Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-03/Change to first lines of CFI

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Change to first lines of CFI[edit]

  • Vote starts: 00:00, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Vote ends: 24:00, 28 April 2010 (UTC)


  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support Mglovesfun (talk) 09:24, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support Dan Polansky 12:08, 29 March 2010 (UTC) While there are still some things unclear to me, the proposed change is a marked improvement. At some point, we should replace the term "idiomatic" with another one, but there is no need to pack so many changes into one vote. --Dan Polansky 12:08, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support Ƿidsiþ 12:13, 29 March 2010 (UTC) Seems perfectly reasonable to me.
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support An improvement (but no need to remove "likely that someone would run across it and want to know what it means") SemperBlotto 15:51, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  5. Symbol support vote.svg Support Equinox 15:54, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  6. Symbol support vote.svg Sure, but please don't remove the "someone would run across it and want to know what it means" bit. That's the purpose of a dictionary, isn't it? L☺g☺maniac 15:58, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    People might run across many things that don't belong in dictionaries and want to know what they mean, e.g. trademarks and inventions ("what's this word kafoozle in your diary?" "it's just a word I use myself"). Equinox 16:02, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    Well, yes, but people have much more of a chance of coming across and wanting to look up the word pharyngeal than kafoozle. I guess it would be in order to rephrase that phrase, then. Perhaps "if people have a good chance of running across a word and wanting to know what it means"? L☺g☺maniac 16:07, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    People have created absolute tosh before, zero Google Book/Scholar/News hits and have said "people might come across it and want to know what it means". That was my logic. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:10, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    Sure, people might come across that and want to know what it means. Then why can't we have absolute tosh? Because it's quite improbable that someone would run across and want to know what that tosh means. Hence my suggestion to reword that phrase to something more like if someone would have a good chance of running across the word. We must take into consideration that the purpose of a dictionary is, after all, to provide information for the reader, and that good dictionaries should take into consideration what that reader might want to know... L☺g☺maniac 22:23, 29 March 2010 (UTC)


  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose  Please don't remove the basis for attestation and idiomaticity: “That it's likely that someone would run across it and want to know what it means.” Michael Z. 2010-03-29 15:35 z
  2. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. None of the changes strikes me as very necessary — unlike the proposer, I think individual English words are (normally) idiomatic — and I can't support any change that tries to use this sentence:
    A term should be included if it is attested, and if it is a multi-word term, it is idiomatic.
    to mean this:
    A word should be included if it is attested. A multi-word term should be included if it is attested and idiomatic.
    I realize that the numbered-list format makes the intended meaning discernible, at least, but even so, nesting a conditional inside a compound apodosis? Is the goal to make the CFI even more opaque than they already are?
    That said, none of the other changes strikes me as too objectionable, and if this issue is fixed, I'd be willing to support (though like SemperBlotto and Logomaniac, I do like the "likely that someone would run across it and want to know what it means" bit, since it's basically the only part of the CFI that shows we think we have users we're trying to serve).
    RuakhTALK 18:01, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    Are you saying that "cat" is idiomatic in the common sense of the word? Are you saying that the template {{idiomatic}} should be deleted? Or should the template be placed to all senses in every included term? --Dan Polansky 19:17, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    Yes; yes; and no. (Respectively.) —RuakhTALK 12:52, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  3. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose EncycloPetey 19:00, 29 March 2010 (UTC) I have to agree with the arguments given above for opposing this revision. The revised criterion line is less clear than the original, particularly when it comes to multi-word terms; they only have to be idiomatic now, not attested? Really? That's how countless people will read that opening line. If we're going to change this, we need to do it well, as this is the opening section of CFI. I haven't seen the preliminary discussion (perhaps I've just missed it in not being so active lately), but this really needs discussion to iron out the problems I've noted as well as a few others, prior to a vote. --EncycloPetey 19:00, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    The criticized condition has the following form, clearly marked by the numbered list: A x: ShouldBeIncluded(x) <=> Attested(x) && (Multi-word(x) => Idiomatic(x)). I do not get where you take your reading from. --Dan Polansky 19:13, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    And you believe that sentences which must be interpreted with a logic diagram will be clear to our users and contributors? --EncycloPetey 22:06, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    Hmm. You are kind of right. However, the logic diagram is implied in the criteria anyway; the proposed sentence only makes the underlying logic more explicit. The original sentence pretends that the diagram is as follows: A x: ShouldBeIncluded(x) <=> Attested(x) && Idiomatic(x). Later on, a definition of Idiomatic(x) is introduced that does not make it clear that the following holds: A x: Single-word(x) => Idiomatic(x). I had to give some struggle to understand what CFI was really saying when I had started to use it, and I doubt that newbies find CFI easy to understand and apply. I think the new proposed wording exposes complexity rather than disguising it. I think it better to expose complexity rather than pretend it is not there. Removing the complexity would be another option, but I do not see how this can be done. --Dan Polansky 08:04, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
    Okay, an alternative without a nested conditional would read as follows:
    A term should be included if:
    1. It is attested, and
    2. It is a single word, or it is idiomatic.
    --Dan Polansky 08:12, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
    I can see some form of that approach being used in some way (although I still like the "likely that someone would run across it" line), but I prefer a clearer structure and wording:
    A term should be included if:
    1. It is attested, and
    2. It either is a single word or is idiomatic.
    The addition of either makes it clear that the complete second line is one statement, and not an alternative to the first line, plus an addendum. However, this wording still places what may be undue emphasis on single-word expressions. Unlike the current wording, it makes an exceptionally strong statement that terms should be included if they are single words. Our community's strong opposition to surnames (in many cases), geographic locations, etc. argues that we don't really have such a sweeping principle in practice. The proposed revision also dodges the issues of hyphenated compounds and removes the line about "likely that someone would run across it". In all, I'm unhappy with the changes. --EncycloPetey 13:40, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
    You make some intriguing points I will have to think over, although I still think the proposal makes an improvement over the status quo. The main benefit of the status quo wording over the new proposal is IMHO that it has not been voted upon, so it automatically has lesser authority than a voted-on formulation.
    A note on "either": adding "either" would make the formula logically incorrect, given that some words are idiomatic, on the assumption that "either A or B" is to be read as exclusive or. Now "either A or B" is possibly often read as inclusive or anyway, but that is far from clear. I was even inclined to use the formula "A and/or B" instead of the plain "A, or B". The bracketing should be clear from the numbering: it should be clear that it is "A and (B or C)" rather than "(A and B) or C". --Dan Polansky 17:00, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  4. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose A catastrophe. -- Prince Kassad 12:23, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  5. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Robert Ullmann 11:00, 18 April 2010 (UTC) I'm not adverse to improving this, but the proposed text needs work (as commented by others, in which I concur in part). I particularly like the "run across" language, which illustrates itself. Also one other comment: we have been including single characters, letters, numerals, and other code points in all relevant languages, this should be continued. Robert Ullmann 11:00, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
  6. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose For all the reasons so eloquently given above. However, I would like to see the wording reworked and a new vote started in the near future. The input here goes a long way towards getting it right next time around IMHO. -- ALGRIF talk 14:31, 21 April 2010 (UTC)


  1. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain Yair rand 19:05, 29 March 2010 (UTC) Some of the opposers have made very good points about the possibility of confusion that could be caused by the change. Perhaps this vote could be delayed and more work could be done on the proposal. --Yair rand 19:05, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    Well if/when it fails, we can modify it, and start again. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:25, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
    If this gets people interested in reforming CFI so we can actually use it, I'll be delighted. CFI contradicts itself several times and includes some paragraphs that as far as I know, nobody knows what they mean. Unfortunately bureacracy means we can't just change these things, hence the necessity to ignore CFI completely. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:07, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  2. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain —Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 04:45, 27 April 2010 (UTC) AFAICT, the changes are: Eliminate ‘run across it…know what it means’ language, replace one short paragraph by a list, add an example proverb, and some formatting. As I understand it, removing “know what it means” is to reduce emphasis on definitions, as there is other data about words (pronunciation, etymology, semantically related words, etc.). I like the “run across” it language, but agree that it’s limiting (similarly, one can help people discover words they have not run across). Simply, I’m in favor of changes when they make sense, esp. if documents are out of date with practice/consensus, but I’m not clear what the point of this change is – what issues is it addressing and how? Perhaps this could be clarified. Thanks Mglovesfun!