Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style

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Wikipedia's Manual of Style contains some conventions that differ from those in some other, well-known style guides and from what is often taught in schools. Wikipedia's editors have discussed these conventions in great detail and have reached consensus that these conventions serve our purposes best. New contributors are advised to check the FAQ and the archives to see if their concern has already been discussed.

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Why does the Manual of Style recommend straight (keyboard-style) instead of curly (typographic) quotation marks and apostrophes (i.e., the characters " and ', instead of , , , and )?
Users may only know how to type in straight quotes (such as " and ') when searching for text within a page or when editing. Not all Web browsers find curly quotes when users type straight quotes in search strings.
Why does the Manual of Style recommend logical quotation?
This system is preferred because Wikipedia, as an international and electronic encyclopedia, has specific needs better addressed by logical quotation than by the other styles, despite the tendency of externally published style guides to recommend the latter. These include the distinct typesetters' style (often called American, though not limited to the US), and the various British/Commonwealth styles, which are superficially similar to logical quotation but have some characteristics of typesetters' style. Logical quotation is more in keeping with the principle of minimal change to quotations, and is less prone to misquotation, ambiguity, and the introduction of errors in subsequent editing, than the alternatives. Logical quotation was adopted in 2005, and has been the subject of perennial debate that has not changed this consensus.
Why does the Manual of Style differentiate the hyphen (-), en dash (), em dash (), and minus sign ()?
Appropriate use of hyphens and dashes is as much a part of literate, easy-to-read writing as are correct spelling and capitalization. The "Insert" editing tools directly below the Wikipedia editing window provide immediate access to all these characters.
Why doesn't the Manual of Style always follow specialized practice?
Although Wikipedia contains some highly technical content, it is written for a general audience. While specialized publications in a field, such as academic journals, are excellent sources for facts, they are not always the best sources for or examples of how to present those facts to non-experts. When adopting style recommendations from external sources, the Manual of Style incorporates a substantial number of practices from technical standards and field-specific academic style guides; however, Wikipedia defaults to preferring general-audience sources on style, especially when a specialized preference may conflict with most readers' expectations, and when different disciplines use conflicting styles.

More: Wikipedia:Manual of Style extended FAQ

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Style discussions elsewhereEdit

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Extended content

Non-breaking spaces with written-out unitsEdit

As a follow-up to topic-specific discussions at Talk:Hassium and User talk:DePiep#MOS and NBSP, it seems that the current MOS guideline on the usage of non-breaking spaces when separating numbers from written-out units (e.g. 5 kilometers (instead of 5 km); 118 elements) is open to interpretation. It advises to use non-breaking spaces when line breaks are awkward, which they seem to be in this case; however, implementing this would apparently require making heavy changes to lots of articles, as it is not strongly established as are the examples given in the MOS section.

I thus ask, should the same guideline for quantities and abbreviated units be followed for fully spelled-out units? Should non-breaking spaces be used only with abbreviations, or always with units and quantities? I would like to establish a more definite MOS guideline, in which one or the other is widely agreed upon as common practice. ComplexRational (talk) 00:46, 10 March 2020 (UTC)

  • I really, really wish people would stop jumping straight into a project-wide RfC before working with other editors to frame the questions to be posed. I urge you to withdraw this. And MOSNUM is probably the right place for this. (Main MOS vs subsidiary pages is a longstanding problem.) EEng 01:26, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
Where else would you suggest discussing this, seeing as its outcome is not specific to the articles for which this was discussed, and the question is pretty straightforward from these discussions? If it can be held elsewhere, I will withdraw; however, I don't think that place is MOSNUM because this issue pertains to MOS:NBSP, which is not its own MOS sub-page. I'm open to ideas. ComplexRational (talk) 02:02, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
I'd suggest discussing it right here (or at Talk:MOSNUM, but since ultimately it's an aesthetic, not technical, issue I guess here is fine.) There are plenty of people here who have thought a lot about formatting issues, and many have outside professional experience, and with their participation I suspect the issue can either be resolved or boiled down to a clearcut question. Open-ended RfCs like you've started, which pull random people from all over into an unstructured discussion, just end up a mess. EEng 03:28, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
Okay, I withdrew it as an RfC. Let's play it out as a regular discussion now; I apologize for being unaware of this potential complication. ComplexRational (talk) 09:53, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
Ping to prevent archiving. EEng 12:49, 27 March 2020 (UTC)
I don't see the "jumping into an RfC" that EEng is referring to here. I do see a reasonable description by ComplexRational of a MOS detail to be clarified somehow. Do I miss some invisible redacted editing? Please clarify. As it stands now, the OP is correct and relevant to me. -DePiep (talk) 00:01, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes, obviously, like the OP said: he had set this up as an RfC but later withdrew it at my urging. EEng 00:28, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
Eh, that 'obvious' part is not visible then?, like in an talk edited afterwards (ouch)? Must I do homework research to see it? -DePiep (talk) 00:34, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
Jesus Christ, the OP wrote, just above here: Okay, I withdrew it as an RfC. 01:46, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
I think the point that is puzzling both DePiep and me is there seems to be no trace of the !RfC for us to see what issues had been raised. Starting an RfC and then withdrawing it should surely leave something in a history somewhere. There are no links, nor anything in contributions that I can find. What am I missing? --RexxS (talk) 14:11, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
The most recent diff before I withdrew upon EEng's suggestion was [1]. All that changed since then was removal of the RfC template; the content of my original post is the same now as it was then. ComplexRational (talk) 14:43, 1 April 2020 (UTC)

In traditional typography, typesetters would ensure that sentences didn't break onto another line at a point where the result was a new line starting with something that didn't make sense alone, or where the break would produce a semantic dissonance. So they would avoid lines starting with an abbreviation:

  • something something ... a distance of 15

as well as lines that changed meaning when the next line was read:

  • something something ... a cost of $5

In electronic document processing, when line length can change with screen resolution or window size, the non-breaking space was used to prevent those sort of breaks from happening. I don't believe there has ever been any rationale for placing a non-breaking space between numbers and normal recognisable English words, because those don't produce problems, other than in cases like the second example. There is really nothing wrong with seeing:

  • something something ... a distance of 15

and it is especially ludicrous to extend the fetish for non-breaking spaces in quantities to normal counted items. There is nothing wrong with reading:

  • something something ... a squad of 24
    football players

The examples at MOS:UNITNAMES reflect these simple principles, and I can't see what other interpretation could be made of the present guidance:

  • Use a non-breaking space ({{nbsp}} or  ) between a number and a unit symbol, or use {{nowrap}} ...
  • ... and a normal space is used between a number and a unit name.

If somebody wants to change those guidelines, then they really should be proposing what changes they want made and the reasons for them. --RexxS (talk) 19:07, 27 March 2020 (UTC)

Just for the record, I wasn't proposing a change. I was merely asking for clarification, and if any disagreement were to arise, then firmly establish one way or another. What is written here makes sense, now I only propose that it is made crystal clear for other (copy)editors in the MOS:NBSP section (to use only with abbreviations). ComplexRational (talk) 00:10, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
(ec) @RexxS:, these examples are undisputed, and are clear by WP:NBSP and WP:MOSUNIT. Minor detail: your example of 15<regularspace>kilometres is not in the MOS explicitly, but well observed, also by {{Convert}} — end of detail.
Note: for simplicity, an "_" (underscore) says NBSP.
A question arose when reading in MOS:NBSP: It is desirable to prevent line breaks where breaking across lines might be confusing or awkward. -- note the criterium "awkward". The examples given are (1) unit symbols - no problem, see before, and (2) exampes of number-in-proper-name (Boeing_747).
Some editors state that the "awkward" situation may also occur in situations with a number inline, i.e. in running text. Examples (in here): element_114, the expected magic 114_protons, ....
My (opposing) point is that such number-word combinations are not awkward, can reasionably occur in any running sentence, are part of a reading habit, and so are not 'awkward' and do not allow an NBSP. Otherwise, this whole enwiki could require a MOS-change in ~every article, or have inconsistent styles between articles re this line-breaking.
So, first question: do we recognise this is a Good MOS Question to discuss? -DePiep (talk) 00:25, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
There's long been a need for the nbsp/nobreak guidance to be improved. I've never done anything about it because I realized some cases would need a discussion. EEng 00:28, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
@DePiep: It certainly seems that something ought to be done to educate editors about when to use (and not use) non-breaking spaces. I just looked at the Island of stability article you pointed out. Over 200 non-breaking spaces. Seriously? I've just removed four that you could see at a glance occur at places where the line could never break. No doubt somebody will revert me, citing MoS instead of thinking for themselves. I'm not sure repeating the already crystal clear guidance in MoS is the solution though. Either they never read MoS or they don't understand what a line break is. Either way, tinkering with the MoS won't have any effect on them. As for your actual examples, I've long ago given up trying to convince others that there's absolutely nothing wrong with reading
  • Flerovium, with the expected magic 114
    protons, was first synthesized in 1998
Although to get a line break there, you would have to be viewing on a screen with a maximum line length of less than 40 characters. Even my 1978 vintage TRS-80 could manage that. --RexxS (talk) 03:06, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
  • If 114 protons can't be broken, then you may as well say that every number has to be followed by an nbsp, always, and that would be silly.
  • I do think Z = 112 shouldn't break, though that would be better coded as {{nobr|Z = 112}} than the current Z&nbsp;=&nbsp;112
  • I'm not sure that all the examples at MOS:NBSP belong there, and I wonder if there shouldn't be some other cases listed.
EEng 04:20, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
User:RexxS: that is my understanding of MOS:NBSP too, including its background (typography). It's just, I stopped editing because of EW, started a talk, and involved editors correctly started a wider talk here. But I see no need to admonish other editors, instead we could use a clearer MOS text and explanation here, for fellow editors. -DePiep (talk) 08:28, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
I now see that the section title here is a much narrower issue than the wide one ComplexRational and I were discussing/editing. As the Island of stability example show, it was and is about all of MOS:NBSP. This complicates/disturbs this talk flow, I must excuse. (how to proceed?). -DePiep (talk) 08:32, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
@EEng and DePiep: Apologies, I was too focused on the quantities issues and not enough on the general nbsp guidance, which does seem to be missing. IMHO, we should have a guideline that says something like
  • Numbers followed by an ordinary English word (not an abbreviation, or similar) do not require a non-breaking space between them in normal circumstances.
There are also many circumstances where a non-breaking space is unnecessary because a line break can't happen there. There are three examples in Island of stability: in the caption of the infobox (the width is fixed, regardless of window size); in reference number 5 (too close to the start of a line for a line break to be possible); and in the table caption "Most stable isotopes of superheavy elements (Z ≥ 104)" (the table can't become narrow enough to wrap the caption onto another line). I've tried pushing the zoom up to 250% and narrowing the window to its minimum, but I can't find a setting that could cause a line break where one had been placed. Nevertheless, I don't suppose that is anything we can, or should, try to give guidance about in MoS for fear of causing more confusion. --RexxS (talk) 14:06, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
In the first image, a line break appeared at 70% zoom on my computer screen, and indeed was awkward. What exactly are you suggesting would risk more confusion? The MoS is supposed to make things as clear as possible, and I wouldn't have started this thread had it been clear from the beginning (echoing EEngThere's long been a need for the nbsp/nobreak guidance to be improved.). ComplexRational (talk) 14:40, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining how you got the line break in the image caption; I hadn't considered zooming out that far. But do you think anybody actually reads Wikipedia at 70% zoom? I can't even get any of my browsers to zoom at 70% to see the effect. Still, it's possible, so best to leave in the {{nowrap}} in that case. The general point about infobox images with captions shorter than the image width is worth understanding, though.
What I am suggesting is that there are many cases where we simply don't need a non-breaking space, i.e. whenever it's not possible for the line to break at that point, but that it's difficult to try to give foolproof guidance to cover those cases, so I don't think we can come up with a form of words that would be helpful. Can you?
Do you agree with my suggested clarification above: Numbers followed by an ordinary English word (not an abbreviation, or similar) do not require a non-breaking space between them in normal circumstances. and if not, why not? --RexxS (talk) 16:33, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
Makes sense, I understand what you're saying about captions. Would it then also be better to use {{nobr|1=''Z'' = 114}} (for example) throughout the article, if this would be preferred to a pair of nbsp's? (On an unrelated note, maybe a new template should be created following whatever this discussion establishes, as this is pretty common in chemistry and physics articles.) ComplexRational (talk) 18:18, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
I agree with this wording, it addresses the elephant in the room and is easy enough to follow. I would specifically use it as an antithesis to the MOS points advising nbsp with units (70_km) or parts of the name (Airbus_A380), though I suppose saying "not an abbreviation" already addresses that. The only thing that may raise questions is "normal circumstances" – I'd rather leave that out and add an additional bullet point saying something along the lines of Non-breaking spaces are not required in fixed-with table cells or image captions, especially when the text is not long enough to wrap., or else work out through discussion what the most common exceptions would be (that would otherwise confuse editors unfamiliar or too familiar with MOS). ComplexRational (talk) 18:18, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
Most editors, in my experience, prefer {{nowrap}} over multiple consecutive non-breaking spaces in a phrase. It makes the wikitext more readable for other editors (the same reason we prefer to avoid html entities where possible).
The "normal circumstances" would be to cover exceptions like
  • ... his fee for the service was $50
where a non-breaking space between the number and the next word would avoid giving the reader the impression the fee was $50 until they read on to the next line. But I'm happy to accommodate other views such as giving examples of specific exceptions instead of stating "normal circumstances".
While I think about it, there is a good case for what I called the "semantic dissonance" to be noted as a rule in other places as well:
  • ... the great-grandnephew of Queen Mary
To anyone familiar with Tudor/Stuart history of England, it first reads as Mary I of England, then as Mary II of England when the next line is reached and obviously should be avoided. That represents one of the very few phrases where I would have no hesitation in recommending the use of a non-breaking space for cogent, rather than aesthetic reasons.--RexxS (talk) 19:26, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
This is already covered at MOS:NUM, to the extent any of this needs any rule-mongering. It advises using non-breaking spaces in strings like 5 cm, but it does not advise doing this when using spelled-out words. It doesn't advise against it, either. Like most things, it is left to editorial discretion. Nothing is broken. No, we do not need another template, since {{nobr}} and {{nbsp}} work fine. So does just using &nbsp;. Yes, it is WP:Common sense to non-breakify certain strings like "$50 thousand", and "Mary II". No, we don't need a rule about it, or we would've already had one by now. No, we do not need anyone going around inserting non-breaking spaces robotically in proximity to every number they see, per WP:MEATBOT ("ain't broke, don't 'fix' it").  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:29, 3 June 2020 (UTC)

NBSP for numeric followed by wordsEdit

Hi all, I recently put up Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/1985 World Snooker Championship/archive2 for FAC. SandyGeorgia commented that there should be some additional non-breaking spaces for items such as "15 seeds, 103 entrants, 32 participants". I don't really mind putting these in, but wanted to clarify our MOS, and how it effects these types of phrases. My understanding at WP:NBSP is that we should use these on names, such as World War 2, and measurements, such as 10 Miles. However, should we also use these on regular expressions, such as "20 people"? I don't mind either way, but wanted to clarify before I do wholesale changes. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 14:19, 10 July 2020 (UTC)

The guideline gives patchy and somewhat conflicting advice on this entire subject. I'm going to give you what I think will be useful guidance, but we must brace ourselves for people to leap out at us from all corners of the project to denounce what I say as at best the product of unfathomable ignorance, and at worst detrimental to the moral fiber of the nation.
There are two (maybe more, but two I can think of offhand) things we're trying to prevent:
  • (1) You don't want tiny fragments that look odd alone stranded on the start of a line. Thus World War{nbsp}2 and Henry{nbsp}VIII.
  • (2) You don't want two things separated by a linebreak if the reader, seeing just the first part, will be momentarily misled and have to back up and rethink when he sees the bit on the next line. Thus $2{nbsp}million, because if the million goes on the next line the reader first thinks "Two dollars", and then when he sees the million he has to back up and think "Oh, wait, Two million dollars". (This is a peculiarity of the fact that money symbols go at front of quantities rather than at the end as with other units. Can anyone think of a similar example not involving money?)
(3) Notice that the logic of (2) doesn't arise with normal quantities like 15 seeds or 2 million dollars (i.e. no nbsp used in these cases) because as the reader scans "15<linebreak>seeds" there's nothing misleading about 15 alone at the end of the line, and the same for scanning "2<linebreak>million dollars" or "2 million<linebreak>dollars". When you think about it, if you required nbsp in constructions like that, then you're pretty much saying every number anywhere must be followed by an nbsp, and that can't be right. So I would not put {nbsp} in your examples.
(4) Units of measure are a special case. By the logic of (3), there's no {nbsp} in 10 kilometers. However, I think the guideline does recommend an {nbsp} in the case of 10{nbsp}km, because at the start of a line km looks weird in a way kilometer doesn't. (km is what's called a unit symbol, whereas kilometer is what's called a unit name, and there are several other ways in which unit symbols and unit names are treated differently, so there's nothing odd about treating them differently here.)
Perhaps the principles laid out above can be the start of a revival of this thread. EEng 03:04, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
Or perhaps not. In the meantime, here are some other places I think (comment invited, of course) nbsp would be needed or not needed. Probably some or all of these are give by others in the posts above but I want to get them down while they're on my mind.
  • In DMY dates e.g. 28{nbsp}May or 28{nbsp}May 1935, because at least some readers will find separation of the day-in-month from the month odd. (Further explanation on request as to why this is different from the case of 10 kilometers.)
  • In MDY dates e.g. May{nbsp}28, 1935, because "28, 1935" looks ludicrous at the start of a line.
  • He responded, "Better you than{nbsp}I." or The smallest reading was{nbsp}5.
  • 9:30{nbsp}a.m. because I think it's somewhat analogous to a unit symbol (see above); and definitely 9:30{nbsp}am, because "am" alone and separated from the "9:30" could cause the reader to trip and fall.
  • several{nbsp}.22 shells, because starting a line with a . looks weird
  • <certain image caption situations, details to be supplied (centered captions, left-aligned captions)>
  • Ellipsis or other fragments at the start of a quotation: He listed them as "1.{nbsp}Good goals, 2. Good planning, 3. Good execution; or The torn fragment read, "...{nbsp}for the love of God!"
  • July{{nbsp}}28, 1942 ????
Not needed:
  • 123 Main Street
EEng 00:48, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I ask people here: how often have you struck a dangling numeral at the end of a line? Me: not that I can recall. Tony (talk) 07:08, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
    By struck do you mean "run into/happened to find" or "struck out/had to get rid of"? EEng 16:14, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I could see having a summary section somewhere (hopefully not in the main page, maybe in MOS:TEXT) about "Appropriate uses of non-breaking spaces" or some heading title like that, in which we could suggest these sorts of cases, without implying that they're required. People already rankle at the currently fairly-strongly-recommended ones in MOS:NUM and a few other places. So, there's opportunity to cry "WP:CREEP!" here if this discussion produces more rules, rather than optional tweaks for polishing up text for maximum usability.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:30, 15 July 2020 (UTC)
    Definitely for FA-level polishing, mostly, but there's one situation where I've found it worth the trouble to apply nbsp/nobr fairly liberally: in image captions, because their short line length means bad breaks do occur now and then unless you prevent them. EEng 03:45, 15 July 2020 (UTC)

Something from somewhere elseEdit

From User:Tony1/Monthly_updates_of_styleguide_and_policy_changes / WP:Wikipedia_Signpost/2008-07-07/Dispatches --EEng 15:34, 18 January 2021 (UTC)

Non-breaking spaces. The narrower scope for using non-breaking (i.e., "hard") spaces was significantly clarified. They should be used:

  • in compound expressions in which figures and abbreviations or symbols are separated by a space (17 kg, AD 565, 2:50 pm);
  • between month and day in dates that are not autoformatted (August 3, 1979);
  • on the left side of spaced en dashes; and
  • in other places where displacement might be disruptive to the reader, such as £11 billion, 5° 24′ 21.12″ N, Boeing 747, and the first two items in 7 World Trade Center.

Capitalisation of "Internet" (the global interconnected network of today)Edit


I had a discussion with another person on the talk page of the article In Rainbows about the capitalisation of "Internet" (referring to the global interconnected network generally used today), as they changed the capitalisation back from how I had edited it (to capitalise the "I"). They mentioned that as there is no formal decision on this, people editing Wikipedia can do as they like, so it may be capitalised in one article and uncapitalised in another, depending on the consensus of that particular article. However, I consider this to be something of a problem. I think it looks rather strange if we have no formal consensus on this.

My position on this is that the word should be capitalised when it refers to the Internet (the one we are using right now) as opposed to an internet; this makes sense to me, as it makes for an easy distinction between "merely 'an' interconnected network" and "the main interconnected network most are familiar with".

The other person's position is there is no reason to consider Internet as a proper noun; therefore, it should not be capitalised. They cited some sources recommending that people no longer capitalise Internet (the talk page of the In Rainbows article contains the links to the sources in question).

So, there are three options here:

  • (A) Capitalise the word internet whenever it refers to the global interconnected network most commonly used today
  • (B) Don't capitalise the word internet in any case
  • (C) Per-article consensus on the matter, as it is now

Please indicate which option you prefer below, explaining why if possible. Regards, DesertPipeline (talk) 12:43, 17 February 2021 (UTC)

Addendum: Another way of looking at this, as Gah4 helped me realise with their comment in the Discussion subsection below, is that "Internet" is a name; "internet" is a term. DesertPipeline (talk) 05:33, 19 February 2021 (UTC)

Addendum 2: It is important to consider that option B would require writing about various related topics, and renaming their articles, such as Internet of Things, in ways that may or may not comport with source usage (mostly not). From a quick review of this discussion, is appears that very few if any supporters of B have taken this into account.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:33, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

How important is it that "Internet of Things" is consistently capped in sources, but "the internet" is not? Can we cope? Dicklyon (talk) 05:38, 12 May 2021 (UTC)


Option A (Capitalise when name; lowercase when term)Edit

  • Capitalize the proper noun name of our favorite network of networks, (also known as internets): The Internet or just Internet. As noted below, I don't know why it didn't get a nice name like everything else. Talking to someone who actually wrote the book about Ethernet (which is also capitalized as a proper noun), it seems that no-one thought about naming it before it was too late. Gah4 (talk) 06:01, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.
  • Capitalize when used as a proper name, otherwise lowercase. Blueboar (talk) 21:20, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Capitalise if we're talking about the medium in which users can communicate globally. Otherwise, standard all-lowercase works for talking about the kind of network. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 22:02, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Capitalize in reference to the Internet; lowercase when referring to generic technologies (usuable on an intranet). We've been over this again and again and again (and the "give me lower case or give me death" folks really need to stop WP:FORUMSHOPping this again and again and again in hopes of getting the answer they want). It does not matter that various newspapers and bloggers and so forth are too ignorant to know that the Internet is a proper name and that an internet is not, and that they are not the same subject. Wikipedia knows better, and our job is to be factual and to communicate clearly, not to immitate lazy, confusing style found in other publishers with lax standards. For those not aware of it, an internet is an (i.e., any) inter-network, what is more commonly called a WAN (wide-area network) today. This question also applies to [W|w]eb: Use Web when it means the World Wide Web. It's fine to lower-case both terms when used as modifiers and as generic technology descriptors, since they can refer to protocols from the Internet and the Web usable in an isolated intranet circumstance: "internet-technology server", "web developer", etc. When fully compounded, also use lower-case: website, webpage, internetworking (these terms are not proper names so should not be capitalized). Remember also that Internet of Things is a proper name. As a subset of the Internet, it would not be a proper name if the Internet were not one itself. And some modifier cases will remain capitalized, because they refer to (and may be definitional of) proper-name the Internet: "the Internet protocol suite", etc. See also Internet Standard, which is a proper name (a formal IETF spec); this is distinct from "an internet standard" a vague term we should not use which could mean "any standard pertaining to internet technology").  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:14, 22 February 2021 (UTC); revised 10:30, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.
  • Capitalise is correct for The Internet and lowercase is correct for a general internet. However, Wikipedia is not about being correct — it is about reporting the sources — GhostInTheMachine talk to me 13:24, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.
  • Capitalize. It's fallen out of favor (AP Style shifted to never capitalize a decade or so ago), but it still strikes me as wrong and potentially confusing to treat it generically instead of as a proper name for the global network. Carter (talk) 01:17, 9 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Capitalize, in particular, because it continues to be used as a name: on the Internet, and because it refers to a specific technology and a set of protocols. -Mardus /talk 07:47, 15 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Capitalize.. This is one of a handful of issues on which I fully concur with User:SMcCandlish. --Coolcaesar (talk) 21:04, 24 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Capitalize per SMcCandlish. It's been some twenty years since I had studied Evi Nemeth and those O'Reilly's books that are considered the most reliable textbooks on the system administration. They all define it clearly: the Internet (historically DARPA Internet) is the global network, and an internet might be any local TCP/IP network, roughly a synonym to intranet. This terminology is still in use, there were no major changes in this field, AFAIK. — Mike Novikoff 22:50, 24 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Capitalize the one, true Internet per SMcCandlish and obvious, well-known well, they used to be well known rules of English. There is one and only one Internet, that special arrangement of infrastructure following on ARPANET's development. Sure, there are other internets, but I believe in practice, people rarely talk about them. Most of our articles will be about, relate to, make mention of, or depend on resources available via the Internet. — JohnFromPinckney (talk / edits) 20:09, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.
  • Capitalise. It's odd to me that many people pretend that the Internet is just "an internet". And although technically that's true, the Internet is so much more than that because of its size, the way it is used, its applications (combined with the World Wide Web) and its significance culturally and historically. There is only one Internet. ―Jochem van Hees (talk) 13:41, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Capitalise when proper name. It can get decapitalised when Internet shall had been renamed Earthnet (proper name), a subnet of Solsysnet (proper name), which shall be a subnet of Galaxynet (the Galaxy, meaning the Milky Way galaxy, proper name, and not a galaxy in general, which shall be of type "galaxynets" and not to be capitalized... ). And that shall be a subnet of the Universenet (to be continued through multiverse(s)).
Then there shall hopefully be a general agreement all mentioned are internets (term, not capitalized).
Of course, when there shall be the Centauralfanet (proper name), which shall be a solsysnet (term), which shall be colliding with existing Solsysnet (proper name); and when there shall be the Andromedanet (proper name), which shall be a galaxynet (term) and colliding with Galaxynet (proper name), our descendants shal continue this discussion about decapitalizing or not decapitalizing Solsysnet and Galaxynet, with all new passion.
They'll hopefully still agree they are all internets (terms), but we might wish to preemptively rename Sol (proper name) and Galaxy (propername) to something else, to prevent this possible future disambiguation problem ;-). --Marjan Tomki SI (talk) 11:31, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
Edit: I saw below mentioned, as the reason to decapitalize, concordance with most common use, and majority of manuals of style (which also seem to follow common use). Much of common (mis)use of language is advertising, which also massively influences general public use off a language. The goal of (much of) advertising seem to be miscommunication (in such a way that the advertiser can't be sued). If you look into amount of different aspects of the SPAMware "industry", that also (used to be, I am retired now and not up to date) significant portion of digital web content, but should we follow that?
I somehow had the idea that the only legitimate reason for trying to regulatie use of a language should be improvement of - when possible, clear and concise - communication. --Marjan Tomki SI (talk) 07:18, 17 June 2021 (UTC)

Option B (Lowercase always)Edit

  • Lower case per Capitalization of Internet#Usage examples. Randy Kryn (talk) 05:19, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case per major tech companies (eg Microsoft, Google, Apple) and the majority of major publications (eg the New York Times, the Associated Press, Chicago Style, Guardian, BBC, the Telegraph, Reuters). WP:MOSCAPS says: Only words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources are capitalized in Wikipedia. The old distinction between internet singular and internet plural is no longer in common use and doesn't matter. Popcornfud (talk) 21:00, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case always since I can't see any uses that I would think of as proper names. Like radio, television, and the mail, it's a medium through which businesses and individuals communicate globally. So what? No particular reason to ignore our own style guidelines on this one. Dicklyon (talk) 00:34, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.
  • Same as "universe". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:26, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.
  • Lower case per Dicklyon. --Khajidha (talk) 15:59, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case should be our default for all terms unless there's near unanimous consensus among grammarians and style guides to capitalize. pburka (talk) 04:31, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case per popcornfud. We're well behind the curve on this one, and the only reason we still allow capitalization is the inertia from an outdated status quo. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 16:31, 19 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case I'm from the networking world and know that technically "Internet" is correct to distinguish the world-wide internet from all the others. However, it's a lost cause as explained at Capitalization of Internet and it's time to follow common usage. Johnuniq (talk) 02:10, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.
  • Lower case, mainly because I just want to annoy User:SMcCandlish. We could also go with camel case: "InterNet". But that would be wrong. Herostratus (talk) 02:27, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case always, as that seems to be the most usual way to spell it everywhere else. −Woodstone (talk) 08:33, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case always per television, radio etc. Number 57 01:16, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case always—per Dicklyon. Tony (talk) 09:48, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case - Generally, terms become lowercased more often as they enter common parlance. Internet seems to be following this trend, and its lowercase variant is already becoming the most common. - Novov T C 07:46, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case per Dicklyon, Popcornfud and Johnuniq. JG66 (talk) 08:05, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case always, just like telephone network, which many years ago was in the same boat. It is now a common noun, and does not need proper noun capitalizing. GenQuest "scribble" 13:22, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case always: the distinction desired by the OP can be better made by saying "the internet" (global) or "the intranet" or "an intranet" (local, a company intranet for example). Something like "I am connected to an internet") is arguably incorrect usage, although "... an internet connection" is OK. --Mirokado (talk) 15:05, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case always - Per Dicklyon, et al. It's always seemed strange to me to see it capitalized on Wikipedia, but rarely. elsewhere. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BilCat (talkcontribs)
  • Lower case always. "Only words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources are capitalized in Wikipedia," according to MOS:CAPS. The evidence presented in this discussion shows a majority of sources no longer capitalize internet, regardless of which sense of the word they are using, and Wikipedia seems to be among the last major websites to do so. -- Calidum 14:01, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case always I've never really seen otherwise. Mcguy15 (talk, contribs) 19:11, 24 May 2021 (UTC)
  • lower case almost always. I was originally going to argue for upper, but after reading Capitalization of Internet, I changed my mind. Regarding GhostInTheMachine's comment above Wikipedia is not about being correct — it is about reporting the sources, if we are reporting on a fact, we're free to capitalize as we see fit, just as we do with other typographic conventions. For example, if a newspaper sets a headline in all caps, when we cite that article, we convert it title case in the reference. If we're making a direct quote (The Podunk Herald wrote that "Ted Stevens famously compared The Internet to a series of tubes"), then yes, we should reproduce the original source as faithfully as our publishing technology reasonably allows, but that's really the only exception which prompted my "almost always" qualifier. And I'm in complete agreement with SMcCandlish's "Hell no" to per-article consensus. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:26, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.
  • lower case as AP Stylebook has acknowledged since June 1, 2016 to lowercase not just internet but also web. Its usage today is used beyond the original idea that "the Internet" was the one and only place. We're using parts of an internet within other parts of another... – The Grid (talk) 23:49, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

Option C (Per-article consensus)Edit

  • Per-article It really depends on the usage. For example, I do a lot of work on video game articles from an historical perspective and it is important to talk about the arrival of the capital I Internet (the global network), as well as the fact the video game consoles gained access to lower case "i" internet functionality. I would agree that if we are talking in the present tense in all sense, the lower-case "i" internet makes reasonable season, but the historical aspect needs to be considered. Hence, per-article consensus needs to be reviewed. --Masem (t) 04:50, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.
  • Hell no. This will just cause "slow-editwar" and WP:CIVILPOV activity by obsessives who want to eventually force all uses to lower-case or all of them to upper-case, and we'll have the same squabble break out page after page after page. The second purpose of MoS (after consistent and professional-looking output for readers) is forestalling repetitive, time-wasting editorial disputes over style trivia – not generating a perpetual stream of them. This really has nothing to do with what page the term appears in, but rather the contextual meaning. If what is meant is the the Internet then that is a proper name. If what is meant is internet-technology networking in general, including on an isolated intranet, then lower-case is appropriate. Same goes for [W|w]eb; if you mean the Web, then it's capitalized. If you mean web technology like HTML and CSS and HTTPS and whatever, then lower-case is fine. I.e., distinguishing between name and description, between the global network and the technologies that enable it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:20, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Many publications are switching to lowercase as someone mentioned above, so I think that should be the default. Just be consistent within the article. I would only distinguish the two (Internet v. internet) if it is absolutely necessary for the subject matter (I don't know, say talking about the early days of the internet and what people called it). Otherwise the distinction is likely to be distracting. Fredlesaltique (talk) 01:10, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Dear God, why? (talk) 06:21, 22 March 2021 (UTC)
  • For maximum flexibility. Dhtwiki (talk) 20:38, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
      This comment has been responded to in the Discussion subsection: link to response.


People should search before making proposals. 2020, more 2020, more 2020, 2019, 2012/2014, 2010, 2008, 2004 (eesh on that last). --Izno (talk) 16:28, 17 February 2021 (UTC)
Oh, it's the exact same editor as a half dozen of those discussions. Popcornfud, that you're still having this issue and across multiple pages doesn't look too good for you. Please stop pushing it until there is an actual consensus on the point. --Izno (talk) 16:29, 17 February 2021 (UTC)
"Half of a dozen of these discussions"? I think one - maybe two? edit: OK, three (though those were kind of all the same discussion).
I am not the one who is pushing anything; DesertPipeline wants to make this change to an article. Per the lack of consensus I see no reason to deviate from the WP:STATUSQUO. If a consensus emerges to change it (on that article, or at a MoS-wide level) then I will follow that consensus. Popcornfud (talk) 17:03, 17 February 2021 (UTC)
My apologies for starting another discussion on this when there's been so many; Popcornfud did mention that it's been brought up here before but always ended in no consensus. I guess discussing it so soon after the last time is probably not going to result in anything different? Also I'm not sure if I'm at the right indentation level and in the right place here to be replying to User:Izno... sorry, I still don't really know how talk page threading works exactly :( DesertPipeline (talk) 04:47, 18 February 2021 (UTC) Struck last part as I'm now at the right indentation level – I hope :) 05:20, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
Ha, I skimmed the struck-out text and initially misread it as I'm not sure if I'm at the right indignation level ... to be replying. Pelagicmessages ) – (17:46 Sat 27, AEDT) 06:46, 27 February 2021 (UTC)
  • I don't downcase it when I come across the cap, because I don't like complaints; but in my view it should be lowercase; and where some subset of the internet is intended, that should be clear from the context. Few readers appreciate the significance of the I vs i, anyway. Tony (talk) 05:17, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
    Well, it's not that the Internet is "a subset of the internet"; the article Capitalisation of Internet explains it quite well – "the Internet is an internet, but an internet is not the Internet". I do realise that nowadays most people don't care about this sort of thing, but I don't feel like we should lowercase the "I" in a context where it should be capitalised just because that's how most people do it. My opinion on this is that as an encylopedia, which should strive to get things correct as much as possible. To me, it would be like Wikipedia writing "COVID-19" in lowercase simply because most people do that nowadays, and fortunately we aren't doing that. DesertPipeline (talk) 05:26, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
    Just to be sure, even though it says right in the Internet article, an internet is a network of networks. That is important for the scaling of network architectures, such that each host doesn't need to know the path to all others, but just to a router that knows which way to route it. Many large companies have their own private internet, and many are worldwide. Some companies need the security of not connecting their internal internet to the Internet. Many companies will name their internal network after the company. What does seem strange to me is that the Internet doesn't have an actual name other than Internet. Gah4 (talk) 10:04, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
    What does seem strange to me is that the Internet doesn't have an actual name other than Internet. The Internet used to be also called the World Wide Web, but I think that name has fallen out of use a few years ago. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 16:58, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
    No, the Internet and the World Wide Web are two very different things. It is true that there are commentators who lump them together, but they don't understand what either is. The WWW is an application that uses HTTP over IP, and no more the Intenet than Gopher, NNTP or SMTP. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 18:47, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
  • I was actually able to think of a much better reason for capitalisation thanks to Gah4's comment. "Internet", referring to the Internet, is a name; "internet" is a term. Would anyone say that provides a better case for standardising capitalisation? Also, I've added a discussion subheading and a survey subheading. DesertPipeline (talk) 04:47, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    Addendum: I also have to wonder if the sources that Popcornfud linked which recommend not capitalising the word don't realise that it is a name, rather than simply a term in all cases. I haven't read them though, so I'm just speculating here :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:01, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    "the Internet is an internet, but an internet is not the Internet" I don't see how that means that "the Internet" is a proper noun. Seems pretty parallel to the statement that "the atmosphere is an atmosphere, but an atmosphere is not the atmosphere". --Khajidha (talk) 19:30, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
    Indeed, that quote isn't that great, because the Internet is definitely not in the same category as any other internetwork; because of its size, its significance, its everything, it's become a completely unique thing. (That's unlike an atmosphere though, because many planets have an atmosphere and the Earth's isn't that unique.) ―Jochem van Hees (talk) 13:11, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
    Yes. Like Microsoft naming their word processor Word, our favorite internet is named The Internet. It might have had a fancier name, but it seems not. Gah4 (talk) 06:36, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    And even LibreOffice fell victim: They called theirs "Writer" :) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:42, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    I also have to wonder if the sources that Popcornfud linked which recommend not capitalising the word don't realise that it is a name, rather than simply a term in all cases. I haven't read them though, so I'm just speculating here
    Yes, the history of the term as a proper noun is discussed in those sources (here are some of them again: NY Times, Wired, New Republic, the Verge).
    I have to say that the fact that you didn't bother to read these - which I provided because you asked me for an explanation - and are now typing things to the effect of "I wonder what those sources arguing against my position say? guess we'll never know!" is sort of causing me to faceplam. Popcornfud (talk) 20:51, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
    I'm sorry, Popcorn :( The reason I didn't read the sources you provided is that I feel paranoid about visiting websites I haven't before – and I know the ones you linked are trustworthy, but my fear is just irrational. I thought you might be frustrated if I said I didn't read them, but I didn't want to act as if I knew – because I don't. I could read them with Lynx, a terminal-based browser, if you'd like me to (although my paranoia is such a problem that I even hesitate to do that, despite the fact that I installed Lynx specifically for situations like this). DesertPipeline (talk) 06:38, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    DesertPipeline, OK, that sounds tough. If you're curious, I would be happy to summarise what those articles say on your talk page, just let me know. Popcornfud (talk) 10:44, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    If you don't mind doing that, then sure, and thank you :) DesertPipeline (talk) 12:48, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Lower case per Capitalization of Internet#Usage examples. Randy Kryn (talk) 05:19, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    Hi, would you mind putting this in the Survey subsection above and adding (B) to the beginning of your comment? Thanks, DesertPipeline (talk) 05:28, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    OK, added it there as well. Randy Kryn (talk) 05:40, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    Thanks :) I also decided to add subheadings for each option so hopefully things will be more readable. I moved your comment to the corresponding subheading (Option B). DesertPipeline (talk) 05:44, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Pinging everyone who participated in the discussion so far (except Gah4, because I mentioned it on their talk page and was intending to do that for the other participants but then realised it was way less efficient than just doing it here and using pings): User:Izno, User:Tony1, User:Tenryuu, User:Chatul (I think that's everyone). If you don't mind, can you add which option you're in support of to the survey? :) If you already gave your explanation in this section, you can just say something like "see my comment in the discussion section". I just want it to be clearer for whoever closes this what option each participant was for :) Thanks, DesertPipeline (talk) 05:12, 20 February 2021 (UTC)

  • Talking to someone who actually wrote the book about Ethernet (which is also capitalized as a proper noun), it seems that no-one thought about naming it before it was too late. Gah4 (talk) 06:01, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
    Ethernet is a trademark. Dicklyon (talk) 00:38, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    According to the article on Ethernet, it seems that it used to be a trademark, but it isn't any more :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:55, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Interesting. So I guess we'd have to say it's capped because it was a trademark. Dicklyon (talk) 01:03, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Presumably, yes :) In that case, though, there's no such thing as "ethernet" (I think?) – i.e. there isn't "Ethernet" (a single concept) and "ethernet" (a broader concept) :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:03, 23 February 2021 (UTC)

  • Lower case always since I can't see any uses that I would think of as proper names. Like radio, television, and the mail, it's a medium through which businesses and individuals communicate globally. So what? No particular reason to ignore our own style guidelines on this one. Dicklyon (talk) 00:34, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    I wouldn't really say that radio, television, and mail are good comparisons – they're not words that can either be a term or a name. In this case, though, "Internet" is the name for the global internet we're using right now – and "internet" is just a term meaning "interconnected network". As someone (me? I can't remember) said previously: "The Internet is an internet, but an internet is not the Internet" :) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:25, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    I do understand that you want it to be a name. But I disagree that it is ever that. Dicklyon (talk) 06:49, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    I'll be honest: I don't understand why you think it isn't a name. I'd like to know why you think this way. Do you think you could explain to me? Thank you, DesertPipeline (talk) 10:14, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
    And I don't understand why you think it is. A lot of things have names, like the Internet Engineering Task Force, Internet Protocol, ARPANET, but this thing we call the internet is just the agglomeration of everyone's networks. Nobody named it; they just took to capping it to indicate that if you're not on it, maybe you're on some other internet. That's a use of caps that's outside the uses that WP's and many others' style guides recommend. Dicklyon (talk) 04:37, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Well, I'll admit... I thought I read somewhere that someone had officially named it Internet, but... apparently that's not the case, at least according to the article on Internet :) Still though, language is just something we invented of course, so we could say "its name is Internet now because people call it that, even though it wasn't officially named that". Then again, maybe humanity should have a vote to decide on an official name, like... well, I don't even know what it could be called, but I guess it'd be less confusing if it wasn't called "Internet" :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:38, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Well, I think humanity did take a vote. Or least the part of humanity that issue style guidelines has pretty much converted on lowercase. Dicklyon (talk) 05:41, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I'd argue that the most likely reason style guides usually recommend lowercase nowadays is that they don't realise that it is a name (or at least that some people consider it a name)? I'm not sure though :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:49, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    You don't think they looked long and hard at the issue before changing their guidance? They just don't "realise that it is a name"? Yeah, that must be it; probably a bunch of new grads running that department now. Dicklyon (talk) 06:22, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    ...But would you be so shocked if that was the case? ;) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:29, 22 February 2021 (UTC)

  • Per-article It really depends on the usage. For example, I do a lot of work on video game articles from an historical perspective and it is important to talk about the arrival of the capital I Internet (the global network), as well as the fact the video game consoles gained access to lower case "i" internet functionality. I would agree that if we are talking in the present tense in all sense, the lower-case "i" internet makes reasonable season, but the historical aspect needs to be considered. Hence, per-article consensus needs to be reviewed. --Masem (t) 04:50, 22 February 2021 (UTC)

    If I'm reading this right, I think you may actually be in favour of option A? I agree with you that it should be capitalised only when referring to the Internet and uncapitalised when referring to any other internet :) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:47, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I think he's saying that there may be historical contexts in which that distinction might still need to be represented via caps, but that most current stuff not. I'm not sure I get why, though. I don't know what video game consoles gained access to lower case "i" internet functionality means. Dicklyon (talk) 06:07, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Not to suggest that I can read minds (that would probably make life a little easier :D) but I think what's meant is that video game consoles gained access to internets in general – i.e., any interconnected network :) Maybe you're starting to see why some consider the distinction between capitalised I and uncapitalised I important now? ;)[note 1] DesertPipeline (talk) 06:13, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I didn't say anything about it not being important; just not capitalization relevant. But what internets did videogames have access to? Dicklyon (talk) 06:20, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    Well, any :) If a computing device can connect to a network, then it can connect to any internet, including the Internet, although some manufacturers of video game consoles might try to prevent connection to internets they don't authorise – P.S. I'm not an authority on this subject if it wasn't already obvious, so my explanation isn't very good, sorry ;) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:25, 22 February 2021 (UTC)

  • Same as "universe". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:26, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I'd say that the example of "universe" is another one that doesn't really apply here – it's not both a name and a term: it's just a term :) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:29, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    I agree. But some want it to be a name, too. NASA style guide and many others say not to cap it, but there are outliers (billions and billions...). Dicklyon (talk) 06:57, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    To be honest, I wouldn't really mind either way myself – I mentioned this in the On Rainbows talk page, but if there are other universes then I feel like having a distinction between "the Universe" (ours) and "a universe" (any other universe) could be useful. DesertPipeline (talk) 07:01, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
"It behooves us" – Neigh! DesertPipeline
Bees don't have hooves, silly! EEng
But they apparently have the best knees.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼 
They have bee feat.
"A shetland pony,
a bee, and a beefeater
walk into a pub...."

  • Capitalize in reference to the Internet; lowercase when referring to generic technologies (usuable on an intranet). ... — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼 10:14, 22 February 2021 (UTC); revised 10:30, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    One quick question SMcCandlish: Is it then correct to say "Web page" (as opposed to "web page")? When I see "web page" I usually change it to "Web page" – although I do feel like "webpage" sounds better :) DesertPipeline (talk) 12:51, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
    The fully compounded "webpage" has been the most common since the early 2000s, maybe even the late 1990s. I don't think anyone's arguing for retaining the capital letter when it's used in a combining form like this. If one were to write it as "Web page", then the "W" would arguably belong, but this seems a bit archaic at this point (in Internet time, anyway). Same with "website" and "Web site", etc. Various terms like "web development" can probably go lower-case, because they are about web[site] technology in general, and equally pertain to intranet websites, not just the [World Wide] Web. Used in a generic enough way, even "web page" and "web site" would work for that reason, though again "website" and "webpage" seem to be the dominant spellings now.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:29, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
    S, I never proposed "death" as the alternative, but it seems to me that treating "Internet" as a proper name is out of step with most modern style guides, so it behooves us to discuss when/whether to re-align with them. Dicklyon (talk) 01:01, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    I never proposed "death" as the alternative – But those of us following this thread are openly pining for it. Oh sweet release! EEng 04:29, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Admit it, EEng – you're just envious that I made a joke in this section before you, aren't you? ;) DesertPipeline (talk) 05:05, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Au contraire. It delights me to see other editors taking up the jokester's banner. EEng 05:56, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Another task ticked off the bucket list – " Y Have work approved by EEng" :) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:06, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Congrats. All I got from him was some pix to mock my verb choice; et tu. Dicklyon (talk) 01:54, 26 February 2021 (UTC)
    Sorry, but I have standards to uphold. EEng 07:35, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
    Dicklyon, I seem to recall you being among those of us who regularly point out that "is a proper name" and "is capitalized in some proportion of publications" is not a 1:1 relationship. We know news-writing style in particular takes a large number of liberties with capitalization (mostly dropping it at every chance, even when the results are confusing, e.g. "Nato" and "the Aids virus", and lately "Covid-19" or even just "covid"). It's one thing for a eponym to lose capitalization when it becomes "divorced" from the namesake ("our platonic relationship", "draconian workplace policies", "french fries"), but nothing like that has happened here. The Internet is no less the Internet now than before, and if anything it's more: more a prominent part of our lives, and more the Internet, as it grows to integrate with our phones, our watches, even our refrigerators and doorbells. I'll repeat what I've said in several other variants of this debate: if we decide this has somehow become "the internet", then we're also going to have to down-case Internet of Things. This is a very good example of why not to trust newspapers when it comes to style questions. They'll happily drop a capital letter from a common proper name, to save a sliver of typing time, then insist on capitalizing something simply because it seems new and important (MOS:SIGCAPS). Can't have it both ways. When the very same sources directly contract themselves on whether to capitalize [I|i]nternet, and do it only when used as a modifier (i.e., the exact opposite of actual trends in English usage, which is to start decapitalizing modifier usage, which may or may not then spread lower-case to the noun form), then they are not reliable sources for the style question.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:40, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
    I agree completely with SMc here honestly – just because other style guides are getting it wrong it doesn't mean we should follow in their footsteps ;) DesertPipeline (talk) 03:38, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Someone mentioned universe, which it seems is not capitalized and not a proper name. There might be some astronomers who disagree, (that is, that we live in one particular Universe), but it reminded me of Earth and Mars, which it seems are proper names, though earth (synonym for dirt) is not. It might be that mars is a synonym for dirt if you are Mars. I don't see any discussion for capitalization in talk:Earth, but instead whether it is Earth or the Earth. Somehow that question was avoided here. In any case, I still believe that Internet is the proper name for out favorite internet, like Earth for our favorite planet. Gah4 (talk) 02:34, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    Sometimes I see "earth" when it really means "Earth" (in an article where it was capitalised before) and I usually correct that. I've heard that in casual usage, people will just type "the sun", "the earth", "the moon" (etc), but weirdly enough I don't think that's done in the case of the other planet/celestial body names. I wonder why that is? P.S. I fixed the indentation of your comment :) Regards, DesertPipeline (talk) 03:21, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
    "Sometimes I see ..." – Yes, we know. There is not a single line-item in MoS (or any other style guide) that you can't find some people ignoring (on-site or in RS material). That really has no bearing on the matter. MoS is not about what "is" "correct" (English doesn't have a set of hard rules governing it); it's about what to do on WP, so that we have consistent and semi-formal output for readers, and a reduction internally in tedious strife over style trivia.

    "I wonder why that is?" It's because "earth", "moon", and "sun" have many figural usages ("to till the earth", "When the moon hits your eye / Like a big pizza pie", "shining in the sun") and pre-date common understanding of celestial bodies. Most of our other astronomical bodies were named much later, after thing that were in and of themselves proper names (mostly mythological figures), and do not have much in the way of figural/metaphoric usage.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:23, 20 March 2021 (UTC)

  • I'm going to do some refactoring with the discussion. The intent was that the Discussion subsection would be for any replies, including to replies in the survey section, for better readability, but even I forgot to do that at first :) I'm going to try and organise all the (initial) replies to bullet points in the Survey section by time posted when putting them in this section. Someone have a mop ready, because I can't guarantee that this will go smoothly... but I'm going to try my best :) DesertPipeline (talk) 06:17, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
     Y Refactor complete. If anyone else wants to check to make sure everything that existed before still exists now, I'd be grateful, because this stuff makes my head hurt :) DesertPipeline (talk) 07:04, 20 March 2021 (UTC)

  • Lower case I'm from the networking world and know that technically "Internet" is correct to distinguish the world-wide internet from all the others. However, it's a lost cause as explained at Capitalization of Internet and it's time to follow common usage. Johnuniq (talk) 2:10 am, Today (UTC+0)
    User:Johnuniq: I'm curious as to why you think it's a lost cause. Could you elaborate on that? As said before, many people get it wrong nowadays, but at Wikipedia, we don't have to get it wrong as well. In my opinion, considering people are getting it wrong consistently nowadays, I almost feel like it's Wikipedia's duty to get it right – an encylopedia is supposed to be educational, after all, and we could induce some positive change by capitalising it when it should be capitalised in all cases, perhaps. Regards, DesertPipeline (talk) 09:09, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
    User:Johnuniq: ...I really seem to be having trouble getting pings to work lately :) At least, the notification system isn't telling me it sent. I hope it isn't silently doing it so I'm double-pinging people. DesertPipeline (talk) 09:13, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
    By lost cause I mean that the tide of common usage has risen and trying to oppose it will not be successful and will only make us look like pedants. For readers, there is no difference between Internet and internet except that the former looks like someone inadvertently pressed the Shift key in the middle of a sentence. Johnuniq (talk) 09:58, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
    User:Johnuniq: Would you disagree that if we don't take that attitude, there's still hope? Think about it this way: If we do nothing, then yes, the correct capitalisation for the Internet will probably cease to exist at some point. However, if we do do something, then there is at least a chance that things can change for the better. Even if it's a small chance, I think it's worth it, especially considering it requires little effort on our part. DesertPipeline (talk) 10:26, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
    Wikipedia is not here to right great wrongs. Popcornfud (talk) 13:54, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment: Microsoft doesn't capitalize [2]. Nor does Google [3]. Nor does Apple [4]. I guess all these companies are wrong too - it's up to Wikipedia to lead the way now! Popcornfud (talk) 14:42, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
    User:Popcornfud: Come now, you must recognise why "everyone else is doing it" is a poor reason :) Just remember that no matter how popular something is, that doesn't always make it correct or right. (The world is in a lot of trouble because there are many people doing things that are popular but ethically wrong, usually in order to make money.) Also, in response to your above comment where you mention WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS: There is a difference between "righting great wrongs" and "not making things worse" :) The same problem applies in another area that I've been trying to deal with: Wikipedia has a lot of loaded or confusing words on it (such as "consumer" and "intellectual property") – my opinion there is the same as here, which is that while we're not here to right great wrongs, we can at least not make things worse. If a capitalised I in Internet – referring to the Internet – is indeed correct, which according to Johnuniq, it is – I'm from the networking world and know that technically "Internet" is correct to distinguish the world-wide internet from all the others. – then I really think we should be following what's correct, rather than what's popular. Although I do want to ask: In your view, is "Capitalised I for the Internet is correct" not a factual statement, but an opinion? I might be repeating myself in a sense here... my apologies if so, my brain is not good at keeping track of so many things :) DesertPipeline (talk) 03:34, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
    There is really no "fact" when it comes to what is "correct" in language. The closest you'll get is the fact of what's more commonly used or not, or what's considered standard or non-standard by big-cheese publishing houses et al.
    "Everyone else is doing it" is the perfect reason, though. As others say: Wikipedia follows, it doesn't lead. Wikipedia reflects sources. Wikipedia has no responsibility to uphold your preferred version of the universe. And as I said right at the start of this discussion, we have a policy for this: WP:MOSCAPS: Only words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources are capitalized in Wikipedia. In other words: only capitalize if "everyone else is doing it". Popcornfud (talk) 12:09, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
    User:Popcornfud: Well, the lead of MOSCAPS also says primarily needed for proper names. The lead of Proper noun (which Proper name is a redirect to) says A proper noun is a noun that identifies a single entity and is used to refer to that entity – does that not apply to Internet, since it's a single entity? It goes on to say as distinguished from a common noun, which is a noun that refers to a class of entities which applies to internet. By the way, I would like to ask, what is your reasoning behind wanting to do this because everyone else is doing it? Regards, DesertPipeline (talk) 12:23, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
    The entire point of this disagreement is that most style guides no longer consider it a proper noun, so you saying "but it's a proper noun" misses the point. As for what is your reasoning behind wanting to do this because everyone else is doing it, I just explained that. WP:MOSCAPS: Only words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources are capitalized in Wikipedia. In other words, "Do what most reliable sources do" - even if you think it's wrong - sorry. Popcornfud (talk) 12:30, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
    User:Popcornfud: I just don't personally believe that what is and what isn't a proper noun can be defined by popular opinion, though. Surely it is or it isn't, regardless of what people think, based on what the article on proper nouns says? DesertPipeline (talk) 12:40, 21 March 2021 (UTC)

  • However, Wikipedia is not about being correct — it is about reporting the sources — GhostInTheMachine talk to me 13:24, 20 March 2021 (UTC)
    User:GhostInTheMachine: Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not really sure that applies here. We can obviously report that some people don't capitalise the I when referring to the Internet according to the sources, and that some do, but when we're just referring to it generally, shouldn't we be capitalising the I if that's the correct way to do it? :) DesertPipeline (talk) 03:44, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Joking moved out of the !vote section (with copy of what it's a response to), per user talk request:
    • Lower case, mainly because I just want to annoy User:SMcCandlish. We could also go with camel case: "InterNet". But that would be wrong. Herostratus (talk) 02:27, 20 March 2021 (UTC)

      Yeah, all Apple fans know it has to be "iNternet".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:42, 21 March 2021 (UTC)

  • For maximum flexibility. Dhtwiki (talk) 20:38, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

    If we wanted "maximum flexibility", WP would have no style guide, no article title policy, no naming-conventions guidelines, not citation formatting guideline. The community emphatically does not want "maximum flexibility".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  13:26, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Can we close this yet? Popcornfud (talk) 17:06, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
How about now? It's been weeks since any new votes or discussion. Popcornfud (talk) 14:24, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
  • I want to mention that none of those opposing capitalising Internet as a proper noun are disputing that it is a proper noun. As I said to Popcornfud previously, "popular opinion cannot take away a word's status as a proper noun" (not a direct quote).

    1. Does "Internet" refer to a single entity? – Yes

    2. Is a proper noun something that refers to a single entity? – Yes

    Unless these can be refuted, then for what reason should we not capitalise it in reference to the Internet, other than "to conform"? Should we really "conform" with things that can be proven to be wrong? Whether or not something is a proper noun is a fact, not an opinion. DesertPipeline (talk) 03:17, 26 May 2021 (UTC)

    1) Uh, yes, we are disputing that it is a proper noun. You must have missed several people's points. The one I find most relevant is the comparison of "the internet" to "the airwaves" or "the press". 2) Your illustration would also apply to the word "atmosphere". 3) I'm not sure it was ever really a proper noun in the first place. More like a simple emphasizing for importance, like "That's Jimmy Wales over there, but not THE Jimmy Wales". --Khajidha (talk) 14:43, 27 May 2021 (UTC)
    User:Khajidha: 1. In what way are "the airwaves" and "the press" relevant to the context of "the Internet"? There isn't "an airwave" and "the Airwave"; nor is there "a press" and "the Press". Internet, when referring to the Internet, is a proper noun because it refers to a single entity – the Internet. There is no other internet like the Internet, and therefore it refers to a singular thing.

    2. "an atmosphere" (referring possibly to another planet's) and "the atmosphere" don't really need that distinction right now because the vast majority of us are on Earth.

    3. It was understood to be a proper noun when people understood that "internet" means "interconnected network". Because there are multiple, but one is the "main" one, it's useful to have a distinction. It's just a shame a name wasn't chosen that didn't have this problem. Because that's not the case though, we should be capitalising the name of the Internet, which is "Internet", when we refer to it. DesertPipeline (talk) 09:52, 28 May 2021 (UTC)

    1) This might be the nucleus of the disagreement. The point I was making was that "the internet" is a medium, like "the press" or "the airwaves". You seem to characterize "the Internet" as the actual linkages. 2) Even on one planet we have the atmospheres of each city or even each building. We can even have atmospheres in chambers completely cut off from "the atmosphere". 3) You made my point for me. "The Internet" isn't a name, it's a simple emphasis. This emphasis is more commonly made these days by speaking of "the global internet" as opposed to, for example, a "corporate internet" that only links computers within a single company. --Khajidha (talk) 15:40, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
    I would note that there are other "spheres" that, unlike "atmosphere", have a unique referent but are still not capitalised (noosphere, anthroposphere). —Nizolan (talk · c.) 17:38, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
    User:Khajidha: You seem to characterize "the Internet" as the actual linkages. That's not what I meant. The Internet is the name for the most common public interconnected network as of 2021. Press, airwaves and atmosphere aren't cases where one usage is a common noun and the other is a proper noun. "internet" is a common noun but "Internet" is a proper noun. If we don't capitalise Internet when referring to the Internet, then essentially we're saying "well even though this is grammatically correct, we're not going to do it because others don't". Appeal to popularity is a fallacy for a reason – because no matter how many people happen to do something, that doesn't automatically make it right. (See also: Smoking, drinking, developing non-libre software.) If we were just going to go along with what the masses do, we wouldn't even have our own manual of style – we'd just use one that already exists. DesertPipeline (talk) 03:58, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
    You keep saying that it is a proper noun, but it just doesn't scan that way to me. I just cannot see a difference between saying "the Internet", meaning the world-wide one that is most important, and "the car", meaning my personal car because it is the most important. --Khajidha (talk) 17:33, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
    But there is only one Internet, that unique, special project developed out of ARPANET. The car you drive is just some car; it's non-unique (there may have been tens of thousands of that model produced in the very same color, styling, etc.). If you name it something, like "Khajidha's Krazy Kar", well then you can capitalize it, because it refers to a unique and special vehicle. But don't be disappointed when the neighbors just refer to it as Khajidha's heap (or Ford or blue car or 318i or whatever) because you're not famous enogh for folks to recognize your car's uniqueness. The Mackinac Bridge is a particular, unique structure (like the Internet); a bridge is just one of a kind of item, like an internet. — JohnFromPinckney (talk / edits) 19:55, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
    Yes, "the Mackinac Bridge" is a proper noun. But "the Bridge"isn't. If you can figure out which one is analogous to "the Internet", you will see why that isn't a proper noun.--Khajidha (talk) 20:15, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
    I have figured it out, which is–surprise!–why I brought the examples. Proper nouns: the Mackinac Bridge, the Internet, Khajidha, Wikipedia, the Earth. Common nouns: a bridge, an internet, (an or the) editor, encyclopedia, some earth. I don't know if you mistyped, but I didn't use "the Bridge" with a capital letter, so I don't know if you're trying to make a point there. I said "a bridge" and I meant "a bridge". — JohnFromPinckney (talk / edits) 21:13, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
    Nope. You completely missed the point. Bridge and internet are both common nouns. Used by themselves, neither is a proper noun. And just capitalizing them doesn't change that. Common nouns are capitalized as part of specified names like Mackinac Bridge. --Khajidha (talk) 22:52, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
    User:Khajidha: Internet is a common noun, yes. But it is also a proper noun, because the name of the global internet commonly used in 2021 is "Internet". If there was a bridge and it was simply called "Bridge", would you argue not to capitalise the B because bridge is also a common noun? It doesn't matter that it's also a common noun – they decided to call the global internet as commonly used in 2021 "Internet". Names have their first letter capitalised, whether or not the name also counts as a common noun if uncapitalised. DesertPipeline (talk) 03:48, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
    But you're ignoring the fact that many sources and many authorities have decided that it's not a proper name. Just because you consider it to be one doesn't mean that Wikipedia should. We tend to go the other way, and use lowercase when caps are not necessary, and the large number of sources and authorities who say caps are not necessary here make your opinion on the matter rather un-weighty. You claim "they decided"; but who is they? Dicklyon (talk) 04:29, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
    If there were a bridge simply called "Bridge", it wouldn't have a proper name, either. It's that simple. --Khajidha (talk) 04:43, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
    User:Dicklyon: Popular opinion cannot decide whether something is or is not a name. It is a name; someone decided that. I don't know who, but that's irrelevant. We cannot change that.
    User:Khajidha: Why not? If the people who constructed it decided its name would be "Bridge", then that is its name. You can't refute something like that. You could say "well, that shouldn't be its name", but that changes nothing. It is its name. DesertPipeline (talk) 07:07, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
    You guys are claiming someone created it and named it? But can't say who? How quaint. Dicklyon (talk) 15:21, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
    User:Dicklyon: I can't see how knowing who named it is relevant to the discussion of whether or not it is a name. What about place names in different countries? If they're old names, we don't know who named them – we just know that is their name. The same applies here. DesertPipeline (talk) 03:39, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
    Yeah, not relevant because nobody named it, as you seemed to claim above. Dicklyon (talk) 03:47, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
    User:Dicklyon: If nobody named it, then why does it have a name? DesertPipeline (talk) 04:58, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
    If it has a name, please tell us what it is, because"the Internet" isn't one. --Khajidha (talk) 12:29, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
    User:Khajidha: In your opinion Internet is not (or should not be) a name; however, opinion does not override reality. DesertPipeline (talk) 04:51, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
    Seems more like you are the one trying to put your opinion above the reality of how the English language has always worked. --Khajidha (talk) 14:14, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
    Addendum: Also, does this mean that you don't consider "Moon", "Sun" and "Earth" names because they are also common nouns when uncapitalised? DesertPipeline (talk) 12:27, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
    Yep, it does. (Although the rationale is that the uncapitalized form is the common noun for the type, not just any common noun.)--Khajidha (talk) 13:57, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
    User:Khajidha: I don't know what you mean by that. Please can you rephrase? DesertPipeline (talk) 05:02, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

  • ... people rarely talk about them. ... — JohnFromPinckney (talk / edits) 20:09, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
    Yes, and you see, the very word "internets" is nowadays considered a Bushism by the general public. So, in a way, it now has even less to do with the Internet. — Mike Novikoff 20:10, 31 May 2021 (UTC)

  • If we're making a direct quote (The Podunk Herald wrote that "Ted Stevens famously compared The Internet to a series of tubes"), then yes, we should reproduce the original source as faithfully as our publishing technology reasonably allows, but that's really the only exception which prompted my "almost always" qualifier. (...) -- RoySmith (talk) 15:26, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
    @RoySmith: per MOS:PMC, it is okay to silently correct minor spelling errors in quotations. So if the result of this discussion is that "internet" is correct, then it's okay to also correct the quotations (unless that change also changes the meaning of the quote somehow). ―Jochem van Hees (talk) 16:33, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
  • I'll add my 20 cents here, too, to my argumentation for my vote above.
    @changing direct quotes: it is inadmisive to change quotes in such a way, that changes quotes meaning. Where manuals of style etc. allow or encourage that, MOS-es etc. should be reconsidered, and changed, not followed.
    @internets, intranets, Internet: There are company (etc.) internets (term), that are also global, composed of interconnected (used to be by various types of dedicated links) intranets, which are by design trying not being part of Internet accessible to general public (and malware). When we discuss history of these technologies, internetworking without Internet used to be a lot more common before, much of it for security and reliability reasons. Now VPN tunnels through Internet are often used, often not because they would be more secure, but because of price and better hw redundancy.
    Now go try to teach fresh young to-become-network-engineers (from extremely-smart-but-not-yet-very wise child game-enthusiasts) OSI model and related science and technology with all terminology in the literature used, decapitalized. Try to teach them about systematically preventing vulnerabilities (make them keep Murphy's law in mind's eye) of these technologies, without letting them know (and understand thoroughly) the examples what happened before some of those were fixed. And think of how you could explain those examples in an understandable way without the ability to be concise, which removing distinction between similarly sounding and/or written terms like proposed here, would reduce.
    Please try to look at the problem not from the aspect of (an expert narrow speciality) teacher, but from the aspect of an (extremely smart and interrested) novice student. I learned much form bad teachers - about how not to teach. I used to be an expert, but tried as much as possible to stay aware of the point of view of a novice, to a point to systematically try not only to remember, but also document a novices point of view whenever I was introduced at something significantly new. It happened often, because I was called often to try to help troubleshoot widely different things, and insisted of always being introduced to field of the problem as a novice to it. Often (even usually) significant part of the problem to troubleshoot was miscommunication between novices and experts, and even between different experts, without the experts being aware of that, and without most novices daring to speak up about it.
    Conclusion: I see WP primary as a tool for users, and secondary to be editor friendly. WP policies should help with both aspects. Following them should reduce clashes between editors about what contents should be included and how it should be presented, and ease up their resolution if they emerge.
    IMO Primary goal should be to help contents be usefull to the user, and beneficial to humanity in general. Policies should help achieving that goal, and if policies are found to have evolved in such a way the usefullness of contents of WP diminishes, they hvvr"however"? should be reconsidered, no matter how longstanding, not followed and enforced just becouse they exist.
    I see changes that make things harder to be explained concisely adverse to the primary WP goal mentioned above, and anything involved in promoting that trend (in or out of WP) in serious need to be reconsidered from that point of view. --Marjan Tomki SI (talk) 07:21, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
    Your post incisively summarizes the discussion so far. EEng 15:43, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
  • This section was archived yesterday by a bot. I think if nobody else has anything to add it might be time to request closure. DesertPipeline (talk) 11:44, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
    Maybe the archiving interval should be increased from 30 days. 60 days? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:10, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
    User:Michael Bednarek: That might be a good idea. Also, I indented your comment as I presume you were intending to reply to my last bullet-pointed comment. If that isn't the case, please feel free to change it back and remove one of the colons from the beginning of my response. DesertPipeline (talk) 12:24, 21 July 2021 (UTC)

  1. ^ "I can tell you right now, Dave... that monkey is indeed being cheeky!"

Hyphenating racial identitiesEdit

Should the hyphen be dropped when describing ethnic groups?--Caorongjin (talk) 19:23, 13 May 2021 (UTC)

It seems apparent that there's a large amount of inconsistency across articles concerning racial identities (e.g. Asian-American vs. Asian American). This isn't standard with other racial identities (Native American, West Indian etc.) and so I propose adding to the style guidelines a definitive consensus, taking the position that would update this in line with broader consensus as per MLA, APA, and AP style guidelines (i.e. 'African American' as opposed to 'African-American').


Obviously I would like to foster discussion to arrive at such a consensus that establishes a definite MOS guideline regardless of my own opinion.—Plifal (talk) 16:30, 20 April 2021 (UTC)

  • Support not hyphenating I used to hyphenate when used as an adjective, but stopped when I read somewhere that 1) it's obvious anyways when it's modifying a lowercase noun 2) growing sentiment that hyphenating makes these groups seem "less" American.—Bagumba (talk) 08:36, 21 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Support The general move of most style guides has been towards dropping the hyphen. It also seems apparent that, as Bagumba suggests, a hyphen is NOT needed when used as an adjective. So, for instance, there was a recent move of Asian American studies → Asian-American studies, as the result of a RM. But this seems contrary to the overwhelming precedence without the hyphen, as seen in the names of every major academic program under that name (e.g. UCLA, Berkeley, SFSU, OSU, Cornell, etc.) and the main academic guild on the subject, the AAAS. A similar precedence can be seen with African American studies (e.g. Harvard, BU, Berkeley, Stanford, etc.).--Caorongjin (talk) 05:50, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Support – it seems like most organizations are not using the hyphen these days, and we could definitely use the consistency. Kokopelli7309 (talk) 21:18, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Support After looking at several reliable sources and reviewing the sources mentioned here, the trend is to not hyphenate. I agree with the arguments made and given the sources that support not hyphenating, I agree with having guidelines that adhere to MLA, APA, and AP style guidelines. Jurisdicta (talk) 05:08, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Use normal English hyphenation – An African American and European American are not hyphenated; but African-American culture and European-American background are. Nothing special here. Compound nouns used as adjectives get hyphens to help the reader parse them. Dicklyon (talk) 05:16, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Hyphenate exactly the same as other compound adjectives in English. There's nothing magically special about these. If one is used as a modifier (an African-American actor) it's hyphenated; if it's not used as a modifier (the most popular candidate among African Americans) then it's not hyphenated. This is dirt-simple, and the MOS:HYPHEN guideline exists for a reason, so just follow it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:27, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
    Comment The current MOS:HYPHEN is not clear. It currently states: "But never insert a hyphen into a proper name (Middle Eastern cuisine, not Middle-Eastern cuisine)." I am not sure how "Middle Eastern cuisine" is considered a proper name. On that basis, are "Middle Eastern literature" or "Middle Eastern studies," and your example of "African-American actor" also considered proper names? — Caorongjin (talk) 10:51, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
    Hee, hee. I'm gonna let McCandlish explain that one. Fasten seatbelts (or seat-belts). EEng 12:51, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
  • When did the MOS stop reflecting what Reliable Sources say on the matter? If the material doesnt reflect the source, then is wrong. If it does and the MOS says otherwise, the MOS is clearly not working. The MOS is meant to be a guide on best practice. And the best practice for almost every situation on Wikipedia is 'What do reliable sources say about this?'. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:59, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
    The MOS does reflect what a lot of reliable sources say on the subject. But as some publishers have style that changing to drop the hyphen, we don't need to be quick to follow that. Dicklyon (talk) 22:08, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
    Dicklyon, I would be curious to know which reliable sources say to keep the hyphen. The CMOS17, for instance, gives examples "African Americans" and "African American president" with the explanation "Open in both noun and adjective forms, unless the first term is a prefix or unless between is implied." (§7.89) It further states "since the hyphen does not aid comprehension in such terms as those mentioned above, it may be omitted unless a particular author or publisher prefers the hyphen." (§ 8.39) — Caorongjin (talk) 15:43, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
    The summary at (blacklisted link) says "Modern style guides most often recommend dropping the hyphen between the two names except when the compound is used as an adjective, some, including Chicago manual of style, recommend dropping the hyphen even for the adjective form. ..." Most style guides are not easily searchable online, and my collection is not accessible during WFH, so I'd have a hard time getting back to primaries from there. But I believe this one is correct in characterizing Chicago as being a bit of an outlier. I'm not claiming that a website is a WP:RS, but that's not the relevant criterion for this kind of discussion. Here's a site that made their own determination, justified with "This decision, we felt, treats these terms in the ordinary way." I think we should do the same. And as Chicago says, "it may be omitted unless a particular publisher requires it." It's OK with them if we require it; and we do. There's lots of discussion in sources explain that religious affiliation (Jewish or Muslim Americans) and Native Americans are different, and don't typically take hyphens even as adjectives; I wasn't aware of that. Point is, there are different and conflicting dimensions of consistency. Dicklyon (talk) 22:52, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
    I can appreciate the limitations of WFH (nevermind whether one has access to a library in normal circumstances). I am just slightly doubtful of these claims of "most" or "a lot." Please note that, as opposed to CMOS16, which you quoted, CMOS17, which I quoted, expands their position to "unless a particular author or publisher prefers the hyphen"; this seems inline with the next discussion in this Talk re: capitalization.
    My point is less about differences of opinion out there, and more about developing consensus for Wikipedia's style guide, which may evolve over time. It also seems to me that if the hyphen "suggests bias," as per CMOS16/17, then that goes against the aspirations of WP:BIAS. — Caorongjin (talk) 09:35, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Just a question. Is there a possibility that there different attitude to this in different regions of English language countries. The provided style guides are all USA ones, but I’m wondering what for instance the UK thinks of this issue.Tvx1 00:47, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
    I don't know what newspapers/magazines use. But the UK equivalent of CMOS would be New Hart's Rules, which seems inconsistent. Speaking about compound words in §3.3.3, it says "In general do not hyphenate capitalized compounds," followed by the example "Latin American studies." It refers to §4.11.1, which gives an example of "Greek-American wife" with the description "American by birth but Greek by descent, hyphen" (as opposed to an en dash for "Greek–American negotiations"). Elsewhere, in §21.4.3, it clarifies that US English usually drops hyphens in compound words. Caorongjin (talk) 07:58, 25 May 2021 (UTC)
    The 2015 Fowler's, which attempts somewhat to bridge the Atlantic, suggests that compound adjectives formed by an adjective and a verb (e.g. good-looking) should get the hyphen. It stated here's no need for a hyphen between an adverb and adjective, so skilfully painted portrait etc. Other than that, hyphens are apparently on the wain. New Hart's Rules gets a mention there as being more comprehensive in its treatment and useful for guidance on specific words, as does the Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors. The advice seems to be in favour of re-phrasing to avoid heavy handed use. So support no hyphen Chumpih. (talk) 22:06, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
    I do like New Hart's Rules, too. It acknowledges "that US English usually drops hyphens in compound words", but that's not a reason to do so in Wikipedia, where being as clear as possible for the benefit of the reader is still part of our mission. Americans are just ignorant of the affordances of English grammar and punctuation, too often, I think. Dicklyon (talk) 01:10, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
  • support dehyphenation because it is common use. --Almaty 10:49, 24 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Question: how would we deal with someone who’s ancestors came to the US from Ireland, but subsequently moved to Canada ... are they “Irish American Canadians” or “Irish-American Canadians”? Blueboar (talk) 12:10, 24 May 2021 (UTC)
"Irish-Canadian of American origin" or "American-Canadian of Irish ancestry" would be my choices. --Khajidha (talk) 15:09, 27 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose instruction creep to this level of detail, and context matters in each specific case. Generally support the use of a hyphen when the compound is used as an adjective. but it should be judged on a case-by-case basis. The presence or absence of a hyphen does not change the meaning of anything in any fashion, it is merely an alternative method of organising the text, a visual indicator of the relationship between the words joined by the hyphen. The notion of a hyphen "showing bias" is totally absurd. Also, comment to one thing that the OP mentioned, about terms like "Native American" and "West Indian" not being hyphenated: short answer, those are a completely different kind of construction and different rules apply. (in the case of West Indian, the "West" is not a descriptor of the person; a West Indian is a person from the West Indies). Firejuggler86 (talk) 08:12, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Update: If it affects anyone's !vote here, The New York Times appears to have dropped the hyphen from their style guide this week. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 07:20, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose instruction creep. It makes sense for different uses of ethnic descriptors to have different sorts of hyphenation; the hyphenation is generally used in the adjective form, while the absence of hyphenation is used when using the group as a noun. Wikipedia currently has this sort of thing in place; the page regarding Americans of Italian descent is Italian Americans, while the cuisine of this group is Italian-American Cuisine (though I will admit that seeing "Italian American" without the hyphen just doesn't look right to me). The month to honor the achievement of the American descendants of Irish people is Irish-American Heritage Month, while the group itself is referred to as Irish Americans. I don't see a reason for wholesale change on this at the current moment.
Regarding Chumpih's analysis using Fowler's, which attempts to bridge the atlantic. wouldn't we possibly want to leave it up to the type of English being used rather than making it consistent across all of the English Wikipedia? I don't see why to enforce an American English hyphenation standard on article written in British English (or vice-versa).
Regarding Caorongjin's point about the move request, I think that there might be a WP:COMMONNAME argument that you are getting at with respect to the article title. COMMONNAME aside, the move request was only attended by two people; there might be a sensible rationale for a move request on that particular article if your analysis is correct. I would also posit the possibility that "Asian American Studies" is a compound noun containing a qualifying noun; treating "Asian-American" as an adjective modifying the noun "studies" feels a bit weird to me. — Mikehawk10 (talk) 02:48, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Update. I have added a change to MOS:HYPHEN with what I think is the consensus of this discussion, with a bit of ambiguity. This is my first time editing a guideline, so I am of course more than open for correction. Please see update and ammend as deemed necessary. --Caorongjin (talk) 13:53, 28 June 2021 (UTC)
    • So I see, this seems a good reflection of consensus here to me, but it has been reverted. Other opinions? Should it be reinstated? Andrewa (talk) 17:28, 6 July 2021 (UTC)


MOS:NOSECTIONLINKS currently says that section titles should "Not contain links, especially where only part of a heading is linked." Below, it suggests that such links might create "technical complications". Is that still true, and does this restriction still make sense? And does it apply to talk pages? I ask because links in talk page section titles are ubiquitous. On WikiProject talk pages and Noticeboards, it appears to be standard practice to link to the article under discussion. Firefangledfeathers (talk) 02:40, 4 July 2021 (UTC)

The MOS only applies to articles, not talk pages. pburka (talk) 02:43, 4 July 2021 (UTC)
I think the question is more whether "technical complications" actually result, which would apply on talk pages, too, I presume. If so, we could say something on talk page guidelines, not in the MOS. Dicklyon (talk) 03:41, 4 July 2021 (UTC)
In the mobile interface, there are some technical bugs that arise with links in section headers; I can't recall exactly what they are at this moment, but the issue goes away when you "view as a wiki page" (which is the only way to reply to talk page posts on mobile, anyway, and is overall a much better interface than the default talk page mobile interface). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Firejuggler86 (talkcontribs) 19:53, 6 July 2021 (UTC)
Aside from the technical aspect, is there really a reason to do it? Any link in a section title can easily be presented within the section's content, you would think. Appearance-wise, it's a matter of consistency having all section titles in the same font color. That might not matter so much on a talk page, but in an article, hyperlinks in titles would look odd in my opinion. Might also be misleading, with newer visitors thinking it links to another section within the same article as opposed to jumping to a different article. --GoneIn60 (talk) 15:55, 4 July 2021 (UTC)

Ebony and IvoryEdit

Executive summary: regarding the capitalization of "Black" and "white" (referring to racial groups), let's please find out what major publications such as Time and so forth are doing, and let's write that down as our rule. Detailed argument follows.

So, the capitalization of "Black" (referring to African-Americans or other people of color) has become totally established in the press, like, overnight; I've never seen anything be accepted so fast, seems like in a few weeks it went from 0% to 100%.

I mean, I am writing "Black" because if I didn't I'd be like the only one in the world it seems. It's that universal. Sure, we are supposed to lag the cutting edge somewhat, but neither are we supposed to be essentially the only mainstream publication using a format that nobody else is.

So, the problem with this is, what do you do with "white". There's an argument to capitalize it -- "The film was popular with both Black and white people" looks a bit odd, does it not?. But then you have "Most of the town's Whites opposed the candidate" and what have you, which, the capitalization of "White" grates and looks, well, racist. I don't know if we capitalize "White Power" and "White Pride" as a proper nouns (I wouldn't think so) and assuming not, then you have "There was a well-attended White pride parade"... uh, that's not good.

I think the reason for this is that "White pride" is not a legit thing, because there's no such ethnicity or nation as "White". "Italian pride" and "Irish pride" are fine, because those are ethnicities/nations. (And "White pride" is only used by racist blackguards.)

Black (African-American) is also not an ethnicity but it is treated as such primarily because African ethnicity was entirely mixed up and destroyed by the slavers. You can't really have "Ibo pride" or "Nigerian pride" because most African-Americans don't know their background that well. Black (African-American) is also treated as a distinct cohesive group because, well, in some ways it is. Black people are a minority in America and have a distinct universal experience (of oppression and segregation) and a distinct minority culture that whites just don't have. There is Black music (I mean the blues and all) and Black literature etc., while there simply is no such thing as "white music" and "white literature" in the same way (I mean generally; some exceptions apply when specifically doing cultural studies and comparisons and so on). James Baldwin was a "Black writer" but Kurt Vonnegut wasn't a "white writer", see what I mean?

So, what should it be?

  • "black" and "white" (and you'll get a shitstorm partly because lower-case "black" is now considered racist in the real world)
  • "Black" and "White" (and you'll get a shitstorm because upper-case "White" has been and is considered racist in the real world)
  • "Black" and "white" (and you'll get a shitstorm because its unequal and people can say it valorizes one group vis a vis another)
  • Leave it to the individual editor (and you'll get an endless drama of people bitching about in scores of individual articles and accusing each other being racist, and anyway even tho lots of things here don't need to be standarized, if this one isn't it seems odd and generally a headache)
  • Lets see what other important publications do and do that (Let's do this! Please! I get that we don't usually slavishly follow other publications, but in this case, let's. There's no "right way" here, so let's just avoid the shitstorms.)

So who wants to do the research (altho this is so new that wheel might still be in spin) and write that up toute de suite. Herostratus (talk) 02:42, 6 July 2021 (UTC)

@Herostratus: Is this only for the United States, or is the usage changing elsewhere too (Canada, UK, etc.)?
I'm not sure it's possible to survey all recent uses of these words to refer to race, but for reference, here's some sources discussing it:
  • Why we capitalize ‘Black’ (and not ‘white’), CJR; this reversed course from an earlier piece, noting journalism has continued to evolve in its approach to covering race.
  • Why We’re Capitalizing Black, NYT: “Some have been pushing for this change for years,” Mr. Lacey said. “They consider Black like Latino and Asian and Native American, all of which are capitalized. Others see the change as a distraction from more important issues. Then there are those troubled that our policy will now capitalize ‘Black’ but not ‘white.’ Over all, the view was that there was a growing agreement in the country to capitalize and that The Times should not be a holdout.”
  • AP says it will capitalize Black but not white. Columbia Journalism Review, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, NBC News and Chicago Tribune are among the organizations that have recently said they would capitalize Black but have not done so for white. ... In some ways, the decision over “white” has been more ticklish. The National Association of Black Journalists and some Black scholars have said white should be capitalized, too. ... “We agree that white people’s skin color plays into systemic inequalities and injustices, and we want our journalism to robustly explore these problems,” John Daniszewski, the AP’s vice president for standards, said in a memo to staff Monday. “But capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.”
  • Opinion piece in The Atlantic that seems to have been influential.
  • The Brookings Institute writing to AP before it announced the above, encouraging it to capitalize Black.
  • The footnote in this paper: I capitalize “Black”when referring to Black people, because as explained by Kimberlé Cren-shaw, “Black[people], like Asian[people], Latin[x/e], and other ‘minorities,’constitute a specific cultural group and, as such, require denotation as a proper noun.’...I do not capitalize ‘white,’which is not a proper noun, since [neither white people nor ‘people of color’refers to] a specific cultural group.”Kimberlé Crenshaw, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color, 43 STAN.L.REV.1241, 1244 n.6 (1991). In this context, Black is both a racial category that encompasses many cultures and ethnicities of African descendants, and a specific culture borne out of collective resistance to anti-Black oppression and preservation of ancestralpractices.
  • Here is a similar footnote in an academic journal.
Those are the first few results of a quick search for 'capitalize black'. --Aquillion (talk) 03:18, 6 July 2021 (UTC)
I haven't looked outside the United States, no; I think that American usage should weigh pretty heavily here in this particular case, on account of its large Black population, and its history.
Thank you for the work User:Aquillion! For my part, this is sufficient to go with a Black-white paradigm as the the least-bad. What we need is to get that accepted, and to that I think a two-pronged argument -- that its the least racist looking, AND that major pubs are doing that -- might do the trick. A bit more research, than an RfC? Herostratus (talk) 03:42, 6 July 2021 (UTC)
There was an RfC on this at MOS:CAPS from just 7 months ago: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters/Archive 32#Proposed update to MOSCAPS regarding racial terms. The closure states: Consensus against changing MOSCAPS to capitalize "Black" when used as a racial or ethnic descriptor. A raw vote count has a significant majority opposing the change, although an analysis of arguments made suggests a closer outcome than the votes, as many of the arguments made in opposition were rebutted or missed the point entirely. Ultimately, the decisive question is how RS use the terms; while several reliable sources (and particularly US sources) have adopted capital-B Black for the racial grouping, several counter-examples were also provided (including examples from US sources)....sufficient opposition such that the matter should not be reopened at a project-wide level until either further developments occur (i.e. more style guides adopting capital-form) or significant time has passed. More recently there was this discussion with a short RfC stating that MOS:CAPS did not need to be changed and was consistent with the earlier RfC: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters#Discussion about capitalisation of Black (people).
I disagree that capitalizing "White" alongside "Black" looks racist, though my preference is that both be lowercase, as terms primarily for skin color and "races". Black people are also ethnically diverse - an African-American identity is not the same thing as the many ethnicities of Africa, for instance. The reason white pride is not legitimate is not because there is no such thing as white people, but because white people as a group already are esteemed by society and treated as a norm, in the U.S. and ethnically similar countries anyway (again, as a group), so pushing "pride" in being white is just another term for white supremacy. (Likewise, the existence of so-called straight pride as a reaction to gay pride does not negate the existence of heterosexuality.) The idea that there is no such ethnicity as white or that white does not refer to a specific cultural group does not really make sense to me. What cultural group in the American South was it, then, that promoted and enforced Jim Crow laws? Many white people have ancestry basically equally divided from many different places in Europe and elsewhere, so it's not like they are actually German-American or English-American or whatever. They don't consider themselves that. So what ethnicity are they?
Some of Aquillion's sources note arguments that both should be capitalized. The AP quote says, The National Association of Black Journalists and some Black scholars have said white should be capitalized, too. This Atlantic article I found to be very thought-provoking and makes an argument for capitalizing both as the most anti-racist option.
I emphasize that above all we need to go by the recent RfC, and that any reopening of discussion on this would need to survey a wide array of sources and be careful not to exclude from the dataset sources that did not make changes in Summer 2020 as others did. Per WP:Due weight, we should also be looking for the opinions of linguists and other relevant academic experts, even more so than journalists. And, again, my own preference is to capitalize neither black nor white. Crossroads -talk- 04:04, 6 July 2021 (UTC)

We just had an RfC on this about two months ago. The idea of writing "Black but white" came nowhere close to gaining consensus. The closer (unaware of prior background) was generally down on capitalizing any of these things, but there's never been a rule to not capitalize them, nor to capitalize them. They just have to be treated consistently in the same article (MOS:ARTCON). WP shouldn't be using "ivory" and "ebony" in its own voice anyway; those are silly and rather outmoded evocative terms that lack neutrality. The "capitalize to show esteem" argument has already failed to gain consensus, both in the last RfC and in general for many years: we have an entire guideline section MOS:EMPHCAPS on not misusing capitalization as a form of emphasis/signification. PS: No, we do not care what journalists are doing; encyclopedic style is very different from news style, and WP is not written in new style, as a matter of clear policy. Our style guide is based on academic style guides (mostly Chicago Manual of Style and New Hart's Rules, plus Scientific Style and Format), and literally nothing in it was taken from a news style guide like AP Stylebook. Many, many times have people argued to change MoS based on AP or some other news style sheet (from NYT, The Guardian, The Economist, etc.), and the answer is always "no". PPS: The OP is fudging the "real world" reality. Using black is considered racist only when it's done in a pointed manner, e.g. next to White; White is considered racist only likewise in a pointed manner. There are many mainstream publications that use black and white, and quite a few that use Black and White, and this has actually been true since at leaste the 1980s. The new fad of Black but white is a politically motivated Americanism, recentism, and journalese-ism, and the fighting about it off-site is entirely politically driven. There's nothing even faintly neutral about using it or proposing its use here.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:38, 7 July 2021 (UTC)

I agree with almost all of that, but it's not really fair to say that a mere proposal is political and non-neutral (unless it were a case of the same person participating in/proposing the same proposal every one or two months, like (e.g.) Ukranian nationalists did every month for 3 years straight to get Kiev changed to Kyiv). Also, there was never any suggestion of using "ebony" and "ivory" in Wikivoice; I think Herostratus was just being cute with the discussion header. I'm also unclear what's unneutral about it - it's cheesy, but it seems neutral enough..? Ebony and ivory are what black and white piano keys were respectively made from, historically. Then in the '80s it was the title of a schmaltzy duet by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. Aside from that... only possibly controversial thing is in regard to ivory and how it's obtained. Firejuggler86 (talk) 15:19, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment, I do seriously question the veracity of the statement "lowercase black is now considered racist in the real world". Exactly what do you consider "the real world"? Corporate conference rooms in skyrise buildings in the centres of the affluent financial districts of major cities, filled with (undoubtedly overwhelmingly white) "task forces" (e.g.) sipping Starbucks lattes and pretending to fuss about "oppression" and that somehow a lowecase b vs an uppercase B is the cause of all the inequality woes in the world, when in reality the only actual objective they have is to maximise their bottom line for their ultra-wealthy shareholders. It's a classic case of corporate "keeping up with the Joneses" because it's the "hip" thing to do right now. We have no such monetary incentives. That's what differentiates us from everyone else, and Wikipedia was never meant to be like other publications because it isn't like other publications. (I also make note that, in the last year or so that this trend began, racism in society had not improved - after last summer's widespread enthusiasm cooled off, the racists have crawled out from their nooks and crannies more emboldened and unapologetically vocal than they've been since 1968 :\. ) Now, I fully agree that racists should not be catered to - not a thousandth of an inch. We should not be doing the opposite, to antagonise them either, though. Whatever short term satisfaction you might get out of it, it's bound to backfire. Firejuggler86 (talk) 14:32, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
  • Black and White or black and white. I personally like lowercase when it comes to colours, but I am perfectly fine with uppercase too - so long as all colours are treated the same way within their articles and/or article sections (including brown, and, if it were to be applicable, currently defunct/deprecated colours like red and yellow). For example, in South Africa, they have Whites, Blacks, and Coloureds; always capitalised, but not quite the same situation as America or England, so maybe irrelevant. Anyway, see my post advice for my arguments. Firejuggler86 (talk) 14:42, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
    • Firejuggler86, please see the 59 tables in this article for "all colours [should be] treated the same way". BTW, I can't find a style guide for the Chronicle of Higher Education, but articles like this one have uppercase B and lowercase w. Also, I have yet to run into someone who actually claims that "somehow a lowecase b vs an uppercase B is the cause of all the inequality woes in the world". Drmies (talk) 15:45, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
  • In the "real world" it's mostly still black and white. Neither is racist, whatever the woke brigade might like to claim. Neither is a genuine ethnicity, neither does actually refer to a cultural group (try telling people from Jamaica, people from Kenya and people from Nigeria that they all have the same culture!) and neither is derived from a place that is a proper name (like Asian). They're based on the perception of the colour of someone's skin, for crying out loud. How on earth can that be a proper name? Oh, and let's also remember that there is a very big world outside the US of A! Some of us actually live in it. I know, who would have thought... -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:28, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
    • Necrothesp, I was willing to entertain your argument until you started talking about "woke brigade", and your counterargument is starting to sound a lot like "designating groups is divisive". Note: I live in the real world too. Drmies (talk) 15:40, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
      • We are an encyclopaedia, not a soapbox. When people start to claim that capitalising one or other term is racist when it blatantly is not then we're going down the latter route. Note: The "real world" comment was taken from the OP (lower-case "black" is now considered racist in the real world.... What utter rubbish.). -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:43, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
        • If it's a soapbox, it's one that many, many organizations, and not just news organizations, have adopted, and there is no reason for our practice to simply disregard what their practice already is. As for "when it blatantly is not"--that's actually you climbing on a soapbox. Drmies (talk) 15:47, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
          • No, it's common sense. How can not capitalising someone's vaguely defined skin colour possibly be considered to be racist? But once again, I say, there's a world outside the USA. The BBC, for example, does not capitalise black. Even the famously liberal Guardian newspaper, which would probably self-destruct if anyone even suggested it might be racist, doesn't. The assumption seems to be that because American organisations are doing it, the whole world does it and ergo Wikipedia should do it. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:53, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
  • We JUST held a massive RFC on this exact issue. Too soon to discuss it again. Blueboar (talk) 16:48, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
  • Personally, I would only use Black and White when comparing and contrasting with other ethnic groups ("Blacks yadda yadda yadda, while Hispanics foobarity foo"). Or in proper nouns. When used as simple descriptors, I would leave them lowercase ("the crash killed four people: two white females and two black females"). --Khajidha (talk) 19:32, 8 July 2021 (UTC)

Apostrophes and boldEdit

Which do you prefer?

  • A confectioner's job encompasses...
  • A confectioner's job encompasses...

(It's bold because the term redirects here.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:44, 6 July 2021 (UTC)

I like:
  • A confectioner's job encompasses... (formatted as '''confectioner'''{{'s}})
because neither the apostrophe nor the "s" is bold. SchreiberBike | ⌨  21:05, 6 July 2021 (UTC)
In fact, neither of them is necessary and both should be avoided. I've rewritten the sentence in confectionery to get rid of the apostrophe entirely. Simples. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:40, 7 July 2021 (UTC)

Requested move discussion in progressEdit

An editor has requested that Climate change denial be moved to a different name. Please join the discussion at Talk:Climate change denial#Requested move 8 July 2021. Thank you. --Sangdeboeuf (talk) 12:00, 8 July 2021 (UTC)

Need more realistic examples for logical quotationEdit

It would really help if the MOS:LQ examples were of the kinds of material we quote here in Wikipedia articles rather than short examples from narrative fiction. Because I am puzzled by two apparently contradictory guidelines – "Include terminal punctuation within the quotation marks only if it was present in the original material" and "If the quotation is a single word or a sentence fragment, place the terminal punctuation outside the closing quotation mark."

Here is the original source material, from a well-known book on a presidential election:

Thus, since he who lives by the polls must die by the polls, George Romney took his decision forthrightly, openly, bravely, and on February 28th called an end to it, leaving behind the impression of an honest and decent man simply not cut out to be President of the United States.

And here is its use in a Wikipedia article:

Presidential historian Theodore H. White wrote that during his campaign Romney gave "the impression of an honest and decent man simply not cut out to be President of the United States."[192]


Presidential historian Theodore H. White wrote that during his campaign Romney gave "the impression of an honest and decent man simply not cut out to be President of the United States".[192]

Is the period inside the quotation mark correct, because it was inside in the material being quoted? Or should the period be outside the quotation mark, because only part of the original sentence is being quoted? I have thought it was the former, and I think the latter kinds of misrepresents the source, but it has been changed to the latter by another editor. I just want to know which one is intended by MOS:LQ. Thanks ... Wasted Time R (talk) 11:19, 9 July 2021 (UTC)

Excellent point, WTR. The MOS should interact with editors' usage on the encyclopedia, surely, but in this instance the guidance is confusing, or at least, could be less confusing. (I brought this up here years ago. More practical wording and examples were added, by other too; they've since been removed.) I remember seeing an article make FA with the precise opposite of LQ applied, but editors at the FAC seemed convinced that the approach they followed was in keeping with what was outlined here.
The answer to your query is the second example: the quoted portion is not a complete sentence, therefore (logically), end punctuation should sit after the quote mark. JG66 (talk) 11:41, 9 July 2021 (UTC)

MOS:SECTIONSTYLE, "etymology" and User talk:CatchpokeEdit

This user has been searching and replacing all uses of section headings like "Origin of the term" and replacing them with "Etymology", claiming MOS:SECTIONSTYLE as his justification - presumably because he thinks "the term" is an unnecessary reference back to the article subject. I don't see this at all and, without getting into a long discussion about what "etymology" covers, I see this as inappropriate, unhelpful and confusing to the reader. Imo, "etymology" should generally only used in cases where the origins or meanings in other languages (or older forms of English) are actually covered in the section. So for eg Silver Age of Comic Books, Mithridatic Wars, Palace economy, and Catholic imagination (where this is not the case), "etymology" should not be used. He has changed all these in the last couple of days, and is edit-warring to keep these changes. I'd like to establish a consensus that these changes are undesirable, and not compelled by the MOS. Thoughts? Johnbod (talk) 15:54, 12 July 2021 (UTC)

Let's see: we have List of band name etymologies, List of computer term etymologies, and List of company name etymologies; most if not all of these use modern english. This is entirely appropriate. Catchpoke (talk) 16:02, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS Johnbod (talk) 16:29, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
I have the same concerns as etymology and origins are not necessarily the same thing. MOS:SECTIONSTYLE mentions nothing about the edits that Catchpoke is doing. I would argue it's disruptive editing. – The Grid (talk) 16:33, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
To both of you, you need to read etymology and compound (linguistics). An etymon is a word origin and my edits are not disruptive. If you find the edit summary problematic, I won't use it. Catchpoke (talk) 17:23, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
No, we find the changes disruptive, and the "etymology" header inaccurate. Johnbod (talk) 17:28, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
And is this a lie? Catchpoke (talk) 17:34, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
Catchpoke: First, the term "etymology" used in a subheading assumes the reader understands what the word means, whereas "origin of the term" is straightforward. If two editors find you disruptive, chances are you are being disruptive. And since I noticed your edits and find them wrong, you can make that three editors. You can defend yourself, but baldly stating that you're not being disruptive is not really your call. Also, it's frankly disingenuous of you to state that if others "find the edit summary problematic, [you] won't use it" as you obviously know it's not the edit summaries that are the disruption. Per WP:BRD you should refrain from reverting to your preferred versions until consensus is reached. There is no policy or MOS guideline that supports your proposed changes. freshacconci (✉) 18:14, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
You are wrong. I was thanked by User:Veverve for this and User:Bermicourt agrees that etymology is the proper term. Catchpoke (talk) 18:30, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
I am wrong about what? You need to reach consensus and cease reverting to your version. If you find others that agree and consensus is reached (and keep in mind it's not a simple straw poll), then that's fine. But you don't have that right now and your "nope" comment addresses nothing that was actually said. If you want to convince people I suggest being less condescending, dismissive and argumentative. The onus is on you to convince the rest of us. freshacconci (✉) 18:36, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
@Catchpoke: I thanked you for that, because I believed you when you wrote it was a MOS standard. If it is not, then in the case of the content of the section of Subreption I think "Origin of the term" fits better, as there is no analysis of the composition of the word, but there is a historical explanation. Veverve (talk) 18:39, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
At least the one you were thanked for, at Subreption, actually is an etymology section, with details of the Latin origin etc, though I don't believe that means it has to be called that. Johnbod (talk) 18:39, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
(edit conflict)User:Veverve: There is no guidance or policy on which word/phrase to use but "etymology" is far more common than "origin of the term" or "origin of the name". All of you need to read up on the articles I've linked. "etymon" is the origin of a word. If there is a discussion of the methods and/or etymon, there is an etymology. Catchpoke (talk) 18:49, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
user:Johnbod: You quote WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS so should I quote it too in response to your contradictory reasoning? Catchpoke (talk) 18:53, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
Freshacconci: You don't want to read the pages so it does seem like a simple straw poll. Catchpoke (talk) 18:56, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
Currently there seems to be no policy that would support the replacement of every Wikipedia occurrence of "origin of..." with "etymology" (or vice versa). Both are acceptable and so we shouldn't be doing any mass changes. I think it would make sense to have a guideline for naming section headings of this type (as opposed to article text), as the origin of an unusual word quite often forms part of the article. HTH. Bermicourt (talk) 19:00, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
What do you mean as opposed to article text? Catchpoke (talk) 19:46, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
  • First of all, Catchpoke, etymology is strictly applied to words only, not phrases; and to their origin, not the way they may be applied in novel modern ways. So, for example, the word disc has an etymology: the phrase disc drive does not (though its origin, in the context of computing, can be traced). Recently the community has had to rein in a spate of not-as-smart-as-they-think-they-are knowitalls; this guy has just barely escaped an indefinite block (for now) but if you keep this up I predict you won't be so lucky.
    And let me educate you on another point. A section headed ==Origin of the term==, in the article Silver Age of Comic Books, does not "redundantly refer back to the subject of the article", as SECTIONSTYLE warns against, because the subject of that article is the Silver Age of Comic Books, not the phrase Silver Age of Comic Books. Now cut it out. EEng 19:06, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
    User:EEng#s: you are completely wrong. Etymology has a number of pathways. The pages which have "origin of the ..." have etymologies. Read the material again. I won't use that edit summary again. Catchpoke (talk) 19:46, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
    To User:EEng#s: Maybe you came to the bottom and didn't read [5] which I posted above. Catchpoke (talk) 19:54, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
    No, but I choose to rely on my education and the Oxford English Dictionary over some guy you're diffing on the internet. EEng 21:18, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
    'Etymology' is certainly used for lexicalized phrases. (That's one of the pathways, though not mentioned in the article you linked to.) I'm not aware of the word ever being used for a transparent phrase like 'Jesus of Nazareth'. I suppose I could speak of the 'etymology' of my WP user name in the sense of the pun involved, but if my parents had actually named me 'Kwami Kagami', it would be extremely odd to speak of the 'etymology' of my name (as opposed to the reasons my parents chose it), and if I did in a paper for publication I suspect the editor would correct me. Speaking of the etymologies of the individual names Kwami and Kagami (or Jesus and Nazereth) would be a different matter, and entirely appropriate.
    But even if you wish to be pedantic and insist that a transparent phrase like 'Toyota Camry' has an etymology distinct from the etymologies of its components, the issue here is whether it's useful to our readers to label headers that way. That is, whether you have discovered the Truth that the rest of us have missed is beside the point, and not a good argument for what you are doing. And saying 'I'm right and you're wrong, so eff you' is a good way to get blocked. — kwami (talk) 20:45, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
    I think the problem here is that he does, in fact, wish to be pedantic. EEng 21:18, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
    Especially stating "you're wrong" to other editors. "Am I out of touch? No, it's the children who are wrong."The Grid (talk) 22:31, 12 July 2021 (UTC)
Outside of MOS:SECTIONSTYLE, the user has also been applying this replacement to sentences of article prose (eg. in as the crow flies) with the edit summary "grammar". This does seem a misleading way to phrase it, in cases where the text has nothing to say about the origin of any individual words, and a crow is just a crow. --Lord Belbury (talk) 07:08, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
Well, I think that he is right that the use of "etymology" is grammatically correct (just about), but it is not semantically correct. This scale of campaign editing against the protestations of all around amounts to vandalism in my opinion. Imaginatorium (talk) 09:13, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
Note that there was no grammar problem with what he replaced: "One suggested origin of the term is that before modern navigational methods were introduced...". Johnbod (talk) 13:43, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
No, sorry I was not being clear. This was not a grammatical improvement, but neither was it introducing a grammatical error. The problem is the completely unnatural effect of the cut-n-paste replacement. Imaginatorium (talk) 14:22, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
Where he has now got himself a topic ban, so I guess this is concluded. Johnbod (talk) 01:46, 24 July 2021 (UTC)

Collage footer styleEdit

I can't seem to find any guidance on the appropriate way to style footers for collages, such as those found on city pages like Washington, D.C. I assume that either "clockwise, from top" or "From top, left to right" is acceptable. But should it be From top, left to right:, (From top, left to right)[line break], or something else? Should entries be separated by commas or by {{hlist}}? This seems like something we might want to agree on just for consistency. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 23:38, 14 July 2021 (UTC)

I did bring up a simliar question [6] about whether caption 'pointers' like "(left)" "(pictured)", etc should be in italics but it seemed MOS did not have an answer.  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 00:19, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
...because, indeed, it's not clear is needs to have an answer. (I actually think it does need an answer, but until it becomes clear that it needs an answer, it's premature to formulate it. Sort of, when the student is ready the master will appear, some shit like that.) EEng 03:14, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
Hmm, interesting. The advice that it's not worth the drama is worth considering, although sometimes this stuff is easier than we might expect. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 01:08, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
  • something we might want to agree on just for consistency – No, no, a thousand times NO. "Just for consistency" is the weakest of arguments for adding a rule to MOS, and it's very seldom sufficient. Different articles, different collages, may have different needs. Let a thousand flowers bloom in the captions of various articles, tended and nurtured by the editors of those articles. See WP:MOSBLOAT. EEng 03:14, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
    @EEng: Fair point. Consider this idea withdrawn. I would still appreciate if editors have any thoughts about what they personally prefer. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 16:21, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
    Collages usually have four to six images; so long as the descriptions are concise, keeping it in prose form looks good to me. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 16:24, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
  • So the tl;dr here seems to be leave it up to editorial discretion to be determined by consensus on a case-by-case basis. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 16:11, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
    We could possibly add that somewhere in the MOS, no? I.e. either way is acceptable as long as it is consistent throughout the whole article.  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 16:25, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
    MOSBLOAT MOSBLOAT MOSBLOAT MOSBLOAT MOSBLOAT MOSBLOAT MOSBLOAT MOSBLOAT MOSBLOAT! What problem or issue (real, not hypothetical) does this solve? EEng 19:25, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
    @EEng: I could not find a shortcut to MOS:BLOAT (guessing you meant WP:BLOAT?). There have been a few occassions where I wish I had something like this added to MOS so I can cite when editors revert the italic style the other way which would be helpful. Regards  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 19:33, 18 July 2021 (UTC)
    It's my Pulitzer-nominated essay WP:MOSBLOAT. (The "Closely related principles" section is SMcCandlish's.) EEng 02:18, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
    @EEng: Ah I see thanks. But do you see what I mean in this case it may be good to have brief mention that italics or no italics is alright. Nice to be able to quickly cite MOS in an occassion like this [7] where an editor may not be aware that either way is fine. Regards  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 19:09, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
    I do see, but if we say that, then "You can do it either way" itself becomes a guideline. What MOS is silent on, it is silent on, and we need to keep it that way or we have just another form of MOSBLOAT. To be a broken record: unless you can show me that substantial editor time is being wasted because of the lack of a guideline (even a guideline saying "You can do it either way"), I'm going to stubbornly resist adding anything to MOS. Think of me as the boy with his finger in the dike. EEng 23:13, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
    That'd be nice, as otherwise someone else is likely to come back asking again at some point. Another place we could put it is the documentation for {{Multiple image}}; I'll do that. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 17:02, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
    Well, like I've said, I think this is the sort of thing that probably could stand being standardized, but there needs to be a critical mass of trouble that will be avoided in the future in order to make such an exercise worthwhile, and to act as grist for the discussion mill. EEng 19:28, 15 July 2021 (UTC)

Possessive forms of biblical names ending with "s"Edit

For probably their entire existence, the Jesus and Moses articles used " Moses' " as the possessive form until I changed them to " Moses's ". The other day I came across an article on Merriam Webster that says specifically that biblical names are an exception to this rule and should be written " Moses' " and " Jesus' ", but an editor won't let me change it back. I noticed the first time I was making the edits that certain quotes used the " Moses' " form (for example Moses#Artapanus), which I left as is, since quotes shouldn't be changed obviously. I also noticed just now that the footnotes on Jesus still use the " Jesus' " form because I missed them the first time around. Should the manual of style be updated or does Merriam Webster not know what they're talking about?

I think they might be right because people always say "in Jesus name, amen", they don't say "in Jesuses name, amen" Akeosnhaoe (talk) 16:08, 15 July 2021 (UTC)

Wikipedia follows its own manual of style; while it may be influenced by others, it doesn't need to adhere to them. MOS:'S recommends adding 's to singular nouns ending in s, including proper names (which I personally find abhorrent to look at), but suggests rewording a sentence if adding the 's would make the name harder to read. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 16:19, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
I think Akeosnhaoe is aware of what the MOS says. The question isn't of what the MOS says but whether the MOS should say what it says or if it should be amended. The MOS itself can't be used as an argument against such a, I personally don't understand why only biblical names should have such an exception (I would that this were the standard), but if that truly is the practice, I think it's worthy of consideration. Firejuggler86 (talk) 03:47, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
Well, since you've asked about should, the apostrophe represents a contraction, hence singular uses a apostrophe-s (contracting "his", "hers" or "its") whereas the plural form does not (contracting "their"). That's why it does not apply to personal pronouns; they are already spelt out in full. I don't know why there was an exception made for Biblical names; but it was a common style to omit the "s" when it was not pronounced. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 05:49, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
That’s not actually correct, Hawkeye7, see Saxon genitive. The idea that it’s a contraction was a popular folk etymology in the early modern period.
The current rule has consistency on its side - there’s no actual reason not to always write ‘s and there are style guides that prescribe it including for names like Moses and Jesus. It’s not a question of correct usage, just standardization in a particular written document. I personally prefer to write all names ending in -us with just an apostrophe, but that’s only one option. I don’t see any reason to change the current rule.—Ermenrich (talk) 22:55, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
There isn't a rule for how to handle possessives for non-plural names ending in s, right? I generally go by how its pronounced, and I suppose most people do.. Mr Franks' bunny pelts, Jits's walloo.
The Bibilical names thing is just tradition. Certainly for Jesus -- people always say "In Jesus' name" rather than "In Jesus's name". I guess preachers talk that way. Since that's how people in the real world do, so should we. Even Strunk & White carved out a exception for that (they prescribed the 's form for all other instances). For Moses the possessive is just pronounced that way, I guess: "By Moses' whiskers, I shall be avenged". Maybe because three esses in a row sounds awkward. So that's not an issue. Are there other important Biblical names ending in s? Herostratus (talk) 03:27, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
Well, Lazarus comes to mind. Silas, James, Tobias, Amos, Matthias, Genesis, Phineas, Gluteus Maximus. And the possessive form of Methuselah – is it Meh-thooze-uh-luhz or Meh-thooze-uh-luh-zez (or -zuz)? And what's the possessive of Lourdes? I don't even know how to pronounce Lourdes itself. EEng 04:39, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
Phinehas "distinguished himself as a youth at Shittim". I think that's all we need to know. Martinevans123 (talk) 07:34, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
The only one for which I actually hear anyone not saying the 's is "Jesus' name". And even there I do hear some people say "Jesus's name". I'm not sure why anyone cares about pronunciation when the question is about spelling, though. It's not as if English doesn't already have gobs and gobs of silent letters. Just stick the 's on all of them and continue pronouncing them however you already do. --Khajidha (talk) 13:08, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with a Biblical exception. It's just English. The possessive of James is very often written as James' rather than James's, for example. But both are technically correct. I don't think we should be changing one to the other except for consistency within articles. It may even be that there's a WP:ENGVAR issue here, as British English certainly often prefers the apostrophe without the terminal 's' on these names (as per the given example, St Thomas' Hospital). -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:35, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
Keep in mind that Biblical names are actually Aramaic, Greek or Hebrew rather than English, and the English names are often significantly different from the original, e.g., Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה‎, romanizedMoshe, lit.'Moses', Hebrew: פִּינְחָס‎‎, romanizedPinchas, lit.'Phineas', Hebrew: שְׁלֹמֹה‎, romanizedShlomoh, lit.'Solomon'. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 15:48, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
As Ermenrich and others above have said, the MoS standard that singular names carry an ‘s in the possessive is simple, clear, and widely used elsewhere. I don’t see any reason to be making any exceptions for biblical names. The London hospital exception is actually not an exception - the change in its punctuation is relatively recent and reflects that there were two St Thomases associated with the hospital. It doesn’t indicate anything about British English, where ‘s for the singular possessive is the common standard. MapReader (talk) 18:15, 19 July 2021 (UTC)

Wikipedia bots for style issuesEdit

Do all the WP:MOS issues have Bot's to do their dirty work for them?, or is there a list of Bot's that have/haven't been written somewhere? Darcourse (talk) 19:39, 15 July 2021 (UTC)

@Darcourse: The WP:GENFIX set contains many of the MOS fixes it's possible to make on an automated basis. But there are many more bots that could be written. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 20:21, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
I would strongly advise against using bots to rectify style issues. They don’t recognize situations where an exception to a rule might apply. Human eyes do much better. Blueboar (talk) 20:41, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
I second @Blueboar's statement. Firejuggler86 (talk) 03:28, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
There are certainly some style issues where that's the case, but for many others it is not. I find it concerning to see editors taking such a strong anti-bot stance in such a generalized sense, without even knowing what the specific issues might be. Fundamentally, there is far more style work to be done on Wikipedia than editors available to do it, and when bots can lighten the load, we should welcome that. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 05:09, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
Sd, you're relatively new to the project. There was a about a ten-year period before your time during which some self-appointed busybodies maintained a pack of bots that went around fixing things that weren't broken and refashioning articles according to their personal stylistic preferences (the self-appointed busybodies' preferences, not the bots'). It was most unpleasant. It's critical to remember that MOS is a guideline, not a policy. Very few of its provisions are suitable for rigid enforcement, and a vanishingly small subset of those are amenable to mechanized enforcement. EEng 06:06, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
EEng, thanks for filling me in on the history. I can see that being unpleasant, and presume that that is what led to some of our current bot policies. That doesn't affect my view that there are many unwritten bots that could helpfully and uncontroversially improve MOS issues with articles, though. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 06:51, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
Note that while the MOS is a guideline, WP:COSMETICBOT is indeed a policy. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 00:15, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
I agree with Sdkb, however, I also understand EEng's reasoning. Perhaps a solution can still exist by using semi-automated bots (e.g. by expanding the capabilities of WP:GENFIX). For example, the bot can generate a queue of changes, and decisions can be approved by users. Another possible solution is avoid using bots by making Wikipedia's built-in wiki editing features more powerful by providing suggestions. There are many places where linters are quite needed. We can take inspiration from automated code linting, which is quite commonly used in software development. I understand that English is not as structured as programming languages are, but there are still many trivial things can be cleaned up, such as code spacing for easier readability of inline templates with many parameters. These bots can prove to be worthy when used in conjunction with more structured data from Wikidata. I also want to mention that I've found Wikipedia's help guides, tutorials, and templates very inaccessible and hard to find. It all feels unorganized, and it takes quite some time to find relevant guidelines. (Where can I find a standard template for creating an article about some software? What should the order of the sections be? Why isn't it easier to find the right wiki templates? Will it take me several minutes for me to find how to properly stylize something, or should I just save my time by finding another article and imitating its style?) If the MOS were easier/convenient to navigate/use, I can guarantee that more users will use it while they're editing articles. Perhaps a simple solution (without any bots) is to better integrate the MOS with VisualEditor by using some kind of side panel with navigable MOS menus. Somerandomuser (talk) 05:02, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
Improving GENFIX would be fantastic. We shouldn't handicap ourselves more than necessary, though—WP:COSMETICBOT requires only that an edit be visible to readers, which is a low bar to clear. I'd like to see more instances of bots applying the GENFIX edits that are visible in this way—"it's cluttering my watchlist" is a poor rebuttal to "this edit actively improves readers' experience".
On the aside, making Wikipedia's help resources more useful has been a long and ongoing project. I'd definitely recommend bringing up your thoughts to WT:Help Project to discuss them further. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 05:09, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
  • I've found Wikipedia's help guides, tutorials, and templates very inaccessible and hard to find – You can say that again. Then entirety of HELP: is utterly useless and should be incinerated. See [8] (not actually part of HELP: but would be very at home there.)
  • should I just save my time by finding another article and imitating its style? – As a result of the prior point, yes, that's indeed the best way. I'm certain that's how 100% of editors learn 80% of what they know how to do (and 100% of the first 20% of what they know how to do -- if you can follow that somewhat turgid point).
EEng 05:30, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
Meh… What one editor considers a “minor edit” can be seen by another editor as a “major change”. I have seen protracted arguments over the years about edits that someone initially thought would be “uncontroversial”. While I am not 100% anti-bot, I still urge extreme caution. Blueboar (talk) 12:22, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
  • I don't understand what you mean by that. EEng 06:06, 16 July 2021 (UTC)

Do these Bots exist in other languages, e.g. French or German? I couldn't find the page on fr.. Darcourse (talk) 04:15, 17 July 2021 (UTC)

Remember the Law of unintended consequences, don't assume that a bot is uncontroversial and analyze it the way porcupines make love, very carefully. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 02:09, 20 July 2021 (UTC)

Contradictory guidelines on all-caps within quotationsEdit

MOS:CONFORM says (regarding quotations):

Generally preserve bold and italics (see § Italics), but most other styling should be altered. Underlining, spac ing within words, colors, ALL CAPS, small caps, etc. should generally be normalized to plain text. If it clearly indicates emphasis, use italic emphasis ({{em}}) or, in an already-italic passage, boldface (with {{strong}}).


Do not write with all capitals for emphasis; italics are preferred (see § Do not use for emphasis, above). In quoted material, all caps or small caps for emphasis can be replaced with {{strong}} (or HTML <strong>); see WP:Manual of Style/Text formatting § STRONG.

The MOS:FORMAT cross-ref there points to:

HTML's <strong>...</strong> emphasis, which usually renders as boldface, can be used in quotations to represent material boldfaced (or given in all-caps or small-caps) in the original material. It can also be rendered with the {{strong|...}} template.

The last two quotes say that caps-for-emphasis in quoted material should be replaced with <strong>...</strong> markup. But the first quote seems to say that caps-for-emphasis should generally be replaced with <em>...</em>. Seems like these should be harmonized, though it's unclear to me which rule should be the canonical one. Colin M (talk) 16:18, 18 July 2021 (UTC)

In books, what's generally used to indicate emphasis is italics, so we should stick to that, since in Wikipedia we normally use bold to indicate either the title of the article or a redirect to the article or a specific section, and using bold for emphasis would become confusing. —El Millo (talk) 18:23, 18 July 2021 (UTC)
I agree. I don’t have hard evidence to back it up, but my experience has been that most articles use italics for emphasis and that bold is less common. Firefangledfeathers (talk) 18:33, 18 July 2021 (UTC)


Hello. I'm a new page patroller, and it was recently suggested to me that I use Indian English in bios of Indian people. I went to look up engvar, which I've seen but have no idea how to use. As a new page patroller, am I suppose to be putting {{Use Indian English}} type templates on the articles I patrol? And is there a tool to convert between styles of English if an article is in the wrong style? Thanks. –Novem Linguae (talk) 23:49, 22 July 2021 (UTC)

You're not obligated to, and some editors would say that adding {{Use Indian English}} would be redundant on articles with clear Indian ties; I don't see the harm in adding it to make it explicitly clear to editors who may not be aware of WP:TIES which variant they're supposed to be using. I don't know of any tools that can analyse an entire page and switch variants to another form; I just do it the long and hard way. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 23:58, 22 July 2021 (UTC)
  • @Novem Linguae: Do not add variant of English talk page templates to articles you patrol and do not convert articles between varieties, per MOS:RETAIN. These are only meant to be used in the event of an actual dispute over ENGVAR. Furthermore, they should only be used when there is actual evidence that a given page is actually written in the relevant variety, not applied careless to all pages that seem to belong to a certain variety. There is a separate series of templates for marking the variant an article is written in for maintenance purposes. These are found in Category:Use English templates, and are placed in articles themselves. However, again, these should only be used if there is actually evidence that a given variant has been used. RGloucester 19:40, 23 July 2021 (UTC)

Question About Fonts for Non-Latin ScriptsEdit

I am trying to mediate a dispute about what style of letters to use for native names in a non-Latin script, in particular in Arabic. I can't find a section in the MOS that addresses this question. Where in the MOS would there be guidance on what style of letters (that is, what fonts) to use for the native Arabic names of places and people whose native names are in Arabic? Robert McClenon (talk) 18:56, 23 July 2021 (UTC)

If it makes a difference, I believe the dispute is over non-Arabic languages that use Arabic script. Sorry to be pedantic, but there's a chance it'll matter since Nastaliq script is more commonly used in the languages of Afghanistan/Iran than in the Arabic language. Firefangledfeathers (talk) 19:48, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
Don't worry about being pedantic. Here at MOS, pedantry is our stock in trade. EEng 20:10, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
Full transparency: 20% of me was sorry for being pedantic and 80% of me was excited. Firefangledfeathers (talk) 20:12, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
Correction noted. The question is about languages other than the Arabic languages that are normally written in the Arabic alphabet, just as many Indo-European languages, such as English, besides Latin are normally written using the Latin alphabet. Yes, User:Firefangledfeathers knows what the dispute is. Where dpes or should the MOS address the question of what font or fonts should be used for non-Latin representations of the native forms of foreign names? Either the appropriate section of the MOS addresses the issue, or the appropriate section of the MOS should be developed. Robert McClenon (talk) 20:36, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
The MOS is pedantic in its own way, so that it excludes other styles of pedantry. Robert McClenon (talk) 20:36, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
Most browsers and operating systems will see your text as Unicode characters and then try to display it in the current font. If a character is not present in that font then the system will hunt for the most similar font on your device that does have that character. If it still can't find a font containing that character then you will see a small rectangle.
If you instead try to declare a particular font then it will try to use that font. But if the user doesn't have that font then it will do the above searching anyway. So there's no need to worry about it. Declaring the specific font just clutters up the wiki mark-up in the article for no real benefit.
Just type it in and the system will work it out for you. For proof, find an article with many language links on the left. Right click and view the page source. You will see many non-Latin languages with no particular font selected. It just works.  Stepho  talk  02:17, 24 July 2021 (UTC)
User:Stepho - Thank you for the general advice about using fonts for non-Latin alphabets. That is probably helpful to someone who is trying to add to an article. That wasn't my question. My question was about whether the MOS says anything about a dispute between two other editors about what font to display non-Latin letters in. Robert McClenon (talk) 05:31, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
Perhaps I'm missing something. If we don't need to specify a font at all then surely there is no dispute to worry about. Can you point us to where the dispute is?  Stepho  talk  11:35, 27 July 2021 (UTC)
I don't see any sections about the use of either the Arabic alphabet or expanded forms of the Arabic alphabet. Is that because there are no sections, or am I missing something? Robert McClenon (talk) 05:31, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
MOS:FONTFAMILY might be relevant here. pburka (talk) 17:28, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
Thank you. I will try to explain, User:Stepho-wrs, User:Pburka. The dispute is currently at DRN, the Dispute Resolution Noticeboard, and it is font-warring about articles related to Afghanistan. One user objects to the use of the Nastaliq font. What I would like is a guideline that says that the Nastaliq and Naskh fonts are permitted. Otherwise resolving the dispute comes down to saying not to be disruptive, and if necessary invoking discretionary sanctions, which would be an ugly way to resolve an ugly dispute. Is there any guideline that says either what fonts are permitted, or that says that font-warring is not a good idea? If there is an MOS page about the Arabic script in general, we could put something there, but I don't see anything about the Arabic script. Robert McClenon (talk) 00:34, 28 July 2021 (UTC)
The MOS is quite clear that you shouldn't override the default font family. pburka (talk) 00:40, 28 July 2021 (UTC)
Ah, I understand a bit better now. The choice is to force the article to render with the font Nastaliq (eg کابل ), or the font Naskh (eg کابل‎ ) or the default font chosen by the viewer's browser (eg کابل ). On the face of it, they want their choice for aesthetic reasons - it looks prettier to their eyes. Kind of like someone preferring Calibri vs Times new Roman whenever British town names are mentioned. The downside of an editor forcing a font is that all readers no longer have a choice - they get the editor's choice regardless. If no font is forced, then the reader's browser can choose the font - including the reader's option of custom CSS styles. MOS:FONTFAMILY says don't force the font due to this loss of flexibility - although it doesn't go into the details I just gave about how the flexibility is lost.
From '(3rd) Statement by Danre98', there is a faint hint of cultural suppression where a minority culture is being forced to use the script of a dominant culture (kind of like if all British articles were forced to use American spelling). It would explain the fervour involved. But neither side explicitly listed this reason and it might just be my imagination.  Stepho  talk  11:47, 28 July 2021 (UTC)

Is using 'Latter' and 'Former' a bad idea?Edit

Is using 'the latter' of 'the former' (as the subject of a sentence, not a point in time) a bad idea? Or indicative of a sentence that needs re-wording anyway?

For example in:

Rio 2016 Olympians Shōhei Iwamoto and Natsumi Tomonaga confirmed places each in the men's and women's event, respectively, with the former finishing fourth and the latter second among those eligible for Olympic qualification at the 2019 Asia & Oceania Championships in Kunming, China.

I would prefer something like:

Rio 2016 Olympians Shōhei Iwamoto and Natsumi Tomonaga confirmed places each in the men's and women's event, respectively, with Iwamoto finishing fourth and Tomonaga second among those eligible for Olympic qualification at the 2019 Asia & Oceania Championships in Kunming, China.

My objections:

  1. It's poor for readability, you have to scan back and forth when reading, especially bad for screen readers and audio recordings, and even then the subject is often still unclear.
  2. It's brittle, if someone adds another example to a list or re-orders the list, then the whole construct has to be re-written.
  3. It's potentially harder to understand text out of context for e.g. 'did you know'

I'm tempted to edit these out whenever I see them, is there any existing discussion/guidance on this that I should take into account?

JeffUK (talk) 17:15, 25 July 2021 (UTC)

  • Both sound fine to me, but I exercise caution when I repeat names in a sentence, as it can sound redundant. If I want to do a little repetition, I would personally go for:

    Rio 2016 Olympians Shōhei Iwamoto and Natsumi Tomonaga confirmed places in the men's and women's events respectively: Iwamoto finished fourth, and Tomonaga second among those eligible for Olympic qualification at the 2019 Asia & Oceania Championships in Kunming, China.

    Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 18:18, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
  • Former and latter are way overused. In most cases they're simply one more form of WP:ELEVAR. The OP's rewrite is best. Tenryuu's rewrite is missing a comma after second (or you can omit the comma after fourth). EEng 19:31, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
    • I tend to agree, but is there a proposal here? Are we just commenting in general, or is a MOS rule forthcoming? If the former, is this the right forum? If the latter, don't we normally avoid being overly-proscriptive in MOS? --A D Monroe III(talk) 20:35, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
      I definitely agree "latter/former" is rarely a good prose choice (see Wikipedia:The_problem_with_elegant_variation#Latter_/_former). I also feel it probably doesn't need to be in the MOS. Popcornfud (talk) 21:09, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
  • I rarely see them on WP, perhaps too rarely. They are often better than repeating names, especially when only one of them is needed. This may be an ENGVAR style thing. Certainly no MOS change needed. Johnbod (talk) 22:18, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
  • No nothing wrong with using 'Latter' and 'Former', avoids repetitive tedious language. Also please do not cite ELEVAR at me, it is a user essay.  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 14:03, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
    Wow, someone sure got up on the wrong side of the style manual this morning, you have a comma splice too. Linking to a user essay informs (or reminds) our fellow editors of a particular line of reasoning without its having to be tediously pasted in; that's what essays are for. EEng 14:39, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
There isn't anything fundamentally wrong with latter and former when referering to things that are sequential. But when one is referring to a sequence of words in the sentence, then it can be a sign of verbosity and complexity that could be eliminated with a rewrite. The proposed sentence is way too long and confuses the reader by combining "came fourth" and "came second" about separate events. The facts:
  • Both Shōhei Iwamoto and Natsumi Tomonaga were Rio 2016 Olympians.
  • Both compete in the modern pentathlon and sought qualification at the 2019 Asia & Oceania Championships in Kunming, China
  • Iwamoto came fourth in the mens event
  • Tomonaga came second in the womens event
  • Both successfully qualified to compete at the 2020 Summer olympics.
There are lots of way to write this to minimise redundancy while keeping separate things separate. In particular, I think it is important to keep the mens/womens events/results separate. For a data-heavy article like this, it is probably best to err on the side of short simple sentences, than attempting beautiful flowing prose. The reader is skimming for facts, not reading to be entertained. -- Colin°Talk 15:10, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
  • I think it should be avoided wherever possible. I'm not talking about zero tolerance, but to only resort to it when repetition of the names/terms becomes truly clunky and repetitious. This was an example I found unnecessary – imo, the use of former/latter there came across as affected, and so caused more problems than it solved. WP:ELEVAR makes some good points, I think, because there's nothing worse, as a reader, than coming across a page that reads as if it's been authored a little too fussily. JG66 (talk) 15:54, 4 August 2021 (UTC)

Dropping digits from second number/ date in range?Edit

Can somebody drop a link to if and when this is acceptable. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 00:16, 27 July 2021 (UTC)

MOS:DATERANGE is relevant. pburka (talk) 00:35, 27 July 2021 (UTC)
That helps. What about page ranges in references? Cinderella157 (talk) 01:53, 27 July 2021 (UTC)
MOS:PAGERANGE :) pburka (talk) 02:09, 27 July 2021 (UTC)
New there was something. With thanks. Cinderella157 (talk) 08:53, 27 July 2021 (UTC)

Olympics etc: "400 metres" or "400-metres"Edit

Some recent edits have been putting in "400-metres" for Olympic events, e.g. Ariarne Titmus. While it agrees with WP:HYPHEN, in my opinion it should be trumped by the fact that the Olympics and other sporting events rarely if ever include the hyphen. Thoughts? Adpete (talk) 09:17, 27 July 2021 (UTC)

We don't strictly follow sources' style guides. It also helps clear ambiguity: are we talking about a freestyle that is 400 metres long, or 400 freestyles that are a metre long? —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 20:44, 27 July 2021 (UTC)
Surely WP:COMMONNAME applies, though? And while WP:COMMONNAME generally only applies to titles, we are left with the situation that the text doesn't match the title, e.g. Swimming at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships – Women's 400 metre freestyle, which in my opinion is poor style. Adpete (talk) 23:39, 28 July 2021 (UTC)
I don't think COMMONNAME applies really - not only is it just about article titles, but it's also about choosing the name that we're going to call something by, not about how to punctuate it (so it requires that we call our article 'Triple jump' rather than Hop, skip and jump). From my reading of MOS:HYPHEN, these changes are correct, and titles without the hyphen probably ought to be changed. (Or, if people don't like hyphens, per MOS:HANGING it's OK not to hyphenate if the units are abbreviated, so 400 m freestyle would be.) Girth Summit (blether) 14:10, 2 August 2021 (UTC)

Terminal punctuation in table cellsEdit

Should trailing punctuation be added to table cells? Someone already made that edit for me (which also impacted image descriptions which is only vaguely relevant here,), which is 1035992478 which should demonstrate nicely what I mean. My personal opinion on that is that there should not be any in "special encasings" or however you want to call them, which include tables, image descriptions and similar templates. This discussion should be primarily about tables if possible since I saw a lot of inconsistencies in similar tables.

-- NetSysFire (talk) 21:41, 28 July 2021 (UTC)

MOS:CAPFRAG says to not put periods at the end of sentence fragments for captions (which that diff did). Not sure if that would apply to table entries but that's where my intuition takes me.  Stepho  talk  10:57, 29 July 2021 (UTC)
Sentence fragments should not have terminal punctuation, regardless of where they are found. Primergrey (talk) 12:06, 29 July 2021 (UTC)

NavFrame removal (soon)Edit

WP:NavFrame is a long-deprecated collapsing technology. Efforts over the past several years have trimmed down its use or made it such that when it is finally turned off in our Common.css/js, it will be accessible to users in non-article spaces (simply by uncollapsing its content permanently; see also User:IznoBot#Task 3). There are about 70 pages left to work on in non-article space to swap it for its replacement so there is still some to do there.

However, there are some 1400 pages in the mainspace that employ NavFrame. Noting that WP:COLLAPSE says not to collapse content in mainspace generally, would there be support for a mass removal of this specific class and related HTML in semi-automated fashion (not the content held inside it)? Or to finish removal, must the uses be converted to use NavFrame's replacement technology (or one of the various collapsing templates)?

If it is of interest, the remaining use of NavFrame is generally in a series of sports articles to hide long tables that I would argue violate WP:NOTSTATS, but I'm not interested in article deletion right now. ;)

I am willing to leave a nice "here's how to 'revert' this activity constructively" in the edit summary, if that matters, indicating how the interested user can swap to the more correct class. (And more or less did so in the context of IznoBot task 3.)

(This may need a wider audience a la RFC, or possibly a more general question, since that section was written largely when collapsing stuff was not broadly accessible, and while there may be rationale for its continued existence, accessibility is not it today as collapsing these days is a case of progressive enhancement.) Izno (talk) 21:44, 28 July 2021 (UTC)

Hi @Izno:. This automated edit has left a bit of a mess on 2015–16 Coupe de France Preliminary Rounds. I would hope you can fix this before implementing the edit on any other Coupe de France articles, please. Cheers, Gricehead (talk) 19:27, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
Yes, I caught that myself and didn't go back to fix it. When I get back to my PC I'll take care of it. Izno (talk) 22:14, 3 August 2021 (UTC)


There's an ongoing discussion at Talk:Body mass index#Boundaries between categories that may benefit from some attention from experienced MOS editors. Essentially, BMI categories like Normal and Overweight are variously described by reliable sources, with some using ”18.5 – 25” and ”25 – 30”, respectively, while others use ”18.5 – 24.99” and ”25 – 29.99”. MOS:RANGES doesn't actually recommend how adjacent ranges of values in a continuum should be displayed. The article had previously used the former style, but it's now been changed to the latter, which arguably leaves gaps. Also, using a decimal precision of 0.1 (or 0.01) when it comes to BMI values is like weighing a fart. The discussion, such as it is, is like watching ping pong. As I see it, there's no real consensus either way at the moment, so the more opinions the merrier. Cheers. nagualdesign 22:54, 1 August 2021 (UTC)

Is man-made undesirable gendered wording?Edit

I moved "List of man-made disasters in South_Korea" to "List of human-caused disasters in South_Korea". I note the Gender-neutral language section overleaf.

Now there's friction at the talkpage. Anyone care to give an opinion (here or at that talkpage)? Tony (talk) 09:22, 2 August 2021 (UTC)

Nothing wrong with man-made. It is still the most common usage in English, and believe it or not, it IS gender neutral. Masterhatch (talk) 13:44, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
I would generally agree "man-made" still is one of those terms that is recognizes as not pushing a gender, and the switch to "human-made" is awkward. In this specific case, it may be possible to suggest "List of anthropogenic disasters..." if there really is issue with that. --Masem (t) 13:49, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
I also would prefer "anthropogenic". Putting aside the gendered aspect, it seems awkward to describe ferry accidents as "man-made" or "human-made" disasters. Humans were involved, but the only thing they made was a serious error. pburka (talk) 13:55, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
Per [9] man made: "manufactured, created, or constructed by human beings", not sure how that excludes women. "Man-made" is short for mankind, i.e. humans as a whole for just "men".  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 13:59, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
In some cases artificial works as a synonym (as at swimming pool). I don't think that particularly works in that title there. --Izno (talk) 14:52, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
True, but sometimes that carries the wrong implications. I think "man-made" is still ok, per others above. It's much clearer than the alternatives in most cases - how many people understand "anthropogenic"? I think "human-caused disasters" is the best for that page though, though User:Tony1 was completely (and typically, I'm afraid) wrong to move it without discussion. He can't have thought that would be uncontroversial. Johnbod (talk) 14:56, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
And Johnbod is being (typically, I'm afraid) insulting. Tony (talk) 00:04, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
Don't dodge the issue - if you stop doing this stuff, I won't need to keep pointing it out. It wasn't relevant to mention how rude you often are yourself (see ANI archives) - perhaps now it is. Johnbod (talk) 03:47, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
yeah, he's been around long enough to know about the MOS retaining existing styles. Masterhatch (talk) 15:06, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
Right, as regard "anthropogenic". Nobody knows what that means. Step outside your shoes here, people. (On the proximate matter, "human caused" is preferable IMO, but only because "man-made" seems a bit off in this particular context). Herostratus (talk) 15:08, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
Erm, we have a strong predilection to the gender-neutral. MOS:RET doesn't apply in such cases. Izno (talk) 15:42, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
It's WP:RM that applies, and that makes no concessions to supposed PC. Johnbod (talk) 16:09, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
RM is neither policy nor guideline; WP:BOLD is. (Mind you, I don't care about this particular article - simply commenting that the RM process is not mandatory.) Wikipedia:Article_titles#Considering_changes is policy I suppose, so take that fwiw. Izno (talk) 16:13, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
As an interesting point on "anthropogenic", I was looking at what other articles started with "list of man-made..." and found that the redirect List of man-made disasters points to Anthropogenic hazard. So we sorta already support that. (The other two cases, List of man-made objects on the Moon goes to List of artificial objects on the Moon (which makes sense from above) and List of man-made mass poisoning incidents which is just there). --Masem (t) 16:20, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
Anthropogenic hazard is a man-made disaster of a title! Johnbod (talk) 03:47, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
Can we use “man-made” if all the items listed were made by human males? Blueboar (talk) 15:58, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
"man-made" has not just been applied to disasters. Once upon a time, it was applied to ice. Man-made ice was different from the one transported from the arctic and stored in ice houses. Now because pretty much all ice consumed by humans is human-made we just call it ice; "artificial ice," is now reserved for the one underfoot in rinks. In the early days of rayon or nylon, it was called man-made fiber; now it is just artificial or synthetic fiber; man-made grass or turf is artificial turf; man-made lakes are artificial lakes; man-made flavors are imitation flavors; man-made leather or fur is faux; man-made flowers are fake or artificial; man-made gems are imitation gems. So man-made has been continued to be replaced by gender-neutral terms for nearly 100 years now. And it doesn't just apply to Homo sapiens. The national bird of India used to be the peacock. But on WP it is now peafowl based on the principle that a national bird can't be born of a mother who is not. The European Parliament says in its pamphlet on gender-neutral language, "the use in many languages of the word 'man' in a wide range of idiomatic expressions which refer to both men and women, such as manpower, layman, man-made, statesmen, committee of wise men, should be discouraged. With increased awareness, such expressions can usually be made gender-neutral." I think the page move was needed because gender-neutral terms are inevitable. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:56, 2 August 2021 (UTC)
"Anthropogenic" sounds good to me. Tony (talk) 00:06, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
"Anthropogenic" is too sesquipedalian to be used in an article title. WP:COMMONNAME y'know. ~Anachronist (talk) 04:27, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
Yes, we should avoid 'man-made' per existing language in MOS:GNL. I can't immediately generate an example of a usage of 'man-made' that wouldn't clearly or precisely be covered by 'human-made', 'human-caused', or a similar construction. If there continue to be 'man-made'-specific style disputes, I would support an explicit mention in GNL. Firefangledfeathers (talk) 02:30, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
Fiber, grass, and lakes listed in my post above have been purposefully made by humans. Disasters have typically not. So, "anthropogenic" (OED: originating in or caused by human activity) is certainly more accurate independent of the gender bias issue. "Anthropogenic" is applied to climate change (OED example: 2008 S. Vanderheiden Atmospheric Justice i. 38 By the time George W. Bush took office in early 2001, the existence of anthropogenic climate change was acknowledged by broad scientific consensus.), or to deforestation (OED example: 1963 E. Pyddoke Scientist & Archaeol. iii. 67 West has suggested that at Hoxne a phase of deforestation might be anthropogenic.) But in terms of human purposefulness, a disaster is somewhere in between fiber and climate change. That is why this morning, I'm leaning more toward "human provoked disasters," (which has some currency in the literature). They were provoked by human activity or agency. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 12:22, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
PS So in terms of preference, I'd say: 1. "human provoked disasters" 2. "anthropogenic disasters" 3 "human-caused disasters." All are better than man-made. I don't buy that "anthropogenic" is unfamiliar. It might be a little, but probably not much more than "pandemic" was in 2019 (as opposed to epidemic). Fowler&fowler«Talk» 12:32, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
All three of these (as well as "man-made disasters") seem to be used in reliable academic sources, so they satisfy WP:COMMONNAME. All three also satisfy MOS:GNL so I'd be fine with any of them. pburka (talk) 16:32, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
I probably should have clarified: my position above is focused on interpretation of our MOS, and the possibility that new language needs to be added to it for clarity. If I start to have an informed opinion on the list that's generated this discussion, I'll share it at the talk page. Firefangledfeathers (talk) 18:44, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
There is generally no problem with "man-made" in terms of gender neutrality, unless discussing specific objects made by an individual person. However, as noted above, there are in many cases different terms that are better for other reasons. Thryduulf (talk) 00:50, 4 August 2021 (UTC)

Template:Anchor documentation boldly changed; some unaddressed objections in preceding discussion, howeverEdit

Please refer to Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Archive_222#Instructions_on_the_placement_of_"Anchor"_templates.

Template:Anchor's documentation was boldly changed with this revision; however, I see some unaddressed objection in the discussion. It seems to me that placing the anchor in the previous section just above the next heading is the best option. While it does have the problem that a section could be moved with the anchor then being in the wrong place, I think this is better than the result of substituting the template in the heading of the section the anchor links to.

Please let me know your thoughts. Regards, DesertPipeline (talk) 10:08, 3 August 2021 (UTC)

Regardless of where it is used, there should not be two pages that decide where it goes. Seeing as it is a template, that place should be Template:Anchor and its talk page. Perhaps it would be valuable to document the previous discussions here on its optimal location. Izno (talk) 14:15, 3 August 2021 (UTC)

Repeating person's position in articleEdit

After someone is initially introduced in an article that isn't their biography, how should they be referred to?

e.g. say the article is about 2018 Russia–United States summit and Trump is introduced as "U.S. President Donald Trump", in the rest of the article is he referred to as "President Trump" or just "Trump"? I think there's a MOS about this but I can't remember which one. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 10:23, 5 August 2021 (UTC)

It depends on the context. If "Trump" by itself is ambiguous somehow (say it could be the Trump organization, or one of the Trump family if any of them were mentioned also), then it needs "President" or "Donald" in front of it to disambiguate it. If it isn't clear that the reference to Trump is before or after his presidency, then "President Trump" would be used only for anything pertaining to his time in office. Use the least amount of words that still makes the intended meaning clear. ~Anachronist (talk) 11:59, 5 August 2021 (UTC)
Let me pick a better example so we’re not getting into questions of ambiguity, say repeated usage of “Prime Minister Arden” at Christchurch mosque shootings or “Prime Minister Johnson” at COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 13:20, 5 August 2021 (UTC)
MOS:LASTNAME may be what you were looking for. Firefangledfeathers (talk) 12:29, 5 August 2021 (UTC)
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