Naming conventions/Talk

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I think for works the detour wouldn't be the worst thing. See Orson Welles for the why and how.

Maybe we should also add a suggestion to make subdirectory links prettier (basically that means hiding the /). See Chess

Q: Should you link every occurance of a term or just the first one in an article?

A. I'm in favor of link the first occurence in an article and then any one in the 'see also' section at the end of the article.

A2. I think we should link the first occurrence, any one in the 'see also' and maybe one more, if it seems sensible for some reason. I also think that we should spell 'occurrence' in as many different ways as possible. ;-) --Jimbo Wales

Q2: If this system is on a UNIX box, is it possible to shell out and do a 'spell' as an option from the page? I concur, it should be required to spell occurrence in a unique way each time it is used :) .

Q: When linking to city or town names, especially with names where there may be another city or town with the same name and spelling in another state or country (i.e., Paris, France and Paris, Texas), what type of convention might we use? I understand that Paris, France would stand alone as Paris because it is a city of note. But, might we use Paris, Texas to specify this particular town in Texas? -- Invictus

I think "least surprize" should be the guiding principle here. This implies several things: first, that disambiguating pages should list things in the likely order of significance. For example, the "Paris" page should have links to the French city, the Texas city, and the mythological figure, in that order. Second, when one mentions a subject in another page, it should link directly to the most specific page. For example, the "Macbeth" link on the Orson Welles page should link directly to a page specific to his movie, not to the play or other movies or to the disambiguating page. The text of the link, however, should be whatever makes sense in context; i.e., in a list of Welles' works, the link text should just be "Macbeth", but its destination should be "Macbeth (Orson Welles film)" (Let's get those parentesized titles working!). Similarly, if one is writing about Helen of Troy, the name "Paris" should appear unadorned to make the text read smoothly, but it should be linked directly to "Paris (mythological figure)". --Lee Daniel Crocker

I don't think the principle of "least surprise" implies that we should make Paris a links page. I think it implies that we should make Paris about Paris, France, and also, on that page, include links to Paris, Texas and wherever else. Bear in mind, though, that pretty soon we're going to be able to use parentheses in titles, and all of this will be moot (thank god). --LMS

It might be tempting to write about Paris, Texas on a page named Texas/Paris, i.e. a subpage to the entry on Texas, because that city lies entirely within the state of Texas. In this case, Texas could also be a subpage to the United States, which might be a subpage to the North American continent. At some level this hierarchical structure gets very ridiculous, so where should the line be drawn? The state of California has been part of USA since 1850, but was earlier a part of Mexico. Some cities in Europe have belonged to different nations during history, so the hierarchical approach is not universally useful.

I totally agree with this. I was going to label a link Genoa, Italy, when I remembered that Genoa existed for quite a while before Italy per se existed.  :-) Generally speaking, when we--very soon, now!--upload the latest UseModWiki software to the server, we'll be able to use parentheses, and some of these sorts of troubles will be over. Then it will be a question whether we want to label the page "Paris (Texas)" or "Paris, Texas." And we will still probably not want to label the page "Genoa (Italy)"--though, given that there are probably several other noteworthy (to some extent) Genoas around the world...well, we can use parentheses for those Genoas, and leave the main old Genoa unparenthesized. --LMS

When writing that Albert Einstein was a physicist (see Albert Einstein, physicist, scientist, Biography, and Biography/Talk for this discussion) it was tempting to create a link to a page listing various physicists through history, and pointing out that all physicists are also scientists. One issue is whether these pages should have pluralized names (addressed above). Another issue is whether the structure or catalog of professions should be created before we start writing biographies of other scientists, like a coordinate system is drawn before the data points are plotted. Such catalogs could be: professions, academic disciplines, timelines (like the excellent one on geologic ages), families of biological species, types of organic chemic substances, etc. The risk with such an approach is that the catalogs will dominate over the substance contents (Yahoo without the Internet). The risk with not taking such an approach is that a lot of useful links will be missing from entries (the Internet without Yahoo).

Any thoughts?

Hmm, only occasionally have I been a bit bothered when someone has put up a long list of links without full sentences about the subject of the article. Yes, I don't think Wikipedia should be a list of links, external or internal. On the other hand, lists of links are great and absolutely necessary in a hypertext encyclopedia, so we gotta have 'em. I just think we should discourage the idea that an adequate article might consist just of the links. E.g., I still think actress should address the phenomena that are actresses, and not just give a list of actresses (as if people visiting the "actress" page were interested only in finding their favorite actress.
My conclusion is that unless there's a really striking problem (as, in my opinion, the existence of many mere-dictionary type entries was becoming), it's not worth it to discourage anyone from doing anything. The beauty of Wikipedia is that, by being open to all manner of contributions, everyone wants to contribute. It's great that way. --LMS

How should acronyms and similar constructs be handled?

One approach would handle them like this

     Entry: CPU
     +- - - - - - -
     |CPU - central processing unit

Another would be to

     Entry: CPU
     +- - - - - - -
     |#REDIRECT central processing unit
     Entry: Central_processing_unit
     +- - - - - - -
     |Central Processing Unit (CPU)

that is, the acronym redirects to the main page, and is displayed in an on-page title; in this scenerio, only acronyms with multiple definitions would be handled as in the first case:

     Entry: CPU
     +- - - - - - -
     |CPU - central processing unit
     |cpu - cerebrially pleasant ungent

Finally, should it be that all (but horribly complex) acronyms simply define the expansion and link to a main page? For example, right now "GUI" is the main page and "graphical user interface" links back to it.


MHO is that acronym pages should, in most cases, be mere pointers to other fully-spelled-out pages. APA means many different things, and many of those things will have encyclopedia articles, sure. (Some meanings of acronyms, however, won't, and in that case, there's no point in our listing those senses, because we aren't going to have encyclopedia pages about those senses. I shall explain on Larry Sanger soon, I think... --LMS
This seems right to me, although it is worth noting the exceptions. I think that WYSIWYG, for instance, has become a word unto itself. --Janet Davis
I agree with the "word unto itself" argument, especially for things like the programming languages Algol, COBOL, FORTRAN, perl, etc. Also the POSIX standard, and even Unix itself. Each of these have not simply become "words unto themselves" but are the official names of something. I doubt if one person in one hundred knows or cares that the names are acronyms. There are also a lot of jargon words which are acronyms; "modem", "radio", and "RADAR" come to mind. Further, just what kind of "main title" would you use. Most sensible thing seems to be to use the the acronym as the entry and include the expansion in the article (but not as a link).
OTOH, the link "Ada" should lead to a disambiguating page (as I write, it is about the Ada programming language. There are at least three things it should point to (not in any particular order). They are the Americans with disabilities act; the Ada programming language; "Ada" as a proper name (no link, possibly omitted); and the Lady Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, generally referred to as Lady Ada Lovelace. --buzco

I ran into this editing DMCA and Digital Millennium Copyright Act. I created a section above based on my own take of what's going on.
<>< tbc

Q. Plural links. In Naming conventions, the example shows crayons (as in crayons), but some editors modify these to crayons (as in crayons), look at the first two revisions of Pyramid, where pharaohs was changed to pharaohs. I personally prefer the former. Should we set a convention here and stick to it? (to be explicitely added to the 'Prefer singular nouns' paragraph in Naming conventions) --Gerald Squelart

A. KQ's opinion: What it seems to me happened is that a contributor didn't like the look of a word which was partly linked and so caused it to display otherwise, in much the same way as the crayons example above. That doesn't change the link itself, or the title of the page that it will link to or allow to be created, just how it displays. Personally I don't mind it if a word is only partly linked; I've done it with for instance European in some entries, and I think it's easily enough changed if it does bother someone. I'd be interested to hear other opinions on the subject.

I think that partially linked words are deeply unattractive! What's the use of an interface if it can't hide some of the functions from you, the way pharaohs does? On the other hand, people who use partial links are giving neurotics like me something to do when we don't feel like writing a new entry. --MichaelTinkler
The problem being that other kinds of neurotics like me will want to change things back the way we like it (and the way I wrote it first :-)! Let me just explain my point of view: I believe links shouldn't be hidden under a different name. So, if I click 'pharaohs', I'd expect to go to a page name 'Pharaohs', not 'Pharaoh'. I know, it's not much different, but hey. I didn't want to change the pyramid page back because I felt it may end up in a kind of war, where the page is modified every five minutes back and forth between both styles, it's just counter-productive! Michael, to satisfy your cravings, you may want to modify the link to tetrominoes in the Tetris page :)) But seriously, I'd prefer you refrain from doing it, until we conclude something here, pleeez! Other inputs welcome... --Gerald Squelart
Oh well, it seems nothing can stop Michael in his crusade (see World Wide Web), so I give up.
The partial links approach does not work with languages where the plural form of a noun is not obtained by appending a suffix to the singular (Italian: Faraone, "Pharaoh", pl Faraoni), and in general where a derived word does not usually contain the main word (Italian: Europa, "Europe", adj Europeo).

On a related note to plural names, there is some discussion for Baptist/Talk of how to we properly name these various religious denominations such as Baptist, Presbyterian, and so on. In the plural form such as "Baptists" it is clearly a collective noun, but in the singular it is generally an adjective. Some have been entered as -isms, such as Catholicism and Protestantism, but Baptistism is not a common phrase and Baptism is definitely not the same thing :-) Any suggestions? --Alan Millar

The page talks about preferring free links, but it doesn't encourage or discourage converting existing old-style links into free links whenever one runs into them. I see several possibilities:

1. Leave existing old style links as they are.

2. Rename existing old style links into pseudo-free-links: they look like free links, but point at the page named according to the old convention.

3. Rename existing old style links into free links, relocated pages named in old style to new pages named in new style.

4. Do that *and* find all pointers to the old-style name and change them.

5. Do that and that *and* disable old-style linking!

I like to convert them and all references to them. --KQ

Should English plural English singular or Latin plural be used as taxonomical names ?

Example: Therapsid vs. Therapsids vs. Therapsida

Any preferences?

If we use the English, it should be the singular. For what it's worth, my preference is English over Latin, but that's just me. --Alan Millar

I notice someone changed an article with 'whilst' in it. I may be wrong, but I believe the word is in current usage in places other than the US. Does anyone who lives in the United Kingdom know? If it is currently in use, we need to decide what dialect of English we are trying to write the encyclopedia in...

Both while and whilst are used in the UK, according to individual taste. We don't need to decide what dialect we are using in Wikipedia - everyone can just do their own thing. This is mentioned in the FAQ. --Zundark, 2001-08-21

Q: Should there be naming conventions for rivers, lakes etc.? There is quite a lot of variation here. Some append _river, some prepend it, some do neither. Then there are the links on Baltic Sea which use various foreign words for river...

In the main page it says:

Only use numbers for years
In my opinion, numbers as page names should only be used for Year in Review entries. So call it Form 1040, not 1040, and Intel 386, not 386?. That way, if we ever want to add a page about what happened in the year 1040 or the year 386, we won't have a collision with the other uses of numbers. -- Simon J Kissane

I see two issues:

  • 386 (and 80386) is used as a term to refer to the Intel 80386; people writing articles might create a link to 386. Perhaps they shouldn't, but there should at least be something on the 386 page for people that followed the link expecting to find something about CPUs. I write this not knowing what is on the page 386, but having redirected 286 to Intel 80286 because I found the 286 link in an article (about the processor rather than the year).
  • It is possible that numbers might be worthy of articles for other reasons. What about 1729, famously the first number expressible in two different ways as the sum of two cubes (from a conversation between Hardy and Ramanujan)?

It seems to me that some of these naming principles may make it more difficult for people writing pages to get the correct link first time.


Conventions for naming CPUs.

I think processor architectures and names should be described on pages of the form

<it>Manufacturer model-name/number</it>

so Intel 80386, Motorola 68000, Zilog z80. I think creating redirects from shorter more common names is healthy and to be encouraged. I think most of the already written articles are already named like this.

Problem: architecture names that don't have a manufacturer, or not a snappy one. Example: PowerPC names an _architecture_ (ie not a particular chip) designed by a consortium of Apple, Motorola, and IBM. IBM PowerPC (IBM own's the trademark and these days Motorola license it) seems slightly dishonest - it gives IBM too much credit - whereas IBM--Motorola PowerPC seems very clumsy.

Common personal names

This issue was discussed in List of saints/Talk, and I think it should also be borne in mind for articles on monarchs, Biblical figures, etc. I'd like to know how others think this should be addressed.

begin quote

And perhaps standardise their nomenclature before we get too many more?

Good idea, Malcolm. This is what I suggested to MichaelTinkler a couple of days ago:
Regarding names: I'm personally inclined to naming pages with the saint's name, and location or other description to distinguish between eg Augustine of Hippo and Augustine of Canterbury. Problem is that other Wikipedians may have already made a link to Saint XXX - that's how I found Saint Columba, for instance. It shouldn't be a *huge* problem, though.

The current Wikipedia pages with Saint at the start probably should be changed to just their name (and location if necessary) - must watch out for the backlinks too.

end quote

Common personal names are of course going to cause confusion especially in the case of monarchs. (I'm only familiar with European history, and have no idea whether this is going to be a problem with historical figures from other cultures.) For example, why does Henry I refer to the English king while Henry I the Fowler requires a more specific title? Should the Henry I page refer to Henry I of England, Henry I the Fowler, etc?

Also: should we use Sir Donald Bradman or Donald Bradman? Redirect one to the other?

There was a bit of discussion on how to handle titular names over on my talk page a while back: Paul Drye/Talk. Essentially "Go with the name that is likeliest to be used in common parlance". "Henry the Fowler" and "Henry I" in these cases because, well, that's what people call them. Since then I'm starting to think that the way to handle this better might be to have the page "Henry I Fowler" (to pick a specific example), and then have "Henry the Fowler" redirect to it, but that concerns me a bit because of ambiguity. If two people have the same common name, redirects are not going to help.

I've also been putting in a bit on an explanatory note in articles where I though they were need. See Duke of Wellington and William of Orange as examples. -- Paul Drye

There was discussion above on the proper naming of articles about cities. I think this should really be resolved, with the resolution on the main naming conventions page. If you do a search on Oregon, you'll see several articles on cities in Oregon; about half of them are "city Oregon" and half are "city, Oregon". Horribly, there are separate articles on Portland, Oregon and Portland Oregon.

Most long phrases (e.g., Ich bin ein Berliner; the most remarkable formula in the world) shouldn't contain capitalized words.

'Ich bin ein Berliner' is really silly example - it contains capitalized word --Taw