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Deletion debate[edit]

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The following information passed a request for deletion.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, though feel free to discuss its conclusions.

Specific individuals X–Z[edit]

We're not a Who's Who or a universal dramatis personae. US presidents and the person of Nikolai Gogol/Гоголь have been deleted. Do the following folks' names have any English wordness? Michael Z. 2010-04-07 18:33 z

Redefine as given names/last names/cognomens or whatever applies. --Vahagn Petrosyan 18:39, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Odd. I would have wanted to keep Gogol, at least, because authors' names are often used to represent the corpus of their work, or to refer to a specific work by that author. Of the following, I have a personal preference to keep all the Classical names, but Xerxes is the only one I can support keeping on the basis of CFI. It's a Biblical name (both Persian kings), and so appears in a well-known work, and one that is frequently translated into other languages. I'm for keeping names like that, whether from myth, religion, or fairy tales that have lasted in the language for a very long time. The name Zorro might qualify in this way, but it hasn't been around as long, so I could see either side. --EncycloPetey 18:44, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
You mean using the author's name as a book citation? Every book, academic paper, or other publication can be cited by its author's name, or by just the title, author–year, author–title, title–year, ISBN, or some other conventional identifier. Likewise, any person's name can be used to refer to what they made, or said, or wrote. These are functions of names. But wouldn't including individual people's names on this basis lead to us becoming a who's who of authors or a catalogue of creative works? That's not what the dictionary is for. It would bury the tools of the languages under a tide of people and things. Michael Z. 2010-04-08 17:18 z
No, I don't mean that. Nice diatribe, but you've misunderstood. Also, please note that your arguments run counter to the practice of modern dictionaries like the AHD, which does include biographical entries. They do it to an extreme I wouldn't care for us to follow, but I do feel that single-name elements can and should be clarified in a dictionary, at least to a degree that would allow a person to then locate an appropriate encyclopedia article about that individual. --EncycloPetey 19:12, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
AHD and many other popular dictionaries are meant to partially replace the need an expensive, bookshelf-sized household encyclopedia. Our readers already have the biggest encyclopedia at no cost, and they could keep it in their pocket. So we should make use of Wikipedia by linking, rather than emulate encyclopedic print dictionaries, or their aspects that come from the marketing department, by trying to inadequately replace bits of the encyclopedia. Let's look to “pure” dictionaries, like the OED.
I absolutely agree with your last. We should have an entry for the name Xerxes, and it should link to the w: Xerxes disambiguation page, which will always have a list of every biblical, historical, musical, cinematic, and video-game Xerxes worth mentioning. But I don't think the lexical definition of any term includes “died 212 BC” or “created in 1919 by pulp writer Johnston McCulley.” Michael Z. 2010-04-08 20:19 z
I see, and will we be making lists of "pure" and "impure" dictionaries, so that we know which are OK and which are not? Will I need to place a big yellow star / red letter A / sackcloth and ashes on my copy of the AHD? --EncycloPetey 20:40, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Godwin's Law! Everybody drinks. Michael Z. 2010-04-08 23:17 z
Keep all. Most have useful translation sections. Improve others. SemperBlotto 07:19, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I can add your and my names to the dictionary with useful translation sections. How does this relate to our CFI? Michael Z. 2010-04-08 17:18 z
Well, for starters, no one is likely to come across names of any Wiktionarians outside of Wiktionary, so those names would fail on the criterion of "likely to come across them". Names of Wiktionarians are also not attested, but the names below are easily attested in many, many citations. Semper skipped the obvious criteria, and went directly to pointing out additional utility of the entries. --EncycloPetey 19:12, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't want to remove entries for names. I am trying to delete the so-called “definitions” which identify specific persons.
My name appears in my high-school yearbook, my phone directory, the credits for a few web-based works I contributed to, and in the front a publication I wrote. So someone is likely to come across it. If someone refers to these or writes about me, then it may be attested – perhaps I should see if it already is. You're saying that any person who's name is used three times in print should appear as a “sense” in the dictionary? Wikipedia has notability criteria for persons, and that's where articles about them appear. A dictionary should only include names. Michael Z. 2010-04-08 20:19 z
You seem to be fascinated with the idea of setting up straw men for me to knock down. Instead of doing that, why not try to understand my position, rather than some imagined position no one has? --EncycloPetey 20:37, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm trying to identify some principal under which we can include senses for individual persons. I don't think there is one. “Having useful translations,” or some kind of notability criteria aren't productive, because they would open up a free-for-all. Michael Z. 2010-04-08 23:23 z
Keep all. Let's do a more productive work on creations, not deletions. --Anatoli 19:25, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
You can definitely translated names of films, books, TV series. Plus line one, all words in all languages. Why not Ghost, the film? Or Waterloo, the name of a song. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:00, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
That's why we have WT:BRAND. You can find the answer to your question there. --EncycloPetey 20:09, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I believe physical objects fall under BRAND. Titles of creative works themselves aren't copyrighted, and I don't think BRAND applies to them. But while proper names are formed from words, they themselves are not words in the language. Michael Z. 2010-04-08 23:23 z
One quotation for you, Mzajac:
  • 1882, John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive:
    But it is no part of the signification of the word John, that the father of the person so called bore the same name; nor even of the word Dartmouth, to be situated at the mouth of the Dart.
Single-word proper names are words. --Dan Polansky 11:32, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
(Please remember that we are not concerned with words as defined in phonology, orthography, or grammar, but of semantics, and more specifically as lexicological units, lexemes.)
But of course we have an entry for the proper name (“word”) John (“A male given name very popular since the Middle Ages”). But what's your point? Mill doesn't say that Wiktionary should have a definition line for each of ten thousand persons named John. Michael Z. 2010-04-09 16:03 z
(<) Mzajac, you keep repeating that proper names are not words. My point is that you should stop repeating that. Some proper names are words. You want to exclude proper names from Wiktionary, and many language dictionaries agree with you in excluding proper names. They exclude proper names altogether: they have no entries for "Peter" and "London". I want Wiktionary to include some proper names, and so do other Wiktionarians. Repeating the falsity that all proper names are non-words is needless and unconvincing. --Dan Polansky 17:05, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Now you're just mixing things up. Wiktionary absolutely should have entries for proper nouns like Peter and London, with these words defined. But it should not have have so-called “definitions” that represent specific persons and places like Peter (I, the Czar of Russia), or London (Ontario, pop. 450,000), and certainly not entries for proper names like Peter I of Russia and London, EnglandMichael Z. 2010-04-10 05:51 z

Hmmm....I thought that we had already figured out how to deal with names. Every name is a word, and most words qualify for inclusion in Wiktionary. However, we define words, not describe their referents. In some cases, a specific referent is important enough to be briefly noted in the definition. However, generally, any personal name will not have more than one definition (i.e. "a given name"). Note that Mzajac is not arguing that these entries should be deleted, but rather some of their definitions. The entries should be kept, and their definitions pared down to what is appropriate. This allows for translations to be added. There may be some merit to having info about authors, but, if so, this would go somewhere besides the main namespace, perhaps in appendices. EP, you would do well to remember that AHD, and many other dictionaries, are stand-alone entities, whereas we are part of a collective group of reference materials. If the 'pedia has an article on an author, we would do well to utilize it and not duplicate, not in the interest of purity or some other nonsense, but in the interest of focus. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:49, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Keep all, provided they are attestable; none are sum of parts. Wiktionary should include in single-word entries attestable senses for specific entities. --Dan Polansky 11:32, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Delete all encyclopedic senses. At the top of each page insert a template (such as {{slim-wikipedia}}) to provide a link to Wikipedia disambiguation page, from where the user may find whatever encyclopedic content WP chooses to offer. At the WP page, make sure there is a project link back to en.wikt. DCDuring TALK 11:58, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep the Ancient Greek persons. Xenophanes isn't a "given name" of anybody except the philosopher, no English person is named so. --Makaokalani 14:31, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
    Xenophanes is just a name, like John or Matt. The fact that we only know one Xenophanes does not qualitatively alter the type of word it is. It does make that particular referent a bit special, and I agree that we should note the guy. However, please think about the broader ramificiations. Xenophon is similar, but we know of a few of them. We know a bunch of Alexanders. We need a consistent policy so we don't have to set goofy, arbitrary lines in the sand. By giving a lexical definition ("a given name"), we have a policy which works for all names, regardless of their popularity. By defining referents, we have a big mess. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:50, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

This may be a good time to review the relevant point from WT:NOT. We should relate our decisions and preferences to a Wiktionary principle whose essence hasn't changed since 2002. Michael Z. 2010-04-09 16:45 z

  1. Wiktionary is not an encyclopedia, a genealogy database, or an atlas; that is, it is not an in-depth collection of factual information, or of data about places and people. Encyclopedic information should be placed in our sister project, Wikipedia. Wiktionary entries are about words. A Wiktionary entry should focus on matters of language and wordsmithing: spelling, pronunciation, etymology, translation, concept, usage, quotations, and links to related words.

I see no relevance of the quoted unvoted-on non-policy WT:NOT to the discussed subject.

An identification of a specific entity on its sense line (London—The capital city of the United Kingdom and of England, situated near the mouth of the River Thames in southeast England) is per se not encyclopedic. Most dictionaries that contain "London" at all also contain some dedicated sense lines for specific cities. I have hyperlinks to at least two such dictionaries (see London at OneLook Dictionary Search and MWO:London).

I would like to see a hyperlink to a dictionary that has "London" as "a place name", failing to include specific entities. I know of no such a dictionary. --Dan Polansky 17:29, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

  1. The relevance of all pages that have been used without challenge for longer than most current contributors have been here is that they provide a stable core to enterprise. Very few policy and guideline pages have been voted on, but they have provided guidance. As I understand it, WT:NOT was an effort to make it clear that Wiktionary was not to become a short-attention-span encyclopedia.
  2. Why would WMF have established a separate project duplicative of WP when it has such a strong aversion to the forking of projects?
  3. I do not understand how we can avoid having either multiple senses for placenames (Cairo large city on the Nile river in Eqypt" and "small city near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississoppi Rivers in Illinois") or a proliferation of placenames of a multi-part form (Cairo, Egypt; Cairo, Illinois). I do not understand whether there would be any notability limits on placenames. I do not understand what determines what the right content would be for all the placenames that would seem to be includable under the gazetteer concept of defining toponyms with reference to each of the individuals sharing the toponym.
  4. Until someone troubles to address these questions satisfactorily, the discussion of toponyms is quite idle. There are relatively simple ways of drawing bright lines between included and excluded terms which I commend to the attention of all:
    1. No proper noun words
    2. Proper noun words only to the extent that they have a sense that is not solely a reference to an individual referent.
    3. Proper noun words qua words (eg, attestable), but no specific individual referents.
    4. Proper nouns that meet notability criteria that we decide and maintains.
    5. Proper nouns that meet notability criteria that someone else (eg, WP, Google Earth, ISO, UN, the Post offices of the various nations) decides and maintains.
    6. Proper nouns referring to individuals in specific classes (eg, nations, subdivisions of nations, groupings of nations, organizations of the preceding, vernacular place names, natural features, geographic regions), each class having its own criteria.
Our consensus with respect to toponyms seems to be shifting from 2 to 3, reflecting the desire to provide etymologies and translations and transliterations for them. Going beyond toponymic words qua words to include senses relating to individual referents requires a dramatic change in our concepts of inclusion before we even get to specific criteria for inclusion for all or any of the classes of toponyms that might be included. That no advocate has taken the trouble to do even this superficial analysis itself condemns the proposals for any kind of toponym inclusion. DCDuring TALK 19:02, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
What you are saying about where our consensus is shifting is false.
WT:NOT is not a policy.
Just send these things which you think have a consensual support to a vote, and let us see. --Dan Polansky 09:46, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
WT:CFI#Wiktionary is not an encyclopedia is a policy. So is WT:About given names and surnames#Encyclopedic content. Okay?
WT:NOT is also linked from the CFI, so it carries some weight. It is a long-lived and fairly stable page, which is an indicator of consensus.WT:NOT deserves to be made a policy think tank. Michael Z. 2010-04-11 03:01 z
(Uh, the given names and surnames page is not a policy. It's a policy think tank that I put together a few weeks ago hoping someone would flesh it out a bit and it could become a policy. The "policy think tank" status doesn't require consensus at all, or I made a mistake putting that label on the page.) --Yair rand 03:16, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I must have overlooked the memo. Anyway, 1. 2 looks good at first glance. Remember that the given name–surname pattern is not universal. Michael Z. 2010-04-11 07:51 z
Delete all. I don't know why we have all these proper nouns anyway, they're all much better defined in Wikipedia and if something isn't in Wiktionary you get a list with the term as defined in Wikipedia along with other variations. Why do we need Harrisburg, Tower of London, or even London (England) itself? Not for the translations of London, which all seem to be "London". We have Seattle, but not Tacoma or Redmond. We're not Wikipedia, so let's not act like a second rate Wikipedia. Facts707 13:59, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Re 'Not for the translations of London, which all seem to be "London".': You should do some fact-checking in the London entry. The capital of U.K. is rendered as "Londýn" in Czech, as "Londres" in French, as "Londinium" in Latin, as "Λονδίνο" in Greek, and as "Londra" in Italian. --Dan Polansky 17:23, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Keep them all. For the same reason as Hitler. BedfordLibrary 15:23, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Result: Should be kept for no consensus for deletion. People for keeping: SemperBlotto, EncycloPetey, Anatoli, Dan Polansky, Makaokalani, Bedford Library; people for deletion: Mzajac, DCDuring, Facts707; indeterminate: Vahagn Petrosyan, Mglovesfun, Atelaes; on a pro-deletion reading, this is 6 people for keeping and 6 people for deleting, so no consensus for deletion. Date of the first post to this section: 2010-04-07; date of last post to this section so far: 2010-08-03; date of the result: 2010-09-08; time elapsed to the date of the result: 5 months. --Dan Polansky 15:06, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Striking as no consensus for deletion. --Dan Polansky 09:52, 20 October 2010 (UTC)