Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch

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Words labelled as labels[edit]

Amongst earlier Proposed changes to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Words to watch#Contentious labels I proposed:

  • Changing the text from saying "Value-laden labels ... are best avoided" to saying "Value-laden labels ... may be best avoided"

and SMcCandlish expressed agreement that this would be a beneficial change.

The text currently presents:

  • Value-laden labels—... —may express contentious opinion and are best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject. In some cases, in-text attribution might be a better option. ...

However this IMO prescriptive/formulaic wording has facilitated to dogmatic discussions on more related to the application of rules than the appropriateness of content. See: Talk:List of terrorist incidents in London#Move for an example. My contention is that the current wording of the guideline may be taken to judge a title such as List of terrorist incidents in London as not being the best and this is before the appropriateness of the title has even been considered.

I also see the "are best avoided" wording to be in general contradiction with the opening text of WP:W2W which begins: "There are no forbidden words or expressions on Wikipedia, ...". How can we say that "There are no forbidden words" but then assert that some "are best avoided"?

I twice attempted to make the change to a "may be best avoided" wording with the changes being reverted by Flyer22.

GregKaye 09:05, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

I explained why I reverted you, stating, "I disagree with changing 'are' to 'may be' because those are words that should generally be avoided in Wikipedia articles, unless widely supported by WP:Reliable sources and used in a way that adheres to WP:Due weight. We need no softening of language in that regard." My opinion on the matter won't be changing. And as pointed out in the discussion where I explained, you've been trying to get this text changed for some time, and started a WP:RfC on the matter. That WP:RfC gained no traction. You can obviously start another one, and advertise it by alerting the WP:Village pump to it. Flyer22 (talk) 09:12, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Furthermore, as also noted in that discussion where I explained why I reverted you, I did my part to make that section better. Flyer22 (talk) 09:16, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Flyer22 I really appreciate the part you played in the development of the text and consider this to go far beyond merely having tweaked the text as you had humbly described it. Thank-you.
I also completely agree with you that there are "words that should generally be avoided in Wikipedia articles". What I am saying is that a prescriptive approach in Wikipedia that, to my mind, dogmatically states "are best avoided". This comes in the context where we have WP:PG on issues such as WP:OR, WP:SYSTEMICBIAS and, as you have also pointed out, WP:Due weight. Very clearly we are not going present contents that are not well presented. Obviously the problems within the discussion at Talk:List of terrorist incidents in London#Move came prior to your excellent tweaking.
In line with your comment I would also think that it may be reasonable to present:
  • Value-laden labels... —may express contentious opinion should generally be avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject. In some cases, in-text attribution might be a better option. ...
Still thinking of the mentioned example of List of terrorist incidents in London, say there is an attack in London that editors think fits into this content but, for whatever reason news reports chose to use a different wording than terrorism and terror, this should not necessarily mean that this story should be automatically barred from inclusion or, carrying this conjecture a little further, just because one theoretical story which had not been described in terrorist parlance had been referenced in the article, there should be no need, on this basis, to change the article title. However, most potential problems would seem to have been resolved by your edit and I am pleased to have drawn attention to the issue. Say, for whatever reason news reports chose to use a different wording than terrorism and terror, this should not necessarily mean that this story should be automatically barred from inclusion or, carrying this conjecture a little further, just because one theoretical story which had not been described in terrorist parlance had been referenced in the article, there should be no need, on this basis, to change the article title. However, most potential problems would seem to have been resolved by your edit. For my part I am pleased to have drawn attention to the issue. GregKaye 12:57, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I still disagree. Flyer22 (talk) 13:47, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Also, as noted here, PBS reverted me -- reverted to the stable mess of a text. Flyer22 (talk) 15:01, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
President Reagan meeting with Afghan Mujahideen leaders in the Oval Office in 1983

I have reverted this edit by Flyer22 on 22 March. Let me give you an example of how to handle this see the lead to the Al-Qaeda

It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, the United States, Russia, India and various other countries (see below).

Prior to a long debate on the talk page it used to say in the passive narrative voice "...is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden" it now says "is a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden" what was the advantage of including the word terrorist in the passive narrative voice of the article? -- PBS (talk) 15:05, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Agreed that sort of specific attribution is how to do it properly. There would be no problem including that "designated ... by" sentence in the lead; omitting it to try to hide the fact that the organization is generally considered terrorist, internationally, would be the problem. In essence, I think the "what was the advantage of including..." question is moot, generally speaking: The inclusion of the word wasn't the problem; rather, poor writing was the problem, and the word has been included in a different, more encyclopedic way.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:04, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
PBS, that does not answer what I stated. What you reverted to is a poor change because that is telling editors that they have to use WP:Intext-attribution for those words in such cases. They do not. And it is silly to state that they have to, especially given the fact that WP:Intext-attribution can mislead. To give a matter WP:Intext-attribution in a case where WP:Reliable sources widely label a subject a certain way, with that WP:Intext-attribution making it seem like it is simply a matter according to one source or a few sources, is a misuse of WP:Intext-attribution. Since you want that "stable text" to remain, I will start a WP:RfC on this matter in a day or so. Flyer22 (talk) 15:13, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
King David Hotel after being bombed by Irgun, July 1946
U.S. Embassy in Beirut caused by a after being bombed in April 1983.
During a war phrases often get used for diplomatic and propaganda reasons. For example the during the Falklands War British were very careful not to call it a war for diplomatic reasons to do with the UN Charter, as soon as it was all over bar the shouting, then British government politicians called it a war. Likewise during the troubles in Northern Ireland British sources always referred to the IRA as terrorists. Voices of "terrorists" like Martin McGuinness was banned from being broadcast in the UK. He is now a member of the Northern Ireland government. Is he still a terrorist? Was he ever a terrors? During the troubles American politicians and many American news sources shied away from calling the IRA and its members terrorist why? Politics obviously (did not want to loose the Fenian vote). What is more interesting was American court procedure before 9/11 see the Quinn v. Robinson case and political offence exception.[1][2] It is interesting how quiet the American authorities have become on the political offence exception since Americans civilians have become the target of terrorism and the IRA have ended their military campaign.
  1. ^ "Quinn v. Robinson, 783 F2d. 776 (9th Cir. 1986)". web site of the United Settlement. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Zachary E. McCabe (25 August 2003). "Northern Ireland: The paramilitaries, Terrorism, and September 11th" (PDF). Queen's University Belfast School of Law. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2007. 
  • Systemic bias, if people are attacking the West and in particular the Anglosphere many English language sources will call them terrorists because as Bruce Hoffman pointed out "On one point, at least, everyone agrees: terrorism is a pejorative term. It is a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one's enemies and opponents, or to those with whom one disagrees and would otherwise prefer to ignore." It is only when opinion is divided in the English speaking world over a "terrorist" organisation such as the IRA that one tends to get a split in the sources. However that is no reason for Wikipedia to us the label terrorist in the passive narrative voice.
  • The problems one runs into with your proposed changes is can Martin McGuinness be called a terrorist in the passive narrative voice of the article? If not Martin McGuinness then which BLP is it acceptable? It a person is found guilty of terrorist offensives better to state it that way. Eg see the way it is handled in the Martin McGuinness article. As the Telegraph points out in this article "Martin McGuinness: from convicted terrorist to political establishment" who shakes hands with the Queen.
  • In the article on King David Hotel there is mention of people who do not think it was a terrorist attack. So are you really suggesting that it is OK to label the 1983 bombing in Beirut a terrorist bombing (because it is commonly referred to that way) but not the King David Hotel bombing because some people in Israel have argued the other way. If however you say it was a terrorist attack then is it ok to lable Irgun a terrorist organisation in the passive narrative voice of Wikiepdia? What about the biography on Menachem Begin? it is much simpler in all these case to write articles where the accusations of terrorist and terrorism are attributed to the sources making the claims.
Flyer22, you stated above "WP:Intext-attribution is clear that it can mislead. I have certainly seen it applied wrongly.". Where? (If was I bet it is easy to fix and use intext attribution) or you will run into the sort of bias problems I describe above.
--PBS (talk) 16:37, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Take for example Boston Massacre, which is the example used at WP:POVNAME. Should we attribute and/or avoid using the word "massacre"? I'm not sure that's possible while still being consistent with NPOV. The key point here for me is that as far as I'm aware, it's standard practice that we can use contentious labels where RS widely apply them, and that it is a broader consensus than just this page. Sunrise (talk) 16:51, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Despite what some people claim, there is no conensus that the MOS a style guide covers article titles let alone the wording of article titles. This is a MOS page and WP:POVNAME is part of the Article Naming policy. However if you look at the content of the Boston Massacre article it does not use massacre throughout the text or describe the British soldiers a murdering mercenaries , instead it uses neutral words such as "the incident" descriptive words such as "killing" (not murder). -- PBS (talk) 17:27, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. My point was that it is already established (as part of policy, not part of the MOS) that contentious labels can be used when the RS are sufficiently strong. That doesn't mean I think indiscriminate use is neutral, but I also don't think a neutral Boston Massacre article could be made without ever using the word "massacre," or only using it with attribution, given that (I assume) it's the name which is overwhelmingly used in the sources. Sunrise (talk) 19:21, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
This "MOS doesn't cover titles" nonsense really needs to stop. It simply isn't true. WP:AT policy and its naming convention guidelines explicitly defer to the Manual of Style again and again. There's no "conflict" between AT and MOS; anyone who thinks there is simply does not understand WP:POLICY properly, or how policies and guidlines work together.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:52, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't even see why PBS is asking me "where?", when WP:Intext-attribution lists examples of how WP:Intext-attribution can mislead. It does that because WP:Intext-attribution has misled on Wikipedia countless times before. I don't see the need to go into my memory and pull out examples. But like I stated in my "15:13, 25 April 2015 (UTC)" post above, I'll get back to this later. I don't want to spend my Saturday or Sunday debating. On a side note: There is no need to WP:Ping me to this talk page since it's on my WP:Watchlist. And since I know that PBS and some others are watching, I won't WP:Ping them to this discussion. Flyer22 (talk) 17:00, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
@Sunrise: That's an important point. Per WP:BIASED, etc., RS are expected to make "value-laden statements", Wikipedia editors are prohibited from doing so by WP:OR, etc.
This list is being used to exercise and artificial constraint on core policies.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 03:39, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm leaning more and more toward this view myself.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:56, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Re: "I disagree with changing 'are' to 'may be' because those are words that should generally be avoided in Wikipedia articles ...." (toward top of this subsection) – This is just another symptom of the fact that we're lumping together two clearly distinguishable kinds of terms; those that are verifiable with and need to be attributed to reliable sources ("cult", "terrorist", "criminal", "controversial"), and those which are inherently nothing but judgmental opinions or aspersion-casting labels ("pervert", "bigot", "extremist"). If we're going to list specific terms, we need to split them into two separate lists, and one of those should be prefaced with "are best avoided", the other to something more qualified. It probably isn't "may be best avoided", after all, but something else, like "should only be used if supported by the preponderance of reliable sources", or something like that. We were converging on "may be best avoided" because the munged list included terms that should always be avoid outside a direct quotation, and terms that are not problematic at all when we write carefully, and properly source what we're writing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:48, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

    PS: I've interspersed various responses above; if you care to see them, just diff my recent edits; they're all back-to-back.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:05, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

SMcCandlish the division not that simple. As is mentioned in the Bombing of Dresden article the historian Donald Bloxham considers "The bombing of Dresden on 13–14 February 1945 [to be] a war crime". He further argues there was a strong prima facie case for trying Winston Churchill among others and a theoretical case Churchill could have been found guilty. "This should be a sobering thought. If, however it is also a startling one, this is probably less the result of widespread understanding of the nuance of international law and more because in the popular mind 'war criminal', like 'paedophile' or 'terrorist', has developed into a moral rather than a legal categorisation". The problem we have here is that while a word may have a specific meaning in certain contexts "in the popular mind" some of these words have a "moral rather than a legal categorisation". As an example see the furore in America when Reuters did not describe those who destroyed the World Trade Center towers as terrorists.(Moeller, Susan (2009). Packaging Terrorism: Co-opting the News for Politics and Profit. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-1-4443-0605-7. ). In the case of criminals it depends on the political circumstances surrounding the use of the term. In simple cases under a citizen's domestic jurisdiction the use of the term criminal is usually none controversial, but as soon as politics gets involved and particularly if there is disagreement between jurisdictions, then the term criminal becomes controversial and probably ought not to be used in the passive narrative voice of the article. For reasons like this is is often cleaner to write "John Smith was convicted of the murder of ..." rather than "The murderer John Smith ..." or "John Smith murdered ..." -- PBS (talk) 23:39, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
@PBS: I can concur will all of that, I think. And I know the division isn't that simple, but we have to start somewhere. Maybe a restart is a better idea. Your summary analysis there could be rewritten into instructional/example material for this page, actually. Aside from confusion of terms that can have judgmental connotations with those which innately do have them (a real distinction, even if there's a grey area), what has mired this discussion, and full acceptance of this as a real guideline, is the very idea of coming up with some list of "words to watch", rather than a principle and methodology, if you will, for critical editorial thinking that identifies such terms on the fly and in context. The title of this page is misleading for another reason, since terms or labels are not always single words, but are often phrases. E.g., "terrorist cell" is problematic for more reasons that some people attaching emotive weight to "terrorist". "Cell" is dehumanizing, as well as diminutive, and the phrase has become a conceptual unit, frequently depicted fictionally in a "here comes Jack Bauer to kick their asses" way; it's a pat trope, and what it conjures in many readers minds may not relate closely to the reality of the subject. I just a few days ago saw an RM debate on this very phrase, being used to describe people who were not even acting as a "cell". Anyway, I think this erstwhile guideline needs to be rethought as a guideline on how to identify "words to watch", not a list of words some editors have issues with.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:23, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
In Britain there is a charity called The Donkey Sanctuary working all over the world to stop people maltreating asses. -- PBS (talk) 10:22, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree that it seem the basic thrust of the guideline should be methodological, given the terminological "gray areas", for example.
Perhaps the word "preponderance" should be avoided as a potential source of wikilawyering, as with the case of "climate change denialist/denialism/denier". In cases such as that, in-line attribution should sufficiently cover the use of the "gray-area" term in context, and not transgress NPOV with respect to DUE/WEIGHT.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 14:26, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Trying to avoid "climate change denial", however, is itself a WP:UNDUE problem, though. One side of that debate has science backing it up, and the other has largely just a bunch of indignant fist-shaking. They are not comparable. The only reason we're not lumping climate change deniers in with other denialist kooks like Holocaust deniers, is because American Republicanism has been sympathetic to climate change denialism for short-term economic reasons, increasing the popularity of that nonsense, and a significant number of editors are Republican Americans. This is really no different at all from WP being bent by largely the same editors to favor literal interpretation of the Bible as the truth. We don't permit that kind of extreme POV mongering from them on that topic, so why would we permit it on this one?  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:32, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: This issue continues to be under discission, now at AN/I.[1]--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 11:43, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

Placeholder; I will continue this matter later. Flyer22 (talk) 16:50, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

"Cost the taxpayers" vs ?, is there a more neutral phrase?[edit]

I originally posted this question on the neutrality board even though it is only loosely associated with an article. In a discussion of some of the companies that have received government bailouts (TARP money), an article said the bailout "cost the taxpayers $___". This is instead of saying "cost the government" or "the US Treasury had a net loss of $___" etc. I feel that when people talk about something costing "the taxpayers" they are trying to make the cost personal. That in tern suggests, to me anyway, the use of a value-laden label when a more neutral label is available (WP:LABEL). When reporting government program financial results/performance is it reasonable to use more neutral terms for spending? I mean technically we cost talk about any government spending as "costing the taxpayers" but I think that adds a note of "this is wasting your money!" to the sentence. Should "taxpayers" be generally avoided in favor of other terms when discussing government spending? Springee (talk) 05:11, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

  • "Cost the taxpayer" is journalistic cliche. It is sloppiness. Furthermore, it is dangerously demagogic when it gets applied to large scale cases like this, because it postulates "The Taxpayer" as "all tax paying entities of the United States of America" as a single anthropomorphized entity. The cliche dates from the era when, indeed, federal revenues were largely from taxes, and it cropped up in local papers in the pens of muckraking journalists who were exposing municipal waste. However, TARP, the General Motors and Chrysler bailouts, etc., did not "cost the taxpayer." They cost the U.S. Treasury. Neil Barofsky's Bailout discusses how the programs were managed: revenues from the prior year were not diverted, because a great deal of this thing was put off the balance sheet. (Since the loans were going to be paid back, the repayment was counted as revenue against the loaned amount.) Therefore, in the specific case, the language is inaccurate, and in general, it's cliche. In addition, it's an outdated cliche that should never be ported to federal level discussions. Finally, as you say, it is emotionally loaded, if not politically charged -- especially in the era of the "Taxed Enough Already" Party. As for the better term, it depends on the context. The better term is the more accurate and precise one. (For TARP and auto-makers, it would be "Treasury.") Hithladaeus (talk) 19:24, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Concur with Hithladeaeus that it's POV-pushing. But I think this is so obvious that it probably doesn't belong here. Not every case of skewed spin has to to covered here, or this page would take all day to read.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:14, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Abortion stances[edit]

On a good portion of politician's pages, stances on abortion are being described as "pro-life" and "pro-choice". These are both politicized terms, invented to advertise each stance to the reader. These terms should, therefore, be added to the "Words that introduce bias" section.

Thoughts?

  • The alternatives will be wordy and start fights. In the case of "pro-life," there's no question that it's a political term. However, if one says "Supports legal availability of abortion," you'll get a quarrel, because all of the "pro-life" politicians who want to ban every abortion after 20 weeks, mandate parental consent, mandate consent from the father (including rapists and incestuous fathers), and who want to close all abortion providers will say that they're "in favor of legal abortion for some cases" (when the woman has had an ultrasound, gotten consent from her pastor, boyfriend, parents, and then waited 72 hours, gone to a Christian counseling service, watched videos of "partial birth abortions," and her life is in danger emergently and she is the victim of "legitimate rape"). Saying "supports Roe v. Wade" or "opposes Roe v. Wade" might be accurate, but I don't know that it would be informative (and there are now "pro-life" legislators who claim that they have no opinion at all on Roe). Letting the two sides have their political descriptors is bad, but trying to fix them may be worse. Hithladaeus (talk) 19:31, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
"Supports Roe v. Wade" is an Americanism, and not necessarily accurate anyway; you can be pro-[whatever] and agree or disagree with only some aspects of that court decision. That might even describe the majority on both sides, if you could get them to answer questions about their exact positions, devoid of politics.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:12, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
I wasn't aware that "pro-life" and "pro-choice" were being used outside of the narrow confines of bipolar American politics. However, you're right, and that's another reason why trying to find a fix to the problem of allowing the sides their biased phrasing may be extremely knotty. Hithladaeus (talk) 23:41, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I rarely comment on these often politicized discussions of so-called "words to watch," but I am going to adamantly state my opinion here: no self-appointed committee of four or five editors should presume to bowdlerize the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" from Wikipedia. These terms are in widespread mainstream use in the United States, and they are short-hand for two aligned clusters of pro-abortion and anti-abortion laws and policies widely understood by most Americans. It's one thing to say that our biographical articles for politicians and other relevant persons should discuss their positions with greater detail and nuance, but it's quite another to attempt to impose a particular political viewpoint by banning the use of certain words. This makes no more sense than banning the use of the words "liberal," "moderate," "conservative," and "libertarian" because there may be differences of opinion among readers regarding the definitions of these words. If you're going to attempt to ban certain widely used and commonly understood words, you better be prepared for a major Request for Comment on point with community-wide notice. No such wide-ranging guidelines should be adopted by small groups in relative isolation; this only brings unnecessary conflict and disrepute to MOS, which should never be politicized in any way. MOS is an English-language style guide, not a political agenda. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 00:09, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
    • I believe at present the consensus is that there isn't a way to avoid "pro-choice" and "pro-life." "Pro-life" is undeniably a bit of propaganda, though. This isn't a matter of opinion, either: the creation of the phrase by political consultants has been documented. It's as natural a phrase as "clean coal." Nevertheless, everyone seems to agree: there's no alternative but to report the terms as they are currently self-applied and understood by the politicians themselves, even at the cost of clarity. So, umm, you might calm down? No one's got the power or even desire to make a site-wide change, much less a conspiracy of three or four editors. Hithladaeus (talk) 00:27, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
      • Thank you, but I am quite calm and your condescension is misplaced. The phrase "pro-life" is no more politically slanted than "pro-choice," and arguing to the contrary signals your own political bias and/or naivete. I recognize political propaganda for what it is, regardless of its source on the ideological spectrum, however well intended its source believes it to be. Editors who spend their time fighting over the meaning of commonly used political words usually have an agenda, and such agendas are the source of much grief, aggravation and wasted time on-wiki. Your comments here and above clearly demonstrate your liberal-progressive political orientation, but I would say exactly the same thing to you if you were a right-wing Tea Party conservative: consider your own bias before you attempt to impose your viewpoint on the words we use. If you think I'm one of the latter, you would be mistaken; I play it down the middle, and I don't play political games on-wiki with content. A neutral point of view per WP:NPOV is one of the core policies of the encyclopedia, one I strongly support. As for a "conspiracy of three or four editors," it would not be the first time that a LOCALCONSENSUS was achieved in contravention of NPOV, V and RS, after which great drama ensued before the situation was rectified. If you want to correct the absence of detail in our political bios, I commend you, but trying to gain control of the "narrative" by banishing certain commonly used words -- or trying to redefine them to suit your own purpose -- is inconsistent with NPOV. Don't do it. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 01:12, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

The terms are American and not very well defined and certainly not widely used elsewhere. For example does pro-life mean one is in favour of life terms with no parole for certain types of crime? If not then does it mean one is against the death penalty? If not then does it mean one is against assisted suicides? Is prop-choice the opposite of this in all cases?

It seems to me that the terms "in favour of legalised abortion" and "against legalised abortion" are simpler to understand in an encyclopaedia which will be read by many people with different dialects of English . -- PBS (talk) 21:50, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

  • PBS, I would have no objection to including "generally in favor of legalized abortion" and "generally against legalized abortion," in addition to the commonly used American terms of art, for everyone's benefit. Why I objected above was the suggestion that the those commonly used -- and commonly understood among 320 million Americans -- terms should be purged entirely from Wikipedia. This MOS page of "words to watch" has become a battleground for editors engaged in political or ideological content disputes elsewhere, who come here for a leg-up to reinforce their respective positions by black-listing (or de-listing) certain words. That needs to stop. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 22:45, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
"Pro-life" and "pro-choice" are certainly both used in Ireland, at least. "Supports/opposes Roe v. Wade" of course is/could not. I don't know about the Wikipedia articles in question, though; this is just an FYI. Hijiri 88 (やや) 16:48, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Problem with the "by whom?" template[edit]

I just added it to the phrase "also known as", which in that case is a passive verb being used inappropriately because it's not clear by whom, but it links here to a picture of a weasel. In this case the problem is not the wording "also known as" (which is almost always acceptable in article leads) but the alternate name itself. It seems to me like linking to the "weasel words" guideline is a bit much; does "also known as" qualify as a weasel word just because it's a passive where some people would prefer to know the subject? Hijiri 88 (やや) 16:37, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Hijiri88, I don't see why the Template:By whom belongs in that case. Per the WP:Alternative title policy, it is common to place the alternative title in the lead or lower in the article. Furthermore, unless it's only a small group of people (who are either WP:Notable or a part of a WP:Notable club or organization) using the alternative title, asking "by whom?" makes it seem like only one person or a few people use that alternative title. Flyer22 (talk) 16:57, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
Oh, in that case, it seems you are only talking about the spelling, rather than "Chao Heng." Chao Heng redirects to a different article, by the way: Emperor Zhenzong of Song. Flyer22 (talk) 17:01, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
"Chao Heng" is a modern Mandarin pronunciation of a Chinese pen name Nakamaro used, but as far as I can tell the only people who would ever call him that are modern Chinese reading said pen name -- and modern Chinese who "know" him apparently know him by the Chinese reading of "Abe no Nakamaro" anyway. Looking at the page history it would seem the information was taken from Japan Encyclopedia, a source whose reliability is questionable, but on the off chance someone actually does know him by that name I tagged it rather than removing it outright. (I own a copy of the dubious source in question but it's in transit at the moment. If I check it later and it does come from there I'll probably remove it.) Hijiri 88 (やや) 04:15, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

Holocaust denial[edit]

I added the “contentious label” template to a number of Holocaust denial -related categories. This template was removed; a removal which I am not contesting and currently do not intend to revert. I am by no means a Holocaust denier. I agree, the Holocaust is a fact in the same sense as any number of other historical events. However I enjoy editing Wikipedia, and I thought the “contentious label” template would look cool, and the term “denialist” is listed as a contentious label.

I apologize for my potentially inappropriate edit.--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 22:47, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

"Dead" vs. "deceased": Synonyms vs. Euphemisms[edit]

The issue of whether or not the term "deceased" falls afoul of WP:EUPHEMISM has come up here. My question is, to avoid disputes in the future, would it be a good idea to list unacceptable euphemisms and acceptable synonyms? Aside from "dead" vs. "deceased", I can see issues coming from such pairings as "prostitute" vs. "sex worker" and "corruption" vs. "graft". — Chris Woodrich (talk) 00:07, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

Crisco 1492 (Chris Woodrich), this was discussed before at this talk page; see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch/Archive 4#"Deceased" is much like "passed away", yes?. "Deceased" is fine to use in place of "dead," and, depending on the context, sounds better than using "dead." Flyer22 (talk) 01:02, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the link. But the question still stands: if we have had discussions on such terms, wouldn't it be best to have a list of acceptable and unacceptable ones? — Chris Woodrich (talk) 01:13, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
We have the guideline note that certain words should be avoided, especially depending on the context. But we've been clear that none of these words are banned and that a list would not be helpful since people already use the guideline's listed words to enforce a strict interpretation of what words can and cannot be used. See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch/Archive 5#Quote box in WP:LABEL, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch/Archive 5#What words are "contentious", Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch/Archive 6#Denialist/denialism, and this discussion above. Flyer22 (talk) 01:42, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
  • So not even an FAQ regarding commonly discussed words? I doubt most people would think to search the archives.  — Chris Woodrich (talk) 02:10, 16 August 2015 (UTC)