Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 129

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Dashes in article titles and mojibake

It seems to me that people who link to Wikipedia frequently go to the article page and then copy the URL they land on. Normally, this is fine, but occasionally things go pear-shaped when the article title has a dash that gets turned into mojibake. I can't be the only person who has been momentarily confused from seeing "Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name" due to a corrupted URL. Is there any way we can make the URLs use hyphens in place of dashes in the article titles? (Sorry if this should go somewhere else, but I don't know where to put it.) --Poochy (talk) 18:40, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

  • I can't reproduce the problem: the Mexican–American War (with a dash) URL works for me.
  • Maybe someone else's browser would change that to link to the Mexican-American War (with a hyphen) redirect, but it doesn't say there's no such article; it presents a link to the article.
  • If an article with a dash has no redirect using the same title with a hyphen, then that redirect should be added, as specified by the MOS:DASH guideline. Art LaPella (talk) 00:42, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
    • The problem is that someone else's browser might change that link to "–American_War" or otherwise replace the dash with some other equally unpredictable gibberish. And we can't possibly create a redirect for every single possibility, since every single possible combination of encoding and mismatched decoding choices could potentially result in a different set of gibberish in place of the dash. --Poochy (talk) 12:30, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
      • Don't tell me this is yet another Internet Explorer (7) problem. It's an execrable browser that has already caused us grief, restricted what we can do. Tony (talk) 13:12, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Does MOS:IDENTITY apply to credit for works?

More practically: Should the director for The Matrix be listed as "Larry Wachowski" or "Lana Wachowski"? Kaldari (talk) 20:46, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

MOS:IDENTITY suggests the latter, but ... in contexts that don't have room for a lot of elaboration, I'd probably lean towards formulations such as "Lana Wachowski (as Larry Wachowski)", or ""Lana Wachowski (credited as Larry Wachowski)", which are not uncommon formulations. --joe deckertalk to me 20:59, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
Surely, we can cut the proverbial cake and say "Larry Wachowski (now Lana Wachowski)"? Hopefully, I won't offend anybody if I suggest that there's a parallel with pseudonymous works: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is written by Lewis Carroll, the pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. The article on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland says it was "written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll" and lists Lewis Carroll as the author in the infobox.
On the transgender issue specifically, I've been drafting some guidelines about how we can handle transgender issues more sensitively on-wiki. See User:Tom Morris/Write about gender identity sensitively. —Tom Morris (talk) 21:03, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
In contexts like the Matrix infobox, I think there's a real value to the reader to including both names. Nice work with that draft essay, by the way, I may drop a comment or two, but at a glance, it appears completely in-line with my own views on the subject. --joe deckertalk to me 21:23, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
I think there is a large difference between pseudonyms and gender identity changes. In the case of a pseudonym, we have no reason to the believe the author would object to the use of their real name. In the case of gender identity changes, it is often the case that the person prefers to never be referred to by their old name (even in historical contexts). I think a closer analogy would be Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam, and even that isn't quite the same situation. Kaldari (talk) 21:57, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
It's not a biographical article. It's one thing to change references from he to she or a name change in their own specific article or in updated works to represent them as they are in their own bio. If Steven Spielberg changes his name to Pierre Lamar Sanchez, it wouldn't do to change E.T. from "directed by Steven Spielberg" to "directed by Pierre Lamar Sanchez" and it certainly wouldn't be practical to change it to "directed by Pierre Lamar Sanchez formerly Steven Spielberg". It's Common Name and common knowledge that Spielberg = E.T. like Wachowski Brothers = Matrix. Wachowski Brothers is how they are credited on the film, they aren't even credited individually and I find it wholly improper to essentially alter history to give an updated credit when all MOS:FILM guidelines say that it should represent the film as it was released. Blade Runner's plot does not reflect all the updates, only the initial release. That Larry or whichever one became Lana has no bearing on The Matrix or relevance to its history and has no need to be mentioned, nor its history distorted to reflect it. You can follow through to their article to find that out. Darkwarriorblake (talk) 22:23, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
Kaldari, I think you have that quite right. --joe deckertalk to me 23:04, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
Except that he just undermined himself when all of Cat Stevens works are credited to Cat Stevens and not Yusuf Islam. EDIT: And only on his post Yusuf works is he credited as Yusuf (formerly Cat Stevens).Darkwarriorblake (talk) 23:14, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
@Darkwarriorblake: But in this case, "Lana Wachowski" is gradually achieving WP:COMMONNAME (unlike Yusuf Islam or your fictional example). Already, sites such as IMDB[1] and Metacritic[2] credit The Matrix to "Lana Wachowski". As the Wachowskis continue to make movies, eventually "Lana" will fully overtake "Larry" as the more commonly cited name. I haven't done enough research to determine which name is actually more common at this point, but considering MOS:IDENTITY as an extenuating circumstance, I don't think it would hurt for us to go ahead and make the change (or at least mention both names). There is ample precedent for us listing "actual names" rather than credited names for movies on Wikipedia, especially in older black and white movies where the crediting was somewhat haphazard. Kaldari (talk) 23:22, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
IMDb and Metacritic use databases and tags. That is it. To preserve different names they would have to create two accounts for one person, splitting hteir work history and making their job harder than just changing the name on the particular record entry in the database. This is not some encompassing endorsement, it's a technological practicality of running a database/website. That Lana MAY become the common name does not, again, change the credit or history. That Larry is now Lana has no affect on The Matrix, it isn't part of it, or its history and would require inserting an unnecessary confusing tangent where none is required. The film is TWELVE years old, there is no mass confusion about this issue because as I said, it has no bearing on that film. Darkwarriorblake (talk) 23:32, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

The "official" director is the one that rolls in the credits. In terms of it not being "right", it's not much different than a film directed by Alan Smithee - even if we know who we know who the "true" director is, the director of the movie is the name listed in the credits. Of course, just like a move directed by Alan Smithee, if there is other relevant information about the director that should be included in articles as appropriate, but not replacing the director's name shown on the credits. — Carl (CBM · talk) 04:06, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

In most of the Alan Smithee films on Wikipedia, we list the real director, not "Alan Smithee". In many cases, however, "(credited as Alan Smithee)" is added after the real name. Kaldari (talk) 04:56, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Just list both names, e.g. “Larry Wachowski (now Lana Wachowski)” or “Lana Wachowski (then Larry Wachowski)”. FWIW, while the situation is not fully analogous, Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band lists “Geoff Pullum aka Jeff Wright” (he went by Jeff Wright as a musician but now goes by his real name Geoffrey K. Pullum as a linguist). ― A. di M.​  10:00, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── (Modified and expanded from earlier version)

Wendy Carlos is an interesting example, having both film and music album credits, and being famous both before and after reassignment surgery. Consider how we credit her various works:

Switched-On Bach: Text = " Wendy Carlos (originally released under the name of Walter Carlos)..."

The Well-Tempered Synthesizer: Text = "...a 1969 album released by Wendy Carlos..." Album cover shows "Wendy" (which raises the question as to whether Wikipedia was right to show an album cover and use an artist name that were not what was on the album when it was released:

Walter Carlos' Clockwork Orange: "Walter" in the title and on the album cover, but the text says "Wendy" with no explanation.

A Clockwork Orange (soundtrack): Text = " composed by Wendy Carlos (who, having not yet undergone sex reassignment surgery, was credited as 'Walter Carlos')..."

The Shining (film): Text = "...brief electronic score by Wendy Carlos..."

And, of course Wendy Carlos. Lead: "...Wendy Carlos is an American composer and electronic musician..." Career section: "...Carlos was born Walter Carlos..."

Do we really want these different pages about the same person following different rules set out by Wikipedia:WikiProject Film, Wikipedia:WikiProject Music and Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography? I say that we don't. Instead, each WikiProject should contribute to a unified and decision made at Wikipedia:Manual of Style. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:47, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, we are certainly inconsistent in these areas. It seems that our current practice is a mix of WP:COMMONNAME, MOS:IDENTITY, and what is actually written in the credits. The claim that we just follow what's written in the credits is incorrect. We seem to always fix misspellings (see my list at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Film#The Matrix - Larry to Lana) and we often favor WP:COMMONNAME over actual credits (see any of the numerous songs that Prince wrote under his 5 different aliases for example). Kaldari (talk) 04:40, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm a fan of a "X (as Y)" construction whenever a person is known as X but credited as Y: this would apply for legal name changes (e.g. Wendy/Walter Carlos), psuedonym changes (e.g. Mos Def/Yasiin Bey), or Alan Smithee-ing. Sceptre (talk) 17:24, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

The "X (as Y)" method suggests a deliberate pseudonym to me, not a name change that was to happen later. I agree with Carl that the name in the credits, on the title pages, etc., is the "official" name. I'd prefer to use that name with the latest legal name or better-known name in parentheses. A little-known pseudonym can be in quotation marks. The one place where I don't think this works is those village Smithees.
For the last one, I wouldn't object to
Why don't you just follow the same pattern that you would use for any other legal name change, e.g., what you do when a woman changes her name as a result of getting married? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:45, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
That would be Begging the question. You are answering the question "Does MOS:IDENTITY apply to credit for works?" with the answer "Why don't you just apply MOS:IDENTITY to credit for works?" --Guy Macon (talk) 06:01, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

MOS on Zoë Baird

I have mentioned this topic before. I personally am of the view that clearer guidance, and clearer visibility and linking for existing guidance, would reduce disruption and controversy on en.wp. A User has recently come to grief on the (widely acknowledged to be) inadequate guidance given by MOS and MOS subpages on a very basic area of conflict between diacritic-enabled and diacritic disabled sources. MOS starts to address this area in MOS:FOREIGN, and then continues with guidance in sub-pages:
Linked from WP:MOS

Not linked from WP:MOS

  • The content of Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Proper names is under dispute because it contradicts this page, and at the moment you are rejecting any changes to that page to bring it into harmony with this one.
  • I do no think that there is "widely acknowledged to be) inadequate guidance given by MOS and MOS subpages on a very basic area of conflict between diacritic-enabled and diacritic disabled sources" can you provide evidence of this?
  • Please give diffs for the statement "A User has recently come to grief".
-PBS (talk) 07:39, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

related: WP:IRS on Zoë Baird

As WP:DIACRITICS indicates this is partly, perhaps primarily a WP:IRS issue.

Note also that the Computer Security Act of 1987 (repealed by the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 but still referenced for diacritics below in 2010) prohibited names like Zoë Baird in birth certificates and SSA documentation; as also the ICAO prohibits names like Zoë Baird in passports of any country.

QUESTION: Can accents be used in a child's name on the birth certificate? ANSWER:No.

Federal Public Law 100-235, also known as the "Computer Security Act of 1987" require[d] that all federal databases follow the standards determined by the National Institute of Standards and Techology (NIST) and use the 26 letters of the alphabet without diacritical marks. A diacritical mark is a mark added to a letter to give it special phonetic value; e.g. the two dots placed over the letter u, (Note hyphens and apostrophes are acceptable). The Social Security Administration is required to follow the above law.

Proposal - I propose to add Zoë Baird as an example to WP:DIACRITICS, with all 4 of the above sources as footnotes. The reason I'm making a pre-proposal here on WT:MOS, the page which links to it, is there may be objection that WP:DIACRITICS is not the correct place to make this proposal. In ictu oculi (talk) 23:55, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

You are confusing the scope of the MOS and that of the WP:AT policy. The MOS makes it clear that for article titles as opposed to usage within an article that the AT policy guidance should be followed, a better example to use would be the Brontë family rather than an article like Charlotte Brontë. Links exist on this page to WP:AT and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English). If you want to discuss the content of WP:DIACRITICS that should be done on the appropriate talk page (Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (use English)) not here. If you want to discuss the content of WP:AT then do so at [[[Wikipedia talk:Article titles]].
As an aside, primary sources should not be used for deciding on the spellings to use in names unless they have been published in reliable secondary sources (see WP:PSTS), so what is or is not on someone's birth certificate is not usually relevance in deciding a name and I do not think we need to discuss birth certificate guidance). -- PBS (talk) 07:39, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Hi Philip
Thanks, I will follow your suggestions unless others advise otherwise.
In ictu oculi (talk) 08:29, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
The source given for the ICAO policy prohibiting names with diacritics doesn't seem to me to do so: it says that UK passports do not allow names with diacritics. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:59, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Spaced mdash and ndash vs unspaced (templated)

As is currently being discussed on Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/Hazard-Bot 10, is it better to:

  1. Remain as we are now, with {{Spaced ndash}} and {{Ndash}}, as well as {{Spaced mdash}} and (possibly soon to come again) {{Mdash}}
  2. Manually add space between dash templates (depreciate {{Spaced mdash}} and {{Spaced ndash}})
  3. Substitute and/or have these automatically substituted these dash templates.

As for the first, there are issues with the reading of the source of the page itself (seeing foo{{spaced ndash}}bar is not very nice). For the second, it (the page source) would be "easier" to read (foo {{ndash}} bar is considerably less of an eyestrain to read). The third would lead us to having — and – all over the wiki.  Hazard-SJ  ✈  01:42, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

We should never ever use spaced em dashes. There is no grammatically correct usage of spaced em dashes. Not in lists. Not in sentences. Not in navboxes. All uses of spaced em dashes should be replaced with regular em dashes or spaced en dashes, preferably non-templated (unless they're in a horizontal list). Kaldari (talk) 03:05, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
The WP:DASH guideline says "Do not use spaced em dashes", so it isn't just Kaldari's opinion. We shouldn't have both a guideline and also a spaced mdash template to help people violate that guideline. Art LaPella (talk) 04:51, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
The point of using {{spaced ndash}} rather than {{ndash}} with manually added spaces is that with the former the space before the dash is non-breaking. So the right comparison is not between foo{{spaced ndash}}bar and foo {{ndash}} bar but between foo{{spaced ndash}}bar and foo {{ndash}} bar. ― A. di M.​  10:18, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
Em dash spacing is not an issue of grammar — it is an issue of style. It is stylistically correct and is used on the websites of The New York Times, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and many others. Here at Wikipedia, the community decision is to use unspaced em dashes — a decision I regret, but must abide by in the article space. — Anomalocaris (talk) 17:28, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Use of "the late"

Are there any WP policies that specifically address when (but more specifically if) the form "the late X" is ever to be used for a deceased individual? There is a dispute at Powhatan language that relates to this. Thank you. --Taivo (talk) 22:12, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

I do not know whether there are any Wikipedia policies that address your question, but here are two external links.
Wavelength (talk) 00:10, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Coincidentally, I have just posted a WP:ERRORS report on the main page describing someone who died in the American Revolutionary Wars as late.
It is, I suspect, more a phrase used in social convention than encyclopaedic, formal, euphemism-avoiding tone. It dates the article, as it will eventually become redundant, and so is a form of recentism, and is equivalent to describing, for example, an archbishop or an earl as "your grace": it might be socially appropriate, but it is not encyclopaedic. Kevin McE (talk) 09:42, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Contradiction again

My usual complaint. MOS:#Bulleted and numbered lists still conflicts with several similar guidelines in the subpages on how to punctuate the end of a list element. Discussed here. Art LaPella (talk) 23:34, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Capitalization and punctuation in song titles

I have a question about capitalization as connected to punctuation in album and song titles. There are the standard rules about parentheses, and I assume (although I couldn't find a reference to it in the MoS) that the rule holds true for colons and periods inside of song names.

"Oh, Bury Me Not (Introduction: A Cowboy's Prayer)" a song from Johnny Cash's American Recordings--I'd leave that "A" untouched because it's next to a colon.

But what about a song that had a comma or another piece of punctuation in its title?

Specifically, I'm wondering about the Lucinda Williams album "Live @ The Fillmore." The only possible reason I can surmise that someone would capitalize "The" is because it's next to an "@" sign. But should it be an @? Even though that's the character they use on the album cover, does Wikipedia choose to use it, or should it be "Live at the Fillmore"? I haven't been able to find a page dealing with special characters. Or is there an authoritative source for whether or not we'd use a special character in an album name?

I'm new to editing Wikipedia, but as a basic copy editor I like to clean up capitalization when I see it. (talk) 03:16, 2 June 2012 (UTC) Melissa Jenks, 6/1/12

I believe this guideline applies to the @ sign, from WP:TRADEMARK:
  • Avoid using special characters that are not pronounced, are included purely for decoration, or simply substitute for English words (e.g., ♥ used for "love"). In the article about a trademark, it is acceptable to use decorative characters the first time the trademark appears, but thereafter, an alternative that follows the standard rules of punctuation should be used:
    • avoid: Macy*s, skate., [ yellow tail ], Se7en, Alien3, Toys Я Us
    • instead, use: Macy's, Skate, Yellow Tail, Seven, Alien 3, Toys "R" Us
Art LaPella (talk) 05:50, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
So what you're saying is that the trademark rule applies to special characters in album names and song names? Should that be put in the Manual of Style for music?
Oops. Just noticed this note in MoS for Music:
It makes specific mention of the trademark rule. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I'll change the Lucinda Williams album, and others I find. It doesn't answer my question about capitalization connected to colons and other legitimate punctuation, however. I'm also unable to find the rule for ampersands. For instance, should an album be listed by "Bob Dylan and the Band"? "Bob Dylan and The Band"? Or "Bob Dylan & The Band"?
From what I can find, it seem that Bob Dylan and The Band is used, primarily, with erratic capitalization of "the" (e.g. The Basement Tapes). But what about folk groups, like Ian & Sylvia, commonly referred to using an ampersand? It seems like a choice for an authoritative source, or the band itself. What authoritative sources are best to use for variations in a band and album name, anyway? I believe I found a page making reference to ampersands at one point, but I can't find it now. I must say that the MoS is difficult to use for a new aspiring editor. (talk) 03:16, 2 June 2012 (UTC) Melissa Jenks, 6/1/12
I think you're looking for MOS:&, which says "Retain ampersands in titles of works or organizations, such as The Tom & Jerry Show or AT&T." So my AWB software changes a list of publishers like Simon and Schuster to Simon & Schuster, after determining that those organizations use the ampersand in places like their logo.
Our guideline on colons doesn't mention titles, so maybe someone else here can tell us what other style manuals say about that situation. This heated but dated discussion may be helpful.
I certainly agree that "the MoS is difficult to use for a new aspiring editor". Among other proposals, I have often urged that the search box labeled "Search the MoS" (near the upper right corner of the main MoS page) should be the main focus of that page. I suppose you would have found guidelines like MOS:& that way. Others have objected that a comprehensive table of contents that includes all the subpages would be more useful. Well then, we should do one or the other, or both! Art LaPella (talk) 01:35, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Edit-page header

Did anyone raise the inclusion of the message that appears at the top of the edit-box of this talk page? It says: "The purpose of this page is to discuss Wikipedia:Manual of Style. If your post is about a specific problem you have, please ask for help at the Wikipedia:Help desk or see the New Contributors' Help Page."

Consensus is required, I believe. Tony (talk) 06:26, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Do you mean: did anyone object to that message? Not that I know of. I presume that message is intended to discourage questions like "Should there be a space after the first period at Miyagi Gakuin Women's University?" The help desk would offer enough consensus to settle that question. Art LaPella (talk) 19:46, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Did anyone announce it was going to be put there? I've only just noticed it, when it was brought to my attention by another editor. The example you provide is trivial and would deserve to be left unanswered. This page has been the site of many interesting and valuable questions that have had not a little impact on the evolution of MoS over the years. I think the notice should be removed. Tony (talk) 07:57, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

This is the standard editnotice that is present on all Wikipedia talk space pages that (except maybe those that have a specific message written). See Template:Editnotices/Namespace/Wikipedia talk and Template:Wikipedia talk navigation. Apart from that, this is a wiki, so consensus is not required before making changes. —Kusma (t·c) 08:08, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

I don't think that's correct, and it's gobsmacking to observe that an admin thinks that no consensus is required on a wiki before editing a template that affects hundreds of pages for developing WP's policy and guidelines. The lead of MoS itself says "Any issues relating to style guidance can be discussed on the MoS talk page," linking directly to this talk page; whereas the talk-page template as currently worded contradicts that invitation. Or it appears to—the wording is ambiguous:

"The purpose of this page is to discuss Wikipedia:Manual of Style. If your post is about a specific problem you have, please ask for help at the Wikipedia:Help desk or see the New Contributors' Help Page."

So, does "a specific problem" concern a perceived need to change the MoS, or the application of one of its points, or a general stylistic issue in English?

When was this template plonked onto talk pages in Wikipedia space? By whom? With what consensus? Where is the template accessible, and what technical action applies it to a page? Tony (talk) 10:31, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

This template seems to be directing people in exactly the wrong direction - like it or not, the MOS pages is the place to go to ask questions about style issues on Wikipedia - not WP:Help Desk or the new contributors Help page. The danger is that users will either get sent in circles (i.e. be directed from here to one of the help pages and from there back to here) or be given advice that conflicts with the guidance that he or she would get here (or even what MOS itself says). this standard edit notice is not really appropriate here, as effectively this page is acting as a help page. The talk pages for the cite book etc. templates redirect to Help talk:Citation Style 1 - so maybe that is the way to go? Nigel Ish (talk) 14:24, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
If the content of the editnotice is bad, it will go away if we create a specific one for this page. More information is at Wikipedia:Editnotice. The editnotice you are complaining about was added on May 9, and you can check in the links I gave above who added it. As with everything on Wikipedia, the user interface may at all times be boldly edited. Admins do not have to ask for permission to edit the interface, just like nobody has to ask for permission to edit articles. If your version does not have support, you'll get reverted, then you discuss. Nothing more gobsmacking about it than the concept of an encyclopedia that anyone may edit, really. —Kusma (t·c) 14:31, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
That would be May 9, 2011, actually. It's been there for over a year with no complaints -- just a couple of technical questions in discussion archives you can find with "What Links Here". --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 14:34, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I certainly don't mind when people come here to ask about the finer points of English expression. It seems to work out quite well. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:36, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Kusma, again you show yourself to be blind to the normal process of seeking consensus for major changes, such as has been unilaterally actioned in this case, over countless pages. Tony (talk) 05:44, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I am certainly not blind to that process, but we seem to differ about when it should be used (as sparingly as possible, and only in cases where WP:BRD is unlikely to produce a good result: here, it seems to have worked reasonably ok for the last year). Anyway, we can discuss our wikiphilosophical differences elsewhere. The question is: should this page have an editnotice (and if yes, what should be on it), or should the default editnotice be disabled here? I don't have a strong opinion (that is why I have not boldly implemented something already). To conclude: if there is a problem with the current editnotice, this link allows you to {{sofixit}}. —Kusma (t·c) 07:53, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I !vote no edit-notice, and as second choice if we have to have one, change the text so it's not ambiguous and not a turn-off to editors who seek higher-level advice here. Tony (talk) 11:07, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I !vote if it ain't been broke for the past year, don't fix it. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 17:06, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I !vote kindly chuck the notice. It's unnecessary and contradicts one of the most useful functions of this page. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:09, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I !vote get rid of it. It's broken, and has been broken from the start. It is extraordinarily hard for us to track down such a template, and to investigate how it was spawned and how its suckers got to cling to the MOS underbelly. When I succeeded, and checked the history, I found that a mere four editors had a hand in it. The maker of the template is "semi-retired". Of the eleven edits revealed in the history, five have no edit summary. Not one edit summary explains why the template has been made, or refers to any discussion toward consensus. The talkpage for the template shows zero discussion. Only the first of the six edits for the transcluded documentation has an edit summary; the last of the six is by a documented sock puppet. The documentation itself (lacking a talkpage) is technical and unfriendly except to the high-priestly class and selected initiates, and it appears that there is no way to check centrally how the template is being used (or whether its arcane add-on features are implemented anywhere at all, or precisely how they might be implemented).
    This is an extraordinary denial of the Wikipedian ideals of transparency and consultation, affecting hundreds of crucial talkpages for the Project. That anyone should think it enhances the Manual of Style defies explanation. How many enquiries to us style experts have been summarily turned away? We might not have noticed this thing; but a less experienced editor, tentatively approaching for advice and taking such warnings to heart, will disappear not to be seen again.
    Terminate with extreme prejudice. There was never anything remotely resembling consensus in the imposition of this spectral and recalcitrant notice; we would be justified in restoring the status quo without delay.
NoeticaTea? 10:32, 6 June 2012 (UTC) ♪♫☺
  • Undo it: There's clearly no consensus for it, it chases people away from the single most obvious place to ask WP style questions, and it defies years of actual practice (namely, of people asking such questions here). The Help Desk's principal functions are a) to answer factual questions about encyclopedia topics (i.e. to help with research, like a library's reference desk) and b) to direct people to the pages here where their more intricate questions can be addressed by those who focus on the topic of the question. This talk page is clearly, and always has been, the page to which to send people who have WP style questions. "If your version does not have support, you'll get reverted, then you discuss." Right. This version does not have support, so revert it per WP:BRD; the discussion is already happening. Admins should not, without clearly establishing consensus to do so, make changes to things that require admin tools to change, because most other editors cannot revert them, and most admins are reluctant to undo the actions of other admins (the "good ol' boys' club" effect). The comparison to all editors being able to make changes to article content is not apt, and directly misleading. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 14:19, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
    Oh, I'm sorry, I only now (experimenting with this sock account) noticed that editnotices have rather weird editing rights (only admins and, for some unfathomable reason, accountcreators may edit them). Will log back into my admin account and disable the edit notice. Kusma using AWB (talk) 17:38, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
    I think those editing rights have been there from the start. ISTR that they were put in as default, and I had to ask an adim separately on several occasions when I wanted an editnotice. Yes, as no risks have been put forward, needing sysops' rights to do this job seems aberrant under our 'anyone can edit' philosophy. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 01:26, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
    • I disabled the editnotice. Sorry again about telling people to {{sofixit}} when technical hurdles prevent you from doing so. —Kusma (t·c) 17:44, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Anyway, shouldn't a broader discussion about edit notices be opened, er..., wherever such discussions belong, because the arguments for not having one on WT:MOS could also apply to its subpages and possibly something else? ― A. di M.​  19:03, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Hyphen in requested move

Formerly Hypen in requested move

Hey, I was hoping for some opinions on a hyphen in an article title. There is a requested move for Racist music to be renamed as white power music (as this type of music is the focus of the article). My thinking is that it would be more appropriate at white-power music. The specific example I gave was that there is a huge difference between white-power metal and white power metal. However, I'm not a punctuation expert, hence this note. Please leave any opinions at the discussion. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 20:20, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

I am revising the heading of this section from "Hypen in requested move" to "Hyphen in requested move", in harmony with WP:TPOC, point 13 (Section headings).
Wavelength (talk) 21:30, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
You are correct, I don't actually need any help with "hypens"... except for, obviously, spelling them. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 21:34, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Leading ellipses

It's not completely clear to me from the guidelines if a leading ellipsis is required or recommended if a quote is truncated. For example, if source says: "Spongebob exclaimed "The implementation of this archaic design policy totally sucks."" Would we write

Spongebob said that the policy "totally sucks." or
Spongebob said that the policy "... totally sucks."

Thanks in advance. Sasata (talk) 19:41, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

I see a lot of leading ellipsis points that are quite unnecessary (they're visually disruptive, so need a good reason for their insertion). My view is that they should be inserted only where it's important to emphasise that the quotation is drawn from part of the way into a text/sentence. Tony (talk) 05:49, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Tony. Kaldari (talk) 06:07, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Concur with Tony and Kaldari. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:05, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Proposed MOS for Religion, and, maybe, related social sciences

There is a comparatively new MOS draft at Wikipedia:WikiProject Religion/Manual of style. I believe it is worth at least mentioning here. I also think that it is very possible that this MOS might be applicable to a variety of "secular faiths" and other "ethoses" (if that is the right plural) and would very much welcome any input that editors here might want to give. John Carter (talk) 22:35, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

I've posted comment about the draft's bloat and redundancy. Tony (talk) 05:42, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
So far as I can see, no religious WikiProjects other than the Christianity one have been consulted. Surely they should take part in this?

When it was proposed concerns were raised that some of it read as "seemed like policy-exemptions dressed up as MOS."[3]. An obvious example is the section on the lead, part of which reads "The lede of an article on religion or religious subjects should be comprised entirely of an objective description of the religion/subject. It should not contain critiques or criticisms of the religion/subject, and it should not contain apologetics for the religion/subject. A critique, in this context, means stating that the religion/subject is false or mistaken. A criticism, in this context, means stating that the religion is bad or harmful or deceitful or just plain wrong." This violates our WP:NPOV policy and obviously WP:LEAD. Dougweller (talk) 13:55, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Yup. And "should be comprised entirely of" -> "should exclusively comprise" (if it weren't inappropriate in the first place). Tony (talk) 08:33, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Scripted style manglement

The advisor.js script at User:Cameltrader/Advisor has nearly automated the violation of MOS:DASH by encouraging editors to put spaces in odd places relative to em dashes. I noticed and reverted this edit before understanding that it was just one in a line of rampant dash spacing edits. See recent contribs of Banej for edit summaries containing "nbsp", many of which are added to em dashes, or are spaced hyphens converted to spaced em dashes. I have alerted this editor, but there's a lot of cleanup to do, and who knows how many other editors doing similar damage with that script. Dicklyon (talk) 14:38, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

The author of that script appears no longer to be trading. Since I use it (and quite like it despite various irritations) I will have a look "soon" and see if it is possible to improve the handling of mdash without a total rewrite. --Mirokado (talk) 15:36, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I've never written javascript, but it's easy to see how to fix at least some parts of it, like changing mdash to ndash (\u2013), or removing the spaces, in this bit:
 start: m.start + 1,
 end: m.end - 1,
 replacement: ' \u2014 ', // U+2014 is an mdash
 name: 'mdash',
 description: 'In a sentence, a hyphen surrounded by spaces means almost certainly an mdash.'
Even better, substitute the spaced ndash template there. Some of the other bits are more complicated. And the script is protected, at least from me, so I can't give it a try. And note that the talk page shows other dash-related problems, like replacements in file names and in math. It might be best to just disable some of those edits. Dicklyon (talk) 16:29, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Editors are responsible for their edits, regardless of the tools they use. I have been using this script for years— It is incredibly useful, but I no longer use the dash features. I had not realized that Cameltrader has not bee active for four years. Ohconfucius has some similar tools— perhaps he could take this over. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:02, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
In fact I can't edit that page because (I think) it is a user .js page. Can administrators edit it if I leave an edit request? --Mirokado (talk) 21:04, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up. I am in the midst of undoing the edits. Guess I should no longer use the dash features. ♠♠ BanëJ ♠♠ (Talk) 02:24, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to editors who are fixing up this problem. BTW, User:Greg U (no longer active, I think) built and refined a dash script that has been a great boon to improving our formatting (is that why en.WP looks better than all other WPs?). I use it regularly and can recommend it to everyone, especially those who lack the en dash on their (Windows) keyboard. Tony (talk) 08:29, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Chess notation

I have a couple of questions about Chess notation on Wikipedia. See Chess notation and Algebraic notation (chess). A good example of current usage on Wikipedia is at Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov. The official rules are at (FIDE Chess Handbook, E.I.01B (Appendices), Appendix C (Algebraic notation). I believe the United States Chess Federation prefers the FIDE notation but allows descriptive as well.

My questions are:

Hyphen, en dash or em dash? Move 8 of Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov, 1996, Game 1 (Which I will call DBvK for short) shows a 0-0 (Castle) with an ASCII 2D (hyphen).

Space after period; required, allowed, or forbidden? DBvK has no spaces.

Leading zeros; required, allowed, or forbidden? DBvK has no leading zeros, nor has any chess book I have ever seen. Some chess-playing programs use leading zeros, but that went out of style with MS-DOS.

Capture; small letter x or multiplication sign? Or some other character?

May I assume that Wikipedia's standard is the algebraic notation required by the FIDE with English piece names? Or are figurine piece names also allowed? --Guy Macon (talk) 00:23, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

[I have posted a message at WT:CHESS, with a link to this discussion.
Wavelength (talk) 00:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)]
[Editors are invited to see User talk:Tony1#chess notation (version of 01:08, 22 May 2012).
Wavelength (talk) 01:17, 22 May 2012 (UTC)]
  • Hyphen or dash - most rulebooks don't say, but Schiller Official Rules of Chess says dash. But I haven't seen an em-dash used for decades. But Schiller also says to use zeros for castling whereas most of the rulebooks use a letter O.
  • Space after period - as far as I can tell, anything goes.
  • Leading zeros - certainly not required and they are rarely seen.
  • Algebraic notation is the world-wide standard. The USCF allows games to be recorded in descriptive notation, but nothing has been published in that for about 25 years. I don't think this has been discussed, but the English piece names are used instead of figurines. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:50, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

  • I think this arises from threads on my talk page and that of Ihardlythinkso, where I've listed some sources:
  • Pitman (in Modern Chess Openings): proper symbol (×) and en dash
  • Bell: proper symbol (but uses a kind of em dash, it seems: certainly not a hyphen)
  • Penguin: proper symbol and en dash
  • Chess Digest: proper symbol and en dash
  • Batsford: proper symbol (but uses hyphen, not en dash)
  • Arco: proper symbol and en dash
  • Imprint Capablanca (heavy-duty chess publishers): proper symbol and en dash
  • Digest: proper symbol and en dash

Tony (talk) 03:00, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

I looked at two more books, Kasparov on Kasparov, Everyman Chess and The Mammoth Book of Chess. In both of them, I could see no difference between the symbol they use for capture and the letter x. As far as hyphen or dash in castling, definitely not m-dash, but I can't tell the difference between a hyphen and an n-dash in print. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 04:06, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, they are pretty short so they look like hyphens to me. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 04:09, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
If you want to use the same characters as used in the sources, I would argue that the characters used in the official FIDE laws of chess or USCF rules of chess trump some random chess book. FIDE (ref above) uses these characters:
# Octothorpe (ASCII 23)
+ Plus Sign (ASCII 2B)
- Hyphen (ASCII 2D)
0 Zero (ASCII 30)
= Equal Sign (ASCII 3D)
x Lower Case X (ASCII 78)
USCF (example ) uses the same characters except for one:
O Upper case O (ASCII 4F)
One notable primary source looks like this:
Good luck with that one.
While they don't specifically mention chess, If you look at MOS:HYPHEN, MOS:DASH, MOS:EMDASH, and MOS:ENDASH, I think it could be argued that the correct character to use here is the hyphen. Hyphens indicate conjunction, and the use in chess notation (particularly long algebraic) is a lot more like a conjunction than it is like anything in the dash descriptions. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:09, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree and think we should follow the FIDE algebraic notation, which USCF says they use too. Btw, here is another link for USCF [4] Other symbols: Castling- 0-0 ; Queenside castling- 0-0-0 ; Capture- x (i.e. BxNf6 means bishop captures knight on f6) ; Check- + ; Checkmate- ++ OR # ; White wins- 1-0 ; Black wins- 0-1 ; d pawn promotes to a queen- d8=Q ; Good move- ! ; Bad move- ? ; Brilliant, soul searing move- !! ; Blunder- ?? ; Interesting move !? ; Dubious move ?! . I have checked their official rule book (preview in amazon) and it is the same there, except the use of the letter O in castling. Voorlandt (talk) 09:13, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
That looks like the best solution. I think we can ignore the USCF O and use 0 - every other country except the US uses FIDE rules, including New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK. One other detail; FIDE uses capital letters for pieces (B for Bishop) and lower case letters for squares (square b4). --Guy Macon (talk) 09:51, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

The FIDE source is a web page, and web pages tend to stick to ASCII. That doesn't mean that a print source would stick to ASCII. Also, for castling they use a spaced hyphen, which is a conventional ASCII substitution for an en dash. Given all the print sources which use ⟨×⟩ and ⟨–⟩, that's probably what we should do here. — kwami (talk) 10:42, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

It is a good point that web pages tend to stick to ASCII, so here are links to the print versions of the rules of both FIDE Appendix C and USCF: USCF, page 214-..; regards, Voorlandt (talk) 10:49, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Any Wikipedia copyeditor familiar with WP:ENDASH would expect 1–0 (White wins), along with 0–1 and ½–½, using a dash because they resemble a sports score. Art LaPella (talk) 14:26, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree, but reporting the result of a game or tournament is not actually part of chess notation, which serves to document the moves made in the game. FIDE-standard algebraic notation only uses a hyphen for castling (0-0 and 0-0-0), but long algebraic notation uses a hyphen for most moves (Nb1-c3) as does reversible algebraic notation.
Alas, baseball doesn't seem to use "1-2, 2-3" to indicate two runners on 1st and 2nd base advancing to 2nd and 3rd base, but if it did, I suspect that it would use a hyphen. The closest analogy on Wikipedia I could find was at Odds, where I find "a more common use is "odds against", of the form 6 to 1, 6-1, 6:1, or 6/1 (all read as 'six-to-one')". --Guy Macon (talk) 17:28, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
As far as hyphen versus dash (either one) and the "x" used in capture, I suggest that the ones that are available on a standard keyboard be used, i.e. a hyphen and a lower-case letter x. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 22:53, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I would also note that while the FIDE Laws of Chess(Appendix C, pages 18-20) appears to specify 0 - 0 - 0, the sample game at the top of page 20 makes it clear that 0-0-0 is to be used. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:17, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
To me, specifying 0 - 0 - 0 and then using 0-0-0 in the sample, makes it clear that whoever wrote that doesn't consider spacing to be an important difference, and it seems unlikely he cares about hyphens vs. dashes either. Art LaPella (talk) 02:42, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Wholly agree w/ Art. There are so many absent notation standards needing attention, why waste this good opportunity seeing "ghosts" in minutae (Tony1's "scrutinizing sources" for diffs between "×" vs "x", castling hyphens vs endashes)? Are we gonna blow this opportunity now that the topic of notation convention finally has attention? Or set some standards for uniformity, of which there are precious few? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 03:32, 23 May 2012 (UTC)


OMG! The discussion is seeming to center on what s/b uniform notation conventions, across all articles. (I hadn't presumed that from Tony; it wasn't clear to me he wasn't meaning article-specific styling to mirror what's in respective sources.) But the topic of an agreed consistent notation for WP chess articles is a great topic IMO (since I for one think uniformity across articles is a good thing for readability).

How about some "take-aways" from this discussion!? Updating either MOS for chess, or ProjChess conventions!? (There is a ProjChess convention "White/Black" refer to players; "white/black" refer to pieces, but little other strong conventions, beyond the obvious, like B = bishop, etc. And I'd assumed "x" for captures, and hyphens for castles, were in the obvious camp, until now, since they've never been questioned until now. I assume they won't change.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Will we have any "take-aways" on any of these (consensus for ProjChess conventions, or MOS guides), or do we just let all this get archived and forgotten about? Tony1 made changes to Morphy versus the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard regarding item 'n' (changing captures, e.g. "dxe5" to "d×e5") and 'm' (changing castles, e.g. "0-0-0" to "0–0–0"), I questioned him on it at his User Talk, he was insistent, even though his notation styling is inconsistent w/ 99.99% chess articles. I opened the issue on the article Talk, but someone opened a thread here, and Tony1 asked if discussion could be moved from article Talk to here (although I don't see any participation by Tony1 here). That is why there is this discussion here (it wasn't my idea to open a thread at MOS, only at article Talk). So, what happens back at Morphy versus the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard as a result of this thread, which replaced the discussion at article Talk? Will we determine consensus on at least items 'n' and 'm' below so Morphy versus the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard can be resolved? Or will it be allowed, through lack of whatever, that yet another notation styling—am pretty sure not seen before in any WP chess article—to add to the convention inconsistencies WP already has, documented below? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 12:34, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Without conclusion(s) drawn regarding consensus on the item(s), other than on some which seem to be governed already by MOS (like "1–0" versus "1-0"), there'll be no ProjChess convention or MOS guide to prefer any of the options listed over other option(s). In that case, one would like to think precedence should be honored (e.g., "exd5" occurring in 99.99% articles, not "e×d5"), rather than the chaos (inconsistencies) whereby any editor reverts any other based on personal preference (for whatever reason). But in some cases there isn't a clear precedent (e.g., there are plenty of "O-O-O"s in articles as well as "0-0-0"s), so there's nothing to stop the chaos (inconsistencies) brought on by repeated reversions. (Which *does* happen. Ditto for "1... e5" versus "1. ... e5", etc.). This MOS thread was supposedly opened to resolve one or more of these differences of preference. Has it? Will there be any take-away result(s) (consensus)? (If not, is there a WP Guide giving preference to existing precedent in articles, when there clearly is one? Or is it assumed editors should respect any overwhelming precedent already in-place?) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 11:27, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

a. 0-0-0 vs. O-O-O

(It'd be nice to get some policy on it, so editors stop reverting one another based on personal taste! My own "kinky" preference is that 0-0-0 is always used, but O-O-O for pre-1900 games, to make them look "antiquish". But I realize that sounds silly, and my own preference isn't important anyway. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

Portable Game Notation uses letter O, in contrast to most publications. Personally, I just write circles, but I prefer letter O to zero. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:23, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The Laws of Chess and their Interpretation by Golombek uses O. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:39, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I personally draw Os when recording a game, but when playing over games (reading), I prefer to see 0s. (It looks more "modern". Plus WP's own reference for this, article Algebraic notation, uses 0s not Os – see section Castling. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 13:19, 28 May 2012 (UTC)) But if the WP future is figurine notation and PGN (as [here]), then are we best off positioning for that now, with "O–O–O"?! Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:13, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
0-0-0 per FIDE Laws of Chess Appendix C. (OTOH, note that USCF rules and Portable Game Notation use O-O-O) --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The appendix is ambiguous. They imply <0–0–0>. — kwami (talk) 18:07, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
That's not true. Look at the top of page 20. The PDF uses the binary code for ASCII 0, not ASCII O, and ASCII -, not Unicode –. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:11, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Is it fair to say there is no CONSENSUS, therefore editors should feel free in WP chess articles to continue reverting one another till the cows come home based on personal taste? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 20:11, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

The above conversation is funny. Any chess organisation gives notation rules for players to follow. Plays 'write moves down on paper as the moves are played. They are written, with a real pen/pencil etc, no one care if the players castle is written with a zero or a letter 'O' because as written on a piece of paper it does not matter. So don't read to much into it, that is why FIDE say use 0-0-0 but give example with O-O-O interchangably. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 22:55, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
We could write out our article by hand and scan them up. We have higher and different standards here. Tony (talk) 23:13, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
@Ihardlythinkso: “there is no CONSENSUS” wouldn't mean “editors should feel free in WP chess articles to continue reverting one another till the cows come home based on personal taste”, it would mean “leave stuff the hell alone”. ― A. di M.​  08:43, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
A. di M., please clarify. I was describing what actually happens (reverts, according to taste). What are you describing? Your link goes only to MOS in general. Have no idea what your idea is. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 11:00, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

b. (1.e4) vs. (1. e4) vs. (1 e4)

(It'd be nice to get some policy on it, because as can be seen here, some editors have personal taste that is different: Semi-Slav Defense. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

(I really think this difference [1.e4 vs. 1. e4] s/ *not* be standardized, I think that's going too far. [I've changed my view of this, at first I thought a standard would be good. But I now think that's too inflexible. Sometimes w/o space works best, sometimes with, for different situations. There are many situations, making a hard rule too blunt: horizontal gamescores, vertical gamescores, horizontal gamescores sliced w/ commentary, ditto vertical, use in section titles, infoboxes, etc. All of them have different effects, making the issue too complex for one-size-fits-all. {The original idea to have *both* for diff situations was not mine, but another editor in discussion on notation styles at ProjChess. The idea seemed odd to me when I read it, but after more editing experience I see he was right!}] But I do think that in horizontal gamescores where moves are all in bold, "1. e4" s/b preferred, to give all that crowded blackness some breathing room, for easier-on-the-eyes reading. But an influential member at ProjChess disagrees with that. Anyway! I say not to touch this, the downside being, there may be back-and-forth reverts between users on personal preferences – in fact the reason I opened a discussion on ProjChess was due to a back-and-forth reversion! I think this issue is really complex, and is really confusing therefore. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

I don't like the period to be omitted, and I think it is rare. I prefer a space after the period. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:26, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I think I agree. (Especially for bold.) Chess Life uses the space consistently. But User:MrsHudson prefers without the space (Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Chess/FAQ/Format#Notation.) I wonder how dropping the space came about, and why. I can see advantage in big blocks of horizontal gamescore for compactness/space savings, and you can get "more in" a given line in an Infobox, circumventing spillover to a new line. But in columnar presentations (e.g. intro moves in most openings articles), the space is always used. But in TOCs, the space in section titles makes things look more confusing ("2.1 1. e4" vs. "2.1 1.e4"). So I think blanket application is probably a mistake; too many situations. (Not sure what's best!) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:35, 23 May 2012 (UTC) p.s. I agree "1 e4" is bad of course. (But at least a couple ProjChess members, including User:Quale, thought it looks best: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Chess/FAQ/Format#Notation.)
I agree that the space does make a TOC entry confusing, so don't use a space in a section title. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 04:45, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The FIDE Laws of Chess Appendix C. (top of page 20) specifies 1. e4 (FIDE website mostly conforms to this, but occasionally does not[5]) --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I'd use 1. e4, with a non-breaking space. Maybe a thin space would look better (1.e4), but the KISS principle applies. ― A. di M.​  13:41, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
di M., is the "thin space" supposed to be less wide than a non-breaking space? (Because on my computer, it is creating *more* separation than the non-breaking space, not less.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 21:26, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Re "1 e4":
Is it fair to say there is CONSENSUS to never use that notation style (without dot) in WP chess articles?

Re "1.e4" vs "1. e4":
(I'm staying out of this topic, as noted above.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 21:04, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

c. (1...Nf6 or 1 ...Nf6) vs. (1. ...Nf6 or 1. ... Nf6)

c. (1...Nf6 or 1... Nf6) vs. (1. ...Nf6 or 1. ... Nf6)

(There's plenty of discord regarding which s/b used, and I've seen reversions back-and-forth based on personal preference also. I'm sure the first will be chosen, but would be nice to have some policy on it, to resolve the matter. [Chess Life uses the latter, a decision I don't understand, but hey!] Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

Also 1... Nf6 is used (like the second one, but the space is after the three periods). I've flip-flopped on this, but for the last couple of years I've preferred 1... Nf6. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
That's my fault (I meant 1... Nf6 but incorrectly typed 1 ...Nf6 in the subsection title). Sorry for confusion. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:10, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
1...Nf6 when a number is specified, ...Nf6 if no number per FIDE usage[6] --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Is it fair to say there is CONSENSUS to always use 1...Nf6 or 1... Nf6 for notating Black moves in WP chess articles, and not 1. ...Nf6 or 1. ... Nf6?

d. (1–0, 0–1, ½–½) vs. (1-0, 0-1, ½-½)

(Again I assume the first will be chosen; I agree w/ Art. But it would be nice to have a standard in policy, so there's no question. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

I prefer the one that we have on a standard keyboard. But I do strongly prefer ½-½ to 0.5-0.5, or he scored 6½ points over 6.5 points. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:30, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I prefer fractions too, but just discovered this: "The use of the few Unicode symbols available for fractions (such as ½) is discouraged entirely, for accessibility reasons among others." (Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Fractions. Have I misinterpreted it!?) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 07:39, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Excellent find! Now we have a third answer. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Fractions does not say we should use
½ ( Unicode VULGAR FRACTION ONE HALF [ UTF-8 Hex C2 BD = &frac12; = &#189; ] )
1/2 ( ASCII 1, /, 2 ).
It says we should use
12 ( WikiMarkup {{frac|1|2}} ),
which gives us
12 ( Superscript ASCII 1, Unicode FRACTION SLASH [ UTF-8 Hex E2 81 84 = &frasl; = &#8260; ] ), Subscript ASCII 2 ).
--Guy Macon (talk) 12:53, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Not a part of chess notation, so MOS rules for reporting scores of sporting events apply. FIDE use is inconsistent, sometimes 1-0, 0-1 and 1/2-1/2[7], sometimes 1-0, 0-1, ½-½[8]. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Is it fair to say there is CONSENSUS to use endashes (as according to MOS) when reporting these scores in WP chess articles, and not hyphens?

What part of MOS? --Guy Macon (talk) 12:53, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
MOS:ENDASH. "2. In compounds when the connection might otherwise be expressed with to, versus, and, or between. Here the relationship is thought of as parallel, symmetric, equal, oppositional, or at least involving separate or independent elements. The components may be nouns, adjectives, verbs, or any other independent part of speech."
In the list of examples given, this one: "a 51–30 win; a six–two majority decision" Ihardlythinkso (talk) 18:43, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

e. (+5 −1 =3) vs. (+5−1=3) vs. (+5 =3 −1) vs. (+5=3−1)

(For match and tournament scores. Again I assume the first will be chosen. That's why I've spent time on several articles on major players [Fischer, Alekhine, Karpov, Kasparov, Lasker, Steinitz, etc.] making them uniformly +W −L =D, following the lead of some of the more consistent major articles. But it was a lot of work! [And not complete for those articles.] And there are different ways to report scores in RSs [e.g. The Oxford Companion uses +W=D−L]. Of course I personally prefer the former [wins & losses are more "dramatic" and s/b listed first IMO], but again my preference is not important; consistency is the desirable goal, and a policy now could help that end. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

I brought this up at the Chess project talk page. Some non-chessplayers don't understand what the = means. I prefer something like (W5,L1,D3) - much clearer. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:32, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Not a part of chess notation. Is there something in MOS that specifies win/draw/loss for sporting events? FIDE uses +W=D-l[9]. All variations seem confusing to newcomers. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Probably should hold of on "spending time on several articles making them uniform" until a consensus is reached as to what we should standardize on. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:20, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I've understood my time might so be wasted, but my expectation that an agreed-upon standard will be reached is that this will occur sometime in the year 2025 (or like the song, "in the year 2525, if Man is still alive"). Ihardlythinkso (talk) 21:25, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

f. (+/−, −/+, −+, +−) vs. (+/-, -/+, +-, -+) vs. (+/–, –/+, +–, –+)

(I assume the first will be chosen [the arithmetic minus sign]. But there is no policy now for evaluation expessions, as well as for Black [−/+ vs. -/+]. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

I prefer the one that a standard keyboard has. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:33, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The problem with sticking to ASCII is that it looks amateurish. You can always write it in ASCII, of course, and s.o. will clean up after you. Also, when we mean 'minus', we already have the standard of writing it as minus rather than as a hyphen. — kwami (talk) 04:26, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Really? I think ASCII looks modern - as if a computer was used instead of 19th-century printing technology. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 05:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, I think Unicode looks even more modern – as if modern fonts were used instead of 20th-century character encodings. ;-) (And the hyphen looks mismatched to me.) ― A. di M.​  13:45, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The minus is at the same level as, and the same length as, the horiztal bar in "+", so to me minus looks hands-down "cleaner" (neater, more organized). (WP provides the special char clickable, of course, below the edit summary box.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:44, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
This is widely used in engineering and statistics. Is there already a MOS entry for it? --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Previous discussions: Manual of Style and WikiProject Chess.
Text readers will say the correct words if the real minus sign is used instead of the hyphen. Everything in the manual of style points to using the correct symbol, not a shortcut. Binksternet (talk) 16:08, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
As far as I am concerned, what Binksternet wrote above settles the issue. We do not make decisions that make things harder on the visually impaired because we like the way they look. Not only is designing for screen readers the right thing to do, we are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to make reasonable accommodations for users with screen readers. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:30, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Article Punctuation (chess) gives =/∞, +/=, +/−, and +−. I guess in this "take-away" I'm asking if we can make that policy, so when hyphens are found in articles they can be replaced (with minuses). In this ProjChess discussion, User:ZeroOne points out ± and ∓ are available, but no equivalents with "=" (except that User:Casaschi explains how to make them, giving an example/link). In the same discussion, Quale preferred English prose over evaluation symbols in WP articles, reserving symbol use for wikibooks:chess. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 22:29, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Good find! I strongly agree with you about standardizing. For example, we can standardize on hyphens. We can standardize on en dashes. We can standardize by saying "retain whatever is already there", like we do with US and UK spelling. Any of these will avoid having editors revert each other over this. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:10, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Concur. (Anything is better than senseless reverts & re-reverts.) Maybe when done here we can bake some cookies (make some policy)? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 08:45, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Is it fair to say there is CONSENSUS to use arithmetic minuses in symbols +/−, −/+, +−, and −+, in chess articles when they are used, and not hyphens or dashes? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 20:28, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

g. (Fischer vs. Petrosian) vs. (Fischer vs Petrosian) vs. (Fischer v. Petrosian) vs. (Fischer v Petrosian) vs. (Fischer versus Petrosian)

(Too "sticky" and complex! Because it occurs in diff places, each w/ diff effects: prefix to gamescores, inline references, in article text, ELs, diagram headings, section titles, etc. Have fun! Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations#Miscellaneous shortenings (version of 06:41, 9 May 2012) says the following about "vs./v.”
Shortening Expansion Notes
vs./v. versus (against / in contrast to) They do not need to be linked. Prefer "vs." except in legal contexts, where the usage is "v." Not italicized, since it has long been assimilated into the language as an English word.
Wavelength (talk) 23:48, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
In the body of text, I prefer to spell out "versus". In a caption I prefer "vs.". But I strongly prefer these to the common dash or hyphen, so that there won't be confusion with hyphenated names. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:35, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
"vs." per MOS Misc. shortenings --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't British English use "vs" with no period? ― A. di M.​  13:30, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I checked some British case law (here). Trawling through the text, I saw that the preferred abbreviation was "v" - no period, no "s". Of course, that might just be what this particlar judge prefers. Martinvl (talk) 13:37, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

h. d8Q vs. d8=Q vs. d8(Q) vs. d8/Q

(For WP, do we prefer one of these? If not, we'll get all of them! Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

The first one is mainly used only where you are trying to save paper (Informat is an example), so I think it is the least preferred on WP. Then =Q is my first choice and (Q) is my second choice. (Note that you can't put an = in a caption unless you enclose it in two sets of braces.) Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:42, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I guess I'd agree, that d8=Q is best (with other conventions already assumed standard, like inclusion of "+" for check, and "x" for captures). (And I just noticed that Chess Life also uses "=Q".) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:47, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
d8Q per FIDE Laws of Chess Appendix C. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
OK. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 23:33, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
But we aren't obligated to follow suit w/ the FIDE handbook. For example Chess Life uses d8=Q, and I think that convention would be less confusing for new readers than d8Q. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 13:25, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Here's another argument to consider: Minimal algegraic notation (MAN) uses ed5 or ed instead of exd5, and Qh7 instead of Qh7+. MAN also uses d8Q. Wouldn't it be advisable and/or consistent then, to continue the pattern of differentiation from MAN in WP chess articles, by using d8=Q (or d8(Q) or d8/Q) instead of d8Q? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 20:50, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
d8Q is, to me, just ugly. It appears more common to omit the sign when using figurine notation, e.g. The Mammoth Book of Chess uses d8♕. d8/Q is old and isn't used much. d8=Q is the clearest and probably the most used. d8(Q) is OK, but I find the one with the equals sign clearer. Double sharp (talk) 15:10, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

i. (gxh6 e.p.) vs. (gxh6e.p.) vs. (gxh6 e.p.) vs. (gxh6 (e.p.)) vs. (gxh6(e.p.)) vs. (gxh6)

(Do we or don't we want to notate e.p.? And if so, how? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

gxh6 e.p. per Rule C.9 of the FIDE Laws of Chess. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I guess I would agree gxh6 e.p. is the best expression (in conjunction w/ already assumed standards of "+" for check, and "x" for captures). Out of curiosity I checked Chess Life, and they use: gxh6 e.p. (italicized!). (Feb 2012 Chess Life, p. 49.) WHICH WOULD REALLY MAKE SENSE for WP too, since term en passant is always italic. (I've added italic to the comparison choices above.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 05:51, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Is it fair to say there is CONSENSUS to use the first option consistently, in WP chess articles? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 21:15, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

j. (White will maneuver Nb1–a3–c2) vs. (White will maneuver Nb1-a3-c2) ... or ... (Black will react in the center by pushing his pawn ...e7–e5) vs. (by pushing his pawn ...e7-e5)

(It's never been explicitly stated before, but in WP articles, I've assumed longhand algebraic is never implied by these kinds of expressions, rather, endash means "from square x to square y". [If it were really longhand algebraic, then I assume ...e7-e5 would be correct [not ...e7–e5]. But I've never seen a case in any article, where the meaning needed or intended to be longhand. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

Again, I prefer the one I can type on my keyboard. Except for the ½ character, I'm not going to put things I can't time (dashes or the other form of x). Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:44, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
"White will maneuver Na3, then Nc2." or "White will maneuver Na3, Nc2." Use standard algebraic notation. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Bubba, you can write it however you like. The MOS is for the style we expect for an FA. If you want to use hyphens where we expect dashes, that's fine: someone will come along later to convert them. It's no big deal, and you don't need to go out of your way to follow the minutiae of the MOS. — kwami (talk) 18:04, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The Mammoth Book of Chess[10] (App. B) says, "In long algebraic notation ... a dash [is] placed between the departure and arrival squares". — kwami (talk) 18:20, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
But I don't think the sample descriptions intend to be actual longform notation. Rather, they are just a shorthand in lieu of more lengthy English text descriptions. (This type of technique is used in lotsa openings articles, lots! For example, here it's used four times in the first couple paragraphs: Sicilian Defence, Dragon Variation#The Yugoslav Attack.) I don't think WP needs to have even one occurrence of actual longform notation – just like there's never a need for occurence of another notation system, like descriptive, in any article. (Except of course in context where such system is described/explained.) I think MOS applies when using the shorthand, as it does in "the a1–h8 diagonal", "[ECO] C55–C56", "page 38–39", etc. (The reason am making the distinction at all, is that it's not certain to me that longform algegraic shouldn't use hyphen!) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 20:07, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Right - there is a difference between a sequence of moves like this and the long form notation. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 23:36, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Not really on the topic of MOS Chess Notation, but is it even legal under either USCF or FIDE rules to record your game in long algebraic or reversible algebraic?

Is it fair to say there is CONSENSUS that when these type descriptions are used in chess articles, and according to existing MOS, dashes are to be used, not hyphens? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 20:21, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

k. + vs. ++

(I don't think I've actually seen ++ for "double-check" in any article, so this is really picky, but for completeness while we're on the topic, how about making + standard when there's a double-check, instead of ++? ["++" is probaby just very old-fasioned. Let's help it die!] Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC))

To me, ++ means checkmate, so double check would be confusing at best. Art LaPella (talk) 00:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree. But see Double check. (It might cause reverts, w/o a policy.) Ok, Ihardlythinkso (talk) 01:25, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I think ++ is used for double check in some other articles. I use # for checkmate, and I normally don't indicate double check, so I prefer just a single + for double check. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:48, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I use "X" for checkmate (ala ECO oops! – I don't remember where I picked up use of "X"; ECO uses "#"), but for WP, "#". I agree, ignore notating double-check. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:51, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
There is no "+ vs. ++". "+" means check and "++" (or "#") means checkmate per FIDE Laws of Chess Appendix C --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I'd be unambiguous and use # for checkmate, and just + for double check (except in unusual circumstances such as the double check article itself). ― A. di M.​  13:47, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree with that - generally don't indicate double check, except where it specifically needs to be noted, as in the double check article and conceivably a few others. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 23:39, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Is it fair to say there is CONSENSUS that only + be used for double-check in chess articles, save one (the Double check article)? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 20:16, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Although I like the ++ (it's very intuitive), when a game has a double check, the double check is usually notable enough to mention in the annotation, and the double check article will probably be linked, so I don't mind standardising on the single +. The potential confusion between the two uses of ++ (double check and checkmate) is something I would prefer to avoid. Double sharp (talk) 15:15, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

l. (28. Qxh7# 1–0) vs. (28. Qxh7#)

(Really picky again, but it crops up on occasion. Is "# 1–0" redundant? Or should an endashed result follow *all* completed gamescores? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 00:24, 23 May 2012 (UTC))

It is redundant, but I don't mind it being there. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:50, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I think looks more professional & "complete" having 1–0 there. (For sure gamescores are consistent too, whether mate or not.) I just noticed Chess Life uses "[move], Black resigned.", "[move], White resigned.", "[move] mate.", "[move], Draw.", and "[move], Draw agreed." (But hey!) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:54, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
This needs more discussion. The two have different meanings. # means checkmate, wheras 1-0 means a win, which could be through resignation, a 1-point bye, time loss, etc. In theory, # 0-1 is possible (White checkmates and loses). This could happen if an abitrator observes White's flag falling, followed by White checkmating Black before the arbitrator could announce the time loss for White. It could also happen if cheating was discovered. The FIDE rules do not specify how to record an accepted draw, but 1/2-1/2 or ½-½ is usually used. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The two options listed are meant to be mutually exclusive (picking one or the other, when "#" occurs in a WP gamescore). Since "#" is in both, resignation, 1-point bye, and time loss, don't apply. Regarding White checkmating and losing, assuming that's really a gamescore possibility, it would be so rare, that without clarifying text, "28. Qxh7# 0–1" would be interpreted by the reader, or an editor, as a typo. (So, there'd always *have* to be clarifying text. So again, that add'l text wouldn't relate to which of the two above choices should be selected.) Ditto "cheating" (assuming that is a possibility in a gamescore, too, another rarified event demanding accompanying explanatory text). How to express draws is a valid item, but would be its own different item, not this one. So I don't see anything needing discussion here, regarding the orig two choices listed in this item. Ok, Ihardlythinkso (talk) 10:38, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

m. (4. dxe5) vs. (4. d×e5)

(For completeness, what Tony brought up originally. I think most have already weighed in; I assume we won't be changing the standard "x" currently in use in articles. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 08:33, 24 May 2012 (UTC))

I can't remember ever seeing the times sign for this, and I also think it looks mismatched (it doesn't vertically align with the lowercase letters surrounding it). ― A. di M.​  13:35, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
dxe5 per FIDE Laws of Chess Appendix C. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:33, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
But FIDE doesn't distinguish <×> from <x>, so that doesn't mean anything. — kwami (talk) 18:00, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
What do you mean "FIDE doesn't distinguish <×> from <x>"? In every FIDE document that I have checked, FIDE only uses x (lower case letter x). --Guy Macon (talk) 20:02, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
They have <8 x 8>, which means they aren't distinguishing <×> from <x>. Their use of <x> is therefore not evidence that it should be <x> rather than <×> (which maybe it should be). — kwami (talk) 22:48, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
In the MENSA Guide,[11] they do have the multiplication symbol in <8×8>, but still use the letter ex for capture. Though they don't bother much with typography, so that isn't as convincing as it might be. — kwami (talk) 18:12, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The Mammoth Book of Chess[12] says, "A capture is indicated by a multiplication sign (or simply a letter x) before the arrival square." (App. B, p 553) — kwami (talk) 18:20, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Totally agree with A. di M. Plus, if the eight books listed by Tony1 were intended to be basis indicating what's used by chess sources generally, um, the number of chess publs past & present make a sampling of eight stack up to less than 0.01 of one percent. (I'm sure I could list five times that number of books as counterexamples given a half-hour, just out of my own personal library.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 21:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
WP's own reference for this, article Algebraic notation, doesn't even mention the multiplication symbol – see section Notation for captures. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 13:03, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
If 99.99% of WP chess articles use dxe5 (is anyone finding a single article using d×e5 beyond the article Tony1 changed?), then doesn't the burden to change notation in articles (from x to ×) fall on the proposer(s) for the change? Tony1 presumably attempted to meet the burden by listing eight chess books as sources, and User:Kwami has pointed out The Mammouth Book of Chess says × or x are acceptable. Do these arguments sufficiently meet the buden to warrant introduction of a new notation for captures (×) inconsistent with all existing WP chess articles? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 19:57, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Actually, we are allowed to make decisions at MOS that require changing large numbers of articles, and we are not bound by what has been done before - although those are certainly considerations. I agree with your conclusion, but not with your reasons. We should standardize on the lower-case X instead of the multiplication sign because FIDE does. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:25, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Not that we are *bound* by what is in 99.99% chess articles already – just that the burden of demonstrating that massive precedent should be changed, should fall on the proposers of the change. (Rather than reverse logic, of placing a burden on others to defend why a massive precedent already in place, should be kept.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 19:02, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Even though The Mammoth Book of Chess says both are acceptable, it uses the lower-case X throughout. I find "x" the best, not just because most sources use it, but also because it just seems more logical to the beginner. If the beginner sees "Bxg7", it would be clearer that it's a capture because the "x" implies that something was "xed" on g7 – i.e. a capture took place there. "B×g7" would be more confusing, since the times sign has a completely different connotation. Double sharp (talk) 15:10, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

n. (12. 0-0-0) vs. (12. 0–0–0)

(For completeness, what Tony brought up originally. I think most have already weighed in; I assume we won't be changing the standard "0-0-0" [hyphens] currently in use in articles. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 08:33, 24 May 2012 (UTC))

I'd prefer dashes with Os (O–O–O), but I'd be OK with hyphens and zeros (0-0-0), whereas 0–0–0 and O-O-O would look mismatched to me. ― A. di M.​  13:38, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
0-0-0 per FIDE Laws of Chess Appendix C. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:34, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Actually, no. They have <0 - 0 - 0>, which is presumably intended to be <0–0–0>, just as their <8 x 8> in §2.1 would normally be formatted <8×8>.
Look at the top of page 20 and tell me what you see. Also, the characters you keep using to enclose examples is driving the Wikipedia editing screen nuts. I have to keep replacing them with < and > just to reply to you. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:00, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
They have <0-0-0> in the example, but <0 - 0 - 0> at the bottom of p19 where they define the symbols. — kwami (talk) 22:46, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't know what would be mismatched about dashes and zeros: that's how a score would read. — kwami (talk) 17:58, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Barnes[13] has <N–QB3> etc. for descriptive, and <0–0–0> for castling. — kwami (talk) 18:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
WP's own reference for this, article Algebraic notation, uses hyphens not dashes – see section Castling. No WP chess articles I'm aware of, save Morphy versus the Duke modified by Tony1, uses dashes. (That kind of consistency has got to mean something, and count for something! If 99.99% of WP chess articles use 0-0-0 [does anyone find a single article using 0–0–0 beyond the article Tony1 changed?], then doesn't the burden to change notation in articles from hyphens to dashes fall on the proposer for the change? Has the burden been met, warranting introduction of a new notation for castles inconsistent with all existing WP chess articles?) I think dashes look odd and are a distraction when playing over gamescores, waste horizontal space for no reason, and are inconsistent with 99.99 percent current chess articles. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 13:13, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Wouldn't 0–0 (kingside castle with zeroes and an en dash) collide with what happens with a double forfeit (neither player comes to the board, and the game is lost by both)? Whatever is adopted, I'd prefer that the kingside and queenside castles (and the Pam–Krabbé joke vertical castling 0-0-0-0) be consistent. Double sharp (talk) 15:10, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

o. (e-pawn, f5-square, g-file) vs. (e pawn, f5 square, g file)

(Maybe just a MOS thing, most editors already hyphenate these expressions, but not all; w/ be nice to have explicit convention supporting "always hyphenate". Ihardlythinkso (talk) 08:33, 24 May 2012 (UTC))

I think so too, and the same with the next one. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:23, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Is it fair to say there is CONSENSUS on the first option for convention for chess articles?

p. (White will place his rooks on the d- and e-files) vs. (on the d and e-files)

(More MOSSY stuff. I assume the first is correct. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 08:33, 24 May 2012 (UTC))

Is it fair to say there is CONSENSUS on the first option for convention for chess articles?

I hope so. Web sources are always consistent; either you use the hyphen or you don't, but you don't mix them up like in the second example you gave. Same in book search. Dicklyon (talk) 05:34, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

q. (The best White move in the position was QxQ.) vs. (The best white move) ...and... (After 9.d5 Kasparov concluded the White side was superior.) vs. (the white side was superior)

(ProjChess has convention "White/Black" refers to players; "white/black" to pieces. But what if reference is to moves? Or to "sides"? Answer: confusion & inconsistency! [These examples could be rewritten to circumvent of course, but often times players do talk and write like this.] Ihardlythinkso (talk) 08:33, 24 May 2012 (UTC))

I think it would be the "white side", just as the "white pieces". I think it should be a "White move", just as "a move by White", or "a Karpov move". Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 06:31, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Ok ... For "white side", I assume these would all fall in the same bushel basket: (white) "position", "center", "king's wing/queen's wing", "setup/configuration/structure", "castle position", etc.? And for "White move", these are in the same basket: (White) "combination", "attack/defense", "fork/pin/trap/shot/sacrifice", "strategy/plan/idea", "advantage/edge/initiative", etc.? (Maybe this is starting to make so much sense, it's scary!) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 09:09, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I think this is a tough area. I've had cases where I didn't know which to use. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:25, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
A discussion at the Go talk page has developed, with a seeming consensus to put all these iffy color references in lowercase. (What do you think?) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 20:54, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
That would seem to be more in the spirit of MOS:CAPS; where sources are not consistent, we prefer lower case. Dicklyon (talk) 05:30, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Using the sources

I haven't found a convincing reason that the multiplication sign and en dash shouldn't be used in WP's chess articles. The most authoritative sources almost all use both. As someone points out above, the MoS does discuss changes that involve a large number of articles, and it's particularly relevant when the notation has not been properly discussed before.

A script could easily be written to manage the changes. Tony (talk) 00:01, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

"Easily" is exaggerated. It would need to change "12. Bxc3 N(5)xc3", "15 ...fxg", "R(a)xe2", "Nxh6+", "55. Kxg5!" "Qxh7#", "Why not 23. fxg5?", "43. bxc e. p. fxe1=Q", and "Kasparov should have played exf, immediately", but not change "Qf7 X" (one editor said he used X for checkmate), "6. examine each entry", "setup.exe", "license plate BXC3", "stock symbol GXH", "|title=How New AXB Regulations Affect You|", or "call sign EXF32 on a DX-pedition". And anything else I wouldn't anticipate until I tried it. I think I'd rather fix problems like speling first. Art LaPella (talk) 02:07, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
"The most authoritative sources almost all use both." Wow. Please quantify that. (What do you consider "the most authoritative sources"?) If you found eight books using "×", would you like to see a list of 80, that don't? And a logic question: How does "sources almost all use both" justify using a script to change a massive number of chess articles over to a lesser-used symbol? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 03:31, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Tony1, may I ask ... To what extent is chess in your life? (Because, it seems obvious to me, the reason "×" vs. "x" in notation "has not been properly discussed before", is because most players wouldn't find that worth discussing – knowing "x" to be normal and best.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 03:55, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
I used to run a chess club, but was the worst player. Although I don't read chess notation much at all, I could see the clear discrepancies between those two aspects of formatting in WP articles and the predominant practice in the authoritative sources. I have a PhD in the psychology of reading, and to me, what most of the major publishers do (including Penguin, if you please) makes sense. WP should follow professional examples. Tony (talk) 06:10, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Um, Penguin is not anywhere close to being a noted publisher of chess books. (You know that, right?) They may be a "major publisher", but of chess books, certainly not. "Predominant practice in the authoritative sources" sounds mightily impressive, but what does it really mean? (I've asked prev if you could quantify it. It's hard to believe you mean the eight books you listed. What do you mean exactly?) I've checked a few dozen books in my library, publishers Batsford, McKay, Macmillan, Dover, Oxford, Chess Digest, Thinkers' Press, R-H-M, and many others. Mostly it's "x". But other times, a "thin/fine cross" is used (sans detail). Mostly the cross is at least as large as a small-cap letter, sometimes as big as capital "X"! I found only *one* example that used a smallish cross, it wasn't as tiny as WP's "×". For me, I have no problem with the fine, sans detail crosses – they looked okay. But crosses and "x"s occurred unpredictably (both) in different books even within a major publisher (like Batsford; though most of my Batsfords use "x"). If WP did want to consider the thin, sans detail cross, it would have to add a symbol like that to its arsenal. (Reason? Because the current tiny "×" symbol, for gamescores, really sucks!) Cheers. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 10:06, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
I find "x" the best, not just because most sources use it, but also because it just seems more logical to the beginner. If the beginner sees "Bxg7", it would be clearer that it's a capture because the "x" implies that something was "xed" on g7 – i.e. a capture took place there. "B×g7" would be more confusing, since the times sign has a completely different connotation. Double sharp (talk) 15:10, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

ENGVAR templates

Do we really need the WP:ENGVAR talk page templates, and their associated categories? Given the provisions of ENGVAR, do we really have to spell this out? Or should we be encouraging greater use of them? One user of Template:Indian English whom I keep coming across has a well documented nationalist pov, for which they have been topic banned, and I cannot help but think that the purpose of its inclusion is sometimes related more to making the point of national ownership than to any genuine guidance. It is not widely used (335 articles), and there are equivalent templates for other English versions, eg: Canadian (1247), British (3042) and American (1141). I guess that given the scale of articles written in each English variant, these templates are seriously underused ... but the project seems generally to get on perfectly ok without them.

In fact, my gut feeling is that the templates might act as an obstacle to improvement of articles. For example, it is common knowledge that there are swathes of poorly written India-related articles but on those where the banner exists, it may well act as a deterrent to improvement of prose by those with a better command of written English (in any of its forms). - Sitush (talk) 10:11, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

NB: I hesitated before posting here. If WP:VP or somewhere else would be better then just let me know. Thanks. - Sitush (talk) 10:12, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Their prime value seems to me to be where there have been edit wars over ENGVAR issues. E.g. Cactus was at one time plagued with editors changing from American to British spellings – so much so that the article had to be protected. I'm not sure that the template prevents such edit wars, but it makes it easier for other editors to revert improper changes. Perhaps the message could be slightly altered. What we want to say is something like "Don't hesitate to improve this article even if you are not familiar with this ENGVAR and are not able to write in it, but don't change the ENGVAR of existing text without broad consensus." Peter coxhead (talk) 10:50, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
There really is value in these templates, especially to identify to editors that the vocabulary and usage found in the article may not match what they are used to. If the template is misused, then by all means remove it, but for e.g. when someone visits R. K. Narayan, the fact that words used within the article or for that matter even some phrases may not match standard AE/BE. Many, many Indian articles would use words such as lakh or crore which without the template would just result in being changed to millions etc. If we wish to standardize on one (or two) variant(s) of English, that's a different matter, but as long as ENGVAR exists in its current form, these templates provide a value. But like Peter notes above, these templates shouldn't indimidate an editor, just provide context. —SpacemanSpiff 12:49, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I've generally found that terms such as crore and lakh are linked when they occur. I have no particular opinion regarding whether or not we should be aiming for a greater standardisation. - Sitush (talk) 13:04, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

If one comes upon an article with mixed usage, the template provides a quick way to determine which version the article should be corrected to. The templates would be better if there a way to link to the edit that established the variety, or a link to the talk page thread that established the variety. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:56, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

I find the template useful, and apply it to India related articles. The template indicates that there would be words which are specific to India used in the article, a fresh example comes to mind: "judicial custody" - which is an Indian legal term, though I wouldn't be surprised if it is also used in UK. Another is "card carrying communist" which I assume to be more common in India as the editor who brought this discussion about was stumped by it. There are many words of Indian origin which are freely used in the Indian media and they are used in Wikipedia articles when such sources are used. The template acts as a "note" that a particular style of English may be encountered. I see no reason to imagine that the template would act as an obstruction in improving articles, I just present one recent example of the quality of editing, of the editor, who has brought this discussion about: "In 2011, Kulkarni was remanded to judicial custody for a period and In November of that year was released on bail." With his professed concern for quality it is he who has reverted attempts to correct the above statement. It should also be noted that Indian English isn't some obscure creole but the dialect in which the world's most widely circulated English language broadsheet newspaper is written in.[14]Yogesh Khandke (talk) 11:40, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Jc3s5h the subject of the article ought to be a good guide to the variety of English used to write the article. Yogesh Khandke (talk) 11:42, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Yogesh Khandke, that's only true if the article is about an English-speaking country or a person or company associated with one English-speaking country. It does not help with an article such as Algebra. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:13, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
True. I have used the template for Indian (from India) subjects, you are right, the template may create controversies if used say for example at Segregation in concrete, an article I created for which I used no template. Yogesh Khandke (talk) 12:40, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
One of the templates would be ideal for Segregation in concrete. For this article, the choice of variety of English would be completely arbitrary, so it is helpful to notify future editors which variety was chosen. For an article like New York City there is no need for a template because it should be obvious which variety to use. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:15, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I have written most of the article, I write in Indian English, yet it wouldn't be fair imo to mark the article Indian English, I hope that there had been an International English language. Yogesh Khandke (talk) 14:13, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
There is no international English; English readers just have to learn to read all varieties. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:43, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Right. With online search the most obscure terms can be understood. However aren't we discussing the predicament of how an article like Segregation ought to be templated by a variety of English? Yogesh Khandke (talk) 14:49, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

{{od|8}At the moment, Segregation, a disambiguation page, does not seem to have any words that differ among varieties of English. If any such words are added in the future the editor who adds them could apply the template for the variety of English that the editor chooses. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:02, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

“With online search the most obscure terms can be understood”, but it's still an inconvenience. If there's a term which is understood in some English dialects only and an equivalent term which is understood in all English dialects, then we should use the latter, per WP:COMMONALITY. ― A. di M.​  19:12, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

It's a little bit unfortunate that, frankly, that Indian English is considered parallel to other varieties. India is really kind of marginal as an English-speaking country; the community of first-language speakers is very small. On the other hand, they do tend to be disproportionately influential. --Trovatore (talk) 21:33, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

I'd rather not see these templates on articles. With British and American English, the situation is a lot clearer because most dictionaries clearly specify the British or American variant of meaning or spelling. The problem with something like Indian English is that there is no reasonable way of figuring out what is or is not correct in Indian English since there are no dictionaries or grammars available. Because this is difficult, the template has primarily been used to push a pov view and, other than the occasional use of lakh or crore (easily taken care of through links), I don't see much else that the template can provide in the form of guidance. My suggestion is that ENGVAR templates be limited only to those languages where the variant itself is well defined and easily accessible. --regentspark (comment) 15:52, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

I would like to see the ENGVAR requirement revised so that only variants of English that have a significant number of dictionaries and grammar guides devoted to that form of English may be used in articles (excluding direct quotes and articles about the variations). Jc3s5h (talk) 16:03, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Seconded. I see little point in going down the route of 'Jamaican English' and 'New Zealand English', to name but two. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 17:08, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── MOS:TIES should be clearly mentioned in article talk or somewhere in article body, in some India related articles, British English and American English are badly mixed up. You'll see the problem specially in date formats (DDMMYYYY (BrEn) and MMDDYYYY (AmEn) and some commons words like honour/honor, colour/color etc!
(posted from Wikipedia_talk:Noticeboard_for_India-related_topics#Suggestion_MOS:TIES)
--Tito Dutta 18:00, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Agreed that we should retain {{Use American English}}, {{Use British English}}, {{Use mdy dates}}, {{Use dmy dates}}. GoingBatty (talk) 18:17, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Linked terms defined

Formerly Explaining the meaning of a linked term within the body of the article that links to it

I think this is the best place to ask, but the case is that if we bluelink to a not-too-common term within the running prose of an article, is it appropriate to define that term to the reader of the current article?

Diff in question to demonstrate what is being asked: [15]

I think this is potentially a problem, particularly when we already have disagreements in the idea of what are germane links, here the question becomes "what are terms that need to be defined?", and further defeats the purpose of the bluelink; there's of course the issue with interrupting prose with the definition text. I think we should strive to put unfamiliar terms into some type of context (which in my diff example above, the remainder of said paragraph attempts to do), but the reader is a blue link away from learning of the term and thus needs no exact definition right there in the prose.

My concern is that if this becomes common practice (it doesn't seem to be at all), then article prose is going to ruined by editors going "Dur, I don't know this term, it needs to be defined here" all over the place. --MASEM (t) 14:31, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

We should not expect readers to need to constantly interrupt their reading of an article by following wikilinks just to find out what a term means. So my answer is that yes, if a term is uncommon or particularly technical, then it should be briefly glossed in the article regardless of whether there is a wikilink. I think the dif you cite is an model of how to provide a brief explanation for an unfamiliar term. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:53, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I concur with Peter, but the explanation could have gone a little further. What's an "originating cause"? Darkfrog24 (talk)
I am revising the heading of this section from Explaining the meaning of a linked term within the body of the article that links to it to Linked terms defined, in harmony with WP:TPOC, point 13 (Section headings). Please see Microcontent: Headlines and Subject Lines (Alertbox).
Wavelength (talk) 16:02, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
A brief definition does not defeat the purpose of the blue link, because the linked article should be encyclopedic, whereas the definition performs a function of a dictionary. Even in speech, one might include a brief definition, and one might also refer to a source of more detailed information.
Wavelength (talk) 16:06, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
It's fair to say we're not a dictionary, but if we have a proper article on a term (being the case here), we would expect it defined in the first sentence, in addition to the rest of the expected encyclopedic coverage. (I have seen cases where a wikt: link is used to bluelink a term that doesn't have an article but is obscure).
Is it perhaps the point that in this specific instance, that the term is integral to understanding the context of the paragraph? Cases that are counter-examples are often when certain medical conditions or phobias are mentioned in passing but not a significant impact on the knowledge of the paragraph, where such terms are linked but not defined further. --MASEM (t) 16:17, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

et al. - italics or not?

There is a discussion on Template talk:Citation#display-authors concerning whether "et al." should be italicized. While MOS:FOREIGN states "Loanwords and borrowed phrases that have common usage in English—Gestapo, samurai, vice versa—do not require italics.", Wikipedia:Manual of Style (abbreviations)#Miscellaneous shortenings contains an italicized "et al." Is there some clarification that can be made to these MOS documents to make them consistent? Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 22:35, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

As you point out, the relevant MOS page is WP:ABBR. Take note of the section Latin_abbreviations. Its content (given in full here) is quite clear:

In normal usage, abbreviations of Latin words and phrases should be italicised, except AD, c., e.g., etc. and i.e., which have become ordinary parts of the English language. The expansions of Latin abbreviations should still be italicised, as with most foreign words and phrases.

Do not use &c. in the place of etc.

The initialisms "e.g." and "i.e." should not be followed by a comma.

But "et al.", given in the table at the section Miscellaneous shortenings, is explicitly not among the common exceptions presented in the Latin abbreviations section.
The mention of "most foreign words and phrases" in what I quote above does not contradict MOS:FOREIGN: the listed exceptions have, in the words you quote from that MOS page, "common usage in English". They "have become ordinary parts of the English language".
I hope that helps. ☺♪♫♪
NoeticaTea? 23:31, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, N (even if I wasn't the persons that asked the question originally). I'm a bit surprised et al. isn't considered one that has become an ordinary English term, considering its commonality. I also find it interesting that the list doesn't include "vs."; sure, it may very well be the most thoroughly adopted Latin term in English, but it's still originally a Latin term. oknazevad (talk) 00:52, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, unlike “e.g.”, “i.e.” and “etc.”, “et al.” is almost exclusively found in academic writing. ― A. di M.​  14:12, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
MOS:Ety says "If looking for a good rule of thumb, do not italicize words that appear in Merriam-Webster Online." There is an entry for et al., so by this test it should not be italicized. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:47, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
That's not entirely helpful, as many dictionaries include common foreign words that should, generally, be italicised. Et al. is rather a special case that is becoming more familiar, but has not entirely arrived, so it rather straddles the divide. I believe CMoS (I don't have it right at hand) allows italicisation, or not, but recommends consistency which ever way is used. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:57, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
CMS16 (7.53) states:

Commonly used Latin words and abbreviations should not be italicized.

et al.
Because of its peculiar use in quoted matter, sic is best italicized.
---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:36, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
APA6 p105 states: "Do not use italics for foreign phrases and abbreviations common in English (i.e., phrases found as main entries in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 2005). a posteriori et al. a priori per se ad lib vis-a-vis ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:46, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
So there really is quite a bit of evidence that "et al." should not be italicized... Peter coxhead (talk) 02:15, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Commonness is on a continuum, and any style guide that separates expressions on the basis of commonness necessarily makes a decision, however arbitrary it may be, about what expressions are designated as being common. Please see Continuum fallacy.
Wavelength (talk) 16:13, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Given that the majority of the English linguage vocabulary is adopted from other linguages, this ir-regular stylustic detail never made sense to me. :-() If we must continue it, can we at least restrict it to article bodies? Getting formatting noise out of citations helps improve our ability to connect users with sources, and hence improves verifiability via citation of reliable sources that can actually be read. LeadSongDog come howl! 15:48, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
It always made sense to me, since et alia has not been adopted into English. Neither has loc. cit. or op. cit. These are Latin expressions used only in citations. Mostly they're best avoided (they were most just to save space in print media). And there are widespread uses of italics on "et al.", like in the LaTeX bibliography style packages that many of us use for academic articles, to comply with the styles of the journals (not all, but many). For WP, I'm happy to use either style, but we need to decide, not just belittle the arguments of those on different sides. Dicklyon (talk) 16:37, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree that we should decide. Since there are valid arguments either way, my view is that in Wikipedia we should adopt the simplest, least visually obtrusive of the two styles, i.e. no italics. (In other contexts, e.g. academic writing, I would make a different choice.) Peter coxhead (talk) 08:20, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
No. Since, as you say, "there are valid arguments either way", we should be permissive of either way. I don't see that there is a compelling case that we must have only one way to do things. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:01, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't follow that we should be permissive of either way. We often pick a WP style for things that would be right either way. I hear support for doing so here. Dicklyon (talk) 20:12, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── {{Citation/core}} does not use italics, thus the 23 Citation Style 1 general templates and the hundreds of specific source templates based on them do not use italics. {{Harvard citation/core}} does not use italics, thus the nine author-date templates based on it do not use italics. The question then: is there a compelling case to change the current behavior?

Hand-crafted citation can use italics or not, as long as they are consistent. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 22:43, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Probably it would be better for the MOS to say to not use italics in hand crafted citations, as that would make it hard for other editors to add consistent citations using the templates. Dicklyon (talk) 23:14, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
WP:CITEVAR has consistently been interpreted to apply to both visual and technical styles: an article should use either templates or hand-crafted, but not both. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:48, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
As Noetica has stated above, the guideline explicitly excludes "et al." from the common exceptions. Therefore, we can conclude that it was determined to be not common. It should be italicized. On this matter, there is no discrepancy between WP:ABBR and MOS:FOREIGN. If editors are seeking clarification, then there it is. On the other hand, if editors are seeking a change, then I ask what the purpose of the change would be.
Wavelength (talk) 23:32, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

i.e. and e.g. followed by a comma

There's a brief discussion on MOS:ABBR re: A prohibition against following "e.g." or "i.e." with a comma was introduced without discussion, partially undone without discussion, and further undone and then reverted with the current discussion Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Abbreviations#Comma after i.e., e.g.. -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:24, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion For Footnotes

I wasn't quite sure where to put this, but does anyone else think it would be useful to be able to see footnotes by mousing over the the in-article number linking to where they are placed on the page? By this I mean, in "some text in the article [1]. more text.", moving you mouse over the '[1]' would give a tool tip like box -such as those you get by moving the mouse over an icon on your computer- that would contain the the footnote. That way you wouldn't have to go to the bottom of the page to read it. I think it would make the reading experience much smoother and convenient then having to jump all over the place within the article page. Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Manipulated DNA (talkcontribs) 05:51, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

To me that sounds like a topic for the village pump. I like the idea well enough; but it may make life even more complex for some of us.
Let me just record my aversion to calling them "footnotes". They're notes, right? In conventional printed books and the like, footnotes and endnotes are distinguished by whether they come at the foot of the relevant page, or the end of the volume (or perhaps chapter, or article). I wish people would always head the section of an article with the notes simply "Notes". But alas, see Help:Footnotes. At least the examples there, and the relevant section of that page itself, are headed "Notes". At MOS:LAYOUT the section gets called "Notes", "Footnotes", or "Endnotes" with confusing and seemingly arbitrary distinctions. Urk.
Carry on. ☺ NoeticaTea? 06:13, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing me to that area, I had no clue it existed. As to your frustration over the naming, I completely agree. I had to try and do what all I could to be sure people knew for sure what I meant, of course. --Manipulated DNA (talk) 06:22, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Preferences → Gadgets → Reference Tooltips: Roll over any inline citation to see reference information, instead of having to jump away from the article text. And yes, our use of the name Footnotes for a particular system is horribly confusing, but it will never get changed at this point. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:18, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Sweet, already a option. Guess I didn't look around quite hard enough. Thank you. --Manipulated DNA (talk) 20:15, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Discussion of "e.g." and "i.e." at WP:ABBR

Discussion continues at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Abbreviations in the section Comma after i.e., e.g.; but unfortunately one editor has preferred to edit the page without a demonstration of consensus to remove or reverse the current recommendation against a following comma. Editors may like to contribute to the discussion at the talkpage. (But not here, of course.)

NoeticaTea? 00:46, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

WP:ENGVAR and templates

Is there a guidance for templates and WP:ENGVAR? A template might be in UK English, and be used on an US English page. This is not mentioned as an exception. -DePiep (talk) 19:24, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Seems like a mostly theoretical issue. Most templates are not supposed to stay long-term on articles (as opposed to, say, talk pages). The exceptions are things like hatnote templates, and I don't recall seeing any variety-specific wording in those. If something shows up on a talk page in the "wrong" English variety, that seems to me like an opportunity to practice equanimity. --Trovatore (talk) 19:37, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
There are templates which are intended to be permanent, e.g. those which define portals or ones like {{Biological systems}}. I haven't seen any of these which have enough text to show up English variants, but maybe there are some. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:51, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
What do you both mean with "not supposed to stay long-term on articles"/"[not] intended to be permanent"? And that you cannot imagine the question does not imply that you can ignore it. Or, on second thought, maybe better do. -DePiep (talk) 19:58, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I meant just what I said. You can leave the attitude somewhere else, please. --Trovatore (talk) 20:16, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
You did not answer the question. You assume theoreticalness. You tried to talk away my point. You did not ask anything or invoke any other conversation. And since you did not explain after my request, "templates are not supposed to stay long-term on articles" I declare is nonsense. Your 1st post was not helpful, and now you repeat that. -DePiep (talk) 20:25, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Templates, for the most part, are not supposed to stay long-term on articles. There are a few exceptions. What do you mean by "explain"? I stated a simple fact; you can ask for evidence, but not really for explanation, as the statement is perfectly clear. To elaborate, most templates intended for article space are things that ask for something to be changed, and once it is changed (or decided that it should not be changed) the template is supposed to be removed.
As for "assuming theoreticalness", the burden is on you to prove that there is a problem, not on me to prove there is not. --Trovatore (talk) 20:50, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Basically I thought your entire post was a waste of time and we should stop talking about it as fast as possible. I still think that. But I was not the first one to be impolite. --Trovatore (talk) 21:14, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────No assumptions needed. My question was sincere and not confrontational. The topic is existant here. A regular template (say navbox or infobox) can stay forever on a page. So my question is: is there a guideline? -DePiep (talk) 21:54, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Templates are independent of the article text. Perhaps this is too common-sense to bother mentioning. We're certainly not going to create duplicate templates to accommodate ENVAR. — kwami (talk) 20:47, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

(edit conflict)Yes templates are "independent" of the text, but still part of the article (those relevant for this question). The MoS here explicitly says Consistency within articles, and a template is part of that. Let's remember that I was just asking for guidelines or maybe earlier discussions. -DePiep (talk) 21:11, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
If permanent templates are substantial in length and part of the body proper, that might be an argument for all articles which transclude them to use the same variety of English. — kwami (talk) 06:35, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, kwami, but say within the WP:ELEMENT community it invoked extreme reactions when I proposed this higher-level consensus (empires going lost!). Boy does WP:ENGVAR keep a lot under the lid ;-) -DePiep (talk) 13:49, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd say, try extra-hard to accomplish WP:COMMONALITY in templates, and when you just can't, just use {{#ifeq:{{{sp}}}|US|color|colour}}. ― A. di M.​  08:10, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

I don't mean to come off as some kind of know-it-all or something but, well, with due respect, the idea that templates are not supposed to remain transcluded in articles is simply mistaken nor, in general, are they in anyway independent of the article text. This issue, far from being merely theoretical, is dirt common. I cannot count the number of times I've come across the issue. Infoboxes and navboxes, for example, are templates which are intended to be permanantly transcluded in articles and which often display varient spellings. Using a spelling parameter (as A. di M. mentions) is a pretty standard way of dealing with this, the highly transcluded {{convert}}, for example, gives metre/litre by default and meter/liter if you add |sp=us. Though this is not the only way of dealing with this, for example, it's very common for an infobox to have two parameters for the same thing (e.g. colour verses color), the editor chooses the spelling the infobox displays by filling in the appropriate parameter. It's not hard to code this (even for a lengthy template) ... much easier to code this into your template than to attempt to use it as an argument for consistency in all articles which transclude the template. So, no, templates are no exception to ENGVAR: if your template is in UK English & is transcluded on a page written in US English, fix it. JIMp talk·cont 09:19, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

  • My ENGVAR script aligns the spelling more frequently and commonly used in UK, Ireland, India, Australia, NZ, and SA (as a group). It does insert a maintenance template to identify one of the main varieties of English I have identified in my script, namely British, British Oxford, Canadian. Along with relevant spelling alignments, templates, such as {{use British English}}, are inserted into articles according to WP:TIES and/or the principal editor of the article. There is also {{use Canadian English}}, but there is no large-scale insertion of {{use American English}}. AFAIK, using British English in articles on American subjects, or American English in articles on British subjects, would be contrary to my understanding of WP:ENGVAR. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 09:35, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
    • We should distinguish between templates whose effect is visible to the reader and those that are not. In teh former case, I agree that the reader should see a consistent variety of English, but in the case of teh latter, I woudl prefer time to be spent ensuring that it works properly rather than being pedantic about variety of English - I have worked in the IT industry in Germnay, Netherlands and Italy and in all cases the base software (SQL, C etc) used English even thought the final user interface might be in the local language. Martinvl (talk) 10:40, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thank you all, esp Jimp described my point/quest.

  • So no guideline to be expected (and not even another exception on this in the current guideline), it stays undecided.
  • For the template situation, I created {{engvar}} to be used in a template, and the article editor can enter like engvar=en-UK. Is there a place to notify this? -DePiep (talk) 13:49, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Can we please note the proper usage of relative pronouns somewhere?

I realize Wikipedia doesn't discriminate against common dialectal differences, but some articles are just a tedium to read due to the extent of grammatical corruption. For instance: It's common for some U.K. dialects to level which as a relative pronoun. e.g. "The thing which..." when one intends to say, "That thing that..." [1]

Regardless of one's dialect, the traditional rule is that that is reserved for restrictive clauses, while which is reserved for non-restrictive clauses. (with a few special exceptions) There is some historical precedence in which authors and writers use which-leveling, but this isn't a strong implication that it has some kind of grammatical basis; it could have been dialectal indoctrination and nothing more.

The issue is mostly annoying when which appears in a set of clauses that describe both restrictive and non-restrictive statements, and aren't even separated by a comma. "The words which are spoken which are English. Those pronouns which are in other languages which do not contain relative pronouns are not easily translated." Sometimes, I have to go back and re-read the sentence to try and discern which which is which.

Wikipedia's front page even illustrates grammatical usage in the opening tagline, "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." Is this example too difficult to follow? Come on, people. (talk) 20:07, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

There are, of course, cases where that or which is to be preferred for stylistic reasons (and indeed that is not permitted when it is governed preceded by a preposition), but stylistic preferences, in this case, have nothing to do with "grammatical corruption".

"We conclude that the usage of which and that at least in prose has prettty much settled down. You can use either which or that to introduce a restrictive clause and which to introduce a nonrestrictive clause." [Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage]

--Boson (talk) 20:52, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Also, you didn't distinguish between adding another rule to the Manual of Style's 1.4 megabytes (at last count, including subpages), getting editors to actually read it, and then getting any of those editors to actually do it. Three different things. Do you follow the Manual's epileptics rule, for instance? Art LaPella (talk) 21:32, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Traditional my ass. It was proposed by someone in the early 20th century, and since then Americans have had it rammed down their throat by their teachers/copy-editors despite it having no basis in reality. Britons have retained their sanity and kept on doing what English has always done. See ― A. di M.​  22:33, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Feelings run high on this, as A di M's unlovely response beautifully illustrates.
It is not a matter of "correctness" or grammaticality (however unsatisfactorily the current linguistic shamans, like Pullum, untangle that little matter). I favour this stylistic principle, and I always distinguish the relatives that and which in my own writing. I also have it mind when editing, both on Wikipedia and off. If authors have a strong preference for an unprincipled arbitrariness (randomly selecting that or which in integrated constructions), then I negotiate with them and counsel them. If there are several authors involved (in a collection, say), then I may be in a position to impose consistency. That's essential to my role as editor, and part of it is to settle the matter of that versus which.
All that said, I do not favour including the distinction in WP:MOS. Too divisive, and not quite at the same level as punctuation, capitalisation, styling, and so on for ensuring clear communication with readers. If we do include it, I think the coverage should be similar to what we have for serial comma (though that needs trimming!). The issues are similar. While I adamantly support default use of the serial comma, feelings run high there also. These two areas are exceptions to a general principle: MOS should provide singular recommendations: a coordinated suite of style choices that fit with the community's needs, the readers' needs, and best practice in publishing. I strongly support that principle; but it cannot be achieved to perfection.
NoeticaTea? 00:13, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Early 20th century? Hopefully that's long enough for a distinction to become legit. The word "gender" has changed meaning about twice since then.
While I adhere closely to the distinction between which and that myself, I do not believe that this is necessarily a matter for the MoS. When you see it and it looks awkward, just fix it, no permission required. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:42, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Sure it can be long enough. I was just refuting the OP's claim that the American rule is the “traditional” one and the British rule is “grammatical corruption” and “dialectal indoctrination”. (And anyway, even in the US, which in restrictive clauses isn't vanishingly rare, as the link above shows – I don't know when those newspapers date back to, but given that the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English was published in 1999, I'd guess they're closer to the present day than to Fowler's proposal.) ― A. di M.​  07:27, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh yes, most certainly. If X came before Y, then X cannot have been a corruption of Y. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:52, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
@Noetica: Let me get this straight. The shamans are those who base their work on evidence rather than on personal tastes and superstition? Are you sure you haven't got it backwards? :-) ― A. di M.​  15:32, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
A di M: 1. Are they? 2. Yes. NoeticaTea? 23:14, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

A fine example of psychological reactance - Americans are just wrong because they wanted to reform the language WE invented. I guess some people are so sectarian that they feel their culture is being threatened when someone questions their grammar. I was raised to speak with a Southern U.S. accent and dialect, but I'm not defending that usage in this day and age. I embraced changes, and so can anyone else. It's not like our ancestors crafted some flawless holy language whose sanctity must be preserved. If grammatical reformations are proposed with the intention of making communication more clear and concise, then what's the problem? By all means, let's make English less tedious.

Back on topic: Whether it is traditional usage or just another Americanism, there's still the matter of context to take into consideration. Too much which-leveling makes it difficult to understand some sentences, and it further complicates English's already sloppy system of relative pronouns and adverbs. It's bad enough that have people substituting who with that on a regular basis, people referring to animals with who, people who use that to refer to places and points of time, (which should be when and where, respectively) and so forth. The problem reaches beyond the that vs. which debate. I think the MoS should propose clearer usage of relative pronouns and adverbs, even if their usage has become so fragmented.

On a side note, Wikipedia is only proliferating confusion by essentially allowing every arbitrary interpretation of grammar, syntax, orthography and wording to be intermixed in a single article, provided they belong to a common English dialect. Where do we draw the line on this? As I mentioned earlier, I was raised in the Southern U.S. Grammatical corruption is the entire basis for the dialects spoken here. If I bust out all this Southern U.S. spelling and grammar in Wiki articles, is anyone going to defend my dialect, just as they would a more mainstream U.K. or U.S. dialect? If it's common usage, then it's acceptable. With that said, it's not your prerogative to correct me when I inject "they is / was," "ain't" and "irregardless" into articles. The is-leveling is especially ungrammatical, but you'd still understand what was being communicated. After all, indicative verbs don't need to agree with their pronouns in order for the clause to be understood; but I'm sure someone would still come along and correct it on the basis of how ridiculous it looks. To hell with being fair. (talk) 20:55, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Ain't etc. are only normally found in very colloquial speech, not in formal standard writing such as what Wikipedia is supposed to be; this is not the case with restrictive relative which. You think that restrictive relative which makes sentences more difficult to understand? Well, I think that spelling cheque as check makes sentence more difficult to understand.
Back on topic, I think that in most cases choosing which or that in restrictive relative clauses doesn't bloody matter, that in certain cases that is clearer (e.g. if there's some weird punctuation around which would make it otherwise unclear whether the relative clause is meant to be restrictive or not), in some other cases which is clearer (stuff like the idea that can be garden path-y, as that could be introducing a non-relative clause), and I suspect that Pullum might be right in suspecting that in some cases the two may have slightly different shades of meaning. ― A. di M.​  22:08, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
BTW, “It's bad enough that have people substituting who with that on a regular basis” – well, any purely logical reason why that would be better than which in restrictive relative clauses for non-people would also mean that that is better than who for people, so if you prefer that to which for non-people but who to that for people your preferences must be based on something else. ― A. di M.​  22:16, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll play Devil's advocate a bit longer. They're colloquial from your point of view, but standard within some dialects. Some historic (and probably some modern) Southern U.S. authors would use words like ain't and y'all in their formal writings; some authors who were raised around African-American Vernacular English use is-leveling in their formal writings. What gives you the expertise and authority to arbitrate issues of English grammar? Why are your standards more important than those of someone else? Formal versus colloquial speech is very relative when it comes to the English language, and Wikipedia insists that we respect this. In that logic, no one should have the prerogative to "correct" the aforementioned occurrences. (talk) 00:20, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
An addendum: Check versus cheque is an orthographic difference. U.K. English borrows heavily from French, but didn't bother to adjust spelling to make it more consistent with English orthography. (even though it was already a non-phonemic mess) U.S. English is the result of various efforts at reforming this, mostly geared toward bringing chunks of English vocabulary closer to its root etymologies. A lot of our French vocabulary, for instance, was in turn borrowed from Latin by the French. (French is very Latinate) In U.S. English, we would prefer spellings that reflect Latin orthography, because that's the actual origin - not French. We similarly have spellings like analog instead of analogue, (Latin: "analog") and color instead of colour. (Latin: "color") The additional letters found in the preferred U.K. spellings are excrescent to our language because they serve no phonological purpose to English itself. Why waste your time writing all those extra characters that will never be pronounced?

At least, that was part of the mindset behind Webster and other prominent figures in U.S English. It just looks awkward because you were raised to follow a different standard. (talk) 00:46, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Where there's a reasonable choice, I use "that". It's plain, and plain is better in English. It's nothing to do with engvar. Tony (talk) 01:47, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It is to do with ENGVAR. As a Briton, in my "educated writing dialect" I simply don't make or notice the difference between "that" and "which" recommended by some US style guides. (Nor have British publishers ever changed my usage in books or articles I've written or contributed to.) As noted above, if the difference matters to you, then just change it: as it makes no difference in British English, there's no harm in making the change. (Well, not quite. Although not a dogmatist on the subject, I find some sentences ending in a preposition a little informal for Wikipedia, so if an article is flagged as being in British English, I wouldn't be happy to see something like ... from which it was derived. changed to ... that it was derived from. – but this is a matter of taste, I guess.) Peter coxhead (talk) 07:10, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Use plain English: isn't that at the top of the MoS? David Attenbrough may still insist on the pretentious "which", but most writers get the point when you change their "which"es into "that"s. There are exceptions, such as where there's another "that" in the vicinity. Your two "derived" examples are not the point: you've change the grammar completely. I'm talking about lexical substitution, not grammatical context. And CMOS's explanation for preferring "that" in, e.g., "the cat that ate the mat", is based on compelling logic. Tony (talk) 07:37, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Do you have any evidence for your claim that that is “plain” and which is “pretentious”? ― A. di M.​  09:08, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
@The OP: “Why waste your time writing all those extra characters that will never be pronounced?” Right, why did you spell your with a U, writing with a W, characters with a(n)¹ H? As for “Some historic (and probably some modern) Southern U.S. authors would use words like ain't and y'all in their formal writings”, [citation needed]. (The first two pages of results for ain't on Google Scholar use it in quotations or idioms, and those for y'all are false positives or discussion of the pronoun itself.)
1. You know, I don't feel like taking a position in Northern Irish holy wars right now. ― A. di M.​  09:08, 24 June 2012 (UTC)


I'm copy-editing the text for the foundation's new funding arrangements. One criterion is: "The organization is ready to share lessons learned with the movement". This is ambiguous, but I can't see a fix that's not clunky. Any ideas? Tony (talk) 08:12, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

The meaning of the sentence by itself is not clear without its context. Which organization? Which movement? Is this what the sentence is supposed to say? "
Our organization is ready to share with the X movement the lessons that we have learned."
Michael Glass (talk) 11:16, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
You chose the meaning I should have clarified (from the two possible meanings). Thanks. But the "we" is not available to disambiguate. OK, here's the link, bottom cell, and I HATE what I've done. Tony (talk) 12:02, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
"The organization is ready to share with the movement the lessons learned from experience Y." Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:51, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
“The organization is ready to share with the movement the lessons it has learned.” ― A. di M.​  15:41, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I've gone partly with what has been suggested by DF and A Di M: "The organization is ready to share with the movement the lessons learned from the activities". Here, "the activities" is specific to the context (those in the project for which funding is being applied). Tony (talk) 07:41, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Titles in Infoboxes

Consider the following titles / honorifics I found in various infoboxes:

Genghis Khan: Dalai Khagan of the Great Mongol State (Supreme Khan of the Mongols), King of Kings, Khagan of Khamag Mongol, Lord of the Four Colors and Five Tongues, Son of Khan Tengri, Emperor of All Men.

Cyrus the Great: King of Persia, King of Āryāvarta, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the four corners of the World.

Alexander the Great: Basileus of Macedon.

Abraham: Prophet, Seer, Father of Multitudes, First Hebrew Patriarch, Holy Forefather, Ḥanīf, Friend of God, Possessor of Power and Vision, Constructor of the Kaaba.

Moses: Prophet, Lawgiver.

King David: King of Israel.

Jesus: (no title given)

It seems to me that some of the above are a bit excessive, but I could not find anything in MOS that mentions how many titles and honorifics we should pile on in an infobox. Is there a policy on this? --Guy Macon (talk) 14:52, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

If this refers to the honorific_prefix and honorific_suffix fields in the infobox:
It seems to me that such honorifics should be excluded if they are obscure, not widely used or referenced, or promote a POV of the subject's followers. Those associated with Moses probably have wide acceptance, or at least acknowledgment, among scholars that Moses is known historically as a prophet and lawgiver. Adding "Christ" to Jesus would likely not raise any eyebrows, but adding "Prince of Peace", "Lamb of God" or other POV titles wouldn't be acceptable.
In those examples above, I could see removing a few from Genghis Khan, Cyrus the Great, and Abraham.
Consider also that these infoboxes also have an "other names" field where some of these appellations may be more appropriate. ~Amatulić (talk) 15:31, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
You know, just a (slightly radical) thought here, but what we could be dealing with here is a case of article creep. In all of the infoboxes in question (including the one for he-who-must-not-be-named), I doubt very seriously (and someone correct me if I'm wrong) that all of those titles were added at once. What it probably is is that every so often an admirer of the subject adds a title to the infobox, and it sort of gets consensus by silence - nobody on these articles (I'm thinking particularly of Genghis Khan here) wants to waste time fighting over one title in the infobox, so it just sort of sits there, and the cycle repeats until we end up with what we have now.
My personal view on the subject is that infoboxes really shouldn't include titles and honorifics except where they are needed as clarifying elements. For instance, we don't need "Lamb of God" in the Jesus article because (first and foremost) it would constitute tacit endorsement of that title (i.e. religious - specifically Christian - POV), and (as relevant to what Amatulic said) nobody needs to see "Lamb of God" to know who Jesus was. I know that's a bit broad - and it doesn't address common appellations such as "prophet" or "Christ" or "King" - but this, I think, is a clear-cut case where we need to establish some type of continuity. I certainly wouldn't object to having "Christ" with Jesus or "prophet" with Muh.. I mean, that other guy. But can we really justify a need to include "Lord of the Four Colors and Five Tongues" with Genghis Khan - especially considering the fact that that particular title isn't even explained anywhere in the article? Sleddog116 (talk) 15:57, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Also (sorry for double post) - another thing to add here. If you look at the article on King David, you'll see that the article actually has two infoboxes. I think it may actually have the best solution. If you look at this section of the article, you'll see an infobox with a much more extensive list of titles. I don't object to that infobox staying as it is - because the section where it appears is a section specifically for religious views. In other words, the titles in that section's infobox describe how the various religions describe David. The juxtaposition is all-important here; if that same infobox appeared at the top of the page, it would be religious POV, but where it is, it is neutral because it does exactly what an infobox should do: it summarizes the religious views of David. Sleddog116 (talk) 16:06, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I decided to be WP:BOLD and cut down the titles for Genghis, Cyrus, and Abe. I wonder whether this will go unnoticed or generate howls of protest... What would be the best way to generate a list of the infoboxes with the longest strings of titles? --Guy Macon (talk) 17:43, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
This sounds like a content issue more than a style one. Maybe WP:BIOG would have an opinion about this. ― A. di M.​  20:51, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
On the contrary, I think it has become a content issue because the style has never been fully addressed. I like your suggestion, though; I think I'll leave a few friendly notices on some of the BIOG members' talk pages and see if we can generate some useful input here. Thanks for making those fixes, Guy. I was thinking of doing the same thing myself, but I just didn't have the guts, I guess. Sometimes I envy your chutzpah. Sleddog116 (talk) 13:45, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Agreed; in this case we have an infobox (a style) that is not well defined regarding its intended content. I question the value of any field in an infobox that invites POV laundry lists. ~Amatulić (talk) 19:12, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Just noting that at least a few articles on people who have been declared a saint or similar but are primarily notable for something else, have some sort of template in the related section of their article as well. I can't see any objections to having multiple infoboxes in articles, in different sections, so long as they don't take up too much space in each section and are relevant enough for inclusion. Regarding the inclusion of titles in the single top-of-page infobox, I would have serious trouble seeing any reason to include more than, say, two or three titles related titles in it, and probably only the one most important or notable title per related group if the person had multiple titles in multiple areas of endeavor. For titles which aren't already given separate sections in related infoboxes, like some of the politican infoboxes have, that would seem to me to be the best approach. John Carter (talk) 19:43, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I decided to be bold and fix the ones I could find. So far I have cut back the titles on Aaron, Augustine of Hippo, Elijah, Jerome, Jacob, John the Baptist, Jonah, Mary Magdalene, Noah, John the Apostle, Enoch, Abraham, Cyrus the Great and Genghis Khan, and nobody has complained. What I would really like is a sorted list with whatever page has the longest "titles =" line in the infobox at the top. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:39, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing those pages, Guy - they look so much cleaner now. I don't know if there's any way to do what you're wanting done; I think this is just going to have to be a change that we implement into the MOS itself and then just fix pages as we see them. If someone can suggest something better, I'm sure we're all ears. I'm just wondering if we should add some text to MOS:INFOBOX that reflects this discussion. Sleddog116 (talk) 23:03, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
ADDITION: I think it would be good to add some text to the "Purpose" section of MOS:INFOBOX. It currently says: "wherever possible, present information in short form, and exclude any unnecessary content." I think that right after that sentence, we should include this: "For an infobox of a person, if the subject has numerous commonly-used titles or honorifics, only the most common/neutral title should be used." I don't really like the way I worded that just now, but I'm having a tough time thinking of a better way to put it. Any suggestions would be great. I don't want to be reckless with the MOS, so I haven't changed anything yet. Sleddog116 (talk) 23:10, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I think removing the "/neutral" would be a good idea - under the spirit of WP:COMMONNAME (yes, I know it doesn't apply here, but ...) the most common would work. Perhaps phrase it as "most common/important" to ensure that if some guy was famous as a Duke but served as King for a day or two, his title as King is included in the title/honorific section alongside his title as Duke. I do like the idea of multiple infoboxes for people who are famous fro two different sorts of things, such as David, who has one box for being a king and another for being a prophet.--Philosopher Let us reason together. 07:32, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Input requested

I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to post it (I couldn't think of a better place), but I'd like to see if anyone would be willing to give some input on a proposed change to List of Presidents of Egypt. The issue is whether to have one table for multiple sections for this list article as in the current revision or multiple tables as in this revision. The discussion is at Talk:List of Presidents of Egypt#Tables. Thanks! Trinitresque (talk) 23:58, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Largest possible heading

Please provide input on the following. I did not wish to bother rewriting, so I copied and pasted the comments. Again, please kindly provide input. Thanks. (talk) 02:50, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

(Copied from User_talk:Noetica#Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style)


I noticed that you undid my edit there, stating that I should've left an informative edit summary. Not sure what I could've stated. There was not much to say. It's demonstrably correct. Please get back to me when you have a chance. Please leave a talkback notice on my talkpage when you do. Thanks. (talk) 22:13, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Noetica and watchers, here is a link to the edit, which was performed at 04:20, 27 June 2012.
Wavelength (talk) 22:37, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Hi, Anonymous. I undid your edit for two reasons:
  1. Your edit summary was uninformative: "Adding fact". WP:MOS is the central style resource for 5,496,027 articles, so proper documentation of changes is imperative. If you, especially as an IP editor, simply say that you are adding a fact, dozens or perhaps hundreds of editors will have to check what that supposed fact is, and whether it is useful on the page. This is an unfair burden to impose on them; you could very easily have given the fact itself in your edit summary – as I took the trouble to do, when I reverted your edit. What's more, in earlier days editors have masked substantial changes under misleading edit summaries, causing enormous disruption and forcing more responsible editors to struggle, much later, to find the source of provisions that somehow found their way onto the page. I therefore take a stand against inadequate edit summaries, and against edits that lack an edit summary.
  2. While what you added is indeed a fact, its inclusion is undiscussed. It may appear to permit markup that no editor would ever be justified in using on a Wikipedia page.
I suggest that you take the proposed edit to WT:MOS (the talkpage for WP:MOS), and work out whether and how the fact might be included. Perhaps it could be worded like this:

Never use the largest possible heading, which is generated with =Title=. That size is reserved for the title of the whole page.

NoeticaTea? 01:42, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
If we're looking for an existing guideline against using level one headers, there are several, such as this one: "Heading 1 (=Heading 1=) is automatically generated as the title of the article, and is never appropriate within the body of articles." Art LaPella (talk) 04:08, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
In that case, it seems odd that it is technically possible. There must be some type of rare application for it. If it wasn't at all necessary, then why'd the developers bother implementing it? Since the title is automatically inserted, I'd figure that it would be formatted via raw HTML rather than wikicode. Am I missing something? Thanks in advance. (talk) 04:26, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Style guidelines such as avoiding level one headings are listed at the Manual of Style, not by developers. Developers don't need to know an en dash from an ellipsis in order to develop. The system the developers provide make it possible to ignore everything in the Manual of Style, but Wikipedia has chosen to let the Manual have the authority of a Wikipedia:guideline. In particular, it is a Wikipedia guideline that we don't encode level one headings.
"raw HTML rather than wikicode" If you edit any page such as Big Bang, you won't find =Big Bang= on the edit page. So that heading is at the beginning of the article but isn't in the wikicode, if I understand what you mean. Don't ask me how the software makes the main heading appear, but we editors don't do it. Art LaPella (talk) 05:02, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
“There must be some type of rare application for it.” Yes, but not in the main namespace. I've seen used it in project pages that transcluded entire other pages, for example. ― A. di M.​  08:51, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Reasonable edit, however, as discussed above, an editor expressed that it may have an application outside of the article space, such as use next to transclusions of entire pages. Should we add that? We should make some clarification for its application. If it is true that it is absolutely never to be used, we could either have an edit filter to notify the user of a manual of style error, or, use a bot to correct it. Thanks. (talk) 00:35, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Here's a use case: User talk:AlanM1/Archive 1.

I recently archived my talk page. The format of the article title (as .../Archive n) is apparently more of a requirement than a suggestion if you want things to work properly with it. However, I wanted to put a header above the archived sections (which are themselves under level-2 headers) to allow for possible combining of archives later. So, I used a level-1 header. Admittedly, it looks strange, but the alternative of "demoting" all the headers by one level seemed ugly, too. Not sure what to do here. —[AlanM1 (talk)]— 23:03, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

What you do in your archives is outside the scope of the MOS. Dicklyon (talk) 23:24, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit summaries

(this subsection deals with the point about edit summaries raised above --Mirokado (talk) 02:26, 29 June 2012 (UTC))

@Noetica: The thing to do when someone makes an edit with nothing wrong with it except the edit summary, the thing to do is not reverting it, it's making a dummy edit describing it. ― A. di M.​  08:51, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
A di M: Thank you for your opinion. What a pity you present it as fact. ☺ I have a different opinion; and I do not present it as fact. Study the difference.
In any case, if you read what the anonymous editor has copied from my talkpage, I do indeed find something wrong with it. And I went to a good deal of trouble to assist.
Carry on.
NoeticaTea? 09:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I didn't refer only to this edit specifically. (A while ago I saw an edit doing nothing but adding interwiki links reverted on those grounds, for example.) In other words it was only Point 1 above I had an issue with, not Point 2. (How does something starting with “the thing to do” sound like a statement of fact rather than of value, anyway?) ― A. di M.​  12:59, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
A di M is right. While informative edit summaries are almost always desirable, they are not always required. We should not revert edits unless there is something wrong with the content that was added, removed or changed. The thing to do would be to either add a dummy edit as A di M says, send the editor a message telling him or her to do it him/herself, or both.
Look at it this way: removing a good edit makes the article worse. It may or may not teach the editor a lesson about leaving informative summaries. This type of deletion could be considered WP:Point because it can in its more extreme forms disrupt Wikipedia for the sake of proving a point.
Just in case this needs to be said, this doesn't mean that it's never okay to revert an edit that doesn't have a summary, just that the edit summary alone is not sufficient reason.
Regarding Noetica's second point, users are not required to discuss changes to articles ahead of time. It wise in the case of controversial changes, but it is not required. The thing to do if one feels the content to be misleading would be to reword it. The wording that Noetica gives above is would dispel the problem of users thinking that banned font sizes are permitted on Wikipedia. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:51, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 126#Edits in WP:MOS that lack informative summaries (begun by Noetica at 09:42, 23 September 2011)
and Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 101#misleading (deceptive?) edit summaries (begun by Tony1 at 04:02, 17 June 2008).
Wavelength (talk) 14:56, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
See also these contributions to the Manual of Style by User:LittleBenW, and look for an adequately informative edit summary. For comparison, here is a link to that editor's general contributions to Wikipedia.
Wavelength (talk) 16:34, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Wavelength:

Thank you. I have reverted those undocumented additions to this central page of Wikipedia's Manual of Style, and provided an edit summary accounting for their content and also for my reversion.

A di M:

I understand that you referred also to earlier edits. The reasoning I gave on my talkpage (now copied to the start of this section) applies generally to those reversions also. Wavelength has also linked to extensive relevant discussion on this talkpage. You ask: "How does something starting with 'the thing to do' sound like a statement of fact rather than of value, anyway?" I am at a loss to explain, if you don't understand already. But let me try: Statements of the form "A is B" are, on a first analysis, statements of fact. We can choose to use such statements to express our preferences, our norms of conduct, our moral convictions, and so on. But it is unhelpful to do so. Famously, such preferences are just that: matters of personal predilection. It is more helpful to use modified forms like this, to acknowledge that variability: "I prefer to act as if A is B"; "It seems to me that A is B"; "I recommend acting as if A is B." An alternative to making statements at all is to issue a request or a command, with an imperative: "[Please] act as if A is B." In practice, such an imperative will have this form: "[Please] do C." Questions also work rather well: "Wouldn't it be better to act as if A is B?" and so on.


You write: "While informative edit summaries are almost always desirable, they are not always required. We should not revert edits unless there is something wrong with the content that was added, removed or changed." My answer (already given at length; see Wavelength's link): For policy pages and style guidelines affecting 5,496,027 articles, I strongly favour clear documentation. No exceptions. Edit summaries are mandated by the relevant policy. I quote the subsection WP:Edit#Be helpful: explain in full, with my underlining:

Be helpful: explain your changes. When you edit an article, the more radical or controversial the change, the greater the need to explain it. Be sure to leave a comment about why you made the change. Try to use an appropriate edit summary. For larger or more significant changes, the edit summary may not give you enough space to fully explain the edit; in this case, you may leave a note on the article's talk page as well. Remember too that notes on the talk page are more visible, make misunderstandings less likely and encourage discussion rather than edit warring.

So editors are to "leave a comment", and to "try to use an appropriate edit summary". Now, I cannot believe that an editor experienced enough to edit WP:MOS usefully will fail in an attempt to leave an edit summary! The policy I cite explicitly applies to editing articles: almost certainly an accidental restriction; it seems to me that it should apply with greater force to editing Wikipedia policy and guidelines. I will act as if it does.
Darkfrog, you also write: "... users are not required to discuss changes to articles ahead of time. It wise in the case of controversial changes, but it is not required." I agree! I act that way myself, and I have just now edited the page without discussion here. I left a descriptive edit summary, and invited further improvements – and discussion, if that seems necessary.

NoeticaTea? 00:16, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

“Statements of the form "A is B" are, on a first analysis, statements of fact.” Huh, not necessarily: it depends on what B is. If I say “abortion is evil” or “Jimmy Page is awesome” or “this cake is not too bad”, I'm making judgements about the morality of abortion or Jimmy Page's skills or the taste of this cake, not factual statements. It's not like one can perform an experiment to find out whether or not abortion is evil. ― A. di M.​  08:45, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
A di M, if you want to pursue this side issue, do so at my talkpage. Consider first, though: Have you understood "on a first analysis"? Have you understood my continuation, after I introduced that caveat? ☺
NoeticaTea? 23:08, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
Editors, there is a related discussion in progress at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Longer edit summaries, please (version of 00:37, 29 June 2012). Also, I have mentioned previously the dynamic tension between conciseness and informativeness in the composition of edit summaries and section headings. Now, I mention that there is also a dynamic tension between long section headings and long edit summaries. The MediaWiki software includes the characters of a section heading in the allowable number of characters.
Wavelength (talk) 01:34, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
Noetica, while the passage you've quoted certainly encourages editors to leave good summaries and can be interpreted to require it (though not correctly, in my view), it does not say that it's okay to revert changes just because they lack good summaries. If you believe editors have violated policy, then report them, but do not punish the article or the readers. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:20, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your advice, Darkfrog. I will not follow it. I am surprised at your divergent interpretation of what I take to be a clear requirement in Wikipedia policy (except for the careless restriction to article that I have noted and that you have perpetuated just now), and at your mischaracterisation of what I have repeatedly explained on this talkpage. Note also: I do not seek to "punish" anyone, or any Wikipedia page. I have explained why I have adopted my present stance, and I will continue with it. How curious that you dwell on my stance, rather than on breaches of policy that have been shown to cause enormous disruption, and extra work for more considerate editors. ♥
NoeticaTea? 23:08, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
You don't seek to punish the readers, but they're the ones who get a lesser Wikipedia when people remove beneficial changes for reasons other than the content of those changes. If you want to teach editors a lesson in proper Wikiediting, that's to everyone's benefit, but don't do it by reverting change that have nothing wrong with them.
What part of what you've said have I misunderstood? Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:13, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Darkfrog, no reader suffers if undocumented changes to the Manual of Style are reverted – or undocumented changes to any other guidelines or policy. That is the limit of what I propose to do. You still seem to be conflating the terms article and page. For another thing, you write (and I underline):

... while the passage you've quoted certainly encourages editors to leave good summaries and can be interpreted to require it (though not correctly, in my view), it does not say that it's okay to revert changes just because they lack good summaries.

Well, I am not claiming that it does. But it also does not say not to, either. In the absence of a policy or guideline specifically addressing such undocumented edits, I use my discretion and act according to WP:BOLD. Still, at a recent ArbCom case affecting MOS this principle was affirmed in the final decision:

A higher standard for participation and consensus exists for changes to policies and guidelines, as stated in Wikipedia:Consensus#Level of consensus.

And this remedy (my underlining):

All parties are reminded to avoid personalizing disputes concerning the Manual of Style, the article titles policy ('WP:TITLE'), and similar policy and guideline pages, and to work collegially towards a workable consensus. In particular, a rapid cycle of editing these pages to reflect one's viewpoint, then discussing the changes is disruptive and should be avoided. Instead, parties are encouraged to establish consensus on the talk page first, and then make the changes.

If the Committee determined that editing pages first and then discussing is disruptive, we are justified in thinking that it is more disruptive to edit the page without even documenting the change adequately.
I am confirmed in my resolve by that ArbCom case. My stance is to permit reversion of inadequately documented changes to MOS (and other policy or guidelines), and I will do that myself after consideration of the merits of those changes. I will at least alert editors to the content that I have reverted, where this is feasible. When a change has obvious and uncontroversial merit (like a correction of a plain error), then I have acted as you propose: I have made a null edit, and documented the change. However, there is intrinsically "something wrong", as you put it, in introducing undocumented changes that editors would want to be advised of. I will sometimes revert those, because even the most innocent non-error-correcting changes can have harmful and unforeseen consequences. They may at least clutter the page, and that is a serious cumulative harm to a page that is already necessarily complex.
NoeticaTea? 03:02, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
If the change is beneficial, then the readers suffer if it is reverted. If you believe an editor is doing something disruptive, then you have the option of talking to the editor or reporting the editor.
At the very least, you have to look at the change to see if it is disruptive or involves a viewpoint. Lack of an informative edit summary is not inherently either of those things. I can see why you find it annoying, but that's not the same as being detrimental to the page. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:48, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
On your points, Darkfrog:
  • If the change would be beneficial but for its being undocumented and unnoted by editors, then by definition it would ultimately be in the interest of readers that it go ahead. But if it is undocumented and unnoted by editors, that may cancel the benefit, for a net negative outcome. I weigh those considerations, and act appropriately: with some considerable expenditure of effort, to counter the negligence of the editor whose work I am reviewing. That should be clear from the copious explanations I have given to your short assertions. And yes, I have the options that you mention; along with others. I make my choice among those options, on rational grounds.
  • I have argued, with support from policy and recent ArbCom rulings affecting the Manual of Style, that lack of an adequate summary is indeed disruptive. I have earlier argued this at greater length. I have nothing new to add, and I think you have no new objection to raise. I have answered all objections at length. I would prefer now to leave this matter; but as you know, I can talk the legs off a chair if called upon to do so. Do not call upon me to do so.
NoeticaTea? 21:52, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
"But if it is undocumented and unnoted by editors, that may cancel the benefit, for a net negative outcome."
This is where things aren't adding up. There is no direct connection between the text of the change itself and the text typed into the edit summary. I don't see how annoying other editors necessarily makes the article worse. It's not good, but it's a different kind of not good. The solution still seems to be to deal with the editor rather than revert the change. This type of reversion still looks like a mild form of WP:POINT.
And let's take the OP's change as an example. This person did leave an accurate edit summary. It just didn't happen to satisfy you personally. Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:37, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Darkfrog24, I repeat what I posted at the beginning of the original discussion.
  • Here is a link to the edit, which was performed at 04:20, 27 June 2012.
The edit summary was "Adding fact", which is not an adequately informative edit summary.
Wavelength (talk) 14:32, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Inadequately summarized edits inconvenience editors who wish to examine the potential value of the edits, and can be more annoying than reverted edits. Editors unfamiliar with past occurrences of deleterious edits slipped into the Manual of Style without adequately informative edit summaries may not be aware of potential problems. Inadequately summarized edits can be more annoying than reverted edits.
Wavelength (talk) 14:46, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
But reverting a beneficial or neutral edit solely because it is inadequately summarized is not the answer. Talking to or, if necessary, reporting the editor who left the inadequate summary is the answer.
The act of leaving an inadequate summary may annoy and make more work for other editors, but that doesn't mean that the edit itself is necessarily harmful. A person could correct fifty typos and summarize it as "puppies" or replace rows of instructions with their opposites and summarize it as "Clarifying the wording of instructions on parentheses." The only real way to determine whether an edit merits reversion is to look at it.
It is better for editors to be inconvenienced than it is for the readers to receive a lesser Wikipedia. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:21, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree; if an edit obviously makes for a better WP, I wouldn't revert it. But I don't think that's what we were talking about here. When an uncommented edit looks questionable, I revert it, and give the editor a chance to discuss and say what the intent was (look for "uncommented" in many of my edit summaries for examples). Dicklyon (talk) 01:47, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. You have to look at the edit to determine whether or not it is questionable. The lack of a summary by itself is not enough. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:08, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Right; and a quick hover is usually enough to tell you if it's questionable, especially when there's no edit summary to make the intent clear. Dicklyon (talk) 00:36, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Somewhat tangentially, when you first revert and then ask to discuss (or don't say anything, as some admins do), it seems like you're not "assuming good faith". Having been the target of such reverts, I've felt "shot first". Why not ask first, then shoot (revert) if needed? You'll end up with a less-antagonized editor, at the very least. —[AlanM1 (talk)]— 01:08, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Line breaks

Is there any current advice on whether line breaks should be inserted in the wikitext of long paragraphs? Such insertion is on the principle that it will not affect the appearance of the article, but will help editors when viewing diffs in the future. I found WP:Don't use line breaks but that is old and inconclusive. I am used to seeing single-line paragraphs in articles, but have encountered an editor who wants to insert line breaks. It's pretty trivial, but I would like to know what people think, yet have failed to get any interest at VPR. Johnuniq (talk) 11:16, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Related: Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard#C++. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:21, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Why were characters edited globally on this page?

Guy Macon's edit summary doesn't explain why he's changing people's signatures on this page. Tony (talk) 12:22, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't mind what he did to my sig that much (though if he has a problem with my sig, I'd prefer him to tell me first), but replacing Noetica's heart suit with a question mark hardly counts as “No change to content”. (The de-facto-standard ASCII equivalent of that is <3.) ― A. di M.​  13:25, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
On my screen (preview and edit box) the above is nearly unreadable, but it is not, as I mistakenly thought, the fault of the sig or Wikipedia's wikimarkup-to-html engine. See Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Unicode horizontal bar and zero-width space in sig confusing Firefox for a description of what I believe the problem is. I have, of course, self-reverted my change, and I apologize for the error. Sorry about that. Please correct any weird spacing issues in this post - to me it looks like I have at least 20 blank lines above it which I suspect are on my screen only. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:37, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Replacing Noetica's heart suit with a question mark was accidental. I thought I had re-introduced all the other Unicode characters after running my Unicode to ASCII converter. I apologize for the error and I hope that it didn't inconvenience anyone. I really am sorry for making such boneheaded mistakes. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:19, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I switched back to the default signature, just in case. A. di M. (talk) 15:53, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

WP:MOS attacked and defended

User:ChromaNebula suggested "Scrap the MoS" at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#How to fix Wikipedia (version of 16:03, 10 July 2012).

2. Scrap the MoS -- it's more complicated than the U.S. tax code (it even has its own search bar!), it encourages admins to bite new users who haven't read it, it's much too long for anyone to read all of it, it's overly bureaucratic, and enforcing it wastes valuable time that could be spent creating new content and/or improving existing content.

User:Jac16888 replied in defense of WP:MOS.

2: Do you actually understand what the MOS style is? It's just about trying to keep articles uniform and general project wide consistency, it's what stops people changing english variations every ten minutes, randomly bolding for emphasis and capitalising Hims when referring to the big guy. [sic]

Subsequent comments mentioned WP:MOS again—please see that discussion for details.
Wavelength (talk) 16:19, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Keyboard hyphen-minus (-) versus true minus (−)

It appears we need some discussion to achieve consensus on the use of the keyboard hyphen-minus symbol versus the true minus in mathematical expressions.

I was unpleasantly surprised when I wrote an expression using the keyboard hyphen-minus in an exponent:

Depending on the browser, surrounding text, phase of the moon, or whatever, if you narrow down the window you will find that 10-1 may break onto separate lines. This may or may not happen for you. However, it happened for me, and it got me very, very upset.

The mathematical minus symbol (−), which may be entered from the Symbols list or encoded as "&minus;", unlike the hyphen-minus, does not do double-duty as a punctuation mark, and I have not been able to make it break on three browsers.

Here is the same expression using the minus symbol from Special characters 10−1 and encoded 10−1 for you to experiment with. I have not been able to make these break onto separate lines.

Given that an undesirable separation at the keyboard hyphen-minus sometimes does occur in certain contexts, what would be our recommendation for use of the hyphen-minus versus the true minus in mathematical expressions?

Thanks, Stigmatella aurantiaca (talk) 11:29, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

See MOS:MATH#Minus sign and MOS:NUM#Common mathematical symbols.—Emil J. 12:03, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Pages and years

If one writes

pages 364–9

that means

pages 364–369.

One does not repeat the "36" because it does not change. If one writes

pages 364–82

that menas

pages 364–382.

One does not repeat the "3" because it does not change. If one writes

pages 364–513

then all three digits change and all three digits appear in both numbers.

If one writes

John Xmith served as Director during 1984–7.

then that means

John Xmith served as Director during 1984–1987.

One does not repeat "198" because it does not change. But here, lots of people seem to want to include the last two digits in all cases, and write

John Xmith served as Director during 1984–87

even though the "8" does not change. A month or two ago, I wrote something like "John Xmith served as Director during 1984–7" and someone actually "corrected" it to say 1984–87! And just a few minutes ago, I found "1983–05" in an article!! I changed it to 1983–2005. That expression should mean 1983–1905 according to the conventions above, and that makes no sense.

Should these conventions be codified in the style manuals? Michael Hardy (talk) 01:00, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

It is codified, in WP:YEAR, part of Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers: "A closing CE or AD year is normally written with two digits (1881–86) unless it is in a different century from that of the opening year, in which case the full closing year is given (1881–1986)." —C.Fred (talk) 01:05, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Further, many referencing style guides advise against abbreviating the second page number in a page range. The APA style requires spelling out in full (see e.g. here). The Chicago style has complex rules (ridiculously so in my view), which e.g. require 100–104 or 1100–1113 but 101–8 and 808–33 (see e.g. here. I can't find any guidance on page ranges in the MOS; the examples in the documentation of the cite/citation templates vary. My view is that the best practice to follow in ranges other than dates, because it avoids all ambiguity, is always to give both numbers in full. Paper-based works try to save space; we don't need to. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:22, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Incidentally, if you use number ranges in {{convert}}, then by necessity both numbers have to be in full, e.g. 220–229 metres (722–751 ft). Peter coxhead (talk) 09:25, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
An RFC concerning whether the MOS should contain any rules that might conflict with the citation style chosen for a given article (perhaps Help:CS1, APA style, or The Chicago Manual of Style) was conducted. The results were inconclusive. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:55, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Numbers

Mirokado (talk · contribs) removed an example about disadvantages of -es as an approximation for . This removal was likely just an inobservance and I put the example back. Has anybody objections against it? Incnis Mrsi (talk) 15:42, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

The edit you mention reverted this change which removed two paragraphs and added a third. The edit summary was "OMG… why not Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Numbers?" which completely fails to explain a combination of adding and removing paragraphs. Thus I reverted with the edit summary "Undo: impossible to relate the edit summary to the changes, unexplained removals" (on reflection the addition was even less explained than the removals). Please provide clear edit summaries so you don't waste our time.
With regard to your question here,
  • you need to explain why you wish to add this paragraph in its current form. There is a discussion about negative exponents at User talk:Stigmatella aurantiaca#non-breaking hyphens but that provides no example of a break occurring systematically between − and a digit in an exponent, indeed the user is not sure where the break, seen once, did occur. Thus mentioning exponents may be a distraction, perhaps it would be better to summarise why − should be used in html maths expressions and point out that a normal hyphen should be used in <math>...</math> containers, or link to a full explanation elsewhere.
  • The phrase "note that unary minus sign may constitute a part of numeral" seems to miss two prepositions, how about "note that a unary minus sign should not be separated from the following number or symbol"
  • "in particular they may break ..." is better English than "especially they may break ...".
  • Why is this bit of advice a paragraph rather than a bullet point like the others?
  • Example and counterexample can be inline as for the other bullet points
--Mirokado (talk) 17:20, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
  • The use of the word "break" is inadvisable in this context because it is not obvious that it is referring to ending one line and beginning a new line as the text is presented to the reader. Readers may understand it to mean that if the number is cut-and-pasted into a math-oriented program like Excel it will not work as expected. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:25, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
So fix it. Say line wrap, word wrap and so on. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 19:27, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
10-1 la-la 10-2 la-la 10-3 la-la 10-4 la-la 10-5 la-la 10-6 la-la 10-7 la-la 10-8 la-la 10-9 la-la 10-10 la-la 10-11
Best viewed in
Internet Explorer
and Google Chrome
Mirokado considers my edit summary silly and rude, and does not see a problem with his edit. Likewise, I consider his content-damaging revert silly and negligent, and do not see a problem with my edit – the page history helps to understand the summary. Both sides retained their views. Let us return to numbers' wrapping… first look at the box on the left. Does anybody think that "word-break:hyphenate" is a condition which should never happen in this context? Does anybody think that conforming browsers (namely IE, Chrome and Safari) might be ignored? Does anybody think that numerals like 10−4 should not be used in a running text? Does anybody think such wrapping of numerals a tolerable thing? Or, maybe, such arguments in favour of − are merely redundant? Incnis Mrsi (talk) 19:27, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

My original observation was using Chrome, my browser of choice. I have not yet been able to reproduce my original observation, but this condition of an undesirable line break or word wrap occurring with a keyboard hyphen is trivial to reproduce in Internet Explorer. Here is a screen shot that I uploaded to my Google Docs account. Stigmatella aurantiaca (talk) 20:24, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, that shows the problem with a negative superscript and IE nicely. I have prepared a set of examples (based on Incnis Mrsi's above) in my sandbox (permalink) with largish font where it is easy to see where a problem arises by changing window width. With Chrome, number-hyphen-number splits after the hyphen. None split with Firefox. It looks as if it would complicate the fairly brief explanation to give examples of which string causes problems in (which version of) which browser, so I suggest we omit "such as exponents" or similar. --Mirokado (talk) 22:50, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
It's interesting that your examples won't split for me using Chrome. Obviously there are other factors involved than merely the choice of browser. You're right that it's not worth our while to try to ascertain the exact conditions that cause the undesirable behavior to occur, but a brief mention that it can occur seems desirable to me. Yes, no? Stigmatella aurantiaca (talk) 23:14, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Here is my proposal for a minimal change in the MOS that hopefully may satisfy the participants in this debate. In Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Common mathematical symbols we read the following:

  • For a negative sign or subtraction operator, use a minus sign (, Unicode character U+2212 MINUS SIGN). Input by clicking on it in the insert box beneath the edit window or by typing &minus;.

Expand by adding a short explanatory comment:

  • For a negative sign or subtraction operator, use a minus sign (, Unicode character U+2212 MINUS SIGN). Input by clicking on it in the insert box beneath the edit window or by typing &minus;. Improper use of the hyphen as a substitute may result in browser-dependent splitting of negated expressions at the end of a line.

The general form of the MOS is to provide a set of "thou shalts" with no explanatory comment. However, in a few cases, I believe a bit of explanation is worth while. This is one of the few cases. As precedent, one can refer to the rather lengthy explanation of why straight quote marks are preferred over curly quote marks in Manual of Style#Quotation marks. Can we have a straw vote? Thanks! Stigmatella aurantiaca (talk) 09:10, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Please explain your position better. Do you propose changes to Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Common mathematical symbols instead of the example in "Numbers" section, or along this example? If the latter, do you suggest to strip explanations and how exactly? Incnis Mrsi (talk) 10:22, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Instead of. Noetica pointed out to us that we may have been discussing the wrong section in which to make changes, since "Common mathematical symbols" already states explicitly that the mathematical symbol for negation and subtraction is the "−" symbol. Stigmatella aurantiaca (talk) 11:49, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
The word "negation" is not present among names of additive inverse (although it certainly related to negative numbers), select terms carefully please. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 12:42, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
There appears to be adequate precedent in the technical literature for the word "negate" to be used to mean "take the additive inverse" of numbers and expressions:
Stigmatella aurantiaca (talk) 14:50, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have reverted premature changes. Editors, please continue to discuss toward consensus here. See also the section headed "Common mathematical symbols", which you should be familiar with before addressing any of its themes elsewhere on the page. Finally, note the warning at the head of this talkpage.

NoeticaTea? 23:28, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Again, I do not see a dissatisfaction (or other problem) with the aforementioned addition so acute to revert the bulk of changes. Three or four (counting Jc3s5h) editors involved agree that the case of negative numbers deserves some special presentation in the MoS, with disagreement only in secondary details. No oneFew editors objected against an example in the section on numbers – see above about Stigmatella aurantiaca's remark. Should Noetica join a consensus-building process instead of labelling other guy's changes "premature"? Now he makes sermons about The Consensus but actually diverts thoughts to something more like an edit war. If there were no objection about reinsertion of the "minus sign clause" except from Noetica himself, then I'll reinsert it, accepting wording suggestions made in this discussion above. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 10:22, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
May be, WP:MOSNUM will be a better place for the minus sign clause, along with fractions, decimal exponent and percent. Sadly, some users prefer to edit-warring and shouting sermons instead of proposing solutions for concrete problems. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 12:42, 15 July 2012 (UTC)


This query arises form a dispute on this page about an RN officer, who was stationed at Londonderry during WWII. The original editor wrote “Londonderry”; this was changed later to “Londonderry-now Derry” which accords with MOS#geographic items and WP:PLACE. It was subsequently changed to “Derry”, per WP:DERRY. I am challenging this, hence the argument there and why I’m raising it here.
It is claimed that WP:DERRY allows (demands, even) that Londonderry be changed to Derry in this instance and in every case where the word appears (and has been used to change Londonderry to Derry on a host of articles in the past). As WP:DERRY states “use Derry for the city in articles” it appears to be in conflict with MOS#geographical items which says “use modern name”; but also “Exceptions are made if there is a widely accepted historical English name appropriate to the given context” and WP:PLACE which has “Older names should be used in appropriate historical contexts when a substantial majority of reliable modern sources does the same” (which is the case here).
These latter seems perfectly reasonable; if (for example) the current name for Bombay is Mumbai, there is a case for the article being at that title; but in an article elsewhere that refers to Bombay (general history, a non-Indian figure) it makes sense to put “Bombay (now Mumbai)” or even to leave it to the redirect. What I don’t see in this is a blank cheque to change any and all references to Bombay to read Mumbai, regardless of subject, context, time period or sources used. Therefore I’m unconvinced that WP:DERRY gives the right to do this in the case of “Londonderry”. So is there a conflict between these guidelines, and if so how should it be resolved?
Also, WP:DERRY is part of IMOS, which states it’s remit is “Ireland-related articles”. The person who is the subject of the article is not Irish and the content is not about Ireland in anything but the most tangential way (it mentions Londonderry, once) So, does IMOS even apply in this case? Xyl 54 (talk) 22:59, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

You seem to assume that Londonderry is the old name and Derry is the new name, but it's way more complicated than that. (To a first approximation, nowadays it's called Derry by Nationalists and Londonderry by Unionists.) A. di M. (talk) 23:38, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, one of many incorrect assumptions Xyl 54 has made to date. The first approximation is slightly wrong also, the city is commonly referred to as Derry including by Unionists. 2 lines of K303 06:43, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
No, I’m assuming that prior to 1984 Londonderry was the undisputed official name for the city, and that Derry was a (probably widely used) colloquial name; while after that date Derry became the (hotly disputed) official name.
I’m also assuming (saying in fact) that prior to that date (and certainly as far back as WWII and beyond) referring to the city as Derry is an anachronism; we wouldn’t refer to the Germans advancing on "Kiyev" in WWII, or to naval activity off "Chennai" in the 18th century, and we shouldn’t do it here. The sources that we direct people to in articles use the terms current at the time, and so should we.
That is what MOS#geo and PLACE tell us to do; if DERRY tells us different we need to address that. Xyl 54 (talk) 12:51, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
We don't care what the “official” name of something or someone is, if a different name is substantially more common. And FWIW, a court decision in 2007 ruled that the official name is still Londonderry; see Derry#Name. For example, we don't usually call Bill Gates “William Henry Gates III”. (But in this case there are considerations other than commonness to be taken into account. I'd go with Londonderry (also known as Derry), Northern Ireland.) Seriously, if you're not familiar with these kinds of issues, leave them alone – they are very stinky. --A. di M. (talk) 14:32, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, that does seem to be the problem: As far as I can tell, Londonderry was far more common, at least in sources, thirty-odd years ago.
And I’d go for “Londonderry (now Derry)” too; (it's what MOS#geo and PLACE tell us to do) but that’s exactly what got knocked back, “per IMOS”.
Does MOS#geo have a shortcut, BTW? Would it be in order to put one in? Xyl 54 (talk) 22:36, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Presumably he would have been based at HMS Ferret (shore establishment 1940) in Londonderry Port (which appears to be a still legitimate use of Londonderry).Nigel Ish (talk) 23:12, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, he was: That one was knocked back, too. Xyl 54 (talk) 21:13, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I feel that “Londonderry (now Derry)” overstates the extent to which Londonderry has become rarer and Derry more common. The odds ratio is less than an order of magnitude. OTOH Nigel Ish's proposal sounds fine to me. (It is different from the edit linked by Xyl 54 at 21:13 because the latter badly violates WP:EGG.) A. di M. (talk) 01:06, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I’m a little confused by your first point; if the format “Londonderry-now Derry” overstates the primacy of the latter doesn’t that undercut WP:DERRY still further? Insisting on its use when it is less and less warranted seems to be an example of “using WP to increase usage of a term”, doesn't it?
On the second, my apologies; the diff I should have referred to was this one which, as you see, was rejected for lacking a proper noun. But if that offends WP:EGG, then fair enough; what would you suggest? Xyl 54 (talk) 22:35, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I meant that “Londonderry-now Derry” is misleading because both names were common back then and both are common now. AFAICT WP:DERRY is a compromise whereby the city is consistently called Derry and the county consistently called Londonderry so as to make everyone slightly unhappy rather than someone very unhappy. I'm not sure that's the best possible rule, but I wouldn't mess with it. In this case, I'd use “at HMS Ferret at Londonderry Port”. A. di M. (talk) 09:45, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think WP:DERRY is being misread. The compromise was to stop the "constant renaming of articles" not for the name within articles. The content of articles should be consistent (we do not want alternate usage of Derry and Londonderry within the text as a sort of editorial neutrality), but in general the usage in the reliable sources within the article should be followed, and is the primary reason we have redirects. -- PBS (talk) 10:02, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure that's right. I'm not familiar with how it's been interpreted and put into action, but for better or worse, the wording seems pretty explicit there - use Londonderry for the county, Derry for the city. Consistently, everywhere; ie including "in [all] articles". As it usually is more generally, the suggestion of using reliable sources on a case-by-case basis sounds attractive, but is surely a recipe for refighting the issue on every single article where the county or city is mentioned, and doing so on the fairly random basis of what sources happen to be thrown into that page, or its talkpage, at any one time by whichever editors happen to be there (as well as having to redo the maths and the rational assessment on those sources each time). Sources differ on usage, that's the problem. There is no definitive "correct" or discoverable answer, overall or in most individual contexts. N-HH talk/edits 10:14, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, I'm not sure how "Use Derry for the city and County Londonderry for the county in articles" can be misread at all, since its meaning is very clear. 2 lines of K303 10:31, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
What's wrong with Londonderry Port without the pipe/egg? JonC 15:36, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
So, One Night in Hackney and N-HH, are you saying that it is forbidden to link to, or mention Londonderry docks? How does that improve the encyclkopedia?Nigel Ish (talk) 19:11, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
I’d feel more kindly disposed towards this guideline if it wasn’t being used to expunge all mention of the term “Londonderry” across the entire project: If could find the discussion in which the famous compromise was reached: And if I could see the place where it was agreed “the city page shall be called Derry” be transformed into “the city shall be called Derry in (all) articles”.
The suggestion that "sources differ, and that there is no definitive correct or discoverable answer" would be more acceptable if it were true. But in the article in question, as in many others, there are no sources at all that use “Derry”, so WP:DERRY is being granted a very substantial benefit of the doubt. MOS refers to a threshold of 10% of sources for a particular usage; I would suggest that unless there is at least one source in that uses Derry in any given article, WP:DERRY has no legitimacy in that case.
And as for "re-fighting the issue on every single article", there is a simple remedy at the top of the MOS page if the issue is in doubt; where no agreement, we should "defer to the style of the first major contributor". Xyl 54 (talk) 22:07, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
To go back to my original question, though: if the remit of IMOS is "Ireland-related subjects", and WP:DERRY is there as part of IMOS to keep the peace on those articles, does it have any relevance to the rest of the project? Because if it does, it conflicts with MOS guidelines. OTOH if it doesn't, it shouldn't be a justification for making anachronistic changes to articles on non-Irish subjects. Can anybody say which it is? Xyl 54 (talk) 22:18, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Request for Third Opinion

There is a lengthy discussion on Talk:Brazilian aircraft carrier São Paulo (A12) over very little, namely the inclusion of a whitespace. This directly affects WP:MOS#Formatting_issues and WP:MOS#Invisible_comments. This exact kind of whitespace is included in numerous articles, so a solid solution is preferred.

Could you please take a look an add your opinion? -- (talk) 16:13, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Title of short version of Manual of Style

What would be a good title for a short version of the Manual of Style? (The short version would supplement, not replace, the Manual of Style.)
Wavelength (talk) 17:40, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Ideally, the name should tip people off that it isn't the real MoS.
"Abridged MoS," "Short-form MoS," "Highlights of the MoS," "MoS for Most of Us." Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:48, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
The acronym "MoS" is obscure to newcomers. Maybe you mean "Abridged Manual of Style", "Short-form Manual of Style", "Highlights of the Manual of Style", "Manual of Style for Most of Us". Incidentally, that last one implies that a majority of editors find the Manual of Style to be too long or too difficult.
Wavelength (talk) 18:04, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
WP:Outline of Style ;) Making a (comprehensive) list of all things covered by MoS, but in a more text-like for than {{Style}} offers, seems a good deal to me. But a "short[ened] version of the Manual of Style", which would present some things as more important than others, at some user's discretion, would not be so useful. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 18:06, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Already the Manual of Style presents some things as more important than others, by the fact that it includes some guidelines and excludes others. By your logic, if the function is linear, the Manual would be even more useful than it is now if it contained guidelines in addition to the ones that it contains now.
Wavelength (talk) 19:37, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I suggest "Manual of Style overview". --Mirokado (talk) 00:34, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
One problem with that option is that it might be parsed incorrectly. Before I moved Wikipedia:Manual of Style Register to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Register, one editor asked: "What's a Style Register?" (Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 113#Wikipedia:Manual of Style Register has been UNmarked as part of the Manual of Style, January 2010)
Therefore, I consider "Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Overview" (with a virgule) to be the third best option. It can have the shortcut "WP:MOSO". See the two options, below, that I consider to be the best options.
Wavelength (talk) 00:59, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

I have carefully evaluated the options that have been offered. The word "abridged" is probably unfamiliar to some editors who would want to use that manual. The word "short" is shorter than "short-form". The word "highlights" might be more familiar than "abridged", but its meaning might be ambiguous in the intended context. The phrase "the rest of us" implies that editors needing a short manual are in the majority, but I am not convinced that they are. At this moment, I consider the best options to be "Wikipedia:Short Manual of Style" and "Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style", in that order. Either one of those can have the shortcut "WP:SMOS". Which of them is better than the other depends on whether we wish to emphasize short size or simplicity. Choosing one or the other does not prevent it from having both features.
See also my reply above, to Mirokado.
Wavelength (talk) 00:59, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

A good title for a short version of the Manual of Style would be Wikipedia:Manual of Style. The amount of detail that currently exists should be relegated to the subpages. (Right now, the section WP:Manual of Style#Capital letters is 36% the size of the whole page WP:Manual of Style/Capital letters, for example. Who ordered that? That only makes it nigh-impossible for the summary to stay in sync with the unabridged guideline.) If people as brave as Darkfrog24 want all of the guidance in full detail on one page and aren't afraid of crashing their browsers, we can have a WP:Manual of Style/full transcluding each of the subpages. A. di M. (talk) 12:20, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Sure, I've often made proposals like that. Art LaPella (talk) 00:03, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

What about "Quick Manual of Style" or "QuickWiki Manual of Style"? Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:57, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

The proposed title "Quick Manual of Style" might be good, except that it seems to make assumptions about (relative) speed of use, with the potential of subtly influencing slow learners to read it too quickly. The proposed title "QuickWiki Manual of Style" uses the word "wiki", which refers to a type of website, of which Wikipedia is the largest and most popular example. The word "wiki" does not help to explain the purpose of the page, and the alliteration is not essential. Anyway, Art LaPella has started Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style, and that title seems to be acceptable to everyone so far.
Wavelength (talk) 17:25, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
That title is a good choice because it implies that it explores the basic concepts, but the larger expositions take precedence to this simplified version. SFB 19:06, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Too many quotes - copyvio?


please list your opinions here. All comments are appreciated. Regards.--GoPTCN 10:06, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

"Olympic Games" (grammatical number)

What is the grammatical number of the expression "Olympic Games"? Is it singular, or plural, or both? (Incidentally, we use green for correct examples and red for incorrect examples—so maybe we can use yellow for undecided examples.)

  • "This Olympic Games is popular."
  • "These Olympic Games are popular."
  • "This Olympiad is popular."
  • "These Olympiads are popular."
  • "We attended two consecutive Olympic Summer Games(es)."
  • "We attended two consecutive Olympic Summer Olympiads."
  • "{This Olympic Games/These Olympic Games/This Olympiad} has the most games of all {Olympic Games(es)/Olympiads}.”

The word "Olympiad" designates a four-year period—but why not also a set of Olympic Games in one year?
Wavelength (talk) 15:50, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

The Games of the Thirtieth Olympiad are plural. The Olympiad is singular. Neither is both. DBD 22:49, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
We find both singular and plural usage of "Olympic Games" (a naive search is complicated by the fact that the singular is often a qualfied usage like "the problem of finding a hotel for the Olympic Games is ...". My impression is that the plural usage is more widespread. Any attempt to enforce singular usage would be needless pedantry almost certainly doomed to failure. --Mirokado (talk) 05:40, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

The first sentence of the article "Olympic Games" (version of 15:43, 27 June 2012) says "The Olympic Games … is", and the second sentence says "The Olympic Games are".
Wavelength (talk) 20:51, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

I suspect the first “is” is just some kind of editing slip-up, as evidenced by the comma before it which doesn't belong. ― A. di M.​  00:50, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

The web page Spectators - 2012 Olympics | London 2012 has an article beginning with the following sentence.

  • The Olympic Games is the biggest sporting event on the planet.

Wavelength (talk) 02:58, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Paragraph 3 of the article "Summer Olympic Games" (version of 12:29, 29 June 2012) begins with the following sentence, implying a singular form "Summer Olympic Game".

  • The United States has hosted four Summer Olympics Games, more than any other nation.

Wavelength (talk) 02:58, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

The article subsection "2012 Summer Olympics#Sports" (version of 11:29, 30 June 2012) includes the following sentence, using the expression "a Games".

  • The IOC reinforced its decision to drop both sports during the 2006 Winter Olympics, after they lost votes for reconsideration, and were last scheduled for a Games at the 2008 Olympics.

Wavelength (talk) 02:58, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

The article "Olympic Games scandals and controversies" (version of 18:13, 29 June 2012) begins with the following sentence.

Wavelength (talk) 02:58, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Paragraph 2 of the article subsection "International Olympic Committee#International Olympic Sports Federations (IFs)" (version of 09:14, 28 June 2012) begins with the following sentence. The word "each" is grammatically singular (Subject-Verb Agreement, section 2).

  • The continually increasing value of Olympic broadcast partnership has enabled the IOC to deliver substantially increased financial support to the IFs with each successive Games.

Wavelength (talk) 02:58, 1 July 2012 (UTC) and 03:03, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I have posted a message at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Olympics and the same message at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Sports, inviting comments here.
Wavelength (talk) 02:52, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Olympic Games can be both singular - e.g. 2004 was Michael Phelps first appearance at an Olympic Games; or plural - e.g. Michael Phelps has won medals at two Olympic Games. An Olympic Game is not a phrase that is ever used. - Basement12 (T.C) 07:16, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
    • I broadly agree with Basement, but I think one year's games can be treated as a plural or singular (e.g. The 2012 Olympics (is/are) a multi-sport event), just like "Championships". You won't find any firm answers on this because there aren't any (cf. band names). SFB 09:06, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

I have posted a message at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language, inviting comments here.
Wavelength (talk) 19:40, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

As for why we shouldn't use "Olympiad" to refer to a set of games held in a particular year, consider this. The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad. But are they the 30th set of games that have been held in the modern era? No way. The ones scheduled for 1916, 1940 and 1948 were all cancelled due to war. Thus, these forthcoming games will be the 27th time that Olympians from around the world have gathered to compete, not the 30th time. It's still occurring during the 30th olympiad counting from 1896, but to refer to the games themselves as "the 30th Olympiad" or any kind of "olympiad" would be like referring to water as a "bottle". Some bottles contain water, some are empty. Some olympiads contain games, same are devoid of them. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 19:53, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
They are, nonetheless, the Games of the XXX Olympiad, even if that is a misleading term (because it implies that there have been more games than there actually were). This doesn't seem to be much of an issue here on Wikipedia though, since we name the articles after the year and 'type' of games (e.g. the 2012 Summer Olympics, which is the main article, not a redirect). As far as the grammatical number of the event(s), "games" is plural, so intuitively, it should be considered plural, i.e. these Olympic Games and this Olympiad, but not this Olympic Games. Theoretically, I suppose it is possible to refer to one "Olympic Game"—say, table tennis—but in practice, it is plurale tantum, because the phrase is almost exclusively used to refer to the entire set of events comprising the Games.  dalahäst (let's talk!) 20:18, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
They are indeed the Games of the XXX Olympiad, and I have no issue with using that expression. It isn't misleading, because the numbering refers only to the sequence of olympiads (4-year periods) since 1896 (of which there have been 30 so far). It does not refer to how often games have actually been held. Sports commentators and others who talk of the 2-week period of the games or the actual athletic contests themselves as an "olympiad" are as wrong as referring to "the seventies" or "the 20th century" when what they really mean is the Watergate scandal. Admittedly, the word "olympiad" is rarely used to refer to any 4-year period; it's almost always used in an Olympic Games context. But that doesn't make it right to use it to mean something other than a period of 4 years. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 21:56, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
The advertising here in London is persistently using phrases that are something like "one amazing Games". This strikes me as absurd, because no-one would ever otherwise say "one games". But in this context, it's worth being aware that the authorities themselves are being grammatically inconsistent. AlexTiefling (talk) 21:29, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

I have posted a message at User talk:Jimbo Wales, inviting comments here.
Wavelength (talk) 03:03, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Personally, I say plural in these examples. "The Olympic Games is" sounds awkward. We see this all the time with sports teams, and typically, if the organization or event is phrased as a collective plural, common usage almost always uses plural to follow. The Toronto Argonauts are, but Toronto FC is. Manchester United is, but the Nottingham Panthers are, etc. Resolute 03:10, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
One thing people seem not to have mentioned so far in this thread is that there is a difference between US and UK English. "In BrE, collective nouns can take either singular (formal agreement) or plural (notional agreement) verb forms, according to whether the emphasis is on the body as a whole or on the individual members respectively", while "In AmE, collective nouns are almost always singular in construction: the committee was unable to agree".[16] How this plays out in practice in the case of the Olympics, I am unsure.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:16, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree, but perhaps for slightly different reasons. The Olympic Games are a set of competitions, and are properly pluralized. They are a set of games in the sports of a certain number of International Sports Federations that are run in and around the host city, under the jurisdiction of those ISFs and the IOC, with other players, such as the host city, the NOCs, and the local organizing committee, taking on roles. Perhaps for different reasons, but in any case, I don't think it can be singular tense, there is no "Olympic Game", things which might mean that are given other names.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:52, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

The following expressions are common on the World Wide Web.

  • "an Olympic Games"
  • "another Olympic Games"
  • "one Olympic Games"
  • "this Olympic Games"

I am hoping to find web pages where the grammatical number of "Olympic Games" is discussed, preferably in style guides, especially by sport organizations (sports organisations).
Wavelength (talk) 15:14, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Have you tried googling for "Olympic Games" style guide OR manual? A. di M. (talk) 19:07, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
I am quite certain that I performed a few Google searches similar or identical to that one, before I started this discussion. Anyway, after I read your question of 19:07, 20 July 2012 (UTC), I performed that exact search, and from the top 150 results I selected these as being apparently the most relevant.
(There is also Wikipedia:WikiProject Olympics/Manual of Style.)
I carefully examined each one of those results, and I did not find an answer to either of these specific questions from my original post.
  • What is the grammatical number of the expression "Olympic Games"?
  • Is it singular, or plural, or both?
Wavelength (talk) 20:54, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
The AP one says, “There are Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, or Summer Games and Winter Games. ... The games open on July 27.” But it also says, “for a Summer Games” [emphasis added, in both quotations]. Go figure... A. di M. (talk) 22:26, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Contents of short version of Manual of Style

What would be a good selection of guidelines for a short version of the Manual of Style? (The short version would supplement, not replace, the Manual of Style.)
Wavelength (talk) 17:41, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

This would be the opportunity to draw newb's attention to the biggest style issues on Wikipedia (biggest in our own opinion, that is).
What are the biggest problems so far? Encyclopedic tone? Misplaced commas are pretty common, but they don't do all that much damage. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:46, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
My Google search for misplaced comma reported "about 747,000 results", including the following.
Wavelength (talk) 18:14, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Correction: They don't do much damage on Wikipedia. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:32, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
This idea may be harmful. Our guidelines occasionally contradict each other, leading to argument and confusion. One way to avoid having guidelines that contradict is to avoid having two guidelines covering the same thing. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 17:50, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Another way to avoid contradiction is to check the various guidelines whenever one guideline is revised.
Wavelength (talk) 18:08, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Right, but the more redundant guidelines we have the harder that is. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 21:57, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
If editing the Manual of Style is restricted to a few expert editors, and if much of their editing is concentrated on the Manual of Style, then checking the various guidelines is easier.
Wavelength (talk) 22:07, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict}:(1) Hasn't Tony already composed an abridged Beginners' Guide to the MoS? (2) As a rank libertine-pluralist when it comes to Wikipedia users' style, I'd like to move much current MoS matter over to a guide called something like "Common practices" that could inform discussions within an article's own talk page without being invoked by outsiders to enforce some statutory conception of Standard Good Usage, while leaving the MoS core for issues like ambiguity, obscurity, accessibility, WP:ENGVAR, avoiding unnecessary offence and meeting unavoidable technical requirements. —— Shakescene (talk) 18:22, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I mentioned User:Tony1/Beginners' guide to the Manual of Style and Wikipedia:Styletips at 20:03, 15 July 2012 (UTC). Darkfrog24 replied at 20:14, 15 July 2012 (UTC): "I don't think that Tony's guide would be good for beginners (unless he's edited it a lot since I saw it last). He cut out so much explanation that a beginner wouldn't know what a lot of the sentences mean”.
Wavelength (talk) 18:37, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I just don't agree with DF on the brevity of the points (and the "Beginners' guide to MoS", which needs updating now, is actually far too detailed for the needs of newbie editors ... my experience as a host at the Teahouse showed me that a highly rationed set of points would be likely to be read by newbies. I suggest not "Simplified Manual of Style", but something snappier like "30 style points for editing Wikipedia". Or if you want to go tabloid, "30 things you always wanted to know about Wikipedia's style". You have to really try hard to be read by newbies. Maybe 40 is more realistic, but I'd be nervous about too many in their first course: entree, not the full roast dinner. Tony (talk) 09:45, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I certainly endorse a short version, but only if it is actually short. If it's over about 40% as long as what it's supposed to summarize, as is often the case with how the main MoS page "summarizes" the subpages, there comes a point where duplicating the information is more confusing than helpful. Keeping it short would require resisting everyone who thinks their tidbit needs to be part of it. I think the ideal summarizing ratio is around 8:1. Compare how academic papers use abstracts and multi-level summaries, if they are long enough. Art LaPella (talk) 00:25, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
The ratio "8:1" is satisfactory to me. (I probably would have said "1:8", but I know what you mean.) Are there any guidelines that most or all editors agree on including in that manual? Maybe there can be a vote to see which guidelines have the most support for inclusion.
Wavelength (talk) 01:05, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
Alternatively, we might decide which guidelines most or all editors agree on excluding from that manual. In one procedure, we begin with a blank page, and gradually add desired guidelines. In the other procedure, we copy the latest version of Wikipedia:Manual of Style, and gradually remove undesired guidelines. That procedure has the advantage of providing a previously formed structure of sections and subsections.
Wavelength (talk) 01:51, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I made a first draft at Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style. That may be presumptuous, so it might go to User:Art LaPella/Simplified Manual of Style. I included the parts that in my experience are likely to actually be used. The ratio is 43 not 8, but I'm sure it won't stay that way. Art LaPella (talk) 03:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
That's not bad. But it would be better if it had shortcut links to the details for those who want to know. And perhaps with a structure of sections/headings roughly mirroring the MOS. Dicklyon (talk) 05:46, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I think I agree. I'll get back to it tomorrow. Art LaPella (talk) 06:03, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Art, excellent job. Is it open for editing? Should changes be presented on the talk page first? Personally, I'd remove a few, since it's only meant to be an entree, and doesn't preclude new editors' learning more, of course; it's really an intense competition between the points in the MoS, and I can think of lots more that could go in. These three points could be conflated and/or shortened, for example: Capitalize names of scriptures like "Bible" and "Qu'ran", but not "biblical". Capitalize "God" when used to mean YHWH. Don't capitalize summer, winter, spring, fall, and autumn. Don't capitalize names of plants and animals. Special cases include scientific names ("Felis catus"), birds, and proper nouns. Tony (talk) 09:22, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
In the spelling of the word "Qur'an", the apostrophe (representing a glottal stop) comes after the letter r.
Wavelength (talk) 17:53, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sticking to its talk page until Art gives the all-clear. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:42, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't WP:OWN any article except maybe in my user space. Sure, edit it. Art LaPella (talk) 00:01, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I think it's a good start (not sure I'll dive in to change/add anything myself). My preference would be for more general statements about principles, under clear section headings, with links on to the more detailed guidance when it comes to most specific examples. Not least because there is a risk, as noted, of too many individual examples, say of specific capitalisation or punctuation issues - many of which don't actually crop up that often in themselves - gradually being added and bulking it up too much. Also, I'd like to see something (general) about naming things such as cities (Calcutta/Kolkata) etc - ie that editors should follow the name of a thing as defined in its article title in text as well, subject to historical/technical context. These are things that publications strive for consistency in of course, and any lack of it is more glaring than, say, punctuation issues. Unfortunately, as you can see from the Derry issue above, this can be a real can of worms; that means it needs sorting, but also that trying to cover it here may complicate this process. N-HH talk/edits 07:24, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes. We need to use every gram of our accumulated experience with new editors, and then some more in empathising with their initial confusion at such a complex site. Rationing text is the main thing—just the major things we need to convey to them. I'd like to nip and tuck here and there. I suggest it be formatted better as a list. The Guardian style guide, linked to at the end of MoS central, is an effective model, I think (minus the silly cartoon at the top ... and given their need to focus on spelling, which we don't need). The less text we have, the more newbies will read. Tony (talk) 08:18, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
The NASA style sheet's another good one. It's meant for people who aren't primarily writers, and most of it's extracted from CMoS. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:12, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
The NASA style sheet looks good (but you'd think they'd make the capitalisation of their section titles consistent). I rather like the title style sheet for ours. Tony (talk) 09:43, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

I've been busy, but I agree it would benefit from headings. Links throughout the page to the main MoS would also help. It could look like more. Maybe a different color, but I think there's a rule about colors. I often used more specific examples rather than explaining principles, because it's often easier to understand the principle by seeing an example than vice versa. The only way to explain a principle is often with words describing other principles, which are likely to be unfamiliar in themselves. I think there's a tendency to make rules that theoretically explain everything, just to prove we know it, not because that's the way to explain it. Art LaPella (talk) 01:34, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Totally agree of course about examples as an explanatory tool - I think what was in my mind was that the scriptures (principle) and b/Bible (example) was a bit too narrow as a theme and example and unlikely to crop up that often, such that it almost read as simply instructions on how to capitalise (or not) those terms per se. Indeed, possibly the whole capitalisation section could probably be bundled together into one line/para: for example as "WP avoids unnecessary and excessive capitalisation, rendering generic job titles, seasons [add further commonly encountered categories as relevant] in lower case - for example, 'chief executive of Microsoft', 'autumn' [add one example per noted category]". N-HH talk/edits 09:30, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
What I was thinking about with the Bible is that I have often had to capitalize, and in a couple cases had discussions on capitalizing that word. Those discussions can get sidetracked onto whether the Bible is true or not, because one might think its capitalization is a statement on how important it is. And I thought about using the word "seasons", but by the time I explain the seasons aren't salt and pepper and there are two names for fall, it's just as short and also simpler to just list them. "unnecessary and excessive capitalization" doesn't tell the reader anything he doesn't already know; if we all agreed on what is unnecessary and excessive then we wouldn't need the guideline. If anything, it will frustrate him because it implies that when you tell him to uncapitalize, he already knew it was unnecessary and must have been acting in bad faith. Same for "generic job titles". But I agree that capitalization rules should be grouped together better. Art LaPella (talk) 03:09, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

capitalizing first word of quotation of incomplete sentence

Hi. The passage I'm wondering about is at split infinitive: "Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage says, 'the objection to the split infinitive has never had a rational basis.'" The original sentence is, "To repeat, the objection to the split infinitive has never had a rational basis." Should the lower-case "t" in "the" be retained from the original, though the excerpt is a complete sentence? Should there be something about this in the MOS? I didn't see anything. Thanks. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 18:53, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

MOS does not specifically provide guidance for such cases. Indeed, other major style guides are vague when they refer to quoted matter "forming a complete sentence" (in determining application of "logical quotation", for example). Must the quoted matter already form a complete sentence in the quoted source? Or does it qualify as one simply because the shortened, quoted version happens to work grammatically as a sentence?
In the present case, I do not support conversion to a capital; and indeed, a capital could be removed if it had been present in the source. I would stick to the version you gave (but modifying punctuation at the close), or choose either of these workings:

"Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage says that 'the objection to the split infinitive has never had a rational basis'."

"Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage says 'the objection to the split infinitive has never had a rational basis'."

(The second omits "that", which is justified because there is no brief impediment through misunderstanding of "the objection" as the object of "says".) Other workings are also viable, including more radical rewordings from the outset.
NoeticaTea? 01:54, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll leave the capitalization the way it is. But why did you move the period outside the quotation marks? It's part of the quoted material. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 12:14, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
The standard practice is that capitalization can be changed freely in that way; the capitalization in the finished document should end up following the usual rules regardless of the capitalization in the original that is being quoted. If you want to indicate that the quoted material did not actually form a full sentence, even though it appears to be a full sentence when quoted, you can use an ellipsis. However, this is not normally done even in many scholarly areas unless there is some particular reason. It is normal practice in most areas to just remove phrases like "I repeat," , "Again I say, ", "Basically", etc., without making any note of it in the final quotation. — Carl (CBM · talk) 12:33, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

MOS noticeboard

Is there a Manual of Style noticeboard, where editors could ask questions about style issues affecting particular articles? If there is not, then where would be an appropriate place to post such questions? Thank you, -- Black Falcon (talk) 01:10, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

You might find something appropriate in Category:Wikipedia copy editing.
Wavelength (talk) 01:18, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. There a quite a few useful resources in that category. -- Black Falcon (talk) 02:46, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
This talkpage functions as such a "noticeboard", Black. You are encouraged to enquire here on any point of style. Questions sometimes prompt improvements in WP's Manual of Style, so they are doubly welcome.
I think there should eventually be a more specific forum to deal with editors' style questions (and to encourage them to ask them); but I'm holding off from any concrete proposal. We're not ready yet. ☺
NoeticaTea? 01:22, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

En dash in the name of a seminary?

[Made into a subsection: for better navigation and archiving–Noetica]

Thanks. I'll ask my question here, then. It is similar to the one posed by Axl above in that it relates to MOS:DASH. My question pertains to the article Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary. The seminary's name reflects the merger of Gordon Divinity School and Conwell School of Theology, which were but ceased to be "separate or independent elements". The official website consistently uses a hyphen. Which punctuation is appropriate for the article: a hyphen or en dash? -- Black Falcon (talk) 02:46, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Gordon and Conwell still are separate elements, linguistically. Use the en dash to make it clear that it's a union of two names. Dicklyon (talk) 03:23, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Dicklyon. The name is not a single surname. It is not clear how aware of the issue the owners are; but they are inconsistent in their signage: no hyphen or en dash versus hyphen (or is it an en dash?). Wikipedia style prefers clarity and consistency, based on consensually accepted best practice.
NoeticaTea? 03:32, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
I thank you both for providing clarification. I would like to inquire about one more case: Orlando–Orange County Expressway Authority. I recently moved the article to its present title from Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority based on the understanding that Orlando and Orange County are distinct elements. Does it make a difference that Orlando is located in Orange County? I checked the official website prior to moving the article and encountered an unspaced hyphen here and here and a spaced hyphen in the copyright notice at the bottom of each page. -- Black Falcon (talk) 05:46, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Since the unspaced hyphen makes no sense, and the sometimes use of spaced hyphen indicates that they recognize that, at least sometimes, the en dash seems like the only plausibly correct punctuation here. Think of it as "and" even though the construction is not exactly parallel. It's probably a joint city–county org. Dicklyon (talk) 05:53, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks again, it's much appreciated. It's really quite helpful to have a place to ask this type of question when the source itself is inconsistent. -- Black Falcon (talk) 18:37, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Prioritizing pages of guidelines

This section contains four proposals, which I have separated with simultaneous signature-timestamps for the convenience of editors posting replies. If your reply pertains to the four proposals collectively (or any combination of two or three of them), please reply under this lead section. If your reply pertains to one of the four proposals, please reply under that proposal.
Wavelength (talk) 19:44, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
(This addendum pertains to the third and fourth subsections.) For a brief period of time, I had no preference about the order of precedence between the main page and its subpages. However, after I had spent more time in pondering the matter, I developed a preference for giving precedence to the main page, for two reasons.
Firstly, it has already been decided that the main page has precedence over the new simplified manual, and giving it precedence over the subpages is consistent with that decision. Secondly, if the main page has precedence, then editors of each subpage need to check for consistency with the main page. Otherwise, editors of the main page would have to check for consistency with all the subpages. (There is still the question of precedence among all the various subpages, but presumably that is seldom a problem, because of the small amount of overlap in the points which they cover.)
If there is no dissent, then I will assume that there is community support for giving precedence to the main page over all the subpages. However, if the community supports giving precedence to the subpages, then I can support that for the sake of the community.
Wavelength (talk) 15:28, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

[17], as the whole question, is silly. Which regulation can supersede other ones, and in which circumstances, should be clarified in their texts. There is no need to wait for ratification of amendments to fix contradictions. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 08:21, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Having one uniform system of precedence simplifies matters for editors who refer to the Manual of Style, its subpages, and the Simplified Manual of Style.
Wavelength (talk) 21:10, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
IMHO an editor who "refers to the Manual of Style", in some concrete dispute, certainly makes a silly thing. Indeed, these are rules what should be referred to. If the "WP:Manual of Style" page needs clarification about applicability and precedence of rules, there will be such clarifications. If contradictions were detected between WP:Manual of Style and topical guidelines, then these contradictions would be eliminated. It is complex, but clever. It is redundant, but sustainable. Instead, relying on which page contains a rule for prioritizing rules is simplistically silly, is dangerously un-redundant, and can easily disrupt a well-established rule for some narrow class of articles because of consensus among five editors on this talk page. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 15:22, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Short manual: information about WP:MOS

Darkfrog24 stated, at 20:14, 15 July 2012 (UTC): "The idea of a short-form MoS could work, so long as it's understood that the main MoS takes precedence in all cases of mismatch." Therefore, I propose that Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style have the following information: "This page is a simplified version of Wikipedia:Manual of Style. In cases of disagreement between the two pages, that page is more important than this page."
Wavelength (talk) 19:44, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Note that the first line already says something similar, though less explicitly: "The Simplified Manual of Style is condensed from the real guidelines at Wikipedia:Manual of Style and its subpages." Art LaPella (talk) 23:59, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I revised the page to make it more explicit on that point.
Wavelength (talk) 00:51, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

WP:MOS: information about short manual

Likewise, Wikipedia:Manual of Style can have the following information: "Some editors may prefer to use Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style. In cases of disagreement between the two pages, this page has precedence."
Wavelength (talk) 19:44, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

WP:MOS: information about subpages

Also, Wikipedia:Manual of Style can have a statement that it takes precedence over its subpages, or that the subpages take precedence over the main page, as the case may be.
Wavelength (talk) 19:44, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I discussed the order of precedence in a simultaneous addendum to the lead section.
Wavelength (talk) 15:28, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Subpages: information about WP:MOS

Likewise, each of the subpages can have a statement that it takes precedence over the main page, or that the main page takes precedence, as the case may be.
Wavelength (talk) 19:44, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I discussed the order of precedence in a simultaneous addendum to the lead section.
Wavelength (talk) 15:28, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

En dashes or hyphens

I am currently reviewing "2011 Michigan Wolverines football team" for good article status. The article mentions the "Rimington-Pace Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year award" and the "Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year". I believe that these eponymous titles should use en dashes, not hyphens. However the main editor points out that the reference uses hyphens. Also, "Big Ten Conference football individual honors" uses hyphens. Shouldn't they be en dashes? Axl ¤ [Talk] 20:34, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

WP:MOS is clear about this, and the provisions for en dashes were settled very comprehensively in 2011 through a wide consultation with the community. The specific provision for associated personal names was hardly contested. If Rimington and Pace are two people (not one person called "Rimington-Pace"), then en dash is certainly Wikipedia style, and MOS licenses it instead of hyphen: "Rimington–Pace Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year award". It hardly matters what sources do in this regard: Wikipedia follows reliable sources for their reliable content; but not for the way they style that content. They make their choice, and Wikipedia makes its choices. All "publishers" do that (interpreting the term broadly). Same for the other case you raise. Note also: en dashes are often converted through sheer technical ignorance to hyphens on the web, and in lower-quality print publications. Wikipedia has higher standards than that. Finally, note that Google searches are almost completely blind to the difference between en dashes and hyphens.

NoeticaTea? 01:38, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Hyphens are also used where some might used en-dashes simply because plenty of sensible people, including many professional publishers, don't care, given that the illumination provided by the distinction is marginal. It's rather tiring to see people claiming superiority on this point and putting any differences down to "ignorance" or lack of "quality". Complexity is not always superior. And guess what, if we simply used hyphens for all joins and ranges, reserving dashes (whether spaced en or unspaced em) for prose punctuation, we wouldn't tie ourselves in knots working out how to apply the hyphen v dash rules for joins in specific contexts and have to have endless talk page threads (see this one and another below, and others past) as well as daft edit wars (eg at Mexican-American War) on this utterly trivial distinction. But I guess that's not going to change in a hurry, given the response to previous attempts to raise it - at least on these pages rather than with a genuinely wider audience of average users and editors. N-HH talk/edits 08:58, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
It appears that the source is the originator of the award. If they use the hyphen, then so should we. To do other is OR/Synthesis. After all, if they called the awards the "RimingtonPace award" or even the "enhgdfjkgbhdfkjgbhdfk award" then we would follow the original form. Hyphens/dashes should not be a special exception.Nigel Ish (talk) 09:13, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
To be fair, given that the MOS here does support using a dash (assuming Rimington and Pace are two people), doing so over a hyphen would be a fair typographical change, regardless of the sources, under the current rules. It would not after all change the substance of the name as recorded in those sources, which might vary between themselves anyway (if I had my way and we only used hyphens for compounds and prefixes, I would for example support a switch from an endash in source material). Although if they did not use any connecting mark at all - for example Rimington Pace Award or RimingtonPace Award - adding one would imo be unnecessary and arguably "wrong". N-HH talk/edits 10:48, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
When we had our grand RfC about dashes, nobody like Nigel Ish and N-HH showed up. Art LaPella (talk) 18:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
So, I am forbidden from posting here am I?Nigel Ish (talk) 12:10, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Not at all. If anything, I meant that I wish you had shown up at the linked discussion, when it would have been more effective. Art LaPella (talk) 05:31, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I fixed it. Dicklyon (talk) 19:32, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Which kind of proves my point about lack of participation, surely. Also, the overall point is that such discussions are part of the problem. Why on earth would anyone want to show up there and get involved in a debate of needless length and complexity about something ultimately trivial, with its labyrinthine analysis of every possible and purported different "type" of compound and link? And that's before we even get to the self-congratulation and self-importance. We would all save time and headaches three times over - in formulating, interpreting and implementing policy. Stick with solely hyphens for compounds and prefixes and there's no need for those huge initial debates, the queries and discussions here, or the endless gnoming of articles after most editors do what comes naturally and most easily - especially given WP editing systems - and use the hyphen on their keyboard (which I know, I even do for dashes in prose on talk pages, which I don't actually condone). If it's good enough for most online and non-book print publishing, it should be good enough for us. Although, having put all that effort into imposing this on everyone else, I don't expect the four to six people - yes, that many! - who dominated that RFC to come round to that now. N-HH talk/edits 09:31, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, but last time I looked, en.WP showed no signs it was about to crash its professional standards of writing, including its typography. Tony (talk) 10:17, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Since one of my points here, and on previous occasions when this has been discussed, is precisely that it is not less "professional" to not make the distinction - and it isn't - and another is that these things are being determined by a small minority of people without any wider input, I don't see what you're trying to say there. It's certainly not a response to what I posted previously. Complexity, especially when enforced pretty much for its own sake, is not automatically more professional. Equally, the small group involved in the linked discussion cannot be said to speak for the entire English WP. As I noted in the penultimate sentence, most online and non-book print publishers don't make the distinction. Have they crashed their professional standards? Or have they simply come to an intelligent and practical conclusion that the variation of micromillimetres involved, which supposedly conveys meaning of great import, actually doesn't matter? N-HH talk/edits 13:35, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Most people who visit Wikipedia come to Wikipedia for up-to-date, relevant, accurate, and interesting content—quite a bit of it written by people who are passionate and knowledgeable specialists in their fields. They do not come to Wikipedia to nitpick about punctuation. So please feel free to contribute the material that is most important to the majority of Wikipedia users, and also—if you wish—feel free to leave other people to obsess about and argue about small details that the majority of users will never notice. This seems to be beautifully stated here. LittleBen (talk) 14:28, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
But the problem is that the rules as formulated encourage and cause nitpicking, not least over how to interpret them, that otherwise could be sidestepped, to the benefit of everyone. That in turn diverts energy and resources that could go into improving things that do matter to the average reader. If the minority insisting on these complex rules were solely sitting here on these pages having academic arguments, I'd let them get on with it. But they're not, they're imposing their systems across Wikipedia and, in this case, stoking arguments across the encyclopedia. It's not as simple as just letting everyone get on with focusing on their niches. That said, I guess I'm adding to all that now and, as noted, those insisting on having it this way are never going to back down at this point, so I'm done. If they want to waste their time arguing over the rules and feeling obliged to make thousands of dash/hyphen changes in accordance with those rules (assuming they can agree on how to apply the rules in each individual case), good luck to them. It would though be a refreshing change if pseudonymous WP contributors - with no verifiable real-world editorial qualifications btw - did not assume an air of superiority over it all, and talk about "low-quality publishing" or a lack of "professionalism" when it comes to alternative systems that are widely used in the real world.N-HH talk/edits 15:26, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
What are you talking about? Nobody is asking you to fix dashes. And the fixes I do, since the big clarification of guidelines, seldom provoke any reaction or controversy. Perhaps 1 in 100 dash correction provoke a comment or argument or nitpicking. It's working pretty well. I made a mistake on one yesterday, but then figured it out, and made the title much more informative by fixing it: Dalli-Rajhara–Jagdalpur rail line; this was uninterpretable as Dalli-Rajhara-Jagdalpur Rail Line, a mangle of ambiguous punctuation masquerading as a proper name. Capitalization, on the other hand, is still a mess, as some editors prefer to ignore MOS:CAPS (see Talk:List of Federal Presidents of Austria#Requested move). Dicklyon (talk) 15:50, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
I think that question might be better directed at you? I haven't said or complained anywhere that I was being asked to "fix" dashes. Also, while I don't think it's a good decision to have this distinction, I do accept that it's a decision that's been made. No, it doesn't usually lead to controversy as such, but there have been big debates, both in formulating it and drawing the dividing line and, in a few cases, applying it. Plus there's the work that goes into "fixes", however happy those performing them are to be doing them. All I'm saying is that it's an odd decision for a non-professionally written and edited online publication, when plenty of respected print publications with professional editors survive without the distinction; not least because it's a diversion of energy and resources. I also said I didn't think anyone supporting it was going to change their mind now ... N-HH talk/edits 09:02, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
LittleBen, I strongly support your views. I think its aesthetically better to have capitalized form of titles. I have no desire to entangle myself into a discussion about WP rules (in this case, MOS:CAPS), I just don't think it will look good without capitalization. That's one of the reasons why I reverted certain edits on this matter last year. The other reason is, indeed, consistency. If someone decide to work on this issue in the future, that user will need to fix literary countless of lists of presidents and other heads of states and governments on Wikipedia which have capitalization. From my point of view, its much better to leave it this way. --Sundostund (talk) 10:33, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
If you want to overturn the longstanding WP:CAPS, which says Do not capitalize the second or subsequent words in an article title, unless the title is a proper noun., start an RFC. Otherwise, what's the point of stating that your opinion is different from the consensus? Dicklyon (talk) 17:38, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Too many editors spoiling the Manual

There is a saying "Too many cooks spoil the broth" (q:English proverbs#T, version of 19:05, 12 July 2012), and I have a saying "Too many editors spoil the Manual of Style". This can be interpreted in two ways: (1) "It often happens that an editor spoils the Manual [by changing it to a worse version], and there are too many of those editors" and (2) "The excessive number of editors revising the Manual is influencing it negatively, because of the excessive number". Both interpretations have some truth, and in both senses the problem can be remedied (or, at least to some degree, alleviated) by one solution.
If only the most qualified editors be allowed to edit the Manual, then the number of detrimental revisions would be reduced and the number of trivial revisions would be reduced. Consequently, there would be an increase in the ratio of truly beneficial revisions per total revisions. The other editors could still ask questions and make suggestions, but only the most qualified editors would be allowed to decide which revisions to make. An increased quantity of decision-makers does not produce an improved quality of decisions.
This arrangement would be most efficient if (1) the decision-makers would demonstrate good faith by responding to questions and suggestions constructively and with paraphrasing, to show that they have actually read and analyzed the suggestions, and (2) the editors posing questions and making suggestions would spend time in formulating their questions and suggestions clearly and concisely, with beneficial links and references, and thus would not burden the decision-makers with the task of reading long, difficult passages.
Some or all of the most qualified editors might be chosen from among the most prolific contributors to the Manual of Style. If I be excluded, then I would hope that I would be able to accept that, but I do hope that the ones selected would truly be the most qualified. (I can easily find many things to do on Wikipedia.) If I be included, then I would hope that I would use my privilege responsibly and fairly. Here is a link to a record of my contributions.
It can be easy for editors to overestimate their own qualifications, because (1) being a lifelong native user of English (in hearing, speaking, reading, and writing, even professionally) might seem to be sufficient, and (2) some of them may have been formally taught by schoolteachers who were more inclined to hand out star stickers for unsatisfactory work, instead of pointing out errors gently, firmly, and promptly, and kindly guiding them to make improvement.
Wavelength (talk) 00:36, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Looking over the recent contributions, I see several IP edits that were reversed. Would it be beneficial to discuss semi-protection of the MOS? GoingBatty (talk) 02:24, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
It might be beneficial, but a careful examination of revisions during the past year might show many problematic revisions made by registered users. Also, if semi-protection has been tried before already, then an examination of its effects might show deficiencies. A much tighter restriction, such as what I have described, would probably produce better results.
I have no illusions that disputes would necessarily be completely eliminated; in the business world, after corporations have gained dominance over lesser entities, they sometimes turn their attention against each other. If any of the most qualified editors have faults in their interpersonal skills, then I hope that they would strive to become better collaborators.
Wavelength (talk) 03:02, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
"Most qualified" according to whom? The MoS is already subject to the influence of cliques who exclude others and enforce arbitrary decisions. Limiting access to the MoS would make this problem worse.
This doesn't mean that a fair and useful vetting system couldn't be established, but it would be new. In the current Wikipedia system, experts are given precedence, but amateurs are not excluded—and qualifications are on the honor system. No one has to prove that they have a Ph.D. in chemistry; we take them at their word. We'd need to establish a way for people to submit their credentials and have them verified in an unbiased manner that did neither favors nor excludes existing MoS regulars. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:44, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Qualifications can be decided by a system of online computerized skill-testing questions chosen at random from a much larger set of questions, and the results for each test-taker can be posted on his or her talk page or any designated page in his or her user space. The results for all test-takers can also be recorded together on another page (with archives) set up especially for that purpose. Editors can repeat the tests as often as they wish, but the questions each time would be chosen at random from a much larger set of questions.
Wavelength (talk) 04:03, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict:) The Manual of Style reflects the consensus of Wikipedia's editors (all of them) about which conventions they have agreed to follow. It does not reflect some external authority or authorities, except insofar as Wikipedia's editors agree to follow that authority. There's really no way (deadeningly tedious and contentious though the process has proven for almost all of us), other than discussion, comparing current practices and searching the archives, for anyone to establish what Wikipedia's consensus on a point, if any, might be. So, while I understand what seems to have been a genuine recent problem (un-neutral fly-by MoS edits without discussion here), it's hard to conceive how one would establish which editors or class of editors might have the relevant expertise: in Wikipedia's current consensus, rather than in grammar, style and usage in general. An example of Wikipedia Style consensus that's reluctantly accepted by most of us, although it runs against both the bulk of external authority and against our own strong preferences, is the use for technical reasons of straight typewriter-style quotation marks ( ' & " ) in place of "curly" inverted commas ( , , & ). —— Shakescene (talk) 04:42, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
I visualize a universal set of perhaps 1,000,000 questions in the database, and each test based on a subset of perhaps 100 randomly selected questions. Each report of a test-taker's test results can even include a list of all the questions and the answers given and the correct answers. Because a wrong action in editing can be worse than inaction, there can be a "penalty" for each incorrect answer. The value of incorrect answers can be multiplied by a coefficient (yet to be determined), and the resulting product can be deducted from the value of correct answers, with the difference being the score for that test (R - kW = S).
Furthermore, the questions can be weighted for difficulty at 10 levels. In the random selection of questions, 10 questions can be selected from each level. In scoring, a value of 10 points can be assigned to each question of the highest level difficulty, a value of 9 points can be assigned to each question of the second highest level of difficulty, and so on. The level of difficulty of each question can be decided on the basis of the decile of test-takers who have answered the question correctly. As more and more editors are tested, the questions comprising each level can change slightly. At first, levels of difficulty can be decided by the test scores of beta test developers.
Wavelength (talk) 04:58, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Assuming about 100 characters per question, a million questions would be 70 times the size of the entire MoS with subpages. Good luck. Art LaPella (talk) 05:31, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Wavelength, are you volunteering to write 1,000,000 questions (and their answers)? Presuming there was a list of editors who passed the test, how could the MOS article be protected so only those editors could edit it? GoingBatty (talk) 05:49, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Hm, that idea has some merit, but then there's the issue of whoever writes the questions undoubtedly putting his or her own personal preferences and whims in as if they were rules. Even if we copied the material from reliable style guides, there's the pick and choose element. Hart's Rules, MLA or Chicago? Which rules to weight heavily, which to minimize, and which to ignore? Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:50, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
The questions would not test knowledge of the Manual itself, but they would test knowledge and skill that are fundamental to editing the Manual. For example, knowledge of English and skill in using it are fundamental, and there are quizzes of the English language on the World Wide Web.
The questions could also test general knowledge of various style guides and what they recommend, without explicitly endorsing what they recommend.
Wavelength (talk) 19:35, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Writing a million questions one at a time is ridiculous; making it a lifetime career would allow about 5 minutes per question, including research to ensure each question has one unambiguous answer. I can't imagine anyone publishing that many questions we can copy, either. So any merit to the proposal would need to presuppose a much lower order of magnitude. Art LaPella (talk) 17:19, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
If even more people consider us a cabal, it would decrease compliance. Art LaPella (talk) 03:54, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. However, it is already not the case that any editor can make any kind of change to any page at any time. I am not promoting a "cabal" (wikt:cabal; in any negative sense. (See WP:CABAL.) Practicing without a license is illegal for a good reason. Also, society encourages the use of designated drivers for a good reason. People differ in their qualifications for various activities.
Wavelength (talk) 15:11, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
On this page we take it for granted that deciding to space an en dash is right or wrong, depending on paragraphs of exceptions, because other conflicting authorities said so. Even if that makes sense, don't expect the rest of Wikipedia to share that perception. Art LaPella (talk) 17:35, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
In other words, Art, we rely on sources. (But we could do that a little more if you ask me.) Unfortunately for us, the sources are unusually muddled when it comes to dashes.
How about instead of excluding or endorsing specific editors, we made the sourcing of the MoS more visible? There's hardly a ref tag in it. Do you think people would give the MoS more weight if people knew we weren't making this stuff up? Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:41, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 105#Guideline-by-guideline citation of sources (November 2008).
Wavelength (talk) 02:50, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Wavelength, I'm not going to read through this whole conversation and then take a stab at which point you're trying to make. Are you going for "I supported this idea four years ago," "this didn't work four years ago," or "haven't seen Philcha in a while, have we?"? Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:09, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I read it as "Here's why I supported this before." Art LaPella (talk) 14:10, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I proposed the idea almost four years ago, and I still support it now.
Wavelength (talk) 15:24, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I think ref tags would give the MoS more weight, within limits (whichever scripture-based religion you don't believe in (nobody believes them all) gets its information from its sources too). Art LaPella (talk) 03:25, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I think, as I said above (perhaps I should set it off as a separate sub-section) that this is entirely the wrong approach, based on an entirely false premise. [I'm being emphatic out of a desire to be make my point clear, not out of frustration or anger at anyone else. I wouldn't be surprised if I found that I agree with Wavelength as often as I disagree.] An occasional sparing and judicious citation would not be unwelcome ("Wikipedia rarely uses interrobangs because they are not widely understood.[ref]"), but the only authority for any Wikipedia usage is Wikipedia's editors themselves. Use your favourite analogy for establishing a republic from nothing on a desert island or an uninhabited planet. Now, here on the Talk Pages, where these things are, or should be, largely decided, the situation's very different. If I say here that no one uses interrobangs so Wikipedia's MoS should discourage them, another editor would greatly strengthen her opposing view by citing authoritative sources and respectable instances, strongly impelling interrobangs' detractors to come up with their own contrary sources. But the Manual of Style itself reflects usage and conventions as agreed among the editors and common Wikipedia practice, not anyone else's manual or authorities. If H.W. Fowler, Eric Partridge, H.L. Mencken, George Orwell, Noah Webster, the MLA, The AP, The New York Times and every edition of the Chicago and Yahoo! manuals insisted on the use of interrobangs, but Wikipedia's consensus was against them, the latter is the only authority that matters. If you wanted to cite a reference, it would be to Wikipedia itself, which might seem silly, recursive and redundant, but in fact it might not be so bad to refer to the most relevant and/or recent Talk Page section that discussed or decided a particular point. It would give the curious reader the real reasoning behind a point, which might or might not agree with external authorities (e.g. on straight versus curly quotation marks). And those Talk Page sections themselves would usually give some external authorities, or perhaps explain why the issue was decided on some completely different basis (e.g. technical difficulties, accessibility, avoiding confusion, comprehension across languages or just common preference established by a Request for Comment). —— Shakescene (talk) 15:48, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Or more realistically, one person writes an interrobang guideline, the people watching this page don't bother to revert it, and the rest of Wikipedia continues as before, unaware of the change. It's the best indicator of a consensus we have, as long as we remember the best indicator isn't a very good one. Art LaPella (talk) 17:24, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Shakescene, yes that's how it works on this page, but it is bad that that's how it works on this page. It's a recipe for making whims and pet peeves into rules. Less emphasis on the arbitrary decisions of a few people and more emphasis on reliable sources would change things for the better. WP:CONSENSUS basically says "If the consensus is that the sky is orange, the sun is black and elephants grow on trees, then the article should say that," but I see this more as an "if all else fails" thing. Ideally, the arguments that WP:C is meant to resolve are based on sources (whereas here they're largely based on preferences). Unsourced material can be removed from any article. The MoS should have a higher standard, not a lower one. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:55, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Darkfrog24, decisions made by a few people are not therefore arbitrary, and I know that some editors have referred to various style guides in discussing various guidelines.
Wavelength (talk) 23:04, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Being made by a few people is not what makes them arbitrary. By "arbitrary," I mean "has no real value in itself," "would work just as well the other way," and in rare cases, "in direct conflict with sources." Yes, people use style guides on this talk page. They should just be doing it more. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:17, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
As with most others by the look of it, I agree that this would be an appalling idea (and would create a lot of work if it was done by test as suggested). Not only does it go against the basic principles here of everyone being able to contribute but, as noted, the main problem with the MOS currently is in fact the near-ownership of these pages by a self-appointed group of "experts" - who, as "experts" who can't see the wood for the trees often will, have managed to construct a hugely overcomplicated, fussy and user-unfriendly MOS that no casual editor is ever likely to read, follow or even give two hoots about. This is likely to only compound that problem. N-HH talk/edits 08:14, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Is there another way to solve the problem that Wavelength has raised, using Wikipedia's existing culture and infrastructure? One could certainly make the case that the MoS should be edited less than regular articles are, so semi-protection has some merit. We could also step up the rules on sources. The minimum on Wikipedia is "attributable, if not actually attributed," but maybe we could put a sign on the page saying, "attributed, please, even if you don't think it's important." This wouldn't do much for rephrases, though. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:50, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
One place to start could be the warning at the top of this talk page, which currently states "The Arbitration Committee has permitted administrators to impose discretionary sanctions on any editor editing this page or associated pages." Is there a way to reword this to suggest that certain conversations are welcomed and encouraged, but other behavior is not? Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 14:39, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
As the MOS is kind of a "meta" page, there's probably a case for semi-protection and also for a request/requirement that people propose any changes on the talk page first, however minor they might seem. I'm not sure that sourcing matters as such for a guideline page though. More broadly, per other problems, I'd argue it needs to be cut down to about a tenth of its size and simplified massively. It needs to focus more (eg by avoiding a lot of the basic English writing skill stuff - maybe that can be a separate page), be far less fussy and detailed (eg not have such complicated dash/hyphen rules) and cover what it does cover less wordily. How you'd get agreement on what to lose though, the Lord only knows ... N-HH talk/edits 19:25, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
I am not in favor of reducing the size of the Manual of Style. It settles issues that arise elsewhere. If some guidelines are going to be removed, they will likely be proposed for inclusion again. I am in favor of a miniature version of it (in addition to it) as an aid to editors who find a large version to be daunting. The most important guidelines can be included in Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Miniature (red link now), which can be a stepping-stone to the main Manual. See also User:Tony1/Beginners' guide to the Manual of Style and Wikipedia:Styletips.
Wavelength (talk) 20:03, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm with Wavelength on this one. The MoS might be big but it's well-organized. It's not meant to be read end-to-end but for users to CTRL-F and find what they need, just like in a print style guide. But if you think you can make this instruction or that less wordy and retain its meaning, give it a shot.
I don't think that Tony's guide would be good for beginners (unless he's edited it a lot since I saw it last). He cut out so much explanation that a beginner wouldn't know what a lot of the sentences mean, but the idea of a short-form MoS could work, so long as it's understood that the main MoS takes precedence in all cases of mismatch. Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:14, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Remember the subpages. Use Template:Style. CTRL-F doesn't work. Art LaPella (talk) 22:44, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
And also remember that print style guides are ordinarily for people who are paid to obey; Wikipedians can't look up a rule if they had no idea it existed. Art LaPella (talk) 22:56, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Both these things are why I favor centralization. The fewer pages there are, the easier the rules are to find. Darkfrog24 (talk)
And my usual answer is, one combined MoS page would be 4 times larger than Wikipedia's largest. I forget what the usual response is; is it really feasible for everyone to load a page that big, and if it is, why aren't the other pages that big? Art LaPella (talk) 03:07, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
If it is larger but easier to use, I'm all for it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:27, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
It wouldn't be easier to use because it'd take longer to load, if it fully loads at all before the browser crashes. And Ctrl-F only works if you know exactly what you're looking for, anyway. Whereas this (or even this) is much more flexible. A. di M. (talk) 10:09, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
N-HH, anyone can contribute, but we differ in what we are able to contribute and in what we are allowed to contribute. (See Category:Wikipedians by Wikipedia status.)
Wavelength (talk) 22:40, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Well the general principle is that most people can contribute in most areas. That surely includes in drafting and updating an MOS; and, as noted, if you leave this to an approved clique arguing the toss over the obscure corners of the Chicago Manual of Style, you get an MOS that even more people will feel free to ignore when they edit the main content parts of the site, which seems kind of self-defeating. As to size, again, you are more likely to get buy-in from most content editors if you have a simple, focused lead MOS page - which would, for example, simply explain overall WP page layout and formatting, Engvar principles and major punctuation/capitalisation style points etc. More specialised points should devolve to sub-pages, where those who care about such things probably will be the only ones editing those pages anyway (probably also helping to solve the problem cited) as well as the only ones applying the rules laid out there for copyedit sweeps, GA/FA review etc (as now). Basic English writing and grammar rules should be cut out as well and hived off somewhere separate, as quasi-tutorial pages. Let's assume that contributors here can either write or repair basic English syntax or punctuation as a matter of course without needing to be held by the hand as they go (of course many can't, but an MOS is not there to teach them that, it's primarily there to impose broad consistency over points where there are competing but broadly "correct" alternatives). Does an MOS for a general-use and general-editor encyclopedia really need, for example, to cover the basic use of commas and semi-colons, let alone at the level of detail and volume of words it has? Really? It probably should say something about serial commmas, where there are competing principles, but can't it say it in one line? N-HH talk/edits 09:38, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Dictatorial elitism is an odd thing to propose for "the encyclopaedia anyone can edit". Personally, if I thought only a select few had a say in the rules, then I would be more likely to ignore them. A cursory glance at history shows I'm not alone in this. Outside of that, a condensed version of the MOS is a great, and much needed, idea. SFB 20:54, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
N-HH, if most people contribute in most areas, regardless of their areas and levels of expertise, without professional guidance, the results tend to be amateurish. If most people contribute mostly in areas where they have high levels of expertise, then the results tend to be more professional. (If the most qualified physicians and engineers have to earn their incomes by driving taxicabs and flipping hamburgers, then society misses the benefits of their expertise in health care and engineering.)
Wavelength (talk) 23:04, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Basically you are seeking to make MOS the exclusive preserve of a self selected band of so called "qualified persons", giving yourselves total power to command everybody else on Wikipedia without challenge. If anyone anywhere else on Wikipedia would try something like this on they would be laughed at and dismmissed. It should also be noted that the most severe problems associated with MOS have been due to people who consider themselves experts arguing with eachother, which has resulted in unfortunate results. What is needed here is more people who aren't obsessed with minutia in order to keep the demands to overcontrol eveything and to expand into content in check.Nigel Ish (talk) 23:23, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Whereas because this is Wavelength making the proposal, with his long history of rational behavior, civil conduct and tireless use sources, we're taking the proposal seriously. It's just that most of us don't think it's a good idea for Wikipedia.
"Obsessed with minutia" is pretty much a criterion for almost anyone who decides to work on the MoS in the first place, but I agree that people should keep their emotions out of it. It should be about making Wikipedia better, not about controlling others. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:22, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, there's minutiae in style guides and also general, broad principles. As I said, having a broad, general MOS guidance sheet as well as more specialised sub-pages means you have both the level of detail there that is sometimes needed and also a general set of principles that the average casual editor might actually get something out of and be happy to tag along with, and which will also actually cover 95% of content. And Wavelength, yes people of course have different skills. But as a matter of principle, and maybe not always to its benefit, WP does not bar people from contributing as amateurs or even ignoramuses. Indeed that's the whole point of the site, since everyone can play a part in creating, developing and improving content, as well as the rules that guide the site - indeed, sometimes the non-expert brings a clearer eye to more technical issues. If you don't like that, you're the one who's in the wrong place, not the rest of us. Anyone who wants to pass a test and be accredited as a professional general or copy-editor here, with exclusive rights to edit the MOS or any substantive content should, er, apply for a job as a professional editor in the real world (and get paid for it). N-HH talk/edits 09:15, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Too many editors spoiling the Manual (part 2)

A few comments above have referred to my proposal in terms of political power, whereas I intended that they be understood in terms of academic expertise. If more editors would ignore the Manual of Style in that arrangement, then that tells me more about those editors than it tells me about the Manual or the arrangement. I would ask those editors to consider how much they would appreciate having professional services rendered to them by someone underqualified practicing without a license. Also, I would ask them to consider whether a publishing company should indiscriminately hire anyone seeking employment, in the interests of "democracy" and "equal opportunity".
Wavelength (talk) 01:28, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Academic expertise by its very definition implies a power relationship achieved through status. This is not a paid-for, private publishing company – it is a mass-participation volunteer project. SFB 16:30, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
That would be fine if the purpose of the MOS was just to give recommendations. But to the extent that the MOS is supposed to be followed by all articles, it needs to be open to the input of all editors. The issue of academic expertise, or practicing without a license, is interesting, because at least some MOS editors explicitly discount the benefit of academic knowledge of how to style particular articles. — Carl (CBM · talk) 01:37, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I communicated with an editor (perhaps not a MOS editor) with that view (Wikipedia:Specialist style fallacy), in a discussion now archived at User talk:Wavelength/Archive 3#Sparsely-spotted stingaree (September 2010). In my last post to that discussion, I stated the following.

If the leading authorities on the study of sharks and rays, because of their expertise in that field, have found what they consider to be a valid reason for using the hyphen in this expression, then I might be persuaded to accept that reason as a basis for agreeing with their decision about hyphenation. Otherwise, or until I know of such a reason, I believe that they have simply made an error in the use of the English language, and that someone with expertise in the study of the English language (possibly a copy editor or a linguist) should kindly tell them of their error.

Wavelength (talk) 02:06, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Expert retention#Verifying credentials (version of 22:53, 27 March 2012 says the following.

Some history may be in order here. Wikipedia:Ignore all credentials and other similar proposals arose in reaction to a positive proposal for verifying credentials. Rather than being merely negative, those concerned with expert retention may also want to contribute to developing a positive framework for credentialing within Wikipedia.

Wavelength (talk) 02:31, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Wavelength, your analogy doesn't hold up. People come to Wikipedia with the understanding that it is written primarily by amateurs. It is itself unlicensed. When I want sure, expert advice, I go to a professional site. When I want something fast and accessible, I go to Wikipedia. To be more literal, a company should hire people whom it expects will do quality work in exchange for their pay. Wikipedia does not pay us.
If having an expertly, professionally composed MoS were that important, we'd be using one of the proven guides that already exist, like Chicago or AMA. (I could get behind that, actually.) There's a difference, however, between a real-world expert and a Wikipedia expert.
WP:Ignore all credentials does offer an alternative for credentialing. It says to judge contributions by the sources to which they have been attributed rather than by the editors who contributed them. I like it.
This isn't to say that credentials have no place on Wikipedia. There may be some fair way to acknowledge real-world credentials and some way of weighting people's opinions in discussions and debates, but I think that the current proposal is more likely to give more power to entrenched MoS regulars and exclude those who do not share their opinions, even though I believe it to have been proposed in good faith. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:02, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd agree with Darkfrog24: an MOS that is too academic for the average contributor to understand—and/or too long and detailed for the average contributor to want to read, much less memorize—is next to useless. There is a real need to abbreviate and simplify. Also remember that if Wikipedia is not a fun place for people with specialist knowledge—but not necessarily expert English skills—to contribute articles, then these contributors will leave. Wikipedia surely should be a place where new contributors feel welcome, and where editors cooperate to make contributors look better, rather than a place where editors stalk new contributors and revert their contributions without saying a word? Wikipedia surely needs more contributors, more friendly and mentoring editors, and fewer politicians. Wikipedia surely is more about building a community based on shared enthusiasm and civil behavior than about creating and arguing over a zillion rules. To repeat: I'd agree that there is a real need to abbreviate and simplify. LittleBen (talk) 05:08, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually, we're not on the same page about how big the MoS should be. Style guides aren't meant to be read end-to-end. They're like dictionaries. You go to the part you need. The issue at hand is 1. whether people should have to go through some kind of vetting process before they're allowed to edit the Wikipedia MoS, 2. if so, what that process should be and 3. any other proposals for solving the MoS's problems (mostly noncompliance). Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:22, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I think the average new Wikipedia contributor will take a long time to find the MoS and all the other related Wikipedia guidelines scattered all over the place and not consolidated or linked. You might take a look at the MoS:Singapore-related articles, which starts out by saying that ... "contributors are ... free to ignore all rules so long that it is reasonable to do so". ;-) It's unreasonable to expect all Wikipedia contributors to write perfect English. It's a lot more productive to help potential contributors look good and to improve than to create a zillion rules that they are not going to find and/or not going to read, or to revert all their work without saying a word. LittleBen (talk) 05:59, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I certainly took a long time to find it. I remember going through six and seven pages at a time and still not finding the one I needed. But that's the number of pages, not the size.
Of course they don't all speak perfect English. A hemiliterate botanist may contribute great facts to the article on sunflowers, and then another editor may come and correct the wording. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:19, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
  • A short, easy version of MoS is required for new editors. An introit into this one, if they ever get that far. Gnoming through many articles shows me the common issues new editors get wrong ... they should be set out in a MoSlite document. Tony (talk) 09:18, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree that style guides are not meant to be read end-to-end, but that's doesn't mean we can or should make the main MOS page as long as we like. The problem is that the average person looking to contribute here who comes looking for some "rules" on how to write in WP-style and format will simply be put off. Professional writers and editors are used to consulting and working with lengthy, detailed style guides. Most other people, whether experts in a specific topic field or enthusiastic amateurs, are not. They just want some general pointers - eg should we capitalise job titles? Italicise quotes? - which will, anyway, cover 95% of any significant style issues that that come up. Not only are many of the rules too prescriptive and too complicated (eg the hyphen-dash rules) but they're explained in way too much detail for most purposes (detail that would sit better on linked sub-pages, where people who care about whether we write p25, p.25 or page 25 in footnotes can argue away); equally, for professional writers and editors, the current MOS has far too much patronising stuff about how to write uncontroversial basic English, which, again, should be on separate pages as tools for those who really don't know how to. As to the questions: 1) definitely not, as most people have said; 2) N/A; and 3) cut the complexity of the rules and the size of the main rule page, which would be both a good in itself and help with compliance. N-HH talk/edits 09:30, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
N-HH, how do you know that "the average person looking to contribute here" "will simply be put off"? How do you know that "most other people" (people who are not "[p]rofessional writers and editors") "just want some general pointers"? If contributors really enjoy learning and expanding their knowledge, they may be glad to delve into the minutiae of copy editing.
Wavelength (talk) 19:53, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Overly Detailed Bibliography

I'm not sure if this is the place to raise this issue, its concerning overly detailed bibliographies. The specific page I am talking about is here Koh Buck Song. The subject is a journalist, writer and poet. I can understand his self written works being listed, but currently the lists in his page also apparently includes every single article he has ever written, as well as every single instance he has been quoted or interviewed. I'm fairly certain the detailed provided here is too much (I.e. we don't see every single review ever written by Robert Egbert over the decades on his article page). So I'm just trying to find out which guideline this would fall under and what would be the best way to fix the article? Because right now the page basically looks like one long list after another, and thats after I attempted to remove repeated entries. Or alternatively, would appreciate any help in guiding me over to the correct place to ask about this, thanks! Zhanzhao (talk) 03:35, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

PS The way the content has been created also seems perculiar. Almost all the editors involved have only worked on this page, and the user names are random letters. If I didn't know better....Zhanzhao (talk) 03:39, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
There are Wikipedia guidelines on conflict of interest and notability. When self-advertisement or lack of notability is suspected, some editors mark an article as a candidate for deletion, in which case the author of the article generally has to provide independent references as to notability (or the article is deleted). LittleBen (talk) 04:03, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll try that. I think the subject would pass the notability test, the problem would then be instead of how to best improve the existing structure of the page. Any suggestions? Zhanzhao (talk) 04:16, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
There's also Wikipedia:Biography of living persons and Wikipedia:Editor assistance. Best regards. LittleBen (talk) 04:37, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Approaching the BLP page for help. FYI, as per the edit history and page analysis, the following are the top contributor behaviour. I only left out the 1 anonymous IP and myself.

Already put in a COI tag. This is FYI so you see at a glance the odd pattern I was seeing on that page. Zhanzhao (talk) 04:57, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

You might also like to look at Wikipedia:Sock puppet. LittleBen (talk) 05:07, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Authorship creditation

Earlier discussion (no conclusion): Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Archive_128#Does MOS:IDENTITY apply to credit for works?

An issue at the Film project regarding Larry Wachowski changing her name to Lana has arisen, which subsequently triggered a retrospective revision of the authorship credits on the films she made. Most reputable English language cataloguing systems do not re-credit work if a name is changed, or indeed if written under another name. One example would be Mary Anne Evans who wrote as George Eliot—all her work at the British library is still credited to George Eliot. The same goes for Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain etc. This is an international standard as far as I'm aware, but surprisingly there seems to be nothing in the MOS to cover this issue, so it is difficult to discourage editors who believe their actions are correct. Is it possible to add something like "Authorship credits should not be retrospectively altered to accommodate name changes at a later date" to the MOS to nip this problem in the bud? We could just stick this in the Film MOS, but it applies across music, literature etc, it really needs to be addressed in the central MOS. Betty Logan (talk) 12:14, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

You say that there's nothing in the MOS to cover this issue, under an earlier discussion asking whether MOS:IDENTITY applies. I suggest that MOS:IDENTITY does cover the issue, and is in MOS, and with respect to Ms. Wachowski, reflects an BLP concern. I therefore see no overriding reason to create some sort of exception for crediting works of entertainment. --j⚛e deckertalk 12:35, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
But does that conflict with WP:MOSBIO: " If a person is named in an article in which they are not the subject, they should be referred to by the name they were using at the time of the mention rather than a name they may have used before or after the mention"?
This has similarities with place names where a change of name is associated with a change of "nationality". I am thinking of places like Gdańsk/Danzig, where there is even a template {{Gdansk-Vote-Notice}}. --Boson (talk) 12:43, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
MOS:IDENTITY appears contradictory here. On the one hand, the verifiability clause says to credit to work as the name the subject used at the time the work was created—and as Boson points out, WP:MOSBIO supports that. On the other hand, the clause about gender says to retroactively change it. It would seem the simplest solution would be, in films where credits are listed, to use a piped link and show the name as it existed at the time of the film. Clicking through the link would provide background. —C.Fred (talk) 12:47, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I disagree here, WP:V is not optional, but is not an excuse for not reading all the sources as a whole and making sensible choices. The idea that we must talk about The Running Man as not being written by Steven King is anything but a verifiability issue. (If there are legitimate concerns of whether Lana Wachowski the human being was the person who authored the Matrix, we can talk WP:V, but otherwise, I believe this argument is groundless.) --j⚛e deckertalk 12:58, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
MOS:IDENTITY applies to people's lives, not to authorship creditation. For instance, MOS:IDENTITY requires us to say "She directed The Matrix..." as opposed to "He directed the Matrix...", but should not—and arguably does not—apply to authorship creditation. If that were the case it would put Wikipedia at odds with the international standard which a good encylcopedia should strive to observe. Secondly I don't actually think MOS:IDENTITY is applied to authorship creditation: The Beatles are still referred to as The Beatles on their discography articles, even though they have long ceased going by that name. If we apply MOS:IDENTITY retrospectively to authorship then by rights we should remove all references to the group and replace the authorship credit with their individual names. Betty Logan (talk) 12:51, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
As someone who produces art, I can assure you that credits about my work are very much about my life. As it turns out, I don't use a pseudonym, I was born with this silly name, but I think you are making a distinction that I don't recognize as a distinction and which is not made in the MOS. I don't particularly have a problem with the construction So-and-so (credited as so-and-so), which is what we use for King's book The Running Man. --j⚛e deckertalk 12:58, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
The Running Man is a confused example, because it has been published under both names, so arguably should be credited to both names. The British library as a consequence has two separate entries for it. What matters though is how work is catalogued: international English language cataloguing is standardised, and an authorship credit isn't about the identity of the author it is about the identity of the work. For example, let's say that Cat Stevens had written the "The Origin of Species", and then changed his name to Yusef Islam and then the British library had then catalogued the work under Yusef Islam, it would become much more problematic for researchers tracking down the article who were pursuing it under the original authorship. By the same token, by misapplying MOS:IDENTITY to authorship on articles could lead to examples where the authorship on our articles and the authorship on our citations don't match up, and I would say the bibilographic details in both cases should certainly match up for the same work. An authorship credit is not about the identity of the author, it is about the identity of the work, and it should match the international standard. Betty Logan (talk) 13:22, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)
EDIT :Betty says it better, a lot calmer and more rational than myself. The credit is the credit is the credit. Actors are credited by their stage names that are so ingrained people think they are their real names, not their actual, legal names. In the sense of the Matrix films, they were produced under The Wachowski Brothers stage name and that is how the credit should remain. Piped links are already in place because they lead to the Wachowskis which ultimately leads to information about the change. This affects future works where she takes the credit of Lana (which as current applies only to Cloud Atlas), but the existing credit on articles should only be what it was and always will be. I just can't see it as acceptable to say that if Wes Craven changes his name to Samantha Bee, that the opening of A Nightmare on Elm Street would say "directed by Samantha Bee", which would fly in the face of his name draped across all that media and the common knowledge of his involvement aside. It wouldn't be ok to retroactively alter all the posters/covers/films to reflect that change so why would articles about anything that occurred decades before the event have to reflect that? They are not biographical articles, they are not monitored by the BLP groups. In the same way, if someone gets married and changes their stage name, piped links would be the answer, retroactively altering her name in past articles, making it appear that she was married at the time when she was not, would not be the answer. In works post Lana's change, where she is verifiably and legally accepted as such, she is operating as a woman and it would be acceptable to refer to her as such in those works and only those works onward when discussing the film and its development, but if she is still working under the legal name or "stage name" of Larry, that is how the credit should be in the infobox and lede, if she is involved in a position that requires her to be mentioned there. It comes across as revisionist and an effort to put sensitivity above providing the facts as they were, when the project has put facts before sensitivity in cases like that album cover with the naked underage girl on it, and that is how it should be. Darkwarriorblake (talk) 13:35, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Note This was in reply to something Joe Decker said but has since removed. Well I'm not sure what any of "Any person whose gender might be questioned should be referred to by the gendered nouns, pronouns, and possessive adjectives that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification. This applies in references to any phase of that person's life. Nevertheless, avoid confusing or seemingly logically impossible text that could result from pronoun usage (for example: instead of He gave birth to his first child, write He became a parent for the first time)." has to do with authorship credits, and in it's current state I probably would as it defines no limits or scope. It is assumedly talking about biographical events. It makes sense to refer to them as their latest expressed gender IN PRESENT TERMS because that is the reality, it makes no sense to revise their entire history so that it appears they were born that way. Darkwarriorblake (talk) 14:05, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
For this case, wouldn't "written by Lara Wachowski (as Larry Wachowski)" do the trick? That's what we do with actors who change their stage names, as in "Robby Gee (credited as Robert Gee)." Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:01, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that would work, because those are not the bibliographic details of the work. The bibiliographic details of the work are static, they don't change. You are misrepresenting factual information that is verifiable through virtually every major English language cataloguing system. Assigning authorship to Lana Wachowski is mispresenting the bibliographic authorship. If you want to make a point in the article that Larry is now known as Lana I personally have no objection to that, but bibliographic authorship as documented in the infobox should follow the verifiable bibliographic details of the work, which is to use the name the work was authored under. Betty Logan (talk) 16:14, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
But those are the bibliographic details of the work, aren't they? The work was credited to Larry Wachowski, who is the writer now known as Lana Wachowski. —C.Fred (talk) 16:55, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
As far as the infobox, I pulled up "Jack and Diane" to see how it's handled in other cases. The infobox only says John Cougar; the text says the song was written and produced by John Mellencamp, who was then performing as John Cougar. Based on that, it seems reasonable to have only Larry listed in the infobox, with a Larry/Lana explanation in the text. —C.Fred (talk) 16:58, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
The discussion has moved again here where Betty has formulated a good argument and phrasing which is gaining support for items which fall under the scope of the Film Project. Combined with C.Fred's Cougar find, I think it is fairly obvious that at least we can come to an agreement on infobox credits referring only to the original given credit and lede, while discussion in the body text can explain a name change if necessary. And that this should be placed into the MOS guideline. Although that Jack & Diane fails, credits the song by John Cougar then says that John Mellencamp wrote it, when you have sites like this crediting him as John Cougar or John Cougar Mellencamp. Darkwarriorblake (talk) 00:01, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Quotation marks and italics (renamed from "O Great Masters of MOS")

Formerly O Great Masters of MOS...

O Great Masters of MOS, harken to my query, as I can find no guidance to relieve my uncertainty (both arise at Herb Caen):

(1) Which is correct?

Smith's first column was "Digging It Up", appearing daily in the Beetown Bugle.
Smith's first column was Digging It Up, appearing daily in the Beetown Bugle.
The first seems right I guess, but just out of curiosity: suppose each day's column has a headline just for that day. Would we write this?
The scandal first broke in Smith's "Digging It Up" column in the Beetown Bugle ("More School Kickbacks", June 13, 2002).

(2) Which is preferable?

If I do go to heaven, I'm going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to heaven. He looks around and says, "It ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco."
or (changing the innermost quotes)
If I do go to heaven, I'm going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to heaven. He looks around and says, 'It ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco.'

Thank you, O Great Ones, for any Enightenment you can shed on the above Style Conundrums! EEng (talk) 06:43, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

So summoned, how can one not answer the call?
  1. For me the first is preferable. The fact that the column appears as various instalments in various editions of the periodical does not cancel the fact that it is a component of the periodical. In less formal style, I suppose that neither quotes nor italics would be used. I am away from my library of style resources right now, but I'll get back to you when I have a chance to confirm or modify this opinion. For the "curiosity" question, I would say yes: quotes. Here "Digging It Up" premodifies "column", and that by itself justifies the quotes, used in a way that so far is not recommended in MOS but ought to be.
  2. The single quotes are preferable, if the choice is forced. Double quotes are dreadful there. But I would strongly recommend against that idiosyncratic markup whenever the quoted text itself included any quote marks.
Finally, thank you for your Freudian or Joycean "Enightenment". A miracle of condensed irony.
NoeticaTea? 07:54, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
I wish I could take credit for Enightenment but it's strictly a slip I'm afraid. Useful word though, eh what? Someday I'm gonna invent a drug and call it diatribe -- it would be an anti-antianxiety drug, for people who don't have enough anxiety in their lives. "Take two diatribe and call me in the morning." EEng (talk) 04:01, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I mostly agree with Noetica -- that's possibly a good sign that disagreement is impossible. :-) For the curiosity question, another option would be to rearrange it so that the title appeared as "Digging It Up: More School Kickbacks", but your sample text reads fine to me as well. I don't find the double quotation marks as dreadful as Noetica does, but the advice to avoid the idiosyncratic markup is good. -- JHunterJ (talk) 11:29, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Take a look at Herb Caen to see the unusual combination of circumstances (special Pulitzer citing Caen's close identification with SF, plus announcement of terminal cancer immediately after) which prompted the selection and placement of the boxed quote. Yes, I know it's not technically a pull-quote, but to drop the big quotes would required adding "-- Herb Caen" to the boxed text, which seems heavyhanded. Thus I found myself in the quandry queried.
I wonder if the following tampering -- certainly verboten (being nicht verbatim) in general -- might be excused by the plea that the box is more of a visual display than straight text (imagine the quote box for a moment as a bronze plaque -- changing to italics somehow seems more justified that way):
If I do go to heaven, I'm going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to heaven. He looks around and says, It ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco.
EEng (talk) 04:01, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
The column is a short-form work, so it should get quotation marks rather than italics. Please be advised that the use of untucked quotation marks untucked commas with quotation marks ("word",) is not allowed in standard American English; requiring British style on all articles is a peculiarity of the Wikipedia MoS. Consult your audience's requirements for use outside Wikipedia.
Although it looks a bit strange, I'd have to agree with the others with respect to the single quotations in the second example. The outermost quotation marks might be rendered as graphics, but they are still quotation marks. It's better to be correct than look correct (and best to have both). Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:08, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Since I've apparently stumbled into the Land of the Hypertaxonomizing Punctuators, I'm forced to point out that, to my knowledge, it is the comma (not the quote mark) which is "untucked" in your example -- its tail flapping in the wind I guess, instead pf neatly tucked down along the quatation's, um, posterior, just inside the back of the enveloping pair of quote-mark-trousers.
And I disagree with you about being right trumping looking right, which I can illustrate (as luck would have it) via the lead sentence of Herb Caen
Herbert Eugene "Herb" Caen was a San Francisco journalist whose daily column of local goings-on and insider gossip, social and political happenings, painful puns and offbeat anecdotes appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost sixty years.
For correctness, there ought to be another and in there, just before painful puns (and maybe some commas turned into semicolons for good mesaure). But as it stands it looks right (and feels right too), and that takes precedence being (technically) right in this case, methinks. All good writers make considered breakings of the rules.
EEng (talk) 04:01, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
The "ands" look (and feel) fine to me; it's all parallel construction. There is a slight hesitation at "anecdotes appeared" where the sense of the construction of the sentence is lost, and I found myself rereading for comprehension. And italics for an inside quotation? No way. Also, even though I read the article, I didn't connect the "going to heaven" part of the quotation in the box with the author's unfavorable medical diagnosis discussed in the text. It comes across as a standalone adage.
As far as the quotation set off by the box, is there some way to lose the {{Quote box format and put the quotation marks around the text itself? This is the challenge, to present the material without glaring grammatical errors and do it in a way that is not awkward for the reader. The original grammatical question has been answered, but I'm afraid the OP's problem remains unresolved and the "unenightenment" incomplete. Maybe someone more techie can come up with a techie alternative to the "quote" box. Neotarf (talk) 09:51, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I've also just read that British style uses double quotation marks for quotations even inside quotation marks.([18]) I don't remember encountering that before. -- JHunterJ (talk) 14:55, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
This source says to use double on the inside, but it also says to use single on the outside. It doesn't say to use double and double together. It seems consistent with the alternate-single-and-double rule seen elsewhere. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:05, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

[I am revising the heading of this section from O Great Masters of MOS... (attitudinal information) to Quotation marks and italics (topical information), in harmony with WP:TPOC, point 13 (Section headings). Please think of editors searching for topical information in headings in the Archives. Please see Microcontent: Headlines and Subject Lines (Alertbox). —Wavelength (talk) 15:24, 31 July 2012 (UTC)]

Boldly conflating titles in the interests of unbenighted licentia vatum and to preserve continuity and intelligibility of edit summaries. Neotarf (talk) 23:09, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
It will be an apocalypse to many readers that the expression "licentia vatum" is defined as "poetic license" at Also, "benighted" is defined at wikt:benighted.
Wavelength (talk) 00:02, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't mind the change of heading, but really -- does everything have to become a hypertechnical citelinkfest? Anyway, if easing archive searches is a priority, wouldn't Titles of daily news columns; quotes within pull-quotes be more useful? EEng (talk) 04:01, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
The external page to which I linked at 15:24, 31 July 2012, recommends brevity and informativeness, and the revised heading Quotation marks and italics was the option which seemed to me to satisfy those two criteria best. As for the heading which you suggested, it would be more informative, but at the expense of brevity. (Here I record my revision of the heading at 15:24, 31 July 2012, and the revision of the heading by Neotarf at 23:08, 31 July 2012.) One factor contributing to the challenge was the fact that two different topics were presented in one section.
Wavelength (talk) 04:46, 1 August 2012 (UTC) and 04:50, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
An interesting external link, and one that I wish had been read by the individuals who sent me the 148 emails in my inbox that are titled "Important". But surely the talk pages need not always be written in a soulless encyclopedic register. As many times as WP:CIVIL gets cited on talk pages, I find the use of literary devices in the above query and response to be a refreshing change. I have to admit though, that I don't really understand (or use) indexing of Wikipedia talk pages. Neotarf (talk) 10:12, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

MOS:QUOTE and title case

Does the final point of MOS:QUOTE's allowable changes (regarding capitalisation when quoting a full sentence) also apply to quoting titles? For example, citing this, can I say that Friedersdorf described Daniels as "the Tea Party's dream candidate" rather than its "Dream Candidate"? Thanks. – Arms & Hearts (talk) 01:01, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Indiscriminate capitalization makes me [sic]. But this is a title written in title case. I would certainly see no need to export title case to the main text. Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:13, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

personal names on second reference

I think there's something somewhere about how to refer to someone more than once in an article, for example, that "Chris Smith" should be subsequently referred to as simply "Smith". I wanted to read what it has to say about special cases, but couldn't find it. Does anyone know where that is? or is it nowhere now? Thanks. Nick Levinson (talk) 16:27, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Paragraph 2 of Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Proper names#Personal names (version of 15:02, 16 June 2012) says: "The most complete name (with titles) should appear at the beginning of the article to provide maximum information." I found no information answering your specific question, but I suggest that appropriate guidance be included in that paragraph.
Wavelength (talk) 16:58, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
WP:SURNAME is helpful if not absolutely comprehensive (and be sure to read to the end). EEng (talk) 05:33, 3 August 2012 (UTC)


Do we have a policy on changing "Linux" to "GNU/Linux" or vice versa? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Guy Macon (talkcontribs) 17:17, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

The policy is to use whichever is accurate. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 18:41, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
What a great idea! Are editors fighting about climate change? Just tell them to put whatever is accurate in the article! Can't decide whether to call a city Gdańsk or Danzig? Just call it whatever is accurate! Need to resolve conflicting claims about Palestine and Israel? Just tell them to write whatever is accurate!!
If you read GNU/Linux naming controversy, you will see that there are differing opinions about which is accurate. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:47, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
So, discuss the controversy. But keep wp:AT in mind, it is policy.LeadSongDog come howl! 22:00, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia has Wikipedia:WikiProject Linux and Category:Linux and All pages beginning with "Linux" and All pages beginning with "List of Linux"—so it appears that editors have already decided to use "Linux".
Wavelength (talk) 22:55, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Pardon me if I'm being dense, but what in the name of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Saints and Apostles All is this topic even doing on this page? EEng (talk) 05:16, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
You have an objection to someone asking legitimate MOS questions on the MOS talk page?
Every day we have well-meaning edits like this changing between the two. It is no different from the already-resolved issue of well-meaning editors changing between color and colour. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:22, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I think GNU vs Linux is less like color vs colour than right-to-life vs anti-abortion. Here, try this thought experiment: assuming agreement can be reached on this, just where in MOS would the answer be lodged for posterity? If the answer is "nowhere" then this discussion belongs elsewhere. Surely there are places where the GNU-Linux question is as passionately contested as spacing around em-dashes is here. EEng (talk) 21:52, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
That does make sense. Where does Wikipedia's policy on "right-to-life" vs "anti-abortion" reside? They must have the same problem -- someone going through a bunch of articles and changing every "anti-abortion" to "pro life", and obviously whoever tells them to knock it off needs to cite a policy. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:06, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Right-to-life vs anti-abortion is discussed at the Sex, Politics & Religion Noticeboard (WP:HOPELESSTARPIT) but if you plan to post a query there -- "Hey, maybe we computer geeks can learn something from you guys about friendly conflict resolution" -- I think you'll be wasting your time. Instead try WT:LINUX -- try the archive search first. See also GNU/Linux naming controversy. EEng (talk) 22:47, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! --Guy Macon (talk) 23:06, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Hyphen/dash question

Just a quick one that has come up at WP:RM/TR. Because "Russo" is a combining form, it should be "Russo-Turkish" and not "Russo–Turkish", correct? Jenks24 (talk) 18:56, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

I would agree with that, although I'm no expert and I am going by the Franco-British and French–British rivalry example at MOS:ENDASH. "Russo" like "Franco" cannot operate independently of the other term, unlike Russian/French. Betty Logan (talk) 19:26, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
This reply elaborates on the reply from Betty Logan. MOS:ENDASH, part 2, point 7 (version of 23:30, 24 July 2012) says the following.
  • Wrong: Franco–British rivalry; "Franco" is a combining form, not independent; use a hyphen: Franco-British rivalry
Wavelength (talk) 20:23, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
OK, this is solved. However, there are still some things on which I'd appreciate to be given the take of the experts in the matter around here. (I would imagine Jenks24 doesn't want this discussed on his talk page any further, so please reply here) – ὁ οἶστρος (talk) 15:37, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

When to subsection

I see a lot of information on how to organize and title subsections. Is there any guidance on when to subsection?842U (talk) 03:29, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Layout#Body sections (version of 11:10, 1 August 2012) says: "Very short or very long sections and subsections in an article look cluttered and inhibit the flow of the prose." In my experience, some sections titled "History" are probably the longest that I have seen, and some of them have more than 20 paragraphs. The editors at Wikipedia:WikiProject History can decide how best to divide them into subsections.
Wavelength (talk) 16:10, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
From my contribution history, I found seven revisions of article sections or subsections with more than 20 paragraphs.
Wavelength (talk) 18:27, 2 August 2012 (UTC) and 18:40, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Splitting#When to split (version of 10:33, 28 July 2012) says: "The two main reasons for splitting material out from an article, are size and content relevance." [sic] Instead of copying more than that from that guide for splitting articles, I simply refer to the linked page section for more details. I propose that similar guidance for article sections be included somewhere on Wikipedia, if it is not included already.
Wavelength (talk) 20:02, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Would you be willing to advise over at Australian Cattle Dog? We have an ongoing Rfc regarding sub-sectioning. Wikipedia just doesn't seem to give much guidance and you seem to have experience with the subject. 842U (talk) 12:02, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

I posted my comments there at 18:40, 4 August 2012.
Wavelength (talk) 18:43, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to give your input.842U (talk) 19:09, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Number symbol

Formerly #

A good Wikipedian just came along and changed all the "#"s on the page Margaret Lewis (music) to "No."s. Frankly, I think it looks horribly ugly and even a bit confusing, but I see that that is according to the MOS. I tried to find some past discussion on this issue, but what little I found seemed to lean towards the idea of allowing "#" for "number", at least for comics and charting music, where the usage seems to be common on both sides of The Pond. I'm OK with using "number" or "no." in a sentence, but if you have a long list of charting songs, # seems superior. Anyone else think this? Brianyoumans (talk) 03:22, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

A remarkably crisp and clear guideline to internationally accepted usage on this point is given in the article Number sign. (Don't be discouraged by that article's initial warning The correct title of this article is #. It appears incorrectly here because of technical restrictions. -- it's all downhill from there. O Wikipedia! Thy names are legion!) EEng (talk) 05:27, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
I am revising the heading of this section from # to Number symbol, in harmony with WP:TPOC, point 13 (Section headings). The number symbol is used in wiki markup, and may cause technical problems to watchlists or section links. Please see Microcontent: Headlines and Subject Lines (Alertbox).
Wavelength (talk) 03:40, 3 August 2012 (UTC) and 14:25, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
[I am adding a blank line after the anchor "Formerly #" so that the latter will be on a separate line. I should have previewed at 03:40.
Wavelength (talk) 14:25, 3 August 2012 (UTC)]
The edit at Margaret Lewis closely resembles the example used at our guideline (the number sign article doesn't have WP:GUIDELINE authority). So I too have made similar edits, and the guideline shouldn't say that if we don't want that result. (I also would have changed the spaced hyphens to spaced en dashes, and "from 1967–1971" to "from 1967 to 1971", based on WP:DASH.) Art LaPella (talk) 06:11, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Please, please tell me you understood my "recommendation" of Number sign as "crisp and clear" was facetious. EEng (talk) 00:19, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Sorry. On this page, insignificant punctuation differences are routinely denounced in apocalyptic terms, and I had no idea your opinion was any different. Art LaPella (talk) 03:50, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Oh? You mean the Oxford comma is debated with the the soul-saving fervor of a Jesuit and an Anabaptist locked in a cage for a bare-knuckle fight to the death? I hadn't noticed. EEng (talk) 11:25, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree. What I am asking, basically, is whether hash marks should be acceptable for the chart position of popular music. Is this usage recognized world-wide? I saw several comments in previous discussions of this issue that it was acceptable in England.Brianyoumans (talk) 15:05, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
There are archived discussions about the number sign in the following places.
Also, there is an archived discussion of some technical matters in the following place.
Wavelength (talk) 03:40, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Brackets within brackets

Should brackets within normal brackets be squared? Toccata quarta (talk) 08:14, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

I've seen style guides go both ways on this. The rules of English seem to give us our own choice. I'd say that we shouldn't make a rule about this unless it becomes a problem. For now, just go with internal consistency. So long as every multi-bracket within any given article uses the same system, you're good. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:06, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Welcome template

The {{Welcome}} template is intended for new Wikipedians. So after Sunday's major edit to Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style, let's have the Welcome template link to the simplified MoS, which has even more links than before to the complete MoS. Discuss it here. Art LaPella (talk) 21:28, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

I think it would be a useful addition to the welcome template, however I'm not sure it's 100% ready yet. I know I haven't contributed - I always said I wouldn't - but it still feels a bit scrappy (simply an observation, not meant as a criticism, not least because I'm ill-placed for that). I think it needs more general principles stated at the head of each section ahead of the specific examples, which in turn should be for illustration as much as to provide specific guidance on specific points - eg "WP tends to avoid excessive capitalisation". Plus it needs something about quote formatting, which is something that always leaps out of pages at me (eg the use of italics for quotes, which looks awful to these eyesand which I believe MOSQUOTE deprecates; when we'd want to go into blockquote format, and how etc). I'd also say the EngVar point should be at the very top, rather than down in a misc/other section. Also, on my old bugbear, I think the linking guidance is a bit restrictive (more so than the main guideline), especially with the phrase "and only those", and also a bit vague with its advice about linking what is "most likely or most helpful [sic] to be clicked". I'd prefer to include something about "enabling navigation to related topics", which is also a bit easier to assess objectively. N-HH talk/edits 08:00, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Again, I think principles are only as useful as the edits they will affect. "Avoid excessive capitalization" is a tautology. If it translates to "don't capitalize if you aren't sure", I thought undercapitalization was as bad as overcapitalization. It's more likely to result in uncapitalizing "Napoleon", "Google", and "I" than in doing it your way. Or if it translates to "capitalize less than what other stylebooks recommend", that assumes that newcomers will study every stylebook in sight in addition to this one. The whole point of WP:SMOS is the opposite; MEGO is likely to drive them off the page and maybe out of Wikipedia altogether.
  • I chose items that I often find when copyediting. WP:MOSQUOTE does not deprecate italics; the word "italics" occurs there only when discussing when to add italics. Blockquotes? Oh maybe. It could be condensed down to "Use blockquotes for more than about 40 words", but then I would need foolproof instructions, and it isn't a copyedit I really encounter.
  • Assuming the EngVar point doesn't belong in the introduction, putting it at "the very top" would require a larger reorganization. I can't think of a better one than what's there now.
  • The linking guidance was rewritten by Noetica. He likes more details than I do, but I liked his sentence "Hyphens are not dashes", a 4-word expression of a point the newcomer is likely to miss. Art LaPella (talk) 16:49, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Responses ...
  • I know "avoid excessive capitalisation" is technically tautologous and would need to be expressed a bit more cleverly, nor does it provide the answer to every possible scenario by itself of course, but the general point/principle is fairly clear, surely, in terms of how it might apply to section headings, job titles, generic terms etc, where there's often a 50-50 decision to be made. I think people will grasp the idea without having to refer to or be aware of real-world style-guide details; nor will they start decapitalising Napoleon. As I say, to me a simplified MOS is meant to set some parameters and boundaries that people can bear in mind as they write/edit, and refer to as a starting point in any "dispute", not necessarily answer specific queries.
  • Actually, the "Quotations in italics" part of the MOS, linked from MOSQUOTE (but not technically part of it, which shows how unwieldy the main MOS is) does say the following: "For quotations, use only quotation marks (for short quotations) or block quoting (for long ones), not italics. (See Quotations below.) This means that (1) a quotation is not italicized inside quotation marks or a block quote just because it is a quotation, and (2) italics are no substitute for proper quotation formatting". I see it all the time and particularly with larger quotes it's an aesthetic issue that's immediately visible, even before you start actually reading, hence why I think it matters quite a lot. I'd be fine with a suggestion to blockquote more than about 40 words (along with advice not to over-quote in the first place)
  • For EngVar, again my language was a bit loose in that I didn't mean right at the very top, but at the top rather than the bottom (possibly, indeed, in the intro). It's quite a basic principle here and a common source of problems.
I'll avoid commenting further on links, since the reason I don't to be involved in actually editing the SMOS is to avoid getting into arguments about it ... N-HH talk/edits 17:35, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Links from WP:MOS to WP:SMOS

Recently, specific guidelines in Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style were provided with links (labeled "More") to corresponding specific guidelines in Wikipedia:Manual of Style for further information. I propose that those same guidelines in the main manual have links to corresponding specific guidelines sections in the simplified manual for simplified information. (Those links might be labeled "Less".) In seeing those links, an editor who revises a guideline in the main manual can be alerted to check the simplified manual for consistency.
Wavelength (talk) 16:31, 8 August 2012 (UTC) and 16:47, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

These two brother pages (the big one and the lesser one) is already overcomplicated structure which requires extra maintenance. Rather than making that (technically independent) WP:SMOS and injecting bizarre statements about the precedence (BTW not based on even a local consensus), it would be better to redesign the Wikipedia:Manual of Style page thoroughly. Parts of its content can be made hidden by default (under [show]), switchable by transclusion (i.e. such that SMOS transcludes MOS with specific parameters), or we can simply reduce part of MOS's content, moving it to subpages. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 16:51, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
It is not clear to me what you mean by "local consensus". I launched a discussion about prioritization—Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 129#Prioritizing pages of guidelines (July 2012)—and I did not see a valid objection to my decision to add information about precedence.
Wavelength (talk) 17:50, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Even if Wavelength is in charge to judge whose objections are valid, maybe, in such a case a third opinion would be a more reliable way? Incnis Mrsi (talk) 18:42, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

What's the point?

Is there any point in having a manual of style, if editors deliberately choose to ignore its content? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Daicaregos (talkcontribs)

"Editors should attempt to follow guidelines", although more WP:EXCEPTIONS are to be expected than with a policy. There is some obligation to show that the exception is a special case, or to try to rewrite the guideline, rather than unilaterally declare the guideline to be wrong. Art LaPella (talk) 19:47, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Is there any benefit in having traffic laws, if some citizens deliberately ignore them? Yes, because the lawful citizens contribute to orderliness. Likewise, editors who follow the Manual of Style contribute to orderliness. The box at the top of the current version says "Use common sense in applying it; it will have occasional exceptions." If an editor sees a reason to make an exception, then disclosing that reason to other editors promotes cooperation.
Wavelength (talk) 20:43, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Don't worry, it's entirely possible to punish people for violating the MoS, even in places where the editor is right and the MoS is wrong (here defined as "directly contradicts established style guides"). If this guy's edits are causing a problem, then bring him up on AN/I. ::Wavelength is describing the way things should and often do work. The "there are exceptions" rule is meant for real reasons, not whims, and enough people follow the MoS enough of the time. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:04, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Where I said that "the lawful citizens contribute to orderliness" (which might be read as implying that some citizens act lawfully in all instances, and that some other citizens act unlawfully in all instances), I would have done better by saying that "the lawful actions by citizens contribute to orderliness" (which might be read as implying that any citizen might act lawfully in some instances and unlawfully in some other instances).
Wavelength (talk) 19:52, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Lawful actions contribute to order. This is not contingent on citizenship status. LeadSongDog come howl! 20:24, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
My clarification was intended to label actions instead of people. People can change, for better or worse. Dale Carnegie expounded the principle "Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to." (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
Wavelength (talk) 15:56, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Ellipses Recommendations

The MoS is presently recommending the use of three, unspaced period (.) characters over the use of an ellipsis character (…), because the ellipsis is said to be "harder to input and edit, and too small in some fonts." Could a source or a further explanation be offered? As a typographer, the use of triple-periods in place of ellipses looks incorrect and ignorant (no offense intended). The MoS recommends against invoking similar typewriter approximations, such as using a double-hyphen (--) in place of an em dash (—). I would disagree that ellipses are universally more difficult to enter (it depends on your keyboard and operating system), and I've not heard or seen elsewhere claims that they render at inconsistent sizes. Thank you. Startswithj (talk) 01:58, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

A good question, and easily answered: consistency, easy input for everyone, and absence of semantic difference.
  • Consistency is desirable both within and between articles, for three reasons at least:
  1. Uniform appearance, remembering that the preformed ellipsis (PRE) and the three-dot version (3DOT) are rendered with unpredictable degrees of variation in different typefaces and different browsers.
  2. Simplicity and reliability when checking and revising markup of a page. Editors may want to search a long page for ellipses, for some reason (and not all reasons are predictable, given the variety of ways editors operate).
  3. Transferability outside Wikipedia. Article text is increasingly used outside of the encyclopedia. This is to be encouraged. We cannot predict how the transfer will be managed. Usually by a simple cut and paste, probably: and then it is best to match the simple non-professional, non-technical 3DOT usage that predominates on the web and in private documents, so that our text fits harmoniously into its new context. No guarantees; but we can at least increase the likelihood of straightforward usability.
  • Easy input for everyone because most editors are entirely unfamiliar with PRE, and intuitively use 3DOT on Wikipedia and everywhere else. By default, Microsoft Word converts 3DOT into PRE; and most of its users are not aware that it does so – let alone how to override that default. The Wikipedia technicalities avoid such complication, and a very strong case would have to be made before it would be acceptable.
  • Absence of semantic difference, unlike en dash (–) versus hyphen (-); and like “ ” and " " (as normally implemented), and like ’ and '. En dash and hyphen mark different relations between the conjoined or separated relata; but variations in the precise styling of quotation marks and apostrophes mark no differences at all. They are typographical in the purest sense, and their treatment therefore demands simplicity and uniformity, in ways that have been discussed at length many times in this forum. So with ellipses; there is no semantic reason for overriding the considerations adduced above.
As for the markup "--", this is a vestige of typewriter days. The MLA guides have at last caught up with the '80s, and allow that "word processors" can now make proper dashes. Indeed. But the 3DOT ellipsis has nothing of the appearance of the bad old days. There is no problem to be solved by preferring the PRE ellipsis; it could only bring problems, without any clear compensation.
NoeticaTea? 04:31, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
What problems would it bring? Consistency within an article would be easy -- editors who can change one instance to … can change all instances to …. The analogy to '--' seems appropriate: editors are welcome to add text that uses the double-dash if they don't know how to make the em dash, but gnome work to follow up and improve it to — should be encouraged, and gnome work to improve ... to … also seems to be appropriate. The "editors may want to search a long page for ellipses" problem works both ways: editors may want to search a long page for … as well (for unpredictable reasons or through unpredictable interfaces), and the transfer "problem" does not appear to be an actual problem, any more than copy-and-pasting an actual em dash would be. -- JHunterJ (talk) 12:35, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
  • "Consistency within an article would be easy"? Not as easy as with a uniform recommendation of 3DOT, because this option gets far more compliance and always will. Most editors automatically use 3DOT, and it will always predominate no matter what recommendation MOS makes. Going with the majority intuitive option gives efforts toward consistency a head start. That advantage could theoretically be abolished by some other consideration; but nothing of that sort has been demonstrated.
  • "The analogy to '--' seems appropriate"? Editors are free to use all sorts of substandard legacies of an earlier technology. Many do. Many even use a single hyphen instead of a well-formed dash, not caring or not knowing any better. And others fix things later, if we are lucky. This is no argument against recommending a well-formed dash. Nor is there a latent argument here to support a gnomish effort to replace 3DOT with PRE wherever it occurs. No sufficient advantage for PRE has been exhibited.
  • "The 'editors may want to search a long page for ellipses' problem works both ways"? Perhaps; but this was an argument in support of consistency, not in support of either candidate for achieving that consistency.
  • "... the transfer 'problem' does not appear to be an actual problem". Or is it just one that you have not thought through? We start with mere appearances and presumptions, but move forward with evidence, analysis, and argument. I have shown the possibility of mismatches when Wikipedia text is transplanted to new soil. What have you shown? Em dash is different, of course. In the case of dashes there are semantic differences to preserve, so efforts to distinguish hyphens and forms of dashes are warranted. But there is no semantic-difference argument against a simple, intuitive recommendation for ellipses – one that starts with automatic majority compliance.
NoeticaTea? 23:43, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
I still disagree with the Manual's claim that an ellipsis is "harder to input and edit, and too small in some fonts," when compared to the use of a triple-period. An ellipsis can be typed in fewer keystrokes when using certain software and hardware, and more keystrokes when using others. I've also not heard elsewhere that an ellipsis is any more or less likely to render at a different size than a sequence of three periods. These are the only two arguments given in the Manual's recommendation against using an ellipsis.
I agree that consistency is important. Perhaps this should be argued in the Manual instead, in a similar fashion to the section on quotation marks and apostrophes.
There is no need to remind me of what effect the limited character set of typewriters had on typesetting. I for one would prefer we not repeat that horror within Wikipedia, however minor the character in question may seem to some.
Thank you, Startswithj (talk) 03:50, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
To address only the first point: Perhaps "harder to input and edit" should be "harder to research, input, and edit". Discovering how to type something that isn't on the keyboard (the keyboard almost all of us are using), or even discovering that it's desirable or possible for ordinary mortals to accomplish something typically described in impenetrable computerese, will take several orders of magnitude longer than 3 keystrokes. Art LaPella (talk) 05:36, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Definition of "consensus"

Editors frequently mention consensus in discussions on this talk page, but there is no clear definition of the word "consensus" for that purpose. I propose that we establish a clear definition of "consensus".
Wavelength (talk) 17:51, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

This is the wrong place. Such a definition should apply to all policy and guideline talk pages, so you would have to find a forum suitable for a discussion of that scope. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:08, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Like CONSENSUS. Kevin McE (talk) 18:17, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
It would be great if we had a clear definition. Around disputes have one of two outcomes: 1. Overwhelming numerical majority in favor of one side and 2. roughly equal/stalemate.
It's my understanding that Wikipedia consensus is supposed to be based on the quality and quantity of sources supporting a particular position or other. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:35, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

the gender/sex thing

"Any person whose gender might be questioned should be referred to by the gendered nouns, pronouns, and possessive adjectives that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification." Without making any judgement on this, I am interested to know how this rule was decided upon, and whether it would apply to other self-identifications, such as a person deciding to "be" another skin colour, age, etc. Can someone enlighten? (talk) 02:33, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

That discussion was before my time, but there is small but a significant subset of humanity that identifies as transgender, a culture of transgendered people, and scientific evidence to support the concept of a human being who does not exactly match physiological male or female. This is not true of flat facts such as age. For the most part, we already do take people's word about race, especially with regard to American blacks. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:36, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Internal consistency v consistency across articles

Hi Noetica, you removed the key part of the sentence – "though not necessarily throughout Wikipedia as a whole" – which I'd like to restore: "An overriding principle is that style and formatting choices should be consistent within a Wikipedia article, though not necessarily throughout Wikipedia as a whole." We don't require consistency across articles, and I feel it's important to stress that.

The lead already mentions internal consistency, so this sentence would be repetitive without the juxtaposition. Also, I think we should restore this point to its own section. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:41, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

No I don't think so. This would be oppositional to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Layout. You can remove the whole sentence, or as User:Noetica has done, removed the splice after the comma which would be keeping the current version.Curb Chain (talk) 03:44, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Layout does not require all articles to have the exact same layout. It is a very widely accepted standard, but you can perfectly write articles that don't follow it to the toe. --Enric Naval (talk) 21:01, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
No, it does require all articles to have the same layout and deviations from it may be the result of individual cases, or that they are new articles to be fixed to the layout.Curb Chain (talk) 23:47, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Curb Chain. My restoring most of what SlimVirgin put in was an intermediate between her preference and Curb's (who had reverted Slim). As I said in my edit summary, the essential point is already clear: Wikipedia has a strong principle of consistency within an article. It is unnecessary and unbalanced to insist, in many words, that the matter of consistency across articles is not important. That it is less important is perfectly obvious from the context (see the wording that follows on the page). After all, how could it be thought otherwise? If a MOS recommendation includes a choice, how could it be that only one of the options is to be applied across all of Wikipedia? That would be incoherent.
MOS is a major force for excellence. Its utility goes well beyond how any single article is styled – even though that narrow consistency is acknowledged to be paramount. We have to avoid giving the wrong message, which is all too easily taken by careless editors. I have seen instances of the contested addition used against consistency of style among closely related articles, at RM discussions for example. Not healthy, not useful, not helpful to readers.
NoeticaTea? 04:04, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
I believe that the "not necessarily" covers such matters as formatting. This phrasing could cause or prevent trouble either way. If there are more people who think that cross-article consistency is required, then we should re-add the words. If there are more problems with people using non-standard formatting, then take them out. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:33, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
No, its just too much instruction. The MOS is clear in the rules of best practices and explains the rules for style and formatting and have been written all here and in its subpages like a bible. This is just convoluting it more.Curb Chain (talk) 04:45, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I started this, then forgot about it. I would like the MoS to make clear, as it used to, that style consistency across articles isn't required. The current wording isn't clear enough on that point, especially given paragraph two, so it's important in paragraph four to emphasize the internal aspect. So it should begin with something like: "An overriding principle is that style and formatting choices should be consistent within a Wikipedia article, though not necessarily throughout Wikipedia as a whole." SlimVirgin (talk) 17:37, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree that this point is not clear. The text after the sentence would allow someone to change all articles in a category to fit one style. The overriding principle is the whole sentence, not just the first part of the sentence. --Enric Naval (talk) 21:04, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
No, this puts too much emphasis on the fact that articles do not have a standard style which is not true. Articles should be as standard as possible and there is room for deviation but the extra phrase will make it easier for editors to justify their deviation of style from the norm.Curb Chain (talk) 21:08, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
The fact is that articles do not have a single standard style. They are many points in which there are two or more acceptable styles: differences for English/British spelling, BC/BCE, date formatting, citation style, etc.
Anyways, the extra phrase is to prevent people from going in style-fixing sprees. This is a real problem that caused many headaches and arbitration cases. For example Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/jguk_2#Findings_of_fact, where someone tried to ensure consistency across articles. It's not intruction crep at all, there is a real need for it. --Enric Naval (talk) 21:36, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
How do you address incidents when editors use this phrase as reason for egregious formatting idiosyncrasy?Curb Chain (talk) 23:47, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

AP Stylebook

Is there any reason the AP Stylebook is not listed in the further reading section? Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 16:16, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

To amplify: Yes. No one has put it there. People have put all sorts of things in that section, but some are not major guides, and some are not of a suitably high standard (that is, they do not capture anything like best practice in modern publishing). I would not object to including the AP book, though I think it's marginal. I would object to Strunk and White noxious pamphlet. A couple of years ago someone put Lynn Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves in. I took it out, and argued on the talkpage that being a bestseller is not the same as providing intelligent or informed style guidance.
Myself, I would prefer that there be a separate resource that lists and comments on as many modern style guides as we can muster. A few could be marked as selected for their importance, after discussion among editors here. See also the list of suggested abbreviations for such works that I started up (it's linked at top right on this talkpage), and that others are free to improve or supplement. It might be time to move that into wikispace, and perhaps use it to found a larger resource.
NoeticaTea? 00:46, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
That's the answer I was looking for. Thanks. Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 10:35, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Capitalization of trademark and other names

At Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Trademarks#Forcing UN-capitalization is wrong, and not widely-used, I've proposed a change to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trademarks to match existing (and IMO correct) usage. Feedback welcome. —[AlanM1 (talk)]— 21:19, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

I disagree.Trademarks are designed to grab attention, and that's fine, but Wikipedia is designed to be easily readable. We should write in standard English whenever it is reasonably practical to do so. Most trademarks should have the same capitalization as other nouns. We should not replicate pretentious capitalization. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:19, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Discussion of the hyphen in "Second-language acquisition"

See this renewed discussion on moving the article to a form with no hyphen. — kwami (talk) 19:52, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
[I boldly changed the text here, and the heading of the section; I provided an accurate link to the new discussion.–NoeticaTea? 00:38, 14 August 2012 (UTC)]

Simple Wikipedia for inspiration

Editors who want a simple manual of style might find inspiration in these pages.

Wavelength (talk) 22:29, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

[The first posted message in the fourth page listed (version of 04:59, 3 September 2010) uses the expression "the Complex English Wikipedia". That expression is a retronym.
Wavelength (talk) 02:38, 14 August 2012 (UTC)]

SMOS is not yet ready to be part of MOS

I have removed the template at the head of WP:SMOS that made it a component of MOS. That is premature, and not adequately discussed. No doubt it will be, soon enough. But it is not ready yet, as we can see from the general uncertainties expressed at the talkpage (WT:SMOS). Another consideration: let's not set a dangerous precedent. Already MOS is too big and sprawling, according to Art LaPella (initiator of SMOS) and many other MOS regulars. I'm with them. Although SMOS promises to work against the effects of that sprawl, it may worsen the situation if it is adopted too quickly, encouraging others to be cavalier also.

I have some new concerns: about new editors' experience with those "More" links on the page, but not connected with their styling. I'll raise them here when I have concluded some investigations.

NoeticaTea? 01:30, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

What specific concerns do you have about the endorsement of the Simplified MoS that and how would they best be addressed? Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:13, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
I am concerned that the size, scope of coverage, level of detail, modes of presentation, and linking régime have not been adequately worked through. And as I say, I am very concerned (along with many editors, I think) not to set a precedent for hasty acceptance of a new MOS page. We may think that this is a special case; others may not. Everyone can think that way about their own favoured sector of the stylosphere.
That's as specific as I need to be, isn't it?
I will say more about the linking. I immediately liked the new "More" markup in principle, but as I noted at Art LaPella's talkpage it would be better at a reduced size. Very intrusive on the page. Now that has been addressed, and there may be more tinkering to come. I think there has been excellent collaboration so far, and I congratulate Art, Telpardec, Neotarf – and everyone involved – for their fine work. But note: nearly all of those "More" links go to some part of WP:MOS, or of another MOS page, or of WP:TITLE and so on. Each time a link is clicked, the whole linked page opens. We have had to live with that unpleasant feature of opaque shortcuts like WP:DASH, WP:SLASH, WP:HYPHEN, and so on. As each of these is followed by an editor pursuing guidance on a cluster of related topics, the whole of WP:MOS is loaded again. Every time. Now, the size of the specific page file is one thing; about 0.5 MB, right? But with the overheads and adjuncts that go with it, we're up around 1 MB each one of those small portions of WP:MOS is sought out. Think of the time this might take, and the monetary cost – in some poorly serviced parts of the world, or with some expensive mobile arrangements. Think of how confusing and alienating these clunky multiple links to the same page must be. Newcomers are not ready for any of that; and we can too easily be unaware of their situation.
Since SMOS is mainly for less experienced editors, this linking problem looms large for SMOS. We want it to get a good reception, and to be used. I am not confident that it is friendly enough yet.
I have been researching new ways with transclusion that offer a solution – to the general problem of linking to parts of MOS (and other Wikispace pages), and especially to the intensified version of it at SMOS. I intend to propose something systematic soon. Meanwhile, there are enough independent reasons to "make haste slowly" for us not to rush SMOS into service just yet. I look forward to the present steady development continuing.
NoeticaTea? 02:15, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree that a more integrated hierarchical design would be better. I haven't pushed it much because I'm surprised we got the major improvement we have now, and I'm still afraid it's going to dissolve into bureaucratese. Art LaPella (talk) 21:19, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
A di M has done sterling work in getting this up and running; but I have a problem with the control of the level of detail in the current draft, and with the total size. I'm thinking about twice the size, and the trimming of some details I'd have thought were not first-line stuff (the biblical, etc). I'm going by the stubs and obvious newbie work I've seen on my gnoming rounds: what are the most important things to get across to them? Tony (talk) 08:25, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
I originally went by my own copyediting which is focused on the Main Page. Now, my statistics above do show some things that arguably aren't first-line stuff, but I don't see how "biblical" can be one of them when it's capitalized about 10,000 times. I would think 10,000 mistakes is either a first-line problem or a battle we should surrender. Art LaPella (talk) 21:19, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
The editors at Wikipedia:AutoWikiBrowser/Typos can change "Biblical" to "biblical" in 10,000 instances.
Wavelength (talk) 21:32, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
I think that means you don't want "biblical" in SMOS. If so, it shouldn't be in MoS either; don't call it a problem if we don't want to fix it. Since uncapitalizing "biblical" could conceivably be considered irreverent, an even stronger case could be made for removing things like seasons, comma splices, compass points, and anything else I learned in high school from the MoS. Of course neither MoS nor the Typos project has solved the "biblical" problem. Art LaPella (talk) 22:21, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
No, it does not mean that. In fact, I prefer the capitalized spelling of that word. I checked one dictionary, and it accepts both. However, out of respect for what seems to be established consensus, I offered a remedy for occurrences that do not conform to that consensus.
These statements are not mutually exclusive.
  • The editors at WP:AWB/T can change "Biblical" to "biblical" in 10,000 instances.
  • Other editors can change "Biblical" to "biblical" without using Wikipedia:AutoWikiBrowser.
  • WP:MOS can restrict the spelling to the uncapitalized version.
  • WP:SMOS can restrict the spelling to the uncapitalized version.
Wavelength (talk) 22:40, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
  • "I think that means you don't want "biblical" in SMOS. If so, it shouldn't be in MoS either ...". The logical conclusion is that SMOS should exclude nothing from MoS. The whole idea is to decide on strict rationing. Biblical might be a problem in 10,000 instances, but it seems just too specific here. An editor will have easy recourse to the main section on capitalisation in MoS. In SMOS, I'd have thought the goal was to capture the low-hanging fruit. Otherwise its function is weakened. Tony (talk) 02:59, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Actually, my thought wasn't that SMOS should exclude nothing from MoS. It was that if we exclude "biblical" because it's more like a typo than a style issue, then the same logic applies to excluding it from MoS.
  • "it seems just too specific here. An editor will have easy recourse ..." Assuming you don't want "Capitalization: see MoS" (that wouldn't solve anything), I can't imagine a more general statement about capitalization that would really be used. "Capitalize proper nouns"? The only really good definition for proper nouns is something to capitalize. SMOS is often more specific than MoS. It has instructions that might actually be used, even without reading the long version, because they don't require gurus for interpretation: "Write 12,000 for twelve thousand, not 12.000", not "Hyphenation involves many subtleties that cannot be covered here" (does that mean you expect everybody to go looking for subtleties, as if they haven't read enough style guidelines already?)
  • "Its function is weakened"? Well, the MoS has failed its intended function 10,000 times, so that would seem to be as good a function for the SMOS as any. Art LaPella (talk) 04:02, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Typographical-error issues and style issues intersect (overlap); they are not mutually exclusive. An error in capitalization can result from inattentiveness in keyboarding; likewise, it can result from inattention to style guidelines.
Wavelength (talk) 20:52, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Right; we were discussing "it shouldn't be in MoS either", which was before your clarification. Art LaPella (talk) 22:40, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Perhaps what's really missing is an overall link from SMOS#Capitalization to MOS:#Capitalization, if someone is looking for specific capitalization issues not listed at SMOS. And similarly for other paragraphs. But I don't think the answer to everything is to direct everyone to MoS. "Biblical" is a major example of how that isn't working. Art LaPella (talk) 04:09, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
The problem with Biblical is that there are so many other specific examples of capping or not capping that could go in ... there's no end to it. And there's so much of a generic nature that is missing. Tony (talk) 03:50, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
The first 100 Google hits for "George" in Wikipedia are all capitalized. Same for "Chicago". But "biblical" is about 1/3 capitalized. There's a difference. That's how I found my "end to it". Practicality. Fix what needs fixing. (Assuming "Biblical" really needs fixing; dictionaries show about equal preference for "biblical" and "Biblical", but that's your job, not mine.) Is anything generic (or non-generic) missing that can be expressed in one short sentence, that's usable by non-experts without needing a guru to interpret it and without yielding to the temptation to write paragraphs of exceptions, and that has 10,000 examples that need fixing? Art LaPella (talk) 05:48, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Or maybe we need to discuss the good faith assumption underlying my statistics, that Manual of Style guidelines should have some measurable effect on Wikipedia, not just give us prestige as style experts. Art LaPella (talk) 05:56, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Let's forget any moral imputation surrounding MoS—it's there to give licence to editors to fix things, and as a reference to avoid edit-wars in articles out there. Tony (talk) 23:51, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Then let's fix things. Is there a better idea with the potential to fix 10,000 alleged errors with one sentence? Art LaPella (talk) 00:55, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Spacing and Using the hidden comment function to create space between a template and text above it

Is it against the Manual of Style (Wikipedia) to add a hidden comment ([19]) and generate this aesthetic?Curb Chain (talk) 12:27, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

The Manual of Style states: "Check that your invisible comment does not change the formatting, for example by introducing white space in read mode." (WP:COMMENT)

Does this mean that the above formatting should be used? That is, Should white space be introduced between the last line of text and the top of a footer-(navigational) template?Curb Chain (talk) 06:29, 12 August 2012 (UTC)


I don't think that Hidden Comments should be used to introduce white space because the simple enter-key will suffice. Secondly, using the enter-key to make lines to make white space is arbitrary and is not used.Curb Chain (talk) 22:31, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Actually it says in the last sentence of Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Layout#Headings and sections: "Between sections (and paragraphs), there should be a single blank line; multiple blank lines in the edit window create too much white space in the article.".Curb Chain (talk) 22:33, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Having used the technique and found it less than satisfactory, I agree with Curb Chain on this. LynwoodF (talk) 19:51, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
In my opinion, it shouldn't be used unless there's a consensus. This is a change to layout. Even if not forbidden, if thousands of pages have this introduced and later it is banned, that's a lot of work to find and undo them. Jason Quinn (talk) 20:58, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
There is no consensus that a space should be introduced. Specifically, WP:COMMENT of WP:Manual of Style states: "Check that your invisible comment does not change the formatting, for example by introducing white space in read mode." and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Layout#Headings and sections says "Between sections (and paragraphs), there should be a single blank line; multiple blank lines in the edit window create too much white space in the article." which is saying that hidden comments are not to be used to create white space, and not to create white space. Specifically, the vast majority of pages do not have the formatting as I presented in the diffs in Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Spacing and Using the hidden comment function to create space between a template and text above it.Curb Chain (talk) 22:42, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
We should Not use hiddencomments to hack in whitespace.
If it is agreed that whitespace is warranted, then either a proper technical fix is required for all articles that have navboxes (both for site-wide consistency, and to prevent edit-warring), or if small numbers of articles have layout problems in restricted circumstances then two-blank-lines could be used (as we do above stub-templates).
A semi-related proposal was floated at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Layout#Move See also to after External links recently (to make it an optional layout alternative), but doesn't have much support. HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 22:10, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Capitalization discussion

There is a dicussion and RfC concerning capitalization at Talk:Information technology#.7B.7Bmain.7D.7D case that may be of relevance to one or more sections or subpages of WP:MOS. --Boson (talk) 10:25, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

The Gambia

Colleagues, I was surprised to find the old "the" in the article name. The Ukraine. The Sudan. I believe the original meaning was "the X region". It's billed as the official country-name, and English as the official language. Is it mandatory that we use the "The" in the title? Also, I see that the t is capped in the middle of sentences. What's our line on that? Tony (talk) 09:24, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

It is my understanding that The Gambia is the official name (at least in English) as promulgated by whatever political authorities in that country are responsible for doing so, and that Gambia is the older name, now deprecated. Given that (if I am right about it, which I may not be), I think it is clear that the The must be capitalized, because it is part of a proper name, as with The Hague. --Trovatore (talk) 09:48, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
When it comes to the name, I'd always try to follow country profiles in reliable sources - both the CIA World Factbook and BBC entries for Gambia formally include the "The". I'd look at those instead of - or rather as well as - looking at purely official names. Those two examples are not of course definitive, but they show it's not unusual in publications that are doing a similar thing to what we are doing with our country pages. They don't for Ukraine and Sudan, where inclusion of the definite article is deprecated nowadays and comes across as archaic (for Ukraine, AFAIK because they felt it belittled the country's status, giving the impression of it being merely a region/republic of the old USSR). As for whether to capitalise it in mid-sentence text, my preference would be not to, even if it is formally part of the name. Current guidelines also prefer generally not to capitalise, although (as noted above - edit conflict) the specific example given of The Hague in fact suggests an exception here too, assuming we accept it as part of the name. N-HH talk/edits 09:53, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the point about the RSs is a reasonable one — we don't let companies, or even individuals, dictate everything about the typography of their names, so I'm not sure why we should do more for states. I do think though that the capital-t is pretty much obligatory here; our preference is for not over-capitalizing, but you have to capitalize proper names. --Trovatore (talk) 09:57, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
I'd look to country profiles specifically on the point of including the "The" at all; then to our style guide, rather than those profiles, for whether to capitalise it in text. General rules vary of course - for example, you'll find the Guardian does not capitalise newspaper "the"s, even when they are more formally part of the name. But it too calls for caps in placenames (The Hague seems to be a popular example ... although just to confuse things there, the page including the note on the Gambia calls for the "the" but seems to suggest it not be capitalised). N-HH talk/edits 10:37, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
It's a point of general English usage rather than our style guides specifically. If it's being used in its normal grammatical function as an article, then it's lowercase, but if it's part of a proper noun (which I think it is), then it's uppercase. I wouldn't really put too much weight on The Grauniad. --Trovatore (talk) 10:41, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
All a bit off topic and academic, but my point was merely that it is a style issue, not a clear-cut grammar one with a right or wrong answer, and that styles vary when it comes to capitalising "the" in various contexts, even when it is arguably part of a proper name/noun. See the Telegraph's view on this when it comes to newspapers as against the Guardian's. The former capitalises the "the" when it considers it part of the name (so The Daily Telegraph, but the Daily Mail; similarly, our page titles drop the article for the Mail, in recognition that it does not technically form part of the name), while the Guardian, as highlighted already, has blanket lower case regardless. Nor was my point of course that we should follow the Guardian on this or any other issue - athough it is a perfectly respectable style guide for a major national UK newspaper - it was merely an example that demonstrates the point about variation. N-HH talk/edits 11:47, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't have the link, but the Beatles' insistence on capped T irritated a lot of editors here when it was last discussed, about ?two years ago. To me, the cap mid-sentence is a bump: disruptive. Also could be seen as pretentious. I know that some universities are going around insisting on it too (I'm only too pleased to defy that wish). Tony (talk) 11:53, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't see it as a "bump" but as just part of the name. The link to the guide from The Telegraph that N-HH gives looks like that one gets it right for newspapers: If the The is on the newspaper's masthead, then it's part of the name and uppercase; if the masthead omits it but you put it in a sentence because it sounds wrong without it (the Los Angeles Times) then it's lowercase. Names other than those of newspapers don't always have as convenient an indicator as a masthead, but the same principle should apply. --Trovatore (talk) 19:14, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Trans women

Current proposal to modify MOS:IDENTITY is here.

I know this has been brought up many times before, but now I feel it needs to be brought up again, because I have one comment still:

We know that the trans woman template says that trans women should be referred to with she/her throughout. However, go to Talk:Alexis Reich. It appears that there are still some Wikipedians who disagree. They say that trans women should be referred to as he/him if they are notable for reasons that have nothing to do with being transsexual that relate to their life before the operation. (Yesterday I tried to see if anyone could notice this, but the discussion didn't go beyond me and User:Berean Hunter. He absolutely supports the statement in the sentence I wrote above beginning with "They say that..." and I want to know what other people think currently. Georgia guy (talk) 12:46, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

I find that the best way to explain this is that back before the gender transition, Lara W. thought herself to be male but she was wrong. It's as if a country music singer always thought she was born in Memphis but then looks up her birth certificate and finds out that she was really born in Nashville. Even if the old sources say "Memphis native Claribelle Johnson," we should still say "Claribelle Johnson was born in Nashville." New information has come to light. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:08, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
The issue of "biological" gender (XX, XY etc.) v. "brain" gender is not going to be solved very soon. And certainly not by Wikipedia. From the moment a person is declared legally a different gender from their biological gender, the references from that point should be to her "legal gender". Mainly because the reliable sources used for any prior time would, perforce, refer to the person's legal gender at the time the source was written. Wikipedia is not a time machine, nor is it a place to argue "real gender" of a person anymore than it is a place to argue "real religion" or "real ethnicity." The birthplace analogy is, of course, inapt because we are not arguing that the person's biological gender was changed at birth. It can't. So what we should do is simply follow what the rules say - we use reliable sources and cite their words, and do not try to add our judgements to them. Collect (talk) 13:20, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
I've added a note at the top of this thread to link to the current proposal.
 — Berean Hunter (talk) 13:25, 21 August 2012 (UTC)