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Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2017-01/Policy on place names

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Policy on place namesEdit

Voting on: creating a new policy on place names and making consequential changes to criteria for inclusion.

Text for the new policy on place names
Place names

The following place names meet the criteria for inclusion:

  • The names of continents.
  • The names of seas and oceans.
  • The names of countries.
  • The names of areas or regions containing multiple countries (e.g. Middle East, Eurozone).
  • The names of primary administrative divisions (states, provinces, counties etc).
  • The names of conurbations, cities, towns, villages and hamlets.
  • Districts of towns and cities (e.g. Fulham).
  • The names of inhabited islands and archipelagos.
  • The names of other significant natural geographic features (such as large deserts and major rivers).

The Community has not yet reached a consensus as to whether or not the names of places and geographic features other than those listed above should be included in Wiktionary. There is currently no definition of "significant natural geographic features", but by way of an example, the twenty largest lakes in the world by surface area would each qualify. It is hoped that the Community will develop criteria over time to provide greater clarity and address matters not currently covered (for example the names of streets, buildings, tunnels). This policy is not intended to remove or reduce the requirement to find citations to support entries.

Proposed changes to criteria for inclusion

Current text:

Names of specific entitiesEdit

This section regulates the inclusion and exclusion of names of specific entities, that is, names of individual people, names of geographic features, names of celestial objects, names of mythological creatures, names and titles of various works, etc.[1][2][3][4] Examples include the Internet, the Magna Carta, the Mona Lisa, the Qur'an, the Red Cross, the Titanic, and World War II.

Proposed text:

Place names

The names of countries, towns and cities meet the criteria for inclusion. Significant natural geographic features such as oceans and large deserts may also be included. Further guidance is contained in the Place Names Policy.

Names of specific entities
This section regulates the inclusion and exclusion of names of specific entities, that is, names of individual people, names of celestial objects, names of mythological creatures, names and titles of various works, etc.[5][6] Examples include the Internet, the Magna Carta, the Mona Lisa, the Qur'an, the Red Cross, the Titanic, and World War II.


  • Vote starts: 00:00, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Vote ends: 23:59, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Vote created: John Cross (talk) 15:27, 14 January 2017 (UTC)



  1.   Support. bd2412 T 01:20, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
  2.   Support. John Cross (talk) 07:36, 21 January 2017 (UTC) (I would ask people who think this policy is imperfect to vote for it now and propose amendments later.) [further comments: I like Dan Polansky's suggested edits below but I obviously cannot change text part way through a vote. I hope we can amend later. John Cross (talk) 13:33, 21 January 2017 (UTC)]
  3.   Support as long as "all words in all languages" takes priority. So Cheam but not necessarily East Cheam. SemperBlotto (talk) 09:10, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  4.   Support (edit: but also support Dan Polansky's additional emendations below) — Kleio (t · c) 09:45, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    Partial support. I support addition of the text labeled "Text for the new policy on place names", but into CFI; I oppose creation of a new separate policy page. I also oppose the proposed change to "Names of specific entities" section: place names are names of specific entities while the proposed change implies they are a separate group. On a minor note, I find the use of "Community" capitalized and in singular objectionable; it should be "editors" in plural, instead. On a further minor note, it would be better to say "The following place names meet the criteria for inclusion as long as they are attested", which would make the following sentence redundant: "This policy is not intended to remove or reduce the requirement to find citations to support entries.". Another minor note, "meet the criteria for inclusion" should better read "should be included": the sentence itself is criterion for inclusion. Therefore, I support the substance of the proposal. --Dan Polansky (talk) 10:16, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  5.   Support but I feel kind of the opposite of Dan. CFI is already huge and detailed, so offloading some of it to separate pages may be good. —CodeCat 12:44, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    CFI is not huge by any stretch; it is rather short with around 3500 words. My idea is that the reader should find all the inclusion criteria on one page. --Dan Polansky (talk) 13:41, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  6.   Support By and large. It's not impossible that there will be some obscure administrative subdivision of the Elamite kingdom which doesn't really merit inclusion (I guess) but it's very common for a contemporary dictionary in English to have Alabama and provide an etymology, etc. Since we're not print, we can easily accommodate further place names such as Springfield or Eurasia. These are all part of language. —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:15, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  7.   Support Equinox 16:47, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  8.   Support, and support implementing Dan's amendments. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 18:34, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  9.   Support with Dan's amendments. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:08, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  10.   Support Morgengave (talk) 21:01, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  11. I   Support in principle. Uninhabited islands are tricky, as some may be inhabited (e.g. by research teams) occasionally. Even places in legends such as Lyonesse merit inclusion, but probably not the fictitious Waikikamukau in New Zealand. DonnanZ (talk) 09:51, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
  12.   Support --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:11, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  13.   Support This, that and the other (talk) 14:19, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  14.   SupportSaltmarsh. 08:03, 12 February 2017 (UTC)


  1.   Oppose I strongly disagree with the idea of excluding any place name. ÞunoresWrǣþþe (talk) 23:12, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
    Even the names of individual buildings, offices, hotels, people's cottages called Rosebud, tiny public parks? Equinox 23:16, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
    Yes, even those. ÞunoresWrǣþþe (talk) 23:18, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
    If I'm not mistaken, this policy would actually increase the number of includable place names, so it would make more sense to support this vote as a step towards the policy of inclusion that you would prefer. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 18:40, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    Andrew Sheedy is correct - part of the current critera for inclusion could be read as meaning that all place names belong on Wikipedia and none on Wiktionary. The proposed policy would add substantial protection for a large number of place names and document that there is not yet a consensus (one way or the other) for other types of place names. I would invite opponents to consider changing their votes in light of this clarification but they are obviously under no obligation to do so. John Cross (talk) 19:26, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    That is not so clear. Currently, place names are governed by WT:NSE, which does not per se exclude any place names, although it does not protect them either. Nonetheless, WT:NSE, when combined with the overwhelming long-standing practice, does protect place names. A broad inclusion of placenames was decided at Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-05/Placenames with linguistic information 2. Admittedly, Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion#Wiktionary is not an encyclopedia should ideally be trimmed or completely removed; unfortunately, previous attempts at removing it failed. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:52, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  2.   Oppose I see I'm the odd one out here, but my preference would be to include only the most important place names, with criteria similar to what we require for brand names, and let readers go to wikipedia to learn about other places. JulieKahan (talk) 08:41, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
    @User:JulieKahan: Wikipedia usually does not provide inflection, does it? This is important especially for non-English languages. --Dan Polansky (talk) 10:19, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    I would like to add that the etymologies of placenames can be very elucidating and can enrich our existing etymological data on Wiktionary; oftentimes placenames will preserve archaic elements that have been lost in the normal vocabulary. Blocking the inclusion of the majority of placenames would be to the detriment of Wiktionary's value as an etymological/onomastic resource. — Kleio (t · c) 11:35, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  3.   Oppose I agree with ÞunoresWrǣþþe, but only if they are attested as per normal conventions. -Xbony2 (talk) 13:32, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
  4.   Oppose After rereading and rethinking the matter, I am switching to oppose. The vote proposal is predicated on the assumption that place names are somehow threatened under the current CFI. That is not so. The place name classes listed in the vote proposal are certainly not threatened. But many place names not singled out in the proposal are declared by the vote to lack consensus. For instance, as for lakes, only twenty largest lakes in the world seem to be secure. In its tone, the vote seems to be more exclusionist of place names than Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-05/Placenames with linguistic information 2 even though I have to admit that the vote does not really exclude anything; it only declares absence of consensus. The most important consideration in my decision to oppose is that we do not really need this listing in CFI; the mainspace showing examples of included placenames shows the common practice and provides the required regulation without rules. Furthermore, Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-05/Placenames with linguistic information 2 is in the list of references in CFI. --Dan Polansky (talk) 21:20, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    Perhaps the text should be slightly amended to note that there is consensus to keep street names, etc. that are not readily deducible as such, per Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-05/Placenames with linguistic information 2, but the consensus of that vote was that a definition on its own was insufficient for a place name to merit inclusion. This vote removes the requirement that other elements be present, allowing for a greater number of toponyms than could be included previously. These things aside, there is in fact an absence of consensus on other things, hence their exclusion from the vote, so the vote is not inaccurate (as far as I am aware, anyway). It is implicit in the vote that things like street names and minor geographical features can be included if there is consensus to include them, so the vote is not limiting inclusion to the things it lists. Finally, you say that place names are not threatened under CFI. CFI states "Among those that do meet that requirement [i.e. are attestable], many should be excluded while some should be included, but there is no agreement on precise, all-encompassing rules for deciding which are which." The "many should be excluded" implies that most do not merit inclusion, without giving any sort of idea of what falls in that "many" category. The "no agreement" clause is also not true if this vote passes, since it will mean there is finally some agreement on the subject. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 02:19, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
    I believe there is consensus on many more place names than those singled out. Furthermore, "many should be excluded" refers e.g. to full names of individual people, many (not all) names of literary works, many (not all) names of battleships, etc. There already is certain agreement, as evidenced by the mainspace: common practice or common law, not statute singling out items. Note that the vote I referenced was annulled precisely because the requirement that other elements than definitions were to be present in place names was deemed too stringent. --Dan Polansky (talk) 06:31, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
  5.   Oppose I agree with Dan Polansky that this vote is kind of useless. All these placenames can already be included. In fact the new wording is a little ambiguous and could be misunderstood to be saying that placenames are exempt from attestation requirements (if that's what is actually meant, then I especially strongly oppose). --WikiTiki89 20:44, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
    The proposed policy does say: "This policy is not intended to remove or reduce the requirement to find citations to support entries." Does that allay any of your concerns re attestations? John Cross (talk) 17:52, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
    It does. It would have been better if the policy were written more clearly to begin with. But still, I oppose for my first reason. --WikiTiki89 16:11, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  6.   Oppose. All words in all languages. As long as it's attestable, non-SOP and the entry carries some linguistic information (pronunciation, gender, inflection, ...), it belongs here. No point in pondering whether a tiny pond on a village green somewhere in the sticks is "significant" enough. --Droigheann (talk) 23:22, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
    What about the Scilly Isles, a large roundabout complex near Esher? DonnanZ (talk) 14:48, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
    You mean this? Sure. --Droigheann (talk) 01:04, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  7.   Oppose Z. [ קהת ] b"A. — 04:20, 13 February 2017 (UTC)



Passed: 14-7-0 (66.66%-33.33%) --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:39, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

I created Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion/Place names. I believe this vote did not choose any specific name for the policy so I used this name unilaterally (it can be changed if it's not good). Wiktionary:Place names is taken. I also edited WT:CFI accordingly. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:49, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Actually, I believe I overlooked something when I closed this vote almost one month ago. The place name policy passed, yes, but I failed to take into consideration @Dan Polansky's amendments. I just implemented the proposal as initially worded.
I believe this is the full list of Dan's amendments, but I'll say it using my own words:
  • Insert the new place name policy in CFI, don't create a separate policy page. (Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion/Place names)
  • Leave only the "Names of specific entities", don't create a separate section named "Place names".
  • The word "Community" should be "editors".
  • Add the "as long as they are attested" text at the end of this sentence: "The following place names meet the criteria for inclusion as long as they are attested".
  • The point above makes this redundant: "This policy is not intended to remove or reduce the requirement to find citations to support entries." So, it can be deleted, right?
  • The text "meet the criteria for inclusion" should read "should be included".
These four people supported implementing the amendments: @John Cross, @KIeio, @Angr and @Andrew Sheedy. (Dan Polansky himself eventually changed his vote to full "oppose", so I believe he is opposing the whole vote, amendments or not.)
I think these 4 support votes can probably be read as support for 2 separate proposals: "I support the vote as initially worded, and I support implementing Dan's amendments." This may be a little bit problematic because we don't know the position of everyone else who did not say anything about the amendments. Most people didn't say anything about the amendments, and @CodeCat kind of opposed the idea.
Still, it would be interesting if we were able to read the 4 support votes with this added twist: "I oppose this vote as initially worded, but I support it so long as Dan's amendments are implemented." I believe this would lead to a different result concerning whether to implement the amendments or not, but the place name policy itself undoubtedly passed no matter how you look at it.
Tell you what: I believe whether to implement the amendments is inconclusive based on this vote alone. If the amendments were a substantial policy change, maybe it would be best to create a 2nd vote. But if no one objects, based on my own unilateral judgement, I'm going to just implement the amendments anyway, just because they are minor cosmetic changes and look good, in my opinion.
I believe all these edits could be done or un-done without a vote anyway. I don't see any reason to create new votes just to merge or split a policy into different pages, or to implement a minor change in wording such as between "Community" and "editors", so long as actual regulations are not changed.
I'll wait a few days before doing this: I'll delete Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion/Place names and do the other changes. Feel free to revert or discuss this decision. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 10:59, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
I (obviously) have no problem with you implementing the amendments, but note that I support the original proposal regardless of whether they are implemented or not. I just prefer their inclusion. Also, I Kleio and John clearly voted in support of it before Dan suggested anything. Only Angr's vote is ambiguous as to whether his support was conditional. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 11:04, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
You are correct. I believe this does not change what I said... Since I never said that anyone here certainly voted as "I oppose this vote as initially worded, but I support it so long as Dan's amendments are implemented." I'm sure you know that I just said that this would be an interesting interpretation.
Still, if Angr's vote was conditional (as you said, it's ambiguous, so it might or not be), then it would be enough to clearly affect the result of the vote concerning whether to implement the amendments... Because we would technically have only 13 supports for the original proposal, so we wouldn't be able to say that it "passed" in its entirety (i.e., "passed" without amendments). --Daniel Carrero (talk) 11:20, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
You may interpret my vote as "Support with or without Dan's amendments, but preferably with them". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:11, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Great, thanks. :) --Daniel Carrero (talk) 13:34, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
I would not object to the amendments. The main aim of proposing these changes was to provide clear and substantive protection to entries on place names in the written policy. In my view that was not previously the case - it may have been true in practice and it may have been implied by certain parts of the policy but it wasn't explicit in the policy. None of the changes would be contrary to that aim. John Cross (talk) 20:27, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with your comments in that last message. Thanks for creating this vote, by the way! :) IMO, it's good that the vote passed. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 20:47, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  Done. I implemented the amendments. Except I kept the "Place names" section in CFI because it's kinda large so I guess it wouldn't feel right to outright delete that heading, but I moved it to be a subsection of "Names of specific entities". --Daniel Carrero (talk) 00:39, 15 March 2017 (UTC)