Archived talk: 2006~2008 | 2 | 3

The following are among forums covering aspects of this subject (not all being conclusive, if any are):

Forum:Noble/Royal Titles
Forum:Royalty- Surname encoding
Forum:Page names
Forum:Proposed change to name/date conventions
Forum:Standards on dateless individuals
Forum:People with no birth or death dates
Forum:Standardising page names for individuals
Forum:Census page and category names

Using a perfectly good wheel rather than debating how to create a more perfect one.[]

Are we really so much smarter than Wikipedia that we need to recreate standard for article names? There has been too much focus in this forum reinventing the wheel- on seeking out naming conventions that adhere to ideals having to do with genealogical best practice or geography technicalities. We should not lose sight of our goal- that we need to be the best possible resource for the greatest number of readers- and that means using names they would use, not those that editors for one reason or another prefer. This is the first principle enumerated in Wikipedia:Naming conventions:

Use the most easily recognized name Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.

This is justified by the following principle:

The names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists.

Wikipedia determines the recognizability of a name by seeing what verifiable reliable sources in English call the subject.

The Wikipedia naming conventions have been hammered out after much debate by hundreds of subject matter experts and we should simply adopt them en masse rather than engage in the hubris of creating our own and the endless distractions these debates create. This article on page names makes some quibbles about wikipedia authority but generally recommends using their names. The change would be to make the rule absolute. If a wikipedia article exists on the person, then our article name is exactly the same with the addition of the YOB-YOD. After pointing to our local copy of the voluminous Wikipedia geographic naming standard, we needs only to describe the Familypedia specific information- that of YOB / YOD suffix, and the convention for naming articles in other languages.

What's an example of the differences? Not much, but it would for example mean dumping middle names from the article title. Wikipedia generally does not use them- we shouldn't either. Why doesn't wikipedia use them? The rationale is described in their naming convention docs, but it bears repeating that it breaks helpful features for naive users like autocompletion. Previous responses were that hey- forget about autocomplete- if they just do the search, they will find it in the wikimedia hits. Right. Read the WP guidance line again. Who are we bending over backwards for? That's right- naive users, not we experienced editors. So when a user types the name they most commonly would know into the search box, autocompletion should do what they expect. But because we have decided we are smarter than Wikipedia, we find that it doesn't work.

  • look for Humphrey Bogart, type "Humphrey B" No autocompletion. Why? User must know his middle name: Humphrey DeForest Bogart (1899-1957).
  • look for Mel Gibson... User is out of luck again. Autocomplete doesn't work. Users must know that his name is Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson (1956)
  • look for John Howard... Autocomplete breaks. Users are required to know his name is John Winston Howard.

Including middle name is simple to include as part of the banner for the article, or as part of the infobox heading. I know it is regarded as best practice to include them were possible in genealogy paper records, but on a wikia page all this means is having the full name displayed elsewhere on the page. Ahnentafels etc can display with full names if desired. Not having the full name display as actual article title is a small price to pay for ease of use for naive users. If there are no objections, I shall update the naming conventions and classification conventions pages to reflect the authority assigned to wikipedia and its standards for person and place article naming. ~ Phlox 20:10, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

It seems that there is not much disagreement amongst current regular users regarding the standardization on wikipedia names. So after two months, I have made the changes eliminating any contradiction to the principle that wikipedia naming takes precedence. Of course, these are guidelines and not policy, and users may name things as they please. In a dispute however, the person adhering to guidelines shall prevail, so it is really a pointless exercise to intentionally diverge from wikipedia names. ~ Phlox 03:02, September 28, 2009 (UTC)

Apostrophe problem[]

I wrote the inserted text up, but I think it would be ill-advised. First off, we are not sure the exposure is limited to the apostrophe. Spot checks show that unicode font sets like cyrillic are ok. Secondly, it puts us on a course of altering all wikipedia article names in perpetuity. The other alternative is to put a replace in to prescan all page names, changing to the left apostrophe. So- is does all that worth it because we don't want to tell users to employ a weird delimiter like a tilde or a "+"?

No Apostrophes in names- Articles with apostrophes in names should use a left quote ‘ in the name instead. A page with the apostrophe should be moved to the article named using the left quote. For example, Baudoin d'Avesnes (1219-1289) was moved to Baudoin d‘Avesnes (1219-1289). All queries will work properly after that since the move automatically records the two names as synonyms.

(Rationale: An apostrophe introduces an html entity with a semicolon into the name. This interferes with string processing- for example, lines delimited by semicolons. The move creates a redirect automatically. For example, #REDIRECT [[Baudoin d‘Avesnes (1219-1289)]] replaced the content of the page with the apostrophe Baudoin d'Avesnes (1219-1289))

As of this moment, + is looking like a pretty attractive replacement for the semicolon. ~ Phlox 21:35, September 30, 2009 (UTC)

Enforcement of rule on wikipedia names[]

Two motivations of the Wikipedia as authority principle are:

  1. Technical tractibility: If a private namespace is developed, some manual mapping between Wikipedia's and Familypedia's must be achieved. Given the existence of hundreds of thousands if not millions of such person articles (counting non english and non english wikipedias), the problem is intractible given Familypedia's current limited contributor base.
  2. Dispute resolution practicality: As described more fully in Forum:Page names, if we as a community do not conform to an external authority on names, all names become open to dispute, and we must accept the burden of arbitrating these disputes.

Assuming that the technical burdens can be overcome for person place name articles, one possible solution that would avoid problem 2 would be to allow nonconformance so long as there are no challenges. If there is a challenge, the two parties might come to a mutually acceptable resolution that also was not the wikipedia article name for that language. However, if mediation or other resolution mechanisms fail, then the name would become the wikipedia name, and any edit wars or ANI (Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents) disputes over the matter would be terminated by a lock on the page with the wikipedia name.

I am not confident there are satisfactory technical solutions for problem 1, so this solution may be irrelevant. My personal inclination is not to rigidly enforce rules if there is little if any benefit to the exercise. ~ Phlox 16:15, October 15, 2009 (UTC)

Likely areas for nonconformance[]

Parts of Wikipedia are very much unfinished. For example:

  • Regions of New Zealand for several months were one fellow's ideas about what might work, with little relationship to obvious regional names such as the statutory regional structure that has covered the country with no overlaps since November 1989. Much improved since, but naming inconsistencies remain, e.g Otago, Southland Region, and Canterbury (New Zealand).
  • When I studied the regions of New South Wales I found several overlaps and ambiguities, looking a bit like what the NZ regions were after only a little improvement over the first attempt. I think I made a few comments pointing out the problems. I've not checked recently. Thurstan and I produced a set of regions that corresponded almost exactly with the recommended groupings of local government areas and the GenWeb forum divisions. They can be precisely mapped against current council areas, and the maps of them are good enough for us to do a pretty good job of mapping the old counties, which are often the only place indicator in documents of genealogical significance.

How long must we wait when WP is clearly not covering the subject in a way that ordinary genealogists would find unambiguous?

Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:03, January 27, 2010 (UTC)

Small things: I suggest we allow "(YOB-)" anywhere[]

I notice that we have this:

  1. For living individuals (or individuals who are presumed to be living), use only birth year in parentheses (with no hyphen). If you want extra privacy, replace the whole date thing with "(living)".
  2. For people known to have died but with no definite or estimated death year shown, you may add a hyphen after the birth year so as to add a little clarification of what the solitary year refers to.

Even relatives don't always know or have any way of presuming whether someone born less than 110 years ago has died. I recommend that we replace the "(with no hyphen)" qualification with "(with or without a hyphen - your choice)" so that such people's pages can "start life" as "(YOB-)" and never need changing.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:09, June 20, 2010 (UTC)

Hi there

i am rather new to this site via an invite, i am doing the ceylon dutch burgher family trees and the connections to them, i also have a site on line where in i put details from the LDS and i also have a tree in i wish to help those who get in touch with me via rootsweb message board india/sri lanka and via



Laura, you can easily reproduce links here: just paste them in if they're external links. For links to pages of this wiki, just enclose the page name in pairs of square brackets or use the button near the left of the row of buttons above the edit box. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:24, October 9, 2011 (UTC)