CZ Talk:Naming conventions

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Names of articles about people

I added a sentence about naming articles based on people so that we can be consistant throughout. If this is not the way we want to do it, lets change it fast. --Matt Innis (Talk) 09:28, 1 April 2007 (CDT)

There are a few special cases for personal names which need to have a convention soon:
The conventions don't need to be hard rules - the article on the second Viscount Stansgate may be better titled as simply Tony Benn, in violation of some other convention, because of his notability under that name. Also, there should be redirects from most of the common alternates. I have my preferences as to which ones we choose, but establishing some conventions is more important than my preferred choices. Anthony Argyriou 18:58, 3 April 2007 (CDT)
Nobody has weighed in yet, and trying to track down the discussion at the fora is hard. I'd like to make a few suggestions based on my comment above:

How to name articles about people

The general rule I propose is that an article about a person ought to live at the name at which the person is best-known to educated English-speaking people, with redirects from all common alternates. This will mean some inconsistency measured against other possible rules, but I believe will create the most easy-to-use compendium of knowledge.

People from English-speaking countries

Use the full first name and last name, unless the person is well-known by some other form. If a person commonly is given a middle initial to distinguish them from another person with the same first and last name, use the middle initial. If the person commonly is addressed by or discussed by a nickname, use that. Where more than one form is common, there should be redirects from the others. Thus, some U.S. presidents:

However, some people "part their name on the left", or are known by a stage name, or a single name. In general, the form the person uses in writing is the form which should be used for the article title, with some redirects. For example:

People from other Latin-alphabet-using countries

In general, the same rules apply, though care should be taken to get the correct surname when doing default sorts and choosing disambiguation. For example, a former president of Colombia is Julio César Turbay Ayala. His last name is Turbay Ayala, and should be alphabetised under "T", not "A". It may be useful to create a redirect from Julio César Turbay

Note: This is likely more controversial than most of what else I'm proposing Names of people who have diacritical marks in their name should be listed using the diacritical marks, with a redirect from the unaccented version, plus any other redirects which would be appropriate. So, to use a more famous Colombian example, Gabriel García Márquez, with a redirect from Gabriel Garcia Marquez (and remember to list him as Garcia Marquez, Gabriel, not Marquez, Gabriel Garcia). The exception to this is for people who have been much discussed in the English-language press using a spelling without diacritics, thus Hermann Goering rather than Hermann Göring, but Kurt Gödel not Kurt Goedel, because the best-known work about the mathematician spells his name with the umlaut. (Of course, the other choice ought to exist as a redirect.)

People from countries which do not use the Latin alphabet

In general, the rules for English-speaking countries still apply, except for the issue of transliteration. For languages with fairly standard transliteration, such as most of those using the Greek or Cyrillic alphabets, this shouldn't be problematic; except to point out that transliterations should be into English, not German or French: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, not Tschaikowski or Tchaïkovski. Particular carre should be taken with transliterations from Greek, as Ancient Greek was not, according to the scholars, pronounced as Modern Greek is. Thus Eleftherios Venizelos, not Eleutherios Venizelos (nor Benizelos), but Euripides, not Evripidis.

Chinese names should be transliterated in the way most familiar to literate people in the English-speaking world. For people from the Republic of China, or major figures of Nationalist China or the Chinese Empire, that is likely to be the Wade-Giles method. For people from the People's Republic, that is likely to be the Pinyin method. For both, the family name should stay in front. So Mao Zedong (with redirect from Mao Tse-Tung), but Sun Yat-Sen. However, Confucius, not Kǒng Fūzǐ or K'ung-fu-tzu. (As always, redirects should exist from both of those, and from Kong Fuzi and Kung Fu Tzu.)

People whose culture has family name first

Except where such people have come to be known in the English-speaking world with their names re-ordered to the English standard, the name should be written out in the way which it appears in their culture. Thus Mao Zedong, not Zedong Mao. Redirects need not exist unless there is some substantial literature which has the names in English order.

People with titles of nobility or royalty

Here, I propose to follow the system for names and titles that the Royalty and Nobility Work Group at Wikipedia have developed.

In general:

  • Monarchs of nations: "{Monarch's first name and ordinal}, for example Henry VIII, Louis XIV
  • Monarchs of nations with same names (usually caused by translations into English): "{Monarch's first name and ordinal}, ({Country})". Thus Charles II (Spain)"
  • Patriarchs and Popes: "Patriarch/Pope {papal name} {ordinal if more than one} of {episcopal see}". When the episcopal see is Rome, it should be omitted.
  • Hereditary nobility: "{Commonly used name}, {ordinal (if appropriate)} {title} (of) {place}".

A couple of possible exceptions:

Anthony Argyriou 14:49, 26 April 2007 (CDT)

What about Arabic names?

Lots of people assume people whose names following the style used in Arabic speaking cultures, or muslim cultures, have surnames like those used by English speaking people. Many people from those cultures, who move to Europe or North America, name their kids according to our style of inherited surnames. And, some people from countries that have some western influence, follow the English style. But these people named after the western style are exceptions.

I am not an expert in Arabic names. But I know that the most common rule is that a son takes the first name of their father. Pashto speaking Afghans follow the same style. Nasrat Khan's son is Hiztullah Nasrat Yar.

I suggest it does not make sense to alphabetize these individuals on a naively picked last name, when they don't inherit surnames in the western style.

Cheers! George Swan 09:24, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

If the normal pattern of Arabic (and other cultures) is to change the inherited portion of the name each generation, then I suspect we ought to alphabetize on the beginning of the name, so Nasrat Khan would be alphabetized under "Nasrat", while Hiztullah Nasrat Yar would be alphabetized under "Hiztullah". That's a secondary issue, though - if the standard order of those names is as you give them, the articles should be titled as you list them, not as Khan, Nasrat. Anthony Argyriou 01:13, 5 November 2008 (UTC)


Wikipedia has a nifty template we should consider borrowing. Called DEFAULTSORT, it automatically seats an entry in the right place in any catgories into which that entry is included. Thus, the list of categories for Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Rosemary Barkett reads:

{{DEFAULTSORT:Barkett, Rosemary}}
[[Category:1939 births]]
[[Category:Living people]]
[[Category:Mexican-born United States political figures]]
[[Category:Florida state court judges]]
[[Category:Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit]]
[[Category:Living people]]
[[Category:People from Tamaulipas]]
[[Category:Syrian Mexicans]]

The article therefore shows up under "B" in all of the above categories. (note: I am not endorsing this category scheme, just the template).

Cheers! Brian Dean Abramson 20:11, 1 April 2007 (CDT)

Looks pretty useful to me--those who want to use it should be able to use it, no? I mean, I don't see any reason why not. --Larry Sanger 21:51, 1 April 2007 (CDT)

Ah, I lack the technical know-how to make such a template work here - I'll try a copy/paste to see if that does it, but will that work? Brian Dean Abramson 23:08, 10 April 2007 (CDT)
Template is copied over but does not work. Techie intervention would be welcome. Brian Dean Abramson 21:25, 14 April 2007 (CDT)

Note: sorting is now handled by the "abc" field in the metadata template.

One Word Titles

We need a much more detailed policy on naming conventions, I believe. For one, I do not think we should ever have any main entries which begin with a miniscule letter; such use flies in the face of any and every reference work I have ever used or contributed to; the first word should always be capitalized. I note that with the example given, computational complexity theory, the actual article does indeed have its first word capitalized!

Another aspect not covered here is one-word entries (Automobile, Novel, Television) which it should be made clear are capitalized (although the wiki itself doesn't mind, consistentcy here looks best, I think).

Lastly, the alphabetical issue is far larger than just names -- we would not want, for instance, an entry on "Fossil Fuels" to index under "Fossil," but under "Fuels, Fossil", and the same might apply to many phrases or three or more words (Trans-Siberian Railway, European Economic Community, or Functional magnetic resonance imaging).

Russell Potter

Thanks for your comments, Russell. As you pointed out, the wiki does not care whether the first letter of the title is majuscule or minuscule. Therefore, I'd say we don't really need a naming policy about it; the system will capitalise everything on its own. What's more of a problem, I think, are the rare cases where the title should not be capitalisd, such as iPod and e (the number).—Nat Krause 15:47, 8 April 2007 (CDT)
Yes, I've since found that out -- though I think we still want to have the first letter capitalized in the initial sentence of the entry, on redirection pages, and such, for stylistic consistency! Russell Potter

There is a template, which has been imported into CZ (and works here), which makes titles lowercase their first letter. It's {{lowercase}}. I've used it on e, and Benjamin Seghers has used it on pH; if we get an iPod article, it should be used there, too. It should only be used where capitalization is clearly inappropriate, though. Anthony Argyriou 13:52, 24 January 2008 (CST)


Just out of curiosity, what about acronyms?

--Paul Derry 23:22, 13 April 2007 (CDT)

I'd prefer, though I may be over-ruled on this, that articles appear under the full name of the acronym, with a redirect as appropriate: North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with a redirect from NATO. Many acronyms have more than one meaning, and thus the acronym will require a disambiguation page, and so the specific articles are best distinguished by spelling them out; for example, see wikipedia's ACS page. For far too many more, see Wikipedia's List of TLA disambiguation pages. Anthony Argyriou 14:44, 14 April 2007 (CDT)


I'd like to suggest the following convention: an article title should be a phrase that is natural to use when referring to the topic in running text. For example "history of the United States" since it is natural to write "In the history of the United States, the ..."; not "United States: History" or "History: United States". (Compare with the discussion at Talk:World War II: Homefront: US.) -- Fredrik Johansson 11:16, 23 April 2007 (CDT)

. Put the key word forst solves the problem. Everyone has a somewhat different idea of what is "natural"? all these are natural: "American history," "U.S. History," "history of the United States," "American political history" etc. As for style it is easy enough to use [ [ U.S. History|the history of the United States ] ] or [ [ U.S. History|American history ] ] or [ [ U.S. History| American political history ] ] Richard Jensen 06:02, 24 April 2007 (CDT)
I did a study of history titles in journals and major publishers. The form History of XYZ" is rarely used in recent years; it is near-defunct and CZ should not use it. For CZ users, XYZ, history is the natural way to search, as it puts the keyword first, and easily connects to XYZ, bibliography" "XYZ, demography," etc. Richard Jensen 20:24, 3 July 2007 (CDT)

plea for logic and order

I make a plea for standardizing headings. Let's start with countries and states as the topics that will have many sub-articles and can be logically organized. Some people think it does not matter because search engines can solve any problems. Those people who think it does not matter can let the rest of us decide. One way it matters is that the editors have to keep track of what's been done. That means we need an alphabetical list of, for example, all articles dealing with France. Otherwise we will have several editors writing on the same topic with different titles. ("French art", "Artistic trends in France", "Main French artists", "Painters in Paris" and "Arts in France", "19th century French art", etc ). Richard Jensen 05:58, 24 April 2007 (CDT)

The use of piping linkes negates the need to alter the article title for the purpose of organising lists and category pages. For example, at the foot of the article put {Category:History Workgroup|England, history of} with article title History of England. By using pipes we can list the article under 'E' for England in the category and workgroup but still start it with 'H' in the article title.
Also see the potential use of the DEFAULTSORT template above. Derek Harkness 10:04, 26 April 2007 (CDT)
Yes we will have to do that with all the human names, or else we have a list sorted by first name. Which is efficient: setting up a system that does not require piping or spending hundreds of hours fixing tens of thousands of entries after they are written? Of course piping does not help the users any. They can't browse for nearby spinoff articles. Richard Jensen 11:11, 26 April 2007 (CDT)
If we just begin the entries with what the consensus says is the proper, standardized title format, and include the desired abc sort on the Article Checklist as well as piping its main category entry to the way we want it sorted, then we will not have to return to 'fix' them at any point later. The piping will in fact help the users since the article's entry in the tagged category will be sorted in proper alphabetical order. Just so, in the old print model, a book's chapter heading ("The Battle of Gettysburg") would correspond with an index entry of "Gettysburg, Battle of". I think we need to think of the entry titles as chapter or section titles; then the analogy is clear. No historian, I am sure, ever gave a chapter title such as "Pittsburgh, history of"; such a format would be appropriate in a book's index only. Our piping, in essence, is the link from the natural-language title to the indexable title. Russell Potter 13:24, 26 April 2007 (CDT)
The consensus in every reference book I have seen, including non-paper encyclopedias like Encarta, is to put the main keywords first. I have seen no alternative proposal laid out here and explained or justified; we so far have NOT thought out the problems we face. It's a fallacy to hope that powerful search engines will overcome our planning mistakes. Already the workgroups have poorly organized lists--imagine the mess when they are 50x longer. Take this aspect: one role of editors is to see what gaps we have and to assign entries to fill them. When we have 10,000 history entries in garbled order (with people sorted by first name), who's to tell where we are? Richard Jensen 13:30, 26 April 2007 (CDT)
If we name the article Gettysburg, Battle of then every single time I want to link to that article I will have to pipe the link but your category will be nicely alphabetised by place names. But if we named it Battle of Gettysburg then I will only need to pipe the article once, when placing in the category, every other link can be unpiped.
Also, you keep saying 'by keyword'? How do you know what the keyword is? You are assuming that the geographical place name is the keyword but it might not be. Derek Harkness 20:57, 26 April 2007 (CDT)
Derek asks, "How do you know what the keyword is?" The answer is that CZ has experts who know the material, as opposed to the amateur world of Wikiwisdom or the count-the-links formulas of Google. Why else do we have CZ except to have experts who can tell good quality, who know the literature, and who can see what articles need to be added and which need major improvements.Richard Jensen 22:22, 26 April 2007 (CDT)

I agree, it's for an expert to decide. But who is the expert here? That expert should be an expert in Information Technology and usability. This is different form expert in history or geography or biology. We need someone like Jakob Neilsen []. Or perhaps, defining expertise through previous employment rather than academic study, we could call Larry Sanger an expert in this subject. Derek Harkness 09:38, 27 April 2007 (CDT)

We could ask a librarian--they are in the classification business (I was a department head at the Newberry Library for 10 years). The expertise however we want is content expertise--for history that means familiarity with historiography. For example, in recent years historians and major publishers rarely title books or articles a history of XYZ.' It's considered very old-fashioned. Yet we are starting to get articles like that on CZ by authors familiar with XYZ but not with historiography. And so CZ gets a retro-1970s look unintentionally. Normally the subject-field editor is the one entrusted with assigning topics and titles and coordinating the work of authors. That is what makes CZ different from Wikipedia.Richard Jensen 11:04, 27 April 2007 (CDT)
Since CZ is an online encyclopedia, not a book or a series of books, I don't see that book titles, or book classification systems, are necessarily a model for us. Secondly, since we are an encyclopedia, uniformity of titles across all subject areas is important to us -- and this of course was true in the era of print encyclopedias as well! -- as it gives the site clarity and consistency no matter what subject is being researched. I'm familiar with historiography, and can differentiate between the "longue durée" approach and histories which focus on discreet events or "great figures" -- but I do not think that titling an entry "History of Cleveland", given that such titles have evolved as the standard in wiki reference, are relatively commonsense (a bit more so, I would say, than "Cleveland, history"), necessarily implies one historiographical approach or another. Article sorting can be handled by the abc sort of the checklist and/or by piping the titles in the category link, so that's not a problem. Lastly, as to search engines, as I've noted, the *vast* majority of people using CZ, just as those uping WP or other such resources, will come in laterally from external search engines (Google), and will do so whether we want them to or not. We need a simple standard we can all agree to follow, so we can get back to writing content. Russell Potter 11:17, 27 April 2007 (CDT)
We either buy into expertise or we don't. The experts in history have all stopped using terms like "the History of Cleveland" and there is no reason for CZ to go back to old fashioned terminology. In terms of users we want to build a clientele who understands that the same coding for articles on France applies to articles on Germany, and is set and standardized by expert editors. Some may argue that it doesn't matter because of the search engine factor. I suggest that people for whom it does not matter should please step back and let the debate go on among experts who believe it does matter. Richard Jensen 11:50, 27 April 2007 (CDT)
Richard, I have the greatest respect for the work you're doing here on history articles, but I just do not agree with you on this issue. I would never suggest that people outside of a discipline dictate to those within how they ought to describe the state of knowledge in their field. But I would agree with the earlier posting, that undrestanding how to manage an encyclopedia using a wiki model is also an "area of expertise," and when it comes to issues such as how -- accross all fields -- article titles are to be formatted, that this should be determined by the Editorial staff of this project, in consultation with Editors from various fields of expertise, and only after issues have been discussed and vetted as broadly as possible. And I'd agree that our Editor-in-Chief, Larry Sanger -- with whom I've certainly disagreed with in the past, and vigorously -- is the most experienced editor of wiki-based encylopedias here, and should in this area have the final say. Russell Potter 12:26, 27 April 2007 (CDT)

Cut from the page

put keywords first. Consider for example a series of articles about France. The number of articles may grow to 50, 100 or more, and we want editors and users to find them easily. Thus we can use the commonsense system:

  • France
  • France, arts
  • France, cities
  • France, climate
  • France, culture
  • France, economy
  • France, geography
  • France, history before 1789
  • France, history since 1789
  • France, politics
  • France, regions
  • France, society
  • France, sports, etc.
French art, French politics, French society .... is how I would have started these pages. David E. Volk 15:13, 21 February 2008 (CST)
I would have also. Hate those fiddly commas! We should always favour natural English - Ro Thorpe 15:18, 21 February 2008 (CST)

For a global topic, the main keyword, followed by the second keyword, followed by the geographical unit produces a scheme like this:

We will have several hundred articles on World War II, and we have to plan for the readers who want to browse in different subtopics all related to one country (Japan, say), or one topic (naval battles), or one time period (December 1941).

Why all that was cut from the page

Richard, I've cut that because this is not standard practice for wiki pages or for Web documents generally, and because it it has been our own practice until you arrived.

Richard, you can feel free--for now--to continue to follow that rule in your own history articles that you started, frankly because I don't have the time to persuade you otherwise. But we won't follow your practice generally until the Editorial Council has had a chance to weigh in. --Larry Sanger 20:23, 25 April 2007 (CDT)

Repeating ourselves.

Many discussions of this topics have already taken place on the forums. There was a comment above that someone couldn't find the forum discussions. To save us repeating and maybe ignoring the comments made, I have cataloged the relevant forum discussions below:

  • Anthropology - What's in a name? [[1]]
  • Article Policy - Romanization of Chinese: Pinyin and/or Wade-Giles? [[2]]
  • Geography - Naming Irish articles [[3]]
  • Geography - A request for real names [[4]]
  • Biology - Naming policy (four pages!) [[5]]
  • Music - Naming conventions for individual works [[6]]
  • Computers - The Linux "family" of articles [[7]]
  • Article Policy - Articles about titled people. [[8]]

Additionally, some wiki talk pages have discussions on this the topic of Naming conventions. Where possible, I have summarised the topic discussed.

This list is by no means fully comprehensive. If there are any more, please add them. Derek Harkness 12:38, 27 April 2007 (CDT)

Propose change in rule to Surname-first

The first-name-first rule we have is poor, because it is not the logical way to search. It requires searchers to know two names, and start with the lesser-known. (Users are much more likely to know surnames rather than first names--Einstein, Kepler, Galileo, Copernicus, Mendel, Laplace, Heisenberg, Poincaré, Montesquieu, Kant, Hegel, Descartes, Maxwell, Trotsky, Molotov, Engels, Hayek). The first name of a person is far more variable than the surname. Foreign language spellings are a problem. Alphabetizing by initials would be a disaster: in Britain, scholars commonly use their initials (A.J. Ayer, A.J.P. Taylor), and sometimes in the US (C. Vann Woodward-- Comer is his first name, Vann is his mother's name; what does our rule call for??). First names for royalty and aristocrats?? Obviously the rule fails (Lord North, Queen Elizabeth, Earl of Chatham, Lord Beaverbrook). American politicians often are best known by nicknames, (Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Joe McCarthy, Jerry Ford, Bob Dole, Rudy Giuliani, Teddy Roosevelt, Jack Kennedy, Colonel House, Tip O'Neill), which throws off the convention. Furthermore, family members are broken apart when they should stay together. Most important, the editors will be unable to spot articles easily; who will be browing through the Johns to find someone? So I propose we adopt a Surname-First rule. Richard Jensen 19:41, 3 July 2007 (CDT)

Richard, since surname and first names are in different fields actually it is merely a presentation layer, it can be changed in order - I just don't think the developers will be waiting to change every presentation layer into lastname-firstname(s) basis. It can however be done and the info in the database is independent. If you ask to change a presentation layer the firstname-lastname way is the way you address a person. Searches however can be executed based on last names. HTH Robert Tito |  Talk  19:54, 3 July 2007 (CDT)
Searches that require a first name are inferior to searches that do not. We have few enough biographies now that a changeover now will be easy. Richard Jensen 20:19, 3 July 2007 (CDT)
The rule that first names go first--or, more generally, that biographies are to be named according to the way a person's name usually appears in a sentence--is not, quite obviously, a rule that is intended to facilitate search. It is intended to facilitate linking. In the 21st century on the Internet, one does not use an alphabetical list to search. One uses a search engine to search. And besides, it is easy enough to write [[Category:Wonkology Workgroup|Blow, Joe]]. That will result in the result being filed by last name in alphabetical lists.
The proposed change, anyway, is not likely to happen. Our naming conventions have been carefully thought about back in Wikipedia days, and imported here. They are well-suited to a wiki-developed, digital, 21st century encyclopedia project. The arguments for rejecting them will have to address the actual reasons there are for the policies you want to reject, which if I'm not mistaken you really haven't done yet. --Larry Sanger 21:53, 3 July 2007 (CDT)
Wikipedia rules were set up for a non-expert world where thousands of people jumped in and there is no broad oversight. CZ has a different model based on experts looking at what we have and what we do not have. The experts need to know what is covered and what is missing. I did set out some actual reasons: in a word, searching by first name is a poor technique that helps no one.Richard Jensen 23:44, 3 July 2007 (CDT)
There is no 'one size fits all solution for names.' For every format, there must be exceptions that go against the grain. Not all people are equal. There are different formats of name used for different cultural (e.g. china) and political (e.g. royalty) reasons. It gets complicated as people sometimes have more than one name. George the VI was christened 'Albert' and many actors are known by stage names. Instead we need to create groups of formats for the various potential types. So we need a rule that all royalty is named in one format. All Chinese are named in another format that fits the culture.
Returning to alphabetization and surname first, we need to examine what the name is used for. In category lists, names are already supposed to be organized by surname. They are displayed first name first but ordered by surname. If you see a name that is not ordered correctly, then edit the category/checklist ABC so that it is piped to the correct format.
However, category lists are only one use for the name. The name is also used for linking to articles. For this purpose, first name first, as used in a normal sentence, is the logical choice to avoid piping hundreds of links. It's easier to pipe the category than to pipe all the other links.
What role does the name play in searching. Well when searching, the order of the keywords is to a large extent irrelevant. If I search for 'Julius Caesar' the same article is top of the results as if I search for 'Caesar Julius'. If I forgot his first name, I could easily just search for 'Caesar' and the scan the list by eye for 'Julius'. Derek Harkness 06:48, 4 July 2007 (CDT)

Richard Jensen wrote: "Wikipedia rules were set up for a non-expert world where thousands of people jumped in and there is no broad oversight. CZ has a different model based on experts looking at what we have and what we do not have." That's interesting, because I personally took the lead in setting up Wikipedia's naming conventions, knowing full well older ("expert") conventions, and I personally took the lead in setting up Citizendium and its conventions, too. You could say that I'm an expert about the topic you're describing here (i.e., WP and CZ rules). The projects have largely the same naming conventions, which are not particularly "expert" or "non-expert" (the distinction is unhelpful here), but which are useful both to most end-users and to contributors. You say, "searching by first name is a poor technique that helps no one," but again, here's the perfectly "expert" reply, a point made several times before and most recently by Derek: in the computer age, one does not search by manually scanning alphabetized lists. One uses a search engine. And it will help the search engine marginally if the article searched for has the first and last names in the order in which they will be searched for by most searchers. And one does not produce conventions based on what works for (largely outmoded) alphabetized lists!

Encyclopedia entry conventions have changed with technology, and it's right that they have, too. --Larry Sanger 08:09, 4 July 2007 (CDT)

I completely support keeping the convention that biographical article titles should match the name of the person as commonly known in English, which means first name first. I don't know anyone who has a comma in their name; we shouldn't introduce one unnecessarily.
Searches on last names work, both here and on Wikipedia, so that argument is invalid.
It's also obvious that Mr. Jensen hasn't bothered to read the proposal at the top of this page, which details rules to handle all of the cases he worries about. So much so that one of his examples, C. Vann Woodward, is an argument for using the convention proposed above: the article would live at C. Vann Woodward, with a redirect from Comer Vann Woodward and any other variations necessary. That would obviate the need to decide if the fellow's name should be listed as Vann Woodward, Comer or Woodward, C. Vann. (If Mr. Woodward were from a Spanish-speaking country, the answer would be obvious, but it's not quite obvious in English.) Anthony Argyriou 10:32, 4 July 2007 (CDT)

Proposal to editorial council

I think we should have a task force from the Editorial Council to come up with a full-fledges policy here.Richard Jensen 20:28, 3 July 2007 (CDT)

Yes, good idea. I'll be opposed to your "last name first" proposal... --Larry Sanger 21:50, 3 July 2007 (CDT)

I'm not on the editorial council, but I have made a fairly complete proposal for naming of biographical articles above, and would be interested in seeing the editorial council consider it, or something like it. There are some minor differences from Wikipedia policy contained in it. Anthony Argyriou 10:37, 4 July 2007 (CDT)

Another pair of proposals regarding article titles

  1. I propose that articles about a particular aspect of a larger topic be titled Aspect of Topic, rather than Topic, Aspect of, and that there must be a link from within the Topic article, and possibly a redirect from Topic, Aspect of, for easier searching. In the case of specific institutions within a larger one, the form should be Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, rather than Diocese of Oakland, Roman Catholic.
  2. I propose that abbreviations in titles be avoided without very strong justification. Particularly, United States Congress or Congress of the United States, rather than U.S. Congress, and United Kingdom Parliament or Parliament of the United Kingdom rather than UK Parliament. With certain common abbreviations, redirects should be made from the abbreviated version to the spelled-out version.

Both proposals are for ease in searching and reading. Abbreviations are not always unambiguous, and require additional cognitive processing to decode. We should make it easier, rather than harder, to read this encyclopedia. Anthony Argyriou 10:52, 4 July 2007 (CDT)

In the case of UK, U.S. and UN, the short terms have become standard and are not seen as mere abbreviations. (we went through this with NSDAP = standard term for Nazi Party, instead of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei). In the matter of indexing, the standard rules are to start with the most important terms, and keep together topics that belong together. We had a case of this recently in history where:
  • Memory of Joan of Arc
  • Joan of Arc, timeline
  • Trial of Joan of Arc
  • Rehabilitation trial of Joan of Arc

were turned into:

Richard Jensen 12:57, 4 July 2007 (CDT)

Citizendium does not have a paper index, and thus the so-called "standard rule" does not apply. While the particular cases of U.S., UK and UN (and also USSR) will be understood by most readers, there is no need to make an exception for those four cases, when there's little additional effort required to spell out a title, and some clarity and consistency to be gained thereby. (Of course, in article text, abbreviations are fine - obvious ones won't need to be introduced, while others will be.) Parallelism in article titles doesn't require the constructions used above, either, as once again, there is no paper index for Citizendium. Usages such as Joan of Arc, Trial should be avoided for the same reasons that Reagan, Ronald is a bad article title. Anthony Argyriou 12:53, 5 July 2007 (CDT)
It's not about paper--that is a red herring--it's about how information is best organized. The "standard rule" I refere to is the one used in electronic library catalogs, for example (there have been no paper card catalogs in many years). Fact is the library world is a leader in online information organization. As for "spelling out a title", that is a poor policy as shown by the poor examples just give us. The "United States" and "United Kingdom": are not full titles, they are shortenings. CZ should stick to the rules that editors and catalogers for ONLINE SOURCES have developed and not invent unresearched and unstudied conventions that are not based on the expertise that characterizes CZ. I suggest looking closely at rulebooks like the Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Stylebook, which is what electronic media experts use. Richard Jensen 16:17, 5 July 2007 (CDT)

I think Richard's Joan of Arc examples very clearly exhibit the superior naming convention.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 17:47, 5 July 2007 (CDT)

"and keep together topics that belong together." - Keeping them together where? The only place I can conceive of lists like the ones in your example existing in on the page [[Category:History_Workgroup]]. For normal users, such an arrangement of the names will never be seen. The way to keep these related articles together for users (and also for editors) is to use the 'also see' section in the article it's self. Derek Harkness 06:24, 6 July 2007 (CDT)
search engines like google are far easier to use once the user sees the logical consistency. For example, the art historian who knows we have "Germany, Art" will look for "France, Art" and "Italy, Art" and find what is wanted. That will be much harder is we lack a system and have wildly different terms ("History of the Arts in Germany"; "French Art"; "Italian artists"). The way CZ will often work is a student will ask a teacher or librarian for help, and when they know we have a system they can demonstrate it. Richard Jensen 06:32, 6 July 2007 (CDT)
I agree that we need sets of names that obay a certain ruleset and are consistent. But I dissagree as to what that ruleset should be.
You mention google, for google, the name of the article is almost irrelevant. They use full body indexing. The content of the article and who links to the article is much more important than the title that we put on. Derek Harkness 07:06, 6 July 2007 (CDT)

"...and keep together topics that belong together. Keeping them together where?" - Like in Richard's example, above. You have a catalog of Joan of Arc articles that are MUCH easier to follow if like

 —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 03:03, 15 July 2007 (CDT)

A meta-proposal involving sub-pages

Aside from the general guidelines regarding naming of articles (and perhaps of subjects within articles), we will probably want to develop several specific guidelines - there are a few proposals above already. I propose that those specific guidelines which are adopted, however they become adopted, be included as subpages of this page. If the rule can be described in a single paragraph, then it's probably not worth a subpage, but something like the royalty/nobility proposal I presented above would be uch better as a subpage than cluttering the body of the naming conventions policy page. Anthony Argyriou 14:43, 6 September 2007 (CDT)

Proposal for naming Places, buildings and structures

Further to this discussion and this it was suggested that for places - and particularly buildings, most print sources will write St. Paul's Cathedral, London or St. Paul's, Covent Garden, which seems more natural than St. Paul's Catherdral (London). I suggest the following change to the Convention:-

Currently we have:-

Some titles that should always be disambiguated--in particular, those titles that do not suggest any one particular sense. For example, "Georgia" is apt to bring to mind the U.S. state as much as the country in the Caucasus. Or, in any event, in the interests of neutrality, we should not pretend that one sense is the primary one. Therefore, we should use Georgia (U.S. state) and Georgia (country)--or similar, suitably disambiguated titles. What should we put at Georgia (with no parentheses)? At Georgia, we should put a "disambiguation page," i.e., a page that lists and links to the different pages with the title in question.

I suggest this is changed to:-

"Some titles which should always be disambiguated are those that do not suggest any one particular sense. For example, "Brief" is apt to bring to mind many definitions. In the interests of neutrality, we should not prefer one sense over another. Therefore, we should use Brief (architectural), Brief (legal) or even Brief (underwear) or similar unambiguous unique titles. What should we put at Brief (with no parentheses)? At Brief, we should put a "disambiguation page," i.e., a page that lists and links to the different pages with the title in question.
The exception to prove the rule is where we are describing places or buildings. It is the convention in most literature to disambiguate places by listing additional information regarding their location. At citizendium we follow this convention, so for buildings like St. Paul's Cathedral we may have St. Paul's Cathedral, London or St. Paul's Cathedral, Dundee. For places we may have Birmingham, Alabama or Birmingham, England, if a country may cause confusion then list the continent - so we may have Columbia, South Carolina or the country Columbia, South America - for the space shuttle we use the normal parenthesis rule ie. Columbia (Space Shuttle).

I appreciate this will mean we might have to rename some of our articles - Georgia for a start which is a particularly tricky example that might have to be written as Georgia, USA and Georgia, Eurasia - since it's a transcontinental country. But the basic rule seems sensible I hope you'll agree. --Russ McGinn 15:11, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

As a side note, the country is spelled Colombia, and thus does not require the same sort of disambiguation that Columbia does, so that's probably a bad example to use. Anthony Argyriou 15:25, 7 January 2008 (CST)
Doh - good point! I feel daft. I'll try and find a better example as pennance. --Russ McGinn 07:23, 9 January 2008 (CST)

Wikipedia has had some issues with the naming of sub-sub-national units, and it would be good to settle a policy here before we end up in the same sort of mess that Wikipedia finds itself in. The problem usually occurs with smaller, more obscure towns, but it can occur with larger cities. For a long time, the policy was Cityname, State for U.S. cities and towns, and Cityname, Country or Cityname, Subnational Unit, Country for non-U.S. cities and towns, with very well-known, unambiguous, cities being listed as Cityname, with the appropriate redirects. This had some problems. There are quite a number of cities named "San Francisco" or "Oakland", but it's pretty clear that the two located in California are the best-known by those names. San Jose, however, is a problem. Is it the third-largest city of California, or the national capital of Costa Rica? Then there was a big change, so that all cities and towns were Cityname, Subnational Unit. (Except that some articles didn't get changed.) This created some issues - Cartagena, Murcia is, for most people, obviously in Spain, but how many Europeans would know which country Cartagena, Bolivar is in? Should Dover be Dover, Kent, or Dover, England? (Both these examples also cause problems with the unambiguated names - Cartagena in Colombia has more people, but is newer, and could be Cartagena de las Indias. Dover in England is smaller than Dover, Delaware, but only barely.) There's also the problem of distinguishing between New York the state and New York the city, and Mexico the city and Mexico the country. Unlike other issues, I'm not really sure how to handle the issue, though I do think that redirects should be created liberally to handle all the different ways people will try to find articles about places. Anthony Argyriou 16:42, 7 January 2008 (CST)

This guideline article is nowhere near ready

There are some serious omissions here, which really need to be dealt with [particularly concerning capitalization and foreign names]. Other things need to be discussed on the Forum: for examnple, surname first or complete name style. I will try to offer some ideas in the near future...For the moment, it is nowhere near the stage of a Resolution for the Ed. Council. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:23, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

I agree, there is a need for an expansion here. We also need to vote on Richard Jensen's personal conventions for the history articles, to which I am opposed. Generally, names are written as they are normally written in the context of a paragraph --Larry Sanger 17:21, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

I think EB has got naming conventions down perfectly, and we might consider just emulating them. One thing that has not been tabulated much into these naming conventions discussions is how detrimental it is to search engine placement to follow WP naming conventions. If we can do it another way, even if only for that reason, I think it'd be a smart move.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 17:50, 11 September 2007 (CDT)
EB? [9] --Matt Innis (Talk) 19:39, 11 September 2007 (CDT)
I think he means Enciclopedia Britannica. As for these guidelines, I think we need to consider them in groups. Split it down in to little packets of name types. For example: articles about people with English names is one group; articles about people with foreign names is one or more group(s); articles about plants and animals is a group; Articles that deal with a subset of information (e.g. history of... ) make another group; Articles that need disambiguation in names is another group; Articles with more than one possible name; is another group.
We need to discuss guidelines for each of these groups (and more) separately. Some of these issues have effectively been decided. For example how to name things that have Chinese names seems to be settled. Other things need more discussion. Can we split off and officially endorse the guidelines that we have decided and can we restart discussions about the subjects that are not decided and come to some conclusions. Derek Harkness 19:55, 11 September 2007 (CDT)
I can't agree about EB. We have at least two very significant differences with them: first, we are a wiki, which means that linking in a certain way is facilitated. Second, we are not based on an alphabetical, analog, paper encyclopedia, but we can organize articles (e.g., on Related Articles pages) however we like. These are the constraints that I used to produce Wikipedia's naming conventions, which they still use; and those are more or less the rules we should (continue to) follow here, I think. --Larry Sanger 20:50, 11 September 2007 (CDT)
I do agree, though, that it would be a good idea to have each different issue spelled out explicitly. --Larry Sanger 20:56, 11 September 2007 (CDT)


I have added some details to the naming of rivers, specifically saying NOT to use River Amazon. However, what should we do with mountains, lakes etc? With seas and oceans, it is clear that they take the form Atlantic Ocean, so I have not added that to the text. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:59, 6 January 2008 (CST)

Rivers - I think we should make two specific exceptions to the policy of naming river articles Rivername River: Rio Grande and Río de la Plata. Both of these are known by their spanish names in English. (If Texans can be bothered to use the spanish name for something, the rest of us can, too.) Río de la Plata isn't properly a river, anyway, it's an estuary; but "Plate River" or "River Plate" are just ugly.
Lakes and Seas are harder - there seem to be many lakes which are like Lake Tahoe or Sea of Azov, but many which are like Great Salt Lake or Salton Sea. I think we should defer to the authority of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names in general. Anthony Argyriou 15:36, 9 January 2008 (CST)
I agree with the US Board on Geographic Names. Their system is effectively the same as the UK's Permanent Committee on Geographical Names. It is also the system used by my atlas. As per this system, except for major locations where a common English spelling has already come into being, the spelling used by the official mapping agency of the country concerned is used. So if the Rio Grande is so spelt on the maps we reference, then we should use this spelling. My Atlas uses 'Amazon' and 'Nile' without the word river. Other lakes do have the word lake or sea appended to them. Some have at the beginning and some at the end. For example, in Scotland Loch Long and Long Loch are two different places. Some have no lake. For example, Windermere in the Lake districts should not be Lake Windermere as the water is a 'mere' not a lake. Derek Harkness 05:19, 10 January 2008 (CST)

That is all very well, but I certainly do not know whather someone is talking about the region or the river, when they use "Amazon". My point above was that the instructions tell people to write "river" with a lower case amd after the name, i.e. the Amazon river, and not the River Amazon. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 07:26, 10 January 2008 (CST)

Absolutely not. The 'R' on 'River' must be capitalised. That is the correct form for within a sentence. E.g. "I sailed up the Amazon River." If we followed your suggestion, then every article about the Amazon would have to be piped like: "I sailed up the [[Amazon river|Amazon River]]."

It is not my suggestion: it is what was written in the instructions originally, and I made it more explicit that River is not capitalised and that the order is river after the name. I have no objection to capitalisation at all. I suggest you change the instructions, but you'd better check with Larry et al, perhaps. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 11:16, 10 January 2008 (CST)

Martin, I'd like to suggest that you make the change (whatever changes) you think are necessary to this page, and to other policy pages. If necessary, we can vote in case of a lack of consensus. If you (or anyone) makes any change on the page that seems particularly important, then I'd like to know about it, and we should get confirmation from the Editorial Council (if not an actual vote). "Amazon River" is the usual name of the river in English (capital "R" in "river"), I thought. If I am mistaken, we could use Amazon (river), but definitely not Amazon river, which is just bad writing (capitalization). --Larry Sanger 12:27, 10 January 2008 (CST)

By the way, consider the sources that use "Amazon River": (including scholars and EB) --Larry Sanger 12:32, 10 January 2008 (CST)

OK, we all seem to be agreed on this, actually. I had assumed that the lower case of "river" is a modern [read American] usage, and didn't really want to challenge it. I'll amend the text now. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 12:38, 10 January 2008 (CST)

Sorry, I'm not trying to be micro-managing, really I'm not!  :-)

I dove in and edited the text. The point of the added sentences, I believe, was simply to say that the word "river" should be included in titles of articles about rivers. That's right; I would have thought it was too obvious to need mention, but fine. If we want to say that, what we ought to do is start a whole new section that gives specific advice about specific issues. If anyone wants to do that, please do! --Larry Sanger 12:45, 10 January 2008 (CST)

I will add something about the order in titles, because River Amazon is a common usage, and we don't want articles beginning with River... By the way, I notice that you reverted all my capitalizations of first letters of titles. The point is, that people have been making links to non-existent pages and the software has had problems with that, as I recall. It is easier to tell people that the first letter is always upper case...Martin Baldwin-Edwards 12:50, 10 January 2008 (CST)

On the latter point specifically, I think you may not be aware of the way the software works: both life and Life will both link to the same article without a redirection page. So the software "doesn't care" whether the first letter is capitalized. It merely displays the titles of pages (all pages) with the first letter capitalized. --Larry Sanger 12:58, 10 January 2008 (CST)

I experienced some problems with links on the "Core Articles" pages, where the wiki didnt recognise that articles already existed if you put the name in lower case; but possibly the upper-case forcing occurs only when you try to create a new article. So, your changes should make it clear. I have added a small section on rivers etc, which seems useful to me. Corrections and comments welcomed. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 13:15, 10 January 2008 (CST)

In the most part, the appendage of 'River' could go either side of the name. However, I have spotted a small number of river names where only one form is every used. For example, the 'River Ouse' in England is always River first. I can't find a single instance of 'Ouse River'. I think we need to have some flexibility in these naming conventions. (Of course, you can just talk about the 'Ouse' with no mention of river). Derek Harkness 02:34, 26 January 2008 (CST)

Hmm, the solution might be Ouse (River). The problem with inviting flexibility is that it requires real expertise to know when it is needed. Possibly, we should just deal with exceptions on an exceptional basis, with the unstated assumption that all rules need some flexibility. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 04:36, 26 January 2008 (CST)

The solution should be simple here: we should use the form of the name that is used by the locals, if English-speaking, and otherwise the name usually given in English, if the locals aren't English-speaking. This isn't a special rule about rivers, either. It's about all geographical entities... --Larry Sanger 07:41, 26 January 2008 (CST)

Well, it isn't quite so simple. For example, the usage "River Amazon" is the one that I am familiar with, and there are many multiple formats of these things. The most common local usage will be to omit the word "river" or "lake" etc completely, so that is not going to help. We need, as do all publishing houses, to have a house format which will loosely structure the preferred form. I think your added sentence conflicts with the "house rule" and will only confuse people.Martin Baldwin-Edwards 09:13, 26 January 2008 (CST)

Well, nothing you've said actually contradicted anything I said. You're familiar with "River Amazon," but "Amazon River" is, unless I'm much mistaken, the more common English usage both in the U.K. and the U.S. Also, I didn't say "the most common local usage," but the most common local usage if the locals are English-speaking--otherwise, the most common usage by English speakers. Let's make that the house rule. --Larry Sanger 10:01, 26 January 2008 (CST)

The point is, to take an example: if the locals call the river "the Ouse", and the maps call it the River Ouse, we have the choice of "River Ouse" or "Ouse (River)", it seems to me. Which one do you want? Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:08, 26 January 2008 (CST)

I assume you're talking about a Yorkshire stream. I'd say River Ouse, because that is an option. If the locals and English maps never called it "River Ouse" but always "the Ouse," then we might have a problem. For reference [10] --Larry Sanger 16:04, 21 February 2008 (CST)

River (Great/Little - just seen your link!) Ouse, River Thames, River Severn, it's always thus in England. Ro Thorpe 16:18, 21 February 2008 (CST)

Yes, I agree, Ro. I have never heard the Amazon called "Amazon River"; it is always River Amazon or the Amazon. This is probably a difference between US and British English, which makes it all the more useful to define a CZ style. I do not agree with you, Larry, that it is a matter of finding the most common usage: doing that would be original research. I propose defaulting to "X River" and where that is not normal usage, we have the choice of "River X" or "X (River)". I am not enthusiastic about all these things beginning with River, but perhaps on a wiki it doesnt matter. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:30, 21 February 2008 (CST)

Agreed. What about non-English? I say 'River Seine', never 'Seine River', but I imagine AmE speakers use the latter. Wikipedia avoids the problem by using 'Seine' alone - perhaps that is the best way, with disambiguations in brackets: Douro (wine), Douro (river), Amazon (region), Amazon (river)... Ro Thorpe 16:56, 21 February 2008 (CST)
Someone has to decide on a policy. Every publisher, or even an individual journal like the two I set up, has to have a policy on naming and style conventions. There are too many valid alternatives out there to say that it is obvious which is the most-used in English. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:40, 21 February 2008 (CST)
Then there is going to have to be a lot of ad hoc, and the Amazon seems to be a hard one. Seine, River Thames, Mississippi River... I suspect that if only as a result of having already thrashed it out, WP may in most cases have found the best way, dare I say? Ro Thorpe 18:28, 21 February 2008 (CST)

In that respect, WP has a policy whereas CZ doesn't. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 19:01, 21 February 2008 (CST)

Indeed. So, as with 'Seine', for the 'River Nile' I would prefer simply 'Nile' to 'Nile River', which I would never say. Ro Thorpe 12:17, 22 February 2008 (CST)
My own two cents here: it is, I think, a purely ad hoc situation. All my life I have heard and read "the River Nile" and "the Mississippi River." I have never, to my recollection, run across "the River Amazon". Here in the States, it's always: "He led an expedition up the Amazon" or "up the Amazon River." Or "the Amazon is the mightiest river in the world." Also, to my ears the following are correct: "the River Thames," "the Seine" or "the River Seine." I doubt if *any* rule can ever be formulated that will either encompass all examples or that will please everyone.... Hayford Peirce 12:40, 22 February 2008 (CST)
Agree entirely. So what does WP have for the African biggun? Plain 'Nile'. Ro Thorpe 12:48, 22 February 2008 (CST)

Mixing this with neutrality

Are people here planning to treat neutrality as well? When comparing 2 names from 2 different countries, how would we know which name is more common? Google test? I really dislike how Wikipedia's naming conventions are shaped. It's really incomplete but in disputes people take advantage of the holes & use them to move people in an obviously wrong direction. (Chunbum Park 14:01, 22 February 2008 (CST))

Marseilles vs Marseille

Ditto Lyon vs. Lyons. Many (most) English sources added the "s" for years (centuries), now the movement is away from that and back to the original. Do we stick with customary English usage or do we go with the modern. The NYT, for instance, switched from Marseilles to Marseille within the last 10 years or so, I'm pretty sure.... On the other hand, no one (except those of extreme pretensions) says Roma instead of Rome.Hayford Peirce 10:29, 27 February 2008 (CST)

This is difficult. I would advocate the standard international English usage of 2008, which is as you describe it but does not follow general rules. The solution is to provide the general rule of "contemporary usage in the Anglophone world" and hope that people know such. Otherwise you can be the international nomenclature police, Hayford! Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:57, 27 February 2008 (CST)
During my schooldays in the 1960s, creak, a geography teacher was the object of mirth for his pronunciation 'Mar-sails'. As for Lyons, that a Corner House, ain't it? Ro Thorpe 13:13, 27 February 2008 (CST)
I had a dear friend in San Francisco, a mystery writer named Collin Wilcox, who wrote *apparently* sophisticated books. No world traveller, he, Collin was greatly embarrassed when I pointed out that in his latest book his sophisticated, world-travelling rich bitch had just come back from the Caen Film Festival, hehe.... Hayford Peirce 13:33, 27 February 2008 (CST)
Shhh! Don't let everyone in on the secret. These days, Cannes is just so over-run with 'oi polloi (it's always so amusing when they say 'the hoi polloi', isn't it). Caen is still where the really leading-edge people go! J. Noel Chiappa 13:32, 29 March 2008 (CDT)


Does anyone (perhaps from a technical perspective) have any substantial advice about where articles on particular books should live? At the moment, I am less concerned with books with titles in other languages and more concerned with books with long titles, books that have titles and subtitles, and books which are commonly known as something other than their proper title. Subtitles are what's on my mind at the moment, as earlier today I had occasion to refer to Daniel Dennett's 'Breaking the Spell,' and didn't know whether I should link to it as simply 'Breaking the Spell' or whether it was preferable to use ' Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.' Thanks, Brian P. Long 13:51, 26 March 2008 (CDT)

I don't know whether this helps, but an example is Richard Dawkins/Works/The God Delusion. In the article itself, the /s are changed into >s, which I find strange. Ro Thorpe 14:24, 26 March 2008 (CDT)

Also, what about the use of the implied colon? Many books with subtitles actually show on their title pages something like
Learning How to Write Books
The Subtle Art of Punctuation
without a colon between the two. Not all but some....
(PS, if you'll start a stub about Dan Dennett, I'll stick in a pic. of him at my house in Tahiti, as if posing for an illustration of "Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters". Hayford Peirce 14:38, 26 March 2008 (CDT)
Yes, a colon is implied, to be included. Nice picture! - Ro Thorpe 17:30, 26 March 2008 (CDT)
Yes, but that doesn't answer the original question! I dunno, I'm generally in favour of shorter article titles unless there's a need to make them long, so I'd say 'always use the title without the subtitle, unless the latter is needed to disambiguate between two different books with the identical main title'. J. Noel Chiappa 13:35, 29 March 2008 (CDT)
Yes, that makes sense. In other words, we might have Life of Douglas MacArthur but we might also have Douglas MacArthur:The Man and the Mission and Douglas MacArthur: Dugout Doug in the Phillipines. I guess. Hayford Peirce 14:06, 29 March 2008 (CDT)

Even in formal publications, I tend to follow the practice of Noel. After all, why use more words than are needed? Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:06, 29 March 2008 (CDT)


The Wikipedia Rule (add the king's country, so you get "Louis XIV of France" as the article title is an aberration that is rejected by most reference works like Ency Britannica, Columbia Encyclopedia, Encarta, World Book, etc. The all use just "Louis XIV" and that makes sense for us as well. One issue is that kings have lots of titles (and countries) and confusion reigns at Wikipedia. Richard Jensen 21:41, 29 March 2008 (CDT)

So this is simply trying to get more information on how Britannica/etc's system works: how do they distinguish between (or label the articles on, to be more exact) Charles I of Britain (or whatever his exact title was), and the various other Charles I's? (For example; this was just the first example I could trivially come up with - I'm sure there are much worse examples, where there are two well-know 'Foo X's, but it's late and my brain isn't working too well. :-) J. Noel Chiappa 22:46, 29 March 2008 (CDT)
I looked at "Charles II" the other encyclopedias disambiguate in different ways. Ency Brit uses something like a disambig page, which is what we should use. That way anytime "Charles II" appears in a CZ article you click and get the disambig page and that takes you to the right king. Wikipedia has a disambig page that leads to strange results--for example "Charles II" also includes the great political philosopher Montesquieu (they use an incorrect version of his formal name--you often get it wrong if you try to use formal names for historic people who did not use English). Richard Jensen 23:11, 29 March 2008 (CDT)
When Charles II appears in an article, surely you should be taken to the correct page and not a disambiguation page? I haven't understood what is the problem with saying "Charles I, King of England" in order to clarify. Although other reference works may not do so, that in itself is hardly a reason for CZ not to do so! Martin Baldwin-Edwards 23:18, 29 March 2008 (CDT)
You say "Brit uses something like a disambig page" - but how do they title the individual articles for the various Charles II's? (Oddly enough, given the size of my library, I don't have a set of encyclopaedias! So I can't check for myself. Hmm, maybe I should get a set - or look at the 1911 Britannica online....) J. Noel Chiappa 23:41, 29 March 2008 (CDT)
Ency Brit online uses a search engine that produces a list of pages. Each king has an article titled merely "Charles II" See [11] (England) and [12] (France). EB notes that each king had many different names. For example, regarding the French one: "byname Charles the Bald , French Charles le Chauve , German Karl der Kahle king of France (i.e., Francia Occidentalis, the West Frankish kingdom) from 843 to 877 and Western emperor from 875 to 877. (He is reckoned as Charles II both of the Holy Roman Empire and of France.) " Richard Jensen 23:53, 29 March 2008 (CDT)
EB 1911 is online at [13] I strongly recommend buying a copy of Encarta Premium on dvd The 2008 version sells for $27 new and $16 used (+$4 shipping) at I like Encarta better than the current EB note there is a very good Columbia Ency online free at Bartleby. Richard Jensen 00:07, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
That particular online 1911 is not to be trusted, according to this. Gutenberg is working on an online version, but it's not done yet. I found a set of complete scans here, and looked at the Charles entries; they are much as Hayford describes below for the 1940. Apparently one gets to the Charles pages, and flips through them until one finds the particular "Charles II" (or whatever) one is looking for. Not very helpful as a precedent for us! J. Noel Chiappa 00:50, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
I have in front of me the 1940 EB. It's a very odd arrangement. Evidentally they have articles about Charles II through VI, say, of the Holy Roman empire IN SEQUENCE, then start over again with Charles I through something for the Brits, then do the same for other nationalities. Definitely weird. The Charles pages in the Index volume are organized (I guess) along similar lines -- this is NOT a method that CZ wants to emulate! Trust me on this! (Incidentally, on another page we're arguing (discussing) about credit for articles and someone just brought up Einstein's unchanged EB article on something or other. My father co-wrote the Byzantine Art article for the 1940 EB -- at the end of the article, before the Bibliography, there is a chaste (H. Pe., R. T.) -- you can then, at the beginning of the volume, in several pages titled Initials and Names of Contributors, find that these initials refer to Hayford Peirce and Royall Tyler (historian).) Hayford Peirce 00:00, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
I thought the Peirce name was familiar! The old EB had many quanit and/or crazy systems, and the author-initial stuff is a good example. Richard Jensen 00:07, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
Well, alas, this doesn't help us a lot. For obvious reasons, we can't have two different Charles II pages. (Well, we could, if you wanted to use the kludge of including invisible characters in each article title, but I suspect you don't want to go there.) The online EB probably uses some sort of 'internal article name' which is separate from the 'displayed article title', and isn't displayed, and uses those internal article names in their equivalent of a disambiguation page, but alas the MediaWiki software we are using doesn't have that capability. We do have the capability to have the page text say the exact same thing as the Brittanica entries - it's just that there will be the extra 'page name' prominently displayed too. Or maybe not... maybe we can edit the Javascript for the skin to suppress the page name? I'll ask on the Forums tomorrow. If so, we could use whatever system we wanted for (internal) article names, secure in the knowledge that the readers will never see them! J. Noel Chiappa 00:50, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
It turns out my supposition about "internal article names" was slap on. I just noticed you Brittanica links above, and Britannica's true 'page name' for the article about Charles II of Britain is "article-9022560", and for Charles II of France is "article-9022553"! J. Noel Chiappa 11:52, 30 March 2008 (CDT)

Noel brings up a good point. Most of our royalty articles will not have the problem, so we should not let the odd cases determine basic poicy. Where there is duplication we can have "Charles II (England)" and "Charles II (France)" but we risk misleading our users because students should never write "Charles II (England)" or "Charles II (France) in their papers. Richard Jensen 01:51, 30 March 2008 (CDT)

And why cannot students write "Charles I, King of England" in their papers?Martin Baldwin-Edwards 06:32, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
students will do the funniest things--"Charles I, King of England" will indeed be used by students but that was not his name or title. Richard Jensen 08:28, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
I take your point, but alas, with the software as it stands, our articles are going to have to have page-names like Charles II (Britain) and Charles II (France) - unless we want to go down the Article 2428762 route! Is there another naming system you can suggest which i) provides different names, but ii) makes it unlikely that students will use them? (This is not snarky, I genuinely can't think of one.)
I will ask on the Forums if our skins can be changed to make the page-name less prominent when the page is displayed, and we can then manually add a "title" to the very top of the page in a large font, which could be just plain "Charles II" on both articles. J. Noel Chiappa 11:52, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
Would Charles II (King Charles the Second of England) not be sufficiently unwieldy to discourage students from using it? Ro Thorpe 12:05, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
an alternate solution would be to add dates; no student would misread them as part of the name or title; let me reemphasize this issue will not come up very often ( just checked the index of a big textbook--maybe 4 examples in European history to trouble us):
  1. Charles II (1630–1685).
  2. Charles II (1661–1700).
Richard Jensen 18:38, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
I really don't see what the fuss is about here. If there are two people with the same name, there has to be a disambiguation page. If historians haven't managed to sort out a proper naming convention, then we will do it for them on individual articles. All of this pompous stuff from Richard about how academics have solved problems in the past doesn't wash with me, especially when clear cases of ambiguity remain, like this one. It iis not enough to give dates: this is an encyclopedia, not a history textbook. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 19:27, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
By the way, EB online has 5 different Charles II with no disambiguation at all. It makes it a shoddy reference work, where someone has to struggle through different things to find out how many different people had the same name. I presume this lack of resolution of the problem is because of the opinions of historians, on how to do things...Martin Baldwin-Edwards 19:36, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
Martin can stop attacking historians, please. Without them there would be zero articles on Charles II, or Charles I. Richard Jensen 19:59, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
That would be abuse of monopoly power? Martin Baldwin-Edwards 21:28, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
no it's a free market in historiography, with plenty of competition. Richard Jensen 21:40, 30 March 2008 (CDT)

There's a thread about my proposed solution above (separating out page identifiers from article titles) on the forums here. It turns out it's technically quite feasible to do so, and it wouldn't be much work. People might want to read that thread, and comment. J. Noel Chiappa 21:58, 30 March 2008 (CDT)

I like Noel's solution. Richard Jensen 22:26, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
It is not a solution. There has to be a disambiguation page. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 22:41, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
It does solve the problem if you include a disambiguation page. We can now name the pages Charles II (Britain) and Charles II (France) and have the disambiguation so the reader can choose which one they want, and when they navigate to the page it will say Charles II for each of them, if I am understanding Noel's suggestion. --Todd Coles 22:48, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
I never intended it to be a solution to all our naming problems! I'm just trying to reduce the pain caused by having the page identifier currently necessarily identical to the article title (as in, MediaWiki forces them to be identical). Yes, we will still need disambiguation pages. J. Noel Chiappa 22:58, 30 March 2008 (CDT)
I strongly disagree with most of the proposals herein. I think that articles on Charles II of various different kingdoms and empires ought to have distinct article titles. I don't believe that most college, or even high-school, students will be dumb enough to use a slightly cumbersome article title in the midst of a paper they write which refers to the particular person. (And if they do, they deserve to be marked down, and learn a little about how to write in the process.) I also am not terribly confident in the assertion that all historians do certain things in certain ways. If the American Historical Association or a similar body has a publically available style manual, I'd be amenable to reviewing their recommendations, and working them into our naming conventions. Or perhaps we could use Debrett's Peerage. But absent such documentation, I'm not inclined to pay much attention to unsupported assertions about "the profession".
I don't believe we need to hack up MediaWiki to solve a non-problem. There's no good reason for there to be two (or more) articles titled simply Charles II, when that name refers to two (or more) kings. We should choose among [[Charles II (England)}}, Charles II of England, and any other system which makes it clear, in the title, which Charles II is being referred to. There would obviously need to be disambiguation pages and redirects from various bynames, etc. However, in particualr, I think the idea of using dates in the title is nearly useless. I remember approximately when Charles II was King of England, but I have no clue when Charles II of France or Charles II of Spain, etc., reigned. Presumably the article itself would contain enough context that I could figure it out without having to refer to the opening sentence, but our search engine isn't going to do a good job of finding Charles II (1661-1700) if I put "Charles II Spain" in the search box.
One difficulty with the paper encyclopedia method is that Citizendium is not paper. There is no "next article". You can't just turn the page forward or back to get from Charles II of Spain to Charles II of England. Any naming convention which implicitly relies on people "turning the page" is a bad idea. Anthony Argyriou 14:42, 31 March 2008 (CDT)
The issue is broader than just royalty, because there are plenty of instances where people/etc share a name. One well-known exampled to me is David Clark, where my lesser master (at MIT) shares a name with a well-known business person (and others). So we wind up with his article titled David D. Clark, a name almost nobody knows him by, because Wikipedia can't have two articles with the same title.
I had hoped that everyone would be enthusiastic about removing the limitation of "page identifier" must= "article title", because it gives us scope to, if we wish, have two articles titled "David Clark". I would have thought the extra flexibility would have been welcomed. (And no, it's not a change - of any size - to MediaWiki: it only needs the skins being changed a bit, and we're doing our own skins anyway.) J. Noel Chiappa 20:58, 31 March 2008 (CDT)

THe problem is a non-problem in technical terms. Why would you want to call different things by the same name? It is a problem, as I mentioned above, because historians have failed to systematize the naming convention of monarchs from different time periods and locations. THis is probably because most historians write about a specific period or region, and simply follow the local conventions. A global and time-comprehensive encyclopedia has to address the naming issue directly.

It is not enough to simply have the disambiguation page. It is also necessary to make it very clear to the reader of each article that they might actually be reading about the wrong person, and providing direct links to the other articles. This can only be done in the introduction of each, or acxtually in the title of each [implicitly, in the latter case]. My preference is within the title [but with something other than mere dates] because to put this information in the introduction of many articles is inefficient and will cause extra work for no obvious purpose other than conforming to historians' conventional practices. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:10, 31 March 2008 (CDT)

Okay, let's stipulate just for the sake of argument that everything Prof. Jensen says about naming conventions and students and how they may, will, or might either use or misuse anything that they read here in CZ because of the titled articles IS 100% CORRECT! Okay, we've stipulated that. Now, the question I want to pose is: SO WHAT?!
Is CZ written ONLY for students? For no one else at all? Are students so important that ONLY they can dictate how we should name our articles? And remark: we're not even talking about ALL students here, if I understand the arguments correctly: we're only talking, at the most, about high school students and college undergraduate students. No students from grades 1 through 8 and no postgraduate students. So we're going to let 8 grades of students dictate how we name our articles? Based, primarily, as far as I can see, SOLELY upon how PROF. JENSEN INTERPRETES WHAT THESE STUDENTS WILL OR WILL NOT DO.
To me, this seems like a strange way to decide how our articles should be named....
Okay, you say, if you're so smart, Peirce, how would YOU name them? Since you ask, I'll tell you: As I have said before, and as I believe a number of other people have suggested: The simplest, easiest, and clearest method:
Charles II (England) or Charles II (King of England), which one is immaterial to me.
Charles II (France) or Charles II (King of France)
Charles II (Spain) or Charles II (King of Spain)
With a gazillion of Redirects for every possible permutation of these names and titles....
Maybe this will destroy the learning processes of a generation of students, but even if it does, which I seriously doubt, Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.... Hayford Peirce 17:20, 31 March 2008 (CDT)
Thanks for your help, Hayford. IN fact, we can do better than other encyclopedias by carefully naming. For example, the full title of Charles I was much more than King of England, so the title could be: Charles I (King of England, King of Scotland and King of Ireland). Already, we have taught people something in the title alone! Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:38, 31 March 2008 (CDT)
I can't tell if you're being ironic or serious! The problem is that for a lot of these people (e.g. Holy Roman Emperors), their list of dominions is like a paragraphy long! Somehow I don't think you think we should be naming articles Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor, King of Castile, Leon and Aragon, Archduke of Austria, King of Naples, King of Sicily, ruler of New Spain, Duke of Burgundy - and here's where I get tired but there's another dozen or so assorted duchies, etc)! J. Noel Chiappa 20:43, 31 March 2008 (CDT)
But it's not just historians who "call different things by the same name" (as you complain). It's a common artifact of human naming systems (see my example above, with David Clark). Rather than change deeply entrenched human naming practises, I thought it would be easier to make a simple change to allow us to have more than one article with the same title (i.e. large name displayed at the top). J. Noel Chiappa 20:58, 31 March 2008 (CDT)

Proposed solution

from this discussion I conclude the most acceptable solution for everyone is this:

  • Charles II (England)
  • Charles II (France)
  • Charles II (Spain)

One of the reasons for this multiplicity is that English language references sources have translated the usual French/ Italian/ Spanish/ German names into English. Charles II of Spain was called Carlos in Spain. Richard Jensen 22:34, 31 March 2008 (CDT)

I agree with that method. Translation, to be fair, is not confined to English: Elizabeth II is 'Isabel' to the Portuguese, and her heir another 'Carlos'. Ro Thorpe 08:37, 1 April 2008 (CDT)
At what point do we stop translating? Nobody calls the current King of Spain "John Charles II", not even the most linguistically reactionary English or Texan newspapers. But most English-language sources call Carlos Quinto "Charles V". Anthony Argyriou 15:48, 1 April 2008 (CDT)
I sympathize with your complaint! Alas, human naming systems tend not to be very regular - a source of endless headaches to we encyclopaedists... and that's just in one language! I don't have any proposed solution at all for what we title articles, except the old 'best known as' rule. Doing anything else, I fear, runs the risk of confusing our 'customers' (a.k.a readers - I say customers because of the old saw about 'customer is always right'). Yes, we can try and educate them, and point out that Hirohito is now more properly called Emperor Showa, but until our readers are much more ready to recognize who this 'Emperor Showa' person might be, the title (alas) will have to remain 'Hirohito'. J. Noel Chiappa 16:28, 1 April 2008 (CDT)
Things change over time. John Richard Greene's Short History of the English People talks of Lewis XIV, which nobody does any more.
One issue that doesn't seem to be discussed above is unnumbered monarchs. Wikipedia has an article titled Victoria of the United Kingdom, which looks pretty silly to me. I think unnumbered monarchs (& Popes) should have their title as part of the article title, whether Queen Victoria or Victoria (Queen ...). As someone pointed out on Wikipedia, the heir apparent to the Swedish throne is called Victoria, so we'd nee diambiguation at some point.
I think Charles II (England) should be avoided, as he was also Charles II of Scotland, & actually called himself Charles II of Great Britain. I prefer the last as the title.
James VI & I is unambiguous, but I don't know whether it's his commonest name. James VII & II probably isn't, & William III & II certainly isn't. When someone reigns over more than one realm it's necessary to decide which to use, or else use double (or multiple in Scandinavia) numbering. Peter Jackson 17:02, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Hey Peter-- Glad to have another set of eyes on this question, particularly where nobility and royalty are concerned. Do you have any thoughts on clarifying the monarch in question by specifying the dynasty? This seems to avoid many of the dilemmas with the other systems, and also allows us to avoid anachronism. That way, we can talk about the Angevins without deciding whether they were "really" the kings of England or of France, and we can talk about the Carolingians without trying to decide whether East Francia is really the same thing as Germany. Thoughts? Brian P. Long 00:48, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Hm - I think the dynasty idea, if it means removing the name of the realm, is a bad one. Nobody will look for Victoria under "Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha". We don't have to decide if East Francia is Germany, only whether it's "East Francia" or "East Frankland". I certainly don't mind including the title of Kings and Queens, though the proposal I started copied the Wikipedia convention which leaves it off. "Queen Victoria of England" or "Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom" are perfectly good article titles, possibly even better than "Victoria of England".
Numbering of monarchs who ruled two realms is difficult, especially in the case of the Stuarts and the scandinavians. There's an argument to be made to use the "senior" title, but while that solves the "Emperor of India" problem, it doesn't solve the Stuart problem. I understand that James I & VI is conventionally written in that order, but is England really the "senior" title to Scotland? (For that matter, is England or Normandy the senior title for the Plantagenets?) I"m certainly not an expert in titles of nobility and royalty, but I think there should be a fairly clear, unambiguous, and useful method of naming articles about nobility and royalty. I'm not too invested in any particular solution, so long as it doesn't produce too many difficult results. Anthony Argyriou 01:09, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
When double numbering is used, it's James VI & I in Scotland & James I & VI in England, just as single numbering is James VI in Scotland & James I in England. Do we allow England to outvote Scotland? What is he called in America, which has more votes? If we use double numbering there are two reasons for VI & I. First, he was sixth first and first second: a reason peculiar to him, of course. Second, it is understood that post-Union monarchs follow the larger numbering, though there's no law to say so and no precedent for a larger Scottish numbering. Another reason for not calling him simply James I, which may well be his commonest name, is that it requires disambiguation:
  • James I (England)
  • James I (Scotland)
  • James I (Aragon)
Even James VI I think is unambiguous, let alone James VI & I of I & VI.
In context, whether East Francia is the same as Germany is mainly a matter of numbering. Kings of Germany are numbered from Charlemagne, so those who ruled only in the East would probably be best described as German. That still leaves the earlier Carolingians as complicating factors. Would I be right in thinking they can all be classified into
  • Holy Roman Emperors
  • Kings of France
  • Kings of Germany?
There are all sorts of other anomalies in this subject, eg
  1. Since Henry III's son, after briefly calling himself Edward IV, decided on "Edward the First after the Conquest", it would be confusing to number his predecessors. Fortunately, they have standard epithets: Edwards the Elder, the Martyr & the Confessor. But then it would be inconsistent to number other pre-Conquest monarchs, including Ethelred I and Edmund I, who don't seem to have commonly used epithets. Also, Edgar I if Edgar Atheling counts as king, as he does in the monarchy's official website but not in our article.
  2. Swedish numbering includes fictitious kings: the present king is Charles XVI, but there've only actually been 10. (This is different from the inclusion of Louis XVII of France: these people are totally imaginary prehistoric figures included in a list of 100 Swedish monarchs going back to Magog (grandson of Noah) published by the Archbishop of Uppsala centuries ago (equivalent to Geoffrey of Monmouth &c).)
  3. There were no Popes Martin II & III. Martin IV's numbering is derived from a misreading of handwriting: there had been 2 Popes named Marinus, misread as Martinus.
  4. After Henry V of England defeated the French, it was agreed he would succeed to the French throne on the death of the current king. In fact he died shortly before him, but Henry VI was proclaimed & crowned king of France. (In fact he was crowned in France before his English coronation.) However, although de facto king of France, he's ignored in their numbering. I suppose this applies to quite a lot of pretenders: Lambert Simnel, crowned Edward VI of Ireland; James VIII, de facto king of Scots 1745-7; &c. There seems no rule for deciding who's a genuine monarch. Lady Jane Grey is nearly always called that, though the monarchy's website, Whitaker's Almanac & other authorities list her as Queen Jane (again our article doesn't).
There are cases where the common names principle would lead to a dynastic name. Eg Mary I of England is probably more often called Mary Tudor (& perhaps even more often Bloody Mary).
Peter Jackson 12:02, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

common usage...

I am coming to the talk page from a link in Talk:Usama bin Laden, where the value of following the common usage was advanced. Worth noting that the common usage can be inconsistent.

Ludwig von Beethoven is usually sorted under B, while Vincent van Gogh is usually sorted under V. That is inconsistent.

Cheers! George Swan 13:15, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

Actually, it should be "van Beethoven": this is even more inconsistent. The result of following popular conventions is that you reproduce the mistakes and prejudices of popular press and suchlike. The advantage is that hardly anybody criticises you for it: after all, you are simply following conventions... Martin Baldwin-Edwards 14:36, 7 May 2008 (CDT)
Linguistic conventions abound in inconsistencies, not just in the popular press. Usage rules. When did you last say 'I goed'? Ro Thorpe 15:20, 7 May 2008 (CDT)
I goad :-) Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:53, 7 May 2008 (CDT)
Ditto. Joking aside, though, there is a clear rationale for following common usage when you're talking about whether the past tense of a verb is strong or weak, as well as many other points of grammar. A whole host of separate issues arise, though, when you are talking about the way you render the phonemes of a name from a different language.
We should also bear in mind that barbarous transliterations might not win us the cooperation of new scholars. Brian P. Long 17:39, 7 May 2008 (CDT)

naming is separate from neutrality, only based on common use?

Is that right? I think this should have a special section for disputed contents.

It should suggest that the Citizens search Google Web, Google Book, Google News, Google Scholar, CNN, Fox, BBC, MSNBC, UN, other encyclopedias (Britannica, Encarta) & sites of various international organizations.

I'm concerned about the Dokdo-Takeshima-Liancourt Rocks dispute between Japan & South Korea. Back in Wikipedia it turned into a complete mess, and there were serious mistakes from everyone, but the Japanese nationalists had won on small things (i.e. they managed to even put a flag of Japan in the infobox despite the fact that Japan doesn't control it, and they managed to put it on top of the S. Korean flag because of alphabetical order).

(Chunbum Park 21:13, 7 May 2008 (CDT))

Also, it'd be helpful if you guys could recommend which name we should use for the article about the island. Don't go to Wikipedia & learn about it. S. Korea controls the island, Japan claims/disputes it. That's how it is, but it shouldn't matter at all if the article name's all about common use. (Chunbum Park 21:18, 7 May 2008 (CDT))

I don't think it is only about common use. I really think this argument oversimplifies the real world. However, if the territory is effectively controlled by a country, then the name they use should be the normal one. Is this dispute in front of the INternational Court of Justice?
If there is another, popular, name which is different from the legal name chosen by S. Korea, then there is a problem. But the existence of alternative names for disputed territories is very common, and even for non-disputed. Turks call Greece by the name Yunanistan, Greeks call their country Hellas or Ellada, etc etc. In the end, one name is chosen for any particular purpose, and has to be justified for it. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 21:38, 7 May 2008 (CDT)
I would say that in general step one in these things is to have a neutral party (or body) make the decision - something which Wikipedia has no mechanism to do, because the ArbCom can (or, at least, is supposed to) only rule on behavior issues, not content issues. But I see no reason why, e.g. a Geography Editor couldn't be set to review claims from both sides, do research on their own, and render a decision. If necessary, we could use a group of Editors, not a single person. The very last thing we should do is have a lengthy and acrimonious debate between the partisans of the two positions, trying to come to a decision (i.e. the standard Wikipedia method). J. Noel Chiappa 22:08, 7 May 2008 (CDT)
Hello, thank you so much everyone for taking heed to this problem. Depending on how we approach this issue, the reputation of Citizendium may be compromised for the worst (for example, S Korean online newspapers publicized the Wikipedia move from Dokdo to Liancourt Rocks). At the same time, no one should be afraid to make the appropriate decisions.
See User:Chunbum_Park/Sub/Dokdo_research. I'm building a data on the common use in the web.
So the Dokdo dispute is, basically, in my honest man's opinion (and when we build the article, it will show up just by the evidence) - the Japanese arguments go from 1 to 10, but the Korean arguments manage to refute all of them & include 10 more that the Japanese arguments can't answer.
back in Wikipedia, the Japanese nationalists just took out the arguments that they found disadvantageous or unanswered from their position (they were an unreasonable, volatile crowd, but I'm guessing that a significant number of them were actually fakes by very smart & astute editors). So, instead of including everything in, they took out the things they didn't like, or didn't allow the article to develop in certain directions because they too knew that the Japanese position was weaker simply by the evidence. (Chunbum Park 15:14, 8 May 2008 (CDT))
"Japan asserted its legal claim then, even though, based on the International Crisis Group’s review of historical records, Korea had a stronger claim."here, and there's also a scholarly article see here google search by a Stanford university student in his university journal, he got help from his professor - it claims that S. Korea has stronger claim on Dokdo.
The Japanese gov wants to make the island like a disputed territory- like a tie, the ownership in question & S. Korea illegally controlling the island but that's actually a win for the Japanese gov b/c S. Korea physically controls the island --> stronger claim according to international law & S. Korea has stronger historical claims. (Chunbum Park 14:06, 8 May 2008 (CDT))
Try to see this dispute in the larger context of how Japan whitewashes its history (i.e. "comfort women"/sex slaves, human experiments for new weapons including "death ray" - they ended up making microwaven, mass killing of certain communities & villages in order to counter independence activism) & minimize the magnitude of their past national crimes on their textbooks, etc. this is related. Also, please not that Joseon Ilbo is one of the most respected newspapers in Korea - equivalent to New York Times & CNN. (Chunbum Park 14:11, 8 May 2008 (CDT))

For disputed territories, I think the answer is actually very simple. We should describe the world as it is now. Not how we would like it to be nor how some people (even the majority) think it is. This group of rocks between Japan and Korea is in fact controlled by only one of these powers. The other might want to control it, an maybe justifiably or not, but actual control is what we should concentrate on. We don't have to weigh the arguments in a just way because the arguments of who should own these rocks is irrelevent to us. We should only care about who owns the island today, now. Derek Harkness 19:13, 8 May 2008 (CDT)

I really appreciate your outright decisiveness. Because this is such a sensitive issue, let's have this discussion open longer so that all other Citizens here can voice their opinions on the matter. Thank you. I'll go ask other ppl for their opinions. (Chunbum Park 23:45, 8 May 2008 (CDT))
I have experienced the discussion from both sides offline and think the best solution for CZ is a pragmatic description of the current situation, as proposed by Derek Harkness, perhaps with a contoversy section added. -- Daniel Mietchen 04:45, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
Remember the focus here is "Naming conventions". The content of the articles is an entirely different thing to consider. What to discuss and what not to discuss, what sections to have and which not to have, within the text is a different matter. Derek Harkness 06:08, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
Sorry for not being clear - the title should reflect the current situation and, of course, not have any sections. -- Daniel Mietchen 06:16, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
Dr. Jensen in his talk page opened a new option for us - multiple name like here (ah, but for rest of the article, it calls the island Dokdo..) - Liancourt Rocks / Takeshima / Dokdo ? This might be a feasible option since many articles like Britannica & CNN provide all 3 names, and then use the term "the rock" or "the islets" for the rest of the article ... It should be appropriate if the question of naming was about common use & while Dokdo has considerably more results on Google web & Google Book (and as I remember, many other reliable web sites - I built a data back in Wikipedia..) if only the sites like CNN, BBC, Britannica, etc. matter Dr. Jensen's suggestion is a good solution. At the same time, if it's about which country controls the island now or which country has stronger claim on historical grounds & international law, it should be Dokdo. (Chunbum Park 08:40, 9 May 2008 (CDT))

There are very few places in the world where it is not clear at least which country controls the territory. If you are going to start putting multiple names for territories where there are claims being made, then there will be many multiple-named articles on CZ. I do not support this idea. For example, a long-standing dispute exists between the UK and Argentina over the islands the British call "The Falkland Islands" and the Argentinians call Malvinas. Since the UK controls the territory, the article should be titled The Falkland Islands. Of course, the first sentence should state the alternative name and claim of Argentina. I do not like the idea of calling it by both names in the title. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 08:51, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

I see. Then it's almost settled. I'll go ahead and make the article Dokdo. Thank you. (Chunbum Park 08:55, 9 May 2008 (CDT))
I have a question - how should the intro be? I was going to say "Dokdo is a small group of islets occupied by S. Korea and disputed by Japan" or similar, but seeing how we decided on the name, should it be something to the effect of "Dokdo is a small group of islets of South Korea located in the middle of the East Sea" and not include how Japan disputes at all until like the 3rd paragraph of the introduction? Thank you. (Chunbum Park 09:05, 9 May 2008 (CDT))
That I think needs to be balanced on how hot the topic is to the subject. The introduction should contain the key points to understanding the subject. It should keep clear of minor details. If you think there is an imminent war about to start or recently finished, concerning this territory, then you place the dispute higher up the article. However, if it's a relatively passive claim, dating back into history, with little chance of ever being implemented in our lifetimes, then you can bury it lower down in the main body.
The really difficulty comes where the geographical feature is the border. Almost contrary to what Martin said, there are allot of entities that traverse or straddle countries. Geographical features, such as mountain ranges and rivers, often mark the borders between states. In such cases they are clearly in both counties and so both names are equally valid. An example would be the Amur River in Russia, or is that the Heilongjiang River in China? Derek Harkness 09:32, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

There are two issues--actually three--here. There's the specific issue of what to call some islets that I've never heard of before ;-). I am not going to pretend to have an interesting opinion about that, and whatever you, Chunbum, and the relevant editors think is the "well-informed consensus" on the issue is fine, at least provisionally. Then there's the general issue about how to title articles that are about disputed geographical territories. This needs to be fully discussed and canvassed and ultimately a policy on this should be submitted to the Editorial Council (via the proposals system). Very quick discussion among people who have instant dogmatic opinions is simply not the way to make policy.

Third, I would like to point out that difficult cases like this should not be used to formulate general CZ article naming policy. I'm positing that as a general principle, not accusing anybody of anything. Philosophers, and academics generally, do this far too much: they let considerations about borderline, difficult, and even highly contrived cases suggest general rules.

As you know by now, I am going to come down on the side of common usage among competent English speakers, if there is any common usage: English speakers are our audience and our aim in choosing a name is not to make a political statement, or to be politically correct, but to make information about a topic maximally findable. --Larry Sanger 10:09, 9 May 2008 (CDT)

Thank you so much for taking a look at this issue. So, people with more experience can consult with the Editorial Council & formulate the naming convention on disputed subject matters & we'll change the article name of Dokdo according to the new convention, but then the new convention might not apply to difficult cases like this at all. As for Dokdo/Liancourt Rocks/Takeshima, I don't think there's much of common usage or difference in usage among the English speakers because most people don't know about this issue in the first place. It's a subject treated mostly by online news media, government sponsored sites & Asia-related blogs & forums. (Chunbum Park 11:00, 9 May 2008 (CDT))
As you also know, Larry, I disagree about automatically following the most common usage [as defined by newspapers and blogs] for foreign names. Whereas it makes sense for places with English names, it provides no guidance for controversial names or non-Latin names with multiple transliterations, etc. We need a proper policy on this. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 12:40, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
Just a few further remarks, in reply to comments above. It is very clear that the guiding principle (or dogma, if you like, Larry) should be international law. That is how countries are constructed, and that is how the world operates. There are some grey areas, and these might have to be individually debated. The second issue missing from my last post is in reply to Derek;s point about features of the terrain that constitute a border -- such as lakes, rivers, mountains. Again, the guiding principle is that the valid names are those for the territories whose border they constitute: this would typically be two countries, but can even be three or four. In these cases, all names are usually equally valid. I did not consider them to be relevant to the case being discussed, but it is a very imnportant point, in fact. We need to formalise these rules: I doubt that they need to be voted on, because they should be uncontroversial. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:42, 9 May 2008 (CDT)
Using already-existing external standards rather than coming up with our own sets (reinventing the wheel, or sorts) makes great sense to me. Stephen Ewen 03:15, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
Martin, I agree 100% that we should not have a blanket rule that we should adopt whatever most "newspapers and blogs" use for geographic names. Of course, I'm sure you also know (since I have stated my actual view a few times) that that is not my position.
I am not sure what you mean by "international law." I could guess, but I'd rather not. In any case, if the matter can be solved uncontroversially, I agree that it should be able to get past the Editorial Council "by acclamation." But, as there are many independent-minded people on board, I wouldn't second-guess the Editorial Council. --Larry Sanger 17:10, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
I also agree. Wikipedia's method skews data based on systemic bias. Such a method as searching blog & news posts would include technologically oriented people but not the ordinary folks. There are many problems with that like spamming, and, in case for Dokdo, the average English speaker does not know about the dispute at all & hence they would not know its name; therefore common use would not apply. We should fix a broken wheel, not use as it is. (Chunbum Park 18:40, 11 May 2008 (CDT))
On the particular case discussed above, one might wonder whether we actually need ana rticle on a group of small, uninhabited islands.
Let me throw in another apple to support Larry. Does anyone seriously suggest that the article on Mount Everest should not be called that, even though neither Nepal nor China presumably calls it that? Peter Jackson 11:01, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Update the instructions for "renaming incorrectly-name article"?

The current "Naming Conventions" page says that if you think a page should be renamed, put "[Category: Rename suggested]" at the bottom of the Talk page. But now the {{Rename}} template exists, so shouldn't the instructions be updated to say to use that instead? Bruce M.Tindall 20:36, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Possibly. I am not familiar with these templates but I do know that the instruction can become outdated quickly (i.e. the move instruction). If they appear hard to follow or just wrong, chances are they need to be updated. Chris Day 21:24, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Disambiguation Pages

The section dealing with how to construct and compose disambiguation pages is in the wrong place. This material rightly belongs at CZ:Disambiguation. This article should be about what to name disambiguation pages. Russell D. Jones 01:24, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Let me try to explain ... try again.

Text moved from the main page because it is just to idiosyncratic to bring up on a help page. Russell D. Jones 01:47, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

There's a principle I've always felt rather strongly about... It's that, if there is a word that has a common English meaning, but it is, in the common English meaning, not really a proper title for an article, and if somebody wants to write an article about some relatively specialized topic that goes by the same word, then the latter article should receive a disambiguated title, even if it is the only article that uses the title. "Try" in the Rugby sense is a perfect example.

Here's the principle: if I am familiar with some common (or even uncommon) meanings of some titles, then the titles alone should allow me to distinguish the topics of the articles without even clicking on the article. When you see the title "Try," you don't know: maybe somebody had something to say about trying and started the article under the unusual title "Try" instead of, say, "Effort." This is all by way of trying to explain why an article about the rugby term "try" should live at Try (rugby) or some such, even if it is the only article titled "Try."

Proposed Policy Changes

I propose the following to be added to the Typographical and Stylistic Rules for page names:

Punctuation. Do not use punctuation in an article title. Dashes, hyphens, colons, semi-colons, parentheses, periods, and commas should be avoided in article titles unless excepted. There are four exceptions to this policy: (1) a disambiguation title should use parenthesis (see below); (2) geographical place names (e.g., Anchorage, Alaska); (3) artistic works shall be rendered exactly as produced (e.g., William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, Willa Cather's O Pioneers!); (4) Initials if used as common name (e.g., J. R. R. Tolkien). Note also that initials are spaced (we prefer J. R. R. Tolkien to J.R.R. Tolkien). Some initials, however, do not use periods (e.g., USS, HMS, RMS, USSR, PRC, BBC, NBC, etc.; but always U.S.)[1]


  1. The usage of "U.S." is technical as the search engine will differentiate between "U.S." and "us" but not "US" and "us". Thus if it were "US", a search for U.S. topics such as the "U.S. Civil War" would also return "between us, civil war erupted." Similarly, searches for "US" topics would also return "USSR" topics.

And this paragraph to be stricken from the disambiguation section:

Note: use parentheses for disambiguating phrases. Do not use dashes, hyphens, or commas in the article title except in cases of geographical place names where the names are often written with a comma: Anchorage, Alaska.

Should these changes be adopted? R. D. Jones NOT R.D. Jones 13:48, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

William Faulkner wrote a book called Absalom, Absalom!. There might be other book titles with puncuation. Certainly such articles should be part of the exceptions. James F. Perry 15:24, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. Jones 15:30, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
US vs. U.S.? Anyone remember "Digging the Weans", from A Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown? Howard C. Berkowitz 15:31, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Agree over the adoption with the initials for personal names since they conform to standard style guides Chicago & Oxford. Meg Ireland 15:39, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Is this now how stylistic rules are now adopted? Well, I guess it was always so...except when the changes were really major.

I'm not sure if that was addressed to Russell or myself, but clearly Chicago & Oxford both have the same rules for initials in personal names, so I don't see why adopting it as standard is a problem. I make no comment on other acronyms and abbreviations, that was not the point of my post. Meg Ireland 06:24, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

The only question I have regards the elaboration of the periods-in-acronyms policy. Regarding AmE, see CMS on this; it's very clear. You use periods not just in "U.S." but also in "U.K." and all country names which might need them--except USSR. CMS 14e, 14.19. I doubt that the reason for this rule is that "U.S." is "technical," because I'm sure the rule was written before the advent of computers. --Larry Sanger 11:57, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

My only Question is: What about Macrons (ā,ē,ī,ō,ū) and Okina's (ʻ), both used extensively in Hawaiian words and names, and both can change the meaning of a word considerably. Take koʻu for example. It means me. Take out the okina, and you have kou which means you. And this is a tame example. There are websites out there dedicated to finding perfectly innocent words that can be turned into curse words or immature phrases by simply adding or subtracting an okina. We wouldn't want to accidentally use one of those now would we...Drew R. Smith 14:38, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't see how this affects page titles. Put the okina in. What's the problem? Russell D. Jones 15:04, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Proposed Policy Changes 2

We don't as yet have a style guide for music yet, so I'm placing this here for discussion. Titles of musical works should be in single quotation marks eg. 'song' not "song". The Chicago Manual of style suggests "song", however the Oxford Style Guide, Fowlers Usage and the Australian Style Manual all use 'song'. I performed a quick check and The Penguin Encyclopaedia of Popular Music, The Guiness Encyclopaedia of Popular Music, Martin Strong's The Great Rock Discography, and The Rough Guide to Rock plus their series of artist books all use the same single quotation mark system. The titles of albums remain in italics. My proposal is that we on CZ adopt the single quotation mark for titles of musical works as standard. Meg Ireland 15:39, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

example? "He we go again 'song'"? Jones 15:52, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
This has not been debated here before. The example is above eg. 'song' not "song". 'Hey Jude' not "Hey Jude". I've spoken with Larry Sanger, and he doesn't object. Meg Ireland 15:57, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
With all due respect for your tireless efforts on CZ, Meg, I didn't object because I thought you were saying something other than what I now understand you to be saying. You wrote: "I also believe the correct style for titling musical works with BE is eg. 'song' not "song", the Chicago Manual of style uses "song", but the Oxford Style Guide, Fowlers Usage and the Australian Style Manual all use 'song'." I thought you were saying only that BrE articles should use 'Song', and with that, I agreed. I didn't understand that you were also saying that AmE articles should use 'Song' as well, contrary to correct AmE usage. --Larry Sanger 17:43, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
By the way, it would be "Song," not "Song". In other words, unless things have changed since I went to school, in AmE the punctuation occurs inside the quotation marks. --Larry Sanger 17:39, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
How is that rendered in an article title? 'Hey Jude' or 'Hey Jude' Jones 15:58, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
The rendering won't change as the article title for the song won't have punctuation within the link eg. 'Hey Jude' (the quotation marks are always outside the link). The article itself would simply be Hey Jude when it's created, just like all other previous song articles, without the quotation marks in the article name. Meg Ireland 16:05, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
The answer to all of this is extremely simple: Ms. Ireland is basically consulting non-American style manuals. Standard *American* usage for titles is *always* ". Standard British usage is always '. This applies to songs, books, records, you name it. On page 191 of the New York Times style manual, for instance, at songs., all songs quoted are in " quotations. I will leave all of you to argue about whether 'Merkin or Brit usage should dominate. My own feeling, backed up, I believe, by the actual CZ rules that I read somewhere is that if the originator of an article decides the language variation at the very beginning, AND puts that into the metadata, then that variation is what must be used for the rest of that article. So if Ms. Ireland, for instance, originates an article in BE for a song called Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, then that song will be rendered in the CZ article as 'Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien'. If I, on the other hand, begin an article about Some Enchanted Evening, I will use AE and it will be rendered as "Some Enchanted Evening." So, unless someone is willing (and able) to go back and rewrite the rules of CZ style usage, I think we will have to live with both ' and " in different articles. Hayford Peirce 17:25, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
That's funny Peirce because if you read what I said, I quoted from the Chicago Manual of Style, not just non-American manuals. The point of my post is to get conformity between both styles for usage in all musical titles, not state what currently exists between both, and if it means rewriting CZ style usage so be it. Btw your condescending tone is really becoming problematic. Meg Ireland 00:36, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I am either Hayford or Mr. Peirce, Ms. Ireland. And I did indeed note that you mentioned the Chicago Manual of Style, which, of course, uses " because it is American. I'm sorry if you feel that I am condescending in tone. I was just trying to point out what I thought would be obvious -- that there are *two* styles, one American, one British. And that CZ allows its writers to use either *within a specific article*. If you want to start the process of rewriting the CZ style usage, then I fear that you are in for a long, long process. Hayford Peirce 01:13, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Apropos of nothing important, I am sure, I have take issue with your puzzlingly broad claim, Hayford, that "Standard *American* usage for titles is *always* ". Standard British usage is always '. This applies to songs, books, records, you name it." Either that's completely wrong, or I'm very confused. Book titles are italicized in American and British English: Madame Bovary, not "Madame Bovary." I am 100% certain, without even looking it up in CMS, that that is what CMS says. Don't know about record titles. I'd have to look that one up to be sure. --Larry Sanger 00:20, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
You're confusing two different things that I was trying say (or showed by example) -- yes, many, or most American and British style systems use italics for various kinds of titles, such as songs and books or whatever. BUT some systems (the New York Times for one) uses quotation marks for *certain* things, one of which is songs. See my attribution for the NYT above. What I was saying that is *always* the case is that the American system is to use the "title" quotation marks composed of two ' -- while the *British* system of quotations marks is 'title ', in other words, composed of a *single* '. As far as I know, this is *always* true. Ask Ro to collaborate on this. What I have been saying to Ms. Ireland is that if we are going to use quotation marks to enclose songs, then , as per clearly stated CZ policy, it depends on the Language Variant chosen for each article as to whether it should be "title" or 'title'. That's all I was trying to say, nothing more. Hayford Peirce 06:19, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
It does not surprise me that I was confused.  :-) It looks like Meg is assuming that we could have a uniform standard that violates well-established American style standards. Well, perhaps we could, but that is really a separate point that needs explicit development. In other words, what was so confusing and/or objectionable to Hayford (and me, actually) was the assumption we might have a uniform standard, when we have long assumed to the contrary that we define different style standards for different articles within the different broad variants of English.
And, please...there is no need to get upset about punctuation. Is there? (Don't answer that.) --Larry Sanger 17:36, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure that bloody wars have been instigated and fought over even less substantial matters. Hayford Peirce 17:48, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not confused over anything at all. My proposal was for a unified system regarding musical titles not every other article. Other encyclopaedias have them for musical titles, why not CZ. Meg Ireland 22:28, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
If that's the case, then I will adamantly insist that we use the American convention of double quotation marks. The founder and Editor-in-chief is American and the charter or by-laws or legal residence or site or whatever you care to call it is American. Therefore there is a preponderance of weight for using American styles throughout. And since we would be doing it for songs, then why not decide upon a single Language Variant style for *everything*, including spelling and word usage? Hayford Peirce 22:47, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
The rest of the world uses single quotation for musical works, it's only America that uses double quotations. My proposal is for musical works only, no further. Meg Ireland 22:55, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Um, could I point out here that Meg was commenting on style usage within an article and not on style for an article title (which is what this article is about)? I found Hayford's solution acceptable: Article creator establishes English variant and those style rules prevail for that article. I'd also like to point out that we have established Workgroup-Level Style Guides. Meg, it sounds to me like this is something that the Music Editors should take up if there is to be a music workgroup style standard. Last, I don't see where this discussion has bearing on Article Titles. Thanks. A sunburned Jones back from the shores of Lake Michigan 23:33, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

You're absolutely correct Russell, my proposal was for style usage within articles however the proposal was for a unified style for musical titles only. We don't have any music editors. The active Music editor category is empty. I've already talked to Larry about implementing a style guide for music within the Music workgroup. This will involve putting the proposal to music authors, as we don't have any editors. This is something which is in the future though and why I've been consulting people. Nothing is set in stone. Meg Ireland 23:44, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
It would really be helpful, Meg, if you would address what I at least regard as the central question: why should there be a single, universal standard on this point and not on many others as well? This would set an important precedent.
I am completely and utterly unmoved by arguments on both sides regarding the propriety of single or double quotes. The whole reason that we have BrE and AmE is precisely to avoid the necessity of such arguments. The burden is clearly on you, Meg, to establish that song titles should be not just the single exception, but a crucially important, precedent-setting exception to the general rule that different language variants set their own standards, i.e., that we don't bluntly demand that AmE articles conform to BrE standards and vice-versa. --Larry Sanger 00:28, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
By the way, I just want to say that I very much value the participation of Meg and Hayford (and everyone else), and seriously--punctuation is not worth hurt feelings. Yes, yes, I know people will resort to fisticuffs over comma placement.  :-) I just hope we can resolve our differences calmly and reasonably...come to think of it, for the most part, we have been doing just that. Meg has a serious concern and so do the rest of us, and the best way to avoid hurt feelings is to listen carefully, and reply respectfully. --Larry Sanger 00:45, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Lest Meg think that she hasn't been heard, I'm going to reply to a few of her points. Meg, you say that most of the world uses single quotation marks for song titles. I don't know if this is true--perhaps it is--but we do have an AmE style. So I don't see why, even if it is true that everyone other than North Americans use single quotes for song titles, AmE style should adopt the standard of the rest of the world. Besides, the relevant speakers/writers here are English language writers, not all other languages.
You also say that WP has adopted a single standard. My reply is simple: so what? Why should we follow them? We differ from them on many other points. Their judgment on many policy matters is suspect, IMO.
You also seem to take the position (I don't recall you saying this explicitly, but it seems to be the subtext of your outrage at the rest of us ;-) ) that it is very important that we be consistent in how we quote the titles of songs. It just looks bad if we have "Hey Jude" in some articles and 'Moon River' in others. I am sympathetic to your desire for consistency, on general principles. But I am also a realist. Our mission requires that we organize a bunch of people, from around the world and with a huge assortment of views and practices, getting them to come together to co-author text. If we were to adopt AmE or BrE standards en masse, approximately half of the native English speakers in the world would be deeply offended. (Last I checked, the U.S. had more native English speakers than the combined populations of U.K., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.) To make everybody feel comfortable, we compromise. We say that there are AmE articles and BrE articles, and which is which depends on who starts it (and sometimes on the subject matter--nobody is going to write the article on George Washington in BrE or the article on Queen Elizabeth II in AmE).
In this context, if you say that no song titles should use the American typographical practice (double quotes), even if the song titles appear in AmE articles, this quite naturally raises the question: why should we make an exception in this case to our principle of two style sets, AmE and BrE, which has proven to be so supportive of the cause of "international peace" so to speak? I don't regard that as a wholly rhetorical question. Maybe there is some good reason to make an exception. But I personally won't support making an exception in this case, if no reason is provided. --Larry Sanger 01:08, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
If Wikipedia has adopted a single standard, then it isn't yet evident. I just spent, oh, 30 seconds looking at the first four articles that sprung to mind:,,, and Numerous individual songs are mentioned in each article. Without exception, every one of the songs has the American double quotation marks around them. And if you take a link to, say,, you will find that within the article it too has the American double quotation marks. Hayford Peirce 01:51, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Like the dating system on wikipedia, they implemented it without taking into consideration that there are other people on the planet outside of America, however they at least have tried. I've already given some examples of musical work usage outside of America. If the proposal comes down to flag waving and nationalism, then count me out. The proposal had nothing to do with suggesting one country's system is better than the other. This was simply a proposal to unify a system that is used in print music encyclopaedias such as the ones that I quoted. It had never anything to do with ignoring AmE. Meg Ireland 06:18, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Just two points I wish to clarify: 1) "WP has adopted a single standard. My reply is simple: so what?" - okay fair enough. I don't agree with the wikipedia standard anyway, it was just to illustrate a point. 2) "To make everybody feel comfortable, we compromise. We say that there are AmE articles and BrE articles, and which is which depends on who starts it" - okay no problem, I agree with a compromise not to change anything written in AmE. A fair majority of song articles on CZ were started in BE anyway, so the single quote should be standard with BE articles, no disagreement with me on that. Meg Ireland 06:33, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

FWIW, or "here we go again..."

Removing punctuation from titles means "History of the United States" not "United States, History." After reading this debate in various places (previously; not completely in the last 24 hours; the literature on this topic is voluminous), I found (or remember) that no one had done the basic research. So here it is: The searches "History, United States," "History of the United States," and "United States, History" all return the same list. So, in short, page titling should be based on authorial usage ("in the [[history of the United States]] ..." and not "in the [[United States, History|history of the United States]] ..."). Russell D. Jones 15:50, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

You know how I feel on that one Dr. Jones. --Larry Sanger 00:23, 2 August 2009 (UTC)


The names of currencies should always be in lowercase eg. pounds, shillings, pence, dollars, cents, euro, francs, pestas, yen, yuan, rupees, etc. Maybe it should be mentioned in the guidelines. Meg Ireland 15:25, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Ah, as noted on my user page. Yes, should go here.
Also I was surprised to find nothing specific here on the royalty issue; but WP has 'Beatrix of the Netherlands'. Ro Thorpe 17:00, 5 August 2009 (UTC)


Following the discussion at Talk:Old English, now reproduced in the Forums, I've lowercased the subheadings here. The CZ: article itself will of course need to be moved to CZ:Naming conventions. Ro Thorpe 17:54, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Done and done! as Harold Ross, the late, great editor of The New Yorker used to say. Will you, Eaux Noble Rheaux, follow up and do some rewriting within these newly renamed conventions? That would be a major blessing! Hayford Peirce 18:01, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Ah'd be honneured, M. Effort. Just point me where. Ro Thorpe 18:04, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

I feel like I'm pushing a boulder up one of the tallest mountains in North America. Russell D. Jones 18:06, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, we all have to sacrifice for the greater good. But it's not as if I foresee a posse of night-riding vigilants in masks galloping through CZ changing titles and headers left and right -- it will be a gradual process -- if it happens at all. Hayford Peirce 18:09, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
This apparently is the one, Hault Noble Raux, the same as you highlighted before -- at least it's the one that Daniel has mentioned in the Forum discussion -- I've already made a couple of minor changes. But it probably needs to be expanded and made clear to absolutely everybody, so that there is absolutely no possibly of error in the future. Hayford Peirce 18:13, 19 August 2009 (UTC)