion for WT:MOSWTW, if you have an argument that "impact" is somehow non-neutral or otherwise problematic when used in Wikipedia's own voice. But an obvious to me issue is that it's meant as a catch-all term for all those things you listed out in the long thread name. We do not want people to create numerous short (probably often one-item) sections for aftermath, results, effects, outcomes ... controversy, debate, discourse, when all such thematically related material can be put in one section.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:15, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Impact used in headings and titles as a replacement for the above listed words is not compatible with WP:FORMAL. It's colloquial and WP:NEWSSTYLE. Do you agree? This is not a discussion for WT:MOSWTW because the issue is not with introducing bias. It is also highly imprecise and non-informative to the reader. This is an example of a change which I endorse: Special:Diff/1141684006. I did a similar thing myself several times, for example: Special:Diff/1181360114, Special:Diff/1181071785. Is there an existing consensus about this specific usage of "impact" in headings/titles, i.e. how it should be avoided? If several such subtopics can be bundled in one section, there's never a need for that section to be named "Impact". Usually, that would be "Aftermath". —Alalch E. 11:58, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, what I'm saying above is that "imprecise" is kind of the point. If you want a section for all of "aftermath, results, effects, outcomes, consequences, repercussions, legacy, analysis, historical perspectives, reception, controversy, debate, discourse" to be collected, the title of it would kind of have to be imprecise. Except in the most well-developed articles, it would probably be better to do that than have a tiny "Afertmath" section and a tiny "Legacy" section, and a tiny "Analysis" section, and a tiny "Controversy" section and so forth. As for aftermath, I don't see that much, and I find it much more "informal" and "newsy" than impact. An "Aftermath" heading seems emotive and almost histrionic, like something a tabloid would use. Ultimately, I don't feel really, really strongly about this. Maybe consensus would prefer most of the terms in your list, used more narrowly, and deprecate impact (but hopefully, if we go there, also deprecate aftermath).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  14:41, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Section-specific terminology hatnotes[edit]

Is there any MOS guidance about section specific hatnotes noting linguistic conventions? If not, would it be best to use {{hatnote}} to templatize this guidance on linguistic conventions? — BillHPike (talk, contribs) 20:54, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@BillHPike: See this for a solution: special:permalink/1181333207#ChineseAlalch E. 11:39, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Another tentative application of the same approach: special:permalink/1181358259#References (hatnotes also don't show in the printable version, and a note with this content shouldn't show in the printable version however it may be formatted, in my opinion). —Alalch E. 15:40, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why on earth would you use an annoyingly decorative pseudo-hatnote like that? By including what amounts to a big blue "block" icon, it is against MOS:ICONS: "For the purposes of this guideline, icons encompasses ... other decoration, whether produced by small image files, typographic dingbats, emojis, or CSS display manipulation." This is the last of those cases.) The style in question is used by warning templates to flag article problems that readers should be aware of it; it is not for generic cross-referencing. If you want to create a custom hatnote, that is what {{hatnote}} (indented) and {{crossreference}} (not indented) are for.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:20, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Headings Should Be in Title Case[edit]

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

Ever Since Elementary School I and many other editors have been taught The Following:

1) Capitalize the first word of the title or heading.
2) Capitalize the last word of the title or heading.
3) All other words are capitalized unless they are conjunctions (and, or, but, nor, yet, so, for), articles (a, an, the), or prepositions (in, to, of, at, by, up, for, off, on).

That is also what it says in these: Gregg Reference Manual Paperback – 1 Dec. 1991, The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2015 Library Binding – 14 July 2015, The Chicago Manual of Style Paperback – 8 Mar. 2007, & MLA style

So why does The Wikipedia Manual of style state that all Titles & Headings be in Sentence Case when other Major Manuals of Style say otherwise??? 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 20:16, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Because other style guides say otherwise, and too much title case makes me feel like old people are shouting at me, to sum it up uncouthly. Remsense 20:17, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
see these: Typography 101: A Quick Guide to Headings, Stack Exchange: Capitalization in Headings, Maine's Public Universities: When to Use Title Case, Webucator: How to Capitalize Headings 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 20:21, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We can both throw links at each other, my point being that they cancel each other out, because both are recommended by major style guides. — Remsense 20:24, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Those links were ment to be above your comment.
We should change the manual to be different for where the subject of the article is from, From what I can find Title Case is more Common in the U.S. and Sentence Case is more common in the UK. 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 20:34, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

o:Advantages of sentence case were previously discussed at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 55#Capitalization in Headings and Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Headings/Archive 1#Capitalization in headings. DrKay (talk) 20:33, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes and on both of those links, there is equal support for each style, As I said above we should make the style match the region. 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 20:37, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm opposed. Looks like change for change's sake with zero improvement in clarity or understanding. With sentence case, it is clear when a word should be lower case or not whereas with title case it is unclear and inconsistent which words (such as Be in the example here) should be lower case. DrKay (talk) 20:48, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Most readers from the U.S. will be confused & possibly annoyed that heading are in sentence case because our whole lives we have been taught that they should be in Title Case. 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 20:51, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia:Lies Miss Snodgrass told you. DrKay (talk) 21:03, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That Essay is a Lie & completely unsourced. 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 21:05, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can see US readers getting annoyed, but confused? Sentence case is very simple (capital for first word, capital for pronouns, lowercase for the rest). Many contributors speak English as a second (or third or fourth) language at various degrees of fluency. Many of them do weird stuff when attempting to make titles and often capitalise or non-capitalise the wrong words in an inconsistent manner. Keep it simple, keep it easy. Better to adapt to the multicultural world you are in instead of trying to force it to lessons learnt in a particular country long ago.  Stepho  talk  22:48, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Confused as in: people who are teachers/professors & maybe others will be confused as to how such a major project like Wikipedia doesn't use the Title Case Style as that is what is taught in the US. 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 22:51, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pretty sad if a professor or teacher gets so easily confused. Gonnym (talk) 00:27, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose because titles and headers are used for inbound links from other pages, so we need predictability among all pages. Unlike WP:ENGVAR that only demands a page be self-consistent, this isn't solely about avoiding an uneasy feeling for some readers. And if there's no universal way even among other style-guides, the proposal is an arbitrary change solely in our own scope to make some feel better and others feel worse. DMacks (talk) 22:37, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose As DMacks says, there are sound technical reasons for this choice, as it is required by inbound links. Any change would necessitate an enormous amount of work. I realise that Americans will take as further proof of Wikipedia's anti-American bias. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 23:02, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose Particularly with how the headings interact in the sidebars, it would just look wrong to Title Case headers (of course, save when the header itself is a proper noun). Add in the change problems mentioned above. --Masem (t) 23:03, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What about 2 Word Headers? Those look weird in sentence case, that is the main thing that bothers me, could we just make it be Title Case for 2 word Headings? 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 23:09, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This isn't a negotiation, and no one has agreed with you so far anyway. It might be time to give this one up. I also find it a bit ironic that someone who's harping on about capitalization for section headings is also very consistently just throwing random capitals in where they don't belong in normal prose. (talk) 23:20, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am changing my proposition to having 2 word headings be title case. I Have already given up on all headings being title case, but 2 word headings look weird in sentence case. 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 23:33, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose due to the immense workload that this unnecessary change would make, and because sentence case naturally gives better clarity to capitonyms. Also opposedto two word headings in title case since consistency is needed for whatever case is in fact used. I would advise the nominator to stop arguing as there is clearly a large consensus backing up the use of sentence case. Schminnte [talk to me] 23:35, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I know there is, but it could be new articles, and it could say "if there are only two words in a heading then title case would be acceptable", Emphasis on the "would be" and not "is required". 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 23:39, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Once again, consistency is required for things like this, we can't just make a compromise as that is something that would confuse people. Why should we make an exception for two word titles specifically? "Look[ing] weird" is subjective (I see no problem with Sentence heading vs. Title Heading) and not an appropriate rationale. Schminnte [talk to me] 23:46, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have withdrawn this proposal 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 23:50, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose. I'm an American, and even I don't have any ENGVAR concerns about this. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:40, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't Even Care Anymore 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 23:42, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Follow-up comments: This is a perennial enough "pet peeve" that we should probably add a line-item about it to MOS:FAQ.

We are also not in a position to take seriously the style ideas of someone who habitually writes like "Ever Since Elementary School ... taught The Following ... all Titles & Headings be in Sentence Case when other Major Manuals of Style say ... be Title Case for 2 word Headings ... don't Even Care Anymore". No "authority" ever "taught" this person to write that way; it's pure idosyncratic personal idiolect, and I would have serious concerns about what sort of material this person is injecting into our articles. A review of just their last couple of days of input in mainspace has shown a whole lot of this overcapitalization among other problems. I'll try raising the issue on their user-talk page, but folks with some editorial time on their hands may want to trawl back though this person's mainspace edits and correct all their errors, including reverting lots of WP:FAITACCOMPLI changes to Headings to Use Title Case Like This before they proposed the idea here and had it rejected.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:48, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

PS: One of the smartest things I've seen said on WP in a long time:

"My impression is that we shouldn't allow users going against a policy to affect how it is written. People going around changing articles against policy isn't a good reason to have that policy be rewritten"
     Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 10:40, 30 October 2023 (UTC) [11]. Slightly copyedited for clarity.Reply[reply]

 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:27, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Petition on for English Wikipedia to use curly quotes instead of straight quotes[edit]

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

I will propose to consider the petition for Wikipedia to change the Manual of Style to require curly quotes instead of straight quotes in articles. --Agusbou2015 (talk) 18:45, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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

Follow-up comments[edit]

  • Well, how about gay quotes instead of straight quotes? EEng 08:25, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    How about this one, from "Dick" Barnfield: If it be sin to love a lovely lad / Oh there sin I. Primergrey (talk) 09:47, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So that gay quote's by "Dick" Barnfield, is it? EEng 23:51, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start." — Jason Collins
WTF is ""? Please ALWAYS include links to mentioned articles or websites. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 09:52, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply] is an easily manipulable "set up your own voting poll/petition" site.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:23, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A link to the petition and especially to the "answer elsewhere" would nevertheless be helpful. Gawaon (talk) 11:14, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think the petition exists; Agusbou2015 was announcing intention to create one. It actually does exist, at "/p/high-ranked-wikipedia-contributers-curly-quotation-marks-in-english-wikipedia" at (cannot be linked directly because of our URL blacklist), with almost no input, even for a Wikipedia-related petition. As for previous material, see point no. 1 in MOS:FAQ, which is also transcluded at the top of this talk page. Most recent discussion is also still on this talk page, at #Note about quotation marks, and lots and lots of prior discussion can be found by using the archive serach feature near top of this page for keyword "curly".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:21, 2 November 2023 (UTC); revised 11:44, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can find the petition Googling: "" wikipedia "curly"
"answer elsewhere" Hyphenation Expert (talk) 11:41, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) These petitions are basically nonsense. Wikipedia pays no attention to them at all, and we should not, because there is no way to connect votes to users-in-good-standing of Wikipedia, nor connect a single vote to a single user even of just And the petitions are of course non-neutral in nature unlike our RfCs (valid ones, anyway), and show only support for an idea not opposition to it. E.g., there is one to try to get Wikipedia to treat ayurveda as real medical science instead of pseudoscience: "/p/wikipedia-we-are-against-wikipedia-s-statement-which-says-ayurveda-is-pseudo-scientific" at (cannot be linked directly because of our URL blacklist). It has 33,600+ "signatures" (probaly broadly canvassed through campaigning, since there are millions of petitions on and one would not find this buried item by accident). But untold numbers of people would disagree with it, and there is no measure of them. It's just meaningless noise. There are lots and lots of petitions on about Wikipedia, almost all of them aimed at pushing a particular PoV agenda. Anyway, the one about curly quotes has a truly trivial 159 "votes".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:44, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed titling guidance for orders of battle (MOS:MIL)[edit]

G'day, there is a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Military history#Proposed article titling guidance for orders of battle that may be of interest. Please have a read and add your views, and hopefully a consensus can be achieved. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 23:48, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"et al." or "et alia" with or without italics[edit]

When used in regular text (i.e. not as a citation), should "et al." or "et alia" be used? Should it be used with or without italics. For example:

  1. Precise definitions are often only accepted by theorists belonging to a certain philosophical movement and are revisionistic according to Søren Overgaard et alia ...
  2. Precise definitions are often only accepted by theorists belonging to a certain philosophical movement and are revisionistic according to Søren Overgaard et alia ...
  3. Precise definitions are often only accepted by theorists belonging to a certain philosophical movement and are revisionistic according to Søren Overgaard et al. ...
  4. Precise definitions are often only accepted by theorists belonging to a certain philosophical movement and are revisionistic according to Søren Overgaard et al. ...

This is being discussed at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Philosophy/archive1. Phlsph7 (talk) 17:56, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • It's completely conventional (in English, anyway) to abbreviate this, and it usually seems to be italicized as a Latinism. It's not as integrated into English as "e.g.", "i.e.", and "etc.", but is more in the same class as "op. cit." and "infra".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:19, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Et al is common, et alia is not. However more importantly, why is there an active discussion going on inside an archive? Canterbury Tail talk 18:27, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Et alia seems to have a bit more currency in legal contexts than in author attribution, but even in legal contexts I see it frequently abbreviated. As for the archive part, I dunno.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:31, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Using archives seems to be standard for featured article discussions, maybe because there is a time-limit to them after which they are closed anyways without the need for an additional step to move the text to an archive. Phlsph7 (talk) 08:49, 8 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yeah, et al. in italics seems to be the most common option, and style guides recommend it (CMOS, unless I'm mistaken). Gawaon (talk) 22:51, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I've understood it to be common in English and not italicized. In Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations#Miscellaneous shortenings it's not italicized, but et alii is. The Citation Style 1 templates do not italicize it. I wouldn't use et alia or et alii without an explanation at all. SchreiberBike | ⌨  23