Wikipedia talk:Article titles

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Bruce Jenner was unilaterally moved to Caitlyn_Jenner. There was an RM to move it back (now archived), which was closed per SNOW within hours. I seem to be the only one concerned about what appears to me to be a blatant disregard for WP:COMMONNAME and WP:AT, but if no one else is concerned I'm not going to push it. --В²C 20:58, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

WP:COMMONNAME is not the only consideration in determining article titles. Do not treat it as such. RGloucester 21:03, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
What part of and WP:AT did you miss? All of it? --В²C 21:18, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

I think it would be good to update AT with the changes to WP:MOSIDENTITY for consistency. -- haminoon (talk) 22:41, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

WP:MOSIDENTITY does not apply to titles. Article style (MOS) in general doesn't follow usage in reliable sources nearly as much as title determination (AT) does. --В²C 22:58, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Actually... the title change to Caitlyn is perfectly in line with WP:AT (and is especially in line with WP:COMMONNAME). When the subject of an article changes name (the reason for the name change is irrelevant), we pay attention to what sources (written after the name change occurred) do. If the sources accept the name change (and begin to refer to the subject by the new name) we follow the sources and do likewise. If the sources reject the name change (and continue to refer to the subject by the old name) we do likewise. In the case of Jenner, it quickly became obvious that the sources were accepting the new name. Blueboar (talk) 00:57, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
    • Even if that is the case now, which should be clearly established on the talk age, it was not the case at the time of the change. --В²C 01:59, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Meh... Perhaps the Identity advocates jumped the gun by a day or two... but bitching about it is kind of pointless and petty by now. Again, it was fairly obvious which way the sources were going, and became so almost as soon as Jenner made the announcement. I would say no harm was done. Blueboar (talk) 02:32, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
@Born2cycle: if the subject of an article changes its name, it is reasonable to consider the usage since the change. WP:COMMONNAME, which is policy, supports the move. A confirming move discussion unambiguously supported the move. MOS:IDENTITY supports the move. And, of course, WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY, which is policy, supports doing the obvious without a formal move discussion for the sake of discussion. What exactly is the concern here? VQuakr (talk) 06:35, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we should look at source usage after the name change when there is a name change, but moving it when it was was jumping the gun. This time it worked out okay, but it's not a good practice. Next time they should do a formal RM, or at least get a reading on consensus about source usage before making the move. --В²C 16:20, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
No, there is no need for an elaborate RM just to go through the movements. There was no RM, nor anyone suggesting one, and not a single letter printed on the name change when the Jorge Bergoglio biography was moved to Pope Francis. The case is explained in WP:SPNC, and a variant of it applies to Jenner. A little history: there was a big imbroglio over the Chelsea Manning name change, ArbCom case and all (in which the editor that had jumped the gun on moving the page was slapped on his wrists for a lot of things, but not for moving the page "too soon"). Then there were RM's, lots of them, and one that moved the page to the name preferred by the subject after an assesment of a three-person uninvolved panel. Then some of us decided we would have no more of that when the result is thus predictable. Then, after fleshing it out and boiling it down, WP:SPNC was added to WP:NCP, and Jenner's page move falls within its scope. No further entanglements are called for as far as the page move is concerned in such case. --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:12, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Something else to consider: say an editor does "jump the gun" and changes an article title "too soon"... and it turns out that the name change isn't accepted by sources after all. No real harm... It is not a huge problem if the article is at the "wrong" title for a while. Once it becomes clear that the sources have rejected the new name, it's easy enough to change our title back to the old one (which sources are using). The most we would have to do is hold an RFC (where the sources could be discussed and analyzed). There is no time limit on getting it right. Blueboar (talk) 23:23, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Ha, no, I think you misunderstood: it is still possible to jump the gun in a disorderly fashion while it is not "unavoidable" for any name change to become the new name supported by sources. Moving Hillary Rodham Clinton anywhere without a formal RM would still be considered disruptive (WP:SPNC has no clear-cut solution for that one). But clear-cut cases like Jenner don't need to be burdened by excess procedure once the unavoidability of the acceptance of the name change becomes clear (which may take somewhat more time than the "minutes" needed for a papal name). --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:37, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Easy enough? When emotions get involved WP:Status quo stonewalling keeps it far from being easy to change the title back. --В²C 00:49, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
If it is an emotional issue, wait until the emotions have had time calm down, and people can dispassionately look at the evidence of the sources. Blueboar (talk) 02:04, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
If we are conflating essays with policy now, I can just refer you to WP:STICK. VQuakr (talk) 02:01, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
How is policy being conflated with essays? Anyway, wait until the emotions calm down? It took eight years at Yoghurt/yogurt, and that was over a silly h. --В²C 05:12, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Rules like WP:SPNC are intended to have a relaxing effect on emotions: this allows us to tread more efficiently emotion-wise now than in the Manning era. Fermented milk may have needed 8 years, Manning half a year, but Jenner (including the current WP:VPP discussions and other ramifications) might be settled in a few weeks. That's how we learn from trial and error. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:37, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

@VQuakr it is interesting that you write "If we are conflating essays with policy now" yet above you have conflated an unrelated guideline with the article titles policy when you wrote "MOS:IDENTITY supports the move". It does not. The MOS section to which MOS:IDENTITY links states "Disputes over how to refer to a person or group are addressed by .... (and article titles when the term appears in the title of an article)". The change of name of the subject of an article is covered by a sentence in the article title policy section "Use commonly recognizable names": "If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes, then more weight should be given to the name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change". -- PBS (talk) 18:44, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Abuse by abbreviations[edit]

This rule should be updated because some mainstream people (such as Joseph McGinty Nichol) started to abuse naming with abbreviations, and it causes a pollution of the Wikipedia article namespace as well as the English language.

As nycmstar put it on the talk page for the article on Mr. Nichol, "Elton John and Madonna [...] both do not result in new case-sensitive words added to the English language."

Also, should Wikipedia take lead in avoiding the pollution - by using the real name in the absence of a stage name that is case-insensitive and includes at least one vowel - it could be a positive example for other sites, writers and editors to follow. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Naxa (talkcontribs)

  • I might agree with this, except I can't be sure my interpretation is correct. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:13, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose rewrite of policy based on one contentious example. If you have a problem with McG as a page name, take it to WP:RM (the discussion in Talk:McG#Naming appears stale but shows the article title issue to be too contentious for a page move without RM). If such RM would be successful and fairly unanimous we can see about a policy or guideline update later, but I believe we'd need a lot more examples of similar cases before this can affect guidance (in short: we don't write policy just for a single case of applicability, the current policy is long and complex enough with a lot of guidance on issues that have a fairly broad applicability). --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:27, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
    • Examples:
      • P!NK redirecting to Pink (singer) is already covered by WP:AT#Article title format.
      • Expanding MNM (radio) to a non-acronym version seems undesirable.
      • Case sensitive stage names without a vowel include QT (musician), Drs. P, Mr. T – don't see where these should be moved according to the new rule proposal.
      • Le Corbusier was not by far composed of English words before being introduced and used as pseudonym. Don't see what "was an English word before" has to do with anything. eBay was a "new case-sensitive word added to the English language", and danah boyd introduces two "new case-sensitive words added to the English language", what does that have to do with anything? More examples: Cher, k.d. lang, and the above-mentioned Drs. P.
    Oppose rulecruft that would be written as to either "only" apply to the contentious McG example, or, written more broadly, would affect page names that don't need changing.
    Please add more examples if you know of any, tx. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:02, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Using a . to distinguish an article[edit]

Discussion at Talk:Gangsta. and similar has recently often been citing the misleading advice given at WP:SMALLDETAILS: @Many such differences involve capitalization, punctuation, accentuation, or pluralization: MAVEN and Maven; Airplane and Airplane!; Sea-Monkeys and SeaMonkey; The World Is Yours and The Wörld Is Yours." ... but this advice is patently not what en.wp does. Generally small details like . ! or an umlaut are usually not considered recognizable or distinctive because they aren't used consistently in WP:RS, --- such as Shakira (album) and Janet (album), while Airplane and Airplane! are giant visible exceptions in the same way that Friends and Windows are giant visible exceptions to our plurals titling practice. I know that there are a couple of shortest-title-at-all-cost activists on this page who are dead set against titles being recognizable. But I hope most of the editors here have enough common sense to know that a dot is not a good way of disambiguating Gangsta from Gangsta other topics. As other . examples have shown. Can we please introduce examples of majority cases into WP:SMALLDETAILS ahead of the minority famous exceptions? In ictu oculi (talk) 02:53, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

I think it's a good idea to include counter-examples, although it's not a majority-minority issue. With small details, as with many other titling questions, there is no way to generalize. Sometimes an exclamation point is sufficient to distinguish one title from another, sometimes not. Whether it is is something we decide article by article. Maybe we could take a couple examples, with a sentence along the lines of "Sometimes, a small detail is not enough to distinguish two titles. In that case, parenthetic or other disambiguation is preferred. Ex. [[Sample (example)]], not [[Sample.]]. If the version with the small difference is a unique title, it should redirect to the article in question; if it is not unique, it may redirect to a disambiguation page." Thoughts? Dohn joe (talk) 03:37, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
There's also an issue that for some of these ! and . articles there just are no English sources because the ! or . is from Japanese. In ictu oculi (talk) 04:08, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Based on readers' technical issues, a terminal period is always not good enough to disambiguate from the matching title without the terminal period because many applications ignore, or remove, terminal periods, which is as they should do because use in text sometimes adds terminal periods. Also, the visual difference is too small. Similarly, terminal commas, colons, semicolons and a bad idea. Question marks (?) and hashes (#) have another technical problem, meaning that if they can't be avoided, the matching title without the question mark should redirect. I think if these occur mid-title, a workaround is required. Underscores in place of spaces similarly are not good enough. The explanation mark, and quotations, are best avoided, but are OK if there is a good reason for them. And then there are genuine ambiguities, such as commonly argued concerning plurals.
I think the criteria for SMALLDETAILS needs to be (1) the detail is not so small that readers won't overlook that detail; and (2) browsers and other applications won't interpret or interfere with the url due to unusual title characters. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:26, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Underscores and spaces are interpreted the same way, so you cannot have titles that differ only by spaces being replaced by underscores. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:16, 23 July 2015 (UTC).

As said before, the problems with WP:SMALLDETAILS result from when Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision) was folded into the WP:AT policy some years ago. The "summary" of that guideline, as kept in WP:AT, largely missed the point, at least it missed the needed nuance. So I've unfolded Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision) (again), and added a boilerplate to that guidance in the SMALLDETAILS section. If the guideline works better to address the issues mentioned in this section, either please keep the guideline, or see to it that it gets a better summary in WP:AT. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:17, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

I agree with SmokeyJoe's statement above about the detailed being overlooked. I agree that at full stop at the end of a title is not enough to distinguish it, and as most people who search for a subject from outside Wikipedia will use search engines, it is unlikely that a search engine will make such a distinction. One of the reasons for titles is to place articles close to the top of a search and AFAICT a Google search does make a distinction between "Aeroplane" and "Aeroplane!". A Google search of ["Aeroplane!" film] returns the Wikipedia article as number two in the list. A search of ["Aeroplane" film] does not (instead it returns Hawaizaada). So I think this needs further discussion. Does the distinction of "Aeroplane" "Aeroplane!" meet "Recognizability – The title is a name or description of the subject that someone familiar with, although not necessarily an expert in, the subject area will recognize."
-- PBS (talk) 08:40, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
I also agree that very minor and easily overlooked or omitted elements like a dot/period shouldn't be considered sufficient to make otherwise identical titles consistently distinguishable. ╠╣uw [talk] 09:14, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
I do run some tests from time to time on mainspace titles that vary only by a terminal full-stop. I could extend this and produce a report. But it's pretty rare that they are not all pointing to the same article. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:12, 23 July 2015 (UTC).
  • WP:SMALLDETAILS needs to state that "and" vs "&" is a non-distinguishing small detail. Anyone object? In ictu oculi (talk) 00:18, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
    • Oppose – micromanagement, not the level of detail needed on a policy page. Can you give an example of where this has lead to issues? --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:23, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
    • I wouldn't call & a too-small detail at the level of common terminal punctuation. I agree that Ps & Qs and Ps and Qs are not sufficiently different, but that it is because "&" and "and" are similes used interchangeably, it is not a matter for WP:SMALLDETAILS. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:36, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Gangsta. is to me not an example for WP:SMALLDETAILS. The dot is too small for SMALLDETAILS, but it doesn't apply becuase there is no Wikipedia article Gansta. That title is in fact a disambiguation page that very clearly points to "Gangsta., a Japanese manga and anime series" amongst the many other similar things. Disambiguation pages are fanatasitic things for anyone not part of the dominant group. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:28, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
    • SMALLCAPS applies whether it regards a disambiguation page or not, see The World Is Yours, example included in the policy. I don't even quite understand the rationale ("Disambiguation pages are fanatasitic things for anyone not part of the dominant group") why you think it would be better to change the policy on this point. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:46, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
      • You seem slightly aggressive, I don't know why. I think I even generally agree with your posts?
It is my opinion that the lower limit of how small a difference is admitable as a SMALLDETAILS is not so important of the difference in between an article and a disambiguation page. I am not aware that this implies any change to policy.
Disambiguation things are fantastic for assisting with navigation to unusual things, and going to a disambiguation because of a misread of a small detail is not a concern of much consequence, as the disambiguation is a lite page that includes a clear and simple link to the page that you did want. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:54, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, still can't parse the distinction you're trying to make. Also, why SMALLDETAILS wouldn't apply in your opinion in the case of Gangsta., while it meets what is described in the policy – The World Is Yours/The Wörld Is Yours (the example in the policy) and Gangsta/Gangsta. appear as perfectly comparable pairs imho?--Francis Schonken (talk) 07:06, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
SMALLDETAILS only applies to articles. Disambiguation pages are not articles. The World Is Yours is not an article. If someone wanting The Wörld Is Yours (an article on an album) goes to The World Is Yours (a disambiguation page) instead, they have not gone to the wrong article. Probably, it is easier for many to go via the DAB page than to enter the umlauted letter. "Is" should not be capitalized, see Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Capital_letters/Archive_13#Capitalization_of_Copula_.28linguistics.29. Note how often the is is not capitalized in sources. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:14, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Yet the "...The World Is Yours and The Wörld Is Yours..." is an example in the policy. Even if that example only applies to the The Wörld Is Yours part of the example then still Gangsta. is a similar example. Still don't understand the confusion? --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:41, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Hi Francis, Yes, "The World is Yours" is not a good example. They are not two articles differing by only a small difference. I think that example should be removed.
Sorry, I really haven't given enough care to this. As a deliberate point, I refuse to be excessively drawn on matters I do not think are very important for the encyclopedia, and I have decided that these matters include albums and manga. The debate here involves both!
I agree with the consensus that I sense here, that a terminal period is too small, and should be excluded as a SMALLDETAIL.
I agree I think with you that too much, too-specific, guideline material has crept into this policy.
I note that as Rich Farmbrough says, in almost all cases, where there is an article foo., foo redirects to foo., d as a consequence this (Using a . to distinguish an article) is a non-issue. It would be intersting to see a list of exceptions. Where foo is a disambiguation page, I thnk the exception is a non-issue.
The principle I am adhering to is: Readers should not be unexpectedly taken to the wrong article, but there is little problem with being taken to a disambiguation page if there is ambiguity. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:04, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Here is my take on this... I tend to agree that dots (periods, whatever you want to call them) are not the best form of disambiguation - I think they are too small a detail to properly distinguish one article title from another (unlike other characters, they are very hard to see... and almost impossible to see on mobile devices)... yes SMALLDETAILS does allow them ... and I think they should continue to be allowed (because I always want to keep my options open... there may well be one or two cases where using such a dot is our only real choice, and disallowing them would cause more problems than it would solve). However, what is "allowed" is not the same as what is "best". In the specific case of Gangsta. vs Gangsta (mangia), I am inclined to favor parenthetical disambiguation... because I simply think using a parenthetical is better than using what I think is an (overly) small detail. Both are "allowed"... but one is better than the other in my editorial judgement. Blueboar (talk) 14:50, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Do you think the policy needs to be updated to allow Gangsta (manga), or do you think it is allowed by the current SMALLDETAILS policy? --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:41, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
No... Gansta (manga) is already "allowed" under the parenthetical disambiguation section of the policy. It has nothing to do with SMALLDETAILS, so I would not mention it there. Blueboar (talk) 15:51, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

As one of the people most involved with WP:SMALLDETAILS... honestly, yes, I think a period is so easy to miss, people could get confused. That does lead to the somewhat nonsensical situation where Gangsta. would of course redirect to Gangsta. (manga), which makes no sense, either. I would support a simple exception to WP:SMALLDETAILS that excludes periods from the policy simply because they're too small to see, but I would strongly oppose the general application of that exception to other differentiators, like in Airplane!. Red Slash 20:06, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

The policy is, or should be, about what to do when the typographical differences are hard to distinguish, in the case the expressions have a different meaning. Having a policy that says something about differences that are hard to distinguish, except in the case when they are hard to distinghuish amounts to WP:RULECRUFT. Why then would we have the policy in the first place? --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:46, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

One thing I want to point out is that 'could' does not necessarily mean 'should'. Small details can be used to disambiguate article titles, but it does not mean that it is encouraged. I think it would be better to explicitly state whether using small details for natural disambiguation is preferred over parenthetical disambiguation or other forms of disambiguation that involves using longer titles. This alone would solve many problems. sovereign°sentinel (contribs) 03:14, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

RfC: Possible restoration of guideline Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision)[edit]

Should the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision) guideline be restored or remain the redirect it has been for most of the time since 30 October 2009? most recently restored version -- PBS (talk) 09:03, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

History of the redirect and restoration

  • 14:27, 30 October 2009‎ Kotniski (redirecting to merged guideline where all this is covered, per talk)
  • 22:00, 9 November 2009‎ Francis Schonken (there was no consensus for this)
  • 08:20, 10 November 2009‎ Kotniski (undo - consensus was certainly reached on this (see multiple naming convention talk archives))
  • 23:53, 16 February 2012‎ Jc37 (restore for illustrative purposes)
  • 02:40, 13 April 2012‎ Born2cycle (Restore as redirect per consensus reached years ago about avoiding duplicate guidelines - see edit summaries in history)
  • 10:36, 1 July 2014‎ Francis Schonken (Undid revision 487105621 by Born2cycle (talk) apparently new discussions emerged where this may be useful, see WT:NC#What should decide titles? initiated by Born2cycle)
  • 19:15, 1 July 2014‎ PBS (Rv to last version by B2C. Reverting a change that is two years old without a new talk page consensus is not appropriate. Gain a consensus at talk WP:AT before making such a change)
  • 08:21, 21 July 2015‎ Francis Schonken (Undid revision 615193695 by PBS (talk) per discussion at WT:AT#Using a . to distinguish an article)
  • 09:05, 21 July 2015‎ PBS (Undid revision 672396442 by Francis Schonken (talk) I have started an RfC on WP:AT see RfC: Possible restoration of guideline Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision)

--PBS (talk) 09:07, 21 July 2015 (UTC)


  • Oppose separate guideline - we do sometimes need separate topic related "naming conventions" - as some topics have unique factors that impact how we balance the five basic criteria ((Recognizability, Naturalness, Conciseness, Precision and Consistency) to find the best title for subjects within that topic area. However, Precision isn't a topic related issue... It is one of the five basic criteria we strive for in every title. As such, it should be covered in the AT policy itself. Indeed, creating a separate guideline would be a huge mistake... as the inevitable instruction creep takes hold, having a separate guideline will inevitably lead to having conflicting instructions (with the policy saying "do X" and the guideline saying "do Y".)
So... if there is a question about how best to achieve Precision, it needs to be hashed out here and once we reach a consensus, the policy can then be amended accordingly. Blueboar (talk) 12:12, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
I think I agree with Bluboar. It makes sense to integrate guidelines, not to fragment them. I took a look at the precision page and thought it needed a bit of copy-editing; some of the examples look suboptimal, too. Tony (talk) 14:03, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Rather than wait for the outcome of the RfC ,after my revert of his edit SF, has reverted my revert. Consequently the text you are looking at is the result of this revert which is a fragrant breach of WP:BRD and based on text that is five years old. -- PBS (talk) 14:19, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose separate guideline - per Blueboar. Having the same guideline presented in two places has no value that I can see, certainly not in this case, and is asking for trouble. --В²C 16:49, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose separate guideline (proposer) - done without it for 5 years, it does not add anything but the trouble of trying to keep the two in harmony. -- PBS (talk) 06:13, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose separation per B2C and friends Red Slash 20:02, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment It should be noted that the RM at Talk:Gangsta. appears to not be achieving any kind of consensus; to the contrary. So even a title that differs from others by the smallest possible detail (a period) is deemed acceptable by the community; policy should reflect that. --В²C 02:33, 25 July 2015 (UTC)


Before I support or oppose (I'm on the fence due to past vs present guideline precedence), I'm wondering what the hubbub is about. We have innumerable essays. And we have many many guidelines which are essentially better explanatory pages of a section of a policy. WP:PRECISION was its own page a long time. And the merging of this and other pages apparently ended up being an arbcom case where sanctions were added. So basically, my question is this: why is this important? This "feels" like a POV is being pushed here. What's the issue? Are we really debating whether it's better to have a single but lengthy policy page or many but shorter policy pages? I'm asking just so it's clear. - jc37 15:45, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Re. "what the hubbub is about", the hubbub is about the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision) guideline never being correctly transferred to the WP:AT policy page (when it was decided in a talk page discussion with very few participants it would be merged in). The differences are minor, and in most cases (the ones that can be handled according to the Airplane/Airplane! example) there is no difference. The ones that are better treated according to the Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem/Passio Domini Nostri Iesu Christi secundum Ioannem principle (like the one this section began about) appear every now and then, and that's when the current policy page is failing to give helpful guidance. So we could continue to "re-invent" guidance that was invented some ten years ago, and then continue to find "no consensus" to implement it, or, alternatively, and that's what I propose, admit that the helpful existing guidance was not successfully transferred at the time of the merger, and deal with that. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:49, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Re. "Are we really debating whether it's better to have a single but lengthy policy page or many but shorter policy pages?" – I'm not. Not even interested in that discussion, as I said above: "If the guideline works better to address the issues mentioned in this section, either please keep the guideline, or see to it that it gets a better summary in WP:AT." So I'll cling to the guideline only inasmuch as WP:SMALLDETAILS continues to be ineffective for part of the issues that should be covered by it. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:58, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes... the question of whether it is better to cover precision along side the other criteria, in a single but lengthy policy page... or better to have many but shorter guideline pages for each criteria is exactly what we need to discuss. Once that is settled, then we can work on what to say at whatever page discusses it. Personally, I would prefer to have it all covered in one place.
Actually... I think it is time that we review the basic structure of this policy. I have long thought that a policy with five listed criteria should be structured around those criteria... ie there would be a fairly substantial section for each of five criteria. A section on Recognizability, a section on Naturalness, a section on Precision, etc. Blueboar (talk) 18:30, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
I'd be interested in exploring that. Would you be willing to do an outline or somesuch somewhere? - jc37 03:44, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
See fate of the last restructure proposal involving this section at Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 52#Combined proposal. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:08, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Jc37, if the issue here was about "lengthy policy page or many but shorter policy pages", I would agree with Blueboar that it's better to have everything on one page.

But I agree with Francis Schonken that it's not about that. It is about "lengthy policy page PLUS one (redundant and possibly conflicting) shorter guideline page", and I definitely oppose that, and Francis explains why everyone should. Unless I'm misunderstanding, Francis is saying he disagrees with what this page says, agrees with what the separate page says, can't get consensus to include that in this page, so wants to get it by restoring the separate guideline. Now, I don't understand or remember what exactly it is that Francis thinks is so important on that page that should be in policy (I don't know what the "the Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem/Passio Domini Nostri Iesu Christi secundum Ioannem principle" is, much less what current policy doesn't say about that but should), but I definitely think the way to get it (or anything else about the criteria), is through consensus building on this talk page, and eventually incorporating it on this policy page. Simply reverting a longstanding redirect back to the page that has what someone likes strikes me as an end-run around the consensus-building process. --В²C 20:36, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

A couple things. First, there are a LOT of naming conventions/article title pages. This is merely one. That said, this is a rather important one, and I could see why we would want it merged to a central page. Now if there is more to the policy than what is wanted on that main page, then, per summary style, we spit the excess to a separate page. And on the converse, if the entirety of the page should be merged to the central page, that can be done too. That's all merely a matter of format.

But I get the impression when I read the above that there is a question of content of the policy.

So what's the over-riding concern? - jc37 03:44, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Re. "over-riding concern": "If the guideline works better to address the issues mentioned in this section, either please keep the guideline, or see to it that it gets a better summary in WP:AT." as I said in my first contribution in this section, and have already re-quoted when you asked a similar question above. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:56, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Jc37 (1) this is a policy page, the naming conventions are guidelines. (2) "we would want it merged" wrong tense it was merged 5 years ago and there is no consensus to restore it. (3) many of the naming conventions were originally written as work around when "common name" meant common name through all web pages including reliable sources. As a work around WikiProjects introduced rules that 95% of the time produced results similar to that in reliable sources (eg "Mary I of England", rather than "Bloody Mary"). When "common name in reliable sources" was introduced into this policy page, most of those naming conventions became redundant, but (providing the naming convention in question does not contradict this policy), getting projects to drop their comfort blankets is more trouble than it is worth. -- PBS (talk) 07:07, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Which seem secondary concerns (the third is even a straw man regarding this issue) when the over-riding concern is to have the guidance that most effectively helps editors with their practical questions. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:24, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
To be clear, I don't care whether it's been a redirect for 5 years. As you note, most editors act BOLDly and likely never even look here. Looking at pages and seeing them as unchangeable aedifices is not what we do here. Entrenchment is counter productive.
That aside, from reading above, apparently none of us here care if this page is returned to being a redirect except, that it's been stated that apparently the merging was incompletely done in the past. If so, using this page as "raw material", since, at some point the text on this policy page had consensus, and since, from my understanding the issue with the merging was not the text here, but simply wanting it all on one page (as also noted above) - So what text needs to be added to AT from here to complete the merge, or at least to reflect common practice and/or prior consensus? - jc37 09:16, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
The text here is the problem: even what it exactly tries to convey is unclear (e.g. the whole second paragraph with the JESUS example is fuzzy, what really is the intention of this prose?) – as such the prose of the section is not policy-level material.
As for the processable part of the guidance prose:
  • The guideline frames this as an ambiguity issue to be resolved by the "appropriate disambiguation technique", and then lists three with some indications and examples when to use which.
  • The policy page steps over the ambiguity concept and goes straight to "strongly advising" two disambiguation techniques, and (after an aside) envelopes the third in so much fuzz it is unclear what is actually meant. Which is a kind of signal to apply the first two almost exclusively, and for the third something like "don't go there". Which prevents the most appropriate disambiguation technique to be applied in certain cases, and people coming here (again) asking whether they can't do it differently, while employing whatever is the most appropriate disambiguation technique should already have covered that.
The fact that, in this dicussion, it has been repeatedly asked what the difference is between both guidances illustrates that at least one is not clear at face value, like a policy should be. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:49, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Francis, this is out of place in this section. If you have suggestions on how to improve the description of precision on this policy page, please start a separate section where you explain the problem that you see and what you propose to fix it. Then let's see if that has consensus support. Perhaps you've tried and were unable to develop consensus support for your view? Then undoing the redirect to resurrect the old separate guideline so you can express your apparently contra-consensus view of precision is not the way to go - that is not a good argument for supporting the revert of that redirect. If proposals to reword the policy continue to fail, what you can do is copy/paste the content of that old guideline as a basis for a new essay. I suggest the following title for your new essay: WP:Precision, precisely. --В²C 16:37, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Please don't tell your fellow-wikipedians what they can and cannot answer to an honest question.
This RfC is someone's answer to my first comment in the #Using a . to distinguish an article section. That comment of mine contains my rationale for unfolding the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision) guideline. So, no, this shouldn't have started in a new section while it breaks up the topic being discussed (and obfuscates I gave a clear rationale). I do such rearrangements of sections into subsections for topics that should stay together upon future archiving (and coherence of current discussion) regularly, and it has thus far always been appreciated.
So I see no reason to do differently here.
On the content of the matter: at the Gangsta. WP:RM someone said "add parenthical disambiguator" was out of order to sort out a WP:SMALLDETAILS issue, which is not what the policy says (see second paragraph of that policy section). Even the editor who brought it to this talk page didn't realise that. The guideline has a better way of explaining it as one of the alternatives, and when to use that particular one, because we didn't have such problems before its folding.
When a few years ago there was a go to fold the guideline into the policy page there never was agreement to fold a tendentious rewrite of the guideline into the policy page. I'm not impressed this wasn't remarked before, because it doesn't occur all that often, but I don't think we should have the same discussion on this talk page every time it happens.
I don't know whether that "third option" is the best way to address the Gangsta. SMALLDETAILS issue (not familiar with the topic area), but people shouldn't be saying it is "against the rules" in the RM discussion. It isn't, but it is difficult to find in the unorganized way the policy section is written currently. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:05, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

What it is exactly that is important to capture from the guideline[edit]

Maybe there is consensus for what you're trying to say. I have no idea, because I can't understand what your point is. Can you clearly explain what you think the guideline says, exactly, that is important to capture, and is currently not captured in policy? --В²C 16:28, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
At Talk:Gangsta. moving Gangsta. to Gangsta (manga) is pictured as an "illegitimate" solution while the policy allows it (example in policy: JESUS (album), imaginary example), but nobody appears to be able to find where the policy allows it. The guideline also allows it (Passio (Pärt), IRL example), but it is clearer from the guideline that this is not an arcane solution, it's solving a disambiguation problem with the same do's and don'ts that apply to the more usual disambiguation issues. Then someone comes here, proposing a policy rewrite; then I think: we solved this years ago,... etc. So rewrite the policy (using less words!) in a way that makes this clear. (as said, I don't know whether this third solution is the way to go for Gangsta., my only concern is that people don't picture it as an illegitimate solution, ending up, once every few months, on this page) --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:47, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Oh. There is no consensus for that view, not in that specific example, nor in general. For very good reasons, I might add. --В²C 18:01, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
? Then you're saying there's no consensus on the policy (WP:AT) that allows it (WP:SMALLDETAILS, second paragraph)? Then, if there's no consensus that that paragraph is policy how come it is in the policy? Only because some people don't understand it and ask others to explain them what it means over and over again? Well, that's not how it should work. --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:08, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
And the guideline had and still has consensus, it was never "demoted", the only agreement there was at the time of merging was that it should be summarized in the policy, and if it didn't happen then, it's about time don't you think? --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:11, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Most of this appears as a WP:IDONTLIKE the policy, the part that happens to be in WP:SMALLDETAILS, second paragraph, so lets keep it as obscure and hidden away as possible, in which case a clear guideline on the same would be preferable, of course. --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:27, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
What? The second paragraph in WP:SMALLDETAILS is explicitly referring to articles that are "far more significant on an encyclopedic level or far more likely to be searched for than the other", like JESUS and a hypothetical album named JESUS. What does that have to do with Gangsta.? Is there a use of "Gangsta" that is "far more significant on an encyclopedic level or far more likely to be searched for than [the Japanese manga and anime series]"? Apparently not, at least not according to consensus, since Gangsta is a dab page. That's what policy says, and that's what has consensus support. What exactly do you see in that second paragraph that applies to Gangsta., and why? --В²C 00:04, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
"far more likely to be searched for" might apply (don't know whether it does, I'm not that familiar with the topic area). Anyhow, not an arcane solution, not something that would make people come running here every time it is proposed.
The problem with the policy is that it is overly rigid, i.e. too rigid for a policy page. When there are multiple meanings that combined are "far more likely to be searched for" (like on a disambig page), there's no reason why the principle wouldn't be applicable, subject to consensus as explained in the latter half of the paragraph. --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:51, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
If there was a use for "Gangsta" that was "far more likely to be searched for", then it would be the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, by definition. If we had consensus for that, then the article for that use would be at Gangsta. But that's not the case. Therefore we must assume that none of the uses meet the "far more likely to be searched for" criteria (at the very least, the burden is on anyone who disagrees to prove otherwise).

I don't know what you are referring to when you say, "not an arcane solution". What is not an arcane solution? That sentence is missing a subject and I, for one, cannot glean from the context to what you are referring.

As to the argument that in a situation where multiple meanings are "far more likely to be searched for" that the principle should apply, that makes no sense. That's always the case when there are multiple meanings. It would mean even Oliver! (and countless titles like it), because of all the other uses listed at Oliver and Oliver (surname), could not be a title. The de facto naming convention, manifested in how articles like Oliver! are actually titled, demonstrates that such an interpretation is contrary to consensus. --В²C 16:27, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

If you are looking for the ultimate policy statement that "allows" a title (any title)... it is this: ...editors choose the best title by consensus based on the considerations that this page explains. This statement should probably be moved up to the top of the page, as it is what lies behind the rest of the Policy... Article titles are chosen by consensus (a consensus that should be based on discussing issues like Recognizability, Precision, Naturalness, etc.). As long as there is a consensus for it... any title is allowed. Blueboar (talk) 18:33, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Which doesn't help on the practical & helpful guidance part for the issue being discussed here: the "considerations" to be taken into account still need to be on the page, practical and helpful, for SMALLDETAILS issues that arise every once and awhile (and if they don't arise often enough to burden a long page with, then they would be better on a separate guidance page). --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:48, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
OK, lets approach it another way... would you explain what exactly you think is "missing" from the SMALLDETAILS sub-section of the policy? Blueboar (talk) 20:50, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
LOL. Another way? That's what I asked, just above: Can you clearly explain what you think the guideline says, exactly, that is important to capture, and is currently not captured in policy? Good luck trying to understand the answer. --В²C 00:08, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
You understood it perfectly well, as can be seen from your diligent answer, so don't imply your fellow-editors are less able to capture what has been said than you are. --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:54, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Please stop taking pot shots at each other. It's not conductive to resolving the issue. Francis, obviously there is something that was said in the old guideline that you think is missing from the current policy section. I don't (and won't) speak for other editors... all I can say is that I (personally) don't understand what that something is. I am asking you to be more specific so I can better understand what is concerning you and why. Blueboar (talk) 15:19, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
B2C is correct, your question is answered above after where B2C asked "Can you clearly explain what you think the guideline says, exactly, that is important to capture, and is currently not captured in policy?" I've placed a subsection title above the comment with that question for easy reference: #What it is exactly that is important to capture from the guideline. Hope you can find the answer now. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:47, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
I am still not sure I understand what the issue is... so correct me where if I have it wrong... Is your concern that SMALLDETAILS does not address Gangsta (manga)? If so, then my reaction is: of course SMALLDETAILS doesn't address it... Gangsta (manga) has nothing to do with using a SMALLDETAIL to disambiguate. It is an example of a different form of disambiguation entirely - ie using Parenthetical disambiguation. - and is discussed ("allowed") in its own separate sub-section. Are you saying that SMALLDETAILS should discuss it? Why? Blueboar (talk) 16:13, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
I think he's kind of saying SMALLDETAILS should be clear that the period in Gangsta. is too small a detail to suffice as disambiguation, and so a move to some other form of disambiguation (perhaps parenthetic) is justified. But he's also saying that since SMALLDETAILS is not saying that, that we should resurrect the old guideline page which he believes does say that. I think. But even if I understand that correctly, why he thinks this is important is certainly not clear to me. When I drilled down on what he meant, he ended up essentially reversing primary topic. Instead if there is one topic that is "more likely to be searched than any other", he wants to apply, "if there are multiple topics more likely to be searched than any other..." Frankly, I still don't get it. And I suspect his apparent inability to articulate clearly about this suggests he doesn't either. --В²C 16:38, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Never said we should resurrect the guideline. It's about the guidance not the page on which it is. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:49, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
(ec) SMALLDETAILS should discuss Gangsta/Gangsta., and that to address the ambiguity that results from it a viable path is using a disambiguation technique, i.e. parenthical disambiguation Gangsta. (manga), or parenthical disambiguation of a modified/simplified form, e.g. Gangsta (manga) (whatever most conforms to WP:CRITERIA), and the policy (or applicable guideline) should explain this in such a (comprehensible) way that people don't come running to this policy talk page every time something in this vein needs addressing.
Accidently I solved exactly the same issue not so long ago, and indeed because I had the simpler folded guideline in mind, and not the policy text, this went of course as swiftly as can be: Passio Domini Nostri Iesu Christi secundum Ioannem has a SMALLDETAILS difference with Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem (the second being the Gangsta.-like content page, the first being a redirect to a Gangsta-like disambiguation page): then a first possibility would have been to add the WP:NCM-recommended disambiguator (in this case: "(Pärt)") to the title of the page, thus: Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem (Pärt), but as it happens the topic is also known as simply "Passio" (which also is an ambiguous term), so I decided to do this – as a solution to the SMALLDETAILS problem. This is what the policy (or if it is too detailed for a policy page: the guideline, even an essay would do) should give guidance on, instead of the complicated cruft that is currently in that section of the policy, so that people don't come running here every time something like this occurs. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:49, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
OK... So... can you be more specific as to what should be added to the policy to resolve the issue? I'm not necessarily expecting a formal proposal of language... but at least give us an initial outline of the changes/additions you think would help to clarify the issue. Blueboar (talk) 17:16, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Good question:

  1. Current policy (sort of artificially) limits to "articles", while the SMALLDETAILS issue arises for "expressions": PINK and P!NK have the SMALLDETAILS characteristic, while both are redirects (to different pages). "Resolving" the SMALLDETAILS issue may include "renaming", turning one or both of the expressions into redirects (to articles or to disambiguation pages, depending on what best resolves the ambiguity), e.g. for PINK/P!NK the inherent SMALLDETAILS issue has been addressed by redirecting the first to a disambiguation page and the second to Pink (singer). So the first thing is to make it about "expressions" that are meaningful links in Wikipedia and not exclusively about "articles".
  2. Secondly, the "ambiguity" analogy can reduce the current RULECRUFT in the policy: the policy considers a few cases, very detailed, then adds at least one imaginary example to explain... and then when people come to the policy the policy is written so rigid that there's little practical help to be found. None of this is necessary: explain that SMALLDETAILS issues are about ambiguities: in Wikipedia ambiguities are resolved by the techniques explained in WP:D. No need to rehash that guideline in its entirity in the SMALLDETAILS section. Basicly refer to the guidance that will usually be more familiar to editors.
  3. Then, highlight three disambiguation techniques used in this context:
    1. WP:HATNOTES – to be used nearly always (on article pages) touched by a SMALLDETAILS issue (the page where Cañon redirects to is the only exception I know)
    2. Create disambiguation pages, like the one Streets of London and Streets Of London redirect to.
    3. Rename, for which the PINK/P!NK example can be used or the Passio Domini Nostri Iesu Christi secundum Ioannem/Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem example.
  4. When it is not obvious which of these techniques are most appropriate, defer to consensus (without excluding any of the usual disambiguation techniques), instead of trying to regulate it with rulecruft.

Always keep in mind that the WP:AT policy is about article titles (not about explaining disambiguation techniques, for which there is a separate guideline), so technically, in fact, the third option described above (the renaming) is the only one that really belongs in the WP:AT policy, what is said about the other disambiguation techniques should be kept short. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:41, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, that helps... I am not sure if I agree with everything you suggest, but I do agree with a lot of it. And your goal of reducing RULECRUFT and INSTRUCTION CREEP is something I can get fully behind. Blueboar (talk) 12:03, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

What exactly is the problem with titles that differ only by a very small detail like a period?[edit]

Let's say all articles were not at meaningful titles, but at computer generated ones. So the title of the article for Paris was, say, RSD1573 and the article for Paris, Texas the city was RSD1574 and the article for the film Paris, Texas was RSD1575. Now, Paris and Paris, France would redirect to RSD1573, Paris, Texas would redirect to RSD1574 and Paris, Texas (film) would redirect to RSD1575. I submit everything would work fine. That is, users would find the same articles that they find with today's layout, Google would sort the results the same way it does today, etc. The only thing that would differ would be that the title displayed at the article would not be meaningful, but there would be a meaningful name in bold at the start of the article so, practically, that wouldn't be an issue either.

So if everything can work fine if titles are totally meaningless, why, exactly, is it a problem if titles differ by only a small detail, like capitalization or punctuation? Please explain. --В²C 01:19, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

But everything does not work fine if titles are meaningless. Titles are meaningful. They provide information, though differently than the article itself. Thus it is better to have a meaningful title at the top of the article, as opposed to an arbitrary pseudo-random title. I know you are aware of this, but the point is that this seems to be the basis of your question, and it's a faulty basis. Omnedon (talk) 01:26, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm not arguing that there is no value in meaningful titles. I'm saying people can get to articles just as effectively with meaningless titles as with meaningful titles (because of redirects). The point is: the value of the meaning of the title is only at the article itself, not in getting there. Since titles that reflect the name of the topic, even if the name is the name of another use, are meaningful, what's wrong with having a title on an article that reflects the name of the topic accurately but differs from another title by only a very small detail? In fact, if it were not for the technical issue created by the fact that we use the title in the url which must be unique, what would be wrong with using the exact same title on multiple articles that share an ambiguous name? For example, if not for the technical issue, why not have Mercury be the title of all of the articles about topics with that name (planet, element, etc.)? --В²C 01:54, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Unless you get to an article by clicking SPECIAL:RANDOM, you're getting there from some context. Take the article about the planet Mercury for example. Maybe you searched for Mercury and came from the dab page. Well, you know what you clicked. Or maybe you were on another article, reading about planets, that referenced Mercury through a link which you clicked on. Do you really need to be told it's the planet Mercury and not some other use of Mercury when you get there? And if you did get there with SPECIAL:RANDOM, there is a photo of the planet which dominates the title anyway, and of course even without the photo there is the intro sentence. I contend the only significant value of disambiguation is it allows a way to have a unique title when disambiguation is technically necessary in a way that does not diminish the meaningfulness value of the title. If it were not for the technical reasons for disambiguation, having just the name of the topic (like Mercury) would be perfectly and sufficiently meaningful. Don't you agree? Therefore a title like Gangsta., since it accurately reflects the name of the topic, and is unique so no technical issues, should be fine; not problematic or deficient in any way. Right? --В²C 02:10, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, recognition (as in WP:RECOGNIZABLE) is one of the key priniciples for how articles are named in Wikipedia. Cutting that out leads to a meaningless discussion in this context. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:18, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

Getting tied in knots by a Japanese fad[edit]

Noting that:

  • much, of not all, of the above discussion on whether a terminal period is a sufficient disambiguator involves things from Japan, and
  • that traditional Japanese does not use the period, and
  • that Japanese_punctuation#Words_containing_full_stops tells us that inclusion of the of English period has turned into a fad,
  • which appears to have Japanese meaning different to the English period, and
  • that use of words spelled with a terminal period makes the running text look silly,

Wikipedia should probably stop respecting the Japanese period in translations to English, both in running text and in titles. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:38, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

As I have said, I am not really a fan of the terminal dot for disambiguation... but... I do have to question whether it is really accurate to describe a practice that has been going on for almost 30 years (since the 1980s) with the dismissive term: "fad". "Fad" implies a rather brief period of popularity that quickly fades. This practice does not look like it is really fading. Blueboar (talk) 11:48, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Fad is not my word. If you look to examples of words containing the Japanese full stop, they do not include serious topics. Also I am seeing that these terminal Japanese full stops are not well translated as English full stops, but are closer to the English exclamation mark, and as having effect on pronunciation but not on sentence structure. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:16, 27 July 2015 (UTC)