Wikipǣdia:Macron or Accent vote

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This is the vote page for macrons or accents. You are voting on the proposal to change all the accent marks on Old English words across all OE wikis to macrons.

Rules for Entering a Vote[adiht fruman]

  1. You must have a registered user name on this wiki.
  2. You must have made at least one edit to the wiki.

Votes[adiht fruman]

Please sign all votes.

For Macrons (Switch from Accents)[adiht fruman]

  1. --James 21:06, 25 Hāligmōnaþ 2005 (UTC) - We've already switched almost every article and message over to the macrons, I personally like that accents are more accessible for some reason, but macrons are more OE. Those who have difficulty should either upgrade their computers, or their software (e.g. Firefox), and we can code the pages for those who can't upgrade, as Ado graciously did for the main page. Besides, doing this now, when the wiki is young is going to be much easier than in a few years, when we'll have thousands of pages to then switch over, and presumeably everyone will have upgraded their computers. It's future-proofing the wiki.
  2. --User:Saforrest 21:32, 30 Hāligmōnaþ 2005 (EDT) - I am supporting the use of macrons as I did before. They more faithfully represent modern OE orthography, and I believe there is enough support for Unicode characters out there at this point to justify their use. We can alter the stylesheets to include the fallback fonts that Ado put on Hēafodsīde across the site. As well, we can include a link to instructions on how to download free Unicode fonts from the main page.
  3. Nicolas 20:48, 3 Winterfylleþ 2005 (UTC) - The default font used on my browser, Lucida Grande, has a minor kerning problem with some letters following an ī (about a pixel or so too much space) but nothing that would cause objections. Characters are a doddle to type on Macs so no problem there. (Macrons are alt-a followed by vowel, acutes are alt-e followed by vowel. Þ and ð are alt-t and alt-d, æ and œ are alt-apostrophe and alt-q respectively (using any of the 'Extended' roman keyboard layouts.)
  4. -Rich Farmbrough 12:24, 4 Winterfylleþ 2005 (UTC) - "Do the right thing".
  5. --Walda 05:04, 30 Winterfylleþ 2005 (UTC) It was an excellent idea to switch from accents to long marks. They are more historically accurate; Old English is not Old Norse (even where they were to a degree mutually intelligible). I like the new look, although either ist mir gleich, since my browser, Safari, displays each well.
  6. Remigiu 19:32, 11 Blōtmōnaþ 2006 (UTC)

Against Macrons (Keep Accents)[adiht fruman]

Keep accents. Change to macrons would be desirable, but causes much difficulty to users with older computers or who for some other reason do not have the expensive new font Ariel Unicode MS. Anthony Appleyard 07:12, 24 Hāligmōnaþ 2005 (UTC)

Deadline[adiht fruman]

Votes to be tallied after the close of voting, Saturday, October 1st at midnight.

Results[adiht fruman]

By a vote of 2 to 1, we are keeping the macrons, and will be using them across the wikipedia. --James 05:49, 2 Winterfylleþ 2005 (UTC)

Information[adiht fruman]

The following lists the Unicode character set from which the characters of interest here are taken. This may be viewed as a rough measure of how well-supported they will be on different platforms, with Latin-1 being the best-supported and Latin Extended-B the least-supported.

Encoding Raw characters {{unicode}}
Latin 1 Á á É é Í í Ó ó Ú ú Ý ý Á á É é Í í Ó ó Ú ú Ý ý
Latin Extended-A Ā ā Ē ē Ī ī Ō ō Ū ū Ā ā Ē ē Ī ī Ō ō Ū ū
Latin Extended-B Ǽ ǽ Ǣ ǣ Ȳ ȳ Ǽ ǽ Ǣ ǣ Ȳ ȳ

Note that only the characters from Latin-1 above are representable in the ISO 8859-1 or ISO 8859-15 encoding formats, which was used for the Modern English wikipedia until recently (it now uses UTF-8).

Arguments for each position[adiht fruman]

The following outline some of the arguments to be made on either side. Please add further arguments or counterarguments as you see fit, within reason.

For[adiht fruman]

  • Macrons more faithfully represent modern OE orthography.
  • Acute accents have a defined meaning in other languages, and are occasionally used for foreign words, so it is confusing to overload them with this new meaning.
  • Compatibility of ǽ and ǣ are essentially equivalent, so if we are willing to allow anything from Latin Extended-B at all, we might as well go all the way and use macrons.
  • Compatibility with English wikipedia is no longer a problem since it is now using the UTF-8 encoding standard instead of ISO-8859-1.
  • There are several freely-available fonts, such as Junicode, which users can install if they have older computers without Unicode fonts preinstalled.

Against[adiht fruman]

  • Because Latin-1 has better support overall, the characters áéíóú are more compatible with current computer configurations than the macron equivalents āēīōū.
  • The character ǽ looks better in Arial, the default sans-serif font on Microsoft Windows, than does ǣ, the equivalent character with macron.
  • The y-with-macron character (ȳ) is not well represented in some fonts, including Arial and Arial Unicode, in which it looks like 'y_'.
  • Change to macrons causes much difficulty to users with older computers or who for some other reason do not have the expensive new font Ariel Unicode MS. My Windows 98 computer shows æ-macron and y-macron in Internet Explorer as squares (the default "What's this!?" symbol, same as I get for Devanagari and katakana etc), and in Firefox as the correct characters but ugly and too big and half boldface. Many people cannot afford to and don't want to casually replace computers which work adequately for most purposes. Anthony Appleyard 07:20, 24 Hāligmōnaþ 2005 (UTC)

Other comments from the First Vote which may be relevant[adiht fruman]

I would vote not to require either, there is really no precedent for being sticklers for this kind of thing. Wherever possible, leave it up to the writer to include them or not, and don't count it "wrong" if it is missing. Codex Sinaiticus 21:35, 31 Wéodmónaþ 2005 (UTC)

I agree there. I do not think macrons should be required. I favour them over grave and acute accents if it's one or the other, but the use of macrons isn't universal to modern Old English texts and writing and so I don't feel it should be a prerequisite to writing here. --Yst 03:45, 1 Háligmónaþ 2005 (UTC)

Well, the question of whether to require accents/macrons or not is an entirely independent issue: even if we decided that diacritics were optional, we could still specify which sort of diacritics to include if we chose to include them.
So, you can feel free to add sections above called "For, without agreeing that the use of diacritics be mandatory" and "Against, ..." and then specify your vote there.
However, I think there are good reasons for requiring the use of diacritics:
  • Unambiguity: there are many OE words where the accents are semantically significant:
    • ǽl "eel" vs. æl "awl"
    • éoh "yew-tree" vs. eoh (poetic word for) "horse"
    • hátian "heat, be hot" vs. hatian "hate"
    • hrán "reindeer" vs. hran "whale"
    • métan "meet, encounter" vs. metan "mark off, estimate".
    • scéad "reason, distinction, discretion" vs. scead "shadow"
    • wácian "weaken" vs. wacian "waken, keep awake"
    • wrǣn "stallion" vs. wræn "wren".
  • Standardization: if we make diacritics optional in titles, people might not know a page with the relevant information already exists, because they're looking for the version with or without diacritics.
--Saforrest 17:56, 1 Háligmónaþ 2005 (UTC)
On this note, check out Rihtwrítung on Wikibooks...--James 16:32, 3 Háligmónaþ 2005 (UTC)
Presumably this sort of ambiguity could be solved by a routine disambig line at the top of the article, e.g. at the top of hran put this line or similar:-
Oððe sécest þú hrán?
Ans suitable redirects. Rich Farmbrough 12:23, 4 Winterfylleþ 2005 (UTC)

It would help if the Sundortācnu lines used type twice the size and an easier target to click the mouse on. Anthony Appleyard 05:18, 25 Hāligmōnaþ 2005 (UTC)