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Updating "Mankind"

Per WikiPedia's recommendation on gender-neutral language, I would like to edit generic references to "mankind" to replace them with more gender-neutral terms like "humanity," "humans," "humankind", etc. Of course, this would not apply to usage of "mankind" in titles, quotes, references to where the source material uses "mankind," or actual gender-specific uses of "mankind."

As Doug Weller points out, the Oxford dictionary says[1]

"In the second half of the 20th century, the generic use of man to refer to 'human beings in general' (as in reptiles were here long before man appeared on the earth) became problematic; the use is now often regarded as sexist or old-fashioned. In some contexts, terms such as the human race or humankind may be used instead of man or mankind. Certain fixed phrases and sayings, such as time and tide wait for no man can be easily rephrased (e.g., time and tide wait for no one). Alternatives for other related terms exist as well: the noun manpower, for example, can usually be replaced with staff or crew, and in most cases, the verbal form to man can be expressed as to staff or to operate."

I have developed a script to help me identify pages for consideration and review and then edit them, and you can see my edits thus far. This is not an automated search and replace, and I am reviewing each page before editing. I am using a script to facilitate the repetitive edits. I have tried to use caution, though a couple of edits have been appropriately reverted. But folks seem uneasy with the single-purpose, rapid, semi-automated edits and have requested that I submit this for consensus or bot approval. Please let me know what you think (and if this is the appropriate place to propose this.) Thank you! --KindOfHuman (talk) 22:32, 30 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Any automated approach to something this can only end in tragedy, even if I could tell what you were proposing to modify, exactly. See Museum_of_The_Curse_of_the_Global_Replace. EEng 23:10, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
  • "Mankind" is gender-neutral by definition (definition 1 here). I don't recall ever seeing it used as per definition 2; e.g. "Mankind tends to be taller than womankind"; that usage must exist mostly in literature; in stark contrast the definition 1 usage is seen all over the place. Wikipedia follows vocabulary trends, it does not lead them. The dictionary is the most accurate reflection of vocabulary trends, that is its function and reason for existence. Therefore I strongly oppose any such changes without a clear, widely-participated community consensus to do so. I'll ask that you self-revert what you've done to date, pending that consensus. ―Mandruss  23:30, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
    I have clarified the text above to note that this is not an automated search and replace. --KindOfHuman (talk) 23:55, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
    If that's supposed to change my position, it doesn't. Your rationale is weaker than weak. We are not going to deprecate definition 1 usage because definition 2 is not gender-neutral. Words have multiple meanings, and we are allowed to use all of them until such time as dictionaries mark one as archaic. ―Mandruss  00:00, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    In my rush to point out the automation pitfalls I failed to explain my overall opinion of such crusades, which corresponds 100% to Mandruss'. And yes, you better revert that mass of changes. EEng 00:11, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Why are you asking now? You've already done this, for seemingly no reason, on a bunch of pages that I've seen on my watchlist. Natureium (talk) 01:52, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    When I started making the edits I didn't realize it would require a consensus process. Since folks have asked for clarity from such a process, I stopped making edits and posted the RfC here. There are many more edits to make, but I'm holding off. -- KindOfHuman (talk) 08:52, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Anecdotally, I have always seen/heard 'mankind' used as representing all of humanity, both male and female. I have never seen/heard 'mankind' representing only males. I have never seen/heard 'womankind' used at all except when someone is making a point about whether the language should be gender neutral or not. I have heard 'males', 'men', 'females', 'women' used when gender is relevant, never ',mankind' or 'womankind'. This sounds like being politically correct for the sake of being politically correct.  Stepho  talk  02:18, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    Instead of mankind we should say personkind, and instead of human we should say huperson. But come to think about it, personkind should really be perchildkind and huperson should be huperchild. EEng 02:23, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I don't think this is correct. A son is someone's child, but the world child refers to youth. For clarity, it should be perdescendantkind and huperdescendant. Natureium (talk) 02:34, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    But descendant could be (for example) a grandson. So I think peroffspringkind and huperoffspring would be best of all. EEng 02:41, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    Sorry, you're right. Offspring is a better term to encompass only the F1 generation. Natureium (talk) 02:46, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I pushed F1 and my laptop crashed. Thanks a whole bunch. EEng 05:25, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I've been laughing pretty hard about this digression. Why hasn't KindOfHuperson commented?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:07, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
    Yeah, mankind means all of humanity. Substituting humankind is silly. Natureium (talk) 02:29, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

The edit summary you've been using is false and looks like it's designed to mislead people into thinking you're making a necessary change demanded by policy, when the manual of style says no such thing. I think all these edits need to be undone. (The edit summary is "Changing "mankind" to "humanity" per Wikipedia Manual of Style on Gender-neutral language") Natureium (talk) 02:29, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

"Mankind" is gender-neutral, but also sounds horribly antiquated; that reason alone should justify its replacement with something more contemporary, but only as a standard copyedit—it shouldn't be mandated, but neither should "mankind" be protected by some RETAIN-like ratonale. Anyone who reverts a change from "mankind" to "humanity" back to "mankind" is simply being a pointy dick. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 02:55, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
I strongly endorse everything Curly Turkey said. Pburka (talk) 03:43, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
I strongly reject everything Curly Turkey said. Anybody who changes mankind to humanity (or humankind, etc.) without a far better rationale than MOS:GNL (or WP:IJDLI) needs to be reverted, and doing so is the opposite of being a pointy dick. We don't need a reason not to change something, we need a reason to change it, and that's Wikipedia Editing 101. ―Mandruss  04:33, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
As a living fossil from Gen X I need to ask some questions. Apparently, to be politically correct, we must not mention any word that starts with 'man'. Is it okay to have words that have 'man' (eg 'womankind', 'humanity') in the middle? Secondly, is 'pointy dick' the correct politically correct term to use for people that don't agree with you? What if the other person doesn't have a dick (eg they are female or the victim of an unfortunate accident)? What if they are self identified as a fat dick? I ask these question because my mother taught me that it is rude to point and I don't know how a pointy dick fits in to feminism in the modern, enlightened culture.  Stepho  talk  04:15, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Given I made no "politically correct" argument, I assume you weren't responding to me? And given that the arguments you guys are giving for protecting "mankind" are explicitly political, all the more reason to deal with dickish pointilism as violation of WP:NPOV. Wikipedia is not the place to air your politics---bad enough on a talk page, but in article space it should be sanctionable. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 06:53, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
There are numerous style guides that would support this change[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]
A further list taken from a posting below, and all but one now checked by me. All recommend this at least mildly, and I have marked those three with strong recommendations[16][17][18][19][20][21]
Interestingly, while not a MOS, Wikipedia has an article on Gender neutrality in English which states "Similarly, although it is not normally ambiguous, the word mankind may be replaced by humankind or humanity." Clean Copytalk 05:10, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Feel free to present that evidence in an RfC. I'll present multiple versions of the English dictionary, which you are apparently dismissing as meaningless. Hopefully nobody will waste space mentioning a Wikipedia article. ―Mandruss  05:17, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
It would help if you read people's comments before responding to them, Mandruss. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 06:58, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Actually, I try to avoid being dismissive of others, which is why I take this sort of thing seriously. I certainly agree that mankind is a valid English word; there is no need to bring dictionaries as references to demonstrate this. The question is whether it is also valid, and perhaps even preferable, to substitute one English word, either humanity or humankind, for another, mankind. If, for example, everyone agrees that the suggested replacements are indeed equivalent in denotation to all intents and purposes, while some have concerns over the word "mankind"'s implicitly gender-bound connotation (note, not denotation, which is all the dictionaries will address), then I wonder if switching to a universally acceptable usage wouldn't be a win-win solution, as well as a gracious gesture. Clean Copytalk 11:50, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Last but not least, the word "mankind" appears to indeed be ambiguous: see the definitions at Merriam-Webster, Collins and Webster's New World Dictionaries. Even denotation-wise, an unambiguous word would be preferable to an ambiguous one. Clean Copytalk 12:10, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
There is nothing ambiguous about the word "mankind", especially in context. By your reasoning we would avoid any word that has multiple definitions, i.e. easily more than half of the English language. That includes around six of the words in your comment, and somehow I understood it just fine. ―Mandruss  12:32, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Your argument is specious -- sure, in the use of language man is what mattered. But dictionaries already deny your thesis and say "mankind" is the unneutral word. [2] -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:12, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I think this is a great idea and I like that it's being script-assisted but vetted by a (KindOf)human. Per MOS:GNL and the numerous style guides mentioned, it seems like a good shift and it's not like it's a new concept that using masculine forms as the default to refer to all people generically is problematic. Anyway, I think it's pretty clear from the proposed alternatives to mankind (humanity, humans, humankind, etc.) that the idea is not to eradicate having the three letters m-a-n in any synonymous term. —Joeyconnick (talk) 08:03, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    Err, you're missing the point. No one is "using masculine forms as the default to refer to all people", people are using the common default to refer to males only. Horse <-> cart! Martin of Sheffield (talk) 11:50, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    Actually, it might be more complicated than that. Here's a fascinating examination of the etymology of and current situation around the word "mankind" Clean Copytalk 12:02, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    Thank you for the illustrative example. That's a group of scholars who believe the common usage should change. That is not the criterion for Wikipedia's usage. We go by the current common usage, which is documented by people who do that and only that for a living, presumably around 40 hours a week, about 50 weeks a year, every year: people who publish dictionaries. ―Mandruss  12:48, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I would definitely oppose any sort of global replacement... if for no other reason, we would have to exempt quotations that include “mankind”. Blueboar (talk) 14:24, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Per WP:BRD, I have reverted the OP's many edits. Before any further edits of this type, please get a community consensus to eradicate the most common sense of the word "mankind", which is the gender-neutral sense, from this encyclopedia. RfC would be best for widest participation. Thanks. ―Mandruss  14:40, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

Wow. It would have been possible to wait for a consensus to form. (See range of views below.) Clean Copytalk 17:00, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Inclined to oppose, per others above - especially if "humankind", a dubious word we should never use, is proposed as a replacement. Johnbod (talk) 14:43, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    Humankind is attested since the 1640s. It is a perfectly normal word. See here. Clean Copytalk 17:00, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    So what? It remains rare, and should certainly not be used as a replacement for mankind. It is not for us to lead vocabulary change, but to follow, at a certain distance, given our very varied readership. Johnbod (talk) 02:36, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    Johnbod: 18 million G-hits (and nearly 2 million GBooks hits) have me wondering why you think "humankind" "remains rare". If it still bugs you (though I can't imagine why it would), there's nothing to stop you from changing "humankind" to "humanity" or some other common synonym whenever you encountered it, and I doubt anybody'd revert it. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:52, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    The first 6 pages of the google search all seem dicdefs or proper names including the very successful branding of the Cradle of Humankind archaeological site, plus "HumanKind" seems popular in various contexts. "You can always change it later" is hardly a pusuasive argument! Thanks very much. Johnbod (talk) 14:07, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    Don't be silly, Johnbod. You're not going to convince people that "humankind" is "rare"—it's a well-established word, and NGram tells us its usage has grown steadily and enormouslysince the 1960s (and "mankind" has seen a steady, remarkable decline since the 18th century!). Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:23, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    But mankind is still about 10x more popular. Johnbod (talk) 21:34, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    Intersting: while "mankind" has suffered a steep decline, "humanity" has stayed stable throughout its history—yet nevertheless became more common than "mankind" about the 1970s. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:27, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    WP would certainly not be leading in abandoning the old sense of "mankind". The Guardian, for example, is hardly FRINGE in matters of style. [3] Newimpartial (talk) 02:53, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    I can summarize what's going on as meaning the following statement: In situations where generic male language remains the standard terminology, Wikipedia should follow this and use generic male language; GNL is never necessary regardless of how strongly some people prefer it. Georgia guy (talk) 14:50, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I don't think that the way KindOfHuman went about making these changes was a good idea - too much of a scatter gun approach, too easy to make mistakes. However the way that you have reverted everything Mandruss is no better. The changes were often improvements - and for it to have lasted over a week on a page that is watched as vigilantly as Creationism suggests that a lot of editors there agree. Personally, as a man in my forties (not that that should matter), I find the word mankind really jarring. Humankind is also a bit awkward, but I generally think it's better; if a sentence can be reworded to avoid either, so much the better.Girth Summit (talk) 15:29, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    Sorry, I have to disagree with your assessment of my reverts. It would have been completely impractical for me to assess the level of activity at every one of the ~170 articles, deciding which ones have enough activity to judge a de facto consensus and which ones don't. I wouldn't even know where to draw that line. I think I have already received 3 "thanks" for my reverts, from different editors, and they are only a couple of hours old.
    If one makes mass changes with such a weak rationale, they should be prepared to be mass-reverted per BRD—especially if they continued after being reverted at multiple articles by multiple editors who explicitly challenged their rationale.
    If editors at an individual article feel that a different word makes sense for reasons other than gender-neutrality, they can start a local discussion, which is precisely what is happening at Creationism. Hell, for that matter, they could just make a WP:BOLD edit with a different rationale and see if anybody challenges. ―Mandruss  15:50, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I'm definitely a fossil, just maybe barely a baby boomer. I'm with Curly Turkey and Girth (including a dislike of the mass reversion as well as the fast way KindOfHuman made the changes). I don't like mankind. Humankind is better, or perhaps just "humans"? And what in the world is "generic male language"? Ah, it's a type of Androcentrism, I see our article even has a section on it. And that Dorothy Riddle wrote that "It is clear from the research that generic male language reinforces sexist thought through a linguistic bias in favor of male interpretation." and also real life.[4] Maybe there are situations where generic male language is standard, but why should we let that continue? Doug Weller talk 15:44, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    There are also instances where "humanity" would be preferable to mankind, I just noticed that in an article on my watchlist where Mandruss did one of his reverts in a sentence which already said that the devil hated humanity. I also noted that if we use mankind in the context of God and the Devil, given the Adam and Eve scenario, "mankind" might be ambiguous. Doug Weller talk 15:55, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    More than likely the reason the edits stood for a week is the same reason I didn’t revert them when I first saw them. I didn’t think an editor would so blatantly lie about what was prescribed in the MOS. Saying a change is made “per the MOS” is likely to draw less attention than making edits and admitting that you are trying to right great wrongs. Natureium (talk) 18:24, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I think you're going a bit far there Natureium, accusing another editor of telling lies. There was a detailed edit summary describing the change, and providing a link to the MOS - there's no lie there, it's just that you interpret the MOS differently. You obviously feel strongly about this, but there's no need to go down the road of assuming bad faith and casting aspersions.Girth Summit (talk) 18:49, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have used to the word lie. I don’t know if the editor was intending to be deceitful, but I read the edit summary to mean that they were making a necesssry change to bring the article in line with the MoS, when that’s not actually anywhere in the MoS. It only says to use gender-neutral language, and mankind has been gender-neutral language meaning all people for centuries. Natureium (talk) 18:58, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I am pretty sure that the editor was not being deceitful, intentionally or otherwise. The MOS itself does not say 'don't use mankind', but the relevant section does link directly to an essay that does just that. It's not formal policy, but I hope we can agree that it's a guideline that we should aim to follow? The editor was working in-line with that guideline, and provided a link in the edit summary that anyone could look up. FWIW, it's not just the Wikipedia MOS that frowns on mankind (so to speak!): a quick check shows that the Chicago Manual of Style in the US, and the Guardian Style Guide in the UK, also recommend avoiding it and suggest alternatives (such as humankind, humanity). I know the word isn't labelled as archaic in the dictionary, but I genuinely wince when I see it in modern writing.Girth Summit (talk) 19:56, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I hope we can agree that it's a guideline that we should aim to follow? No we cannot, at least as pertains to "mankind", as clearly evidenced in this discussion. Very few essays attain such wide acceptance, and most of them have to do with editor behavior, not article content. I for one wasn't even aware that WP:GENDER existed until yesterday.
    The default assumption about essays should be that they are not guidelines precisely because they lack wide acceptance. When an essay has wide acceptance, there is relatively little opposition to its application from experienced editors. It's crystal clear that WP:GENDER's advice against "mankind" has not been vetted by the community, or we would see links to that vetting in this discussion. ―Mandruss  00:22, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    Feel free to start an RfC about the gender-neutrality of "mankind", Mandruss, but you will not reach the consensus you seek, I am sure. The major style guides for more than 30 years have recommended against this usage, and it has almost dropped out of the speech of native speakers except when making a POINT. Of course the older usage persists in dictionaries, which are not intended to be prescriptive in this context, but don't be surprised if the (archaic) notation shows up in the next 10-15 years. I totally understand your feelings about "crusade" editing, and there are specific contexts where "mankind" should be maintained, but overall you are defending a dying usage here. 01:20, 2 July 2018 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Newimpartial (talkcontribs)
    I suggest we both refrain from speaking for all native speakers without compelling evidence for such an assertion. I am a native speaker and I have not eliminated the word "mankind" from my vocabulary. I use it with some regularity, perhaps ten times a year, and not to make a POINT. I also talk frequently to other native speakers and not one has indicated that they have eliminated the word from their vocabulary. Occurrences of "mankind" in The New York Times within the past year. Occurrences of "mankind" in The Washington Post within the past year. When the archaic notation shows up in dictionaries in the next 10-15 years, I will accept that the word has dropped out of usage, but pardon me if I don't blindly accept your claim that that has already happened. ―Mandruss  01:34, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I would only like to note that it's better to wait until a clear consensus is established if the change is controversial and results in reverts. This otherwise adds a lot of noise on watchlists and for change patrollers and pollutes the history of articles with changes that are minimal... And could result in edit warring scenarios. I'm personally ambivalent about the wording. —PaleoNeonate – 16:01, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • There is no reason whatsoever [generally] to use "mankind" (except in quotes). Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:55, 1 July 2018 (UTC) Modifying my comment to be more precise, when "mankind" is meant to mean males, generally go for alternatives that are clearer; when "mankind" is meant to mean people, per the MOS go for alternatives that don't have the issue, which is noted by multiple sources. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:25, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I think it is just being blind not realizing that "mankind" is a misogynist term. It is just like saying "man has achieved..." to refer to humanity and not just to men. People need to realize that a couple hundred years ago women were simply not taken very much into the picture of things generally, they were not allowed to hold many offices and women rulers were more the exception than the norm. Let alone in the 13th century when, according to Merriam-Webster,[22] is the first known use of this term. But of course attention should be provided to the context, specially when the use of "mankind" is in quotes. Thinker78 (talk) 18:54, 1 July 2018 (UTC) Edited 19:32, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Mandruss acted correctly. I first noticed KindOfHuman's actions in a change to an article on a poem whose ancient Greek author was not trying to be gender neutral. Such errors are too likely when an editor, taking just a few minutes per article on a wide range of subjects, overrides all the article's original editors who actually were paying attention to the subject matter. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 19:23, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
    I notice Erutuon disputed the "error"—regardless, in the overwhelming majority of the cases Mandruss's reverts are strictly WP:POINT-y, not corrections of "errors". Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:13, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I think this is (a) within policy and (b) the right thing to do. Stuartyeates (talk) 21:36, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I'm torn on this. From a linguistic perspective, it's just nonsense. The modern word man being used to indicate 'adult male human' is actually a contraction (by initial truncation of a prefix that barely survives, in the word werewolf). The belief that woman is a prefix stuck onto the male man is a myth. The word mankind (in various spellings before normalization of English orthography) long pre-dates the compression of wermann (and variants like wepmann, woepnemonn – if you think it looks like "weapon", your internal etymologist is alive and well) to man, and the mutation of wifmonn, wifmann, wimman, etc. to woman. Mankind has always been generic, and was never a construction that meant "dude/guy/bloke-kind".

    On the other hand, misinterpretation of mankind (and there are even people who make this argument about humanity because there's a -man- in it) is ingrained and emotive, despite being flat wrong as a technical matter. Mankind isn't truly gender-non-neutral language, but the perception it is tends to be unshakable, and perception is important, as are emotions; if we're alienating a big subset of our readers, it matters. Similarly, we are cautious about how we address religious matters in articles, even though most theological and spiritual beliefs are patently ridiculous to the scientific mind. Is it worth pedantically refuting the mankind myth, while ignoring the fact that various people react negatively? I tend to think not.

    Thus, I end up frequently replacing "mankind" with "humanity" (I don't accept objections on that one – it's from Latin, and its man internal string is just coincidence; there are some limits to the ignorance I'll tolerate, especially if people politicize on the basis of it). Or I might choose "people", "peoples", "the world population", "our species", or whatever works in the general, cultural, statistical, scientific context. There's really no cost to it but a few seconds of editing. Mankind has a bit of a pretentious "one giant leap ..." ring to it these days, anyway. It's the lingo of grandparents and overwrought poetry. Should we have a "rule" about this, though? No.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:13, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    PS: "Humankind" is a stupid, redundant buzzword that serves no purpose whatsoever. If you won't use mankind, use humanity or something else sensible for the context but which isn't in the same class as "irregardless".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:53, 2 July 2018 (UTC)

Curse the 1640s and the stupid, redundant buzzwords of the English Civil War. Burn them all! Newimpartial (talk) 14:00, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
"Humankind" is a well-established word with a long history. I don't know what "redundant" is supposed to refer to: you can't replace humankind with human. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:34, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
A buzzword being old doesn't make it less of a buzzword. Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" is 72 years old but could have been written yesterday. It echoes identical sentiment from The King's English 40 years earlier (and still good advice today, aside from punctuation changes that have transpired, like to-daytoday, and other trivia). The Fowler bros. were in turn reformulating monographs on plainer-English from much further back. Humankind is redundant because mankind means precisely the same thing and is more concise. Either use that word or replace it with humanity or something else that makes sense in the context. Humankind a crap construction because it's a wholly unnecessary commingling of Latinate and Anglo-Saxon elements, like writing "dishungry" or "satisfiedest". (As for the nit-pick that it's not technically redundant, because man and human have different roots, I addressed that myself in an earlier post; call it "tumid" or "unconcise" if you prefer. The point is that we gain nothing by using it over mankind.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:02, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
And I'm sure you enjoy riding your dicycle immensely. But on both points, the history of usage simply does not agree with you, in its overall trajectory. Newimpartial (talk) 00:32, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
Ngrams would beg to differ. Out of humanity, mankind, and humankind, see if you can guess which is in a very distant last place, and has been the entire time since at least 1800 [5]. "Humankind" isn't natural English, and people naturally avoid it, even if they can't quite articulate why. PS: If I get a dicyle, I want a penny farthing [6], but I need a tophat first.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:40, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
SMc: Ngrams shows only that other alternatives are more common, not that humankind is either "uncommon" or "unnnatural". In fact, it shows it has never dropped out of usage since its introduction (despite the wealth of alternatives), and has seen a steady, considerable increase in usage since the 1970s. If you prefer humanity to humankind, though, it's unlikely anyone would revert you if you were to edit it away on sight—nobody's got an ideological attachment to humankind the way the MRAs do to mankind. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 06:27, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
You're reading too much into what I'm saying, I think. My point is that if "humankind" seemed natural to English users, we'd see it used more and should have seen a massive spike in usage since GNL concerns started to become popular from the 1960 onward and ramped up sharply by the 1980s, but it didn't happen. It's a weird word and people subtly feel that it's weird and pick and alternative, or they'd be using it more. I never suggested that it would disappear any time soon. It's just comparatively very disused and always has been. Words rarely varnish in English (since we preserve our literature rather zealously back to Shakespeare and friends), unless they are obscurantisms no one wants to bother with (phronistery, etc.), part of a broader lexical or grammatical shift (like an hungredhungry), or are funky slang that gets replaced by other funky slang [7]. :-) We needn't argue about this further; I'm clearly just being curmudgeonly about humankind; I would not support the idea of adding it to WP:Manual of Style/Words to watch or anything.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:49, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
The language debate about "humankind" seems besides the issue, no one is insisting anyone has to use "humankind." The Oxford cite still says, though, that it is used as a neutral alternative to "mankind", and we are here discussing a neutrality guideline - but again no one is insisting only use "humankind." And whatever the fate of "humankind" (hah), it does not seem anyone is proposing a new style rule for it - at least under the rubric of neutrality, perhaps there is another section of the MOS, where 'latin/saxon' words can be addressed. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:53, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
SMcCandlish': Though I agree with everything you've written, we have one editor vowing to revert such changes on sight, rejecting the consensus here as not representing "the community". Perhaps we need some sort of guideline to deal proactively with such intransigence. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 06:43, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
That's reasonable, and also speaks to the US/U.S. spree/counter-spree discussion several threads below. While MoS is not a behavioral guideline, it wouldn't be MoS making up some "new rule" (ANI enforces about this on a regular basis, after all). It'd be a typical normal MoS reminder not to editwar or otherwise be disruptive in the the furtherance of style disputes, and we even have two ARBCOM cases – four if you count the infobox ones – to back up the general principle, if not the exact spree vs. counter-spree example. I was going to say we should append it as a footnote to something in the MoS lead, but I find the MoS lead almost unrecognizable. We've even lost the prime MoS directive somehow!: In the event of an intractable style dispute try rewriting to route around it. Need to see what the MoS lead said a year or two ago and restore some key points. People shouldn't be axing important material from it without an RfC. It's important, and it was highly stable for years, in wording that was hard-won. That part in particular has to be restored, because close to 50% of MoS's purpose is dispute reduction/elimination. [grumble, grumble, grumble] That's what I get for taking a long break from watchlisting MoS, I guess.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:40, 2 July 2018 (UTC)

Is there a clear MOS statement on this?

  1. The MOS explicitly advises "Use gender-neutral language where this can be done with clarity and precision."
  2. The same section explicitly refers the reader to Wikipedia:Gender-neutral language for further information. I would take this to mean that the latter article is effectively an extension to the MOS and has similar weight. This article advises avoiding using "man to stand for both genders, either as a separate item...[or] a prefix (mankind, manmade)..."

It appears to me that the use of "mankind" violates the MOS standards as stated both in the main MOS and the article that treats this topic more specifically. Clean Copytalk 17:21, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

You're not getting it. Next you'll have us change manual to ... I don't know what. This kind of crusade is most unwelcome. EEng 18:12, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
I don't quite understand. The MOS clearly states "Use gender-neutral language where this can be done with clarity and precision." What am I missing? Clean Copytalk 18:57, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Mankind is gender-neutral. EEng 19:10, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Not according to the 15 style guides referenced below. Not according to those WP guidelines which the MOS recommends using. Clean Copytalk 20:43, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
I just clicked one of the 15 guides at random, [8], and it says nothing about mankind not being gender-neutral. I won't bother with the rest, since I conclude that you're reading in what's not there. EEng 20:53, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
That's not the way AGF works. Hell, that's not the way reading comprehension works, dawg. Newimpartial (talk)
EEng, I'm going to be careful about how I word this because I genuinely don't want to be offensive, but I think that you are being disingenuous. The link you claim to have read is the relevant entry in the Merriam-Webster dictionary; dictionaries, as I am sure you know, tend not to say things like 'this word is not gender-neutral, don't use it'. Rather, it gives two possible definitions for the word 'mankind', one of which is "men especially as distinguished from women". Surely it is quite obvious that that particular definition is non-gender neutral? Isn't it therefore germane to this discussion? To dismiss it out of hand and suggest that another editor is 'reading what's not there', rather than engaging with the sources, is not appropriate; insulting, bad-faith comments are not welcome here.Girth Summit (talk) 21:17, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Actually, that wasn't even one of the style guides I listed. It is listed in the reference box because it came into the discussion as a dictionary definition. Clean Copytalk 21:26, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Girth Summit, I'm in no way offended. Clean Copy, apologies for the mixup; it's probably best to give a manually numbered bullet list when citing sources in discussions like this one. Nonetheless, one definition of colored in Merriam-Webster is 3. now often offensive: of a race other than the white. Naturally we'd never use it in that sense, but by the reasoning on offer we also can't use it in the sense of 1. having color.
For fun I clicked on another random one of the 15, the AP stylebook [9]. It says man, mankind Either may be used when both men and women are involved and no other term is convenient ... Frequently the best choice is a substitute such as humanity, a person, or an individual. In other words: it endorses the use you're trying to purge, says nothing about gender-neutrality, and is tepid at best in recommending substitution even sometimes. EEng 21:48, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Not really a defense, but this is one of the group I added from someone else' list. I did not check it. All the ones before this are very surely correct. I will separate the lists. Clean Copytalk 22:01, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
But you are distorting the situation radically. If 13 style guides give strong recommendations for this, and another 3 give mild recommendations for it, citing one of the mild recommendations is hardly an argument against the policy. Clean Copytalk 22:17, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
EEng: "Sometimes" is a near antonym of "frequently", and I think you're being obtuse here, frankly. No one has argued that mankind is strictly verboten when no other word is appropriate, but the AP guidelines are clearly directing people toward a gender neutral alternative. This is in line with a broad trend that is readily apparent in every other style guide if you bother to read the incredibly conveniently arranged hyperlinks that are provided below. Nblund talk 22:28, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
I concur. EEng - you just quoted a style guide saying that it is frequently better to use an alternative word. I am sure that you understand the implication there - it clearly supports the argument that it's not a gender-neutral word. Don't you think that it would be worth spending a couple of minutes reading some of the other sources to see whether, as the other editors have suggested, there is actually a broad consensus that the word is best avoided?Girth Summit (talk) 23:04, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
The word "manual" is derived from the Latin word for "hand" and does not imply generic male language in any way. Georgia guy (talk) 18:21, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Duh – like I didn't know that. Mankind doesn't either. EEng 18:56, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
You most certainly do get it, [Clean Copy]. It is simple logic, after all. And tell those who throw their parade of horribles at you that their crusade in favor of bad logic is most unwelcome. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:47, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • This is the fact that's being ignored. These edits are already supported by consensus, as MOS:GNL is already part of the manual of style. If someone changes "mankind" to "humanity" in line with that guideline, there's zero reason to change it back, as the latter means the same thing without the troublesome÷ connotation. oknazevad (talk) 19:06, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

This discussion shows a good deal of strangeness. On the one hand, crusading mass-replacement of terms without prior discussion is not the right approach, ever, so push-back on this was entirely predictable.

On the other hand, the best style guides have weighed in against the use of "mankind", and similar terms with histories of gender bias, for at least the last 30 years. Recent sources by native speakers typically don't use such terms at all except in a POINTed manner. So there shouldn't be any real reason not to follow the best practices that are already called for in the MOS. Newimpartial (talk) 19:18, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

I wonder what is behind User:EEng#s zealotness zealotry in defending the word "mankind". For me it is evident that "mankind" is not a gender-neutral definition. Otherwise you can say that "man" referring to humanity is also gender-neutral. One thing is using the word for a gender-neutral meaning and another thing is the term itself being gender-neutral. Otherwise, why not use "womankind" instead of "mankind"? We simply could start the trend, as the trend of using "mankind" to refer to both man and woman was started at some time. Now, EEng, is there something in the etymology of "manual" that has something to do with men as mankind does? Thinker78 (talk) 19:48, 1 July 2018 (UTC) Edited 20:41, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
We don't use womankind as you suggest for the same reason we don't use actress to refer to thespians of both sexes – though actor, despite being a historically male form, is now used generically with no apparent objection. I'm not zealous in defense of mankind, but I am zealous in opposition to silly mass-change crusades. EEng 20:00, 1 July 2018 (UTC) P.S. Forgot to say that you better look up zealotness. I suppose you mean one of zeal, zealousness, or zealotry.
Otherwise, why not use "womankind" instead of "mankind"? Because there is no gender-neutral sense of "womankind". That's the whole point. Please don't refer to other editors' good-faith and reasoned opposition to your views as "zealotry"; that is exceedingly unhelpful. ―Mandruss  00:54, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Mandruss Well, mankind originated from an ambiguous use of the word "man", which might have been originally intended to emphasize the world of the rulers, who were men, not women.[23] So the same way MANkind may have been started one day to designate all of humanity because the world of men was the important thing, then we can start using "womankind" as a gender-neutral term to designate all of humanity. If you haven't noticed, there are plenty of people who believe "mankind" is not a gender-neutral world, and in the larger world probably many people think it is a chauvinistic word. You are welcome to use it and support its use, but the word "womankind" to designate the whole of humanity instead of just women should be equally accepted as "gender-neutral". A toast for the term "womankind". But I support the use of the word "humanity" instead of either "womankind" or "mankind" to designate all of humanity, including males, females, intersex, etc. Cheers! Thinker78 (talk) 04:04, 4 July 2018 (UTC) Edited 01:05, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
Thinker78: "mankind originated from an ambiguous use of the word 'man'"—no. As I and others have pointed out already, man in Old English was indeed a gender-neutral term meaning "human"—the word for male human was wer. Your mistaken belief is widely held, though, which is the most likely reason mankind has seen a steady decline in use since the 18th century. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 22:57, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Read my reply to Erutuon, below. Thinker78 (talk) 01:09, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
No, because Wikipedia does not push or lead changes to the language. Your reasoning is 100% in conflict with that basic principle. ―Mandruss  04:08, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
I guess you are correct in that one. Thinker78 (talk) 18:36, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
@Thinker78: You've got it the wrong way around. Man started out mostly gender-neutral and became more associated with maleness over time. In Old English (Anglo-Saxon), mann most commonly meant something similar to human today. That was still often true in the Middle English era when mankind was coined. If people had wanted to express the dominance of males, they would have had to use another word than man, for instance perhaps wer: werekind. — Eru·tuon 06:02, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
I based my comment on an article by Gizmodo which explains the etymology of the word "mankind" (if it is archived, it is located in the Village pump (policy), "Gender-neutral language" initiated by SMcCandlish on 3 July 2018). Thinker78 (talk) 18:42, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Interesting article. The term autohyponym is new to me. It's true that mann was biased towards males in that it referred to males as well as all humans, as if males are the prototypical humans. But my point is that at the time of coinage the choice of mann or man in manncynn or mankind was natural: it was the most common word for "human". (I was looking for other words with a similar sense and found wiht and firas, but one meant "creature" in general and the other is plural and poetic.) The sexism lay in the senses of mann, rather than its inclusion in a word meaning "all humans". I do agree that mankind tends to sound old-fashioned today, and connotes sexism because of its association with man, which is now most commonly used in the sense of a male. — Eru·tuon 20:29, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
  • In addition to the sources mentioned by Clean Copy above, the AP, Guardian, BBC, and Reuters stylebooks, along with the MLA, and Cambridge all recommend avoiding "mankind" because it is seen as gendered. That's every major journalistic or academic writing guidebook in the U.S. and U.K. that I could track down, and they all offer the same recommendation. It seems pretty straightforward: unless there's a good reason to avoid it, we should adopt the gender neutral language that seems to be near-universally preferred in written English elsewhere. Nblund talk 20:19, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Eng, Yes, I meant "zealotry". I think it is a good idea to include any addition to your comments before your final signature, not after. The reason why male nouns are used to describe both male and female probably has something to do with the protracted history of chauvinism in human societies for hundreds or thousands of years. Thinker78 (talk) 20:29, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Thinker78: actually, if you read Singular they, you'll find that the generic he is a prescriptive "rule" that has been found rarely outside of the most formal writing; speakers prefer the singular they and have since three hundred years before some schoolteacher introduced the generic he. As to mankind, it derives from the Anglo-Saxon man, which was indeed gender-neutral: the word for males was wer (from which we derive werewolf "wolf-man"). It has, of course, been many, many centuries since man was truly gender-neutral, except in certain terms and contexts, all of which have sounded antiquated for many generations now (unrelated to feminism or politics of any sort). Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:29, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
It has, of course, been many, many centuries since man was truly gender-neutral The BBC used it that way in 1973, in the title of The Ascent of Man, which was not about men's lib. Darwin used it in The Descent of Man in 1871, also with very clear gender-neutral meaning. And yes, people are still using it that way today—at least people who are not on a mission to sanitize the language of anything containing anything resembling a gender word. Give them another century and men and women will be wearing the same clothing and cutting their hair the same way, since all gender differences are inherently evil. ―Mandruss  01:12, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Mandruss: what's astounding is that you think your comment in any way contradicts what I wrote. You forgot instantly that my first comment in this discussion was "'Mankind' is gender-neutral", and have been trying your durnedest to paint me as some SJW, even though my every argument has been free of politicized reasoning. You're seeing "bogeypersons" in every comment, and it's obnoxious and unproductive. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 01:22, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
That is a fascinating, what, straw unicorn? argument, there, Mandruss. Have you not noticed that as the traditionally gendered language in English has withered away, the actual range of gender expression in the English-speaking world has expanded markedly?
In any event, English-speaking stylistic norms have undoubtedly evolved since the 1970s and I would not expect Wikipedia to adopt fossilized usages. Although, I must say, a wiki written to embody the usage, the fonts, and the attitudes of the mid-20th century might have a certain sort of hipster appeal. Newimpartial (talk) 01:33, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Also, see Eve and her creation from Man. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:59, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Sure, let's use the Book of Genesis as our style guide. We also need to change occurrences of "you" to "thee" or "thou", "has" to "hath", and so forth. ―Mandruss  01:12, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
My fave: "an hungred" for "hungry".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:26, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
No one has suggested using Genesis as a style guide. They have suggested referring to multiple modern style guides. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 02:00, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Besides, Genesis's style turned to pop garbage after Peter Gabriel went solo.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:49, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
  • With regard to when and how changes to "mankind" should be made, i.e., all at once using automated procedures vs. in a more 'organic' fashion, I do not have enough experience and understanding to offer a well-informed opinion. With regard to the issue of whether to use "mankind" when suitable alternatives exist, I don't see why Wikipedia should chart a course in direct opposition to every major style guide; every major news organization guide; and our own Manual of Style.   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) 19:59, 2 July 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Bryan A. Garner, in Garner’s Modern American Usage here
  2. ^ American Sociological Association Style Guide, 2007, p. 4
  3. ^ Casey Miller, Kate Swift, The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing pp. 19,27
  4. ^ Rosalie Maggio, How to Say It p. 631
  5. ^ jjoan ttaber, "Singular They," pp. 210-211, in Vocabula Bound: Essays on the English Language from the Vocabula Review, edited by Robert Hartwell Fiske
  6. ^ Purdue OWL guide
  7. ^ National Council of Teachers of English style guide
  8. ^ MIT style guide
  9. ^ University of Chicago Style guide (5.250)
  10. ^ New York Times manual of style and usage, "Man, mankind"
  11. ^ Public Works and Government Services Canada
  12. ^ ABC Style guide
  13. ^ Princeton Style Guide
  14. ^ Michael Swan, Practical English Usage, 3rd ed. p. 198
  15. ^ A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, p. 409
  16. ^ AP, mild recommendation
  17. ^ Guardian, strong recommendation
  18. ^ BBC, strong recommendation
  19. ^ Reuters
  20. ^ MLA, strong recommendation
  21. ^ Cambridge
  22. ^ Merriam-Webster, dictionary definition, not style guide
  23. ^

You can have MOS guidance on your side, and yet still be disruptive

I think we need to examine the behavioral issue here. Mass changing the language of some 170 articles crosses the line between “MOS adherence” and “WP:RGW, crusading behavior”. Perhaps we need something in the MOS that states: Remember - over-eager enforcement of MOS guidance can be disruptive. Blueboar (talk) 21:29, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

There are days when I do nothing but MOS-edits—sometimes hundreds—and people don't even notice. The only reasonable advice we can give is to not get into editwars over it. Do we have anything to say about those who mass-revert to keep their articles MOS-non-compliant? How about those who mass-revert after a discussion is already underway? Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:34, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
I think you've hit on the real heart of the matter Curly Turkey. Why are people so eager to keep the word mankind in these articles that they would go through and revert all those pages? The attempt to make the change was probably rash, but it was done with good intentions; I'm not so sure about the mass-revert, I can't see thr rationale for that.Girth Summit (talk) 21:50, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Editors (not me, because it's not my thing) go around article to article to make the same changes in words and sentences, often around the MOS. 'Edit War' already addresses anything that would be untoward. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:57, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
There is nothing disruptive about enforcing a settled policy, in principle, but it seems likely that in the case at hand, more care should have been taken, as there appear to have been articles where the original wording was truer to e.g. an original source. The mass reversion was truly questionable, given the on-going discussion. Clean Copytalk 21:57, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Well, that seems a too loose use of 'disruptive'. You go to an article, you see something you think should change whether or not there is a 'settled policy' (if such a thing even exists), you make it because it is you think 'improvement' within the general gestalt of our purpose, which is the alpha editing policy, someone says 'no' and reverts (oh, so maybe I was wrong, or they were right . . . or wrong). (And yes, the mass reversion was unthinking) -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:11, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
"where the original wording was truer"—edge cases are edge cases and should be dealt with as edge cases. A single revert is warranted for a single error. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 22:49, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Blueboar, I oppose your suggestion at first thought. "Over-eager" is really up to interpretation and if the over-eager enforcement is actually on point and enforcing accurately a guideline or a policy it is not disruptive. The current guidance of disruptive editing is enough. And in this case it is not disruptive. By the way, if you disagree with the editor and favor the use of mankind, you would be showing some bias here, so it would be good if you tell us what is your position about the case at hand. Thinker78 (talk) 00:43, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
The mass reversion was truly questionable, given the on-going discussion. Sorry, Clean Copy, but I must strongly disagree. WP:BRD, "an explanatory supplement to the Wikipedia:Consensus and Wikipedia:Be bold pages", clearly encourages challenging edits by reversion, far from calling it disruptive. I'm unaware of any policy, guideline, explanatory supplement, other information page, or even widely-accepted essay that says this principle changes for reverts of mass edits or for reverts of edits already under discussion. I'm an established editor who acted in good faith, I gave a clear rationale for my reverts, and that's all that's required in my view. I'll stand by this view until corrected by the community; barring that, a handful of editors here are entitled to their opinions.
I suggest we cease arguing about who was disruptive in this matter. Edits were made, they were challenged by reversion per BRD, and we are now in the D phase of BRD. For disputed mass changes, we need community consensus. ―Mandruss  03:00, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
The guideline is BRD, not BDR. People would have less issue with it if you'd reverted and then opened a discussion, rather than reverting right at the moment in the discussion where things appeared to not be going your way. The mass reverts were POINTy and against the growing consensus in favour of the changes. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:56, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
@Curly Turkey: I would have reverted and then opened a discussion if I had known about the edits. As I indicated above, none of the precious-few editors who say my reverts were out of line has produced one iota of PAG support for that claim, or for the claim that we throw away the principles behind BRD if somebody opens a discussion before the reverts happen. I've pretty much had it with your repeated and persistent WP:AGF failures, unsubstantiated WP:ASPERSIONS, and general WP:BATTLEGROUND approach in this matter. ―Mandruss  04:30, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Mandruss: another facepalm-inducing comment. I have no idea how anybody is supposed to interact with you. My opening comment was basically "Hey, let's not fight", and here's the guy accusing everyone who disagrees with him of being a Feminazi Warrior, responding by accusing others of BATTLEGROUND behaviour. How about dialing back the rage a gigawatt or two? It's particularly head-scratching that you've focused it on me, given that I'm arguing that we should not mandate removing "mankind". Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 05:39, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Without even having seen Mandruss's comment, I ended up addressing much of it in my two-point ordered list post below. The part it didn't cover: BRD is an essay describing an optional process that works well in some circumstances and poorly in others. An attempt to elevate it just to guideline status at WP:Village pump (policy) about two years ago was a WP:SNOW failure. Thumping it like the Bible is a mistake.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:11, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Reverting is OK if you have a substantive reason on that particular page to oppose the change. If you're just mass reverting because you don't like the idea of someone making mass changes, that serves no purpose unless you actually have an objection to the change on each individual page. CapitalSasha ~ talk 04:48, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
My substantive reason for each revert was that the changes were unnecessary and based on a misreading of an MOS guideline. The community has consistently rejected that kind of mass edit. A bad edit doesn't become less bad if you do it at 170 articles. I think my rationale was clear enough in my edit summaries, which I included in each and every revert. Any editor can disagree with that rationale, which is the content part of this larger thread.
I expect this will be my last comment on this side issue. I think it's unlikely I'll encounter a similar situation any time soon, but I wouldn't do anything different if I did. ―Mandruss  05:05, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
The community is telling you that what you did is inappropriate. Now that you know so—and it's public—doing the same thing again would be disruptive and thus sanctionable. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 05:43, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Incorrect. A few editors do not speak for the community, even if they have no opposition. And there are one or two experienced editors who disagree with those few. ―Mandruss  06:06, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
In other words, you'll continue your political crusade in WP:POINT-y defiance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Curly Turkey (talkcontribs) 06:34, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
No. As I said I'll do the same thing in the unlikely event I'm faced with similar circumstances. The rest is your battleground mischaracterization. ―Mandruss  06:44, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
And you're being warned that you'll end up at WP:ANI if you do that (not by me; I'm WP:DRAMA-averse).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:21, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
"My substantive reason for each revert was that the changes were unnecessary and based on a misreading of an MOS guideline." That's pure WP:POINT, holding content hostage to exact a wiki-hounding punishment for "violating" your subjective notions of procedural propriety. Except for policy compliance, every edit ever made to WP is "unnecessary", and no one appointed you Sacred Keeper of Policy and Guideline Interpretation. Plus see my two-pointer below for additional strong rationales against such actions (though also against "MoS must be enforced like a law" rampages, of course).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:19, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Two comments (on the original post):
    1. The central premise of this thread is absolutely correct, and some of us have to learn this the hard way. An illustrative true story: I got a three month move-ban once for nothing but manually moving hundreds of articles to policy-correct names but pooh-poohing objections (from a grand total of only three editors). ANI kicked me firmly in the nads for it, even though it was very clear that my policy arguments were correct (as later confirmed by consistent consensus when the moves were done via normal RM process). It didn't matter how technically correct I was, the community cared more about listening to objections (however incorrect their bases) than it did about title policy compliance. This same sort of scenario has played out many times before and since. But that doesn't excuse a tit-for-tat reversion spree.
    2. I have to concur strongly with a comment in the main thread: "for it to have lasted over a week on a page that is watched as vigilantly as Creationism suggests that a lot of editors there agree" [that mankindhumanity was a constructive change], in a larger statement highly critical of a mass page-by-page revert of such changes. Doing that is just as disruptive as making the original mass-change, and is arguably worse for multiple reasons: WP:EDITING and WP:AGF policies require us to be tolerant of changes. The entire point of WP is that its content changes over time and we're all free to work, in genuine earnest, to improve it. On any page where no one objected to that specific change, there was no actual problem to fix, so the reversion spree was WP:POINTy and punitive, and a drain on editorial productivity by hitting a zillion people's watchlists for no legitimate reason. Reverting another editor needs a rationale better that diffuse doubt or subjective dislike. The point of MOS:RETAIN is not permanently freezing words into stasis, it's avoiding drama. If the drama has already happened, it's too late, and doubling the drama is counterproductive. This relates strongly to WP's tenet that sanctions must not be punitive but preventative. We do not (except when admins act vengefully and against policy, which they sometimes get away with) punish editors for what they did and shouldn't have; we restrain them only when there's a likelihood that doing so will protect the project.
PS: Essentially the same thing as this "mass de-mankinding" is also under discussion in the thread below about US/U.S.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:02, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
At any one of those articles, a revert with an editsum like "unnecessary, and misinterprets the cited MOS guideline" would never be seen as anything but a routine challenge with a viable rationale, whether one agrees with the viable rationale or not. The editor wouldn't be seen as disruptive or POINTy but rather as understanding and complying with accepted best practice. That doesn't change if you multiply by 170, or if somebody starts a discussion before your revert. I think I've given enough explanation to effectively respond to accusations of disruption and POINTyness, but you're certainly entitled to disagree. ―Mandruss  07:42, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
What did you not understand about, SmCandlish's "'My substantive reason for each revert was that the changes were unnecessary and based on a misreading of an MOS guideline.' That's pure WP:POINT, holding content hostage to exact a wiki-hounding punishment for "violating" your subjective notions of procedural propriety. . ."? There was nothing "routine" about your mass reversion, except that you had no care for the article, just that word. You were pointy, in service of your personal commitment to lock into articles a word, "mankind", a word that has multiple alternatives. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:10, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Right. It's worth noting that even if one (generously) proffers that "mankind" is gender neutral, then it means exactly the same thing as "humankind" and there's no coherent reason to prefer one synonym over another. I'm pretty sure reverting to an equivalent version is not "accepted best practice", it's WP:OWNBEHAVIOR on a mass scale. Nblund talk 14:06, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
And it really has been discussed to death and acted upon with consistent sanctions at ANI and other noticeboards, including revocation of WP:AWB privileges, etc. The idea that "if this edit is okay at one article it's okay at a thousand" is fallacious for many reasons, the most obvious of which are that context matters as does editorial consensus on it at a particular article; mass changes have a different kind of scope and impact than single tweaks; and the hypocrisy and two wrongs don't make a right factor. (However, there was a hint up there toward "you don't have any interest in the article in question so you don't have the right to change it", and that's clearly not how we do things, either.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:31, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
  • The reality is that BOTH the original mass change AND the mass revert were disruptive. Wikilawyering over who was more disruptive than the other is pointless (and simply adds to the disruption). Blueboar (talk) 17:33, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    Blueboar: the changes from mankind to humainty would have been disruptive if and only if they had continued in the face of objections. They did not. Mandruss's reverts occurred after the discussion was already long underway—a discussion he was participating in. That's unambiguously POINTy and disruptive. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 21:44, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    Nope... mass changing hundreds of articles at once (no matter what the change is, or why it was done) is indeed disruptive. So is mass reverting at hundreds of articles. The disruption isn’t really in what was done (or how it was justified)... but HOW MUCH was done... it’s a matter of scale, similar to editors who do “drive by” cn tagging or mass removals for lack of citations (and then attempting to justify the disruption by pointing to WP:V). Plenty of editors have had their editing privileges suspended for being overly-aggressive in “following the rules”. Blueboar (talk) 22:01, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    Blueboar: Then you'd better haul me off to ANI, because as I've already said, I make these kinds of mass changes all the time (next on my list is to correct all cases of "Mori Motonari" to "Mōri Motonari"—here's your chance!). Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:53, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
    At once? Did anything except the mass reversion happen all at once? Editors have been talking about these edits - which don't seem anything like mass removals - as if the edits stood for some time. And is making a copy-edit to some 100 and more articles that much? I don't know, but I may have edited that many articles in some given day or week, is that at once? -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:40, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
    (This may or may not be informative, but it is at least the second or third time I thought of the "comprised of" changing edit, since you opened this subsection - is it an illustration of an application your idea would want to do something address?) Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:12, 2 July 2018 (UTC))
    Well, mass changes can be disruptive even if they don't meet objection while ongoing; they aren't disruptive necessarily, or WP:AWB wouldn't exist and most gnoming cleanup activity would be impermissible. They're categorically disruptive when they transgress MOS:RETAIN or some other well-accepted principle in the P&Gs. The central issue here is that mass-reversion of a RETAIN transgression is itself another RETAIN transgression. If it weren't then RETAIN itself would be invalid, since it's basis is that the choices to which it pertains are arbitrary and equivalent, ergo unobjectionable.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:42, 2 July 2018 (UTC)

Village Pump discussion

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

The discussion has now migrated to Gender-neutral language#Gender-neutral language.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:58, 3 July 2018 (UTC)

Input on potential RfC on U.S. vs US

A bold edit a few months ago (see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 196#Bold revision of "US and U.S." section saw a change to the guideline which sought to deprecate "U.S." in favor of "US" but left in language to retain usage where U.S. was established. Since we've had some time to see any effects from this, I think it might be time for us to have a formal, wide-reaching RfC on this subject since it affects a lot of content in order to settle the MOS and reduce conflicts of usage such as recently seen at WT:TV#MOS:US. I see a few questions that should probably be considered:

  1. Should we return to suggesting U.S. for North America-based articles, and US for others per WP:ENGVAR?
  2. Should we settle on either one of U.S. or US across the entire project?
  3. Should we continue to retain usage?

Does anyone know of other major discussions about this change? How has it been received in other topic areas? Is an RFC necessary, and if so, how should we format it? -- Netoholic @ 22:35, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

@Netoholic: Initial thoughts (not based on doing any statistical analysis, just observation, experience, intuition):
  1. Why? The original discussion wasn't faulty, and no actual problems have resulted. Disputes about it are less frequent (and different – now about a somewhat preferred usage site-wide versus one established at a particular page, while the old disputes were often testy ones about what constituted "enough" of a strong national tie to use U.S., since the old rule was basically to use that spelling, always, if there was such a tie). The change has actually been a boon. At articles where people don't have an entrenched opinion, the usage has been shifting on Wikipedia, as in the wider world, toward dropping the unnecessary punctuation, resulting in increased consistency between articles, of treatment of acronyms, and of WP content with average world usage (though lots of American publishers continue with U.S.; it's declining but not super-fast).
  2. For reasoning articulated above, I'd be in favor of US as just the single recommendation eventually, but I don't think it's been enough time yet; a number of people would be very unhappy and might get activistic about it. So, no need to kick that hornet nest, from a cost–benefit viewpoint. Some day, we really shouldn't have any "do this or do that" pseudo-advice, since it just leads to disputes and tends to entrenched them. (E.g., I'm disappointed that the AU/au RfC at MOS:NUM concluded, barely, to still permit both on a WP:LOCALCONSENSUS basis; this is a recipe for pointless style-battling. As they will learn, and RfC it again in a year or so.) This US/U.S. thing is already entrenched, so it's harder and slower for the community to grow past. And that gets to ...
  3. Yes, for now, on a MOS:RETAIN basis. If MoS accepts both styles, there's not a compelling reason to "hunt down" occurrences of U.S. I try to simplify it to US in stubs, in articles with no WP:TIES to the US, and in templates that are not US-specific, and I'm really rarely reverted. But when I try to change it in a well-developed, US-centric article, then I meet resistance, so I just don't go there anymore. Anecdotal of course; YMMV.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:26, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Problems have arisen. In the discussion at WT:TV#MOS:US, it resulted in an editor changing 2760 articles to remove the periods (failing to retain). This is just one incident I'm aware of, which is why I was hoping to hear if others have seen similar fallout in the last couple of months. Instead of discussions on an article-by-article bases we once had, now it seems there may be people who want to "help along" what you see as a a decline and are impacting far more articles. There is no evidence being presented that its use in the wider world (or in North America) on the decline. Indeed, one tool we might use is Google Ngrams but they process books by converting US>U.S. - which might even be seen as strong evidence to the contrary of your claim. Do you have any evidence of this shift you see? How do you know what you experience isn't a localized effect or one tainted by preferential bias? -- Netoholic @ 05:47, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Problems always arise. They're notably fewer and calmer now than before, so I call that a win for the project. The one-editor rampage you mention isn't an MoS failure, it's a failure of someone to abide by the RETAIN part of MoS. It's not permissible to play one guideline off another to "WP:WIN" (see WP:Gaming the system); so that was a disruptive editing disciplinary matter for WP:ANI. It has nothing intrinsically to do with MOS:US. Just random coincidence. Tomorrow an identical pointless swath of nit-pick drama could be caused by someone changing a thousand articles to have among and while instead of amongst and whilst. A week later it may be someone sweeping through all astronomy articles and converting the AU unit symbol to au, or vice versa. And a short-term block should result in all such cases if requests to stop and discuss are ignored. If I rob a bank, that doesn't mean there's something wrong with the laws against robbery, it means I need a prison sentence. Heh.

Moving on: What one company like Google chose to do (for reasons we cannot psychically extract) isn't evidenciary of jack. And they did all sorts of munging of that data; for anything involving punctuation, it's very iffy (and it can't handle comma at all). We badly need for someone to download the entire corpora (which you can) and build a new, non-crappy tool to search them. Next, for various evidence piles, see archives of this talk page and/or of WT:MOSABBR, but they may all be in this one's archives. I know I've personally done detailed "ground truth" sourcing dumps on this at least twice, a few years apart. I've had a long day and a longer week. And I'm the author of WP:You can search, too. So, you know what to do. In particular, "There is no evidence ..." assertions when you haven't bothered looking aren't meaningful.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:25, 2 July 2018 (UTC)

Oh I searched and there are plenty of long discussions where writing style guides are quoted, but that isn't the same as evidence of usage. I'd like to see some stats - something numerical - that shows this "decline" you talk about. If there is none, then you cna't call it a decline, but rather can only state how current writing style guides suggest. I haven't even seen evidence of a trend in the style guides - show us where 20 years ago that the same guides each handled it differently. -- Netoholic @ 08:28, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
You not looking in the archives hard enough. And get some style guides and compare them. You do know they change from edition to edition, right? This is not an article; your personal lack of satisfaction isn't a consensus problem for Wikipedia.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:08, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
As you say, that editor took it upon himself to launch a mini-discussion about a WP-wide matter on one wikiproject, and then auto-change thousands of pages - which indicates a problem with the editor rather than with the MoS. I see SMcC's 2017 change as a tweak, since both before and after versions recognise mixed usage, both have RETAIN provisions and both refer to avoiding putting "U.S." alongside other unpunctuated abbreviations. Given that WP is written for an international audience, there is an argument for adopting a single US style, as has for example CNN. In particular the current position of preferred style depending upon what other abbreviations might happen to be in the same article appears rather unsatisfactory. MapReader (talk) 06:44, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Yes, that compromise is not actually very practical, but it's about the best we could muster at the time (or the time before that – it actually dates to long before the 2017 tweak).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:06, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Coincidentally, the same "spree" behavior (and what to actually not do in response to it – launching a "treat you like a vandal" counter-spree) is under discussion a few threads above at #You can have MOS guidance on your side, and yet still be disruptive. I've responded substantively there in a way that directly addresses this thread, too [10].  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:06, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
I don't think there needs to be too much change. The discussion at WT:TV was originally started about a television-related template. The issue at some television-related articles is that multiple countries are often listed in the same line (as a general example: "... is a co-production between BBC in the UK and NBC in the U.S." or "the program airs on Netflix in the U.S. and Dubai One in the UAE"), so to "avoid constructions like the U.S. and the UK" it may be necessary to make the change to "US" there, and then it needs to be changed throughout the article to be consistent. I would argue that cases like this qualifies as "a good reason to change it". -- Whats new?(talk) 07:46, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
And I see that as something which can be instantly gamed. Someone wants to impose "US" on a North American-based article can just add a mention that a lead actor is from the UK or that it is available on Netflix/Hulu/whatever in the UK and *BOOM* they have justified pushing their preferred style over "U.S.".
(Added) Fundamentally, we should be avoiding the use of the abbreviation in article prose and instead spell out "United States" when used as a noun - this is both better formal writing and addresses the commonality problem - we wouldn't need the "avoid constructions" line at all ("the U.S. and the UK" is just always wrong, we should be recommending "the United States and the United Kingdom") . I don't see any benefit in widely suggesting "US" in running text due to it being informal and often unclear (mainly because its acknowledged to be confused for the all-caps common word "us"). "US" can be used in tables where other ISO, two-letter codes are used, but "U.S." should be used anywhere else (for the confusion with "us"), especially in article disambiguators and anytime its used as an adjective ("U.S. citizens" not "US citizens"). Right now, the guideline is missing the mark. -- Netoholic @ 10:06, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Firstly, WP:AGF applies, so coming up with a "they're out to get me and my precious 'U.S.'" scenario is out-of-band, and isn't plausible. If you can really prove with diffs that someone is going around making inappropriate, unencyclopedic changes to articles with the obvious purpose of doing nothing but flipping from "U.S." to "US", then you have a solid WP:ANI case for tendentious editing and should take your case there.

Second, the central theme of MoS, throughout, is consistency within the article. It is a necessary consequence of this focus that divergent "just because some people like it" or "just because it's traditional/common where I live" concerns will get sidelined over time, the more the article develops (and this is speeded along by the MOS:COMMONALITY factor, too). The inevitability of this is the very reason that MOS:US was adjusted. The constant time- and goodwill-draining drama of people fighting and fighting over that trivial bit of punctuation wasn't worth being 50/50 wishy-washy about it any longer. We can't practicably have "be consistent within an article" yet "retain 'U.S.' in articles already using it" at the same time. That's a direct conflict, and one instruction or the other has to take precedence, or combat would never stop. Our central intra-article consistency principle is more important than pleasing some dwindling subset of greybeard American editors. [I qualify.] Avoiding a typographic mess like the UK and the U.S. is a good reason to change to "US". That's what MOS:US is saying, on purpose. This inevitable-normalization factor is why 50/50 "do what ya like on this particular nitpick" MoS pseudo-rules are disappearing one by one; they're just unmaintainable in the long term. ENGVAR, by contrast, works well because it applies to the entire article. (If "U.S." were still near-universally dominant in American English, it would be a simple ENGVAR matter, but this hasn't been true since ca. the 1980s, as covered by sourcing piles in previous discussions over several years.)

On spelling out "United States" as a noun phrase: Yes, we should be advising that, at least at first occurrence. It's implicit in the general WP:ABBR approach, but all major style guides address this directly (not just for the US, but "United Kingdom", etc.), and the MoS should, too. On average, our articles are not doing this yet, and it's sub-standard writing.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:57, 2 July 2018 (UTC)

I don't think any editor is going to "game" things in such a way, and as SMcCandlish says can be dealt with. I'm not part of some sinister campaign. I was merely giving an example of where an issue can arise in television-related articles (and similarily film, music, etc.) where US may sit alongside UK, UAE, etc. Spelling out "United States" is perfectly fine, but it may not always work in all cases for whatever reason. As MOS:US says, there may be "a good reason to change it," and this is a given example. In TV/film/music contexts, I don't see plausable confusion for the country "US" with an uppercase "us" in that having "The film is banned in the UK, US and UAE" is not going to be misread as "...the UK, us and UAE," and having periods in just one looks odd in my opinion: "...the UK, U.S. and UAE." In most cases, the sentence could be rewritten as "..the United Kingdom, United States and United Arab Emirates" but there will be cases where this is not preferred or warranted, and using the shortened version is perfectly acceptable and understood in numerous situations, and "US" works better than "U.S." -- Whats new?(talk) 00:37, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
Aye. It's actually been US newspapers (aside from the GPO) who'd mostly been the ones perpetuating the U.S. habit, long after the loss of the dots in other acronyms. They were doing this because of ambiguity with us in all-caps headlines. After studies showed decreases in reading speed and comprehension of all-caps materials, many of them stopped using it, and instead apply boldface and thick font, or some other headline styling approach. Interestingly, some news organizations thus flipped from "use U.S. in headlines and US otherwise" or "use U.S. always", to "use US always" or "use US in headlines and U.S. otherwise", respectively. Without the ambiguity present, they care more about compression (saving column width) than anything else.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:03, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
While the GPO style manual seems to often be dismissed with a hand-wave as above, it lacks perspective. Not only the GPO, but every (I can't find an exception) style manual in use by the U.S. government uses the dotted abbreviation (National Archives,, Office of Energy, EPA, NASA, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Congress, Supreme Court). One might even have a decent argument that, because of this, the U.S. itself is expressing a strong preference for the stylization of its own name. I think what's called for is a reversal of the recent changes back to a form which acknowledges the common practice that indeed -both- abbreviation methods are acceptable and used on Wikipedia, rather than the current prescriptive locking-in of one over the other. What we should focus on in this section is advice on things to avoid - such as using the full name anytime its used as a noun and as a way to resolve any challenges to an abbreviation. The whole "consistency within an article" thing is almost always avoidable by using full names, or by adding dots to the U.K., for example, if the article is primarily written in North American variants of English. WP:ENGVAR needs to be respected here. -- Netoholic @ 23:02, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
LOL. You've just missing some background here: All the American government agency house style manuals are based on the GPO manual. The reason the GPO manual exists is as a meta-style guide to get government agencies to use a consistent style and make the GPO's job easier. Regardless, MoS isn't based no anyone's house style. They're idiosyncratic and intended for internal use. E.g., Oxford University's internal (but publicly available) house style sheet conflicts with Oxford University Press's public-consumption style manuals (New Hart's, Fowler's, and Garner's, each of which also conflicts with the other on various points). There's no "official" anything in the English language; we lack anything like the Académie française or Institut d'Estudis Catalans‎ setting formal orthographic and grammatical standards (not that those bodies have all that much effect on their languages in reality). See also WP:OFFICIALNAME; WP really just doesn't care even when something is "official"; we write to reader expectations not subjects' demands.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:13, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────── Yes, I can hear the spirit of Uncle Sam himself rising up to insist, "Thou shall not abbreviate the United States without the use of PERIODS!!!" "[T]he [US] itself" cannot express anything, let alone a strong preference for a particular way of styling its own (abbreviated) name. Even if it could, the logic of things like WP:COMMONNAME and the fact we regularly change the style (but not the content) of various quotations and titles to match the Wikipedia house style would suggest that how an entity "chooses" to refer to itself is immaterial. BTW, I see what you did there. I was thinking that seemed awfully bold and foolish given our discussion here, but apparently I shouldn't have AGFed in this case as you were just looking for someone to set up your end game. That's genius wikilawyering. For what it's worth, however that change was made (or not made), it's persisted for 8 months when you or anyone else could have reversed it stating similar grounds a lot earlier. And, as a Canadian who, you know, reads, I take offence (note the spelling!) at you lumping in Canada when you claim that constructions like "U.K." are common north of the US. —Joeyconnick (talk) 01:18, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

This MOS is lengthy and tweaked several times a day and generally any BOLD changes only really come to light when someone embarks on a major effort to enforce them. In this case, we recently had a situation here someone imposed their preferred style on 2760 article based on a read of this "default" suggestion. Clearly, there are concerns with this and its now raised a level of attention such that we can't go with silent consensus. My prior edit strongly suggested the alternative of just avoiding the abbreviation by using "United States" in full in most cases, which was agreed to above. That stance also agrees with most style guides. Defaulting to "US" is a stance which is in a distinct minority of those guides (even Chicago Manual has un-deprecated "US" int he 2017 edition. Most guides accept both, but all government works use the periods. The guideline should reflect actual practice - that truly both are in use, neither is "wrong", but there are things to avoid or watch out for. My edit reflected that. Added: Looked up Canadian usage, The Canadian Style uses periods for all geographical acronyms (and uses U.S. and U.K. elsewhere within the guide), and so does Waterloo, Calgary - so it at least seems common as in the U.S. -- Netoholic @ 02:08, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
But this is twice you've engaged in transparently fallacious handwaving about the current version being "a BOLD change". It was a very lengthy consensus discussion with 30+ sources cited and quoted, running for a long time, with the voice heard of everyone who cared to participate. The fact that the discussion was inspired by a bold edit does not in any way shape or form make the result a bold edit. WP:Consensus doesn't work that way. It was more in-depth than probably 99% of RfCs in Wikipedia's history; they're usually a handful of "me too" bullet points with very little rationale provided.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:59, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

PS: I don't like to say "source falsification", or "reading comprehension failure", so let's call it dirty eyeglasses. Your 'even Chicago Manual has un-deprecated "US" in the 2017 edition' claim is just absolutely untrue. CMoS uses "US" throughout, and here's direct quotation of everything relevant:

10.4 Periods with abbreviations.
3. Use no periods with abbreviations that include two or more capital letters, even if the abbreviation also includes lowercase latters: VP, CEO, MA, MD, PhD, U, US, NY, IL.
4. In publications using traditional state abbreviations, use periods to abbreviate United States and its states and territories: U.S., N.Y., Ill. Note, however, that Chicago recommends using the two-letter postal codes (and therefore US) wherever abbreviations are used....
10.28 Abbreviations for Canadian provinces and territories. ... may be abbreviated in bibliographies and the like—using the two-letter postal abbreviations, which have the advantage of applying to both the English and French forms. AB [=] Alberta; ... PE [=] Prince Edward Island ....
10.31 Abbreviating country names. ... Certain initialisms, on the other hand [i.e., in lieu of spelled-out names], may be appropriate in regular text, especially after the full form has been established.... UAE (United Arab Emirates), US, UK, GDR ....
10.32 "US" versus "United States." ... Note that, as a matter of editorial tradition, this manual has long advised spelling out United States as a noun, reserving US for the adjective form only (where it is preferred) and for tabular matter and the like. In a departure [i.e., from the 16th ed.], Chicago now permits the use of US as a noun, subject to editorial discretion and provided the meaning is clear from context. US dollars; US involvement in China; China's involvement in the United States or China's involvement in the US.

I skipped 10.27 (US states and territories) because it gives the same advice (two-letter postal codes, no dots) as 10.4 and 10.28. This is the same advice as in the 16th ed. (2010), aside from a few copyediting tweaks, and the new "In a departure" note, quoted above.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:10, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

PS: You're also apparently willfully misinterpreting the Government Services Canada internal stylesheet you pointed to in one of these posts. What it actually says is to use periods "with geographical abbreviations, e.g. B.C., P.E.I., but not for the two-character symbols recommended by Canada Post". I.e., it's the exact same advice as Chicago provides with regard to US states; if you look at the chart the Canadian govt. site provides, the "B.C." style is only used with "Ont.", "Sask.", etc. While you're correct that it does seem to prefer "U.S.", it doesn't state a rule about that; being a government site pushing a government style guide, it's probably doing what the US GPO one recommends for "U.S." WP isn't written in governmentese, and an internal agency stylesheet at Government Canada isn't normative on Canadian English usage; see Canadian style guides (for the public, not in-house stylesheets) already cited in the previous discussion for what is. If WP abbreviates a .us state or .ca province, it does so with the postal abbreviations, so WP would actually be in agreement with the advice the site actually specified, anyway.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:21, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

PPS: And more; I'm checking all your cites now. The Canadian Style is obsolete; it was printed in 1997. The U. Calgary and other .ca university house style sheets (I just looked at a dozen of them) explicitly say they follow the Canadian Press Stylebook on this; they're all one source. CP mirrors the Associated Press Stylebook (US) on this: If you are using traditional abbreviations, it's Sask., Miss., Yuk., Calif., P.E.I., N.Y.; if you're using postal abbreviations, no dots. WP only abbreviates in tables and such when necessary, and we do it with the postal abbreviations. CP and its copycats are actually a bit non-committal, preferring "U.S." for some uses and "US" in others (especially currency), though they favo[u]r the former. All of this is quite common in journalism, and was already covered in the sourcing run in the previous discussion. You have not found a smoking gun.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:35, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

TLDNR all of it - about half. And pretty much everything SMcCandlish said. Short version - Let it be. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 05:35, 3 July 2018 (UTC)

It goes without saying that I support going back to the version before SMcCandlish's 2017 "change", as I strongly opposed deprecating "U.S." in the previous RfC. The current version of MOS:US is implicitly "anti-U.S." (use), and does encourage removing "U.S." from North American articles, which is directly contrary to WP:ENGVAR IMO. The previous version didn't. Also, I find this "meta" drive for "exact consistency" across MOS to be in several cases wrongheaded or counter-productive, or to actually encourage editor conflict (as this change certainly has). Finally, I am still irked that the current (or the previous) version of MOS:U.S. doesn't at least suggest spelling out "United States" as much as possible on WP:COMMONALITY grounds – there's no conflict between "US" vs. "U.S." if we just spell out "United States"! --IJBall (contribstalk) 03:01, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

I agree - spelling out the country (and this applies to UK/U.K. as well) is the best solution for commonality, and my attempted edit strongly emphasized that, especially when used as a noun. It solves most potential disputes over acronym use, is better formal writing style, and is future-proof. I hope people take a look at that edit and consider the benefits. -- Netoholic @ 04:02, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
So the naming of television series would become, for example, "The Amazing Race (United States TV series)" then? -- Whats new?(talk) 04:26, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
My comment was in reference to in article prose, not in tables and infoboxes etc. However, it is worth noting that most other countries do get spelled out – e.g. "Heartland (Canadian TV series)". The issue here is that it's supposed to be the adjective, and as soon as someone suggests using "American" (or possibly even "British") as in "American TV series", there will be immediate pushback... --IJBall (contribstalk) 05:02, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Thus why there needs to be a convention on US or U.S. in places where spelling out the country is not possible or not preferred. Given the evidence raised by SMcC and others previously, and the added bonus of complementing the existing use of UK and UAE without periods, US appears to work the best -- Whats new?(talk) 05:07, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
No, it should be "U.S. TV series" in that form, and they can try to change that over my cold, dead, rotting corpse. --IJBall (contribstalk) 06:59, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
What's the objection to American as an adjective? The full name is the USofA so surely the clue is in the title? MapReader (talk) 05:34, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
I don't disagree. But I can guarantee that there will be editors who will object... --IJBall (contribstalk) 06:59, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
That's just a bunch of relitigation of the last RfC, especially this notion that ENGVAR has anything to do with it. "U.S." is not consistently preferred in American English, in any medium or register. I was a long time ago, but this has changed. That's why we had and RfC and why it concluded the way it did.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:52, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I see that the wording at MOS:Abbreviations has been changed, not sure whether editors here agree with the change. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:20, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Sounding more and more to me like there may need to be a formal RfC on all of this -- Whats new?(talk) 23:28, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
    Why would we have another RfC about what we already had an RfC about recently and with a clear outcome? People would just recycle the same arguments they did last time. I'll present the same evidence from before plus a whole lot more, and the result will be the same. It's not lost on me that this is coming right around (and in my US time zone exactly on) the Fourth of July holiday in the US. A wave of patriotic and nationalistic sentiment is not a good basis for an RfC, especially a tendentious rehash one.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:52, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
    It's not lost on me that this is coming right around ... the Fourth of July holiday in the US – Let's not overanalyze. EEng 04:09, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
    Well the text that changed after that informal RfC has already been reverted by Netoholic, so I'm very confused about which version of the text is being seen as the consensus outcome here - are we returning to the pre-October 2017 text as it stands, returning to the text decided in October 2017 at the RfC, or some other version? -- Whats new?(talk) 04:46, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
    By framing it US/U.S. only, this section of the guide is too narrow, because dotted separation is common and acceptable for any geographical acronyms in North American English variants - for example, Canadians shorten Prince Edward Island to P.E.I. and British Columbia to B.C. - so I think the section should be expanded a bit. The text should reflect practice - both are dotted and undotted are used frequently and acceptable. Editors shouldn't edit war over them, nor change them en masse. Use of the full names ("United States") is preferable in prose, especially as a noun, but also to resolve any acronym-based disputes. The next RFC to define any sort of "default" needs to be held at VPP, not be an "informal" RfC held here. We need to make this section work better to avoid disputes, but that doesn't mean locking out one English variation's common practice altogether. All the works of the U.S. government use dotted, and until that changes, it'll be an uphill battle to make editors not use it. Its misguided. -- Netoholic @ 05:07, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
    Practice isn't consistent ("PEI" is also common in Canada). WP follows MoS not the US Government Printing Office Style Guide. (See also WP:COMMONSTYLE.) The job of a style guide is to recommend something specific when possible, for consistency. Every case except "U.S." is uncontroversially covered by the basic MOS:ABBR approach: drop the dots. We have a quasi-exception for "U.S." (once a hard exception) simply because certain American editors are hard-nosed traditionalists about this and don't want to give up. No one else ever does that about geographical abbreviations (or any other acronyms/initialisms). And it's not a majority of American editors. No good can possibly come from expanding this to "By the way you can also do 'P.E.I.' in a Canadian article, and 'A.C.T.' might be okay in an article about Australia."  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:46, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
    When you say "PEI is also common in Canada", you know what that means to us here - that BOTH methods are acceptable. You seem to have missed how the main style guides for BOTH North American governments both use dotted acronyms and are dismissive with the wave of a hand. I also find your tone describing "certain American editors are hard-nosed traditionalists" as grossly WP:BATTLEGROUND mentality. One doesn't have to be American, nor even use U.S. often, to support the idea that we should not prescriptively deny the ability of people to contribute content in the English style they are familiar with. "Common" usage isn't the point - the MOS is about formal writing style, which is definitely, never "commmon". "No good can possibly come from expanding this" - really? What no good can come from is to say to a contributor that their style is unwelcome and wrong. And finally, without even clicking over to COMMONSTYLE, how did I know it was going to be some essay written by you. -- Netoholic @ 03:44, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

RfC opened at WP:VPPOL

Rather than just continue to circularly argue about this, just have the RfC and get it over with. Now open at: WP:Village pump (policy)#RfC: Revisiting the perennial US/U.S. debate.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:54, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

User:SMcCandlish - I specifically opened this main section to gather input on how we might structure an RFC on this matter. You opening one about the limited question of US vs U.S. is disruptive in the way you've done it. -- Netoholic @ 03:23, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
How so? It neutrally describes the issue, provides the obvious options, and gives people the background info (last major discussion, search link for all of them, and the actual text), without any editorializing about who did what to who. If there's an issue to settle, just settle it, don't talk endlessly about how to maybe one day approach settling it. Especially when that thread ends up mired in circular rehash. Just get on with it. We have better things to do than re-re-re-argue about "." in one initialism (much less how to argue about how to argue about it).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:27, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
The point is to get a preferred version from BOTH sides and present them neutrally. Your header even says "Revisiting the perennial US/U.S. debate" which TOTALLY lacks neutrality, and the versions you presented are NOT how this question is being discussed here. I had just pointed out how The main Canadian style guide dots all geographic abbreviations, yet you continue to treat this as USvsU.S. only. -- Netoholic @ 03:44, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

quick question re: logical quotation (MOS:LQ)

If someone is quoting a passage of multiple sentences, but the initial sentence is a fragment, and the quoted material ends the passage, does the final punctuation go inside or outside the quotation mark?

i.e. is it: The professor stated "that the man had implied he was guilty. However, an implication is not the same as proof."

or The professor stated "that the man had implied he was guilty. However, an implication is not the same as proof".

It's hard to judge when most if not all the examples given are of fragments or single sentences. —Joeyconnick (talk) 05:43, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

Just do what I do... Place the period where you think it should go... and if others feel the need to move it, let them do so. Blueboar (talk) 19:59, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
No, it goes inside if the original places a point there, and outside if it doesn't. Tony (talk) 02:46, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, inside. The quoted material ends in a full sentence, so the period (stop) is part of the quoted material. People mostly get confused about cases like This is a complete sentence, it seems. being quoted as According to Fisher, "it seems". Some want to move the . into the tiny fragment. There's no need to put the period inside only because there was one in the original. In a fragment like that, it's not grammatically a part of the quote, but of the surrounding sentence. That is, the quoting sentence and the quoted material both have periods; only the quoting sentence in a fragmentary case needs one retained. The only real rule of LQ is never insert material into the quotation not found in the original [except in editorial square brackets]. WP isn't mega-strict on this; we permit "..." without that being in square brackets. There are some academic styles that don't, but it's always seemed too pedantic here, like telling the reader they're too stupid to understand that "..." is an editorial clip. The only time we need "[...]" is when the quotation itself contains an original "..." found in the source, and we're also doing our own. In such a case, it's probably better to split the quote: The report said that "Blah 'blah ... blah' blah-blah", and also concluded "yadda yadda yadda". is clearer than The report said that "Blah 'blah ... blah' blah-blah [...] yadda yadda yadda".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:09, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

"There oughta be a rule"

This is NOT a call to change what our our MOS guidance says... it is more of a philosophical nature, a question that has been on my mind for a while now, and I would like to hear what others think. When creating MOS guidance, do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees? Are there times when simply formulating a "rule" (any rule) to resolve style disputes causes more disruption to the project (as a whole) than existed before the rule was formulated? Thoughts? Blueboar (talk) 14:30, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

My brain hurts trying to think of an example. Dicklyon (talk) 16:01, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

The only MOS "rules" should be those related to the technical limitations of the platform, those that are common throughout all English varieties, and those which provide opportunities for commonality. Any other rules which are disagreed about among the various real world style guides need to flexibly accepted. Individual talk pages and Wikiprojects should be where A-B choices between conflicting style rules should be discussed. MOS should not be choosing one over the other. It simply can't. People will contribute based on the rules they use in their lives. Wikipedia is not a paper book which needs consistency across the platform... pages should be consistent, and maybe connected subject areas, but not the whole site. We don't need to be, will never be, and should stop causing fights in trying to be. The problem is that, the more that the MOS is used as a weapon to enforce local styles on others, inevitably people are going to more and more fight over control of that weapon. --Netoholic @ 17:09, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

↑ THIS. MOS should, at best, be a collection of "best-practices" suggestions, not "top-down rules" that must be followed in all cases. Where the MOS really fails is when a subset of editors "game" them to basically "impose" what they think "ought" to be the "rules". (Esp. when done an attempt to short-circuit WP:ENGVAR and WP:COMMONALITYMOS:US is a great example of this.) --IJBall (contribstalk) 17:25, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
To demonstrate in the affirmative, I think this MOS edit realized far more disruption than ever existed before it.--John Cline (talk) 18:00, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
Was that before or after the ARBCOM ruling?... I'm really not sure that one's necessary (it's stating the obvious), but I'm pretty sure the "infobox wars" would have happened with or without that in the MOS... [shrug] --IJBall (contribstalk) 18:04, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
Before, in 2011. WP:ARBINFOBOX was in 2013, and quoted that wording. WP:ARBINFOBOX2 was this year.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:41, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
Netoholic's idea that MoS should have nothing in it but technical requirements and things that are uniform across every dialect isn't viable. The first could be covered in the "Help:" namespace pages, and the latter isn't something we'd ever need to write down –because it's universal. MoS is devoid of such basic rules because you have to already have internalized them all to be competent to work on this project. We don't need to tell people basic rules of pan-English grammar here. The very reason MoS exists is to address cases where usage is not uniform, and to recommend a single choice (or to say to follow dominant national usage, if it's an ENGVAR matter). MoS evolved because we started out arguing over this stuff on a page-by-page basis and it was a nightmare of constant dispute over trivia. Perennial proposals to return to such chaos always seem to be motivated by someone not getting their way on some style nit-pick. "If I'm not satisfied, the entire system should be torn down." Well, no. Let me next directly address an example of this:

IJBall, there's an ongoing RfC right now where you can present reliable sources that prove, against the other sources already cited, that "U.S." is dominant in contemporary American English, and that it is thus an ENGVAR matter. Good luck with that. MoS is a collection of best-practices not top-down rules, like all of our guidelines. We diverge from them when, per WP:IAR, doing so objectively improves the encyclopedia. We even tend to annotate when we've decided on such an exception (e.g. CCH Pounder is now mentioned at MOS:INITIALS as illustrative of an exception; this was under debate only a month or so ago, but the subject herself made it clear in statements that qualify for WP:ABOUTSELF policy). The problem here is that various un-fans of MoS want to invoke IAR on the basis of subjective preference any ol' time they disagree with something. None of our guidelines work that way. MoS isn't mystically different. Try applying that "because I feel like it" approach to ignoring something you don't like in, say, WP:RS, WP:UNBLOCK, WP:COI, WP:DISCLAIM, WP:SPAM, WP:PLAGIARISM, WP:XFD, WP:NBIO, or pick any other guideline you like, and see how well that goes over. Please carefully read the first two paragraphs at WP:P&G and the "Guidelines" line under "Role". Nothing in there suggests guidelines are optional on a per-editor or per-category/topic basis. If the both of you want to challenge the existence of MOS:ABBR or its general "use 'USSR and FBI'; style not 'U.S.S.R. and F.B.I.'" guideline, you're welcome to open an RfC about that. It will be a snowball oppose, though. Same would happen to a proposal to delete MoS or demote it to an essay. No one supports such an idea but a handful of people angry about some style peccadillo they can't WP:WIN.

John Cline's pointer to the "use of infoboxes is neither required nor prohibited" thing is an illustration of a special kind of problem, which I speak up about frequently (and which Netoholic and IJBall's reasoning would multiple a thousandfold): it's a pseudo-rule, an anti-rule, that provides no guidance but instead actually encourages people to fight on an article by article basis, which is the opposite of MoS's purpose and the opposite of what this project needs. That lame wording isn't really an MoS problem, it's an abuse-of-MoS problem (nor is it even an MoS issue, scope-wise, but a content guidelines matter that has been put in the wrong place). ArbCom has twice directed the community to hold an RfC on what it wants to do about infoboxes, and it just hasn't happened. Maybe people are scared to do it? IJBall's probably correct that people would have fought about it without that line in MoS, but it hasn't helped. I've posted a note at WT:MOSINFOBOX that we need to get on with drafting some kind of inclusion guideline, as ArbCom keeps demanding; they will not resolve this issue for us, only the community can.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:44, 8 July 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Whenever this comes up I trot out the following:

A. It is an axiom of mine that something belongs in MOS only if (as a necessary, but not sufficient test) either:
  • 1. There is a manifest a priori need for project-wide consistency (e.g. "professional look" issues such as consistent typography, layout, etc. -- things which, if inconsistent, would be noticeably annoying, or confusing, to many readers); OR
  • 2. Editor time has, and continues to be, spent litigating the same issue over and over on numerous articles, either
  • (a) with generally the same result (so we might as well just memorialize that result, and save all the future arguing), or
  • (b) with different results in different cases, but with reason to believe the differences are arbitrary, and not worth all the arguing -- a final decision on one arbitrary choice, though an intrusion on the general principle that decisions on each article should be made on the Talk page of that article, is worth making in light of the large amount of editor time saved.
B. There's a further reason that disputes on multiple articles should be a gating requirement for adding anything to MOS: without actual situations to discuss, the debate devolves into the "Well, suppose an article says this..."–type of hypothesizing -- no examples of which, quite possibly, will ever occur in the real life of real editing. An analogy: the US Supreme Court (like the highest courts of many nations) refuses to rule on an issue until multiple lower courts have ruled on that issue and been unable to agree. This not only reduces the highest court's workload, but helps ensure that the issue has been "thoroughly ventilated", from many points of view and in the context of a variety of fact situations, by the time the highest court takes it up. I think the same thinking should apply to any consideration of adding a provision to MOS.
Summary: If MOS does not need to have a rule on something, then it needs to not have a rule on that thing.
Corollary (2017, per SMcCandlish [11]): If MoS does not already have a rule on something, then it almost certainly doesn't need one.

EEng 18:50, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

If a rule causes more disruption than it prevents, it's the result of an unresolved philosophical conflict that is hardly limited to style issues. The question, "What is a guideline?" has multiple answers and the community has failed to settle on one in a clear and unambiguous way. That means not only stating the answer clearly but also finding and eliminating all apparent contradictions to it. This is the root cause and Wikipedia is absolutely terrible at identifying and addressing root causes. We continue to build this castle on a foundation of sand; where that metaphor fails is that we don't have to tear down this castle to improve its foundation. We simply have to develop the community will to do so. ―Mandruss  19:27, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

I concur generally with EEng's formulation. All the MoS regulars (from the 2000s to now) have been strongly resistant to adding new line-items in MoS, unless they address a recurrent dispute. There are some indications that we should remove some that we already have (e.g., the ones that have examples that bear no relation to encyclopedic writing, and for which it's difficult to construct an encyclopedic-prose example). Blueboar's OP is correct in theory, but not in practice. That is, if we were willy-nilly making rules about everything "styley" that people could think of, we would spend all our time fighting about it instead of working on content. But we don't. MoS (all of it combined) is a tiny fraction of the size of any of the the major public style guides.

At this point, the majority of MoS-related conflict is either tendentious resistance against its application to some specialized-style fallacy, or wikilawyering misinterpretation of it, usually with the same motivation. Just follow what it says; no more dispute. I think Blueboar may be picking up on the fact that there are some perennial tendentious disputes. E.g., MOS:JR has been resisted tooth and nail by a handful (around 5 or 6) of American editors for over two years. This is typical of style disputes; something like 0.015% or less of active editors at any given time (en.WP in recent years has had about 30K active editors per month) will be really unhappy about some style peccadillo and will not want to let it go. But they're very noisy about it. This gives an illusion of orders of magnitude more dispute than actually exists. It's the "go to war over it" attitude that's the problem; the drama it generates pisses people off and makes them very tired of style matters in general.

This relates to what Mandruss says above about "unresolved philosophical conflict". That is what is behind specialized-style fallacies, devolving in the most generalized terms to this: denial that the Wikipedia editorial community has any control over how it writes, with instead an insistence that WP "must" follow some external convention which varies radically from subject to subject. It's often disguised, e.g. "WP should do what journals in [insert field here] do because they're the most reliable sources on this field, and not writing in their style makes WP look unprofessional", and numerous variants on this theme, a failure to understand that WP is not written to keep professors happy, and that academic sources on topical facts are not reliable sources on how to write English about that topic for a general audience.

It is indeed "hardly limited to style issues", as Mandruss said; it's a fundamental difference in approach to verifiability, what a reliable source is, what is neutral, what constitutes original research, and more deeply about what an encyclopedia is for. We much more seriously see this class of conflict in PoV pushing about article content, about WP's presentation of "the truth" in articles, rather that through style. The mindset that will not accept a flatly neutral presentation of scholarly and global press consensus about Trump or Israel or vaccinations or electronic cigarettes is the same that will not not accept that punctuation near quotation marks, or rendering of initialisms and acronyms, is basically arbitrary and that MoS has picked a version that we should use instead of letting everyone fight endlessly article-by-article about it. I've said before that style attracts this kind of squabbling over trivia because everyone who's fluent has a deep-seated sense of mastery of the language and that therefore what they prefer is correct and everyone else is simply wrong. Despite its source in language acquisition, the end result is the exact same mental blockade against compromise and collaboration that has led to the long and growing list of topics subject to discretionary sanctions.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:44, 8 July 2018 (UTC)

MOS:WTW addition RfC Terms that can introduce bias

FYI, an RfC Re-RfCing_Arab/Arabic, upon the use of the terms Arab and Arabic, has been started for MoS subpage "Words to watch". Add any comments there please. Batternut (talk) 08:55, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

  FYI: pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch#RfC Terms that can introduce bias (a restart of the RfC previously mentioned).

Gist: Should we add a class of "Terms that can introduce bias", listing incorrect use of Arab and Arabic as an examplar? Batternut (talk) 10:44, 10 July 2018 (UTC)

Houston, we have a problem: MOS:ID contradicts MOS:GENDERID

I don't know if I am confused but I see a blatant contradiction between MOS:ID and MOS:GENDERID. The first one says, When there is a discrepancy between the term most commonly used by reliable sources for a person or group and the term that person or group uses for themselves, use the term that is most commonly used by reliable sources, while the latter says, Give precedence to self-designation as reported in the most up-to-date reliable sources, even when it doesn't match what's most common in reliable sources. Can someone tell me what is this contradiction? Thinker78 (talk) 22:55, 9 July 2018 (UTC)

Isn't the latter guideline just a specialised exception to the general rule expressed by the former? (As signified by the latter MOS:GENDERID section being an H4 sub-section of the H3 level MOS:ID section. That's how I would interpret the semantic markup...) --BushelCandle (talk) 23:26, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
That would be my interpretation. In general ID should be in line with the terms commonly used in reliable sources, but there's an exception for gender ID. I suspect this is because, when someone transitions after they are already a public figure, we may have out-of-date reliable sources that refer to them using incorrect pronouns. Nblund talk 00:01, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
Yep.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:03, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
I don’t read the text in MOS:GENDERID as an exception to MOS:ID, because they address different things. The latter is about “the term most commonly used by reliable sources for a person or group”, ie, a name. MOS:GENDERID explicitly offers no advice on names.
If we’re interpreting MOS:ID to encompass things like pronouns and adjectives, the exceptions would need to be much broader than just gender identity. If the majority of sources over the past 20 years describe someone as Anglican, but they have recently announced they are Presbyterian, we aren't going to wait for 20 years until the Presbyterian sources outnumber the Anglican sources before making the change. I don’t think it’s helpful to interpret MOS:ID in this way.
More to the point, the distinction in WP:GENDERID between “most-up-to-date reliable sources” vs “most common in reliable sources” also applies to determining a subject’s common name, per WP:NAMECHANGES.--Trystan (talk) 13:54, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
It's still an exception, in the unspecific sense meant above, in that broad sourcing on the general range of identity matters (mostly cultural) is swapped for narrower sourcing on the gender ID matter (and WP:ABOUTSELF is also relevant). I.e., the fact that GENDERID is a subsection of ID isn't an accident.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  14:49, 10 July 2018 (UTC)

RfC: Pronunciation of MOS

  This is an RfC of the Supreme Cabal Regime of the English Wikipedia (SCREW). It expresses opinions and ideas that are absolutely and irrefutably true whether you like them or not. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects the wishes of the Supreme Cabal. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.  

How should we mandate pronunciation of the Manual of Style? And should it be in all-caps (MOS) or book case (MoS)? Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 23:13, 3 July 2018 (UTC)

Straw poll

I don't know about this. Pronouncing Manual of Style as Throat Warbler Mangrove seems awkward to me. And you prefer a bookcase over what, just leaving the books scattered over the floor? Be specific. Clean Copytalk 00:19, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Summoning User:EEng; there izno reason for this RFC and he will certainly have the best imagery. --Izno (talk) 23:21, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
I'm flattered and honored, but I can't just turn it on and off, you know. Someone below already offered the obvious  , and beyond that I'm afraid I'm drawing a blank. I'll take this opportunity, however, to draw the attention of my esteemed fellow editors to the unofficial Manual of Style anagram:   (developed with the invaluable aid of I, rearrangement servant – runners-up, suggested by some asshole, included "Musty anal floe", "Lo! My anal fetus!", and "My anal flute – so???"). EEng 03:37, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Never confuse your nose flute with the anal one.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:36, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Well since the nose flute article says it's played in "the Pacific Rim", you can see the potential for confusion along those lines. EEng 21:58, 4 July 2018 (UTC) Sorry, too good to resist.
  • Clearly it's an initialism and is pronounced each letter at a time. Natureium (talk) 23:48, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
    I suspect @Natureium: is actually an initialist, and thus is not a neutral contributor to this issue. Note that his own initial, N, is the letter immediately following the M of MoS. Suspicious? Of course. Is the left-coast media discussing this? You know the answer. Clean Copytalk 00:24, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
    WP:ASPERSIONS like that may trigger a {{Ds/alert|mos}}.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:40, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
    I'm a productive contributor to wikipedia and this is entirely unwarranted. I can't believe you would accuse me of something like this. This warrants a trip to WP:AE. Natureium (talk) 22:01, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Clearly MOS is pronounced "moss", as in the green substance the Rolling Stones refuse to accumulate. Newimpartial (talk) 01:15, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
We need to start thinking about what kind of website we're leaving for Keith Richards. Ian.thomson (talk) 01:18, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Spanish pronunciation: [ma'nuel os 'tile] Thinker78 (talk) 05:11, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
  • MoS = em oh ess = Manual of Style. MOS = moss = metal oxide semiconductor for me. Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 14:22, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
    • Also MOs = em oze = methods of operation. —David Eppstein (talk) 00:05, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
      • Also MO's = multiple robots trying to clean up foreign contaminants. XOR'easter (talk) 02:07, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
        • Not to be confused with Moe's, where the beer contains all those contaminants.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:40, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
  • MAWSS. Also, we should write it according to MOS:IPA, so that it will be completely unintelligble and no one will actually know what it means. Especially after consuming a lot of IPA. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:40, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

Scrap MoS altogether for a better alternative!

This warning refers to the scoundrel Markworthen
  • I propose that we get rid of the acronym and do what the lawyers do, i.e., provide enough letters to quickly recognize the abbreviation.
For example, a lot of ignorant peoples cite something in the Federal Register thusly: 69 FR 81023.
If they would just put their thinking caps on, the knuckleheads would know that Bluebook legal citation style dictates the following: 69 Fed. Reg. 81023.
See how much easier that is to recognize? I mean, "FR" could mean so many different things, Federal Review, Frat Row, Friday, Frantic Representatives, Freedom Rifle, etc.
So let's scrap MᴏS, and replace it with an abbreviation that peeps will understand a lot faster: Man. Style (alternative: Man.Style)   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) 22:36, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
We'd have to go with Human.Style. Natureium (talk) 23:41, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
It would be simpler if we just wrote in cat style. 'Trent Reznor iz musician. Some of his tunez git in Ur brain, wormin Ur ear, n win shiny stuff, like "Wish" and "Happiness in Slavery".' More of our millennial readers would actually understand our articles better this way.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:15, 8 July 2018 (UTC)
I'm impressed SMcCandlish! Although I will have to ask my 17-year-old kid to translate it ... ;^]   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) 06:52, 11 July 2018 (UTC)

Threaded discussion

It should be "MS" because another expansion of "MS" is "more of the same", which is somewhat applicable to the "Manual of Style" and especially applicable to the talk page thereof. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:18, 3 July 2018 (UTC)

That abbreviation jars with the abbreviations for Marks & Spencer and Manuscript. --BushelCandle (talk) 23:28, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
We'll also get lobbying from the multiple sclerosis telethon crowd that we're stealing their branding.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:38, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

Is this a joke? Natureium (talk) 23:46, 3 July 2018 (UTC)

For the benefit of those who don't get it, please read my post at 23:18 UT as meaning that I believe the thread was started as a joke. Jc3s5h (talk) 00:10, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
You can "believe" what you want in the privacy of your own home, but you'll need emprical evidence to support any of your wild assertions in a forum such as this. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:28, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
"Privacy of your own home"?? I'm sorry, but please read and above all respect Wikipedia:Assume WP editors live in small spaces. "Privacy of your own under-the-stair cupboard," more likely. Clean Copytalk 01:25, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
If you have pets, it's even worse. [12].  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:26, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Is it April 1st already? --Jayron32 04:38, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
    Depends on the calendar system. See MOS:DATE.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:26, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

Spider-Man: Far From Home naming discussion

Additional editors are requested to discuss if the "from" in Spider-Man: Far From Home should be capitalized. The discussion is here Talk:Spider-Man: Far From Home#From or from?. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 16:59, 13 July 2018 (UTC)

Proposed footnote to discourage mass changes


I'd like to float the idea of adding a footnote off the MoS lead's short sentence about editwarring over style. Something like this:

{{efn|1=Rapid, mass changes to articles to "enforce" an optional style point can be disruptive. Alterations to the MoS are often reverted; we should not change thousands of articles then change them right back. Implementing changes gradually into articles helps avoid mistakes. See also this Arbitration Committee decision: "Where editors have made a number of similar edits in a short time space and other editors have raised concerns about those edits, the editor is to stop making the edits and engage in discussion." The assisted editing guidelines advise to "first ensure that there is a clear consensus" before performing a large number of semi-automated edits. While AutoWikiBrowser performs various MoS-related general fixes, its rules of use preclude semi-automation of either controversial or pointless changes. Large-scale erroneous edits by any editor may result in a block, even if done manually. }}

This would be much cleaner than adding a whole ==Section of verbiage==, or dumping more text directly into the lead. The issue doesn't come up frequently enough for that. But two (three, counting the mass-revert streak) in one week, leading to two WP:ANI threads and a WP:VPPOL discussion calling for MoS to address it directly, are a strong indication that we should at least have a clear footnote on this, with the ArbCom enforcement authority cited.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:50, 3 July 2018 (UTC)

You say M-o-s in your head? (an MoS) Or was that a typo? I've always said it "moss". I think this would be a good idea broadly. A choice link to WP:POINT in there with "then change them right back" might be reasonable; maybe there's a better link somewhere. --Izno (talk) 22:23, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
WP:POINT link integrated now. Pronunciation: I keep vacillating on it. I think I mostly do m-o-s in running text, because moss is that green stuff. But when I think of a shortcut, it comes out in my mind as mosskaps. Clearly, it's a brain tumor.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:30, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
I'd support both the idea and the example wording (except, change "an MoS" to "a MoS") --BushelCandle (talk) 23:23, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
Since this is a behavioral concern, I think it deserves a section in a behavioral guideline, which we can reference from here. -- Netoholic @ 23:44, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
There probably already is one. I just wanted to have MoS itself say something, since most "sprees" seem to be MoS-motivated, and people are getting angry about it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:35, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Would that include mass changes to include serial commas? Thinker78 (talk) 04:56, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
I would think so. I favor them myself, for clarity, and virtually never get reverted on my own insertions of them (for consistency with the rest of an article, or because the case in point is ambiguous or confusing without one). But I would expect to be keel-hauled if I used AWB to stick them into 1,000 articles.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:35, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Seems like a reasonable idea to me. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 14:22, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
The wording needs to be specified. The federal government said that a mass shooting occurs when there are four or more victims.[1] I'm guessing you are not saying four or more edits. Thinker78 (talk) 01:19, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
Four or more commas in one article would be a mass edit; moving from article to article is serial editing. EEng 01:59, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
I'm still unclear on whether it's pschopathic or sociopathic.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:03, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Jokes aside, I've integrated what I can find from WP:BOTPOL and WP:AWB. There was a suggestion that WP:Consensus and WP:DE might say something relevant, too, but I've yet to find it. Also looked in WP:EDITING.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:03, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
  • This is a solution in search of a problem. The AWB rules combined with WP:MEATBOT are more than sufficient to deal with this. There is nothing wrong with using AWB to enforce the vast majority of MOS recommendations. The efforts should be on identifying where AWB is applying unwanted fixes, and boot those out of WP:GENFIXES (or demote them to minor genfixes), not crafting yet another 'rule' that stiffle improvements to the encyclopedia. There is a reason why experience is required to be allowed to use AWB. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 05:21, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
    • @Headbomb: How does the current draft wording not address appropriate use of AWB (i.e., to conform text to the actually expected MoS guidelines, versus violating MOS:STYLEVAR trying to enforce one preference out of a choice on an optional style matter)? This is not a "new rule", it's a footnote pointing to the existing ones. There is no searching for a problem; the problem is right in our faces, with outcry at WP:VPPOL and two nearly back-to-back WP:ANI cases the same week.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:53, 5 July 2018 (UTC)

Note: Optional styles should not be enforced in a bot-like fashion. Doing so will likely be seen as disruptive and may lead to blocks and/or revocation of semi-automated tools privileges.

That could be added directly into WP:STYLEVAR (perhaps without the bold note).Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 14:44, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
I didn't take this approach because there's an ongoing thread at another guideline criticizing this style as WP:EASTEREGG. I argued against that view, but was outnumbered 2:1 or so. A happy medium should be easily achievable.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:38, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
  • See also: User talk:PC-XT/Advisor#Stop futzing with headings – there's a semi-automated tool going around changing ==Heading== to == Heading == (or vice versa, I forget).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:48, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I would strongly support adding something like this (I say “like” this, because I know that we will quibble over specific wording for a while). Blueboar (talk) 13:18, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I'd object because (a) it still refers to MoS style points (although I see you've removed the actual word "MoS"), but mass changes can be due to other style guides or delusions about them, (b) "thousands" is a big number, (c) the words "and then change them right back" (i.e. the editor who makes the mass change then self-reverts to make a point) don't look like a reference to something that I thought is the real problem (i.e. another editor has to clean up), (d) the earlier observation that behaviour guidelines belong elsewhere appears correct. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:25, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
    • It can only be about MoS points; this is the MoS page, not a behavioral guideline. It outside MoS's scope to try to address things like using scripts to re-categorize things disruptively, or abusing AWB to delete sources. All we're doing here is cross-referencing behavioral matter that's already pre-codified, and reminding people that (and how) it applies to MoS-related mass changes.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:38, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Looking at the arbitration cases, it seems like most (all?) involve automated or semi-automated edits, and most of them also involve users who continued to make changes after those edits had been challenged. It seems like the footnote should clarify then, that "mass changes" usually means automated or semi-automated edits, and/or add the clarification from WP:MEATBOT that simply editing quickly while still remaining responsive to discussion is not disruptive. I agree that large scale editing should be done with care, but I don't want to discourage editors from fixing problems, especially when WP:MOS intersects with WP:BLP (this), or accessibility issues. Nblund talk 19:33, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I think this should be discussed wider. I have followed some of the ArbCom cases and I ve been following the problem for years. Any change to this direction, if not taken carefully, may lead to editors defending their own custom style against styles that are used in the 99% of the pages.The problem is not "mass changes" per se. The problem is "mass changes to enforce a certain style that does not have consensus". This is different from the "mass changes not wirth do it because the change hass consensus but let's not enforce it". We have to be really careful with thiss thing because we have editors that removed whitespaces inside header titles (useless) and editors that move punctuation points in the body text (useful). Take note that my examples are not about "optional styles" in the visual outcome but I bet the same problem holds there. There are people who like to have large paragraphs and those who like small paragraphs etc. People who like big images and people who like mall images within the article etc. My experience shows that if we discuss this further we may find that even the Manual of Style contains things that do not have consensus or things that may be added to the manual of style. I am pretty convienced that what we need here is a wider discussion to collect multiple epxeriences from using and editing Wikipedia. -- Magioladitis (talk) 07:10, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
    Are you saying that there are not legitimate cases for 99% of articles to use one approach to some stylistic or formatting question, and 1% to use a different approach? EEng 12:47, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
EEng I say that <1% of the pages have a different style due to various reasons. I have seen pages using a lot of colors for instance and the creator of those pages to insist keeping the colors all over the place. I have seen pages that do not use the standard wikitables, sometimes for good reason sometimes the tables could easily be replaced to make life easier for others to use and for Visual Editor to work, etc. I know for intances that a certain Wikiproject denies/denied infoboxes to biograpgies that are under their scope. I say that thank to bots and willing editors 99% of the pages follow a standard format and we have a small number of exceptions that forms a gray area. Sometimes there is a good reason for that, sometimes it is not. -- Magioladitis (talk) 14:35, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
Sometimes there is a good reason for that, sometimes it is not – Right, and it's the nature of mass changes that that distinction isn't taken into account. EEng 15:23, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
Favouring editors that use code hacks and custom styles is also a problem. Ther are editors who try to impose certain styles that they created. Discouraging mass changes en masse is a problem. We need a strategy on the mass change that affect the style of a page. -- Magioladitis (talk) 16:41, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Favouring editors that use code hacks and custom styles – No one said anything about favoring them. What I've said is that each article needs individual evaluation.
  • editors who try to impose certain styles that they created – All the styling we see in articles today, such as the various referencing styles, table formatting conventions, infoboxes, overall article layout, and so much more, started out as something some one editor created. If someone is "imposing" something on one article, that's for the editors of that article to work out, not for some mass-change zealots to steamroll over.
  • We need a strategy on the mass change that affect the style of a page – I have no idea what that means.
EEng 16:51, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
EEng I do not want to get ot a further discussion right now on that. I just said that there are parameters of the story that we may be missing so it's better that we give this some publicity. Btw, mass-change zealots are editors too. Some of them have even got in the news exactly for their devotion to the project. -- Magioladitis (talk) 10:47, 16 July 2018 (UTC)
I don't know what "parameters of a story" are. And zealotry is a measure of the intensity of effort, not its utility. EEng 22:39, 16 July 2018 (UTC)

Double murders – "Murder of" or "Murders of"?

I originally posted this question on WT:TITLE, and was referred here. Should the title of an article about a double-murder be "Murder of [victims' names]" (singular) or "Murders of..." (plural)? There seems to be no consistent policy, e.g. Murder of Harry and Harriette Moore vs. Murders of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, even though in both cases the killings happened at the same time and were not a separate "event".--Muzilon (talk) 22:07, 14 July 2018 (UTC)

In my opinion, that's one of the many things that don't really need to be consistent across articles; they matter far more to some Wikipedia editors than to Wikipedia readers, even those few readers who notice the differences at all. That being the case, I'd suggest WP:RDL for such a question. Others may disagree, since there is little community agreement as to the role of MOS. ―Mandruss  01:32, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, this isn't something MoS has a line-item about. I suspect the answer at RDL would be that it'll come down to the number of events, broadly defined. A massmurder is a single murder event. A serial-killing spree is a plural series of murders. You'll find this split pretty commonly in RS. E.g. "the murder of millions of Jews and others by the Nazis", not "murders", which kind of implies Nazis stalking around the countryside at night in hoodies to stab people from the shadows. The more usual phrase treats the entire Holocaust as as single extended mega-event.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:11, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

Merge proposed: WP:NCCOMICS to MOS:COMICS (which is already ~50% NC material)

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Comics#Merge in WP:NCCOMICS

Gist: We have WP:Manual of Style/Comics, the top half of which is naming-conventions material. Then we have WP:Naming conventions (comics), a competing comics naming convention. This is a silly WP:POLICYFORK. Having a combined guideline is thus proposed, based on successfully combined MoS/NC pages in other topics.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:42, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

Ordering of gendered titles when a gender-neutral equivalent is unavailable?

The lead of our RWBY article includes the phrase "Huntsmen" and "Huntresses", following my adding of quotes, since it's in-universe terminology. That point is important since we can't just say "hunters", which to the best of my knowledge is gender-neutral, because what they actually do in-universe is more military service. However, virtually all the important characters in the show, including the four title "Huntresses", are female, which makes me wonder if it would be better to say "Huntresses" and "Huntsmen".

Setting aside the "don't use in-universe terminology" solution (which I personally like but would never fly on this kind of article), what's the policy here? Are we allowed decide based on factors like the above point about the prominence of female characters to change the order? I suspect (can't seem to get hit-counts from GNews on a mobile device...) that the majority of third-party reliable sources (as well as at least one Wikia site) prioritize "Huntsmen", but that could be because of latent sexism, which is concerning...

Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:16, 21 July 2018 (UTC) (Stricken because a more careful check revealed no one puts "Huntresses" first. That might be deliberate satire on the fictional patriarchy being portrayed, but that gets into OR and SPECULATION territory. Sorry for jumping the gun. My bad. Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:48, 21 July 2018 (UTC) )

To be honest I think you might be overthinking it. Its probably just as simple as the various sources out there copying the press releases/blurbs from Rooster Teeth themselves rather than any latent sexism. Who (as far as I can tell) always use 'Huntsmen and Huntresses' in that order, unless specifically referring to a particular character. Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:27, 21 July 2018 (UTC)
Well, yeah, but wouldn't that just be latent sexism on RT's part? (Note that I say "latent" sexism because I don't for a second think there's any malice on their part, just habits ingrained in them from being raised in a partiarchal culture.)
That said, I did just Google RWBY "Huntresses and Huntsmen" and found that there was a total of one news result. (I initially didn't bother with this search since I assumed the above mobile device problem might make it pointless.) So I guess the question is kinda moot because, sexism aside, Wikipedia probably shouldn't be using in-universe terminology that even the producers don't use.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:48, 21 July 2018 (UTC)

Trypophobia article – using wording from quoted text

Opinions are needed at Talk:Trypophobia#Latest changes. The discussion concerns whether or not it is fine to quote this source as much as desired without the use of quotation marks, and whether or not we should always use a source's exact words. Regarding the latter, the question is whether it's WP:Original research to use our own wording as opposed to a source's exact words and whether wording like this needs to be tagged as WP:Weasel. The discussion additionally concerns stating things in Wikipedia's voice when sources disagree, the research is new, and/or there is no consensus in the literature on the matter.

On a side note: The Trypophobia article contains an image that some find distressing. So a heads up on that. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 15:31, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

Already commented there, even before the ping. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:55, 21 July 2018 (UTC)

Do we italicize the names of toy franchises?

I'm not really sure where to ask this, but I guess I'll ask it here. Should the name of a toy franchise be italicized? See Lego Friends. I've seen this a few places lately, including at Transformers, but not at Garbage Pail Kids. So, I'm confused. Thanks, Cyphoidbomb (talk) 01:26, 22 July 2018 (UTC)

No. If anything, the GPK case has a better claim to italics, since they're technically a published serial work (collectible cards) not toys. The GPK article is stylistically all over the the place, mis-capitalizing in headings, putting "scare quotes" around Facebook, etc. Haven't looked at the Transformers stuff. I would guess that someone's been italicizing it because they've seen some other franchises italicizing and are just copy-catting the style.

Anyway, we used to have clear instructions about this, and I wonder if they've been lost or dis-clarified. They were to not italicize a franchise, trilogy or other book or film series, fictional universe, or other mass of works and products, or reference thereto, unless and except where it is named after the title (not partial title) of the original work in the series: Thus, these are okay: the Star Trek franchise, Asimov's Foundation series, the Star Wars Extended Universe novels; but these are not: Tolkien's Middle-earth fiction and the films and games developed from them, The Harry Potter series, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some serial works come with an over-arching series title in addition to the works' titles, e.g. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant;[b] this shouldn't be italicized, as it just confuses as to what the franchise name versus the book titles are. This may be a matter of MOS:TITLES not being fully centralized yet. As with MOS:BIO until the recent merges, the work-title-related stuff has been scattered through various guidelines.

The off-WP styles vary, but overall seem pretty close to this rule, or even to italicizing less, i.e. not italicizing franchise names at all. Sometimes they're put in quotes, sometimes italicized, more often neither. This un-stylizing habit pre-dates common fiction franchises, and evolved from treatment of non-fiction series of works (which are distinguished from single works published in a number of volumes, as many reference works and major monographs, like The Golden Bough are).
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:05, 22 July 2018 (UTC)

  1. ^ Optional styles should not be "enforced" in a bot-like fashion. Doing so will likely be seen as disruptive and may lead to a block and revocation of semi-automated tools]] privileges. See also this Arbitration Committee decision.
  2. ^ Off-topic public service message: I must warn everyone away from the Thomas Covenant series. It's enormous – each book in the trilogy of trilogies is about 500–900 pages – and almost as detailed as any other F&SF series there is, but once you wade through it, you find that much of the plot was futile, and you'll be disgusted by the protagonist, nor caring much about the fools going along with him. If I could reclaim any fiction-reading time I've ever spent it would be that series, and I stopped at book 6 after fighting the urge to do so at book 4. So, if you just must investigate it, stop at book 3, before it really goes off the rails.
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