Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (use English)/Diacritics RfC

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The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Proposed wording[edit]

I commend the drafter on the clarity of the rationale and its thoroughness. Unfortunately, the proposed wording does not support the questions and answers in the "Implications" section, as the only guidance given on the use of extended Latin letters and diacritics in article titles is "as appropriate". Based on the discussions on the "Naming conventions (use English)" talk page and this proposal page, there does seem to be editors who wish to adopt a broad interpretation of "as appropriate". In addition, without further refining Wikipedia's policy on using common names (WP:COMMONNAME) and foreign names (WP:UE), the last (unmodified) sentence in the proposal continues to direct editors to use the common name in reliable sources, and so the disagreements that have arisen in the past will continue.

If the intent is, as discussed in the "Implications" section, to allow for established English usage to take precedence over native language forms, since this is already covered by WP:COMMONNAME and WP:UE, perhaps these policies can be further refined to provide more guidance in determining when there is an established English usage. isaacl (talk) 14:44, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

From what I could gather, there seems to be no difference between the proposed change and the guideline set by WP:UE.--Tomobe03 (talk) 18:40, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
WP:UE allows use of diacritics if they're commonly used. This new policy would mandate their use in certain instances, regardless of how reliable sources use them. Hot Stop (c) 18:45, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
WP:UE provides a specific procedure on when to use the native language spelling: "follow English-language usage", and "If there are too few English-language sources to constitute an established usage, follow the conventions of the language appropriate to the subject". (The disagreements that have arisen is how to determine what sources should be deemed reliable for the purpose of establishing usage of a person's name.) The only specific procedure outlined in the proposed changes are for loan words. Otherwise, for the listed Latin-derived alphabets, the only guidance given is to use the native spelling "as appropriate". isaacl (talk) 18:51, 4 July 2011 (UTC)


The RFC needs to be phrased in a more neutral tone. RFC guidelines says to include a brief, neutral statement of the issue (emphasis from the page itself) which the second paragraph "high quality sources such as..." clearly runs afoul of this. At the very least a quick list of reliable sources not using diacritics should be mentioned as prominently. Hot Stop (c) as well as common counterarguments. 18:28, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

  • I believe that a respect for others, and how they want to spell or pronounce their names, is really quite an important aspect of neutrality. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:00, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
    You're welcome to believe that, but when you start an RfC you are supposed to first describe the issue without taking sides. Jafeluv (talk) 11:20, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
    I agree; this proposal is slanted toward the proposer's preferred result. Powers T 02:00, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
    How is it 'taking sides' to document and state current practice, which is the whole point of this RfC? --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:38, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
    For one you listed reliable sources that back your claims without providing a list of reliable sources that support the current policy. You wouldn't write an article on a controversial topic and only include one point of view. Hot Stop (c) 05:48, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

What is a common name?[edit]

Reading responses (votes) I got an impression that there are different ideas on what is a common name. To start with an easy example: official name of Austrian capital is Wien, yet English has a common name for the city, consequently Vienna is used here and elsewhere in English-speaking media instead, while Wien is never considered to be an alternative to the common name. Croatian port of Šibenik has no common name in English apart from the name taken directly from Croatian, sometimes rendered as Sibenik as a simplification. Spelling out Šibenik instead of Sibenik in wiki does not detract from accessibility or readability of the article. What is gained by retaining original spelling of such names with no traditional English renditions is perhaps best illustrated by articles on persons: An educated person would most likely wish to use properly spelled name of Søren Kierkegaard when writing a term paper on Christian philosophy (for instance). Casual reader may well simplify the name to Soren or even abbreviate it to S. for all he/she cares.

In other words is Besançon common name in English or is it Besancon or are both of them part of French really (the latter simplified a bit)? --Tomobe03 (talk) 19:07, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Besançon is French; it is also the most common spelling in English. Similarly, the English for fr:Paris is Paris, even though they are not pronounced the same. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:24, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I doubt very strongly that there is an English name for Besançon. There isn't even a German name for it, even though it's only 150 kilometres from the German border and in fact it was German for more than 600 years before France conquered it in the 17th century. Even then the bishop of Besançon kept his vote in the council of German princes until 1803. There is a perfectly good German name for it, Bisanz, but hardly anybody in Germany knows what it means, as Besançon is universally known under its French Name. (With proper spelling including the cedilla, obviously.) Hans Adler 19:49, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, there is; there are at least two: Besançon and Besancon. There may be others. But those who do not understand how English works should not be disarranging this Wikipedia. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:14, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I second your plea. English is the most widespread language probably because it has always been open to loanwords, gradually making them its own. Therefore I think Britannnica is right to use Besançon even though there is no ç in pure and proper English. Granted French and English pronunciations will inevitably differ, but Londoners shall pronounce Dublin or New York a bit differently than their native citizens won't they?--Tomobe03 (talk) 20:32, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes, the Britannica is right; this guideline supports the use of Besançon; that is not the question at issue, nor is this a question of accent; one Paris ends with a sibilant, the other with a vowel. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:44, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
They do the same for Šibenik...--Tomobe03 (talk) 20:49, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Plain wrong. Besancon is clearly just a spelling variation for convenience or to cope with technical restrictions. Nobody in their right mind would pronounce Besancon Bee-sank-on or anything other than an approximation to the French pronunciation. People make an effort at pronouncing it as a French word because it is a French word. And as it is a French word, French orthography applies. Hans Adler 20:40, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
A personal opinion, and a half-truth. I had thought Hans Adler was discussing this in good faith; but he goes out of his way to argue with what I went out of my way not to say. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:44, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
So if I understand you correctly, you are arguing that Besançon has a genuine English alternative name that has the French pronunciation? And you are doing so in good faith? Hans Adler 09:59, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

This whole debate is ridiculous. If you want a foreign language wiki, you know where to find it. Absconded Northerner (talk) 20:58, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

It is a bit funny, but should we rename Hors d'œuvre and Vinaigrette on this wiki while we're at it?--Tomobe03 (talk) 21:05, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Yup, and rename Germany to Deutschland too. Absconded Northerner (talk) 21:10, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Note... when we refer to WP:COMMONNAME we mean something very specific... we mean whatever varient of a name that is most commonly used by sources that are written in the English language. We don't really care whether Besacon or Besançon is "English" or "French" (since English sources can happily use French words), what we care about is which is used most often in sources that are written in English. Blueboar (talk) 23:39, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Comments should not be refactored[edit]

Comments by editors should not be refactored by a non-neutral party. I strongly object to this series of edits by user:Ohconfucius it is bad enough that the initial RFC was not put on the talk page of the guideline and that the header created by Ohconfucius is biased and factually incorrect without Ohconfucius moving comments from one section to another with no agreement by those who's comments are being moved. Please put my comments back were I made them. -- PBS (talk) 22:28, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

You know something... you are correct...that was a BIG no no. It's one thing to move an entire section, with header, up or down; possibly because of an error in judgement as to merit. I didn't look at it that closely when it was done and assumed it was simply a section move. It's one thing to put in multiple "::::" because people forget to indent but to cut out comments piecemeal and thereby take them out of context is simply wrong and must be against policy. It may look neater but it ruined the flow of dialog and I can see why you would be upset... it's warranted. Fyunck(click) (talk) 22:59, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Look, I tried to make it clear in the instructions that the discussion should take place below. SO if people followed instructions, there would have been no need for me to do that. In any event, there was no "refactoring". For those with replies, I merely copied the whole block, including the poll comment, and pasted it verbatim to the bottom. The discussion remained indented and was coherent as it had been previously. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 13:52, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
    Protestations noted, but I agree with PBS. What little legitimacy this RFC had to begin with has been decimated by this in my view (which is why I haven't been back to this page since, until just now), and it appears that I'm not alone.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 18:00, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Poll v. Vote[edit]

Though this RfC has a section entitled "Votes", it might be better to change it to "Poll", per WP:NOTVOTE. This policy will not be changed by a majority vote, but by consensus. Would others agree to changing the header? --Elonka 23:17, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Poll would suffice. GoodDay (talk) 23:20, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

External search engines[edit]

Another aspect to be considered regarding accessibility via search: recall that many, if not most, visits to Wikipedia by someone searching for information does not start with the Wikipedia search box, but the search box of a search engine. In addition to the issue of having a search consisting of basic Latin letters matching content with extended Latin letters, there can also be multiple Unicode forms for a given string of extended Latin letters, and in the past, search engines have not treated them the same. isaacl (talk) 12:57, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Agreed. Article creators will need to ensure that the redirects are in place. But there is a problem as to what spelling variants need to be accommodated... --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 13:54, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Note though it's not just article titles that are an issue; the spelling within the article is important for relevant articles to show up in the search engine results. isaacl (talk) 14:00, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
The external search engine issue can be resolved by ensuring that the name is presented in both diacritic and non-diacritic form in the lede... For example:
  • "Joe Blow (Narnian: Jòê Blǒw) is a professional Blermball player from Narnia."
  • "Jòê Blǒw (sometimes presented:Joe Blow) is a professional Blermball payer from Narnia"
If you do this, anyone searching the name in an external search engine will find the article (whether they use diacritics or not in their search). This is a distinct issue from what should be used as the Article Title. Blueboar (talk) 16:54, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Again, consider the cases where the article is not about Joe Blow, such as the article on the blockbuster movie in which he made his breakout starring appearance. Even for his own article, the number of appearances of his name will influence the weighting given by the search engine to the page. The issue with search engines failing to normalize Unicode strings would also remain. isaacl (talk) 01:14, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure it's something we could do, short of doubling up all occurrences of names spelt with diacritics with their ASCII counterparts. In any event, seeing the result of web searches and the surrounding discussion, search engines already do much mapping of their own. Wikipedia is not Google. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:19, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Explanatory text[edit]

The introduction says "alternative names that are universally and habitually used by English-speakers will retain their traditional Anglicised forms." The Implications section says there will be no change where "[a]lthough the subjects are of foreign origin, these words and names that have become Anglicised and are internationally recognised as same." I don't see how these can be obtained from the proposed wording of the policy (though "as appropriate" leaves a bit of room for disputes). The proposed wording seems to imply that common Anglicizations would only be possible in the body of articles (or for names in languages not on the list). Perhaps it's intended that COMMONNAME would still apply, but that's far from clear, as this wording conflicts with it. Kanguole 20:48, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I tried to explain that to someone earlier. The way you read it is the way I read it. For those supporting this proposal because they always want diacritics there's no problem. For those supporting this based on the introduction and thinking common English is choice number one in the proposal, they are incorrect and could be supporting something they actually disagree with. For those 26 languages on the list it's diacritics all the way in the proposal unless a name is internationally recognized without them. Common English will be out the window with the bathwater. Fyunck(click) (talk) 01:14, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
"Unless they are internationally recognized without them." <-- That means unless they are Common English. So it lines up exactly with what you think should be the case. If they are commonly used without them then you remove them...if they aren't you leave them as is. Not really sure why people think this conflicts with commonname which basically says the exact same thing. And that list just says they should be respected not used, the two mean very different things. -DJSasso (talk) 18:51, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Indeed that is what COMMONNAME says, but it's not what this proposed policy says. For ease of reference, the text of the proposed policy is

The use of diacritics in proper nouns from languages with a roman script [1] should be respected. Native forms of such words should be used in article titles as appropriate. Common renderings without diacritics (where used in English-language sources) may also appear in the body of the article if that rendering can be cited to reliable sources. Both native and non-diacritic renderings must be adequately cited. A loan word should carry its original diacritics only when they are commonly used in English-language sources. For languages not defined here, the general usage in English reliable sources (including other encyclopedias and reference works) should be followed. The policy on using common names and on foreign names does not prohibit the use of modified letters, if they are used in the common name as verified by reliable sources.

Kanguole 21:08, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
"Both native and non-diacritic renderings must be adequately cited. A loan word should carry its original diacritics only when they are commonly used in English-language sources." Really? That seems to say exactly that. But there is no point arguing about it I suppose since this clearly isn't going anywhere anyways. -DJSasso (talk) 02:33, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
And "Internationally recognized" and "Common English" would seem to be two entirely different things that people could argue about. And this proposal says nothing about that except common english may be used in the body...not the title. Fyunck(click) (talk) 22:20, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Note: WP:COMMONNAME is part of our WP:Article titles policy. As such it applies specifically to article titles. While the concept it outlines is often used in the body of the text as well... as a matter of policy, it really only applies to titles. Blueboar (talk) 21:19, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Unusual letters vs diacritics[edit]

You apparently are focused on accented, stricken and hook-bearing letters derived from Basic Latin, but languages listed in this RfC have several letters (at least one: þorn) which are not. I think, some rules should be provided here also for þorn, and French ligatures, as it would be unwise to consider them separately. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 13:56, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

No need... This all comes down to applying WP:COMMONNAME. We follow the usage found in our sources... if a significant majority of the English language sources use a diacritical letter or character (no matter what the linguistic derivation), then we should do the same... if not, neither should we. If there is no significant majority, then we can choose which to use base on discussion and consensus at the article level. It really is that simple. Blueboar (talk) 14:08, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
No need to point out that some of problematic letters have actually nothing to do with diacritics? It is a cute law-making logic, to declare þ, ð and œ diacriticized letters on the grounds that they cause a similar problem. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 16:01, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
The point is, there is no reason why we need to distinguish between letters like þ, ð or œ and diacritics like à, ç or ü... because in both cases we use them (or not) as determined by WP:COMMONNAME. Blueboar (talk) 16:15, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
And the þorn would pass the "use English" hurdle with flying colours. Agathoclea (talk) 21:01, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
If there is no authoritative English, or a strong "common[ality among reliable] English", sources?? we fall back on the native, as the best descriptor? Or do we count noses and drop the accent from Éire, say because it appears unaccented far more commonly than not - especially in such common English things as crossword puzzles. C'mon, folks. This is an encyclopedia not a test of how well the blogosphere spells or whether laziness proves accuracy. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 04:00, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Bosnian, Croatian & Serbian[edit]

If Slovene is on the list, it should also include Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian language, as they all stem from the same language group and use diacritics in the same fashion. Rymatz (talk) 17:26, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Serbia uses Cyrillic or Latin, no? ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk)
Serbian is written in Cyrillic, but as it's basically the same language as Croatian, I guess transcription is perfectly obvious and standard for anyone who knows the language(s) and therefore Serbian should arguably be treated like the Latin-based languages. Hans Adler 21:41, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Agreed (except it's not exactly the same language; it's a delicate situation but irrelevant to this case though). Serbian is often written in Latin as well, and each letter in its Latin alphabet has its counterpart in Cyrillic and vice versa (as in hiragana and katakana). Rymatz (talk) 22:08, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I understand the Serbian_language is written in both Serbian languageLatin (Roman) and Cyrillic script, see Now it is getting relevant, because saying "these scripts equally used" would imply this RfC includes Cyrillic-when-used-in-Serbian. I'd prefer stating: "applicable when using the Latin (aka Roman) script." -DePiep (talk) 08:53, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

International canvassing[edit]

I noticed an unusual sudden number of support comments come in over the last 24 hours, mostly (not all) from accounts with very few edits. Perhaps a sockpuppet check would be a good idea, or there's meatpuppetry going on? --Elonka 15:30, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Oh yeah... you can bet on it. Probably canvassing as well with a sudden clump of 13 supports in a row when it was even 2 days ago. I have no idea how to combat it but luckily it isn't a straight up vote...just a poll to give the pros and cons and I haven't seen anything new in awhile. I think other country's wikipedians are getting involved now too seeing as they have a chance to lock in their spellings to the English wikipedia. Fyunck(click) (talk) 17:34, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
Looking at the userpages of the latest wave, several of them identify as Swedish, so I'm guessing something was posted to the Swedish Wikipedia, asking them to come here and !vote. --Elonka 17:55, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
I doubt there are any WP:SOCK violations – but posting to a page watched by a great number of users seems to be a violation of WP:CANVASS. But, I don't think there's such a policy at the Swedish Wikipedia. Also, everyone is allowed to voice their opinion (although some of the !votes simply had the same rationale). HeyMid (contribs) 18:11, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
It's just one of those quirks about the English Wikipedia... I'll bet 99% of those editing the Swedish wikipedia are Swedish while here we get many whose 5th language is English. Nothing against the rules there, but it makes deciphering what is truly "Common English" trickier when looking at polls such as this. I'm sure any good mediator or admin takes that into consideration when looking at these things and it's why it's not a straight up vote. Fyunck(click) (talk) 18:14, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
Doesn't really matter... Consensus is not determined by a simple majority vote. Even if we get a steady trickle of support votes over the next week or so, there are enough oppose votes with solid explanations behind them to justify closing this with a "no consensus" decision (at least that is how I would close if I were an uninvolved admin)... which essentially means: "We will 'default keep' the current language in the policy, at least for now... further discussion is needed... take into account the comments and concerns from both sides in this RFC and see if you can craft some sort of compromise". (a compromise may or may not be possible... but that is what "no consensus" indicates we should attempt). Blueboar (talk) 19:39, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
No but if there were a steady trickle of support votes to come in that were to make the it a clear majority then usually that is an indication that people opposing don't have as strong an argument behind them. I am not saying we are at that point currently. But generally once the percent climbs above 60% in favor of something its usually considered a strong consensus. And we don't weight peoples opinions based on their number of edits (unless they truly are sock/meat puppets.) We are after all the wiki anyone can edit. A good closer wouldn't discount them just because they had low edit numbers. -DJSasso (talk) 22:20, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
There's either some serious socking or MEATing going on. No way does a debate get 15 votes in a couple of hours. Absconded Northerner (talk) 00:17, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
It only got 11 and it was over the period of a whole day which isn't all that strange. That being said as was discovered above it was because a post was made on a highly watched page which of course triggered people to come and check out the discussion. -DJSasso (talk) 02:08, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Is it considered meatpuppetry if the users support based on different opinions? Also, this RFC may be important for other projects too. HeyMid (contribs) 08:12, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
In general, a majority smaller than 70% is seldom considered to be a consensus, let a lone a “strong” one, unless a sizeable proportion of the minority's rationales are patently bogus. A. di M.plédréachtaí 14:01, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
In RfCs where large numbers of people are commenting it has been often said that 60% is a strong consensus in an Rfc. Doesn't hold true for things like Afd I agree. -DJSasso (talk) 16:05, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Socking or not, there seems to have been somekinda canvassing. It's not good form to see a bunch of editors from another language Wikipedia, showing up to 'stuff the ballot box'. GoodDay (talk) 01:27, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Since when is 60% a strong consensus? I must have missed that class because I haven't seen that to be the case. And that large a number is STRANGE considering it's been up for weeks and had settled down to a slow trickle. Which highly watched page was it posted on? I mean sure we could post something similar on a page that favors English but that wouldn't be kosher and it's why the numbers don't matter... just the quality of the "different" arguments. Fyunck(click) (talk) 05:35, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Heymid posted the link above—the Village pump page on the Swedish-language wikipedia. isaacl (talk) 13:56, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
It does look as if the message on Swedish Wikipedia slightly oversteps the boundary, but it does raise the interesting question of whether guidelines should specifically address the topic of cross-project collaboration. A similar problem arose at the Germany article, though in that case socking was also involved. I wonder where that issue should best be addressed (apart from Wikipedia talk:Canvassing for that specific guideline). Obviously people on, say, Swedish and German Wikipedia are likely to be knowledgeable on the subject of Sweden and Germany, respectively; so cross-Wiki collaboration on relevant topics should not be discouraged; but there may be issues of conflicting guidelines and how to educate participants from other projects regarding our guidelines and their interpretation. On the other hand, neutral notices at WikiProjects likely to be affected by changes to guidleines (e.g. France, Germany, Poland, Sweden), seem approriate and likely to attract valuable input to the discussion. Does anyone know which WikiProjects were informed of this discussion? If, as seems likely, this guideline is closed as "no consensus", and if a compromise solution is sought, we should perhaps consider which WikiProjects should be explicitly informed of the discussion.By the way, should we change the heading, since the problem seems to be more about canvassing than socking?--Boson (talk) 14:04, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
I'd not object to you (or anyone else) changing the header because, as you say, the problem seems to be more about canvassing than sock/meatpuppetry. Of course, at the English Wikipedia we should always follow the guidelines and policies here. HeyMid (contribs) 15:02, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
IMHO, one should never mix his/her participation across Wikipedias. For example: If one 'moves a page' at French Wikipedia, one shouldn't repeat that same move at Swedish Wikipedia, German Wikipedia, English Wikipedia etc etc. GoodDay (talk) 15:47, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
It's also different than say, global warming articles or articles on international tv shows. This is a poll on English language representation on an English wikipedia, not Swedish or German or Swahili. Of course those countries that use diacritics and have editors that speak English will want diacritics here, so any cross language canvassing will be lopsided in favor of support for "diacritics only" articles, as this proposal will do. That's exactly why someone crossposted it over there. I'm already deeply concerned by the statements in the "support" section because it appears many are "supporting" based on the synopsis and not the actual proposal wording. If the synopsis fit the proposal I feel some past supporters would not support it. Sure the canvassed Swedish contingent would, but some of the rest would not. Fyunck(click) (talk) 17:17, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
FWIW, my native language uses diacritics, as do all the languages other than English in which I can ask where the toilet is (unless you count classical Latin), but I still opposed this proposal. :-) A. di M.plédréachtaí 17:44, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Oh, it looks like a serious leak of secret information :) I don't think this is canvassing in the true sense of the word. An open noticeboard at the Swedish Wikipedia (a sister project) is in my opinion a relevant forum for such a notification. Should we ban the editors from commenting here? Should we prevent them to learn about it and keep this RfC in secret and safety of the English speaking world? It would be ridiculous and it wouldn't be possible in the Internet era, in an international open source project. The Swedish proper names are crippled in the same way as the names of the "Eastern Europeans" and others. The titles of the articles about Swedish people and places are affected by this practice. No wonder that Swedish editors consider it an important matter and feel obliged to support correct description of facts related to their country. It is a logical reaction, and the Norwegians, Slovaks, Poles and others would do the same thing, as they are all the same diacritics pushing "POV group". I'm afraid they don't understand what have a non-English proper name to do with the English language a how could diacritics damage the English language. ... Don't be scared, I won't post anywhere, I'm just watching and commenting here :) Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 08:44, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

When a link is posted and the associated text says that the poster hopes diacriticals will be kept intact, it's canvassing. It's not appropriate for people to register new accounts on enwiki purely to vote on a discussion that affects them. Absconded Northerner (talk) 09:21, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I would not condone posting to another project, as it is not all that appropriate and certainly would not be relevant for a "local" issue. Of course, it is entirely proper for any editor to parachute in from whatever language sister project if they even as much as occasionally edit in these woods and happen to learn about it here, and it would be improper to complain about such action from "abroad". The disgruntled cannot be stopped from posting to Wikipedia Review, but that's a separate issue. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 09:37, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
It is definitely not a good way to reach a consensus here on Wikipedia. But I understand their motivation. For those people, it is disconcerting to see an encyclopedic article on a non-English subject with errors in the title. It damages the accuracy and credibility of such an encyclopedia. Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 10:23, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually, no it doesn't. If the common way of spelling a name in English is to avoid diacritics then it's more damaging to include them. As people keep pointing out, this is the English language wiki. Using the spelling rules of other languages is the more damaging option. Absconded Northerner (talk) 10:42, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I realize that our opinions may differ. You can't create an English proper name by removing the accent marks from a non-English proper name. Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 10:57, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
And yet it's been done, many times... -GTBacchus(talk) 11:12, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
(e/c) That's almost exactly what I was going to say. Since the vast majority of native English speakers have no idea what the marks mean, using them in the titles of articles helps nobody. Absconded Northerner (talk) 11:14, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, I thought that I help to present correct facts about a non-English culture and society in a major world language (using my imperfect knowledge and skills). It is disappointing to see that correctness may be trumped by language barriers and stereotypes, but I can live with that. I admit, it is harder to retain my naive and optimistic attitude. Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 11:56, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
@Absconded Northerner: Do you think it should be a goal of this project to prevent people to learn about the accent marks and correct names? Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 11:56, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
@GTBacchus: Should I respect it because "'s been done, many times"? I'm sorry but I can't. We have a modern encyclopedic project with fantastic possibilities and multilingual human resources. Why do we prefer an outdated and inconsistent method? How can the accent marks floating over the non-English proper names damage your language? --Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 11:56, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Vejvančický, hi. I never suggested that you should respect anything simply because it exists, and I never suggested that anything was damaging the English language. I don't know who you're talking to, but it must not be me, because you're replying to things I never said, and never would say.

As for why we prefer "an outdated and inconsistent method", I don't know. That's what the community has said, many times. I'm only a messenger here. -GTBacchus(talk) 12:29, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm sorry, GTBacchus, you joined the discussion with your short message and your remark inspired me to ask you for your opinion on this specific matter (I watch the poll carefully and I know you are in the 'oppose' column). But you are only a messenger ... I hope you are not offended by my blunt questions. Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 13:43, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not offended. I sometimes get impatient when I see people treating a complicated and controversial question as if it's somehow simple and obvious. It's kind of an insult to the intelligence of anyone who disagrees. If there's anything simple and obvious about these questions, it is that the answers are neither simple, nor obvious. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:13, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Nobody is talking about preventing anything - the diacriticals will always be present in parentheses in the lede. We're talking about title names, and there's no reason why the English language wiki should include all these non-English characters. Absconded Northerner (talk) 12:06, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't see any new accounts. In addition to the user who noted the RFC on the Swedish Wikipedia, nine Swedes may have participated recently and all have been here on the English Wikipedia for at least a year. Some have been active editors for years. Prolog (talk) 11:23, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
With the same logic there's no reason why English Wikipedia should have articles about all these non-English people! But what do I know, I'm just a lowly Swede. /Grillo (talk) 12:50, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, it's not quite the same logic at all. An argument to present all subjects in an unaccented Latin alphabet is not even in the same universe as an argument to avoid discussing any topic relating to a foreign nation. Is our non-use of Chinese characters an argument that we shouldn't cover Chinese topics? I think not. Therefore arguing against diacritics is not an argument against covering non-English topics.

What you talk about, and what alphabet you use to talk about it, are very, very different questions. -GTBacchus(talk) 12:57, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

The comparison with other alphabets is a common misunderstanding of the issue. All Latin letters with diacritics are still within the Latin alphabet. We're not discussing Chinese och Greek letters here, which should of course be translitterated. The problem is that if you present the person "Bjorn Borg", you are not presenting the person "Björn Borg", since "Bjorn" is not his first name. The name "Björn" stems from the Swedish (among others) word for bear, while "Bjorn" means nothing. It is actually comparable with writing for example "Berack Obama" instead of "Barack Obama". The only difference is that "e" and "a" are seperate letters that look different, while "o" and "ö" are different letters that look alike. In Swedish, the letters åäö aren't considered a and o with diacritics, but seperate letters. The same goes for actual diacritics though. The word "facade" isn't the same as "façade" (which isn't writable with a standard Swedish keyboard, but that doesn't stop me from using the letter tables below). Façade is non the less correct English. /Grillo (talk) 13:44, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
There is no misunderstanding here. You said that the same logic for arguing against diacritics would also argue against covering any non-English subject matter. That is simply an incorrect claim. Those would not be "the same logic". Arguments about what subjects to cover, and arguments about precisely how to write their names down, are simply NOT THE SAME LOGIC. That's the only claim I'm making right here. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:13, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Well said, Grillo. It is incredibly hard to explain here that by removing the accent marks you create a nonsense, not an English word. It is incredibly hard to accept that nonsense is preferred over correct facts, especially in an encyclopedia. The cultural and language differences are too large. Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 14:21, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
However, in many cases that "nonsense", "non-English" word ends up becoming part of English. Is "hotel" nonsense? It was at one time, and now it's English. What counts as English is not determined by rules about what "should" count. What counts as English is determined by usage. If English language sources write "Bjorn Borg", and mean Björn Borg, then that IS a way of writing his name in English.

English is not determined by rules, but by usage. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:13, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree that "Bjorn" is not the same as "Björn", but you're forgetting that sometimes things and people are called different ways in different languages. The article about Elizabeth II on the Czech Wikipedia is titled “Alžběta II.” because that's what she's called in Czech; likewise, if a Czech person has a name in English other that the one in Czech, the English one should be used on the English Wikipedia. Duh. (And no-one is talking about removing information: the name of the person in their native language, if it differs from the English one, is shown at the top of the article.) A. di M.plédréachtaí 17:42, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm just going to write this once because I have already argued about this a million times on svwp regarding for example the Moldovan capital city. A name does not become English just because several sources that happen to be used also in English (but also commonly internationally as a whole) drop diacritics because of technical limitations. Good examples of this include televised sport events. In the 1980's almost no sporting events on Swedish television used the Swedish letters for Swedish persons, simply because the televised events used the English standard broadcast, and these had technical limitations. Today, the Swedish letters are almost always shown in the same situations, because the mentioned limitations no longer apply. The point is: Technical limitations do not create common English names! For example, no one would argue that correct Romanian does not include s with comma, just because the Romanian standard keyset instead includes s with cedilla because of a bug, which probably causes the s with cedilla be more common in Romanian text than s with comma. /Grillo (talk) 18:31, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
A “bug” common enough can become a standard over time: dunno about Romanian, but in Italian final stressed /i/ and /u/ used to be spelt ‹í› and ‹ú› with an acute accent until the early 20th century, but since typewriters only had ‹ì› and ‹ù› with a grave accent, they eventually became standard and nowadays hardly anyone uses ‹í› and ‹ú› anywhere any more, not even in dictionaries by major professional publishers, and my spell checker treats them as wrong. A. di M.plédréachtaí 22:29, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Newspapers in North America have a style standard that excludes modified letters, etc. outside of the languages of those countries closest to the English world, e.g. French and Spanish. This predated the Internet; it continues today. It is the norm and is journalistic practice for North American media. This is not new information. See Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions_(use_English) where we've discussed this for over a month. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 19:38, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Said with more decorum than his comparison to imperialism on the Swedish wiki page. To me, canvassing on this issue feeds those who are anti-diacritics. Having to investigate !votes undermines the discussion. It was already clear that persons of non-English speaking countries are in support of encouraging diacritics in the English wikipedia. Now it's gone to the point of insulting those who oppose. Imperialism would mean the imposition of English opinion on the Swedish wikipedia. Instead, we have the will of the Swedish editors wishing to impose on the English wikipedia. While all opinions are valid, it must undermine any statement of consensus on the RFC. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 14:33, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I commented on "The English alphabet consists of the 26 letters we all learned since singing as a toddler", which implies that everyone that will read the page has English as native language. I for instance didn't learn the letter "w" until much later (it wasn't considered part of Swedish until just a couple of years ago, and has always been grouped with v) and thus learned 28 letters (English alphabet-w+åäö), though not by singing. That however has no bearing on those who oppose the change, and I find it rather insulting that instead of bringing something new to the discussion you take a comment (kind of written in the heat of the moment) on svwp out of context and use it against me here. Who's not constructive here? /Grillo (talk) 15:46, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Do you -not- stand by your comment? ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 15:57, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I stand by everything I write, but you can't choose what I attribute a comment to. To be clear: the comment is directed to a perhaps badly thought out sentence in the proposal summary, not to any oppose comment. This should be clearly in sight for everyone who can search the page. /Grillo (talk) 16:35, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand Swedish, but I can understand the word Imperialism. If I was being inciteful here on the English page, yet refrained from that language on the Swedish page, you would call me out too, no? It's not appropriate for this discussion, anywhere. BTW, your points about the technical aspects have been debated prior to this section, which is about the canvassing. Let's move on. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 17:12, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I believe I may have referred to English as 'the Überimperialist language', maybe somewhere in a talk page. I would go so far as to say that up until very recently, it's like the Borg (resistance is futile), and reading from some of their comments, some editors here still seem to hold that view. However, there seems to be a rapid trend to recognising and respecting the existence of other Romanised characters from other languages. Is there any dispute about that? --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:13, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
I believe your only hope is to infiltrate the Borg and change it from the inside. Are you willing to join us and submerge yourself? As a bonus, maybe we can get Seven of Nine back, just for you. As to your other comment, there are lots of martyr editors here who speak eloquently about respecting their language's spellings but refuse to acknowledge the common English practices easily observable all over the Internet and in print media. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 02:38, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
7 – Almost all the blokes' favourite TNG character. ;-) I already remarked that the Wikiculture seems to be changing in favour of diacritics. The Borg Queen is dead. I am hugely encouraged that my practically 'IAR' RfC has secured 50% support, even if you exclude your alleged canvassed votes. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 03:35, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Well spoken Grillo. I am more active on svwp than enwp, as editor, but I read more on enwp than svwp (translates for example, and studies). When I saw about the woting I used my right as an editor to vote, not believing that only "native english people" were allowed to vote. To explain my example when I voted: Hörby, freely translated to english bekomes "listen village", while Horby means "prostitute village". That is a great difference, and should not be misspellt. About imperialism: Well, after living and teaching in the US for a year I noticed the lack of understanding different cultures and languages, even to learn foreign languages-"why everyone knows english" (but that is only one small part of all speaking english in the world-most of them understand more than one language and therefor understands why the diacrits are important to write. Adville (talk) 12:59, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
This is all very true. Americans are famous for not knowing world geography, as well. (BTW, the word is misspelled, not misspellt) Not only in America, do the various diacritics get dropped. It happens here in Canada. There simply has to be a practical consideration that we cannot be expected to understand all of the languages and their spellings here on the English wikipedia. Right? So there has to be a practical aspect to the usage of diacritics. And it is not just American institutions. International organizations such as the IIHF and the Olympics change the spellings for broadcast and media in English. While it is of course important to observe the examples such as you have posted above, we cannot expect all English readers to tolerate -all- foreign spellings. Ones that are uncommon or rare in their everyday lives. Many are of course, benign. I think the current policies to neither favour or discourage diacritics is appropriate. This forces us to study appropriate spellings. To argue on each spelling's merits. What we need really is more guidance for editors on how to apply diacritics. The Manual of Style is developing; it's normal to develop practical boundaries and to become more explicit. But the underlying intent to serious consider spellings so that they truly are the common spelling is a good policy to retain. The influence of native speakers is important to the English wikipedia, I don't want to diminish that. However, accomodation of the reality is important too. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 13:49, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
"This forces us to study appropriate spellings." Untrue. It only forces us to accept that they exist. It's easy to think of diacritics as "un-English, quaint or eccentric, but you don't have to study them to know that they are different. Those that want to continually blissfully unaware of other cultures are welcome to stay that way. The loss is theirs.

"What we need really is more guidance for editors on how to apply diacritics." Also untrue. WP is not a dictionary nor a lexicographic publication. We already have sources. We also have an army of natives of every imaginable language more than happy to work to ensure correct typography is applied. As far as our scope of operation is concerned, spellings complete with correctly placed diacritics enable those who are interested to find out more about other cultures and languages. There are other more focussed resources for them. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 03:35, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Can we please get back to the issue at hand ... There is no problem with an editor who is a non-English speaker (Swedish or otherwise) expressing his/her opinion on an RfC... there is a problem if they have been solicited to do so with the intention of stacking the vote. The question is... other than notifying the closing Admin that WP:Canvassing has taken place (so he/she can take that canvasing into account when closing the RfC)... is there anything further that needs to be done on that issue? I can't think of anything further... can you? Blueboar (talk) 14:07, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Can we ask any admins on the Swedish wikipedia to investigate the canvassing in question? ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 14:35, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Both Grillo (talk · contribs) and Adville (talk · contribs) are admins on the Swedish wikipedia :) Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 15:05, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 15:24, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
No disrespect or accusation intended here... but given that both Grillo and Adville have expressed strong opinions on this page, I think it would be better to ask a completely uninvolved Swedish admin. That would avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest or bias. Blueboar (talk) 16:08, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
It's not quite clear what you want. What do new faces have to do with the fact that the Swedish alphabet considers å, ä, and ö to be separate letters? (talk) 18:05, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the insight. By the way the English alphabet has 26 letters and å, ä, and ö are not any of them. Our letters are multipurpose industrial strength letters that cover many sounds here at this English Wikipedia. Fyunck(click) (talk) 18:26, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
This is a different question. Blueboar was asking for fresh faces, and it's not clear what he wants to achieve.
The reply to you is to that one should follow established practice. The Chicago Manual is unambiguous about Swedish in Section 11.87: "Swedish requires the following special characters: Ä ä, Å å, Ö ö" (emphasis mine)
Also consider the case of German. Münster is a university city in Westphalia. Munster is a army town in the middle of nowhere. Epic fail with those "multipurpose industrial strength letters". You could write ue in place of the umlaut, but that looks as if one couldn't afford proper diacritics in the time of Unicode. The Chicago Manual is clear as well (Section 11.48): "Although umlauted vowels are occasionally represented by omitting the accent and adding an e (ae, Oe, etc.), the availability of umlauted characters in text-editing software makes such a practice unnecessary." (talk) 19:53, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Note added in proof: The Chicago manual is altogether unambiguous about special characters (Section 11.12): "Foreign words, phrases, or titles that occur in an English-language work must include any special characters that appear in the original language. ... Many authors will have access to Unicode-compliant software ... and will therefore be able to reproduce each of these characters without the addition of any specialized fonts." (emphasis mine)
Is there a general agreement that canvassing has taken place in this RfC? HeyMid (contribs) 16:26, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
From my reading of the discussion, I would say yes. Jenks24 (talk) 16:48, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't see how there can be any doubt. Absconded Northerner (talk) 16:52, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Nobody eles answered the question from Blueboar, so even if someone thought I should not explain due to my vote I will try: Canvassing, according to enwp. This was a scale:limited posting on the swedish bybrunnen by user "Tomas E" explaining what you diskuss here, with examples with and without åäö. message:neutral, He said what he voted, witch is easy to see on the votingplace. Here it might be on the line...but he never said go and vote support, only that you discuss it. I wrote after him that I supported it, and my exmples. Audience:partisan:This is the problem. How should everyone get to know and be able to join the discussion without getting told? I am very often on enwp, but I would never have found the discussion without somebody putting up a note. In svwp we use to put up notes on bybrunnen about this kind of things, just like the note just under the one about this infected discussion about how to use german doubble-s. We call that democracy in Sweden and is not partisan doing. You must let everybody that are allowed to vote have their chans of voting else it is hypocracy. The last thing on the canvassing-thing is tha transperacy, and there is no doubt that the message is not hidden but open. Consensus of what I have written here above is that this was not an atempt of canvassing, but a way of a member on both enwp and svwp to tell everyone about their democratic right to vote (we are very used to do that in Sweden, we love democracy). Hope this message made the process clearer for the enwp-members. best regards Adville (talk) 06:54, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
This RfC should be closed already with No Consensus being achieved, see this is what happens when you all allow and leave things open for more than a week or at the most two at best at a time. I would say RfC should have a strict timespan to abide by in preventing this from happening in future RfCs. I would propose a 7-14 day lifespan to any RfC.SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk) 18:05, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
RfCs are usually given 30 days after listing (at which point they are automatically delisted and are closed). If you think that standard is too long, I suggest you raise the issue of shortening it at the Village Pump. Blueboar (talk) 18:26, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
This RFCs been open since June 23rd, so it is over 30 days now. Hot Stop talk-contribs 19:57, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
You're right that the RfC was created on June 23. However, the first !vote, which was made by the proposer, was made on July 4. In other words, we'll have to wait until at least August 4, although the RfC is unlikely to be closed as anything but no consensus. HeyMid (contribs) 20:09, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Gotcha, thanks for clarifying. Hot Stop talk-contribs 20:18, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Leaving an RfC open for the full 30 days isn't mandatory, but is desirable in a place such as this if you want to achieve one with broad and significant representation. Standard practice is to close after a suitable length of time, but this would usually depend on the scope and the potential impact of the change. Cutting it short doesn't necessarily eliminate the possibility of canvassing or canvassed responses. The two are unrelated, and it would be disingenuous to imply otherwise. I would have no problems if it were closed today, because the result is quite clear – stable at around 50% – and unlikely to change significantly even if it remains open until the end of the year. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 03:53, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
As regards involving Swedish Wikipedia admins, their rules on canvassing may not be the same as ours, but recommendations on cross-Wikipedia collaboration might be a good idea. --Boson (talk) 18:44, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Isn't it ironic that people who accuse of us of imperialism for "enforcing our language on their names" are doing the same thing. Hot Stop talk-contribs 20:18, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

The value or otherwise of using diacritics on en-Wikipedia[edit]

(The following comment by User:HandsomeFella followed on from the above comment by User:Hot Stop at 20:18, 26 July 2011 UTC)

Really? Are English names spelled differently in, say, the Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, German, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese wikipedia? HandsomeFella (talk) 22:06, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Even focusing on living people, the first name of the queen of the UK is spelt Elisabeth on the bokmål Norwegian and German Wikipedias, Élisabeth on the French one, Elisabetta on the Italian one, and Isabel on the Spanish and Portuguese one. For historical people and major cities I'd expect the differences to be even more. A. di M.plédréachtaí 22:16, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Royalty have their names translated (which is not the same as spelling the names differently). This goes both ways; Charles XIV John was named Karl XIV Johan in Swedish. HandsomeFella (talk) 22:58, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
If the difference between respelling and translation is that in the latter pronunciation is also different, then I don't think many English speakers pronounce Bjorn Borg the way Swedish speakers pronounce Björn Borg, with a front rounded vowel and a trilled [r]. (Hell, all people called Michael I've ever met pronounce their own name as MIKE-al when speaking English but as MEE-hyah-ell when speaking German, even though they're spelt the same.) Anyway, Stephen Hawking is not royalty and yet his name is spelt Stiven Hokinq on the Azeri Wikipedia and Stīvens Hawking on the Latvian one. A. di M.plédréachtaí 23:28, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
This discussion is about spelling, not translation or pronunciation. HandsomeFella (talk) 10:07, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, what's the difference between translation and spelling, for which Élisabeth is a translation of Elizabeth but Bjorn is a different spelling of Björn, then? I can't see any, except that the former has been established for a longer time. A. di M.plédréachtaí 10:14, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Björn Borg isn't royalty... HandsomeFella (talk) 10:21, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't see where Royalty gets an exception in WP:COMMONNAME. The whole point of that policy is that the common name - as appropriate for each language - should be used. That's what this RfC seeks to overturn, which is why it's not acceptable. I think you've just undermined your argument. Absconded Northerner (talk) 10:55, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually this RfC as far as I see it was to counteract the undermining of the application of WP:COMMONNAME as it had evolved over the years. Its wording might appear to go beyond established usage, but the the spirit is following WP:COMMONNAME which those who do have a crusade against diacritics (ie part of the latin script) do not follow. Agathoclea (talk) 11:14, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't see how you can say that. This RfC seeks to overturn standard WP:COMMONNAME practice by foisting diacritics on pages regardless of the more common spelling. The people !voting against this proposal are the ones upholding the existing policy. We aren't trying to stop diacrits everywhere at all. We aren't the ones trying to impose the spelling from other languages on the English language wiki. Absconded Northerner (talk) 11:36, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
(BTW, I've never heard anyone call the King of Spain "John Charles". :-) A. di M.plédréachtaí 16:41, 27 July 2011 (UTC))

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────WP:COMMONNAME is fine, we use that on svwp and I guess all language versions do. There's a difference however between translated names (as Vienna for Wien or Munich for München) and names with no English translations but where diacritics are dropped for technical or policy reasons. That is why it's better to look at reference works such as Britannica instead of web pages such as FIFA or ATP. The reference works include everyone and are more concerned with being correct instead of convenient. The reference works should give a general idea when to use diacritics, because obviously they don't include every person that has a WP article. That is, when the same name is being used in English, and the person hasn't made a personal concious choice of dropping the diacritics, keep them. When the name is actually being translated into something else, there's no need to "drop" them because they are already gone in the translation. Personal names are seldomly translated in English, except for royalty (Charles for Karl and Carlos, Peter for Pjotr, and so on), where it might be different in for example Latvian, as shown above with the Steven Hawking example. Dropping diacritics is not translating. /Grillo (talk) 12:16, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

So now you're seeking to change WP:RS too? The policy states "Wikipedia articles should be based mainly on reliable secondary sources. Tertiary sources such as compendia, encyclopedias, textbooks, obituaries, and other summarizing sources may be used to give overviews or summaries, but should not be used in place of secondary sources for detailed discussion." Absconded Northerner (talk) 12:21, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
"accuse of us of imperialism for 'enforcing our language on their names'". Citation needed... /Grillo (talk) 03:11, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Sometimes, dropping diacritics does happen to be translating. What's the English for rôle? (Also, Mary McAleese is not royalty but no-one calls her Máire Mhic Ghiolla Íosa in English.) A. di M.plédréachtaí 12:42, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
This assumes that Irish is the primary language for Mary McAleese, which (without any particular knowledge) I doubt is correct. One of the problems with this proposal is that it doesn't address this issue of what the appropriate language should be, which is likely to lead to all sorts of trouble in various parts of the world. Johnbod (talk) 13:24, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Why? The question is is Mary McAleese the commonly used English name. I.E a commonly used translation so to speak. But Maire Mhic Ghiolla Iosa would not be a translation. Agathoclea (talk) 13:37, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
The Mary McAleese example is obviously a translation and that is fine. All rules have exceptions, and different languages are handled differently. As you can see, no one has suggested we instead write "Maire Mhic Ghiolla Iosa", as that would be a bastardization, while "Mary McAleese" is not. The keyword to the argument that sometimes diacritics are dropped in translations is "sometimes". It should not be taken as a rule, judged by wikipedians who read sources that as a rule always drop diacritics. To say that I am against reliable sources is simply wikilawyering. In this case I'm ignoring a rule that can't be applied in a certain situation, which is how Wikipedia should work. /Grillo (talk) 13:55, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
As someone with an Irish name myself I would take extremely strong exception to the idea that my name is in any meaningful sense a "translation", and so would the vast majority of people with such names around the world. Johnbod (talk) 14:51, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the proposed wording change does not clarify if translated or native names should be preferred. It keeps the existing references to Wikipedia's policy on common names and foreign names, adds a bit of discussion on loan words, and says native forms of words should be used in article titles "as appropriate". This can used by all sides to support their point of view, and so will not reduce the amount of discussion on this topic. isaacl (talk) 14:16, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) So what? Edward Teller presumably was a native Hungarian speaker, but still no-one calls him Eda in English. (And no-one wants to drop diacritics as a rule; the current guideline is to use the name commonly used in English whatever it is even when it happens to coincide with the original name except for the diacritics, whereas the proposal is to retain the “native forms” as a rule.) A. di M.plédréachtaí 14:23, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
The point I've been trying to get across it that what name is "most commonly used" may not be the same as what name is the "correct name in English". An incorrect spelling that is more common than a correct spelling will still be an incorrect spelling. I couldn't care less about current English Wikipedia policies which I have had no part in creating and for all I know could contain both good points and utter stupidities (as I'm sure policies in all language versions do). I know when it's meaningless to continue a debate, and my standpoint should be pretty clear by my entries above. That is enough for me. I don't care enough about English Wikipedia to be part of any forthcoming move discussions but it will be a sad day on svwp too if some parts of this proposal will be neglected. It would be hard to market it as a trustworthy encyclopedia in Sweden when most Swedes read the English articles anyway and will be put off by the lack of diacritics. /Grillo (talk) 15:44, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
If you don't care, will you be removing your !vote from the discussion poll? Absconded Northerner (talk) 15:46, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
So, 1) can there be a meaningful sense in which a form can be “incorrect” in a language despite being the one which native speakers of said language normally use, and 2) how is one supposed to find out that such a form is incorrect? Have a read of this Language Log post. A. di M.plédréachtaí 16:41, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Mother country pride, has been & will continue to be, the reasoning behind pushing for diacritics usage at English Wikipedia. GoodDay (talk) 18:49, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

This powerful cabal of patriots has also infiltrated United States government agencies, the Chicago Manual of Style, Britannica, Columbia, Library of Congress, European Commission, UNESCO, British Council, National Geographic and many other previously respectable entities. Prolog (talk) 20:02, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
I just looked up a couple names at LOC and they didn't have diacritics on the listings, so they haven't been fully taken over as of yet. Also newspapers, sports organizations, English books, Almanacs, television news, and almost all English sources have been able to fight off this "Invasion of the English-Snatchers." But watch out because our souls are on the line ;-) Fyunck(click) (talk) 20:20, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
The LOC has the works of Paul Erdős under "Paul Erdős". (talk) 21:22, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
So what? So does Wikipedia, and nobody's trying to change that because most reliable sources use that spelling too. Absconded Northerner (talk) 21:58, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. But if this proposal is taken literally, it should be moved to Erdős Pál because that's the “[n]ative form” and Hungarian is one of the language listed, and what English-language sources do would completely irrelevant except to determine which alternative spellings to mention in the lead. A. di M.plédréachtaí 22:14, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
This is conflating two issues: the convention that unlike English some languages (Hungarian, Japanese &c) give the family name first and the issue of translating the first name. Use of diacritics is a third issue, and these is no need to cloud the waters even more. Erdős (like his countryman Teller) liked to translate his first name when he spoke English, so he is at Paul Erdős, not at Pál Erdős. Mikhail Gorbachev is where he is and not at Michael Gorbachev because everywhere he was Mikhail. Diesel-50 (talk) 01:08, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
That's. My. Point. We shouldn't have a one-size-fits-all rule because the names of some people/places/things are Anglicized and those of other people/places/things aren't; and the only way of telling whether a particular one is, is, wait for it..., looking it up in reliable English-language sources. Which is exactly what the current guideline says. Under this proposal, instead, you would use the “[n]ative form” even in case when virtually all English-language sources on the planet use an Anglicization and have done so for centuries, as in México; what English-language sources do, under the proposal, would be only relevant to whether to add (or Mexico) near the top of the article. Probably no-one would actually move Mexico to México per WP:IAR, but a guideline shouldn't rely on WP:IAR for situation this commonplace. A. di M.plédréachtaí 22:37, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Hu Jintao is never referred to as 'Jintao Hu', anywhere I am aware of. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 03:20, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Grillo (talk) 16:24, 23 July 2011 (UTC) (As has been pointed out at numerous places on this page, dropping diacritics effectively massacres the pronounciation of names. Failure to understand this commonly stems from monolingualism, common among native English speakers.) User talk:Grillo 16:24, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

I just want comment that the above was one of weirdest comments that I ever saw. Grillo seems to be interrested in improving the linguistic skills of native English speakers. I mean they should know better how to speak and write their own language, don't you all agree? Flamarande (talk) 02:06, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
  • That seems like a low blow. There's no need to lower the tone of the discussion. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 03:20, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Agreed. The Grillo comments are pretty much ignore-worthy. Fyunck(click) (talk) 04:35, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Thats nice said!! (irony) It sounds as a teenager: "I have my point, and therefor everybody elses comments that are against my point are ignore-worthy". And to flamarandeYou are right that they should, but are they? My son only knew "I love you" in english when we moved to usa (yes, that is an incorrect way to write usa, but the point is the same without diacrits-its wrong). He was seven years old. After five month he was the best speller och writer in his class! Why, do you think. The answer is simple-He studied hard and wanted to learn correct, but the point is that they were not the best. Grillo, and the rest of us voting support I asume, wants everybody to have a chanse to learn. But I have stated my point (and said why it is not canvassing in the discussin above), and I have as a teacher seen ignorancy and trying to lower foreigners points of view so many times-especially in USA- that I am not surprised of this discussion. Adville (talk) 06:26, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
  • The value of using diacritics on en-Wiki is ACCURACY. If you want simple titles, go to simple-Wiki: no diacritics, no big words. In languages written in a generally Latin script (to which the above list are many more languages of the former Soviet Union, and minority languages or dialects of Europe and Africa and Oceania and the Americas). In some instances, titles with or without diacritics are of import and form minimal pairs. In others, letters with or without diacritics are different letters in the language and may be alphabetized differently. Sacrificing accuracy for some (minor) ease of use (which can be 99.99% mitigated with redirects) is a bad bargain. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 03:53, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
    If using Anglicized titles is not “accurate”, neither is titling an article Bill Clinton (not to mention Gulliver's Travels) rather than William Jefferson Clinton (or any of the other examples in WP:NCCN, for that matter). My view is that so long as the original, full name of the topic is shown in the lead, no accuracy is sacrificed by using a more common name as the article title. A. di M.plédréachtaí 22:37, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Let's play Spot the diacritics: 1 2 --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 04:16, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
    Yep some albums use it and some don't. Of course if this proposal went through that would not be the case... they would have to have diacritics in those specified languages. Fyunck(click) (talk) 04:35, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

You know, I find it extremely odd that a number of editors actually put so much time and effort into fighting for the removal of something that should rightfully be there: diacritics in names that are actually spelled with diacritics. Some diacritic-opponents, like GoodDay for instance, repeatedly (and patronizingly) claim, by their own assumption, that this has to do with "mother country pride", or something on that order.

Has it ever occurred to you that, due to its quality and breadth, the en-Wikipedia might be viewed as the Wikipedia – the only one that counts – even by editors from countries where English is not the first language, even over the wiki in their own language? Has it ever occurred to you that these editors freely and voluntarily contribute to en-Wiki in their own respective areas of expertise, namely in articles on issues concerning or touching their own country and nationals, just for the satisfaction of seeing quality and correctness even in those articles? Not only is it a compliment to en-Wiki that this is considered important and worthwhile by those editors, but in my view, en-Wiki is also extremely fortunate to have this kind of expert's attention available to very many of the articles, without which en-Wiki would have a much harder time producing high-quality articles on virtually any issue outside the English-speaking world. It is my belief that these editors are not here to "defend" something (which GoodDay seems to believe); they only get pre-occupied with something that is easily corrected – spelling – so that is what some of them end up spending much time on.

For instance, I think that it's fairly safe to assume that a current event receiving world-wide attention such as the 2011 Norway attacks would be nowhere near as good as it is today, in such a short timespan, without the attention of several Norwegian-speaking editors, and with the attention of English-speaking editors only – no disrespect intended. These editors do not expect any gratitude (nor do they receive much), but their input should (in my view) be treated with the same respect as that of any English-speaking (only) editor. I'm not entirely certain that that is the case.

Returning to the issue at hand: the diacritic-opponents can't possibly mean that Motörhead, Häagen-Dazs and Zoë Wanamaker should move to "Motorhead", "Haagen-Dasz" and "Zoe Wanamaker". And if these articles should be kept where they are, then why should Björn Borg move to "Bjorn Borg" (as I understand it is the view of some editors)? Where's the consistency? Ok, it is possible that much – or even most, I haven't checked – English-language media spell his name "Bjorn Borg". So what? En-Wiki is supposed to be encyclopedic, isn't it? What harm can possibly come from diacritics in the topmost heading? Why should en-Wiki be less exact than it can be? Why shouldn't we have – as Hans Adler put it – "precision in the place where it is most appropriate", i.e. in wikipedia?

Somehow, we have to find common ground here. The only reasonable compromise to me is that names in languages that derive from the Latin alphabet, of which English is but one, retain their diacritics. This rule should be consistently applied, not depending on notability (for instance) – unless of course there is a commonly accepted English-language name, such as Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Cologne, Munich, Montreal, Quebec and Mexico (for Göteborg, København, Köln, München, Montréal, Québec and México). This is rarely the case when it comes to personal names.

However, I don't see much meaning in having names from languages using non-Latin alphabets (such as Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese) transliterated into versions with diacritics (I could be wrong here, but it's my current position).

HandsomeFella (talk) 18:10, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

However many non-native speakers use the English Wikipedia, we have to cling to the standards of normal written English, not use some invented Wikipedian World English, not least because nobody would ever agree what the rules of that were. Johnbod (talk) 19:58, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
You are saying Britanica, Times ect are making up words? Agathoclea (talk)
I'm not trying to convince anybody to use "some invented Wikipedian World English". This is (mainly) about personal names, and a person's name is what he/she calls himself/herself. Nothing else. HandsomeFella (talk) 20:05, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
This proposal is not just about personal names... it's about everything regardless of what is common English or not. In tennis, when we use first hand sourcing, we look to the ATP and WTA and perhaps the 4 Major events of the year. They all use common English without diacritics. And then when we read our morning paper we again see those names diacritic-free. Some of these players have their own personal websites that also don't use diacritics. Yet we may be forced to use diacritics no matter those sources and I find that incorrect on this English Wikipedia. Fyunck(click) (talk) 20:32, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Personal websites. That would certainly show how the person writes himself. And don't make the mistake of using the domain name. Diacritics in domain names have not been possible until just a couple years. And then they are discouraged as not all browsers or DNS servers can deal with them. Agathoclea (talk) 20:40, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
It's mainly personal names that are disputed. The ATP and WTA may be authorities on results, rankings, statistics and such matters, but they are not authorities on spelling. HandsomeFella (talk) 21:06, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
For that matter neither are secondary sources like encyclopedias. Dictionaries are though. And we base things on common sourced English around here... and the ATP and WTA are legitimate sources whether you like them or not. There are plenty of city names that will fall under the spell of this proposal also... and in tennis many tournament names. @Agathoclea... correct...the domain name wouldn't be fair because of limitations. Fyunck(click) (talk) 22:55, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

How to move on as a community[edit]

This RfC has now been opened for 30 days, the RfC tag on the page has been removed, and I've requested closure at WP:AN#Diacritics RfC needs closing. There is no consensus either way regarding the RfC's proposal. How do we move on as a community? Should we follow the local WikiProjects' compromises (if they have one)? HeyMid (contribs) 08:16, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

As guidelines should reflect practice and consensus (or lack thereof), and neither the current nor the proposed wording seems to succeed in that, we should return to the 2008 wording. There was never consensus to change it, anyway. Here's the updated version:

There is disagreement over what article title to use when a native name uses the Latin alphabet with diacritics (or "accent marks") but general English usage omits the diacritics. Several surveys on the issue have been conducted: A 2005 poll on place names, a 2008 discussion on tennis biographies and a 2011 request for comment on proper nouns.

Other than that, business as usual. Prolog (talk) 09:32, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I would say, "Discussion closed. Result was no consensus." means that we leave the current text as is; but we should add a note with a summary of the results of the last poll and this one. If the current text was not actually consensus, someone can start drafting a new (compromise?) RfC (and inform all affected WikiProjects and relevant groups of contributors, e.g. Wikipedia:WikiProject Germany, Wikipedia:WikiProject Poland, Wikipedia:WikiProject Sweden, Wikipedia:German-speaking Wikipedians' notice board). If such a discussion is started, I would have no objection to restoring the status quo ante first.--Boson (talk) 17:00, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Much of the opposing group, myself included, would simply like some specific things cleared up and are not opposed to the use of diacritics completely. We basically all agree on following commonname. Where there might be room for compromise leading to consensus, would be developing lower-level rules or guidelines. I think a lot of the controversy really developed around otherwise obscure athletes of Slavic countries. (Obscure to us in North America or in the English world) I'd like to think that we could at least regard those with minimal English exposure, e.g. simply sports stats websites and the like, as to be titled with their birth spelling, as possible. Maybe we could settle that debate for the foreseeable future. If an athlete doesn't use their birth name spelling when becoming notable in North America, we might consider the North American spelling to be adopted. We might be able to specify better when to use transliterated names. (Sandis Ozolinsh springs to mind) That sort of thing. We might be able to adopt newspaper style guides as a good start for naming, or specify which journal style guides are within the realm of common usage in English. I'm not certain we can simply say all languages that use the Latin alphabet, like the proposed wording. We might be able to consider the use of diacritics in articles to be like engvar, that is, don't change them if an article doesn't or does use them. I don't know if these sorts of issues will satisfy the supporting group, though. My point is that we should probably examine issues from the bottom up, that is by the use of examples, and then build up rules. From the top down, seems to set us up for philosophic and political debate. While we cannot satisfy the most determined proponents on either side of the debate, we could still be progressive and try to show common sense. As we have to this point. (mostly :-) ) ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 18:24, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Just a nit. If we're going to adopt a style guide to solve (or partially solve) this problem—and secretly I hope we do!—we don't necessarily want to follow newspaper style guides. We have a unique set of constraints, possibly very different from those of a newspaper. This comes up a lot in this debate and the recent one about dashes/hyphens. We can employ a fairly wide variety of typography, so if a style guide is based on the limitations of a typewriter or ASCII or whatever we don't necessarily need to be limited by those constraints. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 19:42, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree, but I don't think those technical limitations affect the styles any more. People mention that, but I think it's a red herring. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 20:45, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
No red herring, just follow the English alphabet and nothing else, that's simple enough. This is not hard because we are the English Wikipedia and nothing else, so is already means to follow English, duh!SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk) 21:57, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Newspapers tend to omit diacritics for several reasons, such as reduced workload (easier to meet the deadlines and no need to hire specialists), target audience (American rather than international) and the AP Stylebook (accent marks are among the "nontransmitting symbols" in wire transmissions). I haven't seen any papers or journalists argue that stripping the marks leads to better English. Bill Walsh wrote that "if your publication has the time and resources to use accents and other diacritical marks correctly, go for it. But I maintain that it's impossible to use them consistently and correctly in a deadline-intensive medium such as daily newspaper journalism. If you can't use them consistently and correctly, you shouldn't use them at all." Prolog (talk) 22:38, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Prolog, you are making conclusions. Ok, there may be other factors involved in style guides, but they still represent common usage. If I were to propose from style guides, I would say that using diacritics for the languages close to English, should be accepted here without prejudice at Wikipedia as a minimum standard for the appropriate words. In other words, don't oppose those spellings or article titles. If we can start from that, we could then look to what to do with Scandinavian and Slavic languages. Those are more problematic, even for the UK. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 13:32, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but this is the English Wikipedia and the english alphabet does not contain diacritics, so they need to be left out of all article titles, and put in the opening of the article. You can use a diacritical redirect to make sure they find the appropriate article with the English Language title not one based upon some other language.SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk) 22:46, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
SaysWho, I think your point is an extreme, and is not helpful for moving forward. It's been demonstrated repeatedly that diacritics are used in English common usage. We need to accept that and work for rules that follow common usage. Yes, in English we don't use the marks, but we are not talking about English persons, place names or words. In general, we are talking about the names of persons from outside North America, place names for example, in the Czech Republic, or loan words. As for your other point: Why is it acceptable to use diacritics in the first line, but not in the title? If what is determined to be the common name includes diacritics, there is no reason not to use them in the title. The name is deemed the common use already. Follow my points made already: I am not advocating top-down policies such as you state, rather ones derived from the common usage out there already, and rules to guide cases where we cannot determine any substantive English usage. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 13:32, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
I take "extreme" stands, as this proposal was "extreme" in the writing and wording of it to be perscriptive to only be able to use diacritics. Like mine is not to ever use them. I don't believe that, I see the rule as what it is, and should remain so. I think the overhauling of these rules with respect to article titles needs to be left alone because they work. I hate hate and hate somemore having to go to utter extremes. I like things in the middle, I am a moderationist at heart. We have inclusionist, exclusionist, and somewhere in between editors on here, I just happen to be that middle. I guess, I should not have taken this route or fork in the road, but it was the only pathway I saw, when presented with this utterly ridiculous RfC. We should always choose the most common usage in English Langauge based sources, I get it, sir yes sir or ma'am yes ma'am. I follow the rules, just go look at my edit history for that respect.SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk) 02:08, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
(@SaysWho) You are contradicting yourself. You say you are taking an "extreme" position because the RfC is "extreme". Reading from all your comments, it would seem that you were not simply being reactionary to the RfC; the position is much more deep-seated, IMHO. Your unwillingness to accept that the English alphabet can never contain letters with diacritics is manifestly exclusionist, in face of universal recognition that some diacritics are frequently employed in the English language, albeit inconsistently. You deprive yourself of the right to claim you are a "moderationist at heart". I feel there is no meaningful discussion possible with people holding intractable positions like yours.

(@alaney2k) Do you believe that a proposal to universally adopt diacritics limited to French German and Spanish subjects, except those with commonly used historically anglicised names like Munich, Napoleon, is more likely to be acceptable to the community? From my 256-shades-of-grey perspective, I would be willing to accept such an idea. Of course, until a global WP position is reached, project-level autonomy to adopt diacritics should they choose ought to be respected. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 03:06, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Well, it is worth a try. A lot of the oppose on the RfC was about concerns about having to support all diacritics. There needs to be some reasonable standard and language that is clear. Personally, I felt that 'respected' was too loaded a word. We really have to try to avoid issues of pride and pronunciations in other languages, as I think it's clear that we try to speak the names of Europeans as they are properly pronounced, (mostly! :-) ) but without the marks. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 13:34, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Diacritics are certainly used in common English but far from frequently. Pick up a newspaper or a cheap novel and you may go quite awhile without seeing one. Universally adopting the required use of any other language's diacritics is a bad idea. If they are more commonly used in English than not that's fine and dandy, otherwise we'll look at it case by case or go back to the 2008 wording that strangely got changed along the way. Fyunck(click) (talk) 03:23, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Definitely agree. We're not talking about English words, though. I think we could use that case-by-case history to establish a baseline that will reduce back and forths. For example, the athletes that may have passed project notability standards, or place names, that don't have much, if at all, English knowledge. It seems inappropriate to me for Wikipedia to prescribe translations with little English evidence. We could adopt National Geographic as a standard for place names, when little or no English usage is established. Could you point out the 2008 wording, let's take a look at that. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 13:34, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

(@alaney2k), I saw "universally and habitually", when it came to using the "Anglicised" name spellings, and was dramatically opposed to that wording, because that would put forth a harsh and inappropriate standard to follow. This means we would be dragged kicking and screaming to use only the diacritic version in the article title. Furthermore, the proposer cherry picked two sources to favor his/her viewpoint in the debate in "National Geographic and Britannica", which use diacritics. This would mean in the rarest of instances that these two sources don't use diacritics we would not, but in 99.99 percent of the cases we would. By the way, the proposer said using this "is a matter of precision and respect to the person or country of their origin", which is contradictory because we are to follow common usage not what some langauage deems necessary. We would be the multilingual wikipedia, when it comes to article titles not the English Language wikipedia. This proposal stated that the persons name may be "utterly different in its absence; others are confused how the use of diacritics could be reconciled with common English usage", we are to be using the name most English readers see in their most common usages not to seek out to confuse the readers with our titles. We have a solution for this it is called putting the official language version into the opening like other language wikipedia's do Черчилль, Уинстон, he is Winston Churchill by the way. On the subject of Djokovic or Đoković, which started this entire debate, we would not be able to use Djokovic because we would be prescribed to use the latter one. In the way English speakers say his name, it needs to be titled Djokovic for that reason alone because we say is name with a Dj with the D silent. I fixed the Novak Djokovic article to be like Yani Tseng and the Russian Wikipedia Winston Churchill. Plus, it is used in English language newspapers, magazines, and publications this way as well. So, this is to the "extreme" extent and nature this RfC was written. So, what was I to do when faced with a horrendously objectionable policy change to dismantle this Wikipedia as it has been conceptualized since its very existence.SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk) 04:09, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Oh, I was not referring to the RFC, which I opposed too. I agree that diacritics, as a rule, in English are not adopted in common English usage. Regardless of how bad or hurtful that may be, it is reality. I think we do adopt the pronunciation, but it's not represented in the spelling. What I'd like to aim for, is some incremental moves. Djokovic is definitely without diacritics in English and he is well covered in English sources. ʘ alaney2k ʘ (talk) 13:34, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you on the "incremental moves" or changes, which I will help you with, and I already showed you that I get it on the Djokovic page. I am so so so sorry for bing flippant and obnoxious with my behavior on this RfC. I am generally level headed, but I have to admit this really crawled under my skin, the way it was worded and all. If you need any assistants with another article just bring me in on it.SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk) 21:05, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

By language or by script?[edit]

I arrived late here, but this is my proposal in first draft:

This RfC does not apply directly to languages that use the Latin (aka Roman) script. It applies to text written in the Latin script.
A language is not a script

The language itself is not a script, and we should differentiate. Only to write a language, one uses a script. Examples of scripts are: Latin (aka Roman, see below) alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet, Hebrew alphabet, Han ideographs (Chinese). We can imagine which languages are written in such a script, but the bickering is reduced or irrelevant. (Interestingly, the language Serbian language is written in both Roman and Cyrillic, as on the sh wikipedia. Applying this current RfC outcome to the Serbian language, one could introduce the whole topic into Cyrillic (because hey, Serbian is included). See talk #Bosnian, Croatian & Serbian above).


The working effect of my proposal would be: all text written in Latin alphabet use diactitics conforming to this RfC; with non-Latin scripts this RfC does not apply.

Translation loophole

Of course there still may be controversy on writing. E.g., when a notable person has emigrated from France to US, then the name can be changed too (re diacritics). Then there may be discussion on which language to use: French or English?. That will stay. But this is only a remaining problem (compared to the current RfC), and is reduced in occurring numbers (because, now it only occurs when there are different writings for a word, not different languages in which the name is used).

Transcription loophole closed

Transcription is: rewriting into another script. It does not imply translation.
The script-based rule I propose also (by definition) includes transcriptions to or from other scripts (whether translations or not): when using the Latin script, write Latin (including diacritics per this RfC). This loophole is closed: if I type a transcribed Hebrew name in an article, it still is in the Hebrew language, and so should have Hebrew diacritics (as per this current RfC). And the loophole is both ways: when, in an English text here, I quote a Hebrew word in Hebrew script, I am in the English language, so should apply this RfC's diacritics? Note that the Pinyin transcription is more about Romanisation (and phonetics) than about translation into English. Again, these loopholes will be closed: when writing in Latin (Roman) script, this RfC applies. If not, it does not.


This RfC does not apply to scholars when describing the issue, of course: one can apply Latin diacritics to Chinese ideographs to illustrate a point -- within a scholarly (encyclopedic) context.

(Miscellaneous, incidentally)
  1. Only yesterday I noted this point at when it related to RTL and LTR languages, while it is about writing RTL or LTR scripts or script?.
  2. On phonetics, there's more to say later on.

-DePiep (talk) 10:01, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Naming "Roman script" or "Latin script"?[edit]

I propose using Latin alphabet, script, not Roman alphabet, script. Unicode defines not "Roman script" but "Latin script" (as per ISO 15924. See Script (Unicode) and ISO 15924. It includes some 1300 derived characters, diacritics, ligatures &tc of the Latin alphabet. Is why "Latin alphabet, script" is preferred over "Roman". -DePiep (talk) 10:01, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

On first read I would say this is a terrible suggestion. 1300 derived characters for an English Wikipedia? We have 26 letters and "occasionally" some added accents in English. Our letters are multipurpose so that an "o" can have many different sounds. It's still spelled simply "o". So let's add some 1274 new characters to the language. No thanks. Fyunck(click) (talk) 18:00, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I think you misunderstand me. Actually, what you are reading right now on this Wikipedia are characters from that 1300 piece (and more) Unicode Latin set. I do not propose to change the letterset itself. I propose to change the name we use for that same script. "Latin" is the name defined by ISO (not Roman), that name is used by Unicode for a set of characters, with or without diacritics (not Roman). More universal & authoritative & useful standards for this I don't know. Is there any definition of "Roman script"? (And would that definition be used on this internetsite, encoded in UTF-8 which is Uncode-defined?). Unless we want to introduce recurring haggling about some diacritic belonging to the English language (writings). For example, one of the languages covered by this RfC is Polish. The letter Ł (L with stroke), used in Polish writing, is not part of the Enlish language. Would you exclude that one from this RfC somehow?
  • Interesting you choose that letter as I'm Polish with that letter in my heritage. We had no problem converting KoŁodziej to English Kolodziej. We simply pronounce it with the w type sound and spell it with a simple "L" here in English speaking countries. No need for extra letters here and it's great. Certainly in the Polish wikipedia the letter "Ł" should be used, but not here unless the majority of English sources (newspapers, books, websites, sports authorities, etc...) use it over the standard 26 letters in the English language. Fyunck(click) (talk) 22:51, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
What you describe is the point of this RfC: in proper nouns that have no serious Anglicised version, the non-English character (spelling) should be used. The Munich example is trivial, Gryfów Śląski is not. -DePiep (talk) 23:22, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Then, the 1300 Latin characters defined by Unicode have multiple sources. First, you think the Latin (or Roman) script only has 26 letters (since you calculate 1300-26=1274, right?), but for starters, we need uppercases and lowercases (makes 52). Then, a lot of diacritics used have precomposed characters in Unicode (also, diacritics are defined separately, for the font to combine with almost any other letterlike character). There are precomposed ligatures (like "fi"). The phoneticians use ʁ (latin letter small capital inverted r) in IPA for a specific sound; this is derived from original Latin, therefor part of the Latin script. Is how one can get to 1300. Not one is new: Unicode only accetas existing usage. -DePiep (talk) 21:02, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

The English alphabet needs to guide us not unicode. I suggest we follow what this encyclopedia is, which is english not unicode.SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk) 21:54, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

I did not talk about the English alphabet. It is about using the name "Latin", not "Roman" for the script. -DePiep (talk) 22:14, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I suggest you go to read about this language, which is what we should follow instead of some 1,300 characters like you are suggesting. This suggest further reading English a language with an alphabet without diacritical marks, so why are we even having this on this English Wikipedia in the first place? That's an even more confounding question isn't it.SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk)
I suggest you read from this thread the title, the first sentence, and the post right above your last one. -DePiep (talk) 23:05, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
We should not be following any script that does not follow the English language alphabet, which the Latin Script most certainly will not follow the English Language Alphabet. The English language alphabet does not contain diacritics like the Latin Script you are suggesting we use contains.SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk) 01:39, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
The RfC uses the word "Roman" script. I propose replacing that word with "Latin". This does not touch the "English" alphabet at all, let alone change it.
It is about the source language script, before any transcription, and is not "the English alphabet". German, Polish, Spanish, &tc languages are not in "English alphabet" either e.g.. They really don't bother following the "English alphabet". The RfC is about using (or not) their diacritics here. -DePiep (talk) 14:00, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
We should not have to use latin versus roman script, when it comes to article titles, we need to use the most common used (my word would be frequently) used in English based sources. We don't need to put another layer on top using the common name in English publications. So, we are both barking up the wrong sides of the tree here. I just suggest we keep it simple, when it comes to the rule, procedures, and guidelines on this Wikipedia. If the most commonly used word in English for the article in question uses Roman then Roman or vice versus. Like with diacritics, if it is used in the most common English langauage sources, we must, but if not do not use them. So, it should be done on a case-by-case basis not legislating a new protocol for the whole Wiki to adhere to.SaysWhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow? (talk) 02:49, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
You are off topic again. End oof our conversation. -DePiep (talk) 22:23, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Please Note... this RFC has been closed with a "no consensus" decision. This means that any further discussions on changing the language of the guideline should now take place at the guideline talk page itself, and not here. Thanks. Blueboar (talk) 16:05, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

List of languages[edit]

Below the proposed text, in a footnote, is a number of languages that (I understand) all use the Latin script. It appears that this list is fixed and defining. The next section in the RfC (but not in the proposed text itself), is appears that some candidate languages are excluded, such as Vietnamse (which uses the Latin script). The only hint or reason mentioned: Furthermore, the names are derived from non-European non-Roman-script languages, so diacritics use is not replicated. The word non-European is introduced only here, in an example. At the same time, Hawaiian is included and Turkish, which can be called European only by a stretch of liberty. The problem is two tiered: one, that the list is a part of the proposed text is not stated (it appears informal, and its state is only unfolded implicitly in examples); two, it creates an unnatural border between languages (this one yes, the other one no).

Since the RfC is about diacritics in the Latin alphabet, why introduce extra differences that will keep on causing debate and hairsplitting? Why not include Vietnamese and all other Latin-written languages? The example re Dang Huu Phuc is clear, but only because he has an Anglicised version. What about say a Vietnamese city name that is not Anglicised? -DePiep (talk) 22:46, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

does not really matter any more... the RfC has been closed with a "No consensus" deterimination. Blueboar (talk) 01:55, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
  • The RfC was essentially based on the practices in National Geographic, as formalised in their style manual. In the interests of having such an objective standard, and of simplicity, the list was adopted wholesale. While it's true that consistency ought to be the way to go, many people (including yours truly) are extremely intimidated by the Vietnamese diacritics set. It was seen as a serious impediment to the acceptance of this proposal. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 04:46, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for replying, especially after a huge task you started just ending this way. As for the NatGeo standard you mention, I'm no fan of using multiple external standards, I have bad learning curve experiences with citing (Chicago, Harvard, everything goes, and away goes simplicity). They differ from our V:sources, really. Also, in diacritics they are mostly old-style and using old technical limitations which we, the internet, practically do not have any more. About intimidating diacritics (sure they can be, but let's say more rational those difficult or unfamiliar in English): I always found redirects and disambiguation pages a solution. That would be, a supporting page name without any diacritics. But alas, not for the time being. -DePiep (talk) 07:42, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

This RFC has been CLOSED[edit]

If further discussion is needed on any point raised during the RFC, it should take place at the main WT:Naming_conventions (use_English) talk page, not here. Thanks Blueboar (talk) 16:12, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Insufficient advertisign[edit]

Sadly, I just learned about this RfC; I wonder why it has not been mentioned at WT:POLAND? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 16:37, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

I doubt it would have made much difference; it's certainly had the professionally Polish viewpoint represented. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:02, 12 August 2011 (UTC)