Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Text formatting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Manual of Style    (Inactive)
WikiProject icon This page was within the scope of WikiProject Manual of Style, a project which is currently considered to be inactive.

Clarifying the formatting of Voyager, Pioneer, and other space probes[edit]

I've only been on Wikipedia for a little while, but I've noticed that the formatting of the names of the Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft is inconsistent. This is visible on the Voyager 1 and Voyager program pages.

A concise (and the most recent) discussion I could find concerning the issue was this talk page, where no consensus seems to have been reached. Here were the main arguments, in summary:

1. Voyager 1 and others like it are spacecraft, and therefore should be italicized.

2. The NASA style guide says not to italicize probe names, and thus we shouldn't either. They aren't true spacecraft.

3. Voyager and Pioneer are class names, and thus it should be "Voyager 1", etc., with only the class being italicized and not the number.

I'm not sure which side I personally prescribe to, thought the third option does seem to make the most sense, however bold it may be. Regardless, I believe we need a clear rule about whether and what to italicize. Thoughts? Jgfceit (talk) 21:39, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

Discussion at Talk:Unknown Pleasures#RfC: Italics for Pitchfork (website) magazine?[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Unknown Pleasures#RfC: Italics for Pitchfork (website) magazine?. — JJMC89(T·C) 04:39, 26 December 2016 (UTC)

Explicitly limit italics usage[edit]

Currently MOS:BOLD says (with my underline for emphasis) "Boldface ... is common in Wikipedia articles, but only for certain usages." but MOS:ITALICS says "Italics ... are used for various specific purposes in Wikipedia ..". In particular MOS:ITALICS does not say that italics are only for those purposes (as MOS:BOLD does).

I propose that MOS:ITALICS should changed to "Italics ... are used only for various specific purposes in Wikipedia .." for consistency with MOS:BOLD.

The problem with not including the word "only" is that any editor can use italics for any arbitrary purpose and legitimately says that there's no guideline against it. (Example: [1], Template talk:Western Australian elections#italics.) If italics can be used arbitrarily, it defeats the purpose of enumerating specific purposes, reduces the value of italics (because it's harder to know what the italics formatting means in any given usage) and reduces the consistency of the text formatting in general. Mitch Ames (talk) 03:05, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose Seems to be a classic case of using a hammer to crack a nut. Italics have been used on election templates to signify future elections for at least a decade without objection. One editor suddenly deciding they don't like it doesn't mean they should be removed. Also, disappointing to see no effort to notify editors at WikiProject Elections and Referendums given that this is an attempt to force changes to election and referendum templates. I will do this now. Number 57 13:14, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the same reason; italics are consistently being used for this purpose in election link templates. —Nightstallion 13:35, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the same reason: in this list of elections, this reader asks himself 'why do I see an election that hasn't yet happen?' and the italics are quite then quite clear for this emphasis. Wykx (talk) 13:42, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    and the italics are quite then quite clear for this emphasis — I suggest that it is not "quite clear" what the italics mean. It would be much clearer if we just said so explicitly. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:11, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
You mean with an explanation at the end of the template like in Template:Earthquakes_in_2017? Wykx (talk) 13:25, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
I note your recent addition to Template:Western Australian elections - but no, I mean explicit inline text per my comment on Template talk:Western Australian elections. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:36, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
No matter how explanation is done (at the end or just after), that doesn't prevent to use italics in such particular cases. Wykx (talk) 14:03, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Number 57. The Drover's Wife (talk) 19:28, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: "The problem with not including the word 'only' is that any editor can use italics for any arbitrary purpose and legitimately says that there's no guideline against it." I agree that we should write guidelines and policies so as to not allow loopholes like this. I've been told that MOS:NOBOLD's "Avoid using boldface for emphasis" does not tell you not to use it for emphasis. I'm similarly bugged by WP:PSEUDOHEAD's wording: "Do not make pseudo-headings using semicolon markup and try to avoid using bold markup", which arguably prohibits the former but not the latter. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 20:22, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    It's prohibited because using semicolon markup to make pseudo-headings creates an accessibility problem. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 23:52, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I would support the proposal in principle, however there are clearly current usages that are not enumerated in the specific purposes at present. The usage that made me notice this proposal is in a navbox template of past events (elections in this case), any future ones are displayed in italics. The discussion that led me here also mentions that water bodies are displayed in italics in a table of neighbouring (implicitly land-based) locations. There may be others, so the set of specific purposes needs to be completed before banning extra uses. --Scott Davis Talk 10:41, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
water bodies are displayed in italics in a table of neighbouring (implicitly land-based) locations — per [2][3], listing an ocean as a suburb is just wrong. Fix the root problem instead of using italics to emphasis the error. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:26, 22 January 2017 (UTC)

@Number 57, Nightstallion, Wykx, and The Drover's Wife: the proposed change is to WP:ITALICS in general; not just election templates. If there is a legitimate case for using italics in election templates — then, as ScottDavis suggests, add that usage to the list of "certain usages". (I disagree with that usage; we should instead explicitly state that the election hasn't happened yet.) But even if we add that usage to the list, I still think we should explicitly state that italics are only used for the listed purposes, otherwise there's no point in listing the usages at all. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:22, 22 January 2017 (UTC)

This kind of unhelpful pedantry needs to be stopped generally, so yes, I oppose any such change as suggested. The Drover's Wife (talk) 22:34, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose For many of the reasons expressed above. Seems to not improve the Project beyond mere 'show' rather than substance. Never a good sign. doktorb wordsdeeds 00:34, 30 January 2017 (UTC)


See related discussion at Wikipedia talk:Article titles#Words as words on whether or not (and if so: how) this type of italicisation can be applied to article titles. Please discuss there, not here. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:05, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Not bold-setting non-Latin scripts[edit]

Text in non-Latin scripts (such as Greek, Cyrillic or Chinese) should neither be italicized as non-English nor bolded, even where this is technically feasible; the difference of script suffices to distinguish it on the page.

Should this apply to non-body-text instances where text is bold-set by default, e.g. in section and table headers? Adding {{nobold}} to every such instance seems like an unnecessary hassle, and doesn't seem in line with the spirit of the recommendation, which is to avoid unnecessary formatting (in fact, it overly distinguishes the foreign script, making it appear thin when everything else is bold). --Paul_012 (talk) 15:57, 7 March 2017 (UTC)