Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biography

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WikiProject Manual of Style
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post-nominal letters re: "closely associated"[edit]

I'm looking to understand applications of the definition of "closely associated" in MOS:POSTNOMs. Using Bill Gates as example: Microsoft has in excess of 10,000 employees in the UK. Gates is personally involved in many UK projects ie: [1]. I would define that as being "closely associated". Further, a substantial working life, or earning a degree, in Britain, or even having British parents, might well be described as being "closely associated". Thoughts? (Gates aside, I do not see this specific MOS:POSTNOM discussion anywhere; please redirect me should it be better stated or resolved elsewhere.) Thank you, AHampton (talk) 18:59, 16 February 2019 (UTC)

@AHampton: A close association isn't remote/minor/in passing, its long term, strong, and self-evident: eg, there is a clear difference between "being related" and "being closely related" to someone (great-aunt/second cousin vs parent/child/sibling). Looking at your example: Microsoft having employees in the UK means Microsoft is associated with the UK, not Gates; being involved in UK projects means Gates is associated but not closely associated. Earning a degree or having British parents/ancestry also would be (barely) associated. On the other hand, "a substantial working life" would: Kevin Spacey is a good example of that, having spent a decade+ being based in the UK, and so his honorary KBE is shown in the lede. Long term residence, a decoration awarded while serving alongside or for a foreign nation, etc, would be fine. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 19:47, 16 February 2019 (UTC)
Interesting notes, thank you. I suppose we differ in that I would consider myself to be closely associated with the city and state of my own, distant alma mater, though I only studied there for six years. As for Gates, to say that Microsoft has 10,000 employees is saying that Gates has 10,000 de facto employees — though he may own just 4% now, he has been a majority shareholder and founder, so that seems to be splitting hairs. Separately, just how many UK-based projects would such as he need to be personally involved in for him to be considered "closely associated", then? I'd also be very curious, Gaia Octavia Agrippa, to know your opinion on this individual, in the same context, as having led me to this issue, shared with the Gates' page: Ratan Tata. Is someone, briefly, born in (then) British India who owns British-founded companies, and now personally meets with the PM of England, also not to be considered as "closely associated"? AHampton (talk) 00:31, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
Simple answer to Ratan Tata: I can't see anything that indicates a "close association" with the UK, so no, his GBE should be treated like any other foreign honour. The company Microsoft is not the same as the person Bill Gates. If we look at the full guideline its states: "a state, or a widely recognized organization, with which the subject has been closely associated": the person in question, not their companies. India having been a British colony at the time of Tata's birth does not mean he is "closely associated" with the UK; his companies having absorbed some famous British brands does not mean Tata himself is "closely associated" with the UK. Lots of foreign business people meet with the British PM: it soesn't make them "closely associated" with the UK, its just part of doing global business.
Perhaps there is a cultural difference between you and I, and you consider your Great Aunt a close-related family member? Perhaps a better analogy if this is the case would be: someone related to you (the individual's home country/current citizenship), your best friend ("close association"), and other people people you are friends with (not at a level to include in the lede). The UK is not the best friend of Bill Gates or Ratan Tata.
As for how many projects would Bill Gates have to be involved in? As one of the richest men on the world in give money to projects all over the globe. Nice if him, but for the purpose of satisfy a "close association": maybe if he set up a Gates UK foundation that he was personally involved with? I'm not sure.
As a side note, I've googled synonyms for "closely associated" [2]. Examples include: intimately connected, intrinsically linked to, deeply involved. Basically, this is a very high bar of personal association that Wikipedia is setting. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 01:37, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to respond in detail, and for reminding me to call my Great-Aunt, with whom, yes, I am closely associated. Does being British-born and knighted automatically qualify a subject's profile to display post-noms? While I am well aware of the difference between an individual and a corporate entity, I account for the fact that the corporation is founded and led by individuals. Each of tho individuals used as examples here could be described is "deeply involved" with the United Kingdom, and moreso than many born there. (And this comes from someone who would vote to abolish the peerage, on principle, given the chance.) At bottom, I'd venture to say that it would better serve WP to have the term replaced with a more definitive explanation, thus avoiding what now occurs without it. AHampton (talk) 16:14, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
It's a stretch to say he's British-born. He was born in India. He is Indian. He resides in India. We might say 'British-born' when someone is born in Britain but does not hold British citizenship or reside in Britain, but not when someone clearly wasn't born in Britain. DrKay (talk) 16:20, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
DrKay: the question was general, and not in reference to Tata. AHampton (talk) 18:48, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
So was the answer. Switch 'British' and 'Indian' for any two nationalities. Same goes. DrKay (talk) 21:00, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I think if someone is British-born then their article should display any British postnominals they've received; that's certainly a close enough relationship (as is having spent a long time in Britain, such as Kevin Spacey or Gillian Anderson). Although in reality most people who are British-born still hold British citizenship in any case (very few people renounce British citizenship on acquiring another citizenship, as it is not a legal requirement to do so), so their postnominals are substantive and not honorary. Of course, most British men who are knighted do not have any postnominals. Tata is not a straightforward case, as he was born in a country that received substantive, and not honorary, British honours until he was 12; in fact, his grandfather held a substantive knighthood. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:43, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, DrKay, but that was not the question, which was: Does being British-born and knighted automatically qualify a subject's profile to display post-noms? AHampton (talk) 21:01, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
No, I do not expect British post-nominals to be listed after the names of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands or Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia. I think it needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis, with consensus determined at each talk page based on the practice adopted by most reliable sources. DrKay (talk) 21:32, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
Foreign royals and heads of state and government (whether "British-born" or not) are always special cases, as their honours are often awarded as a matter of course for diplomatic reasons and not for any specific achievement and they frequently have long lists of them. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:02, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, Necrothesp, I agree that the case of Tata is more complex than is typical, and we would do well to reach a consensus on that, which we do not have here. I do see him as having a"long term, strong, and self-evident" association with the UK, for instance. It seems apparent that "closely associated" is insufficient to the imposed parameters, and should be made more specific. AHampton (talk) 21:01, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
I strongly concur with Gaia Octavia Agrippa's take on this, and that the "Microsoft has 10K employees in the UK ergo Gates personally has a close association with the UK" is wishful thinking and a twisting of the intent of the guideline to try to make it mean nearly opposite of what it means.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:41, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Two-editor circular stuff that is mostly a personality conflict ...
SMcCandlish, insulting remarks only discourage questions and discourse. Seeking clarity and requesting a more specific guideline is not, as you've stated, "wishful thinking" or any attempt at manipulation, such as "a twisting of the intent of the guideline to try to make it mean nearly opposite of what it means" — my own intent is rather academic, though you would twist it into something else, and your rephrasing oversimplifies my statements to do so. Should you more fully consider the matters at hand, your response overlooks the aspects of his personal involvement in high-profile UK projects, and the actual suggestion, which is generally ignored here, for a more concise wording than "closely associated".AHampton (talk) 16:25, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
I don't disagree with your first sentence, but there are no insulting remarks in what I said. Disagreeing with your proposal and its rationales is not an insult, it's disagreement. Disapproval of an idea you advance is not disapproval of you as a person. Your unhappiness that something you've said/done has been criticized doesn't mean you've been subjected to a personal attack. This is probably a one-off occurrence, but a habitual failure to understand the difference would be a WP:CIR problem in a collaborative editing environment.

My response does not "overlook" what Gates is doing, it just isn't rehashing the entire discussion. Gates personally is a little involved in the UK but doesn't have strong ties to it. The main argument presented for considering him to have such strong ties is the broader level of activity of Microsoft in the UK. But a) Microsoft itself isn't strongly associated with the UK anyway (or any of the various other countries where it maintains sizable operations outside its home country) only with the US; and b) Microsoft's encyclopedic connection to something – even if there were enough of one to care about – cannot "rub off" on Gates (4%!) or vice versa. It's the same principle as WP:Notability not being transferrable by such connections, and that includes notability (more precisely encyclopedic relevance) within in a particular context. By way of very direct analogy, Team USA in the Mosconi Cup not only had a European member, he was the coach for several years and their "winningest". There is no question whatsoever that Team USA has a strong connection to the US. Yet that player-coach does not; he is no in Category:American pool players and is not described in the article as "American" or "European-American" or whatever). The connection isn't "magically absorbed" from the organizational entity into the individual, especially since (as with Gates) the activities that person has engaged in in relation to the country in question are incidental in the total scope of that human subject's life. But everyone else here already seems to intuit this without having to spell it out, so I didn't. This sort of "rub off the connection" argument isn't often advanced by anyone at all.

The important point, however, was clear: much of the purpose of this line-item in the guideline is to prevent just this sort of "declaration of 'close association' simply by osmosis", and you're trying to turn it on its ear (or, the effect of the argument you are making would be to do so, and there's no particular way to distinguish these; there's no implication of mind-reading on my part).
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:59, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

SMcCandlish, I can accept that your intention was not to insult, but your wording choices do not reflect that at all, as specifically quoted (which you did not deign to answer to), and continue insulting in the presumption of an actual agenda, beyond knowing. FYI: without dissecting all of your copious notes — I was not making any "osmosis" or "'rub off the connection' argument", but asking questions and offering viewpoints, and my only (still ignored) "proposal" was for a clearer guideline than "closely associated" (more fool me, apparently). I have no intention on the outcome, only on acquiring a consistent, defining guideline, as the existing one seems too vague or open to interpretation for my taste, though you colorfully assume otherwise, by your notes. It's actually Tata (where I first began with the post-noms topic) that I would think possibly entitled to display post-noms, but I am loathe to wade through a haze of presumption and misunderstanding offered in return for trying to discuss it. (I had taken this to the Tea House prior, as noted on my TALK page, receiving no answer; here– whether intended or not –the effect is to discourage participation, and it has zero to do with agreeing or disagreeing on the actual topic, but a lack of goodwill shown in presumptuousness. Perhaps many are so jaded by this topic from the past that it's too difficult to not assume intentions in the present, and perhaps that's also why my previous three notes to other pages asking after the topic were all simply ignored.) You might also note that Gaia Octavia Agrippa's response disagreed with me, yet was considered and academic, offered no presumptuous insult or sarcasm, so was appreciated. All else seems counter-productive.AHampton (talk) 17:44, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
We already have a consistent, defining guideline. I can sympathize that you as a particular individual may find it a bit loose for your tastes, but this going to be true of every line-item in every guideline for some individual somewhere. We do not write guidelines like immutable laws, and we leave a large number of things open to editorial leeway, and consensus-formation on a per-article level (WP:LOCALCONSENSUS). This is not an error, it is by design. For everyone who arrives here or any other guideline talk page and wishes that something were a bright-line rule they could apply like a razor, there are dozens (at least) who would object to making a guideline more emphatic and policy-like. We also don't add new or more WP:CREEPingly nit-picky line-items to guidelines absent a compelling reason to do so, like repetitive, heated squabbling about the matter that seems like it can't be resolved any other way, or serious problems in the content of numerous articles. MoS in particular is already overly long and detailed.

No one accused you of saying you're presenting an osmosis/rubbing-off argument, it simply amounts to one, and it isn't one we accept. It requires absolutely zero implication or assumptions of motive (and I'm not making any) to arrive at this conclusion, only an examination of the basis for the argument, the effects it would have if actually implemented, and how similar it is to other cases of treating weak associations as if strong. It's not like we haven't been over this many times before in many places – about notability, about WP:ENGVAR, about categorization and navboxes, about ethnic and religious labeling, about relevance of trivia in infoboxes, and many other things; it's a general class of over-inclusive or exaggeratory association-related demands that the community categorically rejects. Association of A with B needs to be direct, strong, and of defining significance within the context of the topic (on at least one side) in order for it to be encyclopedic.

The other stuff is veering too far into off-topic personality stuff to address any further here.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:36, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

Personality conflict? Personal attack? I did not make any such leap from 'it's insulting to assume my motive' to personal attack — that came from you. Though, I suppose you have made it personal, especially remarking that "a habitual failure to understand the difference would be a WP:CIR problem in a collaborative editing environment", which reads like a thinly-veiled threat. As you say, you've "been over this many times before in many places" — I wasn't there, and it appears that goodwill regarding has it's own hidden, 'collapsed bottom'. I would think it is in everybody's interest to tighten up the definition, and so avoid such as this when someone, again, questions it — and they will, on page after page, after page, month after year. AHampton (talk) 15:43, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
When someone mentions that we have a principle and we take it seriously, that's not a "threat" that someone's going to do something to you, it's an observation. No, people are not going to be disputing about this particular matter page after page; no one is doing so but you, because you're not getting what you want. See WP:DROPTHESTICK and WP:1AM.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:47, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
SMcCandlish: Seriously? First, you somehow box in this part of the discussion, and then you return to your self-made aside three weeks later ...merely to add insult to injury? Just to WP:HARASS? Well-paired to that thinly veiled threat last month. Despite your assertions, and just as predicted by me: the topic has already risen again. Your statement, that I am the only one who cares, and that being due to "not getting what you want" is WP:NPA) and absolute rubbish. You might find WP:CIVIL more productive to a collaborative atmosphere. I know I would. AHampton (talk) 20:10, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

MOS:JOBTITLES for infobox[edit]

I'm not sure where the conversations are all at or if they've been archived, but I know there was at least some ambiguity about whether to implement the MOS on the infoboxes for presidents, etc. What makes the infobox listing exempt from the style guide when the phrasing is the exact same as the article's body (e.g. 16th [P/p]resident of the United States)? UpdateNerd (talk) 03:52, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

I'm the fellow who implemented president of the United States & vice president of the United States into the intros of those bios. This much I know, it's near impossible to get consistency across the US governors & lieutenant governors bios & other US officials, not to mentions officials in other countries. Like any MOS, it's impossible to get consistency across all bio articles, concerning JOBTITLES. GoodDay (talk) 04:08, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but the reasoning for not implementing the style in the infobox... ? UpdateNerd (talk) 06:26, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
My reasoning, it's better capitalized in the infobox. GoodDay (talk) 15:07, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
User:UpdateNerd I think info boxes generally are individual discretion, but also that usage might well be viewed as a proper noun and so capitalised. In addition, some (such as myself) go further and hold that the MOS anti-capitalised stance put in JOBTITLES last year was simply incorrect. I’d suggest refer to the more modest guide circa April 2018 as solid, and expect anything saying to avoid capitals as just something where practice varies. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 02:53, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
I don't see anything different regarding capitalization as of the April 2018 style guide; could you link that "stable" version? UpdateNerd (talk) 03:14, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
And what Markbassett is really saying is "consensus didn't go the way I want so I will defy it and agitate that others do so." WP doesn't work that way.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:44, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

Commons category for single pictures?[edit]

Should the {{commons category}} box be added to biography articles in which the only picture in commons is the same one as the infobox? AngusWOOF (barksniff) 21:02, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

As a matter of practice (and I've added probably a dozen thousand of these templates) usually no. I usually don't even create a commons category if only one picture exists. If a cat already exists, I ensure that it's connected via Wikidata, but I don't add the template to the external links section of the article. GMGtalk 21:24, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Personally I might do it, in case other pics arrive later. Johnbod (talk) 21:27, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
This isn't a case where there are plans to upload a pile of photos of the person. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 21:34, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

Note re discussion on Naming conventions in articles/citation[edit]

A discussion about using naming initials in article text vice naming initials in citations is posted at HERE. Interested editors are invited to comment. – S. Rich (talk) 04:39, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

More on postnominals[edit]

There is a discussion above (perm) about the meaning of the phrase "closely associated". I have seen this come up in two other places, first involving Paul Erdős (discussion part 1 and part 2) and then more recently involving Claude Shannon (discussion, active ANI thread (perm)). All these discussions involve people wanting to add British postnominals to very important or prominent non-British people with many similar accolades and no strong relation to the UK. I propose that the wording of the first sentence/paragraph be modified to emphasize the requirement of a strong relationship, an perhaps to include an illustrative example or two. Here is one possible phrasing along those lines:

When the subject of an article has received national or international honours or appointments issued by a state or a widely recognized organization with which the subject has been closely associated (e.g., as detailed in the article body), post-nominal letters may be included in the lead section.

Thoughts? Better suggestions? As far as illustrative examples, I feel like Bill Gates (from above) in an excellent example of someone who shouldn't have British post-nominals, ditto Erdos or Shannon (but maybe they are less widely known); I'm sure a positive example could be included as well (from the recent absurd episode maybe Victor Goldschmidt is a good choice). --JBL (talk) 12:52, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

I agree that Gates, Erdős, and Shannon should not use these. On the other hand, I imagine that an FRS in a different country of the British commonwealth where other postnominals are still common might well also use the FRS. So I'm not sure that close association is exactly the right test. —David Eppstein (talk) 12:57, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
I would also not object to including in this section some explicit indication that post-nominals are relatively more common in the Commonwealth than elsewhere; but I only have personal anecdotes to support that. --JBL (talk) 13:03, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
I don't find that clearer, and would suggest something like received honours or appointments issued either by the subject's state of citizenship or residence, or by a widely recognized organization that reliable sources regularly associate with the subject. DrKay (talk) 18:28, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
That rules out people like Kevin Spacey and Gillian Anderson, who have received honours from a country in which they have lived and worked for a substantial time but of which they do not actually have citizenship. -- Necrothesp (talk) 11:30, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
Amended. DrKay (talk) 17:13, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
The problem with "has been associated" is that it's weaker than the current "closely associated" -- indeed, under the standard you've proposed, Albert Einstein should get ForMFRS or whatever because he was associated with the RS (namely, they offered him membership and he accepted). This kind of weak association is what I would like to more explicitly rule out. --JBL (talk) 19:17, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
Amended. DrKay (talk) 19:23, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
So, if I understand, the current proposal is to write the following?

When the subject of an article has received honours or appointments issued either by the subject's state of citizenship or residence, or by a widely recognized organization that reliable sources regularly associate with the subject, post-nominal letters may be included in the lead section.

(It was not clear to me if you wanted to eliminate the parenthetical I introduced; I have left it out here.) I would be happy with this -- "sources regularly associate" is a clearer/harder standard of the sort I am hoping for. --JBL (talk) 12:07, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that's the proposal as amended. DrKay (talk) 16:59, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
Great. Not having seen any objections, I am going to WP:BOLDly implement the latest version. --JBL (talk) 19:52, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
Could it be changed to "subject's state of citizenship or long-term residence" or "subject's state of citizenship or permanent residence", either of which is clearer than "subject's state of citizenship or residence". Wording it simply as "residence" might end up widening the scope from original WP:POSTNOM. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 22:06, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
Fine by me. DrKay (talk) 16:19, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
Me, too. I think "long-term" is fine (e.g., if I lived in the UK for 30 years and was knighted but then retired in Spain, that shouldn't necessarily be disqualifying). -JBL (talk) 16:29, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
No discussion of the MOS to be found here.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I started that discussion above, and was rebuked for the effort. As predicted, the issue remained. (I will not weigh in on the topic now, as already quite discounted right here.) Nonetheless, am glad to see a useful discussion finally emerged, though in a sort of clubhouse, as it were. Better late than never, I suppose. AHampton (talk) 19:39, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

Is this an attempt at making a constructive comment related to the discussion in this section? If so, perhaps you could be more explicit. --JBL (talk) 19:52, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
This section begins: "There is a discussion above (perm) about the meaning of the phrase "closely associated..." referring to a previous discussion which was rendered non-constructive, the details of which are already explicit on this page. As I noted, it's good to see the topic being discussed, after all, even though my own attempt was stymied. AHampton (talk) 21:47, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

A case in point would be Kylie Minogue. Her (featured) article gives her the post-nominals AO and OBE. She's a dual citizen, so she's entitled to use both post-nominals, but not at the same time. Except on Wikipedia apparently. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 11:49, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

Of course she's entitled to use both at the same time and the fact she's a dual citizen is irrelevant. Australia is a Commonwealth Realm. Citizens of Commonwealth Realms all receive honours from the Crown. British honours awarded to Commonwealth Realm citizens are substantive, not honorary (e.g. those knighted or made dames can actually use the title, even if they come from a country like Canada that does not generally use titles). And there are still Australians around who have OBEs and suchlike from the time when Australia didn't have its own honours system. Are you suggesting they couldn't use them if they later received an Australian honour too? -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:38, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
No, that is not the case. All Imperial awards made to Australian citizens after 5 October 1992 are classed as foreign awards, and hence such Australian citizens are not entitled to use the associated post-nominal letters. Only those presented with these awards before that date are still permitted to use the post-nominal letters. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 19:48, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
Is this discussion related to the MOS in any way? If so, perhaps the connection could be made explicit? --JBL (talk) 20:04, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it is the case. There is no control in a free country over what letters anyone uses after their name as long as they are authorised by the awarding country. The Australian government has no right to tell Australians they can't use British postnominals if the British government has authorised their use. The Australian government is not a totalitarian regime. It's the awarding country that makes the decision as to use, not the country of citizenship. This is exactly the same situation as the Canadian government disapproving of titles being awarded to its citizens; they may not like it, but if the British Crown decides to bestow a knighthood on a Canadian citizen then as a citizen of a Commonwealth Realm he has every right to use the title of "Sir". In the eyes of the British government, British awards to Commonwealth Realm citizens remain substantive, not honorary. And in any case, even if they weren't substantive, even recipients of honorary postnominals can use them. Hence the whole discussion we're having here. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:26, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
The right of countries to decide what foreign awards their citizens can accept, and what styles and honorifics they can adopt, is not in dispute. (And in the case of Australia, the British government doesn't get to decide under the Statute of Westminster 1931 – one of its own laws.) The right of Wikipedia to confer undeserved honorifics and postnominals is in dispute, as it is a clear violation of our Wikipedia:Verifiability policy. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 19:22, 3 April 2019 (UTC)


Does this policy apply even for fictional characters? At Jackie Burkhart, I removed the quoted nickname from Jacqueline "Jackie" Beulah Burkhart since Jackie sounds like an obvious dimunitive of Jacqueline, but AussieLegend reverted it, saying, "This is about a fictional character and the name used in the series should be used." --Kailash29792 (talk) 07:51, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

No reason it shouldn't also apply. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:56, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
Necrothesp, the question is: was AussieLegend right or wrong to do so? Based on whether it is or not, I'll re-edit the article. Similarly, at Bran Stark, I removed Brandon Stark, typically called Bran to retain just Brandon Stark in accordance with MOS:HYPOCORISM, but TedEdwards reverted it, saying, "WP:HYPOCORISM refers to genuine biographies. This article is not a biography". --Kailash29792 (talk) 06:01, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
For Burkhart, the hypocorism should definitely be removed, as Jackie is a clear and well-known hypocorism of Jacqueline. It shouldn't matter whether she's fictional or real. Bran Stark is less clear-cut, as he's a fantasy character and real-world naming conventions do not apply, although it should of course be blatantly obvious to anyone that Bran is a hypocorism of Brandon, so using the rules of common sense it shouldn't be necessary to include it given it's in the article title. But given it's not been plonked in the middle of his name like it was with Jackie Burkhart I probably would retain it. -- Necrothesp (talk) 07:37, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes. There's no reason it would not apply. It's not about whether it's a real person with preferences, or anything like that, it's about whether we're going to brow-beat readers with redundant blather as if they have severe brain damage.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:31, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
I'd have to question why Bart Simpson still has the "Bart" when (Bartholomew -> Bart) is one of the listed Hypocorisms. Although Marge Simpson would be different since many would assume her full name to be Margaret (as in Matt Groening's mother's name), so it is more interesting to note it is short for Marjorie. I also have to question Ray Stantz lead sentence since Ray is a hypocorism of Raymond. But names like Michael "Mike" or Elizabeth "Liz" should definitely be removed. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 15:18, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
I’d suggest a different approach that would avoid the issue altogether. MOS:BIO is about people, not fictional entities. As WP:WAF makes clear, there should be no presumption that fictional characters are treated by the standards developed for real people. The only mention of fictional characters in MOS:BIO is an example of this, as it states that subsequent mentions of fictional entities should use common names, not surnames.
I think a similar standard should be used for the lead sentence: refer to the character by their common name (“Jackie Burkhart is...”, “Bart Simpson is...”). For a real person, the full name has a significance that does not translate to the fictional context. For fictional characters, full names are often obscure and rarely mentioned trivia, more appropriate for the body of the article. Middle names in particular are often written as one-off jokes. Leading with an obscure full name sets an inappropriate in-universe tone for an article.--Trystan (talk) 17:45, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
I fall into Trystan's camp here. --Izno (talk) 20:49, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Saving the full name for later is a good option too; that can be for cases where the character is never referred to by full name except in an obscure episode naming as with Vash the Stampede. I could use that scheme for many of the character names in List of My Name Is Earl characters and List of New Girl characters#Schmidt (This edit) AngusWOOF (barksniff) 22:57, 3 April 2019 (UTC) updated 23:41, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

The difference between fictional characters and real people is that the fictional characters are almost always referred to by their credited name and not by their full name, which is normally a minor factoid if it is revealed at all, For example, "Fez" real name and even his origin were never revealed. Similarly, in The Big Bang Theory, Penny's full name is not known and the producers have said it never will be so she is only ever referred to as Penny. "Jacqueline Beulah Burkhart" is not how Jackie Burkhart is ever known in the program. She is always referred to as Jackie so it's quite silly to give the formal name prominence. It has nothing to do with "preference", it's just how characters are credited. Jackie is a clear and well-known hypocorism of Jacqueline - That may be true but that doesn't mean that someone referred to as "Jackie" will always be formally named "Jacqueline". Some people name their children using the shortened form. I have known several females named "Penny". Some have "Penelope" on their birth certificates while some have "Penny". The full formal name is used in fictional character articles so that they comply with MOS:BIO as much as is possible for fictional characters but the viewing audience only know them by the name credited on-screen. Putting just "Jacqueline Beulah Burkhart" is going to confuse readers who may not be "into" the character's backstory as much as some Wikipedia editors obviously are. And what about "Raj" on The Big Bang Theory? His full name is "Rajesh Ramayan Koothrappali". Is "Raj" a normal hypocrism of "Rajesh" or is that something that non-Indians might just assume? We need to remember that fiction does not always follow the laws of the real world and sometimes we have to suspend normal rules and beliefs because of that. The program in which Jackie Burkhart appeared is a classic example of that. Over an 8-year broadcast period it only covered 3.5 years of "real" time. For this reason I agree with Trystan and think that "Jackie Burkhart is" is better for fictional characters than trying to comply with MOS:BIO in the lede. --AussieLegend () 01:01, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Frankly, I think that pretty much everything you've just said could apply to real people too! So I don't quite get why fictional characters should be so much of a different case. If Penny's real name is not known then we don't make one up for her, any more than we would for a real person whose full name we didn't know; but presumably Jackie Burkhart's full name has appeared somewhere given it's listed in the article. In that case, the same rules should apply to her as to real people. And Raj isn't really relevant here, as he is frequently called Rajesh as well as Raj in the series and his surname, if not his middle name, is also commonly known. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:24, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
I think that pretty much everything you've just said could apply to real people too! - except that real people usually start with a real name first and add the fictional name later while fictional characters start with (usually) a single, onscreen name first and add the real name later. For example, Reginald Kenneth Dwight became Elton John many years after he was born. If he was a fictional character he'd have first been known as Elton John and then much later it would have been revealed that he was originally Reginald Kenneth Dwight. That's actually a big difference. --AussieLegend () 11:41, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
I believe the common justification given for giving the full name in the lead sentence of a biography is that it is a core biographical detail. For non-biographical articles, MOS:FIRST says to use the title as the subject of the first sentence. The question is then whether we approach an article about a fictional character as a fictional biography, and WP:WAF is clear that we should not (though it may contain one as a subsection).--Trystan (talk) 12:46, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
Fictional characters are not real people, we don't treat them as such, as stated in WP:WAF. The name of the article and the name in the lead should be based on common usage and credit. Oliver Queen (Arrowverse) is "Oliver Queen", not "Oliver 'Ollie' Jonas Queen", his "fictional legal name" because Stephen Amell isn't credited that way, and it's not the common usage for the character. Although there are pages that are doing this, I would argue they shouldn't be, because these aren't real people. They don't have "legal names" like an actual person does. Oliver Queen is Oliver Queen. For story purposes, at some pointe, a character notes that his middle name is "Jonas". That's irrelevant for fictional characters. There seems to be a push to put in more information that reflects a treatment of WP:BIO with fictional characters, and it's a little unsettling to see how far it's getting.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 13:20, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
Bignole, never did I say the lead of Oliver Queen should be Oliver "Ollie" Jonas Queen. Because Ollie is an obvious hypocorism and not part of the article's title. But it would be annoying if someone wrote Walter Hartwell "Walt" White rather than simply Walter Hartwell White or James Morgan "Jimmy" McGill instead of James Morgan McGill, right? That is why I believe MOS:HYPOCORISM is meant to combat such redundancy, regardless of whether the subject is fiction or reality. Kailash29792 (talk) 13:59, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
My Oliver Queen example is merely an example, not meant to be a specific indication of something done. It's the first name that came to mind. The section being discussed says "For people who are best known by a pseudonym, the legal name should usually appear first in the article, followed closely by the pseudonym.", the problem is that fictional characters are not real and thus do not have "legal names", nor do they have pseudonyms. They have "aliases"...well, superheroes and the like do, but not pseudonyms...because they aren't real. In the case of Jackie, her lead name should match her article title, because her name is Jackie. She's credited as Jackie. She isn't credited as Jacqueline (sp). She isn't real, and she doesn't have a legal name. So, the answer to the question of whether she should be "Jacqueline 'Jackie' Burkhart" is superseded by the fact that "Jacqueline" shouldn't even be there in the first place.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 14:46, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
That depends if the show uses Jacqueline in any noticeable and recurring manner besides the one-off wedding / reveal your middle name episodes. In a list of characters, she would just be Jackie Burkhart, or just Jackie if her last name is also trivial and only mentioned in those kinds of episodes. I have a bunch of cases at Talking Tom and Friends (TV series) where they just go by common name, even though there are episodes where given names (CEO -> Carl) and full names (Tom -> Thomas, Ben -> Benjamin, MC -> Maurice Claremont) are revealed later. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 15:41, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
That I couldn't tell you. I'm not super knowledgable about that show, and I only ever recall "Jackie" used. But, your point is the point I think that I was trying to make. For fictional characters, they don't really fall under how BIO treats names, because they don't have legal names. They have their credited name, which is more often than not (excusing some exceptions that may exist) the common usage on the show.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 18:28, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Some characters' full names should be mentioned without hypocorisms, eg: Frank Francis Joseph Underwood. Because even though he is commonly called Frank, his wife always called him Francis onscreen, and this has some relevance to the plot. But I get what Bignole says: if the character's full name isn't common, it shouldn't be included in the lead, and automatically that means no hypocorism either so I'll respect that. On an unrelated note, the character's full name should be mentioned somewhere in the article right? Eg: "Donald Fauntleroy Duck" appears only twice in the article, but certainly not the lead section (whether the full name is still canon or not isn't relevant here). So what about Oliver Jonas Queen whose full name is canon? On a more related note, should Kim Wexler, Chuck McGill and Gus Fring retain the characters' legal names in the lead or not? I think the names Kimberly, Charles and Gustavo are quite commonly used in Better Call Saul. Anyone who has seen the series may argue. Kailash29792 (talk) 04:04, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
I support a consistent approach where the lead always uses the common name. The recognizability of common hypocorisms works both ways, so a user looking for an article on "Francis Underwood" is not likely to be confused when reading an intro that starts "Frank Underwood is...". The full name is suitable for the infobox and a fictional biography section, if there is one. If there is significance to Clair Underwood calling her husband 'Francis', then that can be discussed in the body of the article.--Trystan (talk) 15:19, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
I concur with Trystan. Whether Oliver Queen's middle name is Jonas or not isn't a real-world fact to verify or care about, but a minor plot point. Frank Underwood being called Francis by his wife is similarly a plot point (maybe a meaningful one), and has no impact on the purpose of the lead sentence making it clear that the reader has arrived at the right page (anyone watching that show will already know that Francis and Frank are the same person).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:37, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

Names in articles[edit]

Hi, I'm hoping you could clarify something for me. I've been doing a GA review of 2007 Welsh Open (snooker), which is a knockout snooker competition. To me, it's rather confusing to only refer to players (at one point, there are a total of 48 different players), by surname only, in different sections. I understand this is important in Biographical articles, however, is this the correct way to distinguish the players throughout the article?

If I was starting a new subsection on the article; I'd want to clarify who each player was. I couldn't find much in terms of details on how this was handled (I probably missed a massive article on it, however), if someone could let me know. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 13:54, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

I am not sure why using surname would be confusing, if two or more people have the same surname then fine use the first name to distinguish them but I dont believe it is needed if the Surname is unique in the context of the article, and they linked out to an individual article somewhere on the page. MilborneOne (talk) 14:06, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
Since you are on this talk page, I assume you are already aware of MOS:SURNAME at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography? It does say to "generally" refer to them by their surname. Consensus at a given article could be that a person was mentioned long enough ago that their full name bears repeating.—Bagumba (talk) 18:49, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Clarification: "if two or more people have the same surname then fine use the first name to distinguish them" should read "add the first name to distinguish them". Its not okay to write "Steve won the April 2007 qualifying tournament, 5–2, against Mark." What the OP might be angling for is just that – to write sports articles here in a sports-journalism style, which is against policy ("Wikipedia is not written in news style.") But I think the point is probably actually that the OP wants to use first and and surname together, which is perfectly fine, just not when done over and over again in the same section. In article like those under discussion, sections may be linked to from somewhere else, so just a surname may make no sense to the reader in their current reading context. (By contrast, "Trump" makes perfect sense to the reader if they arrived by section link at Donald Trump#Campaign rhetoric.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:45, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that's pretty much it. I just wanted to confirm if there was a limit in terms of prose length that it would be wise to use a full name again. Such that say in Section 1, introduces Ryan Day, and then in section 4, you were to refer to him as Day. To me, I'd want to remind people of his full name especially when there are tonnes of other names being thrown around. If this is completely in policy, I'll pass the GA.
for reference, I wasn't suggesting to just use a first name, but to reiterate the full name.Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 09:01, 8 April 2019 (UTC)


MOS:ETHNICITY states "Ethnicity... should generally not be in the lead unless it is relevant to the subject's notability." What kinds of things would make ethnicity "relevant" enough to belong in the lede? Jayjg (talk) 17:51, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

If it's a core part of why they are notable e.g. Barack Obama being African American or Jeremy Lin being Asian American.—Bagumba (talk) 18:35, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
How would one differentiate between something that is "a core part" versus something that seems "relevant" versus something that is just "also notable"? Is it all just a matter of personal opinion? Jayjg (talk) 17:18, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
What do sources say? If a source comments on the ethnicity linked to notability then that's a good indicator. GiantSnowman 18:06, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
A good test is often how easy it is to concisely articulate the relevance. “First African American POTUS” is quite clearly relevant. Or “Much of Sedaris's humor is ostensibly autobiographical and self-deprecating and often concerns his family life, his middle-class upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, his Greek heritage...” On the other hand, if what is proposed is just a bald statement of the ethnicity because it feels vaguely relevant, it shouldn’t be included.--Trystan (talk) 18:08, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
Also the very start of the lede should always be "NAME is a NATIONALITY PROFESSION" and not 'NAME is a ETHNICITY PROFESSION'. GiantSnowman 18:32, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
Agreed; when I see ethnicity in the first sentence, I pretty much always remove it, unless it's someone like Elie Wiesel or Anne Frank. Even the biographies of people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks don't use "ETHNICITY PROFESSION" in the first sentence. The reason I've come here looking for answers is exactly that problem; I've been involved in a discussion for the past couple of days at Talk:Jackie Walker (activist), but don't seem to be making any headway. Is this one of the rare exceptions? Am I missing some nuance? I'm trying to figure it out. Jayjg (talk) 19:52, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

JOBTITLES exceptions?[edit]

Is the capitalization at List of Governors of New York correct or not? There is a move request at Talk:List_of_Governors_of_New_York#Requested_move_11_April_2019 concerning articles about US governors. Surtsicna (talk) 21:45, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Formality contradicton?[edit]

At Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography § Positions, offices, and occupational titles, the last 'graph, The formality (officialness), specificity, or unusualness of a title is not a reason to capitalize it, seems to contradict the earlier statements about formal(ity), including the 'graph immediately preceding it. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 02:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Parse "notable" & "noteworthy" in lines 12 and 41[edit]

WP Guidance recognizes that WP:NOTABLE (as a term of art) refers to "Notability"; e.g., whether "this-and-that" is a topic notable enough for an article. In the same Guidance we see that WP:NOTEWORTHY says information need not be "Notable" to be included in an article. With this in mind, I'm trying to correct 4 sentences in the guidance using the word "notable". In Line 12 they read: "What is most recent is not necessarily what is most notable: new information should ...." and "#The notable position(s) the person held, activities they took part in, or roles they played; ..." In Line 47 they read: "The notable position(s) or role(s) the person held should usually be stated in the opening paragraph." and "Incidental and non-notable roles (i.e. activities that are not integral to the person's notability) should usually not be mentioned in the lead paragraph." [Emphasis added.]

  • Line 12 is a problem because a '"notable" position' implies there is (or should be) a WP article about the position(s) held: Queen of England v. scullery maid. (One is a notable position in-and-of itself), and the other might be a noteworthy position once held.)
  • Line 47 repeats the mistaken descriptive.

Please see the edit history for my attempts to change and clarify the non-linked "notable" to a guidance-linked "noteworthy" – S. Rich (talk) 03:53, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

Music show wins in Awards sections[edit]

Discussion and survey at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Korea/Popular_culture#Are_music_show_wins_notable? AngusWOOF (barksniff) 23:53, 18 April 2019 (UTC)