Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters

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RfC: Should an "a-prefixing" guideline be added to MOS:CT?[edit]

NAC:There is no consensus on any one answer, but no one supports option 4, and there was only one support for option 5. This can be said to be an RFC with too many choices, but a better view is that this is a process of elimination. Publish a new RFC with only options 1, 2, and 3. In the meantime, no consensus, which means leave articles as they are without edit-warring, and wait for the second RFC. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:33, 11 February 2016 (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.

Should an "a-prefixing" guideline be added to WP:Manual of Style/Capital letters#Composition titles? Currently, different constructions are used for WP article titles: "Frog Went A-Courting", "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall", "Hear My Train A Comin'", "Here We Come A-wassailing", "Hold On, I'm A Comin'", "A-Hunting We Will Go", "Keep A-Knockin'", "The Times They Are a-Changing", "Train Kept A-Rollin'", etc. The current guideline addresses capitalization for composition titles, but not for "a-prefixing" ("a-Comin'" vs "A-Comin'", etc.).

A recent discussion has identified several options ("Hear My Train A Comin'" is used to illustrate the differences):

1) Titles should reflect what is found in a preponderance of reliable sources, regardless of capitalization or use of a hyphen – "Hear My Train A Comin'"
2) Titles should be standardized to a lower case "a" and hyphen – "Hear My Train a-Comin'"
3) Titles should be standardized to an upper case "A" and hyphen – "Hear My Train A-Comin'"
4) Titles should be standardized to an upper case "A" and hyphen, but lower case second part – "Hear My Train A-comin'"
5) Any combination of lower and upper case is acceptable, as long as a hyphen is used – 2), 3), or 4)

Which of these is preferable for a guideline for all composition titles? —Ojorojo (talk) 20:34, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

For me, option #5 is the most reasonable by far. That's the one I support. Chapa1985 (talk) 15:03, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support #3) "A-Comin'"— Using a hyphen is the most common and lower case should only be used with good reason. —Ojorojo (talk) 16:29, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support #1, but where there is disagreement or variation over what most reliable sources say, default to #2. Incidentally, this raises wider issues over "incorrect" or variable song titles - it would probably not be hard, for instance, to find an example of "Hear My Train a-Coming"; and I started an article on "I Walk on Guilded Splinters", the original but "wrong" title of the song. So, because of the variability element and because we should report what sources say rather than rewrite them according to our own "rules" or attempts at consistency (not something for which the English language is noted), we should stick to the most used version wherever possible. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:50, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
The problem with #1 is that since Wikipedia has its own page about capitalization rules, we should always try to have consistency. If not, then why even have this page with capitalization rules here at all? If people continue to use outside websites for song title capitalization references, they are going to contiune to clash against Wikipedia's rules, and we'll continue to have lots of arguments over and over. Chapa1985 (talk) 21:43, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Not "rules", "guidelines". As with any guideline, "...it will have occasional exceptions." Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:23, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
Then in that case, the exceptions regarding capitalization of song titles need to be pointed out in the MOS:CT page. Chapa1985 (talk) 19:50, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support #3 - hyphenated for sure, first letter of each hyphenated word to be all upper case per The Gregg Reference Manual regarding titles. Atsme📞📧 00:21, 3 January 2016 (UTC) To clarify - I did not mean "all" letters should be uppercase, rather only the first letter of each word in a hyphenated word in titles. Example, the book, Frog Went A-Courtin, capitalizes the a-prefix in the title. [1] 17:16, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Atsme, I haven't been able to find anything under "a-prefixing" or "a-verbing". Could you quote the appropriate section? —Ojorojo (talk) 21:10, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Ojorojo, I found a Business Writing article that may work better because it explains the style in the Gregg, Microsoft and Chicago manuals: [2]. Also, Headline-style capitalization - For titles capitalized headline-style, Chicago now prefers capitalizing the second element in hyphenated spelled-out numbers (e.g., Twenty-Five). And, in general, Chicago no longer recommends making exceptions for short or unstressed words or to avoid the occasional awkward appearance. 8.157–59. [3] Atsme📞📧 06:18, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the references. They don't specifically address "a-prefixing", but it appears that the first letter in hyphenated words should be capitalized. Gregg and Microsoft seem to prefer capitalization of the second word also; your Chicago quote also seems to agree "And, in general, Chicago no longer recommends making exceptions for short or unstressed words or to avoid the occasional awkward appearance [in the second word]". —Ojorojo (talk) 19:30, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment – It's been three weeks and #3 is the only option that has a resemblance of a consensus. Are there any strong objections to adopting this as the guideline? —Ojorojo (talk) 20:33, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
I'd say go ahead with #3 then. Chapa1985 (talk) 15:15, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Support 1/2 almost per Ghmyrtyle.
  • # We should not be changing the titles of songs by hyphenating. We can change the capitalisation though.
  • # We always adopt a "down" casing, where there is an option.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 00:30, 16 January 2016 (UTC).
  • A request for closure by an uninvolved editor has been added to Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Requests for closure#Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters#RfC: Should an "a-prefixing" guideline be added to MOS:CT?. —Ojorojo (talk) 16:35, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
    • I came here from this request and can't see that any consensus can be drawn from this discussion. Probably best to stick with what the sources say where possible for now, and post an RfC in a more active venue. Sam Walton (talk) 22:54, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
      • We should stick with what the guideline says. It provides for accepting unusual stylization iff an overwhelming majority of sources all consistently agree for that particular case. That is sufficient and workable. If we need a more active venue, it's WT:MOS.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:49, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Support 2 for the exact same reason we do not capitalize "the", "of", "from", etc. Option 3 is invalid and should be struck; MOS is not based on any specific external style guide, but considers the views of all major ones, when it's not already obvoius what to do. The "capitalize it" options fail MOS:CAPS: Do not capitalize without necessity, or when in doubt (there is obviously doubt here, and the capitalization is not necessary, so capitalizing this fails both tests). Agree this needs a more active venue; WT:MOS is the most obvious one.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:25, 29 January 2016 (UTC) Clarified, 03:06, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Support #1, but whenever there is disagreement or variation over what most reliable sources say, default to #2 - always with the understanding that in each and every case italicisation is used to make clearer that these are the titles of artistic works. BushelCandle (talk) 09:55, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
    • Only some kinds of titles go in italics; many (song titles, the most common locus of this kind of dispute) go in quotation marks. And which "reliable sources" do you mean? Are you including the entertainment industry press, who largely just do whatever the studios/labels want them to? Or do you mean RS that are totally independent of genre fankwankery? Aside from that, are you distinguishing in any way between mainstream journalism and academic material? And so on. Just saying "do what most reliable sources say" is like saying "do what is right"; it sounds good, but in practice is subjective and essentially meaningless.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:46, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
      • I don't mind quotation marks or italics, just so long as there is one or the other. And, fair point about my politician-speak ;) BushelCandle (talk) 16:31, 11 February 2016 (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.

Capitalize universe?[edit]

This has been inconsistent, since half of the articles capitalize it and the other half do not. So I'll ask: should "universe" be capitalized when referring to our universe? Should it be capitalized in "physical universe", "Gold universe", "zero-energy universe", etc.? Should similar ideas like "multiverse" be capitalized? Personally, I suggest Universe be capitalized when referring to our universe, just as "Moon" is capitalized when referring to our moon. However, models or features of the universe, like static universe, should be left uncapitalized as they do not refer to the Universe itself, but a concept of it. --Are you freaking kidding me (talk) 00:39, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Moon is capitalized only when referring to the astronomical body. You can write "the moon rose" with lowercase, since it's more about the appearance, not in an astonomical context. Similarly with earth. We had a megadiscussion about universe not long back, and I think it came to a similar conclusion, though I don't recall how the consensus was expressed (if there was one). Dicklyon (talk) 01:14, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Ah, here it is. There was support for this option: "Option 3. Shall The word 'universe' be capitalized when used in an astronomical context to refer to our specific Universe?" So now you just need a rationale way to decide what makes it "an astronomical context". Dicklyon (talk) 01:20, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
So what do you suggest? --Are you freaking kidding me (talk) 01:39, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
There's only one universe. Drmies (talk) 01:40, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
I argued for a style like NASA's, too, which is more consistent with MOS:CAPS, but our astro project people had different ideas. I linked and quoted the result of the big multi-option RFC, in which the close said that only "Option 3" was supported. Dicklyon (talk) 05:32, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, but it was far from unanimous or unqualified. Drmies (talk) 05:51, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
I support universal use of lowercase in this case. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:23, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
You're in plenty of good company, but not in the majority, it seems. Dicklyon (talk) 06:48, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Drmies #3 had consensus to support the wording. AlbinoFerret 12:16, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Wait, was a consensus already met for option 3? If so, then isn't the entire problem settled? Just capitalize Universe? --AYFKM (talk) 07:22, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
    • Well, it's not that easy, as I think Dicklyon indicated above, and it depends on "astronomical context". Drmies (talk) 14:50, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
      • Er, so it's accepted that our "universe" be called the "Universe"? And all we have to do now is define a context? --AYFKM (talk) 21:00, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

If you want to know the full story, keep reading after the closureAstronomical Capitalization Issues and the request for review-Request for review of close at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters#Request for comment - Capitalise universe. The issue was (and still is) that there was an inherent contradiction wrt the close for options one and three. This was only exacerbated by procedural issues arising from how additional options were added, the validity of these and how editors chose to respond to these in light of their perception of their validity. as I read it, there is no consensus. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:21, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

Indeed, the only thing that's clear is that there's no appetite for any hard-and-fast rule here. Dicklyon (talk) 03:37, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
  • So, should we start another discussion on the talk page? Maybe then we'd reach a consensus? AYFKM (talk) 04:19, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
    • Are you new here, or what? Dicklyon (talk) 04:23, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
      • Yep, I am. AYFKM (talk) 04:57, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
        • Here's how it works: there's a broadly supported consensus at MOS:CAPS to not overcapitalize; to capitalize proper names and such that are almost always capitalized in sources, but to user lowercase in WP where caps are optional. However, each individual topic area tends to fight to capitalize their own stuff. The birders, the breeders, the astronomers, the train buffs, etc., each tend to stalement discussions about rationally applying MOS:CAPS to their areas, even when a great number of style guides and official organizations do it as MOS:CAPS suggests. If you have a new way to break this stalemate in the case of the astronomers, good luck with that. Dicklyon (talk) 16:31, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
WP:SSF goes into detail about all that, for anyone new to what's been happening with regard to such "issues".  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:10, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Should generally be lower case (same goes for "multiverse", "universes", etc.). If someone wants to make a pro-capitalization case for specific special uses (e.g. a religion or spiritual movement that refers to the Universe or Multiverse the way Christianity refers to Heaven), they're welcome to make that case. But as in the a- prefixing matter just above, the MOS:CAPS rule still applies: Don't capitalize if in doubt, or when unnecessary. There is clearly doubt, and a preponderance of style guides do not require this to be capitalized (the exact opposite is the case), so capitalizing it in general uses fails both MOS:CAPS tests.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:10, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Extending the "one-letter lowercase prefix" rule to multiple-letter prefixes[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Mooted by opening of RfC immediately below this thread.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:35, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

This discussion is related to a now-closed one at Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 131#Talk:tvOS

Currently, Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters#Trademarks says

Trademarks beginning with a one-letter lowercase prefix pronounced as a separate letter, followed by a capitalized second letter, such as iPod and eBay, are written in that form if this has become normal English usage. [...]

Conventionally, Wikipedia articles usually give the normal English spelling in the lead, followed by a note such as "(stylized as ...)" with the stylized version, then revert to using normal English for the remainder of the article.

and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trademarks#Trademarks that begin with a lowercase letter says much the same thing.

This causes problems for trademarks beginning with, for example, a two-letter lowercase prefix pronounced as separate letters, followed by a capitalized third letter, such as tvOS. I think any sequence of initial lower-case letters pronounced as separate letters, followed by a capitalized letter, should be written in that form if it has become normal usage, so that tvOS is treated the same way as iOS. Guy Harris (talk) 23:57, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

But the one-letter is accepted English. If one starts down that road, where does one stop: "diycoyoydoyxoyxUFUFUFUF" anyone?! No thanks, the lead in the article perfectly explains the marketing variant usage by the company concerned, without having to have it clutter-up whole artcles, and all the other articles on WP which may refer to it as well. This has been discussed in various ways ad infinitum on WP, and has understandably for an encyclopaedia, been rejected. Hence the WP guide saying: "Conventionally, Wikipedia articles usually give the normal English spelling in the lead, followed by a note such as "(stylized as ...)" with the stylized version, then revert to using normal English for the remainder of the article." Jimthing (talk) 07:01, 11 January 2016 (UTC)


The current Chicago Manual of Style says "Brand names or names of companies that are spelled with a lowercase initial letter followed by a capital letter (eBay, iPod, iPhone, etc.) need not be capitalized at the beginning of a sentence or heading, though some editors may prefer to reword." It also says "This departure from Chicago’s former usage recognizes not only the preferred usage of the owners of most such names but also the fact that such spellings are already capitalized (if only on the second letter).", so this is a new policy; it will be interesting to see whether they change it further in the future.
The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, 5th edition, says "Generally render a name as the company does; consult the company website." and "When a company name calls for unconventional capitalization, heed any preference that requires up to three capitals in a word: eBay (but EBay for the first word in a sentence or headline)." They also say "Trademarks and service marks should be capitalized in news articles..." but also say "iPad, iPhone, iPod. But uppercase as the first word of a sentence or headline.", so they don't appear to have a general rule for trademarks of that sort.
The Associated Press style manual is similar to the New York Times manual, with similar rules for company names, a specific mention of eBay, a general rule that trademarks should be capitalized, specific rules for iProduct names, and no rule for tvOS.
So what I'm seeing for English is 1) exceptions for eBay, iPod, iPad, iPhone, etc. and 2) no mention of tvOS, which might reflect only its relative newness.
And if I search for "tvos site:nighttime.com", most of the hits are quoting somebody else - press releases, etc. - or quoting it as part of a vendor's product name ("Brightcove Native SDK for tvOS") and might not reflect any official New York Times decision, whether it's saying "tvOS" or "TVOS", both of which appear in quoted text. The Los Angeles Times has at least one article where they refer to it as "tvOS"
So,at minimum, I'd vote for Wikipedia to at least accept whatever updates, if any, are made to the style guides of various newspapers, and, if newspapers that adhere to the New York Times or Associated Press style manuals go with "tvOS", following in their footsteps. (And, no, I would have no problem with "diycoyoydoyxoyxUFUFUFUF", if that became common style.) Guy Harris (talk) 08:09, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
We should use whatever the reputable sources use. That is how it has always been on Wikipedia, whatever you say has to be backed up by reliable sources. It looks strange if we are making up different capitalizations to what the reliable sources use. The articles on Wikipedia should be written like they are going into a traditional, paper encyclopedia, and the paper encyclopedias use iOS, watchOS, tvOS, etc. Tom29739 (talk) 16:33, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Again we are an encyclopaedia, so we use correct language usage, other so-called paper encyclopaedia's dont even have articles on WatchOS/TVOS so please don't make things up. And no, they wouldn't use the marketing spellings either, but would use a lead explanation as we already do and have done for years. Again, regardless of the style guides of other sources, we don't follow their's but use our own for reasons deeper than simple what a marketing department used at the time. THAT is how it's always been on WP – as a relatively new user, please don't make things up, as more experienced users are going to not respect anything you have to say when you go down that path. And please STOP mis-editing pages claiming MOS allows you to, when it certainly does not!
Let me quote the MOS again for you: "Conventionally, Wikipedia articles usually give the normal English spelling in the lead, followed by a note such as "(stylized as ...)" with the stylized version, then revert to using normal English for the remainder of the article."Jimthing (talk) 08:56, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Its a mistake to say we follow the sources for style matters. We do try to be aware of current usage, and the main style guides, but Wikipedia MoS is unique and in some cases unusual.
As far as this particular issue is concerned I am not particularly wedded to our existing policy, though it seems a reasonable choice. There is nothing wrong with Ebay, Gmail and Ipod - the lower case letter is meant to be pronounced as a letter, following the paradigm of e-mail. Using caps to imply pronunciation, especially in the inverse of the normal manner is not intuitive. Thus TV-os would normally be pronounced "tee-vee-os" (however on pronounces "os").
Should some subsequent consensus decide to abandon idiosyncratic capitalisation of brands altogether, I would be quite happy.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 00:24, 16 January 2016 (UTC).
I strongly agree "Its a mistake to say we follow the sources for style matters." A triumvirate pushed that into this page (or maybe it was at MOS:TM, or both, I forget) about a year ago, and I "reserved the right" in exchange for withholding further objections to tweak it to not be so broad (i.e., it did not have consensus when inserted, just an agreement to test it and see how it would work out, which has been poorly). It's probably time we had a proper discussion about that and adjusted it. It has been leading to an increase in "my favorite music magazines spell it 'Do It Like A Dude" so WP has to also, or else" nonsense in a growing number of RMs. This needs to be reined in.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:31, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Moved comment to RfC below.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:23, 29 January 2016 (UTC) Collapsed, 03:35, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

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

RFC for multiple letter capitalisations in the MoS[edit]

The Wikipedia Manual of Style does not currently have any solid guidelines on how to capitalise trademarks with multiple capital letters, such as 'tvOS', 'watchOS', 'webOS', etc. The only guidelines I can find currently are:

Editors are divided over which forms to use, e.g. whether to use 'exampleOS', 'ExampleOS' or 'EXAMPLEOS' and whether to use different forms at the start of sentences, etc. The Manual of Style needs some guideline to use because the current ones do not give a rule to follow for this situation. Thanks, Tom29739 (talk) 15:18, 31 January 2016 (UTC).

(Presumably "how to capitalise trademarks with multiple capital letters" should be "with multiple leading lower-case letters", e.g. the 't' and 'v' in "tvOS", the 'w'/'a'/'t'/'c'/'h' in "watchOS", and the 'w'/'e'/'b' in "webOS".) Guy Harris (talk) 20:31, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Question – If this is a real problem, where can we find examples of cases that have been argued? If they're being settled satisfactorily, maybe we don't really need to say anything in the MOS? Dicklyon (talk) 16:07, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Is this really an issue? Trademarks are specifically registered, so if the trademark is, for example, "FiOS," then that's how we should write it. Similarly, we should respect the registered capitalization at the beginning of a sentence; Apple products come to mind immediately. — Jkudlick • t • c • s 16:26, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

@Dicklyon:Examples of cases that have been argued are at tvOS, watchOS and Apple TV. Tom29739 (talk) 17:18, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Oppose – catering to the whimsies of trademarks® beyond the first letter. I even object to CamelCased tradenames. Cheers! {{u|Checkingfax}} {Talk} 17:59, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
This isn't yet a proposal, so it's not being voted on, and presumably Oppose means "I think that if the policy is made to explicitly address trademarks such as "tvOS", it shouldn't allow "tvOS" -" without saying anything about, for example, "TvOS" vs. "TVOS". Guy Harris (talk) 18:54, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Opinion – OK, now that we know what it's about, I am forming an opinion. We usually start trademarks with a capital letter, and don't user other caps except for initialisms (and sometime CamelCase). But we sometimes allow for initial lowercase, like in k.d. lang (which is her registered tradeamark). The initial lowercase is often there to indicate reading as a letter, as opposed to as a part of a work, as in eBay, iPod. In the case of WatchOS, no initial cap is needed, and in fact some book sources do capitalize it, so we're choosing from among existing styles if we do, too (for title and sentence initial, or maybe always). So that leaves tvOS; it's a funny case, being pronounced letters but not quite an initialism; "tv" is not like "watch", an initial word, since "TV" for television would normally be in caps. So "TVOS" would suggest the correct pronunciation as letters, but if all the sources use "tvOS", I'd say that's OK. It shouts less than TVOS, and suggests a parse as an OS for a TV. If we go with tvOS, I would never capitalize it; like eBay and k.d. lang in that respect. That's what I'm thinking at present, at least. It's not clear the MOS needs to have more on this, though. Also WT:MOSTM might be the right place for the discussion, since it's more about trademarks than about general caps guidelines. Dicklyon (talk) 01:12, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
    • Addendum: I don't find any examples on apple.com of staring a sentence with tvOS. If we are to "follow the vendors" (not a great idea in general), we ought to at least follow this example of not starting a sentence with a lowercase trademark. Dicklyon (talk) 05:55, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Match the vendor's capitalization, except where it can be shown that this isn't generally done in most sources. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 06:07, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I'd extend the iPod rule to tvOS but not allow watchOS or any other capitalization exception for things like this that start with a complete word. If we ever encounter a situation with a lowercase-long-abbrevation-prefix we can address it at that time; certainly something that is marketed as like aarpOS or noaaTV would be a little more problematic. AgnosticAphid talk 19:25, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • IFF there's a clear and incontravertible preponderance of notable sources giving a particular rendering, go with that (of course; otherwise the reader will possibly be confused by seeing an unfamiliar letter sequence). Otherwise, use our normal style guides (proper nouns start with a capital and are lower case after that and so forth). What the legal trademark is, or what the trademark owner prefers, is absolutely and utterly no concern of ours. (I believe that this is pretty much our de facto rule; thus you see here that everyone writes "iPod" and no one writes "Ipod" or any other scheme, thus we use "iPod"; but only entities that have established a reasonably large corpus of references and have the references mostly using their capitalization scheme get this treatment. Obscure entities doesn't, and entities that have failed to clearly establish their desired scheme as that which third parties use also don't.) Herostratus (talk) 20:20, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose extending the one-letter rule. I'll just copy-paste what I said in the original discussion above (and there was no need to fork out an RfC while that discussion was still active):
Reputable sources are not consistent on this, MoS doesn't toe the party line of any single style guide, and WP is not written in news style but academic style, so we're unlikely to import "rules" from journalism style guides if they don't agree with more academic ones. Chicago seems to have the same approach we do – don't let your head asplode about it if it's at the start of a sentence, but rewrite to avoid – but want to generalize it much farther than MoS does, to all trademarks, while MoS wants it only for one-letter ones. We have a right to come to that consensus. The existence of a handful of things like "tvOS" that don't quite qualify under this rule, can simply be WP:IAR exceptions. It is correct that we don't want something like "supermagicOS"; then we're wandering into MOS:TM conflict. The only way we'd accept something like that is if, as with Deadmau5, reliable sources overwhelmingly consistently use the stylized version. (That's also a valid reason to use "tvOS"; I'm skeptical more than a handful of sources call it "TvOS" except where their stylebooks force them to at the beginning of a sentence, or that more than few, unfamiliar with the subject, call it "TVOS".)
Short version: Just rewrite to avoid beginning sentences with something like "watchOS is ...", so WP doesn't look like it's composed from teenagers' text messages. We need no new rule here.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:17, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • See also the thread Wikipedia talk:Article titles#The wording "a significant majority of sources written after the name change", which raises the "overwhelming use in sources" issue more broadly.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:35, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • It's pretty simple. Use the trademark name in the title and follow normal capitalization in article text. So, tvOS in title and when the name is directly after periods, use TvOS (but you ideally shouldn't start a sentence with a trademark name). --117.194.236.244 (talk) 06:01, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
    • The "simple" theory would seem to be in conflict with the idea that titles are in sentence case. Dicklyon (talk) 06:19, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Use common name would seem to apply, and if the one is referring to a proper name the trademarked goods, one uses the trademarked name, umlauts, capitalization, and misspellings/English variations intact (which is what we do with any other proper names, of which trademarks are a subset). For example, an article using American English referencing a certain political party in Britain will insert the very un-American "u" and call it the Labour Party. Similarly, Th. Schneider, we use the "Th." abbreviation which is French, rather than the normal English abbreviation of "T." We use Ph.D. not Ph.d. or some other formulation. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 17:45, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
    WP:COMMONNAME does not and never has applied to typographic stylizations (Alien3 vs. Alien 3), only what the unstyled name is (Alien 3 vs. Alien Three or Alien III). Style is an MoS matter. MoS (per MOS:TM) allows for a handful of "do not mimic trademark stylizations" exceptions where RS usage overwhelmingly prefers the stylized version (iPod, eBay, Deadmau5, but not "P!nk", "facebook", or TIME); part of the cost of that concession is "do not write mangled sentences that begin with a lower-case letter." WP:COMMONNAME is uninvolved in any way except in article titling of notable subjects (which thus also influences their treatment in prose). For something non-notable (or something notable and which is not given overwhelmingly consistent treatment in RS), it's all MOS:CAPS and MOS:TM. The other cases you're comparing are not actually comparable. It's Th. Schneider because the other language's rules are different, not because it's a trademark. It's Labour Party because WP:ENGVAR doesn't allow us to force American spelling on British subjects. They're different rules, that in some selected examples accidentally have superficially similar results sometimes. There is no other language or dialect in which "exampleOS" is a grammatical rule that would be violated by normalizing it to "ExampleOS". There are a very large number of trademarks stylized with lower case at the start or throughout (cf. "facebook" again), but we don't treat them that way here. WP:COMMONNAME (which is based on simple majority use in RS) tells us what the name is: Is it "Facebook" or "Face-Books" or "Book of Facing"? MOS:TM and MOS:CAPS say "OK, it's 'Facebook', and it's trademark-styled 'facebook'. Do virtually all RS style it that way? No? Then WP doesn't either. That TM analysis is why we do have Deadmau5 and iPod and do not have "TIME" magazine or the singer "P!nk".  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:32, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
    ...exceptions where RS usage overwhelmingly prefers the stylized version ...
    In other words, WP:COMMONNAME does apply to stylization, but requires that we look at usage across all WP:RS and not merely the trademark holder. — LlywelynII 15:34, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Use the variation most commonly found in reliable sources: I see absolutely no reason (that is not just straight-forward, and frankly neurotic, linguistic prescriptivism) why we would not follow WP:COMMONNAME principles in this instance. Certainly proper names of individuals vary considerably with regard to where capitalization is employed, owning to cultural variation, and we don't second-guess those based on some abstract and non-empirical sense of propriety. And this isn't just a matter of consumer products that use atypical orthography for branding purposes; there are any number of technical topics (including some associated with trademarks) which employ acronyms or variations on scientific shorthand which would be confused by using another approach here. For the sake of the accuracy of our content, the ability of our readers to find and recognize it without issue, and the general principle of WP:Neutral point of view, we ought to be using the most common spelling/orthographic conventions associated with any topic in WP:reliable sources--be it a person, a product, or a gene. Attempting to make all of the disparate topics that appear on this project consistent our expectations of what makes for "proper English" is non-sensical for the purposes of encyclopedia building and obviously against numerous major content guidelines adopted by this community. Snow let's rap 01:31, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
    The comment above has been responded to at #Extended discussion.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  18:27, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Sentence case Proper nouns have been starting sentences forever, and they are capitalized. Re-writing the sentences to avoid beginning them with proper nouns seems convoluted to me and unnecessarily bows to the proper noun (and company) in question. As for the few proper nouns that are so famous that any capitalization variation risks stunning the audience: The list is so short that I think they can be dealt with on an individual basis. "Ipod" (or, possibly, "IPod") may look ghastly to some (I include myself) compared to "iPod", but it started a sentence, and it's considerably shorter to leave iPod as the opener than concoct a roundabout to avoid it. Fdssdf (talk) 05:23, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
    There's no "convolution" or "roundabout" involved in writing "The iPod is..." instead of "[I|i]Pods are...", anyway. There is no showing by anyone that writing around this is difficult or problematic in any way. If anyone objects to "IPod" as somehow unconscionable, they can just tweak the sentence to not start with "iPod".  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  18:27, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree that "convolution" approaches hyperbole. However, I stand by my dubbing it "roundabout": Simply dropping in an article to the beginning will pose problems later in many constructs, and additional, yet minor, changes will be necessary. Do we really want to create all this added work if this RfC becomes something more concrete within the MoS? Cheers. Fdssdf (talk) 17:12, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Follow the reliable sources as a natural extension of WP:COMMONNAME. As Snow Rise said above " Attempting to make all of the disparate topics that appear on this project consistent our expectations of what makes for 'proper English' is non-sensical for the purposes of encyclopedia building and obviously against numerous major content guidelines adopted by this community." Couldn't have said it better myself. Calidum T|C 19:01, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
    • Which reliable sources for what? Do you mean reliable sources on English usage, or you do mean topical sources like entertainment industry magazines in favor of weird capitalization and other stylization because the do whatever the labels/studios want them to do?  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:41, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Use common English usage. This will be the most easily understood form, and it avoids the constant rule creep characteristic of MOS. Nyttend (talk) 00:34, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Extended discussion[edit]

@Snow Rise: There's no challenge in writing "The iPod is..." instead of "[I|i]Pods are...". It's far more important that readers be able parse our sentences correctly than they be presented with the exact typography most common for a trademark, especially when most times they'll either already be at the trademark's article, or it will be linked. English actually does "second-guess" capitalization in precisely the manner you object to; all major style guides say that with a surnamed like "di Nunzio" to write it as "Di Nunzio" if you begin a sentence with it. If one continues to object to this, then rewrite to avoid beginning the sentence with it. It's really that simple. MOS has nothing to do with PoV notions of what is "proper" English, on what is expected English in a formal writing register, by an audience that includes millions of English learners not familiar with every nuance of every writing style, including tech journalism's fondness for sentence beginning with thing like "iPods are..." And WP:COMMONNAME does not apply to typographic stylization anyway; see above.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  18:27, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

SMcCandlish, I think you've read quite a bit more into my comments than was stated in them. The question of the RfC, as I read it, inquires first and primarily as to which elements of a word we capitalize, all things being equal. I did not say (and did not mean to imply) that we should preserve the lower-case at the beginning of a sentence or in other grammatical/syntactic contexts where the application of a capital is generally expected under descriptive rules. I was only speaking to the fact that forcing prescriptive orthographic conventions on every instance of every branded/trademakred word is broadly against our community consensus on following the sources in how we present our content. I tend to agree that the easiest way around this issue in the context of, say the beginning of a sentence, is to employ wording that moves the noun out of sentence-initial position, provided it doesn't create its own kind of semantic or stylistic issues in doing so; so, to borrow your example, "The iPod" vs. "IPods", the latter of which would clash with a convention likely to be employed elsewhere in the article. In instances where the word-initial position cannot be avoided (I can't think of any examples where that would absolutely be the case, but I imagine they might arise), editors will just have to use their best judgement as to which consideration is most important, but I'd personally gravitate towards capitalizing the sentence, per the almost universal rule of usage in English. But in any event, the main thrust of my initial comments is that the approach of forcing "iPod" to be rendered as "ipod" or "Ipod" everywhere in articlespace, just to avoid this discontinuity, is by far more problematic and inconsistent with our content guidelines, for the reasons discussed above. Snow let's rap 23:12, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
@Snow Rise: You're right, I misunderstood the nature of your argument as being the same as that espoused by someone else (i.e., that we really should begin a sentence with "iPods are..."). To explore some this stuff in more detail: When it comes to the broader question of "should we call it watchOS, WatchOS, Watchos, WATCHOS, watchos, Watch-OS, etc., for any notable topic that would have been a WP:COMMONNAME-filtuered-through-MOS:TM argument, but one that is already over; that got decided at the article title level already and we have no reason to title the article one way then switch to a different spelling in prose. MOS:TM can come into play at that stage, as when a trademark is styled in all-caps but is not an acronym, we lower-case it, including in our article title, Time (magazine) being the canonical example).

For any non-notable topic (like a minor product from a notable company), the entire problem is that insufficient reliable, independent sources exist (that's the definition of non-notable), so COMMONNAME is never in play, since it's also tied to sources, and a non-notable thing doesn't trigger any article naming matters to begin with, since it will not have an article. That leaves us nothing to go on but MOS:TM and MOS:CAPS, and we wouldn't run with any weird stylization, much less violate basic English grammar rules to do it. If Microsoft includes some non-notable timer app in Windows 11 and its splash screen reads "Windows egg timer", "WINDOWS EGG TIMER" or "wINDOWS eGGtIMER" we wouldn't render it that way. (We'd take "Windows EggTimer" at face value, because common sense tells us that "studly caps" camelcasing is demonstrably conventional in software naming; i.e. that wouldn't be an implausible styling and would almost certainly be reflected in RS if any ever bothered to write about this trivial app).

Anyway, I, too, can't think of any sentence-initial position for something that cannot practically be reworded, except in a quotation. Even at the start of an article; we are not abound to use something like "qOS is an operating system for smartphones released by Foobarco in 2016", when we can write "Foobarco qOS is an operating system for smartphones, released in 2016". [shrug]

For the broader question, "watchOS" is already an "overwhelming use in sources" matter, so it's exempt from MOS:CAPS / MOS:TM. If some new flavor of Linux comes out next month with vendor styling as "existentialismOS", we'd capitalize the initial E per standard treatment of proper names, until such time that it was demonstrable that virtually all independent, secondary RS called it "existentialismOS". This frequently comes up with stylization of TV show titles and the like (an outlying case might be something like xyzFoo where xyz is an acronym, and Foo some word or fragment. It would be conventional to write that as "XYZfoo" or maybe "XYZFoo", but people might go along with "xyzFoo" on a WP:IAR basis. I remain skeptical because the potential for confusion is too high. If I release a device that auto-blocks phone calls from American companies and call it "usaBlock", I wouldn't expect many people in the real world to take that stylization very seriously.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:55, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Acronyms section cleanup[edit]

I've cleaned up the acronyms section a bit to accomplish all of the following:

  • Clarify that the FOO vs. FoO vs. Foo vs. foo options are not random, but have rationales and are based on reliable independent sources.
  • Clarify that following sources on spelling does not mean following them on cutesy stylization, per MOS:TM (we needed to cross-reference MOS:TM, anyway, since many of the acronyms editors deal with are trademarks).
  • Provide more examples, including of outlying cases (acronyms with "&", with numerals, etc.)
  • Cross-reference WP:NOR, about not making up fake acronyms (one of the naming conventions pages mentions this, too, but people shouldn't do it in prose, either)
  • Note that WP does not use the New York Times's bizarre "Unesco" and "Nato" style.
  • Remove someone's anti-"initialism" vocabulary activism
  • Perform misc. copyediting.
  • Address probably the #1 acronym typo on Wikipedia, the sloppy use of aka for AKA or a.k.a.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:29, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

I've made some changes. The style of "Unesco" or "Nato" is not particular to The New York Times, but is instead a standard practice in British writing, and is used by the likes of the BBC and The Guardian. The root of this is the distinction between acronyms (pronounced as if they were a word) and initialisms (each letter is pronounced individually), which is not followed by this style guide. RGloucester 22:45, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
It's also less hit-you-between-the-eyes obtrusive and unreasonably emphatic on the page. Shades of am / PM. BushelCandle (talk) 09:59, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
When I get time, I'm going to work on some improvements to our small caps templates to see about using one to slightly reduce the size and or weight of acronyms. In the interim, consensus has not suddenly changed in favor of "Unesco" on WP. It's a journalism thing (you're right, I'd forgotten that The Guardian also does it), but an uncommon one, and it's virtually unknown in more formal writing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:29, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
If you ever finish that template, please ping me so I can start using it... BushelCandle (talk) 16:33, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
It is perfectly common in British formal writing, and not just a "journalism thing". I agree that Wikipedia should not and does not use this form, per WP:COMMONALITY. However, I have no qualms in saying that I personally prefer it. RGloucester 20:14, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

VPP Discussion notice[edit]

It has come to my attention that we have two guideline pages that deal with essentially the same issues: MOS:CAPS (this page) and WP:NCCaps. When you have two guidelines covering the same territory, there is obviously a high potential for conflict between the two pages. Since the potential for conflict involves more than one page, I have raised the issue at WP:VPP#Guideline duplication (the potential for conflict) for broader community input. Please share your thoughts there. Blueboar (talk) 18:50, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

The VPP thread was closed as a duplicate; discussion continues (about, e.g. merging WP:NCCAPS into MOS:CAPS) at the WT:AT thread linked in the hatnote.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:39, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Plaques in all-caps ?[edit]

Should they be reduced per MOS:ALLCAPS: "Reduce proclamations, such as those for the Medal of Honor, from all capitals"? I wondered about this after coming across a case at Brock's Monument. Modal Jig (talk) 19:31, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Yup. As far as I know the only exceptions in these types of cases are Latin inscriptions, mostly on coins. Primergrey (talk) 21:46, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I remember that Latin inscriptions are not exempted: MOS:TEXT#Foreign terms, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Text formatting/Archive 2#Latin (language) and all-capitals. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 02:24, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
My mistake, yes. Primergrey (talk) 06:57, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
You weren't wrong. The policy and linked discussion both carve out a space for SMALLCAP LATIN in the case of inscriptions and particularly where u/v might be problematic. That said, most of the sources are going to use standard modern caps most of the time and that is what we should be using in place of smallcapping all Latin text. — LlywelynII 15:26, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, certainly. It's a problem as well when dealing with sources in German, where business names are often written in all-caps even if they're not acronyms. See here for an example I've recently come across. Blythwood (talk) 07:48, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
As noted above, I intend to work on small caps templating. The ones we have right now are total crap. One forces everything to lower case (affecting re-use, even copy-paste), and the other doesn't do anything to manage the HUGE SIZE IN YOUR FACE problem, etc. I have it worked out in my head how to build the options needed to use this style in a sane ways that MOS would accept (and which will agree with some conventional uses off-WP), but actually coding it will take time.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:32, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

The word "like"[edit]

Should the word "like" be capitalized within titles (excluding situations where it is the first word of the title)? I came across Template:Did you know nominations/Love Me like You where an editor cited MOS:CT for the capitalization of "like", though this page currently doesn't say whether it should generally be capitalized or not. Snuggums (talk / edits) 03:37, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

For further clarification, obviously the verb, noun, adverbial, adjectival, and conjunctive senses should be capitalized and that's covered. The problem is that like followed by a noun is usually glossed as a four-letter preposition (Wiktionary/OED). This page suggests that the prep. should not be capitalized and that was picked up by "Love Me like You" [sic] and "Love Me like You Do" [sic], two songs whose likes are universally capitalized elsewhere but are being treated oddly here (WP:OR) because of this guideline. Are we just going to go it alone? or follow WP:ENGLISH WP:COMMON names? or is this just a four-letter preposition that should always be capitalized? — LlywelynII 14:55, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

My own opinion, fwiw, is that we can make it a general policy to always capitalize it or follow WP:COMMON usage, but we should not have a guideline here that encourages editors to park pages that ignore the formatting used by every WP:RS on their subject. — LlywelynII 15:19, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
  • This is already answered in the guideline: {{tq|"The words that are not capitalized (unless they are the first or last word of the title) are: ... Prepositions containing four letters or fewer (of, to, in, on, for, with, from, etc.; but see below for instances where these words are not used as prepositions)." Hint: like in the constructions in which you are seeing it lower cased in titles is a preposition; it would be capitalized in a construction like "That's the Way I Like It" (verb).

    All major style guides off Wikipedia also advise this rule, but set varying cutoffs (3 letters, 5 letters, or vaguer constructions like "short" or "common" versus "long" or "uncommon", etc.). MOS picked a reasonable middle ground. Like all compromises of all sorts, not 100% of people will be happy with it, but the the compromise must be accepted for dispute to end and productivity to resume. Otherwise, those in favor of a 3-letter cutoff will be forever fighting with those in favor of a 5-letter one. This "issue" is now obviously WP:PERENNIAL. We do not second-guess every single line item in guidelines. Just accept them as compromises we agree to work under, and move on. MOS is internal documentation for how to write here; it is not an an article. It reflects internal consensus on what is best for the project and its readership, taking into account external conflicting sources, internal sources of conflict, the nature of writing in an encyclopedic tone and Register (socio-linguistics), and the needs and expectations of the broadest audience. This necessarily means avoiding jargonistic style from particular camps, since every camp's style preferences will conflict with those of the next camp over. Wikipedia is not a platform for advocacy of particular preferred style nitpicks found in a single off-WP style guide or in-crowd. Whether the entertainment press likes to capitalize these things is irrelevant; WP is not journalism much less entertainment journalism, and such publications usually derive the majority of their income from entertainment industry advertising, so they are not independent sources on this question. We accept rare style-rule exceptions, like "Deadmau5", "iPod", but only when independent, high-quality, reliable sources do so with near-total consistency.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:09, 11 February 2016 (UTC)