I think it's quite obvious that this development is the result of taking directly from whatever form of the word is encountered in Assassin's Creed sources, a policy I don't disagree with in and of itself. It makes sense to use whatever is preferred by the sources, and hence that is how we wound up with the singular "Hidden Blade" and the plural "swords", I'm assuming. (I actually am not sure that the plural "swords" is used in sources).
However, at the same time, as I said, it's inconsistent and also awkward, at least to me because by default, the title of an entry for a subject should generally be in the base form. I think you guys should take a look at Wikipedia's policy on this for reference. I'm not saying that we have to follow Wikipedia's guide, but it might shed some insight on the matter.
Related to this issue is disambiguating articles by using the plural form, an issue we first encountered with Generals of the Cross, the title, as opposed to General of the Cross, the—as yet unnamed—individual. It is inconsistent with Mentor the title vs. the individual Mentor (2000). Also, I just realized it's furthermore incorrect because the title is "General of the Cross", not "Generals of the Cross". However, I just noticed we have done the same with Staves of Eden and Apples of Eden as opposed to Apple of Eden 2, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
I kinda disagree about the Hidden Blade/Gun. Functionally, it's treated no different from the other weapons, and to make an exception seems inconsistent. I would personally propose that the weapons be singular.
An exception might be made for fists and possibly throwing knives.
First, note that this is the opinion of someone who never contributes to this wiki's organization, although think it's obvious you have to handle each case individually.
"Apples of Eden", "Staves of Eden", "Pieces of Eden", etc. is plural, because it's about a group of artefacts. From the title, you already know there are more than one.
Same thing for Assassin guilds.
Weapon categories (swords, firearms, bombs...) should be plural for the same reason. Also this isn't Wikipedia: "Bombs" is about bombs in the series, not the concept of a bomb. See below.
"Hidden Blade/Gun" is a bit tricky. It's more of a concept than a weapon -> Singular.
Factions should be plural to avoid confusion. "Mercenaries" implies it's a group, while "Mercenary" would trick people into believing it's just a rank or position, see below.
Ranks pages are different though: they're about the function of the rank it refers to. Singular, then.
I forgot to mention that I agree with the point made in that Wikipedia link that groups of people should be plural, hence why I referenced it.
However, I disagree entirely when it comes to weapons and artifacts. By your logic with the Pieces of Eden, any item or object whatsoever where there is more than one in existence should have its article entry name pluralized, something that I think is unprecedented in academia and professional writing. The articles don't necessarily have to refer to the entire group of Apples of Eden, but what is an Apple of Eden in the first place. When I reference Wikipedia, or even Wookieepedia for that matter, I don't mean to say that I think that we should copy from them or that I don't understand that we're not Wikipedia and have no obligation to follow by their policies, but I do think that their rationale is on point and are also just two examples of what is typical academic policy. I find the idea that when we discuss subjects of which there is more than one of its quantity, we have to treat them all as a group as arbitrary in all cases other than people and the particular exceptions listed in that Wikipedia guideline. It's not incorrect, say, to introduce an explanation of atoms, by saying "an atom is...", or to explain an integer as "an integer is..." even though we can also entirely treat them as "groups": "atoms are", "integers are". Your point about why Apples of Eden, Pieces of Eden, etc. are in the plural is applicable to any subject whatsoever of where there is more than one and suggests that when that is the case, it is incorrect do define a singular item of that subject is, and that they must be explained as a whole collective group. This has never been the case in academia or in the English grammar rules. Going by your logic, hypothetically, Single Action Army should actually be Single Action Armies, because there is theoretically more than one specific Single Action Army, just as there are many Apples of Eden.
I think the point about weapon categories might have a subtle connection with lingering OOU or gameplay writing. This is because in terms of gameplay, yes, swords, bombs, polearms, firearms, etc. are distinct categories, whereas Hidden Blade and the Hidden Gun have stood out as iconic, unique weapons that defy simple categorization. However, in reality, there are many layers of categorization, and outside of organization of gameplay terms and mechanics, swords, bombs, firearms, etc. don't have to be treated as the weapon categories, unless you argue that their sub-categories such as "sabers" and "muskets" and "maces" should also be pluralized because they can be categories as well, which might entirely be your train of thought. In that case, we go back to your point with the Pieces of Eden, where essentially any subject of which there exists more than one or can be grouped should necessarily have to be discussed as a group, but I don't see why this has to be the case especially since this isn't conventionally the case in academic and professional writing.
I'm confused what you mean by the article at Hidden Blade discussing the concept of it rather than, well, the actual thing. I don't see how discussing swords is any different in terms of discussing it as either a concept or what swords are. If you truly see that swords and bombs and the like refer solely to the category of weapons, then that, I think, is thinking in gameplay terms. I think Hidden Blades are no different from swords and other weapon articles in this case.
I thus far do agree that faction pages should be kept in the plural, if only because they're so prominently referred to collectively in the same manner as we do in real-life different groups of people (usually ethnicities). However, I disagree with your opinion on why it should be the case. I think this might be a clearer indicator that you might be thinking from gameplay terms again. Mercenaries don't have to be a group, nor merchants, nor courtesans, as these are professions, which really is similar to a position. There can be a mercenary, a Mentor, a banker, a doctor, a Grand Master, a Master Templar, etc., and not all mercenaries in real-life form a cohesive faction or group. However, since the usage in Assassin's Creed do in fact tend to refer to them more in the sense of a group of people, then I think that, for the same reason I agree with Wikipedia's policy on having groups of people as exceptions, I agree we should keep it as plural, though I do wonder if in this case, I'm sliding back into deferring to gameplay mechanics.
I think I have discovered that this is somehow a bit intertwined with the conflict between lore-base and gameplay-base writing. I am of the understanding this wiki has chosen the former, hence our policy on writing from the IU-perspective. However, I have been going over weapon articles, and almost all of them have been written in entirely gameplay terms disguised under the historical paste tense used for writing in the IU-perspective. I'm not sure if we actually have a limit on how far to the lore-base direction we want to be, which is something I had never thought about. I'm not sure, but I think your opinion might unknowingly represent a policy of respecting a gameplay viewpoint even while writing from the in-universe perspective centered around constructing cohesive lore.
Despite what I said in my above comment, I actually am more 50/50 in keeping it at Apples of Eden and Pieces of Eden, but I can't exactly articulate why I'm a bit more fine with it. However, Staves of Eden has always stood out as exceedingly awkward, but its naming would have to be consistent with Apples of Eden.
I'm more 60%-70% in keeping the faction pages at the plural, if only because they're treated so prominently as concise groups of people in the series. However, this might be illogical of me given that there are still many examples of mercenaries and thieves who don't necessarily belong to these gameplay "factions".
I think weapons and Guilds should just be in the singular though for my arguments above.
Except Assassin's Creed "Mercenaries" are a faction.
This goes back to what I was saying about how we're supposed to be avoiding writing in terms of gameplay mechanics. The idea of thieves, mercenaries, and courtesans as distinct factions is mostly a gameplay mechanics although it has been integrated into the lore enough that it's clear the Italian Brotherhood did have an organized view of their allies into these three factions. However, not all mercenaries, thieves, and courtesans are part of these "factions". For example, Juhani Otso Berg himself was a mercenary as were the Orsi brothers and other famous individuals. Helene Dufranc and Fillan McCarthy are but two examples of people who were thieves but weren't "Thieves" in the gameplay sense of employable factions or controlling those factions. In other words, these professions all exist outside of mere, discrete factions that aid Ezio just as in real-life. So that might be a case for going for the singular for factions as well. However, we might think that in the case of such factions, it is still important to treat them as groups.
Just to throw this out there, the Wikipedia standard is for all pages to be singular. For example, the Wikipedia link for "Mercenaries" redirects to "Mercenary".
I do like the collection vs. concept distinction, though.
Perhaps a poll followed by a MoS update to better indicate the distinction?
A poll would be great. We also definitely need some clarification on our manual of style. However, I feel like we still have so much to discuss on this. What are the pros and cons to this "collection vs. concept distinction" and how do we decide when to use which? I think the Wikia Editor and I were both confused over the idea that "swords" doesn't describe the concept and yet "Hidden Blade" does.
I was thinking this over, and I have just realized the merit of Touloir's perspective a bit more or at least understand it better.
For example, I was confused over his assertion that Hidden Blade describes the "concept" of swords while swords don't and describes a "collection". I don't think this is correct, but I do think that another way Touloir could have described it as that swords in Assassin's Creed is a class or category of weapons whereas Hidden Blade is a single weapon.
This harkens back to when I just split spear from long weapons since it used to redirect to it, and when "Swords and maces" were one article, standing in for "medium weapons".
I think even though we are focusing on a lore-based direction in this wiki over gameplay, a case may be made that preserving these gameplay classifications is convenient, especially if it doesn't violate any logic. It's only a matter of organization.'
However, this is a very important counter-point: with the release of newer games, it's clear that one game's organization or classification of weapons is not universal or consistent across all other games. In other cases, weapons which we might think should be treated as a collection or group are treated as a distinct, singular item in a game.
For example: mace. Since there is a Cavalieri Mace, a Flanged Mace, a Condottiero Mace, a Byzantine Mace, and an Ottoman Mace, it would seem that for the sake of organization, we can treat an article at mace as dealing with maces as a collection or group. In other words maces. However, in Assassin's Creed: Unity, there is also a specific weapon named simply "Mace". There is the same problem with Warhammer since the game has a specific weapon, on the same level of organization as other specific weapons, simply named "Warhammer" while there are other weapons in the series that are specific models of warhammers including the Lucerne hammer and the Prussian War Hammer. This becomes confusing and problematic because when we're writing an article and describing warhammers or maces in general, we might want to link to "warhammer", but it would lead to the specific model of warhammer or mace in Unity rather than warhammers or maces in general. A solution to this is to just have separate articles on maces and the specific, too-simply-named Mace in Unity, but I think this leads to another question.
Is the "Mace" in Unity really meant to represent a specific model of mace that is poorly named, or just a mace in general? If the latter, then it means that the game apparently organized maces in general on the same tier of organization as other more specifical weapons. After all, other weapons are called flamberge or bisento or bident or claymore or scimitar. They're always named very simply, and each one of these "specific" weapons can in fact arguably stand as "collections of weapons of that type" as well, just like "mace" or "warhammer".
While we might not realize it, this is the same even with older games. "Lucerne hammer" can also be a collection or group of different Lucerne hammers. As can cinquedeas especially since there are three models of cinquedeas in the series, the notched cinquedea, the Channeled Cinquedea, and the cinquedea in Unity which is as long as a sword. The two older types of cinquedeas from AC2, being more specific types, can arguably be grouped under the article "Cinquedeas" from Unity which sounds more general. Alternatively, we can treat the "cinquedeas" in Unity as not referring to using a cinquedea in general, but a specific model.
All this is very confusing and long-winded, I'm sure, so let me bold my point. It's clear that in the AC series, classification of weapons is not immutable, and it is often quite arbitrary as well.
The argument for designating certain articles as dealing with "groups" of something is based purely on a game's manner of organizing gameplay terms. Mercenaries is a faction. Swords is a group of different types of swords. However, games differ in their organization of gameplay terms from game to game. There's no "general cinquedea" or "general mace" in AC2. There's different specific types of maces and cinquedeas. Hence, an article at "maces" can conceivably be a group of the different specific types of maces. However, in Unity, "mace" itself is on the same tier as a specific, individual weapon.
Outside of organizing as a game does (which is inconsistent across all the games), there is no logical way of distinguishing some things as designating a "group" and some not. "Maces" can be a group of different kinds of maces, or it can be regarded as a specific item "Mace". Yes, a bastard sword seems like a specific sword, not a group of swords. However, there are different types of bastard swords across the different games, showing that indeed, we can say there is a group of (different types of) bastard swords, just as there is a group of different types of swords. Any item can be treated as a group or an individual item.
It's quite clear that our wiki is inconsistent about which subjects should be treated as a group and which should not. We think to be faithful to the series' way of organization or classification, except this has become outdated because the games aren't consistent with it. This method is thus unreliable.
I understand Touloir's perspective in the sense that if we decide to go 100% lore and do away with gameplay recognition and organization completely, it might be confusing for readers of the site. If we went 100% lore, we might as well merge all articles of common "flintlock pistol" into one, but then fans might have a little bit difficulty distinguishing specific flintlock pistols of specific games.