Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies/2008 archive

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Archiving the sections on names etc

The current 1-23 (as of Oct 26th 2007) seem to be broadly on the same subject (names and pseudonyms etc)- and I'm sure are best kept together. I notice the last entry amongst them was September 27th - a month ago now. Is it time to Archive them as 'February 2007 to September 2007' - or are they still too alive? We have a quite a long page here now! --Matt Lewis 19:21, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Anyone any feelings? - I don't want to just jump in and do it (I wasn't part of any of it), but my PC's a little slow! --Matt Lewis 17:01, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

This page is now over 330K and a pain to come back to. As it now has some new posts at the beginning, I'm going to select some earlier sections and just archive them (everything unchanged in over 6 months). I'll do it on Sunday night 3rd Feb (UK time). If I see any new dates, I'll keep the topic they relate to in. Any objections, or anything to keep? --Matt Lewis (talk) 16:34, 29 January 2008 (UTC)--Matt Lewis (talk) 16:34, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, this page definitely needs archiving. I wonder if some of the discussions should go into "Categorized contributions" rather than be archived by date? I'm thinking in particular of the extended discussion on nationality of people from the UK. — Cheers, JackLee talk 23:12, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
I've archived 21 sections. I archived the old 'Honorific prefixes', even though it had a couple of comments a week ago (but nothing since). I only kept 'Lead names' of the old stuff. Cut and paste anything back if needed.
Sorry Jack - you got in too late! I don't mind if you want to create cats, it might make sense here.--Matt Lewis (talk) 23:44, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Looking at it, the page is still big (260K!) - so maybe you can archive all the UK stuff together, when its over perhaps (I've still got to comment, sorry).--Matt Lewis (talk) 23:49, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Sure, no problem. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:29, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Amendment to "Subsequent uses of names" section

How about:

"Please bear in mind that, in some cultures, people do not have surnames of any kind or are not addressed by their surnames (such as in Icelandic and Vietnamese cultures); in those cases refer to specific Wikipedia manuals of style and/or address the subject according to the naming conventions of his or her culture"

WhisperToMe (talk) 10:52, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm not yet convinced this is even needed, but it's certainly not acceptable as currently written. First, Icelandic people do have surnames. Second, I'm not sure about Vietamese people -- perhaps you (or someone else) could elaborate on what the naming practices are, because given your repeated misunderstandings about the meaning of the word "surname", I'm not sure whether to take your word for it or not that Vietnamese people do not have surnames. Last, the second phrase makes no sense whatsoever: you're amending an MOS guideline by telling people to consult an MOS guideline. Huh? You need to make specific style prescriptions for the specific exceptions you're talking about. --Melty girl (talk) 20:00, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
" First, Icelandic people do have surnames." - And they are not called by their surnames. - I thought this was clear.
"Icelanders formally address others by their first name. For example, former prime minister Halldór Ásgrímsson would not be addressed as Ásgrímsson or Mr. Ásgrímsson by another Icelander; he would either be addressed only by his first name or his full name. The cultural meaning of an Icelander's last name is not that it is a part of one's name, but a short description of who one is. Halldór is Ásgrímsson — a son of Ásgrímur. Legally, it is a part of his name. Culturally, it is a definition of who begat whom, even if that definition is seemingly vague."
And to add Wikipedia articles about Icelandic people (Halldór Ásgrímsson) subsequently use given names - I.E. Halldór

Also, Vietnamese people have family names, but just like the Icelandics, they are usually referred to by given names. I.E. Ngo Dinh Diem is called Diem, and that is his given name

The examples of the Vietnamese and Icelandics are people who have surnames but are not referred by their surnames. The Javanese are an example of a people with only one name (most of the time).

WhisperToMe (talk) 04:19, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Since there have been no further comments, I assume that this has been given the green light :) WhisperToMe (talk) 21:04, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Where did you get that idea? There is no consensus here. There's only two comments: one's a no, and I'm not sure what the other one is. And my no has specific comments you've failed to address. Wait for more comments. Even if you end up adding something to the policy, the wording needs improvement, as this prescription is very vague as currently written. --Melty girl (talk) 21:27, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
1. There is no other comment.
2. I concede that I didn't address the other part, so: "Last, the second phrase makes no sense whatsoever: you're amending an MOS guideline by telling people to consult an MOS guideline. Huh?" - This a general guideline, and the other guidelines are specific. We have more general MOS guidelines, and we have specific MOS guidelines for various subjects. We expect people to familiarize themselves with general and specific guidelines. At most this should be amended by providing a link to a list of manuals of style. That should be enough; the user ought to figure out which MOS applies to which subject. We should expect our fellow Wikipedians to figure out what the wording means. In case the MOSes do not exist, the "and/or" makes it clear that one can research conventions OR use the MOS, OR use both at the same time.
3. By the way: "because given your repeated misunderstandings about the meaning of the word "surname", " - And they are no longer there. Those misunderstandings were understandable, but now they are not there, they are no longer relevant.

See, when I make a comment, if I get a response I figure that there is still a debate. I have addressed all of your reply, and so if you still oppose this I would like another comment with more rationale. Also, do not worry if other people do not come; they will come when they want to. If you want more people to come, use the Village Pump or use Request for comment.

Anyway WhisperToMe (talk) 22:28, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

1. I thought there was another comment, but now I see it was just you. That means that there's only you and me so far and we don't agree. That's not consensus for your proposal. My objections stand if I don't retract them. Just because you make a subsequent comment and I haven't responded doesn't mean that you now have consensus. BTW, I put a note at WP:BIOGRAPHY, because this affects thousands of articles, and for some reason, we haven't gotten much traffic yet. (If we don't get any though, you don't have consensus.)
2. I disagree strongly with your assessment of expecting editors to figure out what you mean. I think you should say what you mean. The other parts of this guideline give specific guidance. If you're not going to provide specific stylistic guidance, then maybe this amendment isn't needed in the first place.
3. I understand what you're saying. Your previous misunderstanding was cleared up, and that's true. But given that there were so many, more might logically be expected. And since you didn't provide sources, I let you know that I wasn't sure whether to take what you said at face value.
--Melty girl (talk) 22:42, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

1. Repeated/Followup/Additional comments still imply that a position hasn't changed. On AFDs, for instance, if an article changes during the course of an AFD, older comments are no longer relevant, and the people who made the comments will have to post again in order to affirm or reaffirm their positions. If a conversation gets to a point when both sides are informed, have already debated, and concluded that they agree to disagree, then one will assume that the position holds even with a lack of responses.

2. I'll tweak the sentence a bit so that people understand which statements refer to which groups..

"Please bear in mind that, in some cultures, people do not have surnames of any kind (such as in Javanese cultures) or are not addressed in formal writing by their surnames (such as in Icelandic and Vietnamese cultures); in those cases refer to specific Wikipedia manuals of style (See to search for specific manuals of style) and/or address the subject according to the naming conventions of his or her culture"

The thing is, so far there aren't any actual manuals of style for any of the groups listed. But, my point is that one should check manuals of style for different cultural groups when they come or if they are there. Even if the manuals of style do not exist, one should still check for the cultural conventions of the specific cultural groups. Anyway, I will bring up the idea of the creation of a Vietnamese MOS.

3. The sentence is there to supplement the phrase "However, it is not set in stone and should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception." in the Style Guideline template. This proposed sentence is asking people to treat the "subsequent naming" part with common sense and with occasional exceptions.

Anyway, as an aside, since the Javanese name article doesn't have formal academic sources, I'll see if I can find any. This CNN article mentions "Bhabr, like many Indonesians, uses only one name," so I know this is true: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/01/01/indonesia.plane/index.html?iref=newssearch

WhisperToMe (talk) 23:06, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The second sentence should simply state "in those cases address the subject according to the naming conventions of his or her culture" as that is what the (so far non-existant) specific style guides are going to say anyway. There's no need to reference non-existant style guides as that is only going to confuse people. Kaldari (talk) 23:42, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I think the specifics are important, and your suggestion takes the proposed amendment in an even vaguer direction than it already is. We need to know a strong reason to exempt certain cultures from being written about by surname. Your suggestion basically tells editors that if in their judgment, people aren't addressed by surname, then no need to do that. Well, no one calls me simply by my last name in America; maybe they'd put "Ms." in front of it, but they'd never call me, a woman, simply my surname. Yet, that's the formal writing style of this encyclopedia, even as it is not mirrored in spoken language. Therefore, by this weakened standard, many editors may become confused. Your suggestion as worded throws the entire guideline into question. We need to know which specific cultures would never even write formally about people and call them by surname; and then we need to make specific suggestions for how they should be written about. The rest of this guideline gets very specific about exceptions; so should this proposed amendment if it is to be added. --Melty girl (talk) 23:51, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps this should be solved by using the words "formally addressed." A typical American is formally addressed by his or her family name, while Vietnamese, Icelanders, and many Indonesians are formally addressed by their given names. WhisperToMe (talk) 04:29, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
But I would never be "formally addressed" simply by my surname, as I wrote above. It has to be about formal writing, as in encylopedias, journalism, history texts, etc. --Melty girl (talk) 20:24, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Would "as addressed by formal writing" or something similar work, then? WhisperToMe (talk) 00:08, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

The sentence now looks like this: "Please bear in mind that, in some cultures, people do not have surnames of any kind (such as in Javanese cultures) or are not addressed in formal writing by their surnames (such as in Icelandic and Vietnamese cultures); in those cases address the subject according to the naming conventions of his or her culture"

WhisperToMe (talk) 17:11, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

As there are no responses and no relevant objections to this, this will be posted on Christmas day (25th) if I receive no further input. WhisperToMe (talk) 16:49, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Now I am waiting until 5 January to compensate for any holiday breaks. WhisperToMe (talk) 06:34, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
The text above looks OK, but the issue is that we're not talking about how someone would be addressed (second person), rather how they would be referred to (third person). I suggest: "In some cultures, people do not have surnames (such as in Javanese cultures), or are not referred to by their surnames alone (such as in Icelandic and Vietnamese cultures); in those cases refer to the subject according to the naming conventions of his or her culture (e.g. their given name)." - JasonAQuest (talk) 01:51, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I must repeat my objections to such open-ended guidelines. This guideline does not specify which cultures are covered, and makes no specific rule for what to do in these unspecified cases. The rest of this MoS page is completely specific and gives specific rules to apply. Please come back with specific rules for specific instances, i.e. "In the case of Javanese culture, people do not have surnames; therefore, refer to people by x. In the case of Icelandic culture... do y." And if you don't know what the specifics should be, then either find a WikiProject to help you, or don't try to write the rule at all. --Melty girl (talk) 01:59, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I will attempt to address your concerns with a suggestion in the discussion below (which I noticed after posting the above comments). - JasonAQuest (talk) 02:39, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikify footnotes?

Is it appropriate to wikilink words in footnotes? Or would that be terribly messy? What conventions are being observed?

Certain things used to reference a fact (such as the WP:CITET templates) can be used to wikilink author name, and occasionally the book title or the publisher name. But in the case of providing footnotes, is it apprpriate to wikilink words in such a text? Thanks, Ekantik talk 18:59, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

This is not the forum to answer this question. I would go to a page about footnotes instead. --Melty girl (talk) 03:20, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Subsequent reference cultural conventions proposals? Which one is better?

Okay, I now found two versions of the same proposal:

  • Version that was made by me from a previous discussion: "Please bear in mind that, in some cultures, people do not have surnames of any kind (such as in Javanese cultures) or are not addressed in formal writing by their surnames (such as in Icelandic and Vietnamese cultures); in those cases address the subject according to the naming conventions of his or her culture."
  • Robert KS's version: "When referring to people from cultures that do not use surnames or are not addressed in formal writing by surnames, subjects should be addressed according to the respective naming conventions of their cultures."

Which version ought to be used? Why is each version better? WhisperToMe (talk) 19:39, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, "Please bear in mind that" is irrelevent fluff--I took a razor to it out of editorial preference for conciseness. The rest was just rearrangement of the sentence after removing the examples which I feared might multiply unrestrainedly. If there is a fairly short but complete list of applicable culture scenarios, I would have no problem with including it. I'm just opposed to having a few examples presumed to be representative, but to which people keep adding, and adding, and adding... I don't know what User:Melty girl's rationale was for removing the guideline entirely. The guideline seems reasonable to me. Robert K S (talk) 23:25, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Her edit said "Subsequent uses of names - removed completely vague new clause, bc this is supposed to offer specifics -- please continue discussion on talk page) (undo)" WhisperToMe (talk) 00:18, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Robert, you should read the above discussion about this proposal for the full background. This is my problem with both current proposals: they're not specific. The rest of the guideline gives specific rules with specific exceptions, with specific rules for dealing with those specific exceptions. Any proposal that says "some cultures" basically gives users a way to disregard the entire section that precedes it. Get specific. Say something like in the case of "X and Y cultures, surnames are not used. In the case of X, refer to the people by x, and in the case of Y, refer to the people by y." And so on. Don't leave a door open for unknown potentialities to come through. Propose rules for specific issues, and prescribe specific fixes for those issues. Neither of these proposals gives an actual rule for how to handle anything, and the second one doesn't even specify which cases are being governed. --Melty girl (talk) 04:08, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
In that case, we should begin to assemble a table of cultures and their naming conventions. It might get a bit tricky because creating hard and fast rules might require an absurd amount of specification. News reports quoting opinions of Afghani individuals often remark that only one name is given for a person being quoted because "some Afghanis do not use surnames". But some do; and moreover, the rule wouldn't necessarily apply to Afghanis as a whole (no such single culture uniformly exists) but rather to certain specific tribes or clans or villages. Robert K S (talk) 04:46, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Everyone on the planet isn't notable for a biography in Wikipedia. There is no need to get so broad. As specific issues arise, then we should write guidelines specifically for to address them. Don't add vague, wide-open guidelines -- they are not true style rules. Instead, identify a specific area of confusion, ambiguity or contention and write a rule for how to handle specifically that issue. Your proposal is too vague to warrant adding. Everything else in the guideline tells of a specific issue and then provides a specific rule for it. Vague escape clauses with no prescribed rules are not style guidelines. If one cannot prescribe specifically how to handle, for example, Icelandic subsequent referrals, then one is not equipped to write the rule for that issue. If you want to write that rule, then work with Wikipedians knowledgeable enough to work out an actual guideline beyond, "do what the culture does." Because if that was enough of a rule, then we wouldn't need any of the existing rules in this guideline -- we'd just do what the culture does. But of course, it's not that simple... --Melty girl (talk) 06:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
IMO, we should trust our users to make proper judgments. Many guidelines are meant to be open-ended and/or very general. IMO, the average person ought to understand that the statements refers to atypical, non-Western cultures and that he or she should research the culture before considering how to address the person. WhisperToMe (talk) 22:26, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
If you're not going to provide any specific guidance, then no guideline is needed. Let users use their judgment then. The MOS is for style rules; if you have no actual rule to prescribe, then nothing needs to be said. On the other hand, if you want to get more specific -- like the rest of this guideline is (though you won't acknowledge it) -- then I'd be supportive. But I'm not to join consensus for adding something vague that undermines all the specific rules that come before it. (P.S. In the future, you might want to reconsider saying "atypical, non-Western cultures".)--Melty girl (talk) 03:25, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I find it 100% appropriate to refer to "non-Western cultures" as "atypical" in the context of EN, Melty Girl. The "typical" involve people from Western (United States, Western Europe, Latin America - and whatever definition for "West") cultures. I am not judging whether they are more or less "correct" - It is that the typical biographical article is about a person from a Western culture. WhisperToMe (talk) 07:36, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't matter whether it's "appropriate"; it's unnecessary. - JasonAQuest (talk) 02:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I came to this page looking for confirmation that we were allowed to handle Icelandic names correctly according to their culture, and the rules as currently presented direct people not to (even if they know better). That's a problem. We need to acknowledge that exceptions to the surname-only rule exist and that WP respects them. I agree with the criticism that it's better to clearly identify what the proper handling should be in those cases. So I suggest:

"For a person who does not have a surname (such as in Javanese cultures), or whose culture formally refers to people by their given names rather than their surnames alone (such as Icelandic and Vietnamese cultures), refer to the subject by his or her given name in subsequent references."

This does specify when the exception applies (even if the list of examples is not exhaustive) and it does specify exactly what to do in that situation. - JasonAQuest (talk) 01:51, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

This is definitely better. A few questions: are you positive that publications in Iceland refer to people by given name? I'm not doubting you -- I'm just making sure, because I don't know much about it. If so, I am comfortable with the way you've written this for Icelandic bios. Are you familiar with Javanese and Vietnamese publications? If not, I would prefer that they not be included at all; when editors with expertise in specific cultures come by, they can add to the Icelandic clause. In this case, I would suggest something like the following that does not leave the door open for assumptions about unspecified instances:
"For subsequent references to Icelandic people, whose culture formally refers to people by their given names rather than by their surnames alone, refer to the subject by his or her given name."
BTW, I'm not sure we ever need to say to refer to someone without a surname by their given name -- because you can't refer to someone by their a name they do not possess. --Melty girl (talk) 16:49, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I have no first-hand knowledge of Javanese or Vietnamese naming customs (only what's stated in those articles), but I'm certain about standard Icelandic usage, in which surnames are considered mere disambiguators. (Some Icelanders have adopted the use of family names, but they are in the minority.) My concern about specifying "For... Icelandic people..." is that there are at least two others already mentioned, and the list could grow. A single rule that describes the usage (with examples cited) is more comprehensive:
"For a person whose culture refers to people formally by given names rather than surnames (such as Icelandic, Javanese, and Vietnamese cultures), refer to the subject by his or her given name in subsequent references." - JasonAQuest (talk) 19:17, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Let me try to restate my concerns more clearly. I object to the proposal for two reasons:
1) You yourself say that you don't know anything about Javanese and Vietnamese names. I don't know about them either. The only other person who weighed in on that was very unclear in getting his ideas across and therefore I don't feel completely certain that he knew what he was talking about. Therefore, until someone with knowledge can weigh in, let's leave it out. WP is a work in progress, and other cultures can be added later. Let's stick to what you are certain of. We can probably safely add Malay names and some Indian names as per Jacklee (below).
2) I will not join consensus for an open-door rule. When you say, "for a person whose culture refers to people formally by given names (such as...) ..." you are not making a specific rule for specific cultures; you are instead giving a rule about the entire planet's cultures that's too open for interpretation and guessing by editors and thus ripe for misunderstanding. This is not a good idea. Let's be specific as to who the rule applies to.
These are the two differences between my wording and yours. For now, I suggest that we specify Icelandic, Malaysian and some Indian names, and allow other editors with specific knowledge add their cultures to the rule later. If you want to research Vietnamese and Javanese cultures, then we could add them too if they definitely should be added. Otherwise, let's leave them out (until such time as they can be confidently added) and shut the open door wording.--Melty girl (talk) 21:31, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
On Icelandic names, see "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Iceland-related articles)". Editors may wish to note that the same rule applies to Malay names and some (but not all) Indian names. I think, though, it does make sense to refer to "given names" (or "personal names"), the idea being to advise editors not to refer to such people by other names such as patronymics or matronymics. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:22, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I am not ready to jump with both feet into the fawning absorption of a foreign culture into the English Wikipedia. What one Icelander calls another is immaterial to the style of the English Wikipedia. What an Icelander is called in mainstream English-language publications is what should determine the style. If that's the given name alone, the same as used within Iceland, fine. The Icelandic Wikipedia can set its own style. Similarly, people who live in Munich can spell it München in the German Wikipedia, but we don't have to in the English WP. Chris the speller (talk) 16:29, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

I suppose the question is whether it would it be wrong for editors to correct the names used in articles if mainstream English-language publications have got the names wrong. I think not. For instance, the first President of Singapore was a Malay gentleman, Yusof bin Ishak. Malay persons do not have surnames (his name means "Yusof, son of Ishak"), and are referred to by their given names (in this case, "Yusof"). It would be wrong for the Wikipedia article to refer to President Yusof as "Ishak" or "Bin Ishak", even if a number of English-language newspapers did so. I don't see why respecting how foreigners' names are correctly set out equates to "fawning absorption of... foreign culture[s] into the English Wikipedia". — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:50, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
With regard to the statement about "absorption of a foreign culture into the English Wikipedia", I don't know what the word "foreign" is supposed to mean with regard to Wikipedia. Surely the English Wikipedia is an English language Wikipedia, not the Wikipedia for a particular country or culture. As such, it has to find a consensus between people who speak English from a range of countries (who all probably regard each other as "foreign". Perhaps we should therefore take more of a "world view" than would be the case in, say, a British publication writing for a British readership. Bluewave (talk) 14:03, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Hear, hear. When I referred to "foreigners", using Chris's terminology, what I had in mind were people whose names do not conform to common Western naming conventions. — Cheers, JackLee talk 14:08, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
The culture of Iceland is not "foreign" to the English Wikipedia. Most Icelanders speak English in addition to Icelandic, and the English Wikipedia is as much "theirs" as it belongs to whatever culture Chris considers himself a part of. When they refer to each other in English, they use given names not surnames, and it is not "fawning" for Wikipedia to follow suit. - JasonAQuest (talk) 21:35, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Other MOS concerns

Shouldn't these guidelines be expanded a bit, beyond mostly just covering Lead paragraphs and naming conventions? It seems to me that adding general guidelines on Section headings, use of footers, deprecated use of Infobox flags, etc., would also be useful and help promote greater bio standardization.

For example, I've come across many stub and start-class biographical articles having a section called "Biography", instead of "Early life" or "Personal information": certainly a redundancy to title a section "Biography" within a biographical article — this seems to be especially prevalent in articles about actors and musicians, apparently because of imdb's format. I propose MOSBIO should elaborate more on the article structure and section headings, such as stating that "Early life" or "Personal information" should be used, avoiding use of the section title "biography" within a biographical article. JGHowes talk - 15:23, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. I've always thought it utterly pointless to include a section within a biographical article headed "Biography". I also dislike "Personal information" - what does that mean? Isn't all information about a person "personal"? -- Necrothesp (talk) 16:38, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Also agreed. Want to start sketching out some proposals? --Melty girl (talk) 16:42, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Several of such articles use the heading "Personal life" to describe a person's romantic affairs. I also agree that this convention is redundant, but what would be an alternative heading? "Love life"? Ekantik talk 22:09, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
JGHowes criticized "Personal information," not "Personal life". --Melty girl (talk) 22:23, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but on some articles, both terms are used to describe the love life of the article's subject. :) We definitely need a proposal that suggests appropriate headings for such sections, assuming that subjects' love lives have any notability anyway (Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, etc). Ekantik talk 02:28, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You're missing my point. "Personal life" is an appropriate title for such a section, because it means private life as opposed to public career. "Personal information" is a more vague term that doesn't mean the same thing. --Melty girl (talk) 19:02, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Please see the proposal recently added at the bottom of this talk page. - JasonAQuest (talk) 05:38, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Commercial "endorsements"

I'm having a discussion with an editor who seems to think that mention of a persons' commercial endorsements should not take place in a BLP article. Examples of this sort of thing would be at Britney Spears, Britney Products, Beyonce (products), and Jessica Simpson (products). Considering that commercial endorsements etc. are mentioned in the articles of certain persons (there may be more, I don't know), this editor objects to an edit at Shilpa Shetty that similarly mentions Shetty's endorsement of a vodka brand. The editor thinks that - as per Wikipedia policy (????) - such endorsements cannot should not be mentioned in BLP articles unless there is something notable about the endorsement, such as a controversy that arose and so on. I could not find anything in WP policies or this MOS to support this idea. Comments please? Ekantik talk 22:06, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

That doesn't make any sense to me. Sure, not all such deals merit listing because they're too trivial, but that would have to do with the size and visibility of the campaign. If it's a blip in their career, then maybe it shouldn't be listed, but if it's a major, highly-visible campaign then it's simply a part of their career. Even though it might make me cringe each time I see some rich celebrity shilling for a product, that doesn't make it not a part of their career. Whether they're selling a piece of music, a movie or a clothing line, it's all part of the same game. Endorsements are probably not the main focus of most celebs careers though, and as such shouldn't take up a disproportionate amount of space in an article. (Then again, there are celebs like Victoria Beckham.) --Melty girl (talk) 22:29, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I agree with your views. I would just like some further clarification. Obviously we do not need to list trivial details, but do have any thoughts about the notability of such campaigns? Many of the products listed at Britney Spears, Beyonce etc do not have a source reference, does this have any regards to the notability of that campaign? If there are no source references, is it appropriate to remove those mentions from the article pages? In the case of Shilpa Shetty there are two source references, is this enough to prove the 'notability' of a campaign? Must there be a controversy in order for the campain to gain "notability" and a mention in Wikipedia? Thanks, Ekantik talk 02:32, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I think that a subject only need be notable for inclusion in WP. From there, you want to leave out trivial facts about the subject. Therefore, while a controversy might increase the significance of an endorsement in a celeb's career, it is not the only way for an endorsement deal to be significant. About sources: technically, according to policy, I think only those facts which are likely to be challenged need citations, though in practice, anything without a source could be removed by someone else. One citation is enough to substantiate something -- but substantiation doesn't make something non-trivial. So basically, if an endorsement gets a lot of attention, whether that's controversy or just positive notice, and it is significant to a celeb's career, a la Michael Jordan and Nike, then it can be included; in addition, like any other fact in an article, it should have a source. If a source in a reliable publication cannot be found, then it probably is trivial, since no one has apparently found it important enough to write about. Still, the fact of a source doesn't mean it might not be trivial. That's my take... I hope this helps. --Melty girl (talk) 03:18, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

(Armenian) ethnicity used in lead sections

Discussion at Talk:Alan Hovhaness has indicated that the ethnicity of Armenian and Armenian-Americans is being added or deleted from the lead sections of the subjects articles against MOSBIO policy. Ethnicity has been added to lead sections without demonstration of relevance, indicating either a pro-Armenian agenda or an unfamiliarity with policy and pracice. Worse yet, ethnicity has been removed from articles entirely, not simply moved from the lead to the body of the article, indicating an anti-Armenian agenda. Either way the quality of articles covering topics related to Armenia need improvement. See also discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Armenia#Armenian ethnicity in lead sections.

The question for this page is whether there is a general rule: Do you remove ethnicity from the lead and then start discussion or do you start discussion first? Hyacinth (talk) 01:12, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

You have probably been answered in some way already, but for the record there is 'general' rule in Wikipedia on this, which is broadly:
If the revision you are making is likely to be problematic (even if it's a correct change) it is wise to explain your action first in Talk. In this case, state clearly that your revision is per WP:MOSBIO ('WP:NAMES' is an alternative choice, and might look better). Definitely make the change - the discussion can come after that. If an 'edit war' occurs (or is underway) then you may have to allow for an incorrect page to stay up, while discussion goes on. Manual of Style (MOS) are just a collection of WP:guidelines and not hard rules (as is everything on Wikipedia but WP:policy), but you can get support if people are ignoring consensus.
You can always explain, in this case, that ethnicity can easily be mentioned later on (even or in the opening paragraph, providing there is a sufficinetly weighted and properly sourced reason for notability) (refer to WP:weight, WP:verify, WP:notability). --Matt Lewis (talk) 17:29, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Guideline on awards, honorary doctorates, etc.?

I notice that some biographical articles have lists of awards, honorary doctorates, and the like which veer perilously close to being cruft. I'd like to see a definite policy/guideline on the propriety or otherwise of including such. Thanks. -- Writtenonsand (talk) 20:02, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

There is nothing even vaguely cruft-like in listing awards such as honorary doctorates as long as they are not listed after the subject's name in the first line (apart from postnoms for official honours, major fellowships etc). They are facts. However, I don't think they should be in an actual list, but part of the text. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:16, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Current status?

Is it appropriate to mention a person's current status in the lead paragraph? I have this edit in mind. Obviously a BLP article by definition will change according to the fortunes of the article subject, but since Wikipedia is an ongoing project that reflects current information also, is it appropriate to mention a person's status in the Lead? Ekantik talk 22:02, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

By status you mean professional or occupational status--i.e., what the person has been publicized as doing at the moment, especially useful for performers and others in the entertainment industries whose projects change from year to year. I don't know if there is a guideline on this, but lacking one, I can see pros and cons. Pro: it informs the reader that the person in question is currently professionally active, and in what. Con: it can be ephemeral, subject to frequent revision, it is not particularly encyclopedic inasmuch as it may place undue weight on the most recent activity to the detriment of the broader overview, and may go unedited for a sufficiently long time so as to become outdated and give innacurate information. I don't see any pressing reason why such information needs be excluded from the lead provided it is worded so that it will never become inaccurate with the passage of time. I.e., rather than "She is currently...", use "In 2008, she..." Robert K S (talk) 23:09, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
There is a guideline on this: "Wikipedia:Lead section". I quote:
The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, establishing context, summarizing the most important points, explaining why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describing its notable controversies, if there are any. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic according to reliable, published sources.
Therefore, the primary issue is not whether a person's "current status" should be in the lead or not, but whether the information has been included in the body of the article. If it has, and it is an important point, then it should be mentioned in the lead. Otherwise, it should be omitted. I would imagine that most changes in people's occupational status would be important enough to warrant mention in the article and thus in the lead, and agree with Robert that terms like "currently" and "recently" should be avoided in favour of more precise phrases such as "In 2008..." — Cheers, JackLee talk 22:42, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
It's where you come to "Otherwise, it should be omitted" that I no longer see correspondence between your interpretation of the guideline and what is actually written in the guideline. The guideline states that the lead should be able to serve as an encapsulation of the article as a whole. It does not state that the purpose of the lead is limited to such an encapsulation, or that information in the lead needs be limited to information also found elsewhere in the article. Robert K S (talk) 23:25, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm, interesting. That's not been my experience of how this guideline has been interpreted, though. In the past, when I nominated articles for promotion to Good Article status, I was advised by (presumably more experienced) reviewers that the lead should not contain any information that does not already appear in the article. This seems to be what the guideline is getting at, as these other passages suggest: "The lead section summarizes the article"; "the lead section should briefly summarize the most important points covered in an article in such a way that it can stand on its own as a concise version of the article". Perhaps this is an issue that needs to be raised on the guideline's talk page. — Cheers, JackLee talk 00:46, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
The guideline is fine. It should summarize the article. There's nothing prohibiting it from also adding one or two other bits of information found nowhere else in the article. Very many article leads, even of articles called good or featured, do this. Robert K S (talk) 00:59, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposed expansion of nationality-in-lead guideline

The guidline governing nationality in the lead currently reads as follows: "Nationality (In the normal case this will mean the country of which the person is a citizen or national, or was a citizen when the person became notable. Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability.)" This indeed covers "the normal case", but I think with just a few extra lines for this item we can clarify the issue for a great number of articles over which disputes have sprung up or are bound to do so. My proposed revision to the guideline is as follows:

Nationality

  • For persons who were citizens or nationals of only one country in their lifetimes, that country should be named in it common adjectival form.
    • "Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist..."
  • For persons who were born in one country but became notable after immigrating to another country wherein they were eventually naturalized, both countries should be mentioned. The two countries should not be hyphenated together, as this usage may imply ethnicity but not necessarily nationality. Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the lead unless it is relevant to the subject's notability.
    • "Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist."
    • "Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship."
    • Not: "Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American bodybuilder, actor, businessman, and politician..." While not incorrect, the subject's birth nationality can be specified at the cost of one extra word: "Austrian-born American".
  • For persons who held citizenships in more than two countries in their lifetimes, or whose nationality is vague or excessively complicated by shifting political boundaries or changing leadership that resulted in changes of country names, or other circumstances, nationality should be omitted from the first sentence of the lead, and the details of the subject's nationality should be elaborated later in the article.
  • For leads that do not explicitly state the person's nationality, but correctly imply a single nationality through some other fact, the details of the person's birth and citizenship may be saved for later in the article.
    • "George Walker Bush is the forty-third and current President of the United States of America." (American presidency implies American nationality.)

Motivation for the upgraded guideline: At present a number of articles use hyphenations for nationalities. This can introduce confusion that can be easily cleared up. "Peter Jennings was a Canadian-American journalist and news anchor." Does that mean he was born in Canada, or he was born in the U.S. but one or both of his parents was from Canada, or did he just have a Canadian somewhere in his distant ancestry? Adding "-born" is a small price to pay which turns a phrase potentially misconstrued as an inappropriate ethnicity name-check into a nationality. There is also the problem of editors motivated by ethnic boosterism who insist on "claiming" biographical article subjects by including otherwise irrelevant ethnicity information in the first sentence. While this problem is limited in scope, it results in violent edit-warring. This problem would also be alleviated by clarification of when it is appropriate to use hyphenation of nationalities and when such hyphenation can be misconstrued as ethnic claiming. Finally, the issue of complicated nationality is another source of editor conflict that I think could be easily alleviated by a clear guideline. I'm looking forward to discussion on this issue and reworking of the above proposal to everyone's satisfaction. Having some consensus on these issues would be very helpful. Robert K S (talk) 19:56, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I always use "x-born" when someone has emigrated to another country. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:12, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
So how would the Gerry Adams article read? Or Ruth Kelly? MurphiaMan (talk) 15:02, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Is there controversy with either of those figures? I guess the implication is that Adams might be called British (because he is a British subject) and Kelly might be called Irish (having been born in Northern Ireland). The guideline doesn't speak to those controversies, but I'm up for suggestions as to how it might do so elegantly without opening other "anything goes" cans of worms. I can think of an additional guideline that would clear up a few other cases, and I'm adding it above. Robert K S (talk) 23:28, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually Adams (only) has an (Republic of Ireland) Irish passport, and certainly does not regard himself as a British subject. Johnbod (talk) 21:31, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
You raise some good points, but I don't think your proposal sufficiently addresses the difference between nationality and country of residence, and how we should treat both. For example, Jennings's whole journalistic career was in the US, but he only became a citizen two years before his death.--Pharos (talk) 07:50, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem with the "x-born" formula, but agree with Pharos that the part of the proposed guideline that reads "For persons who were born in one country but became notable after immigrating to another country wherein they were eventually naturalized, both countries should be mentioned" needs to be rejigged slightly. When we say that someone is German, say, I think what is usually meant is that the person has German nationality and not that he has merely lived in the country for a long time. If the latter situation pertains, in my view it is better not to call the person "German". Instead, the article should mention that the person is a "long-time resident of Germany".
The two above messages are correct that this guideline doesn't speak at all to residence. Current guidelines have never required this of the lead. If you think the guideline should make some recommendation to this effect, please feel free to amend the above proposal directly. Robert K S (talk) 19:45, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
On a related point, some editors will recall that there was an extensive discussion on whether people from the United Kingdom should be described as "British", or "English", "Scottish", "[Northern] Irish" or "Welsh". No consensus on the matter was reached. I've now drafted an essay with the aim of providing some guidance to editors on the matter: see Wikipedia draft essay ready for discussion above. Comments are welcome at the essay's talk page. — Cheers, JackLee talk 13:39, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
All of this is entirely predicated on the modern situation where (nearly) everybody has a clear nationality backed up by documents. It will be no help at all for older historical figures, who in my experience are the ones who cause the greatest disputes. How does this relate to Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Giulio Clovio (look at his talk archives, if you've a day or two to spare), Andrea Meldolla, or Giorgio da Sebenico? In fact such a guideline would give new angles for the partisans to argue about. Even some of your examples are not too clear - Conrad never had any Polish documents, or lived in a Polish state (and, like most immigrants, he may have thought of himself as British rather than English) Johnbod (talk) 14:02, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it is "entirely predicated on the modern situation"--the guideline as written speaks to all the examples you mention with its third bullet, "For persons... whose nationality is vague... [it] should be omitted from the first sentence of the lead, and the details of the subject's nationality should be elaborated later in the article". (I didn't know that about Conrad, and if his nationality really is controversial in the ways that you mention, you should bring it up at his talk page; having this guideline in place could only help the case for reform of the lead in conformance with a broader standard that would bring more accuracy to all articles.) Robert K S (talk) 19:37, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Help how? Why? I just don't see it. The draft doesn't begin to cope with the complexities of national and ethnic status that marked most of the Old World except for England and Scotland until a couple of centuries ago. It still fundamentally assumes everyone has a nationality. Johnbod (talk) 22:16, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't assume everyone has a nationality. (If you think the current wording gives that impresion, then please help to revise it.) It's simply a guideline about what should go in the lead, if the nationality of the person is straightforward and uncontroversial. For those figures with unclear or disputed nationalities, it states that nothing with regards to nationality should appear in the lead, and that a fuller explanation should appear later in the article. The whole point is to combat ethnic "claiming". Robert K S (talk) 23:15, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't exactly say that, nor do I think removing all mention from the lead is any sort of help in most cases. Passers by will always be wanting to add something to make it look like the other articles. Johnbod (talk) 23:27, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Passers-by do all sorts of crazy things. It's having clear guidelines that helps the regular editors to have something to point to when they want to maintain an article in a NPOV state. If you don't think the guideline says what it needs to say, please help fix it. Most of the comments so far seem like stymying objections that have no constructive criticism. Robert K S (talk) 00:18, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm really not sure about all these contingencies. Sometimes birth place is totally incidental and has nothing to do with nationality, and I don't think this guideline, as currently written, weeds out those incidents. Sometimes a mother is traveling, and gives birth in a particular country, but the person in question didn't live there very long, and thus the birth country is rather incidental, and therefore doesn't belong in the lead sentence. There is no guidance on this point -- it seems like you're always supposed to mention it no matter what. --Melty girl (talk) 21:38, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, Melty girl. That is a good point and perhaps you can edit directly the proposal to try to address your concern. I don't see your concern or any of the others as a rejection of the premise of the proposed guideline, which is that we should move away from potentially confusing hyphenated forms that imply ethnicity and can be used by ethnic boosters to "claim" article subjects. Robert K S (talk) 22:11, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the Schwarzenegger point, but not most of the rest. I'm strongly opposed to just brushing the matter under the carpet (to a later para) where there is the possibility of debate or confusion - as in my examples above or your example of Conrad. I'm also strongly opposed to "Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the lead unless it is relevant to the subject's notability" - Conrad was only ethnically Polish, just as Michelangelo was only ethnically Italian and Durer only ethnically German - the national states did not exist in their day. I get the impression you're not too used to these issues in a historical context. Johnbod (talk) 12:47, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Re: being "opposed to just brushing the matter under the carpet (to a later para) where there is the possibility of debate or confusion". The alternative is to either (a) let an article stay in permanent flux between two or more versions of the lead adhered to by opposing sides of a controversy, or (b) make the full explanation of nationality right there in the first sentence of the lead, placing undue weight on the controversy and giving the impression that the principal reason for the person's notability was a vague or contentious nationality, and not whatever it is that he or she is actually notable for. This is the very problem that I'm seeking solutions to with an upgrade of the guideline. The "don't emphasize ethnicity in the lead unless relevant to notability" bit isn't new. It's part of the current guideline and has been in place for a long time. And, IMO, with good reason: to combat undue weight placed on something irrelevant that's only there because an editor with boosterish motivations wanted to "claim" an article subject. (I believe there's a discussion about just such an episode in one of the talk sections above.) In the case of Conrad, the guideline wouldn't necessarily prohibit mention of his ethnicity in the lead—most biographical sources on Conrad will agree that part of his notability was that he was a Polish author who wrote in English. Again, I think the proposed guideline adequately covers historical cases, but if you disagree, I'm asking you to please help amend the proposal to your satisfaction. Robert K S (talk) 20:50, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
My amendment would be to remove everything except a caution against hyphenated "Irish-American" combinations. If "don't emphasize ethnicity in the lead unless relevant to notability" is in the current text, then very few take any notice of it at all (rightly) in the sort of cases I mention, and it should be removed. Some people try to edit to things like "Titian .... was a Venetian painter" but there is a concensus for Italian and so on in such cases. The vast majority of such articles are perfectly stable - there a just a few cases, especially immigrants to Italy from the future Yugoslavia etc that cause trouble, also some people from the Low Countries, and Central Europe. Johnbod (talk) 00:36, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Your point just above about Conrad is mere causistry. Being Polish is defining for him (in WP:OCAT) terms, but not at all part of his notability. You could read his entire published fiction (I have in fact read most) without being aware of his origin, as it never features in his work. He never wrote for publication in Polish. Johnbod (talk) 14:55, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments, John. I don't think it's "mere causistry", nor is it casuistry. Can you point a biographical source for Conrad that does not mention his being Polish right up front? It's part of his notability. As for deleting all of the proposal, and even parts of the present guideline, I do think that would be taking things in the wrong direction. We rely on guidelines for conformity of presentation throughout the encyclopedia and as an arbiter of content disputes. I want to increase conformity and reduce the number of disputes; weakening the guidelines will do the opposite. It might be more helpful to the discussion if you could word your concerns into the guideline. Robert K S (talk) 20:45, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
That is exactly the difference between defining and notable - Conrad is defined by, but not notable for, being born in Poland. I'm afraid you'll just have to accept that my view is that what would be "helpful" is for this proposal to be dropped, or radically trimmed as above. Johnbod (talk) 19:50, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
If someone comes from a certain region that's a nation today, that's one thing. But ethnicity as such does not belong in the lead. For example, if Conrad had been a Pole of Jewish ethnicity.--Pharos (talk) 19:08, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Poland was a nation long before Conrad, and had been a state, but was not one when he was born, nor did it become one again until long after he emigrated. Your point is far too generalized - look at Süßkind von Trimberg he really is notable largely because of his ethnicity, which it would be completely absurd to omit from the lead paragraph or sentence. Johnbod (talk) 21:20, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Obviously some people, like Süßkind von Trimberg, are notable for Jewish ethnicity. My point is that Conrad is not similarly notable for his Polish ethnicity, but that there is nothing wrong with naming the country he was born in (even though it was not an independent state at the time). If Conrad was Jewish and had the same corpus of writing, I think he should still have the same nationality-description in the lead as he does now.--Pharos (talk) 21:35, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not so sure: Isaac Bashevis Singer gets the point across in the lead without actually stating it, Marc Chagall is "Russian-Jewish", which is what his Russian identity cards would have said, and is fine by me. Kafka gets "Jewish" into the second sentence, also fine by me. If you want to ban "Jewish" from the lead, I think Project:Judaism should be told! Johnbod (talk) 21:49, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
This is not specifically about Jewishness. If Conrad had been a Pole of Belarusian ethnicity, we would have the same situation. The question is, whether someone's ethnicity is relevant to their notability or not. Because otherwise, it's all about boosterism or (in the case of infamous figures) even about racism and xenophobia.--Pharos (talk) 22:14, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems like the biggest problem may be just with hyphenation. I know this is a radically simple idea, but what if we just got used to writing with a slash, as "Austrian/American", instead of "Austrian-American".--Pharos (talk) 19:00, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

I can't see any point to that at all! Johnbod (talk) 21:20, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Your problem with "Austrian-American" was that it is (or can be) an ethnic designator. "Austrian/American" denotes someone who is of both Austrian and American nationality, and is non-ethnic. It is also convenient because you can do it with more than two nationalities; e.g. "Liviu Librescu was a Romanian/Israeli/American scientist".--Pharos (talk) 21:35, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Who says that's what it denotes? What is Polish/American? It could mean anything, is ungrammatical, and should be spelled out clearly. Johnbod (talk) 21:53, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Excuse me, as I've confused you for a moment with Robert K S, when referring to "Your problem with Austrian-American". His problem with a hyphenated usage (which has multiple, ambiguous meanings in normal writing) was that on Wikipedia it links to an article like Austrian-American that is generally about an group living in the US with a distinct ethnic ancestry, not an article about individuals with multiple nationalities/citizenships. "Polish/American" means someone who is both Polish and American by nationality; for example a Polish immigrant to the US.--Pharos (talk) 22:06, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm Singaporean, and I'm afraid I've never seen the usage "Polish/American" before. It would not be clear to me that there was a difference between that and "Polish-American". — Cheers, JackLee talk 22:21, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Pharos, I appreciate your suggestion and can see where you're coming from. The slashed usage could at least be wikilinked differently and would therefore have a slightly different implication by virtue of markup. That said, "-born" still gives a lot of extra information at a small cost of an extra word, whereas something like "Romanian/Israeli/American" could still imply that someone was, for example, an American who had a Romanian father and an Israeli mother. The motivation behind the proposal is the reduction of obfuscation and therefore the limiting of the ability of boosters etc. to implant ethnicity into articles inappropriately, and I don't think the slashed form of multiple nationality accomplishes as much in that direction as the guidelines as I've written them do. (Listing three nationalities for a person in the lead is excessive, anyway--it doesn't provide real information about the person, it only obnubilates matters.) Robert K S (talk) 22:27, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
It's pity the proposed points aren't numbered for ease of reference. Of the 4 points I see, I strongly disagree with 3) for the reasons given above, and essentially agree with 1, 2 & 4, but think the wording is badly compromised for the reasons I've given above. But then, I also think the current wording (re point 3) in the guideline ("Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability" is pretty hopeless); it is necessary to use ethnicity to define some people, like medieval Germans, without it being relevant to their notability. I could redraft the proposal, but to be honest, with a long debate but very little support (no unqualified support I think) in over a week, I think it would be better to start again in the future. But I would support a version I was happy with of course. Johnbod (talk) 14:17, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Long lists of non-notable accomplishments

I continually come across articles about living artists that have the same types of problems, for example Elizabeth McGrath, and Terry Ananny. These are articles with borderline notability that seem to be edited by the artists them selves or someone related to the artist. They are usually advertising style resumes (such as you would find in a commercial art gallery or exhibit catalog) with very long laundry lists of "accomplishments" that don't meet wikipedia's guidelines as to what’s denotes notability. This seems to be heavy "padding" added to make the artist seem more notable than they are. How should this be dealt with? Should the articles be cut back to just what is considered notable in Wikipedia:Notability (people) - Additional criteria - Creative professionals i.e. just list what falls under "significant exhibition", "permanent collections…of notable galleries, museums or internationally significant libraries", etc? Maybe this guideline should cover that. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 18:37, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Not sure this is the right place for this discussion but if the artist's participation in the event hasn't been noted by a 3rd party source (so: not promotional materials or announcements by the artist or the gallery itself, and not including indiscriminate lists of events such as in local media where the gallery has submitted the notice), then it's probably not notable content. Ripe (talk) 19:50, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
It is the subject of the article that has to demonstrate notability, not each item of information in the article. But I agree these lists, normally cut'n'paste from the artist's website, are a particular problem with artists. At the same time, as can be seen from Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Visual arts, exhibitions are typically key in establishing notability for living artists. Some specialized knowledge is also needed to know which ones are significant and which are not. One list, split off into its own article got deleted just recently. The place to address this might be Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts/Art Manual of Style - still draft, but coming along. Johnbod (talk) 19:58, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I noticed this would span several guidelines such as Wikipedia:Notability (people), Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (biographies), and Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts/Art Manual of Style. That last one by title and content seems to cover "art", not "artists" for the most part, maybe a change can be made there. It looks to me like there should be a Wikipedia:Notability (artists). I have noted some attempts to create such a guideline but they seem to have been shot down for reason "hey, if you read all the relevant guidelines, this is already covered". The problem is, if you try to rationalize several different guidelines you come up with conflicting answers as to how to handle this. If I, for example, go by Wikipedia:Notability (people), then I come up with a totaly different answer than what Johnbod came up with, a laundry list of commercial gallery exhibitions should be deleted since they are a) not "permanent collections" by definition and b)not "significant exhibitions". I think this should be addressed somewhere (maybe here) because (as seen in the discussions noted at Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Visual arts) there is a great deal of confusion as to what denotes notability, and more specifically, what an encyclopedic biography actually consists of. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 15:46, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't agree at all there is a "totally different answer" - my comment also refers to "significant" exhibitions, and these are what should be kept, though of course the term is undefined. I am saying the same thing, pretty clearly I would have thought. Having participated in the earlier discussions you mention, I came to feel (like many others) that the existing policies (which I think may have been tweaked a bit as a result of the process) did cover the ground well enough. Artists most emphatically fall under the Visual arts project and their articles are covered by Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts/Art Manual of Style - I would have thought that was clear enough too. I think the regulars at Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Visual arts actually have a pretty clear consensus as to what denotes notability, though many passing general AfD editors are less clear. Johnbod (talk) 21:42, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

A related issue that I can't seem to find any better place to put (if anyone can suggest one please let me know)is that IMHO a biography should include a list of the languages that the subject knew/knows and what level of competency he/she had/has in them (e.g. native command, non-native but good fluency, reading/writing ability, etc. This often helps to understand what cultures he/she considered himself part of or related to on whatever level. I have almost never seen anything like this in a biography and yet it seems very important in understanding the person. POR613 (talk) 21:22, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

That may be relevant, but only if the person spoke a lot of languages or they were particularly relevant to their career (for instance, it is relevant if a diplomat is particularly fluent in the language of the country to which he's posted). But it's not something that should be formalised or added as a matter of course. We don't want articles turning into CVs. -- Necrothesp (talk) 18:19, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Request for further input: Country of birth for people born in states that no longer exist

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

Examples would be Soviet Union instead of Russia, Yugoslavia instead of Croatia, and the like. Would I be able to request additional input on this issue on the WP:FOOTBALL talk page, here, please? Dreaded Walrus t c 00:21, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Editors active on this talk page may wish to take note of the interesting discussion that is unfolding at "Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Football#Defining country of birth". My view is that the general rule across Wikipedia as a whole should be that a person's country of birth should be reflected as it was at the time of birth. Thus:
  • Generally, the place of birth should be referred to in the main text of the article in a form similar to this: "Riga, Latvia, Soviet Union (now the Republic of Latvia)". Note that if there is an article on the specific political entity that was in existence at the time of the person's birth, it should be linked to: ie, "[[Riga]], [[Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic|Latvia]], [[Soviet Union]] (now the [[Latvia|Republic of Latvia]])".
  • If a shortened phraseology is required for infoboxes, it should be the original country rather than the new one, otherwise there is simply a factual inaccuracy. Thus I would suggest either "Riga, Latvia" (note the piped link to "Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic"), or "Riga, Soviet Union".
However, Oth pointed out an additional complication: there may be dispute as to whether the occupation of certain countries was legal or not. For instance, Oth says that the temporary occupation of the Baltic States (1940–1991) by the Soviet Union was illegal and not generally recognized, and I'm aware that Taiwan is recognized as an independent nation by some countries, but others regard it as part of the People's Republic of China. I'm not sure what should happen in such situations. Is there any Manual of Style guideline on the issue? If not, should there be? Or is this one of those insoluble issues? — Cheers, JackLee talk 23:14, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
A centralized discussion on the matter has now been started at "Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Country of birth. All input on the matter is welcome. — Cheers, JackLee talk 14:26, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to formalise the relationship between MOS and its sub-pages

Dear fellow editors—The idea is to centralise debate and consensus-gathering when there are inconsistencies between the pages.

The most straightforward way is to have MOS-central prevail, and to involve expertise from sub-pages on the talk page there, rather than the fragmentary discourse—more usually the absence of discourse and the continuing inconsistency—that characterises WP's style guideline resources now. If consensus has it that MOS-central should bend to the wording of a sub-page, so be it. But until that occurs in each case that might occasionally arise, there needs to be certainty for WPians, especially in the Featured Article process, where nominators and reviewers are sometimes confused by a left- and right-hand that say different things.

Of course, no one owns MOS-central, and we're all just as important to its running as other editors. I ask for your support and feedback HERE. Tony (talk) 12:19, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Proposed structure guideline

I think it would be very helpful for the writers of new articles and for Wikipedia's general consistency to have some guidelines for the structure of biographical articles. This guideline page as it reads now starts that but doesn't follow through with suggested headers and so on. So here's a draft based on existing guidelines and a survey of what existing bio articles tend to look like (and therefore arguably an approximation of existing consensus). - JasonAQuest (talk) 02:44, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

The structure of biographical articles will vary considerably depending on the subject, the nature of their notability, and the amount of information available. None of the following sections are specifically required, but they reflect the kind of information Wikipedia aims to present, and use of them helps maintain consistency among articles. If a section grows very large, it may be desirable to separate the information into a separate article, linked from that section of the main article.

Infobox

An appropriate biographical infobox template is recommended. If there isn't a specialized infobox for the subject's profession (e.g. Template:Infobox Musical artist, Template:Infobox ReligiousBio, Template:Infobox journalist), use Template:Infobox person. See Wikipedia:WikiProject_Biography/Infoboxes for a list of avaiable infobox templates.

Lead

As with any article, the lead section (no header) should summarize the most important information about the subject. It does not need to summarize every aspect of their life, but should include:

  1. Name(s) and title(s), if any (see, for instance, also Wikipedia:Naming conventions (names and titles));
  2. Dates of birth and death, if known (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Dates of birth and death);
  3. Nationality – In the normal case this will mean the country of which the person is a citizen or national, or was a citizen when the person became notable. Note that there is presently no consensus as to how this guideline should apply to people from the United Kingdom. Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability.
  4. The most notable things the person has done. If the subject is notable for many things, this can expand to several paragraphs, but leave details for the body of the article itself.

For example:

RE 'Nationality' - There is no consensus for using "presently" (it's since been removed) and "people from the United Kingdom" is currently just an essay! (and at this point not even introduced as such!). This whole bit is currently being discussed in a section above here. --Matt Lewis (talk) 17:03, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Opening paragraph suggestion

Hello! I've just joined the Introductions project, and it seems to me there is one issue that needs to be addressed jointly: I think that the opening paragraph in biographies should also include place of birth/death, as this info is very important, and is usually postponed to later in the article. It seems to me that anybody reading only the summary should get this info. Perhaps you guys have already discussed this point, so I may just ask for clarification. Cheers, Lwyx (talk) 01:58, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Personal life

Most people's lives begin inauspiciously, but this information can be relevant to understanding them. Information which may not be directly applicable to their notability, such as their family, early life, education, and relationships, can be included under "Personal life". Any of these subjects can be expanded to its own section if there is sufficient information about them. It is not necessary to maintain "Personal life" as an enclosing section if these sections are sufficiently developed to stand on their own.

Career

In most cases, the person's professional life is the focus of their notability, and this section will include the bulk of the information about them. If their career includes several distinct periods (e.g. a politician holding several successive offices, an artist creating in different styles, a writer working in different media, a businessperson employed at different companies, an athlete playing for different teams) these can be presented as separate sections. It is not necessary to maintain "Career" as an enclosing section if these sections are sufficiently developed to stand on their own.

As much as is practical, this section should be arranged chronologically. Whenever possible, notable "controversies" involving the subject should be included in their chronological context rather than a separate section.

Later life

Similar to information about a person's early life, their activities following their professional lives provide additional context about them. Obviously this section can be omitted for someone who is still young and/or active. If the circumstances of the subject's death are known but unremarkable, the place and date can instead be included under "Personal life", above.

Influence and legacy

Many notable subjects leave a lasting impact on their field or society in general, even after their death. Describe movements they started or led which continued after their death, or influences from their works which can still be seen in the works of others. Notable buildings or other things named after the subject should be identified here.

List of works/___ography

For an artist, musician, writer, or other creator, a list of their works can be informative. This section can be titled Filmography, Discography, Bibliography or some other appropriate term.

Career results

For an athlete or other competitor, a chart of their career record can be included.

Honors/Awards and nominations

List notable honors and awards (and nominations), along with brief information about what the award was given for.

See also

List related articles that are not already linked elsewhere in the article.

Further reading

For a subject about which there is a great deal more comprehensive material available, list a very selective bibliography of authoritative works.

References

Include a complete list of footnotes and other citations documenting the contents of the article.

External links

Articles can include a small number of links to reputable external sources about the subject. If the subject has a personal web site, or there is a web site authorized by the subject's heirs or estate, include it as the first link. An official or authorized fan site may be linked.

Categories

This is a virtual "section" without a header. The addition of categories helps to classify groups of people. For example: [[Category:Scottish authors]], [[Category:German Formula One drivers]], [[Category:Indian religious leaders]]. Include as many as apply, but be sure that they are veriably accurate. Avoid creating new categories.

The addition of a DEFAULTSORT template controls how articles are sorted in category lists. For people this should usually be their last name (surname) followed by their first name (given name): {{DEFAULTSORT:Lastname, Firstname}}.

Comments? Sugggestions? Objections? If this outline is generally acceptable, I'd like to integrate it into the guide for further refinement. - JasonAQuest (talk) 02:44, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Comments

I think this is a good idea. Here are some comments I have:
  • Instead of having "Personal life" at the beginning, I think this section should be called "Family, early life and education" or something of that nature, to show that the section may talk about a person's parentage, childhood and schooling. What tends to get put into "Personal life" sections is information about a person's relationships (spouses, partners, children, past and current girlfriends/boyfriends), sexuality, relatives, religious beliefs and hobbies. I think this should really go to the bottom, just before "See also", as such information is usually not of great importance. If it is significant to a person, it should be mentioned in other parts of the article and not under "Personal life".
  • Following "Wikipedia:Guide to layout#Standard appendices and descriptions", the order of the standard appendices should be "See also", "Notes" (containing the {{reflist|2}} template), "References", "Further reading", "External links".
  • "Wikipedia:Persondata" should be added before the {{DEFAULTSORT}} tag. Also, I notice that some people prefer to use {{Lifetime}} instead of {{DEFAULTSORT}}. Perhaps some mention should be made of this?
  • For articles about people in the entertainment industry, it is common for external links to unofficial fansites to be added. I believe this is generally frowned upon because of the unauthorized use of copyrighted images and material in such websites. Perhaps some mention should be made of this.
  • Something should be said about the appropriate use of images of living people, which is a perennial problem for biographical articles.
  • I've always wondered about this but haven't found an answer – should categories be arranged in numerical and alphabetical order (i.e., 0–9, A–Z), or in some other order such as decreasing importance? I've tended to favour the latter, but realize that one editor's idea of whether one category is more important than another tends to vary so perhaps the first rule would be easier to follow. Also, I don't think we should advise editors simply to "[a]void creating new categories"; that statement needs some qualification. New categories which are appropriate should be created.
  • Something should be said about the fact that "Trivia" and "Quotations" sections are deprecated.
— Cheers, JackLee talk 04:01, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to offer a variant of the above structure, which we've found useful all over WikiProject Comics. Rather than use a monolithic format, we break up comics creators' articles in a way that keeps the biographical section self-contained, rather than mashing it up confoundingly into sections that are clearer as standalones.

  • Lead and Infobox
  • Biography
    • Early life and career [a subhead phrasing that connects the two concepts and has tended to dissuade tangential personal trivia]
    • [Various career-related subheads, particularly if the person is known for a specific character or company or time-period subheads]
    • Later life and career [or] Later life (if they essentially retired)
  • Impact (applicable if person has had a notable impact either within or outside of the field)
  • Inspirations (generally applicable for arts and science, but certainly also to the likes business)
  • [Other specific subheads according to subject: Notable public views, etc., that are illustrate opinions and beliefs, but are not in and other themselves biographical]
  • Awards
  • Bibliography (works by the article subject)
  • See also (as per current policy, additional topics of interest not already linked in article)
  • Footnotes [and-or] References (Separate sections when there are general references, such as databases, for which dozens of individual look-ups don't need to be separately footnoted, and one link to the searchable database is sufficient)
  • External links (as per current policy, "for further reading" sites of interest, and also per current policy limited to five or six maximum)

Of course, each different project will have specifics unique to it; an ancient king and a modern-day avant-garde artist, to give two plucked-from-the-air examples, may need adapted versions of the standard structure. Flexibility is more workable to different projects' needs than rigidity. —Tenebrae (talk) 04:29, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

It is a very bad idea in biographical articles to have a section entitled "Biography". The whole article is by definition a biography. There's no need that I can see to have an umbrella heading for the individual sections on the person's life - they're better standing on their own, since they are likely to take up the bulk of the article in any case. In addition, I dislike a separate section for "Honours and awards" or suchlike. This just encourages bullet points; it is better to integrate these into the body of the article. -- Necrothesp (talk) 08:58, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I think this draft is misleadingly specific, and should not be included in guidelines; as an essay fine. At a number of points related to my own main area of intereest - artists - it contradicts both visual arts editors' concensus and the draft Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts/Art Manual of Style. Lists of works are discouraged for nearly all visual artists, and a painting infobox will often be preferable to an artist one. These are just examples - I think the whole thing is far too specific. Better to advise people to check out several bios of people in the same field. The comics version above is better, as less specific, & more typical in layout (further reading not so high etc). Johnbod (talk) 13:46, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
As previously said in "Other MOS concerns" (above), having a section titled "Biography" within a biographical article should be strongly deprecated. Call it "Early life" or "Personal life" or whatever, but it's clearly redundant to title a section "Biography" within a biographical article. JGHowes talk - 15:55, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
So, discographies and the like are "discouraged"? Meanwhile they're almost everywhere, which suggests a rather weak consensus against them. Whatever; I have no dog in that fight... just making an observation. Obviously some bios will contain features that others don't, but their core contents are (or at least ought to be) pretty standard. The fact that there are conflicting rules being applied in various fields is all the more reason why an effort to establish a general standard would be helpful. I would have expected that to be the first item on WikiProject Biography's agenda, but the sooner that effort is undertaken - meaning that new articles and new editors can get started in a consistent direction - the better. - JasonAQuest (talk) 20:24, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
I perhaps wasn't clear above; I meant (and have amended to) specifically "visual artists", many of whom have produced over 1,000 works. I have no problem with discographies or most other lists of works, though if they get too long, splitting them off is a good idea. Several visual arts biographies' random lists of paintings have been removed or trimmed to those with articles. Johnbod (talk) 02:53, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
This is a great start, but each section needs some work, and I wouldn't want to see it incorporated before it's right. I'm psyched that you're initiating this, but it feels a bit unwieldy to discuss. Maybe you could archive this first part of the discussion, then propose it again below, with some of the comments about order, etc. incorporated? I have two other suggestions for your second draft: 1.) Explain where the current guideline would be incorporated (no need to reprint the current sections, just point out where they would go). 2.) Steal language and get inspiration from other guidelines to flesh things out better, i.e. take the References language from Wikipedia:WikiProject Films/Style guidelines. --Melty girl (talk) 21:00, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
As someone who reads and uses Wikipedia more than writes for it, but who has almost exclusively worked on biographical articles, I'm a little concerned about the first person's proposed outline above, because an article about a person isn't all biography.
Take a Wikipedia entry's section about a person's views, for example. As an analogy, let's say a book about physics has a chapter about one scientist's groundbreaking views. That chapter is about a person, yes - but it's not biographical. It doesn't tell you anything about where that person grew up, or their career path, or who they married, etc.
No one would ever call that chapter biographical - and yet that's what we would be doing here.
The same is true with a list of a person's award. Talking about those awards in the story of his/her life, putting them in historical perspective, saying what the presenters' said of the person receiving the award - that's biographical. Whereas an award list is not - that's an appendix to a biography.
Same with a bibliography or filmography of a person's work. Same with "See also" and "References" and "External links" - these are appendices to a biography. A biography is only one part of a person's entry. --Farpointer (talk) 00:12, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
It isn't all biography, but it is mostly biography, and the article is a biographical one. It seems very silly to take the great bulk (in most cases pretty much all) the article and put it into a single section - "Biography" - and then add sections of comparative weight for lesser items (often just "References" and suchlike). Take a look at some biographical articles - most of them are largely if not exclusively about the subject's life. That may not be the case with some, but it is certainly the case with the majority. No, of course an award list should be added into the article as a list, but to be honest I don't think it needs to be there at all. If the award isn't important enough to be mentioned in its historical context within the body of the article then it probably isn't important enough to be mentioned at all. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:24, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not happy with this either. Painter's articles often have a biography section, before another describing aspects of their work, specific works and so on. Sometimes it's best to mix the two, sometimes not. Johnbod (talk) 02:53, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

I think lists can be very useful for readers - I oftentimes want to see a list of prominent works/honors - I don't want to read the entire article to find this info buried in prose. -- Jeandré, 2008-08-15t20:16z

Weird phrasing

"For objects which are "possessed" by someone, where "possession" expires with them, such as opinions or children, use the present tense for living persons and the past tense for deceased persons. Timeless facts may be expressed in the present tense even if they are in a dead person's article. Or in other words, use common sense."

Just about all of this is extremely weird phrasing. Could someone explain the intent and then we reword? Marskell (talk) 20:47, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

That is weird!! I'd never dream of actually using the Manual of Style myself, so I can't comment! It's like the Ministry of Funny Walks.--Matt Lewis (talk) 21:13, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, I use the MoS, and it's generally well-worded. But I can't make heads or tails of this. Marskell (talk) 21:28, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I better say I only meant MOS (biogs)! I just find it awkward to read. Seeing middle names annoys a bit too! --Matt Lewis (talk) 16:30, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
It is an awkward passage. My guess is that it is supposed to refer to the tense used associating a subject with people or their beliefs. If it is not written to address that need, then it ought to be -- or removed. To furnish some hypothetical examples of the usage I think it recommends:
  • "Smith has three children."
  • "The late Smith had three children."
  • "Jones believes that eating canned peaches led to Communism."
  • "The late Jones believed that eating canned peaches avoided the triumph of Communism."
Do these examples help? -- llywrch (talk) 00:56, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I think you're right. Perhaps the examples should be included in the section for clarity. — Cheers, JackLee talk 01:28, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I can't see anything wrong with the passage myself. Makes perfect sense. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:03, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I have cut it, while noting a change from present to past should be done consistently across an article. I presume it was intended as llywrch writes, but it's so obvious that I can't imagine there's confusion on the point. Marskell (talk) 13:10, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Sinte Gleska or Spotted Tail ?

"Sinte Gleska or Sinte Gleśka (pronounced gleh-shka, Spotted Tail)" is how the article on a prominent American Indian starts off, but the article is titled "Spotted Tail." Ida thunk there would have been a Muhammad Ali vs Cassius Clay rule, stating that the name the person used is to be preferred - but no such luck. It looks like "the name by which the person is best known" is the trump card. Any comments? It looks as if I'd have to change every American Indian name if I wanted to do it "my way." redirects, of course, eliminate much of the problem.

Thanks for any input.

Smallbones (talk) 16:42, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) for full discussion, but yes, based on WP:VERIFY, we would usually defer to the name used to commonly refer to someone in WP:reliable sources. Especially when it comes to "non-English names, this is not meant as an affront, but rather reflects the fact that English WIkipedia is a reference work written in the English language. Both the article itself and redirects should address any other names commonly used.--Marcinjeske (talk) 11:08, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Lead names

My apologies if there has been a prior discussion on lead names that I missed out on. Has it become standard to put the subject's common name in quotations, i.e. Joseph "Joe" Smith, even if that common name is simply a general, English short form of the subject's first name? Because to be honest, Joseph "Joe" is unnecessary - ostensibly Joe is short for Joseph. It is also a universal understanding that Bob is Robert and Bill is William, and so forth - "Bill" is not unique to William Jefferson Clinton, neither is "Al" to Albert Gore, nor "Dick" to Richard Cheney. Only if the subject has an obscure nickname, like Craig "Speedy" Claxton does it make sense to put the nickname in quotations. At nearly 2 million articles, thousands of which are biographies, Christopher "Chris" and Edward "Ted" starts to look untidy - throw on middle names and you start to see my point. Why can't they all just be like Tony Blair. Jay(Talk) 00:55, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

  • Strong support, should we do a clarification about this issue, telling to avoid Craig "Speedy" Claxton? Carlosguitar 13:04, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Is there still support for this? See e.g. Donald Rumsfeld and talk about "Rummy" -- a frequent nickname. MilesAgain (talk) 19:47, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Can someone propose some specific language? The proposal isn't clear. --Melty girl (talk) 20:30, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
My opinion is that nicknames have no place in the first line of our biographies, and I would even prefer common names to be left in the infobox. To use Dick Cheney as an example, I would prefer the first line of the article to simply read "Richard Bruce Cheney (born January 30, 1941), is the forty-sixth and current..." as opposed to the current version which includes "Dick" after Bruce. In this instance, the infobox would then simply read "Dick Cheney" as opposed to "Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney" as it does now. Keep in mind Dick is Cheney's common name, and I still believe simple nicknames should remain outside of the intro sentence and infobox. Nicknames, in my opinion, should be explained later. - auburnpilot talk 00:38, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Makes sense. But could you propose specific language for amending the guideline? --Melty girl (talk) 07:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Whereas I would favour "Richard Bruce Cheney (born January 30, 1941), known as Dick Cheney, is the forty-sixth and current..." I disagree with restricting information to infoboxes, which are, in my opinion, an optional (and fairly unnecessary) addition to an article in any case. There should be no info in infoboxes that is not in the article. I do agree that nicknames should not feature in the full name at the beginning of the article. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:08, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
That would work fine too, and I agree with your comments regarding infoboxes. - auburnpilot talk 14:33, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
I oppose this change. Placing nicknames within the full name--properly denoted with quotation marks--is a common practice and a sensible one. It is sensible even for "obvious" nicknames because not all Roberts go by "Bob". Can some pressing and defensible reason be elaborated for this change? Robert K S (talk) 09:38, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Such a change/clarification is needed because the current wording regarding nicknames/common names is not clear and is barely covered at all. How do we decide which names are appropriate and which are not? I believe standard practice right now is that only common names (Dick for Cheney, Al for Gore, Bill for Clinton) are included, and nicknames such as "Rummy" Rumsfeld are not. Cheney, Gore, and Clinton all refer to themselves by those names, use those names in daily life, and are referred to by those names in the media (common), whereas Rummy is a mere nickname. The current guideline does not give any indication of what should be done in such a situation. My preference is for nicknames and common names to stay out of the initial sentence, but Necrothesp's suggestion above works well too. As you say, "It is sensible even for "obvious" nicknames", but what about the less obvious? - auburnpilot talk 14:33, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

All this is well and good, but no one has made a proposal for specific wording to amend the guideline. If a concerned party would make one, then this debate would be more useful. --Melty girl (talk) 18:36, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Something along the lines of "Nicknames should only be included within the introductory sentence of an article if the subject uses that name in place of their given name" is what I was thinking. This covers the common name (daily use) situations such as Bill Clinton, but avoids giving less known nicknames unneeded prominence. Additionally, this would compliment the naming guidelines, in that Jimmy would be included for our article Jimmy Carter, and Al for Al Gore. Of course, I'm not a policy writer by any stretch of the imagination, so the wording will need adjusting (or a total rewrite). - auburnpilot talk 19:34, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

OK, here's my proposal on nicknames:

  • Nicknames that are shorthand forms of given names (given in intro): Johnny Reid Edwards, commonly known as John Edwards
  • Nicknames that are peculiar to the person, and regularly used in formal writing in place of the legal name (given in intro): Richard Bernard “Red” Skelton
  • Nicknames that are peculiar to the person, but are only used in informal contexts (not given in intro): Donald Henry Rumsfeld (no mention of "Rummy")--Pharos (talk) 06:41, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

It seems pretty clear-cut to me. The article name should be the name by which a person is known. The opening line should contain the person's full name – not some bizarre amalgam of the two. It is totally unnecessary to repeat parts of the short form within the full form, as in Johnny Reid "John" Edwards – which is given as an example in WP:NAMES#Pseudonyms, stage names and common names. We can all see that he's called John Edwards – that's why the article is titled John Edwards. I propose removing this example. That convention is more likely to cause confusion than to lessen it. The uninitiated may think the short form is part of the full name. They may wonder why "John" follows 'Reid' rather than 'Johnny'. I've even seen quoted short forms after 'born' – which is just nonsensical. Let's cut the clutter. If anyone really feels the need to explain that (in this [admittedly unusual] case) John is short for Johnny, let them do so in a separate sentence. Grant (talk) 12:38, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

I would apply the same logic to Red Skelton, too. We know he's called Red Skelton – it's not worth cluttering up his full legal name just to ram that information home. Grant (talk) 12:45, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Also, shoehorning a nickname into a person's actual name might give the impression that this form is the one generally used – as in Jack "the Hat" McVitie or "Sugar" Ray Leonard. Or would that have to be rendered as Ray "Sugar" Leonard? Or Ray "Sugar Ray Leonard" Leonard? Grant (talk) 00:53, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I would caution against consideration of any proposal the basis for which is reasoning that includes the words "it is obvious" or "we can all see". A major function of the lead is clarification/disobfuscation of nomenclature. To me, it is not "obvious" that Bob is the nickname by which a Robert primarily goes (he may also go by Robb, Rob, Robby, or Robbie; a Charles may go by Chuck or Chas; a John may go by Jack or, to complicate things, may itself be a shortening of Johnathan. That a nickname is used and preferred by the subject himself/herself is immaterial; Teddy Roosevelt hated "Teddy" but it was and is such a common nickname for the person that the lead must mention it. Finally, an English-language reader unfamiliar with common Western nicknaming conventions should not be expected to refer to a lookup table to realize that certain nicknames are proper to certain fuller names. There are many that are less obvious than others. Robert K S (talk) 20:31, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Name spellings in different languages

Apologies if this is in the archives somewhere and I missed it. There's a dispute on talk:Hashim Thaçi over the subject's name. For those who are not familiar with Balkan politics, Thaci is the prime minister of Kosovo. His name is Albanian, and English-language sources generally transliterate to Hashim Thaci. The dispute is whether to include the Serbo-Croatian transliteration (Хашим Тачи) as well. The reasoning behind this (and my personal belief as well) is that he was born in Kosovo at a time when it was a part of the Serbia republic in Yugoslavia. However, as Serbia denies Kosovo's right to secede, there are nationalist implications in including the transliteration. There are Serbian-language sources which use this version of his name, but I don't see any clear guidance in the MOS on how to handle this. Opinions are appreciated. // Chris (complaints)(contribs) 20:55, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

MOS, marginal celebrity, fear of stalkers

I've been watching the article DJ Sassy since coming upon it at AfD and essentially helping to save it from deletion for promotional and notability concerns. There have been some subsequent COI issues with the subject's webmaster, but he understands our processes now and has been properly requesting changes. He requests that we remove the subject's birthname from the article and utilize only her professional pseudonym. Evidently, she has been troubled by stalkers. As a celebrity, she is not governed by BLP's policy on respecting the privacy of names. Her name appears in many of the sources used in the article and is in fact the title of the IMDb profile which is linked on the page. MOS calls for the full name. On the other hand, I'm not interested in contributing to a woman's feeling unsafe, and as she is only marginally notable by WP standards her name doesn't seem essential, MOS notwithstanding. I'm not sure how much protection removing her name from the article's body can offer, since it's still visible on the page in the sources. But...

I've gone on and ahead and converted to her pseudonym by their request because it doesn't seem like that big a deal. But I thought to bring it up here for possible review in case others disagree. :) Feedback welcome. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 13:57, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

From my point of view, if she is already being stalked, removal of the information from the artictle will not prevent that stalker. If she is worried that future/potential stalkers may glean information from Wikipedia, I don't think that we can censor verified information that is in other publicly available forums (including links from the WP article) based on fear of potential weirdos finding it on WP first. However, WP:BLP#Privacy of personal information may apply. This topic is probably more properly addressed in the WP:BLP forum. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheRedPenOfDoom (talkcontribs) 26 May 2008
Thanks for the feedback. :) I did consider placing it over there, but decided this would probably be a better forum in this case as I've done a lot of volunteering on that noticeboard and feel pretty confident that there's no governance of BLP's privacy of personal information here. She is a celebrity whose legal name has been frequently identified in the press and not a private individual. Generally articles I've seen where celebrities have successfully appealed there for removal of birth names have been cases where clear efforts have been made to keep birth names out of press and sources for the birthname have been unreliable. (The example that comes to mind is an outspoken anti-religious commentator who appears in clownface.) I definitely agree with you that removal of the information will not prevent stalkers (I believe she is more concerned about future repetition, not an existing stalker), particularly as the linked sources still contain the name and are visibly displayed. I pointed this out to the website manager, but he and the subject evidently are still hoping for an exception here. I brought it up here as a question of how strictly other Wikipedians felt we should adhere to this styleguide under the circumstances. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 16:12, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Ireland/Northern Ireland

A problem I came across recently: how do we describe/categorise people from the north of Ireland who may have died in the late 1920s or 1930s in Northern Ireland, but who lived most of their lives in an undivided Ireland? I don't want to open the whole ethnicity debate again - this is about anachronistic terminology. Should someone be described as Northern Irish if for most of their lives Northern Ireland didn't exist? Should, for instance, a barrister who practised in Belfast (when it was in an undivided Ireland) for fifty years, but died in 1930 eight years after the creation of Northern Ireland, be categorised in Category:Irish barristers or Category:Northern Irish barristers or possibly both? -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:31, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

I think it would be safer to put the person into both categories. I suppose one can rationalize that he was a barrister in both the undivided Ireland and in Northern Ireland after it was created. But your question highlights the confusion created by the fact that the scope of "Category:Irish barristers" is unclear – barristers who claim Irish ancestry? who lived in the historical undivided Ireland? who came from the Republic of Ireland? all of them? This is a matter that may be worth clarifying on the category's talk page. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:12, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Historical usage for place of birth

Hello fellow editors, in this edit I changed the person's place of birth from Belarus to Byelorussian SSR, considering that until 1991 Belarus did not exists as a country, and figuring that historical accuracy should take precedence. I've done this many times with other biographies but until now I didn't actually go and look to see if our Manual of Style had any advice on this issue. I've looked and I can't find anything on the matter, so I came here. My question: should place of birth reflect historical accuracy or comtemporary country and city names? If this hasn't been addressed in MOS:BIO yet someone should add it in. Thanks. --71.112.145.203 (talk) 18:01, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, you are quite correct; it should be listed by its name when the person was born there, possibly with a note as to its current name. But the contemporary name should take precedence. Revisionism is never a good thing. -- Necrothesp (talk) 18:31, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Pseudonym used in biography before pseudonym even used by subject

If a person changes their name at some point, should the text of the biography use their given name to refer to the subject until the name change occurs?

Example: Look at Hulk Hogan. He was born Terry Gene Bollea and didn't take his more commonly-used name until partway through his wrestling career. Yet there are sentences like, "Hogan was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of Ruth, a homemaker and dance teacher, and Peter Bollea, a construction foreman.", and "Hogan was also a skilled musician, spending ten years playing bass guitar in several Florida-based rock bands." Wouldn't it make sense to use his given surname until he adopts the nickname later on? I don't see any guidelines for this situation. Rawr (talk) 19:38, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I think it's fine and less confusing to use a person's pseudonym throughout, though the first sentence of your example might be rephrased, "Hogan was born Terry Gene Bollea in Augusta, Georgia, ..." — Cheers, JackLee talk 05:56, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
This is an old thread, but I'll comment anyway. I think it depends on the nature of the name change. Many performers adopt stage names, and their birth names are obscure. In those cases it makes sense to only use the better-known name, except for a mention of the earlier name. On the other hand, when people achieve notability and then change their name we should probably use both names. Muhammad Ali would be a good example. He became famous as Cassius Clay and later changed this name for religious purposes. A special (and confusing) exception is Hirohito. According to Japanese tradition, the names of emperors are changed on their death, so he is now known as "Emperor Showa". It might be worth adding some guidance to the guideline for the simple cases. OTOH, a good example is George VI of the United Kingdom. Before succeeding to the throne he was known as "Albert", and that's how the article refers to him in that period. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:01, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Small postnominals

This is a discussion I've had with other editors in the past, but I notice that an editor has started to change some inline postnominal letters in biographies of British statesmen to small font (e.g. Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis). When challenged, he said it looked better and it should be changed in all biographies. I disagree. I believe the normal sized postnominals look better and, moreover, it is normal usage outside Wikipedia to put postnoms in exactly the same sized font as the name. This is something that should not unilaterally be introduced without discussion because one editor thinks it looks better. -- Necrothesp (talk) 19:25, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Let's just be clear that I didn't instigate this on my own; I've followed on other bio articles that have the post-nominal letters in a small format. It was some time ago I first saw the style, and I have altered a number of articles to follow suit since then; nobody has made an issue of it until now. Obviously, I prefer the smaller format; I find "Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis KG OM GCB GCMG CSI DSO MC PC PC" to be far less obtrusive than "Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis KG OM GCB GCMG CSI DSO MC PC PC," or, worse, "Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis, K.G., O.M., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., C.S.I., D.S.O., M.C., P.C., P.C.."
However, the vast majority of WP biographical articles (about 99%, I would say) use the normal-sized font for postnoms. And the use of full stops between the letters of an abbreviation is these days usually considered incorrect in Britain in any case (and should therefore certainly be changed if seen). But esentially, this is not an issue of one editor's preference over another's, but of normal usage, which is to use the same size font as the name (as any study of British official publications will establish). -- Necrothesp (talk) 19:38, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps those who normally publish the full names of individuals with all their post-nominal letters don't have the luxury of being able to make the font small. If there is some overriding style guide that stipulates all post-nominal letters must be full size capital letters, then let's see it. If such a thing does exist, then we could ask: why include the post-nominals in the body of the article at all, if they make such a mess? They're already included in the articles' infoboxes anyway, along with the honourific styles the subject was granted. --G2bambino (talk) 19:50, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
First, they don't make a mess - that's only your opinion. They are correct form. Second, infoboxes are an optional extra and are not intended to replace anything within the article. In my personal opinion, it is they that make a mess of articles. Third, you ask for a style guide that says postnominals should be in full-size font - this is an odd statement, since I doubt if there's a style guide that says any of the article should be in full-size font, but it's sort of assumed! Why should this single part of the article be any different other than the fact that you don't happen to like it? -- Necrothesp (talk) 21:07, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
That they don't make a mess is only your opinion, which, so far anyway, seems to be a minority one. To make your opinion into a fact you would, as I said, have to provide some evidence that post-nominal letters must be put in full size font; not necessarily a Wikipedia style guide, but one from any official source. Until then, this is indeed a matter of personal takes, and rather a molehill struggling to be a mountain, I think. It would be nice if others weigned in on this; but, it seems that nobody particularly cares. --G2bambino (talk) 01:05, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Excuse me? How can one against one make my opinion the minority one? There seems to be a little flaw in your logic. I suggest you look at the occupants of, for example, Category:British Army generals, to check the majority opinion. -- Necrothesp (talk) 18:56, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
I said it seems like a minority one, the evidence of which is the lack of support you have. I haven't seen anyone else dispute the use of small-font post nominals; they still remain in a number of articles, some for a year or more. If there's to be a guideline that stipulates what font size post nominal letters are to be, let's see one made. But, until then, there's nothing to say which way is right and which way is wrong. --G2bambino (talk) 03:10, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I agree with Necrothesp. I think small caps look silly in the article text, and they're certainly not written like that anywhere outside Wikipedia. (I also dislike the absence of commas - without them a long string of letters looks dreadful.) Proteus (Talk) 11:29, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, to my humble opinion, a long line of small postnominals is more compact and doesn't use that many lines. And small postnominals don't look silly at all. Demophon (talk) 02:52, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
I prefer normal-sized letters with commas for postnominals in the article text, but small caps for long lists of people with postnominals.--Ibagli rnbs (Talk) 23:22, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Alphabetization of names with a single letter following a given name

I'm not sure where to discuss this so please move this discussion if you know of a better location and link to it from here. — AjaxSmack 01:17, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

This question arises because of the use of Template:DEFAULTSORT which sorts (alphabetizes) names for use in Wikipedia in categories. What is the English convention for alphabetization of names with a single letter following a given name? Some examples are Stevie B, Marga T, Eric B., and Schooly D. My contention is that, since these single letters are not legal surnames and, in some cases are not even derived from the surname initial (Stevie B and Schooly D), they should not be used for alphabetization. So, Stevie B would be sorted under Stevie, not B, Marga T under Marga, not T. (In the case of the music performers, this is also how they are usually alphabetized in US and UK music shops.) Any opinions? — AjaxSmack 01:17, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

That seems to make sense to me. I recall that the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules have a similar guideline regarding the use of authors' names for indexing purposes. Perhaps referring to that might be helpful. — Cheers, JackLee talk 10:22, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

FYI: Major guideline change dispute about bio article disambiguation

Resolved: Just an F.Y.I.

Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (people)#GENERAL preference for person-descriptive not field-descriptive disambiguators is an ongoing dispute/discussion that is of relevance to regular editors here (it starts out a little noisy but has a subsection for hopefully more substantive discussion).

The issue: Under discussion is whether to retain at least general, default guidance that bio articles be disambiguated by a human-descriptor rather than a field/topic-descriptor - "Jane Doe (chemist)" as opposed to "Jane Doe (chemistry)" - while allowing for exceptions (perhaps especially in sports), where this may not be practical under Wikipedia:Disambiguation's guidance to use short disambiguators - "John Doe (baseball)" vs. "John Doe (baseball player and coach)". Detractors suggest that there was never any consensus for such advice to begin with, while the counterargument is that the advice codifies actual general WP practice, and that that is the proper role of guidelines to begin with.

Current status: The advice has been removed from WP:DAB, as a quick way to settle an earlier dispute about whether to move articles like "John Doe (baseball)" to "John Doe (baseball player)", and the addition of a better-worded version of the advice (that accounts for such exceptions) to WP:NCP where it arguably belongs has been the subject of revert-warring. This necessites a solid and broad discussion to gain consensus on whether to have such a passage at all, and if so where, and what it should say. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 20:05, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Referring to people

A debate has started on Autumn Phillips about how to refer to her throughout the article. I believe that she should be referred to by her maiden name (Kelly) until her marriage, thereafter by her married name. Others think we should use the same surname throughout, but I say this could be confusing as you might end up saying "Autumn Phillips was born in...", suggesting she was born Phillips. The MoS doesn't seem to clear on this, can anyone help?--UpDown (talk) 07:51, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

RfC now open on linking dates of birth and death

Is it desirable or is it undesirable for dates of birth and death at the top of a bio to be linked?

An RfC is now open at WT:MOSNUM#RfC: Linking of dates of birth and death -- Jheald (talk) 11:30, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Polish-Jewish ethnicity in lead

On several occasions I've noticed edits like this, replacing Polish Jewish with just Polish, and citing this guideline ("Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the opening"). I am somewhat confused: it seems to me that Polish Jewish is more informative than just Polish. Is replacement of "Polish-Jewish" by Polish in such cases indeed advisable? Comments appreciated.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 20:50, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Well, in one place I ran across it, Roman Romkowski, it appeared to change ethnicity from "Polish Jewish" to "Polish" as there's no differentiating the term "Polish" regarding ethnicity or nationality. The only way I saw to fix it if we insist on deleting ethnic information is to delete all of it, so I also deleted Polish. So Romkowski is now a communist of indeterminate ethnic heritage. Both national and ethnic background are notable regarding Baltic/Central/Eastern Europe and MoS is a guideline, not a rule. Places of birth and death can also be significant, those too should not appear in a bio intro per MoS guildelines; there too there are times those are significant, even crucial.
   As I've mentioned elsewhere, ethnic background should be left out when it is not pertinent to the person's role or the perception of their role in history. But if it is pertinent, it should be included. (So, a biography of Bonnie and Clyde would definitely NOT include their ethnic background as it's completely irrelevant.) One opinion. —PētersV (talk) 06:13, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm a bit surprised there's been no other comment. At least one editor has been strident to the point of it being made to appear that mentioning "Jewish" in a bio lead is antisemitic. Elie Wiesel states Jewish right up front--I'm sure if I removed Jewish "per MoS" I'd be rabidly set upon. Can I take the lack of responses here as perception this is a non-issue? —PētersV (talk) 16:18, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
The Mos says "Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability." In the case of Elie Wiesel, it is relevant to his notability. In the case of the Polish communists that the ethnicity was being added to, it was not relevant to their notability, and merely reflected a desire on the part of some editors to highlight the fact that particular Polish communists were Jewish, rather than an adherence to the MoS' statement that ethnicity be cited when "relevant to the subject's notability." Some editors seem to be unaware of the MoS guideline, or perhaps disagree with it. By the way, which editor is making it "appear that mentioning "Jewish" in a bio lead is antisemitic? Boodlesthecat Meow? 16:34, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Boodlesthecat, and why isn't that a particular communist is Jewish notable when sources already referenced in an article dealing with stereotypes relating to Jewish communists specifically discuss the leadership role of Jewish communists in the inter-war period in leading the de-ethnification (you'll pardon my not recalling the exact term) of both themselves and their fellow communists in prison? Your interpretation of MoS does not apply. Your stridency on this issue clearly indicates that you see Jewish in the lead of the article mentioned as indicating anti-Jewish intentions on the part of "some editors" and therefore antisemitic. I can only conclude you hide behind MoS to push your POV. —PētersV (talk) 05:00, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Spare me your usual incivility and personal attacks and read the MoS again. It says we include ethnicity in the lead when it is "relevant to the subject's notability," not when it is relevant to anti-semites. Elie Wiesel's Jewish ethnicity is notable because he spent a lifetime writing about Jewish themes and his personal experiences as a Jew. Roman Romkowski, and the couple of other Polish communists with Wiki bios who happen to be of Jewish background did nothing of the sort. The fact that some anti-semitic nationalist bigots who propagate "commie Jew stereotypes find his Jewish background notable has nothing to do with the guidelines in the MoS. The fact that some Wiki editors obsessively find Romkowski and other Polish communists Jewish heritage notable says more about those editors than it says about the MoS or those articles. Boodlesthecat Meow? 05:38, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Dear Boodlesthecat, once again you deal with editorial differences by attacking others with denunciations of incivility and personal attacks. You contend "Jewish" is not notable in the case mentioned, I (and other editors) believe it is notable. I wasn't asking for your opinion here, I already knew what that was. I was hoping for someone not involved in the edit conflict to comment. And I do trust you aren't referring to me as an "anti-semitic nationalist bigot", are you? —PētersV (talk) 05:58, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Please don't tell other editors on a talk page that their opinions aren't welcome. That's totally uncivil. Boodlesthecat Meow? 06:07, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll simplify since you seem to be having trouble following this simple point.
  • The MoS says "Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability."
  • Anti-semites always consider a person's ethnicity (particularly if the person has a Jewish background) notable, just as racists always consider a person's race notable.
  • This is why we don't consider ethnicity notable simply because some antisemites consider it notable (as in the case of Romkowski, or other Polish communists of Jewish background). Polish antisemites consider a Jewish background to ALWAYS be notable. The MoS doesn't. We go by the MoS. Boodlesthecat Meow? 16:29, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
(od) I'm not being uncivil. I am saying I did not come here to rehash our differences on this topic, anyone interested can do that by reading the existing conversations. Since I "seem to be having trouble following simple points" (who is being uncivil and insulting now?) allow me to respond:
  • The MoS says "Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability."
    • Generally not emphasized = can be appropriately mentioned.
  • Anti-semites always consider a person's ethnicity (particularly if the person has a Jewish background) notable, just as racists always consider a person's race notable.
    • This is your syllogism which is "Any mention of Jewish ethnicity in particular any place Boodlesthecat believes it does not belong is automatically anti-Semitic". This is the question I am asking here, requesting input from people unaware of and uninvolved in our contentions over this topic. Your mention of racism is a red herring.
  • This is why we don't consider ethnicity notable simply because some antisemites consider it notable (as in the case of Romkowski, or other Polish communists of Jewish background). Polish antisemites consider a Jewish background to ALWAYS be notable. The MoS doesn't. We go by the MoS.
    • This is simply a continuation of your syllogism. Because anti-Semitism is based on someone being Jewish, therefore mentioning someone is Jewish is anti-Semitic (in cases you believe Jewish is not notable). Because all anti-Semites believe being Jewish is significant, therefore I (and I'm not Polish, but I've been accused of acting like one) am anti-Semitic because I contend this is a case where being Jewish is relevant. I am unaware--and apologies if I'm having trouble following simple concepts--that in addition to some anti-Semites who consider Jewishness notable, there are apparently more (as opposed to some, and as long as they are not Polish) who believe it is not notable.
Once again, sources in the Żydokomuna article testify that Jewish communists, for example, led the de-ethnification of communists in the interwar period. To indicate in a lead someone is a "Polish communist" versus a "Jewish Polish communist" associates that individual with different parts of the communist culture--independent of considerations of simple ethnicity--which makes that ethnicity notable. It does NOT, and I repeat, NOT, say anything about whether the person was good or bad, did anything good or bad, nor does it provide the slightest iota of "excuse" for (true) anti-Semites to claim legitimacy for the concept of Żydokomuna.
  • To your closing: Polish antisemites consider a Jewish background to ALWAYS be notable. The MoS doesn't. We go by the MoS. Allow me to complete the sentence so there's no misimplication.
    1. Polish anti-Semites consider a Jewish background to always be notable. The MoS does not always consider a Jewish background to be notable."
    2. Polish anti-Semites consider a Jewish background to always be notable. The MoS considers a Jewish background can sometimes be notable."
Lastly, you are (once again) hung up on Polish anti-Semites being somehow unique: they ALWAYS hold a Jew being Jewish against them. I'm sorry--again, to simple concepts--is that not the definition of every anti-Semite? Your harping on Poles does little more than indicate anti-Polish antagonism on your part.
   I can safely predict you will have been successful in quashing any meaningful dialog here as after this ugliness. No one is going to come here to risk being accused of promulgating anti-Semitism if they don't agree with you.
   I, too, believe I am being completely faithful to MoS in noting Romkowski is a "Jewish Polish communist." That is why I am here asking for an outside opinion, as, returning to my alleged incivility, I am quite well aware that your opinion differs from mine. —PētersV (talk) 19:23, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
P.S. With regard to "Polish Jewish" versus "Jewish Polish", which I didn't notice as I was writing the above, perhaps the latter is in fact a more apt descriptor as it doesn't juxtapose "Jewish communist" in what Boodlesthecat would consider anti-Semitic stereotypical fashion, and rather more emphasizes the person was a communist of Poland. Perhaps a serendipitous solution? —PētersV (talk) 20:13, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Distinguished Professor

There are debates on the use of the phrase "Distinguished Professor" at both Talk:Bill Ayers and Talk:John_Christy. Any advice on how this term should or shouldn't be used in Wikipedia articles? Kaldari (talk) 22:21, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

In the neighborhood. Usually such titles would be used in the context of Distinguished Professor in/of something at somewhere. I took a quick look at the Bill Ayers article and the use of the term there seemed stilted. It should read properly (quick check while editing) that Bill Ayers is "Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago". I don't see why there would be room for debate here, it's his job title. —PētersV (talk) 06:20, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
As for the Christy article, instead of "He is..." it might better read as "He currently holds the post of Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science..." Job title again, no? You'll make me read the talk pages... —PētersV (talk) 06:24, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Order of spouse in infoboxes

Is there a policy or preference in how a person's spouses should be listed in biography infoboxes? It seems that most articles list the spouses chronologically from earliest to most recent. However, the infobox in the Humphrey Bogart article lists his spouses in reverse chronological order. I think chronological order would be the best method and easiest to follow. --JamesAM (talk) 20:58, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:29, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Explicit prohibition of Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms

I have boldly modified the first sentence of the section Subsequent uses of names to: After the initial mention of any name, the person may should be referred to by surname only, without an honorific prefix such as "Mr", "Mrs", "Miss", or "Ms".

Reason: After discovering several references to "Ms. Rodriguez" in Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, I went looking for a justification for removing "Ms" (to put in my edit summary). Surprise! No mention of these terms in MOS:BIO! It took me an hour of research to figure out that they were only indirectly forbidden, a fact that depends on knowing they're included in the term "honorific". The experts here might want to review whether jargon is obscuring other simple points from less erudite editors. --Unconventional (talk) 20:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for adding that clarification! Kaldari (talk) 18:04, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I think we should encourage the use of surnames only, but it is not always possible. For example, in the Mary Shelley article, we are dealing with several problems: we have to distinguish Mary Shelley from Percy Bysshe Shelley, we have to distinguish between Mary Jane Godwin (Mary Shelley's stepmother) and Mary Godwin (Mary Shelley before she marries), Mary Jane Clairmont (Mrs. Godwin before her marriage) and Claire Clairmont (her daughter, but not by William Godwin), and a whole host of other confusing relationships. Sometimes honorifics are the only way to clear up this gigantic mess. :) Awadewit (talk) 18:42, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps we should revert the change then until there has been further discussion. FYI, here is the relevant discussion at the Mary Shelley article, if anyone wants to try to tackle the issues raised by this change. Kaldari (talk) 18:48, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
I think we should keep the change. Mary Shelley is the subject of the article, so she would be "Shelley" (or "Godwin" before her marriage for those who wish to use before/after naming, I favor using the same surname throughout). For subsequent use, her father would be William, her husband would be Percy, her stepmother would have to be referred to by full name or as "her stepmother", her stepsister would be referred to by her full name (which she already is in the article) or as "her stepsister". I think this issue is simplified by thinking of the subject of the article as "owning" whatever last name(s) s/he ever had, and then arranging everyone else who is mentioned accordingly. The page certainly shouldn't stay as it is, with her referred to as "Mary" throughout. John Quincy Adams and Ted Kennedy have famous relatives with the same last names and Elton John changed his name at twenty, but we don't resort to calling them by honorific or first name throughout their articles. Ariadne55 (talk) 08:35, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually, we had a long discussion about the naming conventions on the article while writing it. Please see the talk page archives. Awadewit (talk) 12:48, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

(unindent)Yes, I've read this, this, this, and the current discussion. Are there any other talk archives you can recommend for further background on this issue? You and I seem to be in agreement about trying to avoid calling an article subject by his/her first name. The entire Mary Shelley article currently calls its subject "Mary". I'd like to try to apply an "article subject owns the surname in his/her own article" approach, in the hopes that if it proves effective in such a complicated article it can be made into a general rule to strengthen the subsequent names section of Mos:Bio. A similar problem occurs in many other Wiki articles about women. Even the brilliant Marie Curie is referred to as "Marie" in most of her article, yet Aage_Niels_Bohr gets the respect of being called by his surname in spite of his more famous father. Ariadne55 (talk) 13:52, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

There is material in the Pankhurst peer review and at the Talk:Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe page. The Shelley article actually attempts to refer to MS as "Mary Shelley" or "Mary Godwin" throughout the entire article, referring to her as "Mary" only to distinguish her from "Percy". This is completely different from the Curie article, which only uses her first name in an appallingly condescending manner. For MS, I adopted the tack taken by recent scholars. The fact is, when people see "Shelley", they think "Percy Bysshe Shelley" and there would be ambiguity in the article if we didn't specify. Anyway, I think we do have the same aim in mind. It seems obvious that we need to fix some aspects of the MOS here. I would, however, suggest that sometimes honorifics are necessary (returning to the original point). We might not be thinking of all of the cases. Strongly discouraging them is the way I would go. Awadewit (talk) 14:48, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
May I suggest: After the initial mention of any name, the person should be referred to by surname only, without an honorific prefix such as "Mr", "Mrs", "Miss", or "Ms". However, where a surname alone could be confusing because the context involves additional people with the same surname, and especially if the lone surname is more often associated with one of these other people, it is appropriate to use another method to refer to the article's subject. Possible methods could be to use the subject's first name, an honorific, or even a relationship reference such as 'his wife'. It may even be best to use a mixture of these methods to avoid sounding repetitive, but this must be balanced against creating even more confusion.-- Unconventional (talk) 02:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
What about "her husband"? :) Awadewit (talk) 02:23, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Captions for photos in infoboxes

I was wondering if I could get a feel for what people think about the captions appearing under the photos of subjects in their articles' infoboxes, such as in Douglas Adams, Michael Jackson, Gahndi, James Hetfield, Brian Lara, Serena Williams, Glynn Lunney, Clint Eastwood, Kate Bush, Brett Favre and Ed Gein. It seems that "(name) in (year)" or "(name) at/doing (place/thing) in (year)" are pretty widely-accepted and used in biography articles of all kinds and I, for one, am for that. As people age or their appearance changes it's helpful for readers to have a picture of them put into a time-frame context by these captions. What do others think?--Jeff79 (talk) 13:18, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

I absolutely agree that some context is needed, and I think the date is important for the reasons you've given, and "place/thing" is sometimes important depending on what the "place/thing" is. You've given good examples. Another example : Dolly Parton has the caption "Dolly Parton in Nashville, Tennessee, 2005". I'm not convinced we need to know which city she is in (does she look different when she's in Miami or New York?), but probably something additional like "performing at the Grand Ole Opry" would be more informative. The date is helpful. I don't think there's anything wrong with any of the examples you've given but it seems to me that repeating the name is a little redundant when the name appears immediately before the image as the infobox title. Going back to Dolly - we should be able to assume that whatever image appears in Dolly's infobox is Dolly. I think it could say "performing at the Grand Ole Opry in 2005". Of course there are exceptions, but I think many look better with minimal information. For example, I think this one is right - Jane Russell, caption : "in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). There's really nothing more that needs to be said to describe this image. Rossrs (talk) 14:26, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. I think with the less informative captions such as "(name) in (year)" it's hard to get around using the name, though I guess in these cases just the surname could suffice?--Jeff79 (talk) 16:22, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree. "in 2005" would be less effective than "Smith in 2005". Rossrs (talk) 20:44, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Cool. Also, just wondering: has anything on this been set out in an MoS? Does it need to be y'think?--Jeff79 (talk) 16:45, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

I do not feel they are necessary within sportspersons infoboxes.Londo06 18:05, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Why?--Jeff79 (talk) 00:47, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Name Changes, Avoiding Artificial Concatenations of Names

I think the current policy on maiden names needs more detail to avoid well-meaning but incorrect strings of names. This is a problem on many otherwise unrelated pages, but look at the U.S. First Ladies' pages for a particularly rich collection of articles listed under names their subjects never possessed all at once. I'd like to add:

The woman's best known full legal name should be used in the lead, with alternate surnames listed in parentheses in the standard format. Use "née" for birth name, "formerly" for a former married surname, "later" for a later married surname. Use "socially known as" if you can verify that she went by a different surname in private life. A change or addition to her middle name(s) needs to be independently verified; do not assume she's retained her maiden name as a middle name.

I also think this sentence, "An alternate form, Lucy (Payne) Washington, is also widely accepted in genealogical circles", although technically correct, confuses the issue and should be removed. Ariadne55 (talk) 07:14, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

There is a difference between the titling of articles and infobox header on the one hand, and the bolded first line of the articles on the other. I agree about the titling of articles/infobox - they should use the most commonly used name. However, List of First Ladies of the United States does not list the titles of the articles in many cases, many are pipes to the shorter, common named article, as Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon and Claudia Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson, for example. I would agree that some of the long titles that are used for some first ladies' articles could be shortened to more common names, but when you're talking about historic figures it's not necessarily clear what their commonly used names were. In any case, about the bolded first line - I do not see why men and women should be handled differently from one another. There is no implication that the woman retained her birth name by including it in the bolded first line, and the style across the encyclopedia all over the place is to have the full name there for men - see Bill Richardson, for example - and in many, many cases it is so for women as well. There doesn't seem to be any compelling reason to have this difference, and it calls on us to make assumptions about what a woman's full legal name is, and whether or not a woman uses her birth surname as a middle name. I think we should follow the example of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis which has Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis in the first line, which is amply explained in the rest of the article. So I'd recommend getting rid of the old-fashioned "maiden name" section altogether, and handle men and women in the same way. Tvoz/talk 08:43, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Making a gender-neutral section for name changes is a good idea. However, "Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis" is an artificial name that perpetuates jokes. She never went by that long string. Including it in that way in the first line does imply that that whole unwieldy thing was her legal name. Bill Richardson has had the same name all his life, let's look at men who've changed their names. Jack White isn't listed as Jack Anthony Gillis White, Antonio Villaraigosa isn't listed as Antonio Villar Villaraigosa, and Bill Clinton isn't listed as William Jefferson Blythe Clinton. Women's pages should show the same respect, rather than being a concatenation of every name they've ever had, including names they've long since dropped. If those names are going to be listed, there are standard ways to list them without it looking silly . As for verifiability, We don't have to make assumptions; a person's full birth name is usually easy to verify, then if a name change after marriage takes place it can be verified through the usual sources. If she drops her original middle name in favor of her birth surname, a cite can be found for that (as on the Avril Lavigne page). Ariadne55 (talk) 09:42, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Thinking about it some more and I actually agree with you that Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis is ridiculous. The problem, though, is that we'll need to abandon the concept of "full legal name" for the bold, which isn't such a terrible idea anyway. I'm not as sure as you are that we can verify what a person's full legal name is - and this is especially true about whether a woman retains her birthname as middle name after marriage - you're going to find sources that use different names and we are likely not to know what is legally correct. So, for Jackie, what would you put as her bolded name? Tvoz/talk 09:14, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Jacqueline Kennedy's grave in Arlington says "Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis", which does suggest she retained all those surnames until she died. In general, the emboldened name at the start of an article should be the full name the subject is/was last known by (either current, or at the time of death). The page title and infoboxes are different, as they should give the best known form of the name.
I know finding someone's full "legal" name isn't always easy, but we should just do our best using any sources available. I don't know how it works in the United States, but coming at this from a British perspective, in the UK a legal name is the name someone uses. There is no registration of name changes, and anyone may assume a new name just by starting to use it. That applies to women following marriage (here it's very rare to keep a maiden name as a middle name, usually they choose one or the other, or occasionally both hyphenated). JRawle (Talk) 15:28, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
I'd go with best known full legal name (though name-at-death does have its merits), with other names indicated in the ways I mentioned. I'd never go near the Jackie page for the same reason I wouldn't edit Elvis's page. If I did though, this would be my thought process: Our best source for a name is what the subject has said about herself. So for Jackie I'd look at her will. In that she lists herself as Jacqueline K. Onassis. That's a happy coincidence of best known and final name. So I'd make her lead "Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (née Jacqueline Lee Bouvier)". The top of her infobox would be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, with her birth name listed in the infobox space for it. A more difficult first lady is Martha Washington. She had a prior marriage and it's difficult to say what she would have called herself. Her will states her name and initials as just Martha Washington and M.W., no mention of Custis or Dandridge. I was the last to edit the name on that page and I went with the compromise of Martha Custis Washington (née Dandridge), because that's how most history books refer to her. Ariadne55 (talk) 19:05, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Subsequent use of Spanish surnames

As discussed in Spanish naming customs, people from Iberian and South American cultures usually have two surnames, inherited from the first surnames of their father and their mother (but sometimes in the opposite order). Thus José Martinez Porto's legal surname is Martinez Porto. But this is very formal usage; for most purposes, only one (usually the first) surname is used--Martinez in this case.

I have recently been editing Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, which had a mixture of subsequent uses (Acevedo, Acevedo Vilá, and even the incorrect Vilá). All subsequent uses now read Acevedo Vilá. However, in retrospect this seems repetitious, even clumsy. I looked at several news sources to get an idea of the custom, and found that, for instance, El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rican daily) uses Acevedo Vilá, while the Miami Herald uses only Acevedo.

I'm asking, then, for a consensus on whether subsequent use of Spanish surnames should include the full, legal surname, according to the custom in Spain and most of Latin America, or just the first surname, commonly used in English and less formally in latin cultures. The first is more formal and encyclopedic, but the second can result in smoother reading.

Also, historically Spanish women replaced their second surname with de + their husband's first surname. Thus, if Ángela Lopez Martinez married José Ortega Portillo, she would begin calling herself Ángela Lopez de Portillo, though such changes were not legally registered. How should subsequent use of their names appear in Wikipedia? --Unconventional (talk) 02:01, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

I read a mistake in your paragraph. Historically Spanish women DO NOT REPLACE their second surname with de + husband's first surname. That is an Argentinian custom, but it never happens in Spain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.109.48.204 (talk) 16:02, 29 November 2008 (UTC)


Do leave notes on the talk pages of "Spanish naming customs", WikiProject Spain and WikiProject Latin America about this discussion as the members of those projects or editors interested in the subject may wish to participate in it. — Cheers, JackLee talk 08:42, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, will do. I had been thinking about where else to advertise but wouldn't have thought of these. Unconventional (talk) 16:20, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Cross-links have now been added to Village pump (policy), WikiProject Anthroponymy, Spanish naming customs, WikiProject Spain, and WikiProject Latin America. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Unconventional (talkcontribs) 19:25, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Since this is an English language Wikipedia, I suggest trying to determine whether there is already a convention in the English language for the rendering of Hispanic dual surnames in formal publications. I know that insertion of a hyphen is sometimes done, and has the advantage of producing proper alphabetization. But I don't know how widely accepted that may be. Pzavon (talk) 16:45, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

This to the contrary notwithstanding, the MoS is a guideline, not a policy, so let's please forestall trying to determine a policy here. Little Red Riding Hoodtalk 21:07, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Good point. On the question of what the guideline should say about it, if anything, I don't think this can really be made uniform, because it isn't uniform in actual usage. It varies from person to person. Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa are (in my limited experience) always García Márquez and Vargas Llosa, never simply García or Vargas, so this is how we should refer to them. However Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa is Calderón, not Calderón Hinojosa.
Is this a difference between Mexican usage and the usage from further south? Might be, for all I know, but I'm pretty sure we don't want to get into a "national varieties of Spanish" guideline. Just say that the person should be described at first reference by his or her full name, and subsequently in the way he or she is most commonly described in formal writing (and that the choice should be consistent within a single article). --Trovatore (talk) 22:03, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh, it occurred to me that a clarification is desirable: The choice should be consistent for a single person within a single article. An article that discusses both Calderón and Vargas Llosa should not be forced to make the same choice for both. I don't imagine anyone was confused, but if this goes into a guideline then "single person within a single article" is the better language, to avoid causing misunderstandings among editors applying the guideline. --Trovatore (talk) 22:19, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

I wanted to point out an additional point. Growing up with the paternal surname Rodríguez, which is pretty much as common as the English Smith or Jones, I was never referred to as simply Rodríguez. I was always addressed via the dual form or only by my maternal surname. The same is true for people like José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the current prime minister of Spain, who is referred to as "Rodríguez Zapatero" or, more commonly, "Zapatero." Personally I think it would be best to use the surname(s) by which the person is most commonly known. IE: The article for Gabriel García Márquez should refer to him as García Márquez and the article for José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero should refer to him as Zapatero. --Mûĸĸâĸûĸâĸû 22:25, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

I think that's the best policy. Although it can of course be difficult to determine which version of their name the individual used. If an editor knows which was actually used, then a footnote never goes amiss to indicate that this is the correct version and not merely a (maybe incorrect) assumption on the part of the editor. -- Necrothesp (talk) 20:25, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Probably the best way to figure out which is the most commonly used name would be to check the Spanish wiki which, logically, would most probably refer to the person using the most common form. I agree with idea about the footnote as well. --Mûĸĸâĸûĸâĸû 23:45, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree that if a particular person prefers his or her name to be set out in a certain way, then that choice should be respected. In other cases, where the person's preference is unknown, the most common usage in the English media should be adopted. To determine general usage in the English media, it may be worth checking the style guides of major English newspapers (e.g., The Times (London) and The New York Times) and other style guides such as the Chicago Manual of Style. Perhaps someone with access to these resources could enlighten us. — Cheers, JackLee talk 05:02, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, the thing is, I don't think there is a general usage. It's case-by-case, as the examples of Vargas Llosa on the one hand, and Calderón on the other, demonstrate. This isn't so much about respecting their personal choices (not that that's a bad thing) as following the usage that's standardly employed for that particular person. But of course, feel free to prove me wrong. --Trovatore (talk) 07:57, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the only general usage is the special case with a super-common paternal surname like Rodríguez. When I studied in Spain, I asked why they always refered to me by my maternal surname rather than Rodríguez, my paternal surname, and I was told that Rodríguez was too common a name that it was customary to refer to the person by their maternal surname in such cases. (Actually the only time that I actually heard anyone called Rodríguez was a poor fellow whose maternal surname was also Rodríguez.) But this is an aside, and I have to say I do agree with Trovatore. We should probably go with the surname(s) most commonly used by the press and/or other published sources. The question then arises of whether to use the Spanish-language press or English-language by which to base such a decision, though I am not aware of any situations in which a discrepancy between the two has existed. --Mûĸĸâĸûĸâĸû 08:49, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Since all of our articles are to be based on reliable sources, let the sources be your guide. We should use the surname(s) in the same form used by the article's sources. Ntsimp (talk) 20:45, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
What about the case I mentioned above, where Aníbal Acevedo Vilá is referred to as "Acevedo Vilá" in El Nuevo Día and as "Acevedo" in the Miami Herald? Sources don't always follow the same style, so this is no solution. I think we'd be better off picking one well-repected news source (maybe the AP?) and adopting their style, if we can discover it. -- Unconventional (talk) 02:37, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Personally I'd pick a Spanish language source as the definitive, since they'd be more likely to know the "common" usage. Maybe El Mundo or another large news source. --Mûĸĸâĸûĸâĸû 03:16, 12 November 2008 (UTC)