Talk:Gay (word)

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I started this article from scratch here at Citizendium. --Ian Johnson 01:07, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

Original author notes

This article is part of a range of gay related articles I am in the process of creating at CZ.

There will be needed sources and relevant links added soon, and, potentially, topic section expansion - and I hope that other CZers will feel very welcome to join with me to help build this and other GLBT related articles. --Ian Johnson 01:07, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

What this article is about, and sections removed

Removed (tentatively) "Famous gay men" and "Gay media" as section headings. These topics don't belong under the title "gay," do they? Let me explain my thinking, which is a little complicated. "Homosexuality" is the name of a general phenomenon. There ought to be an article titled "gay," of course, but it is an adjective; therefore, it seems to me, any article about it should be mainly about semantic and other features of the word "gay." (We might move/redirect the article to gay (word).) An article that has sections about famous gay men (which might be better made a subpage, eh?) and gay media should would concern not the word but the thing, hence something that goes under a substantive noun: "gayness" or (better, perhaps) "homosexuality." But then, an article about homosexuality might (I don't know, really) be best focused on "the thing itself," whatever that amounts to, while we have another article about gays in society (whatever that might be called). Consider: we'll have an article about blindness (please don't read too much into the analogy!!); should we have information about famous blind people and blind media within the article about blindness itself? Maybe, maybe not. We might want to have the blind in society or social aspects of blindness or some such thing. If, in both the case of homosexuality and blindness, we want all-encompassing articles that concern both biological/health aspects and societal aspects (and all other aspects), then where exactly should they live, and will we plan to have articles about just the societal aspects too, and where will those articles live? These are big topics of course, so what we ought to do is to plan out a whole structure of articles. What ultimately do we want to have articles about, when it comes to GLBT topics?

I hope I've expressed my concerns, or at least my confusion, adequately... --Larry Sanger 01:45, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

I understand the issue and very much appreciate the input. Your comments make sense to me.
I agree that the topics "Famous gay men" and "Gay media" are better served as potential sub-pages (still getting my head around how sub-pages relate to article pages), or articles themselves. I have in mind that GLBT could potentially become a kind of portal (not sure of my nomenclature here) or jumping off point in CZ with a range of related subjects of gay interest, so that a user can easily start there and expand tree-like into the articles they are interested in. Not sure if there might be any CZ precedent?
Maybe I could draw a tree diagram to consider the structure and content of such a thing? Gay media for example I think is best under Gay marketing, as a channel of promotional distribution for marketing purposes, and also under Gay community, in a social and political context.
As for homosexuality and blindness? Both I - and (maybe) even the Pope - are smiling at that ;-) ... --Ian Johnson 02:49, 28 July 2007 (CDT) seems to describe at least some of the etymology for "gay" very well.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 02:37, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

Stephen, thanks much for all the great links you have been putting up for my assistance. Appreciated. --Ian Johnson 02:49, 28 July 2007 (CDT)
I am going to move the page to gay (word) as suggested above; we have done this before for other articles. John Stephenson 03:47, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

Ian, above you asked about a "portal". CZ is trying its hand at catalogs instead. See Catalog of religions for an example, the most developed non-math one so far. Obviously, or at least it seems to me, there is room for some creative improvement on them, e.g., they might include thumbnails, boxes, etc.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 03:59, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

Steve, right, and so I meant to imply only that the list of famous gay men could go on a table (catalog) page, not that a "gay media" article should go there. Subpages aren't encyclopedia articles, they're supplementary material. --Larry Sanger 04:04, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

That all sounds helpful. I want to keep creating - and building - gay topic encyclopaedia articles (then I want to expand into some Business related articles we really need to see (non-gay) - essentials about business for encyclopaedia). Once we have a sufficient 'thread' or set of GLBT articles, I would seek guidance on how we can catalogue them to offer users interested in gay sociological, or business, or community, or political, or whatever, issues a convenient place to find where they all are. Mind you, as this is the start of my Week 2 here, that may all be based on very little understanding of how that might fit here but I am comforted by the collegiate atmosphere that, by and large, seems to guide evolutions here at CZ - so we will see where this should lead. --Ian Johnson 07:18, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Keep watch on internal links

Just a note: homosexual and homosexuality are now both linked. I leave it to others to decide if there will be two separate articles or a redirect. Also please note [gay movement] or [gay rights movement] or [gay rights] movement or whatever.

Also, I added more detail to the meaning 'happy', which survived for centuries and is still embedded in popular culture, literature and songs. Aleta Curry 18:23, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

Aleta, these new etymological entries are simply not accurate. The simplistic meaning "happy" is considerably less precise, than the OED definition, and the dictionaries you cite are of lesser authority. Would you please revert your changes? As a professional linguist and etymologist, I cannot support these changes; more detail and greater nuance is needed. It is also inaccurate to imply that dictionaries generally did not list the definition of "gay" as homsexual until the late 1990's; some dictionaries did so much sooner, and not all dictionaries list their definitions in order of priority (the OED uses, for instance, a mixed date/priority system); UK and US dictionaries also vary quite a bit on this word.

In addition, the use of "gay" within the gay community was much more a reclamation of a previously prejorative term than simply a matter of frequency of usage. Lastly, where have the section headers gone? This article has become considerably more muddled than it was at the start. Russell Potter 20:43, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

I am Mr. Section Header Remover. You'll find me doing it frequently. I think during the draft stage it helps most writers with narrative cohesion and flow, rather than write in the "blockish" style of most WP entries.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 22:12, 28 July 2007 (CDT)
I like the evolution process at work here. Aleta, I was planning to suggest adding a section on 'Gay community attitudes to the use of the word gay' sort of discussion. It is an interesting one, has evolved over time, and as Russell observes, there was an element of 'reclamation', although - as Russell probably already knows - there is a similar reclamation story behind Queer (word), which might be a related discussion with some interesting Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West etymological links that could be interesting future considerations. That I think means we ought to be sure the article also addresses the 'withering' of the word as a general adjective to describe any number of circumstances related to happiness and joy too, perhaps in a section related to common usages of the term in society. I remember a wonderful incident in the 1980s when a much loved family neighbour, born in 1897 and then well into her 80s at that stage (she lived to be 101), announced - with great pride - to an assembled social gathering in Glen Innes how 'gay' her grandson was looking. It was a very sweet, and quite lovely 'time capsule' moment. --Ian Johnson 07:27, 29 July 2007 (CDT)
All good. Steve, sorry if I seemed overly steamed about the section headers -- it was as though, before a buiding seemed ready to stand, te scaffolding was whisked away. Eventually, of course, fewer is often bettr. Ian, good points about Queer; these should be interlinked and the history section will have much in common. Russell Potter 07:53, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Wow! Look what I started!

This probably wouldn't have happened if I had included in my note that I just added a "roughie" and you should feel free to amend it as you see fit. But, thought I, that is the very nature of a wiki, and saying so will sound condescending; who am I to give anyone permission to edit my work? Damned...and damned....

Naturally I would have had no way of knowing what anyone had planned based on the version I saw, which didn't have sections nor nothing. Stephen, Look what you did!!

Sorry, I wasn't ignoring you, Russell, I wasn't here to revert my edits; it was Sunday here.

"It is also inaccurate to imply that dictionaries generally did not list the definition of "gay" as homsexual until the late 1990's" -- Russell, Russell, Russell--did I say that? I didn't hear myself saying that....

For the record, Russ old bean, I very much like what you've done, and agree completely.

I assume this is still evolving; there are a couple of other points I would like to see added.

I see Russell and Ian have left notes at my come run your mouth page, and I'll answer there.

Off to continue to wreak gay havoc and merry mayhem!

Bwah, hah hah..... [reaches for broomstick].

Aleta Curry 17:15, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Poetic language

I was just casually glancing over a few changes and came across this one, which struck me as a "teaching moment." The article was changed from

Such a broadly poetic, and largely positive use of the word has faded with its entry into political debates, whether pro- or anti-gay. This change in the word is reflected in such compound usages as


The shift in meaning towards an exclusively homosexual meaning is reflected in such compound usages as

That strikes me as a decided unimprovement. Basically, the original language was more readable and "poetic" itself, and the newer language is "encyclopedese" and denatured. Please have a look at Article Mechanics and see, for example, life and biology as examples of the style we want to achieve. And bear in mind the sort of criticisms in Jaron Lanier's Digital Maoism article, which claim that collaboration leads to denatured, boring language. Let's prove him wrong! --Larry Sanger 09:06, 14 November 2007 (CST)

In my humble opinion the article reads better now, especially with the changes made by Hayford Pierce, but then I would say that since I did most of the recent minor edits. --Chris Goodman 17:41, 15th November 2007 (CST)

I have reverted it back to the original text. I wish you well with your project.--Chris Goodman 01:13, 16th November 2007 (CST)

I am with Larry Sanger on this one - it is an unexpected pleasure to read well constructed encyclopedic text and the poetic allusions made me feel the article was more reader-friendly. I am happy with the poetic version for now, indeed reading the text in question made me feel happy, almost quite poetically gay. (smiles) --Ian Johnson 06:50, 18 November 2007 (CST)