Include country in county titles?

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Should users include the country when naming a county in an article title?

Poll ended at Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:35 pm

Montgomery County, Maryland, United States
6
46%
Montgomery County, Maryland
7
54%
 
Total votes: 13

Thomas_Lerman
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Postby Thomas_Lerman » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:10 am

I do not know about Norfolk, but if that is incorrect, especially in the new FamilySearch, it should be reported through feedback. I checked in Standard Finder and did not find any county in the USA listed as Norfolkshire. Actually, I found the same in FHLC. Maybe you are referring to England? In any case, I would suggest reporting any inaccuracies to support.

dsammy-p40
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Postby dsammy-p40 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:30 am

Thomas_Lerman wrote:I do not know about Norfolk, but if that is incorrect, especially in the new FamilySearch, it should be reported through feedback. I checked in Standard Finder and did not find any county in the USA listed as Norfolkshire. Actually, I found the same in FHLC. Maybe you are referring to England? In any case, I would suggest reporting any inaccuracies to support.


I already posted the problem direct on NewFamilySearch forum, having already tried feedback to no avail for repairs.;) There are other place name issues too in there - like 10 Morgan, Ohio - but only 1 is a county and the way nFS does make it like town instead of county, already pointed it out in nFS forum.

The issue is a way to maintain uniformity between Family History Library Catalog, Wiki and New FamilySearch, a central core committee/forum to keep track and ensuring uniformity? (Saarland Bezirk - no such place name, it shows up only in nFS and it insists on this instead of simply -, -, Saarland, German)

For those doing British section - here's the list
http://www.abcounties.co.uk/counties/list.htm

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:31 am

The Earl wrote:I disagree that disambiguation pages are a 'no harm' solution.
...
Second, they add a navigational step.
This makes it one more step to get to the place you are looking. It also adds maintenance for the disambiguation page, and all linking pages. Do you have to update the 'Georgia, United States' article to include a link to 'Georgia, Maine, US' when that page gets added to the disambiguation page? Does 'Georgia, Maine' warrant an entry on the disambiguation page? Would you expect to navigate to 'Georgia, Maine' by going to 'Georgia (disambiguation)'?


The use of disambiguation is well established in Wikipedia, and the FamilySearch wiki should be no different.

I don't see how it adds a navigational step. The disambiguation page is used only when someone searches for an ambiguous title. All links from other articles should go straight to the correct specific article.

For all ambiguous titles, someone has to make the decision of whether a particular usage is dominant. An example of this would be Paris, where the capital of France is so dominant that you should go straight to that article when you search for Paris, but you are told right at the top "This article is about the capital of France. For other uses, see Paris (disambiguation)." On the other hand, the uses of Georgia are not so lopsided, so a search for Georgia takes you straight to the disambiguation page. At least those are the choices made by Wikipedia; FS wiki may choose differently, but these examples illustrate the point.

Having a disambiguation page does not add maintenance to all linking pages (except at the moment when a disambiguation page is added, and the references on linking pages that are to the ambiguous title need to be changed to link to the same article they once linked to, that now has a more appropriate specific title). With proper naming conventions (the real topic of this thread), this kind of maintenance should be extremely rare.

'Georgia, Maine' would certainly warrant an entry on the disambiguation page. That's the entire point of such a page -- to list every possible ambiguous reference to Georgia so that users can get to the right specific page, even if they are unaware of the correct title of what they are searching for, or even of the existence of the other usages.

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Postby The_Earl » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:47 am

Quote trimmed:

Alan_Brown wrote:I don't see how it adds a navigational step. The disambiguation page is used only when someone searches for an ambiguous title. All links from other articles should go straight to the correct specific article.


I am not sure if I agree here or not. I agree in the use of disambiguation pages to assist navigation, but that does not answer the question of what the canonical name for a page should be.

Alan_Brown wrote:For all ambiguous titles, someone has to make the decision of whether a particular usage is dominant. An example of this would be Paris, where the capital of France is so dominant that you should go straight to that article when you search for Paris, but you are told right at the top "This article is about the capital of France. For other uses, see Paris (disambiguation)." On the other hand, the uses of Georgia are not so lopsided, so a search for Georgia takes you straight to the disambiguation page. At least those are the choices made by Wikipedia; FS wiki may choose differently, but these examples illustrate the point.

Having a disambiguation page does not add maintenance to all linking pages (except at the moment when a disambiguation page is added, and the references on linking pages that are to the ambiguous title need to be changed to link to the same article they once linked to, that now has a more appropriate specific title). With proper naming conventions (the real topic of this thread), this kind of maintenance should be extremely rare.


The 'For other uses' information is exactly the maintenance I am talking about. What information would you put on a page for 'Washington'? If you added that information, isn't it redundant to the page title, since the page title must be unique? If the title is unique, and accurately describes the place (it must, or it is ambiguous), why add the redundant information? If a page title is ambiguous, then it must be a disambiguation page, correct?

Alan_Brown wrote:'Georgia, Maine' would certainly warrant an entry on the disambiguation page. That's the entire point of such a page -- to list every possible ambiguous reference to Georgia so that users can get to the right specific page, even if they are unaware of the correct title of what they are searching for, or even of the existence of the other usages.


Alan_Brown wrote:With proper naming conventions (the real topic of this thread), this kind of maintenance should be extremely rare.


Exactly!
A good naming convention prevents ambiguous page titles. Ambiguous titles become disambiguation pages. Omitting the country in a page name makes that page ambiguous. Ergo, page titles should include the country.

Do not confuse the resolution of ambiguous page titles (disambiguation pages) with the convention to avoid ambiguous page titles.

We need to make some sort of educated decision as to how much ambiguity we want in place names.

Wikipedia has taken a very hands-off approach. This has caused a few reorganizations in parts of the wiki. Wikipedia's approach is insufficient (IMO). We have the opportunity to set a standard now so that we do not need as many moves / redirects. Place names are MUCH more important to the FS Wiki than to Wikipedia (again IMO).

Thanks
The Earl

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Postby The_Earl » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:47 pm

The Earl wrote:We need to make some sort of educated decision as to how much ambiguity we want in place names.

Thanks
The Earl


Alan,
Don't take my comments as an attack. I have a solution that I think is correct, but I do not had all of the reasoning figured out. We have to find a happy medium between spelling everything out, and a hands-off approach. Wikipedia has its policy. I do not think their policy works well for FS Wiki.

Your thoughts have helped me solidify what I think the policy should be, and the important questions that need to be asked. The question above is the crux of this debate.

Thanks
The Earl

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:16 pm

The Earl wrote:The 'For other uses' information is exactly the maintenance I am talking about. What information would you put on a page for 'Washington'? If you added that information, isn't it redundant to the page title, since the page title must be unique? If the title is unique, and accurately describes the place (it must, or it is ambiguous), why add the redundant information? If a page title is ambiguous, then it must be a disambiguation page, correct?


I would agree that if a page title is ambiguous, then it almost certainly should be a disambiguation page, but it's possible that there is some inherent ambiguity that may not yet have been discovered (two towns in the same country with the same name, which does sometimes happen) or an ambiguity in the mind of the user, even if articles are uniquely named. Washington is an example of why you may want to give a bit of navigational help to users, even if the title follows what seems to be a good naming convention. Someone may go to "Washington, United States" and be confused that there is nothing about the nation's capital, because in their minds that is the only Washington in the USA that they think of. So it could be appropriate to give a little navigational help to those lost souls who are searching for Washington DC, but stumble onto the state.

The Earl wrote: Do not confuse the resolution of ambiguous page titles (disambiguation pages) with the convention to avoid ambiguous page titles.


I never have. But it's a good reminder, since the issues are indeed related, as this discussion has made clear. A good naming convention for articles is a fundamental need of the FS Wiki. Disambiguation pages are needed as a navigational aid, and work well only if they can redirect users to clearly named pages that unambiguously describe the subject location.

The Earl wrote: Wikipedia has taken a very hands-off approach. This has caused a few reorganizations in parts of the wiki. Wikipedia's approach is insufficient (IMO). We have the opportunity to set a standard now so that we do not need as many moves / redirects. Place names are MUCH more important to the FS Wiki than to Wikipedia (again IMO).


I used some examples from Wikipedia to illustrate the purpose of disambiguation pages. But I completely disagree with some of Wikipedia's naming (why on earth should you title the article about Paris, France simply "Paris"? -- Give it the title of "Paris, France"!) and I certainly do agree that FS Wiki should have a higher standard of clarity.

Thanks for taking the time to clarify these issues -- I think we are much closer to agreement than it may have seemed at first.:)

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Postby jbh001 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:56 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:why on earth should you title the article about Paris, France simply "Paris"?
Because the phrase "We'll always have Paris" doesn't usually conjure up the notion of Paris, Idaho (no matter how lovely the tabernacle is there). In this sense, Wikipedia's title and warning make perfect sense for the intended audience, as would similar titles for New York, London, Tokyo, Berlin, Moscow, etc.

Should this convention apply to FS wiki? Generally no, but there may be exceptions. Establish the rule, then deal with the exceptions later.

In fact, exceptions should be made after receiving user feedback not before: "Can't you make 'Paris" easier to find? It was buried in some section on France. I mean, really, this is the Paris we're talking about here, not some imitation, knock-off, or namesake."

ritcheymt-p40
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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:10 pm

The Earl wrote:[SNIP]
Just think, if someone put in 'Paris' (Idaho) first, how hard would it be to find the article on the city with the big tower in it be?
[SNIP]
The Earl


First, if someone put "Paris" (Idaho) first, chances are someone is going to find it and Move it to "Paris, [county] County, Idaho." Then someone will go to create "Paris" (France) and see that it's taken. So they'll wonder what to call it, look for help, and find that the naming conventions help page tells them to name it "Paris, [department name], France" or "Paris, [department name]" -- whichever our French coordinators prefer.

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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:31 pm

The Earl wrote:<snip>
I think we should definitely include the country name.

I also disagree that [county],[state] articles should not include the country. I think it is again a bit naive to think that no conflicts will occur. As long as the order is least-specific to most, a search will find you what you are looking for.


In deciding whether to include the country in naming a county within an article title, (which, by the way, is the topic of this thread :), and of the poll, which has become muddied and ineffective due to the incredible forking of the thread), Wikipedia does not design for the exception. We shouldn't either. I wouldn't call this naive, but practical and in keeping with Ockham's Razor.

If we include the country name in a title of an article dealing with a county, users doing a search for articles on United States will receive search results spammed with 60,000 articles relating to various counties of the U.S. (That's 3,000 U.S. counties times 20 articles per county, which is probably a conservative estimate.)

Wikipedians decided it was not a good idea to ruin millions of searches over a few exceptionally ambiguous place names. Instead they keep the naming simple, note the (relative handful of) ambiguities when they arise, and use redirects, disambiguation pages, and link editing to straighten out name changes when necessary.

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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:37 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:<snip>

The Earl raises a good point that we should have a policy for naming that greatly reduces the likelihood of creating ambiguous titles. I agree with this general statement. But ambiguities may still creep into the wiki, so we have to be able to address them.

So then the only real question is what to do if there are links to an article that has been discovered to be ambiguous. That's a bit tricky. I think they all have to be fixed. This might be a lot of work or only a little bit. Wikipedia has a sidebar link on every article in the toolbox area called "What links here"; this makes it trivial to find all the references and fix them. I don't see that capability in the Family Search Wiki, but if it were added, then nothing would stand in the way of creating the optimal titles for previously ambiguous articles, and fixing all the links to those articles to point to the correct article, without going through a disambiguation page.


The What Links Here link is the first link in the Toolbox portion of the nav bar, and Alan, you nailed it, fixing the links to the page is exactly what has to happen. And as much work as this may be, it's better than spamming the search engine by including country names in the titles of pages about counties. The reason? Spamming the search engine breaks thousands of users' search experiences. Lots of pain there. Fixing links for ambiguous pages is comparatively painless.


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