Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Trademarks

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Minor clarifications in the "General rules" section[edit]

I propose some minor clarifications to WP:Manual of Style/Trademarks#General rules, to forestall the recurrence of quite a number of repetitive, pointless debates that waste large amounts of editorial time. Namely, amend this passage:

  • Avoid using special characters that are not pronounced, are included purely for decoration, or simply substitute for English words (e.g., ♥ used for "love") or for normal punctuation. In the article about a trademark, it is acceptable to use decorative characters the first time the trademark appears, but thereafter, an alternative that follows the standard rules of punctuation should be used:
    • avoid: macy*s, skate., [ yellow tail ], Se7en, Alien3, Toys Я Us
    • instead, use: Macy's, Skate, Yellow Tail, Seven, Alien 3, Toys "R" Us

New version (here with additions marked up like this, for discussion clarity):

  • Avoid using special characters that are not pronounced, are included purely for decoration, or simply substitute for English words or spelling thereof (e.g., "♥" used for "love", "!" used for "i") or for normal punctuation. Similarly, avoid special stylization, such as superscripting or boldface, in an attempt to emulate a trademark. In the article about a trademark, it is acceptable to use decorative characters the first time the trademark appears, but thereafter, an alternative that follows the standard rules of spelling and punctuation should be used:
    • avoid: macy*s, skate., [ yellow tail ], Se7en, Alien3, Toys Я Us
    • instead, use: Macy's, Skate, Yellow Tail, Seven, Alien 3, Toys "R" Us
    • Conventionally, Wikipedia articles usually give the normal English spelling, followed by a note such as "(stylized as ...)" with the stylized version, then revert to using normal English.

I made this change already, but it was reverted by @SciGal:, with the edit summary "There is a lack of consensus about this per WP:AT and WT:MOS#MOS_vs_source_styles". However, this appears to be a) another example of the confusion, dispelled approximately a dozen times per month, that WP:AT and WP:MOS are in conflict (and it doesn't cite anything specific at WP:AT that relates to this at all); and b) a case of mistaking a partially relevant discussion in one place as some kind of WP:FILIBUSTER against WP:BOLD editing in any related topic elsewhere. Regardless, I'm opening the D part of WP:BRD, because these changes need to be made.

The changes perform the following functions:

  1. Clarify that cutesy symbols are covered by this guideline, generally and not just in some overly specific type of case. They already were definitely covered (see e.g., ♥ used for "love", which was in the original wording), but the wording suggested incorrectly that they were only covered when they substituted for entire words. Such an odd limitation is not the case and never has been. See failed RM proposal at Talk:Pink (singer) that concluded the other day, for a very recent case applying the rule to symbolic stand-ins for specific letters, not just whole words. There are many previous ones. The change also necessarily provides a second example of this, illustrating the point. (Given the closure of the "P!nk" move proposal, I have used "!" used for "i" in the proposed text instead of my original example, "0" used for "o", from an earlier rock band RM discussion that also concluded against the stylization.) This is not actually a change to MOS:TM rules, just clearer wording of how MOS:TM is already interpreted and implemented. This is clear, further, from the fact that macy*s, Se7en, and Toys Я Us – all cases of symbolic substitution of single characters not whole words – were already included in the original text; these examples actually dominate the section.
  2. Describe in words, not just examples that some may not examine closely, that one of our rules is to not use special stylization such as superscripting (e.g., "Alien3") in an attempt to emulate a trademark. This, too, is simply clarifying what the guideline already advises, and codifying years of common WP practice; it does not actually change the MOS:TM rules, only makes them easier to understand.
  3. Describe actual common WP practice in handling "styled as" cases. When the original passage was written, no convention had developed, but one very clearly has developed in the last couple of years, and it is the one I described, namely giving the normal-English spelling, and following this with a "styled as" parenthetical note. As with the first two points, this does not actually substantively change any rules promulgated by MOS:TM, it just observes what we're already doing, our "best practices". This is precisely what guidelines and policies are supposed to do, per the lead section of WP:POLICY.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:19, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Endlessly repeating "there is no conflict" when lots of other editors feel that there is a conflict is not productive. However, there is a simple solution that will make even the appearance of conflict disappear: Have this guideline take COMMONNAME and similar policy statement into account. With that in mind, I could live with the proposed clarification if we also add the clarification I proposed above: "...unless a significant majority of reliable sources that are independent of the subject consistently include the special character or spelling when discussing the subject." The simple fact is, the inclusion of special characters is very rare, but it is occasionally appropriate. Blueboar (talk) 12:29, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

SMcCandlish, I would like to say two things:

  1. I'm pretty sure that the discussions here (listed on 16 pages of archives), at WP:AT, and at WT:MOS#MOS_vs_source_styles have been discussions about the topic. That is why I reverted your edit.
  2. I would have to oppose your proposal for the same reasoning as Blueboar. Your suggested proposal makes no exceptions for cases in which independent, reliable sources verify the use of an unconventional English spelling (e.g., the perpetual deadmau5 because of its use of leet). Editors who work with the sources in those articles would find themselves arguing with those who have cited your suggested guideline as the rationale behind using a standard English spelling throughout the article and in the article's title. That, and edit wars related to the arguing, is what we are trying to stop through discussion and consensus. SciGal (talk) 14:03, 12 February 2015 (UTC)