Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 115

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 110 Archive 113 Archive 114 Archive 115 Archive 116 Archive 117 Archive 120


"Task force"

"Task force" is two words.

And why be so militaristic? :) Maurreen (talk) 01:09, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Please see Taskforce, a WP article that is actually linked from my desktop Encarta dictionary. On semantics, I wonder whether "organisation" equals "militarism". A more positive contribution from you would be appreciated, or at least negative feedback that might help to improve the proposal. Are you willing to participate? Tony (talk) 01:32, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
wikt:taskforce. I kind of take Maureen's second point, though: this page is somewhat intimidating, as it stands --Jubileeclipman 02:58, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Survey of what Wikipedians need from their MoS

Before we embark on such an ambitious project as a restructuring of the MoS, we should find out what Wikipedians really need from their MoS. We can look at the pages and count the miscapitalized T's and whatnot, but it seems to me that the best way to find out whether the editors are more intimidated by the number of pages they have to click through or the size of the pages they find when clicked, whether the examples help or hinder, etc. etc. would be to ask them. We can rely on our own experiences only so much because we're a group pre-filtered for copyediting skill.

I'm pretty sure I could write a survey that we could easily translate into project goals, but I don't know how to program a delivery system or what permissions I would need to contact Wikipedia's users. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:50, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

In the meantime, I'm going to click out a couple of example survey questions. (I think we should use Tony's beginner's guide as the alternative example both because it's the most complete one we have and because it shows both the advantages and flaws of a short-form system.) Anyone who wants to should just add on to the list:

1a. How long have you been a Wikipedia editor?

 A: I'm new.
 B: More than one year.
 C: Several years.

1b. How familiar would you say that you are with Wikipedia's policies, guidelines and manuals of style?

 A: Very familiar.  I could Wikilawyer with the best of them (but I don't because that's WP:WIKILAWYERING).
 B: Somewhat familiar.  Every once in the while, I find a new WP:SOMETHING that I've never heard of before.
 C: I am constantly butting heads against Wikipedia rules and guidelines that seem to come out of nowhere.
 D: I am not very familiar with Wikipedia policies, but I feel that this does not negatively effect my Wikipedia experience.

1c. How involved are you in Wikipedia?

 A: I mostly just read.
 B: I do some editing, but I am not involved in any Wikiprojects.
 C: I do a lot of editing and/or am involved in one or more specific Wikiprojects.
 D: I am a pillar of the Wikipedia community.  I am an admin, steward, founder or am otherwise heavily involved in Wikipedia and its projects.

2a. When contributing to or editing Wikipedia articles, how do you deal with copyediting and English-language issues such as grammar, formatting, capitalization, punctuation and style?

 A: I leave copyediting to others; I'm more of a content person.
 B: I use the English that seems correct to me/that I was taught in school.
 C: I mostly use the English that seems correct to me/that I was taught in school but I sometimes consult the Wikipedia MoS.
 D: I consult the Wikipedia Manual of Style so that I know Wikipedia's preferred guidelines on these issues.

2b. Describe how you read the MoS.

A: I read it in its entirety from start to finish.
B: I read just the section that I need.
C: I dip in and out of the MoS as I am linked to it.
D: I never/almost never read the MoS.

3. On a scale of one to five, please rate how user-friendly you find the current Wikipedia MoS to be with five being "very well-organized; I was able to find what I wanted right away" and one being "a mess; I gave up and left."

4. On a scale of one to five, please rate how user-friendly you find this sample short-form version of the Wikipedia MoS to be with five being "very well-organized; I was able to find what I wanted right away" and one being "a mess; I gave up and left."

5. In your experience, which of these problems is more common or frustrating?

 A: The size of the MoS.  It is too big to read comfortably.
 B: The number of pages I have to click through to find the Wikipedia policies and guidelines that I need.
 C: The MoS main page and subpages don't always match.

8-12. In your opinion, which of these sentences is more helpful and informative?

 A: [Line from Tony's Beginner's Guide]
 B: [Full line with examples from the current MoS.]
 C: The second one but the examples aren't necessary. [Or similar question addressing the MoS issues raised on this page.]

13-14. In your opinion, which of these pages is easier to read?

 A: [Large section from Tony's Beginner's Guide.]
 B: [Corresponding section from the current MoS.]
 C: The first one is less intimidating but also less informative. [Or similar question addressing the MoS issues raised on this page.]

15. The Manual of Style is classified as a Wikipedia guideline, not as an essay or policy. What does this mean to you? (Please consider what you actually do when you are editing rather than what you feel the "right" answer should be.)

 A: The Manual of Style must be followed to the letter.
 B: The Manual of Style should be followed except when there is an official Wikipedia Consensus than an exception should be made.
 C: The Manual of Style should be followed except when making an exception would improve the article.
 D: I tried to do B or C, but then someone else came along and reverted my changes/started an argument on the talk page/etc.
 E: I tried to do C, but too many people disagreed about what was best for the article.

Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:02, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

I think question 3 needs another answer alternative, with zero being "What's a Wikipedia moss?" Art LaPella (talk) 17:15, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Humorous, but true. An option for someone to say they were unaware of the MoS ids a good one there. Generally, I like it, it's short enough to actually get responses, and through enough to give an idea of what is the current MoS's faults. The question is, where do we post it?oknazevad (talk) 18:14, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
2 D ([edit for clarity] ="How involved are you in Wikipedia?" D: "I have lots of Barnstars... etc") has nothing to do with involvement but rather is to do with recognition. Perhaps use "I am an admin, a bureaucrat, a steward or the founder" instead? Add to 5: "All of the above in equal measure" and "N/A". Also, I am not sure that 6-12 are entirely impartial: C seems the be a leading question in both cases --Jubileeclipman 19:20, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
That's why we'd have to switch up the 6-12 (now 8-14) questions and choose our C option carefully. The issue of leading will become less and less problematic the more questions we use. Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:05, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

The numbering is going to become confusing, any suggestions? I want to add 5. How you did/do you read the MOS

A: I read it entirety it's from start to finish
B: I read a particular MOS from start to finish
C: I dip in and out of the MOS as I am linked to it 

Gnevin (talk) 20:23, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

The numbers are confused now! I'd avoid the hashes, as they break whenever a space is left between lines. I have renumbered the first three as 1a to 1c to avoid having to renumber the others. OTOH, a to c make sense in that context, IMO --Jubileeclipman 20:55, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Whatever works for the provisional numbers. We can always redo them once we get to a final copy. Also, new question. Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:35, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • (1) I have serious doubts about the utility of such a survey. (2) The structure and wording of the questions needs to be recast. Tony (talk) 00:05, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

What exactly does this polls aim to achieve? Because right now, I only see beaucracy in action. Bureaucracy that will lead to people clubbing each other on what the poll means, rather than put efforts in improving the MoS. Also, in the several KB of text that's been written about the MoS' problem, I've yet to see someone explain what the problem even is. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:31, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Yup. I've seen many surveys in my lifetime, and many needed a good hard prediction of what one would do if the data fell one way or the other. I want to be sure we're not spending our "survey bullets" with the community in a way that doesn't provide optimal data. Just what do we need to know to proceed in the reform process (please list the imponderables that a survey can help with). Tony (talk) 01:16, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
A legitimate question, Tony. On this talk page, we seem to have one camp of people saying, "The MoS is too long and that intimidates people. We should shorten it by decentralization/tighter wording/etc." and another group of people (mostly myself) saying "The MoS is not too long, but it is scattered over too many pages. Decentralization is more intimidating than size." It seems to me that rather than supposing what other Wikipedians want, we should go and ask them what they want. That way, the restructured MoS will be more likely to be a real improvement.
As for resolving on a course of action before the survey results are tallied, I'm fine with that. If we get a lot of complaints about the MoS's size, for example, I would consider that to support the "shorten the MoS" position.
But all this is moot if no one here knows how to program a survey. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:56, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with both sides: MOSMAIN (and almost certainly most of its subpages) could be expressed in less than two-thirds of the length without loss of scope or utility. And it is too decentralised and fragmented (and uncoordinated and repetitive).
Before any survey is considered, please outline the objectives—what the hypotheses/queries are, and how the data might affect our planning. WRT the proposed survey above, I appreciate the work that has gone into it, but I believe it is too wordy, presumptuous in places, and that there are too many questions. Tony (talk) 02:59, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
The questions are still too leading in places, also. I'm with Tony: both sides have a point. IMO, the problem isn't with the technicalities—such as whether the pages should be merged/split/transcluded/whatever—it is with the readability and accessability of the MoS as a document in and of itself. The intial questions to ask include the following, IMO: How do people read it? Why do people read it? When do people read it? Do people read it? Which people? Why do people not read it? --Jubileeclipman 03:26, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

The problem isn't that the MoS is badly built, the problem is that some people don't know how to read a manual of style, thus complain about whatever. What is my answer to these people? Give them the Chicago MoS and they would be just as intimidated by it if not more. This is a general manual of style, not a book, and thus should read like a general manual of style. In fact Wikipedia's MoS should be many times more massive because:

  • We often do not have the luxury of imposing styles, and often we must not only provide more than one, but explain them as well as their pros and cons;
  • We cover a wider range of topics, allow for a wider style of articles;
  • We cover interactive online-media; a general MoS covers printed media;
  • We need to address the concerns which would generally be found in a field-specific MoS. Chicago doesn't address the matter of how to write mathematical formulas, chemical formulas, and so on;
  • We need to address concerns which are usually left to publishing houses and fall outside the scope of a generalist MoS;
  • We are volunteers, many of us amateurs, many of whom are unable to write at the professional level, and many of whom don't know the first thing about the art of publishing and its zillion details, and thus we need to provide more guidance than a general MoS would, and do a job few of us has done before;
  • Chicago has the luxury of telling people "This is how you should do it, and if you don't like it that's your problem." We don't.

If people expect to read the MoS from front to back before editing pages, they are doing it wrong. A manual of style is a reference, meaning that you look at the TOC, go to the relevant section, and get your answer. When you have your answer, close the page, and get back to work. It makes no sense to complain about "It's too long, because it contains information about blazons!". If you don't edit heraldry pages, then you shouldn't be reading the section on heraldry in the first place. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 03:57, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Then I did it wrong. I never would have suspected that we have obscure rules like curly quotes for instance, if I had read it correctly, because I would have had no reason to consult the Manual before I knew there was a problem. Art LaPella (talk) 05:19, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Hm. Headbomb has a point, though: people rarely read any MoS from cover to cover the way they would a novel or biography. A MoS cannot be pre-emptive, it can only be correctional and informative. In our case, even correctional does not really apply as we do not subscribe to firm rules. The best we can do is suggest best practice, based on the present consensus of editors as to what that actually is, and point inquiring editors to the sections that deal with the situation that had occurred as they were editing. Not sure what else it can do, actually --Jubileeclipman 05:56, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
That's one of the advantages of a centralized MoS, Art. If someone comes in to look up whether or not they're supposed to capitalize the name of a celestial body, then that person will also probably notice the "'The' mid-sentence" section along the way. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:31, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh, maybe. According to this, the Guild of Copy Editors does read the MoS like a book, but they don't understand it any better than anyone else that has undertaken that fearsome task. What else can the MoS do? User:Hans Adler/MOS. Does "centralized" mean the Guild would have to wade through the chemistry guidelines, the Irish guidelines, and everything else before they ever got to the hyphen guideline they missed? The real question here is, are there enough Manual-readers like the Guild of Copy Editors to matter, and are there enough Manual-consulters elsewhere to matter more? Art LaPella (talk) 02:50, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Survey delivery system

Does anyone know how to program a survey? Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:36, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

You might find these resources to be helpful.
-- Wavelength (talk) 15:15, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
If you want to know how to compose a computer program for conducting a survey, you can ask at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Computing.
-- Wavelength (talk) 15:31, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Record charts/Billboard charts guide has been marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Record charts/Billboard charts guide (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

I have left a note saying that this page is likely to be audited soon with a view to rationalisation. Tony (talk) 02:09, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Explain jargon is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Explain jargon (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Call for Taskforce volunteers

Please choose sets of pages you think might be candidates for merging/rationalisation and are willing to audit. If you find yourself wanting to double up with a choice already made by someone on the list, just include it and we can negotiate or share the job.

Dan, what do you think about conflating them all into "Words to avoid"? Tony (talk) 13:47, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely, such a conflation should be the goal.—DCGeist (talk) 16:30, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
As we tighten up this leaky vessel, I am concerned about establishing what some will take as an effective blacklist of specific words, which could lead to great mischief. To clarify the point of the (conflated) guideline; to reflect its substance more accurately; and to signal that it has undergone a significant revamp, what do you think of "Expressions to avoid"?—DCGeist (talk) 17:06, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I think you flag a good point here; I'm not convinced though that "Expressions to avoid" makes the difference. That still sounds like a prescriptive list, so could still give rise to the kind of problem you identify. How about "Choice of words"? PL290 (talk) 19:22, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm happy to help copy edit anything, including Words to avoid, and Avoid peacock, weasel, and neologisms (sounds as though they should be merged), Identifying reliable sources, and Do not include the full text of .... SlimVirgin talk contribs 01:18, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Slim, I was wondering whether you'd like to survey the image-related pages. Tony (talk) 06:19, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I could try, but I'm less familiar with that side of things, unless it's just a copy edit they need. SlimVirgin talk contribs 19:00, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Tony, could you give me an idea of which image pages you'd like me to look at? SlimVirgin talk contribs 19:37, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm about to report below on no-pea, no-weas, and no-neo, all of which, yes, can and should be merged into Words to avoid. I think it would be helpful, Slim, to get your view of the extent of copyediting the latter could currently benefit from.—DCGeist (talk) 19:28, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
It's hard to say, Dan, without actually doing it, but it's very wordy, so it could use significant tightening. Also, we'll need to decide whether we're simply going to tighten what's there, or whether we're also going to make sure it makes sense. Is your thinking to merge the others into Words to avoid, then cover them summary-style i.e. with sections for each of no-pea, no weas etc? SlimVirgin talk contribs 19:37, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's exactly my thinking (see my report below). And it's good to learn that our general views of the current state of Words to avoid are similar. If you want to take the lead on a copyedit of its current content, I can start sandboxing the prospective new sections. Are there any parts of the current page that you find particularly weak in terms of making sense?—DCGeist (talk) 20:22, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I think I'll have to start the copy edit before I see what needs to be changed. I'll start it, and you can chime in, and feel free to revert if I'm tightening it too much, or if what I do doesn't fit with your summary-style idea. SlimVirgin talk contribs 20:29, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Count me in, though I haven't any specific pages to add to this list, yet: there are too many to choose from! --Jubileeclipman 03:15, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
    • Addendum: Per Tony's suggestion, I'll take on all music related items --Jubileeclipman 11:05, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

You could advertise this at the Village Pump, I think. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 15:15, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Done. Wikipedia:Village_pump_(miscellaneous)#Styleguide_Taskforce_audits_have_begun Tony (talk) 02:05, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Comments on Taskforce suggestion

  • I believe this is an ambitious, and worthwhile, suggestion, and I hope it will bear fruit. I think that once started, the Taskforce's work will naturally become an ongoing, cyclical process, as opposed to a job that will one day be completed. In my own personal view, we would do well to avoid seeing this initiative as an alternative to overhauling this main MoS page. Both initiatives are sorely needed, and though each will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on the other, we should not see one as a dependency on the other. Both are necessary as a natural part of the ongoing process of review and improvement, and both should be embarked upon without delay. I believe the work Hans Adler has done to coalesce a summary approach (illustrated by his mockup there) has produced something workable which we should all look at seriously with a view to taking it forward now. PL290 (talk) 14:57, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • All this talk of merging stuff like weasel and peacock is crazy . What would you loose from Words to avoid, Avoid peacock terms, Avoid weasel words and Avoid neologisms? Can you mock up what would go and what would stay on these topics? Gnevin (talk) 17:44, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Crazy, you say ... oh well, looks like I'll be the only person on the taskforce. Thanks for everyone's support. Tony (talk) 00:15, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. I just reviewed these posts. I didn't realize there was this much discussion. A few thoughts. There's nothing wrong with an extensive and lengthy MoS, in principle. Chicago is close to 1,000 pages, and the AMA style guide is just over 1,000. Numerous smaller and "niche" style guides point to these comprehensive manuals so they don't have to elaborate on everything (e.g. the Health Professional's Style Guide, which is less than 100 pages long). That said, the Wikipedia MoS is apparently out of hand (based on these threads).
I've reviewed nearly every U.S. style guide, many grammar guides, and quite a few international style guides. The longer ones are just as easy to use (for me) because they typically have a good table of contents. They're reference guides. The big difference between them and Wikipedia (as it's been noted) is that they provide a firm set of standards. They can change, but they are not subject to whimsical or frivolous changes on a daily basis. They are considered adjustments as modern usage changes.
An overhaul may be a good idea. But what is the long-term fix? What will stop the MoS from degenerating as soon as the overhaul is complete? This may be a Wikipedia article that is best locked or semi-protected in 5-10 years, once it has developed to a certain state. Maybe earlier. If fully locked, editors could weigh in monthly or quarterly on recommended changes and a consensus could be made for a "mass edit" on certain periodic dates - maybe by an admin. Just thoughts. I'm happy to help some now, but not if it's three or four editors plugging away at a massive problem with no long-term solution as a stop-gap. If that's the only method available currently, it would be better to leave it as is for now. Airborne84 (talk) 01:37, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I've taken the liberty of relocating this comment by Airborne from two subsections above. My responses: the advantage of wiki styleguides is their suppleness, their adaptability (just as English is continually evolving). You're right, this is also a disadvantage, and I believe it's one we need to live with, but at the same time work hard to minimise any ill-effects. You should have seen MoS main and MOSNUM a few years ago: they were amateurish and chaotic in themselves. Now we have much more professional outfits, even though bloated, I think. As with WP articles, continual maintenance is in order; rather like life. Tony (talk) 07:08, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I think such a taskforce is a great idea. As a relitivley new editor compared to some of you, I have ran into a handful of guidelines and suggestions that are contradicted across the project. This might be a good question if there is a survey (in case I am smoking crack) or I would be happy to throw in some specifics after the taskforce gets off the ground. Again, good thinking on starting this.Cptnono (talk) 09:13, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I've asked Ohconfucius whether he's prepared to make a tag we can place on the talk pages of styleguides we're auditing. I've suggested this text:

This styleguide is currently being audited by the Styleguide Taskforce. The aim is to make immediate improvements in the prose, structure, and relationship with similar styleguides. The results of the audit will be reported at the talk page of the main MoS styleguide.

The auditors, [insert username(s)], welcome participation by and comments from all interested editors.

Your thoughts? Tony (talk) 06:31, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

A suggestion from a PR (as it were) point of view: whatever wording is chosen, the fact of the Taskforce's descent on a page carries the inevitable risk that some editors may resent what they perceive to be the motive or the manner in which things are being done. In that context, my immediate observation is that it could exacerbate the issue if the wording leaves open the possibility that the page in question has somehow been singled out, among all others, as particularly poor or in need of attention. Therefore I suggest something like the following amendments:

This styleguide isStyleguides that make up the Manual of Style are currently being audited by the Styleguide Taskforce. The aim is to make immediate improvements in the prose, structure, and relationships with between similar styleguides. The results of the audit will be reported at the talk page of the main MoS styleguide.

The auditors of this styleguide, [insert username(s)], welcome participation by and comments from all interested editors.

On a side note, not convinced "immediate" is beneficial. PL290 (talk) 09:27, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks; I think you've improved it, except that I'd like not to restrict the ambit to pages marked as part of the MoS; we really must take into consideration WikiProject styleguides and others. I have to say that the first audits I'm conducting are going to result in my recommending that two be deleted entirely and one be turned into an essay. It will be an interesting discussion on those talk pages, and perhaps here. I still think it's polite to declare to the editors who is undertaking the audit of a page. How is this?

Wikipedia's styleguides are currently being audited by the Wikipedia Styleguide Taskforce. The aim is to make improvements in the prose, formatting, structure and—critically—the relationships between similar styleguides. The results of the audit will be reported at the talk page of the main MoS styleguide

The auditor assigned to this page is [insert username(s)]. The Taskforce welcomes participation by and comments from all interested editors.

Tony (talk) 10:10, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think that's even better. PL290 (talk) 10:18, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that, Tony. Works for me (except it should be "auditor(s) assigned... is/are..." (though I know you hate them...!)) --Jubileeclipman 10:51, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Update - it might be necessary to add {{clear}} or some such after this template to avoid clashes with other templates. See my talkpage for details --Jubileeclipman 07:35, 3 April 2010 (UTC)



At the article "", an user added the line

The native form of this personal name is Hunyadi János. This article uses the Western name order.

The Hungarian form Hunyadi János was already presented in the lead:

János (John) Hunyadi (Hungarian: Hunyadi János [ˈhuɲɒdi ˈjaːnoʃ] , Romanian: Iancu (Ioan) de Hunedoara, Slovak: Ján Huňady, Serbian: Сибињанин Јанко / Sibinjanin Janko;

Is that add really necessary? Isn't it redundant to specify that name twice? Thanks in advance for the answer(Umumu (talk) 18:13, 1 April 2010 (UTC))

Looks like clutter to me. I′d remove it. The article Hungarian language includes a section on “name order” for the benefit of any confused readers. ―AoV² 09:01, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Where was the discussion giving consensus for the removal? --Rschen7754 08:43, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
WP:BRD Gnevin (talk) 08:48, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
The discussion has started - RFC at the talk page. --Rschen7754 08:54, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

National Styles of English

I feel it is important that we only use one style of English being the international standard which is American English. Hollywood movies are shown through out the world, and this is the style of english which everyone understands. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:23, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Before anyone gets too involved in this discussion, I suggest you look at this user's contributions. Parrot of Doom 23:28, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Hollywood vs Shakespeare? Hmm, tricky ;-) -- Boing! said Zebedee 00:04, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Wife selling? April fool's jokes? Australia/Canada/Britain/therestotheworld vs the US? Been there, done that, worn the tee-shirt! (Not including the first, obviously...) --Jubileeclipman 01:12, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Quite simply, it's not going to happen, especially based on reasoning given by the OP. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:10, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay I just can't resist. The OP says American English is the language spoken in Australia (good thing he/she hasn't read Australian English then) but what I want to know then is why the OP doesn't actually speak it (as others have pointed out and more importantly, since when did 'commentz' become the correct spelling in either Australian or American English. Nil Einne (talk) 09:41, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Could it have still been technically April 1 when this user posted this post? I think someone's just trying to rile up the copynerds. (talk) 13:04, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't seem like it [1] (but note the British English spelling in the section header!) IP resolves to Australia. Physchim62 (talk) 13:39, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Technical terms and definitions is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Technical terms and definitions (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

General principles

How about the following? The Manual of Style is a guide applicable to all Wikipedia articles. It presents Wikipedia's house style, and is intended to help editors produce articles whose language, layout and formatting are consistent, clear and precise. This helps make the entire encyclopedia easier and more intuitive to use.

I took out these words and phrases that appeared to be not earning their keep: write and that maintain articles that follow a consistent pattern of style and, and, in turn, style defining standards and guidelines provided as a reference in order. Hope they are not too much missed. Rumiton (talk) 13:28, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

I like it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:45, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. I shall make the change. Rumiton (talk) 13:11, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable has been marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (U.S. state and territory highways) is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (U.S. state and territory highways) (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:01, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Draft MoS for Wikipedia-Books (Located at WP:MOSBOOKS)

I wrote this so Wikipedia books can become a bit more streamlined and have a more standardized feel. It's probably a bit drafty, but the core elements should be there. Feedback would be welcome and appreciated.

If you never heard of Wikipedia books, here's some basic details:

Wikipedia books (simply "books" from now on) are collections of article which can be downloaded electronically for free (in PDF or ODT formats, which can then be read offline, or printed by the user), or ordered in print. For examples, see Book:Hydrogen, Book:Canada, Book:Prostate, Book:Invincible class battlecruisers, (more can be found here). If you are still confused, I suggest clicking on "PDF" to see what exactly a book looks like when in PDF (ODT format is similar, printed books look better since they are printed on smaller pages, but the general idea is the same). The exact format of books can be varied: simpler books are just a bunch of links (Book:Invincible class battlecruisers), more complex books are usually structured in chapters such as Book:Hadronic Matter.

For more informations, you can check these Signpost articles

As well as

If you want to create a book, simply click on the "Create a book" link in the "print/export" toolbar on the left. (Or click here if you can't find it).

If you read all that and checked a few books in PDF, you should now be pretty familiar with what books are. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 05:36, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Maybe the style guide would be good as a book. Maurreen (talk) 08:06, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Why? It's online. Tony (talk) 00:19, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
One does not preclude the other. We simply use the book tool to add all of MoSes to a book. All can then be more easily downloaded as a unit --Jubileeclipman 01:23, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Feel free to write a book about the MoS, but in the meantime it would be nice to get opinions on MOSBOOKS. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 21:05, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
There's no mention on the talk page there of making that page a MoS subpage. I'm not sure its tone and content are suitable. Tony (talk) 13:46, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Let's leave the "it's not being mentionned on the talk page, so we can't talk about it" bureaucracy out of things. I'm asking for feedback so things can be ironed out before marking it as part of the MoS. As for the tone and content not being suitable, do you have anything specific? Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:50, 6 April 2010 (UTC)


In two consecutive edits seen side by side here two different editors decided that is would be a good idea to invoke WP:IAR at the very head of the MoS. Although I can (vaguely) see the point, I don't recall that we ever discussed this. Any thoughts on what just happened or is it just playtime and I never heard the bell go? (I reverted, BTW.) --Jubileeclipman 00:33, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

1. The editor who made this change did not need to get an agreement on the talk page first. 2. You were right to remove the passage. Putting a section on WP:IAR, phrased in that way, right there at the top of the MoS bothers me for several reasons. First, it's not true. We are not free to ignore the MoS; the culture of Wikipedia does not actually work that way and we should not tell people that it does. Second, telling people straight out that others will clean up their sloppy work does not set a good precedent. Third, skimming the MoS is not and should not be a prerequisite for contributing to Wikipedia.
Perhaps the person was trying to keep people from becoming intimidated by all these rules. If what we want to do is send a message that the writing doesn't have to be perfect and that it's okay to add content even if the English isn't classroom-quality, we could say something like, "Not every contribution to Wikipedia has to have perfect grammar, punctuation and style, but this document may help you raise the quality of your edits" or something. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:52, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
BRD... fair point. I agree with the rest of what Darkfrog says also, though even his "Not every..." could be somewhat WP:BEANSy, IMO, if it leads to the implication that editors are not expected to work to high standards. The (archived) discussion re "Why is a MOS important?" is inconclusive, it seems to me: answering that basic question could resolve this issue --Jubileeclipman 19:25, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Darkfrog. And my view is that the opening of the MoS main page should be short and sweet. Tony (talk) 13:52, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Could someone tell me what on Earth is going on

I usually don't visit the MoS, but I just wanted to check out a specific point in the Chronological items section. Lo and behold, when I get here, it is proposed that six pages be merged into the Manual of Style. I can't follow the above discussion – the sections which "discuss" is linked to seems to be inactive. What is the current status of the merger proposal? NW (Talk) 16:00, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

We are auditing these guidelines and all related pages. Please fell free to join us if you would like to contribute. In fact the more eyes on this audit, the better. Is it now time to announce this audit WP wide, or has this already deen done? --Jubileeclipman 19:30, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Answering self: I forgot, there's a note in the VP. Should be enough for now --Jubileeclipman 13:30, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Time for an actual task force project page?

All other Wikipedia Task Forces have a dedicated project page. We, on the other hand, are simply using this talk page as a base of operations. This may have contributed to to various heated discussion dotted around WP at present. I suggest we start Wikipedia:WikiProject Manual of Style/Auditing task force or similar and leave this page clear for comments related directly to the main MoS. We can move relevent discussion over there and leave a prominant message about the task force at the top of this page. The audit templates on the various MoSes would need to be updated, of course. Anyone feel like creating an actual template that can be transcluded via the usual {{foo}} markup? --Jubileeclipman 20:44, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Weeeell yes: I thought of doing this from the start. But, the problem is that out of sight, out of mind. Look what happened to the WP:WikiProject Manual of Style, which was started a couple of years ago with great promises of rationalising the mess. It immediately turned into a ghost town.
Thing is, the Taskforce's job is very much to do with this main page, too. And here we have a large group of talented regulars whose advice (and I hope participation) will be invaluable. Wouldn't it be good to keep them in the loop? Tony (talk) 13:16, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Point taken. Centeralisation in one place where all the experienced editors are most likely to look. BTW, I intend informing the Music Projects soon... wish me luck! (Am I still persona non grata after that RfC, I wonder...?) --Jubileeclipman 13:24, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Linking & capitalising definite article in band names

Discussion moved to Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (music)#Linking & capitalising definite article in band names as relating more directly to that specific MoS --Jubileeclipman 02:35, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

WP:NEO -- Merge and split

WP:NEO is actually part notability guideline and part MoS guidance. The part of it that is a notability guideline needs to be promoted to a notability guideline by either merging into WP:N or as a new page. I think it's probably small enough that it could merge into WP:N. The rest of it could probably be merged into the main MoS, since it's not a lot. Gigs (talk) 01:58, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

I have a few like that under Music and have been trying to figure out what to do with them, myself. That approach has crossed my mind, too, and seems best all round, generally. I'll post more details on the "problem" pages later on (though Tony and Gnevin will know what I am talking about...) --Jubileeclipman 02:11, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I have moved the discussion of the notability part back to WT:N. Gigs (talk) 13:32, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Discussion moved to WP:N

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.

Here's the distilled section I think we should merge into WP:N:


Some neologisms can be in frequent use, and it may be possible to pull together many facts about a particular term and show evidence of its usage on the Internet or even in larger society. It may be natural, then, to feel that Wikipedia should have a page devoted to this new term, and this is sometimes but not always the case.

To support an article about a particular term or phrase we must cite reliable secondary sources such as books and papers about the term or phrase, not books and papers that use the term. (Note that wikis such as Wiktionary are not considered to be a reliable source for this purpose.) Neologisms that are in wide use but for which there are no treatments in secondary sources are not yet ready for use and coverage in Wikipedia. The term does not need to be in Wikipedia in order to be a "true" term, and when secondary sources become available, it will be appropriate to create an article on the topic or use the term within other articles.

An editor's personal observations and research (e.g. finding blogs, books, and articles that use the term rather than are about the term) are insufficient to support articles on neologisms because this may require analysis and synthesis of primary source material to advance a position (which is explicitly prohibited by the original research policy). To paraphrase Wikipedia:No original research: If you have research to support the inclusion of a term in the corpus of knowledge that is Wikipedia, the best approach is to arrange to have your results published in a peer-reviewed journal or reputable news outlet and then document your work in an appropriately non-partisan manner.

Articles on neologisms are commonly deleted as these articles are often created in an attempt to use Wikipedia to increase usage of the term. As Wiktionary's inclusion criteria differ from Wikipedia's, that project may cover neologisms that Wikipedia cannot accept. If you are interested in writing an article on a neologism, you may wish to contribute it to that project instead. In a few cases, there will be notable topics which are well-documented in reliable sources, but for which no accepted short-hand term exists. It can be tempting to employ a neologism in such a case. Instead, use a title that is a descriptive phrase in plain English if possible, even if this makes for a somewhat long or awkward title.

Second paragraph seems to repeat itself a bit. We could probably cut out "They may be in time, but not yet" because we have "not ready for coverage" and "when secondary ... it will be" to convey the idea that an article may be appropriate at a later date. Darkfrog24 (talk) 10:21, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
OK, changed. Good input, thanks. Gigs (talk) 13:17, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

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

Thumbnail default text raised from 180 to 220px on the Commons

Dear colleagues, Derk-Jan Hartman has reported at Buzilla 21117 that MediaWiki developers have just raised the default at the Commons, following on from the same change made here in February (I think it was that month).

It's pleasing that an overwhelming consensus built late last year on WT:IUP at en.WP has received no serious hurdles in spreading to a program of gradual application throughout WikiMedia's sites. Tony (talk) 11:41, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

General style guidelines

All this reorganization comes at a great time for me, because I have duties now at WP:MILHIST that leave me less time to spend on the monthly update of Category:General style guidelines at WP:Update/2. It would have been tough to figure out which ones to stop keeping up with if I hadn't seen the reaction to all the merge proposals ... actually, the lack of reaction. Just going by page hits for March for WEASEL (68K) and PEACOCK (9K), I wouldn't have expected that there wouldn't be a fuss; there was certainly a lot of fuss when similar proposals were raised a couple of years ago. In addition to the style pages that have already been redirected or proposed for merging, a lot of the pages I have been tracking at WP:Update/2 got fewer hits in March than those two pages:

  • 2K Wikipedia:Accessibility
  • 6K Wikipedia:How to copy-edit
  • 5K Wikipedia:Linking
  • 3K Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting)
  • 3K Wikipedia:Manual of Style (titles)
  • 1K Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks)
  • 5K Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction)
  • 1K Wikipedia:Profanity
  • 0K Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid
  • 2K Wikipedia:The perfect article
  • 4K Wikipedia:Words to avoid
  • 3K Wikipedia:Writing better articles

Does anyone have a proposal for how to divert more eyeballs to any of these pages? If not, I'll remove them from Category:General style guidelines. - Dank (push to talk) 20:12, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure what your stats prove other than a)Some issues are more common than others and b)some MOS have self explanatory links that maybe people don't click?. Gnevin (talk) 21:31, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Do you have another metric I can use to figure out which pages it would do the most good to update? - Dank (push to talk) 21:34, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I can probably handle two more, I've removed the top two (8K and 9K, WP:MOSCAP and WP:SPELLING) from the list. Thanks. - Dank (push to talk) 17:15, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Scope of the MoS

I was looking through Category:Wikipedia style guidelines and I noticed a few articles that may or may not be appropriate for the MoS. I'm going to separate things into subsections as a pre-emptive measure, since the articles suggested different questions to me. Ozob (talk) 01:23, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Template styling

Wikipedia:Article message boxes. This describes the design and implementation of article message boxes. It's important if someone wants to introduce a new article message box. But it's not about writing well, nor about article layout, nor about Wikipedia content. Most people won't ever create a new article message box, so while the page is good, I wonder if it should be part of the MoS. Category:Wikipedia templates, which it's also in, seems much more appropriate. On the other hand, one might argue that template styling, like all styling, should be part of the MoS. So the question is: Should template styling be governed by the MoS?

Historical style information

Wikipedia:Article size. Should this sort of information be part of the MoS? It's a (overly long) description of how long an article should be. The style advice is easy to summarize: Be concise; consider splitting articles longer than 40k; do not write articles longer than 100k. But the article contains more information than just that. For instance, it describes some of the historical limitations that we used to have (the 32k limit imposed by old web browsers) but which aren't relevant anymore. It suggests workarounds for those limits. It mentions that some browsers have an upper limit of about 400k beyond which a page won't render properly. Is it in the scope of the MoS to contain historical information that was at one time appropriate to writing Wikipedia articles?

Arguments for and against styles

Wikipedia:Don't use line breaks. Rather than recommend a specific style, this article gives pros and cons of each position. It has essentially no content besides the arguments for and against; it draws no conclusions. Should the MoS include material which does not recommend a specific style?

The interesting points in historical look like they could be placed into a straight content article (which could be linked to from the MoS). Darkfrog24 (talk) 10:23, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Technical terms and definitions is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Technical terms and definitions (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Establishing the Styleguide Taskforce

Dear colleagues, it is high time we acted. The comments by Ohms, Hans, Art LP, AdM, DarkFrog, Jubilee and many others in the sections above are a strong indication that we have the motivation and energy to do something about the MoS mess that has grown around us unchecked over the years. Editors are irritated by the mess, and WP's styleguides do themselves no service by resisting basic reform. I'm referring to the whole list that winds down the right-hand side of the MoS page, including "Help" and "Culture", plus the other nooks and crannies that are less obvious but are still marked as style guides. The task also involves a rethink of the lax rules at Styleguide Category that are allowing anyone to elevate their pet page to MoS status without proper scrutiny and coordination.

But it will be a lot of work. The idealist, the optimist in me suggests that we might be willing to band together as the Styleguide Taskforce to share in the massive task of auditing the pages for:

  1. their intrinsic standard of writing, organisation, tone, structure and formatting; and
  2. their relationship to the big picture of the MoS category, particular opportunities for merging with each other and rationalising;

and to report back here the opportunities we find for rationalisation, and to draw up plans for engineering the number of pages down to something that will serve editors much better. I believe we should be making a contribution to fixing local problems we find, during the audit, as well as reporting back here. That is likely to win greater acceptance by local editors who have a stake in the subpages. We should develop a template for talk pages that announces the auditing process and invites participation by local editors (a bonus, but I suspect many pages are ghost-towns).

I want to start the ball rolling by calling for editors to join the Styleguide Taskforce and to nominate which groups of pages they would like to audit. Until we know what we are dealing with, we are not in a position to clean up this central agent of cohesion and quality in the world's most important information site.

We could establish a timetable and method of reporting when we know who is willing to do the work and gather the knowledge. I suggest we cut our teeth on the easier ones—the groups of small, similar pages, leaving the conceptually and politically harder ones like MOSNUM vs MOSMAIN until later in the process.

It is easy to find groups of pages that look as though they should be merged just from their titles. Some are crying out for a good copy-edit.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Tony1 (talkcontribs)

In fact, it was signed but the Call for Taskforce volunteers and MOS Taskforce audits sections broke off from it. Hope that clarifies this section for newcomers? --Jubileeclipman 21:16, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Requesting clarification on dash spacing

Is the parenthetical birth/death info in the current version of the article Christoph Cellarius correctly-spaced? If it is correctly-spaced, then I need to request a change in AWB, which is trying to change 22 November 1638 – 1707 to 22 November 1638–1707. Thanks, -- Black Falcon (talk) 17:58, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

From the current MoS:

Date ranges are preferably given with minimal repetition, using an unspaced en dash where the range involves numerals alone (5–7 January 1979; January 5–7, 2002) or a spaced en dash where the opening or the closing date has internal spaces (5 January – 18 February 1979; January 5 – February 18, 1979).

I can't figure it out either as it seems to contradict itself: "a spaced en dash where the opening or the closing date has internal spaces", despite 5–7 January 1979 where the closing date has internal spaces. Should "or" be "and"? --Jubileeclipman 18:33, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
The dash only "binds" to the day numbers, whereas the month is "factored out", so to speak. Can anyone find a clearer wording? ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 00:33, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Isn't it clear now? 5 and 7 are the elements. Tony (talk) 00:42, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I changed it to say "a spaced en dash where both the opening and the closing date have internal spaces". That is presumeably the intended meaning --Jubileeclipman 01:48, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Tony reverted, BTW, and further clarified the meaning. My change reversed the original meaning... --Jubileeclipman 20:27, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Infobox headings

This is 'title'
This is 'above'
Label data

The decision of whether to put infobox headings in the above or title position is an arbitrary one (inconsistent between even similar infoboxes) and often contentious (as seen in, for example Infobox company#Name inside box). I feel we should standardise on one across Wikipedia. I have posted pointers to this discussion in {{Cent}} and on relevant talk pages. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 18:39, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for raising this Andy. I think Infoboxes need to be far more widely discussed and that the guidelines for usage and inclusion need a major overhaul. Any one willing to take that particular can of worms on? (=not me...) --Jubileeclipman 19:36, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think Wikipedia would benefit from standardization in this area. The rare instances in which having a title in the infobox is actually useful, and not redundant with the title immediately above, are probably special enough to warrant the flexibility offered here. Christopher Parham (talk) 20:45, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
You seem to assume that the latter is rarely used; it's not. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 14:27, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "the latter" there. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:27, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
He is probably refering back to his own statement: "...the above or title position..." You said: "The rare instances in which having a title in the infobox..." Thus, "the latter" seems to refer to the caption-element, title, described by Jack Merridew, below --Jubileeclipman 22:11, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

The terms being used here by the infobox template are a bit off; the 'title' is properly a caption-element (caption of the table) while the 'above' is a table-header-element (spanning two columns in this and many cases). Using 'captions' on tables is very good practice from an accessibility and Google-friendliness POV. There are some issues with some browsers and the styling of captions, which is, I believe, much of why they've not been used as much. Note that is is possible to style captions to have borders such that they appear to be inside the box (on good browsers, at least).

I'd be very inclined to support using captions (title) over the th-approach if there are not outright show-stoppers involved. Cheers, Jack Merridew 20:55, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

As a user of the screen reader JAWS, I don't care which one is used, so long as at least one of them is used and if both are used at the same time, they provide complementary information. Graham87 14:20, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Transclude to other MOS/core only

One of the major issues, i've noted with the MOS is that a lot of the MOS will have see also to a other MOS . However these see also will often contradict the MOS its linking to or contradict a point a other MOS see also says is correct . I've done up (a terrible drawing) of how this looks if you map it out .


In the image we have 5 MOS. X the MOS that is being see also linked too

  • MOS Y contradicts X says do X but only when condition yy is met
  • MOS Z contradicts X says do X but Z is more important
  • MOS A contradicts Z and X and says do X but not Z
  • MOS 1 presents the impossible and says do Y,Z,A

I believe if we create a MOS:X/core which contains the core concept of MOS X we can transclude it into Y,Z,A they will no long be able to contradict each other or X see below


Any thoughts? Gnevin (talk) 18:36, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

I read the posts in the history screen first, so I didn't initially see the drawing, but I find that the text you've provided illustrates some of the problems we're dealing with quite well. The plan you're proposing seems sound. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:21, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
User_talk:SlimVirgin/Words_to_watch ,example of how this would work. Notice the use of parameters in User:SlimVirgin/Profanity/core to allow the generic example be more specific if required Gnevin (talk) 13:54, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

En dashes in musical note progression

Should we include an example of musical note progression in the en dash section? Should we warn against using hyphens between musical notes of a progression, as in D-C-A-G-A, and recommend en dashes like this: D–C–A–G–A? Binksternet (talk) 19:34, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Record charts/Billboard charts guide is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Record charts/Billboard charts guide (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Capitalization of religious legal system names

Greetings to all. Capitalization of religious legal system names is uneven and falls in a gray area. Religious law is more than doctrine, dogma or law. Being in some ways indistinguishable from the religions they stem from, special care must be taken with their capitalization. Strictly speaking, capitalization and non-capitalization are bot correct. Wiki MOS is silent on the matter. The internet displays the same ambivalence exhibited in Wikipedia. I am taking my cue from the "Halakha" and "Religious law" articles, which ~tend to capitalize. Common usage tends towards capitalization, while specialized scholars tend to do so less frequently. I personally prefer capitalization, and my particular topic of interest is Sharia. I will add "religious law" to the list of capitalized nouns under "Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines, and their adherents" to clarify this point. The community's support is appreciated in this matter. Aquib (talk) 22:57, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters)#Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines and their adherents.
-- Wavelength (talk) 23:34, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
@Wavelength, yes, thanks, you are correct, this is the section where I intend to add a rule for the capitalization of systems of religious law Aquib (talk) 04:24, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
My opinion on such matters is that when there is doubt we must first consult other style guides to ascertain whether there is a truly correct form. (AP would probably have something referring to s/Sharia.) If the search should show that both forms are common/correct/acceptable, then we should allow users to use either so long as each article is internally consistent. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:52, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
@DF thanks yes this seems like the optimal solution. I have searched Wiki:MOS, can you direct me to AP I'm not familiar with this term and a Wiki search does not turn it up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aquib american muslim (talkcontribs) 14:27, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
The reference is to the Associated Press Stylebook, the standard style guide for many journalists in the United States. It's not available freely online; you either have to subscribe or pay for a hard copy. --Coolcaesar (talk) 15:37, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks CC —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aquib american muslim (talkcontribs) 15:57, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Or you can be sneaky, walk into a bookstore, look up what you want and leave. It's not convenient, but it's free! Also, there are libraries. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:19, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
...another thing that's free is to find a publication, such as a newspaper, known to use the Associated Press style book or the Chicago MoS or whichever, and find how it treats s/Sharia in its articles. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:26, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
@DF haha! yes I've been googling the news outlets and services, wonder if they always follow their own guides, thanks for the tips : ) Aquib (talk) 17:38, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
From second-hand references and style guides based on AP, the AP Style Guide seems silent on the question of capitalization of religious legal systems. A brief survey of online news outlets produced the following results. Note the Jewish religious legal system, Halakha, is not in the news much right now. Also note the sample excluded blogs, comments, headings, titles and quotes on the news sites. Also note my apologies for only including 3 large monotheistic religions; expediency. It is not from a lack of interest in the results we would get from such a survey!!!!!
Org Sharia Canon Halakha
Reuters No pattern No pattern No result
BBC Caps No pattern No pattern
NY Times Most Caps Lower case No result
Fox News No pattern Lower case No result
LA Times Most Caps Lower case No result
There is no consensus in this matter among news organizations, and to a large extent, within the organizations. The capitalization rules for religious legal systems should be added to the MOS list of capitalized nouns under "Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines, and their adherents" as follows: "Capitalization (or non-capitalization) of religious legal systems should be applied consistently across articles." (Thanks DF)
Aquib (talk) 19:16, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
If we wanted it to be consistent across articles, we would first need to choose a consistent style. So far, it seems there is nothing to base such a style on. Also, how much has this issue come up? Maurreen (talk) 19:33, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
@Maureen, hi I am getting ready to clean up the Sharia article. I want to capitalize the word Sharia. I was directed to the MOS, which is silent on this specific subject. I proposed capitalization here, but it was suggested that there is no standard, therefore we should not attempt to enforce one. The alternative is to require "standardization" rather than a capitalization rule. Looking at the usage, I would say a good case could be made for capitalizing the word Sharia, and putting canon in lower case. I don't have enough information on Halakha. Suggestions? Thanks. Aquib (talk) 19:48, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
As far as UK newspaper style guides go, I see the Guardian and Telegraph have lower case and the Times upper. Reuters has lower. Burchfield's revision of Fowler's observes that "present-day use [of capitals] shows wide variation from one publishing house to another, and even within the pages of the same book, newspaper, etc." But may I suggest a couple of other perspectives? First, there's a steady movement in English away from capitals, reflected in the differences of practice between the Guardian and the Times, which has been going on for centuries. Use of lower-case thus appears more modern, while modern use of upper-case emphasises exception and otherness. Second, as sharia is in part a legal code or system (or at least subsumes those concepts), it might be more useful to compare the capitalisation of other legal codes, whether religious or not. From memory, they're only capitalised when based on proper names, so we have Napoleonic and Roman but common, canon and maritime. NebY (talk) 20:30, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you NebY, for your thoughtful reply. Yes, the capitalization of Sharia does seem to be swimming against the tide. I do not expect this issue to be resolved any time soon. The Wiki Islam project is awash is a sea of transliterations. As a borrow from Arabic, just getting the spelling straight is difficult in itself, let alone the concept. I believe "exception" and "otherness" apply here. Aquib (talk) 21:12, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
NebY, I agree that English seems to be moving away from capitalization, but I don't think we should base any Wikipedia rules on anything that we have to extrapolate. Wikipedia should reflect the English that we have, not the one we wish we had or that we might have in ten or twenty years. Right now, usage varies, so right now, we should allow editorial discretion. I guess that means I'm behind allowing lower-case, but I don't think we should require them. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:35, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Darkfrog, I quite agree we shouldn't try to extrapolate - we have enough to think about as it is - and should accept variation between articles. Observing the trend merely helps us to see one reason why style guides differ and might help if we had to choose between them. But there are so many factors. Looking at those UK newspapers, the Guardian's usage is that of a newspaper which likes to be regarded as liberal and modern, while the readership of the Times has a greater preference for traditional and establishment viewpoints; does their capitalisation then just reflect an older practice or also include a subtle suggestion that Sharia's exceptional - that is, alien to the UK? And does the Telegraph's use of lower-case make a right mess of that argument? NebY (talk) 23:07, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The difference may simply be that the Times considers Sharia a proper noun, that is refering to a specific code, while the others consider it more a general category, like canon law (which isn't a proper noun, unless refering to a specific church's code.)oknazevad (talk) 00:33, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

@Okn that is indeed what the word Sharia is; it is a proper noun. It describes a unique entity. It is law based on the sacred texts of Islam. No part of Sharia is in knowing contradiction to the Quran. Aquib (talk) 18:29, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps I have missed the mark. How about the wording: Capitalization (or non-capitalization) of religious legal systems should be applied consistently within articles. Aquib (talk) 19:53, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Capitalization of names of pet goldfish should be applied consistently within articles. Capitalization of titles of articles in the journal Sociology should be applied consistently within articles. Capitalization of iPhone applications should be applied consistently within articles. Why do we need special rules for these cases? What's wrong with the rule that capitalization of all nouns and proper nouns should be consistent within articles? —David Eppstein (talk) 22:15, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
@David yes my latest assertion is that Sharia is a proper noun. Apologies the thread is becoming jumbled. OK I can't help it that just so reminded me of wanda lol. Aquib (talk) 23:06, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
For what it's worth, my copy of the AP Stylebook capitalizes Shariah and Shariat.--Boson (talk) 20:04, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
@Boson Excellent thanks so much. This is the break I have been looking for. I'm back on track now. Would you mind looking up a) "canon" as in canon law, and b) "Halakha" as in Jewish law for me? Aquib (talk) 20:17, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately it doesn't have "Halakha". It has "canon" uncapitalized, meaning "a law or rule, particularly of a church", mainly to explain that it is spelled differently from "cannon" (the weapon). This is, by the way, the 2002 edition. Boson (talk) 18:53, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Boson! Another piece of the puzzle falls into place. Begging additional questions : ) Aquib (talk) 21:54, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
See -- Wavelength (talk) 20:13, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
No, not across articles, within articles. Intra-article (within one) consistency, not inter-article (between many) consistency. The Wikipedia Manual of Style lists internal consistency as general principle number one: An overriding principle is that style and formatting should be consistent within a Wikipedia article, though not necessarily throughout Wikipedia as a whole. Being consistent within an article promotes clarity and cohesion. Therefore, even where the Manual of Style permits alternative usages, be consistent within an article. In practice, this has been taken to mean that inter-article consistency is not required, not even among articles in the same Wikiproject.
I am very, very against the idea of one group of people imposing their personal preferences on others having those preferences made into rules. That is why we should check AP and MoS and MLA and the style guides of reputable sources before adding new rules to the MoS. Leaving commas and periods outside of quotation marks bugs the heck out of me, but, in British English, that's what's correct, so British English articles should be written that way.
[Here] is a search page with NYTimes articles mentioning "Halakha." They capitalize it. Also, if, as Boson has shown us, the AP and other style guides support capitalization for "Sharia," then I can get behind making capital-S in "Sharia" a rule throughout Wikipedia. However, if some capitalize it and some don't, then we should only require that an article pick either "sharia" or "Sharia" and stick with it.
...However, if an enterprising editor were to note that an article was about fifty-fifty s/S, there would be nothing wrong with that editor changing the stragglers to the form that he or she preferred. Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:16, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
@DF thank you for sharing your perspectives on this subject, they will be very helpful to me going forward. I'm going to try to accomplish the cleanups without a formal rule, for now. Regards Aquib (talk) 21:22, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Embedded lists has been marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Embedded lists (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

This is just a slight name change (by Dabomb87), necessary for consistency. But I have proposed there that the page embodies a critical concept concerning the use of lists in WP articles—a concept that might be better dealt with at the main page (WP:LISTS). Tony (talk) 09:28, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Embedded list is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Embedded list (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 13 April 2010 (UTC)


So what's the issue? These auto-notices are tedious and non-informative. :-/ I side somewhat with the contingent that "list" has two radically different meanings here, embedded lists and stand-alone lists, which have largely but not entirely separate guidance, plus further complications like glossaries. The section "Wikipedia:Lists#List articles" mentions several other [alleged] types, though I think it really could be collapsed a bit; looking that over all I see is variants of list article and in-article list (which may be, in either case, lists of episodes, lists of people, glossaries, or whatever, some of which have full-on or nascent guidelines and some of which do not).

The point being: What are the alleged problems, are they legitimate, and what do "we" (i.e., all editors who are interested and involved in the MoS) need to do about them, if anything? What do "we" (same definition) care to do or say? Can specific, actionable issues be raised and resolved? I've been at this over five years now, and I'm frankly getting tired of issues being raised and half-discussed and archived and re-raised and re-hashed and re-archived, and re-re-raised, and [repeat]. Let's just start resolving them. File RFCs if we have to. I don't think it would be a bad thing at all if this page had 5 concurrent RfCs running on it. Just get it done. MoS should be one of the most, not least, stable pages here. We (as in you, me and everyone reading this while it's still fresh) need to make that happen. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 10:57, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Pro and con lists is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Pro and con lists (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Capitalization and animals

You might be interested in Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#WP:BIRD and the Effort to Capitalize "Rhesus Macaques". Maurreen (talk) 20:07, 14 April 2010 (UTC)


'dbe ok i/1articl=tolerans!----pl.note:i'v[[RSI]]>typin=v.v.hard4me!>contactme thruMSNpl.if unclear[sven70=alias (talk) 15:44, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Centre is British spelling, center American; see here. So ideally a given article would only have one or the other, per WP:ENGVAR. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 16:28, 15 April 2010 (UTC)


Do we need all of these really specific MOS pages? There's the one immediately above, for example. I don't have an issue with it or what it says, but... why can't the few unique points that it makes be made here? It seems that there are several mini-MOS pages out there, all attempting to fork off their own little corner of the MOS. Would anyone really object to a good effort to consolidate many of these?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 13:32, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

I sure wouldn't. I remember one of the frustrating things about being a Wikipedia newb was that whenever I was trying to look up rules, I'd find one page that would send me to another page that would send me to another page, sometimes five or six times. I know lots of our fellow denizens consider the MoS to be too big, but it is much, much easier to deal with one big, self-contained page than an unknowable number of small ones least if the big page is well-organized, which this one is. If I could, I'd put all Wikipedia's rules, WP:V, WP:NPOV, WP:OR, all of them, on just two or three easy-to-find pages. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:44, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Yea, that's essentially where I'm coming from on this.
I don't want to appear to be dictating to others what they can work on, in terms of the MOS, of course. So, I plan on setting up a bunch of talk page notices and applying a bunch of merger tags. More importantly though, assuming that this effort generally moves forward, we should establish now that it is OK for individuals and projects to work on their own MOS sub-pages, but that they should also expect the page to be consolidated eventually.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 13:54, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
WP desperately needs to rationalise its MoS subpages. MOSNUM and MoS main would be a good start (I tried six months ago, but it didn't receive the right support). We need WP:WikiProject MoS to take the lead and conduct audits, step by step, on all of the pages. Tony (talk) 14:16, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, I just got started. Feel free to jump in and help out. I wonder if people are generally aware of just how many of these sub-pages we've allowed to build up? sheesh!
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:32, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Terrible idea, there is no way WP:IMOS and WP:FLAG for example could be consolidated here with out creating a massive page that estentially replicates what we have already but just on one page Gnevin (talk) 15:31, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Don't worry about this Gneven. The section you're interested in is at #Alt text.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 16:53, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
No I'm interested in this section also Gnevin (talk) 18:20, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that merging guidelines like WP:FLAG here would be a bad idea as it would bloat the MoS with tons of instructions that are specific to very particular circumstances (but are needed nevertheless). Kaldari (talk) 20:36, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Well, things seem to be continuing on without me, which is always nice! I have some catching up to do here, though... it looks as though all of the discussion is now in the "taskforce" section(s), below.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 13:53, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
I definitely feel the listed pages deserve to be consolidated to this article. Ohms law is right. This is ridiculous to have 10 different pages that really, schould have been here in the first place. I give this idea a big thumbs up! → DiscoLava! 19:53, 6 April 2010 (UTC) ← —Preceding unsigned comment added by DiscoLava (talkcontribs)

Consolidation: Dubious

Organization and normalization is very helpful, but likely we will still want at least a couple different MOS pages to avoid one gargantuan page; example how to break them down, however, should be discussed. --MASEM (t) 14:43, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

No doubt. In my experience though, it's usually helpful to get everything together before breaking it up again, in cases such as this. For one thing it allows everyone to see what is actually duplicated information, and what is really unique. I'm certainly not going to attempt to make pronouncements about sub-pages though. If there is a sensible reason for something to stand apart then I'm all for leaving it apart.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:53, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Do you see getting "everything together before breaking it up again" as a regular cycle that we would have to go through annually, biennially or merely quintennially? Will there be weeks or months during which we have one massive merged document, full of duplications and conflicts that will slowly be eliminated, followed by days or weeks of fresh discussions on how it should be divided up this time? I fear that until the process was completed and the new pages established, we would have a manual that was rather less useful to the general editor than the existing one is. NebY (talk) 16:39, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't. I don't share your fears, at all. Sorry.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 19:55, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Consolidation: Big mistake

Sorry, but I think this is a big mistake. There may be work needed on some of those established detail pages, but the basic structure is entirely sound, reflects best practice in documentation generally (as well as WP:Summary style), and should be left alone—one main, summary article, and a set of detailed ones it refers out to. PL290 (talk) 14:50, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

I think that we actually agree, in a way. I think that I see what you're getting at, but... can you be more specific in regards to your concerns?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:55, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
(ec)I think it's starting the wrong end to say "Do we need all of these really specific MOS pages?" and talk about "consolidation". Things have evolved the way they have for a good reason. There is no general problem that needs a general solution like this, couched in terms that threaten to sweep away the very sensibly established hierarchical document structure. Just lots of little improvements that can be made to any one of the detail articles. Small steps in isolation; business as usual. (BTW, regarding "There's the one immediately above, for example. I don't have an issue with it or what it says, but... why can't the few unique points that it makes be made here?", Johnbod started a thread here before adding it, and there were no objections. I imagine it is destined to develop and grow, and I can't see that it represents a problem. I think he then moved the thread into its own talk page so you may have missed it.) PL290 (talk) 15:12, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
No, it's still above here [2]. Agree with the point - does the main MOS want to have the unique content of say Wikipedia:WikiProject Doctor Who/Manual of style added? Not that this on the main MOS template, which Visual arts now is. Johnbod (talk) 16:59, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I very specifically made an attempt to avoid any "threats to sweep away" anything. Frankly, such accusations sting, considering the fact that I really did attempt to not threaten anything or anyone. Can we try to avoid the posturing and bickering that is often associated with discussions here and work towards coming to a solution that everyone can be happy with?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 15:17, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
No one is accusing, posturing or bickering. Nothing personal, but the suggestion is a big mistake. PL290 (talk) 15:58, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The problem is, I don't see any specific concerns here. "It's a big mistake" isn't exactly informative.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 17:07, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I think PL290 has been has been very informative, answering your original query "Would anyone really object to a good effort to consolidate many of these?" with a clear objection, "... a big mistake .... the basic structure is entirely sound, reflects best practice in documentation generally and should be left alone...." To dismiss this with "I don't see any specific concerns here" will not persuade us that your proposal is sound. NebY (talk) 19:05, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Anyway, my second look at this: How is this page in summary style at all, right now? How would it be possible to make this use summary style? Going in the complete opposite direction is something that I can see as a possibility, but if that's really the way that we want to go then let's do that. The current half-and-half solution is not helping anything.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 19:58, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I think you're right: it is half-and-half at the moment. I've noticed that before. Detail is not only repeated in both places, but sometimes conflicts. To answer your question, "How would it be possible to make this use summary style?", I would suggest we work to identify, on an ongoing basis, those areas which are overburdened with detail here, and to gradually relocate that detail to the detail pages, replacing it here with a summary. I really think there's no one-size-fits-all or big bang solution here, just a gradual case-by-case process driven by a common understanding that that's the way we want to go (if there is indeed general agreement that it is the way we want to go—it has my vote, anyway). PL290 (talk) 20:16, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The issue that I see is within my reply to Art, in the Summary style section below. Considering the close nature of most of the materiel within this (or any other) style guide, I just don't believe that it's possible to truly use a summary → detail framework here.
It seems to me that the issue we're discussing right now: how the current page(s) is(are) half summary and half detail, is a symptom of the disease, rather then being the disease itself. Since all of the ideas within the MOS are so closely related, it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to properly summarize them.
On a slightly different note, I also think that I've managed to run way out ahead of many others, here. I've been simply reading, through both the documents and the talk pages, and thinking about this problem, for about a week now. Looking back now, and considering this thread and a couple below, I think that I probably sprung this on a few of you, rather unexpectedly. I have to admit that not receiving any immediate negative feedback (quite the opposite, actually) probably emboldened me a bit too much, as well. The last thing I want is to start another pointless fight, but after spending the last little while digging through archives I've probably become prepared for one... which may be trying to create one all on it's own. Hopefully we can be patient and collegial about all of this, and work towards a meaningful long term solution. I know that I'm plenty patient, so I'll be here to help do whatever it is we decide to do.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 20:42, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
It's not as if we're starting from scratch: despite our "half-and-half" criticisms and its need of pruning and fixing in some areas, the MoS is essentially in that form already (summary style). I'm not seeing the issue with "close nature" that you cite. Let's put it to the test: is there a particular topic on a detail page that you identify as "extremely difficult, if not impossible, to properly summarize"? Without an example, it's difficult to assess whether "close nature" really exists as a barrier to adopting summary style more fully. PL290 (talk) 21:57, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, let's see. For one type of example, take a good look at Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Capitalization vs. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters). Both state essentially the exact same thing, and I'm a bit at a loss as to how it could be summarized without changing the meaning (we could pretty much cut out all of the subsections here, but since all of the subsections describe specific exceptions or sub-rules, that wouldn't really work out well).
Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Acronyms and abbreviations represents a more "classic" issue, in that Wikipedia:Manual of Style (abbreviations) seems to require large portions of Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Article titles to be restated. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (abbreviations) also seems to be completely missing some points from the main page here, as well.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 22:22, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
"Capitalize words when used as parts of a title, but not when used generically." There are always a labyrinth of exceptions, but a link to more details would make it clear that there's more to the story. Art LaPella (talk) 23:13, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Your example of Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Capitalization vs. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters) is an excellent one for two reasons—see Summary style below where I've taken this up in more detail. PL290 (talk) 09:46, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
From my experience, most editors look to WP:MOS for Wikipedia guidelines. To put every possible guideline in this one article, no matter how neatly it were arranged, would be a difficult task, especially to maintain it. A long drawn-out discussion in one area (remember WP:MOSNUM date linking?) could make it virtually impossible to make simple and agreed-upon changes in other areas. If we were talking about mainspace articles, I don't think we would be suggesting, for example, that there be one article that includes all countries of the world. One of the main benefits of a wiki is that you can have several individual pages efficiently linked together, and I suggest we continue that. I propose a minor improvement to what we currently have. Have WP:MOS be the main repository for basic style guidelines, and have it link to other guidelines (ex: WP:LAYOUT) as it currently does, and expand those links over time so that WP:MOS effectively becomes the parent page that links to most (all?) other guidelines. If someone is then looking for a guideline, they go to WP:MOS and find what they are looking for, either directly on that page or in an easy-to-find wikilink to another page. Truthanado (talk) 00:38, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Not every guideline is a style guide, though. More importantly, this directly hits on the issue which PL290, Art, and I have been discussing. We should pick one system and stick to it. If it's summary style with links to detail, then the whole page should follow. As I said below though, that doesn't seem practical, since that's not the manner in which we develop mainspace articles. That being the case, it's more realistic to have a few large documents then many small ones. Besides that, the "summary-index method" completely ignores the criticism where people have to click 2, 3, or more times in order to get to the information which they are actually looking for. I think that is valid criticism, myself.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 01:17, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, summary style requires 2, 3, or more clicks to get to the information they may or may not be looking for. Remember the alternative is reading through the 155 kilobyte Manual of Style to find that information (admittedly you wouldn't have to read it all, but you know what I mean.) Art LaPella (talk) 04:31, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
That's just it, Art. The MoS is so well-organized that a person can skim through the table of contents and find the relevant information almost immediately. Skipping around from page to page to page takes much longer. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:43, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, I wouldn't say that it's "so well organized", but it's organized enough to make "bring up page, look for relevant section" a practical usage pattern. That really gets back to what I was saying earlier as well, that the content here is closely associated enough that it lends itself to a large page or three (instead of dozens). I mean, everything here is about style. There are many reference books available which use the same basic structure that we're using here as well, which is another important consideration (giving people what they expect tends to help which this sort of thing).
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 16:59, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Consolidation: Visual arts

Your proposal suggests you have not seriously considered how much space what you call the "few unique points" would actually take up if consolidated. The "Text issues" section is almost entirely about specific art matters with material that is not duplicated anywhere else; that alone takes up 2 1/2 screens on my pc. Some of the other sections are more general, but consolidating the whole thing would either mean dropping stuff or taking up several screens-worth. There are over 20 such specialized MOS sub-pages, many longer than this one. The suggestion is a non-starter. Johnbod (talk) 15:02, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

(ec)Please don't make assumptions. I'm very much aware of how much space is, or at least may be, required. Do you have a specific concern though, or just a general objection to the whole idea?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 15:06, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Can you point to the "Text issues" section, please? There's no such section on the MOS page (which is where we are right now), as far as I can see. I assume that you're here from a specific sub-page?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 15:14, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I was of course using your example of Wikipedia:Manual of Style (visual arts). Johnbod (talk) 15:19, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Ah, of course. Sorry. I haven't actually looked at that page (aside from a brief glance, earlier). The notification here, along with a minor incident elsewhere, are what started my thinking about all of this, is all. I didn't mean to single out the visual arts page as being particularly problematic, or anything like that. I'm more concerned about the actual forks of the main MOS rather then the subject specific guidelines (see the {{Mergeto}} that I've added this morning, for examples). Generally though, I do wonder if the subject specific guides couldn't fit in here, someplace. They're probably more likely to need a specific page then others are, but still...
For example, just as an off the cuff thought, what about retaining the truly unique points on "(visual styles)" and then using Transclusion to show that page within a section on the MOS? That way, the page itself is very specific to the subject while avoiding the need to repeat things already stated here.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 15:37, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Ah, so my "assumption", which you just criticised, was entirely correct! What section within the MOS, and how would that help anything? Johnbod (talk) 16:00, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
If by "my assumption" you're limiting your comments here to the visual arts page, then yea, sure. As I said, I wasn't specifically thinking about that page directly. This whole sub-thread of discussion seems to be predicated on a simple misunderstanding of the issue.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 17:04, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Well you chose that example, which I think is a good one for illustrating why this suggestion is not practical. So my comments also address the general issue. Johnbod (talk) 18:27, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Consolidation: Policy

I wouldn't be opposed to limited consolidation, but I've seen a policy tagged for consolidation (we can't incorporate a policy into a guideline), and one page that recently had guideline status removed. So long as we were careful not to extend the MoS's remit, and not to downgrade or upgrade any consolidated page, I'd support the proposal. As things stand, there are too many pages for people reasonably to keep an eye on, yet they all have guideline status, often only because of their link to the MoS. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 16:57, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Which page?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 17:07, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The policy page was the image use one, which you've fixed, and the page that's had guideline status removed is the alt text one. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 19:56, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
As you said, I pulled the merge proposal from the image use policy page already. Are you concerned with the alt text one as well?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 20:11, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Consolidation: Summary style

I like "summary style". I wish we used it. What we often have instead is an allegedly detailed page that often has little more information than the parent page. In those cases, consolidation would be preferable to what we have. The ideal would be a parent page that really summarizes the rest of the information, rather than restating most of it. There would be a much shorter introductory page, with links to all of the existing information in the detail pages. Art LaPella (talk) 17:25, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Agree. So, far from consolidation of detail to the main page, it would be a question of, on a case-by-case basis, identifying what detail ought really to be relocated off it to a detail page. PL290 (talk) 17:34, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Agree with that, somewhat. I think what we need to do is look at this page as, not MOSMAIN, but MOSGENERAL, that is, the material here should be general English usage, style and grammar that could easily turn up in any article, while the subpages should be limited to specialist topics. Some of the subpages on grammar seem, upon first glance, to go into excessive detail better suited for the article that covers the development of the usage. oknazevad (talk) 18:44, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Who the Hell needs instruction about "Uncalibrated (bce) radiocarbon dates". The main page of the MOS should contain the stuff which affects (say) more than 50% of all articles, and which all (or most) editors will want to know. More specific things which nevertheless affect a substantial fraction (say 10%) of all articles, and which "general" readers will need to look up once in a while, can go in the MoS subpages; really esoteric stuff which only affects articles on a narrow range of topics and which most editors will never ever need to look up throughout their WP careers belongs to WikiProject subpages. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 11:39, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Who decides these percentages. Is the WP:IMOS a 10% MOS, is it higher or lower? Gnevin (talk) 17:00, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Well under 10%, because Ireland isn't 10% of the world by any measure, considering that I didn't find anything at IMOS about Irish-Americans, and that many articles aren't even limited to a specific country. But of course there would be doubtful cases. The idea presupposes that we would agree on easy cases (including Ireland in my opinion), and agree not to argue too much about doubtful cases. Art LaPella (talk) 17:31, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I though we where talking about 10% of articles not the world but Irish articles would probably be closer to 1% but they would be more controversial than maybe 80% of other articles. Taking article like the IMOS out of the MOS name-space would damage its creditability Gnevin (talk) 17:40, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I generally agree until you got to "... name-space would damage its creditability". It says "WikiProject subpages", so assuming links to those projects are in place, why does the namespace matter so much? Art LaPella (talk) 19:29, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
In agreement here. As I was saying earlier, the idea that position imparts any authority is incorrect on it's face.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 21:01, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the thinking here as well, in most cases. In the case of the MOS specifically, howver, the information is so closely tied together that we can't help but to restate many points. Any "Manual of Style" needs to be coherent, which means that it's generally better to keep it all together.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 19:46, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I would write my own summary if I thought it would be adopted. Examples of what I have in mind: "Article titles and section headings should be chosen carefully. For details, [link]. Religious terms are generally capitalized. For details, [link]. Some words should be hyphenated, and some should have dashes, of which there are two kinds. For details, [link]. Although there are many exceptions, single digits should often be replaced with words. For details, [link]. ..." Art LaPella (talk) 21:55, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
so, you're picturing something more like an index (within prose), rather then having any real detail here at all?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 22:26, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, we already have a Table of Contents. I'll try again: "Hyphens are used to distinguish between words, to link certain prefixes, and to link related terms in compound adjectives and adverbs ..." Those are already in subheadings, but not in the Table of Contents. In general, levels of summary should be roughly equally spaced – that is, one should be 8 times as long as the last one, and 7 times shorter than the next one; not 50 times followed by 1.3 times. Art LaPella (talk) 23:02, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Right... I get it, I fairly certain, but the vocabulary is a bit lacking here... The problem that I see there is maintaining such a structure. There's a fairly well worn pattern here that people look to one page, primarily. I mean, that's the way we treat regular articles, so doing something different here would be tough for many to understand. Actually, I'd rather go in that direction then in the consolidation direction, but practically speaking, I just don't see it happening.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 00:09, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand "one page ... that's the way we treat regular articles". For instance, World War II links to many subarticles, such as World War II#Aftermath: That's an example of the model I have in mind. Art LaPella (talk) 04:24, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

This seems like the model that I'd use. In most cases, I wouldn't delete/redirect the subpages, though, since having a venue for providing details is useful in itself. Croctotheface (talk) 08:06, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

User:Ohms law's example further up the page, Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Capitalization vs. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters), is an excellent one for two reasons. Firstly, it confirms the reality and extent of the duplication between the MoS and its sub-articles, meaning we must take that seriously and address it as part of this exercise. Secondly, and more interestingly, it shows we must look at the TOC here, not just an individual sub-article, to see at what level to create summaries. This TOC is vast and unwieldy (to all intents and purposes unusable at almost 3 full pages in length), and I believe the summarization should start right there. Chopping out all but the level 2s, this is the current TOC:

 1 General principles
 2 Article titles, headings, and sections
 3 Capital letters
 4 Acronyms and abbreviations
 5 Italics
 6 Non-breaking spaces
 7 Quotations
 8 Punctuation
 9 Geographical items
 10 Chronological items
 11 Numbers
 12 Units of measurement
 13 Common mathematical symbols
 14 Simple tabulation
 15 Grammar
 16 Images
 17 Bulleted and numbered lists
 18 Links
 19 Miscellaneous

That is more like a usable TOC. It's also more like the list of sections I think this document should limit itself to, without subsections. Just high-level concepts, with each of those sections itself identifying any applicable sub-concepts, summarizing and linking to them. (It seems to me that even some of these "high-level" entries are in fact too low-level to appear there; Capital letters is perhaps one of them, and could be grouped along with two or three other low-level items under some more general heading.) PL290 (talk) 09:46, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Consolidation: Example

As a concrete example, I've created Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Clarity, which combines Wikipedia:Avoid neologisms, Wikipedia:Avoid peacock terms, Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words and Wikipedia:Explain jargon, and is transcluded onto the page here.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 17:10, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

I am severely opposed to using transclusions for regular running prose. It makes it unnecessarily difficult to make changes, especially editing out minor errors such as typos and misspellings. I also think using the active page to demonstrate is a really bad idea. I'm going to revert that change.oknazevad (talk) 18:37, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
This I understand, because I generally have the exact same reservations and objections as you're expressing here. I've spoken out against using this exact same method myself, before. However... in this particular, limited use case, I think that it's worth thinking about. Using actual sub-pages which are transcluded onto the main MOS page makes significantly more sense to me then trying to maintain several completely separate pages which are only related by the understanding of readers.
Interestingly, you're reversion of the demo edit illustrates another huge benefit. The "editing out typos" criticism is simply misplaced, and contradicted by your own statement, since it's actually easier to maintain and edit the sub-page then it is to attempt to keep everything straight on either one huge page or many separate pages.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 19:41, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

For a better (as in, less controversial) example. Since nobody was watching the page (less than 30, at least), and nobody had touched either the page or the talk page in over a year, I've converted Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Blazon to be a transcluded sub-page. I also took the opportunity to fix the style and language of the page itself, since it was terribly written (where it was actually written, rather then being forced into a bullet list style...). Again, I understand and sympathize with the general reasons not to use this pattern, but in this particular instance it makes sense, to me. There are things that can be done to make editing the specific sub-pages easier, by providing special links for example, if there is serious concerns about accessibility.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 21:39, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Merge request: WP:Clarity

I'm in sympathy with the general idea that some of the style guide pages could be consolidated, but I'm afraid this one is a bit over-ambitious: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Clarity. The weasel and peacock guidelines have very little to do with Clarity, myself I think they're closer to being warning signs that an author's POV has compromised the neutrality of the writing. Some time back, I attempted to write a guideline that combined the two issues: User:DoomSandbox.
Also, you should be aware that some of us are of the opinion that the "weasel words" guideline has severe problems. See Wikipedia_talk:Avoid_weasel_words.
On the subject of tranclusive linking, I'm afraid I just don't see the point. It's an additional complication that doesn't really gain us enough to justify using it. -- Doom (talk) 23:24, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Heya, Doom. I didn't think you were still active! Face-smile.svg
Regarding the /Clarity page, you're probably correct. I'm perfectly willing to admit that I had similar misgivings, myself. I've always wondered why the Peacock and Weasel word pages were separate, but that's a bit of a different subject (along with the concerns about Weasel wording itself). Still, you've gotta admit that jargon, neologisms, pecockery, and weasel word usage are fairly similar topics. My original thinking was to actually combine them in a completely new section, but the existing Clarity section kind of caught my eye for some reason. Anyway, the particulars aren't that important, to me. (By the way, I think that your combined summation in User:DoomSandbox is excellent, aside from some really minor quibbles)
In terms of transclusion... personally, I hate it in general, outside of template usage of course. However, if it's going to be used anywhere, I don't see a better place then here. One of the things that people complain about quite a bit here is the size of the page, which is what utilizing transclusion could help with. Still, I'm certainly willing to leave that idea behind, it's simply making sense to me, at the moment at least.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 00:54, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Is this the right place to register my objection to the proposal to merge WP:PEACOCK to any other page? PEACOCK needs to be on its own because it is often used to alert editors in general, or a particular editor, that some text has peacock problems. Linking to a section within a larger style guide is just not sufficiently helpful. Also, the peacock image is extremely helpful to quickly illustrate the point. See links to peacock from pages and links from user talk pages. Johnuniq (talk) 06:36, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
While I would see no problem with renaming WP:Clarity to something that more people feel accurately describes its content, I support the merge. Because this is a writing style issue (rather than punctuation or images or grammar), we should create a new section for such, perhaps between Grammar and Images.
I feel that Johnuniq's concern, maintaining WP:Peacock as a yellow card for flowery editors, could be addressed by making sure that WP:Peacock redirects to the MoS in such a way that the Peacock section is right at the author's eye level. That shouldn't be too hard to do. I would also have no objection to keeping the peacock image. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:30, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Just to pile on here a little bit, I don't see the authority of guidance, such as that given by Wikipedia:Avoid peacock terms, deriving from the fact that it's on it's own page at all. Its not authoritative due to any labels, it's location, or any sort of pronouncements. It is authoritative because it's good advice, pure and simple.
These discussions quite often seem to become sidetracked over questions of authority, similar to this. The arguments that someone or other is seeking to impinge the authority of some position or other is purely a red herring. What's worse, such thinking is preventing our policy documents from improving, as they should continuously be doing. The stagnation which has been developing within the Wikipedia namespace over the past couple of years is causing a large contingent of the community to (rightly) just ignore the whole mess. That's no way to keep a community going.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 17:12, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
PS.: adding the picture to the page is easy enough. WP:SOFIXIT, anyone? Face-smile.svg
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 17:16, 28 March 2010 (UTC)indent
(Arrived here from WP:WEASEL, where I saw the proposed-merge banner and groaned) I strongly oppose merging WEASEL (and, while I'm at it, PEACOCK). The issues those guidelines address are fundamentally ones of content, not style. Rivertorch (talk) 14:35, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I am currently attempting to trim, tweak, rationalise the content of weasel words and peacock (and neologisms) and to write them into their own subsections within the new WP:W2W (Words to watch) draft, which is a sandbox in Slim's userspace. Johnuniq, I wonder why peacock isn't every bit as effective within this umbrella guideline; indeed, won't more editors be exposed to it if these four pages with similar goals are united into one convenient page? Tony (talk) 16:22, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Tony, Ohms, do you think it would be clearer for people if we were to remove the merger proposal tags now? I suspect Rivertorch's reaction is understandable, given the means by which he has been introduced to the proposed changes: a "merge to main MoS" proposal tag, leading to a "do we really need all these sub-pages" section. Perhaps the tags should now be removed, or at least their "discuss" links updated to point to something more current about the taskforce? PL290 (talk) 20:39, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to downgrade the Image use POLICY to a style guideline


Ohms has proposed to merge the WP:Image use policy into the MoS. In effect, this is a proposal to eliminate Wikipedia's primary (only?) policy specifically dealing with images, and to bloat the MoS with non-stylistic information, such as how to deal with non-free images and whether images of patients entering a medical facility unreasonably intrude on the patients' privacy (in the absence of their consent, of course).

Whatever the merits of the other merge proposals, I think this one should be removed from the list of considerations. A WP:POLICY is not a style guide. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:50, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Significant agreement. The policy is such because it gives incredibly important guidance on copyright rules and issues. I should not be merged. Period.oknazevad (talk) 18:30, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Rationalising the MoS mess: Take II

Dear colleagues, as I've said above, thanks to Ohms for the Blazon experiment. However, we need a careful game-plan if we are to tackle the weeping, pustulating mess of style-guide pages in WP, for the sake of editors, readers, and the project as a whole.

In my view, these are the bare bones of a strategy:

  1. Ask the developers about maximum page size: how big is too big for MOSMAIN? Would collapsible show/tell sections help users with slow connections or would the use of such devices make no difference to page loading/navigation?
  2. Change the rule at Category style guide to establish a proper application process for candidate style guides (there seems to be a waterfall of them, out of anyone's control).
  3. Develop a schedule for all style-guide pages to be copy-edited and audited for structure and content and relationship to other style-guide pages.
  4. Get a team together to conduct the audit to a schedule, with a view to determining which style guides should be merged into which, including into MOSMAIN. The relationship between MOSNUM and MOSMAIN would be at the top of my list.

IMO, there are two reasons for rationalisation: ease of consultation by editors; second, proper, professional management and coordination.

I am keen to explore the idea of establishing a managing committee to oversee this huge, complex beast—both its auditing and rationalisation in the short- to medium term, and its management in the long term. I would even be willing to explore the possibility of electing such a committee, such is our dire need for reform. WP:BAG seems to have a tightly conceived committee process; so does WP:WikiProject Military History. Why are the style guides left to self-degrade?

No one seems to take WP:WikiProject Manual of Style seriously, so perhaps we need to make a start here. Tony (talk) 10:38, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

As for point 1, WP:SIZERULE seems reasonable. (Typically, "readable prose" is about half the size of wikicode in articles, but for WP:MOS – which doesn't have that many citation footnotes – it is more than that.[3]) FWIW, when I run out of credit in the SIM card in my Internet dongle, so that I have to fall back onto a dial-up connection, the browser typically fails to fully load this talk page about one third of the times.) AFAICT show/hide sections don't help, because they are fully loaded by the browser anyway and hidden by a Javascript. (With the dial-up connection, I can see all such sections expanded as the pages loads and only collapsing themselves after the page is fully loaded.) ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 12:02, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Hans Adler's "core concept"

The following shouldn't be so hard to implement and doesn't require a huge planning effort:

(These will be in addition to existing level 1 guidelines such as WP:Manual of Style (capital letters), WP:Manual of Style (abbreviations), WP:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) etc.)
  • Organise the more specific guidelines as a tree to keep the number of them that need to be discussed here relatively small. I.e. some guidelines will become level 2 guidelines and will only be mentioned at level 1 guidelines. (There may still be a complete overview on each MOS page, but it should be organised as a tree.)
  • Each level 1 guideline contains its own summary as it appears on the main MOS page. This summary is transcluded.
  • WP:WPMOS is dead, for an obvious reason: Its discussion page is hardly ever used because all discussion about the MOS happens here. This page has 1176 watchers; WP:MOS has 51. Once MOS has been restructured as above, there isn't much left to do on the present page and after a while the noise will go down considerably. At that point redirect WT:WPMOS here. Then all 1176 watchers will automatically be updated about the WPMOS discussions. Hans Adler 13:11, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Here is a summary of WP:Manual of Style (abbreviations) as an example of what I have in mind:


We used digital scanning (DS) technology produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). We applied the technology while working for the World Union of Billiards. The required software was delivered electronically and fit on approximately two CD-ROMs. It was paid for by the World Union of Billiards.

Abbreviations are normally defined before their first use, are not used unnecessarily (fit on approx. two CD-ROMs), are not made up by Wikipedia editors (was paid for by the WUB), and form their plurals without an apostrophe (CD-ROM's). When to use periods (full stops) is a complex question, especially in the case of "U.S."/"US". Abbreviations of units of measures are discussed in a different guideline, see WP:Manual of Style (dates and numbers).

Hans Adler 13:49, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that's my view, too. I wrote the current WP:MOS#Currencies as a summary of the corresponding section at WP:MOSNUM, for example. (But I think that three levels would normally be overkill; hopefully, two would suffice in almost all cases.) ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 15:18, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
If you don't count the top level (the MOS itself, what I call level 0), then we agree. But I really think something like WP:Manual of Style (Latter Day Saints) or WP:Manual of Style (road junction lists) shouldn't be summarised and linked from the main MOS but only from one level lower, so they would have to be on level 2. Hans Adler 15:24, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I'd keep such specialized info in WikiProjects' pages, the way WP:MUSTARD (which affects many more articles than those two combined) is. But ultimately that would not make much difference. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 15:38, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
All this will lead to is a MOS that is Jack_of_all_trades,_master_of_none. There are to many distinct issues that just can't be dealt with in 1 document. There may be a case of some MOS's overlapping with each other and merges there but a up merge into a centralised MOS or several MOS's just can't work Gnevin (talk) 15:42, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Regarding MoS document structure, Hans Adler's approach accords entirely with my own. That includes this specific point about levels of document at which to summarize and link sub-levels. Regarding Tony's proposal, category control seems only sensible, given the centrality of MoS to WP; and I have no particular comment about the committee/planning/schedule idea, but I can quite see that that could well be the appropriate development unless we reach compelling agreement here about document structure. I think maximum page size is a red herring, and should not be relevant to our starting point. This summary-style approach lends itself naturally to a main page which does not approach any such maximum size. PL290 (talk) 16:27, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree, and I'd love to take this sort of approach as well. The main issue that I see is that the current structure we are utilizing is inadequate for the task, which is why I posted the "Book" idea to kick around, below. As I hope is clear by now, I'm not particularly married to any one organizational concept, as long as the primary issue is addressed. Namely, the organizational failings for the current MOS structure.
I'm also not opposed to the "committee/planning/schedule idea", but I'm not particularly supportive of it either. If it helps then great, but if it's just going to get in the way... I don't really know the answer to that, but I'm willing to listen.
I do think that article size ought to be considered, but that it should be considered later on. Calling it a "red herring" seems like a bit of an overstatement, but it certainly shouldn't be a central consideration to the fundamental organizational decisions. There are means to deal with size issues that, while they do require some work, are manageable.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 21:32, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I think the trick here is to do the consolidation one level lower, i.e. with what I call the level 1 MOS subpages. We need a clear structure with only a few of them that bundle everything else. Anything detailed that is now in the MOS can gradually move to the level 1 subpages, and they can be cleaned up independently.
By the way, I mentioned transclusion above, but in my opinion that's a minor point. I was thinking of that because in the past we had problems with subpages and their summaries sometimes evolving in different directions until they contradicted each other. If we can identify/create an intelligent set of level 1 subpages with clearly defined, non-overlapping responsibilities, then each can be authoritative for what it covers. Beginning it with a short summary that can be transcluded by the main MOS page is merely a way of ensuring consistency by technical means, but once the MOS has a structure that everybody understands that may not be necessary any more. Hans Adler 22:16, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I also think a consolidation is long overdue. In fact, I find the current family so cumbersome and confusing that I find myself going around in circles literally trying to find the exact passage which interests me that I often leave unsatiated. I tend to think that this is infinitely closer to what most of us need from the manual of style. Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:03, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

The MOS as a tree

The above list is an overview over all pages of the form WP:Manual of Style (X) that are not redirects. If such a page is not actually an official part of MOS (typically because it was rejected or abandoned before inclusion), then I have still included it but put it in parentheses and italics. I have sorted the pages into the following five criteria: region & religion, subject areas, language, Wikipedia infrastructure, miscellanea. Hans Adler 16:53, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

There's a MoS for poker, but no MoS for card games in general? That's weird. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 18:44, 28 March 2010 (UTC)


Here's a crazy thought: We should move the whole of the Manual of Style to become a book on Wikibooks.

I know that's likely impractical, but I at least wanted to throw the idea out there. I think that quite a bit of our current debate here revolves around the problem that we're artificially constrained right now. More realistically, we could ask for a namespace to be created specifically for the MOS. That would certainly have it's own utility.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 17:34, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

What constraint? What utility? Will people be more likely to read something called a "book" than something that's already almost long enough to be a book? Art LaPella (talk) 18:06, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
You said it yourself: the MOS is alredy long enough to be a book. And yet, we've managed to force it into a few dozen pages. That's mostly what all of this is about, that we're trying to deal with cramming all of the content needed for a good MOS into an inadequate structure. It's a mess because it simply doesn't fit into the mold we're trying to force it into. (Besides, any manual of style is a reference work. Reference works are to be read as needed; their not intended for someone to sit down and take tem in cover to cover. Nobody would seriously talk about reading Wikipedia, World Book, or Britannica "cover to cover", after all.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 21:08, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
You know, now that I really look, there's already a pseudo-namespace in use for the Manual of Style. They're all shortcuts, but the list is available through this search. All we really need to do is formalize that by moving all of the MOS pages to, for example: Manual of Style:Dates and numbers, or Manual of Style:Main page (for this page), etc... Getting an actual namespace added (along with an actual pseudo-namespace) would be nice, but it's not an absolute prerequisite to get started.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 01:27, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't quite follow you on this one, Ohms. 1. What do you believe are the shortcomings of the current format? 2. How do you think that turning the MoS into a Wikibook would solve these problems?
I can see how a regular paper book would be helpful (if there were some way that we could get it into everyone's hands). A person can pick up a real book and see right away how big and detailed it is and get a general feel for how much information it holds—the main shortcoming of our current pseudosystem of decentralized webpages. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:37, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
What might actually make things easier to find is an index (not for a book, just for here as a subpage maybe). Johnbod (talk) 04:23, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Hans's tree: I like it, but I wonder how it can help. The hard-copy book idea is crazy! :-) Johnbod's INDEX idea is the best thing I've heard all year. If skilfully constructed, it could be the first port of call for editors, and would enable us to keep tabs on everything more efficiently. The hard yards are in auditing all of the pages, even if we develop a good index. I want to hear that my colleagues here are will to put the work into it. I am certainly willing to volunteer to audit and report back on a set of subpages, as well as to help construct an index. Tony (talk) 13:11, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm ready to help with indexing, though I suppose we need to let everything else settle first. Keeping it up to date is likely to be the main problem. Johnbod (talk) 22:27, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    • My tree was just meant as a structured inventory of the mess we have now. See below for my concrete proposal what to do with it. Hans Adler 17:42, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Straw poll: shrink, grow, or neither

The above discussion has shown that there's quite a lot of interest in overhauling this MoS page. As to document structure, two fundamental approaches have been identified:

  • Shrink: this main MoS page should continue to act as a springboard from which all style guide detail information is accessed, but the main page should contain far less detail itself.
  • Grow: this main MoS page should expand to include all required style guide detail which is at present on sub-pages, and the sub-pages should be scrapped.

I would like to gauge opinion about which of these basic approaches we should adopt. I think it will be helpful if we try to locate any further substantive discussion in other sections outside the straw poll. Let's just consider this fundamental choice here. Please indicate your preference by signing under one of the three headings below (shrink, grow, or neither).

Straw poll: shrink, grow, or neither: Shrink

"This main MoS page should continue to act as a springboard from which all style guide detail information is accessed, but the main page should contain far less detail itself."

  • There's little point in loading such a big page straight away. A summary page would be a much more helpful route to get to the right detail. This structure reflects best practices for documentation generally.PL290 (talk) 08:37, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • As I have demonstrated in my draft for a section #Abbreviations, the main MOS page can shrink a lot and still contain all the information that is important and easy to explain. With a reasonable set of clearly defined subpages, all instructions that (1) are needed only in rare cases, (2) are hard to explain, or (3) are under active debate can be delegated to the relevant subpage.
The main MOS page should serve as a document that an editor can read completely in order to understand the general principles and the most important details, and as an index to the more detailed subpages that we can look up once a problem arises. Each subpage can then try to be complete and avoid sub-subpages as far as possible.
Where subpages do overlap (e.g. problems of text highlighting caused by the Saxon genitive could fall under typography or grammar), one of the subpages should take responsibility, and the other should link to it wherever it makes sense.
What we don't need is (1) a big MOS page that discusses arcane details at length just because they fall into the same broad category as some crucial information that needs discussion on the main MOS page, (2) excessive duplication between the MOS and its subpages, leading to inconsistencies, or (3) a big mess in which nobody knows whether to look for something on the main MOS page or on the more specific subpage. Hans Adler 12:52, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I think we can direct traffic to specific information more efficiently with multiple pages, like Wikipedia:Tutorial, than by including everything on one monstrous page. But either plan would be an improvement over subpages with little more information than the section they are intended to explain. Art LaPella (talk) 17:49, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Definitely think shrink and split stuff out is the way to go rather than jumble it all in one place. -DJSasso (talk) 21:18, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Definitely needs to shrink. For newbies, the current page is probably the most daunting of all the guideline pages - I don't know how many times I have just given up scrolling through it all, not knowing whether I have missed what I am looking for, or whether it is still buried down there somewhere. This page would be much more useful if it contained nothing specific at all, and was composed of an index to the actual guidelines which were held in organised and structured sub-pages. (Another user mentioned levels of data above, but even this talk page is so humungous that I can't find that again either). I would rather have to burrow down a series of linked indices, knowing that I will get to what I am looking for eventually, than continue to be faced with the current War and Peace MOS that we have now. --Haruth (talk) 09:54, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Straw poll: shrink, grow, or neither: Grow

"This main MoS page should expand to include all required style guide detail which is at present on sub-pages, and the sub-pages should be scrapped."

  • Limited grow: There are too many subpages, and this makes finding rules frustrating. It is not at all friendly to new or inexperienced editors. All content related to punctuation, grammar, style, correct English, proper English (such as GNL) and general good writing practices should be included here at our current, newb-friendly level of detail.
    However, not all of the subpages are appropriate for inclusion in this MoS. Subpages that apply only to specific, easy-to-identify projects may serve the Wikipedia community better if they remain separate. We can reasonably expect that by the time a Wikipedia editor has enough experience to join a project, he or she already feels reasonably confident about Wikipedia's basic-article rules. AdM's "Does it affect more than 50% of our articles?" might be a good rule of thumb to follow. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:20, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Straw poll: shrink, grow, or neither: Neither

"This main MoS page should neither shrink by moving detail off it to its sub-pages, nor grow by moving all the detail here and scrapping the sub-pages."

  • If "neither" can mean "both", then this is the way to go. I don't know what we're hoping to achieve through a straw poll. This hardly seems like an issue where we must pick one direction or another. Are we trying to polarize everyone into making an either/or choice? If so, why?
    Anyway, We can have fewer large pages, but still break the entirety of the Manual into separate, reasonably sized, pages. I like the index idea myself, as long as we can keep the amount of click through to a reasonable level.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 13:47, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • The subpages exist for a reason. Because we have to deal with every possible situation in every culture (and every hairbrained idea you can imagine on how an article should be written), we need specific guidelines that cover a lot of ground. Please leave things how they are. The guidelines work fine in their current organization. Kaldari (talk) 20:33, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • 'Temporarily - until all the topics have been stabilise and in most cases reduced in size. --Philcha (talk) 22:56, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Hans Adler's post above is good. Plus: shrinking can be done on a number of levels. Do you mean (1) scope; (2) number of examples; (3) fluff? My Beginners' guide to the MoS, which by now needs a little updating, is not much more than 40% of the size of this elephant, with little reduction in scope, but significant reductions in the number of examples and the fluff. People couldn't agree on adopting its economical style here, which is a pity. If, by shrinking, you refer to the MoS mess outside this page: please, keep the Taskforce going, support it, participate in the rationalisation effort. This page needs to remain as the central anchor, though. I don't even mind if it grows a little if that's the only way we can remove some of the outlying pages from the MoS category. Tony (talk) 10:02, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

merge of Wikipedia:Alternative text for images

My opinion is that this should not be merged into MOS. Firstly, only a few people are interested in it. Secondly, there is still dispute over what it should say. Tuxedo junction (talk) 18:01, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

OK, a couple of questions for you. If only a few people are interested, then why does it need its own page? If there's dispute over what it should say, should it say anything at all? Assuming that it should, again, why couldn't what it should say be said alongside everything else which should be discussed regarding images?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 21:14, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
My understanding is that the dispute has ground to a halt on Wikipedia talk:Alternative text for images with no resolution. This is a matter that must be decided upon, as it is U.S. law that alt text be used, as part of the disability statutes. But perhaps we are not ready yet to settle upon the exact parameters. Tuxedo junction (talk) 21:27, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Its US law that alt text must be used?!? Says who? Does that mean that if I remove alt text from some article, the FBI will come barging through my door and arrest me?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 21:54, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Not according to Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Is there more to the story? Art LaPella (talk) 22:28, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Hey, cool, look at that: we actually have an article on section 508. Go figure! (I would like to mention that I'm all for the use of alt text, and other accessibility functions, where appropriate. Attempts to induce moral panic, and the introduction of pure hyperbole, do nothing but hurt actual progress in accessibility, however.)
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 23:09, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Agree that Wikipedia:Alternative text for images should not be merged into MOS, as WP:ALT will need a long list of examples: long and short ones; how the text for the same image can depend on the situation; etc. --Philcha (talk) 22:39, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Disused Glyphs and Ligatures SHOULD be changed or MAY be changed?

We're trying to figure out if long "S"es should be modernized at Talk:Wife_selling#Long_s_in_quotations. How does the Manual of Style address the issue? The relevant portion of the MOS is this:

Although the requirement of minimal change is strict, a few purely typographical elements of quoted text should be conformed to English Wikipedia's conventions without comment. This practice of conforming typographical styling to a publication's own "house style" is universal. Allowable typographical alterations include these: ... Disused glyphs and ligatures in old texts may be modified according to modern practice (see Ampersand, below)....

I think this means the change SHOULD occur. But someone else thinks this means the change MAY occur, but that it's not necessary (up to his discretion). Clarification is appreciated!--Rsl12 (talk) 21:38, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

The expression "a few purely typographical elements of quoted text should be conformed" does not specify which ones should be conformed.
The expression "Disused glyphs and ligatures in old texts may be modified" does specify which ones may be modified.
Therefore, I understand that long esses may be modified. -- Wavelength (talk) 00:55, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
My own opinion, separate from the wording of the MoS, is that if average readers would not know what the symbol means, then it is should be updated. One of the (secondary) reasons that Wikipedia prefers double quotes to single is to keep the reader from "tripping" over apostrophes. Modern English readers will do more than trip over an unfamiliar glyph. German has a symbol that stands for "ss" but looks like a capital B. We do not use it on the assumption that most Wikipedia readers will not know what it means. When in doubt, put the reader first. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:49, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
If we should interpret the MOS to mean "may", then under what circumstances? A little more guidance would be appreciated.--Rsl12 (talk) 14:23, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd say "When the particular choice of glyphs is irrelevant to the point of the quotation." ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 14:37, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately, we're still having trouble reaching concensus at Talk:Wife_selling#Long_s_in_quotations. A more definitive answer from the MOS would help set the matter straight very quickly. Should long "s"es be modernized when quoting? If the answer is "it depends", then under what circumstances? --Rsl12 (talk) 16:22, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

More specifically, we have the following situation at Wife selling:
  • A text from 1768 is quoted with normal modern typography.
  • A text from 1797 is quoted with long s.
Presumably the 1768 text was also originally printed with long s, but it is quoted after a 1929 edition. The 1797 text is quoted after the original edition. It has been claimed that changing long s to normal s would be tampering with the source, and it has been claimed that the inconsistency between the two quote boxes is not an intra-article inconsistency. Hans Adler 16:40, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

nbsp in a link

WP:NBSP recommends Boeing 747, but what about [[Boeing 747]]? Somehow Boeing 747 is blue and functional as a link, but does it work for everyone's operating systems? Art LaPella (talk) 04:39, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

"If it ain't broke don't fix it." Is it failing for anyone? — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:27, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
It yields the HTML
<a href="/wiki/Boeing_747" title="Boeing 747">Boeing&#160;747</a>
which ought to work anywhere. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 13:37, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes it works because, unlike other characters illegal in page-titles, the wikilinks silently will replace U+00A0 NO BREAK SPACE and U+0020 SPACE by U+005F LOW LINE in the url while leaving the inner (visible, clickable) text untouched. Also hand-written urls containing either kind of space, // or //, will 301-redirect to // ―AoV² 22:29, 16 April 2010 (UTC)


WP:MOS#Non-breaking spaces says "A non-breaking space (also known as a hard space) is recommended ... in other places where displacement might be disruptive to the reader (£11 billion ...)". So my AWB software generalizes that example to insert a nbsp into variations like $7.5 trillion (obviously) and 3 million (not so obviously because there's no currency symbol). Is that what was intended? "[W]here displacement might be disruptive to the reader" doesn't help explain it, because if we already knew when displacement might (allegedly) be disruptive, then we wouldn't need the guideline. Art LaPella (talk) 05:53, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Most articles I′ve seen grossly over-use these. The lack of visible space between &nbsp;£11&nbsp;billion&nbsp; only disrupts the editor. If we really want a non-breaking space before and/or after every numeral as a hard rule we should mention it to the devs. I can see the importance of line-break control in table cells (using white-space:nowrap; as appropriate) but in a free-flowing paragraph I doubt enough readers ever would notice the difference. ―AoV² 06:06, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Art, I think the answer to your question is, yes, that's what's intended. Those are examples where I'd put a non-breaking space, even without the guideline. I think by "disruptive" the guideline means this: either now or after subsequent editing, the line may break between the number and the "million" etc. If that happens, the reader just sees the number on its own at first, and hence, up to a certain point in a sentence, is invited to make an interpretation which is not the right one, and on reading further must reinterpret. This all happens very quickly and may hardly be noticed but is still disruptive. Maybe it needs rewording to make it clear that's the point. PL290 (talk) 07:46, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
But suppose I spell it in words (e.g. “eleven billion pounds”). I don′t see how letting it appear partly one one line and partly on the next would confuse readers any more or less than the previous example. The lack of end-mark punctuation implies that the sentence continues on the next line in both situations. One could make a stronger case for putting nbsp′s between “E. coli” and “Sgt. Dow Jones” and other cases where “.” appears mid-sentence but nobody does this in actual practice. Rather they focus only on the numbers where the potential for confusion is closer to zero. ―AoV² 08:17, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree (though there's a difference between "sentence continues on the next line" and "number continues on the next line"). But yes; and, furthermore, it's true that any prose can produce the same issue (forcing reinterpretation of what's just been read). It all goes to show that the guideline should state the principle that keeping things together visually as a unit can be helpful, rather than assume editors know what "disruptive displacement" refers to. PL290 (talk) 08:42, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree in that we definately should not be using jargon within the MOS itself. "disruptive displacement" is an excellent example of a term used by specialists (collectively, us).
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:28, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
When you have a chance to do so, please use {{Nowrap}} in lieu of using a bunch of nbsp entities. It's much more friendly to both readers and editors to use the template instead of adding a bunch of gobbledegook in wikitext. For example: {{Nowrap|£11 billion}} produces £11 billion, which is exactly what is desired.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:25, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. Also, a greater awareness of templates in general would be beneficial all round, I feel, as many address compatability issues across platforms, operating systems, browers, etc. BTW, thanks for {{Nowrap}}: that's new to me! --Jubileeclipman 15:27, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
In an ideal world, an underscore in the rendered text (except in URLs and the like) would be automagically converted to a hard space, so you could type £11_billion which is nearly as user-friendly as it gets. (Underscores are seldom actually used in article texts – I searched the articles featured on the Main Page in the last four days and four random articles for _ using my browser's search and it found none. So putting <nowiki> tags around the few ones used shouldn't be too troublesome.) ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 09:54, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
↑ I really like this idea. Has this been proposed on Bugzilla or anywhere? —Bkell (talk) 05:36, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
I've mentioned that at WP:VPR#Should the underscore be used as mark-up for non-breaking spaces?; if consensus emerges that such a feature is desirable, it could be proposed on Bugzilla. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 14:54, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

In the discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)#Conflict_regarding_non-breaking_spaces, the guideline is shown to contradict itself between the WP:NBSP guide and the WP:ORDINAL guide, where the latter says "When both a figure and spelled-out named number are used in a quantity, it is useful to use a non-breaking space." The former says to put non-breaking spaces in examples such as $7.5 trillion, with its currency symbol, and the latter says to put them in regardless of the presence of the currency symbol. This contradiction must be fixed! Binksternet (talk) 19:31, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Here's my reading of the above: WP:NBSP recommends nbsp's in situations like £11 billion. Above, I asked if that would also include 11 billion, and they said yes. Now that you showed my the ORDINAL reference, it says the same thing: an nbsp in 11 billion. So I don't see a contradiction. Perhaps you meant to say that WP:NBSP should be explained in more detail. Art LaPella (talk) 19:55, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Resolution can be had by choosing one of two directions: making the NBSP section explicitly recommend non-breaking spaces between all numerals and units (your "more detail" solution), or deleting the ORDINAL bit and making the NBSP section deprecate such non-breaking spaces unless required to prevent awkward line breaks. I favor the latter—I'm with AoV² in saying this band-aid is grossly overused. I do not agree with PL290 who would put the non-breaking space in between 7.5 and trillion, without the currency sign's added confusion. Binksternet (talk) 20:23, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I believe there should be a non-breaking space between 7.5 and trillion. Imagine what the reader would get if there happened to be a line break there: He'd see 7.5 and his gut reaction would be to read it as 7.5, not as 7.5 of something else. That's confusing. I concede that manually adding a lot of &nbsp;s is ugly. But if A. di M.'s underline suggestion is implemented, then we wouldn't have that problem, either. Ozob (talk) 23:44, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Really? You think a number hanging at the end of the line will not make the reader pause for a few milliseconds while the eye travels back to the beginning of the next line and the sentence resumes? Isn't that what happens normally? What significant difference is there if the numeral is spelled out? Do you recommend different practices for the two following examples?
  • The treasury was seen to be short by 7.5

million pounds sterling.

  • The treasury was seen to be short by seven-and-a-half

million pounds sterling.

Just for the record, I see nobody disagreeing that the following requires a non-breaking space:
  • The treasury was seen to be short by £7.5

million. Binksternet (talk) 00:30, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

What's so different between these:
  • The treasury was seen to be short by 7.5
    million pounds sterling.
  • The treasury was seen to be short by £7.5
    million pounds sterling.
If one of them is an unacceptable break, why isn't the other? Ozob (talk) 03:16, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Because of the pounds sterling symbol which makes it look, at first glance, like 7.5 pounds, not 7.5 million pounds. Binksternet (talk) 03:35, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
So would you be okay with a sentence like
  • In 2009 Acme, Inc. increased its paper towel production to 3
? Ozob (talk) 04:52, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I would, in the same way that I would be okay with
  • In 2009 Acme, Inc. increased its paper towel production to three
You betcha. Binksternet (talk) 07:07, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
@Ozob: One difference is that "seven-and-a-half" takes up much more space than "7.5", so forcing it to be in the same line as the following word can cause it to start a new line even if the line before would be much shorter than average, leaving a "jagged" layout. "7.5" doesn't have this problem. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 10:06, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I entirely agree with you on that point; but I don't see how £7.5 and 7.5 are so different. Or rather, to me they are so similar that we ought to treat them the same way. Ozob (talk) 13:49, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
They are different because when the reader sees '7.5', he waits for the unit to be revealed. When he sees '£7.5', he reads "seven-point-five pounds sterling", when the next line proves him wrong by recreating the amount to be "seven-point-five million pounds sterling". The preceding currency symbol creates this problem. Binksternet (talk) 15:20, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
But that's the point of my example: In 2009, Acme, Inc. increased its paper towel production to three is also a perfectly valid sentence. The units, paper towels, have already been provided. The reader isn't waiting for anything; he gets tricked. The solution is to require a non-breaking space there. Ozob (talk) 17:07, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
@Ozob: Indeed, I typically use hard spaces in 7.5 million, too. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 15:31, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Would deferring this to the render phase with some $t = preg_replace('/(\d) /', '$1&nbsp;', $t); parser-juice make everyone happy, or no? ―AoV² 07:45, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm always in favor of automatic functions that make the process of editing less difficult, so "yes" is my answer. Binksternet (talk) 08:07, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

non-breaking spaces, a case study

This, from one of our “featured” articles:

The '''inauguration of Barack Obama''' as the [[List of Presidents of the United States|44th]] [[President of the United States]] took place on Tuesday, January&nbsp;20, 2009. The [[United States presidential inauguration|inauguration]], which set a record attendance for any event held in [[Washington, D.C.|Washington,&nbsp;D.C.]], marked the commencement of the four-year term of [[Barack Obama]] as President and [[Joe Biden|Joseph Biden]] as [[Vice President of the United States|Vice President]]. Based on the combined attendance numbers, television viewership and Internet traffic, it was among the most observed events ever by the global audience. "A&nbsp;New Birth of Freedom", a phrase from the [[Gettysburg Address]], served as the inaugural theme to commemorate the 200th&nbsp;anniversary of the birth year of [[Abraham Lincoln]]. In his speeches to the crowds, Obama referred to ideals expressed by Lincoln about renewal, continuity and national unity. Obama mentioned these ideals in his speech to stress the need for shared sacrifice and a new sense of responsibility to answer America's challenges at home and abroad. Obama and others paid homage to Lincoln in the form of tributes and references during several of the events, starting with a commemorative train tour from {{city-state|Philadelphia|Pennsylvania}} to Washington,&nbsp;D.C. on January&nbsp;17, 2009. The inaugural events held in Washington,&nbsp;D.C. from January&nbsp;18 to January&nbsp;21, 2009 included concerts, a national day of community service on [[Martin Luther King, Jr. Day|Martin&nbsp;Luther King,&nbsp;Jr. Day]], the swearing-in ceremony, luncheon and parade, inaugural balls, and the interfaith [[Prayers at United States presidential inaugurations|inaugural prayer service]]. The [[Oath of office of the President of the United States|presidential oath]] as administered to Obama during his swearing-in ceremony on January&nbsp;20 strayed from the oath of office prescribed in the [[United States Constitution]], which led to its re‑administration the next evening.

I′ll let someone else throw the first punch. ―AoV² 11:22, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Some of the hard spaces are useless, e.g. that in "A New" and that in "Washington, D.C."; so what? ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 12:15, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I′ll go further and nominate the ones in “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” and the ones following “200th” and word “January” plus any others I forgot. I can′t imagine anyone writing this awkwardly by choice, so I′d speculate that it was some kind of actual or implied condition for featured article status. This is a high-profile article, so I have a hunch if I try to remove any of these I′d see a quick blanket revert. On the other hand if I become disgusted and add more nbsp′s in random places they will become part of the new standard.
I′d rather let editors use regular spaces virtually everywhere and let the software decide which words (if any) it should glue together based on a handful of simple rules. And no, I don′t believe garden-path sentences are a good enough reason. ―AoV² 12:55, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, I disagree with you on those points. The non-breaking space between January and 20 is absolutely proper typography, as are the non-breaking spaces in "Martin&nbsp;Luther King,&nbsp;Jr." (Note in particular that there is a regular space between "Luther" and "King".) Editors should never be required to use non-breaking spaces, but they certainly shouldn't be discouraged when they are used correctly. Donald Knuth has good taste in typography, and in Chapter 14 of The TeXbook (why is this a red link?) he gives some examples of situations in which non-breaking spaces should be used. TeX uses "ties", denoted by "~" (tilde) for this purpose. Knuth says ties should be used
  • In references to named parts of a document: Chapter~12, Appendix~A
  • Between a person's forenames and between multiple surnames: Donald~E. Knuth, Bartel~Leendert van~der~Waerden
  • Between symbols in series: 1,~2, or~3
and in a few other instances more important to mathematical typography than in general usage. Knuth also speaks directly to your last suggestion, that this should be automated, saying "... it would be even nicer if the rules could be automated so that keyboarding could be done without them; but subtle semantic considerations seem to be involved. Therefore it's best to use your own judgment with regard to ties." Quale (talk) 07:17, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
What is the correct spacing for Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón or Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Wilhelm Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg? These will need to appear in the lead sentence of the main articles, if nowhere else. ―AoV² 07:56, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
If I squint I almost can see the semantic cohesion of certain (often ubiquitous) forename constructs such as “Billy Ray” or “Kathie Lee” (for which popular usage may imply an invisible hyphen)—but surely not as a general rule for every person′s middle name(s) or initial(s). ―AoV² 08:06, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's the point. There is semantic cohesion between various parts of the name, and that's why and where we put non-breaking spaces. (They are not invisible hyphens.) Most people, including myself, don't know how the parts of the name fit together, and so we don't know where to put the non-breaking spaces. (There are probably people at WP:ROYALTY who do.) If evaluating the semantics of the name is too hard for most people, how can we expect a computer to get it right? Ozob (talk) 13:47, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
In the second pair of examples I gave, what I meant is that people subconsciously think of it as a first name with two parts (rather than a first name followed by a middle name), and that in more general cases the dynamics of spacing matter even less. ―AoV² 18:32, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

I think we agree that the two parts of a two-part name like "Kathie Lee" are logically inseparable. I am saying that logically inseparable items should also be typographically inseparable. I'm not arguing that logically separable items should have non-breaking spaces; a name like "John Q. Public" needs no non-breaking spaces. I think you are saying just about the same thing, but I'm not sure. Ozob (talk) 21:45, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

But wouldn′t you know, User:Quale above recommends putting non-breaking spaces between each of a person′s forenames and any initials thereof. On a side-note, I′m not sure if it′s widely known but I just noticed you can put U+00A0 NO-BREAK SPACE characters inside the link and have it still point to the correct title, e.g. “Billy Ray Cyrus” ([[Billy&nbsp;Ray Cyrus]]) becomes <a href="/wiki/Billy_Ray_Cyrus" title="Billy Ray Cyrus">Billy&#160;Ray Cyrus</a> in fact, obviating some of the clutter. Literal nbsp characters (out of sight, out of mind) would be even prettier I think. Somewhere I have a simple javascript gadget which makes them glow as if under a black-light. Let me know if you′d like to use it. ―AoV² 23:18, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
There are some browsers which for some reason replace all literal hard-spaces with normal spaces when submitting a form, so if literal hard spaces are used in an article, they will become soft as soon as someone with such a browser edits it and saves it. BTW, thanks for the tip about links. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 09:30, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes. My father told me not to break my last name across lines when I was about six years old, and he's not a typographer nor anything like that. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 15:31, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Knuth mentions the problem of very long names. "Sometimes a name is so long we dare not tie it all together, lest there be no way to break a line: Charles Louis Xavier~Joseph de~la Vallée~Poussin." In any case where an editor is unsure where the ties should go, the name should be left alone for someone else fix up. There are many names that I do not know how to tie, but "Martin Luther King, Jr." is easy, or at least it should be. Initials almost always belong with the first name, including in John Q. Public. I don't ever want to see this line break:
America's thirty-third president, Harry
S Truman ...
Knuth's advice that judgment is needed is good. The problem is that I don't think that many people display good judgment in typographic matters. Arguing against the tie between the month and the day in a date is not good judgment. I also greatly dislike the clutter of &nbsp; (the TeX way is better), but if non-breaking spaces are used correctly, I appreciate them. Quale (talk) 03:28, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
I certainly agree with Quale's example of a bad line break! Nor would we want to see
Prominent assassination victims include Martin Luther King,
Jr., the American civil rights leader...
I wouldn't be so bothered about a line break between "Martin" and "Luther", but I agree that they're better kept together. Another example I wouldn't want to see is
The capital of the United States is Washington,
D.C., chartered in 1751 as Georgetown...
To answer AOV's question, Antonio~de~Padua María~Severino López~de~Santa~Anna y Pérez~de~Lebrón and Karl~Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Wilhelm Franz Joseph~Sylvester Freiherr~von und zu~Guttenberg ;) Physchim62 (talk) 11:20, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Hi. Do you mean the following would not be worse?
Prominent assassination victims include Martin Luther
King, Jr., the American civil rights leader…
I disagree on the basis that, while neither of them died by assassination, Martin Luther was rather is a more familiar figure than Martin Luther King, Sr. and because the name “Martin Luther King” by itself already refers to MLK, Jr. by default, in common parlance. ―AoV² 14:59, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think that would not be worse (that is, it would be better). I think you misunderstand the purpose of avoiding bad line breaks. The concern is not ambiguity as much as disrupting the natural flow of the text, making it harder to read. Think about hyphenation. Wikipedia software does not automatically hyphenate to split lines, but systems that support justified text do. Hyphenation has rules and conventions that are designed to make hyphenated words easier to read when they are split across lines. These rules vary in different languages, even with words that are shared, because the considerations that aid comprehension are not always the same. Of course reading a web site is not the same as reading a book, so some typographic niceties are discarded online, and others are simply technically infeasible with the hardware and software we work with. But other typographic issues take on even greater importance, and line breaks may be one of them. A well set book might have line lengths in the range of 40 to 70 characters. Wikipedia is often viewed at screen resolutions and font sizes that cause lines to exceed 100 characters, often greatly. (Right now the text box I am typing this in exceeds 200 characters wide.) Longer lines accentuate the effect of bad line breaks greatly. Quale (talk) 02:58, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Underscore proposal

See Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Should the underscore be used as mark-up for non-breaking spaces? ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 15:31, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

A while ago the same discussion took place with conclusion that ,, (two consecutive commas) would be the best choice to represent a non-breaking space in the edit window. It is more similar to the several other double-characters for special wiki items and more unlikely to be happen naturally. A very detailed proposal was worked out (by User:Noetica) including gathering of opinions, which must be traceable in the archives. It did not happen. −Woodstone (talk) 16:19, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Whatever we choose we would need to take extra care to escape all intended literals. The underscore and tilde will appear most commonly in programming contexts, for multi-word identifiers such as std::rel_ops or dynamic_cast. Ideally we would be able to identify and disregard these by the presence of a surrounding <code> tag or {{code}} template. The latter did use nowiki tags until I re-designed it to use inline source tags (to allow syntax-highlight if the user specifies a language, and because while nowiki escapes html/wikitext constructs—<> to &lt;&gt;, etc.—it does not escape the ampersands of character entity references). It still has some frustrating limitations (cough, cough, vertical bar operator) but works well in most cases.

One minor but glaring issue with current literalizing methods is the lack of an easy way to allow wiki-links within the code while escaping all other markup. Considering the underscore-titled examples above, one might want to use something like {{foo|[[Proper use of dynamic_cast]]}} wherein “foo” is a hypothetical template/parser-function/etc. which (in light of re-purposed underscores) could prevent the intentional low-line between the last two words from becoming an nbsp, yet still allow the brackets to form a wiki-link. While it links to the same article regardless, I′d have to pipe the link and pack some markup into the alias-text to preserve formatting. Maybe that won′t arise often enough to matter.

On the other hand we might consider a “non-white” spacing character with fewer natural collisions, so cat UnicodeData.txt | grep "Pc" perhaps.

However, I had to pick a visible character in the 7-bit range I might choose the tilde in fact (considering its aforementioned use in TeX), on the following conditions:

  • Remove “~” from $wgLegalTitleChars. Given its effects in the pre-save transform, this might be a good idea in any case—consider [[~~~~]].
  • At a bare minimum have it remain literal where the previous character is any kind of white-space (and probably in a few other cases also). An nbsp after U+0020, \n, \t, etc. serves no typographically constructive purpose, yet could disrupt the following in the absence of proper tagging:
    • ~SomeClass() { /* destructor */ }
    • int a = ~b; /* bitwise NOT */
    • population: ~9,000 /* approximate figure */
  • (whether the above tildes should cause a preceding U+0020 space to become non-breaking is a separate matter, but it seems reasonable enough.)
  • Add some degree of “smart” (nbsp-inductive) parsing to minimize cases requiring explicit use. This certainly would be a good idea in any case.

AoV² 21:28, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm very pleased to see this become an issue again. Whatever is chosen, we really need a shortcut. I'm so used to the easy one provided on the Mac keyboard in Word that I take it for granted. But not yet on WP, sadly. I'm going to leave a note at WT:BAG asking for technical input—those people are supposed to be the scripting and programming experts, aren't they? Tony (talk) 07:16, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Not so much a short-cut as a placeholder which keeps word boundaries easily perceivable in the edit window rather than making several words appear to run together. For me, the easiest approach by far would be to use literal nbsp characters and edit my font to make nbsp′s appear differently than regular spaces. The only compelling argument against that is how older versions of firefox will send them back as regular spaces while making unrelated edits. There is a solution to that, see mw:Manual:$wgBrowserBlackList. This “safemode” replaces all characters above U+007F by their hexadecimal character references in the textarea for broken clients based on the user-agent string, then it converts them back before saving the page. But here′s the thing: users who want this functionality by default, despite not having a broken client, can spoof their user-agent, or better yet, request exposing this “safemode” as an option in Special:Preferences. I believe this combination of steps would be the best possible compromise. Failing that we can talk about underscores and tildes and other weirdness. ―AoV² 09:50, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

This is the edit-notice which appears in such a case: MediaWiki:Nonunicodebrowser. ―AoV² 22:20, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Markup for hard space (non-breaking space)

Please see the following discussions.

-- Wavelength (talk) 18:40, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Please see also the following archived discussions.

-- Wavelength (talk) 19:09, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Colored tables because they're pretty

Could someone look into the work done by 7mike5000, such as the colorful, icon-filled table at Eating disorders#Personality_traits?

Do tables like these represent a permissible variation on normal style, or an undesirable cluttering of the page with unnecessary formatting (or something in between)? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:59, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

I think the gray bands are a bit too dark, but that the ones proposed here (which would be the best place from which to address this issue) are a bit too faint. But yes, way too many pictures. ―AoV² 22:16, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Yep, I agree with AoV: a lighter shade of grey. And 7mike5000 would do well not to refer to his colleagues as "anally retentive" in his edit summaries. Tony (talk) 07:02, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the "Skittlepedia" effect is distracting and unprofessional. Dabomb87 (talk) 14:10, 17 April 2010 (UTC)


A minor point, but I wondered if the following two statements are entirely compatible:

"It is almost never a good idea to use other style changes, such as font family or color."

"It is certainly desirable to use color as an aid for those who can see it..." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:22, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

The second statements seems to be a softener added into the section on color coding. What it really means, it seems, is "The above cautionings do not mean that color coding is banned from Wikipedia." Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:24, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Em dash vs the N/A template in tables

I've had a bit of back-and-forth editing at Already Gone (Kelly Clarkson song)#Charts, certifications and sales about using {{n/a}} in table cells when the song did not chart or where information is not available. Another editor has changed it back to an emdash, asking "since when is N/A acceptable under guidelines?" I went looking at all guidelines I could think of, including here, WP:DASH, WP:Songs#Style, and WP:Songs#Chart performance, charts and succession (which directs editors to WP:MUSIC/TABLE) for chart tables. I haven't seen anything that says emdashes should be used over N/A when information is not available or not applicable and that N/A is unacceptable. Can editors here possibly direct me to anything that says emdashes are preferable or explain why they are, as to me it indicates that information is missing. Thanks, Matthewedwards :  Chat  22:59, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Personally, I'm not a fan of N/A because it is ambiguous. Does it mean "not applicable", or "not available"? I use emdashes for "not applicable", and question marks for "not available/unknown". But as far as the MOS is concerned, it's up to the editors. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 23:56, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Usually in context, it's clear what N/A means. When applicable, I prefer N/A to an em dash or a question mark as long it has only one meaning throughout the entire table (i.e., when it doesn't mean "not available" in some cells and "not applicable" in others). But it's a matter of taste and is not dictated one way or the other by the MoS. N/A isn't an acceptable substitute for "None", and some of the cells in that table (e.g., most of the Certification cells) need "None" or an equivalent. Ozob (talk) 00:53, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Actually at the talk page of WP:record charts consensus has decided that Sales should not appear in certification tables. Sales should only appear in prose. See I Look to You for example. And also thats why Certificates should be listed in a seperate table stating their provider e.g. RIAA.Lil-unique1 (talk) 01:02, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
IMO, an en dash is much preferable: em dashes draw attention to themselves. Hyphens in isolation look like fly-specks. Tony (talk) 01:51, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
En dashes are too discrete IMO, and could be confused with minuses at a quick glance, while hyphens are typographically wrong for this. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 20:08, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
How could an en dash be taken for a minus sign when there's no numeral to the right—just white space? Tony (talk) 10:04, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Consider the following tables:

Em dashes En dashes Hyphens
C-parity of some mesons
Pion π+ π0 π
C-parity +
Rho meson ρ+ ρ0 ρ
C-parity of some mesons
Pion π+ π0 π
C-parity +
Rho meson ρ+ ρ0 ρ
C-parity of some mesons
Pion π+ π0 π
C-parity - + -
Rho meson ρ+ ρ0 ρ
C-parity - -

For charged mesons (π+, π, ρ+, ρ), C-parity is not defined. For the neutral mesons (π0, ρ0), C-parity is defined (+ for the pion, − for the rho meson). Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 12:45, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Ok, it's a good (but rare?) example. Why not minus signs where indicated, and en dashes otherwise. Comparing left and middle examples reinforces my bias for en over em dashes in other instances. Tony (talk) 07:11, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
In this case, I'd leave the cells blank (explaining the meaning of that in a note immediately after the table), or write "(none)". Whether the minus sign looks more like an em dash or an en dash depends on the font used, so whichever you choose, you can't be sure that the difference will be visually obvious to all readers.
C-parity of some mesons
Pion π+ π0 π
C-parity (none) + (none)
Rho meson ρ+ ρ0 ρ
C-parity (none) (none)
C-parity of some mesons
Pion π+ π0 π
C-parity +
Rho meson ρ+ ρ0 ρ
The C-parity is undefined where not given in the table.

― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 10:12, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

The blank is much better: removes the clutter. Tony (talk) 12:05, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
No, in that case the reader is led to believe the table is incomplete. Anyway, this was just meant to be an example of when en dashes and minuses could be confused. The MoS' silence on which option to choose in these cases is fine. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 12:13, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Headbomb; we don't need to specify here. I hang around the Featured lists processes, so this issue arises periodically. The consensus over there is that en dashes or em dashes are acceptable, as long as one style is used consistently throughout the list. Hyphens are too small, and blank cells, like Headbomb said, imply incompleteness. Dabomb87 (talk) 14:19, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Getting back to the nominal topic of discussion, what does everyone think of:

C-parity of some mesons
Pion π+ π0 π
C-parity N/A + N/A
Rho meson ρ+ ρ0 ρ
C-parity N/A N/A

? Ozob (talk) 13:13, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't like the markup that {{n/a}} imposes in that example: a simple text "n/a" would be better IMHO, with a note either in the article text or as n/a: C-parity is undefined. {{n/a}} may well be useful for longer tables, but it should not be obligatory. Physchim62 (talk) 13:39, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Couple of comments

Hi there. A couple of points as I am passing through again.

1. Under "National varieties of English" the MoS says: "For example, use alternative route (or even other route) rather than alternate route, since alternate may mean only 'alternating' to a speaker of British English."

This is good advice but the reason given is implausible. All British English speakers understand that "alternate route" means "alternative route" (unless the context strongly indicates otherwise). The actual issue is that many find this usage sloppy and annoying (I do not intend any offence to AmE speakers).

2. The section "Italicized links" seems to be a "how-to" guide on Wikipedia syntax, not a MoS topic. (talk) 04:01, 18 April 2010 (UTC).

1. None taken. 2. You can pass through any time you like!
I have no real objection to #2. It gets its message across clearly and briefly and it relates directly to style and formatting.
Hm, any ideas for a better example for #1? In the meantime, we could change the wording to "For example, use 'alternative route' (or even 'other route') rather than 'alternate route,' since 'alternate,' while acceptable in the U.S., is not considered good-quality British English." Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:27, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Agree with both; it's the example that's the problem. It's possibly hard to find an example where that doesn't happen. (Might one be worked using "alternate days", which to a Brit would mean, say, Monday, Wednesday and Friday?) But I think the point is clear without an example. It would be better to remove it if there's not a good one. PL290 (talk) 15:43, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm a Yank, and "alternate days" means the same to me.--Curtis Clark (talk) 15:54, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Same here. That's what "alternate" means to me. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:02, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I am not sure when exactly I would talk about "alternative days" very often, except perhaps if someone is going to miss a concert (e.g. "there are alternative days you can go", but more likely "there are other days you can go"). "Alternate" is certainly ambiguous at times, however: "the company uses alternate means of transportation" is assuredly ambiguous and actually quite likely. Ditto "alternate forms", "alternate modes", "alternate types", etc. I would personally advise editors to use the unambiguous "alternating" or "alternative" all of the time. That said, "alternate" (as an adjective) is probably most ambiguous when the qualified noun is in the plural: "following alternate routes", for example, is far more ambiguous than "following the alternate route" (given that "alternating route" appears to have no obvious meaning unless it means "meandering route") --Jubileeclipman 23:33, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Or: "the beast manifests itself in alternate forms in each successive book"... --Jubileeclipman 23:40, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
My earlier post was based only on the discussion, not from having looked at the MoS section (wish I wouldn't do that...). I've now read it, and the real problem is that it confuses the issue by introducing the concept of ambiguity. While it's true that subtle usage differences could in some cases introduce ambiguity, that is itself only a subtle subset of the main, simple point which is that because of usage differences, words can connote the wrong meaning. I think it would be better to remove any mention of ambiguity, state the principle, and limit the example to a word. I've updated it to this effect. PL290 (talk) 09:13, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Punctuation and inline citations

From the history:

15:01, 18 April 2010 Tony1 (talk | contribs | block) (155,451 bytes) (Rv: no consensus here, and indeed the consensus at REFPUNCT was rather to change to what the MoS says.)

There has never been consensus on this issue. See these sections for previous discussions on this subject in Footnotes and citation archives

The wording currently at WP:REFPUNCT is compromise wording worked out in 2007. The wording in the section "Punctuation and inline citations" of the MOS contradicts that compromise wording. What would you suggest is suitable wording as there is no agreement, nor has there ever been (see the archives), that ref tags should always go after punctuation. The compromise wording advises that after punctuation is used but does not mandate it. What do you suggest as compromise wording that everyone can live with?

I notice from the edit history that you Tony changed long standing wording with this edit on 13 February 2010. Before you made that edit the wording here was a brief summary of the compromise at WP:REFPUNCT. I am going to partially restore the wording you changed and I assume that as you say you made you last revert with the comment "Rv: no consensus here", as there was not a consensus for the change you made, you will not feel the need to revert it until after an agreement to change it is reached. -- PBS (talk) 04:45, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposed changes to Profanity guideline

As part of the general cleanup effort currently underway, two proposals are currently under discussion on the Wikipedia Talk:Profanity page:

  • (1) A formal RFC to change the title from Profanity to Offensive material to more accurately reflect the contents of the page.
  • (2) A simple shift of identification of the page from style guideline to content guideline, again to more accurately reflect its contents. (The relevant important points are now incorporated into the MoS in summary fashion via Words to watch and the main MoS page, per my recent edits.)—DCGeist (talk) 18:48, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm concerned about "Offensive material." Its definition is much broader than that of "profanity." Just about anything can be offensive to someone out there, but profanity pretty clearly refers to obscene/blasphemous/offensive words. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:06, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Which is why it is inappropriate in this case. The guideline also addresses images. Secondarily, profanity properly refers to profane (i.e., sacreligious or blasphemous) expressions that may contain no individually offensive words at all. In addition, the policy to which this guideline is most closely related is Wikipedia is not censored, which begins "Wikipedia may contain content that some readers consider objectionable or offensive, even exceedingly so". The name change will bring the language of the guideline closer to that of our policy.—DCGeist (talk) 16:40, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I looked over the guideline and your proposal. If nothing else, changing the name would leave "Profanity" open in case anyone ever does write a guideline for profanity. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:47, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Template:Infobox ice hockey player

Hello. I'm looking for some fresh input into an increasingly bitter debate at Template talk:Infobox ice hockey player regarding the possible addition of the name in bold at the top of an infobox. I won't describe the details of the debate since I'm a party to it but the discussion desperately needs outsider input. Thanks, Pichpich (talk) 19:19, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Correct use of lists

The first item under the Bulleted list section says lists shouldn't be used if "a passage reads easily using plain paragraphs". Does "reads easily" mean that sentences should merely be complete, or that they should all be cohesive? Thanks. -Roger (talk) 05:32, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

U.S. vs. US

"In American English, U.S. (with periods) is more accepted as the standard abbreviation for United States; US (without periods) is more accepted in other national forms of English, and is becoming increasingly common in American English."

I propose to amend this sentence to the following: "In American English, U.S. (with periods) is more accepted as the standard abbreviation for United States and should be the format used in United States-specific articles; US (without periods) is more accepted in other national forms of English, and is sometimes used in American English."

I question the notion that "US (without periods) is ... becoming increasingly common in American English". About every respected manual of style and print media outlet uses the periods, so we don't really have anything to suggest that it is "becoming increasingly common".--Jiang (talk) 00:06, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

As far as im aware... the guidance we are given as editors is that if the subject matter of the article is an American subject e.g. American Idol then U.S. (with periods) is used. If it is a non-U.S. subject then US (without periods is used). However if anywhere in the article the term UK or EU is used then we are advised to use US (without periods) for consistancy. This has been suggested to me several times when nominating articles for G.A. Hope this helps. Lil-unique1 (talk) 00:39, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
The guidelines we had here, at least before 2007 when I stopped monitoring this page, was that U.S. would be used in all instances. I can't seem to find the discussion deciding it would be removed in all instances, as the current guideline does not make explicit where it should be used in any instance. So I take it that changing the text above to what I've proposed before the semi-colon is a reflection of the current standard and isn't going to provoke much controversy?--Jiang (talk) 00:43, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Yup. It makes sense that articles which dont specifically have a U.S. subject matter be written without periods as US. P.s. i was never involved in the discussions either but as a high volume (and hopefully quality) editor i am voluntarily helping out on various project pages to provide a neutral point of view. I've come across this notion being that i am a UK-based editor but edit many U.S. articles and especially encounter it during music editing. I hope you dont mind me giving my opinion. Lil-unique1 (talk) 00:46, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (abbreviations)#Widely used abbreviations in Wikipedia. -- Wavelength (talk) 00:58, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I think Jiang's proposed amendment is fine. --Coolcaesar (talk) 01:33, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
As I recall previous discussion, some Americans do want to avoid the ungainly you dot es dot, the way all Americans avoid the dots in NASA, PBS, USA, EU and the like. The matter was settled on the current wording, which provides some lattitude. I see nothing wrong with this, and I strongly object to the proposed change. Tony (talk) 01:36, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
When in doubt, turn to references. Associated Press style, for instance, uses "U.S." Maurreen (talk) 01:45, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this can be determined as a matter of personal preference. Otherwise, articles will be inconsistent by the whims of the cultural background of the editors who just happen to be involved. After all, this is a Manual of Style, which is supposed to bring consistency to articles. I also think the implication made here and at Wikipedia:Manual of Style (abbreviations)#Widely used abbreviations in Wikipedia must must not be that the divide is between American English and all other English, but American English and Commonwealth English. The Canadians use the periods: [4].--Jiang (talk) 01:45, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
As a Canadian I would have to disagree with that. Most of us don't use periods when typing US. Though I am sure we see both in the actual media. -DJSasso (talk) 01:47, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Hence I said "American English and Commonwealth English" as opposed to "North American English and Commonwealth English" so not to imply that. But this is different from saying "American English and all other English" which simply isn't true.
We also need to distinguish formal and non-formal media. This is an encyclopedia, not a chat forum, so we need to look to print quality sources for the prevailing standard. U.S. seems to be used by the Canadian news media.--Jiang (talk) 01:51, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I have zero objection to Jiang's change. As for requiring "U.S." in all instances, I vote no. Articles written in British or Canadian English should use British and Canadian conventions. However, I would like to note that there is a reason why the periods in "U.S." are still going strong while the ones formerly gracing "NASA," DARPA" and "IRS" have fallen away: it's to avoid confusion with the pronoun "us": "PROPOSAL NOT GOING OVER WELL WITH US SOLDIERS" looks like it could mean "U.S. soldiers" or "us soldiers." Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:54, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Exactly: In the unique circumstance of WRITING ANNOYINGLY LIKE THIS IN ALL CAPS THE WAY SOME NEWSPAPERS DO BECAUSE THEY SEEM TO THINK WE LIKE BEING VISUALLY YELLED AT, you probably would need to spell it "U.S." to avoid ambiguity. Wikipedia never writes like that. The end. Nothing further to argue about. Move on. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:21, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Another red herring. No respected newspaper writes like that. Find me one and I will bow down to you. No one here wants to used Craigslist missed connections for comparison. Nothing further to argue about because the argument is one-sided? --Jiang (talk) 07:05, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Darkfrog, if you don't want to force Americans to use the ugly dots, why are you supporting "Jiang's proposal? BTW, I increasingly see US editors here writing without the dots on WP (or should I say W.P.?). And as for personal preference—we certainly allow editors who start articles to choose whether to use spaced en dashes or unspaced em dashes as interruptors; is there something wrong with allowing that personal choice, which is widespread in the language? Tony (talk) 09:14, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Tony, by "all instances," I mean "all articles in the English Wikipedia." And just because you think something is ugly doesn't mean that it isn't correct English. I find "U.S." more pleasing to my eyes than "US" but that has zero bearing on whether or not either is correct usage.
Just because editors are using something doesn't mean that they are right to use it. Lots of people write "its" when they mean "it's," but that's not something that the MoS should endorse. Go with the style guides, not with the mob. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:42, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Are you proposing that we nix the entire paragraph and do away with any guideline on the use of periods in initialisms and acronyms? That seems to be a fair proposal, meaning that if someone wanted to write "U.K." no one should stop them. But then we would have a whole lot of inconsistency, with various people trying to "clean up" after others. We would not know which form to follow in which article. It would plainly defeat a Manual of Style, which is to provide the rules of what stylistic choices [read: stylistic choices, inherently subject to disputes over personal preference] to follow in what instances. I think the benefit of a guideline outweighs its costs.
"[I]ncreasingly see[ing] US editors here writing without the dots" is not a good enough reason to counter the Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press, New York Times, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. There are good reasons against the dots, but this shouldn't be one of them. We are writing an encyclopedia, not a bulletin board.--Jiang (talk) 09:33, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Americans don't even agree between themselves whether to use US or U.S. Mostly because most people don't care. No reason for forcing it one way or the other (I note here that the trend is moving towards undotted variants, so if anything the style should be undotted variants all-accross). Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 09:27, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't think this argument is supported in the face of evidence that well respected print media overwhelmingly use the periods. What is the evidence of this trend in published material on par with an encyclopedia? I just don't see the evidence behind the argument.--Jiang (talk) 09:37, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Random break

[Outdent] This is such total equine feces (compounded with bovine). I'm an American. I'm not a new American. Been around for 40+ years now, somehow, despite my sins and bad judgement. "We" (Americans, generally) do not spell it "U.S.A." or "U.S." A few cranks here and there do that, but they also write "A.T.M." and "S.C.U.B.A." and "R.A.D.A.R." and "S.U.V." A generation earlier, and they'd be writing "to-day not to-morrow" and "I will go a-shopping this after-noon." It's just plain obsolete. Freaky flag-wavin' yeehaws aside, there is nothing special and magical about the US[A] that it needs a special and magical typographic convention in WP articles, which are written for a global audience (to whom "UK" and "ROK" and "PRC" are normal, and "U.K.", etc., look goofy). The "killer" point here is the #1 issue of the entire WP:MOS and all sub-pages thereof: We aim for consistency within articles above all else, and consistency across articles where this is practical. This means use "US" (or "USA" when the longer form is needed for some reason), not "U.S." (or "U.S.A."). It just looks totally stupid to have a construction in WP articles such as "...the implications for U.S.–UK relations..." Just drop it, move on, live a happy life. Be honest with yourselves. When, really, is the last time you saw something like "E.E.C." or "I.R.S." instead of the dotless versions? I don't want to beleaguer a point here, but Americans like me and various others commenting here and in the various other times and places this issue has popped up, need to consider what we've, well, demanded that Commonwealth English speakers give up in the name of the consistency of the MOS. The most obvious is double vs. single quotation marks. I know this drives some Brits and Aussies and even South Africans damned near nuts, yet we still insist on it. My take on this is: If we were to enforce "U.S." then we would also have to enforce single-before-double quotes in [not just British-themed, but all] non-US-themed articles. And that's just a start. Any article that did not have an intimate connection to the US – 'scuse me, the "U.S." – would also have to use spellings like "colour" and "theatre", not to mention automobile "tyre" instead of "tire", and so on. If we're going to enforce a clearly biased convention (to the various extents that a non-policy guideline may have weight, which are not just several but also variable and temporal), there needs to be some balance. Your dialect or mine doesn't get to insist on some pet peeve without conceding one to the other side. Let's ("us" here meaning Americans) just deal with the fact that people, including our neighbors and co-workers and drinking buddies, don't put periods after acronym letters any more, not since I was about 5. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 10:25, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

The comparison to single-vs-double quotation marks doesn't hold up. The preference for double is there for a technical reason: Search features can process double quotation marks more easily than single. The moment that this is no longer an issue, we should allow articles written in varieties of English that permit single quotation marks to use them. And of course articles written in British English should use British spellings. Why wouldn't they?
So the writers at the New York Times, the Washington Post and Science are a bunch of cranks? What I am seeing here is that professional writers and professional-quality style guides seem to prefer "U.S." for American English. We should go with that, not what people think their neighbors are probably doing. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:53, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I, for one, think SMcCandlish's tone is way out of line here. As pointed out upthread, there are very good reasons to use periods in "U.S." that don't apply to any of the other acronyms put up as examples. Powers T 13:26, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
This entire post is out of line. It uses emotion to completely ignore every argument we had in favor of the periods, especially its use in print quality documents. The issue here is limited to the use of "U.S." in "United States-specific" articles. Everything else is a red herring. There is no proposal to place periods in ROK, EEC, or IRC or to force the use of "U.S." in all articles. And as for consistency, I don't see how this issue is different from using different national varieties of English - specify which kind goes where and you have a enforceable standard.
We cannot wage a cultural war. Please avoid using stereotypes, gross generalization, and establishing credibility on the sole basis of age while ignoring objective criteria. Let's make arguments without regard for one's own personal preferences, okay? Just because I happen to think "U.K." looks good doesn't mean I get to insist that all other editors use it. It's what the non-Wikipedia world uses that counts. Please stop ignoring that.--Jiang (talk) 17:57, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not ignoring it, Jiang, I'm insisting on it. You've made my point for me, really. A few media outlets (mostly old-guard, conservative newspapers, notably) insist on "U.S.", but that's it, basically. Modern English, regardless of dialect, has simply dispensed with periods in acronyms, and everyone knows that whether they want to admit it or not. You don't insist on "U.K." despite feeling that it looks better, because usage doesn't support it. Yet usage doesn't support "U.S." either, unless you carefully select, with blatant bias, those sources that continue to use the former convention, and ignore the bulk of current English writing. Even the US government doesn't consistently use the periods. And when they do they don't do it consistently even in the same materials. As a random example, the United States Geological Survey homepage says (I couldn't make this up) "USGS" and "U.S. Geological Survey" in one virtual breath,[5] and yet the agency uses "US Geological Survey" ("US", not "U.S.") in the Google-reported metadata for the majority of their websites and sub-sites (which otherwise mostly use "USGS").[6]
I'm sorry you find me "out of line", but as I've indicated in other threads here, it's getting exceedingly tiresome to have people perennially use the MoS to push their weird pet peeves, over and over again, as if simple repetition is going to win the day for them. Issues like this need to be settled, once and firmly, via RFCs, with broad, WP-wide input from editors other than the handful who regularly haunt this page, and people just need to live with it, barring a major showing of a change in consensus somewhere down the line. PS: Perhaps you actually believe that "U.S." is only used on WP in US-specific articles, but it isn't, and people who prefer "U.S." regularly change "US" to the period-laden spelling and will even editwar over the matter, regardless of the topic and scope of the article, and despite the fact that it's wildly inconsistent with the treatment of all other acronyms on the system, and looks dirt-stupid when done in the same sentence as other acronyms. PPS: My argument is not grounded "on the sole basis of age", as you incorrectly claim, but I can guarantee you that age is a real factor, as it naturally must be, since it used to be standard English to use periods in acronyms and this has slowly become no longer the case, over the course of about 2 generations (ramping up in the 1970s). Pretending otherwise would just be silly. Linguistic conservatism also increases with age, to a very marked degree. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 01:20, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
No, almost all print media outlets insist on it. I really don't see the basis for your claims. Do you want to weigh google meta data more heavily than what is on the actual webpage page itself? That seems poor justification to me. We might as well just go with Craigslist casual encounters if you really want to pick crappier sources to prove your point (see above...)
I don't see how this is a "pet peeve" different than insisting that a period go after "Dr". Why should the standard here be any different for "U.S." than for any other abbreviation? The same cultural forces preferring the period not go after "Dr." are at play here. Clearly "U.S." is widely used in North America, so it shouldn't be dismissed so quickly.
And I'm not even proposing my personal preferences here. And I'm not getting all emotional and coming up with lengthy rants. And I do not haunt this page. I don't think I've edited here, prior to this section, for three years. I agree with you that perhaps a RFC is in order. Summarizing the arguments here beforehand would be a good start.--Jiang (talk) 07:05, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
In case anyone doesn't know, that exception is already explicit in the "US and U.S." paragraph of WP:MOS#Acronyms and abbreviations. Art LaPella (talk) 18:52, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with SMcCandlish. Usage always predece rules, which is how languages evolve. In the case of US antonyms, including NATO and SCUBA as well as US, it looks like the period is a lost cause. --Philcha (talk) 19:30, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
"U.S." is widely used in the media. Of course widespread usage matters. But here there is no showing that our "peer" publications prefer US over U.S. Can you show anything to show that the period is a lost cause, such as several American newspapers deciding to do away with the period? I really can't find justification for the claims being forwarded here. Wikipedia follows the evolution of the language; it does not drive it.--Jiang (talk) 20:27, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikpedia is not a newspaper or other mass-media outlet and does not follow journalistic style. US newspapers and magazines sometimes, not universally, use "U.S.", and Wikipedia really has no reason to care at all. Various such publications regularly also use contractions such as "didn't", and WP does not do that in our article writing either. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 00:29, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Your link speaks to content, not punctuation. Our Manual of Style is inherently congruent with the style guides of major publications and adheres, when given a choice, to formal usage. American newspapers almost universally use "U.S." and do not use contractions. I really don't see where you are pulling your claims from. Have you been reading tabloids exclusively?--Jiang (talk) 01:20, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Come on, ambiguity alone ought to be enough reason to keep the periods. I keep reading it as the word "us" capitalized instead of as "U.S.", even in the context of this discussion. Powers T 21:41, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
The periods disambiguate "U.S." from "us"-type confusion. Keep them. Binksternet (talk) 23:01, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Except that "us", capitalized at the beginning of sentences as "Us", is not "US", so there is no confusion or ambiguity, any more than there is between TEE and tee. Let's not be exaggeratory. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 00:26, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

As a form of diallect i was always told that in America its the USA or U.S. In British English its always US. I don't understand why there has to be one or the other. Should it not be: If the subject is American use U.S. if its not then use US. Lil-unique1 (talk) 00:46, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Someone mentioned Canada. In case it helps, the Canadian Press style is U.S. and U.K. (my copy is a few years old but I don't think it has changed), as is the Globe and Mail's. The latter's rule is periods in geographical terms with two letters; none with three or more. SlimVirgin talk contribs 01:03, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
While I'm checking, the Associated Press style (which a lot of U.S. newspapers use) is U.S. when used as an adjective; otherwise write it out. To address the point someone made above about USA, it would be U.S. but USA, because of the three-letter rule. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends U.S. in 15.5, but elaborates in 15.34: "Except in scientific style, U.S. traditionally appears with periods. Periods may nonetheless be omitted in most contexts. Writers and editors need to weigh tradition against consistency. In running text, the abbreviation (in either form) is permissible when used as an adjective, but United States as a noun should be spelled out." SlimVirgin talk contribs 01:19, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Again, Wikipedia is not journalism, and WP doesn't care what the AP (journalism) style manual says. And as has been said here again and again and again, WP doesn't slavishly follow the CMS, either. Just because it's a large and exhaustive style manual, in publication for a long time, doesn't mean it is always right about everything in every context. It is not only inconsistent from edition to edition (sometimes wildly), it frequently is in conflict with almost all other style manuals, on a variety of points. MoS does weigh tradition versus consistency, and almost always sides with consistency. Consistency clearly rules against something as weird and arbitrary as "U.S." and "U.K." because they're twoletterisms but "USA" and "PRC" because they're threeletterisms. All that said, I tend to agree (FWIW) with the idea that, on first occurrence, something like "United Kingdom" or "United States" should be written out (but regardless of noun or adjective form). We generally avoid presenting the reader with unexplained acronyms, even if to the editor thinking of adding one they seem "obvious". — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:18, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
It's not really a question of journalism. These are style guides that are used by mainstream publishers across Canada and the United States. I'm not familiar with style guides for science and medicine; they may differ. Also, just as someone who reads a lot, though I realize it's anecdotal, I think I mostly (if not always) see U.S. Do you have a source for US being common in the States, or some examples? SlimVirgin talk contribs 06:28, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Another thing: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (abbreviations) spells out abbreviations for Doctor, Captain, Corporal, Mister, Bachelor of Arts, department, Anno Domini, and a bunch of other commonly abbreviated terms and gives the option of both using periods and not using periods. Why is "U.S." being targeted with such passion in particular? Perhaps the entire section should be edited out and merged with a section on British/Australian vs. (or is that vs?) American/Canadian punctuation preferences.--Jiang (talk) 01:32, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

I was wondering when that would come up. I've suspected this entire brou-ha-ha was really aimed at deleting the entire section. Someone else mentioned this suspicion earlier, I believe. If you want to propose something like that, then just propose it plainly, and deal with the ensuing debate head-on, instead of re-starting a heated debate over a perennial flame topic, and then using the flaming as "evidence" in support of your broader change proposal. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:18, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
The MoS used to say that we should use what was common within the countries themselves, or what the government stationery used, which meant U.S. and UK, and I've been doing that for years. I didn't realize it had changed. I'm thinking it's pointless to ask American editors to write US, because they'll probably write U.S. no matter what we say. There would similarly be no point asking Brits to write U.K. SlimVirgin talk contribs 06:28, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
What we have here is a difference between people who want to base WP style on other styles, and people who don't. Maurreen (talk) 06:32, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Just remembering an amusing little sidenote. I once tracked down a British sockpuppet because he was doing something like the above in the wrong way. I won't say which abbreviation it was, because you might look it up and find him, but it was related to the things we're discussing, and it was very unusual usage in the UK. So I was able to find his other accounts through it, and it turned out they were indeed his. There's a lesson in there about watching your punctuation ... though I have no idea what that lesson is. :) SlimVirgin talk contribs 06:35, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
That is not my proposal. That is the logical conclusion of the ideas forwarded by Tony1 above. Although if there really is lack of consensus on this issue, then perhaps no guideline is the best guideline.--Jiang (talk) 07:05, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
We should prefer "U.S." for American English articles because that is standard American English. If, in ten or twenty years, "US" becomes standard American English, then we can update the MoS when that happens. No, Wikipedia is not a newspaper, but the AP style guide and Chicago are both good gauges of what is and is not standard American English, so we should pay attention to them.
I believe that there are some cases, such as all-caps writing, in which "US" can be confused with the pronoun "us." However, I don't feel that this alone would be enough to require a MoS rule covering all articles. I am confident that articles in other varieties of English can be written to avoid any such confusion. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:05, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I notice that one of our most legalistic and seriously policed policy pages, in US English, uses "US" prominently. I'm sure it was written by a US editor. Why force people to do one or the other? Tony (talk) 12:09, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
For the same reason that we "force" them to avoid jargon, spell words correctly and not replace "its" with "it's." Because that is proper, professional-quality English, and it all adds up to an accessible and neat-looking encyclopedia. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:48, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
You mean American English? No it doesn't. Unless you mean the disambiguation, which does not have to adhere to the national variation of English required in the article text itself. Few Americans will use the term "US English" to begin with; it's non-American usage. Asked, but not yet answered: are you proposing that we do away with the guideline complete and allow everyone to punctuate (and by extension, spell) at will?--Jiang (talk) 21:23, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I hate to jump in without reading the whole discussion, but it is too long so I'll put my two cents in and be brief. In the U.S., the reason we use "U.S." instead of "US" (which would be consistent with the above examples like "USA" and "RADAR") is that "US" is a word. It's the direct object form of "we".
And as an American of many years, I have to disagree with the editors who are claiming Americans always use "US". I don't see it. The only place I can recall seeing it is squeezed onto the buttons of soldier uniforms. Other than that it's USA or U.S. and occassionally U.S.A. Readin (talk) 03:26, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you

Someone finally said something this! Thank you! Carry on, now.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 01:13, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

It seems that I've been getting a bunch of last words in the discussion. Have I managed to be that convincing?--Jiang (talk) 22:49, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Trial of "core" concept

As part of the ongoing effort to rationalize the Manual of Style sprawl, Gnevin nine days ago proposed a system to improve consistency across multiple WP guideline pages. The system is based on the concept of the "core": a summary of the main principles expressed in a page, of the sort that often constitutes a lead paragraph. In the proposed system, a distinct paragraph-long page is created for such a core and transcluded via template into those full-length WP pages that, all too often inconsistently, reference the core's master page. This innovative system may sound complex, but it is very elegant and worthy of serious consideration.

The system is now being trialed with WP:Profanity/core; the MoS guideline WP:Profanity, where the transcluded core now constitutes the lead; the proposed MoS guideline WP:Words to watch (which we expect soon to replace the dysfunctional, logorrheic WP:Words to avoid); and the content guideline WP:Images. Note that Gnevin's smart design allows for targeted word substitution, so the transcluded core can focus on "words" in Words to watch, on "images" in Images, and on both in the Profanity master page. Please take a look and share your thoughts.—DCGeist (talk) 06:02, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes, this looks good, Dan. Do you see it as more appropriate for certain pages than others? It may not solve the vexed relationship between MoS main page and MOSNUM, though, where the devil is in the detail and the creation of a new boundary between the two pages to remove the duplication.
While I'm here, users might wish to add their advice on the matter of merging Weasel, Avoid, Neologisms, etc into the newly launched "Words to watch". Tony (talk) 07:09, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, the breadth of its applicability is my main concern. I think it's a truly lovely notion, but is it applicable widely enough to take hold? I had to pick out Images as the necessary second trial page myself. I've queried Gnevin on whether he's thought of other specific webs of guideline pages where this could be put to use. Let's see...—DCGeist (talk) 07:51, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree with the idea, but not with the implementation. Almost nobody would watchlist the "core" pages, and this would make it too easy to push guideline changes by changing the "core" first, and the rest of the guideline half a year later.

To solve this problem, the "core" must be part of the guideline itself, in an <includeonly> tag. Then the entire guideline can be transcluded instead of the "core" page, with the same effect. Hans Adler 10:15, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

And it requires a little familiarity to work out how to edit the lead, which doesn't appear in the edit box. Tony (talk) 12:03, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Great idea Hans, however would users have issue with template mark up in the middle of main MoS. I for one would have no issue Gnevin (talk) 15:21, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Example of Hans' suggestion User:Gnevin/sandbox2Gnevin (talk) 17:40, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

I like how Hans's proposal would improve the transparency of the system. However, I'm concerned that even the tiniest alteration—inadvertent or otherwise—to the coding on the master page would create a horrible mess on all the target pages. Gnevin's original proposal would be much sturdier, I believe, in practice. Is there a way to combine the virtues of both?—DCGeist (talk) 18:07, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
For instance, using Gnevin's structure as the basis, is it possible to set it up so that whenever a user places the master page on his/her watchlist, the core is automatically watched as well?—DCGeist (talk) 18:13, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
No. Otherwise I would have proposed that. Hans Adler 22:54, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Of course. It is clear from your charming contributions to Wikipedia Talk:Profanity/core that you know everything. I'm sure you won't allow us to forget that again, Herr Adler.—DCGeist (talk) 23:51, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
My, this is nasty! Can we at least leave the "Herr" out of it, since no one has argued that German ethnicity is to blame? Art LaPella (talk) 00:23, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
I do hope DCGeist was being ironic. Another example of misunderstanding due to the impersonal nature of text-based communication, perhaps? --Jubileeclipman 00:33, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
OTOH, I just read the linked discussion... hm --Jubileeclipman 00:36, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
If you mean to imply that there is anything inappropriate at WT:Profanity/core, you are totally incorrect. Johnuniq (talk) 01:33, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Moving swiftly along .... Should we go with the system as proposed by Hans? Gnevin (talk) 01:10, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

I can appreciate the concept that a transclusion system would impose some sort of consistency, but in practice it looks like make-work to me, and the complexity level seems unnecessarily high. Also, the point made by Hans about how only a handful of people will watch the core pages is a show stopper. Re the alternative suggestion: I would have thought that using <includeonly> (or <onlyinclude>) would end up being even more complex and possibly an unduly heavy server load (slow page loading, although I suppose caching would negate that issue).
We always told never to worry about server load ,nearly every page of wiki has a template some transcluded millions of times . Server load is a complete non issue . I don't understand how it's complex. It's two tags in a page and I'm sure we can make it easier and wrap them in some sort of template Gnevin (talk) 12:02, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
The profanity example is rather simple and would probably work, but I imagine that with other topics if MOS2 is transcluded into MOS1, then the wording in MOS1 will need to be somewhat contrived to accommodate the inclusion, and it would be hard for MOS1 to explain whatever point it wants to make regarding MOS2 without a bunch of repetition. Of course that all depends on exactly what core topics are chosen. Has anyone prepared a tentative list of core topics? My feeling is that if it's a small number, it's not worth doing, and if it's a large number, it is unduly complex and not worth doing. Johnuniq (talk) 01:33, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
The goal is to replace all seealso so its a large number . The next suggested core would be WP:N Gnevin (talk) 12:02, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Next cores for Wikipedia:Categorization and Wikipedia:Article titles

I have come here from Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (use English)#Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Trial of "core" concept. Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) has no direct connection to the MOS. It is a guideline for helping to determine the title of an article, comes under the WP:AT policy. The use of English inside article is determined by WP:MOS#Foreign terms. I presume Gnevin that you did not know that, or is it just that when the only tool that is available is a hammer everything looks like a nail? -- PBS (talk) 07:11, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

If you're going to do this then a lot more care has to be taken when inserting the template. This edit was definitely misguided in my opinion. --NeilN talk to me 01:37, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

This is no longer active Gnevin (talk) 14:46, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Post "core concept" trial: time to revisit Hans Adler's "core concept"?

Since the "core concept" trial has been unsuccessful, I wonder if is time for us to revisit what I've now titled #Hans Adler's "core concept" above. It came up amid a flurry of alternative suggestions, and its applicability may have been overlooked by some. As presented, it does rely on us to ignore details of actual content in the example given, and hence can be misunderstood unless read carefully. But overall, the concept has stayed with me as something we could usefully develop further in our attempt to produce a rational, top-down view of the MoS that solves the issue of duplication between levels. PL290 (talk) 16:27, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

PL290 has asked me if I am still interested in pursuing my earlier proposal. Part of the discussion happened above starting from #Hans Adler's "core concept" (that heading wasn't my work), and part of it was archived in WT:Manual of Style/Archive 114#Outline of a rational MOS structure. For the mock-up see User:Hans_Adler/MOS.
Some questions have come up since I made that proposal:
  • It may not be as easy as I hoped to divide the MOS into a small (~3) number of clearly defined subpages.
  • It was suggested that transclusion could cause performance problems. Since all templates use transclusion and we have some articles with hundreds of citation templates, I hope that this is not an issue.
Transclusion is not a server issue Gnevin (talk) 17:42, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Somebody (Gnevin?) mentioned that a little mistake in a transcluded page could cause havoc in the page that transcludes it. I am not sure what exactly is the problem, and would like to see an example before proceeding with my proposal. Perhaps my concept of transcluding things into a quote box automatically solves the problem, or perhaps it doesn't.
Removing '>' from User:Gnevin/sandbox1 yields User:Gnevin/sandbox2. Not a major issue but an issue Gnevin (talk) 17:42, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Overall, I am actually more interested in small improvements than in a big change. WP:Words to watch is an excellent development, and if this is successful and other similar consolidation work follows, the MOS will get a lot simpler. Hans Adler 17:25, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
An other issue with the core system I proposed was that it was just to hard to find a wording that met the needs of the page and the pages transcluding it . However all of these issues there was a possibility of over coming it (i.e they are technical issues), the main issue was users are fundamentally opposed to transcluding and this can't be over come Gnevin (talk) 17:42, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the main issue is users' opposition to transclusion. Perhaps the approach in my mock-up (put the transcluded text into a box, and introduce it with language that explains where to find the original) solves the problem, perhaps it doesn't.
The problem with a broken <onlyinclude> tag is bad if it happens, and I guess something like that could happen if someone doesn't understand the purpose of the tag and simply removes it. In the system I proposed, the incorrect transclusion would be boxed, so at least it would be very easy to identify the problem on the affected (transcluding) page. I think that would address the problem adequately, but others might disagree.
Personally I guess I would be equally happy with other, low-tech solutions, but I am not yet sure what they could be. Hans Adler 17:56, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
There are some practical problems with transclusion. If it is only used a couple of times, there is no point to introduce the complexity for a tiny benefit. If it is used several times (one item appears in several other places), it will be too hard in practice for that item to be updated because the tweak you would like to introduce to improve occurrence #1 would possibly not be an improvement in occurrence #2. Worse, an editor might not notice occurrences #3 and #4 (and the tweak which works in #1 and #2 looks silly in #3 and #4). If I am watching the transcluded item and a change occurs, I would have to check how it looks in every location where it appears. Johnuniq (talk) 22:45, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I hadn't picked up that transclusion was unpopular and therefore the issue the first time round. How about using templates instead then? (As in {{FAC-instructions}}, which is sourced in at the top of WP:FAC.) That's simpler to implement and maintain. But if that's not popular either, perhaps we should consider that transcluding/templating the summaries onto the central page is the icing on the cake, rather than the main point, of this proposal. If the summaries were simply plain content (a copy in both places), their getting slightly out of line from time to time would be far less of an issue than the same occurring with numerous large passages of detail, as presently happens. PL290 (talk) 09:54, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Templates are (almost) exactly the same thing as transclusion. These are the differences:
  • "Template" usually refers to something in Template: space. If you transcludes something using the syntax {{X}}, this will automatically be interpreted as {{Template:X}}, if Template:X exists.
  • "Template" often refers to intricate things with parameters etc., while the word "transclusion" is more often applied when it is about text.
Yes, the tranclusion is only the icing on the cake. The current problem is:
  • The main MOS doesn't only summarise everything, it also appears to restructure things.
  • The main MOS summarises too much. As is the case with linking, sometimes less is more, and we need to watch the trade-offs. A rule should be more likely to appear in the summary if it is more important (in the sense of being more often ignored) and if it is easier to summarise. For an important but complicated rule we should just link to the subpage, because it would take up too much space and is likely to change a lot.
  • Since the entire structure is so chaotic, editors simply don't know where to look for things that must be synchronised.
Let's fix these things first, and then we can talk about transclusion again, if still necessary. Hans Adler 10:42, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Words to watch has been marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Words to watch (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 38 has been marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 38 (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

How the heck did that happen?! --Jubileeclipman 03:53, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
No really, how? --Jubileeclipman 03:56, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Hilarious!—DCGeist (talk) 04:45, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure it has great guidance. But I'm waiting in suspense for the sequesl -- Archive 39. :) Maurreen (talk) 04:49, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
On further thought, I oppose based on WP:IAR. Maurreen (talk) 04:50, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I am still none the wiser. What caused the archive to be so marked? Is it still thus marked? (VeblenBot has not told us that it is "no longer part of the Manual of Style", so I guess so.) How do we unmark it, if so? Yours most bemused --Jubileeclipman 19:05, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Further thought - are there any more tranclutions that cause pages to be so marked (rightly or wrongly) or any other mishits of any other nature? How do we find out? --Jubileeclipman 19:26, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Presumably any page in Wikipedia space that transcludes userspace content could be affected by this. It appears that the bot ignores userspace, so didn't care that Gnevin had put a manual of style-template on his userpage, but did care that the same page was transcluded on the WP-space archive, and as such left the note here. I don't think taking a proactive approach here is necessary; this seems to be a rare case. –xenotalk 19:30, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough --Jubileeclipman 22:45, 23 April 2010 (UTC)


Can you list any Categories you've seen that is a relevant "guideline" category

I propose replacing both with Category:Wikipedia's Manual of Style

Why? This is the MoS, not the MoG. PL290 (talk) 14:24, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
What is MoG? Basically we've a arbitrary divide between content and style . Why is Wikipedia:Spoiler style not context. Why is Wikipedia:Logos content and WP:IMOS style? If we don't want to merge I'd suggest my analysis of what is content. Gnevin (talk) 14:34, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
MoG = Manual of Guidance? Either that, or his cat... Or he meant MoC (Manual of Content) --Jubileeclipman 19:22, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

CFM: Category:General style guidelines

Proposing that it be upmerged with Category:Wikipedia style guidelines. Comment here: Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2010 April 20#Category:General style guidelines. harej 02:28, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Please do vote, guys. This category has been my guide for almost 2 years to tell me which style pages are of sufficient general interest to warrant monthly updates, until this month when the category was reduced, after many of the pages I was tracking got merged or proposed for merging without apparent objection. This merge/deletion discussion might be useful to help me gauge whether this is something people care about and what they want. - Dank (push to talk) 12:40, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I've left pointers to this section at the talk pages of WT:FAC, WT:MOSTM and WT:WAF. - Dank (push to talk) 12:43, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Not sure what to make of the lack of any response. If there are no further developments, I'll stop doing monthly updates of these, and of course anyone else is welcome to jump in at WP:Update/2. - Dank (push to talk) 13:02, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I had not known that you did monthly updates. Maybe others didn't either. But thanks. It seems like a lot of work for you to do. Maurreen (talk) 04:40, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Maurreen; I was happy to do it. - Dank (push to talk) 12:33, 24 April 2010 (UTC)


It is proposed that Wikipedia:Record charts/Billboard charts guide be merged into WP:record charts. Please comment over at the RfC merge proposal. Thanks --Jubileeclipman 01:13, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)/IPA vs. other pronunciation symbols is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)/IPA vs. other pronunciation symbols (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Writing better articles is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Writing better articles (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Query navbox categories

I wonder why "Lists of works", for example, is in the "Manual" category, but "Lists" is in the "Guidelines" category. Shouldn't these two categories be conflated? Tony (talk) 03:02, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

These cats are indeed in a mess, Tony: see above. This needs sorting out big time --Jubileeclipman 03:38, 25 April 2010 (UTC)


A fellow editor and I are having a dispute over what WP:RETAIN applies to. I believe we both understand that it applies to variations of English and date formatting and whatnot. But does WP:RETAIN, or "the spirit of WP:RETAIN", also apply to other formatting, such as using {{reflist}} versus using <references /> on a page? Thanks. Sorafune +1 16:51, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

That particular question is covered by WP:CITE, which does say to retain the established style on each article. The spirit of that is just the same as the spirit behind ENGVAR: it avoids pointless arguments over which style is "better". — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:58, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
{{reflist}} vs <references/> is not something covered by WP:RETAIN or WP:CITE. These would applies to something like "Smith, J. (2009). Title, p. 9, ISBN 0-123-12332-3" vs using "John Smith (2009). Title, p. 9, ISBN 0-123-12332-3". {{reflist}} is almost always better than using <references/>.Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 18:15, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it is covered. Because the reflist changes the font size of the references, it is not just an invisible markup change, but an actual change to the style used by the article. If it did not change the visible output in any way, it would be less problematical. However, even making markup changes that are invisible to the reader, such as changing from templated to non-templated references with the same visible output, can be inappropriate. The section on this is WP:CITEHOW. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:20, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
No, it is not covered by WP:CITEHOW. CITEHOW covers things like using {{citation}} vs. {{cite xxx}} since this affect citation style. {{reflist}} only improves over <references/>, by allowing more control over the listing of references, and by presenting them in a less cumbersome fashion. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 19:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
You should ask about this at WT:CITE, I suppose. I feel you have misunderstood the underlying point of that part of WP:CITE. If adding reflist doesn't fall under WP:CITE because using reflist is not part of the citation style, then WP:CITE also doesn't cover removing reflist, for the same reason. So your argument would equally well permit people to go through and remove reflist from articles whenever they edit them. The point of WP:CITE is to discourage people from changing things either way, just as ENGVAR discourages people from needlessly changing between national varieties of English. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:14, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, from needlessly changing something. However, reflist is superior to references/, so it does improve the visual appearance of the article, and that is not a needless change. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 19:19, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Arguments that begin "this change is OK because I think it looks better" are exactly what these policies are meant to discourage. The rule is set up so that it doesn't matter which one "looks better", because there will rarely be agreement on that. Instead, the originally established style should be maintained. Someone else could make the exact same argument as you, word for word, just switching "references" and "reflist" everywhere, and it would be equally valid. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:29, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
If the argument is really about what "looks better", then it seems that there actually is an agreement that reflist is better because that's the only version I see used on featured articles and good articles. Sorafune +1 22:16, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
The relevant guidelines specifically say that either may be used, so I would tend to agree with CBM that this is the type of change from one acceptable format to another that is discouraged by WP:RETAIN. There's nothing to suggest any wide consensus that either version is superior. Christopher Parham (talk) 15:28, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Nothing to even suggest it? I just pointed out above that every featured articles and good articles I've ever seen uses {{reflist}} over <references />, regardless of what the used at first. Sorafune +1 19:39, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
First, your point is not based on a comprehensive survey but on your anecdotal opinion, based on your personal memory of a probably small percentage of FAs whose source you have viewed. Personally, I've seen plenty of featured articles that don't use the template. Second, because of the high frequency with which random editors armed with AWB or other tools come through and make trivial style changes based on their personal preferences, the percentage of articles that use a given style is a poor measure of broad community consensus, based on my experience with such issues. The best place to actually develop a consensus is at the talk page of a relevant guideline, such as WP:FOOT. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:11, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
To address the first point above but not the second: All 29 Featured Articles I chose more-or-less randomly (specifically, the last entry in each of the 29 categories at Wikipedia:Featured articles) contain the "reflist" command. If that isn't good enough, I suppose I could program AWB to look at them all. Art LaPella (talk) 05:08, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
The fact that a template is used by many or all FAs does not mean that other articles must use it. It would not surprise me if the FA reviewers have their own requirements that are much stricter than WP:CITE, which allows essentially any internally consistent citation style. It seems WP:FOOT already includes this advice: "The choice between {{Reflist}} and <references /> is a matter of style; Wikipedia does not have a general rule." — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:51, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposed speedy move of non-MoS-titled style guidelines to MoS title style

Per the thread above, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Rationalizing MoS page titles, I identified 20 pages bannered as style guidelines linked to on our "universal" {{Style}} template that are not titled according to our current, partially instituted titling regime: WP:Manual of Style (layer cake). You may see all 20 of those pages in the collapsible table below (along with 10 other pages whose status we can get to later):

Consensus is building in the aforementioned thread that—to serve consistency, clarity, and coherence—all accepted style guidelines should be titled according to a consistent titling regime incorporating the phrase Manual of Style (whether we maintain the current MoS titling style or switch to a new one as part of this rationalization effort is under debate above). Gnevin has proposed that the 20 non-MoS-titled style guidelines be speedily moved to MoS naming. This seems like a good idea, in general. I thought I would do a quick survey of the 20 and see if there is any reason that any of them should not be speedily moved (e.g., because they should not be labeled as style guidelines in the first place or because they are of such low quality that they would degrade the MoS). I invite anyone to join me in this survey—any part of it—and to report back here.

Of the 20, I have quickly identified 7 that require special treatment:

  • Five are being audited by members of the taskforce set up by Tony to rationalize the substance of the MoS (this structural rationalization effort is inspired by and meant to complement that substantive one).
  • Of those five, three are currently the subjects of extensive taskforce work that may alter their status (Words to avoid, Lists, and Making technical articles understandable). Those can be left alone for now so as not to complicate the work of the taskforce members.
  • There appears to be little action at present on the remaining two (Tables and Music samples). I'll leave queries on the respective Talk pages and also ask the taskforce members here: Matthewedwards and Dabomb87, what do you see happening with Tables? Demotion to essay? Consolidation into another page? Worthy of speedy move to MoS naming? Jubileeclipman, same question for Music samples. Thanks.
  • Two are WikiProject pages that we are not entitled to move. (But then, Projects should probably not be entitled to put Manual of Style banners on their pages.) These are Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Style guide and Wikipedia:WikiProject Films/Style guidelines. I request input on how these should be addressed. Here is one thought: Projects should be free to put generic "style guideline" banners on their pages (as Films does), but if they want an official Manual of Style banner and listing in the Style template, they have to make sure the page is entirely in accord with the Manual and hand over its titling to the consistent MoS style. Or, here is a twist on that: We encourage projects to create, host, and maintain their own style guides, again with generic "style guideline" banners; on our template, beneath all the official Manual pages, we create a separate section called "WikiProject Style Guides". Should the generic style guideline banner be scrapped, and a more specific WIkiProject style guideline banner be created?

As for the other 13 (note that coincidentally, we have a 13-and-7 split that is different from the 7-and-13 split you'll find in the collapsible box), I'll begin my survey and report back. Again, any input on these is most welcome. In fact, I'll facilitate matters by listing them here:

And to conclude, I'll summarize my main queries:

  • What's happening with Tables and Music samples?
  • What should we do about WikiProject-hosted "style guidelines"? Specifically: Is there anyone here who's part of the Military history WikiProject who has a view on whether the project would prefer to (a) exchange the current MoS banner on its style page for a generic (or new WikiProject) "style guideline" banner or (b) maintain MoS status, have the page renamed WP:Manual of Style (military history), and accept whatever tweaking would be necessary to bring it fully into accord with the rest of the MoS?
  • Do you find any reason not to speedily move the 13 style guidelines linked above to Manual of Style naming?

Thanks.—DCGeist (talk) 19:59, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Support move but wait:To be honest I'd wait. Not much point in moving to Manual of Style (Trivia) updating all the shortcuts etc only to find we've agreed on Trivia (Manual of Style) Gnevin (talk) 20:13, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
No worries: I don't intend to move a thing until we've decided what our naming regime will be (and that's why we've got to wait on Words to watch, as well). But the process described in this thread may lead to debate over what the status of several of the pages should be. It's best to start that discussion now, so when we reach a decision on what the consistent MoS naming style will be, we'll be prepared to make the proper moves.—DCGeist (talk) 20:26, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
In that case I simply support Gnevin (talk) 20:29, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • So far, oppose. Why rename all these pages? Why is it not sufficient to just give each page a simple, obvious title (such as "Wikipedia:Lists" or "Wikipedia:Trivia sections") and denote their inclusion within the MoS by using the appropriate banner template and category? So far, to me, this sounds like a solution searching for a problem. --Father Goose (talk) 21:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Please familiarize yourself with some of the threads above and in our recent archives concerning all the substantive problems of overlap, redudancy, and contradiction between the various style guideline pages. The present structural chaos is a big problem and only fuels the substantive one.
Right now it's very easy for someone to slap an MoS banner on their page and claim it as part of the Manual of Style, however dreadfully unstylish it is, however much it may contradict other, better-established parts of the Manual. Users are left to wonder what the difference is between style guidelines that are titled and bannered as part of the MoS; those that are only bannered; and those that that are neither. Do they all have the same status? Are they all to be taken equally seriously? If they conflict, which one is to be trusted? A rational structure will do much to bring the various pages into compliance with each other, to bring their guidance into mutual accord, and to force out what doesn't belong. It is funny that something that calls itself a "Manual of Style" can't even make clear to readers what legitimately belongs to it and what doesn't and how the elements that do actually relate to each other. Funny...but also a big, problematic, and unnecessary mess. Time to clean house.—DCGeist (talk) 22:14, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
(ec) It gives a stronger identity than the banner. The reader sees "Wikipedia:Lists", without necessarily looking at the banner (I do it all the time). Thus the page is clearly "something about lists" but is not immediately identified in the role "style guide". I know that's the banner's intended effect, but I think the title itself does it far more immediately. PL290 (talk) 22:29, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - In my view, as mentioned earlier, anything purporting to be a style guide ought to be part of MoS. If I establish WikiProject FUBAR tomorrow, I will not expect to create my own style guide endorsing triple-spaced em dashes or any such thing, and this leads me to believe we should assume existing projects too intend to harmonize with MoS. We already know from recent endeavours that any existing style guide within MoS can be (a) reviewed and improved, and (b) demoted to essay status if consensus is reached that that is the correct course of action. This is presumably just as true of the current outsiders, and bringing them into the fold should not, in my view, make that ongoing process of review any less possible but rather should encourage it. I support making everything that calls itself a style guide part of MoS. PL290 (talk) 22:29, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I think these should be listed at WP:RM as some of the targets for the '/' type system already exist [7] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gnevin (talkcontribs) 09:20, 22 April 2010
  • Support but Wait - All the MoS pages (and other pages possibly) might need to be moved if we change the system as proposed above in #Polling options... If we keep the status quo, however, then indeed we should change all titles to follow a unified system. At the moment, it isn't obvious that Music samples is part of the MoS unless you actually visit that page. Same with the rest --Jubileeclipman 05:55, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
  • WP:CITE contains very little style advice (basically, just to say that any consistent style is fine). Its master page is WP:V and it shouldn't become a subpage of MOS instead. It should probably be an editing guideline rather than a style guideline.
  • WP:STUB also looks more like an editing guideline, it is mainly about how to define a stub and how to create new stub categories. Christopher Parham (talk) 15:44, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I completely agree about STUB. We can start a thread there to propose rebranding it as an editing guideline. Should be unproblematic.
  • CITE is a more vexatious issue. It does contain a considerable amount of information of the sort that is commonly included in a publishing style manual. I think more comment should be sought.—DCGeist (talk) 17:00, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose bulk move. Pages that teach good writing, give content rules, or explain how to use Mediawiki features aren't style pages at all, and shouldn't be titled as such. (I elaborated on this in a section further up the page.) Perhaps we need a more expansive "Authors' Guide" or something, but there are a number of things that exceed the bounds of what I expect to see in a style guide. Perhaps the templates / categories should be removed or replaced, but I don't support pushing everything related to writing Wikipedia under the heading Manual of Style, because that is not inclusive enough in my opinion. Dragons flight (talk) 21:55, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

More input needed at RfC to merge Words to avoid

Wikipedia:Words to watch is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Words to watch (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 26 April 2010 (UTC)


MOS:FULLSTOP and MOS:EXCLAMATION are non-working shortcuts to WP:MOS#Terminal punctuation, and I can't fix them. Art LaPella (talk) 22:22, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Fixed. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:48, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Cities/US Guideline has been marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:WikiProject Cities/US Guideline (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:External links is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:External links (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Cities/Guideline is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:WikiProject Cities/Guideline (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Avoid neologisms is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Avoid neologisms (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:01, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

You should standardize your use of dashes in names

Please spell out an official standard for whether to use n-dashes or hyphens in names and whether they should be spaced. It looks like you usually use n-dashes (either spaced or unspaced) to mean "vs" or "to", as in France–Germany relations, Canada – United States border, and Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. You usually use hyphens to mean "and", as in Kitchener-Waterloo or Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation even though WP:DASH says to use an n-dash for "and". There are some exceptions, to this, like Happy Valley–Goose Bay, which uses an n-dash but means "and") and Canada – United States relations with is spaced differently from France–Germany. -- (talk) 17:56, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately, many editors are unaware of our conventions on en dashes. If you see a page with a problem, please fix it. Thanks! Ozob (talk) 04:14, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Even those who are aware of WP:DASH, such as the IP above who cited it, may be unable to explain or "fix" issues like the above. As the end of WP:HYPHEN puts it: "Hyphenation involves many subtleties that cannot be covered here". Art LaPella (talk) 16:28, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Hyphens don't so much stand for "and", but conjoin two words where movement, span, or apposition between them are not at issue. They sometimes make reading easier or the meaning unambiguous by coupling paired items in a long nominal group. You may be interested in these subsidiary exercises. Tony (talk) 16:39, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Content vs Style

At Wikipedia talk:Record charts/Billboard charts guide#Time to move forward and formally propose this page as a Guideline? I asked whether that page was ready to be proposed as a Guideline. One editor supports instead the idea of merging the page to Wikipedia talk:Record charts. However, I looked at both pages again and came to the conclusion that a) the subpage is really a Content Guide and b) half of that main MoS page also appears to be Content Guide material rather than MoS material. I suggested that the MoS page could be split into MoS and Content Guide and then that subpage merged to the new Content Guide. Any thoughts? Perhaps comment over there for now to keep discussion centeralised. Thanks --Jubileeclipman 04:21, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't understand the distinction between content and style. Can you explain why content isn't part of the MoS Gnevin (talk) 12:45, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
To me, "Style" means formatting, (e.g section headings, hyphen/endash/emdash, nbsp, "the"-or-"The" mid-sentence, to-template-or-not-to-template, etc.) while "Content" means inclusion-of-material. The latter will be affected enormously by WP:N, WP:V etc, obviously, but there are times when those guidelines are not enough. E.g., do we include information about every chart that a song has appeared on—or even every notable chart a song has appeared on—or do we rather make a rule and include only some of those charts? Many other possibilities, also, of course. To my mind that question goes way beyond "Styling", however, and any advice on it should not be in a "Manual of Style". See also my appraisals of MUSTARD and the Music MOS (linked way above in the audits section) for more on this --Jubileeclipman 13:52, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes. Gnevin, it's also important to recognize that there will inevitably be overlaps between "Style" and "Content"—there is no hard line between them. The issue of..let's call them Words that make you go "Hmmm", this an example. It is primarily a stylistic concern (How do we present what we've chosen to include?) with some conceptual overlap with content (Do we include this word or phrase)? And the degree of overlap varies within the guideline as well. The question of whether or not to use a cliché is a more purely stylistic issue, while the question of whether to include an obscenity in something you're quoting or find a way to recast the passage so it's unnecessary is more of a hybrid style/content concern.—DCGeist (talk) 16:48, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Actually, you make a good point that Content and Style overlap in some cases. I'll see what my experiment reveals though, since there are no obvious reasons not to try it --Jubileeclipman 20:48, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Some examples of content guidelines that may help to make the distinction clear: WP:COI, WP:NPS, WP:PN and WP:HOAX. PL290 (talk) 17:30, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In the linked discussion, I have suggested that I use my userspace to try splitting Wikipedia:Record charts into two guides, MoS and Content, and merge Wikipedia:Record charts/Billboard charts guide into the latter. Assuming there are no obvious reasons why I should not do that, I'll go ahead soon. I'll report back over at Wikipedia talk:Record charts/Billboard charts guide for now, though. If the experiment works, I'll try it out with WP:MUSTARD and WP:MOSMUSIC. The former appears primarily to cover Content while the latter is indeed primarily a Manual of Style, so it shouldn't be too hard. However, each one contains things that should be in the other if we make that distinction clear, IMO --Jubileeclipman 17:21, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Category:Content (Manual of Style), how many of these are listed incorrectly Gnevin (talk) 19:29, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
No idea but certainly the music guides mix the two concepts considerably. I'll check the others in the cat when I get a chance --Jubileeclipman 20:44, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Further thought: those cats are horribly mixed up. We have MoS's under category:general style guidelines, Category:Wikipedia style guidelines which doesn't contain either Category:Manual of Style or Category:Content (Manual of Style), God knows how many miscats... Quite a mess, IMO --Jubileeclipman 22:51, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm. Put that alongside the fact that these three make an interesting combination:
  • The MoS declares itself to be Wikipedia's style guide.
  • The MoS is an oversized, sprawling thing we are struggling to organize.
  • The MoS contains Content guides, something not native to a style guide.
Shouldn't all this suggest to us one course of action, namely that we should cease to treat Content guides as part of our Style guide? Manual of Guidance indeed. PL290 (talk) 01:11, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
=MoG! Got it! --Jubileeclipman 03:08, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes we should have a MoS and MoC(ontent). Gnevin (talk) 11:44, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't think so. Unlike our Style guides, each Content guide—such as WP:COI, WP:NPS, WP:PN and WP:HOAX—stands on its own. They don't need to be part of a manual of anything. They're grouped by their membership of Category:Wikipedia content guidelines. PL290 (talk) 12:36, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Click here to see the links to my new subpages separating out MoS from Content for record charts. If this works, I'll try it with MUSTARD and MOSMUSIC as I said --Jubileeclipman 21:33, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Would someone consider taking a stab at an essay titled something like Wikipedia:What is the MoS or Wikipedia:Comparison of Wikipedia Style and Content guidelines. I have to say, I am still lost how and when this distinction is made Gnevin (talk) 20:56, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I'll have a go sometime. Didn't my subpages help? The way I see it, Style is to do entirely with the formatting of text, images, sound files etc etc, while Content is to do with the actual inclusion or otherwise of text, images, sound files etc etc. There is overlap (though I can't think of a clear example off the top of my head, perhaps ENGVAR or weasel words?) but for the most part the distinction is quite clear --Jubileeclipman 00:33, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
It seems simple to me; when translating into another language, you would translate the content but not the style, because the other language has its own style but it always has some way of expressing the same content. Of course Wikipedia content and style pages are hopelessly intertwined. Art LaPella (talk) 03:45, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Both of your explanations have helped greatly. Maybe if you just put that into this page Wikipedia:Comparison of guidelines Gnevin (talk) 08:50, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I'll have a go later today. Been up all night on WP... insomnia! Need some rest now, funnily enough... --Jubileeclipman 09:06, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Hey, that's great start Gnevin! I'll check those cats first then see if I can add some text explaining the difference between content and style. And those other things indeed --Jubileeclipman 20:37, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Let's see: spelling is content, while spelling spelling is style. Simple!—DCGeist (talk) 20:43, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
DCGeist (and anyone else here) - Would you like to have a go at expanding that essay? I am not going to get a chance: I'll be on indef wikibreak from tommorow (RL stuff) and I'll have WP:CTM to attend to when I return. Thanks --Jubileeclipman 17:26, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Allowable typographic changes

The following sentence was reverted under "Allowable typographic changes" for quoted material under "Quotations":

  • Double sentence spacing. Modern English-language publishing uses only a single word space between sentences—all additional spaces are removed. Double non-breaking spaces should not be forced in articles, except as noted in non-breaking spaces above.

The rationale given was that it contradicts what WP:MoS says. It was a good faith revert, but I don't think it does. However, I also don't want to dredge that discussion up again. I thought this was a reasonable addition given that the line directly above it states:

  • Spaces before punctuation such as periods and colons: these should be removed as alien to modern English-language publishing.

If this sentence is OK, I think the one on double sentence-spacing is reasonable. They are the same concept and both are equally true (see Sentence spacing). The section under "terminal punctuation" was left ambiguous so people can type however they want in their edit boxes. For the final "published" edition of a page (what people read), non-breaking spaces shouldn't be forced in quoted material though. Thoughts? Airborne84 (talk) 20:59, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

I disagree with this. I think this is Airborne's attempt, once again, to overstate the actual consensus in practice on double spaces at the end of sentences. While it may not be stated in many style manuals, in practice there are plenty of examples of extra space being used in very fine publications, especially in mathematics.
That's not to say I'm in favor of forcing double spaces; I just don't think it needs to be said in the MoS, and I think this is part of Airborne's POV crusade. --Trovatore (talk) 21:44, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
"I don't think it does [contradict what WP:MoS says]" Yes it does contradict. WP:MOS#Terminal punctuation says:
"The number of spaces following the terminal punctuation of a sentence makes no difference on Wikipedia because web browsers condense any number of spaces to just one. (See Sentence spacing#Web browsers.) However, editors may use any spacing style they are comfortable with in Wikipedia. Multiple spacing styles may coexist in the same article, and adding or removing a double space is sometimes used as a dummy edit."Oops, sorry, I read it again. Art LaPella (talk) 22:30, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Spacing before periods is a separate issue; double spacing is an extra space after the period, not before.
This is not an opinion on what the MoS should say. I'm just reading what it says now. Art LaPella (talk) 21:58, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Art—spacing before punctuation is not "the same concept" as double sentence-spacing at all. PL290 (talk) 22:08, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Sigh. I thought perhaps we could have a rational discussion. I am not on a crusade. If it seems this should be left out, fine. I simply wondered why it's OK to say that "spaces before punctuation are alien to modern English language publications," but it is not OK to say that about double sentence spacing, when that is stated plainly by a large number of reliable sources (noted in Sentence spacing). This is a section about "silent" typographical corrections within quoted matter, not setting a standard for all Wikipedia articles in their entirety.
Should the above item about spaces before punctuation be deleted as well then? Airborne84 (talk) 23:58, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I should have more clearly identified why this is different than the terminal punctuation section.  (I agree it's worded ambiguously—it was done that way on purpose to placate some people.)  It would be fairly easy for someone to force two non-breaking spaces in quoted matter, since publications before 1950 (in the English speaking world) many times used wide sentence spacing.  The comment was intended to say "that's not consistent with the current publication practice"—in the same manner as the line before it.  No one, (including me) cares if someone wants to try to write an entire Wikipedia article with &nbsp:&nbsp: inserted between every single sentence.  Truthfully, I would laugh—and then fix any the editor might have missed in order to help them make it consistent.  Why ruin a lot of work?  However, it would actually be realistic for someone to force one or two non-breaking spaces in a quote—in a manner that is also "alien to modern English publishing," (see endnote 10 in Sentence spacing)  So, I thought it was a reasonable addition.  Maybe not.  Airborne84 (talk) 00:20, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

In the realm of English language writing, within and outside of Wikipedia, direct quotes may be silently changed to use the fonts available in the quoting document, and the point where lines are broken may also be changed (except for poetry). The quote might even be handwritten. Since these kinds of changes will make the appearance of the amount of space after sentence termination change, I think it's safe to conclude that double spaces in the original can be silently changed to single spaces in Wikipedia if we want to. Jc3s5h (talk) 00:37, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Double spaces after sentences might be old-fashioned but they are 1. still correct English and 2. rendered as singles in browser windows anyway and therefore have zero effect on the reader experience. The MoS should not forbid users to use two spaces between sentences. With regard to allowable typographical changes, the MoS should explicitly say that it will make no difference to the viewer and that editors may change them or not as they see fit. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:11, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. I always double space my sentences, mainly to help me read the text in the edit window but also because it is a habit. This should be treated like other similar things: don't fix it if it isn't broken --Jubileeclipman 03:16, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Darkfrog, we're not talking about the section on terminal punctuation. We're talking about people forcing non-breaking spaces into quoted material only—for the final markup. No one is saying that you can't double space in an edit box. Are you saying that the statement above the RV should also be removed and it's ok for people to force a non-breaking space before a colon if that's the way it appears in the original quote? That is just as "correct" as double spacing in publications today. (please feel free to go to the Sentence spacing article and contribute with some references.)
The statement didn't prohibit typing two spaces between sentences in edit boxes. It said that people should not force non-breaking spaces in quoted material—except as provided in the WP:MoS section on non-breaking spaces. Airborne84 (talk) 03:32, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry. I only skimmed the above before I commented (slap wrists...) Does any one actually do that, though? " today.  The government..." (= " today.&nbsp;&nbsp;The government...") in quotations, I mean? Never seen that. Any examples from a real edit? --Jubileeclipman 04:00, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. If nobody has been observed to do this, then there is no reason for this instruction to creep in. Ozob (talk) 04:13, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
A fair argument. I notice that no one made it when the other "Allowable typograqphical changes"..."crept in" though. Fine, leave the other item about not forcing spaces before a period and colon as a double standard. I'm not going to pursue this further. Some of you might just consider whether your objections are intended to make Wikipedia better, or if they are intended to support your own personal preference.
And I'll leave it at that. Airborne84 (talk) 13:18, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I can't find &nbsp;&nbsp; in mainspace, unless you count Sarrancolin and Non-breaking space. Spaces before colons, and to a lesser extent periods, are often corrected by my AWB software. Art LaPella (talk) 16:46, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I was a bit interested .   I doubt that : "&nbsp;" before a colon or a period is out there either .   This isn't something worth pursuing though, given the strenuous objections .   Thanks for checking !   Airborne84 (talk) 20:31, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Archive and move on? --Jubileeclipman 17:21, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposals for non-breaking spaces

[Moved to the bottom of the page where it's more visible; it was lost in the middle of a bunch of automated alarms. Ozob (talk) 01:29, 29 April 2010 (UTC)]

Please see Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Proposals for non-breaking spaces (permanent link). -- Wavelength (talk) 23:05, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

MOS Taskforce audits

List of suggested audits


Current audits are bolded. Please strike through when resolved.

Punk music, Albums, Composers, Opera, Contemporary music, Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Stringed instrument tunings)

Useful links

These are useful links for determining audit targets:

MOS Taskforce audit reports

Group: WP:Technical terms and definitions,WP:Explain jargon and WP:Make_technical_articles_understandable


I have carefully perused three closely related MoS pages and have left comments at each talk page.

  • WP:Technical terms and definitions: To be frank, I found that much of the material is contained in other styleguides, such as here, Italics, Bold, Law and Biology. I am struggling to understand much of the text, which seems to be opaque or difficult to translate into practice. There appear to be rules about formatting that not many WPians have heard of, and that are only options among other standard methods. I believe WP:FAC would be surprised to know what it is meant to abide by. I have been extremely bold in suggesting at talk that the page be deleted.
  • WP:Make_technical_articles_accessible: I believe the basic message insisting on addressing "the widest possible audience" and rewriting articles to achieve this is a bit uncompromising and should be toned down. In my view, most of the article is written like an essay, although it contains some useful general advice. I have suggested that a solution is to change the page status to "essay", include the basic messages in MoS main page in a few sentences, and to link from there to the essay.
  • WP:Explain jargon: Ohms has already suggested that this very short page be "merged" into MoS main page. I have indeed asked at talk whether anyone can identify any substantive point made at this MoS. I suspect this should also not be part of the MoS, but instead its message condensed into a few sentences in MoS main page, where they will have more impact.

Given the suggestions I've made in all three cases, I've not copy-edited or restructured any of the text in these pages. Your feedback is welcome. Tony (talk) 10:59, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Where do you think the information about Italics are Bold. Answer in link form please Gnevin (talk) 12:07, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't understand your question; can you rephrase it please? Tony (talk) 12:52, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
You said I found that much of the material is contained in other styleguides, such as here, Italics, Bold, Law and Biology . Can you link me to the sections of each of these guides that contain the info because I can't find it Gnevin (talk) 13:19, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Presumeably the relevent sections of Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting)? Also Wikipedia:Manual of Style (legal) though I am not sure where to find the Biology guide --Jubileeclipman 15:40, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
But text formatting and legal doesn't say anything close that what WP:Technical terms and definitions says Gnevin (talk) 17:30, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

I notified WT:GAN, since one of these guidelines is in WP:GACR. The only action I'll take myself is to remove style pages from Category:General style guidelines if support has weakened, if the page disappears or if they appear to be temporarily unstable, with no prejudice to restoring them if support and stability re-emerge in the future. - Dank (push to talk) 16:50, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Hi, Tony, I'd regard *WP:Make_technical_articles_accessible or something as the law and prophets. I've seen in WP e.g. "WP's audience should be bright 14-year olds", and Readability tests such as Flesch–Kincaid readability test and Gunning fog index support that. In fact most adults stop at about that level - the exceptions are mostly academics and "technicians" (included e.g. lawyers). I propose that every part of MOS should include "WP's audience should be bright 14-year olds" as its priority and all the content in every part of MOS should be reviewed to ensure that it complies. --Philcha (talk) 10:19, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Actually, that's not a bad thought. I read through the Music MoS and MUSTARD this morning and, even as an experienced musician with a BMus (Hons), struggled to follow some of what they were attempting to say. "Eagerly inquiring 14-yo" might be a good person to bear in mind --Jubileeclipman 17:30, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm very much against that idea. (Well, depending on how bright is "bright" — some truly exceptional 14-year-olds can handle material at virtually any level, at least within their own area of interest).
To me a great part of the value of Wikipedia is that it can provide useful information on a very wide range of topics, ranging from those that anyone might be interested in, to those that are accessible only to people with a serious background in a difficult field, and anything in between. I think there's a lower limit; overly simplistic articles make the project look bad. But there should be no upper limit.
This means of course that, for each of us, there will be WP articles we can't understand, because we don't have the background. So what?
The correct test is that each article should be as accessible as reasonably possible given the inherent nature of its subject matter, not that it should be accessible to some particular stereotyped reader, such as a bright 14-year-old. --Trovatore (talk) 19:34, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Mulling over your thought here, Trovatore, I have to disagree. Wikipedia, like any encyclopedia, is supposed to give an overview of a subject for those unfamiliar with it. Articles that cannot be understood unless the reader already is quite versed in a field fail to serve that purpose. As it already says on the policy page Wikipedia is not a scientific journal. And that's why we need a technical language guideline, and that guideline should keep in mind that the average reader of an article is not an expert in the field. oknazevad (talk) 15:18, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
It is true that WP is not a journal. That means it is not usually an appropriate place to present results that have appeared in a single paper. And right, the reader should not be expected to be "an expert in the field", but what "expert" or "the field" means in this context is very variable.
A good example is the article on the Stone–Čech compactification, which I think is actually quite a good article. It is very definitely not a journal article; it presents a technique that is used across a broad range of mathematical fields. The reader does not have to be "an expert" in "the field", where "the field" means, say, specifically general topology.
The reader does, of course, have to be an expert in mathematics. That is unavoidable; the material cannot be presented to anyone who is not. --Trovatore (talk) 16:06, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I've taken a look at the lead of that article, and despite having probably more mathematical background than 99% of the population (I have a degree in physics), I can't understand any of it. Not only do I not know what a universal map is, but I don't even know where to look it up, and that could be fixed by linking the relevant article. I know what a topological space is, but having a link to that article wouldn't hurt, either. I don't know what it means for a map to factor through a compact space, and again I am given no clue about where to look that up. And so on.
I then turned to the article on the same topic, and it starts with two paragraphs roughly translating to "The Stone–Čech compactification of a topological space X is a compact topological space (denoted by βX) which extends the original space X, in which it is also possible to extend all the bounded continuous functions in X. Among the various compactifications of a topological space, the Stone–Čech one is the "largest", as opposed to the Alexandroff compactification, obtained by adding only one point." Then in the next section there's a definition written in terms which any high-school senior has heard of, with links to them in case they've since forgotten them. That's not much detail, but at least now I know what the hell is that about; if I knew I could (and was willing to) understand any more details, I'd keep on reading.
On reading the English article, not even that βX is a superset of X was clear to me. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 16:54, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
If the Italian wikipedia gave you the impression that βX is always a superset of X, then it's wrong. I believe that's true iff X is compactly generated (which any reasonable topological space is; non-compactly generated might be taken as a definition of pathological). Mac Lane, Categories for the Working Mathematician, discusses this in the context of adjoint functors. Ozob (talk) 20:50, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm in agreement with my fellow physics degree recipient here. The Stone–Čech compactification article reads to me as an example of what not to do, as it uses excess jargon to define the term, and doesn't sufficiently link to other terms that could help explain it. oknazevad (talk) 19:21, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I certainly didn't say the article was perfect. I had a look at the Italian article and I actually agree that it can be used to improve the lead section of ours.
That wasn't really my point. The point is that no matter how well you write it, you can't make it accessible to a "bright 14-year-old". Basically you can't make it accessible to anyone who doesn't know — more than "know", who hasn't already internalized — what a compact set is, which is almost everybody. Someone who comes to the article not knowing that can certainly follow links and learn it, but it will be quite some time before he/she has any chance of benefiting from an article on the Stone–Čech compactification. A sufficiently clever article might make such a reader feel that he knows what it's about, but this is an illusion, and I don't consider that illusion to be a particularly worthy goal for our articles.
And yet nevertheless it's a valuable article, which ought to be part of the encyclopedia. --Trovatore (talk) 20:32, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
As long as the reader is aware what he "feels" is not the full picture, I don't think that would be a Bad Thing. For example, The kinetic energy of a body of mass m is mv2/2 is false (unless v equals zero) and The kinetic energy of a body of rest mass m in natural units is (γ − 1)m where γ is the Lorentz factor is true but incomprehensible for most readers, but The kinetic energy of a body of mass m is approximately mv2/2, provided v is much less than the speed of light is both true and comprehensible, and the exact formula can be provided further down in the article, where people who don't give a damn about it will have already stopped reading.
And sometimes you can do that even without using approximations. There once was a guy claiming it would be impossible to write a generally accessible introduction for Euler–Lagrange equation, but I think that anyone with a high school diploma could at least get the gist of the current intro (if they gave a damn about that), even if they have never heard of calculus of variations before—and it doesn't contain any inaccuracy whatsoever. With articles on more abstruse topics such as, er..., Stone–Čech compactification (the original example I had made was Wick's theorem) that would be tricky, but as I said elsewhere I think a rule of thumb is that if you first heard of a topic when you didn't have a degree in the subject, then it's not too abstruse for that. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 21:05, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I disagree with the premise that articles on complex or esoteric topics cannot or should not be written for general audiences. They absolutely can and should be. The main reason, I suspect, that Wikipedia articles on such topics are written the way they are is not because that's the ideal form but rather because the users capable of contributing content to them (experts) do not fully comprehend the needs of non-experts. Generally, once one has some expertise, the subject starts to seem more obvious and intuitive than it really is. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:02, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
That's one of those things that sounds good but just isn't true. A sufficiently esoteric subject cannot be made accessible to someone who doesn't have the background. If you "disagree" with that you're just factually wrong. We're not going to get anywhere by pretending that the impossible is possible. --Trovatore (talk) 05:19, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
A person cannot be factually wrong about something that is a matter of opinion, Trovatore. As for rendering esoteric subjects accessible, it is a matter of degree. The answer is simply to include the background information in the article. In some cases that's as simple as "esoteric term (means this)." In others the explanations take up more space. The only question is when the article becomes too background-heavy. However, for the purposes of a general-audience encyclopedia (rather than, say, a graduate-level textbook), it is reasonable to aim for general intelligibility every time. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:52, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
It's true that we're not trying to write graduate-level textbooks, but we're not trying to write high-school textbooks or popularizations either. The role of an encyclopedia is to provide a reference for a given area and to give a brief introduction for people who don't quite know the area but have some familiarity with the background. It isn't the role of an encyclopedia to teach every topic from the ground up.
This is in no way limited to mathematics articles. For example, someone with only a high-school education will not understand most of the words in the first paragraph of B-flat minor, but this does not mean that every article that uses the phrase "minor key" needs to give a long explanation of what a minor key is.
My general rule of thumb is to consider the references in which a certain topic can be found, and try to write the article slightly below the level of the references. Since group theory is usually taught to undergrads, our article should aim to be accessible to people with only a high-school background. Similarly, B-flat minor should be accessible to someone who understands the basics of musical theory. On the other hand, Grothendieck topology is a graduate-level topic, and the best we can hope is that our article would be accessible to undergrads who have taken a course in topology. Trying to go beyond that is outside our mission, as it takes us too far from being a reference work and too close to being a textbook. Also, everything we do to make an article accessible has to fit in with the NPOV, V, and OR policies; the further we stray from the level of the actual references, the easier it is to run afoul of these. — Carl (CBM · talk) 16:29, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
While I agree that "bright 14-year-old" is sometimes too optimistic a goal (what I have in mind is typically the average or slightly-below-average high-school-diploma-holder, at least in lead sections), the problem is that too many people believe that comprehensibility and factual accuracy are incompatible goals. They are wrong. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 13:33, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
To an extent, it is possible to make difficult material accessible to those with somewhat less background than is usually assumed. But not to so great an extent as those who make your point seem to think. --Trovatore (talk) 16:06, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Of course, unprepared readers won't be able to understand everything, but then, one can (and should) put those things they can understand (written in a way than they can understand) in the lead, leaving more abstruse details to the rest of the article. For example, take a look at the lead of Euler–Lagrange equation: a sufficiently interested freshman will be able to at least understand what the hell that's about and what it is useful for, even if they will not understand any of the details explained later in the article. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 16:54, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Moved, can members of this taskforce stop creating new sections for every issue that may arise Gnevin (talk) 13:14, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Colleagues: WP:Technical terms and definitions, one of the subpages that is proposed to be merged into the new subsection here on Technical language (under "Miscellaneous"), presents rules I have never heard of; I'm sure they are not being followed in articles, and I wonder whether there's conflict with the other styleguides.

After setting out what words should be italicised (I find it odd that we need this to be expressed again when we already have an Italics section here, and an Italics subpage), and bolded (same issue), we are told that this is a category for bolding:

"Definitions that are important aspects discussed by the article, but have not been elevated to the level of subtitle and do not pass the "rare technical term" test. Example (from Current (electricity)):
In electricity, current is any flow of charge, usually through a metal wire or some other electrical conductor. Conventional current was defined early in the history of electrical science as a flow of positive charge, although we now know that, in the case of metallic conduction..."

And we are told then about a category of items that should be rendered in bold italic:

"Bold italic (edited as '''''bold italic'''''); used for:

  • First time introduction of a technical term if the term is immediately followed by a non-technical substitute in parentheses. Example (from Fern):
A fern is defined as a vascular plant that reproduces by shedding spores to initiate an alternation of generations. New fronds arise by circinate vernation (unrolling leaf formation)."

I am confused. Do we really use these conventions? Tony (talk) 04:20, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Using "Random article", the first relevant example I found was Mediated deliberation (search for "Analytic Process"), where the bold italics follow neither the rule cited above, nor MOS:TITLE. So the snotty answer would be, do we really use the MoS? Unfortunately that's only one example. I found a way to search Wikipedia (using Yahoo not Google) for the five single quotes that are used to make bold italics, but I haven't found a way to duplicate that search. Art LaPella (talk) 05:20, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
My question is: do we need to keep these "rules"; they seem very fussy, and no one has heard of them. Yet featured articles and lists are bound to use them. I'm not sure I even like the idea of double highlighting (italic plus bold), nor of the rule about bolding in running prose—the insistence on bolding the topic word and synonyms at the opening is more than enough, I think. Tony (talk) 05:39, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Within correct English, we should allow editors to do what they want, so long as each article is consistent. I am convinced that we do not need these guidelines, especially not if they're only taking up space. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:46, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I think we need some sort of guideline, but much much simpler. Say: Bold text for the introduction of a technical term for which the present article is Wikipedia's primary source. I think a good example of an article using this rule is Grothendieck topology (yes, I know it's another math article. Why does the MoS attract so many math and physics people?). This article has a lot of terms which are so closely related to the topic that they can't have their own articles (e.g., site) or for which Wikipedia doesn't have any other reference (e.g., canonical topology), so I think it's a good example (except that the topic is considered highly technical and even somewhat esoteric among mathematicians). What does everyone think of how this article looks? Ozob (talk) 20:59, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think we need greater input from those that actually write technical articles --Jubileeclipman 21:23, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps that would be good. My suggestion does have the benefit of coming from someone who writes primarily technical articles, so there would be at least one person on Wikipedia adhering to this standard. (It's the same format I've used at Lefschetz hyperplane theorem, Lefschetz theorem on (1,1)-classes, Devissage, Generic flatness, and others.) Ozob (talk) 02:35, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Hm... you might want to try looking up Septimal sixth-tone (gotta love the opening...!) or Tone cluster (bearing in mind that the AmE "tone" is ambiguous and can mean either the BrE "note" or "two semitones"...) And I'm a musician, you know.  ;) --Jubileeclipman 14:16, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
As far as I can tell—if I've expressed myself right and if I've read those articles right—they follow the rule I'm proposing. Ozob (talk) 00:18, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Comment - Fern does not presently use bold italic... Just a thought to keep you all going (if you get bored) --Jubileeclipman 13:44, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

WP:Technical terms and definitions could be folded into MOS, but I suggest we check how many pages may be folded into MOS before moving any.
In either case, I think the content can be rationalised:
  • The page has the usual ambiguity about whether "should" means mandatory or optional.
  • "See also Wikipedia:Manual of Style: "Captions" subsection and Wikipedia:Cite your sources for other uses of italicized text" seems irrevalent.
  • Remove all the text after "When a vast amount of jargon appears in an article, you might consider bundling all terms and their definitions within a glossary", as the text to be removed duplicates glossary, and many pages can refer to that. --Philcha (talk) 09:21, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
WP:Explain jargon has been folded into WP:Make_technical_articles_understandable. As the last version of WP:Explain jargon before the redirect was about a screenful, I think the redirect is an improvment. --Philcha (talk) 09:21, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Make_technical_articles_accessible has been renamed Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable.
In general, we should avoid "introduction to" articles. I don't see that they really fit into our mission, which is not to be a textbook. There are really not very many of these articles in the first place, though. It would be better to merge them all back into the main articles, but it's difficult to get consensus for how such merges should go.
I don't think it would be very reasonable to add big disclaimers to articles saying "this is graduate level" or "this requires XXX prerequisites" – and proposals to do these things have been rejected several times in the past. (We should try to establish context, of course, through good linking.) From a pragmatic viewpoint, it's very hard to get agreement about "what level" an article is. What seems like high-school stuff to one person may seem more advanced to someone else. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:01, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that, in the restricted set of conditions already stated at WP:MTAA, "Introduction to ..." articles are very useful. I slightly prefer the current title but I would also tolerate Philcha's. As for "the level" of an article, I don't think that is an extremely useful concept. It is perfectly normal and also desirable for the lead of an article to be at the high-school level or lower, most of the article at the freshman level, and a few subsubsections about obscure details at the graduate student level.
As for "prerequisites", I think there are cases where that would be extremely useful. See "Up quark", "Down quark" etc., for example: much of the lead is used to explain terms and concepts also explained in the lead of "Quark". So if there could be a way to suggest the reader to read the lead of "Quark" first, we could get a much more concise lead for the subarticles. (I had tried that once in one of those articles, but I was reverted.) ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 20:51, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
I abhor the "Introduction to..." convention. Article titles should reflect what a user would enter in the search box. A newbie is far more likely to simple enter "global positioning system" than anything else. Yet they run into a heavily technical article about the calculation methods used by the system that is utterly newbie unfriendly. That article should be at "Operation of..." or "Calculations of...", while the current introduction article should take the main title. Ditto with other, similar splits. In short, I concur with Philcha's position from above. oknazevad (talk) 23:20, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but Global Positioning System is not a "heavily technical article". There are a few technical sections within it, but the lede and overview sections are perfectly readable. And it already has an basic introduction in the "Basic concept of GPS" section. The content from Introduction to the Global Positioning System could be merged into that section, and then there would be just one article. This is a common problem with "introduction" articles. — Carl (CBM · talk) 11:59, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Group: Words to avoid, Avoid peacock terms, Avoid weasel words and Avoid neologisms


Replacement:Wikipedia:Words to watch I have surveyed the group that comprises Words to avoid, Avoid peacock terms, Avoid weasel words, and Avoid neologisms. It seems clear that the latter three should be merged into the first, and I have left comments on the Talk pages of the three to that effect. I have not commented on the WtA Talk page, pending further discussion here and, I hope, an independent ce appraisal. In brief, the page strikes me as verbose but relatively strong in substance. (I see that Slim has now similarly observed above that the page is "very wordy [and] could use significant tightening.") I have raised the idea that the page should be renamed as part of this process for clarity of purpose, accurate description of content, indication of transformation, and forbearance of a lexical blacklist. I suggested Expressions to avoid. PL290, concurring with the argument, suggested Choice of words. Individual reports:

  • WP:Avoid neologisms: Surely one of the most useless pages in our MoSy sprawl. I stated in Talk that the pertinent substance can be articulated in a single paragraph in a revamped Words.
  • Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words: The substance here is relatively good, but again it can be naturally be compressed into a revamped Words page. In addition, the title is jargonistic and alters the traditional meaning of the phrase. It should be deprecated. What we want to focus on is the avoidance of vagueness in the attribution of opinions and beliefs. I made these points in Talk.
  • Wikipedia:Avoid peacock terms: The material here that is relevant to a style guideline can be conveyed in a couple of paragraphs in a revamped Words. I take exception to the vast laundry list of "Words and phrases to watch for". Without detailed examples of proper and improper usage, such a roster is highly prone to inappropriate employment as a crude blacklist. On the other hand, it is far, far too long for the application of examples in each case. We need to focus in a terse, emphatic way on the fundamental concept: Wikipedia is not the place for hyped or fannish expression. I made this argument in Talk. I realize it may be contentious, and I look forward to hearing others' views of the matter.—DCGeist (talk) 20:16, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind a title that avoids "avoid," because just about any word is fine if used correctly. "Choice of words" would be okay. The only problem is that "Words to avoid" is burned into wiki-consciousness, so people might object for that reason. I agree with your analysis of the three subpages: no-ne, no-we, and no-pe. :) SlimVirgin talk contribs 20:33, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I've started the tightening. [8] You may think it's too radical, in which case we can go back and restore some of the examples, but for now I'm going to remove all the unnecessary commentary. Will continue it later. SlimVirgin talk contribs 21:39, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Wonderful. I think that will be so much easier for the average contributor to comprehend and make use of. I've just tweaked the lede a bit, and we can go back and forth to refine it. Great work.—DCGeist (talk) 21:55, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, and feel free to change or undo anything. I won't mind. SlimVirgin talk contribs 21:56, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Wow, undid. Why should WP:SAY should go ? Gnevin (talk) 22:28, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Gnevin, I left a note for you on the talk page. Would you mind letting us do the copy edit, then you can look at the end result? It was only just started when you reverted. The page is very over-written, yet it's part of the MoS, which is supposed to advise and show editors how to present material. SlimVirgin talk contribs 22:44, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind you doing a copy edit at all. Sure use my sandbox Gnevin (talk) 22:47, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I'll do it on a user subpage instead, then you can take a look at the whole thing. It might make more sense once you see it all, rather than thinking it's just one section that's being cut down. SlimVirgin talk contribs 22:50, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that. While I commend your attempt to improve the MOS we can have the MOS in flux while users are stripping it down. When you've finished editing let us know Gnevin (talk) 22:55, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Will do. Dan, in the meantime, don't let me interfere with your own plans. You can carry merging in the other pages, and I can slot in any changes I make after yours. Or you're welcome to join me at User:SlimVirgin/Words to avoid. SlimVirgin talk contribs 23:58, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

“Noted” and “observed” yes, but I wouldn′t agree that “reported” implies truth. ―AoV² 22:49, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Dan and Slim, are we working on a single page? Where do I go to assist? Tony (talk) 02:28, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry I wasn't able to work on this today. I got tied up with a BLP policy issue but I'll continue tomorrow. Tony, I'm copy editing User:SlimVirgin/Words to avoid. I'm starting simply by tightening to remove the stream of consciousness, and not removing much just because I disagree with it. But a second sweep may be needed to remove the things that are wrong or misleading. SlimVirgin talk contribs 11:24, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Just like article size, we should keep in mind that some users cannot load pages that are too long or loses attention span/readability issue when everything is shuffled into a long and dull page. They may end up skipping the parts they're looking for, or looked up the wrong stuff because they immediately assume whichever section near the top that they think most closely-related is the right one without going through all the way to the end of the page. OhanaUnitedTalk page 06:13, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't think this will be a problem, according to the technical advice we received when I first asked about maximum page length. Slim's sandbox page is looking good already. I'll try to get there in the next few days. Tony (talk) 13:33, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
That people may skip over, or only skim though, seemingly irrelevent content within a reference work is neither a problem nor undesirable. As a matter of fact, a mark of good reference materiel is that you can quickly bore down to exactly what you are seeking to find.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:03, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Ohms—I'm not quite sure of the point you're making. Tony (talk) 14:07, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
OhanaUnited was saying that we should avoid putting everything into a long page, since people will then skip over large parts of it. My point is that, since the MOS should be a ready reference (rather then prose which should be read straight through), that concern isn't actually relevent.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:56, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Dan and Slim: I wonder whether WP:Profanity should be included in the group you are rationalising. Tony (talk) 14:07, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Merging WP:Profanity would be an excellent idea, IMO.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:57, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
I think WP:Profanity is viable as a stand-alone page. It deals fairly well with issues more or less outside the newly focused purview of Words: (a) images, (b) prohibition of disclaimers and bowdlerization of quotations, and (c) alternative means of referencing strong language. However, there is enough overlap to merit a brief section in Words (well, they're all gloriously brief now) and a main link to Profanity. I'll initiate the section.—DCGeist (talk) 03:58, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Looking over the much-improved sandbox version of the page, it seems inarguable that to avoid in the title is not apropos. Even leaving quotations aside, perhaps as many as half of the words we advise to take care with are fine if they are properly attributed. The page should be renamed. But as what? (1) Subject: Words or Expressions? (2) Predicate: Choice of, to be wary of, to take care with, or something else?—DCGeist (talk) 05:42, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Words to watch? SlimVirgin talk contribs 07:34, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Excellent. Simple and (bless you, alliteration!) memorable. This is how I'll refer to the page henceforth.—DCGeist (talk) 08:07, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Nice. PL290 (talk) 08:21, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
WP:WTW or WP:W2W. :) SlimVirgin talk contribs 08:26, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Yup, "to watch" clinches exactly what we want to convey to editors. Either shortcut is fine. W2W may be easier to remember. Tony (talk) 09:13, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposed replacement Wikipedia:Words to watch Gnevin (talk) 23:14, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Group: U.S. state and territory highways and (U.S.) road junction lists


I have asked on both talk pages why they shouldn't be merged.

Opinion is divided on both pages. Apparently there has been bickering between US and UK editors, and the UK people have walked out. This is no good at all. At the road-junction-list talk page, there's a discussion about highway rest areas. Why, oh why, are these MoS subpages not all covered under one umbrella: um ... Manual of Style (roads). That would bring together editors of highway, road junctions, and related matters all onto one page, albeit in sections as required, for national systems and types of road.

Heavens, in Australia there are eight different road jurisdictions. What if they all wanted their own MoS subpage? Unkind to editors indeed. I have continued to suggest an integrated approach. Let us see how it pans out. Tony (talk) 03:03, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

I discussed the matter on chatbox with User:Imzadi1979, who has much experience in the relevant WikiProject and with the styleguides. It seems that [[U.S. state and territory highways|U.S. state and territory highways was placed within the MoS by the regulars as an afterthought in a wake of an ArbCom decision in ?2006 ("to give it greater authority"). There appears to be no support for its remaining within the MoS. Imzadi has now moved the page to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (U.S. state and territory highways)‎, which looks like a more appropriate place for it, given the content. As for the apparently very narrowly conceived (U.S.) road junction lists|MoS (road junction lists), Imzadi's point is that since the US system has been adopted in many parts of the world, it's not as overtly American as it seems. There is still the UK exclusion issue, so let's revisit after a few months and see whether things have been resolved. Apparently road junctions are just about the only issue that needs stylistic determination not found elsewhere in MoS pages. Fair enough. Tony (talk) 13:31, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
At a glance, this apprers to be an excellent lateral move.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:04, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Group: Music

All of these claim MoS or guideline status but only one, WP:MoS (music), is clearly accepted as a MoS or guideline WP-wide. MUSTARD needs to be moved out of project space and more widely accepted, IMO. The other three need to be checked out and more widely discussed. The project guidelines (left unbolded above) need to be more widely discussed, also --Jubileeclipman 02:31, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

There's also the music infobox styleguides. They contain parameter descriptions, but also much style guidance in relation to those parameters, and should really be brought together in a music guideline under MoS. (For an example, see Template:Infobox_musical_artist/doc.) PL290 (talk) 06:02, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Ah. Good point: I'll hunt around the IBXs and see what I can rustle together. The Infobox MoS has specific guidelines for this, also, which should be taken into consideration. There are other factors to consider, though, such as the classical music projects' (plural) objection to infoboxes. How can these be factored in? --Jubileeclipman 07:22, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

There is also Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Stringed instrument tunings). There are bound to be more... I'll check the main two (Music Mos and MUSTARD) first, though, before delving too far into the others --Jubileeclipman 07:59, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

"There are bound to be more..." – here are two more:
There are two others which don't have much content:
-- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:35, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Michael. We have those guidelines listed above, in fact, but they don't actually claim MoS status so they are not yet being considered. They do need serious consideration at some point though, agreed --Jubileeclipman 21:24, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Update - I have now copied both the Music MoS and MUSTARD into my userspace and am scrutinising them from every angle: User:Jubileeclipman/Manual of Style (music), User:Jubileeclipman/MUSTARD. I'll have a bash at rewriting tomorrow. BTW, any particular reason MUSTARD can't be in mainspace rather than project space? It is a widely accepted standard (I would say it is almost unanimously accepted among music article editors, whether or not they are members of the Music Project or similar) --Jubileeclipman 00:56, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Update 2 - There is a lot of discussion about certain aspects of the two main MOS's, particularly the advice they give concerning band names and the capitalisation of the word "The" in running prose. I am still appraising (the rather complex) MUSTARD but my first impression is that is goes way beyond being a "Manual of Style" as it includes advice on content and sourcing among many other tidbits. It is also rather over-detailed, IMO. I'll soldier on but be warned that this could take quite a while... --Jubileeclipman 20:24, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Update 3 - User:Jubileeclipman/Manual of Style (music)/Appraisal and User:Jubileeclipman/MUSTARD/Appraisal document my thoughts on these documents so far. I have also had a go at a rewrite of MOSMUSIC in my use space, but haven't yet got very far. There are many complex issues to deal with, not least the fact that there are multiple other music style guides (some claiming MoS status) that will need to be coordinated with these top level style guides... I have made several live edits to the actual documents themselves, but these are either copyedits or edits resulting from discussion over at MOS:MUSIC's talk page. The usage of the word "the" at the beginning of band names is one major bugbear at the moment. To capitalise or not to capitalise... (ditto "To link..."). I will be on a short Wikibreak over the next few days (back Weds or Thurs, I hope). Any feedback/corrections etc welcome. Perhaps use the talkpages of the appraisals for specific points about those appraisals and my own talk for general issues, for now? Cheers, and keep up the good work! I'll be back... --Jubileeclipman 00:51, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Update 4 I'm back off Wikibreak and will resume my work on these tomorrow. The question of "the" seems to have been settled though: we have agreed (so far) to explicitly follow Chicago which uses lower case "the" in all cases except at the beginning of sentences --Jubileeclipman 21:24, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Update 5 Have now made my appraisals public: WT:Manual of Style (music)#Appraisal of Manual of Style (music) and WP:MUSTARD. Linked from WT:MUSTARD, WT:WPMUSIC and WT:CM. Thoughts from you guys and gals welcome! Demanded, in fact... Face-smile.svg --Jubileeclipman 21:46, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Update 6 - I am looking at ways to separate out Style and Content. See here for a start on this --Jubileeclipman 21:36, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Final update - I am going to be without internet connection for at least a month. I have made some progress in getting people talking about these pages and looked at various ways to sort them out long term. However, they are in no way near as bad a shape as many other MoS's and the structure is relatively clear (the names all at least imply they are to do with music). Also, there is ongoing discussion about the naming of MoS pages and the distinction between Style and Content: these need to be resolved before we go ahead and make changes that may be mooted by changes in the MoS structure etc. Therefore, I have called it a day, for now, though I have left the audit notices up on the talkpages in case anyone else wishes to take up this task. Either way, these guidelines still need auditing further so removing the audit notices might be premature. I will catch up after by forced Wikibreak is over. Cheers and thanks for your guidance and support --Jubileeclipman 22:06, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Group: Pronunciation


I have suggested that IPA vs other pronunciation symbols, which hasn't been touched substantively since 2006, be merged into Pronunciation. Tony (talk) 13:41, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Group: Lists

I have left a message at the Featured Lists talk page and with the two FLC Directors, asking for advice on how the list-related styleguides should be approached. Tony (talk) 12:08, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Matthewedwards and I will work on these. Dabomb87 (talk) 14:30, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
I would like to help out on this task, having done a lot of list-realted work; let me know how I can help. UnitedStatesian (talk) 03:20, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Group: Misc

I'm suggesting removing all of these from the MoS. *Writing better articles

*Wikipedia:Transclude text

I removed Template:Taxobox but a user is objecting can you have a look Gnevin (talk)

Titles of persons

Wikipedia:WikiProject Peerage and Baronetage#References to peers states that when writing such things as "the Duke went fishing" and "the King visited the Alps", the titles should be capitalized. This does not seem to directly contradict the two points under Wikipedia:MOS#Titles of people, but should not the MOS specify this as well? If the MOS section is read without reading the wikiproject page, then a reader would presume it should be "the king" etc. Could this somehow be clarified in the MOS? Arsenikk (talk) 10:29, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

This does appear to need rationalizing, as you say, However, the capitalized usage is a bit dated, isn't it? The CMOS FAQ is silent on kings, queens and dukes, but see, for example, this New York Times article, where we read that "Thailand's ailing king made his first remarks to the nation ... the king might, in the past, have stepped in to calm stormy waters." PL290 (talk) 10:53, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
The situation arose a GA review (Talk:Brill railway station/GA1) in which I tried to correct "the Duke" to "the duke", based on the MOS, and the article author brought the wikiproject page to my attention. Personally I find capitalization archaic. Arsenikk (talk) 11:21, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I must confess. I don't see where that guideline explicitly states that standalone titles refering to a specific person should be captitalised. I see these, which imply as much:
  • Second and subsequent reference should be to "Lord Salisbury" or "Salisbury" ("the Duke" or "Devonshire" for Dukes).
  • Their wives have the same form of reference, save that ordinals are obviously omitted and the usage of the title alone should not be used: "Lady Salisbury" or "the Duchess".
  • Peers below the rank of Duke should not be referred to by their rank alone: "the Marquess said...", "the Earl went...", etc., should never be used.
The second of these actually appears to contradict itself, in fact, unless the examples after the colon are meant to illustrate the usage to be avoided, i.e. "Lady Salisbury or the Duchess". Personally, I'd simplify the third: "Peers below the rank of Duke should not be referred to by their rank alone: the Marquess said..., the Earl went..., the King was... etc., should never be used." Anyway, to my mind, "the King" is someone else entirely... --Jubileeclipman 18:28, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't have a source on this, but the impression that I get is that the MoS is using capital letters for cases in which it is very clearly and obviously a specific king or duke under discussion. "Thailand's king went fishing," seems to mean "there is a king (lowercase) in Thailand and he went fishing." "The King went fishing" seems to me to mean "the King, that specific person whom I just mentioned a sentence ago in when I spelled out his full name and title, went fishing." As to whether the MoS is right to do it, that's another issue. If CMOS doesn't have a section on noble titles, then a British guide might. Darkfrog24 (talk) 10:59, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Does anyone have a reference supporting capitalization of stand-alone titles? Maurreen (talk) 16:42, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Guideline about at least one space after punctuation

I searched for a guideline about putting spaces behind periods, comma's, semicolons, colons, etc, but couldn't find anything. Shouldn't we have a section in the MOS, with a shortcut like for instance WP:PUNCTSPACE? If we already have such a thing, can someone tell me where I find it, and otherwise, could someone put together a little section on this? I'm not confident how it should be formulated. Thanks. DVdm (talk) 09:06, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

See last bullet at WP:MoS#Terminal_punctuation: The number of spaces following the terminal punctuation of a sentence makes no difference on Wikipedia because web browsers condense any number of spaces to just one. ... editors may use any spacing style they are comfortable with in Wikipedia. PL290 (talk) 09:16, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Hm, I had seen that, but this is not what I meant. I find something there about putting no spaces before the punctuation marks, and about "the number of spaces following the terminal punctuation", but I am talking about putting at least one space after standard punctuation. I.o.w. this is not about "terminal punctuation". It is about "punctuation, not followed by new-line", so-to-speak. I'll give an example:
  • The wrong way: "This is a sentence.This is another sentence.This sentence,containing a comma,also is a list:item1,item2,item3."
  • The correct way: "This is a sentence. This is another sentence. This sentence, containing a comma, also is a list: item1, item2, item3."
This is what I don't find anywhere in the MOS. Is it so universal and general, that apparently no-one ever thought about formulating it, but some contributors seem to be either unaware of it, or just don't care. It would be handy to just point them at somewhere where it is explained - and recommended. DVdm (talk) 09:44, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Do you consider that a matter of style? To be blunt, regurgitating basic rules of grammar and punctuation is something the MoS needs less of, not more. PL290 (talk) 10:20, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think this is a very basic matter of style. In MOS:FULLSTOP we say:
  • "In normal prose, never place a space before commas, semicolons, colons, or terminal punctuation.".
So I propose we add another little subsection higher up in the punctuation section, with header "==Spaces==" and shortcut MOS:PUNCTSPACE:
"In normal prose, always place a space after periods, commas, semicolons, colons, unless the punctuation is followed by a line break. Example:".
  • Correct: "This is a sentence. This is another sentence. This sentence, containing a comma, also is a list: item1, item2, item3."
  • Wrong: "This is a sentence.This is another sentence.This sentence,containing a comma,also is a list:item1,item2,item3."
Can't do much harm i.m.o. Would that be OK? DVdm (talk) 10:44, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Please don't add. I think we should presume a certain basic level of knowledge.
The harm is in insulting the reader, making it look like we don't have third-grade knowledge, and wasting words, space, time and attention. Maurreen (talk) 10:55, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
The reason why I came here now, is five requests (4 from myself and one from another user) over here at User talk:Knight1993. One user tried to correct (here) but still didn't get it entirely correct. Explaining on these user's talk pages is tedious, and just pointing at the MOS in an edit summary would be handy. I recall other instances, but can't find them in my contributions list (should have used better edit summaries).

I really don't see how this could possibly insult the reader. It's just basic information, exactly in line with "In normal prose, never place a space before commas, semicolons, colons, or terminal punctuation.". If the example is a bit overloaded, we could also expand this sentence to for instance: "In normal prose, never place a space before commas, semicolons, colons, or terminal punctuation. Always place a space after the punctuation unless when followed by a line break." This would add 14 words to the sentence, without the need for a new subsection and shortcut. How about that? DVdm (talk) 11:30, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't think it's insulting, but Maurreen and others are correct that we should assume a certain level of knowledge until some evidence shows us that that assumption is incorrect. If lots of users are having trouble with this rule, then it isn't an obvious rule, even if it looks obvious to the rest of us. DVdm, how often does this happen? Is it just the one user or are there more? Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:59, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
We probably don't need to add a big section with examples for this one. If anyone's worried about things looking bad, we should just tuck a parenthetical into terminal punctuation, like (NOTE: This does not apply to intra-sentence punctuation, such as commas, which should always have just one space after them.) That way, the readers feel in on the joke. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:03, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Recently there's this one user and the other one who tried to correct it. Some time ago there were a few instances. Not much, but i.m.o. just enough to have at least some little remark in the MOS. The problem I see with sticking someting into the subsection on terminal punctuation though, is that it is not just about terminal punctuation, but about all punctuation, except when followed by a line feed. And it is not, like you propose, about "just one space" (as opposed to one or two or so), but about "at least one space", since extra spaces are reduced to one by the browser anyway, whereas browsers don't add a missing space. DVdm (talk) 13:20, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I say add it.
I disagree that you should presume a basic level of knowledge. (1) There are some US and at least one UK style guides that are about 1,000 pages in length (Chicago and the American Medical Association's in the U.S., and Oxford in the UK). "Smaller" style guides usually point to larger guides on matters of punctuation and anything else they don't want to include due to space and staffing limitations (e.g., Health Professional's Style Manual at about 100 pages, Style Manual for Political Science, ALWD Style Guide, etc.). It's not insulting. The comprehensive guides include basic grammar and punctuation and other matters that you might not consider strictly "style." There are "style" matters in a style guide that can be interpreted, but there are also matters that are relatively free of interpretation—such as most matters of modern punctuation for the English language. The key point of a style guide is to provide standards for an identified group of writers. That group might be as small as "writers for Xxxx Magazine," or as large as "Wikipedia editors." (2) You can't assume a certain level of knowledge when literally anyone with access to an Internet connection can access and edit Wikipedia. There are hundreds of millions of English-speakers from around the world, who don't have ready access to comprehensive style guides and reference grammars, who will use this MoS as a guide. You can't assume they have a working knowledge of punctuation. There are other groups also, but that should be sufficent as an example.
Especially given point #1, there's a good case to be as comprehensive as possible on Wikipedia. I've reviewed about 90% of U.S. (and a lot of other) style guides that don't pertain to a single publication or specific agency/institution/group. I've seen many entries that were similar to exactly the type of matter discussed here—and some that may seem even more abstract (see the thread a bit above regarding "Allowable typographic changes." [9]). Comprehensive style guides include them because...people ask about them.
The larger question is: how complete and detailed should the WP:MoS be? This has been debated here, to be sure. IMO, for Wikipedia, it should be as comprehensive as possible—including any item that might be listed in a modern style guide. It just makes too much sense. The topic at hand is an especially appropriate addition because DVdm has shown that people are asking about it. So, there's a need for it here. I say add it. Airborne84 (talk) 13:48, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Darkfrog that it should be a short entry. However, I wouldn't tuck it into Terminal punctuation. It wouldn't be easily referencable there. Airborne84 (talk) 13:50, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I see the error of missing spaces rather often in novice edits. Inclusion of a phrase regarding this would facilitate pointing it out. We already have the corresponding remark for brackets: "An opening bracket should be preceded by a space". Instead of the heavy "at least one space" we could say "a space", and mentioning the exception before line break is unnecessary, as this is also reduced as "white space" in the browser. So we need just six extra words: "In normal prose, never place a space before commas, semicolons, colons, or terminal punctuation, but place a space after them." −Woodstone (talk) 13:54, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. I looked through the WP:MoS and didn't see an obvious place to put this. There's a reason for that, I just realized. Spacing (and the layout of text) is not a matter of punctuation. It's a matter of typography, which is another section that is included in comprehensive style manuals. I'm adding another thread to address this. Airborne84 (talk) 13:57, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Woodstone's suggestion is a "low impact" way to address the issue. I'm not sure "Terminal punctuation" is the best (most easily referenced) place for this matter though. In the absence of a section on typography, perhaps this could be addressed with a short statement directly under "punctuation" where there is currently no text. I don't know if that will work well, and it might need to synthesize a few other broad matters of punctuation as well to make it appropriate. Of course, now we're adding to the size of the page, and that will encounter resistance. Airborne84 (talk) 14:20, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Woodstone's suggestion could become "Spacing", No. 8.15 in the "Punctuation" section. Maurreen (talk) 15:33, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
It could, but there are a lot of "spacing" entries sprinkled throughout the punctuation section. Would they all then be assembled in this new section? It might be the best answer—or it might be such a significant change that adding six words to the "terminal punctuation" (a la Woodstone) section could be preferable. I'd note that many (at least U.S.) reference grammars typically do not discuss spacing in regard to punctuation. They simply discuss appropriate use of punctuation. Style guides usually do addressing spacing issues, such as the Chicago Manual of Style under "other typographical matters." [10]
However, I'll step out now and let others weigh in. I think there's consensus to make the addition, it's just a matter of where to put it. Airborne84 (talk) 16:18, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
To me, typography has more to do with fonts than whether to use the spacebar. But putting general spacing in typography makes more sense than putting it in terminal punctuation. Maurreen (talk) 16:23, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Hm, I wouldn't add it to the terminal punctuation section, as comma's, colons and semicolons aren't terminal punctuation to begin with. I would put it higher up in the section, as it is more elementary, perhaps even as the first subsection? Something like:
=== Spacing ===
In normal prose, always put a space after periods, commas, semicolons, colons, unless the punctuation is followed by a line break. Example:
  • Correct: "This is a sentence. This is another sentence. This sentence, containing a comma, also is a list: item1, item2, item3."
  • Wrong: "This is a sentence.This is another sentence.This sentence,containing a comma,also is a list:item1,item2,item3."
DVdm (talk) 16:35, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── DVdm, why do you think we need that much detail? Have there been any arguments about whether such spacing is correct? Maurreen (talk) 17:01, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

(ec) Please don't add this. The MOS is bloated enough as it is, and adding such things that are blatantly obvious to anybody who would ever read it, only makes it harder to read for those who do. There seems to be no real communication going on with that user, so it seems most likely that he is doing it on purpose. (Another explanation would be if he were using a screenreader or something.) That's annoying, but it's a behavioural problem, not a style issue. I really don't want to see sections "How to tell capital letters from small letters" or "How to use a dictionary for checking your spelling", either. If you are dealing with many such users you should probably consider the possibility that they are trolling you and make it less attractive for them by not overreacting. Hans Adler 17:12, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, there is Wikipedia:Competence is required, which includes "If someone can't use English well, and can't discuss things with other editors very well, consider trying to get them to edit a Wikipedia in their own language. Those other languages need help, too." Maurreen (talk) 17:21, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but that's an essay, not a policy. And the single entry on language seems to reference a social issue, not a lack of the grasp of the mechanics of English.
However, I would agree that this doesn't need an extensive entry with examples. It should be kept as brief as possible. A six word addition would be about right, if an appropriate place could be found. I don't agree that we shouldn't add anything else to the WP:MoS, it just has to be done right. If a published and reliable style manual such as Chicago or Oxford includes it, there's probably a good reason for it. A good litmus test would have to include that—is it already in a modern style guide somewhere? In this case, Chicago does not seem to include it—probably because its serial comma lists serve as an example in themselves. Maybe a statement could be added at the very end of the "serial comma" section such as, "spacing with serial commas is according to the above examples," or something to that effect? Airborne84 (talk) 17:35, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Let's leave the example out them. Just that one sentence. And note that this is not about language, nor about spelling. Just about style. If we explicitly say that we don't want spaces before a comma, then we should also say that we require one after the comma... or am I missing something essential here? :-) DVdm (talk) 17:47, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
As an aside, this is not "just about style." Issues that are just about style at least often are those in which multiple reasonable choices could be made. Maurreen (talk) 18:15, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I guess the reason that we say there are no spaces before most punctuation is that it's much less obvious than that there are spaces after most punctuation. In 17th century English typography there were always spaces before colon (:) and semicolon (;), question mark and exclamation mark, and in French typography that is still the case. See fr:Wikipédia:Conventions de style for what that looks like. Hans Adler 18:37, 2 May 2010 (UTC)


If we're going to put this in, we might as well use Woodstone's suggestion for the wording: "In normal prose, never place a space before commas, semicolons, colons, or terminal punctuation, but place a space after them." Maurreen (talk) 18:15, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, but let's not hide it in a section about terminating punctuation, since commas, semicolons and colons are not terminating punctuation to begin with. If this goes in a dedicated subsection, and the original is removed from the TP subsection, this is fine with me. But perhaps we still need to say that the space is required only if there is new-line. Don't shoot... :-) DVdm (talk) 18:24, 2 May 2010 (UTC)


The most logical place would be a new section in punctuation. If I were to look this up, that's where I would look. An illogical place would be under "terminal punctuation." Maurreen (talk) 18:15, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Oh, I hadn't seen this, sorry. (I'm devirussing my sister's PC in parallel here) - DVdm (talk) 18:31, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
What about adding a line directly under the main heading "Punctuation" such as the following:

Unless noted otherwise, spacing and typographic matters should be consistent with the examples below.

It could also be a new section at the end, but not sure one bullet merits an subsection to itself. Airborne84 (talk) 18:45, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
"Unless noted otherwise ..." makes sense also. Maurreen (talk) 18:50, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not in favour of this solution. It would be pretty awkward to use in an edit summary - and that's the reason why I came here in the first place. A little subsection would be ideal. 8.9 and 8.14 are little ones as well. Let's add another... DVdm (talk) 18:56, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps it's narrowed down to those two possibilities, although we've moved relatively fast on this. Let's give some other editors a chance to weigh in on them. Hopefully, they weigh in on those two possibilities, as opposed to a completely new possibility. Alternatively, you could just be bold and put it in. You might get an editor coming back and saying there wasn't a consensus yet though. Airborne84 (talk) 19:03, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
OK, let's be bold. I made the change. We can still tweak. <crossing fingers> . DVdm (talk) 19:19, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

That was quick. There are still rules about spacing in a host of places, including: section headings, acronyms, brackets, ellipsis, hyphen, dashes, slash, time, date (and still in terminating punctuation). There also is a whole section "non-breaking spaces", which could have been demoted into a general section "Spaces", making space (no pun intended) for our issue. And finally there is a section "fomatting issues" that mentions spacing. Either we gather all those in one place, or we spread the new section to its target locations. −Woodstone (talk) 20:50, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Wow... sounds like a big job, considering the amount of talk space (NPI) we needed to add one little (and actually rather trivial) sentence. Anyway, this was my first experience with negotiated WP-space editing, and it was interesting. Thanks to all for this :-) - DVdm (talk) 21:17, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Woodstone, those items you mention all fall under typography, including the items in "formatting issues." Feel free to comment on my new thread below. It is a big task, and an ambitious proposal. I think it makes sense. I don't know if it will receive much support though. Airborne84 (talk) 21:29, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Section on Typography?

I've seen (and participated in) a few discussions regarding spacing recently. For the topic above, there wasn't an obvious place to insert the new entry because it was in a section on grammar. It occurred to me that is because spacing and text layout is a matter of typography. Yet, there is no such section in WP:MoS. Should we add a section on typography? There is a precedent to do so. There are comprehensive style guides that address typography. Some examples:

  • AMA (American Medical Association) Manual of Style (over 1,000 pages). Devotes a chapter to typograhy.
  • Chicago Manual of Style (just under 1,000 pages). 15th edition has a four-page section in chapter 18 on typography, but has many sections throughout the volume with subsections on "other typographic matters."
Pros: Will create a section where spacing and layout issues can be addressed and don't have to be "forced" into sections where they apply only narrowly to that section (although sometimes that's appropriate).
There is already a section within "quotations" that addresses typography. These entries could be consolidated into a subsection of a typography section.
Cons: There is a reduced need for this in Wikipedia over a style guide for print matter since the issue of additional spaces is usually handled by HTML. This isn't enough to discard this idea though, since non-breaking spaces can be added in HTML, and additional spacing is only a small part of the typography issues that are addressed in similar sections of comprehensive print English style guides. Also, web style guides that I have seen address typography as well. Airborne84 (talk) 14:13, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
While I do not share the opinion that the MoS is too long, here's something that could be a good rule of thumb: Would adding the new material to the MoS solve a problem? If almost all of the articles on Wikipedia have no problems with regard to X, then the MoS doesn't really need a section on X (though there might not be any harm in adding one for symmetry's or neatness's sake). If users repeatedly have questions about, fight about or show themselves to be ignorant about X in a way relevant to the reader experience, then the MoS should have a section on X. Darkfrog24 (talk) 10:42, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Request for Comment

It is proposed that summaries of articles be kept in a subpage ~/Sum and that a (to-be-written) template transcludes the summary into (a) the lead after the first paragraph and (b) any other article that needs to summarize the article. Please comment at Wikipedia_talk:Lead_section#Proposal_for_a_new_template_and_/Sum_summary_pages.

Hpvpp (talk) 08:03, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Reminder of our obligations to maintain social harmony at styleguides

Not to make a big deal of this, but I think we should take heed of ArbCom's view, recently reiterated, that the stability of styleguide pages and the maintenance of harmony on their talk pages are a serious consideration. I include myself in this respect. Tony (talk) 09:08, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Long s in quotations from primary sources

'Oct. 24, 1766

It is this day agreed on between John Parsons, of the parish of Midsummer Norton, in the county of Somerset, clothworker, and John Tooker, of the same place, gentleman, that the said John Parsons, for and in consideration of the sum of six pounds and six shillings in hand paid to the said John Parsons, doth sell, assign, and set over unto the said John Tooker, Ann Parsons, wife of the said John Parsons; with all right, property, claim, services, and demands whatsoever, that he, the said John Parsons, shall have in or to the said Ann Parsons, for and during the term of the natural life of her, the said Ann Parsons. In witness whereof I, the said John Parsons, have set my hand the day and year first above written.



Bill of sale of a wife, contained within a petition of 1768

On Friday a butcher expoſed his wife to Sale in Smithfield Market, near the Ram Inn, with a halter about her neck, and one about her waiſt, which tied her to a railing, when a hog-driver was the happy purchaſer, who gave the huſband three guineas and a crown for his departed rib. Pity it is, there is no ſtop put to ſuch depraved conduct in the lower order of people.

The Times (July 1797)

Virtually every modern edition of an old text that uses the long s glyph (ſ) transcribes it with ordinary s. I said "virtually", but I am not aware of any that doesn't. The Chicago Manual of Style says "Retain original capitalization, spelling, and punctuation in titles and quotations from early modern sources, except for the long s. Do not modernize."

Well, our MOS doesn't say it. The MOS simply assumes that editors have a modicum of common sense, and that they apply it. One sentence ("Disused glyphs and ligatures in old texts may be modified according to modern practice (see Ampersand, below).") prevents editors from wikilawyering that we must preserve the long s, but it is written so inclusively that it also covers the ampersand, which of course in some situations shouldn't be replaced with and. On the other hand, the section WP:& which discusses the ampersand in detail, makes it clear that modernising the long s is probably quietly assumed to be done, because everybody does it: "Modern editions of old texts routinely replace ampersands with and (just as they replace other disused glyphs and ligatures), so an article's quotations may be cautiously modified, especially for consistency in quotations where different editions are used." One motivation here is that if we quote editions of two different texts, and one writes & while the other modernises it to and, then we should also modernise the first text, for consistency.

At wife selling we have these two quote boxes. The older one comes from a modern edition and does not use long s, although it is almost certain that the original had it. The (slightly) more recent one comes from a primary source and was rendered with long s when the article became featured. One editor is fighting for keeping the article in this state. The article was already protected for edit warring, now we have a new edit war about the long s. Discuss. Hans Adler 21:32, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

The least widely distributed of the senses is the common one... There is no justification at all for using the glyph except in an article on English-language spelling and typography in the early modern era. Physchim62 (talk) 21:49, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

I would propose replacing this line in the MOS:

Disused glyphs and ligatures in old texts may be modified according to modern practice (see Ampersand, below).

With this one:

Disused glyphs and ligatures should be normalized to modern usage unless there are good reasons to the contrary, as, for example, in full bibliographical descriptions. Also, see Ampersand, below.

My proposed quote is modified from this source: --Rsl12 (talk) 22:14, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

I think the problem with the second choice is that it simply moves the wriggle room from "may be modified" to "unless there are good reasons". Nev1 (talk) 22:21, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
You may be right. Then how about this: Disused glyphs and ligatures should be normalized to modern usage. Also, see Ampersand, below. The problem then would be we would be relying on editors' common sense to realize there may be exceptions to the guidance. But I will try to keep some faith in humanity :) --Rsl12 (talk) 09:16, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Or this: Disused glyphs and ligatures should be normalized to modern usage when doing so will not change or obscure the meaning of the text. Also, see Ampersand, below. --Rsl12 (talk) 10:23, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Normal academic practice often changes capitalisation, punctuation, and even removes/adds words to aid readability—things which I profoundly disagree with. And still, nobody has demonstrated the apparent confusion suffered by the 300,000+ readers who clicked on the article on 1 April.
I think its worth mentioning at the outset that several editors involved in the article's talk page discussion—including Hans Adler—have engaged in unprovoked character attacks on my person, despite the best efforts of several editors (including Nev). I shall therefore not be paying those editors the slightest bit of attention as they are incapable of discussing this matter rationally, and this post is the most you'll read from me. If you're at all interested in what I have to say on this matter, read Talk:Wife selling. I have better things to do, like continue to get articles like this to this standard anyway. Parrot of Doom 22:23, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I muſt confeſs (ſorry, couldn't reſiſt!) that I don't see much by the way of incivility over there but do see many cogent arguments from several editors including Hans --Jubileeclipman 17:51, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

One problem (a fairly obvious one that applies to most of these glyphs, in fact) is that very few people will be aware of how to render the long s. I don't even see it in the insert box under "Latin", though we do get ß, Š, ş etc as well as æ, œ, ə, ṝ, ð, þ, ł, ħ, etc. Anyway, most modern texts do indeed render those old glyphs using their modern equivalents unless there is good reason not to. I think it would be perverse for us to demand that long s in quotations be rendered always and everywhere as "ſ" and would support those that change the quoted text to use "s" or "ss" (depending) instead. BTW, I had to copy/paste that ſ I used above from the quotation supplied by Hans --Jubileeclipman 22:40, 23 April 2010 (UTC) P.S. Furthermore, I don't see it anwhere in the insert box, even under Symbols which gives us all sorts of weird things: ₴, ₪, ₢, ₰, ₧, etc... Oddly, the thorn is included: Þ, þ --Jubileeclipman 18:02, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree with the proposal. Disused glyphs should only be retained when there is a specific reason for it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:11, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree also. These glyphs only belong on pages which discuss them specifically.   pablohablo. 13:56, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree as well. Modernize all disused glyphs unless an article mentions them specifically. GlooscapSinclair (talk) 16:44, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Honestly, while the arguments for modernizing make sense in most cases, I kind of think the quotebox from July 1797, and possibly quoteboxes in general, should be an exception. The long s gives a "sense of the time", which is kind of the point of having that quotebox in the first place (otherwise it could simply be summarized). --Trovatore (talk) 18:34, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I think the "sense of the time" is adequately covered by the way that the language is used in the quotebox. The way it was printed in 1797 did not affect its pronunciation or meaning.   pablohablo. 18:56, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
The language would convey some sense of the time; the long s makes it even stronger. What's bad about that?
I see no good reason to ban the long s from this sort of thing. I do agree it should not be used in quotes in running text, perhaps not even in blockquotes, especially when the meaning is the important thing (say, a blockquote from the Declaration of Independence). But when a main reason to have the quotebox is as a period piece, as I think it is in the instant case, it makes sense to me to keep the long s. --Trovatore (talk) 19:17, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
The meaning is surely always the important thing.   pablohablo. 22:50, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I entirely disagree. If the meaning were the important thing, in the case of this quote box, then it could just as well be summarized. The fact that that would be a loss, in this case, demonstrates conclusively that the meaning is not the important thing. --Trovatore (talk) 01:26, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
??? How can the meaning not be the important thing??? It's the only important thing, in most cases. The only possible exception I can think of (though there might be others) is the use of a quote to demonstrate the development of written language rather than contextualise (and indeed source) statements in an article. In that particular case, it might well be important to retain every aspect of the writing style, including the glyphs used. Then again, a scan might be better in that case, as pointed out by others --Jubileeclipman 05:46, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Ðe medium is ðe meſſage. ―AoV² 09:52, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I have only just spotted this... very funny! Yes indeed, where the actual style of presentation (including glyphs) is part of the message, then we need to retain that presentaton. Otherwise there is no need to do so except in the case I pointed out above --Jubileeclipman 06:13, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
A "sense of the time" would seem to me to be irrevocably lost simply by converting the text to digital form, or even when you leave the original physical document behind. Keeping long s seems about as relevant to presentation as adding "ye olde" to random nouns to give a false impression of antiquity.
Peter Isotalo 09:14, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the proposal. German texts modernize quotations in Fraktur, Vietnamese texts modernize quotations in Hán tự, and English texts modernize quotations with the long s. Strad (talk) 20:25, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the proposal. The "long s" is still an "s". Altering the character does not change the meaning. If the exact appearance of the original text is vital, perhaps a scan or photograph would be better than a transcribed quotation.   Will Beback  talk  01:31, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I also agree with this proposal. Archaic typography is only relevant in an article specifically dedicated to archaic typography. Those who want to present text in true original form should do so at Wikisource.
Peter Isotalo 09:14, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
With regard to retaining a long S or other archaic glyph for the purpose of retaining a "sense of time," it is true that such things can give such an impression. However, so does the look and feel of the paper that such a message would have been printed on. So does the look of the ink. So do many things that we leave out because they either don't transmit well over the Internet or don't work well in an encyclopedia. My take is this: For a sense of time, take a photograph of the original document, preferably the outer cover, and place it next to a clearly typed version of the relevant passage. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:15, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Michael Everson's view

I was asked by someone to comment, since I like Unicode characters a lot, and have indeed added various long esses to the standard. My view is that long esses should be used where relevant to the content only, and it is hard to think of many instances in which it is relevant. Should the citation of the preamble to the US Declaration of Independence have the long s? It's in the original. No? I for one think No. Then the long s should not be used generally in citations in Wikipedia articles. It doesn't add information and interferes with reading even when people say it does not. I pronounce (in my head) Congreſs as [ˈkɔŋɡɹɛfs] even though I know better. -- Evertype· 17:37, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I always change the long s to modern one, for the same reason why I think that using diacritics on words that are usually free on them in English sources is a mistake: the presentation distracts from the content. But it does open up a can of worms. If one alters the type face in a quote should one "fix" the spelling as well? What about the grammar (we already remove spaces before colons and semicolons : "word ; ") -- PBS (talk) 00:40, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I can't see any worms or slippery slopes here in that direction. Long and short s are just two different glyphs for the same letter. Replacing both glyphs with the same glyph is in the same class as replacing st with st.
Searching for a word or phrase in a text using long s would already be hard enough, but imagine what would happen if we preserved all ligatures as well? After all, there is a very small number of words where you can put ligatures in two different ways in order to convey different meanings. (Sorry, I can't think of an example.) If we start thinking about these fine points we are soon going to be in serious trouble, because ligatures also appear in modern texts and are often created automatically by computers, and sometimes incorrectly. If we must render all ligatures as they are in the original, does that include the incorrect ones? That would cause no end of trouble because nobody else is as pedantic as that, so that we would always have to go back to the original source, or whatever we would consider the best source.
But of course all this makes no sense anyway because the decision about long s / short s, or about ligatures, was almost never taken by the author. It was taken by a type-setter who just followed some rules more or less mechanically. Hans Adler 01:11, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
It's not altering the typeface. The typeface that the text displays in is dependent on the viewer's preferences and installed fonts, and is highly unlikely to be the same face used in the original.   pablohablo. 05:52, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I believe that Hans' point about searches is extremely relevant. Archaic characters and ligatures could potentially lead to major headaches. It's very easy to simply replace long s with a regular s when making a search, but the other way around requires not merely recognition of disused characters, but detailed knowledge on how to even manifest them in digital form. This is a skill that may be wholly independent of even the most intimate knowledge of typographical history.
Peter Isotalo 10:46, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
For my part I would object most strenuously to a policy which changed þ or ð or ȝ to something else. But long s is in a different catagory. -- Evertype· 14:58, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree. For þ, ð, ȝ we have to live with unfortunate inconsistencies. If we cite from an original text we can use them, but if we cite from an edition that replaced them with transcriptions we can't. These letters used to be transcribed because, first, they were not available in the fonts imported from Germany, and later, because they had fallen out of use even in England. But it makes no sense to create the same complicated situation with a variant glyph of a letter that was simply dropped from fonts at some point (I think around the time of the French revolution). The cases are different because þ, ð, ȝ are separate letters and ſ is just an alternative glyph for s. Hans Adler 16:23, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
The MHRA Style Book (linked above) suggests modernizing the following: old forms of the letters i and j, u and v, the long s (ſ or ſ) the ampersand (&), the Tironian sign (⁊), the tilde, superior (superscript) letters in contractions. Is this a good list? --Rsl12 (talk) 17:22, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
The tironian fails to appear on my system (and displays as a box with numbers in the edit window) which helps to prove your point! --Jubileeclipman 06:26, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Comment - the consensus seems overwhelmingly to be to change long s glyphs (ſ) in quotations to modern "s". However, few seem to be interested in changing the actual guidelines as such. Can we now archive this section as "No conſenſus for change"? Either that or start a straw poll just to be sure there really is no consensus? --Jubileeclipman 06:22, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Actually I didn't come here in order to change the MOS. We can't explicitly settle every problem that comes up once in a guideline, and I am generally in favour or removing details from the MOS to make it readable, rather than adding to it. My question was more about interpreting the MOS. The question arose in an article which had an edit war, was protected, had another edit war, and is currently protected again.
I am happy so long as we have an explicit consensus here that long s shouldn't normally be used, and that conveying a sense of the time or extremely accurate rendering of the source, perhaps motivated by the article being featured on April Fools Day, are not valid arguments to use it. And it looks to me as if we do have such a consensus. Hopefully this will translate to a consensus at the article. Hans Adler 08:13, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Rsl12 suggested a change but that seems to have been rejected. I agree that we certainly have consensus that none of those things you mentioned are valid reasons for changing our standard practice whatever the guidelines say or don't say --Jubileeclipman 09:14, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm fine with leaving it at that, though I was under the impression that everyone saying "I agree with the proposal" was talking about my proposal. Or is this just my ego taking over?  :) --Rsl12 (talk) 13:09, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Perhaps the guidelines do need to specifically state that outmoded glyphs should be changed, and even give some examples; æ→ae œ→oe ſ→s would be a good start.   pablohablo. 22:02, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm curious what the argument is for keeping thorns and yoghs. I'm looking, for example, at the Chaucer entry with nary a thorn to be seen in any of the quotations. I think this is a good thing, as the inclusion of them would make the quotations hard to read. It may not be worth debating--are there any articles where thorns have been included as part of quotations, other than the thorn (letter) page? Or yoghs? --Rsl12 (talk) 14:50, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Just for fun, I decided to search for thorns in quotations. They are used in some icelandic quotes, which is outside the scope of this discussion, since it's a foreign language. They are also used in quotes from Beowolf, but side-by-side with modern translations. But I did find two conspicuous uses of thorns in quotations: Bolton_Massacre#The_storming and Squaring_the_circle#Squaring_or_quadrature_as_integration. In both cases, the use is limited to the "'ye' means 'the'" use, and in fact, if they were transliterating, I wonder why they wrote "þe" instead of "ye". (Actually, I see that the original "Bolton Massacre" author did use "ye", and someone helpfully changed the 'y's to 'þ's.) The thorn quotations seem like well-intentioned mistakes that should have been left as "ye" or translated to "the", for the same reason that you would translate a "&" to be "and" and not "et".
The more I think about it, the more I don't like the idea of leaving "ye" alone. 99.99% of the articles here (just a guestimate) use "the" when the original source had a "EME ye.png".
The yogh I found in only one quotation: Prayer#Etymology. The yogh quotation seems of limited value--even translating it to a "g", I don't think I understand the quote in the Prayer article. Still, considering how minor and non-prevalent these issues are, I'm fine ignoring these if no one has the energy for more debate. --Rsl12 (talk) 16:03, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

For the sake of clarity, the proposed change to the MOS is to change this line regarding quotations:

Disused glyphs and ligatures in old texts may be modified according to modern practice (see Ampersand, below).

With this one:

Disused glyphs and ligatures should be normalized to modern usage when doing so will not change or obscure the meaning of the text. Examples of such changes include: æ→ae, œ→oe, ſ→s, and ye→the. Also, see Ampersand, below.

Though ... do æ and œ count as disused ligatures? Aren't they still used by the English? --Rsl12 (talk) 18:04, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Not really. Once common in words like encyclopædia, Cæsar, Œdipus, they are used only for effect in modern typesetting. You might see an Œ or æ in a theatre poster for Oedipus Rex or Julius Caesar but that's an artistic decision rather than a matter of common usage. Check the logo for Encyclopaedia Dramatica which (I think) uses the æ glyph to emphasise that it is an encyclopaedia not an encyclopedia.  pablohablo. 19:57, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

One more suggested modification: When quoting from early modern sources, disused glyphs and ligatures should be normalized to modern usage when doing so will not change or obscure the meaning of the text. Examples of such changes include: ſ→s and ye→the. "Early modern sources" being the phrase used in the Chicago Manual of Style. This way, articles like Beowolf and Ayenbite of Inwyt aren't affected, and we don't have to worry so much about all the middle english esoterica. --Rsl12 (talk) 21:36, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

I'd put the words "the following" before the colon that introduces the list of examples. It ought to be an independent clause. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:52, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I support the proposed change. (With or without "the following".) Hans Adler 12:04, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like a good change to me. (talk) 12:37, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Incorporating the changes suggested: When quoting from early modern sources, disused glyphs and ligatures should be normalized to modern usage when doing so will not change or obscure the meaning of the text. Examples of such changes include the following: æ→ae, œ→oe,ſ→s, and ye→the. Also, see Ampersand, below. No final objections? --Rsl12 (talk) 12:13, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

OK, I'll make the change. --Rsl12 (talk) 14:41, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

VeblenBot did this as a result of a change in a category. But it's difficult to see from the page's history when or by whom it was done - there no proposal at Talk, and the edit summaries in The page's history do not identify the change. Do others think this was the right way to handle a signicant change. --Philcha (talk) 10:32, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
You got the history of the wrong page. The history of the page that was removed from the MOS is here, and it was done with this edit, edit summary: "per rfc". The RfC is on the associated talk page. Hans Adler 11:03, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Page headers

{{subcat guideline}} V {{style-guideline}}. We only need one and I prefer style-guideline Gnevin (talk) 16:25, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Anyone else have a preference ? Gnevin (talk) 14:28, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to tag everything as {{style-guideline}} if no one disagrees soon Gnevin (talk) 11:35, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Words to avoid is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style

Wikipedia:Words to avoid (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as part of the Manual of Style. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Template:Cquote mass changing?

Under WP:MOSQUOTE, this guideline specifies that the stylized block quotation used by {{Cquote}} is not appropriate for articles. There are more than 16,000 articles that transclude this template right now. {{Bquote}} is a template that was created specifically to replace the Cquote template in articles. I have an AWB run ready to go on replacing Cquote with Bquote to meet the MOS guideline, but before making a mass-change to 16,000 articles, is this part of the guideline supported by consensus?  --Joshua Scott (LiberalFascist) 04:37, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

My impression is that for general block quotes, {{cquote}} is indeed in practice deprecated in accordance with that guideline (at FAC reviews, for example). However, note that WP:MOSQUOTE in fact says, "avoid decorative quotation marks in normal use, such as those provided by the {{cquote}} template, which are reserved for pull quotes)" (my emphasis). Given the valid use of {{cquote}} identified, automated replacement would appear problematic. PL290 (talk) 12:19, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, I guess that explains why it hasn't been done before. Thanks!  --Joshua Scott (LiberalFascist) 14:14, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
I would support this change (I was thinking about proposing it the other day, actually). Wikipedia does not, as a general rule, use pull quotes in the mainspace. Therefore I think that swapping the templates should be a reasonable action, and have a very low rate of false positives. A one-time change would likely improve 99% of the affected articles, and an explanation (in the edit summary) should educate some editors and reduce the potential for edit warring (which is evil, etc.).
As an alternative, I've wondered whether we could solve the problem technologically, by making {{Cquote}} recognize what namespace it's in, and automatically changing its formatting accordingly. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:08, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

WP:Manual of Style#Subset terms

I don't understand what is meant by the phrase, "Do not use two subset terms". (talk) 21:19, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Use of two subset terms is redundant. Please note the subset terms which I have underlined below.

A subset term identifies a set of members of a larger class. Common subset terms are including, among, and et cetera (etc.). Do not use two subset terms (so avoid constructions like these: Among the most well-known members of the fraternity include ...; The elements in stars include hydrogen, helium and iron, etc.). Do not use including to introduce a complete list, where comprising, consisting of, or composed of would be correct.

Choose either "Among" or "include", but not both.
Choose either "include" or "etc.", but not both.
-- Wavelength (talk) 22:09, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

MoS task-force Audit (part 2)

Since the stupid bot keeps removing the other list I've made a new list . Can you strike what done and mark where you think audits can be done Gnevin (talk) 12:35, 8 May 2010 (UTC)


Generated from Category:Wikipedia Manual of Style. With a total of 87 MoS pages

General MoS

  1. Wikipedia:Manual of Style
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (poker-related articles)
  3. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (road junction lists)
  4. Wikipedia:WikiProject Cities/US Guideline
  5. Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Style guide
  6. Wikipedia:WikiProject Ships/Guidelines

I've removed Wikipedia:Manual of Style (road junction lists) from the MoS as it is a project guide however a user is objecting . Have a look Gnevin (talk) 22:16, 9 May 2010 (UTC)


  1. Wikipedia:Lyrics and poetry
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (anime- and manga-related articles)
  3. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (visual arts)
  4. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction)
  5. Wikipedia:WikiProject Comics/Style guidance
  6. Wikipedia:WikiProject Films/Style guidelines
  7. Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/Style guidelines
  1. Wikipedia:Record charts
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Stringed instrument tunings)
  3. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (music)
  4. Wikipedia:Music samples
  5. Wikipedia:WikiProject Music/MUSTARD

These audits are ongoing and likely to take a long time as there are so many issues to resolve. I have been involved in very productive discussions with many editors over the past month or two to try to sort out the mess. (Don't be deceived by the small number of pages in the above list: the issues go far beyond merging etc and are more centered on the very nature of some of those pages, especially MUSTARD.) The Notability Guideline is under scrutiny for a number reasons, also, so all of these Music Guideline audits need to be taken in relation with each other and related Guidelines. BTW, I said I was hanging up my hat before: I have firmly put it back on, now, so expect far more activity in the next few weeks and months --Jubileeclipman 00:27, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

  1. Wikipedia:WikiProject Doctor Who/Manual of style
  2. Wikipedia:WikiProject Television/Style guidelines


  1. Wikipedia:Accessibility
  2. Wikipedia:Citing sources
  3. Wikipedia:Controversial articles
  4. Wikipedia:How to copy-edit
  5. Wikipedia:Linking
  6. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies)
  7. Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid
  8. Wikipedia:Spoiler
  9. Wikipedia:Stub
  10. Wikipedia:Style for U.S. presidential election, yyyy
  11. Wikipedia:Words to watch


  1. Wikipedia:Don't use line breaks
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (abbreviations)
  3. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters)
  4. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (command-line examples)
  5. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)
  6. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)
  7. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling)
  8. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting)
  9. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (titles)
  10. Wikipedia:Proper names
  11. Wikipedia:WikiProject NATO/Conventions
  12. Wikipedia:WikiProject Numismatics/Style


  1. Wikipedia:Captions
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (icons)


  1. Wikipedia:Footnotes
  2. Wikipedia:Layout
  3. Wikipedia:Lead section
  4. Wikipedia:Lists
  5. Wikipedia:Summary style
  6. Wikipedia:Tables
  7. Wikipedia:Timeline standards
  8. Wikipedia:Trivia sections
  1. Wikipedia:Embedded lists
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works)
  3. Wikipedia:Stand-alone lists

Can we pull these together ? Gnevin (talk) 12:35, 8 May 2010 (UTC)


  1. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (legal)
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks)
  3. Wikipedia:Public domain


  1. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Canada-related articles)
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Ethiopia-related articles)
  3. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (France & French-related)
  4. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Iceland-related articles)
  5. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Ireland-related articles)
  6. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Japan-related articles)
  7. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Korea-related articles)
  8. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Philippine-related articles)
  9. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Portuguese-related articles)
  10. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Singapore-related articles)
  11. Wikipedia:Simplified phonetic transcription for Lithuanian
  12. Wikipedia:WikiProject Hawaii/Manual of Style
  13. Wikipedia:WikiProject Poland/Conventions
  1. Wikipedia:History standards for China-related articles
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (use of Chinese language)


  1. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Islam-related articles)
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Latter Day Saints)


  1. Wikipedia:Conservation status
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (chemistry)
  3. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (mathematics)
  4. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (medicine-related articles)
  5. Template:Taxobox/doc
  1. Template:Taxobox/doc isn't part of the MoS need major work Gnevin (talk) 12:35, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia content

  1. Wikipedia:Article message boxes
  2. Wikipedia:Article size
  3. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)
  4. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (infoboxes)
  5. Wikipedia:Talk page templates

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Singapore-related articles)

Gnevin recently added a {{Historical}} tag to "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Singapore-related articles)". I have queried him about this, and he has suggested bringing the discussion to this page for more comments. I reproduce below the discussion that has taken place so far. — Cheers, JackLee talk 11:57, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

I am not sure why you have declared "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Singapore-related articles)" to be "currently inactive" because it is "no longer relevant, or consensus on its purpose has become unclear". Just because the guideline has been stable for a while does not mean that it is no longer relevant or that it no longer has the consensus of editors working Singapore-related articles. A perfectly plausible alternative explanation is that such editors continue to accept the guideline as correct and are styling their articles in accordance with it. Will you consider reverting your changes? — Cheers, JackLee talk 20:32, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Consensus should change, your the only one too substantially edit to this guideline and I can't see it being used very often. I'd suggest asked at Wikipedia:Manual of Style if others thing this should be readded as a guideline Gnevin (talk) 22:06, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
"WP:CCC" states that consensus can change, not that it should continually change. The thing is, how can you tell just by looking at the guideline whether it is "being used"? Editors may simply be consulting it (rather than changing it) and then styling their Singapore-related articles according to the terms of the guideline. Anyway, I will do as you suggest and repost this discussion at the Manual of Style talk page. — Cheers, JackLee talk 11:57, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I checked the links to the MoS and they where very limited . Its not 100% actuate but better than nothing. Post at the main MoS is the best idea Gnevin (talk) 11:58, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Again, I don't see what the number of links to the guideline has to do with whether the guideline is "in use". If the guideline is stable and has consensus, why should editors be frequently linking to it? — Cheers, JackLee talk 12:02, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't see consensus for it as your pretty much the only ever editor , however it was marked as part of the MoS for 2 years but lets see what others say Gnevin (talk) 12:07, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Huaiwei and Jpatokal (who created the guideline) have also participated in its development. See also the discussions on the talk page. — Cheers, JackLee talk 13:06, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Gnevin, do you have any consensus for removing it? Johnbod (talk) 18:06, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
No more than WP:BRD and I won't object to anyone reverting my edit Gnevin (talk) 18:39, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
In that case, I'll revert the changes for the time being, unless there is a new consensus reached here that the guideline is now irrelevant. — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:20, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Clarity: I've removed unsuitable text

"Articles are supposed to introduce readers to topics, or remind them of what they had half-forgotten: it is not their purpose to dazzle readers with editors' learning or vocabulary."

Um ... The first sentence is highly conjectural; the second sentence will confuse many people as to the important issues. Learning and vocabulary, dazzling? The "plain English" does the job, yes? Tony (talk) 07:45, 11 May 2010 (UTC)


We have some confusion at Talk:Eating disorders about MOS:COLLAPSE. The text "should not be used in article prose" is being interpreted as meaning that it's okay to use {{hide}} (and similar) to hide anything that isn't "prose", such as sentence-filled tables. Additionally, the fact that "only" two people have actively complained directly to the editor is being used as proof that our concerns are unimportant.

"Prose" is obviously the wrong word, because MOS:COLLAPSE then goes on to say that bibliographic citations should not be hidden. Perhaps "article content" would be better? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:53, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree with "content". — Carl (CBM · talk) 22:11, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done
Does anyone know what "to consolidate information already covered in prose" means? Can someone give me an example of a good use of this idea? (I think we would normally remove redundant information, not hide it in a collapsed box.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:13, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
In the absence of any clue what this is supposed to mean, I've removed it. If you want to restore it, please tell me what it actually means. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:57, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Interesting post on Language Log

Searching 43 stylebooks ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 19:37, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Thank you very much. -- Wavelength (talk) 21:24, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
The list of stylebooks includes Wikipedia Manual of Style. -- Wavelength (talk) 19:51, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
I hadn't noticed that... A. di M. (talk) 19:57, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Supplemental style guide

All can you have a look please Gnevin (talk) 09:22, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

target audience / respect for dictionaries

  1. The clarity section is not clear and helpful enough. We need a target audience section that explicitly states what kind of a reader we are writing for. Much time wasted on editing back and forth and on endless discussions and many edit wars could be saved/avoided if we said explicitly that we are writing for a general lay audience. We could add a short section stating that articles that do not interest the general reader (in other words on very specialised topics like many mathematical articles) do not need to be rewritten in an easily accessible style.
  2. We should also explicitly recommend basing the names of articles and alternative article names on entries in major general dictionaries, not only use in specialist literature. This would avoid WP:ENGVAR problems and edit wars and very common situations such as at roundabout, in which editors think they can ignore mentioning general English usage because it is considered incorrect or sloppy by experts in the field. We need to specifically mention that major dictionaries use huge databases based on reliable sources to come up with their definitions. We need to specifically say that alternative names mentioned in major dictionaries have to be mentioned right after the lemma in the first sentence of the article (or have a link to an explanatory section).
  3. Most WP editors have a completely wrong idea of how modern English dictionaries are made - they know nothing of the precise scientific work carried out by dictionaries to determine actual use in very large numbers of reliable sources. Most WP editors believe that dictionaries still prescribe usage as was (long ago) the case in the past. We need to mention that Wikipedia:Search engine test and other attempts to prove dictionaries wrong (or remove them as sources) are OR unless reliable sources specifically criticise dictionary entries. It's symptomatic for WP that Wikipedia:Search engine test doesn't even mention dictionaries and their databases! --Espoo (talk) 08:10, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • More nonsense (see previous section). Dictionaries start with a word, and tell you what it means. Choosing an article title goes the opposite way, starting with a subject and choosing the appropriate title, for which we have policies that work very well. Dictionaries are not designed to help you choose between different terms for the same thing, and generally only offer inferential evidence for this. It is precisely because dictionaries don't "prescribe usage" that they are of little use in choosing between alternative terms. Your touching faith in the processes behind dictionaries is, I would suggest, largely misplaced, though it may be relevant for new entries. Most entries sit there for decades without revision. On the occasions I have contacted the OED to point out problems that have been untouched since the original print edition they reply very nicely to say, yes it seems there is an issue & we'll get round to it in a timeframe that stretches many years ahead. They haven't yet recovered all the bits the mice ate in the 1870s was it. The problems are invariably repeated in other big dictionaries. You may have a point in your first section, although not I think a very crucial one. The "endless discussions and many edit wars" I see do not turn on these questions. Johnbod (talk) 10:38, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Your comments here are borderline uncivil Gnevin (talk) 10:40, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I disagree with part of point one. Wikipedia's goal should be that even very esoteric articles should be written so that laypeople can understand them. We should put no time limit on this, but neither should we tell editors not to bother.
I completely agree with point #2. It's not that "official" groups consider general use "sloppy," though. It's that not enough people realize that there is often more than one correct definition for a word and that they need to say which one they're using. (See: "gender." It has about four.)
I support the idea of adding an explicit statement to WP:Search engine test saying that dictionaries and other solidly verifiable sources outrank such tests. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:37, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
For sufficiently esoteric subject matter, it is not possible to write articles on them that laymen can understand. I find it very frustrating that some commentators are unwilling to face this simple fact, which cannot be wished away. --Trovatore (talk) 03:38, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
That may be true if we are talking about lengthy articles - there are many subjects not only in the obvious physical sciences but also e.g. in philosophy and finance which it would be impossible to explore in depth without presuming some prior knowledge on the part of the reader. But the article can still give the complete lay reader something. For example, Foonautics is a branch of barology involving the study of the interaction of foos with bars. Brought to mainstream scientific attention in 1962 by Garply McPlugh, it has led to practical applications in the manufacture of squirgles and grubbits. And they now know something they didn't even if they're still completely in the dark about what foos and bars actually are. Barnabypage (talk) 20:19, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Sure, but there are very few topics for which that's the case. For example, I think that only applies to at most three or four of the top 150 articles in this list (and for one of them, the reason is that no-one at all actually understands that topic). ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 16:19, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
  • There is a structure of organising WP articles that is yet more fundamental than the system of categories: it is the use of summary style to reach deeply into the nooks and crannies of human knowledge through the creation of "daughter" articles of increasingly narrow scope—the ultimate tree. Part of the genius of the project is this ability to create links between the broadest, most accessible topics and the most specialised. It is inappropriate to lay down how specialised the audience for every article should be. Tony (talk) 11:57, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  1. WP:COMMONNAME is part of a policy (though I think that adding a point stating that modern major dictionaries have a corpus-based descriptive approach would be a Good Thing);
  2. I agree with Tony that "[i]t is inappropriate to lay down how specialised the audience for every article should be", not only because of the summary style but also because of WP:MANYTHINGS: an article with a lead section intended for the average high school students, a few general sections intended for freshmen, and a few more detailed subsections intended for specialists is not only appropriate, but also desirable. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 19:30, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
    I agree also. I should confess a weakness: Too often I write mathematics articles for other professional mathematicians, not for lay readers or even lay mathematical readers. (See period mapping for my latest folly.) With that experience in mind, I disagree with Espoo's wording. Even advanced, highly technical articles like period mapping can often be summed up in some way that is comprehensible to the complete layman: Computing a period matrix is like measuring the size of the hole of a donut. Some holes are big and others are small; knowing the size of the hole tells you something about the shape of the donut. Unfortunately, I'm not good enough to sum up the whole article in that fashion, and I too often resorted to jargon instead. But the ideal should always be an article that a complete layman can understand. I think homotopy groups of spheres is an excellent example—it is a deep, difficult mathematical topic explained beautifully. Ozob (talk) 03:17, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I would be very strongly against any such effort regarding the donuts. That sort of thing violates the "not a textbook" principle, and is borderline original research. Of course if you can find it in the sources, that's a bit different; just the same, we have to keep in mind that our goal is to provide a reference work, not to teach the subject, and that we need to maintain a tone appropriate to that goal. On the flip side, of course we're happy if readers use our work to teach themselves the subject, and we want to make that as easy to do as reasonably possible — this is a subtle but important distinction and a difficult balancing act. --Trovatore (talk) 03:54, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure I get the point of "our goal is ... not to teach the subject": what the hell is the point of writing what homotopy groups of spheres are in a way that will only be understood by people who already know what homotopy groups of spheres are? I would agree if you said "to teach the subject is not our only goal", though. If such an article only provided an intuitive explanation of homotopy groups of spheres without also a sufficiently rigorous mathematical treatment, that'd be a Bad Thing, but as far as I can tell by only taking a quick glance at the article, that doesn't appear to be the case. (WP isn't a textbook, but it isn't a specialized maths journal, either.) ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 16:13, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
(In any case, the idea for which this thread started, i.e. that there's such a thing as a "correct meaning of roundabout" other than the ones literate native English speakers consistently use and major modern English dictionaries list, is nearly outright absurd. See Linguistic description. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 16:23, 11 May 2010 (UTC))
In this case, both descriptivism and linguistic prescriptivism agree. Dictionaries and common usage both have "circle" as valid way to say "roundabout." Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:07, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
The whole point of the discussion is that modern dictionaries typically are descriptive. (I've read that the third edition of Merriam-Webster was at first criticized for that.) BTW, I'm going to suggest adding a point about that to WP:UCN. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 13:16, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
Obviously I haven't gotten my point across. I'm not saying it should only be understandable by people who already know what homotopy groups of spheres are. The more people it's understandable to, the better; that point is not in dispute by anyone I know of.
But teaching is something else. When you teach, you try to present a specific path to knowledge, and guide the student along it. That we should not do. Such an approach is inevitably personal to the individual writer, and may not be the path useful to the particular reader.
By the way, homotopy groups of spheres looks like a fine article to me, though I haven't worked my way through it in any kind of detail. I do not think it tries to teach and do not criticize it on that basis. However anyone who thinks a layman will get much out of it is just kidding himself. --Trovatore (talk) 19:12, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't know - I'm an utter layman when it comes to maths at this level, and I can get the gist of what it's about; it only becomes impenetrable to me when it starts using mathematical notation (which I appreciate is essential if the subject is to be dealt with properly). It may help that a classical education lets me guess at the meanings of unfamiliar words like homotopy. Barnabypage (talk) 20:27, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I disagree somewhat (but not entirely) with your comment above regarding the appropriateness of the donut description. If I substitute "torus" for "donut", "homology class" for "hole", and "integrating a holomorphic differential form" for "measure", then I have a mathematically precise statement of what the period matrix captures; it's what you get if you rewrite the definition using words rather than symbols. But even though the sentences mean the same thing, the tone is very different: "Donut" is a very vivid image; we've all eaten donuts (as our bathroom scales know), and we could use a real piece of string to measure the size of the hole. For an introductory description, we should use clear, simple statements of easily grasped concepts, and in this respect "donut" is much better. I don't think that it sounds particularly didactic (but maybe I'm biased because I like this description). I do agree however that there's an OR concern, since while the analogies of tori being donuts and homology classes being holes are well-known, putting all of these together in this case might be OR. Ozob (talk) 23:30, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Always bearing in mind it is only doughnut in British English ..... Johnbod (talk) 00:49, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
I have seen too many esoteric topics rendered completely intelligible to believe that it cannot be done in at least the vast majority of cases. Tony mentions an ultimate tree. At the very least, a Wikipedia reader should be able to understand a branch-tip article after reading related articles closer to the trunk first. We should never restrict experts like Ozob from contributing or require that all contributors use perfect plain English all the time, but we should consider any for-professionals version of a page to be an intermediate form between its stub and its ideal, kind of like a page in need of copy editing. Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:07, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

The discussion has derailed, mainly because i tried to address the problem from too many angles. As explained at Wikipedia_talk:Article_titles#Proposed_addition_to_.22Common_names.22, my main point is that we need a rehabilitation of dictionaries as reliable sources. More specifically, we need to ban the rampant dictionary bashing on WP and stop the rampant OR on WP concerning general language questions and terminology questions.

This OR results, for example, in the banning of common colloquial and less precise terms that are proscribed in specialist literature. In other words, WP editors often base their terminology decisions on 1) personal and regional preferences, 2) ignorance about other kinds of English, 3) search engine testing, and 4) the prescriptivism in a field's reference works. We need to specifically state that all articles (even on difficult topics) can and should mention what colloquial terms are widely used to mean something even if experts frown on that usage and use a different term. We need to specify that WP is not a reference work only for specialists even if it also provides information for them.

Since we have no specific support for the use of dictionaries as sources and even complete silence/ignorance about them on policy pages where they should be mentioned, we have thousands of articles "owned" by "experts" (or experts) who despise dictionary entries and ban explanations of what terms are used in other countries or by non-experts. Discussions usually result in other "experts" shouting down attempts to mention the terms normally used and understood by most lay readers. It won't take long until the call for other experts at Talk:Roundabout#Lead will result in other experts concurring that dictionaries are crap. Of course there are errors in dictionaries too, but it's very naive to think that other dictionaries would duplicate them or that we could or should only consult the OED or any other dictionary.--Espoo (talk) 02:16, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

This is entirely different from what you were saying at the start here, and more reasonable. But I'm simply not aware of this as a widespread problem. Do you have examples beyond "roundabout"? If you think the big dictionaries don't follow each other (and you have time to spare), I suggest a read of Talk:Cloisonné. The OED is merely wrong, and has been since the 1890s; one of the big US dictionaries "demonstrates" its near-identical definition by a quotation using the meaning its definition has excluded. Johnbod (talk) 02:29, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
It's actually exactly the same as i was saying at the beginning except that i tried to address different aspects of the same problem, which is that WP is missing a clear statement such as this:
WP should not try to be a collection of thousands of professional reference works. We should try to make even difficult topics accessible to lay readers, and we should not ignore widespread English usage that is different from that in our dialect of English or different from that of specialists. Professional reference works can say "don't use the term X" and "always use Y instead of Z" and can even simply not mention non-specialist usage, but WP should not do these things. Major dictionaries are usually very good guides to the meanings, spelling, and use of words - especially when these are different in different kinds of English - because modern English dictionaries base their definitions on large databases documenting actual use in "a wide range of publications over a considerable period of time".
It seems that other editors remove about 1/4 to 1/5 of all sourced dictionary information that i add. Since MOS doesn't clearly say that dictionaries are usually reliable sources and even encourages doing OR in lexicography (describing search engine testing without even mentioning dictionaries), dictionaries are treated with as much respect as tabloids by many editors, especially ones who "own" articles. This sort of dictionary bashing is popular among everybody ranging from barely literate geeks and fanboys who never read a carefully edited general publication on their topic all the way to university professors. I can try to find better examples, but the ones that come to mind were the senseless and endless discussions (and the time wasted) on allowing use of backup singer and on following dictionaries in lowercasing "compact disc" and "act of parliament". Some of these endless discussions end in a result based on the well-sourced information found in dictionary databases, but they're a colossal waste of time. We would never allow the same need to defend using information from reliable sources that don't happen to be dictionaries. Imagine if we had to defend each and every academic source against people who say academics live in ivory towers...
I don't have time to look at your cloisonné example in detail now, but i will. In any case, i'm sure you'll agree that copied mistakes are a very, very rare event. Most dictionaries would on the contrary be very glad to find that their sources support a different definition and show the competitor to be wrong. What this means for WP editing is that anything that most dictionaries claim is almost always better than what is often claimed by self-proclaimed experts among WP editors. --Espoo (talk) 08:18, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Actually I wouldn't; when you work a lot on a subject you find more & more mistakes in dictionaries, though of course they are right most of the time. In the old print days there was a market for second-hand OEDs annotated by academics, which were worth more than clean copies. In my experience the people least surprised that dictionaries have mistakes are those who work for them. Johnbod (talk) 14:41, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
In general, though, shouldn't we assume that a reliable source is correct unless some evidence suggests that it is not? What seems to be going on in the roundabout/circle case is that the anti-circlers just don't like that the word has more than one meaning. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:53, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Hatnote wrong

The MOS currently begins with the hatnote:

This page is about Wikipedia's Manual of Style. For the encyclopedia article about manuals of style, see Style guide.

This is wrong -- Template:about has let someone astray. The page about Wikipedia's Manual of Style is the talk page that you are reading now! The hatnote should read as follows:

This page is Wikipedia's Manual of Style. For the encyclopedia article about manuals of style, see Style guide.

(Or, personally, I think this wording:

This page is Wikipedia's own Manual of Style. For the article about manuals of style in general, see Style guide.

would be better.)

Anyway, the page is semi-protected, so I can't change it. Would someone please do so? -- (talk) 20:58, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

You are right. As to what the wording should be, I prefer your first suggestion, though I don't like "This page is" because conceptually the MoS extends beyond the main page. I propose instead:
This is the main page of Wikipedia's Manual of Style. For the encyclopedia article about manuals of style, see Style guide.
PL290 (talk) 21:27, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Fixed. It looks like the only way to get rid of the word "about" is to fall back to the most-general {{Dablink}} template, for which all the wording is explicit, meaning that it's now easy to tweak per the various alternatives suggested in this thread, if anyone wishes. —Steve Summit (talk) 20:35, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
--Thanks. (Original poster, now on a different IP address) -- (talk) 21:12, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Another nbsp question

The duplicatively named "Spacing" paragraph of WP:ENDASH says "Use non-breaking spaces before en dashes.". Does that mean only the disjunctive en dashes in that paragraph, or does it mean there should be nbsp's before any en dash, including WP:MOS#Spaced en dashes as an alternative to em dashes? Art LaPella (talk) 00:11, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

I just noticed WP:NBSP also says "Use a non-breaking space ... on the left side of spaced en dashes, if necessary for comprehension". (I don't see how any nbsp is really necessary for comprehension, but that's what it says.) After this nbsp revert, I probably shouldn't do AWB edits until I can get some feedback about this. Art LaPella (talk) 05:23, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

I think it's overkill to say anything about non-breaking spaces in the dash section. As it stands, it contradicts itself by implying unspaced en dashes should be preceded by a non-breaking space. Further, en dashes are often used in lists and tables, and it would be overkill to require a non-breaking space in cases where formatting precludes displacement. But regardless of all that, the cases where it would be appropriate to use a non-breaking space, and why, are already addressed by the non-breaking space guidance in the main MoS (which, incidentally, while very detailed, is not the same as WP:NBSP ... we still have a job to do, folks, to get this page into summary form one way or another.). PL290 (talk) 07:31, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Ah, by coincidence I just fixed it in one respect. But I'd be OK about binning the whole of that sentence, which requires the insertion of a hard-space to the left of a (spaced) en dash. Why? Because on some browsers/OSs, it makes the space on the left short and the space on the right long. No one knows why, and it's a pity. I'd rather make the hard-space (nbsp) optional, at the very least. Tony (talk) 11:52, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Sentence removed; main nbsp guidance is sufficient. PL290 (talk) 12:45, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
OK, I took that nbsp out of my AWB selections. But are you sure you don't want to make the same change to WP:NBSP to be consistent? As it is, the detail page says to use the nbsp, the summary page doesn't contradict it, and therefore the Manual as a whole is still telling us to use the nbsp. Art LaPella (talk) 01:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Quite right, missed that the first time. Another opportunity to reflect on the incongruity of having such details regurgitated on the main MoS page, making such discrepancies possible (and of course bloating it). Let's keep thinking about the best way to get the main page into summary form. PL290 (talk) 10:37, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Captions for line art

A user of WP:AIR has been removing the "thumb" attribute from line art images in articles, pointing to a general "disclaimer" on the WP:AIR MoS which says that users are not "obliged" to follow the image use guidelines. Comments are welcome at WT:AIR#Captions for line art. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:52, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Rationalizing MoS page titles

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Close as keep status quo

For a while, I'd been glancing over at our template that runs along the right-hand side of the page, thinking, "Gee, the distinction between the twenty-odd pages that appear under the "Manual" header and the twenty-odd pages that appear under the "Guidelines" header seems pretty damn arbitrary." It finally dawned on me—I can be slow—that this was a result of the different titling paradigms that had been applied to the different pages.

Of the 24 pages listed under "Guidelines", Wikipedia:Accessibility, Wikipedia:Captions, Wikipedia:Lead section, Wikipedia:Linking, Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable, and Wikipedia:Trivia sections are bannered as part of the Manual of Style (as is one loaner, Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Style guide). If they are part of the MoS, should their titles not be adjusted accordingly? Wikipedia:Manual of Style (accessibility), Wikipedia:Manual of Style (captions), and so forth...

The distinction raises other questions: By what logic is Wikipedia:Manual of Style (infoboxes) an MoS subpage, but Wikipedia:Tables and Wikipedia:Lists are not? (For that matter, why is Wikipedia:Manual of Style (anime- and manga-related articles) under "Manual" in the template, but Wikipedia:Manual of Style (road junction lists) under "Culture"?)

The conclusion I draw from this confusion is that the system is badly in need of rationalization. Either:

(1) Every style guideline page should be titled as a Manual of Style subpage.


(2) A clear system needs to be established for determining (a) which style guideline pages will be titled as MoS subpages and bannered as part of the MoS and (b) which style guideline pages will be titled as standalone guidelines (and if they have MoS banners, lose them in exchange for the existing generic style guideline banner, or perhaps a new one we create).

It looks like we will soon be admitting Wikipedia:Words to watch to the style guideline pantheon. Let's start by getting this new entry right. Should it be retitled Wikipedia:Manual of Style (words to watch)?—DCGeist (talk) 03:28, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

I think so. Editors need a clear structure, and inconsistent page names is not helping. This will mean moving the pages judged to be appropriate for MoS status. Do we need an RfC at WT:MOS? Tony (talk) 03:47, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that all MoS pages should be titled Wikipedia:Manual of Style (foo). Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 21:23, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree I posted What is the difference between the MoS and style guideline? Is Wikipedia:Tables part of the MoS , if not why not?Gnevin (talk) 14:06, 20 April 2010 (UTC) below before I seen this Gnevin (talk) 14:17, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Agree with rationalization (1), but with the reversed notation discussed below, giving Wikipedia:Foo (Manual of Style). EDIT: I also think the subpage grouping now suggested below (Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Foo) is an excellent alternative and perhaps the more natural in respect not only of title rendering but of document organization. PL290 (talk) 19:03, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

MOS-related titles -- Arbitrary break 1

Overall title
Food for thought, as long as we're retitling things -- "style guide" is more concise than "manual of style". Maurreen (talk) 12:22, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
  • "Style guide": this initially struck me as too radical a change, but why not? Maurreen has a point here: it's not only more concise, it's clearer. Wikipedia:Style guide.
  • Parentheses: this worries me. The principle aimed for is sound, but parentheses have more than one use. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (words to watch) risks losing clarity that "words to watch" is a section or topic title (rather than, say, an explanation of what "Manual of Style" means). A colon is hovering before my eyes, but the Wikipedia: prefix (I assume) necessitates one, and having two is (I assume) unacceptable to some? Perhaps we can come up with alternative renderings? Say, Words to watch (style guide section), or Wikipedia:Style guide. Section: Words to watch. Those can probably be bettered, but may serve to stimulate further discussion. PL290 (talk) 15:17, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I prefer style guide also would reversing help? Wikipedia:Icons (Style guide) or Wikipedia:Spelling (Manual of Style) Gnevin (talk) 17:03, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I favor Manual of Style—it's a strong, memorable name (though I can see that Style guide might be a bit clearer for some people). I very much favor Gnevin's idea of reversing the order—that puts the crucial info first (the content of the given page) while still tying all the pages together into the MoS family.—DCGeist (talk) 17:20, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm forced to agree that this is probably best, because reversing does indeed solve the issue I raised, but only if what's in the parentheses is unmistakably the name of the main WP style guide, "Manual of Style". PL290 (talk) 17:56, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Any thought on the other side of the rationalization issue: Should all pages accepted as style guidelines be titled and bannered as part of the Manual of Style? Or is there some logical basis for treating certain pages as style guidelines but not as part of the Manual of Style?—DCGeist (talk) 18:43, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
The common branding seems so obviously a good idea that I find I left that bit unsaid. Definitely agree. And no, I can't see that having style guides that are not part of the MoS could bring any benefit, only an undermining of the overall coherence and credibility of the document set. PL290 (talk) 18:52, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm a big fan of option (1), making everything a subpage of Manual of Style. I think taking this literally also resolves the parentheses issue. It would end up with WP:Manual of Style/Legal and WP:Manual of Style/Words to Watch and the like. I think I prefer "Manual of Style" over "Style Guide", but I think that's just because I still have a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style. VernoWhitney (talk) 19:50, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I like this suggestion: WP:Manual of Style/Words to Watch. My favorite is still Gnevin's WP:Words to Watch (Manual of Style), but this is a fine alternative.

I'm glad to see there's grounds for consensus that every style guideline should be titled as a MoS page. I didn't start out certain about that, but it seems clear that's the sturdiest, most rational system. That leaves a little practical issue: the mess of (a) style guidelines pages bannered but not titled as part of the MoS, and (b) style guideline pages neither titled nor bannered as part of the MoS.

So everyone could get a better look at how those break down, I endeavored to rationalize the {{Style}} template that runs along the right-hand side of all (or most?) of our style guidelines. I'm not a whiz at templates, so ultimately I decided to copy it to a sandbox page. The rationalized template is visible at User:DCGeist/Style pages (or in the live template's history one edit back). For the moment I have neither added a single page to nor eliminated a single page from the template, merely rearranged the current roster of pages by their status vis-à-vis the Manual of Style. (I did maintain a distinct header for those titled MoS pages categorized in the live template as "Culture"). Some observations on and questions raised by the results:

  • Do we really want Road junction lists as part of the MoS? That seems to open up the door to an endless number of very narrowly defined MoS pages.
  • Seven pages are bannered as part of the MoS, but not titled that way. Should they all immediately be retitled as part of the MoS? For one of them, that wouldn't be simple: it's a WikiProject page. Should WikiProject pages be part of the Manual of Style or not? If we're going to title every style guideline as a MoS page—as we seem to be moving toward doing—Projects would have to "surrender" their pages to the MoS titling regime if they wanted them formally recognized as style guidelines.
  • Thirteen pages are marked as style guidelines, but not as part of the MoS (including another WikiProject page). Do we need to establish a process for determining whether they will become MoS pages or be demoted to essays? Is there any fundamental difference between this group of 13 and the preceding group of 7, or did some get bannered as MoS and some as generic style guidelines totally randomly? (I'm guessing...)
  • Ten pages have been hanging out on our style guideline template that aren't style guidelines at all. Do any of them belong there?
  • There are, of course, other pages around bannered either as MoS or as generic style guidelines that have not made it onto this "master" template. Frankly, the template is badly styled unless it has all of the style guide pages and nothing but the style guide pages (or just a very carefully selected set of "Other" pages). Hans Adler's MoS tree would be a good model for a final rationalization of the template once its membership is determined.—DCGeist (talk) 20:39, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
If it's not to much trouble could you prove examples for each of the above? Gnevin (talk) 21:57, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Not sure how to pick examples, as the level of quality and significance varies quite a bit within each group. So I'll share them all in the collapsible box below:—DCGeist (talk) 22:29, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Wow, thanks . For the MoS but not titled as MoS and style guidelines speedy move to MoS naming . For the other 10 it's case by case. Gnevin (talk) 08:36, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Late entry: "Manual of Style (foo)" is stronger, as Dan Geist says, may also be advantages in google ranking. It's not too much to hope that web-writers out there might at least note what we recommend, since WP's MoS is now one of the most prominent resources for stylistic advice under online rather than tree-killing conditions. Tony (talk) 10:28, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
PS I do wish the title was MOS-compliant: Manual of style. This embarrassment has popped up numerous times over the past few years, but is placed in the too-hard basket each time. Might this be a good occasion on which to correct the title; it's not a good example to editors, is it—I see a small but noticeable proportion of subtitles in title case in article space. With page redirects, I see no problem structurally. Tony (talk) 10:38, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
That would apply to an encyclopedia article on the topic "manual of style"; here, though, the phrase is a proper noun because it's the name of this particular thing. So I think the current capitalization is appropriate. PL290 (talk) 12:43, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • My only comment on this is... please make sure that the MOS advice on titling articles does not conflict with WP:Article titles. Remember that this is a guideline. It should match (and defer to) what the policy says. If there are conflicts, please raise the issue on both pages, and hold a centralized discussion. thanks. Blueboar (talk) 22:14, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

MOS-related titles -- Arbitrary break 2

  1. Someone suggested using a slash. That would be last of my choices.
  2. I disagree that Google ranking has any relevance. Whether WP's style guide has or gains any prominence as a resource outside WP is not our purpose. Maurreen (talk) 13:08, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. We don't need a high Google ranking. The MoS is for Wikipedia, not for anyone else. Frankly, while I feel that our MoS is pretty good overall, it's got too many Wikipedia-specific rules and codified personal preferences for it to be advisable for anyone outside of Wikipedia to use it regularly. If we were to encourage off-Wikipedia use, we would have to take on the responsibility of serving the readers' specific, non-Wikipedia needs. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I suggested using a slash (subpages) as an alternative if it was felt that the parentheses were a problem (as suggested by PL290), personally I have no preference between the two. I agree with both of you that Google ranking is irrelevant and with PL290 above that the "Manual of Style" is a particular thing, and should be capitalized. VernoWhitney (talk) 14:30, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Since this really a matter of personal taste should we vote? Gnevin (talk) 14:38, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I like the bold tone of "Manual of Style", and as PL290 says, it is appropriate in this instance. Tony, you're probably right that it promotes some inappropriate title casing downstream, but I think that is outweighed by the effect of its own, appropriate title casing: it makes it more memorable, makes it sound more authoritative, thus leads more people to take it more seriously, thus better promotes adherence to our style guidelines overall. (Wow, Dan! Does it really do all that? Who the heck knows...)
That said, we can certainly !vote on it, or go straight to a poll on what the consistent titling regime should be. We can at least establish how such a poll would work. There appear to be two alternatives to the current (partially and semirandomly instituted) regime that have garnered some support above, giving us three choices:
(a) WP:Manual of Style (gumdrop)
(b) WP:Gumdrop (Manual of Style)
(c) WP:Manual of Style/Gumdrop
We could invite contributors to express support/neutral/oppose on each. As any of the three is certainly acceptable under existing policy and guideline and, as Gnevin says, this is really a matter of personal taste, this can be as true a vote as we're likely to encounter here. Add supports, subtract opposes, high score wins. We can begin the campaign now...
Having argued for the current title casing of Manual of Style, the current approach (a) now makes the most sense to me. It suggests a greater unity and coherence than (b), and is simply more attractive than (c). Let's please vote quick before I change my mind again!—DCGeist (talk) 18:24, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd suggest having 3 sections and people just adding a support: reason for 1 as each option is mutually exclusive of the others.Gnevin (talk) 18:37, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I would actually consider each subpage or chapter to also be a "particular thing" and hence be rendered as a proper noun downstream too:
(d) WP:Manual of Style (Gumdrop)
WP:Manual of Style (Words to Watch)
I also notice that if one accepts that principle, as a benificent side-effect the thing in parentheses takes on a new role as something in its own right as opposed to possibly being some qualifying words about what it follows. This for me resolves the parenthesis issue. PL290 (talk) 19:00, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

One thing that may sway me can we have Manual of Style/Foo/Bar such as Manual of Style/Regional/Ireland or Manual of Style/Music/Music samples Gnevin (talk) 18:37, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

That's a fair point, Gnevin. I was just thinking we might want a tree system facilitating MoS subsubpages. Approach (c) facilitates that; (b) also works for it: Music/Music samples (Manual of Style). Not so much (a). But under a rationalized titling regime, do we want a tree with subsubpages? Or do we want to allow only one level of subpages—that is, just a single level down from the lead MoS page? The consolidation effort launched by Tony would seem to point to the latter, but not necessarily. At any rate, this is an important consideration for any rationalization effort. Thank you for raising it, Gnevin. Editors, your thoughts?—DCGeist (talk) 18:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I like (c)/the slash/subpage titles, as it really emphasizes the idea that these additional pages are subpages (that is portions) of the complete MoS covering specialized topics in more detail. (a) (or PL's (d)) is too disambig-like; they make it seem as each page is completely independent and just happen to share a common title (which we've been trying to get away from). (b), on the other hand, implies that the page is firstly content-specific, not about the writing process, And, as noted, it doesn't put a coherent face on the series; the fact tht it is part of the MoS seems like an afterthought. oknazevad (talk) 19:18, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Good points all. The (c) slash/subpage titles are anyway currently my favourite. PL290 (talk) 19:28, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I think c is best and allows for

This MoS is a child of

or similar template Gnevin (talk) 20:23, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

If we're going to allow subsubpages, then (c) for the first-order (subpage) does offer the best combination of flexibility and coherence. However, (1) multiple slashes get difficult to read and are very unattractive, and (2) we're trying to rein in the kudzulike growth of the MoS, so I think we want a system that does not lead to subsubsubpages and subsubsubsubpages. I thus propose (c-p): slash for the subpage level, parentheses for the subsubpage level, giving us a tree of this design:

WP:Manual of Style

WP:Manual of Style/Music
WP:Manual of Style/Music (music samples)
WP:Manual of Style/Music (record charts)
WP:Manual of Style/Words to watch

What do you think?—DCGeist (talk) 21:58, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I prefer the multiple slashes. Very clear context. (And if we anyway wish to dissuade subsubsubpages and subsubsubsubpages, there will never be many slashes). PL290 (talk) 22:27, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
We may wish to dissuade, but a pure slash system facilitates going on into the subsubsubs and subforth. A system with one slash, then parens would I think make it much easier, as a practical matter, to rein in rogue "MoS" pages. And I do think it's easier to read WP:Manual of Style/Music (music samples) than WP:Manual of Style/Music/Music samples. (And Mo doesn't like the slashes at all.)—DCGeist (talk) 22:40, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I think a good comparison here is the situation in article space. We don't have subpages in article space anymore (except for some ancient relics that should probably be euthanized). Instead, when we have multiple articles on a topic with the same name, we disambiguate with parentheses: Black Hawk (chief), Black Hawk (artist), Black Hawk (Amtrak train), Black Hawk (nightclub), etc. There are two things that I think are worth noting in this situation:
  1. It's not Chief (Black Hawk), Artist (Black Hawk), etc. Similarly we shouldn't have WP:Music (Manual of Style), WP:Gumdrop (Manual of Style), etc. The analogous thing to have is WP:Manual of Style (specific topic). Such pages already exist: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (mathematics).
  2. It's also not Black Hawk (Indian) (Chief), Black Hawk (Indian) (Artist), etc. We choose one specific distinguishing characteristic and use that alone to disambiguate. I admit that the situation at the MoS is a little different from this example because it's much easier to write the MoS hierarchically. But on the other hand, we have History of Poland, Poland during the Piast dynasty, History of Poland (1385–1569), History of Poland (1569–1795), Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, etc., not History of Poland/Medieval era/Poland during the Piast dynasty, History of Poland/Medieval era/1385–1569, History of Poland/Early modern era/1569–1795, History of Poland/Early modern era/Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, etc.
Of course, it may still be appropriate to group certain MoS pages together; we might have a navbox that lists WP:Manual of Style (music), WP:Manual of Style (music samples), WP:Manual of Style (record charts) and so on together. But I think it invites confusion and needless complexity to put that grouping into the page names themselves. Ozob (talk) 00:25, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't think the analogy really works though. For dabs, the title before the parentheses is the title of each item. (If I say, "I was given a CD", you will not reply, "What do you mean? You haven't said what you were given"—although you might be surprised if it transpired I'd meant anything other than the first one!) Therefore on disambiguated pages there's no need for the disambiguator to be prominent in the title. Here, though, the part that is not "Manual of Style" is not merely a title disambiguator or qualifier: it is itself the title. Our aim is to qualify it, to explicate that the page is part of the MoS. (The Poland history pages, in contrast, need no such qualification: each can already be seen by its title to belong to the wider "history of Poland".) Certainly the "dab" format is currently used by some MoS pages, but if we do conclude that common branding by title is desirable, then some renaming of pages is required whatever format we settle on. I can sympathize with those who object to the visual clutter brought by multiple slashes, despite the very clear context afforded by that presentation. I think though that fears of unchecked propagation of deeply nested sub-subpages, spiralling out of control and forcing us to look at myriad slashes, are probably ungrounded. I do wonder whether a hybrid of slashes and not-slashes simply falls between two stools, yet it does have a certain attraction; how about combining it with the reversed notation suggested earlier by Gnevin:

WP:Manual of Style
WP:Manual of Style/Music
WP:Music Samples (Manual of Style/Music)
WP:Record Charts (Manual of Style/Music)
WP:Manual of Style/Words to Watch

Retreating completely from slashville, I also think the (b) construct has a lot going for it. Rendered here using actual examples as proper nouns:

WP:Manual of Style
WP:Music (Manual of Style)
WP:Music Samples (Manual of Style)
WP:Record Charts (Manual of Style)
WP:Words to Watch (Manual of Style)

I still think multiple slashes is purest, and that we should be able to envisage a world where the depth doesn't spiral out of control; any significant depth of subpages would imply a serious failure of the wider rationalization we're currently attempting to bring, in which event title format would be the least of our concerns. PL290 (talk) 05:36, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

The first set above I think does not work due to a fundamental taxonomic problem: in that scheme, pages lower in the hierarchy (subsubpages) appear to rank above pages that are actually higher (subpages). Can't do it, as W Sr. might say. Aside from that, you points are all well taken.

I'd say gauging the observations above from everyone that four choices are most viable, depending on whether or not we want to allow subsubpages. If we want to go down just one level from the main page:

(A) WP:Manual of Style (music)

(B) WP:Music (Manual of Style)

If we want to allow for subsubs (let's forget about subsubsubblebubbies for the moment):

(C) WP:Manual of Style/Music

WP:Manual of Style/Music/Samples

(D) WP:Manual of Style/Music

WP:Manual of Style/Music (music samples)

Does that look like something to vote on? It could be a triple-vote poll: (1) Whether or not to allow MoS pages more than one level down from the main page (2) Which style you prefer depending on the outcome of 1: (i) A vs. B, (ii) C vs. D. Or we could just run poll 1 and then a slimmed-down poll 2.—DCGeist (talk) 06:46, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

To me no system of naming will prevent people tagging stuff as part of the MoS. I don't think the multi slash system is any better or worse at stopping MoS creep it is however very clear what is a sub part of what.
  • Mos:X/Y/Z
  • Mos:X/Y (Z). This looks like a Dab
Also we need to consider how legitimate sub-subs will work or
  • MoS:Regional/Japan/anime- and manga-related articles
  • MoS:Regional/China/Chinese history
  • MoS:Regional/China/Chinese language. To me this is the clearest way for sub-sub pages Gnevin (talk) 08:03, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
That's a very good question to ask at this point, because in fact slash notation brings a further benefit not yet mentioned: it allows much simpler naming at each level, since the parent level names don't need repeating. So the above become simply:
  • MoS:Regional/China/History
  • MoS:Regional/China/Language.
PL290 (talk) 09:49, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
If we do move to a vote presently, once others have had a chance to cogitate on the latest flurry, then I think running poll 1 first might be best, but I can see advantages either way, and doing it all at once might also be best! I suggest tweaking the poll 1 wording anyway: since a good sublevel limit might in fact be very slightly more than one (for instance, two), let's make it multiple-choice. How many sublevels? (a) None, (b) 1, (c) 2, (d) [number specified in response], or (e) unlimited. PL290 (talk) 09:49, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Honestly, I'm having trouble figuring out where to add my particular comment to this discussion, so I am going to do it here. I agree that systematic naming is good, but I am opposed to renaming all the pages listed above to be under the heading Manual of Style, because I don't think they are. A "manual of style" (or style guide, if you will), is generally about telling writers what choice to make from an arbitrary set of equally valid English choices, in order to provide consistent formatting and presentation. Some of the "guideline" pages are not really style guides though they are either "how to" manuals, e.g. how does one create a table in Mediawiki, or writers' guides explaining how to write a good Wikipedia article (while a style guide explains largely arbitrary preferences, a writers' guide teaches one to write well rather than poorly). As such, I think it would be a misnomer to move all of those pages under the heading Manual of Style (or similar), and hence I would be opposed to such a bulk renaming effort. Maybe we should collect the more general instruction pages under a separate heading like "Authors' Manual" or something, but I don't think Manual of Style (etc.) is an expansive enough heading to cover all the things being suggested above. Dragons flight (talk) 21:26, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

We are talking about pages Category:Manual of Style here . Which shouldn't contain any how to it may current contain some content guidelines but these will removed and not renamed per Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#Content_vs_Style Gnevin (talk) 21:31, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Images, for example, is mostly a how-to but appears in Category:Images (Manual of Style). Similarly, many of the things in Category:Content (Manual of Style) are about teaching people to write well, rather than delineating style preferences. Other things like Wikipedia:Trivia sections (in Category:Layout (Manual of Style)) are also content guidelines (not style ones). I'm not sure what you mean by your reference to Content vs. Style. If you mean to separate the two out and only put style guides in the Manual of Style, then okay, but if you are talking about renaming everything in Category:Manual of Style to have "Manual of Style" in its title, then I'd consider that still way too expansive. Dragons flight (talk) 21:46, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I think you're probably right. We've already identified that some sorting out of categories is needed, as you may have seen elsewhere on the page. In my view, the renaming proposed should only apply to things that actually are style guides. PL290 (talk) 21:56, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Any change in page title will be done on a case by case basics. What we are attempting to decide here is when we proposed the pages moves what title will we be proposing the page move to 22:04, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Polling options

Straight vote

  1. Manual of Style (Foo). Status quo
  2. Foo (Manual of Style).
  3. Slashes
  1. Slashes limited to 1 level Manual of Style/China (Language)
  2. Slashes limited to 2 levels Manual of Style/Regional/China (Language)
  3. Slashes unlimited as required with categorization Manual of Style/Regional/China/Language
  4. Slashes hybrid of 2 (not 3.2) WP:Chinese language (Manual of Style/Regional)
  5. Slashes unlimited as required without categorization Manual of Style/China/Language

Where a vote for any of the slashes sub options would count as vote for slashes

Run off vote

  1. Manual of Style (Foo). Status quo
  2. Foo (Manual of Style).
  3. Slashes

Run off vote for type of slashes if slashes wins

  1. Slashes limited to 1 level Manual of Style/China (Language)
  2. Slashes limited to 2 levels Manual of Style/Regional/China (Language)
  3. Slashes unlimited as required with categorization Manual of Style/Regional/China/Language
  4. Slashes hybrid of 2 (not 3.2) WP:Chinese language (Manual of Style/Regional) Gnevin (talk) 10:49, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  5. Slashes unlimited as required without categorization Manual of Style/China/Language

Option 1 for the reasons I gave above. This voting scheme is getting too complex for me, so I'm going to limit myself to expressing a single preference. I would, however, like to speak out against the profusion of slashes: Why MoS/Regional/China/Language and not MoS/Linguistics/Chinese language? Hierarchies of subpages assume that we can organize our articles in a hierarchical way; they assume that knowledge can be parceled out into neat, separate containers. But when an MoS page discusses a topic relevant to several interests, the hierarchy will be—must be—wrong. Parentheses alone or a single slash alone do not have this problem, because they don't implicitly claim to organize knowledge. Ozob (talk) 11:49, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

I think you make a very good general point about slashes and hierarchy, and the conflicts that can arise when trying to impose hierarchy on any organization of information. These issues do however depend on the nature of the information in question, and in the case of the MoS I believe it likely that the present structure, or at least the one we aim it to be, is hierarchical. To help us to consider this whole question more clearly, I wonder how practicable it would be to produce the actual list of pages we're talking about, with their proposed titles, rather than grappling with unlikely, fictitious ones such as Chinese Language. Then, we could see whether or not it's a hierarchy and, if it is, how deep its levels go. Does anyone have a suggestion for a means to produce such a list of titles and massage it to produce a variant in each of the proposed forms? PL290 (talk) 12:19, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Not so fictitious. Started grouping Gnevin (talk) 14:23, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I still think slashes/subpages is the best course of action, as it best emphasized that each page is a portion of the complete MoS.
The deficiency of the disambig style parentheses is that, I feel, they serve to separate rather than unify. The thing with the Black Hawk examples from above (and the Chicago Blackhawks, for that matter) is that they have nothing in common other than the name and so need to be made distinct and separate, while one purpose these efforts is to create a more unified MoS.
Also, I don't think the concerns of imposing hierarchy are neccessarily an impedement. While I can certainly understand that general knowledge cannot be entirely put into a rigid heirarchy, and I agree that doing away with subpages in article space in favor of standalone articles placed in multiple heirarchical categories is superior, here we are dealing with a different creature. Here, unlike article space, we don't have to deal with every subject imaginable, and we have a greater leeway to organize as we see fit. And, if all else fails, redirects are cheap. oknazevad (talk) 20:09, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
At first I was leaning towards the status quo, as making (or even allowing) subpages of subpages of subpages, etc. seems downright begging for instruction creep, but after taking a look at the sample hierarchy that Gnevin began and seeing what other style guidelines are out there, I think imposing some hierarchy might not be a bad idea. There seems to be a decent bit of overlap and/or conflicting guides, which I think the hierarchy could help with whittling down. And I see no reason to impose an arbitrary limit of how many sub-levels there are. So I guess Option 3.3 is my preference. And replying to Ozob's concern about a wrong hierearchy; we know it's arbitrary - so we just pick one standard and stick with it as best we can and make the other a redirect if necessary or desired (as Oknazevad pointed out). VernoWhitney (talk) 21:12, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
But no matter what you pick, it will be wrong. As I said above, why MoS/Regional/China/Language and not MoS/Languages/Chinese language? Or why MoS/Japan/Anime- and manga-related when there is anime and manga outside of Japan? Why not instead MoS/Arts/Anime and manga? Why group MoS/Formatting/Spelling, MoS/Formatting/NATO, and MoS/Formatting/Numismatics as Gnevin's proposal does instead of separating them as MoS/Formatting/Spelling, MoS/Organizations/NATO, and MoS/Numismatics? Objections like this are inevitable under a hierarchy. Plus, any hierarchy beyond a single step will pigeonhole our guidelines. It will do this whether or not we have a redirect from another name, because an article's title guides its content. Does MoS/Japan/Anime- and manga-related include anime- or manga-styled works produced outside Japan? Does MoS/Arts/Television/Doctor Who include spin-off novels? These questions are only come up if we impose a hierarchy. The surest way around that is to impose no hierarchy at all. Ozob (talk) 23:19, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I really think your over thinking this. The Hierarchy is a rough guide to what is above the MoS in question. So having Dr Who is TV doesn't mean it can't apply to books. The Hierarchy isn't some sort of logical matrix where x excludes y and y excludes z. Manga and Anime are arts . I added it to Japan before I got to arts . MoS/Organizations/NATO the MoS deals with formatting NATO related terminology not the organisation and MoS/Numismatics and deals with how to format Money.MoS/Languages/Chinese language? because we've no other Language MoS and Regional makes sense. Of course there will be objections as this is just my grouping but with serveral sets of eyes we can agree on a hierarchy that makes sense Gnevin (talk) 23:37, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think any hierarchy will make sense. Ozob (talk) 23:56, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Because you found an issue with 3 or 4 MoS out of about 80 on the first draft ? What is wrong with Wikipedia:Manual of Style\Religion\Islam or Wikipedia:Manual of Style\Layout\Lists\List of works or Wikipedia:Manual of Style\Images\Captions . Gnevin (talk) 00:06, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think there is a consistent and rational way of hierarchically organizing the MoS. Full stop, period, the end. There will always be things to object to in any hierarchical arrangement. To take one of your examples, would MoS/Religion/Islam cover Islamic art even though such art may have nothing to do with the religion of Islam? But it is easy to avoid this problem entirely: Manual of Style (Islam) or Manual of Style/Islam. Ozob (talk) 03:59, 23 April 2010 (UTC
That guideline makes no mention of art. So why invent a problem? Gnevin (talk) 08:40, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I can see advantages and disadvantanges in each if these systems. Option 1 has the advantage of following the normal practice on Wikipedia; however, it is difficult to actually relate pages one to another with this system. Using the music MoS's as examples (thank you for chosing an example close to my heart!) we would need to do something like this in order to relate them together: WP:Manual of Style (music), WP:Manual of Style (music samples), WP:Manual of Style (music record charts), WP:Manual of Style (music billboard charts guide), etc. The last of these is still a proposal, in fact, and is actually a subpge of record charts so it might have to be rendered as WP:Manual of Style (music record charts billboard charts guide) to show the true heirarchy, which load of nonsense is patently ridiculous... Unless we combine the brackets and slashes as suggested in 3.4, that is (but in a different way): WP:Manual of Style (music/samples), WP:Manual of Style (music/record charts), WP:Manual of Style (music/record charts/billboard charts guide) etc. Neither of these seems very satisfactory to me. Therefore, I reject 1 and the modified 3.4. Option 2 looks good and has a major advantage I'll come on to. But it also has disadvantages. The advantage is that we can specify not only WP:Music (Manual of Style) but also WP:Music (Notability), WP:Music (Content), WP:Music (Foo) etc and immeadately relate MoS to Notability to Content to Foo etc. However, when try to relate the sub-MoS's to the main Music MoS we get: WP:Music samples (Manual of Style), WP:Music record charts (Manual of Style), etc. Or perhaps: WP:Music/samples (Manual of Style), WP:Music/record charts (Manual of Style), etc. [Not sure if any one thought of that possibility?] Both these systems might work, but the relationships are perhaps less immeadiately obvious than they could be, either way. We could allow double bracketing: WP:Music (samples) (Manual of Style). That looks worse, IMO, though. Option 3 1-3 are good as far as they go (which in the case of 3.3 is infinity...). I would err on the side of caution, though and allow only two levels of slashes: WP:Manual of Style/Music/Music samples. I doubt any MoS would need to be split that much to need futher subpages, and if it did then serious questions should be asked about its accessiblity, methodology and style of presentation. Basically, is it going to deep into the issues, perhaps creating too many rules, too many complications etc? The billbords chart guide (Wikipedia:Record charts/Billboard charts guide) would (using infinite slashes) end up as WP:Manual of Style/Music/Record charts/Billboard charts guide. But, a) that guideline might not actually be a Manual of Style but rather a Content Guide b) if it is a MoS, it could be reintroduced back into WP:Manual of Style/Record charts (from whence it actually sprang because it was felt that it might make that guide too unwieldy), c) if it isn't a MoS, it can end up at WP:Content/Music/Billboard charts guide or perhaps as part of WP:Content/Music/Record charts. This system, BTW, also has the advantage of placing the most important WP factor (MoS, Notability, Content, etc) first, then the umbrella entity (music, mathematics, etc), then the specific guideline. I would personally go with 3.1, though: WP:Manual of Style/Music (record charts), WP:Manual of Style/Music (music samples) etc. It has the advantage just highlighted (WP/umbrella (specific)) and is more easily readable than most of the other options, IMO. And subpages always have a link back to the main pages above them. It is against the normal practice, however, which avoids bracketed dabs in subpages. That said:
    • Option 3.1 gets my vote as long as the other WP subguides and subpolicies are changed to follow suit --Jubileeclipman 05:24, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
      • 3.1 is my favorite too...Consensus!!!!! (For explanation why, uh, just read J-man's X-plainment above. And we thank you.)—DCGeist (talk) 05:46, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
        • ... apart from the fact that several editors are currently keen on other options, that is! :~ Being one of them, however, I am starting to wonder, after considering Ozob and Jubilee's further examples, whether this may in fact be a scenario where attempting to impose a hierarchy would be unhelpful. I'm not yet completely convinced of that, and I agree with comments by others that it is different from mainspace and is a comparatively small world of information on which we should desire to impose whatever meaningful structure is most helpful. There's bound to be more than one logical hierarchy, and probably several equally valid ones any one of which could work well. And it's not as if this is an index: we're not asking people to find things by working out where they might lie in the hierarchy; whatever structure we end up with, people will arrive at documents via wikilinks the same as ever. On the subject of 3.1, I quite like it too, although it brings us full circle regarding parentheses and capitalization. When we discussed capitalization earlier, I asserted that MoS is "a particular thing" and hence its proper-noun capitalization Manual of Style is ccrrect (contrasted with an encyclopedia article whose subject is "manual of style", which would correctly be Manual of style). There appears to be general acceptance of that assertion. By the same token, I assert the same of each document within the MoS. If we accept this, 3.1 becomes not Manual of Style/China (language) but Manual of Style/China (Language). (This in fact is what 3.1 already says.) It would assist my further cogitations on 3.1 if I knew what others think about the capitalization aspect. PL290 (talk) 08:15, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Ah yes... read above as: WP:Manual of Style/Music (Record Charts), WP:Manual of Style/Music (Music Samples) etc. Thanks for the timely reminder--Jubileeclipman 18:56, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Why are people voting when we haven't even agreed on the format of the poll? Gnevin (talk) 07:51, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Because if everyone can get the information they need without a formal system, then said formal system is unnecessary (even if it would make things look neater). Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:18, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Well due to the cries of foul at Wikipedia_talk:Words_to_watch. I intend to run AWB and post a message on every page that will be affected by this. This will bring a large number of users (hopefully) and a formal system will be needed to handle this. We can't have a consensus of 3 or 4 users for a change like this it needs to be 50 or 60 Gnevin (talk) 11:25, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
If no one objects tomorrow.I am going to open up a vote based on the run off model Gnevin (talk) 09:31, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good, but please moot the language of the poll here before formally posting it so we can get a few eyes on it. Everyone actively involved in the MoS improvement process knew exactly what was meant by "merged" in the Words to watch RFC, but others have apparently been consternated by the wording. Let's make sure that doesn't happen in this case.—DCGeist (talk) 17:35, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree it will be good to get the poll language straight first. Also I think it's key that it should identify the proposed list of level one subpages. This for two reasons: (a) allow the overall question to be considered in a real context, and (b) invite confirmation of the list contents. PL290 (talk) 08:57, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Mooted above :) Gnevin (talk) 12:36, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Gnevin - Sorry. I misread this section and thought it was a vote. That said, my comments might still prove useful, I hope. I'll vote properly when it comes up formally but summarise the above rather than repost it in all its sprawling glory Face-smile.svg --Jubileeclipman 18:47, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Categories not slashes!

A though occurs to me.We are using slashes to group like MoS together but we already have a system to group like articles together Categories. What if we went with B Foo (MoS) and it was a member of Category:Music (Manual of Style) which had as a parent Category:Arts (Manual of Style) Gnevin (talk) 16:12, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

The goal of the proposed page renaming is improved visual clarity that a page is part of MoS. We already have a big banner which says "this is part of MoS", but we think we can improve on that with common branding in the title itself. Categories don't really help that (although it might be a good idea if there are other reasons for doing it). PL290 (talk) 18:29, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Why either/or? Why not both? Categorisation is useful in other ways;[specify] anyway, some people[weasel words] will use those for navigation while others[weasel words] will use other methods.[which?] That said, the idea of completely restructuring the entire group of MoS's is brilliant.[peacock term] --Jubileeclipman 18:42, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
The common branding being Foo (MoS) or MoS (Foo) for everything . Why not both because categories can be removed and added as need . The slashes are being used as categories but has so many limitations Gnevin (talk) 12:33, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Would it be safe enough to say that there would be no objections from people here to better categories Gnevin (talk) 12:37, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
No objection here. The pages are categorised already but it wouldn't hurt to try making the system better somehow --Jubileeclipman 14:37, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Category:Manual of Style what you think? Gnevin (talk) 19:28, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Graph of new MoS categories
I like the category approach but I think "Manual of Style (Arts)" makes more sense than "Arts (Manual of Style)". Anyone else agree or disagree?--Father Goose (talk) 19:01, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Father Goose. No slashes, but every Manual of Style article should have that clearly in the title. Shadowjams (talk) 21:50, 25 April 2010 (UTC)


Can you please indicate your preference for the naming style used by the MoS. There is no need to oppose the options you don't support . Gnevin (talk) 20:43, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Is a vote appropriate here? Not to sound pedantic, but don't we typically use consensus rather than voting for these sorts of things? Shadowjams (talk) 21:49, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
This is a purely stylistic choice, so consensus would just reflect users opinions . A vote is clear way of gathering these opinions Gnevin (talk) 23:05, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
That doesn't really answer my concerns. Wikipedia:Polling is not a substitute for discussion is the relevant guideline, but more broadly, votes do not, with rare exception, decide policy on wikipedia. Some exceptions use secure-poll (or something like that) but those are expressly designated. This is not one of those cases. At best the below is a poll, not a vote. I hate to be so pedantic; in some ways voting may become inevitable on wikipedia, but that's a decision for a different place, not here.
WP:VINE and we are not deciding policy just a stylistic issue Gnevin (talk) 08:54, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

A: Manual of Style (Foo). The Status quo

  1. Support. Clear and direct. Ozob (talk) 22:09, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
  2. Support Ozob convinced me that hierarchy introduces more problems than it fixes, so I see no pressing reason to rename those which already fall into this naming scheme. VernoWhitney (talk) 23:19, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
  3. Support as this is the grammatically correct format. They are all part of the Manual of Style, and the parenthetical indicates which part: WP:Manual of Style (Specific part). Doing it the other way (WP:Foo (Manual of Style)) doesn't make any logical sense, and also implies that there are other pages in addition to the Manual of Style. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:35, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  4. Support It is simple, straightforward, and complements other policy/guideline naming schemes such as the Naming conventions series and Notability series of guidelines. —Farix (t | c) 01:20, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  5. The way I see it they are different manuals of style and the parentheses address the question of which one. See also: list of village pumps. ―AoV² 01:53, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  6. Support per Nihonjoe Gnevin (talk) 09:13, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  7. Support Stable, naming order promotes coherence, limiting to subpages deters sprawl.—DCGeist (talk) 02:04, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
  8. Support It works. harej 18:38, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
  9. Support, if you allow votes from unregistered users. -- (talk) 06:31, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
    You're welcome to register. It makes you more anonymous, even. You can register here. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WikiProject Japan! 07:30, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Comments on option A
  • Comment - I voted at C but can live with the status quo. No reason we can't have subpages in this system as with Wikipedia:Record charts/sourcing guide which transcludes into Wikipedia:Record charts. Both pages should be renamed as WP:Manual of Style (Record Charts)/Sourcing Guide and WP:Manual of Style (Record Charts) respectively, according to this system. I still think we have lost the word "Music" there somewhere, but hey ho... Any better suggestions for renaming those pages to regain that word and thus show they are part of the Music MoS? --Jubileeclipman 15:18, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
e.g. would WP:Manual of Style (Music)/Record Charts/Sourcing Guide be acceptable? --Jubileeclipman 15:22, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment - A is my second choice too; the status quo is pretty good. It's just that the way I see it, if we conclude that "MoS plus one thing" is best (no categorization), then the late-added G is a slightly superior way of doing that. I say superior because to me, having Manual of Style/Foo and Manual of Style/Bar unmistakably denotes that Foo and Bar are subordinate to MoS, in a way that parenthesis doesn't do quite as well. PL290 (talk) 17:45, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

B: Foo (Manual of Style). Subject before the Manual of Style

#Support Slashes are being used like categories which will never work Gnevin (talk) 20:52, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

C: Slashes limited to 1 level Manual of Style/China (Language)

  1. Support. I prefer this option, which makes clear technically that the page after the slash is a subpage of the MoS. The (foo) format creates an entirely separate page and doesn't refer back at the top to the MoS. We had a problem recently of MoS talk archives that were moved from slash to (foo) format being deleted, because they appeared to be talk pages unattached to any project page. Not that deletion is an issue with these new pages, but it illustrates that the slash format is more appropriate for subpages. SlimVirgin talk contribs 23:49, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
    If this has to do with no project page “Wikipedia:Foo (bar)/Archive 12” corresponding to “Wikipedia talk:Foo (bar)/Archive 12”, any confusion related to that will arise regardless of the naming convention. On the other hand if you mean somebody moved an archive from “Wikipedia talk:Foo bar/Archive 12” to “Wikipedia talk:Foo bar (Archive 12)”, you should go ahead and smack that person. ―AoV² 08:51, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  2. Support - per my rambling explanation above. Could live with A, though (which is obviously less work) --Jubileeclipman 15:01, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
  3. Support As the MoS is one logical "page"/"book". The status quo isn't problematic or anything though. --Cybercobra (talk) 23:25, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

D: Slashes limited to 2 levels Manual of Style/Regional/China (Language)

E: Slashes unlimited as required with categorization Manual of Style/Regional/China/Language

  1. Support, as this seems the most clear indication of unitary manual, consisting of parts. I like the extensibility. Would prefer to make it "Manual of style/Foo/Bar" (S not capitalised). We might combine the idea proposed elsewhere to have the lead of each section double as short placeholder in the upper level (both transcluded from the same place). −Woodstone (talk) 01:01, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Support - BUT qualified by the usage principle suggested by Scott Alter, i.e., start with the assumption that each styleguide will be Manual of Style/Foo, with deeper levels only when certain guides lend themselves to it. PL290 (talk) 09:06, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Switched my vote to option G, which now expresses this without the need to qualify the vote.PL290 (talk) 19:27, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

F: Slashes hybrid of Foo (Manual of Style) and slashes to give WP:Chinese language (Manual of Style/Regional)

G: Slashes unlimited as required without categorization Manual of Style/Foo

  1. Support. This does not attempt to establish a hierarchy of MoS pages, but allows for clear sub-MoS to be a subpage of another MoS - further discussed below. This also avoids the creation of non-MoS subpages. This is similar to option C, but allows for subpages instead of using parentheses. China is not the best example, since I don't think there is a MoS for articles about China. A better example would be MoS/Music/Samples, where MoS/Music and MoS/Music/Samples are both MoS and not just a categorization stub. --Scott Alter 18:34, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  2. Support. This is very similar to option A (Manual of Style (Foo)), but slash notation (Manual of Style/Foo) denotes more clearly that Foo is subordinate to MoS. The expectation is that most styleguides will be Manual of Style/Foo with no further subpages. Subpage levels deeper than one slash are envisaged only when certain guides lend themselves to it. PL290 (talk) 19:27, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  3. Support – Very good way to organize pages; helps keep pages together, unlike the status quo method (A) that is used right now. MC10 (TCGBL) 04:38, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  4. Support. Makes the most sense. As a bonus, you automagically get a link to the main page of the MoS at the top, the way Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents automagically has a link to Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard. A. di M. (talk) 07:33, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
    As a second bonus, you can link from MoS to MoS/Foo simply as /Foo. A. di M. (talk) 09:19, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
  5. Support. What A. di M. says. Tony (talk) 08:07, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

How the MoS would look with slashes

User:Gnevin/sandbox4 . What I found interesting while doing this (thanks to VernoWhitney for the help) was how naturally the groups formed Gnevin (talk) 22:22, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

I just had a thought. The method allows us to easily identify the sections Wikipedia:Manual of Style should have
  • Religion
  • Layout
  • Categorization
  • Formatting
  • Arts
  • Science
  • Images
  • Biographies
  • Regional
  • Content
  • Science
  • Legal

Basically the majority of pages whos parent is the MoS itself .Currently we have over kill like Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Capital_letters Gnevin (talk) 22:43, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Gnevin, in the scheme you're visualizing, do you see (i) actual pages like WP:Manual Style/Religion and WP:Manual Style/Regional with content or (ii) are these sections purely nominal to assist rationalization and categorization of what will look namingwise like subsubpages (WP:Manual Style/Religion/Buddhism, WP:Manual Style/Poland), but for all practical purposes simply be subpages? If the answer is (i), can you describe what sort of content you would imagine WP:Manual Style/Religion and WP:Manual Style/Regional having?—DCGeist (talk) 05:54, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Anything marked as new would be an nominal and would start out with content like . This page is placeholder for the hierarchy scheme and not part of the MoS. It has the following children:Z,X and Y. I could see a case for an up merge of several common sections of Content sometime in the future making sense Gnevin (talk) 07:48, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Identify the level 1 subpages

To facilitate the slash/not-slash discussion, we should really now get concrete about what we think the level 1 subpages are. If even that proves contentious, we may conclude we should settle for Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Foo). Conversely, if we quickly agree the level 1s, that will give us a much better reference point for the rest of the discussion. Does anyone have a quick way to produce a proposed list (going to level 1 only) in the format Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Foo? PL290 (talk) 12:59, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Sort by parent Gnevin (talk) 13:09, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
  1. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Religion
  2. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Layout
  3. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Categorization
  4. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Formatting
  5. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Film
  6. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Television
  7. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Music
  8. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Science
  9. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Images
  10. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biographies
  11. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Regional
  12. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Content
  13. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Science
  14. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Legal
  15. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Wikipedia content
  16. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Ships
  17. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Cities
  18. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Poker
  19. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Military history
  20. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility
  21. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Road junction lists

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Great. I invite others to comment on whether this is a complete and correct list of headings under which all MoS pages can be grouped, or whether attempting to do so produces a conflict of any kind. PL290 (talk) 14:16, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

It strikes me that since you (plural) need to organize topics for this effort, perhaps it would be best to use an organizational structure that Wikipedia already has: Portal:Contents/Portals. Ozob (talk) 14:01, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

There should not be forward slashes in page names. Forward slashes have a specific meaning in URLs, and even if the subpage function has been turned off for page names, I believe it has not been turned off for talk pages, so it will causes problems with archives and if the talk pages have to be moved around with page name changes. -- PBS (talk) 21:47, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

It's unclear exactly what you mean here. This is a list of potential subpages. No one's assuming the subpage function's been turned off. PL290 (talk) 22:30, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
It is turned off in article space (don't know in this space): AC/DC is on one page but it is not turned off in the talk pages of articles so the talk page of AC/DC is Talk:AC because Talk:AC/DC is a separate sub page. So Talk:AC (the one you go to if you click on the tab at the top of the article) redirects to its own subpage, as the slash works as a page separator on talk pages in article space. If the same thing is true here we should avoid using a forward slash in page names for the technical reason that page names and their talk pages will not be the same and would make unnecessary complications in administering them to keep aligned. If it is true then it would be better to use one of the alternative proposals which would not face such technical challenges. -- PBS (talk) 00:10, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
To see what I mean go to Talk:AC/DC/Archive 1 and then click on the standard archive talk box link "please do so on the current talk page." It does not take you back to Talk:AC/DC but to Talk:AC -- PBS (talk) 00:17, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
However, it appears not to be an issue. PL290 (talk) 07:47, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
So the fact that Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Subpage also has a link redirect at the top (as do talk pages) and AC/DC does not suggests that subpages are on in this space. The question comes down to whether we specifically want to use sub-pages for this manual, when we tend to avoid them for most of the project. -- PBS (talk) 02:35, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Subpages were specifically disabled in the article namespace because it was decided that articles should not be restricted to just one hierarchy. (Subpages were used for article categorization before the category namespace was used - but now articles can be in multiple hierarchies by being in multiple categories.) In the Wikipedia namespace, subpages are frequently used - especially for WikiProjects. Subpages indicate that there is one specific hierarchy for that given subpage, which is what we are trying to convey - that this is one MoS that is too big to fit in 1 page. In fact, there are guidelines for subpage usage at Wikipedia:Subpages, which does not mention avoiding their use. The proposed use of subpages for the MoS is not in the "disallowed use" list. It actually promotes subpage use in the Wikipedia namespace for "processes" (for the reason that they "which would otherwise get too big to be easily used") and WikiProjects ("for project-specific templates, discussion, or guidelines pages"). Although the MoS is not really a process or WikiProject, the rationale for why these can use subpages astutely applies to the divvy up something that is too big to fit in one place and to have specific guidelines for the MoS (which one could consider a project). --Scott Alter 03:41, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

While I am not supporting this option, I believe that the proposed categories need revision. I agree with Ozob that there can not be one correct categorization, but if one is used, it should be based on an existing hierarchy (like Portal:Contents/Portals or Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Directory. I absolutely do not agree that narrow-focused MoS including "Ships," "Poker," "Military history," and "Road junction lists" should be first-level subpages, while others like "Chinese language" are third-level. Also, I'm not sure why "Arts" was removed from this listing.

Another slashes option (which has not explicitly been proposed) is to NOT impose any categorical organizational structure, but not necessarily to set a 1-level limit. For example, most MoS would be first level. However, if there are very clearly closely-related MoS where one grew out of the other, there would be a second (or third) level. An example of this could be "Music" as a first level, with "Music samples," "MUSTARD," and possibly "Record charts" as second levels. A rule of thumb can be if the MoS contains the title of another MoS, it should be a subpage. This way, no one is forcing a MoS into a specific categorization; but if a specific MoS self-identifies as a sub-MoS as another, it can exist as a subpage. I think that creating tons of new MoS pages solely to categorize existing MoS is a bad thing, and this proposal is somewhat of a middle ground, which I would favor above any of the previously mentioned options. --Scott Alter 02:45, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes. Start with the assumption that each styleguide will be Manual of Style/Foo, with deeper levels only when certain guides lend themselves to it. In terms of the poll, this is "Slashes unlimited as required". PL290 (talk) 08:41, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I think this is very different than the other proposed slashes and should have its own option. The presence of the proposed new first-level subpages without any actual MoS really dissuades me from (3.3/E and 3.2/D). "Slashes unlimited as required" sounds like a good name for my modification (WP:MoS/China/Language), but as described (WP:MoS/Regional/China/Language) is very different. I think there should be a separate option for using the proposed new, non-MoS first-level subpages like "Regional," "Science," "Arts," etc. --Scott Alter 16:35, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
No objection from me to that suggestion. Whereas altering existing poll options after a poll has started to receive responses would undermine things, adding necessary new ones does no harm. I suggest you go ahead and add it, worded as you judge best. I imagine I will then transfer my vote to it. PL290 (talk) 17:36, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I added an option G and differentiated the unlimited as required with or without categorization. --Scott Alter 18:34, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Here is the Category:Manual_of_Style. Arts was removed above because going to level 1 only MoS/Music is a better group that MoS/Arts (Music) Gnevin (talk) 09:17, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I would be in favor of not using the non-MoS subpages, but where was this discussed? If it was decided that MoS/Music is better than MoS/Arts/Music, why would this only apply for Arts and not "Science" or "Region." I also think Chemistry and Medicine would be better as MoS/Chemistry and MoS/Medicine rather than MoS/Science/Chemistry and MoS/Science/Medicine. That's why I think a separate option is needed in the poll of whether to categorize the MoS using these first-level subpages. Although I am in favor of unlimited subpages, I would prefer using no slashes over these proposed new first-level subpage categorization. --Scott Alter 16:35, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
That's why subpages shouldn't be used. They imply a level of hierarchy that is often not there. Sometimes it is, but that's the exception, not the rule.Jinnai 04:36, 12 May 2010 (UTC)


Should we set a time to close this ? Gnevin (talk) 09:59, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.