How Star Trek Into Darkness just ignited a Wikipedia grammar war

Contributed by
Jan 31, 2013, 9:53 AM EST

In the battle between anal retentive Trekkies and anal retentive Wikipedia editors, who wins?

More than 40,000 words on a Wikipedia talk page (and one very funny XKCD comic) have now been devoted to what is apparently an extremely contentious issue among Wikipedia editors, Trek fans and people with too much time on their hands. The issue: Whether the word "into" should be capitalized in Star Trek Into Darkness.

See, Wikipedia's official style guide says that you're not supposed to capitalize any preposition with four letters or less, but that rule gets murkey when the word is designated as part of a subtitle. But since the title of the new flick has no colon in it, most have interpreted the Into Darkness part of title as part of the main title, and not a subtitle. Confused? Basically, it breaks down like this, according to Wikipedian Frungi:

Arguments for the lowercase I

  • “Into Darkness” may not be a subtitle, and “Star Trek into Darkness” may have been intended to be read as a sentence.
  • Assuming it’s not a subtitle, the [manual of style] dictates a lowercase preposition.
  • Treating “into Darkness” as a subtitle without punctuation would be original research.
  • Allowing it to be interpreted as a subtitle would play into the studio's marketing.
  • The creator said that the title would not have a subtitle with a colon

Arguments for the uppercase I

  • “Into Darkness” may be a subtitle, in line with the precedence of every Star Trek movie title longer than two words.
  • Assuming it is a subtitle, the [manual of style] dictates the first word be capitalized.
  • Treating “Into Darkness” as part of a sentence would be original research.
  • Capitalizing the possible subtitle would allow it to be interpreted either way.
  • Every official, and the vast majority of secondary, sources capitalize it, and Wikipedia should follow this real-world use.
  • The sentence “Star trek into darkness” makes no grammatical sense.
  • The creator said that the title would have a subtitle rather than a number, and that the subtitle would not have a colon.

Yes, our heads really hurt after reading that, too. And no, the issue still hasn't been resolved, despite this rather colorful declaration that was splashed across of the top of the page Tuesday:


You might have noticed that, here at Blastr, we write the title the same way Paramount Pictures writes it: Star Trek Into Darkness. Because that's the title of the film. There's no controversy about that as far as we're concerned (or ever were concerned); it's just what it's called. Here's hoping these people can stop arguing about this very soon and get back to arguing about what really matters: Kirk or Picard?

(Via The Daily Dot)