This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. The result of the debate was Support proposal. Exiled Jedi (talk) 00:57, August 31, 2015 (UTC)
The Wookieepedia Naming policy includes a section covering the use of definite and indefinite articles at the beginning of page titles. Part of this section currently reads as follows:
This applies even if the subject of the page is usually preceded by the definite article "the" in speech or writing: Thus, for example, Death Star is preferred over the Death Star. However, the definite article should be used when it's needed to distinguish a specific instance from the general term: Galaxy describes what a galaxy is, whereas the galaxy describes the particular galaxy in which Star Wars takes place.
The problem with the second sentence there is "a specific instance" is terribly vague. In fact, it seems to even suggest, given the example of Galaxy/The galaxy, that "Death Star" should have "the" in the title, when doubtless we would all agree that that would be silly. So I'm proposing to modify this section to reflect a better defined policy for how to handle articles like this. The proposed new section would read as follows:
Except in titles of works (example: The Approaching Storm, The Truce at Bakura) or in official names (example: The Force, The Maw), avoid the definite ("the") and indefinite ("a"/"an") articles at the beginning of an article title. This applies even if the article subject is usually preceded by the definite article "the" in speech or writing (example: Death Star instead of the Death Star). However, the following exception may apply:
If two article subjects, one of which covers a general term and another a specific instance, are competing for the same article title and are usually preceded by the definite article, then "the" is to be used at the beginning of the specific instance's article title in order to avoid a parenthetical descriptor (example: The Inquisitor and Inquisitor, The Iteration and Iteration, The galaxy and Galaxy).
The preceding exception does not apply for starships and vehicles. Starships and vehicles may only include the definite article at the beginning of the article title if "the" is part of the subject's formal name (example: The Last Resort).
This change provides an explanation for why certain articles get the "the" while others like Death Star don't. For example, we've had The Inquisitor article thus named without ever really having a policy backing it up. And if we're going to title the Inquisitor's article like that, then we need to have a standard that allows identical cases to do the same, which will now mean that, to use the policy example, Iteration (Jaden Korr) will be moved to The Iteration. This is more accurate naming for these subjects and also more pragmatic, because it means we'll have fewer articles with parenthetical descriptors or "Unidentified" in the title, which is always a plus. Toprawa and Ralltiir (talk) 22:21, August 23, 2015 (UTC)
I support what you're trying to clarify, but the proposed wording doesn't quite nail it. For example, galaxy might reasonably be deleted someday under Wookieepedia is not a dictionary; the policy as proposed would then require the galaxy to lose its definite article, since there would no longer be "two article subjects... competing for the same article title." Yet even without the galaxy page, the galaxy still refers to a single, specific galaxy that it is not appropriate to file under the generic term.
And in reality, this is the same reason we place the definite article in the page title for the Force. The naming policy (both as currently written and as proposed under this CT) claims this "the" is in the title because it's part of the "official name," but that's nonsense: if "The Force" were the energy field's official name, we would not have phrases like "a Force push"; we would have to say "a The Force push." We use the "the" here to distinguish the specific Force from a generic force—which is the definite article's purpose in English (especially spoken English, where we don't have capitalization to provide that hint).
I haven't worked up a proposed alternate wording yet, but I don't think "competing for the same article title" is the correct criterion. Asithol (talk) 21:26, August 29, 2015 (UTC)