Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 157

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Proposed wording for the Subject preference RfC at the WP:NCP talk page

FYI: Notice of a discussion elsewhere that is relevant to MOS:IDENTITY

Over a month ago an RfC on subject preference was initiated at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (people)#RfC: Subject preference.

In one of the subsections of that RfC a new wording to be included in the guideline is proposed: Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (people)#Approach.

It was suggested to avoid mere local consensus, so this proposal has been listed at Template:Centralized discussion.

Feel free to chime in!  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:54, 5 May 2014 (UTC) (Notice originally posted to WT:AT by Francis Schonken.)

Italicization of climbing routes

The wikiproject natives are restless and making up their own rules again. This is a problem because wikiprojects are just pages at which editors agree to coordinate their collaboration on particular topics; they are not independent authorities on anything, much less WP style guidelines, and per WP:LOCALCONSENSUS policy, they cannot trump broader consensus, as at MOS. In particular in this case, the misnamed Wikipedia:WikiProject Climbing/Article Guidelines#Routes is giving a "guideline" that conflicts with MOS and MOS:ITALICS specifically, making up a new case of "required" italicization. It's seems to be yet another incidence of WP:Specialist style fallacy at work, an imposition of a style quirk from specialist publications that doesn't make sense in a general purpose encyclopedia and violates the WP:ASTONISH rules for all readers other than those who are climbing enthusiasts who read lots of publications that use these italics; it's simply emphasis for its own sake. This has implications beyond climbing, since it would imply the italicization of other forms of trail, which would then imply italicization of larger and more formal trackways, e.g. lanes and streets and highways. [It actually has even broader implications, for the italicization of all "creative performable works" in sport, as detailed below. Beyond this, the root issue is actually broader still, about declaration of novel, narrow-audience stylistic quirks as "conventions" without evidence that their uses is conventional in English at all. This is not trivial. 07:11, 7 April 2014 (UTC)]

My recommendation would be to:

  1. Immediately move Wikipedia:WikiProject Climbing/Article Guidelines to Wikipedia:WikiProject Climbing/Article recommendations I've already performed this move; if it's reverted, I'll open a WP:RM discussion.
  2. Change the wording there to: "While route names are sometimes italicized in climbing publications, Wikipedia does not italicize route names (nor formation names). For example: The Nose of El Capitan, not The Nose of El Capitan.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ⚞(Ʌⱷ҅̆⚲͜^)≼  06:00, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

PS: Most articles at Category:Climbing routes do not even comply with that pseudo-guideline anyway.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ⚞(Ʌⱷ҅̆⚲͜^)≼  06:02, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Hmm. I'm not familiar with other cases of 'WP:SSF' (whoever wrote that essay obviously has got overly annoyed about this at some point) and whether they do any harm to the encyclopedia or not. Some points/questions about this case:
  1. Quite a lot of climbing guides etc. do use italic names for climbing routes so this doesn't seem an unreasonable thing for Wikipedia to do.
  2. I wouldn't rely on the average article on a climbing route, climber etc. as being a good guide for precedent. Climbing articles are in general pretty underdeveloped.
  3. Climbing routes are normally named by the person who (thought them up or) first successfully climbed them. In a sense they are the 'major works' of the climber, with a subsequent climb of the route being somewhat akin to a performance of the of the work.
  4. WP:ASTONISH! Really? I think the Principle of least astonishment is meant to apply to things far more astonishing than the choice of 2 similar styles of displaying text. About the strongest reaction I could imagine from the average reader would be 'Oh, I didn't know climbing routes were italicized'. If I'm missing something could you please explain how 'The average reader' is 'shocked, surprised, or overwhelmingly confused' by italicized climbing route names?
  5. Could you elaborate on why italicized climbing routes are 'simply emphasis for its own sake' and how the same statement doesn't apply to the other names and titles in WP:ITALIC? Equally could you elaborate on why italicized climbing route names don't make sense in a general purpose encyclopedia?
  6. Do any general style guides cover the italicization or not of climbing route names? Or even the general case of what to do with things that haven't been covered by a style guide? If I look at some guides to italicization online they don't mention climbing routes, but given that proportionately few people write about climbing routes this is hardly unsurprising in a general guide.
  7. If I give a couple of examples from Lynn Hill, a recent featured article on a climber, so probably the most heavily scrutinised:
    • 'but after experimenting with it during her ascent of Vandals, she found it a useful way to learn challenging climbs' - Doesn't seem confusing to me as it is. Without italics would be clear too.
    • '1979, Pea Brain 5.12d, Independence Pass, Colorado − First free ascent and first female ascent of the grade, with John Long' - Again doesn't seem confusing. Without italics it would need extra punctuation of some kind. This is from a section that is rather like a bibliography or references section in a book or paper, which often italicize the name of the work. I find that having italic sections in bibliographies aids my ability to scan through them - I find the same here, without any italics the whole section would become harder to read.
  8. I don't find the slippery slope argument very persuasive. It doesn't seem reasonable to extrapolate to roads especially as AFAIK there is no particular precedent for roads being italicized.JMiall 19:30, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you think you can refute the reasoning at SFF if you aren't familiar with it and haven't even come to an opinion on whether the issues it raises actually matter to the encyclopedia. Denigrating those who do care about it has having "got overly annoyed" isn't a valid argument. Taking your points in the same numerical order:
  1. This is the main line of faulty reasoning that necessitated WP:SSF. MOS bends over backwards to accommodate specialist preferences, but only when they do not conflict with normal usage. This conflicts with normal usage, namely the principle that we do not willy-nilly emphasis things for non-conventional reasons, like grocers' signs so often do. As for this particular issue, field guides of all sorts almost universally engage in various sorts of emphasis-for-its-own-sake, specifically to make scanning the text easier. (SSF actually already mentions that.) Has nothing at all to do with what WP should do in encyclopedic writing (WP actually has its own version of this, namely boldfacing the article topic in the lead). It does not at all indicate a professional convention within a field.
  2. Consensus is not based on "precedent". What is actually being done at climbing articles, by the entire range of editors who have worked on them, is a very, very good indication of what the consensus is on how to edit them, vs. one editor's recent insistence on adding this odd-ball italicization and trying to make a "guideline" out of it. Aside from that, there is a strong, decade-long consensus at MOS to not italicize (or boldface, etc.) things unless they're enumerated as exceptions here. Per WP:LOCALCONSENSUS policy, this trumps micro-consensuses at wikiprojects, who really need to come here and gain consensus to change MOS to add their case as an exception.
  3. No one could take that argument seriously. By that reasoning, every single thing that's not being done before should be italicized and named after whoever does it first. But we don't do that at all. Works are published or performed creative output, not exercises in navigational problem-solving. Even where we do actually treat some such successes as proper names, they are not italicized, e.g. names of sailing and other trade routes, names of long-distance racing routes, etc. I observe that in fact plenty of them are not actually named after their first climbers. There does not seem to be any real standard being applied here, even at the proper-naming level, and even if there were, that has nothing to do with italics. See also the fact that we do not italicize other moves and maneuvers in other sports or other fields more broadly. Not movies in chess, not medical procedures, not skateboarding tricks, not welding techniques, even when they are treated as capitalized proper names (which is also done too often on Wikipedia, but that's another matter).
  4. You seem to be unaware of how WP:ASTONISH is frequently applied here. It is in fact quite surprising to people to see italicization and other style effects applied in nonstandard ways, and this astonishment and negative reactions brought on by it are a perpetual source of strife on Wikipedia. This is why MOS exists in the first place, and it's why ArbCom cases like WP:ARBATC have led to discretionary sanctions hovering over the topic. People get very worked up about it, even if you personally don't. But I guess you do, too, if you're going to write an itemized list of 8.2 arguments in favor of italics here.
  5. It's emphasis for it's own sake, because it's emphasis, but there's no widely-recognized rationale for it here. We have some universally-accepted italicizations, e.g. of book titles and movie title, but this isn't one of them. It doesn't make sense in a general-purpose encyclopedia for the same reason that putting certified "gold"-selling album titles in a yellow font doesn't make sense, or underlining the names of movie characters doesn't make sense. It's emphasis just to emphasize for reasons "someone" finds important but which the average reader won't understand and for whom it's distracting and annoying.
  6. Not that I can find, and I have a whole shelf-full of such books. The general rule is to not use italics or boldface or other form of emphasis except by convention. This isn't a convention MOS recognizes and no one's made a case to recognize it. The existence of such a convention in number of external style guides on English writing would help persuade people on WP that this is a convention that is recognizable enough that it's not unhelpful here. But we don't have any such evidence. The facts that it's just some handful of people writing about a narrow specialist topic and making up their own unrecognizable "convention", so unknown even to climbers that most climbing articles here don't even use it, are the very reasons that this is unencyclopedic SSF stuff. You can't demonstrate how solid and universal a convention it is by noting how few people use it and how little it matters in the real world and how few of the specialists in that area even use it. probably writes for one of them, or reads one a lot, is trying to get WP to adopt it, but even the project on this topic isn't bothering.
  7. The examples don't seem confusing to you because you're used to them and like them. And whether it's confusing or not isn't the criterion of interest here anyway; it's distracting, unusual emphasis (in this case, not even based on a real convention) being pushed by specialists in a narrow field on everyone else, and it causes readers to stop and think "this is weird; why is this italicized?", instead of just absorbing the article. The fact that something might need punctuation is perfectly fine, and expected. Emphasizing misc. things as a substitute for punctuation is not permissible. That example needs punctuation anyway, since we cannot count on italics being preserved in all re-uses of WP content (any time you're depending on italics or boldface to be available in order for the content to be parseable, you're probably making a mistake). Besides which, a route being treated as a proper name and capitalized is already more than enough emphasis to begin with.
  8. You're failing to understand, then, why it's a slippery slope, despite my spelling it out clearly. On a gentler grade, there is no difference between an climbing route and a trail. There is no particular difference, nomenclature-wise, between a barely-established trail and a very well established one, worn into ruts. There is, next, no particular difference between a long-term trail and a road; the one historically becomes the other. Cf. also the likening to racing routes, etc.; we never italicize any such things.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ⚞(Ʌⱷ҅̆⚲͜^)≼  23:09, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
  • For those who like external sources to ground MOS reasoning in, The Chicago Manual of Style (16th and still-current ed., 2010) says at "8.55 Thoroughfares and the like" that such things are capitalized (only - not also italicized). A climbing route is a thoroughfare, just a vertically specialized one used by a select few. Who wants to bet that precisely zero mainstream English-language style guides recommend italicizing something like this?  — SMcCandlish ¢ ⚞(Ʌⱷ҅̆⚲͜^)≼  08:08, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

As I thought I clearly said, I was trying to deal with just this case on its own merits not all the other cases that prompted the writing of that essay. Good job you didn't denigrate anyone with your 1st sentence eh?

  1. Can you give an example of where some specialist usage agreed with normal usage and then the MOS bent over backwards to accomodate it? As far as I can tell climbing routes get italicized for exactly the same reason that book titles are - because they are strings of words applied as a name that it might be possible to misconstrue if it wasn't made clear that it was a title of some kind. Seems conventional to me.
  2. I only mentioned this because of your PS above. What point were you trying to make other than one about precedent? Anyway, WP:Consensus#Reaching_consensus_through_editing rather undermines your claim that consensus is not based on precedent.
  3. I take that argument seriously although I'm not saying that it should necessarily outweigh other arguments. Creative output is coming up with new things, whether they are climbing routes or books or whatever. You seem to be trying to argue based on generalising massively and I'm not sure this is helpful. The italicization of ships in the MOS is quite specific and yet hasn't led to all things that travel through the ocean being treated the same.
  4. If it is being applied like that then I suspect it is being applied wrongly. Minimising total surprise of all wikipedia readers would mean that the MOS here had to follow the most common style in the world. And no I really don't get worked up about italics, I'd never really thought about it before, the guideline was nothing to do with me. I've checked my edit history and I've listed climbing routes as both italicized and non-italicized. I just thought that it was worth replying as nobody else from the project had.
  5. but what is the rationale for italicising book titles etc here? If fundamentally it is just that when book titles are written about externally then they get italicized so we do it here, then why doesn't the same argument apply to climbing routes? If it is that when book titles are written about externally then they get italicized to avoid confusion from the reader so we do the same here, then whey doesn't the same argument apply to climbing routes?
  6. Your are making things up - it is not unrecognisable, it is fairly common in climbing guides but not universal. If it was unknown to climbers why would any articles use it at all? Steph Davis which has had a bit of recent attention uses this format. I would love to find a style guide that covered the case of writing about climbing routes in a generalist kind of way. As you've checked a shelf full of books I think it is fairly safe to say that no convention has been set by a style guide. Therefore if there was a general convention set by books that mention climbing routes then it would be a reasonable one for wikipedia to adopt.
  7. If someone hadn't come across written climbing route names before then why would they think it weird? If they had then there's a decent chance that what they had seen previously was italicized.
  8. ships haven't generalised to all vehicles or things on water, books haven't generalised to all written things.JMiall 21:02, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
  1. That was three discussions in one:
    1. The entire MOS consists largely of such cases, MOS:NUM in paritcular is mostly a long string of specialist stuff that MOS has adopted because it was clearly demonstrable in sources, was arguably helpful and (not "or") didn't not sharply conflict with normal English usage or cause any other WP:KISS or WP:ASTONISH problem. As just one of hundreds of example, the requirement to format unit as 42 ft. It's geeky and nitpicky, and virtually no one cares, and it even contradicts common usage (which is to run the number and unit together), and it forbids another common usage, to add "." of many non-metric unit abbreviations, and so on. Many editors hate it, a very large number ignore it, but virtually no one ever editwars over it. People just get over the fact that it doesn't match their preferences and they move on.
    2. I've already addressed your "climbing routes are like book titles" analogy. Reiterating it as if no one addressed it doesn't magically make it unaddressed. You're also again ignoring the facts that no reliable sources on the English language agree with your desire to capitalizing climbing routes or any other kinds of routes. And reliable sources on climbing in particular (which are not really relevant with regard to what MOS should advise as a writing style matter, if the style jars with normal reader expectations) have not agreed on this as a uniform convention, you just have a few who do it.
    3. Your position that climbing routes are "creative works" is unadulterated WP:OR.
  2. We just disagree on that, and it's a side point anyway.
  3. All style guides generalize. All rule systems about anything generalize. They have to. There's a finite limit to the number of rules anyone can remember much less care about enough to adhere to. NB: I'm unaware of any ocean-going vessels that are not italicized, so I'm not sure what you're talking about there.
  4. Then open a thread about what you see as misapplication of WP:ASTONISH at its talk page and work to clarify it's wording or scope. NB: Wikipedia generally does use the most common style in the anglophone world for whatever style question has arisen, as determined first by consulting reliable sources on usage and grammar and secondly by seeing what mainstream sources do (e.g. Google N-Grams tells us what's being done in books). As noted in point 1, if it's not confusing/annoying to the majority of readers by directly conflicting with normal usage, and it's reliably sourceable as a real-world convention, and likely to be helpful to readers, MOS will often override an imprecise common usage with a more precise technical one (again, see MOS:NUM for piles of cases). Italicizing climbing routes doesn't meet any of these criteria.
  5. Italicization of book titles is universal convention recommended by all style guides and familiar to all readers.
  6. Not universal even in the specialist field you claim it's a standard in. It's NOT a standard, it's something you like and that some other climbers like. No one said "it was unknown to climbers". Who's "making stuff up", again? Please to read WP:SSF; you argument fits the pattern there.
  7. Because it's not normal English usage, and is interpreted as inappropriate, confusing, even misleading emphasis.
  8. Ships have in fact generalized to aircraft, spacecraft and probably several other kinds of vehicles other than automobiles, and real-world style and grammar authorities note these cases as conventions. None of them accept such italics for routes/ways/tracks/trails of any kind. Next. Book title italicization has of course generalized to all written things of a similar scope, such as plays, screenplays, magazines, journals, poetry anthologies, opera librettos, etc., etc., as well as e-books and e-magazins, comics, and by analogy to photographic, radio and electronic programming including TV series, movies, webcasts, etc. By analogy with quotation marks used for book chapter titles, they are used for magazine, journal, website, etc. article, for TV show and webcast episodes, etc. All of this usage is consistently covered in all style guides and used almost consistently in all mainstream publications. Again, not true of climbing routes or anything related or analogous to climbing routes.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅⚲͜ʌ≼  06:55, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

This isn't really about climbing routes in particular, it's about the declaration of something novel and of limited, specialized interest to be a "convention", when there's no evidence that the usage is in fact conventional in English at all, maybe not even in the field for which the claim is being made. (Note how closely this relates to the topic dominating most of this page below this thread, and every other thing that pops up on the radar at WT:SSF, BTW).

It may be helpful to take a step back, away from a subject you are personally invested in and replace it with something fictional. Here's what your argument equates to: "My hoverboarding magazine always puts hoverboarding tricks in italics, and lots of hoverboarders read it, so they're familiar with it and I'm declaring it a convention, and by the way these tricks are creative, performable works and so are just like movies and books. No mainstream style guides so far cover hoverboarding tricks, so the magazine is the reliable authority and MOS has to obey it and use italics for tricks in hoverboarding articles. Um, no, no, it doesn't.

If you still don't believe this, go have a look at real-world articles here and tell me how many places you find any of the following italicized: football plays, fencing moves, skateboarding or surfing tricks, cue sports techniques, martial arts moves (except where they're italicized for being in a non-English language), or any other "performable work" in any sport. You're the one who liked that analogy to named "creative works" that can be re-enaced as performances, remember, since the analogy to trails and roads didn't work for you? It's certainly a much more apt comparison than books and movies.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅⚲͜ʌ≼  07:11, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

That hoverboard statement isn't what I'm saying but I'll rewrite it so that it is something that I agree with:
Hoverboarding magazines, books etc. often but not always put hoverboarding tricks in italics, and people who have ever previously read about hoverboard tricks are likely familiar with this, and other people at the hoverboarding wikiproject, probably more knowledgeable than me, have declared it a convention on wikipedia, which I'm happy to go along with. By way of deciding if some more general principles regarding italics should instead apply to this case, then one that can be considered is that these tricks are in some way creative, performable works and so are in some way like movies and books - other principles should also be considered. No mainstream style guides so far cover hoverboarding tricks, so the canon of works that do cover them is the best available reliable authority, and as MOS hasn't previously considered hoverboard tricks if it wants to be bothered having a rule for them, then either the position of adopting the wikiproject convention or the general convention used in the canon should have reasonable weight in the decision.
In fact surveying say 100 random works from different eras and publishers that cover hoverboarding tricks, preferably works that are as generalist as possible, and establishing what the normal usage is would seem a very sensible thing to do.
By way of a very small survey of climbing magazines that I have available where I am now:
  1. Climber (magazine) - italicizes climbing route names, book names & other standard things in body text
  2. Summit magazine - doesn't italicize climbing route names or book names in body text
Both achieve a readable end result. Both would be perfectly reasonable ways to format wikipedia.
I am not claiming that all things that are a bit like creative works should automatically be italicized, just that the same principles should be applied generally. So if many reliable style guides say something should be italicized that has properties x, y & z then there's nothing inherently wrong with italicizing other things that have properties x & y if the style guides don't mention what to do with them, provided a readable end result is achieved. I have no idea if football plays etc. are normally italicized externally to wikipedia. If they always/never are then wikipedia should do the same. If they mostly are/aren't then wikipedia should probably do the same. Either way italicizing them here is no big deal as they are by nature things that are only going to appear in a very small proportion of articles.
Imagine a Venn diagram of all possible phrases in which certain subcategories are picked out as things to be formatted. The subcategories each belong to several more general categories that themselves have other subcategories. If general style guides don't indicate which general category formats, or similar subcategory formats, should take precedence for formating a subcategory then shouldn't we bear all of them in mind when deciding what to do? JMiall 19:07, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Too tired to get into all of this right now, but "people who have [n]ever previously read about X" is not a rationale we use for anything on Wikipedia.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:37, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
I'd bet real money that this italicization was the idea of someone at Climber magazine, and that pretty much no one anywhere else even talks about it. A google search on "italicization of climbing routes"[1] is instructive. It's mostly Wikipedia discussion, followed by a long stream of wildly inconsistent climber usage: "the climbers (with the guides' names italicized)" (that's not routes); "the first use of the selected climbing terms will be italicized" (that's not routes in particular or consistently, but everything one time), "any term in italics is either italicized for emphasis or is a climbing-related term whose meaning can be inferred..." (that's not routes, it's everything); "The italicized ... refers to figures, access and egress points" (that's not routes); "for the meaning of italicized terms, see the Glossary" (that's not routes, it's everything); "Route names are bold-faced and even italicized to make them readily identifiable in the text" (finally, routes, but not the style you suggested, and clearly just use of italics+bold for emphasis, precisely what MOS is saying not to do so for things like this!). I'm only finding one source, Yankee Rock & Ice that does what you'd suggest, and even they admit it's problematic: "We have generally italicized route names. But in some case where a mountain feature becomes a route, it's not always easy to say when it is one and when it's the other."
In short, there clearly is no convention at all to italicize climbing routes in climbing publications.
Getting back to the points I skipped the other day: Specialist works on football, and billiards, and birds, and rocks, and engine maintenance, and model airplane building, and whatever routinely use some form of empahsis, be it italics, capitalization, boldfacing or whatever, to "big-note" things they find important and make their guidebooks easy to scan in a hurry. It's not a standard way to write English, it's a jargonistic usage of specialty works, and is not emulated on Wikipedia. They're not both "perfectly reasonable way to format Wikipedia". Adding inappropraite emphasis to emulate field guide style and sports magazine journalism is not encyclopedic writing.
The same principles that apply to italicization of book titles are applied generally, to other published works like films, magazines, etc. I've already covered why a method or technique in sports, which is what a climbing route is, is not like that. Wikiprojects do not get to "declare [anything] a convention on Wikipedia"; we have a guideline and a policy that directly contract you on that. The idea that because something as minutely specific as climbing routes (or hoverboard tricks, whatever) are not covered specifically by name in general grammar and style guides that provide rules that clearly cover these areas under more general principles, that we should instead do only what some magazine does simply because it's topical, is flatly absurd. What if your climbing magazine wanted to put climbing routes always in bright green Comic Sans, underlined and bracketed with teddy bear icons? What one random source is doing isn't relevant in any way to what Wikipedia needs to do for a general readership and editorship. Feel free to create your Venn diagrams. You'll find that sports terminology like this is never italicized in mainstream sources.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:28, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

The argument about book titles being italicized per standard rule is all fine and dandy; however climbing, is a relatively new and evolving sport, and it has to start somewhere. The guide books, and a lot of climbers use it, in time it will probably be a standardized format, just like books. When the first book was written was its title italicized then? No, because it took time for the new rules to take effect. Who decided those rules? (rhetorical) If the rationale is used that The Chicago Manual of Style, wait The Chicago Manual of Style doesn't specify to, then you are admitting that grammar, and such are a non-evolving science, which nobody in their right mind could agree with. Just my 2 cents. speednat (talk) 18:45, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

That's a WP:CRYSTALBALL argument. The actual proponent of this italicization provides two directly comparable reliable sources. One italicizes, the other does not. I dug up more, and there clearly is nothing even approaching a convention to italicize the names of climbing routes in climbing sources, much less in general ones. "The guide books" and "a lot of climbers" clearly don't use it. Some magazine uses it. I wasn't really able to figure out what you mean by "non-evolving science". This doesn't have anything to do with science, but is about writing style.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:50, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Request for comments (climbing route italics)

Should the names of mountain/rock climbing routes be italicized, like major creative works, or be given in unstyled text like trails and like sport techniques? [These are the analogies presented so far in previous discussion, above). The issue has arisen because some climbing publications use italics, and Wikipedia:WikiProject Climbing/Article recommendations recommends it – with the text "Route names should be italicized, while the formation on which the route lies should not. For example: The Nose of El Capitan." – but WP:Manual of Style and its WP:Manual of Style/Text formatting subpage generally discourage such style flourishes unless they represent well-sourced conventional usage.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:22, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Capitalized? Yes. But italicizing would just be excessive. I think we should consider such routes the same way we consider the names of streets, towns, counties, provinces and countries - none of which are italicized ever. Route names are little more than place names like those. LazyBastardGuy 20:01, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Which if any MOS rules apply to citations?

There is a discussion at WT:CITE#MOS rules apply to citations? about whether MOS rules, such as the rules for abbreviations. Since the editors here are now notified of the discussion, any consensus formed in WP:CITE discussion may result in edits to MOS. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:28, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

And not just abbreviations. Jc3s5h wants ALL aspects of citation exempted from MOS, including dates. Do attend if you have any interest in the applicability of MOS. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:04, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

Bird common name decapitalisation (continued, 1)

Split section to allow archival the closed but long discussion. PaleAqua (talk) 14:51, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

A simple way forward on common names of species

The "lower-case or capitalize common names of species (maybe only birds)" dispute that has been ongoing is rather pointless. Not because it doesn't matter (it does matter for WP:LOCALCONSENSUS reasons, for WP:NABOBS reasons, and others), but because the solution is obvious and is even already being used, it just hasn't been applied to bird articles much or at all.

Complex example

To invent a complex example to illustrate all the principles, this article's title would be Northeastern boobook, referred to in running prose as northeastern boobook, the same way we'd do snow leopard, and it illustrates a case where the IOC name is not the WP:COMMONNAME for Wikipedia article titling purposes, having different capitalization, hyphenation and a varying name component:

Northeastern boobook
IOC: North-eastern Morepork
Northeastern boobook in Warkworth, New Zealand
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Ninox
Species: N. examplea
Binomial name
Ninox examplea
(Gmelin, 1788)
  • Ninox samplus

The northeastern boobook (Ninox examplea),[1] also called the Wellington ground owl,[2] Tasmanian walking morepork,[3] and formally named the North-eastern Morepork by the IOC),[4] is a small owl found throughout New Zealand, Tasmania and across most of mainland Australia. This bird is the loudest owl in Australia and is the continent's most widely distributed owl that cannot fly.

In the German spoken by the population of Austrian immigrants in the area, it is named Vandernvögel. The bird, in common with other closely related species, has almost 20 alternative common names, most of which, e.g. boobook, morepork, mopoke, and ruru, are onomatopoeic, as they emulate the bird's distinctive two-pitched call.

Two subspecies, the fast-running boobook and the Tasmanian crawling morepork, both became extinct during the 21th century.

end of example




Simpler case, where the WP:COMMONNAME is not the IOC formal vernacular name

In simpler cases without so many names to cover, but a difference between the IOC name and the WP:COMMONNAME, this will suffice:

The northeastern boobook (Ninox examplea),[1] formally named the North-Eastern Morepork by the IOC),[2] is a small owl...

Simplest case

In cases without any conflict with the IOC name this would be simpler yet:

The northeastern boobook (Ninox examplea),[1]is a small owl...

[... skipping to References section ...]

This should actually be done even after the infobox change (see below) because per WP:INFOBOX, information is not supposed to be in an infobox but not the main article body. While this principle is very frequently violated for no reason, we don't need to make that situation worse.

New parameter to be added to {{Taxobox}}
| formal_vernacular            = North-eastern Morepork
| formal_vernacular_authority  = [[International Ornithological Congress|IOC]]

This code has already been implemented, in the sandbox version of the taxobox used in the longer example above.

It adds a line near the top of the infobox, under the common name given at the top. This line provides the formalized, published vernacular name when such a thing exists. For birds, it would accoding to the consensus at WP:BIRDS last I looked, be the (capitalized) IOC name. For birds, this should use an embedded template to actually link to the entry at the IOC World Bird List where it appears, e.g. {{World Bird List|owls|Northeastern Boobook}}, since most bird articles on WP fail to cite their sources for the names they use anyway (even very well-developed ones, an unacceptable situation even aside from this lengthy style debate. Any other biological field in which a standard should be cited can do something similar if necessary (remember this is about Wikipedia, not birds.

Notable features of this solution (some of which should be explicitly written into MOS:LIFE)
  • Respects all applicable Wikipedia policies and guidelines instead of conflicting with them.
  • Lower case common (vernacular) names of species and of general groupings (e.g. "owl") are used throughout, except sentence case where required (at beginning of sentence, as article title, as infobox title, at start of section heading, etc.)
  • Thus, it does not force unfamiliar, ungrammatical-seeming capitalization on all readers and editors.
  • An upper case vernacular name is used only when reliably sourced as required to be capitalized by the authority cited, and only once in the article to which the name pertains. (This may well never be for anything but common names of birds as given by IOC, but WP:NOT#CRYSTAL, so who knows?)
  • Foreign-language names (in the rare cases it's relevant to include them) are italicized, and following capitalization rules of the languages to which they belong (e.g. German capitalizes nouns). This is like our handling of other foreign-language terms.
  • Links to or other mentions of vernacular names of other things, including variants of the article title, are given in lower case (if one happens to also be an IOC name that would be capitalized by that organization, that' something of only passing relevance at the article on that animal; it is not something to browbeat readers with in another article that just mentioned that creature.
  • Consistency both within an article and between articles
  • Those who advance the novel position that IOC names are "different" from all others somehow and are proper names get to capitalize them, when used in the context of the IOC itself (i.e. the citation to their version of the name), without Wikipedia itself lending any credence to this idea, or the even more linguistically unsound claim that all common names of species are proper names.
  • Any problems that might arise at a few articles can be worked around there, and cannot possibly be anywhere near as rancorous as continuing the present conflict.
  • Does not elevate one wikiproject above others or above site-wide consensus.
  • Does not treat article style or biological naming like a policy or (more importantly) a battleground.
Alleged weaknesses of this solution
  • Does not permit capitalization of species common names in running prose (or title case capitalization in article titles), except where they contain proper names, even when the article title happens to coincide with the IOC name. Given that this also eliminates WP:NPOV-, WP:UNDUE- and WP:NOR-related policy problems, and many other issues, it can be argued that this will be a net gain from an overall Wikipedian perspective.
  • In some cases, it may lengthen the explanation of names in the article. Given that this also eliminates the false implication that IOC names are universally preferred, it's hard to see this as a weakness either. Our readers deserve to know what the varying names are and where they're coming from.
Future development

Peter coxhead (talk · contribs) and I have been looking into the idea, now that we have WP:Lua to work with, of some templated markup that, though user-specific Javascript and CSS, could capitalize or decapitalized based on user preferences, e.g. something like {{Vernacular|^north-eastern|^morepork}} with a marker like ^ indicating optionally capitalized name elements. Given some time, even WP:BIRDS may get to eat their upper-casing cake while the rest of us can have our regular-English, lower-case cake, too.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  18:37, 25 April 2014 (UTC)


Thank you SMcCandlish for this proposition. I wonder whether the name are defined by the International Ornithological Congress or the International Ornithological Committee... I think that this should be clarified before correcting the articles as you nicely suggested, in order to link "IOC" to the most relevant page.

What is more, it seems that the committee was recently renamedInternational Ornithologists' Union ( Should the "IOC" mention link to "International Ornithological Congress" or "International Ornithologists' Union"? (talk) 19:21, 25 April 2014 (UTC).

That's a matter for the template, really. For purposes of this discussion, it's not who exactly it is, under what legal organization name this year, that matters, but what the spec being cited is; how/where to cite it; and what it's being cited for. The publisher is just a citation template parameter. Cf. the "Do not fixate on any detail in this example!" notice.  :-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:45, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I really like this mockup. I don't mind IOC capitalization being used with an IOC reference, as demonstrated, nor do I have a problem with an IOC designation being given in smaller text in the infobox. And thanks to SMcCandlish for doing this work. I know many of the birders must see most of us anti-capitalization folks as rabble-rousers not interested in doing actual work, so it's good to show that we can put our money (inasmuch as time is money) where are mouths are. Hopefully this could still be put to a bot, but if it has to be done manually, I'd be happy to help implement this. --BDD (talk) 19:29, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I'll just add that I would not to see ledes like "The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), formally named the Bald Eagle by the IOC," but I don't think you're actually proposing that. Another thing I hope we could all agree on is that that looks stupid. --BDD (talk) 19:31, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Having it be in the infobox is plenty sufficient in a case like that, I hope! The big, complex example I gave at top is a good case for having it in the lead, though (since it differs in multiple ways from the article title). That said, for all I know people might actually like the bald eagle example you just gave. I doubt it, but I'm less interested in trying to settle lead style here than capitalization style, and how to work around birder demand for IOC names when there's a torrent of consensus against capitalizing bird names all over the place. "One thing at a time" and all! :-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:45, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
The one labeled "Simplest case" addresses that, BDD; it would have the IOC capitalization stuff in the IOC citation; still in the article body per WP:INFOBOX but not cluttering the lead with trivia.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:04, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • If there is a consensus against capitalization on a per article basis (which I continue to prefer, and which I'd like to see decided first) and provided that it is absolutely clear that this approach is not restricted to birds, this may be a way forward. For those who are not aware of it, in the UK there are several lists of English species names which are explicitly capitalized. Thus the BSBI has a list of such names for the plants of the British Isles. The Western Australia government's FloraBase uses capitalized English species names. All such names should be treated equally with bird names (although I suspect that for plants we wouldn't want them in the taxobox). Peter coxhead (talk) 21:05, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Right; I didn't mean to imply you had the same opinion as me about this other stuff, I was just crediting you with the Lua idea. Sorry for the inclarity.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:10, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
PS: I also don't mean to imply that exactly how I've templated this idea should be mandatory; even the idea of having infoboxes being mandatory (much less something that can be mandated in particular ways by wikiprojects) has led to a long-fought consensus that there is certainly no such requirement. I'm just offering a compromise or fall-back position to preserve information like this if consensus is reaffirmed more clearly against upper-casing species common names in running text and in titles. Oh, and even WP:BIRDS came to a consensus back when that IOC names need to be reliably sourced as such; no one ever did anything to implement that, so here ya go.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:13, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't understand how the future development would be applied. Would we need to manually invoke that {{vernacular ...}} thing at each mention of a species? --Stfg (talk) 22:18, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
I would think so, where ever you wanted that kind of auto-styling to apply. As Peter said (at his page), it would be better if it could be done without parameters, e.g. {{vname|^north_eastern ^morepork}}, but who knows if this is even possible. I was off-wiki for a long time and missed the "Lua revolution" in templates, so I'm playing catch-up to that tech.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:37, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
I was afraid so. Looking at some of the articles that have been mentioned here, they'd end up chock-full of that, and I don't see people being likely to use it, really. --Stfg (talk) 14:22, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, [if this could be made to work at all] it would still work in leads. There are two completely different arguments for this capitalization: 1) "Always do it because IOC [or whatever other alleged authority] does it", and 2) "do it for the same reason field guides do it, to make rapid text scanning easier". The latter rationale really only applies to leads and infoboxes, and maybe lists; articles proper are written to be read, not glanced over for five seconds. And you'd be surprised how easily such templating is to deploy when people just do it in the course of editing (see, for example, use of {{cuegloss}} throughout the articles in Category:Cue sports to mark up and link to glossary entries on billiards/pool/snooker jargon terms). That said, perhaps the one good thing about WP:BIRDS pushing for almost all bird article names to be at IOC names despite the WP:COMMONNAME and WP:NPOV problems this raises, is that it would be fairly easy for a bot to take care of it: Get the name of every article from Category:Birds, and code each of those names (following certain parameters) in every article in that category, and optionally even in other articles. That sentence is pseudocode for the bot.  :-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:58, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
Let's not include too much in the lead paragraph. Keep it simple. Almost all (maybe all) WP:TREE articles include a section on taxonomy and a Taxobox. WP:BIRDS recommends that all bird articles include a section, "Taxonomy and systematics (including subspecies, relation to related species, history of naming, alternate names, and evolution)". That's the place to document scientific, regional, local, historic and 'formal vernacular' names along with sources. DocTree (ʞlɐʇ·ʇuoɔ) Join WER 20:05, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Just a point about the concern over the possibility of,

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), formally named the Bald Eagle by the IOC:

One of the reasons that sounds stupid is that we're saying "The X, formally named the X". Imagine how that would sound in an audio version of the article. A correct wording (not claiming it's the only one) would be:

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), formally styled the Bald Eagle by the IOC

(perhaps with quotation marks). Besides the question of whether such a trivial difference belongs in the lead at all (I agree it does not), I hope we agree that the logic of the wording is just as bad as the logic of starting with,

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is the name of a species of eagle found in North America.

kwami (talk) 05:20, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Breed names

Domestic short-haired cat which you quote is an exceptional case, in that in some circles it's accepted as a breed and in others not (see the article). Would this proposal, if adopted, also in due course affect the British Shorthair article, for example? Andrewa (talk) 02:44, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

That's not what the article says, though. It says that some cat fancier organizations have issued an "official" name for that landrace in their internal jargon (it differs between organizations) for cat registration and show purposes; it's not a breed, under any definition. It's the diametric opposite of a breed, namely the product of completely random mating between all fertile non-cloistered cats across the land.  :-)

Anyway, whether to upper- or lower-case the names of formal breeds is an open question and has been here for years. It's come up here plenty of times (and at WP:AT ex-WP:NC, and WP:NCFAUNA, and WP:ANIMALS, WP:MAMMALS, WP:CATS, WP:TOL, WP:VPP, MOS:CAPS, elsewhere, but a quick search of the MOS archives shows plenty of discussions of this and they're probably the most relevant and cogent. The arguments are not all the same as for species, though when the discussions fire up they usually start out that way, and a very similar pattern has been followed, in which fans of the capitalization were mostly the ones working on the breed articles early in WP's history, when people did not care about style and naming much, just "create content, create content!" above all. Wikipedian eventualism still existed; only weird geeks came here. Here it is 2014, and upper-casers on this will uniformly say "well, the breed articles are capitalized, so this must be a WP standard and MOS has to enshrine it as our practice, plus all of the reliable sources [that we like] capitalize", while lower-casers will say "no, it's a fait accompli dating to back when we didn't have style rules, being maintained by OWNy wikiprojects, meanwhile consensus can change, clearly has, and you're ignoring all generalist sources, most of which do not capitalize". There most of the similarity ends; the detail devils are quite different.

I'm actually on the fence on this one, but I really, really don't think this is the time to get into it, as I was telling Enric Naval yesterday over at WT:AT. Everyone needs a breather from all this animal caps stuff (an RfC on this matter right now would probably garner very little feedback, because of issue fatigue). Also, this particular question needs off-WP style guide research. And maybe other research; defining "breed" narrowly is going to be challenging, because the approaches to the question vary between pets, performance animals like racehorses, and farm livestock. In my own writing here (I did most of the research to dig up the names that fancier orgs. use for domestic short- and long-haired cats, for example), I stick to the upper-case style that's prevalent here now, except I of course down-case landraces (natural "varieties") and general "types" of dog, cat, whatever, per MOS:LIFE. Among the livestock breeds, determining which are really landraces is challenging, because they're often all referred to as "breeds" as a shorthand, even in erstwhile reliable sources, until you dig through quite a pile of them to get at the facts of whether the really are. To complicate matters further, some human-sculpted formal breeds actually have "landrace" in their names (because they were derived from locally-distinct landraces, however long ago).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:54, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

In reply to your first paragraph (I'd like to reply adjacent to it but your formatting makes it difficult) I think that's playing with words. The point I was making is unaffected.
In reply to your edit summary on breeds: now's a poor time to get into this - people have serious "animal caps" issue fatigue (diff... and I assume deleting my post was an accident, I've put it back), agree that they have such fatigue (me too) but we need to either deal with the issues or give up. The arguments used for bird species appear to apply equally to other articles as well. And of course we are both discussing this very thing at User talk:Peter coxhead/English species names as proper names.
As to the question I asked, I don't think we can sit on the fence as you seem to be proposing. We need to either extend the same latitude to all article titles (as I'd hope), or none.
As to the matter of style guides, your own essay currently [2] says in part Wikipedia has its own set of guidelines for article layout and naming. Facts on a subject should be drawn from reliable sources, but how content is styled is a matter for the Wikipedia community. You do go on to say how you think the Wikipedia guidelines should be developed, based on other style guides, but there are other opinions on this. Wikipedia is unique. Our style guide doesn't necessarily have to follow any other style guide, or even all of them, for reasons discussed previously. Andrewa (talk) 05:49, 26 April 2014 (UTC)
I definitely did not intend to clobber one of your posts! I'm not playing with words; the distinction is important, even in this context. There is no hurry at all to deal with this issue, if it's even a real issue. All of the affected articles are stable (on this matter anyway), and even RMs have no been upsetting that stasis. There is no all-or-nothing dichotomy, either. This is not a matter of arbitrary whim, where it's bird species, no caps, animal breeds caps, government job titles, no caps, art movements caps, flip a coin and now it's music genres no caps, flip another coin... They're all based on real-world use. MOS certainly is built first and foremost on consensus decisions about what's best for our readers in our medium, but absent particular concerns of that sort that sharply diverge from what off-WP sources are doing, we do actually follow them, especially general-audience ones over specialist ones. The bird common names of species debate was entirely about what the vast bulk of general-purpose, English-language nonfiction published material was doing with bird names, and it utterly dwarfed the capitalization conventions in most-not-all ornithology journals (and for unrelated, pure emphasis reasons that MOS wouldn't even care about, most-not-all field guides). That was the shape of the debate not matter what other issues people tried to stuff into it. That's going to be the same with breed names, but the particular contours will differ. It's all about what mainstream, non-specialist sources are doing, since that tells us what our readers expect and can parse without stopping to think "WTF?" While I strongly concur that MOS does not need to follow any/all other style guides, in actual practice it tracks the main ones pretty closely on most things, and diverges from them only where they conflict and it has to just pick whatever works better here, or when they all say something that just doesn't work here, or when they remain silent but direct experience tells us we can't because people keep editwarring over whatever the issue is.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:19, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

PS: Another reason there is no urgency is that MOS:LIFE (and none of the other guidelines like WP:NCFAUNA that are linked to it on organism naming) address breeds, pro or con, at all. Breed names are not English-language vernacular (common) names of species, nor are they "general names for groups or types of animals" like "goat" and "mountain dog" are; they're quite specific ones. This was left open on purpose because it was clear in 2008 and in 2012 that there was no clear consensus on what to do with breed names. Not every possible, imaginable conflict has to be pre-addressed at MOS, and there is no large WP-wide brouhaha about breed names. Let's not manufacture one. The worst that happens is occasionally a WP:RM gets started about some breed name, and closes as no consensus to move. Surely we can live with that for now. I'm not saying "just ignore this"; rather, look for reliable sourcing pro and con so that the facts are handy when the time comes, instead of 3 weeks into a heated uproar based on opinions and conflicting but remarkably similar forms of traditionalism. PS: I'm glad that my <p> formatting makes it difficult for people to refactor my posts to nit-pick at parts of them out of context. If you really want to do that, {{tq}} exists for a reason. :-) [That said, I do not object to refactoring where two totally different discussions are raised in the same post and need to be forked into concurrent threads.]  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:58, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Preferred term for several nations of the western hemisphere

What is the preferred term for the several nations of the western hemisphere when referring to them as a group? It seems like this should be covered, but I couldn't find it in the MOS or MOS talk pages. Perhaps there is no consensus, since the question of whether to use "American" for people or things of the United States seems to be something of a perennial controversy.

On List of polyglots, a section heading used to refer to "The Americas". It was recently changed to "Americans" and then to "America" by the same user. The section refers to people in the United States, Canada, and Brazil (and theoretically, one supposes, might refer to people from other North and South American countries), and contrasts with "Africa", "Asia", and "Europe", the other headings on the page. Cnilep (talk) 05:18, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

They are certainly not the same thing. "The Americas" invariably applies to the two continents taken together hummingbirds only occur in the Americas, whereas "American" is usually taken to mean a citizen of the US rather than a Canadian or Brazilian Jimfbleak - talk to me? 09:19, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Context, of course, is also a factor here... While "The Americas" is commonly used in a geographic context... is rarely used in a political or cultural context. I am not sure that there is a standard group term for all these nations as a group (or all the people of these nations, as a group) in a political/national context. Politically they tend to get broken down into "North American", "Central American" and "South American"... while culturally they get broken down into "North American" and "Latin American". Blueboar (talk) 13:28, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
My personal experience is that Europeans and especially the British tend to use "America" to refer to both continents, and American to refer to anyone from those continents, especially Canada and the United States. However in the Americas, the term American generally refers only to people or things from the United States. This means that "America" or "American", absent of other context, is likely to be ambiguous, and may even cause mild offence to Canadians or Mexicans, for example (like misidentifying a Scot as English). To avoid confusion, I would use "The Americas" (rather than "America") when referring to the region of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. I would avoid using the term "American" for its inhabitants unless the context is very clear. Pburka (talk) 15:01, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I find "The Americas" to be very natural, used in the context of this article. Pburka explains why very clearly. walk victor falk talk 04:09, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
Huh? The British do not call Canadians Americans, nor do they call Mexicans, Peruvians, etc. Americans. They use 'American' to refer to people from the USA. But I agree, "The Americas" seems fine. American though should only refer to the USA. This looks like an extension of the edit warring discussed at Talk:Americas. Also see of course Americas. Dougweller (talk) 10:34, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Possible scare quotes in nested quotations

The example I have is below:

Pseudo-archaeologists continue to perpetuate the idea that Atlantis was a racialized place. David Hatcher Childress, one of the most flagrant violators of basic archaeological reasoning, has provided perhaps the most outrageous racialized vision of Atlantis. In discussing Tiahuanaco in Bolivia—as a palace built long before any Native South Americans were present—Childress proposes that the majestic site could only have been constructed by the "Atlantean League." The league was composed of mythic seafarers who "sailed the world spreading a megalithic culture, and wore red turbans over their blond hair" (Childress 1986: 139, emphasis added). Nowhere did Plato, the only actual source on Atlantis, mention the blond hair of the Atlanteans. Plato did mention that the men and women of Atlantis, being semi-divine, were inherently good . . . The correlation between goodness and whiteness is thus obvious in Childress's formulation and in much else that has been written about Atlantis.

Hard to know if "Atlantean League" is meant to be in scare quotes or not, and I don't think we can decide or that it's necessary to. My question is do we change both sets of double quote marks to single quote marks or? Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 18:03, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

If quotation marks are singled within blocks, it's only fair to do it for all marks, whether they're quoting or "scaring" (it's more like ridicule, I find). That's just my opinion, not aware of any consensus (or on the single quote thing at all). InedibleHulk (talk) 19:31, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
Do not change either; leave them as double. When they are inside a double-quoted passage, change to single, no matter whether you think they're scare quotes or not. But the block quote without double quote marks around it does not need that treatment. Dicklyon (talk) 22:53, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Personally I think it's unacceptable to change the intended meaning of a directly quoted passage. I agree that sometimes there can be doubt as to whether single quotes are used as the general style, in which case it's correct to replace them with WP's style of double quotes, but if the source uses double and single quotes for different purposes, replacing them in a direct quotation is simply wrong. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:24, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
Where is there any rule that "scare-quotes" are only done in one kind of quotation mark, though? That's certainly not true in North American English.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:44, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: good point; what I should have written was "if the source uses double and single quotes for different purposes, reducing them to a single form in a direct quotation is simply wrong." Peter coxhead (talk) 07:25, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

We should not introduce a distinction. If a distinction is made in the original, then it would need an editorial explanation. — kwami (talk) 00:21, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Of course we should not introduce a distinction. However, if it's clear in the original that different kinds of quote marks are used for different purposes, we should not elide these as part of applying WP styles. However, this is likely to be unusual. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:40, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
  • In general I would tend to agree with DickLyon. But the way I read the guideline, these quotes within quotes may become single quotes at editors' discretion.

    If the quote marks were there in the original text, then they are not scare quotes as far as we are concerned but what the author intended. If they were placed there by one of our own editors in contradiction to the original, these are scare quotes that need removing. -- Ohc ¡digame! 02:55, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

We also have to be aware of other particular uses of quotation marks that MOS doesn't yet account for, e.g. the use of single quotes for glosses in linguistics and more broadly, e.g. Spanish casa 'house'. I.e., not every use of quotation marks is a quotation, and only some of them can be altered. NB: We really do need to add single quotes for glosses to MOS. I brought that up several years ago and no one objected, but either because I forgot to add it or for some other reason it's not in there.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:54, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Capitalisation of portals names

There is an ongoing discussion about the capitalisation of portal titles. Please give your opinions on Portal talk:Molecular and Cellular Biology#Requested moves.
Coreyemotela (talk) 13:21, 16 May 2014 (UTC).

Have we really nothing better to do than debate how to capitalize portal titles? Blueboar (talk) 16:31, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the quality of the content is central. However, it is good to have a clear and consistent presentation of the content. That is why the Manual of Style is here to further improve the quality of our encyclopaedia. Coreyemotela (talk) 15:42, 18 May 2014 (UTC).

Bird common name decapitalisation (continued, 2)

Sections were split to allow archival of Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 156#Bird common name decapitalisation and Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 157#Bird common name decapitalisation (continued, 1). Coreyemotela (talk) 20:44, 17 May 2014 (UTC).

Implementation of the consensus

The consensus is clear. The relevant guidelines (see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 156#Bird article names: related Wikipedia guidelines and essays pages) were updated accordingly by several users and made consistent. Coreyemotela (talk) 11:05, 3 May 2014 (UTC).

Articles requested moves

Requested moves following the above discussion can be listed here (of note, when possible, species articles are decapitalised directly without requested move):

Update: it is now recommended to use technical move requests (rather than standard move requests). See Wikipedia:Requested moves/Technical requests.
Coreyemotela (talk) 08:16, 11 May 2014 (UTC).


For consistency's sake, I would hope that anyone proposing or actually moving these bird articles would at the same time go through the article and lowercase the various species names in the article text itself - otherwise, what was the point of this whole exercise? So far, it seems to be very haphazard. Dohn joe (talk) 17:48, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Bundling multiple steps that can be executed independently would slow down implementation, not speed it up. Especially when some steps (downcasing the article text) require fewer permissions than others (moving articles over redirects with history). And some of the downcasing required is extensive.[3] I'd be happy to join a more systematic effort, but until someone can point me to one, I'm one of the haphazardly exercising editors. -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:49, 7 May 2014 (UTC)
Consistency within an article has been a fundamental principle of the MOS. Why change the title if you're not going to change the text? I really don't see the point (other than a desire to make a point). Peter coxhead (talk) 17:01, 7 May 2014 (UTC)
I kind of agree; I hope for any given article the title and text aren't in disagreement for long. And I don't think RMs are particularly helpful here; that is an extra step that we probably don't need—finding a TODO list of species/etc isn't hard. I would encourage non-admins to make the text changes, move them if needed (i.e. more than one-word titles) if you can, and if you can't then ask someone or slap a {{Db-g6}} on the redirect. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 18:02, 7 May 2014 (UTC)
"Why make any improvements if you're not going to make every improvement?" I've heard this argument before in other arenas, and it doesn't hold up well in a Wiki environment. The short answer is: I'm a volunteer here, and the changes I make improve the encyclopedia. -- JHunterJ (talk) 18:44, 7 May 2014 (UTC)
I think changing the article text before the move is approved might appear to jump the gun; and not doing so after the move is bad manners. Those RM admins are overworked, and should expect the proposer or someone else to come in promptly after the move to harmonise. Tony (talk) 13:37, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't see that changing the article text first would be jumping the gun, provided there is a suitable edit summary referring to the RFC. Erik's way seems sensible to me, but remember it's not just the species articles: articles on higher taxa contain species lists, example species, and captions that need updating too. But how do we get that TODO list? --Stfg (talk) 22:05, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Withdrawn proposal

It does need some kind of system, otherwise the more articles get done, the more difficult it will become to find the remaining ones. One possible way to do this would be for volunteers to place a {{Working}} tag after one of the bulleted items in Coreyemotela's list above, fix the articles in the linked RM, and change the {{Working}} to a {{Done}} on completion. I'd probably take on a set like that, but I find it too frustrating, even with navigation popups, to check the history of random articles to see whether they've been done yet. What say? --Stfg (talk) 08:39, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Standard or technical moves?

Why not use WP:RM/TR for these moves? Given that there has already been an extensive discussion, and that you're moving without discussion where technically feasible, it seems that these moves could all be accomplished through the technical move process. Pburka (talk) 17:12, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Can we do multiple requests with technical moves? And is the process really different? As I added a link to the consensus in the requests, I thought administrators can move the pages quickly. Coreyemotela (talk) 19:14, 10 May 2014 (UTC).
Since you're opening a standard 7-day move discussion, rather than requesting a technical move, I have been avoiding them. Yes, it's possible for standard move requests to be closed with WP:SNOW, but these shouldn't be in that bucket anyway. -- JHunterJ (talk) 19:22, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
As you suggest that it is a better way than standard move requests, I posted a list of technical requests on Wikipedia:Requested moves/Technical requests. For you interest, see also Wikipedia talk:Requested moves#Bird common name decapitalisation. Coreyemotela (talk) 21:29, 10 May 2014 (UTC).

What's needed?

Is somebody working on a bot which can do this or help do this? Does it have to be done manually, and if so, what does it take? Do we need to create a page (perhaps Wikipedia:WikiProject Birds/Capitalization changes) with a list of every article under Category:Birds, then start fixing each article and crossing the names off that list? I could start creating such a list, but I'd have to do it mostly manually and there must be a clever way to do it. I figure I participated in the effort to change the policy so I'm willing to do some of the work to implement the policy, but I don't know the best approach. Ideas? SchreiberBike talk 23:50, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

I've manually converted a several articles on owls and pigeons. Some observations:
  1. It may take a bit of research to figure out the correct capitalization. For example, Biak scops owl, São Miguel scops owl and reddish scops owl. Determining what part of the species name (if any) is a proper name would be difficult to automate.
  2. In a few cases, the article refers to the IOC name explicitly (e.g. Rock dove#Taxonomy and naming). In these cases I've updated the text to reflect the IOC capitalization in this context only.
  3. Many bird articles include incorrectly capitalized references to non-avian species. I've been correcting these at the same time.
  4. Capitalization in references should not be changed.
  5. Determining whether a species name begins a sentence may not always be simple.
However if the goal is only to create a list of all bird articles which might need to be inspected, it might be sufficient to start with List of birds by common name. Pburka (talk) 01:03, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
SchreiberBike—I don't know how helpful making a list would be. I'd recommend picking a taxon like a family or an order or something, and then go through and change all the text in those articles, move the pages that you can, and then when you're done with that taxon list it here or at WT:RM or something for an admin to move the rest (or use {{db-g6}}). Change the text in the footer templates, if any, that go with that taxon, the higher-level taxa articles, etc. Thanks, ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 01:41, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Making a list would serve to let editors indicate which areas they are working on, saving other editors from looking at those areas. A copy of the section headers of List of birds by common name might be enough. (That one is better that List of birds for this purpose, because some superorders are tiny and some families are huge.) For higher taxa, one can simply work up-tree using the taxoboxes. --Stfg (talk) 09:03, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
My commenting here may be out of place, since I'm not involving myself in making the changes, other than moving two species pages, but I do have a concern that the easy bit, the species and other taxon articles, will get changed and stuff elsewhere such the lists, biographies, nature reserves, bird parasites etc will be left either because they are overlooked or too time-consuming (eg List of birds of the United States. That wouldn't be good. I have to say that I am relieved that this discussion about organisation is taking place Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:48, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Also, what's the logic of common buzzard, where only Common Buzzard has been lower case, leaving other species and named subspecies of the common buzzard in capitals? That looks far worse than either all capitalised or all lower cased Jimfbleak - talk to me? 09:29, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
So fix it. Several of the bird articles I have been downcasing had similar inconsistencies from before this RFC, even with the article's topic bird.. - JHunterJ (talk) 12:35, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I'll downcase where I have to (done two complete long articles) but not otherwise. It's pretty obvious that we are going to have a mishmash of caps/lc between and within articles for the foreseeable future, so it's a waste of my time to clear up one article after the MoS experts have done their stuff Jimfbleak - talk to me? 18:21, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Incremental improvements are not a waste of time. Of course, you can leave it to other editors, but it's not a question of logic. There was a mishmash of caps between and within articles even when the birds experts had done their stuff. -- JHunterJ (talk) 18:45, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, that's your opinion, and you're entitled to it, but I think changing just a few capitalizations within an article is a retrograde step. Consistency within an article is a cardinal principle of the MOS; better to have consistent use of the wrong style than a mish-mash of different styles, which is far more confusing and distracting to the reader. Change the lot or don't bother. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:57, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
We're in agreement as to what's better. Since, however, the birds articles were already inconsistent (i.e., the birds editors hadn't bothered to change the lot) prior to "the MoS experts [doing] their stuff" , the incremental improvements to change the lot towards the consensus are worthwhile. -- JHunterJ (talk) 11:43, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I think people implementing this conversion should do so in a non-disruptive way. For example, I'm seeing a lot of changes where just the first occurrence of the name of the species is downcased, or maybe the lede+taxobox is downcased, and then every other occurrence of the species name is left in uppercase. Then that's all that happens. This is unhelpful. I think in general if an edit makes an article objectively worse, it shouldn't be left that way for long, and a consistent capitalization within an article is better than a mixed approach. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:57, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I disagree that that is objectively worse, and it's certainly not disruptive. Again, the mixed approach is what existed even before this RfC (as I've encountered again and again in the changes I've implemented just under Paleognathae). -- JHunterJ (talk) 17:08, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
Just to make sure we're talking about the same thing, consider this diff, please, and assume for discussion that nobody was going to touch this article again in the near future. Now, would you say that the article is in better shape after that diff? I would say it is worse. Do you think that quickly doing this exact thing (downcasing the taxobox, title, and first use in the lede) on dozens or hundreds of articles before doing anything else to them, is a good strategy here? IOW, it appears that this is being done for some reason other than consistency, and I don't see the reason. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 20:36, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, making a partial improvement to the article is good. Not as good as making the full improvement, but the next editor can do that. I moved many articles before going back (later, not same-day) to downcase them, after downcasing links to them in another article yielded redlinks. That was an improvement. Making the first use in the lede agree with the title is an improvement. Making the taxobox title agree is an improvement. Going through the rest of the article is an improvement. It can be done all at once or not, wiki-fashion. -- JHunterJ (talk) 23:35, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I finished moving and downcasing the texts of the articles under the tree from List of birds#Paleognathae. -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:15, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
Is there a page where people can records what they have completely done? I'm thinking in terms of completing a family (or perhaps genus for very large families like the pigeons, tyrant flycatchers and hummingbirds). Lists of birds of X, nature reserves etc could be added to the same page as done. Also, regarding page moves, note that many pages (nature reserves, most regional lists, parasites, genus and and higher taxa), don't need to be moved, so don't need admin help Jimfbleak - talk to me? 17:03, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I've made two different proposals for pages to record the work and to signal to other editors which areas are already undergoing work. Making these proposals implied an offer to make the pages, but it's a tedious morning's gnoming and I only want to do it if it will be used, especially after I did something yesterday after first asking whether it would be OK, but got reverted anyway. The proposals got no replies, so ... To summarise, I was offering either to make a page based on List of birds, or one based on List of birds by common name. The latter appears to be rather incomplete, so perhaps the former is better. It would entail some breaking down of large groupings. I'll still offer to draft such a list (and to do some articles), but first I need to know that it will not be wasted. --Stfg (talk) 10:53, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
I should also have reminded that SchreiberBike made the offer that started this subsection, and that offer got pretty short shrift. I'd also be happy to work with him on that proposal. Please, let's stop complaining about how other people are doing it wrong, and figure out how we can all do it right. --Stfg (talk) 10:59, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Also Category:Lists of birds by country, Category:Bird parasites (won't be many there), Category:Lists of birds of the United States (for US state lists). I don't know an easy way to get nature reserves, anatomy, ornithologists and the like, other than that they should all have project banners on the talk pages. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 12:05, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes indeed, though we must take care not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. I don't think there's going to be any one place where all the articles requiring attention are listed. I'm going to make a page in a sandbox based on List of birds, with a suggestion on how we can proceed using it. It won't cover everything, but people can add to it as they find things that need doing, for example articles in some category to do with parasites or nature reserves. I'll structure it so that editors can subdivide the big tasks if they want -- for example if they find a huge family, they can list the genera. --Stfg (talk) 12:42, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
I'd be happy to join a more systematic effort. For input to the list, I can use AutoWikiBrowser to easily generate a list of all the articles recursively under any category, such as Category:Birds or Category:Birds by location. The latter search generates around 11,000 article-space entries. I can put this list on a subpage of my user page, a subpage here, or give it to someone (if you want it for your sandbox list). -- JHunterJ (talk) 13:01, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Ah, that's great -- thanks for the offer. What I've done so far is at User:Stfg/Sandbox4 (just the first three entries, so far). But this is manual work, and I suspect that what you're describing would yield a better-structured list, and faster. Would you like to show us how it would look? I'm going out for a walk and some gardening now, so if we decide to abandon mine, it won't waste much. Cheers, --Stfg (talk) 13:33, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
See User:JHunterJ/Articles under the category Birds by location. I have no issues with it being edited there or the text copied somewhere else or it being moved somewhere else. -- JHunterJ (talk) 14:16, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Looks fine. Is the idea just to delete each line as we do them? --Stfg (talk) 14:25, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
That will work, certainly. I have not yet deleted the ones I've already done; wasn't sure how structured or rearranged the sandbox needed to be. If anyone wants to "claim" a block of them to work on, section headers can be added to block off the range they want (or to pull together the birds from an non-alphabetic block). The alpha sorting is good for getting color-names together. I could instead re-sort it by the last word to put the ducks together, the parrots together, etc. ... if editors would rather work on that type of grouping. -- JHunterJ (talk) 14:43, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
I think it makes sense to group them by family(ish). I just finished the scops owls, and many of the articles refer to other species in the same family. I found that it was helpful to work in this context, as many of the owls in this family have proper nouns in their common names (e.g. Rajah scops owl vs. reddish scops owl). I think working in groups like this will be faster, and will give editors a natural organizing principle. Pburka (talk) 14:55, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm happy to re-order the list by a mechanism I can get my computer to do (alpha by title, alpha by last word of the title). I'm happy to have any other editor re-order it by family if they like. -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:02, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm willing to get my Sandbox4 down to family level (for the big (sub-)orders), if it's wanted. Is it wanted? I could even subdivide down to genus level for very big families, but that would take longer and be done piecemeal. (BTW, if we go that way, we should link to taxon articles rather than taxon categories, so as not to overlook uncategorized species or species categorized other than by family. My suggestion to list categories was intended for things like nature reserves. --Stfg (talk) 15:56, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
JHunterJ, that's over 11K articles! I think if this is done manually, we should assume this will take months. Should articles be struck out if they are moved? Liz Read! Talk! 18:36, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, it's taken years to get them into their current state (which I'll remind everyone was already an inconsistent mess, before the RFC). Once articles are moved and downcased (taxobox, lede, and the rest of the body), they can be deleted entirely. We can break up the list also by what's needed: move, editing, or both. -- JHunterJ (talk) 19:03, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I've now finished creating User:Stfg/Sandbox4, though I might subdivide some of the larger entries still further if we decide to use it. It's up to you all. --Stfg (talk) 22:23, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
    • This approach makes sense for me. For now I've claimed Hirundinidae at User:Stfg/Sandbox4 and will start working on those as I'm able. If we settle on a different approach, that's fine, but this is a start. SchreiberBike talk 03:18, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Raise level?

Is it OK if I raise the whole "implementation of the consensus" section to a level-2 section? This would allow the main RFC to be arachived and this page to load much faster. Cheers, --Stfg (talk) 12:46, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

I think it is all right. Coreyemotela (talk) 19:57, 15 May 2014 (UTC).
@Coreyemotela: so why did you revert it, and without even bothering with an edit summary? The previous part, "A simple way forward on common names of species", predates the RFC close, is on a completely different subject to the implementation, hasn't been posted to for around 3 weeks, and is long enough to be worth archiving separately. Please explain or self-revert. --Stfg (talk) 09:51, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, my previous message saying it is all right was actually about the archiving of the original discussion. Then I thought it is better not to split everything in too many sections and I placed everything back together. But as you think it is better to split it again, I will revert my modification. Coreyemotela (talk) 11:21, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. --Stfg (talk) 11:38, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Moving without editing

A situation I've just hit is that an article I've edited has linked to other bird articles, for which the "mandatory" lower-case redirects were never provided, leading to redlinks in the main article after editing. The obvious thing to do then is to go to the linked-to article and move it to the correct case. If we are now expected to edit the linked-to article (to avoid inconsistency between title and text) then (a) the linked-to article may be rather big and a significant diversion from the intended set of articles, and (b) the linked-to article may in turn link to further articles with the same issue, and so ad infinitum. As far as I can see, this is quite common. For this reason, I think we should accept that, for a while, some articles will have titles in the new case but text in the old case. Many articles lacking those redirects are stubs anyway, so I think this is tolerable for a while. In the case of the best articles, if we see this happen to an article we care about, we can edit its text ourselves. I think this is the only way to avoid getting trapped in near-endless iterations of problem (b). --Stfg (talk) 14:32, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

I agree with you and think that it is fine to rename the article before correcting all the content. Coreyemotela (talk) 15:37, 18 May 2014 (UTC).
Agreed. This is a common case. The fastest and best way to resolve red-links created by lower-casing is to speedily move the articles in question. Pburka (talk) 16:01, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Using collapsible templates to hide content in articles

Doesn't MoS say somewhere not to use the |hide=y parameter of collapsible templates to hide content in articles? It's being increasingly done to hide the extended track listings on re-released albums with bonus tracks, such as I undid here. I recall previous discussions, several years ago, in which consensus was overwhelmingly against such content-hiding.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:46, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

The template for that had a discussion and determined that bonus tracks are not vital content and may be hidden. Walter Görlitz (talk) 01:26, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm not asking about a WP:LOCALCONSENSUS at that template talk page, I'm asking about a WP-wide, long-standing consensus against hiding content in articles in such a manner, ever. We don't even permit this for footnotes and reference citations. 15:51, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't think this is a style question. It's more of an editorial decision related to content. Blueboar (talk) 16:02, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
There's content, and then there's content. For example, while I see the advantages, I don't favo[u]r using collapse boxes in main article space to hide long quotations, chronologies, tables of contents, election returns, statistical tables or detailed background information. But I have thought it appropriate to use (or keep) them in a couple of instances outside talk pages. ¶ One was for Ahnentafeln (or ancestry tables) in royal family articles, especially long genealogical ones such as Grandchildren of Victoria and Albert. On the one hand, you want to make the information readily available without jumping back between several articles when an interested reader wishes to see many generations on the same page (e.g. from King George III and Louis Mountbatten's ancestors to Prince Harry); on the other hand, during several months when the tables couldn't be collapsed I just had to delete them because their sheer size made Grandchildren of V&A nearly impossible to read or navigate. ¶ Another example is in New York City#Global outreach, where the original dozen-odd Sister Cities, still displayed normally, have been joined by seven dozen "Global Partner Cities". WP:Due weight suggests that — while accuracy and completeness should be kept without making invidious exclusions of particular partner cities — the inordinate space the whole list would take for those not interested is hugely out of proportion for a peripheral topic in a general article about the City (which lists, for example, only a dozen of the four dozen or so Fortune 500 companies in New York). ¶ See the discussions at Template talk:Ahnentafel top, Template talk:Ahnentafel top/Requested Comments 1 and Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 140#Drop-down boxes. One of the comments says that where once there had been concern that collapsible boxes could confuse "readers" (accessibility software that "reads" Wikipedia text to the visually-impaired), now, apparently, those concerns no longer apply. —— Shakescene (talk) 05:46, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

"Reactions" sections

With reference to this, I really don't know where to discuss these. I'm already exasperated to see the list of repeated diplomatic niceties from various world leaders. Almost all of them are saying the same thing, offering their congratulations and applauding the resounding victory, and I suggested that these be summarised and collated. More troubling seems to be the number of Twitter feeds that are now being cited verbatim, including the various @ and Hashtags. Again, these say nothing more than the aforementioned. feeling that this format is unencyclopaedic, I raised the matter on the talk page, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere. Any comments? -- Ohc ¡digame! 15:00, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Yeah... I would agree that it is unencyclopedic... both in format and content. I think that the section suffers from a serious WP:NOTNEWS problem... it's the result of inexperienced editors wanting to add the latest "breaking news" development to an ongoing story (and doing so as soon as it occurs, and without any thought as to whether the development has any real importance to the overall article topic). It's a perennial problem in Wikipedia (I often wish we had a policy that said: "At least six months must pass before we mention any event in an article, so that we can place the event in it's proper historical perspective". Unfortunately, we don't have such a rule)
That said, I have found that it is too frustrating to try to fix NOTNEWS problems that while the story is still in the headlines... and that I get a more receptive audience if I wait a few months... and then attempt to fix it. Blueboar (talk) 15:55, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
I think the praxis should be that they are tolerated in the short term, but then ruthless pruned. It's even worse when you read an article months or years later after the event that caused the flurry, it's so stale you can practically smell it. walk victor falk talk 16:08, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

WikiProject Disability: style guide

Editors are invited to comment at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Disability#Developing a style guide (version of 09:48, 20 May 2014).
Wavelength (talk) 15:39, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Creation of the style guide has begun - see Wikipedia:WikiProject Disability/Style guide (draft). Editors with experience of writing style guides are cordially invited to participate in the process. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 11:40, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Centralizing MOS material on titles of works

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Titles#Centralizing MOS material on titles of works for efforts to clean up the confusingly scattered nature of our advice on titles of works, including at this page.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:19, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Rock names

For the avoidance of doubt, can we specify rock names at Capital letters? Please see for reference this discussion at WikiProject Geology. There's a lot of confusion in the style of rock articles, and some support there for following sources in a case-by-case way. Spicemix (talk) 18:15, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

By all means, yes, let's specify rocks and minerals as not capitalized except where they contain proper names like placenames. Capitalizing or not on a case-by-case basis would be pointless, confusing, dispute-generating and a maintenance impediment.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:16, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks SMcCandlish. Would you, as you are experienced here, like to draft or insert a section of text? For anyone who doesn't have time to read the discussion at WikiProject Geology I linked to above, I mentioned there as examples of inconsistency the article names Wunsiedel Marble, Cipollino marble, Ashford Black Marble and Pavonazzo marble. There are many more, as the lists of rocks show. Yes, proper nouns, mainly placenames, would be capitalized, but the discussion also threw up a useful point that occasionally a rock may have a proprietary name which is uppercase; for example ‪Sivec‬ may be an example of this (the article contains a lot of openly promotional text). But I think these cases will be rare on Wikipedia. Thanks for your consideration. Spicemix (talk) 15:26, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
The Sivec case is just another proper name capitalization, though (trademark); it's not really capitalization of a rock per se. I would be happy to do this, but have to hit the road for a long drive and dealing with some offline stuff. So, hopefully someone will get around to it, or ping me on Tue., perhaps. It is important that we don't engage in WP:SSF capitalization of common nouns like Wundsiedel marble [a common-noun phrase with "marble" not capitalized, but containing a proper place name which is] just because some field guildes or trade publications do it. The end of the "bird caps" dispute, falling against such over-capitalization, is a clear signpost pointing toward lower case generally for such broad classes of "things"  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:34, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Cheers, talk to you later. Spicemix (talk) 17:08, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Overhauled Template:MOS

{{MOS}} now supports various parameters that allow you to give a specific reason for tagging an article as needing MOS-related cleanup, and to link to a specific subpage or subsection, even a MOS: shortcut. I.e., this template is actually useful now.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:26, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Nice development, thanks. Spicemix (talk) 17:12, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Interpretation of "strong" ties?

There is a discussion at DRN centering on the question whether Einstein has "strong" ties to the USA. The problem is that WP:TIES talks about "English-speaking" countries. In the case of Einstein, it might be said that he has not exactly strong ties to the USA, considering that pretty much everything that made him notable happened in Europe. OTOH, it's the only English-speaking country he had significant ties to. This could stand some clarification, as it probably applies to a lot of articles. E. g., Thomas Gottschalk has been living in California for 20 years, but that is it, all his work was done in Europe. Should the article use DMY or MDY? Paradoctor (talk) 12:32, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

In the case of the Thomas Gottschalk article, many people who are citizens of other countries live and work in the United States, especially actors, but I wouldn't push for changing the date format because they are not citizens. But if they were citizens, and they are from a non-English speaking country, then it would be prudent to use the date format of the United States because citizenship denotes a strong national tie, regardless of any other criteria. Its actually my opinion in terms of date format, that subjects related to non-English speaking countries should be treated the same as we do with WP:ENGVAR. The date formats can be of either DMY or MDY, whichever evolves first. Other language Wikipedia projects don't use MDY on articles on American subjects just because the US does, so why should the English Wikipedia automatically use DMY simply because another country does. It goes against the open nature and the fairness of Wikipedia. Yet somewhere along the way this automatically evolved and most of us just stood by and watched. Or if we did try and do something, we were completely "shot down". I realize that the world uses different date formats, but the English Wikipedia should not give favor to non-English speaking subjects in terms of date format, because those countries do not speak English. But if MDY was used for American subjects all across the Wikimedia, that would be fair, but as of now it is not. Its a very unfair and in my opinion very biased standard that has gone on far too long.--JOJ Hutton 14:20, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
You're confusing "English" with "USA". The same problem would arise if Einstein was British or Australian, for example.
"Other language Wikipedia projects" Other languages generally do not have multiple conventions for the date format.
"citizenship denotes a strong national tie, regardless of any other criteria" That seems to be the bone of contention. IMO, that's not in the spirit of WP:TIES, and it's the reason I asked here. Paradoctor (talk) 16:47, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
It was a good idea to notify WT:MOS of this discussion, but it's not wise to try to conduct the discussion in two places at once. Until the DRN discussion is opened by a volunteer, the right place is the article talk page. Not here, please. --Stfg (talk) 17:27, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Revisiting "circa"

There's no rationale for MoS to effectively forbid use of "ca.", which is about equally as common as "c." and less ambiguous. MOS:ABBR used to allow both, but has been changed to agree with MoS proper on this point (which it should). Both spellings should be permitted.— Preceding unsigned comment added by ‎ SMcCandlish (talkcontribs) 03:11, 21 May 2014 UTC

I won't get into which is more common or preferred... by where does the MOS "effectively forbid" the use of "ca."? Blueboar (talk) 03:26, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
There's an entire (short) secton about it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:31, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't see that the MoS does "effectively forbid" "ca.", but it does say that "c. ... is preferred". If I see a "ca.", I change it to a "c." so long as it's not part of a quote or a title. I don't think there's anything wrong with "ca.", but I think the encyclopedia looks more credible when abbreviations are consistent and "c." has been the standard for a long time. SchreiberBike talk 05:03, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
If we needed that level of consistency, MOS:ABBR would be ten times longer, and we'd also throw out MOS:ENGVAR, and our section on grammar would also be huge, etc., etc. That particular ==Circa== section is really an aberration; there's nothing else like it in MOS. It's someone's particular little pet peeve that's somehow been enshrined as a hugely important matter of top-level MOS importance. I'm calling WP:BOLLOCKS. There's nowhere else we get this specific about how someone can abbreviate something with multiple conventional abbreviations, or other demand that editors use one spelling over another without a really good reason. I'm of a mind to widely RfC this, because I know I'm hardly alone in preferring ca., and there's no real principle here to push any particular abbreviation. External style guides don't, dictionaries don't, and nothing about "c." vs. "ca." is preferable for any WP-internal reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:31, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
This is not exhaustive background, but it's what I was able to find in an hour's work.
If it is an "aberration", it is one which has been in place for a long time and in searching I haven't seen any sign of trouble that it has caused. We could equally standardize on "ca.", but that would be a major change. I think the encyclopedia looks more credible when things are consistent, and I think allowing either is a bad choice. SchreiberBike talk 19:11, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Trying to enforce inter-article consistency at that level is not the Wikipedia way. It doesn't make sense to try to uniformize such tiny details while at the same time allowing articles to be written entirely in different varieties of English. If it's consistent within an article, that's good enough. --Trovatore (talk) 19:34, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
  • This is the kind of thing where it's far more than sufficient if individual articles are self-consistent. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 20:57, 23 May 2014 (UTC)


Currently reads: Where a proper noun that includes terminal punctuation ends a sentence, do not add a second terminal punctuation mark. Where such a noun occurs mid-sentence, punctuation may be added.

Surely proper noun and noun here are too restrictive. Shouldn't it be any word or phrase or expression? Spicemix (talk) 17:45, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Can anybody point me to an example where the terminal punctuation is removed when a name has other punctuation in it? I looked at things like Who's the Boss? and a long list of similar things, and I couldn't find a single example of where this guideline was followed. Is this theoretical MOS advice never put into practice? __ E L A Q U E A T E 19:59, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Though there are more than 40 Who's the Boss? in the article none of them ends a sentence (: The MOS examples make it clear simply that we shouldn't end a sentence with two terminal points, e.g. Who's the Boss?. Yes, this policy is generally followed. But my point is that proper noun or even noun is incorrectly restrictive. Spicemix (talk) 13:53, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you. We just don't repeat terminal punctuation marks, whatever the cause. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:26, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
I won't think this policy is generally followed until someone can offer an actual example of it being followed. Can anybody point me to an example where the terminal punctuation is removed when a name has other punctuation in it? There's lots of examples of "mid-sentence", I haven't found one of the guideline being followed at the end of the sentence.__ E L A Q U E A T E 13:15, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
For "names" (i.e. proper nouns and noun phrases) there are many examples. Consider how a sentence is punctuated when "U.S." appears before a comma or before a full stop; no-one writes "in the U.S.." at the end of a sentence, although they do write "in the U.S.," mid-sentence. For non-names, consider how "etc." is used. We don't write "etc.." at the end of a sentence.
In careful writing any possible ambiguity caused by the omission of the full stop would be avoided. The author abbreviation used in botany sometimes has a terminal full stop and sometimes not. Thus I would avoid writing something like His formal botanical author abbreviation is Wittm. because then it's not clear whether it's "Wittm." or "Wittm". The editor at Ludwig Wittmack has written His formal botanical author abbreviation is "Wittm." – the quote marks making it clear that the "." is part of the abbreviation. Note that we don't duplicate the stop mark again after the double-quote, i.e. we don't write His formal botanical author abbreviation is "Wittm.".
I think most careful writers would try to avoid putting a title like Who's the Boss? at the end of a sentence precisely because of the ambiguity something like ... featured in Who's the Boss? creates. This is doubtless why there are no such examples in the article. Peter coxhead (talk) 06:19, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
In fact I've quite often corrected double terminal puntuation, usually ?. or !., which is why I checked the policy. I agree that it's not going to break Wikipedia either way, but then MOS is full of these gnomish points. But as the current text of the section is inconsistent with the accompanying examples, I think we can rephrase it in line with Peter's suggestion that don't repeat terminal punctuation marks, whatever the cause. We can simply say Where a word [currently: proper noun] that includes terminal punctuation ends a sentence, do not add a second terminal punctuation mark. Where such a word [currently: noun] occurs mid-sentence, punctuation may be added. Spicemix (talk) 14:34, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
The ones you correct yourself are probably weak examples of whether this guideline is generally followed for ?s and !s. They're evidence of the opposite practice. But thanks to Peter for pointing out periods, those are valid examples of where the guidance works. When it involves a question mark or exclamation mark, my casual opinion is that adding a terminating period probably causes less overall confusion. I find Bob Glob then joined Therapy?. to require less parsing than Bob Glob then joined Therapy? as an example. I think most people rewrite the sentence rather than do what we advise, as has been suggested. I am not necessarily against any change, but I think it's a little humorous that our "Correct" example suggests a sentence most people would still find wrong enough to avoid completely.__ E L A Q U E A T E 15:36, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks everyone. I do see a rationale for double terminal punctuation, but in this case I'm only saying that the diction of the current policy is misleading and doesn't tally with the examples. So I'll go ahead and correct it along the lines suggested above. Spicemix (talk) 16:15, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Notification of RfC

Talk:Albert Einstein#RfC: date format in this article requests community input on the date format (DMY/MDY) to be used in that article. The issue concerns the application of WP:STRONGNAT, WP:RETAIN and WP:DATERET to that article. --Stfg (talk) 22:16, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Gender-neutral language

I just noticed recent edits saying that GNL is only an essay. Does this mean it's okay to break this rule?? Georgia guy (talk) 00:28, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

as it says in the box at the top of the page to which you linked:
While this essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline itself, it is intended to supplement the Wikipedia:Manual of Style's Gender-neutral language subsection, to which editors should defer in case of inconsistency between that page and this one. The reason is that detailed prescriptions will not meet all possible cases at WP. (This applies to articles; fwiw, I point out that it is increasingly considered impolite to use gendered language referring to other users on talk pages, unless the preferred usage is actually known.). DGG ( talk ) 01:10, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
What percentage of all Wikipedians disagree with the rule?? Georgia guy (talk) 01:12, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Georgia guy. This is getting unnecessarily confusing, since it's unclear to which GNL you are referring (Gender-neutral language here, or the separate WP:GNL which has its own separate Talk Page). Plus it's unclear to which page you have supposedly linked according to DGG, since you seemingly haven't actually linked to anything. (However, it is clear that DGG is talking about WP:GNL - it's just not clear that you were talking about it)

Regarding your latest question, I expect that in most instances nobody knows what percentage of people disagree with any given rule on Wikipedia, including whichever rule you are actually talking about.

But the answer to your original question about whether "it's OK to break this rule?" seems to be a rather imprecise Yes and No. In the first place WP:IAR, supposedly one of the five pillars of Wikipedia, means that in theory it's always OK to break any rule if that improves the encyclopedia (although in my admittedly relatively limited experience with using WP:IAR, pleading WP:IAR without additional backing usually seems to lose). Secondly, WP:GNL is indeed 'only a Wikipedia:essay' (though one seemingly containing quite a lot of rather useful advice). But WP:SHE, which is the stuff telling us to use Gender-neutral language (where it's clear and accurate) that we have here in the Manual of Style, is NOT an essay, but part of a Wikipedia Guideline, of which we are officially told "Guidelines are sets of best practices that are supported by consensus. Editors should attempt to follow guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply." And, although it's 'only an essay', gratuitously ignoring WP:GNL will inevitably carry a high risk of violating WP:SHE.

So, as with almost every rule in Wikipedia, the answer to 'Can you break the rule?' seems to be 'Yes, sometimes', and the answer to 'Can you be punished for breaking the rule?' seems also to be 'Yes, sometimes'. If that's not particularly clear, that's the nature of Wikipedia. Tlhslobus (talk) 01:38, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

A constructive bird suggestion

At category:lists of birds by location and lists of birds by region, virtually all lists are titled "List of birds of Fooland" rather than "List of Fooland birds", as recommended by the bird project. I found two exceptions, one of which, for Gauteng, I moved. However, the other is List of North American birds; I hesitate to move this because of its high profile and previous accusations of WP:OWN. It seems odd to have one list title styled differently from more than 100 other regional/country etc lists, and I'm floating it here to see if my proposed action is viewed as controversial. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 19:35, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

As a related issue, what is the view on all the substantive content being placed in a navbox, despite the fact that the navbox can't be used elsewhere because it is just the NAm list broken down into families? Jimfbleak - talk to me? 19:43, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
I looked at List of North American birds and found it slightly confusing. I didn't immediately realize that clicking on the order in the left column of the navbox such as Procellariiformes would take me to the page List of North American birds (Procellariiformes) rather than to the page Procellariiformes. I noticed that there is a subset of this list at List of birds of Canada and the United States. Aa77zz (talk) 21:52, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

This section has nothing to do with improving the Manual of Style article, which is what this Talk page is for. So I have copied it to where it seems to belong, at Talk:List_of_North_American_birds#A_constructive_bird_suggestion, and I have added an explanatory note there to that effect. I respectfully suggest that any further discussion on the subject should be conducted there and NOT here. Tlhslobus (talk) 05:09, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Fair enough, if there is no MoS issue, I'll move the page anyway to make it consistent, and leave the structure issue for others. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:15, 6 June 2014 (UTC)


The part about gender is stupid pandering to political correctness. For instance, common knowledge tells us Bradley Manning is a man. He is legally classified as a male, and he is imprisoned in an Army prison for males. There is ZERO verifiable evidence that he is a female (show me a reliable source that says so), and yet we refer to him as such because he claims (again, going against all available evidence) to be a female? I won't vandalize, sockpuppet, edit war, or otherwise disrupt this or any other article, but, my goodness, that is not even remotely encyclopedic. I read that one rationale for referring to him as a female in the article had to do with high suicide rates among LGBT youth. Is social activism (no matter how noble) part of what Wikipedia is? And what kind of weak person would kill themselves because a male criminal with gender-identity issues is identified (correctly) as a male?! I understand you don't want your articles to be offensive, but I think a line should be drawn when they're so PC that they make no sense. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 18:17, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Can you read the third of the questions covered in Wikipedia:Gender identity?? Please read it very carefully. Georgia guy (talk) 20:28, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Essentially proving my point. Touchy-feely mumbo-jumbo. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 20:41, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Here's the question and its answer:
  • Shouldn't we wait until the name and gender change are legal?

Legal names have little to no relevance to our naming policy. Nor does a state have any control over a person's self-identity. If there is a difference between a person's gender expression and the gender assigned to them by the state, our 'cause no harm' philosophy requires us to side with the individual. The status of transgender rights, for instance changing one's sex on a birth certificate, varies widely by jurisdiction. We also should avoid saying an article should be a particular way because of a basic opposition to the notion of changing one's public gender presentation.

Anything wrong with this?? Georgia guy (talk) 20:43, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Touchy-feely mumbo-jumbo. Just my opinion, and you are not required to agree with it. I will abide by consensus. If I were notable (I'm not), and I claimed to be a Triceratops, would my article refer to me as a Triceratops? No, because I am provably not a Triceratops. Bradley Manning (yes, that's his name) is provably not female...or was before he started his hormone therapy. Note that he wasn't even self-identifying as transgender until after all this broke. I just find it highly illogical to refer to someone with a penis as "she," or someone with a vagina as "he." Again, I said I'll abide by consensus, so don't act like there's some problem with what I'm saying. I'm just voicing the unspoken opinion of most of humanity. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 20:49, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

What I'm saying is, you're taking a political stance. This policy is inherently POV. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 20:57, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

You mean, to you transgender people are just people who make up fake identities arbitrarily?? Georgia guy (talk) 21:02, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Nope. In many cases, they're intersex and their gender is actually in doubt---in that case, I think we should refer to them by their own gender identity. As to why obvious males want to be female (or vice-versa), I have no idea. I don't think it's arbitrary; I think it's sincere. I do NOT, however, approve of letting people dictate the content of their own Wikipedia articles. It is my opinion (not one I'd ever insert into an article, as it's just that, an opinion) that at least part of Mr./Ms. Manning's motivation for this whole transgender revelation was to elicit sympathy from the media/general public. I don't doubt that he self-identifies as female (which doesn't make him one, as this isn't Neverland), but the timing of it was calculated. Honestly, I don't think you and I should be having this conversation at all. I disagree with consensus, I expressed my view, you expressed yours, and now we're getting very close to having a political discussion, which is not what Wikipedia is for. Bear in mind, I am fully supportive of the legal rights of all LGBT people and believe transgender people should be able to legally get their genders changed with little hassle. I just don't believe we should change a pronoun without concrete evidence (such as a legal gender change). Even then, the person would still be biologically their original gender, but I digress. Let's end this discussion. I'll admit that I'm probably morally wrong, though logically right. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 21:11, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
You said:

I don't doubt that he self-identifies as female (which doesn't make him one, as this isn't Neverland), but the timing of it was calculated.

This definitely appears to say that you think transgender people are people with fake gender identities that they just make up arbitrarily. Georgia guy (talk) 21:16, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

No, it doesn't. Not at all. Mr./Ms. Manning has likely seen xself as female for some time, but I implied that the timing of his/her public announcement of this fact was likely calculated. I don't think they choose to see themselves this way, necessarily; they just do. It's not fake---certainly not for them---but, biologically speaking, it is false. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 21:21, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

I think one area where we aren't entirely consistent with the "do what the person wants" is with pronouns. We generally accept if someone says "call me 'he'" or "call me 'she'" but I doubt we'd accept if someone said "call me 'v'" since this isn't standard english. Thus, there are boundaries to how far we will change the article to meet the desires of the subject. As for "biologically speaking", well, we don't usually go around looking at the genitals of subjects before deciding what pronouns to use, but if we did, we may be surprised at what we find. It's generally a bad idea to spend too much time worrying about these things, neither you nor I has any idea what genitals Manning has right now, or may have in the future - OTOH, I think there is a fair argument to follow how sources treat subjects like this - if the majority of sources use "he" for the times pre-announcement, we should follow that in spite of the wishes of the person in question, but that view didn't gain consensus I don't think, so that's where we are.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 21:25, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for that, Master. I would agree with that proposal, both pre- and post-announcement. If reliable sources call the person (fe)male, then that means the person is widely known as a (fe)male; thus I'd be fine with referring to that person as such in-wiki (although the individual's transsexualism should be noted as well). Another option would be "(Person's Name) claims to be (fe)male," but that could be even more "offensive" than calling him (her) by his (her) birth name/gender. I do think the current policy has little basis in either reality or critical thinking, but I'm pretty sure I've already made that more than clear. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 21:31, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
A lot of the trouble comes from the fact that our languages, our databases, our institutions, our bathrooms, our forms, our bureaucracies are only set up for two genders, and gender is too-often equated to sex. Transgender people challenge that paradigm, and force us to realize that humanity is more complex than a binary divide. Facebook now offers I think over 50 different gender identity choices, but given the diversity of humans it wouldn't surprise me if there were hundreds that could be identified; especially since gender is so intertwined with culture, the meaning of different gender terms - even "man" and "woman", but also ones like "transgender" carry with them a ton of social baggage and these change from place to place and across time. I've suggested elsewhere that we should avoid the use of the phrase "X is a real woman" since "woman" is by definition a social concept and the boundaries of that concept are being renegotiated before your eyes. Woman is sort of like a fuzzy category - there are a great number of people who are clearly in that category and for whom there is no dispute, but there are others, such as people like Manning, who are at the edges of that category - transgender rights people will say "Manning is a real woman,and should have the same rights and privileges accorded to other women", whereas others may say "Well, Manning is a woman in gender, but lived as a man most of their life and thus doesn't have the lived experience of women-born-women, therefore she can't attend this workshop", etc. It's better off if wikipedia stays out of such debates, as there's no right answer, it's a societal negotiation, and each society comes to different answers.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 21:41, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree that we should stay out of such debates, but it seems like every position possible (such as the one we have now, and really the ones I've offered as well) takes a side in that debate. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 21:44, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Beyond your assertion that this is too "PC" "touchy-feely" and "mumbo-jumbo", there doesn't seem to be anything to gain by deliberately misgendering someone who's made her identity clear in a way that has been widely reported by reliable-source-type media. Wikipedia's policy (follow self-identification) has the advantage of being both humane and in most cases unambiguous. In this case it's certainly unambiguous. If this conflicts with your (perhaps oversimplistic) models of gender, this might not necessarily be Wikipedia's problem. Pseudomonas(talk) 22:06, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Bravo, that's some first-rate passive-aggression there, buddy. Props to you. Seriously, though, I think a clear definition of the line between "gender" (socially constructed) and "biological sex" (mostly not socially constructed) would help matters a bit. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 22:21, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Every single contribution you've made to this discussion has contained explicit or implicit accusations of bad faith. You resort to ad hominem attacks and needless sarcasm all the time. If you can't have this discussion in a mature and sensible manner, have you considered not having it at all? AlexTiefling (talk) 09:13, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Alex, I apologize for my tone. I should've just stated my disagreement in a more dignified manner and then let it be, but I did get into some unprofessional behavior. I'm sorry. Nothing personal. Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 17:57, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
This idiotic policy is totally at odds with the goals of an encyclopedia, which are to present facts.
James Morris was a married war historian with kids. Describing him during that period of her life as a "she" is absurd, false, and incorrect, not to mention anachronistic.
Where did this ridiculous WP policy come from?
Scrap it. It's just stupid. (talk) 11:50, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
OK, try again without saying 'stupid' over and over again to describe the informed opinions of qualified people, and the conclusions they have reached. AlexTiefling (talk) 11:51, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
In line with sensible WP policy, I have tagged the preceding statement. (talk) 11:53, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
And I have untagged it, and given you a warning on your talk page for refactoring my comments. If you have a cogent argument, let's hear it. This is playground stuff - calling other people's views stupid, and childishly tagging my comments with 'citation needed'. You're giving the impression that you just don't like trans people. AlexTiefling (talk) 12:01, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Don't be so petty.
This is a cogent argument.
"In 1960, she joined the Boy Scouts."
And how do you propose a teenager interprets that statement?
That in 1960 the Scouts liberalized and started admitting chicks? But hadn't gotten around to changing their legally registered name? Is that what that sentence means?
Or we could just say:
"In 1960, the 12-year-old boy joined the Boy Scouts."
which is what you would expect in a repository of facts.
Which is what this is???? You know, it's hard to tell.
When are we going to have another vote on this issue so this policy can be overturned? (talk) 12:17, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I see you, calling me petty because I removed the 'citation needed' tags you'd put on a talk page comment. I see you, concern-trolling on behalf of imaginary teenagers. I see you, using multiple question-marks as though this makes you look more reasonable. Look at yourself. Consider that there is no need for a vote. AlexTiefling (talk) 12:21, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
That is exactly the problem.
You think that anyone in favour of common sense and history hates transpeople.
Sorry, but that is you being a fanatic.
When I went tramping around in Hong Kong, it was on the advice of Jan Morris.
Jan, not James.
He was a girl by then.
But earlier in her life, she was a he, and should be described as such. (talk) 12:19, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I have no idea who that is, or what your personal history with them may be. And I don't care. It looks very much like you're bringing some kind of personal issue onto this forum. AlexTiefling (talk) 12:23, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
...and you aren't? Dozzzzzzzzzing off (talk) 19:42, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

This seems that it needs reminding: MOS:IDENTITY is not a policy; it is a guideline. And, yes, that makes a difference as far as Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines go. Flyer22 (talk) 02:12, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Okay, Obi-wan, "gender" is equated with "sex" because the words are synonyms: [4] The restriction of "gender" to gender role and gender identity is specific to the social sciences. No one's using the word wrong if they say, "What gender is that kitten? It's male."
As for the whole guideline-not-policy thing, no it doesn't make a difference. Everything on here is going to be treated as a hard rule no matter what we decide to call it.
Regarding the actual content of this discussion ...why do you think Harrison Ford is male? It's not because anyone checked under the hood. We take him at his word. We should treat trans people the same as everyone else and do the same thing. Because the science is in progress and because there are so many different ways of interpreting what we do know, let's err on the side of being polite. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:40, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Whether something is a policy or a guideline makes a difference to me and many other Wikipedians. That's why we have policies and guidelines as separate things -- because the separation matters. I generally only treat the policies as a hard rule, though I also generally follow the guidelines. Flyer22 (talk) 14:46, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
They you do as you should, Flyer, but not everyone does. In practice, treat the MoS as anything but a rule at your own risk. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:47, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Like I stated, I treat it as a rule; I just usually don't treat it as a hard rule. And I'm not even referring to MOS:IDENTITY in this case; I've so far treated that as a hard rule. As for editors following the WP:Manual of Style: Considering how many rules it has and that so many less experienced Wikipedians are not as familiar with those rules as the more experienced Wikipedians are, I'm quite certain that many of its rules are commonly disregarded without any problem. I often "have to" point out such rules, such as WP:Overlinking and WP:See also, to even experienced Wikipedians. The vast majority of experienced Wikipedians, including very experienced Wikipedians, don't even know about WP:Logical quotation. I've stopped caring much about WP:Logical quotation, since the vast majority of editors at this site don't follow it. And I know that you've often debated WP:Logical quotation at this talk page. Anyway, I don't like policies being confused with guidelines, since, as many at this site know, policies are usually seen as holding more weight than guidelines; the Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines page essentially states as much. Flyer22 (talk) 05:05, 7 June 2014 (UTC)


Your plan to replace content creators with tight-arsed rule-makers is going to plan. People who can dot "i"s and cross "t"s are so much more useful to the project than those who try to clutter up the encyclopaedia with facts Jimfbleak - talk to me? 06:02, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Right. Mainstream English capitalization is an "arbitrary standard", and our desire to use it instead of a style predominant in some specialist contexts makes us elitists and justifies quitting Wikipedia in disgust/protest. This isn't an honest difference of opinion among Wikipedians acting in good faith, but a failure by "the grammar authoritarians" – who have no say in how ornithological articles are written – to "respect those that know, write and cite". Our goal isn't to improve the encyclopedia, but to drive away knowledgeable editors with our "demeaning" lack of unconditional deference. —David Levy 07:22, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Jim, I'm upset that you're upset. I haven't posted much more than twice on the bird issue, and I don't even recall how it concluded. But every professional publishing house has its own style; WP is particularly open to other authorities, but in most cases has decided to adopt a single line given the conflicting advice out there. Consistency (stylistic cohesiveness) cannot be underestimated in building and maintaining the site's authority on the internet. And that does, inevitably involve dotting i's and crossing t's. Tony (talk) 07:34, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
So if conformity is so important that it overrides a convention unanimously agreed within the bird project, how come we have Small Tortoiseshell and Corylus avellana (instead of common hazel)? I decided not to walk, but I'm unhappy that editors that I have worked with for years feel that they have had enough. And I've taken 2000 pages off my watchlist because it hardly seems worth the effort of trying to maintain content of those bird articles that aren't core topics to me when what is written is less regarded than the style it's written in Jimfbleak - talk to me? 07:52, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
So if conformity is so important that it overrides a convention unanimously agreed within the bird project,
Such unanimity has never existed. The most passionate and outspoken critic of the convention's application at Wikipedia is a longstanding WikiProject Birds member. Of course, no true member would hold such an opinion, according to those who disregard his participation on that basis.
Setting aside that point, local consensus doesn't override that of the community at large. WikiProject Birds doesn't own the site's ornithological content.
how come we have Small Tortoiseshell and Corylus avellana (instead of common hazel)?
Because other questionable decisions have been made. Are you suggesting that we mustn't address one without addressing the rest simultaneously?
I decided not to walk, but I'm unhappy that editors that I have worked with for years feel that they have had enough.
I'm unhappy about that too. And I'm unhappy that you (among others) believe that this was a goal behind the change.
And I've taken 2000 pages off my watchlist because it hardly seems worth the effort of trying to maintain content of those bird articles that aren't core topics to me when what is written is less regarded than the style it's written in
On what do you base this assertion? —David Levy 08:23, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Even I'm not quite paranoid enough to see the MoS as a deliberate goal, more a predictable outcome given the strength of feeling within the bird project. And I don't think it's at all likely that the plant people will be made to follow the rules, because some plants only have binomial names, and that will be accepted as a justification for not using common names even where they exist. I also don't know how many MoS contributors are committed enough to keep accepting the collateral damage to other projects either. The assertion (more an opinion really) is that I see editors, including admins, spending hours downcasing bird articles, most of whom have rarely, if ever, tried to improve the content of any of the relevant articles Jimfbleak - talk to me? 09:55, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Different discussions, and believe me, not everyone is happy about plants being at scientific names; a large number of them should move to common names per WP:AT. It's on the list. But the rationales (lack of common names, and conflicting common names) for using scientific names for plants are entirely distinct from the those given for capitalizing common names of bird species. It's like trying to compare whether to cook beef with how to cook seafood. Does not compute.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:21, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Even I'm not quite paranoid enough to see the MoS as a deliberate goal, more a predictable outcome given the strength of feeling within the bird project.
And you regard this as a valid argument against the decision that was reached? The ultimatum "If we don't get our way, we're quitting Wikipedia." should have swayed the outcome?
And I don't think it's at all likely that the plant people will be made to follow the rules,
That isn't what this is about. Had the rationale been "because the rules say so", I'd have been among the first to oppose the change. The goal was (and is) to improve Wikipedia. Reasonable people can disagree on what course of action has that effect; this doesn't mean that parties on one side of the debate value style over substance. (However, that description seems applicable to editors from either side who would rather deprive the encyclopedia's readers of their contributions than tolerate their non-preferred form of capitalization.)
because some plants only have binomial names, and that will be accepted as a justification for not using common names even where they exist.
Perhaps. Either way, Wikipedia will survive (just as it would have with capitalized or uncapitalized common names of bird species).
I also don't know how many MoS contributors are committed enough to keep accepting the collateral damage to other projects either.
I can't speak for others, but I'm inclined to worry more about setting a precedent that encourages threats of departure if demands aren't met.
The assertion (more an opinion really) is that I see editors, including admins, spending hours downcasing bird articles, most of whom have rarely, if ever, tried to improve the content of any of the relevant articles.
Part of the problem is that you perceive "downcasing bird articles" and "[trying] to improve [their] content" as mutually exclusive acts. —David Levy 11:42, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I stepped in to save others the tedium of doing it. I didn't comment in the RfC and have never been bothered by bird article titles. —Xezbeth (talk) 14:05, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Above we see a textbook example of "power corrupts"—David Levy provides dismissive links and commentary on local consensus and ownership, then argues with someone who says they have taken 2000 pages off their watchlist. Newsflash: You have won! There is no need to rub it in. Regarding the hard work of down-casers, I am not one of the bird editors, but I have a few such articles on my watchlist and have noticed them being moved to the approved title—presumably someone will later do a search-and-replace to down-case all the text in the articles, while working out how to distinguish bird names from standard text. Johnuniq (talk) 10:36, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Above we see a textbook example of "power corrupts"—David Levy provides dismissive links and commentary on local consensus and ownership,
disagreement ≠ dismissal
then argues with someone who says they have taken 2000 pages off their watchlist.
I fail to see the connection between those two elements; I haven't contested Jimfbleak's "And I've taken 2000 pages off my watchlist" statement, which I assume is accurate. My argumentation is confined to areas in which I sincerely disagree. Are you suggesting that it's inappropriate for me to express such views?
Newsflash: You have won! There is no need to rub it in.
Please take note of how (and by whom) this discussion was initiated. Then explain how I'm "rubbing it in" by challenging Jimfbleak's "congratulations" on the success of our "plan to replace content creators with tight-arsed rule-makers" who value bureaucratic formalities over "clutter[ing] up the encyclopaedia with facts". Does that not strike you as the least bit "dismissive"? —David Levy 11:42, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Tony, Wikipedia has no central editorial authority and attempts to impose central control will result in volunteers leaving. We're working for free; we need a bit of freedom in exchange.

This was a poorly executed decision. It was dominated by one person who was shouting at everyone who disagreed, which meant that several people stopped discussing it. The RfC was started as a discussion about how to set up an RfC and was structured in a confusing way. Then someone arrived in the middle of it and turned it into an RfC, which shouldn't have happened, and despite the chaos an admin closed it as consensus to change.

Now the people who had been doing the actual work are leaving or taking pages off their watchlists, so really everyone has lost. SlimVirgin (talk) 14:19, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Also remember that the editor that started the whole issue this time round was a sock of a blocked user. Poetic really. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:37, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't see how that's relevant to the input of editors who participated in good faith (and I'm not referring to those with a particular opinion). —David Levy 20:50, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia has no central editorial authority
Likewise, it has no subject area-specific editorial authorities with "control" over their articles. We're one Wikipedia community, not a loose association of autonomous factions.
and attempts to impose central control will result in volunteers leaving.
If volunteers choose to leave because they disagree with a consensus, that's unfortunate. I sometimes disagree with a consensus, but I've never attempted to band together with like-minded individuals and threaten a walkout if our demands weren't met.
I have seen editors quit over disagreement that I shared. And not once have I attacked those whose opinions prevailed or blamed them for driving away users with whom I agreed in the debate.
Now the people who had been doing the actual work are leaving or taking pages off their watchlists, so really everyone has lost.
It's exceedingly unhelpful to belittle editors' contributions by placing them outside the category of "actual work". —David Levy 20:50, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Just one editor's history: I first joined the pre-RFC discussions to take the view that, with so many articles affected, we should be pragmatic about it, and I suggested a SPECIESVAR approach that said do what you prefer, but be consistent. That was rather batted aside as instruction creep. I'm still wondering how saying "do what you like but do it consistently" can be called instruction creep, especially in the same breath as pointing out that the MoS already said that. But never mind. Anyway, that was before I had spotted that bird articles were also capitalizing species that were subject to lower case in their own articles. So we would apparently have Lions [sic] (a species) but hyenas [sic] (a family), and the potential for edit wars about African E/elephants, which are a two-species genus according to one RS (MSW3, here), but a single species according to another RS (IUCN Red list, here). And I also saw such ugliness as "predators such as Ospreys, herons and even otters" in a bird FA. So I !voted for downcasing in the RFC, very, very reluctantly, because I know it would create a lot of work, and when it was closed like that, I felt obliged to help out, not because it interests me (it doesn't) but on the basis that I should "put up or shut up".

As I downcased, I also copy edited, and noticed several things. The prior WP:BIRD standard hadn't been reliably applied -- for example I often saw mention of African Barbets [sic, for the whole family]. More than half the time, for the articles I looked at, the "mandatory" redirects to the opposite case didn't exist. One benefit of this exercise is that at the end of it these redirects will all exist. I've inserted several instances of {{convert}}, fixed numerous grammatical errors and typos, and other gnomish things. All of this can be called dotting i's and crossing t's, if you like, but why be snobbish about that? The articles are improved, aren't they? By the way, in the past I've also fulfilled two requests to copy edit bird articles in preparation for FACs, and they both passed. More dotting i's and crossing t's ... sorry if you don't value that. (Note: to be fair to the editor who requested those, he worked very nicely with me, and it's still a happy memory.)

But ... while I accept the obligation to put up or shut up, I don't accept any obligation to work on articles in a WikiProject after one of the project's leading lights calls me a "tight-arsed rule-maker". It doesn't much bother me, because you don't know me and you're in no position to judge whether that's what I am. But it does release me from obligation. So, Jimfbleak, have no fear: I won't be defacing any more of your articles. Is that a net positive for you? --Stfg (talk) 16:32, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Nothing about this process has been a net positive. Given the loss of committed project editors, your withdrawal of help is fairly trivial in comparison, although thanks are due for your previous efforts. And of course, Stfg, you provide the standard MoS justification for enforcing conformity Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:44, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Loss of what committed project editors? WP:DIVA threats to quit if one doesn't get one's way, people taking wikibreaks after losing a debate they were too heavily invested in WP:WINNING, frequently espoused desire to start an independent birder wiki with its own goals and rules (just as there are for a thousand other topics), and the natural course of editor burn-out (especially among professional academics) over time and new people cycling in while others fade out, does not actually amount of MOS debates actually causing a "loss of committed project editors"; it's just normal Wikipedia editorial churn. I challenge anyone to demonstrate that WP:BIRDS has had a per-capita reduction in contributing participants over, say, the last four years of this debate, that is greater than the reduction in participants in other major projects in which no such style debate has ruffled a few (ahem) feathers. Projecting one's own temperament onto the actual health of the encyclopedia and projects within it is unlikely to be supportable by statistical facts. WP:BIRDS has over 100 participants, of whom maybe 1/4 are actually still editing, and most of them have never spoken up one way or another about the capitalization thing, because most of them don't have any difficulty understanding that different publications and kinds of publications have different style needs and rules, that an encyclopedia is neither a birder field guide nor an ornithology journal article. At any given time on WP there only seem to be about half a dozen die-hard proponents of the capitalization JHimfbleak is so up in arm about, and they even change from year to year, while never representing a majority of that project's editors much less WP's biology editors more broadly.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:14, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, maybe people sometimes use WP:OWN for that purpose, but I was using it to put an obscene insult in context. And I also trotted out a pretty standard argument for letting people do things their way, or didn't you notice that? I accept that my withdrawal of help is trivial in comparison to the loss of their contribution -- nice of you to point that out -- but please don't imply that those who gnome to implement the consensus drive away those who disagree with the consensus. It was their choice to leave, and nobody else's. --Stfg (talk) 20:27, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
You seem to be under the impression that the MoS is the work of "tight-arsed rule-makers" who created it for the sake of exerting authority over the "content creators" and bureaucratically interfering with their output. You're mistaken.
The MoS is descriptive, not prescriptive. It documents the practices that the Wikipedia community has determined work best in the encyclopedia. We don't do something a certain way because the MoS says so; the MoS says something because we decided to do it.
In this instance, a WikiProject – unquestionably acting in good faith, with a goal of improving Wikipedia – arrived at a decision inconsistent with that of the Wikipedia community at large, whose opinion it was unable to sway. Other editors – also acting in good faith, with a goal of improving Wikipedia – believe that a different approach better serves the encyclopedia's general readership (as opposed to those with specialist backgrounds). I'm not here to rehash that debate. (My view is clear, as is yours.) I'm taking issue with your characterizations of the parties involved. You're entitled to disagree with the change and those who advocated it, but belittlement and name-calling are unhelpful. We're all Wikipedians, doing what we believe is best for the encyclopedia and its readers. —David Levy 20:50, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I was the editor who closed the AfD, on the ultimately simple grounds that if there is a manual of style, the rules should be as general as possible, and therefore the rules for animals should apply to all animals including birds, unless there is clear consensus to do otherwise based on clear outside norms, or the necessities of the situation. This was not the case.1/ there was no clear consensus, just varying opinions 2/outside use was variable, not consistent., and 3/the articles would be clear enough with lower case names. Even were there clear consensus among those working with birds, which was emphatically not the case, it still would hold only if accepted by other editors: the various wikiprojects do not have the final authority over the general community.
Obviously, I am not going to enforce my own decision, but it is my opinion that anyone who raises the issue again without having new clear evidence that consistent outside use has changed is being disruptive. The entire point of a MOS are so things that are just matters of style can be definitively settled. Refusal to accept that disrupts article writing. DGG ( talk ) 19:35, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for reminding us of the Small Tortoiseshell case. The entire range of moth, butterfly and dragonfly articles are named (and in many cases written in other ways) that's confusing and patently unencyclopedic. Time to clean that up.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:04, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Apologies to Stfg. In the UK, the phrase I used is normally taken to indicate an inflexible bureaucratic mindset. While it is certainly not complimentary, I didn't realise that elsewhere it might be viewed as obscene. It obviously wasn't aimed at at particular person, but if I've caused Stfg more offence than I intended, of course I apologise for that Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:26, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for that, Jimfbleak, and I accept it. I'm from the UK too, and I understand the expression in the same way you do. It's just that the picture it paints makes it obscene. My main point, though, isn't the obscenity, but that it's wrong to say that those who step up to implement a consensus thereby show "an inflexible bureaucratic mindset". Nor even those who take a view while the consensus is forming, come to that. Around here there are very diverse views about how much overall consistency Wikipedia needs, but I do believe that everyone who turned up at the RFC, on either side, was there for the benefit of the encyclopedia (except perhaps the sockpuppet). I'm sorry to know that the decision has upset some key bird contributors, but that fact doesn't mean that the decision was wrong, let alone made in bad faith. Thanks again. --Stfg (talk) 10:12, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish, I have to say the mix of caps, lc and binomials, even in a single article like Lepidoptera, makes the pre-lc birds pages seem a model of clarity in comparison Jimfbleak - talk to me? 07:33, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
No particular disagreement from me. You've come at me and "MOS regulars" more broadly as being "anti-ornithologist" in some way, but you have to realize that a dozen or two of WP:BIRDS editors were highly combative about this stuff for nine years running. Those spoiling for a fight will find one. The insect editors in favor of capitalization (and other non-encyclopedic divergences, in quite a few of "their" articles) have largely kept their mouths shut and avoided controversy. The consequence of that is they're about the very last corner of WP that the lower-casing lens has focused. It's about time, but their long "free rein" period has indeed made a weird mess of those articles, with a big mixture of styles. The same has happened with a number of botanical articles. But, we need to avoid what amounts to an WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS argument; I don't buy the latent idea that "the bird articles should just have been left alone because the flying insect articles are even worse." I shouldn't fail to get a cavity in my tooth filled just because I also have a serious heart problem, or decline to wash my clothes because the dishes are an even bigger mess.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:16, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't think I was suggesting that, the situation in the insects, mammals and plants is clearly indefensible, whereas birds at least had a coherent policy. I would support any move to have all animals and plants at their English common name, if one exists, and to have consistent capitalisation, which de facto would now be lower case. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 14:25, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
1. Using lowercase for common names is standard English. No one here made that up or imposed it on a whim. Wikipedia is a standard English publication and it's right and proper that it follow standard English rules.
2. I don't see why ornithology experts and fans can't add the facts as they see fit and then let language experts and fans fix up the presentation.
3. It's is nonetheless relevant that a Wikieditor has decided to quit, citing the conflict over this issue as a primary cause. We need to know this. We need to acknowledge it. We need to deal with it. Specifically, that thread cites the mean-spiritedness of comments against capitalization. We can certainly ask everyone to chuck that and stick to precedent and practical matters. (Frankly, might be nice if they did that in other issues too.) Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:38, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Capitalization of organism type/kind after breed name

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Talk:American Paint horse#Requested moves, about whether to capitalize the general type/kind of organism (horse, pony, donkey) after the breed name, and the outcome of which could affect a large number of articles (e.g. Siamese Cat vs. Siamese cat, Valencia Orange vs. Valencia orange, etc.) It is not about whether to capitalize breed names (the part before the type/kind) even where they do not contain a proper name; that's a different debate for another time. Also raised in the same debate is whether to capitalize after a hyphen.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:00, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

I commented there that I consider the situation identical to my close of the discussion on common names of species. DGG ( talk ) 01:01, 5 June 2014 (UTC) .
SMcCandlish misstates the RM, which is to merely ask that there be about 12 exceptions to the standard natural disambiguation of horse breed names (out of 300-400 articles) due to specific circumstances. We are NOT arguing that all breeds should be in title case, we are arguing only for a few specific animal breed names where the proper noun form inherently requires a capitalization even of the species name, not a general rule. This is a non-issue for the overall MOS and should not be blown up into such a thing. Montanabw(talk) 02:22, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
That's not accurate, though. The are quite a few more articles just in that category that would be affected (see expanded list at the RM), and the outcome either way will affect parallel cases in every single other domestic animal category. You only included in your RM the dozen or so horse cases that were already moved and which you personally objected to their having been moved. If you'd waited a day longer and more articles had been moved, the RM list would necessarily have been longer. It would also almost certainly have been longer if someone else had been the nominator. If anything, you're a moderate when it comes to this pro-capitalization stance, and the mess in that category, that I've stopped cleaning up pending this RM's outcome, clearly indicates that many editors in the equine wikiproject want to capitalize "horse" or "pony" in every single breed article title, because they keep doing it where they should not. I did not say you were arguing for all breeds to be in title case, and my notice here was a neutral but accurate notice that the discussion is MOS-relevant and has consequences broader than the articles the RM immediately named. You're arguing for capitalization of the species name after a breed name that is adjectival in form and could potentially be ambiguous and thus seems to "need" the species name more than other cases might. The examples I give here (Siamese and Valencia) fit that pattern exactly. But since we're on the topic, there are in fact parties in the debate who do believe that the names should all be in title case (including in running text, not just article titles), for the very same reason that a number of birdwatcher and ornithologist editors wanted to capitalize all bird species common names: It's what they're used to in their specialist publications, and they feel that these must somehow trump all other concerns. Finally, the entire crux of the matter is that not everyone agrees with your assertion that a breed name of that sort "inherently requires a capitalization" of "horse" or "pony" after it; that's why the RM has various "oppose" responses.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:48, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for calling me a "moderate." I appreciate that. But I disagree that a few exceptions will endanger the overall rule, though even the overall rule is not problem-free (but I am NOT going there, I have a life, that's one drama I'm not prepared to dive into). If you were to ask me, I would note that the whole thing about using sentence case instead of title case for WP articles was a kludge due to the reality that the wiki software thinks that capitals and lower case letters are different characters. We are doing it differently from everyone else, though "everyone else" is starting to imitate wiki, I've noticed. I will go to the mat for the titling of American Quarter Horse and a couple others, but most of them aren't a moral issue; they just look bizarre with mixed capitals (but even worse with sentence case). The "pony" situation is the most difficult, as many breeds clearly must be identified as ponies to distinguish them from horses, even though horses and ponies are the same species and subspecies. (And god forbid those who get into fights amongst horse people over whether a creature is a horse or a pony - trust me that makes a capitalization fight look like a friendly thumb-wrestling match!) Montanabw(talk) 16:38, 7 June 2014 (UTC)