Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Lead section

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RfC regarding bolding of sponsored names[edit]

As a threshold issue, all editors agreed that where the sponsor's name is actually in the article title, it should be in bold (e.g., AT&T Park). Discussion focused on cases where the sponsor's name is not in the title. The consensus was that no consistent policy should be adopted across English Wikipedia in such cases. In other words, bolding such names is neither universally mandatory nor universally prohibited. Rather, the decision should be made on a case-by-case basis, consistent with MOS:BOLDSYN (which advises editors to put "significant alternative titles" in boldface type). What is "significant" depends on context/use. Where disputes arise, they should be decided on the relevant article talk page (or WikiProject talk page. Neutralitytalk 01:03, 2 June 2017 (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.

From above:

There seems to be inconsistency in the way that sponsored names are handled in the lead section of articles. On some articles (including Dean Court and Queen's Club Championships) the sponsored name is written in bold. On some other articles (including London Eye and The Boat Race) the sponsored name is not in bold.

Should a consistent policy be adopted across English Wikipedia, either:

  1. making the sponsored name bold on all articles, or
  2. requiring that the sponsored name is not written in bold?

(NA) Relisted Yashovardhan (talk) 04:36, 7 May 2017 (UTC); originally initiated by pasta3049 (talk) 13:26, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

  • Personally, I think the sponsored name should be in bold as it is a significant alternative title for the subject of the article pasta3049 (talk) 13:26, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Option 2 since sponsors are transient, sometimes changing on an annual basis. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 14:10, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
  • It depends. If it's a permanent part of the name of the subject, to the point where we include it in our article title, we should boldface it (example: my employer, the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, which has held that name since its formation some 15 years ago). If it's interim, temporary, or contingent, as in the examples given in the RFC wording, we should not boldface it. So we should avoid making a rule that locks us into one way or the other for all articles. Or, to put it another way: see WP:NOTTEMPORARY and WP:RECENTISM. Our articles should be as timeless as we can make them rather than only being valid if we read them in the same year as that version was created. —David Eppstein (talk) 05:08, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Depends What David Eppstein said. EEng 05:00, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Option 2 per Redrose64. We create BLPs using (and bolding) the name they're known by, while their birth name is not bolded (example: Matlock Rose). Since you can't create the article using the sponsored name for the reasons Redrose64 stated, they should not be bolded in the lead.
  • Oppose: itDepends per David Epstein. So I support neither of the options and must oppose the proposal as a whole, as the depends option is not offered. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:37, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Option 1' - as option 2 prohibits s bolding the sponsored name and the WP:COMMONNAME is often the sponsored name, and in any case it is the official and legal name while sponsored. Bolding multiple names is done and seems acceptable, and always bold the sponsored name as the official one. Markbassett (talk) 00:55, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
  • No (aka Oppose and Depends). This falls neatly under MOS:BOLDSYN, which tells us to bold significant alternative titles, with such significance usually meaning it merits a redirect, and nothing else. Per David Eppstein, sometimes a sponsored title is significant and sometimes it is not. Maybe a consistent policy on what makes a sponsored name a significant alternative title would be called for, but a consistent policy that it is always bolded or not bolded is not.Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 23:02, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Depends, as MOS:BOLDSYN is and always was enough to determine this. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 23:05, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
  • No, it depends on how significant the use of the sponsorship title is. For example, AT&T Park should be bolded, but not Coca-Cola London Eye. Kaldari (talk) 00:04, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment, Looking at these responses, it appears that there is general consensus that the sponsored names (including the 4 articles that I linked to) should not be written in bold (contrary to my personal preference). The exceptions given in responses (Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and AT&T Park) need to have the sponsored name in bold anyway because it is the article title. pasta3049 (talk) 18:48, 15 May 2017 (UTC)


  • Relisting comment : This is a matter which affects various different parts of Wikipedia and hence, it is necessary to have a more through consensus. Relevant wikiprojects should be informed of this Rfc. Presently, there's been little discussion and not many editors have participated. A fresh relist will ensure more participation. Yashovardhan (talk) 04:36, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Depends. On Kentucky Derby, we have (paraphrased) "the Kentucky Derby, aka the Kentucky Derby sponsored by Yum Brands." That's a neat way of putting it because it was the Derby a long time before Yum Brands got created or began sponsorship. If the event has been sponsored by a company since it was created then I'd definitely bold. If the sponsor varies from year to year I wouldn't. I think this is one of those things that varies from article to article and should do so. White Arabian Filly Neigh 21:56, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Option 1 so long as the sponsored name is current. The sponsored name can change over time, and one that's been ditched is less significant than the current one. Anythingyouwant (talk) 07:26, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Depends per MOS:BOLDSYN. If the alternative title using the sponsors name is well known or the primary name uses the sponsor's title than it should be bolded otherwise it should not. I support Giraffedata's suggestion that guidelines on when might be helpful. PaleAqua (talk) 01:06, 29 May 2017 (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.

Section First sentence has a bad example[edit]

Section #First sentence has a bad example concerning a comprehensive dictionary.

In talking about minimizing redundancy in the first sentence, Note 6 currently says (emphasis added):

Both contain some redundancy, but the second is better because it tells us that the OED is the world's most respected dictionary of English. Again, someone who knows what the word dictionary means will probably assume that any dictionary is comprehensive, so they do not need to be told that.

On the contrary, the vast majority of dictionaries are not comprehensive. Many people who "know what the word dictionary means" will never have seen a comprehensive dictionary in their life, and the rest won't necessarily assume that "any dictionary is comprehensive." This should be changed. Mathglot (talk) 06:27, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

The word "some" is redundant! And ... I have a dictionary of scientific terms, which is certainly not "comprehensive" in terms of the meaning intended. Tony (talk) 06:55, 23 May 2017 (UTC)


I propose replacing the first bracketed text (also known as the lead or introduction) with (also known as the lead, lede or introduction). The usage is common in publishing and distinguishes the entity discussed from a metal or a transitive verb meaning conduct. Xxanthippe (talk) 05:43, 10 June 2017 (UTC).

Stop spelling it as "lede." You can visit Wiktionary and find that:
  1. The spelling is mostly confined to the US;
  2. Even in the US, some people consider it jargon.
It is an unnecessary "insider" term. People can understand from context what is meant by "lead." If you don't like it, you can write "introduction" or "lead paragraph" (which almost never refers to a paragraph made of metal). Jack N. Stock (talk) 05:50, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Precisely. It's pretentious. EEng 06:10, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Alternative names[edit]

Some argue that names like William "Billy" Bragg should not be used in the lead of articles with the part in quotations. I think this is pedantic removal of a useful feature, and would like to see this changed. Am I alone? Britmax (talk) 15:59, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

In essence you are wanting to revisit this discussion from last November, when it was decided to recommend not having insertions like "Billy" in your example if it is regarded as a "common hypocorism". For what it's worth I share your doubts – for one thing, a reader who didn't grow up in an English-speaking country may well not know or guess that "Billy" is a diminutive for "William", and may think "I was looking for Billy! Whozis William bloke?" – but it may be too soon to attempt to reverse the RfC: Noyster (talk), 12:49, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Request for comment on parenthetical information in first sentence[edit]

The opinion piece in the latest Signpost criticised the trend toward more information included in parentheses in the first sentence of an article. Piotrus suggested an RfC on the matter, so I have opened one, as I don't believe one has been opened yet. Apologies if wrong.

  • Should Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section discourage metadata included parenthetically in the first sentence?
  • What kinds of information should be included?
  • How many variants of each kind? Eg, how many languages should the name be listed in the first sentence?
  • birth and death dates
  • names in other languages
  • maiden and other previous names
  • pronunciation written in systems like jyutping and pinyin
  • scientific names
  • inline audio files of pronunciation

Current relevant policy:

Foreign language If the subject of the article is closely associated with a non-English language, a single foreign language equivalent name can be included in the lead sentence, usually in parentheses.

Pronunciation If the name of the article has a pronunciation that's not apparent from its spelling, include its pronunciation in parentheses after the first occurrence of the name. Most such terms are foreign words or phrases (mate, coup d'état), proper nouns (Ralph Fiennes, Tuolumne River, Tao Te Ching), or very unusual English words (synecdoche, atlatl). Do not include pronunciations for names of foreign countries whose pronunciations are well known in English (France, Poland). Do not include them for common English words with pronunciations that might be counterintuitive for learners (laughter, sword). If the name of the article is more than one word, include pronunciation only for the words that need it unless all are foreign (all of Jean van Heijenoort but only Cholmondeley in Thomas P. G. Cholmondeley). A fuller discussion of pronunciation can come later in the article.

Biographies The opening paragraph should usually have dates of birth and death. Birth and death dates are important information about the person being described, but if they are also mentioned in the body, the vital year range (in brackets after the person's full name) may be sufficient to provide context. Birth and death places, if known, should be mentioned in the body of the article, and can be in the lead if relevant to the person's notability, but they should not be mentioned in the opening brackets of the lead sentence alongside the birth and death dates. In some cases, subjects have legally changed their names at some point after birth. In these cases the birth name should be given as well. In the case of transgender and non-binary people, birth names should be included in the lead sentence only when the person was notable prior to coming out. It is common to give the maiden name (birth name) of a woman better known under her married name.

Organisms When a common (vernacular) name is used as the article title, the boldfaced common name is followed by the italic un-boldfaced scientific name in round parentheses in the opening sentence of the lead.

A L T E R C A R I   06:06, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

  • Discourage any parenthetical information in first sentence Info is usually already duplicated in infobox or body. Expand {{Chinese}} so it works with non-Asian languages and even audio files, and can be used as a general language/pronunciation box. Rename it to {{langbox}} or some such. —A L T E R C A R I   06:06, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I support limiting () to (for bios) one foreign name and dates of birth and death. Location of birth and death should be moved to infobox, I can see it allowed in () only if there is no infobox yet (with no alt names for placenames). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:11, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
  • On biographies, I would include only one alternative name (if significantly different from the main one or written in a different script) and the years of birth and death. The full dates and places can go later in the article text, but a nationality incorporated into the actual prose of the lead sentence is usually ok. If a pronounciation is needed, it should go in a footnote or infobox as otherwise we clutter the first lines of our articles with what looks like line noise to most people. The current guidance on species names looks ok to me; again, though, the pronounciation should be elsewhere. As for metadata (such as ISSNs for periodicals), I think we're better off keeping it out, or it could grow past all bounds. —David Eppstein (talk) 07:22, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Do not change MOS. No need for micromanagement. This is pure guideline creep; if an article's lead offends thee, SOFIXIT applies. Carrite (talk) 13:14, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Carrite, I was quite surprised that there was nothing on this in the MoS already. These are the first words that readers see. You suggest individual editors make changes as they see fit, but often such changes get reverted (at least, that's what makes me hesitate), because as this discussion shows, there's a lot of disagreement. Hence the RfC – so we can form a consensus on what is reasonable. I have quite an extreme view and I expect to compromise. That consensus needs to be recorded somewhere. The MoS is style guidance. What better place? —A L T E R C A R I   01:09, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
In my opinion, this is a solution in search of a problem — I do not believe that parentheses are overused in the leads of articles, generally speaking, and if somebody goes over the line in that direction, it is a simple matter to carve that back if carving it back seems necessary. Carrite (talk) 01:41, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Remove all metadata This is what WikiData does. We need not continue a paper-encyclopedia tradition by putting data there that can be better found elsewhere. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:36, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Encourage I generally support "minimal" parentheticals in the lead. Much of that information should be moved to the infobox. Power~enwiki (talk) 22:00, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Whether or not information should be included in parenthesis within the first sentence is very situational. Guidance on certain commonly occurring cases is due, but a blanket rule would be inappropriate. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 00:24, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. As most of you know, there's a bit of a split among Wikipedians; most rely on so-called "normal editing", but many participate heavily in various article reviewing processes. At GAN and FAC, people are generally on board with cutting back on anything in the lead sentence that won't be of interest to most readers. If detail is needed, I can run a survey. - Dank (push to talk) 00:48, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Start small – limit bios to birth and death years. As an initial change, I would suggest returning to the traditional encyclopaedic convention and replacing full birth and death dates in biographies with birth and death years. The exact date is generally trivial information and in no way warrants being in the lead (and on the rare occasion that one or both dates are of particular significance, they will be in the prose of the lead anyway). After that change has been made, discussions could be had about further changes, such as relegating pronunciation information and translations into foreign languages to the footnotes. (talk) 01:38, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
To clarify, that is not, however, to say I would be opposed to immediately moving pronunciation information and translations into foreign languages to the footnotes. (talk) 05:21, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose anything prescriptive. It's a manual of style, not a writing guide. What information to include in the lead sentence, and how to present it, should be left to editorial discretion on individual articles. However, a more general guideline that advises editors to keep it as brief of possible might be helpful. – Joe (talk) 15:32, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
  • The most crucial information is the birth and death dates. Most biographical encyclopedias have gone much further than just putting them in the first sentence--they put them in the title. The rationale for this is that the approximate dates are usually something the enquirer is aware of, and will confirm that the right person is in question, and if necessary, almost always give unambiguous disambiguation. Frankly, I wish we did that, but that's for another discussion. But we should never have information in the infobox which is not in the article. The infobox is intended to separate out for convenience the key metadata, both for ready-reference and for use by wikidata. It is not intended to replace the article text. DGG ( talk ) 01:48, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Remove all pronunciations from lead sentences. Encyclopedias don't have pronunciations. That's what dictionaries are for. Besides, most people can't read IPA anyway so it's a huge waste of the most valuable real estate in the article. If you absolutely must discuss the pronunciation, do so in a note, a separate section, or the infobox. Also, support more specific RfC. Kaldari (talk) 03:09, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
  • What Kaldari said. Please dear god can we kill the stupid IPA pronunciations? FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY [u+1F602] 02:49, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Support some limitation. Information that helps confirm the reader is on the right article (e.g. birth years) belongs in the first sentence; other information doesn't. A name in a foreign script may help readers with more obscure topics; it certainly doesn't do that for Christopher Columbus or Genghis Khan. If we can't agree on content-based restrictions, then at least say something about length: just as WP:LEADLENGTH recommends avoiding lead sections more than four paragraphs, a parenthetical following the article title should not take up a whole line before we get to the actual definition. quant18 (talk) 03:13, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Do not discourage foreign language For any subject whose name is not naturally rendered in the Latin script, exactly one name rendered natively should be provided in the lead sentence. The article title for many subjects is already "pronunciation written in systems like jyutping and pinyin": their actual name is the "foreign" one, and belongs at the very top of the article. I would argue, contra DGG, that this information is more crucial than vital dates. Template:Chinese, mentioned above by the proposer, is not an ideal placement for this information: it's more useful for when the traditional and simplified characters of the subjects name differ greatly, or the Wade–Giles transliteration is more common than the pinyin one. I would support an expanded version of the template for arbitrary scripts and pronunciation systems, but not as a replacement of the info being in the first sentence. Snuge purveyor (talk) 16:00, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
    • And oppose major changes to guidelines. Given all the different concerns people are bringing here, I don't feel certain any guidance stronger than an essay on best practices is going to be helpful for the encyclopaedia overall. There are too many edge cases. Furthermore, not every article even has an infobox to move "non-prose" information into, and I hope we all remember what a bad idea it is to try to force an infobox onto an article. On the topic of pronunciation guides, yes IPA's massive glyph set is confusing, but it is the standard, and considerably more useful to certain classes of user than an audio file could be. I won't comment on whether it belongs in the lead sentence because I think that will vary based on the article, like all the rest of this stuff. Common sense is paramount. Snuge purveyor (talk) 18:49, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
  • We shouldn't discourage all use of parentheticals in the first sentence, but removing IPA pronounciations and keeping dates to years only both sound like good ideas. I also think a guideline like Quant18's should be used, such as a maximum of 5 words. Enterprisey (talk!) 18:32, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Support guidance/standards of some sort that reduce parenthetical information. I agree with others that IPA pronunciations should be removed, along with exact dates in favor of years. Foreign-language titles may be important in certain articles so it could be hard to come to a guideline applicable in all circumstances on that topic. I certainly find them very helpful on occasion. Calliopejen1 (talk) 03:48, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Support especially removal of pronunciations and long lists of alternate names. Support removal of birth and death places in lead. Support removal of names in other languages. Lean towards just years but can see situations where full dates may be good, so would prefer that the date/year be couched as "generally/most cases" thing. Would willingly support any measure to burn with fire IPA pronunciations in the first sentence. (Hell, can we burn with fire IPA in general?) Ealdgyth - Talk 13:08, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Do not change existing guidelines. Of course an essay would be welcome describing some best practices in the application of basic common sense in avoiding clutter. But this application of common sense is dependent on the context, and so is not easily subjectable to canonisation as hard rules. As for the specific categories discussed above: birth and death years as well as major alternative names are necessary so that readers know they're on the right page, though exact birth dates really don't need to be even in the lede. Pronunciations for foreign or counterintuitive terms have a place in the first sentence as well – it doesn't make sense to force a reader to browse through the rest of the article before they're able to pronounce the name of the subject. – Uanfala 22:45, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose mandatory removal of IPA. I understand that, given how far English spelling is divorced from pronunciation, native English speakers are going to have a hard time learning it, but it is an invaluable tool (and otherwise hard to find information) to those who understand it. DaßWölf 01:27, 28 June 2017 (UTC)
To clarify, I also oppose mandatory removal of IPA from the parentheses at the start of the article. I cannot imagine another natural, let alone more suitable place for this information, apart from an "Etymology" or similar section which the vast majority of articles lack. As such, people who look for this information likely won't be able to find it if it's moved. As for clutter in general, I agree that this is a problem but I oppose dealing with it by strongly-worded rules such as "only birth/death year in the parentheses", as these will rid of information hundreds of thousands of articles whose lead sentences never had a problem to begin with. DaßWölf 00:16, 6 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Do not change existing guidelines to require any change While I agreed whole-heartedly with the op-ed in the Signpost and reviewed the opening sentences of the FAs and GAs I've worked on, proposing simplifying changes where I consider them to be improvements, I don't think this is an area where more rules are required. A suggestion within the current guideline or recommendations in the form of an essay would seem to me to be the right way to go. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 03:13, 28 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Pronunciations should generally go in the infobox, not the first sentence. If they are from a foreign country than one foreign spelling in the lead, not necessarily the first sentence. The rest should go in the infobox. The common name and main scientific name should go in the first part of the first sentence. Other scientific and common names can go in the infobox. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:22, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Not every article has an infobox. There appears to be a contentious history with this. Now the next diversion will be that all articles must have an infobox for somewhere to park this data. Please leave IPA, if needed and added, in opening sentence of article. We should not be straying off the established MOS because of a Signpost editorial. Fylbecatulous talk 12:56, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support major changes to the guidelines: foreign language names are often excessive. I think they should be limited to two (though just one should be encouraged), with only one name per foreign language (see Katyn massacre for an example where these are far too long). I also think that transliterations are unnecessary in the lead sentence (they belong in infoboxes or notes); two-word terms with translations are already fairly long. As for dates, I think that full dates (day-month-year) are fine if they are known for certain, else years should be used with {{circa}} (more detailed discussions belong in the body). Finally, I honestly would be happy to scrap all IPA in lead sentences. It's not at all useful to the average reader; I would prefer {{respell}} or audio files. Generally, I believe that it should be recommended that lead sentences be as short as possible (I would be happy with one line that gives key information, rather than listing four or five terms that describe a person or thing). N Oneemuss (talk) 15:10, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support changes, make Wikipedia leads readable Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and the leads of articles should only have encyclopedic information. There are norms that encyclopedias follow and Wikipedia has gone astray from these norms. The leads of Wikipedia articles should be in text which humans can read. Information like pronunciation guides, alternative names, numbers, information which should exist as structured data in Wikidata or Wikipedia infoboxes, non-English words, audio files in the text, and other things which are not text for humans to read should not be in the lead. Even though Wikipedia has been including these things, this has been a creep away from the norm. Some other people are saying that preventing this information is a policy creep and I do not agree with that. The policy creep is all the rules allowing this unusual information. To serve readers using mobile devices, and to serve typical readers without specialized needs, and to be an encyclopedia rather than a dictionary, guide for related data, or catalog for cross-references, the leads of Wikipedia articles should prioritize text over all else. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:44, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose anything prescriptive. Should be a case-by-case basis. Significant alternative names should usually be in the lead sentence or otherwise early on in the lead, unless excessive. In fact, WP:Alternative name is a policy (not merely a guideline). It's also common to include a person's birth date (and death date) in the lead, and I don't see this changing. I do understand keeping pronunciations out of the lead, though. Since this discussion is very important to Wikipedia article formatting, I will advertise it on policy pages, guideline pages, and WikiProjects. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:00, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
    • @Flyer22 Reborn: do you have an actual reason for your opposition? Because to me what you wrote above reads like "the rules should be this way because the rules are this way". —David Eppstein (talk) 01:04, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, you sometimes interpret my opposition to changes that way. It's true that I believe in "if ain't broke, don't fix it." Not always, but I believe in it. I object to anything prescriptive because I believe that this should be handled on a case-by-case matter for reasons others have given above. Sometimes it is best to have a pronunciation in the lead. Birth dates and death dates in the lead are undoubtedly helpful; we have readers who do not pay attention to the infobox, except for a picture that might be there, and we have articles that do not have an infobox. Not all biography articles have one, especially regarding ancient people. WP:Alternative name is significantly helpful in making sure that the reader knows they have arrived at the right page. A redirect alone does not always suffice. An alternative name in the lead can also be important because the person or topic is known by the two names (or the three names); by including them, we are letting readers know that these names are valid and are common for the topic. And, like I stated, WP:Alternative name is policy. This guideline cannot trump/contradict policy. If we want to reduce or eliminate alternative names in the lead, this discussion should be had at that policy page. It is not like the WP:Alternative name policy states that all alternative names should be in the lead; it focuses on significant ones, and notes that more than three should be given its own section...if a section on the matter is warranted. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:27, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. I've often thought our lead sentences are so convoluted that readers won't be able to make sense of them. Experienced editors get so used to deciphering the information in this format that I think we develop a blindness to the complexity.--Trystan (talk) 05:23, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • No change except for IPA thingos I'm happy with the status quo, leaving inclusions up to the editors of the article along as they are within the guidelines. I will say the IPA thingos are basically useless clutter, as even where the article title pronunciation isn't obvious, virtually no-one knows how to read the IPA thingos anyway. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 05:28, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is unnecessary WP:CREEP that would make WP more difficult for new editors and readers. Many articles don't have infoboxes (you are welcome to add them). Many readers are unaware of Wikidata, and we can't expect them to visit two sites. Reading sentences with parentheses is simpler. If you want to move parenthetical information, just move it, don't expect a special rule enforcing your style preference. Jack N. Stock (talk) 05:34, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • oppose any change. Each of the guidelines above makes sense to me, none is too prescriptive, each suggests such parenthetical inclusions should be limited, to one foreign name/IPA/date range/scientific name, so not excessive. As always editorial common sense should prevail in any particular article, but the guidelines describe common practice now.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 05:41, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • No change except for maybe losing IPA'. I agree with User:Godsy that much of is situational and we should be rather careful with general unspecific encouragement or discouragement of parentheses. Having said that, I'd also argue that we probably could do without the pronunciation stuff. Also a comment on the infobox versus lead or first sentence, afaik the original idea for infoboxes was or is to provide a redundant table style summary of information for a quick overview, meaning all its information should normally be found in article as well. In addition as already pointed out, various articles may have no infobox to begin with.--Kmhkmh (talk) 05:45, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support making lead sentences more readable to discouraging parenthetical info there. IPA and foreign names may rarely be OK, but usually not, and the MOS should say so, allowing exceptions where the info can remain concise and is of special value. Dicklyon (talk) 05:48, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose, including the IPA. As a user of Wikipedia (in the sense that I use it to gain information), I have found the metadata in parentheses, especially the IPA pronunciations, immensely helpful. Several times I was looking for information on a person whose name I cannot pronounce, and thanks to the lead section, I could pronounce it right away, without looking up a dedicated pronuncing dictionary. The Chinese names are similarly helpful, especially when it's not immediately obvious from the pinyin who the person is. Perhaps a gadget or script can be created that removes the parentheses, but I would not support removing the information altogether.. Kayau (talk · contribs) 06:35, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support short and simple lead sentence - it's what's seen in search results or as a hover-over from a link, so needs to convey birth and date years (which give context and can disambiguate from others of different centuries), a single original-language name form, and then the "is a ..." identifying characteristic. Pronunciation, birth and death days, place of birth and death, where known, should be in the text of the article and referenced to reliable sources, whether or not also duplicated in an infobox. PamD 06:37, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I support anything that makes the opening sentence less cluttered. A more recent issue to emerge is that more than half of reader visits are on mobile devices with very small screens. This means that often readers don't persist beyond the opening few sentences. Where there's an infobox, pronunciation and transliterations into other scripts/languages should be there, not in our noses at the beginning of the main text. Tony (talk) 07:26, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • You can include information in a footnote as I've done at Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The Japanese name is still there for pedantics, but it's hidden away so that the main users of the WIkipedia here, in this case English users, don't need to read a huge chunk of unrelated text in the first sentence. Darkwarriorblake / SEXY ACTION TALK PAGE! 07:43, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
That could apply for titles that are fairly obvious transliterations like with Sonic the Hedgehog. Other Japanese titles would most likely be preserved and displayed in the lead as with Fullmetal Alchemist and Attack on Titan. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 07:52, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Darkwarriorblake: the title of that article is in English, not Japanese. Such a thing is far from "pedantic" when the title is untranslated (as with names) and has a non-obvious pronunciation, as at Kanae Yamamoto (artist). Putting the pronunciation away into a footnote just makes work for readers, virtually all of whom will need to make use of that information just to be able to read the article. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 09:07, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
It's an English article on the English Wikipedia, a japanese translation of the name is of no use to anyone reading the article, in this context it is known widely as Metal Gear Solid to people reading the article, not Metaru Gia Soriddo. So it is pedantic to put it in the lead sentence of an article in parentheses when it services at best a niche audience. Darkwarriorblake / SEXY ACTION TALK PAGE! 09:21, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Darkwarriorblake: You missed my point as badly as you possibly could. Please reread what I wrote. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 09:24, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
No. Darkwarriorblake / SEXY ACTION TALK PAGE! 09:28, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
"No" what? Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 09:52, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
I couldn't agree with Darkwarriorblake more strongly. Obstructing the opening with foreign scripts right at the top of the main text is a disservice to everyone who doesn't read Japanese script (or cyrillic, or arabic scripts). A footnote is just fine for any native-speaker/reader of those scripts, if they need to identify it. If they want more in that script, why not consult the proper language-Wikipedia? Why should we try to draw readers of those languages away from their WP? Tony (talk) 10:08, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Tony1: You're assuming other-language Wikipedias have articles on these topics. I've created piles of articles on Japanese topics that have no Japanese-language article (including FAs). And as I've pointed out below, what hypersensitive soul is "obstructed" by the four characters in the lead to Tokugawa Ieyasu? Who is "disserviced" by the pronunciation guide in the lead to Kanae Yamamoto (artist)? It would drive me nuts not to know how to pronounce the name of the article topic. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 10:21, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Strongly disagree with User:Darkwarriorblake and User:Tony1, who have clearly never felt the pain and frustration of reading a journal article about a CJK subject with all the native logographs locked away in endnotes. (Imagine reading an article where every single proper name is replaced with a nondescript variable attached to a footnote and you may approximate the feeling.) The idea that the native CJK name of the article subject is useful only to native speakers is ill-considered. Our articles are used by English-speaking students of foreign topic areas, many of whom will know some of the foreign language, but will be better served by an English-language article, both in terms of reading speed and clarity of information. It should be repeated that CJK logographs cannot be reverse-engineered from their transliterations, including the article title, and anyone with any knowledge of the target language will need this information and want it to be in the first sentence. Characterising this audience as niche at best is incorrect, and asking them to click a footnote to retrieve critical information about the subject so your eyes don't have to spend an additional decisecond scanning past a script you don't recognise is uncharitable and selfish. Removing CJK would be a disservice; retaining it is not. Snuge purveyor (talk) 20:22, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Preserve existing guidelines which suggest removing IPAs where not necessary. For instance, IPAs should not have to apply to Japanese romanizations, otherwise the romanization isn't doing its job. Birth dates are okay if they contain years, but if the only available dates are for birth month and day, then exclude. The infobox can also absorb the Chinese language variants and IPAs as with Chiang Kai-shek which even has detailed IPAs, but the most common language names can be placed in the lead as with Lee Seung-gi. Minor spelling variants don't need to be listed in the lead either. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 07:52, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
As an example, Ronald Reagan has his full name IPAed. Is that really necessary? Only his last name would be a candidate for that. AKB48 used to have romanization and IPA as well, but it was rather silly since it's pronounced like it would be in English. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 08:04, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Birthplaces should be discouraged as well from the lead, as it would lead to immediate redundancy, like "(born in U.S.) is an American actor". AngusWOOF (barksniff) 08:06, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Good point about topics like Attack on Titan. I knew that, while being on a mission to alert a number of WikiProjects to this discussion, it was important to alert WP:Manga as well. As an aside, I wish there were more shows like Attack on Titan. I recently finished watching its second season, and have to read the manga to find out more (just like with season 1). I think most people, regardless of whether or not they watch anime, could get into this show. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 08:34, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose: what information to include should always be left at the discretion of the article authors since what is needed will vary by subject. Parenthesis creep can be corrected on a case-by-case basis. I also strongly oppose omitting pronunciations, as that is presuming an audience already familiar with English, when in actuality Wikipedia is used as a resource by ESL readers and those looking to make sure they have the correction pronunciation. Most of this metadata for a subject is important enough to belong in the first sentence parenthetical. At worse, it should instead be factored out into full sentences but again, that can be done on the offending articles without needing a MOS change. Opencooper (talk) 07:56, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Preserve existing guidelines per AngusWOOF and others above. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. MOS is fine re the introduction. In fact, my only problem with it is the use of the word "lead" because it does confuse some Americans – which is why Led Zeppelin were not called Lead Zeppelin (from "lead balloon") – introduction is the better word Face-smile.svg Jack | talk page 08:32, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose removal of IPA. It's one of the more common things I look to in the lead, and I know I'm not alone. IPA is in wide use around the world, and the majority of English speakers (and thus Wikipedia readers) are speakers of English as a second language (David Crystal estimates at a ratio of three to one).
    Shunting pronunciations into an infobox, a footnote, or a pronunciation dicitonary off-wiki ignores how people actually use Wikipedia. We shouldn't be stopping readers in their tracks in the opening sentence as they hunt around the page or the internet to figure out how to read that first sentence before continuing with the article. Way to disrupt the reading experience!
    Oppose removal of CJK. This is hard for those who don't know these languages to understand, but CJK spellings cannot be reverse-engineered from their romanizations—especially in the case of Japanese. Shoving this information into a box just makes work for those of us who check Wikipedia frequently (even daily) to find this information, with dubious "gains" for anybody else—what is seriously gained by bumping the four characters 徳川 家康 out of the lead for Tokugawa Ieyasu?
    Encourage keeping parentheticals concise (limiting hairsplitting details and alternate pronunciations).
    Wikipedia is a reference work—please allow it to continue to serve such a rôle. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 08:58, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Remove all metadata — Does not belong in the lede, move it to the infobox or somewhere else in the article. The first sentence needs to be legible, and can not be a bunch of pronunciation and metadata. Carl Fredrik talk 09:51, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Thinking outside the box - As a possible solution to this "parenthetical overload" we could set a limit on the number of parentheticals appearing in the lead sentence... but not restrict the type of information appearing within each parenthetical. Blueboar (talk) 10:41, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
    Which sounds almost exactly like the current guidelines—don't allow it to get excessive, and otherwise leave it to editorial discretion. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 10:55, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support removal of IPA (very few people have any idea how to use it) and possibly limit the number of foreign names to one. Am a bit surprised to see people saying that birth/death places should be removed as they are already prohibited per MOS:OPENPARA. Number 57 10:50, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Comment Certainly some standardization is in order, because the guideline clearly isn't being followed for bios in all cases. I've run across any number of cosmonauts & others where full dates of birth & death, & place, are in the lead, only to be reproduced later, both in infobox & in text in some cases. I'd agree with removing the IPA as next to useless, but that leaves the issue of how foreign words & names should be pronounced; I disagree with the "that's for dictionaries" proposition & with removing pronunciaton(s) entirely. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 11:06, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • support Support making lead sentences more readable --Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 11:55, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • support removal of IPA and limiting the birth/death info to years in bios. Remove all metadata. Alternate names (including "nee's") likewise can appear elsewhere in the article, even in the lead paragraph if they are of enough importance. Onel5969 TT me 13:04, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support the general concept. For biographical articles, I mostly support PamD's statement (i.e., only years of birth and death, not the full dates and no place names and a simple clear statement of how the person is notable). For other types of articles, I'm reluctant to place overly specific limitations about what does or does not belong, but I strongly endorse guidance to focus the lead sentence as being an extremely condensed precis for the article -- something that functions as the most prominent part of the article in search results. In most cases this would not include pronunciation or alternate names that are not commonly used in English (other than the native name). olderwiser 13:56, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
    • And to be clear, I do not support removing relevant information from article, only that the first sentence should be highly focused on providing the greatest value for general readership. olderwiser 15:44, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Do not change existing guidelines. The naming of articles that e.g. have a relevant foreign name or two is already difficult enough without the alternatives being eliminated from the opening sentence. I would support keeping the wording in parentheses short, however. Bermicourt (talk) 16:20, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Retain existing guidelines. Any problems or exceptions can be argued through individual article talk pages.Smerus (talk) 16:31, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Do not change existing guidelines (Oppose removal of CJK) It does not help if the English names are different from their native counterpart. However, I do support in keeping the text in parentheses short, as stated by Bermicourt. TheInfernoX (talk) 17:14, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose; any changes to existing policies and guidelines or normally allowed practice concerning this RFC. If ANY editor wishes to push a point, for inclusion or exclusion of any content in the lead, that can be addressed on that article's talk page and consensus. We do not have to try to micro-manage every single point and continually add "rule" upon "rule" to the supposedly uncomplicated "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit". I personally like the fact that some articles have parenthetical foreign languages sometimes, or other information not restricted by some silly "rule", and is governed case-by-case as deemed important to the contributing editors and consensus. I also think year of birth/death is important on historical articles that at the very least provides disambiguation even though it might not "add to nobility". Otr500 (talk) 20:05, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose any change It's not the place of general MOS-junkies to creative normative rules for Wikipedians in specialized topic areas based on what the former think/assume is useful or important information. Leave it to the WikiProjects. With articles on Chinese, Japanese and Korean topics, native names are about the most important thing the vast majority of frequent readers of those articles would want to know, and confining them to later in the article (where exactly?) would make the articles worse, not better. I get the feeling some of the commenters in favour of the change are not actually interested in improving Wikipedia's coverage of topics in these areas, but are !voting based on general principles that don't actually work. I like Infobox-Chinese, and it does take some of the weight off longer lead sections, but mandating its use in all China-related articles (even two-sentence stubs!) instead of the lead sentence style is not a good idea, and renaming and/or massively expanding it to allow it to cover all foreign languages is asinine. The question is also confused, which seems to have caused several commenters to "support" without explaining exactly which parts of the proposal they support (their comments only mentioned IPA). And while I'm a little iffier on the IPA point, I do think it is wrong to say that only dictionaries and not encyclopedias give IPA for obscure/difficult terms (source?) and that most of our readers can't read IPA (which seems to actually mean "most of my friends can't read IPA"). Hijiri 88 (やや) 21:52, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support reasonable changes. Keep birth and death years (but not days and not locations). Non-Latin alphabet names and IPA should be moved to the infobox if an infobox is present (but kept in lead if no infobox). Don't add long lists of alternate names if they aren't in wide use (I'm thinking here of plant articles that begin with multiple "common" names that are actually rarely used.) Tdslk (talk) 01:02, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Tread lightly in changing the guidelines In particular, maintain "a single foreign language equivalent name can be included in the lead sentence, usually in parentheses," along with reasonable flexibility around cases where the subject has two equally valid foreign language sources. The current MOS encourages brevity and not overloading the lead sentence; we could do more to implement that. More generally, the lead sentence is a distinguishing mark for Wikipedia that is as important as the graphic design of the page and the hierarchical structure of articles. We should be having this conversation, but we must do so with an awareness that we are an unrepresentative subset of editors, who are a small subset of current readers, who may not represent the increasingly mobile and increasingly global readership Wikipedia will have in 5 years. Accordingly, we should be drawing on WMF research and requesting new research on what we don't know, especially their ability to study reader behavior (as they previously did here) and ability to test features, as well their ongoing research on "new readers" ("potential Wikimedia readers in countries where access to the internet is quickly growing"—people like these). For example, in 60% of mobile views, the reader never opens a single section below the lead. In the discussion above, there are a lot of cavalier assertions of what matters and doesn't matter to people; we should make major changes when we have actual data. In the longer term, I think more customization of this kind of data is ideal: horizontally expandable bits of inline text that can reveal pronunciation and full dates, user preferences that show or hide IPA and CJK data, and parenthetical information that collapses away on smaller screens, but the technical implementation of that seems a way off at the moment.--Carwil (talk) 06:28, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose changing - current guideline seems quite adequate; rather restrictive, but accepting eminently useful elements. −Woodstone (talk) 06:54, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose There's obviously some horrible examples out there, but there are so many edge cases that the MOS shouldn't be anymore prescriptive than it is at the moment. Top down 'discouragement' would probably create more problems than it solves. More detailed examples of best practice (e.g. if there's already an infobox, considering placing some of the information in there) can be added to project guidelines or WP:BLPLEAD etc if and when appropriate. Scribolt (talk) 07:34, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support simple text in lead need for date clutter.....move data to info box. Just need those reluctant to have info boxs that this would help there wonderful proposed text be more readable, while at the same time date will automatically be calculated for our readers (lIke age).--Moxy (talk) 07:45, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose complete removal of the IPA. To say that other encyclopedias don't use it (I'm sure there are exceptions) is not a valid argument. It's not our goal to be a carbon copy of other encyclopedias, we can "fix" what they're doing "wrong". Also, don't forget that articles on Wikipedia can have limitless length, which isn't really the case with other encyclopedias. To say that hardly anyone can read the IPA shows that you either don't know what you're talking about or you're just being dishonest. Thousands if not millions of people (e.g. many ESL speakers or a decent portion of L2 speakers of French and German) can read the IPA and it can be learned in a few weeks. You don't have to be able to read it, and if you're choosing not learn it that's entirely your business, not ours. We can put IPA in footnotes and delete duplicate transcriptions whenever they appear. Completely removing them is something I consider absolutely unacceptable and detrimental to the quality of the WP (actually I have a name for that - legalized vandalism). Mr KEBAB (talk) 13:12, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • strongly support - more and more of a readers use mobile (up to 60% now) - clutter in the first sentences mean absurd amounts of scrolling to get to anything meaningful. As a result the WMF started inserting the description field from Wikidata (unsourced, mostly unpatrolled) at the start of articles, to give readers a sense of what the article is about with reasonable efficiency. Vandalism that appeared in an article via the description field led to this ANI thread, which led to this RfC to ask WMF to stop using WIkidata this way (succeeded and done), which led User:Dank to open this thread at WT:FAC to make tight lead sentences part of FAC. This is important - we should not have clutter in the first 2.5 paragraphs - we have a responsibility to keep these sentences focused on content that summarizes the article. We have infoboxes and sections below for the details like etymology, pronunciation, alt names, etc.Jytdog (talk) 14:47, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose yet more micro-management,as per Joe and Jack N. Stock etc. We have too many ever-shifting guidelines as it is. It is getting difficult to keep track when writing an article. Anything problematic can be resolved on an article-by-article basis. Simon Burchell (talk) 15:05, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support The first sentence should be uncluttered. All this matter should if possible be farmed out to the infobox or a footnote.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:38, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Address on a case-by-case basis rather than by a blanket rule. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:34, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose removal of IPA: Please don't remove IPA transcriptions (except perhaps in rare cases where they add no information to English spelling). They are of great value to many users and would be extremely difficult to replace if they were removed. RoachPeter (talk) 10:15, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose removal of IPA: Please don't remove the IPA transcriptions. They are a very valuable resource for many people, and it is understood by many more people than you think (many are introduced to the IPA through learning a second language). To overcome this concern further, soundfiles can be used. And the argument that pronunciations belong in dictionaries and not encyclopaedias is a little short sighted - isn't wikipedia a new kind of resource that shouldn't be shackled to previous standards? (SelinaJSutton (talk) 10:42, 4 July 2017 (UTC))
  • The first sentence should give people confirmation that this is the subject they are looking for or ideally a jolly big hint that it isn't. Years of birth and death, main reason why someone is famous and various names they are known by are all good things to include in that very first line. Many other details are indeed useful and welcome in the article or infobox, but not so high priority that we need them in the first line of the lede. ϢereSpielChequers 11:33, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Include metadata/No change Having to scroll to an infobox for basic information is time-consuming and annoying particularly on mobile devices, tablets, small displays, etc. Dates of birth and death (and of reign for monarchs) are fundamental information. Anything that readily confirms this is the article you are looking for should also be as near the start as possible. Foreign names are of more use to people for whom English isn't a first language, or for looking up foreign people, and therefore to be inclusive and combat pro-US/Canada/UK bias they are important. Providing pronunciation information is more valuable to non-English speakers and for people with non-English names, and therefore should be kept for similar reasons, although we can debate how best to do that. Do we want Wikipedia to cater to speedy access to only a subset of people with big screens and excellent English? --Colapeninsula (talk) 13:26, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose removal of IPA: As it has been said before by RoachPeter and SelinaSutton, an IPA transcription is a valuable element. Here we are maybe confounding two issues: (1) whether to keep such information at all (for which IMHO my answer is yes, we should keep it), (2) where to put it (for which I don't have a particular opinion so far). --SynConlanger (talk) 15:41, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose any changes based on this pseudo-RfC, which does not address a specific issue but is some kind of "change is good" and "dumbing down is good" handwaving exercise in response to one person's generalized anti-details editorial. If a specific problem with a specific type of information in the lead can be identified for a specific context, then propose a narrow change relating to that set of circumstances, not a senseless "screw all parentheses in the lead" thing. I also agree that a) the anti-IPA bent of this would be anti-encyclopedic, b) that the putsch to denude lead sections is based on exaggeration of edge cases (which are already subject to cleanup per this guideline and other style and content guidelines), and c) that this is basically just an exercise in micromanagement (see WP:CREEP and WP:NOT#BUREAUCRACY). PS: The fact that we have a lot of mobile users is a non sequitur; being on a mobile device does make it any less or more relevant to have pronunciation information, alternative names, etc. If someone wants to do a controlled usability study and it demonstrates that mobile users mostly do not want these features in the lead, the solution would be to use CSS that hides them in the mobile view of the site – not to eliminate the information for all users.

    PS: To analyze one of the examples in the editorial: The Christopher Columbus article should not have a pronunciation guide in it (we don't add those for things that are already familiar to most of our readers), and should only provide alternative names in the lead for Spanish and Italian, not every language of any possible relevance to the life of the subject, because readers are unlikely to encounter references to Columbus except by his Anglicized, Spanish, or Italian names. And our extant guidelines already cover all of this. No changes of any kind to them are necessary to go make a cleanup edit there already; all you need is the patience to deal with any WP:OWN behavior that pops up there by people who wrongly feel they are vested editors in that article because they got there before you did (and it may not actually happen there, it's just fairly likely at a major and sometimes controversial article like his).
     — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:37, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Support and oppose and everything in-between: I think we need a clearer RfC with detailed sub-!votes on each type of data including in these parentheticals. I think there is an important issue here that needs to be dealt with, but this RfC isn't going to establish consensus. My opinion (at the moment) is that: birth and death dates should be mandatory if known (either year or date on case-by-case basis; estimated dates for historical figures would be optional); foreign/alternate names should be mentioned only if they are nearly as significant as the main name (mentioned in subordinate clauses outside parentheses in most cases; use footnotes if there are several names / obscure names; keep scientific name rule the same); maiden names are only needed if the person was well-known before they married, but birth names should always be mentioned; pronunciation and audio should be moved to a footnote (I think this in particular would be a change that could be carried out effectively by a bot). And there should be a maximum length of parenthetical data (either in characters or in number of facts). If someone had a well-thought out proposal to include data transcluded from Wikidata (in parentheses, footnotes or infoboxes) rather than requiring parenthetical information to be manually added by en-Wikipedia editors, I would be very interested in it; it would be an easy way to automate the process, abstract formatting considerations and maintain consistency. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 22:58, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep it the way it is, until I am persuaded otherwise. I find the discussion useless without examples. As an example of examples that could be discussed, David Ben-Gurion has a lot of parenthetical info, all of which I am OK with, but I'm open to discussions on this. —Anomalocaris (talk) 01:41, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose removal or relocation of things such as IPA, CJK, and DOB and location information from the first sentence of the lead. For those articles that have infoboxes, that information may also be located there, but (as someone else pointed out) the majority of users of Wikipedia are on mobile devices, and the infobox is minimized on mobile devices. Therefore, this important information is not immediately visible. I think the Signpost opinion piece was ill-informed. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 17:05, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep as is, since information like native names, pronunciation and birth/death dates are crucial for a first sentence. Debresser (talk) 17:45, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose any changes – I believe that for CJK articles the inclusion of relevant characters (one set only) and IPA if necessary are important parts of a professional encyclopedia-quality article. There are currently many articles that have far too much information in their opening parentheticals, but we must at least have something.  White Whirlwind  咨  22:53, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose removal of IPA. The International Phonetic Alphabet is the international standard, like it or not. Respelling, in comparison, is just dumbing down. Removing IPA symbols on the grounds that 'most people' (i.e. most Americans?) can't read them would be like stripping out all the mathematical articles in Wikipedia on the grounds that most people on Facebook think that apple + orange + 4 x bananas = 17 (or whatever). C0pernicus (talk) 15:38, 6 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose the removal of foreign language renderings (for any subject closely related to a foreign language) and pronunciation guides. Pushing that information into an infobox will make Wikipedia harder to use because it would reduce the prominence of critical information, especially for non-expert users. You shouldn't have to know to look in an infobox, then dig around in one, to find out how someone actually spells their name. - GretLomborg (talk) 16:24, 6 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support moving most stuff out of the 1st sentence, but often alternative names need to be kept there. Sometimes a sentence/para at the end of the lead can hold it. Johnbod (talk) 12:48, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment To begin with, I believe that question #1 isn't too broad and should have been the only question asked, after which separate RfCs should be used to narrow down parenthetical info to be in the lead sentence. In my opinion, this discussion should be closed as either against any changes or as no consensus and that if there is some support for removal of any particular element from the lead sentence (eg. IPA, foreign language, birth/death), then (a) separate RfC(s) should be opened for the removal of the specific element(s). The reason being that, because the RfC is broad, there is a lot of broad comments for/against and more specific RfCs should be used to better gauge the consensus for removal of particular elements. That said, I think that all parenthetical elements should be moved to the infobox of an article, if there is an appropriate infobox for the article. Appropriate exceptions would be common acronyms (a must if the acronym is used throughout the article; also should explain if a common name acronym is based on a foreign language or other reason, eg. for MONUSCO which is used in English and as the WP article title: "The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or MONUSCO (an acronym based on its French name Mission de l'Organisation des Nations unies pour la stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo)..."), alternate names, English translation if the article title is a foreign name/term (eg. from coup de grâce: "A coup de grâce (French for "blow of mercy")..."; from Ibid.: Ibid. (Latin, short for ibidem, meaning "in the same place")..."). There may be a couple more meritorious exceptions. If there is no infobox for the article, then appropriate parenthetical information should remain in the lead sentence, so long as it isn't too long. An effort should be made to ensure that all article infoboxes contain the appropriate elements (eg. IPA, IPA for foreign languages, non-Roman script). AHeneen (talk) 04:04, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose the proposal as framed; it's too broad and an extremely blunt weapon. Depending on the article, some of the information to be proscribed from the intro is vital to a clear understanding of the topic. In particular, birth and death dates, IPA pronunciations and foreign language names are important reasons why I use Wikipedia (n.b. WP:NOTPAPER). Moving such info to an infobox is not a solution for articles that don't have such boxes (n.b. a de facto prohibition on infoboxes in certain prominent articles, especially in the arts [e.g., Noël Coward, discussed here]). Forcing such info into to later sections of the article amounts to deletion if those sections don't exist. I agree with the general concern that there is too much unnecessary clutter in some article intros (e.g., American Frank Sinatra does not need the Italian pronunciation of his name in the first sentence). However, this should be dealt with on a more micro or piecemeal basis. —  AjaxSmack  03:27, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I Support moving all the items mentioned in the opening of the RFC—Foreign language, pronunciation, dates of birth and death, Scientific names of organisms—from the parentheses to the infobox. Yes, even dates of birth and death—these, too, can grow longer than they should for some people, and it's better to be consistent and move them all to the infobox. And by "pronunciation", I refer to all kinds thereof: audio, IPA, BCN/PCGN, pinyin, other transliterations, and respelling. Thanks to Kaldari for bringing this up. Important notes, however:
    1. I do not support removing any of these things entirely! All of them are useful to readers; the question is only where to put them, and the infobox is a better place. In fact, moving them all to the infobox may help add more of them, and this is a good thing.
    2. I would also like to acknowledge that these parentheses exist because of more than a hundred years of history and tradition of putting foreign names and dates of birth and death in printed encyclopedias. It's a good and beautiful tradition, but times change. Past printed encyclopedias rarely bothered to add alphabets other than Greek and Cyrillic, and today we are able to add almost any language thanks to Unicode. Past printed encyclopedias couldn't add audio players, but we can. So let's provide the information, but make it nicer. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 05:39, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose deleting anything; support moving to infobox if one is present. Double sharp (talk) 03:26, 20 July 2017 (UTC)


  • This RfC is badly framed, and unfortunately several !votes are making this a mandate about deleting or keeping content like IPA. This is about moving things out of the first sentences to elsewhere - the infobox, further down in the lead, or perhaps the body of the article. The opening statement was faulty and self-defeating by not making clear that this is just about de-cluttering the lead sentences, not about deleting content altogether. Decluttering the lead is important - as I noted above, lead sentences are so unreadable that the WMF unilaterally took action to deal with it for mobile readers, which was good for no one. We need to take responsibility for making our articles readable. Please focus on the issue of decluttering the initial part of the lead by moving content elsewhere. This RfC is not about deleting IPA from articles. User:Daß Wölf, User:Hijiri88, User:Mr KEBAB, User:RoachPeter, User:SelinaJSutton, User:SynConlanger , User:SMcCandlish, would you please reconsider your !votes? Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 20:45, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Thankyou Jytdog for the clarification. However, this does not change my vote. Being able to effectively communicate about a topic outside of writing is essential and thus providing info about an appropriate pronunciation is very important. The importance of this should be acknowledged by retaining an IPA transcription in the first lines of the article. If the purpose of the first lines are to clearly define the topic / concept then the IPA pronunciation should be present as the sound of the word is inherently linked to the definition. If you really want to save space on the first line, another appropriate place for the IPA could be in the title.(SelinaJSutton (talk) 21:05, 4 July 2017 (UTC))
    • User:SelinaJSutton you are not dealing with the core issue. Please read this. Please read that. Nobody is saying pronunciation isn't important. It is only a question of where to put it. Especially in light of the fact that something like 60% of our readers access WP on mobile, and there are articles where there is so much clutter that you have to scroll just to find out what the article is even about. Jytdog (talk) 22:27, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Not reconsidering I was quite clear in my comment that I was aware this was about "moving" content out of the lead sentence and into the footnotes or infoboxes, and I was quite clear that this was what I was opposed to. That stuff should be left up to editorial discretion, and a lot of the other commenters seem to be motivated by a desire to impose their own standards onto articles in topics they never read about and don't know anyone else who reads about them. I know a lot of people who use Wikipedia as a reference work on various (for example) east Asian topics, and I have never heard them complain about the native names being included in the lead sentence because it "hurts readability". Whether or not imposing dubious "rules" about "readability" was the intention of the original question, it is clear that this is how the proposed change would be implemented in practice by the majority of the support !voters. If there was a concrete proposal that explicitly stated that it was not meant to steam-roll long-accepted standards for the lead sentences of articles in various topic area, then maybe I would support that. Hijiri 88 (やや) 21:25, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
By the way, Jytdog, I think you misread both the question and my comment, as well as (probably -- I haven't checked) the comments of several of the other users you pinged. The question is less concerned wih wikidata vandalism (which was what your comment was directed at) than about imposing MOS:CHINA on all other similarly "foreign" topics, and my comment was more directed at that than at removal of IP to a footnote or infobox. If you want to wait a bit and start a new RFC about the topic you want addressed, then you should do that, but if anyone should be reconsidering their !vote this time round it would be you. Hijiri 88 (やや) 21:35, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
@Hijiri88: "left to editorial discretion" is not what we have now. For instance, MOS:BIO and MOS:DOB clearly demand full dates of birth and death in the lead, and can easily be read as encouraging their placement in the parenthetical clause of the first sentence. So, you would like to change the MOS to remove this guidance? —David Eppstein (talk) 22:02, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
@David Eppstein: So ... the guidelines demand that highly relevant and important information appear somewhere in the lead, and editors can choose at their own discretion to interpret that as meaning the parenthetical clause of the lead sentence? isn't that editorial discretion regarding the lead sentence? If the proposal is to remove birth and death dates completely from the leads of biographical articles (which I don't think it is) then I would oppose that on its merits anyway. Also, you seem to be taking one part of one sentence of my reply to Jytdog out of context: I am not talking about dates in biographical articles (I haven't mentioned them anywhere), that is not what Jytdog was talking about, and that is not what most of the comments in the above section are talking about. The ones that just speak generally of clutter can much more easily be read as referring to the former state of our Genghis Khan article, which had nothing to do with dates and everything to do with multilingual information. Dates do not take up much space, and if they hurt readability then the vast majority of print encyclopedias would not include them in their lead sentences. Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:14, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
No, actually MOS:BIO specifically talks about not putting places in the "opening brackets of the lead sentence alongside the birth and death dates". So there is no editorial discretion: under the current MOS, the full dates must be included in the opening brackets. I would like to change that. I would interpret your position (of leaving things to editorial discretion) as also wanting to change that, but instead you seem to be using this as an excuse to avoid changing anything. —David Eppstein (talk) 00:06, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
David Eppstein: quoting from MOS:BIO:
Birth date and place
The opening paragraph should usually have dates of birth and death. Birth and death dates are important information about the person being described, but if they are also mentioned in the body, the vital year range (in brackets after the person's full name) may be sufficient to provide context. For living persons, privacy should be considered (see WP:BLPPRIVACY, which takes precedence). ...
There's no demand they be in brackets there—that's merely common practice (and for good reason). Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:32, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
There's no such demand in the part you quoted but there is such a demand in the part I quoted. —David Eppstein (talk) 04:05, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
Only if taken out of context. However, I agree that the phrase "alongside the birth and death dates" could be removed from the end of the paragraph in question. The final sentence regarding birth and death places would read fine without it. Jack N. Stock (talk) 05:00, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
David Eppstein: I don't see where on this page you've quoted such a thing, and I see nothing that says that in MOS:BIO. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 05:20, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) (edit conflict) @David Eppstein: Stop it. I came here on invitation, to express my opinion on an issue that affects me as a Wikipedia, as expressed in the RFC question. My opinion was focused primarily on those aspects of the issue with which I have personal experience and knowledge. You have now started pinging me and/or posting "responses" demanding my attention on various issues that I am not interested in commenting on. (You are actually not the worst offender here; Jytdog has pinged me twice.) If you don't like how this RFC did not address the issues (or focus on the particular aspects of the issues) you would have liked it to, that is not my fault.
That said, I don't see how giving dates in the opening sentence of biographies is problematic. That is how most paper encyclopedias I have seen do it. And, with the possible exceptions of a few currently living people whose names aren't frequently Googled to find out if they are dead (don't want to name names, but you can probably guess a few) or how old they are (Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, for example), this is some of the most important information we can provide in the lead sentence. This is true for most biographical articles I have worked on (early medieval Chinese and Japanese poets, largely) and it's true for most of your most-edited biographical articles. I checked: 12 of your top 100 articles are biographies, and virtually all of them I would be interested in knowing at least roughly when they lived. The only one to which the majority of the RFC relates is Y. H. Ku, whose lead sentence (indeed, lead paragraph) is a bit of a mess, but that's because it already looks nothing like most of the other Chinese biographies of its length, doesn't follow MOS:CHINA and doesn't explain what it means by "polymath" until the second paragraph. If you want to put in an Infobox-Chinese to remove both the Chinese text, the alternate romanization, and the precise dates from the lead sentence, no one is stopping you. Again, Li He doesn't have this problem, even though with that topic the subject himself did not have a romanization preference, and so while most English-language sources prefer to call him Li Ho we are bound to use pinyin throughout: there is actually no good reason for Y. H. Ku to include pinyin in its lead sentence.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 05:24, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
Don't tell me not to reply to other people on policy discussions. I pinged you only once, early in this thread. Any other pings you are getting are from other people.—David Eppstein (talk) 05:37, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
So your above comment timestamped 00:06, 5 July 2017 (the latest one I read before penning the above response) was not addressing me? It's placement right below mine, indentation, and wording (particularly its opening) all strongly implied it was addressed to me. The fact that my sockpuppet chose to step in and respond before I did doesn't change that. Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:17, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
@Hijiri88: you are still not responding to the core issue of the RfC. The RfC is about simplifying the first sentences of the lead. That's all it is about and that is the only thing I wrote about. Jytdog (talk) 22:19, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
No, I'm still not responding to the core issue of your comment, because your comment is not what's under discussion. I am not going to support a proposal that virtually everyone on both sides of the isle interprets as being about native English speakers from certain English-speaking countries who have never spent much time outside those countries and probably never read the Wikipedia articles under discussion anyway vs. the rest of the world. Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:50, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree, this discussion has gone off topic. @David Eppstein: MOS:BIO refers to "The opening paragraph" whereas this discussion is about the opening sentence (not plural "sentences"). Also, MOS:BIO already states that "the vital year range (in brackets after the person's full name) may be sufficient to provide context" if the full dates are mentioned elsewhere. Jack N. Stock (talk) 22:24, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
So, what you are saying is I am right? I don't get it -- why are the three of you trying to force me to address something that is not only peripheral to my main concern with the proposal, but is also peripheral to the proposal itself? I have not read MOS:BIO in full, or even in part in a very long time. Most of its guidelines seem to be completely peripheral to the biographical articles I normally write, where -- for example -- the exact dates are not known. If you can find anything in the article I wrote on Li He that egregiously violates MOS, I apologize and would request guidance in addressing it. I don't, though, see how any of this has anything to do with a small group of Wikipedia editors making sweeping, unsourced claims about Wikipedia's massive reader-base. Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:50, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm saying that this RfC is specifically about "information included in parentheses in the first sentence of an article." Jack N. Stock (talk) 23:24, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Also not reconsidering (though I clarified one sentence in my original comments). I fully understood that it was about moving the material out of the lead (we already have policies that would prevent stripping it entirely from articles, since it's encyclopedic and verifiable). It never occurred to me that anyone would even think this RfC was about removal from the article entirely. I meant everything I said, with all of it being about encyclopedic relevance in the lead section. PS: The answer to a hopelessly malformed RfC is to shut it down and post one that is clearer and more focused.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:05, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Kill the editor who started this RfC. What we sure didn't need is another off-the-cuff, ill-focused RfC resulting in a complete free-for-all. EEng 09:17, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
👌🏼—A L T E R C A R I   15:51, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
You know I'm just kidding, right? If I'd really wanted you dead it would have happened by now. EEng 20:08, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
Killing Altercari is against guidelines. I couldn't actually find the guideline, but I'm pretty sure. While I was looking, I found this: WP:MIAB. Jack N. Stock (talk) 21:19, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
Wouldn't killing other editors fall under WP:NPA? —David Eppstein (talk) 21:31, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
That's the one. Jack N. Stock (talk) 21:44, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
Well, according to various commentators here, WP's guidelines and policies should be ignored at personal whim and are just moot anyway, so there ya go. I call dibs on the thigh meat.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:20, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
SMcCandlish has a point. WP:IAR. Hijiri 88 (やや) 05:38, 6 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Jytdog, thanks for the ping, I have clarified my position in the !vote section. This is an issue that affects a small minority of articles, and using a blanket rule to fix it is going to create more problems than it fixes. To illustrate: I had to click the random page button 38 times before I came up with one that could be described as problematic. DaßWölf 00:16, 6 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support limiting bios to birth and death years The full dates are unimportant, and just add clutter. LK (talk) 02:05, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

Who to close the discussion?[edit]

I had a discussion with the initiator of the discussion. The user's responses about withdrawing the RfC were unclear. Therefore, I'm thinking about requesting a solo or joint closure at WP:AN. I could do WP:ANRFC, but that implies that a solo closure is needed. Maybe I can request a joint closure at ANRFC, but can two editors possibly pick up one request at ANRFC? --George Ho (talk) 22:20, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

This discussion is a model of no consensus. I don't think you need a joint closure to determine that. Snuge purveyor (talk) 16:59, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
We could wait out the close; I don't see that we need to hurry the close, but, since the discussion does look like "no consensus," I understand the suggestion to go ahead and close it. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 13:14, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
It would be ideal if whoever closes it would at least summarize which ideas received some level of support, so that we can follow up on them with more focused discussions and possibly more specific RfCs. Just closing it as "no consensus", with no elaboration, wouldn't be that helpful. Kaldari (talk) 02:38, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

PERMASTUBs formally recognized/authorized in an MOS page?[edit]

Although Wikipedia encourages expanding stubs, this may be impossible if reliably sourced information is not available.

WP:PERMASTUB may just be an essay, but from what I've seen its Where possible, they should be merged to larger articles and redirected there. When there is no possibility for any expansion, nor any topic that they could be merged into, it is possible that a permastub should be deleted. is more widely accepted than the alternative.

Should this page mention that in cases where expansion is impossible, the articles are frequently merged or deleted?

Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:15, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

I tend toward "no" for several reasons. MoS is (mostly) not a content guideline, and has nothing to do with deletion policy at all, nor is deletion of any relevance to writing leads, or vice versa (even the "must make a claim of notability" thing doesn't have anything to do with leads; the claim to avoid speedy deletion need only be in the article, somewhere). Second, leads and merge possibilities doesn't really relate, either; that's a general relevance matter and is handled by content and editing guidelines, and the WP:NOT#INDISCRIMINATE policy; the closest MoS seems to get to this is avoidance of "trivia" sections, especially in list format, which I think is found in MOS:LAYOUT. Third, the essay is making a statement about probabilities, which may or may not be accurate; someone would actually have to study this, and I predict the conclusions would not support the premise. We have thousands upon thousands of permastubs, and they are regularly kept when they pass GNG (only requires non-trivial coverage in multiple, reliable, independent sources). Forced merging only happens when we don't think it is likely to ever be possible to expand the topic, e.g. when a person is not really notable in their own right but only incidentally as the participant in (victim of, etc.) some other notable event or person, and suchlike. MoS is not about probability assessment, but about offering style advice, broadly speaking. MoS no longer covers article length at all, that I can recall; it's all been moved to editing guidelines, like WP:Article length, WP:Stub, WP:Summary style, etc. It's definitely not the subject of this MoS page. If we got into this "probable stub outcomes" stuff, with actual evidence from CSD, Prod, and AfD analysis, narrowed to articles with stub tags/categories on them, and with a length-of-time-without-improvement filter, etc., it would likely be at Wikipedia:Stub. But it seems like a lot of work for no real benefit. We already encourage the expansion of stubs, and have editing policies that empower their expansion any time someone has additional sources (or even revisits the existing ones more throughly; covered this in another essay, WP:MINE).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  17:27, 5 July 2017 (UTC)