According to Wikipedia a drop cap is a type of initial. So I think it would make sense to have the more general term as a tag. Maybe with as a synonym. (See current {dropcap} questions.)

If we don't rename to , than I think the tag should be renamed to , per the naming guidlines.

  • I don't think this is a good idea, since "initial" is not a term that is known to many people. (Maybe "dropcap" isn't either, but from the small questions it's hard to know. – Alan Munn Jun 3 '11 at 12:20
  • @Alan: You might be right. – Caramdir Jun 3 '11 at 15:44
  • FWIW, the command for placing dropped capitals is called \placeinitial in ConTeXt. – Aditya Jun 13 '11 at 19:05

Since doncherry has added his suggestion as an answer, I'll expand a bit on my comment.

I don't think "initial" is a good candidate for a tag name. Even if the term is the more correct one, if it doesn't resonate with (average) questioners, then it either won't get used or will get used for other purposes. "initial" to (most?) English speakers has really only one salient meaning: words/names shortened to their initial letters. Now granted, drop-cap is also fairly technical, but it is used in other software that people might have experience with, e.g. Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign, and therefore I think the "drop-cap" version is to be preferred (German speakers notwithstanding. :-).)

  • (I hope it was ok to add my suggestions as an answer? I don't have too much experience writing and discussing on meta.) As for the question matter: Would something like {initial-dropcap[s]} or {dropcap-initial[s]} be an option? A variety of synonyms seems inevitable for this tag, no matter what it ends up being. – doncherry Jun 3 '11 at 22:56
  • @doncherry I think it was fine. The line between answer and comment is very blurry on meta, I think. Your answer spurred me on to expand on the comment, which is what the whole discussion is for. – Alan Munn Jun 3 '11 at 23:05

Voting results seem to be inconclusive.

So, maybe we can rename to and make a synonym of it.

@Mods: Could you please do the renaming and merging (I created , so that it can be made a synonym).

  • What? My suggestion had 4 times as many votes as doncherry's :-) I think here the voting reflects lack if interest in the issue altogether. – Alan Munn Jun 7 '11 at 19:14
  • But there are 5 upvotes on my original suggestion :). We are spending an awful lot of words on a 3-question tag... – Caramdir Jun 7 '11 at 19:30
  • Ah, but that includes an upvote from me, on the assumption that the issue is worth discussing. Watch it, or I'll revoke my vote. Also, your question has a second alternative proposal, so vote counts are suspect. :-). Shall we do this or this? 5 people said yes! – Alan Munn Jun 7 '11 at 19:35

The Wikipedia version makes sense, a drop cap is an initial that extends into the line(s) below, but an initial might as well extend into the space above.

To the Germans among us, initial might be more telling than drop-cap since the German word is Initiale.

The understanding issue Alan mentioned is interesting. The only question that actually refers to this kind of letter is asked by an Austrian, the others don't use technical terminology.

Since there aren't too many questions (= 3) about these matters on here, a distinction between general initials and drop caps doesn't seem appropriate, but neither does tagging a question about an initial with "drop-caps". Hence, I think renaming the tag is a good idea.


Maybe the name could be where something is something appropriate (not being an expert, I have no idea what the "something" could be). I wouldn't realise what was and that a "drop cap" was an example thereof. Whilst "drop-cap" and "initial" may be both technical terms, "drop-cap" is fairly unambiguous (I guess one could take it to mean "lowercase" if one were being very obtuse) but (as has been pointed out) "initial" is not.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .