[DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrases

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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby sketch » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:42 pm

We spent a lot of time and effort litigating this issue only a couple years ago and settled on what we settled on, i.e., not this. Are we going to go through this every 2 or 3 years and change the entire wiki back to the other way? Do we need to relitigate the same issue over and over again?
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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby DwarfLord » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:10 pm

This has been a great discussion with some really thoughtful and knowledgeable people. At this point I'm only interested in pleasant brainstorming. I have already learned some things about style I did not know, and if this discussion may continue, I am sure I will learn more.

In a consensus-driven community, controversial decisions made with limited buy-in will always be fragile. A major participant in the previous discussion said that it "didn't seem to reach a strong consensus". It certainly appears that many editors are not yet comfortable with the earlier outcome. Who knows, perhaps this pleasant discussion will result in increasing the community buy-in for, and thus strengthen, the previous outcome!

Certainly, current practice, regardless of community support, should not lightly be overturned. We can have an enjoyable technical conversation about this topic now and leave the overturning for later, or never.

I hope readers are interested in continuing the discussion!
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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby tonestertm » Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:08 am

HAHAHAHAHA "...litigating...." Awesome, Marc! :lol:

As Michael pointed out early on, the earlier discussion did not reach a solid conclusion, thus, the continuation of discussion.

On a personal note, I had intended a comprehensive post in that previous discussion, but during the course of my research, the discussion moved on, and by the time I was ready to post there would have been little point, as the attention span had lapsed. Unfortunately most discussions in here do not favor those of us who prefer to research and consider subjects in depth before posting an opinion.

As I've read through this discussion, a couple of things have jumped out at me.

Many of the admittedly off-the-cuff examples being posited are using the language of everyday discussion. In my mind the thing we are discussing is usage in the Wiki, which is the guide to which we point every beginning editor, and I find it unlikely that these constructs would be in Wiki language in the first place.

I can't put it any better than Blaine did, in saying,"This ensures that the reader understands that there is more nuance than the words present on the page indicate and does so in a concise way." A new editor needs every clue they can get, when attempting to wade into our ocean.

What's pertinent is Waze terms of art. In the same way that (referring to a previous comment) Waze Categories are common words, they hold a specific meaning within the Waze editing context, and in that usage, they become terms of art.

If it's a specific Waze usage, it should be so indicated, in whatever method that may be. (Capitalization feels the most natural to me for these "Waze nouns", especially since we do end up "acronym-izing" most of them). If it's a general reference then it doesn't get indication. I would have little problem with seeing "major highway" and "Major Highway" in a sentence together, should that come to pass, as it removes any ambiguity that indefinite reference creates.

I don't think anyone is going to encounter the term, Residential Point Place, in common usage. It's a Waze term of art, as are so many other phrases in play here. It's why I sometimes have occasion to caution well-meaning editors against using Waze jargon in UR responses. The average reporter has absolutely no clue as to the nuance and implications of a term like that. Likewise, neither does a green editor.

WME should not be considered a Holy Grail for correct capitalization of items. There have been so many errors and misspellings in the interface over the years, perhaps attributable in large part to non-native English speakers at the design helm, it can hardly be considered a reliable source.

People getting lazy (re: changes in capitalization over time) is also not a valid argument. In fact, almost any reference to This Page or That Page makes no sense, since we've never actually drafted anything even hinting at a Manual of Style. I can point to several recently crafted or fully re-worked Wiki pages which still contain numerous grammatical errors, and which do not adhere to simple rules of English, let alone Wikipedia's Manual of Style.

In my previous research, I did end up unearthing a section of the Wikipedia Manual of Style (note: their capitalization, even in the title) which would seem to support capitalization for our situation, but I'd have to dig it up again, and that might take too long for me to get this posted while it's still current.

Finally, there is precedent for changing long-standing, if somewhat gossamer, "guidelines", even in the absence of a change in editing policy. There is no reason not to bring an indeterminate former discussion to life once again. Thanks to you, Dwarflord, for bringing this back to life.

p.s. I regularly use Junction Box, Area Place, Residential Point Place, Point Place, and other capitalized terms in everyday Discord discussion, as these have specific Waze meanings, apart from any common usage someone might attempt to accord them. I would never even think to use Road or Segment in the same venue, unless I was specifically trying to call something out.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby Kartografer » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:18 pm

tonestertm wrote:In my previous research, I did end up unearthing a section of the Wikipedia Manual of Style (note: their capitalization, even in the title) which would seem to support capitalization for our situation, but I'd have to dig it up again, and that might take too long for me to get this posted while it's still current.

Finally, there is precedent for changing long-standing, if somewhat gossamer, "guidelines", even in the absence of a change in editing policy. There is no reason not to bring an indeterminate former discussion to life once again. Thanks to you, Dwarflord, for bringing this back to life.

I would love to see your section of the Wikipedia Manual of Style that supports capitalizing terms of art. What I see there says the opposite. Specifically MOS:SIGNIFCAPS says:

Do not use for emphasis wrote:Initial capitals or all capitals should not be used for emphasis...
This includes over-capitalization for signification, i.e. to try to impress upon the reader the importance or specialness of something in a particular context. Introduction of a term of art may be wikilinked and, optionally, given in non-emphasis italics on first occurrence.
Example: use The community of researchers in a field may produce a scientific consensus, not ... may produce a Scientific Consensus.


So why can't we just do that?

p.s. Many, many, many other style guides online say or imply this, that existence as jargon by itself is a not a reason to capitalize anything. There is also universal agreement that components of an acronym should not be capitalized merely to show how they comprise it. The Wazeopedia (proper name of the Waze wiki) is really just a user guide; let's write it as people write user guides.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby tonestertm » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:28 pm

Actually, if I remember correctly, the rabbit hole I went down at the time had to do with capitalization, rather than terms of art, specifically, as the latter was a recent realization to me. I'll see if I can find what I had found before, it seems they've changed a few of their long-standing guidelines in the recent past. And that tiny, off-hand mention is hardly any sort of thorough guideline.

But, again, "we don't have to follow the Wikipedia style", right? ;)

AFAIC, what best suits our purposes is the best course of action, Wikipedia rules be damned. Those are intended to cover an extremely vast swath of topics, resulting in a Least Common Denominator type of approach, while we have some very specific, closely-held usage. Our purpose is to make as clear as possible, mainly for new editors, a dazzling array of specialized information. Again, I have trouble improving on Blaine's post, and agree with it about 99%.

I categorically disagree with a number opinions in your 10 point list, but agree that consistency is important.

That's all I have time for at the moment.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby sketch » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:03 pm

Do you mean a least common denominator type of approach? ;)

My position continues to be that using capital letters for Waze Noun Phrases (WNPs) is unnecessary, stilted, does not make text easier to read, is inconsistent with every other wiki in the world, and contributes to the TLA Hell we've all dug ourselves into.

Whatever discussion we had before was apparently conclusive enough that we did actually effect the not-capitalizing change in the wiki. That sounds like a conclusion to me. Do not mistake conclusiveness for unanimity.

I do not see a compelling reason to deviate from Wikipedia style guidelines (which we have in large part adopted) in this case at all. Why reinvent the wheel?

And if this ends up a (another?) stalemate, what do you propose as a tiebreaker, exactly? Only sensible one I can think of is "if we can't agree that one way is better than The Other or vice versa, go with whichever one is more standard, i.e., the one used by a typical wiki style guide." Well...
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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby DwarfLord » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:55 pm

Is it not already broad consensus, and part of our current practice, to capitalize the road types? Minor Highway, Major Highway, Private Road, etc.?

If that is so, I still don't understand why that would be correct, but Area Place, Residential Point Place, Junction Box, etc. would not. What am I missing?

At an absolute minimum, our capitalization guidelines should be self-consistent, right?
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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby Kartografer » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:40 pm

How to capitalize things that aren't proper nouns is clear, but what constitutes a proper noun gets murky. That's where all these style guides rely on convention by pointing people to dictionaries. I had been arguing that the road types and place categories are treated as proper nouns, not because of capitalization but because we refer to them as single entities ("the following shall be classified as Minor Highway" not "the following shall be classified as minor highways). It's on the edge though and not fully consistent. I can go either way on whether these are proper nouns, but honestly I lean toward the view that they are not. We never refer to area place, junction box, etc as single entities, so it's clear that they are not proper nouns.

I'd be cool with not capitalizing road types outside of specific UI interactions like "select Minor Highway from the drop-down menu" - all standards support that, and relying on the road type templates and italics alone for markup, which are in wide use. I have been thinking about making a place category template too, to reflect how those appear in WME. I could draft stuff if anyone wants to see... Or we could keep it the same...
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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby DwarfLord » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:09 pm

Murky indeed!

After consideration of the various links posted, I still believe capitalization of certain Waze-specific noun phrases is justified, correct, and clearer to the reader (especially the naïve reader). BUT, I do NOT believe that any of the following reasons justify that capitalization:

  • Terms of art — that phrase refers to jargon, e.g. "Once you've disconnected the Flux Capacitor from the Hyperdrive, refill the Quantum Synthesizer with Quadrotriticale". I agree we shouldn't capitalize just because something is jargon.
  • Emphasis — perhaps the best-known exemplar of this approach is A. A. Milne: "...while he waited for Piglet not to answer, he jumped up and down to keep warm, and a hum came suddenly into his head, which seemed to him a Good Hum, such as is Hummed Hopefully to Others." Although I find this style Really Delightful in a children's book, I agree we shouldn't capitalize just for emphasis.
  • Spelled-out form of acronyms — we're all familiar with phrases like "not in my back yard" (NIMBY). But we don't capitalize them when writing about them; we don't say that the latest WME release is Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition (unless we're playfully echoing A. A. Milne). I agree we shouldn't capitalize just because something corresponds to an acronym.
This being said, we're still dealing with terms that, as herrchin pointed out, have Waze-specific nuance. It is as if they are indicating a specific instance of an invisible common noun such as "tool", "type", or "object". I think this holds the answer.

For example, the sentence "Each segment that is added must minimally have the Country, State, City, and Street information" (Map Editing Quick-start Guide) capitalizes the names of the specific information types. This makes sense because the actual common noun is "information" and "Country, State, City, and Street" indicate a Waze-specific instance of that information.

We could write the same sentence leaving out the word "information" as: "Each segment that is added must minimally have a Country, State, City, and Street." This is still understandable in the context of Waze editing. But what if we then removed the capitalization from the "obvious" common nouns? We'd have "Each segment that is added must minimally have a country, state, city, and street." To me this is less clear.

So likewise, in a sentence such as "By default, Waze routes to an area place as if there were an entry point located at its center" is really saying "By default, Waze routes to a Waze object of type area place as if there were a Waze object of type entry point located at its center". If we actually wrote that latter sentence, we'd have to capitalize Area Place and Entry Point because they are acting as specific modifiers for "Waze object".

So that's my sense of it. Just because we are omitting nouns like "tool", "type", "field", "object", etc. modified by the specifying noun adjunct, they are still implicit, and the specifying noun adjunct remains capitalized even though it's not as obviously an adjunct any more.

...he said, Humming Hopefully to Others...

EDIT — Let's say a hotel has multiple conference rooms available for conventions and the like, but has given them names that happen to be common nouns: the City Room, the Highway Room, the Junction Room. Now let's say the author of a convention guide wants to be more concise, and so writes "Delegate badges may be obtained in the City. The keynote is at 9AM in the Junction, and the break with coffee and tea is at 10:30 in the Highway". Just because the word "room" has been omitted does not make this capitalization wrong.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] Wiki editing: capitalizing Waze noun phrase

Postby herrchin » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:05 pm

I concur that almost all English style guides, including ones focused on technical documentation, do not capitalize jargon or terms of art. That doesn't mean those styles guides are necessarily the best for our wiki.

Most of the phrases and nouns under consideration are accurately classified as terms of art. "gigabyte" is an easy jargon word to use clearly in technical documentation, as it has no other non-technical meaning. "Minor Highway" on the other hand has a "precise, specialized meaning" for Waze editors: It's shorthand for "road segment(s) with the Road Type parameter set to 'Minor Highway'." The full form is a bit of a mouthful to repeatedly use, hence the term of art naturally arose.

The challenge as I see it is that terms of art, when not identified as such by formatting or capitalization, are exclusionary. They cater to the ingroup and can be frustrating to an outsider attempting to learn.

If we don't call out our specialized uses, the reader only has experience and context at their disposal to differentiate "minor highway" (a road not considered especially important) from "minor highway" (a road segment with the Road Type parameter set to 'Minor Highway'). If they're a brand-new editor, they might not be aware that "Minor Highway" is a parameter and will definitely read a lowercase use of minor highway incorrectly!

As the primary goal of our Wiki is to provide clear and concise instructions to both new editors and veterans, I struggle with not calling out our terms of art visually, simply because that's how style guides intended for broad arrays of topics instruct. Those guides also often instruct to avoid jargon whenever possible, and to call out the first use of jargon if unavoidable.

A definitive example is "map problem."

a recent posting in Discord wrote:The New York UR project could use your help.
...
Seeking 5 newer editors to be trained to use all available clues, tailored and friendly questions to improve the probability of getting answers from UR reporters, and to working together with the waze community to solve map problems.


Are we solving map problems... or are we solving Map Problems?

Or, we could just go the German route and capitalize 100% of nouns ;)
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