Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2007-05/Placenames 2

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Placenames 2[edit]

  • Voting on: Whether names of certain types of places (states/provinces, cities, mountains, rivers, seas, peninsulas, national monuments, national landmarks) should be automatically deemed to meet the CFI.
  • Vote ends: Sunday, June 10, 2007 July 1, 2007 July 15, 2007
    Extended due to recent discussion. DAVilla 15:51, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Vote started by: bd2412 T 03:05, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Discussion: I propose that places generally be included in the dictionary. Obviously we're going to include names of planets, continents, and countries, so that's not an issue. I propose that we amend the CFI to state that an entry also meets the CFI, irrespective of attributive use, if it is the name of:
  1. a top-level division of a country (a state in the U.S., a province in Canada, an oblast in Russia, a department in France, etc.)
  2. a city (we can probably spend hours arguing over what constitutes a city as opposed to a town, but places like Cleveland, Calcutta, and Tianjin are clearly cities, so we can worry about borderline cases later; my personal inclination would be that any municipality with a population of more than 50,000 constitutes a city, as does any municipality which serves as the capital of a country or top-level division of a country)
  3. a named geographic feature such as a mountain, valley, plateau, canyon, river, gulf, sea, bay, or peninsula
  4. a national monument or landmark (and by "national" I mean one that the average person would likely think is owned or maintained by the national government of the country in which it is located, or which would come to mind if the average person were asked to name the monuments/landmarks of that country).

I propose this for all the obvious reasons, for translations and etymologies and pronunciations to be made available to the viewing public. Cheers! bd2412 T 03:05, 3 June 2007 (UTC)


  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support See my "world atlas" proposal below for geological features. Cheers! bd2412 T 05:15, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Image:Symbol support vote.svg Support Connel MacKenzie 03:58, 3 June 2007 (UTC) although I'd like clarification on rivers and lakes (a similar rule of thumb as you had for cities.) (Restored vote, as per the voting period extension.) --Connel MacKenzie 06:28, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
    I don't see any mention of proposed templates to support these. You would create {{country}}, {{city}} and {{landmark}} for these, right? Would geographic features have just one, or separate ones for mountain, river, etc.? --Connel MacKenzie 05:44, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
    Hadn't thought about templates at all. What do we do now? We certainly have all the countries, and many states and provinces, cities, landmarks, and geographical features. bd2412 T 17:44, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
    Between the numerous ambiguities raised, the commingling of so many different types of place names into one single vote and finally the introduction of "encyclopedic notability" (also known as the infinite debate) I now see this vote now as too far from what I thought was originally intended. --Connel MacKenzie 00:39, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support, preferably with the world atlas criterion or other unambiguous cutoff. -- Visviva 05:53, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support - I would allow ALL placeames that actually exist. SemperBlotto 06:52, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Note especially that the vote is to include some placenames - not to exclude others. SemperBlotto 06:45, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support EncycloPetey 06:52, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
  5. Symbol support vote.svg SupportSaltmarsh 06:54, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
  6. Symbol support vote.svg Support as noted by others, I think we will additionally need some kind of criteria for "major" or "notable" geographic features (I put both those terms in scare quotes because neither is quite right) we can certainly include a lot, but not everything. How about lunar craters? Should Olympus Mons be included, it is the highest mountain in the Solar System? (e.g. the highest us humans know of ;-) Robert Ullmann 08:58, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
  7. Symbol support vote.svg Support Yes, absolutely. What some people may not realize is that it is sometimes not clear whether a word is a place name, a person's name or a regular noun. This is especially true for languages written in Chinese script, since Chinese script does not have an equivalent of capital letters. Chinese writing does not use spaces between words either. To Connel, an example of this is 成龍 (lit. "full-fledged dragon"), which is Jackie Chan's stage name. Another example is 貓王 (lit. "king of the cats"), which is the Mandarin translation for Elvis Presley. I therefore advocate including not only place names, but any attested proper noun as well. -- A-cai 18:14, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    This vote is only for "place names" due to the strong controversy of the previous vote. By debating one type of proper noun at a time, the vote is more likely to address all parties' concerns adequately, while paving the way for the more controversial items in subsequent votes. So for now (assuming this vote passes) you will probably only want to enter definition lines for place names. Even though he is talking about entries passing WT:CFI, it might be reworded to specify senses or individual definitions (which usually are separate entries in English.) --Connel MacKenzie 06:39, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
  8. Symbol support vote.svg Support, provided clear cut-off points are given for each of the above-mentioned types of place name in order to avoid contributors from Backofbeyondville (population: 3) insisting that the name of their home town should go in when it is not even considered worthy of an entry by Wikipedia. — Paul G 16:34, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
    The Wikipedia standard should be irrelevant here - most of our entries would not merit a Wikipedia entry. However, I am beginning to think the world atlas standard would be the ideal standard for all things. If a place is not named in any printed and published atlas of the world, it is likely so insignificant that it ought not be in the dictionary. But remember, this is not a vote to determine what should be kept out, but to determine what should automatically be let in. I think it's fair to say any city with more than 50,000 in population comes in, and any city with less then 50,000 should have to show that it meets some other clear-cut standard demonstrating significance. bd2412 T 17:43, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
  9. Symbol support vote.svg Support. --Richardb 12:29, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
    One citation in any UN (including "subsidiaries" such as UNESCO) publication of World scope (such as List of World Heritage sites), should be sufficient. or 3 cites from other notable reference publications of "World" scope, such as World Atlas, World Tourist Guide, World History etc. (Also same for placenames on the Moon, Mars etc). An entry in Wikipedia could count as one cite. —This unsigned comment was added by Richardb (talkcontribs) at 12:29, 6 June 2007 (UTC).
  10. Symbol support vote.svg Support —Stephen 19:03, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
  11. Symbol support vote.svg Support Rod (A. Smith) 21:19, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
    Symbol support vote.svg SupportRuakhTALK 23:30, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
  12. Symbol support vote.svg Support Cynewulf 16:21, 11 June 2007 (UTC) Making this sort of thing clear resolves my conflict over "of course we should have an entry for Oregon" vs. "I need to list this on RFD since I don't know of any attributive use"
  13. Symbol support vote.svg Support H. (talk) 14:10, 12 June 2007 (UTC) since ‘Wiktionary is not paper’ and valuable information would otherwise be lost.
  14. Symbol support vote.svg Support Coffee2theorems 15:58, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  15. Symbol support vote.svg Support, although I think the standard for inclusion should be the same as for a Wikipedia article. Thryduulf 22:42, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
    Interesting. What is Wikipedia's standard for inclusion of geographic features? bd2412 T 04:09, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
  16. Symbol support vote.svg Support Williamsayers79 14:47, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
  17. Symbol support vote.svg Support Dijan 22:22, 5 July 2007 (UTC)


  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose DAVilla 18:30, 3 June 2007 (UTC) Our primary motivation should be literary value. I don't disagree with the inclusion of these place names, but I disagree with the ideology. A consideration of the referent's type is tangential to the question of its merit for inclusion.
  2. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Connel MacKenzie 22:50, 3 June 2007 (UTC) Setting this as a one week vote is absurd. Two month or one month durations are plausible policy vote lengths, but one week is too ridiculous. --Connel MacKenzie 22:50, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Hadn't noticed that; policy vote has to be 30 days/one month. Do you have any/see any objection to extending it? Seems reasonable to me? Robert Ullmann 22:56, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Ok, extended. Perhaps we should close it and start over with proposals more refined in accordance with the discussion on this page. bd2412 T 22:59, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Maybe. Maybe not. I haven't seen any troublesome clarification yet. --Connel MacKenzie 06:27, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
    I think if everyone piles on and says that their vote still stands, the vote can proceed with the clarifications. If someone objects to the clarifications, then...ugh. It would be another restart. --Connel MacKenzie 05:46, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
    Indeed, it looks like restarting will help. --Connel MacKenzie 07:05, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
  3. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, and strongly. "a city"? We could double the dictionary with that. At least. "a named geographic feature"? We could quadruple it. This is ridiculously overbroad and arbitrary, with no reasoning connected to the actual rationale for including such terms in a dictionary. They should be legitimately common places, or else attributive terms. For all else, a failed search for a placename takes you to a page pointing to its Wikipedia article, where you should have been to begin with. If we are going to insist on including excessive non-dictionary terms for the purpose of providing their translations, pronunciations, etymologies, etc., just create an appendix (or many) to do that in. Oh look, we have that already: Category:Place name appendices. Dmcdevit·t 23:28, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
    Have you noticed that those appendices are almost empty, and have no etymological or translation information - rather, they just have lists of links to actual entries in the dictionary. In short the appendices demonstrate the need for the entries. Cheers! bd2412 T 01:52, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
    That's because no one uses them. That's a non sequitur: the fact that no one uses the current appendices (in fact, there is ambiguity with where to put them, as you know, or we wouldn't be here) in no way demonstrates that placenames, and every named geographic feature, no less, are worthy for the main namespace of a dictionary. Look, I love Brushy Peak, Alameda Creek, Crocket Hills, Cull Canyon, [1], Pleasanton Ridge, but if anyone adds them or any of the dozens of other "named geographic feature" in the East Bay Regional Park District in one county (of the 58) in the one state (of the 50 + territories) of California (which has 456 incorporated cities, by the way), in one country, they should be deleted. This is proposal is incredibly overbroad and arbitrary. I am surprised this is the proposed solution. No reference to attributiveness or even widespread use at all? Aren't we a dictionary? Dmcdevit·t 05:17, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
    No reference? How many of the 456 incorporated cities of California have over 50,000 people? I'm sure the name of any such city is widespread among those 50,000 residents and their neighboring regions. And how many of those named geographic features do you suppose can be found in a printed atlas of the world? Those are, I think, sufficient reference requirements. bd2412 T 15:55, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
    There's the rub. CFI should discuss such parameters to be a serious policy. This proposal has none. Several of the people above supporting want clarification to the geographical features category, and at least one wants "ALL" placenames included by default. If we aren't voting on your personal thoughts, just a bunch of vaguery, then this does nothing to alleviate the current ambiguity anyway. I already think 50,000 is too broad and arbitrary (as a crude example, your likelihood of coming across and wanting to know what "San Francisco" is is much higher than that of its much larger rival across the bay, San Jose. Population is in no way related to dictionary merit) and Semper, at least, already thinks they are too restrictive. If it's not the policy, then we go back to the same old stalemate. In fact, taking out your suggestions, the policy seems all-inclusive: it says just "a city." Indeed, in California, all "towns" are by law cities, either chartered or unchartered, though they may refer to themselves however they like (i.e. "Town of X" is legally a city) [2]. We need a policy that tells us what fails CFI. And it needs to actually promote the inclusion of words based on dictionary standards, not, what this looks like, encyclopedic notability. Dmcdevit·t 19:14, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
    You are certainly free to propose such a policy, and if it sets forth a reasonable restriction I will certainly support it. Cheers! bd2412 T 20:56, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
  4. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Jeffqyzt 18:39, 19 June 2007 (UTC) I cannot support this without a clear, precise set of CFI criteria, or at least a pointer to a working draft being defined. Some limits, please! The 50,000 pop. guideline proposed for cities would be an example of such, but we need clear guidelines for each type of geographical item. Especially with regards to roads, rivers, mountains, etc. names are frequently highly localized. Also, this clearly overlaps with the Wikipedia mandate (except as regards translation, perhaps.)
    I think we have (rather implicitly) agreed to the requirement that a place name must be found in an at least one atlas of the world to be includable. This proposal does not mention roads at all, which I would agree to be a stretch to include in a dictionary. However, with respect to overlap with "the Wikipedia mandate", that phrase is meaningless to me. Wikipedia has an articles on Indian Ocean, Jupiter, global warming, horse, pandeism, film, and polyadenylation; we have entries on Indian Ocean, Jupiter, global warming, horse, pandeism, film and polyadenylation. A dictionary entry, by dint of providing definitions, etymological information, and translations, simply does not overlap the encycopedia. Cheers! bd2412 T 19:34, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
    Regarding roads, I don't think they should be included unless they meet other more general CFI, e.g. High Street. Thryduulf 20:23, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
    It's more the implicit nature of the guidelines that I object to. I could perhaps support explicitly listed rules of inclusion (especially if they're separated, rather than taken in the aggregate), but this proposal, as stated, is too vague and open to individual interpretation for me. Personally, I've always found the inclusion of placenames to be somewhat disconcerting and arbitrary in print dictionaries, but as there is precedent, I don't necessarily object to their inclusion here (although I think this would be better suited to a separate wiki-atlas vs. inclusion in Wiktionary or Wikipedia.) I just want the rules to be defined prior to saying "yea" or "nay". If nothing else, I want guidelines so that when someone adds "Sparrow Bluff" (just pulled that out of the air), I can reference an explicit list of criteria for placename inclusion, rather than "it seemed obvious to this group of Wikt. voters at the time." --Jeffqyzt 14:55, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
  5. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Halliburton Shill 23:32, 26 June 2007 (UTC) Strongly. If states/provinces, cities, national monuments, and national landmarks were removed, I'd vote yes. The signicant ones will get included per standard CFI. It's just more procedural wikilawyering that adds nothing but an additional loophole. Isn't this a dictionary? Is it a map book? A guide book? A tourism device? An encyclopedia?--Halliburton Shill 23:32, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
    Well now, no one is proposing to include maps, directions to local restaurants, etc., so we're hardly turning Wiktionary into a guide book. The proposal is to include names of certain places as words - which they happen to be - and to provide the same information we would provide for any word, etymology (if there is one), translations, related terms (if there are any), and a brief definition. bd2412 T 23:58, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, but this is certainly in the same category as turning Wiktionary into a guidebook. You are proposing to include entries on no basis other than encyclopedic notability (population, top-level divisions, atlas mentions, etc.). Why not everything of encyclopedic noteworthiness, then? Every fictional character, book, TV series, album, celebrity name, business name, product? This concept means that since the matter of how widespread the word is used is irrelevant, everything from "Idaho" and "Thuringia" to "Sunyani," (Ghana) and "Avondale," (Arizona, USA) are words, by virtue of their population or administrative status, in the lexicon of every language from English to Rejang. If I don't need to prove any use at all to successfully claim that Thuringia is a word in Rejang, just that it is a German state, then we've completely lost the aim of a dictionary. Not to give anyone any ideas, but saying that any city with a population of 50,000 meets CFI regardless of use in a language is as arbitrary as saying that an book with over a million sales, or a band with a national tour, or a company with an annual revenue of $X mil. might as well belong in a dictionary as well. Dmcdevit·t 00:34, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
    We define a word to mean "A distinct unit of language (sounds in speech or written letters) with a particular meaning, composed of one or more morphemes, and also of one or more phonemes that determine its sound pattern." I struggle mightily to see how Avondale ceases to be a "word" simply because it is used to identify a set of geographic boundaries, and how it can not be considered to be "used" when 50,000+ people use that name to identify the ground on which they walk. Or are we going to cede that ground to Oxford and Merriam Webster? bd2412 T 00:56, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
    Much like the guide book response, this is a straw man. Yes, it's a word. So is Portishead. It's a band that's had many album releases and toured internationally. Why no policy ammendment for unique band names that have far over 50,000 people saying their name? U2? Both meet your word defintion requirements. Company names. Exxon. Halliburton. Besides that, this little loophole in Wiktionary's new town & country supplement provides easier ways to add links to outside spam and search bombing (the link is to the restaurant where all the political meetings are held, so it must included). And even if there isn't a glossy photo or map provided, it gets to link via a pretty Wikipedia box to the Wikipedia article and any nice Wikimedia photos of monuments and landmarks, which of course proves that monuments and landmarks should also have an entry here. We really should support linking to map sites too so that directions and airline tickets can be had easily. Did I mention the usefulness of the etymology section to promote the importance of the creek that's technically a river because it exceeds official creek length parameters? How aout the hill that's technically a mountain? Now I'm against this more than ever. Change strongly to nuke.--Halliburton Shill 01:25, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
    I refer you to my proposed "world atlas" standard for geographic features. Cheers! bd2412 T 01:35, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
    That's exactly my point. This isn't an atlas or an encyclopedia, and you are introducing notions of encyclopedic notability that are completely arbitrary here. You are telling me that I am right to define the Rejang word Thuringia ("German state") citing only its administrative status, and not its actual use in that language, as evidence. I am doubtful that most of the millions of geographical features, cities, and administrative divisions that your guidelines (and note, we aren't voting on that; SemperBlotto would add millions more) would allow have much use in most of the languages of the world. I struggle mightily to see how Avondale ever was a word in most languages of the world, just because a settlement somewhere in the world passed the 50,000 mark, (making it qualify for the top 30 ranking in one of the medium-to-small states in one country... how noteworthy). Dmcdevit·t 01:59, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
    There are plenty of words in the dictionary that constitute localized slang in a corner of the U.S. or UK, but have no translations in any other language. I'd be curious to see the 10,000+ words the Oxford Geographical Dictionary claims to include. By the way, if there were exactly one million cities with 50,000 people, the planet would have 50 billion people. Since it doesn't, and since we know there are hundreds of millions of people bunched into a few hundred of the most poplated cities, and millions more scattered in small towns around the world with populations in the mere ten or twenty thousands, I'm guessing that there are in fact only a few tens of thousand of cities with over 50,000 people. bd2412 T 05:18, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
    "a few"? That is what, 5? 50,000 placenames times 6,912 languages = approximately 346 MILLION automatic entries you are proposing adding to en.wiktionary.org, based on encyclopedic notability (instead of attribution.) I think you have just help me change my mind about about this proposal. --Connel MacKenzie 14:31, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
    That's crazy! First, that presumes that every single place-name has been translated into every single language, and into a different word in each language (a quick glance around the different Wikipedias for the well known city of Chicago shows that those which do not use a different script rather invariably call Chicago "Chicago"). More importantly, there are at least, what, 600,000 words in the English language? So, following your calculation above, this dictionary should end up with over 4.1 billion words (not counting those with no English equivalent)? As I've mentioned before in this discussion, this is not a mandate to hunt down and add these place names, this is to allow their addition. I certainly won't begrudge any author who undertakes the task, but what I would really like is to avoid extended deletion debates on whether Ohio or even Cleveland is used "attributively". bd2412 T 15:19, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
    I agree that the wording being so ambiguous is crazy.  :-) But to return to the point at hand, we should be driving towards attribution not notability. --Connel MacKenzie 00:34, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
  6. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. I originally supported this, but the wording is too vague, a fact which I didn't originally fully appreciate. (The fact that we're still trying to figure out what's being voted on — does city X having a certain population automatically mean that we include language Y's name for it, even if said name doesn't meet the normal CFI for a word? — suggests that we need to take what we've learned from the discussion here and write a new vote for this topic.) —RuakhTALK 00:49, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
  7. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose — Beobach972 17:07, 1 July 2007 (UTC) (— Beobach972 17:07, 1 July 2007 (UTC))


  1. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain Widsith 12:45, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
    Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain Beobach972 18:00, 3 June 2007 (UTC) (I cannot quite support this, nor can I oppose it; it is a grey area (hence the abstention ;-p ) — Beobach972 18:00, 3 June 2007 (UTC))
    Comment: You propose to include the top-level domains of countries, correct? What if a country suddenly changes its to-level domains? Shall we be subject to the fluctuation of international politics? Shall we include all historical top-level domains? — Beobach972 04:42, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
    I think they would all be worthy of inclusion - off the top of my head I can't think of many example of where that has happened. I think, for example, we should definitely have the Estonian SSR even though the Soviet Union no longer exists (and the region is now simply Estonia). I wonder if the top level domains of Gaul, Prussia, the Holy Roman Empire, and Persia remained even as the countries themselves were renamed and redrawn? bd2412 T 17:16, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
    The counties of England were reorganised in 1974 (e.g. Rutland was merged into Leicestershire; Yorkshire was split into North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Cleveland and part of Humberside) and again ~1996 (e.g. Avon (itself created in 1974) was split into the unitary authorities of Bristol, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire; Berkshire was abolished and the former districts (the level below counties) became unitary authorities (which have the same status as counties).). And this is not getting into the difference between administrative counties, ceremonial counties and historic counties. See w:Subdivisions of the United Kingdom for the gorey details. Thryduulf 17:36, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
    There are still no more than a few dozen entries that would be added - I'm not campaigning for a great mandate that we immediately run out and track down these names to include them, just that we allow their inclusion. bd2412 T 21:23, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
    Thanks for clarifying; you veritably read my mind, the states of the Holy Roman Empire were exactly what I had in mind. I think you should revise your estimate that there are 'no more than a few dozen' historical provinces/states: between the UK re-organisation, the various incarnations of Germany, various countries that have been phased in and out of existence in Europe due to both World Wars, various Empires, the USSR...I'm sure there are hundreds of them. (I do agree with you that if we include Ohio we ought to allow Anhalt, it would make little sense otherwise.) — Beobach972 03:29, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
    The few dozen I was referring to was the UK alone, but I think many of those already have entries. All the former Soviet Republics are already here. As for the ancient empires, how many of them were in fact divided into nationally set or administered domains? I don't know, but I'm sure we would not allow an entry to be added without some evidence that the claimed name had actually been in use at some point. bd2412 T 04:08, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
    Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain EncycloPetey 03:59, 3 June 2007 (UTC) If this vote isn't going to be listed at WT:VOTE, then I abstain on principle.
    Um, I don't think he's started a vote before now. Why not just assume good faith and correct it for him? (I suppose I shall, now.) --Connel MacKenzie 04:06, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Actually, I have started a vote before (the one on use of TM marks)... I just forgot, doing too many things at once here! Sorry. bd2412 T 05:08, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    ...and would Goat Bluff qualify as "a named geographic feature" under #3? It's a feature I've stood upon overlooking the Little Red River in White County, Arkansas. It's just big enough for about eight people to stand on at once. --EncycloPetey 04:00, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Lemme guess: "Not Notable."  :-)))   --Connel MacKenzie 04:22, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Well, look, there are some obvious cases - lakes for example such as Lake Michigan, Lake Okeechobee, Great Salt Lake. I'd like to avoid contests over the inclusion of such features. Suppose we say any geological feature that is demonstrably mentioned in any printed atlas of the world. World atlases can generally be found (and thus verified) in libraries, and contain the major mountains, rivers, lakes, etc. I very much doubt any world atlas contains Goat Bluff. Fair enough? bd2412 T 05:07, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    That sounds good to me, but can we amend the vote that is already in progress? --Connel MacKenzie 16:34, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain. I guess I support this conceptually, but something more explicit would be nice. For one thing, what constitutes a "country"? Korea is often considered a single country that's divided into two states, so I guess those two states would be the top-level divisions? And it seems odd to put, say, the Vatican City on par with the United States; after all, the vast majority of U.S. counties are larger than the entirety of the Vatican City. (I haven't actually checked that, but I think it's a safe assumption.) Secondly, how do we decide what "the name" of a geographic feature is? Do "Arabic Gulf", "Persian-Arabic Gulf", "Persian/Arabic Gulf", etc. all warrant inclusion as names of the Persian Gulf? Thirdly, what about historical geography? Is "Songhai" out because that empire is defunct? Do we define "Mali" and "Ghana" only in reference to modern politics? (Ditto for mythical geography — is "Northwest Passage" out because we found out it wasn't real? That doesn't seem like a good approach for a dictionary; will we next remove "unicorn" and "vomitorium"?) These aren't intended as criticisms — I certainly couldn't have defined a comprehensive vote on this topic, and I applaud your effort — but as concerns, and since this vote is already underway, I'm not sure if it's too late for them to be addressed. —RuakhTALK 07:05, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    I think it's safe to say that the Vatican City belongs in the dictionary, irrespective of whether it is a "country". I would also support the inclusion of former countries (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Persia, Prussia, Gaul). I'd draw the line at places like the Principality of Sealand, a barge off the British coast claiming an unrecognized "micronation" status. Where names are disputed (as in the East Sea/Sea of Japan) the dispute itself makes both names dictionary-worthy, with a usage note to explain which one the rest of the world recognizes. Cheers! bd2412 T 15:19, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Certainly the Vatican City warrants inclusion under such a policy, but I meant — do all of its top-level divisions, whatever those might be? (The Vatican's maybe a bad example because every square inch of it is famous, but how about the top-level divisions of some other tiny country?) —RuakhTALK 17:54, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    You mean like the cantons of Switzerland? bd2412 T 21:37, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    Just for yucks: the smallest county is Falls Church, VA, at 2 sq miles. Vatican City is 108 acres, about 1/6 sq mile ;-) Robert Ullmann 15:24, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    I take part of my above statement back. Having thoroughly read that Wikipedia article, the Principality of Sealand probably should get entry here as well, as a landmark (of sorts). bd2412 T 15:32, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    I'd like our criteria to say one way or the other, that Persian-Arabic Gulf is or is not allowed, unambiguously. The normal rules for citations would still apply for "alternate spellings" of each of these, right? (E.g. all spelling variants of Persian Gulf would need direct-reference citations, not figurative/attributive citations, right? If I've misread this, I may need to change my vote.) --Connel MacKenzie 16:32, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
    If there's a genuine controversy over the naming of a feature such as the Persian Gulf or the Sea of Japan, which would itself be significant enough to merit an entry irrespective of its name, then finding a CFI-worthy three sources using a particular name should suffice for inclusion, I think. bd2412 T 17:47, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Question. This isn't going to replace the normal CFI, right? Like, we're not going to make up an Aramaic word for "Illinois" and include it on this basis, right? A place-name that meets these criteria will still need three durably archived uses to be included, they just won't have to be attributive with a widely understood meaning? —RuakhTALK 02:51, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, of course - after all, if I claim there's a city called Gorgosnookia with a 50k+ population (or a Gorgosnookia Oblast), I'd still have to prove that there really is such a place, and that my first reference is not an error or a lark. This is really about clarifying what constitutes "attributive with a widely understood meaning" - I say that place names are inherently attributive, and that certain kinds of place names inherently have a widely understood meaning. Cheers! bd2412 T 03:16, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
And its existence would have to be proved with uses, not just mentions, right? —RuakhTALK 03:57, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Clarify "use/mention" for me - if I find a source that says "Joe is from Sacramento" or "the conference was held in Sacramento" do you consider those "use" of Sacramento? It is hard to conceive of a city of more than 50k people that is not referenced in this way at least in some newspaper articles. bd2412 T 04:15, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Those are uses, yes; but appearance in an atlas would be a mention. My point is that while the name of any Anglophone city of >50k people will have uses in English-language newspapers, the name of a fairly small city in the Central African Republic might never appear in Western Apache contexts, except in Western Apache translations of English world atlases. I think it would be nonsense to claim that such translations meet CFI just because they're a language's word for a notable place, even if the language doesn't actually use that word (by our normal standards). You see what I'm saying? —RuakhTALK 04:35, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
That missed the question though. "Illinois" does exist as "a top-level division of a country." Accordingly, if I took the Aramaic word "Illinois" to RFV, it would pass just like any top-level division of, say, Russia, is apparently an English word. You don't need a reference to any uses in the language to prove that these things are true. Any government website can confirm that Illinois is a top-level American division just as any government website can confirm that Arkhangelsk is a top-level Russian division, and that is all that appears necessary... Dmcdevit·t 04:28, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
We've previously been through this question on Chinese/Japanese phoneticizations of English place names in RfV. There are existing transliterations of, for example, Illinois (イリノイ, Иллинойс, and I just added 伊利诺州). For a state or city for which no transliteration exists, we can't make up one. As I've said before, anyone can claim there's a province of Canada named Berkenstocken, but you have to at least prove that is, in fact, the name of a province in Canada for it to be included. Someone could claim that the German word for Illinois is Ziekstören, but we would still need to prove that is the correct translation of the word. bd2412 T 04:51, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
But such a "proof" could consist of only mentions (e.g., atlases, maps, geographical dictionaries, encyclopedias). So I'm just looking for reassurance that this doesn't affect the CFI's standard three-durably-archived-uses-spanning-a-year criterion. —RuakhTALK 05:52, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
The proposal is specifically that we "amend the CFI to state that an entry also meets the CFI, irrespective of attributive use" if it is one of the types of place names involved. Now, I'll say this with the caveat that we have had plenty of discussions over whether a use is attributive, but is the inclusion of a name in the context of a map really merely a "mention" in the same sense as its presence in a list of place names? The purpose of this proposal is to avoid the "New York pizza" type of argument which suggests that a place name is not in "use" unless some product or characteristic is associated with the place other than it being a place. bd2412 T 13:06, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Re: "[…] is the inclusion of a name in the context of a map really merely a 'mention' in the same sense as its presence in a list of place names?": Yes, definitely. Do you disagree? —RuakhTALK 16:03, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
My friend, I say a picture is worth a thousand words! bd2412 T 17:13, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm not denigrating atlases at all, any more than I denigrate dictionaries of seventeenth-century nautical slang when I explain that their inclusion of a term doesn't constitute use of it. Indeed, an atlas is worth much more, for many purposes, than a list of place names with coordinates; but it's not worth more when it comes to "show[ing] the word actually used to convey meaning" (to use our CFI's words). —RuakhTALK 19:20, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I have no doubt that there will be copious references in prose and literature attesting to the existence of the types of places this vote references. There may not be references to an Akron sandwich shop (or a Tamanghasset sandwich shop), but there will be references to Akron and Tamanghasset. bd2412 T 22:18, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Including references to Kerma in Tagalog prose and literature? —RuakhTALK 00:09, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
In terms of the question and the practical impact of approving this policy, consider this current RfD: Wiktionary:Requests_for_deletion#Greater_Manchester--Halliburton Shill 00:17, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
As nominator of that particular term, I'd like to see some discrete guideline for us to follow, one way or the other. Of course, I had no idea that "Greater" was part of the official name of that place (what will they think up next?) On the other hand, I can see now that a population of 50,000 is far too low for decent consideration. We have had a very long custom of allowing countries, states, capitals and attributively used place names. I had thought this was (in essence) a clarification of that, but I see now, it crosses the line of "encyclopedic notability" vs. "attribution." Knowing (and agreeing with the sentiment) that "encyclopedic notability" is a four-letter word around here, I do not see how I can allow my original "support" vote to stand. --Connel MacKenzie 00:31, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
With all of the discussion above, I can see that my proposal needs to be reworked. Perhaps I should split it into smaller discrete parts, and refine the inclusion criteria a bit? If I do so, would anyone object to a somewhat swifter vote on the individual bits (say, two weeks), in light of the considerable amount of debate under our belts already? bd2412 T 02:00, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for understanding. After all your effort and patience, I feel bad that it ends with your just writing a new set of votes. As for the swifter votes: I think if after two weeks there are some votes that seem very clearly to have gone one way or the other, it makes sense to count them as resolved so we can focus on figuring out the more contentious votes. (Maybe something like a "tentative ending date" after two weeks and a "firm ending date" after one month?) —RuakhTALK 03:53, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Nothing to feel bad about - the goal is to get the process in place that makes the most useful dictionary. bd2412 T 04:15, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I am also sorry this couldn't be worked out, on-the-fly. Well, if the point is to give it greater credence and to reiterate that it really has been beaten to death, a two week vote (viewed a year or three from now) might look pathetic. I think a series of one-month votes would still work out better than giving the impression that corners are being cut. Also, please use the new {{premature}} template, so we can nail down what Dmcdevit meant by "clearly identifying what doesn't meet the criteria." --Connel MacKenzie 07:03, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
  1. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain Atelaes 22:13, 7 July 2007 (UTC) I am so torn on this issue......The simple fact is, these words are indeed a part of language. The difficulty is that, many are quite regional, to varying degrees which cannot be easily separated. I imagine the vast majority of the people, the world over, know the word (or have their own word for) the United States. Most Americans (and many others) are familiar with Minnesota, as well as Minneapolis. However, it's rather hit or miss when it comes to Lauderdale (even with Minneapolis residents), a small town bordering Minneapolis. Problematically, there is no qualitative difference between these. Thus, a vote against is forbidding a number of genuine, in use words from our fine dictionary. A vote for is a vote for opening a huge can of worms which will continue to plague us with difficulties.


  • This proposal has been withdrawn by its author in favor of an effort to craft a clearer and more narrowly drawn set of criteria. Cheers! bd2412 T 03:09, 8 July 2007 (UTC)