Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Text formatting/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search



For avoiding underlining see also the old discussion Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style--Alpha_Archive5#Underlining.--Patrick 23:21, 30 July 2006 (UTC)


I suggest a merge of these 4 proposals to here, as they are all distinctly related:

and far too short by themselves. Thanks. --Quiddity·(talk) 01:43, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I have them in small doses because its easier to find what you need. With the longer guides you spend too much time searching for what the exact information. The titles tell exactly what your going to find in the article. "Italics" was already moved from a larger article for this very purpose. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 01:19, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I understand your point, some of the guideline pages are unwieldy. But this would make for a simple 4-line contents box, and eliminate a lot of redundancy. This "emphasis" guideline page is already written like a lead section to such a grouping (a concise summary).
I was also wondering if you had mentioned these anywhere for wider discussion yet (eg Village Pump)? Thanks :) --Quiddity·(talk) 01:42, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Manual of Style (ALL CAPS) should remain a separate page, because it should also apply in a lot of cases where the capitals are not used for emphasis per se. I haven't read the other two. Shinobu 23:54, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
They are all included under the umbrella concept of -- changing context by changing a typographical element. This is one of the reasons why I suggest a merge. -Quiddity·(talk) 00:27, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Richard: I was still wondering if you had mentioned these anywhere for wider discussion yet (eg Village Pump)? Are you actively pursuing making any of these into accepted guidelines? See Category:Wikipedia proposals and Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Policies for instructions. --Quiddity·(talk) 00:27, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
@changing context by changing a typographical element: que? It's not in the MoS(E) article, and I only grasp a dim idea of what you mean by that. Which means that it's going to be totally ineffective. The situation is that there is an influx of people who are very obnoxious about keeping THE TITLE OF THEIR FAVOURITE SONG or band, or movie, or anime, etc. in all caps because it's done that way on the cover. Once, not using all caps was such a matter-of-course that there was no need for a MoS guideline on that. But today we need a clear guide to point to, and I think the MoS(AC) would be just that. If we move it to a subsection of this page, people are bound to think that it only applies in the case of emphasis, whereas MoS(AC) is meant to be a general guideline. Which is why it's very unnatural to have it here. Instances of ALL CAPS have nothing to do with emphasis most of the time. Shinobu 23:05, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
I wouldnt even have a clue that I was supposed to look under emphasis to find out about ALL CAPS, thats why independent small guides are easier to find, you just look under the category of Style Guides and they jump right out at you. Same for italics, bold, underscore and the other style elements that are applied to text. I do agree that they should be promoted to full style guides. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 00:06, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I'll remove the merge tags, you all convinced me :) wore me out! --Quiddity 22:59, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
See those links just above, for the processes you need to undertake, in order to get them promoted. --Quiddity 06:11, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Heh, I just got redirected to, and so found for the first time, Emphasis (typography) (from bold). It also goes into a bit about italics and capitals too. I'm just being cheeky and pointing it out ;) --Quiddity 01:31, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Radiant's merge of italics to here (and presummably bold is next); And his merge of ALL-CAPS to MoS(Capitals). --Quiddity 22:59, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

changing context by changing a typographical element

I agree that "bold" "italics" "underline" and "ALL CAPS" could all be handled by one article titled: "changing context by changing a typographical element", but who would find it? Ease of finding the information is as important as grouping related items together. To find what I am looking for I look at the category for Manual of Style and then scan the topics. The MoS article is already too large and takes several readings. An article which repeats the information yet still keeps them seperate would do no harm. Why not create "changing context by changing a typographical element" --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 17:58, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

It would do harm. Any updates to one wouldnt be reflected in the other. And redundancy/repetition is what leads many of the guidelines to being so long in the first place! Hence my merge suggestion. --Quiddity 18:38, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
There is lots of redundancy in Wikipedia, thats what makes it useful. I am sure if the birthdate of Abraham Lincoln was discovered to be a different date, it would have to be changed in more than one spot. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 14:22, 8 September 2006 (UTC)


Why was italics merged with emphasis? The titles of books aren't italicized because they are being emphasized. Emphasis needs to be its own topic. Now I am totally confused when I read this topic. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 20:07, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Because (rather obviously) italics is a form of emphasis, and the merge tag was there for several weeks without objection, and several people concur on this talk page, and in the previous section you also seem to be in concurrence. >Radiant< 20:22, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
    • This is, um, rather silly. Italics are a typographical convention that may be used for emphasis (as here), but may also be used for a variety of other purposes. Indeed, the more sensible thing to do would be to merge the other way, as it seems that all other forms of emphasis besides italics are, in fact, discouraged. Kirill Lokshin 23:05, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Italics and Emphasis merger

thread moved here, from Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (italics)

I am reverting the merger of italics and emphasis. Italics are used for emphasis, but not all things are italicized for emphaisis, and I find it confusing. Books are put in italics not to emphasize them but to let you know you are looking at the title of a book. The meaning is New York Times not "New York Times!". Changes to the Style Guides should have consensus before major changes are made. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 22:17, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Seconded. This is utterly silly; by far the vast majority of uses of italics are not, in fact, for emphasis. Kirill Lokshin 23:02, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
They are, but for typographical/visual emphasis, not rhetorical emphasis. Perhaps we just need to consider retitling MoS(Emphasis) to something clearer, that more understandably encompasses all of italics/bold/underline/emphasis? --Quiddity 23:21, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
MoS (Typography)? (But that might be too broad.) Kirill Lokshin 00:30, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
I think it was fine the way it was. From an encyclopedia editor's perspective, italics and emphasis are two different things. Blurring the two (only mildly related) concepts was, and still is, a bad idea. EVula 05:08, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
If I were looking for guidance on how and when to use italics in Wikipedia, I’d much prefer to click on a link that said Wikipedia:Manual of Style (italics). Neither the bold nor the italics topics need to be here. I question the necessaity of the emphasis page at all. It doesn’t cover anything that isn’t already covered better elsewhere. The fact that italics, bold, and caps are all related can easily be accomplished by cross-linking them. Near the top of each, provide see-also links to the others.
The amount of truly emphasis-related content can be covered in a sentence or two on the main MoS page:
  • Do not double-emphasize words, such as by combining italics with quotation marks or exclamation points.
  • Do not underline words; it conflicts with the convention of underlining hyperlinks. Use italics instead.
It doesn’t need a whole page to itself. --Rob Kennedy 05:14, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Sure its covered elsewhere, a little bit in italics, a little bit in bold, a little bit in capitalization. Thats exactly why it needs to have its own article. An editor shouldn't have to read an entire manual of style guides to find what they are looking for, it should be easy to spot when looking at the list of style guides. Thats why the Chicago Manual of Style and the New York Times Manual of Style have a guide on emphasis --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 16:31, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with the mere existence of an Emphasis section. I just think that most editors won't think "Hey, I want to add some extra 'oomf' to this article. I think I'll look up Emphasis!". Leave Bold and Italics as the "primary" MoS chapters, and let Emphasis just sum up all the relevant rules. A little bit of overlap isn't the end of the world. EVula 17:55, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Okay, this is more complex than I thought. I found it strange there was a MOS for bold, for italics, for capitalization and for 'all caps'. I suppose 'emphasis' isn't the best word for all of those (maybe 'markup' or something?) but I would expect bold, underline and italics to use the same guideline (which would probably tell us not to use underlining at all, etc). E.g. a novice user might use boldface for quotes instead of italics. He might look that up in MOS (Quotes), MOS (Bold) and/or MOS (Italics), and I think all three of those should redirect to the same place. Do people agree with that? And if so, what would be the best name? >Radiant< 21:19, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
No, I don’t agree. MOS (italics) should be its own page. There’s so much more to italics than simple emphasis. Italicizing a book title, for example, is not “emphasizing” its status as a title. It’s simply a way of styling a title. Would it make sense, semantically, to use the <em> HTML tag in such a case?
I’m gradually accepting that MOS(emphasis) could be a useful page, but mainly as a page refered to by other MOS pages, not as a page anyone would think to visit as a first stop. MOS(bold) is so short that it could easily be subsumed into MOS(emphasis).
Note that MOS(ALL CAPS) redirects to MOS(capital letters), which is mostly not about emphasis. If the emphasis-related content from MOS(capital letters) is merged to MOS(emphasis), it should be removed from MOS(capital letters). In its place should be put a note: “For information on the use of capital letters for emphasis, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (emphasis).” There’s too much overlap in style advice in the Manual of Style; it needs more cross-referencing instead.
There is no MOS(quotes) page, but if there were, it would be mostly about quotations, as found in the main MOS page. Its section on scare quotes could reasonably be moved into MOS(emphasis).
Don’t try to merge MOS(italics) and MOS(capital letters) in their entirety. They cover rather distinct topics that do not fall under the umbrellas of emphasis or markup. --Rob Kennedy 08:08, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
  • MOS(ALL CAPS) was merged to MOS(capital letters) by Richard Norton 2 weeks ago, and doesnt figure into the current discussion at all.
  • I think some of us are talking on cross-wires wrt intended meanings. I'm considering the word 'emphasis' primarily as a poor substitute for a collective-term to encompass italics/bold/underline (is there a better piece of typographical terminology that groups these items?) as I see some benefit in merging those style guide proposal subjects.
  • Richard Norton (the primary author of all these proposals) is arguing partially from a standpoint of desiring brevity-above-all. But that kinda conflicts with 99% of the other style-guide pages, which tend to be over 2 screens long; I don't know how much weight his argument for brevity carries? There are pros to short-but-numerous pages, and pros to longer-but-fewer merged pages. He has also suggested above that redundancy is a good thing, which I'm diametrically opposed on.
I hope that accurately clears a few things up. --Quiddity 09:13, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
Just as an aside:
"Would it make sense, semantically, to use the <em> HTML tag in such a case?"
Technically, yes. Any web developer's manual worth its salt will note that <em> is to be used instead of <i> (just as <b> has been depreciated in favor of <strong>). That said, it is an issue that primarily only concerns web developers, not run-of-the-mill Wikipedia editors, which is why I don't think such a technicality should concern this naming policy. EVula 16:18, 27 September 2006 (UTC)


OK. How does Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting) sound?. Merge italics, bold, and underlining there. Primarily italics, since that’s the main formatting technique used on Wikipedia. It would also include a short section on bold, and an even shorter section on underlining. I suppose with a label of “text formatting,” it might include guidelines on color, too.
I’m opposed to redundancy in the MoS, too. When the same topic is covered in multiple places, then people will discuss them on multiple talk pages, and then make changes based on those discussions only to the one page in question. I apply this opinion throughout the Wikipedia namespace. (Redundancy elsewhere in Wikipedia isn’t so bad. I recently mentioned this on my talk page regarding citations.[1])
I favor having broad categories in the style manual. That’s partly because I’d like for the {{style}} template to list all the approved supplementary manuals without the list getting too unwieldy. The main MoS page has a “submanuals” section, but it’s buried at the bottom of the page whereas {{style}} appears near the top along the side of every submanual. It serves as a good method of cross-referencing all the style guides, but having too many discrete topics there will just make it harder to navigate. --Rob Kennedy 04:17, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Perfect. I second the name. And thoroughly agree with your explanation. --Quiddity 04:29, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Perfect name. I heartily support the move. EVula 05:34, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Concur. >Radiant< 09:01, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Done. Now this page just needs a lead section, and a checkover, and then it can be included in the {{style}} template. --Quiddity 20:43, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Well done. The use of the vague term "emphasis" cased confusion. In editorial terms, it can mean laying stress on a word, or making a statement an exclamation. In typographic or visual design terms, it means adding visual contrast to some text, in service of some editorial aim—yes, including for example, italicizing a book title to distinguish it from surrounding text. In writing in general, these two meanings of the word overlap, but often people assume it means only one or the other.
Some time ago Wikipedia changed the wikitext italics to create <i> elements instead of <em>—a minor backward move, I think. Michael Z. 2006-10-13 18:04 Z

Italics in Cyrillic and Greek characters

Is there any agreement on whether to italicize or not Cyrillic and Greek characters ? If not, I propose to adopt a guideline advising against the use of italics in these cases:

  • Italics are not necessary, since the difference with "normal Latin text" is obvious.
  • Italics hinder readability, at least for those of us not used to those funny characters :-)

Of course, there would be exceptions, as for the "Bibliography" and "References" sections, where italics in these scripts do tend to make sense.

I imagine something very simple, along the lines of:

Do not use Italics for the following cases:
  • Foreign language words and texts in Cyrillic or Greek characters, such as Кириллица or Ελληνικό.

I'm posting this in Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Cyrillic)#Italics in Cyrillic characters & Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Greek)#Italics in Greek characters too. - - Regards, Evv 03:16, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

If not familiar with the characters, then readability is probably pretty close to zero already, so would italicizing them really hinder anything? I’m only half joking — this is an English-language encyclopedia, so the amount of Cyrillic and Greek text in articles shouldn’t be so much that this even becomes an issue.
Anyway, rather than making a special rule for Cyrillic and Greek characters, we could probably phrase this as an exception in the Loan words section: Italicize words from foreign languages, unless they are spelled using non-Latin scripts. That would include not only Cyrillic and Greek, but also Hebrew, Chinese, Arabic, and all the other scripts that don’t appear on the keyboards of most of our readers.
And once discussion has come to a close, please summarize the discussions from the other two places you’ve posted this, to lessen the effect of a fractured conversation. --Rob Kennedy 07:08, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree on everything you said :-) In this, I represent a middle ground: I don't speak any language written in non-Latin scripts, but I do make some sense of Cyrillic and Greek characters, and find them quite interesting. In my personal case, not italicizing those words does make a small welcomed difference. (Reading other comments I came to understand that it's my IE's fault -and my lack of computer skills- what makes me see some italicized Cyrillics as little more than closely packed sticks)
Italicizing or not has become a small but distracting issue on some articles of the Latin/Greek/Cyrillic frontlines of south-eastern Europe. Setting a clear guideline on this would help avoid more edit wars than reason would have us expect :-)
In Naming conventions (Cyrillic) some technical issues against italicizing have been raised. I will provide a summary later.
Anyway, is anyone against this proposal, either for italicizing, or against setting any guideline on this ? - Best regards, Evv 04:55, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I am certainly against italicizing Cyrillic. I encountered more than one person during my Wikipedia tenure who complained about italicized Cyrillics being difficult to read. If we can explicitly add this to policy, I'm all for it.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 16:13, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't have a particularly large stake in this, but if I had to vote, I'd vote against the use of italics in conjunction with Cyrillics for the various reasons mentioned above. Slight formatting issues are irrelevant if the words become illegible; what's the point in having an encyclopedia if nobody can read it? :-) EVula 16:16, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I support this idea. Not just Greek and Cyrillic, but also Armenian, Georgian, (Perso-)Arabic, Hebrew, and in general all non-Latin scripts. IMO they look dreadful when italicized; I normally, write a translation (of e.g. a placename) into the language not using a Latin alphabet not using italics, and write the transliteration into the Latin alphabet in italics.--Tekleni 16:17, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I think that'd be a good distinction to have; proper italics for the Latin translation, but no italics for non-Latin. EVula 16:18, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
That's current practice anyway, at least for Russian.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 16:30, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Agree, all those weird languages are confusing enough already as they are. ←Humus sapiens ну? 22:21, 26 October 2006 (UTC)


I agree. Summary:

  • English: plain text (or bolded if article name)
  • Non-Latin: plain text, not bolded ever, is distinct by script only
  • Transliteration: Italics

That covers it. •NikoSilver 16:41, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

OK - question: How would we do the names at Mount Ararat?--Tekleni 16:44, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Turkinsh, Kurdish, and Azeri would be italicized, and the rest of the languages would not be.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 16:48, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Why? In 'Non-Latin' above, I had in mind those peculiar extended characters too. •NikoSilver 16:52, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Extended characters are considered to be a part of the Latin alphabet; they are not a part of the English alphabet (which is a subset of Latin alphabet), if that's what you mean. Extended Latin is still Latin.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 16:57, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Good point. I think "English" here covers words that consist primarily of the English alphabet, diacritics, and ligatures. In the example provided, "Αραράτ" and "Ağrı Dağı" would both fall into the "non-Latin" category.
"Primarily" here means that whatever guideline we come up with would be just that: a guideline. It would still be open to interpretation depending on the usage. Does that make sense?
Also, to address the Ararat example again, I think that, as non-English translations of the English word, they shouldn't be italicized, especially in cases where they are all presented together (as opposed to a single section of an article that notes what one thing means in another language, where such a change in formatting would be a lot less noticeable and jarring). EVula 17:16, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I've got no problem with not italicizing non-latin scripts (esp. since Cyrillic letters like г/г look different when italicized). But in the case of Cyrillic, I've been putting it in bold in pages like Russian phonology. Is that considered still appropriate in our new non-italicizing plans? Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 17:51, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I disagree with considering Turkish etc as using a non-Latin script. Diacritics are used in transliterations into the Latin alphabet, notably Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic and Persian. See the Tiberian Hebrew transliteration at Mount Ararat - is that considered a non-Latin script? In a less extreme case, the Greek text could be transliterated Ararát. Is that also considered a non-Latin script?--Tekleni 17:55, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the only things that should be bolded are: 1) the primary title of the article; and 2) alternate names commonly used in English. This may sometimes include non-English names, like Convention du Mètre, but only if they're common in English. I think names that are not commonly used in English, but included only as secondary reference, shouldn't be bold. --Delirium 18:25, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
And Greek and Cyrillic characters should not be bolded; they are hardly ever "commonly used" in English without transliteration, and our bold Greek font looks terrible. Septentrionalis 18:50, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Please keep in mind the distinction between foreign terms, which should be italicized, and proper names, which normally should not. (also, "loan words" are words of foreign origin which have been adopted into English, and often should not be italicized.) In running text, a reference to Mount Ararat or Nikita Khrushchev wouldn't be italicized, nor even Ağrı Dağı if it were used so. Although in the context of an article's first line they might be, for some other reason:

  • As the first occurrence of a defined term.
  • For visual distinction when used as a transliteration, especially when it is different from a conventional anglicized version, eg, Joseph Stalin (Russian: Йосиф Сталин, Yosif Stalin).
  • When writing about the word, rather than what it represents, eg, Stalin is derived from the Russian word stal’ 'steel'.

Also remember that foreign scripts are less accessible to most English-language Wikipedia readers, and should only appear rarely, when there is a reason for them: once in an article's introduction for the sake of Google, or when writing about the foreign characters rather than the meaning or sound of words, eg, "г is the Ukrainian letter he [ɦɛ] as in hovoryty, or Russian ge [gɛ], as in govorit’, ‘to speak’." In almost every other context it is better to transliterate.

Bold should practically never be used. The first occurrence of the title term only should be bold as a lead-in to draw the eye into the article. Articles which throw in multiple bolded phrases just dilute the design of the page. Any text formatting should be "just enough", to keep from distracting the reader's eye. Alternate names and translations should be formatted as in running text, typically in italics, but not even that if they are Cyrillic or Greek—their special status is obvious from their position at the beginning of the article's first paragraph. Boldface visual emphasis is so strong that it should never be used for formatting a phrase in running text, but only as a block-level or page-level design element. Within the body an article it denotes a heading or subheading, a table header, or perhaps the defined term of a long definition which is laid out as a block. Michael Z. 2006-10-13 18:50 Z

I think we should have no comma between name and transcription as a rule (as it keeps articles with many foreign names and those with only one consistent with each other). In your example (assuming Greek were relevant enough), it should be like this: Joseph Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Сталин Iosif Stalin, Greek: Ιωσήφ Στάλιν Yosif Stalin).--Tekleni 19:03, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. This way it looks like a run-on and is generally not neat. Using a comma to separate the foreign name from transliteration and a semicolon to separate languages is a much cleaner solution; like this: Joseph Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Сталин, Iosif Stalin; Greek: Ιωσήφ Στάλιν, Yosif Stalin).—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 19:17, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
That's my preferred solution also. In addition, if there is a really long set of translations and transliterations, I think it should be moved to a separate section ("Name" or something) so we don't have the first 5 lines of the article taken up with alternate names, as currently happens with a handful of royalty who have multiple titles in multiple languages. --Delirium 19:31, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Agree, especially considering that a solution like this is already in place. It would be nice to mandate usage of a name box where the number of alternate names exceeds, say, two.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 19:46, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Yup, when it reaches more than about two languages, move it down or give it its own paragraph or section. Examples: Podolia, Western Bug. And compare the clean opening of Black Sea, which has a Name section, to the cluttered, overbolded intro of Red Sea, which forces the reader's eye to grope uncomfortably like blind man on a nude beach, before it can actually read the first sentence of the article [fixed]. Michael Z. 2006-10-13 19:55 Z

Since nobody disagrees, following Rob Kennedy's proposal I would add the following to the "Foreign terms" section: Do not italicize foreign words or phrases in non-Latin scripts (exception are allowed in the "References" and "Further reading" sections). Feel free to rephrase it. - Regards, Evv 16:03, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with "don't italicise non-Latin scripts", and also include all kinds of extended Latin in "Latin". —Nightstallion (?) 09:55, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

I disagree

I definitely disagree, as far as the Cyrillic alphabet is concerned. The reason is that the Cyrillic alphabet has a number of letters common with the Roman alphabet (including lower case ones), making it impossible in some cases to know if a certain word is in one alphabet or the other. If you encounter say 'Tacex' in your English text, you wouldn't know whether it's the Roman 'Tacex' or the Cyrillic 'Тасех' (that would read 'Taseh' if transliterated). Whether and how often such confusion may appear in Wiki texts I cannot say, what's certain is that without italicization one cannot certainly tell Cyrillic words in the text. The case of the Greek alphabet seems to be different, as its letters (the lower case ones at least) have a distinct immediately identifiable shape. Apcbg 16:54, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Regarding Greek... "ΗΟΡΕ ΤΟ ΚΝΟΤ" and "HOPE TO KNOT" look quite similar, too, don't they? —Nightstallion (?) 22:23, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Your example illustrates the possible confusion if words written in capital Greek letters (as in Greek acronyms) are not italicized, stemming from the fact that the upper case letters A, B, E, Z, H, I, K, M, N, O, P, T, Y, X occur both in Greek and Roman alphabets.
Among the lower case letters it's probably just 'o'.
In the case of Cyrillic alphabet, the capital letters that occur also in the Roman alphabet are A, B, E, K, M, H, O, P, C, T, X (I recall some German tourists being amused in trying to read the Cyrillic 'PECTOPAHT' i.e. 'Restaurant' as if written in Roman alphabet ...), while the overlapping lower case letters include 'a', 'e', 'o', 'p', 'c', 'y', 'x' — enough to allow for possible confusion. Therefore, I confirm my opinion that the above general decision not to italicise words in non-Roman alphabets is less than well thought over. Apcbg 12:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
They do italize characters in Russian texts, so it should be allowed here as well. Humanophage 13:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

You're right, in some cases (mostly in acronyms) the lack of italics would prove confusing. However, in our articles Greek and Cyrillic characters are generally used with a italicized transliteration immediately before or after them, thus further reducing the chances of confussion.

Acronyms in Greek and Cyrillic are usually used only after the full name in Greek and Cyrillic, since the rest of the text would use latin -or English- acronyms. So, even here the possibilities of confussion are minimal.

As far as I see it, confussion would only arose in those cases in which proper context is lacking. The simple solution would be to provide that proper context :-) Best regards, Ev 17:47, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Italicizing only Latin version of languages that use two (or more) scripts with equal status (e.g. Serbian)?

What about languages that use two or more scripts, such as Serbian? For example: Serbia. There we used "Serbia" in English, "Србија" in Serbian Cyrillic and "Srbija" in Serbian Latin (in Italics). We only italicized "Srbija" and not "Србија". That does not seem to be right.

Why should we italicize only the words in Latin alphabet, and not italicize the words in Cyrillic? The status of both scripts is equal. By italicizing Latin, we are implying that Cyrillic has more weigh and that Latin is not used the same way in Serbian as Cyrillic, which is not true. I propose not italicizing Latin versions in this case (when the language uses two scipts with the same equal status).

Please tell me your thoughts. Sergivs 6:50, 19 November 2007 (PST)

Seems reasonable at first to suggest that there should be consistent treatment for both latin and non-latin scripts (and existing policy dictates that we don't italicize non-latin scripts). However, on closer examination you might realise that the difference of script suffices to distinguish the Cyrillic (or other non-latin script on the page so, on balance I suggest no change in policy. Alice.S 03:22, 20 November 2007 (UTC)


I’ve begun an introduction for this page. It’s not complete, but maybe it will give someone else something to build on. --Rob Kennedy 06:40, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

List of foreign words to be left unitilicized

Hi everyone, me again :-) After possibly making some mistakes (diff.), I would like to add more clarity to the "Foreign terms" section, more specifically the good rule of thumb:

Loan words or phrases that have common use in English, however—praetor, Gestapo, samurai, esprit de corps—do not require italicization. If looking for a good rule of thumb, do not italicize words that appear in an English language dictionary.

Appearance in any single English language dictionary would suffice, or appearance in a certain number would be necessary ? In any case, it would be a good idea to designate which dictionaries would qualify for this use. (I won't propose any for lack of experience on the issue).

And then, to make sure that I don't make the same mistake again :-), how about using the resulting guideline to create a Wikipedia:List of foreign words to be left unitilicized (to be kept fully protected) ? - Best regards, Evv 19:23, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

A rule of thumb is best left as a rule of thumb to help discriminating editors, not a legal code to be enforced with a stack of dictionaries.
My dictionary (the Canadian Oxford) actually italicizes some headwords, to indicate that it is "originally a foreign word and not naturalized in English". Michael Z. 2006-11-01 19:27 Z
Makes sense. Forget about the thumb rule then. (To be honest, only after your comment do I understand better the meaning of the expression).
How about creating the list ? - Evv 21:24, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
Be my guest. Lists of English words of international origin may help. Michael Z. 2006-11-01 21:50 Z

Is this an acceptable usage of bold?

[2] I think it's unnecessary, but BWCNY insists on adding it. --NE2 07:53, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

The example poined to in the guide [3] suggests its use as a kind of definition list is encouraged/allowed and this crops up, for example in lists of characters in films/books [4] (although I do wonder if the examples need clarifying (for example I have seen characters given as "Dave Spratt, a man out of time", "Dave Spratt, a man out of time", "Dave Spratt: A man out of time", and "Dave Spratt: A man out of time"). With that in mind your example could fall within a definiiton list-type affair but I think no one would lose any sleep if the bold formatting wasn't there but then again it might marginally improve comprehension of the list (within usability guidelines - if you were speed reading the page you'd be able to pick out the numbers). I also suspect some headers and the use of Template:Main might also come in handy there. (Emperor 20:24, 29 January 2007 (UTC))

Omission—never italic stuff

When I put a cleanup tag on a page because it used math markup on chemical formulas and left them italic, and the author questioned, "Why?", I searched in vain for a sensible statement of this well-known rule in the MoS. See Talk:Chemical vapor deposition.

There are some things that should never be italicized, even if they are contained within text that is otherwise italicized for emphasis or because it is a book title or for whatever reason. These include:

  • Symbols for chemical elements
  • Symbols for units of measure
  • Symbols for mathematical operators, such as "sin x" and "ln 2" and "exp(kT/r)"

These are common, well-known rules. For example,

U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual
  • 11.12 ... Chemical symbols (even in italic matter) and certain other standardized symbols are set in roman.
AIP Style Manual, 4th ed., 1990, American Institute of Physics, p. 20
  • (3) Some latin letters, considered abbreviations of words, are properly roman instead of italic—for example, chemical symbols (O, Ne), most multiletter abbreviations (fcc, ESR, exp, sin), and most units of measure (K, Hz).
Barry N. Taylor, Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI), NIST Special Publication 811, 1995 (follow links for examples, etc.)
Section 10.2.2 Units—roman
  • The symbol for units and SI prefixes are roman:
Section 10.2.3 Descriptive terms—roman
  • Symbols representing purely descriptive terms (for example, the chemical elements) are roman, as are symbols representing mathematical constants that never change (for example, π) and symbols representing explicitly defined functions or well defined operators (for example, Γ(x) or div):

We ought to have something about this on the project page. Gene Nygaard 10:02, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Note specifically that when math markup is used, the letters are normally italicized. That's where many of the problems in Wikipedia usage arise. In order to avoid it, you need to use \mathrm or \mbox to get individual letters in roman text, or use the special symbols for operators such as \sin or \log rather than just sin or log (there is also a generic one you can use to make other text display as an operator does) as text within the math markup. Gene Nygaard 10:12, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


I already created the redirect page WP:MOSITALICS to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting), analogous to WP:MOSBOLD - we cannot remember every possible ambiguation e.g. not WP:BOLD (to another guideline) while WP:ITALICS goes to the MOS related page: better for every Manual of Style guideline to have each existing WP:SHORTNAME also have the corresponding WP:MOSSHORTNAME — as such very often already exists anyway. (I'd dare say only MOS:SHORTNAME would even be better, but that could only be a broader discussion and if consensus were reached, requires a bot replacing each occurrence of every WP:SHORTNAME and WP:MOSSHORTNAME with its MOS:SHORTNAME.)
My current suggestion is limited to putting WP:MOSITALICS into the box with list of redirects that exist, in the 'Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting)'; another possibility might be to leave things as they are, thus without suggesting to use WP:MOSITALICS, while the latter [in a talk page or in the Search field] being used by analogy with other shortnames, still arrives at the intended page. — SomeHuman 26 Jan2007 07:40 (UTC)

As with several other things to do with this "guideline" (a rehash of points from WP:MOS and WP:MOSNUM), that suggesting actually ignores more established MOS pages (in this case, the use of a maximum of two shortcuts at the top of the page). — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:34, 4 September 2008 (UTC)


Should the name of a sports team, or sports league be italicised? For example

The AF Corse Racing Team took part in the 2004 FIA GT.

Should "AF Corse Racing Team" and/or "FIA GT" be italicised? They seem like the sort of thing that should be but I'm not sure. James086Talk 23:01, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

No. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:34, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Foreign Books

  1. Books are italicised, e.g. The Day. Fine
  2. Foreign words are italicised, e.g. Le Jour. Fine
  3. What of a book (or film or whatever) with a foreign name, e.g.: Jean Crappaud is noted as being the author of Le Jour? Italics, or do "double italics" = un-italicised? Avalon 06:56, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that evens out to italic usage, since that piece of text wants to be set off and emphasized from the surrounding text. The main time italics cancels italics is when the outer text is already italics, and there needs to be emphasis for a different set within; such as a book title within an italicized quote, or perhaps an individual foreign word inside a book title. Not sure, though. SnowFire 21:29, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I think my comments at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (titles)#Overlap of two things meant to be italicized apply here as well. --Rob Kennedy 01:00, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Just italics. The fact that the title is in a foreign language is of no consenquence, since the character string in question is not operating at a foreign phrase but as a designation. The title could be 34935939439 and would be italicized as well. Furthermore, putting the quoted title in some other form of emphasis to indicate "foreignness" strongly implies to the reader that this formatting was in the original, which of course it was not. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:37, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Foreign songs

In a related question... normally, songs are in quotes as per MoS:T. What if the song title is in a foreign language? Should it still be just quotes, or italicized and quoted? Usage is currently erratic. I was looking recently at Country Infoboxes, and most Infoboxes italicize the song (even when it's in English) and omit the quotes. The song pages themselves are even more erratic. France has La Marseillaise italicized with no quotes, but the article "La Marseillaise" has quotes and no italics. I asked the same question over at Template talk:Infobox Country, and no one responded. I suspect that the answer is quotes, with the possibility of italics as well for foreign titles, but I'm not sure. SnowFire 21:29, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

No, just quotes, for same reasons as above. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:37, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Words as words

Can you clarify how to choose between italics and quote marks, when using a word to refer to itself? — Omegatron 01:54, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

No distinction listed here Quotation_mark#Use-mention_distinction. — Omegatron 01:59, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
See the real guideline. The short version is, use either, which ever makes most sense in the article (e.g. use quotes for an article with a lot of italics, e.g. loads of foreign phrases or album titles, use italics for an article with lots of quoted material), just be consistent in the article. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:39, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Italics, again

I have always thought that the names of military operations are italicised eg Operation Overlord. However it's been pointed out to me that there doesn't seem to be any direction given in Wikipedia. Can you guys put me straight on this please. As an example List of World War II military operations. GrahamBould 13:14, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Tombstone example

  • "Quotation marks" for emphasis of a single word or phrase, or scare quotes, are discouraged. Quotation marks are to show that you are using the correct word as quoted from the original source. For example: His tombstone was inscribed with the name "Aaron" instead of the spelling he used during his life.

User:SMcCandlish added another set of quotes around the example, and I think that was misleading and contrary to the original intent. You don't need a source which says that whole sentence verbatim. The "source" which is being indicated as being quoted exactly is the tombstone itself. Gene Nygaard 18:51, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

I may have just not been paying attention. What should have happened was the entire sentence should have been italicized as a pseudo-quote example, the way it is done in the entire WP:MOS for such cases. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:40, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Proposal that foreign phrases also be italicized

I propose that the current text of "*Foreign language words such as kanji" be changed to

  • Foreign language words such as kanji and foreign language phrases such as De minimis
    Alice 22:05, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
I concur with the concept of the change (to include a phrase as well as a word), but it introduces a contradiction in the text because de minimis appears in most English dictionaries, which is listed as a criteria later on in the page for not using italics. But, based on the conversation at Talk:De facto, changing this may be exactly Alice.S's suggestion, and both issues are worth considering. Can you clarify, Alice.S, do you also want to change the later text? Pdbailey 03:18, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Again, you have made a very good point, Pdbailey: that I should have picked a better example of a foreign phrase that does not appear in any English dictionary (as de minimis clearly does). The problem is that English is such an eclectic and omnivorous language it seems to quickly gobble up any tasty, strange morsel it comes across.

You have raised an issue that I should have thought more about - how do we Wikipedians authoritatively discover when a "foreign" word or phrase has crossed the threshold and been "naturalized". (This is a particular problem in Singlish which is continually incorporating neologisms and "foreign" words).

Perhaps this conundrum could be resolved by picking a particular (and particularly conservative) dictionary as the arbiter on whether the questionable word or phrase has become naturalised or not. If it is in that chosen dictionary then the phrase or word is not italicized - otherwise it is. Alice 03:45, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Unlike other languages, English does not have an official arbiter. I think the only correct answer is to play it by ear. In this case, de minimis appears in Websters and the Wiktionary, but not in the OED (I checked the paper shorter edition only) nor AHD. I have to say that I rely on the latter two more than the former two , so I'm tempted to say it's not well appropriated and withdraw my claim. Pdbailey 04:39, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

That's very generous and shows great integrity. However, I think that relying on "playing it by ear" may lead to unnecessary disputation of trifles. Consequently I modify my proposal and propose that our guidelines should read as follows:

Foreign terms

Wikipedia prefers italics for phrases in other languages and for isolated foreign words that do not yet have every day use in non-specialised English. Use the native spellings if they use the Latin alphabet (with or without diacritics) - otherwise Anglicise their spelling. For example: "Reading and writing in Japanese requires familiarity with hiragana, katakana, kanji, and sometimes rōmaji." Per the guide to writing better Wikipedia articles, use foreign words sparingly.

Loan words or phrases that have common use in English, however — praetor, Gestapo, samurai, esprit de corps — do not require italicization. If looking for a good rule of thumb, do not italicize words that appear in Merriam-Webster Online.

If there is a reason to include native spelling in a non-Latin script, it can be placed in parentheses. Text in non-Latin scripts (such as Greek or Cyrillic) should not be italicized at all — even where this is technically feasible; the difference of script suffices to distinguish it on the page.

This proposal would mean that both "de facto" and "de jure" remain non-italicized (in contrast to "Actus reus") and would accord with the recommendation at The Economist`s Style Guide

Alice 05:09, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

However, this proposal would mean changing our example phrase since "hiragana", "katakana", "kanji" and "romaji" are all found in Merriam-Webster Online! Alice 05:19, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

If there are no objections/modifications, I now propose to make the change outlined immediately below to our italicization guidelines on 28 October 2007: Alice 20:31, 22 October 2007 (UTC) Wikipedia prefers italics for phrases in other languages and for isolated foreign words that do not yet have every day use in non-specialised English. Use the native spellings if they use the Latin alphabet (with or without diacritics) - otherwise Anglicise their spelling. For example: "The title Sveriges och Götes Konung was last used for Gustaf I of Sweden who liked to breakfast on crisp bread (knäckebröd) open sandwiches with toppings such as caviar (or messmör), ham (skinka), vegetables (grönsaker) like tomatoes (tomat) or cucumber (gurka)." Per the guide to writing better Wikipedia articles, use foreign words sparingly.

Loan words or phrases that have common use in English, however — praetor, Gestapo, samurai, esprit de corps — do not require italicization. If looking for a good rule of thumb, do not italicize words that appear in Merriam-Webster Online.

If there is a reason to include native spelling in a non-Latin script, it can be placed in parentheses. Text in non-Latin scripts (such as Greek or Cyrillic) should not be italicized at all — even where this is technically feasible; the difference of script suffices to distinguish it on the page.

Album bolding

This guideline says table headers, definition lists, and volume numbers should be bolded. Does that include album titles in discographies? For example, should Whoa! Nelly, Folklore, and Loose be bolded in Nelly Furtado discography#Albums? Spellcast (talk) 13:09, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

No, I don't think they should.
This part of the manual doesn't answer your question but MOS:MUSIC is clearer:
"In popular music, album titles should be in italics, and song and single titles should be in quotes (for example The Beatles's song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" comes from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band).
Perhaps you should ask at Wikipedia:Wikiproject Music to be sure. Alice 21:27, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Yeah albums should only be italicised in sentences, but they're sometimes also bolded in discography tables. I'll bring it up at MOS:MUSIC, thanks. Spellcast (talk) 23:54, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Half of what this redundant and contradictory would-be guideline says is nonsense. Follow WP:MOS as the controlling document. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:42, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Bolding of words in the lead

Should words that aren't the title ever be bolded? I've seen many cases, but I'm still not certain whether they go against the MOS guidelines. Consider for example History of Wikipedia. It doesn't have the words history of Wikipedia in the lead like that, but instead it places boldface on Wikipedia only, while linking it as well. From my understanding this shouldn't be done, and in general bolded words shouldn't be linked anyway. Another case is where the article concerns the overlapping of two subjects, and the lead has something like 'The relationship between X and Y', which again I presume should be avoided (example: Religion and abortion). I think the instructions need to be slightly more specific though, e.g. "And don't do this (link to page that does it)" or "This should be avoided (link to good example, link to bad example). Richard001 (talk) 00:17, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

There's more info at WP:LEAD. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:49, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Use of boldface in film articles

There has been long-standing agreement over at the manual of style for film articles for the inclusion of boldface in cast lists which are written as prose. When written as prose, these lists are far easier to supplement with real world cast and character information, and it is the recommended method when such information is available. Using boldface on the actor and character names is a genuine aid to reader comprehension when entries span more than a couple of lines at normal resolution; where boldface is not used, the names of the actors and their characters are not immediately apparent when quickly scanning the section for such information.

Examples of articles which use boldface like this include Sunshine (2007 film)#Characters and State of Play (film)#Casting, amongst many others.

However, some editors have recently pointed out a potential conflict between the guidance given at the manual of style for films and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting)#Boldface. Here, three examples are given on the permitted use of boldface. I would like to propose the addition of a further entry which permits the use of boldface in film article cast lists in certain circumstances, worded something along the lines of:

  • Film article cast lists which are written as prose, only where the use of boldface would be an aid to reader comprehension. e.g. Sunshine (2007 film)

Your thoughts and guidance on this are very much appreciated. All the best, Steve TC 16:26, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

You've posted this in two places, splitting up the discussion. Please indicate on each page where you want the main discussion to occur so responses can be placed together. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:02, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

There are more responses to your other post at MoS, so I responded there. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:09, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree; it should be taken there. Struck. Steve TC 12:10, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Cite journal change to boldface in journals

Does anyone know what this is about? No more bold on volume? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:20, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Concert Tours: italicize?

Should concert tour titles be italicized? Looking at Category:Concert tours it seems to be about 50/50. I would argue that concert tours are similar to orchestral works and plays, both of which are commonly italicized. But I thought I'd bring it up here to get a consensus on the matter. Any thoughts? Drewcifer (talk) 22:23, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Concert tours aren't full length works of fiction or music or anything to that effect. They're concert tours. I think they're just proper nouns, which should be capitalized but not quoted or italicized. Croctotheface (talk) 06:56, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Justification alignment?

I find justificated articles much easier to read... why is this not a common practice on wikipedia? It helps you to catch on the article, because it provides more structure and additionally, it just "looks better". Wikipedia imho looks very chaotic compared to traditional encyclopedias. I think justification alignement of paragraphs could help us a lot with this issue... (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 19:23, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to formalise the relationship between MOS and its sub-pages

Dear fellow editors—The idea is to centralise debate and consensus-gathering when there are inconsistencies between the pages.

The most straightforward way is to have MOS-central prevail, and to involve expertise from sub-pages on the talk page there, rather than the fragmentary discourse—more usually the absence of discourse and the continuing inconsistency—that characterises WP's style guideline resources now. If consensus has it that MOS-central should bend to the wording of a sub-page, so be it. But until that occurs in each case that might occasionally arise, there needs to be certainty for WPians, especially in the Featured Article process, where nominators and reviewers are sometimes confused by a left- and right-hand that say different things.

Of course, no one owns MOS-central, and we're all just as important to its running as other editors. I ask for your support and feedback HERE. Tony (talk) 12:23, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Kanji is not a foreign word

Kanji is not a foreign word, and should not generally be italicized. It is the standard English word (I don't even know of any other word or multi-word term or phrase used for it). Fortunately, the people writing that article have more sense than those who sit around quibbling about rules on the MoS pages. Gene Nygaard (talk) 20:02, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

De facto and de jure

The terms "de facto" and "de jure" are used extensively in articles about the law and subjects affected by the law, such as country articles. At this point, the two terms are italicized inconsistently across the project. Noting these terms specifically in the Manual of Style as examples would bring consistency, especially in articles of the type I noted, and prevent numerous edits. Short of starting discussions on hundreds of articles, I don't know how else to address this.

Under the style guide, as currently written, the rule of thumb is if the word is an English dictionary, such as, it should not be italicized. Both terms are in that dictionary and in American Heritage.

Some may argue that "de facto" is widely used enough to be left in roman type, but that "de jure" is more limited to legal contexts. I maintain that that is not an appropriate test. Being used extensively in English in legal contexts means it is used extensively enough. Moreover, Garner's Modern American Usage notes "de novo" as a term that should be in roman type. "De novo" is another legal term meaning "anew". I have never seen that one in any context other than an appellate court saying it will review a lower court ruling without deference to that ruling.

I have said that I think both terms should be in roman, but I value consistency more than having my way. As such, I propose that the Manual of Style take one of the following positions:

  • Both terms should be in roman type.
  • Both terms should be in italics.
  • "De facto" should be in roman, but "de jure" should be in italics.

The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., at 7.54 urges that when a familiar foreign word is used in the same context as a similar unfamiliar one, both terms be set in either roman or italics. I suggest that if the third is picked, then MOS should dictate which of the two editors should use when both are present. -Rrius (talk) 03:00, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

This page doesn't seem to be watched, and I'm inactive as far as editing's concerned (so don't expect to hear from me often), but I agree with Rrius. As for, which, I don't have a preference, but I believe a standard should be chosen, and stuck to. Neonumbers (talk) 23:06, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree regarding de facto, but can't say for de jure as I have not encountered that term very often. The Economist's style guidesupports Rrius' preference, and The Columbia Guide to Standard American Englishgives assimilation into English as the criterion for forgoing italicization of a term. -Eric talk 13:36, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
In case anyone is still paying attention, the Canadian Oxford Dictionary shows both de facto and de jure in Roman type (this dictionary italicizes a headword indicating that it is “originally a foreign word and not naturalized in English”).
I don't think the MOS needs to dictate in so much detail, though. It is about writing style, after all. Michael Z. 2008-11-14 02:58 z

Bold for volume numbers

I restored the line about the use of bold for volume numbers, because:

--Srleffler (talk) 05:45, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Following a published source's lead

If a website, for example, displays an album title as 'this' instead of this, are we to follow its lead when we're using it as a reference? It seems asburd to me, especially when a lack of research on the part of the website in question is obvious (here, for example, a review of an album incorrectly names a track as "Supernatural Superstitious", when it's actually "Supernatural Superserious"), but would be interested to know what the preferred guideline is. - Dudesleeper / Talk 22:38, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

One font

There's only one font, right? This one, without serifs? —ScouterSig 16:17, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Discussion at WT:USRD regarding bolding historical highway names

At Wikipedia talk:WikiProject U.S. Roads, we are considering using bold for historical names of highways solely in a section labeled "History" (or the like). See WT:USRD#Bold text in articles and MOS:BOLD. —Rob (talk) 17:16, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Use of bolding in "alternate names"

The section on bold text states:

"In the first paragraph of an article, put proper names and common terms for the article topic (including any synonyms and acronyms) in boldface."

This is not the entire story. It has long been a de-facto standard to bold alternate names throughout the body text. For instance, when the DC-3 was produced under license as the Li-2, the first reference to Li-2 is generally bolded. This is the case whether or not the mention appears in the LEAD or elsewhere. And the wiki is literally filled with examples of this.

I believe this section needs to clearly state that this is an acceptable use.

Maury (talk) 17:12, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

The section just above this one is about the same issue, and I agree. --NE2 04:29, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. The bolding of alternate names in the first paragraph makes some sense, but bold typeface is distracting and horribly overused throughout Wikipedia. There is very little value to bolding alternative names later in the article. If, for example, Li-2 is a terribly important alternative name, put it in the first paragraph. If it is not important enough to put in the first paragraph, it is almost certainly not important enough to be in bold type. -Rrius (talk) 07:41, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
So you type in U.S. Route 320 and are redirected to U.S. Route 26#History. Why were you redirected there? It's a lot easier to figure out if the former designation is bolded, so you can find the relevant text. (Ideally that section would have a fuller history of US 26, and would not start with information about US 320.) --NE2 09:30, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
You're both right. Bolding is overused in some Wikipedia articles, and the problem is that if you change the guideline to say "use whatever bolding seems right to you", you don't (in general) get the kind of careful, logical approach that NE2 is suggesting, you get random crap. I support letting active WikiProjects suggest new rules on bolding as needed. My preference would be for these wikiprojects to write up their own style guidelines (as WP:Roads has done), and then for this page to point to those subject-specific guidelines. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 12:51, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Alternate terms should always be bolded, but not titles that are merely descriptive. — Omegatron (talk) 15:09, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

That's a nice, short essay, exactly on point. I've added it to See also. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 15:44, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Uhhh, so is Li-2 an "alternate term" or "title that is merely descriptive". The terminology is not clear, but following the very last point of the page, it appears that it falls into the former category. For instance, one would definitely talk about "The DC-3, also produced as the Li-2, which appears to be in keeping with the examples higher on the page. Right? Wrong? Confused?! Maury (talk) 01:56, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

On the original proposal, no, we should not start allowing bolding in the text for every exception that every article, editor and Project comes up with. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:35, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

This (bolding of alternate terms) has been a long-standing practice, at least as far as I'm concerned. I agree that not every single possibility needs to be bolded, but I think it is helpful to readers, particularly as merged redirects are often implemented to emphasize the name in the target article. olderwiser 03:03, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
That's my concern: perhaps it is true that there are examples of bold text being used too much, and that the MoS should warn this off. But at the same time, this "proper" use of bold is extremely widespread and considered a standard for much of the Project. By making it a rule in the MoS we end up with problems like my FA, where the rules are always interpreted to be iron-clad even when discretion is called for. A little clarity in the MoS could address this. Lets not throw out the baby with the bathwater here. Maury (talk) 11:48, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think readers encountering a bold term after the lead are going to find it obvious that this is an alternative name to that of the article. If it is important enough to put in bold, why would in not be important enough to mention in the first paragraph of the lead? The lead summarizes the article, so the alternative name could be mentioned as an "also known as" or "formerly known as" without further description until the main text. If it is truly unworkable for an alternative to get its first mention in the opening of the lead, then introduce it in the text by saying something like "[article] is also known as [alternative name]".
The only reason I have seen for using bold in the main text is that it has been done in some articles for a long time. That is just not a convincing argument. Bold text shows is distracting and shows a lack of sensitivity to the reader. Limiting the use of boldface for alternative names to the lead is a good compromise between the virtues of putting the alternative names in bold and ease of reading. -Rrius (talk) 21:37, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Some redirects (particularly those resulting from merges) are targeted to a specific section and may not be directly relevant enough to the main subject to be mentioned in the intro. The bolding is intended to provide assistance to readers wondering why article Y appeared when term X was clicked. I do think it benefits readers. I know it has helped me on a number of occasions. olderwiser 21:48, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Using text like "also referred to as" would inform redirected readers without being a distraction to people just reading the article. -Rrius (talk) 22:45, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
IMO, that's not a very clear indication. For one, with a section redirect, you end up in a section, where text like you suggest would be out of place. For another, if the reader is wondering "am I even at the correct article?" the unemphasized text would likely not even be noticed. olderwiser 12:40, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Consider the oddly named Berlin Blockade for instance, where the vast majority of in-links go to the Berlin Airlift section. Once again, we need to distinguish between use of bolding for emphasis, which it appears we all agree on, and use of bolding for alternative names, which it seems most people agree on. Let's not get distracted by the current language of the MoS, that is the problem we're trying to fix. Maury (talk) 20:56, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
If your link takes you to the Berlin Airlift section, the first words you'd see would be "Berlin Airlift". How is that confusing. Also, I am not confused by the MoS text, and I am not using it for support. Rather I am supporting the old language because bold text is distracting. Other contributors keep worrying about the reader who is brought to a section by wikilink. I am worried about the person who is trying to read the whole article and comes upon a term that seems to have been bolded randomly. -Rrius (talk) 22:53, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Which old language are you referring to? Bolding of alternate names has been a long-standing practice. And if it is determined that such terms should not be bolded, then the directions at WP:REDIRECT, {{R with possibilities}}, and Category:Redirects with possibilities needs to be updated. olderwiser 23:13, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
By "old language" I mean the section of MoS on boldface before the new text was added. I thought that was manifest. I am not objecting to any use of bold face for alternative names: I am talking about using it after the first paragraph of the article. As to updating the three pages you linked to, I have no idea what you are talking about. -Rrius (talk) 00:15, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for confusing you. To me, alternative names includes those targeted by redirects. Did you try looking at the three pages? If it is decided here that redirected terms should not be bolded, then there is an inconsistency that would need to be rectified with those pages. olderwiser 00:49, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that will be necessary; I'm pretty much alone here. And again, I wasn't confused and I don't know what makes you think I was. I been clear about objecting to a subset of bolding alternative names.
I would suggest changing the advice on those pages for the benefit of readers of the main article. If a term is going to be bolded as an alternative name, that should be made more obvious by the text. Before this discussion started, I was always confused by bolding in the middle of an article. I have literally stopped and wondered why the thing was bold and probably removed the formatting more than once. What bothers me the most about this whole discussion is that the bulk of the editors commenting are not taking into account the reader of the main article. Rather they are only thinking of the reader who was linked to the sub-section of the main article. -Rrius (talk) 01:30, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Ok, so it looks like someone was bold and went ahead and added a section in the MoS for this. Perhaps a discussion of the language is in order? I find the current wording a little confusing. Maury (talk) 12:04, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Are you referring to this from May 11? "Sub-topic redirects (where a sub-topic is a redirect to substantive discussion in a main article), the sub-topic should be boldfaced on first appearance in the target article or section, to indicate that it is are an alternate title or sub-title". What's the scope of that; when should it be used? - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 13:47, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
The language is confusing. Also, should alternate names in a subsection be bolded when the name is prominent in the heading of the section linked to? To me, if the name is in the section head, the confusion issue referred to above is non-existent. For example, someone referred me to Berlin Blockade#Berlin Airlift as an example of a subsection commonly linked to. When you follow that link, there are already bold words at the top of the reader's screen saying Berlin Airlift. Having the text start The Berlin Airlift was... seems superfluous to me. -Rrius (talk) 01:30, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
Well the same case occurs on the lead too; when I go here I see a huge title at the top, and the very next line has the exact same text bolded. So Rrius, by your argument above, we should eliminate ALL bold, even for the lead. I do not share this opinon :-)
The language in the MoS is supposed to give formatting tips; its a guide not a weapon. The tip that we're talking about was introduced because people were using bold for emphasis when they should be using emphasis. That's it. One or two extra uses of bolding in these grey areas is simply not a real problem.
Any language that we introduce to get more specific for suggested uses or discouraged ones is simply going to make the MoS even more confusing and lead to discussions like this one that I feel serve no useful purpose. Let's remove this language, and forget about getting specific instead of trying to think up every possible case and codify it into the MoS. The goal of the MoS is to improve the articles, not the MoS. Maury (talk) 15:53, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Wait, I think I can codify this to better capture the spirit of the MoS. Based on the existing MoS text I have reduced it to be less specific, and IMHO, much clearer:

Boldface text is used to clearly distinguish the name of the article on its first occurrence in the article. It can also be used to distinguish alternate names within the article. Boldface should not be used on every instance of the topic title, nor in other areas of the page, like image captions. Most importantly, boldface should not be used as a form of emphasis, use italics for that purpose.

There are a small number of other uses for boldface in standardized formatting:

  • Table headers
  • Definition lists (example: David E. Kelley)
  • Volume numbers of journal articles, in some bibliographic formats

I think that codifies what the MoS is really trying to say. IE, don't use boldface for emphasis, that's what italic is for. Do use boldface on titles and related terms, and a couple of other instances. Maury (talk) 16:10, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

I think this is even more objectionable to me than what touched off this debate. The old text said that only alternative names in the first paragraph of the lead should be in bold. The proposal, as I understood it, was to also include the practice of bolding alternative terms at the beginning of subsections that are directly linked to from other articles. I am beginning to change my mind about that use of bold, but I think it should be apparent from the sentence why the term is in bold. At any rate, the summary above seems to suggest that the first use of an alternative name should be in bold no matter where in the article it occurs. I don't know who is calling for that. -Rrius (talk) 21:08, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
If you agree that it is OK to bold any terms at all, then why does its location within the article matter? You have posted comments like "bold text is distracting" and "bold typeface is distracting and horribly overused throughout Wikipedia". To me these argue for the removal of all bolding. But if you are not advocating that, and it doesn't seem you are, what is the logic for limiting it to the lead? Maury (talk) 21:43, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe that bold is always wrong. I think a lot of people use bold text unnecessarily for purposes, such as emphasis (where italics or something else should be used). That overuse makes me sensitive, perhaps oversensitive, to unwarranted uses of bold text.
That said, I have come to see the value in the original suggestion of bolding alternative names in sections that are commonly linked to by other pages. I maintain, however, that use in such circumstance should be accompanied by some sort of text that makes it obvious why bold is used. For instance, "Y, formerly known as X..." What worried me in your contribution from 18 May at 16:10 UTC was the suggestion that alternative names anywhere in the article could be bolded. If it is not in the first paragraph of the lead or at the beginning of a linked-to section, the alternative should not be in bold. I stopped contributing here because, as stated, I no longer objected to the concept as originally put. Further, to the extent I still saw it as an unneeded change, I was a lone voice failing to persuade anyone. Continuing to blather on would have been self-indulgent. -Rrius (talk) 06:05, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually I found your passion about the issue to be quite refreshing! So perhaps you would like to take a stab at the suggested text above, to make it more closely match these comments? I think we're close, right? If so, perhaps it's time to get some movement here, and I'm sure if I simply did it I'd get more hate mail. Maury (talk) 14:45, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
The section was changed to deal with the section redirect issue, so I don't know what further changes would be needed. -Rrius (talk) 09:09, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Re-starting this discussion

Soooo, do we have any sort of consensus here? I note Rrius' objections to just about any use of bold, but there seem to be a greater number of people who want to continue using it for alternate terms/titles. Time for a straw poll? Maury (talk) 18:34, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Hello? Anyone still here? Maury (talk) 00:44, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes, here now. There was not consensus for this change, it does not reflect practice, and now that I'm aware it was added over opposition above, I'm removing it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:10, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
Errm, what do you mean "it does not reflect practice"? If you had actually read the preceding discussion, you'd see that it does represent long-standing practice (at least in many quarters). olderwiser 19:23, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
And, now reverted. I did read the discussion, it should be held in a more populated forum like WT:MOS, and having reviewed literally several thousand FACs and FARs, I can tell you that it's not long-standing practice anywhere, it has never been mentioned on this guideline page (as far as I can tell, pls show otherwise if you can) or been used commonly in articles, a couple of editors discussing on a minor MoS page (rather than the main MoS page) do not consensus make, so where is this long-standing practice or consensus coming from? The only articles where I can recall regularly encountering this practice at FAC and FAR are Aircraft articles (which are littered with unsightly bolding), and it is simply not nor has ever been (in my FAC and FAR reviewing experience) widespread anywhere. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:44, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
So the talk page of the affected guideline is not the appropriate place to discuss a change to that guideline. That is very counter-intuitive and decidedly contrary to how most everything else works here. I know not what goes on with FACs and FARs since I avoid them like the plague (no offense, but I honestly don't find them to be very representative of the best that Wikipedia has to offer, or at least not what I find most interesting and useful about Wikipedia). I don't recall that the FAC cabal had any sort of "more equal than others" standing amongst editors in determining MOS or other standards. As I mentioned here and in the edit summary when I introduced a variation of this in mid-May, this is long-standing practice elsewhere in Wikipedia regardless of what happens at FAC. At the very least it is represented in guidance found on WP:REDIRECT, {{R with possibilities}}, and Category:Redirects with possibilities. There was an obvious disconnect between the text formatting guide and these other pages. While I'd accept (albeit reluctantly) removing this guidance across the board based on strong consensus -- I don't see any basis to deny that the practice is well-established. olderwiser 19:56, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm, and I see that those pages have been edited since I last checked them. At the beginning of April the instructions about bolding sub-topics were moved from WP:R to {{R with possibilities}}, while in early July, they were removed from the template without being restored to WP:R. So the inconsistency issue may already be moot, but I think there does need to be some wider discussion of this. olderwiser 20:22, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree that it's not optimal, and there should be a central MoS discussion page (a WikiProject was set up months ago and promptly abandoned, and we have these mini-turf wars all over Wikiland: in this case, apparently, Aircraft editors wanting to impose a condition on all of Wiki). Please provide me multiple examples of FAs that use this bolding convention that you claim is widely practiced. I see it at Berlin Blockade, which is neither GA nor FA, and it creates visual clutter. I've rarely encountered it anywhere (except on new articles edited by novices) except for a couple of aircraft FACs and FARs. If this bold clutter is extended throughout articles, I don't see the benefit. Please show me multiple examples outside of the aviation project. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:28, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

←I don't understand what you're saying, Bkonrad. I don't recall ever seeing bolding in a Wikipedia article as you describe, bolding the headings and synonyms for headings in the text right after each heading. (That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but it probably means it's not common.) On the talk page of WP:REDIRECT, there's a mention that a link to the same page the link is on will result in bolding instead of blue...but that's another reason not to bold. If an entire wikiproject is trying to write articles that emulate a pattern of bolding that they see in their source material, I wouldn't mind discussing that and whether that's a pattern we want to emulate here, but I'm doubtful. I can't think offhand of a single magazine, journal or encyclopedia that has a professional style that uses bolding in the manner you're suggesting. I disagree with the argument that bolding after a section heading is needed to alert a redirected reader to the reason they were directed to that section; anything that needs to be cleared up should be cleared up in the redirecting article, not the target article, because the need for justification isn't apparent in the target article. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 22:17, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

It would be helpful if we could find a wikiproject (other than WP:MILHIST, which has a lot of fine writers, but is something of a special case) where they like adding bolding to synonyms for subheadings, so that I can get a sense of what all the fuss is about. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 22:26, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
To SandyGeorgia, as I've said, I'm really unconcerned with FACs or FARs as I don't see them as being very representative of the best that Wikipedia has to offer. To my knowledge, the aircraft or military history projects had no direct connection with initiating this practice. It was discussed in the past and was explicitly recommended in WP:R until very recently. The guidance is somewhat analogous to what was in this guideline pertaining to biographies from the fourth version of this article in February 2006:
  • Bold is also used in biographies for the person's name and alternate versions of the person's name.
On October 1, 2006, this guidance was added:
  • Bold is used on words that appear with short definitions in articles and are bulleted. These entries could appear as their own articles but are retained within other articles as short definitions.
On October 18, 2006, the following was added, although removed later the same day:
  • The first occurrence of an article name in the body of the article is in boldface. Alternate names that redirect to the article should also appear in boldface the first time they occur in the text.
In WP:R the following statement was added on June 3, 2004:
  • Sub-topics should be boldfaced on their first appearance in the text, to indicate that they are in fact alternate titles or sub-titles.
This remained on the page until the edits I mentioned above on April 6, 2008, when they were moved to the template page and them later, apparently inadvertently removed. That's nearly four years this practice was explicitly recommended on WP:R.
Dank55, for examples of what I mean, I might direct your attention to an earlier discussion on this page (under #Use of bolding in "alternate names", about the third indent I believe, in which U.S. Route 320 is redirected to U.S. Route 320#History, an approach which you (Dank55) described as the kind of careful, logical approach that NE2 is suggesting. For another example Mentorn redirects to Tinopolis and the term is bolded within the history section to assist readers in understanding why they ended up on that page from "Mentorn". Another sort of example, Mentha, Michigan redirects to Pine Grove Township, Michigan and is included in a list of communities within the township. And another, Macheteros redirects to Boricua Popular Army and is bolded (as part of the term Los Macheteros. It really didn't take very long at all to find these additional examples by perusing Category:Redirects with possibilities and Category:Redirects to sections. I could very easily find many more if you'd like. olderwiser 03:33, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
OK, if you don't care to provide examples of this at Featured or Good articles (where it is decidedly not common practice), do you want us to base guidelines on stub- and start-class articles, perhaps written by novice editors unaware of style guidelines that exist, for example, in any professional writing? You've provided no examples to back up the claim that this is common practice; having reviewed thousands of FACs and FARs, I state that it is not. The examples that you give of previous changes to this page show 1) text that concurs exactly with what is on the page now (bolding of alternate names and bulleted lists), minus your disputed addition, 2) that the disputed addition was also reverted in less than a day back in October 2006, hence was never accepted on this page, and 3) a link to WP:R which is neither a guideline, policy, essay or anything else but a page likely viewed by very few editors. In other words, your series of examples shows that bolding of words throughout text, with the exception of bulleted lists, names and alternate names in the lead, and volume number in citations, has never been part of any Wiki guideline or accepted or common practice. Alternate names that are worthy of bolding are given in the lead; alternate names that aren't significant enough to be mentioned in the lead don't need to litter the remaining text with font markups. The Michigan example you give correctly uses bulleted lists, and the other example you give, Tinopolis is a good example of how disruptive random markup looks within text. You still haven't given any examples to demonstrate this widespread, common practice claim. Considering the number of articles I review and edit, and the kinds of changes I frequently have to make, I can say that finding random bolding throughout text is not common, and the only place I used to regularly encounter it (outside of stubs started by new editors) was Aircraft articles. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:30, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
What is or is not common practice for featured or good articles is not of much interest. Of course I'm not suggesting that we base guidelines on stub- and start- class articles, although they might just as likely be be written by long-time editors as well as the condescendingly treated "novice" editors who were editing according to guidance found at WP:R, which despite your claims that it is viewed by very few editors is nonetheless an editing guideline and in fact predates this style subpage by quite a long time. On the contrary, I suggest that page is more familiar to many editors than this minor sub-page of an obtusely complex set of style guides. Your claim that this (bolding of targets of redirects) has never been part of any Wiki guideline or accepted or common practice is patently false. What you cast as litter is a rather subjective aspersion. While you are undoubtedly an authority on FACs, and have undoubtedly edited quite a few articles, I don't expect that makes you an infallible authority on what is or is not common practice and it is rather arrogant of you to suggest that your experience is somehow more reliable than mine or others. I have edited a few articles myself. I'll readily admit I don't pay much attention to FACs (most are overwhelmed with a garish litter of excessive footnotes so as to make them unreadable for my taste). But among those articles I do edit, it is not uncommon to see bolded text to highlight the targets of redirects. I certainly find such emphasis helpful and I've seen reports from others that it is helpful (see earlier discussions here). olderwiser 19:23, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
That's a lot of wording, but you still haven't provided examples to back up this "widespread" allegation, while I can point to thousands of FACs and FARs (take your pick). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:04, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Seems to me that we started with an example: U.S._Route_26#History. There are many others; for instance, baronetcy articles beyond stub are so arranged, either for the individual baronetcies of the same surname, like Arbuthnot Baronets, or for the individual baronets themselves. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:19, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
To Sandy, apparently you are already so thoroughly convinced of the correctness of your opinion that you feel no inclination to peruse the categories I suggested in which such examples are relatively abundant. Since you can't be bothered to look for yourself I suppose I shall have to indulge you with some further examples. I'm emphatically not saying that all of these are necessarily well-written -- only that the practice is not so uncommon as you seem to think.
I could go on, but these were quickly gathered from only the first two pages of one category. Obviously, for a variety of reasons not every redirected term in the categories needs to be bolded--but the fact that many are is evidence that the practice is not so very uncommon. Now, if I understand what you are criticizing in between the barbs is the bolding of terms, which give the appearance of random emphasis. You appear to be OK with bolding terms in lists and with bolding alternate names somewhere in the general vicinity of the intro. If that is the case, it might be possible to agree on some compromise. As far as I'm concerned, these are all examples of the same principle--helping a reader with some simple emphasis of significant redirected terms. In most cases in my own editing, where I add such bolding it is in a list or in the intro, although in some cases the redirected term is not strictly an alternate name of the subject of the article, but is merely a topic treated within a section of the article (such as history). Such treatment is common with merged stubs. Perhaps an ideal solution might be for the software to automatically (or at least optionally) bold terms from a redirect within an article. olderwiser 01:53, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I do not find the style of FA a particularly compelling argument. Most reviews do not discuss style at all, so the style remains whatever the editors use; those that do discuss it have no relationship with what English actually does or should do. In this, as other matters, Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:57, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Taking this to WP:VPP#Bolding. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 13:27, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
I was hoping we'd get more participation. I'm still on wikibreak, and until I'm done with some RL stuff, I don't have much to offer. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 13:31, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Would it help to make clearer that this is permission to bold, not requirement? I would have no objection to a warning that this should not be done if it makes the article garish.

We don't want to bold most of the time, anyway; but two legitimate purposes seem clear:

  • If an alternate name is first mentioned below the lead (for example, if it is historic only, but is in common usage for its period).
  • If the section could be an article of its own, but isn't (chiefly for perma-stubs, like the second Arbuthnot baronetcy).

It would also be useful to say that one purpose is to accommodate section redirects. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:02, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

How are we going to decide when it "makes the article garish" (I say it always does :-) Since this proposal has garnered neglible support, and it is not a widespread practice, but has garnered some opposes (particlarly clear ones at the Village Pump), I'm not yet seeing the need to complicate the guideline with qualified wording about when/when not to implement such bolding. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:19, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Please link to the Pump. How are we going to decide? The same way we decide all such issues: by consensus of editorial judgment on the specific article. That's the advantage of being edited by human beings, not by bots. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:45, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Dank55 linked it a few lines up. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:47, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Italicisation of foreign proper names

While foreign names equivalent to English ones (as well as transliteration), such as Moscova, Srpska, Saint-Laurent (The Canadian river) and Roma are generally italicized per this guideline, there is no definite guideline about proper name that have no standardized English names. I'm currently editing Puerto Rican Amazon, and I'm unclear whether I'm supposed to remove or not the italics of such locations as "Sierra de Cayey", "Valle de las Cotorras" (directly followed by a translation, no English name was never current AFAICT) and "Cordillera Central", when other terms like "Luquillo forest", "Culebra" and "Morovis" do not take them. I've hit a similar issue with names of streets and places in various Berne-related articles not so long ago (e.g. Kramgasse). Personally, I'm very much for not italicizing them (since that would be the only term used in English), but that's probably just me. Circeus (talk) 20:29, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

You are probably right. If these names are what is used in English, then they are English names. As a parallel, we don't italicize "Ravenna", although we do italicise Firenze. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:57, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Proper names are not really foreign terms, and should not be italicized. Capitalization usually helps clarify their nature. I could write, for instance, Bosque de Luquillo, although in this case it would probably be preferable to translate it to Luquillo Forest out of consideration for the reader. Not sure if you would translate Central Cordillera, or perhaps make its foreignness clear by writing La Cordillera Central.
If you were referring to a word, then you could italicize for that reason, e.g.: Moscow's Russian name is Moskva, the Italian name is Firenze. By the way, in English it is the Saint Lawrence River, not the fleuve Saint-Laurent, although in Canada many French place names are used verbatim, e.g., Rivière-du-Loup.
This is important and comes up regularly, so I'll add it to the guideline. Michael Z. 2008-08-04 21:09 z

If you were referring to a word, then you could italicize for that reason, e.g.: Moscow's Russian name is Moskva. By the way, in English it is the Saint Lawrence River, not the fleuve Saint-Laurent, although in Canada many French place names are used verbatim, e.g., Rivière-du-Loup. + :: If you were referring to a word, then you could italicize for that reason, e.g.: Moscow's Russian name is Moskva, the Italian name is Firenze. By the way, in English it is the Saint Lawrence River, not the fleuve Saint-Laurent, although in Canada many French place names are used verbatim, e.g., Rivière-du-Loup.
Precisely the point. Saint-Laurent should either be used as quoted French and italicized, as gare would be italicized, or be replaced with Saint Lawrence. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:14, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
No, they're not the same. Quoting with quotation marks, italicizing foreign words, and italicizing words that are being referred to are three different things.
In English, you don't italicize the names of Berlin, Ravenna, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Moscow, or Turin. It may not occur in an encyclopedia, but if you wanted to sound native you might refer to the city of Torino or Moskva as well, sans italics. But it would be more common to refer to Moscow's Russian name as MoskvaMichael Z. 2008-08-04 21:31 z
hmmm, I've always italicized them; can we get a read from anyone on what other, well known Manuals of Style recommend before this is codified? (Circeus, lest I forget, and if you remember, pls leave a note on the FAC when there's a conclusion here, so I'll know which way you went.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:15, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Do you italicize Ravenna and Rothenburg ob der Tauber? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:17, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
When it's the same name in both languages, probably not. For example, I don't italicize Caracas or Buenos Aires, I do italicize Milano, Firenze and Roma (to distinguish from Milan, Florence and Rome). No idea if that's correct though, so I'm curious what other manuals of style say before we set it into stone, although I don't much care either way. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:23, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Let me rephrase this: you don't normally italicize proper names in English, and often they happen to correspond to foreign names. If there is an English version of the name, then you don't normally use the foreign name in English, but you might refer to the name, in which case you would italicize the word as a word.

A telling example is the city of Turin or Torino, which has become more widely used in English in its native form, and still wouldn't be italicized when it is used. Michael Z. 2008-08-04 21:35 z

But I would italicize Roma, which is not used. Most of the time, the best guidance would be to use Rome instead, but we may need guidance for exceptional cases. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:28, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Bad example

By the way, in the example, Sveriges och Götes Konung is italicized because the title is being referred to, not because it is foreign. It should be removed or amended because it will cause confusion. Michael Z. 2008-08-04 21:37 z


Any thoughts to typefaces itself? A number of pages (eg. Template:Infobox Vivastation) changes the typeface itself. I personally consider it bad taste, but what are your thoughts? kelvSYC (talk) 04:01, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Ugh. See Wikipedia:MOS#Keep markup simple; agree it's poor taste. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:26, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
The problem is not just markup, nor even just style, but a conflict with the subject's trademarks. Not only is the font face being used to decorate the template, it appears to be adopting the branding of the subject: i.e., the same font style used to market the Viva bus system. A logo colour in the infobox serves to identify the subject, but we musn't appear to be either promoting the subject or appropriating its brand. Definitely unacceptable. Michael Z. 2008-08-04 22:00 z
Actually, we quite often do logos; one instance in an infobox is one of the standard examples of fair use. I doubt the use of a font is trademarkable. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:50, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Italics: Scripture

"In a few cases, the title should be in neither italics nor quotation marks:

   * Scripture"

In the above, what does "scripture" mean? User:Pedant (talk) 18:05, 14 August 2008 (UTC)


The endless confusion of MoS. Why is this text mentioned here, but not at WP:LEAD, which is where it is mainly dealt with ?

Boldface is used to separate the article name from ordinary text. It is typically used in the first paragraph of an article, used with proper names and common terms for the article topic, including any synonyms and acronyms. Do this only for the first occurrence of the term; for instance, you should avoid using boldface in both the lead section and the caption of the lead image.

The mention of synonyms and alternate names is completely lacking from LEAD, and it's unnatural to have to come over here to find it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:32, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Possessives of italicized titles

This is a query relating to the use of apostrophe + s to show possessive case involving titles which have been italicized. It arises from a situation I found earlier today at USS Ticonderoga (CV-14). Ticonderoga is used throughout the article when talking about the ship. However, possessives were inconsistent and in a few instances coded incorrectly causing text following the possessive to be wikibolded.

Examples (not from the actual article):

Incorrect:    Ticonderoga's winter deployment … on patrol with Maddox.
Incorrect: Ticonderoga 's winter deployment … on patrol with Maddox.
Incorrect: Ticonderoga's winter deployment … on patrol with Maddox.
Correct: Ticonderoga’s winter deployment … on patrol with Maddox.

Compare the current version with this version to see the wikibolding problem in the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the "Philippine campaign" section.

Possessives of italicized titles should have roman apostrophe + s, as in King Lear’s, Newsweek’s and USS Ticonderoga’s. I have searched for a rule stating that here, at the Manual of Style main page and under the Italics article to find clarification of this typographical standard but haven't seen mention of it. Has this been discussed here or elsewhere before? Is it mentioned somewhere I didn't search? If not, should the guideline be added only here or in the main MoS page as well? Sswonk (talk) 17:19, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Um, no. WP:MOS specifically deprecates usage of curly quotes, because of various problems associated with them. In answer to the original question, the proper way to do this is: ''Ticonderoga''<nowiki>'</nowiki>s. Doesn't come up all that often. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:10, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
''Ticonderoga''<nowiki>'</nowiki>s causes: Ticonderoga's, where the apostrophe nearly crashes into the noun, and which becomes worse with with some characters such as "r", "k" and "t": King Lear's, Newsweek's and Babbitt's. Adding a regular space to fix the crash creates too much disconnection between the noun and the apostrophe: King Lear 's, Newsweek 's and Babbitt 's use a space immediately after the noun before closing italics and King Lear 's, Newsweek 's and Babbitt 's use a space immediately before the apostrophe inside the nowiki tags. Using an HTML thinspace after the italicized title produces the best looking result: ''Newsweek''&thinsp;<nowiki>'</nowiki>s yields Newsweek 's. That is the code I will use if I ever run into this problem again. Are you saying that it occurs so infrequently that inclusion in the manual of style would be unhelpful? I finally found that it was discussed in the MoS (titles) subpage talk here. A passage like (See below, I have created a template that replaces the following coding. Sswonk (talk) 23:32, 4 September 2008 (UTC))
"When using an italicized title as a possessive, adding the code
produces the correct formatting. For example, ''Newsweek''&thinsp;<nowiki>'</nowiki>s yields Newsweek 's."
could be added to the MoS (titles) subpage to answer the question. (I should at least get credit for being the most nitpicky, eh?) Sswonk (talk) 19:26, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I created a template that makes this very easy, {{'s}}. So, the above entry would be:
"When using an italicized title as a possessive, adding the code
produces the correct formatting. For example, ''Newsweek''{{'s}} yields Newsweek's."
Sswonk (talk) 23:32, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
FYI: For those reading this who hadn't seen the discussion at WP:VPM and template talk:', the standard template:', which is already in use in hundred of articles, has been updated with the same coding solution used in {{'s}} to avoid the apostraphe crashing into the last letter of the noun, so the appostraphe can be inserted as ''Newsweek''{{'}}s to produce Newsweek's. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 18:17, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Both {{'}} and {{'s}} look just fine to me, FWIW. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 08:28, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Merges proposed to WP:MOS, WP:MOSNUM

Resolved: Just an FYI; merge discussions take place at target, not source page.

It has been proposed that this document be merged into longer-standing, more consistent guidelines. See WT:MOS#Text formatting merge proposal and WT:MOSNUM#Text formatting math section merge proposal. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:44, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Italics in media franchises

The MOS says to use italics for book, film, television and album titles. What is the rule for media franchises such as Star Trek, Star Wars and Degrassi? Matthewedwards (talk contribs  email) 17:24, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

I asked this question at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (titles)#Media Franchise eight months ago but got no answer. Hopefully this page has more activity. Matthewedwards (talk contribs  email) 17:28, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Ping, anybody? :) Matthewedwards (talk contribs  email) 07:28, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm no expert on stylistic details, especially in the often unique ways such details get interpreted via WP:MOS and assorted followers, but IMO, unless the franchise name is the same as the title of a work, it shouldn't be italicized. It would seem more akin to a trademark or company name than the title of a work. olderwiser 22:26, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Italics for nicknames

Is it allowed to italicize a nickname of an individual? Just curious. Joyson Noel (talk) 20:10, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Italicizing only first occurrence of foreign term

Today i saw an editor italicize every occurrence of haiga in the article of the same name; I came to WP:MOS fully expecting to find support for my own practice of italicizing only the first occurrence of a foreign term in an article, and was surprised to find nothing of the sort. Yet a quick random check of a few articles confirms that I am not the only editor to follow that practice: kanji, katakana, Dhimmi, Wilayat al-faqih. One could argue that WP:MOS is agnostic on this question since it states neither that every such occurrence in an article need appear in italics, nor that only the first should. Are there views here on this question? Has it previously arisen, and what do other MOS's have to say? Thanks for any clarification. --Yumegusa (talk) 00:43, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

PS Perhaps there is a special case when the term in question is the subject and title of the article?--Yumegusa (talk) 10:36, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Per my CanOD, kanji and katakana are not normally italicized. Michael Z. 2008-11-14 03:10 z
Thanks, Michael. I'm actually a little confused by your edit summary: "kanji and katakana are naturalized English", as well as your comment above. Kanji and katakana are Japanese characters, and as such would not normally be subject to italicisation when found within English text. The actual words themselves as they appear here (kanji and katakana) are romaji, as is haiga, haikai etc. --Yumegusa (talk) 10:16, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Italicize every occurrence of a foreign term. I have never before heard of italicizing only the first occurrence. Nurg (talk) 05:01, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

If the foreign term has been naturalised, like Michael/Mzajac claims above, then the first occurrence may still be italicised as it would for any word if either it is being mentioned in order to discuss the word itself (as in the edit summary, I expect), or being defined by use (a first occurrence). Hopefully the different reasons why something might be in italics are now clearer on the article page. --Cedderstk 22:06, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

WP Font

What is Wikipedia's font style? C Teng [talk] 01:25, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Dotted or dashed text

How can I make the text dotted or dashed? BlueEarth (talk) 20:35, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Need to include info on size of text

I know I've seen people make text a smaller size, which I want to do just on a footnote on my own page, but don't see any indication of how to do that here. I think it would be useful to include. Thanks. CarolMooreDC (talk) 17:28, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Use the <small></small> tags. Dabomb87 (talk) 22:15, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Dang, Should have known that. But that's why at least need a link to page that describes such basic html as used here. CarolMooreDC (talk) 22:28, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
There is a link in the lead to Wikipedia:How to edit a page# Character formatting. Dabomb87 (talk) 23:05, 6 December 2008 (UTC)