Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (identity)

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This guideline is very unclear to me. Does it imply that groups identifying themselves as "white nationalist" should be identified like that by us? - Haukur Þorgeirsson 03:03, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

It does imply that. What would the alternative be? Hyacinth 08:54, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
Calling them racists, white supremacists and neo-nazis, I suppose, something few groups self-identify as. - Haukur Þorgeirsson 11:23, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Pen names and abbrevations[edit]

I think this policy should be extended to include guidelines on how to treat pen names / stage names vs. real names, and whether or not abbrevations should be used in the title of a persons article. –DamslethTalk|Contributions 11:02, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Statement that makes no sense[edit]

The following makes no sense to me:

In some cases a general name or term may be more neutral or more accurate. For example: List of African-American composers is acceptable, but List of composers of African descent is more inclusive, and therefore more useful.

If one wants a list of African-American composers the first title is accurate and the second just isn't. I would also deprecate using anything so vague as "of Fooian descent". The text above is like saying, "List of French people" is accepatable, but "List of people" is more inclusive, and therefore more useful. In my opinion that just isn't true.
As the opening statement "In some cases a general name or term may be more neutral or more accurate" is so vague that I have little idea what the point of it is, given that the supporting example makes no sense, I'm going to take it out for now, but it anyone does know what it is supposed to mean and can give a better example, by all means put it back. Merchbow 20:59, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

To me, the statement makes sense because of people like Manu Dibango, who is a notable composer of African descent that was born in Cameroon and thus not African-American. One of his noteworthy albums, Soul Makossa, which drew on traditional Makossa, can be said to have spawned disco and is still being sampled for pop songs 36 years after its relaease. I think that perhaps you assumed "composers of African descent" only referred to those born in the US, making the more specialized term, "African-American composers", more accurate. This assumption could have been compounded by the lack of non-Americans of African descent in List of composers by nationality. Even if we were completely restricted to Western European - style Classical Music, and we could not find a non-American composer of African descent, a list of composers of African descent could foreseeably grow to include non-Americans at any time in the next decade, so I see it as a valid list. :)--Thecurran (talk) 01:52, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Refer to transgender people by their "new gender"[edit]

Referring to people by the gender they choose is absurd. This is not the case "for any other aspect of a person's identity", as the post below states. If a white person decides that he is truly "black" on the inside, you would not suddenly start referring to him as a African-American person (or any other ethnic group for that matter). A person's gender is a concrete, scientifically testable aspect of that person's body and is not open to debate, by him or her self (or anybody else for that matter). If I decide that I am the reincarnation of Jesus Christ (the descriptor I choose for myself, in the language of the below post), the entire educated world is not going to start calling me by that name, but this seems to be the logic that some people apply to gender identity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:47, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Where is the consensus on this? --WikiSlasher 12:59, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

The consensus is that you use the descriptor we choose for ourselves. Just as it is for any other aspect of a persons identity. --Hfarmer 08:16, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
OK thankyou for answering; I was just wondering if there was any previous discussion on this. --WikiSlasher 23:14, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Would that be a "No, there is no previous discussion?" If not, where is it? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:23, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
I am a liberal Democrat and a supporter of gay rights, but even I find it absurd to use an inaccurate gender pronoun to describe someone simply because the person in question would like us to do so. Let's say a man who said he was a woman wanted to play tennis against women at Wimbledon for potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. Would we describe the ensuing controversy by saying "Wimbledon officials would not let her play in the women's draw because they said she was a man"? This would make it sound like the Wimbledon officials were crazy! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:03, 31 October 2010 (UTC)


There is an RfC which is inextricably involved with WP:NCI going on here Talk:Barbarian/RfC_on_usage/. Any feedback is appreciated. - WeniWidiWiki 06:16, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Delete this Article[edit]

I'm trying my hardest to stay civil here, this page has got to be the biggest violation of NPOV on wikipedia. It needs to be removed immediately. I request admin input, I don't want to get done for page blanking. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hayden5650 (talkcontribs) 11:41, 10 May 2007

Which part of it do you consider to be a violation of WP:NPOV? If you want to make a major change please discuss it here and make sure to post on Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) since hardly anyone pays attention to this page. --WikiSlasher 07:45, 13 May 2007 (UTC)


I see some people deleting epithet "Mongoloid" from articles, without bothering to provide a substitute. In my opinion, we should replace presumably offensive epithets with the neutral ones rather than deleting any attempt at description altogether. Furthermore, if "Mongoloid" is indeed considered offensive in modern archaeological discourse, WP:NCI should clearly say so. --Ghirla-трёп- 11:54, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Roma people[edit]

Readers of this page may be interested in a discussion going on at Talk:Roma people, where it has been suggested that the article move to Gypsies. Some opposing the move have cited this policy as an argument for the current title. I'm just leaving a link here, in case anyone wants to weigh in on that matter. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:52, 23 March 2008 (UTC)


I do not see any evidence that this has been proposed to any wide spectrum of editors to see whether it is consensus. It directly contradicts the widely cited WP:COMMONNAME; it may contradict WP:Use English.

I doubt it is consensus; it is not what we actually do, at least about individual identities, and I doubt it is what we should do about national or sexual identities; if it were narrowed to apply only to groups (as may be intended but is not clear), it might be more reasonable.

As for individual identities: we should use what is normally used, because it is clearest: we should use Cat Stevens, not Yusuf Islam, so that our readers will know who we mean; on the other hand, we should use Muhammad Ali, not Cassius Clay, for the same reason. Likewise, we should not use Steven Demetre Georgiou for Cat Stevens, as the "correct name" party would have us do.

For groups, it is now in error; it makes the assumption that large groups, especially those subject to historic discrimination, have a single stable self-identifying term. While coloured is considered inappropriate in the United States, is simply false, and not only because the American is colored; the long cycle of progressive euphemism made colored (or, often, people of color) the preferred term for many members of the group in question again in the 1990's, replacing (for them) black; some but not all of them have gone on to African-American; which may be now replaced by some speakers because of the question of whether a Kenyan-American is a member of the group in question. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:11, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

It doesn't contradict WP:COMMONNAME at all. That is for choosing a name, such as Muhammed Ali or Cassius Clay. This is for labeling, such as whether to say Asian or Oriental. Nor does it make any assumption that groups have a single stable self-identifying term. No guideline or policy assumes there is never a gray area. It is just a guideline. Disagreeing with some particular examples given in the article is not a reason to declare it to be only a "proposed" guideline. Life.temp (talk) 20:44, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
It may not be intended to contradict WP:COMMONNAME, but it does. When naming or writing an article about specific people or specific groups always use the terminology which those individuals or organizations themselves use. means (if it means anything) using Yusuf Islam; that is what the specific person Cat Stevens himself uses.
  • I consider this an example of bad phrasing, not ill intent, and I have attempted a fix for the sentence above; if it holds, I will consider proposing this for wider consideration myself. But this should be thought through to see how it will be misunderstood before that happens. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:30, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Another example of bad phrasing is always use the terminology which those individuals or organizations themselves use. I'm sure whoever wrote that did not mean to apply to Kiev or Warsaw or Rome, the inhabitants of which do not use the English forms; but the use of always will lead to the relevant nationalists quoting this as a command to revise the English form to their liking. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:53, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

As I said, it doesn't contradict WP:COMMONNAME, because it is not concerned with the proper names of individuals. You keep using a case that is not actually used in the guideline at all. Possibly, the guideline needs to be clarified, but that doesn't mean there is no consensus for the idea. I'm not sure you understand the idea. Without this guideline, there is no preference for deciding whether to call Planned Parenthood a pro-choice group or a pro-abortion group. That sort of situation needs a policy, and this is a good one for it. Life.temp (talk) 22:20, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Then it should say so; if it did, I would not have objected. In a wiki, we can only have effective consensus on words, which we share; we cannot have consensus on ideas which our words do not convey. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:28, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I think "labelling" would be a clearer term than "naming" for this topic. Unfortunately, the name (label?) for the cateogry as a whole is "Naming conventions" so we're stuck with it. What do you think of something like this at the beginning of the artile: "This guideline deals with conventions for labeling or grouping people, as opposed to the proper names used for individuals. For the guideline on referring to individuals by name, see WP:COMMONNAME." Life.temp (talk) 23:44, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
It seems a reasonable approach, although the wording could use work; let me think about it. One problem is that WP uses naming and naming convention as a technical term for article titles, as you notice, and we should not conflict with that; much of this page actually deals with what we call style. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:53, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

A case of confusing pronouns[edit]

I originally asked this at WT:MOS as WP:ID redirects there, but they pointed me over here as the fuller expansion of that section.

I've got a rather complicated situation regarding the pronoun(s) to be used for a fictional character, for I would appreciate guidance on interpreting the first two bullets of WP:ID. The character in question is Akito Sohma from the manga Fruits Basket and its anime adaptation. (Please ignore the character article's current hideous quality, including a wretched inconsistency with pronouns: I'm preparing to clean it up -- thus my question.) In the manga, Akito is presented as male for the first half of the series, but turns out to be biologically female and raised to live as man; at the end of the series, as part of letting go other roles he/she has been living, Akito announces that she/he will henceforth live as a woman and is afterward always shown dressed in women's clothing. The anime adaptation covers the first third of the story and was generally faithful to the manga, but was made before the manga reveled Akito's biological sex and, in wrapping up the story early, shows Akito as unambiguously male.

If I understand WP:ID correctly, when discussing the character as portrayed in the manga, Akito should be referred to with female pronouns. What about when discussing the character as portrayed in the anime (such as when describing the differences in adaptation)? What about when discussing the character generically, independent of format? And, possibly most importantly, is there any way to make distinctions clearly enough as to not confuse either readers and editors? (Especially in other articles where Akito is mentioned in passing without reason to explain pronouns.)

For full disclosure, the rule of thumb I've been following in editing other Fruits Basket articles is to use "he" except when discussing Akito after she declares she will live as a woman. Which goes against the word of the guideline, but seemed at the time to invite less confusion. My thanks for any insight others can give. —Quasirandom (talk) 15:22, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

The rule of thumb seems far more sensible than this page; go with it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:13, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Send This Up for Comment?[edit]

If no one objects I would like to submit this page to Requests for comment on Style, reference, layout and projects. It's been in the works for four years now, let's see if we can't get it adopted as a guideline. --DieWeisseRose (talk) 01:15, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

There used to be a "Guideline" template at the top. Maybe it's already been adopted. How is that checked? Life.temp (talk) 23:56, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

I checked the history and although it doesn't seem that it was ever listed as a "guideline" there was a different template that seemed to indicate that it was adopted by consensus but that got changed by the Gimmebot on 21 April 2008. --DieWeisseRose (talk) 01:25, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

I propose that "(identity)" be changed to "(labeling)". Life.temp (talk) 03:49, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I think your recent edits to the page have been good and helpful but I think the page name should stay as it is. "Naming conventions (labeling)" seems redundant to me. I think "Naming conventions (identity)" works fine and is clearer than the alternative. --DieWeisseRose (talk) 01:25, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
There's a difference between naming properties of a peson (labeling) and naming a person (proper name). I think this article is about the former. Whether we call someone "White," "causcasian" or "cracker" is a question of how to "name" the person's property--labeling. It seems to me that "labeling" makes that distinction better than talking about "naming" someone's identity. People do often identify according to race or some notable property, but I think the guideline applies to any label, independent of the very subjective idea of identity. Regardless of all that interesting philosophy, I have no objection to submitting it for offical guideline status as it is.Life.temp (talk) 02:34, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Indigenous Palestinians?[edit]

As in Inuit and Native American? The middle-eastern Jews are also indigenous to the area as are the Arabs, Christian and Muslim. "Palestinian" as in "indigenous Arabs" is a political edit. It should not be in the indigenous section. I wouldn't object to it as a naming convention if that is what they want to be called, but not under the indigenous label, no. Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:29, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I reverted it and explained why in my edit summary. It was completly POV to suggest that as a convenion when the very article on Israeli Arabs (tilted Arab citizens of Israel) is not even titled that. Epson291 (talk) 07:23, 13 June 2008 (UTC)


"Black" is not outdated in the U.S.. Some blacks use it to refer to themselves, an it is more broad than "African-American". "Black" refers to skin color and culture, not national origin. (talk) 17:43, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, I also don't agree that "African American" is widely considered inclusive of (among others) blacks of Caribbean descent. changed, hopefully it's an improvement. -Ethan (talk) • 2009-02-03 07:45 (UTC)

Membership of religious groups[edit]

Suppose there is a religious group whose members identify as Christians but are not universally recognised as such. If an article is to reference them, what should determine if they can be described as Christians? Should this be considered an exception to "When naming or writing an article about specific groups or their members always use the terminology which those individuals or organizations themselves use"? In either case, it may be useful to make the preference explicit in the guideline, as I've seen a few disagreements over it. Ilkali (talk) 16:32, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

This is one of the reasons why "When naming or writing an article about specific groups or their members always use the terminology which those individuals or organizations themselves use" is oversimplified. It applies in some way to all the classifications here. But this page has sat unedited for six months, except for an anon, objecting to it. Does anyone still propose it, or should we accept that this has not obtained consensus? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:11, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Self Identification as euphemism and mainstream usage of non-euphemistic term[edit]

I am having a debate over at Media Matters for America. They self describe as "progressive", but almost universally, the,mainstream media refers to them as a liberal organization. The article is scrubbed of all mention of the liberal label and I cannot add the category "liberal organizations in the United States." There is no category for progressive organizations, but there is a category "progressivism which I have included. So, can we included additional descriptions in categorization and description if neutral third party sources continually describe them as such. I understood the category policy to include all categories that fit the subject. To me this includes both progressive and liberal labels. Bytebear (talk) 04:28, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

People with albinism versus albino people[edit]

A subsection of the general guidelines reads:

Almost always use terms as adjectives rather than nouns, thus, black people, not blacks, gay people, not gays, person with albinism, not albino, and so on. Note that there may be exceptions to this rule: for example, some prefer the term "transgenders" to the term "transgendered people", "Jews" is the standard plural.

The guideline recommends using adjectives instead of nouns, but the phrase person with albinism does not contain any adjectives. Moreover, Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Words to watch#Euphemisms recommends against the people with [noun X] style, and suggests using [adjective form of X] people instead. --Joshua Issac (talk) 21:29, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Albinistic person and person with albinism are interchangeable, and have been consistently used in our articles on human albinism.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:45, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

MOS:IDENTITY is being revisited: How should Wikipedia refer to transgender individuals before and after their transition?[edit]

A recent discussion of MOS:IDENTITY closed with the recommendation that Wikipedia's policy on transgender individuals be revisited.

Two threads have been opened at the Village Pump:Policy. The first addresses how the Manual of Style should instruct editors to refer to transgender people in articles about themselves (which name, which pronoun, etc.). The second addresses how to instruct editors to refer to transgender people when they are mentioned in passing in other articles. Your participation is welcome. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:59, 12 October 2015 (UTC)     Fixed the links. Mathglot (talk) 00:34, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Merged discussion opened[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see "Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Merge draft WP:Naming conventions (identity) to MOS:IDENTITY?", a proposal to merge this to the WP:Manual of Style in one way or another, since this is a draft style guideline with almost nothing in it that pertains specifically to article titles (i.e., it is not a naming convention).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:42, 11 September 2017 (UTC)


If "Two-spirit is preferred over berdache" is meant to imply that Native Americans/First Nations persons who are LGBT should be referred to as "two-spirit" in Wikipedia's own voice, that is never going to get consensus. It's a WP:NPOV problem and will frequently also be WP:OR. We have no idea whether a particular subject might prefer that in most cases. The underlying supposition – that all indigenous peoples of North America are the same culture with the same traditions, beliefs, perceptions, terms, and preferences – is ridiculous nonsense. It's also an NPOV problem for an entirely different reason: promotion of specific religio-spiritual ideas.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:12, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

Pointlessly offensive and anti-policy entry[edit]

This entry:

  • Some terms are considered pejorative, or have negative associations, even if they are quite commonly used. Even though people may use these terms themselves, they may not appreciate being referred to by such terms by others (for example, faggot, nigger, tranny). Note that neutral terminology is not necessarily the most common term — a term that the person or their cultural group does not accept for themselves is not neutral even if it remains the most widely used term among outsiders.

is problematic for at two reasons:

  1. There is no point including a list of offensive epithets; we would not use these words in WP articles anyway (other than in quotations, e.g. in an article about a hate-speech case or whatever), and their presence here is just going to be a useless irritant to most people who see them.
  2. It isn't permissible for a guideline to just contradict a policy like WP:COMMONNAME, so this draft can never become a guideline with this wording in it. Some other approach is going to have to be taken here.

The entire provision isn't needed unless someone can identify multiple cases where the most common name in reliable sources is a term that RS generally identify as offensive. This scenario appears to be impossible, because a) most of the sources would have to be using it and b) most of the sources would have to simultaneously agree it was offensive, ergo c) most of the sources would have to be intentionally being offensive just to be assholes, which would d) make them suspect as reliable sources to begin with (namely, the "reputable publisher" criterion would be dubious). It's poor content in other ways, e.g. "Even though people may use these terms themselves" doesn't mean what its author thinks it means. "Note that" is almost never meaningful to include; literally 99+% of cases of its use can be deleted.

We could maybe retain a "stub" of this line item, as something like:

  • A term may be considered pejorative, or have negative associations, even if it is commonly used, or used as a self-label among persons to whom it applies. Such terms should not be used on Wikipedia except inside quoted material and in material about the terminology itself.

and just leave it at that. The rest of that stuff is just WP:CREEP and/or WP:SOAPBOX. The original's last clause, in particular, is the opposite of WP consensus; we routinely apply exonyms in article titles and in running prose (e.g. Navajo not Diné), and identify the endonym(s) in the lead section (unless the endonym is overtaking the endonym; thus "Eskimo" is finally out). It is not WP's job to dictate names and usage, but to follow them, as determined by reliable sources on the topic and on general English-language usage.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:54, 11 September 2017 (UTC)