Talk:Daniel S. Schanck Observatory/GA1

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GA Review[edit]

Article (edit | history) · Article talk (edit | history) · Watch

Reviewer: Editør (talk · contribs) 12:28, 13 December 2013 (UTC)


  • I would like to see a recent photo of the exterior and perhaps a photo of the interior.
  • Reply: (1) I did an exhaustive search for available current or recent images online, none are free. Per image use policy I cannot use a non-free image of a building under fair use. This image, because of its age, is public domain and therefore free use. (2) I haven't had the time to get to New Brunswick to take a photo myself, and the editors I know near that area haven't been able to do so yet. I do plan to get at least an exterior picture as soon as I can. I doubt I can get a picture of the interior since the building is locked and public access isn't often granted, but I will ask Rutgers if I can have access for this purpose. (3) GA criteria does not require images, it only that it be illustrated if possible. Since there is a free use image, criteria 6 is satisfied. See also: WP:GACN#What is a good article?#(6) Appropriately illustrated, which advises that not having a preferred image or asking for "more" or "better" images is not a grounds for failing a GA nominee. I can only assure you that if I find the time or an editor in the area whom I have contacted can find the time, there may be additional photographs added to the article. I don't envision that happening until next year.--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:31, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
And what about this photo? File:Rutgers University Schenck Observatory.jpg – Editør (talk) 16:49, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Reply: Was unaware of this photo--and I'm usually aware of Tomwsulcer's work. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.--ColonelHenry (talk) 02:26, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Done: Photo added.--ColonelHenry (talk) 02:39, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Reply: recommendation noted, but GA criteria does not require an infobox, and per WP:IBX, the use of an infobox is neither required nor prohibited. Given the size of the article, I didn't feel it appropriate, and I did not think the infobox could be applied in this unique building's circumstances to provide a good presentation of information.--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:31, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
The article would be more specific about this building if location information (map and street address) and technical details (area and height) would be included, and an infobox is possibly the easiest way to do this. – Editør (talk) 10:36, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Reply: per WP:IBX, the use of an infobox is neither required nor prohibited--and neither can it be mandated as a requirement for GA. I've stated my reasons for not choosing to employ the use of an infobox, we agree to disagree. This is neither actionable nor required. There is no "address" besides "along George Street between Hamilton and Somerset" and the technical details comes to "two-story" building. There isn't much precise written unless I dug around the university archives for architectural plans (unlikely) the interpretation of which verges on WP:OR.--ColonelHenry (talk) 16:34, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Why is there only a History section? Could the article be broken down using more informative subheadings?
  • Reply: The building is a historical building no longer in current use. I thought writing is from a historical vantage was the best option. I have taken all the available information on the building, its equipment, and its use--the main aspects of the topic--which came from histories written to describe the building's history and the history of it use, and logically I prepared this article as a history. If I broke it into smaller sections or subsections, the sections would be smaller and run afoul of the MOS layout guidelines (part of GA criteria 1b) which advises us not to make short sections or single-sentence paragraphs/sections which would unfortunately happen here. Consider this: The 14 sentences of the article's body (the "History" section) has 2 sentences regarding its architecture, the first of which is particularly historical in character. The article has 2 sentences on equipment, including a historical reference to that equipment's donors. It has 10 sentences that are specifically historical narrative. I wouldn't be averse to a better suggestion on order than at present, but after considering several possibilities in light of the MOS, I chose what I thought was the better option.--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:41, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
I understand that placing everything in a historical perspective is a logical thing to do, especially once you have started this way, but in this case I don't believe it improves the article's legibility for someone that is not familiar with the topic. Maybe I can suggest different sections and you can see whether or not it is an improvement. If not, we can always revert it or find some middle way. – Editør (talk) 17:55, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Reply: First off: What is the specific GA criteria on which your basing your proposal? and what are your concerns about "legibility" since I fail to see where my writing is confusing or lacking clarity and concision? The GA criteria does not require a specific format for sections provided that the article is well-written, factual, and contains at a minimum an appropriate lede and reference you have to convince me of a qualitative improvement to the article per the criteria beyond a suggestion that is essentially "I would have done this differently." Propose some sections divisions here if you wish. But considering my explanation above, expect very little flexibility if your proposal involves one or two-sentence or short sections. It's would be a non-starter. --ColonelHenry (talk) 02:26, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I think the nominated article failed GA criterion #1, but I am trying to help you improve it.
I have suggested a different sectioning. The text will probably need some additional copy-editing and perhaps the new structure asks for elaboration on certain points. – Editør (talk) 08:42, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • You can't just say "I think it failed GA#1" without qualification on how the article doesn't meet GA1. You have to say "HOW" specifically. That's what I'm asking. Support your claim. I'll think about the new organization. I think the sections are too short, and I don't like the lack of chronological flow. --ColonelHenry (talk) 15:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I reverted the sectioning proposal, the interruption with the chronological/linear narrative was too significant, confusing, and not beneficial to the article, and the MOS tells us to avoid short sections, these are three too-short sections that work better in chronological order and undivided.--ColonelHenry (talk) 16:32, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

– Editør (talk) 12:28, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

Addional comments[edit]

  • Lead
    • The coordinates are overprecise but incorrect: they do not point to the observatory but a different location at the Queens Campus.
      • Reply: The coordinates came from a Rutgers website. I'd remove them if they are inaccurate inasmuch as (1) I don't have the time to drive down to the site, and correct them, and (2) coordinates are not required by the GA criteria. Robbins (repeating 19th-century sources) describes it as "longitude of the observatory is 0º 10′ 29″ east of the New Naval Observatory at Washington, D.C., and the latitude is 40º 30′ N.", which isn't as precise as needed, and has to be checked. --ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Wikilinks could be added to the image captions.
      • Reply:Not required, and often that would be overlinking. In fact, the Athenian Tower of the Winds image caption is overlinked already, and linking in the caption isn't additionally "helpful." Further, since it's adequately discussed in the article, WP:CAPTION says it isn't necessary. --ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Foundation
    • Reply: Don't like the name "Foundation". It doesn't describe the section. I'm not happy with the section divisions anyway because they are disjunct and introduce confusion by disrupting the formerly consistent chronological narrative (and subsequently reverted).--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:21, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • This statement "Several years later, his son...bachelors degree in 1875." is not relevant for this article and should be removed.
      • Reply: Disagree. The donor's son was one of the school's first "Scientific Course" graduates, it's entirely relevant that his son would be among those students who benefitted from his father's generosity.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Wikilinks could be added to the image captions.
      • Reply: Overlinking. Not necessary.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Between the parentheses "2013:" should be replaced with something like "adjusted for inflation" for clarity.
      • Reply: Not necessary. The current format is in keeping with other articles that use inflation adjustments and the parenthetical can be easily assumed to be an inflation adjustment. Besides, if anyone cares, it's clarified and explained in the endnote.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Architecture
    • Queen's Campus should be Queens Campus
    • Why was the Queens Campus included in the registers?
      • Done Added a line of historical context.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:59, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • "After years of vandalism" this could be specified: time/weather and break-ins, as mentioned in the referenced source.
  • Observatory
    • The later career information of J.Ph. Bradley seems irrelevant to this article.
      • Reply: The guy who dedicated the observatory was a prominent alumnus (one of the school's most accomplished actually) who became a US Supreme Court Justice a few years later and you think that's not relevant? That's crazy. It was relevant to the Historic American Building Survey and the National Register of Historic Places application.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • The theft of parts of the equipment however does seem relevant to this article.
      • Done The initial source was a blog, and I didn't get into detail because a blog is not considered a reliable source. However, the blog references an oral history, and I've linked it back to that.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Were there any scientific discoveries made at the Observatory?
      • Done Added a link from source about measuring time/transit of the sun. Which is the only thing I've read on "discoveries." Robbins doesn't mention anything other than it being used for instruction and "practical astronomy".--ColonelHenry (talk) 16:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Some information about the new observatory (here?) that replaces this one.
      • Done mention the new observatory, but anything further should be in a separate article on that building.--ColonelHenry (talk) 16:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • See also
    • This section seems superfluous altogether and could be removed.
      • Disagree: Someone might be interested in other astronomical observatories or historical information on astronomical observation. It's a relevant link, and hardly "superfluous altogether".--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • The second link should definitely be removed as it has no direct relationship with this article.
  • References
    • Source references #3, #5, and #6 should have retrieval dates.
  • External links
    • The external link to Rutgers University should not be in this article, it is not about the observatory.
      • Disagree. It's to the school that owns the observatory. It's logical and acceptable practice to link buildings/facilities on university campuses to a the university's main webpage in the external links. I was thinking of adding a link to the astronomy department in addition to the current link.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • I would recommend collapsing the navigational template, since it is not so relevant for this article. Maybe it would be if some historical buildings were linked.
      • Reply: I don't screw with templates--even if it is only a brief parameter to be added--and since there are historical buildings listed and linked in the template (including others on the Queens Campus section of the University), it is relevant.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Editør (talk) 10:26, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

  • @Editør: - Do you see any further issues with the article that ought to be addressed?--ColonelHenry (talk) 07:59, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
  • @Editør: - Pinging reviewer 7 days after last reviewer comments.--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:06, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • @Editør: - Pinging reviewer 11 days after last reviewer comments.--ColonelHenry (talk) 05:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)


Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well-written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, it respects copyright laws, and the spelling and grammar are correct.
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation. The article layout should be improved per WP:BODY: "Sections and subsections are introduced by headings. These headings clarify articles by breaking up text, organizing content, and populating the table of contents." The main section "History, architecture, and use" groups some very different topics into one section, which already becomes clear from the section heading. The section should be broken down into two or more (sub)sections in order to make the article more accessible.
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline.
2b. it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines.
2c. it contains no original research.
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic. The article has no precise location information: geographic coordinates or a location map or a street address should be included.

The nominator resolved all other issues by adding information. Well done!

3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style). The nominator explained previous concerns to my satisfaction.
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias, giving due weight to each.
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content.
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.
7. Overall assessment. Although the structure of the article is not of GA quality, the article is well written and all other issues have been dealt with. Therefore my overall judgement of the article is positive and I hereby conclude that Daniel S. Schanck Observatory is a Good Article.

– Editør (talk) 19:44, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm not involved with the article editing. I agree with you on the coordinates and brief location description which I've now added but I disagree that the one section needs to be split for the sake of it. This is rather a minor landmark and it is common to write in such a way combining it. I think it's fine for GA.♦ Dr. Blofeld 21:34, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

  • @Editør: - As for your 3a concerns.... Many thanks to Dr. Blofeld for adding the coordinates and location. There is no "street address" and his description of the location is about as accurate as we can get. While a map would be welcome, map images are not my specialty and I'd leave that to someone else. Since, as Dr. Blofeld said, this is a "minor landmark", I doubt any of Wikipedia's map makers will consider this high priority and to ask such would to make an effort over an ultimately superfluous detail. While it may be room for improvement, I do not think it is required per the GA criteria (nothing says "must have map"). As for your 1b layout concerns...I agree with Dr. Blofeld's assessment. Additionally, the content in "History, architecture and use" is content that is inherently connected, and the section is written in a way that illuminates that connection (a section that precisely discusses the building's history, its historical architecture and its historical use) where I would say they are not "very different topics" as you assert. Their connection is obvious and clear in reading the section. Further, the structure of the article complies with WP:BODY and nothing that is done in this article is specifically against or counter to the advice of WP:BODY. What this boils down to is you would write it differently--i.e. imposing your personal preferences.. WP:GACN advises reviewers to judge the article on its face, not on the basis of whether you would approach it differently. Further, dividing the article would undermine the clarity of the article's flow--your proposal made the chronological narrative disjointed and hard to follow. So if I chose your "preference" for how to divide the article, I destroy the clarity and concision required in criteria 1a, and would make sections too short to comply with MOS layout guidelines (specifically MOS:PARAGRAPHS section which advises "Short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheading"). I would assert your criteria 3a concerns are resolved per Dr. Blofeld's contributions to the article, and that your criteria 1b concerns over layout are not actionable per WP:GACN and per my response herewith.--ColonelHenry (talk) 22:16, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

A state map pin locator would be redundant for such a small landmark. The coordinates and brief location mention will suffice. For such a minor issue the article shouldn't be put on hold and it's not fair on the nominator who has had to wait since October, two weeks for you Editor to continue and now you've put it on hold. It's hardly surprising so many people give up on GA.♦ Dr. Blofeld 22:30, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Concerning 3a: I listed three options that would all on their own describe the location. The coordinates that Dr. Blofeld added seem sufficient to me. – Editør (talk) 22:44, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
Concerning 1b: The issue here is clarity and readability of the text, and nothing else. And relevant sections with proper headings help to achieve this, as described in my citation from WP:BODY. Of course the article needs some additional editing with new sections, I have mentioned this right after I proposed a different sectioning. But instead of being copyedited, the article was reverted back to a single section text. The argument that single sentences should be avoided is irrelevant, because this is neither what I proposed earlier nor what I am asking here. ColonelHenry, can I conclude that you are unwilling to further improve the article on this point? – Editør (talk) 23:07, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
  • What is at issue is that I have established that I don't believe your suggestion regarding article sectioning is actionable because it (1) is only a matter of preference for doing it differently that does not mesh with what I assert is an already sufficient and MOS-compliant organization (something agreed to by another user, Dr. Blofeld, whose opinion I respected to ask him to take a look at this review); and (2) your suggestion I have ventured to say is not an improvement for several valid reasons which you ignore. We disagree. The only thing that you can conclude is that I disagree with your suggestion and that I have asserted that your suggestion is neither actionable nor required per how the criteria are to be applied. Further you can conclude that I assert you do not understand what the GA criteria really are, replacing that criteria with your "preferences" and as a reviewer, you're overreaching if you demand a "preference" to be actionable when there isn't a problem. This is why I asked on GA discussion board for another reviewer, because apparently you seem intransigent in demanding your preferences rather than reviewing the article solely within the criteria. Sure, you would have written it differently. So what? You're to review whether the article is appropriately laid out (which it is) or if it violates a policy in the way it is or isn't laid out (name a policy it violates. you can't. and no seasoned reviewer would ever expect a nominator to jump through hoops on the grounds of "I would have written it differently" which is what we have here). You already indicated that the writing is clear and concise--that's a function of the organization. I explained why your suggested resectioning was reverted. Plainly, it sucked. Screwing up the chronological narrative made the article a confusing clusterfuck that undermined the readability of the article. For your edification, I am always willing to improve an article, so your assumption is baseless and palpably insulting--and the proof of that is my past record of working on several GAs with many great reviewers. Sadly you aren't among them and I just happen to only disagree with this suggestion (cf. that I've addressed most of yours to your satisfaction). FYI: Many of those GAs I've worked on with other reviewers are now FAs. The proof is in the pudding. But you can conclude whatever you want and I'll hope that it's not as off-base as your resectioning suggestion and subsequent demand. --ColonelHenry (talk) 01:53, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

The article isn't long enough and doesn't have enough discussion to make it necessary to split into very short sections. The MOS guidelines state "Very short or very long sections and subsections in an article look cluttered and inhibit the flow of the prose." It is common for minor subjects which don't have a wealth of info to write in one consolidated section and I'd prefer to see one meaty section than very short sections just for the sake of it. The current length of the section isn't overly long where it really needs to be split. All that is required for GA is that it highlights the main aspects of the topic which it does. Common sense should dictate how the information is organized and from a chronological viewpoint it makes sense to cover it in one as Colonel says.♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:34, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

ColonelHenry, I don't understand what you are trying to achieve by being rude. I wish you success with your efforts and contributions to Wikipedia. – Editør (talk) 13:48, 2 January 2014 (UTC)