Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters

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Capitalization discussions ongoing (keep at top of talk page)[edit]

Add new items at top of list; move to Concluded when decided, and summarize the conclusion. Comment at them if interested. Please keep this section at the top of the page.


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Extended content

Cap Indigenous?[edit]

We've had lots of discussions about "Black", but I don't find anything on the related concept "Indigenous", and similar terms. There's a question about capitalization of that one in a currently open RM, with some claims that a Wikiproject has decided it should be capped, but I can't even find any evidence for a such a discussion or consensus, or even a statement of a decision or convention (but there is a section on style guides that links guides that do capitalize). Have I missed something? Dicklyon (talk) 17:37, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Lower-case it. It's a descriptive term, not a proper name. There are indigenous peoples all over most parts of the world. Certain phrases are taken as proper names, including American Indian (increasingly disused), Native American, and (in Canada) First Nations. But "indigenous people[s] of [place]" isn't among them. PS: The one of the leading reasons we have a site-wide style guide is because topical wikiprojects want to over-capitalize like mad in their topic area, almost universally (the WP:Specialized style fallacy). If a wikiproject thinks a term should be capitalized, it should make that case here where people not wedded to their pet topic, but to writing well generally and for a general audience, can have proper input.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:26, 11 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lower-case - it's a descriptive term, not a proper name. GoodDay (talk) 06:31, 11 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In certain cases, "indigenous" is (almost) always capitalized: Indigenous Australians; see also 1st sentence in Indigenous peoples and "Racial and Ethnic Identity", APA Style. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:09, 11 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, "Indigenous Australians" seems to have become a proper name, with "Aboriginal Australians" also being taken for one but starting to lose ground, because "Aborigine", like "Eskimo", is increasingly taken as offensive. But "Indigenous Americans" is nowhere near this level of proper-name formation (yet?). It's just a descriptive phrase, like "indigenous Hondurans" or whatever. Contrariwise, "Native Americans" is treated near-universally as a proper name now, but this would not be true in other cases ("native Hondurans"). Yes, there are people who want to capitalize every possible way to refer to a population of people, and you can even find some source material that does this, but it's not normal writing, and it's not encyclopedic writing. It's activist writing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:17, 25 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the context of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, Indigenous is typically capitalized in Canadian English. Graham (talk) 04:08, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Definitely should be capitalized in Canadian English engvar articles. Engvar is a notable exception to most MOS. — Shibbolethink ( ) 21:03, 7 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I didn't really mean for this to be an RFC-like debate. Just wondering whether it has been discussed before. It seems not, but I'll ask at the project, too. Dicklyon (talk) 05:30, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edit to MOS:CAPS people may have missed this edit with the summary: Per talk, adding "Indigenous" example and footnote w/ shortcut links to other pages that go into more detail. Cinderella157 (talk) 08:43, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It should be capitalized per:
  • Per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ethnicities and tribes).
  • Per The Chicago Manual of Style Online: We would capitalize "Indigenous" in both contexts: that of Indigenous people and groups, on the one hand, and Indigenous culture and society, on the other. Lowercase “indigenous” would be reserved for contexts in which the term does not apply to Indigenous people in any sense—for example, indigenous plant and animal species. A parallel distinction arises for the word “black,” which many writers now capitalize in references to ethnicity and culture (a usage that CMOS supports) but not, for example, when it is simply a color.
  • Per the Associated Press style guide: Indigenous (adj.) Capitalize this term used to refer to original inhabitants of a place. Aboriginal leaders welcomed a new era of Indigenous relations in Australia. Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples represent some 62% of the population.
  • Per the APA style guide: Likewise, capitalize terms such as "Native American," "Hispanic," and so on. Capitalize "Indigenous" and "Aboriginal" whenever they are used. Capitalize "Indigenous People" or "Aboriginal People" when referring to a specific group (e.g., the Indigenous Peoples of Canada), but use lowercase for "people" when describing persons who are Indigenous or Aboriginal (e.g., "the authors were all Indigenous people but belonged to different nations").
Cheers,  oncamera  (talk page) 20:42, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So per those sources we should be capitalizing Indigenous, Aborigine, Native American, Black, White, Hispanic, etc at Wikipedia when used for people/groups or culture/society? Interesting. I'm not partial either way as long as it's consistent for everything. Fyunck(click) (talk) 07:34, 13 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Those guides do say to cap those things, but sources (books in particular) still don't mostly capitalized Indigenous, Aborigine, Black, and White when referring to people or peoples (they do consistently capitalize Hispanic and Native American and First Nation). Wikipedia follows reliable sources, not those guides, right? Dicklyon (talk) 22:04, 13 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Absolutely. Now we don't want recentism to creep in since that's against Wikipedia guidelines, are the reliable books/magazines/press, let's say over the last five years, not capitalizing those terms? And if some of those reliable sources do capitalize and some don't, I was told wikipedia should not capitalize. What's also interesting is simply scrolling through google search on the terms. It looks like most articles that capitalize First Nation and Native American, also capitalize Indigenous and Aborigine. It's when indigenous and aborigine are used alone in articles that I see lower case. Fyunck(click) (talk) 22:47, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you quote where Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ethnicities and tribes) says to capitalize Indigenous? Or answer the original question about whether this was ever discussed some place? Dicklyon (talk) 02:55, 13 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not going to search through all of Wikipedia history to find the discussion, I'll just have the discussion now.  oncamera  (talk page) 08:20, 13 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not asking you to track it down, just to explain why you said that "It should be capitalized per ... Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ethnicities and tribes)", when I can't see it in there.
I have done some tracking down of where WP:WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America#Resources came in (the Wikiproject section that lists guides that support capitalization). It was added in this edit with summary "Starting this, per talk. ..." (and the next edit), by the same editor who recommended such a section 20 minutes earlier (last Nov. 23) in this edit. So it appears that the only "talk" that led to this resource section was this editor talking to himself. And though it lists resources that support capitalization of Indigenous, it doesn't indicate anything about what guides do not recommend that, or recommend lowercase. So, you're right, it needs to be discussed here still, as it is still being discussed in books. Dicklyon (talk) 22:04, 13 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Capitalise cocktail names?[edit]

The issue has come up in relatively recent move requests at Talk:Long Island iced tea and Talk:Black and tan and is currently under discussion at Talk:Donkey punch (cocktail), but it seems never to have been discussed here. A commenter in the Long Island iced tea discussion invoked the spirit of MOS:GAMECAPS in arguing that "cocktail names are absolutely not proper names any more than any other...recipe topics, from ethnic dishes to herbal teas to breakfast foods to coffee cultivars to traditional stuff drinks like malta and hotchata..." I agree, but this conflicts with the International Bartenders Association style guide. Please discuss if you care. —  AjaxSmack  19:09, 21 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The International Bartenders Association style guide is not our style guide. There is no need to capitalise a descriptive term such as X punch. Non-descriptive terms might be considered a proper name per the general guidance here. However, this might be difficult to determine since most recipes tend to only give the name in a heading rather than prose. There is also WP:SSF to contend with. My view is probably consistent with the spirit of MOS:GAMECAPS too. Cinderella157 (talk) 02:31, 22 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Conflict with specialized styles is common, and not a problem. I worked on some of those a few years ago, and the consensus was always (as far as I can recall) to go with WP style, not with IBA style. That's still the case in the discussions you linked. But yes, there are still more to fix. There may be some proper names among them, but probably not many; I don't think individual discussions are needed unless you get pushback on a fix. Dicklyon (talk) 02:54, 22 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not interested in mass renames. I just wanted something here to link to to save time in cases like this. Or not if my interpretation is wrong. —  AjaxSmack  16:00, 22 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Of course RM's would be needed on each rename, all would be controversial. Randy Kryn (talk) 16:23, 22 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's interesting that the names of non-alcoholic drink don't appear to incite controversy, but add some alcohol and voilà!. (cf. iced tea/Long island iced tea, fruit punch/donkey punch). I concur with the sentiment that alcohol adds importance to the topic, but stand on principle, anyway. AjaxSmack  18:03, 26 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Most should be uppercased, expecially if used as a proper name, Harvey Wallbanger for example. Our page Long Island Iced Tea is improperly lowercased per n-grams. I checked n-grams for Sex on the Beach and found that actual sex on the beach is exactly as popular as the cocktail. Randy Kryn (talk) 16:14, 22 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • But they are not proper names.  AjaxSmack  17:09, 22 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Randy, your linked n-grams very clearly shows that Long Island iced tea is not consistently capitalized in sources. And don't forget that an awful lot of the capped instances are because people capitalize table entries and section headings and such (e.g. as in this book that has it both ways). By contrast Harvey Wallbanger is treated by almost everyone as a proper name, as if it's the name of a person, which maybe it is, or was intended to be. Dicklyon (talk) 21:31, 25 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Just to be nitpicky, but even Harvey Wallbanger is not a proper noun. It's capitalised because it seems to be named for a person and names derived from proper nouns are usually capitalised (including those derived from fictional people [like a Tom and Jerry], or with no actual connection to the proper noun [like a White Russian]).  AjaxSmack  18:03, 26 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • They should be lower case; we have MOS:ACTCAPS for a reason, and it clearly is meant to cover this and all other "modern folklore" topics like traditional games, dances, sports moves/techniques, yadda yadda yadda. PS: In the case of a "fake proper name", like Harvey Wallbanger, upper-case is okay, and the guideline already covers that with the McTwist example.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  22:09, 25 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I got a copy of the 1930 Savoy cocktails book to see what they did back in the day. It's a loss – all the cocktail names are all-caps, and all ingredients are capped (e.g. Lemon Juice). Not much signal there. Dicklyon (talk) 03:49, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yep. Classic WP:SSF "capitalize everything in my field/hobby just because it's a term in my field/hobby". PS: And field guides and things like them typically capitalize every entry; has nothing to do with what to capitalize in an encyclopedia.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:10, 4 September 2022 (UTC); rev'd. 23:33, 10 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Definitely not. By and large, these aren’t proper nouns and weren’t intended to be. The notable exceptions (as noted above) are exceptions that make the rule. — Shibbolethink ( ) 18:16, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC on mid-sentence and mid-article title capitalization of the in the full name of the LDS Church[edit]

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

Should [T]the be capitalized mid-sentence and mid-article title when referring to [T]the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Please respond Capitalize or Lower case and explain as you desire. There is an additional section below for discussion and alternatives.

Sentence examples:

  • The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes ... .


  • The history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes ... .

Article title examples:

  • History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


  • History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The text above, and the notifications and headings below were developed and finalized at User:SchreiberBike/Workspace/Mid-sentence and mid-article title capitalization of the in the full name of the LDS Church and the associated talk page. That proposal was announced on this page above. SchreiberBike | ⌨  12:35, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The following pages have been notified:


  • Lower case. Let's use a consistent and logical approach. Popcornfud (talk) 12:51, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lower case, per Popcornfud. --User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 15:04, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment. This seems to be already covered by the guideline at MOS:INSTITUTIONS, which MOS:THECAPS notes may be different from how The New York Times is treated. Is this a proposal to change the "Institutions" guideline? StarryGrandma (talk) 16:01, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Use lower case. There is no reason to make a strange exception, as independent sources mostly do not make one.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:21, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lowercase the – First of all, we should be clear that since titles use sentence case, there's not a separate question for the two different contexts, as some had suggested elsewhere. Just as we do for the Ohio State University, lowercase the when not in sentence-initial or title-initial position. Also note that most sources use lowercase the in mid-title or mid-sentence. Dicklyon (talk) 22:50, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lowercase the, there seems to be no valid reason to apply an exception to MOS:INSTITUTIONS and MOS:THECAPS in this case. —El Millo (talk) 23:53, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • lowercase as that is the usual way around here. except for the beatles after a huge contretemps. and i guess some newspaper names. but not churches. Herostratus (talk) 00:10, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't find exceptions for the Beatles, do you? If you point them out, I'll fix them. Dicklyon (talk) 00:56, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lowercase per MOS:THEINST and SMcCandlish, Dicklyon, et al. Graham (talk) 03:44, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment There would seem to be come conflicts between MOS:THEINST and the guidelines in WP:THE, which, based upon MOS:THEINST, would need a review/revision. WP:THE lists The Church of Latter-day Saints, along with The Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, The New York Times Company, and The Travelers Companies as examples of when to retain a capitalized The. My default thought is that The should remain capitalized for the church when the full name is given the same way The would remain capped for book or movie title; it's the formal name. —Carter (Tcr25) (talk) 14:48, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    WP:THE is a naming convention guideline, applying to article titles. It's not commenting on capitalization in running prose. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 14:57, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Good point, my confusion. But logically, I would expect the running text to be consistent with the title (at least as far as something like this goes) in most cases. Carter (Tcr25) (talk) 15:12, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The guidance to include "The" at the front of article titles for those entities is in no way in conflict with the guidance to use lowercase "the" in sentences. The same "the" would be lowercase in title when not in the initial position. I.e., use sentence case. Dicklyon (talk) 06:37, 25 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Selective Capitalize per Tcr25's comments. "The" is a part of the church's formal title, and ought to be included where it is appropriate, most especially when it is wikilinked in the article, or referring to the legal entity of the church. I have no qualms with following the MOS at other locations, however (should be "History of the Church", etc.). Rollidan (talk) 16:32, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Do you have examples of where you'd cap it, and where not, in actual article sentences? I think being wikilinked is never an appropriate criterion for capping in a sentence. Is there precedent for that? Dicklyon (talk) 06:31, 25 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lowercase I see no reason to carve out this one exception to our otherwise consistent style rules. --Jayron32 17:20, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Selective Capitalize - Do the correct case, dam the style fantasies and any notion WP can just ignore the context, externally known “correct” case, and prior WP guidances. Just use the correct case as indicated guidelines at MOS:INSTITUTIONS, MOS:THECAPS, and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Latter Day Saints. I see unmentioned prior discussion at Midsentence capitalization, but let’s be serious - “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” is part of the proper noun “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. Informal usage without “The” would also not capitalise “Church” or even have the whole phrase. Please respect any entity or person by using what they use as their name, as simply the correct name. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 21:52, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Be consistent within an article, not consistent between articles. Most readers don’t care whether it is capitalized or not, and won’t notice which was chosen as long as it is consistent within the specific article they are reading. Go with what was done in the first major edit, and stick with it. Blueboar (talk) 00:28, 25 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lowercase, just as we do for the Beatles ("The Beatles" as the article's title, "the Beatles" in the article's running prose [although I personally think the title should be just "Beatles"]). There's no reason for the LDS church to be a special case. Deor (talk) 16:42, 25 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment I think I've said more than my share in the previous discussion. Sources are divided on how they write the name. Styleguides for the AP and the Salt Lake Tribune (local Utah newspaper not affiliated with the church) both say uppercase. NYTimes prefers lowercase. I've also seen both upper and lowercase in books about Mormonism. It looks like the consensus here is trending toward lowercase. My preference then would be to leave enough leeway to use uppercase if the full name of the church is wiki-linked to avoid the awkward transition from lower to uppercase in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ~Awilley (talk) 05:32, 26 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User:Awilley - Style guides is a good idea, though in this topic the Salt Lake Tribune would seem more authoritative. Can you provide links to the style guides you mention ? That of LDS is here and here, and for AP is mentioned here, both seem for capitalised “The”. Chicago manual of style I think is the other way, but I have no link. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 14:04, 29 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, it's clear that different publishers have different styles. Wikipedia has an articulated style, too, so we might as well follow it. Wikipedia style does not include any special treatment for wikilinked vs plain text. Dicklyon (talk) 04:26, 27 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" redirects to the LDS article, one simply has to type "the [[Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]]" to avoid the awkward inclusion of "the" in the link. Deor (talk) 14:23, 27 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lowercase Per my comments in the initiating discussion, I see no reasonable reason that this should be an exception to the more general guidance of the MOS. Cinderella157 (talk) 08:49, 29 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lowercase As I wrote in the preceding two discussions (WT:Manual of Style/Latter Day Saints#Capitalization issue and #Midsentence capitalization of the), this is clearly documented by MOS:THEINST and MOS:THECAPS, so anyone !voting "uppercase" would be ignoring said guidelines. InfiniteNexus (talk) 17:16, 30 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lower case: MOS:INSTITUTIONS applies to this institution like it does to other institutions. I don't find support for the idea that there is something different about this name because it is a proper name, formal name, or special in some other way. MOS:INSTITUTIONS is specifically about such names, the proper, formal, special names of institutions. Wikipedia does take seriously the choices of other publications and style guides when setting its own style, but then Wikipedia follows its own style. If other publications consistently capitalized, that might be persuasive, but they do not. SchreiberBike | ⌨  21:08, 30 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lower case per MOS:INSTITUTIONS.--Ortizesp (talk) 13:42, 3 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion and alternatives[edit]

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

Application of this RFC to article space[edit]

Hi all, I think I applied the RFC to pretty much everything, but there are likely to still be some hanging threads. For example, I am a page mover but I think there was at least one page (that I now cannot find) which was admin-protected. If you come across anything else which applies, please change it! And if you cannot, permissions wise, feel free to drop a note here to find someone who can. Please and thanks!— Shibbolethink ( ) 22:18, 7 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Shibbolethink: Thanks for taking care of that. You actually missed quite a few articles, which I've moved. Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only one that's admin-protected, so I've posted at WP:RM/T. There were also a ton of categories (around 70) which I've requested for speedy renaming at WP:CFDS. InfiniteNexus (talk) 05:10, 8 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you very much for doing that. I am unfamiliar with the moving process for categories so I was going to look into it today. As an FYI to anyone and everyone: when you move a page, per WP:RMCI, you should also fix the title of that page as it appears in the body and make sure the first sentence still makes sense per our guidelines. Also check all the templates at the bottom of the page! So that the title appears bolded when viewing that template on the page in question. See also: WP:BOLDTITLE. I've gone through and done this for all of the pages both InfiniteNexus and I touched, but there may still be other pages where the text is not compliant with our MOS as decided here. — Shibbolethink ( ) 13:41, 8 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. Yeah, I usually do that extra step after moving a page, but given the sheer number of pages I confess I got lazy and skipped it. InfiniteNexus (talk) 19:55, 8 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I went through and did a few thousand more edits to lowercase the. This resulted in some notice and discussion on my talk page, and the comment in the subsection below here. Dicklyon (talk) 18:18, 30 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Response to closure[edit]

This was closed prematurely and or was not added to enough notifications. Not including the full name of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" accurately, by including a capital "t" in The is considered offensive by many and while it is not always Wikipedia policy not to offend we do try not to offend, such as using the correct pronouns for individuals, using preferred names for individuals etc. In addition I believe it violates BLP by not including the name correctly. Many individuals of that faith have articles and by changing the name of the church to which they belong, is changing something that many of them hold dear. Please reconsider this RFC. --VVikingTalkEdits 17:15, 30 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

VV, a couple of things. Changing the styling, how a name is rendered in Wikipedia, is not changing the name. Even the LDS website is not completely consistent in this capping, so I don't they're offending themselves. Where do you get the idea that this is "considered offensive by many"? We hadn't seen or heard any inkling of that before. Dicklyon (talk) 18:20, 30 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would echo what Dicklyon said above, but also point out:
How do you think other churches (e.g. Community of Christ, Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)) feel when the LDS church says: "Note that the article The begins with a capital letter. This is an important part of the title, for the Church is the official organization of baptized believers who have taken upon themselves the name of Christ" and "The word The indicates the unique position of the restored Church among the religions of the world". I certainly appreciate that the LDS church feels they are in a "unique position" among those in the LDS movement. But I do not think Wikipedia should recognize it as a "unique" entity in that respect. It is another church in a movement of churches. We do not treat any individual sect as "unique" or "special" on Wikipedia. We have a manual of style that prefers consistency, and this is another example of that consistency. — Shibbolethink ( ) 22:21, 30 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Viewmont Viking, while I'm sorry to hear that you and Blaze Wolf missed the RfC, others and I already did our best to publicize the discussions we had on as many venues as possible. Before the RfC, I posted on the talk pages of nearly every single LDS article I could find that had a "the" in the middle of its title (example 1, example 2, example 3), including on the WikiProject talk page. After the RfC was launched, it was advertised on both the main LDS page as well as the main MoS page. Furthermore, the discussions and the RfC were held on highly visible pages, namely the project-specific MoS talk page and the capitalization-specific MoS talk page. I don't think there was anything more we could have done to increase awareness of the RfC and the two discussions that came before it.
Now, onto the question being asked. I still don't see any convincing evidence for the LDS Church to be exempted from a WP policy, and neither did the !voters in the RfC. Dicklyon and Shibbolethink both raise very good points, but I'd like to add that MOS:THEINST specifically notes: ... regardless of the institution's own usage. Like all MoS guidelines, this guideline is clearly not meant to please everybody but rather to impose uniformity on WP articles. I'm sure the folks at the Ohio State University and the Walt Disney Company are equally unhappy at Wikipedia for using a lowercase "the", but we're not going to grant them an exception either. Same thing for the LDS Church. InfiniteNexus (talk) 04:16, 1 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


For the last few years, those of us who edit the Indigenous articles, many of whom participate in the Indigenous Wikiproject have been standardizing the capitalization of "Indigenous", as this is the convention in the world at large at this time. Older print sources don't always do it, so there are sources that have both. But we are going with those preferred by the people being described. I've added the ones we have up now, such as those from the Associated Press, The Chicago Manual of Style, The Native American Journalists Association, and the APA Style. There are many more who just haven't published their style guides, but their use of this convention can be seen in reading sources that are considered reliable for Indigenous coverage. I have tweaked the sources a bit at the wikiproject page, and in the WP:TRIBE notes, and fixed a link. So, my proposal is to simply add the word "Indigenous" in this part, as it is a synonym for "Native American", with a footnote link to the fuller explanations at WP:TRIBE. Current text:

Ethno-racial "color labels" may be given capitalized (Black and White) or lower-case (black and white). The capitalized form will be more appropriate in the company of other upper-case terms of this sort (Asian–Pacific, Black, Hispanic, Native American, and White demographic categories).


Ethno-racial "color labels" may be given capitalized (Black and White) or lower-case (black and white). The capitalized form will be more appropriate in the company of other upper-case terms of this sort (Asian–Pacific, Black, Hispanic, Native American, Indigenous,[a] and White demographic categories).


  1. ^ For more on Indigenous naming conventions see WP:TRIBE

- CorbieVreccan 21:01, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Support: As someone that tries to capitalize "Indigenous" in any article that I come across where it has not happened already I concur that this alteration to MOS policy is needed. I haven't been reverted to this point but I have heard of others that have faced issues. Almost all modern sources that I run across already capitalize the word when used no matter the context. --ARoseWolf 21:16, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. Capitalizing Indigenous when referring to people is definitely a done deal with major style guides, as CorbieVreccan has already demonstrated with links to Chicago, AP, APA, etc. Major news sources are also on board, e.g. The New York Times. Indigenous and Native American identity is assuredly not a racial identity, so I'm wondering if there could be other shortcuts than MOS:RACECAPS. Perhaps MOS:IDENTITYCAPS? MOS:POCCAPS? Yuchitown (talk) 04:25, 16 November 2022 (UTC)YuchitownReply[reply]
    Completely agree this needs to be addressed in ways and places that clarify this is not racial. I think we need at least a brief mention at RACECAPS, as most non-Natives still tend to look first in the racial category (see current text above). But we can hopefully use this to clarify and link to better explanations. I'll go look at the other ones you mention. Please suggest improvements in wording for those and link if you have ideas for them. Best, - CorbieVreccan 18:55, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Yuchitown and ARoseWolf: I'm looking at MOS:ETHNICITY. There has been some back and forth there over this, but not recently. Currently we only have a footnote at MOS:ETHNICITY. Editors unfamiliar with Indigenous issues have wanted to take tribal citizenship out of the lede of BLPs, citing this policy, insisting NDN-ID is "ethnicity". But the policy is clear that citizenship goes in the lede. I'm posting on talk over there now and would appreciate input: MOS:ETHNICITY and citizenship. Thanks! - CorbieVreccan 20:37, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Also noting, per Yuchitown, that in addition to The New York Times [1], here are some more WP:RS sources that also capitalize "Indigenous" when referring to the people: Chicago Tribune [2], Los Angeles Times [3], The Christian Science Monitor [4], Forbes [5], Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC): [6], The Guardian [7]. Just off the top of my head. - CorbieVreccan 21:55, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment It is stated: this is the convention in the world at large at this time; however, this is not supported by ngram evidence here and here. The term is not inherently a proper noun. It may be appropriate to capitalise it in certain cases but not in all instances. I would also observe that WP:TRIBE has evolved to give advice that is at odds with MOS:CAPS. It would capitalise circumpolar in Circumpolar peoples which is contrary to the ngram evidence and tribe in Tribe of Naphtali which is contrary to the ngram evidence. Cinderella157 (talk) 06:55, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    See what I said about out of date books that regard Indigenous peoples as subhuman, categorized the same way as flora and fauna. Those are the uses/stats that are throwing off the results in the links you shared. The changes instituted by Chicago MOS, AP, APA, and the NYT, which are now standard usage by them and other journalists, are contemporary efforts to correct that bias. The CAPS and TRIBE pages are at odds for the moment, yes; that's why we're here to update MOS:CAPS to be in line with contemporary usage, not out of date, denigrating tomes. - CorbieVreccan 18:51, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Where you have stated this is the convention in the world at large at this time, I am referring to the recent portion of the ngram evidence. Cinderella157 (talk) 23:39, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The problem with the ngrams evidence is it doesn't draw a distinction between the term as used to describe people groups, and the term as used in other contexts. All of the style guides seem to universally recommend using a capital I when describing people groups and a lower case i when describing, say, for example, animals or plants. Thus Indigenous Australians, but indigenous grasses would be expected. Your ngram search ignores this, and this isn't really a valid examination of usage, especially not in opposition to style guides, since styles guides do recommend the lowercase usage for non-human contexts! If you pull out usages that apply only to people groups, you can see a clear trend even in ngrams for capital usage, Indigenous Australians vs. indigenous Australians shows about a 4-to-1 advantage for the capital form. Similar results are shown for Canadians, etc. When a more nuanced ngrams analysis is done, and taken in as one of the many pieces of evidence along side the style guides, it is pretty easy to see that the tipping point has already passed. If this poll were taken 3 years ago, I would likely have voted against it. Today, in 2022, it is clear that the correct usage is with the capital I. --Jayron32 18:49, 2 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I have not ignored anything but the comment suggests that my second ngram has been ignored. Ngram searches can be refined as in the second I presented, which is clearly showing the predominant uses relate to people. There is also nuance in what APA and the Guardian are saying as opposed to a blanket capital I. If my comment is read in full, I would agree that there are instances when it should be capped and this would be supported by ngrams - such as Indigenous Australians which has a specific referent and is capped about 82% on most recent data. As I have said, It may be appropriate to capitalise it in certain cases but not in all instances. Cinderella157 (talk) 07:49, 4 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support per CMOS Here and AP Style guide here and APA here. For the British side of things the Guardian is but one example I've found. This is not exhaustive. Wikipedia should reflect what reliable sources do; while in many cases this is a recent change to such style guides (often within the past few years), it is clearly now something that has become the norm; and Wikipedia's MOS should reflect that. --Jayron32 18:35, 2 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose (for reasons given in the original discussion). This entire thread is a duplicate discussion of one already open on the same page: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters#Cap Indigenous?.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:58, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. "Indigenous" is not a name, and in particular not a name for any specific group of people. It is just a word, not a name, meaning the long-term inhabitants of a place. The fact that it is a word that refers to certain types of people is not a reason to capitalize it, any more than we capitalize Men or Women or Babies or Redheads. It is possible that some specific groups of people have a name that incorporates this word (although I note that the example I thought to use, Indigenous Australians, does not capitalize "indigenous" in-text), and when it is incorporated into a name it could be capitalized just like any other word incorporated into a name: Encyclopedia Brittanica is capitalized because it is a name even though the word encyclopedia when used as a word is not. —David Eppstein (talk) 08:08, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose - as it's not a proper name. PS - Why is this duplicate discussion occurring? GoodDay (talk) 08:10, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support - per nom as it's the same reasoning I stated in the previous discussion. The previous discussion was not voting to make a change so I don't why it's "bad" to make a new one that is straight to the point with styles guides backing up the proposed change. This one is much more organized to follow along.  oncamera  (talk page) 13:59, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support - in the context of Aborigine, Native American, Black, White, Hispanic, First Nation, etc... Indigenous should also be capitalized per consistency and what you'll usually see in google searches. It looks like most articles that capitalize Native American, also capitalize Indigenous and Aborigine. It's when indigenous and aborigine are used alone in articles that I tend to see lower case. Fyunck(click) (talk) 20:31, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, especially since the "note" goes to a recent undiscussed addition that says to cap Indigenous and such, which is contrary to what looked it looks like we saw in the previous discussion on this page. Probably that change at WP:TRIBE should be rolled back until a discussion finds a consensus for it. Dicklyon (talk) 19:21, 7 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose upper case but support a note that indigenous should, in most circumstances, be lower case. (talk) 04:39, 20 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use of "Christ" or "Jesus Christ" not discussed[edit]

And yet I thought I'd seen discussion in an MoS at some point. Seems relevant here. Doug Weller talk 08:58, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Doug Weller: there's MOS:JESUS, leading to a paragraph in the Judaism-related MoS. If you prefer a more mainstream venue to expand on this, might I suggest MOS:HON? The current page, MOS:Capital letters, treats the capitalisation of words/names. --HyperGaruda (talk) 19:12, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure I read you're confusion. Other than committing the etymological fallacy of assuming that merely because "Christ" in the context of Jesus Christ was originally not a personal name doesn't mean that English doesn't treat it as one. Basically all of English treats it that way, and it's a novel change to the language to lower-case it merely because it didn't originate as a personal name. The MOS shouldn't be in the business of introducing novel changes to English, even if at some time in the mists of history, Christ wasn't considered a personal name. --Jayron32 19:20, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Jayron32's analysis is convincing to me, but I think there might also be some difference in how different people, of different religions and cultures, react to it. Some people understand it as a title, and others don't. There are probably people who think it's a surname, and there are probably people who have only encountered it as a swear word. Wikipedia:WikiProject Judaism/Manual of Style#Jesus recommends not using what is/was a title.
Speaking of which, MOS:CAPS is the wrong place to talk about this. I don't think we need to write this down, and I don't think that writing it down will stop the problem, but if we did, Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography#Titles of people would probably be the correct place for it. Perhaps if you decide to pursue it, you could deal with the misuse of the US title "President". The US only has one president at a time. Former presidents are properly addressed by their most senior non-unique past title: Governor Clinton, Senator Obama, and Mr. Trump – and in Wikipedia articles, by their names, perhaps with the occasional "then-president" or "the former president" thrown in as an explanation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:13, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I mean, certain things are just going to be sui generis and that's okay. It's not a traditional "Personal Name-Family Name" construction, yes, "Christ" is a title and not a name, but ultimately, playing the etymology game makes little to no difference. I know of exactly zero mainstream English language sources that recommend writing it Jesus christ or even christ in isolation. Usage is always Jesus Christ and Christ in isolation, always capital. You can invent any reason you want for or against that usage, but it's irrelevant to the matter at hand. The prevalence of Christ (capitalized) vs. christ (not) is so overwhelmingly in favor of the capitalized version in all contexts that that's the only reason we need. --Jayron32 16:58, 2 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But there's not a recurrent "we should lower-case that" dispute about it, so it is not something MoS should address.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:40, 11 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Capitalization of Web in the Website article[edit]

A user has changed all occurrences of "web" to "Web" throughout the article, apparently because World Wide Web mentions "the Web" (but itself doesn't capitalized "web" throughout that article). Another opinion would be helpful. MB 01:23, 7 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Acts and scenes[edit]

Is it correct to capitalize "act" and "scene" in descriptions of dramatic works. ≪"To be or not to be", Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1.≫ Or: "… the transition from Scene 1 to Scene 2 in Act 1 …". -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 00:44, 18 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(Bump) I would be grateful for any thoughts in this matter. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 23:20, 15 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm surprised that no one has responded by now; the style geeks here are usually eager to express an opinion. For what its worth, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends lowercase: "Words denoting parts of long poems or acts and scenes of plays are usually lowercased, neither italicized nor enclosed in quotation marks ... act 3, scene 2." Likewise the MLA Handbook: "Terms designating the divisions of a work, such as act, chapter, and introduction, are not capitalized, italicized, or enclosed in quotation marks", with the example "In act 3, scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream ..." Of course, those are both U.S. guides (and, personally, I'd include a comma after "scene 1" in the MLA's example). Deor (talk) 00:02, 16 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, use lower-case. MoS is based primarily on Chicago and the academic style guides like MLA, so this is the advice we would import if we were to add a rule about it to MoS. Which we probably should not because it's not an issue subject to long-term editwarring.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:03, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Capitalisation of offices, noble titles and social classes[edit]

I'm looking for comment on the capitalisation practices of some titles and classes of people. In light of MOS:OFFICE ("Offices, titles, and positions...are common nouns"), I feel that titles like Keeper of the Seals, Kapitan Cina (but not the "Cina"), and Chief Court Mistress should not be capitalised. (Category:Positions of authority has some titles of single individuals like paramount leader and lowercased, while others like Supreme Leader (North Korean title) are not.) Based on guidelines, can all of these be boldly lowercased assuming sources are mixed?

Likewise some social classes like yangban are lowercased while others like Cabang Atas are not. Of noble titles, Maharaja is capitalised while sheikh is not. Don (honorific) is mixed within the article. I don't see a specific guideline covering these, but can they be boldly lowercased assuming sources are mixed? —  AjaxSmack  06:39, 21 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Be Bold @AjaxSmack: Most of us here would agree that, following Wikipedia's style, they should be lower case. Many people, however, have the belief that positions of power should be capitalized and you will have some objections. If you make a change and someone changes it back, you can start a discussion on that article's talk page and post a notice of it above at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters#Capitalization discussions ongoing (keep at top of talk page). <humor>Go forth and bring down capitalization.</humor> SchreiberBike | ⌨  23:59, 21 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Better to open an RFC on that matter. GoodDay (talk) 00:03, 22 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I often don't. For me it goes along with our advice to be bold and to not be a bureaucracy. Probably eight times out of ten no one objects and I've saved a lot of time. When someone does object, I'll discuss it and if necessary, then do the RfC. This only applies when it is clearly following our MoS, not when it is an edge case where it might be considered the name of an office or something. SchreiberBike | ⌨  00:16, 22 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would still advise an RFC. GoodDay (talk) 00:29, 22 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On any/all of the above cases?  AjaxSmack  16:24, 22 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All of them. GoodDay (talk) 16:26, 22 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. I can use the WP:RM process for a couple of these (with notification here).  AjaxSmack  18:22, 22 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a requested move discussion at Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints#Requested move 18 December 2022 that may be of interest to members of the Manual of Style WikiProject. ––FormalDude (talk) 01:03, 23 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Result "not moved". And this was about the leading "The", not about capitalization.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:01, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Capitalization of equator and prime meridian[edit]

In this edit Vic Park (talk · contribs) has capitalized "Equator" when referring to Earth's equator, mentioning Wiktionary in an edit summary. The editor contends it should be capitalized as a proper noun. I contend that since reliable sources such as the online and Merriam-Webster dictionary entries are not capitalized, and there is no mention of capitalizing even when referring to Earth, the word should not be capitalized. Another place, the Prime Meridian, or prime meridian, was also mentioned in edit summaries. The Wikipedia article name for the latter is "Prime meridian" and I believe the first letter is only capitalized because it is the first word of an article. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:38, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This has been discussed long time ago. Some people prefer to use the lower case word, some people prefer to treat Earth's equator as a proper noun and capitalize the word (just like the earth vs. Earth debate). I was actually one of those people who used the lower case words until someone reverted my edits and showed me the consensus. Apparently, the consensus reached in Wikipedia is that we should treat Earth's poles, hemispheres, and equator etc. as proper nouns and capitalize these terms (e.g. South Pole, Northern Hemisphere, Tropic of Cancer, Arctic Circle etc.).
If you do a bit of research, you would also find a lot of sources that treat Earth's equator as a proper noun and capitalized the word:
Encyclopædia Britannica:
National Geographic: Vic Park (talk) 23:14, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Could you show us where that consensus was reached? Thanks — Shibbolethink ( ) 23:50, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That was long time ago, but I remember this quite clearly because I was someone who used the lower case words for equator, earth, and moon etc. before I was reverted by multiple other editors. I am sure that there are other similar discussions, I just need time to find them. Vic Park (talk) 23:56, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I searched the archives of talk:equator and talk:prime meridian and found discussion but no consensus about this issue. --Lasunncty (talk) 21:37, 1 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I found a similar discussion for Earth's hemispheres (which could serve as a precedent for this one): Vic Park (talk) 00:05, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The confusing part is that we only have one article for equator, it is mainly about Earth's equator rather than for general usage, so we might see both lower case equator and capitalized Equator throughout the article, but for prime meridian, we do have two separate articles, one for general usage (prime meridian), the other one for Earth's prime meridian (IERS Reference Meridian, aka the Prime Meridian). Vic Park (talk) 23:38, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem with "Prime Meridian" is it is a redirect, and a valid reason for a redirect is to redirect from an incorrect to a correct version of an article title. Jc3s5h (talk) 01:36, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I noticed that one as well. I think it is because the article prime meridian itself was moved from Prime Meridian. When people search "Prime Meridian", it really should be redirected to the IERS Reference Meridian instead. N. Mortimer (talk) 03:17, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Comment Earth's equator is definitely a proper noun and it should be capitalised. I think we can create a new article called Earth's equator and use the capitalised "Equator" in that article. The current article equator can be converted into a general article about the term, not just Earth's equator. I mean, we already have articles like Earth's mantle and Earth's orbit, why not creating one for the Equator? N. Mortimer (talk) 03:27, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The current Equator article is not long enough to require splitting between equators in general and Earth's equator. As for the articles about mantles, Mantle (geology) is rather short and the need for separate articles is debatable. Jc3s5h (talk) 04:25, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Per this ngram, equator is clearly in the lowercase per MOS:CAPS, unless someone can show that Earth's equator is not the major usage. We have this ngram which gives a similar result for prime meridian. The Tropic of Capricorn[8] and Tropic of Cancer[9] give the opposite result. Cinderella157 (talk) 06:26, 1 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Capitalization of The Gambia[edit]

While there is agreement to use the definite article for The Gambia, there is no agreement on Wikipedia or in reliable sources whether it should be capitalized. A sample Ngrams comparison for "of the/The Gambia" similar ones for several other prepositions is inconclusive; I have not checked if external style guides discuss the capitalization of this country.

The most recent discussion on this topic is Talk:The_Gambia/Archive_2#Is_it_"The_Gambia"_or_"the_Gambia"_in_the_middle_of_a_sentence from 2017.

Unfortunately, the format of MOS:THECAPS makes it impossible to explain this concisely. Proposed addition to THECAPS:

Extended content
Acceptable (exception): a town in The Gambia[a]
Acceptable: a town in the Gambia


  1. ^ A 2017 RfC reached no consensus on the proper capitalization of the Gambia, and usage in reliable sources is mixed. The full official name of the country (Republic of The Gambia) uses the capital The.[1]

LaundryPizza03 (d) 15:42, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Except it should clearly be the Gambia, lowercase, because sources are mixed and our default is MOS:THECAPS, which is to say in nearly all cases (The Hague being the exception that proves the rule), we lowercase the unless it's at the beginning of a sentence. —Joeyconnick (talk) 18:29, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I concur. As the evidence marshalled in this discussion shows, even official usage is mixed, so Wikipedia should stick with normal MOS:CAPS practice (only words "...consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources" should use caps here). —  AjaxSmack  16:12, 30 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since your opinions are more one-sided than the majority opinion in the 2017 discussion, should I initiate a new RfC? It seems that voters who favored the capital The cite guidelines which favor official usage, while the lowercase the was mostly favored by those who preferred consistency with other countries. And since the African Union uses a different capitalization of the full name than the Gambian government does,[1] the lead of the Gambia article may need, at minimum, an explanatory note. –LaundryPizza03 (d) 02:19, 31 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The basis for deciding would be Wikipedia's Manual of Style, which says "only words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources are capitalized in Wikipedia". It's not a choice between the usage of the government of the Gambia and the African Union; it's a question of whether it is "consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources". Look at "independent, reliable sources". Easy places to look are Google Books, Google Scholar and other search engines. See if it is "consistently capitalized in a substantial majority" of those sources. Last time I looked it was not a majority, let alone a substantial majority. If there's an RfC, I'll look again, but I doubt it's changed. SchreiberBike | ⌨  03:18, 31 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would consider the United Nations and the CIA World Factbook to be more creditable sources than the African Union though (they even inserted capitalized "Member States" in the middle of a sentence, that's just broken English).
Links: Vic Park (talk) 10:29, 31 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ "Member States | African Union". Retrieved 31 December 2022.
I'll start an RfC anyway because it is still necessary if you want to overturn the existing consensus. I found Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Capital_letters/Archive_34#Capitalization_of_The in our archives, but only the Bahamas was addressed. There is well-established consensus against moving The Gambia main article to Gambia, but some articles (e.g. Gambia–Senegal border) still use Gambia with no definite article. –LaundryPizza03 (d) 05:03, 31 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have distanced myself from this conversation by starting at a highly visible page where the preference cannot be discerned: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Africa#RfC: Name of the small country nestled within Senegal. The formulation of this RfC is based on a recent, somewhat similar RfC about the Solar System, where the disputed term is mentioned only in options and relevant background info, although I opted to place the summary of the dispute after the list of options, and using the name in article titles was unavoidable. –LaundryPizza03 (d) 05:37, 31 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If "there is no agreement ... in reliable sources whether it should be capitalized" then use lowercase on Wikipedia. See first paragraph of MOS:CAPS.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:15, 13 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Diseases, illnesses, and disorders?[edit]

How should the names of such be capitalized (or not capitalized)? ¿V0!d? {Have a great day!} 00:33, 4 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@VastV0idInSpace0: Generally lower case unless there's a proper noun in the name. For example, the common cold, multiple sclerosis, but Ebola virus disease (named after the Ebola River) and Kaposi's sarcoma (first described by Moritz Kaposi). Hope that helps. SchreiberBike | ⌨  00:53, 4 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you! ¿V0!d? {Have a great day!} 00:57, 4 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, it's lowercase by default. Just see any of our good articles on medical conditions.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:59, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cap "Did not advance" and such in table entries?[edit]

I've downcased many thousands of "Did not advance", "Did not start", "Did not finish", "Did not qualify", "Qualified", "Disqualified", etc. in tables of sports results (mostly in the last day or so, but also for many months or years), and had a couple of enquiries as to whether that's the right thing to be doing per the MOS, and a couple of reverts (e.g. [10], [11]; even "Did not Advance"). My interpretation is that caps are not necessary there, and that table entries (not headings) are not like list items (which can have line-leading caps, if consistent). Any opinions/guidance on this? Dicklyon (talk) 09:28, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A couple of reverts were for where "Did not advance to free skating" and such were used in tables on lines of their own, serving as headings. I agree and have just reverted back a bunch of those "headings", which are functionally distinct from "did not advance" as an entry in a cell or group of cells. Similary for "Did not bat:". I thanked the reverters. Dicklyon (talk) 10:15, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Relevant discussion starts on the topic can be found at these three user talk pages: User talk:Dicklyon#Case fixes and User talk:Oknazevad#Capitalizing first letter of fragments in table entries. and User talk:DragonFury#Why cap this table entry?. Dicklyon (talk) 10:51, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Pelmeen10, Why? I Ask, Oknazevad, Anbans 586, DragonFury, Harrias, and Bgsu98: – editors involved in discussions and/or reverts mentioned above. Dicklyon (talk) 10:58, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Sahaib: who thanked me for at least one of these edits. Dicklyon (talk) 12:16, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I had a browse through some of your edits and in my opinion it isn't clear cut. There doesn't appear to be any direct guidance in MOS:CAPS for table items, but the closest relevant section would be MOS:LISTCAPS. I appreciate your point above that there are differences, but I think this sentence applies for general cases "If the list items are sentence fragments, then capitalization should be consistent." In many tables, all cells are capitalised, and in those cases I think it would be odd and inconsistent for the cells featuring the above phrases not to be capitalised. Harrias (he/him) • talk 11:29, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you give an example of tables with all entries capitalized? Dicklyon (talk) 12:18, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The fragments at Pat Riley#Head coaching record are all capitalized. I'd say if a page was already consistently using either upper or lowercase for fragments, leave as is, unless there was a WikiProject preference.—Bagumba (talk) 13:13, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That one, with one over-capped column, clearly needs work besides the initial caps. There's no way "Lost in First Round" can be justified the way you're indicating. How about one I changed where the lowercase "did not xxx" conflicts with a style of otherwise using sentence case for fragments? Dicklyon (talk) 20:31, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:HEADERS seems pretty clear about the issue for table headers (and presumably footers too). As to other rows, it seems to be pretty common to use a capital when it's a single word, like Won, Runner-up, Nominated (see the hidden tables at MOS:TABLES#Appropriate use) but lower case is also used sometimes. When it's a longer phrase (perhaps covering multiple columns) then Sentence case seems most widely used, e.g. "Not held due to COVID-19" or "No tournament because of World War II". Nigej (talk) 12:29, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Nigej states it pretty spot-on. oknazevad (talk) 15:02, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The question is not so much whether it's widely done, but whether it's appropriate in our style. I spent about 200,000 edits last year fixing over-capitalization patterns that were often done but clearly were not appropriate, and I had clear consensus on those when they came up for discussion, which is why I was able to enlist bot help for bulk moves and such. In these entries, wouldn't those fragments look better as "not held due to COVID-19" and "no tournament because of World War II". Dicklyon (talk) 20:31, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Beginning table entries with lowercase letters is just awful. It looks ugly and unrefined, as if someone had copied over a database readout without bothering to clean it up for presentation. The use of a lowercase "did not quality" or "not held due to X" makes articles look worse and unprofessional. SounderBruce 23:43, 5 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, it looks pretty ugly; especially when you didn't decapitalize the other stuff leading to a mix of both sentence case and full lowercase. Appreciate the good faith edit, but you really shouldn't have made such wide spread changes to several dozens of sports pages without prior consensus that full lowercase is the way to go with tables. Why? I Ask (talk) 01:51, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No they wouldn't look better at all. They'd look like crap. oknazevad (talk) 15:29, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:HEADERS probably comes closest to addressing the question. In general, when we use sentence fragments in captions, headings and like, we are explicitly guided to use sentence case. Consequently, I would see this as the prevailing style to be used in all such cases. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cinderella157 (talkcontribs)
On headings and captions, and such "start of line" things, sentence case is not in dispute. Don't you think fragments in table entries are different (e.g. entries like to be determined or did not participate that just explain why the otherwise expected content is not there)? Nothing in that section about "Table captions and column and row headers" suggests applying it to cell contents. Dicklyon (talk) 02:55, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a mixed bag. Table cells can be populated variously: numbers, single words (eg won/lost), short phrases (eg an event name), sentence fragments and sentences. I acknowledge that row and column headings are a little different and that inherent capitalisation (sentence case) adds emphasis. On further thought, I don't think there is a binary answer and perhaps we should consider the problem differently. I preface my comments by saying they do not apply to words/phrases that are inherently and indisputably proper names. Single words should not be capped and it would be difficult to justify two words. Ten words would clearly be a sentence fragment to use sentence case. Arbitrarily we might set the threshold for sentence case at five words (± ?). There is then a matter of context. If the table entries are largely numbers, abbreviations (initialisms) or, one or two words, then the threshold to cap would be higher. Conversely, if the entries tend more to sentence fragments, the threshold would be lower. We can argue discuss where the threshold is. There is also devil in the whether a particular table is more fish than fowl - but few things in life are perfect. Cinderella157 (talk) 13:44, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No reason a single word or two can't be considered a sentence fragment, just as single words can be entire sentences. It's all dependent on context. Which would require engaging with the page and its material in more than mere rote , robotic edits.
And lowercase as SounderBruce puts it simple, looks terrible. oknazevad (talk) 15:28, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe these changes should be made, but in any case if they are made, they should be done competently, not leaving some stuff capitalized and some stuff lowercased, which makes the whole look a lot more amateuristic and poorly written. I reverted a few of these[12][13] before I noticed this discussion, would support wholesale reversion and a trout for Dicklyon for is umpteenth ill-thought out and poorly executed decapitalization run. He was indef blocked in the past, and unblocked only on the proviso that they would "avoid large scale, potentially controversial actions" (at the time it were page moves). But again and again they start mass edit runs which turn out to be controversial, misguided, unwanted, or poorly executed. Fram (talk) 10:18, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fram, I agree I'm imperfect, but not incompetent. On the first of those, the contrast is between "Team did not exist" and "did not enter". One of those is a complete sentence; perhaps it deserves a period at the end, or perhaps a rewrite to make them more parallel would be good. I know there are other cases where I genuinely missed downcasing some fragments. It's hard to find and fix everything at once. In the other, some of the "Did not advance" were formatted in the source in a way that my patterns missed, and that problem was under discussion on my talk page, on the list of things I was going to fix. I don't have the ultimate combination of automatic finding and zero false positives yet, but I didn't want to give up the zero false positives, and those ones would be easier to find and examine once the bulk of easier ones were done. But that process is on hold pending discussion. Perhaps if I had a higher level of competence I'd write elaborate scripts to handle all these things, rather than working within what JWB and regex can do for me. As for my unblock conditions, I think you're misrepresenting ancient history. In any case, the point of this discussion is to clarify what the MOS guidance is, or should be, on such things; no need to resort to personal attacks. Dicklyon (talk) 09:11, 7 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
More importantly, once more a simple reversion has turned into a long discussion because Dicklyon can't accept that people disagree with him. Again. oknazevad (talk) 15:30, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Discussion is what is supposed to happen when there is a dispute.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:26, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I in fact started this discussion here in recognition of the fact that a couple of people expressed disagreement with me, by a tiny number of reverts and a comment on my talk page. Dicklyon (talk) 09:11, 7 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Turns out this is already in the MOS. WP:LISTCASE says use sentence case, even for a fragment. Which includes an initial capital. oknazevad (talk) 12:39, 17 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To me, there's a pretty clear distinction between a list item and a table entry. I've been operating that way for years, and this is the first time I got any pushback. Dicklyon (talk) 21:04, 18 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A table is just a list structured into columns. Should still use the same principle of treating each entry as a sentence fragment written in sentence case, including if it's just one word. oknazevad (talk) 00:26, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I understand your point of view. But I don't agree with it. To me a cell in a table is not like a list item; more like a list item fragment, e.g. a bit that follows a dash, which we do not capitalize. Dicklyon (talk) 04:19, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I understand your point of view, but it still looks sloppy to have some entries in a given column lowercase and others capitalized. It's terrible visually. oknazevad (talk) 14:51, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We use sentence case for headings and subheadings, and we should do the same for the "titles" of table columns and rows. Tony (talk) 23:02, 18 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Tony1: Yes, we all agree on that. The question is about cells in tables that are not row or column heading (nor any other kind of heading). Dicklyon (talk) 04:19, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's no reason at all to poke readers' eyes out by sprinkling unnecessary caps through table cells. None. Tony (talk) 05:28, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As SounderBruce says above, it looks unrefined and unprofessional to start with lowercase. By a quick head count, it seems like only two people are calling for all lowercase all the time, so there's clearly no consensus for writing such into the MOS. oknazevad (talk) 14:45, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's not currently any proposal on the table to modify what the MOS says about caps. It already says to avoid unnecessary caps, and says when to cap, and table cells are not it. We could clarify that fragments in table cells should be capped when they serve as headings. The opinions about what looks better are of course variable, but not very relevant to the discussion. Dicklyon (talk) 21:26, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Right, currently the MOS is unclear regarding charts. This discussion is clearly (if you pardon the pun) about finding a standard which should apply. Considering everything in the MOS is ultimately just consensus opinion about what looks best (being that writing is a visual medium), the discussion is about opinions. oknazevad (talk) 22:15, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Up & down casing of acronym & initialism expansion[edit]

IMHO, our MOS doc is overly tricky regarding our guidelines for the expansion casing of acronyms & initialisms. There are more than a dozen scattered, brief, and muddy paragraphs of MOS guidelines on the topic and very few clear sample expansions showing our preferred casings. It would be helpful to consolidate the MOS acronym paragraphs into one guideline area and also to add more samples. I will expand on this thread with specifics. Right now the fragmentation, muddiness, and brevity of the paragraphs in our MOS cause unnecessary confusion & editing drama. Following our MOS needs to be simpler for mainstream & newbie editors who do not have their Ph.D. in our MOS nuances. Please post shortcuts to all the MOS caps guidance you are aware of regarding acronym & initialism expansion. Hint: the unchecked default on the wild Wiki is title casing, whereas my read is that sentence casing would more often satisfy our MOS. Thank you to all of you here that do the heavy lifting on the technical issues in the MOS department! I truly appreciate your hard work, dedication, and effort. You are all rock stars. Cheers! {{u|WikiWikiWayne}} {Talk} 18:56, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • MOS:CAPSACRS says "Do not apply initial capitals in a full term that is a common-noun phrase, just because capitals are used in its abbreviation. Similarly, when showing the source of an acronym or syllabic abbreviation, emphasizing the letters that make up the acronym is undesirable." and links to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations#Expanded forms (aka MOS:EXPABBR), which says "Do not apply initial capitals—or any other form of emphasis—in a full term that is a common-noun phrase just because capitals are used in its abbreviation". I agree that both could use better examples of what not to do, since it is done often in WP and even more on the world wild web. Dicklyon (talk) 04:25, 14 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Dicklyon: How's this [14]? Feel free to substitute with other examples; I just borrowed (and shortend) these from MOS:EXPABBR for MOS:CAPSACRS.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:01, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That looks OK to me.
    @WikiWikiWayne: does this help you resolve your questions? Is there more we should consider? Dicklyon (talk) 09:41, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Amendment of guideline for capitalizing foreign personal names[edit]

The current text reads (MOS:PERSONAL):

Personal names are the names given to people, but can be used as well for some animals (like race horses) and natural or man-made inanimate objects (like ships and geological formations). As proper nouns, these names are almost always first-letter capitalized. An exception is made when the lowercase variant has received regular and established use in reliable independent sources. In these cases, the name is still capitalized when at the beginning of a sentence, per the normal rules of English. Minor elements in certain names are not capitalized, but this can vary by individual: Marie van Zandt, John Van Zandt. Use the style that dominates for that person in reliable sources; for a living subject, prefer the spelling consistently used in the subject's own publications.

I propose to amend this as follows:

Personal names are the names given to people, but can be used as well for some animals (like race horses) and natural or man-made inanimate objects (like ships and geological formations). As proper nouns, these names are almost always first-letter capitalized, especially at the beginning of a sentence. Exceptions may occur for foreign surnames. Following the advice of the Chicago Manual of Style (Cf. The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.). U. of Chicago Press. 2003. pp. 313–17.) the national conventions on capitalization should be followed. Information on these conventions may be gleaned from a number of Wikipedia articles mentioned in Surnames by country, like Dutch name (Flemish name redirects to this), French name, German name, Italian name, Portuguese name, and Spanish name (some of these titles redirect). The conventions may be somewhat confusing to the Anglophone mind. There are particular difficulties with names that contain (separable) family-name affixes. Examples of these are given in List of family name affixes. The technical term family-name affix is not universal. The Dutch use tussenvoegsel; the French and Spanish use a translation of the term Grammatical particle though this term actually refers to a different concept. However this may be, these articles may further elucidate the subject and therefore be useful for a correct application of the conventions. The U.S. as a nation of immigrants, presents a special problem as these immigrants often flouted the capitalization conventions of their countries of extraction. Nevertheless, in this case the American practice should be followed. Example Martin Van Buren (instead of Martin van Buren, according to the Dutch convention), DePaepe (instead of De Paepe), Mrs. Vanmeer (instead of Mrs. Van Meer). Finally, be mindful of the conventions on Maiden and married names for women."

This proposed text could be made more concise by relegating details like the examples, the reference to WP:ABOUTSELF, and the exception referred to in "almost always" ("apostrophed" contractions like d' (French) and 't (Dutch)) to footnotes.

Motivation: This proposal is the result of a discussion in Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Anthroponymy#Capitalising_or_omitting_words_in_Dutch_surnames. To recapitulate the main points in that discussion: The current text of the guideline undoubtedly already intends to promote the observance of capitalization conventions, as used in the countries of origin of the bearers of foreign personal names. Unfortunately, such conventions are very often honored in the breach by unsuspecting Anglophone Wikipedia contributors. It was suggested that this resulted from lack of information about the conventions, and the substitution of "good-faith" guesses by the authors. As an illustration I'd like to use the "Dutch case". The paradigm of a Dutch surname is: "Zero or more (separable) family-name affixes, followed by one or more nouns (possibly intermingled with more affixes)". The "main rule" is that the first affix (if present) is capitalized (but none of the other affixes), as are all following nouns. Example: Van der Duyn van Maasdam. There are four exceptions to this rule: the first affix is not capitalized if the surname is preceded by one or more given names, one or more initials, a title of nobility (but not predicates of nobility, like Jonkheer/vrouwe), or another family name (mainly in married names of Dutch women). (Cf. "Persoonsnamen". (in Dutch). Nederlandse Taalunie. Retrieved 12 February 2023.; the guidelines for Dutch language issues and the contents of this useful website are at "Inhoudsopgave". (in Dutch). Nederlandse Taalunie. Retrieved 19 February 2023. Tip for almost everybody but Dutch speakers: Google Chrome has a new feature that makes translating webpages from Dutch into English a cinch.) Examples: Frans Adam Jules Armand (F.A.J.A) van der Duyn van Maasdam, general Herman baron van Voorst tot Voorst , Jonkvrouwe Ella Quarles van Ufford-van Heemstra Unfortunately this exception is in many Wikipedia articles apparently taken for the rule as stand-alone Dutch surnames with affixes are used without capitalization. Randomly selected examples: "van Leeuwenhoek" instead of "Van Leeuwenhoek" and "de Zuylestein" instead of "De Zuylestein". It should be admitted that a distinguished historian like Simon Schama (who we certainly recognize as an otherwise "reliable source") makes the same mistake consistently in his "Patriots and Liberators" for instance, but this is of course no justification, as the mistake is easily avoided if one just takes care to obtain the relevant information. The amended version of the guideline may help with this. We have tried to generalize this beyond just the "Dutch case" to other languages, as the problem may also exist for surnames existing in those languages (where the capitalization conventions differ, even between Belgium/Flanders and the Netherlands which share the same language). The U.S. is a special case, as this country has many immigrants of foreign descent, who routinely flout the capitalization conventions from their country of extraction. Of course, in this case the "American" capitalization should not be corrected with the country-of-origin capitalization conventions in hand. The "own preference" guideline should prevail here.

About the technical term "separable family-name affix": I would love to provide a wikilink, but the term currently is redirected to Separable verb and that article does not contain information on "separable affixes", even though the principle is the same. Maybe somebody could put in an edit? To prove I didn't invent the term myself, Wiktionary has an entry. See separable affix.

It was only briefly touched upon in the above-mentioned discussion, but a (sneaky) way out of the conundrum would be to simply omit the affixes in an abbreviated version of the surname. Simon Schama uses this policy to good effect in Rembrandt's Eyes (1999), where he uses only the nouns in the surnames of a long list of painters with van der in their surname (after first properly introducing the full personal name), as enumerated (incorrectly capitalized) under the letter "V" in the index of the book. There is no objection in itself to such a policy, but only if it is not used to shirk one's responsibility for proper capitalization. In fact, the policy is widely used in the literature in biographical articles and historical vignettes. Examples: Orange, Oldenbarnevelt and Zuylestein. But one should be circumspect: Gerard Reve preferred it, but his brother Karel not so much. And in some cases, for reasons that remain nebulous to me, except that it is "not done", it is an actual "taboo": Vincent van Gogh is never called simply "Gogh", and Johan de Witt never "Witt. With this in mind I propose (on my own responsibility) the following addendum to the above amendment (possibly as another footnote)

There is no objection to dropping the affixes in the mention of a surname in a text for reasons of brevity, provided there is little cause to fear confusion (a wikilink could be used to refer to the correctly spelled and capitalized personal name) and if there are no objections otherwise.

Ereunetes (talk) 22:14, 12 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

TLDR. Which is not a quality one desires in a manual of style. Aim for greater concision. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:00, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Did you mean TL;DR? I think reading it is the least one could ask. Anyway, I proposed to relegate an appreciable part (TBD) of my proposed text (that is the text in the "talk quote blocks", not my explanation of it) to footnotes. That should make it much more concise. Oh, but you didn't read that. Ereunetes (talk) 23:40, 19 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For anybody interested in using the new Translate feature in Google Chrome: make sure you have the latest update of the browser. When you encounter a web page in a foreign language, not the same as your default language, highlight a section in the text (in my experience it need not be the entire page) and right-click it (not necessarily on the highlighted section; in my own experience it works best if one right-clicks just outside of the highlighted section). A dropdown menu will appear. Select "Translate to [default language]".The original text will almost instantly be replaced by a translation into your default language. There will be a box enabling you to toggle between the original language and your default language.--Ereunetes (talk) 02:00, 20 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When I was writing my book, I spent a lot of effort trying to get the caps right, on names like Van De Water, van de Geer, and van der Heijden. Perhaps I messed up, as I never discovered that rule about when to cap that first "van" or whatever. But I did find a Van der Pol resonator and Van der Pol equation by one van der Pol, or so I thought. My deductions of the underlying logic didn't quite get to the right place, it appears. Publisher was little help. So, yes, we need to include this some place. Make a concise version with footnote or link to more info, and maybe it will fly. Dicklyon (talk) 09:21, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First of all, I think you should try my little trick with Google Chrome Translate to look at the Nederlandse Taalunie citations; that may help you in future, not just for capitalization issues, but for Dutch orthography issues in general. To come to your remark: I will try to comply with your request in the near future. I already indicated a few topics that are ripe to be "footnoted" in my explanation above. I would add that the enumeration of "name" articles is superfluous since I discovered that they are already enumerated in the Surnames by country article, which I had overlooked before. Also the alternatives for "family-name affixes" as a technical term should be in a footnote, though I think it is unwise to completely leave them unmentioned, as some people who contributed to the "name" articles may be "invested" in them, and the "affix" technical term is not mentioned in those articles. Finally I added the citation for the Chicago MOS reference just now. This should be a reference. But ultimately what should be left in, put in footnotes, or completely scratched, is a matter for discussion. So I prefer to wait a while, before I commit myself. Ereunetes (talk) 21:21, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Speaking of Dutch names, I remain fascinated by the Dutch vowel "ij" and the original Mac-ASCII characters ÿ (and uppercase IJ and Ÿ). Iirc, the Mac included the characters ÿ and Ÿ because someone thought they were needed or useful in writing western European languages, but I had a hard time finding anyone who would use them. When visiting Holland, I noticed signs like "ijs" or "ÿs" (which look alike in cursive handwriting, which is what I was working on at the time), and met people with that vowel in their name. I asked van der Heijden about it, but he didn't really clarify anything. I did also find a name with Ÿ carved in the floor of Amsterdam's Old Church, which I think is the only place I've ever seen it. I supposed everyone is happy wiht ij and IJ (like IJzebrand Schuitema), so I should try to forget about all this. Dicklyon (talk) 09:35, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I hope you intended "Van der Heijden"? :-) As to the "Dutch Y" or "IJ" character: when they still had mechanical typewriters, the ones sold in the Netherlands had an "ij" key in which the two letters were connected. That saved one keystroke, so nowadays no one bothers anymore. As it happens my own "real" surname has an "ij" in it. People with almost the same surname have an "y", or even an "i" in that space. It is all pronounced the same, because the "vowel" is almost silent in our names and acts more like a consonant. The Dutch language is full of snares and bear traps like this. Because in words like hij (he) and het IJ (two capitals and not "het Ij"; the name of the river north of Amsterdam) the vowel sounds almost (though not quite) as the "i" in English "high" or "sigh". Please don't forget about "all this" though. You can't imagine how flattered I am with your interest. If you have specific questions, please ask. Ereunetes (talk) 21:09, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Concise version with footnotes

Personal names are the names given to people, but can be used as well for some animals (like race horses) and natural or man-made inanimate objects (like ships and geological formations). As proper nouns, these names are almost always [a] first-letter capitalized, especially at the beginning of a sentence. Exceptions may occur for foreign surnames. Following the advice of the Chicago Manual of Style[3] the national conventions on capitalization should be followed. Information on these conventions may be gleaned from a number of Wikipedia articles mentioned in Surnames by country.The conventions may be somewhat confusing to the Anglophone mind. There are particular difficulties with names that contain (separable) family-name affixes, like Van Gogh and brothers De Witt. Examples of these are given in List of family name affixes. The technical term family-name affix is not universally used. Dutch name uses tussenvoegsel; French name uses particule; and Spanish naming customs uses particle However this may be, these articles may further elucidate the subject and therefore be useful for a correct application of the conventions. The U.S. as a nation of immigrants, presents a special problem as these immigrants often flouted the capitalization conventions of their countries of extraction. Nevertheless, in this case the American practice should be followed, not "corrected". [b] Finally, be mindful of the conventions on Maiden and married names for women. [c].


  1. ^ Exception "apostrophed" contractions like d' (French) and 't (Dutch) which are never capitalized; the following noun is, however. Examples: 't Hoen, d'Artagnan But at the beginning of a sentence: D'Artagnan (French)[1] and still 'tHoen (Dutch)[2]
  2. ^ Example Martin Van Buren (instead of Martin van Buren, according to the Dutch convention), Mrs. Vanmeer (instead of Mrs. Van Meer) In general, use the style that dominates for that person in reliable sources; for a living subject, prefer the spelling consistently used in the subject's own publications.
  3. ^ There is no objection to dropping the affixes in the mention of a surname in a text for reasons of brevity, provided there is little cause to fear confusion (a wikilink could be used to refer to the correctly spelled and capitalized personal name) and if there are no objections otherwise.


  1. ^ The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.). U. of Chicago Press. 2003. p. 313.
  2. ^ "Capital letter at the beginning of a sentence". (in Dutch). Nederlandse Taalunie. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  3. ^ The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.). U. of Chicago Press. 2003. pp. 313–17.

I hope this satisfies the people that asked for "conciseness".--Ereunetes (talk) 00:36, 27 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Would it not be far easier (and briefer) to simply say that we should follow how the names are styled by sources written in high-end sources (who will generally get it right). Blueboar (talk) 01:00, 27 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It would indeed be easier if "high-end sources" generally did get it right. But they don't always. Take my example above of Sir Simon Schama in "Patriots and Liberators" and "Rembrandt's Eyes" who consistently got it wrong. Jonathan Israel on the other hand consistently got it right in "The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness and Fall, 1477–1806" (both according to the guidelines of the Taalunie that I referenced). Let us take the case of Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol as an example. Schama's "Patriots and Liberators" and Israel's "Dutch Republic" overlap on the period in which Van der Capellen played a role: the Patriottentijd. At the first mention of Van der Pol Schama writes among others on page 65: "As a matter of plain fact, van der Capellen lacked the native property qualifications for admission...", so a flouting of the main rule that a Dutch surname in isolation starts with a capital letter. On the other hand, Israel writes on p. 1098 of "Dutch Republic: "The moment of disaster, according to Van der Capellen ...", a correct application of the same main rule. Fortunately, the author of the Wikipedia article also correctly applies the main rule. But how is one to decide between the three? The first two are both reputable British historians. But Israel (not necessarily a linguistic prodigy) apparently paid better attention to the Dutch primary sources he studied. Believe me, there is no acceptable alternative to the high road I advocate (and this concerns not just Dutch surnames, but other languages also). Ereunetes (talk) 03:36, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Whenever I'm in doubt about the capitalization or defaultsort property of a name with "van", I consult van (Dutch). May be MOS:PERSONAL could refer to that article. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:50, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A very good suggestion! I had found the Van (Dutch) article myself, but had lost track of it. But it does give a good explanation of the Dutch rules, as far as the voorvoegsel "Van" goes; there are other separable affixes though, like De and Ter. So it is not just about "Van". However, I think it wise to be consistent in this proposed amendment, and refer to the article that is mentioned in Surnames by country. Nevertheless, I'll put a wikilink to the Van (Dutch) article in the Dutch name article. Ereunetes (talk) 00:38, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, I support a clarification of how to capitalize especially Dutch names, and agree that Ereunetes is on the right track here. It might be wise to start over with a neutral yes/no RFC on a specific proposal if it's not obvious what we're converging on here. I'm OK with the version in green above. Are others? Dicklyon (talk) 07:22, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Fine, although the articles to be cross-referenced could include Nobiliary particle and specifically von. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 07:37, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I put in Nobiliary particle underneath my reference to particule in my proposal above (conform the way French name itself treats it) Please click on the wikilink to check. I was trying to be "concise". Von could be mentioned in the same context. Ereunetes (talk) 00:52, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • To some extent, this looks to me like a solution looking for a problem. As with everything in Wiki, our decisions are source based. The solution is to use the form that predominates in sources, except for living people, where we tend to give preference to the persons own choice (within reason). Perhaps the guidance could be improved but it should remain both brief and simple and I don't think the proposal does this. The only real issues are capitalisation of the surname at the start of the sentence and whether (and when) it is appropriate to drop part of the surname - noting that on the first mention, the name should be given in full. Cinderella157 (talk) 01:19, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I beg to disagree. As I replied to Blueboar, not all sources are reliable in respect of orthography. Besides, in a number of countries capitalization of proper names is a matter of official regulation, not of private whim as in the U.S. So, even if the form of capitalizing Dutch proper names that predominates in the English Wikipedia is to leave family-name affixes lowercase, that doesn't make it right. To the informed eye it just looks uneducated. I agree in principle that the guidance should be "brief and simple", but that doesn't mean it is OK if it is balderdash, like this quote in the current text of MOS:PERSONAL:"As proper nouns, these names are almost always first-letter capitalized. An exception is made when the lowercase variant has received regular and established use in reliable independent sources." No, in the case of Dutch surnames, the exceptions are well-regulated by public authority, regardless of what "independent sources" may think.Ereunetes (talk) 07:27, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    While I do understand that individual sources (even high end ones) can get a name wrong, that can be offset by examining multiple high end sources and seeing how they present the name in the aggregate. Blueboar (talk) 13:47, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Blueboar, you beat me to it!. Yes, the consensus in sources. Cinderella157 (talk) 23:04, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Maybe I should try a parable to show the advantages of my approach. Assume a novice wiki biographer who wants to write (another) biography of the mother of Audrey Hepburn, the baroness Ella van Heemstra, and is interested in the capitalization of her married name in her first marriage. They (the novice) only know that married name in lowercase: jonkvrouwe ella quarles van ufford - van heemstra. The novice now looks for guidance and finds the current form of MOS:PERSONAL. This amounts to saying:"You are on your own, squire; go live for a year among the Capitalizationists and try to infer from their contradictory mutterings what it should be. " This is not particularly helpful and may well discourage the novice. My alternative approach assumes that the novice wants to do what so many want: "look it up on Wikipedia". Of course, they could lookup Capitalization and look under "Special cases". There is some relevant info under "Compound names" (which is a misnomer, by the way). But the novice wants more. Back to MOS therefore. What I propose is the following search algorithm:
    • start at Surnames by country and search for a likely article (as the novice knows that baroness Ella was Dutch, they will not go far wrong if they click on Dutch name);
    • peruse the contents (left column) of that article and their eye will come to rest on the heading tussenvoegsel, which is already familiar from the guideline.
    • alight on that section and imbibe its contents; then glean whatever information about capitalization of Dutch personal names with tussenvoegsels seems relevant. That is quite a lot: "In the Netherlands, the first tussenvoegsel is capitalized, unless a given name, initial, tile of nobility, or other family name (e,g, in the married name of women) precedes it. For example: Jan van den Berg, J. van den Berg, but Mijn naam is Van den Berg ("my name is Van den Berg") and de heer Van den Berg ("Mr. Van den Berg"). Herman baron van Voorst tot Voorst. Mrs. Jansen - van den Berg. In Flanders, tussenvoegsels of personal names always keep their original orthography: "mevrouw Van der Velde", "Van der Velde, A.", and "Van den Broeke, Jan". In the Netherlands the first letter of the tussenvoegsel is written with lower case in the above four exceptional cases, whereas in Flanders it is written according to the entry for the person in the population register and on his official ID. This implies that in Belgium it is usually written with an upper case with the exception for names of nobility or the royalty; for those they are always in lower case, also in Belgium. See for an alternative discussion of the capitalization and collation issues around separable affixes in Dutch Van (Dutch)."
    Finally, this section also contains a reference to support these assertions: "Persoonsnamen". (in Dutch). Nederlandse Taalunie. Retrieved 19 February 2023.;
    • with this information the novice should be able to decide that the correct capitalization of the married name of Ella van Heemstra was: "Jonkvrouwe Ella Quarles van Ufford - van Heemstra". QED
    I think this ought to convince even the most skeptical defender of the status quo ante. Ereunetes (talk) 22:06, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ereunetes, since concision is an issue raised, can you say in one hundred words or less the key take-away of the amendment? Cinderella157 (talk) 23:09, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Certainly: Conform the guidance given for non-English names in The Chicago Manual of Style, the spelling of those should follow the spelling guidelines for personal names extant in the countries of the bearers of those names (Cf. CMOS, pp. 313-17). The remainder of my proposed text just gives a method for helping Wikipedia editors implement that guidance in a practical manner, using the resources of Wikipedia itself. I would have no problem with putting that remainder in a footnote to the "key take-away."
I should like to add (but the 100 word limit then comes within reach) that the current MOS:PERSONAL actually does the same thing. But I think the current guidance is useless (Cf. mhy "parable" above) whereas my guidance is actually helpful in my humble opinion. Ereunetes (talk) 22:44, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
CMOS does not have free access, so referring to it doesn't do much. Let's forget about your example bits for the moment. On my screen, the present guidance is about 3.5 lines of text. How would you improve the existing text without increasing its size by more than 10%? Cinderella157 (talk) 00:58, 9 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I already have indicated that above: Put everything in the "remainder" in a footnote. As you object to a reference to CMOS. the guidance could become "The spelling of foreign personal names and surnames should follow the guidelines extant in the countries of the bearers of those names." And in the footnote it would already say that anything goes for American immigrants. Ereunetes (talk) 18:15, 9 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ereunetes, a major issue lies in the concision of the proposal. I am trying to facilitate a proposal that addresses this. It would therefore be useful if we could see how this might actually read. A more focused example is much more likely to achieve consensus than those already proposed. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 23:57, 9 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Cinderella157I understand and sympathize with what you are trying to achieve. A problem with the "conciseness" issue, is that I think we should preserve some part of the old MOS:PERSONAL text as I already did in my proposal, though I am not enamored of that. That leaves even less space for what I try to achieve.

Personal names are the names given to people, but can be used as well for some animals (like race horses) and natural or man-made inanimate objects (like ships and geological formations). As proper nouns, these names are almost always  first-letter capitalized, especially at the beginning of a sentence. Foreign names, especially the ones containing separable family-name affixes (footnote: examples in List of family name affixes) may pose special problems, as national capitalization conventions may provide exceptions to the above-mentioned main rule of capitalization, and from the conventions in use in Anglophone countries. These often differ by language community. It is strongly suggested to orient oneself about the specific conventions pertaining to a particular foreign personal name of interest so as to achieve a correct application of those conventions.

And then the rest can be put in one or more notes. Or someone could write an article containing a discussion of the relevant permutations that could then be recommended. Ereunetes (talk) 00:26, 10 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm going to have to oppose this change, as a bunch of WP:Instruction creep that also has a WP:Wall of text problem (as does the proposer's writing in general, judging from what's posted here). To address the "parable" above, the novice would be instructed to "Use the style that dominates for that person in reliable sources". If they can't find any reliable sources, then the erstwhile biography subject is not a topic WP should be covering (WP:Notability). WP itself is not a source, and especially cannot be used circularly to verify itself (WP:CIRCULAR) so the raison d'etre here, "My alternative approach assumes that the novice wants to do what so many want: 'look it up on Wikipedia'", simply isn't an option. Only offsite sources are going to tell us what some biographical subject's name properly is.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:01, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In discussions with OP (on my talk page) I came to realize that my attempt to follow source usage, when I wrote my own book, didn't lead me to discover a key rule of Dutch names, namely the the prefix (e.g. Van) would be capitalized when the surname is used alone, but lowercase when the first name comes before it. If we don't articulate that somewhere, attempts to "follow the sources" aren't going to get us to a great place. But yes, it's rather too wordy. Maybe there's a short way to say follow the best rules and sources. Dicklyon (talk) 09:46, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The shorter the better. I would welcome constructive suggestions. Ereunetes (talk) 22:27, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I actually tend to agree with SMcCandish. But "Use the style that dominates for that person in reliable sources" is in the original MOS:PERSONAL. I simply copied that (as I copied the opening sentences). So I think the criticism should be addressed to the framers of the original version. I also agree that "Only offsite sources are going to tell us what some biographical subject's name properly is". This statement should be separated in two: the actual spelling in official sources like the Dutch and Belgian population registers, for instance. (Nobody, least of all myself, wants to change that). And the spelling when the name is used in the text of an article. My problem with the way the latter is often used in Wikipedia articles is that they diverge from official speling guidelines. To be specific: "van Leeuwenhoek" in e.g. the lede and elsewhere of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is simply a spelling error, according to the rules of the Dutch Language Union It should be "Van Leeuwenhoek". (Cf. the reference given in the passage I quoted from Dutch name) I am sure SMcCandish does not want Wikipedia to be a den of misspellers sanctioned by the Anglophone Wikipedia community? Wouldn't that be a little arrogant on the part Of Wikipedia? It says actually: "We don't care about the spelling rules for Dutch names extant in that country. We will ourselves decide how we want to spell names of "darned furriners". That certainly is not the attitude of e.g. The Chicago Manual of Style. (Cf. the references I have given in several posts). Ereunetes (talk) 22:21, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the key question is the extent to which the Dutch rules are customary and correct in the context of English writing, and that SMcCandlish's point is that maybe they're not. I'm not sure. If you at book stats, it appears that English writers are pretty much completely ignorant of the Dutch capitalization rules. Is that OK, or is that something we should aim to do better on via style guidance? Dicklyon (talk) 23:37, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd like to make two points in reply to Dicklyon. I think that most of the "abuse" I signalize is based on a basic misunderstanding of the Dutch practices of capitalization. Anglophone writers are used to immutable spellings of names, as are the Belgians. But in the Netherlands (and France, Spain, and other countries), though the "main rule" is that all surnames are capitalized including the ones that contain one or more affixes, there are a number of exceptions (four in the Dutch case) to that main rule, that lead to a certain "mutability" of surnames, under certain circumstances. "Unfortunately", if one is first confronted with a Dutch personal name (i.e. a combination of one or more given names and a surname), one immediately encounters one or two of the exceptions: lowercase for the leading affix after a given name, or after an initial. So one may jump to the conclusion that "therefore" Dutch surnames that start with an affix, start with a lowercase letter. But however understandable, this remains an epic misunderstanding. The exception is taken for the rule. And even if one is indifferent about what other peoples may think, it is never a good idea to build on a basic misunderstanding of the facts, even if one subscribes to a solipsistic model for English writing. My second point is that unlike other rules promulgated by the Dutch language Union in recent years, this complex of main rule and exceptions has grown organically in the course of Dutch history. It is not the product of an official edict, but the official edict codified what already existed since time immemorial. But I think that only strengthens the import of cleaving to those rules as they are ipso facto also applicable in historical cases. Ereunetes (talk) 00:06, 9 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe the following perspective is helpful: Do not longer bend over backwards to respect the sensibilities of foreigners (as the Chicago Manual of Style would have it) and only follow American rules for capitalization. "President van Buren" would then become "President Van Buren" and "Dutch microscopist van Leeuwenhoek" would become "Dutch microscopist Van Leeuwenhoek". But that is precisely what the Dutch would like you to do. Because their "main rule" is also "Surnames are capitalized". So what is the problem exactly? Some might say: "Yes, but the personal name is spelled with a lowercase letter". True. But that is a consequence of the quaint Dutch exception to their main rule. Please explain why we should ignore the main Dutch rule in Wikipedia, but enforce an isolated Dutch exception? In America the rule for surnames is also not that certain surnames should start with a lowercase letter; why only for certain Dutch names? To put it a different way: I understand that for Portuguese names like Vasco da Gama it is perfectly alright to spell the affix with a lowercase letter, according to the Portuguese themselves (I have this on the authority of the CMOS; cf. CMOS, p. 314 ). So writing "da Gama" in a sentence is perfectly alright according to the guidance I propose. But that is a Portuguese convention. Why should everybody else have to follow that? On the other hand as an immigrant I am used to "adapt" to American mores. So I write my name "Ereunetes" and not ερευνητής like I was used to do Ereunetes (talk) 18:51, 9 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Further revision[edit]

@Cinderella157I understand and sympathize with what you are trying to achieve. A problem with the "conciseness" issue, is that I think we should preserve some part of the old MOS:PERSONAL text as I already did in my proposal, though I am not enamored of that. That leaves even less space for what I try to achieve.

Personal names are the names given to people, but can be used as well for some animals (like race horses) and natural or man-made inanimate objects (like ships and geological formations). As proper nouns, these names are almost always  first-letter capitalized, especially at the beginning of a sentence. Foreign names, especially the ones containing separable family-name affixes (footnote: examples in List of family name affixes) may pose special problems, as national capitalization conventions may provide exceptions to the above-mentioned main rule of capitalization, and from the conventions in use in Anglophone countries. These often differ by language community. It is strongly suggested to orient oneself about the specific conventions pertaining to a particular foreign personal name of interest so as to achieve a correct application of those conventions.

And then the rest can be put in one or more notes. Or someone could write an article containing a discussion of the relevant permutations that could then be recommended. Maybe I could add the following posts I made on Talk:List of family name affixes#Affixes and Separable Affixes and Talk:Capitalization#"Compound name" unfortunate, does not cover subject for consideration: if these edits were made to the respective articles, that would lessen the "burden" of explication in our own remit. Ereunetes (talk) 00:26, 10 March 2023 (UTC) Copied from above to facilitate further discussion. Cinderella157 (talk) 00:34, 11 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Cinderella157 I have in the meantime followed up on my "threat" to revise the subsection "Compound names" of Capitalization. This should solve a lot of the problems with the incorrect capitalization of Dutch surnames with separable affixes, if the revision is not reverted by the irate "owner" of the article, and if people read the article and the section in question. Which is not guaranteed. I therefore propose the following footnote at the end of the above proposal:

Footnote. Information about these capitalization conventions may be found in Capitalization subsection Compound names and in the "country" articles (like Dutch name etc.), that are mentioned in Surnames by country. Note that the technical term "separable affix" is not universally used in those articles; alternative terms with a similar meaning are tussenvoegsel in Dutch name; particule (sometimes Nobility particle) in French name; and particle in Spanish naming conventions.

Ereunetes (talk) 23:25, 14 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ereunetes, sorry if I have been a bit tardy in getting back to you. I think I get what you are trying to do and it isn't a bad thing but ... There are a range of languages such that there is nuance both across languages and within which cannot be succinctly documented. This page really isn't the place for such intricate detail. I acknowledge your limitation to take such a thing on. Paraphrasing CMOS isn't a bad thing. If CMOS was open access or accessible through the Wiki library, citing it would be a solution but it isn't? Perhaps WMF could do something about that. The link you add to Capitalization#Compound names has a narrow focus on Dutch, Belgian and German names. When I read the modified text for here, It uses a lot of words to say not much. I could do a copy edit but I think the result would be to use less words but still say not much. I might give it a go nonetheless. Cinderella157 (talk) 02:32, 17 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By all means give it a try. But the current MOS:PERSONAL says even less. I put the operative phrase into my edit of Compound names under "American names" just to show that it only makes sense in that context; not for personal names in general. Here, in my proposal, the meat is in the footnote, because I was not allowed to put it in the guideline itself, "because of conciseness". The more concise, the less information. It is Hobson's choice, I am afraid (or is it Sophie's? ) So I think the question boils down to: if we want to have a guideline at all in MOS, do we hold onto the inadequate formulation we have now, or do we try to find something more useful? You'll probably guess my answer :-) Ereunetes (talk) 06:39, 17 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Conference Finals and Semifinals capitalization[edit]

Some of my sports case fixing edits got reverted with the assertion that "Conference Finals" and "Conference Semifinals" are proper names (I presume he meant just "Eastern Conference Finals", etc.). There is indeed a trend toward more capitalization in recent decades, but overall the book n-grams don't make these look like proper names; that is, capitalization appears to be very optional, per book sources. It's clear that "Eastern Conference" and "Western Conference" are proper names, but I can't see why we'd extend that to their finals and semifinals. Thoughts? Dicklyon (talk) 22:28, 20 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Best to leave'em as they are. GoodDay (talk) 22:56, 20 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
MLS's playoff rounds are given proper names (except the First round and final). Much like how we capitalize "Playoffs" in "MLS Cup Playoffs", since they are not a generic term like semifinals would be in other competitions; MLS based their structure on other American sports leagues, where the penultimate playoff games are given proper titles (e.g. AFC/NFC Championships in NFL, League Championship Series in MLB). SounderBruce 23:20, 20 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Where can I find more about your interpretation that "MLS's playoff rounds are given proper names"? Are they listed as such somewhere? Actually, I see in some (most?) of your reverts (like this one), you're actually asserting that "Conference Semifinals" and "Conference Finals" are proper names, even without the conference names. This is highly contradicted by source usage. And I'm not arguing about what MLS calls them, just whether they are proper names, as evidenced by consistent capitalization in sources -- which they're not. Similarly plenty of books use lowercase playoffs in MLS Cup playoffs, the playoff tournament leading to the MLS Cup. Dicklyon (talk) 00:26, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Note that writes "The final will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5. There will be three rounds – the first round, conference semifinals and conference finals – before the ultimate showdown." Dicklyon (talk) 00:31, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And similarly in their "MLS Cup playoffs conference finals preview". And with "The conference semifinals, which are single-game elimination matches, start on Thursday and will wrap up on Sunday. The conference finals are scheduled for Oct. 30, and the M.L.S. Cup final is ...". Dicklyon (talk) 00:39, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One local NBC website and an autogenerated ESPN report are not good enough sources; the New York Times has their own style guide (hence "M.L.S.") and cannot be used as a benchmark. I'm not sure where ngrams is pulling their data from, but there certainly weren't MLS books written before the league debuted in 1996. The round names are not generic terms due to the league's structure, and the league's website (which has editorial independence) uses the capitalized form. The league's own materials (season preview, match report, MLS Cup media guides, etc.) use it as well. SounderBruce 00:43, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The older hits are mostly NBA basketball, I think. The ones I cited from common modern publishers are about MLS; not as definitive style guidance, but as evidence that these are not consistently capitalized in independent reliable sources. The preferred style of the MLS is of course to cap stuff important to them; there's nothing for us in those observations. Dicklyon (talk) 04:24, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I agree with Dicklyon. We should not slavishly follow boosterism-by-caps. If we capped everything that companies (and NASA and the military and many government agencies) cap, we'd be poking readers' eyes out. Tony (talk) 05:44, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Tony, I like your metaphor (if that's what it is) of "poking readers' eyes out". That's pretty much the way I feel when I see the capped fragments in table cells, too (see section above). Some editors think caps make it look more "professional" or something. To me, they make it look more like the "poke your eyes out" 1999 web look. Dicklyon (talk) 09:12, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Finals and Semifinals etc are common nouns. They might be preceded by an attributive noun phrase that is capitalised - in this case for example, "Eastern Conference". There is often a presumtion that a capitalised attributive phrase confers capitalisation in full. It doesn't. Unlike most other European languages that only capitalise proper names, English also capitalises for emphasis, significance and distinction - but WP doesn't per MOS:SIGNIFCAPS. Sometimes however, such phrases are consistently capitalised - and then, WP capitalises such phrases. The ngram evidence isn't telling us that though. Cinderella157 (talk) 10:59, 21 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Concur with Cinderella157, et al. We have clear evidence of major, mainstream sports news sources not capitalizing these, so we should not be doing it either.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:50, 23 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oppose: Given the three sub-discussions that have concluded or are about to conclude and in all of those discussions the consensus is clear that North American professional sports use these as proper nouns. The group of editors pushing this need to find a more constructive way to contribute to the site, as all this does is waste the time of productive editors on general nonsense. Deadman137 (talk) 18:16, 3 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The worst part is they're going to claim consensus here among their little circle and then go bulldoze discussions elsewhere claiming to be the sort of broader consensus described in WP:CONLIMITED when it's literally only four guys in an obscure talk page as opposed to the larger numbers disagreeing in the actual articles. oknazevad (talk) 21:25, 3 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What next for capital "T" in The Gambia?[edit]

I'm starting a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#What next for The Gambia? about how to followup on the RfC which changed Wikipedia style to use a capital "T" for The Gambia mid-sentence and mid-article title. Please participate in the discussion there. Thank you,  SchreiberBike | ⌨  04:02, 22 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As noted over there, that RfC has been changed to "no consensus", so do not go around putting "The Gambia" in mid-sentence.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:41, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Person of Color[edit]

The page currently includes "... person/people of colo[u]r is not offensive, and not capitalized". I venture that instead the phrase should be with black/Black and white/White in that it can be "Person of Color" or "person of color", and the choice depends upon the same considerations. I propose to edit the article accordingly. —Quantling (talk | contribs) 14:57, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do you have evidence from well-respected style guides that the term "person/people of colo(u)r" is supposed to be capitalized? Generally Wikipedia strives to reflect existing scholarship on the topic; what do other style guides (the Chicago Manual of Style, Strunk and White, MLA, APA, AP Style Guide, etc.) have to say on the matter? --Jayron32 16:01, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Excellent question! My quick search gives the answer ... indeed I do not have style guides to back this. It is either the case that the folks I work with are ahead of our time and it will take the rest of you a while to catch up ... or we are a backwater and can be safely ignored for our straying from the norm. Time will tell. Pending finding it in a reputable style guide, I withdraw the suggestion. —Quantling (talk | contribs) 16:54, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Finding it in "a" reputable style guide wouldn't settle the question either; we'd want to see it agreed upon in a preponderance of major style guides.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:51, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Person of color" is overwhelmingly lowercase in sources. Dicklyon (talk) 08:59, 2 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:42, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should we update/hedge "is not offensive"? Our own article on the term observes that "Many critics of the term, both white and non-white, object to its lack of specificity and find the phrase racially offensive" and that "Political scientist Angelo Falcón argues that the use of broad terms like "person of color" is offensive", and there are more examples. EddieHugh (talk) 18:26, 2 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Have at it. Our page probably should not be making such a blanket statement, which verges on an endorsement PoV.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:42, 7 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Does Angelo Falcón and the other examples represent the preponderance of scholarship on the issue? I mean, I can find a non-trivial number of people who find any given thing offensive. I'm not saying it isn't offensive, but we would need more than the say so of a single political scientist to establish that. --Jayron32 18:53, 9 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Case fixing progress[edit]

As many of you know, I have been somewhat focused on fixing over-capitalization recently, with about 30,000 edits so far in 2023, and about 200,000 edits in 2022. My typical MO, when I'm not otherwise too busy, is to click through "random articles" looking for obvious over-capping. When I see something, I fix it, like I did here a few minutes ago. Then I do a search on some of the things I fixed to see if they are patterns that repeat in other articles. In this case, I found only one more, and fixed it. But sometimes I find thousands more, so I work on those via JWB. In a few cases (see for example some sections above and some recent or open RM discussions), I get some pushback, so I stop and discuss. This is less than 1% of cases, I think, and has been almost all from sports enthusiasts wanting to cap things that are not so commonly capped in sources (not surprisingly, since most of the over-capitalization I found and worked on was in sports articles). Depending on how discussion goes, my attempts stop, or resume. These edits have fixed well over a million unnecessary capital letters, with very little controversy and pushback, and I think help make the encyclopedia better by having caps really mean something, in conformance with our Manual of Style and the usually strong consensus to follow what it says at MOS:CAPS. I'm not expecting any great kudos for this work, but I'm happy that I've gotten more thanks than complaints. Progress. It's hard to say how much more is to be done, but I find I have to click a lot of random articles before noticing any over-capping problems these days. I hope people will continue to scrutinize my edits, and speak up if I make mistakes, as I sometimes do. Dicklyon (talk) 08:51, 2 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Keep on keeping on. I do similar work, but not as much and especially less lately as my life has changed in positive ways. I feel like there will always be usage projects to take on, but I do feel like things are getting better. I've no skill as an article writer, so I'm glad I can help the make the content that others add better. On great occasion, there's some pushback, but it's rare. SchreiberBike | ⌨  03:56, 3 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quantity-wise, WP:JWB has been an amazing breakthrough. But I've also had to learn to, and agree to, get clear consensus for any bulk high-speed edits, as if a bot. So that sometimes slows it down a bit. Life would be better if JWB was a bit smarter and more flexible, e.g. in providing ways to not match and change patterns in filenames and reference titles. In filenames, changes get quickly fixed by the editors who watch a category that catches such things, so are not a huge problem. In reference titles, even if you check "ignore unparsed contexts" or whatever it's called, it does ahead and makes changes; if you try to lowercase there via the subst:lc: magic, it doesn't subst it and leaves a nasty mess in the article code. Fortunately, therse are easy to find and fix in a second pass. It shouldn't be this hard. If I knew how to build my own scripts, maybe I could make it easier. I'd be happy to collaborate with a better hacker who wants to help. My brother who writes Javascript for a hobby refuses to get involved. Dicklyon (talk) 09:11, 4 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sometimes progress on case fixing is hard due to the shear numbers of sports fans, rail fans, or whatever, that like to capitalize their stuff. For example, the RM just closed with no consensus because "While those in support had a stronger argument, the argument was not sufficiently strong to overcome the numerical opposition to this proposal" as the non-admin closer put it, even those many of the opposers just repeated things that were clearly false. Without more people taking style issues seriously, it will generally be difficult to make progress toward compliance with guidelines in areas that can be dominated by fans of over-capitalization of their special stuff. Oh, well, win some, lose some. Dicklyon (talk) 11:02, 8 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I found another big area of over-capitalization: Stars, Actors, Writers, Producers, Directors, Hosts, Co-Hosts, Narrators, etc. of TV Film, TV Series, etc. I did about 10,000 edits on that in the last few days, fixing maybe 100,000 unneeded capital letters. A few mistakes were reverted (which I gave thanks for), but so far no pushback on this. Further checking is always welcome. Dicklyon (talk) 06:24, 23 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


MOS:RACECAPS is our current guidance on capitalizing ethno-racial color labels (e.g. Black/black, White/white), and it emphasizes the need for consistency within an article. How have editors interpreted this when it comes to direct quotations? MOS:CONFORM says "Formatting and other purely typographical elements of quoted text should be adapted to English Wikipedia's conventions without comment" and later describes such recommended changes as "alterations which make no difference when the text is read aloud". Does this apply to ethno-racial color labels? I'm not pushing for a change to this guideline, just wondering what common practice is. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 02:56, 9 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would read MOS:CONFORM as meaning that we make the article consistent, as that's what the rules say at MOS:RACECAPS. Capital letters are a "purely typographical element", so we're allowed to change direct quotes in that context. --Jayron32 18:48, 9 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]