Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Time periods

Such as the Jurassic have capitals. How about the middle ages or Middle Ages? Cold War. Post War? Inter-War years? Victorian era or Victorian Era? Rich Farmbrough 23:01 12 April 2006 (UTC).

How about Hurricane Emily or hurricane Ivan, were they Category 2 or category 2? Rich Farmbrough 12:46 11 May 2006 (UTC).
I'd definitely say "category 2"; for your other questions see "historical periods" below. --Espoo 09:42, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Protocols & Standards

JA: There has been considerable discussion on Talk:Border gateway protocol as to whether the names of things like internet protocols and hardware standards should be capitalized. This has, of course, wide-ranging implications that go far beyond this particular article. We have had some difficulty finding anything in the MoS that is specific and unambiguous enough to resolve the issue. Jon Awbrey 03:28, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: The Capitalist Conflagration has burst the surly bonds of the border gateway protocol and is now being bandied about at points south of this heading. Jon Awbrey 05:01, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

See this link for an earlier discussion: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style archive (capitalization)#Capitalization of computer terms --Blainster 07:41, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Nations, nationalities, and ethnicities

Should we add the topic of nations, nationalities, and ethnicities isn't to the project page? Fg2 00:06, 7 July 2006 (UTC)


Can someone please quote here section 7.16 of the 14th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style? I only have the 15th edition, and neither it nor the Guardian Manual of Style seem to support the capitalization advice given in Wikipedia's style manual. In the 15th edition, chapter 8 is the relevant chapter, particularly sections 8.21, 8.23, 8.25, 8.26, and 8.29. They all call for a "down" style, which I think it more in line with the rest of Wikipedia. --Rob Kennedy 23:12, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Rob, what is a "down" style? Rich Farmbrough 09:25 6 August 2006 (GMT).
It’s a style that eschews excessive capitalization. It wouldn’t capitalize president unless used as a title in front of the person’s name, as in “Today President Bush signed a bill.” But it would not be capitalized in “Today the president signed a bill” or even “Today the president of the United States signed a bill.” Here are sections 8.21 and 8.22 of the 15th edition:
Capitalization: the general rule. Civil, military, religious, and professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus used as part of the name (usually replacing the title holder’s first name). Titles are normally lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name (but see 8.22). See 8.25–29 for many examples. For abbreviated forms, see 15.11–18.
President Lincoln; the president Dean Mueller; the dean
General Bradley; the general Governors Edgar and Ryan; the governors
Cardinal Newman; the cardinal
Although both first and second names may be used after a title (e.g., Vice President Dick Cheney), such usage is generally avoided in formal prose. Note also that once a title has been given, it need not be repeated each time a person’s name is mentioned.
Dick Durbin, senator from Illinois; Senator Durbin; Durbin
Exceptions to the general rule. In formal contexts as opposed to running text, such as a displayed list of donors in the front matter of a book or list of corporate officers in an annual report, titles are usually capitalized even when following a personal name. Exceptions may also be called for in promotional or other contexts for reasons of courtesy or politics.
Maria Martinez, Director of International Sales
A title used alone, in place of a personal name, is capitalized only in such contexts as a toast or a formal introduction, or when used in direct address.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister.
I would have done it, Captain, but the ship was sinking.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Wikipedia isn’t in the business of courtesy or politics, so I don’t see much call for exceptions to the general rule. --Rob Kennedy 19:30, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
I should add a quote from section 8.2:
The “down” style. Chicago generally prefers a “down” style—the parsimonious use of capitals. Although proper names are capitalized, many words derived from or associated with proper names (brussels sprouts, board of trustees), as well as the names of significant offices (presidency, papacy), may be lowercased with no loss of clarity or respect.
--Rob Kennedy 19:37, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm definitely down with that. Rich Farmbrough 14:43 23 August 2006 (GMT).

Institutions RE: Churches

Regarding institutions such as universities and hospitals the Chicago Manual of Style is clear on the use of capital letters. However, should we extend this to churches, such that we would refer to the Catholic Church, the church, and not the Church? That would seem to be my interpretation, but I do not have the CMS in front of me, so help would be appreciated. -- Bantab 18:03, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Sections 8.105–106 of the 15th edition appear to call for lowercase church unless it’s part of the “formal name of a denomination … or congregation ….” The Guardian Manual of Style asks for pretty much the same. However, I don’t think we would generally refer to “the Catholic Church” since the sheer length of the Catholic article suggests the term is ambiguous. Capitalization in that article definitely needs some cleanup. --Rob Kennedy 20:12, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Academic degrees

I think it would be good for Wikipedia to have a stated standard (or a stated lack of standard) on the capitalization of academic degrees. For example, should it be "John Doe earned a bachelor of science degree from Mars University" or "John Doe earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Mars University"?

Looking at the FAQs from the Chicago Manual of Style website, I find the following:

Q. Should one capitalize academic degrees? I am reading a quasi-academic journal and am wondering about the capitalization of three words in the following sentence: “He was hoping to use his Associate of Applied Science degree.”
A. Chicago style is to lowercase the degree (including the field) in running text and whenever it’s used generically. Generic uses (like the one in your sentence) often are introduced by “a” or “the” or “his.” Capitalize the name of a degree when it is displayed on a resume, business card, diploma, alumni directory, or anywhere it looks like a title rather than a description. You can’t go too far wrong with this if you’re consistent within a given document.

Perhaps we should emphasize the final point about consistency. –RHolton– 03:03, 9 August 2006 (UTC)


I notice there is no guideline here for the capitalization of the word "The" before a proper noun. In comics-related articles, editors frequently capitalize "The" when referring to characters with the word "the" in their names, such as the Joker, the Riddler, the Hulk, etc. Any suggestion on how to explain this to editors who do this? --Chris Griswold 08:53, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

I think the only justification for uppercase "The" would be if it is part of a title. So The Joker might be the title of an issue or episode, but "the" is not part of the character's proper name, so should not be capitalized in ordinary use. --Blainster 07:19, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Chicago says that the "The" can be subsumed onto the text, depending on context and appearance. So for example to avoid "the The Incredible Hulk's shirt was ripped" even to the extent of 'the "Incredible Hulk"'s shirt was ripped' - i.e. moving "the" outside the quotes. Also I would accept lowering the case of "the" when it is inside quotes, with the possible exception of the band "The The".
Rich Farmbrough 14:54 23 August 2006 (GMT).
At the Slot, Bill Walsh addresses the issue of when the is part of a proper noun and when it’s simply a definite article in the surrounding text.[1] Even if the full correct name is The Incredible Hulk, not every instance of that three-word sequence will use a capital T. On the other hand, Chicago (15th ed., §8.180) says the gets lowercased for all periodical titles, so even if you see the titles The New York Times or The Economist at your news stand, Chicago advises that you write the New York Times and the Economist (except at the beginning of a sentence, of course). This advice has the practical advantage that editors no longer need to check whether a publication happens to include the in its name. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to extend this policy to other names that start with the. --Rob Kennedy 16:56, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Capitalization in Bullets

Sue Anne stated that when doing bullets, it should be utilized like "Rules and regulations" instead of "Rules and Regulations". I wholeheartedly disagree with this, as whenever you bullet things, and bold it, it should be like "Rules and Regulations" instead of "Rules and regulations". This is so because it then makes the bullet and/or topic more attention-grabbing. From my standpoint, capitalization rules needs to be changed so that anything that's bulleted and bolded to describe a sentence/paragraph before it should be capitalized like "Rules and Regulations", and that headers should read like "Rules and Regulations" instead. I really hate to debate on this, but this rule needs to be changed. — Vesther (U * T/R * CTD) 02:15, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

The bullet, indentation, and bold typeface draw enough attention as it is. We needn't bash the reader in the face; this is not a Las Vegas casino. ptkfgs 21:47, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Vesther still disagrees

To me, the reason why I rely on caps is because if there was a section that describes something, then it would not look good to me (i.e. This Paragraph vs. This paragraph). "This header" doesn't look too good when it comes to describing a header, but "This Header" looks a lot better. I really stand for the fact that there will be times when I have to use caps.

About bullets, this is kind of subjective and arbitrary, but I still have a beef with capitalization usage. Same thing applies as with section naming. I tend to be loose if the bullet is just a paragraph, but I tend to get really stiff if there's bolded "things" describing what's contained in a paragraph (i.e. "What's here" vs. "What's Here:").

Overall, I have a real beef with some aspects of capitalization standards, when you start out a section, it should be capitalized with the exception of verbs. — Vesther (U * T/R * CTD) 22:20, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

You are not alone, others have found our style to be unusual. Nevertheless, it is our style and has been from the beginning. We're not likely to change it, as it would mean changing about a million articles. -Will Beback 22:23, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, that's the beef I currently have with the capitalization convention, as I do ask that this has to be changed, even though a million articles is going to have to be modified because of this. I wholeheartedly have to stay my course that the capitalization rules are flawed because of what I'm going through right now. — Vesther (U * T/R * CTD) 02:54, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Just because of what you're going throught? Let's ask what's best for the articles. And I think our articles are better off without superfluous uppercase letters. ptkfgs 03:05, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Given Sue Anne's harsh criticism, I still prefer "This Paragraph" to describe a header as opposed to "This paragraph". — Vesther (U * T/R * CTD) 04:19, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
A) I don't think my criticism was all that harsh.[2].
B) I don't see why it's being brought into this discussion.
C) I agree with what the other editors have said. This is a style choice based on The Chicago Manual of Style and is a better way of doing things and makes things easier to read.
--Sue Anne 05:13, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Objection to items A and C. For item A, you were acting way too harsh and impolite. For item C, given that you agree with people who favor Chicago style, I'm going to have to seek a WP:3O on this if by all means possible, as the exception to this is when you, for the least, describe headers. The Chicago Manual of Style shouldn't apply to headers. Not to be disruptive, but that is still my beef with WP's MOS. — Vesther (U * T/R * CTD) 22:14, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Vesther, you are welcome to seek a change in our manual of style. However please follow it while you are pursuing the change. Intentionally formatting articles in defiance of our MOS is disruptive. -Will Beback 09:50, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
I never defy the MOS, neither I do mass-editing unless it's for the benefit of the surfer. In fact, I don't edit articles that I don't know about (as I tend to leave those articles alone for almost all of the time unless I have to correct the coding), but I only edit the articles that I know about (i.e. the games I played all my life, the shows that I tend to like watching, etc.). :P — Vesther (U * T/R * CTD) 22:08, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia uses the same capitalization style throughout. Article titles and section headings both use the “sentence case” style, so only the first word and proper nouns get capitalized, just like a normal sentence. Wikinews uses the same style for its headlines. I see no reason to single out bulletted lists for a different style. Sentence case is easy to implement because it’s the same in all contexts — it requires less effort from editors. I think it’s also better for readers. When they read the text, they can be confident that when they encounter a capitalized word, it’s that way because it’s a proper noun. When you capitalize everything, capitalization no longer carries any weight. Other places are free to use title case, but let Wikipedia stick with sentence case consistently.

This “everything but verbs” style you mention is something totally new to me. Can you refer me to any publication that uses it? --Rob Kennedy 19:04, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Check out any newspaper article either on print or online. I hope that clears any confusion you might have (i.e., or — Vesther (U * T/R * CTD) 22:14, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
The Washington Post uses title case for its headlines (e.g., “Bush Staunchly Defends U.S. Strategy in Iraq”). The Chicago Tribune uses sentence case (e.g., “Cop kills attacking pit bull”). Neither matches the “everything but verbs” capitalization style you suggested. Could you please provide a specific example from either of those papers that demonstrates the style you’re asking for? --Rob Kennedy 22:43, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
OK maybe I'm too vague, but here's a good example on when to use caps when it comes to titles and headers. Hope this helps. — Vesther (U * T/R * CTD) 23:14, 21 August 2006 (UTC) P.S. If you insist, then I'll provide more.
Addendum:—check out this link as well. — Vesther (U * T/R * CTD) 23:15, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Your examples are of title case. Did you really mean to write that a section title “should be capitalized with the exception of verbs”?
There are different opinions concerning which words get capitalized in title case. The one I learned in school capitalized everything but unimportant short words (fewer than four letters). Chicago allows longer words to be lowercase, especially adverbs like through. Sentence case doesn’t give rise to this issue, though. In it, words are capitalized just like they are in regular body text.
So far, your only argument in favor of a different casing style is that it looks better to you, and you even admit that it’s a rather weak reason. You’re going to have to do better than that if you hope to sway Wikipedia away from its current style. (You’re also going to have to demonstrate that you have a clear idea of what you’re asking for, which your examples don’t accomplish.) --Rob Kennedy 01:29, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Political adjectives and person-nouns

I suggest that we add the following rule: communist(ic), socialist, liberal, conservative, libertarian, democrat(ic) and republican shall only be capitalized if they refer to a specific political party having the word (or a variant or cognate thereof) in its name. NeonMerlin 00:14, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

this page title

as the section dictates about headings, why isn't this page title "Manual of style"? --gatoatigrado 23:33, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

The title of this page is not a section heading, so the section-heading rule doesn’t quite apply here. Instead the title is governed by Wikipedia:Naming conventions#Lowercase second and subsequent words, which starts as follows:

Convention: Do not capitalize second and subsequent words unless the title is a proper noun

(Emphasis added) In the context of this article, Manual of Style is a proper noun refering to the document made up of the collection of related Wikipedia pages. It’s not just any style manual; it’s the manual for Wikipedia, and its title is Manual of Style. The University of Chicago Press and The Guardian happen to have chosen the same title for their respective style manuals, too, and all are capitalized. --Rob Kennedy 05:40, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Musical genre

I've added a rule over capitalization in musical genres, as I'm changing the capitalization of musical genres a lot lately and I felt it's about time to have a proper guideline over the issue. Michaelas10 (T|C) 14:10, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

incorrect spelling "Ancient Greece", "Ancient Rome", "Ancient Egypt", etc.

These kinds of spelling errors are very common in WP and this article doesn't seem to provide any guidance. See also Category_talk:Ancient_Greece#incorrect_spelling_.22Ancient_Greece.22.2C_.22Ancient_Rome.22.2C_.22Ancient_Egypt.22.2C_etc. and --Espoo 10:45, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

historical periods

Partly due to total lack of guidance for many fields on this project page, there is total chaos on WP in capitalisation in many fields, not just history, and the Lawyer Mania of Capitalising Every IMPORTANT Word and then 'adding' "OTHER" Means of emphasis is spreading like wildfire.

"Ancient Japan", "Classical Japan", "Pre-Columbian", and "Colonial America", are all spelled incorrectly. The accepted practice in this field (as shown by Britannica and those university and museum sites i found) seems to demand that these examples and in fact most historical periods be spelled without capitalisation. The only exceptions to this default rule seem to be major geological eras (even those unknown to the general public) and only those historical periods that are well-known and used in general English. The reason "Communist China" as the name of a historical period is capitalised is not because it's a period but because it's the name of a country and therefore a proper noun (despite not being the official name of the country).

I guess the reasoning is that all periods unknown to the general public are essentially descriptive and not really proper nouns; this is especially true of periods that are not clearly defined or that are defined in different ways by different authorities. says: historical periods and events Capitalize names of widely recognized epochs in history: the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Civil War, the Atomic Age, Prohibition, the Great Depression. Capitalize only the proper name in general descriptions of a period: medieval France, the Victorian era, the fall of Rome. For additional guidance, follow the capitalization in Webster’s New World Dictionary.

Looks like there is a huge amount of cleaning up to do on WP and looks like the misspelling of "ancient" that some of us have drastically reduced is only the tip of the iceberg... --Espoo 09:53, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

This not a misspelling - it is a difference in style. You may be more familiar with not capitalising, others are more familiar with capitalising. Both are right
I often see Ancient rather than ancient Greece, and Imperial rather than imperial Rome. I'm not convinced we need to dictate one particular rule. Let the authors of each article address style issues based on what is most suitable for the audience at which they are targetting the article. Different articles will be targetted at different audience. We shouldn't presume that a one-size-fits-all style is desirable here, jguk 18:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Can you cite some reputable sources where you've seen the capitalised spelling? As explained on Wikipedia:Categories_for_deletion/Log/2006_November_2#Category:Education_in_Ancient_Greece, the non-capitalised spelling is the established practice in both US and UK spelling on reputable sites and in other reputable sources and in the WP articles. --Espoo 18:05, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Just search on google to get a guide as to common usage, which is what I'm referring to here, jguk 21:54, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
That comment is too vague and doesn't support your claim. Did you even bother to look at the link i provided? My extensive research using Google to find reputable sites shows that "ancient" should not be capitalised and that is the general consensus on WP. --Espoo 06:12, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

The link you provided was to some guidance in a style manual. But the style advocated in that style manual is far from universal. See, for example, [3], [4], [5], [6]. Yes, "ancient Greece" seems more common than "Ancient Greece", but the latter capitalisation has a reasonable level of currency. Certainly enough for us not to say it is wrong. If authors believe a style using the latter is suitable for the audience they are targetting, then they should be allowed to use it, jguk 08:19, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

I didn't mean the link i quoted from. I meant this: As explained on Wikipedia:Categories_for_deletion/Log/2006_November_2#Category:Education_in_Ancient_Greece, the non-capitalised spelling is the established practice in both US and UK spelling on reputable sites and in other reputable sources and in the WP articles. That has this link with the following links to reputable US and UK sites that are much more authoritative than what you found: but "ancient" is not usually capitalised by careful spellers or reference works even in connection with other countries that don't have modern equivalents. e.g. "ancient Rome" (and the equivalent to "ancient Egypt" of "ancient Greece") in Britannica 2000 and on these reputable US and UK pages (I honestly didn't find or leave out contradictions): [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], Culture_of_ancient_Rome, Ancient_Rome (only one misspelling), Roman_Empire, History_of_Rome (several misspellings), etc.
The sites you provide are problematic, not reputable, amateur, or non-native English, and they either contradict your claim or their capitalisation of "ancient" is only one of many other aspects of their unprofessional editing and lack of expertise:
  • link 1) "the library is created by students"
  • 2) despite hype claiming to be "part of the Granada Learning group of companies - the leading force in UK Education, with a wide range of expertise in all key areas" the important info in that hype is that the site is made by a company, not an outfit that can hold a candle to the reputable sites i listed. It also has the following kind of sloppy and amateur capitalisation back and forth on : "Why did the Ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome have such large empires? This is a question that has caused a lot of arguments amongst historians. Was it as a result of their military power? Or did trade and peaceful contact with other countries have more to do with it? Travel back in time 3,000 years, explore the ancient empires of Egypt, Greece and Rome and decide for yourself."
  • 3) a Greek site, i.e. absolutely no authority on English spelling
  • 4) proves my point and disproves your claim: This link only misspells once with a capital in what may be an incorrect quote from a site whose link doesn't work ("Index of Maps of Ancient Greek World: This page provides an index to the maps of Ancient Greece..."), all other cases are headings. --Espoo 18:38, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
The links I provided demonstrate usage. I'd add that if individual editors did not sometimes adopt the same usage, you would not have the issue arising here. jguk 18:53, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
As i showed, the links you provided demonstrate amateur and unprofessional usage, and the only one that doesn't do that proves your claim wrong. I also checked out the links listed on that fourth site that you provided (e.g., and they all follow established museum and encyclopedia usage. In addition, all reputable sites i have found in extensive Internet research never capitalise "ancient" in this context. WP should follow established usage on reputable sites and in other reputable sources. I'm pretty sure you won't be able to find a single museum or university site in any English-speaking country that capitalises "ancient". WP is not interested in the sloppy usage demonstrated by your non-reputable sites. --Espoo 19:02, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi, Espoo let me know about this discussion through my talk page. There's widespread support, I think, for following what MOS implies and using "ancient Greece", "ancient Rome", etc. In addition to the evidence provided by Espoo, you can see the discussion at Talk:Gymnasium (ancient Greece). I have little doubt that if the same discussion were carried out on other classically-themed articles the result would be the same, and that's because most editors working on these articles prefer to follow the example of well-established academic usage. --Akhilleus (talk) 20:28, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Acronymns and initial capitals

Can anyone recommend which is correct in the case of Minimum Number of Individuals or Minimum number of individuals, which clearly need to be merged. Normal MOS would be for Minimum number of individuals, except that the community of people likely to look it up would expect Minimum Number of Individuals, because it is normally abbreviated to MNI, not mni or Mni. Viv Hamilton 20:31, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Both articles already get it right in the body text. They call it the minimum number of individuals. That should be the title of the article, but the first letter should be capitalized since we use title case for article titles.
Acronyms are created by taking the first letters of the constituent words and writing them together in capitals. That doesn’t mean that, to re-form the original phrase, we should keep the capitals. For example: CD, compact disc; IM, instant message; DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid; LED, light-emitting diode; etc. --Rob Kennedy 00:10, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
(Someone already beat me to it, but I figure I might as well post anyway.)
If the idea is to have a single article at one title, with the other article becoming a redirect to the first, then I don't think it matters too much how people are most likely to look it up; either way, they'll get the right article. So I'd say that it's more important to use the title that best conforms to Wikipedia:Naming Conventions. (That said, one of Wikipedia's naming conventions is use common names of persons and things, so the two issues are somewhat interconnected.)
I don't think the all-caps-ness of the initialism, taken alone, is reason to title-case its expansion; consider LED ("light emitting diode"), TV ("television"), LCD ("liquid crystal display"), BP ("blood pressure"), and so on. Indeed, it's my impression that all-caps are used for most non-acronymic initialisms, even when their expansions are all-lowercase; the only exceptions I can think of offhand are units of measurement (rpm, dpi, psi, etc.), various Internet colloquialisms (brb, lol, etc.), and a few common statistics initialisms (pdf, cdf, etc.).
That's just my opinion, though.
Ruakh 00:12, 14 November 2006 (UTC)


I'm planning to nominate template:scaps (see Interstate 469#Interchanges for an example of it in use - "U.S. Route 24 West") for deletion, since it violates Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters)#Directions and regions. Will I have support if I do so? --NE2 06:47, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm not convinced that this sort of use is what Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters)#Directions and regions is referring to. Even if it is, that's an argument for using {{scaps|west}} rather than {{scaps|West}}, not an argument for eliminating {{scaps}} altogether. —RuakhTALK 14:41, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
Either way, it's using capital letters to look "pretty", when lowercase letters contain the same informational content. --NE2 15:19, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it's using small-caps, which are not the same as capital letters. And if all we care about is informational content, then why do we even have a style guide? How does the existence of a style guide contribute to Wikipedia's informational content? —RuakhTALK 15:26, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
Huh? The style guide coordinates style so the information is easier to access. --NE2 17:31, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
So if, for example, an article had some Headings That Were Title-Cased and some Headings that had only the first letter capitalized, that would make the information more difficult to access? —RuakhTALK 17:59, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Can someone else give an opinion? Is it okay to throw style out because we want our articles to look like road signs? --NE2 08:24, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm not someone else (obviously), but I'll give my opinion that no, we shouldn't throw style out. I just don't think {{scaps}} does so. —RuakhTALK 13:47, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree. It seems the template’s entire purpose is to promote a style for directions in road-related tables. A noble goal. I don’t like the implementation of it, though. The template encodes a specific choice of style in its name. I’d prefer that the template be named, say, {{direction}} instead, so that if the preferred style for directions on road tables changes, the template can be editted without making its name meaningless.
However, I don’t think this is a good choice of style. Wikipedia articles are not road signs and are not subject to laws and guidelines governing the appearance of road signs. Just write the directions using normal case. Capitalized or not, I don’t really care. --Rob Kennedy 02:14, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Undue(?) absence of capitals

What to do with things that are clearly proper names, but don't have any capitals at all?

For instance, suppose the Derailing Ukuleles produce a CD with the following track list:

  1. country roads
  2. my bonnie hills
  3. hell is other people
  4. anonymous recursion

Now, I would change these to "Country Roads", "My Bonnie Hills", and so on, but not every editor does that. What is our policy on this? Considering these are proper names, I think they should have at least one capital at the beginning. About the others I'm not so certain, mainly because artists who do use caps vary in this respect.

Should we use the same rule we apply to all caps, i.e. "WAR BEGINS TODAY" → "War Begins Today", therefore "war begins today" should also become "War Begins Today"? Shinobu 04:40, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Proper nouns are ordinarily capitalized, but if the owner of a name chooses not to capitalize it, then that's what goes. The complication is, sometimes the track list that comes with the CD uses lowercased names as a cool (*cough*) stylistic thing, but then press releases and so on do use titlecased names. When this is the case, I think the titlecased names are the correct ones for Wikipedia's purposes. (Sometimes the lowercased form really is the correct form, though, as with e.g. "birthright israel", "eBay", and so on; in these cases, lowercased forms even occur on legal documents, articles of incorporation, and so on.) —RuakhTALK 20:15, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, but see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks)#Trademarks which begin with a lowercase letter. —RuakhTALK 15:43, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Although I agree with sticking to the way an artist names a song, with the artist's capitalization scheme, that rule applies only to trademarks. Song names are not trademarks. Nicholas SL Smithchatter 02:56, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
The capitalization guidelines of WikiProject Music are pretty close to the parts of our Manual of Style about proper names and trademarks and overall consistent with the title case we commonly apply to all other published works (i.e. books and films). Hence it would by "My Bonnie Hills". - Cyrus XIII (talk) 12:24, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Capitalization of "to be"

I was wondering what the conventions on forms of the verb "to be" in titles (in reference to albums, songs and the like) were. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to locate a page where Wikipedia's policy on this issue is outlined. I personally prefer to omit capitalization in such cases (Johnny Cash is Coming to Town instead of Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town; the former has been redirected to the latter, as is the case with Happiness is You), but if Wikipedia has a different opinion on the matter, I'll abide by the rules. Thanks in advance. Cromag 09:47, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

The forms of be are always capitalized in titles, as they're verbs. (I'm exaggerating slightly with "always", as you can always find an exception, but I've never come across a newspaper that doesn't capitalize forms of be when using titlecase.) Indeed, the only words that aren't capitalized in titles are articles (a, an, and the), the particle to in full infinitives, conjunctions (especially and and to a lesser extent or; details vary by house style), and prepositions (especially short ones; again, details vary). —RuakhTALK 16:47, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks a lot, I stand corrected. I'll start implementing this rule in my previous and future contributions. Cromag 13:32, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Airline Pages

I believe that Fleet tables as well as basic heading titles for categories should be capitalized. It is improper grammar not to do this. Also, fleet tables should be exempt from this policy as not many things look too good without being capitalized.-- 21:02, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

OK. Table headings are capitalized. Was there some dispute about that? You seem to be proposing a policy that headings of fleet tables be capitalized, but then you ask that fleet tables be exempt from that policy. I don’t understand.
Also, note that it’s not a grammar issue at all.
(And for those who were wondering, like I was, what a “fleet table” is, I’m guessing it’s simply the tables found in the “Fleet” sections of various airline articles, such as at United Airlines or Midwest Airlines.) --Rob Kennedy 22:50, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm guessing that means we should use title-case (capitalize almost every word) rather than just capitalize the first word. If so, I disagree, not because I'm a particularly big fan of the existing policy, but because I don't see why this is special enough to warrant an exception to an otherwise consistent policy. —RuakhTALK 23:33, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Fictional races from other planets

I don't know what is right and could use some help clarifying. Do you capitalize fictional races from other planets? For example: a person from Mars is a Martian, according to that article, in caps. Ditto with people from Melmac (planet) and others. But, as a species name, we don't capitalize "human". (But would "Earthling" be capitalized?) The debate is on the Dragon Ball articles where editors are going back and forth capitalizing and not-capitalizing names such as Saiyan, Namek, etc. Any thoughts on this? JRP 14:25, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

I'd say it probably depends on the source; if the source capitalizes the name of the race, then it should be capitalized, and if not, then it shouldn't. For example, the aliens in Nemesis are called "prokaryotes" (which is actually a normal biology term, referring to single-celled organisms without membrane-bound organelles), but the aliens in Star Trek are called "Klingons", "Romulans", etc. BTW, "human" is a bad comparison, because humans aren't currently thought of as an ethnic group; but if sentient races existed on other planets and we had serious interactions with them, then we'd probably start to think of humans as an ethnic group and start writing "Human". At least, so I'd think. (Maybe not, though; whites and blacks interact a lot in the U.S., and it's mostly only overt racists who treat them as ethnic groups and write "Whites" and "Blacks".) —RuakhTALK 16:45, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
You’re right in noticing that human isn’t capitalized, but Earthling is. Like Martian, it’s derived from the name of the planet, and so Namekian should be capitalized after the planet Namek. Various Star Trek races are frequently treated akin to nationalities, which is sufficient reason to capitalize them — would it be appropriate to think of the other Dragon Ball Z groups that way, too? --Rob Kennedy 19:10, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm in a similar position. A lot of Warcraft articles have the names of the races capitalized. At the WoWWiki, the editors have decided to keep the race names lowercase in the same way Blizzard refers to them in game. Example, the soldiers are of the tauren or night elf races. --Htmlism 22:20, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
How does Tolkien do it? Orcs, elfs, dwarfs, hobbits, ents, maia, etc. I seem to recall that most of the cases were lower-cased, but on the other hand, I do recall talk of Men.
In any context, I believe the way it works is that a species is lower-cased while a nationality is capitalized. So, regarding the original question, saiyans lived on the planet Vegeta, slaves to Freeza's empire. On Earth lives humans and furries, collectively known as Earthlings. –Gunslinger47 02:10, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
Firstly, Tolkien does capitalize the names of those races. Secondly, just an FYI, he writes not of "Elfs" and "Dwarfs", but of "Elves" and "Dwarves". ("Elves" is actually the universally-used plural of "elf", whereas "dwarfs" was the more common plural before Tolkien, and is still used except when referring to magical races.) —RuakhTALK 04:52, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
I forgot which way it was. I remember that he insisted on writing it one way or another and his editors kept "correcting" him. –Gunslinger47 22:32, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

I think it's not a question of "races". The point is that Mars is a proper name, which makes Martian a proper adjective, therefore capitalized. We don't capitalize "human", but would capitalize "Terran", for the same reason. (And surely we would capitalize Earthman; an earthman is presumably someone who sells dirt.) --Trovatore 07:33, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

After a colon

People are taught different rules about whether the first letter after a colon should be capitalized. This may reflect a difference in American versus British usage. Sometimes this gives rise to little disputes and edit skirmishes. As far as I can see the MoS is silent on the issue. I propose adding a small section to this submanual with the following suggested "compromise" rule:

Use a capital letter after a colon only if the colon could be replaced by a full stop.

In other words, only when the colon separates two sentences that each can stand on their own.

  • His next move surprised me: He extended his hand as if in friendship. (OK)
  • I desire many things: Chocolate, kisses, and love. (wrong; 2nd part not a sentence)

The proposed rule does not say that a capital letter ever should be used in this position, only that it may be used. What do people think?  --LambiamTalk 21:33, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I wouldn't read that sentence the way that you're saying you intend it; I realize that "only if" is sometimes used in math as the opposite of "if" (due apparently to a misunderstanding of the structure of "if and only if"), but in a non-technical context it does not have that meaning, and instead means the same as "if and only if". How about this instead:
Do not use a capital letter after a colon, except optionally in cases where the colon could be replaced by a full stop (period).
? —RuakhTALK 22:19, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I've removed the following for discussion:

Different rules exist also concerning the question whether the first letter after a colon should be capitalized. The following guidelines form a compromise between the various conventions in use.

  1. Do not use a capital letter after a colon.
  2. An exception to 1 may be made if the colon could be replaced by a full stop.

In other words, if you use a capital letter, do so only when the colon separates two sentences that each can stand on their own.

  • Correct: His next move surprised me: He extended his hand as if in friendship.
  • Incorrect: I desire many things: Chocolate, kisses, and love. (Here the second part is not a sentence.)

It may be that U.S. style guides suggest a capital after a colon in the way suggested at 2, but looking at all the U.S. published books on my shelves, I can't find one that does this. The only times in normal usage that a word is capitalised after a colon (aside from proper names, etc.) are:

  1. In titles (not all style guides support this; personally I don't do it, but it's a respectable approach)
    "The Problem of Evil: A Reader"
  2. When the colon introduces a new sentence (which is usually but not always placed in inverted commas, italicised, or placed on a new line and indented).
    "Again, from a parliamentary report:
    No formal request has been made..."

The latter is simply a version of the normal rule, that capitals are used after full stops (including question marks and exlamation marks when they stand for full stops), to introduce quotations, for proper names, etc. The mere fact that a clause could stand on its own as a sentence isn't grounds to start it with a full stop (after all, that could be true of what follows a comma, and is usually true of what follows a semicolon).

The suggested guideline is in any case too complicated. All that's needed is: don't use a capital letter after a colon except to start a quotation that starts with a capital letter. If people disagree with me about titles (I haven't checked; that's almost certainly already dealt with in the appropriate place), then that proviso could be added. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:08, 6 January 2007 (UTC)


I often encounter "bible" although the rulemakers apparently agree it's "Bible". So would it be OK to add this: "Scriptures like the Bible and Qur'an should be capitalized"?

Which rulemakers do you mean? --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 22:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I meant [16], although I will yield to someone with access to a better source. Art LaPella 22:38, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, not exactly rulemakers — and the vast majority of those hits aren't about capitalising the word "bible", but various things in the bible, such as pronouns, rivers, sections, etc. Similarly for a search on "don't capitalize Bible" or "don't capitalise Bible" (which throw up [ this discussion[ between published writers, with no real consensus (but very strongly, not to say bullyingly, expressed opinions from a few of the contributors). There's also a Christian site that sometimes capitalises and sometimes doesn't:
("Christianity Magazine: Archive - Mending marriages, created by God ...British Christian magazine with bible teaching, book and music reviews, ... good place to capitalise on the situation, though it is facing difficult times. ... - 94k -
In fact I'm pretty well neutral, leaning towards capitalisation, but I'm not sure that there's a clear consensus on the issue (though I think that North America goes in for rather more capitalisation than the U.K.). --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 23:11, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't have much experience with Britishisms, but after going through the links above I'd say there is a consensus on this issue. Some of the hits don't express an opinion, but the hits that do express an opinion on capitalizing "Bible" appear to be unanimous. Christianity Magazine's Google blurb uncapitalizes Bible, but clicking the link shows it capitalized in the text, and searching its archives I found about 40 Bibles and 1 bible. The blog you cited also came to a consensus - the advocate of uncapitalizing concluded "I totally accept that I was outside the norm in not capitalising Bible, will try to do better". Anyway, the blog is open to all writers and doesn't strike me as being as authoritative as several sites like [17] . Art LaPella 00:31, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

I'd disagree that the blog showed a consensus; it involved some evidence for the use of the uncapitalised form, followed by some (simply incorrect, but very strongly worded) claims that non-capitalisation was grammatically incorrect; that seemed to bully the original poster into saying that he'd been wrong. There's a lot of bullying in this area, usually involving poor arguments expressed very strongly; we see it on Wikipedia too.
As I tend to capitalise it myself, in most but not all circumstances, I'm easy, though I don't think that there's a clear argument either way. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 09:10, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
"The Bible", in reference to the Jewish Bible or to the Christian Bible, should definitely be capitalized; that's definitely the norm. Similarly with "Bible" used as to modify another noun, as in "Bible scholars" and "Bible translations", and with specific translations and copies when described as "bibles", as in "the Breeches Bible" and "he had several Bibles in his office". When used metaphorically, as in "the C bible" (the definitive book on the C programming language, written by its creators), it should not be. I'm not sure about the adjective "Biblical", though, as in "Biblical figures"; my instinct is to capitalize it, but I think Americans and Britons might differ over that. —RuakhTALK 03:25, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree, when referring to a specific holy book, it is capitalized. both Biblical and biblical are grammatically correct, I don't know why the manual of style choose just one for the Bible, but made Koranic, normally capitalized, and left leeway for other texts. Rds865 (talk) 19:25, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Exit numbers

Should exit numbers (like "exit 60") be capitalized? I don't think they should be, but it's been argued that they are proper nouns. (The specific case is Interstate 295 (Delaware-New Jersey), but it applies to many highway articles.) --NE2 00:26, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

To do a little bit of copy-and-pasting from my prior discussion with NE2 on the matter:
It seems to me that it's a specific location, and would be capitalized the same way any road – or even the East Los Angeles Interchange – would be. The fact that it's numbered instead of actually named the way that example is shouldn't make a difference; while a bit of a stretch, a good analogy would be how Interstate 90 and the Indiana Toll Road are both capitalized.
A search of Google News for Exit 5 yields 29 / 35 results capitalized, an overwhelming majority. I understand why that "tendancy to avoid" (in response to NE2: "Wikipedia tends to avoid capitalization when it's only done sometimes, like with directions.") would be a good idea in some situations, but IMHO it's pretty clear here that it should be capitalized. -- NORTH talk 00:32, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

After a little thinking, it seems my "gut feeling" is because it's similar to "mayor of New York" rather than "Mayor Giuliani": "exit 60 of I-295" rather than "Exit 60 Trenton/Belmar". --NE2 00:46, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

That makes sense, but I still think it's closer to my analogy (Interstate 90) than yours. -- NORTH talk 00:54, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Wellllll....if you want to get pedantic about it, "EXIT ###" would match what's most often seen on exit signs. ;-) However of pictures I've seen that don't use the CAPS LOCK that DOTs are so fond of, "Exit ###" seems to be the most commonly used format. - Aerobird Target locked - Fox One! 01:32, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I have to agree that the exit number should be capitalised. Allegheny Valley Interchange/Exit 48 (Old Exit 4). The exit number would be the name of an interchange, and since it's a name, it's capitalized. Also to Aerobird, it seems that the non-caps lock variations are on newer signs, while older signs still use caps lock. I have a whole collection of exit sign pictures online somewhere that was for the sole purpose of illustrating that point...maybe one day it will have a real use. --MPD T / C 01:56, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't think signage should be used as evidence one way or the other. Text documents from DOTs would be useful, though.

In response to the Giuliani analogy, on second thought, I'm not sure that's entirely correct. See Mayor of New York City. However, I think it would be "New York City mayor" - using New York City as an adjective for the common noun "mayor". Thus, perhaps it would be "Exit 60", but "Belmar exit"? -- NORTH talk 20:59, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I would agree with you there, except where the interchanges are named. Like on the PA Turnpike or in LA. "Pittsburgh Interchange" but "Monroeville exit", since the former the name, the latter is a description I guess. There has to be somewhere that uses "Exit" like I cited "Interchange", so hopefully my parallel comes across. But to strictly address the issue of capitalizing "exit" in the article when referring to "exit" followed by the number, that should be acceptable, because I would see "Exit 60" as more of a proper noun, since it's the name of the exit...maybe a good parallel would also be "Route 4" or "Highway 4", not "route 4" or "highway 4". I sincerely hope I'm making sense. --MPD T / C 01:52, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Chess variants

How names of chess variants should be capitalized? For example, what is correct (when used inside a sentence), a) Cylinder Chess, b) Cylinder chess or cylinder chess? I have a few books on chess variants and all of them use different capitalizations. Andreas Kaufmann 19:16, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

The "o" in "o'clock"

Would interested editors have a look at what's been happening at The 11 O'Clock Show? A user, after an abortive attempt to argue that we should change the capitalisation rules to allow the capitalisation of the preposition in "o'Clock", waited a while and then renamed this article. I've listed it as a (controversial) move back. Discussion would be welcome. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 09:10, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

The "S" in Church Street

When naming a particular road or street in any area, would it be correct to say "Church Street" or "Church street"? Thanks. --Sarcha 45 17:29, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

The former. Look at your local newspaper for examples. --Rob Kennedy 22:50, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

"Van", "von", "de" in people's names

I was disappointed not to find some rule given here. This is what I learned ago:

  1. Interior of name or after title, not capitalised (unless person himself uses exceptional rule): Jon von Giovi, Baron von Cohen
  2. Beginning of sentence, capitalise (who would argue?)
  3. Others may disagree, but I learned for other cases (van, von, de all first), capitalise anyway: Von Braun, De Gaulle, Van Vooren

Perhaps these rules are centric to some cultures, not to others. Commentary? Later I add: article on capitalisation says what people do in other countries/languages for these names, but not for when used in English. Richard von Mises article looks like it was written to evade this issue; it even says "Mises stress", not "Von Mises stress" or "von Mises stress", like all textbooks call it.--MajorHazard 13:49, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I think the position can be summarised as follows:

  • If the person is American use capitals.
  • If they are not American, don't use capitals.

Using capitals is a quirk of American English only. Honbicot 19:58, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

I think not using capitals is quirk of e. e. cummings!--MajorHazard 02:07, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

All-capital page names

I have started a discussion about the use of names that are spelt in all capitals, e.g. trademarks, in page titles at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (trademarks)#Capitals to lower case in page names, which may be of interest to people here. Mike Peel 07:50, 10 April 2007 (UTC)


This passage is a little odd:

Initial capitals and all capitals should not be used for emphasis. For example, "aardvarks, which are Not The Same as anteaters" and "aardvarks, which are NOT THE SAME as anteaters" are both incorrect. Use italics instead ("aardvarks, which are not the same as anteaters").

No emphasis is needed (or stylistically appropriate) in this example. Would anyone mind if I replaced the example with one in which italics are appropriate? --Mel Etitis (Talk) 06:44, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Please, have at it. --Rob Kennedy 16:02, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Problem with section "Titles" as applied to military titles when used in a sentence

The section "Titles" is creating significant problems as to the capitalization of military titles when used in a sentence. For example someone edited Eric Shinseki to change Chief of Staff of the Army to chief of staff of the army - correct according to the section "Title" however not valid according to the Chicago Manual of Style. Also in the area of political titles, someone edited Administrator of the EPA to administrator of the EPA - correct according to the MOS, however almost certainly not valid according the to Chicago Manual of Style.

The capitalization rule from the Chicago Manual of Style seems to be that if a military title contains words that can mean something else, then the title must be be capitalized. I call it the ambiguity rule. For example when we write about the "Joint Chiefs of Staff", it's always capitalized because the words joint chiefs of staff are common words which could mean something else.

It's the same with the "Chief of Staff of the Army" - always capitalized in my view because "chief of staff" are common words with other meanings, and probably "army" is capitalized since it can be used in a term like "field army". However according to the Chicago Manual of Style if we are writing about "the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff", or presumably the "deputy Chief of Staff of the Army", the terms "chairman" and "deputy" are not ambiguous and so are not capitalized.

Note that according to the Chicago Manual of Style if we are describing a person's military title by itself - not in a sentence - then it's always capitalized. That is also the convention in Wikipedia. In military biography articles for example, the title listed for "Rank" is always capitalized - as in "Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff".--Chrisbak 16:48, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

I think we capitalize Joint Chiefs of Staff because it’s the name of a particular organization, not because it would be ambiguous otherwise — what else would it refer to? On the other hand, there’s no need to capitalize chief of staff in general because a chief of staff really is the chief of the staff — the one in charge of all the other workers. There’s no “other meaning” at play.
Eric Shinseki was the chief of staff of the Army. The word Army in this case is the proper name of the U.S. military branch, but it is just one army out of many in the world — note lowercased army that time.
Where you’re saying that military titles by themselves are capitalized, I assume you’re referring to §8.22: Exceptions to the general rule (15th edition). It’s not specific to military titles. About the only context I can think of that would be appropriate for Wikipedia is in infoboxes and navigation boxes. Where else do standalone titles occur often enough to bother addressing them in the style manual? The other circumstances §8.22 mentions are toasts, formal introductions, and “reasons of courtesy or politics.” None of those apply to Wikipedia. --Rob Kennedy 18:18, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

downtown Richmond vs. Downtown Richmond

should it be capitalized when referring to the neighborhood itself, not the city's neighborhood/area, It has it's own article also. I believe it should be capitalized since it is a proper noun (a name) of a particular place. Another editor has casted doubt on this and has changed the spelling on repeated ocasions so i am trying to make sure. Another editor states that D should be capitalized in this sense, but the other editor disagread. Perhaps several opinions may help ameliorate this situation. Thanks in advanceT ALKQRC2006¢ʘñ†®¡ß§ 19:36, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

In cases like this, you should probably look at newspapers. They all seem to lowercase the d: [18] --NE2 21:37, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
is that policy? and i was speaking of Downtown Richmond, Richmond, California, and Ricmond, California. Newspapers aside, what is the gramatical rule? when i asked on the help desk they said that it was a capital D.T ALKQRC2006¢ʘñ†®¡ß§ 23:44, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
It seems to be common sense to me. The California city is the same way: [19] --NE2 01:20, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

When mentioning an article by name, the name should be capitalized

When an article is specifically mentioned by name – unlike when the topic of an article is mentioned – the name should be capitalized, because the name of the article is a proper noun.
(I hope it's obvious I'm not talking about most links in running text.)

For example:

For surfing on boards with mast and sail, see Windsurfing.


For surfing on boards with mast and sail, see windsurfing.

Editors sometimes being sloppy with this is one thing, but I have recently seen correct capitalization being reverted because "article names aren't capitalized in sentences" (paraphrased). So there seems to be some need for a statement about this in the MoS (capital letters) that could be cited, and it could also be mentioned in a couple of other places such as Wikipedia:Hatnotes and Wikipedia:Disambiguation (any more suggestions?).

Assuming I am not confused about this, I would need some help with putting this into the guidelines. --Fyrlander 17:55, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

I think you have the right idea. Your example isn’t talking about the act of windsurfing; it’s talking about the Wikipedia article titled Windsurfing. Titles get capitalized. See, for example, the “Cite this page” link, which capitalizes the cited article title the same way the name of the article appears. --Rob Kennedy 22:44, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

RIAA Certifications

Should RIAA certifications such as the G in "Gold" or P in "Platinum" be capitalised? The RIAA capitalise it but would that be compatible with our MoS? In the 50 Cent discography page, an editor changed the format from "6x platinum" to "6x Platinum" on the basis that the RIAA use that format. MoS:TM says to capitalise trademarks like proper nouns, so would that include record certifications? Almost all discographies I see capitalise them, so I'm bringing this up here to if that format is correct on Wikipedia. Spellcast 13:05, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

I just found the answer to my own question. says: "The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™, and Diamond sales awards". So yes, it does qualify as a trademark and should thus be capitalised. Spellcast 19:51, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

See Music_recording_sales_certification, if you want to say "They received an RIAA Gold plaque" then fine, but normally lower case would be fine, as they are awarded in many countries by many bodies (and historically in the U.S. by record companies themselves). Also worth checking the actual trademark, as it may have been done with a different or multiple capitalisations. Rich Farmbrough, 18:43 1 October 2007 (GMT).

Input requested on requested move

At Talk:Ftr#Requested move, there is a proposal to move ftr to FTR (bus), claiming that the lower-case trademark "ftr" should be presented in standard English as all capitals. I don't see that the guideline explicitly addresses this situation, in that "ftr" is not really an acronym and perhaps not even strictly speaking an abbreviation. WP:MOSTM recommends that lower case trademarks like adidas should be presented as proper nouns and capitalized accordingly as "Addidas". Input on this question is welcome at Talk:Ftr#Requested move. olderwiser 17:16, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Entente Cordiale

An editor has recently changed (in good faith) all occurrences of the Entente Cordiale to Entente cordiale - claiming that cordiale is a french adjective and so should not be capitalized. I countered this with the fact that all hits of "the entente cordiale" on Google Scholar are capitalized - which should it be? sbandrews (t) 17:28, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

It is correct that French typography does not capitalise adjectives (can can see examples [20][21]. As to whether we apply the French typographical rules, I have no idea. Rama 17:38, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

"The" at the beginning of a title

I believe the common rule is that if a title or name begins with "the", then that word is not capitalized. This is certainly recommended by Oxford Manual of Style, and I believe it is by Chicago as well. However (1) this rule is not mentioned in this page, which it probably should be, and (2) is actually violated on this page, in the two mentions of the New York Times. Are there any objections to fixing this oversight? JulesH 16:13, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Volunteer (IRA)

A user has claimed that this discussion overrides the "Titles" section of this page and also this MedCab case. Assuming good faith (well, doing my best to), I thought I'd bring it here which perhaps should have been done first of all. The background is that certain terrorist organisations (the Provisional IRA for example) use the term "volunteer" to describe unpromoted members of the organisation. The bone of contention is whether or not we should capitalise the term, as the IRA itself apparently does. My own view is that it would be capitalised only as part of a name, eg "This is Volunteer O'Brien" and otherwise never "All volunteers were disarmed". Seems straightforward enough to me, any other opinions? --John 13:47, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

The bone of contention in the mediation case was not whether it should be capitalised, but whether it should be used without the first instance qualification of "member". The mediation concluded that "member" should be used in the first instance, and all parties agreed to this. Capitalisation was an extra issue. Logoistic 12:42, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
I would add that "volunteer" is sometimes used as a rank equivalent to "private" and sometimes generically to mean "member" of the IRA. Also sources, including IRA ones, sometimes use "Volunteer" (capitalsied) and sometimes "volunteer" (lower case), so there is not an unambiguous lead from sources. Tyrenius 13:52, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
If one examines the historical dialogue between the two editors, their personal agreement set a good precedent for referring to IRA Volunteers of any flavour in Irish themed articles. The capitalisation of "V" is very useful in alerting the casual reader to the difference between volunteer and Volunteer. WP:IAR?
In the same way we would say "all British Army soldiers were disarmed" rather than "all British Army privates were disarmed", I assume that in any case we would say "all Provisional/Real/Continuity IRA members/fighters/terrorists were disarmed" rather than "all Provisional/Real/Continuity IRA volunteers were disarmed... Gaimhreadhan (kiwiexile at DMOZ) | talk  • 15:12, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Their personal agreement, while personally meritorious, does not set a precedent that overrides the more central consensuses I mention above, in my opinion. I would not agree that this is a good application of WP:IAR, on the contrary I'd say the MoS guidance should prevail. Our readers are capable of hovering over a piped link or indeed clicking it to discover the difference between volunteer and volunteer, I would contend. --John 15:20, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Experienced and erudite Wikipedians tend to forget that "We are building a free encyclopedia for every single person on the planet." There are a great many casual readers who never contribute, do not have Java extensions installed (so nothing happens when they "hover") and even don't know that blue text can be clicked 'cos it's piped. For these (the great majority) every little clue helps....Gaimhreadhan • 06:58, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
John when you say the Provisional IRA for example) use the term "volunteer" to describe unpromoted members of the organisation you are incorrect, the IRA use the term Volunteer to refer to all its members wether they hold rank or not, and have done since the mid 70s when they re-organised their structure. Prior to that they had a ranking system similar to regular armies, but they then took view that given the ranks of volunteers killed in action was only giving the British a propaganda boost, therefore all members were refered to just as Volunteers.--padraig3uk 15:18, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Padraig, thank you, that's very interesting and I'd be interested in knowing a source. However I do not think it is germane to the style issue we are discussing. --John 15:20, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Padraig's comments really refer to the Provos - not earlier flavours. unsigned by User:Gaimhreadhan • 15:12, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
I did say from the mid 70s, prior to that any Volunteer that held rank was given that rank in any statements given by the IRA.--padraig3uk 15:36, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
It is relevent to this discussion as Volunteer X, is a proper rank or title and should be capitalised when refering to that person, same as would be done for members of any Army, if refering to volunteers in general then it could be used in lowercase.--padraig3uk 15:30, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
That is precisely my proposal above. --John 15:34, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Then I fail to see what the problem is.--padraig3uk 15:39, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

(deindent)Here's an example, where we have the very inelegant and MoS-noncompliant usage "...a Provisional Irish Republican Army member/Volunteer". I would propose decapitalising instances like these, per the MoS. It doesn't seem like it should be in any way controversial to me either, but there you go. --John 16:04, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

John I had ago at tidying up that Stephen Tibble article, have a look and see what you think.--padraig3uk 16:25, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, that's certainly less bad. Rather than "Vol., Liam Quinn...", I'd have "Volunteer Liam Quinn..." as I think the abbreviation is unhelpful and that the term should be spelled out the first time it is used. Bravo for having a go at fixing it. --John 16:32, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
I changed it to Volunteer.--padraig3uk 16:49, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Agree with John's opening paragraph. Capitalised before names (and pipelinked the first time it occurs in an article), not when referring generally to volunteers. E.g., "Volunteer Joe Bloggs left, but the other volunteers remained..." Anything else is just bad grammar. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 18:02, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Capital directions

On Template:Jct someone is changing directions to be capitalized, producing "US 85 North" rather than "US 85 north". Please assist. --NE2 15:03, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Interesting, then why did you capitalize all of the directions here: Wikipedia:WikiProject_U.S._Roads/NHS/DC? --Holderca1 15:28, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Please don't ask the same question in multiple places. I'm replying at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (exit lists). --NE2 15:36, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Then don't start the same conversation in multiple places. --Holderca1 15:56, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
I didn't. --NE2 16:06, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Okay, [22]. --Holderca1 16:09, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I didn't know I had posted that. I must have been drunk. --NE2 16:10, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Proper nouns?

I see there are many very specific rules, but shouldn't there be a general rule stating that initial letters of proper nouns are capitalized? Or is 'proper noun' considered an ambiguous concept? --Rinconsoleao 15:26, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Not at all, I for one would welcome that kind of straightforwardness, even if it was only to have stronger consistency with Wikipedia:Proper names and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks). - Cyrus XIII 15:26, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Battles and other important events

I've been slightly involved in a drive to bring Battle of Waterloo up to GA standard, and one of the criticisms made in the view was that all the links to other battles capitalised the word "battle" (ie: "Battle of Quartre Bras"). Also, the battle of Waterloo itself is frequently capitalised. The style guide doesn't seem to cover this, but several style guides outside of WP suggest that they should be capitalised [23] [24] [25]. Of course, a few suggest otherwise [26]. Should we not maybe decide on a policy and formalise it on the page? -Kieran 13:53, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Working out a bump

We currently have that bit about personal names, that suggests to "follow the lead of outside sources" when it comes to the article title. All other guidelines on Wikipedia, which deal with capitalization issues (i.e. WP:MOS-TM) don't really do that, they just urge us to apply standard English text formatting throughout. Hence no other group of subjects receives that sort of extra consideration. In order to have better consistency throughout the MoS and subsequently our articles and also to ensure equal treatment of each (kind of) subject per WP:NPOV, aforementioned bit should probably be removed.

During a recent mediation, several editors already agreed on the notion, that capitalization is a matter of style, not content, hence no risk here of running afoul of WP:UCN and WP:OR. Thoughts? - Cyrus XIII 19:22, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

First, full-disclosure. I was involved in the mediation mentioned above, and Cyrus also asked me to comment here due to the lack of other responses. I strongly agree that capitalization is a style issue, and since there is a section of the Manual of Style devoted to capitalization, this seems to be a view shared by many. If someone named Christine on her birth certificate calls herself Kris, Cris, or Christy (and, the NYT or EB follows her lead), we are obliged to do the same. But, the difference between Chris/chris or cris/Cris is not something that changes the content. If there is a difference, then, I wonder how we could include any of these lower-case-preferred names in any spoken-version or TTS version of the encyclopedia without violating whatever rule that would dictate that the lowercasing is relevant. Neier 12:21, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Military terms

So far there has been no reply to my above post. I have now had a chance to look at the Chicago Manual of Style on this, and have put my proposals into the article. I've also posted on the WikiProject Military History talk page to try and get some of that group involved in working these guidelines out. -Kieran 19:30, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Overall, it looks fine; but I'd avoid using the "Guard" example. In many contexts, the term is used merely as a shortened version of a proper name, and is capitalized (e.g. "The attack headed towards the Old Guard formations along the ridge. The Guard descended from its positions..."). This is similar to other short-form names; for example, "the 18th Infantry Regiment attacked" versus "the 18th Infantry attacked" versus "the infantry attacked". Kirill 20:12, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Good point. I've changed the example. I'm trying to think how this could be phrased into a style guideline, though. What is it about "the Guard" that distinguishes it from "the battalion"? Actually, I'm not so sure now. Even the Chicago MoS is a bit ambiguous on this one: They give the example of the United States Coast Guard, which can be abbreviated to either the Coast Guard or the coast guard. For other units, they're clear, eg: Army Corps of Engineers vs the corps.
I think, in the case of "the Guard", that it's more that the term is an "unofficial but well-known name" for the Imperial Guard, which is why it qualifies as a proper noun: There's certainly no ambiguity when referring to it in the context of Napoleonic warfare, whereas "the battalion" requires a lot more context to be specific. -Kieran 23:14, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Note that this discussion is primarily continuing here -Kieran 12:51, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
Seems correct to me. In the Battle of Waterloo article, for example, I have edited it to read "Lobau's VI Corps" or alternatively "Lobau's corps", deleting instances of "Lobau's Corps". The Guard is capitalised, as a recognised formation, but I feel that it is composed of guardsmen rather than Guardsmen. Tirailleur 15:55, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Institutions and definite articles

The current MoS on institutions seems... well, just plain wrong. Often—especially when accompanied by a definite article—short noun names are merely abbreviations of proper names. I.e. they should (at least under other style guides) retain capitalization. So, for example:

Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The University is one of the preeminent universities in North America. Its mission is to promote excellence in university education.

Doggerel, no doubt, in my offhand example. But the first and second usage (whether or not the preceding word 'Harvard' occurs) refer to a specific institution (i.e. a proper noun). The plural in the third usage is clearly a general noun, as is the final adjectival usage. LotLE×talk 08:33, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

The argument being, I suppose, that this is consistent with the proper names of people. However, that runs against shortform names for the heads of those institutions, for example: the "President of Harvard University" and "43rd President of the United States" but "the current president". I think the suggested change would lead to widespread confusion. Consistency is best: capitalise for the proper name in full, lowercase for component shortforms. --ROGER DAVIES TALK 09:15, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
That's really not a counter-example. A noun phrase like "the current president" is a descriptor not an indexical. It really is just like "John Smith ... To Smith, ...". Or since 'Smith' is a family name, the same would apply for names that are descriptive: "Erik the Red founded the first Nordic settlement in Greenland. The appellation "the Red"..." In other words, the otherwise common noun "red" gets capitalized as when it serves as a name.
The most obvious evidence that WP is doing it wrong is that everyone else does it right. From their home pages:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville was founded in 1794... The University now has nearly 26000 ...
The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA was founded in 1819...The cornerstone of the University's first building was laid..."
And so on. Every newspaper does it the right way, as well as the homepages of every university. LotLE×talk 18:50, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
Several points:
  • Yes, initial caps are frequently used internally by university institutions ("the Colleges are", "the Faculty is", "the Library will open" etc). Whether this should be adopted by Wikipedia is another matter. The Chicago Manual of Style says "sometimes [the] short forms [of institutions and their departments] are capitalized. Such generic terms as school and company are usually lowercased when used alone but are sometimes capitalized to avoid ambiguity or for promotional purposes." The key word here is sometimes. I suggest the internal university usage is promotional, for aggrandisement purposes.
  • Your statement that "every newspaper does it the right way" isn't quite right. The New York Times and The Washington Post don't. Neither, on the other side of the pond, do The Times nor The Guardian.
  • My personal view is that university usage is endearing but not universally accepted. I oppose your proposal on the practical grounds that, if adopted, it would become the camel's nose. It could potentially lead to endless arguments about capitalisation in hundreds of thousands of articles about schools, military units of all types, local government institutions and so forth. The Wikipedian convention at the moment is easy to understand and consistent with the mainstream press. That's how it should stay.
--ROGER DAVIES TALK 12:08, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Telecom acronym help needed please

Hi. I have read a few of the threads about capitalization and I think I know the answer to this because of it. However, before I go broadcasting to our entire department, a little confirmation never hurts.

I document extremely complex telecom engineering projects and everything that can have an acronym is given one. However, I am trying to create examples for the junior members of why they shouldn't Capitalize Absolutely Every Important Word and I have the following sentence:

In the case of MIP, it will be the home address assigned by the Home Agent (HA). In the case of Simple IP fallback, it will be the Tunnel Inner Address assigned by the PDIF.

MIP is a protocol (Mobile Internet Protocol) so that is no problem. Home Agent is a piece of software and it has been capitalized by this company by everyone since forever, so right or wrong I am not going to change it. I am not sure about "fallback." Simple IP is Simple Internet Protocol, so as the name of a protocol this capitalization is ok. It cannot be "SIP" because SIP is another totally different and long-established protocol. But how can I decide if fallback should be capitalized or not?

Then I have Tunnel Inner Address. This is abbreviated as TIA and again this is such common usage that it would be useless to try and change it. However the (or a) tunnel inner address is expressed by an IP address and I would maintain that because the phrase takes "a" or "the" then tunnel inner address should not be capitalized.

Thoughts and comments please? Soccerman58 19:42, 24 September 2007 (UTC)Soccerman58

Titles (books)

Will no one develope this section of the Project page? --Ludvikus 00:17, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I believe this page's Title section is dedicated to titles held by people, rather than the names/titles of published works. On the matter of capitalization WikiProject Books seems to have no guideline of its own, but in its Naming section, it links to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books). That page's Capitalization section, while less explicit, appears to be fairly consistent with the capitalization guidelines of Wikiproject Music, which in turn, appear to be derived from Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks). Quite a jungle. - Cyrus XIII 00:34, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
See the first few paragraphs at WP:CAPS (not MOSCAPS). Neier 00:43, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
My question involves the conventions as to the words in the middle of book Titles. I did not find it there, where you sent me. Can you be more specific? We had the following problem:
    On the Jews and their lies vs. On the Jews and Their Lies
Which is the proper Wikipedia style? --Ludvikus 01:56, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
You mean On the Jews and Their Lies? I'd say the current article title already has proper formatting. That's how it would be done with films, as well as musical albums and songs, so it's probably save to assume that the same goes for books, even if book-related guidelines are not that clear about capitalization. - Cyrus XIII 02:08, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
(copied from my response on my talk page) Here's the section you should read, from WP:CAPS:
In general, each word in titles of books, films, and other works take an initial capital, except for articles ("a", "an", "the"), the word "to", and prepositions and conjunctions shorter than five letters (e.g., "on", "from", "and", "with"), unless they begin the title. Examples: A New Kind of Science, Ghost in the Shell, To Be or Not to Be.
So, since neither their nor lies is a preposition or a conjunction; so, the second option you listed is correct. Neier 02:42, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. But my point is that the rules on this Project page do not give a Wikipedian any guidance on this. Will someone please write this rule in the Project page? --Ludvikus 03:42, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
I came here for a similar reason, curious about guidelines on capitalizing magazine/newspaper article titles. I'll propose a short new section at the bottom of this talk page. -Agyle 22:57, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Disagreement between two editors over a matter of accessibility

I've just created a subpage of my user space at User:OwenBlacker/Usability. User:Everyking and I have a disagreement over matters of accessibility and usability — notably including citing references in all-caps when the reference itself is titled in all-caps — that I've just listed on WP:RFC/STYLE; please come and add your views. — OwenBlacker 20:04, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

New section proposal: "Titles of books and other works"

There are no guidelines on titles of books/articles here. Some info is covered in Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization), and maybe we should just mention that in the "Titles" section. An alternative is to rename Titles section to Titles of people, and add this new section beneath it, duplicating some info from WP:Naming Conventions:

Titles of books and other works

For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization)
In general, each word in titles of books, films, and other works take an initial capital, except for articles ("a", "an", "the"), the word "to", and prepositions and conjunctions shorter than five letters (e.g., "on", "from", "and", "with"), unless they begin the title. Examples: A New Kind of Science, Ghost in the Shell, To Be or Not to Be. (note: that's lifted directly from WP:Naming Conventions) Titles of periodical articles are generally capitalized as an ordinary sentence. Example: "Economy reels: stock market plummets." (note: I (Agyle) just made that up)

A third approach would be to add such a paragraph to the existing Titles section, but these are two distinct meanings of the world title. -Agyle 23:06, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

The proposal should reflect one change; Wikipedia:Cite_sources/example_style#Journal_articles says that to also capitalize the first word after a colon or dash. I assume that style extends to other article titles. -Agyle 23:54, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I had a similar, though more wide-reaching idea: There have been a quite a few questions on talk pages lately, along the lines of "how to format this?" or "does WP:MOS-TM apply to that?" (a guideline originally created for trademarks, but nowadays its sections which deal with stylized text formatting are applied in almost everything, with multiple other guidelines referring to it), so a focused and streamlined set of rules that would apply to all sorts of proper names (titles of published works, such as books being among them) might be beneficial in the long run. - Cyrus XIII 15:41, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Article's own title

An article's own title should be at the beginning of each article (as I am sure you are all well aware, but demonstrated here for effect). My question is whether that title should have a capital first letter when it is quoted at the beginning of the article (though of course not at the beginning of the sentence).

In other words, should the example above read "An article's own title..." or "An Article's own title..." It was my impression that the former was preferred, but I can't find a policy that states it explicitly in the capitalisation style guide.

The guide to the layout of an article's first paragraph gives several examples, but most of them have the article title either as the beginning of a sentence or as a proper noun!

The example for egg (food) seems to show that a capital initial is not required in this situation, but it does not explicitly state the policy on this. Could someone please clarify and/or update the policies to make it clear. Many thanks.  :-) Leevclarke 22:13, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Geographical features

Just realised that the discussion that I started on the main MoS page regarding capitalisation of geographical features and built structures really ought to be mentioned here as well. Discussion is at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Capitalisation of geographical features Mayalld 09:29, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Clarification on titles

The example of generic use is

  • "Louis XVI was the French king"

while the example of the use of a title is

  • "Louis XVI was King of France"

But then I assume that the following is correct.

  • "Louis XVI was the king of France"

This is just the first example without the use of an adjective. Is this correct? --RelHistBuff 08:06, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

The three examples look good to me, although the third one could be a title in some contexts ("the King of France", like the Manager of Accounts). But I've always needed firm direction when it comes to capitals. Tony (talk) 11:39, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

OK, my question has been answered, sort of... But I would recommend to the maintainers of this guideline bring more clarity concerning capitalisation when titles are used. The current examples are not good enough. --RelHistBuff 21:27, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

"Biblical" or "biblical"?

There is currently discussion on the Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Bible page about whether the word "Biblical" should begin with an upper case B or not. There appear to be several extant major external style guides which for whatever reason say either capitalized or uncapitalized is acceptable, and some other major style guides which say lower case should be used, and at least two governmental style guides, for the US and Canada, which say the first letter should always be uppercase. There are also several other, admittedly generally less well referenced, which indicate that the uppercase B should be used. What should the policy be here, always lower, always upper, or mixed, depending on whether it is a direct reference to the book the Bigle or just referring to that era, location, or whatever? Also, should the same rules be applied to other adjectives about scriptures, such as the Vedas, the Koran, the Talmud, the Zend Avesta, and so on? John Carter 22:35, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, John Carter. I have just commented there. And I have edited like this, here:

The names of major revered works of scripture like the Bible, the Qur'an, the Talmud, and the Vedas should be capitalized (but not italicized). The adjective biblical should not be capitalized. Koranic is normally capitalised, but usage varies for talmudic, vedic, etc. Be consistent in an article.

I surveyed major style guides and dictionaries to arrive at this formulation. As usual, people may want some change; but it does reflect standard practice, I think.
– Noetica♬♩Talk 01:21, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Inconsistent terminology

  • I wonder whether the page could use "upper case" consistently, rather than mixing it with "capitals".
  • "Most words with prefixes such as Anglo-, Franco-, etc., are capitalized." Many readers will understand "capitalized" as referring to "all caps".

Can someone edit the page for consistency and comprehensibility WRT to these items? Tony (talk) 07:37, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Guidance on Color

I have a question on whether color should be capatalized. "A white person" or "A White person". I can't find any consistent guidance. The Chicago Manual of Style says


Designations based loosely on color are usually lowercased, though capitalization may be appropriate if the writer strongly prefers it.

.[27] The APA says to always capatalize color when referring to social groups. [28] Another style guide from Carnegie Mellon says never capatlize when refering to race. [29] CJ 13:15, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Game animal names

Hello, in the article on red fox, the term is lowercase unless it is at the beginning of a sentence, then the 'R' is capital. In an article on Common Pheasant, another game animal, the words Common Pheasant are always capitalized (ugh!). This does not make any sense. The bird articles are written with conventions used by those that study birds, but their arbitrary and extraordinary conventions should not apply to a general topic encyclopedia. Am I alone on this?TableManners (talk) 04:44, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

The established convention on Wikipedia is that English names of species always have lower-case initials, except, as you say, at the start of a sentence, or when a word within it is a proper name (Siberian tiger, Przewalski's horse). Except for birds, which all get initial caps regardless, such as your Common Pheasant. Can't say I agree with it particularly (likewise, ugh!), but this the consensus – see Wikipedia:WikiProject Birds#Bird names and article titles. The logic given there is not really any different for birds than for other species, but there you are. Perhaps the only real difference is that English bird species names are internationally agreed, whereas for most (but not all) other species it's just down to usage. --Richard New Forest (talk) 16:02, 17 December 2007 (UTC)