Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biography

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WikiProject Manual of Style
WikiProject iconThis page falls within the scope of WikiProject Manual of Style, a drive to identify and address contradictions and redundancies, improve language, and coordinate the pages that form the MoS guidelines.


So am I correct in interpreting the guideline properly in believing it calls for --

In this case the vice president becomes President.

but also

In this case the vice president acts in place of the president.

-- ? EEng 15:37, 9 September 2018 (UTC)

It should read "In this case the vice president becomes president" & "In this case the vice president acts in place of the president". GoodDay (talk) 16:06, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
My question is framed in terms of what the cited guideline calls for, not what you personally think it ought to be. I'm basing the capital P in my examples above on the guideline's statement that When a formal title for a specific entity... is addressed as a title or position in and of itself, is not plural, is not preceded by a modifier (including a definite or indefinite article), and is not a reworded description. I guess the question is whether President is a "formal title" -- or is President of the United States the only formal title for that position? EEng 16:46, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
Yoo hoo! Over here! EEng 03:24, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  • I agree with your interpretation of the guideline, and also with GoodDay's statement of how this should really be capitalised. Conceivably one could argue that the "president" in your example is preceded by a zero article, reconciling the two! Are you proposing rephrasing MOS:JOBTITLES to clarify this exception, or is it rare enough to WP:IGNORE? Rosbif73 (talk) 07:06, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I'd just like to know what to do at Twenty-fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution. Following the guideline makes things look really weird. EEng 07:25, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Your case is clearly an exception that isn't well covered by the guideline. In the words of WP:PG, Policies and guidelines should always be applied using reason and common sense. Rosbif73 (talk) 07:52, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
So I'm with GoodDay in thinking lowercase across the board would look best. (Obviously we leave the quoted text of the amendment alone.) I suppose we should wait a while to see what others think; maybe Tony1 has an opinion? EEng 14:50, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
It's an entirely reasonable application of our MOSCAPS, and major styleguides like Chicago and New Hart's Rules (Oxford): minimise unnecessary capping. We can safely rely on organisations to over-cap job-names for some time, for PR purposes. We should not be fooled by this. Formal text, both academic and news outlets, now avoid capping wherever they can: even "prime minister Bombhead". Tony (talk) 03:38, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
Thanks! EEng 03:39, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
Agreed with "I'm with GoodDay in thinking lowercase across the board would look best." But it's about more than looks. The phrase the vice president becomes president isn't using president as title/role "as-such" (like in "President Trump", or "Trump is President of the United States"); it's playing the exact same role as "the vice president" (or as "president" in "Trump is a controversial president"). The wording is simply a grammatical compression of the vice president becomes the president, to save space. English does this frequently, e.g. "The dormitories for men are to the south; for women, the east."  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:23, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
Just follow the cites, or in this case the source. Where the 25th uses capitals, use capitals. (It would also seem to have more authority than a WP guide. ;-) ). Cheers Markbassett (talk) 09:10, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Or we could use Trump Case, randomly capitolising Words and also have mal Apropisms. Sad! EEng 14:49, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
Hopefully this is not locked in a Trump Derangement Syndrome, and we can get good wording corrections. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 20:42, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
Fun fact: An anagram of Trump derangement syndrome is Grumpy demented man errs not. EEng 20:50, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
mmm wonder if saying that would be viewed as an indicator of Trump Derangement Syndrome ? In any case, so long as examples/discussions are vastly about Trump and not “11th President of Ghana” or “Queen of the United Kingdom” seem a bit improperly fixated. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 04:52, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
What? EEng 05:04, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

Request for comment: Should the Infobox photo caption identify a place or event if the information is tangential?[edit]

(non-admin closure) There is a rough consensus to leave this up to editor discretion. A raw vote count has 18 editors in favor of individual discretion, 10 in favor of identifying tangential places or events in Infobox captions, and 11 opposed to including information about tangential places or events in Infobox captions. It is worth noting that 5 of the "opposed" votes and 3 of the "in favor" votes included some sort of caveat that ultimately is a nod to the need for editors to evaluate the appropriate formatting on a case-by-case basis. Editors mentioned WP:CAPLENGTH as a relevant guideline; this guideline outlines multiple different scenarios where different caption lengths are appropriate, stressing that the caption should work singularly towards [illustrating the topic of the article]. While that could be interpreted as being support for a "no" interpretation, the Maya Angelou example also included in the section suggests that it is appropriate to use a caption to explain the significance or context of the image, and proceeds to include a caption that identifies an event (Bill Clinton's 1993 presidential inauguration) that could certainly be judged as being "tangential" to the topic of Maya Angelou; the variety of cases included in WP:CAPLENGTH supports the sentiment that this is something that should be left to editor discretion. signed, Rosguill talk 23:41, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

McCloud at the RISD in March 2007
McCloud in 2007
Scott McCloud biography as an example

Should the biography infobox image caption contain information about the place or event where the photo was taken, if the place or event is not very relevant to the larger topic? Binksternet (talk) 19:33, 23 November 2018 (UTC)


  • No. The caption in the infobox should be pruned down as much as possible, so that the topic is not immediately deflected into tangentials. The only guideline addressing the caption issue is found at Help:Infobox picture which says "It may be helpful to include the date or place of the photo." It's my opinion that the year of a biographical photo is almost always important, but the place may be irrelevant. And the infobox is the least appropriate place for a less-relevant place to be identified.
    Background information: After seeing a few hundred biography infobox images taken by Gage Skidmore at San Diego Comic-Con, all with captions naming San Diego Comic-Con, I felt that the event was, in the aggregate, being given too much weight across multiple articles. I started removing the place from biographies where it did not seem so relevant. Nightscream discovered my removals and reverted a great number of them, for example Ben Kingsley and Kirk Hammett. Kingsley's main fame is from acting in films, including many top awards. An appearance at Comic Con is not an important part of the topic. Similarly, Hammett is famous as the guitarist of Metallica, not for any comic-related stuff. So for guidance on the issue I started this RfC. Binksternet (talk) 19:33, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • No the year it was taken is relevant but nothing else, if the reader needs to know more they can click on the image to get the information. MilborneOne (talk) 19:41, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep reasonable time and place indications

    A caption does not have be relevant to the article topic. It is reasonable to add an indication of time and place for descriptive purposes. Readers like to have an idea of where and when a photo of a subject was taken. This may be for historical purposes, for context, to compliment their aesthetic appreciation of the photo, to reference what a subject may have looked like at different points in their life, or for any number of reasons. Captions are widely used across various media for such purposes. I am not aware of any principle or precedent for captions that says that such information has to be directly relevant to an article on the subject, or that the year a photo was taken is the only acceptable information that can be placed in a caption. Nightscream (talk) 19:45, 23 November 2018 (UTC)

  • Keep. I agree wih Nightscream about that it is useful to provide some basic information regarding the photographs. David A (talk) 20:29, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep the place (and more importantly the date as it relates to how youthful the person appears in the photo and what they might look like at other dates) but drop the subject's name, per WP:SURPRISEME (see the entry there on Harry Elkins Widener) and to keep the caption more concise. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:32, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
    • On second thought, the leave it to individual discretion comments below have convinced me, per WP:CREEP. I still think the place is often useful information (to explain background or other context) the date is usually useful (to explain the person's appearance) and the name is generally not useful (because it will be repeated immediately above the image in the infobox) but we don't actually need rules for all that. —David Eppstein (talk) 08:02, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep The media and other encyclopedias use captains to describe the photo. Place & time are important for historical contexts.--v/r - TP 20:44, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
    • The purpose of infobox photos is to identify people, not document historical events. If a photo needs this kind of context explained, it's a poor infobox photo. -Jason A. Quest (talk) 17:02, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • No. Excessive captions, and they frequently contain wikilinks, are distracting. That this particular example was a photograph of the person taken at Rhode Island School of Design adds nothing whatsoever to the picture and, since an abbreviation is used, only leads me to click on it, pulling me away from the article. It may well be that some information is indeed relevant in a caption, but that's likely to be information about the setting, the scene, the activity, whatever, but in an infobox we need concise information, and we're dealing with a portrait. There's a huge difference between File:Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1972-045-08, Westfeldzug, Rommel bei Besprechung mit Offizieren.jpg and File:Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1977-018-13A, Erwin Rommel(brighter).jpg . Drmies (talk) 21:13, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Leave it to editorial discretion—there's no "right" length of caption or amount of detail. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:24, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Use common sense. There is no one rule here that is going to apply in every circumstance. GMGtalk 21:28, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Leave it to editorial discretion. Either of these are ok, though personally I'd use the short one. Some people use ridiculously long captions - if it's over 3 lines it's probably too long. But if people start removing locations etc, as with San Diego Comic-Con above, they may well have a point. Johnbod (talk) 21:38, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Usually no; when yes, a consensus for a whole category should be seeked. I'll give a couple of exceptions to my "usually no" !vote, but I don't think there are many others. Captions are useful for explaining the clothes or makeup that the subject is wearing in the photo, but that's rarely needed. If the subject is doing their job, giving an interview, or doing a talk, then very likely no. If the subject is doing something weird, it will often be probably yes. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) wumbolo ^^^ 22:03, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • No: year is adequate. In a picture such as this where the surroundings are entirely undistinctive, there is no reason to mention them; the lack of distracting surroundings makes it a suitable picture. Where the reader is likely to have questions prompted by the image (Where on Earth is that? WTF is happening there?), it would make sense to answer them briefly, BUT, if the image has so much other than the subject that attention is greatly distracted from the person allegedly presented, it is probably not a suitable photo, or it needs cropping. Kevin McE (talk) 23:31, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Not ideally. The purpose of a photo caption is to tell the reader what they are looking at. As already stated, if it's a person, the year is useful to provide age context. If the setting is a significant part of the picture, or if it's necessary to understand why the subject is (atypically) dressed like a ballerina, it should be identified, to satisfy the reader's curiosity. However, if the setting is not visible – such as in a closely cropped photos like the McCloud example – it should be left out. NOTE: A photo that requires a description of the setting is a poor choice for the infobox, which per WP:LEADIMAGE is supposed to be a portrait-style image of what the subject typically looks/looked like, without extraneous content.) -Jason A. Quest (talk) 23:48, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep for context. Doczilla @SUPERHEROLOGIST 00:15, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Date generally preferred and place per editorial discretion - The date shows how old the person was in the photo, and that is almost always wanted by the viewer. The place, well, if the subject is in scuba gear with a boiling geyser in the background, visitors will probably want to know the place, and, per editorial discretion, maybe even a bit more. If the subject is in ordinary clothes with a white wall behind, probably nobody cares. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:13, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Leaning keep Basic information about the circumstances of a photo may be useful or interesting for the reader, but I am not inclined to mandate a specific level of detail for captions other than discouraging very long captions in most circumstances. --Pine 03:34, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Only very briefly. Some context is important to interpret the picture--such things as the expression, the clothing, the degree of formality. But it should never amount to details about the event. Usually, , "John Smith in 2020 " maybe "John Smith accepting the X prize in 2020". not "John Smith accepting the X from from Governor Y in the ceremony at famous place Z along with A , B and C. " -- where A , B,. and C are even more distinguished. DGG ( talk ) 05:17, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • No guideline. The suggestion is thoughtful and addresses a nuisance, but WP has too many rules already. Editors should be wise and tolerant, even with subtle questions. If they aren't, this kind of guideline will avail little. If we must say something, it can be along the lines of "Captions should not be lengthened with irrelevant details", which is about as precise as Orwell's "No animal shall drink alcohol to excess". Jim.henderson (talk) 06:11, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Jesus H. Christ, do we need a rule for everything??? Use your judgment in each case. EEng 06:49, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • What may be happening is intelligent editors have created, argued, and reminisced about so many rules, guidelines, and related flora and fauna that Wikipedia is running out of them. Intelligence flows like water into extant depressions, and when the ground is mostly level all we get are slight smeared-out puddles which then freeze over and cause all kinds of slipping and grumbling. I've even come up with a "Guernica exception" to pass the time. We must live with this. Oh, and No guideline per EEng and Jim.Henderson. Randy Kryn (talk) 14:10, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
    • The RfC is not asking for an official guideline, just some general guidance. Your comment did not address the RfC question. Binksternet (talk) 17:42, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • I generally feel that identifying a time and place in single, brief sentence in a photo is a good idea for the purpose of context, but I don't feel that we need to make it a requirement. If there's a good, policy-based reason for not including the time or location, then use that, otherwise leave it up to editorial discretion and I would favor including the information. BOZ (talk) 15:20, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • While I agree with Nightscream and BOZ on their points, my comment is that they should at least list the location if it's one of the important ones like a convention who has it's own Wikipedia page. Any objections? --Rtkat3 (talk) 15:48, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
    • Yes, I object to this argument strongly. It makes no sense to say a certain location is so "important" as to impose itself on a photograph in which it is not even visible or identifiable. Why would a reader looking at a photo of someone's face care that it was taken at SDCC or Cannes or wherever, especially if there is nothing about the photo that relates to that event? (By that reasoning, why not identify the type of camera too, if it's an "important" camera? Or the brand of clothes they're wearing?) It's an absurd practice, and frankly it smacks of a desire to glorify an event by spamming its name all over WP, on articles it may have nothing to do with. Cons and festivals happen to be the location of a fair number of celebrity photos uploaded to WP simply because they are a place where celebrities are often accessible. That doesn't make those locations "important" to the photo (if anything it makes them common). -Jason A. Quest (talk) 16:58, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
    • Yes, that the location or event is itself notable is entirely beside the point. Johnbod (talk) 18:02, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Leave to editorial discretion. My instinct is to trim captions as much as possible, but that's not to say I can't envision a scenario where both time and place in the caption is useful. In general, I trust editors to use context-specific discretion on this, particularly in the interest of not becoming too rules-ridden. The pragmatic guidance here is adequate, I think. Tyrol5 [Talk] 16:04, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
    • Thanks for that link, Tyrol5. How did I miss that earlier? The guide says a longer caption should be used only when the context is important, and that irrelevant tangential material should be avoided because it can distract the reader. Binksternet (talk) 14:48, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
  • One situation where we need a rule is when a promotional editor puts in a long caption that includes name-drpoing, as in the example i gave above. It can be quite helpful having a rule we can refer to in such cases. And this would apply to photos used elsewhere also. DGG ( talk ) 17:16, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment @EEng:, @Curly Turkey:, @GreenMeansGo: I'd clarify a point raised by some editors here that we should use "editorial discretion". For my part, I have been employing editorial discretion, which is why I include a brief time and place description in captions. This conflict arose when Binksternet began removing this information en masse from dozens of articles. That is what necessitated this discussion.
Tyrol5, thank you for pointing out the MOS on caption length, which indicates that including time and place info is called for when it provides context for the article subject, as in the example, "Angelou recites her poem, 'On the Pulse of Morning', at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, January 1993". This would seem to indicate that mentioning, for example, the comics convention and year where a subject was photographed is reasonable, especially, I would imagine (though not necessarily limited to) articles on comics creators. Thanks again. Nightscream (talk) 17:33, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
Editor discretion is good for captions in the article body. The infobox caption, though, should be scrutinized more closely, per Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Captions#Infoboxes and leading images, with shorter captions ("Cosby in 2010") indicated to prevent the reader from being distracted. If Academy Award-winning actor Ben Kingsley is shown in the infobox image in a close-up photo taken at the San Diego Comic-Con event, then it's distracting to identify the place. Kingsley is not famous for anything related to comics, and the particular event is not important to his story. Binksternet (talk) 17:56, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
Identifying a location in a caption is not "distracting". You're saying a reader's attention would somehow be diverted or disturbed by seeing a location mentioned in a caption? This is overstatement, to put it mildly.
As for him not being famous for comics, well, no one said he was. But obviously he was at Comic-con, in order to promote the type of thing for which he is notable, much as Maya Angelou, in the example given at WP:CAPLENGTH, is not notable for presidential inaugurations, but was at one to display the talent for which she is indeed notable Nightscream (talk) 22:15, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
(ec) Not really! You have been using editorial discretion, but your choice is not above challenge or improvement. I support editorial discretion, but don't think the place is needed here, and so support the removal of it. Johnbod (talk) 17:59, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
Umm... Well there's a big red asterisk next to WP:BEBOLD* when it comes to making mass changes, and that asterisk usually means "boldly seek consensus before making mass changes", because what you're actually doing is unilaterally overriding usually long-standing local consensus across a large number of pages. If there isn't a strong consensus one way or the other, and there doesn't seem to be, then the right answer is probably for both of you to just go do something else, and add infobox images however you see fit when you're working on an article, rather than either of you going through massive amounts of articles and editing like the infobox is somehow special, because it ain't, and it ain't gonna hurt a hair on anyone's little head if we're not 100% consistent either way. The reader isn't going to suffer terribly if we have a few bytes of extra or lesser context. No, the reader probably is not a hyperactive hound dog that's going to go chasing squirrels through wikilinks and get hopelessly lost. No, we really don't need a rule for everything, and while having fast and hard rules helps to settle down the OCD of a few veteran editors, it just adds to the whole parliamentary mess that new editors have to try to sort through in less than the time it takes to give up and go back to instagram.
Besides that, I don't know exactly how many things we would end up with if we decided to populate Category:Things that are more productive than arguing about infoboxes, but it's liable to contain most everything else on Wikipedia. GMGtalk 18:46, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
Nightscream: If you were expanding captions in which Binksternet had made an editorial decision to keep them short, then you should accept his editorial decision to revert them; if they're following your edits and undoing them where they had not made such a decision first, then they should back off, or find consensus to keep them short. Mass reverting over something that isn't (and shouldn't be) covered by the MoS is unacceptable. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:50, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
Actually, I was first altered to Binksternet's activities when he conducted a mass removal of time and place info on captions in articles that were on my watchlist, including ones in which I am either the primary editor, or in which I added the photo and caption in question. Nightscream (talk) 22:15, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
In those cases, if Binksternet removed them, you'd be in the right to restore them. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 01:57, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. Nightscream (talk) 01:27, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
I disagree with your stance, Curly Turkey. If one person goes around and removes things for a good reason, then it's not correct to say that someone else would be "in the right to restore them." Instead, it would be proper to start a discussion, which is what this RfC is. My reason for removal is based on our Manual of Style: Tangential text in the infobox caption can distract the reader. Additionally, there was far too much emphasis on the San Diego Comic-Con event in the aggregate, with hundreds of distracting captions adding up to give the event undue weight in the encyclopedia. Binksternet (talk) 05:11, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
Agree with that. Johnbod (talk) 05:53, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
Binksternet: You'd have to provide a better reason than WP:IDONTLIKEIT—one based on the policies and guidelines, not on what you wished the policies and guidelines would say. "Tangential text in the infobox" is a ridiculously loaded statement. Anyone would be fully within there rights under the guidelines to revert you if you pulled horseshit like this for such thin reasons to satisfy your own personal aesthetics, and they'd be right to bring you to ANI if you didn't stop this sort of disruption. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 07:13, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
I can see you have a strong personal opinion about the issue. You will note, though, that my stance not merely personal but is based on our guidelines about not distracting the reader. And every good writing guide will reinforce the notion that an encyclopedia article about x should concentrate its focus on x and not send the reader away to y or z, especially in the caption of the topmost image (see MOS:OVERLINK and WP:CAPLENGTH). Binksternet (talk) 07:23, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
Binksternet: You have a "strong personal opinion" that it is "distracting the reader" regardless of context. The guidelines and policies do not support that interpretation. Blindly and aggressively going around truncating these captions inthe face of a lack of consensus (and there is no consensus for it) would definitely require ANI intervention. Stop it. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 13:04, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
"Regardless of context"? No, I am fully aware of context. In fact it's the whole point: that an image caption can be relevant to the topic, or not relevant, in context. If it's not relevant, it should be trimmed. Binksternet (talk) 15:34, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
  • No. All captions must have a reference to verify any claims that are beyond "The sun sets in the west...". A date can be sourced to the meta data if the image is from a digital camera but without a reference you can't even say what year the image was taken in a caption. Some meta data does give full coordinates. A declaration from the original photographer or others that recognize the location, can add coordinates to the image and that can serve as the reference for the caption but the same is true of the description. I can support additional language to the guideline to clarify when it is appropriate to caption a living person's infobox image but we can't simply say an image should have the information when older images may never be dated or a location known for sure. Not always but mostly. It's also a lot harder and almost impossible for non living subjects. I found a great image of Jack London on the Beach in Carmel By The Sea but, it could have been any beach in the world. However, I happen to fall onto an image taken by the photographer's assistant of the his bass taking the photo which is very clearly the same people in the same clothing, in the same poses on the same beach at almost the exact moment the image I found was taken. That was amazingly lucky and the location, photographer and the subject all had great EV together. That is not always the case living persons. The location of a book signing or convention does not really need to be mentioned as it could be undue weight over a large portion of pages and become promotional. We should really only make it more clear what is needed and appropriate for an infobox image. Is the location relevant to the encyclopedic value in association to the subject? A candid image of a notable person doing what they are known for or even a set up portrait might need a caption but unless the location has importance or notability to the supbect and their notability, it becomes filler and might lead to unreferenced claims on a living persons infobox.--Mark Miller (talk) 01:20, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
The question at hand has nothing to do with verifiability, just what's worth including. EEng 07:01, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Sometimes, I guess? After reviewing some captions I've written, I don't typically note the location unless it's a significant element of the image (for example, "McCloud in his home in 2007"). At the same time, I typically wouldn't object to it being added. The example given above is a poor choice for discussion because the location is an uncommon acronym and the background rather nondescript. File:Kelly Sue DeConnick, comic writer.jpg or File:10.13.12GeorgePérezByLuigiNovi1.jpg would be better, since the background is more active. Argento Surfer (talk) 13:29, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep The captions are usually relevant, and if we say No, then we'll be caught in a subsequent endless array of arguments about whether or not individual captions are relevant. The captions do provide a context for the pictures, including helping us determine whether or not the dating of the picture (as in the McCloud photo) is accurate. Grandpallama (talk) 15:05, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Some useful and insightful comments have been provided. I'm hesitant to answer with a blanket "no" because one person's tangential maybe another person's relevant. Let's avoid over specificity. I agree with the comment that the date (at least year) is often relevant to indicate age but but I think a biography image might not necessarily be a photo (c.f. Socrates) which is a good argument for not requiring date. The location is often relevant, but, per DGG, let's avoid name dropping. a number of my photos involve basketball players involved in the game, and I think it's relevant to identify the game, but we don't have to go so far as to include the corporate sponsor of the arena.S Philbrick(Talk) 19:54, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Regarding distracting the reader, we already have style guidelines saying that too many links in an article can distract. At MOS:OVERLINK, we are enjoined from putting in too many links as they will significantly distract the reader from understanding the topic at hand. And two-thirds of all links are never clicked on, so in a biography where the infobox caption is already supposed to be short and the point (see WP:CAPLENGTH), it further hurts comprehension to add more links, such as links to the place or event where the photo was taken, unless the context really is important. I'm a big fan of keeping extraneous stuff to a minimum, so that the important points are not buried. Binksternet (talk) 05:31, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
  • No firm rule. This is the type of detail that I think can easily be left to WP:LOCALCONSENSUS, being best determined on a case-by-case basis. I'm not one who often talks about style or policy guidelines in terms of "rulecruft", but I'm of a similar opinion to those above who question the practicality or wisdom of a default rule here: even if this were something where the arguments are likely to fluctuate wildly from case to case, the utility of the rule would still be dubiously valuable when presented against just a little more bloat to MoS. In short, consider me yet another allow editorial discretion on this particular issue. Snow let's rap 06:58, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
  • 'Yes, where possible add brief details – because a snapshot is a moment in time and place. --Aboudaqn (talk) 19:38, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Editorial judgement. Sometimes these location details in captions are informative, hinting at something important, other times they're trivia. Some can serve a function a little bit like a pull quote, in acting as a "reader hook" to read on and find out what the subject's connection is to some event or place (though the article had better provide that information). In others, it may just let the reader know something (e.g. that someone from a TV show is actually on the sci-fi convention circuit) that the article might not mention more explicitly. But, sure, we never need a caption like: "Tim Seely autographing a copy of Hack/Slash #1 (cover C) in the main artists-and-vendors room at the Second Annual Albuquerque Comic Con at what was then the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 14, 2012. His Cheerleaders vs. Zombies T-shirt is a promotion for a cross-over issue, showing the artwork of cover E of that issue (at only 100 copies, it is the rarest Hack/Slash release)." Trim that crap on sight.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:32, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
  • The editors at each article should decide what is appropriate within the context of the article. Mkdw talk 18:19, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Leave to editor discretion, but I would want to ensure that whatever the caption is, is presented in a clear and concise way. e.g. Michael in 2017 at Sainsbury's, but Michael Alex May in 2017 at Sainsbury's buying his groceries. Dreamy Jazz 🎷 talk to me | my contributions 07:58, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Generally not but I don't think it's something that needs to be made a hard and fast rule. Mostly it won't make sense, but if it's in a section that is relevant, then why not? Editors can work it out.Happy monsoon day 02:27, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Generally yes but leave it up to editorial judgement. I think it's relevant information that can be conveyed in a few words, so why not keep it. Calidum 02:00, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Leave to editor discretion observing WP:Captions. — Stanning (talk) 17:43, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Should this RfC be in WT:Captions? — Stanning (talk) 17:43, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Generally not - infobox is meant to provide short summary, so superfluous details should be left out.--Staberinde (talk) 16:03, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep in most cases, but editorial discretion should always apply. The context and venue for a photograph is often vital information for interpreting it; even if a photograph is intended just for basic identification, we still need that information, because there's no such thing as a perfect immaculate universal representation of a human subject - we can only show them in one particular context, so we have the responsibility to mention that context if there's any chance it might be relevant. I'm particularly opposed to the if the place or event is not very relevant to the larger topic formulation because it misses the important point - the question isn't just whether it's relevant to the topic for that part of the article, but whether it's important for interpreting that particular picture. Relevance to the topic is one facet of that, but not the only one. --Aquillion (talk) 05:35, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Editorial discretion, though I personally would tend to err on the side of “less is more”, because any extended info should only be a click away. I would have a different opinion if the caption were the only location and we would otherwise be losing it. That being said, there are enough times I would include it that I would not want any strict guidance to prevent it. CThomas3 (talk) 04:11, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Generally not unless absolutely relevant, e.g. to clarify. Even then I recommended using another image with less distractions that necessitate clarification. Images further down an article can be descriptive, but I prefer a succinct infobox caption—sometimes no caption at all. Jay D. Easy (talk) 12:13, 1 January 2019 (UTC)
  • No - I'd have no problem leaving it to editorial discretion if editorial discretion didn't so often get it wrong. Try to correct that and you often get reverted, outnumbered by editors who know a lot more about the article subject than Wikipedia editing, having little "relevance sense" and believing it's encyclopedic to report everything we know. For the large majority of BLP infobox photos, the only relevant information is the date the photo was taken (said date becoming less precise as it ages). ―Mandruss  13:31, 1 January 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
Mark Linn-Baker
Mark Linn-Baker 1987.jpg
Linn-Baker with Melanie Wilson at the 39th Primetime Emmy Awards buffet in 1987
  • As an amusing follow-on, I hope we can safely agree that the caption at right gives more detail than we need [1] (as does, for that matter, the image itself – diabetics beware). EEng 05:00, 12 January 2019 (UTC)

Request for comment: Size of post-nominals[edit]

Since it's been over four years since the original RfC, I think it's time to look at this again. So, the question is, should we keep the template default for the size of post-nominal letters at 85% or increase it to 100%? -- Necrothesp (talk) 16:27, 28 November 2018 (UTC)

  • 100%. It is far more normal outside Wikipedia to have post-nominal letters displayed in the same font size as the individual's name (e.g. [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24], [25], [26]). It is pretty obvious that real world usage is to write these letters at the same size as the name (I have yet to find a single source that uses small postnoms). I therefore believe the default should be 100% to bring us in line with the real world, with which our current template appears to be clearly at odds. The template is now pretty much universally used and this has led to a large number of articles with odd small postnom sizes. Some editors are also taking the default size to be some sort of rule and altering usage in articles to the default even where the size has been manually set to 100%, claiming that the default should be universally used (which is not mandated anywhere). While I can see the value of small postnoms in tables, I do not believe they should be displayed at a smaller size in the body of the article. We do not do this for anything else in normal article main body text, so I cannot see why we are making an exception for these initials, especially when it is not normal practice outside Wikipedia. It is my belief that it is extremely jarring for an article to include this weird small text. Post-nominals are part of the running text and there is no reason for the 85% usage whatsoever. It is normal for Wikipedia to follow real-world usage and not invent usage of its own. -- Necrothesp (talk) 16:28, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
  • 85%. Out of practicality, not out of any desire to fall into lockstep with everybody else's house style: using a smaller font makes them smaller and less distracting from the actual meat of the first sentence, the part that says what the person is actually known for. —David Eppstein (talk) 16:45, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
    • You see, I think the smaller font makes them far more distracting; since they're the only part of the article in that font, my eyes are automatically drawn to them. And following your logic, surely the person's dates should therefore be in small font too? -- Necrothesp (talk) 16:47, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment. To clarify, what we're talking about is:
John Cottingham Alderson CBE QPM (28 May 1922 – 7 October 2011) was a senior British police officer and expert on police and penal affairs. [size=85%]
John Cottingham Alderson CBE QPM (28 May 1922 – 7 October 2011) was a senior British police officer and expert on police and penal affairs. [size=100%]
-- Necrothesp (talk) 17:25, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Either is fine with me, but the template should be made to reflect the MOS by default, and not have people wasting gobs of time, pulling of hair, and wringing of hands over it Face-smile.svg. I'm reminded by the long debates about trademark and other capitalization that I've been involved in, that the consensus seems to be that WP style does not necessarily conform with outside styles, even if the WP style ends up looking "wrong" to most people. I don't necessarily like it, but that seems to be how the community feels. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 19:27, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
  • 85 100%- the default should be 100% but it should be clarified that this is simply the default option and not the only valid option. Both 85% and 100% are shown as examples on the template page and at WP:POSTNOMS but there are those who have been "enforcing" the default 85%. The template was created years ago to be used when an individual had so many post-noms that they were taking up too much space in the introduction: making them small was a good compromise to deleting them. Personally, I would advocate using up to three/four full size post-noms before switching to the smaller ones. It doesn't state anywhere in the MOS that post-noms shouldn't be 100%: only that the template has to be set at 100% when used in infoboxes (due to those parameters already having small formatting): this has wrongly been taken to mean that 100% can't be used elsewhere. As per MOS:FONTSIZE, "Reduced font sizes should be used sparingly"; small postnoms aren't the default in the real world and should only be used on Wikipedia when they take up too much space. It should also be noted that when commas are used so should 100%. Therefore lords (eg Peter Inge, Baron Inge) should have 100% sized post-noms (as per WP:POSTNOMS, "If a baronetcy or peerage is held, then commas should always be used for consistency's sake, as the former are separated from the name by a comma") or none in the introduction if there are too many ("When an individual holds a large number of post-nominal letters [...] they should be omitted from the lead").
All that is needed is a slight rewording of WP:POSTNOMS to clarify that 100% is valid in the lead. Perhaps "Post-nominal letters should either be separated from the name by a comma and each set divided by a comma, or no commas should be used at all." becomes "Post-nominal letters should either be 1) font size 100%, separated from the name by a comma and each set divided by a comma, or 2) font size 85% and no commas should be used at all." This would reflect the examples given, Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 19:35, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
It seems like you are making the case for the default being 100%, not 85%, since 100% is required for the infobox and most people do not have enough post-noms to require a reduction in font size (I assume), right? —[AlanM1(talk)]— 19:45, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
It seems like they are making the case that commas should be mandatory for 100%-size postnominals. I disagree and I don't think we should confuse this discussion by bringing in requirements for commas. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:22, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
I disagree with mandatory commas too (since both commas and no commas are used fairly interchangeably in real life), except in the cases of peers or baronets for simple consistency reasons. But using 100% for them (due to the commas) does seem to suggest that 100% should be the default. I do agree that if we do decide to keep the default at 85% then it should be made clear in the MOS that 100% remains perfectly acceptable and no editor should try to enforce the default as though it was mandatory. -- Necrothesp (talk) 22:17, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Maybe I misread the comment? If it's arguing only that commas+85% are incompatible together, I have no objection. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:51, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Sorry for the confusion (reminder to self: don't try to make comments with a migraine). Yes 100% should be the defaul, smaller for when there is lots, commas shouldn't be used when they are 85% (optional when 100%). Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 19:54, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Lean strong towards 100%, per WP:ACCESSIBILITY. MoS already addresses this: use of smaller-than-normal font sizes should be used incredibly sparingly and only with some fairly substantial cause--and I don't think the vague assertion "makes it less distracting" really applies; if it's generally accepted that a given piece of content is appropriate in a given place, it's not distracting to make it exactly as legible as the surrounding text. Granted, at 85%, this is not exactly the single biggest accessibility issue ever, but for those readers with vision impairment or those who can only access the site via a mobile device, it may occasionally make a difference. In my view, even a handful of such cases clearly override any purely style/aesthetic concerns. Snow let's rap 20:30, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
@Snow Rise: MOS:ACCESSIBILITY says simply that "Reduced or enlarged font sizes should be used sparingly". In this case we are mostly commonly talking about 2–4 characters; it is exceptionally rare for the total to exceed 20 characters. That fits well within the scope of MOS:ACCESSIBILITY's guidance to "use sparingly". --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 07:13, 30 November 2018 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I agree; given the lengths that the guideline goes to in order to stress that it's primary function is to assure useability for those with disabilities, I'm inclined to parse "use sparingly" as, "don't use at all unless completely unavoidable in a given context". There might be something to be said for your argument that post-nominals may have limited value in the lead sentence, but they are so typical of encyclopedic format, that I don't see the community dropping them any time soon. Regardless, trying to cut the baby in half by keeping an element that may or may not belong, but downsizing it, seems like a worst-of-both worlds approach to me, and unfair to those readers whose experience it disrupts, small in number though they may be. Our readers should all be presented with the same content experience, even where it comes to elements we feel may be unnecessary. Snow let's rap 08:58, 30 November 2018 (UTC)
@Snow Rise: if your interpretation of "use sparingly" as "don't use at all unless completely unavoidable in a given context" was actually the intended meaning, then we wouldn't have small text as the default in both infoboxes and navboxes. The quantity of small text in those parts of the page is usually two orders of magnitude beyond that in the post-nominals. So your interpretation looks unsupported.
Your assertion that post-nominals are so typical of encyclopedic format also does not seem to stand up to scrutiny. Post-nominals are not used by:
  1. Encyclopedia Britannica (e.g. Herbert Austin, who had a KBE)
  2. Australian Dictionary of Biography (e.g. Herbert Austin)
  3. Dictionary of Canadian biography (e.g. CASHIN, Sir MICHAEL PATRICK, who had a KBE)
  4. Dictionary of Irish Biography (e.g. Basil Brooke, who was KG, CBE, MC, TD, PC (Ire))
Wikipedia's use of post-nominals reflects an outmoded style no longer used by the major scholarly encyclopedias and biographical dictionaries. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 20:42, 30 November 2018 (UTC)
Well I for one am not sure that we should be using small text in any of those contexts, and I think you may be conflating the prescribed approach of the policy with common practice. I think as a general rule WP:ACCESSIBILITY has very lofty ambitions that just, as a matter of realism, get completely ignored by editors as by ad large; most people, our editors included, only think about practical daily challenges (including our user experience) through their own idiosyncratic lens (pun unintended but poignant), as defined by their own sensorium. That doesn't mean we shouldn't strive towards a more considerate and accessible approach though, especially since WP:ACCESSIBILITY grew out of the WMF making it clear that they view such matters as within the purview of their nondiscrimination policies. I don't want to go overboard of course; it's possible a substantial number of readers with vision impairment (or at least those with vision impairment who are int he first world with decent aid devices) prefer deferential text size because they already utilize scaling software. It's a complex issue, but for my money, I think it's worth erring on the side of caution when it comes to something like this, where the only pragmatic advantage is de-emphasizing content (which we do with smaller text size literally nowhere else in the main body of our text, no matter the relative value of information, let's remember).
As to post-nominals being antiquated and ripe for removal from the lead sentence, I don't know--you may be right. I think they are still common in many publications, but I don't make use of enough biographical materials these days to feel comfortable speculating as to what the trend is. As to the more intrinsic value of the competing approaches (using the post-nominals or not), I don't have particularly strong feelings; I honestly feel it amounts to a trivial difference for most of our biographical articles. But I do think there are plenty in this community who will be strongly of the opinion that they should be preserved, and that was intended point of my comment; not that I can't be won over to the argument that they should go (I think I probably could be), but just that you'll have your work cut out for you if you want to push the standard towards removing them. They are integrated into surely tens of thousands of biographical articles at a minimum, and people get awfully attached to the titles and honorifics of figures the chose to edit concerning. I wouldn't envy anyone who undertook that task. Snow let's rap 03:45, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
@Snow Rise: I disagree with your interpretation of WP:ACCESSIBILITY, and I think that the issue as a whole is of much reduced significance since the major browsers belatedly followed the lead of the Opera browser and allowed users to easily rescale the whole page to whatever size suits their needs. As a result, it seems to me think that WP:ACCESSIBILITY is outdated and should be relaxed rather than applied with new vigour.
However, if you do persist with the view that WP:ACCESSIBILITY should be applied much more strictly than it has been, then the place to start reform is not with an issue which rarely amounts to as much as 1% of the small text on a page (heck, the citations links alone usually amount to more small characters than are used in the postnoms). Start with the major uses of small text: infoboxes, navboxes, and tables.
As to removal of post-nominals, I don't expect that it would be done overnight. Instead, this sort of thing is best done by deprecation in the MOS, possibly followed by tagging of articles that this is a cleanup issue, and then gradual removal over time. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:48, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Standardise. Like @AlanM1, I see good arguments both ways. I'm not much fussed. I lean slightly in favour of the smaller size (to visually separate postnoms from the name), but to me that is massively less important than consistency.
However, it is absolutely pointless to have a situation where editors are invited to manually set options without clear guidance as to which is appropriate. That just invites any individual editor to go around hardcoding their personal preference into hundreds of articles.
{{post-nominals}} should thereby be amended to remove display the options for |size=, |sep= and |commas=. It should just have one option to define use cases. Based on the discussion above, that seems to amount to:
  1. A default mode, which sets the options for use in body text.
    • If that means for example "small size if there are more than n post-nominals", then let the template do that and disable user overrides. (Alternatively, the size could also be set by counting the total number of letters used; either formula would be trivial to program.)
    • Similarly, if the use of commas depends on size (as supported e.g. by @Gaia Octavia Agrippa), then remove the commas option and let the template apply commas when appropriate
  2. An "infobox mode set by a parameter such as |infobox=yes or |mode=infobox which
    • Sets size at 100%
    • Enables or disables commas automatically, depending on whatever consensus is reached
I think it would be a great pity if this RFC fails to standardise. However, if it is left to personal preference, then that should be the personal preference of the editor who first added post-nominals to the article. It should not be appropriate for any other editor to impose their personal preference. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:17, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
I am not great with the technical side of things, but if the template can be changed to something like this as BrownHairedGirl suggests then it would remove all of this confusion. A limit of on the number of letters before making small would be best, as some post-noms can be very long: perhaps >12, which would allow for 3 four-letter postnoms or 4 three-letter ones before it got small. The only issue I can see with this is with people with titles who require commas (and therefore 100%) as per the MOS. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 19:54, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
I have suspended that AWB run pending the outcome of this RFC, but some of the data gleaned from it may be helpful. Possibly not directly relevant to the discussion, so I have collapsed these notes.
BHG's technical notes and data
  1. I worked on pages which transclude Template:Post-nominals/GBR. As of now there are [15455 transclusions. 15091 are in article space
  2. I used a regex to identify usages outside of infoboxes: (?<!=[^\|{}]*)(?<postnom>({{(Post-nominals/GBR|Post-nominals/UK|(([Hh]onorific\-suffix|[Hh]onorific[ _]+suffix|[Pp]ost\-nominals|[Pp]ost\-nominal[ _]+letters|[Pp]ost\-nominal[ _]+styles|[Pp]ost\-nominal|[Pp]ostnominals|[Pp]ostnominal|[Pp]ostnom|[Pp]ost[ _]+nominals)\s*\|\s*country\s*=\s*GBR))))\s*\|\s*size\s*=[^\|}]*
    That code is not perfect, but it had a false positive rate of only about 0.4%. So it would be usable in any subsequent standardisation/cleanup exercise, if there is consensus to do so.
  3. My AWB run stripped the |size= parameter from non-infobox uses in 994 articles
  4. Using AWB in pre-parse (list-making) mode, I find that 3905 pages currently use Template:Post-nominals/GBR with a |size= parameter outside of an infobox. That total of 3905 (which probably includes ~15 false positives) is 25.8% of the 15091 total, down from 32.5% before my AWB run.
The most significant point to me is #4: that |size= is currently used outside infoboxes in only 25.8% of pages which transclude Template:Post-nominals/GBR, down from 32.5% before my AWB run. So the status quo ante bellum was 2:1 against using the size parameter. (Editors may disagree on whether this reflects inertia or conscious choice). --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:21, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment. It seems to me very likely that most editors simply apply the template without considering the size, which leads to a skewing of statistics towards an apparent preference for the default size. The template's there so they use it without modification (and let's face it, most people don't make a study of post-nominal letters or the honours they denote, so probably aren't aware of the real-world conventions, especially if they come from countries in which they're not commonly used). This has led to many articles which were created with 100% post-nominals without using the template (often before it was even created) being changed to 85% post-nominals when the template was applied by another editor in a good-faith attempt to be helpful (and I don't dispute that the template can be helpful). This should certainly not be interpreted as meaning that the 85% size is normal, standard or preferred. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:12, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
    • That's one way of looking at it. But another view is that we do have over ten thousand articles using the UK set of post-noms with the 85% default size, where nobody has been sufficiently concerned to change it. Necrothesp is clearly passionate about his preference for 100%, but it seems that the passion is not widely shared. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 09:27, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
      • Doubtless it's a minority interest, but since honours are a major interest of mine and I have written widely on Wikipedia about them I'm naturally passionate about them looking right (and as they appear in most places off Wikipedia). I'm sure most editors couldn't care less, but that's the nature of Wikipedia - we all work on things that interest us and about which we are knowledgeable. That huge, diverse knowledge of our editors is what makes Wikipedia successful (and also frustrating). Note that it would appear that the template is like this simply because the creator of the template themselves had a preference for 85% font for postnoms, not due to any pre-creation discussion or consensus. Or at least, if there was any, I haven't been able to find it in any obvious place. 85% seems to be a completely arbitrary size based on personal preference as to what looks good. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:36, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
        • I've just done a quick survey over the last couple of centuries! I looked at: The Mechanics Journal of 1849, Practical Engineering of 1899, Practical Electrical Engineering of c. 1950 and The Eternal Darkness of 2000. All four use 100% for post nominals. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 10:06, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
      • Necrothesp, as you know, en.wp has the WP:BOLD policy, so pre-creation discussions are rare. Creators make their own judgement and things may get changed in discussion afterwards. Or not. The 100% proposal which you made in a 2014 RFC didn't find a consensus to change the template.
If small text is to be used, then 85% is not arbitrary: it is the minimum size permitted by WP:FONTSIZE.
As to your specialisation in the honours system, that is not the only issue at stake here. Post noms are also used for membership of learned societies etc, so they are not exclusively a British-honours-system thing ... and in any case there are varying views about the significance which should be attached to the honours system. Those closest to it may not be the best people to turn to for a broader perspective on how it is viewed outside of the honours culture. Wikipedia is written for a global audience, not for a particular section of the British establishment, which is why for example we don't usually title articles "Sir Bufton Tufton", preferring plain "Bufton Tufton". I note that in 2017, you were one of those supporting treating "Sir" as part of someone's name, but that proposal was rejected so overwhelmingly that there was a WP:SNOW close. So it's clear that your approach to the whole honours thing is very much a small-minority perspective. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:43, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
I have never supported pretitles as part of the article name on Wikipedia. Ever. If that's what you were suggesting. In fact, I have argued against it on a number of occasions and moved articles which use it. I have argued that the title should always be used and bolded in the lede, certainly, but that's not the same thing at all and is a generally accepted principle in any case. Would you care to provide a link to the discussion you mention with its snow close? -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:59, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
Ah, I'm guessing you mean this? Read my second and third comments when I said I supported the status quo and that it was a fairly pointless RfC. So I'm honestly not quite sure what your point is here. I entirely supported the snow close and did not argue against changing anything. -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:09, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment. A not-so-quick survey on JSTOR, not to be taken as statistically significant, just as evidence of varying styles over time and by source:
Extended content
Journal Date Style Link
The British Medical Journal October 16, 1920 DC p. 598 (2)
The British Medical Journal May 19, 1951 DC p. 1155 (1)
The British Medical Journal March 29, 1980 C p. 955 (3)
Journal of Medical Ethics December 1980 S p. nil (2)
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society January 1920 DC p. iii (3)
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 1967 DC p. 276 (1)
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 1984 C p. 139 (10)
Journal of the Institute of Actuaries December 1991 DC p. 445 (17)
Journal of the Royal Society of Arts March 23, 1928 DC p. nil (2)
Journal of the Royal Society of Arts November 21, 1947 SDC p. 20 (3)
Journal of the Royal Society of Arts February 1984 SC p. 218 (3)
The Geographical Journal July 1926 SDC p. iii (3)
The Geographical Journal March 1970 SC p. iii (3)
The Geographical Journal July 1999 (none) p. 250 (2)
Journal of Comparative Legislation and International Law June 1920 DC p. iii (3)
The International and Comparative Law Quarterly January 1954 SDC p. vii (7)
  • Style: S for smallcaps (otherwise full-size caps), D for dots after each letter (otherwise no dots), C for commas between postnoms (otherwise spaces only)
  • Link: "p. n (u)": n is the published page number; u is the page number within the JSTOR scan.

Feel free to mark up the above to indent, sort, ref properly – I'm beat.

—[AlanM1(talk)]— 12:49, 29 November 2018 (UTC)

  • 100%. This discussion shouldn't be about the default for the size parameter in {{post-nominals}} – the proper process is to propose re-wording the "Formatting post-nominals" section of MOS:POSTNOM. The template should reflect what's in the MOS, which currently does not say that post-nominal letters should be in a reduced size, therefore the default should be 100%, with option for smaller at editor's discretion, such as for long strings of post-nominals. The default size in the template seems to have been the personal prefernce of the template's author (Miesianiacal, who unfortunately may have dropped off – no contributions this year). — Stanning (talk) 15:28, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment: There are thousands of articles which don't use {{post-nominals}} at all, having been written before the template existed, or by authors who don't know about it; they give post-nominals either linked to redirects (e.g. over 2000 articles link to FRSE), or piped to the names of the orders, or even unlinked. I've never seen such an article in which the post-nominals are not rendered full-size. — Stanning (talk) 15:28, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
    • Exactly. Unfortunately, over the years many articles written like this have had the template added by other editors, often as part of a large batch, without the original 100% size being preserved, giving the misguided impression that the 85% size is preferred and standard. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:56, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
    Stanning, The first ten bios listed in "What links here" to FRSE use the template (I skipped one non-bio article without bothering to dig through that to see what the link was for), one of which had the size at 100%, and the rest at 85%. So it's unlikely that there are many bare uses that also link to the FRSE page; I don't know if your claim of "thousands of articles that don't use the template" is valid. You need to back that up with some sort of appropriate search – counting links to the relevant pages isn't meaningful here. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 16:57, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
Deacon Vorbis, look again. Counting links to the redirect FRSE is meaningful. The template always links to the expansion of the post-nominal letters, thus for FRSE it generates [[Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh|FRSE]] so that the link goes straight to Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. It doesn't use the redirect. Therefore the over two thousand links to the redirect FRSE cannot come from the template. Check the links to the redirect, not the article. Also, don't assume that the only post-nominals in an article are in the infobox or lede. For example, in William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin the template is used for himself but the section "Electrical standards" mentions Magnus Maclean FRSE using simply [[FRSE]] — Stanning (talk) 19:56, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
  • 0% 85%, and use {{Abbr}}. Seeing strings of apparently random letters after someone's name is bad enough at 85%, but at least the reduced font size is a visual cue that these are intentional and somehow a bit different than normal text. Is there any hope of removing these from lead sentences?Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 16:11, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
    To add a little, BrownHairedGirl's suggestion of having a "default" mode and an "infobox" mode would be greatly beneficial for standardization, regardless of whatever's decided or not decided here. This is the kind of thing that really shouldn't be left up to the whim of whoever happens to write the page first or is passing by one day. And when Yet Another Postnominals RFC decides to change the default size, it gets changed in one place with no further fuss (yes, articles which don't use the template will cause some fuss, but those can be converted whenever). –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 16:44, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
Deacon Vorbis, these aren't random stings of letters: whether they are military honours, academic recognition or civil appointments, the letters have purpose and meaning, and (as per MOS) the only time they are removed is if there are too many of them. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 19:54, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Undue prominence. As above, my overriding priority is to standardise on something. However, I do think that full-sized postnoms give WP:UNDUE prominence to these letters. They should either use the small size, or be omitted entirely (per the Oxford DNB).
It's important to focus on the fact that we are discussing post-nominals used near the start of the opening line of the lede. This is a crucial part of the page: it is where a speed-reader expects to answer the crucial 4 questions about a biography: who, what, when, where.
Usability research shows that most readers do speed read the initial content of a page, and decide within seconds whether to continue or move on. We should respect and facilitate that usage. MOS:LEAD acknwedges that most readers do move fast, so that principle is already accepted.
So I like a lead which opens something like "Ebenezer Thingammyjig<who> (1123–1974)<when> was a Ruritanian<where> wotsitologist<what> whose innovations in Xanadu<where> on the industralisation of wotsit production<what> led to a thousand-fold increase in the global output of wotsits". Or "Humbert Somebody<who> (1754–1996)<when> was a Narnian<where> diplomat<what> who played a crucial role in three major international diplomatic conferences<what>".
In either of those cases, the focus on the 4 Ws allows the reader to make a quick decision on whether to evaluate the rest of the lead before deciding how much (if any) of the rest of the page to read.
However, a bunch of post-nominals answers a subsidiary question: what recognition did this person have from peers or authorities? That is a valuable question, but it is something which belongs further down in the lede, or possibly not even in the lede at all. The conventional way we structure this is to list it in an awards/honours section at the bottom of the article, and posibly summarise it later in the lede.
A good example of this is Judi Dench, where § Awards and nominations is the sixth section, and the first of the appendices. Her awards are also mentioned in the third para of the lede.
But the opening sentence is "Dame Judith Olivia Dench<who> CH DBE FRSA<What's that doing here> (born 9 December 1934)<when><when> is an English<where> actress<what>".
Those post-nominals are an intrusion, a promotion of factoids beyond their significance. In the hierarchy of info, they belong several sentences further down; in Dench's case, they clearly belong in para 3.
I know that some will argue that these letters are signifiers of the esteem in which Dench is held, but as para3 of the lede shows that esteem is best measured by the awards she has received for her work. However, none of those awards are included in the post-nominals.
If we used post-nominals to depict the most significant things about Dench's recognition, then we would do them very differently.
We used to have
  • "Dame Judith Olivia Dench<who> CH DBE FRSA<Significance???> (born 9 December 1934)<when> is an English<where> actress<what>"
  • After my edit, we currently have:
  • "Dame Judith Olivia Dench<who> CH DBE FRSA<Significance???> (born 9 December 1934)<when> is an English<where> actress<what>"
But if we used post-noms to display indicator's of Dench's significance, we'd have something like:
  • "Dame Judith Olivia Dench<who> Ocar-nom*7, BAFTA-Film*6, BAFTA-TV*4, Golden-Globe*2<Significance???> (born 9 December 1934)<when><when> is an English<where> actress<what>"
No, I am not arguing that we should actually do that. Nobody presents dramatic awards in that way, and en.wp should not invent a new styling. But it does illustrate the folly of our current usage.
So we are left with the question of whether or how to include the conventional set. Given their relative insignificance to the lede on Dench, they should not be given the same prominence as other text in the opening sentence. There is an existing convention on how to do that, which is to use a smaller size. I know that convention is not universally applied, and may even be a minority style ... but it is an existing convention which we are entitled to adopt. And I believe that en.wp should adopt it, because it best serves the way our readers use wikipedia.
My second preference would be to omit post-nominals from the lede, and leave to the infobox and to an awards/honours section of the article. That is a much better fit to the hierarchy of info in most cases.
I know there are some biogs where post-noms may be more relevant. PC for privy council on British political biogs; CMG/KCMG/GCMG as indicator of seniority on biogs of diplomats and civil servants; DSO/VC/DFC etc on biogs of people who did active military service. However, even in those cases, it would be much helpful to readers to briefly mention in prose any such points which are genuinely significant to the lede. e.g. "John Smith (19xx–19XX) was an RAF pilot who served in the Battle of Britain, for which he was awarded the DFC", or "Sir Percy Percy (1970–1971) was an English Foo Party politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for West Somewhere from XX to YY. He held three successive junior ministerial roles in the 19XOs, and was later awarded an OBE for his work the Boy Scouts"
The clincher for me is that most important contemporary work of British biography is the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which omits post-nominals entirely. I think there is a very good case for en.wp to follow that example. It seems to me to be a vastly more significant precedent than the mags such as Practical Electrical Engineering cited by @Martin of Sheffield, and in Dench's case it would leave us with the much more focused opening
  • "Dame Judith Olivia Dench (born 9 December 1934) is an English actress".
--BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 07:02, 30 November 2018 (UTC)
For information: (1) I picked four volumes based on date from the nearest bookcase (which holds volumes around 621). (2) Practical Electrical Engineering is a 5 volume publication from Newnes, printed and bound as books, not a magazine collection. The C19 titles are professional journals, and Out of the Darkness is a single volume book written by Robert Ballard. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 08:30, 30 November 2018 (UTC)
BrownHairedGirl, I'm sure you've read WP:UNDUE and seen that it refers to viewpoints, not factual statements? I think you may have meant WP:PROPORTION.
Having said that, I agree with what you're proposing. It's potentially a more extended change to the MOS than MOS:POSTNOM only, but none the worse for that. (If I may repeat what I said above, this discussion should be about the content of MOS:POSTNOM, not about the default size in the post-nominals template. The template should reflect what's in the MOS rather than apply non-MOS pseudo-standards.)
I'd propose that MOS:POSTNOM could say that post-nominals should (may?) be omitted from the lede but should be given in the infobox, if any. That goes for all post-nominals; as you say, if a person has a important award, such as VC or GC in the British system, then the lede can and should mention the award anyway. But honours should be mentioned in the text, especially if they're for a specific action or service.
Caveat: if this change is accepted, post-noms should not be removed automatically from all bio articles by a bot or an AWB blast! It will be necessary to actually read each article, not the lede only, to see if the text needs amnedment. — Stanning (talk) 17:49, 30 November 2018 (UTC)
It should come as no surprise that I completely oppose omitting postnoms from the lede. I'm aware that the DNB omits them, but they are important features of names in Commonwealth usage and should be retained. To readers of Commonwealth biographies, it is important to see at a glance what the correct post-nominal letters are for an individual. They are neither "factoids" nor "intrusions", but vital information that goes with the name. -- Necrothesp (talk) 16:09, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
As with Necrothesp, I fully oppose removing post-noms because people don't like them. As someone who's main interest on Wikipedia covers the biographies of civil, military, and academic individuals, post-nominal letters serve a very important purpose. If one is reading about an academic, the post-noms show which learned societies that have been recognised by; for a military figure it shows there decorations, and civil figures can show honours and/or appointments. Fro those bothered by lede clutter, having FRS is much shorter than "he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society", and having "OBE, DSO, MC" immediately shows that a military figure is highly decorated. If it is proposed that only "important awards" are included then that had the issue of how we rate them and also excludes none-honours. There is also the problem of introducing errors such as "Dame Judith Olivia Dench": Dame is intricately linked to the post-nom DBE. If she were a man it would end up being a complete different honour: eg "Sir John Archibald Smith, KBE (born 1950)" is a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, but "Sir John Archibald Smith (born 1950)" is a Knight Bachelor. There are not a pointless bunch of letters: assuming ignorance of our readers is not a good reason to delete them. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 16:57, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
@Gaia Octavia Agrippa: please have the courtesy not to claim that I propose removing the post-nominals because I "don't like them". I propose removal because a) they give undue prominence to matters which don't belong in the start of the lede; b) they are not used in major biographical dictionaries.
@Necrothesp claims that postnoms are important features of names in Commonwealth usage. However, the evidence shows this to be untrue. As I note above, post-noms are not used in:
  1. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica (e.g. Herbert Austin, who had a KBE)
  3. Australian Dictionary of Biography (e.g. Herbert Austin)
  4. Dictionary of Canadian biography (e.g. CASHIN, Sir MICHAEL PATRICK, who had a KBE)
  5. Dictionary of Irish Biography (e.g. Basil Brooke, who was KG, CBE, MC, TD, PC (Ire))
These are the major biographical reference works for Commonwealth countries (the last, Ireland, is of course a former Commonwealth country, but the work is published by Cambridge UP). The fact that none of them uses post-nominals demonstrates clearly that Necrothesp's assessment of their importance to Commonwealth biogs is unsupported by the major sources. AFAICS, Necrothesp is yearning for an older time when decorations were paraded like flags, and ignoring contemporary scholarly practice. Wikipedia is neither in the business of obliterating such things by editorial fiat nor of preserving them when they have been discarded by scholars; we follow the sources, and the major sources say "no".
As to the fact that Judi Dench has a DBE rather than a KBE ... yes, of course. Anyone who knows the honours system knows the distinction, and anyone who doesn't know it can learn about it in the infobox and/or in the "honours and awards" section. That technicality doesn't need to be shouting for attention near the start of the first sentence of the lede.
The fact is that Wikipedia's use of post-nominals reflects an outmoded style no longer used by the major scholarly encyclopedias and biographical dictionaries. The personal preferences of a few traditionalist editors should not take precedence over usage in the major scholarly sources. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:26, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment (Summoned by bot) Either is fine by me, though I lean toward 100% as that seems more common elsewhere. Coretheapple (talk) 18:34, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
  • 85%, and use {{Abbr}} {{Post-nominals}}, and limit the number, if we keep them in the lead sentence at all. "Per MOS:ACCESS" is a red herring (at best, more like a misrepresentation); the guideline says 85% is fine. If you think WP's minimum font size should be raised to 91% or whatever, make a well-researched case for doing so at WT:MOSACCESS. Expect that to not actually work, since we all know by now that in any modern browser you can hit Ctrl + (or Cmd + on a Mac, or a multi-touch action on a mobile device screen) and make entire page's content bigger if you have vision issues (I do, with "Coke-bottle-bottom" glasses) as well as set a default and minimum font size that's comfortable for you in the first place. And you can do it with user CSS, too. As for the WP:UNDUE arguments, I tend to agree, but we really need to address these matters separately.

    About a year ago I proposed a hard limit on the number of post-nominal abbreviations in the lead sentence, and this didn't get consensus, so we need some other way to approach it, if not a numerical cut-off. But really, no one should have half a dozen or more of these after their name in the lead. More importantly, the observation that someone being an Academy Award and BAFTA Award winner (for an actor) is a more important indicator of notability (and a more informative one) is quite correct, yet we do not inject these things into the first half of the lead sentence. There is clearly a balance and focus problem. "Other works include postnoms" is basically a non-argument. WP isn't other works and isn't written in mimicry of them. How many biographical works for a general audience published in the last few years and/or currently maintained include post-nominal letters in their equivalents of the lead sentence? The fact that the British DNB doesn't do so is remarkably telling.

    Next, we're already providing this information in the infobox and (except in an improperly written stub) the main article text, so shoe-horning it into the lead sentence is redundant (even in an article with no i-box – it's in the body, too). It's redundant in another way: Anyone who cares already intuits that Dame Judith Anderson almost certainly has a British non-military knighthood, since the lead sentence says she's an actress and is British; it's really unlikely that she was knighted by Malta for serving as a naval commando in Operation Atalanta. Exactly which honor(s) she has isn't needed in the first few words of the first sentence, though it may well be appropriate in the lead section (and could be presented in less obtuse form as plain English instead of an abbreviation).

    PS: We shouldn't be using Dame/Sir for any subject who doesn't regularly use it themselves; not everyone entitled to do so actually does (I think Anderson does, but it's worth checking). It's the same principle as not rewriting Stana Katic's surname as Katič to make it more "proper", even if you can prove the diacritic appears on her birth certificate; WP:ABOUTSELF policy exists for a reason, and people determine their own names (in the sense that WP cares about and defines them).
    PPS: "they are important features of names in Commonwealth usage and should be retained" is difficult to distinguish from subjective WP:ILIKEIT / WP:IKNOWIT, since Oxford's DNB doesn't agree. If the most-respected biographical work in the country most prone to using this alphabet soup doesn't consider them important features "of names" (which is a factual misstatement anyway – they're after the name, not in it), then it's hard to think of a more objective measure of the due weight question.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:57, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

Some non-responsive commentary, and back-and-forth about it.
The ODND is great as a source but its formatting is not exactly regular. Unless you also support including parents and places of birth in the opening sentence, and names to written as "Akehurst, Sir John Bryan". Also, infoboxes are not there to introduce new information: their role is to repeat stuff that's already in the main text so having it in the lede too is not redundant. (I've heard this same argument about "its in the infobox" when people are trying to get rid of birth/death dates, I wonder where it will end). Looking at Judith Anderson, how is the inclusion of two post-noms after her name causing such offence/disruption? Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 22:33, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
@Gaia Octavia Agrippa: The role of infoboxes is indeed, as you say, to repeat stuff that's already in the main text. But as you well know, the inclusion of something in the infobox does not mean that it therefore has to be in the lede. As you know, nobody is suggesting removing the honours from the main text. The proposal is simply to remove them from a automatic placement at the start of the lede, and continue to cover them elsewhere in the article.
And SMcCandlish's point about the ODNB is reinforced by the omission of postnoms in the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Dictionary of Canadian biography and the Dictionary of Irish Biography.
Gaia Octavia Agrippa is simply pursuing a WP:ILIKEIT position in the face of a unanimous rejection by the all major scholarly works on Commonwealth biography. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:42, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
Also to Gaia: I didn't suggesting we ape any particular other publication's exact formatting; I don't see anyone else here doing so, either. Rather, the important bit from my perspective is that the [O]DNB doesn't consider the postnom letters important enough to include in the opening line, while several people here are asserting that it's utterly vital and that only people who don't understand the British and the importance they place on this stuff could disagree with them. Well, Britain's premier educational institution and most reliable publisher disagrees with them. Next, no one suggested details should only appear in the infobox; the honors should definitely be covered in detail in the article body. They might also be in the lead section somewhere in summary form. That does not mandate acronyms tacked onto the name in the first words of the opening sentence; they're just completely severable questions. And, I have yet to see anyone make any particular claim that Judith Anderson, as an article, is "offensive" or "disruptive" in any way. Rather, people have raised objections in various threads before this one (maybe also in this one – I may have missed something) to people having 5 or 7 or whatever. So, that seems to be three straw man arguments in a row that you've presented. I'm not sure what you might expect or want me to address beyond this, since nothing you've posted is actually responsive to what I said at all, nor to the thread as a whole. It just seems subtly missing the point in every respect.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:04, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
SMcCandlish, I don't see the value of using {{Abbr}}, where you have to put in the meaning of the abbreviation. Why not use {{Post-nominals}} which (in almost all cases) provides the correct expansion of each post-nom automatically, with a link whose tooltip is just like the tooltip produced by {{Abbr}}. — Stanning (talk) 16:22, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
Right! I'd forgotten about that better wrapper template. Revised.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:28, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
Does the question need to altered to clarify that its asking about that exact template? Your comment about limiting numbers is already covered by WP:POSTNOMS: "When an individual holds a large number of post-nominal letters or seldom uses them (common among heads of state and members of royal families), they should be omitted from the lead, and the titles only described in the main body of the article." Granted, "a large number" isn't an exact value. The difficulty in choosing a number vs that phrase is how its defined: if we restrict it to 3 post-noms that could be "VC, OBE, DL" (7 letters, 2 commas) or "OFM Cap, FSA Scot, FRHistS" (20 letters, 2 commas). The latter example will also hopefully show how commas can be useful: the first two post noms have spaces within themselves and without commas it wouldn't be clear "OFM Cap FSA Scot FRHistS" (it looks like 5 post noms). Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 19:07, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, the commas need to be made essentially mandatory. Tools like that template cannot predict when a postnom will have a space in it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:17, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
  • 85%, and let's not turn this into a discussion about anything else. This is not about whether postnoms should be included or not, but about the size they should be. I have always found the 85% to be aesthetically pleasing, and it also allows us to include postnoms without them overwhelming the text itself (especially in long first sentences). I see no reason to change this. Frickeg (talk) 23:40, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment. It seems to me that some salient facts need to be emphasised:
    • For years editors added post-nominals to biographical articles manually, linking each set as per any other link; these were almost always at 100% text size, the same size as the surrounding text (ironically, had they not been they would almost certainly have been changed by other editors as being a non-standard text size).
    • The template was later created and the default text size set at 85% due only to the personal preference of the creator (although this has since been accepted in a previous RfC).
    • Thousands of articles written as above have since had their postnoms converted to the template, usually by editors other than the creator and often in large batches; in most instances this template has used the default text size, altering the original text size used in the article.
    • Some editors now seem to think that the template's default text size should be enforced throughout.
It's clear from the comments thus far in this RfC that some editors like the 85% text size. That's fine. I obviously disagree, but that's their prerogative. However, is it really acceptable to convert postnoms written in one size to another size "because that's the default" and then insist that this should be enforced throughout Wikipedia? I do not believe so. This seems to be a similar case to WP:ENGVAR: the original author's preference should be retained (note that there have been attempts to "standardise" Wikipedia on this issue too, but they have always rightly been defeated). Use of the template and its default size is not and should not be enforced by the MOS. I should also add that it seems to be generally accepted that small font postnoms should not be separated by commas (at least, no one has yet disputed this). This means that peers and baronets should always have their postnoms at 100% for reasons that should be obvious. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:56, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
  • I am v wary of guidance which is "retain style used by first substantive editor". In cases where there is no house style, that is the best way of pointless avoiding edit wars; but it is much better to have a house style and thereby ensure consistency for readers.
  • the notion that small font postnoms should not be separated by commas has been asserted by you and another editor. I didn't challenge it, because it was tangential to the main issue, but I have yet to see any justification for this assertion. So let me say here: I don't see why such a rule is advocated. Please explain why insist on it.
  • I note a contrast between your dogmatism about the use of commas, and your let-editors-choose approach to size. This inconsistency is odd: why do you support a house style for one issue, but not the other? The only reason I can see is that you seem to be trying to salvage some latitude in the face of an emerging consensus for 85%.
  • You say This means that peers and baronets should always have their postnoms at 100% for reasons that should be obvious. No, it's not at all obvious why "Sir John Johns, 99th Baronet OBE DSO CMG" is to be deprecated.
  • Overall, the more I look at the details of this, the more I think that Necrothesp and Agrippa are pursuing some very odd attempt to preserve their own preference for a set of antiquated styles which is reality are more diverse than they will acknowledge, and which should be no impediment to en.wp adopting a simple and consistent style if itcvhooses to retain post-nominals.
  • However, the extent of the finnicking by the advocates of post-nominals indicates to me that so long as we retain them, there will continue to be some fan of "Debrett's Correct Form" (or some other similarly-ignored guide to outmoded forms of address) complaining that en.wp is committing some huge sacrilege by not following rule 97(b)(iii) of the codified modes of the Edwardian era in England. It would be much better for Wikipedia to follow what the major Commonwealth biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias have done in the 21st century, and dispense with this relic of the long 19th century along with the pointless nuance-rules demanded by its advocates. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:57, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
  • "the notion that small font postnoms should not be separated by commas has been asserted by you and another editor." I don't recall ever asserting this. I would point out that I have never seen it in other sources, however. Another style invented by Wikipedia? "I note a contrast between your dogmatism about the use of commas, and your let-editors-choose approach to size." See my previous comment. Not sure where you get any hint of dogmatism, unless you're looking for it. "No, it's not at all obvious why "Sir John Johns, 99th Baronet OBE DSO CMG" is to be deprecated." Is it not? It's not obvious why if we separate the title with a comma then it looks absolutely ridiculous to follow this with a string of postnoms not separated by commas? Okay. It's very obvious to me why this looks stylistically ludicrous, but obviously not to you. "a set of antiquated styles". Apparently the style used by pretty much every source outside Wikipedia is antiquated, and the style invented by Wikipedia is the way forward? Okay then... Sounds a little arrogant, if I may say so. Your last comment, I'm afraid, just shows your agenda here. You think postnoms are antiquated and should be disposed of. That's your view. It is not a universal view, as many sources show (yes, yes, we all know the DNB etc doesn't use them, before you point it out yet again, but countless other reliable sources do; incidentally, I'm not sure the DNB ever used postnoms, even in the actual 19th century, so claiming it's "modernised" in the 21st century is probably inaccurate!). -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:30, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Hmmm.
On the no-small-with-commas, see your own comments above.
On the if we separate the title with a comma then it looks absolutely ridiculous to follow this with a string of postnoms not separated by commas. Depends how you read it. To my eye, the post-nominals are not titles, so there is no clash; and the smaller size emphasises that these abbreviations are a different type of entity. Neither you nor anyone else had cited any source to justify what you believe to be obvious, nor any source to justify the insistence on no-small-with-commas. Both are just handed down ex-cathedra.
just shows your agenda here. You think postnoms are antiquated and should be disposed of. Indeed, my agenda is simple: that we should follow the major sources. To be precise, en.wp should follow what the major Commonwealth biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias have done in the 21st century, and dispense with this relic. You have made it exquisitely clear that your agenda is to follow the antiquated form used in your cherry-picked set of more minor publications. As the lead of WP:MOS says: "Plain English works best. Avoid ambiguity, jargon, and vague or unnecessarily complex wording." A string of obscure initials whose proponents espouse complex formatting rules is WP:JARGON, and not plain English. So yes, go on ... denounce me for my bad bad follow-the-major-sources agenda. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:14, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
"On the no-small-with-commas, see your own comments above.". I was summing up what another editor had said. I made no such assertion myself. As to your last point, it is you who is claiming postnoms are antiquated. Where is your evidence? A few publications that have never used them (even in a more class-conscious age). The evidence that they are still commonly used is far wider, including such "minor publications" as the BBC, Who's Who and the British Government website. Who is "cherry-picking" here? Claiming things are jargon on Wikipedia seems to me to commonly be the last resort of an editor who wants to get things deleted. Anything can be claimed to be jargon if someone else doesn't understand it. I have no agenda here, unless presenting information that is useful to readers as it is presented in the real world is an agenda. Personally, I always believed that was the purpose of Wikipedia. It is you who clearly wants to delete information because you have decided it is "antiquated". -- Necrothesp (talk) 11:35, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
So I note the usage by a) the major national biographical dictionaries of Commonwealth countries, plus the major English-language encyclopedia. Scholarly sources, all of them, as preferred by WP:RS.
And you cite the BBC website. Not scholarly.
But best of all, you cite Who's Who ... where the entries are written by the subjected. It's just a printed version of LinkedIn, and no more a WP:RS than that.
And drop the straw man tactics, please. You accusation that it is you who clearly wants to delete information because you have decided it is "antiquated" is utterly false, as you well know it to be. I have not argued for any information to be deleted; merely to omit post-nominals from the lede, and leave to the infobox and to an awards/honours section of the article.
This whole RFC was sparked off a discussion on my talk page where you blatantly lied to me about the history of the post-nom template (see [27]). Now you are at it again in the RFC itself. That's shameful conduct from any editor, and from an admin it's disgraceful. If you can't make your case without repeated bare-faced lies, please stay out of consensus-forming discussions. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:16, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
Who's Who (UK) is not Linkedin, it is the cousin to the ODNB for living people. It is not a vanity press publication nor do the subjects pay for their inclusion, it is curated by the editors based on notability. Once again, the MOS of the national dictionaries is very different to Wikipedia: "Adam, Sir Ronald Forbes, second baronet (1885–1982), army officer, was born on 30 October 1885 in Bombay, the eldest son of Sir Frank Forbes Adam, first baronet (1846–1926), a Scot who was a well-known industrialist in Lancashire and Bombay, and his wife, Rose Frances Kemball (1863–1944), daughter of C. G. Kemball, former judge, high court, Bombay." [28] would not at all be classed as an expectable opening sentence of an article here. Reliable sources do not have to be "scholarly", they have to be "published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy" (one thing the BBC, for example, has a strong reputation for). If you have access to the ODNB, you will see that it links to Who's Who at the bottom of each relevant article (ie thoses who has a Who's Who when alive), and the Who Was Who (the last Who's Who entry for deceased)links to the ODNB.
A couple of recent obituaries from The Times (another highly reputable, but non-scholarly RS): "Major-General Edwin Beckett, CB, MBE, soldier, was born on May 16, 1937." [29] and "Lieutenant-Colonel Tony Streather, OBE, soldier and mountaineer, was born on March 24, 1926." [30]. You'll notice that even thought that paper is British, it uses the MM/DD/YYYY date formatting as that is its house style. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 18:42, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
You're mixing two different things. If the month is spelt out then there is no ambiguity and it is a common way of speaking. MM/DD/YYYY is a numbers only method which is ambiguous and to be avoided. What date is 05/09/1956? September 5th or May 9th? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 19:12, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
And perhaps more to the point, why should we care what Who's Who (UK) is doing? The very fact that their way of starting an entry "would not at all be classed as an expectable opening sentence of an article here" is a self-proving point that their own internal house style has nothing to do with ours.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  13:54, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment: isn't this a request for comment about the size of post-noms? It already states in the MOS "Post-nominal letters should be included in the lead section when they are national or international honours or appointments issued by a state, or a widely recognized organization, with which the subject has been closely associated.", so those arguing for their total removal are answering a different question than the one asked here. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 18:50, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes it is, and I'm sorry to have contributed to the digression. Let's please discuss the subject of the RFC only. Except that it should not be about the template default for the size of post-nominal letters, but what MOS:POSTNOM says about the size of post-nominal letter, which the template should implement. As it stands, MOS:POSTNOM has no guideline about size, therefore there's no justification for any template default other than 100%. — Stanning (talk) 15:50, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
  • 85% less distracting. Xxanthippe (talk) 21:34, 9 December 2018 (UTC).
  • Comment (Summoned by bot) I added "style and naming" to the RfC template so Legobot will recruit people interested in this sort of issue.  I dream of horses  If you reply here, please ping me by adding {{U|I dream of horses}} to your message  (talk to me) (My edits) @ 05:00, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
  • (Summoned by bot) Prefer 85%, but no matter what size is chosen definitely standardise. Dreamy Jazz 🎷 talk to me | my contributions 10:33, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Prefer 85% also, as I always thought it looked quite nice that way, but agree with above that no matter what size is ultimately chosen, we should stick to a specific size and style. Definitely agree with using {{Postnominal}} for them, as being able to hover over each to know what they mean is a good thing. And perhaps it already works this way, but if the template doesn't support a particular post-nominal, it shouldn't get used as a post-nominal until consensus agrees that it should be added to the template. CThomas3 (talk) 20:09, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
  • 100% for accessibility, clarity and sense. 100% is the default for almost everything in the standard article, so it seems nonsensical to solely decrease the size of postnominals. The significance behind the letters is why a number of articles exist, after all. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 06:08, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
  • 85% in first sentence of lead, 100% elsewhere. Postnoms are already an exception to MOS:ACRO, might as well also have a smaller text size (in the first sentence) to imply they are non-crucial information for the reader who can't decipher the alphabet soup and doesn't want to chase links. Elsewhere in the lead and body, there's room to write them out in full and no reason not to have them at 100% like any other acronym. I'd rather see them moved down from the first sentence but that's beyond the scope of this RfC. – Reidgreg (talk) 16:36, 24 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Eliminate use of post-nominals in the opening sentence. Most of the discussion above focuses on what size is less distracting--that would be 0%.Glendoremus (talk) 05:34, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
  • 85% should stay, as I don't see a compelling reason to change it, and it looks good. The MOS section already implies that this is the intended style, where it says This template needs the |size=100% parameter when it is used in an infobox, or its output will be too small. I wouldn't hurt to make the 85% more explicit there. Dicklyon (talk) 02:25, 5 January 2019 (UTC)

Side matter: commas between post-nominal abbreviations[edit]

This is a basic English usage matter, but has especial import here because a construction like "OFM Cap FSA Scot FRHistS" looks like five post-noms, but is actually only three, and should obviously be rendered "OFM Cap, FSA Scot, FRHistS". There is no comparable circumstance in which WP would omit commas from a list of anything, and at bare minimum the template for this should be using the commas by default, since it cannot predict the input, and editors cannot predict what the input should be except in the cases of the most exhaustively researched, non-living subjects for whom every single post-nom has been identified with absolute certainty and zero of them contain spaces. I fixed this at Template:Post-nominals but this fix was reverted with a demand for discusson, so here's the discussion.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  13:28, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

And now commas. You are truly evil, SM. EEng 13:39, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
My new avatar: Emblem-very-very-evil.svg.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  13:48, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Yet again, please let's keep to the topic. This RfC is about the size of post-nominals; commas are not just a side matter, they're a separate topic. — Stanning (talk) 14:19, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
    • Which is obviously why I put it under its own topic heading. [sigh]  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:20, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Yet again, please let's keep the horse before the cart. The template should implement the MOS. MOS:POSTNOM says that spaces or commas are both acceptable, so there's no justification for either to be default. SMcCandlish changed the default to commas; I would be perfectly justified in changing it back again. If commas should always be used, as SMcCandlish wishes, then the MOS should say so. — Stanning (talk) 14:19, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
    • Blatant straw man fallacy. An argument that the commas being the default is more practical is not an argument to include them mandatorily, by definition, or an option to override to a no-commas form of output would not be retained. Moreover, the MOS:POSTNOM section favors commas (both listing that option first and requiring it for certain constructions, plus it also has to be interpreted in light of MOS:COMMAS, which doesn't encompass any sort of exception for this, either for post-nominals in particular or anything like an inline list of this sort regardless of topic). And the only reason MOS:POSTNOM says the commas are optional is because the template is doing it that way (i.e., it's a WP:FAITACCOMPLI). A weak argument can probably be made to sometimes omit the commas, when no confusion is likely to result, but the case for having no-commas be the default is farcically, transparently flawed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:57, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
  • There's no need for blanket default commas simply because some post-noms contain spaces. Actually, the template can predict the input: only the codes shown in its country lists are acceptable. With a bit of coding, the template could insert commas even if they're not specified, where any codes in the input will result in spaces in the output. — Stanning (talk) 14:19, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
    • Your technical observation is meaningless even if it were correct (which it is not), since the template does not auto-include commas when the output contains spaces; here's proof: DSO & Two Bars Hon RA QC (Can). Your argument is easily reversed, with better results: There's no need for blanket default "no commas" simply because some post-noms do not contain spaces. Defaulting to commas is in agreement with normal English usage of the comma, and with MOS:COMMA, while removing them is not. There are many cases in which omitting the commas will produce interpretation problems, but literally zero cases in which including them can do so. You're also wrong about the template's functionality: it supports arbitrary input (and if it defaults to no-comma output, then the input the average editor is going to give it will also be no-commas to match). Please actually read a templates documentation before making assertions about its operation. We're also engaging in other poor practices just to avoid commas, like stripping spaces to run constructions together: FRHSC(hon), but doing so inconsistently: QC (Can). Your implication that the template's current behavior is a carefully considered and well-honed machine is hogwash; the template is a palimpsestuous mess that contradicts our house style, general English usage, and itself, but for no good reason.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:45, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Default usages to commas while no commas is permitted by MOS:POSTNOM, defaulting to commas is not forcing editors to choose that style. It's perfectly valid to default it either way. My personal thought is that there is far less chance of a situation that McCandlish illustrated above happening with the default to commas; we aren't restricting anyone from explicitly choosing spaces for aesthetic value, but we would be erring on the safer side of introducing ambiguity. Yes, the code could probably be changed to try to detect spaces, but I would discourage that for two reasons: one, it's going to be a relatively finicky change and probably will require quite a bit of work and debugging, and two, it will potentially result in unexpected output by users who may not understand why they are seeing commas when they are expecting not to, or vice versa. CThomas3 (talk) 01:01, 24 December 2018 (UTC)

Capitalization of titles[edit]

Please note the discussion regarding the rule on capitalizing titles of people on the general MoS talk page, which relates to a discussion whether "president" should be capitalized as often as it currently is. Thanks, UpdateNerd (talk) 18:09, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

  • I wonder if there's an official consensus on whether to capitalize a title in sentence such as: "Richard Nixon served as the 37th President of the United States." Since it uses the phrasing "served as", emphasizing the title rather than the office, it leads me to think that it should be capitalized. Either way, it would be helpful it it were added to the MOS as an example. See the George W. Bush article for a use-case scenario. UpdateNerd (talk) 09:49, 25 December 2018 (UTC)
    @UpdateNerd: One question: Are you aware of any other editors who make that interpretation? If not, let's not seek a resolution to a non-existent dispute. ―Mandruss  10:27, 25 December 2018 (UTC)
    @Mandruss: I don't know of anyone else, and I could be way wrong. But according to the MOS, it depends on whether a title is being denoted. Not whether a number appears before the job title. UpdateNerd (talk) 10:43, 25 December 2018 (UTC)
    [31]. And I could be way wrong suggests that you think there is some objective "right" in this stuff, but it is not so black-and-white. ―Mandruss  10:50, 25 December 2018 (UTC)
    Not objectivity, but consistency. I suggest that "Richard Nixon served as the 37th president" be added to the MoS examples for when not to capitalize the title, as it comes up naturally enough. UpdateNerd (talk) 12:13, 25 December 2018 (UTC)
    Again, I suggest we wait and see if that's needed. It could very well turn out that the community will generally accept uncaps for this form without your proposed example, considering that you're the only editor we know of to whom this has even occurred. MoS should fix demonstrated problems, not anticipated problems, particularly problems anticipated by only one editor. ―Mandruss  12:24, 25 December 2018 (UTC)
    The phrasing is used on the George W. Bush and Dick Cheney articles, so if anyone reverts those changes, they might at least have a point (as I did for the sake of argument). In my mind, it would save time to figure it out at the high level, rather than possibly have it disputed on the individual articles. But as you say, maybe no one will do so. UpdateNerd (talk) 09:12, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
User:UpdateNerd - the MOS directives seem (still) struggling with how to word that. The phrase “President of the United States” is always a title (capital P) as is “Prime Minister of the United Kingdom”. Any use of a generic like president can be a title if a proper name specific “of” is given, such as “14th President of Ghana” (more formally “President of the Republic of Ghana”), “Leader of the Conservative Party”, “Governor General of Canada”, “President of Xerox”, etcetera. The word president would also be capitalised when used as a prefix title “President Obama”, and for the United States official form of address “Mr. President”. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 09:03, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
GoodDay apparently went through last night and changed the first sentences in most if not all of the POTUS/VPOTUS articles. However, the infoboxes are stylistically different in their use of the phrases, and likely the rest of the articles something else. Personally I think the phrase should be capitalized, but I'm not going to war over it. I would suggest more discussion and less haste.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:11, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
I suggest making it lowercase in the infoboxes and other places as well, as I initially attempted to implement here and here. UpdateNerd (talk) 09:15, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
@UpdateNerd: What's your rationale for lower-casing the infobox |office= parameter, which has no modifier? This is structurally the same as the JOBTITLES example: "Richard Nixon was President of the United States." ―Mandruss  11:31, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
@Mandruss:, the formatting has since changed, and the parameter should now read: "1st president of the United States". The number coming before the title is the reason I believe it should be lower case. UpdateNerd (talk) 11:44, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
@UpdateNerd: I was about to say that I figured that out. Sorry for the diversion. ―Mandruss  11:47, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
I would oppose 'lower-casing' in the infobox. GoodDay (talk) 16:37, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
We're having a slight problem on the infoboxes concerning another matter, btw (i.e. how to show vice presidential vacancies & multiple presidents/vice presidents years served). GoodDay (talk) 17:27, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Wehwalt - I am trying to restrain the mad impulsiveness, additional voices are desirable. There seems many times more usages of the prior long-standing consensus to capitalise when followed by a proper name (“President of Ghana”, or “President Bush”), and noting examples had both examples “was President of the United States” and “was the president of the United States”. I have reverted “queen of the United Kingdom”, but it seems skipping BRD into BRRR, and remarks sound like this isn’t the first time of capitalisation edit wars. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 02:30, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
The trend is toward 'lower-case' & therefore in the coming weeks, I'll be changing intros of presidents, vice presidents, prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, cabinet officials, governors-general; etc etc. GoodDay (talk) 02:40, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
(Just a note for record... being debated at various spots with some cases leaning one way, some the other.). Markbassett (talk) 12:08, 10 January 2019 (UTC)

Proposing addition to guideline re: life years[edit]

For the first time since I began editing WP in 2006, I have encountered resistance here to having the life years of a subject's parents included in the article. For consistency, I think we need a guideline on this issue so as to know what to add, sourced of course, or remove in hundreds of biographies. My attitude has long been that if & when (please note! if & when) it is relevant to mention the names of the parents, children or spouses of subjects, when those people themselves are not otherwise notable, then the life years of those persons are as relevant as their names and are an integral part of expected, interesting and relevant biographic information for our readers. Before I continue to edit any more such items, it would be interesting to see what consensus might arrive at, and I've chosen this forum to bring up the question.

Proposal (addition to guideline:) If & when it is relevant to mention the names of the parents, children or spouses of subjects, though those people in themselves are not notable, their well-sourced life years are also relevant in parentheses after their names. This also would pertain to non-notable people mentioned in other types of articles, if the life years add clarity to their relevance.

I invite everyone interested to opine constructively. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 03:36, 15 December 2018 (UTC)

MOSBLOAT. If this is the first time in 12 years it's been a problem, we don't need a guideline on it. Editors on some articles might decide to include it, some might omit it. There might be different considerations in different cases. That's normal. EEng 03:40, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
It can take tears of experience here to be able to identify an inherent problem at all. I strongly believe in consistency, and I've tried to word this proposal carefully enough to cover different considerations, unless those considerations are purely personal POV (which we have too much of) rather than encyclopedic relevance (which should be all that matters). In any case I do not think my proposal deserves to be dismissed out of hand as if it isn't even worth discussing. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 04:05, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
Looking at your essay WP:MOSBLOAT I find "There is a manifest a priori need for project-wide consistency e.g. "professional look" issues such as consistent typography, layout, etc. – things which, if inconsistent, would be noticeably annoying, or confusing, to many readers" - exactly what I mean here. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 04:11, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
(Gosh, I'd forgotten I'd written that -- thanks for reminding me.) Sorry, I cannot agree that relatives consistently having or not having birth-death years given falls under "things which, if inconsistent, would be noticeably annoying, or confusing, to many readers". For one thing, such information isn't always available, so even if we somehow decided it ought to always be included, it frequently wouldn't anyway. I suggest we wait to see what others think. EEng 05:18, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose First of all, in biographical articles, we try to include the names of parents and children, where known, for prosopographic purposes. Second, with regard to the use of dates in parentheses, my opinion is that (1) It looks terrible; (2) the information is not always available for every person mentioned in the article; (3) the inclusion of birth dates, even when I know them, is problematic for living people. Hawkeye7 (discuss)
Prosopographic sounds dirty. EEng 06:35, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
It's a big word to masticate on.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:13, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per EEng and Hawkeye, basically. I would add that including such trivia is a journalistic style not an encyclopedic one (pandering to "human-interest" urges), and WP:NOT#INDISCRIMINATE policy will militate against the inclusion in the average case. It's sometimes relevant when the individuals are notable, but it's meaningless most of the time when they are not. No one cares when the father and mother of, say, William A. Spinks were born and died, unless RS tell us there's something significant to it (e.g. that Spinks suffered a great depression upon the death of his mother or whatever; didn't happen that we know of in his case). There are numerous cases where the death of a parent results in a life-change for our article's actual subject, e.g. taking over a family business or ascension to a throne. If that didn't happen, the details aren't useful to include. Including these dates for spouses seems generally relevant, though often not for divorcees, especially if the ex-spousal relationship pre-dated the subject's notability.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:13, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

Two MOSBIO discussions at WT:MOSCAPS[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see:

Not sure why those were posted over there rather than here.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:04, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

Effect of wikilinks on JOBTITLES[edit]

Re: [32][33]

This may be another thing where we should wait and see if it's really a problem; I could accept that WP:CREEP argument having recently made it myself pertaining to a different MoS issue. That said, the case I have in mind is:

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is the 45th and current president of the United States.

I think the second wikilink may change how some editors parse the text. It may cause them to see "president of the United States" as a discrete unit, exempting it from the modifier rule.

I can't think of any situation where a wikilink should affect the capitalization, and I would probably question the cost-benefit of such added complication. My sense is that that would become another contentious can of worms that probably doesn't need opening, and my intent was to prevent that with a BOLD edit that I hoped would be accepted. ―Mandruss  17:10, 26 December 2018 (UTC)

The link you mention was very recently changed from "President of the United States", which many editors see as proper use and others have edited to lower-case, and should be reverted for all of the U.S. president pages that now contain it. Randy Kryn (talk) 17:15, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
What does that have to do with the topic of this discussion? It's just an example. If you're saying that the JOBTITLES consensus is meaningless because some editors disagree with it and have no respect for consensus, that completely wrong philosophical argument has no place on this page. ―Mandruss  17:31, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Mandruss He and others in larger consensus discussion are saying that “President of the United States” was/should be capitalised, as should “Queen of the United Kingdom”, “Prime Minister of Canada”, etcetera. JOBTITLES text says to capitalise titles, but it seems the examples just got confused on the theory that a “the” before makes it non-capitalised. They show “was President of the United States”, and “was the president of the United States”. But those are equivalent so there should make no difference. It isn’t what goes before that decides whether to have capitals, it’s the “of the United States” that makes it need to be capitalised. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 18:09, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
It's not a "theory", it's a Wikipedia consensus. You may feel that "those are equivalent", but the community consensus is that they are not equivalent. That's the reason for part of bullet 3 at JOBTITLES ("the" is a definite article), and the reason for those examples. And I reiterate this. ―Mandruss  19:47, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Mandruss There is clearly a number of confused questions and diverse readings on what the language means at affected articles plus objections on contradictions and just wrong results so... needs further discussion and phrasing work. Bulletin 3 apparent contradictions and example table lack of explanation seems to me the area most needing revision, but I would not be surprised to see other text altered as well or instead. The language is causing confusion, objections, and mistakes so Denial a bit less already. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 05:04, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
Mandruss's interpretation is correct. I would know, since I constructed most of the examples and did most of the overhauling of that section, which was discussed (repeatedly) in detail. The examples were constructed with rather exacting care. And even the "was President of the United States" case is one that would not be capitalized by more and more RS these days; MoS still saying to capitalize that much is probably a compromise position that is probably just temporary. I expect in a few years for the entire section to be much simpler and to not capitalize titles except when used as part of a name string, as in "President Donald Trump", and when the title is itself the subject, in a words-as-words manner, as in "The title President of the United States ...". This would actually be more consistent with more current off-site style guides.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:08, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
Well that suggests only rephrasing work to lessen the confusions ... However I believe that the example itself is not only unexplained by text but is incorrect and the phrase "President of the United States" (or "Queen of the United Kingdom") should always be capitalised and not just sometimes. per RS including WEIGHT of government and media usage and references such as the GPO style manual which specifies this and the occasional grammar guide such as Elements of Grammar (companion volume for Elements of Style) which happens to illustrate their grammar rules with an example of Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 04:46, 31 December 2018 (UTC)

Infoboxes of presidents[edit]

An editor (starting yesterday) has begun fiddling around the infoboxes of presidents, by altering information of vice presidential vacancies. Also alternating how we show multiple vice presidents in an infobox (i.e. FDR) & multiple presidents in an infobox (i.e G. Clinton & Calhoun). GoodDay (talk) 17:21, 26 December 2018 (UTC)

Offices and ordinals[edit]

What is the point of emphasizing that Trump is the "45th President of the United States"? Or that Robert Gates was the "22nd United States Secretary of Defense"? Please feel free to comment at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Politics #‎Ordinals and offices. Surtsicna (talk) 17:34, 26 December 2018 (UTC)

Concerning the US presidents & vice presidents, numbering have usually been in the reliable sources. I'm less certain about cabinet officials. GoodDay (talk) 17:37, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
It's a traditional thing with the president, but I don't think RS are regularly doing this with vice-presidents and other officials. Looks like a case of "monkey see, monkey do". I.e., someone saw it in a president article and started applying it more broadly. If RS are not doing this, then it's a WP:NOT#INDISCRIMINATE matter.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:10, 30 December 2018 (UTC)

A suggestion for the transgender/birth name debate[edit]

I thought of an idea for those who think the current Wikipedia "carve out" policy regarding birth names and transgender people is unfair (including me): If one has legally changed their name for a personal(a) and non-marriage-related(b) reason, was never notable under their original name, and requests to have their birth name redacted from the lead, then we would honor their request.

(a)This means that their name change was motivated primarily by reasons relating to their personal lives and not for example due to taking on a pseudonym like a stage name for professional purposes and later making that their legal name.

(b)In general the treatment of maiden (or the male equivalent) names would not change, except in cases such as where one is trying to disown their birth family.

For example, if Bill Clinton were to contact Wikipedia asking that "William Jefferson Blythe III" not be shown in the lead of his article (for example in an alternate universe he was trying to distance himself from the Blythes), we would remove that from the lead since all of his fame was under the Clinton name.

In short, the only "special treatment" that transgender people would get is an "opt-in" for them but an "opt-out" for others.Okieditor (talk) 20:02, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

How about no? We should by default treat people with respect, including respecting their choice of name, rather than requiring them to jump over hurdles to get the respect that everyone else gets. Also, you've been doing nothing on Wikipedia other than pushing your ideas of how to handle names since you started editing in 2016. How about you find some other more constructive thing to do here. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:14, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
"Respect" would be not putting up one's birth name against their will regardless of the reason for the name change - not creating an exception for one group.Okieditor (talk) 20:51, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
Transgender bios deserve 'no' special treatment. GoodDay (talk) 20:57, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
Agreed with David Eppstein and GoodDay. And if Bill Clinton asked us to suppress "William Jefferson Blythe III" we would not do so, since this isn't CensorToMakeTheSubjectHappyPedia.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:12, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
Some exceptions apply; see storeBLP for details. (And also WP:BLPREQUESTDELETE, in an entirely different section.) --Izno (talk) 18:10, 30 December 2018 (UTC)

Should "nèe" be italicized?[edit]

Please see this discussion about an apparent conflict between MOS:MULTINAMES and MOS:FOREIGN. A consensus decision here would be appreciated. Thanks. – Jonesey95 (talk) 00:37, 2 January 2019 (UTC)

surname pages[edit]

I would like to invite comment to my quested posted in VP about surname pages Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Treat_surname_pages_like_disambiguation_pages?Coastside (talk) 15:50, 7 January 2019 (UTC)

Discussion at Talk:Manifest (TV series)#Initials[edit]

 You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Manifest (TV series)#Initials. Joeyconnick (talk) 01:15, 9 January 2019 (UTC)