Wikipedia talk:Naming conflict/Archive 2

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I cannot follow this higgledy-piggledy section further. I hope it will be divided into topics; I deplore this removal of subheads. We are discussing at least three or four topics at the same time; three of them procedural.

I propose, therefore, the following subheads:

  • What is policy?
  • What is consensus?
  • Is there a conflict of interest?
  • What is the proper name of the Roman Catholic Church- although that should go elsewhere.
  • And the one topic of real interest to this guideline, which should be discussed separately from all the others: What reasons are there to give or deny weight to self-identifying names? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:17, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Roman Catholic Church/Catholic Church is not directly relevant here. It is an interesting example, but we're not here to have that argument again. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 20:31, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree that it is not relevant. Questions about the nature of policy, what constitutes consensus and whether there a conflict of interest are also irrelevant, IMO. Sunray (talk) 21:02, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Most certainly not irrelevant. The false claim that a minority can claim to be "consensus" until they are overwhelming outvoted is the root of most of our WP:OWN violations in WP space. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:46, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  1. Proposed change(s)
  2. Rationale for change(s)
  3. Discussion

Is there more than this to discuss? Sunray (talk) 21:02, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, there is what this discussion has always lacked: a rationale for the text being defended, that is: for the use of self-identifying names.
  • For an example of this at another guideline, see here; I'm sure it's been done better than this, but this was recent and to hand.
  • To say "it's consensus" is insufficient; if this were consensus, we would not be be having this discussion. Consensus is almost unanimous agreement - and those who defend here are a minority. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:41, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Are you referring to article names or a disputed name within an article? If you are concerned about article names, the principles and procedures for choosing among controversial names is pretty straightforward and can be found here. If it is a disputed name within an article, the guidance is here.
And neither of those has a shred of justification, nor any evidence that they reflect consensus. No consensus has ever been cited; no discussion has ever been cited.
The process for changes to policies and guidelines is the following: One who proposes a substantive change, must first seek consensus on the talk page. So far, there has been lots of chatter, but I've not seen a clear proposal nor a rationale for change. Sunray (talk) 03:00, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Misquotation: What {{guideline}} says is that guidelines must reflect consensus. When consensus ceases to exist, the way to reflect that is for the guideline to be silent until a new consensus emerges.
  • Falsehood: I presented three myself:
    1. The former text, which demands the use of self-identifying names, is not what Wikipedia actually does; I've never seen a "self-identifying name" chosen over usage, and I watch WP:RM routinely.
    2. It would tend to impose an apologetic and defensive POV. We have a difference only when there is a commonly used name, and it's not what the group uses for itself. When that happens, there's a reason that English doesn't use the self-identifying name: and it's usually that the name itself is special pleading
    3. It is not, by hypothesis, what English calls the subject of the article, which defies the policy of having our titles optimized for lay readers, not for specialists - and even more so, not for special pleaders. (to which I add)
    4. (new) No reason has been presented, amidst all the It's our page, and the three of us declared it consensus back in 2005, noise why we should use self-identifying names.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 05:02, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
No one has claimed ownership, and as far as I know, none of us in this discussion took part in the 2005 discussion. That's a really inaccurate summary of the opposing view. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 06:19, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

The text protested, which is not what we do, and which appeals prescriptively to a very dubious metaphysic, is:

A city, country, people or person by contrast, is a self-identifying entity: it has a preferred name for itself. The city formerly called Danzig now calls itself Gdańsk; the man formerly known as Cassius Clay now calls himself Muhammad Ali. These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity. This should always be borne in mind when dealing with controversies involving self-identifying names.

Sorry, I'm a nominalist; I believe the French Wikipedia does well in using Londres to discuss the city which calls itself London and that they are not trampling on a "key statement of its identity"; they are communicating with their readership. Since this ends in one of the weakest pieces of guidance I have ever seen, next to "please consider", I advocate doing away with this altogether. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 05:22, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

You speak of misquotation. Yet, whenever I have referred to a policy or guideline I have been careful to copy the exact wording of the policy instrument. I'm afraid that you have wrongly quoted from the Guideline template, above. The actual text reads "When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus."
Very well; quoting language against its meaning and intent. Restoring language which lacks support by consensus fails to reflect consensus, since there is none. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:03, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Now, it was you, who said: "I cannot follow this higgledy-piggledy section further." Well put, IMO. So once again, please make your proposal. I would suggest that you not bother with further discussions of process. Instead, in a new section below, use the following format: "1. Proposed change"; "2. Rationale". We will then discuss it and, hopefully, come to some agreement. You may say: "but I have proposed this before." And that may well be true, but honestly I have no will to separate the fly shit from the pepper. Sunray (talk) 06:16, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree, I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out what is being proposed now. I just see a lot of accusations and misrepresented arguments. Please, can someone make some sort of proposal. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 06:21, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Example section

I'm moving a section here for further discussion; it seems to have been added recently:

Suppose that the people of the fictional country of Maputa oppose the use of the term "Cabindan" as a self-identification by another ethnic group. The Maputans oppose this usage because they believe that the Cabindans have no moral or historical right to use the term.

Wikipedia should not attempt to say which side is right or wrong. However, the fact that the Cabindans call themselves Cabindans is objectively true – both sides can agree that this does in fact happen. By contrast, the claim that the Cabindans have no moral right to that name is purely subjective. It is not a question that Wikipedia can, or should, decide.

In this instance, therefore, using the term "Cabindans" does not conflict with the NPOV policy. It would be a purely objective description of what the Cabindans call themselves. On the other hand, not using the term because of Maputan objections would not conform with a NPOV, as it would defer to the subjective Maputan POV.

In other words, Wikipedians should describe, not prescribe.

This should not be read to mean that subjective POVs should never be reflected in an article. If the term "Cabindan" is used in an article where the Maputan-Cabindan controversy is relevant, then the use of the term should be explained and clarified, with both sides' case being summarised.

I'm not sure this is quite right as written, and the writing is additionally unclear (e.g. "would not conform with a NPOV"). Is there any clear benefit to having it on the page? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 04:46, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

See Macedonian naming dispute, of which real-world situation this is a translation. Insofar as that dispute is reflected in Wikipedia, it has been settled by WP:MOSMAC2, and the polls that led up to it, without the use of the concept "self-identifying name". Therefore, no, no benefit; this is a failed effort to solve the Macedonia disaster, now resolved without it. . Septentrionalis PMAnderson 05:06, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
This is an incredibly important part of the policy, and not at all moot as these international problems continue unabated all over Wikipedia even if Macedonia solved their problem. This is the NPOV/Undue Weight policy applied as a naming convention. It says an important thing: one group, particularly a minority, cannot deny use of a common name by another group. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
What other conflict satisfies these conditions: the people of the [fictional] country of Maputa oppose the use of the term "Cabindan" as a self-identification by another ethnic group. The Maputans oppose this usage because they believe that the Cabindans have no moral or historical right to use the term? The parties on either side of the Taiwan Strait don't; for one thing, they aren't two different ethnic groups. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:46, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
The request to move People's Republic of China to China (as most outsiders would expect) is a monthly occurrence and always blocked by Republic of China backers who deny the common usage of China as a reference to the PRC. On a more minor case, there are the two Congos, a few Native American tribal name conflicts and probably others I'm unaware of, and maybe more in the future. It is a good thing to say one group cannot deny the use of a term by another group. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
The statement that the example has been newly-added, is - like a lot of the activities of people seeking to change this guidance without consensus - dishonest. The example has been stable in the guidance for years. I also deprecate the continual "forum-shopping" and moving this discussion, without notification to participants, from forum to forum. This counts as disruptive editing in my book. Two of the participants here are trying to disrupt the Catholic Church article, because they want the article at Roman Catholic Church, and I think that aim is behind a lot of the attempt to change the guidance here. Xandar 00:04, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
On the substantive argument, I agree with Schmucky the Cat. This is highly important in denying the argument that one group can stop another using a particular self-identifying name of their choice. The Catholic Church issue is another example where this argument has been used. And the attempt to illegally vandalise the guidance here seems part of that campaign. Xandar 00:04, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
And FULLCAPS are ever so much more rational and persuasive. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:31, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
You need to stop editing the main page until there is a consensus to change it; that's why he reverted it. What you are doing is disruptive. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 07:25, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
What's disruptive is continued attempts by one editor to restore some text to the guideline that clearly has no place in it, on the sole grounds that it was "there for a long time". It's really out of order for Xandar to accuse others of trying to amend this guidance to support their opinions about the Catholic Church article, when that seems to be his own main motivation for restoring his preferred version. For the record, I have not the slightest interest in what we call that article - if asked, I would probably agree that the word "Roman" is unnecessary. But that has nothing to do with including here some long one-sided exposition of the Macedonia dispute with the names changed. No-one's denying any group the right to call themselves anything - but no person or group has the automatic right to make Wikipedia call them something if the English-speaking world in general doesn't call them that (nor can any other group stop us from calling them something that the world calls them).--Kotniski (talk) 08:04, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
There is a way to change guidelines, and that is by community-wide consensus. You have tried on two different forums to gain that - and have not gained it. So you nand some allies, who are engaged in a naming dispute, have decided repeatedly to alter this guidance unilaterally and improperly without consensus. Your OPINION that the guidance is wrong gives you no right to alter long-standing guidance without full consensus. The continued attempts to by-pass the process, including changing the text with misleading edit summaries, show that you know that you do not have that consensus for change, and are trying to alter the policy by underhand means. Xandar 10:36, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Following correct editing procedure, it should be Bold Edit -> Revert by disagreeing editor -> Discussion resulting in consensus. What I see here is Bold Edit -> Revert -> Re-revert while discussing -> Re-vert While discussing -> ETC. That's called edit Warring. That's disruptive. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 10:48, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Indeed, I have just reverted another IMPROPER substantive alteration to the guidance made, as usual, without consensus, by PManderson - who is involved in a naming dispute elsewhere. This continued attempt to change established guidance by improper means has got to stop. Xandar 10:52, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Be careful not to go over 3 reverts --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 10:54, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Hopefully other editors will step in to stop the page being improperly vandalised by those who want to change the guidance for POV reasons. Xandar 10:56, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Brilliant, no-one else is allowed to change it, but you can choose whichever version suits you. This rather indicates that the page should no longer be marked as a guideline, but moved to your user space as an essay.--Kotniski (talk) 11:01, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
That's the policy. After the first revert, you discuss. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 11:04, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that's what we've been doing for ages; and improvements are made as a result of that discussion. It's disruptive to undo them just because you think they spoil your position in some dispute elsewhere (they don't, in this case, but Xandar seems to think they do).--Kotniski (talk) 11:13, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Right now those edits don't reflect consensus. So until there's a new consensus, we stick with the previous consensus. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 11:18, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Correct - and that consensus is reflected on WP:Naming conventions, a policy page which is widely watched and attracts wide participation, not on this page, which no-one was interested in until the Catholic Church people decided it would help their case (I don't see how it remotely does, but never mind.) --Kotniski (talk) 11:21, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Please look at this. Previous consensus doesn't lie on another page. Previous consensus was what was here before this started. Is there a conflict between the two? I don't think so. But what important here is that we discuss this here on the talk page before we start editing the page again. This back-and-forth is not acceptable. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 11:25, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
This guidance stood for years before the Catholic Church argument developed. Those trying to change the guidance now are not us, but seem to include people dissatisfied with that and other results. What we stick to is the consensus version of THIS GUIDELINE - not certain individuals personal interpretation of how other policies should apply to this. How this guidance reads is something to be decided by broad consensus discussion - as stated clearly in the tag at the top of the page of this guidance. So do not make substantive changes to the longstanding consensus guidance until consensus for any such changes is achieved on this page. Xandar 11:27, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
And you will block all possible consensus with your nonsensical arguments. Guidance stood for years because it was ignored, not because people agreed with it, hence its contradiction of other policies. --Kotniski (talk) 11:33, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Your idea of consensus seems to be your own views dominating. The "contradiction" is in your own mind. Your claim that the guidance whas ignored has no basis. By the examples I have given above, the guidance has been working well. Sunray has tried to get you and others to come to a productive and real discussion, but that has been spurned. Xandar 12:08, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

The examples don't show any guidance has been "working well" - the same conclusions would have been reached without this guidance, as PMA has shown (I don't know if the guidance was cited in any discussions about those names). And we've been engaging in productive discussion, but you make the process pointless by continually restoring an old version that neutral editors clearly don't agree with. And the contradiction seems to be in your mind - you are the one interpreting this guidance as meaning that we must use self-identifying names as article titles (which is not what it says), which manifestly contradicts the main NC policy. --Kotniski (talk) 12:17, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

The Ethiopian Church appears to have been moved a couple times, but not over this issue. Self-identification was a minor, but not decisive, issue at Kolkata, as I recall, but it overlaps there with using Indian English. Bangalore was not moved, although its Council changed its self-identification, because Indian English had not yet adopted the name. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:10, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Kotniski: The "old version" is the only legitimate version we have unless and until a new consensus should enmerge. You should know better than to alter major guidance like this without consensus. Following repeated vandalism and attempts to pervert Wikipedia policies on guidance changes, I have asked that this page be protected.
PManderson. The above applies to you too. You have already been reported to the Administrators for disruptive editing by multiple editors. Yet you continue to do the same thing. You seem able to find multiple "legitimate" reasons for setting aside the so-called "immutable" principle of "Common-name only" when it suits you. This shows that the whole rationale for attempting to change this guideline is false. Xandar 19:41, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
That's because I don't believe in common name only. I believe that that principle dominates; but there are occasions when it is more convenient to make exceptions - but adopting the point of view of the subject of the article is not one. I am even prepared to add something about self-identification as a way to choose between frequent names; but I observe no agreement on how much this should weigh. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:01, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

China and the Congo

There may be a point on these two cases; but I don't see how Suppose that the people of the fictional country of Maputa oppose the use of the term "Cabindan" as a self-identification by another ethnic group. helps or matters.

  • What two ethnic groups and their self-identifications affect the RoC and the PRC?
  • What two ethnic groups and their self-identifications affect the two states of the Congos?

And more to the point, what advice does Schmucky want to give on the issue of moving the People's Republic of China to China? The obvious reason not to do it, while at the same time keeping Germany there, and not at its self-identification, the Federal Republic of Germany, is that China is ambiguous. If there were only one Chinese government, we would call it China, whatever its self-indentification was. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:17, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

In fact, self-identification is dangerous here; suppose the next ideological shift at Beijing leads the PRC to declare that their name is China? What then? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:25, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Beijing unequivocally does claim the name "China" as a shorthand name and demands others use it. Claiming "China" is ambiguous is entirely false. Show reliable mainstream and modern sources that refer to the RoC as "China". It doesn't happen. It is a small minority (a small proportion of the electorate in Taiwan, and even fewer outside of it) claim that the RoC should continue to claim the use of the term China. That is a clear NPOV/Undue weight problem, because it is this minority view that denies the PRC the use of the term "China" which all reliable sources for at least 30 years have used as a short, common, name. Wikipedia is descriptive, not prescriptive. The world, in the English language, descriptively uses "China" to refer to the PRC exclusively. It is prescriptivist to have a minority, the KMT in the RoC, deny the use of that term.
Notice the description of "subjective criteria" in other parts of this guideline is clear as well, if a name is commonly used, we do not prescriptively change that because of political beliefs or the existence of minority claimants. This isn't just political or national, it is a basic concept of when to disambiguate primary title uses.
I'm not presenting this, so much, in terms of self-identification, but in the denial by one group of the common name (as presented by reliable sources as well as self-ID) of another group. The rest of this guideline, the main Naming Conventions, and DAB guidelines still support that, but I think the example was useful. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Very well, then, reverse the case; I apologize if I forgot whose advocate you are. Suppose the Taipei Government changes its name to just China; what then? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:32, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I would suppose the article name would be China (Taipei). Xandar 19:34, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Proposal C

I believe the following text reflects Proposal C above, on which Sun Ray agrees. I have marked it disputed, in deference to Xandar's revert war; but I do not believe it says anything with which anybody else disagrees.

A self-identifying name is often English usage, and should always be considered when looking for common usage. Even when it is not official, as with the Emperor Norton, it will often come into usage. On the other hand, Charles III of England was his self-identification, but is not what we call Charles Edward Stuart; modern examples should be handled on the same terms, although examples are likely to be more controversial, and the facts of self-identification and usage may change.
Please comment, or tweak in the text. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:00, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Xandar's comment

The text is totally unacceptable because A) No case has been made that the current effective guidance needs to be changed. B) The example Charles Edward Stuart is not representitive of self-identifying names, since the individual has been DEAD for 200 years, and can therefore not self-identify as anything. C) The guidance is full of weasel-words that produce a recipe for vagueness and conflict. the precision of stating the pre-eminence of self-identifying names has been replaced by confusing waffle that is a recipe for endless conflict, as well as a false example designed to undermine the concept of Self identifying names. Xandar 19:10, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
A) No case? For reference, I repeat the case below. I expect Xandar to ignore it again, but I welcome surprise.
B) The idea that only the living can identify themselves, or have names, or whatever Xandar claims here is entirely his invention; it's not in this guideline and never was.
C) Any weaselwords can be changed, if Xandar withdraws his request for protection, and specifies what they are. But this is the principle used in all our naming conventions, and does not involve deciding who speaks for an institution.
    1. The former text, which demands the use of self-identifying names, is not what Wikipedia actually does; I've never seen a "self-identifying name" chosen over usage, and I watch WP:RM routinely.
    2. It would tend to impose an apologetic and defensive POV. We have a difference only when there is a commonly used name, and it's not what the group uses for itself. When that happens, there's a reason that English doesn't use the self-identifying name: and it's usually that the name itself is special pleading
    3. It is not, by hypothesis, what English calls the subject of the article, which defies the policy of having our titles optimized for lay readers, not for specialists - and even more so, not for special pleaders.
    4. No reason has been presented, amidst all the noise why we should use self-identifying names. - and that is still true. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 05:02, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Not only the living can have names. But it is the living not the dead who have opinions on what their name should be, and who can be insulted and offended by improper naming and the traduction of their identity. And actually Bonnie Prince Charlie (which is his common name - not CE Stewart) didn't normally self-identify as Charles III, but as the Duke of Albany.
Let's have a look at the numbered claims in order.
  • 1. Ample evidence has been put forward that Wikipedia does actually use self-identifying naming rules in practice. Examples listed elsewhere on this page include articles where the common names are Coptic Church, Mormon Church, Canton and British Navy. In addition to Macedonia where the widely used "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" was rejected in favour of the self-identified name.
    • False throughout. The last is particularly offensive to me, because I participated in getting the settlement at WP:MOSMAC2. The ground of decision was that FYROM was uncommon and that the very common Macedonia was ambiguous. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:35, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
      • False again. The fact that Macedonia and Federal republic of Macedonia were the self-identifying names played a major part in the decision. FYROM is the name used by the United Nations, NATO, the EEC and numerous other international bodies even down to the Olympics and Eurovision Song Contest. However this, and strong Greek objections to the name were set aside because Macedonia is the self-identifying name. Xandar 12:26, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • 2. This is just the opinion of PManderson. There is nothing "apologetic or defensive" about "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints", "Mumbai", "Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria", or "Royal Navy". These are simply the names these bodies self-identify by, rather than names given to them by other people, who know much less about them - or what they do know may be distorted. Such names should normally be used because they are correct and less subject to POV bias. Hence the Romany and Inuit prefer to be identified by those names than the more common "Gypsy" and "Eskimo". This is not special pleading but accuracy.
Another mass of falsehood. Royal Navy" is usage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:35, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
No. You are the one falsifying the facts. British Navy is standard usage in the English-speaking world. Just as it is "Australian Navy" for the Royal Australian Navy etc. The names used by wikipedia are the self-identifying PROPER names. Xandar 12:26, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • 3. Yes, articles should be aimed at Lay readers, not specialists. However that is more about the elimination of jargon than using inaccurate names because they may be popular. Wikipedia's system of instant redirects actually helps in this, since "Mormon" and "British Navy" redirect instantly to the proper SI names - something not so easy in a paper encyclopedia.
The proper SI names? Système International? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:35, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • 4 The reasoning for the use of self-identifying names is partially made in the last three points. However it is also in the existing guidance - "names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity." and "Wikipedia is descriptive, not prescriptive. We cannot declare what a name should be, only what it is." Xandar 00:05, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Which are unsubstantiated and unsourced statements of a Point of View. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:35, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
What are you saying here PM? Can't a self-identifying name be substantiated with reliable sources? Nevertheless, what someone calls themselves isnt a point of view. A justification or rationale would be, but simply describing is perfectly neutral. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 02:31, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Of course the fact that group X calls themselves "the Y of X" is neutral and encyclopedic - although it is often more complex than it appears; which members of group X? But names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity is an arbitrary metaphysical statement, and part of the profound disagreement here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:52, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
It is justification and rationale for the policy. In other words if I founded a Society for helping the Unemployed", and the popular press labelled it the "Society of Scroungers", then the latter might be the more popular name, but since the title reflects the group's own identity and self-image, the group's SELF-IDENTIFYING NAME should be used. Xandar 12:26, 21 August 2009 (UTC)


Right now those edits don't reflect consensus. So until there's a new consensus, we stick with the previous consensus.

Not at all. That is equivalent to a claim of ownership, by whatever handful is the previous consensus, who will then quote a disputed guideline as consensus, to which all must yield. Better to be silent. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:09, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

You seem not to understand the concept of consensus - which is more important on articles like this one than elsewhere - since their influence spreads to the way numerous other articles are written. A previous concensus stands until a new consensus is achieved. If the majority of people in the community want a change then a new consensus will be arrived at. However if only a minority or a bare equality want a change and cannot win over other editors to their point of view, there is no change. Why is this? So that there is not flip-flopping on policies, and so that agreement is encouraged, and so that once broad agreement has been achieved on policy, there is stability. Xandar 23:21, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Consensus is agreement; no agreement exists here; as many editors object to the old text as support it. We were well on the way to working out what we did agree on above until you arrived with your revert war. Where consensus does not exist, it should not claimed. "Thus, "according to consensus" and "violates consensus" are not valid rationales for making or reverting an edit, or for accepting or rejecting other forms of proposal or action." Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:36, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
As the notice at the top of this page states clearly "Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page." Yes. We did start trying to work to see if a new consensus was possible. However there was deep disagreement on the key issue of self-identifying names, and certain editors decided to short-circuit the community consensus-building process by unilaterally making major substantive changes to the text, eliminating whole sections, and edit-warring to prevent reversion. While you are allowed a test edit. After one reversion the stable form has to remain until a new consensus is achieved. You may be impatient that your views are not accepted by everyone, but that's the way things are. Xandar 00:15, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
And your' edits reflect no consensus whatever. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:42, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Previous consensus. Please remember BOLD, REVERT, DISCUSS; Not BOLD, REVERT, EDIT WAR. Can we leave the previous consensus on the page, and get down to actually discussing a proposed change? Or do you intend to keep changing the page until people give up? Cause, that's grounds for a block. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib)
If the dispute tags are restored, we can go back to #Proposal C above. Xandar doesn't agree to it, but then will he agree to anything except the present perfect text, which several of us dispute? Does anyone else dispute Proposal C? If so it can be trimmed; its intent being to say only what has general agreement. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:07, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes. A great number of people have indicated that they oppose ANY CHANGE to the current guideline. Proposal C is totally unacceptable, since it is a major change to the current guideline since it eviscerates and reverses the guideline, and uses spurious and false examples to do so. Xandar 12:13, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

The loci of dispute

{{editprotected}} Those of us who dispute this guideline dispute the sections Example and Types of entities; could we have {{disputedtag}} tags, please? They should have the argument section=yes or they will say "article". The second can go before the words "A city, country, people or person by contrast", since that is the paragraph at issue. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:06, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Disagree. This seems like another attempt to alter or weaken the effectiveness of the guidance before any consensus has been arrived at to change it. The protection tag itself already provides adequate information that a dispute is going on. Xandar 12:40, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
On the contrary, the guideline is already weakened by protection - as it deserves to be; this is a service to anybody who comes to straighten out the dispute. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:55, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Not done; please get consensus before making edit requests.  Skomorokh  20:52, 21 August 2009 (UTC)


Using the self-selected name, as this guidance clearly states, is NOT choosing sides.

In the case where the self-selected name differs from English usage, it clearly is choosing sides: it's choosing the side of the people who selected the name. If I were to call myself King of England, that's my self-selected name - and my POV. Queen Elizabeth, and millions of others, would disagree. We decide between these points of view by letting the mass of English-users decide, and seeing what they use; in this example, that's not hard. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:25, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

So, on the issue of there being two names, neither of which are arguably well-known to English speakers, we ignore consideration of endonym over exonym? That is the intent, I believe, of using the "self-selected name" for an ethnic group. -- llywrch (talk) 17:31, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I think we can certainly give preference to self-selected names and endonyms as one consideration where there is no clearly commonest English name. But not to take precedence over the common-name principle if there is a clear common name.--Kotniski (talk) 18:09, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Once again a false argument is being made by producing a fantasy example, invented to try to make a point. However the real cases like Mormon Church, Coptic Church and British Navy are ignored. These are some of the cases actually affected by the proposed policy change. In the case of PManderson calling himself King of England, in the real world we would have to examine A) Is he a notable enough person to appear in Wikipedia? If he was, perhaps his contention would have to be taken more seriously. B) Does he really identify primarily as the King of England, and is he notable in this respect? Is his name registered as King of England? Is that how he signs his cheques and pays his taxes? If so, then his self-identification becomes more serious. Perhaps like Prince or Duke Ellington, he deserves entry in WP under his self-identified name. As the guidance currently says, using someone's chosen name is NOT choosing sides since their name is a key part of their identity. Using a name that person or body resents or finds offensive to please somebody third party IS taking sides, because it raises the third party's views over the identity of the person in question. Xandar 18:57, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Sigh. Mormon Church is not the normal usage of English - and is ambiguous; or we probably would use it.
I deny that the hypothetical of a pretender (however hopeless) to the British throne is fantastical; but there are actual pretenders to the Throne of Saint Peter. David Bawden self-identifies as Pope Michael I; should we call him that? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:36, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Bawden is a very poor example. The article shouldn't even be there, were Wp policies enforced stringently, and it has been proposed twice for deletion because of non-notability and lack of references. His only appearance seems to be on the internet, and there is little evidence as to whether he uses the name "Pope Michael" all the time. This is unlikely since, even on his website the name David Bawden appears. If he were more notable, and genuinely used the title Pope Michael I as his sole, real life, identification, the name should be used. However in this case I don't believe that either qualification applies. Xandar 20:05, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Xandar, I am getting the distinct impression that this is the work of a troll. No references have been offered to support his/her position. No examples have been provided that demonstrate that there is any ambiguity about the name Catholic Church. In fact, the whole argument is the work of fiction, feint, misunderstanding of names, confusion between doctrine and naming conventions, etc. It is without merit in its entirety.
When editors speak from the position of ignorance, facts become meaningless to them. Their only objective is what is found in their own head. If anyone wit a modicum of knowledge, the LDS Church had to specifically ask the media to STOP referring to their organization as the Mormon church and have requested that they be identified as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and/or the LDS Church for within the article after the church has been named. Doesn't anyone read anymore? --StormRider 23:42, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I think quite a few people are in denial about these facts. Xandar 00:22, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

When a preferred name is used, it's used only in cases where it does not oppose the common name that people think the thing should be called. Common names is the standard, preferred names often meet the standard, but to use that fact to override common names is absolutely backwards.   M   23:58, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

And who decides what does and doesn't "oppose" the Common name? Does "Romany" oppose "Gypsy" or other forms of the latter word? Some people "think" groups should be called many things. Some highly offensive. Opposing such names is a must. Xandar 00:22, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
That is to say:"When a self-preferred name is used, it's used only in cases where it does not differ from the common name that people think the thing should be called."
But this is a red herring. We determine common usage by consulting reliable sources; how many of them use highly offensive terms for Gypsy? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:28, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
The degree of offense is immaterial. The fact that people have a name for themselves and are offended by another name being used to describe them, is what Wikipedia has to respect. Xandar 12:29, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
That is directly contrary to policy; Wikipedia is not censored, and it is not written to be kindly to anyone. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:59, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Using an individual's chosen name hardly accounts a s censorship. Xandar 11:42, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Not using what some individual is actually called does amount to censorship. Are we to call Kim Jong Il "Dear Leader" every time we mention him? It's what he has declared to be protocol, and doubtless he would be pleased to have WP adopt his point of view. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:43, 22 August 2009 (UTC)


You know, that does it. Xandar's latest comments, to the effect that a GREAT number of people oppose ANY change to these guidelines (and other reiterated fantasies) convince me that this dispute is beyond ordinary discussion. Two people oppose every change: himself and Storm Rider; Schmucky opposes one change, but has said nothing about anything else.

So which form of mediation do people prefer? the Mediation Committee, or Mediation cabal? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:35, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

You've already given up discussion? I don't see how mediation is going to help when we haven't even gotten down to a serious discussion of the issues. Why don't we slow this down and lay off the accusations. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 16:31, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
We've been trying to discuss, but there seems to be a small but committed group (apparently all from the same side in one particular naming dispute) who have no interest in anything except preserving the guideline exactly as it is, in spite of the multiple faults that keep being pointed out. In this situation we clearly need some sort of resolution procedure - maybe a community-wide RfC on basic principles of naming?--Kotniski (talk) 16:48, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
I think that goes for both sides, not just the side in favor of staus quo. Anyway, i think you're confusing the argument over the changing the page before discussions had concluded, and the the discussion of the issues at hand. I dont think that there is an unwillingness to discuss, I think the opposition was to the edit warring and preemptive insertion of text into the guideline. Now that we have a protection period, I hink things can calm down a bit. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 17:24, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Anyway, it is clear to me that there are two valid ways of thinking about this: use the common name or make an exception when common name conflicts with the self-identifying name. I think both should be fully considered and the merits of each weighed without being overly dramatic. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 17:33, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, just as there are two ways of writing about a subject: treat it from a neutral point of view or from its own point of view. Now, often, in both pairs, these don't differ very much - and several of us agreed to say so: a self-identifying name is often English usage, and should always be considered when looking for common usage. Is there general agreement on this? Does it need examples? Is there anything else that we generally agree on? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:19, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
I certainly think we need a wider constituency for the major changes to naming policy proposed here - one that is significantly greater than four or five people on this page. Pmanderson and Kontiski seem to have as their goal the entire elimination of the principle that self-identifying names of living people and current organisations should normally be the chosen forms in Wikipedia. This is a major policy change, and unless there is a decision on this, work on detailed sections of the guidance is likely to come to a halt. I can see the scope for minor changes in emphasis in the current guidance, but I don't think that is what PManderson and Kontiski want. And the matter of significant principle remains the elephant in the room. Xandar 21:49, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
That's because there is no such normal principle, except in Xandar's imagination. It's contrary to existing policy. What extent self-identification should, for example, influence the choice between equally common names iz another question, on which there may or may not be general agreement.
Sometimes the article title itself may be a source of contention and polarization. This is especially true for descriptive titles that suggest a viewpoint either "for" or "against" any given issue. A neutral article title is very important because it ensures that the article topic is placed in the proper context. Therefore, encyclopedic article titles are expected to exhibit the highest degree of neutrality. The article might cover the same material but with less emotive words, or might cover broader material which helps ensure a neutral view (for example, renaming "Criticisms of drugs" to "Societal views on drugs"). Neutral titles encourage multiple viewpoints and responsible article writing.
Where proper nouns such as names are concerned, disputes may arise over whether a particular name should be used. Wikipedia takes a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach in such cases, by using the common English language name as found in verifiable reliable sources.
That's what's policy. There is a wiki, called Wikinfo, which uses the Sympathetic Point of View; but we're not it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:17, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Pmanderson said: a self-identifying name is often English usage, and should always be considered when looking for common usage. Is there general agreement on this? Does it need examples?
No, there is obviously not general agreement. We already have the naming convention on common usage. The guideline classes self-identifying names as another consideration in naming. As several people have pointed out, that is helpful guidance in naming conflicts. So there is no consensus to change the guideline. How about we either: a) broaden the discussion to include other editors as Xandar has suggested, or b) move on to some more important matter than needs our attention? Sunray (talk) 01:28, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
It's the same language Sunray agreed to above; that's why I took it to be generally acceptable, save for Xandar and the friend he contacted. What's wrong with it now?
A city, country, people or person by contrast, is a self-identifying entity: it has a preferred name for itself. The city formerly called Danzig now calls itself Gdańsk; the man formerly known as Cassius Clay now calls himself Muhammad Ali. These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity. This should always be borne in mind when dealing with controversies involving self-identifying names
The present language is an unacceptable excuse for POV writing (although not as bad as Xandar's deliberate misinterpretation makes it; it does not say anything about the Byzantine Empire not being REAL, or mandate the use of self-identifying names). this is presumably why it's being defended by Xandar's tirades, revert-wars, and falsehoods; leaving it would encourage this sort of thing, of which we get too much already. Those of us who dealt with the Macedonian disaster are intimately familiar with these tactics. Therefore, what means of wider edits did you have in mind? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:47, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
No, what is unacceptable is your refusal to recognize consensus, accept other perspectives or engage in debate without lashing out with personal attacks. There is no "general agreement" for your proposal. The policy prevents POV, endless edit warring, etc... it does not promote them. --anietor (talk) 03:04, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
It discourages the use of independent reliable sources, which our naming conventions; in so doing it lends comfort to all our POV-pushers - at least those with an institution to back (which almost all of them have); this means that when the next pseudoscientific fraud - unless you deny that such things exist - calls itself the Scientific Institution for Healing Everything, we must accept that claim; when Fooland declares itself be the Union of Fooland and Barland, we must not only state that they have done so, but use the name - even if Barland and the rest of the world object. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:17, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
But thank you for demonstrating that this is not a simple conduct problem. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:17, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Your "examples" are silly. If my neighbor Joe decided to call himself the Union of Fooland, we wouldn't have to call it ANYTHING because it wouldn't be noteworthy, and therefore wouldn't even have an article. If, however, he started some global movement with significant participants, or a popular band, or attracted attention in the media, etc., then we probably WOULD have an article called Union of Fooland, explaining the phenomenon. Doesn't sound any more farfetched than an article titled They Might be Giants. --anietor (talk) 03:50, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
That's not what I said. I postulated one government declaring itself the owner of another country - and this being ignored by the rest of the world and most speakers of English. This is the sort of situation in which self-identifying names differ from usage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:00, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I will wait at least 24 hours before asking for mediation, and see whether there is anybody willing to discuss change; or any objections to changing the present policy-violation which aren't from the editors of a single article. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:43, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Its a bit disingenious of you, PManderson, to accuse people who disagree with your proposals of "coming from the same article", when you are at present a leading proponent of trying to change the name of that same article. This guidance was written long before that name change dispute was started. And anyway, many of the people opposed to your change here and on the WP:NCON talk page are nothing to do with that article. As I have said no serious real-life examples of the supposed malfunctioning of this guidance have been produced ergo. there is no big problem that needs fixing. Real examples of where this guidance has been helpful HAVE been produced. Regarding the idea that dead people and defunct organisations cannot be self-identifying entities. That is not specified in the guidance, but seems quite clear from the wording and rationale. I would not object to a statement being added to the guidance on self-identifying names stating that it only applies to currently-living persons or groups, and currently-extant organisations, cities, districts and nations. Xandar 11:40, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Which are these "real examples of where this guidance has been helpful"? And no, it isn't a big problem that needs fixing, since few people ever read this guidance or try to apply it, but there's no reason to leave a problem unaddressed just because it isn't big.--Kotniski (talk) 12:48, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Also, who are these "many people" opposing change who are nothing to do with the Catholic Church article? Whenever I click on the contributions of any of them, I always see "Talk:Catholic Church" featuring (SchmuckytheCat being the only exception, where the interest seems to be in China instead). --Kotniski (talk) 13:01, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
This comment of Kotniski's remains unanswered, despite every effort to disguise this. I am tired of this repeated bad faith. Who are these "many people" opposing change who are nothing to do with the Catholic Church article?

you are at present a leading proponent of trying to change the name of that same article This is a lie. I made some posts there, since I observed that the naming was still in dispute; I think the process by which it was moved as contrary to procedure as Xandar's reading of this page is contrary to policy (doubtless he will agree ;->); and I said so. When another editor made the pointy move of proposing an RM with which he disagreed, I gave reasons for supporting the move; but it was not my idea, although I have no objection to demonstrating that that is also no consensus - and I've said that too. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:34, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
PManderson, It's a bit silly to say something is a lie when it is there on the page for anyone to read. The first post setting up the unofficial new "poll" someone started, stating "Strong and Immediate support" for renaming the article RCC is yours. that makes you a leading proponent of the latest agitation. it also has to be asked what your motivation was for making the unagreed and sudden major changes to this guideline that necesssitated page protection?
As far as people opposing change not having a view on the Catholic Church issue, I could name Chris O... heimstern laufer and martin hogbin. In addition M did not support wholesale change to the substance of the article, and Sunray is also not a proponent of your views. Xandar 20:17, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

I think it's fair to say that "many people" involved here have also participated in the Catholic Church naming issue. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, of course. However, the movement here seems to be mainly driven by editors who lost their cause over there and are trying to back-door their positions by coming here. It could certainly seem like forum shopping. However, it's best to focus on the arguments being made here, both pro and con, and not try to attribute motivations behind the editors. If the argument holds water, it holds water, regardless of what brought that editor here in the first place. And that applies to both sides. --anietor (talk) 17:57, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
That, of course, is not an answer to Kotniski's question; whether it is an admission may be left to uninvolved eyes. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:46, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Sept, I am still surprised that you cant simply address the issue. Most of your comments have some sort of jab at your "opponents". Using such undiplomatic language is quite possibly the worst way to get people to agree with you. Please refrain from making comments about the other editors, and stay on topic.

With regard to mediation, that process is voluntary and would require 1) all the participants here to agree to it and 2) the mediation comittee to accept. You cant hold it over us like some sort of threat. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 19:59, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

No, it's not a threat; it's an environment where civilized discussion, without yelling and refactoring, can take place. If my comments are moved again, I will ask that suitable action be taken. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:42, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I'm sorry if I misinterpreted what you said. I don't think having a mediator prevents these things from happening. I just think we all need to agree to calm down and stick to the topic.
What I was thinking is that we can draft proposed text both with and without a self-identifying name exception, then put it up for RfC. That way the decision is made by the community at large and one individual wont be able to hold up the process. Is that acceptable? --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib)
On the whole it would be better to have the RfC
  • ask the fundamental question: Shouldn't this guideline include only those claims (about self-identifying names, or anything else) which are generally agreed on? (We can skip this, if it seems obvious, but there seems to be some sentiment in the other direction.)
  • And then ask what they are, by proposing a number of candidate statements. This can even include the opinion that only living people have self-identifying names, if Xandar can phrase this explicitly. (We can cut down on this list by some system of seconding.)
The system of drafting competing statements encourages extremists to insist on an extreme draft being one of the few offered, in the hope it will somehow pass. It also cuts down on discussion and proposal of new ideas, except for the drafting committee. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:19, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Thats acceptable. Then I suggest we divert our attention momentarily from wording and make sure our question is as neutral as possible. Yours is a good start, but I suspect others will want to weigh in.. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 00:34, 23 August 2009 (UTC)


The fundamental question is, to me: Shouldn't this guideline include only those claims (about self-identifying names, or anything else) which are generally agreed on?

  • Is this actually disputed?
  • If so, we need to ask it. How should this be phrased? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:44, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I also think this guideline was also intended to refer to the use of names within articles, but I dont think this is phrased very clearly. I think, as far as how to procede with naming conflicts involving self-identifying entities; both in the past and within this discussion, we have two different ideas of which name should be preferred (self identifying or most common). The oldest versions support common name, the ones from the last few years support deferral to the self-title. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 01:15, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
And we should make clear to the RfC that this only concerns the narrow class where the two names differ.
Can you find the point where the emphasis changed? It would be interesting to know what change was made, by whom, and what reasons were put forth on talk. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 12:06, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I certainly don't support the question suggested by PManderson. The question is too vague since who knows what claims are generally agreed on? It introduces a huge area of fuzziness and general ambiguity that is unecessary. We have the current stable guideline. PManderson and Kontniski need to outline the changes they would like to make, and we would then attempt to discover if there is any sort of consensus to make those changes. Xandar 20:27, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  • We find out what claims are generally agreed on in the second part of the RfC, by presenting a number of claims, including the present sentence These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity, and see who agrees to them. If almost everybody does, they are generally agreed.
  • That's what WP:consensus means, but it is clearly time for a different formulation to remind us of what a simple idea we actually operate under. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:49, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  • But I am prepared to listen to Xandar's ideas for an RfC.
  • If there is to be none, however, my proposal for what to say is simple. Strike the offending paragraph, and the entire Cobinda metaphor, and work up, sentence by sentence, with whatever it is we can agree on as a replacement. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:59, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Consensus says this: "Wikipedia expects changes to policies and guidelines to achieve more participation and consensus than other pages. In cases where consensus is difficult, independent or more experienced editors may need to join the discussion." In other words it is changes to policies and guidelines that need to achieve consensus - not the existing policy or guideline itself. PManderson seems to be proposing the opposite. We can't rub out the existing guidance, and then say we'll fill the gap later. What is needed is the proposed change to be set out by its proposers, and then put to the community to test whether that is what is required. Xandar 22:39, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Fine; that answers the question of whether the question at hand is disputed. The RfC should resolve what the answer to it is. Now, does Xandar have anything useful to say about the wording, or should the rest of us just pick one? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:08, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

RCC article

My opinion was asked, as a contributor to several naming conventions, by another contributor. I think those who opposed the last move of the article concerned are right on the facts, but it's not why I'm here, or why I dispute the paragraph at issue - although that name is an excellent example of depicting an institution from its own point of view, contrary to clear policy. I don't think it's why the others are here either; Kotniski has as much experience with the naming conventions as I do. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:09, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
  • These persistent attempts to misrepresent the scope of my comment - and that Kotniski has not be replied to, are uncivil; don't factor other people's comments without their consent, much less against it. If this continues, I will go immediately to mediation, where this sort of meddling is impossible.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:32, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
You are clearly a leading player in the latest name-war agitation at the Catholic Church page. That is clear from the page itself. I got involved here because I had read the stable guidance over a year ago and quoted it. I returned here recently to find that it had been changed by Kotniski with no community input. The change was quite radical, but not so radical as currently proposed. It is quite legitimate for people working on articles likely to be affected by proposed changes in guidance to have input into discussion of such proposed changes. Xandar 20:33, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
    • Falsehood certainly. I did not set up the RM; that was done by Richardhusr, who opposes it (which is why he acknowledges it is WP:POINTy); I do support it. If this is a simple misunderstanding, I will strike the lie. But if this is bad faith, discussion with Xandar is impossible under these conditions. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:42, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Good grief, please stop with the dramatics and martyr complex. You consistently drag these discussions into tangents instead of addressing the core issue, then accuse everyone else of attacking you and failing to answer random off-topic questions you insist on posing. This isn't about you, Pmandeson. Neither Xander, nor others, are attacking you or misrepresenting your statements. And please, for the last time, stop using mediation as some sort of threat you are going to resort to because you don't like other editors' comments. You've been warned about that before and it's getting tiring. On a practical note, it also makes it hard for anyone to follow these discussions when they have to wade through all these off-topic issues. --anietor (talk) 20:51, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I did not bring up this lie about my being "a leading player in the latest name-war agitation". Xandar did; and has twice repeated it. Whose drama is it? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:06, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
The drama is all yours, Pm. Xander called you "a leading proponent", and cited to where you posted the very first "support" entry, which you entitled "Strong and Immediate Support." That's a fact. You choose to read judgment into that and lash out with silly accusations of Falsehood and Lies and threats of starting a mediation. Rather uncivil of you. Let's stick to the issues, please. --anietor (talk) 21:40, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
He misstated the facts - as do you; after correction, repetition becomes a lie. He has continued to do so, as have you; I have responded to some of these, but not all, and would not have brought up the subject except in replies. If you wish to demonstrate good faith, you will drop the subject, and turn to what the RfC or some other method of determining the opinion of the wider community could be. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:55, 23 August 2009 (UTC)


See also the discussion on Wikipedia talk:Naming conflict/Archive 1#About self-identifying names.

The term "pro-life" is propaganda. Who is "anti-life," besides pro-global-nuclear-war-ists? Even the homicidal and suicidal are not necessarily "anti-life," they simply want to end one or more individual lives. The debate is over "abortion," not "life." There are activists on both sides of the abortion rights debate, but I can't even think of any genuine "anti-life" activists. Even those who advocate the eradication of Homo sapiens generally do so for what they perceive to be the benefit of other species. Again, "pro-life" is pure propaganda and has no place in an encyclopedia except to reference its usage. When referencing the debates between those who call themselves "pro-life" and their opponents, an encyclopedia ought to avoid propaganda terms and use properly descriptive ones. The policy of calling groups by the names preferred by their members can be rather easily reduced to the absurd and is therefore impossible to maintain consistently. Better to call things what they are. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

This is another situation which shows that the section of the guidance on self-identifying names removed by one person at the end of April needs restoring - which I have done. One can argue endlessly on whether a group "ought" to be called by any particular name - pro-choice or pro-life. The fact is that they use these names. The guidance makes the solution clear. Xandar 23:45, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
But Wikipedia's solution is the reverse, surely? We don't automatically use self-identifying names. That's why I consider this passage misleading.--Kotniski (talk) 09:19, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
That's the agreed policy of the guideline. In other words, it's what should be done. To change that guidance needs a lot more than one person's opinion. As far as I know the guidance is generally followed, except in the case of English Language names for foreign places, where another policy applies: eg Poland not Polska. An example of the use of this policy is Mormon Church which directs to "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". Xandar 12:04, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
So if it isn't applicable to places, surely it shouldn't start off by trying to make a distinction between different types of places? Can't the whole section be reduced to a statement something like "If it is not clear what is the most common name for something in English, prefer the name that it uses to identify itself" (and then give some real-life examples)?--Kotniski (talk) 12:35, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
No. I was talking about the special case of English language names for foreign places. But it is basic to English Wikipedia that the English Language name of the body institution or place be used. But if that body has a preferred English Language name, that should be used. For example: Peking redirects to Beijing, and Calcutta to Kolkata. I do not think it will be a benefit to anyone to shorten the guidance, since the purpose of guidance is to provide a comprehensive aid to dispute resolution. Xandar 23:41, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
That oversimplifies why we use Kolkata. It's not simply a matter of local preference; it has also become English usage, at least in Indian English and probably further. See WP:NCGN. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:48, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

So if I call myself "the literal supernatural creator of the universe" and do something to become notable enough to warrant an article here, then Wikipedia will accept that I am the literal supernatural creator of the universe and refer to me as such, without questioning the absurdity of doing so? I hardly think so. More likely, my article would be named according to my birth name, with a note in the lede that I refer to myself as the literal supernatural creator of the universe. Then there would be a section dedicated to the controversy surrounding my self-given name, which would consist of an ever-increasing list of "on-the-other-hands," going back-and-forth endlessly and generating the bulk of the talk page discussion. Yet all of this absurdity would be preferable to simply accepting my self-appointed designation as the literal supernatural creator of the universe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Well, no. If you really become notable under that name, then that will be the title of your Wikipedia article. See Badly Drawn Boy for an example. sephia karta | di mi 17:55, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Note to self: 1) change name to "the literal supernatural creator of the universe"; 2) become notable enough to warrant a WP article; 3) prove sephia karta wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:01, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Consider the article on Emperor Norton. Obviously, he was not an emperor but he became notable because of his claim to be an emperor. Wikipedia isn't saying that he was an emperor and isn't just titling the article Emperor Norton because he called himself as such but because he was called that by everyone else. --Richard (talk) 21:39, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • But we don't use Catholic Church; because it's not common usage - Roman Catholics use it, and not all of them; some of them prefer to communicate with the rest of the English-speaking world. So it's a bad example.
  • Cabinda is a strikingly bad example; if we preserve this, we should use Fooland and Barland, not a potential, if now quiescent, naming conflict.
  • Nevertheless, can both of you agree that self-identification is one of the claims that naming discussions do in fact take under consideration?
    • For one thing, self-identifications often do become common usage; I like the inversion of "anti-choice" and "anti-life", but those aren't suitable terms to explain the conflict in an encyclopedia - yet. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:04, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Above remark is now out of date. Article name now is Catholic Church. Likewise Orthodox Church. Peter jackson (talk) 10:24, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Improper moves, which violated the only part of this page which is policy. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:44, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Those weren't improper moves. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 02:22, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, they were not improper moves. Majoreditor (talk) 02:29, 26 August 2009 (UTC)


A: To remove

A city, country, people or person by contrast, is a self-identifying entity: it has a preferred name for itself. The city formerly called Danzig now calls itself Gdańsk; the man formerly known as Cassius Clay now calls himself Muhammad Ali. These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity. This should always be borne in mind when dealing with controversies involving self-identifying names.

from this guideline, for the reasons in both sections immediately above. I will take any further cry of "what reasons?" as evidence of bad faith.

B: to have a reason why we should use self-identifying names when they are not common English usage (as they often and reasonably are), followed by a demonstration of consensus that we now agree on it. I will not agree to any such proposal without a reason.

There are, of course, intermediate possibilities; but all of them require some reason why we should mention self-identification at all. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:03, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

You object to the example given in the guideline. It is not clear to my why. I do not understand your objection to the concept of self-identification. Would you be willing to elaborate? Sunray (talk) 15:28, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • It is not the case that we use Gdansk (insofar as we do) on the grounds that it self-identifies as Gdansk; we use it on the ground that that is what English writing calls the [modern] city. See WP:NCGN, and its early archives. The motivations of the editors involved in the discussion are another question - although "not beyond conjecture".
  • I decline to elaborate further on what I have already said, one section up, on self-identification, at much length, until a reason is given why we should consider it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:45, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • To summarize briefly, however: This paragraph only makes any difference when there is a self-identifying name and a name common in English, and they are not the same. In that rare case, the self-identifying name is
    • Not what Wikipedia does in practice
    • Often tendentious and POV
    • Potentially obscure enough not to communicate with our readers, contrary to policy. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:57, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Unless a reason to retain this paragraph is supplied in, say, a day, I shall remove it. There is no consensus, and no present reason for those who object to join one. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:01, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Let's not start an edit war. By my count, four editors have argued for a change (though for different reasons). Four have said "don't change it." Of those some, including me, have said let's look at a rationale for changing it. Thus there is no consensus to modify the guideline yet. Please respect the groundrule for changes in policy: "Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus." Sunray (talk) 16:11, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Three editors objected to this before I was called in; there is no consensus - and any edit which preserves that section fails to reflect consensus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:33, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
O.K., your objection is clear now. However, the elimination of that example would leave a gap in the guideline that would affect its structure. So that begs the question of what we would replace it with.
Your disinclination to repeat yourself creates a problem for me. I do not doubt that you have explained your views, above. Unfortunately for some of us, your rationale about changes to the guideline was interleaved with commentary about consensus and other matters of process. In consequence, I was unable to follow your reasoning.
You ask for a reason why self-identification should be considered. I'm not one of the original drafters of the guideline, but the concept has always struck me as important. Is not self-identification simply the right of an individual or entity to name itself? I've always considered that to be an important principle in naming. Sunray (talk) 16:00, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
No. It is not. We do not adjudicate copyrights or trademarks - we describe things and events in English. That is already guidance; see WP:MOSTRADE for one example: we do not acknowledge the "right" of PR offices to respell names, we use what English uses. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:04, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Surely the example you want to remove has nothing to do with trademarks. Sunray (talk) 16:14, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
There are two examples proposed to be removed: Clay/Ali and Gdanzig. Do either of them illustrate the principle that they are claimed to illustrate? If a horse had its name changed from CC to MA, would we (WP editors) treat that situation any differently from the case of a human who chose the name himself? If Gdansk had been a mountain rather than a city, would we treat it differently? I suspect not, or if so then only marginally. As I see it, not only are the examples misleading, but the whole passage that precedes them (about the difference between self-identifying and other entities) is misleading and has no place in a guideline.--Kotniski (talk) 16:28, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
I certainly agree with you that the guideline is uneven and, in places, could be much more clearly written. We need to have a clear proposal on how to change it and then get consensus on that. Sunray (talk) 16:57, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
No, we should get rid of it. Where we cannot speak with consensus, we should be silent. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:33, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
This alleged right is incompatible with the rest of this guideline:Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name. People may have a right to say what they like about themselves, but not to force it on the rest of humanity. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:40, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
In other words, WP merely employs the name of the self-identifying entity, without comment on it. Sunray (talk) 05:31, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

C. I would, however, be content to point out the obvious: that a self-identifying name is often English usage, and should always be considered when looking for common usage. Comments? Better phrasing? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:32, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

The phrasing seems o.k. to me. However, I don't think you responded to my question about what you would replace the removed examples with. It seems to me that there needs to be some explanation (or example) of a self-identifying entity and how it might apply. Sunray (talk) 05:31, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Yep, that phrasing sounds fine. And I don't think those examples need replacing, just removing - self-identifying names that are also the common name are so much the norm that virtually any randomly selected person or organization will do, but it's hardly necessary to illustrate what everyone knows already. If there are to be examples, they should be of the more interesting situations: where we don't use the self-selected name because the common name is different (as with Burma); and where we prefer a self-selected name (if indeed we do) as one way of deciding between alternative common names (as is claimed to be the case with these churches).--Kotniski (talk) 08:13, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
  • However, some such example as the Emperor Norton, which we (finally) use because everybody does, might be helpful.

On the other side, avoiding current controversies, perhaps:

  • The Byzantine Empire (notoriously not a self-identifying name, but so widely used that it is difficult to imagine what to use instead and be remotely English). Lower Roman Empire, from Gibbon?
  • Charles III of England was certainly a self-identifying name; but how many readers will understand it? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:35, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Septentriontalis has shown by his actions on the Catholic Church Talk page, where he has falsely accused the six month mediation and naming discussions as being not according to rules, and has tried to start another vote well before the six month limitation on new votes is up, what the motives are behind the sudden proposals to eviscerate this long-standing guidance. This is why he and Kotrniski can come up with no good reasons to change this guidance. The arguments put forward get more and more ridiculous. NO the Byzantine Empire is NOT a self-identifying name because the Byzantine Empire ceased to exist in 1452! That is why it does not self-identify. The same applies to Charles Edward Stewart. Self-identifying names are names used by entities to self-identify NOW. Got it? Xandar 00:22, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Self-identifying names are names used by entities to self-identify NOW. Really? The text doesn't say that; the text to which you reverted didn't say that; and we could be having the same discussion about entities which exist now - but with more acrimony about the facts. This is in any case presentism. We are expressly written as though a hundred years hence. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:47, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the naming dispute mentioned above, about the wiki article regarding the later Roman Empire (the so-called "Byzantine Empire"), I have to add that at least in my opinion, the term "Byzantine Empire" is much more controversial in that case, than "Roman Catholic Church" is for the RCC, because "Roman Catholic" is still self-identifying usage, but that empire never called itself "Byzantine Empire" (it called itself officially as "Roman Empire" or the "Empire of the Romans", unofficially it was also called "Romania"), the alternative "common name" for it is Eastern Roman Empire, which as far as I see is a more neutral term (although that is not self-identifying usage either, but it is the self-identifying name ("Roman Empire") with a disambiguation ("Eastern")). However, despite its negative and subjective POV connotations, that term ("Byzantine Empire"), at least at the moment, is still the name of that wiki article (and I'm not really expecting that it will actually get renamed too soon, although in my opinion it should). (But, the problem of that article name was actually discussed several times, among the last discussions was this one. But anyway, in case that article is renamed, it will not be renamed to simply "Roman Empire" (its self-identifying name), but "Eastern Roman Empire". Cody7777777 (talk) 09:07, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Now lets get to some real examples in the REAL world, of where this policy is followed in Wikipedia.
<sigh> So Bonnie Prince Charlie isn't part of the "REAL" world. Are the remaining Jacobites? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:51, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Guangzhou is the self-identifying name for the city far better known as Canton.
If so, it should be moved; but we use Guangzhou, like Beijing, on the grounds that the pinjin is now better known. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:29, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Who determines when something is "better known"? What groups is used to support these facts?--StormRider 01:22, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
That is accurate. The Reorganized chruch is actually called the Community of Christ and does not use the name Mormon and hasn't for generations. They want nother to do with the LDS Church. --StormRider 01:22, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Kolkata is the self-identifying name of the city better known in the English-speaking world as Calcutta
No longer true, especially in the local dialect of English, which we use by WP:ENGVAR. WP:NCGN specifically discusses Kolkata and Mumbai. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:29, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Again, who says so. Do you have any references that support this claim. You are playing very loose with facts and presenting your opinion as if it was common knowledge. Either supply facts or desist from parading opinion as fact. --StormRider 01:22, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, you can say no no no, but this is evidence that this policy is the general practice of the encyclopedia. We do have lots of exceptions, additional guidelines, etc. Fact is, common name is just a guiding principle, as demonstrated here, there are many cases where the self-selected name is chosen over a more common name. This keeps WP from choosing sides, and avoids discussions of who has the right ot use names. With common name, we'd be selecting a name for self-identifying entity, hardly neutral. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 07:23, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
We wouldn't be; the English-speaking world would be - we'd just be reflecting that. Choosing a self-selected name (if there is a discussion about the right to use it) manifestly is choosing sides. Of course, as in the above examples, the common name we choose very often (almost always) is the self-selected name, but that's not the reason we choose it (at least, it may be one of the factors in the choice, which we continue to say in the guideline, but not the automatically decisive one).--Kotniski (talk) 09:46, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
That is a point I've been meaning to bring up. Most the time Common Name = Self-Identified Name. This is just for those minority of cases where there is a conflict between the two. Basically policy is to follow a consistent procedure every time to avoid choosing sides; however in practice it doesn't appear to be consistent at all. By the current wording, the default is to choose the self-identifying name unless another naming convention says otherwise. I guess we could change it to default as the common name, but sometimes that's not always clear. I think the way it is now is a much better default as it avoids stepping on any toes and simply describes the situation rather than prescribing that x organization has the right to the name because the word is most commonly used to describe it. And if there is a notable dispute over the name, it can be described in the article. Everybody wins. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 10:40, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Using the self-selected name, as this guidance clearly states, is NOT choosing sides. What is choosing sides is deciding to use a name other than that which a group or entity principally uses to describe itself. As the examples above show, Wikipedia enitors with conflicting POVs trying to decide that organisations and people should not be known by their proper names but by something else, would create unending conflict across Wikipedia. Hence this guideline in its stable 2005 wording. Septrionalis is already advocating some sort of hit squad to go round and try to enforce his new rule on articles across Wp that he knows little about... Xandar 10:44, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Note: by "the way it is now" I mean the way it was before this whole discussion began. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 10:52, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Because this guideline "clearly states" something, that makes it true? The fact that it states something that is manifestly false (that adopting the views of one side in a dispute is "not taking sides") is just one more reason to get rid of it. And this idea that the common name principle is some kind of "new rule" is equally absurd - it's been stated at the top of the main policy page for years. There is and always will be conflict about names at Wikipedia, but having a policy and guideline that contradict each other, and saying it has to stay like that because it's been "stable", is clearly not giong to help resolve any of these conflicts. --Kotniski (talk) 11:02, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
No one has talked about Common Name as if it were a new idea. No one stated that because something was written down on the page, it meant that it was true. Where are you getting that? --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 11:08, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Frmo what Xandar wrote above. --Kotniski (talk) 11:14, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Ok, that makes absolutely no sense. He didn't say anything remotely like that. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 11:17, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
" this guidance clearly states..." (as the only argument for saying that choosing sides is not choosing sides); "...try to enforce his new rule..." --Kotniski (talk) 11:23, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
The "new rule" advocated by pmanderson/septrionalis is of course that self-identified names should no longer be used where they conflict with someone's judgement of the "common name." Such a new rule would cause endless disruption, as emphasised by himself when he suggested that article names such as I highlighted by changed. Xandar 12:12, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

But this is the old rule - WP:NC mentions common names above everything and doesn't mention self-identified names at all! How can you honestly not admit this simple fact?--Kotniski (talk) 12:24, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

How can you not admit that WP:NC is written in full awareness of the long-standing contents of this guideline, and actually defers to it on the issue of naming conflict by directing readers here? WP:NC states that common names are not proscriptive and that Naming conventions say when common names need not be used. This is such a Naming convention. Xandar 18:44, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
It says that the "Naming Conflict guideline may help resolve disagreements over the right name to use", not that it takes any kind of precedence. Anyway, it only says that because I wrote it diff - the previous wording implied that Naming Conflict dealt with conflicts between articles competing for the same title, which shows that WP:NC was written without awareness not only of the content of this this guideline, but of what kind of conflict it deals with. --Kotniski (talk) 08:18, 21 August 2009 (UTC)


Would you please stop using "*" when entering your edits. Just use the same ":" that every other editor uses to designate the succeeding edit. This discussion page is a mess and I haven't a clue why this novel approach is being used by editors that have been around for so long. I tried to do some formating earlier, but I feel like I am stepping on toes by manipulating your edits. Would one of you that have been active please try to format the sections so that everyone else can easily read what is going on?--StormRider 06:12, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

  • If you will stop attempting to create a private bubble of reality for your favorite articles to swim in, you need not be concerned with the tastes in formating of the rest of us.
  • The use of asterisks makes clear when one is making several points in response to a single post, as now; it's quite common among editors who actually converse with a large proportion of Wikipedia, and formatting is not difficult; if the post you're replying to uses **:*:, add a : or * on to the right end (**:*:: or **:*:*), and it will work fine.
  • The uncivil effort to dictate the format of discussion appears to be more common among isolated editors; it is most undesirable. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:06, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Septic, that is almost funny, but fails miserably. The standard, you know, how every other editor formats on Wikipedia, as in policy for formating discussion is to simply use a ":". The asterisk is used in articles to denote points of interest. When used on a discussion page it results in a feeble attempt to aggrandize your position (that is the funny part). It was a request for uniformity in editing, nothing more.
You have an odd definition of uncivil. It appears that it comes up when you are caught doing something you know you shouldn't being doing and then throw a petty tantrum that any other editor has the temerity to point it out. Our small children act that way, but quickly grew up; I can only hope for the same in your rather pitiful condition. Here's to hope. --StormRider 15:30, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  • The standard, how every other editor formats on Wikipedia, as in policy for formating discussion is to simply use a ":". I see; Storm Rider is either unaware that other editors do things differently - or feels free to invent facts. If SR had even read through this talk page, this edit, not far from the top, would have refuted this nonsense; so would many other talk pages. If I do not respond to SR's points in future, this is why. Nor am I inclined to do favors for those who are opposed to fundamental policy, and seek a private bubble in which each institution can bask in its own sacred point of view. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:15, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Septentrionalis, you'll notice that I'm for the same position as you, but even I find your edits disruptive. Adding arguments and discussion to the above, and then restoring them, seriously screws up anyone's ability to make out the positions. You've added 5 or so personal ones. Please, just stick to conventions to make things easier. I'll be simply deleting any discussion, or positions not backed by 2 or more people, in the above section. Don't exploit attempts to bring order by pushing your own position.   M   23:57, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
M, thank you. I felt I was simply making a request that would aid all editors in following the discussion and the result is accusations and stupidity. Why is this so hard? --StormRider 15:49, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
It's difficult because it's frustrating when the opposition acts with serious bias and in very bad faith. For the record, my position is that Xandar's actions here are greatly more disruptive - in reverting all work done to reach a compromise when things stopped going his way, in clear violations of our WP:CANVAS policy through campaigning and votestacking, and through hostile and personal forms of argument.   M   19:18, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
M, I have had interaction with Xander for some time; at times we conflict, but most times we do not. It is best said that we respect each other's opinion. It is subjective to say one is better than the other. I would fall on the other side in that I see the other editor being more of a hindrance to compromise than Xander. There is no need for such pettiness. Honestly, I don't have the time for this type of quibbling. If there is a disagreement, provide a clear proposal. It is clear that this language has directed editors for some time. It is not productive to propose to just eliminate it. Seeing that this is obvious, what is the next best thing?
I am not a Catholic and never have been. It is very disturbing to the timing of this conflict given what is happening on the Catholic Church article. I don't believe in coincidences of this type. Frankly, it reeks of political chicanery. If you can't achieve your objective by using the rules, change the rules. I reject the effort in its entirety. --StormRider 19:50, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
M. You have tried to misrepresent my position on the Consensus policy talk page, and now you are doing it here. I think it is YOUR sudden unexplained change of position on the issue of self-identifying names, and your blatant misrepresentations of what has happened here that is very suspicious and reeks of very bad faith. I and others were trying to work out a consensus here on your and the proposers original declared aim of trimming and shortening the guidance while leaving its principles unchanged. I thought we were achieving progress through give and take. However mid-way through this process some editors decided to alter the naming convention unilaterally and radically in such a manner as to totally reverse the policy, leaving misleading edit summaries. At the same time they moved the discussion from this page to the Wikipedia:Naming Conventions talk page without informing me or the other editors opposed to their changes. This is not only forum shopping, but dishonest forum shopping, by taking only supporters of their changes to the new forum. At the same time PMAnderson and others took the half-developed compromise version and started criticising it in favour of their entirely reversed version. This extreme bad faith is why the long-standing full consensus version of the guidance had to be restored, and why I informed people of the new venue and what had happened. PMA also insisted on edit-warring to place his non-consensus version of the guidance on the page, until the page was locked to prevent that. Throughout this, M, you have said nothing to prevent or condemn any of these improper actions - and you have associated yourself with them by that and by arguing against the position you took when negotiating the compromise. As StormRider says, all this is very suspicious, since no good reason has yet been produced for the sudden fanatical desire to reverse this long-standing and successful naming convention. Xandar 20:22, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't agree with your ideas that you are acting in good faith, and that others are to blame, especially given your noted COI, your obscene canvassing efforts, and how you're typing up pages (that frankly, I can't be bothered to read) in response to just about everything. It's clear that you're concerned that you'll no longer be able to use this incorrect wording to sway opinion at Catholic Church naming debates. I don't care, there are several thousand or million articles directly affected by your change, and I see this is more important. You need to take a break from this.   M   20:54, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree entirely with Xandar's summary of events. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 11:01, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Then you admit misunderstanding our conduct policies, quoted below; and come very close to declaring yourself no longer an independent voice in this discussion. Please reconsider. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:04, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
By someone who has displayed as total disregard for convention, policy, and civility that statement should stick in your throat before speaking, thinking, or writing. Out of good sense and objective evaluation I am forced to agree with Xander and Kraftlos. Septic, you are anything but neutral and an you greatly hinder any form of compromise or finding a solution. So far all we have is you harping on and doing anything but offer or assist in providing an answer. --StormRider 02:59, 28 August 2009 (UTC)


  • Most of this page is harmless; much of it useful. This obscure paragraph came to public attention when Xandar started quoting it, for results its mere text will not bear. (And WP:NAME links to all the naming convention pages; this doesn't make any of them more than a guideline.)
  • Appeal to a Project or a related Wikispace talk page is not canvassing; in fact, WP:Canvass approves of it: An editor who may wish to draw a wider range of informed, but uninvolved, editors to a discussion might place such neutrally-worded notices on the talk pages of a WikiProject, the Village pump, or perhaps some other talk pages directly related to the topic under discussion, while still only, or in lieu of, posting a limited number of friendly notices to individual editors.
  • However, there seems hope in the mention of uncompleted compromise. There was one here; if Xandar will indicate what he is talking about, perhaps we can combine the two. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:58, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not really sure that's a compromise. But it would be really nice if we could go back to discussion the guideline without going into personal attacks. You might have been right a while back in considering mediation, though it would help if people would stay on topic. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 11:16, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
The compromise position I was talking about was the period when M and others were only saying they wanted to shorten and clarify the Naming Convention, not reverse its meaning. The latter stage of that negotiation is reflected at this point - where a considerable shortening and tightening was being tried out, just before the attempt to completely reverse the guidance took place. Xandar 12:53, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
The trouble with that version is that, although its clarity is much improved, it actually did alter the meaning of the guidance quite dramatically, stating "Where any persons or groups (organizations, cities, political parties, fringe movements) have chosen to refer to themselves by a certain name, the titles of the articles that cover them should use that name, even if they do not have a right to use that name. Which is what some think the long-established version of the guidance is supposed to say, even though it doesn't.--Kotniski (talk) 13:29, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
It is fairly clear that that was not the consensus interpretation of the present vague language when it was written. ChrisO seems to have come up with this paragraph, on his own, in a single redraft of the page; and it was never discussed. But the oldest entries in the archive all speak of common name, sometimes "common name in context," as decisive. Indeed, this post declares that we must abide by common usage to the extent of not using the adjective Macedonian for the Republic of Macedonia; we can only use it for the inhabitants of ancient Macedon - except in a handful of limited cases where that would make no sense, like Macedonian dinar (Macedon did not coin dinars). Yet the author acknowledges that the "so-called RoM" does call itself Macedonia - as indeed it still does.
This archived section confirms the obvious: Maputo/Cabinda is talking about the Macedonian naming dispute. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:34, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
ChrisO was indeed the major contributor to the guideline, having altered the oprevious stub with material that he had developed and placed on the talk page. That 2005 version contained basically the same self-identified-entity convention as today. The other editors at the time seemed to have no problem with this, and the convention appears successful in resolving conflicts. Maputo/Cabinda is certainly compared with Macedonia/Greece, how far that gets us is unclear. Xandar 00:52, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
  • No doubt other editors ignored it; the only substance is that self-identifying names should be considered, backed up with vacuous hand-waving.
  • Since the Macedonia/Greece question has now been resolved, elsewhere and otherwise, the Cabinda parable is now at best redundant. If Schmucky ever gets around to explaining what general advice he sees in it, we can put that in instead; but a dark glass in which each can see what he likes is not good guidance. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:25, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
A parable can help in many situations. Xandar 01:57, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Our guidelines should not require faith to interpret. Nor, as far as I know, is ChrisO an agent of Revelation. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:03, 28 August 2009 (UTC)


Checking Xandar's contribs, I see that he has notified at least 11 editors of the poll, using language like "Those wishing to radically change the WP:Naming conflicts guidance" [1]. All of the editors that I've checked are either involved with the Catholic Church or various religion pages, or have expressed some level of agreement above with Xandar's position. Most have been canvassed on not one, but two occasions. I'm aware that some of those canvassed don't agree that this was the case. It should be noted that at this time all of those voting with Xandar on the two issues have been canvassed. This sort of blatant votestacking is a blockable offence, and obviously an attempt to sway the direction of this poll. Further, Xandar has been warned on this same issue just 6 days ago. Is it reasonable to bring this to ANI, and request that Xandar be blocked to prevent further disruptions of this sort?   M   02:05, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

M is clearly so worried about the fact that he is losing the argument with regard to his and his friends plan to radically alter this guideline by stealth, that he is now sinking to personal slurs, abuse and outright lies.
1 I have indeed informed some other editors with a legitimate interest, including past editors of this article, of developments in the discussion that has been going on here, and I have been informed of other developments myself. That has been absolutely justified under the need to involve concerned and interested parties in the discussions, (originally involving only two people), and particularly to respond to the blatant, improper and underhand edit-warring and WP:FORUMSHOPPING of many of the proponents of this radical reversal of policy.
2 TWICE, the discussion on this proposal has been moved without any notice being given to the participants on this side of this discussion, in an underhand and improper attempt to gain a false consensus without those people present. The first time - when the discussion was moved to the Naming Conventions page, with a misleading account of the issues ,I was fortunately informed by someone who chanced to see it. The second time, when debate was moved back here, again without notification to our side, I informed interested parties. That was perfectly proper.
3 The most recent notices I posted were when this poll for RfC was begun by M and his allies, and ONCE AGAIN it was entered into without any notification to previous participants in this debate. I posted notes on the talk pages of all of those participants who had not been contacted by the organisers of this poll, whatever their views.
4. Additionally it is quite proper to ask interested parties to come and comment, especially if only one or two people are proposing sweeping changes of widespread importance that can affect many interested wikiprojects. This is stated in WP:Consensus. People have been invited into this dispute on the other side too, such as PMAnderson by Knepferle. M himself, after alleging that he was only interested in shortening the guidance while maintaining its meaning, has now revealed that his true purpose was reversing the policy entirely. However instead of debating the points at issue, (he calls that sort of discussion too lengthy to bother reading), he has preferred to descend to underhand tactics, insults and slurs.
5. The disruptiveness, including changing the guidance radically without discussion or consensus, edit-warring, which led to the page being locked, forum-shopping, concealing the change of forum and intemperate abusive posting, has come from M and his allies in this dispute, not those who want to see this long-standing and useful guidance preserved. If anyone needs taking to ANI it is M and some of his allies. I notice that two of the most fervent advocates of reversing the meaning of this guideline received topic bans from Arbcom in June this year for unacceptable behaviour in disputes like this. Xandar 03:38, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Edit-warring is always something someone else does (I've lost count of the number of times I've seen X accuse Y of edit-warring when the only person warring against Y was X). Anyway, since there's an optimistically-titled thread "Compromise?" above, can I suggest we leave off the personal bickering at this point (maybe even archive all of this unproductive junk) and focus our minds back on the issues?--Kotniski (talk) 13:42, 27 August 2009 (UTC)


The section at issue is Types of entities, the most relevant paragraph is:

A city, country, people or person by contrast, is a self-identifying entity: it has a preferred name for itself. The city formerly called Danzig now calls itself Gdańsk; the man formerly known as Cassius Clay now calls himself Muhammad Ali. These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity. This should always be borne in mind when dealing with controversies involving self-identifying names.

There is a question of what people's positions are, and some misrepresentation of positions. The following should help us resolve some of these issues. Please place your name below, or use the {{user}} tag and a diff to include someone else. Do not add discussion. If you would like to add a new position, ask below first.

Straw poll

Do not add discussion, it will be moved or deleted.

The section is poorly written
  1. pseudo-philosophical and verbose   M   23:43, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  2. These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity is a genuine, if clumsily phrased, philosophical statement; but not consensus. Many of us are Nominalists. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:30, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  3. I Agree with the content of the section, but it really needs to be re-written. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 04:29, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  4. Yes; too much dubious philosophical theorizing; little useful guidance (and the guidance that is given is wrong).--Kotniski (talk) 07:40, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

The section is not poorly written
  1. I see no major problems. It seems quite clear to me. Xandar 00:40, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  2. I agree with Xandar. NancyHeise talk 01:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  3. Also agree. The section has proved useful, and is clear as currently written. --anietor (talk) 17:54, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  4. I agree that this has been a useful section and I prefer that it remain as it has been.--EastmeetsWest (talk) 11:46, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
  5. Agree with the statement. --StormRider 19:40, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Preferred (self-identifying) names do not overrule the most common name
  1.   M   23:43, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  2. Kotniski (talk · contribs) [2]
  3. Nor does the section, as written, actually say that they do; it says they should be considered. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:30, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  4. The name most common in reliable sources should be used, except when someone has legally changed their name, so long as that's been published in an RS too. But for groups, we should use the most common name; otherwise we'd be forced, in effect, to view them the way they view themselves, which is POV. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 05:06, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  5. I agree with SV, but would also add that national varieties of English and WP:NC#Use English words may also need to be considered. As Wikipedia is reactive and not proactive if a boxer called "Cassius Clay" today decided to call himself "Muhammad Ali" it would not be up to Wikipedia to alter the name its article from "Cassius Clay" to "Muhammad Ali" until the majority of reliable sources started to do so. --PBS (talk) 00:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  6. Wikipedia is a tertiary source and needs to follow the usage commonly followed by the reliable sources on a subject. It should not be in the business of trying to determine the "true" name, which incidentally is not clear-cut in several instances (if it were a clear-cut issue, the common name would match the self-identification and there would be no dilemma to start with). Abecedare (talk) 20:59, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Preferred names overrule the most common name
  1. When common name conflicts with the preferred name of a living, self-identifying entity the common name should redirect or disambiguate to the self-preferred name. This is one of the many exceptions to to Wikipedia's naming conventions and common name principle. Does not apply to inanimate objects or defunct organizations/persons. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 04:22, 24 August 2009 (UTC) Addendum: this self-preferred name would have to be confirmed by reliable sources, both primary and independent. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 06:45, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  2. If there's going to be a controversy over whether non-living/extant self-identifiers are covered or not, I'd prefer that to be dealt with separately. On the main issue I believe the long-standing guidance is quite correct and has actually been the continuing practice in Wikipedia articles such as the examples I gave above - and many others. The paragraph explains the rationale and reason why self-identifying names should normally be given preference. It is because identifying an entity by a name that entity does not prefer such as calling Inuits by the name Eskimo, even if the latter is the most common name in English, can be seen as insulting, contentious, and an attack on that entity's most basic asset - its identity. Xandar 14:15, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  3. The way this is written is not truly reflective of my opinion, but it leans more in this direction than the other. I think that under most circumstances, we should use self-identified names. The exception would be in the case that the self-identified name is substantially less common than another, not only in everyday speech, but in scholarly sources as well. In cases where both a self-identifying name and another name are commonly used, even if one has a slight edge in usage, I think we should always default to the self-identified name. Why? In close cases, it's typically hard to tell which name is really the most common (remember, Google searches are unreliable, and even browsing scholarly works is rarely exhaustive, and is subject to the pitfalls of the human bias that even the best scholars are subject to). By contrast, self-identifying names are objective from our perspective (not that the name itself is objective, but that our reporting of it is), and are a good way to resolve difficult calls. (This is essentially why I continue to support returning the article about Thailand's western neighbour to Myanmar. Sources in English use both Burma and Myanmar, but only one is self-identifying.) Heimstern Läufer (talk) 04:24, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  4. Why would we not respect the actions of the entity? I see no need to ever perpetuate ignorance. --StormRider 19:40, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Entities which are not living/extant have self-identifying names.
  1. If not, we will have to change this anyway when Muhammad Ali dies, in the foreseeable future. Will we move his article? Is Woodrow Wilson a self-identifying name (he was christened Thomas Woodrow)? Marilyn Monroe? Abraham Lincoln? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:36, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  2. We know the self-identification of self-identifying entities today, because we find it written in sources, we also have sources today showing the self-identification of self-identifying entities from the past, so self-identifying entities (both present and those from the past) self-identify through sources. (So, the names of self-identifying entities from the past should also be considered.) Cody7777777 (talk) 09:17, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  3. Obviously they do; the question is whether those names should be given weight. Probably the answer is the same as for extant entities: to the extent that those names bear on common usage. (Current self-names probably affect common usage more, so if we stick with the common-name principle, then current ones will also have more of a bearing on the names we choose.)--Kotniski (talk) 07:54, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
  4. All entities have a name the preferred to be called and in the vast majority of time, almosts always, it is the common name. --StormRider 19:40, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Self-identifying names are very often, but not always, those in common usage.
  1. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:36, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  2. Xandar 00:38, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  3. Cody7777777 (talk) 09:17, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  4. Right, and this discussion is focused on those times at which they are not.   M   00:16, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
  5. This is a clearly true statement. --EastmeetsWest (talk) 11:46, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
  6. Agree. --StormRider 19:40, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Of the above, the following participants have been noted as being canvassed. It is up to reviewers of this poll to decide what, if any, impact this has had on the poll.
  1. Anietor (talk · contribs · count) [3] twice canvassed by Xandar. Catholic Church is third most frequently edited article.
  2. NancyHeise (talk · contribs · count) Canvassed by Xandar; 64% of all article space edits are on Catholic Church
  3. EastmeetsWest (talk · contribs · count) Twice canvassed by Xandar; Catholic Church is first (a tie) among the articles edited by this user.
  4. Storm Rider (talk · contribs · count) [4]; Catholic Church is among the ten most frequently edited talk pages.
  5. Heimstern (talk · contribs · count) [5]
More rubbish. The people who put up this poll, the proponents of radical change, didn't bother to inform most of the people who expressed a view in the recent conversations. That is very bad practice. Informing such uninformed people, on both sides of the argument, is not "canvassing", but correcting a grave error. Xandar 01:59, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Yet more discussion

Unfortunately, this is a misstatement of fact as far as my editing is concerned. I am Storm Rider; the Catholic Church is not among my top ten edited articles. The factual statement is that among TALK pages, Catholic Church is 7th most edited article. Of additional interest might also be: that I have been an editor since October of 2004; I have in excess of 16,800 edits; I have never been blocked; my top ten edited articles are Joseph Smith, Jr., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Book of Mormon, Mormonism, Christianity, Mormonism and Christianity, Mormon, Criticism of the Latter Day movement, Jesus, and West Ridge Academy. I have linked my edit counter page above should anyone have a big interest in me as it is evident that PM obviously seems intrigued, but incapable of stating facts. Strange that it was even brought up here on this page. It is as if she is so insecure about her position that she attempts to sway other editors by attempting to paint individual editors with lies. This is highly inappropriate activity. --StormRider 00:13, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
By this rather loose definition of canvassing PM would also belong on this list as well [6] as he was invited by [Knepferle]. Also Catholic Church would be a logical place for editors to come from as most involved in the year-long dispute are quite familiar with this guideline. I discredit this as an attempt by M and PM to silence opposition and as a diversion from the topic to another attack on Xandar. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 01:00, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
The difference being that Knepferle asked one editor, and - more importantly - phrased his request neutrally; I was free to come here and tell him that the errors were his - as I have in other cases. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:48, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree, SR and Kraftlos. The great irony is that the editors now engaging in slander in this subsection are the same editors that created this subsection and asked that it be limited to poll comments, with no discussion. Now that they see they don't have the support they want, they find it necessary to essentially attack those that disagree with them by implying their opinions shouldn't be weighted equally because they may or may not have been contacted by someone they think was canvassing. It's really ridiculous, and demonstrates a level of desperation. They may try and couch it with language so they can say "We didn't say there was anything wrong...we're just pointing someone out and asking people to draw their own conclusions." As you point out, SR, their silly comments aren't even accurate, and are nothing but sad attempts to save their drive to make radical changes. I could just as easily have started another list of certain editors that seem to have started this drive after loosing an argument on another page... lose an argument to consensus based on WP policy, so let's change the policy. I didn't stoop that low. This silly scarlet letter list should be deleted. --anietor (talk) 01:04, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Nobody is blaming you for having an opinion. The problem is, some people with a very particular type of opinion were invited to this discussion. We want to maintain an even distribution of interested people - if 90% of WiP opposes, the random arrival of editors should present similar results. However, if a bunch of people are explicitly invited, this makes the tally not really representative of the real WiP consensus. Unless you all want to suggest that Xandar's canvasing of all editors taking his side of the dispute (and none taking the opposing side) is somehow proper, we should probably stop this discussion before it grows beyond the 1000 words already here. Thanks.   M   01:34, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to remind you that this a preliminary straw poll so we can generate a proper proposal for RfC. This isn't a vote. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 01:41, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
We don't have votes. If this were all a discussion, and Xandar canvassed, we'd have the same problem.   M   02:09, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I didn't suggest that there are ever votes on wikipedia. I was just reminding you that numbers really aren't at issue here, its the strength of the argument. And also that there will be no legitmate change to the guideline without an RfC. I don't understand why we need to continue pointing fingers. Stay on topic. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 02:24, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

More discussion

  • It is not appropriate to label users, who have posted on this and similar issues, as "canvassed" users. To begin with, M is the editor that put the "Do not add discussion" comment above, and it's ironic that he would insert material that he purports to want to keep out... comments that go beyond the straw poll. IF someone is canvassing, then address the person doing the canvassing. You don't blame people that GET a crank call, you blame the person making it. Stop trying to put a scarlet letter on editors that you happen to disagree with. That's ridiculous. There's a difference between friendly notices and WP:canvassing. And even if it is canvassing, there's an appropriate way to deal with it. This isn't it. --anietor (talk) 19:39, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
There is a strict definition of what 'canvassed' means. You, too, have been canvassed. If you would like to show that they were involved in this (not merely related) discussion, you can remove the tag. Canvassing is disruptive, and if participants in a straw poll have been canvassed this needs to be noted to prevent votestacking. Note, please, that I did not add the notices myself (I think you've applied both autosignings incorrectly), but that I agree with them entirely. The notices are not discussion, there is nothing dispute-related to discuss. They are information, and directly relevant to the poll. The notices are not 'friendly' - those notified do not work on policy, but they do work on a very specific alleged application of this guideline - the Catholic Church article.   M   20:21, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I actually agree that this area should be clear of clutter. If you want to delete my above comment, AND the silly canvassing tags, go ahead. But if the tags stay, my comment addresses them and should remain here. --anietor (talk) 20:28, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
    • I'll see what our policies say about where such tags should be, give me a moment.   M   20:32, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

[@EastmeetsWest] Are you aware of this section ever having been "used" for anything? Do you in fact know anything about it except what was written in the canvassing message on your talk page?--Kotniski (talk) 12:09, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

In my opinion, if the names of self-identifying entities from the present are considered, then so should the names of self-identifying entities from the past be considered (at least, if their self-identifying name is still part of common usage) since the fact that they are not in the present, does not mean they can't be considered self-identifying entities, we still have documents today which show their self-identification. Cody7777777 (talk) 10:57, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Certainly; to do otherwise is presentism. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:39, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I disagree completely that this is presentism. Wikipedia has always treated living persons differently than dead people. This policy compliments WP:BLP --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 00:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

I quite agree with a lot of that, but can't share your conclusion about Burma: surely Burma is very substantially more common than Myanmar, far more likely to be recognized by our readers (remember them?), and thus easily the right name for the article. Same with China.--Kotniski (talk) 10:03, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Myanmar may be a regional thing, Kotniski. I hear Brits all the time talking about how Burma is so much more common than Myanmar, but in the US, that's not the case (I've pretty much never seen a news report or geographical organization use any name but Myanmar in many years). Heimstern Läufer (talk) 13:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I doubt that, and American is my native language. Official statements use Myanmar, for various reasons - and news reports quote them; but that is the only context in which Myanmar is at all prevalent. I suppose reporters in Rangoon, needing to defend themselves from their sources, form another pool of usage; but that doesn't happen that often. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:51, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Never once seen a news report in the US use the name Burma, but either way, we're on a tangent now. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 14:24, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
See this report from yesterday's Washington Post; but I agree this is tangential. Your position appears to be that self-identification should have some weight in deciding among common names; I have no objection to saying so, but suspect there is a wide disagreement on how much weight. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:29, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

    • Does anyone other than Xandar support that position? I haven't seen anybody do so. Let's find out. (And one other position, which I hope we can agree on; I will offer the logical alternatives) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:36, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
      • Since there are only about four of us here, and this has been up only a few hours, it is a mite too early to 6tart saying only one person supports any position. Xandar 00:18, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
        • Disingenuous. This conversation has been going on for days, and Xandar claimed that Charles Edward Stuart wasn't "REAL" long ago. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:32, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
          • FYI, there are several of us that support the position that Xandar is supporting. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 00:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
            • Yes, I agree with Xandar's position as well as the multitude of editors who agreed to this policy in the first place that is now being reconsidered by a few people whose only purpose here is to revert a mediated result regarding the name of one article. NancyHeise talk 01:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
              Canvassed by Xandar; an impressive 64% of article space edits are on Catholic Church
It really is breathtaking that someone who is involved in that Catholic Church discussion (click on her contributions) is accusing others (who have no interest in it) of being motivated by a desire to influence that discussion.--Kotniski (talk) 09:37, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Is she referring to Catholic church? Like I said, changing this policy would have no bearing on the CC article because CC is both the common name and the self-identifying names. But we have several potentially heated debates that could arise in other articles where the article is not titled at the common name that we can avoid if we leave the policy as it is. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 09:40, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree that this should have no bearing on the CC article (though it's weird that one side of the debate consists almost exclusively of people with an interest in that article), and I also agree that we should leave the policy as it is - the policy being written at WP:NC and making no reference to self-identifying names. That being the case, we should alter the wording of this page (which was a backwater before this debate broke out) in a way that is consistent with that policy.--Kotniski (talk) 09:55, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
A little disingenious, Kotniski, since at least three people on your side of this debate have strong interests in the "Catholic Church" argument. It is also disingenious to say that making the reversal you want, would not change policy. This naming convention is an integral part of the naming policy, and deferred to by the main policy page and even the NPOV policy page. The "contradiction" appears to be in the mind of some of those who want to reverse this policy. In fact similar principles to this page are also expressed elsewhere. Xandar 11:12, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
It's disingenUous; but more to the point, it's referred to (in passing), not deferred to. Neither policy gives this backwater of a page any precedence.--Kotniski (talk) 12:23, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Please stop correcting people, this is a talk page not an article. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 05:11, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
You miss the point; referred vs. deferred is an issue of substance; he's claiming they defer, whereas examination will show that they merely refer.--Kotniski (talk) 07:42, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Both WP:NPOV and WP:Naming conventions, direct readers here to determine how to resolve problems developed under those policies. Kotniski seems to think than when the editors of those central pages did that, they didn't bother to read the very stable content of this guideline, including the long section on self-identifying names. The fact that this naming convention's guidance is so directed to, of itself disproves the allegation that this convention somehow contradicts those policies. The whole argument for sudden radical change to this convention is based on nonsense. Xandar 20:34, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

The self-identifying names of entities which are not living or extant should normally be given far less priority over common names.
  • I think this is quite obvious. You cannot self-identify if you don't exist. Only living/extant entities normally need protection under the policy from having a name that they find incorrect or offensive being used to identify them. This is how the policy has worked in practice. In most cases long use of a self-identifying name makes it a common name, so PManderson's Muhammad Ali problem is unlikely to arise, and the other names raised by him above have become common names by usage. Instances like Byzantine Empire show that self-identifying names are not always used of historic entities, so this option ensures that the policy continues to coincide with the reality of WP practice. I add "normally" to the proposition since there are cases where close family might be effected by elements of the policy. Xandar 00:18, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  • In that case it wouldnt revert because Muhammad Ali was the name he used when he became famous, he had some notoriety before, but Cassius Clay is much less common. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 00:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
    "some notoriety before"!, The man had won both an Olympic gold and the world heavy weight title as CC, he was very famous as CC before he changed his name to MA. However be that as it may, I think you have you have totally misunderstood what I wrote -- I was taking a hypothetical position about what would happen today if a boxer called "Cassius Clay" changed his name ... . But see my previous comment at the bottom of the page for more on this. --PBS (talk) 01:28, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
    Alright, if you say so. This might not be a good example though, because MA is more common now than CC. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 09:40, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Self-identifying names are always those in common usage.
Self-identifying names are not very often those in common usage.
When common name conflicts with the preferred name of a living, self-identifying entity the common name should redirect or disambiguate to the self-preferred name.
  • To do otherwise would conflict with current Wikipedia naming conventions, and with good Wikipedia practice in articles where the common name like, for example Canadian Indians, or Untouchables is considered inaccurate or offensive by the entity concerned. Xandar 00:38, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
When common name conflicts with the preferred name of a living, self-identifying entity the common name should be the name of the article.
  • The opposing statement above adopts the Sympathetic Point of View, which is contrary to WP policy. Those who believe in the Sympathetic Point of View should edit Wikinfo, which was set up for those editors who prefer it. It is unsupported by the present text of this guideline - or any other. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:49, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Long-held consensus cannot be used as an excuse against a change that follows Wikipedia's policies.
  • This is a quote; it paraphrases policy and is expressly endorsed by as many Wikipedians as have taken part here. Let's see if anyone objects. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:45, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
    Where did you get this quote? This makes sense within articles. There usually isn't a good reason to ignore policy, even if the editors there want to. However I think you are meaning the conflict between guidelines and policy. Again I would agree. I think this guideline, as it is written, is in line with the relevant policies WP:NPOV and WP:NCON. There isn't a conflict. I also happen to think that this long-held consensus, codified into this guideline, if changed, would reopen a good number of unnecessary naming debates. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 05:06, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
    A unanimous finding of Arbcom, on the Macedonia case, which links to the policy it paraphrases. It was applied to at least one proposed guideline. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:23, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
How is there no conflict? This guideline says we should prefer one point of view (that of the group that believe they hae the right to use a name) over another. NPOV says we don't take any point of view. Even if you think there is no underlying conflict, the wording obviously needs to be improved to make it clear what our position is. Same with this page v. WP:NC - this page is being interpreted as meaning that we prefer self-identifying names over common names, while NC states the common name principle without mentioning self-identifying names. That there is a conflict (or at least, clear potential for contradictory interpretation) is surely obvious to everyone - hence this debate - what we need to settle is how to resolve it - what actually is WP's position on these matters. There's no point saying that this page takes precedence over the others because the others happen to contain links to this page; that's just dishonest.--Kotniski (talk) 07:42, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
There is no conflict in the same way that there is no conflict with any of the other exceptions to "Use the most common name" that litter the main policy and elsewhere. Exceptions DOES NOT EQUAL "conflict." Both WP:NPOV and WP:Naming conventions, direct readers here to determine how to resolve problems developed under those policies. Does Kotniski really think than when the editors of those pages did that, they didn't bother to read the very stable content of this guideline, including the long section on self-identifying names? The whole idea that they "conflict" is a nonsense, and dishonest at that. Large numbers of articles exist, which show that self-identifying names are used in preference to "Common names" across Wikipedia. This guidance exists to codify the very real situations where self-identifying names take precedence. You own your name, it identifies you. You have a right to change it. That, as this guidance says, is not POV. What is POV is allowing third parties to give an entity a name it finds offensive or inaccurate or both. Kotniski's proposal IS actually POV. Xandar 20:44, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
That just doesn't make sense. Consider: A belives that A should be called "X", B believes that A should be called "Y". Two points of view. So we report both of them if significant, but don't automatically adopt either of them. What we do to be as neutral as we can is use the name that English commonly uses (which in the vast majority of cases is "X" anyway), because that's (in principle) an objective fact.--Kotniski (talk) 11:33, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
The point is that you can report both views, but you can only use ONE for the article title. Therefore, we need a clean method of choosing which one to use. We choose A believes A should be called X, because A has ownership of his own identity, B does not. The name B chooses for A may be offensive to A, and giving B control over A's identity is a step that can only be seen as heavily POV. It is a fact that A calls himself X. It is an opinion of B that A should be known as Y. Using the majority English name is not necessarily neutral since Anglophones may themselves be the ones imposing the "offensive" name - say, "Aborigine", or "American Indian", or "Untouchable." It may also be inaccurate, as in "British Navy" for "Royal Navy", or based on a disliked anglicisation of a local name, as in Calcutta for "Kolkata". Or based on a historic preference for one side in an ethnic dispute, like "Bressanone" for "Brixen". Using the self-identifying name, objectively determined, solves these problems. Xandar 01:19, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
"A has ownership of his own identity" is the sort of (meaningless?) philosophical abstraction which we need to avoid here. Encyclopedias deal in hard facts. All your claims apply equally in reverse: the name A chooses for A may be offensive to B. It is a fact that B calls A "Y"; it is an opinion of A that A should be known as "X". The self-identifying name may not be so easy to determine objectively; and it may be ambiguous or otherwise confusing to English readers. There are many factors to be taken into account. (And do people really say British Navy these days?)--Kotniski (talk) 09:49, 28 August 2009 (UTC)


A few facts may be helpful; I learnt them at Brixen, so I presume they are still there. Brixen and Bressanone are both self-identifying names, one in German and one in Italian; both are native tongues of a significant proportion of the inhabitants of the city; both names have been official since 1946. We chose to name the article Brixen because it is the more common in English; that the city has also a German majority is pleasant and a minor advantage. The argument of self-identification works both ways; the argument that we must use Bressanone for a city in Italy was made persistently, until the evidence of usage was compiled. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:35, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't think so. The naming of the South Tyrol/Alto Adige articles is decided (with one close exception) on the majority language recorded in the 2001 census for each municipality. Most English-language sources do not do this, but generally prefer the Italian name on the grounds that this is part of Italy. So, in addition, the town presented in most English language sources as Vipiteno has its article here under Sterzing, its principal self-identifying name. Xandar 20:02, 29 August 2009 (UTC)


Which section is poorly written? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:28, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

The whole paragraph is less than ideal (for instance, there should be a comma after person, and the first sentence repeats itself), but the sentence These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity manages to be vague, irrelevant (to the topic at hand) and controversial, all at the same time. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:37, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
You are assuming that this section does not intend to mean that preferred names take precedence over common name. I think in current practice and as currently worded the entire section does say this. What I would suggest instead of taking part of the section and disputing it, would be to perhaps re-write the section to reflect your common-name position OR we can simply go with a question like "Should the title of an article regarding a self-identifying entity reflect the common name or their preferred name?". We're really talking about two different approaches to avoid taking on a particular POV, it's not a clear-cut case of a simple contradiction or error. These are two different and valid approaches that need to be discussed in a more philosophical and practical sense. So~as a start I would suggest looking at the sentences that these examples support rather than the examples themselves. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 01:20, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't know what the intention was; that's one of the signs of bad writing. I observe that it does not say that self-identifying names are to be used, but that their importance is to be considered. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:18, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

That's somewhat better. I think everyone agrees that some re-writing needs to be done, but there's the underlying issue of how to handle self-identifying entities that needs to be resolved before someone considers re-writing. I have to agree with Xandar's point about RfC, that it really needs to be a draft proposal of explicit changes that will be made to the article. I think a well-worded question might also be acceptable though, one RfC too gauge opinion about the guideline, then another if changes need to be made. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 04:37, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

I very strongly disagree; the purpose, probably only valid purpose, of an RfC, is to help draft such changes, by seeing what, if anything, the wide pool attracted by an RfC agrees on. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:05, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you've misunderstood what I said. I think we're saying the same thing. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 09:58, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Although, I am not really insisting for changes, I agree that those policies guidelines may need some revision. If changes are done, I think we should emphasize somehow the following part of WP:NPOV "encyclopedic article titles are expected to exhibit the highest degree of neutrality.", so in my opinion, when choosing an article name in a naming conflict (especially when dealing with controversial names), I believe we should usually try to choose the one which is the most neutral and less controversial/disputed/offensive name, which is also in common usage and is also part of self-identifying usage (at least, if there are less controversial alternative self-identifying names), not necessarily the most preferred self-identifying name or the most common name. So, if an organization has more self-identifying names, and the most preferred self-identifying name is controversial, I think it is clear enough that the less controversial/disputed self-identifying name should be chosen. We should avoid choosing a controversial name (without any disambiguation) which is claimed by multiple organizations (or which has some other important meanings) only for one organization (that would be subjective criteria). In my opinion, a controversial self-identifying or common name could also be made into a more neutral article title by adding a disambiguation with a description in parentheses to it. If there is no naming conflict, in my opinion, the most common unambiguous name should usually be chosen. Cody7777777 (talk) 10:57, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Cody's proposal would completely reverse current guidance, and be unworkable in my opinion. Changing names because of third parties claiming to be offended by them would reverse the Republic of Macedonia solution, for example and mean that anyone could claim to take offence at a chosen name like Muhammed Ali and insist that another name of their choice be used by Wikipedia instead! Cody's proposals would also disrupt the Primary Topic guideline which gives the name of a place like London England, which is the primary meaning for most people, (although there are other Londons), the clear simple name, without going through disambiguating terms. Cody appears to be starting from the solution he wants to his particular bee-in-the-bonnet naming dispute and designing a policy to give him what he wants on that issue - which is not a good way to work IMO. Xandar 14:26, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the name of the city London is a controversial topic. (Regarding the Republic of Macedonia it should also be noted that there still aren't any other self-identifying entities, as far as as I know, calling themselves as the Republic of Macedonia, and they also refer to themselves simply as Macedonia which is a disambiguation page.) Cody7777777 (talk) 09:17, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
We should not adopt names because they are inoffensive; agreed. This undermines the self-pitying arguments for self-identifying names.
The reasoning for the Republic of Macedonia can be found at WP:MOSMAC2. It involves none of the considerations Cody mentions; in fact, consensus dismissed the usage of international organizations, except as a fact about those organizations.
It doesn't involve the self-identification of the Republic either; we use Republic of Macedonia on the grounds (discussed as a question of fact) that
the common name is Macedonia,
this is ambiguous
there is no primary usage; the Republic is probably the most common referent, but not to the degree which WP:PRIMARYUSAGE requires.
We use London for the city in England, not the one in Ontario, because of common usage; see WP:NCGN. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:17, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
This is not true. Self-identification of the name Republic of Macedonia is mentioned in MOSMAC2 itself, and the justification and rationale for the adopted proposal at [discussion] specifically states: "Where disambiguation is practically needed (to be determined by common sense on a case-by-case basis), "Republic of..." is the simplest disambiguating qualifier that is easily understood, clearly establishes the referent (only independent countries are typically referred to as "Republic of..."), and is compatible with both sets of criteria in WP:NCON: common English use, and preference for self-identifying names." Self-identifying names policy was therefore an essential part of this solution, contrary to the claims of those who want that policy reversed now.
Self-identifying names policy is germane to the titles of a considerable number of articles on Wikipedia, for one example Indian Dalits over the Common name Untouchables. The policy has also worked very well in ending disputes. So far no good reason has been given for reversing this policy other than the desire of certain persons to shift the goalposts in certain specific naming disputes - a very poor reason for altering successful policy. In fact not one single occasion where the existing policy has caused a problem has been brought forward, despite repeated requests. Xandar 00:02, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps the name Dalit is also not a controversial topic. (I assume it doesn't also have other important meanings.) And as far as I see, the name Untouchables clearly has more subjective POV and negative connotations than Dalits. (And Untouchables is actually a disambiguation page, showing the other meanings of the term.) Cody7777777 (talk) 09:17, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Xandar is disingenuous, again. That a name is a self-identifying name is a minor good, and one often obtained from following usage. But the decision itself WP:MOSMAC2#Other articles: Republic of Macedonia is to be used where the formal name of other countries is used and where it is needed for disambiguation but not where Macedonia is unambiguous. It does not appeal to self-identification, even if one author did. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:32, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
More than one author used self-identifying names as a principle, and reference to it appears on MOSMAC2. this pretence that the principle doesn't exist is wearing very thin. Xandar 01:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
And how does that apply to the Dalit people? This is a name virtually unknown in the USA, but the title is Dalit? Disingenuous is not answering questions properly posed and then acting as if you are right and the other party is wrong. --StormRider 01:05, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
It may be better known in Indian English, although I would expect Harijan to be more common, even there - and the article suggests it is; alternatively, it may be better known in anthropology. If neither is true, we should not be using it; we are not here to mystify our readership. This is WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS; if some people have violated neutrality, that is no reason for guidance to violate it wholesale. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:55, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
To me the simple correction would be to use Dalit, as it is currently being done. The error is when one types Untouchables it is not linked to Dalit, but a disambiguation page that still does not easily lead the reader to the topic of she seeks. This is unfortunately a poor example in that it is not currently in an excellent state. However, when the links are done, not only would a reader find their topic, but more importantly (s)he would learn that the proper name for untouchables is the Dalit people.
You bring up another point, which English should we use as the basis of making decisions? Is it the Queen's English, American English, Indian English, etc. In this example of Dalit, US readers are almost entirely at a loss, but this loss is quickly corrected IF we use the name of choice. Using the name of choice of a given group is just so logical, respectful, and proper to me that I fail to grasp the motivation for changing this long-standing policy. Have I missed examples where we really should ignore the name of choice for a group? Usually names of choice quicly become the common name and mulitple names are/can be discussed in the respective article.
BTW, can someone with the expertise, correct the link so that Untouchables links to Dalit? It would make that article easier to find. --StormRider 09:55, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
We have a (exceptionally widely cited) guideline on that: if we can find an international form, well and good; if not, we should use Indian English. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:04, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
That is a logical fallacy to your position. The common term for the world is Untouchables. I don't think I will explain it to you, but just note it. --StormRider 15:33, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
StormRider is correct. The excuse for wanting to remove the naming convention in this guideline is that it allegedly conflicts with the Use Common Names policy. (Even though no one has yet produced a single incident where this has caused a real problem). However ENGVAR "conflicts" in exactly the same manner with "Use common names". So logically, since the supposed "conflict" is the excuse here, ENGVAR should be removed too, along with all other exceptions to "Use Common names" no matter how useful. The simple fact is that "Use Common Names" has plenty of exceptions, documented in the various naming conventions, of which this is one. PMANderson comes up with lots of reasons for exceptions to his iron rule when it suits him, which fatally weakens his argument. (As an aside, ENGVAR primarily refers to grammatical usage rather than naming.) Xandar 01:20, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
ENGAVAR is not part of the Naming Conventions Policy, but WP:NC#National varieties of English is part of policy. It does not conflict with common name unless one is going to reject the usage of more than one form of English in this encyclopaedia. It just means that we have articles named Tram and Gasoline, and sometimes names like Fixed-wing aircraft, but also Cricket and Football. Common name still works but for subjects with strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation, it is the common name used in reliable sources of that nation. --PBS (talk) 21:44, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

I moved some of the discussion down. The above is meant for us to 'endorse' key positions. Some of the added points are not positions, but rather arguments for the positions, which may themselves be supported or not - but let's avoid mixing these and making it difficult to answer the question "just who exactly supports this?" Please feel free to redact or comment out a position if you want to expand on it a bit, but avoid arguing up there.   M   21:55, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Please don't remove positions because nobody has signed on to them after a couple of hours. One reason to post positions is to give people some time to sign on; if there is silence after a few days, they can be struck - but finding what nobody will support is one of the most useful aspects of this exercise. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:41, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

To expand a little on my comment above: As Wikipedia is reactive and not proactive if a boxer called "Cassius Clay" today decided to call himself "Muhammad Ali" it would not be up to Wikipedia to alter the name its article from "Cassius Clay" to "Muhammad Ali" until the majority of reliable sources started to do so. However I can see an argument for stating that in such cases, that "modern reliable sources" should be given more weighting than "old reliable sources". Supposing we were writing an article in 2000 on Prince (musician) as reliable sources tended not to use this but used "Artist formerly known as Prince" that is probably the name we would have used for an article. The question is when he changed his name back to Prince in 2001 how soon should Wikipeia have followed the trend in reliable sources to go back to the name Prince? Giving weighting to recently published articles, might be seen as desirable. --PBS (talk) 00:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

I think some of the editors commenting here need to be much clearer on their use of policy and guideline, (see WP:Policies and guidelines for the difference between the two). This is a guideline and not a policy and as such its wording should not contradict policy. --PBS (talk) 00:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

The Cassius Clay example is one reason why the guidance (not "policy" if people want to nitpick) on self-identifying names is needed. I can imagine that if that happened now and his article on Wikipedia read Cassius Clay, when he had made it known that this name was now extremely offensive to him, that he would be doing some pretty heavy edit-warring - if not something more strenuous. PBS tries to wriggle out of this conundrum by proposing using "modern reliable sources" (undefined). But what are these? - and how many of these printed newspapers, journals, yearbooks, encyclopedias etc. would have to change their view, and over what time period, before Wikipedia could escape from the yoke of "Common name" which PBS and others would saddle us with - and reflect reality? PBS and PMAnderson also do not respond to the Untouchables/Dalits example - one of many, that would mean Wikipedia would have a policy of willfully insulting and denigrating tens of millions of people? Xandar 01:54, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
What would be most likely to happen if a boxer took an Islamic name is what did happen with Muhammad Ali. It would take a while to be adopted, but it would then be English usage - and intelligible to our readers, and we would use it as such. Where we have not adopted such names (as with Prince (musician)), there's usually a good reason why English has not - that his sigil is not memorable to the majority of English-speakers, not pronounceable by anybody, and is unlikely to render correctly on most computers. If we used it, except as an illustration, it would render as a little square box. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:31, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
@PBS Please don't nitpick. I highly doubt anyone is confused as to the distinction between the two. It should only be an issue of one is trying to play a guideline over a policy, not just when someone slips up and uses the wrong word. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 09:51, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
It should only be an issue of one is trying to play a guideline over a policy Quite right; and Xandar has been consistently attempting to play this paragraph (in his -er- doubtful reading) over WP:NPOV, on the grounds that WP:NAME mentions it. But as long as the rest of us are clear that this is - at best - a guideline, we can continue. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:48, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I was actually very clear in stating that this section is not being played against a policy because it isn't in conflict with the NPOV or NAME. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib)

<-- Back to my comment on modern sources. I am not trying to wriggle out of anything. This is not an unusual position to take, when reliable sources start to use a new name we very much take that into account when deciding which is the correct name to use -- if not we would still be using Peking and not Beijing. I have not tried to define what is meant by modern (reliable) sources because it depends on the entity under discussion. For example if it is a renaming of a genus, then clearly it is over a period in which the usage in the scientific literature changes, but if it is the name of a pop band it would be the usage in the music and popular press. Usually the latter would usually change more quickly than the former. Wording that indicated that the name in reliable sources can change, would help to meet the requirements of cases like "Prince", and "Muhammad Ali". Wikipedia does not have a policy of deliberately insulting anyone, we have a policy of "Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature." We follow the lead of reliable sources, and this guideline must comply with the policy (or it will be ignored). By integrating a suggestion that where the name has changed, the uses in modern reliable sources -- for example "the usage in reliable sources after the announcement of a change of name by a self-identifying entity", would perhaps be a way forward, as it would in my opinion be compatible with the naming convention policy. --PBS (talk) 18:40, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

By integrating a suggestion that where the name has changed, the uses in modern reliable sources -- for example "the usage in reliable sources after the announcement of a change of name by a self-identifying entity", would perhaps be a way forward. Yes it would; this is a part of our commitment to current usage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:29, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
PBS. What you are attempting to do is to remove a simple, effective, and elegant way of dealing with certain problems and disputes, and then trying to add in new and far more complicated ways to solve the problems that removal would produce. This is not an improvement of the guidance. And the "recent name-change" scenario is just one of many such problems. Instead of simply saying "Use the self-identifying name of the entity", we would have to A) pre-define groups of entities that would be subject to a different rule of determining the Common Name. B) For those entities, define a range of "recent reliable sources", which would be checked in the months/years following an announced change of name, newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, (which ones?/how many?/limited to certain countries?/at what point do we poll?) C) Devise a methodology for polling these sources. Even then, there would still be a time-lag of six months to two years before most name-changes aqcuired a majority in recent sources. With some, such as Canton or Calcutta, much longer periods would elapse. The proposed process is just so much worse than what you are saying we should remove, and it still doesn't solve the problems raised by pages like British Navy, Dalits, Canadian Indians, Romany etc. etc. Xandar 01:42, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
The wording of this guideline must be compatible with policy. Usually we use the common name as found in reliable English language sources for the name of our articles, but names do change and it is necessary to alter the name to most easily recognized name, and to do that we put more weight on the name in currently published encyclopaedias rather than ones no longer being published no matter how august the original encyclopaedia was. I am not sure what your objection is as it is usually quite easy to assess if a new name is in common use. The complications you are raising are the same ones as we always face when there is more than one name used in reliable sources, I am merely suggesting a simple rule that we use all the time. As it happens one of the examples you give above Romany was moved from Roma people to Romani people (instead of Romany people) using exactly this consideration, see Talk:Romani people/Archive 8.
user:Xandar, As to your argument about how long and what is the cut off, I would suggest that as a simple rule of thumb if there is not a clear majority in the recent reliable sources then we sticks with the older name until such time as there is a clear majority for a change of name, the more frequently an entity is mentioned in reliable sources, the sooner the change of name of a Wikipedia article can be changed.
Also user:Xandar, I am confused as to why you think that Wikipedia should not be guided by what the majority of reliable sources use. Surly we are only talking about using the self-identifying name of the entity if it is not clear what the name is in the majority of reliable English language sources, in which case some weighting can be given to the name used by the self-identifying entity. --PBS (talk) 20:48, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
The wording of this guideline is compatible with policy. The editors who wrote the policy explicitly linked to this guideline to explain how that policy should be put into practice. The idea that they didn't read this naming convention before they did so is an astonishing one!
The trouble with your ideas, PBS, is that they introduce a timewarp between an entity announcing its new name and a majority of certain printed sources recognising and acknowledging that. There is no purpose to this. It is more complicated and far less reactive. One of the benefits of Wikipedia being that it is up to the moment.
The problem that the makers of this convention saw with relying solely on "the common name in reliable sources" as I see it, are the cases where this majority of sources "chooses" a name that the entity finds wrong, misleading or offensive. Canadian Indians for example. Most sources will continue to call the North American native populations "Indians" simply because it is such common usage - even though the name has nothing to do with the people themselves, who call thmselves Native Americans or the First Nations. Wikipedia however, because of redirects, can and should use the names these groups self-identify by. Coptic Church is an example from another sphere. It is used in many sources, and probably will continue to be. However it is not the name that the church, and its members, use. It is not just "the Church of some odd people called Copts", but an ancient Orthodox Patriarchate. Xandar 02:48, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
You give a lot of credit for perfect and sound writing to the original writers. They aren't really perfect, so a lack of clarity is unsurprising. It seems pretty clear, though, that the guideline is meant to resolve conflicts that can't be resolved using the common names principle. As for your points, I don't quite follow. Should we apply the policy you propose to all articles, and refer to janitors as custodial engineers? (Or pick some other example of political correctness.) You do understand that this applies to more than just the Catholic Church article, don't you?   M   03:06, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Please stop bringing up Catholic Church, everbody understands the scope of this policy. That's why we're having this discussion. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 03:23, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
What's the problem with bringing it up? A huge proportion of the editors opposing are involved in that article. Given that I just asked if this was really understood, after providing some reasons for my having doubts, your response seems out of place.   M   03:33, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
You guys keep saying stuff like "Editor A's last contributions were at Catholic church, isn't that funny that we have so many editors from Catholic church here". Don't presume motivations for other people, you don't really know what people's motivations are. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 10:53, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Especially when a majority of those, pushing so hard for these changes with M have either entered into the dispute on Catholic Church naming or expressed a strong view here or elsewhere on that dispute. Xandar 13:08, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

<--"The wording of this guideline is compatible with policy." Well not necessarily, it is not uncommon for people to add things to guidelines which are not compatible with the policy. Such differences may not become apparent until the parties to an article naming dispute highlights the difference between the policy and guideline. Also we did not add "reliable sources" to the policy until last year, which meant that many guidelines had work-arounds in them, because the common name is not necessarily the name used in reliable sources (eg Bloody Mary) and just using the most common name as found in all sources frequently differed from the name in reliable soruces. The addition of "Wikipedia determines the recognizability of a name by seeing what verifiable reliable sources in English call the subject." (Use the most easily recognized name) has made a lot of the wording in many of the naming conventions guidelines redundant. -- PBS (talk) 14:13, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

That is just an opinion. There is no evidence that using "Reliable sources" solves the problem of names being thrown up that conflict with an entity's self-identification. We've already discussed the delay with name-changes because reliable sources take time to catch up. And there are areas where "reliable sources" simply do not solve the problem. Untouchables, American Indians, Australian Aborigines, British Navy, Calcutta - are all cases in point. The naming principles of self-identification have been used in Wikipedia to solve the Gdansk -Danzig disputes, and to provide a basis for the naming of articles about towns in disputed areas of Europe such as South Tyrol-ALto Adige, where relying on "Reliable sources" would leave us in a mess. The self-identification rule is a useful tool. Xandar 01:05, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

A few questions, which I hope will receive some terse (short, re-checked, not long) responses. To be neutral, we rely on descriptiveness and choose the most common name. So,

  1. Do we use reliable sources, or popular usage? Some have implied that we should favor academic usage - I'm unsure about this. While we need reliable sources on how common naming is, there seems no reason to prefer commonality in academia over commonality overall.
  2. Do we use the common name used, or the name something commonly 'should' be called? For example, while most people may use the word Gypsy, presumably most actually think that Romani people should be used instead. This is harder to judge, though.

Thoughts? Positions?   M   21:10, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

I favor reliable sources for all things. Popular usage is impossible to verify without using them.
The argument between use of the common name versus the desired name is well demonstrated in these types of examples such as Gypsy or Romani. For me, there is no question that the title of the article is Romani and when people type in Gypsy that are automatically linked to the Romani page. This is where Wikipedia aids the ignorant and provides an occasion to learn proper names. --StormRider 23:03, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
We don't prescribe "proper" names, so as to enlighten the ignorant. If I'm reading you right, your position is against one of our oldest and most uncontested content policies - our articles are descriptive, not prescriptive. What I'm wondering is if our titles should reflect what others, especially reliable others, prescribe.   M   01:26, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I also favor reliable sources per WP:V. I don't think either position would involve throwing out the use of reliable sources or even independent sources. It has also be demonstrated that in MOST cases the common name and the self-selected name are one in the same. However in the case of the conflicts between self-identifying terms and common name, we really need a rule to decide tough cases. That rule for the last couple years has been to choose the self-selecting name, and I'm still not aware of any cases that this has been a problem. If you apply the rule consistently its not taking sides as it would apply to all groups. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 00:51, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
That rule for the last couple years has been to choose the self-selecting name Examples, please, aside from the recent and still controversial move; I have seen no moves though WP:RM which fulfill both conditions: that an article was moved to the self-identifying name, against usage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:38, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Lots of example have already been given, I'm not a regular at RM so I really don't know what they do there. I guess they entirely ignore this guideline? --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 01:45, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
No, they use the rest of it, and ignore this paragraph. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:30, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

What I'm wondering, with the first point, is suppose we get two perfectly reliable sources. One says "90% of people use the word Gypsies to refer to the Romani people", and the other says "90% of reputable sources use the term 'Romani people'". Which one do we choose?   M   01:26, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

This guideline gives a number of tools to determine which is more common. This is also why it is much preferable to simply call the group by what they call themselves. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 10:55, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Thoughts about this guideline

After being away from this page for most of the day, I was re-reading some of the past conversations, and the previous incarnations of existing policy; I'm starting to feel that we've perhaps given too much weight to the importance of this guideline. Although I really hate the way this conversation has unfolded, I'm starting to think that, at least in the history of this guideline; its only intent was to guide people to the common name. However in practice it seems that a lot of articles that are named by their official names with the common name as a redirect. So here are some thoughts regarding this ambiguity between common name and this section.

Intent of this guideline

All naming convention really says is to go here for "rationale and specifics" regarding controversial names, it doesn't elevate it to a policy level, but merely clarifies what was stated in WP:NAME. The policy itself states that: "The purpose of an article's title is to enable that article to be found by interested readers, and nothing more. In particular, the current title of a page does not imply either a preference for that name, or that any alternative name is discouraged in the text of articles. Generally, an article's title should not be used as a precedent for the naming of any other articles."

WP:NPOV states: "If a genuine naming controversy exists, and is relevant to the subject matter of the article, the controversy should be covered in the article text and substantiated with reliable sources. Otherwise, alternative article names should not be used as means of settling POV disputes among Wikipedia contributors. . . . Where proper nouns such as names are concerned, disputes may arise over whether a particular name should be used. Wikipedia takes a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach in such cases, by using the common English language name as found in verifiable reliable sources; the most common name used in English-language publications is generally used; see also WP:Naming conventions (common names)."

I'd like to go back to the 2005 principles I brought up a few weeks ago; The three key principles are:

  • The most common use of a name takes precedence;
  • If the common name conflicts with the official name, use the common name except for conflicting scientific names;
  • If neither the common name nor the official name is prevalent, use the name (or a translation thereof) that the subject uses to describe itself or themselves.

For these reasons I think that the policy really was intended to determine the most common name, and to default to the self-identifying names only if the common name is equally or less common than what they call themselves (I think this was mainly in the case of translated names).

Quite reasonable. Can we put these in, and drop the "key to identity" business silently? I'd be content with that. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:21, 28 August 2009 (UTC)


However, a lot of our discussion has centered around exceptions to the common name principle. And I would like to note this (I'm sure everyone's read this, but bear with me). Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) states:

Also, some terms are in common usage but are regarded as offensive (Mormon Church, for example). In those cases use widely known alternatives (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). When in doubt, check a mainstream reference work. A term can only be considered offensive if a verifiable, authoritative source can be quoted as citing it as such.

This does not mean that we should avoid using widely known pseudonyms like Mark Twain, Marilyn Monroe, Billy the Kid, or widely known common names of animals and other things. But it does mean that we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading or commonly regarded as offensive to one or more groups of people.

I think its important that we keep in mind that this may re-open naming disputes on other articles, however we shouldn't let the potential consequences stop us from getting this right.

We can reasonably summarize this here, although the case in which a name which is widely regarded as offensive is most common in reliable secondary sources (which is our present test) will be quite rare. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:28, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Exactly so, but there may need to be a qualification on modern reliable sources (and possibly national varieties of English), because I am sure we can all think of examples where older sources use names which today would be considered widely either offensive or archaic. --PBS (talk) 11:49, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Moving forward

In conclusion see the wisdom of using the self-identifying names to avoid conflict, but I think the guidance needs to be modified to that this doesn't become a POV battle between editors, but that if the most common name is deemed offensive by reliable sources, editors should look for the next most common alternative. I think the biggest problem with the text right now is that it doesn't explicitly describe what the article title should be, it just explains that some entities change their names and that those names should be in consideration. I think the wording of this section needs to be stronger and it needs to incorporate both common name AND what to do in exceptional cases.

So moving forward, let's keep in mind that the goal of the title is to make sure articles are easily recognized by readers. POV really shouldn't be an issue in titling a name. Also please note that WP:POLICY says that "Bold editors of policy and guideline pages are strongly encouraged to follow WP:1RR or WP:0RR standards." It's not productive to continue to place a specific version of the guideline on the page until this discussion has completed. Now that page protection has expired, let's avoid another edit war and hold off on any major edits to the guideline.

I suggest a draft re-write of this section followed by an RfC. No accusations or personal attacks, stay calm, remain civil. We're all here to benefit Wikipedia, let's do our best and work together. Opposing views should be welcomed as it will make sure we are considering all angles of this issue. Thank you for bearing with my long-winded speech, and I hope it has been at least somewhat helpful. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 12:39, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, thanks, that seems to put things in perspective. I think, though, that if we're going to move to an RfC, we shouldn't be looking at this one guideline in isolation (for a start, not many people from the wider community are going to be that interested in it). I'd be for trying to rewrite all the general naming policy/advice that we have into a fairly concise and meaningful set of principles that the community can accept, and that will genuinely be helpful to new editors (I had a go at doing something like this in my sandbox recently, if anyone wants to take a look)--Kotniski (talk) 13:05, 28 August 2009 (UTC).
Self-identifying names often provoke conflict. For example, Myanmar: Is SLORC a self? does it represent the Burmese people? (For that matter, is there a Burmese people? Does it include the Shan? or is it only some of those under the Burmese military government?) Such internal political questions arise any time we consider self-identfication, although they are sometimes easier to answer. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:34, 28 August 2009 (UTC)


Wikipedia does not mediate problems, we simply report what reliable sources state. Whether the SPDC represent the people of Myanmar is irrelevant. It is their government today. Using the self-identifying name does not support either side of a conflict, but reports the facts of today. Always focus on facts. State the name of the government, how it came to be, the efforts to remain viable, the ongoing conflicts in governing, and world perception. --StormRider 15:48, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
This post expresses a point of view; it asserts that the actions of SPDC constitute an act of self-identification. That's not a fact; that's a whole series of debatable claims, which the Burmese exiles and the world community are presently debating. (Calling the SPDC itself the SPDC is less problematic - and it is also usage.) It should not be written into articles; still less should it be written into guidelines. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:25, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
You miss entirely the meaning of neutrality. Wikipedia does not care about right and wrong. We take no position, but the SPDC has been in control of Myanmar since September 18, 1988. That is a fact. It is also a fact that their control has been contested. There is nothing else to say (yes, we expand upon those points, but those are the facts). What you are trying to do is determine right from wrong and that is nor within our purview. The current government is the SPDC. There is no argument there is only explanation that their rule is contested. This is rocket science, it is not difficult, but it requires a strict neutrality, which may be something beyond the ability of some editors. Those editors should get a private blog where they can take an emotional and even a moral position; however, that is not the place of Wikipedia. --StormRider 16:43, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Please stop ascribing to me views I do not hold.
Nobody said "Myanmar is undesirable because it is espoused by tyrants"; Myanmar is undesirable because it is contested, and (therefore) using it endorses one side in that contest. When - and if - it becomes common usage, that will mean that using it is no longer an endorsement, to any appreciable degree; and in any case our overriding responsibility of communicating with anglophones will settle the matter. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:05, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
It is possible that there may be situations, and Burma may be one, where there is no term that is not POV; in this case, we must do as best we can. But it is precisely in those situations that self-identification brings in political questions. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:11, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
I am not ascribing a position to you, but if the shoe fits, please wear it proudly or forfeit the weakness of your position. Again, Wikipedia takes a position of strict neutrality. It is beyond stupid to question who has been in control of countries for decades. All Wikipedia must do is report the facts. It is not taking sides to every report facts. Within every article the contentions, disputes, etc. can be covered, but to do anything but state facts is outside of what Wikipedia does and where our policies guide editors. --StormRider 19:25, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Objective use of self-identifying terminology would work well here. The only question to be answered being, does the country really self-identify as X? Xandar 19:36, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
I think Myanmar is a tricky case, I don't think we have any sources which state that one name is particularly offensive. I might be mistaken but I also think that Burma is also prevalent in English. It looks like there's been quite a lengthy discussion on this (see Talk:Burma) --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 19:40, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Burma is a good example, and the current name was decided on a whole range of issues, but self-identification (by the government of the state) was rejected as a valid argument for the usage of the name in English language publications. Another example which is more interesting is Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast, it was decided that although the Government of the Côte d'Ivoire had requested that usage, that in itself was not justification to use that name (although a minority of people justified the use of Côte d'Ivoire because the State wanted everyone to use it), but because it is now commonly used in modern reliable sources, we should go with that name. Likewise the rapid adoption of "Democratic Republic of the Congo" by reliable sources made that one easy to decide.--PBS (talk) 21:36, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
  • See also East Timor. Timor Leste is the State's preference in all languages, including English; but we do not use it, because English sources had not adopted it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:47, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

The case of Burma is an odd-one-out since it appears that Myanmar is also the most common name currently used in English by the objective tests. The keeping of it at Burma seems to be more the result of politics than anything else. Côte d'Ivoire and Kolkatta issues are clear ones of self-identifying names being used where the mass of reliable sources in English has been debatable at the very least. Most newsmedia at the time of the vote used Ivory Coast. And as I have already posted Brixen is used of Bressanone and Guangzhou is used of Canton in spite of English usage to the contrary. and the same is true of Ho Chi Minh City over Saigon, the latter being the much commoner name in English. Xandar 00:11, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

You can not show what "Most newsmedia at the time of the vote used Ivory Coast" use. Kolkatta is not a good example because of national varieties of English. There has not been a requested move for Saigon only one if Ho Chi Minh City should or should not use modified letters. Also have you read WP:BEAN? --PBS (talk) 11:31, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
And as I have already posted Brixen is used of Bressanone in spite of English usage to the contrary. This was a falsehood when posted; it is now a lie: I was one of those who examined the sources when the issue of how to name the South Tyrol came up. Brixen is one of the few cases well enough known to have a statistically significant representation in English reliable secondary sources, and Brixen is more common; that's why it is where it is.
I would prefer Canton, myself, but I think, like Leghorn, this is my own archaism, against present usage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:21, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
"National varieties of English refers to spelling and grammatical usage, not to the naming of entities. And if it did, it would just be another form of the principle of self-identification. As far as Brixen is concerned - a google test in English, removing Wikipedia and the Austrian town of Brixen-in-Thale from the results, shows 204,000 hits for bressanone and 170,000 for Brixen. So don't be in such ahurry to breach WP:CIVIL. As far as Canton is concerned, this remains present usage in English "Canton, China gets 6,510,000 English page hits on google. Guangzhou, China, gets 3,320,000 hits. Guangzhou is used on WP as self-identifying usage. Xandar 20:28, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand what is meant by "National variety of English", we are talking about English used in a locale by a native English speaking community/nation, not the English used by nations who's major/official language is something else. The local national spelling of a name is the naming of an entity. Usually general English usage is not different to country specific usage, but sometimes it is, and when it is we choose the local common name. This is part of the consensus that we do not favour American spelling and usage over smaller English speaking nations. --PBS (talk) 12:06, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Important issues

First of all Wikipedia:Naming Conventions is not so absolute as some would make it. The main sections on Common Names are (empasis mine):

Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.


Convention: Except where other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions give a different indication, title an article using the most common name of the person or thing that is the subject of the article

On naming disputes, the policy page and the relevant section of WP:NPOV direct the editor to the guidance in this Naming Convention. That does not speak to me of absolute subsidiarity to "Use Common Name". As I, and many other WIkipedia Editors would read this, we generally use the most common name in reliable sources unless there is a Naming Dispute. Then we come here and use the tools on this page to cut through the conflict and determine the most appropriate name. One of those important tools being the use of Self-identifying names.

So. In actual practice Naming Disputes on Wikipedia seem often to have been settled using the principles set out here. Both the naming disputes at Republic of Macedonia, (where FYROM is not used) and at Gdansk have used the principles of self-identification to cut through highly-charged political rows concerning who has the right to use the name. In articles covering disputed regions such as Belgium and North Italy, using the self-identifying name of the municipality has become common practice for the title of the relevant articles - even where it may conflict with common name in English. Articles about groups which consider their common name inaccurate or offensive, and entities that have recently changed their names, are all cases where Wikipedia practice has successfully followed the self-identification principles set out in this guideline. Self-identification is a very useful tool for dealing with naming issues, and I do not want to see it swept away on a wave of doctrinaire "top-down" policy making. The comment that perhaps some re-opening of naming conflicts across Wikipedia is a good price to pay for such a change is not one that I see as being correct. I have yet to see a single example of where this Naming Convention has caused a major problem. So while better harmonization of naming policies is fine, it must not be done in a way that creates more conflict by sacrificing the important principle of self-identifying entities. Xandar 19:36, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

  • WP:NAME treats all the other naming conventions as subsidiary. It mentions all or almost all of them; this does not make them policy; it's a policy and they're guidelines.
  • As I, and many other WIkipedia Editors would read this, we generally use the most common name in reliable sources unless there is a Naming Dispute. This is a novel claim; that exception was written for the naming conventions, like WP:NCNT, which deal with names in specific fields of inquiry. Where has anybody, except the few he has canvassed, ever made such a claim?
  • Both the naming disputes at Republic of Macedonia, (where FYROM is not used) and at Gdansk have used the principles of self-identification to cut through highly-charged political rows concerning who has the right to use the name. In articles covering disputed regions such as Belgium and North Italy, using the self-identifying name of the municipality has become common practice for the title of the relevant articles - even where it may conflict with common name in English This statement is false, about all four disputes; I was involved in settling three of them.
For example, the South Tyrol communities self-identify by both or all three names; they have also done so officially since 1946. Our guideline on the matter says: Therefore articles about locations in the province of Bolzano-Bozen are placed according to the language of the linguistic majority, except where the widely used English name is adequately substantiated and is different from that of the majority language group. This is phrased backwards, but the meaning is clear, and has recently been supported in a discussion of one of them: Whenever English usage is clear, we follow it; otherwise we use that one of the self-identifications held by a majority. We do this in the reasonable expectation that if we knew all, the name used by 80% of the population would prove to be the common English name.
This is not strictly speaking self-identification; but if self-identification has any place in our naming conventions, it is this sort of supplemental role. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:27, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Self-identification is a very useful tool for dealing with naming issues This has been claimed before; where has it ever been successfully used? Note that for this guideline to be used successfully, there must actually have been a discussion, this guideline have been appealled to, and the discussion settled by it (not by an appeal to usage). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:20, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Subjective POV

Xandar has added;

In this instance, therefore, using the term "Cabindans" as an objective description of what the Cabindans call themselves does not conflict with the neutral point of view policy. On the other hand, not using the term because of Maputan objections would not conform with a NPOV, as it would defer to the subjective Maputan POV. In other words, Wikipedians should describe, not prescribe

This is worse than the original nonsense. It is a fact that the Cabindans call themselves Cabindans; it is a fact that the Maputans object, and also a fact that the Maputans do not call them Cabindans; indeed, they prevent anyone else from doing so, as much as they can.

But it is not the case that one fact is based in a subjective POV and the other facts are not; both are equally based in subjectivity. One subjectivity is more common at (what are we to call Athens and Skopje?) Maputo City; the other at High Cabindia; both are subjective. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:57, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I added nothing. I restored a ssentence Kontiski removed. See below. Xandar 22:37, 28 August 2009 (UTC)


Ton quote this guideline:

The Polish city of Gdańsk was called Danzig for many years. The name "Danzig" is not the definitive term today, but it is correctly used in historical contexts (e.g. when it was part of Germany or a Free City).

A true statement, and almost accurate about our guidance (we use Gdańsk before 1308).

But hardly compatible with self-identification, especially one limited to the living; and many of the minority of extreme Polish nationalists who opposed any use of Danzig appealled to self-identification to get their way - fortunately they were outvoted. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:28, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

No edit-warring please.

Konitski made some minor changes to the guidance. I left most of them since they were largely drafting sentences, but restored an important sentence on not acknowledging third party objections, that he removed from the Maputa-Cabinda example.

PMAnderson then posted that I had added that sentence. (untrue). He also removed the section entirely. That is certainly not agreed, since removal of the section is a substantive change to the guidance. So I have restored it. Please do not edit war on this. If there really is community consensus to radically change the guideline, it will be gained through normal discussion and consultation. The guidance has stood since 2005. It is important and there is no valid urgency to alter it. So lets go through proper process. Xandar 22:36, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, there is. It asserts as it stands that the opinion of local governments is objective. As such, it is an open violation of NPOV; no process of consensus whatever can choose to set aside core policy. I believe ChrisO has learned better; but anyone who now sponsors this atrocity should be banned. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:58, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

What part of The principles upon which these policies are based cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, or by editors' consensus is difficult to understand? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:25, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

If the term "Cabindan" is used in an article where the Maputan-Cabindan controversy is relevant, then the use of the term should be explained and clarified, with both sides' cases being summarised.

This is not so objectionable as the last, but since the position here was considered and rejected at WP:MOSMAC2, it is bad guidance. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:15, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Your belief that a sentence in a naming convention runs counter to policy does not give you authority to remove it without consensus agreement. Yor belief is challenged, and the sentence has been there since 2005 , without raising problems or controversy. It also makes a point that is quite important. IF the community wants it removed, the community will decide that by due process. You have your tags up saying that the passage is disputed. That is all you are entitled to until a new consensus is reached. Xandar 23:25, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
On the other hand, not using the term because of Maputan objections would not conform with a NPOV, as it would defer to the subjective Maputan POV

If this is ever restored, dispute resolution awaits. NPOV is non-negotiable. The rest of this non-consensus trash can go through consensus-building. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:28, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
It has been there for four years without any of these hysterics. The Wikipedia community will decide whether it deserves to remain. Xandar 23:42, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Septic, why do you threaten so often. Please, if you are going to do something please do it and drop the incessant threats. They are worthless. We have all participated on Wikipedia for years (I don't know your lenth of participation nor do I care) so these threats are meaningless. Nothing is scary about any of the processes on Wikipedia to achieve consensus. However, should you continue to edit war and think that you are the only one that matters, that type of action results in being blocked. --StormRider 00:03, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Who is "Septic"? --PBS (talk) 12:10, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

What part of WP:1RR arent we understanding? Don't make major changes to the guideline, you dont have a consensus. Xandar is correct in reverting the changes. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 01:59, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

It appears you guys are just changing the guideline however you want anyway. I interpret this as a big slap in the face and an indication that you are not interested in consensus or discussion. We have a problem here. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 10:00, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Who are you addressing? Seems to me that recent changes are uncontroversial and help to move towards a version that all might be able to accept. If you disagree with any of the changes, can you say which and why?--Kotniski (talk) 11:11, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
I guess this didn't turn into an edit war, so I guess my comments were a bit pre-mature. I just want to see us work together on this. As long as we're not reverting eachother this is fine. If someone reverts your changes, don't add it back. Discuss. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 19:20, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
I have again had to revert a lot of substantive and non-consensus edits to this naming convention. Some attempt to revrse the meaning of a section, and others would make sections so confusing as to be completely meaningless. We do not have agreement on these proposed changes. Xandar 19:44, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Your revert war grows tiresome. If you had said which sentences you disagreed with in the fairly anodyne expression of what we actually do, we would have removed them, or amended them; that's what consensus editing is: It remains policy that Consensus does not require either that you get prior "permission" to make changes or that the acceptance of your changes afterwards be formally documented. Edits that are neither changed nor removed are always presumed to have consensus until someone actually challenges them. Consequently, you should not remove a change solely on the grounds that there is no formal record indicating consensus for it: instead, you should give a policy-based or common-sense reason for challenging it.
There's nothing wrong with a page that expresses only the opinion of a faction; we call it an {{essay}}. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:06, 29 August 2009 (UTC)


Note that anglicised versions of names are not simply native names with diacritics removed; "Zurich" is still a German name, as it is merely a spelling of Zürich without an umlaut. A name with a substantial difference in spelling (such as Moscow for Moskva, Munich for München) represents a true anglicisation of a native name.

This is both a claim about the linguistic term Anglicization and guidance; both are debatable. The contention between Zurich and Zürich has not ended, and this is unlikely to end it; it is certainly not a consensus position. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:28, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Hmm... I think we should focus on the self-identifying terms and avoid changing sections that aren't causing problems. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 19:21, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't cause problems because this page is so little known; but the diacritic situation has been discussed much more recently at WP:UE#modified letters and WP:GERCON; this effort to sweep the situation away is no longer practice; so why keep it? Septentrionalis PMAnderson
This needs to go. Zurich is a very bad example, and the paragraph itself could be read to be in conflict with the convention and WP:UE guideline. The wording if it needs to be in here should follow the convention wording "The choice between anglicized and native spellings should follow English usage (e.g., Besançon, Søren Kierkegaard and Göttingen, but Nuremberg, delicatessen, and Florence)." --PBS (talk) 11:38, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

More edit-warring

M, Kotniski and PMAnderson are AGAIN radically altering the long-standing naming convention in ways that do not have consensus, and then edit-warring over the proper reversions. To quote Kraftlos above : "What part of WP:1RR arent we understanding?" Some people seem to think that their personal preferences override everyone else's, and they can just put whatever they want into the Naming Convention despite what everyone else in the Wikipedia community thinks. That is not on. If some people want a new Naming Convention, they havee to go through the proper process - not try to bully their way forward. I think that this continuing attempt to impose radical changes on the guidance by other than the proper process shows that they are not at all sure that their arguments can win out if community-wide consensus is tested. Xandar 21:47, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

The straw poll suggests, very strongly, that your position is in the minority. Stop trying to invoke "consensus". If something is incorrect and contradictory, but has been that way for a while - well, this is not consensus. This is a problem that we have to work through.   M   22:37, 29 August 2009 (UTC)- with his extensive canvassing - has half the sentiment in this discussion. That shows that present consensus does not exist for any of the contested expressions. That's not consensus; now can we turn to what actual objections he has. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:11, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
The "straw poll" suggests nothing of the sort. There is no consensus for the sweeping change to this guidance that you seem in a terrible hurry to impose. Trying to change these guidelines by improper methods is not consensus. Changes to guidelines and policies require community consensus - as you know. Xandar 22:40, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
So what are your substantive objections to the tweaks we have made to bring this in line with policy and other guidelines; or is this more WP:IDHT? I quote the revised texts below; what do you actually disagree with? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:32, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
The "tweaks" reverse the naming convention - with consequences that clearly haven't been thought through. I see no need for this hectic rush to reverse a four year-old convention. Any proposals that are brought forward in this respect need to be discussed in as broad a forum as possible, and the implications fully considered. Xandar 01:41, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Subversive text 1

Suppose that the people of the fictional country of Maputa oppose the use of the term "Cabindan" as a self-identification by another ethnic group. The Maputans oppose this usage because they believe that the Cabindans have no moral or historical right to use the term.

Wikipedia should not attempt to say which side is right or wrong. However, the facts that the Cabindans call themselves Cabindans – and that the Maputans object to that usage – are objectively true: both sides can agree that this does in fact happen. By contrast, the claims that the Cabindans have or do not have a moral right to that name are purely subjective. This is not a question that Wikipedia can, or should, decide.

In this instance, therefore, using the term "Cabindans" as an objective description of what the Cabindans call themselves, and what English-speakers call them, does not conflict with the neutral point of view policy. We should not adopt the names used by the Maputans as substitutes for "Cabinda" if they are not predominant English usage. Thus, we should not defer either to the Cabindan subjective point of view, nor to the Maputan subjective point of view. Not using a term simply because of Cabindan or Maputan objections would not conform with a NPOV, as it would defer to the subjective Maputan or Cabindan POV. In other words, Wikipedians should describe, not prescribe.

This should not be read to mean that subjective points of view should never be reflected in an article; for example, the Cabindan controversy may itself be a reasonable topic for an article, in which case the positions of both sides should be explained.

This fundamentally changes the important principle that in a naming-conflict, the self-identified name should predominate over a name that a third party wishes to impose. In the final paragraph Sentence 2, states (in a roundabout way,) that we can prefer the name given to the Cabindans by the Maputans if it is "predominant English usage." That reverses the policy of the current guidance, and makes the whole passage worthless! Adding "Cabinda" and "Cabindans" to the penultimate sentence, completely destroys the meaning of the sentence, namely that the Cabindans have a right to self-identify and that Maputan subjective objections to that choice should not be deferred to. It is more than a change of wording it is a reversal of principle. Xandar 01:41, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Is Xandar arguing, therefore, that we should adopt the Cabindan PoV? Why should we? Why is it not equally subjective? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:14, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Subversive text 2

Some editors draw a distinction between a self-identifying entity and an inanimate or non-human entity. An inanimate geographical feature such as a sea or mountain, or a non-human entity such as an animal, does not have a name for itself. Thus the English name Mount Everest is just as arbitrary as the local name, Qomolangma. The use of "Mount Everest" as the definitive term in Wikipedia is simply a matter of convenience, as the mountain is far more widely known by the English name than by its native Tibetan one. (How this applies to inhabited mountains, like the Harz or Montenegro, is unclear.) Similarly, the English name cobra for a type of snake is just as arbitrary as the Indonesian name "ular tedung", but the English name is used in the English Wikipedia because it is the standard name in the English language.

A city, country, people or person by contrast, is a self-identifying entity: it has a preferred name for itself. This self-identifying name is often, but not always, usage, and therefore recommended by our naming conventions: We use Danzig for the historic city which now calls itself Gdańsk, and Gdansk or Gdańsk when discussing the modern city. The man formerly known as Cassius Clay now calls himself Muhammad Ali, and we do likewise, since it has become normal usage; use of Cassius Clay - except for some descriptions of his early life - would be tendentious and obscure. This should always be borne in mind when dealing with controversies involving self-identifying names.

Some will hold that this self-identification has deep philosophical significance; others will hold that, like a rose, a city stands without a name, and we hold the bare names.

Omne sentence of this Xandar explicitly agreed with above; we can reduce to that if necessary. But which other sentences does he dispute, and on which grounds? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:23, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

The Ist Paragraph states "some" editors think, instead of stating the difference as a fact.\
The difference is an unsourced claim about the real world. They generally should not be in guidelines, unless there has been source based discussion showing that they are consensus assertions about the world. (Even then, they should be used only when necessary.) Citation please. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:11, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
The 2nd paragraph uses weasel words in order to remove the statement in the original that self-identifying names should be used. It merely states that we use the names in the examples because they are currently the common names. That is not true. And if it were true of these examples, then we would need better ones such as First nations that illustrate the need for, and the use of, Self-identifying names to solve naming disputes. Your paragraphs actually say nothing but "use common names" and in that state would be completely redundant! Xandar 01:41, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
But we do use Gdańsk (and Danzig as a historical name) because our sources do. See WP:NCGN. In the old (now superceded) discussion at Talk:Gdansk/Vote, there were some people who argued for self-identification; but they used it to support never using Danzig, even when discussing 1759 or 1939, and were voted down. Thus this is incorrect as a statement of Wikipedia history and as guidance. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:11, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Subversive text 3

If this guideline appears to conflict with NPOV or our naming policy, Wikipedia:Naming conventions, policy takes precedence and this page should be changed to reflect that.

This page was written to assert three principles:

  • The most common use of a name takes precedence;
  • If the common name conflicts with the official name, use the common name except for conflicting scientific names;
  • If neither the common name nor the official name is prevalent, use the name (or a translation thereof) that the subject uses to describe itself or themselves.

Almost all of this is policy; some of it quotes policy. And, as always, the last part of WP:BRD is Discuss; what parts of it does Xandar disagree with? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:28, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

But if Xandar actually disagrees with some sentence of it, that sentence can be modified or removed. All he need do is say what, and what his problems with it are with the substance of it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:41, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
My problem is quite simple that you are attempting to change THIS GUIDELINE against consensus, so that it suits your own agenda. The guidline is not here to repeat what the other guidelines say, but to state what principles should operate on the occasion of a NAMING CONFLICT. Your version above states a "conflict" that does not exist, except in your own mind, and reverses the order of this guidance and that in the Manual of Style that Self-Identifying names should be normally used as the names of self-identifying entities. The construction above artificially creates a new hierarchy which puts the so-called "common name" above the self-identifying name of the entity in the case of Naming dispputes. That REVERSES the existing Naming Convention, and would lead to hundreds of new disputes across Wikipedia.
No good reason has been put forward for such a radical reversal of the guidance, which as been working well for 4 years, (examples in the posts above) and not ONE example of it causing problems has been produced, despite multiple requests. Xandar 01:18, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
This is not a convention (which are on the policy page) this is a guideline. --PBS (talk) 12:13, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Xandar cries "Consensus; consensus"; but there is no consensus. The three principles quoted above were part of the original wording of the page. Indeed, they were added in the same edit as the bafflegab on the key significance of self-identifying names that Xandar finds so vital; f one has a claim on our attention for age, so does the other. The three principles are what Wikipedia actually does about naming conflicts; that's what guidelines should do. Now if Xandar can (for once) make clear what he disagrees with, we may be able to reach an accommodation, as with Schmucky; but he has to say what he wants and why, for people to understand him. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:33, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I do not regard the above sentences The construction above artificially creates a new hierarchy which puts the so-called "common name" above the self-identifying name of the entity in the case of Naming dispputes as serving this purpose. It's not a new hierarchy; it's the old hierarchy, in place when this page was written, reflected independently at WP:NCGN - which is as old, and a wider consensus, and used daily.
We use the common name, rather than the self-identifying name, when they differ, for two reasons:
  • It's good, clear, comprehensible, English - even when the self-identifying name is undisputed. If we used Federal Republic of Germany instead of Germany, Germany would read like porridge.
  • It puts the decision of what name to use out of our hands. When the self-identifying name is not common usage, that is often because there is a question of who is authorized to do the self-identification. We do not make that decision; we do what our sources do. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:40, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Confusing example

I've moved this out of the guideline, because it's unclear and may conflict with Wikipedia:Naming conventions, which is policy.

Suppose that the people of the fictional country of Maputa oppose the use of the term "Cabindan" as a self-identification by another ethnic group. The Maputans oppose this usage because they believe that the Cabindans have no moral or historical right to use the term.

Wikipedia should not attempt to say which side is right or wrong. However, the facts that the Cabindans call themselves Cabindans – and that the Maputans object to that usage – are objectively true: both sides can agree that this does in fact happen. By contrast, the claims that the Cabindans have or do not have a moral right to that name are purely subjective. This is not a question that Wikipedia can, or should, decide.

In this instance, therefore, using the term "Cabindans" as an objective description of what the Cabindans call themselves does not conflict with the neutral point of view policy. On the other hand, not using the term because of Maputan objections would not conform with a NPOV, as it would defer to the subjective Maputan POV. In other words, Wikipedians should describe, not prescribe.

This should not be read to mean that subjective points of view should never be reflected in an article; for example, the Cabindan controversy may itself be a reasonable topic for an article, in which case the positions of both sides should be explained.

What does this actually say? That we should or shouldn't use the term "Cabindan"? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 22:54, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Don't remove long standing text simply because you don't understand it. Yes, it says use Cabindan for the group of people that call themselves Cabindan. It should be worded better, and shorter, but since a few weeks of discussion hasn't led to a new consensus on how to word it nothing has changed.
It says one group of people does not get to decide the name of another group of people, for one. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
It is intended to say that we should use Cabindan, because the Cabindan government says so. We should ignore the protests of the Maputans, who object to "Cabindan", because they are a subjective POV. The implication that the Cabindan Government does not express a subjective point of view is why this former guideline is under dispute. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:02, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
reply to Schmucky: (a) The example doesn't say what you're saying it says; perhaps it's meant to, but it doesn't. It currently doesn't say anything, and therefore shouldn't be on the page -- this isn't a question of agreeing or disagreeing with it, it's just that it's not coherent. (b) I think we should use a real example, rather than a confusing invented one. (c) If your interpretation of what it wants to say is right, it violates the policy, which says we should use the common English-language term, no matter what the Cabindans call themselves:
"Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity ... The names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists. Wikipedia determines the recognizability of a name by seeing what verifiable reliable sources in English call the subject." SlimVirgin talk|contribs 23:17, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Well yes, that's why there are so many unexplained reversions on this page; the existing text, casually written by ChrisO four years ago, and never discussed until recently, can be used to justify following the point of view of Governments; whether the Government of Greece, which is meant by Maputo; the government of China which Schmucky happens to support, or any other Official Cause. 23:26, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
If an example is to exist, it needs to be real. The problem with these made-up ones is that they tend to get complicated and hard to follow. Secondly, any example should make clear that it pertains only to when there is no most-common English term, and that where there is, that's what gets used. Exceptions may apply to BLPs, in that we're supposed to be extra sensitive to their concerns, but otherwise the policy applies. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 23:33, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
If you want to make it real, change Cabinda to (Republic of) Macedonia, and Maputo to Greece. The advice it gives will then be redundant with (where it isn't inconsistent with) WP:MOSMAC2; but it will be real. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:36, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Do you dispute the conditional, If this guideline appears to conflict with NPOV or our naming policy, Wikipedia:Naming conventions, policy takes precedence and this page should be changed to reflect that.? This does not assert that it does conflict, nor that it appears to conflict, but what to do if it appears to conflict, which is in fact one of the standard rules for guidelines. See WP:POL. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:22, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
This Naming Convention does NOT violate the policy - any more than does any other EXCEPTION to the policy. What is hard to understand about that? The Policy Page itself says that the policy stands UNLESS another Naming Convention says otherwise. This convention has been here since 2005 now. It is established guidance, linked effectively from the policy pages, and should not be removed because certain people either do not understand it - or else want to Game the System in relation to the Catholic Church article - WHICH SEEMS TO BE THE SOURCE OF THIS SUDDEN AND EXTREME DESIRE TO ALTER LONG-STANDING NAMING GUIDANCE WITHOUT CONSENSUS. Xandar 00:26, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
And #Subversive text 3 doesn't say this page violates policy; please read what you revert. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:30, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Xandar this is not a naming convention it is a guideline to the Naming conventions, and to be any use as a guideline it needs to explain and enhance the conventions not contradict them. --PBS (talk) 12:18, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Schmucky

I applaud this edit and thank Schmucky for proposing a new text, on which we may agree. As it happens, I do agree; that's an invalid criterion. Dispute? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:58, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Would it not make more sense to redirect this page to the policy, and add something brief there if the policy doesn't cover these points? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:59, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
This page is already done in summary style on WP:NAME, which summarizes several of its sub-pages. This needs to exist independently to avoid overwhelming the rest of the text there. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
I have not re-read this to look at what it says about
  1. Third parties (who may be very vocal on Wikipedia) insisting that X be called Y.
  2. How to resolve disputes among several claimants (ie, Liancourt Rocks dispute has broken out to fights over the names of the rocks several times).
SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
This page doesn't really say much, and what it does say comes close to contradicting the policy, and earlier did contradict it. It could easily be summarized so it'd be short enough not to overwhelm the policy. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:12, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
This is YOUR opinion, and it is NOT consensus opinion. You DO NOT change policy radically in this way without gaining community-wide consensus - and certainly not at the behest of people who have used the dirty tactics that the proposers of this change are undertaking, including threats, lies, edit-warring, forum-shopping, taking false cases to AN/I - all in the aid of getting their way in a naming dispute. Is this really what you want to support, SlimVirgin?
The new section at the top of the article would make self-identifying names unusable unless they were also common names - making a nonsense of the whole guideline. I am wondering why this sudden virulent hatred of the principle of self-identifying names?Xandar 02:03, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I very much agree with you that people shouldn't change long-standing guidelines against consensus, but the problem with the disputed section of this page is that it directly conflicted with its related policy. It's also not clear from looking at this talk page that it did have consensus, but even if it did on this page, the conflict with the policy overrides it, because policy is always assumed to take precedence. What you would need to do is try to get consensus to change that first.
What are the issues that you feel the addition of this section would solve? I'm asking because the section really is very unclear, and as written it's unlikely to solve anything, unless I'm missing something. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:14, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I, along with quite a few others, both here and on the Naming Convention talk page, do not think there is a contradiction between WP:NAME and this guidance. WPName says that Common names should generally be used, unless' a naming convention states otherwise. THIS is a naming convention that has been stable since 2005, and it says that in certain circumstances, where there is a naming conflict, and where a self-identifying entity exists, the entity's own name for itself should be used. There are many good reasons for this, the principle is used in practice, and no problems have developed because of it. If you want to know what the original writers of the guidance think about the alleged conflict why not ask them? Chris O and Uncle Ed are still live on the system.
As for the long example. I believe its main purpose is stating that 3rd party objections to a 1st party's self-identifying name should not be relevant Wikipedia naming considerations. If we open that avenue up as a legitimate arguing point, the numver and intransigence of naming conflicts could increase tenfold. Xandar 02:30, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Can you point me to the section of Wikipedia:Naming conventions that you believe makes it compatible with the section you want to retain here? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:37, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

These are the main points of WP:NAME where conflict is alleged

  • WIkipedia:Naming conventions Use the most easily recognized name
  • Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature

The word used is "generally", this is NOT an absolute, that forbids any deviation.

  • Use common names of persons and things
  • See also: Wikipedia:Naming conflict
  • Convention: Except where other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions give a different indication, title an article using the most common name of the person or thing that is the subject of the article (making the title unique when necessary as described in the following section and in the disambiguation guideline. Where articles have descriptive names, the given name must be neutrally worded.

This states quite clearly that common name applies "except when Wikipedia naming conventions. (This is one) give a different indication". In other words when a bona fide wikipedia Naming Convention says something other than "use common name", that is to be followed. The policy defers to the conventions on this. And this convention is specifically mentioned right under the section title. A little odd if this long-standing convention was in major conflict with the policy? No? Xandar 03:04, 30 August 2009 (UTC) Anyway. It's now 4am here. I have to go. Xandar 03:07, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Not odd at all, our dozens (hundreds...?) of guidelines are ill-managed and often poorly-written. They have pseudo-philosophical fluff like "An inanimate geographical feature such as a sea or mountain, or a non-human entity such as an animal, does not have a name for itself.", and blatant POV like "These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity." (so? the other side's claims are "key statements" of its identity also, whatever that means).   M   03:21, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I assume this stems from the Catholic Church debate. Personally I see no harm in calling it "the Catholic Church," because everyone knows what that refers to, but "the Roman Catholic" is overwhelmingly more common (eight million to 48 million on google). You're right that the policy shouldn't say "do X unless a guideline says otherwise," because then it's basically saying it's not a policy. But the more immediate problem with the disputed example is that it really didn't say anything. I'll have to go through the history to see if it was ever more definitive. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 05:08, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
You must have done your google search wrong. Listing Catholic Church without Roman Catholic Church gives 18,200,000 hits, and just listing Roman Catholic Church gives 4,060,000 google hits. This tends to illustrate that this guidance is not strictly necessary to defend the Catholic Church renaming. Some of us just believe that this long-standing guidance is very useful, makes relevant and imoportant points and should not be changed in a rush by a group of interested parties without general across-wikipedia consensus. Xandar 11:33, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:54, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I've just clicked those selfsame links and they give me:
  • The Catholic Church, 5,270,000
  • The Roman Catholic Church, 2,150,000
which is more in line with our other results. You're doing something wrong. Xandar 22:11, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I get nearly exactly the same results as Slim Virgin. olderwiser 22:22, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Google sometimes redirects to your country's engine, or a personalized search, which you have to disable. When I searched using both and, I got results identical to SlimVirgin. I'm not sure what your specific configuration is, but the unfiltered defaults are as SlimVirgin states.   M   22:24, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
There's something wrong with your searches which are wildly out of line with the results everyone has got before this. I expect that you are searching the words Roman Catholic and Church independently rather than the phrase - which is the only way to come up with figures like that. Xandar 00:16, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Xandar, the problem is that this page is not a naming convention, in that it doesn't really suggest a clear direction, so I'm not sure it can claim to be specific enough to overrule the policy, with the policy's permission, as it were. Perhaps more importantly, the policy is clear that, where a title is longstanding and trying to change it would only cause drama, it should be left. So really the Catholic page should be left as it was (and I say that without knowing what it was before the current dispute). SlimVirgin talk|contribs 05:16, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
No you have got this entirely wrong. The head of this guidance page states clearly that this IS a naming-convention. And it is listed at the head of the section of the WPNAME policy that states naming conventions can be deferred to. Your point on Catholic Church brings us back to the true nub of this exercise. The Catholic Church page was moved for several reasons the most important being as a result of a five month official mediation following continuous argument over the content and the first sentence. It was discovered that the page should rightfully be at Catholic Church, and that would solve the long-running problems. So it was moved following a consultation. The simple point is that this guidance should not be changed (in fact reversed) in the indecent rush that this group wants to change it in, in the light of disagreements over a specific article. That seems to be what is quite wrongly, happening here. Xandar 11:33, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
This is a guideline not a naming convention. The naming conventions are in the naming conventions policy page. Also it seems to me that you are just about alone in you opposition to bringing this page into line with the policy page, because if it is in line with policy and not an exception to policy you would not be so firm in resiting these changes. As I have said else where, until a year ago when the Policy was supplemented with the requirement to asses common usage with reliable sources, may guidelines, used work arounds to overcome the most popular distortions of the names used in reliable sources. Since that proviso was added to the policy this naming convention guideline like many others contains paragraphs that are now redundant, at best and conflicting at worst. --PBS (talk) 12:33, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
This clearly a Naming Convention. It says so at the top of the page, and this is listed in the Category Category:Wikipedia naming conventions. There is no doubt about this. The naming conventions, including this one are also on the main policy page. And changing from "Use Common names", to "use Common names as found in reliable sources" makes no effective difference to this convention - unless all the other naming conventions are also redundant. If so there will have to be major changes in one clean sweep. Xandar 22:35, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Please be careful about offering a suggestion about the Catholic Church article name until one understands the history and the references involved that support the name Catholic Church. Slim, it is great to see you enter this conversation. I think it has been a few years since we were editing the same article.
For me, what I hope will result from this entire conversation is that Wikipedia guide editors to choose the preferred name. Why? Simply because I believe that ignorance is not excuse for stupidity or consciously choosing to use names that offend. In the case of the Catholic Church article, it is absolutely clear that the church prefers to call itself Catholic Church. Every comment that seeks to refute that almost unanimously confuses a name with their doctrinal belief. Specifically, the Catholic Church does not equal catholicism, but is only a part of it; but it is the Catholic Church. All other churches that claim to be part of catholicism, all of them, use different, preferred names. Another example, (one that is negative, but can easily be supported if the common name were the rule), queer has over 14,400,000 hits on Google; homosexual only as 12,400,000. Should we use Queer for the article title for homosexual? Of course not. We should use the name that is preferred and proper. Myanmar and Burma are a similar example. Myanmar has twice as many hits as Burma, but what is the title of the article? Burma. And why is it Burma, because of the misapplication of current policy. The fear that to use Myanmar "condones" the actions of the current military government that took over the country in 1988. It is most definitely POV not to call the country Myanmar after over 20 years of that being the name of the country, don't you think? To even bring up NPOV is a misunderstanding of NPOV and a misapplication of policy. It is unquestioned that the country is ruled by a military government; just state the facts. I have run on too much, but I really detest stupidity and the attempt to fight politics on the pages of Wikipedia. Just state the facts and move on.
I think it correct is that preferred names must be supported by reliable sources and that they must be used always. If there are those who are ignorant of the preferred name, their ignorance should not, must not, rule the day. Wikipedia must be a source of correct information.
Finally, all conflicts to names are content for the article, but they must not affect the name of the article. Simply because someone is offended by another's chosen name does not merit changing an article's name. To be offended is a daily occurance. Being offended is a personal problem and not a reason for all others to change their identity to please me. That just reeks of so much political correctness that it curls my toes. --StormRider 07:01, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
The point we're making here is quite simple, and should be accepted by everyone. A major change is being pushed here. The guidance has been quite stable without problems since 2005. Follow practice and leave it as it is until the Whole community is given the chance to decide what change is proposed, and whether it is an improvement. I don't care how strong these guys views are. They shouldn't be trying to change long-standing guidance that is important for many other projects, unilaterally. Xandar 11:44, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Since last year with the introduction of "Wikipedia determines the recognizability of a name by seeing what verifiable reliable sources in English call the subject." to WP:NC , so "Another example, (one that is negative, but can easily be supported if the common name were the rule), queer has over 14,400,000 hits on Google; homosexual only as 12,400,000. Should we use Queer for the article title for homosexual? " are not relevant (and queer is bound to have thrown up lots of false positives). What is relevant is common usage in reliable sources. --PBS (talk) 12:52, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
You are mistaken. There is no such rule, and for good reason. A 'page that has been here a while' only has consensus if it's still supported, and the number of people opposed clearly indicates that there is no longer any consensus for keeping it. You're asking other editors to let you keep the page as-is, when the page apparently contradicts policy and misrepresents community-wide consensus. You need to stop reverting, and start adjusting the wording of the guideline in a way that can satisfy everyone.   M   20:52, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
The number of people opposed does not mean there is no consensus for this naming convention. There has to be a consensus to make substantive changes to an established article. And the need is even firmer when that article is a guideline or policy.
See Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines
"Such pages are taken to be accurate until a consensus process involving the general community shows otherwise"
You and your friends are by no means any sort of consensus to reverse or substantively change the content of this Naming Convention. And no matter how much you repeat that - it doesn't make it so. Major changes need community consensus. And tne page does not "contradict" policy as has been adequately explained to you. Policy states clearly that these guidelines provide EXCEPTIONS. The "contradiction" argument is just an excuse to attempt unwarranted and non-consensus changes. The deference to this guideline over many years by both Naming Conventions and NPOV, shows that there is not any contradiction. So come off that one. Xandar 22:41, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Actually, yes, the number and arguments of the opposition do demonstrate that there is no consensus for Xandar's text. What would be no consensus, if this is not? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:45, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

The consensus is for the long-term version of this article - as you know well. That is why you have been so desperate to try and change by improper methods. There is NO CONSENSUS for your proposed or attempted changes, and just squatting on this article with your friends reverting constantly to your position does not and will not produce a consensus for change, Xandar 22:50, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Exactly, there is no consensus; guidelines should not state what is not consensus; this is why silence would be the simplest solution to these claims. Your words still ignore WP:CON: Consequently, you should not remove a change solely on the grounds that there is no formal record indicating consensus for it: instead, you should give a policy-based or common-sense reason for challenging it. and silence can imply consent only if there is adequate exposure to the community. These vague words about slef-identification have never been discussed, and seem hardly ever to have been used -and not successfully- until the recent controversy; there is no consensus they are valid, there never has been, and now that they have been noticed, half those who discuss them oppose them. That's not consensus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:58, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
The "words about self-identification" are NOT vague - that is your problem with them! And you have zero proof that they have never been discussed. The section was examined by the original editors of the page in 2005, and were later prominently linked to WPNAME and WPNPOV. Your allegation that the convention has never been used is unproven and flies in the face of the facts already presented on this page. Wikipedia is littered with self-identifying names, which are not also the Common Names.

On changes WP:CONLIMITED says:
"In the case of policies and guidelines, Wikipedia expects a higher standard of participation and consensus than on other pages. In either case, silence can imply consent only if there is adequate exposure to the community." Xandar 00:07, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Fine, whatever. Kraftlos just posted to say that those words are a bit vague; and they were used by [sides in the same discussion] (on Macedonia, as it happens); but enough. If I do not reply to you in the future, silence will imply dissent. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:30, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree that the text is vague. It uses an example to communicate ideas that would be better communicated by a clear sentence like in X case do Y. Instead it says something about how important self-identifying names are and that they should be used within articles; instead of explaining how it relates to article titles.
However, you guys are getting it backwards. A previous consensus is what was on the page before this discussion began. Yes, now the text is disputed. But we don't have a consensus to change it yet. The default is to leave the previous text on the page until there is a consensus to change it. I really think these changes should be made on a subpage as a draft. We can't have 100's of edits to this page as we're going back in forth when we don't even have an agreement on how this guideline should be changed. And no, silence can't be interpreted as dissent; that's not how things work here. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 00:54, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
I may be assumed to dissent from any repetition of matter to which I have already disagreed, and I do. That should cover most of Xandar's posts.
But as for previous consensus, two points:
  • Who was this previous consensus, six months ago? Chris O, perhaps, but Xandar has canvassed him (and I would find his voice valuble) and been ignored. Two years ago, there was a Ukrainian nationalist who quoted this sentence - and was roundly defeated as every attempt to install Kyiv has been defeated; but I think he left, like all SPAs eventually leave, before this March. Who else?
  • I have already quoted WP:CON on not arguing solely on the basis of past consensus; there is no consensus now. What benefit is there to keeping what we no longer agree on, and will disappoint those who try it? And, more importantly, what benefit is there on these metaphysical wisps on self-identification? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:55, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Scientific names

What does this mean: "If the common name conflicts with the official name, use the common name except for conflicting scientific names;" --PBS (talk) 13:04, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

That sentence is very close to being pure nonsense. I think an 'official' name is a name used by authorities like governments and associations. It's saying that the common name should be used (uh, redundant), except for either when the dispute is between two scientific names, or one of them is. Put better, it seems to say that in cases of conflict between two scientific names, the "official" and not the most common one is used. Which seems to me still to be nonsense.   M   20:45, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
It does two things. It recommends the use of common names, when they differ from official names; Frankfurt, not Frankfurt am Main; Germany, not the Federal Republic of Germany. That's what we do.
The exception is presumably intended to allow for the use of Linnaean names, which may be held to be official. They are popular with some editors, and unpopular with others; more popular (oddly) for flora than fauna. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:09, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Done. This compound edit was not intended to change the 2005 guidance; just answer PBS' reservations. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:59, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Dubious revision

I see Xandar has revised the guidelines in the header "to bring them closer to the original guidance"; they were a quotation of the original guidance, so I am not convinced by this claim. But fixing this can be combined with a clarification of the second. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:17, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

The trouble is that your header points are not a reflection of what policy actually says. They are a new synthesis produced by yourself and others. I have fixed this with a better clarificatiuon of these issues. Xandar 22:29, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
They were produced by Chris O, in the same edit in 2005 that produced the self-identifying language you prize so much; the only changes are the clarification that would certainly have happened some years ago if anybody had found this fairly standard discussion worth close reading. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:37, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

You "fixed" it by asserting that the policy states that this guideline provides exceptions to, as well as specifics and rationale for the relevant policy. Really; what words have you misunderstood? It certainly does not say so expressly, and never has. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:34, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

To quote actual policy, as Slim Virgin was: Where a guideline appears to conflict with a policy, the policy takes precedence.
That is a general policy. However IN THIS INSTANCE, as you know, the policies WPNPOV and WPNAME defer to the Naming Conventions, and in this case specifically to this convention. So placing that sentence you quote in the lead of this convention is deliberately misleading. My wording is the accurate reflection of what WPNAME actually says - rather than what you would want it to say. Xandar 22:53, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Quotation please. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:58, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
"the policies WPNPOV and WPNAME defer to the Naming Conventions, and in this case specifically to this convention." Care to review what you said in this comment Kraftlos? --PBS (talk) 23:19, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I still don't think anyone's confused here. The policies do leave the elaboration to this guideline; however I get the strong impression that this is an elaboration, so it should say what those sections of NPOV and NAME state, perhaps in more words and with examples. An explicit exception, beyond the allowance for offensive names found in NPOV, would require an RfC. I'm not against making such a change, but I think our problem here is that this section was intentionally left a bit vague. But no, it wouldn't be inappropriate to make an exception here in this guideline as these policies do defer here for specifics and really act as an extension of policy. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 00:20, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Having read Xandar's response, it still seems that his changes were entirely inappropriate. I still entirely endorse them being undone.   M   23:28, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

And having read your responses, it still seems that all of your changes to the established naming-convention have been entirely inappropriate. I still entirely endorse them being undone. Xandar 00:31, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Kraftlos one can not have an RfC over the name of an article that does not exist (as there is no talk page on which to hold it. If the page exists then it is more appropriate to hold an WP:RM if there is a request to change a page name. Further while guidelines and elaborate on policy they can not contradict policy because when there is a conflict the wording of policies have precedence. (WP:Policies and guidelines) --PBS (talk) 02:22, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

The point is, of course, that in this case, there is no contradiction, since the policy defers specific exceptions to the standard practice to this and other guidelines. Xandar 22:33, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Where this has been used

I searched on the key sentence as [7], and found that this has only been used in a half-a=dozen instances; one of them is Chriso, denying that Krakatoa can self-identify. The instances include

  • Kiev: there has been unbroken consensus to keep it there and not move it to Kyiv.
  • Bollywood, as not self-identification. I'm not sure the claim is correct; but the article has not been moved.
  • Burma, where the article was moved against the claim of self-identification.
  • Falkland Islands to argue that we must include Malvinas in bold; we include it but not in bold. This is contrary to Schmucky's recent improvement and the Cabinda business it summarized.
  • Macedonia, where both sides agreed to it; and continued the same discussion
  • Catholic Church.

That's not a widely used, successful, or consensus provision. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:18, 30 August 2009 (UTC) Even counting Macedonia as a success - and it certainly

Examples of Article titles which use a self-identifying name over a common name

Examples of bilingual communities in European countries, in each case the self-identifying name in the language of the majority is used for Wikipedia, notwithstanding English usages. In South Tyrol the principle adopted was to use the 2001 census result to determine whether Italian or German names were used of municipalities. Belgium: Büllingen, Bütgenbach, Kelmis, Amel. We use the German name for each, even though they are situated in a province where French is the official language and in a country where Dutch is the largest language Finland: Jakobstad, Kristinestad, Mariehamn, Nykarleby. The Swedish name is used in each case even though Finnish is by far the largest language Switzerland: Düdingen, Fribourg, Murten, Tafers. In the Swiss cases, the majority language of the municipality is always used. Xandar 00:41, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Mariehamn is not a good example of Finland. It is not in Finland proper, but in Åland, a self governing Swedish speaking territory where Finnish is not used.
The Belgian examples are also poor examples. They may be in a French speaking province, but they are in the officially defined German language area (German being one of the three official languages of Belgium). Skinsmoke (talk) 05:30, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Most of these have not been discussed in these terms; most of them are obscure; and almost all of them are usage. Côte d'Ivoire vs Ivory Coast is, as has been mentioned before, an instance where the self-identifying name would have been turned down, if it had not also proven to be usage.

Let's start with an actually well-known article, where usage and the self-identifying name are both clear, and we follow usage:

Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:58, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure that Bangalore/Bengaluru is a particularly good example. The main point of the discussion was that the name change hadn't yet been approved by the Government of India, and that the Wikipedia change should wait until it had been. The inference is that once it has been approved, the page title should change regardless of use in English. Of course, India being an English speaking country, the criterion is use in Indian English, not use in global English. Skinsmoke (talk) 05:08, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
(ec) to Xandar. You're right about some of these examples, but not all; in fact, not most, I would say. Bear in mind that we use the term most often used by English-speaking reliable sources, not just by anyone. Very few educated sources would now say "gypsy," for example. But you're right about others, e.g. Mormons. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:58, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
See the Gypsy#English law article, Gypsy has two legal meanings in England and is widely used in reliable sources within the UK. --PBS (talk) 01:51, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
But it's not used instead of Romany, at least I hope it's not. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:14, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Short answerer yes. For example see the first two article returned by the previous search (one,two). --PBS (talk) 11:08, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Others such as "British Navy" is not used (as often as the alternative) within the country and such names come under National varieties of English, where the alternative is the most common in reliable sources (about 3,220 from for "British Navy", and about 33,100 from for "Royal Navy") but in this case using Google scholar about 22,900 for British Navy and about 50,100 for Royal Navy so it seems that Royal Navy is the usual in academic sources world wide as well as within the UK. Even a Google raw search returns about 516,000 for "British Navy" and about 3,790,000 for "Royal Navy" so I am not sure why it is in the list. Why is it in your list Xandar? --PBS (talk) 02:12, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Checking up, I do seem to have got it wrong with British Navy, but the same principle applies to Canadian Navy Common Name - 552,000 google hits and Canadian Forces Maritime Command Self-identifying and Wikipedia Name 4,590 google hits I haven't attempted to find and list all the articles where self-identifying names are used, or where a policy-change mandating "common names" over self-identifying names would cause problems. The simple fact is that there ARE such articles, they aren't too hard to find - and there are no simple ways of solving the problems that would be created by dumping this useful guidance. Xandar 22:06, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Seems that "Canadian Navy" is self-identifying too: [8]. Criteria other than either of the two we've been mentioning have clearly been at work on that one.--Kotniski (talk) 22:20, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
That's because it isn't the Canadian Navy; the Royal Canadian Navy, to which most of those web pages are referring, was merged into a combined force in 1968. It fulfills the functions of a navy and of a coast guard (so this article used as a source speaks of it as the Canadian Coast Guard), but we should not move it to either. WP:PRECISION covers this; we have no need for self-identification here. Two institutions, two articles, two names. (We could call the newer institution the Canadian Navy with some loss of accuracy; but there would be a pointless argument with those who would feel we were demeaning the Queen of Canada.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:29, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
WPPrecision would not justify the name Canadian Forces Maritime Command, it is a clear use of the self-identifying name. Xandar 22:05, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Clearly not; the link I gave above shows that "Canadian Navy" is also used for self-identification. I think what you have in mind is "official name" in some sense - but this is moving away from self-identification, since official names are often imposed from above rather than by the entity itself, and can be imposed just as well on the non-self-identifying entities that you are so keen to keep distinguishing in the guideline.--Kotniski (talk) 09:12, 2 September 2009 (UTC)


I think there must be a way of wording the disputed section that would satisfy both sides here. The big problem with the section as it stood was that it really didn't say anything. Would it help to add something like:

"While the term most commonly used by English-language reliable sources is preferred, consideration should be given to respecting the name an individual or group chooses for itself, particularly so in the case of living persons. Articles that are stable on a particular title should not be moved if the move might prove contentious, unless there are compelling reasons and clear consensus to do so."

Would something like that work for everyone? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:35, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

"consideration shouldmay". And I still think that recent sources should be mentioned as it solve several problems (see PMAnderson comment in the last section "Mumbai is the most common name; as the coverage of the recent terrorism made clear.") --PBS (talk) 02:28, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. What does it mean to give consideration? It could mean 'decide when common is unknown', or it could mean 'factor it in, right alongside common names'. This needs to be clearer.   M   02:34, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

We can get around the issue of political correctness by using:

Wikipedia articles are given the name that the greatest number of English-speaking readers would expect in a reliable source.

So, not just what people call a thing, but what they expect a (neutral) encyclopedia to call a thing. This solves the issue of inappropriate names ('gypsy', etc.) without giving 'self-identifiers' some sort of innate right to the name.   M   02:28, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Both of these are good ideas; on detail, I join with M in preferring may. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:52, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
When using common names, who gets to decide what is inappropriate as a name? "Common" too often in history is what appeals to the lowest common denominator. If there there is a reliable reference that states X is the actual name or the name the entity chooses to call itself, then that is the name. It does not matter that others use a common name.
A case in point is the term Mormon. Mormon is a common name, but it is also slang for Latter-day Saint or Mormon church for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint. The LDS Church publishes what it seeks to be called to clarify for the press and the press generally, if not always, follows it.
In stead of using "may", I think SV had it right with "should". We should respect the name that entities seek to be called. Michael instead of Mike, LDS Church rather than Mormon Church, etc. It is simply far to easy to link the common name to the preferred name of the articles. All readers will find what they want and more importantly, they learn the proper name of the entity of their research. --StormRider 21:16, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Slim Virgin's proposal shows promise. I agree with StormRider on "should", and that Wikipedia must continue to respect the names that extant entities wish to determine for themselves. Keeping Wikipedia up-to-date (without a 2 year delay on changes) is an important consideration too, as well as the benefit StromRider states of making people familiar with real names like "First Nations". Xandar 21:38, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't see how Mormon Church could be confused with Mormon. Also, why do you keep referring to a 'proper name'? If this discussion has any moral, it's that there's no such thing.   M   21:44, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Why should we respect the name that entities seek to be called, instead of calling them what our sources call them?
  • This was the plea of both sides in the Macedonian disaster; the Greeks complained bitterly that the millions of inhabitants of Macedonia (Greece) were being denied true respect for their chosen name by Slavic interlopers into the glorious Greek heritage of Macedonia. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:35, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
  • What makes First Nations more "real" than other words? It's a piece of Canadian (only), coined a quarter-century ago.
  • It is not our business to make people do anything, however virtuous; we are here to communicate intelligibly. Presuming we have the right to cram doctrines down our readers' throats is arrogance. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:15, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
It takes a towering arrogance to ignore all references and call an entity what it specifically says it is not. It is stupidity to ignore all references and continue to call it something because it is the opinion of a few editors that it needs to be called a specific name. Myanmar is a great example. Myanmar has existed for well over 20 years. It is the common name (Google search will show it is over 10 times the usage of Burma). The preferred name is Myanmar. The common name is Myanmar. What does Wikipedia entitle the article? Burma. Ignore all policy, ignore all common sense, call it something because...well dammit, we want to call it that. This kind of stupidity is repeated when policy is not clear. Write the policy and make it crystal clear so that editors who would like to implement their opinion at least stand outside of concise, clear policy statements.
(personal attack removed) --StormRider 23:29, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Have you read the discussion further up the page about Burma? Whatever the right answer, it certainly isn't clear that Myanmar is either the preferred or the common name (in Britain it's still Burma).--Kotniski (talk) 08:07, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
There are plenty of references in Burma which call it Burma; Storm Rider does ignore those. I do not ignore those which call it Myanmar; but I do think them outnumbered and less helpful to our readers. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:39, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

From your suggestion, please define

  • stable and in doing so, consider the priority of a small number of editors in 2004 who reached one consensus have over a larger group of editors reaching different consensus in 2009.
  • might prove contentious, and in doing so, consider how the word might in the context of Wikipedia editing disputes is usually interpreted, as in "anything might happen".
  • compelling reasons, and in doing so, describe an objective standard for compelling.
  • clear consensus as opposed to a mere consensus. patsw (talk) 17:36, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Even most judicial laws have to use words that it is left to common-sense to define. I don't know how far absolute precision is attainable. Xandar 22:45, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Reality-based guideline

  • It is stupidity to ignore all references and continue to call it something because it is the opinion of a few editors that it needs to be called a specific name. From this post

This is either gross exaggeration, which is unhelpful, or a serious claim that all references to Burma call it Myanmar. Which?

One is entitled to invent arguments; one is not entitled to invent facts. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:26, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Marked as guideline

Somehow, someone marked the talk page as a guideline. There was a notification posted on Village pump (policy) about the change. I'm not sure what's going on, but the guilty party shoudl probably clean up after... whatever happened (if they haven't already).
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 02:24, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

First things first

Why is this even separate from Wikipedia:Naming conventions? I'm sure that there's some old conflict that drove the creation of this separate from WP:NC, but is that actually a good idea? Most of this seems like a rehashing (and slightly forked version of) what is already in the "main" guideline.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 05:33, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree that it would be better to have this on the policy page, rather than editors being referred to two pages that seem slightly inconsistent. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 05:38, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
There seem to be two things going on. First, this is pointed at the Macedonia affair, and not just in the text under dispute. More importantly, however, these ideas were being worked out in 2005; some of this duplication is because the ideas here were adopted elsewhere. Real duplication should be taken out, and then we'll see what we have. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:14, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, all this naming advice is way too confused - it seems to have been written by people whose aim was not to be clear, but to win arguments (or rather to compromise between competing desires to win arguments). I would put all the general guidance on one page (WP:Naming conventions, though I would rename that to "WP:Article naming" or something, because it's not really conventions), and move all the specific stuff (i.e. about articles in particular subject areas - this often really is conventions) off into specialized pages. And have a navigation template so people can find their way around these pages, like the Manual of Style one.--Kotniski (talk) 08:32, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

The policy page is quite terse, and restricted to principles, th goals most people agree on without qualifications. This is largely advice on how to satisfy the principles - a logically separate thing. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:10, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't know if I agree - the point of nameconv is to resolve disputes on naming. Here we have a guideline on the subject of resolving disputes on naming. Policy shouldn't say anything like "it is policy that Italy is called Italy", or "User:Bob is banned from the Italy article", or "an aircraft should be named ...". Policy is not specific to some subset of our articles - a policy sets out the principles, and guidelines expand on them for certain specific cases.   M   20:01, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Do we really need Geographic name servers. Check geographic name servers such as the NGIA GNS server at to be policy? It's advice, and not particularly good advice at that; compare WP:NCGN#BGN. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:09, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
That's exactly the sort of thing I'm getting at. The reason that so many of those statements with specific advice seem to keep cropping up is simple coat racking. The separate pages exist, with separate sections for specific areas within them, so people naturally start adding more examples and exceptions. Let's just cut all of that off now, and roll everything back into WP:NC. We'll inevitably end up removing some point or other because it'll be overlooked, but primarily we'll just be getting rid of a ton of redundancy. Nothing is set in stone regardless, so even if it turns out bad or something is missed, we can simply fix that later on.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 05:37, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I disagree on the structural point. In general, we should give advice - not this particular advice - and keep it in guidelines; even with the flaws of GeoNET, if it helps some editors, it's worth the electrons to mention it. But we should not make it policy; policy should not have details which may be changed any time a department in Washington gets a new website. But I think we may have wandered from this page - when it is unprotected, do by all means seek out and remove redundancy and we'll see what's left. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:36, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm kind of asking a more general question. Why have 20 different Naming convention guidelines/policies to begin with? This discussion is about this page, but the thought process could easily and correctly be conflated to the others as well, with little change. I see one or two real distinctions between the general gist of all of them, and then a morass of exceptions and specific recommendations that are a real mess when you get right to it. You know better then most others here that I was ready to go in the opposite direction recently, Sep. After I was reversed and we talked about it some though, along with the general idea behind WP:PROJPOL, I've basically come full circle on this. There are a couple of real distinctions that need to be made (Japanese romanization springs immediately to mind), but there's no reason those narrow issues couldn't be discussed in a sub-section on the page. Maybe it's just me as well, but I don't find the distinctions between policy and guidelines to be that well defined. There are parts of all of these naming convention documents that either are or attempt to be policy, and a large part that is "only" guidance. That's not going to change by and splits or mergers that I can see.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 14:23, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Most of them exist because they're about different subjects. GeoNET doesn't particularly belong here; but it should be discussed in WP:NCGN because it's only useful for geographic names. This page should have generally useful advice - and if it were restricted to that and to advice which is actually useful, it would be significantly shorter than it is. I don't see advice on the same subject in several places as a major problem - but then I am often glad to find any advice at all. As long as we take guidelines as advice - and not as rules, the mark of an editor who hasn't caught on - more advice than necessary is better than less advice than necessary. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:40, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
eh... I see where you're coming from, but it really depends on the advice being offered. More advice can sometimes lead instead to a rigidity in attitudes, which ends up causing more trouble then it solves. You mentioned taking these as advice instead of rules, which I completely agree with, but I think that half of the problem with these is that there are so many specified exceptions that the whole system is perceived as a set of rules which users must abide by. That very attitude is apparent on this talk page, as a matter of fact.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 16:15, 1 September 2009 (UTC)


If Mormon is reliable on this, and they have a source, both The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Mormon are self-identifying names; indeed the LDS so strongly identify themselves with it that they sought to trademark it.

This offers two characteristic problems with the proposal to use self-identifying names; too many subjects have two, and the difference between them matters. The other problem is what if several instutions self-identify with the same name? As here: the trademark office turned down the application because the name, like aspirin, had become generic - it meant any follower of Joseph Smith, including all the other Churches which claim that identity. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:49, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

  • So also: what is the self-identifying name of the United Kingdom?
  • All Baptists self-identify as Baptists - are all of the several Conferences to be called by that name? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:52, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
You are talking from a position of ignorance; never a good proposition. Many of the groups within the Latter Day Saint movement reject the name Mormon and always have. There is not a single group that uses Mormon as its name; they all have a preferred name for their church. Such is the same for Baptists; they each have a name for their church. It is like calling people idiots. Yes, it composes a large group, but they each have a name regardless of how stupid they might be. --StormRider 18:10, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
  • The full self-identifying name of the United Kingdom is "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". The shorter, or Commonly-used version of this name is United Kingdom.
  • Baptists may vaguely self-identify as "Baptists". They also more vaguely self-identify as Christians. However this is irrelevant, since we are not talking about the people, but the organisations. What do the organisations self-identify as? See the long List of Baptist sub-denominations. Examples are Southern Baptist Convention, American Baptist Association, and Baptist Union of Great Britain. Incidentally the latter is a purely self-identifying name since it covers only England and some of Wales, rather than all of Great Britain. Xandar 22:25, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
    • Precisely; there are two self-identifying names, quite different in length, elegance, and precision. (With a little thought, I'm sure Xandar can come up with half-a-dozen more.) Even these two differ in implication: United Kingdom was a self-identifying name before 1922; the others would differ more. A preference for self-identifying names leaves us no way to choose between them; and very often all the plausible candidates are, or can be described as, self-identifying names. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:05, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Marked as guideline

Somehow, someone marked the talk page as a guideline. There was a notification posted on Village pump (policy) about the change. I'm not sure what's going on, but the guilty party shoudl probably clean up after... whatever happened (if they haven't already).
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 02:24, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Reality-based guideline

  • It is stupidity to ignore all references and continue to call it something because it is the opinion of a few editors that it needs to be called a specific name. From this post

This is either gross exaggeration, which is unhelpful, or a serious claim that all references to Burma call it Myanmar. Which?

One is entitled to invent arguments; one is not entitled to invent facts. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:26, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Discussion of "Discussion Wikipedia:Naming conflict"

The discussions in each of the sections above appear to me to have devolved into disputes of names of actual articles. This is a case of the cart before the horse.

Discussions of guidelines which end in success tend to use undisputed examples as a starting point to reach consensus on what changes, if any, need to made to the guideline under discussion. patsw (talk) 16:13, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Some of what I've read above I would call "gaming" -- tweaking proposals to have the outcome for one or more disputed articles which the proposer advocates as opposed to working out general principles which can be applied neutrally. patsw (talk) 16:46, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

I know that many of our other policy pages have noticeboards to deal with specific article issues. Is there a Naming conflict noticeboard? If not, perhaps one should be created. Then the discussions here would center more on what the policy should be, rather than how to apply it at any given article. Blueboar (talk) 18:00, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
WP:RM tends to serve that purpose, at least for article names.
One reason examples come up is the contention (so far weakly supported) that we do actually use self-identification as a decisive criterion. Since self-identifying names tend to be common in English, the difference is difficult to see without cases where there have actually been naming discussion.
One recurrent discussion, not uncontested, but repeated and clear consensus, is that we use Kiev, not Kyiv; the paragraph under controversy was quoted there (and ignored). An uncontested example is that we use Weimar Republic, not German Empire, although one of the failed compromises of the supporters of the Weimar Constitution was to retain the name of the state. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:14, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I was going to mention WP:RM as well. We could set up a noticeboard though... we could start it off as just a redirect to the Wikipedia talk:Requested moves page, and see if it generates significant traffic.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 01:29, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
NO! no notice board. That is a function of WP:RM, (at any time there is a list of requested moves currently under discussion) and as discussions take place on the talk page of article under discussion (the place that all changes to a page should be discussed), it is also in the most convenient place for anyone who wishes to review past requested move of the article. -- PBS (talk) 09:50, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Yea, that's basically what I've been thinking as well (and I just said something similar at Wikipedia talk:Requested moves). Still, an underlying point here seems to be that the recent discussions here and what is actually on the policy page are tending to be overly specific. We should be looking to document established, uncontroversial, and generic ideas on these conventions. There seems to be a desire on at least some people's part to carve out specific exceptions for things, and that's not a good thing.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 12:14, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Protected version

The page has been protected again, but this time not in its long-standing stable version, but in a form that is a considerable non-consensus change from that, and which is a rather contradictory mish-mash, with some strange non-consensus additions. Protection of this version does NOT imply any consensus to change to the protected version as it stands. Xandar 22:49, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Can you be specific? What do you consider contradictory? Which additions are strange? --Kotniski (talk) 09:16, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Funny how the protected page is always the wrong version. --PBS (talk) 09:53, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
The exact wording on these documents rarely makes much of a difference regardless. Still, if there's anything that everyone agrees on that really needs to be changed, someone can always put up a {{editprotected}} with a request.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 12:16, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Page protection should be a rollback to a long-standing stable version and not to a arbitrary version including matters under dispute. If it were up to me I would use this March 31, 2009 version as the protected baseline and let each edit since then go through a consensus review so that nothing is added, removed, or changed by stealth. Here is the diff for that March 31, 2009 version and the protected one to get an idea of the mischief that can occur with a an arbitrary pick for a protected version. And so I urge the admins to revert to March 31, 2009 and consider edits since then not be have been reached by consensus. patsw (talk) 12:20, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Rather than waste everybody's efforts in that way, perhaps someone can just say what changes they actually object to, and why, so we can avoid rolling back improvements? (It's not like any version was ever stable because it was widely accepted; it was stable because no-one was paying any attention to it.)--Kotniski (talk) 12:39, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
In fact this version from 26 April would be the most recent stable version, if we were adopting that approach.--Kotniski (talk) 12:50, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
This edit is disputed because the original text was stable and well-understood, the edit substantially and controversially changed the role of self-identification in the guideline, and was made without consensus, and therefore the last version of the page that I would consider to reflect consensus is April 17, 2009. patsw (talk) 13:28, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
There is no consensus; so no version of this page can reflect it - except possibly one which simply states that there is a dispute, or is silent on the matter.
The arguments here demonstrate conclusively that the original version of the page was not well-understood, since there are two or three understandings of it running around.
The Cabinda parable was twice deleted by SlimVirgin because she saw no meaning in it at all; the one unopposed improvement to come out of all this is Schmucky's edit condensing it into the point that the argument "but somebody else doesn't like it" is not helpful to naming discussions. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:52, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
For the record, I wasn't saying that I was satisfied with the edit of this page at any point as not in needing of improvement, I am agreeing with the editor who pointed out that the protected version of this page was not a consensus version of the page. I don't think the April 26 edit I pointed out was to make a less-understood part of the guideline better-understood, but to substantially and controversially change it without consensus. Could you point out to me where there is a summary of the multiple understandings that you mention? Also, is this a mere misunderstanding of the guideline as written (from March 2009) or an attempt to change the guideline? What is it? patsw (talk) 14:31, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
See the analysis below, for most of these questions. The chief dispute about understanding is Xandar's insistence that should always be borne in mind = "must prevail", for which see most of his posts above. This is largely an observation that the few sentences removed are vague, are unparallelled elsewhere in our naming guidance (or, for some of the Cabinda passage, repeat what is already said here), are debatable (and not consensus), and are being used to support this minority view on a single, current, content dispute.

But the changes since April 17 offer a handy agenda: I omit tags and one paragraph break. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:16, 2 September 2009 (UTC)


Are we seriously wasting time bickering over which version should be protected? Let's not waste time. People act as if every inaccurate statement (well, they ones they think are inaccurate) in policy is going to ruin hundreds of articles daily. Not the case. And people need to be aware of the discussion.   M   22:25, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Apparently, we are. One thing to keep in mind is that all of this is a carry over from a dispute over the name of a specific article. Personally, I'm willing to just stand by and let them all duke it out, since nothing is going to stop them. More importantly though, none of the changes that their talking about are going to really mean anything to the rest of us anyway. Maybe we can actually get something done here a few months down the road.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 01:45, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Several of us care about guidance, and about the specific article only as one instance of guidance. Whatever happens to it, the changes below show considerable tightening of the guideline; more could be accomplished, but it's not urgent. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:10, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Relations with policy

If this guideline appears to conflict with NPOV or our naming policy, Wikipedia:Naming conventions, policy takes precedence and this page should be changed to reflect that.

Added by SlimVirgin, reverted to by Hesperian. An application of our policy on what guidelines are; the key phrases are direct quotations.

  • Is this a guideline on naming conflict, or a meta-guideline on how to write the naming conflict guideline? And isn't it redundant to the principle that policies like WP:NPOV and WP:NAME have precedence over all guidelines? Was there a case where this was in doubt and therefore needed restatement here? patsw (talk) 16:21, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
    • See the edit history and discussion above. Xandar has consistently claimed that this page ranks with, or above, policy, and that this justifies his revert war. He then reverted against this statement. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:01, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
My position is that this page is a breakout of WP:NAME, because NAME incorporates this via summary style. It is surely lesser than NAME, but should be read as part of it. I don't disagree with what SV added, but is not quite right if this is considered as already part of existing policies. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Do you mean this sentence or this guideline? The sentence is substantially included in policy; this guideline is not. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:26, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
NAME does not summerise, it is policy and this is a guideline. In exactly the same way that WP:V is policy and WP:RS is a guideline, and for exactly the same reason as this dispute this line was specifically added to that policy to make it explicit that V had precedence over RS. -- PBS (talk) 20:45, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
NAME defers to THIS Naming Convention and others by stating that the specifics and rationale are found here. The claimed "conflict" between the guidelines of PMAnderson and others is therefore entirely bogus. The sentence that has been wrongfully added here is just so outrageous as to be beyond mockery. "Policy takes precedence, and this page should be changed to reflect that." WHO should change the page? When? Why? With what consensus? I've never seen anything like this statement in any guideline. It seems to be some form of self-justification by those trying to fundamentally alter the naming convention without consensus. What nonsense! Xandar 22:10, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
NAME treats this guideline exactly like it treats a dozen others; they are tools which should lead to the objectives NAME lays down. Policies don't defer; I remind Xandar that the phrase he calls outrageous is a direct and literal quotation of policy. Indeed, there is nonsense about; but not from PBS. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:18, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Xandar there is nothing exceptional in saying that like V over RS the naming convention policy takes precedence over the guidelines, It was pointed out at the start of this section, and IMHO you have not come up with one convincing argument why this relationship is between this guideline and the naming conventions policy is any different. There is no reason why this guideline can not explain and enhance the policy but it should not contradict it. That is why for example saying use modern source, will help in the case of changes in self identifying names that change (as happened with Prince (musician)) -- or any other entity who's name changes (eg a UN sub-commission) -- because it does not contradict the central tenets of the naming conventions. But if, as a non involved admin, I close a WP:RM and someone who has expressed an opinion appeals to a guideline rule that contradicts policy, I will follow policy every time, and from some of the other comments I have seen from experienced admins, they would do the same thing. If you want self identification to have any weight then it must be phrased in such a way that it complements policy and does not contradict it. -- PBS (talk) 09:34, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Are you saying that as written you know of an inherent conflict between this guideline and WP:NAME, or that there is one but you can't identify it?
Giving weight in this guideline to self-identification as opposed to critic-identification where the most common name does not exist derives from WP:NPOV and WP:BLP and not WP:NAME in any case. patsw (talk) 12:54, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The N in NPOV means that we don't give weight to either point of view as opposed to the other. BLP may mean that in some cases (where the subject is a living individual) we would avoid a name that the person could legitimately find upsetting; no more than that I think.--Kotniski (talk) 13:43, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Like NAME, BLP, encourages the use of reliable sources. As to whether I think there are conflicts between this guideline and NAME it depends on which version of the guideline I look at over the last month. I think it does no harm to have SV's statement at the top of this guideline and given the comment by Xandar that starts "NAME defers to THIS Naming Convention...", it has positive advantages, so I think we should reinstate SV statement to make it clear to everyone and hopefully that will help concentrate minds so that a compromise can be reached. --PBS (talk) 16:52, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I see harm in adding any statement, the meaning of which is unclear. What does the it in the previous paragraph " make it clear to everyone" refer to?
That is PBS's post, not either text. "Make it clear" is normal idiom for "make the situation clear to everyone" Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:47, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
(Again) Does the statement refer to the application of this guideline to naming conflicts, or is it a meta-guideline on how to write this guideline? Why doesn't every Wikipedia guideline open with a similar caution? patsw (talk) 17:36, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Because usually one only has to suggest that an editor reads WP:Policies and guidelines for them to accept this: "Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are standards that all users should follow. They are often closely related to the five pillars of Wikipedia. Where a guideline appears to conflict with a policy, the policy takes precedence". But if some editors do not, (and Xandar's comment above shows (s)he does not), we should make it explicit in this guideline just as was done in WP:V when there was a long running disagreement over WP:V and WP:RS. See WP:V "Because policies take precedence over guidelines, in the case of an inconsistency between this page and that one, this page has priority, and WP:RS should be updated accordingly." Once this is done it will become far easier to harmonise this guideline with policy.-- PBS (talk) 11:17, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I didn't see an answer in the comments above to my question:

  • Is this a guideline on naming conflict, or a meta-guideline on how to write the naming conflict guideline?

Does "policy takes precedence..." mean that, already hidden in this guideline, there is something that is going to trigger this "policy takes precedence" action in the normal handling of naming conflicts? If that's the case, why not just harmonize the policy and the guideline now? One possible reading of this is "The Naming Conflict guideline is defective by design, so you need to refer to WP:NPOV and WP:NAME anyway". patsw (talk) 03:00, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I'd certainly like to see the policy and the guideline harmonized. Or the guideline turned into an essay.--Kotniski (talk) 13:43, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The wording of this guideline contained two passages which were in fact being cited against both WP:NAME and WP:NPOV. You will find them at #Self-identifying_names_.5Bremoved.5D and #Cabinda_.5Bremoved.5D. (Whether they actually supported the purpose they were being used for is another question; they're both vague.) Those of us who came here from the Naming Conventions disputed those passages both because of the vagueness and because of the potential for abuse, and they're not in the protected version. I don't think this applies to anything in the present text, save possibly tweaking There should be a distinction to There is a distinction or Some users distinguish.
By and large, thereafter, this page can be used, as a guideline, as advice, without consulting policy.
But texts evolve, and abusers are ingenious. If at some time another argument from this page results in something contrary to WP:NAME or WP:NPOV, we should follow policy; and if the argument was plausible, we should amend the misleading or mistaken statement which gave rise to it.
This is how conflicts between Wikipedia-space pages are normally detected and handled. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:40, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Those wishing to alter this long-standing guidance by stealth keep trying to pretend that there is some conflict between this Naming Convention and WP:NAME. However the so-called conflict exists only in their own minds, (or has been invented for their own convenience) since there IS NO CONFLICT between a policy, and a convention listing EXCEPTIONS to that policy. Since PMAnderson and some of his allies INSIST on being obtuse, let me spell this out once again: WP:NAME says on PMAnderson's shibboleth of using "common" names:

  • Use common names of persons and things
  • See also: Wikipedia:Naming conflict
  • Convention: Except where other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions give a different indication, title an article using the most common name of the person or thing that is the subject of the article

In other words, in the very section where WP:NAME says "Use common names", it immediately adds a link to the longstanding text of this page, Wikipedia:Naming Conflict.

Why does it do this? We read on... It says: "Except (root word of EXCEPTIONS) where other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions give a different indication" then use the most common name. In other words: other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions - the most prominently linked being this one - provide EXCEPTIONS to the general advice of using the most common name. This is not hard to understand, so perhaps PMAnderson's difficulty is that he doesn't WANT to understand. The exceptions are long-standing and for very good reasons, such as those already discussed on this page. Xandar 00:02, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

(Other) naming conventions appear on the naming conventions policy page. This is a guideline to those conventions. --PBS (talk) 00:30, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
No. This is an accepted Naming Convention. It states that clearly on the page. It is listed twice on the policy page, and is listed in the naming Conventions list. Xandar 23:13, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Use common names

This page asserts three principles:

  • The most common English-language use of a name takes precedence, if there is one;
  • If the common name is not the official name, use the common name. This is not intended to prevent the use of scientific names of taxa, nor the use of the official name for disambiguation. When there is no common English name, use the official name.
  • If there is neither a common nor an official name, use the name (or a translation thereof) that the subject uses to describe itself or themselves.

The italicized portions are a direct quotation from the original version of the page, the same single-person edit that produced the language on self-identifying names. The second point has been reworded for clarity, but the first sentence has not changed. (That this did not say what to do when there is no common English name is one of the flaws which show that this page has only now had serious attention paid to it.)

Kraftlos suggested this be restored; Xandar would like to change the third point completely, and claims this is original intent.

  • Chris O reworded this to a much more complex text in February 2008, but that still says that we should use self-identifying names when there is no common name; the new version may still be seen under the header Proper Names.
  • I would say there's a consensus on common but not official. Does it refer to authority that is granted by law, or by membership, or by recognition given to a group by reliable sources over a domain, or something else? patsw (talk) 16:55, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
  • This might be a better way of expressing the third bullet: "When several names are used enough to be considered "common" or "official", use the name (or a translation thereof) that the subject uses to describe itself or themselves."
Rationale. The problem with are trying to solve here is a dispute among names for which it is disputed that there is a single "most common" or "official" name. When the choice among several names presents itself, the tie breaker is the name that subject self-identifies as. patsw (talk) 16:55, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I have no objection to the use of self-identification as a tie-breaker; but the conflict here has been over the alleged principle (as the #straw poll puts it) Preferred names overrule the most common name. The "stable consensus" is being reverted for on the grounds that it says this - which it doesn't. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:06, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Where was preferred defined? patsw (talk) 17:18, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
See the last pages of the archive - and the arguments in the poll; it's another term for the "name an organization or person uses to identify itself". Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:23, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

The third bullet point here is the complete nonsense, which has been reverted to several times without consensus. It attempts to reverse the long-standing guidance.

If there is neither a common nor an official name, use the name (or a translation thereof) that the subject uses to describe itself or themselves.

What's wrong with this is that it falsely infers that self-identifying names should ONLY be used when there is neither a common, nor an official name. Apart from being confused (What's the difference between an official name and a self-identifying name?), it would create a situation where self-identifying names would never be used if there were a "common" name. Since there is nearly always a common name of some sort, this would mean that self-identifying names would virtually never be used! This is a weaselly construction that not only conflicts with the rest of the guidance, it is the opposite of what the guidance in its stable form currently states. It also goes against WIkipedia practice, the Manual of Style, and common sense. As has been shown from many examples, self-identifying names are quite often used as being preferable to some "common" names - either because the common name is inaccurate, derogatory, or not up to date. The third bullet point is therefore unacceptable. I have proposed an alternative "third point" (if a third point were needed at all)...

  • If there is unresolved conflict regarding the common or official name, use the name (or a translation thereof) that the subject uses to describe itself or themselves.

This is far more in line with the guidance and practice currently in force. Xandar 22:33, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

    • The wording to which Xandar objects is the original intent, even the original wording, of this guideline. It was undisputed for years.
    • It was modified by its author to If the name is a self-identifying term for the entity involved and there is no common English equivalent, use the name that the entity has adopted to describe itself, still incompatible with the wording Xandar has invented. This language, being undisputed, still has the presumption of consensus.
    • No guidance or policy supports using the name the subject uses to describe itself; if there were, this isolated guideline might be less desperately defended. It may well be contrary to WP:NPOV, as an adoption of the point of view of the subject. There was a lengthy discussion of the idea of adopting the point of view of the subject some years ago, and it was concluded to set up a fork called Wikinfo which would do so, but we would not. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:17, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
My reading of WP:NPOV is that in disputed cases, the name a subject chooses is for himself or themselves is given more weight for the article name that the name given by the subject's supporters or subject's critics.
I think a distinction needs to be made between (a) the case of there being a single, undisputed, most common name A, and a self-identified name B, for which is not disputed that it is not the most common name and (b) the case of there being several names in common use A, B, C, etc. -- where there is no consensus which name among A, B, C, etc. is the most common name and one of those names is also the name used for self-identification. In the former case, the single, undisputed common name should be the article name. In the latter case, the tie-breaker should be the self-identified name.
I would also make the case this has been past practice -- simply because it's difficult to achieve a consensus on the single most common name when there's evidence of several names in common use from several independent sources -- and that's not considering for the moment the political advocacy cases.
I'm also looking for a definition of official name if that is to be part of the proposal for the guideline. patsw (talk) 00:59, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The name endorsed by the local authorities; in most cases where there is an official name, but no common usage in English (like obscure villages in Peru), this will be the only name available and so a reasonable default. (In such cases, self-identifying names will require the OR of going there and asking the inhabitants; whereas the Peruvian census has been published.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:15, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Third party opposition

* Does a third party, a conflicting claim, or minority view oppose the use of this name?

Schmucky added this to the list of subjective criteria which should not be used in naming disputes. With this, he is content to see the Cabinda parable gone. Noone has opposed this addition, as far as I can see.

  • Is there an actual example where there was an undisputed case of the application of this or a demonstration of its necessity -- i.e. an editor argued that a third party conflicting claim should be taken into account, and the immediate consensus was that this third party conflicting claim should not be taken into account in resolving a naming conflict? What motivated this addition to the guidelines? patsw (talk) 17:16, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
    • Yes, of course - this aims at the practice of certain editors of insisting on FYROM for the Republic of Macedonia, because it's the position of Greek nationalists and the Greek Government that Macedonia is unacceptable for the Republic; see WP:ARBMAC. WP:ARBMAC2, and the discussions there cited. Schmucky is deeply involved in the Beijing-Taipei feud, and wants to use this to defend one of the Chinese governments against the other (I forget which; I avoid that mess). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:21, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
This was supposed to be obvious, but I'd be hard pressed from four years ago (today marks my four year anniversary of involvement on this guideline according to the edit history) to remember where this discussion took place. It's a basic statement of NPOV:FRINGE that the removed example of Cabindan's was supposed to demonstrate. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
I understand. I'm reading about about the International Red Cross, and cases come up where there is no position you can take which is going to be seen by everyone as neutral, but the option doesn't exist to do nothing, so you have principles which guide you, so at least if you are being criticized for taking a side (when you think you are neutral in a dispute), you can't be criticized for being arbitrary about it as well. patsw (talk) 18:17, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
The Schmucky addition could posiibly work. Xandar 22:36, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I think there's an implied addition to the text above -- but which one?
  • Does a third party, a conflicting claim, or minority view oppose the use of this name for reasons other than those given above?
  • Does a third party, a conflicting claim, or minority view oppose the use of this name for reasons given above? patsw (talk) 01:16, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Remember the context this comes from: Subjective criteria (such as "moral rights" to a name) should not be used to determine usage. These include:
  • Thus, the mere fact of opposition is an invalid argument (Yes, this was an argument actually and perpetually employed over Macedonia.)
  • Opposition for the other reasons mentioned is an invalid argument because the other reasons are.
  • Opposition for valid reasons should be rephrased to just the reasons, and will then be as valid as they are. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:07, 3 September 2009 (UTC)


The choice between anglicized and native spellings should follow English usage (e.g., Besançon, Søren Kierkegaard and Göttingen, but Nuremberg, delicatessen, and Florence)."

A direct quote from WP:NAME, proposed by Kraftlos, to replace

Note that anglicised versions of names are not simply native names with diacritics removed; "Zurich" is still a German name, as it is merely a spelling of Zürich without an umlaut. A name with a substantial difference in spelling (such as Moscow for Moskva, Munich for München) represents a true anglicisation of a native name.

This is dubious as a claim of fact; Zurich is an anglicization, if a moderate one, just as Gottingen is (note spelling). As guidance, it does not reflect consensus; there is no consensus on which Zurich is more common, and the new sentence (which is both policy and consensus) says we should use whichever is usage. Pages which reflect one point of view on disputed matters have a perfectly good function at Wikipedia; but they're {{essay}}s, not {{guideline}}s.

I disagree that reflecting one choice is better is never a guideline. On Chinese language issues, there is an extensive guideline, because it is about basic romanization, not anglicization. 北京 doesn't say anything in English, and could be romanized into a dozen readable 'English' spellings. Standardizing on one romanization method (generally pinyin) as an enforceable guide has been extremely useful. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
There is a gradually worked out consensus on how to transliterate Beijing; but this is like giving the adherents of the RoC and the PRC paragraphs in different guidelines to each declare their own views. But all I claimed was that there is no consensus on the specific question of Zurich. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:58, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Self-identifying names [removed]

These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity. This should always be borne in mind when dealing with controversies involving self-identifying names.

This is multiply interpreted. Xandar would read it as commanding that we always use self-identifying names; it certainly doesn't say that.

This is also part of ChrisO's original edit; it had never been discussed on this talk before the recent events, and it has rarely been quoted in actual naming disputes. (And hardly ever successfully: it was twice quoted in an effort to move Kiev to Kyiv, once in an effort to move Bollywood to something else, and several times against the move from Myanmar to Burma.)

I see no evidence that the metaphysical statement These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity is the consensus of the wider community; it is warmly disputed above.

I don't think the wording above works as a guideline, but conceptually we ought to be able to arrive at a consensus as to what weight is to be given the self-identifying name when it is in conflict with other names using undisputed examples. Giving examples of disputes only shows that reaching consensus wording will not be trivial. patsw (talk) 17:37, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I see three classes
  1. Self-identifying names that are common usage. (Gordon Brown) This class is very numerous, and doesn't help us to decide.
  2. Self-identifying names which are not common usage, because they're complex (Federal Republic of Germany).
  3. Self-identifying names which are not common usage, because they're controversial (Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, also 2.)

As I see it, this is a rationale for the use of self-identifying names where there is a dispute, and it helps to explain the convention. Of course those who dislike the convention, also dislike the rationale, but I believe it is helpful and explains why, where conflict exists, preference should go to the name an entity chooses for itself, rather than one that a third party would give him or it. On patsw's categories:

  1. The first category is more or less uncontroversial
  2. The second category is often covered by using the common version of the self-identifying name. ie. where there is no controversy Germany is accepted shorthand for FRG. When East Germany existed things were different.
  3. The third category is Self-identifying names which are not common usage. This isn't always because they are controversial. It can be because they are recent changes like Kolkatta, haven't for various reasons been generally accepted, like Guangzhou (Canton), or because the common names are inaccurate or offensive to the group named, such as Canadian Indians.
Xandar 22:45, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Guangzhou is very well accepted. I rarely see it written as Canton unless what I'm reading is several decades old. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
I observe that Xandar himself uses East Germany, not the German Democratic Republic; that's what this change supports. Likewise, at the time, and in our historical articles on the Cold War, the Federal Republic was and is called West Germany. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:40, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Strangely, though, at the time we wouldn't have been able to use East Germany. It was only after the Ostpolitik that the West Germans stopped referring to it as Middle Germany, so we would have been breaching out WP:NPOV rule. Skinsmoke (talk) 01:24, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
True enough on the facts; but that's Schmucky's amendment: we don't let the West Germans decide what to call East Germany. So we follow English usage, which was clear - and still is. Similarly, in English, and so in Wikipedia, Hindenburg was President of the Weimar Republic, not of the German Empire. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:37, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
(EC) I think these three categories are an accurate breakdown of self-identifying names. I think the guidance from WP:UCN is helpful in the case of the third category:
"Also, some terms are in common usage but are regarded as offensive (Mormon Church, for example). In those cases use widely known alternatives (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). When in doubt, check a mainstream reference work. A term can only be considered offensive if a verifiable, authoritative source can be quoted as citing it as such."
Sorry to repeat that again, but I think it helps to read things afresh. If we eliminate the problem of offensive names, what to we have left to worry about? Names that people find offensive that reliable sources do not consider offensive? Names that are perhaps not the preferred name, but are chosen for recognizably? I think if we bring this guidance over and perhaps restate it (with a reference to WP:UCN) I think we'd solve most our problems. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 01:44, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't believe the word controversial applies to Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for Libya. That case would be covered by the principle that it is not disputed that Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is not the most common name for Libya. The hard cases:

  • recent changes -- displacing what was the most common name (and this is where a definition of official name would be helpful) -- as in renaming the Triboro Bridge to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (a weak example as bridges do not have political constituencies)
  • inaccurate -- this touches on my point made earlier -- can 20 editors in 2009 be smarter than 2 editors were in 2004?
  • offensive -- I'm not going to support offensive names for pages, but I don't see where this originates in other Wikipedia policies, i.e. to favor the less offensive name over the more offensive name. patsw (talk) 01:42, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
    • Our present guidance would change name when the English discussion of the Bridge does; again, the officially adopted names might break ties. Thus, we use Sixth Avenue (Manhattan), not Avenue of the Americas, and let the PR people plotz. (Which is the "self-identifying name"? Your guess is as good as mine.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:16, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Isn't a possible Sixth Avenue (Manhattan) / Avenue of the Americas name conflict resolved by the fact that Sixth Avenue could be demonstrated to be the most common name, i.e. used far more often in varied sources. There actually is a Avenue of the Americas Association but it is not engaged in advocacy of AveofAm. over 6thAve. for identification of the avenue. patsw (talk) 03:24, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Precisely. That is the guidance of the rest of the naming conventions, and some of us would like this page to conform to them. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:21, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Quite a few points have been raised since my last posting, I'll respond to them in order:

  • Actually Guangzhou, China gets 3,780,000 google hits, while Canton, China gets 6,800,000 google hits, indicating Guangzhou doesn't have as wide acceptance as Canton in English usage for the city. Xandar 23:22, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
    • Try conducting competent searches. The first page of hits on Canton include our article on Guangzhou, another encyclopedia article on "Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton", and other false positives - including the Canton Fair, which is clearly still so called; like the Seven bridges of Koenigsberg, not Seven bridges of Kaliningrad). Also Canton, Ohio, Michigan, and Georgia. Please don't use raw Google (see WP:Search engines); please control for language, date, - and control for the hits which this search will have made on Swiss porcelain. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:33, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
      • That's why I used, Canton, China, not just Canton, if you bother to look. The simple fact is Canton is more commonly used. Google books produces 56,564 titles on Canton, and 8,430 for Guangzhou. And in future, try not to break up my posts. It makes the discussion very confusing Xandar 23:22, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
        • Of course Canton is more commonly used on Google Books; Google Books has books back to 1500. Pinyin was introduced in 1958 (and was used only rarely in the West for a couple decades thereafter).
        • Including China is a beginning of search technique; but there is a great difference between searching for Canton, China which will find the pottery factory in Lausanne, and searching for "Canton, China" which won't.
  • East Germany is another case where, if the country were extant, it would probably have to appear as German Democratic Republic, conforming to Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Germany being a popular but rather slang term - and also inaccurate. PManderson's other example Weimar Republic is another non-extant state, and in fact illustrates the difference in treatment between historical entities (which no longer self-identify) and extant entities, which do self-identify. If the state had continued in existance, it would NOT be WP listed as "Weimar Republic".
The RoC self-identifies as either "Republic of China" or "Taiwan" depending on who won the last election, so they self-ID as both. That the article at "People's Republic of China" is NOT at the article name "China" is not an an example of self-identification, because the PRC claims as self-ID the short, common name of "China" which partisans in the RoC deny the PRC use of on Wikipedia. The China issue isn't about self-ID at all. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
PRC is a self-identifying name, alongside just plain China. The article isnt at Red China or Mainland China. Similarly Republic of China is the self-identifying name used most of the time by the government of that state. The common name is quite clearly Taiwan. So we are using the principal self-identifying name, even though it is not the common name in English and very strongly contested by Mainland China. Xandar 23:50, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Kraftlos's point on offensiveness is helpful, but doesn't cover all the bases. Do we really need third-party sources to prevent the proposed new guidance moving Dalits to the Common name, "Untouchables" or First Nations to the common name "Canadian Indians"? Is Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia provably offensive? Is "gypsy" provably offensive for Romany or not? Is Saigon offensive? There has been debate on this page and elsewhere. Some common names may also not attain "offensiveness" per se, but remain inaccurate, so that they do not properly name a person or other entity with due accuracy. Canadian Navy is one such term, as is Coptic Church, and Quakers, all of which currently divert to the more accurate self-identifying name.
    • If the self-identifying name is more accurate (for the Quakers it is not), we use it for that reason, for which there is already a guideline. Xandar's proposal is as redundant as his claims are false. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:33, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
      • No. WP:PRECISION says nothing that would lead us to use Society of Friends over Quakers. Neither is more or less ambiguous. It is simply a choice of self-identifying over common name. Xandar 23:29, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
        • What part of If the self-identifying name is more accurate (for the Quakers it is not), did you fail to understand? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:32, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
        • If you are actually wanting to gain consensus rather than edit-warring and using underhand and abusive methods consistently in order to get your way, youy are going to have to change your current arrogant and childish attitude of hurling personal insults at your opponents. You have no policy backing for your increasingly thin and desperate attempts to avoid the basic use of self-identifying terms and it has already been pointed out that WP:PRECISIOn in no way says what you pretend it does say. There is one reason we use "Society of Friends" because it is the self-identifying name of the organisation. Xandar 00:18, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Similarly the problem of recent changes of name is not solved by PMAnderson's clunky solution of waiting until enough reliable sources have noted and published the new name - a process that could take several years. Imagine waiting years to change the name of Cape Canaveral from Cape Kennedy, or Namibia from "South West Africa" on this basis. When Cheryl Tweedy married, how long would we wait before changing the article name? One of the benefits of Wikipedia is being up-to-the-minute. Is this to be lost because of some editor's curious new aversion to the continued use of self-identifying names?
    • When Cheryl Tweedy married, how long would we wait before changing the article name? At least until the newspaper reports which are reliable sources for the marriage, which will also answer the question of whether she continues to perform under her maiden name. Contrast Elizabeth Taylor. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:33, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
      • So, We're suddenly limiting "reliable sources" to newspapers now - without including any of the others? So who decides on which articles we don't have to go by what books, yearbooks, encyclopedias and other publications say, but can just interpret "reliable sources" as recent newspapers only? How recent? The balance of articles in the last six months? Two years? Would this new rule apply to people, Nations, Towns, individuals? It would require a whole new and complicated naming convention simply to replace the convention of using self-identifying names, with something far less responsive, and far more likely to cause continuing rows. Xandar 23:43, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Finally this page IS a Naming Convention, and so doesn't need to "conform" to some people's ideas of what they personally and controversially extrapolate others to mean. In fact the principle of using self-identifying names is also emphasised in the Manual of Style. Xandar 20:57, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Since PMAnderson INSISTS on being obtuse, let me spell this out once again: WP:NAME says on PMAnderson's shibboleth of using "common" names:

  • Use common names of persons and things
  • See also: Wikipedia:Naming conflict
  • Convention: Except where other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions give a different indication, title an article using the most common name of the person or thing that is the subject of the article

In other words, in the very section where WP:NAME says "Use common names", it immediately adds a link to the longstanding text of this page, Wikipedia:Naming Conflict.

Why does it do this? We read on... It says: "Except (root word of EXCEPTIONS) where other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions give a different indication" then use the most common name. In other words: other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions - the most prominently linked being this one - provide EXCEPTIONS to the general advice of using the most common name. This is not hard to understand, so perhaps PMAnderson's difficulty is that he doesn't WANT to understand. The exceptions are long-standing and for very good reasons, such as those already discussed on this page. Xandar 00:02, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Usually [removed]

Commonly used English translations of self-identifying terms are usually preferred per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) guideline. For example: "Japanese" and not Nihon-jin.

Usually removed. For what it is worth, WP:UE does not weasel-word, and says transliterations are mandatory.

Cabinda [removed]

Suppose that the people of the fictional country of Maputa oppose the use of the term "Cabindan" as a self-identification by another ethnic group. The Maputans oppose this usage because they believe that the Cabindans have no moral or historical right to use the term.
Wikipedia should not attempt to say which side is right or wrong. However, the fact that the Cabindans call themselves Cabindans is objectively true – both sides can agree that this does in fact happen. By contrast, the claim that the Cabindans have no moral right to that name is purely subjective. It is not a question that Wikipedia can, or should, decide.
In this instance, therefore, using the term "Cabindans" does not conflict with the NPOV policy. It would be a purely objective description of what the Cabindans call themselves. On the other hand, not using the term because of Maputan objections would not conform with a NPOV, as it would defer to the subjective Maputan POV.
In other words, Wikipedians should describe, not prescribe.
This should not be read to mean that subjective POVs should never be reflected in an article. If the term "Cabindan" is used in an article where the Maputan-Cabindan controversy is relevant, then the use of the term should be explained and clarified, with both sides' case being summarised.

Removed twice by SlimVirgin. This is a description, under other names, of the Macedonian naming conflict; its reflection on Wikipedia is now resolved under WP:MOSMAC2, which considered and rejected the advice in the last paragraph. It is less than clear to editors who haven't seen the Macedonia disaster, and insofar as it contains explicit general advice, the advice is repeated elsewhere in the guidelines, including Schmucky's addition.

I have no problems with the example. It makes two major points, which might be able to be covered in other ways, as by Schmucky's addition. Xandar 22:58, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

What was the advice given in the last paragraph above which was rejected? Reading WP:MOSMAC2 it's not clear what you are referring to. patsw (talk) 01:47, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The mandate to explain the controversy. Now that I read it again, it can be read as weaker than I thought; but that's the problem; it's vague. But one of the issues at MOSMAC2 was whether to have a footnote explaining the controversy every time the Republic is mentioned in an article on Greece, and the mere presence of this provision can be so read with less distortion than you see around you.
In any case, MOSMAC says: Additional material pointing the reader to the naming dispute will be used only where it is contextually relevant, i.e. in passages focusing explicitly on this aspect of Greek foreign policy. The naming dispute will not be referenced in places where the Republic of Macedonia is routinely mentioned, for instance in purely geographical description. which says when not to mention the conflict rather than when to mention it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:00, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Text altered September 14

After the page was unprotected, a little overdue copy-editing was done, and the disputed text on self-identification became

There is a distinction between a self-identifying entity and an inanimate or non-human entity. An inanimate geographical feature such as a sea or mountain, or a non-human entity such as an animal, does not have a name for itself. Thus the English name Mount Everest is just as arbitrary as the local name, Qomolangma. The use of "Mount Everest" as the definitive term in Wikipedia is simply a matter of convenience, as the mountain is far more widely known by the English name than by its native Tibetan one. Similarly, the English name cobra for a type of snake is just as arbitrary as the Indonesian name "ular tedung", but the English name is used in the English Wikipedia because it is the standard name in the English language.
A city, country, people or person by contrast, is a self-identifying entity: it has a preferred name for itself. The city formerly called Danzig now calls itself Gdańsk; the man formerly known as Cassius Clay now calls himself Muhammad Ali. Often, as with these cases, the self-identifying name has become common usage; Danzig, however, is used (following our sources) in historical articles about the centuries during which the city called itself, and was called, Danzig.
Dealing with self-identifying terms
Where a self-identifying name exists, it should be prominently mentioned within the content of the article. Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name, it merely notes the fact that sources use that name. Wikipedia is descriptive, not prescriptive; Wikipedia cannot declare what a name should be, only what names exist as commonly used in sources.
Commonly used English translations of self-identifying terms are preferred over non-English terms,<:ref name=UseEnglish>For more information on translations, see the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) guideline</ref> for example: "Japanese" and not Nihon-jin. Where a name includes geographical directions such as North, East, South or West in the local language used at the location, the full name is usually translated into English: hence East Timor, not Timor-Leste; South Ossetia, not Yuzhnaya Osetiya; West Java, not Jawa Barat; but the Department of Nord (in France and Haiti), not the North Department.

Most of this is verbatim what was there at the beginning of the month, and it is an effort to state what all of us should be able to agree on. I would appreciate knowing if anybody actually disagrees with any sentence of this, and if so, on what grounds. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:49, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Applying NPOV to Naming Conflicts

I wanted to break out the discussion of what's implied by NPOV to naming conflicts with this proposition (which I think was implied above, and with which I disagree):

  • In naming conflicts, equal weight is given to a subject's critic's identification and a subject's self-identification.

Subject here refers to a person, group, locality, landmark, etc. and assumes there is a source of criticism for the subject using a different identification. patsw (talk) 17:56, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Completely unacceptable, because most "critics" will be fringe beliefs. This is guaranteed to raise massive flameouts on talk pages and page move warring in any partisan issue. NPOV requires balanced weight, not equal weight. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
I find more misuse and/or misunderstanding of NPOV than anything else. A current example is the article Burma. Burma has not existed for over 20 years, but the title of the article is Burma rather than Myanmar. One of the major reasons for the current title is some editors felt it would be POV to use Myanmar because the military coup is disputed an there continues to be a segment of the populace that rejects the current government. The problem is that it is highly POV to give credence to the small minority against the government and not to an existing government that has existed for over 20 years. In addition, Myanmar is far and away the most common name for the country (do a google search and you will find Myanmar gets 10 times as many hits). Policies need to be written so clearly that editors have a difficult time of perpetrating such misuse of the policies to achieve their personal objectives.
Schmucky, under what context are critics always fringe? I must be missing the context from which you are speaking. Critics may be fringe, but they may also be and often are the common position of society.--StormRider 18:46, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The framing of that entire debate is actually assuming a POV stance. On both sides. the way to maintain neutrality is to use other people's opinions, through reputable sources, not to try adjudicating the debate ourselves. That's my major concern with all of this, and why I continue to believe that the best course to take for this page is to merge it back into WP:TITLE. We don't need, and indeed don't want, all of the details that this guideline offers. The entire reason that this is so problematic is because there are simply too many "rules" here. The only real rule is: what helps the encyclopedic content? This guideline certainly isn't doing that right now.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 19:02, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, VIR; sometimes, however, there are no independent sources - and quite often the subject does not admit there are independent sources: "All who are not with me are against me". Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:52, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Burma v Myanmar, exactly. The article should be at Myanmar. The issue, as everyone says, is "What names do reliable sources use?" We've let POV critics rule the conversation, when that argument ("the junta doesn't deserve to name the country") should be tossed aside entirely, no matter how many people make it, unless and until they are backing it up with overwhelming data from sources.
StormRider, I said most, not always. We are on the same page on this issue. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Would the two of you, and everyone else on that page, mind looking at the actual sources for Burma? Most of them are independent, and many of them use Burma - an actual majority of the Western newspaper coverage, by my count. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:52, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
It depends on the subject; NPOV's actual rule is in proportion to the prominence of each. If the subject is respectable and the critics are fringe views, this implies we should give it most weight - but in that case, that's what reliable sources will do.
If, however, the subject is Time Cube, where it is itself a fringe view, and the critics are reliable, we should give them most weight. Now, in that case, they still call it Time Cube, because they have no better name for it - and so the sources do.
If the subject and its critic are about equally respectable, like the Greek and Macedonian Governments, we give equal weight to their views, and considerable weight to the views and usage of neutral independent observers. By this time, most neutral independent observers join the Republic of Macedonia in using Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia, so we do likewise. (Macedonia is ambiguous with Macedon, and so forth, so we wound up with Republic of Macedonia; neutrality is not the only criterion for names.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:44, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
First I think of this guideline as a means to avoid cluttering up WP:NAME with WP:NPOV and WP:BLP considerations. This should be the place where all policies and guidelines become coherent for resolving naming conflicts. Secondly, a mere neutrality wave of the hand doesn't do the job as ultimately articles do need a name (as well as redirects) rather than a NPOV-ish "present both sides". Finally, as a fresh reader of Burma/Myanmar, it seems it is the case where (1) critic's identification was given more weight than self-identification, and (2) the resolution was the result of a poll rather than a consensus. I'm not a subject matter expert but it would seem to me that Myanmar is both the most common name and the name the national government uses for itself. I will have to read the archives. patsw (talk) 19:49, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh, God, that mess. There were an awful lot of "down with the tyrannical regime" voices; there were also an awful lot of "up with the heroic self-determination of the Myanma people" voices. I think they balanced out. In the middle, a third lot of us actually attempted to consider what English usage presently is, and on balance concluded that Burma is still more commonly used - even a statement by the BBC that they used Burma because it would be more widely understood. Actual statements on usage by reliable neutral sources are rare, but WP:NCGN says A name can be considered as widely accepted if a neutral and reliable source states: "X is the name most often used for this entity" and recommends the use of widely accepted names. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:58, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
That sounds like the application of what I wrote above, when there's no consensus on what the most common name is, the tie-breaker among them should the name used for self-identification. Are people making the proposal that equal weight is given to all the common names, and you poll the article editors to pick the article name? Is that the name conflict resolution guideline? patsw (talk) 20:18, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
No, the name conflict resolution guideline is that we use what name appears to be most common in English reliable sources, according to the evidence before us, and that we see if there is consensus (in our sense) on the question of fact to hand. Admins are free to discount those yelling about the sacred rights of this, that, or the other, and not addtessing the question of fact. Consensus is also permitted to set aside the guideline for any advantage to the encyclopedia that may arise from one or another name (precision, consistency, or so on). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:27, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
"Admins are free to discount those yelling about the sacred rights of this, that, or the other, and not addtessing the question of fact." Too bad they don't do it. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
That includes the yelling about the sacred right of self-determination, too. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:46, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Self-ID has some determining value in a naming conflict, but certainly not an over-riding preemption over a common name.
Third party denial of either a common name, or a self-ID, has no determining value
Isn't that what is agreed on? SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Most people would, yes. Some people would not give it any (talk to User:Born2cycle; I don't think he would); and on the other extreme, there is Xandar. I think we need to specify when a name is undisputedly self-indentifying though, for reasons which will take a new section. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:07, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Septentrionalis, the sentence above starting with "No" is followed by text which I read as a "Yes": In your view, is it all the common names get evaluated to determine one which is the most common, selected only on the basis of its frequency of use, prominence, and this is ultimately consensus driven -- and there is no consideration at all given for self-identification apart from its frequency of use and promience? patsw (talk) 20:54, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I have rarely seen self-identifying names prevail against usage, when the question arose; even when it doesn't actually get discussed, we tend to adopt it except for obscure articles; for instance, do use East Germany and North Korea, because they are the common names.
It is relatively rare for two names for exactly the same thing to be fairly equally common, but when it is, I have no objection to letting self-identification be one of the factors that decides. (I would not be surprised, in such cases, to find that both were self-identifying, in which case we must resort to other factors anyway.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:08, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm trying to avoid petty disputes among editors over the methodology to determine the most common among several common. In my view I would make both official usage and self-identification usage tie-breakers when several common names are candidates for the article name. Since no one took up my request to define official, let offer mine: include as official: governmental, or national and recognized international standards bodies based on membership, and exclude from official: corporations, associations, clubs, etc. for the purpose of assigning a name to an entity. patsw (talk) 21:33, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think such a situation has ever happened; it requires both that a subject have a self-identifying name - most of our articles are about things that don't - and that several other names, not used for self-identification, are about equally common. I therefore have no objection to allowing for it, if it can be done without circumlocution. But I doubt there is any consensus on how much weight to give to official and self-identifying names in such a case; perhaps we should say so. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:37, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

The self-identifying name of an entity should be used as a criterion for the naming of an article about that entity when a conflict arises over naming. That is the standing criterion for the activation of this guidance. It is not, as PMAndersdon suggests, guidance only to be applied on the rare occasions when two common-names have the same number of google hits! That is to place too much emphasis on "common names", and would make this guidance largely redundant. If the only advice given by this guidance when a dispute continued after "use the most common name" had failed to end it, was to again repeat "use the most common name", (as PMAnderson suggests,) then this Naming Convention would be utterly purposeless! What this convention is intended to do is to offer new solutions when such problems arise. One of those additional solutions is to use that entity's self-identifying name or the English translation thereof!

Ohms Law stated "The only real rule is: what helps the encyclopedic content? This guideline certainly isn't doing that right now." And where do you get that idea from? Many examples have been produced by those of us who support the Convention, that it has been followed advantageously in numerous cases and helped to solve naming conflicts. ZERO examples have been produced that the use of self-identifying names has ever created any problems at all. This convention has never created any problems, except with the small group of editors who suddenly want to change it! Xandar 23:10, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

  • The self-identifying name of an entity should be used as a criterion for the naming of an article about that entity when a conflict arises over naming. That is the standing criterion for the activation of this guidance. A conflict arising is the standard condition for consulting this guideline; indeed it is the usual condition for having a naming discussion at all. Therefore this asserts that a self-identifying name should always decide naming disputes. Only Xandar and his proxies believe that, and a handful of our most desperate nationalists.
  • It is not, as PMAndersdon [sic] suggests, guidance only to be applied on the rare occasions when two common-names have the same number of google hits No one has ever suggested this, and I've said comparable; indeed, I follow most of the naming conventions in deploring the use of Google when anything better can be found.
  • It is WP:NAME#Use common names of persons and things that supports the use of common names. Xandar is too kind; that policy was here when I got here.
  • Many examples have been produced by those of us who support the Convention, that it has been followed advantageously in numerous cases and helped to solve naming conflicts. ZERO examples have been produced that the use of self-identifying names has ever created any problems at all. Backwards. Zero examples have been produced where (this paragraph of) this guideline caused trouble; because until now it's hardly been used at all, and only by isolated Ukrainian and Indian nationalists of the sort we deal with by ignoring. On the other hand, the only examples produced have been
    • instances where the self-identifying name is either the common name, or the accurate name, and thus in compliance with other guidelines.
    • Instances where two self-identifying names are in conflict, and Xandar's proposal is useless.
    • instances where the question has never been discussed at all.
    • Instances, like Kiev, where we consistently prefer the common name to self-identification.
This paragraph has only been used at all in the last class; and there, of course, not successfully. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:05, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Firstly, PMAnderson, do not call people "my proxies", this is falsely accusing people with as much right as you and your friends to speak, of bad faith, and is improper and uncivil. Kindly stop this personalisation of the issues. Secondly do not assume what other members of the Wikipedia community believe about the Naming Conventions. You consistently try to paint you and your allies' views as if they are the standard view. They are not, as this guidance, and its longstanding acceptance exemplifies. Thirdly, I did not say that self-identifying names should Always decide naming disputes. Stop distorting what I post.
I think most people will see that NUMEROUS examples have been produced of self-identifying names being used, and NONE of anywhere this principle has caused problems. In many instances self-identification has been used as an effective tool to end disputes and produce accurate, up-to-date and non-insulting article titles, where "common names" would have done the reverse. Your attempts to pick holes in these many examples have generally proved fruitless. Republic of China and Derry are just recent examples given of the use of Self Identifying names on Wikipedia.
The policy "use common names" as has been pointed out MANY times, says a) GENERALLY, and b) "except where other naming conventions say otherwise." It's quite easy to understand. Xandar 15:43, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
If you do not want your friends called proxies, you would have done better not to give them instructions and they would have done better not to obey the instructions. Xandar canvassed some eleven editors in this fashion; most had the sense to ignore him. The rest of this is Xandar's unsupported opinion. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:57, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't know how you have the gall to make such mendacious and false allegations when you yourself were canvassed here by Knepferle, with the express intention of altering the guidance in order to influence the Catholic Church debate. You and your little clique want alter this longstanding guidance sectretly and dishonestly, with no one here to keep an eye on you. That's why you improperly forum shopped to switch the debate from forum to forum to try unsuccessfully to gain a consensus for your politically-motivated changes. That is why you failed to inform other editors of your various improper moves and proceeded to hold votes and edit-war on this article, making major changes without consensus in an utterly improper manner. We can see now why you have been banned from certain topics for your past activities. Xandar 23:40, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Knepferle asked my opinion, stating his own; he then asked me to correct any inaccuracies. These inaccuracies might have what he disliked; they might have been his own posts; sometimes they have been. This is WP:Third opinion as it should be done, and as it is encouraged by policy; but I don't suppose Xandar can tell the difference between that, neutral requests at relevant policy talk pages (also encouraged by policy), and howls of radical changes and We need to preserve the original guidance.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:24, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Never mind the utterly unsupportable accusation of canvassing on my part, even if the hypocrisy is glaring and unfortunate. The more severe falsehood above is that our interest in this guideline is with "with the express intention of altering the guidance in order to influence the Catholic Church debate".
  • I have not participated in the Catholic Church naming debate whatsoever. (check for yourself)
  • My neutral message to Pmanderson did not mention the Catholic Church article - (check for yourself) and my only other communication merely points out Xandar's involvement at that debate (check)
  • Pmanderson joined this discussion on 17 Aug (check), and contributed substantially here well before his first entry to the Catholic Church naming debate on the 19 Aug (check)
I strongly advise editors following this debate to check these facts for themselves with the help of the diffs given above, to compare Xandar's version of events with what actually happened, and decide for yourself how accurate a representation they are.
Trau, schau, wem. Knepflerle (talk) 01:05, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
It is undeniable that you drew PMAnderson into this argument, citing the Catholic Church article, and the use of this guideline in that debate in particular. You also seemed to have a lot of knowledge of what was said in that debate, and a clear view on the outcome. Upon that canvass, you and PMAnderson turned up here and started to edit war, making significant and drastic changes to this guideline without gaining or attempting to gain consensus for such substantive changes, and torpedoing the attempt to reach consensus on the page at the time. This can be checked in the page history. So bad was the situation that the page had to be protected. There were also attempts to forum shop elsewhere, and later to hold a poll, without telling the participants opposed to you what was happening. That is why I sent out my posts, telling other concerned editors what was going on. So it is your version of events that is suspect. Xandar 23:32, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Xandar: "you drew PMAnderson into this argument, citing the Catholic Church article"
The message: [9]
Xandar: "started to edit war"
The truth: one set of edits, Xandar reverted them. No further reverts from me.
This is some of the single worst behaviour I have ever encountered in another editor. Your inaccurate reporting could previously have been put down to inaccurate recollection of the sequence of events, but you are now knowingly repeating complete falsehoods.
You are a bare-faced liar. Knepflerle (talk) 09:59, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

This conversation is fruitless. If any editor desires,it is too easy to review the edit histories of the parties involved and see for themselves what is fact and what is posturing and spin.

What is a fact is that this policy was stable for years until specific editors chose at this unique time to change it independent of the views of all other editors. Policy is too important to be shoved through by the few; particularly those with strong agendas. Regardless, since the issue has been raised, let's gain consensus and be done with it and let's move on. --StormRider 00:44, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

It is far from pointless. When someone's accounts are as completely divorced from the truth as the above one of Xandar's, it needs correcting - especially when they are repeated (as they are now) with full knowledge of their falsehood.
It is important to point this out to discourage editors from "debating" by churning out fabricated allegations and untruth and hoping some of it sticks when some of it goes unnoticed or unchallenged. Not all editors have as much time to spend on here, and shouldn't have to waste the little they have defending themselves against spurious slurs and patent untruths. Knepflerle (talk) 10:18, 9 September 2009 (UTC)


No instance has been presented where

  1. there was a naming conflict
  2. Self-identification was used as an argument on one side, [against a non-self-identifying name which is more common 20:24, 4 September 2009 (UTC)]
  • a: Both names are self-identifying
  • b: The self-identifying name is more common
  • c:self-identification was not the reason for the decision.
  1. The naming conflict was resolved,
  2. The naming conflict was resolved in favor of the side claiming self-identification. There are some four or five instances, including the last Burma debate, where self-identification was claimed and the decision went against it; also two of the efforts to move Kiev to Kyiv. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:05, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

"Republic of China" vs "Taiwan" is a naming conflict.
"Republic of China" is a self-identifying term. "Taiwan" is much more prevalent in common usage.
The naming conflict was resolved, years ago, but continues to rage.
The naming conflict favors the self-ID, "Republic of China".
"People's Republic of China" vs "China"
PRC is a self-identifying officially used term, and so is China. China is the shorthand common name. RoC advocates prevent the use of "China" as the common name of the PRC because the RoC exists.
Naming conflict is forced to resolve to the official longform name.
I think both of these go against the spirit and intent of this guideline (and parent policies). SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
If you can call the Republic of China settled - and clearly you yourself do not agree with it- then it would seem to meet the four qualifications. I phrased #2 badly; as you observe, both PRC and China are identifying names, so Xandar's proposal does not help - any more than with Londonderry against Derry, both self-identifying names; tweaked above.
But there are two more elements:
5. Neither name is ambiguous. This is, I think, one reason the present arrangements were acceptable to many people: Taiwan for the ROC is ambiguous with the island (a different subject, with a completely different history section; they were disjoint in 1937). China is ambiguous with the country (one China, two systems) which includes Taipei. China is three thousand years old; the People's Republic of China is 59.
6. The self-identifying name was not chosen to avoid expressing a point of view. And this, of course, is the main reason why your preferred solution of China/Taiwan has not been adopted. Both Governments claim to govern "China"; to call the Beijing Government China is to accept their POV, to call them "Mainland China" is to deny it. (Much of the time where #2 is true, it is the self-identifying name which expresses the POV; thus, for the ROC, there is no perfect solution.)
Thank you for thinking this through with me. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:24, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

A large number of examples have been presented where self-identifying names have been used instead of common names. And no, there does not have to have been a conflict recorded on the talk page or elsewhere for this to be so. PMAndersons "qualifications" are not binding on Wikipedia, and I have still yet to see one real case produced where this guidance has caused or exacerbated problems, rather than helped solve them.

  • Inuit vs Eskimo
  • Romany vs Gypsy
  • Indigenous Australians vs Aborigines
  • Dalits vs Untouchables
    • Case 2, in addition; common usage is Harijan.
      • Dalit is the article on the people concerned, listed under their SI Name, not any other.
  • Indigenous peoples of the Americas vs Red Indians or American Indians
  • Native Americans in the United States vs American Indians
  • First Nations vs Canadian Indians
    • All of these instances of political correctness should be treated together; all of them are Case 6; the common name was held to be POV
      • In other words the common name was disputed as objectionable or inaccurate, and the self-identifying name was used.
  • In addition there are the cases where agreements have been reached over ares such as South Tyrol, Switzerland, Belgium and elsewhere to use the self-identifying names of the relevant communities.
  • In the case of the Derry - Londonderry dispute, the solution has been to use the self-identifying name (as voted by the elected city council) over the Official name, as stated in Charters of incorporation and as confirmed in the recent court case.
    • Lie; both Derry and Londonderry are self-identifying names. This also offers no explanation for the use of County Londonderry as part of the same discussion. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:10, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
      • You are the liar. The self-identifying name is that properly chosen by the majority of the inhabitants. This the people of the city did, through their elected council. However Londonderry remains legally the official name. County Londonderry is a different case since it was not included in the city council definition. Xandar 22:31, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
  • In the case of Republic of China the self-identifying name is also used against the great weight of popular usage. As far as Peoples Republic of China versus "China" goes, the reason that China is not used of the PRC exclusively is because the PRC does not occupy the whole territory of China, as France does France. Taiwan does occupy the whole Island of Taiwan (as Iceland does the island of Iceland, and Australia does the island of Australia) so disambiguation is not a reason to use any other name than Taiwan. ROC is used foe self-identifying reasons only. Xandar 00:44, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
    • The history sections of Republic of China and Taiwan are completely different; from the founding of the Republic until 1945, Taiwan was not even part of it. Xandar is asserting what he knows to be false. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:23, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
    • In Xandar's opinion, only. Xandar keeps repeating the same lot of cases; most of them were never decided on the principle he would urge upon us. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:00, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
      • Your silly attempt to pretend that I am the only person opposing your schemes for this page a refuted across this and the other relevant talk-pages. You pretended that Taiwan is not named Taiwan because the island has the same name. This is not true, as the Iceland and Australia examples proved. Taiwan is named Republic of China because that is how it self-identifies. Xandar 22:31, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Now for some real examples, all being case 4 (rejection of a self-identifying name because it's not English usage):

All of these, except Germany, which is undisputed and enormously observed, are the result of positive decisions, taken on the basis of usage, not of self-identification. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:23, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Almost this entire list shows another problem with "self-identifying names".Anyone can, and PoV-pushers will, claim that X is the "self-identifying name for Group Y". Normally, they will mean "it's our name" or, as with the ineffable Xandar, "I like it". How can this be proven? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:32, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Rival self-identifying names

This is, I realize, what really drives me; I come from the discussion on placenames around WP:NCGN. Talk about self-identifying names can render many of the worst of these insoluble, unless carefully limited to the case where there's only one.

Many of our naming disputes over places are ethnic quarrels over whose city it really is. Each ethnic name is a self-identifying name; each ethnicity sincerely believes that it uses the self-identifying name.

Consider the unhappy city of Bender: Is it Moldovan/Transnistrian/Russian? Does it self-identify as Tighina/Bender/Bendery? These are, at root, the same question, and we cannot resolve either form - neither can the UN and the EU. What we can do is ask a different and perhaps more useful question: what will our readers call it (especially those who don't already have a dog in this fight, but want to learn something)? That's answerable. It was predominantly Bender before 1991, and what little coverage it has had since descending into chaos has used Bender as much as anything else.

The Burma discussion dove into politics for several reasons; but the rival self-identifying names helped set it off. Once some people said "we have to use the slef-identifying name of the Myanmar Government" and others said "the Burmese exiles/Aung San Suu Chi/the real Burmese people use Burma", we were off to the races, with a fundamentally insoluble and deeply political question.

Similarly, Derry and Londonderry are both ethnic self-identifying names; in fact, both are self-identifying names for two entities, the City and the County that surrounds it. The two rival ethnic groups there have, on Wikipedia as in the real world, been able to compromise: each gets one; Derry and County Londonderry - and credit to the Irish of both colors; but the claim above that this was resolved through the preference of self-identifying names is nonsense.

Many places in Kosovo (including Kosovo) have rival self-identifications too:

  • The self-identification of the present inhabitants (mostly Albanian, but sometimes Serbs)
  • The self-identification of the refugees (mostly Serb, but sometimes Albanians)
  • The self-identification by the government of Kosovo
  • The self-identification by the government of Serbia (which still asserts it is sovereign over Kosovo).
  • The self-identification of generations past ("This was the core of the Serbian Empire [true, in the twelfth century]....You are tearing the heart out of Serbia!"

All of these self-identifications are cited now - and can battle each other for pages. All we can do is decide between them; and for that usage is a verifiable standard. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 12:38, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

The thing is that this: "some people said (real name 1) and others said (real name 2), we were off to the races" is a simple issue to solve: ignore it. It's not relevant to the encyclopedia any more then any other POV screed is. Ignore it and base our impartial decisions in these matters on policy and outside references, then suddenly there is no dispute (that really matters, at least). Sure those with strong feelings on the matter are obviously not going to be happy with that, but what could we possibly do about that? Knock over one of the 5 pillars?
I want to assure everyone that what I'm about to say is not personal, and is not actually directed at anyone's intelligence here. Heck, it's not even directed at any one participant in particular! This rambling, sometimes incoherent, wall-of-text filled debate is frankly silly. You guys are trying to "win" a debate of an article title as if the title of the article is going to affect the entire world. Chill out and quit trying to win, and let's actually discuss whatever the issue here is rationally. Changing the policy/guideline is not going to convince anyone when the movereq is reopened regardless, and it's not as though this document is going to be "locked down" after you are happy with it (whoever "you" may be), so this isn't at all productive.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 14:07, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Ignore it. That's what admins should do, and what I think admins generally did in these cases. It would be easier to get everyone else to ignore it if there weren't a guideline to quote that supported silly arguments; that's why several of us disputed parts of this to begin with; nothing to do with the article that's Xandar's hobby-horse. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:32, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I'll give you this, that it's entirely possible that I'm conflating issues here. However, when at least 3/4 of the current talk page is filled with discussion relating to that topic... something is obviously wrong. The current approach doesn't seem to be making progress here, so I'm speaking up.
I don't even know what this conversation is about now... which sources to use? Is there ever a single answer to that question? Why are we even talking about added weight being given to primary sources anyway? Because some editors want to? What ever happened to WP:V/WP:OR/WP:RS?
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 15:02, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
The talk page since #Protected names is a fairly good summary of the issues, which is why I've been willing to engage again. The fundamental question is "What do we do, if anything, about self-identifying names when they are not the most common English usage"? There is only one small piece of text at issue not discussed, and it can have a section of its own. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:22, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Remaining disputed text

A distinction should be drawn between a self-identifying entity and an inanimate or non-human entity. An inanimate geographical feature such as a sea or mountain, or a non-human entity such as an animal, does not have a name for itself. Thus the English name Mount Everest is just as arbitrary as the local name, Qomolangma. The use of "Mount Everest" as the definitive term in Wikipedia is simply a matter of convenience, as the mountain is far more widely known by the English name than by its native Tibetan one. Similarly, the English name cobra for a type of snake is just as arbitrary as the Indonesian name "ular tedung", but the English name is used in the English Wikipedia because it is the standard name in the English language.
A city, country, people or person by contrast, is a self-identifying entity: it has a preferred name for itself. The city formerly called Danzig now calls itself Gdańsk; the man formerly known as Cassius Clay now calls himself Muhammad Ali.

I think the first and last sentences here can be improved; I'm not sure it comes to a dispute. I don't see the moral imperative in A distinction should be drawn and am not convinced there is consensus on it; I would be content with There is a distinction.

Both Gdańsk and Muhammad Ali are cases where the self-identifying name is common usage; thus they're not particularly helpful examples; and Gdańsk is discussed elsewhere in the guideline, more accurately. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:39, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

In all seriousness, my question is why is this in the guideline at all? The most glaring issue that I see is that it's overly prescriptive: "You will use this name!" You know what happens when most people read this? </ignored>, and then they move on (either that or they'll ineffectively try using it as a battering ram against their opposition). These documents should be descriptive. They should inform regarding the history of what has come before, and attempt to explain what is occurring now. Besides that... the basic idea behind all of it is contradictory to WP:OR. Good luck getting most admins to listen to that sort of argument!
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 16:16, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Then you may also want to remove the first sentence of the next section;
Where self-identifying names are in use, they should be used within articles.
The rest of that section is largely harmless, and says that Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name; this encyclopedia merely notes the fact that they do use that name and other stuff which seems quite reasonable.
I have no objection to drastic surgery either. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:23, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, on both points. The follow on sentence that you quoted there actually supports removing all of the preceding content anyway. One or the other of them has to go regardless, and I'll stick with the side supported by the 5 pillars.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 16:32, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

This is the nub of the dispute. PManderson and Ohm's Law want to totally reverse the long-standing guidance on self-identifying names in this naming convention - and there is absolutely no consensus for that, and no good reason to do so. Unacceptable. Xandar 23:33, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Everyone here aside from you seems to have a clear idea that this is what should be changed. Simply saying that "there is absolutely no consensus for that" is no argument. We're basically saying the exact opposite (I guess...), so I'm not sure what you expect to happen here.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 05:50, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
In fact, there are half a dozen more editors who have opposed this in this long discussion, five of them here; there is a long track record of naming discussion, which has generally not chosen to follow self-identifying names against usage (Schmucky's example of the Republic of China may be the only example, and that was driven by strong POV concerns on both sides, and a disambiguation issue. Xandar and his proxies are the minority who demand this language, and even the proxies don't bother to show up without Xandar as faction whip. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:31, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

PMANderson, stupid comments like I "am the only person saying X", when large numbers of editors have gone on record as opposing your plans to reverse this long-standing naming convention, simply display the childishness of your yah-boo-hiss style of argumentation. No matter how long you, Ohms Law, and other members of your Tag Team spend agreeing with each other on this page, that does not make any consensus for the radical, disruptive and totally uneccessary changes you propose. It is beginning to seem that you have no intention of discussing the issues in an adult manner, and any attempt to achieve serious discussion is merely seen by you as weakness - and an excuse for you to proceed further toward your maximalist goal. Well that is not going to happen. You either start getting serious on achieving a mutually acceptable solution, or we will have to insist on true community-wide discussion of your proposals - including all the editors of all articles liable to be affected or disrupted by your proposed changes to SI naming policy. Xandar 22:15, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

    • Where is everybody else? You have a certain number of proxy editors who will do what you demand when you call for them; when you don't call for them they don't bother. All of them are involved, sometimes to single-pointedness, in a single article which has a naming dispute. Everybody else seems ready to join a consensus that the use of self-identification, like official names, is to help decide between comparably common names, and to pick something when there is no common name. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:35, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
      • I've been away from the discussion for a few days and will need some time to catch up. I'm not sure where I stand on these changes; but I have to agree with Xandar, there are people who havent weighed in yet. Whether they are busy, uninterested, or as you say "proxy editors" who come when called; I dont think its acceptable to try to make these changes without consulting people with different views on this subject. I would appreciate if we would discuss Xandar's concerns without slandering him. And like I said, I need a little bit of time to catch up before I can form an opinion. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 01:39, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
This is a busy period for me and I don't have a lot of time for Wikipedia; it is not a lack of interest, but a prudent use of my time. I sure it makes you feel better to think that editors are not committed and that your opinion is the only one of value, Pm, but that is just an unfortunate personal problem that you need to deal with. Several editors have been making comments that represent my position and I am not needed, but you should realize that you are a minority where changing this policy is concerned. --StormRider 01:57, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

It is a long holiday weekend here in the US... so some people may indeed be away from the conversation. On the other hand, it gives few others (like me) time to read the discussion and so we can give an opinion... I have to agree with PMA here... Since WP:NAME (a policy) clearly states a preference for our using the name that is most commonly used in sources, that has to be the first choice when settling disputes. We should go to other naming methods, such as self-identification, only if we can not determine what the most commonly used name actually is. Blueboar (talk) 02:18, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Blueboar hits the home run! :) I'm still not completely sure how this all came about, and I honestly don't care that much but, that large parts of this document directly contradict it's "parent" is a fairly large issue. All of the bickering about who has consensus isn't helpful at all, especially since consensus can't be declared anyway, and now I see at least one person stooping to personal attacks. Anyway, we do have some time before the page protection comes off, so hopefully we can all be civil and start discussing this reasonably. I'm certainly willing to listen, but I don't see any way to reconcile the "self-identification" clauses with the overarching guidance to all naming conventions to primarily rely on the common name. That's so ingrained into Wikipedia culture now that attempting to change it is likely not to be effective regardless, so I'm not exactly worried. Still, this should be lined up with all of the other Naming conventions (and this rather pointless dispute should quit being a distraction).
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 04:38, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

No. There is no "contradiction" since this is a convention that lists EXCEPTIONS to the general advice of "using common names". This convention would be redundant and purposeless if all it did was repeat that advice! That advice is not set out as an iron rule anyway in the main policy, but with important modifies such as "Generally", and "except where other naming-conventions say otherwise." Self-identifying names are important, especially in the situations already described - primarily where a "most common" name is considered: inaccurate by the entity concerned, offensive to the entity concerned, has been recently superseded, or is in dispute. Changing the convention is more likely to increase edit-warring and disruption across Wikipedia in such circumstances than anything else. As far as few people contributing here, conversation over the past few days has tended to be so unproductive of compromise that I am not surprised so many have withdrawn for the moment. Xandar 23:09, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

In fact the position Ohms Law and PM advocate: that the general convention supersedes specific conventions was rejected on the policy page a few short months ago; see Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions/Archive 13#Strengthen COMMONNAME. Xandar 23:34, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
That is not what I support; in fact, that's User:Born2cycle who I mentioned above as Xandar's opposite number, who denies that there are any other considerations than common name; I saw that proposal and ignored it, because I don't agree with it. Similarly, Xandar proposes, when there is a naming conflict (and when else do we have naming discussions?) that we use nothing but "self-identifying names"; his proposal would be worse than Born's, because there is no clear test for a self-identifying name - the only excuse for his list of bad examples above. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:05, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
No. I haven't said that self-identifying names should be the only consideration, but as the long-standing convention says, for self-identifying entities this should be a major factor, and in fact a preferred factor (in line with the MOS) in forming a consensus about a disputed name. The convention in its standard form gives clear advice on determining the self-identifying name of an entity. On the over-all issue, many positions are entrenched, and we will probably need mediation if a consensus is to be achieved on any alterations to the long-standing guidance here. Xandar 23:33, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Xander, I think we all agree that self-identification is a major factor. where we disagree is that we think it isn't the preferred factor. As I said above... the primary criteria should be commonality... and then, if we can not figure out a most common name, we look at other criteria. I would certainly place self-identification up near (or even at) the top of those other criteria, but the primary one is commonality. Blueboar (talk) 02:23, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that in some cases self-identifying names need to trump the so-called "Common names", even when the Common name seems clear. I've raised what I see as the main ones:
  • where the clear "Common Name" is in some way objectionable to the entity concerned
  • where the clear "Common Name" is considered seriously inaccurate by the entity concerned
  • where the clear "Common Name" is out of date due to a verified change made by the entity concerned
In these situations (There may be others) the use of self-identifying names in place of a "commonly used name" provides the best solution - and one that is actually used by WIkipedia editors. And of course this is the reason that Naming Conventions provide exceptions from the General "rule". Xandar 23:23, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
And so we come to the heart of the matter. I see no reason why self-identification should ever "trump" the most commonly used name in these situations (if anything it should be the other way around). Blueboar (talk) 00:09, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I absolutely 100% agree, Blueboar. The three given main reasons, outside of any other considerations, are in direct contradiction with WP:NPOV and WP:OR regardless, and so your comment that "if anything it should be the other way around" is dead accurate.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 10:11, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Well this is where you disagree with most Wikipedia editors on such topics. A doctrinaire position on "Use common name" in such instances would be not only unworkable, create endless trouble, cause needless offense to large groups of people, and mean that the encyclopedia was both inaccurate and permanently out of date. It would be a Wikipedia clique trying to enforce a rigid doctrinaire rule on the community that would be of zero benefit and stir up nothing but trouble. It would be a nonsense. And in practice it would be ignored. We would be forced to call Dalits, Untouchables ... Native Americans, American Indians ... African Americans, American Blacks ... Indigenous Australians, Aborigines ... the Romany, gypsies ... Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon .... Latter Day Saints, Mormons ... Kolkata, Calcutta, ... The Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Coptic Church... etc. etc. Carefully worked out compromises across WP would be disrupted. Entities or people that changed their names, or married would have to appear under defunct names until the majority of "reliable sources" had altered their naming. The people pushing this radical change have clearly not thought it through. Now we can see what utter unworkable and irresponsible nonsense is being pushed here by those wanting to change this guideline. Xandar 10:51, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

"inaccurate and permanently out of date." How can it be inaccurate if the most common term is used in reliable sources? Of course we will be out of date, Wikipedia is a follower not a leader. How out of date depends on whether more weight is given to modern reliable sources. Something which can easily be added to this guideline without contradicting use common names of the Naming policy. -- PBS (talk) 11:12, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
(to Xandar after edit conflict:) As we keep saying - there are no radical changes going on here - the disputed part of this guideline has had practically no influence on actual practice or on these "carefully worked out compromises". The claim that self-identification is considered a more important criterion for WP article naming than COMMONNAME is belied by the fact that it isn't even mentioned on the main naming conventions page, either before or after the recent changes which will hopefully lead to a more balanced and accurate exposition of the various criteria that apply to naming. Nor has this page itself ever said anything to support such a claim (it only ever talked about using such names "within articles"). So I suggest that you yourself stop being doctrinaire, recognize good faith in others (we're only trying to make these guidelines clearer and more reflective of actual practice), and join in constructively the discussion at WT:NC - perhaps you'll even persuade people that the self-identification criterion deserves a mention on that page.--Kotniski (talk) 11:19, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Re: We would be forced to call Dalits, Untouchables ... Native Americans, American Indians etc... In some cases, yes... clarifying this guideline and bringing it into sync with WP:NAME, WP:NPOV, WP:NOR etc. would upset carefully worked out compromises. I don't have a problem with that. If need be, editors at those articles can invoke IAR to maintain an existing compromise... the point being that we should not enshrine locally agreed upon "exceptions to the rule" into the rule itself.
That said, in many of the cases you mention, there is a good argument to be made that there isn't acctually a "Most commonly used name"... for example, while the most commonly used name in the past was "American Indians", the most commonly used name in modern sources is "Native Americans" (while in Canada the most commonly used term is "First Nations"). In which case, self-identification becomes a perfectly valid criteria for resolving the conflict.
THAT said... I do agree that self-identification is important... and a self-ID name should almost always be included in the opening sentence (in bold as an alternative name). So, if Britney Spears gets married to John Jones and changes her name (including her stage name), the article would remain entitled Britney Spears for a period of time... but we would immediately note the name change in the first sentence of the article:
  • "Britney Jean Spears (Now Britney Spears Jones) is an American singer and entertainer."
Assuming the marriage lasts, and sources start to call her "Britney Jones", there will come a time when "Britney Spears" is no longer the most commonly used. At that point we would re-name the article Britney Jones and change the first line to note her previous name.
The same would hold for something like a city that changed its name... If Wikipedia had been around when Leningrad changed its name back to St. Petersburg we would and should have kept the article name as Leningrad with a "(Now named St. Petersburg)" notation in the Lede sentence until the sources caught up with the change. Blueboar (talk) 17:34, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed with all of the above. I think that the basic point here is that there is not, and cannot be, a hard and fast rule on this issue. That is why these are guidelines, and even the policies are generally more suggestive. My sense is that there is an attempt being made here to subtly alter this document in order to enforce a position, and that's just not going to happen. Even if the text of the document is changed, the vast majority of us will simply not care (and rightly so) because my opinions are my own and none of us can force our own views on other editors. After all in the end there's always WP:IAR to take some refuge in...
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 18:35, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Incidentally, those "carefully worked out compromises" can and should be disrupted. That is an integral part of the operation of Wikipedia, like it or not. Personally, I find this sort of defense of "squatters rights" troubling and problematic. Simply because some subset of editors have achieved some level of consensus is not excuse to allow article content to become stale. People generally shouldn't be allowed to "win" simply by being more persistent in pushing their POV.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 18:40, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Indeed... let us not forget that "consensus can change". A "carefully worked out compromise" that gained consensus a few years ago, may not reflect current consensus... and the issue may need need to be re-examined so that a new "carefully worked out compromise" can be achieved. Blueboar (talk) 19:39, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Remaining disputed text - random break

I've not seen much evidence of trying to work out a new compromise from the pushers of the changes, more edit-warring and the pushing of maximalist demands.

First of all, no good reason has been made for changing this long-standing policy, and all we are seeing from the handful of ideologues who want to change it are proposals to make Wikipedia out of date and unresponsive in order to fit their proposed new dogmatic rule. That seems clear now. And proposals that we start a new round of edit wars by forcing doctrinaire unwanted names on articles across the community. For what reason? I ask. The guidance ain't broke. it doesn't need "fixing", and certainly not the sort of highly-disruptive "fix" that certain parties want here.

It is admitted that the new rule of Blueboar and others would have Wikipedia calling groups by names they find offensive and inaccurate. WHY? For what reason is this disruptive change proposed? For what reason should we now start waiting a couple of years to change the name of a country, company, city, or institution when it does so? For what reason should we list people who marry, divorce or change their names under defunct names until the printed media catch up? I keep asking these questions, but get no answers.

I keep asking for incidents and examples of where the current policy has raised problems. Again from all the clique that want to change the policy there comes a deafening silence. Guidance should follow what editors actually do - a principle of Wikipedia. But Blueboar now wants to ignore editors and enforce his new rule, calling Dalits, Untouchables, and Ho chi Minh City Saigon. republic of China should become Taiwan. The compromises over European city naming should be overturned. Sorry, but in the absence of any sound reason or evidence for the proposed radical changes this seems more and more like a clique wanting to impose policies on Wikipedia by stealth. The methods used - edit-warring, forum-shopping and abuse of those opposed to the agenda, would seem to back up this view. It seems clear that once again the maximalist demands are now being pursued - and these are unacceptable to editors. Again. It's about time to get serious on either obtaining a mutually acceptable solution, or enter dispute resolution procedures. Xandar 20:45, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Use common names is not a new rule. WP:UCN goes back to 2002, at this edit, and that text goes back to the earliest existence of WP:NAME as a separate page; the earliest discussion suggests that it was written by User:Larry Sanger. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:33, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Nor is If there is neither a common nor an official name, use the name (or a translation thereof) that the subject uses to describe itself or themselves a new rule. It was first inserted in this guideline on June 1, 2005 - in those exact words - and some version of it has been here continually ever since. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:37, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
First, it isn't a policy it's a guideline... there is a difference. As for reasons? Try this... the "change" (it is actually a return to what the original intent of the guideline) brings this guideline into sync with what is stated in actual policies (WP:NAME, WP:NPOV and WP:V for three); it removes an unnecessary conflict between guidance and policy. Ideally, all our policies and guidelines are in sync, and if we need to change one so they all mesh, that is a good change. More importantly, the change would give a clear non-subjective criteria for naming articles primacy over an unclear subjective criteria (for example, when when Americans of African ancestral origin use "Black", "African American", "People of Color" and a host of other self-identifying terms, choosing one over the others is subjective, while looking at sources and seeing what is most commonly used is not)... This is useful in resolving conflicts (we don't care what name you may prefer... we simply follow the sources.) Blueboar (talk) 21:23, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
We know the differences between policies and guidelines. I sometimes use "policy" in its natural English usage. And your view of the "original intent" of the guideline comes from where? Psychic powers? It seems a strange "original intent" that requires removing and reversing the entire text of the guidance on self-identifying entities! Sorry. That doesn't wash. Are you arguing that nobody before you knew what they were writing, or following, or linking to here? That's not credible. What we are seeing here is an attempt tby a clique to radically change the Convention. As far as the alleged "conflict" between guidance and policy; this is an entirely bogus argument that has already been refuted several times. These guidance pages are EXCEPTIONS to the policy, and not conflicts, to be "trumped" by the general policy. This has been spelled out on the policy page, and reaffirmed by talk-page vote there just a few weeks ago. In other words, the policy defers to the guidance on such issues. I don't know what is so hard to understand about this. So we do not need to change all the guidelines that use other principles than "use common name" so that "they all mesh". In actual fact no-one is attempting to change all the guidelines that "don't mesh", just primarily this one. I wonder why?
As far as self-identifying terms being "subjective". That is exactly what the text of this guidance refutes. The guidance lays down simple ways, using reliable sources to determine self-identifying names - and if you seriously think that African Americans self-identify today as "People of Color", you've been in a bunker for a long, long time. In fact, practically, no such problems have arisen. On the contrary this guidance has been nothing but helpful.
You have again failed to offer any instances where the present guidance has caused problems, and reaffirmed that the pressure for change is merely in order to attempt to impose a doctrinaire uniformity of your own design. That is NOT a good reason for change. Xandar 22:30, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't want to get off on a tangent about an example... but I think you may be mistaking the modern term, "People of Color", with the now archaic term "colored"... for an example of how prevelent the modern term is just take a look at Google (search for "people of color" with the quotation marks.) Blueboar (talk) 14:51, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
See Talk:Kiev/naming and its archives, where this very piece of guidance has been quoted, interminably and unsuccessfully by a Ukrainian nationalist. That's an instance of this unfortunate passage causing trouble; it's one of the few times this goobledegook has ever been noticed.

On the other hand, see the quite successful Talk:Gdansk/Vote, which established the practice (misdescribed by the passage under dispute) of using both Danzig and Gdansk for different periods in the city's history - depending on usage in reliable English sources. There again, the advocates of "self-identification" were the inveterate nationalists; but they were outargued and outvoted. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:36, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Xander, you keep saying that this page is an exception to WP:NAME... that is the point... We shouldn't HAVE an exception on this. What your "exception" is essentially telling people is this: " Yes, Our policy on naming articles says to use the most commonly used name ... unless someone disagrees with this policy, in which case it is OK to make an EXCEPTION and not follow the policy".
This is like creating a guideline that says "Yes, WP:NPOV says to present all significant view points on a topic... unless there is a conflict, in which case it is OK to make an EXCEPTION and only present one view point" or one that states "Yes, WP:V calls for using reliable sources... unless someone disagrees, in which case it is OK to make an EXCEPTION and use unreliable sources."
Such broad exceptions make our policies meaningless. They are far too broad. Especially when there is no good reason for the exception. The exeption (or rather clarification) we should be making is far narrower...
  • IF no commonly used name can be determined... then you can set the policy aside and look at other criteria, such as self-identification. Blueboar (talk) 15:45, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Blue, are you saying that all policies never have exceptions? I am just curious to understand where you think this should go. --StormRider 16:17, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
No, that is not what I am saying... several of our policies have exceptions. However, those exceptions are all stated clearly on the policy page itself. In this case the "exception" Xander wants is not clearly stated on the policy page. It actually contradicts what is stated in the Policy, creating a conflict. When conflicts between Policies and Guidelines occur, the policy statement takes priority... the guideline should be reworded (or, the policy should be changed). Blueboar (talk) 16:50, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
If we cannot state something clearly and unconditionally (no original research, source all statements which are challenged or likely to be challenged, use neutral language) then it should not be policy; it defers to other considerations, which are more fundamental. Policy is the fundamentals. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:56, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
WP:NOR is a good example of what I am talking about... WP:NOR includes an exception at WP:NOR#Original images... we could probably use a more extensive guideline on this, because we keep getting questions about it at NORN, but the point is that the exception is clearly stated in the policy. If a guideline is written it will be based upon what is stated in the policy, and won't contradict the policy. Unlike the current state of this guideline. 22:43, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
No. these are new "rules" you and Blueboar are just making up. There is no difference between any of the naming conventions. All are linked to from the policy page, all are listed as naming conventions, and all are exceptions. The longstanding wording of policy specified exceptions to "Use Common Names" from the naming conventions. PMA and others are currently trying to remove this. That is evidence that they know their argument is extremely weak. I wonder where Blueboar can show how Wikipedia:Naming conventions (flora) Astronomical objects, Chemistry or Fauna do not "conflict" with the General policy? I also notice that PMA mentions core policies like No original Research, which are not derogable. However other policies are derogable, especially those, like "use common names", that are not stated in a mandatory manner, and admit of exceptions, such as those in the Naming Conventions. Therefore the argument of "contradictions" is a circular one, and so non-existent. Xandar 00:25, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Xandar, have you actually looked at the four guidelines you point me to?... They actually AGREE with the policy. Both Fauna, and Astronomical objects explicitly point to WP:COMMONNAME and give it priority... Chemistry states that "article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize" (which is a phrase that comes directly from the WP:NAME Policy)... and (Flora) calls for using the scientific name... which given the subject matter is likely to be the most commonly used name in written sources.
In other words... they do exactly what I have said a guideline should do ... they are not carving out conflicting excepetions to the policy... they are instead clarifying and expanding on what the policy says, without contradicting it. Blueboar (talk) 03:07, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Agree with Xandar

Just to express my agreement with Xandar. I think it is a serious change to policy and one with which I am in fundamental disagreement. I strongly believe that there is every reason to keep the possibility of preferring self identificational terms to the most commonly used name in many cases - especially the when not doing so might be offensive to the named entity. I don't see any contradictions as naming decisions can always be made by consensus on the relevant talk pages. To me this change looks like an attempt to turn wikipedia into conservapedia by using the common name policy (and cries of political correctness) as a justification of retaining the right to offend minorities.·Maunus·ƛ· 03:44, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

This is not policy this is a guideline. Would you consider it necessary to have a reliable source to state that a name is offensive? What do you mean by "right to offend minorities". How does one balance two groups who both both claim a name and are offended if the name is given to the others (shades of Life of Brian "The Judean People's Front" NOT "The People's Front of Judea!"). In most cases the name used in recent reliable sources is the least offensive name, can you name one where this is not true? --PBS (talk) 12:35, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
For example some recent scholarhsip on Romani and Sinti peoples use the term "gypsies", some use the term Sioux about the Lakhota and Dakota people, hundreds of native American people are routinely referred to by exonyms that are often offensive to them. The situation where the same name is claimed by two groups doesn't seem that common outside of the macedonian issue, but I wouldgive precedence to the right to selfidentification and not to the right to deny others the use of a particular name. ·Maunus·ƛ· 15:29, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
To take a larger class: there are so many terms for African-American, because every single one of them offends some member of the class; this includes African-American itself, on the grounds that it implies they are descendants of recent immigrants - like, say, the current President. (I think it is also true that every one of the terms - even those that would seem unlikely - has been defended by some member of the class as neutral and desirable.) This is what usually happens, and why insisting on "self-identifying" terms is futile - and usually involves us in the political question "who are the real X, whose selfhood we are consulting?" Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:50, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
The first and to me most obvious problem with this idea/proposed change is that it goes completely against WP:OR because the actual "self-identifying name" is primary research. What's worse is that in every even remotely controversial instance where this would actually make a difference, replying on a "self-identifying name" will also break any appearance of neutrality. We're not saying that self-ID names should especially be ignored or specifically not used, and I think that we've all made it clear that the self-ID name can be used in cases of uncertainty. However, the foundation of all of the Naming conventions is and always has been Wikipedia:Naming conventions#Use common names. UCN relies on secondary sources and maintains neutrality, which is exactly what the five pillars requires of all of us as editors.
I understand completely that real neutrality can and does make people uncomfortable at times (including myself), but neutrality isn't an issue that is limited to Naming conventions. Reliance on secondary sources and maintaining neutrality are two of five core principles which we should strive to maintain everywhere and at all times.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 15:38, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
OR is a completely separate issue - no one has said that we should use endonyms that are not used in reliable sources. And neutrality is the complete opposite - it is neutral to use terminology that does not offend those to whom it is applied - it is not neutral to use offensive terminology about any persons or groups even if people commonly do it.·Maunus·ƛ· 15:41, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Regarding OR, That makes it clear that you don't actually agree with Xandar. As for Neutrality, that's where we disagree. Neutrality does not mean "stating both sides", or "terminology that does not offend". Quite often, neutral statements specifically do offend, but that is not and should not be our concern. There's actually quite a bit of content about exactly that on WP:NPOV.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 15:46, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
I am not saying that we should "state both sides" I am saying that in the question of nomenclature of peoples and persons maintaining neutrality requires an exception to the normal policy of naming after the most commonly used nomenclature. This because persons and peoples are entities whose right to selfidentify trumps the right of others to impose nomenclature on them. In such cases the selfidentification should be seen as more neutral than an outside name because that respects the personal rights and integrity of persons, and in this case the common name is non-neutral.·Maunus·ƛ· 16:05, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
You're not talking about neutrality though, you're talking about... political correctness. Seeking to avoid causing offence is not neutral at all, since actual neutrality demands not even thinking about who may or may not be offended. I'm going to be a bit preachy here but I don't see how that can be avoided: the fact is that neutrality is just plain hard. I respect you and your opinions, and I respect Xandar and his opinion as well. The fact is that the position being expressed here is simply not neutral. I understand that you think that it is, but the fact is that you're wrong. That sounds harsh, but... I don't know a more gentle way of stating it.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 16:25, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

It even states the fundamental opposition to this proposal in NPOV:

Where proper nouns such as names are concerned, disputes may arise over whether a particular name should be used. Wikipedia takes a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach in such cases, by using the common English language name as found in verifiable reliable sources; the most common name used in English-language publications is generally used; see also WP:Naming conventions (common names).

V = I * R (talk to Ω) 15:56, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Changing this guideline creates more problems than it helps. I have yet to see any examples where the guidelines created a serious problem that good sense would not have directed the path. The preferred name respects the entity where as the common name may result in problems where the "majority" forces an unwanted situation. In addition, multiple examples have been shown where ignoring the current policy has created a multitude of problems. In reality, guidelines are ignored every day on Wikipedia, but I would prefer that when push comes to shove common sense is supported by guidelines and that those editors with common sense can at least bolster their position by pointing to common sense guidelines. --StormRider 17:21, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Self-identification is a problem when multiple groups use the same self-identification... when that happens we can't respect the entity, because doing so would disrespect another entity. We all know the Macedonia situation... to give three other examples: "China", "Catholic Church" and "Freemasonry"... in all three cases there are multiple groups that self-identify with the name. In all three cases we have created unique solutions to resolve the conflict (in the case of the various Freemasonry related articles, we use "Freemasonry" in situations where we can discuss all groups that self-identify with the name, and diambiguate when talking about specific groups, using the form of disabiguation most commonly found in sources). Blueboar (talk) 19:25, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
The main goal here, as I see it, is that as much as possible we shouldn't be trying to solve these issues ourselves, we should just describe the situation(s). We all need to be able to set aside our various personal opinions on the underlying issues and attempt to make neutral choices based on outside evidence.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 10:12, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Blue, you use three very poor example that demonstrate a lack of understanding or ignorance. There is only a single church in the world that use The Catholic Church as a name and one only. You are confusing a doctrine with a naming convention. There are many churches that claim to be part of the the catholic church, but the catholic church in this context is a doctrine of belief and NOT a name. When you say China, which country are you talking about? When China talks about China, what country is it talking about? The vast, we are talking colossal degree of opinion here, is that China is China. There is no confusion. Free Masonry is an encompassing name and each of the forms uses a specific name for their function. Again, you are confusing naming conventions and you are forcing confusion where none exist except for you personally.
This long standing guideline has well served Wikipedia. It is when it has not been observed that utter stupidity is demonstrated; check out Burma, a country that has not existed for well over 20 years. The actual name of the country is Myanmar. The only reason the title of the article is Burma is because editors choose to punish, i.e. exert their POV, and refuse to acknowledge the current government is a misguided desire to demonstrate their disapproval of their government. It is is the very height of POV pushing. It blatantly ignores their self-identification, but even ignores the common name. It completely ignores all Wikipedia policy, but it exists.
Lastly, confusion of names is, if not always, must be discussed in the content of the article. However, that is solely an issue of article content and has nothing to do with article titles.--StormRider 20:14, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
The guideline as a whole has served Wikipedia well. These sections on self-identifying names have not served Wikipedia at all; even granting the utmost latitude of guesswork, only two or three articles would be anywhere else if these sections had never existed.
Adopting the point of view of the institution we are discussing (by adopting its choice of name, when most people don't) is not describing an issue neutrally.
When sane people, not interested in polemic, say "China", they may mean any of three things: the PRC, the RoC (less likely but possible), or the nation of China, over which both governments claim rightful authority; thus, "one China, two systems"; we use the third - in part because it has no other name.
The actual name of [the country to the west of Thailand] is Myanmar. That is not an assertion of fact; it is an ideological claim - so would be the assertion that the name of the country is Burma. There is no "the name"; there are two names, and different people use them. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:44, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I think I need to explain more about how the Freemasonry articles fit into all of this ...
First some quick (and admitedly simplified) background ... Not dissimilar to how schisms and factions have arisen in various world religions, Freemasonry has a schism and is split into two main factions... One faction (the majority world wide) is know as "Regular" Freemasonry (it is also called "Anglo/US", "Dogmatic" or "Mainstream" Freemasonry depending on the source). The other (a sizable minority but actually the majority in several European countries) is known as "Continental Freemasonry" (it is also called "Irregular", "non-dogmatic" or "Liberal" Freemasonry) ... Both factions self-identify simply as "Freemsonry"... but they have significantly different rules, rituals, and teachings (for example the Continental faction allows atheists to join while the Regular faction does not). And as with religious schisms, we each group accusing the other of not following true Freemasonry (while Freemasonry is a Fraternal organization and not a religion, you can draw a parallel to different sects of Christianity all hurling anathma and heresy charges at each other)
Now, Wikipedia does not care which of these factions is "correct" in these debates. When writing articles which apply to both branches (say an article like History of Freemasonry) all sides agreed that we should use the name "Freemasonry" in the title ... but when writing articles that are specific to one branch or the other we agreed that we do need to disambiguate in the title.
How this realtes to the topic at hand is that there was some conflict over what disambiguation names to use ... Different choices carried implications that editors belonging to one faction or the other disliked. Each side proposed a "preferred" name for themselves and a "neutral" name for their rival (which, as you would expect, the other side did not see as being at all neutral). We finally settled the dispute by applying WP:NAME... we went through the sources and figured out what the most commonly used disambiguation names were: Thus... "Regular" and "Continental". Neither side was completely happy, but at least we agreed that the use was based on a neutral non-subjective criteria. Blueboar (talk) 02:43, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
See, right there, that's all that this document really needs to say: find a neutral non-subjective criteria. How? Look at the sources (Normally the ones not specifically about the name, although they can help). That's it, the whole policy/guideline, right there. What's left to be said?
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 05:43, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
VIR, I have no problems with using facts, but then we get such stupidity as Burma and Myanmar. It is an absolute fact, much to Septen's dismay, that the name of the country has been Myanmar for over 20 years. Further, it is an absolute fact that the common name is Myanmar...and yet, somehow we have the name Burma. What rule are we going to follow? What guidelines prevents such mindless stupidity from taking place? How do we prevent confusion over a doctrine and a name as in the Catholic Church situation? Provide a policy statement that addresses these issues and then let's talk. Until then, I see no reason for changing a long-standing, stable guideline.
What is laughable is the effort we put into guidelines that will be ignored regardless of what will be agreed. We will still have articles similar to Burma that will exist ONLY because we have activist editors that think that NPOV applies. NPOV means nothing when facts are used. To all but the activist the name is Myanmar. There is no argument, there is nothing that changes that reality. There are no rules unless the majority says so and then when the majority says to ignore them, they are ignored. --StormRider 06:50, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
There are also more Churches which use the name "Catholic Church", this has already been explained several times earlier, and the RCC also uses the name "Roman Catholic Church" (which as far as I see, is less controversial). Cody7777777 (talk) 07:07, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
To all but the activist the name is Myanmar. And the BBC and a substantial number of the sources actually used in the article. There is no argument, there is nothing that changes that reality. This is "My point of view is reality." Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:02, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

In my opinion, we should try to avoid choosing article titles which are clearly controversial, regardless if they are also the most common name or the most preferred self-identifying name, at least, in cases where there are other alternative names in common usage which are clearly less controversial/disputed. (I think some controversial names could also be made less controversial by adding a description in parentheses to the article title, for example there is a protestant denomination calling itself "Apostolic Church", but its wiki article title is "Apostolic Church (denomination)", obviously "Apostolic Church" would be a controversial article title.) Cody7777777 (talk) 07:07, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Cody, that is a broken record that no one agrees with and has been proved repeatedly to be without merit. There are NO CHURCHES THAT USE THE NAME CATHOLIC CHURCH AS THEIR NAME. None, zero, zip...EXCEPT for the Catholic Church. Your issue is a POV, a doctrine that you continue to confuse with a naming convention. Worse, you want to enforce your POV rather than acknowledge historical fact. It is the same issue that exists at Myanmar. Editors choose to ignore historical fact because they refuse to forfeit their POV i.e. they are not neutral. The issue is not to be controversial the issue is to be factually correct. --StormRider 07:15, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
The claim that "There are NO (other) CHURCHES THAT USE THE NAME CATHOLIC CHURCH AS THEIR NAME" is your POV and you can obviously believe that if you like, but it is original research, because it is not sourced, and there were enough sources shown earlier, which support the fact that there are more Churches which use the name "Catholic Church", regardless if others like it or not. (And, there were actually other users in earlier debates which agreed.) Cody7777777 (talk) 07:27, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Please provide a single church that primarily uses the name Catholic Church as it's name as does the Catholic Church. Please do not propose a church that primarily uses another name with its members and the world at large. --StormRider 15:21, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I would like to ask that we NOT get sidetracked into discussing any specific naming debates at this time... The Catholic Church/Roman Catholic Church naming debate goes back to at least 2005 (see: Talk:Catholic Church/Archive 1 and it pops up again on almost every page since then)... I don't think we will resolve it any time soon. We can those debates as examples, but should not get bogged down refighting them at this time.
What I will draw your attention to is the fact that throughout most of that particular debate, the most convincing argument (for me at least) in favor of naming the article with the unmodified name "Catholic Church" has been WP:COMMONNAME. Blueboar (talk) 16:27, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
There difficulty will be "proving" the common name to the satisfaction of all editors. Myanmar is an example where Myanmar gets over 10 times as many google hits than Burma, but Burma is the article title. It is unquestionably the common name, the preferred name, and yet it is ignored by the community. We can write guidelines but must acknowledge that the community will do what it chooses for any given article.
Generally the choice will be perceived by editors as a question of NPOV and thus we have situations like Burma being the chosen title (just as an example). It may be helpful to address how NPOV may properly apply to a title and how it does not...possibly a difficult word smithing job if not impossible for all editors to understand. To me it does seem clear that we just say use facts from reliable sources, but that simple guideline is shot so full of holes when editors choose to provide contradicting references, ignore facts of reality (Burma) and choose to do what they want.
How do we write the guidelines so that we ensure a uniform application? In addition, shouldn't we assume that when the community chooses a title then it is correct regardless of the guidelines until such time as the community chooses differently? --StormRider 17:27, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
You said it best already: "We can write guidelines but must acknowledge that the community will do what it chooses for any given article." This is very true, and it also provides us with the best course of action as well. Since there is no real police force running around to enforce any particular policies/guidelines it's a really good idea to avoid writing these documents in a manner which suggests that anything is actually not allowed. Writing laws or rules which you know will be ignored tends to make people lose respect for all of the laws/rules, and so is generally a bad idea no matter the setting.
It sounds as though you might be a proponent of some sort of policy enforcement (based on the comments about how to prevent things that you see as problematic), which would possibly cause some prescriptive additions made to policy/guidelines effective, but until and unless that actually happens we shouldn't be writing prescriptively.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 18:01, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I would say that I am a proponent of uniformity, but I acknowledge that there will always be exceptions because of the nature of the beast. Above you will notice a conversation about exceptions; it is interesting to review. Some editors abhor exceptions being made to a guidelines or policy. What I abhor is where editors will enforce guidelines when it meets their personal objectives and then blithely ignore them when they do not. That type of hypocrisy is what makes editing so problematic and frustrating.
The policy that has existed only stated that credence be given to preferred names. Nothing more and nothing less. I don't see the need to change it and have yet to understand WHY it was brought up in the first place. Except, of course, if I not AGF and call it for what it was, a desire to enforce personal objectives and not have those danged guidelines messing editors up THIS time. Next time they will just ignore them or change them each time guidelines obstruct their desires.
If we are going to accept the fact that exceptions will be made, could someone please explain to me why we have been wasting our time on this? Let the policy stand and ignore it when you choose (a la Burma and every other article that chooses to meet its own objectives/POV)?--StormRider 18:18, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
We have to accept that no matter how we write the guideline, someone in every naming dispute is going to go away unhappy. There is no way to compromise on something like the Burma/Myanmar dispute. That said... here is how I would analize that debate by applying how I think the policy should be applied:
I would start by trying to apply WP:COMMONNAME... from what I gather there is some debate on this, but it seams a significant (but not overwhelming) majority of sources use Myanmar... if so we should probably use Myanmar.
Going to a secondary criteria, using "Self-identification" as a tie breaker.... unfortunately here too we have debate... some people in the country self-identify with Burma, while others self-identify with Myanmar... However, I do think more weight should be given to the "official" self-identifying name used by the government (especially since that self-identification is recongized by other governments.) So, we should probably use Myanmar.
As tertiary criteria I would look at things like what name is least offensive to the greatest number of people, or what name wins at a poll of editors to the article. This is where the consensus favors Burma.
So... by my primary criteria the name should probably be Myanmar... and by my secondary criteria the name should probably be Myanmar... We only get to "Burma" if we go to tertiary criteria (but those tertiary criteria do clearly favor Burma).
Applying all of this... I think the name of that article should be "Myanmar", with the full understanding that a lot of people are going to be pissed off. Blueboar (talk) 18:57, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree with all of that, and it's generally the manner in which I try to behave in all WP:RM discussions. The corrolary point to that style of name conflict resolution is that the article should immediately and unequivocally present both names, and explain as much as appropriate that there is a name conflict. Obviously, there should be redirects or DAB pages from all possible names as well. This style removes, as much as possible, Wikipedia itself from the actual debate. That's the central issue that I see with relying on self-identification primarily, is that such a resolution can occasionally result in the insertion of Wikipedia itself into the actual debate.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 19:46, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I think the process of evaluation is a good one and MAY be one that should be used. However, I would probably change the order to place self-identification or preferred name first. If we used, as you propose, common names first there would need to be some clarification. For example, I suspect that most people recognize the name Mormon Church or even Church of Latter-day Saints (which seems to be the way most TV commentators identify the church) more than they recognize the actual name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If we used your process the common name is Mormon Church. Self-identification or the preferred name of the entity itself is the full name The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What is least offensive to the most people? I haven't a clue. Worse, I would not even want to find out through a vote. It would not surprise me to find that editors would prefer the name Mormon Church for the article, which would be anathema for Latter-day Saints. The problem is that LDS are a minority and the majority would rule, which amounts to a form of tyranny regarding the very name of their own church.
It would help if we identified the standard for evaluating common names? Is it academic and/or reliable references or just common language? If we could qualify common as identified by experts then I would support that strongly. However, it gets much trickier when we attempt to identify common by every-day language. For example, when I google Myanmar I find 44,400,000 hits. When I do the same for Burma, I get 23,300,000 (that was odd, I did that two weeks ago and only got just over 4,000,000, which is a reason to be careful of attempting to identify "common" through a search engine).
There would seem to be some merit to provide a method of evaluation i.e. what takes priority when evaluating an article's name. It would not be an absolute, but at least provide some guidance to editors as they seek to make a proper decisions. --StormRider 19:54, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
We have one; it is WP:NC. It rates highly the criterion of common names, to which Storm Rider has just appealled; if Google surveyed a collection of reliable sources - and it did not have systematic biases - his appeal would be more persuasive. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:03, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
One issue probably worth noting is how "the Google test" is a thoroughly unconvincing argument. It's an effective point to make in order to shore up existing support, but I've more often seen it's use being more divisive and distracting then helpful. The primary issue with Google is exactly what you mentioned here, that results are completely unfiltered. Personally, I don't normally find even Google Books or Google Scholar results to be helpful, but their at least slightly more accepted. Google is a good search engine, and they run an effective (advertisement) business, but those skills are not particularly lacking in naming disputes here on Wikipedia.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 00:17, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
We also have suggestions for applying these rules to placenames, like Burma, at WP:NCGN; some of them are more widely applicable, and could be brought here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:06, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Describing that sort of process as one possible method to resolve a conflict is certainly possible and likely appropriate, as long as it's not couched in such a way as to make it out to be the method. I don't really have an issue with people choosing to rely primarily on the self-identified name, it's just not something that I am willing to do myself. Regardless of anything here, what name is chosen is always going to be driven by local, and time sensitive, consensus. Again, there is no final answers here. The "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" article that you mentioned could use the full name, it could use the "Mormon Church", or it could uss "Latter Day Saints". I don't see anything inherently wrong with any of those choices, and they should normally all redirect to the same page anyway.
One thing I wonder about is if some people are actually conflating article naming issues with article content issues. That's why I was careful above to spell out the fact that the content should immediately cover the naming issue itself, because regardless of the choices made at any particular point in time, we need to ensure that Wikipedia isn't choosing sides at all. Saying that the Myanmar/Burma article should be titled Myanmar, for example, does not also mean that "Burma" should be excised from the article content. The exact opposite, that the "other name" is featured in the article content, is actually the appropriate response normally.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 20:45, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
The exact opposite, that the "other name" is featured in the article content, is actually the appropriate response normally. To do otherwise is to eliminate encyclopedic contect; observe, as an example of what we should do, the prominence of Myanmar in the present text of Burma. (I would not take this to the point of confusion; all of these rules are about not leaving the reader wondering what we're doing.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:11, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Requested move of World War II evacuation and expulsion articles

I recently began a centralized discussion for the renaming of population transfer or forced migrations relating to WWII. Participants of this area have shown interest in the topic in the past so I wanted to bring the discussion at Talk:World_War_II_evacuation_and_expulsion#Requested_move to your attention. --Labattblueboy (talk) 13:16, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Bold, Revert, Discuss

OK, there are about 10 hours left until the page protection comes off here (03:47, 14 September 2009 (UTC)), so let's establish some ground rules here in order to prevent needing is reapplied again. We don't need to come up with any really special rules or anything, everyone involved simply needs to relax and follow a normal BRD style. Go ahead make your change, just expect it to be reverted. If it's not reverted, then great! If it is, don't get mad, don't re-revert (at least not right away), just leave it be and come here to start a section about what specifically was reverted. If you are the one doing the reversion, try to make a section to discuss it here on the talk page, and then you can even link to the section from the edit summary.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 17:53, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

That sounds like an invitation for an edit war. The article should stay in its original state until such time as consensus is achieved. The edit war begins when editors change the article knowing that their edits are disputed. If consensus does not exist, guidelines should stay as they have been.--StormRider 18:21, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
It would help to gain some sense of where the consensus actually stands at the moment... May I suggest a side by side of the current language and a proposed change, and then we can all comment which we think is best (and why). Blueboar (talk) 19:10, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
A very substantial change (in fact reversal) of guidance is proposed, so it will need a lot more consensus than just whoever turns up on the page tomorrow. It may require RFC and more - that is unless some modus-vivendi can be found that preserves the use of self-identifying names against doctrinaire application of common names in certain circumstances. I think that would be the most fruitful avenue for negotiation. Xandar 19:34, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Xander that we need a larger consensus than just the "usual suspects" who have been opining so far... As for the proposed change being a "reversal" of guidance... yes, it is, if you see the page in the short term... but looking at what the page said prior to Feb. of 2008, I see this reversal as being more along the lines of a return to older guidance. Blueboar (talk) 19:58, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
And not a reversal now: the page has said - continuously since June 1 2005 - either If there is neither a common nor an official name, use the name (or a translation thereof) that the subject uses to describe itself or themselves or If the name is a self-identifying term for the entity involved and there is no common English equivalent, use the name that the entity has adopted to describe itself. It now says both; the rest of the language should be coherent with this. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:15, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Edit warring occurs when people skip the Discuss step. There's no need for the page to be protected or for anyone to avoid editing it, we just need to not re-revert each other is all. Come here, start or participate in a discussion about what was reverted, and wait until the "opposition" has explained there side before continuing the cycle. There is nothing controversial about this style of editing, as long as it's actually followed. One thing to keep in mind is that the BRD style actually means waiting until the issue has been addressed on the talk page, which is what actually makes it effective in preventing edit warring.
That said, there's certainly nothing wrong with Blueboar's suggestion of posting side-by-sides, or starting a discussion before making any actual changes. Prompting people to adhere to a BRD style is simply an acknowledgment of the fact that most people won't go through posting side-by-sides or starting a discussion before making their changes.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 19:37, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I would appreciate a summary where the guideline that has existed be compared to the proposed change. I have ignored the page itself for the most part except a few attempts to keep the original language until consensus was achieved. Sometimes I have felt there is more agreement than anything else. Can someone please provide what is being proposed?
Blue, as soon as an edit is disputed by being reverted from an article's previously stable condition, it is the responsibility of the new edit to be explained and consensus achieved. Boldness is encouraged only when dispute is absent. Once an edit is disupted, then STOP editing the article immediately. Simple process, but one that egos abhor. Are we saying the same thing? --StormRider 20:01, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
  • A full comparision (with some discussion) is at the top of this talk page; there are subsections, since the changes over the last two months consist of five small changes. A sixth one is proposed, and variants on it are discussed. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:52, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
One issue that Blueboar mentioned above though, is the definitions of things like "original language" and "stable". Making assertions that someone else is changing "original language", or changing "stable" text, isn't generally something that is conducive to dispute resolution. Such language is an attempt to establish some form of authority, which usually seems dismissive of the opposite view as well, and regardless of the details of the dispute are not likely to be meet with cooperation from the other parties involved.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 20:27, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

The ground rule that would most rapidly converge to consensus is this:

The text of this page should say what most Wikipedians agree on, including almost all of those actively discussing (true consensus would mean all, but we cannot afford the liberum veto). This would imply that on matters on which we plainly disagree (such as the nature of names themselves), that we [do some mix of the following]:
  1. Find what little we can agree on, and say that;
  2. Assert that there is a disagreement (technically a special case of 1, but worth discussing separately; surely we can agree that there is a disagreement here ;-> );
  3. Make disputed claims into {{essay}}s. That is the preferred method of making a case; if one of the essays wins over the vast majority, it will become - or influence - a guideline.
  4. be silent.
Comments? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:21, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed... because that's a restated summary of BRD. ;)
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 22:46, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Amended to clarify; I'm talking about the product of editing, not the process. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:00, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
There is however a strong presumption on Wikipedia in favour of strong consensus having to be obtained for substantive changes to policy or guidance see WP:CONLIMITED. This is for good reason, primarily because 1)Changes should reflect actual Wikipedia practice. 2) Most editors using working under the guidance, which is global across English Wikipedia, won't be here and taking part in a particular debate, or even know it is going on. A small majority of policy-wallahs on a particular page is not enough to provide the required community consensus for substantial change. So we should be less directed at putting "controversial" sections in essays, than looking at the needs of actual editors and articles in trying to reach a consensus. Xandar 11:47, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
You still seem to be arguing on the premise that something on this page (in its long-standing version) reflects actual practice. It has been repeatedly shown that it really doesn't; nor is it consistent with much better-known and better-followed guidance that appears elsewhere. --Kotniski (talk) 11:59, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Kotniski, are you proposing that WIkipedia articles always reflect accordance with naming policy and guidelines? Article titles are first and foremost chosen by consensus of editors and all guidelines and policies are ignored when desired. Are you surprised that Xander or any other editor would actually think that there should still be a guidelines that at least attempts to guide editors? It is odd to focus on what you think is the motivation of an editor rather than just the actual proposal made. --StormRider 17:58, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
No, he's observing, correctly, that those few passages were rarely cited; they are inconsistent with policies and guidelines which are often cited; that (when cited, as with Kiev) they were usually ignored and overruled - because they are inconsistent with WP:UCN; and that, for all this foofaraw, if Chris O had not happened to think them up, no article would be anywhere other than where it is now - well, hardly any.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:16, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I have given multiple examples where the principles in this guidance have been and are being used by Wikipedia editors. So let's put that one to rest. I have stated three contexts where self-identifying names ARE used for articles - and where this usage has proven valuable in avoiding conflict and keeping the encyclopedia up to date.
To repeat, these are:
  1. Where the most common name for an entity is demonstrably considered offensive or improper by that entity. eg. Canadian Indian for First Nations, Mormon for LDS, Taiwan for Republic of China, Calcuttta for Kolkatta.
  2. Where the most common name is demonstrably inaccurate, eg "Canadian Navy" for "Canadian Forces Maritime Command"
  3. Where the most common name in reliable sources may be out of date, as was the case with Cheryl Tweedy for Cheryl Cole when the article name was changed. Xandar 21:38, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Three points; three distortions:

  1. We have guidance elsewhere about offensive names (we could add it here); but to assert that we should not use an offensive name gives no implication that we should use a self-identifying name; there may well be three names: the slur, the politically correct name, and the name everybody but the two companies of polemicists use - we should use the third.
  2. Canadian Navy is a common phrase; but it predominantly means the Royal Canadian Navy, which ceased to exist in 1968. Since the Maritime Command calls itself the Canadian Navy, this is an instance in which common usage and precision choose between self-identifying names.
  3. When we have reliable sources for Cheryl Cole's marriage, they are also evidence for what she is called after marriage - many entertainers, after all, continue to be known by their maiden name, like Elizabeth Taylor. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:54, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Not distortions at all. These are all points made in good faith (remember those words?) which exemplify real uses of self-identifying names across Wikipedia.
I don't see any other guidance of this status on offensive names - though there have been proposals and essays. Self-identifying names have been used to solve the problem very effectively.
Canadian Navy is the most common name for that branch of the Canadian Armed forces. It is not accurate in that a separate Canadian Navy no longer officially exists.
On Cheryl Cole, the title of the article was changed within days of the wedding as soon as it was confirmed by a reliable source that she was going to self-identify by that name. Under your policy we would have had to wait two years until the majority of reliable sources used her name. With Elizabeth Taylor, as far as I know that remains her self-identifying name. Xandar 22:19, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
WP:UCN is the guidance on offensive names that I think he was referring to, I brought it up a few weeks ago. It says:
Also, some terms are in common usage but are regarded as offensive (Mormon Church, for example). In those cases use widely known alternatives (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). When in doubt, check a mainstream reference work. A term can only be considered offensive if a verifiable, authoritative source can be quoted as citing it as such.
I think that really needs to be stated somewhere on this page too. Anyway, PM is partially right, that as it is stated elsewhere, when the common name is either offensive or inaccurate, "the then it is sometimes reasonable to fall back on a well-accepted alternative". That alternative might be a self-identifying term, but as it is currently written I don't think that's the default.
I don't appreciate how PM calls Xandar's examples "distortions", that is surprisingly bad-faith assertion. Xandar is not lying nor is he trying to push some agenda any more than you are. Don't imply that other editors are acting in bad faith simply because they hold an opposing viewpoint. You have been doing this throughout this whole discussion and it's against Wikipedia policy. It needs to stop. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 23:05, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
I do not hold that he is acting in bad faith because he holds an opposing viewpoint; I hold he is acting in bad faith because he has been misstating Wikipedia policy, Wikipedia practice, and English usage since the beginning of this discussion; as for his treatment of other editors - Knepferle puts it far more clearly than I could hope to. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:27, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Misstating policy or stating policy from his viewpoint? You aren't in a position to judge whether he is misstating policy and you are acting this way because he disagrees with you. There is never a reason to act uncivilly. I haven't claimed that other parties haven't been acting uncivilly, but you seem to have this consistent attitude that is not acceptable. Even if someone is your bitter enemy, you have to treat them civilly. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 23:46, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Misstating policy. Two examples are particularly clear:
Indeed, with the example of Canadian Indian/First Nation... neither is a self-identifying name. "First Nation" is a tag that has been invented by politically correct whites. The names with self-identification are the names of the individual peoples that are lumped together as Indians or Natives or First Americans (to use the common English equivalent: "Cree", "Algonquin", "Anishinaabe", etc.) (and, in fact, there are a few in this ethnic group who prefer the non-PC term "Indian"... as it highlights the ignorance of White Europeans, which they like.) Blueboar (talk) 22:11, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that's accurate, Blueboar. "First nations" is a term used by the people commonly called Canadian Indians as a collective group. Of course they still use names like "Cree" to identify individual "nations". Anyway this is only one example of many, including untouchables, Inuits, Romany etc. Xandar 22:19, 14 September 2009 (UTC)


Speaking of RFC's (welcome back Xandar), I think that it's obvious that we should run one. The big question there, of course, is what exactly should the statement of the RFC be?
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 19:38, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Suggest we get to the heart of the debate:
  • "When there is a conflict between the most commonly used name as determined by reliable sources, and self-identification as determined by the subject of an article... which should take priority?"
Or words to that effect. Blueboar (talk) 20:18, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Sounds pretty good to me, except that it's possibly a bit too open ended... although, we shouldn't try to predetermine the outcome with the question either.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 20:29, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I am not sure what you mean by "open ended"? Could you elaborate? To me this seems to be the core issue that must be resolved before we can do anything else. Blueboar (talk) 21:38, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I guess nothing... I mean, it is open ended because it's not taking a position itself in any way, but that's the way that an RFC question should be framed. That's why I tend to avoid trying to craft them, because I have a hard time doing so. I do agree that it expresses the core question. I think that there are other aspects, but their secondary to this question.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 22:45, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

WP:NC lists a number of principles our articles names should satisfy (eg unambiguity, verifiable use etc.) Out of names which satisfy these we pick the most common. This post-selection is not the same as picking the most common name at the start, and is not what the carefully-developed wording of WP:NC says.

We should not be picking between an incorrect application of WP:NC and an entirely new principle (self-identification). The question is whether there is consensus, need and reason to include self-identification as a principle in WP:NC itself. As there is significant concern over its inclusion at this page, and the fact that its inclusion was little discussed at the time and that it has been practically unquoted since its inception (and more often than not, rejected when it has been) suggests it may not be. But that discussion is at least more sensible. Knepflerle (talk) 00:08, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

OK... please propose more accurate wording that we can use for an RFC. Blueboar (talk) 00:21, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
How about: "Should Naming Conflicts exist as a separate document?"
In all seriousness, I'm still not convinced that maintaining this document separately from WP:NC is a good thing. The main issue that I see is what Knepflerle brought up, in that the foundation of this document already covers most of what this document can or should possibly cover. Especially with this sort of content dispute occurring, we need to be very careful not to contradict what NC says in any way.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 00:31, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
It's not policy; it's advice. (Most of it, remember, is decent advice; even the waffle presently under discussion is not bad advice - until it is read out of context by editors determined to make it say what it doesn't. It should be read (as {{guideline}} says) with common sense and the occasional exception.
Policy shouldn't have exceptions - save when it makes them explicitly; good policy is short, clear statements of our agreed goals. In WP:NAME, this text would be disastrous.
In short, it may be worth getting rid of this page - although that would probably be a net loss; it may be worth keeping it - as advice. But, no, let's not merge with WP:NC. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:42, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
How about condensing this page into short clear statements (of which it does contain some) and then merging with WP:NC?--Kotniski (talk) 11:46, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
The devil is agreeing the "short clear statements." Xandar 11:49, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
It should be much easier to agree on short clear statements than long rambling ones (if only because it becomes clear what questions of substance need to be addressed).--Kotniski (talk) 12:02, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
And any short clear statements which arouse significant disagreement should be removed; if the page becomes blank, it never was consensus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:35, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

If there is going to be an RfC (which I think is an excellent idea), it might be worthwhile to look at the most recent date linking RfC. That RfC allowed people to discuss actual proposals for modifying the text, and gave the initial proponents of each version the opportunity to give pros and cons for each version. This (at least partially) eliminated some of the argument after an RfC of how on earth to word whatever the consensus was. It may also be wise to find a neutral party to oversee matters who can help cut through the noise to the underlying arguments. Karanacs (talk) 17:17, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

The date-linking RfC was a disaster, hijacked by the proponents of an extreme cause after discussions in private by admins who did not understand the issues, and set up with rules which discouraged both compromise and discussion. It should under no circumstances be imitated; it is a prime instance of why Voting is Evil. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:46, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
It's implementation was by no means perfect, but I think the idea of presenting users with very specific wording versions and explanations is quite useful. The key would be to encourage commenting, not just restrict people to a single vote. Karanacs (talk) 17:54, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
That would help; but the texts at issue (while a small part of the guideline) are a bit long for that approach; consider #Cabinda_.5Bremoved.5D above. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:30, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I think we're going to need an RfC to determined the direction of this page first before we consider specific wording. After we have a consensus we can consider how to specifically word it. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 23:10, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Draft version

This edit produces a version which I do not dispute; if any one else does, they are free to revert, or - preferably - to restore the tag. It would be best, of course, if they could be improved by following general agreement.

There are three changes, all - I think - minor; I do not think any of them has been disputed:

  1. A distinction should be made becomes There is a distinction. I don't see the moral imperative.
  2. The sentence Often, as with these cases, the self-identifying name has become common usage; Danzig, however, is used (following our sources) in historical articles about the centuries during which the city called itself, and was called, Danzig. is a more accurate description the actual practice on the Gdanzig matter - again, see Talk:Gdansk/Vote and WP:NCGN.
  3. The new text says that self-identifying names should be prominently mentioned in article text. To say they should be used is to say that Kiev should primarily write Kyiv in text, which would be bizarre and unhelpful to the reader. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:44, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I reverted myself to produce a diff without removing the tag, to demonstrate that this is one sentence and a couple words.
I agree with you of course, but I just finished some editing of this section. The big thing that I did was to reorganize the paragraph structure within the "Dealing with self-identifying terms" section. All of the content about translations is now in the second paragraph, with the general principles in the first.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 19:33, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Tweaked a bit, myself; nothing important or that I would mind reversion, but it does seem excessive to imply that names don't exist; see Talk:Communist Romania#data, for the harm that lies in that direction. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:42, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Good thought... it's interesting that you converted the period to a semi-colon there as well, since I was thinking of doing the same. Anyway, I tweaked the tweak slightly. I changed "Wikipedia cannot declare what a name should be, only what names exist and are commonly used in sources." to "Wikipedia cannot declare what a name should be, only what names exist as commonly used in sources." because existance and used in sources are part of the same concept in my view... if that makes sense (I'm not completely sure how to properly express this thought).
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 20:22, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Baseline version

We're nowhere NEAR correcting commas and semi-colons folks. Even the baseline for that version is not agreed. WHat we had when the last merry-go-round was stopped was a version that had been crreated by the pushers for change. Since more editing has been done since the lock came off, and there was so much to-and-fro (to put it politely) editing before the lock, the original long-term version could get lost. Therefore, for standardisation, and especially since people are now arguing about what the guideline originally said, I am reverting the original version of the guidance as last restored by ChrisO on 14th June. That should be the proper baseline for discussions, since none of the intervening edits gained anything like consensus. Some of us in the intervening period were prepared to temporarily tolerate cuts of sizeable portions of the wording in the hope that that was attaining consensus. However some editors have wanted to swallow such concessions and then still keep salami-slicing and pressing on towards their ultimate absolutist goal. That's not the way to go. As I see it, there are two ways forward. We entrench behind absolute positions, and see if there is community consensus to change the long-standing form of the guidance to a new position, or we try to see if a modus vivendi can be reached on principles, which recognises that using self-identifying names to title articles is rightly used by editors in certain circumstances. Xandar 22:02, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Are there any statements in the present text with which you disagree - as opposed to statements you would like to add with which others disagree? If so, what are they? If they are listed, they can be discussed - quite possibly removed. Mere bold reversion to a text which expresses only Xandar's and Storm Rider's opinion makes this an essay, whether it is so tagged or not. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:09, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
No the version I reverted is the stable form of the guidance - which can only be changed by wide community consensus. You can write any draft you like, but that does not become the guidance until it achieves consensus. As of this moment ALL changes to the long-standing form of the wording are not agreed - as verified by the posts of many more people than just me and StormRider above. Xandar 22:22, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Uh... no. What in the world do you base the position that any version of this document can possibly aspire to be "the original version"? How is this behavior helpful?
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 22:49, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
The page is now locked until disputes are resolved. --Andy Walsh (talk) 22:56, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
It managed to stay unprotected for just over 12 hours... unbelievable. I think that this was probably jumping the gun slightly, but I don't really mind.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 23:21, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, Andy/Laser brain seems to have disappeared after protecting the page. Since no one here requested protection (and indeed, no one site wide seems to have requested protection), and page protection seems premature, I'm going to request that the page be unprotected. I explained my reasoning more toughly at WP:RFPP#Current requests for unprotection, if anyone is really interested.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 01:54, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for letting us know, but I think it best for the article to remain locked. This group either needs to coopertively come to a conclusion or a new group needs to achieve consensus. Only then should the article be unlocked and a cooperative edit be made. --StormRider 02:24, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Stable version

VIR, this the nature of Wikipedia to respect long-term stable edits. When an editor makes a change which is disputed, the diputed edit is taken to the talk page to seek consensus. The silliness and on-going constant refusal to limit all discussion to this page is what causes edit wars. Those who propose to change the current version need to be patient as the community works through their proposal and a decision has been made. This is not rocket science but is some of our most basic, fundamental methods of working through disagreements. --StormRider 23:01, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Exactly. I'm afraid that some of these people have gone straight back to the tactic of writing what they want in the policy and then tag-team edit-warring to try to force it on everyoine. This is a serious abuse of process. The "good intentions" that were professed didn't last 24 hours. Xandar 23:23, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I would really like to know how either of you determines exactly what revision is not disputed. Can anyone objectively define a "stable" Wiki document?
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 23:27, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
We go by WP:CONLIMITED which states that substantive changes need widespread consensus. Therefore once a change is reverted the revert should not be opposed. That is when the attempt to reach consensus begins. Unfortunately this debate has been plagued by people who think they can rewrite guidance, not gain consensus for changes, and just keep on reverting to their own version until an edit war develops. Xandar 23:33, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
So, you're position is that all edits since June 2005 don't have consensus? What do you use to determine consensus? Since the version that you're choosing to call "stable" isn't the current version, it seems self-evident to me that it doesn't have consensus. Am I missing something fundamental here?
Regardless, the current document is not really fundamentally flawed (although I still think that it would be better for most of this to go back to WP:NC, Septen did provide a thought provoking argument against that above). I hear what you're saying about not being happy with certain aspects of the current revision, but reverting to some arbitrary version is not productive at all.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 23:40, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
"...and just keep on reverting to their own version until an edit war develops".... hmmmm ... who would do that? [10], [11]... oh... right.
If you want stability... the last version of this page to last unchanged for a full month was this one dating from Feb. of 2008... shall we take it back to that? Blueboar (talk) 23:49, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Blue, you know better; it takes two to tango. Stability does not demand closing your eyes to disputed edits. For example, who did this or this? It seems like the classic form of tag-team. Should we all do that? Or because Xander was the only one attempting to keep the article in a stable condition UNTIL consensus is reached. Any effort to cram down a disputed changes is edit warring. It does not matter if one editor is doing it or three editors are. It is utter stupidity for anyone to edit the article on the disputed sections until such time as a consensus is reached. It is not difficult to work through disagreements, but it does take editors that stop editing articles and focus on the discussion page. Why is this so difficult? Although Andy freely admints the timing of the block biased, at least it stops editors from entering into another pissing match. Even though the current version is not one I support, I hope it stays locked until a consensus is reached here. Or at least until a new group of editors enter the conversation. --StormRider 00:01, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
In addition there is a big difference between disputed substantive edits, and undisputed non-substantive edits. The former need consensus to stick. Xandar 00:11, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that neither of you seems to be disputing anything in particular, which is just... disruptive. You don't seem to have specific issues, you both seem to have simply picked a favorite revision and wish to stick to that. How does that help anything?
Since you specifically cited one of my undo's, I should state that in my opinion it was justified by the above questions, and I would do it again. I'm personally a proponent of sticking to a 1RR style, so that would have been the extent of my own use of undo. Since you both have indicated that you feel that you're being "tag teamed" against however, I'm really left wondering how either of you feels that the revision you both seem to prefer has achieved any consensus.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 01:44, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
You know well enough what is being objected to - the removal of the long-standing guidance on self-identifying names. Don't play games. 1RR applies to the CHANGE, not to how many editors tag team in to revert it. That is citing the letter against the spirit of policy. What is hard to understand about the sequence EDIT - REVERT - DISCUSS? It isn't EDIT - REVERT - RE-REVERT. You know that. Xandar 02:23, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Please note that this is from the editor who reverted twice in 45 minutes. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:41, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
←I haven't been involved in this issue for that long, and it's honestly not that important to me (as I've been trying to express all along), so extolling that "you know well enough what is being objected to" and talking about "long standing this and that" is just... I don't know, it's not convincing of anything. I'm not playing any games about anything, that's for certain. Anyway, as for the reversions themselves, you yourself skipped the discuss step, thereby almost forcing a re-reversion. What exactly did you expect to happen when you decided that you wanted to throw everyone else's work/ideas out for your preferred version? Let's not be throwing stones around glass houses, here.
I've been asking the same questions over and over in an attempt to understand what the actual issue is around this, and I still don't see an actual answer. What do you base the assertion of consensus on, regarding the revision that you were reverting the document to? Plenty of edits have occurred since that version was first created, by plenty of people not involved in currently editing the document. That version is hardly perfect anyway, as it only takes a few seconds to see grammatical errors.
I understand the desire to talk about "self-identification", and I don't disagree at all with including it (as we've been discussing for weeks now), so I honestly don't understand what the problem here is. We're never going to see eye-to-eye on how much weight to give self-ID, but that's not something that should be taken care of by content. Is the intent here to somehow make self-ID the only means of resolving naming conflicts? Do you seriously believe that anyone would actually abide by that, regardles sof what the document says?
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 02:44, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Wrong version

What is strange is the both times this article has been locked, it has been locked on the proposed language, which has not obtained any degree of consensus. Andy, what that intentional or just something else?--StormRider 23:07, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Was it intentional that I locked the wrong version? Absolutely. --Andy Walsh (talk) 23:10, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
As far as I know, there is no "wrong" version; there is only a version that has been stable and a version that is seeking consensus. I would caution you on the arrogance and more importantly the obvious bias; biased admins do not last long. What is so easily given, can easily be taken away. That is a vote I would be happy to cast. Cheers. --StormRider 23:20, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
If you're going to lock the wrong version - ie the one with no consensus as a guideline, as against the stable consensus version. You should ensure the dispute notices are on the locked version so that the current wording which has no agreement at all is not mistaken for something with consensus. This is especially necessary with an indefinite lock. Ideally the stable version last edited by ChrisO should be restored and locked. Xandar 23:17, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
If you can form a consensus about a so-called "stable version" I would be happy to restore it. Likewise, if you can form a consensus that dispute tags belong, any admin can add them. --Andy Walsh (talk) 04:38, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh so now consensus is needed? Where was that rule when this entire mess began? Somehow now the standard is consensus whereas you locked the page with contested language. Your logic makes no sense. The issue is that you admitted that you were biased in your decision making and now you add insult by stating that NOW consensus is required to change the article. It is best you remove yourself from the article for all admin decisions because you are digging a deeper hole. Strict neutrality is required and you have forfeited that position and it is best you just act as an editor in this process. --StormRider 09:44, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
The tags are needed because it is obvious the edits you locked are disputed. Please add them. --StormRider 09:45, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
As I said, if you want an edit made, use the proper procedure for editing a protected page. Any admin can come along and see if you have consensus to make the edit. --Andy Walsh (talk) 15:26, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
If the disputes are itemized in #Additions and #Subtractions below, I would support the tags. Tags without a list of proposed changes, or with only procedural objections, are useless. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:37, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

There are two alternative texts here; one has been cooperatively developed by Blueboar, Ohm's Law, Hesperian, and myself; the other is one Xandar persistently reverts to, with the support of one other active editor and a circle of friends he has been canvassing, who do not actively participate in discussion.

Most editors who have discussed this matter (Kotniski, Knepferle, and PBS are particularly visible in the discussion above) have objected to Xandar's version - as contrary to policy and to our naming practices, in which most of the editors concerned are intimately involved. That is as close to consensus as a page in dispute is likely to come.

Most of the changes to this page are discussed under #Protected version above. They have altered a half-dozen paragraphs, a small proportion of this page; the old text has rarely been cited, and when cited (as in the discussion of Kiev vs. Kyiv) the naming discussion has not only ignored but rejected it. Those passages are not practice; they are not a safe guide to practice; they should not be a guideline. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:31, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

As PMA should know, substantive changes to policy and guidelines need to achieve clear CONSENSUS before they are kept on the page. None of these major substantive changes have any sort of conensus whenever they have been discussed. Instead certain editors have sat on the talk page, agreeing with each other on the changes they want and refusing to engage in real terms with other editors. Instead, they have kept reverting this Naming Convention to their preferred non-consensus version without attempting to gain any consensus beforehand - against clear policy on how such guidance should be changed. See WP:POLICY and WP:CONLIMITED. This started again immediately that the last lock was lifted.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Andy Walsh then protected the page permanently in an edit-warred highly-improper version - which is NOT the long-standing consensus Naming convention - or anything like it. AS PMAnderson knows the long-standing version supported by a large number of editors here is not "Xandar's version", but the stable version of the guidance extant since 2005, and linked to from policy and guidance pages across WIkipedia. This can easily be checked. PMAnderson's opinion and dislike of this Guideline DOES NOT give him and a few of his allies the right to come here and edit-war to alter policy and guidance against consensus. Their belief that they DO have this right to over-ride consensus and everyone else on Wikipedia is what has led to their edit-warring instead of seeking real consensus - and the constant locks on the article that have transpired since then. Nor does PMAs conviction that because he and his friends (some canvassed) have the time to sit here on this page 24/7 and make dozens of posts agreeing with each, form a consensus. Other editors have productive edits to make to articles, and less time to sit here bandying words at extreme length with persistent obsessive iedealogues who refuse to engage seriously in debate or compromise. Trying to wear-down opposition with excessive repetitive posting seems to be a tactic of one or two here.
It is clear however, that PMA and his allies changes that their changes DO NOT have consensus even on the page, let alone across the wider community. That community consensus is a pre-requisite for radically changing guidance.
Protecting an improper version of active guidance is not sustainable. Therefore the page needs to be protected as per WP:PREFER on the stable version before the edit-warring started. I would say the cleanest version is that by Chris O of 14th June. Lacking that, the evrsion first protected on 21st August should be returned to.
As a minimum, in the interim before restoration, clear dispute tags need placing on the currently protected article text so that people coming here to read the guidance are not misled that what is on the page now constitutes accepted Wikipedia guidance. Xandar 10:07, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we could just remove the guideline tag from the top? It's clear that this page has little if anything useful to contribute to helping people understand Wikipedia's practices. If there are such tidbits of wisdom lurking, they should be on the main naming conventions page where everyone can see them, and they should be explained in a way that is clear to everyone, in the context of the principles which that page sets out.--Kotniski (talk) 10:45, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
I'd be all for converting it to a redirect to WP:NC, but simply removing the guideline tag would be perfectly acceptable to me as well. Anyway, this seems to have degenerated into... well, you can probably tell what I'm thinking without me saying it. I'm done, see all of you around.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 13:09, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
The policy is that edits to guidelines should reflect consensus - no present consensus supports any of the half-dozen paragraphs now gone or changed. A past consensus may have - although the evidence for one is scanty; but WP:Consensus can change, and editing solely on a claim of past consensus is also contrary to policy.
So much for the procedural matters. We may be able to achieve consensus - or at least tolerability - if the Discuss portion of BRD actually deals with specifics: What do we add, what subtract, and so on. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:13, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

No. This is Wikipedia guidance and a longstanding Naming Convention. We don't remove that status and the long-standing useful guidance because a small group of ideologues don't like it. Next suggestion. Xandar 22:41, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Does anybody else see this as the pot calling the kettle black? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:57, 15 September 2009 (UTC)


This may be comparatively simple. What does anyone dispute that is actually in the present text? And if possible, why?

If this is a result of misunderstanding, the text ought to be recast to avoid it; what one reader can misunderstand, another can.

If this is a result of understanding and genuine disagreement, we should remove the disputed text, as not supported by consensus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:25, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

That's not how this works. You don't remove words from the page until you have a consensus to remove them. No consensus = no action. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 23:29, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Wrong. That's a claim of ownership of the page; the cry of every worthless faction who has ever snuck their pet abomination into Wikipedia space. A revert to a text which no longer has consensus does not reflect consensus and is contrary to policy. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:34, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
No, it's part of the editing policy of this encyclopedia. Your edits must reflect consensus. It doesn't say unilaterally eliminate any and all disputed text from a policy/guideline. WP:POLICY: "Bold editors of policy and guideline pages are strongly encouraged to follow WP:1RR or WP:0RR standards." Had you and the others editing this followed policy, we wouldn't have needed page protection. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 02:57, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
No, that is advice against reversion: always come up with a novel text, and you may find agreement unexpectedly. Blueboar came up with a new text just below; Storm Rider came up with another new one, and it seems to be more or less agreed. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:46, 16 September 2009 (UTC)


This may be harder; we should not add anything which is not generally agreed upon. This includes the text removed or changed since July; at least one editor disagrees with it (and almost always several) or it would still be there - as 90% of this guideline is.

The way to achieve consensus on self-identification - or any other disputed idea - is to propose new language, which may prove to be agreeable to almost everybody. If that fails, another proposal of different language which avoids the objections is in order.

As a shining example of this, I cite #Schmucky's amendment above; to get what seemed to him (if not to others) the implication of the Cabinda text, he proposed a single sentence of entirely new language. Nobody has disagreed with it since, and it stands in the text now. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:25, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

No. Nice try PMA, but the removals of policy by you and your friends through edit-warring are NOT consensus and do not stand. You don't change wikipedia policy and guidelines by edit-warring on the page. Whatever has been temprarily protected the standing guideline is that which stood before the edit-warring started. I reverted that convention - as last edited by ChrisO on 14th june as the baseline. NO changes to that have achieved any consensus. Xandar 22:45, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

How does this statement differ from "I, Xandar, will continue to revert-war until I am banned"?
But I deduce that Xandar has no constructive additions to propose; he is heartily welcome to prove me wrong by suggesting some. If he has nothing to contribute but " it's not consensus", which is (by itself) an invalid argument - especially for text which is opposed by more editors than have ever supported it -, he should not be surprised by what is likely to follow. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:11, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
I haven't proposed any additions, because I see no need to change the current long-standing guidance. So far no real reason has been put forward, other than doctrinaire and ideological concerns, for changing the guidance - and no problems have been identified as resulting from its use. In order to achieve consensus on the talk page I have been prepared to consider shortenings and rewordings that don't eliminate the central core of the convention on self-identifying names. But when this has been attempted so far, people have seen this not as a compromise, but as a stepping-stone to their maximalist demands. In order to settle this, you need to accept that you aren't going to get everything you want. That would make the convention unrealistic and out of synch with what editors actually do. What might be useful to discuss are forms of wording that reflect actual Wikipedia practice on use of self-identifying names, rather than doctrinaire theoretical positions that won't be followed anyway. Xandar 01:33, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Shorter Xandar: anybody who disagrees with Xandar is an ideologue. There are no reasons in the multiple pages of discussion to which Xandar need pay attention. And Xandar, in his all-knowing wisdom, knows what other editors intend to do with edits they have not yet made.
Telepathy is so useful. Like Bacchus, I'm thinking of a number; it's not his, being between 50 and 1000. What is it, and what mathematical interest does it have? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:11, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Side by side comparison of the versions

Let's do a side by side comparison of the two versions under discussion.... I have put the differences in bold to highlight them.

Current version Version being reverted to
Where a self-identifying name exists, it should be prominently mentioned within the content of the article. Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name, it merely notes the fact that sources use that name. Wikipedia is descriptive, not prescriptive; Wikipedia cannot declare what a name should be, only what names exist as commonly used in sources.

Commonly used English translations of self-identifying terms are preferred over non-English terms,[1] for example: "Japanese" and not Nihon-jin. Where a name includes geographical directions such as North, East, South or West in the local language used at the location, the full name is usually translated into English: hence East Timor, not Timor-Leste; South Ossetia, not Yuzhnaya Osetiya; West Java, not Jawa Barat; but the Department of Nord (in France and Haiti), not the North Department.

Where self-identifying names are in use, they should be used within articles. Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name; this encyclopedia merely notes the fact that they do use that name.

Commonly used English translations of self-identifying terms are preferred per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) guideline. For example: "Japanese" and not Nihon-jin.

Where a name includes geographical directions such as North, East, South or West (in a local language), the full name should be translated into English: hence East Timor, not Timor-Leste; South Ossetia, not Yuzhnaya Osetiya; West Java, not Jawa Barat. Bear in mind that Wikipedia is descriptive, not prescriptive. We cannot declare what a name should be, only what it is.

It seems to me that, with the exception of the first sentence, these differences are all minor (essentially just slightly different wordings that say the same thing). So is it just the first sentence that we are edit warring about? Blueboar (talk) 14:31, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

There are other minor differences; I've added bolding. In one case, I would prefer Xandar's version; an article should note both that sources use the self-identifying name (a point made elsewhere) and that the entity itself uses the name. (The latter assertion can be more difficult to verify than it looks; it is very difficult to be sure that that one has all the names, and only those names, which are self-identifying, without a secondary source.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:53, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Good point. Thanks for the additional bolding. OK, partly to narrow down where we disagree, and partly to see if we can reach compromise language... let me float a proposal that combines the points...
  • Where a self-identifying name exists, it should be prominently mentioned within the content of the article. Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name, it merely notes the fact that the entity does use the name, and that the usage is verifiable.
Is this acceptable? (and if not, does it move us closer to something that would be acceptable?) Blueboar (talk) 15:13, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
My thanks to all for summarizing this in such a easily read manner. I think it will speed achieving a consensus.
The proposed change you just mentioned, begins Where a self-identifying name exists..., is problematic for me. It seems to exclude self-identifying names from being titles and I don't think that is the intent. I suspect that what you are proposing is that when another name is used for the article, the self-identified name can be discussed in the body of the text. Is that an accurate assessment?
If so, I would say that it is redundant. I think even new editors realize that nothing is proscribed from being mentioned in an article as long as their is a reference. Am I missing something? --StormRider 21:06, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
I have no objection to removing the sentence, although a reminder that self-identifying names are important and encyclopedic pieces of information (which should therefore be included visibly) seems harmless.
As for the rest of this: self-identifying names usually are article titles; they are usually what English calls the self-identifying entity. I would suggest including this - but it is already in WP:Naming conflicts#Types of entities. (A most obscure header; can we come up with a better one?) Where does Storm Rider see any language excluding self-identifying names from being article titles? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:50, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm... that is sort of what what I think it is saying. But I don't think it is redundant ... or if it is, it is worth the repetition. When a self-identifying name is not chosen as the article title, I think it we want to make it clear that it is necessary to include the self-ID name prominently in the article (in most cases, it should be in the lede sentence... listed as an alternative name, and in Bold per the MOS).
By the way... my biggest issue with Xander's version is that it seems to have a similar problem... It seems to exclude all names except a self-identifying one. The reality is that we need to address both situations. Blueboar (talk) 22:06, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
First of all the one on the right isn't "Xandar's version" I didn't write a word of it. I have amended the label more accurately to "Long-standing version" so no-one is misled. Xandar 22:55, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
It's the one you kept reverting to. Blueboar (talk) 00:50, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

To discuss the differences: The over-all effect of the version protected as of the date of this post, is to produce a bland piece of common-placeness that actually says nothing. There would be no real purpose to such a paragraph. It would simply become a candidate for deletion.

  1. . "prominently mentioned within the content of the article" instead of "used within articles". Far too weak. In fact irrelevant. Of course the self-identifying name should be prominently mentioned, we know that already. What we're discussing is a naming convention and what name should be used to identify the entity in the article. The long-standing convention says that the self-identifying name should (not must) be used. This is sound advice which solves a lot of problems, and as far as I can see, creates none. No reason to change it.
  2. . Replacing "Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name; this encyclopedia merely notes the fact that they do use that name.", with "Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name, it merely notes the fact that sources use that name." What? The first is a useful sentence that gets to the core of self-identification. The second is changing the focus from self-identification to "sources". What has what "sources" say, got to say to do with an entity's right to use a name? This is just a confusing mess. We're discussing self-identification.
  3. . There is then tagged on: "Wikipedia cannot declare what a name should be, only what names exist as commonly used in sources". So, having replaced one clear, effective sentence with two confused, ineffective ones, the second part of this tangle manages to be even more confused and illogical! Wikipedia can declare what names exist as commonly used in sources. Wow! Bully for Wikipedia. How does that help anyone? We have some sources. We have some names. problem solved? No.... As I said this is all ill-thought-out. The idea of the page is to provide additional resources for solving naming conflicts. This adds nothing. It is simply are garbled attempt to say "use most common name", if that doesn't work, well "use most common name."
  4. . "Commonly used English translations of self-identifying terms are preferred over non-English terms." No real problem with this contraction.
  5. . "is usually" for "should be". No problem here either. No significant change.
  6. . Removal of "Bear in mind that Wikipedia is descriptive, not prescriptive. We cannot declare what a name should be, only what it is."
Totally unjustified, this is the essence of the treatment of self-identifying names.

Blueboar's comment on adding verifiability to self-identifying names might be useful, but it is covered elsewhere in the guidance. I could see it as an addition to the Long-standing guidance. However the proposed new version is pretty much a lost cause. I think we have to deal with first principles before considering detailed wordings. Xandar 23:41, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Descriptive language you used above or similar would work well. An example, If the self-described name is not the article title, then it should be included and explained in the article. I am sure we can provide some better language working cooperatively.
I think there are many occasions when the self-identified name should not be used. Myanmar instead of the Union of Myanmar for one and there are, I suspect, thousands of similar situations where official names may not be ideal article titles. Additionally, scientific names, though accurate, are often not the titles of choice for topics. Those come immediately to mind, but I expect given time I would think of a host of others. Does that help to understand my position better? I am not an absolutist about many things, but see a huge gray area where decisions are made. We provide policies and guidelines to assist, but there will always be an exception supported by consensus. --StormRider 23:01, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Fine. And the proposed language works perfectly well; if this page were unprotected, it might be worth tweaking, but I don't see any clear improvement. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:30, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
That wording seems to capture the original intent of this guidance. I like it. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 23:34, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

The problem with the proposed new version is systemic not one of detailed wording. Under the long-standing guidance, when there was a conflict, not solved by simply using the most common name in reliable sources, people are directed to this page, find useful and applicable guidance on self-identifying and non-self-identifying entities. The principles state that there is nothing POV about using the name an entity identifies itself by, and that Wikipedia is just reporting that name as a fact. The attempt in the new paragraph is to ignore this totally and to insist on "most common name". However self-identifying names are used on Wikipedia as opposed to common names in several circumstances, principally when the "common" name is offensive, inaccurate or out of date. The proposed new wording fails totally to address that, for doctrinaire reasons, and so fails in its primary object to document what Wikipedia editors actually do. Xandar 23:59, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

"Under the long-standing guidance, when there was a conflict, not solved by simply using the most common name in reliable sources,... " the problem is that none of the versions actually say this. ... it this is what I have been saying all along. First you try to find the most common name, and if that does not work you then go to other criteria, such as self-identifictaion. That is in line with WP:NAME. And I would feel much better about this page if it actually said something like this. Blueboar (talk) 01:03, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
My initial interpretation of this policy was the same as Xandar's, but now that I've read almost every version of this policy, I can't support that position. It has always been common name first, then self-identifying can be considered as a potential name if the first criteria is either inaccurate or offensive. I think this section was just to say to go ahead and use the self-identifying term within the article even when other groups object to their use of the name. And I agree, this section needs to actually be clear; eg. in this situation, use x as title. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 02:55, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
The header does say what Blueboar would like; so does the section on Proper names. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:50, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

The difficulty here is agreeing what "if this does not work" means. Some people seem to be saying that ONLY if a reliable media search reveals 60,000 uses for name X and 60,000 uses for name Y, can we move on to anything else, including self-identification or scientific name. I say that is NOT what happens in Wikipedia. Where a dispute arises among editors on what to call an article - even when there is a clear majority "common name in English", other names ARE used as article titles - if there are legitimate reasons for doing so. Such reasons can include the perceived offensiveness of the common name, the accuracy of the common name, and the outdatedness of the common name. Indeed certain other WikiProject Naming conventions go further: Project flora say that they always use scientific names instead of Common Names. Other projects like the convention on naming sports teams say that they will use the self-identifying name of the team concerned, even if it is not the common name in English.

People can say they don't like this , but these are conventions adopted by WIkipedia, and document what is actually happening. Our conventions have to reflect what is actually happening - not be an ideological set of instructions imposed from above. What we should be about here is agreeing, if we can, WHEN it is appropriate for self-identifying names to be used as a valid naming consideration, and that is not just on the rare occasions when there are 60,000 hits for A and 60,000 hits for B. This is not the language of trumping or bowing down to a great dictate from on-high, whatver common-sense indicates. I have several times listed several contexts in which when a dispute arises in Wikipedia, self-identifying usage becomes a strong consideration, properly used by editors to resolve disputes. The fruitful way forward is to document the contexts in which this happens and produces a beneficial and desirable result. Xandar 11:29, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I will grant you flora... as for Sports teams... not quite. WP:NAME#Sports teams says to use the offical name when there is no ambiguity whatsoever (in other words if there is no conflict). But it goes on to say use "the name most commonly used by the English-language media" if there is a conflict.
But yes, there are exceptions to the rule... and these exceptions to the rule are explicitly spelled out at the policy WP:NAME. What we are writing here is guidance for resolving conflicts on all our other articles... the ones that don't fall under the explicitly mentioned exceptions.
We can spell that out if need be... something like:
  • In most articles, conflicts should be resolved by using the most common English name for the subject, as determined by usage in reliable sources. However, there are exceptions in specific topic areas (see: WP:NAME#Specific conventions and other guidelines).
Then, under self-ID I would start with something like:
  • In the event that the most common English name can not be determined from reliable sources, priority should be given to "official" names and names that the subject self-identifies by. Blueboar (talk) 13:36, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually Wikipedia sporting name places the official, self-identifying name ahead of the common name, where there is no ambiguity in the self-identifying name. Only where there is ambiguity is the common name used.
WP:NAME explicitly states that exceptions to the "rule" are laid out in the naming conventions - of which this is one. As I've said, self-identifying name exceptions include several areas where such names provide a solution to problems such as accuracy, offensiveness and recent changes. Xandar 00:44, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Almost certainly another case in which there is no difference in practice; if FC International Milan were the decidedly most common name, somebody would be arguing about this. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:45, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Enough. I see no point to further discussion with an editor who can say Some people seem to be saying that ONLY if a reliable media search reveals 60,000 uses for name X and 60,000 uses for name Y, can we move on to anything else, including self-identification or scientific name. I have read this entire debate, I believe; no one has said anything like this - except its author, who is repeating himself.

Where? Who? What has its author misunderstood? Or is he indeed inventing his opposition, too? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:24, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry you don't like talking with people who disagree with you, but that's what we have to do on Wikipedia. As far as I see, Blueboar's proposal is as I have put it. He appears to be suggesting a text permitting self-identifying names ONLY when "the most common English name can not be determined from reliable sources". That would fit the 60,000 - 60,000 illustration I gave. Maybe he would stretch it to 60,000 - 70,000. However those are NOT the only occasions on which self-identifying names are used in Wikipedia articles, and the guidance needs to reflect that fact.
I do not disagree with Blueboar's suggested initial sentence: "In the event that the most common English name can not be determined from reliable sources, priority should be given to "official" names and names that the subject self-identifies by." However there also has to be a statement codifying the other situations in which self-identifying names are used. If that could be agreed, we are a long way toward agreement. Xandar 00:44, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
I will let Blueboar explain whether inability to tell which is most common from an imperfectly random selection of sources (such as produced by any search engine) implies exact equality; I doubt he ever meant that.
There is one very common situation in which self-identifying names are used: when they are what most people use to identify the group in question. That is not in dispute.
Setting those two situations aside, we are left with the condition when there is a clearly most common usage which a group does not use of itself. When, in that rare case, should we use a self-identifying name (I say a, for there will often be several)? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:16, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
As I have said, my reading of Wikipedia practice is that verified self-identifying names are used by Wikipedia editors instead of Common Names where 1) The common name is perceived as insulting or offensive, 2) The common name is very inaccurate, 3) The entity has recently and verifiably changed its name and the majority of reliable sources have not caught up. I don't know if there are any others. Xandar 11:05, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
  1. I have no objection to copying the language about offensive names that Kraftlos quotes, including the provision that the offensiveness be verifiable. It should also note that we have articles about many well-known ethnic and political slurs - as themselves items of encyclopedic interest. I do not think this can arise often - if reliable sources use a name and say it is offensive, it is most likely that there is severe dispute about whether the name is offensive, or the name has been embraced by the group in question (queer, Whig, Tory).
  2. Objectionable and largely meaningless. The West Indies are the West Indies; the Pellian equation is the Pellian equation, although the West Indies are not in India and Pell did no work on the equation. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:24, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
  3. A comment that we should, when such matters arise, use current reliable sources would cover this. But we do not wish to go too far; in a long-standing academic subject, we do not wish to be compelled to adopt the names of this year's paper; its innovations may not catch on. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:24, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
I disagree on Xandars three situations where he feels we should not use "most common"... Wikipedia takes a neutral view on whether a name is insulting or offensive. After all, there are times when we will insult or offend someone, no matter what name we choose (the Catholic Church / Roman Catholic Church naming debate is a perfect example of this... one group of people will be insulted and offended if we use the qualifier "Roman"... another group is insulted and offended if we do not.) As for the second point... if a significant majority of reliable sources use a particular name, then I would say that name is not "inaccurate". In fact, I would say the same if a significant minority uses a name. You seem to imply that things can only have one "accurate" name. Your third point is perhaps valid. Whether to change the name of an article when the subject has changed his/her/its name is really a judgement call based on the "Principle of Least Astonishment".
To go back to PMA's last comment... I would agree that simply counting up google hits is not the best way to figure out what the "most common English name" is. If you do a google search and get 120,000 hits... you can not say that name X is the "most common" simply because it gets 60,001 hits and name Y gets 59,999. However, if name X gets 119,000 and Y only gets 1,000 you probably can. Where to draw the line is to a large degree a judgement call.
Xandar... Just so I understand your position... let us again take 120,000 sources... 10 use name X and 119,990 use Y... but those 10 uses of X represent self-identification. Do you feel that we should ignore the 119,990 and go with X? Blueboar (talk) 17:59, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
The existing guidance, in the Cabindans-Maputans example, sorts problems like CC-RCC out very well. It states that the name an entity chooses for itself is a fact, accepted neutrally by Wikipedia. If a third party objects to the entity using that name, that objection is subjective opinion - which Wikipedia does not act on. And in fact that is how we see wikipedia dealing with the problem of common but offensive names. Wikipedia uses Dalit rather than Untouchable, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints rather than Mormon Church, First Nations not "Canadian Indians", Indigenous Australians rather than Aborigines, Republic of China rather than Taiwan, Palestinian people rather than "Palestinian Arabs", etc. etc. Wikipedia guidance should continue to report this practice of editors.
"Inaccurate" covers topics like those for which the common names are Canadian Navy, or Russian Army or Malaysian Navy. These names are inaccurate for different reasons. Clicking the links takes you to articles titled by their more accurate and informative names.
Where to draw the line on deciding common name by polling is a very interesting problem - especially now that raw google searches are not supposed to be used. Coverage in reliable sources is harder to determine accurately. Anything less than 60:40 is in my opinion too small a margin to determine the most common name. But I am sure people can spend many fun-filled weeks arguing about this.
Blueboar, As far as your final question is concerned it is difficult to set figures. I think 60-40 is a good rule of thumb in most cases, however in a case where a name is very offensive to the person or group concerned, it is inaccurate, and especially if the name has recently been officially and verifiably changed, editors should give the self-identifying name greater weight when making their choice. In the real world there will be considerable pressure towards this. An article about the Dalits, for example, titled "untouchables" or "harijans" would be under continual pressure to change its name. Just as an article about Cheryl Cole labelled Cheryl Tweedy would. Xandar 23:29, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, in the specific case of the RRC / CC debate... the fact is both are used as a self-identifier, (and before you jump on me to say that "Roman Catholic Church isn't a self-identifier"... just look at these examples: here, here, here ... or perhaps in this, this and this... the last three being papal encyclicals). I will grant that the version without "Roman" is probably a more common self-identifier, but both are used by the entity.
And I note that you have not answered my question on numbers... if 10 reliable sources use name X, and 119,990 reliable sources use name Y... but those 10 uses of X represent self-identification.... Do you feel that we should ignore the 119,990 and go with the self-identification? Blueboar (talk) 23:48, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually he has; you may have missed it in the wall of text: I think 60-40 is a good rule of thumb in most cases, which means in the example 72,000 would be enough; how he reconciles this with his sneer at those who would regard 70,000 as enough is unclear.
ah... thank you for pointing this out... I will strike. Blueboar (talk) 02:33, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Xandar qualifies this with where a name is very offensive to the person or group concerned, it is inaccurate, and especially if the name has recently been officially and verifiably changed,. This is largely his special case (1): offensive names.
I think it overlooks the common case where there are three names (the ethnic slur; the self-identification promoted by activists, and the name everybody else uses); in which case we should use the third, not the second.
It also comes too close to asserting that the PoV of the group or person in question is neutral, which is the Sympathetic POV, and contrary to WP:NPOV. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:26, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
To clarify. I think 60:40 is around what is needed (accounting for error) simply to establish a clear Common Name. Blueboar's question posits self-identification versus a very clear common name that is considered offensive. I think the guideline has to follow actual Wikipedis practice on this. In the real world the closest I can get to thinking of an example of this might be "Indian Untouchables" vs Dalits where the first has a very high "common name" advantage, but the second is used. I think such calls have to be left to the consensus of article editors, with self-identification and degree of offensiveness as issues to be taken into consideration when making a judgement. In PRACTICE in Wikipedia, a highly offensive name for a group with members editing Wikipedia isn't going to last very long - no matter how "Common" it is. PMAs three-case hypothesis is really a two-case hypothesis, since the ethnic slur, if not common, does not come into the equation. The POV of an entity on its own name IS declared neutral in the current long-standing guideline wording, simply because it is a fact, not an opinion. This name is what the person or entity actually calls itself. Xandar 11:50, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
And the slur isn't likely to be used by reliable sources; this is a non-problem now - it was solved some time ago by including follow the usage of reliable sources (which is what we do in practice anyway) in WP:NAME. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:09, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I concur that when there is a clear consensus among article editors to use a less than most common name (say a non-offensive name), they should can do so. But in those situations, because there is consensus, there is no conflict... and this guideline would not apply. What we are trying to do is give some guidance on how to resolve disputes when there isn't a clear consensus.
One problem is that in many cases, we don't have a clear cut choice between two names... we have a choice between multiple names. What if the entity refers to itself by multiple names? (as an example: "Freemasonry", "Masonry", "Speculative Masonry", "Free and Accepted Masonry"... etc.) What if there are multiple common names that are used more than the self-identifier (say in a 45:45:10 ratio)?
The fact is, there are always going to be individual article topics that require common sense and don't fit the pattern. But we need to agree on what the basic pattern is before we start talking about situations that don't fit it. I am glad that Xandar has slighly backed away from insistance that a self-identifier always "trumps" the most common name... that moves us closer to agreement. I think the rest of us agree that the most common name should not always "trump" a self-identifier.
Perhaps one thing that will help move us further away from deadlock is to abandon the phrase "most commonly used" (which I agree could result in someone saying, "Name X has 214 hits on google and Name Y has only has 210, X wins"... and that is not what we intend). Would something like: "used by a significant majority of reliable sources" be more acceptable? Blueboar (talk) 13:54, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Plurality is what we mean, I think. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:45, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
This page is intended to be used when there is a naming conflict, i.e. where editors cannot agree on a name for an article. The aim is to help them find consensus by documenting processes and practices that have helped other editors find agreement on an appropriate title. So, ideally, we start with a conflict, and we end with a consensus, aided by what is documented here. Advice on self-identifying and official names is there to help do this - when there is no clear "Commonly-used name", and where the commonly-used name has other problems, such as perceived offensiveness, significant inaccuracy, and being out of date. I'm not sure the Freemasonry example is a good one for multiple names, since "Freemasonry" seems to be a majority self-identifier and common name. I'm not sure if it has more formal names such as exist for the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes.
I'm trying to think of a situation that corresponds to Blueboar's query re: Common Name, Common Name, Self-Identifying name, in something like a 45:45:10 ratio. With Britain, Great Britain, United Kingdom, we have two common names and one official self-identifier. Britain is a disambiguation page, Great Britain is used for the article referring to the Island, and United Kingdom is used for the main article on the Nation State. I'm not sure how they arrived at this decision but it looks as if accuracy, precision and self-identification have played a part. I do agree that "used by a significant majority of reliable sources" is preferable to the "common name" wording. I'm not sure about "plurality" because that has a number of meanings. Xandar 21:25, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
No, simple usage is sufficient: the island is Great Britain; all its other names are either ambiguous (Britain) or rare (Albion, etc.). All the names of the state are self-identifying; but the United Kingdom is the most concise of them. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:40, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Another change was proposed, but not discussed

There was also the addition of the following statement, If this guideline appears to conflict with NPOV or our naming policy, Wikipedia:Naming conventions, policy takes precedence and this page should be changed to reflect that. This statement is written so ambiguously and broadly that says nothing, but can be interpreted by anyone to say there is an NPOV problem and therefore a name cannot be used. Too often editors confuse NPOV or POV with an unrelated issue. For example, is it POV to use Myanmar for the name of the nation of Myanmar? Many editors believe that is highly POV and therefore cannot be used. IMHO, it has nothing to do with POV and everything to do with what do the reliable references say? What is the name of the nation? Why is it that name? etc. I use this example, but only as an example of how confusion brings forth incorrect methodology of evaluation. This sentence either needs to be deleted or at least written in a clear, precise manner. --StormRider 21:15, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Given that policies always have precedence over guidelines... I don't think it is necessary to spell it out. I would have no problems omitting the line. Blueboar (talk) 21:33, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
As WP:POL says: Where a guideline appears to conflict with a policy, the policy takes precedence. The sentence was copiously discussed, when Slim Virgin added it and thereafter, although most of the discussions have been archived; but see #Relations with policy. It was added because Storm Rider and Xandar were claiming that this guideline had precedence over WP:NAME, the governing policy. If they both forswear that position, it can certainly go away again as accepted consensus, available on a policy page. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:42, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
The phrase is mischievous and completely disfunctional. It doesn't appear in guidelines for good reason. 1) Inviting drive-by editors to "correct" the guideline if they happen to feel like it, runs counter to the basic principle of gaining consensus for substantive edits to guidance and policy, and the need for policy and guidance stability. 2) The subclause: "appears to conflict" increases the carte blanche even more! You don't have to actually, prove a conflict, you only have to consider it "appears" to conflict, and they can start hacking it to pieces! That would be just a recipe for anarchy and edit-wars such as we have seen here over the past month. It is typical of the ill-thought-out and massively disruptive changes that PMA proposes for this long-standing and useful guideline. Finally, the guidance doesn't have precedence over WP:Name, it provides an acknowledged exception to some of the policies in WP:Name. That is why PMA is currently striving to delete the exact provision that delegates exceptions to the guidelines from WP:NAME, where there is currently an RFC on that issue. Xandar 22:38, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
The reflections on myself are a lie; the reconstruction of WP:NAME to contain several principles, which can conflict, is a long-standing project. They don't have exceptions; when they conflict, one set can outweigh another. The best evidence that this is consensus is the RfC Xandar began, now quiescent.
If Xandar disagrees with WP:POL, he should go discuss it there. Until he succeeds in persuading any substantial number of editors that Where a guideline appears to conflict with a policy, the policy takes precedence is useless and dysfunctional, it will be policy.
Indeed, the establishment of such a hierarchy is why we have both policies and guidelines; if there were no difference between them, they would not have been distinguished. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:59, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Your attempts to misrepresent what I am saying and the nature of policy are increasingly desperate and transparent, PMA. I can see why you have been banned from editing style pages, and your attempts to personalise and misrepresent issues are a major block on getting any sort of productive consensus going here. As you know, it is LONG_STANDING policy that Naming conventions provide exceptions to the Use Common Name guidance in the other page. The current RfC, which has only been going for a couple of days has shown no consensus for any change to that. Xandar 11:01, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
you know, it is LONG_STANDING policy that Naming conventions provide exceptions to the Use Common Name guidance in the other page I know nothing of the kind. Xandar's efforts to revert-war such an exception into WP:NAME got him blocked; we shall see how his RfC turns out. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:20, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't think Xander or I have any impact on Wikipedia as a whole. Our kneeling before you in humble submission to forswear intelligence and get with the group think will not change anything for anyone. (As an aside, that is a really stupid request of any editor and you know better.) It is redundant and it's very presence in this guideline raises too many invitations for silliness by activist editors that seek to push their POV and thing that everything is POV unless it is their personal neutral position. Although I would be comfortable with a significant reword, the easier choice is to delete it. --StormRider 22:46, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

No, your ceasing to argue that this guideline is superior to policy would be enough. No kneeling is required. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:03, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't like the sentence in question either. A guideline shouldn't discuss how it should be edited, that's too meta and as others have pointed out, it invites people to make uninformed edits to a page that has now had a considerable amount of discussion. I don't think this page has ever been in conflict with relevant policy, and we also need to note that the policies do defer to this page for specifics on how to deal with Naming Conflicts. That said, this page should follow the reasoning of the policies, specifically WP:NAME, WP:COMMONNAME and WP:NPOV. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 23:42, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

To quote PBS far above, when asked why other guidelines did not say this:
Because usually one only has to suggest that an editor reads WP:Policies and guidelines for them to accept this: "Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are standards that all users should follow. They are often closely related to the five pillars of Wikipedia. Where a guideline appears to conflict with a policy, the policy takes precedence". But if some editors do not, (and Xandar's comment above shows (s)he does not), we should make it explicit in this guideline just as was done in WP:V when there was a long running disagreement over WP:V and WP:RS. See WP:V "Because policies take precedence over guidelines, in the case of an inconsistency between this page and that one, this page has priority, and WP:RS should be updated accordingly." Once this is done it will become far easier to harmonise this guideline with policy.
When there cease to be claims that this page is not bound by policy, doubtless this sentence will no longer be useful. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:33, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
The nonsense continues. The sentence is silly. No-one says the page is not "bound" by policy. What has been said is that the policy defers exceptions to the guidance. Xandar 22:39, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Which it does not; but Xandar has an extremely flexible standard of nonsense. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:27, 17 September 2009 (UTC)


I've set the protection to expire in three days. I hope that at that point we can all edit the page in a constructive way, avoiding reverts and, instead, making incremental cooperative improvements. I urge everyone to seek compromise rather than using the too-convenient rollback or undo buttons. Thanks! kmccoy (talk) 15:26, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

We shall see. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:28, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I regret seeing that Xandar has again revert warred without discussion. Had I realized it was so recently, I might not have reverted yet; but I came here to see what has happened, not from a watchlist. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:01, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
I've hardly edit-warred. I restored the page to the 31st Aug protected version - as a half way-point between the opposed versions. Funny that you turned up about sixty seconds after I made the change. In any event you have no right to revert to YOUR version. I put up the version of 31st August, which is not MY preferred, or even the long-standing version. My version is more that protected on 21st August. A settelement need not be too far off if we can agree a formula to codify the usages of self-identifying names by Wikipedia editors. In other words; in terms of accuracy, avoiding offensiveness, and keeping names up-to-date. However if PMA just wants to edit-war his own preferred version without consensus, we will get nowhere Xandar 23:05, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
180 seconds, but it really was a coincidence.
Discussion, however, would mean actually saying which of these relatively minor changes he actually disagrees with; most of the changes are copyedits. Constructive editing would be supplying novel text for those sections; if we do that, we may, if only by inadvertence, find something we can actually agree on. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:11, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
To avoid revert wars I've just tagged the disputed sections of PMAs version. I shall bring up some suggested new wordings by tomorrow. Xandar 23:15, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
It is customary, and is in fact indicated by the tags, to link to discussions of what is disputed. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:52, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Subversive text 1

The intro says:

A naming conflict can arise on Wikipedia when contributors have difficulty agreeing on what to call a topic or a geopolitical/ethnic entity. These sometimes arise out of a misunderstanding of the Neutral Point of View (NPOV) policy. If this guideline appears to conflict with NPOV or our naming policy, Wikipedia:Naming conventions, policy takes precedence and this page should be changed to reflect that.
This page asserts three principles:
  • The most common English-language use of a name takes precedence, if there is one;
  • If the common name is not the official name, use the common name. This is not intended to prevent the use of scientific names of taxa, nor the use of the official name for disambiguation. When there is no common English name, use the official name.
  • If there is neither a common nor an official name, use the name (or a translation thereof) that the subject uses to describe itself or themselves.

What does Xandar disagree with?

This consists of a statement of purpose of this page; a quotation from WP:POL#Role; and a statement of three principles which were introduced to this page on July 1, 2005. The last sentence has been here continuously ever since; the form under Proper Nouns (•If the name is a self-identifying term for the entity involved and there is no common English equivalent, use the name that the entity has adopted to describe itself.) is slightly less clear, which may be why Xandar has overlooked it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:52, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

I disagree with the following sentence recently added: "
If this guideline appears to conflict with NPOV or our naming policy, Wikipedia:Naming conventions, policy takes precedence and this page should be changed to reflect that.
Reasons as discussed above. Divisive, encourages random drive-by editing of guidance, vague terms such as "appears to conflict". The sentence is not needed, appears in no other guidance and is a recipe for nothing but trouble, instability and mischief. Xandar 21:27, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Then go argue with WP:POL, which this quotes. It encourages coherence between Wikipedia space pages, and prevents our guideline pages from being absconded with by PoV-pushers; it was supported, on this very page, by Blueboar, PBS and SlimVirgin - whom, admittedly, you are also likely to meet there. This is frivolous. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:18, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm not arguing with WP:POL, since this ridiculous sentence has nothing to do with it. Four people supporting it is not consensus to add such a disruptive and ridiculous passage. Especially when at lweast as many oppose it. It must go. Xandar 23:06, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Where a guideline appears to conflict with a policy, the policy takes precedence is a direct quotation from WP:POL. We are not here to provide a private bubble of reality for Xandar; hire a blog. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:26, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It's not clear what problem this is trying to solve. It is entirely redundant to the principle that guidelines do not replace policies but guide editors in their application. It also introduces the undefined term official name. If the guideline has a conflict, edit the guideline to conform to the policy. This wording seems like an invitation to editing mischief to disregard this guideline on the fuzzy idea of "the appearance of conflict". 00:07, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
    It is a restatement of the principle that guidelines do not replace policies; it was added when a few editors were claiming that policies defered to this guideline; see #Relations with policy for more - including examples, chiefly from RS, where this has been said before.
  • If policies defer to this page is no longer being claimed, I would be content to comment this out, as no longer necessary. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:31, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Subversive text 2

A city, country, people or person by contrast, is a self-identifying entity: it has a preferred name for itself. The city formerly called Danzig now calls itself Gdańsk; the man formerly known as Cassius Clay now calls himself Muhammad Ali. Often, as with these cases, the self-identifying name has become common usage; Danzig, however, is used (following our sources) in historical articles about the centuries during which the city called itself, and was called, Danzig.

What, again, does Xandar disagree with? That Muhammad Ali calls himself that? That it is common usage to do, sufficiently so that we must explain Cassius Clay meant him, as opposed to the abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay? That we do use Danzig? If so, he should also dispute

The Polish city of Gdańsk was called Danzig for many years. The name "Danzig" is not the definitive term today, but it is correctly used in historical contexts (e.g. when it was part of Germany or a Free City).

a few paragraphs up; if it will help, one of them can be removed, as redundant. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:58, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Done. Is this still disputed, and why? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:21, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with the removal of the passage from the original wording.
These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity. This should always be borne in mind when dealing with controversies involving self-identifying names.
This phrase supplies rationale and meaning for the discussion. Xandar 21:29, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Guideline pages are not here for amateur metaphysicians to write in their personal views on the nature of names. Go write an essay, and if you can get enough philosophical Realists to sign on, we can resume this discussion. In the meantime, that is disputed by more than have affirmed it; it is not consensus, and does not belong in a guideline which purports to reflect consensus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:21, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
It is consensus since it has been in the policy unchallenged for four years. Your dislike does not establish a new consensus. Xandar 23:04, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Lie. Gathering dust in an obscure guideline does not make consensus when, as here, a sentence does not describe the actual consensus demonstrated by what Wikipedia actually does. That's the minor premise; the major premise is a policy violation: Thus, "according to consensus" and "violates consensus" are not valid rationales for making or reverting an edit, or for accepting or rejecting other forms of proposal or action.
The suggestion that I alone dislike this is another lie; it would be closer to say that only Xandar and his associated single-purpose accounts like it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:39, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose What problem did the old text of the guideline create? What problem does the new text solve? What bad article names were created by following the old text? It is common sense and not metaphysics to reason that Muhammad Ali preferred to be known by that name as opposed to Cassius Clay and therefore we weigh that preference in article naming. patsw (talk) 00:21, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
    • The old text misdescribed what we do about Danzig; the sentence which was and is under "Dealing with historic names" is correct: we use Danzig for those periods when it was a German city (because our sources do). The position that we always use Gdansk, even in discussing 1939, was rejected; see Talk:Gdansk/Vote.
    • The metaphysics is These names are not simply arbitrary terms but are key statements of an entity's own identity. The bad choices inherent in it may be seen in the few times it has been quoted:
      • A Ukrainian nationalist has used this several times, as here, in insisting that we use Kyiv because the Ukrainian Government uses Київ for Kiev.
      • Talk:Bollywood/Archive4#Redirect insists that we can't use Bollywood because the industry doesn't (like many such claims, this one is also dubious as an assertion of fact).
      • This page shows both sides in the Macedonia dispute agreeing on the sentence. This shows vagueness.
      • And then there's my favorite: the effort to use the self-identifying name of Krakatoa to fight off colonialism; ChrisO quoted this section himself (fair enough, he wrote it) to point out that mountains don't have self-identifying names. If we give nationalists an inch, they will take a mile.
    And so on. The sentence was rarely used, and when used, used for nationalist and other group propaganda purposes, and, when used, was normally unsuccessful. It thus failed two main purposes of guidelines; it did not advise what serves the encyclopedia; and it did not describe the actual consensus of editors in article space - and therefore gave advice that will not work. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:57, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
        • Self-identification is constantly used on Wikipedia, despite your denials. Without it we are left being behind the times, or offensive or inaccurate. Your ideological opposition to self-identifying names is not backed by the community. As for "Danzig" it is used historically for the city which now self-identifies as Gdansk because in those times it self-identified as Danzig. The difference between Kyiv and Kiev is one of transliterated spelling, not name. Xandar 01:01, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
              • If I deny this obvious falsehood, Xandar will present his usual dozen fraudulent and indecisive examples. In most cases, they will be conflicts between two self-identifying names; in some cases, they will be cases in which we chose the most common name, independently of self-identification; in some cases they will be cases in which a name is not used because nobody has ever proposed it.
              • So I will simply point out that Kyiv is beyond question the name the Ukrainian government uses for Kiev; Ukrainian nationalists have spent pages arguing for it (one is linked above), even quoting the text Xandar claims is consensus. There has been uniform and repeated consensus to call the article Kiev - because that's what everybody else calls the city. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:07, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Subversive text 3

Where a self-identifying name exists, it should be prominently mentioned within the content of the article. Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name, it merely notes the fact that sources use that name. Wikipedia is descriptive, not prescriptive; Wikipedia cannot declare what a name should be, only what names exist as commonly used in sources.
Commonly used English translations of self-identifying terms are preferred over non-English terms,<:ref name=UseEnglish>For more information on translations, see the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) guideline</ref> for example: "Japanese" and not Nihon-jin. Where a name includes geographical directions such as North, East, South or West in the local language used at the location, the full name is usually translated into English: hence East Timor, not Timor-Leste; South Ossetia, not Yuzhnaya Osetiya; West Java, not Jawa Barat; but the Department of Nord (in France and Haiti), not the North Department.

What, again, does Xandar disagree with? The Department of Nord (which he revert warred out)? If it is the first sentence, I shall be inserting Storm Rider's suggestion, three sections up. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:03, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

  • The second paragraph is fine. The first paragraph is the nub of our problem. This replaces the Maputan-Cabindan example and the original sentence:
Where self-identifying names are in use, they should be used within articles. Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name; this encyclopedia merely notes the fact that they do use that name.
This original wording is somewhat vague, however it makes important points.
Recognising the vagueness of the original wording one suggestion would be to replace the first paragraph here with more specific statements:
In the majority of cases the name that a self-identifying entity uses of itself is identical with the most common name for that entity as found in reliable sources. In some cases they will differ. When conflicts arise over such differences there are certain criteria that Wikipedia editors consider in order to determine which to use in an article:
  • Is the most commonly used name considered by the person or entity concerned to be offensive or derogatory?
  • Is the most commonly used name significantly less accurate or precise than the official or self-identifying name? For example Canadian Navy actually redirects to the more accurate Canadian Forces Maritime Command
  • Has the name of a person or entity recently been officially changed by that person or entity - as verified by reliable sources?
In such cases Wikipedia editors give consideration to using the current self-identifying name of the person or entity concerned, as verified by reliable sources.
Xandar 22:09, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
  1. This adopts the point of view of the person or entity concerned, which is contrary to core policy. We have perfectly good guidance on ethnic slurs, however, which does belong in this guideline.
  2. Irrelevant to the question at hand. Both Canadian Navy and Canadian Forces Maritime Command are self-identifying; we choose between them because one is ambiguous. We would make the same choice whatever the usage of MARCOM was - although the English usage that we follow in considering either to be candidate names is doubtless influenced by MARCOM, as by a thousand other factors.
  3. Again, self-identification is irrelevant to the use of married names; if current reliable sources use a name, so should we; if they do not, so should we. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:30, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
  1. Contrary to your interpretation of core policy, PMA. As can be seen from the long-standing version of this guidance, it is REFUSING to use the self-identifying name that is POV.
  2. One is more accurate. Simple. There are many cases where a common name is simply not accurate enough.
  3. NO. As I said. Wikipedia editors do not wait 2 years or so for "a majority of reliable sources" to catch up with the change. They use the self-identifying name, as soon as the new name is verified. Xandar 23:02, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
If the name is not used in the majority of reliable sources, particularly those that are cited in the text of the article, then would you like to give an example of where the consensus is to rename an article to the new self-identifying name? --PBS (talk) 08:20, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I already gave the example of the article Cheryl Cole, which was changed from Cheryl Tweedy, on 27th July 2006, just two weeks after her marriage and announcement that she would now be known as Cheryl Cole. A majority of reliable sources would not have used "Cole" for a year at the minimum. Network Associates was changed to McAfee on July 14th 2004, immediately after the change. The Sci Fi Channel article has been changed to the new self-identifying name Syfy on 7th July 2009 on the day of the name change. The category was also changed. Xandar 22:21, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Cheryl Cole has been added as an example of common sense; when we have verified that she is married, the same sources should be consulted on what she is called after her marriage. For Syfy, see WP:MOSTRADE; we don't follow the whims of marketing departments; they may change again tomorrow. If it lasts long enough to become general usage, then we adopt it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:35, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
You are contradicting yourself, PMA. The reason that "common sense" indicates that we use Cheryl Cole, is because it is ACCURATE and the SELF-IDENTIFYING NAME. The guidance to use names only when they appear in the majority of reliable sources, would torpedo the use of all these examples for periods up to several years - until the majority of such reliable sources (yearbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, magazines etc.) changed the name. Nor does WP:MOSTRADE have anything to say about the titles of articles. The notion that we do not use names until they "become general usage" (ie. are recognised in the majority of reliable sources), does not reflect reality. The guidance has to reflect reality, not your ideology. Xandar 23:06, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
On the contrary; the chief function of MOSTRADE is to decide such naming discussion; once we use IBM as an article title, as it recommends, the decision to use IBM in text is trivial. For a demonstration of consensus in action, see Talk:Brokencyde#Requested move; on the other hand, when idiosyncratic spelling is actually used by independent sources, we use it. It does not take years to demonstrate; we have always used eBay and NeXT. The guidance does reflect reality, the reality of Wikipedia practice; perhaps Xandar's ideology would be better suited elsewhere. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:58, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Nonsense. Kindly link to where MOSTRADE refers to usage in naming articles, or where it states that it supersedes, "use common name." This has nothing to do with naming articles, or the Syfy usage as the new title of that article. That has solely to do with self-identification. Xandar 01:06, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Subversive text 4

I have removed the following, as inconsistent with NPOV, and the opinion of a single user:

If the self-described name is not the article title, then it should be included and explained in the article. Wikipedia does not take any position on whether a self-identifying entity has any right to use a name, it merely notes the fact that reliable sources confirm that it uses that name. Wikipedia is descriptive, not prescriptive; Wikipedia cannot declare what a name should be, only what the name actually is - as verified by reliable sources.
In the majority of cases the name that a self-identifying entity uses of itself is identical with the most common name for that entity as found in reliable sources. In some cases they will differ. When conflicts arise over such differences there are certain criteria that Wikipedia editors consider in order to determine which to use in an article:
Is the most commonly used name considered by the person or entity concerned to be offensive or derogatory?
  • Is the most commonly used name significantly less accurate or precise than the official or self-identifying name? For example Canadian Navy actually redirects to the more accurate Canadian Forces Maritime Command
Has the name of a person or entity recently been officially changed by that person or entity - as verified by reliable sources?

This was disingenuous as argument; it is unacceptable as text. The statement that we only consult reliable sources to find what name the subject uses is a claim that we should adopt the POV of the subject. Those who wish to write essays against NPOV should do so as essays.

Of these "rules", the first and third are already included in substance; the second is phrased dishonestly. We should use whatever name is precise enough to avoid ambiguity; and in the case cited, both of the names do self-indentify (one is ambiguous with - and usually means - the Royal Canadian Navy; so we don't use it.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:39, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Your POV argument is false - as borne out by the original and long-standing version of this guidance. The above wording is an attempt at a compromise between the original wording and the objectors to it, that states in a limited way what wikipedia editors actually do, rather than what PMA wants them to do. It might be better to engage with this than revert it. Xandar 23:52, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Xander, I am going to ask you to please stop the references to "the original and long-standing version" as if there was something in this guideline that should be enshined in stone... First, the language you prefer wasn't in the original version of this guideline... it was added about a year ago (which isn't all that "long standing" when compared to other policies and guidelines.) More importantly, one of the core concepts of Wikipedia is that consensus can change. And since multiple editors have stated disagreed with your "long standing version" over the last month or so, I would say that we have a fairly strong indication that consensus has indeed changed. Thus, we need to form a new consenus. Blueboar (talk) 01:50, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
The idea that an argument can be falsified by the fact that something to the contrary sat there under a guideline tag for a particular length of time is particularly bizarre... But in fact I don't find this proposed wording especially objectionable - perhaps it can be restored and worked on?--Kotniski (talk) 06:38, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm afraid the original and long-standing version is quite clear. Here is the version protected on 21st August this year. And here is the version from four years earlier. The main principles and wording on self-identifying entities is the same. Xandar 16:38, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

I object to all three paragraphs, but on different grounds.

[Wikipedia] notes the fact that reliable sources confirm that [the subject] uses that name.
  • This replaces the present wording, which Wikipedia notes that reliable sources do use that name (themselves). We should adopt the point of view of reliable sources, not the subject of the article; to say otherwise is to abandon the neutral point of view.
Is the most commonly used name considered by the person or entity concerned to be offensive or derogatory?
  • When added, this was redundant with the section on ethnic slurs - but this is not usually considered at any length, since it is largely taken care of by following reliable sources.
Is the most commonly used name significantly less accurate or precise than the official or self-identifying name? For example Canadian Navy actually redirects to the more accurate Canadian Forces Maritime Command
  • There is no standard of "accuracy" as opposed to the usage of reliable sources; saying this encourages OR. What is the "accurate" name of Kiev?
  • We do not adopt more precise names than are required for disambiguation; this has just been thrashed out at WP:NAME, by more voices than have ever discussed this page.
  • The example is a misunderstanding.
''Has the name of a person or entity recently been officially changed by that person or entity - as verified by reliable sources?
  • Again, this rarely comes up, but when it does, I prefer to deal with it thus:
    Use common sense when choosing which reliable sources to consult. For example, is a recently married subject now known by her husband's surname, her maiden name, a hyphenated form, or something else? Sources from before the marriage, however reliable, are not evidence on this question; consult the reliable sources which verify the fact of the marriage.
It's not a question of self-identification; it's a question of using current sources. (Sources can date for one fact, but not for others; Cheryl Cole married recently, but she is still born in Newcastle.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:40, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Regarding name changes... I do understand the argument for self-identification here. When a notable person changes his or her name, we should reflect that name change. But things are not always that simple. For example, Elizabeth Taylor got married multiple times, and technically her name changed with each marriage. However, she continued to use her maiden name for acting credits, and the vast majority of sources that talk about her continue to use her maiden name to this day.
I have been thinking about this entire debate and am coming to the conclusion that everyone (and I include myself in this) seems to be trying to set firm and fast "rules" to something that is too fluid for such rules. Naming an article is really a matter for common sense and consensus. No two naming disputes are going to be the same. Each has unique issues that need to be taken into account. Sometimes the best way to resolve them is to go with self-identification, and at others the best way to resolve them is to go with what is most commonly used in the majority of sources. And sometimes the issue can only be resolved by using some other method (such as using scientific names for flora). Blueboar (talk) 16:28, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I think like a lot of people, Liz Taylor married, but chose not to change her self-identifying-name, when she did so. She may have self-identified in two ways - I'm not sure, but her principal self-identifying name as used on screen and publicity remained Liz Taylor. Xandar 16:40, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Insofar as self-identification influences the language, it is because the general usage tends to adopt self-iodentifications. When this has happened, Common Name covers the matter; when it has not, we should not use self-identification against usage - that's adopting the point of view of the self-identifier. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:07, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
When it comes to individuals, I think we should adopt the point of view of the self-identifier... we already do this with things like categorization (for example, not categorizing someone as being Gay unless they self-identify as Gay... and not categorizing someone under "Jewish" if they self-identify as being Christian. Blueboar (talk) 19:22, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Blue, but I don't understand why it would not be used for all entities? As I say that I acknowledge there is a difference between official names and preferred names used by entities. --StormRider 19:33, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
The point about categories is of rather limited application - some attributes of people (religion, nationality, sexuality) are partly descriptions of self-identification, so it's no surprise we take self-identification into account for those; but most attributes are objective - someone may not want to self-identify as a pornographic actor or a convicted criminal, but if we've got good sources, we're still going to go ahead and categorize them as such.--Kotniski (talk) 19:55, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Protection again

I see that the page has again been protected by Tedder, for a month. I feel that the protection was jumping the gun, because while edit wars aren't great, protection is even worse and more anti-wiki, and the edit war leading up to this protection was minor. Regardless, I'd like to ask now how Tedder expects to resolve this? Page protection to resolve content disputes should not be permanent or even really long-term. If there's no reasonable hope or cause to suspect that the protection will stop the edit war from resuming upon expiration, then topic bans or outright blocking of the editors at fault needs to be considered. So, how will you go about moving this forward, Tedder? And to the editors involved in the edit war, how can this page be unprotected and edited in such a way that won't lead to further protections? Thanks. kmccoy (talk) 07:34, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Also, I don't understand how the revert back to the last protected version is justified. Is there some sort of suggestion or guideline to do that on some page that I have missed? kmccoy (talk) 07:41, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
My suggestion would be to remove the "guideline" tag from the page (replacing it with "essay" or "proposed guideline"). There's no evidence this page has ever served as guidance in actual conflicts, and to have a page whose declared aim is to resolve conflicts doing nothing except generate continual conflict is fairly weird. If there is anything on this page that can actually help resolve disagreements about naming (and that the community generally agrees on) then it should be moved to the main naming conventions page where everyone can see it. (All this page is is advice on what articles should be called when there's a disagreement, and if you think about it, that's exactly the same as what the main NC page is for - no need to split it over two pages.)--Kotniski (talk) 07:50, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Kmccoy, the revert back to the protected version was done simply to go to the "last stable version". It's probably the wrong version to go to, but seemed better than taking sides. Specifically, note WP:PREFER says "Since protecting the most current version sometimes rewards edit warring by establishing a contentious revision, administrators may also revert to an old version of the page predating the edit war if such a clear point exists." Certainly the pre-edit-war version seemed appropriate.
It seems pretty clear that the page was heading into a protracted edit war: there were accusations of EWing by the second or third edit after the page was unprotected, leading into accusations of 3RR-avoiding. That's pretty strong stuff. Protection may seem anti-wiki to you, but it's better than templating and threatening to block long-term editors who should discuss their problems here instead. tedder (talk) 10:04, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
The version reverted to is not "the last stable version", but the version produced against consensus by PMAnderson. The proper stable version - which has existed for four years prior to the edit-war tactics of PMA and others, is that protected on 21st August this year. I'm afraid this ahole peoblem has come from editors, particularly PMA who have edited the guidance out of all recognition against long-standing consensus, and refused to accept significant compromise, trying to gain their own way by sitting on the page and reverting back to their desired version. What SHOULD have happened was the long-standing version of the guideline should have been left on the page until agreement to change it was reached. Xandar 16:33, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Poor Xandar... all those evil admins always protect it on the wrong version don't they? It must be a conspiracy. Seriously... The point of protection is to force all sides discuss the issue and agree to a NEW "right version". So instead of complaining... help us to break the deadlock. Blueboar (talk) 17:20, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
One must admit it is curious. Probabilities of this always ending this way are getting very strained. What is fact IS THAT EVERYONE STOP EDITING THE BLOODY ARTICLE UNTIL CONSENSUS IS REACHED. I know, it is a novel concept. But no one is innocent when they edit the article knowing they do not have consensus. This is too simple and we must acknowledge that those insist on editing the article are beyond disruptive.--StormRider 19:30, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
The changes from the last protection to Blueboar's latest edit have been relatively minor, and should be uncontentious - except in what they do not include. They do not, I admit, include Xandar's pet cause, but they do, as they were intended to, address his complaints about offensive epithets and recently married subjects. If they are consensus, well and good; if not, I am content with this page as it stands. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:56, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Which makes my point that PMAs non-consensus and non-stable version has been (wrongly) protected again. This only makes PMA more convinced that he is the only one allowed to edit the page. Xandar 07:41, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
No, actually it hasn't; those are the minor changes I propose, and to which no-one has explicitly objected. Xandar's complaint is that his novel and non-consensus changes have not been protected, when only he and Storm Rider agree to them and others have objected. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:32, 29 September 2009 (UTC)


As suggested above, it is proposed to merge this page (and a number of others) with WP:Naming conventions. Please discuss at WT:Naming conventions#Merge. Thanks, --Kotniski (talk) 12:57, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

I think this idea has merit. So many naming convention pages have been created through the years, that it is hard to keep track of them... and this leads to contradictions between the various guidelines and the main policy (and between each other). I think we need a centralized systimatic review of the entire policy area, so that we can determine what the current consensus on naming articles actually is, and create a policy and subordinate guidelines that agree with this consensus. Blueboar (talk) 14:17, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
There are pros and cons. The issue of self-identification would still need to be properly dealt with, however. Xandar 16:42, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely... one of the resons why I like the idea of merging is so that ALL the issues relating to how we name articles can be examined, discusssed and debated in a centralized location... and that would include the issue self-identification. Hopefully, we will get more people involved in the discussion at the policy level so we can break the deadlock.
The only thing I will ask of both sides is ... Please don't enter that conversation with a pre-concieved language or outcome in mind. As I see it, the entire point of merger is to determine what the current consensus on naming articles is, not to debate what the older consenus was. Consider the view points of others, and be willing to compromise. We want to create a policy that will last... one where there isn't a need for all these subject related "exceptions" and contradictary guidelines. Blueboar (talk) 17:11, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

{{editprotected}}Please add the proposed merged template to the top of the page:

{{Mergeto | Naming conventions | Naming conventions (common names) | Naming conventions (use English) | Naming conventions (precision) | discuss=Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions#Merge| date=September 2009 }}

Thanks,--Kotniski (talk) 08:52, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

DONE. But I think we should remove all but "Naming conventions", as that is the maximum to which there seems to be consensus for this request, and the rest are IMHO instruction creep which reduces the argument for the merge in the first place. --PBS (talk) 09:15, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, but I'm not sure what you mean about removing the others - this is a proposal at the moment, consensus will develop later. (And the more pages we merge, the more we reverse instruction creep.)--Kotniski (talk) 09:24, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreement to a merge is of course dependent on agreed merged wording. Xandar 23:47, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
Is this still a claim of Liberum veto? If not, what is it? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:18, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
It's a statement that unless we can agree on wording for a combined page, there is no agreement to combine. Xandar 22:06, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Not quite correct... While we should take every one's opinions and concerns over wording into account, we must remember that consensus does not require unanimous agreement. So... there can be a consensus to merge without unanimous agreement on the exact wording. No one editor has a "veto" over consensus. Blueboar (talk) 14:10, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
However I do not think there will be a consensus without some agreement on this issue. Xandar 23:24, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Shorter Xandar: "Nice consensus you got here; pity if anything happened to it." Fortunately, since the consensus that matters is what Wikipedia actually does, which no half-dozen editors can disrupt, this is not likely.
Only two things need to be said about self-identifying names: they are frequently the common name in English; when they are not, they express the point of view of the self-identifier. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:39, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Text proposal

The proposed merged text is now in place at WP:Naming conventions. Can people have a look at it now we can see that page as a whole, and say what (if anything) can helpfully be said on this page that isn't covered there?--Kotniski (talk) 16:24, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

If it is the merged text then it needs a section on Self-identifying names - a subject which takes up approximately one third of the standard wording of this convention. Xandar 00:43, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
Please stop wasting our time with self-evident falsehoods; there is one paragraph of truisms and a couple paragraphs you have been revert-warring over. 10% would be stretching it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:35, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
Just who is stating the falsehoods can be clearly seen by anyone reading the pre-dispute consensus version of this guideline, here. This deals with self-identifying names at length - and is the only current consensus version. The changes made since, and currently protected are major alterations edit-warred without consensus. Policy cannot be changed in that manner. Xandar 00:47, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
It is not consensus; if it had been consensus, it would have been cited by more than half a dozen editors in its four years of existence; and it would have been supported. when challenged, by several editors, not by two editors concerned with a single content issue and their meatpuppets. But some editors believe that repeating the same falsehood indefinitely will make it true; I prefer to avoid "the vain repetitions of the heathen." Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:05, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
I would say that there is some degree of consensus where self-identification is concerned... but I don't think the version that Xandar prefers accurately reflects that consensus. He gives too much weight to self-identified names, and not enough weight to names used by reliable sources. When these are in conflict, we should follow the sources. Blueboar (talk) 03:44, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Considering that the "long-standing" version of this page never even said that self-identifying terms should be used as article titles, and that the policy at WP:NC now mentions self-identifying names (as a possible factor where there is no common name) which it never did before, I think those who believe self-identification important ought to be more than happy. Is there anything else on this page which is sufficiently valuable to be retained in a guideline and which isn't now covered at NC or elsewhere? --Kotniski (talk) 08:21, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Well? Or shall I redirect it?--Kotniski (talk) 19:19, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I think that would be fine. Blueboar (talk) 23:19, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Let's try then. That would leave only WP:Naming conventions (use English) outstanding among the pages which the present text of WP:NC is intended to incorporate.--Kotniski (talk) 12:25, 2 November 2009 (UTC)