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RfC on gendered nouns in spaceflight

While the term "manned" may or may not have been considered gender neutral in the past, there is clear consensus in favour of supporting the proposed change. "Manned" should be avoided where possible, with the exception to this being proper names (e.g. Manned Spaceflight Center). --TheSandDoctor Talk 15:48, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I propose copying NASA's style guidelines verbatim: "In general, all references to the space program should be non-gender-specific (e.g., human, piloted, unpiloted, robotic, as opposed to manned or unmanned). The exception to the rule is when referring to the Manned Spaceflight Center (also known as the Manned Spacecraft Center), the predecessor of Johnson Space Center in Houston, or to any other historical program name or official title that included “manned” (e.g., Associate Administrator for Manned Spaceflight)." Kees08 (Talk) 19:15, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

Previous discussions on the spaceflight WikiProject.

Recently, there have been edits back and forth changing manned to crewed (and vice versa), occasionally resulting in minor edit wars. It has been long enough since the last major discussion on this issue that we can have a fresh one. NASA's policy is to use crewed and uncrewed in lieu of manned and unmanned, except for historical usage (like Manned Maneuvering Unit, Manned Orbiting Laboratory).

Style Guide for NASA History Authors and Editors

Slate article discussing NASA policy


Editors are interpreting Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Gender-neutral language differently, clarification is needed.


  • Support - while we do not have to follow NASA's style guide, I think it is well-written, logical, and easy to interpret. Kees08 (Talk) 05:31, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. This should be a simple, clear application of the first sentence of MOS:GNL, Use gender-neutral language where this can be done with clarity and precision. The fact that this is NASA's policy should also be given significant weight, as this is the topic area NASA falls under. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw)  05:51, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    Updating this to agree with those below saying that the text should be rephrased, not copied. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw)  00:34, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose broad changes per WP:NOR and WP:WEIGHT. The terms are not always equivalent in meaning to the proposed alternatives, and so it fails the clarity and precision clause in MOS:GNL. Usage of terms should be accurately aligned with whatever supporting sources exist per WP:STICKTOSOURCE. We should explain that the various terms exist, and use them in the proper, sourced context. There is nothing inherently "gendered" about the term "manned", and it is not an uncommon term even to use for women. -- Netoholic @ 06:28, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support: I see no reason not to follow NASA's and MOS:GNL's guidance here. Regarding WP:NOR: Sticking to sources does not mean sticking to the exact word choices of sources: Rewriting source material in your own words, while substantially retaining the meaning of the references, is not considered to be original research. WanderingWanda (talk) 07:08, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support principle, though this seems redundant to the existing advice in MOS:GNL. Perhaps this RfC will provide sufficient clarification, such that no additions to the MoS will be necessary. NASA has prescribed gender-neutral language since at least 2006 ([1]). Netoholic I'm puzzled as to how WP:WEIGHT is relevant. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 07:48, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I agree that this is redundant with MOS:GNL, which is fairly clear on this, but some people need the extra reminders. --Jayron32 12:09, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support What Jayron32 and Adrian J. Hunter said. I don't understand Netoholic's objections here. Also, while it's true that "she manned" is not unheard of, it's always been less common than "she piloted". Furthermore, if you swap in the male pronouns, you'll see that "he piloted" is also more prevalent: [2]. Mackensen (talk) 12:20, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Mackensen: No direct comparison works because the terms mean different things, which is my point. To "pilot" means to assume direct control over the movement of a craft. To "crew" means to perform one of many roles associated with operating the craft. To "man" a craft could mean any of the above, or simply sitting within a craft and being largely a passenger, as was especially true with the early missions. Likewise, one can "man" many other things that cannot be crewed or piloted - think of the phrase: she 'manned' the front desk of the store. This guidance will confuse people and cause them to use terms not supported by the sources. -- Netoholic @ 14:29, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    Sure, and I considered that. "Staffed" would be the direct replacement for "manned" in your hypothetical, though it's not applicable in this use case. The potential for confusion seems minimal, at best. Sidebar: while pilot involvement in the Mercury and Gemini missions was perhaps minimal compared to later missions, the pilots themselves were adamant that they were pilots who were piloting those spacecraft. You don't need "manned" to express any of these concepts. Mackensen (talk) 14:35, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    No, but you need to use whatever the secondary sources use as they are the ones that analyze what those men said, what NASA said, and what the general public expects from their language - hence WP:STICKTOSOURCE policy. -- Netoholic @ 14:38, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    Wikipedia articles are not just giant quotes. WP:STICKTOSOURCE does not say we are required to only directly quote sources. The use of paraphase, synonyms, summarization, and rewriting in Wikipedia's own style and voice is expected and encouraged. --Jayron32 14:41, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    These are not synonyms we're talking about. You are advocating for the changing of meaning without understanding the context of the terms in use. I have absolutely no problem with "crewed" - if that is was a source uses. But at present it looks like such usage is quite rare. -- Netoholic @ 14:48, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    We have several clearly useful alternatives to "manned", and those alternatives are not confusing to native English speakers. Your insistance, over and over, that WP:STICKTOSOURCE means we must stick to the exact word that the source uses in all cases is not borne out in any other situation anywhere else on Wikipedia, and it feels like you are reaching to somehow use your own idiosyncratic understanding of a policy page as a means to invalidate a consensus, or to somehow innoculate against a developing consensus so that you can claim that "the one single policy I have cherry picked here to interpret in my own way to defend my position must be the only valid policy that applies AND the only valid interpretation of that policy" That's not how any of this works. You don't get to pick one "magic spell" policy that trumps all others, you don't get to invalidate the perspectives of other that don't agree with you merely because they don't agree with you, and you don't "win" in the face of a developing consensus merely because you repeat the same points over and over or refute everyone with the same thing over and over. You don't get extra "consensus points" by doing that. --Jayron32 15:08, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support It's a sensible clarification in line with MOS:GNL. Schazjmd (talk) 14:12, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. "Manned" is gender-neutral. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 14:28, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    Asserting so doesn't mean it is so. Gender-neutral language disagrees with you. Where can I read, elsewhere, that your assertion has evidence to back it up? --Jayron32 14:37, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    How is Gender-neutral language's assertion any more valid than mine? See wikt:man#Etymology 2. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 15:13, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    Gender-neutral language specifically notes many instances of avoiding the use of "man". You assert that it doesn't, and yet reading the article clearly shows it doing so. The actual evidence goes against your assertion. Also, see etymological fallacy. We use words as they are used now, not as they were used at some point in the past. Today, sources consider "man" to be gendered as male. The fact that speakers in the past didn't used to has little to no bearing on the discussion. Lots of words meant different things in the past. We use words today as they are used today. --Jayron32 15:19, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    I'm not arguing based on etymology; that was merely the section link. I'm arguing based on the usage in that section. But GNL is incorrect in stating that "crewed" should be used instead of "manned". Should we say "Crew the machine guns!" rather than "Man the machine guns!"? –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 15:21, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    When would one ever write either the phrase "Crew the machine guns!" or "Man the machine guns!" in a Wikipedia article? That phrase should never appear, except as a direct quote. Under normal encyclopedic style, I can't see any reason to present a second-person command with an exclamation point. --Jayron32 15:29, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    It was just an example to point out the fact that in this sense, it's not a gendered word any more than "history" is.
    What? I don't even know what you mean by that. Look, lets just sit back and watch consensus develop one way or the other here. Your arguments are becoming increasingly incomprehensible here, and ultimately I have wasted everyone's time by humoring you. You have voted. I have voted. Other people will vote. This entire side discussion has done, and will do, nothing towards generating a consensus. --Jayron32 15:42, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    I would have thought the reference was obvious in this context: "history" contrasted with *"herstory". —DIV ( (talk) 02:27, 11 May 2019 (UTC))
    Also note that line in GNL was added just today; I've reverted the edit, and now GNL says nothing about "manned". –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 15:25, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    I never said Gender neutral language used the example "manned". I said it contained information about avoiding "man" in situations analogous to this. --Jayron32 15:28, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    In any case, to "man" a craft is not the same usage as using "man" as a suffix for occupational titles. And the article there is about documenting certain efforts and viewpoints; it does not provide advice on what should be done. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 15:38, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
It's not the same, but reliable sources do indicate that this usage of "manned" is gendered, and that's the category of language that MOS:GNL applies to. Nblund talk 15:50, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
I hope you realize using the phrase "etymological fallacy" is, in itself, offensive and derogatory. You are trying to dismiss an idea you dislike by slapping a biases label on it. In fact, "manned" spaceflight is a term in common use. It is less universally used than it was a few decades ago, but it is still widely used. We are talking about which of the currently used terms is more appropriate. Fcrary (talk) 18:44, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support If it works for NASA it will probably work quite adequately for us too. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 14:53, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - sensible direction. Evidently the advice of MOS:GNL is not sufficient to prevent edit-warring in this topic, so it is necessary to explicitly adopt this style. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 15:18, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Consistent with existing MOS:GNL guidance. If there's a specific use-case where "manned" has no English equivalent, then we can say it, but I sort of struggle to imagine a scenario where that's the case. This seems like an odd hill to die on. Nblund talk 15:40, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • OpposeSupport changing project pages Unless I am misinterpreting the intent here, the wording of MOS:GNL is sufficient. "Manned" is acceptable in established proper names. We can't include every organization's policy on gender-neutral language in the MOS. Jmar67 (talk) 15:46, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    You'll note that the proposal includes a specific exemption for established proper names, and is not proposing changing those. --Jayron32 15:49, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    We shouldn't need to say anything about terms in proper names. It should be clear that they are exempt. Jmar67 (talk) 16:03, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    That isn't the crux of the proposal though. The proposal is here because there is some clarification needed over the use of the terms "manned" and "unmanned" outside of proper noun situations. Some people feel those terms are gender neutral, or are otherwise not covered by MOS:GNL. This is specifically about adding clarifying language that such terms are covered by MOS:GNL and should be avoided here. When you stated "Unless I am misinterpreting the intent" it is clear you are. The purpose of the proposal is not to carve out the exceptions for proper names, it is to include language to explicitly note that "manned" is not gender-neutral. --Jayron32 16:08, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    Jmar67: I think a lot of the support !voters are agreeing with you that MOS:GNL already covers this. When you say "oppose" are you saying you believe that "manned" should still be used even in cases where it is not part of a direct quote or a proper title? Or are you just saying you oppose changing the wording of GNL? (similar to Izno's !vote below) Nblund talk 16:18, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    Thanks. I am opposed to copying the NASA guideline verbatim into the MOS. I still don't understand what specific change to the MOS is being suggested and where. Jmar67 (talk) 16:28, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    Thank you for your clarification. I understand what you're opposition is based on now. --Jayron32 16:36, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Where there's a clearly supported gender neutral term, we should use it as per MOS:GNL. "Manned" may or may not once have been viewed as gender neutral, but language changes, and it isn't now, as NASA indicates. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:57, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support principle, oppose changing the main MOS page per the apparent duplication of intent. --Izno (talk) 16:02, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    • Unless I'm misunderstanding, I don't think the nominator is proposing changing any guideline pages. That is, I read the question to be: "Should we make this change at various spaceflight pages?" not "Should we add this language to the MOS?" WanderingWanda (talk) 16:24, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
      I propose copying NASA's style guidelines verbatim I interpreted copying here to mean publishing a MOS which uses the text of NASA's guideline, i.e., as a MOS change. You could reasonably interpret the word copy to mean "use their guideline without changing ours", but again, not what I did. I think my interpretation is more reasonably. ;) --Izno (talk) 16:39, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
      What misled me was that it was unclear where the cited NASA guideline would land, and I assumed it was the MOS. Jmar67 (talk) 17:27, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
      I want to have a clear interpretation of the Manual of Style that can be pointed to in future discussions that will hopefully end the edit wars. I thought perhaps a note like the Milhist one could be added, but whether it is or not I do not care. Kees08 (Talk) 16:50, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support NASA gets it right. XOR'easter (talk) 16:08, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support This sounds very sensible. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 16:13, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I agree with NASA's convention here and I think Wikipedia should adopt it. Reyk YO! 16:22, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support mostly per WP:DUH. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 16:23, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. If we do copy though, quote marks and cite, perhaps with intro: Wikipedia has adopted the following guidance: Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:53, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose without modification NASA is not the only space agency around, and they have not always used this standard. I think it would be confusing to have an article on, for example, the Russian space program with quotes about "manned" missions and text about "crewed" missions. The same thing would apply to historical NASA missions, such as Mercury or Apollo. If the original sources used the term "manned" the article should as well. I think that's consistent with Wikipedia guidelines on gender-neutral language, since being consistent would improve clarity. Fcrary (talk) 22:07, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
    It is a good point that NASA is not the only space agency around. However the issue of 'mismatch' between quotations and surrounding article text is not a problem. Consider an article Caesar, for example: there may be quotations in Latin, but that doesn't conflict with the article being written in English. There can be an article on Hitler that includes pejorative terms for specific people or groups of people within quotations, but which avoids those pejorative terms within the surrounding article text. —DIV ( (talk) 02:44, 11 May 2019 (UTC))
  • Support—Wikipedia should always strive for inclusive language where reasonable. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 22:22, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support It's the right thing to do and the NASA policy means we have a good precedent to follow. The exception for historical terms is adequate. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:35, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. It is not clear that "manned" is necessarily interpreted as a gendered verb. As evidence I propose the following scenario.
    NASA sends an "unmanned shuttle" to the moon. When it lands the crew get out and perform a moonwalk.
    I believe that everybody would interpret "unmanned" as a synonym of "uncrewed", and that nobody would leave open the option that an "unmanned shuttle" might have a crew who are all women (or perhaps even transgendered, intersex, etc.).
    Logically if "unmanned" is unambiguously a non-gendered synonym of "uncrewed", then "manned" should unambiguously be a non-gendered synonym of "crewed". Of course, logic might be lacking in reality....
    —DIV ( (talk) 02:36, 11 May 2019 (UTC))
The simple response is that "reliable sources say it is gendered". That said: One verb form of "unman" means "to castrate". So it definitely is not an unambiguously non-gendered term. Roger Freitas uses the term "'unmanned' singer" to refer to a castrato vocalist. Romeo and Juliet even contains a play-on-words based around using the "unmanned" to indicate Juliet's virginity and her lack of self-control. "Manned" is often use to refer to male and female crew members, but that doesn't make it genderless. It's like the term "mankind" in that sense. Nblund talk 21:00, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it is sufficient to say a single source considers a word gendered. I think it takes evidence that a majority of people, or at least a large majority, consider it to be when used in the relevant context. In you examples of "manned" being used as a gendered word, they are (1) rather archaic usage, which I believe few modern speakers of English would use, and (2) using the word in a dramatically different context. Are you implying that, if a word is gendered, then all of its homonym are also gendered? That does not make sense to me. Fcrary (talk) 21:28, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
My point was that can't exactly call a word "unambiguously genderless" when one of its dictionary definitions literally refers to removing someone's testicles. It's not just a single source. OED guidance, the Handbook of Nonsexist Writing, as well as the BBC and New York Times style Guides all note the gendered connotation. We don't have any source for polling the majority of English speakers, and the whole issue is that terms like "manned" or "mankind" are implicitly gendered even when the speaker doesn't intend them that way. Our informal poll of Wikipedia editors shows a pretty clear consensus in favor of avoiding the term. Nblund talk 22:31, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
It's hard to call anything about languages unambiguous. But if there are two completely unrelated dictionary definitions for a word, they are different words. Just because they are spelled the same way doesn't mean one is automatically a gendered word because the other clearly is. If I accepted that logic, I'd also have to agree an aircraft is a geometric construct, since those are both definitions of "plane". Fcrary (talk) 19:02, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
What a novel theory: "if there are two completely unrelated dictionary definitions for a word, they are different words". Did you make that up, or find it somewhere in a discussion of what makes a word? And are you also suggesting that some uses of "manned" and "unmanned" are not related by referring to the root "man"? Dicklyon (talk) 21:54, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment We might consider preserving the cited NASA guideline text and parts of this discussion in the article Gender-neutral language. Jmar67 (talk) 03:43, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support 'Man' and 'manned' are not gender neutral words as acknowledged by NASA and most modern style guidlines. Many of the opposes use logic along the lines of "well it's gender neutral to me" or "that's what was written in the source". The first argument is irrelevant, what matters is the gender neutrality to most english speakers. The second is inappropriate in this context, we do not use Shakespearian language to discuss the works of William Shakespeare, even if that is how they were originally written. --Spacepine (talk) 11:50, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
In fact, we may use Elizabethan words in discussing Shakespeare's works. Specifically if the work contains a word which is no longer in common use. It would cause confusion to quote the text and then substitute the modern, equivalent word in a discussion of the text's meaning.Fcrary (talk) 18:44, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support the point being added in our own wording, but not plagiarized. We do not rip off language, word-for-word, from other style guides. We certainly should give the same advice (reworded), because it is sensible and is consistent with MOS:GNL. We should maybe omit "manned" as an example of gendered language, since there's obviously dispute about whether it qualifies.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:58, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
    @SMcCandlish: Since it's published by NASA, surely it's {{PD-NASA}}? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:17, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
    Whether you can be prosecuted for stealing it has nothing to do with the principle of not just ripping it off. Beyond this obvious point, we do not want to set a precedent for directly quoting other style guides in our own. Our wording changes all the time to better suit our needs and the ability of our editorial pool to interpret and follow the rules as written and applied. Virtually nothing in MoS reads exactly as it did the first time it was written, because we cannot predict in advance what someone is going to try to WP:GAME a month or a year later, nor what adjustments have to be made to account for later changes to other WP:P&G pages. Another reason to not rip off other style manuals to the letter is that we can usually make the same effective rule more concisely, having had a lot of practice keeping our rules short for WP:CREEP reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:34, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per MOS:GNL. SarahSV (talk) 22:43, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose "copying NASA's style guidelines verbatim", but support the gist of the proposal, adopting guidance along those lines. Dicklyon (talk) 21:57, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
    • Oppose, as the word "human" has in itself the letters of the word "man", which is NOT, in itself (mind me being redundant) a gender-neutral term as it was before, since nowadays it is like saying "mailman" instead of "mail carrier", "fireman" instead of "firefighter", "chairman" instead of "chairperson" or "CEO" and so on. --Fandelasketchup (talk) 15:37, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
      That's farcically bogus folk etymology which has been debunked about a million times by now. Human does not in fact have the word man in it at all; it has the three characters m-a-n in it (lately; it did not in Middle English). The word man is from Proto-Germanic *mann, and human is from Latin hūmānus. In this case, they're not even anciently related. Man ultimately goes back to Proto-Indo-European *mon, while hūmānus is Latin homo with a suffix and vowel shifts, ultimately from PIE *ǵʰm̥mṓ, and related to words for 'earth' (humus, etc.). The resemblance of man and human in English is purely incidental, the result of convergence inspired by the kind of confusion/assumption that leads to folk etymology in the first place.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:04, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as long as we don't copy and paste. We should try to rephrase things in our words, to err on the side of over-caution with regards to copyright. (Summoned by bot) -- I dream of horses  If you reply here, please ping me by adding {{U|I dream of horses}} to your message  (talk to me) (My edits) @ 20:14, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  • OPPOSE - fisrt as factually wrong. Current and future nasa pubs do use “manned” so this seems a false premise. It looks to me more the case of a verb use “crewed” and a modifier use “manned”. Second ... umm NASA just is not the only or bulk of spaceflight any more, and it seems wrong to ignore other nations and private corporations usages if they are most such flights. Generally, I’ll say JUST FOLLOW THE SOURCE USAGES - paraphrase space by case whatever the usage was, is, or will be. Do not create and impose a rule that does not exist in outside reality. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 05:15, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Why use the word "film" as opposed to "movie" in movie-related articles? I mean, isn't it more common to say "Let's go to the movies" than "Let's go to the films"? --Fandelasketchup (talk) 15:18, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Could you post a few examples? I would suppose the more appropriate word is sometimes "film", sometimes "movie", with it not mattering which other times. "Film" seems generally more appropriate for formal encyclopedic texts, where people aren't talking about going to the movies. –Roy McCoy (talk) 15:28, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
I suspect the primary reason it that "film" shows up more often in reliable sources related to film, even though it's not the most common in everyday speech in the US. The names of entities like the National Film Registry, and The American Film Institute sort of reflect this. It is kind of amusing that we have entries like Scary Movie (film_series), but I think this is a fairly well established naming convention at this point. Nblund talk 15:49, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Roy, one example which comes to mind is the website which, upon logging me in, shows me "Watch Next TV and Movies" rather than "Watch Next TV and Films". The website I just gave you is the international version of --Fandelasketchup (talk) 15:57, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
It may be more common in the US, but in Britain you would go to the cinema (or "flicks") to see a film. It's one of the classic issues with WP:ENGVAR. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 16:02, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Hmmm.... Martin of Sheffield, maybe that's where "Netflix" got its name from? --Fandelasketchup (talk) 16:30, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
I'd always assumed that was obvious, but then I naturally use British terms. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 16:37, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

I think "film" is more formal, but I think it also is used exclusively for productions designed to be (originally) displayed in a theatre, while "movie" can refer to TV, streaming, etc. as well. "Flicks" is a common colloquialism for films (in the U.S., too), probably derived from the flickering seen in early projection systems. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 17:51, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Except it isn't used exclusively that way. So ....  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:52, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Yes, it's an ENGVAR issue. In the UK, we very rarely use the word "movie", whereas in the USA both terms are used, so it makes sense to use the term that is commonly used in both countries (as well as other English-speaking countries). -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:56, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

In Australia it would be 50/50 if we say 'watch a movie' or 'watch a film', regardless of whether it's the big screen (theatre) or the small screen (TV,phone,etc). Probably because we have a British heritage but absorb lots of American media. So I agree, it's a WP:ENGVAR thing.  Stepho  talk  07:06, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Numbering officeholders in infoboxes

Relevant RfC for any concerned: Template_talk:Infobox_officeholder#RfC_regarding_ordinal_numbering — Preceding unsigned comment added by ReconditeRodent (talkcontribs) 13:02, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Added to "Style discussions elsewhere". This entry can be deleted. Jmar67 (talk) 06:33, 29 May 2019 (UTC)


Hi, there is a discussion regarding the use of {{flagicon}} on the MOS:FLAG page. Please could you comment there regarding updating this part of the MOS. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 10:34, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

Hyphens bite!

And always will.

"Hyphens in paper titles harm citation counts and journal impact factors"
article at at DOI: 10.1109/TSE.2019.2915065

Shenme (talk) 14:28, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

Then I shudder to think of the effect of semicolons. EEng 19:56, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

Curly symbols

Can anybody here provide further assistance regarding this issue? Thanks in advance. Greetings--Hildeoc (talk) 15:16, 4 June 2019 (UTC)

What issue? Single quotes are used in wiki markup for italics and boldface, and they're also used as non-markup for apostrophes and normal single quotes. So it's not immediately obvious if the final single quote on ''Jones''' is inside or outside the italics (it's outside). A similar phenomenon happens when naively writing sets using naked braces inside the {{math}} template (among others) – the closing brace isn't the one you want it to be. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 15:35, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, we can help – agreeing to delete the third list item, which is not a practical reason for which straight quotes are used on the English Wikipedia. Support for that. –Roy McCoy (talk) 15:38, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
There are apostrophe templates created for this purpose, {{'}} or {{'s}}, As in "Dynasty's first season premiered on ..." (wikitext: ''Dynasty''{{'s}} first season). These templates are noted in the section Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Apostrophes, but perhaps the third bullet point should be replaced with an additional explanation of these templates.— TAnthonyTalk 16:57, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
Okay Hildeoc, Deacon Vorbis, TAnthony and anyone else interested. I got rid of the non-reason third list item and put its content and that of TAnthony's message into the main text. Anybody who doesn't like this can change it, but don't revert it because it's better than it was before. –Roy McCoy (talk) 02:46, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
(Thanks for the ping; I certainly don't mind). –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 02:54, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
You're welcome, Deacon Vorbis. I think the reworking is okay, but I might have made a technical goof, and perhaps the January, 2016 Internet Explorer thing could be updated. (Just kidding about January.) –Roy McCoy (talk) 03:04, 5 June 2019 (UTC)

Discussions on MOS subpages

I recently added two subpage discussions to the "Style discussions elsewhere" section above. Should there be (or is there already) a policy of having all MOS discussions here in one place? I did not realize until now that watching a page does not include subpages. Jmar67 (talk) 11:28, 5 June 2019 (UTC)

Matching commas on attributive nouns in titles

What is the most correct and least awkward way to title certain articles? King of ♠ 00:56, 29 May 2019 (UTC) The MoS requires matching commas at the end if a date or place name contains a comma:

The woman from Tucson, Arizona, knew that the salesman who tried to sell her a new phone contract on July 1, 2018, was a fraud.

Note that these commas would not normally exist if not for the preceding comma, showing that it is indeed it is this rule which causes the presence of the commas:

The woman from Tucson knew that the salesman who tried to sell her a new phone contract on July 1 was a fraud.

This has been long-accepted as the standard in English grammar, and as far I as can tell no one seriously contests this rule in article prose. However, it becomes less clear when we talk about titles, because titles which follow this rule can appear strange to many people, especially when the expression containing an internal comma is an being used as an attributive noun. Here's an example, adapting a previous discussion I started (but didn't receive many comments): There have now been multiple shootings in some place called Aurora, two of them in Aurora, Colorado and one in Aurora, Illinois. Multiple WP:RMs have dealt with this issue:

I suggest reviewing the content of the discussions before proceeding further. I think there are three general schools of thought:

  1. "City, State" is always a valid drop-in replacement for "City". If "Aurora shooting" would be the preferred title if there were no ambiguity, then "Aurora, Illinois shooting" would also be the preferred title.
  2. Doing that is a violation of MOS:GEOCOMMA, so a matching comma should be used: "Aurora, Illinois, shooting". "City, State," is always a valid drop-in-replacement for "City" in the middle of a title.
  3. The first is a violation of grammatical rules, and the second looks weird, so in most cases such articles should be retitled so that "City, State" is not being used as an attributive noun, even if such titles would normally not be preferred: "Shooting in Aurora, Illinois" or "2019 Aurora shooting".

The same thing is now playing out at Talk:March 1–3, 2018 nor'easter, but with MOS:DATECOMMA. We should seriously take a look at both these rules together to figure out what is the most correct and least awkward way to title such articles. -- King of ♠ 00:56, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

  • @Ahecht, AjaxSmack, Aphexcoil, Athaenara, BarrelProof, BD2412, Born2cycle, Bradv, Braxton C. Womack, Bus stop, Comfr, Davidsousa1, Dicklyon, Dohn joe, EDG 543, Erik, Feminist, Gonnym, HurricaneGeek2002, Huwmanbeing, Hydromania, In ictu oculi, InedibleHulk, Jax 0677, Jim Michael, John from Idegon, JorgeLaArdilla, Lawrencekhoo, Matuko, Necrothesp, Netoholic, Nohomersryan, Nsk92, Objective3000, Octoberwoodland, Paintspot, PC78, QEDK, Reidgreg, Sheldybett, Shibbolethink, SMcCandlish, SmokeyJoe, Sturmvogel 66, Tony1, TonyTheTiger, WikiWinters, Wow, WWGB, and Xain36: Pinging participants of past RMs. Feel free to ping others I may have missed. -- King of ♠ 01:19, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • The most correct way is to simply add the matching comma, but a fair number of users have expressed the opinion that they don't really care about it being correct, because they understand what it's supposed to mean in the incorrect form. A majority of editors in the biggest RM discussion supported fixing those by reordering or some other method, but this was not judged to be a consensus due to the fair number who didn't care about the error. This was only for GEOCOMMA, and very few such errors remain there, I think. I'm pretty sure DATECOMMA is an even more stringent rule in practice, yet an editor has already claimed it's rare to use correct grammar in American English, which seems odd to me, but yes we have lots of such violations in Wikipedia. Dicklyon (talk) 01:24, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Both approaches of adding the comma or rephrasing the title (e.g., to move the date or geographic location to the end of the title) are worth considering, and can somewhat be handled on a case-by-case basis. Just letting the punctuation violate MOS:DATECOMMA / MOS:GEOCOMMA does not seem like a good idea, since it makes Wikipedia look unprofessional. I am not aware of American style guidance saying the comma is not needed. What do The New York Times and The Atlantic do? —BarrelProof (talk) 01:35, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I have no interest in this, and frankly resent being pinged to it. I participated in a prior discussion on the AP style book, and in one on schools. I know how to find discussions that interest me. There is no need to ping me ever. John from Idegon (talk) 01:41, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    @John from Idegon: John, I felt a need to ping you just to thank you for taking the trouble to show up here and let us all know that you don't care. It's not every editor who will go out their way to say something when they have nothing to say. Please do not feel you need to thank me in return, but if you want to, I'll listen. Dicklyon (talk) 04:03, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    I was almost going to continue this chain but I'm still laughing at this. --qedk (t c) 04:26, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    It's not every editor who will go out their way to say something when they have nothing to say – If only that were true. EEng 09:52, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    Not if I have something to say about it. --A D Monroe III(talk) 16:24, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment: The MoS is not policy, but rather is a guideline that relates to article prose, so using words like "the MoS requires" or "that is a violation of MOS:GEOCOMMA" is over-stating its importance or relevance in regards to article titles. WP:Article titles is the policy. That said, I don't see any real-world uniformity in favor of double commas for long date handling within titles. As examples, here are Google Scholar title results for one particular famous date and a famous city - I think you'll see handling is a mixed-bag. What we should be discussing is not what the MoS says, but rather what is the best consistent way to handle WP:TITLES on Wikipedia. I think its clear that long-term editor preference has been to not use the extra comma in page titles. These recent move discussions certainly show a strong disinclination to use them. If necessary, we can document this in WP:TITLES. I am open to changing the MoS as well (at least as relates to American English articles, where seeing a "naked" City, State or long date is not unusual, and is easily parsed by the reader), but I'm neutral on that at the moment as it relates to article prose only. -- Netoholic @ 01:56, 29 May 2019 (UTC) (updated)
    In your search for "September 11, 2001" in titles, only 1 on the first page of 10 hits has the unbalanced comma problem (2 do it right, and in the rest it doesn't come up). Similarly on your "Washington, DC" search, only 1 unbalanced, 2 with double comma, 1 with no commas, and the rest where it doesn't come up (because it's followed by end of title or colon or something). So sources are followed guidance about 2:1 at least. Nobody said it wasn't a common error. Dicklyon (talk) 02:41, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    I searched on "the September 11, 2001" earlier tonight without having seen the above, and without weeding out the titles (since I didn't see any need to – titles, schmitles, it's the same language) and got 32 finds with a comma following and 69 without. That's way less overwhelming than what I got with cities and states the other day, but still over two to one. What I think some people should consider is that even if certain things like absent commas following states and years are incorrect according to grammatical authorities, nonetheless some errors – possessive it's, for example – are more egregious than others. Could we lighten up a bit on the less egregious, or are all purported errors of any degree to be considered equally abominable and attacked with identical furor? –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:37, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Netoholic: The MoS is not policy, but rather is a guideline that relates to article prose. Since when is its application limited to article prose? Could you cite your source for this assertion?
    so using words like "the MoS requires" or "that is a violation of MOS:GEOCOMMA" is over-stating its importance or relevance in regards to article titles. You do accept that the MOS is to be observed absent exceptional circumstances, though, right? (talk) 02:16, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    It "is to be observed" only per its stated scope "to help editors write articles with consistent and precise language, layout, and formatting" (note that titling is not listed there), and the very first section of the MoS (under the lead and ToC) redirects people to WP:TITLES policy for concerns related to that. Also, as a guideline, its understood that the MoS "is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply". The MOS:GEOCOMMA section only gives examples of full sentences and doesn't mention titles. WP:TITLES only mentions comma handling under WP:COMMADIS, with no mention of dates/localities. There are naming conventions like WP:NCPLACE, WP:NCEVENTS, and WP:NCDATES, but none addresses extra comma use. WP:NCDATES#Year at the end, with comma states that "use of punctuation marks in article names is discouraged" and I think that is broadly-true. We often err on the side of removing punctuation in article titles, because it makes it easier for editors to predict how to link. -- Netoholic @ 02:35, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    It "is to be observed" only per its stated scope "to help editors write articles with consistent and precise language, layout, and formatting" (note that titling is not listed there). Is it your argument that titles are not part of articles? Or that titles don't contain language?
    and the very first section of the MoS (under the lead and ToC) redirects people to WP:TITLES policy for concerns related to that. ... Are you kidding? It doesn't just redirect to WP:TITLES; it supplements it and even provides the following:

    Subject both to the above and to WP:Article titles, the rest of the MoS, particularly § Punctuation, applies also to the title [emphasis added].
    — Wikipedia:Manual of Style § Article titles

    That being the case, Netoholic, how do you reconcile your argument that article titles are outside the scope of the MOS with Wikipedia:Manual of Style § Article titles?
    Also, as a guideline, its understood that the MoS "is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply". Which is to say that the MOS is to be observed absent exceptional circumstances?
    The MOS:GEOCOMMA section only gives examples of full sentences and doesn't mention titles. WP:TITLES only mentions comma handling under WP:COMMADIS, with no mention of dates/localities. There are naming conventions like WP:NCPLACE, WP:NCEVENTS, and WP:NCDATES, but none addresses extra comma use. WP:TITLES doesn't mention date formats and particular provisions of the MOS don't mention their applicability to titles because that would be redundant to Wikipedia:Manual of Style § Article titles, excerpted above.
    WP:NCDATES#Year at the end, with comma states that "use of punctuation marks in article names is discouraged" and I think that is broadly-true. Given your deep concern about the scope of particular guidelines, I would have thought you would have paid more attention to the heading above that quotation. (talk) 03:08, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    That line you quoted under Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Article titles is certainly interesting. But WP:TITLES does not broadly point to the MoS beyond linking to "further information". If there is any strict consideration related to article titles, though, it should be documented in WP:TITLES or a specific naming convention. I'd be very interested to dig into what prompted that line you quoted to be added here and no matching text included at WP:TITLES. Anyone know what the "ArbCom dash poll" refers to? EDIT: I think I found it Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/dash drafting. If this is what prompted that line to be added here, it seems like an overreach. -- Netoholic @ 03:52, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    But WP:TITLES does not broadly point to the MoS beyond linking to "further information". That is the nature of guidelines. They often tend to provide further information that doesn't contradict the relevant policies.
    If this is what prompted that line to be added here, it seems like an overreach. It's hardly overreach if it's been established as the community consensus for the better part of a decade.
    So if I understand correctly – and do correct me if I'm wrong here – I think we're now on the same page with respect to what started this thread, viz.:
    1. The MOS applies to article titles.
    2. The MOS is to be observed absent exceptional circumstances. (talk) 04:11, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    Not on the same page at all. In fact, you may be the first editor to have ever brought up that line of the guideline. I did some searches using the current and older versions of that line, and I don't see it being brought up in any other discussion or cited in any RM discussion. This line seems to have been added in the middle of a set of rewrites and largely ignored. I don't see that it has consensus to make it on the level of a policy. -- Netoholic @ 07:59, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree that those commas should be there in sentences, but they shouldn't be there in article titles. Jim Michael (talk) 01:55, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with your opinion, It is confusing because there is no comma in the sentence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Holiakim (talkcontribs) 08:06, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Doesn't look odd to me. The year and state in the examples are postpositional modifiers/qualifiers. The link to attributive noun refers to "pre-modifiers". Viewing them as attributive nouns may cause the perception that parenthetic commas are incorrect. Not going to loose sleep if they aren't in titles though. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 02:07, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    The expression "postpositional modifiers/qualifiers" seemed curious to me, so I googled it. Zero finds other than the singular one here, so congratulations to Cinderella157 on having coined an original expression. I tried "postpositional modifiers" and got 43 finds, suggesting obscurity. The first of these related to the Peterborough Chronicle, a historical work written primarily in Old English. The second related to Old Hungarian. The third concerned contemporary English, but non-native-speaker with a sentence containing no comma ("My big brother studying in New York always buys me things because he still thinks that I am his little brother."). The fourth related to Chinese. When I tried "postpositional qualifiers" I got precisely two results, the first relating to Santali in Ol Chiki script, and the second to linguistic relativity in French, English, and German philosophy. So sorry, Cinderella, but I'm afraid your postpositional modifiers/qualifers aren't going to cut it as a rationalization for the sacred geodatecommas. We seem to be stuck with parenthesis for the geo, and a hodgepodge of parenthesis and apposition for the date. –Roy McCoy (talk) 15:35, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
Quoting or paraphrasing from the relevant pages: A modifier is an optional element in phrase structure or clause structure. Qualifier has a similar meaning/use. A modifier placed before the head is called a premodifier; one placed after the head is called a postmodifier. Adpositional phrases contain an adposition: preposition, postposition, or circumposition. A phrase is a group of words or even a single word. An attributive noun (or noun phrase) functions as a pre-modifier in a noun phrase - a prepositional modifier. Arizona is after (not before) Tuscon and therefore not an attributive noun (rather, it is an apposition? - yes, the term eluded me at the time, but not the construction to which it refers). Who would have thought I was being so novel by simply substituting "post" for "pre" to indicate that the qualification to the noun was being made "after" rather than "before". Ain't English grand. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 01:16, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, Cinderella157, for erroneously claiming that the state is an apposition. This enables me to correctly observe that we have a hodgepodge of parenthesis and apposition as our rationalization for both the geocomma and the datecomma. Dick denied that the state was an apposition before, and I granted that I could find that as a rationalization only for the datecomma. But now we have both for both. Thanks again. –Roy McCoy (talk) 01:38, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
  1. Did Dicklyon deny "state" was an apposition? The point is that ... [parenthesis are one way to set off a disambiguating term, and commas are another] not that they are identical ... [or that apposition is the relevant concept]. This response occurred in the context of a question: Does anyone here think that apposition is identical to parenthesis? I read Dick's response as saying: "No, that is not the point. The point is how we disambiguate article titles with parenthesis or commas." To claim, "Dick denied that the state was an apposition", appears to me to be a leap that ignores the context and misrepresents what has been said. Perhaps Dick might comment as to what he intended.
  2. To say, I have "erroniouslyerroneously claimed" ignores the question mark in my response that is less than unequivocal. However ...
  3. The proposition I am responding to is that: parenthesis and apposition are mutually exclusive. Parenthesis can be appositive. Some appositional phrases are parenthetic but not all. There are both restrictive and non-restrictive appositions, of which, the latter are typically set off by commas (ie, are paerenthetic). The two "sets" share an intersection. To that extent, both are correct and not so much of an "hodgepodge". Cinderella157 (talk) 10:25, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
Okay, a Venn-diagram hodgepodge of parenthesis and apposition – that's even better. Since the year isn't either, it doesn't matter. And the prize for equivocality goes to you, with your question mark, obscure jargon and so forth – also for orthography, with your "erroniously", "apositive" and "perenthetic". But please: I would truly appreciate it if if you could explain to me why "[sic]" follows Elaine Byrne's use of the expression "less than equivocal" at Thank you. –Roy McCoy (talk) 13:26, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
Please excuse me, Cinderella157, if I seemed to be concentrating here more on your creative language than on the topic at hand, which latter is of course what concerns us.
  1. Dick, in reply to my question on whether anyone thought apposition was identical to parenthesis, accused me of misstating the point when in fact I hadn't stated any point at all; what he was dealing with was mainly his surmisal in this regard. It was not my contention "that apposition is the relevant concept" (what I was actually thinking was that people have proposed both parenthesis and apposition as the relevant geocomma concept), but in declaring this to be part of my purported straw man, and denying that this was his position, he was in fact rejecting the idea and correctly so, as it turned out that I could find advocacy of the appositive position among only supporters of the datecomma and not of the geocomma. So we were agreed that parenthesis was the relevant geocomma concept. But now you've come in lumping parenthesis partially together with apposition and stating that "both are correct" – which indeed constitutes a hodgepodge, and furthermore one that I doubt many, or any, of the geocomma supporters will want to accept. For now we have no one saying the state is appositional ("that apposition is the relevant concept"), some saying it's parenthetical, and now you suggesting it's somehow both. This impresses me as a curious situation, and I don't think you're doing the geocomma any favor by bringing apposition into it, with a Venn diagram or otherwise.
  2. You directly indicated that the term apposition had previously eluded you, but that you had now found it for "the construction to which it refers", namely that of the state in "Tucson, Arizona". Actually I think you were out of hodgepodge territory there and were actually saying that "Arizona" is an appositive, and not a mixture of appositive and parenthesis. Also, I don't think anybody ever said it was an attributive noun – that would have been Tucson.
  3. Speaking of straw men: I never said that parenthesis and apposition were mutually exclusive. I said they were different, which they are, and nobody said anything to the contrary even when invited to do so. –Roy McCoy (talk) 05:02, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
On your point 2: I don't think anybody ever said it [bold to clarify] was an attributive noun – that would have been Tucson. - please clarify what [word] is "it" and what "Tucson" is being an "attributive to" in the construction, "Tucson, Arizona"? Cinderella157 (talk) 11:15, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
I appreciate your asking, as I was already thinking of correcting myself on this. My "it" referred to "Arizona", the state, to which "Tucson" would have been attributive. Only neither "Tucson" nor "Arizona" is what we've been referring to as the attributive noun here, but rather the combination "Tucson, Arizona" when used as an adjective modifying what follows, as in "the Tucson, Arizona[,] climate". We can call this a compound attributive noun, but that's another rare term (only nine Google finds on it for me just now). Others here share my feeling that the punctuation should be the same in titles as in text, and why not? They're the same things, are spoken of in the same way ("We were talking about the Sandy, Utah attack", for example), and normally, though with exceptions, are simply excerpted in a title. The difference of opinion among us who feel this way is whether the closing comma should be included in such cases or not. Garner and I (along with a clear majority of normal writers and editors [84/18, 59/14, 56/6/ 45/4, etc.[3]], and I think also e.g. Herostratus, though he hasn't engaged other than to make a singular statement) feel it shouldn't, while others here, and apparently a majority of style guides and a certain grammatical tradition I was unfamiliar with until recently, feel it should. You apparently tend to the latter view, but aren't in this consistently pro-comma group because you tolerate the omission in titles. –Roy McCoy (talk) 16:12, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Replying: I think that the title of this thread is a little ambiguous, in that the "matching commas" applies to only part of the "city, state," phrase and that "state" and not the fuller phrase, was therefore being described as "attributive". I don't see this being clarified in the opening post. I acknowledge this was my earlier perception but do not think I have been alone? However, my initial comments stand. My subsequent comments in this thread also stand. They [my subsequent comments] are made in the context of the "city, state," phrase. I am not seeing that they [same "they"] are dependent on what then follows that construction (ie "city, state,"). Cinderella157 (talk) 03:32, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm not at all sure, but at this moment I think King of Hearts might have titled this section "on attributive nouns in titles" rather than "in attributive nouns in titles" simply to avoid repetition of "in". Or maybe the closing comma is on rather than in the attributive noun because it's on the end of the expression rather than internal to it. In any event it's now quite clear to me that the attributive noun concerned is compound/two-word, and this is confirmed in the original post: "especially when the expression containing an internal comma is [...] being used as an attributive noun". Obviously "Arizona" cannot contain an internal comma, while "Tucson, Arizona" obviously does. I can ask you about the "they" in your last sentence here the same as you asked me about my "it", which I nonetheless think was clear. But if you mean that the two words – e.g. "Tucscon, Arizona" – are not dependent on what follows that construction, I agree with you. We simply don't agree on whether there should normally be a comma at the end of such expressions or not. –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:11, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks King of Hearts for dealing with this. I think it's interesting that you write "two of them in Aurora, Colorado and one in Aurora, Illinois" rather than "two of them in Aurora, Colorado, and one in Aurora, Illinois". If this was owing to a natural instinct, I think the instinct is correct, and this despite any criticism that you wrote ungrammatically in omitting the comma. Your first school of thought, with its accompanying policy, is the most natural and (I think) normal, whether purportedly incorrect or not. The problem then, as you and others realize, is that you're then in violation of the MOS:GEOCOMMA rule. The problem, I suggest, may be with the rule rather than the exception. You say that "as far as [you] can tell no one seriously contests this rule in article prose", but I just recently read in a related discussion here that various style guides have been dropping the comma concerned, and (if I remember correctly) that about half the people in a certain space were doing likewise. If I had commented at that point, I would have said that when a state is really in apposition (this being the justification for the comma), it indeed generally appears in parentheses, with the state serving a distinguishing function rather than simply being part of the address. But I only mention that in passing. My opinion here is that the titling matter simply be left without a rule. Let editors title their articles as they wish, and the most natural and normal forms will presumably prevail, whether some people consider some of these grammatically incorrect or not. If this means that the rule is occasionally violated in titles, then so be it. It would hardly be the end of the world. –Roy McCoy (talk) 02:15, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment: Wrong venue?: I get that the above is more of an open discussion with no direct action proposed yet, but if there were to be any changes, the MoS isn't where we define how to handle article titles. Shouldn't this discussion, and any firm proposal that comes out of it, be held over at WT:TITLES? -- Netoholic @ 02:48, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    There are simply too many possible venues, including WP:NCE and a few others, so I just picked one and went with it. Any other talk pages can simply be pointed to this discussion as I've done. I don't think putting it at MoS is unreasonable given that one of the possible outcomes is carving out an exception to existing policy, which would probably need to be mentioned somewhere on the MoS page if implemented. -- King of ♠ 03:01, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I've always felt like Tucson, Arizona, should have the comma when it's clearly a noun and not when it's trying to be an adjective. And that's the way I wish everyone felt and wrote (at least everyone who writes what I read). So there's that, for what it's worth. InedibleHulk (talk) 03:17, May 29, 2019 (UTC)
Good point, InedibleHulk. With your address-as-adjective case, we've got "1993 Aurora, Colorado shooting" for titles and "the Tucscon, Arizona climate" for text. I sense a progression here, though others supposably don't. –Roy McCoy (talk) 03:35, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I sense it, too, a progression away from English as we know it. Dicklyon (talk) 03:39, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Aye, supposedly. InedibleHulk (talk) 03:43, May 29, 2019 (UTC)
Supposably is a perfectly good word. It's in Collins, American Heritage, etc. etc., and I honestly don't know where the weird idea that there's something wrong with it came from. It doesn't mean the same thing as supposedly, though if you conflate the two you can lose the nuance. But to return to the previous point: we know English differently. If we didn't, everyone would already use it the same way and there wouldn't be any need for style guidance. Furthermore, I don't remember ever having seen a title such as "1993 Aurora, Colorado, shooting", and it's hard for me to even imagine such a load of commas in such a short series of words (unless in a series, which is what this looks like). If anyone can produce any examples, I'd like to see them. Here's a good one, though it's never appeared anywhere and hopefully never will: "the December 14, 1993, Aurora, Colorado, shooting". How about that one! ... I would also tend to say that I hadn't seen phrases such as "the Tucson, Arizona, climate", but I'm surprised when I google "the Tucson, Arizona" and discover that the first find is "in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area". That just doesn't look right to me... and ha, it's from Wikipedia! Let's see how it's done elsewhere. I'll take the first page of finds, and... 18 with comma, 84 without. The second page... 14 with, 59 without. Let's hop across the continent and try "the Norfolk, Virginia". The funny thing here is that the first find here too is from Wikipedia, and check this one out: "This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Norfolk, Virginia article." But let's do the same as with Phoenix. First page of finds... 6 with, 56 without. Second page... 4 with, 45 without. Don't take my word for it – try it yourself, with any city and state. I think it'll always come out the same, which at least very strongly suggests that GEOCOMMA is contrary to normal English, and that jettisoning it would bring Wikipedia closer to English as most of us know it rather than progressing away from it. –Roy McCoy (talk) 06:04, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I follow the second and third schools of thought. MOS applies until such time as we change it. MOS requires that secondary elements of a geographical designation, or the year in the case of the MDY format, be set off in commas: a comma precedes and follows (unless followed by other punctuation or the end of the construction). I agree with this policy. MOS should also apply to titles (why not?), but any justifiable exception should be clearly explained on both the MOS and WP sides. The desire to minimize commas in titles is, I think, largely due to an optical problem in that the commas are more conspicuous and intrusive the shorter the phrase (such as a title) is. The best solution for titles is to avoid the question by placing the name or date at the end. Jmar67 (talk) 04:22, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    The problem with "MOS should also apply to titles" and "avoid the question by placing the name or date at the end" is that the MoS is a prescriptive formatting guideline, but WP:Article titles are named based on other considerations, especially WP:COMMONNAME, which may or may not follow that MoS. To a certain degree, WP:TITLES even supersedes other main policies like NPOV as indicated in WP:NPOVNAME. Now, in those situations where Wikipedia has some leeway in naming, looking to the MoS for some guidance can solve some debates, but you can't ever broadly say that MoS applies to all titles. As an example, the article Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Special Flight Rules Area is named precisely after the official and common name of the topic. It is "against" the MoS, but is absolutely the correct title to use per WP:TITLES. -- Netoholic @ 08:49, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    I understand. For the purpose of this discussion, I will treat the example as a justifiable exception (as I noted above). My point is that, in the interest of clarity and avoiding disputes, these agreed exceptions need to be addressed in the MOS and WP:TITLES. Jmar67 (talk) 10:09, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    WP:TITLES should defer to MOS on style questions but declare exceptions or address special cases, one of which could suggest placing names and dates at the end to avoid double commas. Jmar67 (talk) 18:27, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    Jmar67, then, if I'm following this logic chain correctly, you mean that MOS and TITLES should specifically note different rules applying here. I certainly agree that whatever we decide, it must be clearly stated in both. But supporting a different rule for each doesn't follow the second school of thought you opened with, as the 2nd implies that MOS and TITLE must use the exact same location comma rule no matter what. Only the first school of thought implies different rules for MOS sentences compared to TITLES, right? Unless I'm missing something, your closing and opening comments here are in conflict, and should be clarified. --A D Monroe III(talk) 14:11, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
    I want MOS to apply to article titles to the extent that it can. However, there may be exceptions (such as the Flight Rules Area example above). In this case, WP:TITLES should address this exception by saying that titles using proper names override MOS, in this case permitting omission of the comma after "DC". (That exception should of course also apply to the article body.) But MOS should not mandate the trailing-comma form "city, state," or "month day, year," in titles if repositioning them to the end is agreeably better. Jmar67 (talk) 00:17, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Definitely the third one for the reasons given. The first is grammatically incorrect and the second looks plain weird (although maybe that's just to non-Americans like me). -- Necrothesp (talk) 08:16, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    Reordering the description just to avoid applying MOS is a poor solution -- actually no solution at all. It's like forcing phrasing like "up with which I will not put". Title are supposed to be clear and succinct, standing on their own. Applying the third "solution" runs directly counter to the purpose of the title. It's simply this: titles are not sentences, and should in no way always require exactly the same rules. --A D Monroe III(talk) 18:59, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
    It also requires possibly hostile encounters with the editors of the articles concerned, "of which there has already been enough". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Roy McCoy (talkcontribs) 19:26, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
    True. To avoid that, perhaps we need some rules about how to avoid MOS rules. ;) --A D Monroe III(talk) 14:18, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
    Could be. Sorry about forgetting to sign that last comment. I was trying to be brief and succeeded too well. (I see, however, that other quick messages have also gone unsigned in the past – which isn't to say that I plan on repeating the error, and I hope I won't.) Later, after that posting, I was reading about apposition in the archives and found an interesting piece by EEng in Archive 143: ... Oh dear, I can't find the funny one about the helicopters and the men in black. I do find, however, his straight assertion that the year 2001 in "September 11, 2001" "is not an apposition, just a part of the date". I say it's just part of the date too, and that the fact that it isn't an apposition is obvious from the definition of apposition itself. I also find in the same place sroc's interesting confession: "Other editors agree that the year is in apposition in MDY dates; in fact, I learned that explanation from other Wikipedians." And then he went on to exploit this purported rationale incessantly. It's comical and sad at the same time.
    And here's another thing I found recently. I was trying to get to the talk page here, guessing at a shortcut and tried MOS:TALK. This led me, however, not to here but to WP:TPG, where I read in the first paragraph: "The purpose of an article's talk page (accessible via the talk or discussion tab) is to provide space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or WikiProject. Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject. When talk pages in other namespaces and userspaces are used for discussion and communication between users, discussion should be directed solely toward the improvement of the encyclopedia." This marked a further stage in my recent WP education, and I will keep it in mind. In fact I have pretty much always been motivated primarily by MOS concerns – I haven't been completely off-topic, at least – but I will try to be stricter about this from here onward. Let it be perfectly understood: Like Garner, I despise both the geocomma and the datecomma, however "grammatical" they may be regarded; and I would want both out of the MOS if possible. If this is impossible, I accept representing a possibly minority viewpoint (in this group! and okay, in style guides though there are some of these opposed to the commas that we haven't yet seen cited). Anything I may say that seems anecdotal or chatty will, I hope, be subordinate to this basic position – which implies, I believe, a fourth option in the... forthcoming RfC? I got one thank for my previous proposal that the current thread be considered the talk-page overture of a definitive RfC, but otherwise it remained unclear – at least to me – whether the present link-only RfC was the definitive one or not. This should be clarified, shouldn't it? Thanks. –Roy McCoy (talk) 15:40, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
    The black helicopters are at User:EEng#Museum_of_Seeing_the_Forest_Instead_of_the_Trees (skip down one or two subsections). EEng 17:49, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
    Thank you! I reread immediately and recommend the same to others. –Roy McCoy (talk) 17:58, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @King of Hearts: What is your brief and neutral statement? The statement as it stands (which terminates at the 00:56, 29 May 2019 (UTC) timestamp) is far too long for Legobot to handle, and so only a link is shown at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Wikipedia style and naming. This problem also means that the RfC will not be publicised via the WP:FRS. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 11:22, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    Was this an RfC? Please excuse my inexperience and consequent ignorance, but I didn't have the impression that a definitive wording for publication was intended. If it was, and something didn't get properly published, I think we nonetheless have a good discussion going here. I wanted to do some research and post on this tonight, but unfortunately had something to write and got into editing an article afterwards. I seem to remember seeing something about 24 hours in relation to this discussion, but I hope it can be extended if it's continuing to be fruitful and the stated problem remains unresolved. Thanks, ╠╣uw and everyone. –Roy McCoy (talk) 06:31, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Roy McCoy: At the top of this section is a box beginning "An editor has requested comments from other editors for this discussion", this is created by the template {{rfc}} and it also links to Wikipedia:Requests for comment. This thread is clearly intended to be an RfC even though WP:RFCBRIEF has not been observed. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 10:42, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    Thank you, Redrose64. What do you recommend be done now? –Roy McCoy (talk) 13:09, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    I've followed your links and now get what you mean, thanks again. Can we consider the present thread as the pre-RfC talk-page discussion, withdraw the presently listed link-only RfC, and place a more definitive, in-compliance RfC at a later point? –Roy McCoy (talk) 15:57, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    That is not a decision for you or me; it is for the initiator, King of Hearts, to make. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 22:36, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    Granted, but if you have a good idea it might be helpful. You spotted the problem, so maybe you've thought of an appropriate solution. I didn't mean to suggest that you or I hijack anything, and I'm sorry if I did. –Roy McCoy (talk) 23:01, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    Okay, here's what I wanted to get and post, though I'm not sure it quite rates being called research: I just went back and found out when the MOS:GEOCOMMA discussion and addition took place. Editor sroc (who's still around, I think) introduced the topic on 1 May 2013. Several days of discussion followed, following which sroc declared a consensus and, apparently with no opposition at the time, posted the GEOCOMMA addition on 7 May. I stepped through the diffs, which wasn't hard because there wasn't much else going on that week; but the whole discussion can be seen in one piece at the point of the addition. Reference was made back to an earlier discussion, but this one was very short, with only four short messages from three editors. Interested parties may want to read the longer pre-addition discussion, and everyone should read the article talk-page discussions listed at the beginning of this thread if they haven't already. Hope this helps. –Roy McCoy (talk) 20:03, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • King of Hearts: Thanks for getting this moving. For the same reasons as others have expressed above (Roy McCoy in particular), I also favor #1 as it relates to titles — the "address-as-adjective" approach. If not consistent with the letter of grammatical rule, it is at least consistent with much common usage and is a more sensible practice for our titles. ╠╣uw [talk] 13:41, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • @King of Hearts: Thanks for the ping. Whatever we decide will have a considerable impact not only on the titles of articles but also on the prose within them. For example, consider the first sentence of James Holmes (mass murderer): “James Eagan Holmes (born December 13, 1987) is an American convicted murderer responsible for the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting in which he killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a Century 16 movie theater on July 20, 2012.” As you mentioned, the rule is clear when it comes to prose within articles, so “2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting” should be changed to “2012 Aurora, Colorado, shooting” within the article; however, since this is blue text that is linked, this would lead to a redirect, so would we simply change it to [[2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting|2012 Aurora, Colorado, shooting]]? That would be somewhat unnecessary. Therefore, I suggest that we insert the additional comma in titles of this nature. And, honestly, I suspect that people will eventually just get used to it. Some, notably Americans, might say that even Wikipedia’s mandated use of logical punctuation as opposed to aesthetic punctuation (“John wrote, “Hello.” v. “John wrote, “Hello”.) looks “odd.” --WikiWinters (talk) 15:52, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
@WikiWinters: There's nothing wrong with linking to a redirect when WP:TITLES disagrees with the MoS for article text. In this case, the article would stay the same and a redirect would be created with {{R from alternative punctuation}}. --Ahecht (TALK
) 16:45, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Guidelines should be superseded when they aren't helpful anymore and in cases where we are trying to find newer policy, there is no point keeping one foot in the past and letting older consensus prevail over the situations now. Coming to MOS:GEOCOMMA, it would be an understatement to say that naming articles along its lines, for e.g. "Aurora, Colorado, shooting" is not suitable. So, the sensible course of action is to adopt something that we can make sense of, probably something along the lines of point 1 and less simplistically, point 3. Point 1 is clearly the easiest solution to the problem, and without arguing the semantics at hand, I am confident that "Aurora, Colorado shooting" is so much more intuitive than the other options being presented. Would I be open to other options? Surely, but is option 1 already doing the job at hand? Definitely. All we would need to do is to carve out an article titles exception to GEOCOMMA and have a separate policy in TITLES supersede it. --qedk (t c) 13:59, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • It should match the guidance for prose. If not, prose will end up matching the title. For the options available, I vote for two. I guess I vote for three as well but I don't think that the comma after the state looks weird. I do, however, think that packing on modifiers does look and sound weird. I would rarely describe a shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in 1993 as the 1993 Aurora, Colorado, shooting. We are not limited for space and then the title is awkward to bold in the first paragraph because the title does not flow easily into a sentence to describe the article. So then it isn't done, which is fine, but really ends up being different than most articles. PopularOutcasttalk2me! 14:20, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    Prose "will end up matching the title" only if we dogmatically insist that there is only one rule to rule them all. If we state in MOS for prose and TITLES that there are differences (which we already do for things like not ending titles with full stops), then this won't happen. --A D Monroe III(talk) 14:26, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I'd certainly go with the first school of thought. What's required in proper, full sentences can be disruptive in titles. (Should we end titles with full stops, and require a verb?) "Aurora, Illinois, shooting" looks like "lions, tigers, bears" -- a title of three different things that related for some reason here, while "Aurora, Illinois shooting" looks like a noun phrase, which is exactly what the title is supposed to be -- a single thing described by the three words. In fact, "Aurora Illinois shooting" (with no commas) reads just fine, and is still clear and unambiguous. I wouldn't say commas never go in titles ("I, Robot" would be wrong written as "I Robot"), but they should only go where they help clarify. Like robots, rules should serve us, not the other way around. --A D Monroe III(talk) 16:46, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I have no opinion on whether we should use the closing comma in attributive nouns, but whatever is decided should apply to both titles and prose—or are we going to have a separate MoS for titles? Title styling has impact on article prose via hyperlinks, so they can't be separated.
    I get sick of seeing WP:COMMONNAME whipped out with regard to punctuation and other styling issues—those aren't issues COMMONNAME was ever meant to solve, and would only end up with more endless bickering over trivial titling issues—with, I imagine, a pseudorandom number of articles named "1980's in XXX" after several archives worth of talk-page "discussion". Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 22:48, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    For sure. The idea of explicitly stating in the MOS and TITLE pages that the MOS applies to title text just like it does to other heading levels and article text has been brought up many times, and if I recall correctly generally got majority support, but not judged to be a consensus. Some editors explicitly claim commonname somehow trumps using our own style, though that argument seldom wins in actual title discussions. Dicklyon (talk) 00:59, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    It does win, though. Japanese has multiple competing romanization systems: the name 大野 can be romanized Ōno, Ôno, O-no, Ohno, Oono, Ono, and probably other ways. Sometimes names appear somewhat more frequently in one than another, usually because they appear more frequently in publications with a particular house style than in others with a different house style. Moves have succeeded based on one style being statistically slightly more prevalent than another, citing WP:COMMONNAME to override MOS:JAPAN. This is not an area WP:COMMONNAME was ever meant to deal with, and it makes a mess of our articles when we link to names in conflicting romanizations. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 02:58, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I am firmly in the #3 camp. We should probably discourage attributive nouns in titles as a general practice, but if they must be used for some reason, they should include the closing comma. I am in complete agreement with Curly Turkey that COMMONNAME is invoked entirely too often (and in my opinion incorrectly) in style discussions regarding titles. It would be nice to have a definitive discussion to settle the issue, at least as settled as things get around here. CThomas3 (talk) 00:06, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I am firmly with Cthomas3 on this, too. I had removed some unnecessary state disambiguators from some titles to avoid the geocomma problem, and most of those were fine until a guy got pissed at me for opposing his technical requests and dug up 5 of my moves to revert. See this. Dicklyon (talk) 00:55, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Picking up on a previous comment by Roy McCoy: While MOS:GEOCOMMA refers to commas separating geographical subdivisions, likely because that is the common method of separation, it is conceivable that parentheses could replace the commas in titles, e.g. "2012 Aurora (Colorado) shooting". Parentheses are frequently used in titles for disambiguation, and this is a form of disambiguation. Jmar67 (talk) 01:34, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, that would fix the problem, but probably wouldn't be considered natural. Another proposed fix was "2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado". I like that better. Dicklyon (talk) 02:28, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    On the "3 schools of thought" point, they're all valid, except that in the thought that "City, State" is always a valid drop-in replacement for "City" one may need to add some appropriate punctuation, namely the closing comma, if the phrase continues without other punctuation. This is true in text, and titles are no different. If one thinks that the matching commas look weird, one can either just get over that or re-order the title to look less weird. It's not that hard, and need not bring up any conflict between MOS and TITLE as Netoholic wants to do. Dicklyon (talk) 02:49, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    Strangely enough, I too agree with Jmar67 – but only in a case such as this, where there is an Aurora, Colorado and an Aurora, Illinois, and a genuine occasion for parenthetical distinction. (I just now inadvertently created a good example of where a comma after a state – i.e. "Colorado" – would not be wanted and possibly omitted by just about everyone, even those who generally favor the rule in question, as with the comma a three- rather than two-element series would be implied.)
    So this is what I've been wanting to say. Is there anyone among us who honestly feels that "Columbus (Georgia)" is actually equivalent to "Columbus, Georgia"? But that's what the purported logic of the rule requires. As sroc said at the beginning: "My view is that they [the final elements of geographical references] should be followed by a comma as the final element is effectively treated as parenthetical, that is, the commas are used in place of brackets. For example: Portland, Oregon means Portland (Oregon) [...]". Except it doesn't, at least not exactly, and any difference is enough to invalidate this reason.
    When it's not parenthetical, the state is argued to be appositional; but this too is dubious. Appositional elements refer to the same thing, while "Aurora" and "Colorado" clearly do not. And it's the same with dates: "April 17" and "2013" quite clearly do not refer to the same thing, as I'm sure we will all agree.
    And what have all of us actually learned? (Aside, that is, from a minority who have familiarity with the obligatory-comma rule – I never noticed it myself before now, and I was a professional typesetter, proofreader and editor for nearly fifty years.) We've learned, simply, that "27 Hillcrest Drive, Jeffersonville, Ohio" is an address, nothing more (the same as "April 17, 2013" is simply a date). Nobody ever said anything whatever about parentheses or appositives, and it would have seemed rather silly to do so. These are only justifications for a rule that seems to have popped up somehow for no genuinely good reason. I mean, what's in apposition in the cited address? Is "Jeffersonville" in apposition with "27 Hillcrest Drive"? And then "Ohio" with "Jeffersonville"? So you've got three elements, all in apposition with one another? It just doesn't make sense, and the comma intruded on the basis of this pretext clutters the texts concerned. Remember Garner, who disapproves of comma, state as adjective but apparently hates it with the comma: "To make matters worse, some writers place a second comma after the state. Thus, using a city plus the state as an adjective [with the comma –Roy] disrupts the flow of the sentence [...] Such constructions contribute to noun plague, lessen readability, and bother literate readers." That's it in a nutshell. They bother and annoy, grammar rule or not. States and years are neither parenthetical elements nor appositives, and so no bracing is needed or called for. I say scratch the heretofore sacred geocomma and datecomma, perhaps even making that rather than titles-only the subject of the RfC. Then you wouldn't have to be bothered with exceptions, having something one way in one place and another way in another, having to (try to) reword common titles, etc. –Roy McCoy (talk) 03:23, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    I think I disagree. The secondary parts of geographic names and dates are logically parenthetical elements with a defining function and therefore need to be set off, with closure of some sort. The address format is based on this successively defining nature of the elements and is not "just an address". Also, I do consider the Columbus and Portland examples as equivalent. The parentheses are just an alternative method of setting off. Jmar67 (talk) 03:59, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    And the tertiary parts? Portland (Oregon) (USA)? –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:03, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    04:03 (May 31) (2019)? –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:07, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    Good style would call for (Oregon, USA) and (May 31, 2019). Jmar67 (talk) 04:20, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    That's okay on the address, but I've never seen anything like "04:03 (May 31, 2019)". I think we have another debunking of the parenthetical business when we go to quaternary: "53 Main Street (Portland, Oregon, USA)"??? That's hardly equivalent, and barely imaginable. –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:32, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    In the proper context, I can imagine it. Jmar67 (talk) 04:42, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    So can I, but we're stretching them parentheses. –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:45, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Here's a serious question. Does anyone here think that apposition is identical to parenthesis? Please say so if you do. If no one does, it will be taken as commonly agreed that it is not. This is clear enough to me, but perhaps someone thinks otherwise. The relevance of the question will be demonstrated. Thank you. –Roy McCoy (talk) 13:23, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    Please don't take silence or failure to agree with your strawman as a more general agreement with your position. The point is that parenthesis are one way to set off a disambiguating term, and commas are another, not that they are identical or that apposition is the relevant concept. Dicklyon (talk) 15:49, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    You seem to understand rather well, Dicklyon, and I don't think I'm underestimating you. I'm certainly trying to be as sympathetic as I can to your grammatical viewpoint, which I completely share in regard to possessive it's, for example (assuming that we actually share the same opinion on that, which I think is a fair assumption). I'm sure we have enough in common that we can continue to discuss this, but first I'm going to wait and see to be sure that no one thinks apposition and parenthesis are the same. I'll give this a couple of hours before coming back to it. I haven't, by the way, used any straw-man argumentation, but (at least at this point) have merely asked a germane question. –Roy McCoy (talk) 16:27, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    Roy McCoy, I don't think the two are identical, but they are definitely in the same ZIP code, so to speak. Certainly Portland (Oregon) is only a disambiguator, while Portland, Oregon could also be considered an alternate aggregate name (or potentially an address, as you have previously stated). Not fully congruent to be sure, but one could be a substitute for the other in many circumstances. Certainly if I came across Portland (Oregon), especially in a title, I don't believe I would think it looked odd or out of place. CThomas3 (talk) 16:33, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
    Okay, we're all agreed that apposition is not identical to parenthesis. The two are in the same area, as Cthomas3 has noted; and we don't necessarily agree about anything else, as Dick has correctly observed. But we do also agree that an address – or geographical reference, to use sroc's term – is a series of elements, right? (street, city, state, country, etc.) I again invite disagreement, if anyone disagrees. –Roy McCoy (talk) 02:21, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
    And do we also agree that a date – or temporal reference, to adapt the other term – is a series of elements (hour and minute, month, day, year, etc.)? –Roy McCoy (talk) 15:45, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
    Dick is correct that apposition is not the relevant concept for the geocomma, the basic topic of discussion here. I didn't remember – excuse me – that the confusion between apposition and parenthesis was centered primarily around the datecomma, a tangential though related issue. The relevant geocomma concept is then parenthesis – about which we will remember Cthomas3's recent observation that "Portland (Oregon) is only a disambiguator", with which I agree wholeheartedly.
    But what I want to do quickly here, aside from observing that we now have tacit agreement that both addresses and dates are series of elements (which is about as hard to argue against as that apposition and parenthesis are distinct concepts), is to further express my sympathy for Dick – and, by extension, for the other hyper-grammarians here. I previously stated that I shared his odium for glaring grammatical errors such as possessive it's, but I've thought about it since and my sympathy now goes beyond that.
    1. Again, I too hate grammatical errors that I regard as glaring, and I similarly wish to correct them or see them corrected.
    2. Though I don't like certain MOS provisions and the way they have been applied, are being applied and may continue to be applied, I nonetheless can assume that Dick's good-faith edits have largely been proper and worthy, so that in the end I should likely be more appreciative and less critical of such corrections – i.e., they may well have generally been for the good. (How magnanimous of me. :-)
    3. Dick has properly corrected me before, as on my apparent assumption that others shared my aversion to the width of the en dash in number ranges. I therefore have to grant that he can be right and I can be wrong sometimes.
    4. He seems to have been occasionally victimized by his advocacy, and one generally has to grant some respect to those willing to continue to stand up for their beliefs regardless of the consequences.
    5. If I start to regard the hyper-grammarians as a somewhat sad group of persons who have lost their ability to believe in anything else and thus grasp onto grammar as if it were a religion or political creed, well... I suppose I'm such a person myself and that's likely why I'm here, rather than elsewhere trying to win souls or promote revolution or defeat plastic or whatever.
And that's the end of that list and this post. Its purpose is to promote consensus, as I think mutual respect is a precondition for consensus generally, and especially in forums such as this one with a history of acrid contention. –Roy McCoy (talk) 17:46, 2 June 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────1) There's no such thing as a grammatical "error". There just isn't. There are different ways of writing things, is all. There are ways of writing things that are rare (or unique) enough to not be appropriate. Because they would be distracting or confusing. If I decide to write my articles with an interpunct (·) between each word, that's not an "error": it's exactly what I intended to do. However, you could describe it as "confusing" or "distracting" or "unhelpful" or "disruptive" or whatever, and roll it back on that basis. But its not an "error". The word "error" is not helpful in the context of discussing punctuation usually. (The exception would be when a person writes something that they themselves didn't intend.) If it is confusing, that is a problem. If it is distracting (which would probably apply to most rare and highly idiosyncratic stylings), that is a problem. It the meaning is clear and the usage is not outlandish, then what's the problem.

2) "Tucson, Arizona" is a unitary name that happens to have a comma in the middle of it. Some names do have punctuation in them. is a unitary name that has two periods in the middle of it. Panic! at the Disco has a bang in the middle of it. And so forth.

India.arie has a period in it. Does that mean that "India" is the end of one sentence, and "Arie" the beginning of the next? Of course not. The period is part of the name. If the person had chosen to use a comma in her name instead, would we have to match it? Instead of "A new album by india,arie was released...", would we have to write "A new album by india,arie, was released..."? Of course not.

Well "Tucson, Arizona" is best treated in the same way. "Tucson, Arizona" is best treated as a unitary name that has a comma in the middle of it because that is how it is perceived and used: it refers to a place called Tucson (the one in Arizona, to be precise). If our language had developed slightly differently, maybe we would be writing "Tucson-in-Arizona", and the meaning would be the same.

This is probably why if you treat "Tucson, Arizona" as a unitary name with a comma in the middle of it, you can write more clearly, and you don't have to worry about apposition or other pettifoggery, and you don't have spend energy worrying about whether the First Gods, emerging from the mists of chaos at the beginning of time, intended the term "article" to include article titles or not. If the MOS says different, meh. There are a lot of rules, and some of them are silly. Herostratus (talk) 21:12, 2 June 2019 (UTC)

I both agree and disagree with you, Herostratus, but I don't immediately know how to express either my agreement or my disagreement. I think it's more a question of how we want to express our agreement, namely in the MoS if possible – that being, again, what the discussion on this page is supposed to be about. Are you, or could you be, another advocate of the stated fourth school of thought, that the MoS be modified to permit the absence of the second comma in both titles and article text, and thus to obviate the necessity for either violation, exception, or enforced rewording? I myself can allow for differences between text and titles, the latter for example not requiring end punctuation or a verb (per A D). Not acknowledging , however, the legitimacy of the current geo/datecomma rules (or even their existence in the minds of an apparently large majority of writers), I see no need for an exception or differing policy in this regard. So I hope you'll come back and bring it a bit more home here, thanks.
As for the disagreement, I think you're overstating the case and that certain things may be properly considered grammatical errors. Your exception is "when a person writes something that they themselves didn't intend", but that may immediately be extended to "something that other people don't understand" – or that trips them up unnecessarily, or that violates firmly established spelling norms, etc. I maintain that a degree of error exists, however, and I don't share Dick's "that's absolutely wrong!" attitude when it relates, for example, to a construction used by ten times as many writers/editors (see the Norfolk, Virginia – example above!) as the purportedly correct form.
Anyway, I hope to hear from you again. I need all the help I can get. We need all the help we can get. And the Wikipedia readers and editors clearly need all the help they can get. –Roy McCoy (talk) 17:56, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Orthography is not grammar. In printed or electronic text we can use whatever typographic conventions are clear . The actual grammar of a sentence is the same regardless of what punctuation is used. Titles are furthermore a special form of writing, to which some of the normal grammar rules do not apply., and certainly the usual orthographic rules do not apply. It doesn't make sense to consider the use as an analogy. Personally, I would find it clearer to clarify all place names with parentheses at least in titles, regardless of possible conflicts. we could equally well use a dash, or a subscript--its just a typographical convention. (We have unfortunately decided not to do any of these, but they would serve to indicate the title is a special non-sentence expression.) Myself, in titles here I write both commas. I always write paired commas in such cases, but it's just a habit. I don't care what other people do, and I see no needto fix those that are done differently. DGG ( talk ) 02:14, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Basically agree with DGG. Titles are not article prose, and they have their own quirks as to how they're styled. And basically each case should be assessed on its merits, with reader clarity the number-one priority. That means titles like Rochester, New York, shooting are out. Just call it Shooting in Rochester, New York or whatever.  — Amakuru (talk) 11:15, 4 June 2019 (UTC)

King of Hearts wrote at the beginning of this, on May 29: This [rule requiring commas on both sides of year or state] has been long-accepted as the standard in English grammar, and as far I as can tell no one seriously contests this rule in article prose. That I contest this doesn't matter to anyone, but everyone can still take Bryan A. Garner as a notable exception (not that he's the only one). His remarks on this in Garner's Modern American Usage have been partially and selectively cited in previous discussions, but they merit being presented in their entirety.
C. [Dates] As Adjectives. Modern writers have taken to making adjectives out of dates, just as they do out of place names – e.g.: "His July 1998 book contract resulted in a record advance." The more traditional rendering of the sentence would be: "In his book contract of July 1998, he received a record advance." Although occasionally using dates adjectivally is a space-saver, the device should not be overworked: it gives prose a breezy look.
And the practice is particularly clumsy when the day as well as the month is given – e.g.: "The court reconsidered its July 12, 2001 privilege order." Stylists who use this phrasing typically omit the comma after the year, and justifiably so: in the midst of an adjective phrase (i.e., the date), it impedes the flow of the writing too much. Still, that second comma sometimes surfaces – e.g.: "Harvey is accused of murder, robbery and burglary in the June 16,1985, [read June 16, 1985] slaying of Irene Schnaps, 37, who suffered 15 blows to the head with a hatchet in her Hunters Glen apartment." Jim O'Neill, "12 Potential Jurors Get Boot at Murder Trial," Star-Ledger (Newark), 29 Oct. 1994, at 19.
The idea of the comma after the year, as it has commonly been taught, is that the year is in apposition, so the second comma is required. But if that year is an appositive, it's unlike other appositives; it certainly isn't interchangeable with the noun (the date) that precedes it. The more plausible argument – supporting the absence of the comma after the year – has two parts. First, the comma is really just separating the two numerals, so if a second comma isn't syntactically required, then it doesn't belong <a November 17, 2001 meeting>. Second, the comma after the date marks a nonexistent pause: when a full date is used adjectivally, a knowledgeable speaker of the phrase marches toward the noun instead of pausing after the year. An adjective represents a surge forward, while a comma represents a backward-looking pause. It makes little sense to punctuate a forward-looking adjective with a pause at the end of it.
Most usage books that call uniformly for a comma after the year in a full date, by the way, don't address the question raised just above. They show the comma without illustrating what happens when the date functions as an adjective. In other words, they illustrate the easy cases, not the more difficult ones. That's probably because the date-as-adjective phenomenon didn't really come into full flower until the late 20th century. Even after the shift was well underway, most usage guides ignored the problem.

This establishes a respectable lack of unanimity on this question, various claims to the contrary notwithstanding. A majority of style guides may also proscribe split infinitives, but I hope this doesn't mean that people are going to be running around willy-nilly "correcting grammatical errors" on this score either. –Roy McCoy (talk) 18:55, 7 June 2019 (UTC)

  • If they do, will you subject us to another thirty-some-odd-thousand kilobytes? Primergrey (talk) 21:56, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
    I don't know whether you mean if a majority of style guides proscribe split infinitives, or if people are running around "correcting" them when they're appropriately split. Perhaps you could clarify your question. –Roy McCoy (talk) 22:49, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
Naw. You pretty much just answered it. Primergrey (talk) 23:21, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
Good. You've exaggerated my participation in this forum, by the way, by a factor of approximately four hundred. –Roy McCoy (talk) 02:02, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
It's a projection. You're sure to beat it. Primergrey (talk) 02:08, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
That would take some doing! –Roy McCoy (talk) 02:10, 8 June 2019 (UTC)

Two points: 1. The initiator of this conversation clearly has not considered that there is more than one type of English when writing "City, State" is always a valid drop-in replacement for "City". Writing "Edinburgh, United Kingdom" is not a "valid drop-in", Edinburgh, Scotland might be slightly better, but that is "city, country". There is a danger that ideas put forwards here will ignore WP:AT policy and its guidelines (eg Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names) ("NCG")). NCG contains exceptions to the USA city, state rule:

Cities listed in the AP Stylebook[1] as not requiring the state modifier in newspaper articles have their articles named City unless they are not the primary topic for that name.[2] In other cases, this guideline recommends following the "comma convention" as described above.[3]

The same naming convention section on the USA it also in in includes:

Balanced commas: When a place-name title continues past the state name (other than with a parenthetical), for example Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in the American Civil War, a comma is included after as well as before the state name (see also MOS:COMMA).


  1. ^ Goldstein, Norm (2013). "Stylebook, section D: datelines". The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. New York: Basic Books/Associated Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0465082995. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help) The cities listed by the AP are Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.—although Washington, D.C., does have a territorial qualifier and New York is naturally disambiguated. Wikipedia titles all of these except Phoenix, Arizona, by city name alone.
  2. ^ Primary topic should be judged against all encyclopedic usages of a name; thus, for example, Phoenix is considered not primary because of the mythological Phoenix, Washington is not because of George Washington and the state and New York isn't primary because of the state.
  3. ^ Using disambiguation by state in cases where it is not necessary has the advantage of providing consistent article titles for United States places (a majority of which are ambiguous and so require disambiguation anyway), but the disadvantage of inconsistency with titles used for articles on places in most other countries (where redundant disambiguation is not used), as well as a loss of conciseness. Current convention is to omit the state only with the well-known cities which the Associated Press lists as not requiring the state qualifier in a journalistic context, unless they, like Phoenix, conflict with another non-geographic article; the Associated Press Stylebook is a reliable source, written in American English.

2. This RfC is on the wrong talk page. Anything affecting article titles and the naming conventions ought to be discussecd on WT:AT, then much of this RfC would be solved much quicker by people who know the policy and guidance applicable to this RfC (the Article Title policy and its guidlines called naming conventions). For example in the example linked above Talk:March 1–3, 2018 nor'easter one of rhe first entries says:

  • Support per MOS:DATECOMMA.

So what? The MOS does not trump WP:AT. However a similar rule is in the NCG (I mentioned above for USA place names). So why not hold an RfC on WT:AT and propose to have ithe rule moved from NCG into the AT policy and so have it applied to all article titles? -- PBS (talk) 20:44, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Dicklyon has correctly cautioned us to stay on point - ie disambiguation. Addresses are a tangential analogy, rarely written in prose and probably newer written in full as an article title. Disambiguation is only used if required. While we might have "Tucson, Arizona" because we have an article for Tucson, Ohio but we have Tucson Police Department. The specific question is about pairing commas in article titles when the constriction of "city-state" or "month-day-year" is used to describe and thereby disambiguate an event or similar, placing it to the front in an adjectival (attributive) way. Some attempt appears to being made to deflect this discussion toward a review of the style indicated by MOS:GEOCOMMA and MOS:DATECOMMA in prose and regardless of how it is used (adjectivally or otherwise). Lets just stay on point.
The quote from Garner is interesting though and of some relevance. Garner is written in an editorial style. They are expressing opinion and constructing arguements to support their opinion.
  • While mainly written in respect to date-as-adjective in prose, there is a passing reference to place-as-adjective. It appears to suggest similar considerations on Garner's part.
  • They observe the construction "month-year" is relatively modern and caution that, it gives prose a breezy look. I take "breezy" here to be something akin to "less formal". This suggests that it is inconsistent with the more formal style preferred by WP - in ether prose or titles?
  • Garner suggests how this can be rewritten to avoid the date being used as an adjective. This aligns with comments here to do the same with article titles.
  • They observe that the construction "month-day-year" is particularly clumsy. I read this to be an observation regardless of whether one or two commas are used. I take it as a reason to avoid its use, in prose or article titles.
  • They observe of "month-day-year": [what] has commonly been taught, is that the year is in apposition, so the second comma is required. I think that Garner is conceding that apposition is [has been] considered the relevant concept even if they disagree.
  • That they have not mentioned parenthesis does not mean it is not relevant. They are, after all, discussing parenthetic commas. They make much the same arguement "city-state".[4]
  • They prefer to consider "month-day-year" as a unity arguing: But if that year is an appositive, it's unlike other appositives; it certainly isn't interchangeable with the noun (the date) that precedes it. In an apposition, "one element [serves] to identify the other in a different way". They are not identical. In My brother, Nathan, ..., I may have more than one brother and there are many people called Nathan but I am referring to one particular person. The "month-day" and "year" are not identical but they do refer to the same time of an event - It happened on July 4. It happened in 1776. Much the same could be said of "city-state". Garner appears to have used a strawman arguement to support their case. This is something of an aside on my part though.
While Garner's comments are directed to prose, some of these comments are pertinent to how we form article titles and suggest that the adjectival construction should probably be avoided. In respect to prose, Garner is only one of a number of authorities we might consult to frame the MOS. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 05:38, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Proposing the elimination of the geodatecomma rule is not off point, and suggesting that it is is simply another way of defending the rationally dubious (and relatively less-used in practice) comma involved. Rather than contributing to confusion, this solution proposes a feasible way to dissolve it entirely (options 1 2 3, addresses/dates, text/titles, question of whether to include attributive compounds in the exception or exceptions generally, etc.). I'm very much with what qedk wrote on May 30:[5] "Guidelines should be superseded when they aren't helpful anymore and in cases where we are trying to find newer policy, there is no point keeping one foot in the past and letting older consensus prevail over the situations now." –Roy McCoy (talk) 12:59, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I have a brief, practical, opinion. In wikitext, I like to avoid pipe links. In case like the one that started this thread, I would need to pipe link because I would still need the commas, regardless of the article title. Which is easier? [[Place, State, thing]] or [[Place, State thing|Place, State, thing]]? Which one enforces good style in wikitext? (Hint, it's naming the article the same as how it would be referenced in prose.) That's generally why article titles follow MOS. --Izno (talk) 15:49, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Without wading into deep detail on this, I'm in concurrence with DickLyon, who has said everything I would have but probably more concisely. The commas belong there, and they come in pairs. While there are publishers who eschew the second comma, WP is not one of them, nor is that style common outside of journalism (which drops all punctuation it can get away with for compression and expediency reasons without much regard to intelligibility outside a particular target market).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:16, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Long Play Album (LP)

Is there an established style guideline for how to identify a music album as 'long play' or LP? I see references to 'CD' or 'EP' in places. Or should a release simply be characterised as 'album'. Given developments in music sales, songs could be released on multiple formats, e.g. single, LP, CD, or music file, etc…. I think it bears noting the original format at least. I couldn't find guidelines other than the formatting of an album title versus a song title.

Example: "AC-DC was a song on the 1974 LP …" Thanks, ogenstein (talk) 00:27, 6 June 2019 (UTC)

Whenever possible, stick with the most general term. The physical format is usually not relevant—an album remains an album whether it's an LP, 8-Track, casette, CD, DVD-Audio, or collection of digital files. The "AC-DC" example should thus read:
"AC-DC" is a rock song by Sweet from the April 1974 album Sweet Fanny Adams ...
... unless we're talking about something that appeared on only one format of the album (for example, the Minutemen's cover of "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love" appeared on the LP of Double Nickels on the Dime, but not any of the CD releases). Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:46, 6 June 2019 (UTC)
That makes sense. I can work with that and will modify that page. Thanks for the clarification. ogenstein (talk) 01:42, 6 June 2019 (UTC)
Don't worry this is not an LP, but this is (perhaps). Martinevans123 (talk) 20:11, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

No more edit warring on this talk page

Did you people not see the big "discretionary sanctions" template on the top of the page? NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 01:32, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Reverted revert

@EEng: Concerning this edit and revert of mine. The phrase "is uniformly continuous" is a standard assumption in discussing a function in a mathematical context. That the function "exists" makes no sense. Such a discussion cannot assume that something exists. Please restore the original wording. Jmar67 (talk) 13:36, 5 June 2019 (UTC)

The current example (Throughout this proof we assume that f exists) says nothing about a function, just that something exists. The old example (Throughout this proof we assume that the function f is uniformly continuous) adds verbiage for no purpose. Anyway, this is MOS, not a math textbook. EEng 14:25, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
I changed the example to We construct S as follows, which avoids your concerns. But since I'm in a pissy mood I'll just add that if you really think it doesn't make sense to say that a function exists, you shouldn't be editing math-related content. EEng 15:36, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
This is not math-related content, it's MOS-related content. Martinevans123 (talk) 15:56, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
I suggest you vanish, buster.[FBDB] EEng 17:15, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
I have a degree in math and I know what I'm talking about. The original example was fine. It was intended to illustrate scientific writing. Jmar67 (talk) 17:38, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, well, I have a degree in math as well -- and mine's from [name of breathtakingly prestigious institution redacted] -- and it's quite obvious that you do not, in fact, know what you're talking about. Example: Define f(n) to be the polynomial with integer coefficients which maps each integer n>0 to the nth prime; but f does not exist (a fact which I certainly hope I need not explain to you). QED. EEng 20:25, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
I have The Three Degrees and I generally haven't got a clue what I'm talking about. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:46, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
I had a vinyl copy of Q.E.D. once too, but I traded it for some Wu-Tang Clan. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:34, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
I doubt anyone here thought you didn't know what you were talking about. The point however should be illustrative and short, as this is a MOS, and not anything else. --Izno (talk) 18:06, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
Well, actually, I am suggesting he doesn't know what he's talking about. EEng 20:25, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @Redrose64: Concerning link to edit: I work on mobile and was not aware that a link generated there would cause problems. Jmar67 (talk) 19:59, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
You know I just graduated from the Father Guido Sarducci's University ~ I would have liked to tell you what my degrees was here ~ but I already forgot ~ mitch~ Mitchellhobbs (talk) 04:33, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
And another thing ~ this type of writing must be halted immediately ~ meme ~ mitch ~ Mitchellhobbs (talk) 14:43, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
You know all you people with math degrees' have got me wondering how long it's going to take, to count all those stars ~ 50 ~ (PS) ~ don't forget to scroll down to toms answer ~ mitch ~ Mitchellhobbs (talk) 15:32, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
what do they say ~ when you divide the word assume....~ I'll see if I can re~edit toms answer so you don't have to sign up on ): Mitchellhobbs (talk) 18:32, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

messe à Notre-Dame de Paris le 15 juin 2019

What-à-vous does this have to do with MOS? If it's about mass, perhaps you should post at MOS:UNITS. EEng 19:52, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Well you know I figured that if one of the editors that spent so much effort and time to make sure that sources and wording were up to Wiki standards ~ might have needed some inspiration to get back on track ~ Mitchellhobbs (talk) Mitchellhobbs (talk) 20:47, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Emphasis in templates

I recently removed bolding and italics at Template:Disasters in India in 2019 per MOS. It is being claimed (see Template talk:Disasters in India in 2019) that there is a convention to do this based on number of casualties. Do we think this is an acceptable practice, and if so, does anyone know what the rules are? SpinningSpark 16:07, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

No, have never seen number of casualties being used as a template bolding or italics guide. Randy Kryn (talk) 19:18, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
I can't find anything at WT:DM or its archives. Perhaps Mjroots (talk · contribs) knows of a convention? --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 20:53, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
The various aircraft accident by year templates used to identify those accidents with a certain number of deaths and the deadliest accident of that year. That is no longer done, so it would appear that such practice is deprecated. Mjroots (talk) 04:39, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

In layman's terms...

Addressing the layman (as for example in Specific impulse or Purkinje_effect) seems, to me at least, a little patronizing. If there is some approximation or simplification, then a phrase such a loosely speaking could be used. More commonly though, the term is there just to remind the reader that he or she is a layman, whereas the author is an expert. The MOS warns against Instructional and presumptuous language, but what about patronizing language? catslash (talk) 22:32, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

I would have to agree. We could certainly replace it in most cases with "simplified definition" or "common sense definition" or something of that nature. Plus, it won't be long before someone changes it to "layperson's terms" anyway. :) CThomas3 (talk) 04:58, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
No one says layperson anymore either; the preferred term nowadays is sex worker. EEng 05:22, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
"lay terms" has a history long predating the push for gender-neutral language. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:29, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

External links in publications list

I got some criticism for my handling of external links in Siemon Muller, and the Manual of Style seems a little ambiguous about it; I'd wonder if anyone could clarify (or if the MOS could be updated). See Talk:Siemon_Muller; prior discussion occurred on the personal talk page of the person whose change I reverted.

The issue: in scientific biographies, a list of selected publications is often included (e.g., in a section "Selected Publications"); this is a valuable statement about what the subject produced. In cases where the publications are available on line (e.g., from the USGS in the case of Siemon Muller), as a user, I find it invaluable to have access to that link. But according to the MOS, "External links" are not supposed to appear in the "body" of an article. Howver, the WP:LINKDD summary simply says "Don't put external links in article prose".

Is "body" of an article defined anywhere? I would hope that an isolated "Publications" list could be accepted as being outside the main body. Using "References" doesn't work, because the biographical article need not use material from the scientific publications; it's more like providing a list of albums for a musical artist. And the link should be next to the publication title, so an "External Links" section doesn't work either.

Thoughts? I'm barely an "extended confirmed editor", but I have read a lot of the internal Wikipedia documentation.

Thanks,Finney1234 (talk) 02:59, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

Finney1234, You might be interested in WP:MOS-BIBLIO and WP:BIB. To have a consistent format, as indicated in WP:BIB, you might want to use the cite journal template. This would allow for the links. As for the body, MOS:ORDER may have what you are looking for. I am not an expert on the MOS so please don't take my reply as being the final answer (is anything ever on Wikipedia?). PopularOutcasttalk2me! 11:38, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
PopularOutcast, Thanks much. MOS:ORDER explicitly clarifies a publications list in a biography as being an appendix outside the body, so I think that supports the use of external links there. Finney1234 (talk) 12:22, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

Richard III of England

The "Early life" section says this:

"Richard was born ... eleventh of the 12 children of Richard, Duke of York..."

Should it instead say: " ...the eleventh of 12 children of ..."? Does it not matter? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:24, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

I would say either is correct in BrEng. Consider "City Under Siege is the sixth of the seven Police Academy films". (It should be "eleventh of the twelve" or "11th of the 12", though.) ‑ Iridescent 19:30, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. You'll be telling us next it should be Richard the Third of Four. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:02, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
I would say "the eleventh of the twelve children". Without the additional "the", the sentence implies that there could be more than twelve children altogether. Deb (talk) 20:36, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
So in this context, that would have to be "... the eleventh of the twelve children of... "? But yes, I tend to agree with you. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:39, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
This puts me in mind of Peter Schickele declaring that "P.D.Q. Bach was the last of Johann Sebastian Bach's twenty-odd children; he was also the oddest." Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:42, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
Haha. In his 2017 book With Tongue, James Sarver describes the Ancient Greek Euthanasius as the "twelfth of eleven children" (None of his siblings survived into adulthood, however, as they were needed for firewood). Martinevans123 (talk) 20:53, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

Question: How come Bach had so many children?

Unhide for the answer

Answer: He didn't have any stops in his organ.

Bonus joke

In fact, he wore out three organs fuguing.

-- EEng 21:48, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

Wow. Who is this EEng guy? He seems really switched on! Martinevans123 (talk) 21:55, 20 June 2019 (UTC) ...he really "puts the miao in Miaomiao Yu" tee-hee --(p.s. all you kids at home.... try to stay away from fugu)

Abbreviations of military ranks

Non-English quotation styles

Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Typographic conformity currently says to replace guillemets («») with English quote marks (""). I've been cleaning up non-MOS-compliant text a lot recently, and the more I see this sort of situation the more reluctant I am to mess with the punctuation. For example, from Le Monde today "Castaner ouvert à un débat sur des quotas pour « d’autres modes d’immigration légale » que l’asile" and from Der Tagesspiegel "Die „New York Times“ berichtete über amerikanische Cyber-Angriffe als Warnung an Russlands Präsident Wladimir Putin." Changing the punctuation in these snippets just results in English punctuation style jammed into French and German, which must come across as broken to readers familiar with those languages? It makes sense to me to replace curly quotes with straight, since I read those both as correct in English, but double quotes don't feel like they are equivalent to native quote marks in languages that have a different style. Would we really change 「文字」 to "文字"? Any thoughts? -- Beland (talk) 08:23, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

Per The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed., p. 535), § Foreign languages, Languages Using the Latin Alphabet: "In English-language contexts ... English-style punctuation is generally used. ... English-style quotation marks will replace the guillemets or whatever is used in the original ...". This section of CMS does not apply to languages not using the Latin alphabet, such as the Japanese example above. Doremo (talk) 08:37, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
Mmm, sounds like we may want to clarify that non-Latin scripts should not have the punctuation changed, at least. What's the rationale for changing e.g. French and German punctuation? Is it just because those characters aren't easy to find on American keyboards? -- Beland (talk) 09:26, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
The presumed rationale is that English does not use „...“ «…» »…« etc. Using multiple formats (unspaced, half-spaced, spaced, raised/lowered, inward/outward convexity, etc.) would be chaotic. It is analogous to English using English alphabetical order for lists containing items in Lithuanian (i.e, not I Y K), Norwegian (i.e, not Y Z Æ), Welsh (i.e., not G NG H), and so on. Doremo (talk) 09:47, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
I could definitely see changing the quoting punctuation to English style if it's on the English/non-English boundary; maybe that's what the Chicago guide has in mind? It seems more wrong when we're actually going inside a intact non-English sentence and messing with that language's conventions. Certainly there are cases where the article itself is explaining how a given language's punctuation works, where we'd want to retain the native style, and it seems extra weird to not do that in other articles. -- Beland (talk) 18:01, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
To throw »un chat« among the „die Tauben“. Should there be a difference between articles tagged {{Use American English}} {{Use Australian English}} {{Use British English}} {{Use British English Oxford spelling}} {{Use Canadian English}} et cetera?
I can see the need for consistency within a section- but overriding that I see a need for consistency within the language of the quote. For American English I can see the logic of rigidly adhering to Chicago, but for European usage the reasoning is less clear. One could see it as bracketting. z.B.
Steve said "Genau! ich habe ihn gehört „Stop Brexit“ „Bollocks to Brexit- cést »fou«“ schreien" in an accent free voice" Outer en, inner de and innermost fr.
We also have languages in the latin family who use quotes for bolding, as well as quoting. I think you need to have comments from the language communities before you get too rigid or state breaking things.
Just a few thoughts from the front line to aid the discussion! ¡Andiamo! ClemRutter (talk) 19:36, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
An issue with your New York Times example is that it may not be styled the same in different sources—just like in English, different sources have different house styles, so it might be „New York Times“ in a newspaper but New York Times or something else in a book. On Wikipedia, we ignore the house styles of our sources, so when we quote a newspaper that says as reported in the "New York Times" as as reported in The New York Times.
Japanese and other non-Roman scripts might be special cases—it would certainly be jarring to see those square quotemarks as English-style quotemarks in the middle of a Japanese text, and italics aren't a thing in Japanese orthography. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 23:41, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
Sure, but say it wasn't the title of something, but a comment being quoted. We do ignore differing house styles, but that seems different than ignoring the punctuation rules of the language being quoted. -- Beland (talk) 05:32, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Please find a source stating that English uses „...“ «…» »…« etc. when quoting foreign-language material. The Chicago Manual of Style explicitly says that it does not. Doremo (talk) 06:33, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
It is unclear to me that the Chicago Manual of Style is talking about internal punctuation, or if it's just talking about punctuation on the English/non-English boundary. I don't think "English uses „...“ «…» »…« etc." at all, but German and French do. I will see if other style manuals say anything about this, but I will have to go to the library. It would be useful to have the full quote from the Chicago Manual of Style. -- Beland (talk) 16:35, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Full quote from The Chicago Manual of Style, § 11.10: "The remarks in this chapter [11. Foreign Languages] about punctuation point out the more obvious departures from what is familiar to English speakers. They apply to foreign-language contexts—books, articles, or lengthy quotations wholly in a foreign language (as in the examples in 11.34). In English-language contexts and translations of foreign-language works, English-style punctuation is generally used. For example, the tightly spaced suspension points (to indicate omissions or breaks in thought) common in French, Italian, and Spanish publications should be converted to spaced periods in English publications. (For ellipses, see 13.48–56.) English-style quotation marks will replace the guillemets or whatever is used in the original [my emphasis], and em dashes used to introduce dialogue need not be followed by a space. One exception is the punctuation at the beginning of Spanish questions and exclamations (see 11.78), which may be preserved if entire sentences are presented in Spanish (but omitted when the passage is translated." To summarize this: use foreign conventions when the entire text (books, articles, or lengthy quotations—the latter refers to a block quote, not one set in running text) is foreign. Otherwise, use English conventions for foreign text when the rest of the test is English (i.e., in English-language contexts). Doremo (talk) 17:17, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Note from CMS § 11.1 (to make this clear): "This chapter provides guidelines for presenting foreign-language text in English-language publications." Doremo (talk) 17:22, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

OK, I was able to visit the Boston Public Library and check four style guides. I found a slightly different edition (2017) of the Chicago Manual of Style, and in a section referring specifically to languages in Latin alphabets, it says more or less the above, though it's phrased "quotation marks can usually replace guillemets (or their equivalent) and punctuation relative to quotation marks and spacing relative to punctuation are adjusted to conform to the surrounding text." The AP and New York Times style manuals are silent on the issue; I guess it doesn't come up much in news reporting. The 2007 AMA Manual of Style simply says in section 12.1.3 "Non-English words should be capitalized and non-English phrases punctuated according to that language's standard of correctness" which is what I would have expected before reading this part of the Wikipedia MOS. -- Beland (talk) 20:01, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

That last one can be problematic—as I said above, different sources might have different house styles. What to do when quoting from two foreign-language sources that have different house styles? Quotations in German can be in multiple styles:
  • «Ich habe gestern meinen Truthahn auf dem Feld gesehen.»
  • »Ich habe gestern meinen Truthahn auf dem Feld gesehen.«
  • „Ich habe gestern meinen Truthahn auf dem Feld gesehen."
Which would we use "according to that language's standard of correctness"? Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 00:36, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
AMA directs the writer to use the Chicago Manual of Style conventions for that language; we obviously can choose whichever one we think is best. Maybe the easiest and most logical thing to do would be to use the house style from the Wikipedia for that language? That would facilitate sharing text across projects without punctuation changes. The German Wikipedia as it happens uses „" according to de:Wikipedia:Formatierung. -- Beland (talk) 18:19, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
Apparently they use «» for articles in Swiss Standard German, though. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 08:37, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

OK, so I'd propose replacing the existing text:

  • In languages that use the Latin alphabet, replace non-English typographical elements with their English equivalents. For example, replace guillemets ("angle quotation marks" i.e. « ») with straight quotation marks.


  • When quoting text from non-English languages, the outer punctuation should follow the Manual of Style for English quote marks. If there are nested quotations, follow the rules for correct punctuation in that language. If there are multiple styles for a language, the one used by the Wikipedia for that language is preferred unless the punctuation itself is under discussion.
The cynical response "L'auteur aurait dû demander: « à quoi sert-il d'écrire ceci? » mais n'a pas" was all he wrote.

(That's a contrived example; if anyone has a better one, that would be welcome.) -- Beland (talk) 20:09, 24 June 2019 (UTC)

Generic "she"?

I further tweaked MOS:CONTRACTION because the punctuation in the last version didn't seem quite right, but my eye was then caught by MOS:GNL immediately below. "Avoid the generic he" didn't look like an example of where gender-neutral language could necessarily be used with clarity and precision, so I replaced "for example" with "and" and combined the first two sentences. The problem I wound up with, however, and the reason I'm now writing, is that the adjuration to avoid generic he might be interpreted by someone as approval of she for this usage, as though this were more gender-neutral although it isn't. Can anyone think of a convenient way to get away from this, if it's granted that it may be a minor problem? Thanks. –Roy McCoy (talk) 13:39, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

It made more sense as "For example", since it's example, not another piece of advice. I wouldn't worry about the generic "she" since it's hardly a thing. Dicklyon (talk) 13:56, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I see where you are going, but I do kind of agree with Dicklyon. I agree that avoiding the generic "he" is probably not more clear or precise, but it is an example of using gender-neutral language, and the way the sentence is constructed now it reads to me as though these are two separate things: "Use gender-neutral language, and oh by the way, avoid the generic 'he' also." Unfortunately I haven’t yet come up with any better wording, however. Regarding the generic "she", I am inclined to agree that it does look like tacit approval of "she" vs. "he". I’d personally be satisfied with a simple generic "he" (or "she"). CThomas3 (talk) 14:11, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
I've restored "for example" and added "generic she" in accordance with these suggestions. I wasn't able to get generic she to link to Generic she as generic he links to Generic he, however. It oddly links to Generic he even though I've changed he to she everywhere (at least everywhere I know, anyway). Can someone explain this to me and hopefully fix it? Thanks. –Roy McCoy (talk) 03:39, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Orville. But why is Third-person pronoun# needed for Generic she but not for Generic he? –Roy McCoy (talk) 03:58, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Hi @Roy McCoy: The redirect was pointing to the wrong place, so after I started with the correction above I went back and fixed the actual redirect so generic she now points to the right place site wide. (I also restored the wikilink you added since it works now.) Orvilletalk 03:57, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Can you tell me where these redirects are? They're apparently not on the MoS page, as there's no sign of your having changed them there. Thanks again. –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:10, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Sure. If you go to generic she you'll end up at the generic she section of the third-person pronoun article. Scroll up to the top of the article and you'll see under the title in small print, (Redirected from Generic she). Clicking on that generic she wikilink will take you to the redirect page, which is editable similar to other articles. The function of redirects is to point one wikilink to another location (like WP:MOS points to WP:Manual of Style). WP:Redirect will give you more information on creating and editing redirects. Orvilletalk 04:28, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

Piping dab tags for geographic places

Basically, I'm looking at whether one should pipe something like Paris, Texas, which could be expressed as:

  1. [[Paris, Texas]]Paris, Texas
  2. [[Paris, Texas|Paris]], TexasParis, Texas
  3. [[Paris, Texas|Paris]], [[Texas]]Paris, Texas Striking this as overlinking.

I'll note that Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names) § Disambiguation calls the part from the comma a disambiguation tag, and MOS:LINK does advise to pipe out disambiguators (aside from hat notes and dab pages).

I'm wondering if there is a preferred style between 1 and 2, above, or if either is acceptable and MOS:RETAIN should be respected. Thanks for any opinions/clarification. (Apologies if this is a perennial question, I didn't find anything in the talk archives; perhaps a note could be added at MOS:LINK.) – Reidgreg (talk) 12:47, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

I don’t think there IS one preferred method. A lot depends on context. Blueboar (talk) 13:15, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Save yourself the grief of needing/wanting to pipe this and just do #1 (mind you, it can be WP:Pipe tricked). You can do #2 if you really want, but I find that a useless endeavor. #3 is indeed overlinking. --Izno (talk) 13:49, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Number 1 is preferred: MOS:NOPIPE: do not use a piped link where it is possible to use a redirected term that fits well within the scope of the text. WanderingWanda (talk) 17:31, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

Alphabetization of Surnames Containing Prepositions & Articles

I propose that when alphabetizing French surnames containing the prefix "de" or "d'"(meaning of), alphabetize under the actual surname, not under the preposition. With the article "La" or "Le", the capitalization almost always occurs under the prefix.

Also, capitalization of the element is also considered a factor. La and Le are almost always capitalized while de and d' are usually lowercased, meaning, in alphabetized lists, names are alphabetized under their first capitalized element.


Lesseps, Ferdinand de
Musset, Alfred de


La Bruyere, Rene
La Tour, Georges de


The above has often been disputed and has led to occasional edit wars regarding proper alphabetizing in paragraphs and lists within articles. This issue isn't addressed anywhere in Wikipedia and maybe it's time? AnAudLife (talk) 06:12, 3 July 2019 (UTC)


  • "In the names of Frenchmen and -women, de and d’ are almost always lowercased; treatment of du varies. La and Le are almost always capitalized. In alphabetized lists, names are alphabetized under their first capitalized element." GrammerPhobia
  • "If the prefix consists of an article or of a contraction of an article and a preposition, enter under the prefix: La Bruyere, Rene and Des Granges, Charles-Marc. Otherwise, enter under the part of the name following the preposition: Musset, Alfred de and La Fontaine, Jean de." Book Crossing


  • I'm a bit leery of a guideline requiring determination of which surnames are French or Belgian and who's a Frenchman or Frenchwoman. Before you know it, we'll have yet another guideline sinking under the weight of qualifiers like "In article on topics with strong ties to France, Belgium, post-WW1 Alsace, overseas departments of France except Algeria, colonial Vietnam, Guyana north of the Mason-Dixon Line ...." and so on. But more than that, I don't think heading off "occasional" edit wars over something that -- let's face it -- only a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys care about, justifies adding three long bullets to MOS -- see WP:NONEEDNORULE. EEng 06:30, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It's not so simple, especially when you include Dutch and Belgian prefixes (van, van de, van der) and honorifics (von); capitalization and indexing don't always follow each other in a simple pattern, and conventions can vary by publisher. When I worked out the style for the index in my book, there was no common single style advice sheet available to follow. And probably WP doesn't want to get into developing such a thing, either. Some examples of where this has been argued would be needed for serious consideration anyway. Dicklyon (talk) 14:20, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment We already have a section dedicated to this purpose WP:SUR with specifications for other regions. The present guidance is:"If the country is not listed, try consulting with Names of persons : national usages for entry in catalogue in the bibliography section". This implies that some type of standard should be followed, but also states following country-specific standards may be inappropriate. Since French surnames are relatively common, specifying guidance for Wikipedia would be helpful, but I understand the hesitance. Should Bill de Blasio be sorted under D or B? Were would Wikipedia readers expect the name to appear? Orvilletalk 14:33, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • He's under D here: [[6]], as are Robert De Niro, Éamon de Valera, Al D'Amato, Vincent D'Onofrio, Philip DeFranco, and Lana Del Rey. Fiorello La Guardia and Madeleine L'Engle are under L, and Jennifer von Mayrhauser is under V. It seems without definitive guidance, common use already considers the prefix a part of the last name. Orvilletalk 15:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • De Blasio is a Hungarian name, De Niro is Italian, I haven't researched the rest mentioned above but this suggestion was written for French surnames only. Obviously some guidance is needed in MOS because those of us who thoroughly research how a surname of different national origins should be alphabetized are consistently having their edits changed because other editors won't research this for themselves. AnAudLife (talk) 15:19, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        • Standard alphabetisation policy in library and archive indexing is to use the main part of the surname if the person comes from the country from which the name originates (e.g. Lesseps, Ferdinand de; Richthofen, Manfred von), but the prefix if they come from an English-speaking country (e.g. De la Billière, Peter; Von Mayrhauser, Jennifer). This applies to prefixed names originating in any country. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:20, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
          • My point is that if editors aren't aware, the average reader probably isn't either, and the point of sorting and organising is to make it easier for everyone. Making origination country exceptions, it seems to me, would make it more difficult for readers to find the information. Orvilletalk 15:31, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
            • Personally I've always been aware that prefixes like "de" and "von" aren't used in alphabetisation. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:41, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
              • Except when they are: List of people from New York City. What would the average English-speaking reader's expectation be? If they're looking up an article, how likely are they to know about different surname conventions for different countries, and from which country the person they're looking up originated from? Orvilletalk 17:05, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
            • (edit conflict)It seems to vary from country to country, and some people even in those countries get it wrong. See this discussion from 2012 with a native Dutch speaker. On another point, be careful how you word any prescriptive statements or else Mr MacDonald from Glasgow will be under "D" whilst his cousin from London (or New York) would be under "M". Frankly it's probably best left to editor discretion and talk page discussion rather than attempting to legislate for the whole world. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 15:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
              • Not really, given MacDonald is clearly a name from an English-speaking country! And is all a single word in any case. -- Necrothesp (talk) 16:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
                • Try MacDhòmhnaill then, and I'll leave you to sort out the politics that involves! :-) Martin of Sheffield (talk) 16:07, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
... aka Martin d'Sheffield. EEng 17:18, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • And so it begins... EEng 17:17, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Just to confuse things further... how should we alphabetize a name like Edmund de la Pole? Blueboar (talk) 17:28, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
And does this apply to place names like Detroit? Blueboar (talk)
  • Necrothesp It really shouldn't matter whether or not the person is born in America, England, India or Australia, if they married someone with a French surname or was born to parents with a French surname, etc., the fact remains that the name itself is French and should be alphatized observing the standard rules of alphabetization. You mention "Standard alphabetisation policy in library and archive indexing", can you provide reference material for this? Orville It wouldn't matter if someone typed in the surname only when looking up an article, as in Lesseps for Ferdinand de Lesseps, the results for the search show up all the same. Encyclopedia shouldn't be about whats easier but what is correct, it's always been a teaching tool from the get go, when the only encyclopedia around was in book form. I still think that should be important now, to have correct reference for all to find and learn. AnAudLife (talk) 18:02, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • If they typed the surname in a search box, then sure, it would come up regardless. But if they were looking for the surname in an alphabetised list, they would have to think of every possible way it could be alphabetised in order to find the subject. Orvilletalk 18:14, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I think any reasonable person would find it within two search parameters, Lesseps or de Lesseps. That’s 2 total and certainly not that difficult. No? AnAudLife (talk) 18:38, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        • I'd like to believe I'm reasonable, but I'd never think of looking up Robert De Niro under Niro or Fiorello La Guardia under Guardia, nor do I think that many other readers would. The argument that the names are not French isn't helpful, because you're assuming that the average reader looking up an article on either of them would know the origin of their last name. And Bill de Blasio is not Hungarian. "His mother was of Italian heritage, and his father was of German, English, French, and Scots-Irish ancestry. So, is his name Italian (sorted by de Blasio) or French (sorted by de Blasio) Orvilletalk 19:04, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
          • Sorry about the Hungarian typo, I was looking at the wrong reference with multiple tabs open. However, a reasonable person, if they looked up De Niro and couldn’t find it, the next logical step would be Niro, it sure wouldn’t be the the proper first name, Robert, now would it? But we’re not talking about that here. I’m referring, again, to French surnames. Maybe I should have been more broad with my suggestion. Like, before listing any names with articles and prepositions one should do their research as to the proper way to list them. I did it, it really wasn’t that hard to find out. AnAudLife (talk) 19:46, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
              • Even looking at French in isolation, per the Grammarphobia reference above, "Charles de Gaulle, always known as “de Gaulle,” and Daphne du Maurier, whose last name is written as 'Du Maurier' when it appears alone, are indexed with the D’s." It's not clear cut, and there is no definitive "proper way" as that source mentions later in the article. Orvilletalk 20:17, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
                • I think we need to look at the big picture, in cases of “mostly”, George’s de La Tour for instance, always alphabetized by La Tour not de. Merriam-Webster's Manual for Writers and Editors is a very reputable reference which I cited above and it’s pretty clear. There will always be exceptions to every rule and I think most people realize that. Which is why for this MOS suggestion it should be written with citations, references, examples, etc. and instead of just “thinking a name should be alphabetized a certain way doesn’t necessarily make it correct. There should be research by the editor, which a lot of editors in cases like these don’t want to do. Obviously. AnAudLife (talk) 20:41, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • WP:SUR was mentioned above, but that guideline is almost entirely about determining what a person's surname is -- not whether then to drop part of the surname itself before alphabetizing. And I think that's where we should draw the line.
    The reason initial A, An, and The are dropped in English catalog ordering is because if you didn't the catalog drawers would be labeled AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABCEDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTUVWXYZ. The French National Library would have a similar problem if they didn't drop de and la and so on (or whatever it is people are saying we should drop) because for obvious reasons they've got a zillion such entries. And that's as natural a thing for a French speaker to do as it is for English speakers to drop A, An, and The. But we don't speak French here, it's not a natural thing for us to do, and (except perhaps in some article on French philosophers) we don't have the problem of D and L being overburdened initial letters.
    There was a time you were supposed to merge Mc and Mac and M' in indices, and no one does that anymore either. So let's just skip it.
    OK, I'll back off that a bit. At [7] is quoted a great piece of advice from "the director of general reference at Merriam-Webster's":

    In the names of Frenchmen and -women, de and d’ are almost always lowercased; treatment of du varies. La and Le are almost always capitalized. In alphabetized lists, names are alphabetized under their first capitalized element. When someone is referred to by his or her surname alone, the particle is usually included only if it’s capitalized; thus, we would normally say 'Sartre and Beauvoir' but 'Molière and La Rochefoucauld'.

Simple, logical, and easy to remember. Let's do that. EEng 21:14, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • So, alphabetise by the first capital letter (except for de Gaul as the exception that proves the rule)? That makes sense to me, and it seems to apply to multiple languages (easy to remember and standardise). If we ever arrive at a consensus, would it be acceptable to include similar language to Merriam-Webster's in the WP:SUR section? Orvilletalk 03:09, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • A similar topic also at WT:Manual of Style/Archive 209#Sorting the Scots and the French?. --Izno (talk) 03:12, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
    Thank you Izno. The capital letter sorting convention would still hold up in the examples from the prior discussion, and WP:NAMESORT makes better sense as far as a location for the guidance than WP:SUR. Orvilletalk 03:18, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
    There izno one like Inzo for coming up with a useful link. EEng 03:23, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I am almost ashamed of this opinion, but I am afraid the only two conventions that we can carry out consistently are these: (1) Ignore all national conventions. (2) Alphabetise based on the first capital letter and what follows it. I.e. "Rue, Pierre de la", "Lesseps, Ferdinand de", "Dujardin, Édouard", "Waals, Johannes van der", "Van Rompuy, Eric". I am worried that in some cases (2) may yield the wrong result, so (1) seems the only feasible option. Hans Adler 23:12, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Job titles: upper-case or lower-case "s" for "Senators"

We have this Wikipedia article: List of current United States Senators. My question: for the article title, is the "S" of the word "Senators" supposed to be capitalized? Or should it be lower-case "s"? And what if there were an article titled "List of current United States Representatives"? What about the "R" in "Representatives"? It is worth clarification, because there are several other related articles. And I am trying to make them all consistent. Articles about "federal" senators; "federal" representatives; state senators; state representatives; etc. So, it's really more than just this one article of concern. Thanks. Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 17:42, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

Gender identity addition at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biography#Gender identity section. A permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:21, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

Use of Sic in titles in references?

An article has the following ref: {{cite web|url=|title=Transgender children welcomed by the Girl Scouts of America||date=26 October 2011|accessdate=6 November 2012}}.

The title (which is actually that way on the imperfectparent website) references "Girl Scouts of America" which is an organization that hasn't existed since the 1910s. The organization be referred to is the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Is it appropriate to add [sic] to the end of the title name to indicate that the title is incorrect?Naraht (talk) 19:05, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

(We're the arguing editors at 2010s.) I lean against; titles are frequently incorrect for problems other than spelling or misnaming of organisations. Do we take note where the title is an outright lie, not supported by the text of the article? How about a lie supported by the text of the article, but noted in other reliable sources? Where do we draw the line? — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:30, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

There seem to be two questions: (1) Can "sic!" be used in titles in references? (2) Is the error of writing "Girl Scouts of America" instead of "Girl Scouts of the United States of America" a reason to use "sic!". In my opinion, "sic!', when used with incorrect orthography, serves an important purpose in general, but even more in case of an orthography problem in title of a reference. On the other hand, the error in (2) is not the kind of small error that people correct automatically when they copy a piece of text.

So my answer is an emphatic yes! for (1), but no for (2), overall resulting in no for this specific case. Hans Adler 21:28, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

I broadly agree with Hans Adler: "sic" could be appropriately used even in titles in some situations, but shortening "...the United States of America" to "...America" (here or in general) doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would require a "sic", IMO. -sche (talk) 18:49, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

WP:MOS#Titles of people, MOS:CAPS#Titles of people, and MOS:JOBTITLES

As I was poking around these articles earlier, I noticed that WP:MOS#Titles of people lists MOS:CAPS#Titles of people as its main page. MOS:CAPS#Titles of people in turn lists MOS:BIO#Titles of people as its main page, with MOS:JOBTITLES being a subsection. And of course, MOS:JOBTITLES lists MOS:Titles of people as its main page, just to complete the circle. Clearly none of these are the actual main page for the subject of job titles: anyone mind if I change {{main}} to {{seealso}} for each of these? I think it would be less confusing for people who should otherwise be able to expect a much more in-depth analysis at one of these pages, where in reality they are simply three complementary sections. In fact, my recommendation would be for a {{seealso}} link for both of the alternate pages on each section. CThomas3 (talk) 21:11, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

Just to comment that these aren't the only parts of the MoS that send you back and forth. As an example (as I'm sure there are more) MOS:MAJORWORK sends you to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Text formatting#Names and titles (which has an open merge from 2016...) and WP:ITALICTITLE. It seems that a lot of needless forking and "summarizing" has been going on. We really should stop doing that and just point to the section that talks about it, without any additional examples, as that will just be one more place which will eventually have conflicting information. --Gonnym (talk) 21:23, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
You may find my proposal at #MOS:DASH_examples interesting. EEng 21:49, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I've done this circular game with different sections many times and is why I concur with EEng's proposal. I did the titles of people game today and I feel the same way I always do - confused and sometimes stupid. I don't think I'm the only one since the question about capitalizing titles comes up so much here. PopularOutcasttalk2me! 22:41, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
If I may trouble you, please comment in the linked section. EEng 23:05, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Moi? If so, I did so when you first proposed it. PopularOutcasttalk2me! 00:09, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Oh, sorry, I thought you were Gonnym. EEng 00:31, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
EEng, If you are asking if I would support cleaning up the MOS to point more clearly to relevant sub-pages and eliminating potentially conflicting advice, the answer is yes. Might I suggest proposing that as its own section, as opposed to buried within MOS:DASH examples? Your proposal sounds like it should be a proposal for the MOS in general, if it isn't already. CThomas3 (talk) 23:18, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, it's just I think such a proposal would be a big fight so I was hoping to see how much support there is in a straw-poll first. EEng 23:27, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

"She is lesbian." or "She is a lesbian." ?

This question regards the correct wording when identifying the sexual orientation of lesbian characters included in "LGBT in television" lists. Based on this edit, I'm trying to determine if only one way of putting it is right, or if both are, when all that is being identified is the orientation only and not also the who/what of the lesbian character's role (i.e. this is not for the description "Jane is a lesbian _____ (doctor, detective, etc.)").
When it's about a gay man, it's normal (at least that's what I've found) to describe a character as, for example, "John is gay." -- not "John is a gay." Same goes for bisexuals: "Tom is bisexual." -- not "Tom is a bisexual." Pansexuals are described "Peter is pansexual." -- not "Peter is a pansexual." Queer characters are "Dick is queer." -- not "Dick is a queer." Transgender characters include the "a" because the gender is also identified, as in "Harry is a transgender male." But lesbian characters, on the other hand, tend to be described as "Jane is a lesbian."
According to Oxford online, "lesbian" is a noun when it refers to an individual, likewise in Merriam-Webster (as well as for "gay"). The Oxford English Dictionary (for both noun and adjective) doesn't provide guidance for this specific inquiry. And the subject is not included in the 2016 University of Oxford Style Guide. I don't have an account with The Chicago Manual of Style online, so I haven't been able to see what's contained in "§ 8.41: Sexual orientation and gender identity". I've searched the archives but have not found anything that is particularly similar to my question. Perhaps some of you are more informed regarding usage and can provide guidance on whether it's okay to state "Jane is lesbian." Thank you. Pyxis Solitary yak 08:34, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Ngrams indicates that "is lesbian" is less common than "is a lesbian". A search for both terms on the News tab of also returns more results for "is a lesbian". With that said, "Jane is lesbian" does not strike me as incorrect or offensive. WanderingWanda (talk) 19:17, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

I think it's the same very minor difference as between "She is Cretan" and "She is a Cretan". Or, indeed, between "She is Lesbian" and "She is a Lesbian", referring to residents or natives of Lesbos. I find it hard to say what the difference actually is, but the first version seems sometimes appropriate and sometimes not, whereas the second is always appropriate. For gay and for transgender male this distinction is not possible because they are not ambiguous as to whether they are nouns or adjectives. Gay is always an adjective (or rude), male is always an adjective (or a bit weird), transgender is always an adjective, transgender male is always a noun (or a bit weird), but Cretan, Lesbian and lesbian can be either. Hans Adler 22:54, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

I did a quick search of titles and articles that contain "is lesbian" and found Ellie Is Lesbian: The Inconvenient Romance, The Holy Spirit is Lesbian and Other Poems, The Advocate Oct 29, 2002 (there are other instances of "is lesbian" within other copies of The Advocate). An Internet Archive text search (first two pages out of 36) returned several results; among those you don't need to borrow: The Interrelations of the Greek Dialects, The Body Politic, October 1979, Dangerous remembering: allies in resistance and recovery. Pyxis Solitary yak 11:41, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
My perception, FWIW, is to say that someone is "a lesbian" is to define them wholly in terms of their sexuality, whereas to say someone is "lesbian" is simply to report their orientation more neutrally. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:04, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I concur that "lesbian" without the indefinite article is more neutral. Pyxis Solitary yak 12:58, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

MOS:DASH examples

We don't have examples of how to present

March 46 ([[March 4]]–[[March 6|6]])
SeptemberOctober 2018 ([[September 2018|September]]–[[October 2018]])

Perhaps we should, with or without Wikilinks. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:59, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

  • The linking aside, MOS:DATERANGE lays this all out pretty clearly. EEng 21:14, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
    Let's ignore the linking, as it pretty much only applies to "intrinsically chronological articles". I still think something like March 4–6, 2019 and March 4 – 6, 2019 should be among the examples. If you check my talk page, you'll see an editor using a script, believing it justified by MOS:DASH, so perhaps an additional example would help. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:43, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
    I'm wondering if more sections of the main MOS shouldn't simply link to the full treatment at the subsidiary page. The main page, which is supposed to be the Cliff's Notes, keeps growing and growing. Instead of adding more examples, here, how about eliminating all the examples in the WP:Manual_of_Style#In_ranges_that_might_otherwise_be_expressed_with_to_or_through section, and substituting simply something like For year and date ranges, see WP:Manual_of_Style/Dates_and_numbers#Ranges; for numeric ranges, see WP:Manual_of_Style/Dates_and_numbers#Number_ranges? EEng 22:13, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
    I would be on board with this. I always end up at the page with more examples just to make sure I understand the MOS correctly. Also it would also (hopefully) stop people from only looking at the example and inferring the rule instead of reading the rule. PopularOutcasttalk2me! 00:17, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    Commented lower in this thread, but just to make it clear, I'd also be on board with this. To many times I've gone and looked for something at an "obvious" section, just to find myself moving between very similar links trying to find the place I remembered it mentioning something. That isn't good writing at all. --Gonnym (talk) 05:35, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Why would one want such links in date ranges? Hard to imagine. Dicklyon (talk) 02:10, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    Indeed. Tony (talk) 04:58, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    The OP has dropped that aspect, as it turns out his main query is answered on MOSNUM. I'd be interested in everyone's opinion on my proposal above. EEng 06:04, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    Your proposal is to make the main MOS page more concise and rely more on subpages for details? I think that approach has been problematic in the past, but I don't recall the details. I think things tended to get out of sync, with subpages getting little maintenance, and not enough watching to keep weirdness from creeping in. Dicklyon (talk) 06:23, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    That seems a backwards way of looking at things. The subpages are the main pages for their respective section. If something went out of sync, it is this page with them. Eng's proposal would eliminate that. Also, to be honest, if the MoS gets stuff added without consensus, the real solution would be to edit protect it so stuff will always have to pass consensus to be added. --Gonnym (talk) 11:13, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    The problem in the past is that the main page and the subpages have provided forked guidance, with the more consistent (correctly) appearing on this page. There might be some ways to ameliorate that, but I'm not sure if those things can prevent the situation. --Izno (talk) 13:22, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Dicklyon, Izno: You guys don't seem to understand the proposal, which is to remove all the stuff about numeric ranges from here at main MOS, leaving only a pointer to MOSNUM's provisions on that. Then there's nothing to get out of sync or forked. EEng 18:20, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Nope, that's exactly what I understood the proposal to be. --Izno (talk) 19:31, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Then how can the main page and subpage provide forked guidance, if the main page provides no guidance at all other than to point to the subpage? EEng 21:47, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I think you missed the thrust of my comment if that's what you're arguing. My concern is that a) because we have more watchers here, and b) we have a general attitude toward keeping this page consistent if even some of the other pages are inconsistent in some way, that c) it serves us to keep some guidance here deliberately forked as something of a ground truth. --Izno (talk) 01:05, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
That's my concern, too; I think EEng's proposal is a logical way to stop things getting out of sync/ forking apart, but I also think that because this page has more watchers than the myriad subpages, moving the guidance to the less-trafficked pages is likely to de facto make it easier for changes to be made that the broader community of watchers here might not have consensus for (so keeping some guidance here has its advantages). If changes to subpages were consistently advertised with pointers here, that might help address the matter. I wouldn't oppose moving the "less important" guidance to subpages, but I suspect there might be considerable disagreement on what is "less important". Meh. -sche (talk) 01:18, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
moving the guidance to the less-trafficked pages is likely to de facto make it easier for changes to be made that the broader community of watchers here might not have consensus for – There's a solution to that, of course, which is for people who care to watchlist the pages they care about. Honestly, if people don't care enough to do that then I guess they don't care all that much. Someone could even make a script that would add all MOS pages to an editor's watchlist, and over the next week or so they could selectively unwatch the pages they're not interested in as they pop up on their watchlists. EEng 04:07, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Attributing quotations

This series of edits have made a bad section worse.

The section, before changes was bad because

  • It discussed quotation templates, but is vague about which advice applies to any quotation, and which advice applies to quotation templates, and if it does only apply to quotation template(s), which one(s).
  • It could be interpreted as forbidding a subscript linked to an endnote, or parenthetical attribution, at the end of the quote but within an indented quotation block. EEng seems to object to such a restriction, and I'm not to fond of it either.

I think the section should be revised to make it clear

  • A subscript linked to an endnote, or a parenthetical attribtion, may be added within an indented quotation block, at the end.
  • Internal citations which were present in the work being cited may be removed; ideally "[Internal citations omitted.]" or words to that effect would be added to the end of the quotation.
  • Works cited by the source should not be added to the Wikipedia article's reference list as if they were just another source used to build the article. If it is important to list what was cited in the quoted source, some ad-hoc solution would have to be found.
  • It would be particularly bad to add a source, X, mentioned in a quotation, if the editor adding the quotation has not read X.

Jc3s5h (talk) 13:36, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

A superbly comprehensive analysis. I'm behind you all the way. We append superscript cites (e.g. [1]) to the end of blockquotes all the time, and there's nothing wrong with that. Adding a parenthetical citation is problematic, I think, because the reader may be confused as to whether it's in the original. That's what I was trying to capture, but pre-coffee I didn't have the energy to do it well. EEng 14:03, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Campaign vs. campaign in military history articles

Hello. There's a discussion watchers of this page may be interested in over at WT:MILHIST#Campaign vs campaign. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 03:22, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

Linking within a title

Does the MOS advise against linking to items within a title? For example: Kurt Vonnegut wrote The Sirens of Titan. I'm pretty sure I saw such a guideline at some point, but now I can't find it anywhere. MANdARAX  XAЯAbИAM 23:59, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

  • I'm pretty sure we discourage this, as it could create easter egg links and may be OR if the title of a work has a double meaning. One can find a way to link said terms outside the title if essential. --Masem (t) 00:10, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Well, The Sirens of Titan has its own article so that's obviously what would be linked in that particular case. That aside, if we think of a title as "imported material" (of whick quotes are the most common examples) then MOS:LINKQUOTE probably has the right idea (including link only to targets that correspond to the meaning clearly intended ... Where possible, link from text outside of the quotation) but I don't know if it's worth addressing this particular case in the guidelines. EEng 00:27, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you both for the replies. Masem jogged my memory. I knew it was in the MOS somewhere. MOS:EGG says "Do not place a link to a name within another name." (It mentions names rather than titles, but the same principle applies.) BTW, the reason I asked is that I had unlinked some such items, and I usually like to cite the MOS in my edit summary when I think people might question why an edit was made. MANdARAX  XAЯAbИAM 00:35, 14 July 2019 (UTC)


Hey. I understand the rationale that is given for changing all apostrophes over to " ' ". But some articles use the curly apostrophes. I demand that what the author wrote be allowed to be present in the citation- we should let the author be the author. If the author used weird punctuation, then that's their choice. We don't need to interfere. [8] Thanks for your time. Geographyinitiative (talk) 06:45, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

Show me an author (outside math and linguistics) who specifies the curliness or straightness he wants for his quotes and apostrophes. It's typography, not semantics. EEng 06:55, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
See MOS:CONFORM. DrKay (talk) 07:26, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

Bible translations

I commonly see editors switch translations in existing articles, i.e. from NIV to KJV here. I failed to find a relevant MOS section about this, is there any? Thanks, —PaleoNeonate – 09:26, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

I hope not. EEng 13:55, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Why so? I'm not thinking of something dogmatic, but of consistency, perhaps in the spirit of MOS:ENGVAR, MOS:ERA... And maybe with guidance on which topics a particular translation would be more appropriate and why. —PaleoNeonate – 09:11, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Adding: Without it, editors with a strong POV about it like King James Only movement will just keep changing anything they see to that everywhere, for instance. —PaleoNeonate – 09:14, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
WP:NONEEDNORULE. Let's see the diffs of these conflicts. EEng 11:51, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I could start logging them, but the above diff was a typical example. —PaleoNeonate – 15:41, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
another onePaleoNeonate – 15:48, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
  • There isn't a policy, but as with other things, the first version used should generally have preference. It wouldn't be unreasonable to revert to that, tedious though it is. Johnbod (talk) 15:45, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    What I'd be looking for from the OP is evidence of editors repeatedly wasting time on this on multiple articles. Even then, however, I'm skeptical that this is a MOS matter -- I don't think we should be quoting the bible, or any particular translation of it, except to the extent that an RS does it first, and we're passing on that RS' use of that passage, and I would expect that serious scholarship will in most cases identify the particular translation they're working from. The article you link [9] simply presents a quote from Revelation without context from any source, and I don't think we should be doing that. Seen this way, most of such problems disappear. EEng 16:33, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Not your sort of area I think, but in all sorts of contexts, including art history etc, RS often refer to bible passages without quoting them or specifying a version, but it will often be appropriate for us to quote. Johnbod (talk) 16:44, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree that for any interpretation a secondary/tertiary source should be used. In many cases it's acceptable and useful to also incude a quote. —PaleoNeonate – 19:12, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
You'll notice I put expect in italics to hedge my bets, because I thought of the art-history sort of situation but felt like mouthing off anyway. I'm still not convinced MOS should opine on this; it seems much more like content than style. EEng 17:04, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
True that it might be outside of the MOS's scope... —PaleoNeonate – 19:12, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I think that based on the spirit of things like MOS:RETAIN and MOS:DATE-RETAIN one might decide that changing versions just for the sake of changing versions is unnecessary and could be reverted (if anyone actually cares / objects to the edit enough to revert), and then discussed on the talk page. Pending evidence that there are multiple edit wars about this, I think normal BRD procedures may handle it as adequately as they handle other changes to wording, without a specific rule needing to be added to the MOS at this time. Obviously, there may be cases where changing distinctly makes sense, or doesn't, e.g. if we're discussing an English word notably used in [only] certain translations, it wouldn't make sense to say the word is notably used in some translations of Genesis 1, such as "quote only from version that doesn't use the word". -sche (talk) 17:48, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
This is similar to Johnbod's view and mine. I should probably just revert when I see that it's done without rationale, for per-article consistency reasons, like in the spirit of various MOS guidelines... —PaleoNeonate – 19:18, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree with -sche. WP:RETAIN and the spirit of WP:DATERETAIN and WP:ENGVAR tell us that changing without any rational beyond WP:ILIKEIT is to be avoided. I do like the poetry of the KJV. But bible scholarship (and hence, accuracy of translation) has markedly improved in the last 50 years, making the KJV less than ideal for modern analysis. However, as mentioned above, any English bible references in artistic or similar circles from the 17-19th centuries are likely to be in the context of the KJV.  Stepho  talk  09:11, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
By far the heaviest need for biblical references in artistic articles is in those on medieval subjects, before the KJV & other modern(ish) translations, and in general topics on religious & theological subjects. The Vulgate or Greek bible are generally the "context" there, or the Hebrew Bible in Jewish contexts. Johnbod (talk) 12:13, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Rather than argue about which translation to use, a better option is to include more than one translation. This is especially important in passages where the various translations have significant differences. Blueboar (talk) 17:59, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    This may be difficult in practice, I think. —PaleoNeonate – 19:18, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, very rarely necessary, except where actual textual differences or translation issues are being discussed. People would rightly complain. Including Latin/Greek plus English is sometimes useful. Johnbod (talk) 12:13, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

Requested "best practice"

Everyone, I would like to propose that we agree not to introduce potentially controversial changes into the MOS without first raising the issue on the talk page. It is really not fair to expect everyone to attend closely to their watchlists to be aware of the possibility of fundamental undiscussed changes. --Trovatore (talk) 18:19, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

I'd argue that a rule like that would go against the spirit of the encyclopedia: WP:BOLD, WP:BRD. WanderingWanda (talk) 18:43, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
Those are tuned mainly for content, not for rulemaking. --Trovatore (talk) 18:57, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree, there really is no "BOLD" in changing guidelines. There is however "sneaking changes and hoping no one will notice". --Gonnym (talk) 19:01, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
There is. It's WP:PGBOLD. --Izno (talk) 03:16, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
It's still "allowed". I think we nevertheless ought to be able to come to an agreement that it's not good form for controversial (or potentially controversial) changes. --Trovatore (talk) 03:25, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
There are perhaps very few things in this MOS which are known controversial a priori. Let consensus speak for itself (or not, as silence will sometimes be). --Izno (talk) 03:35, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
If you're not sure, you should assume it's controversial. It's really bad form to give even the impression that you might be trying to sneak something in. Silence may sometimes mean people agree, but more often it means they haven't noticed it. --Trovatore (talk) 18:29, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
See also WP:POLSILENCE. --Trovatore (talk) 18:33, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
I hope you guys don't think you're going to sneak this idea in somewhere. EEng 18:47, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
If you think that our policy should change, you are free to free to discuss that elsewhere. If there is no particular MOS change being advocated here, I will not be replying further. --Izno (talk) 18:57, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
I am not advocating a specific change in the MOS here, nor in general policy, though I think the latter would be a good idea. I'm suggesting that it would be productive if we were all aware that what we may think is a "clarification" may seem to someone else like a substantive change, and that probably none of us wants to have to monitor all changes constantly to see if a given change is such. --Trovatore (talk) 18:56, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
If it's not written down somewhere, new people showing up to the conversation would constantly be violating an unwritten convention, which is frustrating both for them (how would they know?) and editors tired of people not following the supposed rule. -- Beland (talk) 18:00, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Though actually there is already writing, as pointed out above; WP:PGCHANGE includes both WP:TALKFIRST and WP:PGBOLD. -- Beland (talk) 18:10, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

About the technical case for avoiding auto-collapsed content

The guidance at MOS:COLLAPSE against setting content to collapse by default on technical grounds is erroneous. The reason given is that it prevents users of browsers that lack Javascript support from expanding the content to view it. However, if auto-collapse of a content container is accomplished by composing the HTML and CSS so that the container, in the absence of Javascript, would be initially expanded, and then Javascript is used to collapse the container after the page has loaded, then even with auto-collapse set to "on", collapsing won't happen for users without Javascript, and accessibility of the content will be maintained for them. (The "show" and "hide" links should also be added by the Javascript, rather than appearing in the initial HTML, so that non-Javascript users won't even see these links that would be nonfunctional for them. In fact, for the non-Javascript user, there should be no visible sign of a collapsible container at all.) Largoplazo (talk) 11:46, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

  • My suggestion would be that you bring this up at WP:VPT and if the gurus there agree with your technical evaluation, then bring it back here. But first: does any watcher here know of some other, subtle reason we don't collapse which the OP isn't addressing? EEng 16:40, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Naming conventions for public statues

See Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Visual_arts#Naming_conventions_for_public_statues. Really just covers article titles. Thanks! Johnbod (talk) 15:56, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

(Hopefully non-controversial) general rewrite for grammar &/or style); I'll attempt (mostly as a courtesy to colleagues) to f-up w/ commentary

First-person pronouns

To maintain an objective and impersonal encyclopedic voice, an article should never refer to its editors or readers using I, my, we, us, or similar forms: We should note that some critics have argued against our proposal. But some such forms are acceptable in certain figurative uses. For example:

  • In historical articles to mean the modern world as a whole: The text of De re publica has come down to us with substantial sections missing.
  • The author's we found in scientific writing (We construct S as follows), though rephrasing to use passive voice may be preferable (S is constructed as follows).[a] JerzyA (talk) 09:37, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

OFF TO A BAD START: "General" only as to its scope with the single, bottom level, MoS section that has caught my interest! I shall note more clearly, should my pedantic &/or anti-pedantic Spidey-senses trigger further tingle-rooted editing. JerzyA (talk) 09:47, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

This is bizarre, and I've not forgotten my clumsily having made some wiki-enemies in recent months. I can see clearly what is wrong & that my role in it might be causal. if I can,w/o the accustomed admin permissions, clean it up, I shall so endeavor.
--JerzyA (talk) 10:00, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

  • This is bizarre – No disagreement there. EEng 01:25, 23 July 2019 (UTC)


A user, whom I at that point do not want to name, is currently editing opening paragraphs on a large number of biographical articles referring to people born in the Russian Empire in the areas which is currently Ukraine, who moved out of these areas, and adding in the lede Ukrainian-born, sometimeas also adding a cherry-picked source saying "Ukrainian-born" (I suspect they Google "PersonX Ukrainian born", find a source, and add it to the article). This is not about ethnicity; some of these people can be ethnic Ukrainians, others are clearly not. I tried to figure out whether this is ok regarding MOS and could not find anything. Could someone please point me out to an appropriate page or possibly relevant past discussions (which certainly had to happen here in the last 19 years). Thanks.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:17, 26 July 2019 (UTC)

It sounds to me as though these people would be described as born in the Russian Empire per Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography#Context: "if the person is notable mainly for past events, the country where the person was a citizen, national or permanent resident when the person became notable". DrKay (talk) 09:22, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Great, thanks. I obviously knew this paragraph because it prohibits mentioning ethnicity, but it did not occur to me that it also discourages mentioning the territory where the person was born.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:38, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
But information is given not by the author himself, but by a reliable source, Encyclopædia Britannica in one case or by Historical Dictionary in another. Accordingly, this is not a violation of Manual of Style.--KHMELNYTSKYIA (talk) 09:58, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps Encyclopædia Britannica and the like have different conventions about the naming of place of birth in historical countries? Martinevans123 (talk) 10:10, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
"Ukrainian-born" wouldn't be interpreted as an assertion about ethnicity, because when one is ethnically X, one is X, not "X-born". So it is proper to discuss this based on the understanding that it's meant to identify the place of birth. Largoplazo (talk) 10:30, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
But this is an incorrect and misleading identification of the place of birth. Ukraine did not exist as an independent state, and some territories which are currently in Ukraine were not even populated by ethnic Ukrainians, and some others which are currently not in Ukraine were. The correct place of birth is identified as the Russian Empire.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:35, 26 July 2019 (UTC)


Closing per WP:MULTI. Please feel free to pursue further discussion at the location identified by Deacon V. --Izno (talk) 19:44, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, there izno reason to discuss this in multiple places at once. EEng
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I would appreciate commentary on whether Wikipedia policy per MOS:COMMONALITY ("When more than one variant spelling exists within a national variety of English, the most commonly used current variant should usually be preferred ...") justifies the change kilogramme to kilogram (e.g., here), given the much greater frequency of the spelling kilogram in English, and whether this MOS principle applies globally or should be debated for every article. Thanks. Doremo (talk) 14:27, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

  Note: There is already a discussion about this at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Kilogram vs. kilogramme. Please see there. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 15:05, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
IMHO, MOS:COMMONALITY may be used as an argument when an article is being created, but once an English variety has been well established and remained consistent for a while, MOS:RETAIN should take precedence. -- DeFacto (talk). 15:08, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
I disagee with DeFacto. There are only a fairly small number of national varieties of English. There are not trillions of varieties, one for each combination of how various individual words are spelled. British English with the "kilogram" spelling is not a distinct variety from British English with the "kilogramme" spelling. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:18, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
@Jc3s5h: in fact, MOS:SPELL#Preferred variants explicitly supports the British English variant with the "kilogramme" spelling: gramme vs gram: gram is the more common spelling; gramme is also possible in British usage. -- DeFacto (talk). 16:39, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
I interpret gramme vs gram: gram is the more common spelling; gramme is also possible in British usage. to mean that "gram" is the more common (and hence, preferred in Wikipedia) spelling for both American and British English; "gramme" is possible in British English but would be incorrect in American English. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:57, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
@Jc3s5h: the point is that "gramme" is identified as belonging to a British English variant, and MOS:RETAIN can be applied to this variant, as to any other. -- DeFacto (talk). 18:02, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
RETAIN is about the choice of national variety; it is not about spelling variations within a given national variety. It's incredible the amount of time that's being wasted on this. EEng 18:07, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
@EEng: do you support the OP here then that MOS:COMMONALITY requires that spellings in articles must be changed if they are not the most common spelling variation within the given national variety? -- DeFacto (talk). 18:50, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Italics in hatnotes

There is a discussion over at Wikipedia talk:Hatnote#Resurrection of italicization question about the use of italics in hatnotes (which are already italicized) that could use input from members of this forum. Thanks! SchreiberBike | ⌨  01:00, 29 July 2019 (UTC)

Notification of hyphen talk

Hi! I've started a conversation at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Snooker#Issues to discuss after GA review regarding the phrase "best of X frame match", and whether this should be hyphened or not in the context of prose. My knowledge of the MOS in this area is a little lacking, so if you could comment there and gain a consensus, I would appreciate this. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 14:53, 6 August 2019 (UTC)

MOS:ITALICTITLE and websites

Per MOS:ITALICTITLE: "Periodicals (newspapers, journals, magazines)" are italicized. Today, many published newspapers, journals, and magazines are websites only. IndieWire is a "film industry and review website". It provides news about filmmaking. Its reviews are quoted and it is used as sources in numerous film articles. Stylistically, when IndieWire is mentioned within the body of an article it has normally been italicized, just the same as other websites such as, for example, BuzzFeed, The Daily Beast, HuffPost, Salon, The Verge, Vice News, Vox -- all of them websites. But according to one editor who insists on un-italicizing IndieWire: "IndieWire being a website, it does not require to be written in italics". In the particular film article, it was previously italicized.
My consensus question is: is it wrong to italicize IndieWire and other websites? Does MOS:ITALICTITLE also apply to the names of websites that publish news and information about an industry (whatever the industry may be)? Thank you. Pyxis Solitary yak 10:20, 28 July 2019 (UTC)

Notified: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Film. Pyxis Solitary yak 08:22, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
Interesting question, I never thought about this before. While websites represent a transition from traditional print-based publications to another medium, could one not say that television precedes the Web in that respect? Can one say that CNN or BBC One or E! is a publication in the same sense that IndieWire is? If so, should we consider that the names of these channels aren't conventionally italicized? Largoplazo (talk) 11:53, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
MOS:ITALICTITLE also says Website titles may or may not be italicized depending on the type of site and what kind of content it features. Online magazines, newspapers, and news sites with original content should generally be italicized (Salon or HuffPost). Online non-user-generated encyclopedias and dictionaries should also be italicized (Scholarpedia or Merriam-Webster Online). Other types of websites should be decided on a case-by-case basis. So, yes, they should be italicized. PopularOutcasttalk2me! 13:38, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
  • No, CNN, MSNBC, ABC etc. are television channels. They are not publications. Randy Kryn (talk) 13:57, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
That's a non-answer. I could just as easily proclaim that websites are websites, not publications and similarly settle the matter by fiat. Largoplazo (talk) 16:21, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
The subject of this topic is not television channels. Pyxis Solitary yak 14:46, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
Shall I infer that you are unfamiliar with the concept of analogies and their use and value in discussions? Largoplazo (talk) 16:21, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
(Largoplazo). Actually, I was responding to the "No" comment because I was trying to prevent the discussion from derailing to another tangent (which happens). Me culpa. Pyxis Solitary yak 01:18, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
The guideline already says "should be decided on a case-by-case basis". If you have cases that could lead to crisper advice, I suggest discussing those cases. The abstract and analogical discussion isn't going to clarify anything. Dicklyon (talk) 17:41, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
"If you have cases that could lead to crisper advice, I suggest discussing those cases." If you didn't notice, this discussion is a "case". This is a discussion about MOS, how are we supposed to reach consensus on anything if replies are the equivalent of "discuss something else". Maybe it's time for some of the MOS to be less guesswork, because editors should not be expected to depend on a crystal ball for answers. Pyxis Solitary yak 01:36, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
It's worth pointing out that {{cite web}} treats both the work= and website= fields as italics, and given that those fields make more sense than publisher= for many non-blog-type publications, our citation templates are basically treating most websites as always italicized. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs talk 14:17, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
Exactly... (that is, the {{cite web}} example). Maintaining an artificial distinction between print publications and web publications is ridiculous in 2019. Making this distinction probably made sense when websites were "newfangled" but increasingly, print publications are accessed online or move to become online-only. Leaving it to editors to decide on a case-by-case basis whether a website contains "original" content is unwieldy and is an obvious march towards WP:OR; it's much simpler and appropriate to treat websites as we do print journals: as major works and therefore italicized wherever their titles are mentioned. —Joeyconnick (talk) 18:43, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
You're not wrong, Pyxis Solitary: By and large, italicization of news websites, per MOS:ITALICTITLE, should occur; indeed, "[t]he actual medium of publication or presentation is not a factor[...]" in determining italicization. Furthermore, given that most trade publications with long histories were generally magazines first (or some other periodical type), they should also be italicized. (In this particular case, given that IndieWire is a "news site[] with original content", its name should, of course, be italicized.) Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 20:52, 6 August 2019 (UTC)


Does the MOS have any recommendation on how to use punctuation before and after abbreviations like "e.g."? If we were to expand the uses of "e.g." to "for example" on WP:MOS, for example, it would probably be necessary to add about a dozen colons/semicolons (before) and several commas (after). Jc86035 (talk) 14:10, 6 August 2019 (UTC)

This topic comes up occasionally, and I think generally it's "commas on both sides or neither". Check the archives if you haven't yet. (See also Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations.) --Izno (talk) 22:40, 6 August 2019 (UTC)

Whether to reproduce bowdlerisation seen in secondary sources

Opinions are needed on the following: Wikipedia talk:Offensive material#whether to reproduce bowdlerisation seen in secondary sources. A permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:54, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

Some discussion in the archives; not sure if any is of interest. --Izno (talk) 00:16, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

Since 09:46, 14 September 2009 the Manual of Style has stated that № shouldn't be used in articles, why is this the case? The numero sign article itself and the Manual of Style template for punctuation marks use № as the primary definition. DynamoDegsy (talk) 16:04, 30 July 2019 (UTC)

There may be other reasons as well, but we try to stay away from the more obscure precomposed characters because now and then some browser or screen reader doesn't support them. EEng 17:09, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
I can't remember the last time (if ever) I have seen № in an English text. It is common in Russian texts. Doremo (talk) 19:14, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
You know no №? --A D Monroe III(talk) 20:07, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
Characters that can't be easily entered on most keyboards are hard for readers to search for using the search feature of their browsers, and hard for editors to enter. Symbols that don't provide a significant advantage over the corresponding characters that can be easily typed shouldn't be used. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:08, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
And yet articles regularly incorporate difficult to access characters, e.g. en space, em space, and the many variants of hyphens and dashes. DynamoDegsy (talk) 08:35, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
By the "keep markup simple" MOS rule, en space and em space should almost always be converted to regular ASCII spaces, or if absolutely necessary to &ensp; or &emsp; so they are distinguishable. Dashes are often written &ndash; or &mdash; but the raw Unicode characters are not difficult to access — there is a widget below every Wikipedia edit window and those are the first two characters on the Insert list there. -- Beland (talk) 20:33, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
The numero sign is actually fairly common in English, it's just that it's usually written as No. (or similar), which is not how the character № looks in most fonts. (This is, of course, a good reason to avoid this character in the English Wikipedia in most situations.) --Zundark (talk) 16:15, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
I strongly concr with Jc3s5h, above. And MOS:NUM is all over this, too. We don't use precomposed fractions, nor various other Unicode doodads that aren't actually helpful in an open-encyclopedic context. — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 15:26, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

Concerns about using italics

Why must we use italics in article titles even when other publications, such as the Argentine newspapers Clarín and La Nación, or even the US newspaper The New York Times, just use boldface for news article titles rather than italics? --Fandelasketchup (talk) 15:38, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

Fandelasketchup, I do not understand the question. Are you talking about Wikipedia articles or articles from newspapers? Newspaper articles are not supposed to be italicized. See MOS:TITLE. They would be considered a minor work and they would be put inside a pair of straight quotes. Wikipedia article titles follow the same guidelines. See WP:ITALICTITLE. Most publications, including Wikipedia, have their own house style. Ours "contains some conventions that differ from those in some other, well-known style guides and from what is often taught in schools. Wikipedia's editors have discussed these conventions in great detail and have reached consensus that these conventions serve our purposes best." PopularOutcasttalk2me! 21:11, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
PopularOutcast, my question was why must we use italics in our articles' titles if other publications may not do that, opting to reserve italics for foreign words not adopted in a certain publication's native language (in our example, Latin words used in English.) The newspaper example was just that, an example. Sorry for any misunderstanding. --Fandelasketchup (talk) 23:48, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
To answer the question, I believe, see footnote 8 of WP:Article titles. --Izno (talk) 23:57, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

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