Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages/Archive 31

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Linking to Wiktionary for no apparent reason

I have noticed that many disambiguation pages are now linking to Wiktionary for no apparent reason. A page should have only what is necessary, in my opinion. An example of an unnecessary, and improper (at the moment), link to Wiktionary can be found at "interest (disambiguation)". The only times I can think of when a Wiktionary link on Wikipedia would be helpful is when a term could be nothing more than a dictionary definition, so a soft redirect to Wiktionary is created. The second situation is when one or more important meanings of the term are not represented on the page because the articles would be just dictionary definitions. The first situation does not even involve disambiguation pages, and the second situation is a poor reason because disambiguation pages are strictly for disambiguating articles, not providing information on every meaning of a term. Therefore, I would expect Wiktionary links on disambiguation pages to be very rare. Instead, they seem to be common and increasing rapidly.

You might say "who cares?", but these links bug me because they are unnecessary and take up a lot of room. I hate things that are unnecessary. In addition, since they take up a lot of room, the links usually cause the entries on a disambiguation page with good descriptions to take up multiple lines instead of just one. In my opinion, a disambiguation page is easiest to read and looks its best when its entries are thorough, yet concise, and only take up one line per entry. -- Kjkolb 10:28, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but I very strongly disagree. Dictionary definitions are a constant plague on disambiguation pages. A link to wiktionary is a simple and direct solution. The page you mention interest (disambiguation) had a malformed link to wiktionary. The wiktionary link to interest certainly seems appropriate to me on that page. As for taking up too much room, sorry, but I don't see that--the boxes float to the right, which is generally whitespace on most disambiguation pages. olderwiser 13:58, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I disagree as well. I remove a lot of dictionary definitions from dab pages as I clean them. If a person doesnt see something applicable on the list, they may decide to try clicking the wiktionary link. Besides, the box does not "take up a lot of room". I bet you'd have to search hard for even one dab page that has its article text one line longer because of a wiktionary box. - grubber 17:50, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
While on the topic... the current guidance for wiktionary linking is a bit dated, I think. Notably, the {{wiktionary}} template has taken an argument that is the word to be linked to for some time now. It's not deprecated and works fine. The only times {{wiktionarypar}} is needed are the rare times two words need to be linked in the same box - and even then, it often looks better to simply have two wiktionary boxes. Would there be any objection to changing the wording on that to reflect this? ("Wiktionary" is, after all, a much nicer name for the template and easier to remember.) SnowFire 18:27, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I've got nothing to add, other than that I fully agree with older ≠ wiser and grubber above... dictionary entries in disambiguation pages are a big problem, and anything that can help reinforce that Wikipedia is WP:NOT a dictionary (and that that applies to disambig pages too) is a good thing. --Interiot 18:34, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think wiktionary boxes often cause "good descriptions" to wrap to the next line. The only good description is a short description. Chris the speller 00:59, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
:) -- Natalya 23:48, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Toplink

What do people think about the recent addition of {{For}} at Mayfield diff ? Personally, I'd have put the link at the bottom under "See also". But I'm reluctant to change it because I can't see anything in the style guide discouraging toplinks on disambiguation pages. CarolGray 16:16, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

I was bold and changed it as I would expect it to be most useful, reasonably consistent with how other pages work. (John User:Jwy talk) 17:31, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad it isn't just me. Should we add anything to the guideline about this? CarolGray 17:50, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
The guideline already covers it, under 'The "See also" section'. You were right when you made the original post. Chris the speller 17:07, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Again: Red links in disambiguation pages

I'd appreciate any comment on This Is It at Talk:This Is It.

Generally, I'm not quite sure if red links are really such a bad thing. Isn't the number of "What links here" pages of a yet unwritten article indicative of the urgency with which it should be created? <KF> 17:47, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

CC templates now redirect to {{disambig}}

Per the decision at the TfD discussion, all of the CC templates ({{2CC}}, {{3CC}}, {{4CC}}, and {{5CC}}) now redirect to {{disambig}}, and no longer need to be used. The guidelines will be updated accordingly. Thanks to everyone participated in the discussion - I know we all don't agree, but hopefully we will be benefiting disambiguation pages overall. -- Natalya 01:13, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

First Name dabs - redux

Sorry if this is a really stupid question, but is the intent of a first name dab to really list everyone who has that first name, whether they are known by it or not?

What prompted me to ask this is [Alfred], although I have found others in my travels. Why on earth would anyone looking for Weird Al Yankovic use "Alfred" as a term? Is the intent of this page to catalogue every notable person listed in WP whose name contains Alfred?

Please educate me. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 16:37, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

I have created a separate Alfred (name) page for these entries. In my opinion, Alfred the Great is the only person who could reasonably be referred to as just "Alfred". CarolGray 17:37, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Questions about See also section

I have read MoS:DAB very thoroughly and have cleaned up quite a few dab pages by now. The only thing that I'm sometimes still unsure with is the "See also" section.

1. Does this kind of section allow descriptions? Because I have never seen a good cleaned-up-by-others dab page with descriptions in that section. But there are cases like when I tried to clean up a short-ish religion/philosophical dab page where I could clearly make out what should go under "may refer to" and what belongs to the "See also" section; yet the concept's article names in the "See also" section didn't make much sense for an outsider without a description.

2. Also, for example, I cleaned up the Einstein (disambiguation) page and moved all people with that surname over to Einstein (surname). However, it is not really clear to me whether I should have put Einstein (surname) under "See also" (because it's like a "List of people with the surname Einstein") or somewhere under "may refer to" (where all the the other Eintein (xyz) types are listed) [1], or separately somewhere on the main dab page [2]?

3. Finally, in how far should links in the "See also" section be piped? I have seen several versions, and all looked good somehow. – sgeureka tc 01:48, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Nice work on this one. A couple of the "See also" entries cry out for a description, or at least a hint (opera, board game). I only object to descriptions there where the editor is displaying everything he or she knows about the subject (winner of the 1987 Sleazebotham Award for design integrity ...), or where you can smell and taste their pride or interest. Having your surnames at the top is probably good in this case, as I imagine a lot of readers get to that page while looking for people. I wouldn't pipe entries in the "See also" section unless I had a good reason; avoid surprise. Chris the speller 05:41, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Chris. Also, I notice you've tagged Einstein (surname) with {{disambig}}. I'd have used {{Surname}} instead. In my opinion, Einstein (surname) doesn't belong in Category:Disambiguation because the articles listed aren't called just "Einstein". CarolGray 08:34, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Not sure how to handle this one

As someone who is constantly editing disambiguation pages to try to make them conform with this MoS, I have come across one that I am not sure of. In Imitation of Life, there is a new entry:

Should we:

  1. Keep it as is, or
  2. De-link all of the artists but the first one (most significant?), or
  3. Remove the entry completely

Thanks in advance for your guidance --rogerd 14:05, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I'd do option 1.5 -> The album cover that I see Beresford and Honsigner prominently displayed and no sign of the other two. Two blue links on this line seems okay to me. (John User:Jwy talk) 14:28, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I was going to say "Keep it as is", but given Jwy's better research, I concur with his recommendation. (I changed the formatting of some of the other titles before coming back here, so I haven't made the change suggested.) -- JHunterJ 14:42, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I noticed that you removed the indentation of the two film adaptations of the novel. I have seen the same technique used in other places when there is some linkage. Why did you do that? Also, I have always been under the impression that piping was a no-no on disambiguation pages. Thanks --rogerd 15:00, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Piping for formatting is a yes-yes exception to the general no-no -- see WP:MOSDAB#Piping. The linkage didn't seem strong enough to warrant suborning the movies to the novel; if a user is looking for the movie, the fact that it's an adaptation of the novel won't help them. IMO. -- JHunterJ 15:12, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Proposed new wording of otheruses template

Template talk:Otheruses#"For other articles, see X (disambiguation)."—discuss there. Thanks. Punctured Bicycle 18:54, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Human vs. animal

Debate started at the Clinical Medicine Wikiproject on how to name topics that apply generically or specifically to humans vs animals, eg Tooth vs Tooth (human) or Human tooth vs Tooth (animal) - See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Clinical medicine#Human vs. animal?.David Ruben Talk 12:53, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

More on first names

Last year, I started down a path to clean out some lists of people by their first name (and other lists of people by their last names). After several discussions (Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)/Archive 25#Hndis needs its own Manual, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Allen (surname), Talk:Jennifer), it appeared that consensus was against my view, and I restored the lists I had deleted. It appears that a few more discussions have taken place since then (Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)#Lists containing people names - RFC, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)#first name dabs, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)#First name dab pages, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)#First Name dabs - redux, with less opposition. Currently, there's this AfD: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of people with the first name Julie which seems relevant. Is there a new consensus? Can I (or anyone else) make an entry in the project page reflecting this consensus? Thanks. -- JHunterJ 17:11, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Why only one link per line?

I'm sure this has been discussed before - my apologies for cluttering the page. I couldn't find what I was looking for elsewhere. The MoS lists "one link per item" as a policy for disambiguation pages... I find myself running across many pages with multiple links-per-line and thinking, "That doesn't seem outrageous... Linking to the author of a book and also the title, or a song title and its artist, doesn't seem all that unreasonable... But I suppose it's policy, so I'd better change it... *sigh*" Can anyone explain the rationale here?

Of course, there are many instances where multiple links are superfluous and distracting. But (it seems to me that) in some cases, doubling or tripling the limit may be in order. Is it okay to make an exception in these instances? How strictly should I be "enforcing" this policy?

Thanks for the attention. I don't know if it'd be "inappropriate" to split the discussion, but you're welcome to respond on my talk page if you'd like, since this is sort of a one-man issue. PaladinWhite 00:34, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

WP:D#Disambiguation pages says it best: "Each bulleted entry should, in almost every case, have exactly one navigable (blue) link; including more than one link can confuse the reader." Dabs aren't meant for exploration; they're intended to rout the reader to the article he meant to find. If the reader wants to continue exploration, the linked page is the place to start, not the dab page. -- JHunterJ 00:40, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Here's a link to the most recent discussion about this issue: October 2006. --Muchness 02:37, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, both of you... I can see that my opinion has been expressed before, and shot down. I guess I'll just have to "agree to disagree" at this point. PaladinWhite 03:14, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Sourcing

Disambiguation pages are generally not sourced - but there's nothing "official-like" about it. What's the deal? WilyD 15:18, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

What's what deal? What's not official-like about dabs? If I understand your question, it probably belongs at Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation, since it's not about the style of the pages. -- JHunterJ 16:59, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I mean, disambiguation pages are usually not sourced, and although this makes sense (they're not content), there no where I can find that suggests this is a good or acceptable thing. WilyD 17:28, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
WP:SOURCE contains a section titled "Wikipedia articles must be based on reliable sources". Fine. But dab pages are not articles, they are navigation aids, special pages in the article namespace. Articles are never dab pages, and dab pages are never articles. At least, if I see them, they won't be for very long. Chris the speller 00:26, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Right, but that's implicit - it's easier to show a disruptive editor something stated directly than try to get them to infer what is (apparently) obvious. WilyD 13:50, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguation pages usually don't need sources, but not because of the above reasons. Most "summary"-style pages on Wikipedia don't need to repeat the sources that are already listed in the more detailed article. For instance, most of the games listed at List of Wii games already have reliable sources listed at each game that confirms the game is actually being released for the Wii, so there's no need to repeat the sources there. For disambiguation pages though, there have been a few cases (particularly when an entry doesn't yet have an article for it) that I've felt the need to source claims made on the disambiguation page (with the intent that the sourcing be moved to the article once it's created, of course). --Interiot 00:57, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Disagree with you in that I NEVER let new content stay in a dab page. I move it immediately to a new article, even if it's a one-liner. Them one thing will happen: either it is meritless and gets deleted (and thus proves it shouldn't have been dabbed) or it becomes a bona fide stub and gets dabbed. --maf 01:11, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

First names. Yes, again

I would like to request community's feedback about the situation with the Fyodor (disambiguation) disambiguation page (see Talk:Fyodor (disambiguation)#Fedor Emelianenko) and possibly with other similar pages.

According to my interpretation of MOSDAB (and to several prior threads on this page), disambiguation pages should not generally include people by their first names ([p]eople who happen to have the same surname or given name should not be mixed in with the other links unless they are very frequently referred to simply by the single name). Hence, I removed a number of entries which I felt were against the inclusion guidelines. However, later on several occasions various editors tried to re-insert the entry on Fedor Emelianenko, mixed martial artist ([3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12]). Of all those tries, only the last editor (User:CasualFighter) engaged into a discussion on the talk page. According to him, the person in question is very frequently referred to as "Fedor". Reviewing the evidence, I still do not see how this case is any different from any other notable person with this name (more reasoning is available here). Further feedback from this community would be much appreciated.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 18:45, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I'll go with assuming good faith that the guy is indeed known by his first name. However, if there were a Fedor (given name), I'd put it there instead and dab the new article instead. BTW, while all of this was going on, there was still some cleanup to do, which I just did. --maf 20:57, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm all for assuming good faith, but shouldn't we have clear guidelines as to who is supposed to be included and who is not? Take a look at Barry, for example. There are five people by this first name listed on that page (one of whom is a red link). I have never heard of any of those people before. If I were to clean this page up to make it conform with the MOSDAB guidelines, how would I know which entries should stay and which should go? In other words, how am I to find out whether any of these people are indeed "very frequently referred to" as just Barry? If I were to remove them all, what's to prevent another editor, who is a fan of Barry XYZ, from popping up and saying "hey, how dare you to remove this Barry?"
Anyway, my recommendation would be to amend the policy to explicitly prohibit listing people by their first name, unless they are commonly known solely by that first name (that would include royals, celebrities, and nicknames). Everyone else can go to "lists of people A-Z", to which we are supposed to be linking anyway. Comments?—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 21:15, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
One indication I use is to look at the article itself. The article on Mariah Carey never calls her or refers to her as "MC", so I always delete it from MC (disambiguation) when it gets added... It's not foolproof, but it can give you an idea. So, in fairness, the article does call him Fedor quite a bit. Most articles will use only the last name to refer to the person (like Jack Horner (politician), as an arbitrary example). So, they could be right that he is legitimately called "Fedor" in "common" usage. - grubber 21:54, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Forget Barry. It's now cleaned-up and all given name entries were removed.--maf 22:49, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
What about the policy amendment proposal? Wouldn't you agree it would greatly simplify the work of people who routinely clean the dab pages up?—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 16:12, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I think the proposal is a bit too restrictive, since, strictly speaking, even Shakespeare's Romeo is not known solely as "Romeo"; there is probabably quite a number of people who know that his last name was Montague. Speaking of the Fedor disambig. page, according to the proposal, we would have to remove Feodor I of Russia as well, since, according to the article, "he is known as Feodor the Bellringer", and not solely as "Feodor". And I don't even want to think about what will happen if some wikieditor will actually follow the proposed policy and remove Mary Magdalene from the Mary disambig page.
You mean, Romeo had a surname? Now seriously, "I of Russia" or "the Bellringer" is not part of the name - he is still king Fedor, one of many with the same name. It's like the current Pope Benedict - what's his ordinal number - XV, XVI, XXVI?--maf 23:32, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
The proposal might make the clean-up work simpler, but it would also make Wikipedia less usable. If people very frequently refer to a notable figure just by her or his first name, we should probably let them find that person on Wikipedia by that first name. -CasualFighter 21:54, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
His proposal says to not dab by name indiscriminately unless the person is known by that name alone. --maf 23:32, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying this, maf. This is precisely what I meant.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 02:04, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree "to explicitly prohibit listingdabbing people by their given name or surname, unless they are commonly known solely by that single name (including royalty and nicknames)", supplemented by 'Special: pages beginning with (name)' or by 'List of people named (surname)'. And, if you're putting this to the vote, think also of detailing on {{hndis}} the difference between these types of articles/pages: dab, list, index, Special, and onomastics. --maf 23:32, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I am interested in this subject, can you please direct me to the relevant style page/section so that I can read that before commenting on thisAbtract 21:46, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • can no on tell me where I can read the current "rules" and the proposed change being discussed??? Abtract 09:04, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I don't know where the proposal above is being discussed, other than right here, but see also WP:VPP#Lists of names. IMO, a guideline/style guide separate from the MOSDAB is needed. Lists of names are not disambiguation pages, since they are not disambiguating pages that might otherwise have the same title. These appear at first to run afoul of WP:NOT#DIR, but sometimes consensus on an individual list runs to "keep" (Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Allen (surname) and sometimes to "delete" (Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of people with the first name Julie). Sometimes given name lists are kept too. Having lists of names kept inconsistently is unfortunate, IMO. -- JHunterJ 12:09, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
    Thanks for the link, JHunterJ; I was not aware a similar discussion was ongoing elswhere when I submitted my proposal above. I will wholeheartedly support introducing or amending any policy which would help us distinguish between the names pages and disambiguation pages. Current situation is simply unacceptable.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 16:24, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Automated drinking game

I'm dropping a note in case anyone is curious or concerned about the number of entries showing up in Category:Disambiguation pages in need of cleanup. A while ago, I proposed a MOSDAB drinking game to score really badly-formatted disambiguation pages. Yesterday I managed to write an automated version that scans through an offline dump and prints out a list of disambig pages that get the worst scores. I manually review every one and manually tag them with {{disambig-cleanup}} (or just as often note that a page probably isn't a disambiguation page), so hopefully there aren't any bot issues. But if there are any suggestions for things I might be getting wrong (hopefully not... I've cleaned up many {{disambig-cleanup}} pages myself), or suggestions for specific features of a page to look for, feel free to let me know. (the day-old source code is here in case anyone is curious) --Interiot 17:47, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what to do about Government of Hawaii... it looks more like a free-form list than a disambig page, do others agree? Similarly with List of Star Trek episodes... it starts out as a disambig, and then meanders elsewhere. --Interiot 20:15, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
My opinion:
  • Government of Hawaii is not a dab, it's an index/portal of articles. All it needs is a header change: "The Government of Hawaii is comprised of the following institutions:" plus some minor reordering to put the historical articles to the side.
    Um, no, please. "The government of Hawaii comprises the following institutions:" (wikt:comprise) -- I'm typo fixing lots of these currently. -- JHunterJ 20:46, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
    Thanks, JHunterJ, lesson learned!--maf (talk-cont) 21:32, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
  • List of Star Trek episodes: I can see section 1 as a dab, but it could also be an index/portal of lists; anyways, section 2 should be either AfD (it's trivia, redundant to the other lists) or spun-off to List of feature-length and multi-part Star Trek episodes and then dabbed with the other lists.
--maf (talk-cont) 20:32, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Calderón has a number of paragraphs describing the name, does it need to be split off elsewhere? (disambiguation pages seem to have various amounts of etymology/introduction, I haven't see a discussion yet of how much is acceptable) --Interiot 20:53, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Latest tendency (if not consensus) is that lists of people are not dabs unless all of those people are commonly known by just that name. That is not the case for Calderón, which to me is just a regular article with a section of people, like the Benveniste that I cleaned-up, with just a {{surname}} at the end. --maf (talk-cont) 21:32, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Similarly, I replaced {{disambig-cleanup}} with {{surname}} on McNamara. CarolGray 10:42, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Use of articles following the link

Is there a branch of policy concerning the use of articles following the link on each line?

WP:MoS (DAB) seems to favor leaving it out, but doesn't state it explicitly that I can see, and I've seen DAB pages go both ways. (See Water (disambiguation) vs. The Raven (disambiguation)) PaladinWhite 06:34, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

I think the only policy about dabbing is that there should be dabs where needed; everything else is guideline and, therefore, optional to your taste and your good sense. Re articles, they really don't fit on people descriptors (although they're still used there) and for non-people the indefinite article is by far the most usual because descriptors do not need to be over precise: "Neptune, a planet" is enough to distinguish it from "Neptune, a Roman god" - no need for "Neptune, the ninth and last planet of the Solar System". I would focus more on taking out redundancy and clutter from descriptors; your examples above use "album" twice for each entry; the guideline advises to show the full article title because it also serves as descriptor. Therefore, something like "Abbey Road (album), by the Beatles" is more than enough. --maf (talk-cont) 10:33, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree. Note this line in the guideline, "People" section, "Do not include a, an or the before the description of the person's occupation or role". For non-people, whatever is natural. Which seems pretentious to you, "San Francisco, the city in California", or "San Francisco, a city in California"? There are other cities in California. I usually take out the definite article unless it seems natural, as in "Hamlet (legend), the original Hamlet legends". Chris the speller 15:52, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Actually, most of the examples in MoS:DAB do use an article. I am strongly in favor of having the article there, for what it is worth. It's abrupt and reads weird to leave it out in most cases. There should be a grammatical sentence made by every entry in a disambig page; "Apple can refer to Apple Inc., an electronics and media company formerly known as Apple Computer." is a grammatical sentence. "Apple can refer to Apple Inc., electronics and media company formerly known as Apple Computer." is nonsense with a dangling participle. The concern about redundancy is reasonable, but not really a huge issue most of the time. SnowFire 17:28, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

A careless reader might think you are instructing them to make each entry a sentence, and that is clearly not what the guidelines call for. I think you mean that each entry, when appended to the opening line, should be a sentence. I don't think that's necessary, as the disambig page is not meant as running text, but as a list of links, with just enough description to prevent ambiguity. Chris the speller 17:58, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
That is exactly what I am saying, and that guidance came from earlier discussions on this very page - that is, the introduction combined with the bullet should be a sentence. The topic organizations can be added as well ("Apple can refer to, in computing, ..."). And... I don't know what to say, but I very much disagree that the minimum amount of text is necessarily correct. As an extreme example, word association would probably work for disambiguating entries (Apple Inc., computer company iPod Macintosh); it'd just look ugly and weird. That's obviously not what you're recommending, but if we're going to make something close to a grammatical sentence (when completed with the introduction), why not go all the way? SnowFire 18:58, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm strongly in favor of an article as well. Most non-human-name entries include an article, but many human-name entries don't, and it's not clear why there needs to be an inconsistency. --Interiot 17:54, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I suspect a lot of editors got tired of seeing entries like "Hiram Quackenbush, the Civil War general". In almost any case, good disambiguation of people can be achieved without a definite article, and the indefinite article adds nothing, takes up room, and then invites more articles. We are used to seeing a description after a comma in the context of people, but it's not so common with inanimate objects; "Dick Schaedel, Attorney" does not make a bumpy ride, but "carburetor, automotive device" does. When an article seems natural for non-people entries, go for it. Chris the speller 18:15, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
If you just leave it at that, it's somewhat okay, but what if someone wants to expand it to "Dick Schaedel, attorney in the San Francisco area?" In that case, the "an" makes the flow much better for the same reasons as the other cases. It's especially clear if you imagine a series of Dick Schaedel entries for attorneys in different towns and times - "Dick Schaedel, attorney who worked on the Mordecai affair in Belgium" does not flow, and so on. (That said, I agree that definite articles should be used sparingly, and "the Civil War general" is a bad example. "The capital of Rajislava" or whatever is more reasonable.) SnowFire 18:58, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Alternative song names

Just wondering what the Wikipedia position is on multiple song or album names. Obviously there are some cases where the alternative name is very notable (The White Album comes to mind) but mostly alternative names are extremely little-known outside hardcore fan groups. Would an obscure secondary name warrant a DAB page or DAB title, regardless of notability or otherwise? I'd argue not, but I'd appreciate knowing the Wikipedia policy on this.--ABVS 23:51, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

I looked into it and found nothing on alt song names. A few pointers: Wikipedia:WikiProject Music, WP:SONG, WP:Naming conventions#Music. But I think it all comes down to this: "Names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors; and for a general audience over specialists." (from WP:NAMING). I interpret this as allowing The White album because it's the common title, but not allowing "an obscure secondary" title "little-known outside hardcore fan groups", the same fan groups which would most certainly know the official title. --maf (talk-cont) 00:25, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Should we create a style guide for Title (surname)?

As noted in the above section "Automated drinking game", a useful way to clean up dab pages that contain dozens of people having Title as their surname is to move them to a new page "Title (surname)". These new pages are articles, and not dab pages, but they can certainly be useful for navigating to the right article. For example, the Hanson (surname) page would help someone reading about a swimmer who "matched the time set by Hanson". These pages do not have any style guide that I can find, and they sure could use one. Even Captain Bligh was given food, water and a sextant when he was forced into the launch, and I think a group of contributors to this page might at least do the decent thing and provide a style page, perhaps "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (surname pages)". Once this is created, some or all of us can walk away from it. But in the current situation, making a dab page more beautiful is sometimes making Wikipedia as a whole more ugly.

It does not need to be as complex as the dab page style guide, but could cover aspects such as:

  • What the opening line might look like
  • What might be in an (optional) opening paragraph, which usually covers onomastics
  • What is in each entry
    • Is piping permitted or discouraged in the linked name?
    • Years of birth and death?
    • Description — nationality and occupation, as in LoPbN, or something more, or is that too much?
    • Only one blue link per entry?
    • Are red-linked entries more desirable, as in LoPbN, or even less desirable than on a dab page, or the same?
  • The order of entries: alphabetic, chronological, or split into categories (politicians, entertainers, scientists, etc.)
  • Template at the bottom? (but {{surname}} already seems to be the answer)

Maybe the first step, though, is to identify all the uses for these pages beyond disambiguation, especially any function that's not well provided for in Lists of People by Name.

I look forward to working (amiably) with any and all who think this modest effort will make Wikipedia better. Chris the speller 03:12, 28 April 2007 (UTC)


I am happy to contribute. I would like to see a style guide worked up by the people who compile the lists - personally, I only move existing lists off long dab pages. As a starting point, this is what I have been doing (but only because it is what I have seen other people do):

Title is a [ethnicity if appropriate] surname. [any further information - on derivation, geographical distribution, etc, here]

People with Title as a surname include:

Since surname pages are outside Category:Disambiguation, all of the ways in which MoS:DAB differs from WP:MoS should be up for discussion. We need to understand how these pages are used to know whether multiple bluelinks, etc, are useful. CarolGray 12:47, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Some responses to Chris's questions,
  • What the opening line might look like
    • The most common that I've seen is along the lines of "NAME is a surname, and may refer to". For articles with some etymological information, there is considerable variability.
  • What might be in an (optional) opening paragraph, which usually covers onomastics
    • In theory, this could be just about anything, although it reliable sources should be cited.
  • What is in each entry
    • Is piping permitted or discouraged in the linked name?
      • I'd think discouraged -- unless you are thinking of piping to put the names in a clear alpha sort as in:
        • [[Arnold Kelly|Kelly, Arnold]]
        • [[Benjamin Kelly|Kelly, Benjamin]]
      • I'm not sure about such sorting. I'm open to it, but I think it may make the page more difficult to maintain. If you meant more ad hoc piping of links, I'd think that should be discouraged. I'm sure there are cases where such piping would be appropriate, though I can't think of any right now. As a general rule, I'd suggest going with deprecating piped links.
    • Years of birth and death?
      • Certainly -- and should recommend a consistent format with regards to living persons or when dates are unknown or uncertain.
    • Description — nationality and occupation, as in LoPbN, or something more, or is that too much?
      • I don't see how that is too much--that is pretty minimalist, I'd don't see any problem with adding brief indications of particular achievements for which a person might be especially noted. For example, the entry on Armstrong for Neil Armstrong in "Neil Armstrong, American astronaut, first person on Moon", while the entry in LoPbN is "Armstrong, Neil (born 1930), American astronaut" -- I think the description that he was the first person on the moon is worth noting.
    • Only one blue link per entry?
      • In general yes--exceptions might be where the name is a redlink and the person is mentioned in distinct contexts in different articles (although in such a case, it would probably be better to make a stub to make the connections).
    • Are red-linked entries more desirable, as in LoPbN, or even less desirable than on a dab page, or the same?
      • I'd think there could be a slightly higher toleration for redlinks on such pages, although there reaches a point where we don't really want to encourage people to create biographies about people who are notable only because of some connection to a single event. And Wikipedia is still not a directory, so we wouldn't want these to become lists of wannabe fame-seekers.
  • The order of entries: alphabetic, chronological, or split into categories (politicians, entertainers, scientists, etc.)
    • I've never been very pleased by categorical divisions--placing a person into a single categorization can be subjective. There are people who are politicians and entertainers or politicians and scientists, etc. I suppose you could list people under multiple categories, but I think the default should probably be alphabetic. If a list is so long that a categorical or chronological view might be useful, then perhaps we should consider using sortable tables. But this perhaps go to a more fundamental question about the purpose of such pages. Except for optionally including some details about name origin, it is a list of articles or potential articles, so I'm not sure why we would not want to consider them to be a species of disambiguation page with special rules rather than as "articles" per se.
  • Template at the bottom? (but {{surname}} already seems to be the answer)
End of responses. olderwiser 15:04, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the ideas so far. Additional thoughts: Piping to Surname, Given name is probably not needed as in LoPbN because there is only one surname on the page, except for spelling variations (e.g. Hansson with Hanson). And to preempt the question "why do we need a surname page when there is already LoPbN?", surname pages are easy to link to from a dab page, while linking to LoPbN is very tricky and hard to maintain. I have inserted horizontal rules above to better separate the long responses, as the indentations were complex, and not sufficient to make clear who said what. Chris the speller 19:44, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive#Lists of names -- JHunterJ 21:50, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
You just can't turn WP into a rigid bureaucracy. That's why I haven't pushed for a policy on dabs or for more tighten/explicit rules within the dab guidelines, and that's why I think you're trying to go too far on this very specific type of article. Although I've been creating a lot of onomastics+LoP articles as part of dab cleanup, I still think lists of people are to be discouraged, but that discussion is many-elsewhere. Another two things: a) redlinks should go on Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles; b) there should be a distinction between a LoPbN and an index of articles on people, in that a LoPbN could allow non-linked entries, with the descriptors acting like micro-stubs. --maf (talk-cont) 23:55, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
While it is a nice gesture to list redlinks at Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles, that is a relatively ignored backwater of Wikipedia. There is nothing wrong with having redlinks on a disambiguation page when there is a reasonable likelihood that there should be an article on the subject. As for rigidity -- I think some guidelines would be preferable to none (provided there is support), though everyone should be clear they are nothing more than guidelines and not inflexible rules. olderwiser 01:39, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
My definition of "reasonable likelihood" is: "most definitely". It's most definitely likely that everything will end up having an article in WP, given an eternal timeline. But since that will not happen within next year, or within the next ten years where do you draw the line on redlinks, then? Maybe an essay on what redlinks are for, turning into guideline is in order... --maf (talk-cont) 13:24, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
A useful rule of thumb is when looking at What links here shows multiple links to a non-dictionary definition sense that does not have an article then that sense should probably stay on the dab page as a redlink. And as a corollary for editors inclined to remove redlinks -- examine What links here for the redlinked term -- if there are more than a couple of links to it, there is a reasonable assumption that 1) perhaps there should be an article on the subject, and 2) that other editors might also link to the undisambiguated term intending the redlinked sense -- but without an existing redlink on the page for guidance, disambiguators might create a different redlink term. Of course some editorial judgment is involved since disambiguation pages shouldn't be redlink farms for non-notable topics. I think there is far too much rulecruft and policycruft already, so I'm not keen on yet another essay cum guideline. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links)#Form indicates Links that follow the Wikipedia naming conventions are much more likely to lead to existing articles. When there is not yet an article about that subject, good links will make the creation of a correctly named article much easier for later writers. I think this is applicable to disambiguation pages as well as to articles in general. There is also Wikipedia:Red link, which purports to be a guideline, although I don't recall ever seeing it before. And there is also Wikipedia:Only make links that are relevant to the context. olderwiser 15:24, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

See also section

I'm having some trouble with the See also section in some articles, such as Smith. The guidelines say "See also" section, but another editor has been insisting that the bullet list be replaced with a single see also template, which I find less readable when there are multiple articles to see also. Opinions? -- JHunterJ 01:30, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

  • I'm inclined to agree with you on this. I find the {{see also}} template has much less visibility that a bulleted See also section. While there may be some cases where less obtrusive is desirable, I don't think that is the case on a disambiguation page where the goal is to help people find the desired target as efficiently as possible. olderwiser 01:40, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Thanks. For now, I'm going to let it stand, since the other user has issued a retaliatory 3RR warning to me, but if someone else would like to fix it, please do. -- JHunterJ 02:14, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I guess you're talking about the page that got mentioned last on your talk page. I admit I also sometimes use {{see also}} at the head of a section if there are several on a dab page. At the same time, this page has an average number of dab worthy entries (including place names), so in your place, I'd be bold and move all the (sur)name stuff to its own page which doesn't have to follow any strict MOS guidelines. This would leave only one see-also entry for "Maurice" (as a common misspelling), which should IMO then be listed under a ==See also== section, as I've never seen another style when I cleaned up a dab pages. (If this doesn't convince you/him, the page for the use of the {{seealso}} says it should be put at the head of a section. The warning for not following MOS ({{uw-mos2}}) also states to not use styles that are unusual or difficult to understand in articles. Using {{seealso}} at the bottom of dab pages is very unusual and IMO not helpful at all because it's so tiny.) – sgeureka tc 17:49, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Oops, before I read this last entry, I went to Morris and did my own cleanup, including spinning off the surname list. I also used a tophat {{distinguish}} for Maurice, and I kinda liked the {{see also}} at the bottom of a section, even though I had never seen it used like this. --maf (talk-cont) 23:51, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
    No worries. The See also that I was objecting to was on Smith. On Morris, the same user has been going against WP:DATE instead. Even for tiny lists, I'd prefer a See also section in dabs; the template seems more appropriate for hatnotes (as mentioned by Sgeureka). -- JHunterJ 00:00, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I also agree on using a See also section even on tiny dabs, but that section should be relative to the whole dab; in the case of Morris, the "see also's" were relative to just U.S. places, that's why I thought the use of the template, although unorthodox, was adequate.
As for the date formatting, also on Morris, it looks like the other editor is in the mode of "I like it this way and guideline is not policy anyway". WP:DATE, which I had never read before, seems comprehensive but not perfect - I've never included the full birthdate of people on dabs, only years, and even you do the same, with both of us going against the guideline. A corollary is that I have stopped editing in a way that would put me in a position of enforcing a guideline as if it were policy. --maf (talk-cont) 08:44, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
The date MOS includes examples of both "year only" and "full date". I agree that full dates aren't needed on dabs, but I don't thinks it's counter to the guideline. -- JHunterJ 17:43, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
WP:DATE talks of full date for people when it's known. Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages) talks of year only. The guidelines contradict each other in this case (unless you read very carefully and notice that WP:DATE refers to articles, which dabs are not...). --maf (talk-cont) 18:28, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

There is no contradiction. WP:DATE applies to articles, and MoS:DP applies to dab pages. It is hard to imagine how month and day of birth or death can help to disambiguate two people who have the same name if year doesn't do it. There are a few editors who think the invitation to "break rules" means to do whatever you feel like, but read the fine print: "usefulness to the reader is the principal goal." If you ever find an occasion to add month and day and it will help the reader, ignore the guidelines, since you then have a good reason to do so, but we don't need month and day just because you may have that information at hand. Chris the speller 18:45, 3 May 2007 (UTC)