Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style

Latest comment: 4 hours ago by Cinderella157 in topic Hyphenating racial identities, again
WikiProject iconManual of Style
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Welcome to the MOS pit

Style discussions elsewhere Edit

Add a link to new discussions at top of list and indicate what kind of discussion it is (move request, RfC, open discussion, deletion discussion, etc.). Follow the links to participate, if interested. Move to Concluded when decided, and summarize conclusion. Please keep this section at the top of the page.

Current Edit

(newest on top)


Concluded Edit

Extended content


From what I see, the MOS:PREFIXDASH part has been introduced on the basis of at least this discussion from 2010 citing The Chicago Manual of Style. With the example of "pre–World War II", the manual justifies such usage as "space that cannot be besmirched by hyphens because “World War II” is a proper noun". But it also admits that it "is a rather fussy use of the en dash that many people ignore, preferring the hyphen". Indeed, I see several issues with it:

All in all, I believe MOS:PREFIXDASH/SUFFIXDASH should be deprecated and removed per WP:CREEP. Thoughts? Brandmeistertalk 13:28, 17 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's possible that this style is old-fashioned, but it was correct typography back when I learned it. Are you suggesting that we shouldn't follow the old-school convention at all, or that we shouldn't care? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:53, 17 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We shouldn't follow it and remove from our MoS, as it doesn't appear to be universally accepted. This would mean that a host of categories moved from hyphen to dash, such as Category:Anti–nuclear weapons movement should be reverted to hyphens, but I think it is worth it. Brandmeistertalk 22:11, 17 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So, more like "require the opposite" than "it's not important to be consistent between articles"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:08, 18 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It was in Chicago some time ago, I think, and in MOS's earlier days was heavily advocated by a US-based editor who may not still be here. I think it's a bit weird, but I don't care much if it's kept. In practice it's used only in a small number of instances. Tony (talk) 04:20, 18 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree it's weird, but I'm not convinced it's worth changing the MoS. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:59, 18 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strongly support removal. The use of the endash instead of a hyphen causes endless problems, especially when used in article titles. Cannot cut and paste due to code page issues. Bot issues requiring – or – to be used in URLs. When trying to edit an article, it makes it hard to search and replace. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:33, 21 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Could you elaborate on the code- and bot-based issues you mentioned? I'm not super familiar with the technical aspects around here. PhotogenicScientist (talk) 13:51, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    AIUI these problems aren't specific to this rule. We'll have those complications if people are allowed to use any kind of dash (or certain other characters, such as &) in article titles. And if you have to write the bot code to cope with one article title, then you save nothing by removing it from some article titles. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:52, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And I don't buy this argument anyway. For one thing, &#8211 is not URL encoding at all (URL encoding for an en dash would be %E2%80%93). If some technical issue exists, it is certainly not the one that Hawkeye7 is claiming. I use 4 different browsers on a regular basis, and up to 8 for website-testing purposes, and not a single one of them has any trouble handling an en dash in URL. Just try this:–United_States_relations Your browser may auto-convert to URL encoding (some do, some don't), but it will not fail to handle it, unless you are using such ridiculously old software that WP cannot reasonably be expected to support it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:12, 7 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support removal. The use of dash makes articles unaccessible to read and edit. A reader cannot simply use the 'find in page' function to search text and is cumbersome to add when editing. It does not make articles easier to understand or readable. Therefore Wp:Creep is a factor as it is adding to Wikipedia's overextensive instructions without giving benefit. This odd usage of en-dash should not be included within Wikipedia's MOS. Carpimaps (talk) 07:34, 21 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No Really? You want to meld Anti–nuclear weapons with Anti-nuclear weapons? You think the difference is trivial? I know, let's stop using commas -- just use periods instead. They look pretty much the same anyway. EEng 01:29, 22 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @EEng:, yes, if readers notice the difference between a hyphen and an n-dash, it's a useful distinction. But the variation in the length of these marks between fonts in common use under different operating systems, etc. is such that in practice it's not actually very useful. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:10, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    the variation in the length of these marks between fonts in common use under different operating systems, etc. is such that in practice it's not actually very usefu[citation needed] EEng 20:02, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Using endash might be grammatically correct – though, based on the various style guides it looks like there's no strong consensus – but I think the practical impact of this change to articles/article titles would be minimal. "Anti-nuclear weapons" pretty clearly refers to the position of being against nuclear weapons, not to weapons based on the implied "anti-nuclear" technology. "Pro-civil rights protestors" are pretty clearly protestors who are in favor of civil rights, rather than people protesting for rights who behave in a civil manner. As for proper nouns, I think "pre-Industrial revolution" pretty clearly refers to the time period before the Industrial Revolution, and not to a revolution that happened before industrial (lowercased) times.
    If there are technical issues to be solved by using hyphen vs endash, it might be worth implementing. PhotogenicScientist (talk) 14:03, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "Enuf" pretty clearly means "enough", but we don't do that either. EEng 20:02, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And "enough" causes no technical issues. PhotogenicScientist (talk) 20:44, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If there are technical issues to be solved, as you said. I'm not sure that there are technical issues that this would solve. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:55, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I like this ndash. I also am of the age to have learned this as "proper", but it really helps prime my brain to digest the next unit as a single token. The hyphen binds more tightly than the dash, and implies to me the existence of (using the examples given thus far) "anti-nuclear weapons" detonating from the runaway fission of an anti-nucleus, and the second War in a place called "pre-World". Maybe I'm dumb. Like User:Hawkeye7 above, I do count rather more than five keypresses to input –, but on my device it's a single long press on the hyphen, which gives me the options of mdash, ndash, middot, and underbar/underscore. I don't know that we necessarily need to mandate an ndash in this usage, but I'm certainly opposed to replacing it with a hyphen, if that is the proposal here. Folly Mox (talk) 07:43, 22 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Remove It's fussy and old-fashioned, not general practice in current style guides, and makes article linking difficult. — The Anome (talk) 08:14, 23 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I thought that all article titles containing a dash also had a redirect with a hyphen (wasn't there a bot generating these?), so it shouldn't make linking difficult at all. (Of course, it's no issue at all in the visual editor, because you have options there like searching for the page, pasting in the whole URL for automatic conversion, etc.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:31, 23 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    They don't; they have to be created manually. WMF has tried and failed to make it seamless. Try it with the Category:Anti-nuclear weapons movement. You'll get the soft redirect page. Note that categories do not redirect the way articles do, so every one of them creates additional, ongoing maintenance work. Ndashes should never be used with categories. The whole ndash thing has been a tragedy from the start. Also: I do not use and do not accept, recognise or respect the Chicago Manual of Style. We have the Australian Commonwealth Style Guide per WP:ENGVAR. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 23:10, 23 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep as I don't see a strong reason to change/remove it. The source for "AP" above is a summary of the guidelines, so this edge case for compounds not being mentioned doesn't mean using hyphens is AP-approved. The source for "Chicago" above is similarly narrowed, an FAQ question. I was able to find a source for MLA that says hyphens between all words is preferred, except for proper nouns, where endash should be used instead. And I found a source for the complete APA guide (that I don't think I can link for copyvio reasons) that had exactly 0 examples of this kind of compound, in either of the sections on hyphens or dashes. PhotogenicScientist (talk) 22:10, 23 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • You can’t beat a discussion on which type of dash to use. WP at its best.. MapReader (talk) 14:25, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'd say you've got some stiff competition in #MOS:ENGVAR_question: Percent vs. per cent. EEng 21:14, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep. If it's found in Chicago, MLA, and other academic style guides, we should continue to follow suit, since our own style guide is based on those. MoS has adopted virtually nothing from AP Stylebook and we do quite the opposite of what it recommends in many cases, because news style and academic style are very different. WP is not written in news style as a matter of policy (WP:NOT#NEWS).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:02, 27 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    NOTNEWS is about content. It's about not including everything that is breaking news, nor engaging in celebrity gossip, and being mindful of WP:BLP1E. It's not about writing style. No where in that link is anything about style, because it's a content policy. bay your reasoning here I could just as easily say the section that says Wikipedia is not a scientific journal to say we shouldn't follow MLA styles. That would be a dumb idea, but it's the same flawed reasoning. Writing style is not part of policy for a reason. oknazevad (talk) 01:33, 7 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    NOTNEWS says "Wikipedia is not written in news style." That sentence of the policy, at least, is about style, not content. WhatamIdoing (talk) 11:01, 7 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Indeed, and it's been there for a very long time. I'm surprised how often people miss it. Writing style absolutely is part of policy, just in a simple and broad way, to address the one perennial and tedious problem of people trying to write WP like news because most of them are most used to reading news and get the mistaken impression that it is "the" correct way to write. The details of writing style have been left to guidelines (and, yes, for good reasons).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:56, 21 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep – Personally I've found the PREFIXDASH and SUFFIXDASH guidelines quite helpful for clarity, in Wikipedia and in my own personal use. I'm also not convinced that the increased difficulty of typing dashes is very significant for this debate, since we use en/em dashes in so many other situations that everybody agrees are appropriate—I'm sure PREFIXDASH/SUFFIXDASH account for a very small share of dash usage on Wikipedia. (Full disclosure—I'm kind of obsessed with dashes, as a userbox of mine proudly displays. So I'll basically always oppose limiting their use. I'm arguably biased.) — ⁠Will ⁠• ⁠B[talk] 00:19, 14 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep – it would just generally make many different categories confusing. Not exactly WP:CREEP if it's a somewhat short section stopping a decent amount of misunderstandings. OfTheUsername (talk) 04:10, 29 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep I think that the current practice is sound and useful. Maybe (somehow) this will change in decades to come, but not now. --L.Smithfield (talk) 10:07, 26 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong keep A lot of editors don't follow a lot of our policies and guidelines, either because they aren't aware or by accident. Should we get rid of those other guidelines too? Also, this is just good practice recommended by most style guides, including MLA and Chicago. InfiniteNexus (talk) 03:53, 31 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Change MOS:DASH hyphen exemption for compounded proper names Edit

This exemption in MOS:ENBETWEEN, generally, use a hyphen in compounded proper names of single entities, is being misinterpreted by editors and used in instances where it wasn't intended to have been, as its phrasing is too ambiguous. For example, MOS:ENBETWEEN should have applied in this recent SAG–AFTRA move discussion, however editors used this exemption to state that a hyphen should be used instead of an en-dash, despite previous consensus at MOS being that this section of the guideline does pertain to this situation of a single organization which contains multiple entities (this is better explained in this previous comment by SMcC). I am proposing and seeking consensus that this move by A. di M. from 2011 be reverted, so that the phrasing is changed back to "Generally, use a hyphen in compounded place names", with the John Lennard-Jones example being moved back to the hyphenated personal names example at the bottom of this section. Happily888 (talk) 06:47, 28 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed. The wording's gotten futzed-with enough to produce a new RM result that is directly and starkly contradictory of all the previous similar ones, and this is really obviously not the intended effect. However, this is not the venue for undoing a bad RM closure (and the closer clearly did not understand the arguments being made; it has nothing whatsoever to do with whether SAG–AFTRA is presently a single organization; it is entirely about whether the name is composed of the name of formerly separate entities, which of course it is; otherwise we would simply never use en-dashes in names of organizations, and the guideline would not exist at all in the first place). That venue is WP:MR. This is the proper venue for correcting the guideline wording having become confused.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:30, 28 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is to say, it is literally impossible for the closer's reasoning about MoS (or, more precisely, their reasoning about and understanding of the !voters' reasoning about MoS) to be correct. @Wpscatter: You should revert your close and let someone else handle it. Otherwise, this has to go to WP:MR.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:08, 28 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not reverting my close. You spoke your piece already in the RM. I read it then, and was unconvinced. We clearly interpret the policy differently. If you feel very strongly that it should be reverted, take it to MR. WPscatter t/c 13:42, 28 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not being misinterpreted at all. A merged entity is a single entity with a compounded proper name. It should be a hyphen. The move close is proper and correct. oknazevad (talk) 13:21, 28 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But if that is the case, then there would be no reason to use an en-dash in an organization name at all, ever. This would mean that articles including Warner–Lambert, Stitzel–Weller, Brown–Forman, AFL–CIO, Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex and ZANU–PF, some of which were formed by mergers whilst others not, should all use hyphens as they all refer to single entities. Clearly this is incorrect and looking back at the guideline's page history clearly shows that the original intention of this section was only to enable hyphenated place names such as Guinea-Bissau and Austria-Hungary, not for all singular entities which was added in this revision in 2011. Whilst the page history shows the intention of this exemption, it is clear from this discussion that the phrasing is ambiguous as editors clearly don't understand what a singular entity is and if your definition is used it would literally be able to refer to almost all uses of en-dashes in Wikipedia, which is why I am proposing that the exemption be changed back to its clearer earlier form. Editors who opposed the move discussion were obviously basing their !votes on a flawed exemption which shouldn't and doesn't apply, as names of merged organizations refer to more than a single entity, and so most were mainly making just WP:IDONTLIKEIT comments. Happily888 (talk) 14:54, 28 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yep. Who wants to get the MR started? The very inexperienced (been an editor less than a year) non-admin closer's standoffish reponse here also makes it clear they were WP:SUPERVOTING; closers are not supposed to become "convinced" by anything that sways their personal opinion, they are to summarize and policy-analyze the material presented by the !voters neutrally.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:32, 28 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh please. I did policy-analyze neutrally, and arrived at a different conclusion than you due to our different interpretations of the policy. I'm not sure why "convinced" set off red flags for you here; I don't know what else you would call the process of reading arguments and reaching a conclusion based on them. You believe so strongly that your interpretation is correct and mine is not that you're asking me to revert the close. It should be clear that you're out of line for doing that. And because I refused to comply you're implying that I'm too inexperienced to resolve the issue properly. WPscatter t/c 19:28, 28 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whilst I don't doubt that the closer isn't inexperienced, it is generally recommended per WP:RMNAC that non-admin closers be cautious when closing significantly contentious discussions. Whilst any editor is able to close discussions, this move request was clearly contentious and would require an editor to have a very high familiarity with the request's associated policies and guidelines, which a closer may or may not have. Happily888 (talk) 01:33, 30 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The difference between say, the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex and SAG-AFTRA is that Dallas and Fort Worth (and the other cities and towns in the metroplex) are still separate entities and the metroplex is a grouping of independent entities. SAG-AFTRA on the other hand, is a single union, not an alliance of two separate unions. Like Wilkes-Barre, it is a single entity with two namesakes (the predecessor unions, which no longer exist as independent entities). It's like when someone gets married and adopts a hyphenated name consisting of both spouses' prior surnames. So, yeah, Warner–Lambert having a dash is incorrect, and based on a total incorrect understanding of how the grammar actually works. Same with Sitzel-Weller and Brown-Forman (the person who opened the move request on that one later agreed that they got it wrong because the company was not formed by a merger, but instead just has two namesake founders). oknazevad (talk) 14:40, 29 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That there are multiple kinds of reasons to use an en dash doesn't mean that the one you personally dislike is wrong.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:59, 29 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not about person like or dislike. It's about consistency of meaning and accuracy of facts. Just because you wrote it with one intent doesn't mean you weren't wrong in your understanding. oknazevad (talk) 03:19, 30 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This exemption should not be made. Tony (talk) 09:02, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to clarify, I am seeking consensus about if the exemption should be changed and what it should be changed to, as currently it is being misinterpreted or able to be interpreted in multiple ways. It should either be changed back to "Generally, use a hyphen in compounded place names", which was the previous consensus but was changed to current phrasing without discussion, or to something different which clarifies and recommends greater use of hyphens if the consensus has changed, such as "Generally, use a hyphen in compounded proper names of single entities, including mergers of two single entities". Happily888 (talk) 07:46, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It absolutely should not read "use a hyphen in compounded proper names of single entities, including mergers of two single entities", which is an exact reversal of the current standard, and could cause massive confusion, with it becoming entirely unclear when to use or not use an en dash in a name, and every name with one in it would be subject to move-warring on the basis of someone's opinion of what "single entities, including mergers of two single entities" could encompass.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:46, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal to split MOS:GENDERID from Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography Edit

Comments invited.

Bluerasberry (talk) 19:12, 3 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@ (talk) 13:52, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal to capitalize racial descriptors Edit

Under the identity section, I think that racial descriptors like White, Black, and Brown should be capitalized. The archive is 200+ pages, is there a way to search it to see if proposals like this have already been discussed?

Captchacatcher (talk) 04:29, 6 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

MOS:RACECAPS has some links to previous discussions. Nikkimaria (talk) 04:35, 6 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

12- or 24-hour time for military history articles? Edit

User:Iseult has started an RfC at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history#RfC: Use of 12 or 24-hour time. Please discuss there. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:01, 7 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Spacing of en dash between multi-word elements Edit

I'm pretty sure we used to advise a spaced en dash between elements one or more of which is multi-part (Canada – United States relations), but MoS is no longer doing this, and even provides a counter-example of Seifert–van Kampen theorem with no spacing. Was this the result of a consensus discussion, or did someone just randomly change it? Or more to the point, is the unspaced style what consensus wants to see here, regardless how the change got into the guideline? This has come up at Talk:Gaya–Mughalsarai section#Requested move 16 July 2023.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:10, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think we're using spaces for that. Also please notice "New York–Los Angeles flight", which I think is another counter-example. And there are North Korea–South Korea relations, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, and Famous Players–Lasky. (For the record, I continue to be irritated by North Rhine-Westphalia, which joins two elements, one of which includes a space, but does the joining with a hyphen. That reminds me of Strunk & White's example of the Chattanooga News-Free Press.) —⁠ ⁠BarrelProof (talk) 04:34, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
LOL, a "news-free" press. Reminds me of the Victorian-era New York financial firm named "Cheatham & Steele".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  14:35, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It should be noted that Edit

Is it okay to include the phrase it should be noted that in MOS:NOTED per WP:PGCHANGE? I see this all the time, and although it is not directly addressing the reader in the imperative mood, it is indirectly telling readers that they should find something notable. I just removed the similar phrase It is thus worth noting how remarkable it is and replaced it with It is exceptional. The sentence in question is unsourced; I think it can be supported, although that presumptuous remark that we must all find "it worthy of noting how remarkable it is" really needed to go. Cheers, Nederlandse Leeuw (talk) 17:39, 9 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know whether there's a policy/guideline against using it, but I think it's poor language. If something wasn't notable, then presumably we wouldn't be talking about it in an article. DonIago (talk) 19:13, 9 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Policy and guideline pages do not need to be MOS compliant. Even the MOS pages directly address the reader and have things like contractions etc. In articles, however, nuke on sight. Primergrey (talk) 20:27, 9 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, my standard edit summary when I remove an instance of this is "Presumably, everything in the article is meant to be noted." Granted, sometimes a point deserves highlighting as a clarification to what precedes it, as a proviso, etc., but in those cases there are better ways to do that.
It isn't exactly an instruction, so some might not consider it to be covered implicitly by the guideline, but it's tantamount to an instruction. It's in the passive mood, "It should be noted", which leads to the question "Who should it be noted by?", to which the response is "by you". It should be covered, so let's make it explicit that it falls within the scope of the guideline, rather than leaving it to editors' interpretation. Largoplazo (talk) 23:20, 9 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Instructing readers is the wrong mode of address in a Wikipedia article, but it is exactly the right mode of address in the MOS. So a MOS admonition against instructing readers within Wikipedia articles is inappropriate to apply to MOS. —David Eppstein (talk) 00:10, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is there a misunderstanding here? Some respondents seem to believe that Nederlandse Leeuw found the phrase "it should be noted that" somewhere in the MOS and is objecting to its use. My understanding is that NL is proposing we add the phrase to the guideline as something not to do in articles. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 02:19, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It should be noted that we can discuss it in both contexts. :p I (obviously) interpreted it the same way you're understanding it, though I also perhaps didn't pay as much attention to the initial question as I ought to have. DonIago (talk) 02:32, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We shouldn't use it in articles - in my experience it and similar exhortations to the reader are usually diagnostic for a translation from French. Ok in policy pages I suppose. Johnbod (talk) 04:16, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Not only is "it should be noted that" not in the imperative mood, it's also not in the "passive mood", not least because no such thing exists. It's a truncated version of a clause in the active voice. A subordinate clause within it, "be noted", is indeed in the passive voice. There's nothing wrong with that: for me, "be noted" would rarely "[lead] to the question 'Who should it be noted by?'", as I'd start by assuming that the agent was unimportant. That the passive can be misused (often by "language experts" desperately attempting to show how bad it can be) doesn't mean that there's anything necessarily wrong with it. But if the writer simply means "Note that", then "Note that" is probably better. -- Hoary (talk) 04:30, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • As far as its use in articles, this is already covered in MOS:NOTE. No "note", no "it should be noted", no "interestingly", no "obviously", etc. Primergrey (talk) 05:00, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, and David Eppstein and Primergrey are correct that it has nothing to do with how guideline and policy pages are written. They are instructional material by their nature.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:31, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Conflicting guidance with WikiProject:trains Edit

It seems that we have conflicting guidance between MOS:& and Wikipedia:WikiProject Trains/Style advice#Article name. I think that conflict needs to be resolved. Please discuss. Blueboar (talk) 18:34, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, please ping the good folks at the trains wikiproject so they know about this discussion. Blueboar (talk) 18:36, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Popular references to North American railroads often use ampersands (and various other shorthand), but the legal names are generally "and". It's pragmatic as much as anything to always use "and" in article names, with redirects as appropriate. I don't see this as a conflict. Mackensen (talk) 18:55, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fully agreed with Mackensen. The ampersand is not part of the legal name for railroads and should not be used in the article title. Pi.1415926535 (talk) 19:14, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are there any actual examples of articles where the two would lead to different titles? pburka (talk) 19:26, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, you have Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway vs Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, also known as ATSF, AT&SF, Santa Fe Railroad, Santa Fe Railway, Santa Fe etc. The first of these is the legal, correct name. A contrary example might be the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, also written as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, almost universally known as the Milwaukee Road, which by consensus is the current article title. I'm not aware of a situation where the ampersand would be the COMMONNAME of a railroad. Mackensen (talk) 19:56, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Surely the most common (unambiguous) name should be used in all cases? Whether the article title uses "&" or "and" is trivia and, as long as the article is internally consistent, of absolutely no consequence to the encyclopaedia whatsoever. Thus if the most common name uses "&" the article should use "&", if the most common name uses "and" the article should use "and". If (and only if) neither is clearly the most common then use whichever is the legal name. Thryduulf (talk) 20:01, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If (and only if) neither is clearly the most common then use whichever is the legal name The reason for the present guidance is that this is basically the outcome in all cases. Mackensen (talk) 20:04, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WP:ALBUM would like our style advice incorporated into the proper style guide Edit

I'm one of the main authors of WP:ALBUMSTYLE and we've discussed on WT:ALBUM a couple of times having this formally added to the style guide under Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Contents#Topic-specific. How do we go about formalizing this style advice? Thanks. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 20:56, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Koavf: First, make sure it doesn't conflict with any extant P&G material. Second, go through it and replace instructions that are redundant with MOS:TITLES or any other guideline or policy, with shorter cross-references to the extant P&G material. Next, copyedit all the material to be in the style of site-wide guidance (e.g. remove references to the wikiproject, especially "we advise" sorts of statements). When it looks like a proper guideline, open a discussion at WP:VPPRO, and "advertise" the thread also at WP:VPPOL and WT:MOS and WT:ALBUMS, clearly named something like "Proposal to elevate what is presently WP:WikiProject Albums/Album article style advice to guideline status as WP:Manual of Style/Albums".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:58, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Koavf I am willing to help out with this process if you wanna put a taskforce together. Popcornfud (talk) 12:11, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Boss. I've got work all day, but I can get started after. Thanks. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 15:24, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thumbs up emoji. This gives me a good place to start. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 15:23, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

regarding: WP:LANGVAR - When a person of a nationality is referred to in another article Edit

For example, US and Canadian players are referred to as "soccer players", while most other nations use footballer. Let's say for example, there is a page of a European person and they are the uncle of an American soccer player. In the personal section, it says XYZ is the uncle of PERSON, an American ______ player. Should it say "football player" becasue the article is written in British English, or "soccer player" because the term should be tied to the subject it is refering to? RedPatch (talk) 02:37, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use language consistently thoughout an article; MOS:ARTCON. We do not veer back and forth between dialects as we refer to people or things from different parts of the world in the same article. For something with different names in different dialects, give both at first occurrence, e.g. "association football (soccer)".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:48, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How to call GNU/Linux? Edit

I couldn't find any recommendations on how to call GNU/Linux. I think they should be added. Orisphera2 (talk) 20:14, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See MOS:LINUX MrOllie (talk) 20:17, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

MOS:ENGVAR question: Percent vs. per cent Edit

I am a new editor who noticed the word "percent" commonly used on pages tagged {{use British English}}. I would like to get the opinion of others on whether "percent" is an error in British English or not. The Oxford and Collins Dictionaries both regard "percent" as purely the American form. I Google site searched the major British journals, such as The Times, and found "per cent" was used many times more commonly than "percent" on all of them. I suspect use of "percent" is subliminal penetration into the vernacular from American English and should therefore be avoided in formal literature. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 11:14, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Google NGram Viewer indicates that BrE uses both per cent and (increasingly) percent, but that per cent is more common. (However, percentage, not per centage.) Doremo (talk) 11:28, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
NGram is not entirely reliable because it returns similar results for "colour" vs. "color", and the latter is always considered an error in BrE. I am aware that "percentage" is always written as one word in BrE, this is purely about "per cent" vs. "percent" alone with no suffixes or prefixes. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 11:37, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can also run a domain-based search: "per cent" (nominally 27.5 million hits) vs. "percent" (nominally 36.4 million hits). This is also not entirely reliable (and will vary when the search is re-run), but it indicates that BrE usage is mixed. Doremo (talk) 11:47, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A lot of these results are not exactly literary standard one would like to see on an encyclopaedia. Vernacular or informal text can diverge significantly from formal literature. The British government style manual states one should not use "percent", likewise the Australian government style manual also explicitly warns against "percent". 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 11:52, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Someone had better warn The Times, The Guardian, the BBC, et al. that they're not up to snuff. :-) Doremo (talk) 12:11, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
These are all outliers in those publications, using site search shows "per cent" is vastly more common in them. Typographical errors do occur and cannot be used to justify them elsewhere. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 12:22, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Newspapers and broadcast media are not arbiters of correct or encyclopaedic style. Style guides produced by such bodies reflect journalistic practice and "house style". Martin of Sheffield (talk) 12:47, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Even taking that into account; the Guardian's style guide says "per cent", so does the BBC's. Infact the BBC's goes a step further and says "there is no such thing as a percent". 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 13:16, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can't rely on the estimated search result numbers by Google. To use the Times as an example, the true results are 398 for "per cent" and 297 for "percent". Theknightwho (talk) 20:04, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If an article is primarily using British English, yes it should say per cent. That it doesn't is likely because it was either edited by an American, someone whose first language is not English or a badly educated Brit/Australian. If the article is explicitly tagged with the use British English template, it should probably be corrected. If it is not tagged, do not bother. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:37, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
With all due respect, that's quite an assumption of my education based on a single two words... Chaheel Riens (talk) 15:55, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No clue about your education, but as any fule kno the most common reason for not using the suitable variant of English in line with the rest of an article (or any language with multiple variants for that matter) is that they either natively speak another variant and do not notice the tag. They do not speak English natively at all and so do not understand the difference. Or coming a distant third, they do speak the variant natively and are just unable to spell correctly. That of course could be for any number of reasons, dyslexia, laziness, non-consistent human error, but is most likely because their education was insufficient and they just dont rite proper. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:14, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Chizz! That reference takes me back to my childhood. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:01, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My question was exclusively regarding tagged articles, thank you ^.^ 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 13:43, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is correct: If an article is primarily using British English, yes it should say per cent. We don't need to have a silly linguistic prescription argument about whether it's really an "error" or not; it is sufficient for MOS:ENGVAR purposes that per cent is vastly preferred over percent in British and most other Commonwealth English dialects.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:27, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. Johnbod (talk) 17:36, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My views (as a BrEng speaker) are that percent and per cent are both valid in British English, which makes this distinct from an issue such as the colour / color split, where color is perceived as wrong in British English. I think we should only be actively going out of our way to make changes when a particular spelling is considered invalid in the relevant variety of English, which doesn't apply in this particular case. It's simply not relevant whether per cent is more common in British English, either - just that percent is not wrong.

Also, as someone who uses the word daily in a professional environment, the statement above that "per cent" is vastly more common is completely incorrect. You can't rely on Google's estimated search result numbers, as they're frequently wildly wrong. Doing a check of the actual numbers (by forcing it to go to the end of the results) shows that percent is about half as common as per cent. Not a major preference at all. Theknightwho (talk) 19:56, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I never said the search results were iron-cast proof. Please take into account style manuals and such. "Percent" appears to be an example of Deutschlish, the German word is "prozent". English does not typically compound in this way. I suspect its probably an instance of the cultural influence of German immigrants to the United States. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 20:16, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I know it is far from perfect, but NGram viewer does seem to add to this hypothesis. In US English percent only starts appearing in the 20th century, rapidly taking off for some reason between 1929 and 1937. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 20:29, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Stolitz Why do we need to take into account non-WP manuals of style? They aren't arbiters of what is correct English. Just arbiters of what certain editors prefer. That's what makes percent different from color: most speakers don't reject the spelling. The fact is that it doesn't matter if per cent is more common - just that percent is not wrong. Theknightwho (talk) 22:46, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to the online OED "percent" is a transitive verb meaning to rate or calculate: "...should be asterisked, questioned, percented, or fully accepted". It also notes "Chiefly U.S.". "per cent" is either and adverb: "recovering from 55 per cent burns" or a noun: "by only three-quarters of a per cent". However, of the listed quotes for the noun, 7 use the "per cent" form and 4 the "percent" form, so all I can deduce is that even the venerable OED is equivocal on this topic. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 20:42, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I wouldn't go quite so far as to say "percent" is actually wrong in BrEng but I certainly wouldn't say it was right. It puts my teeth on edge. DuncanHill (talk) 22:58, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

[This is in reply to the entire thread, not just DuncanHill in particular.] It's important to keep in mind that it's not always MoS's job to prescribe a particular "right" answer, but simply to forestall editwarring and round-in-circles "style fight" debates. What we have here at minimum is a 2:1 preference for per cent over percent in BrEng, and BrEng dictionaries and style guides (which do matter – MoS is not written in a vacuum, and is based primarily on four academic-leaning style guides: Chicago, Garner's, New Hart's/Oxford, and Fowler's, the last two of which are British) preferring per cent. This automatically means that the majority our editors who use BrEng, or any variety essentially indistinguishable from it in an encyclopedic register (i.e., nearly every dialect but US and maybe Canadian) are going to prefer per cent, and there is no reason to not let them have it. It would be a different matter if someone did a WP:MEATBOT job and went around wiping out percent in every single article that didn't have a {{Use American English}} template in it. But we don't have this situation to deal with, so this is a rambling dispute about nothing, basically. Just stop editwarring with and vociferously arguing against people who prefer per cent in non-American articles. There are way, way more important things to spend your time on here. PS: If there's some special British context in which professionals heavily favo[u]r percent, maybe an exception would be warranted in tha topic, like it's okay to use DMY dates in US military articles while the rest of the US stuff is likely to be using MDY.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:43, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The exact proportions of "percent" vs. "per cent" in what counts as British English aren't clear. (As an elderly British editor, I find "per cent" old-fashioned now.) Howeve, it is clear that both are used. In which case, unless there are particularly strong reasons to prefer the spaced version, MOS:COMMONALITY should apply (and MOS:RETAIN). Peter coxhead (talk) 09:04, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
COMMONALITY is about the very worthwhile aim of making things as easily and widely understood as possible. No one's going to be confused by per cent. I agree with SMcCandlish's last post, particularly so this is a rambling dispute about nothing. DeCausa (talk) 09:22, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
COMMONALITY and RETAIN also help to prevent pointless edit changes. In the case that started this, Arthropod, originally there was one occurrence of "percent" and one of "per cent", so RETAIN doesn't apply. As both were acceptable to the editors who generated the material, personally I would apply COMMONALITY, but I agree that it's not an important issue. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:37, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The reason articles are tagged "use x form of English" is for internal consistency within the article so that the article uses only one form of English exclusively. The evidence provided thus far does not seem to indicate "percent" enjoys widespread approval in British English sources. The lack of explicit support in dictionaries or style manuals means the instances can likely be chalked up to typographical errors or material written by American contributors which was not subsequently edited. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 09:49, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm a reasonably well-educated Australian and I do try to write correctly. However, until last week I would not have been able to tell you which was the British variant and which was American. I'd guess that the average reader (excepting English professors) would be similar. The OP is (probably) technically correct but this is one of those things that most people are happy to ignore and should probably be left alone.  Stepho  talk  10:13, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stolitz, I'll WP:AGF and assume this isn't just an attempt to hugely boost your post-count or something, but really, it's very clear from the above discussion that both 'percent' and 'per cent' are both in common use in British English, and there is absolutely no need to trawl the encyclopedia changing one to the other. I'd also add, you're clearly over-stepping the mark changing it where it's been used in quotes, and changing it where other language variations, such as Hiberno-English, have been used. Posting here as you blanked the active discussion on your own talk page. BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 10:34, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I stopped changing it in direct quotations as soon as it was pointed out to me. I have also exclusively restricted myself to editing instances on pages specifically tagged "use British English". 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 10:38, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to add to what Bastun says, I was quite surprised to see you all over my watchlist yesterday and today and even more surprised to see this. It seems to me highly inappropriate to proactively being pursuing these mass edits, and only those mass edits, while this discussion is ongoing. Surely, you can find something else to do? There's no urgency (or importance) in making those edits. Is there any reason why you won't pause this? DeCausa (talk) 11:15, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do tend to get fixated on individual problems and really have to follow them through until they're finished. I know this is not going to be regarded as a very major issue by many, but it is something that aroused my attention. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 11:17, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You've opened this thread to ask others of their opinion and while they've been giving it you've ploughed on with your mass edits doing it anyway. That's not cool. DeCausa (talk) 11:35, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I felt a rough consensus had emerged. I have no intention of spreading it beyond the "Use British English" tag. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 11:38, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except where you have done exactly that. BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 12:16, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can only assume that page at one point was tagged BrE because it appeared under that tag when I searched. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 12:20, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The evidence provided thus far does not seem to indicate "percent" enjoys widespread approval in British English sources. The lack of explicit support in dictionaries or style manuals means the instances can likely be chalked up to typographical errors or material written by American contributors which was not subsequently edited. Frankly, the preceding sentence is bullshit. As has been pointed out on your (now deleted) talk page, both forms are in common use even if one is somewhat more prevalent than the other, your google search results are a lot closer than you're making out, and 'percent' is in both Collins and OED. Please see WP:RETAIN and, well - here, have this...



BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 12:36, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Being in a dictionary" does not support use. It merely reflects that something has been used. DuncanHill (talk) 12:41, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Collins page uses an American-accented voice for its examples of use; which does imply they consider it an Americanism. 𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔷 (talk) 12:47, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And the OED page @Bastun: linked to is for the verb. DuncanHill (talk) 12:50, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Exactly. Both 'percent' and 'per cent' are used. That's the point. BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 13:39, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you are missing the point somewhat, for the OED "percent" is not the same as "per cent". As noted above ""percent" is a transitive verb meaning to rate or calculate" and "per cent" is the noun or adverb. DuncanHill (talk) 13:54, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As already noted, of the listed quotes for the noun, 7 use the "per cent" form and 4 the "percent" form, so all I can deduce is that even the venerable OED is equivocal on this topic. It's also trivial to find uses of percent in British English, as the search results shown above attest. Theknightwho (talk) 13:29, 19 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OED doesn't record only British usage.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  14:28, 19 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]



I am currently reviewing Chelsea F.C. 2–4 Bradford City A.F.C. which has been nominated at WP:GA and I wanted to ask about the application of MOS:FLAGS in relation to the match details section. I've seen other articles with and without flag icons so thought it best to find out what feedback I should be providing in the review before I do. My main concern is that the players aren't representing their respective countries when they play for their club so I'm unsure if it is an appropriate use of flag icons or not. Any feedback you can provide would be much appreciated. I know this won't affect the GA process but I'd still like to provide the correct feedback where possible. Stevie fae Scotland (talk) 11:12, 20 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's the opposite of an appropriate use; in this case, the flags are being used to indicate the citizenship or origin nationalities of the players. From MOS:SPORTFLAG: "Flags should never indicate the player's nationality in a non-sporting sense; flags should only indicate the sportsperson's national squad/team or representative nationality." As both teams are English, there is no use for flag icons here at all.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  13:56, 20 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for your help. I will pass this feedback on. Stevie fae Scotland (talk) 17:48, 20 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I totally disagree with this assessment. The fact that both clubs involved are English (or to be more precise, affiliated with the English Football Association) has no relevance to whether their players have the same nationality. The flags are not being used to indicate the players’ citizenship, they indicate which sporting nationality they have. This is most obvious due to the fact that we’re talking about players and clubs being English rather than British. There is no such thing as English, Scottish or Welsh citizenship, after all! – PeeJay 12:03, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for bringing your thoughts here PeeJay, it's appreciated. I'll leave the 1992 League Cup as is pending further discussion. I think the issue is that in club matches, none of the players are representing their country. In this case, they are representing Chelsea and Bradford (Man U and Forest in the 92 final) so their nationalities are irrelevant. I was more thinking MOS:FLAGCRUFT when I brought this up but I hadn't thought of SPORTFLAG. Stevie fae Scotland (talk) 13:16, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They may not be representing their nations in a strict sense, but the national breakdown of a football squad is fairly relevant these days. Check out 11v11 for an example of a website that lists the players' nationalities. – PeeJay 13:47, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"whether their players have the same nationality" and "They may not be representing their nations in a strict sense": Read again: "Flags should never indicate the player's nationality in a non-sporting sense; flags should only indicate the sportsperson's national squad/team or representative nationality." There is nothing equivocal about it. The fact that you're really insistent that this is what you want to do doesn't in any way make it a good idea. Guidelines are not put aside just because someone is loud about it. "the national breakdown of a football squad is fairly relevant these days" – That may be the case, but is resolved by writing text, not by injecting cutesey flag icons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:05, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Huh? I'm saying that your argument to remove them makes no sense since the flags already aren't being used to indicate non-sporting nationality. They are being used exactly as MOS:SPORTFLAGS allows. This discussion is moot. – PeeJay 11:53, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For me, as I said before, the issue was more FLAGCRUFT because we are emphasizing nationality without good reason. It's irrelevant that the goalie is Danish or the midfielder is Scottish or whatever because it's between club X and club Y. In these matches they aren't representing their country and I think that is partly the spirit behind SPORTFLAG but maybe not so much to the letter of it. Perhaps that needs made clearer if that is indeed the intent behind the policy. There are also the issues pointed out below. Stevie fae Scotland (talk) 15:14, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And "Huh?" right back at you. Using flags to indicate the origin nationality of players on an English team is exactly "being used to indicate non-sporting nationality". How can you possibly be confused about this? The very thing you want to do is the no. 1 thing the guideline says not to do, and the primary misuse of flags that it was written to stop people from doing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:14, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's obviously not being used to indicate non-sporting nationality, since "English" is not a nationality in any context other than sport. As I said earlier, there's no such thing as an English passport, so what else could those flags be referring to other than the players' sporting nationalities? You're looking at this arse-backwards. – PeeJay 07:25, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"English" is certainly a nationality. You are confusing nationality with citizenship. In most states, yes they are the same but not in the UK. 𝕁𝕄𝔽 (talk) 09:02, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, that's a semantic issue. Apologies for my poor word choice. Nevertheless, the flags in these articles are not being used to indicate anything other than sporting nationality, so there shouldn't be a problem with regard to MOS:SPORTFLAGS. – PeeJay 10:25, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except they don't mention the country. This is a point of MOS:FLAGS, the flag cannot on its own be used to identify anything, it needs to be accompanied by the country because people do not recognise all flags and mouse over isn't an option on many devices. Canterbury Tail talk 14:01, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure that all participants in this discussion are equally conversant with what is meant by representative nationality or sporting nationality for footballers. In the specific contexts of (women's and men's) association football, "sporting nationality" is an attribute of individual players and concerns the national team for which, in essence, they would be playing if they were called up. This attribute of players is typically presented - by Reliable Sources off-wiki - in squad lists/match lists of players for club teams.
When the MOS says, Flags should never indicate the player's nationality in a non-sporting sense; flags should only indicate the sportsperson's national squad/team or representative nationality it is saying that flags should not be used, e.g., to indicate country of origin, or passport nationality, where these differ from a player's national team or representative nationality. It most certainly is not saying that flags should not be used for players except when for matches among national teams - if that were the intended meaning, the guideline text would have to be very different, since the existing text says essentially the opposite. Newimpartial (talk) 14:27, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Another concern with the use there is that the country names are missing. Flags cannot be used on their own, they need to be accompanied by the country name. The flag on its own cannot be used as the only means to convey the information. Canterbury Tail talk 13:54, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In my view flags are way overused on en.WP, apparently for decorative purposes. This leads to garish infoboxes, and worse, awkwardly wrapped cells in tables. Has anyone given a thought to the fact that most WP readers are seeing this on a small phone screen? Tony (talk) 13:02, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think they should just all be removed personally. A 23px flag is frequently unidentifiable anyway, is it the US or Liberia? Australia or New Zealand? Norway or Iceland? It goes on. It's almost always just clutter and serves zero purpose other than as decoration. I'd support a removal to do away with flag icons entirely. They're a solution desperately looking for a problem. Canterbury Tail talk 15:39, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. As an identifier for a country, it's redundant. It's like writing "People typically have 20 (twenty) baby teeth and 32 (thirty-two) adult teeth." Imagine if we spelled out every number after its digital representation. And it isn't a good identifier, given that people know countries primarily by their names and not by their flags. It's usually a digression, off-topic. Imagine a list of countries through which the Rhine flows: "The Rhine flows through Switzerland (and, by the way, this is what Switzerland's flag looks like), Germany (and, by the way, this is what Germany's flag looks like), ...." The flags add nothing. The only rationale for including them in sports lists is that they're used in sporting events, presumably because at multinational sporting events, there's an element of national pride that's being fed, because the respective teams are using their flags as emblems there, flags are focal points for expressions of national pride, etc. Wikipedia, however, doesn't mention countries for the purpose of stoking the national pride of its readers. Largoplazo (talk) 16:13, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One other thing that people are missing, MOS:SPORTFLAG is for players. Not for managers, coaches, clerks etc who should not have flags. Canterbury Tail talk 15:57, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Polls Edit

Is there any rule or standard for the colors that are used for different options in polls in articles? The colors on polls related to elections are understandable. For others, like yes/no type polls, green and red are often used in polls about a topic, but there does not seem to be any consistency in the usage of green and red for yes and no respectively. Are the colors chosen randomly? Also, considering that green and red have opposite symbolic meanings, using them is such polls would be a violation of WP:NPOV right? JonSnow64 (talk) 08:37, 21 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What about accessibility concerns? Isn't color blindness (including but not limited to red-green color blindness) something we should be taking into account in such situations? --User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 14:23, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As per MOS:COLOR, that should not be an issue as long as color is not the only thing used to communicate important information. JonSnow64 (talk) 13:58, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion at Talk:Bayes' theorem Edit

  You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Bayes' theorem. which is a discussion about the titles of several pages that depart from MOS:'S. Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 16:35, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Block quotations Edit

MOS:BLOCKQUOTE says that we should use the {{blockquote}} template for long quotations and the documentation of {{quote box}} says that use is not advised in articles. However, the latter is used on 789,000 pages while the former only on 176,000, and articles that use {{quote box}} pass quality assessments such as WP:FAC regularly without any complaint (even though FA's are supposed to be MOS-compliant). Is the MOS out of sync with actual practice? — Charcoal feather (talk) 02:12, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clearly "not advised in articles" is out of step with actual practice. But the two templates do different things, don't they? "quote box" is for a quotation that you can engage with independently of the main text (like most pictures), whereas "blockquote" is for long quotations which form part of the main text of the article. Furius (talk) 11:36, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Apparently, this issue was (hotly) debated in 2016, but nothing was actually done about it. — Charcoal feather (talk) 11:48, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's been debated a lot, many times. The consensus that was arrived at is that pull quotes are not appropriate in the encyclopedia (they are primarily a magazine style, use to grab attention and to push a particular viewpoint), so templates that are for pull quotes or which are indistinguishable from them, should not be used in our articles. We've also had many previous discussions, including at Village Pump, about doing "fancy" stuff to basic block-quotation markup, and the consensus is no: use the indented-on-both-sides style that has been preferred by mainstream publishers for a century or two. What's happened in the interim is that no one with time on their hands has volunteered to do all the tedious cleanup of replacing {{quote box}} and other pull-quote templates with {{blockquote}} (and just removing entirely any instances that are in fact pull quotes; there are a lot of pseudo-pullquotes that need to be converted into standard blockquotes; I've done many hundreds of them myself, but it's a time-consuming slog). An argument like the above that boils down to "They have not all be cleaned up yet, ergo I WP:WIN and get to use them any time I want in our articles" is WP:FAITACCOMPLI nonsense.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:10, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see no consensus prohibiting {{quote box}} in the 2016 RFC. Has there been a follow-up discussion about it? In any case, this is not a "they have not all been cleaned up yet" matter. As noted above, the template is actively (increasingly?) being used and your position appears to be out of step with actual practice. — Charcoal feather (talk) 03:34, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's a difference between a quote box and a pull quote, though, isn't there? A pull quote repeats text in the article to draw attention to it and it's clearly undue. But the quote box can also (and mostly seems to be?) used to display ancillary quotations. This is quite common in encyclopedias and textbooks. So, I don't understand why the whole template would be deprecated, rather than a particular use of it. Furius (talk) 10:51, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To the extent the usage of quote box has shifted, it is because many editors have spent the time to remove inappropriate pull quotes, leaving behind non-pull-quote quotation that should be properly integrated into the prose as block quotations. "This is quite common in encyclopedias" – [citation needed]. And WP is not bound to mimic the stylistic choices of some other encyclopedia. "and textbooks" – WP:NOT#TEXTBOOK.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:43, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The statement in the template's documentation that the quote box should not be used in articles goes back at least fifteen years and is out of step with actual practice. I think that statement should be removed. The linked 2016 discussion doesn't fully deprecate pull quotes -- only "in most cases", with an exception for editorial discretion. The close also explicitly says there was no consensus on presentation of other quotes, referring to the section of the discussion that covered {{quotebox}}, among others. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:30, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That the statement has been there for 15 years is a strong indication of consensus. There is no rule, even a policy, that editors do not routinely break on Wikipedia. This is not a valid argument to get rid of the rules, but to clean up after those editors.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:43, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Neologisms Edit

The article on the neologism and our policy on WP:NEO both agree that a neologism may already have become widely accepted (and even be notable enough for its own article). By contrast this guideline makes the case at MOS:NEO for their general non-acceptability. Should this guide not support out policy and the real world more visibly? — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 17:29, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No. WP:NEO is about creating articles on neologisms, as encyclopedia subjects, so that our readers can learn about them. MOS:NEO is about not using one in Wikipedia's own voice and thereby making the presumption that every reader has already learned it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:39, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. I just think the current wording here is overly heavy-handed and offputting. For example if some neologism passes WP:GNG and has its own article here, then it seems irresponsible not to use it where relevant. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 16:11, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Neologisms are frequently not usable in an encyclopedic voice, even when they make it into the dictionary and have stable definitions. "Bling", for example, has been around for a while now, but it's hard to imagine an article in which it could be used naturally in running prose. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 16:57, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Right. More specifically, "... then it seems irresponsible not to use it" just doesn't logically follow at all from a neologism being notable enough for its own article (or non-WP:INDISCRIMINATE enough to be covered in some other article). There are all kinds of neologisms, including offensive ones, that are notable simply by way of controversy, humor value, or other reasons that have F-all to do with writing in an encyclopedic tone. I think Steelpillow may be confusing Wikipedia noting that a term exists (e.g. "... sometimes also referred to as whatever[1]"), and just using the term in running text as if it were the normal way to refer to the subject, as if it were everyday English understood by all our readers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:08, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

URLs Edit

Is there a section of the manual of style that explains how website URLs should be capitalized? I haven't turned one up. ~TPW 13:20, 1 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Typically, they aren't. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:25, 1 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are you saying that there is no guidance in the manual of style? That's the question I'm hoping to get answered. ~TPW 15:08, 1 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe that the MOS should respect the normalization and syntax published[1][2][3][4] by the IETF, e.g.,
  • Normalize the scheme to lower case
  • Normalize %xx to upper case
  • Normalize the host to lower case
  • Do not change the case of the fragment, path or query unless permitted by a specific scheme
The first three are merely recommendations, but violating the last may break the URI. -- Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 16:52, 1 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's probably a good approach, and I'd support something along these lines if proposed, but I won't propose it myself because I don't know what "scheme," "%xx," "host," "fragment," "path," and "query" mean in this context. Perhaps someone with that technical knowledge could restate it in simpler English and propose that addition. ~TPW 18:25, 1 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem is that even if these technical distinctions are carefully stated, well-meaning people are going to routinely screw it up and we'll have broken URLs all over the place for no benefit at all. As I recall there's some bot that goes around changing http: to https: and maybe that's a place to do this. Or maybe no. I really don't see the value. EEng 19:14, 1 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Percent (%) is used as an escape for entering hexadecimal code points when a character is not on the keyboard or is not permitted in a URI.
The scheme[1]: 17, 3.1. Scheme  is the part before the colon:

Each URI begins with a scheme name that refers to a specification for assigning identifiers within that scheme.

The authority[1]: 17–22, 3.2. Authority  is the part after the initial two slashes and terminated at the next slash ("/"), question mark ("?"), or number sign ("#") character, or by the end of the URI. The authority most often contains only a case-insensitve host name, but it may start with user information and may terminate with a port number.
The path[1]: 22–23, 3.3. Path  is the part of the URI separated from the authority by a slash and terminated by a question mark ("?"), or number sign ("#") character, or by the end of the URI.
The query[1]: 23–24, 3.4. Query  is the part of the URI beginning with the first question mark ("?") character and terminated by a number sign ("#") character or by the end of the URI.
The fragment[1]: 24–25, 3.5. Fragment  is the part of the URI beginning with the first number sign ("#") character and terminated by the end of the URI. -- Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 20:36, 1 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A common practice, recommended at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking#Link titles, though it should also be mentioned in MOS:TITLES somewhere, is CamelCasing in the site name to make it easier to visually parse ( versus These elements of URLs are case-insensitive for good reason. But that's nothing to do with capitalizing "HTTPS://" or something like that; I don't think anyone thinks that's a good idea. And parts of URLs after the hostname are apt to just break if their case is changed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:54, 1 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, that's probably just the page I was trying to find. ~TPW 19:28, 1 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Berners-Lee, Tim; Fielding, R.; Masinter, L. (January 2005). Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax. doi:10.17487/RFC3986. STD 66. RFC 3986.
  2. ^ Hoffman, P. (October 2005). The telnet URI Scheme. doi:10.17487/RFC4248. RFC 4248.
  3. ^ Ellermann, F. (April 2010). The 'news' and 'nntp' URI Schemes. doi:10.17487/RFC5538. ISSN 2070-1721. RFC 5538.
  4. ^ Yevstifeyev, M. (June 2011). The 'tn3270' URI Scheme. doi:10.17487/RFC6270. ISSN 2070-1721. RFC 6270.

MOS:LEADIMAGE and edited historic portraits Edit

I'd like some outside input to the discussion currently going on at Talk:Joseph_Stalin about which lead image to use. There's many portraits of him released by the Soviet authorities that, as a standard practice, edited out some of his imperfections before publication (which I believe was done in support of Joseph Stalin's cult of personality). There's also decent unedited photos of him available by foreign photographers. I've argued that if we follow WP:MOSLEAD which stipulates that lead images "should be natural and appropriate representations of the topic" we should stick with unedited photos. But others do not believe the editing was significant enough to block official portraits, or that "what our readers will expect to see" is edited versions. How is MOS:LEADIMAGE properly read, and should we let the current ongoing popular vote be decisive? Machinarium (talk) 09:00, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The current discussion is at Talk:Joseph Stalin#Rfc on Infobox Image (2023). The issue has been discussed several times on that page, so that link saves a step. SchreiberBike | ⌨  13:13, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, I'm happy with any outsiders commenting there. Here I'm not asking for the same discussion, but if MOS:LEADIMAGE is clear enough on this, and also if a popular vote can just overrule Manual of Style? Machinarium (talk) 16:34, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Note about quotation marks Edit

A note about the use of curly quotation marks reads as thus:

Curly quotation marks and apostrophes are deprecated on the English Wikipedia because:

  • Consistency keeps searches predictable. Though most browsers treat curly and straight quotation marks interchangeably, Internet Explorer does not (as of 2022), so using the browser's find function to search a page for Alzheimer's disease will fail to find Alzheimer’s disease and vice versa.
  • Straight quotation marks and apostrophes are easier to type reliably on most platforms.

Internet Explorer has been deprecated, so the first point is moot, unless we find another major browser that does distinguish the two sets of quotation marks. What should we do about this argument?

Note: I'm not advocating the revocation of this rule. --ItMarki (talk) 16:52, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@ItMarki: Is it the case that all browsers now require ticking a "Match Diacritics" box (or similar) in order to distinguish the different kinds of quotation marks? 0DF (talk) 03:14, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pretty much nothing can be true of "all browsers" when it comes to their interface controls, because they're made by completely different software companies (or free-software dev teams).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:06, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Math and MOS:YOU Edit

I am not clear how the admonition against second-person pronouns applies to math articles like completely positive map. Is the phrase "we say" appropriate? ~TPW 18:25, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Probably not. In the instance where it's used in that article, it's easily fixed by replicating the approach used in the second half of the same sentence. And I've made that fix. Largoplazo (talk) 22:48, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. The we/you stuff in mathematics is a rather pedagogical bad habit at odds with MOS:YOU, MOS:TONE, and WP:NOT#TEXTBOOK. I've never seen a case that couldn't be written around (and produce better encyclopedic prose in the process).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:43, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks! My sense was that it should be changed, but I've been bitten in the past for making adjustments to math articles regarding boldface, and I wasn't sure if some obscure rule applied to this as well. ~TPW 13:40, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hyphenating racial identities, again Edit

Back in 2021, there was a discussion about hyphenating ethno-racial descriptors like "Asian American". There was never a formal closure, but it might reasonably be said that there was either no consensus or consensus to recommend against hyphenation. In June 2022, that guidance was added to MOS:HYPHEN. As far as I can tell, it's been in the MOS ever since.

Given the uncertainty of consensus on this point, I'd appreciate some input on whether the current guideline is supported by consensus and common practice. I'm prompted by some recent page moves conducted by Iljhgtn, whose thoughts I'd like to hear. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 13:49, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The standard "rule" I follow is no hyphen when used as a noun, hyphen when used as an adjective: thus eg, 'Asian Americans are . . .' and 'the Asian-American history movement . . .'. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:56, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i came across that "rule" where it is noun vs.adj only according to grammar blog site grammarist, the article can be read here. Iljhgtn (talk) 14:02, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, it's pretty standard grammar that compound adjectives always get a hyphen because they are meant to be read as one thing, not two things, modifying/describing something else . Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:08, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm surprised grammarist hasn't been evaluated at WP:RSP yet. ~TPW 14:09, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
good side point, grammarist sure should be on there. Iljhgtn (talk) 14:18, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
looking at the MOS i concluded that the african american should not be hyphenated. also, seems to be the decision of the APA in 2019 and other guidelines, as well as nearly all african american museums do not use it see here, here, here, here, here, here and literally every single other one that I can find. Iljhgtn (talk) 14:00, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When it is part of a name, you are not going to use a hyphen. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:05, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
all of those museums also officially give their blessing to the no hyphen more generally, from what I can find, see the educator resource from the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Iljhgtn (talk) 14:23, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Iljhgtn changed more than a dozen article names, and I think such changes should have been discussed. Since our normal, established style is with hyphen (when used as a modifier), those changes only cause inconsistencies. Rsk6400 (talk) 15:37, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Rsk6400: That's why we have Wikipedia:Requested moves#Requests to revert undiscussed moves.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:45, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
there was already a inconsistency, it should be corrected on all articles, but i am not going to edit any others right now. Iljhgtn (talk) 15:58, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why would we need to go over this yet again? If it's a noun phrase, don't hyphenate: She is an Asian American. If it's a compound adjective, hyphenate: an Asian-American social organization. There's nothing even particular to ethnicities about this; it's how we handle writing in general: Carom billiards uses two cue balls.; a complex cue-ball path.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:04, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See also the middle entry in this move log. Rsk6400 (talk) 18:18, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
At least it seems American English does not agree with that. all of the African American museums, as well as the American grammar styles APA, MLA, etc., all appear to drop the hyphen for ethnicities at least post-2019 or thereabouts. We may want to distinguish this with an ENGVAR component then too. Iljhgtn (talk) 18:19, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, MoS isn't determined by the APA or MLA house styles (I'm hard-pressed to think of anything at all that we've adopted from either of them in particular), much less those of some particular museums. Two book examples isn't "all". Garner's Modern English Usage (one of the style guides MoS is actually based on) is entirely clear about the noun phrases versus compound adjectives split and makes no special exception for ethno-cultural terms. Same with The Penguin Handbook, the main style guide used for university-level writing in the US. The Chicago Manual of Style (another MoS-formative style guide) does now prefer the unhyphenated form for such terms as a special class, but provides no rationale for why. They say elsewhere that they have switched to a "hyphen minimizing" style, so that is probably the explanation. (MoS, meanwhile, has not; given the breadth of our readership, the meaning precision provided by some hyphens that Chicago now considers optional is more important than the expediency Chicago seems to be moving toward, at least on this particular point.) So we have a conflict in the sources that MoS is actually built from, but no clear reason to prefer Chicago style over Garner style, expecially since the former is inconsistent with all the rest of our practice, and produces reader-confusing constructions.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:45, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
SMcCandlish, sorry to be bringing it up again. Your analysis is at odds with the current guideline. My understanding of the mixed state of external style guideline advice and of the best choice for the MOS matches yours. I'm hoping we walk away with either a clear endorsement of the current guideline or a removal of it. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 18:52, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The key question to me is, what could we possibly gain from dropping these hyphens? It produces confusing constructions, and is generally incompatible with our entire approach to compound modifiers, but to what end? A "consistency" with some subset of external writers that some editors prefer? Why would we trade actual internal consistency for a half-assed and biased pseudo-consistency with off-site interests, at the expense of clarity to boot? I just don't see a good rationale for doing this. It would make no objective improvement to the encyclopedia, only satisfy a couple of activistic interests who keep trying to conform our style guide to those of organizations they are personally alinged with for socio-political reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:59, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with most of that, and my disagreement—mainly about the motives of those advocating for the hyphen drop—isn't particularly important. Since we both think the current guideline is unhelpful, why not keep discussing it? There's a fresh multi-page move discussion in which a "per MOS:HYPHEN" argument is likely to win the day, I'm thinking this is the time to question whether the current guideline has enough support to stick around (or if it ever did). Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 20:04, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The poorly written "magical exception" for ethno-national terms that someone injected in there without a clear consensus has been removed by someone else already. I tracked it to this edit by Caorongjin who says it was their "2nd attempt", so it must have been reverted previously (it was, by Imaginatorium). Cites this archive thread as their rationale for adding this "rule", but that discussion did not come to a consensus in favor of the idea. Four editors favored retaining the hyphen on various grounds ranging from clarity and consistency, to opposition to instruction creep. The supporters of the change were also four, on arguments that range from "a trend" in other style guides (ones with almost no impact on MoS, actually) of dropping the hyphen, a suggestion that the hyphen somehow suggests a bias, a strange claim that "we could definitely use the consistency" when this would just lead to obvious inconsistency with all other compound modifiers, and in one case no rationale but the common-style fallacy. The opener of the question did not take a position on it, and two other editors also commented without taking a clear side. That's hardly a consensus to change long-standing consistent treatment of these modifiers, in ways that would affect the content of tens of thousands of articles and titles of at least several hundred (and the fact that it was in there for over a year without having any actual effect on our content suggests there is no community appetite for it at all). There's yet another whiff of misusing Wikipedia for "culture warrior" language-change-advocacy activities about this.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:58, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
First, thank you for tagging me, as I would not have known this conversation was going on otherwise. This talk page is really hard to follow, tbh. Having said that, I'd appreciate it if you do not dismiss my changes as "magical". I have tried to be clear of intentions and engage in discussion as best as I could; and, as you have noted, I have documented in this (unwieldy) talk page the two times I made a change to the article page. The "2nd attempt", as I described it, was meant to convey that it was taking @Imaginatorium's comments into consideration; I was not intending to convey I was edit warring or anything of that sort.
It is inaccurate to describe dehyphenation as a common-style fallacy, which, as described in that essay, is "flawed reasoning that if a particular typographic stylization turns up commonly in newspapers, blogs, and other popular publications with a less formal register of English usage than the precise language of encyclopedic writing" that is "newsy or bloggy stylization." If this is the case, you are calling MLA, APA, and CMOS popular style guides that are newsy or bloggy (I suppose that can be applied to AP, if you stretch it).
It is also inaccurate to say the previous discussion had 4 oppose and 4 support. Perhaps they can speak for themselves, but the supports seem to include @Bagumba, @Kokopelli7309, @Jurisdicta, @Chumpih, @Almaty, and @Caorongjin (myself). It was also suggested by @Andrewa that my first attempt was a good consensus, and suggested a second attempt. So is that not 6 or 7 who voted in support?
As I see it:
  • The main argument against dehyphenation is English grammar has different rules for adjectival or nominative uses. True… to an extent. English is a living language, making the grammar an evolving set of rules. English grammar has pluralization rules around pronouns as well; but now due to changing arguments around gender identity, there is the use of the singular they. And the (growing) academic consensus is to dehyphenate ethnic descriptors, due to a large extent to the century plus problem of hyphenated American.
  • The main argument in support of dropping the hyphen is around WP:COMMONNAME, both of organizations and of how all of these subjects are discussed in the majority of English-language sources, especially academic sources. This latter point is partly due to the increasing changes in styleguides, academic and otherwise, to attend to these differences; but the dehyphenated forms also predate these changes.
Caorongjin 💬 08:10, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
right, all the style guides, as well as all institutions (nearly all) that use the phrase "African American" in particular, are dropping the hyphen. this is not a case of "righting great wrongs", but is just wikipedia catching up to the conventions and norms related to the hyphen being dropped in african american.
though honestly, i do not care strongly either way, and will get back to editing other things. this conversation itself is getting unwieldy.  Iljhgtn (talk) 11:06, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Microsoft grammar checking now also marks as an error "African-American" too. with a double underline and something to be corrected for. just hope that we can at least add in to the MOS that it is wrong or incorrect sometimes, and make that distinction, and not leave it in all cases, even though it is only on wikipedia and no where else that it will remain.. for whatever reason we want to retain it here.. Iljhgtn (talk) 11:14, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Two or three books is not "all". And WP doesn't care what Microsoft thinks is proper writing; their house style is not our house style (nor does a double underline in Word indicate an "error", but rather somoething their software suggests you might want to change; the most common case is two spaces after a period, which is not an error but a style choice.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:25, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
not two or three books, all american style writing books, as well as academic institutions, museums, and other orgs use "African American" not "African-American." But if wikipedia wants to go its own way then it is what it is. Iljhgtn (talk) 13:55, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you want to go long-form, I guess we can go long-form. I didn't say you personally were engaging in a WP:CSF, I said one of the respondents in the earlier thread was. The fact that one style guide MoS is based on, CMoS, is going along with the hyphenless form for unrelated reasons (a general shift away from using hyphens the CMoS editors don't consider necessary, for the kind of academics-writing-for-other-academics writing CMoS is principally concerned with) isn't much of a point in favor of the idea; it's coincidence. Two style guides MoS is not based on, APA and MLA, supporting such a change is probably an argument in its favor (though I want to see whether they, too, are dropping other kinds of hyphens), but not a terribly strong one. That's because our reasoning for using the hyphenation is clarity and to a lesser extent consistency, not tradition or popularity. We'd need to see a near-universal dropping of this hyphen to drop it ourselves. I.e., proof that for whatever reason(s), nearly all modern writers had dropped it in spite of the improved clarity of using it and in spite of the blatant inconsistency of dropping it. (It is fair to characterize the idea as a "magical" exception; it's one not grounded in any reasons that have to do with grammar, clarity, or other concerns related to writing well, but rooted in extraneous reasons of being seen as aligned with a particular socio-political stance.)
The ongoing evolution of English has only the slowest and most cautious of effects on WP's own style, which does not change on much of anything unless there it is objectively a writing improvement, or on a more subjective idea that comes at real costs like this one, if there is overwhelming evidence of a change across all of contemporary English writing, including most or all of the style guide ours is based on, not just one of them. A couple of other organizations' house-style manuals don't change anything; their house style is not our house style, by definition. Nor do we care at all about a style guide for newspapers (WP:NOT#NEWS: "Wikipedia is not written in news style."); MoS has borrowed either nothing or very, very close to nothing from AP Stylebook. It took about a decade of on-site debates about growing acceptance for singular-they to turn into actual acceptance of it on Wikipedia (and there are still many editors who would rather write around it), and it didn't happen until after the usage became accepted across CMoS, Garner's, Fowler's, and New Hart's/Oxford, and even then after a tremendous amount of evidence-showing that usage had palpably shifted to support it across all sorts of writing (not just news or a few particular organizations). See also several years of still-ongoing debate about whether we should stop using the phrase "committed suicide" (last result: no consensus reached, despite arguments that closely mirror this case: support for the change in some organizational style guides, some but not overwhelming evidence of general usage change, and activist stance-taking in favor of the change).
COMMONNAMEs of organizations are irrelevant; we don't rewrite organizations' actual names to comply with MoS ideas. (And the implication, that organizations have all dropped the hyphen, is false anyway. Maybe you'd like to write a letter to the Scottish-American Military Society and surely hundreds of others and tell them their own names are wrong and have to change? Next will you write to Bob Callahan and tell him his The Big Book of Irish-American Culture has to be republished under a hyphenless title? Will you tell the Library of Congress it's wrong for using "African-American" as an adjective[1]? And so on.) The fact that hyphenless forms of these terms pre-date some style guides recommending them is obvious and irrelevant; style guides don't recommend imaginary usages, and both news-speak and bureaucratese have been engaged in something like a war against hyphens for about a century. Trying to bring the "hyphenated American" insult that was in vogue from 1890 to 1920 into this is also irrelevant, and contradictory of your 'English is a living language and its usage can change' lynchpin argument. It also makes it clear that, as I suspected, this is some kind of highly Americans-specific WP:GREATWRONGS thing. And one that is easy to argue against: e.g., referring to Obama as "the first African American President" instead of "the first African-American President" actually directly undermines the perception of his Americannness and just helps to feed "birther" conspiracy-theory nonsense about him really being from Kenya. I'm also strongly reminded of various provisions in MoS about not inappropriately stressing ethnicity (or origin-nationality), which the hyphenless usage does, and also reminded of the RfC that removed the |ethnicity= parameter from {{Infobox person}} because it was so often misused for such inappropriate attention-drawing. "The main argument against dehyphenation is English grammar has different rules for ..." - Except no one in either edition of this debate has ever mentioned English grammar "rules" as a rationale, so you're just making stuff up. As for propriety, it was quite inappropriate to push in a change you knew had substantial principled opposition, then do it again after being reverted, and just pseudo-announce the change by editing an archive page virtually no one would ever look at. Even worse is you WP:CANVASSING now by pinging everyone you think is on your side from the old debate, but no one else.
I'm going to repeat my earlier question, because nothing I raised was addressed at all: What could we possibly gain from dropping these hyphens? It produces confusing constructions, and is generally incompatible with our entire approach to compound modifiers, but to what end? A "consistency" with some subset of external writers that some editors prefer? Why would we trade actual internal consistency for a half-assed and biased pseudo-consistency with off-site interests, at the expense of clarity to boot? I just don't see a good rationale for doing this. It would make no objective improvement to the encyclopedia, only satisfy a couple of activistic interests.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:25, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm glad that sneakily added bit has now been removed. The only discussion in 2022 was this remark added to an already archived discussion. Dicklyon (talk) 00:19, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Plifal, EEng, Only in death, Tvx1, Blueboar, Khajidha, Firejuggler86, and Mikehawk10: pinging everyone from the previous round of this discussion (2022) that Caorongjin left out in his ping of just people who supported his viewpoint. If we need to RfC this to reach a resolution this time, then we should just do it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:25, 20 September 2023 (UTC) @Red-tailed hawk: re-pinging user whose username changed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:31, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

sounds like resolution one way or the other should be found. the only one i asked about was African American, but a more general rule would cover that one as well. Iljhgtn (talk) 13:57, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Editing-in a new exception to the Wikipedia MOS? What you mean to do (whether you know it or not) is to force Wikipedia editors to change the way they write, when they write in a way that is common for clarity. Such an anti-hyphen move is worse than worthless. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:04, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • If one writes "an African-American senator," it refers to a senator who is African American, while if one writes "an African American senator," it would refer to an American senator who is African. Why on Earth would one adopt a rule that banned the use of such a clarifying hyphen? AuH2ORepublican (talk) 21:08, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Without revealing on which side I fall in this debate, I'll point out that if one writes "high-school student", it refers to a student in high school, but if one writes "high school student", it would refer to a school school student who's smoked a little weed. Or does it? EEng 21:49, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Is the "school school" smoking weed because it's cool cool? Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 21:54, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Man, you are a COMPLETE BUZZ KILL. EEng 23:20, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You'd have hated my college friend group. We used to get high, put on some instrumentals, and criticize each other's grammar. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 00:20, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    dont ask me. this is not my idea, this is what the USA and the American English speaking world decided. the "righting great wrongs" side of things therefore falls on those that wish to include the hyphen as African-American. Otherwise, there is a change that needs to be made over at African American (currently hyphenless) and many other pages... as of right now, while it might be "wrong" to include the hyphen, it is not our job on wikipedia to "right" such "wrongs", from WP:RGW, "We are, by design, supposed to be "behind the curve". This is because we only report what is verifiable using secondary reliable sources, giving appropriate weight to the balance of informed opinion." Thus, at least as of September 2023. The no hyphen "African American" is what all American English manuals for writing suggest using, as well as every African American Museum in the United states.
    Seems to me that the rule should only apply then for ethnic groups that have a strong United States connection. I don't know if anyone proposed that though? Might be more worthwhile given that there are such strong feelings to the contrary coming from the United Kingdom editors. For what its worth, I am in Richmond, Virginia, so attribute any bias that i might have tied to my geography accordingly. Iljhgtn (talk) 22:36, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Repeat: What could we possibly gain from dropping these hyphens? It produces confusing constructions, and is generally incompatible with our entire approach to compound modifiers, but to what end? A "consistency" with some subset of external writers that some editors prefer? Why would we trade actual internal consistency for a half-assed and biased pseudo-consistency with off-site interests, at the expense of clarity to boot? There is no sensible rationale to make some "magically special" carve-out for ethnic terminology in a particular country. That would just compound the confusing inconsistency.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:16, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Joking aside, "it would refer to an American senator who is African" is not an idle concern at all. See List of foreign-born United States politicians.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:16, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Slight diversion:Anglo-American, etc. Edit

I not-so-guiltily confess that I haven't had the tima and patience to read through and absorb all of the discussion above, let alone the related discussions elsewhere, but one secondary point (if it hasn't been raised before) is that formulations such as Anglo-American and Franco-American usually demand a hyphen because Anglo and Franco are not usually stand-alone words. [In fact omitting the hyphen in Anglo American would now make that combination refer to an American of Anglophone or non-Hispanic extraction or identity, while an Anglo-American would mean someone who has both English (or British) and American birth, ancestry, citizenship or identity]. This is becoming rarer as combinations such as Italian-American (or Italian American) have gradually supplanted the once-more-common Italo-American. Afro-American was certainly hyphenated, but has given way to African American (or African-American) — which raises at least the possibility of a parallel distinction between Americans born in Africa or whose parents or grandparents were African, and African-Americans (or African Americans) descended from many generations of American-born ancestors. I apologise for any incoherence in my language or logic and I don't know where this would lead in the debates above. —— Shakescene (talk)

No one seems to be proposing to not use hyphens with prefixes such as Anglo-, Franco-, Sino-, etc.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:35, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
MORE THAN A COINCIDENCE??? EEng 07:46, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is right. If you look at even the African American page, Afro-American is considered acceptable. Again, this isn't my choice one way or the other. Wikipedia follows established trends and manners related to all of these things. i didn't say it was always consistent or made perfect sense, but that is not for us humble editors to decide for the world. Iljhgtn (talk) 12:26, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You misread and misconstrue the Wikipedia African American article, first it's not an article on English writing, and second, African American as a noun or the subject or title of an article does not get the hyphen, only when it is used as a modifier, see eg the Juneteenth article has African American, when a noun, and African-American _______, when an adjective. ("African Americans were often prohibited . . . African-American memories" - that last part is not talking about "American memories" in general, it is clearly referencing "African-American memories" in particular) -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:32, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
do we spell out that difference between nouns and adjectives in the MOS already? If so where? Iljhgtn (talk) 16:36, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The MOS section we are talking about is all about modifiers, the textbook modifiers are adjectives and adverbs. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:52, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
frequently i see both "african american" written in articles, even when it is not a modifier. I just wanted clarity in all cases, which is correct to use? If there is no disagreement, and its "noun" (African American) "adjective" (African-American) then we could close this conversation and make sure the MOS just makes that extremely clear. Iljhgtn (talk) 17:08, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think most all the time in prose, it will be clear whether its used as in subject/noun, and when it is used in describing/modifying some other subject. And feel free when a noun or subject, to remove the hyphen if you think it's improved, or add hyphen when it is used as a modifier, as needed. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:37, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem is the usage is generally consistent, with the exception of ethnic nomenclature. For instance, you will be hard pressed to find hyphenated usage of "African-American studies" or "Asian-American studies" even though they are being used as adjectives. —Caorongjin 💬 19:02, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"You will be hard pressed to find ...." - Nope. From very first page of search results: "African and African-American Studies", Kansas U. (note also "African-descended", another modifier) [2]; "Institute for Research in African-American Studies .... The Institute for Research in African-American Studies was established .... The African-American studies curriculum explores the ....", Columbia University [3]; A Companion to African-American Studies by Gordon & Gordon, Wiley Press [4]; "Social Movement Tactics, Organizational Change and the Spread of African-American Studies" by F. Rojas, Social Forces journal; U. of N. Carolina Pr. [5]; "Departmental Conditions and the Emergence of New Disciplines: Two Cases in the Legitimation of African-American Studies", M. L. Small, Theory and Society jnl., Springer [6]; and so on. It is true that universities tend to avoid hyphens in any of their curriculum names, but this isn't particular to ethnic terms, and doesn't have anything to do with encyclopedic writing. It is probably because, firstly, academic institutions' house-style is based on marketing and news writing, which is generally anti-hyphen, and secondly, as someone else observed below, "African[-]American Studies" is itself a noun phrase, so some people aren't sure whether to hyphenate the modifier inside it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:29, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are those current usage? Hard pressed to find post c. 2019 when this change seems to have gone mainstream. That is an important timing point. Iljhgtn (talk) 11:50, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hard pressed is not the same as impossible. FWIW, my Google search found one entry of "African-American Studies" on the second page (University of Kansas), one on third page (Columbia University), and none until sixth page (University of Central Arkansas). The same query for "Asian-American Studies" returned one as the last entry of the eighth page for Merritt College.
Re: @SMcCandlish and @Alanscottwalker's comment about noun phrase (completely honest question): how are you differentiating between a noun phrase and an adjectival usage? The only noun phrase mentioned thus far is that "XY Studies" is a noun phrase (and the "Studies" should be capitalized, although they have been lowercased in Wikipedia). What about XY… literature, film, history, experiences, culture, society, etc.? —Caorongjin 💬 18:21, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ultimately, why care? We have our own style guide for a reason, and there is no compelling rationale to make a "special exception" in it to the general, across-all-topics "hyphenate compound modifiers" rule just become some other publishers who are not us like to make an exception. I'm going to repeat myself yet again, because no one can answer this question so far, much less do it satisfactorily: what could we possibly gain from dropping these hyphens? It produces confusing constructions, and is generally incompatible with our entire approach to compound modifiers, but to what end? A "consistency" with some subset of external writers that some editors prefer? Why would we trade actual internal consistency for a half-assed and biased pseudo-consistency with off-site interests, at the expense of clarity to boot? I just don't see a good rationale for doing this. It would make no objective improvement to the encyclopedia, only satisfy a couple of activistic interests. PS: In answer to your first question, the "African-American" in "African-American [noun here]" noun phrases is a compound modifier and should thus be hyphenated. This is pretty obvious, but some people seem somehow confused by it, even though they don't seem terribly confused when something other than an ethnical label is in question. Who doesn't understand that "curly-coated dog" or "second-stage rocket" are noun phrases that contain compound modifiers?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:49, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And, honestly, "pretty obvious"... "somehow confused". This is just such a belittling and condescending response. —Caorongjin 💬 21:01, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Said this before about 1,000 times: COMMONNAME is about what basic name is used for something (e.g. "African[-]American studies" versus "Black studies" versus "Afro-American studies" versus "African diaspora studies", versus etc., etc.), regardless how it is styled; it is not about what style to apply, and it logically cannot be or it would not be possible for WP to have a style manual (at least not one that could ever apply to titles). We would necessarily never do anything but choose the most popular style in the majority of sources. Yet this is not at all how article titling is done on Wikipedia. We every single day apply MoS to article titles, and we expect our title style and our prose style to be in agreement at our articles. You're engaging in what's known as the common-style fallacy, the false assumption that whatever the most common stylization of something is in the sources we happen to have found for it is the style WP must use. Various people in the past have proposed trying to shoehorn style considerations into WP:AT policy, and they have failed every single time.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:18, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I never said WP:COMMONNAME was the rational for changing WP:MOS. I am saying the debate outside of Wikipedia is or has been siding with no hyphen, and this is reflected in both (1) common usage and (2) academic (and newspaper) style guides. It is because of the latter, external style guides, that I made that change. And it is also because of the academic guidance and usage that I don't see it falling under WP:CSF.
You say WP:MOS is based off of x, y, and z style guides and not k or l. OK. I was not aware of that. But this does not mean that the change is invalid but, rather, that it needs to be discussed. We are clearly of different opinions and, it seems, cannot convince one another otherwise.
You said in a separate post "If we need to RfC this to reach a resolution this time, then we should just do it." Can you please just start an RfC about this (tbh, I am not sure how to do so but can if you point me to the appropriate guidance)? —Caorongjin 💬 08:14, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't said that you said COMMONNAME was "the rational[e] for changing WP:MOS". You're misusing it as a rationale to change article titles in a way that is incompatible with MoS (not just with a line-item in it, but with its entire treatment of compound modifiers as a class), and that is fallacious and problematic. Yes, I can open an RfC on this, but the currently ongoing discussion should wrap up first, either with a consensus (obviating a need for an RfC) or without one, but we should not have two competing discussions going on at the same time (WP:RFCBEFORE, [{WP:TALKFORK]]).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:27, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i just want to mention that this was not about article titles per se, but about all uses of these hyphens when between ethnic words. i read above a few mentions where it seems like this was just about article titles only. Iljhgtn (talk) 11:16, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And COMMONNAME has nothing to do with article content anyway. I think you simply do not understand the policies and guidelines enough to be constructive in this discussion. Again, the usage in the prose needs to match the usage in the title, so trying with one hand to make it about title policy is a non-starter, and trying with the other to make it about content guidelines as severable from titles is also a non-started. I'll repeat myself again: every single day, we apply MoS to article titles as well as to in-article content.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:27, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
its fine to do that, to apply it to both, but i was just saying not to apply (seemingly) to just one or the other. i am on eastern usa time by the way, and just starting my morning. where are you? I feel like were discussing this both when i went to sleep and now first thing in the morning. i will edit other articles now.. Iljhgtn (talk) 11:30, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is it possible that some orthography/usage/syntax/mechanics of words in specific combinations is just as clear, without hyphen? Sure, for some readers. Anything is possible, and "African American Studies" because of the combination of capitalization may be just as clear for quite a few readers, but we at Wikipedia have set for ourselves to be writing for the broadest audience possible across all national borders and even whether English is first, second, or third language, and the default hyphen-when-modifier, answers that call, most all the time. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:30, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i just ask is it for us wikipedia editors to decide? or is the decision made by others? grammar guides? reliable sources? museums and other institutions? Iljhgtn (talk) 20:40, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm finding it hard to believe you're even asking this question. Of course it is for Wikipedia editors to decide, like all other style matters here (and all other matters that pertain to how we build this encyclopedia, with the sole exception of legal requirements imposed by external forces). It would be literally impossible for WP to have its own MoS if we were beholden to external third parties to make style decisions for us. We take their views and the rationales for them into consideration when making our decisions, of course. But so far no consistent rationales are even emerging. Some have exceptionally dubious socio-political claims behind their decision to not hyphenate these particular terms; others have a generally hostile stance to hyphenation in general; and others provide no rationale at all. The rationales are not compatible with each other, and do not (singly or together) somehow overcome our own internal concerns with regard to clarity, precision, and consistency for our readers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:51, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"African American Studies" is a noun phrase so what you should be doing is capitalizing [S]tudies, which makes that clear. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:53, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
in the titles of many of these articles would need to change maybe Iljhgtn (talk) 19:56, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
if that is the case, we really should make that clear in the MOS. that is consistent with my findings @Caorongjin Iljhgtn (talk) 19:11, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe that it is standard for universities to write "African-American Studies" without the hyphen; it's use certainly varies, even though it is pretty common to forgo the hyphen in the adjectival phrase when the modified noun is in uppercase (as generally is the case for the word "Studies" in a college faculty or a course name). And as for those who claim that ethnic nomenclatures should never be hyphenated--even when the rules of grammar dictate that they should, as in the case of modifiers--because the elimination of such hyphens somehow makes language more "inclusive," please note that Alabama State University, which is a historically black university and a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (and thus unlikely to be insensitive to the concerns of African Americans), has an "African-American Studies" department with a consistently used hyphen: [7].
Grammar is grammar, and adjectival phrases should be hyphenated, whether one is referring to a "red-tailed hawk" (a species of hawk with a red tail; a "red tailed hawk," on the other hand, would be a red hawk that has a tail), an "English-muffin recipe (a recipe for English muffins; an "English muffin recipe" would be a recipe from England for perhaps blueberry muffins) or "Chinese-American cuisine" (cuisine created by Chinese Americans; "Chinese American cuisine" would be American cuisine as served in China, such as at a Beijing burger joint). AuH2ORepublican (talk) 23:09, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just sharing this here in case others have not read it. This has a larger component at play, when the racial/ethnic component is involved only. that is all this discussion entails. And to be clear, this discussion already in the united states seems to have been undertaken, so it is not a WP:RGW to keep the hyphen, in fact, we are "righting" it it seems only if we are keeping the hyphen at this point. all of the perfectly sound grammarian arguments above notwithstanding... [8] Iljhgtn (talk) 23:29, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
maybe it makes sense to restrict the scope of this further to just racial or ethnic descriptors within the united states. I know the united kingdom readers had strong feelings against, and i do not see anything to think that this should apply to the british english pages, but only american english, and thereby this is an ENGVAR thing too, and does not need to be made universal. Iljhgtn (talk) 23:30, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
FYI, I am not a Brit; I'm American. Do you think that Brits are the only ones who use proper grammar? And the articles from which you removed all hyphens from "African-American" when used as a modifier, both in the title of the article and in its text--without even discussing it with editors, much less obtaining a consensus--were articles about American politics written in American English and edited by Americans. And I doubt very much that Alabama State University has a lot of Brits in its faculty, much less within its African-American Studies department, and they sure rock that intra-modifier hyphen: [9]. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 03:22, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My understanding is that the main difference in hyphen usage between UK and US English relates to words that are commonly run together or compounded in American English, like midline or readjust, which British English would tend to hyphenate, as mid-line or re-adjust. That isn’t relevant here. Otherwise in both my understanding is that hyphens are typically used for compound adjectives but not compound nouns, so ‘he is an Italian American’ but ‘he is an Italian-American gangster’ and also used when there could otherwise be ambiguity, thus ‘he is a small-businessman’, to avoid it otherwise looking like a comment on his size. (Edit/ other sorts of gangster are of course available, before anyone complains) MapReader (talk) 03:43, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, all of that is consistent with a detailed read across a bunch of major academic-leaning style guides, on both sides of "the pond" (which is how MOS:HYPHEN arrived at what it says, after all; it's not like WP editors just made it up out of nowhere). Now, long after the fact, a few style guides (only one of which MoS is in part based on, Chicago) want to make an exception, but no clear rationale is provided for doing so, much less one that overrides our precision/clarity needs for our audience.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:34, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
'frequently i see ... "african american" written in articles, even when it is not a modifier.' It's supposed to be written as "African American", no hyphen, when it's not a modifier. How is anyone still confused about this? It's exactly the same as writing "the author is well known" (not a modifier) versus "a well-known author" (modifier). Or "I spent a long time in the organization" (not a modifier), "my long-time association with the organization" (modifier). PS: I don't think we're in a position to take any kind of style advice from someone who doesn't capitalize anything, including "African[-]American".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:15, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I had a thought today that i do not think has been introduced into this conversation, so let me introduce it.
I think this whole conversation relates to how most sources are now treating "African American" vs. "African-American", which are, or at least can be, two different things.
African American refers to an American that may have some distance African heritage. African-American on the other hand, may refer to relations of the two countries, such as if Uganda were to enter into a pact with the USA over some trade deal, this would be an African-American trade deal. I think this is also addressed in the noun versus adjective discussion above, but I think one refers to actual African country known connections, whereas in the case of many African Americans today, there may be no way to know what "African" lineage the person in question may or may not have, and therefore the fact that they are really not both "African" and "American", these two things are not being merged together or connected, but are in essence one and the same thing. Sorry if I am not making sense... I can try to explain more if needed. Iljhgtn (talk) 13:44, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
African–American with an en dash refers to relations between Africa and the US (see MOS:DASH). And Africa is not a country.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:12, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ever since Jesse Jackson popularized the term "African Americans" to refer to the people to whom theretofore had been referred as "blacks" (and, a bit before my time, as "Negroes"), the term has been used in precisely the same way as the terms "Mexican Americans," "Italian Americans," etc., had been used for decades: to describe Americans of (sub-Saharan) African descent. It has nothing to do with relations between the United States of America and the continent of Africa.
And the presence of the hyphen varies based solely on whether or not the term was used as a modifier, not on whether one is talking about a hypothetical "African–American cultural exchange (which, as previously noted, required an "en dash," not a hyphen). The terms "African American" and "African-American" are used in exactly the same way as are "Mexican American," "Mexican-American," "Italian American" and "Italian-American." For example, just as we write that Nomar Garciaparra is a Mexican American and that Selena Gomez is a Mexican-American actress, and that Frank Sinatra was an Italian American and that Joe DiMaggio was an Italian-American ballplayer, we write that Jackie Robinson was an African American and that Diana Ross is an African-American singer. There is absolutely no difference in the usage of those terms, and it makes no sense to try to create a distinction where there isn't one. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 17:51, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well said AuH2ORepublican. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:08, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i dont think my keyboard can even make an en dash. anyone know how to do that on a dell/pc computer? Iljhgtn (talk) 22:58, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A standard keyboard only provides access to a hyphen. However, text editors (such as the standard WP editing interface) do provide access to extended character sets. On the standard WP interface, both the en-dash an the em-dash have quick access from the section immediately below the editing screen immediately after the text Insert: which appears in bold. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:15, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And even if you've done something to somehow mess up the built-in Wikipedia interface tools, a "Dell/PC", i.e. any Windows computer, has a built-in program called Character Map. It's very handy, though I prefer the (non-free) program PopChar for access to non-keyboard characters. Also exists for Mac.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:39, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or you use the numeric keypad and type Alt+0150. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 03:59, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is Windows the only platform for computers? Tony (talk) 08:02, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Is Windows the only platform" - naughty, don't mock the afflicted. :) More seriously: Compose--. for Linux implementations. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 08:58, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On a Mac, it's even easier: Option-hyphen (Option-Shift-hyphen makes an em dash).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:42, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
am i able to see that "insert" here in this reply? I don't see it. Iljhgtn (talk) 22:56, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
or you just mean when making edits on pages? Iljhgtn (talk) 22:57, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When making edits on article pages—or here, if you click on "Edit" and not on "Reply." AuH2ORepublican (talk) 23:05, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Any page you edit. Use Ctrl+F and type in insert in the search box to find it. But this is if you are using the standard classic editing box. If you are using another editor it might be a bit different. Cinderella157 (talk) 23:15, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

MOS:SECTIONANCHOR and Template:Anchor/doc Edit

I propose that we merge the content currently at Template:Anchor/doc § Rationale for substitution in the header into MOS:SECTIONANCHOR. Specifically, the issue of placing anchors above or below the heading rather than inside the heading is not discussed in MOS:SECTIONANCHOR and should be. Daask (talk) 13:58, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good idea, though mentioning it in the template documentation is also a good idea.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:05, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC on capitalization after a colon or dash Edit

 – Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters § RfC on capitalization after a colon or dash. Thank you. InfiniteNexus (talk) 17:45, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Serious conflict between MOS:LQ and something added to MOS:CONFORM Edit

When quoting a complete sentence, it is usually recommended to keep the first word capitalized. However, if the quoted passage has been integrated into the surrounding sentence (for example, with an introduction such as "X said that"), the original capital letter may be lower-cased.

This should be replaced with something like When quoting a complete sentence, keep the first word capitalized, and if the quoted passage has been integrated into the surrounding sentence, lead into it with a colon (X wrote: "[Full sentence quoted here.]")

The current terrible advice (I'm not going to diff-dig to try to find out who did this) is in direct conflict with MOS:LQ, the entire point of which is to accurately preserve the presence or absence of original punctuation and capitalization so as not to mislead readers about the exact nature of the material. The practice of lower-casing that this passge added to CONFORM is endorsing sorely misleads the reader, implying strongly but wrongly that the quotation is a fragment and is missing anterior material. It's directly analogous to why we do not permit injection of periods (full stops) at the ends of quoted fragments, wrongly implying that the material ended there when it really has posterior material that we have removed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:04, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Same goes for the line-item right after that: It is normally unnecessary to explicitly note changes in capitalization. However, for more precision, the altered letter may be put inside square brackets: should be replaced with something like Changes in capitalization may be made, with the altered letter put inside square brackets:  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:07, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

MOS:LQ is about "Punctuation inside or outside", not capitalization, so obviously there is no conflict here. Moreover, well-known style guides such as CMOS also allow changing the case of the first letter of a quote to fit the surrounding context. Gawaon (talk) 10:13, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe these examples given are or should be correct:
LaVesque's report stated: "The equipment was selected for its low price. This is the primary reason for criticism of the program."
LaVesque's report said that "the equipment was selected for its low price".
And these would be incorrect:
LaVesque's report said that "the equipment was selected for its low price."
LaVesque's report said that "The equipment was selected for its low price."
Whereas, if we used the traditional style with a comma instead of the colon, this would be correct:
LaVesque's report said, "The equipment was selected for its low price."
My two cents. —DIYeditor (talk) 10:19, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nah, this is a WP:POLICYFORK without consensus. It directly conflicts with the entire rationale of MOS:LQ. The single purpose that rule has is ensuring that quotations are not substantively changed in ways that can mislead or confuse readers (or, as a side concern, result in WP:RESUSE of our content that perpetuates blatant misquotation with WP's name all over it). But let's put this another way: Why on earth would anyone want to copy-paste quoted material verbatim, and then rather than just stick a colon in front of it, start monkeying with the content inside it? What possible encyclopedic purpose could that have? What could we possibly gain from doing it? We already know that it can cause confusion and mislead readers about whether the quotation is a complete sentence or not (and result in later misquotations that are taken as if valid), so we already know what some of the costs are. What is the amazing, astoudning up-side to screwing around substantiely with the quoted material, that somehow blows away the costs and concerns of doing it? Quotation verge on sacrosanct around here, and even getting the [legitimate, consensus-agreed] alternations allowed CONFORM, like fixing dashes and removing extraneous spaces and reducing ALL CAPS to another form of emphasis, took a long period of consensus discussion and wrangling. The willy-nilly addition of radical changes to it that conflict with the entire raison d'etre of other parts of MoS is just beyond the pale.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:39, 25 September 2023‎ (UTC)Reply[reply]
As Gawaon I don't see how this even relates specifically to MOS:LQ, which is basically just saying use British-style punctuation on quotes. Where does anything say one must quote a complete sentence as a complete sentence rather than as part of the Wikipedia sentence? —DIYeditor (talk) 10:57, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Huh? It's not about "British" anything. (There is no such thing as a consistent British quotation-punctuation style, BTW. If you actually read British style manuals, and I've read very nearly every one of them published since the late 19th c., there are over ten somewhat variant quote-punctuaating styles advocated by different major UK publishers and producers of UK-oriented style guides, none of them consistent with each other, and all offering conflicting rationales, when they offer a rationale at all). And no one ever said anything about "must quote a complete sentence as a complete sentence". If you want to quote some fragment of a sentence, then do so, but do not fake the reader out and trick them into thinking it's a full sentence, and likewise don't quote actually a full sentence and then alter it to mislead the reader into thinking it's a fragment. WHY, WHY, WHY would anyone ever do that? What possible purpose could it serve? In what way could it ever produce more reliable or more precisely understandable output for our readers? I'm going to keep asking question like this until someone provides an answer that is solidly defensible and somehow overwhelms the central accuracy and clarity concerns that our MoS is built on. Repeat: The entire point of LQ is to not substantively change the quoted material. See also MOS:PMC: Same rule, different wording and a different focus on slightly different bad things to not do, and what good, precise, accurate, confusion-preventing, misquotation-preventing things to do instead. We have three statements of the same rule/principle: do not substantively modify quotations without annotating the modification with square-brackets or ellipses, but it's okay to modify in non-substantive conforming ways like fixing spacing or replacing obsolete glyphs. So, WHY WHY WHY would we even contemplate tolerating an insertion into one these three rules that invalidates the entire rationale of all of them at once?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:49, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I completely agree with SMcCandlish. This sneaky gradual changing of MOS—without even a mention on the talk-age—is alarming. I suggest the passages involved be reverted to the way they were. Tony (talk) 12:02, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It certainly doesn't look like a "sneaky gradual changing" though, that's for sure. The criticized sentences are at least one year old. (I didn't check further ago, so I have no idea when they where first added). So I'd say that, whatever else one might say about them, they have withstood the test of time and changing them now will surely require an RfC. Gawaon (talk) 12:10, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, I'd doubt that many editors or style guides would consider a case change of the first word in a quote a "substantial modification". Which is precisely why it's allowed not only by MOS:CONFORM, but also by many other style guides. Gawaon (talk) 12:13, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Stood the test of time my shiny metal ass, as Bender would say. Bad changes to various guideline pages go unnoticed for longer than that on a pretty regular basis, especially on MoS pages because there are so many of them with so many details, the interplay between which is not apparent to anyone but the most studious (until conflicts arise because of that interplay, which is exactly why this discussion is happening). Sneaky may not be best term, but it is problematic when people make drive-by substantive changes to WP:P&G pages without gaining consensus first, and without serious consideration of how the proposed changes will work with or against other rules. What we have here is a direct conflict between the intent of an addition to CONFORM and all the rest of CONFORM, and LQ, and PMC (and probably something somewhere else, too). That is by definition a POLICYFORK, and there is absolutely no time limit on resolving it. We do not tolerate conflicts between P&G material, no matter how long it takes someone to notice that there is one and bring it up for resolution.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:20, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm with User:DIYeditor: it's entirely normal in quality writing, academic and otherwise, to integrate the start of a quoted sentence into prose without capitalising: Gloucester laments that we are "as flies to wanton boys" to the gods. Some editors might wish to be more informative and do ... we are "[a]s flies to wanton boys", but that is increasingly unusual in professional writing, and mandating it would be very much a case of instruction creep, as well as against the de facto consensus by which either can be used at editorial discretion. UndercoverClassicist T·C 12:32, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. This is a case where editorial discretion should be allowed; the rare cases where changing capitalization might materially mislead the reader can be dealt with via talk page discussions if necessary. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:02, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't understand that this (seemingly) small punctuation change was an important topic and only came here because of Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch#Proposed clarification on scare quotes by User:Herostratus. I don't have a strong opinion or precisely understand what the argument here is about. Unnoticed drive-by bold edits to important pages are a problem and shouldn't be allowed to persevere without good cause. Why wasn't the page being watched when it happened, nobody cared, or the change is too minor? —DIYeditor (talk) 13:54, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that it’s not a “serious” issue. The effect of the revised wording proposed above, ISTM, is to mandate the use of the colon when full sentences are quoted, and thereby to eliminate usage such as the third example given in CONFORM, The program was criticized primarily because "the equipment was selected for its low price", according to LaVesque., which wouldn’t scan with colon and the comma after the quotation. Is this what we want to do? Editor discretion does seem a better path; provided all the formats are consistent with proper punctuation, it is hard to get excited about the opening capital letter becoming lower case? MapReader (talk) 14:08, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Out of curiosity, I did a search for how that third example I reference above - the one without the colon and with the lower case at the beginning of the quoted sentence - got added into the MoS, and uncovered this edit from January 2018[10]. It would appear that this example - the one that would be outlawed by the proposed revised wording above - was originally EDITED INTO the MoS by one SMcCandlish. Does anyone know what happened to him? ;) Subsequent edits have made the somewhat anal square bracketing of the changed capital letter optional, which seems common sense to me. MapReader (talk) 16:50, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If I put an example in there that helped lead to the current snafu, then I'm certainly sorry I did that. Was I badly caffeine deprived? Was it before all three guidelines were otherwise in agreement? What is before I'd absorbed them all and understood how they interrelate? I'm not sure; it's too long ago. What I'm sure of now is that this is a fundamental conflict between 1/10 of one guideline, and the other 9/10s of it plus two related guidelines, and this is a problem. That a few people here don't seem to understand the problem indicates I'm doing a poor job of explaining it, so maybe someone else who understands it can re-explain it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:26, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don’t think there’s a snafu or a significant conflict. LQ is about preserving original punctuation (although not always - for example original commas at the end of a quoted phrase are nevertheless put outside the quote, or omitted, for readability) but I can’t get excited about original capitalisation at the beginning of a quoted sentence. Neither, it seems, can other editors in the discussion above, nor was your former self bothered about it as evidenced by the edit history. And for any editors who might worry about it, the current wording of the MoS permits the square bracketed opening letter, which IMO looks horribly clunky but remains an option at editor discretion. MapReader (talk) 02:49, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The clunkiness-avoidance solution is, obviously, to write 'According to Smith: "Full sentence quoted here."' There is no reason to violate the integrity of the quotation by doing 'According to Smith, "full sentence quoted here but with the 'F' changed to lower case for no damned reason."'  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:04, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am of the view that quotations should be reproduced fairly faithfully and whether a quote is a complete sentence or sentence fragment. This intrinsically means to not change capitalisation unless this is indicated. I don't particularly see why it should be changed in the case where it is indicated as being permitted. For the following example that permits changing to lowercase:

  • LaVesque's report said that "the equipment was selected for its low price".

It could be written as:

  • LaVesque's report said that "The equipment was selected for its low price".
  • LaVesque's report said that the "equipment was selected for its low price".
  • LaVesque's report said that "[t]he equipment was selected for its low price".

Cinderella157 (talk) 07:18, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So internal angled quote-marks shouldn't be changed to ' and '? Tony (talk) 09:37, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, that's always been permitted by CONFORM because it's just a glyph substition that doesn't affect the meaning or implication of the content to the reader. PS: The list above is missing LaVesque's report said that: "The equipment was selected for its low price"., which is also fine, and may be preferred by people who don't like following "that" immediately with a capitalized sentence-starting quotation.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:01, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Add (per MOS:QUOTECOMMA), LaVesque's report said that, "The equipment was selected for its low price". There are lots of ways to skin this cat. :) Cinderella157 (talk) 12:09, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And double quotes to single quotes, since what was quoted in the original is now a quote within a quote. Cinderella157 (talk) 12:02, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]