My question to you, based on your interesting in both spelling variants and common citation of Wikipedia, is what your opinion is on the official Wikipedia policy on English spelling in articles, described here. [...]It's one of the oldest rules on Wikipedia, resolved in its infancy, and has stood the test of time, consistently resisting attempts to modify it. [...] I've seen proposals to consistently use one spelling method, to extend the software to allow the user to configure which spelling they prefer, and countless other suggestions, but all met a rapid demise. Is this a good rule, and why is it so popular? Thanks for your insight.I was glad he drew this to my attention. I think it's a popular policy because it's a terribly sensible policy.
Basically, any standard English orthography (spelling system) can be used on Wikipedia, with the following provisos:
- Articles should use the same dialect throughout.
- If there is a strong tie to a specific region/dialect, use that dialect.
- In choosing words or expressions (especially article titles) there may be value in selecting one that does not have multiple variant spellings if there are synonyms that are otherwise equally suitable and reasonable.
- Follow the dialect of the first contributor.
I've heard British people argue that BrE spelling should be used in international contexts because the UK is the 'homeland' of English. I've heard Americans argue that AmE spelling should be used because Americans outnumber the British. I've heard learners of English from other countries argue in favo(u)r of AmE spelling because American cultural exports are more widely found than British. Whichever decision one makes about how international English should be spelt/spelled, some sector is going to be offended or disappointed. So, let's not favo(u)r either. Let's let the forces of culture decide.
Rule 2 in the list above is exemplified on another Wikipedia page:
Sean ConneryAll of these conclusions are debatable (or moot?), of course, but we've got a lovely set of rules as the pivot on which our debate reels. How pleasantly legalistic! (And no, I don't think that's an oxymoron.)
Fact profile: A Scottish-born actor, but has spent much time in America. He now lives in the Bahamas. However, he has retained his British citizenship and still sees himself as Scottish.
Conclusion: Use standard Scottish English for the article on Sean Connery.
Fact profile: English-born cricketer, who is notable for his performances for England in the 1932/3 Bodyline series. After retirement he emigrated to Australia, took Australian citizenship and saw himself as Australian.
Conclusion: As his notability relates to the period in which he lived in Britain, use standard British English for the article on Harold Larwood.
Fact profile: Said Musa is the Prime Minister of Belize. He was born in Belize when it was known as "British Honduras" and was under British rule. He also studied law at Manchester University in England, but returned to Belize the following year. He became a politician in independent Belize and has lived there ever since. Belize usually considers itself a Caribbean nation, rather than a Central American nation.
Conclusion: Use standard Caribbean English for the article on Said Musa.
Fact profile: The Fiat Regata is an Italian motor car. It is produced in Italy, where there is no national variety of English, by an Italian company. It is sold in many markets, across which many varieties of English are in use.
Conclusion: The country of Italy is within the political and geographical entity of Europe. The government of the European Union has several official languages including British English. This is currently the version employed in the article.