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Links to Wikispecies[edit]

Is there guidance on linking to Wikispecies for species or other taxa? That is, should we have links in the form

where the second item is coded ''[[Wikispecies:Euploea phaenareta|Euploea phaenareta]]''?

I've recently run across these at:

Thank you.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  16:32, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

In short, no. Links to Wikispecies are external links, and as per WP:EL should not normally be placed in the body of the article. Such links are also a kind of "Easter Egg" since the reader would not expect to be taken outside Wikipedia. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:24, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Cannot give a full comment now as I am traveling in Portugal until June but I used these links to provide quick access to the otherwise (and most unfortunately) wasted photos and images on commons (especially the Lycaenidae by Alan Cassidy) and the albeit limited taxonomic info there. External links from a stub would be better but very time consuming.This I think is a useful shortcut providing a photoguide. Best regards Talk to you in June Notafly (talk) 19:50, 9 May 2017 (UTC) PS Better to be taken outside Wikipedia than nowhere and it is a sister project. Not really sure what readers expect. Maybe a note at the end of the lists would be better. I will think more on this. Notafly (talk) 19:50, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

I would find this page very useful. It is better than many stubs. Why not be guided by utility? The page you mention also is surely useful. The alternative - alist of red link names- is helpful but not very useful. Notafly (talk) 20:00, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Nothing prevents there being a list under External links. But policy seems (rightly in my view) to be against external links in the body of an article. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:01, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
If there are images on commons or species, then the better option is simply to place them into the article here rather then placing an easter-egg.--Kevmin § 19:57, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Absolutely. Also, Notafly, please see WP:REDLINK: red links should not be removed for the sake of it; they are an important signal to editors that an article is needed. In every possible way that I can see, linking to Wikispecies in the text of an article is against agreed guidelines and policies. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:25, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Based on the comments above and the fact that red links can be turned blue, but links to Wikispecies will not go to the new Wikipedia articles as they are created, I think it makes sense to remove links to Wikispecies from our articles and lists. Out of consideration for Notafly, I won't remove the links that it appears he's added until he's back from his trip, but I think that's the way we'll be going. Thanks,  SchreiberBike | ⌨  22:48, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Back. I will change my position and alter all the Wikispecies links to stubs as time permits.Sorry to have caused this problem and thanks to all Notafly (talk) 19:55, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

@Narky Blert: I saw something new to me at Apamea digitula with links to authors formatted as "Mikkola (WS)" coded as [[Kauri Mikkola|Mikkola]] ([[:species:Kauri Mikkola|WS]]). Is the consensus against that too?  SchreiberBike | ⌨  02:33, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

I think that is still against WP:EL guidelines, as an embedded external link (see section below regarding taxon authorities). It also looks terrible, would never be done in print, and seems especially glaring in infoboxes and taxoboxes, which should be as concise, straight-forward, and simple as possible. While certain templates such as {{Interlanguage link}} enable (presumably notable) redlinks to point to articles in other language Wikipedias–and even has the coding for external links to Wikidata and Reasonator–editorial discretion, consideration of style, and community consensus can and should argue against the format described. --Animalparty! (talk) 03:41, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
@SchreiberBike: I've just experimented, and discovered that {{ill}} accepts "species" as a parameter. I've used it in Apamea digitula. It justifies my adding those particular given names to repair bluelinks to DAB pages, and points interested readers and editors in the right direction.
Reading the rest of this discussion, it strikes me that that {{ill}} trick might have wider application, e.g. ''{{ill|Genericus speciesi|species|vertical-align=sup}}'', which displays as Genericus speciesi[species]. If the Wiki article is written, that display should collapse to a bluelink. As with all {{ill}} links, it's important to check that the target exists, or the frustrated reader may (as in my example) click on the link to find only a dead end. (I need hardly add that I think that links like ''[[:species:Genericus speciesi|Genericus speciesi]]'' are very wrong.) Narky Blert (talk) 10:28, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Another kind of Wikispecies link[edit]

There's another kind of link that I am strongly opposed to: see Stanley B. Mulaik. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:31, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Agree. That one is inexcusable! MeegsC (talk) 08:02, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

I'm glad this is being discussed, and I was earlier seeking clarity myself before deciding to be bold. I created that soft redirect (for which another editor created the specialized template {{Wikispecies redirect}}), as a way to potentially bridge non-notable or marginally notable taxonomists (some of whom may never merit a Wikipedia article), and the red-linked taxon authority, as some editors link all authors without apparent consideration of notability. There are certainly many "less-notable" taxonomists than Mulaik, probably many with Wikispecies pages (as the barrier to inclusion there appears to be simply publishing one or more taxon names). Certainly not every grad student or early career scientist who names a wasp merits a Wikipedia article (WP:NOTNEWS, WP:NOTINHERITED, etc.), but I'm interested in seeing if there are better ways to link curious readers to Wikispecies content. Should Stanley B. Mulaik be deleted as non-notable or out of scope, fine with me (although he has a news obituary and user-submitted biography, I generally prefer a higher standard than the bare minimum of WP:SCHOLAR). I suppose the current recourse for interested readers seeking info on authorities would be viewing the Wikispecies pages of taxa (if existent), then clicking the authority there (if existent). --Animalparty! (talk) 05:41, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Yes, put the Wikispecies link to the taxon as an external link, then readers can find the author, if they are interested. But if readers are interested, then it suggests that the author is sufficiently notable to require an article. For groups I work with (plants, spiders) I personally take the view that anyone who is the author of more than one or two taxa is notable. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:09, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
That soft redirect to Stanley B. Mulaik is to me, quite simply, horrid. The bluelink suggests that a Wiki article about the binomial authority exists when none does. If he or she is notable, they deserve an article. I've nommed it for WP:RFD.
Can I also add a plea for editors to properly identify binomial authorities, rather than to simply bluelink e.g. Jones or Smith, and then to walk away smiling and whistling? Within the last year, User:DPL bot has flagged up to me two people who have had genera named in their honour but who were linked to DAB pages where there was no article about them (both do now). I suspect that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of similar bad links in Wiki - but if they are to {{surname}} pages rather than to {{disambiguation}} pages, no bot will ever pick them up, and no-one is ever likely to notice unless they click on the bad link - and few editors have the skills to correct bad mistakes like that. Narky Blert (talk) 02:32, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
P.S. I've also nommed Template:Wikispecies redirect in WP:TFD. Narky Blert (talk) 03:05, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I second the plea to avoid generic surnames. It's also a problem at Wikispecies, where a handful of eager early editors linked a ton of "naked" surnames as redirects to authors relevant to taxa they were interested in, which now require cleanup and disambiguation to the other authorities with the same name. --Animalparty! (talk) 03:27, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Facto Post – Issue 1 – 14 June 2017[edit]

Facto Post – Issue 1 – 14 June 2017
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This newsletter starts with the motto "common endeavour for 21st century content". To unpack that slogan somewhat, we are particularly interested in the new, post-Wikidata collection of techniques that are flourishing under the Wikimedia collaborative umbrella. To linked data, SPARQL queries and WikiCite, add gamified participation, text mining and new holding areas, with bots, tech and humans working harmoniously.

Scientists, librarians and Wikimedians are coming together and providing a more unified view of an emerging area. Further integration of both its community and its technical aspects can be anticipated.

While Wikipedia will remain the discursive heart of Wikimedia, data-rich and semantic content will support it. We'll aim to be both broad and selective in our coverage. This publication Facto Post (the very opposite of retroactive) and call to action are brought to you monthly by ContentMine.

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MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 09:33, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

Facto Post – Issue 2 – 13 July 2017[edit]

Facto Post – Issue 2 – 13 July 2017
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Editorial: Core models and topics[edit]

Wikimedians interest themselves in everything under the sun — and then some. Discussion on "core topics" may, oddly, be a fringe activity, and was popular here a decade ago.

The situation on Wikidata today does resemble the halcyon days of 2006 of the English Wikipedia. The growth is there, and the reliability and stylistic issues are not yet pressing in on the project. Its Berlin conference at the end of October will have five years of achievement to celebrate. Think Wikimania Frankfurt 2005.

Progress must be made, however, on referencing "core facts". This has two parts: replacing "imported from Wikipedia" in referencing by external authorities; and picking out statements, such as dates and family relationships, that must not only be reliable but be seen to be reliable.

In addition, there are many properties on Wikidata lacking a clear data model. An emerging consensus may push to the front key sourcing and biomedical properties as requiring urgent attention. Wikidata's "manual of style" is currently distributed over thousands of discussions. To make it coalesce, work on such a core is needed.


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Formatting issue 1 - IUCN status[edit]

I've got two questions relating to formatting/phrasing issues that have kept popping up in the past few days, and since I can't find any solid statements about either I'd like to pose them here:

(reformatted into separate headings due to to stupid original setup)

- 1) To what extent do we capitalize the IUCN status? Usage seems to be inconsistent - IUCN do full capitalization of one and two word statuses ("Critically Endangered"), our taxoboxes capitalize first word only ("Endangered", but "Critically endangered"), and in the text it's often a toss-up. See some discussion at Talk: Northern white rhinoceros. If there's no current written guideline on this, we might consider the proposal nagualdesign made there.

As far as the other issue goes, on how to capitalize the IUCN status, I agree with nagualdesign. Unfortunately you have raised two unrelated issues in the one thread, making discussion on either issue awkward. --Epipelagic (talk) 21:05, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Okay, I guess I should post this here. I found the following at Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Typographic conformity:
A quotation is not a facsimile, and in most cases it is not a requirement that the original formatting be preserved. Formatting and other purely typographical elements of quoted text should be adapted to English Wikipedia's conventions without comment provided that doing so will not change or obscure meaning or intent of the text; this practice is universal among publishers. [...]
Direct quotation should not be used in an attempt to preserve the formatting preferred by an external publisher, especially when the material would otherwise be unchanged:
  • Right: The animal is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Wrong: The animal is listed as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Italics can be used to mark a particular usage as a term of art (a case of "words as words"), especially when it is unfamiliar or should not be reworded by a non-expert:
  • Permissible: The animal is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
While I broadly agree with the rationale, the specific examples shown lack any sort of subtlety. If what it's really saying is that Wikipedia has its own rules, then is it okay to preserve certain formatting, if that's become the general convention here? Whatever the case, as per my original post we should at least aim for consistency. The crux of this, I guess, is whether my proposal reflects what has become the general convention here. If it does then applying those guidelines more rigorously will only improve consistency. What those MoS examples don't say is that preserving the original capitalization is one commonly used way of negating the need for quotation marks, especially with one- or two-word phrases and such. It may not be a requirement that the original formatting be preserved, but neither is it a requirement to not preserve the formatting. Given the general convention with IUCN classifications here I think MoS is using bad examples. I'll leave it to other users here to make sense of all this. nagualdesign 23:49, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
A grouped response:
  • Re: 'our taxoboxes capitalize first word only ("Endangered", but "Critically endangered")' – Infoboxes capitalize the first letter of every entry; what this represents in regular text is "critically endangered", since we do not use "Sentence case" for any terminology of any kind.
  • If there's a "toss-up" in the text and some people are using "Critically Endangered" this is a specialized-style fallacy, importing style from another organization's house style into our context, where we do not use unnecessary capitalization. I.e., it's people unaware of MOS:CAPS and the above-quoted section of MOS:QUOTE. No one is required to read MoS before editing, but non-compliant material will be WP:MERCILESSly made compliant. Reverting compliance edits (i.e., interfering with other editors following our guidelines) has been branded disruptive at ANI. So, just accept that WP style is not 100% the same as what you're personally familiar with. This would also be true if you were following the Associated Press Stylebook, or the style guide of a journal, or following the one of The New York Times when writing for them. Organizations of all kinds Capitalize Stuff Important to Them in their internal and marketing materials; WP does not mimic this, ever.
  • Re: "the specific examples shown lack any sort of subtlety" – Examples in guidelines are not supposed to be subtle. The point of the examples is to be very clear with no room for interpretation or confusion, otherwise they completely fail as examples.
  • Re: "What those MoS examples don't say is that preserving the original capitalization is one commonly used way of negating the need for quotation marks" – Oh, but MoS does address this, which is one of many forms of Capitalization As Emphasis. The #1 rule at MOS:CAPS is do not use capitalization for emphasis. We've been over this thousands of times in innumerable contexts, and the answer is always "no". Otherwise, every specialist in every speciality will demand to capitalize their special terms, eventually resulting Wikipedia reading like German, since everything is subject to some specialty somewhere, so eventually just about every noun and noun phrase would end up capitalized. These rules were instituted for a reason. I'm guessing you were not around for all the fights about things like capitalizing "Mountain Lion", "Method Acting", "working as President of XYZ Corporation", "the Parties to a Contract", "all Stops and Stations in this Subway System", etc., etc., etc. Many things are "common" but not used on Wikipedia. Also, the quoted section of MoS also says not to use quotation marks in an attempt to preserve some other organization's style, so the whole "one commonly used way of negating the need for quotation marks" thing is a wash from the start. Just use plain English "critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". No one is going to be confused in any way. The part that is capitalized – the proper names – belong that way and are quite sufficient for "IUCN branding" purposes. No one is suggesting writing "the IUCN list of threatened species", reducing the title of a published work into a description.
  • Italics are permitted when introducing a term for the first time in a context in which it may be unfamiliar to most readers, or when a "words as words" usage needs to be marked as such to avoid ambiguity or confusion (e.g., "use of the subjunctive were is declining"). Odds are that in an article on a species, this won't be the case for an IUCN status; later editors would probably remove the italicization, too, as superfluous stylization.
  • Re: "I think MoS is using bad examples" – It's not. Those were chosen to illustrate the principle (which needed illustrating) while avoiding having to create a special rule about IUCN terminology; two birds, one stone. If the example were removed, we would then create a special rule (probably in MOS:CAPS) about IUCN terminology that said the same thing, since the matter keeps coming up again and again despite the #1 rule of MOS:CAPS. The primary point of MoS is ending pointless style disputes so that editors get back to creating and improving content. If this debate is recurrent, a more explicit rule than the use of some examples will have to be put in.
  • Re: "neither is it a requirement to not preserve the formatting" – Since these examples are explicit about this in particular, yes, it is a requirement, to the extent that guidelines are requirements. (There is no WP:IAR case to make here; capitalizing just because you will like it and it's what you're used to will not objectively improve the encyclopedia, only make you [and presumably some IUCN employees] happy but irritate other editors by creating pointless cleanup work for them to do.) You can't use a lawyerly or system-gaming approach to Wikipedia guidelines and policies. Just because it doesn't state "you must not capitalize IUCN endangerment designations" doesn't mean you're free to do so when the intent is clearly the opposite. WP's rules are interpreted as to their spirt and intent, not their exact to-the-letter wording; this is covered at WP:POLICY.
  • PS: MoS bends over backwards to try to keep biologists and other scientists happy. E.g., we "enforce" Notophthalmus viridescens style for binomials, despite the fact that the average reader doesn't care about the genus capitalization or the italics. And see most of MOS:NUM, a huge pile of sci-tech nitpicks. The general rule of thumb on scientific style quirks is to do what Scientific Style and Format does – except when this clashes with everyday readers' expectations and may confuse them. Inappropriate capitalization, as emphasis (including as some form of disambiguation), is a common source of that confusion, and has caused serious problems in the past. E.g., one wikiproject's insistence on capitalizing the vernacular names of species in one order lead to years of disruptive "capitalization wars" to force this style on all living things, and further overcapping problems all over the site; new users got the incorrect impression that Capitalizing Important Stuff Is Wikipedia Style. We cannot go back to that kind of mess just to make IUCN insiders happy.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:40, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

Disagree profoundly with User:SMcCandlish. This is not a question of house style or proper nouns, it's a more nuanced use of capitals to indicate (subtly) that there is meaning attached to the words beyond their usual generic meaning and they are being used in a particular context. These are "terms of art". They aren't "Organizations of all kinds Capitalizing Stuff Important to Them". This is a long-established use of capital letters. MOS offers italic, which is better than nothing, but I see no reason not to use capitals. None of the lower-case zealots can ever come up with a reason for disliking capitals stronger than "they look untidy". --Dave.Dunford (talk) 10:51, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Unfortunately emotions seem to run high here whenever capitalization is discussed, which isn't helpful. As Dave.Dunford rightly points out the purpose of capitals in this case is not to mark a proper name or claim that This is Important, but to distinguish between the ordinary language meaning of "critically endangered" and the IUCN's use of "Critically Endangered" as a precise status. It's possible with careful writing to make this distinction, but using capitals is easier. Perhaps the answer is to introduce the initials at first use and then use only the initials thereafter, since the MoS allows "CR", "EW", etc. The problem is that achieving clarity in this way requires more writing skill on the part of editors than I see in evidence day to day. (I look forward to the debate on decapitalizing phrases like "the White House", which no more need to be capitalized than "Critically Endangered".) Peter coxhead (talk) 11:30, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, the intent behind the capitalization of IUCN classifications is not one of peeing a capital onto a term to mark a territory, but intended to indicate a special meaning distinct from common usage. I'm aware the entire issue looks somewhat frivolous if this is either not known or ignored, so please let's not misrepresent that background. - The danger of such a misrepresentation in WP articles by not capitalizing is actually low, because the status term in the majority of cases is wikilinked and thus clearly defined. Thus if the combined weight of MOS interpretation (presented unnecessarily combatively above) and expected non-expert use in articles tips the scales that way, I guess it won't do that much damage. Still, I'm not convinced we should just ignore a convention that is used in the literature of the entire field. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 17:42, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
The question is whether or not endangered can be a capitonym. Our general rule: "Wikipedia avoids unnecessary capitalization. ... capitalization is primarily needed for proper names, acronyms, or for the first word of a sentence" indicates that we wouldn't capitalize conservation statuses. We could decide to make an exception for a specific, sourced, official, status - according to some organization. Alternatively we could follow our general rules and write clearly to make the meaning of the word clear. I favor sticking with lower case; if we allow exceptions to rules, they tend to proliferate.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  01:08, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
That would argue for capitalizing, since "Endangered" as an IUCN status does not mean that the animal is endangered in some generic sense but meets the specific criteria for the particular "Endangered" status as determined by this particular organization. The IUCN itself capitalizes its statuses, and as far as I can tell from a quick Google search most other sources capitalize as well, e.g., Australian Museum, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, this scholarly article. If we can show that a preponderance of reliable sources use sentence case for IUCN statuses then it may be appropriate to use sentence case for Wikipedia to do so, but if the IUCN itself and a preponderance of reliable sources capitalize the statuses then it would be inappropriate for Wikipedia to do otherwise. Rlendog (talk) 01:58, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't be persuaded that Wikipedia should capitalize statuses if specialist sources do. I'd look to general encyclopedias, news articles, generalist books, etc. We are an encyclopedia about everything, so we need a style that works with all topics.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  04:19, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Doesn't qualify as a capitonym here (though the idea that it is one – inside a particular specialist context – is obviously the idea behind the style). It's not "due to one form being a proper noun or eponym"; it's not a name for God; it's not a distinction between a philosophy and a political party based on it; it's not a platonic ideal; it's not anything else covered at Capitonym. WP doesn't use capitonyms at all unless one is a proper noun or derived from one and capitalized as such (e.g., and eponym, demonym, geonym, etc.), and probably the majority of capitalization debates are WP are in fact attempts by specialists to assert that something they like to capitalize is a capitonym, and WP rejecting that idea. It's just not usually put into this particular terminology.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:13, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Re: "it's a more nuanced use of capitals ..." – This is exactly what MOS:CAPS means when it says to not use capitalization for emphasis. There is no issue that the intent to mark the terms as laden with a special, particular significance is "not known, or ignored"; we're well aware and have to deal with this very same intent from specialists in every field on every topic. This is not a specialist publication. WP just does not use capitalization for this sort of thing. (I don't know anyone who believes that this sort of capitalization is "subtle". There's a reason no mainstream style guides support the use of capping to mark terms of art: it visually brow-beats the reader, and is confusing, because it implies proper names status. You'll only find this style recommended in marketing style guides, and for certain kinds of documents, especially legal ones).

"I see no reason not to use capitals" – You've already been given the link to MOS:CAPS. "None of the lower-case zealots can ever come up with a reason for disliking capitals" – If you start labelling other editors with name-calling and aspersions, over stylistic trivia, that's not going to lead anywhere good. WP's style guide is primarily based on The Chicago Manual of Style, New Hart's Rules, Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Garner's Modern English Usage, Scientific Style and Format, and The Elements of Style (in roughly descending order of influence). None of them call for the kind of capitalization you are talking about. That's hardly the IDONTLIKEIT argument you make it out to be.

Re: "a quick Google search ... most other sources capitalize as well" – No, they don't: [1] [2]. If you include "IUCN" in the search, the frequency goes up, but this is due primarily to a) IUCN's own publications showing up; b) people referring to the IUCN categorization scheme itself and its categories, as a system; and c) journals with a house style that wants such terms capitalized, and does it with lots of others WP also does in lower case (e.g. vernacular names of species). [3]. There is some use of the caps in mid-sentence in general-audience publications like newspapers and conservation newsletters, e.g. "the species is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN", but the usage is mixed and still predominantly lower case, so we also use lower case (first rule of MOS:CAPS again). PS: I don't see any evidence that there is usage of "critical endangered" (and various other terms IUCN wants to lay capitalized claim to) differing sharply enough from IUCN's meaning that there could be potential for confusion, especially since we're going to mention IUCN and cite them if we're talking about their list, and or link to the article about it. Even if there were a confusion potential, we wouldn't use overcapitalization to solve it, ever. Causes too many problems here. Italics is the go-to style for marking a term of art as such.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:09, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: an aside, because it doesn't distract from your overall argument, but the searches you linked to above don't quite make the point you intended, because the text that Google shows in the results list is often lower-cased when the original isn't. E.g. this shows up third in the results I get for your first search, but actually does consistently capitalize "Critically Endangered", including in the title. Peter coxhead (talk) 06:12, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Right. I didn't mean that the Google page is evidence; one has to look in the actual pages to see that the style is mixed; Google's just a way to get at them quickly. It's more often uppercased when IUCN is explicitly mentioned, but still very mixed. If you do a search like "critically endangered" iucn -wikipedia -wiki at you have no choice but to look at the actual articles since the acronym and the phrase don't show up together in many if any headlines.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:59, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

We've now arrived at the "Danger, Will Robinson!" point. Re: "Still, I'm not convinced we should just ignore a convention that is used in the literature of the entire field." This style is not used "in the literature of the entire field"; it's simply fairly frequent in it, but a very mixed usage, so we drop it as a rule. The capitalization is much, much less frequent in general-audience publications (way below 50%). Even if it were a near-unanimous practice in the specialist ones (it is not), we'd still reject it here on that basis. We arrived at this conclusion painfully but firmly, in a massive RfC.

This discussion is very closely mirroring the terrible old "capitalize common names of species of certain things because all journals in my field do it" dispute behind that RfC. It was also a claim which turned out not to quite be true, and which didn't matter because publications outside that field generally didn't do it. I think an eight-year, tiresome style fight about the exact same issue is one time-sucking mega-disruption too many, so let's not have another. Specialists in favor of the capping never gave up the desire to impose the jargonistic usage on readers who don't get it and were mystified by it, all for the exactly the same "caps help distinguish" reasoning that simply isn't valid here, only in an insider context. It was the most pointless style and titles conflict in WP's entire history, and its exact nature and inspiration are virtually indistinguishable from this one.

The very point of a house style guide is to set one particular style for a particular publishing context, in lieu of the utter chaos of people randomly following whatever style they like from any of innumerable other contexts. That necessarily means "ignoring conventions that are used in the literature of entire fields" that aren't the specialty of the current publisher (ours is producing encyclopedic material for a broad general audience). And extrapolating from "lots of journals I know use this style" to "this is the best/only way to write about this topic for everyone" is obvious original research, directly contracted by actual reliable sources on writing English for a general audience.

Emphasis-capping as form of signification/disambiguation does not work unless the reader is already an insider to exactly what is being signified; if they're not, it's just confusing/irritating, and (here) inspires one to click "Edit" to fix what in most readers' minds is an error. Guess what that demonstrably leads to? Years of tendentious editwarring between the pro-caps specialists and everyone else in the world who comes by. We've already survived that once, with pretty bad scars, including editorial resignations due to the heat generated over style trivia. Let's learn from the past, not repeat it.

Far be it from me to stir up a civil war over style (or at least that's the threatened severity that seems implied here...) If it's to be all lower case, let's put it into MOS:LIFE with the other cap cases so there's an easy point of reference in the future. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 17:39, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
That's a good place for it. I would also suggest adding it to MOS:ORGANISMS. While it's been a draft for yeårs because of the unresolved "to capitalized standardized breeds or not" disagreement, that'll settle out eventually. All it would take is a single RfC. The MOS:ORGANISMS page is far more comprehensive. That said, this does come up often enough that having it in "just the basics" MOS:LIFE would be of value.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:43, 13 August 2017 (UTC)


  • I note that the original poster stated that the terms aren't fully capitalised in the taxoboxes, but this doesn't appear to be the case, editors fill code (LC, V, CE etc) into the taxobox or species box and the temple shows the full name and link, which from a quick check seems to be consistently capitalised (Hooded pitohui, White rhinoceros, New Zealand storm petrel are some examples). Northern white rhinoceros, which is where this discussion originated, seems to be an exception and may be because it's critically endangered, presumed extinct in the wild, which is a fairly rare category. So any decisions made here would need to be added to the templates (which would at least make implementing it across the whole of the TOL fairly easy at least from a taxobox POV). Sabine's Sunbird talk 21:57, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Hmm... There's definitely something amiss, although the vermicelli is so deep with these templates that it's hard to get to the bottom of it. The nearest I got was at Template:Taxobox/Status sandbox, where I can see how the codes are converted to statuses, in which they are not fully capitalized. Though as you point out, most taxoboxes in article space are capitalized. Perhaps there's some inconsistency between Template:Speciesbox and Template:Subspeciesbox or something? One thing's for certain; rightly or wrongly (by WP:MOSCAPS) Wikipedia's general convention seems to be to use caps, albeit inconsistently. So should this trend be reversed or more fully embraced? nagualdesign 23:35, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Digging a little deeper, at Template:Taxobox/species I see that IUCN 2.3 classifications are all capitalized apart from "Critically endangered, possibly extinct" and "Critically endangered, possibly extinct in the wild", ditto for IUCN 3.1 classifications, EPBC classifications are capitalized apart from "Critically endangered", and TNC classifications are consistently capitalized, as are ESA and COSEWIC, apart from "Not at risk (COSEWIC)". Make of that what you will (as long as we can all maintain a ceasefire for the time being). nagualdesign 23:55, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
The verbal equivalents of IUCN3.1's 9 categories (EX, EW, CR, EN, VU, NT, LC, DD and NE) are capitalized, but other designations are not. Actually, other parameter values like "PE" should not be used in conjunction with "IUCN 3.1" because they aren't part of the IUCN3.1 system, and should really be treated as errors, I think. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:22, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
You're correct in that PEW and PE are not bona fide IUCN categories. It seems that they never were. But the IUCN does indeed use "Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct in the Wild)"[4] where the official category is CR and the EW is parenthetical. The fact that the templates use PEW internally as a code/shorthand is by the by. I don't think that they should be treated as errors. nagualdesign 15:16, 30 July 2017 (UTC)


Thank you to those who contributed to this discussion. Drawing this to a close then (unless others have more to add?) I think User:SMcCandlish has made a lot of valid points regarding MOS:CAPS. However, he isn't the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes the correct interpretation of WP guidelines, and "English Wikipedia's convention" (ie, the status quo) regarding IUCN categories appears to follow the same rationales as outlined in my proposal (which also requires the fewest amendments). So do we take a vote or what? Personally I don't have any strong feelings either way; I began this by blindly applying MOS:CAPS but I can see that we do indeed use caps when making explicit references. Earth-shattering floodgate opening notwithstanding, what's the deal here? nagualdesign 23:02, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Well, the sources' usage is inconsistent, and usage by Wikipedians is inconsistent. That means drop the stylization. It's what we always do when stylization is not applied consistently (like, >90% of the time) in reliable sources. This is a simple standard operating procedure that has served us well; it requires no "ultimate arbiter" of anything.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:29, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
I have no strong feelings either, but I certainly think a vote is needed. That SMcCandlish personally thinks there isn't need for one shouldn't really matter. Wikipedia works by consensus, not by enforcing arbitrary, bureaucratic preferences. Let the actual content-creators decide. FunkMonk (talk) 14:46, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
I said nothing of the sort, I'm simply predicting the outcome. I will say that we shouldn't launch RfCs without good reason, because they suck up editorial time and productivity. A maxim around here is that voting is no substitute for discussion. We've already had the discussion. Do we really need more of it? We have guidelines that strongly indicate lower-case here, because the sources are not consistent in the other direction. But feel free to RfC it if you want to. RfCs do have a tendency to "put to bed" recurrent style disputes, even when the outcome is already obvious, because some parties will not accept that outcome, no matter how clear and obvious it is, until it is "official" in their minds as an RfC. I further predict that the aggregate man-hours lost to an RfC will be far fewer than those lost to continued debate about this over several years, so on balance I support RfCing it, if we don't just do as suggested above and put "use lowercase" for this into MOS:LIFE on the strength of the discussion so far.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:43, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
Not firmly wedded to any approach either, but consistency would be desirable, and I do think the proposal is a good solution. Hence, do let's !vote. Can we just tack this onto here (with some scattering of additional notifications to suitable pages) or do we need to open an RfC? --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 16:14, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
There should be a formal RfC, widely advertised. A serious problem at present is the low number of editors commenting on issues like these, which risks accepting decisions with very limited support. Although I will !vote for capitals, I believe that SMcCandlish is right that the default decision if there isn't a strong consensus against is to drop the capitals, since this is clearly in line with the general trend in the English Wikipedia. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:29, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
WT:MOS itself is a good venue for it, with the RfC advertised at WP:VPPOL and related wikiprojects like this one. This has worked well in the past. Actually hosting style RfCs at VPPOL tends not to, as we learned the hard way with MOS:IDENTITY. It also doesn't work well at the talk pages of wikiprojects (general perception of WP:OWN antics), or at talk pages of MoS subpages, which aren't as well watchlisted.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:43, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
Alrighty... I don't feel I have the time right now to polish and nurse an RfC, so if someone else feels up to it, fire away. Otherwise it might take a week or two from my side to set something up. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 16:59, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Formatting issue 2 - plural taxa[edit]

- 2) Are we referring to plural taxa, e.g. Ursinae, in the singular or plural form? I.e., would the phrasing be "Ursinae is a subfamily" or "The Ursinae are a subfamily"? I'm convinced the former (singular) is the standard approach, and we should stick to it, but there seems to be no written WP guideline on that, and while I've been cleaning up after an avid pluralizer for the last few days (e.g. [5]) I'd appreciate to have some current or prior consensus to point to. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 16:19, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

We've discussed this issue extensively at WP:PLANTS; I think the same applies to animals. In Latin, "Ursinae" is plural. So some prefer to use the plural in English. But we're not writing in Latin, so shouldn't be bound by its rules, so some prefer to use the singular in English. Examples of both can be found in reliable sources, some of which use both forms, varying by context. So we concluded that either can be used here and neither should be changed without good reason and consensus. See WP:PLANTS/TAXONNUMBER. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:56, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
That's helpful, thanks. I'll convey the gist. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 21:17, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Discussion at Talk:Insect[edit]

Input would be welcome on Talk:Insect regarding the clade Entognatha being displayed in taxoboxes (also about the use of ITIS over other sources.--Kevmin § 19:54, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Discussion about template "Template:Taxonbar"[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Template talk:Taxonbar#Proposal: Switch Taxonbar template to use Module:Taxonbar, which is about a template that is within the scope of this WikiProject. There is a proposal to use a Lua module as the basis for the template, which will result in some changes to the template's appearance. Thank you. Ahecht (TALK
) 21:05, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

Facto Post – Issue 3 – 11 August 2017[edit]

Facto Post – Issue 3 – 11 August 2017
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Wikimania report[edit]

Interviewed by Facto Post at the hackathon, Lydia Pintscher of Wikidata said that the most significant recent development is that Wikidata now accounts for one third of Wikimedia edits. And the essential growth of human editing.


Impressive development work on Internet-in-a-Box featured in the WikiMedFoundation annual conference on Thursday. Hardware is Raspberry Pi, running Linux and the Kiwix browser. It can operate as a wifi hotspot and support a local intranet in parts of the world lacking phone signal. The medical use case is for those delivering care, who have smartphones but have to function in clinics in just such areas with few reference resources. Wikipedia medical content can be served to their phones, and power supplied by standard lithium battery packages.

Yesterday Katherine Maher unveiled the draft Wikimedia 2030 strategy, featuring a picturesque metaphor, "roads, bridges and villages". Here "bridges" could do with illustration. Perhaps it stands for engineering round or over the obstacles to progress down the obvious highways. Internet-in-a-Box would then do fine as an example.

"Bridging the gap" explains a take on that same metaphor, with its human component. If you are at Wikimania, come talk to WikiFactMine at its stall in the Community Village, just by the 3D-printed display for Bassel Khartabil; come hear T Arrow talk at 3 pm today in Drummond West, Level 3.


  • Plaudit for the Medical Wikipedia app, content that is loaded into Internet-In-A-Box with other material, such as per-country documentation.
Editor Charles Matthews. Please leave feedback for him.

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MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 10:55, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

Arctocephalus forsteri requested move discussion[edit]

I've set up a RM discussion on the talk page for what you may know as New Zealand fur seal. Some controversy about whether to use scientific name or use common name. Please feel free to comment.....