Forum:Serial commas & the Style Guide

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Forums: Redwood Grove > Serial commas & the Style Guide

Our style guide was recently changed without discussion to not use serial commas (aka Oxford commas) any longer, this is opposed to the last 7 years (actually over 13 years as it was forked from the RuneScape Wiki) of requiring and using serial commas. I've reverted this edit as I feel it was inappropriate to make no attempt to find consensus from the community beforehand on such a foundational policy. So now I'm posing that question here. Should we change our style guide to prohibit the use of serial commas except where they remove ambiguity?

Here's a quick link to the Wikipedia article on serial commas: [1]


Oppose - I feel we should use serial commas and require their use as we always have. Serial commas serve to remove pointless ambiguity like this. I am unaware of anywhere on the Wiki where we could create ambiguity by using serial commas. I'm aware that British English doesn't use them as often as American English does, and that they're not considered necessary in British English; however, British English does still use them and I feel that given we are a Wiki, it is reasonable to consider them necessary on the Wiki, regardless of if they aren't considered necessary in British English, so as to remove pointless ambiguity for our users. zTUG5mD.png Crow  04:01, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

Opinion — I'm indifferent as long as its use or lack thereof doesn't lead to ambiguity (which the recent 'senate' edit did also take into account). I'd also like to note that the style guide is a guideline rather than a policy; even if it says and suggests something be written a certain way, it's not required to be used. --Julia talk 13:05, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

Addendum: I'm also not sure how the Falo or obsidian armor examples would create ambiguity; from context it's very clear that they're a list of three items in succession. It's more of a problem with phrases like "The bus was full of crazy people, you(,) and your friends". --Julia talk 13:12, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

Slight oppose - A fairly minor thing but it would be nice to agree on it. I do think it would be slightly better to stick with the original guideline of using the Oxford commas when listing things out. Even if the person writing it thinks there's no ambiguity, someone reading it with less knowledge might find it ambiguous. Andmcadams (talk) 13:22, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

Oppose - Looking at the British and American organizations supporting the use of serial commas [wikipedia], I notice that most research and language organizations support using serial commas, while opposition comes heavily from newspapers. The Runescape Wiki not being a newspaper, I think siding towards the former groups makes more sense. Regardless, even if we were to recommend the use of avoiding serialized commas, I think this needs to be a recommendation and not a prohibition as stated in the original question, since both are recognized as valid. ThetaZero (talk) 14:31, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

Oppose - As much as I was trying to find grammar rules for en-GB regarding this, there wasn't much. I found one thing from the University of Bristol, but that was about it. Since I couldn't find a definitive answer, I would rather that we use the comma in order to prevent any chance of confusion based on ambiguity. Legaia 2 Pla · ʟ · 18:16, 28 June 2020 (UTC)

Closure - Usage of the Oxford comma is strongly recommended from here on out, but not mandatory. -- Recent uploads SpineTalkContribs 01:51, 2 July 2020 (UTC)