Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (books)

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Remove line[edit]

"Although there are some extreme cases, for instance Herman Brusselmans' early 2006 short story would rather get The Dollarsigns in the Eyes of Mother Theresa (short story) as a page name, than without the qualifier." I think this line should be removed, I se no reason why this would be a qualified name, unless there is a well known play, poem or documentary of the same name. Rich Farmbrough, 07:55 22 April 2007 (GMT).

OK removed. Rich Farmbrough, 11:50 24 April 2007 (GMT).

Disambiguating books by just surnames[edit]

In the light of Talk:The Devil's Advocate (Morris West novel)#Requested move, what can be done about books by lesser-known authors? --George Ho (talk) 03:55, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

See above, #(Smith novel) --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:06, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Too late; it's already archive. Shall we make a fresher discussion instead? --George Ho (talk) 08:45, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
But there really isn't a normal dab practice besides what's described on individual pages. Films are, I believe, never disambiguated by auteur or star. Albums and songs are almost always disambiguated by full artist name. In literature, it's more common to refer to authors by surname alone, and (Smith novel) is enough to distinguish an article unless another novel of the same name by someone named Smith [exists / has a Wikipedia article].Take your pick. More to the point, I don't know how or when this convention was established, but changing it is going to involve a lot of work for not a lot of benefit. --BDD (talk) 00:02, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
BTW "involve a lot of work for not a lot of benefit" - we don't have as many book articles as albums or songs. A single editor could move the surname only part of the book article corpus to dabs consistent with author articles in 3 hours, thereby also leaving redirects for those who don't know which Smith. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:13, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
"Britney Spears" and "Dickens" are differently treated. We can add a first name if the surname is too ambiguous. "Dickens" and "Austen" and "Shakespeare" are treated as well-known names, especially when first names is sometimes omitted. --George Ho (talk) 00:23, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
(Charles Dickens novel) and (Jane Austen novel) as still recognizable. We could list some specific exceptions for Shakespeare and Goethe which are more likely mononyms. I honestly don't believe "Austen" is a mononym, how often in books is she simply unintroduced as "Austen novel"? In ictu oculi (talk)
As of now, there is Katherine Austen, but she made less work than other Austen ever had. "Dickens" redirects to Charles Dickens article. Well, there is Dickens family, but "Dickens" is not that ambiguous because no one else has researched or been familiar with his descendants. --George Ho (talk) 00:39, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, as I said I believe "Austen" is a mononym, how often in books is she simply unintroduced as "Austen novel" - barely none? Authors are rarely known as mononyms, much much less than major composers. 1900 onwards almost never. In ictu oculi (talk) 08:50, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
I would say that would be a bad example and irrelevant RM, it needs to be done on a more typical example - like Smith, Jones, Brown. Such as Lila (Robinson novel), that is what we are talking about here. Or one of the many like Rage (Wilbur Smith novel) which are created at consistent with author article titles and moved because of this local consensus guideline. In ictu oculi (talk) 22:29, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
It's not possible to get a broad consensus excluding the less typical examples ("broad" is not an extrapolation of "narrow"). For the time being, as far as I'm concerned, page moves in this sense are only possible after individual RMs, unless and until a broad consensus can be demonstrated. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:05, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree, all articles where first names have been removed should be restored. In ictu oculi (talk) 07:26, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Moving in agreement with current guidance is however to be considered uncontroversial, until RMs show it would be controversial. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:05, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Trying to make my stance perfectly clear: I would need to see something like this (i.e. an uninvolved closure after a broad consultation of the community) before I'd do something comparable to this on the WP:NCB page. And, of course, I'd oppose disruption of any kind. Minus the drama the process that led to a WP:NCNUM change in November last year worked fine. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:30, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Could we just start an RfC on this? As long as the naming convention clearly states to use surnames only, doing otherwise feels wrong and disruptive. If it changes, so be it. I'm not against changing it on the merits, but I am against it given the work-to-benefit ratio I mentioned before. --BDD (talk) 15:23, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
    Feel free to start these (and/or a few others if that would be good choices), I'd rather not get too involved in this, but will try to give my opinion, time permitting. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:54, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
I'd really rather we not take that approach. That's going to lead to anomalies. An RfC is the way to go, not piecemeal RMs. --BDD (talk) 18:51, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, RfC OK. A few RMs running concurrently usually helps focus, that is at least my experience. Changing guidelines without being sure WP:RM would lead to the same outcome is just off the table as far as I'm concerned, so a few RMs before the end of the RfC is a bare minimum (to confirm the broad acceptance of change or status quo before the RfC ends).
Note that RMs run (in principle) a week, RfC's (in principle) a month: so 5 or 10 concurrent RMs can give result on shorter term than a RfC (...however no more than the theoretical model).
For an RfC it's rather crucial to have a concrete question to start with. How would you formulate that? --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:08, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
"Is the current recommendation to use an author's surname to further disambiguate books sufficient, or should fuller names be used?" --BDD (talk) 19:09, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Adding some context to the question this should work imho. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:13, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well, let's see whether a bolder approach can avoid red tape ([1]), starting from the assumption that The Devil's Advocate (Morris West novel) is a "stable" article title by now. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:58, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

  • There are so few book articles in our corpus I would leave it largely to article creators to determine if their author is a credible mononym. Your edit is an improvement, but we are still giving guidance to mononymize authors of 2015 books who are not WP:RECOGNIZABLE as mononyms. In 2014 I only see 2 maybe 3 big literature books whose authors could conceivably be mononyms, the rest are unrecognizable as surnames without context of barely notable authors of popular fiction. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:41, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
An additional issue : The Game (Diana Wynne Jones novel), aside from "Jones" being like "Smith" and "Brown" an ambiguous writer dab, which is the surname here - is it Wynne Jones or Jones? (the answer doesn't matter because readers won't know). In ictu oculi (talk) 00:53, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
I would object to "Is the current recommendation to use an author's surname to further disambiguate books sufficient, or should fuller names be used?" because it is framed to produce the argument WP:STATUSQUO which would be fair if there was a proper consensus to establish this change, but it seems there wasn't. I would prefer a question not slanted to reference something that was barely discussed, instead : "Should writer disambiguators generally use full name as writer article, or generally surname only, or in each case decide on the basis of first mention usage". In ictu oculi (talk) 01:00, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
But it is the status quo, and around here, a status quo remains unless there's consensus to change it. A no consensus result means surnames continue to be the further disambiguator. The wording also signals that a "no" answer will entail changing many existing articles to conform to the new standard. --BDD (talk) 02:00, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
It is still a WP:LOCALCONSENSUS not a true status quo. Books were at (2006 novel) until a few months ago, that was the status quo. In ictu oculi (talk) 23:17, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
No, In ictu oculi. As long as this page has been marked as a naming convention, the recommendation has been further disambiguation surname. 25 January 2006, if you're interested, so over nine years and only "a few months ago" in the loosest sense. --BDD (talk) 19:07, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Then why were there so many (2006 novel) etc article moves a few months ago ? In ictu oculi (talk) 22:17, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Is it possible to name some examples of those "(2006 novel) etc article moves a few months ago," sorry for having no clue what this is about. Maybe some of these moves can serve as example in this discussion? --Francis Schonken (talk) 23:30, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Kicked it off with a WP:RM on The Devil's Advocate (Morris West novel)The Devil's Advocate (novel) (see Talk:The Devil's Advocate (Morris West novel)#Requested move 31 January 2015) --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:45, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

That's a fair sentiment, but without some guidance, I think there would be a lot of wasted time with move-warring and RMs. It probably makes sense to make a broad prescription and allow for individual deviation (which is exactly what's going on right now). --BDD (talk) 16:38, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Actually, I would say that having guidance is what is causing a lot of wasted time with move-warring and RMs. Most of this is generated by those who think we have to "conform" disambiguation to a set standard, when we don't. Blueboar (talk) 17:07, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
I would agree. In ictu oculi (talk) 23:17, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
One more. (Jones novel) is not any more helpful than (novel), since there are countless Joneses. (Dickens novel) suffices in most cases ... and yes, this does discriminate against any other writers that happen to be named Dickens or Shakespeare, but believe me, they have already suffered enough that this won't burden them overly. No reason to make a rigid rule. --GRuban (talk) 18:56, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Context matters. Obviously, "Jones novel" doesn't tell you a whole lot, but as a disambiguator, it does the job of distinguishing a subject from that of similarly named articles (cf.). If I'm looking for a novel called Foo by Stephen King and I see a title Foo (Jones novel), I know immediately that it's not what I'm looking for. --BDD (talk) 19:10, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Except it doesn't. What if someone impartially remembers name of novel (King novel) isn't as helpful as (Stephen King novel). What benefit to anyone is there from turning Stephen King into "King"? Where is the benefit? In ictu oculi (talk) 22:15, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Probably (King novel) would be avoided for similar reasons as why (Queen drummer) was avoided in the name of the page where Roger Taylor (Queen drummer) redirects to (see WP:NCPDAB). These are the exceptions though, as far as I'm concerned.
On second thought Finders Keepers (King novel) appears to be unproblematic, so I proceeded to set the Rage novel with the same parenthical disambiguator: [2] --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:25, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
On the content of the matter, I think BDD is right though. It's about the recognizability of the article topic, not about the recognizability of each individual component of the article title. E.g. we have Liebeslieder, Op. 114 (Strauss) and Oboe Concerto (Strauss): the Strauss of the first is not the Strauss of the second, but nobody cares while the article topic is recognizable to a person familiar with the subject area (policy quote!) without further information about the creator. That's WP:CONCISE weighing in once WP:RECOGNIZABLE is satisfied. --Francis Schonken (talk) 22:38, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
  • At the risk of having to say the same thing three times: again Liebeslieder, Op. 114 (Strauss) is because classical composers are referred to as mononyms in books. Authors are not, even when (Bruce Springsteen song) is more than guessable. There evidently is no consensus for making modern pop fiction authors into mononyms. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:41, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Classical composers hadn't been mentioned before, so nothing repetitive...
    • "classical composers are referred to as mononyms in books"[citation needed]
    • "Authors are not"[citation needed]
    • Springsteen is an author[citation needed]
    • I think the best approach remains that in general authors are rather like composers than like performing musicians. BTW this was the approach before WP:NCB became a separate guideline ten years ago "...If further disambiguation is needed, add the author's surname in parentheses..." (...since 2 April 2004) --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:34, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Again, WP:CCC is a viable approach...
      • ...but denying that there has been a more or less unproblematic consensus for some ten years after its introduction eleven years ago ... is ... well ... not the best way to find a new consensus.
      • There's very little to show what the new consensus would be ... What we need, I think, is stable article titles that show the new consensus ... so we need (at least) WP:RMs that show that there's a broad editor support for whatever the new consensus would be. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:07, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Classical/pop borderline[edit]

Whenever there's an issue about how article titles are treated differently in classical and pop cultures I have a look at what happens at the borderline between the two cultures. Nearly always (and also in this case) Gershwin comes to help:

I think there is some merit to the argument that modern pop fiction authors are maybe not usually cited as a mononym in a parenthical disambiguator... but we're still very far from demonstrating there's a consensus building around this idea. One of the difficulties is drawing the line between more "classical" literature and "modern pop fiction"... Classical vs. pop music is easier to distinguish (which has WP:NCM devided in two sections without much of a relation between the two), with very few exceptions (Gershwin... who else?). So more editor input is needed... Why didn't the RfC start BTW?

E.g. who is to say that Saramago isn't pop fiction? Because he won the Nobel Prize? Yet we have Skylight (Saramago novel) and The Double (Saramago novel). Compare this play by another Nobel Prize laureate: One for the Road (Harold Pinter play)... --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:30, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Potential compromise[edit]

How about using surname only for further disambiguation when a writer is primary topic for the surname? I'm not entirely convinced of this myself, because it's rather a high bar to cross. Even Orwell isn't primary topic, though it's qualified with a "usually refers to... George Orwell". This may mostly encompass odd (in English) surnames. Here's a few that it would apply to: Angelou, Asimov, Churchill, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner, García Márquez, Hemingway, Nabokov, and Steinbeck. Should this approach be adopted, it would be helpful to maintain a list of applicable names—not unlike the WP:USPLACE exceptions, though this would be a longer list perhaps better suited to a subpage. --BDD (talk) 16:49, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Unnecessary Instruction creep. We are never going to get rid of all arguments... but attempting to codify how to disambiguate causes more arguments than it resolves. Blueboar (talk) 17:12, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Having an instruction is not instruction creep. Anyway, you missed the boat—this disambiguation has been codified for nine years, and many other topics have prescribed methods of disambiguation. Embracing inconsistency in article titles would do a serious disservice to our readers. --BDD (talk) 19:08, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Being overly consistent also is a disservice to our readers. Blueboar (talk) 20:16, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
How so? --BDD (talk) 20:58, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Per User:BDD let's do as sources do. The number of mononym authors after 1900 is tiny. In ictu oculi (talk) 23:19, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Correct disambiguator for short story collections?[edit]

Whilst the instruction for WP:BOOKDAB mentions "(novel)", "(novella)", "(short story)", "(dialogue)", "(essay)", "(play)", it doesn't mention the recommended disambiguator for short story collections. Looking through Category:Single-writer short story collections, there seems to be a variety of disambiguators used (including "book", which according to this guideline should be used for non-fiction works). I'm seeing "(stories)", "(story collection)", "(short story collection)", "(collection)" and "(omnibus)". Should the disambiguator be consistent? Do we have a preference? --Rob Sinden (talk) 10:12, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Changing "Bibliographies" section[edit]

We have ongoing RM discussion at Talk:Woody Allen bibliography. Some suggest rewriting the section to reflect current prevalence of "person's name bibliography". Are there problems with current revision? If so, what change shall we propose? --George Ho (talk) 20:12, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

I'd wait a couple of days, but if no one (else) responds (as I suspect may happen), I'd advise just being bold and revise the guideline to include "[Person name] bibliography"-type article title cases. --IJBall (contribstalk) 21:03, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
I think you'll need an RFC for this - it will affect a lot of articles. There is no current prevalance for "person's name bibliography" when the bibliography is about the subject as George suggests. Also, we still need to differentiate between bibliographies about the subject and bibliographies by the subject in some way. --Rob Sinden (talk) 08:09, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
That said, "List of works about subject" might work. --Rob Sinden (talk) 09:01, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I think the "Bibliographies" section is unworkable, and should be removed. No guidance on the matter is better than this. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:49, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

There are two versions of "Bibliographies" section: previous version and current version. If neither version is working, what is your proposal for the section? --George Ho (talk) 00:20, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

  • None. A Wikipedia bibliography page is not an article on a book in the sense of this guideline. There's a WikiProject about bibliography pages that agreed on some guidance on the subject: sort it out with them. Not something this page should say anything about, because, as said, it is not within its scope (when, but I don't know of any example in this sense, a Wikipedia article is about a separate bibliography published as a book, of course the NCB guideline applies, like it applies for Schubert Thematic Catalogue but there also nothing specific needs to be mentioned in the guideline) --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:58, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I have just noticed that Wikipedia:WikiProject Bibliographies recommends Topical bibliographies where the topic is a person should be named: Bibliography of works on John Doe. This eliminates confusion with John Doe bibliography which lists works by John Doe (an author bibliography). --Rob Sinden (talk) 08:01, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

Mixed topical and author bibliographies: Some biblliographies contain both works written by the author and works about the author written by others. (...)

The Richard Nixon bibliography includes publications by Former President Richard Nixon and books and articles about him and his policies.
None of this is however a problem of WP:NCB, as said, better to sort it out with the project guys. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:16, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Rob, while that solution isn't horrible, it strikes me as somewhat inelegant, and less than the kind of precision and conciseness we want in an article title. Is there some other way we can get across the same idea in a less wordy fashion?! I still think "Bibliography on [person]" is a better way to go here... It seems to me like the best solution involves some combination of "Bibliography of [person]" (when those works are written by the person), "Bibliography on [person]" (for those bibliographies about a person, but not written by them), and "[Persion] bibliography (for bibliographies that contain both works by the person, and by other people?...). Is this workable?... --IJBall (contribstalk) 16:01, 4 August 2015 (UTC)