On 28/09/05, Tim Whitehouse <whitehousetim(a)rgv.rr.com> wrote:
I believe the following is a case for a title that is
different then the
page name. In the bird area of Wikipedia the page name for each bird is
the common name of the bird. Common names are different in various parts
of the world but they still refer to the same bird so there shouldn't be
separate pages for it. North Americans want to see Common Loon while in
the UK they want to see Great Northern Diver and not only in the title
but also in the content.
This came up in the recent - rather interminable - "English English"
threads on Wikipedia-l (see the archives, if you've got plenty of time
on your hands).
There are two drawbacks to using redirects as we currently do:
1) they imply that one title (the target) is "better" than the other
(the redirect), by showing it in large print at the top of the page
2) they don't alter other occurences through the text
A template mechanism (either by convention, as described by Brion, or
a more specific feature in the software) that replaces the headword
wherever it occurs seems attractive, until you realise that this would
still not solve the underlying problem - that there are multiple
formal dialects of English. For instance, a page stating that "the
Common Loon is fond of aubergines" would be incorrect [linguistically]
whoever read it, because it mixes two dialects; if the "Common Loon"
part were to be automatically "translated", the "aubergine"
("eggplant") would need to be translated as well.
And no, common names shouldn't be made
universal by making them correspond to the binomial (scientific) name as
there is great value in keeping them separate and meaningful to a local
I'm not sure I understand your precise point here, but binomial names
would solve the problem of one name being given implied primacy if it
weren't for the fact that many pages cover more than one similar
species, quite apart from articles which face this issue outside the
realm of biology.
It's a tough issue, really, and one for which I've yet to see a really
adequate solution suggested - an automatic "translator"/converter
might be great, but I'm not personally convinced it's feasible.
Rowan Collins BSc