Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style

Active discussions

"Other websites" vs. "External links"Edit

There is a four year old discussion about the name of the header of the list of external links to other websites at the end of an article. Is it really mandatory to use "Other websites" instead of "External links" as in the Complex English Wikipedia? If not, could "External links" be listed as an alternative to "Other websites"? --Лъчезар (talk) 14:31, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

The decision was made four years ago, and is now part of our Manual of Style. External links should not be used. I think there are some bots out there that will probably change it back to "Other websites" automatically. --Peterdownunder (talk) 21:48, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Japan chronology projectsEdit

I have used Japanese language kanji and a diacritic (en:macron) in these articles:

This writing is consistent with en:Wikipedia:WikiProject Japan Manual of Style. Is this good or appropriate for simple:Wikipedia?

Do you have comments? questions? suggestions? --Tenmei (talk) 14:53, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

That aspect seems good. Macdonald-ross (talk) 04:59, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Should restaurant/pub/bar etc. names be italicized?Edit

I didn't find this in the "Italics" section. Should they? Y'all should add this info to the guidelines page for other users like me who'd have such a question. --TheBearPaw (talk) 13:35, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Usually names of places aren't. Nifky^ 13:49, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

First sentenceEdit

There's nothing wrong in principle with this:

"If the article is about a foreign person or place, the name in the original language(s) should be given in parentheses immediately after the title is first mentioned. Link the name of the language, followed by a colon (:), just before the native name".

Except that, in practice, it often makes the first sentence hard to read. If that happens, a good tactic is to put the stuff in a f/note. Some names have been used in several other languages, each with its own link. Similarly, if the key term of a title has several complex alternatives, it may be right to delay listing them. This means putting them in a later sentence, or even a f/note.

The rule is: the first sentence is mighty important: do nothing that would make it harder to read. All good writers know this is vital, and so should we, especially in Simple. Macdonald-ross (talk) 10:07, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

"See also" vs "Other pages"Edit

Continues from here. πr2 (talk • changes) 17:55, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

I was thinking more of "Related pages" because it's more specific than "Other pages" and "Related" (Relation) is on the Basic English word list. Battleaxe9872 / 18:17, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
I like that. πr2 (talk • changes) 18:21, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
OK with me. Macdonald-ross (talk) 18:25, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Related pages is better as it does suggest that the pages have something in common, members of the same "family". Other pages could be taken to mean just that, it is another page. --Peterdownunder (talk) 22:47, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I think the same should go for "Other Websites" too, as their essentially the same. Battleaxe9872 / 20:06, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
So we would now have "Related pages" and "Related websites". Good idea. --Peterdownunder (talk) 23:26, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

<-Take this back to ST please. Griffinofwales (talk) 23:50, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

  Done Moved back to Simple Talk for a more thorough consensus. Battleaxe9872 / 00:06, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

You should have left the conversation where it is, its been linked to numerous times. If people haven't responded its because they either don't care or think status quo is ok. -DJSasso (talk) 00:20, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

+1 Jon@talk:~$ 00:33, 1 September 2010 (UTC) Other pages is fine. Jon@talk:~$ 00:33, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Personally I prefer related pages since I am being asked. Other pages is far to vague. -DJSasso (talk) 00:40, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Agree for the same reason as DJ. Griffinofwales (talk) 02:16, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, it's simple enough, and more specific. :) Yes, I think "related" is better. —Clementina talk 02:19, 1 September 2010 (UTC)


Should this page be split into other pages, like on the English Wikipedia? --- cymru lass (talk to me)(see my edits) 18:24, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't think so. This is hardly ever used or edited, and splitting it would mean there would be many more pages to take care of, rather than just this one. We need to make this more functional and useful, rather than splitting it up; that is, unless you can give us a good reason. Just because it's split on en is not a good reason for us to do the same, unless there is a reason why we should do it, too. EhJJTALK 18:43, 24 August 2010 (UTC)


I think the advice we give here is absolute nonsense. What percentage of readers can interpret IPA symbols? It isn't even sensible for English wiki, let alone Simple. We should give a simple phonetic spelling using regular alphabetic characters, and that only if it is really needed. Much superior is the use of a recorded spoken word, but that we cannot regularly organise. Macdonald-ross (talk) 17:54, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

And how to handle dialects and accents? (As in aunt or tomato?) IPA does solve the problem, I believe, but only by becoming so ... crazy ... that few people know how to use it. I think pronunciations should just not be used except for words from systems where everyone sufficiently interested will know the system (pinyin for Chinese words, etc.). --Philosopher Let us reason together. 04:25, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I disagree. I am particularly concerned with proper nouns. There are a lot of Americans, Australians etc. (not to mention people in countries where English is not the first language) the pronunciation of whose names is not obvious based on English pronunciation. Yet, we should tell our readers how to pronounce the names of people like J. S. Bach and Charles Simic. Kdammers (talk) 21:29, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
I think the place for pronunciation info is either in Wiktionary or in sound files on Wikimedia Commons. If we have infoboxes that provide a place to include it, it can go there, too. I also think the IPA method is difficult to work with from both sides. As for phonetic spelling, there are too many different ways to represent sounds phonetically. Besides that, spelling given according to English phonetics wouldn't make sense to people who don't know English well (which includes many of our readers). I see this a lot with the Spanish-speaking student that I tutor in English: I've learned to let her write her own phonetic spelling according to pronunciation of the language she knows, because if I write what looks phonetically right to me, it doesn't always help her. --Auntof6 (talk) 23:20, 1 December 2015 (UTC)


The suggested a.m./PM style seems overly restrictive.

"The Chicago Manual of Style and Garner's Modern American Usage: 4 p.m. or 4 PM (with PM in small capitals)

The Gregg Reference Manual: 4 p.m. or 4 P.M. (with PM in small capitals)"

- See more at: Kdammers (talk) 18:09, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Different organizations have different style guidelines. Many of the ones I see say either lower case or small capitals. Small capitals are more difficult to do on keyboards, so that makes lower case a better choice. Is there a particular reason this is a problem? --Auntof6 (talk) 19:06, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
Agree with lower case. Small caps not right here: book typography is styled with more sophisticated software than ours. (it is possible to build macros with a standard keyboard, but we should not base our style guide on that) I prefer 9am style. There's no real reason for spaces and full points. Over-fussiness is all over WP typography styles. Macdonald-ross (talk) 10:28, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

What is "the Continental way"?Edit

Section Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Scientific style says:

"The Wikipedia rule for commas and periods in numbers is, for example, 12,345,678.901 — not the Continental way."

What does "the Continental way" mean? I searched both Simple and En Wikipedia and could not really find a clear answer. My best guess is "European" (from en:International_System_of_Units). Anyone know? Zeniff (talk) 08:52, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

I think the reference to continental way means the same as European "style" (numbers and comma use). Quoting a web page: "commas are decimal points and decimals commas, so a euro and a half is €1,50 and there are 5.280 feet in a mile. (Britain and Ireland use commas and decimal points like North America.)" User:Rus793 (talk) 13:12, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for the explanation and example! It makes sense now:) Zeniff (talk) 04:47, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

Piped link for WikilinkEdit

I improved several explanations in the Wikilinking section. It still needs an example of why and how to write a piped link. Would appreciate some help on this. -- Deborahjay (talk) 13:16, 9 November 2018 (UTC)

s/he vs. theyEdit

The page does not seem to mention whether s/he or they should be used in cases to refer to one person, but the gender is unknown. I think s/he is best because "they" as plural isn't grammatically correct in traditional English, and, while it may be evolving, it still might not be best for the simple english wikipedia. But I see some users replacing "he or she" and similar stuff with "they". Is there a known correct one, and if not, should we have a consensus on it? Computer Fizz (talk) 05:46, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

As with my recent change to this very page, I like to reword sentences to avoid this issue. There are different ways to do it. One is to just make things plural to begin with ("When students are absent, they must bring a note the next day" instead of "When a student is absent, he or she must bring a note the next day"). Another way, since you mention traditional English, is to use masculine pronouns for everything: that's the traditional way, but maybe we don't want to do that. And that's only for subject pronouns (he/she); there are also object pronouns (him/her) to consider. --Auntof6 (talk) 06:45, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
@Auntof6: About the part at the end...what i'm referring to is the usage of "they" as gender-neutral instead of plural. I apologize if i'm not communicating clearly. I   Support the rewording thing though, although there should be a backup incase that isn't possible for some reason. Computer Fizz (talk) 06:55, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
@Computer Fizz: I understood what you were talking about. My point in my last sentence above was that the form of object pronouns needs to match the form of subject pronouns. In other words, if you use the gender-neutral subject pronoun they for a given person, then you also use the gender-neutral object pronoun them for that person. --Auntof6 (talk) 19:51, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
yeah that makes sense. but what i'm talking about is whether "they" should be allowed as a genderneutral form (or only plural). Computer Fizz (talk) 20:13, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
They isn't just plural and never has been. They has been used as genderneutral for centuries, most often in the case where the gender is unknown. This isn't a new thing. -DJSasso (talk) 11:45, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

gender for transgender peopleEdit

I recently found these edits where an IP changed all gender instances of a biological man but transgender woman from "she" to "he". Which is best to use? Computer Fizz (talk) 18:55, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

We use feminine pronouns for transwomen and masculine pronouns for transmen. I just looked at en:Caitlyn Jenner and it uses feminine pronouns throughout, including in the sections about her life before she came out as transgender. The exception might be if the person is known to prefer something different. --Auntof6 (talk) 19:43, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
@Auntof6: So should i add this stuff to the main MoS page? Computer Fizz (talk) 20:59, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
@Computer Fizz: Not unilaterally. What I described is our practice, but people should be allowed to comment if it's going to be made a guideline. Yes, we're already having a discussion here, but I only saw your question because I happen to have this page on my watchlist -- most people probably don't watch it. I recommend asking at Simple talk for people to comment here. --Auntof6 (talk) 04:34, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Just incase you were unaware Computer Fizz since we don't mention it in our MOS we use's at en:MOS:GENDERID per Wikipedia:Follow English Wikipedia. -DJSasso (talk) 10:56, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
@Djsasso: are you saying it should be kept that way? or is it just information. Computer Fizz (talk) 16:54, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
You were asking a question on what should be used. I was giving you information that answers your question since you didn't know what to use. Changing the MOS it is another matter, I would just copy the MOS:GENERID section over with any needed simplification. I see no reason to be any different than them on this topic. -DJSasso (talk) 16:57, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
@Djsasso: Can you import the page then and i'll work on simplifying it? Computer Fizz (talk) 03:52, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
It's part of another page. You can just copy it from there and reword it and paste it here mentioning in your edit summary where it came from. -DJSasso (talk) 15:28, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
I have copied over the en.version MOS entry for this. Could still use some simplification but it can be found at Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Gender identity. -DJSasso (talk) 17:32, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

ENGVAR and punctuationEdit

I think we should change this rule "When punctuating quoted passages, put the punctuation mark inside the quotation marks only if the sense of the punctuation mark is part of the quotation (logical quotation style)" to "English has two systems for quotation marks next to periods and commas. In the American system, periods and commas go before the closing quotation mark. In the British system, use the same rule as for question marks: put the period or comma inside the quotation marks if it applies only to the quotation and outside if it applies to the whole sentence. Pick just one system for the whole article," with the link to the Quotation mark article for anyone who's curious about more detail or who wants to see sources.

The rule that's there right now is correct in British English but incorrect in American English. It's like saying, "Always spell the word 'harbour' with a U." It's perfectly correct in London but not in New York.

Here are the reasons I think we should make this change:

  • Simple English Wikipedia articles already don't follow the British-only rule. Even the article of the day sometimes uses the American system instead or a mix of the two. The Good Article review teams clearly don't mind if something uses American English punctuation. No articles would have to be downgraded and no one would have to change the way they like to work.
  • It matches WP:ENGVAR, which is a rule people do follow here.
  • On Wikipedia, we're supposed to care about sources first. Almost all the top sources on punctuation say "do it this way in British English and that way in American English." I can provide links if anyone wants.
  • This is one of the BIGGEST things people on the Regular English Wikipedia MoS would fight about. The kind of person who cares about which of two tiny punctuation marks goes first is going to care about "Wait, what do you mean I'm not allowed to do it the way my teacher/these sources say is right?" I've seen it put people off copy editing. I've had a lot of time to think about it, and "both systems are good but pick just one" is the version that is least likely to make anyone feel angry or pushed out.
  • Some people say that the American English system is less confusing to use and easier to copy edit, but I don't have a scientific study or anything for that.
  • The Simple English Wikipedia seems to have a secondary goal of exposing people to correct English. To do that, we have to allow writers and editors to show them correct English. (Again, the current system is correct in British English but not in American English, and I quite cheerfully use it in British English articles.)
  • The Regular English Wikipedia version of this rule kind of got there by mistake.

Alternatively? The Wikinews MoS does not list any rule at all about this and we get along just fine.

I'm going to leave this up here for a while. If anyone wants me to provide sources or other information, I will answer all pings, but for the most part I've said my piece. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:25, 4 March 2020 (UTC)

Can you please provide sources supporting the distinction between both styles as a "British vs American" matter? en:Wikipedia:Logical quotation on Wikipedia contradicts your claim about the quotation styles. Chenzw  Talk  14:17, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
Sure. @Chenzw: Sorry this took so long. Things have gotten just a little tense IRL.
1) "Logical quotation on Wikipedia" is an essay written by a Wikipedian who really likes British punctuation. This person believes what he says, but his beliefs are not verifiable. I wrote an essay too: Here it is It's a bit out of date, though. The Guardian doesn't use American style these days.
2) Consider the Wikipedia article "Quotation marks in English," which is sourced per WP:VERIFIABILITY. This issue is addressed in the section en:Quotation_marks_in_English#Order_of_punctuation.
3) You asked for sources that establish that British and American English have different rules, so here are a few of the gold standards.
  • The Style Guide of the American Psychological Association is used throughout the social sciences in the U.S. Its website describes the differences between British and American usage in an easy-to-read-chart. [1]
  • Scientific Style and Format is a little harder to read, but it quotes the Oxford University Press, which is a gold-standard British source.[2]
  • This website quotes the 14th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. Editions 15 and 16 do not contradict this. scroll to the bottom of the page. I can tell you what the most recent edition says, but I'd have to type it out rather than send you a link.
  • Oxford Dictionaries is a very highly respected British source [3].
  • I also happened to see a less famous source, The Punctuaton Guide, while I was out there.
Would you like more? Is there a particular country or type of source you respect the most? Basically, outside of the English Wikipedia, the idea that British and American English are different from each other is almost entirely undisputed, there are many different kinds of sources available. You can find people who say "I think we should" or "I wish we did use this system or the other," but no one who says the two different systems don't exist.
Does this satisfy your need for sourcing? Please ping me if you require a response. Like this: {{ping|Darkfrog24}} Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:37, 28 March 2020 (UTC)
I would also like to ask your opinion, Chenzw. Do you think this conversation should be held somewhere else? I know it's been a tense month in the real world, but only the two of us are here. I think I heard that instead of using Wikiproject pages, important discussions on Simple English Wikipedia are held somewhere more central. Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:06, 28 March 2020 (UTC)
I don't think it would be helpful to restart this discussion on another high-traffic noticeboard. Perhaps you would want to link to this discussion from WP:ST instead. Chenzw  Talk  15:43, 28 March 2020 (UTC)

Space before footnote numberEdit

Is there a rule on Simple English Wikipedia for spaces between normal text and footnotes? For example, should it be like this: Example without space.[1] or like this: Example with space. [1] RL0919 (talk) 19:31, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

I remember reading that there should be no space, but I don't know where I saw it. --Auntof6 (talk) 23:08, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Manual of Style".