Talk:Frédéric Chopin

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Yes, it has been discussed to death before[edit]

Type in "nationality" into the field in the archive box. There's at least ten relevant discussions in the past.

Unless there's some brand new development or completely novel argument, please respect WP:CONSENSUS and drop the WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT and the edit warring. Thanks.  Volunteer Marek  18:12, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

What consensus? Those sections seem to be arguments 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 18:42, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

And for this kind of article, and this issue in particular, the Telegraph is simply not a reliable source. Not to mention that it doesn't say what you claim it says. Volunteer Marek  18:15, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

If newspapers are not reliable, why is there a 'cite news' option? And it does say that it is disputed.2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 18:34, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
Read the archives first. Then come up with a *new* argument or stop wasting people's time. Volunteer Marek  18:53, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
Aren't sources given more weight than arguments (not agreement) on the talk page, per WP:RS and WP:NOR? 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up
Read the archives first. We've been over this ground. What matter is weight of sources. Volunteer Marek  00:17, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
For example [1]. Volunteer Marek  00:18, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Talk page discussions are not reliable sources. See WP:RS and WP:NOR2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 13:00, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
You know, blatant trolling won't make people to take you more seriously.--Staberinde (talk) 15:22, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

A middle ground might be an option presented at the Curie article, Polish, French-naturalized. I definitely would not say French-Polish, if the compromise isn't accepted, then Polish would be my vote. I do agree that anyone who does start a lame edit war in the lame edit war article should be completely ignored. :) Does the editor questioning the article actual write any articles? I'm just looking at the User contribution listing ... Ajh1492 (talk) 16:31, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

I mainly just make minor edits, and Volunteer Marek made the first revert in the WP:LAME, your statement is also a personal attack. And it isn't really much of a compromise. Also see WP:RS. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 16:42, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm looking back at your contribution list (and diffs) and a see a rather long list of reverts and fact tags. I'm just making a statement of fact. Volunteer Marek knows that this article is one of the "touchy ones" on EN:WP. And Staberinde does bring up the good point that you did edit the Chopin section of WP:Lamest edit wars - which only makes the point that article is trying to make. Many moons ago I too was like you, trying to patrol the wikispaces looking to right the wrongs all before breakfast. But the best way to help is to (a) not take this whole WP thing seriously -if a fact is slightly wrong, the earth does NOT stop spinning on it's axis and (b) put your energy into doing some heavy editing on articles that are of interest to you and need some help - there a LOT of stub articles that need help. If you'd like a mentor, I'd be glad to help where I can. Ajh1492 (talk) 17:43, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Almost all of my reverts are reverts of vandalism or unsourced content additions. And attack the content, not the contributor 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 17:49, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
No, all your reverts are mindless, disruptive edit warring, many with misleading and false edit summaries. In all the edit warring you've been engaged in since October 19 there's not a single reversion of vandalism. And as has been pointed out to you, there's over 8000 sources to choose from to source a trivial fact. Volunteer Marek  12:16, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
If you actually bothered to look at my contributions you'd see that what you are saying is false. And please see WP:RS. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 12:31, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Not as far as this article goes. Volunteer Marek  12:40, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
My contributions were being talked about, not my edits to this article. The same could be said about your edits to the article. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 12:46, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
And in response to you ridiculous argument based on Google results, searching for chopin "german composer" has more than half as many as chopin "polish composer", which, by your logic, means we should mention that some sources think he is German, even though it is ridiculous OR. Your argument has already been refuted many times. Dark Sun (talk) 22:31, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

                • If Handel is a British composer despite his German birth "German born British Composer" and the fact the Chopin has one parent from France should it not make most sense that his descriptor be Polish/French? No one wants to deny his Polish heritage, but to argue that he was Polish exclusively is NPOV! Rikaard — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:36, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

RfC: Chopin's nationality[edit]

Clear majority voted for Option A, by a wide margin as seen below. GRUcrule (talk) 19:52, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should we mention Chopin's nationality as Polish or Polish-French? A debate on this has been simmering on for sometime now.

Here are some of the discussions pertaining to this issue

As consensus has and will always change, here are some solutions which are being considered for proposal:

  • Solution A - Describe Chopin as Polish in the lead
  • Solution B - Describe Chopin as Polish-French in the lead
  • Solution C - Describe Chopin as Polish and French in the lead
  • Solution D - Describe Chopin as Polish, French-naturalized in the lead
  • Solution E - Do not describe his nationality in the lead. Discuss it in the body of the article.

Please weigh-in, indicating the solution(s) you support using the example format below. Include a brief explanation of your rationale. Or, alternatively, if you have some idea which hasn't previously been put forward, please let us know!

Example format

  • Support A - He is clearly a Polish. - Example 1 (talk) 00:00, 14 November 2257 (UTC)
  • Support C - He is of Polish and French Nationality - Example 2 (talk) 00:00, 14 November 2257 (UTC)
  • Support E - It is too tough of an issue to deal with. Let's not mention it. - Example 3 (talk) 00:00, 14 November 2257 (UTC)

Thanks everyone for the suggestions/comments/opinions in advance!

Please note that this RfC should not be construed as a vote rather than an attempt to measure consensus. As always let's keep the conversations at a civilized level and focus completely on content, not contributors or their motives.

How many times do I have to refer you to WP:GHITS and WP:NPOV? It's a factor of much less than 10, because (And I've pointed this out to you repeatedly) adding words greatly decreases the number of Google search results. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 14:04, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support D to indicate that he composed and achieved fame while living in France. Also, all that discussion about his nationality and how he always considered himself Polish should be moved from the first paragraph of the lead into a later paragraph. The first paragraph should be about why he is notable, it should be concerned with his music and his work. FurrySings (talk) 12:35, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support A- Chopin was a Pole who lived in France as an exile. I do not edit on this page but have a interest in and love classical music. --Woogie10w (talk) 13:00, 13 November 2013 (UTC)Also Paul Hindemith was a German composer and Arnold Schoenberg an Austrian even though both became American citizens. We would never refer to them as Americans--Woogie10w (talk) 19:44, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

  • A. Did Chopin ever consider himself French? Don't people get to say who they are anymore? Ravpapa (talk) 14:11, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Much as I disagree with some of the POV-pushing here, primary sources usually should not be used for determining nationality. Toccata quarta (talk) 14:44, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
The POV you and the other members of your tag team are pushing is nationalist propaganda, the POV I am 'pushing' is neutral. Read policies before making hypocritical personal attacks. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 18:35, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
  1. I'm not Polish, nor am I aware of having Polish ancestors.
  2. "You are engaging in POV-pushing" is not a personal attack; "you are a(n) [expletive]" is. Toccata quarta (talk) 18:41, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Where did I say that? 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 18:43, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Say what? You accused me of "pushing ... nationalist propaganda", and you deemed "POV-pushing"—a concept to which you have also referred—a personal attack. Toccata quarta (talk) 18:47, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Just because I prefer a neutral POV to your completely biased one, it doesn't mean I'm a POV pusher. And where did I say "you are a(n) [expletive]"? 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 18:52, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
You didn't say that; after all, I never accused you of making a personal attack. Toccata quarta (talk) 19:32, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support A - mainly because I'm in agreement with Toccata quarta in regards to how reliable sources state him. Plus, I believe this column from the La Jolla Music Society is an informative read on the very topic. GRUcrule (talk) 16:10, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support A- as per Dale Tucker (1998). Frederic Chopin. Alfred Music Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4574-0134-3.  - though French should be mentioned in the article as it is now - all is fine -- Moxy (talk) 18:39, 13 November 2013 (UTC)#
It isn't mentioned, because it was removed and then the page was protected to the wrong version 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 19:17, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Current version says in the lead "Although Chopin's father was a Polonized Frenchman and Chopin himself was exiled in France from the age of 20 until his death, the composer always regarded himself as a Pole rather than a Frenchman" then outside the lead in the first section we say "Chopin's father, Nicolas Chopin, was a Frenchman from Lorraine who had emigrated to Poland in 1787 at the age of sixteen" - thus we can all imply hes of French heritage because of his fathers. This is how most bio confront the situation as we do here - V. K. Subramanian (2004). The Great Ones. Abhinav Publications. p. 225. ISBN 978-81-7017-421-9. . -- Moxy (talk) 19:34, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
By 'most bios' are you referring to the number of Google hits or the sources provided (which is 5 v 4)? And the article mentions that he was not French. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 19:38, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
General statement - out of all the "book sources" (dont care about Google hits of non scholarly websites or news papers) I can find only one small bio that mentions both Polish-French at William J. Roberts (2004). France: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present. Infobase Publishing. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-8160-4473-3.  -- Moxy (talk) 19:57, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
But did you search for Polish-French? And are you sure Encyclopedia Britannica is non-scholarly? 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 20:00, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
We are only here to regurgitate what the majority of sources say and in the manner they say it. We have lots of space here thus we have more then enough room to explain the situation and not just a small bio trying to jam all in a few paragraphs. We have done this in the article pretty well I think (first time here today). Even non scholarly articles like this new paper confront the situation. So from what I am reading all over they refer to his "nationally" as Polish and in the same breath say he was "ethnically" half-French. -- Moxy (talk) 20:14, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
And by 'majority' do you mean 5 vs 4? Or are you talking about 5 vs 0 because the 4 supporting the fact that he was Polish-French removed by a biased POV pusher? 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 20:22, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes Britannica and the book France : a reference guide from the Renaissance to the present say this - in the case of Britannica they are trying to get you to read on with a subscription....thus both are very small bios trying to say a lot in a confined space. The book Jacqueline Dineen (1998). Frederic Chopin. Lerner Publications. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-57505-248-9.  does not say this in the copy I can read. - as in his "nationality" was French. As for Northern light : the Skagen painter I cant see it but why a panting book as a source? So from what I can see in the majority of source that I have found today that cover the topic in-depth say his "nationally" is Polish with a French background - as we explain in this article. I see no problem in expanding the section "Nationality" but to add this contentions point in the lead as if it was fact without explanation as we do later is not serving our readers well. -- Moxy (talk) 22:24, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Given that last point you should change it to Support E. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up.See where I screwed up. 12:07, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support E. Came here via RFC, so not involved. I like the way NPR cut the cake. It is ok to not put the nationality of people front and center and then give full details late. Say he was Polish-Born in the lead, then have the nationality section down below really go into it. That is informative while not distracting from the guy's works and life. I know the issue is important, but I think being broad in the lead and having a good nationality section could make for a much improved article. Best of luck. AbstractIllusions (talk) 07:32, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support A. Where Encyclopaedia Britannica is concerned, Moxy has exposed the heart of the matter. On the subject of Chopin, E.B. is sloppy and perfunctory and cannot be a guide to the much more precise and comprehensive Wikipedia. Nihil novi (talk) 15:15, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
Sources are not unreliable just because they oppose your view. And Wikipedia is not a reliable source, see WP:NOTRS. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 16:35, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
Encyclopaedia Britannica's expression, "Polish-French", is sloppy. What on earth does it mean?
Does it refer to a given individual's birthplace, ethnicity, sense of national identity, or citizenship, or to some combination of these?
Or does the expression refer to these characteristics in relation to the individual's parents?
Perhaps a mathematician could calculate for us the doubtless large number of possible combinations of characteristics that can lurk behind the vague expression, "Polish-French"? Nihil novi (talk) 10:30, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
The expression "Polish" is even more vague. It could refer to all of those, plus the fact that they polish things. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up.See where I screwed up. 12:07, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support A, or (less-preferred, because not really relevant in the lead, but acceptable) D. At the time when I was active editing WP, (and was hoping to bring this article up to GA quality) I gave a lot of thought to this issue. All reliable musical dictionaries, critics and biographers regard Chopin as Polish. And he regarded himself as Polish. There is no problem providing citations for all this. The fact that he took French nationality (which was a convenience for him) made him legally French, I suppose, but this is trivial in the context of his music, which did not draw on French sources, as I hope the maturing article will point out when it starts being edited properly once again. I don't see in Wikipedia, e.g., Winston Churchill being described as American , even though his mother was an American and he himself received honorary American citizenship. Incidentally the cluster of notes in the first two sentences of the lead section should surely be removed, according to WP:MOS. The right place to explain in cited detail about squabbles of this sort is in the text, not the lead. I also believe the second sentence of the lead belongs in the body of the article as being WP:UNDUE in this section; later in the lead in the second paragraph Chopin's residence in France is quite adequately described, and the 'after age of 20' doesn't need to be anticipated in the first paragraph. Best, --Smerus (talk) 18:03, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
Agree completely with Smerus. The sentence "Although Chopin's father was a Polonized Frenchman and Chopin himself was exiled in France from the age of 20 until his death, the composer always regarded himself as a Pole rather than a Frenchman." should be removed from the lead altogether - all this polemic over his nationality is not nearly as important as his impact on piano technique and composition, as well as his importance in the emerging "star" culture surrounding great solo performers (especially pianists) - points which, in fact, are undercovered in the article itself. Ravpapa (talk) 18:15, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support A This entire controversy is absurd. Trilobitealive (talk) 02:29, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Further my post supporting A: From Moritz Karasowski, Frederic Chopin: His Life and Letters (1906), volume II, page 368: "When [Chopin's] remains were lowered into the grave, Polish earth was scattered on the coffin. It was the same that Chopin had brought from the village of Wola nineteen years before as a memorial of his beloved fatherland, and shortly before his death had requested that if he might not rest in Polish soil his body might at least be covered with his native earth. Chopin's heart, which had beaten so warmly, and suffered so deeply for his country was, according to his desire, sent to the land whose sun had shone on his happy youth; it is preserved ad interim in the Church of the Sacred Cross at Warsaw."
Can we not let this poor piano-playing Pole (to paraphrase Paderewski) rest in peace?
I move to close this RFP. Ravpapa (talk) 13:19, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
As the sole Arthropod-American Wikipedia editor, I strongly second the motion. This whole thing is an example of what happens when you have a strongly POV minority trying to change articles. Trilobitealive (talk) 16:41, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
Don't you mean the NPOV minority? Anyway, WP:RS and WP:NPOV are core content policies, which cannot be superseded by consensus. So this means nothing. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 16:47, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
That's not how it works. Volunteer Marek  17:00, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes it is. Let me quote:

"...not superseded by other policies or guidelines, or by editors' consensus. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 17:07, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Keep telling yourself that. Volunteer Marek  17:19, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
Keep telling me that 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up.See where I screwed up. 12:07, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "Polish-born" in lead: This source uses this wording which seems to side-step the issue nicely. The French aspect shouldn't be suppressed as we do have sources (1 2) that describe him so. We might also need to mention that the nationality issue is a touchy topic in Poland (source). Cheers, --Dailycare (talk) 14:45, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support E, "Polish-born" in lead - Per User:AbstractIllusions,Dailycare; Always a good idea to shy away from definitively asserting that "Person X is of some given nationality" when there is even the smallest ambiguity on the matter. WP shouldn't be deciding what someone's proper nationality is. Using "Polish-born" strikes me as a nice way to reflect the fact that most sources do refer to him as Polish, while not positively asserting that he is either Polish or French. NickCT (talk) 16:06, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Dailycare and NickCT: I don't know how familiar you are with Chopin's biography, but your comments are not addressing a very important point: that Chopin was not merely Polish, he was emphatically Polish. He never identified himself as French, on the contrary, he always saw himself as an exile. His letters, his music, all his documented comments, from the day of his departure from Poland to his burial, all cry out his love and yearning for his native land. All the sources agree about this, even the two which in their leads refer to him as "Polish French". To call him anything other than Polish is not merely to distort the sources, but to do him a profound injustice. Ravpapa (talk) 17:24, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
@Ravpapa - Self identification is important. But it's not a be all and end all. And I agree, from my uninformed POV Chopin certainly does look "mostly or almost entirely Polish". That said, I think anyone who'd argue that Chopin was at least in some part French by virtue of his father and the fact that he spent half his life in France, would be making a reasonable point. Why not leave his nationality vague in the lead, but reflect the majority of sources and his own identification by calling him "Polish-born"? I don't see the injustice. It would seem we're placing emphasis on his "polishness" while simultaneously saying that his nationality was not definitively Polish. NickCT (talk) 00:42, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
By your reasoning, George Washington should be described only as "British-born", since he spent the first two-thirds of his life (1732–1776) as a British subject. Let's not muddle matters by mentioning that in the latter third of his life he thought of himself as an American!
The fact is that "–born" adjectives are so ambiguous as to be meaningless. I don't know whether one of Wikipedia's goals is meaninglessness. Nihil novi (talk) 04:58, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
How Washington should be described turns exclusively on what sources say about him, not on what editors think about him. There are sources that describe Chopin's nationality in a more nuanced way than merely "Polish", so allowing for them with "Polish-born" seems reasonable to me (and, importantly, since at least one source uses that exact language). We can expand on the subject a bit in the article body, maybe even mentioning that his nationality is a bit of a touchy subject in Poland, at least one source says that. Cheers, --Dailycare (talk) 19:37, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes but the sources which describe Chopin as "Polish born" rather than just "Polish" are in a small minority. So exactly by your logic, you should switch your vote. Volunteer Marek  20:10, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
@Nihil novi - re "should be described only as "British-born"," - Sort of, yeah. I'd oppose saying some like "George Washington was American." in the lead of his article. A reasonable person might dispute that unqualified assertion. NickCT (talk) 02:34, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I haven't counted sources on this page, but even I now know (having arrived via the RFC) that several sources describe his nationality in a more nuanced way than just "Polish". One source cited above describes him as Polish, but that "the situation is not simple". Saying "Polish-born" in the lead accomodates all the sources that I know, at least, and gives primacy to Polishness in line with what the majority of sources say. --Dailycare (talk) 20:24, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

I make the following compromise proposal (F) for the lead, in view of comments above: "was a Romantic-era Polish composer, who spent most of his mature career in France." I believe that this statement is compatible with all recognised authorities. The detail (e.g. his father, his exile, his passport, etc.) is already covered in the text of the article. --Smerus (talk) 21:18, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. Cheers, --Dailycare (talk) 21:16, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Me,too Ravpapa (talk) 17:09, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support F or E. Why on Earth did it take this many kilobytes to find what seems like the most natural way to describe him? Yes, he was born in Poland and apparently considered himself Polish. Yes, he spent most of his life in France. Let's just say that instead of turning it into a civil war or contemplating dreadful constructs like Polish-French, which are anachronistic at best. Sai Weng (talk) 02:00, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

RfC Close[edit]

This RfC has been around for three days now, I'd like to ask that it be closed if it doesn't last for more than a couple of days or so. By my reading, option A seemed to garner the most support, with D coming in second, and C/E coming in last place.

  • Solution A - (12 support)
    • Support: me, Piotrus, Toccata quarta, Volunteer Marek, Woogie10w, Smerus, Moxy, GRUcrule, Nihil novi, Trilobitealive, Ravpapa
    • Weak or qualified support:
  • Solution B - (0 support, 0 weak support)
    • Support:
    • Weak or qualified support:
  • Solution C - (1 support, 0 weak support)
    • Support: 2Awwsome
    • Weak or qualified support:
  • Solution D - (0 support, 1 weak support)
    • Support:
    • Weak or qualified support: Piotrus
  • Solution E - (3 support, 0 weak support)
    • Support: AbstractIllusions, Dailycare, NickCT
    • Weak or qualified support:
  • Solution F - (1 support, 0 weak support)
    • Support: Smerus
    • Weak or qualified support:

Though there seems to be some off-topic arguing between a couple of users, I hope this is a clear consensus that satisfies all parties. There is no hurry, but does anyone have thoughts about this? Lord Sjones23 (talk - contributions) 23:45, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

The default duration of an RfC is 30 days or... if the community's response became obvious very quickly, the RfC participants can agree to end it, it can be formally closed by any uninvolved editor. -- Moxy (talk) 23:47, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I completely understand. I think we should let this run for the full 30 days this RFC was opened (on December 15.) Lord Sjones23 (talk - contributions) 00:58, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


I have reverted the infobox added by another editor. This is per policy of Wikipedia:WikiProject Composers, as per numerous discussions.--Smerus (talk) 08:18, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Composers does not make policy as you are well aware and they do not OWN this article. You should not be telling lies to Vinícius94. If you have good reasons to remove an infobox from this article, let's hash them out here, but I'm not prepared to see you edit-war to impose your own version on the article, and to remove good faith contributions from other editors without any reasonable explanation. You were warned about that behaviour at the ArbCom case. I've put an infobox back, so explain to me properly why that wasn't an improvement to the article. --RexxS (talk) 23:10, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Let's avoid edit-warring by restoring the stable version until we are able to determine whether consensus on the matter has changed. Of course, since that would depend on discussion rather than on simple voting, we would need someone to present an argument for including a writer template on the article of someone identified primarily as a composer and musician. Though I'm sure it was in good faith, it doesn't make sense. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:32, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
(watching and trying to stay out of war) If I see that a user didn't use the best possible infobox template I address the user. I would do so especially if I notice that it is a new user who may be unfamiliar with the choices, and with finding edit summaries, and if finding them, interpretating something like this, instead of the normal revert good faith edits, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 06:16, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I have no problem with restoring the stable version while discussion continues.
If there is general agreement that an infobox is not a net positive on this article, I will have no problem in seeing it continue without one.
I do have a problem with the way that a good faith edit by Vinícius94 was dealt with by the reverters. ArbCom has made clear that degrading discussion is unacceptable behaviour. The decision on whether to have an infobox or not rests on discussion at the talk page of each article. It follows then that no other venue, in particular a wikiproject, can create a blanket ban on having an infobox for multiple articles. The initial nonsense from an editor who should know better is a slap-in-the-face for any uninvolved editor who would like to see an infobox in this article and a breach of the remedies in the ArbCom case. --RexxS (talk) 13:25, 6 April 2014 (UTC)


Frédéric Chopin
Chopin faces the viewer, wearing an overcoat
Photograph of Chopin by Bisson, c. 1849
Born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin
(1810-03-01)1 March 1810 or possibly 22 February 1810
Żelazowa Wola, Poland
Died 17 October 1849(1849-10-17) (aged 39)
Occupation Composer and pianist
Signature CHopin SIgnature.svg

Infoboxes are neither required by, nor forbidden by, Wíkipedia policies. As this article has already obtained GA status, an infobox is clearly not a necessity. We might therefore consider whether the infobox proposed added anything to the article. I therefore propose that an infobox does not add anything to this article, as all the information it contained (or would contain) was available immediately to its left. (Not only that, but it was factually inaccurate, giving 'Szopen' as the composer's birth name.) Moreover, it is distracting to the reader. On the grounds that 'if it ain't broken don't mend it', the article should be left without an infobox, whatever its type.--Smerus (talk) 07:56, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

I agree. The infobox adds nothing but wasted space. It also skips over the uncertainty about Chopin's birthdate. Nihil novi (talk) 08:21, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

I propose that an infobox does add something to this article, videlicet:

  • The infobox that Vinícius94 suggested contains a brief collection of the key facts from Chopin's life, date and place of birth and death, and his principal occupations. It is placed in a position familiar to visitors and enables them to get that information at a glance in the same way that they are accustomed to in over 2,500,000 other Wikipedia articles. The article at present does not offer that facility to visitors.
  • The information in the infobox is arranged as "key-value" pairs in a table that allows natural language processing tools to read that information with a much higher degree of certainty and to more accurately glean information from other parts of the article. The article at present does not offer that facility to third-parties who use NLP to re-use our articles.
  • The data in the infobox is emitted as a microformat, in particular: vcard, bday, dday, deathdate, role. These microformats may be collected by many data collection tools. The article at present does not offer that facility to third-parties who make use of the microformats to re-use our articles.
  • We have a sister project called Wikidata that collects data from all Wikipedias to create a central repository of information. This allows different language wikipedias to use data provided by another wikipedia. In particular, the 4.5 million-article English Wikipedia is a valuable - and regularly updated - source of facts for smaller wikipedias to build articles upon. The infobox is the principal source of data for Wikidata and the article at present does not offer that facility to Wikidata, and hence to other small wikipedias.

In response to the objections, I must point out that the best response to flawed formatting is to correct it, not throw the baby out with the bathwater. It's not difficult to correct "Szopen" (a plausible rendering of the name) to the more common "Chopin". I've appended an amended version here so that the disputants can examine what an infobox might offer.

In reply to Nihil novi, the lead of the article also skips over the uncertainty about Chopin's birthdate, but I do not see you arguing to remove the lead as a result. It's simple: if it's not in the lead, then generally it should not be in the infobox.

In response to Smerus: of course, we all agree that an infobox is not necessary, but the question governing inclusion is not one of necessity, but of value. I have shown above that an infobox adds value to the article in multiple ways. You have not adduced a single rationale beyond "distracting the reader" why your personal dislike should override that added value. --RexxS (talk) 13:25, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Rexxs has opined added value, but he has not demonstrated it.
  • He does not dispute that the information duplicates what is already in the article.
  • He asserts an opinion that 'as "key-value" pairs in a table that allows natural language processing tools to read that information with a much higher degree of certainty and to more accurately glean information from other parts of the article'. The 'other parts' of the article are immediately to its left. I do not know what a 'key-value' pair is, but the assertion that ths information in the box takes such forms, and the assertion that these forms have any value to the reader, appears to be a piece of WP:OR or a personal opinion of Rexxs.
  • Rexxs is perfectly aware from previous discussions in which he and I have been involved that the metadata (microformat) function (if any) of an infobox is not an argument to be employed in its favour as a deciding factor. In any case, the arguments relating to information in an article should relate to convenience of the reader, not to an editor's favourite outside projects.
  • The errors and absence of clarity in the original infobox are not adduced by me as a reason for its unwelcomeness. The fact however that an infobox tends to propagate such errors or unclarity is another argument to me in its disfavour.
  • I therefore continue my preference for the 'natural language process' known as reading. As the infobox is agreed by Rexxs to be not necessary, I do not see any reason why it should be added.
  • I would add that it would be a help if this discussion could be limited, as it should be, to what, if anything, an infobox adds to this article on Chopin, rather than to try to extend, distract and redirect the argument to irrelevant realms of knowledge theory.--Smerus (talk) 14:34, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Smerus is trying to conceal his lack of argument by mere assertion. I have in fact clearly demonstrated the added value that an infobox brings to this article for (i) readers who want a quick overview (as in the majority of other articles); (ii) third party re-users who read structured data; (iii) third party re-users who read microformats; (iv) other wikipedias who are denied the full range of data available in an infobox.
  • Smerus obfuscates by trying to suggest that duplicating information is somehow disadvantageous. It is not. Does he deny that the lead duplicates information? Is that a disadvantage? Does he deny that persondata duplicates information? Is that a disadvantage?
  • Smerus lacks any knowledge of natural language processing, despite having been pointed to a Google Talk explaining it multiple times - and its usefulness is a demonstrated fact, not an opinion. Smerus' willful ignorance is not an argument that NL processing is not an advantage for re-users of the article.
  • Smerus is perfectly aware from previous discussions in which he and I have been involved that the both the metadata and the microformats provided by an infobox in a given article are strong arguments in its favour, but he would like to pretend that they are not as he has no argument to counter them. I refute the narrow-minded interpretation of our project as solely for people reading the Wikipedia site. Wikipedia is fundamentally based upon a premise that our content shall be made freely available to everyone for re-use and our licence is designed to ensure that.
  • It is well-known that discrepancies between infoboxes and the main text are a flag that information needs to be updated and that can be detected by automated tools. It is just as likely in a developed article that the infobox has been accurately updated and the main text needs to to catch up. Without an infobox such maintenance is not possible.
  • Smerus claims to have a preference for reading. What he actually displays is complete disdain for anything other than reading. This is 2013, not 1813 and consumers of our content access it through many different channels and often via reusers. Some will want to read an entire article (and I applaud that); others will want a 30-second overview and will read the lead; still more will want a 3-second précis, or a single fact, and will consult the infobox. It is not Smerus' place to force others to use our content solely in the way that Smerus prefers.
I will simply add that Smerus wants to rely on broad, discredited arguments such as "an infobox is redundant; it duplicates the lead; it's ugly; it distracts from the article" which only comment on the debate over infoboxes in general. Nevertheless he tries to disqualify specific arguments such as the particular microformats made available in this very article on Chopin. I have demonstrated the added value of the infobox, but have seen no argument to the contrary, beyond a desperate repetition of the fallacy that only elements that are necessary can be included in an article - 2.5 million other articles give the lie to that. --RexxS (talk) 16:49, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Waffle Waffle Waffle. I am joining the discussion even though I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. In previous discussions on this topic, words flowed like the Nile in flood, and I suppose this one will not be different. In any case, what I want to say is that the Wikidata natural language processing argument seems awfully weak. There is nothing in this infobox which cannot be included as persondata, so, at least in that respect, it adds nothing. --Ravpapa (talk) 14:56, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
    There is actually a lot of information that could be included in an infobox that cannot be included in persondata (which has an extremely limited repertoire). Just taking a quick look at the infoboxes in French, Spanish or Polish Wikipedia versions of Chopin will give some idea. The French Wikipedia, incidentally gives Szopen (prononcé « chopéne ») est l'orthographe polonaise de « Chopin ». --RexxS (talk) 16:49, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
    But that information is not part of the proposed infobox given here - if you want to propose an expanded box you should make that clear. Nikkimaria (talk) 20:28, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Infoboxes improve ALL articles: Here we go again, trying to hold back the tide of progress. The infobox is used on well over half of all wikipedia articles and add useful information for the casual reader to get basic data at a glance, they are highly encyclopedic, when properly designed are attractive and add a professional element to the article. Everywhere other than the classical music project and a few literary pages they are generally welcomed and accepted. We have been to arbcom and back on this and the decisions was, clearly, that wikiprojects can't dictate policy and that the decisions are made on a case by case basis. Here, we have aesthetic, technical and practical reasons to include them on one side and IDONTLIKEIT on the other. Same reactionary nonsense as every other time this has come up at the classical music projects. Montanabw(talk) 18:55, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Indeed, here we go again with obviously false nonsense like "infoboxes improve ALL articles" - surely you don't believe that? Further, why is your "attractive" an aesthetic reason for inclusion, but others' "wasted space" and "distracting" a case of IDONTLIKEIT to be discarded? If you accept the validity of subjective rationales for one side, you must do so for the other, even if you personally disagree. Nikkimaria (talk) 20:28, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
  • LOL, yes, I actually DO think ALL articles should have an infobox wherever possible. We're more than halfway there on wikipedia! I think that this is an encyclopedia, and they are encyclopedic - just like the old print infoboxes that appeared in many articles in the trusty World Book encyclopedias (as a kid, a report about Our 50 States would have been impossible had it not been for them) Now, I admit, I'm hard-pressed to find one for, say, hindgut fermentation (though if there is one, I'll add it), but from a professional graphic design point of view and a practical, educational point of view, a section that summarizes basic information is quite helpful; the main arguments I hear against their inclusion are mostly from people who take a rather snobbish, "if people can't read the article then they are too stupid to be bothered with" attitude. Many people access wikipedia who are not subject area experts, whether school-age children, journalists, people with idle curiousity, anyone who takes a fast or casual glance at a article. All that said, there is plenty to debate about formatting (color banners, what to include/exclude, etc.) but the anti-infobox view seems in my mind really to be the same old argument of "I don't like them because I think they are ugly and besides only stupid people won't stop to read "my" superior highbrow article, so they don't deserve any easy way to access the information". (but OK, so "nonsense" is a bit bitey, I'll stop if everyone else does)Montanabw(talk) 22:55, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Frédéric Chopin
Born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin
(1810-03-01)1 March 1810 (or possibly 22 February 1810)
Żelazowa Wola, Poland
Died 17 October 1849(1849-10-17) (aged 39)
Paris, France
Signature CHopin SIgnature.svg
  • I would format the infobox a bit, to stress his works more (as in FA Imogen Holst) and not link Poland to today's Poland. We should separate discussion of "infobox yes or no" from discussion of parameters and values. I looked at the six version of the article in other languages which are FA: they all have an infobox, also the French GA. That I would answer the "infobox yes or no" question with "yes, why not?" is known enough, and RexxS explained well why it adds quality, better than I could, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 19:39, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Unusually, the Polish article does not claim him as born in Poland, but in the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw (Księstwo Warszawskie), so I'd be quite sympathetic to removing any link to modern-day Poland. The lead currently states Duchy of Warsaw, which is probably the most accurate qualifier, and (with apologies to Nikki) suggests that the |nationality parameter would be employed to indicate his Polish nationality. --RexxS (talk) 20:09, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
The argument that an infobox's structured data in a Wikipedia article is essential to maintain Wikidata is the opposite of the relation: all data in the proposed infobox is available at d:Q1268 for interested other parties to extract, making the infobox doubly redundant. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:09, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
It is nice not to have to do math to figure out how old he was when he died. That is just one of the benefits of a box - dont have the read the whole article to find simply info. Its naive to think our readers what to or will read the whole article to derive serviceable information like simply stats. Want our readers to go to other sites like,, allmusic? Are we going out of our way to implement personal preferences over the normal format used by the internet for bios that the world is use to? We have to think of what our readers expect to see in a complete bio. -- Moxy (talk) 17:57, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
@Michael Bednarek: That's fine if all you want to do is take, not give. The only reason you found data at d:Q1268 is that the French Wikipedia article has an infobox that was 'mined' by bots for much of the information there. Without an infobox here, any updates to Wikidata have to rely on other wikipedias. --RexxS (talk) 20:54, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that view is supported by the revision history at Wikidata. Many users who I not consider to be bots, including some we know (1, 2), contribute there. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:29, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
We all do our bit, of course, but Wikidata now has over 14,000,000 items. With the best will in the world, it's never going to be maintained by humans as it was in the early days and we have to rely on bots for the majority of it now. You can see from the revision history of almost any item how the balance has shifted over the last twelve months. Furthermore folks like Magnus write scripts that do a lot of the work - and although run from a user account, not a bot account, still require a structured data source to retrieve useful information for Wikidata. When you see a user make 8 edits in 4 minutes, it's often not purely manual additions. --RexxS (talk) 15:53, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

In repsonse to RexxS[edit]

  • "Smerus is trying to conceal his lack of argument by mere assertion. I have in fact clearly demonstrated ...." But you have not, you also have merely asserted. You conceal the fact that there is no evidential basis for the supposed advantages of infoboxes.
  • "Smerus obfuscates by trying to suggest that duplicating information is somehow disadvantageous. It is not. Does he deny that the lead duplicates information?" The lead is a summary of the article, that is its purpose. A summary is not a duplication - it has a specifric function. There is no purpose in having a summary of a summary (an infobox). If that were the case, one could justify e.g. a 'micro infobox' with just the name and the dates - is that where we are going?
  • "Smerus lacks any knowledge of natural language processing, despite having been pointed to a Google Talk explaining it multiple times - and its usefulness is a demonstrated fact". An absence of prioritizing language processing is not (yet) a disqualification for being a WP editor. Nor is a preference for the presentation of intelligent, informative, verifiable articles. RexxS once again relies on assertion that something is a 'demonstrated fact' - without offering any evidence.
  • "Smerus is perfectly aware from previous discussions in which he and I have been involved that the both the metadata and the microformats provided by an infobox in a given article are strong arguments in its favour" Quite the reverse, I regards these arguments as extremely weak - they are related to highly-disputed, and in my view, utterly misguided, notions as to the function and purpose of Wikipedia.
  • "It is well-known that discrepancies between infoboxes and the main text are a flag that information needs to be updated and that can be detected by automated tools." 'It is well-known that..' - the timeless argument advanced by losers. If there is no infobox, there is one less opportunity of discrepancy in an article.
  • "Smerus claims to have a preference for reading. What he actually displays is complete disdain for anything other than reading. This is 2013, not 1813 and consumers of our content access it through many different channels and often via reusers." Again, a series of assertions presented with no evidence. I will therefore with equal plausibility assert that the vast majority of WP readers are just that - readers. They don't give a fig for metadata, etc. And the purpose of WP itself is not a medium for other people's or organisations' metadata - as RexxS very well knows from previous discussions and decisions. Let me advise RexsS to read WP:ARTICLE, so as to understand Wikipedia policy - and this is indeed evidence - "A Wikipedia article, or entry, is a page that has encyclopedic information on it. A well-written encyclopedia article identifies a notable encyclopedic topic, summarizes that topic comprehensively, contains references to reliable sources, and links to other related topics." That's it. The concern with 'other channels' etc., which fuels the approach of RexxS, and of the guys at the hit squad of the self-appointed Wikipedia:WikiProject Quality Article Improvement (some of whom I see have also turned up to contribute here), is notably absent from this very clear policy definition.
  • Lastly, but most importantly, for all his reliance on assertion, blather, and personal put-downs, RexxS does not offer a single evidence-based argument to demonstrate why this article on Chopin would be intrinsically improved for the reader - how s/he would know more, and more accurately, about Chopin -by the addition of an infobox.--Smerus (talk) 09:13, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Smerus fails to understand the difference between demonstration and assertion. I explained four key areas where the article lacks a feature that an infobox would provide:
  • the opportunity for a visitor (sighted or otherwise) to obtain key information at-a-glance at a predictable location;
  • the opportunity for natural language processing applications to extract information from key-value pairs;
  • the opportunity for software to process microformat information intended for end-users automatically;
  • the opportunity for English Wikipedia to collaborate in keeping Wikidata updated for the benefit of many smaller wikis and their readers;
Not one of those lost opportunities has been adequately addressed by Smerus.
It is simply untrue that a summary is not duplication: of course it is - nothing is in the summary that isn't already in the item being summarised!
Equally untrue is Smerus' demonstrably invalid assertion that "There is no purpose in having a summary of a summary (an infobox)" since visitors regularly tell us that they want a quick-reference to key information - a summary of the lead - and over two-and-a-half million infoboxes can be found on Wikipedia, all of which are acknowledged to serve a purpose. Smerus would also benefit from a read of WP:Summary style - we have articles summarising other articles, and they themselves have a lead (a summary of a summary): many have an infobox (a summary of a summary of a summary). Should we be deleting those summary articles because they don't fit Smerus' straight-jacket view of what a Wikipedia article is?
I do not seek to use Smerus' ignorance of modern data processing to disqualify him from editing (strawman fallacy), but I will say that it does nothing to lend credibility to any of his claims about it. Anyone who takes the time to learn will quickly see how the data we have available can be used beyond simple reading of an article. It is indeed a pity that Smerus places "the presentation of intelligent, informative, verifiable articles" in opposition to the presentation of information beyond the boundaries of paper. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Does Smerus deny that the metadata and the microformats provided by an infobox are arguments in favour of infoboxes? He claims that infoboxes add nothing, but seems to concede that they add something - although he calls them "weak" and "highly disputed" without adducing a shred of evidence in support of that.
Yet "Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit, use, modify, and distribute.". Wikipedia is designed to be redistributed freely - and that's fundamental policy linked to from the First Pillar (not just a help page like WP:ARTICLE that Smerus confuses with policy). Infoboxes play a major role in that redistribution and anyone interested only has to listen to the Google Talk I cited as for a prime example of evidence for how that can be done. That's not my assertion - that's stone-cold fact that available for anybody who cares to check.
Smerus seems to think that a discrepancy between an infobox and the other text is a bad thing. It's not. It's the sort of thing that automated tools or keen editors can quickly spot and flag for correction. The alternative is all too often incorrect text with no way of being able to spot it. What's worse: a discrepancy that can be quickly brought to the attention of an expert or incorrect text that languishes until an expert happens to come across it?
We agree on one thing: the vast majority of users of Wikipedia content are just that - readers. What I won't concede though is the tyranny of the majority. There is no need to exclude visitors who just want a 30-second overview. There's no need to disadvantage the already disadvantaged screen reader users who expect to find information in predictable places on our page and shouldn't be forced to plough through reams of text to hear the one snippet of information they came for. There's no need to exclude natural language processing systems from using our content. There's no need to stop RSS feeds from picking up our microformats. There's no need to prevent automated scripts from copying our updated information onto Wikidata. It's all so unnecessary just to satisfy a small group who have established an outdated local consensus to the detriment of everyone who wants our project to be more than just a paper encyclopedia. --RexxS (talk) 17:32, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Time for some editors to get up-to-date on how people use the internet. It is the norm - Google has done this as has many of the most popular internet sites because they recognizes many people just want some simple facts. Thinking all readers what to read full articles to obtain simple info is nieve. If they dont find it here with a quick glans there on there way to another site for the info - thus all the hard work done by those working on the articles here is pointless to many flyby readers. Google needs to add age at death like we do so people dont have to do math. -- Moxy (talk) 20:33, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Your example proves that Google manages to display summary data without Wikipedia's infoboxes. A quick test (search for Goethe) shows that your second assumption about the helpfulness of "age at death" in an infobox also fails. As I wrote above: the place to look for key:value pairs of structured data is Wikidata. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 03:03, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes the data is there - I dont care abut the data side of things. The point being made it that the box is the norm all over even Google. As for age of death not sure what your trying to show above with your link. Having simple data in a box is what an internet user expects to find. -- Moxy (talk) 03:48, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

I find infoboxes useful and their exclusion from musician articles puzzling and hurtful in the big scope of things (a jarring dissonance from the regular MoS for biographies). As such, I support the inclusion of the infobox here. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:21, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

I see no reason to bar an infobox on this page. Smerus is proposing a bar for inclusion that is not at all reflected in community consensus; at first I made the mistake of thinking that he was unaware of the near-ubiquity of infoboxes in biographical articles, but after looking a little at the breadth of the discussion this topic has on various composer-relevant Wikiprojects, its clear there is a lot of history here. Nevertheless, he speaks of this as "policy" set by those projects, which does reflect a certain lack of understanding of what constitutes policy and how it is established on Wikipedia, however long he has been involved in this particular discussion; a finding by a collection of contributors on a Wikiproject does not in any way set standard for any article the editors contributing to said project feel is within its domain. And broader, actual community consensus is that userboxes provide useful functionality to broad variety of articles, bios especially. It's inclusion in this case adds valuable function and suites the present article quite nicely. Asserting that this addition must meet the conditions of particular editors involved here as to its absolute necessity is a non-argument, from a policy perspective (and again, is not at all reflective of community consensus). If the editors of certain projects are attempting to enforce this perspective on articles perceived to be in their purview, I suggest the next logical step is to take the matter to Wikipedia talk:Centralized discussion where the consistency of this approach with broader project-wide policy can be discussed. Regardless, I'd like to suggest to Smerus and Rexxs both that I think you've both made your arguments and counter-arguments at length and that the situation above is devolving into an endlessly-recursive structure that is, to my perspective, taking up a lot of space well beyond the point where it serves as constructive. Snow (talk) 04:09, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

The infobox looks good and should stay. It provides a clear overview of the page with easily accessible funamental data. Most Wikipedia readers expect an infobox with this data on major biographies such as this. And, in my aesthetic opinion, it is a handsome header for the article. As a reader as well as an editor, I value infoboxes and refer to them for basic facts quite often. I would go into greater depth of the WikiProject and its persistent yet senseless objection to infoboxes (elucidated by Smerus above), but I think we all know the history here. ThemFromSpace 21:41, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Time for an RfC[edit]

It looks as if a narrow majority favours the inclusion of the infobox -- and a fair portion of those editors, of which I am one, seem to feel that the perspectives of a handful of editors working under the purview of WP:WikiProject Composers have misinterpreted the role of such projects for setting broad standards on articles deemed to be within their scope and that said misinterpretation conflicts with many policies, accepted discussion guidelines and broad community consensus on proper forums for content discussions. All of that said, it is clear we have nothing approaching consensus on the matter for this particular article. I suggest it's time for an RfC and, further, than this RfC should as broadly publicized to the general public as possible, with notices posted at Wikipedia talk:Centralized discussion and WP:Village pump (policy) at the very least, owing to the facts that A) such a rule being cited as per-existing consensus on any article which falls within the domain of a given project, even if the subject has never been broached on that article before, seems to conflict with normal process and is an activity upon which the broader community deserves review and B) this rule is apparently being enforced across a large number of articles. However, as -- despite some strong feelings on the legitimacy and advisability of this activity -- I am unfamiliar with the history of the debate within that project itself, I'm not sure I'm the ideal candidate to launch such an RfC and wonder if someone else with that knowledge might not be better suited to the task. However, if no one responds within a day or two, I'll attend to the task myself. Snow talk 06:36, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

a) I don't know which "rule" (prohibiting infoboxes) you are referring to; I don't think there is any such thing nor is there a rule mandating them. b) What do you want to be commented on in your proposed RfC? That Chopin should have an inbox? That all biographies should have them? That all articles, wherever possible, should have an infobox? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:51, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
"I have reverted the infobox added by another editor. This is per policy of Wikipedia:WikiProject Composers, as per numerous discussions.--Smerus"
That's the very first posting of this thread. It's succinct and blunt and I think illustrates rather clearly what "rule" I am talking about. I don't think we need to parse words here as to the language employed by those engaged in the activity under discussion. Suffice it to say, if certain statements made here by parties to both sides of the issue are to be taken at face value, a group of editors in the afore-mentioned project have come to an understanding between themselves that infoboxes are to be avoided in articles pertaining to composers and are presenting this as "policy" and "consensus" on the matter with regard to articles they perceive within the project's scope. That's a matter of record in this discussion (and apparently exhaustive record elsewhere). Such statements are a massive misrepresentation of what constitutes both policy and consensus on Wikipedia, where content for an article is determined on that individual article's talk page and a handful of other venues for central discussion and where policy is formed through broad community consensus, not a handful of editors on a Wikiproject, whose affiliation through shared interest in a given topic does not grant them special rights to determine how content it to be treated withing articles they self-determine to be of primary interest to them first. It is basically blatantly WP:OWN behaviour, institutionalized and applied to a broad swath of articles and problematic in a great number of ways.
As to B), I don't know what in anything that I stated could make you think that I am advocating either of the latter two proposals, but if you genuinely do, I think you need to reread my statements carefully. Clearly I think the focus of the RfC (if it is to be conducted here) should by on whether the infobox is appropriate to this article, since the entire gist of my comments is that broad rules for content should not be decided upon by a limited number of editors, but rather through the appropriate central community venues already set up for those purposes. That being said, there are broader issues not restrained to the content of the present article at work here that the greater Wikipedia community should be aware of, which is why listing of this discussion at the above-mentioned spaces is appropriate, so that a parallel discussion can take place about these issues as they apply broadly. Regardless, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from making strawman arguments implying I am supporting the equal and opposite radical argument from the one I am opposing here. My interest in drawing scrutiny to these activities has much less to do with any especially strong feelings on infoboxes and when they are and aren't appropriate than it does upon what I view as usurpation of regular process by editors who seem to be labouring under misapprehensions about the role of Wikiprojects and how content decisions are made on Wikipedia. If my position in that regard was not clear before, I hope it is now. Snow talk 08:38, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
If all this is about my initial statement, where I sloppily wrote the word 'policy' instead of 'consensus', I refer readers to the Wikipedia composers project which I misquoted (mea maxima culpa): 'It is the consensus of this WikiProject that the lead should not contain an infobox, per Wikipedia:WikiProject Composers#Biographical infoboxes, "without first obtaining consensus on the article's talk page".' My wording was wrong, but my sentiments were, I believe, unexceptionable: I brought the issue to the talk page for discussion. That discussion, as Snow Rise him/herself has stated, was without consensus. The project has no 'policy', but it has a point of view - just as, apparently, Snow Rise has. They happen to be different. But it is wrong to use my clumsiness as a stick to beat the heads of others. It is Snow Rise who is making a 'straw man' of the alleged 'usurpation of regular process by editors who seem to be labouring under misapprehensions about the role of Wikiprojects and how content decisions are made on Wikipedia'.--Smerus (talk) 09:26, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
To be fair, I based my interpretation of the situation not just on your statements, mistaken or otherwise, but upon the comments of multiple editors here, stating that this is an ongoing pattern of behaviour. You'll note that I overtly held back from formulating the RfC myself because I lack insight into the history of this debate, but I will say that I've seen enough on this page alone to have concerns. If, for example, we do replace "policy" for "consensus" in that statement, it still suggests to me a marked misunderstanding of how that concept is treated on Wikipedia. And I referenced it not to single you out or to pounce upon other editors, but rather to distinguish the behaviour in response to the implication of the previous post that there was no systematic behaviour at work at all, by showing that this "rule of thumb" or whatever others may choose to call it, was invoked from word go. Sorry, but a guideline decided upon by a group of editors in a Wikiproject cannot be used as a policy argument (or per-existent consensus) within any article those editors choose. A common interest does not grant priority to your perspective in any article which you deem central to that interest, nor can you use the canned rationale established within that context to bolster your claim for a particular course of action on a specific article through the suggestion that the opposing view is already fighting against established consensus when the discussion has not even begun on that page. That's just not how Wikipedia operates and I wonder if you see why that approach is problematic on many fronts and where it is in conflict with existing policy, procedure and community consensus. I don't think I find your sentiments exceptionable per say, but I do find them exceptional relative to the broad community views on such matters. Regardless, the one point we seem to agree upon is that consensus has not been reached in the discussion thus far, so RfC is the next logical step, in any event. Snow talk 10:00, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for this. In that case, before starting an RfC you might care to take a look here to ensure that you are not just raking over old ashes. The findings of fact under the decision there last September included "The use of infoboxes is neither required nor prohibited for any article by site policies or guidelines. Whether to include an infobox, which infobox to include, and which parts of the infobox to use, is determined through discussion and consensus among the editors at each individual article." This seems to indicate clearly that discussion at an article pre-empts the need for an over-ruling RfC. As it is agreed there has been no consensus to add an infobox at this article, the matter would seem to rest. Best, --Smerus (talk) 16:00, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
Errr, no - a lack a of consensus means we keep striving for consensus, not that we arbitrarily adopt the position that one side perceives as the "default" perspective. Especially when their desire to institute that perspective as a default is part of the crux of the discussion to begin with. Augmenting consensus when discussion has hit a dead end is exactly the purpose for which RfCs exist. I can appreciate that you don't want the situation building to the point where you find yourself the subject of an arbitration ruling again, but clearly that arbitration did not entirely resolve this issue in the minds of some involved editors. And a desire to avoid that conflict is no argument to avoid having a necessary content discussion, especially if the party expressing a desire to avoid that discussion is also insisting upon still keeping the content as they would prefer. So long as everyone holds tight to WP:Civility, there is no reason to fear this process and it will have net benefit in terms of consensus. It's a pity that ArbCom's recommendation that "a well-publicized community discussion be held to address whether to adopt a policy or guideline addressing what factors should weigh in favor of or against including an infobox in a given article." was not adopted by involved editors before now; if it hasn't happened yet, despite the strong feelings of a not insignificant number of editors, I'm not sure what will get the ball rolling, but maybe this discussion is the thing to get it done. Regardless, the discussion as regards this page is clearly not yet resolved, and there are some systemic issues at work here that touch upon violations of serious behavioural policies. Those discussions need not take place at the same locales, per say, but there's nothing to stop them from running parallel to each-other and informing upon one-another. Snow talk 22:18, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
I beg your pardon: I am not aware of anything that I have done which would make me 'the subject of an arbitration ruling again.' Perhaps you could advise me what you mean by this? I have tried simply to advise you of previous discussion of this topic. If you have a complaint to make, please do so forthrightly. Thanks. --Smerus (talk) 08:24, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
No, I have no charge to make. I think you're seeing implication where none was intended. My goal with that particular sentence was to say something that made it clear I was not being dismissive of your concerns while in the course explaining why the action you suggested was not viable. As far as I can tell from the ArbCom finding, you were advised in it (and advised only, not censured) to try to remember to be civil in discussions on this topic; you have made no breech of civility worth noting here that I have seen. I was only thinking as to the limited reasons why you would want to avoid this discussion and chose, for the sake of good-will, to speculate on the reason that seemed most reasonable and put you in the best light, and then proceeded to talk about why we still needed the RfC, in that light. I'd be blunt and upfront with you if I felt there was an ArbCom level complaint to be made, trust me. Snow talk 10:16, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for this, fully understood.--Smerus (talk) 17:50, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Return to Poland and preiere of F minor Piano Concerto[edit]

I've restored Dank's version (i.e. with the later comma) of the sentence "On his return to Poland in December 1829, he premiered his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, at the Warsaw Merchants' Club." This is because, according to Grove's Dictionary (subscription access, sorry), this concerto was premiered on 17 March 1830. (Grove doesn't mention the Warsaw Merchants' Club, nor does it give the date of Chopin's return to Poland.) @Smerus: could you check your sources on these data please? --Stfg (talk) 19:41, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Will do. This is part of the original article which I included on an AGF basis because of the EB reference. As I don't have EB of that edition, I may rewrite the section, using Grove etc.--Smerus (talk) 06:00, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Done--Smerus (talk) 07:41, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, that's much better. --Stfg (talk) 10:04, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Information on milder forms of cystic fibrosis[edit]

I am skeptical that Chopin had cystic fibrosis. This claim will need more than one promulgating article to gain traction. However there are milder forms of CF than remain undiagnosed for years, even decades. But because they are milder, do not present as the intense variety of which we usually think. The article, "Cystic fibrosis – a probable cause of Frédéric Chopin’s suffering and death" by Lucyna Majka, Joanna Gozdzik, and Michal Witt, ''Journal of Applied Genetics'', 44(1), 2003. pp. 77-84, does lightly discuss this, but seems bent on comparing the intense form with Chopin's documented and presumed symptoms. Also, I find it troubling and undermining that a journal of any stature would allow spelling or typographical errors to exist in an article, let alone the number that appears in this one.

When did he become ill? In an archived comment from Chopin's Talk page,, the writer states that s/he has read in the book given below that: "4) A letter from Chopin's sister states that he died from a disease of the chest which had affected [sic] his lungs. And goes on to state that he had this disease for 30 years. A strange thing is that the biography mentiones [sic] Tuberculosis in a summary but nowhere in the text. I guess the only thing that can be said with certainty is that C. died of a long [sic - "lung"?] disease." This would mean that the man was about nine years old when he developed lung symptoms. That is beyond the age when people afflicted would have died from the intense form in that era, since the WP article on cystic fibrosis states: "In 1959, the median age of survival of children with cystic fibrosis in the United States was six months." Source book given by the commenter: Helse liefde : biografisch essay over Marie d'Agoult, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, George Sand by F L Bastet, Amsterdam, 1997 (apparently extensive at over 700 pages) - [Per Bing Translator: Infernal love: biographical essay over Marie d'Agoult, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, George Sand.]

Although the the Chopin Talk page mentions clubbing of the fingers connected to CF in some comments, his WP article does not. Perhaps this means that there is no reliable source that says Chopin had it? It would have been obvious since he was a superb pianist and composer, unable to hide his hands when playing or writing. In addition, his toes would have exhibited clubbing, too, yet there's no mention of that, either. An intimate-turned-nurse like Georges Sand would have seen the clubbing. Symptoms like hemoptysis, clubbing, diarrhea are caused by other conditions, too. And it's always possible that the man was unfortunate enough to have more than one condition concurrently.

I think that to say in the article that CF as a cause of death is "debated" (only one source is discussed in any of the Talk page comments for the claim) is to give it undue weight.

This New York Times interview with Dr. Preston W. Campbell III discusses the milder forms of CF, diagnosed at a later date than infancy, among other points. At the time (maybe still - I didn't check), he was executive vice president for medical affairs at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and a pediatric pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore: "Expert Q & A: Cystic Fibrosis, Complicated and Variable" by Carolyn Sayre, published 24 April 2009 -

Thank you, Wordreader (talk) 09:12, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for this, but I think you may be making heavy weather here. The article does not say (and I don't think ever has said) that 'CF as a cause of death is "debated" ', although the introductory sentence, which I amn ow editing, does use the word 'debate'. It mentions, with citation, that CF symptoms may resemble tuberculosis, but concludes "it seems likely that he suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis." This seems in line with what you say and I think to have a detailed technical discussion of medical coditions in the article would be WP:UNDUE. Best, --Smerus (talk) 18:09, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you 100% about the technical medical discussion being WP:Undue. I personally believe that too much space is already given to the thin cystic fibrosis theory, which was my point, oblique as that may have been. B^) I see the "a matter of discussion" phrasing here now that you have pointed it out. I confused the George Sand article, which does use the "debate" term. I'm afraid I'm guilty of wanting to make one comment apply for both articles. Although there were certainly other lung conditions unknown, or even as yet unemerged, at the time, they certainly had vivid experiences with TB until fairly recently. Many members of my own family died of TB in the 19th century, passed from parent to child and even into other families when they were united by marriage. Thank you for your comment, Wordreader (talk) 00:54, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm with Wordreader in suspecting that mention of cystic fibrosis is probably undue. I wonder if it isn't even original synthesis. The only source for the two sentences about CF is a paper in the British Medical Journal titled "Life-table for Cystic Fibrosis". JSTOR (my only hope of viewing this source) doesn't go this far back with the BMJ, but please would someone check whether it discusses Chopin and draws the stated conclusion, as opposed to discussing just CF. If the latter, the CF theory is looking like a strawman, and it should probably go. --Stfg (talk) 09:52, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
On the other hand see e.g. here, here and here. Moreover, the WP article Chopin's disease gives a number of other possible illnesses, most of them cited. So there clearly has been 'discusssion' (at beyond the strawman level it seems) as the article states, about not only CF but other illnesses. These discussions seem to have ended with the conclusion, as in the article, that tuberculosis was the villain. If we delete mention of the discussion in the article, we open the way to edit wars about promoting alternative solutions.--Smerus (talk) 10:16, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I take back some of what I have said; I've located the 1966 article and it is not fit for purpose as a citation here. I'm preparing a rewrite.--Smerus (talk) 10:29, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Wordreader, Stfg, please see my rewrite and new sources in the text, hope this suits. Best, --Smerus (talk) 11:27, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

@Smerus: thanks. That looks very good. --Stfg (talk) 12:46, 17 August 2014 (UTC)