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Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters/Archive 28

Are class years capitalized?

I know that many schools capitalize class years. For example: "The Class of 2018 had its first reunion last summer." Is this also the case on Wikipedia? --Ixfd64 (talk) 18:24, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

A quick review shows that there is not a consistent use of the capitals in that case, one way or the other. --Jayron32 19:06, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I guess either would be fine, for now. --Ixfd64 (talk) 15:56, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
No, for the same reason "Student at Thomas Jefferson High School" and "People from New Jersey" are not proper-noun phrases (and should not be over-capitalized like that). @Ixfd64: If sources are not strongly consistent in capitalizing, our rule is to use lower case. It's the first item in the guideline.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:03, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
That makes sense. Thanks. Ixfd64 (talk) 22:14, 10 November 2018 (UTC)

Clarifying that COMMONNAME is not a style policy

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia talk:Article titles#Clarifying that UCRN is not a style policy. WP:AT and the naming conventions guidelines that cover style (e.g. WP:NCCAPS) have many cross-references to MoS. This is a simple (non-rules-changing) proposal to add one to WP:UCRN to reduce confusion and verbal conflict (especially at WP:RM).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:46, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

This notice seems biased from the title onwards. COMMONAME is a policy, not a guideline, please keep that in mind. Randy Kryn (talk) 02:42, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
COMMONNAME is not a policy. It's a strategy for RECOGNIZABILITY, one the main title CRITERIA. It's on a policy page, and it's a good idea, but it doesn't conflict with using our own style guidelines. Titles don't style differently from other text. Dicklyon (talk) 05:05, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Dicklyon on this matter. Tony (talk) 08:28, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
No one said anything about UCRN being a guideline, so this doesn't seem to make any sense. The title of the thread-pointer here is just copy-pasted from the title of the thread to which it points. I don't have any issue with saying that UCRN, in the sense of "textual material to which that shortcut points", is policy material, but it is not style policy material. Every attempt in the last 17+ years to inject style quibbles into actual WP policy has been shot down by the community (it's why we have all these naming conventions guidelines instead of a longer AT policy; the community will not tolerate the injection of such nitpicks into policy). And it's not "a" policy, it's a small part of one. Another way of putting what Dicklyon points out: UCRN tells us what name to pick by default as the first to test against the actual WP:CRITERIA to see whether to use it as an article title. UCRN is not one of the criteria itself. The fact that various people have great difficulty understanding this is a reason to revise UCRN's wording to be clearer, but the proposal at the other thread doesn't even go that far. It really is nothing but a cross-reference about how the WP:P&G are applied at WP:RM.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:00, 19 November 2018 (UTC)
Yes, "The title of the thread-pointer here is just copy-pasted from the title of the thread to which it points", you created the name of that thread too. And "it's not 'a' policy, it's a small part of one", so, policy. And the first sentence of the discussion is "We really need to succinctly clarify that WP:UCRN (WP:COMMONNAME) is not a style policy" doesn't seem biased, or...does it? Randy Kryn (talk) 13:25, 20 November 2018 (UTC)

MISI

What about the terminology "Marine Ice Sheet Instability" (MISI)? Article talk page discussion prokaryotes (talk) 15:05, 30 August 2018 (UTC)

Lower-case. Just being technical jargon doesn't make it a proper name. Your OS (operating system) is probably stored on an SSD (solid-state drive} or an HD (hard drive); it's not an "Operating System" on a "Solid-State Drive" or "Hard Drive" just because the acronyms are, like almost all acronyms, in all-caps.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:58, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

Isn't lower case preferred? As in "See also:"?

I was reverted[1] and at WP:MOS I see e.g. in one section a similar case:

"English plurals" is upper cased for two reasons, but should "collective noun" be? It's this just part of a full sentence? In the MOS itself I see footnote a. Is either (the much more common) upper and lower case ok? Isit ok to revert upper casing but not lower casing? comp.arch (talk) 17:33, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

I'd capitalize it. The hatnote is not directing you to generic concept of collective nouns, rather the article entitled "Collective noun". In the edit you link to, I'd remove the hatnote altogether though. The see also template is generally used for subsections. If those two articles are relevant, they should either be discussed in the text or in its own see also section, not at the top. Reywas92Talk 20:59, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes. Those are article titles, not part of running text. So the initial letter should be capitalised.  — Amakuru (talk) 21:18, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

presidents

Per a discussion taking place, by what grammatical rule should titles of people be capitalized just because a specific person is being invoked? The AP style, the Chicago style used by Webster's, and dictionary.com don't recall this "rule". I think the MoS is following fairy-tale logic, where concepts such as Time, Nature, and Spirit are capitalized to give them a human personality. But Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a storybook, or a governing document which has its own internal logic, that human grammar more generally doesn't have to obey. Note that words such as "People" and "Order" are capitalized in the Constitution; this does not make them true proper nouns; it just humanizes ideas. The so-called "office" of president is also an idea, unless you are referring specifically to the Oval Office. The linked style guides make it clear that the rank of "president of the United States" is never capitalized unless it appears before a name, e.g. President Lincoln, or when addressing somebody "Mr. President". UpdateNerd (talk) 17:41, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

When referring to the office, capitalize (e.g., "The President of the United States is the top office in the executive branch of the federal government"). When referring to a person occupying that office, lower case (e.g., "Donald Trump is the president of the United States"), except when starting a sentence or as a title for a person (e.g., "President Donald Trump"; "Presidents throughout history have had to deal with many difficult issues"). SMP0328. (talk) 19:11, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
A consensus for changing to president of the United States & vice president of the United States, has never been reached. GoodDay (talk) 19:19, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
GoodDay is correct. This is an issue that has been discussed (a lot) at multiple venues, with good arguments on both sides. Overall, discussions here and at other MOS pages have supported lower casing, while discussions at the article level (in RM and RFC discussions) have supported capitalizing. A lot depends on who shows up to comment. Both sides of the debate claim that the broader community supports their view. The one thing both sides DO agree on is “whether you think it should be capitalized or lowercase - don’t edit war about it”. Blueboar (talk) 11:20, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
That's an accurate description of our dysfunctional methods of deciding issues like this. The strongest cases, the greatest participation, and the most rigorous possible examination are not going to occur at article level. The only thing that makes any sense is one major community-level RfC with maximum exposure and advertising, after which all editors comply with the results whether they agree with them or not. If the issues are too complex for one RfC, you divide them into multiple RfCs. Interested editors will throw maximum effort into putting together cases, knowing that they will only have to do it once. An uninvolved closer will weigh the arguments, hopefully discarding the evidence-free I just (don't) like it arguments that tend to dominate these discussions. Once completed, the ongoing wars will end for the most part and the time previously spent on said wars will be freed up for other matters.
I'm not sure this community level process hasn't already occurred, but I do know that article-level stuff shouldn't be given any weight as to site-wide MoS guidelines. Article-level discussion is for issues where the considerations may vary between articles. ―Mandruss  12:26, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
WP:CONLEVEL policy exists for a reason. Turnout at article-level discussions is usually not very broad. RfCs like the last one, here at this page, are broader because of the high number and diverse nature of the editors who watchlist guideline pages, and the breadth to which such RfCs are "advertised" (e.g., directly at WP:VPPOL and other relevant pages, and via WP:FRS). If it were true that local consensus mattered more we simply wouldn't have centralized WP:P&G pages, and wikiprojects would have complete control over "their" articles. WP has taken the exact opposite organizational principle after the problems with the alternative became clear immediately after the first wikiprojects were created.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:02, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
GoodDay is not correct. See this RfC, among previous RfCs. No magical exception has been made for – out of all job titles in the whole world – these two. It sometimes just takes time for WP:P&G changes to percolate down to every single article. The facts that some editors haven't absorbed the change and make arguments that don't take it into account, and a handful of editors who argued against what the guideline says actively try to defy it page-by-page, isn't evidence of lack of consensus; the first is just proof that WP isn't run by robots, and the second is evidence of a WP:Tendentious editing and WP:BATTLEGROUND problem.

Blueboar's summary is not accurate in one respect, because RMs have in fact more often been complying with the lower-casing (cf. all the moves of "List of Mayors of foo" to "List of mayors of foo". Where there's been an attempt to buck that trend has mostly been for the US presidency, because of American exceptionalism and traditionalism (old editions of US style guides, from the 1980s and earlier, suggested always capitalizing that job title and it's vice variant, and many of us who are American and over 35 or 40 were taught to capitalize them by our school teachers). Here and now, it's simply a form of special pleading, based also on argument to emotion, but it is no longer backed by contemporary reference works. More to the point here, it's not backed by our own style guide, and that is sufficient to stop over-capitalizing them, and stop engaging in activism to over-capitalize them. This is not Preserve1970AmericanEnglishPedia.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:12, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

Head over to the US presidents, vice presidents, secretaries of state etc bio articles & see how successful you will be in getting all of them de-capitalized. It's not easy, with the American federal offices. GoodDay (talk) 14:39, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
Even more... those that you do successfully decapitalize will then be challenged (over and over and over again). Decapitalizing may well be correct in terms of our current style rules, but those rules are creating more drama and conflict than they are resolving. So... I think it time to change our rules. Blueboar (talk) 21:44, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
Plenty of guidelines and policies get challenged all the time, if the same few insist on tendentious editing, there is a prescribed way to take care of that. Was MEDRS "creating more drama and conflict than it was resolving" in the e-cig wars? Your view of the situation would have us overturning community consensus on the vocal strength of any group that only gave a shit about their own little corner of an encyclopedia whose members' consensuses, as a whole, are represented by existing P&Gs. Primergrey (talk) 22:36, 24 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Primergrey this recentish MOS edit has background of many confusions and misreadings and remarks of not accepted in general at affected articles and not RS matching so... further talk and edits are indicated. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 05:23, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
Not just an American thing, so don’t attribute the capitalisation to American exceptionalism ... it is English grammar rules making the correct form and RS be capitalised, as in “she was the Queen of the United Kingdom”, and “the 11th President of Ghana”. It does seem that the MOS phrasing is overly focused to the United States and Trump, and that may be causing this suspicion of Americanism. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 05:17, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

I thought it was settled, we de-capitalize in those articles. That's why I mass changed to de-capitals in all the US presidents & vice presidents bios. GoodDay (talk) 05:51, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

You're kidding, I presume. Dicklyon (talk) 06:15, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
I mean, decapitalized. GoodDay (talk) 06:21, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
It is settled. Tony (talk) 08:43, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

President of the United States

Can I get some further input to fix the positions MOS:JOBTITLES bullet #3 ?..

This seems to have imagined some difference between “was” and “was the” changes whether the phrase “President of the United States” should be a capitalised phrase. I think that the change done a few months back (archive 25) lost the better just-follow-the-cites overarching ‘the lead sentence should describe the person as commonly described in RS’, and bullet 3 examples runs contrary whitehouse.gov and Congress.gov use e.g. “44th President of the United States”, and is leading to questions about it overriding the uppercase used for the 25th amendment. Can we instead grant that those have higher authority and suggest some changes ?

I also think it just grammatically has it wrong - it’s that “of” and a specific nation which make it be capitalised - “President of Ghana” or “Prime Minister of the United Kingdom”.

Please do NOT try this and make it “Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister of the United Kingdom” or “Elizabeth I was the queen of England”. ;-). Cheers Markbassett (talk) 10:41, 26 December 2018 (UTC)

No matter what the community consensus, there will forever be editors who feel it's obviously wrong. If you didn't participate in the formation of the consensus, I'm sorry, but I doubt your participation would have affected the outcome—arguments like we should look to whitehouse.gov and RS for Wikipedia's MoS would have failed spectacularly. The rule needs to apply uniformly to all titles, not just U.S. presidents and vice presidents, so whitehouse.gov is completely useless for this purpose. We don't derive our MoS from our sources' manuals of style, as if we could do so without some serious cherry-picking. "The lead sentence should describe the person as commonly described in RS" was never intended to trump English grammar, and that would result in the bizarre situation where we capitalized for some officeholders but not for others (better get to work developing that data base for editor reference!).
We should look at the major relevant style guides and do our best to arrive at a reasonable and coherent synthesis; I believe that has been done. This matter has received more than adequate attention, and I think it should be allowed to remain settled so we can get on with the work of making the encyclopedia consistent according to the consensus. ―Mandruss  15:07, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
Other way around. I agree that one rule is desirable, and the MOS text seems correctish - but then the example contradicts the narration and is distinctly wrong to external usages and strong RS that should provide the guidance to be conveyed. (What, you’re saying there is no authority and going to forever alter text of grammar texts, the Constitution, Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, and media reports to make them conform?!?) I suggest that the bullet 3 table of examples be altered to show “11th President of Ghana”, “was the Queen of England” to correct this and also to show additional usages instead of only mentioning the United States. But I think the wording needs further input, so am seeking that. Cheers. Markbassett (talk) 15:48, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Mark... these titles should be capitalized and our MOS guidance should make that clear. It used to do so. Blueboar (talk) 20:29, 26 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm planning on changing to prime minister of Canada, prime minister of the United Kingdom, president of France, etc etc, in the coming weeks. Unless consensus suddenly changes back to 'upper-case'. GoodDay (talk) 00:54, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
@GoodDay: I hope you mean cases with modifiers. As you wrote them above they would be capped, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will not be moved to Prime minister of the United Kingdom. ―Mandruss  08:23, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
Question: WHY does adding a modifier result in decapitalization? Blueboar (talk) 14:34, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
You know what, I could try to articulate the reasoning, but others could do it much better and I doubt you'd be convinced anyway. It's not like there is one "correct" answer to any of this stuff. I have respect for community consensus and process in general, and I put site-wide consistency before my desire to understand everything. There are MoS guidelines that I disagree with, but I comply with them anyway. If editors just do their own thing, the whole point of our manual of style[1] is defeated and we might as well mark it historical as the mother of all Wikipedia useless time sinks. Wikipedia currently feels that this quasi-professional encyclopedia should have a manual of style; until that changes, I intend to continue to use it as all manuals of style are intended to be used. If I were a copy editor at The New York Times, I wouldn't ignore their MoS and do what I feel is right and expect to keep my job very long. That's just how I roll.

References

  1. ^ Manual of style: "A style guide establishes and enforces style to improve communication. To do that, it ensures consistency within a document and across multiple documents and enforces best practice in usage and in language composition, visual composition, orthography and typography."

Mandruss  15:22, 27 December 2018 (UTC)

However, unlike a copy editor at the NYT, the editors of Wikipedia can change our style guidance (and, on this issue, we have done so several times since I started editing). Now, the strong push-back on decapitalization tells me that our current guidance does not reflect community consensus, so I feel we need to change what we currently say. The question is, what should we change it TO? Blueboar (talk) 16:33, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
@Blueboar: If you truly feel this has not received an adequate community hearing, start a widely-advertised RfC and let it run the full 30. That way, interested editors can concentrate their efforts in one discussion, bringing the strongest possible evidence-based arguments, knowing that they will only have to do it once. That will not happen in a context like this thread. If such an RfC closes against my preferences, I promise to abide by the result, including reverting non-compliant edits that reflect my preferences, and I will expect all other editors to do the same. I think it's obvious that the burden of starting said RfC must be on editors who feel an adequate community hearing has not already occurred (I do not), and I'm skeptical of editors who prefer to avoid such a rigorous examination of the issue. ―Mandruss  16:55, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Blueboar Suggestion so far from me is redo bullet 3 and associated examples table to have no unexplained division of “was” to “was the” and to use non-US examples like “11th President of Ghana” and “was the Queen of the United Kingdom”. For bullet 3 I would suggest gaining more input proposals for phrasing. So far I like potential addition of bullet from Mandruss re BLP note follow the BLP guidance ‘The lead sentence should describe the person as commonly described in RS’, and I offer ‘Specific titles commonly are capitalised’. Example table content would change and column titles seem like they should go or be revised. Lead para of JOBTITLES seems like a goal wording so maybe redo that to be neutral and on topic. Cheers 2604:2D80:882A:8D14:A162:1EB9:2B01:D49E (talk) 16:37, 28 December 2018 (UTC)p.s. sorry, this was me Markbassett (talk) 15:29, 30 December 2018 (UTC)p.s. sorry, this was me Markbassett (talk) 15:29, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Blueboar - what edit thoughts (alterations, additions, removals, cites ...) do you have for the text ? Cheers Markbassett (talk) 19:39, 30 December 2018 (UTC)


"Theresa May, is a British politician, serving prime minister of the United Kingdom]]", for example. But, I'm not going to bother with it, as it would be a waste of time. The odds of me getting mass reverted, is too high. GoodDay (talk) 14:54, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
Of course you would be mass reverted... because community consensus is that we should capitalize certain titles, and write it as “... serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom” Same with “... is the current President of the United States”.
Now, you might get away with “... serving as the British prime minister” or “... is the current American president” (although you would get some debate on it). Blueboar (talk) 15:16, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
@GoodDay: That's wrong, because there is no modifier in that case. The applicable JOBTITLES example is Richard Nixon was President of the United States. You'd be "getting mass reverted" for very good reason. ―Mandruss  15:30, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
Whatabout "Justin Trudeau is a Canadian politician, serving as the 23rd prime minister of Canada since 2015"? GoodDay (talk) 15:34, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
That has a modifier, "23rd", so it would be lower-cased. Remove the "23rd" and it would still have a modifier, "the" (a definite article as mentioned in JOBTITLE's bullet 3), so it would still be lower-cased. Remove the "the" and it would have no modifier and would be capitalized. ―Mandruss  15:39, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
Nevertheless, I would still run in to problems at many others presidents, prime ministers, governors-general, grand dukes, queens, kings, emperors, empresses; etc etc articles. It seems this MOS can 'best' be applied per groups of bios. GoodDay (talk) 16:02, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Mandruss - I see the text says capitalise titles, but do not understand where or how it is thought a title “President of the United States” with “the” or “14th” in front would mean it should not be capitalised. It is still a specific phrase “President of the United States” that should always be capitalised. The MOS showing example “was President of the United States” versus “was the president of the United States” without explanatory text is just not making sense or convincing some folks, and another editor took it as mandate to get to lowercase and reword BLP if needed to do that. I think at the least MOS needs some more explanation, and considering some feel it need to go back to the earlier long-standing version of Capitalised plus it involves hundreds of articles ... some more TALK seems reasonable. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 02:59, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
I talked about that already... it's called apposition. If we say "the 14th president" then it can only mean Lincoln, so if you see both Lincoln and the phrase put together, we have apposition, and CMOS says to use lower case. Which would make for the following example: "14th president Lincoln". Binksternet (talk) 03:24, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
The question is more about “Lincoln was the President of the United States”, which is a simple declarative sentence - not an appositive nor any more a modifier than “Lincoln was President of the United States”. Seems like fishing for trying to make the example right here instead of please spit out some better wording and/or just change the MOS back. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 07:30, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
Again, my copy of CMOS is clear in both of your examples – lower case for president.
Here's a document that shows how the US government straddles the fence on the issue. It can be seen in a PDF published by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service. It says John Adams was one of the Founding Fathers and the second president of the United States, and also, Donald J. Trump is the 45th president of the United States. Contrariwise, it also presents the following: If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President? and In what month do we vote for President? Note that the capitalized instances are bolded headers asking questions, and that the lower-case instances are answers delivered in normal text, in running prose. So even with this document, context matters.
But I wouldn't get bogged down in this or that example from "reliable sources" when the issue is already addressed at a higher level in several respected style guides. We shouldn't take our lead from the followers, we should take it from the standard-bearers. Binksternet (talk) 10:08, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
I on the other hand would not give much weight to what is just this latest phrasing of just WP MOS language since it is reported as confusing and contradictory leading to misapplications on potentially many changes, and view being contrary to strongly authoritative RS usages as nothing to just be dismissive on. Fix it as poor, perhaps simply wrong. “Queen of the United Kingdom” should always be capitalised, and the thought that “was” versus “was the” changes things has input back as seeming weird and wrong. A guide that is seen this much as contradictory and leading to wrong conclusions needs work, it is failing as a guide and phrasing input is requested. Cheers 2604:2D80:882A:8D14:A162:1EB9:2B01:D49E (talk) 15:54, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Can someone explain what the rationale is for “Richard Nixon was President of the United States“ being considered correct here? Ditto for the guidance on capping king/queen etc. when referring to a specific person. All instances should be lowercase unless it’s in the form “President Richard Nixon” or “King Louis,” in my opinion, because that’s how those terms are generally styled (per the CMOS and AP stylebook off the top of my head). Calidum 16:20, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
    This would certainly be simpler than our current complex compromise. The problem is that various (mostly older and American) editors are convinced that these should be capitalized at every occurrence, no matter what, because it's how they were raised. It doesn't matter that style guides say mostly the opposite now, including ones like AP Stylebook that used to favor the capitalization. The response to de-capitalization moves is generally based on argument to emotion, not reason, and mired in the specialized-style fallacy, especially WP:CHERRYPICKING highly selective sources that agree with the over-capitalization and singling out bloc-voted RMs that agree, while ignoring the huge number of both that do not and which go lower-case, the MoS default in any case of doubt.

    Your own misleading RfC open at WP:VPPOL right now in favor of capitalization of short prepositions in song titles is a case in point. It's also inconsistent with your proffered position in favor of "Richard Nixon was president of the United States". You're in favor of over-capitalizing in one case because some subset of writers do it, despite everything that most style guides say, but all for lower-case on the basis of most style guides and again despite what some subset of writers prefer. While I agree that lower-case president, etc., when not directly attached to a name, would be simpler and more consistent with more sources, it's hard to tell what you're getting at. It looks like "disagree with what MoS says just to be disagreeing with it, even if I contradict myself". We don't need FUD and agitprop. The stability of our guidelines and their interpretation and application are far more important than nit-picks about particular line-items' wording, especially on matters about which real-world RS are in disagreement, and about which editors will waste time fighting over and over again if a somewhat arbitrary rule is not laid down to put a stop to it.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:47, 27 December 2018 (UTC)

    The personal attack wasn’t necessary. I was simply trying to ask a question. And for the record I don’t dislike the MOS, but I think it should reflect common usage. Calidum 21:56, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
    Pointing out these positions' inconsistency, that the RfC statement is misleading (that RM has "decided decisively in favor of capping four-letter prepositions" when the exact opposite is true, save a few odd outlier cases overrun with fandom-based bloc voting), and that giving MoS the "death of a thousand cuts" treatment is destabilizing, does not constitute a personal attack. It's just honest observation. I have no opinion on what you "like", just the frequency with which you take anti-MoS stances. MoS should not reflect "common usage", but the usage in high-quality sources. If MoS and WP used common usage, it would read like a blog written by a 15-year-old with an IQ about 90. Where high-quality sources have divergent style, and editors are going to fight and fight and fight about the same style crap without end, we have to say to do something specific, based on what best serves WP's interests, what is most consistent with the rest of MoS and AT, and what is in agreement with more and better sources as a general matter. This is what we do and it serves us well. When we entertain special pleading for topical exceptionalism and arguments to emotion, the good starts to unravel, and WP starts to read more and more like blog material by topical obsessives who have no idea how to write for anyone but people in their own micro-camp. The "common usage" fallacy arises because of WP:COMMONNAME, essentially a restatement of WP:RECOGNIZABLE: people simply need to know that they are at the right article for the topic they are looking for, nothing more. It has no further implications whatsoever about English-usage style.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:33, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
    User:Calidum - I believe the specifying of nation makes it an always capitalised phrase, e.g. “President of Ghana”, “Queen of the United Kingdom”, “I met the 14th Earl of Gurney today.” A separate case is that of title word followed by a persons name is also capitalised, e.g. “Former President Bush”, “President Barack Obama”, “Queen Victoria”. I don’t see how the MOS examples came to think it makes a difference whether you have “was” in front compared to “was the” in front. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 03:38, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
    Where do you get such beliefs? Does it work the same for other titles, and for entities other than nations? Second Mayor of San Diego? First Dog-catcher of Fresno? Dicklyon (talk) 04:09, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
    I got the belief from reliable, authoritative sources per the pillar WP:5P2. The MOS:JOBTITLES has various kinds of title given different working for title, but is not covering when stating the area. Good question about how low it goes. I see capitalised elected or appointed positions “Lord Mayor of London” and “Member of Parliament for Edmonton Manning”, but the counts or numeric are not part of the title so would not be capitalised unless for other reasons such as being the start of a sentence RS coverage to functional kind of title has “The Cork City Coroner”. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 06:19, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
    Can you point out an RS that supports your notion that "specifying of nation makes it an always capitalised phrase". That's still news to me. Dicklyon (talk) 19:48, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
    Yeah, that seems to just be made up. I've never see any style guide say anything like that, and most major ones contradict this idea. And Marbassett's position that something like "Lord Mayor of London" must be capitalized isn't how we do things either; the article about the title/position itself is capitalized, because it is the subject, in a words-as-word manner, and it's capitalized when attached to someone's name, but not otherwise (cf. Talk:List of mayors of Birmingham#Requested move 5 September 2017, Talk:List of mayors of Leeds#Requested move 23 September 2017, etc.).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:19, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
Mark Bassett, you cited as sources whitehouse.gov and congress.gov, but the context of those presentations is important. My 2003 copy of Chicago Manual of Style says to use lower case most of the time, with a few exceptions. One exception is for formal presentations of the name and title, especially when they stand alone as opposed to sentence case in running prose. For instance, when listing donors individually, their titles are capitalized following the name. A similar example is a list of corporate officers, with capitalized titles for courtesy reasons. Another example is in political presentations, the capitalized titles adding gravity. But for everyday stuff such as encyclopedia articles, CMOS is firm about writing Donald Trump, president of the United States, with lower-case job title. Same with Elizabeth II, queen of England and Wilhelm II, emperor of Germany. CMOS says the capitalization should be saved for the formulation [job title] [name]: President Trump. CMOS sets an exception for apposition which puts the title in lower case even preceding the name, for instance serving German chancellor Merkel, current American president Trump. In each of these cases, the information in front of the name is equivalent to the name – they define the same person. So CMOS can be observed to favor lower case titles in most cases. Binksternet (talk) 22:18, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Binksternet No, this has not been a discussion on contexts, nor did RS context differ from here by being only some formal presentations. The MOS recent changes are under a wider consensus discussion because of perceived issues including they are not clear, perhaps contradicting itself or simply wrong, or at least not the RS so fails pillar V, and seems not a wide WP consensus. So further talking and rewording seems in order. If you wish to offer Chicago phrasing, please do, but please redirect yourself to the case of interest [title]+[name of nation]. Simply put, “President of Ghana” is the capitalised phrase, other parts of a sentence would not change that. This has not been a discussion about an inserted [person name]. “President Akufo-Adda of Ghana” would be two parts as would “for Ghana President Akufo-Adda”, but we are focused to “President of Ghana”. (I do note handling of “the” has a ludicrous capitalisation contrast — was President Bush now the president Bush but can then be President Bush ? Then how is President of the United States now the president of the United States but can be the then President of the United States ? And is our United States to be the united states or the United states ? ) Cheers Markbassett (talk) 04:33, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
You appear to reject context, but context is part of the style, as described by style guides. If you don't look for context, then when you look at reliable sources, you may be missing how they employ context – how they change the style depending on context. There is not such as thing as you describe, the unchanging unit you exemplify as "President of Ghana," riding out any sort of context without adjustment. Rather, capitalization style of the job title depends on the form of the sentence, depends on the words surrounding it, depends on the larger situation. If you refuse to understand this, then your arguments are left without leverage against it. Binksternet (talk) 04:50, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Binksternet the discussion is on [title][nation name] not [title][person name], and RS were not of formal context, these seem incorrect premises from you. If you have explanatory Chicago text about formal contexts or person names you want to show as suggested adds to JOBTITLES feel free and we’ll see if it has any relevance or is a separate topic worth adding. But you need to actually show something other than Binksternet summary of ‘CMOS and context means lowercase’. So show us what you mean. We are unable to read over your shoulder. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 07:13, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
If you were looking over my shoulder you would have seen CMOS showing dozens of examples of title+nation, all with lower case title and upper case nation. The specific instruction is "Titles are normally lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name... A title used alone, in place of a personal name, is capitalized only in such contexts as a toast or formal introduction, or when used in direct address." I was attempting to make this point by indicating the few exceptions. But for your pleasure, here are the lower case examples from pages 318–319 in my copy of CMOS 15th ed.:
  • "...president of Sri Lanka"
  • "...vice president of the United States"
  • "...vice president of Bolivia"
  • "...secretary of state"
  • "...the senator from West Virginia'
  • "...representative from Illinois or congressman from Illinois"
  • "...representative from California"
  • "...congresswoman from California"
  • "...Speaker of the House of Representatives" (this is described as traditionally capitalized, an exemption)
  • "...chief justice of the United States"
  • "...ambassador to the Court of St. James's or ambassador to the United Kingdom"
  • "...governor of the state of Delaware"
  • "...mayor of Chicago"
  • "...Ohio state senator"
  • "...the governor-general of Canada"
  • "...former prime minister of Canada"
  • "...the member of Parliament or member of Parliament or the member for West Hamage"
  • "...chief whip of the African National Congress"
  • "...chancellor of Germany"
  • "...chancellor of the exchequer" (in the UK)
  • "...the king of Jordan"
  • "...emir of Bahrain"
  • "...the shah of Iran"
  • "...the sharif of Mecca"
  • "...emperor of Germany"
  • "...commander in chief of the Union Army"
  • "...General of the Army" (an exception, to avoid ambiguity)
Hope that helps. Binksternet (talk) 10:44, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Binksternet The explanation text and page ref helps, thanks, the examples a bit many and not a match to that explanation but I appreciate the additional diversity. At least for now I think we can and should drop considering addition of wording re context and exceptions and focus on the root text for guidelines. I earlier wrote that when it is followed by a proper name as in “Queen of the United Kingdom” or “President Washington” the initial letter should be capitalised, and if it is used simply as a noun as in “the current president” the initial letter should be uncapitalised. Not quite the right wording or article-ready) The Chicago guide about lowercase when following the name does not conflict with that but then the Chicago examples as shown are titles PREceeding a name so the explanatory text is not quite a match. Was there something else there in explanation or at the “...” ?
The Chicago examples also seem somewhat an outlier or aside to RS guidance and explanatory texts. I ask you to consider further the example “President of Sri Lanka” versus actual use is capitalised in President.gov.lk webpages; the Grammar guide (distinguished from Style guide) Elements of Grammar (companion to Elements of Style) gives explanation bullets pg 52-60 and includes example ‘Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States’; and for the US the Style guide GPO style manual (seems of greatest authority there and is online) p37 has “To indicate preeminence or distinction in certain specified instances, a common-noun title immediately following the name of a person or used alone as a substitute for it is capitalized.” The area for title of head or assistant head of state gives examples including ‘Barack Obama, President of the United States’ and Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia, then in the examples chapter p71 has a remark President of any other country. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 08:53, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
If you think the Chicago Manual of Style is an "outlier" then your leverage here just dropped to nil. You continue to dismiss context when it is critically important in various style guides. Your example is from the US Government Printing Office which says to capitalize titles "in certain specified instances",[2] not everywhere and not all the time. The US Govt is a partisan source for style guidance in political titles, as they are interested in keeping as much pomp as possible. I would put more trust in a non-government style guide.
Note that the AP style guide[3][4] says that "president" should only be capitalized as a formal title when preceding the name or names. It doesn't say to capitalize following the name, or the title standing alone. Binksternet (talk) 13:17, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Binksternet Yes. In distribution where your ref may be the oddball, then I call it "outlier" Try looking at RS for the whole "President of the United States" Cheers Markbassett (talk) 19:37, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
Standard style guides trump "reliable sources" when determining Wikipedia style. The guideline you keep referring to, WP:RS, or Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources, is not about determining Wikipedia style. Rather, it is about the way we identify supporting materials for article concepts and summaries. It's the wrong lever you're pulling. Binksternet (talk) 21:57, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
Indeed. MoS is already throwing much more of a bone to “capitalization fans" than other style guides do. Anti-MoS agitators keep describing MoS as some kind of lower-casing zealotry, when it's actually walking a middle road and already making more exceptions than it probably should. [In this light, see also the thread immediately below this one.] However, I'm not sure that MoS is actually going to be in line with mainstream off-site style guides on such matters until another generation passes, assuming that the community doesn't just get tired of anti-guideline activism and put a stop to it. That is, those who are in the 50-and-older bracket (like me) and who are "infused" with this over-capitalizing style (unlike me) are going to have to age sufficiently to become no longer a significant presence in WP's editorial ranks, before WP:GREATWRONGS activism about English – as it was c. 1980 – stops being a thing here. Witness also the related over-capitalization in US military topics, resistance against MOS:JR and MOS:US, and various other "traditionalism" style peccadilloes that have become perennial and with an entrenched minority who will not drop these sticks.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:08, 27 December 2018 (UTC)

Station names in ALLCAPS?

I understood the style guide MOS:ALLCAPS applied across the project, but at (for example) South Street station (MBTA) there seems to be a local preference for ALLCAPS. There's no evidence of it being a project guideline or anything like that, but my edit was reverted. Any thoughts? --MarchOrDie (talk) 23:56, 26 November 2018 (UTC)

Yes, that's just silly. I thought at first the intention might be to make the caption look like a sign at the station itself. But looking on StreetView I can't even see any signage at the station. So normal MOS rules should be followed. THanks  — Amakuru (talk) 00:09, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
Although looking at it, it needs more than just changing that text to make it not all caps. This is a style decision that was taken at Template:MBTA green style. If you look at the history of that page, it seems that the convention was introduced in 2015, undone earlier this year and then immediately reverted back to all caps with the rationale "by consensus, to do what is widely done in rail articles". I don't think it's correct though. It's just a style decision and runs contrary to ALLCAPS.  — Amakuru (talk) 00:19, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
That specific station lacks station signs, but those that do use the all-caps style. And I think that an absolutist interpretation of MOS:ALLCAPS here is missing the forest for the trees - you're applying a rule meant primarily to avoid actual problems, and applying it to a circumstance where it's not causing problems. (Infoboxes explicitly do not have to match the article title, and it should not cause any issues with accessibility.) Matching station signage is widely done across thousands of rail station articles, done by many editors across many years, and it serves a useful purpose by making it instantly clear to the reader that they are on the correct article. (Remember that most readers of these articles are locals who are used to checking the colored signage). As a side note, the all-caps style was done long before 2015; the template change in 2015 merely standardized things. Pi.1415926535 (talk) 00:46, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
Having taken part in the original discussion back in 2011, I believe the consensus wasn't local, but based on the fact that matching the station name in the infobox to actual signage at the station is the accepted format (see here and here for some other examples). We were just following what nearly every other transit system article does. The MBTA just happens to use all caps for their signs. Grk1011 (talk) 02:22, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
And that pre-dates the development of MOS:ICONS, much of MOS:ACCESS, the consistency-related material in MOS:INFOBOXES, and also pre-dates various RfCs and TfDs against decorative templating. Using plain English in transit-system infoboxes is simply cleanup that hasn't happened yet, but it isn't immune to cleanup because it hasn't been cleaned up yet (per WP:COMMONSENSE, WP:CONTENTAGE).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:36, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

Street View clearly shows the street sign says SOUTH ST – which is irrelevant, because we don't use all-caps in Wikipedia. Even the MBTA docs use normal text formatting, when you get away from their title styling. Dicklyon (talk) 03:19, 27 November 2018 (UTC)

I fixed the template to not use the uppercase transform. That lasted about 20 seconds (even though it had little or no effect, as the station articles explicit use allcaps themselves). Dicklyon (talk) 03:31, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
We can all agree we don't use all caps in prose and nowhere in the article outside of the infobox is all caps used. The purpose of an infobox photo is to aid in identification. Portraying the station name in the same manner that the MBTA does is a simple way accomplish that goal. We've used code to make a virtual photo of the sign at the station. Grk1011 (talk) 04:15, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
That's just lame. Dicklyon (talk) 05:26, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
I've never seen why it is totally necessary to have a 100% accurate recreation of the station signs atop the infobox. Most agencies aren't even consistent in their own use of the signs, so adopting a specific style seems like it would spark arguments. Why not limit it to copying the color scheme (within reason) and present the name itself in a clear and WP:ACCESS-friendly way? SounderBruce 05:15, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
The MBTA is very consistent about their signage - with only a handful of exceptions, the all-caps signs have been used at all stations with signage. since 1967. And all-caps is not access-unfriendly. Pi.1415926535 (talk) 05:31, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
I'm talking project-wide, across all systems that could be affected. To avoid confusion, we should be simplifying the formatting of infoboxes as much as possible. SounderBruce 06:04, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
How can you say that "all-caps is not access-unfriendly"? Mixed-case is always much easier to read from a distance or with poor eyesight. Dicklyon (talk) 19:42, 27 November 2018 (UTC)

Our infoboxes projectwide are not consistent, e.g. (based on a random sampling of articles and images in those articles)

  • London Underground uses white-on-blue all-caps station names at station entrances and on platform signage, but our articles use black-on-grey mixed case.
  • Tyne and Wear Metro uses mixed case black-on-yellow, our infoboxes use black on grey mixed case.
  • Milan Metro uses all caps on a line-colour background, our infoboxes use mixed case black on light blue.
  • Paris Métro uses white on dark blue, case seems inconsistent (possibly older signs are all-caps and newer ones mixed case), our infoboxes use black on grey mixed case
  • Athens Metro uses black on white mixed case (Latin below Greek) below (one line) or between (two lines) lines with the line colour. Those station articles with infoboxes match this.
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit most commonly (it seems) uses black-on-white mixed case with a black border, our infoboxes mostly replicate this other sometimes the black border is replaced by top-and-bottom lines in line colour. Thryduulf (talk) 15:21, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
Thanks to all those who commented. So, to sum up, MOS:ALLCAPS does apply, various false claims have been debunked (there's no consistent policy or practice of making our article infoboxes look like railway stations, and the ALLCAPS versions are harder to read without any corresponding benefit), and we can now go back to a mixed-case version of the template and the infobox, just like every other article on Wikipedia. Any final comments? --MarchOrDie (talk) 23:32, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
Support mixed case for the MBTA, I've got nothing else to add. Cards84664 (talk) 00:44, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Support abiding by guidelines. It appears that only Pi.1415926535 and Grk1011 have argued a preference for all-caps in the MBTA infobox titles, and their reasons are not persuasive and are counter to guidelines. Dicklyon (talk) 00:56, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Oppose for the reasons stated above. I'm not sure if this discussion had enough input to come to a consensus. The repercussions of not doing all caps goes against the established practice of having infoboxes represent station signage. There were a few comments about that not being a good idea, but either way, it's what's done. There needs to be a consensus on station infobox titles first before we have a discussion about what they can and cannot look like. Grk1011 (talk) 19:58, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Either way, I'm currently removing individual uc templates from each article, {{uc:EXAMPLE STATION}} is extreme overkill. Cards84664 (talk) 20:12, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
I approve. After two days, not a single argument in favour of this convention has been raised other than it's what's done. There was no discussion, however limited, that anyone can point to where this supposed convention was agreed, and even if there had been, a local consensus cannot override a project-wide one. No evidence has been presented that any other articles use this supposed convention other than this little group of Boston ones. ALLCAPS are harder to read. We don't use ALLCAPS. --MarchOrDie (talk) 21:17, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Rather, no one has responded to the issue I raised. Without all caps, these don't correspond to the signs in the station, which is a wider issue that must have a conclusion before this one. MOS:ALLCAPS was written for prose. We don't redo corporate logos to remove capital letters, but that is what you're doing here by changing how station name is presented to the reader. As I already stated, the purpose of this is recognition, not "it looks nice in all caps". This also isn't Boston-specific, which is what I said this discussion is premature and needs a wider audience. What about Montreal for example? Please refrain from making any additional changes as if there is a consensus Wiki-wide that we shouldn't match infoboxes to signs. Aside from capital letters, I've also seen differences in text sizes, italics, font, etc. I don't understand why this discussion is centered on one small part when there are so many interlocking parts to this. Grk1011 (talk) 22:00, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Tell us where it says that MOS:ALLCAPS was written for just prose. At the top it literally says all caps should not used to "have only a stylistic function" Cards84664 (talk) 22:09, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
I know. Stylistic function is for aesthetics, such as an editor's preference. This is all caps because it's how the source portrays it. Grk1011 (talk) 22:13, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Montreal comes next. The distinct header style is not the problem here. Cards84664 (talk) 22:10, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Without all caps, these don't correspond to the signs in the station, which is a wider issue that must have a conclusion before this one. Let's turn it around here, as the onus is on you to show that these articles on rail stations require to break the Manual of Style recommendation. Why, in your opinion, do certain infoboxes need to replicate in coding a virtual image of the branding? If you believe this is a prior consensus, when and where was it agreed? We certainly don't do it for Coca-Cola, Ford, Airbus or any other article I've ever seen. Our article on the magazine is at Time (magazine), not at TIME (magazine), which is a redirect. That magazine has a house style of using ALLCAPS for its title, but we aren't bound by it. Our readers seem to manage all right with our own house style which is not to use ALLCAPS. We don't redo corporate logos to remove capital letters, but that is what you're doing here by changing how station name is presented to the reader. Au contraire, a typeface is not a logo, and a capitalisation style is not a logo either. --MarchOrDie (talk) 22:15, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Without all caps, there's no reason for the colored backing or anything else since it would no longer portray the subject properly. Are you suggesting that we should have a standard simple text name at the top, then immediately under have it written in all caps with the backing replicate the sign (serving as an image)? Grk1011 (talk) 01:03, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
Just the former. It doesn't need to "portray the subject properly", just to be clearly readable. Just like in the infoboxes for Coca-Cola, Ford and Airbus. --MarchOrDie (talk) 07:25, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
All of those examples have the titles in their recognizable font immediately below the plan text name though. Why would that not be the case here? Grk1011 (talk) 23:14, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
Because in all those cases, there is a recognisable logo, which is reproduced for the purpose of recognition. Airbus's is even in allcaps. But the title field is for text, formatted in mixed case according to longstanding Wikipedia convention. I don't think that South Street station has or needs the same treatment. --MarchOrDie (talk) 01:59, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

Match station signage for recognition. I'm not sure if this is “Support” or “Oppose”… Useddenim (talk) 15:16, 30 November 2018 (UTC)

  • Use standard English orthography – There is no reason not to follow ALLCAPS. There is no obvious evidence that somehow trying to recreate station signage aids recognition. In fact, I would suggest that most of Wikipedia's potential audience may have never seen such signs in person. In any case, no adequate justification has been provided for why railway station articles should deviate from the Wikipedia-wide guidelines. RGloucester 17:40, 30 November 2018 (UTC)
Once again, I don't understand this laser focus on capital letters. From reading the above, it seems that those who are against all caps believe the names can be written in any way an editor wants (italics, different colored text, bolded, colored background, different fonts, etc) as long as they are not in all caps. This makes no sense at all. The only outcomes that I believe are reasonable are recreate the station signs as closely as possible (current convention) or eliminate the practice in its entirety and use plain text. Removing all caps leaves some of these pages with irrelevant formatting in the infobox. This really needs a wider audience, not a piecemeal consensus on one small aspect that affects an overarching convention. Grk1011 (talk) 20:39, 30 November 2018 (UTC)
I agree with this unaddressed point entirely. Either we are styling the infoboxes to mimic station signage, a longstanding convention used across thousands of articles, or we are not. To remove the capitals without removing the rest is a half-assed measure that creates plainly inaccurate imagery. I for one believe as an encyclopedia we should be accurate. oknazevad (talk) 01:03, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
This isn't the place to have that discussion, but I'll happily offer my opinion. There isn't any way for the average reader to know that the infobox styling is meant to be 'mimicking' station signage in the first place, and so I don't think that can be argued over. Eliminate the ornamentation, and use the normal infobox style. According to MOS:INFOBOX, 'extraneous style formatting' should not be added without good reason, and infoboxes should also not be "arbitrarily decorative". There isn't any reason why railway stations should have special treatment. The use of colours and all-caps present accessibility issues, and there's no evidence of any benefit. RGloucester 01:24, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
The OP brought an issue to the Manual of Style/Capital Letters talk page. Why is the focus being on capital letters so confounding? Primergrey (talk) 01:36, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
Because it's just one aspect of a greater styling convention, making this in many ways the wrong forum for discussion, especially when the lack of notification to relevant other talk pages is considered. This really needs to be part of a broader discussion about the styling convention as a whole, not just one aspect of it in one subset of articles. oknazevad (talk) 02:10, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
The ALLCAPS issue is pretty clear. If there's also a move to "Match station signage" more generally, that can be dealt with in a separate discussion. I don't think there would be much objection to choosing colors, but beyond that, it seems bizarre to try to make pseudo-photos by text styling. Dicklyon (talk) 02:43, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
The "move to match station signage" has been dealt with for years. It's established convention. That's why treating the capitals as a separate issue is a mistake, as it is not a new practice nor is it a separate issue from the other formatting choices. It's an all-of-nothing choice. oknazevad (talk) 14:35, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
If it's an all-or nothing choice regarding the fancy formatting of station names in infoboxes, our policies recommend that we choose nothing. This is because the text is there to be read easily and not to provide decoration. If it's an established convention to "match station signage", it will have been discussed somewhere. Can you point us to that discussion, please? --MarchOrDie (talk) 14:59, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
See Template talk:MBTA infobox header where there's multiple previous discussion linked, noting the dates that go back years. When a guideline and a years-long convention are in conflict, it's the guideline that should change to match the convention, as guidelines document practice, not dictate it. oknazevad (talk) 16:15, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
Then see WP:CONLEVEL. Wikiprojects, as a matter of clear policy, cannot make up their own "rules" that contradict site-wide WP:P&G and other broader consensuses (like MOS:INFOBOX, MOS:ICONS, MOS:ACCESS, MOS:CONSISTENCY, numerous TfDs against weird styling templates and RfCs against weird styling in infobox templates, WP:NOT#WEBHOST, etc.).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:33, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
  • I think part of the argument here stems from the fact that our transit infoboxes place what is essentially a “station logo” in the “name” parameter. If you look at business related articles such as Coca-Cola or Ford Motor Company you will see two separate parameters (one giving the “name”, and the other displaying an image of the company’s “logo”). We don’t object to using the company’s stilization in the logo parameter... because it is an image, and we don’t expect images to comply with MOS guidance. Our transit articles combine the two.
To illustrate what I am talking about, look at the infoboxes for the various NYC subway stations. We see a black background with a white line (just like the signage), white text (in the same font as is used on the signage), we even see the colored circles indicating which train lines stop at the station. At first glance, this appears to be an image of an actual station sign - the equivalent of a logo. It has subject specific stylization, but no one objects to that subject specific stylization because it looks as if it is an image. Yet it isn’t actually an image, and it is placed in the “name” parameter. Blueboar (talk) 17:13, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I think I get that. The problems I see with your position are that a) there doesn't ever seem to have been anything approaching a proper discussion where it was decided that Our transit articles combine the two., or at least none of the proponents are able to point to one. The best we have is those three discussions linked at Template talk:MBTA infobox header, where the supposed convention is referred to as a fact, and disputed by some even there. b) Even if someone does come up with something better than those extremely weak links, we are right in the middle of WP:LOCALCONSENSUS territory. A practice, policy or guideline that is adopted by a tiny minority of editors cannot possibly override a longstanding project-wide consensus as MOS:ALLCAPS is. More importantly, nobody at all has demonstrated that this cutesy styling benefits anybody. On the other hand there is some evidence that it causes harm; the reason we use mixed case is that it's easier to read. --MarchOrDie (talk) 17:30, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
I guess I just don't see the fact that it was not centrally discussed first, instead in dribs and drabs, before being widely implemented by many editors across hundreds of articles as a problem. Widely implemented, years-long practices shouldn't be disrupted without good reason and throrough discussion. And saying it is in variance from a guideline is not a good reason. Tail-wagging-the-dog and all that. WP:IAR is policy, and guidelines are meant to document practice. oknazevad (talk) 17:38, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
Even if it is "hundreds of articles" (I've only seen a few dozen), that's out of 8.8 million, so it's the very definition of LOCALCONSENSUS. Not a high percentage, no discussion, just a tiny corner of the project and a handful of editors pressing for this. It's never too late; if this is something that's important to you, start an RfC and suggest it, along with your good reasons for wanting it (it'll be nice to see those). Until then, we'll go with the extremely strong consensus in MOS:ALLCAPS. --MarchOrDie (talk) 18:06, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
Um... I’m not sure I understand where the harm is (on either argument). I think think the “present it as it appears on the signage” has a small benefit (as it might aid someone using WP to navigate the transit system in question), but it isn’t a big enough benefit for me to really care all that much. Personally, I think this can be resolved by simply using two separate parameters (“name” and “station logo”)... making it more like our non-transit articles. Yes, it would be somewhat redundant (presenting the same information in two ways), but it would allow both sides to have what they want. The “name” could be written normally (and subject to MOS), while the “station logo” would be an image reflecting the signage (and not subject to MOS).— Preceding unsigned comment added by Blueboar (talkcontribs)
Don't get me wrong, I'm totally fine with having a plain text title at the top to bring it in line with other articles, but what's particularly troublesome is this obsession with just the capital letters. If the final consensus is going to be that mimicking the sign is a useless practice, then all special formatting should be removed. Don't just edit the page to remove all caps, leaving strange formatting behind. Why was that done? I feel like this whole discussion is haphazard. If the practice of mimicking the sign is no longer going to be a convention, then that needs to be discussed at high level, outside of a discussion about capital letters. We're left in a weird situation where we can still mimic the sign, but only if it doesn't use all capital letters? I'm also confused over the suggestion that the editors who have been doing the same thing for years will need to start an RfC if we want it settled. Isn't the onus on those who want to change the convention to plead their case? At this point I feel that the existing convention overrides the consensus on all caps since you can't mimic the sign without the all caps, but you are supposed to mimic the sign. MarchOrDie, now that you understand the background, I would suggest that you start an RfC with your reasons (outside of MOS:ALLCAPS) that the practice of mimicking the signs should end. At this point, I'm inclined to revert the all caps changes to bring these pages back in line with the established convention. Grk1011 (talk) 02:23, 3 December 2018 (UTC)
There is no need to remove the styling. The titles are still accessible, even on mobile devices. These titles are not images. At the very most, caps can be removed, but that's it. Cards84664 (talk) 17:44, 3 December 2018 (UTC)
There is no established convention, and even if there were such a thing, that local consensus could not override community consensus as expressed at ALLCAPS. RGloucester 19:01, 3 December 2018 (UTC)
I meant the overall css styling can stay. Caps should go if it's such a huge problem. Cards84664 (talk) 19:10, 3 December 2018 (UTC)
Without the all caps, the styling doesn't mean anything; it doesn't portray the sign. ALLCAPS cannot override unrelated conventions. If you have a problem with the use of AllCAPS as part of the signage, then you should start a discussion on the appropriate talk page about ending the practice of mimicking the signage. It cannot be piecemeal, affecting just one small aspect of the convention. Grk1011 (talk) 22:54, 3 December 2018 (UTC)
Or we can go with Miami, the Metrorail templates don't match the signage on the platforms. The same exemption can be made for Boston. Just make the headers black on white and remove the caps. Problem solved. Cards84664 (talk) 23:45, 3 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Obviously use standard English orthography. The entire reason we have MOS:ALLCAPS is to stop people doing things like mimicking all-caps signage. FFS.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:52, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Standard English The South Street example looks silly and should be lowercase like every other place. That infobox header also should not be in large and bold font. Agreed with SMcCandlish. Reywas92Talk 07:24, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Use Standard English Orthography. We have the Manual of Style for precisely this reason. If we let people start custom styling station names, it will soon be followed by university names, business names, heavy metal band names, etc. That way madness lies. Kaldari (talk) 18:50, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
    • That's the slippery slope fallacy. Just felt the need to point that out. oknazevad (talk) 11:02, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
      • You need to actually read that article. No fallacy is involved when the risk is real. Given the frequency with which people try to WP:GAME their way around every stylistic restriction of any kind, we know for a proven fact that the risk is real.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:33, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

Another styling issue, relative to MOS:DASH, comes up in this edit where Cards84664 wants to mimic the spacing he sees on signs, rather than using punctuation the way it's normally used in Wikipedia. This kind of sign mimicry seems like an all-around bad idea. Dicklyon (talk) 16:56, 15 December 2018 (UTC)

I didn't notice the wording in the dashes policy and I recognize that. However, if you want to try to get rid of infobox styling, please start an RfC as was suggested at least 3 times above. Cards84664 (talk) 17:13, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm not interested in getting rid of infobox styling, just don't want to see it going against the MOS. Dicklyon (talk) 18:11, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
Dick, Would your objection disappear if we replaced the typed text with an image file (a photo of an actual station sign)? Blueboar (talk) 18:24, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
I tried to do that with a few months ago with Chicago as shown here. Due to accessibility issues with mobile users, I agreed to help improve the existing templates to what they are now, as shown here. Cards84664 (talk) 00:25, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
I don't understand the point of that. That's not a photo, is it? Getting photos of all the signs would be impractical and inconsistent, and to what end? So, yes, my text styling objection would go away, but might be replaced by other objections, like using images where text is more appropriate. Dicklyon (talk) 01:20, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
No, what is currently in the infobox isn’t a photo, but a photo (or drawn image) would be visually identical to what appears now. There would still be a green rectangle with white all caps lettering. Blueboar (talk) 01:50, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
CTA does not use all caps. Cards84664 (talk) 01:53, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
But MBTA does... and that’s what I am asking Dick about. He says he would have no problem with an image displaying a green rectangle with white all-caps lettering, but he does have a problem with typed coding that displays a green rectangle with white all-caps lettering... I am trying to understand why he objects to one, and not the other... when the end result is essentially identical. Blueboar (talk) 02:46, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Did I say I don't object to the other? I said I'd likely object for different reasons. Using am image of text to get around text styling guidelines seems like an awful hack that I could not support, even if done by photos. Dicklyon (talk) 03:41, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for responding. I do better understand your objections now. Don’t completely agree, but I do understand. Final question: Our normal business infoboxs have a “name” parameter written out in standard text, followed by a separate “logo” parameter with an image of the company’s stylized logo - see for example Coca-Cola. Would you object if the transit infoboxes were formatted similarly? I realize that the signage is not a “logo”... but the concept is similar. Essentially, I am trying to see if there is any way to reach a compromise between what the transit projects want (a representation of the signage), and what the style guide says. Blueboar (talk) 04:48, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Again, photos are not needed, per WP:ACCESS in regard to visibility and access on mobile devices. The template shown here is all css styling, not an image. Cards84664 (talk) 01:31, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Regarding font trickery like this, it also has MOS:ICONS implications. The whole point of that guideline is "don't do weird stuff for decoration purposes". It was expanded to include Unicode, CSS, and other tricks used to simulate graphics, because of course "decorators" were trying to WP:GAME around the guideline by not using literal icon graphics, but faking them with other techniques. This qualifies. If we start doing this sort of thing in transit articles, then other editors are going to demand to do it for mimicry of sci-movie logos, and [insert 10,000 other things here]. This is not DécorPedia. Policy-wise, WP:NOT#WEBHOST and related policies are salient: WP does not exist for presentation of digital-art simulations of reality. Try a gaming mod site like NexusMods if that's what floats your boat. If you just like to make stuff look "fancy" and "neato", go start your own blog and make it as designerly as you like. This site has a very bare-bones, text-focused presentation that is consistent from article to article for good reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:43, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Oknazevad on these points being like a slippery slope argument. This is still a case of WP:AINT, as the New York City Subway in particular has had their style templates in place for a decade now. Cards84664 (talk) 23:40, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
Already answered that argument below, and now above as well. Pleaes actually read Slippery slope; no fallacy is involved when the risk is real. This is why the term is used in the legal profession to describe a valid rationale for a law, not a fallacy.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:33, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support abandonment of caps, oppose abandonment of styling – I've spent the better part of 10 minutes reading through everyone's argument. I think there is a legitimate argument for ALLCAPS, but the concept that it violates WP:GAME to try to have reasonable facsimiles rather than examples like Downtown Denton Transit Center seems a bit baloney to me. Mitch32(My ambition is to hit .400 and talk 1.000.) 05:42, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
    • We also have guidelines against decorative stuff for its own sake that presents accessibility problems, including MOS:ACCESS and MOS:ICONS.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:14, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Standard English orthography please Most understandable by the majority of readers. CThomas3 (talk) 21:27, 27 December 2018 (UTC)

Other transit systems

  • Question - please look at the styling in the name parameter of the infoboxs used for articles about stations in the NYC subway (example: 23rd Street (IND Sixth Avenue Line). These also mimic the station signage. Now, because the signage itself uses lowercase lettering, the text mimicing that signage does not run afoul of MOS capitalization guidance. However... there is non-standard styling in the parameter nevertheless. Consider the white line at the top, and the colored circles indicating which lines stop at the station. Do these need to be removed? If so, why... if not, why not? Should we create a separate “signage” parameter for an image (or mimicry) of the signage, and use simple text in the “name” parameter? Blueboar (talk) 18:04, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with NYC that I can see. Those templates have looked like that for a decade now, so WP:AINT. If you want further advice, ask the editors at WT:NYCS. Cards84664 (talk) 00:25, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
MOS:INFOBOX, MOS:ICONS, MOS:ACCESS, MOS:CONSISTENCY, numerous TfDs against weird styling templates, WP:NOT#WEBHOST, WP:CONLEVEL, and WP:CONTENTAGE are all against this sort of thing. AINT is meaningless when the rest of this indicates this kind of décor is considered problematic. There is no "Ha, ha! I got away with it for a while so now you can't ever stop me!" loophole.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:17, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
MOSCAPS is the wrong venue for these questions. Primergrey (talk) 02:09, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Fair enough. Blueboar (talk) 02:46, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Just want to point out that this is the wrong venue even for the all caps discussion since the all caps are an essential part of mimicking the station signage and the convention remains to mimic the station signage. Grk1011 (talk) 13:48, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
Mmmm. Except most people don't think it's essential to mimic station signage, and as it's just an affectation among a tiny group of editors, which seemingly even among them was never actually discussed and agreed anywhere, and it contradicts a well-established style guideline that's been in force for years, I think we'll maybe learn to do without it. Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters is definitely the best place to discuss the correct use of capital letters on Wikipedia, I would say. --MarchOrDie (talk) 21:57, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
It's still inappropriate for a niche group of editors that are mainly focused on capital letters to override an overarching convention that's been in effect for a decade (even if there was no formal discussion to establish it). What if the NYC subway started using all caps on their signs? Would it still be ok? It's bizarre that apparently you can do whatever you want with formatting as long as it doesn't include text in all caps. The fact that that can be the conclusion here only highlights that this needs a larger discussion to change the convention, not a piecemeal approach. Grk1011 (talk) 16:15, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
The convention doesn't need to be changed. For it to be changed you'd need a consensus here to change it. There isn't one. --MarchOrDie (talk) 20:13, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
I still don't see a consensus to stop mimicking the station signs, or even a discussion about it on the appropriate talk page. No one has volunteered to do that and instead you'd rather just undermine random aspects of it without addressing what you feel is the real problem with it. I don't feel the need to start the conversation myself because I am fine with the what we've been doing for years. Until a new consensus is reached, we should be following the current convention. Grk1011 (talk) 00:00, 3 January 2019 (UTC)

Celestial bodies

It's surely been discussed before, but I wonder why MOS:CELESTIALBODIES doesn't follow the MLA. It's much more consistent with how proper nouns are handled in general, and we're writing for a general audience, not astrophysicists. The best way to make my argument is to use the rule in context, keeping in mind that possessive modifiers can also make the subject an improper noun:

Some astronauts from Earth landed on the moon in 1969. This particular satellite is just named Moon, if you can fathom that. Incidentally, Mars' moons are called Phobos and Deimos. The earth orbits the sun, which is at the center of the solar system. There are loads of other solar systems, and even other galaxies beyond the Milky Way. There is only one universe to our awareness, but some theorize that there are many universes which are part of a higher-dimensional multiverse ...

The above is consistent with most literature. Perhaps not NASA or the hodge-podge of the internet, but a print encyclopedia would follow the grammatical standard. I believe Wikipedia should do the same, as it's bewildering to see all of these grammar-defying capitalizations like "The Universe", "The Sun", "The Earth", and "The Moon", just because some folks feel that they should be capitalized as often as they're seen. In reality, we rarely see these words without the modifier making them improper nouns. UpdateNerd (talk) 13:36, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

It has been discussed before, many times. The problem with your quoted (or made-up) material indented above is that it's not even consistent with itself ("landed on the moon ... named Moon", then "the solar system ... the Milky Way". MoS, like that material in other parts, already would not capitalize "moons" in "Mars's moons are called ...", or "solar systems" in "other solar systems". The distinction is meaningful. "The Solar System" is the system orbiting Sol, our specific star (it's like "the Nile Delta", syntactically); "a solar system" is any system of planets and such orbiting any star (semantically comparable to "a river delta"; it's incidental and unimportant that English also permits "solar" as a generic term like "river", not just as a reference to Sol).

As for MLA Handbook in particular, it is an over-simplified (and very American) guide intended primarily for student papers (the larger version for professional academic journals, MLA Style Manual, was last published in 2008, and MLA says that will be the final edition; they're apparently abandoning that field/market to Chicago Manual of Style, Scientific Style and Format, and the topically-specific guides by AMA, APA, MHRA, etc.). Virtually nothing in MoS is drawn from MLA style (nor does much in other style guides come from it; it is primarily referenced in the real world for its citation style, which is required by innumerable professors). If MoS were based heavily on it, we would have far more "anti-MoS" WP:GREATWRONGS activism going on, because of how simplicity-and-consistency-oriented MLA is even compared to other style guides; it diverges from too many of them on too many things. Our MoS is a hard-won compromise between competing demands of fans of pretty much every style guide ever published, and it is not possible to please everyone on every point; this is why most of it comes from Chicago Manual and New Hart's Rules, the dominant, comprehensive style guides for US and UK (respectively) book publishing, plus SS&F on scientific notation matters. English has no "grammatical standard", and capitalization isn't a grammar question anyway, by an orthography and typography matter. If you think there is a stamdard, then please cite it, plus proof that it's more authoritative than everyone else. Heh. The fact is, there are numerous "authorities" and they all disagree about almost everything.

I've said this hundreds of times by now: MoS's primary value is its stability as a rule set that we agree to follow so that editing can continue without constant, cyclical strife about the same style trivia over and over; individual line items in it don't mean much, as almost all style matters are ultimately arbitrary (though we try to aim for internal cohesion where possible). Any time someone comes to this or any other MoS or naming conventions talk page to try to change something they don't like but which has been stable for years, it is almost certainly wasted breath (or typing, rather), unless they have concrete proof of a major shift in general English usage, across most or all genres. And there will always be "consistently conflicts", a consistency of one kind interfering with a consistency of some other sort. Perfection in the logic of the presentation of English simply is not possible, because the language is a hodge-podge, as are styles of rendering it and the rationales for them. The best we can do is maintain a set of rules most people will follow when they bother to consult it (or, more often, simply will not fight against when WP:Gnomes normalize text to it; no one has to read MoS or follow it when contributing material, it's just disruptive to keep lobbying against it), and which is limited to things people are prone to fighting about in absence of a rule that forestalls the fighting.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:12, 30 December 2018 (UTC)

Would be nice if people understand and respected the MOS more, and behaved as you suggest. There are still too many cases where topic-area fans want to go against MOS:CAPS and capitalize things that sources show are not generally treated as proper names. I feel that MOS:CELESTIALBODIES caves to some of the astro/cosmo fans in going against what most other style guides do for a few cases (e.g. NASA style guide says Do not capitalize “solar system” and “universe.” ). But I can live with that, since there's enough to do to work in the direction of our consensus guidance, that working against it would just be disruptive. Dicklyon (talk) 22:21, 30 December 2018 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish:, I didn't intend for my example above to be inconsistent and it actually is a grammar issue: whether or not proper nouns are used. The Milky Way is a proper noun, while there are many solar systems. Although, in special astronomical contexts, such as comparing Alpha Centauri to our solar system, Solar System should be capitalized because it stands in as a proper noun despite never being named that. The astronomical context should be the exception, not the rule. We capitalize the Moon when comparing it to Phobos. But to an ordinary person observing the moon on a cool evening, there's nothing astronomical being discussed.
The qualifier makes the distinction. Overcapitalization has the effect of making objects appear personified (as in MOS:SEASON). If a road were named Street, we'd tend to refer to it as "the street", not "the Street". We might say "turn left at Street", but you'd be hard-pressed to find an example where we'd refer to Moon that way.
The astronomical exception is useful for describing explicitly astronomical models, including much of the lead of articles such as Sun and Earth. But the current wording allows for subjective interpretation, and editors just claim their usage is astronomical because they're referring to an object they view as a star or planet, even when the context has nothing to do astronomy.
To beat a dead horse: the universe isn't named Universe according to any RS. Like the Solar System/Alpha Centauri example above, it would perhaps be useful to capitalize it in a comparative context, but unless comparing our universe from another, e.g. "The physics of Star Wars show it could never take place in the Universe", there's no proper noun being invoked. UpdateNerd (talk) 09:35, 31 December 2018 (UTC)
That's a semantic argument, not really a grammatical one, but the issue with it is that "the Solar System" is also a proper name (in usage and intent, and under some definitions of that concept), though obviously "a solar system" is not (under any of them). The fact that words and entire phrases in proper names (better described as proper-noun phrases, linguistically, since "proper name" is more of a philosophy concept and a messy one that's been debated endlessly for centuries) and in common-noun phrases can coincide is one of the reasons we capitalize the former in most cases. e.g., The Doors and their music versus the doors you walk through at home, or insert 1,000 other examples here. Re "the universe isn't named Universe according to any RS": I guess the European Space Agency doesn't exist, then [5]? (Reminds me of an old joke [6].) NASA using "the Moon" versus "moons"/"a moon" is the very first Google hit for "the moon" [7]. The real question to me is why is the Institute of Physics veering back and forth between "universe" and "Universe", both in reference to our universe, on the same page? I have to think it's different writers working on the material at different times. It's clear that usage on this isn't set in stone. Re "you'd be hard-pressed to find an example where we'd refer to Moon" [without "the"]: We don't refer to The Hague as just "Hague" but that doesn't mean it's not a proper name for our purposes, no matter how many philosophers want to present an omphaloskeptic quibble about it.

It's one of those consistency conflicts: we can either be consistent in capitalizing proper-name usage of these phrases to match other proper-name usage, or be consistent in defaulting to lower-case because usage is mixed, but we can't do both at once, and either option is going to displease some subset of editors and readers. Life sucks that way. And, yes, there are people on the philosophy side of onomastics who are going to argue that no phrase with a definite article is a proper name, but is something else, some other kind of identifier. Linguistics tends not to buy into this sort of debate (because the entire discipline is studiously aware that how definite articles are used, how naming works, and how capitalization is employed all vary widely between languages; trying to generalize from English quasi-norms in 2018 to linguistic and philosophical principles is fallacious). WP doesn't go there either, because it's not practical to apply to anything; it would mean that New Hart's Rules and USA Today have proper names but that The Chicago Manual of Style and The New York Times do not and that perhaps different rules should apply to them. Even getting people to stop capitalizing "president of the United States" after a qualifier like "42nd" is like pulling teeth (from angry jaguars); all our experience tells us that we cannot fine-split linguistic and philosophical hairs in our own MoS; we just lose people. As I noted in the ongoing re-re-re-debate about the [p|P]resident and [q|Q]ueen thing at WT:MOS [and here at WT:MOSCAPS, in the thread above this one], and in the similar one about the treatment of names of standardized animal breeds, at WP:VPPOL, there's more than one reason in English to capitalize; proper naming (defined one way or another) is one of them, but so is convention.

The questions before us are really whether it's conventional enough to capitalize Sun, Moon, Solar System, and Universe as specific, singular references to our instances of those things, in (and only in) an astronomical/cosmological context; and whether insisting on not doing it causes too much strife to be worth it. Given the number of times this has been debated, without changing, the answer appears to be "yes" in both cases, so we need to not keep rehashing it every time someone not present in the earlier rounds doesn't agree with it and thinks they're raising a new argument. Style matters we "sport-debate" about eventually turn into WP:BATTLEGROUND and WP:NOT#FORUM problems. (My personal preference would be lower case, but I gave up years ago trying to get MoS to match my preference rather than to simply be stable.)

PS: The Star Wars example would be better as "could never take place in our universe", which is clearer and doesn't require a capital, in any orthographic system, because the qualifying modifier converts it to a common-noun usage, for the same reason that "42nd" before "president of the United States" does so. The aforementioned presidents-and-queens debate is demonstrating that people have trouble accepting that this applies to every modifier including the definite and indefinite articles. They're not entirely buying into any difference between "Jimmy Carter was President of the United States", and "... was a president of the United States" or "... was the president of the United States, though "... was the 39th president of the United States" gives them less trouble. If enough brains melt over the matter, it's not practical to employ (though it can be practical to just have a flatter, arbitrary rule by fiat, like "do not capitalize except when immediately before a name", with a footnote that it's been debated to death and is an arbitrary rule imposed to make the disputation stop. That's worked in several other cases. Which means it can work for the Sun and the Universe, too.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:41, 31 December 2018 (UTC)

The Hague is actually named The Hague; even the 'The' is capitalized. The moon is not named "The Moon". It's named Moon. We just rarely use its proper name, because only one moon orbits our planet. So we say "the moon". It shouldn't be capitalized. There's a lot more to respond to, but for simplicity I'd like to focus on just that one point. UpdateNerd (talk) 08:59, 1 January 2019 (UTC)
English simply isn't fixed and regular on this. To re-use examples from earlier comments below, the publication's name is The New York Times, but we regularly use the-dropping when it works better grammatically: "She is a New York Times editor"; "In a January 2019 New York Times article ...". And we regularly add an "extraneous" the to a name that doesn't have one if it works better grammatically (Pixies is the band name, but we very frequently render it "the Pixies[']" in constructions that would be awkward or ambiguous without it. A "rule" cannot really be inferred from "Moon/Hauge" versus "the Moon/The Hague". English just is not self-consistent enough for one to exist. Writing "The Hague" with a capitalized "The" isn't even something we'd normally do in English (except for titles of works, and in some writing styles for band names); it's an odd exception established by convention (as a direct translation of Den Haag, from a language with different rules), not because of any rule in English. Most proper names that generally require a "the" in mid-sentence do not take "The" in English ("the First World War", etc.). We don't even do it in other placename constructions that usually take "the" ("the Netherlands", "the Levant", "the Camargue", and until about a generation ago "the Gambia" and "the Ukraine", plus all constructions like "the Holy Land", "the Fertile Crescent", "the Nile Delta", "the Grand Canyon", "the Pacific Ocean"). So any "citation to The Hague", as it were, is fallacious.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:55, 2 January 2019 (UTC)
Just an explanation FWIW. Weak proper names have "the" as part of the name. These are often geographical names. "The" is generally inseparable when used as part of a proper name but often dropped from the name when it is being used as an attributive to another noun - as in the reporter example. Pixies may be the official name but I suggest that "the Pixies" is the proper name, as determined by usage. See proper name for more detail. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 00:23, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
"The universe", "the galaxy", "the solar system" are all examples of "common" nouns, where a specific referent (ours) is created by the use of the definite article. Some would capitalise these "for distinction", which is contrary to the MOS. "The Sun" and "the Moon" are exception, where it is universally and generally accepted that they have "achieved" (or retained - depending on your perspective of orthographic evolution) a status of capitalisation. I have wasted way too much time on this with the expectation (misplaced) that the consensus would be assessed on the strength of auguement. Instead, it became a wall of words (TLDNR) and I think that the closer may have been intimidated by a screeching wheel. However ... Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 11:23, 31 December 2018 (UTC)
Aside from what I said above, I'm pretty sure that at the terminological and conceptual development level, all of those things originated as singular – we had a [crude] model of the Solar System, a notion of the Universe, and a name for the Milky Way before we had any theory of other solar systems, universes, and galaxies. "The galaxy" would be a common-noun phrase because we've given ours a more specific name (likewise, Buster may be your dog, and he's not "the Dog", even if you only have one, though he could've been the Dog if you literally named him "the Dog", as some perverse people do, like cruel Germans who name their daughters Mädchen, i.e. 'Girl'). Some kind of pseudonymic or "understood" apposition argument could possibly be made (Alice B. Ceesdale has a name, but her name effectively may be "Mom" to her children, and it's conventional to capitalize such substitute quasi-names: "Tell Mom I'll be late."), but I doubt anyone would take it very seriously for "the Galaxy".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:41, 31 December 2018 (UTC)
When "Mom" stands in for a name, it's a proper noun because you're using a single word to refer to a specific entity (i.e. personification) When you say my mom, there's a qualifier and no need to capitalize it. That's the exact point I'm trying to get across above. UpdateNerd (talk) 09:02, 1 January 2019 (UTC)
UpdateNerd, I agree that the distinction lies in the qualifier and that "Mum" and some "terms of endearment" can have the same status as a nickname if used as such and not as a generic reference - as some call everybody "love" and use it like a "pronoun". Nicknames have the status of proper names, albeit they are not an "official name". SMcCandlish, I have sent you this before. It specifically discusses celestial bodies and I came across it in the context of such a discussion. Your analogy with "the Dog" is flawed as follows. My dog's name is "Jacka" but I often refer to my dogs as "Dog" - eg: "Hey Dog!" or "Come on Dog". I use it as a nickname. The distinction is that no qualifier is used - especially not the definite article. A cruel German may name their daughter "Mädchen" but it is never "das Mädchen" as a proper name. As I said, "the Moon" and "the Sun" are exceptions that are "weak" proper names. As such, "the" is generally [always in this case?] inseparable when used as such. The question is whether other terms are consistanly and Uuniversally capitalised - and then the war begins ... BTW, the name of our galaxy [note the modifier] is "the Milky Way" (another weak proper name). Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 12:24, 1 January 2019 (UTC)
I don't particularly disagree with any of that, I'm just not sure how well-accepted the "weak proper name" concept is. Regardless, if it's a proper name, even a "weak" one, we'd still capitalize it. As for "the Dog", if I name my dog "the Dog" not just "Dog" then her name really is "the Dog" (or maybe I'd write it "The Dog", like "The Ramones"). Maybe bands are a better analogy (like titles of works) anyway. There is no question that The Ramones and The New York Times are proper names, and that things typically prefixed with a "the" which is not part of the name are still proper names after it, e.g. the Los Angeles Times and the Pixies (the band name doesn't actually have a "the" in it, but writing "Pixies are playing in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday" is ambiguous, so in practice "the" is generally prefixed. That seems pretty close to the Moon and the Sun and the Solar System.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:12, 2 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I'm beginning to agree. I think the MoS could be updated to say "The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body"... The next sentence makes it clear that non-astronomical contexts are lower case (without making it so confusing). Also, adding earth to represent dirt could be added to the lower-case examples. UpdateNerd (talk) 13:13, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
Good fix, yet the one problem there is referring to the moons which orbit other planets. The Earth's Moon is a proper name and upper-cased, while the moons of Jupiter and other planets have their own proper names. If that situation isn't covered by MoS language it probably should be. Randy Kryn (talk) 13:22, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
It's included in the current MoS; I don't suggest any changes to how we handle referring to the Moon or moons. UpdateNerd (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2019 (UTC)

Previous discussions, expanding the 2016-11-26 list from SchreiberBike:

Expand MOS:INSTITUTIONS to cover 'act', 'bill', 'resolution' and other items of legislation?

In the article South Australia Act 1842, the capitalized word "Act" is used repeatedly, as in "The Act also provided for ...", and this seems just as unnecessary as capitalizing "the Company" or "the University". Should we slightly expand the MoS to "Generic words for institutions, organizations, companies, items of legislation, etc., and rough descriptions of them (university, college, hospital, church, high school, act, bill) do not take capitals:" or add another section, or generalize it to "When a title of any entity is shortened so much that all that remains is a common noun, it does not take capitals:", or is this section of the MoS already general enough that we should just use common sense? Chris the speller yack 18:57, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

  • I strongly support such a guideline clarification. Such words should not be capitalized except in a) the actual title of a piece of legislation, or b) a direct quotation, e.g. the "An Act to ..." summary that appears at the top of many pieces of legislation and serves as a long title, an incipit. Capitalizing something like "Parliament passed the Act on 3 February 2012" is exactly the same error as writing. "Johnson was CEO of Fairview Hotel from 2004 to 2006. After leaving the Hotel, she joined the board of directors of ...".

    It's creeping into some WP articles because it's a conventional style of some legal writing in some places. But WP is not written in legal style, and does not follow legal style guides for anything other than particulars of case citations. This is one of the now-rare cases when MoS has been missing a key line-item for years, and we all know it, but it's not gotten done probably due to simple weariness with the specialized-style fallacy and the frequency with which such discussions turn rancorous.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:07, 9 November 2018 (UTC)

    "specialized-style fallacy" MRDA -- PBS (talk) 13:45, 2 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Care is needed. "Company" and "university" are unlikely to be misunderstood in a context where you could get away with writing "Company" or "University" in the middle of a sentence. But "act" could, in the same context, sometimes refer to an action, and sometimes refer to a law, as in "Smith's act violated the act". In this situation, capitalizing "Act" will make it more obvious whether a law or an action is being referred to. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:42, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
    Sure, but this is just the same as any other case where a word may have multiple meanings or possible referents. Part of what we do every day here is write clear language instead of confusing language. :-) And capitalizing it won't make it more obvious, except to a small subset of editors – those for whom the capital signifies something and happens to signify exactly the same thing as what the writer intended. We've been over this many times in many topics, including via various RfCs. Capitalization for signification is a form of capitalization for emphasis, and is field-specific (what specialists in field A use it for typically has no relationship to what terms a specialist in field B would use the style for, or why), so it doesn't work anyway in a general-audience publication.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:08, 19 November 2018 (UTC)
    This example appears to fall to a case of "capitalisation for distiction", which is not supported by the MOS. The example could be more clearly written as: "Smith's action violated the act". This would obviate any need for a distinction by capitalisation. Cinderella157 (talk) 10:48, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support: I often make that edit and seldom has anyone objected. Jc3s5h is right that care must be taken, but care must be taken in all of our writing and where there is potential for confusion, the sentence should be rewritten. I think the MoS already implies this, but making it more clear would help.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  23:28, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support this clarification of our normal caps style. I, too, have seen and corrected quite a few such things, where generic words are capped just because they're standing in for something that uses the same word as part of its proper name. That's not a good reason to cap, not done in most writing, not recommended in most style guides, etc. Maybe in legalese they cap things with specific antecents ("the Act") as alternative to the language familiar in patents ("said act"), but we don't want to go that way. Dicklyon (talk) 01:43, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    WHY do we not want to go that way? Capitalizing in some circumstances seems to avoid potential confusion in meaning, and avoiding confusion is a good thing. Blueboar (talk) 01:58, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    Blueboar, don't you mean "Wherefore do we not want ..."? I have little tolerance of legalese, which as a whole functions bit-by-bit to shore up lawyers' exclusive business model. Now, I do take your point, but it's very seldom necessary to dodge ambiguity when these words come up. "Act" is the most vulnerable to it, and even then, capping it has become an unthinking and lazy part of lawyer style. It's not the stuff of free, accessible knowledge. I suggest a compromise, though: "Unless it is necessary to avoid ambiguity, ....". So count me as a Support, but with a non-binding suggested modification. Tony (talk) 02:26, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    Even the typical specialized-style fallacy is unusually weak here, too. Various bodies within the legal profession have adopted "write plainer English" policies, and some legal jurisdictions are enacting (not enActing!) requirements for it. So, if anyone advances some "WP should write about legal topics the way lawyers do" idea, it will be even shakier than such arguments usually are by their nature. At any rate, there really isn't any case in which it's "necessary" to capitalize something like "Bill" or "Act" for clarity (just rewrite the unclear sentence), and using capitals for this purpose doesn't actually fix it anyway, since only certain people will recognize what it's supposed to signify, and anyone using a screen reader won't know its capitalized in the first place.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:46, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Most any confusion or ambiguity can be overcome, as always, with good prose. Primergrey (talk) 03:14, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Clarification needed, can I please see more examples? And will this effect use of the words 'Bill of Rights', or lower-case the word 'Act' in the title of articles like Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Voting Rights Act of 1965? Thanks. Randy Kryn (talk) 17:09, 19 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Anyone? Randy Kryn (talk) 13:22, 20 November 2018 (UTC)
    My reading of the intent is that we would not lowercase in the name “Civil Rights Act”, but would lowercase the word “act” when not presented as part of the name (ie when referring to that act in running text). IE we would write: “In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. This act made it illegal to...” etc. please correct me if I misunderstand this intent. Blueboar (talk) 14:09, 20 November 2018 (UTC)
    Exactly.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:40, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. This one seems pretty obvious. Calidum 00:49, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support and extend to "act" and "scene" in dramatic works and "series" in television. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 01:59, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
    Different topic (just a coincidence of one word being the same). Does MOS:TV address this already? Are people regularly doing this with films, plays, etc.? Do we really need to tell people to not write "In the penultimate Scene of the Season Finale, Johnson in the Role of Captain O'Brien ..."? How much of a problem is this? The only issue of this sort I regularly encounter is over-capitalization of "episode" and "season" (or "series" in BrEng), as in "appeared in Season 2, Episode 17, 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley'". But it's not all that frequent, and no one reverts me when I fix it. It seems covered by our general rule to not apply capitals to anything not uniformly capitalized in RS.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:06, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per clarification. Randy Kryn (talk) 03:18, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • mostly supportive - with the understanding that there will be exceptions. I am a bit concerned that this will be mis-applied. Would this be taken as instruction to decapitalize the term “Constitution” - (such as when referring to the Constitution of the United States - as in “the Constitution establishes an independent judiciary”). This is almost universally capitalized in sources, and it would be controversial if WP did not. Blueboar (talk) 16:35, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
    It shouldn't go there.
And why:
"Constitution of United States of America" is the full formal title of a specific document, and thus a proper name (in the broad sense). The short forms are also treated as such (e.g. The Oxford English Dictionary is OED in short form – it receives the same style as the full title), thus "the US Constitution", "Constitution of the United States", etc. This is covered at MOS:TITLES. If you write “the Constitution establishes an independent judiciary”, in reference to that specific document, that's using a short title, not a common noun; it's the same as "The Queen and the President conferred by satellite phone on March 3", where both references are stand-ins for "Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom" and "President Donald Trump of the United States", respectively; they don't mean any queen or some random president. But if you're just referring to an instrument generically, don't capitalize: "France has had multiple constitutions.... The Montagnard Constitution, or Constitution of 1793, was the second constitution after the beginning of the French Revolution. It was replaced by the Constitution of 1795. These two constitutions differ especially in ...".

If you just write "The Constitution was ratified by the necessary minimum of signatory states on June 21, 1788", that's a potential debate point. I would argue that it's again a reference to one specific instrument and could not be any other document – they didn't just happen to ratify one out of 173 constitutions – so it's serving as a shortened but actual title. When you write "The bill was passed on June 21, 1788", that's a common noun because any legislative body has a whole bunch of bills before it any given time. Others may disagree on that point, noting that if someone wins the Nobel Peace Prize but doesn't feel worthy, we might write "She declined the prize and returned the prize money", without capitalizing "prize" in either instance. I would then counter-argue that names of prizes are not titles of published works, and the rules for them are subtly different (in the real world, not just on WP); it's conventional to treat a shortened form of the title of a work as if it were the whole title, when uniquely identifying in context. But this is not true of other proper names (if you live near the Colorado River, you might write a note saying "I'll be down at the river bank for the rest of the afternoon", without capitalizing "river", unless you are a pretentious twit :-). It's also not true of what could be mistaken for short titles of works, but not uniquely identifying: "Oxford University Press (OUP) publishes various reference works, including The Oxford English Dictionary, many abridged and specialized dictionaries, New Hart's Rules, and Fowler's Modern English. Both of the style guides are also written and edited by OUP's dictionary staff." Not "Dictionary", because it's not operating as a short title here. To come full circle, one might write "A constitution for the United States was suggested at the 1781 First Continental Congress, but this body lacked sufficient cohesion to generate such an instrument. The 1776–1777 Articles of Confederation of the Second Continental Congress served as a de facto US constitution, but were widely disregarded due to lack of federal enforcement powers. What became the Constitution of the United States was initially drafted at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and ratified, after various compromises, in 1788."

I realize this is a long reply, but I hope to forestall future drama with it. We wouldn't capitalize "The act was considered by the Senate on ..." because any bill may be a [draft] act, and the Senate has lots of bills/acts to consider, making it generic like OUP and its dictionaries. Someone who spends more time in onomastics can provide additional rationales for not capitalizing "act", "bill", etc., but continuing to capitalize "Constitution" in your "independent judiciary" example. I'm glossing over a lot of debate about what actually is and is not a proper name and why (nor is everyone in every field in lockstep agreement on such matters, by any means).

 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:48, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support as proposed. Common sense. RGloucester 00:49, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Such capitalisation (of shortened forms) is generally an anachronism, inconsistent with a general trend to reduce the use of capitals. Usage per the OP example may survive in specialist styles (WP:SSF). In "the act" the definite article creates a specific referent but it is not a proper noun simply because it has a specific (or even singular) referant. It is not appropriate to capitalise for distinction per MOS:CAPS. Orthography per "the Constitution" and some other "limited" cases do persist with near universality (ie globally and a very large sample set indicating broad usage). These are exceptions to the general guidance of MOS:CAPS and some are specifically mentioned therein. Regards Cinderella157 (talk) 02:01, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support changing this as an outdated construction not supported in most modern English style guides. CThomas3 (talk) 21:32, 27 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment the discussions on this talk page tend to take the form of preaching to the chior. For example if this change be made it will probably lead to the wording of the change being used as a bludgen to force others to accept something that looks stylistically odd to them (Like a using "color" or "colour" in artices). It would be more inclusive--and in the long term less confrentational--if the people who write articles that use "Act" were to be invited to participate in this discussion. For example the article "South Australia Act 1842" has a talk page that includes a list of projects, why not invite members of those projects to participate in this discussion and also sample a few similar articles (but about acts passed by other legislators) and see if there are other projects that might have an interest in participating in the discussion. If a conensus then emerges a line can be added to the MOS. However I think that a small group of self-selecting editors such as this deciding to make this change without counulting those who's edits are most likely to be affected by this change is not consensual. PBS (talk) 13:45, 2 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment @User:SMcCandlish it was not clear to me  from what you wrote in the collapesed section "And why:" that you are aware of the difference between an act, a bill and an ordanance. You wrote "Constitution of United States of America" is the full formal title of a specific document, and thus a proper name". Under the Westminster system so is the long and short names of an act of parliament (see Short and long titles) so what is the difference between using "Constitution" and "Act" given that, in context, they both refer to a  "full and formal title of specific document"? The "South Australia Act 1842", the act mentioned at the start of this section, is the short title of that act, it is not an "incipit". Is the only difference similar to the difference between "colour" and "color" in that one just appears right to the person who reads it, based on familarity of usage in reliable sources about the subject, or do you have another reason for making such a distinction? -- PBS (talk) 11:12, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
    Already addressed that. A country only has one constitution (though it may also have some former constitutions). At any given time, a legislature may be considering hundreds of acts (which at that stage are bills); "act" and "bill" are a common nouns by definition. If your album collection contains Blue Album by Orbital and The Funeral Album by Sentenced, you have some albums, not some "Albums", and if you refer to just one of them specifically, it's still "album": "The album – Sentenced's final release – was issued in 2005." An argument can also be made that "constitution" should never be capitalized on its own, even when there can be only one possible referent. I've attempted to provide a potential justification for capitalizing it, as a compromise position, but if it's weak, then it's weak. I don't strongly favor the practice, and one can argue at least as strongly that capitalizing the word in "The ratification of the Constitution in 1788 ..." is the same thing as over-capitalizing "university" on second occurrence in "She was a professor at Yale University from 2004 to 2012, then left the University to work for XYZ Corporation." That is, to the extent the argument I presented for capitalizing some cases of "Constitution" is too weak, that bolsters the argument for lower-casing "constitution", not any argument for upper-casing "act" or "bill".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:52, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
    Constitution is also a common noun. No one is suggesting capatalising act, constitution or queen when used as common nouns ([8]). However "Act" can be used as a shortening of a full unique name. If such usage is to have a rule recommending lower-case, what about "the Queen"? As there have been two UK queens, would you suggest changing the MOS to remove that example? -- PBS (talk) 19:47, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
    PBS, you might see my support comment, as this goes directly to you comment/question. "South Australia Act 1842" is the short title of the act - not "the Act". The question here is not about capitalisation of the short title, "South Australia Act 1842", which is perfectly acceptable and analogous to "Bill" for "William". The question is analogous to over-capitalising the second occurrence of "university" in the example by SMcCandlish: "She was a professor at Yale University from 2004 to 2012, then left the University to work for XYZ Corporation." "The Constitution" and "the Queen" are exceptions (as English is prone) to the general rule and accepted because they are overwhelmingly and universally the case. Some others also reach this threshold but "the Act was ratified" does not, but persisting in specialist styles. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 00:36, 4 January 2019 (UTC)
    From what I wrote I must not have not made myself clear. Where in what I have written did you infer that I was referring to the word "act" in titles such as "South Australia Act 1842"? If they are overwhelmingly and universally the case then one would be able to point to the reliable sources used as references for an article to prove the point. If not, then universally is not true. You say that "Constitution" and "Queen" are exceptions, but what about all the other "exceptions"? Clearly to a significant number of editors using "Act" is an excpetion (to the proported rule), and so trying to compare it with "university" does not advance that argument. As I worte earlier I suggest members of intersted projects are invited to participate in this discussion to see if there is a conensus for the proposed change to the MOS for those who write artilces about acts of parliaments who will be the most likely editors to be affected by the proposed change? -- PBS (talk) 19:26, 4 January 2019 (UTC)
Per: Under the Westminster system so is the long and short names of an act of parliament (see Short and long titles) so what is the difference between using "Constitution" and "Act" given that, in context, they both refer to a "full and formal title of specific document"? The "South Australia Act 1842", the act mentioned at the start of this section, is the short title of that act, it is not an "incipit". [underline added] You refer to "Act" (as underlined) in the context of short and long titles with a link for context. You then refer to the "South Australia Act 1842", which is the short title of that act, as written in that act and is in accordance with the link provided. Hence, how I have understood this but yes, it was not all that clear to me just what you were trying to say - since you have asked.
Per MOS:CAPS: "There are exceptions for specific cases discussed below." It is a document mainly of exceptions, of which "the Queen" and some others but not "the Constitution" are explicitly mentioned. Perhaps I should have been less categorical and said "it is likely an exception" for the same reasons. That though, was my explanation for why "the Constitution" would [likely] be an exception. See this n-gram, which is supportive but not conclusive, since it lacks context of how the phrase is being used in running prose and whether it is being used in headings or like. Feel free to make a case for it not being capitalised but that is not the purpose of this thread. The purpose is to consider "the Act ...". Does it meet the threshold of other similar exceptions, noting "consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources" [emphasis added] or is doing so widely supported in generalist (and therefore independent) style guides. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 01:37, 5 January 2019 (UTC)

Capitalisation of job titles/descriptions

For some time, at The Orville#Main the following text was used:

  • Penny Johnson Jerald as Doctor Claire Finn, the Chief Medical Officer on the Orville
  • Halston Sage as Lieutenant Alara Kitan, the Orville's young Chief of Security.
  • Mark Jackson as Isaac, the Orville's Science and Engineering Officer.

By contrast several other entries do not have the job description capitalised. An editor sought to correct this with this edit which has been opposed. Overall, the article is inconsistent in the capitalisation of job descriptions, despite what MOS:CAPS#Titles of people says. Obviously, I'd like the article to be consistent so would appreciate opinions on whether this (minus the notes) is what we should be aiming for. This is a consistent problem in TV articles so some guidance here would be useful in furture disputes. --AussieLegend () 06:28, 15 December 2018 (UTC)

Unfortunately, no matter what guidance we offer, there will be a sizable and vocal body of editors who disagree with it. The most practical advice I can give is this... go ahead and conform (either to capitalize or lowercase)... but if reverted, don’t edit war to keep it the way you want. Blueboar (talk) 11:36, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
The revert stated why: the change was unexplained. Use the edit summary to link to MOS:JOBTITLES next time and you'll probably do better. Not everyone understands all these things, and unexplained edits are inherently questionable. Dicklyon (talk) 03:59, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
The original change (by another editor) was unexplained,[9] but when I noticed the edits I reverted with a link to MOS:CAPS and an explanation.[10] That didn't placate the IP whose attitude first was that the incorrect capitalisation wasn't a problem for a year so it should be left in,[11] and then claimed that "Two of us say you're wrong",[12] despite two people supporting the changes. I took it up on that IP's talk page where he stated "The very recent edit that removed this captalization failed to give any explanation, let alone point to any guidelines." Ironically, he was the one who pointed to MOS:CAPS#Titles of people, which supports the change. It doesn't matter what you link to, some people don't see what's in front of them. --AussieLegend () 06:00, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Fictional subjects are not magically immune to guidelines. Just follow MOS:JOBTITLES.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:51, 23 December 2018 (UTC)
    Indeed. Tony (talk) 08:44, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Looking into this further, what's happening is probably mimicry of IMDb style, in which role names are given in title case (even when they consist of common-noun phrases, like "girl in red shirt" or "grey-bearded homeless man").  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:32, 5 January 2019 (UTC)

Discussion of a close

[Copied from #Concluded so that can be cleaned up there.]

Um... reading the discussion, I am not at all sure that “contrary to source evidence” is accurate for the LRV close. Indeed, a lot of “source evidence” was presented to support the argument to keep the title capitalized (although “source evidence” was also presented to support lowercasing). Blueboar (talk) 19:09, 5 January 2019 (UTC)
Right, "contrary to source evidence" is my editorialization on observations; not everyone agreed. What's your take (from the evidence, not the discussion)? Dicklyon (talk) 07:29, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
While I happen to agree with Dicklyon’s point of view on this issue, I think we should stick to a neutral summary statement both in the list of discussions and their conclusions. “Closed as consensus to retain capitalization” is enough to inform people of the outcome without appearing to take sides. CThomas3 (talk) 22:25, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
Moved discussion out to here. Dicklyon (talk) 22:54, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Manual of Style/Capital letters/Archive 28".