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Singular they

Aren't we covering this somewhere? I don't find it at any "likely suspect" places including MOS:PERSON, MOS:GNL, MOS:IDENTITY, MOS:BIO, or MOS:WTW.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  12:25, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

These days there are in fact more Wikipedians who prefer the use of gender-generic he. Georgia guy (talk) 15:57, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
I would expect that after the Brexit/Trump manwich, but I was asking whether we're already addressing the question anywhere – I could have sworn we were – not how it should be addressed. Not sure we want to open that box of Pandora worm cans right now.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:12, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
As for Georgia guy: I would take explicit advocacy of the supposedly-gender-neutral he as a red flag that the user doing so is likely to edit with an anti-woman point of view. I happen to be a proponent of singular they, but the only acceptable alternatives are gender-neutral phrasings like "he or she", not a return to the days when men were the only people and women were best not mentioned. (I note however that GG did not actually advocate "he", only make unsourced claims about what others might advocate.) —David Eppstein (talk) 18:17, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
You undermine your own credibility by using grossly exaggerated hyperbole to underpin a stated intention to judge someone based solely on a prejudicial stereotype.
Believe it or not, some writers enjoy their creative license; coloring their prose to an ambience of pure art. Using gender specific pronouns in gender neutral contexts, while maintaining correct correlations with the masculinity of the topic at hand could be the resultant proof of such a writer's desire; if it had not already been shamed in biased decries.
I, sadly, (for having to), oppose the singular use of plural pronouns. I, more sadly, regret that I often may be pre-judged, for the opinion I hold.--John Cline (talk) 19:32, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
As I said above, I do not pre-judge people for their mistaken belief that English grammar should match Latin grammar, despite the ubiquity of singular they from major authors down the centuries. There are gender-neutral alternatives to singular they, and although I tend to think they are more awkward, I won't think any less of you if you disagree. The part I pre-judge is the insistence that gender-neutral he is adequate, when it is clearly not. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:35, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Thank you, I appreciate your reply.--John Cline (talk) 22:49, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
My God, what's with all the commas and semicolons? EEng 19:47, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
And parentheses, and incorrect use of them direct after commas ...  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  20:08, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
I admit being a poor writer, and mean no offense in so being.--John Cline (talk) 22:49, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
@John Cline: Oh, no one's "offended". The concern is that if you're bringing a highly idiosyncratic syntax and punctuation style, what is likely to be the utility of your input about wording and interpretation of a guideline where MOS:COMMONALITY is a key principle, where they goal of the document is having our encyclopedic output be in broadly accessible English that effectively communicates with everyone without violating the principle of least astonishment (and without triggering avoidable editorial dispute)? It's not a value judgement, but a practical concern.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:31, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
John Cline: "oppose the singular use of plural pronouns"—the standard response to this is that you must oppose the use of "you are" in the singular then. Singular they predates the "singular you" by centuries, and the only people who don't use it are those who've trained themselves not to. Yes, there are statistics to back that up. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:13, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. Your well spoken rebuttal is both reasonable, and informative. The power of its truth will undoubtedly move me to reconsider my own position, and modify it accordingly.--John Cline (talk) 22:49, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Where were we? Oh, right: WP on singular they. David, I had seen most of that already, other than the FA I think. So, we really have nothing at all in MOS anywhere on this. That's kind of odd. Makes me wonder to what frequency people are reverting each other on it, and in what direction most often.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  20:08, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Neologistic pronouns

I'm actually way more concerned about neologistms like zie and s/him. At least one article is now riddled with this stuff. WP using it is no different from us trying to mimic the font and color effects of logos. We're not here to promote individual parties' attempts at using customization of wording to stand apart, especially when it interferes in any way whatsoever with communication with our readers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  20:08, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

I agree with that. If someone wants to make up words to use in their own idiolect, fine. And if there are reasoned arguments why certain formerly-standard ways of writing are problematic and should be avoided (like neutral he), also fine. But we should treat insistance on using made-up words with the same deep suspicion that we give to insistence by corporations that we use their brand names with their own idiosyncractic capitalization and intellectual-property tags. If someone wants to be written about in a gender-neutral way, we can and should honor their request, but the details of how we do so should be ours not theirs. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:21, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Joke that someone took seriously.
It's a personal attack to refer to another editor as an idiolect. EEng 20:26, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
That was a hairbrained thing to say. Kendall-K1 (talk) 20:39, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
I think you mean harebrained. And EEng's just inserting one of his jokes. Don't take seriously.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:13, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
No, I mean "hairbrained." I am acquainted with EEng's sense of humor and I'm pretty sure he got the joke. Kendall-K1 (talk) 00:28, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Please, children! Do not quarrel on my account! EEng 00:42, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  Clerk declined Quarreling is mandatory. This is Wikipedia.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:36, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
So, we'll need to craft some wording to clarify MOS:IDENTITY with. Given the tremendous amount of wrangling it took to get MOS:IDENTITY at all, a) we know for a fact that permitting things like hirm and s/he in WP's voice was never the intent, and b) spelling that out more clearly will have to be done carefully and might even need to be RfCed or people will fight about it. I would host that here at WT:MOS, though; the last time one was hosted about this section at WP:VPPOL is ran for something like three months and was overrun by meatpuppets and flamers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:16, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
It would not surprise me to get a lot of publicity and off-wiki opposition to an official discussion on the position that we should not use zie/hirm/xe/ve/fae/per or other such neologisms. But I don't see a good way to have that discussion without inviting that possible outcome. (Or I suppose we could just use MOS:NEO to support not writing that way, without making guidance on pronoun-neologisms a separate part of the MOS.) —David Eppstein (talk) 00:34, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Absolutely agree with Mr Eppstein here. Calling out neologism pronouns specifically is a bad idea. It will only cause terrible protected arguments leading to incredible hard feelings, and be completely misinterpreted as to the actual motive, which is that we discourage use neologisms of any type, a position already covered by MOS:NEO. In other words, it's WP:CREEP of the absolute worst type, as it is something already covered that does not in any way need to be singled out. oknazevad (talk) 01:50, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
@David Eppstein and Oknazevad: Yet see this (at the lower of the two comments; and rebuttal here). If at least one MoS regular is convinced that MOS:IDENTITY protects the use of stuff like zim and shir, and we know that people are inserting this stuff directly into our articles in WP's own voice, then we have a serious problem. Maybe just a cross-reference to MOS:NEO and maybe also WP:NPOV is sufficient? This is the kind of thing that will spread site-wide if it's not addressed, because a) TG-focused language reform activists are dogged about pushing this PoV and will use any example they get into an article as a wedge; meanwhile, b) the average editor who disagrees with the neologisms being used here is reluctant to revert or speak up, out of fear of giving offense and being demonized for it (see the WP:VPPOL threads about MOS:IDENTITY for how nasty such attacks can get). This needs to be nipped in the bud before it spreads weed seeds all over the wiki-garden.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:36, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
This subsection discussion was spurred on by what I stated to SMcCandlish above. To repeat, I am not endorsing use of "singular they" or pronouns like "zir"' and "hisr." I do, however, know that some editors would point to MOS:GENDERID in support of pronouns like "zir" and "hisr." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:14, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Fine, but it's immaterial who is misinterpreting GENDERID as "protecting" the use of made-up neo-pronouns in our articles. The fact that it's happening is the problem. People are mistaking "gender identity" (female, male, intersex, etc.) for "preferred pronoun".  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  07:43, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
I've added a "See also" cross-reference to MOS:NEO. Maybe that will be sufficient.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:42, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

Back to singular they

The evolution on this has been toward more acceptance, over time. Apparently there is more resistance to it in AE than BE, which I did not know, but both are moving in the same direction. Some specifics:

  • It's covered somewhat at Singular they.
  • Webster's (1958) notes an example from Chaucer.[1]
  • The American Heritage Dictionary, which has a usage panel to discuss usage issues, made no special note of any issue with they in 1981,[2] but their online resource today provide a long usage note, beginning "The use of the plural pronouns they, them, themselves, or their with a grammatically singular antecedent dates back at least to 1300, and such constructions have been used by many admired writers..."[3]
  • Bryan Garner's Modern American Usage (1998) says, "Depending on how you look at it, this is either one of the most frequent blunders in modern writing, or a godsend that allows you to avoid sexism. Where [it] can be avoided, avoid it. Where it can't be avoided, resort to it cautiously, because some speakers (especially speakers of AmE) may doubt your literacy..." He goes on to say that it's used in British English "to a surprising degree, and even when the purpose cannot be to avoid sexist usage", and then gives various examples from reliable, even stuffy, British sources.[4]
  • NOAD (2000) has a usage note linking increasing acceptance of singular they (as do the other sources above) to an attempt to avoid sexist usage.[5]

Mathglot (talk) 02:40, 6 November 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Neilson, William Allan; Knott, Thomas A; Carhart, Paul (1958). Webster's New International Dictionary of the English language. II (2nd, Unabridged ed.). Springfield, Mass.: G & C Merriam Company. p. 2624. OCLC 480257386. 1. as nominative pl. of the 3d personal pronoun, sometimes wihtout an antecedent, and sometimes with a singular antecedent, as nobody, everybody.
        Jolif and glad they went unto here [their] rest. Chaucer.
    Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness. Matt. v. 6
    |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ Morris, William (1981). The American Heritage dictionary of the English language (New College ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 1336. ISBN 978-0-395-20360-6. OCLC 799071089. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  3. ^ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (2017). "American Heritage Dictionary Entry: they". AH Dictionary (5 ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 5 November 2017. Despite the apparent grammatical disagreement between a singular antecedent like someone and the plural pronoun them, the construction is so widespread both in print and in speech that it often passes unnoticed. There are several reasons for its appeal. Forms of they are useful as gender-neutral substitutes for generic he and for coordinate forms like his/her or his or her (which can sound clumsy when repeated). Nevertheless, the clash in number can be jarring to writers and readers, and many people dislike they with a singular antecedent. This includes much of the Usage Panel, though their resistance has declined over time. ... by 2008, a majority of the Panel accepted such sentences as If anyone calls, tell them I can't come to the phone (56 percent) and Everyone returned to their seats (59 percent).
  4. ^ Garner, Bryan A (1998). A Dictionary of Modern American Usage. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-19-507853-4. OCLC 928262389. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
    • 'Anyone can set themselves up as an acupuncturist...' Sarah Lonsdale, "Sharp Practice Pricks Reputation of Acupuncture," Observer Sunday", 15 Dec 1991, at 4.
    • 'A starting point could be to give more support to the company secretary. They are, or should be, privy to the confidential deliberations and secrets of the board and the company.' Ronald Severn, "Protecting the Secretary Bird" Fin. Times, 6 Jan 1992, at 8.
    • 'Under new rules to be announced tomorrow, it will be illegal for anyone to donate an organ to their wife...' Ballantyne, "Transplant Jury to Vet Live Donors," Sunday Times (London), 25 Mar. 1990, at A3.
  5. ^ Abate, Frank R.; Jewell, Elizabeth (2001). The New Oxford American Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 1761. ISBN 978-0-19-511227-6. OCLC 905179605. Retrieved 5 November 2017. In the late 20th century, as the traditional use of he to refer to a person of either sex came under scrutiny on the grounds of sexism, this use of they has become more common. It is now generally accepted in contexts where it follows an indefinite pronoun, such as anyone, no one, someone, or a person: anyone can join if they are a resident; each to their own. In other contexts, coming after singular nouns, the use of they is now common, although less widely accepted, esp. in formal contexts. Sentences such as ask a friend if they could help are still criticized for being ungrammatical. Nevertheless, in view of the growing acceptance of they and its obvious practical advantages, they is used in this dictionary in many cases where he would have been used formerly.
The recent politically-motivated use of singular they has clouded the waters. Statistics shows its use as near universal across all demographics (male vs female, rich vs poor, educated vs less educated, British vs American, young vs old ...). There's nothing new about it, and avoiding it (especially in conversation!) results in unnatural language. It has nothing to do with avoiding perceived sexism; compare the following:
"If Mike comes, give him this package."
"If one of the boys comes, give them this package."
*"If one of the boys comes, give him this package."
In the first, we must use him, because we are talking about a concrete male person. In the other examples, the person is an abstract "boy"; we know the person is male, but we still refer to this boy as them (aside from a minority who have been taught to hypercorrect to him; a larger minority are convinced they would never say him until they are inevitably "caught in the act"). Him is "wrong" on a gut level, and the vast majority of us would not resort to it in a spoken context (statistics back this up). In formal writing, we've been taught to use him, but it's unlikely you do so without noticing that you have—it feels wrong, and its use is thus marked for both readers and writers (they, on the other hand, goes unnoticed for all but an "educated" minority in the majority of contexts, even when they believe themselves to be extra vigilant). Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 04:29, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Except that the idea that everyone writing here feels that him is "wrong" on a gut level is a personal assumption/experience that doesn't generalize. The more one writes (practices) encyclopedic text, the more natural it is to keep preposition and antecedent subject in agreement, and thus the more naturally one detects the potential interpretational or preferential conflict on the fly and rewrites to eliminate it. May also have something to do with individual, even temporary (mood/mode) sentence-formation process; e.g. in the last sentence I started with something like "one practices, naturally rewrites" as the central mental idea to put flesh on, and built it out from there in a few seconds without much conscious thought about the word order and punctuation, just the significant words and meanings. I could have started with a more conversational or debatory kernel and produced a radically different statement in tone and content, and it would not have involved any marked "noticing that I did". (I wish I did "notice that I did" more often; I would get in fewer arguments!).

Anyway, I totally agree on the history. This has been amply proven, since people have been researching this for generations; the singular they debate is one of the longest-running in English. There's been a spike in favo[u]r toward singular they in recent years out of sexism and gender-neutrality concerns, but the usage very definitely did not evolve for that reason, and is just a natural feature of the language back to at least Early Modern English. That said, the fact that people have added anti-sexism as a rationale for using it isn't a reason to oppose it, despite the socio-political tendency of some to react that way. While I'm a radical centrist who finds excessive "political correction" obnoxious, genuinely progressive shifts aren't something to resist. I just wonder how far we can go in adopting a "re-nascent" shift that's not demonstrated to be universally acceptable in formal writing. It may come down to whether it irritates fewer readers and editors than the alternatives. My point in opening the thread was that MoS is just dead silent on it, and this seems like bad idea, whether we say it's fine, it's not fine, or just that people shouldn't editwar about it, because in the current political climate an increase in fights over it seems inevitable.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:36, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

No personal assumptions made—the research has been done and cited, and the idea that avoidance of singular they is done "to keep preposition and antecedent subject in agreement" is blown to pieces by "you are". There's really not a lot of difference between this and avoiding split infinitives—it's a learned hypercorrection that "feels" natural only in formal situations, and only the more practised you get at it, and does nothing to improve the communicative power or clarity of the language while adding unneceassary mental overhead. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:18, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't agree, but am disinclined to argue about it circularly. We're in agreement that singular they isn't substandard (at least in particular constructions). That's good enough for rock'n'roll.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:29, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: Like I stated in the #Use of "died by suicide" at the David Reimer article section above, I'd rather avoid singular they since it causes confusion and is disfavored by some style guides, as noted in the Singular they article, but I know that it has its valid uses and I do use it at times when responding to or referencing people on Wikipedia. And if we are talking about a Wikipedia article for a non-binary person who does not use masculine or feminine pronouns for their gender identity, singular they is an option that is considered. Not all non-binary people forgo masculine or feminine pronouns, however; that's why I stated "who does not use masculine or feminine pronouns for their gender identity." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:04, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree that the singular use of "they" can be confusing, although I guess in those circumstances, a rewording of the sentence can avoid using the singular "they". I think the use of bizarre neologisms in attempt to seem inclusive is a bad direction for Wikipedia to head. Natureium (talk) 23:00, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
  • We do not need to use the singular they; if we are writing someone's biography, it would be hoped that we are aware of the person's gender. (Oh, and SMcCandlish, from Guardian-reading me: I hate political correctness; it has detrimental effects on the social aspects of education, and destroys quirks of local culture.) Sb2001 00:40, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
    • There are at least two circumstances where we do need gender-neutral language:
      1. When we are talking about an arbitrary person rather than a specific person. You did this yourself in your comment. Another example, from randomly-chosen article Powergaming, where the triple repetition of "he or she" in a single sentence comes off as quite awkward: "a player can be described as a powergamer if he or she presumes or declares that his or her own action against another player character is successful without giving the other player character the freedom to act on his or her own prerogative."
      2. When we are talking about a specific person whose gender identity has been deliberately hidden (I know of a case like this where the parents of a pre-school-age child have kept their child's gender unknown even to their friends, and I routinely do this when I need to keep confidential the identity of someone I'm speaking about) or where that person does not wish to be identified using the traditional binary genders (unusual but occasionally the case; see e.g. Vi Hart).
    You can argue that there are other ways of writing it that are preferable, but your claim that we don't need singular they because we don't need gender-neutral language is false, and falsified by your own text. As for "political correctness", what that usually means in practice is "treating other people with dignity and respect". For instance, by respecting their wish not to be called "he or she" when they think that neither applies to them. You don't like treating other people with respect? You think it destroys local culture to do so? Perhaps if so your local culture is in need of a little destruction. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:09, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
I was going to respond properly until I got to the last bit. Deliberate awkwardness on your part. Now I shall only answer in the same vein. 'Falsified by your own text.' I presume you mean, '... it would be hoped that we are aware of the person's gender.' I am not naming/talking about a specific person, therefore gender-neutral language is necessary. I am sure you know that. I do not know how your understanding of British education is, but 'safe spaces', etc, stop one from saying just about anything that would normally be considered playful teasing. When one cannot ask someone of another's sexual orientation, or request to discuss an issue with someone of the same sex for fear of being labelled homophobic or sexist, it has gone too far. There is a difference between PC-ness for the sake of it ('I cannot say that, because one person might take offence for thirty seconds') and PC-ness with a purpose (eg do not call Pakistani people 'Pakis', or homosexuals 'faggots'). I should not have to explain this. Sb2001 01:24, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

RFC on Film MOS

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

I opened up an RFC on proposed changes to the Film:MOS regarding proposed guidelines for production sections. You can vote on it here Thanks.--Deathawk (talk) 06:04, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Four ongoing RfCs about trains and style

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussions elsewhere.
This train has some dragging equipment

All these RfCs are concurrent.

I removed a dup non-RFC; so there are four now. Dicklyon (talk) 06:10, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

There are also some related Requested Move discussions:

Discussion on title versus sentence case for article/chapter titles

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia talk:Citing sources#Title case?.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  17:52, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

New MOS page about articles on Buddhism, revisited


In case some editors missed the previous posting: In response to repeated discussions about policies and whether they hold for articles on Buddhism, I have drafted a project page/policy proposal at User:Farang Rak Tham/Buddhism-related articles to append to the Manual of Style for Wikipedia articles about Buddhism. The proposal does not actually include much new policy, but rather attempts to apply policy to articles on Buddhism in an understandable way, similar to MOS:ISLAM. Content is based on discussions held on Buddhist articles, as listed on the talk page. Comments are welcome.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 22:03, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

  • @Farang Rak Tham: I did a copy-editing pass on it, and left comments on the talk page about a) material in the page that has nothing to do with style (broadly defined) and isn't MoS material, and b) stuff I wasn't sure how to fix.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  03:34, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Update: This has been abandoned in favor of merging back into the Buddhism wikiproject as WP:PROJPAGE advice, since very little of it was about style (almost all about how to apply sourcing rules, and what the project considers to be in-scope).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:55, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

MOS page about articles Buddhism

  Moot: Material is merging back to WP:WikiProject Buddhism as very little of it pertained to style matters.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:56, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

In response to repeated discussions about policies and whether they hold for articles on Buddhism, I have drafted a policy proposal to include into the Manual of Style for Wikipedia articles about Buddhism. The proposal does not actually include much new policy, but rather attempts to apply policy to articles on Buddhism in an understandable way, similar to MOS:ISLAM. Content is based on discussions held on Buddhist articles, as listed on the talk page. Comments are welcome.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 13:48, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

Consolidating religion-related MoS material?

We should consider merging all this stuff to a MOS:RELIGIONS page. This would have several beneficial effects:

  1. Merging out redundant material
  2. Making all the applicable advice consistent
  3. Reducing wikiproject WP:OWN behavior toward to content (if there is any, but it's frequent when it comes to micro-topical MoS pages)
  4. Reducing the profusion of pages, and making it easier to find stuff.

I haven't pored over the draft text in any detail yet, though the stated approach is the right one to take.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:18, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

Good suggestions, SMcCandlish. Anticipating this, I also asked for comments at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Religion, which currently is just a list of links.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 15:19, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't think anyone watches that disambiguation page but a handful of us; WT:MOS is the best venue for this.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:10, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Sure.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 16:34, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

SMcCandlish, so what do you think we could merge into a MOS:RELIGIONS page? Looking at the link list at MOS:RELIGIONS now, it seems to me we could consider merging the links at the "Religion- or culture-specific" section, as well as the three essays below there, to whatever extent that is necessary. We are going to have to get the Islam, Mormon and cult article editors involved if we are considering to merge.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 00:02, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

The simple approach would be to just put them sectionally into the same page, and then start moving generally applicable stuff out of the topical sections into a general section above it, and also try weeding out WP:CREEP. The three WP:PROJPAGE essays (from the wikiprojects on Religion, Judaism, and new religious movements) might also actually have a enough long-term acceptance that they're actually guideline material; they've been around for ages. Most of the topical MoS pages started that way and most of them have not been through a WP:PROPOSAL process, so they're really on pretty equal footing. The topical article editors' input is desirable, but they don't own these pages. It's probably sufficient to do a site-wide RfC about merging them at WP:VPPOL, cross-listed a WP:VPPRO, and soliciting feedback from the relevant wikiprojects.

However, it's possible this material is too convoluted to merge it into one page. It might be better to try to extrapolate generalities from all of them into a short guideline on religio-spiritual topics, and have that be the top half of WP:Manual of Style/Religion, with its present content (a bunch of links) being a big "See also" section for details, to the extent it's not directly integrated. Not sure I care either way. I care most about not having conflicting advice on Islam and Judaism and etc.

We have a similar problem with sports-related MoS pages, almost entirely authored as insular PROJPAGEs; we need a general sport MoS, then branching out to sections or, if really necessary, separate subpages only as needed. I actually meant to tackle this a long time ago, since various provisions in various sports MoSes are actually generally applicable, but often found only in the MoS page for a specific sport. Similar case with all the fiction/media projects. They keep trying to independently develop things like guidelines for production sections, when this should really be consolidated in at MOS:FICT, with a summary of the shared provisions in the genre/medium-specific MoS pages.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  00:19, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Back to Buddhism

Anyway, does WikiProject Buddhism have a style PROJPAGE? That would likely be the place to start for a Buddhism MoS, especially if such a page has been around for a long time and people actually use it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  00:21, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Not that I am aware of, SMcCandlish. There have been proposals with regard to standardization of layout etc. on the WikiProject Buddhism, but I have seen no-one linking any MOS page on Buddhism. WikiProject Buddhism is a sleepy hollow WikiProject for quite a while now.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 08:35, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
So i guess the next step is to post a link to the policy page for Buddhist articles at WP:VPPOL, propose a merge with the existing project pages of the Mormons, Muslims and cult groups, and then go from there. Am i right, SMcCandlish?--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 12:07, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
I would instead suggest drafting the Buddhist MoS page, then putting {{Draft proposal}} on it, and inviting input from WT:MOS and relevant wikiprojects (Buddhism, Religion, India, Japan, China, etc., Philosophy, whatever else comes to mind) for a re-drafting. Then do a formal {{proposal}} later at Village Pump. It's extremely unlikely that a one-author, first-draft proposal would be accepted as a guideline. Pretty much unheard of. Please don't propose a merge as part of any of that; we'll need to have a larger discussion about what to do with the redundancy and conflict between different religion-related MoSes. One thing on your part that would help would be to read all of them and adopt the sensible advice in them into your own draft, to increase consistency a little between them. This will also help extract the points in common for an overall short-form MOS:RELIGIONS, which we need whether the religion specific pages are ever merged or not (the more I look at them, the less likely I think that is).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  12:21, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
Alright, I have tagged the page with a draft proposal template. I had already informed WikiProject Buddhism and Talk:Buddhism, and pinged a host of active main contributors. But like I said, comparatively it is a sleepy hollow. I'll look around to see who else to involve.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 19:16, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
I already suggested a bunch above, by name. And this page (so far we don't know where the draft is). I would suggest posting the same sort of note you did at the projects you mention, to this page in a new thread, so people see it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  19:09, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

I have already posted to several WikiProject pages, inluding some of those you suggested. I linked the draft from the start, but I will also post it as a separate section. Thanks.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 21:51, 10 November 2017 (UTC)


Re: "only an idiot would put a space at end of paragraph, and it's harmless if they do; but I'll go you one better: do people REALLY need to be told that a space is usually needed after a comma, colon, etc?" [1] Idiots do in fact edit here, and more to the point, so do people who are simply inexperienced or poorly educated, or careless, or not entirely familiar with punctuation in English in particular. A very frequent error is mishandling of punctuation of the colon and semicolon (both in the "foo : bar" pattern and the "foo:bar" pattern). Maybe removing the material you removed will have no effect, or maybe it will increase this problem and even enable poor editors to feel empowered to edit-war to preserve non-standard punctuation "because there's no rule saying I can't", a frequent excuse people use in writing bad English of various sorts here and then fighting about it tendentiously. PS: I'm detecting a pattern of increasing one-upmanship in edits like the one I just diffed, and it's getting tedious and WP:POINTy. Let's not. If people disagree with changes (especially deletions) you're making to the guideline, the solution is to discuss it, not to delete even more material as an escalation tactic. The wording in question needed to be compressed but it was in there for a reason. Even not putting spaces at the end of paragraph was good advice, because people keep doing it and other people keep removing it, which is annoying trivial editing that does nothing useful in the output, and just triggers people's watchlists for no good reason.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:12, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

A manual of style does not, in general, give tutelage on basic English or how to type and other stuff everyone's supposed to know – we don't tell people that the first letter in a sentence is capitalized (or do we?) – unless it's a big headache that experience shows needs to be addressed. And that's an important principle because MOS is so goddam bloated, and there's a lot of miscellany in it that seems to be there because editor X once had a bad experience with Editor Y doing Z, and so added yet another injunction to MOS warning against Z.
I agree about trivial editing of source text that changes not the rendered page – I think you raised it recently as a separate thread. It would be good to have a passage or page somewhere that warns against that. But it's not something for MOS, which we should work hard to keep as brief as possible. You say "people keep doing it" i.e. adding and removing spaces at the end of paragraphs. I'd really like to see evidence that that's a recurring problem.
EEng 04:21, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
I"m not going to a spend a month logging it every time I see it. If you don't see if often enough yourself to know already, then either you don't do enough copyediting or you have a short watchlist (mine's 7,800+, across a wide swath of topics – enough to get a statistical overview of "dumb style stuff" on a continual basis). We certainly should (and I'm pretty sure we do) tell people to begin sentences with a capital letter, and to rewrite to avoid starting it with things like "iPods are ..." and "3M moved its headquarters to ..." and "1990 was the year that ...". It's not "tutelage on basic English", it's guidance on norms of encyclopedic versus less formal styles of writing in which a lot more expedience, laziness, and assumption of intelligibility among a specific and narrow target audience is tolerable. We should not keep MoS "as brief as possible", but as brief as is practical. And that's what we've been doing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  04:30, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Telling people that if you're tempted to start a sentence with a numeral or iPhone, then you should rewrite instead, isn't the same as telling people that, in general, you capitalize the first letter of a sentence. The first belongs in a manual of style, the second doesn't. I'm afraid I really want to see these people who add and remove spaces at the ends of paragraphs. I'm sure you'll run into one pretty soon if it's as common as you say. EEng 04:37, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Given that I started an entire thread about it on this page not long ago, consider that it didn't come out of the blue but was in response to a dispute, one among many.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:08, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Don't forget that we're not writing where everyone is obviously proficient in basic English, or cares about taking the time to demonstrate such. On the other hand, it would help to demonstrate the cases where this spawns conflict i.e. where basic copy-editing is reverted.
On the specific "spaces at end of paras", AWB removes these as part of general fixes. Besides that, or possibly other scripts, I don't think I've ever seen someone remove or add these if they are present. And obviously, they don't affect the final rendering (except in specific, exceptionally rare, circumstances that certainly aren't relevant to a manual of style). --Izno (talk) 15:05, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Dashes in article titles

I have created an article on Cavenham - Icklingham Heaths, which is a British Site of Special Scientific Interest, and copied the spacing in the article title from the source. I have also listed the site in List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Suffolk, which I have submitted to FLC, and a reviewer has said that the title should not have spaces. I am not clear that the MOS covers this, so can anyone advise? Dudley Miles (talk) 22:54, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Yes, see MOS:DASH. The spaced hyphen should be replaced by an unspaced en dash. Fixed. Dicklyon (talk) 23:08, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks very much for your help. Dudley Miles (talk) 23:33, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

MOS:STYLERET: why is "substantial reason" in quotes?

A question on a particular bit of formatting currently in MOS: section Retaining existing styles currently has editors should not change an article from one styling to another without "substantial reason". Sounds okay, but why do we have "substantial reason" in quotes? It tends to read like WP:SCAREQUOTES, mocking the idea of having a substantial reason. Is it an actual quote of something (which should be linked)? Or was it meant for emphasis somehow (which should be done in words rather than text formatting)? --A D Monroe III(talk) 17:32, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

It was direct quotation. However, the shortness of the quoted bit did make it look like scare-quoting. I've replaced it [2] with a quotation of the entire sentence; this will also remove a layer of editorial interpretation which wasn't necessarily correct to begin with. Also corrected mischaracterization of an ArbCom principle statement as a "ruling" which it was not.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  17:51, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
That clears it up nicely. Thanks. --A D Monroe III(talk) 02:24, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

The most style-wrecked article on Wikipedia may well be Singlish vocabulary

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

See Talk:Singlish vocabulary#Needs an overhaul to comply with the Manual of Style. There's so much work to do (even aside from OR and RS concerns, and the general NOTDICT problem) that it's downright daunting. I think a proper article on this, including an encyclopedic glossary, could probably be constructed, but damn.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:12, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

Guideline on contractions

Is there a Wikipedia guideline or policy concerning the use of contractions outside quotations? For example, cannot versus can't etc.--Nevéselbert 19:12, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

MOS:CONTRACTION. —DIYeditor (talk) 19:14, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

Merger of scattered and redundant material to MOS:TITLES

I've finally started merging the badly scattered and redundant material on titles of works into the main MOS:TITLES page. This was proposed and approved a couple of years ago here, but I never got around to it until now. The material's been marked for merging since May 2014.

I've started by merging MOS:CT from MOS:CAPS into MOS:TITLES#Capital letters, and leaving behind a little WP:SUMMARY at MOS:CAPS#Titles of works. Shortcuts have been updated to point to the consolidated location.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:52, 23 November 2017 (UTC); revised: 23:50, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

Substantive revisions

See also:

 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  00:22, 24 November 2017 (UTC)

Proposed addition of summary of "how to start a sentence" advice

Throughout various MoS pages we advise rewriting to avoid starting a sentence with something other than a capital letter (i.e. with a lower-case letter, a numeral, or other character). This doesn't appear to have been addressed WP:SUMMARY-style in the main MoS page. I suggest the following, including a clarification that this doesn't apply to the lead sentence or other contexts with low potential for confusion:

Begin sentences with a capital letter

Sentences should normally begin with a capital letter; avoid beginning sentences in running text with a lower-case letter, a numeral, or another symbol. In most cases, it is easy to recast the sentence to avoid this:

  • In 1980, 3M Company introduced Post-it notes, not 3M Company introduced Post-it notes in 1980.
  • The operating system iOS is used by iPods, iPhones, and iPads, not iPods, iPhones, and iPads use the operating system iOS
  • The .NET Framework's compiler, not .NET Framework's compiler

When a rewording would be awkward and the sentence would start with a lower-case letter, upper-case the first letter, e.g. K.d. lang's third album. However, do not spell out numerals in proper names, as in ThreeM's general offices are located in Maplewood, Minnesota.

The above do not apply to the lead sentence of an article or to non-sentences that are normally given on Wikipedia in sentence case (image captions, table headings, list items, etc.):

  • eBay Inc. is a multinational e-commerce corporation ....
  • [[File:2010 Opening Ceremonies - KD Lang.jpg |thumb |k.d. lang performing at the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies]]

We could probably even compress the advice about this on various MoS sub-pages and just cross-reference them to this section.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:14, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Agree. Sounds good. Advice and instructions are best given in the positive, positive before the negative. Start by stating what is good practice. If you need to state negatives, things to avoid, put them after. Newcomers to Wikipedia should start with WP:5P. If they went to WP:NOT first, that would be bad. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:30, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Looks good. Where's Tony1? EEng 00:59, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
    Think he's been fairly busy lately. A lot of Americans are also AWOL right now because of American Thanksgiving. But, no big hurry.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  07:57, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
My post was just a rhetorical way of pinging him. I wasn't actually expecting an update on where he is. EEng 09:08, 24 November 2017 (UTC)

Unusual RM case

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Talk:The Players Championship#Requested move 23 November 2017. At issue is whether a capitalized "The" should be retained in the title and in running prose when one is favored by many (perhaps a majority) of specialized (in this case golf) sources, but not reflected across reliable sources more generally. Various pro and con arguments are presented including traditionalism versus WP:THE, disambiguation, consistency, whether special rules for publication titles and band names (subject to distinct guidelines) can be extrapolated to other topics, what is and isn't a "proper name", and most of the other stuff we come to expect of one of the louder rows at WP:RM. The outcome of this RM will probably affect two other golf event articles with similar "The" names.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  08:41, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

2-em dash

I quote from Chicago Manual of Style:

"6.93: 2-em dash"

A 2-em dash represents a missing word or part of a word, either omitted to disguise a name (or occasionally an expletive) or else missing from or illegible in quoted or reprinted material. When a whole word is missing, space appears on both sides of the dash. When only part of a word is missing, no space appears between the dash and the existing part (or parts) of the word; when the dash represents the end of a word, a space follows it (unless a period or other punctuation immediately follows). See also 7.66, 13.59.

  • “The region gives its —— to the language spoken there.”
  • Admiral N—— and Lady R—— were among the guests.
  • David H——h [Hirsch?] voted aye.

I find that the double em dash much cleaner than the ugly "n/a", especially in tables where n/a causes clutter. Please also note that the double em dash does not have the same meaning as ellipses. I quote again from the Chicago Manual of Style:

"3.67: Empty cells"

If a column head does not apply to one of the entries in the stub, the cell should either be left blank or, better, filled in by an em dash (see 6.75) or three unspaced ellipsis dots (…). If a distinction is needed between “not applicable” and “no data available,” a blank cell may be used for the former and an em dash or ellipsis dots for “no data” (see fig. 3.15). If this distinction is not clear from the text, a note may be added to the table. (Alternatively, the abbreviations n/a and n.d. may be used, with definitions given in a note.) A zero means literally that the quantity in a cell is zero (see figs. 3.13, 3.16).

I therefor propose that something similar to the following be included in the Wikipedia Manual of Style:

Other uses (em dash)

A 2-em dash (—— typed as &mdash;&mdash;) represents a missing word or part of a word, either omitted to disguise a name (or occasionally an expletive) or else missing from or illegible in quoted or reprinted material. When a whole word is missing, space appears on both sides of the dash. When only part of a word is missing, no space appears between the dash and the existing part (or parts) of the word; when the dash represents the end of a word, a space follows it (unless a period or other punctuation immediately follows). See also 7.66, 13.59.

  • “The region gives its —— to the language spoken there.”
  • Admiral N—— and Lady R—— were among the guests.
  • David H——h [Hirsch?] voted aye.

See also ellipsis for silent words...

If a column head does not apply to one of the entries in the stub, the cell should be filled in by an em-dash. (— typed as &mdash;) (for not applicable a blank cell shall be used in preference of n/a.)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Skvery (talkcontribs) 07:59, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Pointless creep. Solution looking for a problem rather than a problem that needs a solution. DrKay (talk) 09:10, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
WP doesn't follow The Chicago Manual of Style, it follows the WP:Manual of Style which is based on and takes into account the advice of CMoS and various other style guides, and WP's own needs and collective medium-specific experience, applying rules we actually need in order to produce consistent output and forestall editorial dispute over style trivia. I don't see any evidence of widespread dispute about this sort of thing. Our already highly specific rules about dash characters and ellipses have served us well. What is your actual rationale for any of these changes? "I like CMoS rules a lot" and "I like how this looks" aren't really rationales. What does the project gain by making such a change?

Even before you (Skvery) get into that: In online typography, a two-em dash does not consist of two em dashes back to back, which have a gap between them in most fonts. It's a separate Unicode character (&#11834; or &#x2e3a;) [3]. Next, we already use a spaced ... for a missing word or words ("one, two, three, ... ten"), and unspaced ... for a missing part of a word ("anticipa..."). So, there is no gap to fill by using this awkward character. WP virtually never has any need to write something like "Admiral N⸺ and Lady R⸺", and MoS does not cover things that WP doesn't need on a regular basis. Such a usage is permissible already, since there's no rule against it or prescribing something else for "hiding" of details (something we generally don't do, per WP:NOTCENSORED). Next, "See also ellipsis for silent words..." doesn't have a clear meaning, and we would never end a sentence with an ellipsis like that. Finally, in tables there's no firm rule that "n/a" must be used; more often than not a simple en dash, em dash, hyphen, or a blank are used, so again there is no missing usage to address on Wikipedia. If you don't like "n/a" in a particular case, don't use it (or get talk page consensus to change it if already in use). There are probably circumstances where people will prefer "n/a" for clarity (and it can sometimes have a different contextual meaning that a blank or dash), but there might not be that many of them.

I could see adding a note that the em dash or en dash can be used in this way, as can "n/a" or an empty cell value, but we shouldn't prescribe a specific one, since contextual needs vary. This would probably be covered as MOS:TABLES rather than in the main MoS. Not every single use of dashes is covered at MOS:DASH; e.g. many are specified in MOS:NUM. The main MoS page is just an overview of the commonly needed stuff. MOS:TABLES doesn't seem to offer any advice at all about blank/empty table cells, and that might properly be regarded as (pun intended) a gap to fill.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:13, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

I withdraw the proposed changes to WP:MOS and, to fill the gap, support the proposed additions to MOS:TABLES. Skvery (talk) 09:46, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

Pseudonyms, stage names, nicknames, hypocorisms, and common names

Some recent changes have been made at WP:Manual of Style/Biographies regarding pseudonyms, stage names, nicknames, hypocorisms, and common names. If anyone wants to support, challenge, or simply discuss the changes, see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies#Substantive revision of "Pseudonyms, stage names, nicknames, hypocorisms, and common names". A permalink for the matter is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:59, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

Pseudonyms, stage names, nicknames, hypocorisms, and common names

Some recent changes have been made at WP:Manual of Style/Biographies regarding pseudonyms, stage names, nicknames, hypocorisms, and common names. If anyone wants to support, challenge, or simply discuss the changes, see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies#Substantive revision of "Pseudonyms, stage names, nicknames, hypocorisms, and common names". A permalink for the matter is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:59, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

Why S.A.W etc is removed after Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W)?

There are many mistakes made by various people and by CLUE BOT especially on religious articles during editing specifically regarding Islam on e.g. wudu, Hazrat Abu Bakr(R.A). Such mistakes are undoubtly unacceptable to all muslims such as removing S.A.W and R.A which is written after Hazrat Muhammad(S.A.W) and his companions respectivelyin order to respect them. Therefore , it is suggested to edit all Islamic articles on wikipedia under various true Islamic scholars and protect these pages to prevent any vandalism. I surely believe that my suggestions would obviously be considered as a priority and would be implemented. As it is not just for me it is for the muslims all over the world. Why should we spread unauthentic information especially on the matters of religion to the people who are unaware of such precious matters? why should we give such people a chance to spread the wrong information in order to fool others. I hope my suggestions would be considered. Muhammad25199907 (talk) 01:44, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

Note: [4] --NeilN talk to me 01:49, 28 November 2017 (UTC)
@Muhammad25199907: Wikipedia presents a neutral—and yes, often that means secular—point of view. Remember that if we added SAW and the other suffixes per Muslim guidance, we arguably could not spell the name of G-d anywhere in the encyclopedia, due to Jewish prohibitions against writing out the name of G-d. That's why the policies take the neutral path they do. —C.Fred (talk) 02:04, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

But still some wrong information is also edited in such articles which is completely unauthentic.Please if you could look onto them such as in "Abu Bakr". And Thankyou for your response.☺ Muhammad25199907 (talk) 02:10, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

@Muhammad25199907: This talk page is for discussing the Manual of Style. If you think there are errors of fact in the Abu Bakr article, bring the matter up at Talk:Abu Bakr. —C.Fred (talk) 02:24, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

Please, after the name of Holy Prophet S.A.W write S.A.W Danfarid133 (talk) 19:55, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

@Danfarid133: Again, we don't do that here, because of the neutral point of view policy. We similarly do not refer to Jesus as "our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God", etc. Simply repeating the same request, after it's already been explained why Wikipedia cannot do it the way you want, isn't going to change anything. If you still don't understand, note that the reason given for wanting to include SAW or RA is "in order to respect them [the prophet and companions]", but Wikipedia neither respects nor disrespects any subjects, it just neutrally presents basic facts about them. Wikipedia does not "believe" or "have faith" in anything; on religious and spiritual matters it describes what people believe and have faith in. By way of analogy, Islam recognizes Jesus as a prophet (and no further than that); your request here is similar to a Christian demanding that in a Muslim publication that Jesus (ʿĪsā) be referred to as "our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God", when that is not part of the Islamic approach to Jesus. I.e., SAW and RA are pertinent in Islamic writing not in non-Islamic writing that happens to mention an Islamic topic.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  07:50, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
What we CAN do is neutrally note that when Muslims write his name, they usually include the initials S.A.W. as an honorific (and then we can explain what the initials stand for). Blueboar (talk) 13:13, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
Already well-covered at Muhammad, Muhammad in Islam, and Peace be upon him.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:23, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Accessibility versus convenience in indentation (RfC at VPPOL)

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see: Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#RfC: Accessibility versus convenience in indentation
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  13:38, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Discussion at Talk:2014–15 A-League National Youth League#Pseudo-headings

 You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:2014–15 A-League National Youth League#Pseudo-headings. -- Marchjuly (talk) 07:21, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

RfC at Monopoly (game) about the use of singular they

I've created an RfC at Talk:Monopoly (game)#RfC about the use of singular they seeking comments on whether the article should be edited to avoid the use of "singular they", such as by changing "When a player lands on Free Parking, they may take the money" to "When players land on Free Parking, they may take the money". Strawberry4Ever (talk) 15:51, 5 December 2017 (UTC)


Does MOS:TV mean to imply that a comma in an on-screen credit means we need to use the comma, even when most news outlets and such do not? See Talk:Game Shakers#MOS:JR. Dicklyon (talk) 00:44, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

The comma... so tiny, so unassuming, and yet wars have been fought over it. EEng 02:21, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
The intent of MOS:TV reflects that the on-screen credit we put in articles for credit information is an extract from a primary source, a quote, so shouldn't be modified. MOS:JR says no comma before the suffix is preferred, not required, so there really is no issue if another part of the MOS says quote it exactly as the source presents it. Geraldo Perez (talk) 14:33, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
The comma wars, aye, battle scars aplenty. @Dicklyon: and others have unsuccessfully tried to use the Jr. guidelines to change the actual names of films, so I hope and would ask for a guarantee that this isn't an end-around that concept (Steamboat Bill, Jr. for example). But yes, if a Wikipedia cast-list about a film or a television show removes the comma for real people, even if the screen credits include it, that seems to be a settled issue. A good rule of thumb would be if it's a fictional character, keep the comma, if it's a listing of real-life individuals, removing the comma should be allowed. Randy Kryn (talk) 14:51, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
I thought it was settled, too, with names of films and such being the exception, not people names. @Geraldo Perez:, I don't see anything in MOS:TV that supports what you're saying about quoting exactly from on-screen. Dicklyon (talk) 16:57, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
From MOS:TV for cast list: All names should be referred to as credited, or by common name supported by a reliable source. Of course that is the point of this discussion as to whether or not a MOS:BIO style preference overrides an MOS:TV one when they conflict. If it is decided that MOS:TV is subordinate in this area it should be made clear there that it is. Geraldo Perez (talk) 17:25, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
Screen credits are a primary source, and as such will never be updated, even if they make an obvious mistake (which has happened many times). If there's a conflict between screen credits and verified secondary sources (RSs), the latter takes precedence, as always. Primary sources are relied on only in absence of better sources. --A D Monroe III(talk) 17:42, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
It is more complex than that. WP:PSTS has a reasonable discussion about how they are used. Analysis and interpretation must be from secondary sources and we must base articles on them. Primary sources can be used for straight uninterpreted statements of facts presented there. What is in the credits is pure factual info, whether or not the credits correctly reflect who was actually in the film can be supported or refuted by a reliable secondary source. Secondary sources also make errors, transcription errors are a big one and if that is all the secondary source is doing it is better to go use the root source. Geraldo Perez (talk) 18:29, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
But we've never had a guideline to base styling on primary sources. We have our own style, just as secondary sources do; omitting the comma before the postnominal is a style issue, as you can see by reading any English style guide of the last 40 years. Dicklyon (talk) 18:43, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
We generally follow sources for punctuation when quoting stuff which is essentially what is being done here. Anyway I'd have no real issues with this if TVCAST were updated to reflect what is asserted to be a overall name of real person style preference even for things accurately transcribed from primary sources. As a practical matter when I need to point someone to WP:TVCAST to keep a cast list correct I'd like it clear what exceptions to pure transcription there are to avoid the overall conflict of styles issue. Geraldo Perez (talk) 19:36, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
Seems like an easy one. If a real person, don't add a comma before Jr., and if a portrayal of a fictional person, the comma stays. So if something reads "Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as Doogie Howser, Jr." both styles are used. Sound about right or am I misreading something along the way? Randy Kryn (talk) 22:05, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
A statement to the effect that actor names as written in the cast section should conform to MOS:BIO would be sufficient. Suggest proposing a change on the talk page at MOS:TV for that section. Geraldo Perez (talk) 23:00, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
No, don't use the comma just because the credits do. The exception people are probably thinking of is use of the comma in the title of the work (and even then it's only going to be applicable if it's consistently used; there are cases where the copyrightholder has dropped it from later releases, like DVDs, following the trend in the language more broadly).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:30, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

Quotations incorporated into Wikipedia-voice sentences and first-person?

I've been doing some minor copy-editing on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (in response to what I feel is an overly superficial GA review of an unstable article, but I don't wanna get into that...), and I was wondering about the following: Gunn "refused to [end the film with Yondu's death] for a long time...But, at the end of the day, I knew that's where it needed to go ... This is a story about a father's love for his son, his ultimate love, so much love that he sacrifices himself for that, and that's what Yondu is. He is 100 percent Peter Quill's father" despite Ego being Quill's biological father. If I was writing it, I probably wouldn't include such a long quote to begin with, but even I did I probably would have used square brackets instead of incorporating a first-person statement into a Wikipedia-voice sentence. Am I wrong? I'm certain this has come up before, so if any MOS vets could link me to the previous discussion that would be much appreciated. Cheers, Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:01, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

A better way to do this would be: About the decision to end the film with Yondu's death, Gun has stated: {{blockquote|I refused to do it for a long time ...}} ... [I'm guessing at the original wording here]. And the ellipsis after "time" should be spaced; "time" is not a cut-off word fragment. The one after "go" should be "...." because the sentence ends. A quote that long isn't needed; this could be trimmed with another ellipsis: "This is a story about a father's love for his son ... despite Ego being Quill's biological father."  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  12:38, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
You commented on that "sharing continuity" mess so you don't need clarification I guess, but it should be increasingly obvious why I supported that proposal a coupla months back to move all MOS discussion to this page and off the subpages... Hijiri 88 (やや) 13:05, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Hey, what happened with that? EEng 13:33, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
It was discussed on some other page. --A D Monroe III(talk) 20:03, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Am I supposed to guess which one? EEng 21:14, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
@EEng: Are you talking about the proposal to end subpage discussion, or the "sharing continuity" mess? The former was on this page and you were somewhat involved, but I don't remember when/how it ended and I don't want to dig through the articles to find it; the latter is on WT:MOSFILM. Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:25, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
I meant the proposal to redirect most subpage talk pages here. I don't know what the sharing continuity thingamajig is. EEng 22:32, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
I think Monroe's joking. It happened on this page. Archived here: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 194#Proposal to consolidate some MoS discussion. It got a bit sidetracked on some idea about an MoS noticeboard. Anyway, it's probably worth revisiting the talk merge idea.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:35, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

Postal abbreviations

MOS:POSTABBR is now advising the use of postal abbreviation like (TX, Calif., Hants., ONT, etc.) in source citations. I think this is another WP:POLICYFORK inserted by "keep trying to drive a wedge between MoS and citations" people, and that is should be removed as non-consensus. In my 12 years here I have fixed postal abbreviations on sight in any citation in which I encounter them, and have never been reverted on it, not even once. The idea that there's a consensus in favor of using cryptic (for everyone but residents of the country in question) codes in place of plain English just because they're in citations is a fantasy. The entire point of citations is that they're to be used to verify our content. So: a) don't do it in a way that makes the information harder to use (i.e. defeating the purpose), and b) we don't include publisher locations anyway except when necessary, e.g. for obscure or ambiguously named publishers, where a citation style requires it, where location of publisher may be pertinent e.g. because the topic is something like France–Germany hostilities and most of the sources are French or German and may be biased, etc.

I've brought this up here because this page is way more watchlisted than WT:MOSABBR.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:59, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

I'm planning to remove the conflicting advice to use postal abbreviations.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:36, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

"WP:" vs. "MOS:"

Are we discouraging use of "WP:" now? I ask because a few editors have been trading out "WP:" for "MOS:" in our policies and guidelines. We can see SMcCandlish recently did it at the WP:Lead guideline. Given how common "WP:" still is on Wikipedia, why should we remove all mention of it as a shortcut in our policies and guidelines? I still prefer "WP:" in most cases, and I see that most editors still use it over the "MOS:" alternative. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:01, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

There's no "now" about it; we've been doing this for years, just slowly, because it's tedious. Except for the very page-top shortcut block (with WP:MOSNUM, etc.) we have no need whatsoever to "advertise" redundant shortcuts like MOS:ENGVAR and WP:ENGVAR at the same section; it just produces a pointlessly large {{Shortcut}} block, defeats the mnemonic purpose of shortcuts by providing too many to remember, lacks the helpful distinction between MoS guidelines and other stuff (e.g., you know that any MOS:FOO is a guideline not a policy, essay, naming conventions guideline, wikiproject page, or whatever), and so on. "Some people use the WP:FOO version" is immaterial. The point of the {{Shortcut}} block is to provide one or two shortcuts for the section, and sometimes a couple of others that are to important anchors within the section; not to list every shortcut that goes there. Some sections have 20+ shortcuts that lead to them! We really don't care which one someone uses. (The sole probable exception is that people should stop using both MOS:LEDE and WP:LEDE, because WP:Manual of Style/Lead section is going to some pains to distinguish between WP leads (abstract of all the notable information) and journalistic ledes (teasers with the gist but suppressing details in a way that entices further reading). One of the reason we have so many shitey lead sections is people keep writing them like news articles, and use of "lede" as if WP jargon perpetuates that problem. I would love to replace both those shortcuts with soft redirects.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:21, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
I have many policies and guidelines on my watchlist, and it's been that way for years. I have only seen a few editors trying to eliminate all use of "WP:" in them. So, no, I have not seen a general discouragement of "WP:" usage. It is still the main usage I see on this site. And my watchlist is gigantic. It seems that the only way that "MOS:" can become more popular than "WP:" is to remove almost all mentions of "WP:" from our policies and guidelines. But given that so many old-timers such as myself still use "WP:", that is still a long ways away from happening. I disagree with you that "WP:" is pointless in our policies and guidelines. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:54, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
That stated, I do see how "MOS:" is clearer when it comes to identifying guidelines and I understand why you have been making these changes. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 06:28, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
More below. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 17:38, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

SMcCandlish did retain "WP:LEAD" at the top of the aforementioned edited guideline, though. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:05, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

Yeah, we keep the most common WP:MOSFOO shortcut for the entire page in question, and sometimes a WP:FOO one in a case (like WP:LEAD) where MoS and non-MoS material was merged into a unified page.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:21, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
Sometimes there are MOS and WP shortcuts to different targets, e.g. MOS:NICKNAME vs. WP:NICKNAME. IMHO this should be avoided. William Avery (talk) 22:19, 28 November 2017 (UTC)
Except the entire point of the creation of the "MOS:" pseudo-namespace however many years ago is that we very frequently have MoS and non-MoS advice about the same thing; there's insufficient "WP:" shortcut namespace room to give them all sensible names. After all the "WP:" shortcuts to stuff in MoS pages have "MoS" equivalents, and we stop "advertising" the WP ones, then WP ones pointing to MoS sections will just be legacy usage on the part of old-timers, while any new WP shortcuts will not be to MoS material. Given the profusion of topical naming conventions, we should probably also consider doing an "NC:" shortcut series. We were already starting to do it with wikiprojects ("WPP:") but wikiprojects started becoming moribund in such rapid succession that it wasn't worth the effort. (The ones that remain active mostly have pretty mnemonic shortcuts like WP:MILHIST and WP:LING that also don't conflict with other things, so WPP is not really needed). But it would be very sensible for WP:NCFILM to be addressable as NC:FILM to match MOS:FILM, and so on. The problem with "WP:" is it's historically been used for everything, from humor pages to WMF office-action policies.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:21, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
Something I ran across yesterday which bothered/perplexed me is that MOS:COLOUR directs to the top level MOS page, but WP:COLOUR directs to the accessibility sub-page - which is admittedly more important. I was briefly confused because I expected the MOS link to go to the accessibility page. Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:06, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
That definitely doesn't make any sense. We should pick one location. I resolved a similar screwup yesterday at MOS:LEAD, where an "MOS:" shortcut went to one section and the "WP:" version went to a subsection of it (or vice versa, I forget).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  10:32, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
Ideally any accessibility-related MOS issues need to be in one location. But there should not be any contradictory or ambiguous MOS when it comes to accessibility. No idea on how to proceed on this however. Only in death does duty end (talk) 11:17, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
I see. So pairs like MOS:LEAD and WP:LEAD, which both point to the MOS, are legacy cases. I thought this was still normal. William Avery (talk) 10:02, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
It makes sense to keep a "WP:" version paired with the MOS: version at the top of each MoS page; it introduces the idea of "MOS:" shortcuts as a shortcut [pseudo-]namespace splitting off from the "WP:" one, for new editors figuring out what is where. We just do not have any practical use for {{shortcut|MOS:ENGVAR|WP:ENGVAR}} in mid-page; it's just clutter, and inspires creation of more unneeded "WP:" shortcuts to MoS subsections and anchors.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  10:36, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
Having both "MOS:ENGVAR" and "WP:ENGVAR" is not any more clutter than some other "MOS:" shortcut paired up with the existing "MOS:" shortcut. Look at {{shortcut|MOS:ARTCON|MOS:ART1VAR}}. Really, who is going to use that second option? I know that I personally don't like having to type extra letters if I don't need to. And to mix in a number with the letters? Easier to just type type "WP:ARTCON" instead of "MOS:ART1VAR." Look at {{shortcut|MOS:TIES|MOS:STRONGNAT}}. No way that I'm using "MOS:STRONGNAT." My fingers will type "WP:TIES" instead. I also think that seeing "WP:" and "MOS:" confuses newbies, although they will eventually learn that "MOS:" specifically points to guidelines. Still, some of the "MOS:" shortcuts are confusing even to old-timers. The aforementioned "MOS:NICKNAME" and "WP:NICKNAME," which point to two different pages, is one example. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 17:38, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
There's no reason to not remove disused "MOS:" shortcuts, too. You're not making a valid comparison. "WP:ARTCON" is simply redundant if "MOS:ARTCON" is listed, because they're the same mnemonic. "ART1VAR" is not the same mnemonic, but no one really seems to use that, so we have no reason to list it. No one is actually RfDing the shortcut redirects, so if you want to keep using WP:ARTCON, then keep using it. Some longer shortcuts do get used because they are more memorable and make more sense in context (e.g. WP:COMMONNAME is more frequently used than WP:UCRN).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:58, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
Who stated that we should remove "MOS:" shortcuts? I know I didn't. I did, however, essentially call "MOS:ART1VAR" and "MOS:STRONGNAT" useless. The validity of my statements are clear: There is no solid reason that these barely used shortcuts should be retained in the guideline. There is no good reason that they should be there instead of the more common "WP:" usages. That a few editors want the MOS pages to use "MOS:" instead of "WP:" and to have this consistency across the MOS pages is not a good reason. For years, editors have easily recognized what our policies, guidelines and essays are without the guideline shortcuts being identified with "MOS:" in front of them. We don't need such special designation for our policies and essays. Editors should actually click on the links to find out if they are policies, guidelines or essays anyway. It's always troubling to see an editor cite an essay as a policy or guideline. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:28, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
"MOS:" shortcuts automatically identify MoS guidelines (which are not policies or essays) as such, helping (fractionally) with the "editors citing an essay as a guideline" problem. When someone uses the "WP:" version that points to the same section or anchor, no one knows what they're referencing other than people who've already read the material and who have a great memory for what shortcut goes to what, and which kind of page it is. I repeat that we've been moving to "MOS:" shortcuts for many years now; how this can suddenly be a surprise to you is beyond me. You've already met with agreement that we don't need to also retain an redundant and obscure shortcut like MOS:ART1VAR. So why shake your fist about it further? Just go remove it if it bugs you that much. I've done it for you, since they're unneeded.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:39, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
Where is the proof that use of "MOS:" helps with the "editors citing an essay as a guideline" problem? At least you stated "fractionally." All it does it help identify that the page is a MOS guideline; it does not help identify that a "WP:" page is a policy or essay. And as we know, "WP:" can also refer to a guideline. You stated, "I repeat that we've been moving to 'MOS:' shortcuts for many years now; how this can suddenly be a surprise to you is beyond me." We've already been over this. Do see my "05:54, 29 November 2017 (UTC)" response above. "Surprise" has nothing to do with it. And "many" is off. As for the rest, you are making a simple discussion out to be some fist-shaking crusade. I'm not the one removing or adding shortcuts. I am simply questioning this matter, and so have others in this section. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:15, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
You're answering your own question: if "MOS:" tells us that it's a shortcut to an MoS guideline, then this by necessity helps identify it as a not a policy or essay; the "WP:" namespace is a mixed bag, the "MOS:" pseudo-namespace is not. To the extent it contains anything at all that is not a guideline (a handful of how-to subpages, and a few rejected proposals, which no one cites or uses shortcuts for anyway, they're clearly identified as non-guidelines). Again, there is no problem to resolve.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  03:18, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Your assertion that this helps is a weak argument, exactly per what I stated in that comment you refer to as me "answering [my] own question." It's why you added "fractionally." Removing "WP:" from the MOS pages was, and still is, not resolving any problem. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 03:30, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Already been over this: it's resolving the problem of pointlessly bloated shortcut boxes "advertising" completely redundant shortcuts no one needs to use because they provide less information. This WP:IDHT game is getting tedious.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:33, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, we have already been over this. It is your opinion that "it's resolving the problem of pointlessly bloated shortcut boxes 'advertising' completely redundant shortcuts no one needs to use because they provide less information." There is no harm at all in retaining "WP:" shortcuts and you have yet to show that there is. What you have shown is that you continue to condescend when your opinion is challenged, even daring to suggest that a significantly experienced editor in good standing who is simply disagreeing with you and is not trying to escalate this disagreement to an RfC or anything similar is engaging in WP:IDHT, as if this is a Wikipedia article and/or its talk page and I am being disruptive at it. Nonsense. It doesn't matter even if it's a topic I am thoroughly educated on, you will insist that you are correct and condescend as if you know better; that's been the case as well. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:38, 4 December 2017 (UTC) Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:49, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
For the record, I stand by what I stated to you earlier this year. We are two strong-minded people who clash more than we would like. We also sometimes agree, which is always great. But when we clash, it's like there's no middleground. I'm not interested in continuing this MOS discussion, and I also recognize that you are more involved with MOS content than I am. I simply questioned the removal of the "WP:" usages from the MOS pages. I know your stance. We can move on. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:20, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

I think it's useful that the reader be able to spot, on sight, that a given link is to MOS. EEng 21:54, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

I don't dispute that. I just don't see a need to remove "WP:" from the MOS pages. Yes, it encourages editors, especially newbies, to use "MOS:" shortcuts instead of "WP:" shortcuts, but I don't see anything problematic about retaining the "WP:" usages. Again, we don't yet have it so that a reader is able to spot, on sight, that a given link is to a policy or essay. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 22:12, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't know if there's a "need" to removed WP:-style shortcuts, but doing so would encourage the more informative MOS: style, and I see no downside. Of course, the old shortcuts remain valid, they'd just be implicitly deprecated by their absence from the little shortcut boxes in the guidelines. EEng 22:17, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
And the "need" has already been explained in detail, twice (now a third time: they're redundant and unclear, and we're running out of mnemonic namespace in "WP:"). Pretending not to hear answers one doesn't like isn't helpful.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:39, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
Not really a need; just an opinion. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:57, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
And disagreeing with you, as I tend to do on a number matters, is not "pretending not to hear answers one doesn't. like" Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:15, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
If we are “running out” of mnemonics for shortcuts... then that tells me we have way too many policies, guidelines and MOS pages (and probably have conflicting advice on all those pages). Still, I favor noting that MOS pages are just MOS pages (and NOT policies or guidelines.) It will be helpful for editors to know which links they can freely ignore. Blueboar (talk) 20:15, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
MOS pages are just MOS pages (and NOT policies or guidelines.) Erm ... the box at the top of Wikipedia:Manual of Style prominently calls it a guideline. If MOS is NOT a set of guidelines, that seems a bit misleading. (Having been around Wikipedia for a while, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there are two Wikipedia definitions for the word "guideline", however.) ―Mandruss  20:37, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
Of course they're guidelines; a separate MoS-specific guideline template for the tops of them has only been around for a few years; they just used {{Guideline}} before. Whether there are too many P&G pages and/or shortcuts to them is a philosophical question that isn't really relevant. This isn't about whether our shortcut system or our policy system should be scrapped, but about practical navigation within the system we have. What's weird to me is why, after years (5? 6?) of us replacing WP:FOO shortcuts in MoS pages with MOS:FOO shortcuts is someone suddenly having some kind of not really articulable issue with it? This is not news, or a change from current practice, or anything else different, it's just more routine, incremental cleanup we've been doing slowly (because it's uninteresting even for gnome cleanup work).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  04:59, 2 December 2017 (UTC)
"Not really articulable issue with it?" I've articulated my position well. I am not against using "MOS:" whatsoever. I have questioned removing the "WP:" shortcuts from the MOS pages. You have replied. I already know your position. Knowing your position does not mean that I will be agreeing with it. Given our disagreements on different matters (including a recent WP:TALK matter), you should know that by now. Always presuming or asserting that you are right does not make you right. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:44, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Any reason that we shouldn't open an RfC on changing all the shortcut boxes on MOS pages from WP: to MOS: -- and then do it? EEng 05:08, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

Waste of time and editorial attention, kind of like this thread. Why would need an RfC for something we've been doing since at least 2007, a full decade, especially after the guideline on shortcut boxes was changed from five or fewer to two or fewer (except in unusual circumstances)? The end result will be that there's no compelling reason for consensus to change and suddenly disallow "MOS:" shortcuts, or that another consensus has suddenly changed to re-permit piles of redundant shortcuts in the shortcut boxes. We had one person who didn't know the history or the rationale raising an out-of-the-blue objection, the a rebuttal, and then someone else grousing about policy and shortcuts in general in an off-topic manner. That's not actually any kind of real controversy about "MOS:" shortcuts. People can open whatever RfC they want. Given the length of the list of unclosed RfCs at WP:AN/RFC it would be a shame to open a predictable RfC about trivia, but whatever.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  06:19, 2 December 2017 (UTC)
Okay now, Sandy, calm down. The point of my proposal is that we once and for all change WP: to MOS: everywhere, but I thought we might need an RfC to do that on a mass basis. Maybe we could do a test: on Talk:Dates and Numbers, I/we propose mass-changing WP: to MOS: on just that page, and see what the reaction is? EEng 07:02, 2 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm entirely calm. (But "Sandy?") I don't have patience for patently manufactured "controversy", because we have way better things to spend our volunteer time on. Various editors, including me, have already been removing "WP:" shortcuts and replacing them (where absent) with "MOS:" ones at WP:MOSNUM and other MoS pages, as have other editors, for years. The reaction is either nothing, or WP:Thanks notices. Just recently: [5]. I don't think anyone bothers with this gnoming except when already editing the section for other reasons, because it's not worth the watchlist hit. Which also means it not worth WP:DRAMA about it. PS: I don't see this "workflow" making any sense: Editor A does this cleanup on page X. Editor B (alone out of all editors for a decade) objects, and gets an explanation. Rather than move on, editor C suggests an RfC despite no real issue, then wants to do the same thing on page C as an experiment to see if anyone objects. When even those doing this maintenance don't think it should be done except as an afterthought. (Even the diff in the OP is to be doing it as a small part of more meaningful link cleanup [6]).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  08:59, 2 December 2017 (UTC)
Like I stated above, "you are making a simple discussion out to be some fist-shaking crusade. I'm not the one removing or adding shortcuts. I am simply questioning this matter, and so have others in this section." There is no controversy here. There is disagreement. I don't have patience for patently manufactured "it's better" rationales. I have seen no indication that use of "MOS:" is better, aside from the fact that experienced editors (and newbies, after sometime) will automatically know that it's about a MOS guideline. Your "alone out of all editors for a decade" commentary is inaccurate, by the way. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:15, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
This is just repetition of your 20:15, 3 December 2017 post, already addressed above.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  03:18, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Interesting that you call it "just repetition" since I consider your comments in this section "just repetition" as well. Also interesting that you broke up my comment, like I suspected you would after I mentioned the RfC about breaking up comments. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 03:30, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
"just repetition" as well": That's what happens when someone gives you a reason, you ignore the reason and re-state your already-refuted premise, and keep recycling that same pattern.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:34, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Your supposedly given reason is just opinion. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:38, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
EEng, "WP: to MOS: everywhere"? I take it you only mean for MOS guideline matters? Either way, isn't "everywhere" already the case, except for some legacy pieces at the top of guidelines? Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:15, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I mean on MOS pages, and no it's not already MOS: everywhere, unless I've missed something in the last few months. EEng 20:28, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
Mind pointing to an example or two where "MOS:" is not thoroughly used in a MOS guideline? It seems you are referring to sections that still retain "WP:"? If so, I guess that SMcCandlish and others interested in removing "WP:" from those pages have not yet gotten around to doing it. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:44, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
That's already been stated explicitly at least twice.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  03:18, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
What are you talking about? Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 03:30, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm responding to your "point" that 'SMcCandlish and others interested in removing "WP:" from those pages have not yet gotten around to doing it' but noting that this is what I've already told you at least twice in this discussion. Now three times.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:36, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Your response is off. I asked EEng a question. EEng stated "no it's not already MOS: everywhere." I then asked for clarification -- examples and whether or not he was simply referring to certain sections. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:38, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Do I have to turn the hose on you two? In answer to your question, Flyer, there are a bunch of shortuts in MOSNUM which are still WP:. I don't know about elsewhere. I don't see why we don't just systematically run around and change WP: to MOS: (on MOS pages, of course). EEng 19:48, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

I'm up for it, as long as there's dog shampoo.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:37, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
  • See also the ridiculous hatnote pileup here for why to stop using "WP:" shortcuts for MoS pages, much less make any more of them. Mnemonic names in the "Wikipedia:"/"WP:" namespace are precious, limited, and cause a lot of principle of least astonishment violations when they keep ending up at MoS pages that already have other shortcuts, especially when the "WP:" one has more obvious applicability to another page.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  02:37, 20 December 2017 (UTC)


If the editors who put it together think the MOS:POSS explanation for "the possessive of singular nouns ending with just one s" is cloudless ... well, I'm here to say that it could use a little tweaking. Having recently dealt with an editor that changed the apostrophe on a surname ending with s from s' to s's — when pronouncing the name with /s's/ made it sound like a bee had stung the name — I really think a little better 'splaining for the not-as cerebral would be helpful. Oxford states in 'Personal names that end in –s': "With personal names that end in -s but are not spoken with an extra s: just add an apostrophe after the -s: The court dismissed Bridges' appeal. Connors' finest performance was in 1991." The University of Sussex guideline states: "...a name ending in s takes only an apostrophe if the possessive form is not pronounced with an extra s. Hence: Socrates' philosophy, Saint Saens' music, Ulysses' companions, Aristophanes' plays." Bradeis University AP Style Guide states: 'For singular proper names ending in s, use only an apostrophe: Brandeis’ mission. Grammar and Style in British English states: "Where possessive nouns ending in s make a harsh ziz sound, the option is available of using an apostrophe without an additional s. Thus – Jones’s house is the one at the end of the street may instead be written – Jones’ house is the one at the end of the street." Heck, even English Grammar for Dummies states: "If the name of a singular owner ends in the letter s, you may add only an apostrophe, not an apostrophe and another s. But if you like hissing and spitting, feel free to add an apostrophe and an s. Both versions are acceptable."
Any chance that the current

"Add only an apostrophe if the possessive is pronounced the same way as the non-possessive name: Sam Hodges' son, Moses' leadership;"

could be rewritten with the directness and simplicity of, say, Oxford's? Pyxis Solitary talk 10:43, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

Pretty much every style guide gives a conflicting "rule" about this, with widely divergent rationales (when one is offered at all). They vary from /s/ or /z/ or both pronunciation, to presence of the character s alone or singly, whether the name is pre-medieval, whether it's Latin or Greek or French in particular, and so on.

The Chicago Manual of Style is now recommending a consistent [except as noted below] 's, regardless of etymology or pronunciation. Some quoted examples (17th ed. §§ 7.16–7.19): "a bass's stripes", "Kansas's legislature", "Marx's theories", "Jesus's adherents", "Berlioz's works", "Tacitus's Histories", "Borges's library", "Dickens's novels", "Malraux's masterpiece", "the Lincolns' marriage" (plural), "the Williamses' new house" (plural), "Descartes's three dreams", "the marquis's mother", "Albert Camus's novel", "Euripides's tragedies", "the Ganges's source", and so on. It makes a strange exception I've not seen anywhere else (§7.20): "Possessive of nouns plural in form, singular in meaning. When the singular form of a noun ending in s is the same as the plural (i.e., the plural is uninflected), the possessives of both are formed by the addition of an apostrophe only. If ambiguity threatens, use of to avoid the possessive. politics' true meaning, economics' forerunners, this species' first record (or, better, the first record of this species)". Less strange: "The same rule applies when the name of a place or an organization or a publication (or the last element in the name is a plural form ending in s ...) even though the entity is singular: the United State's role ..., Highland Hills' late mayor", etc. This codicil seems unnecessary, since we'd automatically use ' not 's because the word being modified is plural. It has another exception (§7.21) I've seen in some form in two other style guides: In a formulaic for ... sake cliché, use just ': for goodness' sake, for righteousness' sake, but use 's for non-stock variants, like for expedience's sake, for Jesus's sake. The obviously problem with this is that "for Jesus's sake" is common and formulaic, while "for righteousness'[s] sake" is neither frequent not a stock phrase, so the CMoS editors were drunk or something when they wrote that part. >;-) Beyond this, CMoS simply observes that the "just use ' after s" system exists, but specifically deprecates it (§7.22).

The simple "stop fighting about it" rule is to always use 's. We have no need of CMoS's iffy exceptions. It's the only unambiguous option, is recognizable to everyone even if not everyone's favorite, and it avoids the serious problem in an international encyclopedia that there is no guarantee how the end of a name will be pronounced from one dialect to another. Various English (including multiple British) variants tend to shift a final /s/ to /z/ ("Are you going with uz to the circuz", etc.) or less commonly vice versa (found in the American Southwest, parts of India, etc.). There isn't even consistency in how "Jesus'" / "Jesus's" or "Jones's" / "Jones'" are pronounced syllabically, even aside from the /s/ and /z/ issue. In one area it'll be /Jee-zus/ or /Jee-zuz/ and /Jōnz/, and in another /Jee-zus-uz/ or /Jee-zuz-uz/ and /Jōnz-uz/. So, the pronunciation-based "rules" (which seem come to us ultimately from broadcast journalism – what to put on teleprompters – thence to print journalism) are useless rules to try to use here, guaranteed to cause dispute.

We've been over this before and no solid consensus ever seems to emerge. The current MoS wording ("Hodges'" and "Moses'"), however, is useless for the reason I just gave: plenty of people would read aloud /Hoj-uz-uz/ and /Mō-zuz-uz/, rather than using /Hoj-uz/ and /Mō-zuz/ as if the possessive were absent. The extra syllable is pronounced by many to avoid the obvious ambiguity. (Plus, Hodge is a real name, so "Hodge's" is a legit singular possessive). There also the logic problem than anyone really clear on what possessives do and are for is apt to object to a singular possessive like "Williams'" as implying two+ people with a surname of William (which does exist as a surname). The traditionalists who like that spelling are always going to want to compress "Williams's" to that unclear variant, however, unless directed not to. So, continuing to lack a "just use 's rule" is a recipe for having to have this same debate every few months for as long as Wikipedia exists.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:58, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

No one is asking for the rule to be changed, SMc. Just a simple request to reword it for clarity. Didn't need the full explanation. oknazevad (talk) 12:17, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but isn't it nice to know he's here in case we need a full explanation? SM, since you're so steeped in this, is there some change along the guidelines of what Oknazevad is suggesting that would improve the guideline? EEng 15:45, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Beats me. My point is that the current advice is poor and probably would not stand up to an RfC, and should be replaced with a simpler suggestion. Rewording what we have now without changing what it advises would be lipstick on a pig.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  15:49, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Oh. Well, I'm certainly not going to wade through all the above for the sake of an apostrophe. Maybe the OP can suggest specific text he'd like. EEng 18:53, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Although she wasn't polite enough to ping me, I am the other editor mentioned by the OP above. Our discussion started when she reverted my edits and posted the edit summary: You do not add " 's " when a name ends with an " s ". This is obviously contrary to common usage as well as our MOS. I then raised the question of pronunciation, which is central to the current MOS; a subject on which the OP didn't engage, on the article talk page at least. The word in dispute was "Haynes", which I maintain is commonly pronounced Haynes's, reflecting the equivalent sounding words of Jones's and Dickens's which were given as examples of pronunciation-based apostrophes ('s) in the OP's own preferred online dictionaries. Pronunciation discussions aren't the best use of editors' time, since this often varies around the world, and I would strongly support user:SMcCandlish's proposal that we default to 's, which is always acceptable (given the specified individual exceptions) under our existing MOS. It would certainly avoid a lot of fruitless discussion about how words are pronounced, as well as reflecting increasingly common practice in both the U.S. and UK versions of English.MapReader (talk) 18:38, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • You have turned this into a personal bickering between us. I, on the other hand, kept the name of editor and article out of it. Why would I ping an editor whose name (and title of the article in which I encountered that editor) was deliberately excluded? It has nothing to do with you. Your edits were the catalyst that motivated me to ask my question, yes, but planet MOS is not revolving around you. Pyxis Solitary talk 21:53, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • On the contrary, I have tried hard to avoid sinking to any personal abuse, despite your opening gambit - on a matter that only concerned a bit of punctuation after all - having been to open a new thread on my personal talk page titled "petty edits.." and with a stack of accusations and other statements that, despite being false, you never withdrew or apologised for. Then you stop engaging on the talk page and restart the discussion here, without letting me know. When I found this thread it was of course relevant to flag to other editors that I was the other party in the original disagreement. MapReader (talk) 22:31, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I did not include your name in this because it's not about you and whatever debate there was between us about it. I considered them petty edits and I took it to your talk page, which is what editors should do when they disagree with another editor's edits. Your need to bring attention to yourself is your own doing. I created a discussion about having the wording in MOS made more straightforward. Pyxis Solitary talk 23:10, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • For the benefit of editors who don't know the rest of it (and why should they since the reason why I posted my question was to seek clarification and simplicity in MOS): "Haynes" appears with an / ' / 30 times in the article -- whereas Haynes's appears 7 times (in two quotations and five sources). To which I also said in the article's talk page discussion: "The bottom line is to be consistent."
    And it is not "obviously contrary to common usage as well as our MOS" considering that / ' / has been accepted by every editor that has edited the article for the last 4 years, including when it underwent GA review and FA candidacy; and MOS:POSS states:
    For the possessive of singular nouns ending with just one s (sounded as /s/ or /z/), there are two practices advised by different grammar and style guides ... Apply just one of these two practices consistently within an article." Pyxis Solitary talk 22:14, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • You are again missing the point that the second option in the MOS rests upon pronunciation (the illogic of which is now the subject of this thread); since common pronunciation is hayneses the correct punctuation for the article should be Haynes's MapReader (talk) 22:35, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • You pronounce it as hayneses. You're missing the point of why it has appeared as Hayne/s'/ for the last 4 years; which is that, obviously, it is not how other editors commonly pronounce it. (You came along and decided that every editor in all those years has been wrong because of how you pronounce it.) Pyxis Solitary talk 22:58, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • The first online dictionary that you voluntarily cited explicitly states that the possessive of Jones (which ends in an -ns sound) is commonly pronounced joneses. The second that you cited says that for Dickens (same -ns ending) it is dickenses. I will leave other editors to consider what reason there could be for the -ns ending Haynes being any different? MapReader (talk) 23:09, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
@EEng: You're referring to me, yes? If so, I don't know how much clearer it can be made than the example provided by Oxford. There is currently so much bloated yada-yada-yada in the section that I can only image how many people's eyes glaze over halfway through it. Cut back on the redundant, obsessive-compulsive, "possessive" rat-a-tat-tat. Just get to the point, as in: Add only an apostrophe if a personal name is not spoken with an extra s: Sam Hodges' son, Moses' leadership;. There's another style guide that precedes the Chicago Manual and it's called Hart's Rules, also referred to as the The Oxford Style Manual. Without purchasing the book itself, we can at least take a cue about straightforwardness from the University of Oxford Style Guide. Pyxis Solitary talk 02:05, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
But this doesn't have anything to do with personal names in particular. And why would we continue trying to re-work a "rule" we know doesn't work well, especially on WP? [It might work okay at, for example, newspapers with a limited regional readership whose pronunciation habits can be predicted.]  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  06:41, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Dunno about Mr. Hodges, but I would never pronounce the possessive of Moses the same as Moses. That would sound really weird. Actually "Hodges's son" wouldn't sound any weirder than "Hodges' son" to my ear. I'd call them about equally weird. The former is a bit harder to enunciate, but I don't think that makes it incorrect. ―Mandruss  06:48, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
This isn't about how people should pronounce (and thus spell) these words, but how they do. If there are multiple acceptable pronunciations for a particluar word, those are edge cases, and aren't what people are fighting about. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 08:22, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Isn't it though (in answer to both questions)? The desire for the current wording and a refinement of it appears to be rooted by a prescriptive certainty about how to pronounce, because the entire "rule" is grounded in a "correct pronunciation" notion when real-world pronunciation varies, and along more than one axis. Yet "I would never pronounce the possessive of Moses the same as Moses" someone says (and my main point is that this is true for many people), so this really is what we're arguing about. I.e., if we know for a fact (and we do) that a pronunciation-based "system" is a bust, why are we even contemplating retaining anything that depends on such an idea? Especially when smarter style guides written for very broad audiences, not for a single, regional "pronunciation market", are abandoning the notion?  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:00, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Unless there's a dialect where the 's is pronounced in all cases, then variation is a sub-case—if there are people out there who say "Lloyd Bridges's last film", they're in a small enough minority that we can't expect the editing community to be aware of them, or to care. To most of us, it sounds like foreigners' English. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:59, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Simplify – I agree with SMcCandlish that trying to explain the pronunciation hack better is a losing game. Go with the latest Chicago recommendation and we'll have one simple easy rule that anyone can follow, leading to increasing consistency over time, and decreasing anguish and discussion about this old source of confusion. It's not exactly a radical new idea; it's the first line of Struck & White The Elements of Style 4th ed. (2000): "1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 's." OK, they do allow exceptions for "ancient proper names ending in es or is, and for Jesus, but that's a lot narrower than what we have now. Maybe going with Strunk & White 2000 is less frightening than the brand new CMOS? Dicklyon (talk) 07:14, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Agree. 's is always permissible under the current MOS, whereas ' is only sometimes permissable. Defaulting to the former (other than for the few well known individual exceptions) would save a lot of unnecessary grief. And simpler is generally better. MapReader (talk) 18:45, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Worth mentioning again, from previous discussions of this stuff: Various American "traditionalist" publishers and style guides, like Strunk & White, and old editions of CMoS, have favored a just-' exception for Jesus only, for biblical figures generally, or for "classical antiquity" people more broadly, because the King James version of the Bible does it, and it's the most-used edition in English. But it's written in slightly post-Elizabethan English, and WP isn't (last I looked, we use hungry not an hungred, and use astonished or stunned, not stonied).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:00, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • The Chicago Manual of Style? Strunk & White? American English language guides are the acme standards? When did en.Wikipedia become aen.Wikipedia? Pyxis Solitary talk 22:46, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
That's certainly not the intent. I supported you on the Oxford thing. And the Cambridge University Press Style Guide says "the possessive case of a singular noun (even those ending in an s or an s sound) will usually be formed by adding an apostrophe and a lowercase s;" (and gives a few exceptions of ancient names). This has become the most common approach recommended in British and American guides, I think. Even Fowler (1965, Oxford) Modern English Usage says dropping the final s for pronunciation concerns was done "formerly" and now only in poetic and reverential contexts to keep the number of syllables from increasing; "we now usually add the s and the syllable"; some exceptions, but not really recommending a fallback on pronunciation. I don't think I'd call the added s sound a "syllable", but that's a matter of definition. Do you know any British guides that recommend more dropping of the s? Dicklyon (talk) 22:08, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
There is not a consensus in written or spoken English about whether to add "' " or "'s" as a possessive of a word ending in an "s" or "z" sound. I remember a long heated discussion, here I think, about Paris' or Paris's nightlife. If there's no consensus among English speakers or English style guides, we don't have a chance of imposing one here.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  17:08, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
There's more consensus than there used to be, with Strunk & White since 1979, and CMOS recently coming around. Most wikipedians readily accept improvements toward WP style, as they don't care much one way or the other. The main problem with the apostrophe, from what I've seen, is from editors who mis-remember what they were taught in the third grade or so, and over-generalize the rule about plurals to apply to words ending in s. I don't recall the Paris's debate, but I bet there was some of that there (yes, in Talk:Paris archive 9 I find, Well, I have a long-standing "thing" about misuse of apostrophes, and "Paris's" just looks wrong. I was always taught that essentially any word ending in "s" should be possessified (!) by just appending an apostrophe. I have no idea how authoritative 'The Elements of Style by Strunk and White' is, but I'd like to see more corroboration from other sources before I'd consider accepting Paris's over Paris'.). I went through some of that at Steve Jobs. Apparently they had changed to consistently "Paris's" but then in review (in archive 10) someone said that way American style, not British! Now, it's mixed. Need to fix (just fixed: it was only 7 missing s vs 38 correct). This one is really not defensible without the final s. Dicklyon (talk) 17:45, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I mean, most editors already remain blissfully unaware that the MOS recommends sticking to one of two approaches within an article. They're still going to be unaware if we change it. But the guidance to wikignomes will be more clear, and the difficulty of figuring out whether someone previously chose one style or the other will go away. Dicklyon (talk) 17:57, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
But, as SMc says, the problem is with the existence of the second option in the MOS, not with its wording. However it is worded, if the appropriate usage rests upon pronunciation, and different editors have different views/practice on pronunciation, nothing is resolved. Certainly it wouldn't help with the editing issue that has generated this thread, since I maintain that Haynes's is pronounced the same as Jones's and Dickens's. It also runs contrary to the nature of our language, which more than probably any other does not rely solely on pronunciation to determine its written form. MapReader (talk) 19:32, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
And I completely agree. So does the recommended clarification from the linked University of Oxford Style Guide: just always add the 's and if that looks odd to you, rearrange to avoid the possessive. Dicklyon (talk) 22:02, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Your 'Oxford' is not the same as the OP's 'Oxford'. If you were referring to SMc's proposal then we are on the same page. MapReader (talk) 22:11, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
The University of Oxford Style Guide is not the Oxford dictionary. (Look first before you cross.) Pyxis Solitary talk 22:46, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
No, I was supporting OP's proposal, to simplify like the University of Oxford Style Guide (though I really don't believe she knew what she was saying when proposing that). SMcCandlish's would be my second choice, I guess. It's effectively the same, but the Oxford thing adds advice for what do to if you don't like Jesus's and such: use it or avoid it, but not Jesus'. Dicklyon (talk) 04:59, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
But, as SchreiberBike says, there is no consensus in written or spoken English about s' or s's. Enforcement of a punctuation model needs to be supported by a universal prescript. Pyxis Solitary talk 22:46, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Why? We're not prescribing, just describing our preferred style. Most of the other guides also don't prescribe, and when they do, they usually say to add the s. Anyway, I was trying to support your suggestion of simplifying along the lines of the University of Oxford Style Guide, which I think is brilliant. Dicklyon (talk) 23:30, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
If MOS says you have to do it this way and this way only, it's prescribing. The proper name Paris you provided is a good example of how one size does not fit all. The pronunciation of an ' after the s is ses (Parises); whereas, 's makes the pronunciation seses (Pariseses). If you use 's on Jesus it would be pronounced Jesusus. It's all about pronunciation. The middle ground is Oxford's. And I do appreciate your support of my suggestion for simplification because roadblocks and hurdles in MOS are an impediment that can discourage many editors from contributing good content. Pyxis Solitary talk 03:00, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
The MOS describes what's preferred; it doesn't say you have to do it that way (but on the other hand, you shouldn't fight someone who does). And I think you're very confused about how you interpret the pronunciation implied by an apostrophe, which perhaps explains why not everyone saw that Paris' is just plain weird and wrong per all the advice guides. Does anyone else here believe that Paris' could be OK? Dicklyon (talk) 04:56, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Many have been educated that it's actually a rule to do so—that you must use an apostrophe and no trailing s, even when the possessive is a separately pronounced syllable. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 06:24, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Many seem to remember it that way, but I'm pretty sure they're wrong. I find no evidence of any book ever teaching such nonsense. Dicklyon (talk) 07:36, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
That was, nevertheless, how this whole discussion got started, with the OP reverting my edit, and telling me I was "wrong" to add 's after a name ending in s. Whereas I was educated to use Paris's and Jesus's and would pronounce them both that way as well. To me, Paris' looks wrong (or leaves me wondering who or what a Pari might be?) And I agree with Dicklyon that Pyxis appears confused on pronunciation: I would expect the ' to be pronounced silent, Paris's is parises and there is no pariseses. Returning to the original issue at discussion, I realise now why she didn't like Haynes's, if she thought this should be pronounced Hayneseses. Whereas Hayneses and hence Haynes's is correct, and Haynes' is not (under the current MOS). MapReader (talk) 09:14, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
It must drive you nuts to hear that notorious pedant Lou Reed declare he "feel[s] just like Jesus' son" ... Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 01:40, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
(only if he simultaneously pronounced it jesuses) ;) MapReader (talk) 05:56, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
  • The length of a summary is restricted. Since you turned this into a me vs. her, I'll provide the yada yada that you're leaving out. This is what I wrote the first time: 1. This is what I wrote in the summary the second time: 2. From here it moved to a discussion in the talk page in which I wrote:
    " You insist on making Haynes' into Haynes's (apostrophe + s). I provided a link to a grammatical source ( in my summary when I undid your first edit. You went back and did it again. I again provided a link, this time to another source ( that supports the original way it appeared because the name is not spoken/pronounced with an extra s.... Haynes' appears 30 times in the article -- whereas Haynes's appears 7 times (in two quotations and five sources, and you do not alter quotations and the titles of sources).... The bottom line is to be consistent. " Pyxis Solitary talk 22:41, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Actually, the bottom line here is that it is spoken with an extra "s". As ought to be very clear if you read the online dictionaries that you yourself have cited. MapReader (talk) 22:57, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • 1. GrammarBook: "Many common nouns end in the letter s (lens, cactus, bus, etc.). So do a lot of proper nouns (Mr. Jones, Texas, Christmas). There are conflicting policies and theories about how to show possession when writing such nouns. There is no right answer; the best advice is to choose a formula and stay consistent."
    2. Oxford: "With personal names that end in -s but are not spoken with an extra s: just add an apostrophe after the -s: The court dismissed Bridges' appeal. Connors' finest performance was in 1991."
    Re (1): There is no one way only. Re (2): It depends on how someone pronounces it. Four years' worth of editors before you have not pronounced it as Hayneseses.
    Pyxis Solitary talk 23:28, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
I think most editors will be able to understand that there is significantly greater difficulty in pronouncing the possessive of Bridges or Connors with an additional -s sound than there is Jones, Dickens or Haynes. And the 'four years' point makes little sense - even a GA article will contain small details that are wrong or could be improved, which editors have not noticed or bothered to amend; I dealt with a fair few left in that very article, just a day or two ago. And, most fundamentally - you are WRONG, still, on Hayneseses, which no-one would ever use. This misunderstanding of yours explains why we are having this whole argument. Haynes' is pronounced Haynes. Haynes's is pronounced Hayneses. Hayneseses is an invention all of your own. MapReader (talk) 00:05, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I want to be clear: who says Hayneseses's invention is Pyxis's? EEng 00:17, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Now that is clever. I see what you did there. Kudos :) MapReader (talk) 00:22, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Sometimes it just all comes together. I don't just do it for the kudos's sake, of course. EEng 00:30, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
n, pl so kudos'? ;) MapReader (talk) 05:42, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I was referring to the special rule for possessives followed by sake. EEng 06:08, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Simplify per SMcC's position (if I interpret it correctly). Always add an s, except plurals, plus whatever exceptions are needed. A style guide which depends on regional pronunciation is untenable for an international project. Pburka (talk) 21:40, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
    I see 5 or maybe 6 of us here who would support that. Might be worth an RFC after someone drafts a new version along those lines. Dicklyon (talk) 22:04, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
    I don't think the drafting would be a big deal. MOS:POSS Singular nouns has two bulleted sections. The first would be unchanged. The second would be considerably shortened, all the guff about pronunciation and article consistency deleted, we would only need to retain: * For the possessive of singular nouns ending with just one s (sounded as /s/ or /z/), add 's: James's house, Sam Hodges's son, Jan Hus's life, Vilnius's location, Brahms's music, Dickens's novels, Morris's works, the bus's old route. Then just a debate about whether very well established exceptions are needed, such as Jesus'. A quick Google search suggests that Jesus's is reasonably common, so the answer on exceptions may well be no? It could be argued that, since the two bullet points would then recommend the same approach, the whole lot coulf be replaced with one instruction, but it is probably worth keeping the existing structure for the avoidance of any doubt. MapReader (talk) 23:13, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
    Well if we do what the University of Oxford Style Guide says, that choice between options goes away, and instead we get an explanation of what to do if you have a hard time with the suggested pronunciation, neatly side-stepping the problem. Dicklyon (talk) 23:30, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
    Running with your suggestion, the nearly three hundred words of the existing MOS:POSS under the heading Singular nouns could be replaced with

    For the possessive of singular nouns, including proper names and words ending with an s (sounded as /s/ or /z/, or silent), add 's: my niece's wedding, James's house, Cortez's men, Glass's books, Illinois's largest employer, Descartes's philosophy. If a name already ends in s or z and would be difficult to pronounce if ’s were added to the end, consider rearranging the phrase to avoid the difficulty: Jesus’s teachings or the teachings of Jesus.

MapReader (talk) 09:42, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes. I wholly support that as the draft to work from.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:13, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • A WP:POSS on both your houses. EEng 02:46, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
    •   May be your best one yet.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:13, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
<bows, acknowledges applause> Too late I thought of A WP:POSS on both your houses's. EEng 17:23, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
There is, at least in my country, such a thing as trying too hard ;) MapReader (talk) 17:41, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Like we care how they do things in Ruritania. EEng 18:50, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
lol. Nevertheless you seem to have reduced your effort accordingly; that's the spirit...;) MapReader (talk) 19:16, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • (Not sure how many indents to use, so just going back to the start.) Put me down in favor of the "no exceptions, just use 's" option. Then each reader can treat it like those "end-syllable-Rs" that those of y'all with non-rhotic accents just ignore when talking, pronouncing it or not as their own idiolect dictates. --Khajidha (talk) 15:52, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
It's best to avoid ridiculous Jesus's or the ponies's barn, and we should reflect that, but ultimately other style guides allows for that ridiculousness, so that's squarely on WP:ENGVAR terroritory. So I support whatever that option is. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 16:26, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
To note that Jesus's is already quite common usage, whereas ponies's is ungrammatical and, as far as I know, not used nor recommended by anyone. MapReader (talk) 16:51, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
And none of this is in any way ENGVAR related. Dicklyon (talk) 21:48, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

I might work up an RFC on a definite proposal or two. Probably more centralized than here would be best; WP:VPPOL? Please advise if you want to help, or have options you want to see included besides the obvious "status quo" and "also add the s". Dicklyon (talk) 22:30, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

I think it's a choice between status quo and the wording I put forward above to reflect your own suggested approach? SMcC, who proposed the simplest just add 's alternative, says above that he is happy with your Oxford proviso about reordering the phrase in extremis. And it will help that the proposal carries the weight of being lifted straight from the Oxford Uni guide. MapReader (talk) 22:49, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
I was thinking of those two alternatives, but also one with a finite list of exceptions, which might be favored by some. Dicklyon (talk) 00:45, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

OK, RFC is now posted and listed: WP:VPPOL#RFC on forming possessive form of singular names, MOS advice simplification. Dicklyon (talk) 05:12, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

MOS:HEAD and templates

MOS:HEAD is quite clear that image files should not be used in section heading. I am wondering if or how this may apply to templates which reproduce an image in the section heading. For example, Italy at the 1960 Summer Olympics#Medals. The subsection headings in that section use {{Gold medal}}, {{Silver medal}} and {{Bronze medal}} in lieu of simple text. This causes the TOC to show the sections listed as "01 ! Gold", "02 ! Silver" and "03 ! Bronze" respecitively, but otherwise seems to not affect the heading itself. The template pages say the file's are for use in tables, etc., but I am wondering if they are something also not permitted under MOS:HEAD. If this is the case, then maybe something should be added to the relevsant section. -- Marchjuly (talk) 05:22, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

Clearly against MOS:HEAD (icons are images, and there's no special exemption for icons) and MOS:ACCESS. I've better cross-referenced those (plus MOS:ICONS, MOS:IMAGES, MOS:FORMULAE, etc.) so this isn't just buried in one place no one looks.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:07, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

RfC on dashes and capital letters in Russian train station article titles

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#RfC: Russian railway line article titles.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  04:31, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

Dashes... and... capital letters... in... articles. Train station articles. Russian train station articles. EEng 05:35, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Apparently it's different enough from the seven previous RfCs on dashes and capital letters in other types of train station articles (or however many there have actually been) to need its own RfC. At least we're still on the big countries; we'll see who's still laughing by the time we get to the Barbados train stations. —David Eppstein (talk) 05:58, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
"When I said I was going to become a comedian, they all laughed. Well, they're not laughing now, are they?" EEng 07:01, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
My only hope is that this one will be sufficient to put this to bed permanently, given the previous RM precedent and previous RfCs. What we're dealing with is a handful of geographical wikiprojects that have written their own "style rules" (WP:PROJPAGE essays) in isolation, without any care for whether they're in agreement with site-wide guidelines or even with essentially identical articles about the same topic (railway lines) but in a different country. After China and Russia, I'm unaware of any other "writing about trains in [insert magically special country here] is uniquely different" factions out there. But see the recent "Brazilian footballer names are unlike those of anyone else" RfC – this kind of special pleading and SSF stuff can appear out of nowhere, for way more than trains.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  12:12, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Meh... It will only be “put to bed” until the next time someone challenges a project’s consensus, and tries to “conform” a large group of articles to the MOS. Yes, yes... we all know the WP:LOCAL arguments. But when challenging a project, please remember to tread lightly. Going on MOS conformity “crusades” just pisses people off. Blueboar (talk) 13:30, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Actually, it's a small group (24 articles on metro lines; the station article turn out not to need disambiguation by line, so they're not involved) and there's no evidence of any "project" ever having considered these style issues or having a current opinion on the changes. Just one dynamic IP who doesn't want us changing Russian articles. Much noise about very little. Dicklyon (talk) 22:16, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
This is also really more of one editor (a disruptive anon) trying to speak on behalf of the Russia wikiproject (who seem to collectively WP:DGAF) to go against a consensus arrived at through multiple RfCs at the trains and stations wikiprojects, which are not nationally parochial. This really has no nationality connections at all; there isn't something weirdly different about how to write about trains and stations in Russia versus in China or Canada or Botswana. So, the "MoS is being mean to a wikiproject" shtick is off-base.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  15:11, 12 December 2017 (UTC)


I've made some conforming and consolidation edits across MOS:INDENT (in MOS), MOS:INDENTGAP (at MOS:ACCESS), and MOS:DLIST (at MOS:LISTS). They've all been in agreement for years (other than the third of these was recommending a now-obsolete template), but were not cross-referenced and there thus wasn't a clear picture what the total MoS advice on the matter was. This material, though it was a bit scattered, has been stable and uncontroversial for years, and is provably correct (e.g. with validation tools). I did correct a technical fault at MOS:ACCESS (one validation error that applied several years ago no longer does, due to changes in MW's HTML output, though one validation error still happens with misuse of : by itself for visual indentation).

However, a huge pile of drama has erupted at WT:MOSMATH#Indenting for no explicable reason. MOS:MATHS#Using LaTeX markup continues to effectively require the misuse of : markup for indentation in articles (we don't really care about talk pages, which are outside MoS's scope, and it's a lost cause until WMF provides us with functional discussion-threading software that properly handles MediaWiki code samples, unlike WP:Flow). My attempts to get MOS:MATHS to agree with the other three guidelines (including MoS itself, which trumps it as a matter of WP:CONLEVEL policy) were reverted with confusion and hostility, followed by a false alert at WikiProject Mathematics that the RfC about the matter was "proposing to forbid articles to use colons to indent displayed mathematics" [7]. It doesn't have anything to do with mathematics but about showing people how to use accessible and valid code to indent (anything). Even MOS:ACCESS doesn't "forbid" colon indentation (not that a guideline can forbid anything at all). The RfC was of course derailed by a panicked bloc vote of maths editors mislead by that canvassing.

I'm inclined to just let the matter cool off, then re-RfC it again at a later date, with WT:MOSMATH and WT:MATHS and WT:ACCESS and so on neutrally and accurately notified of the discussion. I think the tempers are running too hot right now for any attempt to re-address this pseudo-conflict in the short term to be effective.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  13:17, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Followup: The dispute now now migrated to WT:MOSACCESS.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  00:03, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

Tense issues at The Gifted (TV series)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Best resolved at the article talk page.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:02, 16 December 2017 (UTC) (non-admin closure)

Hi, I thought it best to start a discussion with regards to tense usage in a tv article, as I am fairly certain that another editor (who insists on an incorrect usage of verb tenses) won't initiate discussion here. The section currently going back and forth:

Emma Dumont as Lorna Dane / Polaris: {{Cast list break|A brave and loyal mutant whose abilities include controlling magnetism. She is introduced as being "unstable" due to bipolar disorder. Nix explains that there is "some awareness" that Polaris is the daughter of Magneto, within the series leading to the question "does she accept the mantle of her birthright? Is it her job to be Magneto in his absence?" Justin Gilbert Alba, of, notes the dedication with which Dumont has researched her character, having read the comics wherein Polaris appeared. The character is depicted with green hair, as she is in the comics, but "subdued shades of green". Dumont took mechanical engineering classes at Georgia State University to help understand the character's abilities. Nix did not originally intend to have the character in the show, and only added her as a love interest for Eclipse, but later noted that she "emerges as a central character" for the series.
or This:
Emma Dumont as Lorna Dane / Polaris: {{Cast list break|A brave and loyal mutant whose abilities include controlling magnetism. She is introduced as being "unstable" due to bipolar disorder. Nix explained that, within the series, there is "some awareness" that Polaris is the daughter of Magneto, leading to the question "does she accept the mantle of her birthright? Is it her job to be Magneto in his absence?" The character is depicted with green hair, as she is in the comics, but "subdued shades of green". Dumont took mechanical engineering classes at Georgia State University to help understand the character's abilities. Nix did not originally intend to have the character in the show, and only added her as a love interest for Eclipse, but later noted that she "emerges as a central character" for the series.

The same editor arguing for past tense usage has made the same argument before, without consensus. I think some discussion about how we use tense in Wikipedia would be helpful to all parties concerned. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 02:51, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Actor vs. actress at Hong Chau

There is a discussion at Hong Chau about using actor vs. actress. Please see the discussion here. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 13:32, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

Diacritics merge

Propose merging WP:Manual of Style/Proper names#Diacritics into the related material in WP:Manual of Style#Spelling and romanization (MOS:DIACRITICS), perhaps with some wording from WP:Naming conventions (use English)#Modified letters (WP:DIACRITICS), compressed into something concise and clear. The material is scattered around and not consistently worded. Most of the rest of WP:Manual of Style/Proper names (MOS:PN) is slated for merging into MOS:CAPS, as MOS:PN is a redundant "guideline stub" that is not maintained.

After the diacritics merge, cross-references can be used at MOS:BIO, etc., as needed, and the WP:DIACRITICS wording can also be probably be reduced to WP:SUMMARY-style. To make it easier to find in the main MoS page, I would actually split the diacritics paragraph of § Spelling and romanization to a § Diacritics immediately below it, so it shows up in the ToC.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  23:24, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

  • Support (tentative) on the basis that making things easier to find is generally a good thing. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:50, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Seems sensible.  White Whirlwind  咨  06:51, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposal to add missing advice on geographical names

While we mention not linking things like New York City or Berlin without good reason, we're missing key advice about over-linking geographical name parts, and when including them at all is helpful.

I propose adding a concise section on all the basics of geographical names, referencing the material at WP:Manual of Style/Linking#What generally should not be linked, and cross-referencing other existing advice as needed. This also includes the "Balanced commas ..." point from WP:Naming conventions (geographic names). Below is the draft [there will a revised one later], which is for a new section which other pages can link to with {{Main}}:

Geographical names

Geographical names are capitalized following the same conventions as other proper nouns. When in doubt about how to capitalize a place name, use the style that constistently dominates in modern, English-language, reliable sources.

Avoid over-linking of such names. Places with which most readers are familiar usually need not be linked unless it is contextually important to do so.

When a place is linked, do not individually link jurisdictional components:

  • Use [[Buffalo, New York]], not [[Buffalo, New York|Buffalo]], [[New York (state)|New York]].
  • Use [[Brill, Buckinghamshire]], or [[Brill, England]]; not [[Brill, Buckinghamshire|Brill]], etc. (and beware ambiguity: "Brill, UK" is ambiguous since Brill, Cornwall is also in the UK).

Familiarity and context:

Do not depend upon sub-national jurisdictions unfamiliar to most English speakers:

  • Use Metz, France, not Metz, Moselle; Metz, Lorraine; or Metz, Grand Est (among other way to refer to the same place). In a specific historical context, it can be referred to as having been Metz, Alsace-Lorraine, within the German Empire; such distinctions apply to many places in historical articles and sections.

It is presumed that most of our readers are familiar with the names of US states, UK counties (administrative and traditional), and Canadian provinces and territories; these need neither links nor the nation name in most contexts. A country's name should be included otherwise, unless already obvious from the context. Remember that Wikipedia content is free to reuse, including offline and without links; the material should make sense as stand-alone text.

  • The country name is included at first occurrence in an infobox, but it is not needed if redundant with a previous entry, such as a |nationality= parameter. The country name or an abbreviation thereof is also typical in presentations of tabular data where selective omission for one country might be confusingly inconsistent with other entries.
  • UK placenames are often instead given with a more specific British country (England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland) when it is most appropriate for the context; do not over-present this information (e.g. as Oxford, England, United Kingdom). When not ambiguous, it is usually more informative to more readers to identify a British place by Municipality, Country, rather than Municipality, County.
  • For US places, use the state name, never something like Atlanta, United States.

Disambiguation: A sub-jurisdiction can be included for disambiguation when a large jurisdiction includes multiple places with the same name:

  • Jackson Township, Brown County, Ohio, or Jackson Township, Monroe County, Ohio.

Be mindful of ambiguities, such as that between Georgia (U.S. state) and Georgia (country), as well as Washington, DC and Washington (state). Another example: various different places have been named Albania historically.

For more detail on disambiguating places, see WP:Naming conventions (geographic names), much of which is as applicable to article content as titles.

Postal abbreviations: These are not used, except in tables when space is very tight (markup the first occurrence with {{abbr}}).

Balanced commas: when a comma is used in front of part of a place name, a second comma (or replacement punctuation) is used afterward: Christchurch, New Zealand, is ..., not Christchurch, New Zealand is ....

[end of proposed section]

Rationale: MoS is very close to "feature complete" after 16+ years, but this is one of the most glaring omissions (not found at MOS:LINKS or elsewhere), since this material is actually among site-wide best practices, as reflected in what we consistently do at FAs, GAs, and most other articles. Its absence from the MoS guidelines is causing real problems, like WP:POLICYFORKing of advice into inconsistent patterns on a national basis. For example, there's an ongoing and rather confused debate at WT:MOSCANADA about making up a special "in articles about a strictly Canadian topic" pseudo-rule, among other such conflicts. This draft has not attempted to resolve the sporadic issue of some editors wanting to use parenthetical disambiguation, since that primarily affects article titles and is not really an MoS issue (i.e., no one seems to be writing things like "London (Ontario)" or "London (Canada)" in our articles with any frequency).

If any of the proposed material is already mentioned piecemeal in other MoS pages, it can be replaced with a cross-reference to this section (or a WP:SUMMARY-style contextual abstract and a cross-ref for the details). This was originally drafted as a section for MOS:LINKS, but a few of the points are not really link-related, so the main MOS page seems the proper location. Cross-refs to other MoS pages have been done as piped links to reduce verbiage. The cross-ref to WP:Naming conventions (geographic names) opens further cross-refs to more specific topical pages, which already cover things like how to refer geographically to rivers that cross multiple jurisdictions, and so on. This MoS page need not be bogged down with any micro-topical detail. PS: The presumption of reader familiarity with US, Canadian, and UK sub-national divisions may be optimistic, but it fits the general pattern of how our articles are actually written.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  20:25, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

  • Support – Looks pretty good to me. I personally think the instructions on overlinking are a bit too strong, but that's a discussion for another place and time.  White Whirlwind  咨  02:07, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
Well, it's early enough to tweak it without affecting proposal progress. That said, there's a strong tension between keeping the main MoS page (or any WP:P&G material for that matter) concise and simple, and working in various caveats. The more we do the latter, the more people complain, though sometimes it's genuinely necessary when a "rule" can be over-broadly interpreted or applied. More and more, I've been moving that kind of stuff into footnotes, and people seem to like that solution.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  02:18, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

Discussion on further qualifying subnational divisions

  • Comment: You have "UK placenames are often instead given with a more specific British country (England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland) when it is most appropriate for the context; do not over-present this information (e.g. as Oxford, England, United Kingdom). When not ambiguous, it is usually more informative to more readers to identify a British place by Municipality, Country, rather than Municipality, County. and For US places, use the state name, never something like Atlanta, United States." We should also have something like for Canadian places since you've mentioned them, for example Toronto, Ontario; not Toronto, Canada, or vice versa depending on what you're proposing. Also, maybe consider including something about Australian cities as they are English speaking as well. Regards, Vaselineeeeeeee★★★ 03:40, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    I don't think there is actually a demonstrated need for that We are not trying to write a "make up special rules for each country" page, or "make sure all English-speaking countries are mentioned to make everyone get a sense of a pride-of-place" page, but to mention only things that reflect real-world norms and which people keep arguing about on WP. It's actually rather common English usage to write "Vancouver, Canada", and "London, England", but it's virtually unheard of to use "Boston, US[A]". We're already suggesting that "York, Ontario" and "Brill, Buckinghamshire" are permissible when better in the context. That might be most of the time, but we don't need a WP:CREEP rule for it. And below there's disagreement that, e.g., "Brill, Buckinghamshire" is viable after all.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  20:46, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I have a problem with the choice of Brill as an example: AFAICT the only reason Brill, England is less ambiguous than Brill, UK here is that the former redirects to the Bucks location and the latter to the disambiguation page, which situation seems quite arbitrary and therefore subject to change. (Is Celtic Cornwall that much less English, in the average reader’s mind, than the Saxon Home Counties?}—Odysseus1479 04:05, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    • Good point; will replace with a name that's ambiguous for a town in England and another in Scotland or something; I'd forgotten that Cornwall, unlike Wales, is technically part of England. Derp. 20:46, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Regarding the assumed recognizability of sub-national divisions of the USA, the UK, and Canada, what about those of Australia, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa? Can we say this of “English-speaking countries” in general, or are the first three sets deemed to be head-and-shoulders above the rest in name-recognition?—Odysseus1479 04:05, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  • "The presumption of reader familiarity with US, Canadian, and UK sub-national divisions may be optimistic". I think that is overoptimistic. I don't think the majority of my fellow Americans know the Canadian provinces and wouldn't know most English counties from any place else foreign, let alone differentiate between the Northern Territory, the Northwest Territory or the Northwest Territories. I think that for an international audience there's nothing wrong with including a country with all sub-national subdivisions. To do otherwise feels like ugly Americanism, even if we share with some of our fellow Anglophones.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  07:09, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree that the supposed familiarity with UK counties is optimistic; even expecting all of an international audience to appreciate the difference between the UK and England is optimistic. If the place name is linked at first reference, why isn't name and country sufficient for general articles? If I really want to know the county or the state it is just one click away. MapReader (talk) 08:05, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    Problem is, for US places giving the state is essential, because the same city/town name exists in multiple states (Washington being the classic example). So the question becomes: Do we really want to write Richmond, California, United States? EEng 11:36, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    I see. Homesickness. Or lack of imagination. Both terrible things. How about Richmond, California (U.S.) or Richmond (CA), United States? I prefer the latter. MapReader (talk) 13:10, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    I'd agree for US cities the state name is important, but if we're talking about familiarity of places, I'd doubt many Canadians and Brits would know exactly where Boise, Idaho is for example. Obviously we need to disam between Boise, Texas, but Boise, Idaho, US would be helpful to other readers. I'd also say I think writing Richmond, California, US is necessary in an infobox, but in other instances just the city, state would suffice. I would also say the same for Toronto, Ontario, Canada in an infobox, and simply using Toronto thereafter as I think Toronto is a name that does not need disam, just as we would use Chicago or Detroit by itself thereafter. And about the sub region being "one click" away, we could say that about almost anything being one lick away, it doesn't mean it wouldn't help as the reader was reading it; we shouldn't rely on the reader to be clicking links. Regards, Vaselineeeeeeee★★★ 15:06, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    Often the phrase can be rewritten as "the US city of Richmond, California" or something, though in an infobox, I see nothing wrong with "Richmond, California, United States". I don't expect people around the world to be familiar with US postal abbreviations either, let alone expect Americans to know Indian or Australian abbreviations. I also want to clarify that my poor opinion of US geography knowledge does not include the typical Wikipedia editor.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  18:30, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    I imagine most international readers would recognize California as being in the US. But the same might not be true for say Maine or New Mexico. And Georgia needs the disambiguation regardless of reader knowledge. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:38, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    WP doesn't use postal abbreviations (MOS:ABBR) because they're meaningless to non-residents. "Richmond, California (US)" is more awkward and less concise than "Richmond, California, US" (the brackets don't buy us anything). I don't think we want to use country name with "Richmond, California" except in infoboxes, in the lead of the article on the city, and in table with a list of placenames in different country where leaving it out would be inconsistent. And, yes, "the US city of" works in some contexts.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  20:46, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    I have no real objection to removal of one or all of the assumptions of familiarity (US, UK, Canada) for sub-national divisions. It surely is actually the case that some are globally familiar and some are not. I was just going by what I observe as actual practice. It's rare in our articles to see "Windsor, Ontario, Canada"; "Albuquerque, New Mexico, US" (or "Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States"); or "Bath, Somerset, England" (or "Bath, Somerset, UK") – except in infoboxes. Surely this is most often because a) many (even if not all) of these major sub-national divisions are actually familiar enough, and b) more often and more importantly, the national context is usually already clear by the time we get to a placename like this. That said, "lots of good articles do it" doesn't always translate to "this is a best practice"; we should just consider that it might be one. I have no firm position on the matter, I'm just wary of the drama that can ensue from MoS advising something that doesn't align with the majority of current editorial practice.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  20:46, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I can try a second draft taking into account all these comments, or someone can propose an alternative version.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  20:46, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Some points:
    • Remember that the current "assumption of familiarity" is founded on the principle (SM, please find that shortcut and insert here: __________) that articles should generally refer to a place in the form used in the title of the article on that place.
    • I really think the context point is key. If we do start writing City, State, US in some places (and, contrary to what someone said above, I don't think that's current practice even in infoboxes), we're certainly not going to start doing it every time e.g. "He relocated from Buffalo, New York, US to Paterson, New Jersey, US the next year." The purest debate to have is what to do in leads. For a bio, the lead might say, "John Jones was an American businessman born and raised in Boise, Idaho" (reader can infer these locations are "American"), but should a lead say "XAir Flight 999 exploded over Smithtown, Iowa, US on January 1, 1966" – or do continue to omit US as we do now? If we can figure out what's right for leads, there's hope for figuring out the rest.
    • We better take this really slow, or we'll end up in a situation that will make the infobox wars look like a walk in the park (e.g. St. James' Park, City of Westminster, London, England, UK). Somehow, even if we do begin to say City, State, US in some article-text contexts, I don't think we're gonna change the article title away from simply City, State; and that matters, because for some reason article titles are much more war-prone than text.
EEng 21:21, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
I'd agree with EEng in saying in the lead "John Jones was an American businessman born and raised in Boise, Idaho" would be fine as, yes, the reader can infer this is in the US since it says he's an American businessman. For "XAir Flight 999 exploded over Smithtown, Iowa, US on January 1, 1966", I would say "US" is necessary on first mention. I think this is primarily a lead issue, as this is usually when the place is stated on first mention, or in the infobox. With regards to the article title, yes I'm sure we're keeping it city, state or city, province; it's mostly a prose issue here I believe. With "He relocated from Buffalo, New York, US to Paterson, New Jersey, US the next year." I'd assume Buffalo, New York, US would have been mentioned in the article previously on its first mention, so US would not be needed to be stated again. However, for the relocation to Paterson, New Jersey, I'd say we wouldn't need to state US here either, as we can likely go off of that if he was moving to another country we would've written "He relocated from Buffalo, New York, to Toronto, Ontario, Canada." or "Paris, France" if it was a non English country. Vaselineeeeeeee★★★ 22:03, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
I had a quick look at Encyclopedia Britannica, on the basis that this must be a wheel already invented. It uses Town, State, U.S. for American towns, with the state and U.S. sometimes in brackets, sometimes as sub-headings in smaller font (for article titles), but in the body of text most often simply comma separated. In article titles United States is spelled out in full, otherwise abbreviated. For UK towns they have Town, England, United Kingdom in titles (again the latter two in smaller font), but otherwise in articles assume people know (not unreasonable as a British publication). MapReader (talk) 22:18, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
This is all good feedback. I'm on "template and category brain" right now. When I get back into policy-wonk mode, I'll try a redraft. PS: ""XAir Flight 999 exploded over Smithtown, Iowa, US" is generally regarded as poor style in most style guides; "US" should be used as an adjective, in later occurrences, in tables, etc. In a construction like that in the lead, it would be given as "United States".  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  15:42, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

A question about quotes and the principle of minimal change

If a portion of a writing is given as quoted text, does the principle of minimal change allow written numbers like "three thousand" to be transcribed as 3,000? I do not see this as a minor correction, as neither is incorrect. I see it as needlessly favoring one style over another, and believe it exceeds the liberty intended by this principle. I'd like to know how others feel about this. Thank you.--John Cline (talk) 18:38, 19 December 2017 (UTC)

As you say, neither one is better than the other. MOS:NUMERAL does not express a preference for one; in fact, editors are allowed a choice. In this instance—therefore—'three thousand' should be used, as it is what exists in the original quoted material. Sb2001 18:43, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) If the quoted material was originally written, then such a change shouldn't be made (unless it's bracketed, but why bother?). If the material was originally spoken (but likely taken from a written source), then it's fine to make style changes (by which I mean the ways in which spoken words could be written), unless the original style was somehow germane to the material being presented. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 18:48, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
What Deacon said. It's not a minimal change; though permissible with bracketing, there would almost never be any reason to do it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  02:52, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
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