Wiktionary talk:Votes/2020-07/Converting policy and guide pages as for quotes and apostrophes

Active discussions


Consistent pages looks better. Let us see whether we can agree on conversion, that is, unification. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:00, 12 July 2020 (UTC)

Rationale for plain quotes and apostrophes: They are what Wikipedia is doing. Plains are much easier to type and many people do not know how to type curlies; some non-native speakers are typing accute accent like "it´s", in an attempt to do the "right" thing, which it isn't. As a result, plains are the only way to achieve consistent look across the board, in policy pages, entries, attesting quotations in entries, etc.; apostrophes are entered rather often as part of attesting quotations. Fully automatic switching from plains to curlies does not seem feasible, merely semiautomatic; thus, the only way to achieve consistent curlies across the board is to have some editors perform low-added-value replacements, indefinitely, an avoidable process waste. Policy pages should reinforce the decision to use plains across the board. On a less important note, plains emphasize function over ornament. Plains are perfectly functionally adequate; they do not lead to any significant ambiguity in the presented text. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:56, 13 July 2020 (UTC)

Rationale for curly quotes and apostrophes: Curlies match traditional way of offline typesetting. To be extended by someone else. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:51, 13 July 2020 (UTC)

Vote designEdit

The vote has two options, having no bias toward what is status quo ante. Furthermore, someone who wants consistency but does not care which way can vote for both options and oppose none. Someone who prefers one option and is okay with the other one has more voting strategies, one of which is to support the preferred option and abstain on the other option.

A risk of this vote design is that it may lead to two passing options and an ambiguity on which of the two is winning. If ambiguity arises, a discussion may show agreement on which of the two is winning; if discussion does not show clear agreement, a follow-up vote to pick the winner is a fallback option.

A key benefit of this design is that it may increase chance of at least one option passing the 2/3 threshold. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:00, 12 July 2020 (UTC)

Other pagesEdit

@Dan Polansky: Why is this vote restricted to policy and guide pages? Other pages (e.g., entries, templates) would need a separate vote, which seems unnecessary because this vote could include them. J3133 (talk) 12:25, 12 July 2020 (UTC)

I agree. In principle I support curlies, provided that there is adequate software support (e.g. for smart conversion, searching, avoidance of duplicate entries), but I don't know why we would make a non-global policy. Mihia (talk) 22:12, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
Policy pages are vote-controlled so their change absolutely needs a vote. If this vote passes, we can see what to do next. If someone wants to design a different vote, they are free to do so, but I want to keep this vote focused in this way. Some concerns may pertain to entries but not to policy pages; maybe it is not important to search for quotes in policy pages. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:01, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
I think it's good to restrict the proposal to policy and guide pages. These pages are edited less frequently, they are edited by fewer editors, and the editors who edit them are likely to be the more knowledgeable ones who will grasp the limited nature of the proposal. I think extending the proposal to entries would invite lots of controversy over whether curly quotes and apostrophes are required and whether using straight quotes and apostrophes is an error and how ordinary users who don't have keys for curly ones are expected to type them, and whether users should use straight or curly ones to avoid having to have their entries "cleaned up" when the only error is the straight quotes and apostrophes – even though the proposal only says that quotes and apostrophes can be converted from straight to curly, not that curly ones must be used. There are lots more editors of many different skill levels involved in entries as opposed to policy and guide pages, so a proposal that applies to entries should be more detailed to avoid causing confusion and controversy. — Eru·tuon 22:23, 17 July 2020 (UTC)


Let us examine facts. One potentially relevant fact is what Wikipedia is doing and what their rationale is.

As per W:Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Punctuation:

Use "straight" quotation marks, not “curly” ones. (For single apostrophe quotes: 'straight', not ‘curly’).[c]

The above has note c) stating the following:

Curly quotation marks and apostrophes are deprecated on the English Wikipedia because:
  • Consistency keeps searches predictable. Though most browsers do not distinguish between curly and straight marks, Internet Explorer still does (as of 2016), so that a search for Alzheimer's disease will fail to find Alzheimer’s disease and vice versa.
  • Straight quotation marks and apostrophes are easier to type reliably on most platforms.

Some discussions:

--Dan Polansky (talk) 09:35, 13 July 2020 (UTC)

The behemoth known as Internet Explorer is finally falling. DAVilla 05:34, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

Prevalence in Wiktionary forumsEdit

If someone feels like it, they could analyze the prevalence of plain apostrophes vs. curly ones in Wiktionary forums such as Beer parlour, to investigate what people usually type. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:53, 13 July 2020 (UTC)

Return to the project page "Votes/2020-07/Converting policy and guide pages as for quotes and apostrophes".