Wikipedia talk:Simplified Manual of Style

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Example of British punctuation may be misleading[edit]

Art, I believe that your example of British/logical style may be inaccurate. At the very least, it makes it look like periods and commas go outside the quotation marks all the time. To quote Chicago 14:

The British style of positioning periods and commas in relation to the closing quotation mark is based on the same logic that in the American system governs the placement of question marks and exclamation points; if they belong to the quoted material, they are placed within the closing quotation mark; if they belong to the including sentence as a whole, they are placed after the quotation mark.[1]

So maybe dialogue wouldn't be the best example. Perhaps something like this would be better:

On Wikipedia, place periods and commas inside or outside the quotation marks depending on whether they are part of the quoted material or not: The word "carefree" means "happy". but She said, "I'm feeling carefree."

My own personal preference would be to also include the words "This differs from standard U.S. punctuation rules." As you know, I don't think people should be using this system in American English articles, but if they are, they should do it right. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:27, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

My example was copied from the end of Quotation mark#Punctuation, so if it's wrong, then maybe you should change it in both places. Art LaPella (talk) 00:20, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
That style is used primarily in British non-fiction. British fiction has the commas tucked in. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:06, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Intro section?[edit]

This page should probably have a few lines explaining what it is. At the very least, it should say, "If you want more detail, check the full-form MoS. In any edit conflict, the full MoS trumps this one."

In particular, internal consistency should be mentioned. "Either 'James' house' or 'James's house' is OK" could be construed as meaning that both are okay within one article. Perhaps this guide could include a line reading: "Sometimes there's more than one right way to write, but choose just one and use it consistently throughout the article. For example, do not switch back and forth between using and omitting the serial comma in the same article." (Side note: Aren't we supposed to spell out "okay"?)Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:42, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Well, it has a one-line intro that says something similar. The internal consistency rule is often cited at MoS debates, but I'm not convinced our debates are a newbie's priority. He's more likely to be seen changing one optional style to his preferred style, simply because he thinks the other style is a mistake. He may or may not see that the rest of the article is written in the style that offends him, but if he does see it, he will presumably consider that to be additional mistakes, and "fix" them. Art LaPella (talk) 00:27, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

"More" boxes[edit]

I find them very disruptive strewn about the running text. Perhaps at the end of bullets? Certainly not within sentences. And could they be smaller? Tony (talk) 02:31, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

  • I don't understand "at the end of bullets". At the end of a line, as they are now, except there is a bullet at the beginning of the line? I don't know how they could be smaller and still say "More", but we have discussed how they could be fainter. Art LaPella (talk) 06:53, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
  • On second thought, the <small> parameter would make read more ... smaller than read more .... Art LaPella (talk) 07:09, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
For some reason, the small thing hasn't been working on Safari for the Mac for quite a while. Damn nuisance; and it makes me not trust that syntax. I suggest a quite different display. Tony (talk) 09:18, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"Honey, I shrunk the "more" box!"
More More more MORE —Telpardec  TALK 

Notice that the 3rd box with lowercase "more" has a noticeably larger amount of white space in the upper part. The font reserves enough space for diacritics above the upper case letters, and for descenders (g, j, q, and y) and diacritics below the base line. The only way to make the box smaller is to use a smaller font size, like the 4th box above. The upper case letters have a balanced amount of white space above and below. We can't go smaller than "font-size:83%" or people using small handheld devices will have ACCESS problems.

BTW: Here is the message where the idea by User:Neotarf for a More box started.
Other pages with related messages: [2][3][4][5]
Thanks everyone. —Telpardec  TALK  05:52, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Here is an early version of the page with blue-linked "more". [6] Improvements have been made, but yes, it is still hard to read the bullet points. Still, I think the points must be referenced in some way, to show they are a summary of a formal document and also, since even guidelines have been known to change, to serve as a quick pipeline to the most current wording. Perhaps at the end of each subsection? I also placed a box at the bottom with comprehensive links to MOS pages. It's something I use frequently and suppose that others might find it useful as well, not sure if there are other MOS boxes available. There are way too many dumbed-down WP pages, surely something can be simplified without being dumbed down.

Also, the whole thing is getting too long. The eye can no longer take it in at a glance, and new editors will simply click to something else. I would tentatively suggest a limit of 4-5 items per title and one to one-and-a-half lines per item.

Neotarf (talk) 10:39, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Making the "more..." link stand out with this box is perhaps not such a good idea after all. We don't want the "more..." link to take center stage. It is for "more..." only after one has read what precedes it. Having a template allows us to uniformly control this, but I would think that is not necessary. What is wrong with more...? Well, I will modify the template instead of removing it. Less is more. --Rogerhc (talk) 21:08, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
I changed the more template (Template:Manual of Style/More) to display a simple link instead of a box but I'm not sure it really helped unclutter the page. So I have reverted my edits and changed the more template back to a box. I wonder if #Section headings as links to relevant MOS sections might be a better approach. Please comment there. Nope, I see we have way more "More" boxes than section headings; so that wouldn't work. --Rogerhc (talk) 06:49, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
November 12, 2012 More box. MORE
Lighter colored More box. MORE
I think a light colored More box, like the light blue one above, would be less distracting. It does not change colors to indicate it has been visited the way the dark one does though. To match that visited link color changing behavior we would need to insert a class for light colored links into Mediawiki:Common.css which might not quite be warranted or sanctioned for this limited purpose. I think it would be worth using the light color even though it does not change color after being visited though. It may be less visually distracting than the dark colored box. What do you guys think? Ideas? --Rogerhc (talk) 06:49, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

How long before it becomes suboptimal?[edit]

I'm wondering ... a lot is not mentioned that probably should be. Tony (talk) 09:35, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Since you are one of the main authors of the existing system, I doubt if we'll agree on that one. Of course everything is still mentioned if you click through. Art LaPella (talk) 18:14, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
I was hoping for a non-personlised opinion. Would twice the current size be too much? Would 10% of the size of the current main MoS be appropriate? Who is the intended readership? (Newbies, early editors ... every editor?) Tony (talk) 00:11, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
WP:SMOS is largely mine, so naturally I'm happy with its size. Others may speak for themselves. Wavelength and Incnis Mrsi have expressed more radical proposals, and I'd be happy with those too. The intended readership is whoever doesn't click through to the full Manual of Style. I think such clicking through would be unusual with the exception of about 30 MoS experts. Even SMOS has more information than most editors seem to know, as expressed through their editing. Art LaPella (talk) 03:05, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
I suggest about twice the word length as is here. Some points seem to be too detailed: why not cut the religion-related caps, for example? There's more basic stuff that's current not included. Tony (talk) 04:56, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
I could elaborate about my opinion, but I'd rather encourage some others here – Art LaPella (talk) 20:05, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Oh heck, here are some examples of the statistics I would like to see used, starting with the Capitalization section:
Sentence case for articles is seldom a problem.
Sentence case for section titles isn't always used in about 1 article out of 10 articles where that problem is a possibility (about half of them).
Only a few percent of articles have captions. Out of 10 such articles, only one had a sentence case problem: Cult wine. But half of them had periods for sentence fragments.
The SMOS religious section has grown. "Bible" occurs 101,000 times according to Google (inflated by including "biblical" among other things). About 1% of the "Bible"s were improperly uncapitalized, but we probably need that rule just to explain "biblical" which is a bigger issue – about 1/3 of the "biblical"s were capitalized (excluding titles etc).
I didn't find a clearly miscapitalized "God". But I have in the past. When it happens, it's unlikely to be a simple oversight, because uncapitalizing religious words, especially "God", is the style of American Atheists and anyone who imitates them, so all-out religious edit war is imaginable.
"shrew" is wrongly capitalized about half the time.
I didn't find anyone miscapitalizing "all winter" (a phrase chosen to avoid people named "Winter"). So I may have overestimated the seasons problem.
Note how unknown some of our best-known rules are, despite their position in the Manual of Style. Few people are presumably aware of them. I hope SMOS doesn't get the same problem. Art LaPella (talk) 22:58, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

The size is fine; it is maybe already too large. Any more, and people just won't read it. This should be a summary of how Wikipedia in-house style is unique, not a basic primer on how to write grammatically correct prose. It should assume that many people who read it are intelligent and just want a quick overview of wiki ways before taking off and creating some content. If you want something about common errors in articles, maybe make a separate section, and call it something like "common errors". Not everyone in the world confuses there, their, and they're or your and you're. Why alienate those people right off the bat. Neotarf (talk) 00:13, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia has these pages.
Wavelength (talk) 00:30, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Simple Wikipedia for inspiration[edit]

Editors who want a simple manual of style might find inspiration in these pages.

Wavelength (talk) 22:29, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

[The first posted message in the fourth page listed (version of 04:59, 3 September 2010) uses the expression "the Complex English Wikipedia". That expression is a retronym.
Wavelength (talk) 16:06, 14 August 2012 (UTC)]

I believe the Simple English Manual of Style is almost the same as the English MoS about 2005, when I suppose it was copied. Art LaPella (talk) 22:40, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
I searched in the history of WP:MOS, and I found the first version of each year.
Wavelength (talk) 01:02, 14 August 2012 (UTC) and 01:40, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
The Simple English Wikipedia Manual of Style (version of 02:46, 14 August 2012) has 66,370 bytes.
Wavelength (talk) 16:01, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
I found it was actually created in 2007, which explains those statistics. Art LaPella (talk) 21:59, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Not yet ready to be part of MOS[edit]

I have removed the template at the head of the page that made it a component of MOS. That is premature, and not adequately discussed. No doubt it will be, soon enough. But it is not ready yet, as we can see from the general uncertainties expressed in the sections above. Another consideration: let's not set a dangerous precedent. Already MOS is too big and sprawling, according to Art LaPella (initiator of this SMOS) and many other MOS regulars. I'm with them. Although SMOS promises to work against the effects of that sprawl, it may worsen the situation if it is adopted too quickly, encouraging others to be cavalier also.

I have some new concerns: about new editors' experience with those "More" links, but not connected with their styling. I'll raise them when I have concluded some investigations.

NoeticaTea? 01:25, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

I hadn't looked at it lately, but it appears to be coming along nicely. Still strangely quiet on my favorite, MOS:CAPS. I agree it can use more work and discussion. Dicklyon (talk) 02:32, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
MOS:CAPS corresponds to WP:SMOS#Capitalization, so I don't understand "strangely quiet". Art LaPella (talk) 21:55, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm thinking of it more as a "cheat sheet" than as actual policy; here is something similar for markup WP:MARKUP that I have bookmarked, although the format seems a bit oversized for MOS. Neotarf (talk) 10:50, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

This is a wiki markup cheetsheet--short and links to further resources, does not try to be a compendium, does for wiki markup what SMOS does for MOS. Cheers, --Rogerhc (talk) 17:44, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Section headings as links to relevant MOS sections[edit]

The More boxes discussed above serve the important function of referring readers of the Simplified Manual of Style (SMOS) to relevant sections of the Manual of Style (MOS). However, those "More" boxes, I feel, make the page less readable by visually distracting the reader away from the text of the page. I tried changing the "More" boxes to simple plain vanilla links but the page still looked cluttered to me. I have an idea that instead of putting links to "more" at end of each and every short summary, which I find a visual distraction in the text, we might make each section heading in the SMOS a link to the relevant section of the MOS. This would reduce visual clutter while providing obvious links. Erg... Wait! That wont work; there are way more "More" boxes than section headings. Hm, maybe some other way. Alas, I'm stumped. Maybe someone else has an idea how to make the SMOS less visually distracting? Maybe dim the "More" boxes a bit? But that discussion will belong at #"More" boxes, above. --Rogerhc (talk) 05:38, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Great page[edit]

And long overdue IMO!

I'd like to suggest adding a very short version of Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Layout, containing for example the more commonly used entries from Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Layout#Standard appendices and footers, and probably little more than that. Be ruthless and leave at least half of them out, the more link will give access to the others. Infoboxes and footer boxes and interwiki links, for example, aren't all that relevant for beginners.

This was something I was forever looking up in my early days (these days I often use Wikipedia:WikiProject Percussion/Percussion instrument article skeleton instead which is rather a piledriver approach but works for me). Andrewa (talk) 18:36, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

See User:Andrewa/Simplified Manual of Style - Layout for some more specific ideas. Andrewa (talk) 15:56, 18 December 2012 (UTC)