Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages

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Listing people on disambiguation pages[edit]

MOS:DABNAME says:

For short lists of name holders, sections such as People with the surname Xxxx or People with the given name Xxxx can be added below the main disambiguation list.

Interpreting this guideline has led @JHunterJ:, on a number of occasions, to reformat what I regard as perfectly acceptable versions of disambiguation pages such as this version of Lalitha to versions like this. It is frustrating to have one's work tampered with solely because of a slightly different interpretation of guidelines, but that's not my point—others might think sometimes I do that ;-)—actually my point is that the guidance here is horrible: it results in miscellaneous entries dangling at the top not under a header, and superfluous wording in the one remaining header.

Would editors please support changing the guideline to:

For short lists of name holders, a list can be included in a People section of the page.

Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 10:02, 20 December 2020 (UTC)

  • Yes. Although in the case of Lolita, the names could easily be split from the dab. The name may even be primary topic. olderwiser 11:42, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
  • I didn't "interpret" it that way; that was the wording that resulted from the consensus discussion. As partial title matches, they shouldn't be on the disambiguation page at all. The previous compromise was reached to keep from having to create small name-holder list articles. The acceptable alternatives would be to place them in See also or just go ahead and create the name-holder list article. Or leave them in the section below the actually ambiguous topics. -- JHunterJ (talk) 12:29, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
    And to Bkonrad's point, if properly creating the anthroponymy article, yes, it might involve moving the disambiguation page to the (disambiguation) title and creating the article at the base name. -- JHunterJ (talk) 14:24, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
  • Why not mention both options? I think both can work, depending on the context. But otherwise, yes: I don't think it's productive to switch between the two format just for the case of switching. If the guidelines say that something can be done, this does not necessarily mean that it must be done. – Uanfala (talk) 23:28, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
    It is frustrating to have one's work tampered with solely because of a slightly different interpretation of guidelines, but that's not my point—others might think sometimes I do that ;-) Hear, hear! :) Though I'm part of the same camp too. I think one easy change that could help a little with creating a better environment would be to ditch the possibly deeply entrenched habit of using summaries referring to "cleanup" or "repair" (unless there actually was something messed up or broken ), and instead go for more informative descriptions (like "rearrange entries" or "alphabetise"). – Uanfala (talk) 23:37, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
    • Thanks @Uanfala: On the other option: yes, you're right, I had only intended replacing the text I quoted at the top with the new text. The full guidance would read (omitting the bit in brackets):
      There are two options for listing name holders. For short lists of name holders, a list can be included in a People section of the page. For longer lists, and as an alternative for a short list, create an anthroponymy list article and link to it from the disambiguation page. If it isn't clear that the article includes a list, consider mentioning that in the description. For example:... Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 10:50, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
    • The two options are already mentioned: "There are two options for listing name holders (people whom the encyclopedia reader wouldn't expect to find under the single-name title). For short lists of name holders, sections such as People with the surname Xxxx or People with the given name Xxxx can be added below the main disambiguation list. For longer lists, and as an alternative for a short list, create an anthroponymy list article and link to it from the disambiguation page." You're right, that you "can" put it in a section below the main disambiguation page doesn't mean you "must" -- in this case you could instead create the anthroponymy list article. As far as the rah-rahing about the frustration of "one's work tampered with", reread the last bullet of WP:OWNBEHAVIOR and note that the subsequent editing (not "tampering") was done to improve the encyclopedia because the previous work was due to an apparent ignorance or misunderstanding of the guidelines, not because of a difference in interpretation. Misinterpreting them is not the same as a difference in interpretation. -- JHunterJ (talk) 13:27, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
      • Sorry, the two options I was referring to were: 1) listing people in the "People" section of the main part of the dab [page; 2) listing them in "People named.." right at the end. These were the two approaches in the versions of Lalitha quoted above, right? And as for the other thread, well, JHunterJ, if you frequently find yourself believing that other, experienced, editors are afflicted with ignorance and misunderstanding of the guidelines, then, of course, it's still possible that you're right and everybody else is just plain wrong, but it's much more likely that your approach is the odd one out. – Uanfala (talk) 14:58, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
        • If you believe that you're incapable of misinterpreting a guideline, you're likely incorrect. In this case, for example, the guidelines say one thing, and the suggestion from Shhhnotsoloud is to change it to say a different thing. Thinking that the current version says the same thing as the suggested version is just plain wrong, even if an experienced editor happened to miss that the first time around. I have also misinterpreted guidelines before, but I didn't blame the editors who point that out to me, nor accuse them of tampering with my work. Improving other editors' contributions is Wikipedia, and treating that in the adversarial way you're choosing to is a problematic approach. -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:08, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
          • Has anyone been misunderstanding the dab guidelines here? I think you might find it easier to see the point I was trying to make if you first consider WP:GUIDES and WP:ADHERENCE, which are, by the way, among the fundamental policies. Even the perfect guidelines will have exceptions, and their application should be carried out with common sense. And the fact that we're even debating changing these particular guidelines is an indication that they may in fact be far from perfect. So, my original points was: if a given editor makes an edit to a dab page that seems to break one or another of the rules, it may be that they're not a completely ignorant fool, but may actually be making an informed judgement that the page will better serve its purpose if a particular rule is disregarded. – Uanfala (talk) 18:18, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
  • There probably should be a bright[er] line here as to when to include a short list of notable people with the name on the dab page versus when to split them off to a separate WP:ANTHROPONYMY page; leaving things like this open to editorial discretion leads to arguments like this one. I suggest that limit is 2 basically following WP:TWODABS: 2 people is an entry on the dab page, 3 people is a hatnote (not a see also) leading to a separate anthro page. And as JHunterJ said, partial title matches should not be included on dab pages at all; looking at the Taylor dab page, Taylor (surname) is a valid entry, Elizabeth Taylor is not. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 15:15, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
    • That's a different issue – the disagreement here was to do with where exactly the list should appear within the dab page if it's not split out. Otherwise, I think 3 entries is way too low a bar – if followed, this would lead to a proliferation of teeny tiny pages that will be more of an impediment to navigation than anything else. Personally, I don't see any point in splitting out into a new page unless either substantial encyclopedic content about the name is going to be given, or the list is already so big that it's making the dab page unwieldy. – Uanfala (talk) 15:26, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
      • Short lists of encyclopedic topics (which anthroponymy lists have been determined to be) are not impediments to navigation. If you object to the existence of short anthroponymy list articles, WT:ANTHROPONYMY would be the place to change that approach. If lists of name holders are pointless, they'd also be pointless on disambiguation pages; and if they're not pointless, then a list article is appropriate. Wedging partial title matches into a list of ambiguous topics is not appropriate, though. -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:56, 21 December 2020 (UTC)
    • @Ivanvector: I agree that there might be a debate about what "short list" means, but for now, if you'll forgive me for trying to steer us down only one track, do you support changing the guidance in the way I suggest? Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 09:26, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
      I don't think this is really off-topic to your question. Lists of people with the surname/given name are partial title matches and shouldn't be included in dabs at all - all that should be included is a wikilink to an anthro page that lists them. It would be better if the guidance to list people on dab pages was simply removed. Using the Lalita example, if someone goes by the mononym Lalita then they should be included in a "People" section, but all other people with Lalita as part of their name should be listed on an anthro page, and all that should be included on the dab is a link to it. Taylor#People is how it should be done, and neither the current guidance nor your proposed change describes that. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:56, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
  • I disagree. The reader does not care whether the page they are looking at is a dab page or a surname page: they want to find their chosen topic. Surname entries for people are important, as many readers will have a reference to "Bloggs's work on the subject" or similar, and want to find a person by their surname. If that surname has perhaps 2 meanings, with articles, as a common noun and is the surname of 3 notable people, a dab page including those 5 entries is best for the reader, even if 3 of them are PTMs. It is less helpful if they find a page with 2 entries plus a link to follow to a surname page with 3 entries. If the surname list goes above ... well I'd think perhaps a dozen entries ... or if there is sourced encyclopedic content about the surname itself, then we need a surname page, linked from the dab page. For smaller numbers, help the reader by minimising their clicks. PamD 17:36, 23 December 2020 (UTC)
  • So, to compromise:
There are two options for listing name holders. For short lists of name holders (about 12 entries), a list can be included in a People section of the page. For longer lists, and as an alternative for a short list, create an anthroponymy list article and link to it from the disambiguation page. If it isn't clear that the article includes a list, consider mentioning that in the description. Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 08:53, 24 December 2020 (UTC)
Or rather than "included in a People section of the page" say "included in a section of the page with the heading People with the name, after other sections but before "See also" ". As at present, to my understanding. PamD 11:16, 24 December 2020 (UTC)
Hello @PamD: but the section should be included in accordance with WP:LONGDAB, ie alphabetically, unless f course there's a good reason for putting it somewhere else. Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 09:00, 31 December 2020 (UTC)
@Shhhnotsoloud: There is a good reason: surname matches are a special case of WP:PTM, not quite standard dab page entries. PamD 09:45, 31 December 2020 (UTC)

Almost everybody above (edit: PamD is a notable exception) appears to have completely overlooked and/or ignored the primary purpose of a disambiguation page: to help readers find the the content they are looking for. To this end it is very significantly preferable for disambiguation pages to contain lists of people with a that name, especially as anybody could be referred to mononymously in any given context. Only if there are multiple pages (more than 30-40 entires) worth of people with the same name should they be relegated to a separate page that someone will have to read, and even then the most prominent people should be listed on the main page and we must be making no requirement for people to know whether the person they've seen referred to in that matter has that name as a first name, surname, nickname, only name, or some other name that does not fit neatly into Anglocentric naming conventions. It matters less where on the page the "people with this name" section is (as long as it is logically placed in the context of other entries) but they should be on the page wherever possible as this is very significantly more helpful for readers. If this is contrary to any guidlines that exist for formatting disambiguation pages then the guidelines need to be changed as they are making the encyclopaedia less accessible. Thryduulf (talk) 16:08, 24 December 2020 (UTC)

  • So to split the difference:
There are two options for listing name holders. A list of name-holders can be included in a People section of the page. For longer lists (of 20 or more entries), and as an alternative for a short list, an anthroponymy list article can be created and linked from the disambiguation page. If it isn't clear that the article includes a list, consider mentioning that in the description. Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 09:08, 31 December 2020 (UTC)
I would set that threshold way lower than 20. Maybe 12. BD2412 T 19:07, 31 December 2020 (UTC)

Thank you everyone: I made the change. Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 13:28, 6 January 2021 (UTC)

The example in MOS:DABGROUPING[edit]

The section in MOS:DABGROUPING currently gives the following as an example of a grouping of dab entries:

Thingamajig may refer to:

Science
World music

Now, do we actually need such an example dab page within the guidelines? If we do, then the example needs to change, as there are several things that are wrong with the current one. "World music" is a category you can expect to see in a western music store, not in an encyclopedia. The titles in the "Science" section don't follow the usual conventions: plant titles will be disambiguated with "plant" and not "biology", isotopes – with "isotope" and not "chemistry" (?!), types of pulsars – with "pulsar" and not "physics". Descriptions are also expected to be brief: for example, "wind instrument" is enough, and the fact that it's similar to an aulos is a piece of extraneous detail (and what's an aulos anyway?); "stringed musical instrument" is likewise sufficient, no need to include the number of strings. – Uanfala (talk) 20:45, 2 February 2021 (UTC)

I'd support those changes. —swpbT • go beyond • bad idea 16:57, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
I would also support those changes, but also support deleting the example all together. Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 09:26, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
It's just an example, so I'd say go ahead and be bold (though I understand that guideline changes are too often blindly reverted due to lack of prior discussion).—Bagumba (talk) 10:04, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
Well, my main quesion was whether having those examples was necessary in the first place. I wouldn't want to spend time improving something that will ultimately be thrown out. The fact that such obvious improvements need to be made may indicate that this example has probably not seen a lot of eyes over the years. – Uanfala (talk) 21:58, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

Sorting for Li Ang[edit]

Li Ang includes one given name, one entry that states that Li is the family name, and one entry that doesn't mention give any indication of family name. I'm not sure how to phrase the sorting for the DAB page - it is currently tagged with {{tl:hndis}}. Would {{tl:disambiguation|given name|hn=Li, Ang}} be appropriate? Leschnei (talk) 14:43, 11 February 2021 (UTC)

@Leschnei: I don't think "Li Ang" is a "given name" in the usual senses here. Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 10:14, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
@Shhhnotsoloud: OK, so I'll leave it as {{tl:hndis}} - thanks. Leschnei (talk) 12:46, 13 February 2021 (UTC)

Category link as a See also entry[edit]

Is it acceptable to add a link to a category (*[[:Category:Foo]]) as a See also entry? I didn't find anything clear cut in the MOS or the talk archives.

I just did this at Noah's Ark (disambiguation) to remove movies named Noah and Evan Almighty which obviously are not (full) title matches, but I can understand that they are so closely related to the topic that there is an argument to include them somehow. Is this a slippery slope to invite all kinds of navigation-impeding "related concept" links? Personally, I think it's a good compromise to have a single link to cover all these borderline cases.

Another example is Santa Claus (disambiguation): I can understand that a user may be looking for "that Santa Claus movie", not realizing it was called Miracle on 34th Street. Statue of Liberty (disambiguation) is lucky enough to have a Statue of Liberty in popular culture article, should we hold this as a standard for including a "broad category type link"? Hoof Hearted (talk) 21:23, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

BBC (sexual slang)[edit]

FYI – Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see: Talk:BBC (disambiguation)#BBC as a porn/sexual term – apparently the entry to for the sexual term keeps getting censored off the disambiguation page, despite there being an ideal article section to point to.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:29, 14 April 2021 (UTC)