Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2012-02/Handling of superscript and subscript letters

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Handling of superscript and subscript letters[edit]

  • Voting on: how to represent superscript and subscript letters, such at the "ty" and "r" in the 1856 image to the right, which are superscript/subscript letters rather than special characters such as the modifiers in the 1997 citation below.
    superscript letters
    • Option 1: Whenever characters are available in Unicode which resemble such superscript or subscript letters, use those characters (e.g. "ᵗʸ").
    • Option 2: Use regular letters within <sup> / <sub> tags ("ty") and/or use other mechanisms to effect superscription/subscription of regular letters.
    • If one of these two options attracts a two-thirds majority of the votes cast minus abstentions, it passes. If neither option attracts sufficient votes to pass, the status quo (in which there is no specific regulation one way or another) continues.
    • Voters can also explicitly vote for the status quo, if they prefer the lack of regulation to both of the proposed regulations.
    • Voters who oppose this vote or its options, including those who favor some other option (such as representing superscripts with similar-looking characters but subscripts with HTML, or not having superscripts and subscripts at all), can vote "Oppose".
    • Neither option affects the representation of superscript and subscript numbers, such as the one in "H2O"/"H₂O". Neither option affects the use of Unicode modifier letters to reproduce modifier letters, as in this quotation:
      1997 Robert S. Bauer, Paul K. Benedict, Modern Cantonese phonology, page 20:
      modifier characters
      The labialized-velar initials kw- [kʷ] and khw- [kʰʷ] have been []
  • Vote starts: 00:01, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Vote ends: 23.59, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Support Option 1 (Similar-Looking Unicode Characters)[edit]

Support Option 2 (Regular Letters with HTML or Other Mechanisms)[edit]

  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support Prosfilaes (talk) 13:12, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support. I agree with Mzajac. (Or at least, I agree with how I interpret his statements. He's voted "oppose", which suggests that my interpretation may not be correct!) —RuakhTALK 18:20, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
    Confusing, isn't it? Does respecting individual guidelines in the Web's universal standards represent our status quo, or is it something we have to explicitly vote for? Shall I start a 1,000+ votes for other individual sentences and paragraphs in HTML and Unicode, so we can approve or deny each one? This vote is based on misplaced assumptions, and so is fundamentally flawed. Michael Z. 2012-03-23 15:26 z
    It may help to understand the background here, which is that a small number of editors have been using the modifier letters as an ad-hoc superscripting mechanism for a few years now, and the status quo has been not to argue with them too much. As for starting other votes — there are a few other ways that we deviate from standards (e.g., we make up our language codes; we use <dl><dd>...</dd></dl> for the text of citations), and if you want to change those, then yeah, they probably require votes. (I would most likely vote support in such votes, by the way. But I'd oppose doing it, at this late hour, without a vote.) And Doremítzwr used to do weird, nonstandard, not-quite-functional things to try to simulate the s-t and c-t ligatures in older books, though I think he's stopped doing that — Doremítzwr, can you confirm that? — so I don't think a vote is needed there. —RuakhTALK 16:45, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
    You refer to the st and ct "belt" ligatures. You are correct that I no longer use ⟨ƈt⟩ for the ct "belt" ligature. There is a specific Unicode character for the st "belt" ligature in the Alphabetic Presentation Forms subset, namely ⟨⟩, which I have always used to represent that ligature in texts. As for the ct "belt" ligature, I use {{ctlig}} to represent that. — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 17:08, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
    (Which, by the way, is not to say that vote is needed for this. I had rather that the editors who disliked <sup> and <sub> overcome their distaste. But I don't oppose the vote a priori on those grounds, and since the vote has begun, I support this option.) —RuakhTALK 16:47, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
    Incidentally, I, too, dislike using DL/DD for quotations/usexes and for replies on talkpages. I'm not sure what would be better, though. Perhaps UL/LI.​—msh210 (talk) 18:31, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
    I was thinking it might be possible to create a MediaWiki extension that would treat : as a blockquote, rather than a definition-list, when there's no preceding ;. (We could then use CSS for formatting details.) But I don't know if that's possible, and even if it is, I have no idea how difficult it would be, or how much effort it would require. (Conrad would be more likely to have a guess.) —RuakhTALK 19:28, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
    I thought of <blockquote> but don't think it's a good fit. With nested <blockquote>s, the outer one quotes the inner one (and in fact the container element quotes the first one), whereas our use of : has roughly the opposite semantics.​—msh210 (talk) 02:00, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
    That makes sense. In that case, maybe some sort of <div class="...">? (Of course, this is all pie-in-the-sky at this point.) —RuakhTALK 03:06, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
    Yes, or ul/li (as I suggested above) perhaps. Bullets can be removed with CSS (or retained).​—msh210 (talk) 14:45, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
    See bug 4521Michael Z. 2012-03-27 12:40 z
    Thanks for the link.​—msh210 (talk) 14:45, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support.​—msh210 (talk) 18:31, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:01, 1 April 2012 (UTC) simply because no objectors have raised any concerns that both are appropriate to the vote's actual scope and make sense to me.

Support the Status Quo (Lack of Regulation)[edit]

  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support — <sup> and <sub> tags render unacceptable super- and subscripts. Nevertheless, Michael Z.'s arguments and admirable efforts to rectify their display (see Wiktionary talk:Votes/pl-2012-02/Handling of superscript and subscript letters#Templates for superscribing and subscribing; the tags' line-spacing problem has been fixed) have persuaded me, both on his arguments' own merits and in the spirit of reciprocity, to cease using modifier letters to reproduce texts' super- and subscripts (as in the 1696? quot. in principl) except, as in the case of and 4ᵗʰ, where the source indubitably uses them (albeit erroneously). I may, however, continue to use them in text I produce myself, especially where mechanisms such as <sup> and <sub> tags are unavailable, such as in edit comments. — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 12:27, 9 April 2012 (UTC)


  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose The notion that this vote does not affect numbers has the unfortunate implication that if option 2 passes, an entry like Ca²⁺ will have to use both Unicode superscripts and <sup> tags, as in Ca²+. I cannot support such a badly crafted vote. -- Liliana 06:34, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
    That's a bizarre interpretation. The vote explicitly does not affect superscript numbers, so no matter which option passes (if any option passes), our handling of superscript numbers will be unaffected. Assuming our current consensus on how to handle them does not fall apart for other reasons, we will handle them a month from now the same way we handle them now. - -sche (discuss) 06:38, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
    Yes, but you forgot the cases where numbers and letters (or special characters, in this case) are mixed. By a strict interpretation, that would mean that depending on the outcome of the vote, letters would use <sup> while the numbers are unaffected per the motion and would remain as Unicode super/subscripts. This has a disastrous result for mathematical and chemical formulae. -- Liliana 13:31, 22 March 2012 (UT
    Numbers' being unaffected would mean that anything can be done to them: and when they alongside <sup>ed characters of course they'd be <sup>ed also.​—msh210 (talk) 18:25, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
  2. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose None of the options equals “follow the HTML and Unicode standards.” Any of them sets the very bad precedent of establishing specific regulations that contradict or supersede open Web standards in an open dictionary. Madness. Michael Z. 2012-03-22 14:58 z
  3. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose EncycloPetey (talk) 02:47, 30 March 2012 (UTC) I feel the vote is too generalized. It would apply to IPA pronunciation, quotations, and all manner of text, which I think is too sweeping for such a vote. --EncycloPetey (talk) 02:47, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
    It would not apply to IPA pronunciations; it specifically notes that modifier letters (which the IPA uses) will continue to be used as modifier letters (i.e. in IPA transcriptions) no matter what. - -sche (discuss) 03:12, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
  4. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose --Daniel 18:09, 9 April 2012 (UTC)


  1. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain. Per the oppose voters... my general inclination, as stated on the talk page, is to handle things by consensus without rigid votes, anyway... perhaps that is best, here. - -sche (discuss) 16:17, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  2. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain Equinox 18:35, 26 March 2012 (UTC) Certainly prefer option 2 over option 1, however. Equinox 18:35, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
  3. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain. On the face of it I would have preferred option 2, but I don't understand Michael Z's objection enough to feel comfortable pushing that forward. DAVilla 04:16, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
    Don't let me stop you from voting. I'd just like it to be acknowledged that our normal practice, on this “Web site,” is to use the standards that define the open Web. It's 2012, and even corporations like Microsoft don't try to subvert Web standards any more, so why is this open project treating them like some kind of optional extra? Michael Z. 2012-03-29 07:37 z


  • Option One: 0 → 0%
  • Option Two: 4 → 44,4%
  • Status Quo: 1 → 11,1%
  • Oppose: 4 → 44,4%
  • (Abstain: 3)

Everyone voted just once.

No consensus. The two most voted items are tied.

Moreover, "Status Quo" and "Oppose" seem to be the same thing in practice, even if the OP tried to differentiate them. Anyway, even if these options counted as one option, the result would still be "No consensus". --Daniel 13:11, 24 April 2012 (UTC)