Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Trademarks/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

"O'Clock" in a trademark or proper name

I was involved in trying to tidy Ronen Segev last month during its AfD, but after I'd finished, my references to his performing arts group "Ten O'Clock Classics" were reverted to "Ten o'Clock Classics" by User:Mel Etitis with the edit summary "corrected capitalisation, wikilink, & typo". I restored the capital "O", citing the external links/references (a NY Times article, and the group's official website) and the WP:MOSTM's "Capitalize trademarks, as with proper names". However, they were reverted back, with the editor citing the same page's "[f]ollow standard English text formatting and capitalization rules even if the trademark owner encourages special treatment". Since then there's been a brief discussion on my talk page, but nothing further.

Aside from the NY Times article, the Chicago Manual of Style seems to accept the capital "O" as valid, while the BBC has numerous examples of using it.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] In reply, the other editor stated that "it's our MoS with which I'm concerned, not the Chicago, the NYT, or the BBC". So, since I think our MoS is open to interpretation here, I'm hoping to provoke wider discussion, as there's several pages on WP already whose titles could be moved as Ten O'Clock Classics was (see this page move, done concurrently with these edits): 25 O'Clock, 9 O'Clock Gun, The 7 O'Clock News, Three O'Clock High, Twelve O'Clock High and The 11 O'Clock Show. Cheers --DeLarge 12:59, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Prepositions aren't capitalised (except at the beginning and ends of titles, and when they form part of phrasal verbs); I don't see what argument can be raised against following that rule, especially given the MoS guide as quoted above: "[f]ollow standard English text formatting and capitalization rules even if the trademark owner encourages special treatment". Even if this were a trademark, the situation is surely quite clear. I take it that DeLarge wants to modify the MoS in this respect, rather than really claiming that his preference is in line with it. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 14:21, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

As already demonstrated, the CMoS, NYT and BBC all treat the preposition differently when it forms part of a contraction. Given how frequently the WP:MoS follows the CMoS and the prevalent styles of the most prominent news sources, I believe it is perfectly valid to seek further discussion and clarification. --DeLarge 04:03, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

As I said, you want to change the MoS; that's a perfectly acceptable thing to suggest. I'd oppose the change, but others might agree, in which case I'd of course edit in line with it. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 11:28, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think this has anything to do with a MoS change; the MoS only says to follow standard English usage, and in this case it appears standard English usage permits capitalizing a preposition when it forms part of a contraction. The Chicago Manual of Style is one of the bodies that is generally taken to define standard English usage, and it suggests that either lowercase or capital is fine. --Delirium 03:08, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
The initial "o" is not a preposition. "O'Clock" is considered to be a single word. Chris cheese whine 04:32, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Just out of interest, I will point out that I spell it "O'clock" in a name, indeed this is how the BBC does (or at least did) used to spell it. Rapido 17:46, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Your source does not agree with your comment. That page is full of references to “BBC News at One O'Clock,” with a capital C. --Rob Kennedy 22:18, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
There recently was a combined move request for published works with "o'clock" in their title at Talk:25 O'Clock. The unanimous verdict was to move these articles to the respective "O'Clock" variant. - Cyrus XIII 00:27, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

The thirtysomething example

Rather than being used as an example of how to title articles, this article itself and the rule it adheres to needs to be changed. Who are Wikipedia editors to decide to spell or write things differently to the way the original creators intended? Correct English and proper use of grammar should not come into the equation. A title should be displayed as it is supposed to be. An initial lower case letter is technically ‘incorrect’ but using one is the only correct way to title such an article.

What was the point of the whole – “the initial letter of this article is not capitalised due to a technical restriction”, when editors are trying to purposely write things incorrectly in a uninformed bid to maintain proper grammar?

Just make sure the name/title is italicised every time it appears in the article and there will be little problem with the flow of a user’s reading (due to a noun sporting a non-capitalised initial letter).

Where does this end? Do you want to rule that Mortal Kombat should be spelled with a ‘C’ because the developers were just being stupid? Yes they were, but that's a point of view, and therefore shouldn't be advocated in the guidelines.

If it is made the standard that titles be named and written the way in which they are written in the actual media, by the creators, then it will be correct and there will be no ridiculous case-by-case analysis. Which would, in turn, eradicate the severe problems with inconsistency. Mr.bonus 15:22, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

We’re not here for the sake of the companies, bending the the whim of however they want to style their names and their product names. We’re here for the readers. Readers’ interests should always be at the top of your priorities.
I don’t buy your correctness argument. I’m not willing to accept that a trademark owner always knows the correct way to render its own trademark.
Where does it end? It ends with the capitalization rules you learned in elementary school. Everything after that is marketing hype.
You seem as though you know how the original creators intended something to be capitalized. Have you actually asked the individuals who invented the names? The advertising staff who made up the promotional posters aren’t the same people as the ones who decided what a product, company, or program would be named. The original creators of Thirtysomething called it Thirty Something.
Just now, you referred to the game Mortal Kombat. If we were following your advice, though, it would be MORTAL KOMBAT, as that’s clearly how it’s capitalized on the box and the title screen.
I see you made the same post over at the Thirtysomething article. Apparently, you’re arguing that since it’s spelled with a lowercase letter on the title screen, it should be that way everywhere. But you’re wrong. The article even points out how the title screen was designed by Kathie Broyles. The lowercase letter was a design decision, just like most capitalization choices are on display copy. But Wikipedia isn’t producing display copy; it’s producing body copy.
The “initial letter technical restriction” template is misguided. It isn’t necessary. The style here at Wikipedia is that titles start with capital letters. That doesn’t need to change when a word would otherwise start with a lowercase letter.
You claim that as long as the title of a show is highlighted by italics, readers won’t be bothered when the name is capitalized the way it’s “supposed” to be. I disagree. The discussion below this one is about the show TNA Impact. The title screen writes it with everything uppercase but the I, and with an exclamation point at the end. I find that article incredibly distracting.
Finally, I’ll refer you to an article by copy editor Bill Walsh: What’s in a nAME(cq)? --Rob Kennedy 17:54, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


I can't figure out what applies here. The name of the show is spelled iMPACT (small i and the rest in capitals). This is the trademark, the logo, and how TNA (along with Midway, who is making the game with the same name) always refer to it as. TJ Spyke 05:43, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

The closest thing in the guideline to apply to iMPACT (or iMPACT!) is probably the "Trademarks which begin with a lowercase letter" section, as it begins with a lower-case letter and has internal capitals. Yet this bit was clearly written, proposed and approved with aBcde cases in mind (like eBay and iPod), not aBCDE. I'd say it's a judgment call for now and the guideline should probably be expanded, if more cases like this one arise. - Cyrus XIII 12:08, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
The lowercase-letter guideline is for words that are otherwise capitalized normally. The TV show doesn’t apply. Instead, this falls under the Realtor category. The grownup way of capitalizing the show name is TNA Impact. When capitalizing it at iMPACT, you need to be able to answer a few questions: What do the I, M, P, A, C, and T stand for? What is the meaning of the lowercase I? The weird spelling is just a marketing gimmick, meant to draw attention to the game. That’s not Wikipedia’s job. I’ll entertain the notion of capitalizing it as iMPACT if it’s also pronounced as eye-em-pee-ay-see-tee.
And definitely lose the exclamation point in the body copy. Exclamation points are for ending sentences excitedly. They’re not decoration. When combined with the funny capitalization and the italics, the article is downright distracting to read. --Rob Kennedy 17:15, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Someone ought to have this discussion over at the classic example, Yahoo! It appears there was some discussion about it a year ago but nowhere near the level that it should have been.--chris.lawson 07:41, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

This is approaching an edit war now. Will someone please stop by Talk:TNA Impact!? ptkfgs 08:54, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

The article (along with the one about the video game) has been granted full protection in order to help sort this out. The key issue is probably that certain self-professed fans of the program mistake "consensus" with "persisting on one's own favored course of action long and loud enough". - Cyrus XIII 19:59, 5 March 2007 (UTC)


Another example of rather strange typography from Japan - any suggestions how to deal with this one? The official website uses "XXXHOLiC", so apparently the lowercase "xxx" used in the current article does not reflect the official capitalization anyway. My money would be on "XXXholic", as it still reflects the supposed meaning of the title (fill in given addiction for the "XXX"), without relying on anymore typographic gimmicks (see Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE by the same artists). - Cyrus XIII 23:00, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

The current article doesn't use the lowercase X, it uses the symbol "×", which is used on the cover of the manga. The official site for TBS[6], the TV station which aired it, uses "xxxHOLiC", as does Production IG[7], who produced it along with CLAMP.
FUNimation, who are responsible for the english dub and distribution in America[8], consistently use xxxHOLiC.
Personally I think it's fine either as "×××HOLiC" or "xxxHOLiC", but I see no reason at all to change it to "XXXholic". ShakingSpirittalk 23:16, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Amazon Japan mostly uses ×××HOLiC, xxxHOLiC, and XXXHOLiC, while Amazon US mostly uses xxxHOLiC. There are some other versions, including XXXHOLIC and Xxxholic. However, sometimes the same publication by the same company appears in different typesets on Amazon JP + US, and it sometimes disagrees with usage found at these publishers' official websites. I really don't know what kind of process Amazon is using for choosing or changing typesets. We should also be careful not to invent new formats, as this style guide suggests. —Tokek 05:32, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
The triple ×/x/X asside, does the mixed (and mostly uppercase) capitalization of "holic" fulfill any purpose in terms of meaning and phonetic distinction (like it is the case with eBay and iPod)? - Cyrus XIII 17:47, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Typesets are not used for phonetic distinction in eBay and iPod. —Tokek 14:41, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Xxx would be counter to the "MCI" example. Using the symbol instead of an X is inappropriate for the same reason that we do not use an asterisk in Macy's or a heart symbol to represent the word "love". Therefore, I would suggest XXXholic is the correct lettering and capitalization and would also conform with my suggested revision to mixed internal capitalization as written below. ju66l3r 23:09, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
"XXXholic" sounds the most reasonable to me. The three letter series "XXX" has a long history, affixed to pornography and moonshine alike, and is clearly meant to be read as "Ex Ex Ex". Then we simply lowercase the rest of the name in line with standard English orthography. ptkfgs 02:36, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
If you assume the ××× in ×××HOLiC bears any relationship to the XXX of pornography or moonshine—something forbidden—you do not understand its significance in the title. It stands for a variable (so the title means fill-in-the-blank-HOLiC) and is not pronounced at all. —pfahlstrom 17:34, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree that "XXXholic" is the best choice. PubliusFL 02:40, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
Ok, a respective move request is up. - Cyrus XIII 03:36, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Suggested revision for clarity of mixed internal capitalization

I suggest the following revision to this guideline to better clarify the mixed internal capitalization problems springing up recently:

  • Trademarks that consist primarily of lowercase letters with internal capitals do not need to be capitalized if only the second letter is capitalized:
    • avoid: EBay is where he bought his Ipod.
    • instead, use: eBay is where he bought his iPod.
  • But, if possible, rephrase to avoid beginning sentences with such trademarks:
    • He bought his iPod on eBay.
  • Trademarks that consist of mixed capitalization for stylistic considerations should follow normal conventions:
    • avoid: He was browsing deviantART while watching TNA Impact! on television.
    • instead, use: He was browsing Deviantart while watching TNA Impact! on television.

Any comments/suggestions? Thanks. ju66l3r 23:02, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

In that last example, I think I'd use "DeviantArt", with CamelCase.
I'm not a huge fan of the wording in the first bullet point... I feel that the essential difference between "iPod" and "iMPACT" is that the former consists of separate units "i" and "Pod", which the latter is simply the word "Impact" with funny capitalization. I'm not articulating that distinction as well as I'd like... does anyone know a nice succinct way to put what I mean? (Is that a weird question?) -GTBacchus(talk) 23:12, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
CamelCase per readability? Otherwise, I'm not seeing the justification based on the other guidelines. It's not CamelCase to begin with, it's mixed capitalization. As for the first bullet point, all I attempted to change was to be more clear on what is currently a "Lowercased trademark" -> "Trademarks that consist primarily of lowercase letters with internal capitals" and "if the second letter" -> "if only the second letter". Thus, keeping the same intent but being more clear about the applicability to avoid any rule gaming. ju66l3r 23:38, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
The trouble with adding more rules to avoid gaming is that it often just pushes the wrinkle to a different spot in the rug. What if something comes out called "iPodPhone"? (Not so far-fetched, really...) That's clearly more like "iPod" than "iMPACT!", but it's got more than just the one internal capital. Tricky, huh? I think it's somehow the fact that the "i" and "e" are prefixes with independent meaning in "iPod" and "eBay", so they're in the style of CamelCaps, while "iMPACT" isn't capitalized that way to make any semantic distinction, but to look cool, and to establish brand distinction.
With CamelCaps as with "iPod", the capitalization serves a function; with "iMPACT!", it's purely style. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:49, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I think CamelCase would make sense if the following applies:
  • The brand name/trademark is obviously a composite, like eBay consists of the "e" (which apparently stands for "electronic", like in "e-mail") and "bay". "iMPACT" clearly is not, hence "Impact".
  • The official typesetting puts an emphasis on these components capitalization-wise. If the official form for aforementioned art community was "deviantart", I'd suggest to use "Deviantart", but since its "deviantART", converting it to "DeviantArt" appears to be more appropriate. It retains the original emphasis and still gets rid of both first-letter-lowercase scenarios and multi-caps.
- Cyrus XIII 05:35, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I must disagree with the "DeviantArt" suggestion. That would be inventing a new format. One should not assume that CamelCase is the one true way to deal with names made up of more than one morpheme. For example, the company which calls itself TOKYOPOP is often referred to as TokyoPop because of the two evident morphemes, but there is no reason to assume that this is a less incorrect (according to the company) rendering than Tokyopop. As far as deviantART is concerned, both Deviantart and DeviantArt would be wrong. The only one that can be supported by "traditional" capitalization rules for compound nouns is Deviantart—not that I support that spelling; my personal belief is that Wikipedia would be more improved than harmed by respecting a great many idiomatic typographical choices. —pfahlstrom 00:31, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, the "TOKYOPOP" example is not 1:1 applicable to the "deviantART" scenario, as former company capitalizes its name fully, while the latter puts aforementioned typographic emphasis on the words the name is comprised of. I see your point regarding the issue of respect towards typographical choices and I'd like to suggest this article to you, as it sums up the reasoning behind not copying typographic eccentricities really well and also mentions a few worst-case scenarios.
There is an issue connected to these discussions I've been wondering about for some time now: When discussing capitalization, do we really discuss spelling? I was always under the impression that due to the A/a redundancy in our alphabet, "TOKYOPOP" and "Tokoypop" are essentially spelled the same, with capitalization-related considerations happening on a different level. Any thoughts on that, anyone? - Cyrus XIII 04:00, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Cyrus, I'd agree that spelling and capitalization are separate issues. As far as I know, we faithfully follow trademark holders as regards spelling, until they depart from our alphabet (like KoЯn or Prince when he was called "<Deleted fair use image>"). For capitalization, however, we tend to follow standard rules of English, thus the band is at Korn, but not at Corn (band). -GTBacchus(talk) 04:33, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Pfahlstrom, regarding our "respecting idiomatic typographic choices", I guess the argument is that if we follow trademark holders' lead in typography, then we're marketing for them. Besides, what's to say we draw the line at capitalization? Why can't someone insist that their name is only correct when it's in Courier New font with umlauts over all the letters and a red asterisk at the end? We can do that (I think) but is that a good idea? Why incorporate all the devices that promote their brand name, rather than just reporting on it? It seems to me that we should draw the line at the point where eccentricities stop assisting with readability (like CamelCaps) and start being novelty for its own sake, or rather for the sake of brand management.
That said, I don't know what's the best way to handle "deviantART". By applying the rules of capitalizing the first (non-prefix) letter, and reverting all caps words to title case, we arrive at "DeviantArt" or "deviantArt", depending on whether you consider "deviant-" to be a very long prefix. Both of these are, as you pointed out Pfahlstrom, new format inventions. (Well, the former is the choice used by Wired News, so it's not an entirely new invention.) The rules, such as they are, weren't written with such cases in mind. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:33, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I have read the article mentioned above by Cyrus, and I still think the line could be drawn at a more accomodating place than where it currently rests (I am, relevantly, a professional copy editor who favors descriptivism over prescriptivism). I agree that logos are not spelling (for example, see the Talk:Toys "R" Us page), but I don't necessarily agree that capitalization is not spelling. The article says that companies don't always know what they are called—but I think that when they are overwhelmingly consistent in their nomenclature, it won't hurt Wikipedia to accomodate it. The rules as they currently stand are clear on names like eBay and REALTOR (though I personally think disallowing REALTOR is inconsistent with allowing eBay) but not clear on what to do with deviantART. The rules are also currently silent on what to do with personal or group names which do not belong to companies and are not used as trademarks (such as bell hooks or CLAMP—see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (capital letters)#Individual typographical choices for personal names). It is my opinion that all consistently used idiomatic typographical choices should be respected on Wikipedia. —pfahlstrom 21:12, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
"REALTOR" and "eBay" are different in so far, as the latter uses its non-standard capitalization to signal meaning and pronunciation, the former merely stands out more. Also, in case of all-lowercase trademarks or names, I do wonder what the reasoning behind ignoring very basic grammatical rules would be, especially while putting the interests of certain groups or individuals over those of the readers. - Cyrus XIII 20:12, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Cyrus, capitalization is not grammar. (Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have nothing to do with grammar.) And eBay does not signal meaning or pronunciation--the meaning and pronunciation would be the same if it were Ebay or E-Bay or E. Bay. Yes, I know it was originally short for Echo Bay, but the only way you can get to eBay from Echo Bay is if you apply some creativity. And that is, I believe, the purpose behind all idiosyncratic capitalization--a desire to show creativity...and yes, distinction. It's quite obvious that using idiosyncratic capitalization helps something stand out, but I submit it does so in the way that idiosyncratic spelling does. For example, my mother, Katherine, spells the short form of her name with an e not usually found therein--Kathey. Why? Does there have to be some sort of deep meaning? She does it that way because she likes it that way. The American Idol season 6 contestant LaKisha Jones spells her name (or her parents spelled her name) with a capital K in the middle. Why? Why not just use the more common typography of Lakisha? Would it be pronounced any differently? Would it have any different meaning? I do not believe that it would; I believe the only reason to write it with a capital K is because that's what she or her parents prefer. Whose desires should we bow to--the Jones family, or the Wikipedia-reading public, if they decide by consensus to not respect idiosyncratic capitalization? I would suggest that LaKisha would be offended by someone telling her the correct way to write her name is with a lowercase k. I would suggest that she would say that writing her name with a lowercase k would be "spelling her name wrong." I suggest that writing eBay as Ebay is spelling the company name wrong. I suggest that spelling deviantART as Deviantart is spelling the name wrong. Likewise, I suggest that spelling CLAMP as Clamp is spelling their name wrong. Now, you seem to suggest that it is in the interest of Wikipedia readers for Wikipedia contributors to ignore idiosyncratic capitalization of names. I suggest that there is no evidence that this is in the readers' best interest. It is not Wikipedia's job to determine the truth or what is the right way to do things. It is simply to present things as they are, and I say that to ignore idiosyncratic capitalization is to present things as they are not. —pfahlstrom 00:08, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
No offense, but right now, you are giving off the impression, that you have not fully read the guideline we are discussing here (on its own talk page no less). The LaKisha example just seems like an odd choice, given that the guideline designates occurrences of CamelCase as a per-editor judgment call. And since typographically separating the "La" from the rest of the name gives it a French touch, you got your signaled meaning right there. Also, I've never heard that echo bay reference before and nine people out of ten will probably consider the "e" an abbreviation of "electronic", just like in e-mail. After all, we trade goods in (or idiomatically speaking "around") that bay via the internet.
All that being said, I'd strongly suggest to take that moral edge off your argument unless you are prepared to stand for all the implications attached to it. This has happened before and it is not in the least productive: People idealistically demand that Wikipedia should verbatim copy even the strangest sort of typography, without considering coherency of presentation or readability of text and eventually, they always end up accusing a great many Wikipedia editors, along with hundreds of other publications of embracing factual inaccuracy and grave disrespect towards certain people, companies, brands and so on. Swell.
Also, I'm sorry to say this, but you are currently not helping this discussion to progress, but are rather stalling it with that "let's abolish this guideline and all of its kind" stance. You know, it would not be done with this one. Did you know that the Manual of Style for articles related to Japan suggests to apply standard capitalization to English words found in Japanese media? You will probably say that this is yet another sign of disrespect or even racism, yet many editors who ever waded through the typographic mayhem of Japanese pop culture will attest, that it is nothing short of sane.
Anyhow, back to topic, please. - Cyrus XIII 15:23, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I will thank you to assume good faith, Cyrus XIII--I certainly have read this guideline, and I certainly am suggesting that it be altered to accomodate idiosyncratic typography. Also, since you had not heard of Echo Bay before, I will suggest you read the eBay article, where the explanation of Echo Bay may be found. But whether it stands for Echo Bay or Electronic Bay, my statement of the meanings and pronuciations of E-Bay, Ebay, and E. Bay still hold.
My issue is one of prescriptive vs. descriptive linguistics, not of morals. As I said, I believe it is Wikipedia's job to present things as they are. Is this not the case? As I am in favor of accomodating idiosyncratic typography on Wikipedia, and this section is about dealing with idiosyncratic typography, my statements are very much on topic, though I admit they are more wide-ranging than trademark discussion, because in my mind they are inextricably interrelated. —pfahlstrom 17:33, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

So am I right in saying that the first guideline applies when the first letter, and the first only, is an abbreviation of some word? Or perhaps not necessarily be short for anything but just separate from the rest of the word? -- 10:52, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Examples of removing CamelCase?

From the policy page:

"Trademarks in CamelCase are a judgement call"

Are there examples of CamelCased trademarks not being under the same CamelCased article title? —Tokek 11:16, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Guideline change: Lowercased trademarks with internal capitals

Proposed change:

  • Lowercased trademarks beginning with a one-letter, separable prefix do not need to be capitalized if the second letter is capitalized, but should otherwise follow general rules:
    • avoid: EBay is where he bought his IPod.
    • instead, use: eBay is where he bought his iPod.
  • But, if possible, rephrase to avoid beginning sentences with such trademarks:
    • He bought his iPod on eBay.
Add  * '''Agree'''. --~~~~  or  * '''Disagree'''. --~~~~  on a new line. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

-- 11:27, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Agree, as this fixes the loophole that caused such a fuss recently. I was considering writing a draft for a complete makeover of the guideline, in order to streamline it and point out the cases where variants of CamelCase are desirable more clearly, but this kind of revision will probably need a lot more discussion beforehand. - Cyrus XIII 12:08, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Agree. Wikilawyering of the letter s in the phrase "internal capitals" is turning into a loophole that swallows the whole guideline. PubliusFL 00:20, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
  • disagree Use the most common name should be the rule. Kyaa the Catlord 15:21, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Agree. This would have helped me immensely a few months back when people kept insisting (incorrectly) that "iPod nano" and "iPod shuffle" are correct capitalisations. I especially agree with PubliusFL that the current guideline is being used as a loophole by people who ought to know better.--chris.lawson 07:35, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Disagree. This proposed change will allow POV-pushers who favor style over accuracy to avoid having to make legitimate arguments against orthography that reflects what exists in the real world. —pfahlstrom 00:23, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Agree - casing is irrelevant to WP:COMMONNAME. As far as that is concerned, "Name" == "nAME" == "nAmE". This guideline deals specifically with how we render the name, and does not conflict with WP:COMMONNAME. Chris cheese whine 09:31, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I responded to this a couple days ago, but apparently it didn't take. Anyway, WP:COMMONNAME does not say that casing is irrelevant, nor say that as far as it is concerned "Name" == "nAME" == "nAmE". I believe that it is much more natural to assume, and take as a given, that case matters when common users of a name have used an idiosyncratic case for it; if it did not matter, why would they use an idiosyncratic case? Use of idiosyncratic case can demonstrate that that case is an essential part of how to write the name. —pfahlstrom 03:31, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
      • So, where does it say that casing is relevant? WP:COMMONNAME deals with the name, how a name is rendered is not a part of the name. Chris cheese whine 04:38, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
  • disagree Sentences start with capital letters. Rewriting to avoid "EBay" or "IPod" is the best idea, but if they appear at the start of the sentence they should be capitalized. This is an established rule. Other publications use this rule. It makes sense. Why does Wikipedia need to deviate? Markstevo (talk) 16:15, 22 December 2007 (UTC)


  • "Use the most common name should be the rule." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Aaru Bui (talkcontribs) 10:07, 9 March 2007 (UTC).
    • Comment -- that's an open invitation for edit warring over the "most common name." E.g. "hundreds of media references say Widget" versus "but my fanboy forum has a bazillion posts that say wI*dGeT!" Check out TNA Impact! and weigh in on whether the "most common name" for that wrestling program is "TNA iMPACT!" or "TNA Impact!" or "TNA Impact" if you like. This is why we have a Manual of Style. PubliusFL 15:30, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
      • Comment So you'd like to abolish WP:COMMONNAME? That guideline has two years of precedent over this one. Did you also forget about WP:V, WP:RS, WP:SPIDER and meta:Instruction_Creep? Kyaa the Catlord 16:29, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
        • Reply "So you'd like to abolish WP:COMMONNAME?" Certainly not, because WP:COMMONNAME itself says "Other exceptions are contained in the Manual of Style." I'm not sure what WP:V and WP:RS (both now incorporated into WP:ATT) have to do with this, except that if your suggestion is adopted, people will have to come up with reliable sources to settle disputes over which of multiple typeface variants qualifies as the "most common name" (which will be difficult in many cases, again see TNA iMPACT) rather than just referring to the MOS. PubliusFL 16:47, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
          • Reply Excellent, you can understand that there are exceptions. Edit warring is completely not the way to go. Blind adherence to the rules also is not the way to go. We're not supposed to be a "dick" or "wikilaywer" over these things. Wikipedia should not be stressing people out, as it seems to be on the case you keep pointing out. It is JUST as wrong to game the system by bullheadedly adhering to guidelines as it is to edit war against those same guidelines. Rules are made to be broken and sometimes it is just as well to walk away when things become tense. (I'm not saying you're doing any of these things, just that they can and probably are happening.) Kyaa the Catlord 16:56, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
            • Reply Use the common name, forget about Manual of Style. Especially in the area of Anime titles. Kagurae 09:15, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Reply. This proposed guideline change doesn't concern common names. This is just an exception to the general rules. This guideline is to support common names for us to use iPod instead of Ipod as the general rules suggest. Make a new guideline change proposal to argue against "Follow standard English text formatting and capitalization rules even if the trademark owner encourages special treatment". --Aaru Bui DII 23:16, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
      • reply It doesn't until it is wrongly used on a common name, such as it has been bent in the past to cover matchbox twenty, KISS and CLAMP. This entire MOS entry has been used to push a group of users POV on any entry that they wished changed regardless of consensus. (And I'm sorry, a simple majority, such as that at KISS, does not equal consensus.) Kyaa the Catlord 23:34, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
        • Kyaa the Catlord, are you arguing that the proposed change is a change for the worse, or just that it doesn't go far enough in reinforcing WP:COMMONNAME? -GTBacchus(talk) 01:22, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
          • The latter. Hell, I don't know. I'm just sick of beating my head into a wall here. Kyaa the Catlord 01:48, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
            • That's fair enough. I think the point you've been making is independent of this particular edit being proposed. There are certainly people who would agree with you that WP:COMMONNAME should take precedence over WP:MOSTM, and that we should respect the typographical wishes of trademark holders. A decision to do that would be a pretty big change though, and it isn't likely to happen overnight if it happens at all.

              Currently, there's a pretty broad consensus that we should apply the standard rules of English capitalization to trademarks, regardless of what usage is supported by the trademark holder. If you want to change that consensus, I think you should write up a proposal (maybe on this talk page?) and post links to it at WP:VP/P to attract people to the discussion. Then you'll just have to convince the community that your proposal is a good idea. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:07, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

              • This is on my agenda. It probably won't happen too soon since I have an article in the works about the CLAMP debacle for a couple of online sites I take part in and want to have that published and fade from memory so as to avoid canvassing claims (if it becomes published). Kyaa the Catlord 09:06, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
              • Frankly I don't see this broad consensus you're speaking of. I see this obscure guideline being enforced by a few editors, many people then coming to this page as a result to complain, and a handful of editors who watch this page duly informing them that "broad consensus" is against them. In the vote I saw that originally decided this, it doesn't seem like the current wording won by a great margin (unless I missed something), and I would love to see the "always follow rules of English grammar above trademark quirks" notion applied to some high profile pages like Yahoo! mentioned below. I think that might be a good test to gauge how broad the consensus really is. -- mattb @ 2007-03-08T23:19Z
                • When I said there's a broad consensus, I was basing that on my experience closing over 1000 requested moves over the last six months or so. Would it help if I list examples of move discussions where numerous people, not involved in this current discussion, cited the general principle that we don't cater to trademark-holders' whims? I'm open to the possibility that consensus can change, but in this case, it'll take some time and some arguments that I haven't seen yet. The strongest argument for using standard English rules hasn't even been brought up in this discussion, as far as I can see. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:02, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
  • This proposed change will allow POV-pushers who favor style over accuracy to avoid having to make legitimate arguments against orthography that reflects what exists in the real world.—pfahlstrom
    • All due respect, pfahlstrom, but accepted rules of grammar and spelling are not merely a point of view that a few people are "pushing". The burden of making a "legitimate argument" lies upon those claiming exceptions should be made to standard rules of grammar and spelling.--chris.lawson 00:38, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
      • This is a question of style, not of grammar. Traditionally, grammar focuses on morphology and syntax. What we've got here is either an issue of spelling or of typography—some are insisting that it's just a question of typography and that spelling is not involved, but others are asserting that the idiosyncratic use of case can be considered as essential as what letters are used to write the names. In either case, rules of spelling such as apply to dictionary words have never really applied to names. People can spell names however they choose, and many variant spellings of the same name exist. That does not mean one can pick and choose variant spellings to address the same individual or other entity; that individual or other entity is the final arbiter on how their name must be spelled. There is no set of "English rules for names" that people must conform to. —pfahlstrom 05:10, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
        • I am one of the ones asserting that this is, in most cases, merely a question of typography. A guideline (or, preferably, a policy) stating that standard conventions for capitalisation, spelling, grammar, etc. should be followed is what is needed here. (Surely no one would argue that typesetting or "spelling" names with all lower-case letters is "conventional".) Those claiming a need for an exception to such a policy are welcome to provide convincing arguments in favour of said exception. In cases such as "k.d. lang" or "e.e. cummings", such arguments are likely to be accepted. In cases such as "Yahoo!" or "matchbox twenty", they are not. Again, the burden of making and supporting a legitimate argument lies with those claiming exceptions to convention.--chris.lawson 06:08, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
          • E. E. Cummings is not an example of someone who uses an eccentrically formatted name. He never used or accepted the lower-case rendering of his name; see the article. bell hooks, on the other hand, seems to insist on it. The rest of your point, I agree with. -GTBacchus(talk) 07:21, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
            • Though I always felt that applying certain standards to the handles of groups yet not to the synonyms of people who happen to work solo might raise NPOV concerns. - Cyrus XIII 10:43, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
          • I don't claim that idiosyncratic case usage is conventional. But what are the real reasons for the current state of the guidelines? Why are idiosyncratic case usages like OxyContin and iPod allowed? I do not imagine they were allowed because of a triumph of descriptivism over prescriptivism (though that is what I would personally prefer). It seems to me that they were allowed because those usages have become common recently, though still unconventional—so common that they have become the common name for the entity in question. I believe that along those lines, any unconventional case usage which is nevertheless the most common name (such as CLAMP) is also a prime candidate for exception to the convention (setting aside my personal descriptivist feeling that idiomatic orthography should be respected in all cases regardless of common usage). Let us also consider the example case of REALTOR®. Why does the National Association of Realtors want their name written as REALTOR® in the first place? It's a reaction against the longstanding trend of realtor toward becoming a genericized trademark. That may make it, as an example, somewhat less relevant to cases where the reasoning behind an idiosyncratic case use is for the sake of idiosyncrasy or expression rather than simple trademark protection. —pfahlstrom 19:47, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Would the examples constitute to being lowerCamelCase? Even with the general rules, where it states CamelCase is a judgment call, does that include lowerCamelCase? If it does, won't it contradict with the first guideline of capitalizing all trademarks? --Aaru Bui DII 10:40, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
I have to say I'm not a huge fan of lowerCamelCase, as in "iPod" or "iMac", but at least these words have a capital letter in them somewhere fairly near the beginning. Articles written with the subject in all-lowercase throughout the article are damned near impossible to read, as are articles where the subject includes arbitrary punctuation, especially in cases like "Yahoo!".--chris.lawson 12:35, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

I ♥ Huckabees and Yahoo!

Just to get a read on the room... what's the view on I ♥ Huckabees and Yahoo!? I think a lot of the same issues are at play here, and if those two articles are permitted to keep their current article titles, then it seems as though the band names affected by this dispute should be permitted to keep their lowercase titles.

I mean, the MORTAL KOMBAT analogy just doesn't seem applicable. It's not just about how it's rendered on marketing materials -- yes, the Mortak Kombat logo is in all caps, but the official name of the game series is in lowercase. But the people involved with naming I ♥ Huckabees and Yahoo!, much like the people involved with the pillows and matchbox twenty, specifically chose to name it with those eccentricities, and if we're going to describe these topics, we should do so by how they choose to represent themselves. (Eccentric symbols and punctuation is equal to eccentric letter-casing in my mind -- is there disagreement on that point?) Purifiedwater 22:46, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

And also, what's the deal with k.d. lang? Just sayin'. Purifiedwater 22:48, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
k.d. lang is a trademark, and should be capitalized just like thirtysomething. The Huckabees and Yahoo articles should be changed too. This stuff should be pretty straightforward. PubliusFL 23:06, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, why not try moving those articles to appropriate titles and changing their text to conform with this page. I'm interested in seeing whether those article maintainers will think that this MOS page holds water. -- mattb @ 2007-03-08T23:14Z
A move discussion for Yahoo! explicitly decided to keep the "!", which I still think is dumb. Dragons flight 23:17, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Yet a move discussion for the pillows was basically decided by a couple of editors who insist that MOS-TM's guideline should be followed to the letter. There was no consensus to change that page, consensus was replaced by MOS-TM. Seems like yet another case of Wikipedia viewpoint stacking. That's why I encourage you to try the same behavior on Yahoo!. Move the page, insist that MOS-TM represents a "broad consensus" and see what happens. I don't mean to be sarcastic (well, a little), but if larger pages can decide this matter for themselves, I see no reason why this guideline should be enforced as a rule on smaller pages. -- mattb @ 2007-03-08T23:23Z
I can't even see the stupid heart symbol, and I'm running a modern browser (Firefox) on a modern OS (OS X 10.4.8). Get rid of it. There is no "heart" letter in the English language. -- Renesis (talk) 23:25, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Just for reference, here's the debate over the Yahoo! -> Yahoo move that ultimately failed. The folks there brought up an interesting point: what would we do about the band Panic! at the Disco, where virtually all media mentions include the exclamation mark (and whose common truncated name, Panic!, would not immediately call to mind the band without the exclamation mark)? And what of the TV game show Jeopardy!, which both clearly self-identifies itself, and is often identified with, the exclamation mark.

Would it be too much just to come up with a guideline/policy that specifically deals with the titles of bands, songs, movies, and TV shows, rather than rely on ambiguous guidelines about "trademarks" (of which, arguably, the names of bands, etc. falls outside the scope)? Purifiedwater 00:45, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Trademark: "A trademark or trade mark is a distinctive sign of some kind which is used by an individual, business organization or other legal entity to uniquely identify the source of its products and/or services to consumers, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities. A trademark is a type of industrial property, and typically comprises a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements." In the US, the name of every band (whether registered or not and whether noticed with TM or not) would qualify as a trademark because it serves to unique identify the entity providing a product/service to the public. Many people seem to have the mistaken impression that trademarks are a lot are rarer than they actually are. Once you adopt a name that is uniquely yours for the purposes of identifying your products to the public, you have automatically acquired trademark rights to that name. Dragons flight 01:45, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Don't worry, I know -- but musicians' names are more than just "trademarks." They're actual identifiers whose purpose is more than mere marketing, thus are arguably outside the scope of WP:MOSTM. Purifiedwater 03:45, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

The consensus that I've observed, in working WP:RM pretty consistently for the last six months, is that people's names tend to be treated the way those people prefer (e.g., bell hooks, k.d. lang), and that other trademarks tend to be subjected to the usual rules of English, (e.g., Matchbox Twenty, TNA Impact!, Birthright Israel). I'm not saying this consensus is particularly consistent, or necessarily the right thing, but it is what I've observed.

As for I ♥ Huckabees and Yahoo!, those aren't related to capitalization. What I have observed is that the I ♥ Huckabees article was not moved, because it was decided that the heart symbol is actually a semantic unit that can't be replaced with a usual word. (Apparently it's intentionally ambiguous whether it stands for "heart" or "love"; compare We Love Katamari, where we don't use the heart symbol.) I haven't witnessed any discussions around Yahoo!, but it seems to me that we allow for punctuation to be part of how a trademark is spelled. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:14, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

So we allow for decorative punctuation but not decorative capitalization? This makes no sense to me. -- mattb @ 2007-03-09T03:26Z
Exactly my point: I don't think we should have a double-standard with regard to eccentric naming. If we permit Yahoo!, where the "!" serves just as much purpose as the intentional lower-cased matchbox twenty, then where's the consistency? (And I'm not sure why there's debate over whether I ♥ Huckabees is pronounced with love or heart -- the movie's website spells it out as "heart" and Google shows an over 17:1 proclivity towards "heart" instead of "love".) It's pretty clear that it's "heart," and rendering it with a ♥ is humoring an eccentricity. Purifiedwater 03:45, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Have you read the debates at Talk:I ♥ Huckabees. Maybe that would help you understand why there's a question about it. As for why we would allow decorative punctuation but not decorative capitalization, I think that's a very fair question. Like I said, I'm not necessarily defending the consensus I've witnessed, I'm just telling you about it. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:22, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm guessing the content of the movie's website changed since the debate took place on I♥H's talk page, because the Flash animation features a cast member and the director verbally saying "I Heart Huckabees," which kind of eliminates the whole "intentional mystique" arguments in favor of retaining the ♥. And no worries, GTBacchus, I'm not at all saying you're defending (or detracting from) the lowercase-removal argument, and I really appreciate your insight into the situation.


I guess that's the key question here: Why should decorative punctuation be allowed, but not decorative capitalization? Any thoughts? Purifiedwater 08:59, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I believe that we should follow the rules of WP:COMMONNAME and go with whatever is most used in official ways. If the official website maintains a unique case or mix of case, we should respect the creator/band/owner/person's wishes. It is not our place to rename persons/things/etc. Kyaa the Catlord 09:04, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, that's one option. I think you can make a good argument for going with WP:COMMONNAME, but I've also seen good WP:NOT-based arguments for not doing so. I think it would be useful to collect the best arguments from each side, put them in a section on this talk page, and do a content RFC on it, posting notes at WP:VP/P and the talk pages of WP:NC, WP:MOS and WP:MOSCL. Maybe someone could mention it on IRC.
The current situation is awkward. There have been a few precedents set (iPod, bell hooks, KISS, P!nk, Yahoo!), which people have taken as models for certain categories of articles (single letter prefixes, famous people who lower-case their names, band names, punctuation used as substitute letters, punctuation in a trademark). This had let to patches of articles that are internally consistent, but inconsistent with other patches. Now that the patches have gotten big enough that they're competing for space, I guess it makes sense to step back and look at them, sort out the rationales that have kept each one consistent, and try to say something general. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:56, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


When choosing a name for a page ask yourself: What word would the average user of the Wikipedia put into the search engine?

Note use of the term "word". Note also the exclusion of the term "symbol". Note also this eminently reasonable essay by Bill Walsh, a widely respected copy editor for the Washington Post.

As far as applies to I Heart Huckabees, a simple Google search reveals nearly one million hits for the version using the word "heart" and fewer than 1,000 for the version with the symbol.

I completely agree that we need a guideline with more teeth, and I do not believe that WP:MOS-TM and WP:COMMONNAME are presently in conflict, nor do I believe that a guideline stating something like "Proper rules of English grammar and punctuation will be used full stop" is in conflict with WP:COMMONNAME except in very rare cases. We have redirects for a reason. Let's maintain our professionalism here and use them where appropriate. Just because someone wants special treatment for a trade name doesn't mean they're going to get it. We're writing an encyclopedia here, not ad copy.--chris.lawson 19:39, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Nobody that I'm aware of has asked us for special treatment of their trademark. You're not defending this guideline against company marketers, merely other editors. We're all well aware of what we are writing. The capitalization issue is one prime example of where English grammar conflicts with common usage, and interestingly, MediaWiki's "Go" button parser is actually case-sensitive. -- mattb @ 2007-03-09T20:43Z
Examples like Yahoo -- which, contrary to all logic, actually survived a vote to move it to a sensible page title -- are primarily what I'm referring to here. I'm far more concerned about the proliferation of extraneous punctuation than I am about case, although you'll never find me arguing in favour of leaving "thirtysomething" or "adidas" all-lowercase.--chris.lawson 00:18, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
"You're not defending this guideline against company marketers, merely other editors." It would be a foolish trademark holder that wouldn't try to do brand management on Wikipedia. I can't tell whether an editor here works for a marketing department or not. Either way, when we describe something, it not necessary for us to use the various marketing tricks to help make the brand names stand out and be remembered by consumers. WP:NOT a marketing tool. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:10, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
As a general rule, I'd say to use the form of a name that's in most common use, which may or may not be the same as the one the marketroids in the company that released the thing are using. If several different forms are in use and no consensus can be reached on one of them being the "most common", then use the one that is closest to "standard" English capitalization, spelling, and punctuation in accordance with Wikipedia style guidelines. *Dan T.* 04:49, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

I can understand the desire to use the exclamation point for Jeopardy!. In this case, you could possibly make a case that omitting it would be akin to inventing a form that is rarely used, as most publications I've seen use the exclamation point. Yahoo, on the other hand, rarely shows up in reliable sources with the exclamation point. I still think that page should be moved. Croctotheface 23:43, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. If you want to start a move request, I will be glad to lend a hand. ptkfgs 00:14, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
I actually don't particularly want to. I doubt the result would be different from the first RM. Croctotheface 22:55, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I believe I'm summarizing the view of some people here, but, if a person holds the legal right to a name and made it with any idiosyncratic spelling or capitalization, what gives us the right to change that spelling due to English language rules, which titles are not required to follow in any way whatsoever. I'm personally wondering about the anime HunterxHunter, pronounced merely as "Hunter Hunter", and the Fullmetal Alchemist ending theme song, "To the other side of the Door", which the album CD cover specifically spells it as; and let's not even begin to get into l33t, which has neither a commonplace name or trademark.Naruttebayo 23:21, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

"What gives us the right"? That's an interesting question. I guess the fact that we're writing Wikipedia gives us the right to do whatever we decide to do with it. It's a free world; there's no rule saying we have to typeset anything one way or another, except the rules we decide to adopt. Rather than asking "what gives us the right", do you really mean to ask why we've decided to avoid stylized typography rather than replicate it? I think some pretty good reasons have been given for that; would it help to summarize them? -GTBacchus(talk) 23:25, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Verily. As Wikipedians, do we not have a responsibility to be accurate to the topic? We do have the right, but don't we have a factual obligation, so to speak?And still, why change it just because we 'can'?--Naruttebayo 23:35, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
We certainly do aim for accurate description. There is a question in this case where description ends and promotion begins. We aim for neutrality, and participating in trademark holders' brand management is not consistent with neutrality. If a trademark holder always displays their trademark in certain colors and in a certain font, are we obliged to replicate those aspects of their trademark every time we mention it? Where do we draw the line? The consensus that I've observed is that we draw the line just beyond CamelCase. The reason seems to be that CamelCase actually does a semantic job (helping readers parse the word), while other eccentric typography is done simply to distinguish the brand from others in consumers' minds. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:42, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
In the same spirit of "promotion vs. description", does this mean we cannot use a logo or picture if the logo itself is not "neutral" enough? Aside from font and colors, however, if some form of material from the trademark holder spells it using characters in a certain fashion, does that prove that this is in fact the title of the subject, not an advertising gimmick? Aside from my argument, I wanted to ask about my "To the other side of the Door" example; what would be the proper use here? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Naruttebayo (talkcontribs) 23:51, 30 March 2007 (UTC).
I believe the common rendering per WP:ALBUMS would be "To the Other Side of the Door". - Cyrus XIII 00:05, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I think it's fine to use a logo or picture to show what it is. That's description. Nobody's suggesting that we pretend logos don't exist. In our article titles, and in the context of simply talking about something however, it is not appropriate to use a logo every time the subject is mentioned. As for specific cases, there are guidelines and precendents indicating that we tend to use usual title case, as specified in our Manual of style, when presenting titles of works such as albums, books, etc. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:19, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. Guidance on this point can be found on the main MOS page, which says that the MOS "has the simple purpose of making the encyclopedia easy to read, by establishing agreed principles for its format. . . . if everyone does things the same way, Wikipedia will be easier to read and use, and easier to write and edit." Logos and quirky styles should definitely be covered in articles, but in general, the body text should be styled to make the article easy to read, use, write, and edit. PubliusFL 03:05, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how purposely using an incorrect representation will somehow make the article easier to read, use, write, and edit, but it's become clear that no one cares to back this up, and I'm too tired of it to argue anymore. —pfahlstrom 00:51, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

(unindenting) I'm not sure what kind of evidence you'd consider sufficient to "back this up", but using the exclamation point that Yahoo likes to use, for instance, can make sentences harder to read because the exclamation point is end punctuation. As such, if "Yahoo!" appears in the middle of a sentence, it can be highly jarring. You may not agree that it is jarring, and that's fine, but I know that I'm not alone in preferring standard English to fealty to trademarks. What GTBacchus has been saying also serves to "back up" the guideline. He has pointed out the slippery slope argument--if we're OK with strange capitalization or punctuation, do we become obliged to replicate boldface, italics, or coloring? Must we use the "TM" and "(R)" symbols as well? Regarding the notion of "accuracy", I would argue that it is more "accurate" to render a trademark in standard English, so that it follows the way it sounds in the spoken language. The function of nouns is to identify things. The function of punctuation is to organize writing. However, advertising departments want to do much more with words and punctuation, and their main concern is not communicating clearly or informing the public but rather selling a product or service. Also, most publications have style guides that say more or less what we do here. Croctotheface 05:05, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

The language of your paragraph is rather POV, with expressions like "fealty to trademarks" and blaming all orthographic idiosyncrasy on advertising departments. I find your "accuracy" argument specious; writing has never been speech, and English orthography specifically coincides only loosely with how things are pronounced. The relationship of capitalization and punctuation with how words are spoken is even more tenuous. And we already use end punctuation in the middles of sentences with no problem at all, in words like Mr. or Mrs.—that the next word in the sentence is lowercased is context enough for most readers that the sentence is not over. Anyway, I see no problem with simply reporting words/names as they are without making any judgment as to whether those words have any worthy reason to be that way. To force nonconformist orthography to conform to orthodoxy is to deny the point of its nonconformity—whether you personally feel that something has a good reason or a bad reason for its nonconformity, stripping away orthographic idiosyncrasy is inherently POV and against the core principles of Wikipedia. —pfahlstrom 22:14, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
When I'm reading English, I definitely use capitalization and punctuation to help me navigate sentences, and to recognize proper nouns when they occur. When a proper noun is decapitalized, or when there's unexpected punctuation in a sentence, it often causes me to have to back up and read the sentence twice in order to parse it. That makes bad writing, according to what I've learned about written communication. As for the "Mr." and "Mrs." examples, in British English the periods tend to be omitted; regardless, abbreviation is a standard use for periods, so that's not a very good example if we're discussing non-standard punctuation.
When you say that Croctotheface is "blaming" all orthographic idiosyncrasy on ad departments... I find "blame" to be an odd verb to use. I don't think anybody's saying that using strange orthography is a Bad Thing, such that "blame" has to be assigned. We're just saying that professional publications rightly eschew strange formatting when trying to write standard prose. Trademark holders are welcome to write things however they want, but we have to adhere to NPOV, as you say.
Language is used for different things, and part of NPOV is that we use language to inform about subjects, and not to promote them. Ad people try to make their brands stand out, because that's their job. They're using language to do more than communicate information. Like Marshall McLuhan said, "the medium is the message," so if we let our medium be molded by trademark designers, then we're also spreading their message for them, and that is certainly contrary to NPOV. That's how I see it, anyway. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:14, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that when editors here focus their arguments about, for example, titles, on their status as trademarks rather than their status as titles of creative works intended to convey some creative message, they are saying that anything unusual about them is a Bad Thing That Does Not Belong on Wikipedia. That is what you yourself seem to be saying right here. I disagree that reporting something as it is is somehow advertising it. (Though my wife uses the opposite argument, that any article about a subject can be seen as advertisement, whether its name is written in some distinctive way or not.) Whether its idiosyncrasy is something a marketing department thought up or what? In the end, it still is what it is, and it should be reported for what it is. If the name of what is being informed about is changed in order to inform about it, then it's not really informing about it, is it? As for any example I may give about nonstandard punctuation—what example can I possibly give that is going to be standard? That's the point—it's nonstandard. Yet the use of periods in abbreviations is not the primary use of periods; it's a secondary use that people have become accustomed to. Yes, the orthography of Yahoo! is unusual, but I don't think it's something that there is a high barrier to getting used to, or that will flummox someone reading an article that has it written that way. Just being nonstandard does not mean it is a Bad Thing That Does Not Belong on Wikipedia. If in reporting on unorthodox subjects you put an orthodox face on them, they're not unorthodox anymore, are they? And is it Wikipedia's job to do that? —pfahlstrom 05:17, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
It's not Wikipedia's job to make decisions based on upholding or exterminating what we decide is "unorthodox". The point of the style guide is to make the encyclopedia as readable as possible. The notion that people would "get used to" a trademark sort of avoids the discussion altogether. In fact, if you agree that it is necessary to get used to nonstandard typography, you basically agree that it is or can be jarring to readers. To the notion that they will get used to it--readers would get used to it if we stopped using capitalization or changed the style sO tHAT iT wAS wRITTEN lIKE tHIS. We shouldn't ask them to--instead, we should do them a service by avoiding needless deviations from standard English. As a second point, which I alluded to earlier: all publications make these decisions, and if anything, Wikipedia shows a lot more willingness to replicate nonstandard usage with trademarks than major professional publications do. I don't know of a single major news source, for example, that writes Yahoo with an exclamation point, unless they're just reprinting a press release. Croctotheface 07:01, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I'd rather stick to real-world examples than hypotheticals. We're dealing with actual names of actual companies/books/etc. But yes, I don't disagree that nonstandard usage is unexpected—thus the "nonstandard" label. But I do disagree that giving readers what they expect is more important than accurate reporting of facts. Question: Does the Oliver! article bother you? —pfahlstrom 21:20, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

(unindenting) I have less of a problem with nonstandard styles that are widely adopted by mainstream sources. I don't think that we should try to establish the standard for what "artistic expression" is, although my personal opinion is that the exclamation point in Oliver! has some artistic merit while the one in Yahoo! does not. However, it is easy enough to just look to material already written about these subjects to see what name is more common. MOSTM does not override WP:COMMONNAME, and I don't believe it should. As such, I'm fine with using Oliver! and Jeopardy! because they are unquestionably more common styles. The important point here, which I keep returning to, is this: our obligation is to our readers. I submit that we serve the readers well when we use "Time magazine" instead of "TIME magazine" or "Realtor" instead of "REALTOR". I completely reject the notion that doing so is somehow "inaccurate" or "not factual" as you suggest. These companies use the English words "time" and "realtor" as names, and English words are rendered in lowercase unless they are proper names or begin sentences and so forth. It would be inaccurate to pretend that these companies exist outside the bounds of the language that we use to communicate. The notion that we should make readers have to "get used to" odd stylistic flourishes because a trademark owner uses them priveliges the trademark owner over the reader. That would be the wrong choice to make. Croctotheface 23:22, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Sidebar on word choice

I don't have much to add to what GTBacchus has to say in reply, except that I'm a bit confused by why you would criticize me for using POV language when I'm expressing a point of view. Comments on talk pages need not conform to WP:NPOV. If they did, we couldn't even have this discussion. Croctotheface 23:26, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
It is possible to express a point of view about something without using loaded phraseology. Not that I manage to always do that myself though, I must admit. —pfahlstrom 05:17, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
It's also possible to express a point of view WHILE using loaded phrases. Croctotheface 07:01, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Sure, but loaded phrases distract the reader from considering the merits of opposing points of view. Is that your intention? —pfahlstrom 21:20, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
No, my intention is to express my opinion. (Can we let this thread go? I typed up that last response as a joke and forgot to delete it. This argument strikes me as silly.) Croctotheface 23:22, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Allowing for common names

What would other editors think about reworking this guideline to be more in harmony with how common names and full names of individual people are expressed in Wikipedia? The classic example is the page of the 39th U.S. president, which is at Jimmy Carter. The page name is Jimmy Carter, and the main heading is James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. Thereafter in the article, just the last name or Jimmy Carter is used.

If this paradigm were to be applied to trademarks, the page name would be the common form, the main heading would be the "correct" form, and the common form would be used throughout the rest of the article. The common form would be whatever is most commonly used in the real world, and depending on verifiable usage would sometimes be the same as the correct form (even if in conflict with historically conventional typography) and sometimes different.

For example, the Craigslist article might start out: craigslist, inc (commonly referred to as Craigslist) is a centralized network of... ...After incorporation in 1999, Craigslist expanded into nine...

Thoughts? —pfahlstrom 08:09, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

I believe you base these considerations on WP:COMMONNAME - this guideline was not even written with capitalization issue in mind, hence it is not at odds with this one. As for using the official typeset at the beginning of the article and then carrying on with a still potentially stylized variant, why should we? It defeats the purpose of trying to avoid brand management in the first place and creates inconsistency on our part. Also, why do you keep doing this? By now you should realize that this is not the place to promote an agenda calling for the wide adoption of idiosyncratic capitalization, as this guideline was created to do the exact opposite and most people who frequent this page are more likely to care about it and wanting to improve it, than considering it all the way wrong and in need of abolishment.
If you want to go through with this in a productive way, rather than a disruptive one (see those recent, out-of-context votes of disagreement over that minor guideline change), relocate your efforts to a higher tier of our guidelines and policies, which you would have to do at some point anyhow, since WP:MOS-TM is not the only set of rules that favors standardized over stylized typography. Then we will all see whether your ideas are consensus worthy after all - I highly doubt they are (no surprise there, I know), based on my own experience and those 1000+ requested moves, GTBachus mentioned. - Cyrus XIII 13:54, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
I think the other guy realizes that the "COMMONNAME" policy wasn't written with capitalization, punctuation, etc. in mind, but is trying to analogize from that one, which makes a good deal of sense to me. Out of curiosity, when faced with such a decision of whether to use quirky style promoted as the "official" name of something, or convert to standard English style, which way do other publications priding themselves on "getting things right" go? When The New Yorker, The New York Times, the The Wall Street Journal, and Encyclopedia Britannica write about one of these things, which style do they use?
An interesting case, by the way, is the one of Prince (musician), which uses this opening paragraph, covering his full birth name, the "artistic name" (requiring an image) he used for a time, and some informal nicknames:
Prince Rogers Nelson (born June 7, 1958), known from 1993 to 2000 as <Deleted fair use image> (or informally, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, TAFKAP, or simply The Artist), is a popular and influential Grammy Award winning American musician.
*Dan T.* 14:05, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Cyrus XIII, your statement that someone who does not agree with a guideline cannot offer suggestions to improve it is baseless. I am offering suggestions that I think will help Wikipedia as a whole, and I am doing so by analogy to other established guidelines. I do not believe that the spirit behind this guideline is avoiding brand management; the spirit of the MoS as a whole, including this page, seems to be toward promoting readability. I am all in favor of promoting readability, as long as it is not at the expense of accuracy. But you're right, it's an issue beyond merely MOS-TM, so I've asked for input on the Manual of Style (titles) page.
Well, I was thinking of a more wide-reaching approach at WT:MOS or WT:NC. - Cyrus XIII 00:09, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Dan, earlier on this talk page you will see several references to a self-published essay by Washington Post copy editor Bill Walsh explaining his views on what newspapers should do with idiosyncratic typography. Guidelines on Wikipedia cannot necessarily be so prescriptive, since the NPOV and verifiability policies must be taken into account. —pfahlstrom 21:49, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Yet another article using a quirky capitalization apparently because the subject herself prefers it that way: catherine yronwode. It's interesting that the use of odd schemes of capitalization, spelling, and punctuation is something that the "artsy" crowd and the marketing types, often otherwise severely at odds with one another, have in common. (Although, actually, ms. yronwode has some history of being both.) *Dan T.* 13:21, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, among the "marketing types" are fairly often designers themselves, after all logos and eccentric typesets have to come from somewhere. - Cyrus XIII 16:39, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Troublesome guideline.

The "Avoid using special characters that are not pronounced, are included purely for decoration, or simply substitute for English words" guideline seems to be rather troublesome. Here are six examples I could find where special characters are more important than their lack of, or substiution of:

  • 3×3 Eyes: To use an 'x' instead of an '×' when multiplication is involved is incorrect. Also, under current guidelines, the article would be Sazan Eyes or 3 By 3 Eyes (at least I think that's what the English pronouciation is.)
  • ± Junkie might technically be Plus-minus Junkie, though the Japanese pronouciation makes it more along the lines of Plumin Junkie (it abreviates the words).
  • ×××HOLiC: The "×××" is silent, and the series is pronouced "Holic". However, people don't like the idea of calling it just "Holic".
  • Kujibiki♥Unbalance and Kujibiki Unbalance are two seperate series. The ♥ is silent btw.
  • Namco × Capcom would technically be Namco Cross Capcom under current guidelines, but few people think of it in that way.
  • I ♥ Huckabees: Can be read as I Love Huckabees or I Heart Huckabees.

I think that it's clear that there are some cases where special characters are important and should be used. I think that the guidelines should be reworded to be where special characters can be used when it's part of the name and not just the logo. Besides, we support the use of other non-standard characters like the macron vowels, so why no ♥ for the others?--SeizureDog 12:54, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

This should be part of MOS-Titles, really. We should not be changing titles just "because a guideline says so". Kyaa the Catlord 13:00, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Well damnit, there's too many of these policy/guideline pages anymore. I never know where the root concept is held.--SeizureDog 13:10, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Commonname should trump all. :P Kyaa the Catlord 13:20, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
MOS-TM is currently being used as a trump for all sorts of things which are marginally relevant. If something is the title of a creative work, I think its status as a title should be more important than whether it also happens to be a trademark. Also, trademark rules should not be applied to pseudonyms, personal names, or band names. But specifically here, I agree that there are cases where special characters are important and should be used (as part of the name, not just the graphical logo), and the guideline should accommodate them. —pfahlstrom 16:49, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
That ♥ symbol is an interesting one... its (I think) earliest use is in the "I♥NY" tourism slogan, which is pronounced "I Love New York". But more recent uses include at least one where it's silent, and others where it's pronounced "Heart" or is ambiguous in pronunciation. *Dan T.* 18:05, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Though such cases can be handled quite easiy:
  • If a symbol has a clear meaning, replace it. (I♥NY → I Love New York)
  • If it is not pronounced, it's just decoration, so leave it out. (Kujibiki♥Unbalance → Kujibiki Unbalance (2006 series))
  • If it is ambiguous, either leave it in or try to reach a consensus on the most prevalent replacement, for the particular case. (I ♥ Huckabees)
- Cyrus XIII 18:19, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
But if the ♥ in Kujibiki♥Unbalance is being used to distinguish it from Kujibiki Unbalance, that means it's not just decorative, even though it's not pronounced. —pfahlstrom 20:44, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. A similar example would be Negima! and Negima!? Is there any reason why a '♥' should be considered decorative and a '!' or '?' not? And if you consider them as exceptions simply because they're found on a keyboard, consider the decorative use of a '!' in Metal Gear Ac!d. ♥ actually does often serve grammatical purposes in Japanese, both as a alternate to a middle dot (as used here) and as an indication of tone (of which '!' and '?' do the same thing). And while I say that it serves this purpose "in Japanese", it can easily be used in the same manner in English as well, we just don't normally.--SeizureDog 07:59, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
I think all the examples the OP gives are bad examples. Lets go by them one by one:
  1. 3×3 Eyes: If the English pronunciation is "3 By 3 Eyes" it could very well be placed there. However, × is also used in normal text (search Wikipedia for it if you want) so the question whether × is allowed in this case is more of a question on whether × should occur in normal text, than a question about this guideline.
  2. ± Junkie: If it's commonly pronounced like "Plumin Junkie", than why not call it that way?
  3. ×××HOLiC: If the "×××" is silent, and the series is pronouced "Holic", as you assert, then the ××× and the weird caps are just styling, nothing more. If people don't like it, so be it. If we accept this kind of thing then at the end of the century everything will have its own logo-like glyph. Do I even have to explain why that is bad and unpractical?
  4. Kujibiki♥Unbalance and Kujibiki Unbalance: Well that's really stupid, but if there really is no differnce in pronunciation then we can handle them just like we would handle any other case were articles would potentially share the same title. Note that remakes often share the same title with the original and no one thought about making trouble about that until this weird ♥ showed up.
  5. Namco × Capcom: Then how do people refer to it? What do people actually say when they refer to it? The answer to that question is the ideal article title.
  6. I ♥ Huckabees: The advertisements say "I Heart Huckabees", so that's what it's called. That people misread it only shows that having odd symbols pop up everywhere is a very bad idea.
Yours sincerely, Shinobu 17:59, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

NiGHTS into Dreams...

This issue was brought up in the article's talk page. One user said that the three dots should be removed as they break the linking of the page. To reiterate what I'm saying over there: I do have the game manual and jewel case on me, and the trademark does indeed read "NiGHTS" with the lowercase "i." In fact, the manual refers to the game simply as "NiGHTS" and never "NiGHTS Into Dreams..." And if we go by the title on the jewel case, we can see that the "i" in "into" is lowercase, and, though the stylized font makes it difficult to determine, it appears the "d" in "dreams" is also lowercase. Admittedly, nowadays, the most popular usage of the title does appear to be "NiGHTS Into Dreams..." across most gaming media outlets. However, you can see in most interviews that the developer Naka and crew simply refer to the game as "NiGHTS." Indeed, that appears to be the most common usage when the game was released in 1996, although "NiGHTS" is kind of used as an abbreviation now. The "..." really is decorative punctuation; there's still no consensus over whether Yahoo! or TNA Impact! should stand with their decorative punctuation.

I think that, by overwhelming common usage, the lowercase "i" in "NiGHTS" should still stand. The question is whether the title should simply be "NiGHTS" or "NiGHTS into dreams..." or some variation of that, with or without the ellipses. --Tristam 22:05, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

I think what should take precedence is what the common usage among reasonably careful writers is... that is, the writers who are taking some care to "get things right", as opposed to sloppy, casual usage as in instant-messaging where correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization isn't valued. If in careful usage, people tend to use "standard" English capitalization/punctuation, then that's what should be used here; if they tend to use some cutesy variation specific to that product, then that's what should be used. The result may not always agree with what the marketing types or artist types want, and/or with what the English language mavens insist on, but it would follow usage for that item as practiced by those who actually write about it. *Dan T.* 22:35, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
If you look on Google Books and Google News, you'll find that the most common styles in reliable published sources are "Nights Into Dreams" or "Nights into Dreams," with standard title-case capitalization and no punctuation. In my view, that's what MOSTM would indicate as well. PubliusFL 23:15, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
A google book search brought up almost nothing for me, and in a google news search almost all of the sources used "NiGHTS." --Tristam 23:39, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
The most common styles in reliable published sources usually include the funky capitalisation, that's from my magazine collection anyway. We'll obviously see a resurgent interest in this subject due to its upcoming Wii sequel, and then can make more firm comments. However, I would definitely be inclined to drop the "..." from the article title. I would not drop the "Into Dreams" part of the title, as it is indeed part of the title. However, in the article text, it is not necessary. I would not oppose a move to Nights Into Dreams, I feel that Wikipedia style guidelines suggest we ignore weird capitalisation, however, I would not champion one either. - hahnchen 00:00, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the style manual here would recommend "Nights", not "NiGHTS". ptkfgs 19:58, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The page has recently been moved from NiGHTS Into Dreams... to Nights into Dreams..., which I agree with. But what should be the usuage within the article itself? (Someone has recently removed all the idiosyncratic capitalisation from the main text.) When video game magazines and websites mention the game, the general impression I get is that those that have been written by someone with some knowledge of the game use "NiGHTS", whereas those that are just relaying minor news items use the version that would be recommended by a spellchecker. :-) I seem to recall one publication (possibly the issue of the UK Official Dreamcast Magazine referenced in the article) actually adding the note "(yes, it is meant to be written with a lower-case 'i' in the middle)" after one mention of the game. --Nick RTalk 12:03, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

In general, this guideline exists to advise against using nonstandard styles. It wouldn't make much sense for that only to apply to the article title and not the text. Croctotheface 14:47, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I see what you mean - the discussion above seemed to be about the title of the article rather than its content, so I got the impression that this guideline was a naming convention for article titles. But still, Sega's capitalisation is widespread enough that it deserves at least one mention in the article (early in the lead section?) - what would be the best way to make that clear? Any suggested phrasings? Is there a template for clarifying these things at the start of articles, like Template:lowercase? --Nick RTalk 15:30, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
None that I know of, but since I've run into that issue (should the official typeset be mentioned and if yes how) several times by now, a template to standardize that bit seems like a very good idea. Something along the lines of the Nihongo template. Article code could look like this.
{{tm|'''Toys "R" Us'''|Toys "Я" Us}} is...
Resulting in something like this:
Toys "R" Us (Toys "Я" Us ?) is...
Ideas/suggestions? - Cyrus XIII 15:43, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
My suggestion is to leave it alone. It IS NiGHTS. 15:15, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
NiGHTS Into Dreams... is the proper name for the game. This is known to all who know it well. According to the Wikipedia Manual of Style, this is addressed: "but, don't invent new formats: For the standardized test, SAT is standard English, while "Sat" is essentially never used." NiGHTS is not to be confused with the plural form of night. The article itself should be titled Nights into Dreams... but when referred to in the text as NiGHTS into Dreams... Also, when shortening the title and discussing the character, Nights would apply as the suitable naming convention according to the Wikipedia Manual of Style. -- MarMink 14:32, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Capitals to lower case in page names

There seems to be a movement to rename pages whose names are spelt all in capitals, following the trademark/official usage of the name, to lower-case. For example, NUMB3RS was just renamed to Numb3rs, despite the show itself (and the official website) using the capitalized version. I can see that having special characters in the name could cause technical problems, but what is the issue with capitals? Mike Peel 07:47, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Because it's not standard English to write words in all capitals. Although from a marketing perspective, all caps certainly STANDS OUT and calls ATTENTION to certain words, the style can also be DISTRACTING. The theory behind this guideline is that readers are best served by applying standard English formatting to trademarks even when the trademark owner encourages special treatment. Croctotheface 09:06, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Also, as an addendum, with "Numbers", there is not a concern with WP:COMMONNAME or "inventing new formats" because, at least per this search, the "Numb3rs" style is used by a great number of publications, though there are some that use the all caps. Croctotheface 09:11, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, that's unfortunate that you think so. I totally disagree with this portion of WP:MOS-TM, but for the sake of examples here are some more articles which the MOS is in conflict with:
Tokek 13:42, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
As we know, other crap exists. Croctotheface 13:49, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Speaking of which, does the capital v in "MuVo" (another Creative brand) signify anything? - Cyrus XIII 14:11, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
(@Cyrus) I don't know, but WP:MOS-TM currently doesn't automatically ban CamelCased trademarks.
(@ Croctotheface) By crap, are you referring to the portion of WP:MOS-TM that's picky on when capital letters should be allowed in article titles? I agree that the example you provided ("STANDS OUT and calls ATTENTION") is an uncalled for deviation from standard English writing practices, but those aren't trademarks, hence you're essentially comparing apples and oranges. The type of hacking that is suggested in WP:MOS-TM for all-caps trademarks is not an established standard practice in English. I don't know why the rule exists when there is clearly disagreement - and whether it is a generally agreed upon rule is questionable. The rule itself has beocme a source of problems rather than something that helps to prevent or resolve disagreements. Oh, and Microsoft .NET. —Tokek 15:00, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
First of all, civility is valued here. Second, my link that refers to "crap" was to WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS, which is an influential essay that, among other things, argues that the argument that because a handful of articles have a certain quality (in this case, that they render a trademark outside the boundaries of standard English), all articles should be allowed to do that, is fallacious. The fact that there exist articles that do not follow the spirit of the guideline really doesn't concern me, though I'd be happy to be appraised of any discussions relating to the naming of such articles so that I can participate.
Second, the rule is not ambiguous. Applying it should be an easy exercise, so the only reason that it would be a "source of problems" is because people tend to edit articles relating to material they like, and consequently, some editors believe that the decisions made by people who control material that they like should be sacrosanct.
Third, there really is no difference between the capitalizing of words in my post and the capitalizing/decorating of words in a trademark. English words, phrases, and sentences have conventions that are applied to them in writing. If a trademark owner gets to say "don't apply these conventions to my title", it's really no different from me saying "don't apply these conventions to my talk page message"? Croctotheface 15:16, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
>Second, the rule is not ambiguous. Applying it should be an easy exercise, so the only reason that it would be a "source of problems"....
The problem is not about understanding how to apply the rule, the problem is in the consequence of applying the rule. Hence lack of ambiguity in how to apply the rule does not in any way resolve its flaws.
>If a trademark owner gets to say "don't apply these conventions to my title", it's really no different from me saying "don't apply these conventions to my talk page message"?
The trademark owner may tend to capitalize in a certain fashion, while WP:MOS-TM demands a specific method of capitalization. Actual accepted usage (in English) is somewhere in between and needs to be determined on a per-article basis. Stylized caps may "render a trademark outside the boundaries of standard English," but so can WP:MOS-TM render trademark outside of standard use. WP:MOS-TM gives little to none of this needed wiggle room, as I've explained in Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (trademarks)/Archive 1#A lot of fuss about caps over nothing. —Tokek 14:13, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Information needs to be in other Wikipedia pages

I think some of the information on trademarks here needs to be used on other pages in the Wikipedia Manual of Style. In particular the Naming conventions page and Capital letters page. Recently I changed the title of some pages from Invader Zim to Invader ZIM to match up with the official title but first I checked the 2 pages I mentioned for the guideline on using capital letters in the name of an article. It's only here afterwards that I find the guideline. I definitely think this should get a mention in the Naming convention page at least as it's there where most people will look for guidance on the title they'll give to a page. But the only link to the MoS page on trademarks from Naminc conventions is when using company names. This guideline seems to be very important (go for style over accuracy) so should probably be more prominently displayed. ●BillPP (talk|contribs) 13:49, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree completely. Add mention of this guideline to those pages as you see fit. nadav (talk) 14:04, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Input requested on requested move

At Talk:Ftr#Requested move, there is a proposal to move ftr to FTR (bus), claiming that the lower-case trademark "ftr" should be presented in standard English as all capitals. I don't see that the guideline explicitly addresses this situation, in that "ftr" is not really an acronym and perhaps not even strictly speaking an abbreviation. The guideline recommends that lower case trademarks like adidas should be presented as proper nouns and capitalized accordingly as "Addidas". Input on this question is welcome at Talk:Ftr#Requested move. olderwiser 17:13, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

General Inquiry

There is currently a discussion on-going on the wikipedia page for the band S.K.I.N over the correct way of formatting the name. Under Wikipedia guidelines, as the individual letters hold no significance it is classed as stylized typography, however - this is the name of the band. The bands name is S.K.I.N, not Skin. The latter is incorrect, and the word itself has no relevance towards the band at all. How would this issue be resolved? As currently this Manual of Style is being used to prevent the truth of the matter from being displayed. If my name were J.I.N.E.C.O.U and it was pronounced as individual letters without a meaning being applied to each one using the word "Jinecou" would be nevertheless, incorrect. Does this argument at all hold any ground? Because it seems silly that something in a grey area like this cannot be conveyed correctly as it simply is not reflected by the style rules. Thats not what Wikipedia is about. --JinecouO.N.E 08:16, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Is the name pronounced "ess kay eye en" or "skin"? If it's the former, then "S.K.I.N" is not stylized. Although we might find a period after the N a bit more standard, we don't need to go so far as to to add it. If the name is pronounced "skin," then the next step would be to see which styles are present in reliable sources about the band. If there is a very strong tendency to use one rather than the other, then that would be a strong argument in favor of using whichever style the sources prefer. If the name is pronounced "skin" and there is no strong tendency to use one or another, we have something of a quandary. In general, I'd be inclined to go for "Skin" and "Skin (band)" rather than replicate the stylized typography. Croctotheface 08:54, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

All capitals

The problem seems to be the section titled "Follow standard English text formatting and capitalization rules even if the trademark owner encourages special treatment" is too general. Realtor should be used and not REALTOR. Yet this does not apply to MCI, IBM, FBI, etc. The sections needs to be expanded to deal specifically with brandnames which are used in upper case only. Another example is NOMEX where the wiki pages uses Nomex. Yet the tradename is NOMEX. Any comments? statsone 05:42, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

The guideline calls for using all capitals if each letter is pronounced as a letter. That is, MCI is pronounced "em see eye", while REALTOR/Realtor is pronounced "realtor". If each letter of "REALTOR" stood for something, even if it's pronounced "realtor", then that could also be cause for presenting it in all caps. The point of the guideline is to avoid having our encyclopedia read like promotional material. One of the reasons companies like using nonstandard styles is that, by virtue of being nonstandard, they are eye catching. That is good if you want to promote a company, but it does not do the readers a service if they are doing research or looking to inform themselves. Croctotheface 06:05, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Some users are claiming the video game PONG as an exception, based on the reasoning that, written in all caps, it is taken to mean an Atari product, while lowercase would be a generic "clone" version produced by another company. I am not convinced by this, even if Atari liked to capitalize their product name, and that there were indeed many "Pong clones" owing to Atari's failure to protect their trademark. Any opinions? ProhibitOnions (T) 06:49, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
I don't see that as a reasonable exception at all. If anything, it would be more confusing to readers if both "PONG" and "pong" are in a sentence and there is nothing there to explain the difference. We don't need to take an opinion on whether Atari failed to protect their trademark, just that we don't capitalize trademarks of this nature. Croctotheface 06:53, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree, no all-caps for Pong; plus there was no source for this supposed differentiation. I have formatted the article accordingly, would you guys help me out with the remaining links to the redirect? - Cyrus XIII 09:49, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Nevermind, all done. - Cyrus XIII 11:56, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Excuse me, but the product title is still an active trademark and still released under such title. The latest in fact was a licensed commercial on TV just a few months ago. I just finished doing a contract job with Atari on this very game as well, and Atari Legal was very specific. Likewise, the fact that there are PONG clones have to do with no protection of the hardware (these were hardware solid state games, no game code), not the title, which is still protected the same as the rest of their titles (Asteroids, Centipede, etc.) There have been "clones" of those as well. What sources would you like on the useage of all caps PONG, I'd be happy to provide them. We can start with the home console's own manual. And Croctotheface, regarding "...are in a sentence and there is nothing there to explain the difference...." the difference was indeed explained and set up in the very first paragraph on the page.--Marty Goldberg 16:31, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

If someone looks to the middle of the article without having read the lead and sees varying styles for the same word, it could indeed be confusing. Bottom line is that at WIkipedia, we don't replicate nonstandard styles such as all caps. I find the disambiguation argument completely non-compelling because there are plenty of cases of items that need similar disambiguation, and it's more than possible to write clearly about such items without writing in all capitals. Croctotheface 05:49, 15 July 2007 (UTC)


Seeing as how the Pong issue above was resolved to everyone's satisfaction, we might wish to consider the Swedish pop group Abba. Or, ABBA, as the article has been re-renamed to, on the pretext that it is an acronym or initialism. While the group name was certainly derived from combining the members' initials, it's not pronounced A-B-B-A, nor does it "really" stand for "Annifrid, Björn..." or whatever (in contrast to real acronyms like NATO, which really refers to the "North Atlantic Treaty Organisation"). The band, like Kiss (band), evidently preferred to spell it in capital letters (with the second B reversed where this was typographically possible), but this hardly obliges us to do so. As those who prefer "ABBA" earnestly (and in my opinion, incorrectly) point to this page as justification for their actions I thought I'd ask for others' opinions. ProhibitOnions (T) 10:18, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

If the band name is actually derived from its member's names, then I have to support all caps in this case. It seems almost exactly like NATO to me. I understand your argument that NATO is not the name of the organization but rather an abbreviation of it, but the idea that "ABBA" is intended to be a quasi-abbreviation is a logical reason to capitalize the letters. That is, the B represents the proper noun "Björn" even if it does not abbreviate it. I also have an "inventing new formats" concern, as in my limited experience, essentially all reliable sources seem to use "ABBA" rather than "Abba", and we should not invent a style if one has unanimous or very wide acceptance among secondary sources. This case is different from Kiss because "kiss" is a word in its own right, so there is not a concern with inventing a new format, and the band doesn't intend for the letters to have any sort of meaning or represent anything, so their all caps style serves solely as decoration. Croctotheface 10:32, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Croctotheface and as I've stated on Talk:ABBA, the all-caps typeset just needs a source and then it's good to go. - Cyrus XIII 10:56, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Not so fast. It's not true that "essentially all reliable sources" use caps. While most fansites do, the BBC doesn't [9], the NME doesn't [10], the New York Times doesn't [11], NPR doesn't [12], the Independent doesn't [13], Time magazine doesn't [14], etc. There's no reason to divert from the usual Wikipedia policy because a pop group likes to write their name a certain way. Again, it's not an acronym. ProhibitOnions (T) 21:54, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Hey, relax, I qualified my statement with "in my limited experience". It's not a matter where I intended to get one over on people in a "so fast" manner. I just used my memory and a Google News search because I didn't care to research the matter in great detail, and I still don't. I still consider "ABBA" an acceptable and likely preferable style to use. However, a critical mass of reliable sources certainly would give us the discretion of which style to use. Croctotheface 23:29, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Hope the terseness of my response there wasn't taken the wrong way -- I just meant we shouldn't rush to any conclusions (and we should instead relax and think about it). However, I have to admit I haven't really heard a "killer argument" on this that would make me happy with creating an exception for "ABBA" that couldn't better be explained in clear prose, pointing out that the band likes to write their name with the backwards-B spelling, or capitalizing it when this is not possible. We can't write it in their first choice, anyway. ProhibitOnions (T) 12:26, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
My feeling is that the spirit of the guideline is to avoid nonstandard styles that exist solely for decoration or promotional purposes. When there is a legitimate claim that something other than decoration or promotion is involved, then we should consider it. If ABBA is indeed an initialism, then the all capitals style is not solely for decoration. I feel like the distinction you draw with NATO is a big stretch: to me, they're basically the same case. If, for whatever reason, NATO no longer wanted to be known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, perhaps because they included countries from other regions, but wanted to keep the NATO name despite it no longer standing for their actual name, would you say that we should then render it "Nato"? It seems very strange to me that we would be be in the position of "taking away" an organization's "right" to all caps. Croctotheface 19:03, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
The group's official site considers the band name an acronym. That case is closed for me. - Cyrus XIII 23:04, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Using Registered Trademarks in Books & Articles

I cannot find any information on rules for using a registered trademark symbol when writing book chapters or journal articles. I think guidelines in this area need to be included. I've heard some people say you must use the TM or R symbol every time you refer to a product that has a registered trade mark. Other people say that you use it the first time that it appears in the chapter or article but do not have to use it with other references to the same product. What is the consensus or rule in this area?SuzMorris 01:02, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what your references to book chapters or journal articles are all about, but for WP articles, this guideline says, "Do not use the ™ and ® symbols, or similar, unless unavoidably necessary for context (for instance, to distinguish between generic and brand names for drugs)." Croctotheface 01:53, 3 August 2007 (UTC)


After reading Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters)#Mixed or non-capitalization I got the impression that if a trademarked name, or the name of a band etc. is not capitalized, then the article should not be capitalized. However, this page seems to contradict that. I was wondering which one is correct? I would personally advocate that if something is non-standard English, but is identified on their website, in media etc. as that, it should stay. So what is the current consensus? i said 09:09, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

For music-related topics, I'd primarily refer to WP:MUSTARD, which favors standard English text formatting, links here and does not name exceptions. Also, that bit in WP:MOS-CL you mention is about personal names (for individual people) and now that you mention it, it should probably go anyway, to have the Manual of Style as a whole better comply with WP:NPOV. Hope that helps. - Cyrus XIII 13:10, 5 August 2007 (UTC)


I mentioned this MoS-page on a style discussion elsewhere: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (Japan-related_articles): Fantasy characters in "Names of companies, products, and organizations". Excerpt / first sentence:

Some people apparantly claim that the section "Names of companies, products, and organizations" justifies keeping characters like ∞, ♥ and the like even though MOS:TM expressly forbids it.

You may or may not be interested. Shinobu 18:10, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Adding explanations to style guides?

What I see happening a lot, is that people are referred to this page for some guideline, then they read the guideline, they don't agree with it because they simply don't get it, and we spend time being unproductive because we need to convince them. And what if someone leaves a message on this talk page that goes unanswered, so that from then on he thinks he's right? What we might need are explanations to some of the guidelines, especially those that tend to cross new people but make sense when explained. Or perhaps a few weblinks to good essays on the subject. Just a thought. Shinobu 19:34, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

I try to answer all messages to the effect of "shouldn't we render this company name as ALLCAPSRaNDomCapSW!+|-|PU|\|c+ua+!0n?" As far as explanations--what parts of the guideline do you think should be explained? What would the explanations say? Croctotheface 20:37, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

@I try to answer all...: Yes, I can see that, I must commend your energy. But everytime you type a paragraph like that, you could have done something more enjoyable, no? As for what such advice would say, perhaps we can have a look at your own replies:

  • Disambiguation argument is non-compelling.
  • Non-standard styles are confusing.
  • It's a part of English (written) grammar.
  • Wikipedia is not an advertisment (a.k.a the eye-catch effect).

Other arguments:

  • Where does description end and promotion begin?
  • If we would consistently allow it, everything would get its own logofied glyph.
  • Everything you need to know about capitalization you learned in school. (Bill Walsh)
  • Proper formatting makes reading easier. This is subverted by non-standard formatting.

If you prefer to give everyone who complains their own personal response, that's fine with me in principle, but I still think it would be better if a styleguide were also to motivate the guidelines given. Shinobu 15:15, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

How about SPAM?

SPAM v Spam. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 20:46, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Why would there be any reason to yell SPAM when Spam does just as well? Croctotheface 21:04, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
Could you link the specific case? Your might still be dealing with an acronym, which would warrant the use of all-caps. Open source software projects do that sort of word play all the time. - Cyrus XIII 06:41, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
SPAM is used to refer to the food, spam to the unsolicited email. Spam is for email when in the beginning of a sentence, I think it's useful to keep this distiction.-- (talk) 02:36, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
So there's no difference between, say, the TV series Firefly and the insect? We can't disambiguate because "Firefly" is reserved for "the insect when at the beginning of a sentence"? There are plenty of ways to disambiguate, both in article titles and in text, without needing to resort to formatting the word in some crazy way. Croctotheface (talk) 15:31, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

ALLCAPS when talking about trademarks

What do we do when talking about a trademark, or a mark? The guideline here says to use common English capitalization rules when using trademarks to talk about the product, service, or company they identify, e.g. "The Gap is an American clothing manufacturer." But what hapepns when we want to talk about the mark itself? To be clear, many lawyers and scholars, as well as the US Trademark Office, use allcaps to distinguish the mark from the thing it represents. So you would say "The Gap has been vigilant in filing registrations on and defending its GAP mark," or something like that. The guide doesn't seem to cover this. Wikidemo 20:16, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Mentioning a trademark is just a special case of mentioning a word (the use-mention distinction). The standard here, Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Italics, rule 3: "words as words", is to use italics. Your example would thus be:
"The Gap has been vigilant in filing registrations on and defending its Gap mark.
Nohat 05:38, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Macy*s vs. M*A*S*H

I would think these would both fall under the same rule, but the latter is named M*A*S*H on the article . What's the deal? --Henry W. Schmitt 07:22, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I'd be OK with "MASH", but there's arguably an artistry/common name concern. It would depend, for me, on the style that most secondary publications use. If enough of them use "MASH" that we would not be imposing a rarely used format, I would support changing the style. Croctotheface 09:16, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
I was hoping to link to Wall Street Journal and New York Times articles, but strangely they all refer to the show with asterisks. I have never really looked much at the NYT, but I read the WSJ daily and except for iExample eExample etc they don't follow any silly rules that other brands call themselves. But my silly local newspaper does and I have even seen "Craigslist" all lowercase in headlines, when even Wikipedia doesn't do it. Foiled again. --Henry W. Schmitt 04:30, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
My impression as of late has been, that Wikipedia is moving away from a per-case consideration of outside sources, when it comes to style questions and that many editors make a distinction between content (such as the spelling of something, to which WP:COMMONNAME would apply) and the formatting of that content (i.e. capitalization, where for the most part, we just go for standard English). This approach certainly has a lot of benefits: Where possible every subject gets equal treatment, as we avoid to replicate inconsistencies or favoritism among outside sources (which goes along nicely with WP:NPOV) and also saves some of the time and energy put into repetitive discussions (and that's what our guidelines are supposed to do anyway).
That being said, a rationale I have seen for the asterisks in "M*A*S*H", is the distinction between the TV series and the movie. But that's not really an effective disambiguation, especially for people unfamiliar with the franchise. I'd say the Macy*s scenario applies and that the MASH related articles should be changed accordingly. - Cyrus XIII 15:35, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I am troubled by the notion that we should discard WP:UCN in certain cases because we make a distinction between "content" and "formatting". I'm not sure that this distinction is as clear as it may seem at first glance: for instance, are "Oliver!" and "Oliver" really "the same name, just formatted differently"? To me, they seem very different, and the exlamation point seems to have communicative power. The rule you're suggesting would, in my mind, require "Oliver" with no exclamation point. I haven't done a ton of research, but I suspect that if we did decide to omit the punctuation, we would be the most significant publication that has done so. If we grant an exception for this case, then the rule falls apart and we are returning to case-by-case. The "look to the sources" approach that I advocate avoids the need to decide on our own what constitutes "part of the name" versus just "the way the name is formatted". Making that decisions ourselves, without guidance from sources, seems to run afoul of WP:V, if not other policies as well.
More generally, I'm confused by the logic behind what you're saying here. If we agree that WP:UCN applies in many situations ("naming" cases), and that it is appropriate to use a case-by-case thought process there, then I don't see why we would then turn around and say that going case-by-case violates our sacred principle of neutrality when applied to other situations ("formatting" cases). Not only is the naming/formatting distinction blurry (Oliver!(?)), but I don't see the logic behind why case-by-case is good for one category and terrible for the other. I am not and I never have suggested that we somehow "take a poll" of secondary sources and use whichever style is most popular. In fact, my argument has always been that if a style that more closely resembles standard English formatting is used in a significant number of reliable secondary sources, then we are free to apply this guideline, which calls for standardizing nonstandard styles. Croctotheface 11:02, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

A more general successor to this page?

In a discussion that is now archived here: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (Japan-related articles), misc archive 18, Fantasy characters in "Names of companies, products, and organizations", it was suggested that this page might be in need of a more general successor.

A lot of the formatting guidelines on this styleguide are not specific to trademarks at all. Examples are capitalization and funny symbols. As a result some guidelines like MOS:JP refer to this guideline for certain formatting issues, and derive their rationale from it.

Unfortunately this can create confusion since this guideline by itself really is about trademarks and nothing else. Therefore it has been suggested that MOS:TM needs a successor that still contains the guideines it contains now, but that is broader in scope and more general in its application, as well as less confusing when linked to from other guidelines.

Any ideas?

Sincerely yours, Shinobu 18:23, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I would actually be surprised if any of the cases you're talking about are not trademarks. Whoever owns the intellectual property has almost certainly trademarked character names, especially if they tend to be rendered in a crazy way. Croctotheface 10:28, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Initial lowercase trademarks should have an initial uppercase letter at the beginning of sentences.

E.g. vi and eBay when at the beginning of a sentence should read Vi and EBay respectively. Otherwise it just looks silly. I do not know of any other publication that starts sentences this way. How do you folks feel about this? --Henry W. Schmitt (talk) 01:01, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree - in particular, it seems an inconsistency that we insist on uppercasing trademarks that start with a lower case, except with names like iPod and eBay. Why the exception? Mdwh (talk) 12:35, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Partial Acronyms as Registered Trademarks

A great deal of disagreement exists with respect to how to treat partial acronyms which are trademarks. Examples of problems are SYSCO for Systems and Services Company,, SAAB for Svenska Aeroplanaktiebolaget., and GETRAG for Getriebe- und Zahnradfabrik Hermann Hagenmeyer AG. All of these companies promote the capitalization of their entire trademark. Because these aren't strict acronyms, some users of Wikipedia believe that they ought to be in camel case, or only have the first letter capitalized, while others such as myself lean toward all caps as they are commonly used. I'd like to have a discussion on this topic, come to a consensus here, and add a section to the guide to prevent confusion or fragmented tribal knowledge rules for dealing with these situations.

I'll start off by proposing a line which recommends these names stay in all caps. Does anyone object, or have anything to say about this? Nicholas SL Smith (talk) 02:35, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm for "Saab", "Getrag". If it is pronounced as a word, in most cases (I think) it should be Example not EXAMPLE. -Henry W. Schmitt (talk) 05:37, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm also for "Saab" and "Getrag". When you read the word Getrag, do read it letter-by-letter like "G.E.T.R.A.G." or as "Getrag? The same goes for Saab. All Saab television commercials here in Australia pronounce the brand name "Saab" as "Saab" and not "S.A.A.B. OSX (talkcontributions) 06:18, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
To cover two specific comments:
"All of these companies promote the capitalization of their entire trademark." Let them promote all they want, but let us not indulge them. To quote Bill Hicks, "Does anyone here work in marketing? Kill yourself. No, seriously, do. This is not a joke. There is no rationalisation for what you do. You are Satan's little helpers. Kill yourself." Bear in mind we're fighting more than just CamelCase these days. Look at Macy*s, or the grotesque tNA iMPACT!, to see how marketing men are mangling the English language in order to attract attention. These people also insist that ™ or ® be used, and Wikipedia's had e-mails of complaint in the past where we haven't obliged. That's one of the reasons such guidelines exist; to prevent WP looking like a corporate brochure.
"...others such as myself lean toward all caps as they are commonly used." As demonstrated both with Getrag and Saab, all caps are not more commonly used by reliable, independent sources, only by primary sources. Site-specific searches of the NY Times, the BBC, Reuters, and CNN bear this out.
I'm actually all for capitalization for acronymic initialisms (e.g. NATO or NASA), because they are commonly written in capitals by those same outside sources. In other words, the status quo seems OK to me as far as the guidelines are concerned. --DeLarge (talk) 09:58, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
This is not a discussion about Macy*s or tNA iMPACT; neither of these are acronyms, and discussion of them does not belong here (they are already covered in this style manual). There is no question that pure acronyms such as NASA, NATO, BMW, GM, USA, EU, EADS, 3M, etc., ought to be capitalized. The question at hand is what to do about partial acronyms. Currently we have no rule to address this issue.
I completely agree with not using advertising intentions as authority for how we treat trademarks. We either need to have a rule about this, or a set of criteria taking into account the totality of a case to determine the appropriate case (although, I support a more strict rule with less rather than more exceptions).
What needs to be considered here is:
  • When a trademark is a partial acronym, should it be capitalized?
  • If a name is trademarked in all caps (ie, it is listed in trademark offices as being in all caps), should it be capitalized? What constitutes common usage?
Nicholas SL Smith (talk) 18:19, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, what kind of rule do our sources tend to follow for partial acronyms? As to what constitutes common usage, that's determined at first on a case-by-case basis by consensus, and is often later generalized to some principle we can write down. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:14, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
It appears that sources differ greatly on this issue. Some sources use all caps and some do not. It appears that news sources often use non-caps, whereas technical articles and financial news sources use all caps. Nicholas SL Smith (talk) 03:32, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Huh, well that's awkward. Is there an easy way to produce a list of examples of the type of names we're talking about here? We could see what kind of ad hoc consensus has developed in various places, and see what that tells us. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:52, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

<--- Doesn't seem awkward to me, as I don't think (non-primary) sources do differ. Aside from the company's website itself, I haven't seen any specific examples cited where there's a pattern of "GETRAG" being used, only the assurance of User:Nslsmith that it's the case. For Google News it's uncapitalized the majority of the time (the Financial Times, USA Today, Autocar, Automobile Magazine,, CNN, San Diego Union Tribune all go with no caps, while Forbes uses both). It's the same story with Google Scholar ~ plenty of patent applications using both cases, with a 15-5 majority in favour of no caps on the first two pages of results. Also, the German WP article is at de:Getrag, and I even found Lee v. Getrag Corporation, I.C. NO. 397246 (NC 3/21/2006) (NC, 2006).

I really don't think there's a need for new guidelines when common sense does as good a job. It's already covered by "follow standard English text formatting and capitalization rules" and "use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things", especially since I think that adheres to the spirit of WP much better than yet another layer of Wiki-bureaucracy. A simple WP:RM request should suffice. --DeLarge (talk) 09:04, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

An update to the guidelines is appropriate whenever two people read the same guideline and reach conflicting conclusions (as seems to be the case here). I read "follow standard English text formatting and capitalization rules" and to me that means write acronyms in all caps. MOS:CL says "write acronyms and initialisms in all capitals" with the only exceptions listed being "acronyms [that] have now become ordinary lowercase words, such as scuba and laser" (emphasis added). The examples here have regular words made into proper nouns in lowercase, and the one acronym example in all caps. No exceptions are listed.
Sources can indeed vary greatly on this issue (though not necessarily with GETRAG). One good example is NISMO. A Google News search shows a fairly even mix of NISMO and Nismo. We don't use sources as examples for tone, style, image usage, etc. so I don't see why this standard should be an exception.~ Dusk Knight 17:15, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

The case referenced DeLarge both capitalizes and leaves lower case the name. State rules of civil procedure have very strict rules dictating the format of party names both in the title of an action and within the body of an action. They don't use "common sense" or "common usage."
As for Google searches, a search of most recent news articles or of most accessed web pages does not accurately reflect common usage, it only reflects most recent news articles or most accessed web pages given a particular search parameter. Google's behavior as a search engine is not meant to, and does not accurately reflect common usage with respect to this matter. The reason this is so is that Google does not rank a page more highly when it uses a particular case, and users are not more likely to click on a web link because of the case used. Note also that no proprietary, print literature, or copy written literature is available through Google (manuals, specs, etc...).
The problem I have is precisely what Dusk Knight mentioned above. I don't want a fight, I want a candid and productive discussion about how to avoid conflict in the future; after all, the reason we have style manuals is to ensure conformity of style and eliminate conflict among editors. If there is indeed a common sense way to handle these names, it should be easy to articulate the sense into a simple, easy to follow rule.
I propose inclusion of a line that states something to the effect of when a trademark or company name is an acronym, we capitalize the acronym. When the noun is not proper, and has fallen into the vernacular such as laser or scuba have, we should use standard English capitalization rules. This is compatible with both MOS:CL and the existing framework of WP:MOSTM and is not repugnant to common or accepted usage. What are everyone's comments on this? How can we change it to be acceptable? Nicholas SL Smith (talk) 00:08, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

"The case referenced DeLarge both capitalizes and leaves lower case the name." It capitalizes it once, in a title heading that also capitalizes 'WILLIAM H. LEE' and 'PHOENIX INSURANCE COMPANY'. Elsewhere it's lower case, since the rest of the body of the article is written in standard English.

"As for Google searches, a search of most recent news articles or of most accessed web pages does not accurately reflect common usage" Aside from the fact that the news searches go back twenty years or more (here's a Google News search showing only prior to 1999, and the uncapitalized "Getrag" is still predominant), they are exactly what reflects common usage, as they are written and copy-edited by professionals who follow the same guides that dictate WP's own Manual of Style.

Further to this, according to both the Chicago Manual of Style and the Guardian Style Guide we should not be capitalizing "Getrag". CMOS defines it as a contraction as it's not based on the initial letters only,[15] while GSG says acronyms pronounced as words should be spelled out only with an initial capital.[16] Those recommendations would point to Nismo staying where it is, so this paragraph's for User:Dusk Knight.

"Note also that no proprietary, print literature, or copy written literature is available through Google". Yes it is, via Google Books, where the uncapitalized "Getrag" is still predominant. Thanks for reminding me to add that to the evidence at the move request. --DeLarge (talk) 12:51, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I'll make an alternative suggestion to User:Nslsmith. To avoid further confusion in future, and following the recommendations of the Chicago Manual of Style and the Guardian Style Guide, we should specifically recommend against capitalizing acronyms which are not initialisms, and treat them only as contractions unless there's a compelling reason to do otherwise. --DeLarge (talk) 15:01, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

This recommendation is opposite an already existing rule in MOS:CL (see here). I disagree with creating a rule which states mutually repugnant positions by Wikipedia on something as basic and necessary as capitalization. The Manual of Style on capitalization dictates that we capitalize GETRAG.
I already addressed the fact that state rules of civil procedure have very strict rules about capitalization which do not reflect common or accepted English usage. Case text does not reflect a model for English usage in any way (believe me, I just turned in an appeal; editing it per Bluebook standards with state specific departures was murderous.)
As per the Google Books comment, Google Books is unable to display most information it scanned even originally intended to be displayed due to copyright restrictions. This tool is in Beta, and not a reliable source of research.
Normal Google searches are good to find notability and whatnot, but such searches are not natural, and are not approved ways to determine English usage, grammar, or common capitalization schemes. Such searching is original research. See the Guide on Search engine testing and Wikipedia's policy against original research. Nicholas SL Smith (talk) 19:25, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Upon further research into Wikipedia's definition for acronym, I discovered Acronym#Case which does not articulate a rule, but outlines how different entities handle acronyms. According to this article, acronyms are only capitalized when they have become normal words. Acronym#Pronunciation-dependent style offers insight into a a possible guideline, relating to whether an acronym is pronounced as a word, or each letter in the word is said. It also lays out a reason for Delarge's news searches through Google, which show a high level of normal case examples. Apparently many news media companies use normal case, which differs from the norm of all-capitalization. Either way - the definition if an acronym does not exclude acronyms such as GETRAG, see Acronym#Back-capitalization. The definition in that case says that even when such acronyms are not popper nouns, they are still often capitalized (notice the example of the non-popper noun MARC as MAchine Readable Cataloging or Mailing list ARChive). This gives an even stronger case to capitalize GETRAG. Nicholas SL Smithchatter 01:51, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
You may be right - Advertising law is a nebulous area composed of parts of trademark and intellectual property. Anyway - can you think of a way we can clarify the issue of acronym trademarks? Check the discussion at Talk:GETRAG Nicholas SL Smithchatter 01:29, 11 December 2007 (UTC)