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Capitalization discussions ongoing [keep at top of talk page]Edit

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Capitalisation of internet vs InternetEdit

To quote @Markworthen: in this discussion, "In American English "Internet" has traditionally been capitalized. However, Merriam-Webster notes: "In U.S. publications, the capitalized form Internet continues to be more common than internet, although the lowercase form is rapidly gaining more widespread use. In British publications, internet is now the more common form." American Heritage Dictionary lists "internet, also Internet". I reviewed Manual of Style/Capital letters; searched within the Manual of Style for "internet"; and searched Help for "manual of style internet", but did not find any specific Wikipedia guidance. I am in favor of "internet". Perhaps we should propose including a line or two about the word in the MOS and recommend using "internet" for articles in American English. I suspect most articles in BE, AU, NZ, and other forms of English already use the lower-case version, although I did not investigate." --[E.3][chat2][me] 14:26, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

Lower case seems the sensible way to go. Tony (talk) 03:32, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
For a New Yorker like me, this debate was over three years ago (It's Official), but I'm neutral on whether it gets a recommendation in the MOS. —jameslucas ▄▄▄ ▄ ▄▄▄ ▄▄▄ ▄ 03:49, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
We have the article Capitalization of Internet which might be illuminating. I've definitely noticed that capitalization of the word is decreasing. SchreiberBike | ⌨  03:52, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes for me personally the capitalisation "Internet" feels most unnatural. Interesting to see the history behind it. I think given the number of external MOS that have been updated to reflect its common usage, it is worth standardising as uncapitalised on wiki, especially since the clear global trend favours it. --[E.3][chat2][me] 13:07, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't care about what dictionaries say, I was just looking for an NPOV when I was going to ask the very same question. Also, @E.3:, since the article linked above spells "capitalization" with a Z, you should have done the same, but you spelled it with an S instead in the the header to this discussion page entry. --Fandelasketchup (talk) 11:55, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Apologies, I hope you understand my position as a native speaker of AU/NZ English (always stuck in the middle between UK and US English) that -isation vs -ization is virtually never an intentional decision for me, and certainly not in this case. However I do feel that lower case internet is worthy of discussion. --[E.3][chat2][me]
  • Lower-case and include in MOS, per nom, Tony, and JamesLucas' link. Randy Kryn (talk) 15:03, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase/Comment – looking at Capitalization_of_Internet#Argument_for_proper_noun_usage, and the rest of the article, I can't even find a source that argues that Internet is a proper name (I called for a citation to that effect); yes, there are a few examples of style guides that recommend capping, but no actual discussion of why. I'm sure they exist, but all the recent discussion I find is going the other way, arguing why to phase out this old "specialized" style from the community that developed it. So, as long as Randy is on board, I see no reason to stick with cap. On the other hand, if you look at this ref you see that we do still cap some other things that we shouldn't -- should we try to be more consistent with our general plan of MOS:CAPS? Dicklyon (talk) 15:21, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Perchance (never used the word before), are you saying, per your link, that Wikipedia should lower-case Sun and Moon in all instances and not just in 'the sun rose' context? Those two astronomical bodies are pretty substantial things compared to the you-can't-point-to-it internet (I've always thought of internet as lower-cased and never thought of it as an upper cased definable object or event). But unless I'm mistaken, that massive thing up there that's emitting energetic life-sustaining photons and that Earth is trying to fall into, and that large rock that's trying to fall to Earth (which the sunlight lights up to give a nighttime show of it trying to fall to Earth), are solid enough and prominent enough to have proper names. That's one of the really good things about Wikipedia, that we ignore all rules and upper-case Sun and Moon, which are usually oddly lower-cased by confused or unobservant writers and editors. Randy Kryn (talk) 15:41, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
The English language rule is that there is no rule. Just as there no hard and fast rules for a whole host of other issues in the language. Example: spelling, depending on country, Oxford or Cambridge, newspaper, or country.
The only rule (rather publishing practise) is to be consistent on a page, You know that. Just as you know it's not the projects remit to creatively make a different rule out of nothing; which is unofficially the Oxford University's privilege. This whole topic your pushing is over something 99.9 percent of the population doesn't notice or care about. It's the kind of false rule that makes the language rigid, English is the most powerful language in part because of its flexibility. However your actions or policing on this nit picking piece of uniformity, continues to play havoc with software links and redirects, destroying the follow on of reader scores. Once the title is changed in anyway the article loses its historical read count.
This all stems from a piece of contradictory nonsense in MOS:THECAPS, where the policy says: In English-language titles, every word is capitalized, except for articles, short coordinating conjunctions, and short prepositions. First and last words within a title, including a subtitle, are capitalized regardless of grammatical use. This is known as title case. Capitalization of non-English titles varies by language.This is not applied to Wikipedia's own articles, which are given in sentence case:[a] capitalize the first letter, and proper names (e.g., List of selection theorems, Foreign policy of the Hugo Chávez administration).
In a number of other places you have pedalled this nonsense and failed to get consensus. Yet you carry on regardless. See Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Ships#Motor_Torpedo_Boat_PT-109_and_other_such_boats
Please tell us why the rules of the English language can be or should be ignored in this matter, by this contradictory and superficial policy; and why you continue to push your unwanted dogmatic style dictatorship. See here Talk:Motor_Gun_Boat#Requested_move_20_October_2013 where the whole idea was emphatically rejected.
Do you honestly think that every creator of an article doesn't put thought into the style of the title. So every time you change it your doing something without that person's agreement; without their consent. Many against the one it would seem. You are in the minority; no consensus! Broichmore (talk) 19:27, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Broichmore, are you addressing me with that statement? It's spaced as if you are, so please clarify. I didn't participate in one of the discussions you linked, and I don't run around changing titles unless they are obviously changeable. Thanks. Randy Kryn (talk) 20:37, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
He means me, as I downcased an article he created (Air lock diving-bell plant) and maybe some others he cared about. In general, I think editors mostly do not think about the issues in WP:NCCAPS and MOS:CAPS when they create articles; almost all articles are created in title case, and those that aren't proper names get adjusted later. But yes sometimes editors do think about it and try to do the right thing, which I applaud. That doesn't mean their decisions carry more weight that other editors who review it later. Dicklyon (talk) 04:48, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
Dicklyon Randy Kryn Dick thank you for putting Randy straight.
Dick, So much of the above is just incorrect. The internet started off in lower case as a custom back in the days of Tim Berners-Lee when computers were little better than ticker tape machines. We are way past that since HTML. The rules of the English language apply now, because computers can now emulate the printed page. Using title case, as it's own title suggests is to use caps, and that is the norm in the English language. All your continuing sophistry does not mask that this is the case; in your own words, editors mostly use caps in titles, and even in the wiki policy itself it admits the English language uses title case. Yet you persist in this nonsense of creating vast numbers of re-directs. The English language rule is that there is no rule. The publishing practise is to be consistent on a page. I would put the point that since your re-directs the reader scores are lost on transfer to the new title. If a newspaper quotes an instance of how many times a page was read, it will come up with wrong statistic thanks to you. To comment on what NASA does is absurd, it, as is the English language is inconsistent. It's easy to pick out bits that prove your point, which is misleading to others here. Your contributions page is revealing, your changing page names because of the wrong sized dash. Thousands of times. If, well meaning and constructive editors are getting this wrong then the rules need to be simplified, that's clear. As for your statement those that aren't proper names get adjusted later., well I would dispute that you are the world authority on what is and what isn't from my own personal experience with you. Meanwhile you sit at the very centre of a maelstrom of controversy on multiple talk pages, which you obviously enjoy as you seek it out, at the same time creating black holes sucking the time out of useful editors. Broichmore (talk) 13:05, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
If, well meaning and constructive editors are getting this wrong then the rules need to be simplified, that's clear Yes, I am often confused when trying to use the same style on the page when there is no MOS guidance. I understand with regional varieties of English, but things like emdashes and endashes, etc, are confusing when creating collaborative articles to me. Lowercase internet seemed like an easy way to standardise, for MOS from my experience in writing a detailed technical article as a newbie. --[E.3][chat2][me] 15:14, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
As for Sun and Moon, no, I'm not saying lowercase in all instances; but note that some were arguing caps in almost all instances, claiming that in "the sun rose" we mean the astronomical object, so it's an astronomical context – to which I say BS, and sources don't support that. As for "universe", yes, I'd say always lowercase; NASA says so, too. Maybe "solar system", too. Just as the techies like their capped Internet, the astronomers like their stuff capped, even when sources mostly don't. Dicklyon (talk) 04:53, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase. Writing "the Internet" as such was once common, but it is more and more frequently being written in lowercase. Calidum 14:47, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase; the technical distinction between the Internet and an internet isn't something most readers or editors maintain anymore, and several style guides (e.g., Wired, Chicago Manual of Style, The New York Times, AP) and writers have already made the switch to always writing internet in lowercase. If traditionally small-i internets are to be talked about, terms like "networked computers", "computer networks", or "internetworks" would perhaps be less ambiguous. Umimmak (talk) 15:20, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
Since when, is it our remit to mould and codify the English language. We are not allowed to engage in original research, but here we are dictating how English (or should I write english (sic)) should be written. Dicklyon through his sophistry and trouble making has made the titling of a Wikipedia article a daymare already, and now we're going to do the same with prose. That's a worse mare. The rule is to do what you want as long as its consistent on a page. For every New York Times there is another paper that will do it differently. Particular Newspapers are not our style leaders and shouldn't be. Earlier the wrong sized dash was mentioned; this is another case of the project getting it wrong by standardizing on the dash that's awkward to implement on a keyboard. We are going down a similar road to hell here. As is the case in numerous other places Dicklyon will wind up here with as usual with a no consensus result. That would be sensible. Mind you I said the same in favour of remain instead of Brexit. Oh, and Sun and Moon is a title and in small it's prose. Broichmore (talk) 16:07, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase and support for MOS as nom. I understand other peoples concerns around wiki being internally consistent in an article without too much style intrusion. However, I think all of the guides, and the vast bulk of us, have followed the world in lower casing internet so this is a specific case. Internet is confusing, sticks out like a sore thumb, and is so 1996. --[E.3][chat2][me] 14:57, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
And from another bent from this article I was the bulk contributor: A different perspective in 2018 by Musetti and colleagues reappraised the internet in terms of its necessity and ubiquity in modern society, as a social environment, rather than a tool, thereby calling for the reformulation of the internet addiction model. The internet is becoming established as an online environment, in some experts opinion, and so therefore not a proper name. --[E.3][chat2][me] 15:05, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase and include in MOS. "Internet" doesn't fall into any of the capitalization categories discussed in MOS currently. It is a bit of an odd duck and deserves an explicit mention. Inclusion in MOS is probably necessary for it to be lowercased on, e.g., Internet, where the capital I looks strange and anachronistic, as others have mentioned. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Danstronger (talkcontribs) 23:48, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Use upper case; it's a proper name in 99.9% of usage here. An internet is a lower-cased common noun, but effectively obsolete terminology (we say WAN these days). It doesn't matter that the AP Stylebook and some others prefer lower case. They're not written by people with a deep technical background, and their LC recommendation is simply ignorant. We can and should do better. The [World Wide] Web is a similar but district case. In reference to the Web, it's a proper name. In reference to web technology, by which both the Web and millions of intranets operate, it's a common noun (or adjectival derivative thereof), except in the case of the Web, proper, being a required component. Apache is a web server; PayPal is a Web service.

    There are many other such subtle distinctions. E.g.: "East Bay Community Recovery Project is partially funded by the City of Alameda" (a legal entity and thus a proper name); but "I work in the city of Alameda" (a place, disambiguated from the county of the same name). No one lives in "the City of Alameda" (unless someone's squatting in a particular government office building, I suppose).
     — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 05:20, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

  • Lowercase and include in MOS. per common usage by Wikipedia editors (see above). The OED (new entry in June 2001) has only lower case, though, to be fair, it does cite capitalised usage in American sources. Dbfirs 09:38, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

RFC on Internet or internet for inclusion in the WP:MOS/CAPSEdit

Request for comment as to whether "Internet" should be upper or lower case, and whether this is suitable for inclusion in WP:MOS/CAPS. Please see this previous discussion. Recognising that the "Internet" used to be, or still is a proper name, upper case Internet remains American English (with its usage decreasing in American English). In other national varieties of English, internet is much more common. In the relevant article, we are unable to find a source for it being a proper name. "Internet" doesn't fall into any of the capitalization categories discussed in MOS, and I think it warrants specific mention, as there are numerous examples I have run across, where it causes reverts or confusion. Numerous external style guides mention this specifically. --[E.3][chat2][me] 11:58, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

SurveyEdit

  • Lowercase and include in MOS for all the reasons given in the NYT article (It's Official) so helpfully provided by JamesLucas particually the objective to "reflect settled, familiar usage among educated readers." While I understand the technical distinction drawn by AReaderOutThataway, I agree with the NYT that it is "a pointless distinction now, since “internet” is rarely used anymore in the generic sense" and where the technical difference is important there are other (better) ways to distinguish a private internet from the global internet (see what I did there). 203.10.55.11 (talk) 02:55, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase and include in MOS per anon above and previous arguments. The capping fad has run its course, per the NYT. Dicklyon (talk) 04:15, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Uppercase and include in MoS. Specifically, "the Internet" should remain capitalized as a proper name for the global network of networks (and the Web as the global World Wide Web); "an internet" (a wide-area network) and "web" when inclusive of intrawebs (e.g. in "web technologies") are lowercase common nouns. Lowercasing the proper-name versions is a lazy and ignorant habit of journalists and random non-professional writers. The only reason they don't recognize it as the same error as writing "the rocky mountains run from Canada to Mexico" is lack of familiarity with and care about the specificity of technical terminology. WP can, does, and should continue to do better or we're failing to be encyclopedic. PS: I previously commented in a similar but more detailed vein in the pre-RfC discussion; it's not clear if the two stacks of comments will be considered jointly by the closer.  — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 06:03, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase and include in MOS. It's way past time this was done, given general usage in sources. Tony (talk) 06:52, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase and include in MOS. Internet falls short of most definitions of a proper noun as a person, place, organization, ship, animal, event, or other individual entity (from Wiktionary), unlike the City of Alameda. Too notional, like biosphere, ecosphere etc. Batternut (talk) 10:02, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Uppercase and include in MoS As mentioned above, our Wikipedia article "Capitalization of Internet" lists which media sources do and do not capitalize it. Most of those sources made their decisions in the 2000s when more sources were more formal about writing about the Internet. I share AReaderOutThataway's view above about the intent being to note a proper noun. Even if we have no source for that, being a proper noun is the obvious rationale for the world globally adopting the practice 20 years ago. I also agree with Tony1 that many sources use lowercase. Wikipedia has special expertise in matters of technology and we have heightened need to be precise. Using "Internet" as a proper noun is more correct for use in Wikipedia. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:11, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • lower case. UC use is declining rapidly, and it seems obvious that we should go with the flow. --Ohconfucius (on the move) (talk) 09:56, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase but exclude in MOS Per MOS:CAPS: only words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources are capitalized in Wikipedia. The previous discussion indicates that it does not meet the criteria either specifically or generally nor as a variety of English. As this TP now tracks relevant caps discussions, I don't think that the result of this RfC needs to be integrated into the MOS. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 22:16, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Situational, follow similar scheme as MOS:CELESTIALBODIES AngusWOOF (barksniff) 23:25, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

Threaded discussionEdit

  • What evidence that Internet is/was a proper name? · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 05:00, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    • Just Google it; this has been discussed to death for about two decades now. And check up on what "proper name" means (in linguistics and in philosophy of names, under both of which "the Internet" qualifies as a proper name).  — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 06:03, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    • @Pbsouthwood: The major evidence is that 20-30 years ago the world's media started capitalizing the term casually and without feeling a need to show evidence. The available justification for doing that is recognition that the term is a proper name. If not a proper name, then why did so many thoughtful media sources globally capitalize it for a generation? In addition to the evidence of practice, AReader's explanation matches the rationale to the practice. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:22, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
      • Thanks Bluerasberry. Do the media still generally capitalise the term, or is that a fashion which has fallen away?
      • AReaderOutThataway. If it was a simple case, this RfC would not be taking place here and now, and it would not have been discussed to death for about two decades. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 05:39, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
@Pbsouthwood: There was always mixed use. Perspectives which saw the Internet as revolutionary wrote about it as if it were an entity. Perspectives which saw the Internet as plumbing treated the word as similar. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:38, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
I am inclined to agree. I don't see that a hard rule is useful.· · · Peter Southwood (talk): 13:46, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I recommend that all comments in the related/earlier discussion section Capitalisation of internet vs Internet above should be considered for inclusion in this RFC. I initially commented there thinking it was the RFC section. 203.10.55.11 (talk) 03:17, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I would treat it like how sun, earth, and moon are treated for MOS:CELESTIALBODIES. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 23:23, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
    Support capitalizing internet only when in an astronomical context. Dicklyon (talk) 23:57, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

The BahamasEdit

We currently state that "The Bahamas" is incorrect at MOS:THECAPS. I see this was recently changed and reverted, with some discussion in the edit summaries.

The article at The Bahamas#Etymology includes a sourced statement that "The Bahamas" is correct. (Hence the article name includes "The".) I understand there may be sources for "the Bahamas", but the Government of The Bahamas consistently uses "The Bahamas" as the short form name on its own website (e.g. Overview of The Bahamas). Shouldn't our usage be consistent with what the country calls itself? Wdchk (talk) 03:27, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

Yes, but as has been argued over and over again, (1) official names are not automatically followed here (2) we follow reliable sources for content but not for styling, which is based on our MoS. Please note that I am not supporting either capitalizing or not "the" in this context, merely arguing against automatically following official styles. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:54, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
I will also note that the “official” website linked to above is very inconsistent. Yes, it uses “The Bahamas” (upper case “T”) at the top of the page, but in running text we frequently find “the Bahamas” (lower case “t”) and even “Bahamas” (no “the” at all). Blueboar (talk) 13:44, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
I understand both the above points. I think what's still bothering me, though, is that currently it looks like we are being inconsistent with ourselves. WP:OFFICIAL is about article titles. At some point, "The Bahamas" has been accepted as the article title. That is the current state. But according to the MOS, if we link to The Bahamas, that is incorrect. Maybe editors can come up with examples to show this is not unusual, but right now it looks like an inconsistency that I have trouble explaining. Wdchk (talk) 22:21, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Don't all Wikipedia articles begin with an initial cap? If so, a page called "The Bahamas" about "the Bahamas" is appropriate, right? —Eyer (If you reply, add {{reply to|Eyer}} to your message to let me know.) 22:34, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
@Eyer: Not by my reading of WP:THE. The article about "the Bahamas" would be Bahamas. Compare United Kingdom, the article about "the United Kingdom". Wdchk (talk) 23:07, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Good point. I really don't care whether it's "The Bahamas" or "the Bahamas", I just want to make things consistent. —Eyer (If you reply, add {{reply to|Eyer}} to your message to let me know.) 23:14, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Consistent? In Wikipedia? HaHaHaHaHa... that’s a good one! oh, wait... you’re serious... sorry. Blueboar (talk) 00:15, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
The title should just be Bahamas (same as United Kingdom, etc.), and use "the" (not capital "The") in mid-sentence if the construction seems to require the definite article. This is not one of those ultra-rare cases like The Hague where virtually all writers and style guides agree that the "The" is required. Most of the other cases that conventionally required this a few generations no longer do ("the Camargue", "the Ukraine", "the Gambia", and so on), and the few that still do usually retain it (like "the Levant"), generally don't take capital "The" in modern writing. Even "The Hague" is increasingly written "the Hague", and can appear as just "Hague" in various contexts these days ("a Hague-based organisation").  — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 06:21, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Capitalization of "List of Fellows of..." etc.Edit

See Category:Lists of members of learned societies. Some are capped, especially "Fellows of the Royal Society", which I had a little pushback on while fixing. I'm presuming that even though "Fellow" is not a "job title", the same considerations as we have in MOS:JOBTITLES would apply. Other points of view on this? Dicklyon (talk) 23:03, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

  • A "member" of a society is a member in ordinary language, as well as being a grade of membership. Thus I am a member of the British Computer Society; I am also entitled to put "Member of the British Computer Society" or "MBCS" after my name. On the other hand, "fellow" in the ordinary language sense, at least in British English, does not have the same meaning as does "Fellow" in "Fellow of the British Computer Society". It's not a job title; how you would capitalize a degree is more appropriate. Would you write "List of doctors of science of X" for a list of people awarded a D.Sc. by institution X? Peter coxhead (talk) 17:56, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, I would write "List of doctors of science of x"; wouldn't you? And I have been named Fellow of the IEEE, but our List of IEEE fellows and its subsidiary articles use lowercase. Are some societies somehow different about this? Dicklyon (talk) 01:50, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
  • The guidance at MOS:JOBTITLES states, apt to this discussion, "They are capitalized only in the following cases...When a formal title for a specific entity (or conventional translation thereof) is addressed as a title or position in and of itself, is not plural, is not preceded by a modifier (including a definite or indefinite article), and is not a reworded description" Thus, "there are many female fellows of the Royal Society", but "Jane Doe was named Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012". I hope that helps. --Jayron32 18:06, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
"Fellow of the Royal Society", and similar learned societies, is an honour/award not a position/job. If it is a list of Fellow of the Royal Society who are women then "female Fellows of the Royal Society" would be most accurate. The whole phrase is the award. We don't remove capitals from awards because they are plural (eg Victoria crosses should be Victoria Crosses) or have adjectives attached (eg foreign/female/Russian etc). This is different to a research fellow for example which is a job. Same word, different usage. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 22:09, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
NYT has the MacArthur Foundation and its honorees, the MacArthur fellows. IMO, the guidance in MOS:JOBTITLES makes the most sense. —Eyer (If you reply, add {{reply to|Eyer}} to your message to let me know.) 22:41, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree with that interpretation of JOBTITLES. You have titles President of the United States and Fellow of the Royal Society, but plurals presidents of the United States and fellows of the Royal Society. I don't see a reason to treat them differently. Dicklyon (talk) 01:39, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Coming in as someone who doesn't know enough about this to give personal testimony. Does the word define an academic award or achievement title, such as Ph.Ds (Wikipedia capitalizes the Ph.D plural)? Does Harvard's use of the name President and Fellows of Harvard College, one of the governing boards of the university, enter into the discussion? Full disclosure, I plan on going to Harvard (if I can get past the gates and grab a look at an art museum or two). Randy Kryn (talk) 02:19, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
President and Fellows of Harvard College is the proper name of a governing board, not the plural of a title; so it will stay capped. Say hi to Click and Clack. Dicklyon (talk) 02:35, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Hi Randy Kryn, your comment per PhDs (as written) is a conflation, since it is the pluralisation of an initialism. The goal posts point in a different direction when considering pluralising the phrase written in full, starting with where the "s" is placed and then, how this impacts the decision to cap (or not). Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 10:49, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Cinderella157 Since when does pluralization of proper nouns lead to lower case? Are you arguing that the plural of Purple Heart is purple hearts?? That a singular member of The Beatles becomes a beatle? That makes no sense. —David Eppstein (talk) 05:23, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
David Eppstein, you are conflating a false equivalence between proper names and capitalisation - the former being a matter of grammar and the other, a matter of orthography. Proper names are not descriptive and cannot be pluralised or if they are in a pluralised form, cannot be singularised. There are lots of things that might be capitalised that are not proper names. Some of these are titles - of awards, honours and job titles. Others are because they are derived from proper names but are not being used as a proper name - ie there were three Williams present. "Purple Hearts" is a false analogy to which I have already commented (below). It is the title of an award (not a proper name). It is a false analogy because pluralising does not alter the phrase internally. On the otherhand, fellow of a society is an honorific. MOS:JOBTITLES applies to honorifics such as king or president. It is directly analogous. As to "a beatle", this would be an informal or incorrect construct (if not contrived - ie a false example). One would (more correctly of more formally) say: He was one of the Beatles. It might be a moot point but it is still not directly analogous to the case in hand (ie a false analogy) and we have guidance which is much more directly analogous. This is what we have an house style for. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 10:09, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
Also, a proper name is not normally modified by a determiner but sometimes includes the article the as part of the name, in which case, it cannot be substituted for a different determiner - as can be done with "a Purple Heart" or "the Purple Heart". Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 22:03, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Use lower case. This is the same kind of construction as in "list of mayors of Foo" and so on. Nothing new is raised by swapping in "fellows" or any other word. It's just routine MOS:JOBTITLES, WP:NCCAPS, MOS:CAPS, and MOS:TM stuff. When four guidelines all point to lower case, there's no qiestion at all which direction to go.  — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 05:01, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Use upper case. “Fellow” (in this context) isn’t a job title, it is an award. Blueboar (talk) 11:56, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
    It's more like an awarded title, so use lower case. Primergrey (talk) 15:38, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
    I agree. The award is the fellowship, so capitalize “Royal Society Fellowship”. “fellow” is the title given to those honored with the award, so lowercase “the fellows of the Royal Society”. —Eyer (If you reply, add {{reply to|Eyer}} to your message to let me know.) 17:43, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

I'm seeing a clear majority opinion that JOBTITLES applies to such honorary titles. Unless someone starts an RFC that looks like it might overturn that, I'll assume per the recent "List of presidents of..." RM discussion that the consensus is that these overcapitalizations are worth fixing. Dicklyon (talk) 03:38, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

I strongly disagree, having found out about this discussion only because Dicklyon replied on his talk page when I complained about two of his many page moves based on this discussion. I would certainly have participated in the discussion had I known of it, having two of these lists on my watchlist, but I was blindsided by them. We don't lowercase Order of the British Empire, the proper name of a British honor, merely because some of the words in that name are also common English words; why should we similarly lowercase ACM Fellow, the proper name of a computer science honor, merely because it uses an English word? And why are we declaring a consensus based on a small number of participants on an obscure MOS talk page that was never advertised on any of the affected list-of-fellows pages? (Note: when "fellow" is used in its English meaning for this general class of honors, rather than as part of the name of a specific honor, as I used it in the immediately preceding sentence, it should certainly be lowercased, but this is not inconsistent that we should keep names of honors with their proper capitalizations.) I'm also skeptical about your ability to discern a consensus; multiple of the participants above opposed this change. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:07, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
I don't see a clear consensus here, either. My own inclination would be to capitalize Fellow in most circumstances where it refers to a specific honor. This is what I'm accustomed to in academic writing outside of Wikipedia. XOR'easter (talk) 17:53, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
I don't have an opinion about what the capitalisation should be, but there is certainly no consensus for any option in this discussion so nobody should be using it to support page moves in either direction. Thryduulf (talk) 22:46, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm not seeing a clear distinction between "List of Fellows of..." and "List of presidents of...". Both tend to be elected honors, whether jobs or not. There was a very clear consensus to follow MOS:JOBTITLES for things like "List of presidents...", so I worked on a few hundred of those. What is it about "Fellows" that generates this pushback? Note that many of our "List of fellows..." articles already used lowercase. Dicklyon (talk) 04:50, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
The distinction is that "List of people with job x" should be titled treating x as the English name of a job (not a proper noun) while "List of people with award X" should be titled treating X as the name of the award (a proper noun). How is that so difficult to grasp? The name of the Purple Heart award is "Purple Heart", not "purple heart". The name of the James Beard Foundation Award is "James Beard Foundation Award", not "James Beard foundation award". And the name of the Fellow of the IEEE award is "Fellow of the IEEE", not "fellow of the IEEE". And I note that you moved many of our lists to lowercase, so the fact that many of them are now lowercase means only that you hold an incorrect opinion on capitalization of proper noun phrases and have acted on it. —David Eppstein (talk) 04:55, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Just like people with. job title President of the United States, we don't cap in List of presidents of the United States. Yes, I got awarded, or elected, Fellow of the IEEE, but the (incomplete) set of articles like List of fellows of IEEE Communications Society don't cap fellows; and no I had nothing to do with those. Dicklyon (talk) 02:40, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

Lower case: Per AReaderOutThataway. JOBTITLES applies. There is a formal title but by pluralising, it is no longer the formal title. "Purple Heart" does not change construction in the same way as the matter under discussion. "List of people with award X", does not alter the construction of X in the same way as the matter under discussion. And frankly, a proper noun is not descriptive. An orthographic convention to capitalise (or not) does not create equivalence with "proper noun". A title which is descriptive is not a proper noun even though convention or style may nonetheless result in it being capitalised. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 11:43, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

I note that there has still been no attempt to make this discussion known at the talk pages of the affected lists. Unless you get buy-in from the editors of those lists, any discussion here can hardly be considered a consensus of those editors. —David Eppstein (talk) 16:19, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
At this point, the only pages where "List of fellows" has been contested are the two orgs that David Eppstein is a fellow of (List of Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (which I am also a fellow of), and List of Fellows of the American Statistical Association), and the 250 or so years like List of Royal Society Fellows elected in 1714 and List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 2016 that I haven't gotten to yet. Besides the Royal Society ones that Gaia Octavia Agrippa moved back, none of the others that I downcased have been challenged. I'm sure that people in a position to care must have many of those on their respective watchlists, and a local consensus of editors of the particular pages would not overturn the broad consensus to respect MOS:CAPS anyway. I still think I see a consensus here, more clearly now with recent comments; is there a reason to do an RFC on this, or is it clear already? Dicklyon (talk) 02:33, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
I did some maintenance work on List of fellows of IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, and the lowercase "fellows" looked wrong all the while. I had thought about upper-casing it but didn't get around to it before this discussion started. And I see no clarity arising from the discussion, just invocations of MOS:JOBTITLES, a style guide that I honestly can't see being applicable. Invoking the broad consensus to respect MOS:CAPS presumes that MOS:CAPS actually says to lowercase "Fellows", but the closest thing in it is the bit about military awards and decorations. As mentioned above, "Fellow of the Royal Society" is analogous to "Victoria Cross", which MOS:CAPS says to capitalize. XOR'easter (talk) 01:00, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
I don't see them as analogous. I would say "she received the Victoria Cross" not that "she is a Victoria Cross". I would say that "she is a fellow of the Royal Society" not that "she received the Fellow of the Royal Society". I think you might say that "she received the Fellowship of the Royal Society". SchreiberBike | ⌨  01:58, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
I'd say "she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society". It's pretty darn analogous. XOR'easter (talk) 03:42, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
Very analogous to "was elected President of the United States", I'd agree. Dicklyon (talk) 04:58, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
Except that's election to a job, not an honorary status. XOR'easter (talk) 05:29, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
Analogous. Dicklyon (talk) 04:41, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase per MOS. And while we're at it, there are tons of "List of [job name] in [country name]" that need downcasing. Tony (talk) 06:55, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    • Since when does MOS tell us to lowercase proper noun phrases? And since when are these job names? Have you even read the discussion? —David Eppstein (talk) 07:02, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    Tony, if you can provide some examples, I can search for more and work on fixing them. Dicklyon (talk) 03:38, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Lowercase per MOS:JOBTITLES SchreiberBike | ⌨  03:17, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

Capitalization of "Colonel of the Regiment"Edit

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
This discussion has moved back to the article TP. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 23:20, 15 October 2019 (UTC)


Please may I refer editors to the discussion under way here: Talk:Sir Charles Asgill, 2nd Baronet#Capitalisation.

As will be seen, my case for writing "Colonel of the Regiment" is supported by the relevant Wikipedia article and also The London Gazette. To disallow the format used in the latter would be the same as saying that the proceedings in the British Houses of Parliament are not recorded in Hansard.

I trust my case will be allowed. Arbil44 (talk) 09:39, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

I'm not sure I agree with that analogy . It seems to me it would instead be like disregarding how Hansard capitalises Member of Parliament. Nonetheless, let's see what others think about whether Colonel of the Regiment should be capitalised. Cordless Larry (talk) 12:30, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

What I meant, Cordless Larry, is to deny the format for The London Gazette as being the final word on the matter, would be the same as denying the veracity of both publication's manner of format. The London Gazette and Hansard are both British publications which cannot be argued with. I expressed myself clumsily in my agitation. BTW, I see that here it is capitalised here: http://thepeerage.com/p12573.htm#i125728 Arbil44 (talk) 12:50, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

Can anyone help us out here? The question is, should the title Colonel of the Regiment be capitalised (or are there circumstances in which it should be, and others when it shouldn't)? Cordless Larry (talk) 10:40, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

Wrong place/wrong question: There is an extensive discussion at Talk:Sir Charles Asgill, 2nd Baronet#Capitalisation. This is fairly clearly covered by MOS:JOBTITLES. Appointed Colonel of the Regiment of the 2nd Battalion 46th Regiment of Foot is not the same as Appointed colonel of the 2nd Battalion 46th Regiment of Foot. The former is the title and the latter is an abbreviated form, not unlike the distinction between King of France and French king. Looking at Talk:Sir Charles Asgill, 2nd Baronet#Capitalisation, this appears to have been "resolved" by adopting the former construction rather than by arguing for capitalisation in the latter. If the OP is to advocate for caps in the latter case, the RfC is malformed. It also appears to be fairly specific to the article, in which case, it would be more appropriate to raise the RfC there (where the context exists), while notifying this page of the RfC. If this is not resolved by adopting the former construction - why not? Is the "issue" is about capitalising the title when it stands alone (ie colonel of the regiment is an ... as opposed to a specific title per Appointed Colonel of the Regiment of the 2nd Battalion 46th Regiment of Foot? Would this be a case of "capitalisation for distinction" of the phrase? In that case, italics would be more appropriate. In any case, the RfC appears malformed, since the context for an informed comment is missing. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 10:34, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Cinderella157, thank you for your response. I have requested Cordless Larry reply here since, regrettably, I still do not fully understand whether, or not, we can use 'Colonel of the Regiment' on the Sir Charles Asgill page, or whether we must go elsewhere for the answer. He is much more familiar with Wikipedia than I am, and it was he who requested I post my OP here. Arbil44 (talk) 16:19, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Cinderella157's response is that Colonel of the Regiment should be capitalised, but not the abbreviated form colonel, Arbil44, and that if we want to propose a change to that rule, I'll need to reword the request for comment above. The reason I brought this here was because it also applies to the content at Colonel#Colonel of the Regiment. Cordless Larry (talk) 17:45, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
To Colonel#Colonel of the Regiment, please see duke. It would only be captitalised when it refers to a specific dukedom - eg Duke of Normandy. So similarly, colonel of a specific regiment. Caps have been traditionally used to distinguish a phase as a phrase (see MOS:WORDSASWORDS) since typewriters could only otherwise only use underline or quote marks and special fonts added to the cost of typesetting. Word-processing changes all that. Also, government sources are not generally accepted as good sources for guidance on capitalisation (see WP:SPECIALSTYLE), since they tend to over-cap, when compared to more general usage. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 23:00, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
I think we already knew this didn't we? Does this mean that this matter is now resolved and the format used on the Charles Asgill page can stay as is? Arbil44 (talk) 18:33, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Is Cinderella saying that the ceremonial appointment of 'Colonel of the Regiment' should be capitalised (as opposed to a colonel in a regiment which isn't) - or am I misunderstanding? Then why has the Asgill page been reverted to lower case in the matter of regiments of which he was Colonel? General Whistler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lashmer_Whistler was Colonel of the Royal Sussex Regiment (a term used five times on that page), for instance (and I knew him personally and saw his name and appointment in the written form for most of my childhood and teenage life), and the Duke of York is Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, so why is Asgill being treated differently? Will someone please explain in very simple terms so that I might understand? Another example would be - 'Black Rod' (a ceremonial position) performed her duties in the Houses of Parliament yesterday, but I haven't seen that written as 'black rod' anywhere. Arbil44 (talk) 00:14, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Sir William Knollys' article in the ODNB includes the sentence "He retired from office in 1877, and became gentleman usher of the black rod in the same year." Opera hat (talk) 11:20, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Agreed with Cinderella157; in that construction, "Colonel of the Regiment" is a formal title/office being addressed as such, while "colonel" is simply a rank. Compare "He was appointed Postmaster General of the United States" versus "He was promoted to city postmaster in 2017, and chaired a panel of postmasters at a National Association of Postmasters of the United States conference on modernization in 2019." Compare also "Donald Trump is President of the United States" vs. "Trump is the most controversial US president since Andrew Johnson." Cf. also our article on Lord Mayor of London (about the position as such) and our list of lord mayors of London (about people with that job).  — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 06:13, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Thanks AReaderOutThataway. Incidentally Asgill's father was Lord Mayor of London in 1757 (and commissioned the golden coach)! Opera hat has put the entire paragraph concerning Asgill's Colonelcies into lower case. Who is going to put capitals back, because if I do I will be banned instantly, without warning, under the COI banner. I absolutely know lower case is wrong, but what happens on Wikipedia when editors don't agree with a course of action? Who is the final arbiter? Arbil44 (talk) 07:18, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Pinging Opera hat so that they're aware of this discussion. Cordless Larry (talk) 07:22, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Here's another interesting one, which I did not know about before - "He was appointed third major...". Since he was a major-general at the time, clearly this is another ceremonial position - certainly not one I am familiar with - but the London Gazette has this as 'Third Major' - but apparently the format used by the London Gazette is not accepted. Arbil44 (talk) 09:40, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Hi Arbil44, Opera hat has added content but is probably unaware of either this discussion or the TP discussion and consensus re caps of Colonel of the Regiment. Please WP:AGF. I am confident that this can be corrected by either Opera hat or Cordless Larry. I would myself if I was clear where the changes of concern have been made were clearly identified to me. Please note that use of caps has changed a lot in the last 200 years, so we don't simply accept a 200 hear old styling - though the terminology "third major" is interesting. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 10:02, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Thank you so much Cinderella157. I will copy and paste the entry here and will change to capitals where they need to be. military personnel, in the UK at least, will know that this is how it should be:

Asgill was promoted to major-general in January 1799.[22] He was appointed Third Major of the 1st Foot Guards in November that year[23] and then Colonel-Commandant of the 2nd Battalion, 46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot on 9 May 1800.[24][25] He went onto half-pay when the 2nd Battalion was disbanded in 1802.[26][27] Promoted to lieutenant general in January 1805,[28] he was appointed Colonel of the 5th West India Regiment in February 1806,[29] of the 85th Regiment of Foot in October 1806,[30] and of the 11th (North Devonshire) Regiment on 25 February 1807.[25][31] He was promoted to general on 4 June 1814.[32]

This edit would be made more complicated by inserting a link to the Wikipedia article on 'Colonel of the Regiment' because that tends to interfere with the otherwise correct wording - and phrasing - used by Opera hat. The only issue here is where some capital letters are needed. Arbil44 (talk) 10:29, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Why is this discussion happening in two places at once? I've just explained my specific changes at Talk:Sir Charles Asgill, 2nd Baronet and then came here to reply on the more general issues.
For "third major", a fairly good explanation is here (about ¼ down the page). When I first started adding military biographies to Wikipedia, I used to capitalise all ranks (as in the London Gazette) but Wikipedia house style goes against this. Though "third major", "colonel-commandant" and "colonel" are unique positions within the regiments concerned, the distinction is somewhat arcane to the general reader, so I think that using capitals for some ranks and lower case for others, as proposed by User:Arbil44 above, looks messy and inconsistent and is highly likely to be changed by some drive-by editor in the future. Opera hat (talk) 10:57, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Opera hat - 1) Cordless Larry insisted I post here, and I was only doing as I was told to do. 2) You have hit the nail right on the head wheen you say ranks are not capitalised - they are not - but Colonel of the Regiment is not a rank - it is a 'ceremonial appointment' only and can be held by officers of varying ranks, although as a generalisation only, it is normally held by a general officer. Once this matterr is finally settled, if it ever is, is there any way of locking it in to avoid having to go through all this again? Arbil44 (talk) 11:07, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

I suggested posting here to get clarity on the general rule applied across Wikipedia, but discussion of how that rule should be applied to the specific article should indeed go at Talk:Sir Charles Asgill, 2nd Baronet#Capitalisation. Opera hat has posted there, so let's resume discussion (if necessary) on the article talk page now that it is clear what the rule is and we're into how to apply it. Cordless Larry (talk) 11:14, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
[edit conflict] I just noticed that you wrote "military personnel, in the UK at least, will know that this is how it should be". I think someone has already mentioned WP:SSF: just because officers or other ranks of a regiment would always refer to the Colonel of their Regiment, it doesn't follow that Wikipedia should do so. Asgill's entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography uses lower case for "colonel" and "colonelcy" throughout. Opera hat (talk) 11:20, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Cordless Larry - I wish I knew what 'the final outcome' is - I have no idea whatsoever. Is my edit, above, acceptable, or does it stay as Opera hat amended (to lower case) yesterday? I feel very out of the loop on account of all the reasons you are well aware of. It would seem very clear to me that Cinderella157 is in agreement with me and even offered to re-edit, so I provided that information. I refuse to accept that a lower case for rank follows through to lower case for 'ceremonial position' - would you write black rod or would you write Black Rod? Does this General Whistler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lashmer_Whistler count for absolutely nothing too - no less than 5 Colonel of the Regiments there?Arbil44 (talk) 11:26, 15 October 2019 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

All caps for music artist JPEGMAFIA?Edit

Need your opinions on how to apply the caps rules to music artist JPEGMAFIA. Should it remain a stylization with just the J capitalized or should the article be renamed to all caps? Note it is not an acronym Talk:Jpegmafia AngusWOOF (barksniff) 15:47, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Return to the project page "Manual of Style/Capital letters".