User talk:Roy McCoy

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MoS talk page text relevant to Oxford style guides[edit]

[Number 57] I've come across an editor who does very little except add commas in sentences like "In 2006, so-and-so did X". Unless this is an ENGVAR thing I'm not aware of, the sentences don't need a comma (and some style guides expressly advise against using it in these cases). If it's not an ENGVAR thing, I was just wondering was there any kind of policy to stop editors making small changes like this based on their personal preference. Cheers, Number 57 20:50, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

[SM] It's not an ENGVAR matter, it's a formal/academic style versus news style matter. You'll find that news publishers in the US and UK regularly drop the comma after short introductory phrases, because their primary concern is squeezing text to save space, while other publishers do that much less often (less often the more formal the publication is, and few things are more formal than an encyclopedia, which is an academic book by nature even if published online as a wiki). The few style guides that literally advise against such commas (rather than stating that they're optional) are news style guides, with very few exceptions. WP is not written in news style as a matter of policy. (It's part of what keeps us reading like an encyclopedia at all instead of dismal blog with too many cooks in the kitchen.)— SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  22:05, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

[Number 57] Given that I was referring to the University of Oxford style guide (p12), the claim that it's "a formal/academic style versus news-style matter" doesn't seem to be true. I'll assume it's a personal preference thing then. Number 57 10:09, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

[SM] Nope. This has been discussed before multiple times, too. The "University of Oxford Style Guide" is not the Oxford Guide to Style, AKA Oxford Style Manual, formerly Hart's Rules, and now New Hart's Rules in current editions – the work intended as a guide book for general publishing, a British equivalent of The Chicago Manual of Style. The "UOSG" is an internal memo for, and only for: "writing and formatting documents written by staff on behalf of the University (or one of its constituent departments etc). It is part of the University’s branding toolkit". Like all university and corporate house style sheets, it is written by the marketing department, using the marketing register and style of English, which is derived almost entirely from news style (plus extra bombast – note the overcapitalization). It is not a reliable source for anything to do with English in a formal/academic/encyclopedic register.  — SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  17:47, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

[RM] [...] I see you've later come in claiming that the University of Oxford Style Guide represents news style rather than academic style – a dubious assertion on the face of it. And despite your implying that the "real", "academic" Oxford style favors your viewpoint, I've now discovered the "Oxford University Press / Academic Division / Guide for authors and editors / Oxford Paperback Reference" at, which states quite explicitly: "Avoid the use of a comma after an introductory adverb, adverbial phrase, or subordinate clause, unless the sentence will be hard to parse without it: In 2000 the hospital took part in a trial involving alternative therapy for babies." [...] –Roy McCoy (talk) 05:54, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

[SM] I don't have time to cover every point of this right now (and much of it's handwaving or rehash of material we've already covered, like the fact that Oxford's in-house "marketing about the university" stylesheet is irrelevant to encyclopedia writing and has no connection to Oxford U. Press style). [...]  — SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  22:19, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] [...] The document concerned is in fact a publication of the Oxford University Press itself, not simply of some branch of the university. It certainly does have a most intimate connection to OUP style, having been prepared "to help you to deliver the text of your work to Oxford University Press in a form that will ensure its smooth passage through the publication process." [...] –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:06, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

[SM] Let's take a vote: Who else here can't tell the difference between the style guides, written by language authorities like managing editors of the OED, etc., that Oxford University Press publishes for general usage and (in summary form for the journals it publishes), on the one hand; and one the other, the in-house stylesheet, written by marketing functionaries, for how Oxford U. employees should write about Oxford U.? [...]  — SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  05:00, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] Are you blind? "TO HELP YOU TO DELIVER THE TEXT OF YOUR WORK TO OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS IN A FORM THAT WILL ENSURE ITS SMOOTH PASSAGE THROUGH THE PUBLICATION PROCESS." I don't know which Oxford publication you keep referring to, but it isn't the one I found and presented, which is OUP and has nothing to do with whatever you're talking about. [...] –Roy McCoy (talk) 07:03, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] It has been maintained that I cited an inappropriate Oxford source, the University of Oxford style guide, though I did not. In fact this purportedly inappropriate style guide is actually excellent and multipurpose, as anyone examining it can see. But I cited a completely different OUP publication, the OUP Academic Division's Guide for authors and editors, though this has yet be acknowledged. [...] –Roy McCoy (talk) 06:42, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

[SM] Already addressed this [8]; you're just proving my point for me, trying to rely on an internal memo of a publisher as if it is one of their public-facing works. It isn't.  — SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  17:27, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

[SM] McCoy's own source list keeps mistaking such sources (e.g. Oxford internal marketing stuff) for academic ones anyway, or citing unreliable blogs, or turning to sources like Britannica which simply do things differently from WP in many ways and don't affect how WP writes. [...]  — SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  02:15, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] All of these repeated criticisms ["I don't have time", "Let's take a vote", "McCoy's own source list"] follow my having clarified on May 1 that I was not talking about the University of Oxford style guide previously referred to by Number 57, but rather the OUP Academic Division's Guide for authors and editors, which you seem to have failed to look at despite its significance to the discussion and my calling attention to your error in regard to it several times. [...] So I'm asking you to (1) finally look at the OUP authors' and editors' guide, commenting if you feel like it but at least acknowledging that it isn't what you've been saying it is; and (2) respond to the question of whether or not you think a consensus on the current comma issue exists. Thank you. –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:49, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] Nothing obliges you to respond to everything I say, and it would be better if you didn't if you're going to keep repeating deprecatory falsehoods such as the one about the Oxford style manual. But you've been requested to reply briefly to two reasonable and pertinent requests: So I'm asking you to (1) finally look at the OUP authors' and editors' guide, commenting if you feel like it but at least acknowledging that it isn't what you've been saying it is; and (2) respond to the question of whether or not you think a consensus on the current comma issue exists. Thank you. Please do so. The guide is, again, Guide for authors and editors rather than University of Oxford style guide. Thank you. –Roy McCoy (talk) 13:23, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

[SM] The OUP guide you're now relying on is primarily for journals. It is a tiny house style guide for one particular publisher. It does not magically trump the enormous style guides produced for general public use that also happen to come from the same academic publishing enterprise. You seem unaware that OUP publishes even for general public use multiple style guides that contradict each other in many way (e.g. Garner's Modern English Usage, Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage, New Hart's Rules, New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, and various others besides. There is no such thing as one monolithic, unwavering style that "represents" OUP. They use one variant set of rules for their journals and I think it may also be applied to some of their non-fiction book publishing. They issue several sets of rules for much broader writing and publishing. Internally they have a completely different, marketing-based one for styling Oxford U.-related public messaging, and so on and so forth. There is no way around this problem. WP just couldn't give a damn about their internal house styles, of either kind. They are primary sources, for a specific extremely narrow internal context, have nothing to do with encyclopedic writing, and have not been used in any way whatsoever as a basis for WP's MoS, nor would they be. What matters for our purposes are their publications that other publishers rely on (i.e., that are reputable, reliable sources): New Hart's, Garner's, Fowler's, and (to the extent a simpler usage dictionary is helpful) NODWE. Oxford's internal marketing guide is no more pertinent than that of Sony or the Minnesota Attorney General's Office. Oxford's house style for journals is not more pertinent that that of any other journal publisher on the planet. Neither of those house-style works are world-trusted sources on how to write English; they are nothing but internal documents telling specific individual working with Oxford what to do with documents emanating from or being submitted to the entity. They are business relationship matters, a form of memo or internal policy; they are not authoritative sources on English usage norms or best practices. I.e., they are directly equivalent to our own MoS and its relation to the wider world: MoS is not a general "how to write" guide for the public; it is only applicable to WP itself. I'm going to ignore the rest of this, since it's even more rehashy that this bit is.  — SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  17:23, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] Whether consciously or unconsciously, you seem to be missing the point. It should still be possible to explain the matter to you, though this may require an effort at understanding on your part. You write about the "OUP guide [I'm] now relying on" as if I had changed horses, but this only perpetuates your previous repeated assertion that I ever cited the other one in the first place (not, again, that there's anything necessarily wrong with that one, or that it actually presents a distinct and less appropriate Oxford style). So rather than correcting your previous derogatory misstatements, you've added a new one. I did invite you to comment on the authors' and editors' guide and you were welcome to do so, but you have presented your commentary instead of rather than in addition to the requested acknowledgement that I cited the authors and editors guide (which is for dictionaries rather than journals – you can't have looked at it very closely) and not the other one. It may seem like a minor point and perhaps it is, but since you repeated the false statement several times and in so doing imputed stupidity to me ("Let's take a vote: Who else here can't tell the difference [...] "), I have to insist that you acknowledge the error. [...] –Roy McCoy (talk) 22:10, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

[SM] Oxford produces lots and lots of in-house style sheets, for various projects and parties. WE DON'T CARE. They are internal memoranda. They are not reliable sources advising the world how to write; they're internal policy documents for how to write about Oxford U. in marketing materials, how to style their online resources for students, how to format papers for Oxford journal submissions, how to write their dictionaries if you're on their dictionary stuff, what they expect for book manuscripts, etc., etc., etc. They are not what the world turns to for "How should I write in English?" advice. They are not what MoS is based on. They will never be what MoS is based on, any more than our copyright policy is based on that of Uni. Frakfurt, or our civility policy is based on the human resources manual at Microsoft. FFS. How can it possibly be this hard to get this point across? I've covered this in detail in user talk already, anyway.  — SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  15:24, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] Would you please now retract your derogatory misstatements regarding my purportedly having unintelligently cited an Oxford style guide that I did not cite. —Roy McCoy (talk) 06:09, 14 May 2019 (UTC)


McCandlish talk page

Correction/response requested[edit]

[RM] I note at the top of your page here: "I'll probably see that I've erred, and will at least acknowledge that you've raised an objection." Please acknowledge not that I've raised an objection — which is already obvious — but that you in fact made the mistake you did. I'm not asking for an apology (though an apology would be in order), but simply a retraction of your presumably unintentional repeated misstatement. [...] please be informed that your neglecting to correct your misstatements or answer my question is unsettling me, and if you're sincere about not wanting to offend or engender hard feelings, I hope you will act promptly to relieve me on this. It would also avoid further disputation on the matter, on the page or elsewhere. If you still don't understand what it was you repeatedly said that was untrue and to which I am objecting, then please let me know and I will again try to explain it to you. It's already there on the page, though. Thanks. –Roy McCoy (talk) 03:18, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

[SM] I stopped trying to plow through your repetitive WP:BLUDGEON posts days ago (I just respond to whatever point I first discern, and move on). So I'm not sure which thing(s) you're on about. If I run across them and they seem to need a response I'll make one. It's not a matter of being angry with you or anything like that; this simply has not been a productive expenditure of anyone's time. It's like two people in two different counties arguing with tree stumps and mistaking it for a conversation with each other. Given what I last responded to, I think it must have something to do with sources you like. I'm don't think it makes any difference at this point. What SPS/UGC blogs say doesn't matter. What news-style and marking sources say doesn't matter (regardless whose they are, even Oxfords's). What a one-publisher internal stylesheet says doesn't matter (even Oxford's). That when you try hard you can find some non-news sources that agree with you doesn't even matter when they are house-style sheets, and nothing like the public-facing style guides that WP and the rest of the world treat as reliable sources on English usage. Those almost unanimously treat such commas as optional, and recommend including them any time ambiguity or confusion could result. On WP that is effectively 100% of the time, because we have no control from moment to moment over what the text says. "This is not ambiguous because it's short and the rest of the sentence cannot be read with any other interpretation" is only true right this second and may be false on both points one second from now, or next week, or in August. This "someone at Oxford [in a non-relevant role] said ..." stuff is the same issue as "notability doesn't rub off"; reliability doesn't either. Internal documentation for a narrow one-publisher use ("how to write about Oxford U.", "how to submit something for publication by Oxford U.") are not RS publications on English usage, they're just primary sources for what some of Oxford's internal policies are. If they also have an internal policy that people may not leave open packages of food in the staff refrigerator over the weekend, this is not a reliable source that, in the wider world, leaving open packages of food in a refrigerator over the weekend is a problem. You've been confusing publication and publisher: not everything on paper or e-paper that came from some sub-entity of Oxford University is of equal reliability, relevance, or applicability in every context. [...] — SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  06:11, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] There was no occasion for this. I didn't request further commentary from you in the first place – "commenting if you feel like it", I said, and this was only in relation to your finally having a look at the guide I had actually cited. I certainly didn't even suggest a further commentary now. [...] –Roy McCoy (talk) 16:53, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] I just now thought that it might not have been noticed – or perhaps it was later forgotten – that the initial message about the other Oxford style guide came from Number 57 and not from me. Could this explain the error? –Roy McCoy (talk) 04:50, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

[SM] [...] there is no admin anywhere on WP who is going to force me to answer you in a way that makes you happy.  — SMcCandlish ☏ ¢ 😼  14:27, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

[RM] I would have been very happy for our dispute to have been resolved prior to now, and I think I made this clear on your talk page before. You were correct about 3O's being for matters involving article content rather than user conduct; the links I was led through before didn't clarify this, but I now see through the previously unseen WP:DRR page linked to at the top of the MoS talk page that the appropriate place is WP:ANI. I have prepared a written complaint regarding your behavior and will most probably present it there unless the matter is resolved otherwise. In this regard, by the way, I don't know what happened to the "If we have a dispute, usually it's something we can easily hash out and move past with no hard feelings" text that I noted at the top of your talk page before. In any event I would prefer to settle the dispute without going to ANI, so I hope you will agree to discuss the problem here and now rather than there and later. This is the recommended and preferred way to handle such a problem, as I'm sure you are aware. Thank you. –Roy McCoy (talk) 03:01, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

[SM] Knockya self out. You should probably familiarize yourself with WP:BOOMERANG first, since that's the likely result. "[U]sually it's something we can easily hash out and move past" has the word usually in it for a reason. It doesn't work when one side of the discussion is tendentiously pursuing some kind of "personal honor" WP:GREATWRONGS thing, and engaging in WP:BATTLEGROUND behavior. It's already been made clear at WT:MOS that others are damned tired of the discussion. Here, as there, it has turned circular, so there is no point in going over it any further. The substantive matter isn't something either of us our changing our minds about, and is a moot point because MoS is not going to change without clear consensus to do so. WP:Drop the stick. Your attempts to arm-twist and browbeat me in to giving you "satisfaction" are bordering on WP:HARASS at this point, as ANI will make clear to you if you attempt such WP:DRAMA, especially since you keep posting this shit to my talk page after being asked not to. When I said "Please don't respond here further unless it has something productive to do with encyclopedia work", I actually and obviously meant it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:50, 18 May 2019 (UTC)