Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ships

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Move discussion[edit]

Please join in the move discussion at Talk:Essex (whaleship)! –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 01:37, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Bulk stripping of pennant numbers?[edit]

There seems to be a push at present to remove pennant number from ship articles: [1] USS La Jolla (SSN-701) to USS La Jolla, [2] USS Torsk (SS-423) to USS Torsk etc. This is being done under WP:PRECISE.

I do not see this as an improvement and believe that they should be reverted. This is not merely an anodyne disambiguator (as WP:PRECISE covers) it is the pennant number, as much a part of the name in service as the christened name. This should be preserved in the article title, even when not needed for disambiguation. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:50, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

WP:Ship names makes it quite clear: "For an article about a modern-day ship, include the ship's hull number (US Navy hull classification symbol) or pennant numbers (Royal Navy, and many European and Commonwealth navies), if it is available, sufficiently unique, and well known.[Note 1]" where [Note 1] includes the text If there is only one ship of the name, it is wrong to disambiguate, per WP:PRECISE. On an aside, there was a discussion at WT:Article titles to change the disambiguation scheme for ship names which resolved in "change is needed--and the likely disambiguation will be the launch date" but effort seems to have stalled on the precise method. That RFC, archived here, should be reviewed, since it is clear that your opinion "the pennant number is part of the name" is not shared by all or even many. --Izno (talk) 12:54, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
How many times do we have to discuss this? Hull and pennant numbers are not part of a ship's name. More importantly for us (recall that we are an encyclopedia for a general audience), hull/pennant numbers are of very dubious use to readers, and they are not routinely used by similar sources (for instance, warship "encyclopedias" like Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships). Parsecboy (talk) 12:59, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
@Parsecboy: Maybe it would help if you could point to the most recent discussion. Do you know where that is? --Izno (talk) 13:11, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
This was the most recent discussion (that I'm aware of) - it was not a particularly useful discussion itself, though there are links there to previous threads, as well as the RfC that was held last year. Parsecboy (talk) 13:39, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I'd be happy to replace pennant numbers with launch dates as pennant numbers like D85 or F61 are meaningless. Unlike a hull number that can give you an idea of when a ship was built.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 14:16, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
That's the conclusion the RfC reached last year, but apparently we never got around to implementing it. Parsecboy (talk) 14:21, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
100% behind Parsecboy's initiative here. We're a general-interest encyclopedia, not a specialist site. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 15:55, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
At least for US warships, hull numbers aren't meaningless; indeed, searching for "CVN-69" produces more Ghits than "USS Eisenhower". I see that Conway includes them, and it would be peculiar to omit them, so I don't know why anyone would assert otherwise.
I suspect that WW II did wonders for increasing the number of never-before-or-again US ship names, so it's reasonably likely that there are more that don't need disambiguation than do. That said, this is a lot of make-work and make-controversy, which will probably degenerate into fights over picking which ship of a given name is the well-known one, taking off its hull number too. Personally, I would go with consistency and keep hull number on them all, but consistency never seems to be a WP value. And as far as disambiguation is concerned: for modern US ships, it's the one everyone knows, right down to the big number on the bow or island. Mangoe (talk) 16:49, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

"the big number on the bow/island" amuses me--I couldn't tell you what USS Missouri's number is, but I can clearly tell you it's a modern battleship (the one of which I know, anyway). That said, I've only been removing the hull number where the topic has no ambiguity.

Regarding the RFC linked above, since you seem to be arguing against the discussion therein, if you want to have another RFC to overturn the previous, that's your prerogative. My suggestion is that the generalist reader (being such) has no idea nor does he care about the hull number and instead remembers the type of ship at which he's looking ("aircraft carrier" and etc.). I haven't reviewed all of the material regarding disambiguation of ship names, but I'm still sitting here puzzled regarding that most other domains on Wikipedia can figure out how to disambiguate sensibly by the type of thing which is being discussed in the article (sometimes adding a date, which usually makes it sufficiently defined). --Izno (talk) 16:59, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

(edit conflict) You misunderstand, Mangoe. Yes, Conway's does include the hull numbers in tables or prose. That's not at issue here. The point is that Conway's does not use them in titles. For example: the entry for USS Wichita (CA-45) is simply "Wichita", not "Wichita CA-45".
No one has ever suggested that we go on a mass-renaming effort. But by the same token, no one ought to get upset when I stumble across an article that is unnecessarily disambiguated, and I correct it. Parsecboy (talk) 17:01, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Ghits as a measure of importance are subject to a lot of factors, as witnessed by how I get more search results for USS Eisenhower than CVN-69. I'm personally in favor of going farther and renaming everything as <country demonym> <ship type> <name> <(launch year if needed)> so we have one nice consistent style that anyone can understand, but at minimum we don't need unnecessary disambiguators in article titles. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 17:07, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Indeed - for what it's worth, I'm getting about 238k for CVN-69 and 419k for "USS Eisenhower". I'd also point out that the first page of the latter search results include articles from CNN, RT, etc., while almost all of the former are USN pages (and Wikipedia). Again, we are not a specialist source. We are a general encyclopedia. Parsecboy (talk) 17:11, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
That's because "USS Eisenhower" in quotes blocks out the actual name of the ship, and because the hyphen in the hull number is oft omitted.
My experience of these sorts of things is that a lot of effort goes into creating a great deal of inconsistency, with various people producing a succession of consensuses resulting in some articles having a long trail of former names. A quick look at the articles in question shows that this will, for the US at least, leave nearly all CV/CVN, BB, SSBN, and CA/CG/CL articles requiring disambiguation. Running through the 1944 ships I see that an awful lot of those need disambiguation too, including nearly everything British; indeed, it would be safe to bet that a substantial majority of all British ships have to be disambiguated because there are so many names to be reused. I'm sure that adherence to sacred principle will prevail over consistency but also, when it comes down to it, these articles constitute a specialist encyclopedia, because real general encyclopedias wouldn't include them.
Also, I must reiterate my opposition to substituting launch date for hull or pennant number. Even specialists, as a rule, don't know launch years for modern vessels, whereas hull and pennant numbers are widely known and given. Mangoe (talk) 03:15, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Specialists, however, will know launch dates within a few years, if not the exact date, and that's more than enough to discriminate between the WWII-era HMS Daring and the two more modern ones. Which, BTW, is something that can't be done by the pennant numbers. Oh, and did you realize that pennant numbers aren't always stable? So the same ship, especially during WWII, could have two or more pennant numbers. They're not like USN hull numbers, which are generally quite stable, but then I'm not advocating for changing USN articles only RN and Commonwealth ones that use pennant numbers.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 03:23, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Just for clarification here, are we no longer using pennant numbers (at least for Commonwealth vessels) as disambiguators? Does this include the hull classification symbols Australia and Canada began using after the war? Are we using years from here on in? Are we settling on a policy of disambiguation for ships, because having one country have one, and then this other country's vessels have another is just bad encyclopedia design. We kinda need to come up with some hard policy here, otherwise were going to get into this again and again (as we already are). Llammakey (talk) 11:16, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Exhibit A on why we need some ground rules. All ships, except the one which doesn't have a page, share the same number with different hull designations. Llammakey (talk) 13:26, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

If we get rid of hull numbers in the article title, I do think the number should appear somewhere in the article, and we need a clear guideline as to where. The first sentence of the lead seems appropriate. Is this documented anywhere? Kendall-K1 (talk) 20:46, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Yep, in the lead. It's under hull pennant numbers and disambiguation. Near the bottom of the section it says to list all the ships hull numbers and in the MOS where it says to include it in the opening sentence if a USN ship. Llammakey (talk) 21:08, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
The infobox is also a very good place for them. Parsecboy (talk) 22:07, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
So now PT-109 will be simply "(1942)"? Hundreds, if not, thousands of USN ships are known by Hull classification and Hull number. There will only be one Yorktown (CV-10) but there have been five USS Yorktowns, and no body outside Navy buffs are going to know launch dates!Pennsy22 (talk) 05:41, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
Obviously not, and vessels that only had a hull number are beyond the scope of this discussion. As for your second example, it's far less likely that the average reader could pick the Yorktown sunk at Midway if they were looking at titles with (CV-5) and and (CV-10) as disambiguators instead of (1937) and (1943), assuming they knew Midway happened in 1942. Parsecboy (talk) 11:37, 12 August 2016 (UTC)

Donated photos on are all public domain, US Navy-taken or not[edit]

Hey all, the US Naval History and Heritage Command has uploaded a veritable treasure trove of images to their new website, many of which are of non-US ships and are available in highish-quality TIFF files. However, many of these were not taken by US Navy employees, meaning that they are not automatically placed in the public domain; they were instead donated in the past and are marked on the website with "Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command" (example).

I'm happy to report that they've told me in an email that "... much of our collection here is donated material. Once those materials are signed over to us, they become property of the U.S. Navy. At that time, our position is that they enter the public domain. Thus, you are allowed to use them." If anyone needs me to forward this to OTRS, I or Parsecboy have copies of the email. Go find your ships! Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 22:24, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

That sounds a bit doubtful to non-expert me. Someone (not the original copyright holder) gives a print of a photo to the US Navy and mere possession of the print is a basis for USN to claim copyright? So what happened to the rights of the photographer? Davidships (talk) 22:18, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
It seems perfectly reasonable to me. The Navy presumably requires the donor to certify that they own the rights to the photo. I hope the Navy makes some effort to verify this. Kendall-K1 (talk) 01:37, 1 August 2016 (UTC)
If that were so (and the rights were specifically also donated), I would agree. But do they say so? Nowhere on the site have I found any explanation of how and why NHHC are claiming to be "copyright owner", and for many such photos no provenance is given. In the absence of any statement, "presumably" and "hope" don't cut it for me.Davidships (talk) 16:01, 1 August 2016 (UTC)


I was reading a WWII book on a fighter squadron and it made reference to the USATSS President Coolidge. We have an article on SS President Coolidge, and I found that WP refers to these ships as USAT, so I created USAT President Coolidge as a redirect. I also added it to List of ships of the United States Army. My question is about USATSS. My book says it means U.S. Army Transport Ship. But it is not used anywhere in WP. I thought about creating USATSS as a redirect to USAT, but USAT is a dab page. So USATSS would have to redirect to List of ships of the United States Army. Is this reasonable, or should I consider the use of USATSS in the book so uncommon that it's not worth even mentioning? MB 16:58, 5 August 2016 (UTC)

Just found that USATSS can also mean U.S. Army Technical Support Squadron. So maybe I will create USATSS as a dab page. MB 17:14, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
In this case, I don't think Coolidge would be considered a squadron. What I think this book has done is merge the prefixes, as in USAT SS President Coolidge. SS meaning Steamship. Llammakey (talk) 17:17, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
The exact text in the book is "USATSS (U.S. Army Transport Ship) President Coolidge", so it looks intentional.
It may be intentional by the writer, but it looks as if Carl Molesworth - an undoubted specialist in WW2 aviation, but not shipping - has made it up (and not even very well as he loses an "S" in his explanation). It doesn't surface as an abbreviation anywhere else in Google Books nor more generally, and is not used by David Grover in "US Army Ships and Watercraft of World War II", a leading authority on this subject. Suggest ignore as no reliable source. Davidships (talk) 02:32, 6 August 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. I did some further searching myself today and didn't find any other uses of USATSS either, so it probably is an error by Molesworth. MB 04:33, 6 August 2016 (UTC)

Category discussion[edit]

There is a discussion re the categorization of ship articles at WT:SHIPWRECK#Categorization issue. Input from members of this Wikiproject is requested. Mjroots (talk) 07:47, 11 August 2016 (UTC)