Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (settlements)/Archive 13

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Archive 12 Archive 13 Archive 14

Tariq's Proposal

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

There was no consensus to change the current guideline. There may be support to make smaller changes to details of the guideline, but not massive change. --Scott Davis Talk 03:09, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Part I
The canonical form for cities in the United States is City, State (the "comma convention"). However, if a major city has a unique name or is unquestionably the most significant subject sharing its name, such as Chicago and Philadelphia, it can reside at a disambiguated location, without the state. Those cities that need additional disambiguation include their county, borough or parish (for example Elgin, Lancaster County, South Carolina and Elgin, Kershaw County, South Carolina). Smaller locations, those which are not well-known outside their immediate vicinity, such as Walla Walla, Washington and Garrett Park, Maryland, should not be moved from "City, State"; they should remain disambiguated with their respective state names, regardless of the uniqueness of the names of the cities.
An U.S. city's article, however, should never be titled simply "city, United States" (e.g "Houston, United States"), although it is permissible to create a title of this type as a redirect to the properly titled article. Similarly, a title that uses the state's two-letter postal abbreviation should never be the primary article title, although creating a redirect is permitted.
Part II

Additionally, can we agree to move the twenty-seven cities mentioned by john k in his AP-related proposal, as they would abide by the requirements needed for disambiguation.

I can easily see agreeing with Part I and disputing some of Part II; it is possible to agree with Part II for other reasons, and oppose Part I. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pmanderson (talkcontribs)

Survey -3

This is for later use; but if anyone has decided, fine. If you want fine-tuning, please comment below.

Support Votes -3

  1. Support. I support any proposal that moves U.S. cities in the direction of disambiguate only when necessary. --Serge 06:31, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
  2. Support I'm okay with this as-is. This would a) create a brief statement for the guideline, b) leave the Canadian guideline alone, c) provide a starting point for moves according to the guideline, d) still leave the possibility of future moves open, and e) make sure very small cities like Garrett Park, Maryland retain the state disambiguation. -- tariqabjotu 16:09, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
  3. Support. I've also implemented the wording change Septentrionalis proposes below. But I agree that discussion needs to continue. john k 12:39, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
  4. Support the current phrasing. olderwiser 13:37, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
  5. Support. Anything to end the ridiculous convention we have now. --DaveOinSF 01:49, 5 November 2006 (UTC) (I suppose I have to change my UID to DaveOinSF,CA)
  6. Support, It's about time we had some common sense on this. G-Man * 16:50, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
    Support for now. I think this is strong enough to make clear that we only disambiguate cases like Chicago. Septentrionalis 22:26, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
  7. Support for now. Sounds as a sensible attempt to achive peace. Duja 11:52, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  8. Support per a nice balance of common sense moves and put-the-brakes guidelines. I worry this straw poll will be invalidated due to the numerous earlier polls, but it's worth a try.. -- nae'blis 18:57, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  9. Support. Georgia guy 20:03, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  10. Support. Makes sense to me. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 02:09, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  11. Support: per previous my points in archived talk or Seattle talk page. —Asatruer— 21:45, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  12. Support --josh (talk) 22:05, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  13. Support with reservations about definition of "well-known." At this point, I'd prefer to move forward and hope for a Part III, but these discussions (including this one) need to take a break. This is a "good enough for now" compromise. --ishu 04:13, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
  14. Support: I've supported this before. If it's a compromise, so be it. —Wknight94 (talk) 03:25, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
  15. Support: per above. -- Ned Scott 03:31, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
  16. Support --Polaron | Talk 23:19, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
  17. Support: My preference is to simplify bureaucracy by referring only to WP:NC for disputes, but since everybody loves to make new rules, this is better than the "city, state" requirement. --Dystopos 18:47, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
  18. Support: It's worked quite well for every other country (including countries with states and provinces), so why not the US? Wikipedia doesn't pre-disambiguate articles beforehand unless absolutely necessary; why should this be any different? Canadian articles are moving away from the CITY, PROVINCE convention, and it hasn't caused many problems at all (in fact, problems seem to be reduced in ways). -→Buchanan-Hermit/?! 07:15, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
  19. Support: Per nom. I forget, what's the WP guideline that says that for articles should be under the commonly known name where possible? E.g. Edson Arantes do Nascimento -- same principle applies to places, I would think. Regarding Tarzana and the California discussion below, if those names are not commonly understood to the preponderance of English speakers (as Tarzana is not) then they should include the state. - PhilipR 00:49, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
  20. Support SEATTLE SEATTLE SEATTLE. SchmuckyTheCat 10:29, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Not Yet Votes (please specify change, if any, required for you to support)

1. Not Yet Previously I was opposed because I believe in uniformity, but now I'm thinking if I can get other Californian Wikipedians to join me, we can create a new California voter block that can demand that all California place names be considered Unique or the most well known and therefore all California cities will no longer need a (City, State) disambiguation. Gohiking 17:49, 22 November 2006 (UTC) A list of cities (incomplete) that meet the Unique criteria are:


Excellent idea! I wikified them, added Carmel-by-the-Sea, and fixed the spelling of Coalinga and Sacramento. Also, striked out those that are not the primary meanings of their respective names, need to be disambiguated, and so don't belong on this list. But I would certainly support moving those that are verified to be unique above to be at the names by which they are most commonly referenced per WP:NAME. --Serge 19:05, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

If this is the likely consequence, change to strongly oppose, unless some criteria can be incorporated to strike a number of those which clearly are not the most prominent article that should have that name. If Serge can find so many ambiguities that Gohiking didn't (and although I know that Tarzana is a place, it's unlikely that someone even from Northern California would. I would not be at all surprised if there were other communities named Tarzana as a back-formation from Tarzan, even if we don't have them listed in Wikipedia.) However, Tarzana shouldn't have even been on the table, as it's a region within Los Angeles. Similarly, we need (even in the present Wikipedia) disambiguation (or, at least, {{otheruses}}) pages between Desert Hot Springs, California and hot springs which are in a desert. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 20:10, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
For the life of me I do not understand the relevance of the fact that hardly anyone, even someone from Northern California, would know that Tarzana is a place to the issue of whether Tarzana should be at Tarzana or Tarzana, California. The broader and much more important general issue is: is there any precedence within Wikipedia of adding more information to a title of a subject, not because of an ambiguity issue, but just to make it more clear what a relatively obscure subject is? I'm sorry, but I'm simply unaware of any such precedent or convention, much less a guideline. Please correct me if I'm wrong. But I'm pretty sure that we don't put additional information in the title of an article about a relatively obscure book just to make it more obvious that the article is about a book. I don't think we put any kind of additional identifying information in the title of articles about relatively obscure actors, authors, politicians, CEOs, etc., beyond just their names, unless their names are not unique. I just don't understand where this compulsion to do so for city names comes form. There is a small minority of TV episode editors that wants to do this for articles about TV episodes with unique names, but that effort is being soundly rejected (and rightly so). Can someone (Arthur?) explain this to me, please? --Serge 20:27, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I lean toward adding pre-disambiguation for TV episodes, as well, although I don't care enough about it to comment in those polls. In most cases, a person's name is clearly a person's name, although one cannot tell what kind of a person it is, so the situations are not at all similar. Similarly, a title is usually clearly a title, although whether of a book, film, TV show, TV episode, play, music album, song, or poem, is often unclear. I feel that a place should also be clearly a place, and possibly even a human-defined place should be easily separated from a geographic feature by the name alone.
Furthermore, people tend to name places after other places, so that a non-particularly-notable place may very well collect namesakes, and unless an automated system generates the articles for named settlements, the potential ambiguities may never be caught. Over the past few decades, new cities have formed in Southern California at a rate of about 2 or 3 a decade, and someone trying to reference the new city of Lake Forest, California might very well have accidently linked to Lake Forest, Illinois, without realizing there was a problem. Settlements really are different than people, in that people generally assume that the names are fixed and unique, while, in fact, they are not. In the case of people, no one would be surprised if there was another Arthur Rubin (in fact, there is a fairly notable actor in the 1940s through at least the 1970s with that name), but people would be (falsely) surprised if there was another Tarzana or Lake Forest. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 20:54, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Serge asked is there any precedence within Wikipedia of adding more information to a title of a subject, not because of an ambiguity issue, but just to make it more clear what a relatively obscure subject is? and has been answered a number of times previously, but conveniently neglects to remember them. I know of at least three: 1) royalty, 2) Ship names, and 3) State highways in the US. There are articles within each of these types where a simpler unique name is possible, but where additional information is encoded as a matter of style. olderwiser 22:05, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Possibly Provincial highways in Canada, as well; at least officially, the "Kings Highways", secondary, and tertiary roads in Ontario are distinguished, even if Ontario Route nn would be unique. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 22:28, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I do remember, and each time I have to remind you: in all of those cases while a "simpler unique name is [theoretically] possible", in almost all of the articles in all of those categories that "common name" is not nearly as clear and obvious as it is for city names. When a category exists for which for most articles the "common name" is unclear, I don't have a problem with using a consistent naming convention that produces a plausible common name for each member of the category. But in a category where the most common name is obvious (place name, people's names, book and movie titles, etc., etc.), no "work-a-round" for the common names policy is needed, because the common name is known, and, so, it alone should be used as the title of the article, unless there is an ambiguity issue, in which case an appropriate disambiguator should be added to the title. --Serge 23:28, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for wikifying my city list Serge - but I noticed that most ambiguity where noted still shows that the California city name is the primary reference (in the English language, anyway) and that the other uses are less common.
  • Fresno shouldn't be an issue, as the Fresno, TX only has 6,000 residents and Wikipedia shouldn't be used as a word translator, because Fresno has an entry for it's spanish meaning of "Ash Tree".
  • only 2 Los Banos in the world, in California and the Philipines (next to a volcano no less, so it might not be around too much longer)
  • only 2 Cudahy's in the world also, both cities (CA and WI) founded by the same man. --Interesting
  • Indio is the only city with this name, althrough it's used both as someone's name (as are many cities!) and a brand of beer. Gohiking 22:34, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
... major city has a unique name or is unquestionably the most significant subject sharing its name... (emphasis added) — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 22:48, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Arthur. I only marked "verified" those for whom the name redirected already - all the others had a dab page and were not unquestionably the most significant usage of that name. --Serge 23:33, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Arthur, we have a few outstanding issues to discuss.

  • Desert Hot Springs. Whether Desert hot springs should be a dab page with links to the city and to Hot springs is a good question. Currently, it just redirects to the city. If it's appropriate to redirect to the city (and I'm not saying it is), then the city should just be at the name. If it's appropriate to have it go to the dab page, then, of course, the article about the city needs disambiguation. The point is, the way you decide whether an article title in Wikipedia needs disambiguation depends on the use of that name by other subjects. I don't see why cities should be any different.
  • Tarzana. Let's say we didn't know Tarzana was a community of L.A. It could be the title of a book or a movie, a toy name, a wrestler's name, a model of a car, bicycle or motorcycle, a hotel, a city, town or community in almost any country besides the U.S., a TV episode, etc., etc. If Tarzana was the name any of those, and unique, per Wikipedia general naming guidelines it would be at Tarzana. Why, simply because it happens to be the name of a city or community in the U.S., should the applicable naming rules be any different? The supposed requirement to be able to identify the "kind" of thing a Wikipedia article subject is from the title alone has no basis in convention, guideline or policy. Trying to meet this non-existent requirement only leads to conflict with actual Wikipedia conventions, guidelines and policies. Why? Don't get me wrong, I can see the benefit of having "type-identifying titles", if you will. And if it were a Wikipedia value, goal, convention, guideline and/or policy to have "type-identifying titles", I'd be with you 100%. But having "type-identifying titles" is not a Wikipedia goal, convention, guideline and/or policy, so far as I know, and, so, I don't see the point of trying to have them for U.S. cities.
  • I feel that a place should also be clearly a place, and possibly even a human-defined place should be easily separated from a geographic feature by the name alone. Thanks for sharing your feelings with us. That's great. But, again, so far as I know, satisfying your feelings is not a Wikipedia value, goal, convention, guideline and/or policy. Nor is having "type-identifying titles".
  • New cities. The potential new conflicts caused by the tiny number of new cities each year can easily be handled by conventional disambiguation guidelines. Whenever any new article is added to Wikipedia, the editor must check for any existing uses of the name, and deal with the disambiguation issues accordingly. This is no big deal.
  • Accidental links. There is a "Show preview" button for a reason. Editors are responsible to make sure their links work, including making sure their links go to the pages they're supposed to go too. The last thing we want to do is encourage editors to develop bad habits like not following their links from a preview because they "know" they go to the right page. Reducing the possibility of making links accidently to the wrong page is a very weak point in favor of predisambiguating anything. --Serge 00:00, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Desert Hot Springs. I disagree that a redirect from [[City]] to [[Citi, State]] necessary means the article should be at [[City]]. That's what this convention is supposed to address, even though it differs from the general guideline on naming things. (The question of whether it should be a redirect is not relevant to this page, except to note that if it were at Desert Hot Springs, and then changed to a disambiguation page, the disambiguator might not know to move the article to Desert Hot Springs, California. I'll mention it at Talk:Desert Hot Springs, California....)
  • Tarzana. The details of the name of Tarzana is covered by multiple contradictory guidelines. You say the name should be Tarzana, under the general guidelines at WP:NC(CN). Most of the guidelines we're discussing here would put it at Tarzana, California, but, under yet another (working) guideline, it's at Tarzana, Los Angeles, California. Which of the latter two it should be at is out-of-scope for this guideline. (And it clearly dosn't go there under tariq's proposed guideline; it's not major, nor a city.)
  • A place should be a place; that's just an additional justification for my reasoning — IMHO, it doesn't conflict with general Wikipedia policy, and provides reasons why the existing policy, including tariq's proposal, and the Australian proposal, are better than the qualify with "your" qualify with the state only if necessary proposal. When discussing proposals, the question should be "is it good for Wikipedia", not "does it conflict with other Wikipedia guidelines" (even though it doesn't).
  • New cities. The potential new conflicts caused by new cities, although small in number, do not have a project or team watching them, so are likely to persist. The proposals with predisambiguation or qualification make the conflicts less likely.
  • Accidental links. I see your point. I just don't agree with it. However, there's little difference to new editors if the [[City, State]] redirects to [[City]] are always created and the guidelines encourage creating links in the form [[City, State|]]. It causes a little effort on the part of part of the software, but that's better than confusing new editors.
Arthur Rubin | (talk) 17:47, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Oppose Votes -3

To facilitate moving towards consensus, please consider a "Not Yet" vote in the section above, including suggesting a change to the proposal that would allow you to support it, rather than an all-out "oppose" vote.

  1. Oppose Once again, don't see the point. Another attempt at changing the policy, since all the previous attempts have failed. Hey, keep trying! Eventually, the opposition will forget to vote! Phiwum 04:18, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
  2. Oppose let's get out the laundry list...
    -Introduces a needless inconsistency into the US naming convention. There is no practical benefit to having some cities at CITYNAME and other at City, State. On the flip side, there is no harm to having every US city consistently at City, State.
    -As an "objective criteria" the AP guideline is flawed in the fundamental difference between a newspaper dateline and an Encyclopedia article entry. The sole purpose of a dateline is to state where the store was filed and may have little or no relevance to the subject matter of the article itself. An encyclopedia entry article title, however, DOES have mark relevance to what the article is about. Additionally, even AP reports don't rely on the single CITY dateline alone to convey the full context of the location as evident by these article titles. The fundamental difference is that we are writing encyclopedia articles about a location, not filing the report from that location.
    Georgia Early Voting Numbers Up - AP ATLANTA
    Dinosaur City planned for Texas in 2008 - AP HOUSTON
    VFW Passes Over Veteran in Illinois - AP CHICAGO
    Pennsylvania business news in brief - AP Philadelphia
    Doyle adds Aaron's big bat to Wisconsin campaign lineup - AP Milwaukee
    -Furthermore, the AP style guidelines is not even used consistently on AP news reports with several instances City, State datelines even for the 27 cities listed above. Like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Boston.
    -Does nothing to curb the endless debate and page move request because of its reliance on subjective criteria which editors are obviously bound to disagree over- namely the potentially unstable criteria for determining what "is unquestionably the most significant subject sharing its name." To whom? For the Irish and others the city of Cork is unquestionably the most significant subject and they were quite passionate and vocal about that with attempts to move it to what other editors felt was "unquestionably the most significant subject" of the material Cork. Considering the absence of a practical benefit to have these "exception inconsistencies" the continued opening for constant debate and endless debate on Page Moves is high price to pay for little or no gain.
    -Similarly, this subject criteria goes over to the "smaller locations" as editors are just as open to argue that Walla Walla IS well known for its onions (or its propensity in the alphabet drinking game which adds to its fame for my German friends) or that Tallahassee should considered "well known" because it's a state capital or Kingsburg, California should be at just Kingsburg and worthy of world reknown because it home not only to the World's largest raisin box but also the World's largest teapot to boot. Of course my little sister and her "worldwide friends" on Myspace would be aghast at the lack of recognition for the world renown of Kentwood, Louisiana birthplace of Britney Spears. The subjective nature of this criteria does nothing to stop the continued onslaught of page moves. As Serge himself wondered outloud during the previous proposal as to why even unincorporated areas like Assawoman, Virginia should be City, State so to can other editors do the same wondering and do the same page move request.
    There is more to be said but now I'm tired though I'm sure I'll have another opportunity once the rebuttals come. Agne 09:06, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
    The point of the AP list is that those are the cities they consider to be significant enough to not require the state name. Usage is datelines is not different from usage in text. In fact, I believe the AP guideline applies to text (I don't have a stylebook with me so maybe someone can check). You can propose a different set of criteria if you think the AP list is still too subjective. The onslaught of page moves you are saying is unlikely to occur in practice. It is a self-limiting mechanism. The lesser known a city is, the more people will oppose moving it. In the end, I think you'll find that whatever reasonable criteria one chooses for what a major city is, we'll end up with something more or less the same as the AP list. --Polaron | Talk 15:23, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
    If there is reason to fear an onslaught of page moves after this wording, my amendment wasn't strong enough. How can it be strengthened? Septentrionalis 22:23, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
    As I reminded folks elsewhere, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". "Consistency" within a given category (say, U.S. cities) is less important than consistency with the general Wikipedia guidelines on article naming and disambiguation. The city of Los Angeles, California is undeniably the most common meaning for Los Angeles — and indeed, Los Angeles redirects there. Why shouldn't the article be at the simplest name for such a clear-cut case? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 02:15, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
    The practical benefit of having all American cities consistently titled the same way is completely eviscerated by the practical deficit of having the American convention be so radically different from the conventions in use for any other country on the planet. Bearcat 03:58, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
  3. Oppose as usual. See my arguments posted on other proposals. AJD 23:14, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
  4. Oppose. This vote would apparently override the votes held recently, such as talk:Los Angeles, California and Talk:Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I also strongly disapprove of "legislating" an inconsistent convention. -Will Beback 22:40, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
  5. Oppose. I see no value in creating unnecessary exceptions to a straightforward, sensible convention. New York City is the only case with some justification. —wwoods 01:40, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
    Yet you see a reason for a U.S. city specific convention that is itself an unnecessary exception to the straightforward and sensible conventions used throughout Wikipedia? --Serge 01:53, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. "Major" city is far too subjective a description and depends on your point of view. Even with this change, we'd still see debates on talk pages about whether or not a particular city is "Major". I don't think this particular proposal would accomplish much other change the focus of the current debates. -- The Bethling(Talk) 20:20, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
    Would you prefer a specific list? The AP list is one concept of what a major city is. If you have other thoughts, please do share them. Also, naming debates in Canada died down when they allowed some cities to be exempted. --Polaron | Talk 20:29, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
    I don't like the idea of a list (for example the AP one), since it strikes me as arbitrary. A defintion of what makes a city "major" would be something that I'd consider. --- The Bethling(Talk) 20:37, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  7. Oppose. For completeness in case somebody just counts edits here, I oppose the idea of exceptions to the US city article naming convention. If the supporters win the case for exceptions, then the AP List with non-city ambiguity removed (part II above) is by far the best list I have seen discussed here so far. --Scott Davis Talk 06:11, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  8. Oppose per Will B and others. Jonathunder 22:47, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  9. Oppose. Having two conventions (with no clear purpose or method) would be confusing to the reader - one convention or the other for clarity. THEPROMENADER 12:36, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
    There are already two different conventions, with no clear purpose or method for the difference: one for the United States, one for the entire rest of the world. Bearcat 17:44, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
  10. Oppose Among other things, it would make two conventions for city names in the U.S., and the decision on which cities don't need the state to be specified would be arbitrary and the source of much contention. -- Donald Albury 23:33, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
  11. Leave them all at City, State. FairHair 20:56, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
  12. Oppose - It is important to have clear standards that are consistent. Ludahai 06:57, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
  13. Oppose - For all the great reasons stated above. --Coolcaesar 07:16, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
  14. Oppose - see opinion below. CrazyC83 00:22, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
  15. Oppose - There would be an endless debate on what cities are important/unique enough, what criteria to use, etc. The current city, state format keeps it clean, and also automatically informs visitors what state a city is in, should they have gone there by redirect. There is no negative impact of city, state. -newkai t-c 06:31, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
  16. Oppose, as suggested this will just create useless debate on what cities fall under the criteria for not having their state. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 22:55, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
  17. Oppose - I agree with JohnnyBGood. FairHair 20:57, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
  18. Oppose - for the excellent reasons already well expressed by so many. Whyaduck 03:29, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
  19. Oppose - per Agne, Will B, and others above and per Coolcaesar below.--Andrew c 01:40, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
  20. Oppose per Agne, Ludahai, newkai, and others. Gene Nygaard 22:27, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
  21. Oppose Further evidence has led me to believe that this is not strong enough. Support Part II as a good list. Septentrionalis 01:50, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Discussion -3

comments here, please.

We would need to resolve any possible issues about the redirect target for LA and LV. I think those are the only two that might still be an issue. Vegaswikian 06:39, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Can someone explain how this proposal differs or is similar to previous proposals? Can we have a summary of some kind? -Will Beback 08:13, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
It is different from Serge's proposal in that it explicitly states that very small cities should not be included in the change. It also proposes immediate moves for the 27 largely non-ambiguous cities from the AP list. john k 15:58, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't see any serious problem for LA. When Los Angeles County is meant, one says "Los Angeles County," e.g. "Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department." The issue of metro area vs. city proper is not unique to Los Angeles, or to American cities. Las Vegas is more problematic, but I don't see how Las Vegas, Nevada any more clearly indicates the city proper than Las Vegas would. I think it's a very bad idea to say that it does on the basis of postal usage, because wikipedia articles on American localities are based not on postal usage, but on formal municipality boundaries and census designations, which are often very different from postal usage. City of Las Vegas would be the only completely clear way to indicate the city proper, I think.
It's probably worth mentioning that another vaguely possible confusion might relate to Honolulu. There are no municipalities in Hawaii. The formal name of Honlulu County, which includes the entire island of Oahu, is the "City and County of Honolulu," or something similar. Our Honolulu, Hawaii refers to the Census-designated place, which apparently corresponds fairly closely to common usage of "Honolulu" in Hawaii itself. I don't think this is a serious issue, but I think it's more liable to cause confusion than Los Angeles.
That being said, I don't think any of the moves will lead to the creation of any greater confusion than already exists. Not only do Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Honolulu currently redirect to the articles on the cities (or, in the latter case, CDP), but attempts in the pass to make the simple title in similar cases redirect to the disambiguation page have always been miserable failures. The Las Vegas issue is certain to cause some confusion unless the article is called "City of Las Vegas," which is an awkward title. But Las Vegas is no worse than Las Vegas, Nevada. The important thing is that the article clarify the situation. I might change my opinion if Vegaswikian can explain how Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada indicate more clearly that the city proper is meant than simple Los Angeles and Las Vegas do without resorting to the post office. I think this proposal is sensible, makes fair allowances for the reluctance expressed by many users towards a wholesale change in the convention, and would lead to a reasonable solution that I, at least, can live with. john k 15:58, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
It would be best to keep things simple and understandable to all (no matter what country) in designating "cityname" as an article on the census definition of cityname - or the "city proper" - as anything outside of this is a grey-area "concept" with many many different possible meanings and interpretations. It is of course that the "cityname" article speak of an area greater than "cityname" within the article, but only through the context of "cityname" core. In other words, a "cityname" article should cover the area spoken of in a textbook definition of "cityname". Naming practices may differ from country to country, but at least this method will conform with each's existing practices, methods and - surtout - references. THEPROMENADER 12:12, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Reluctant support, provided that we go "on record" that any extension of this policy to undisambiguate minor cities would be strongly discouraged. (This means you, Serge.) As for Las Vegas, perhaps we should move Las Vegas metropolitan area to Las Vegas, and move the article presently at Las Vegas, Nevada to City of Las Vegas, Nevada or Las Vegas, Nevada (city), with Las Vegas, Nevada changed to a sub-disambiguation page of Las Vegas (disambiguation). (I feel that, in common usage, Las Vegas, Nevada does indicate the city, while Las Vegas indicates the area or gambling in general — just as the most common usage of Hollywood is to refer to the Los Angeles County-based) entertainment industry, rather than the community within the city of Los Angeles.) Although the most common usage of Los Angeles is to refer to the metropolitan area, I don't think it's as confusing, as the city is also an important referent. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 17:19, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Change to "smaller locations, those which are not well-known to the majority of the world's population, such as Walla Walla, Washington and Garrett Park, Maryland, should not be moved from "City, State"; they should remain disambiguated..."? Septentrionalis 17:48, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Metonymy should not be considered for primary topic status. The White House is both the building the president of the United States lives in, and a metonymy for "the current administration." Both usages are very common, but White House is still about the building. john k 19:03, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Just to be clear, am I correct that this proposal states, on the one hand, places that "are not known to the majority of the world's population" shall be disambiguated; and on the other hand that (based on the AP guidelines) 27 cities shall use city only, whether or not these places are known to the majority of the world's population. I was in Europe once, and a group of German tourists asked me what state I was from. When I said I was from Maryland, one replied, "no, no, what state are you from?" I question whether these folks would have recognized Baltimore. (One could argue that they are in the minority of the world's population, but that's a thought exercise.) I'm inclined to support this proposal, but I just want to be clear on how it works. --ishu 05:17, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Well that is partly because of the US-centric nature of the AP guidelines and also the fundamental difference between a guideline for a newspaper dateline and an encyclopedia article entry. A dateline is not as directly relevant to the newspaper article as the title of an encyclopedia entry is to its subject matter. Agne 07:50, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Because the majority of the world's population knows about Hildburghausen and Caserta? The idea that this is "US-centric" is absurd. This proposal would allow for far fewer American cities to be moved to just "City" than cities in other countries. john k 13:54, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
  • One is a proposal for the guideline; the other a proposed implementation of the guideline. If you dispute that the AP list is "known to the majority of world's population", support Part I and Oppose Part II; or vice versa. Septentrionalis 22:16, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
    I would suggest that "well-known to the majority of the world's population" is perhaps an infelicitous way of phrasing it. How many American cities are known to 3 billion people? There's obviously a lot of people who are ignorant, especially about geography. I'd suggest that what is meant is "well-known to the majority of people who are reasonably well-educated about geography," or something similar. Perhaps some modification of the phrasing could be made. john k 13:54, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
    Do tweak at will; I don't think it will make much difference to the declared !votes. Certainly "English-speaking" would be justified by general policy. Septentrionalis 19:50, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
    There's obviously a lot of people who are ignorant, especially about geography. I'd suggest that what is meant is "well-known to the majority of people who are reasonably well-educated about geography," or something similar. I agree that many people are ignorant about geography, but that's not a verifiable population. WP:NC states that article names should be governed by "what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize." It's not U.S. English speakers, but English speakers. Since 1.7 billion live in the British Commonwealth, any way you count English speakers, a majority of live outside the U.S. I really want to support this proposal, so as to reduce these discussions, but the guidelines should be coherent, and I'm just not convinced that they are. --ishu 20:05, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
    Pretty much every self-described non-American who has participated in this debate over the years has generally expressed the opinion that they are only vaguely aware, at best, of what states most American cities are in, and that places like Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, and so forth are much better known to them than the states in which they are located. You yourself mentioned your German acquaintances who had never heard of Maryland. In terms of who are "English-speakers", I think traditionally this has been interpreted to mean "native-speakers". Once you include the entire population of India, the whole exercise becomes somewhat pointless. "Would an Indian peasant recognize Baltimore?" This gets to the point of silliness. Americans are probably a slight majority, or nearly so, of native English-speakers, and adding in Canadians, who are reasonably familiar with American geography, you have a fairly solid margin. At any rate, your own comment suggests that your German friends would have been just as baffled by Baltimore, Maryland as by Baltimore, if not more so. What argument exactly are you looking for here? john k 01:25, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
    When I wrote "any way you count," I meant that literally--including using conservative criteria. Canada (30M) + UK (60M) + Australia (20M) = 110M; toss in a mere 10% of the commonwealth, and you're already at 280M, and I suspect the English speaking pop'n in the commonwealth is significantly higher than 10%, given 300M "middle class" Indians (although many of these are marginally English speaking). There's nothing silly about looking about it this way.
    I'm not looking for an argument, just a coherent guideline. The AP test conflicts with WP:NC and Part I of the proposal as I described. The point is not whether the German tourists would be baffled by Baltimore, Maryland but whether Baltimore would be recognized by "the majority of English speakers." --ishu 01:56, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
    What is silly is the comment I added in my edit summary (2 billion English speakers). My apologies. Shouldn't have done it that way. Sorry, John. --ishu 07:11, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
For what it's worth, a contestant on Jeopardy! once proffered "What is Calgary?" for the answer "Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is located in this province." I don't personally think other people's lack of geographical knowledge needs to circumscribe our naming conventions. But YMMV. Bearcat 11:15, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

I'd also prefer a different way of phrasing it. Why don't we say something along the lines of small cities that are not well known to people from outside their immediate area, or something similar? Baltimore may not be well known to the majority of the world, or even the majority of English-speakers, but it well known to people not from it. Garrett Park, on the other hand, is not even known by most people who live in the Washington, DC area, much less to outsiders. Would this be an acceptable substitute? john k 02:57, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

This goes back to my original concern, that any such phrasing is difficult to verify, and would conflict with WP:NC. I'd agree that most English-speaking people know Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, DC. On the basis of their roles in popular culture, I'd toss in Chicago, Miami, and maybe even Boston. But the other 21 AP cities are a stretch, since most English-speaking people don't know anything about them... yet this is also true of most topics in Wikipedia, for what that's worth. --ishu 07:11, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't see where verifiability comes into it. Verifiability is a requirement for article content, not for conventions. The name "Baltimore" is verifiable, and is commonly used for the place. That's all that WP:V would require, as far as I can gather. I'm not sure why it would conflict with WP:NC. I also notice that you're still arguing about most English-speaking people, which is not what I proposed at all. I said that we should change the wording to refer to whether the city was well known outside its immediate vicinity. Obviously, this judgment is subjective. But any basis would have to be either a) subjective; or b) completely arbitrary. I'd prefer a subjective judgment that more or less conforms to most of our instincts on this to an arbitrary one. The response to my AP proposal suggests that an arbitrary basis does not have a great deal of support. Any judgment of a primary topic has to be ultimately subjective, so I don't see why this is any more problematic. john k 13:33, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Might I suggest a slightly different take on which US cities are known outside the US -- Cities that are international ports of entry. This was mentioned earlier (by Tinlinkin I think) but never formally proposed. Hopefully, this removes some of the subjectiveness in choosing which cities to include. --Polaron | Talk 14:36, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
What does that mean exactly? What about "cities that appear on maps of the world published by major map-making companies like Rand McNally"? There's any number of possible ways of judging this. I think something vague and subjective is the best way to go, which would allow any individuals to apply whatever specific criteria they want to. I think that "widely known outside their immediate vicinity" is the closest to what we've generally meant. If people want to apply clearer, more stricter standards in applying such a rule, that is, of course, perfectly appropriate. john k 14:55, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
There is actually such a specific list by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyway, it was just a suggestion since some people seemed to think the AP list does not necessarily mean well-known outside the US. As I said before, the list we would end up will be more or less the same no matter what criteria for being well-known we use. --Polaron | Talk 15:24, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Can you post a link to this list? I would support that proposal, since it would overlap onto significant portions of the AP list, while also being grounded in some meaningful international relationships. People may enter the country via Baltimore or Seattle without ever setting foot there or learning any more about the place beyond its role as a port of entry. Of course, they would never enter through Garrett Park, or Kansas City, Kansas. --ishu 16:44, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Do most Indian peasants speak English? If so, please document. Mumbai is not, I think, supportable as majority English usage; it's supportable because Indian English is a national variety of English, like Australian, American or British English, and IE usage is clear. Septentrionalis 15:40, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

The issue is not whether a majority of Indian "peasants" speak English. The issue is: Who is included in "the majority of English-speaking" people, as per WP:NC. Secondarily, of these people, how many would recognize which cities by cityname only? Most likely, a significant majority of the 1.1B Indians do not speak conversational English (say, an arbitrary 50% or more of the conversation). However, I am claiming that a significant minority of them can be included as "English-speaking people," which weighs against Americans (or even Americans+Canadians) as being a majority by themselves. Much of this discussion is threaded with the American assumption, and that's not what WP:NC states. (It also does not specify native English speakers, but second-language people would be difficult to quantify.) --ishu 16:37, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Ishu, I think you're confusing two separate issues. WP:NC merely says that articles should be at names that are recognizable to "a majority of English speakers." Since many things that have articles on wikipedia are things that most English-speakers have never heard of, this can't mean what you are arguing it means. What it means is recognizable to a majority of English speakers who have heard of the place. This is a rule designed so as to mean that articles can't be at foreign language names that English-speakers are unfamiliar with - Cologne rather than [Köln]], Florence rather than Firenze. It has no role here. The other issue is what the proposal here says. We can make it say whatever we want. There is no requirement that cities that get moved be ones that the "majority of English-speakers have heard of. john k 20:13, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I believe John's interpretation about the intent of the WP:NC requirement to choose names that are recognizable to "a majority of English speakers" is correct. It cannot possibly mean that any Wikipedia article title must be recognizable to "a majority of English speakers" because so many subjects are unrecognizable to "a majority of English speakers", not matter what you call it. It has to do with preferring English to foreign spellings. --Serge 20:21, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I see your point. Having said that, I would fully support the proposal if we add the following:
Part III: Further exceptions will be made if both of the following conditions are met:
  1. The city has an airport on the list of international ports-of-entry published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  2. A consensus can be reached per the existing request-for-move policy.
The benefit is that the DHS list (150+ cities) is much longer than the AP list, and provides an outer boundary to the number of possible moves. Many of the cities on that list (e.g., Ontario, California) are simply inappropriate on dab grounds, while others (e.g., Teterboro, New Jersey) are clearly not well-known internationally. Again, Garrett Park and Kansas City, KS would not be eligible for move because they fail test #1. --ishu 21:00, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I could accept the AP list, but not the DHS list as a claim of "well-known" outside the USA. I consider myself reasonably geographically aware. --Scott Davis Talk 01:13, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
The DHS list is an objective "floor", meaning that a city must be on the DHS list even to be considered for a move. Subjective criteria of "well-known" would be used only for cities on that list. Any other city would be ineligible for a non-disambiguated article name. This would limit the potential candidates (and discussions) to just over 100 cities. --ishu 04:28, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
How do we decide which cities are "well-known"? -Will Beback 06:08, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
If I may: This is exactly where I find this discussion to be narrow-minded - it does not treat the issue on a global scale. Few of the world's people outside the US know where a state is, let alone the city spoken of, or even the fact that that city is in that state... and this separating cities into "having this or not, this big or not" status will make things even more complicated. Although having the state name in the title would have some informative value, the administrative heirarchy perhaps would be more practical elsewhere, say in the article introduction and as the article categories.

This naming discussion really should not be about convention - it should be about finding a correct form of disambiguation. THEPROMENADER 11:07, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Ishu, I think the DHS list is problematic. I've made a (not quite complete) list of the cities it would cover at User:John Kenney/Airports. It is heavily biased towards airports near the Canadian and Mexican borders. I would think that Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or Des Moines, Iowa, are much better candidates for a move than International Falls, Minnesota, or Del Rio, Texas. The basis on which the airports are chosen is also odd. Teeterboro Airport in New Jersey but not La Guardia? I'm not really sure I quite understand what is going on with that list. If we are going to have a floor of places to consider, I would prefer if there were a number of different potential qualifiers. If we must have a series of objective criteria, the airport business would be okay as one criteria, but I'd suggest having other potential "minimum" criteria which would allow a city to be considered even if it didn't have an airport on the last. I'd notably suggest that status as a state capital, and probably that a certain agreed upon minimum size of either the city or the metropolitan area of which it is the center, or both, should qualify a place to be considered, if we're going to go that route. But I'm not sure that's necessary. There is no need for this convention to be tied to what "the majority of English-speakers" or "the majority of people in the world" would recognize. I still think that the simplest way to do this would be to use the criterion of whether a city is well-known outside its own vicinity. I've suggested this a number of times, and nobody has really responded. john k 11:27, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Remember that the DHS list is not the sole determinant of whether a city may be moved. The border airports like Teeterboro (as I mentioned), Del Rio and International Falls aren't eligible because they are not well-known. La Guardia isn't a concern because New York City would be eligible for unqualified article name thanks to JFK airport. I think most of us agree that we wouldn't want more than 150 move requests. This list accomplishes that goal while also referring to a list of "less well-known" cities that people abroad might actually have reason to know since they could have traveled to/through/from them. Other people in the U.S. might know them for the same reasons. We don't have to guess (or worse, argue over) whether Garrett Park is "well-known" because it isn't a port of entry. Of course, we would have to discuss whether International Falls, Minnesota is "well-known," but that's a pretty simple discussion in my opinion. Even if legions of International Fallsians disagree with me, the Garrett Parkians would automatically be disqualified. In other words, while we may have disagreements over what "well-known" means, one couldn't apply "well-known" to any random city, only those on the DHS list. And the not-at-all-well-known cities on the DHS list aren't frequently used as ports of entry/exit by most people. I think this is a reasonable compromise. --ishu 12:26, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
      • Ishu, my point was that I don't see why we should a priori exclude relatively unique and well known places like Baton Rouge and Des Moines, while starting from a list that includes many much less well known and less important places. I don't see why there is this obsession with cities that people from abroad might be familiar with. There is absolutely nothing requiring that this should be our criterion. The AP list, at least, represents the efforts of a well known organization which is trying to do something that is at least comparable to what we are trying to do. Ths DHS list is completely arbitrary. It excludes many worthy, fairly obvious candidates while including a fairly substantial number of places that don't qualify under any reasonable definition of "well known." john k 13:27, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree that the DHS list is not particularly useful to sorting out what is "well known" or "world class". Any article which currently redirects from City Name to City Name, State would be eligible in my view per the "common name" convention, but I understand that's probably a minority view on this page. Failing that, the AP list isn't bad, or the Global city list. -- nae'blis 18:54, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
    • I agree that the AP list is a good starting point, as indicated in my original proposal, which stated "I would fully support the proposal if we add" the DHS list as a "Part III" to Part I (the comma convention) and Part II (the AP list). The intent of the DHS list is not to determine whether a city is "well-known." The separate "well-known" test would also be required for a move. The DHS list is intended to limit the list of candidates for "well-known" cities. My "obsession" strong preference is to find an objective list of features that would assure a city is indeed "well-known." A place that is familiar to people abroad is likely to be "well-known outside its immediate vicinity" and can be identified with the two-part test I have suggested. To this point in this discussion, no one has even claimed to be able to define "well-known." The best suggestion is to limit the definition to "not well-known outside their immediate vicinity," but that is still pretty squishy. Can we use this discussion to set guidelines around what defines "well-known?" For example, we have discussed two criteria, (1) being a state capital, and (2) being an international port of entry. If we can build some additional example criteria into the guideline as to what characterizes "well-known" I'd support the proposal. --ishu 22:06, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
At least twice on this page, I have suggested the objective criteria of being
  1. The capital of a state and
  2. The largest city in that state.
I recognise this rules out a number of the cities other participants would like included, and may introduce some odd choices, but it is objective and has been suggested, so the claim that no-one has attempted to define objective criteria is unfair. So far, the AP list is by far the best suggestion I have noticed. --Scott Davis Talk 23:08, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
It would be unfair if we were talking about the same thing. But on both occasions, you appear to be referring to the criteria for allowing unqualified cityname. I did a search on this page for well-known and found no instances where someone defined "well-known," which is the term that has been suggested repeatedly as a criterion for unqualified cityname. --ishu 05:05, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Scott, true, although I think that's very problematic unless there are additional criteria. A criterion by which Columbia, South Carolina is eligible to be moved, but Los Angeles, California and Chicago, Illinois are not, is very problematic. Effectively, your proposal would allow Boston, Massachusetts, Atlanta, Georgia and Honolulu, Hawaii to be moved. Possibly also Des Moines, Iowa and Nashville, Tennessee (I'm not sure if they're the largest cities). I can't think of any other - Charleston, WV; Columbia, SC; Providence, RI; etc. john k 12:01, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't think Scott is presenting these as exhaustive criteria, but John has a good point. I'm going to continue this discussion under the "Objective Criteria" section below in hopes of attracting a few more participants. --ishu 12:53, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  • If I'm reading the oppose votes correctly, I sense a problem with the definition of what the exceptions would be for the reasons to oppose. Either major is not well defined or there are problems with the proposed list. If that's the case, then maybe we are close to consensus. There is support for the concept of the current proposal but the method for selecting the exceptions still needs additional refinement. Vegaswikian 20:41, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  • It's also possible that those who are attached to the comma convention for irrational/emotional reasons will rationalize all kinds of reasons to oppose it (because they have no identifiable consistent rational reasoned argument to present). So if you try to satisfy one such objection they'll just conjure another and another... Not that I'm cynical or anything, but I've just seen it too much... --Serge 20:53, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Serge, I really wish you'd calm down and scale back your cynicism. Your ownership issues over this process appear to be driving some supporters away through voting fatigue, and hardening the positions of some opponents. Can you consider allowing other people to take the lead on this for a while? -- nae'blis 21:01, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Vegaswikian, I agree that this seems to be the sticking point, although even ironing out will certainly not lead to unanimity, so far as I can tell.

Could someone explain what will happen to the city articles where recent surveys decided to keep their current names if this proposal passes? Does this proposal override those votes? Could a small survey here override a larger survey in a city article? Does the override work both ways in the case of a city that is not on the AP list? -Will Beback 22:32, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Will, those surveys generally did not "decide to keep" the current name. They had no consensus either way, and thus the current name was kept by default. I think this is worth noting. john k 12:01, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Considering that many of the oppose votes on the individual city votes cited the guideline as the reason for opposing, I would say a change to the guidelines changes everything. --Serge 22:42, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
It seems unfair that we could use a survey that gets perhaps 16 responses to override a recent survey that got 35 responses, a survey that got 27 responses, one that got 24 responses, and another that got 30 responses. That precedent could mean that sometime in the future a handful of people could respond to a survey that would move cities like Chicago back to Chicago, Illinois. -Will Beback 00:55, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
The logical and fair thing to do is to call all those participating in all former concerned motions to participate in this one. THEPROMENADER 01:33, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I believe notifications about these surveys have been made at most if not all of the relevant city talk pages. Have any been missed? --Serge 01:44, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I suspect that many editors are suffering from survey-fatigue. The notifications that were sent out were for the previous survey, which did not find a consensus. There were no notifications made for this new survey, at least that I am aware of. -Will Beback 01:47, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
If they're not sufficiently interested in keeping up with what's going on here, then they're voting... abstain. You can lead a horse to water, but... --Serge 06:29, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, putting the priority on bringing a discussion to a logical conclusion instead of calling a vote when things swing one way or another would help too. Making "compromises" based on other participants (stubborn) points of view doesn't help either - it's an objective view on what the reader sees and understands that should be the nexus of discussion here.
I think it would be best to call everyone possible into one organised discussion on "fresh ground" - this one's been going on so long and in so many circles that more than a few - including myself - have become tired of it too. THEPROMENADER 09:13, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm back to this debate! Thanks, Polaron, for acknowledging my suggestion on international airports. The DHS list is a nice start, but that's not what I originally had in mind.
My inspiration comes from when I recently flew from New York to Manila via Northwest Airlines. When I traveled back to the US, in Tokyo, I remembered how Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul were stylized: without states. I also watch The Amazing Race, in which destinations are frequently said without mentioning the state. In an airport, there likely doesn't need to be a state in listing international destinations because that would not conform with listings of other destinations. But that also means that in international destinations, the U.S. cities are known without mentioning their states. (That doesn't mean they disregard the existence of the states, ever.)
The idea I was thinking of was: current or previous non-chartered passenger international service to United States airports in determining which U.S. cities don't need disambiguation. I would also add that passenger service should be outside of Canada and Mexico. This subset will probably parallel the AP list, I don't know. But I think it is a justifiable suggestion, since it shows how countries outside the U.S. consider which U.S. gateway cities they should serve.
I also support adding state capitals with my suggestion. Tinlinkin 15:45, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Just to get it in writing, I have supported the above proposal on the basis that it will bring numerous articles closer to the ideal of "disambiguate when necessary" enshrined in WP:NC. Ultimately I think any specific guideline for US cities should merely explicate that policy rather than create additional guidelines. Also, it occurs to me that the editors of the articles being considered for moves should be explicitly invited to participate in this discussion (if that is not already the case). --Dystopos 18:55, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

New page to construct/evolve a new comprehensive survey by consensus

I started this page to begin the process of constructing/evolving a new comprehensive survey through consensus. The first draft "strawman proposal" is posted. --Serge 23:20, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Why not just have it here on this page, where the other surveys have occured? Is the survey at the top of the page still active? -Will Beback · · 00:28, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I put the new draft of the survey on a subpage because it is "a work in progress" (not an active survey), and I didn't want to confuse things on this page, particularly with Tariq's proposal at the top which is still active. The intent is to move it to this page when it's done, assuming the rest of this current page, assuming Tariq's proposal, is closed and archived. Someone, if not me, should incorporate Tariq's proposal into the new draft, by the way. It's currently not one of the proposals. In fact, I would like to see John's proposal in there, and perhaps several other "hybrid" proposals where we attempt to define which cities are "well known" and do not require predisambiguation. --Serge 00:38, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
The use of a multi choice survey is a bad idea. It always leads to a wide spread of opinion and no option getting clear consencus. The only way the everyone is going to aggree to a change is by 66% being achieved and this will never happen with your proposal. I don't hold out to much hope of the "convention" ever being changed. The one by one article moving seems to be the most effective. As more cities get changed over to the international convention it should lead to more people saying "if X gets to name it that way why not our city". josh (talk) 01:18, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Copying this to, and responding at, Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (settlements)/U.S. convention change (November 2006) --Serge 01:52, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
So just to clarify, it's not a survey and has no bearing on anything? -Will Beback · · 05:00, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
For now, it's not a survey open for voting. It's a first draft of a survey-to-be. It's a starting point that needs to be expanded and edited by consensus. The intent is for the final version to be copied to this page, opened as a survey, for at least a month, and well publicized. For your sake, we should probably have an option for a "no exceptions" guideline that would put New York City at New York, New York. --Serge 05:09, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
There aren't any "no exceptions" naming conventions. They're just guidelines. -Will Beback · · 06:26, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

One week after wide advertising should be long enough for any poll/survey. Anybody who doesn't find it in a full week is either not a regular editor, or it wasn't properly advised. --Scott Davis Talk 09:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Given that there have been (by my count) seven votes/polls/surveys on the subject already, and none of them had any consensus, what makes you think that this one will? (Radiant) 10:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Are you asking me or Serge? My answer (in case you are responding to my "one week" comment): Several (most/all?) of those have not been widely advertised outside of the regulars who follow this page. If we can come up with the ultimate poll (which requires the regulars to at least agree on the question!), and advertise it suitably widely, then I don't believe that three more weeks would increase the chances of consensus beyond what one week would achieve. --Scott Davis Talk 13:33, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I was talking about holding a poll period, not about how long to run it for. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that even if we make an ultimate poll and run it for three weeks, we still wouldn't have an increase chances of consensus. In that case, let's not bother with a poll at all. (Radiant) 13:47, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes - I'm saying that if we create the ultimate poll and get a wide audience to participate, the result won't change significantly between the end of week 1 and the end of week 4, so we might as well keep it short enough people can remember having voted when the results are announced. I'd still rather reach consensus by discussion, not voting, if that were possible. --Scott Davis Talk 22:22, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Well, there's two ways to go about it. One would be the page-by-page discussion/move to "single-name" status (and hope it sticks long enough to become generalised); another would be to a massive "call to discussion" (more an upturned hat than a poll) around a proposition to make disambiguation consistent across the board. And I don't mean a call to only "nameplaces" boards, I mean all of Wiki. The Village Pump no less. Serge, wait: let's formulate the question here before asking it there please.
How I see it from here, those in favour of a "single name drive" and a homogeneous Wiki-wide disambiguation technique will be shooting themselves in the foot, as the "comfortable majority" will opt for the "comfortable practice" that is the "city, state" disambiguation. I'm one of those, so I hope I'm wrong. THEPROMENADER 16:33, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I understand and share your concern. That's why I want to take time to really think this through. If we're not happy with whatever we have a few weeks from now, we can scrap the project. It has been suggested to include mini-arguments for each option. I'm thinking maybe we need a preamble that explains - in a manner that we agree by consensus is fair - the key issues, and relates to the various options. Again, all this is a work in progress, nothing is definite, and, if this survey ever sees the light of day (i.e., posted on this page), it won't be for weeks from now. In the mean time, let's keep sharing our concerns and seeing if we can come up with solutions to address them. --Serge 17:28, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

First, I want to keep the "revising period" open for a few weeks. Let's get everybody involved with making sure the survey has all reasonable options available. Get real consensus on format and content of survey before we open it here on this page. We've never done that before, and I anticipate that alone may take a few weeks. Second, once that is done and the survey is open, I want to keep it open for a few weeks. Why not? What harm can come from keeping it open a few weeks. Tariq's proposal is still getting votes well over a week three weeks after it was opened. --Serge 16:25, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I have been watching this debate for a while now, so I just thought that I'd add my thoughts on the matter. Regarding the arguments against the proposal:
  1. The fact that we already have New York City, Chicago and Philidelphia at the Cityname format already makes a nonsense of the 'consistency' argument, we already have (sensible) inconsistancies. It makes no logical sense for these to be at Cityname whilst major cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco et al are still at the City, State arrangement.
  2. As for the 'it would lead to endless arguments about which cities are major' argument. True, but the present 'convention' is proving to be a major source of argument already, how exactly could it be any worse then it is at the moment? Surely it can't be beyond the common sense of wikipedians to work out which cities should enjoy primary name status.
  3. Practically every other country has articles about it's major cities at the Cityname format. Therefore Ammerica is inconsistant with everywhere else. Seem as there is a snowball in hell chance of anyone agreeing to move Paris to Paris, France or Berlin to Berlin, Germany for example. I think it far more sensible for America to adopt the international standard, rather than the very slim chance of the rest of the world adopting the U.S standard.

G-Man * 19:22, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, "...practically every other country..." is wrong. Practically every English-speaking country has a significant modification of the city name policy; Canada's allows major cities to be at [[City]], but Australia has a specific list of cities which may be at [[City]]. (Almost all cities in England require disambiguation of some sort, so the situation is completely different.) There may be justification for changing to the Canada policy, but the default being [[City]] is completely unsupported (IMHO). — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 22:37, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
I didn't say that the 'default' position, was to use Cityname. What I meant was that most countries have adopted a more flexible and pragmatic system whereby cities or towns which require disambiguation are, and those which have a unique name, or are clearly the primary topic get to have the Citnyname to themselves. Which IMO is far more sensible than rigidly sticking to some scheme even when it is clearly not sensible and counter intuitive. With regards to the UK, some towns and cities are disambiguated and others are not Bristol, Coventry, Leicester, Glasgow are examples which spring to mind. G-Man * 17:00, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
No one here advocates "sticking to some scheme" which is "clearly not sensible and counter intuitive". The question is whether CITYNAME, STATENAME is clearly not sensible and whether it is counterintuitive. Certainly, it is not counterintuitive to me. I often see cities referred to as, say, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Topeka, Kansas. This is pretty darn common in my experience. And I don't see that it doesn't make sense either. If anything would confuse me as a Wikipedia user, it would be the exceptions to this simple rule. Of course, some folks here just want to increase the list of exceptions since their attempts to change policy have failed. Once they have enough exceptions, I imagine they'll justify changing the rule in order to bring consistency to Wikipedia (which consistency they're currently working to break at Talk:Anaheim, California). Phiwum 19:14, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, as the majority of English-speaking Wikipedians come from English-speaking countries, it is only logic that the majority of English Wiki's articles will be on English-speaking places with English-speaking habits, and the most of these, I repeat yet again, are most likely from the US. I would argue that the "City, State" form is quite common for a speaker speaking of a city in a state other than the state he is speaking from, but this, true, is a practice common to other English-speaking locales, especially Canada.
Yet even this is besides the point, as such practices - not suited to any encyclopaedia, and rarely - if not never- used outside of disambiguation purposes for the same - are open not only to people speaking from one state (province) to another, but for one country to another - this makes this form of cross-board pre-disambiguation moot, especially to those unfamiliar with US geography who will have to read to the text anyway to find the city's complete locale. This "carving out a local-practice method comfortable for locals" is "thinking small" in my books, and paying almost no thought at all to the rest of Wikipedia.
Much of my work lately has been revolving around GIS data, and most all data libraries indicate their map locales with a "city, state, country" disambiguation. This solution, although fine for a direct list of data (or whatever), is cumbersome for the inter-linked media that is Wiki.
I really see the "city, state" disambiguation as an ass between the above two chairs. You either go "all the way" with a fully indicative disambiguation, or you go with a "only when needed" disambiguation that is used only for the sake of disambiguation itself. Think Big. THEPROMENADER 19:45, 25 November 2006 (UTC)