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Bug#108416: Bug#139957: period at the end of short description?

[ No need to CC me, since I read -policy ]

On Sat, 2002-03-30 at 17:34, Chris Waters wrote:

> I am uncomfortable with this view.  A title (or subtitle) is
> capitalized the way it is because it is, more or less, a proper
> name. A name may be descriptive, or it may be merely evocative or
> suggestive, or none of the above.  We want descriptive, not merely
> evocative or suggestive, and certainly not none of the above.

I'm thinking of subtitles for technical works, not works of fiction. 
Taking one example from my bookshelf:

Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the
Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought

That's what I think of as a good, explanatory subtitle (and a creative
title) for a nonfiction work.

> "Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the
> Bomb": 

"Gentlemen, there is no fighting in the War Room!"

> here the subtitle is definitely evocative, but not very
> descriptive.  

Right; Doctor Strangelove is a fictional work...we think ;)

> A package might have an official upstream subtitle
> (something like, "Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister"), 

Well, in this case I don't think of that as a subtitle at all, but just
the expansion of the acronym, which for a lot of acronyms isn't very
enlightening at all.

> and that's
> probably not what we want.  We want a short description.  Really we
> do.  So, I think that's what we should ask for.

I think we're talking about the same thing, really.  A subtitle for a
technical work should fit your (short) description of a short

> More practically, as Branden points out, it's easier to add
> capitalization in a display program than it is to take it away.  To
> add capitalization, you merely need to filter a handful of small words
> that don't get capitalized.  To take away capitalization, you need to
> know every proper name and every acronym that might be used in a
> description (because these shouldn't get de-capitalized).

Well, I guess it looks like we've come to a rough consensus on the
matter of the period, but not on the capitalization.  I guess this is to
be expected, looking at the statistics from the Packages file.  Maybe we
should just defer this question until someone can come up with a new
argument.  Personally, if it was clear that there was a > 50% majority
either way, I would just go with the majority.

> Thinking about this has inspired me to come up with an official
> subtitle for WMRack (which I'm currently upstream for): "The
> Wonderful, Magical Rack of Sound Bytes".  I think it's a fine
> subtitle, but I do not think it would be an appropriate short
> description.  I hope you all agree.

I agree that it would not be an appropriate short description, but I
don't think it fulfills the explanatory role of a subtitle very well. 
Actually, you aren't too far from making it the expansion of WMRack as
an acronym; e.g. Wonderful, Magical, Real Accoustic CD Kit.

¹ :)

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