Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies

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Question - How should the Lead and Infobox be set out for people who worked as a duo?[edit]

Here's a question, and I just want to see what people think. When one thinks of a duo on television or the stage, such as in comedy, what is the proper way the Lead and Infobox should be set up as? I mean, when we think about it, should the Lead be really set up like this:

"Eric Morecambe (John Eric Bartholomew, 14 May 1926 – 28 May 1984) and Ernie Wise (Ernest Wiseman, 27 November 1925 – 21 March 1999), known as Morecambe and Wise (also Eric and Ernie), were an iconic English comic double act, working in variety, radio, film and most successfully in television."

And should the infobox then include details on that persons date of birth and the day of death (where applicable)?

Or should the articles covering such partnerships be done differently? Should their Leads be set out as such:

"Morecambe and Wise (also Eric and Ernie) are an iconic English comic double act consisting of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, who are primarily known for their work in variety, radio, film, and in television, of which they achieved most success in the latter."

I just wonder which is more appropriate. Why should biographical snippets on performers in a duo be put into such articles, when their own biographical articles cover that essentially? GUtt01 (talk) 21:11, 8 April 2018 (UTC)

First use of name after lede[edit]

After the initial mention of any name, the person should generally be referred to by surname only

Does this sentence count the lede/lead? It should clarify. In biographies, I've traditionally seen the first+last name repeated on first usage after the lede, which is in line with Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies/2014 archive#Use of surname alone and repetition of full name. czar 23:54, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

Unwatching this page. Please {{ping}} me if you have a response. czar 03:17, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Surnames for drag queens[edit]

Further input is requested at Category talk:RuPaul's Drag Race contestants#Sorting --woodensuperman 15:49, 11 May 2018 (UTC)

Further to above, editors have blanketly removed defaultsort keys from all of the articles, so some further input is desperately needed. --woodensuperman 09:30, 14 May 2018 (UTC)

Info-boxes in BLPs[edit]

Hello, I was wondering if anyone could elucidate the circumstances that would lead to a successful argument for not including an infobox on BLP. There is an ongoing discussion on Nicholas Hoult's Talk page about the inclusion of an infobox and there seems to be no convincing the editors there. Information like the current age is being called vital and consistency is being used as a ground for inclusion. If that's the case then why is it that there is an option in the first place to not include them? I'm really at a loss for words to counter such arguments and might need an expert opinion here. I am not saying that Hoult's artcile should have an infobox and it's absolutely fine if it improves the article in any way, but I'd really like to understand what really is a fair argument when it comes to such discussions. I'll ping the participants of the discussion if that's deemed necessary, thank you. VedantTalk 15:28, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

I can't tell whether this is an honest question or "I can't understand why the people who disagree with me are so blind", but assuming the former per WP:AGF: Try WP:DISINFOBOX. Infoboxes often are unable to describe nuanced information in a non-superficial way (e.g. someone who changed religions or citizenships, but the infobox lists one), and in some of the worst cases take up a lot of screen real estate to provide more or less the same information as the first sentence of the article. —David Eppstein (talk) 17:17, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
Ugh, it is in good faith and my question simply are: is age being mentioned a valid argument? Or is consistency one? I get that there might not be anything​ valid when it comes to such discussions, but if there's any way of knowing if these two arguments have any substance then it'd be a great help. Because these two can be brought up in any infobox discussion and can be Endgame. VedantTalk 17:44, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
Just an FYI, religion is no longer an option in most infoboxes, and citizenship doesn't need a lot of explanation. Citizenship in the case of athletes who have represented multiple countries is generally quite clear, and infoboxes are extremely helpful in that regard. I like infoboxes because they present basic facts - I see them as worthless only in the cases of people where we don't have these facts (ie people born 1,000 years ago with no info on date or location of birth/death, etc.). МандичкаYO 😜 07:50, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

Consensus needed on birthnames (ie née)[edit]

LivinRealGüd has vastly rewritten sections WITHOUT consensus based on his/her dislike of and née to describe birthnames. As far as I can tell, he/she started one discussion that had fewer than 10 responses in a couple days, and simply rewrote it the way he/she wanted it, and seemed to edit war with David Eppstein when he warned against pushing POV etc. when LivinRealGüd added a ton of other crap not discussed. The MOS is now declaring that it CANNOT be used because it's "gendered" which is even further from the actual (brief) discussion (those against its use mainly felt it was too archaic and "French"). This is not how we update MOS:BIO, especially for something as visible as ledes of biographies. I discovered this because someone nominated the née template for deletion on the grounds that it "contradicts MOS:MULTIPLENAMES" (a shortcut created by ... drum roll... LivinRealGüd). I propose a real and thorough discussion, in order to determine a legitimate consensus, per Wikipedia guidelines. We should have hundreds of responses on something like this, not eight. An RFC is probably in order. МандичкаYO 😜 05:07, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

I had an idea for the usage of né and née, I made the proposal, everyone disagreed with it, they discussed it, they reached a consensus and I added it to the manual appropriately. I followed WP:PROPOSAL to a tee. If you would like to start another discussion go for it. There was no edit war between David Eppstein and I, we had a conversation in the edit history over sectioning (as David can confirm). So don't accuse me of not following the rules, thats a personal attack and unbecoming of this community. As a reminder I began that discussion arguing for something completely different, so assume good faith. Feel free to start a new discussion, reach a new consensus or maintain the old one, and happy editing. The conversation, consensus, and basis for change can be found here: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies/2018 archive#"Maiden names" to "Surname changes”. All the best, LivinRealGüd (talk) 13:16, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
You did not follow it to a tee, consensus to make a major change to WP:MOS is not obtained from half a dozen people, and you further added things that were purely based on your opinions. МандичкаYO 😜 15:51, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
Please see WP:CON for our standards on consensus. Any additions I made to the section were asked to be made by the editors involved in the discussion--nothing more. I routinely correct spelling mistakes, fix grammar, reorganize, and format this page. Additionally, I update the manual for other people's posts when they, too, have reached a consensus. If you would like more information on Wikipedia's procedural policy on the creation of new guidelines and policies, again, see: WP:PROPOSAL. I hope the upcoming RFC will answer any further questions you have. LivinRealGüd (talk) 17:33, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
@Wikimandia, please do not change or restore the MOS until a consensus is reached to do so on this post. Your restoration uprooted many contributions for many talk page discussions. Per Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle, please discuss your bold edit here to find a solution, although I suspect you will find answers at the end of your RFC. Happy editing. LivinRealGüd (talk) 18:01, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
@Wikimandia: if you meant "RFC" not "RFD", agreed. Please ping me if an RFC is started. wumbolo ^^^ 15:10, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, RFC, sorry. МандичкаYO 😜 15:43, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
I concur with the proposal of an RFC. — fourthords | =Λ= | 15:12, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

Relevant RFC[edit]

Please see Wikipedia talk:Article titles#Should Wikipedia:Naming conventions (royalty and nobility) override WP:COMMONNAME in all cases?, a recently opened RFC which is relevant to the subject of this page. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 00:30, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

RfC on the use of née and né[edit]

The rough consensus is that the Manual of Style for Biographies of Living Persons should not restrict the usage of "née", "né", and "born" to indicate changes of name. Any of these may be used to indicate the original birth name, or birth surname if "née" or "né" is used, regardless of the reason for the change of name. If "née" or "né" is used, "née" should be used for persons identified as female, and "né" for persons identified as male. Kendall-K1 (talk) 21:16, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

(non-admin closure)

Should née and né be used to indicate birth surnames? wumbolo ^^^ 11:25, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

I suggest that you mention the alternatives. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 12:24, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
The alternative is "born" followed by the full birth name or the surname at birth. I will not mention anything else. wumbolo ^^^ 12:40, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
As a clarification, you mean should née and né indicate surnames changed by marriage... right? This makes it seem like any subject who has changed their last name for any reason (e.g. personal preference, stage names, adoption, cultural, religious, political, etc.) should have their surname denoted with née or né. Also what happens if both the first and surname at birth has been changed? I have opinions about this but need more context. LivinRealGüd (talk) 13:44, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I meant that, but if someone has a different take on those words, they can voice their opinion. Also what happens if both the first and surname at birth has been changed? Since the first name didn't change because of marriage, by definition of given name, the person changed their name multiple times, and those cases are not for discussion at this RfC (maybe a new one, since you were editing that MoS section as well). wumbolo ^^^ 14:36, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Sounds good. Face-smile.svg Thanks for clarifying. All the best, LivinRealGüd (talk) 17:01, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

  • Oppose any restrictions one way or the other née and né are perfectly acceptable and well-attested words to describe people who change their names through marriage. I see no compelling reason to stop using those terms. --Jayron32 15:02, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Do not restrict wording. English has synonyms or near-synonyms for many words. The MOS should not prescribe the use of one synonym over another, per WP:CREEP. These particular words may once have been French (like many English words) but they are now English. If you want to work with a small set of words, the simple English Wikipedia is thataway. Also, it's a little confusing using "born" for two different meanings in the same context (the birth name and the birth date). Are we supposed to write "Hillary Clinton (born Rodham, born October 26, 1947)" or is one "born" sufficient? What about when there is other stuff like pronounciations that are not modified by "born" between the birth name and birth date? "Née" is less ambiguous. —David Eppstein (talk) 16:05, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    @David Eppstein, from what I've seen, it is typically denoted as "Hillary Clinton (born Rodham; October 26, 1947)" (e.g. see Jeff Bezos), with one "born", if that's of any interest you. LivinRealGüd (talk) 17:50, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    A semicolon? Really? Where are the independent clauses it should separate? To me that makes the date look like it is sitting there unmodified and unexplained, as if we had just written "Jeff Bezos (January 12, 1964). Also, "née" has a more specific connotation, that the name was changed when the subject married, that does not apply to Bezos. So when we use née instead of born, we are conveying extra meaning. —David Eppstein (talk) 18:09, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    Exactly. I couldn't agree more. I, too, don't think we should restrict our wording to just born, ne or nee. LivinRealGüd (talk) 18:11, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    @LivinRealGüd: That makes it look as if Miss Hillary Clinton was born in the town of Rodham on October 26, 1947. Saying "Hillary Clinton (née Rodham, born October 26, 1947)" is unambiguous. Remember that whilst we may all have a good idea who Clinton was, Josephine Elizabeth Butler (née Grey) might be less well known, and before you ask Grey is a county in Ontario so "born Grey; 13 April 1828" would be confusing. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 20:23, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    Agreed, I didn't come up with the policy, I'm just reading back what I'm seeing on the MOS. Face-smile.svg. LivinRealGüd (talk) 21:45, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    The MOS says not to include the birth location in the parents, I invariably remove it when i see it there, and place it later in the article, often in an "Early life" section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DESiegel (talkcontribs) 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    But we can't rely on ordinary readers even knowing there is a MOS, let alone reading it. You may look at the Clinton entry and realise Rodham cannot be a place, but would a high school student realise that? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 22:15, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    Uh... what? I think you're going off road here. Drop me a line at my TP if you want to continue this convo, I want to make sure the RFC isn't bogged down by long convos. LivinRealGüd (talk) 22:23, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    My comment was in response to a suggestion that using "born" might be confuse with an indication of the place of birth. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 21:35, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
    Ohhhh. Gotcha. LivinRealGüd (talk) 04:59, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
  • No. is a rare and unnecessarily pretentious term. If a man is born with a different name, just say born. DrKay (talk) 17:03, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Allow choice. All variants have a time and place: Pat Nixon uses née; Michael Oher uses ; Jack Benny uses "born". However, for living people like Bill de Blasio, the "born" construction looks a little clumsy as Martin of Sheffield noted above. Hameltion (talk, contribs) 20:52, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    Addendum – There are two reasons why I say "born", as in (born Jorgensen; January 12, 1964), is bad to use for living people: first, it appears that the birth name was a mononym, though this may be resolved with a glance to the infobox for "Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen"; second, simply writing this date does not clearly enough indicate it is the birth date. Instead, it requires a "born" before January. This is why writing ( Jorgensen; born January 12, 1964) is the best. If a reader knows née, they can interpret . Hameltion (talk, contribs) 12:11, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Favor "born" "née" and "né" are simply the French words for "born", and can be used for name changes not due to marriage. They were traditionally most often used for name changes due to marriage, because that was traditionally by far the most common reason for a name change. I would not prohibit "née", but I would deprecate it. It can be confusing, and it adds no value. Just use "born". (and I would do the Clinton one as Hillary Clinton (born Hillary Rodham, October 26, 1947) always giving the full birth name, not just the surname. (If we are going to use "née" for a woman's name change, we should use "né" for a man's.) DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 21:58, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Proposal could we use a template similar to {{circa}} to give give a tooltip for nee and ne? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 22:15, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    {{Nee}} has existed for years Martin of Sheffield, and SMcCandlish. Since 2009 to be exact. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 22:45, 23 May 2018 (UTC) Martin of Sheffield DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 22:46, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    Thanks for reminding me. {{Nee}} has its uses (mainly avoiding the accent), but unfortunately doesn't include the tool tip. I know the circa tooltip isn't great, but the idea would be that hovering over née would pop up the text "original surname at birth" or something similar. Currently the target of a wikilink ("Given name") appears which is inaccurate and unhelpful. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 10:24, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
    {{Nee}} used to have such a tooltip, its removal is discussed in Template talk:Nee#Link target, where WP:NOSYMBOLS is cited as a justification for this removal. The template could be changed, of course. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 21:51, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
    Yes, and it should. This discussion by itself is a sufficient indication that the tooltip should be put back, and WP:NOSYMBOLS was mis-cited; it has nothing to do with cursor-hover tooltips, which we use for all sorts of things.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:51, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
  • No - per DrKay and DESiegel. - FlightTime (open channel) 22:18, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes, because née and have long been assimilated into English, and are regularly used in English-language publications, like rendezvous and sushi and macho. I agree with Martin's idea to provide a use-this-on-first-occurrence template for them.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:31, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    So have op. cit and id est, but we discourage them in Wikipedia. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 22:45, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    Invalid comparison. We discourage op. cit. (note the second dot), ibid., and id. for a technical and practical reason that isn't really surmountable: our citations are not in a fixed order, and move around at the whim of editorial rearrangement of the material, often without us doing anything to move them [depends on the citation system being used in the article in question]. Ergo, any kind of cross-reference between sources will break if it depends on one source or author having appeared before another in our citations. I think you meant id. and ibid. when you wrote id est, but I'll address that one, too: As a Latin phrase, it is not actually fully assimilated into English at all. The average (or maybe slightly below-average education) Wikipedia reader would not recognize it, only the abbreviation "i.e." We have no reason to use the full Latinism when the abbreviation is familiar to all fluent English speakers; the short version is more concise and more effective communication.

    Née has no common abbreviation, and there is no technical reason not to use it; it's simply a Frenchism we borrowed wholesale into English a long time ago – complete with the diacritic, just like souflée and façade. To the extent we suspect non-native or very young readers might be unfamiliar with it, we can deal with it via a template, or a link to Maiden name, or whatever. Or just let them look it up, like we do with a large number of fairly technical terms. At any rate, MoS isn't in the business of forbidding the use of everyday English (including "now English, once not English") words, unless slang or otherwise inappropriate in an encyclopedic register, just because someone somewhere might not get them. To work on the site where we do dumb the material down that much, please edit articles.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:39, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

    I did mean id est, not ibid I was trying to think of latinisms or frenchisms more or less adopted into English, but still recognizably foreign enough that they are often shown in italics. (I would normally droop the diacritics from "souffle" and "facade". Indeed I would be inclined to consider use of the diacritic on either in ordinary English prose to be an error.) I will try to think of a better example, you are correct about the technical reason to discourage op. cit. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 21:45, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
    Well, dictionaries and other RS list these words with the diacritics, even if they also give the versions without as attested enough to bother listing. Facade is particular is a bad idea because c is not pronounced in English as s when it occurs before a; the diacritic – which is recognized by competent English readers – is a signal to use the s sound in this and other loanwords and non-English proper names. Anyway, let's not entertain any "diacritics ain't English" stuff; that "debate" never, ever goes over well on WP.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:45, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
  • No restrictions, but usage of the {{nee}} template should be encouraged for those who use "né[e]". Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 08:05, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Prefer born, allow née, discourage . Both née and are at least moderately pretentious, and I say that as someone who defaults to née for maiden names. But I would strongly disagree that has been assimilated into English as SMcCandlish suggests above. As I said in the first discussion, it is not remotely common or usual in any form of English and is likely to strike most readers as an error. While this is not in itself a reason to prohibit its use, it is a strong argument for simply using the word "born" and avoiding the potential confusion altogether. Frickeg (talk) 09:50, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
    Maybe it's matter of what kind of reading one does, but has been familiar to me for decades. Not sure what to tell you. Well, I take that back; I do know: is found, without any commentary about it being obscure or specialized, in mainstream English dictionaries such as:
    • Merriam-Webster [1]
    • Oxford Concise [2]
    • Collins (citing Webster's New World College Dictionary) [3], and providing a word frequency rating of middle-ground (most dictionaries don't provide this, and I don't know how this one determines it)
    • An online one with no paper equivalent: Your Dictionary [4].
    It's not listed in American Heritage (the entire raison d'etre of which is US-centric traditionalism; it was started as a prescriptivist rebuttal to the linguistic description shift of Webster's Third New International Dictionary), or the online version of The Cambridge Dictionary (I think I have a paper one around, if we care). The definitions are not limited to having anything to do with a post-marriage name change (which is not all that rare for men these days, especially in hyphenated form).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:45, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
This is all very interesting. I've done plenty of reading in this area and can honestly say I never came across the masculine form before this discussion. Having done some more searching, I'm pretty sure it's more common in America, though - I notice Collins actually specifies that it's American and doesn't repeat the definition as "British" (as it does for Ne=Neon, for example), and both Collins and YourDictionary cite Webster as a source. It wasn't in the standard Australian dictionary the Macquarie (accessed online; others with an NLA library card can confirm). Oxford is interesting, but I notice it also doesn't specify "North American" for some (not many) other Americanisms like sweater. I also found zero instances in the Australian Dictionary of Biography (as opposed to over 11,000 for née). Similarly in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (British) I found zero instances of né and 10,000 of née. On the other hand there was a very small amount of né in the American National Biography [5]. Frickeg (talk) 23:05, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Prefer born, strongly discourage né(e) We shouldn't be using gendered adjectives in English (where adjectives are not gendered) as people always screw up the agreement and as Frickeg states, the masculine is certainly not common in English. "Born" is great because a) it's a direct translation and b) it handles cases where people's names have changed not owing to marriage... it's simply more flexible and gender neutral. Obviously the way to use it is as in the HRC example above: Sir Elton Hercules John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight; 25 March 1947) as per Elton John. Biographical articles nearly always describe the subject as being "born in" extremely early in the article—the notion someone might think "(born [birth name]; [birth date])" would be interpreted as "so-and-so was born in [birth name]" assumes people are extremely unintelligent and we really shouldn't be determining guidelines based on how some lowest-common-denominator group might misinterpret things. And honestly, people who might make that misinterpretation are probably just as likely to not understand the meaning of né(e). —Joeyconnick (talk) 18:43, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Allow any of the three options iff they are applied correctly. Several editors have claimed that using née and né are somehow pretentious without any sourcing to verify this isn't just their personal or regional prejudice. I've also checked the four hardcopy English-language dictionaries near me, and née (though not né) is listed and duly defined in each. However, we do need to elaborate that née and né may only be used for surname changes vis-à-vis marriage, and using "born" needs to be followed by a whole name lest the reader assume the person was born with a mononym. — fourthords | =Λ= | 19:02, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
    Can you provide a source for the statement that "née and né may only be used for surname changes vis-à-vis marriage", please? It is my understanding that they may be used for any name change, and indeed if we use them at all, we should use them consistently for all name changes. Perhaps I am mistaken. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 21:45, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Prefer "born as", strongly discourage né(e). Silly pretentious synonym, get rid of alma mater while we are at it and replace with "educated at" or other simple wording. --RAN (talk) 20:09, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
    All the definitions I read specified that née is for women who've changed their surnames with marriage. Also, I think somewhere in the discussion above it's mentioned, too. — fourthords | =Λ= | 22:39, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
Iff = if and only if. Otherwise an off-topic discussion. wumbolo ^^^ 09:08, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • @Fourthords: it's more than likely that a general, non-computer science audience doesn't understand you are using iff to signify if and only if. —Joeyconnick (talk) 23:59, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
    I am that "general, non-computer science audience". I didn't know that "iff" was used in programming; I learned that shorthand in school from teachers of various secondary school disciplines. — fourthords | =Λ= | 14:31, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
    I have been a professional in a computer science field for over 30 years, with a strong inerest in mathematics as well, i had neveer heard of this usage of "iff" before this discussion. I supposed that this was a typo. I would advise not using this term on Wikipedia. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 14:50, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
    That's hard to imagine. I'm in the same professional boat, but have seen iff used this way since at least the late 1980s, and frequently. May have something to do with which programming and scripting languages one work with. I agree, though, that we should use it neither in our article wording nor our guidelines, since it's a geekism. But I'm not sure why we're talking about this in this thread.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:45, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
    Because someone used iff, then someone obviously thinking it was a typo or spelling mistake changed it to simply if, and then the originator changed it back. I didn't want people to start edit warring about it, so I brought up the fact it was not a widely known shorthand. As subsequent discussion establishes. —Joeyconnick (talk) 02:05, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
  • There has been a lot of discussion on whether "née and/or "né" should be allowed, or are "pretentious". But I haven't seen anything suggesting a reson why the use of "née and/or "né" improves an article, compared to the use of "born". "Born" can be used to indicate the original birth name whatever the reason for a change. Anyone who reads English well enough to use this site will understand "born". It is not gender-specific. It does not require a template, nor a link to explain its meaning. Why not make it the preferred alternative, going forward? Oh and i strongly suggest that when used "born' should be followed by the full birth name, not merely the changed surname (when that is what changed). This reduces any possible confusion. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 20:27, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
    Why is gender-specific a problem? Others have mentioned it as if it were an issue, but we are dealing with one human being at the time of their birth. We still permit "he" and "she", why not née or "né? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 20:43, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
    Which form does one use for a trans person? Or must one use "born" in that case? In any case there is a general tendency on Wikipedia to avoid gender-specific language as much as possible. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 21:21, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
    I'd have thought it was pretty obvious: the sex that they were born with since that is what né(e) means! A new-born babe does not "identify", it just is. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 22:01, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
    Last year on this page there was a discussion about having long-winded introductory sentences. If the page began "Jeffrey Preston Bezos (/ˈbeɪzoʊs/; born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen; born January 12, 1964)" it would be too repetitive. The terms "" and "née" are perfect in this sort of scenario as they replace the first and middle names. I write "born" twice because the word does not carry over the semicolon, so to speak. Hameltion (talk, contribs) 20:47, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
    What is wrong with Jeffrey Preston Bezos (/ˈbeɪzoʊs/; born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen, 1964) or Jeffrey Preston Bezos (/ˈbeɪzoʊs/; born 1964 as Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen)? I would not repeat "born". I would also omit the exact date of birth for living people, as per WP:DOB. It isn't really needed anyway, the year gives the relevant context. That shortens the sentence a bit. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 21:25, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
    There's nothing wrong at all with those constructions (except that in my view—and there has been disagreement about this—the full birth date, if widely published, should be provided in the lead). The only reason I would opt to use in this case is that the repetition of parts of the name may be a little too conspicuous, whereas writing just the surname at birth and "" is—and again, this is just a preference thing—more sleek. Hameltion (talk, contribs) 21:38, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
    In that case, I would say it's just a matter of concision. If the subject of an article only had the one, upon-marriage change of their surname, then "née LASTNAME" actually conveys slightly more information while being far more concise than "born FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME LASTNAME". If it performs both functions like this, why not use it? — fourthords | =Λ= | 21:51, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I wrote above: Can you provide a source for the statement that "née and né may only be used for surname changes vis-à-vis marriage", please?
    Well I checked some sources:
    • Merriam-Webster gives: "1: used to identify a woman by her maiden family name; 2 : originally or formerly called" and quotes "the old New York State Theater [has been renamed] for David H. Koch and Avery Fisher (née Philharmonic) Hall at Lincoln Center for David Geffen."
    • gives "placed after the name of a married woman to introduce her maiden name"
    • The online OED says "Originally called; born (used in giving a married woman's maiden name after her surname)"
    • gives "If a woman marries and adopts her husband's last name, her former name becomes a thing of the past. If your grandmother's maiden name was "Smith," describe her as nee Smith. This works when people change their names for reasons other than marriage as well."
    • The free Dictionary gives "1. Born. Used to indicate the maiden name of a married woman. 2. Formerly known as."
    • The Urban Dictionary gives "used after a woman's married name to introduce the family name by which she was known before she married; also used when anything is renamed"
    • Collins English Dictionary gives "You use née after a married woman's name and before you mention the surname she had before she got married."
    So there seems some support for my belief that née and né can be used for any change of name, although it seems to be a minority position. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 22:13, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
Highly selective sourcing. Here's more (including from some of the very same dictionaries):
  • The American Heritage Dictionary: "2. Formerly known as." [6]
  • Merriam-Webster: "2: originally or formerly called" [7] – also encompasses extended/metaphoric usage, e.g. in reference to organizational name changes, and quotes an example of that usage.
  • Oxford Concise: "Originally called" [8] – and gives this as the primary meaning, with "maiden name" as second.
  • Collins: "born" (citing Webster's New World College Dictionary); later in same page: "born, previously, formerly". [9]
  • Random House Unabridged (via "born (placed after the name of a married woman to introduced her maiden name)", yet then followed by an extended/metaphoric example where it's used to indicate the difference between someone's stage and real name (and for a man at that – Mickey Rooney). [10]
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:45, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
My comment was not WP:CHERRYPICKING, SMcCandlish, and I resent the suggestion. I reported every dictionary site that appeared on the first 2 pages of a google search for "née definition" except Wiktionary, which I didn't consider reliable for the same reasons we don't cite Wikipedia itself. Perhaps I should have run additional searches or checked further pages. But I was looking for support for the contention that née could be used for any name change, and was surprised to find this a minority position in the sources I saw. Had I been cherry picking I would have omitted some sources which failed to support my contention. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 13:21, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
@DESiegel: My bad! I confused some of your material with some from someone else, and misread you as suggesting that "née and né may only be used for surname changes vis-à-vis marriage" based on the the dictionary material you quoted. Sorry about that, and I struck the cherrypicking reference. In the end, I do not agree the broader usage "seems to be a minority position". It's not a vote (even off-site). Better-regarded, more comprehensive dictionaries usually include the broader meaning, and more compact and casual ones tend not to, but that's indicative of what they're choosing to include, not what they think is true. Otherwise all dictionaries would be massive unabridged ones. If even the AHD includes it, it's well-accepted, since AHD is the last bastion of hardcore prescriptivism, and the most resistant of all major dictionaries to any shift in meaning or usage.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:51, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
thank you, SMcCandlish. I was trying not to claim more support for my view than was warranted, indeed to understate it if anything. I apparently did not analyze the sources sufficiently, merely reporting raw mentions. In any case, it seems pretty clear that "née" and "né" can be used for changes of name for reasons other than marriage, and for changes of other than jsut the surname. That does not, of course, settle how the MOS should recommend that "née" or "né" be used in Wikipedia articles, particularly biographies. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 19:33, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I understand the "it's not familiar enough [to me]" argument, I just don't find it terribly persuasive. Most dictionaries of any repute have these words, the marriage-unrelated usage is well represented in them, and they aren't flagged as obsolete or rare. Meanwhile, we have templates and linking, and we don't have a principle to not use words just because someone might not understand them (though WP:JARGON suggests avoiding pointless use of geeky material when plainer English will do). We shouldn't require these words to be used, since in any particular case something else might work better. But we shouldn't try to "ban" them either, since they're useful in leads and other places where we need to save space, and they're even the conventional terminology in some contexts like genealogy. If the world's collective mind doesn't implode when our compressed lead material has something like "fl. 453 BCE" in it, then it's not going to melt on contact with née, either. Ultimately, MoS's job is to guide editors in communicating effectively and consistently, not to dictate what wording they can use (we only get anywhere near that at MOS:WTW, regarding words that can be misinterpreted, confusing, or offensive).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:45, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
SMcCandlish & DESiegel, would it be fair to say that the rough consensus thus far is that the wording shouldn't be restricted? It seems, at least to me, that most editors would prefer the openness of selection rather than having to choose between born and né/née.. do you agree? LivinRealGüd (talk) 01:56, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes. Looking at the responses in the order they were posted, I see: choice, choice, opposed, choice, prefer "born" but retain choice, use template but retain choice, opposed, choice, choice, prefer "born" but retain some choice, prefer "born" but retain some choice marginally, and choice. So, free choice dominates, and choice at least within some limits overwhelmingly dominates, with only two respondents totally opposed. And I think their concerns have already been addressed anyway.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:59, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Yeah it seems like or "née"for the past five days we've just been beating a dead horse while going down unrelated roads. I'm going to leave a tentative rough consensus and see if there is any push back (or anything to add). If nothing, we should look to close and update the MoS. LivinRealGüd (talk) 06:06, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that the question here is not whether to mandate or prohibit any option, but to establish a best practice, a preferred or recommended option. I see two editors suggesting prohibiting the use of "née" and "né", and three indicating that "born" should be preferred and "née" permitted (one of those would strongly disfavor "né") and several others favoring no specification. I think that may be enough support for a preference for "born" that it can be indicated as preferred, but "née" and "né" are definitely acceptable for any name change, not just changes due to marriage. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 12:45, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

Summation of Discussion[edit]

The rough consensus is that the Manual of Style for Biographies of Living Persons should not restrict the usage of née/né and born. Subjects whose surnames change by way of marriage should use the feminine née and masculine né as it so pertains to the gender they identify with. The usage of né and né should be followed by the subject's surname before marriage. The MoS should remove (and respectively explain) any restrictions on the usage of né/née and "born".LivinRealGüd (talk) 14:41, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

That makes it sound like né(e) has to be used to describe name changes owing to marriage, which is certainly not how I read the discussion. I would go with something like When née or né is used to indicate surname changes owing to marriage, it should match the gender the subject identifies as. You identify as (or not as) man or woman, not with. —Joeyconnick (talk) 07:47, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I cannot agree that the above statement correctly summarizes this discussion. Instead I would suggest something like this:
    The rough consensus is that the Manual of Style for Biographies of Living Persons should not restrict the usage of "née", "né", and "born" to indicate changes of name. Any of these may be used to indicate the original birth name, or birth surname if "née" or "né" is used, regardless of the reason for the change of name. If "née" or "né" is used, "née" should be used for persons identified as female, and "né" for persons identified as male. However, "born" is somewhat favored over "née" or "né", and best practice is to use "born" in future, but not to change either form to the other except with local consensus.
    Could people accept that? DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 13:01, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Stop short of “However, ‘born’ is considered best practice and should be used in the future”, and I think you reflect consensus. Blueboar (talk) 13:18, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
In the future, lets not say "I cannot agree that the above statement correctly summarizes this discussion" if you change only a couple words, instead say "just add this one thing", etc. Anyway, if we combine all that was summarized above we would get:
The rough consensus is that the Manual of Style for Biographies of Living Persons should not restrict the usage of "née", "né", and "born" to indicate changes of name. Any of these may be used to indicate the original birth name, or birth surname if "née" or "né" is used, regardless of the reason for the change of name. If "née" or "né" is used, "née" should be used for persons identified as female, and "né" for persons identified as male. Anything else to add? LivinRealGüd (talk) 15:13, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Should {{nee}} be mentioned, or is it best to leave it out of the summary? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 16:20, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
I'm not too familiar with the discussion regarding that template but in any case, I don't think it was too reflective of any consensus--best to leave out. If everyone is okay with this after 2 days, although I can prep for closing, it would be best if someone else could actually close the discussion (to do this see: WP:CLOSE) and I (or someone else) can go ahead and update the MoS. Best, LivinRealGüd (talk) 17:53, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

RFC Question

Should née and né be used to indicate birth surnames? The alternative is "born" followed by the full birth name or the surname at birth.

RFC Consensus

The rough consensus is that the Manual of Style for Biographies of Living Persons should not restrict the usage of "née", "né", and "born" to indicate changes of name. Any of these may be used to indicate the original birth name, or birth surname if "née" or "né" is used, regardless of the reason for the change of name. If "née" or "né" is used, "née" should be used for persons identified as female, and "né" for persons identified as male.

To closing editor (anyone can close): please post {{Discussion top}} at the top of the article and {{Discussion bottom}} at the bottom. Any further discussion about the topic can be undertaken in another, new post. After it is closed, an editor may update the MoS. In any case, editors should check what is added to the MoS to ensure it is consistent with the discussion summary above. LivinRealGüd (talk) 01:44, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

It is not necessary to add anything, only to remove the current restriction. DrKay (talk) 17:03, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
DrKay, Would you mind closing the RFC? I want to make sure everything is done correctly. LivinRealGüd (talk) 18:11, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I commented in the discussion, so I'll leave it to an uninvolved editor. DrKay (talk) 19:05, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Ah, I just saw your discussion comments, no problem. @Numerounovedant, I don't think you were apart of this RFC, would you mind closing? LivinRealGüd (talk) 19:08, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Requested move 14 June 2018[edit]

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/BiographiesWikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography – Current title is wrong for the scope. This MoS page is not only about writing an article that is a biography, but about all biographical material (though some bits of it, such as handling of biographical leads, are specific to bio articles).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:34, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Support – The title should reflect the page's true scope. (talk) 05:20, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support: again, only seems natural, as title should reflect scope. —Javert2113 (Let's chat! | Contributions) 14:35, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - per SMcCandlish's point. Lapadite (talk) 17:24, 20 June 2018 (UTC)

Merge MOS:JOBTITLES to this MoS page[edit]

I propose merging MOS:JOBTITLES, presently in MOS:CAPS, to MOS:BIO instead, where it's more appropriate, and leaving behind just a summary pointer. Bizarrely, MOS:BIO doesn't have the string "job title" anywhere in it, which may explain why there's so much confusion on Wikipedia about what to do with job titles. There are also title-related considerations that are appropriate at MOS:BIO which would not be on-topic in MOS:CAPS.

Merge roadmap:

  • Use the heading of that section, "Titles of people", as a top-level heading in MOS:BIO, after the "Names" section.
  • Move the extant "Occupational titles", "Academic titles", "Post-nominal letters", and "Honorifics" sections (probably in that order) to be under this "Titles of people" heading (most of them are mis-placed under "Names").
  • Merge the rest of the MOS:JOBTITLES material to "Occupational titles". Massage the text as needed to flow well from "Occupational titles" to "Academic titles", which would be a sub-sub-section of the former; they might even be completely mergeable if much of the wording is effectively redundant.
  • Consider renaming the section from "Occupational titles" to something more inclusive like "Positions, offices, and occupational titles".
  • The WP:SUMMARY presently at MOS:BIO#Occupational titles should move to MOS:CAPS#Titles of people (with wording tweaks if necessary for the context); then reverse the hatnote relationship between these sections.
  • Retarget the relevant shortcuts.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:53, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

  • I agree. This only seems natural. —Javert2113 (Let's chat! | Contributions) 14:35, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Concern... If this is moved to BIO, I could see wikilayers arguing that the provision only applies in bio articles... and does not apply to job titles mentioned in non-bio articles. I doubt that is what is intended. Blueboar (talk) 15:01, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
See the section just above this one, "Requested move 14 June 2018". I think it makes more sense to emphasize that mosbio applies to all biographical info than to separate out the parts that could apply to non-biography articles. Kendall-K1 (talk) 15:44, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
  • This should indeed be added to MOS:BIO and it's a bit surprising that it was missing in the first place. --Gonnym (talk) 17:06, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Merge – It took me a while to chase down all those places where this information appears. Completely agree it should all be in one place, here, with summaries elsewhere. Your plan looks exactly right to me. Are you volunteering to implement it? Kendall-K1 (talk) 17:44, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
    Yes. I would have just done it, but people are more apt to revert sudden guideline changes (even non-substantive ones) than otherwise.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:56, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Merge per above reasoning. Your version would flow better, and consolidate the info for future readers. — AfroThundr (u · t · c) 23:06, 19 June 2018 (UTC)