Talk:Irving Literary Society (Cornell University)

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Restoration Discussion, early October[edit]

1 October 2010

"The Irving Literary Society (Cornell University) – Allow recreation. – -- Cirt (talk) 00:12, 8 October 2010 (UTC)"

(The full deletion review can now be read at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2010 October 1)

The above was pasted here in its entirety by User:Cmagha from Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2010 October 1. Although visually collapsed, it is over 19,000 kilobytes long and is making this page very slow to load. Can I ask him please to replace this with a link to the appropriate page and as a simple courtesy to please leave edit summaries each time he makes a change to this talk page or to its accompanying article. Voceditenore (talk) 14:33, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Note: As I have no response from User:Cmagha and this page is now 61 KB long, I have deleted the complete copy of the deletion revirew and replaced it with a link. Discussants who wish to read the full review can simply click on the link. Voceditenore (talk) 21:22, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Note: The link was provided earlier today, by Coldplay3332. Sorry you missed it. Looks like you've deleted it. Coldplay3332 left a note saying the link was provided. I used the link and it worked fine.--Cmagha (talk) 21:50, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • No, I have not deleted the link, I have formatted it. And no I didn't miss it. I have deleted the wall of text from the deletion review which was taking up 19KB on this page and which Coldplay and you failed to remove. Voceditenore (talk) 23:38, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Comments circulated after the Irving article was restored[edit]

Note The following comments from three different pages (two of them from User Talk pages) have been copied here by User:Cmagha without attribution or an edit summary ([1], [2], [3]). I have formatted them to make it clear that they were not originally part of this discussion, and to make clear their original source and context per Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. Please do not respond to the copied comments in this section or alter them in any way. Use a separate section. Voceditenore (talk) 06:52, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

1. Copied from Talk:Cornell literary societies [4]:

Beginning of copied comments
Link between original literary society and present fraternity
The article needs greater authority linking the original literary society and the present fraternity. Ordinarily, a chapter of a national fraternity is not deemed sufficiently notable to warrant a separate article. Racepacket (talk) 03:10, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
This article discusses Cornell's literary societies and their common characteristics, with specific details on a few societies. Each society does not warrant its own article, but rather a section in this article. I will research and expand coverage of the other three literary societies. Accordingly, we have selected an article title more descriptive of its contents. Thanks, Racepacket (talk) 21:46, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
  • The administrator concluding the review moved the page. I will bow out and let you have your literary society page. I am a little surprise by the lack of contact from you. By the way, I grew up in Dean Palm's house. Nice of you to do a bio on him.--Cmagha (talk) 22:22, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
End of copied comments

2. Copied from User talk:Racepacket [5]:

Beginning of copied comment
The Irving Literary Society (Cornell University)
I saw your comments of the talk page. For some reason the talk page doesn't show that it had once been deleted for non-notability following Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The Irving Literary Society (as it was then called). The "new" article managed to pass at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2010 October 1. I agree about the OR, obfuscation regarding the relationship of the defunct literary society and the fraternity chapter, and the inflated claims. See my comments at the bottom of Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion/The Irving Literary Society and in Talk:The Irving Literary Society (Cornell University)/Archive 1. The new article isn't all that much different from the old article and in fact includes even larger amounts of spurious material about the fraternity chapter and it's "importance" ar Cornell than the old one. But I suspect there's not much that can done about it now and from past experience, the article's "owner" will revert any attempts to edit it for accuracy, neutrality, etc. Voceditenore (talk) 18:54, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
End of copied comment

3. Copied from User Talk:Voceditenore [6]:

Beginning of copied comment
This is outrageous. There was not sufficient notice given to WikiProject Cornell, and this is the first I became aware of the controversy. There is so much wrong with the article that I don't know where to begin. Perthaps we should move it to "Cornell literary societies" and have it cover all of the societies as a group, and then add a sentence saying that although all four societies died, an undergraduate fraternity claims to be a decendent of one of them. Racepacket |talk]]) 19:00, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
End of copied comment


I am fine with a separate article on the literary societies; we will continue to work on the citation issues you raised in our text. Thanks for the insights, but please be aware that there are A) very few citation issues (moreover, I think they have all been resolved by now) and B) we have certainly established notability with many of them. Yes, putting the Irving in a page with other Cornell literary societies makes sense categorically, but as you can see, there is not a large wealth of information about any of the other Wikipedia:Cornell literary societies apart from what is written about the Irving, and it makes for a lopsided and unappealing-to-read page. Instead of cutting out valuable information about the Irving, I suggest creating a short page of "Cornell Literary Societies" with some background information and links to each one, one of which would be the link to the original (updated-original) Irving Literary Society page. Why delete important information that is proven to be accurate and "notable"? Refering to WikipediaWikipedia:Purpose, the people at Wikipedia acknowledge and hopefully support Diderot's view, "The purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the men with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come; and so that our offspring, becoming better instructed, will at the same time become more virtuous and happy, and that we should not die without having rendered a service to the human race." As Dean of the Irving Literary Society, I can assure you that this is precisely what we are doing. We are preserving our important and notable history and passing on that knowledge for those that may otherwise never know it, so that we can continue to inspire those who learn of the Irving's past actions and accomplishments long after we die; Wikipedia is the perfect place for it. This is not some kind of fraternity self-promotion. As the intellectual society that we once were, and very much still are, preserving this knowledge is important to us, and we will keep fighting for the WikiJustice that we deserve. So why, Racepacket, I ask you, does the Irving not deserve its own page? I admit there are many topics that don't merit a Wikipedia page, but this one does. We have cited and sourced information effectively, demonstrated our purpose, and thoroughly established notability. Notability, I'm guessing is what it comes down to for you. That's usually the case and we have argued it many times before. Looking at the guidelines: Wikipedia:Notability, I guess I mean to say "importance" because we have met the logistical "notability" guidelines - unless you think otherwise. That is why I shift the burden of proof on you: convince us why The Irving Literary Society is not notable enough for its own page and we will let you have your way. If you continue to find poor sources or unconfirmable statements, etc. let us know and we will deal with them, but I have seen countless articles on Wikipedia less notable (in the actual sense of the word) than the one on the Irving. By the way, as far as Phi Kappa Psi "claiming to be a decendant" of the Irving goes, you don’t need to register as a student activity to have a student activity at Cornell. We are not a police state, yet. Tea36 (talk) 02:27, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Comment: Deletion discussions are based on notability. The fact that the article passed the deletion review is entirely separate from issues with its contents and style. The real problem here is not the notability of the original literary society, or even this fraternity chapter. It's about the content, format and behaviour of the principle editor(s). This needs to be addressed regardless of what title the article sits under or whether there are two articles or one.

    This article has serious issues concerning its failure to adhere to Wikipedia's policy of Neutral point of view, made all the worse by the serious conflict of interest represented here. The treatment of this article as the property of the members of Phi Kappa Psi makes it virtually impossible for the article to be improved by outside editors. All attempts in the previous version were reverted on sight. Please read WP:OWN. Once you have written an article on Wikipedia, you no longer own it. It will always have to conform to Wikipedia's policies on content, style and formatting – not to the subject's desired image or marketing goals.

    The citation issues have not been resolved. The version of the article that has been copied here has multiple {{citation needed}} tags and rightly so. Other statements in the article are referenced to sources which do not support the claim which they allegedly referencing e.g. the contents of footnotes 4 and 5 to name a few. The article is full of Original research and Synthesis which violate key policies of Wikipedia. The section The Irving, vehicle of integration is a prime example of this.

    Furthermore, the article obscures the fact that the resemblance between the historical Irving Literary Society at Cornell (which all sources agree ceased to exist in 1887) and the one which is now an aspect of the NY Alpha chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity is in name only. Ordinary (not honorary) membership is no longer open to all students at Cornell and is now closed to women. All members of the NY Alpha chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity are now automatically members of the society, and only members of that fraternity can now be members of the ILS, i.e. only males.

    To any neutral observer, these problems are very obvious, which is why Wikipedia strongly discourages editing with a conflict of interest. COI editing virtually never results in a good article, and this is a prime example. Believe it or not, in its current state it reflects poorly on the fraternity's reputation rather than enhancing it. Going forward, I sincerely hope that those editors affiliated in any way with Phi Kappa Psi at Cornell will not resort to tactics such as sockpuppetry, tag-team editing, and shared accounts in an attempt to exclude other editors. Voceditenore (talk) 13:18, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Cut and paste move[edit]

Following User:Racepacket's recent move of The Irving Literary Society (Cornell University) to Cornell literary societies and subsequent editing, User:Cmagha has pasted the original version of that article here and in the process removed all the edit history as well as creating a content fork. (See here and here for why this is the wrong way to move/copy a page and should never be used.) Note also, that the title of this version of the article is inappropropriate. Per the discussion at AfD: The Irving Literary Society, there are multiple distinct Irving Literary Societies in the US, several of which are more notable, have a longer history, and are still in existence. I have contacted User:Eustress User:Cirt, the adminstrator who handled the original restoration of the article following this deletion review to sort out the tangle. Voceditenore (talk) 07:18, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Note Talk:The Irving Literary Society (Cornell University)/Archive 1 was not moved when Talk: The Irving Literary Society (Cornell University) was moved to Talk:Cornell literary societies and is now stranded, although I've added a link to it at the newly titled talk page. Voceditenore (talk) 08:44, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Discussion at Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents[edit]

After contacting User:Cirt (the adminstrator who originally restored the article after the deletion review) he suggested that it would probably be best to deal with the resulting tangle of page histories and forks at AN/I. You'll find the AN/I discussion here. Voceditenore (talk) 09:54, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Existence after 1888[edit]

The only source cited for the proposition that Irving was absorbed into the fraternity is a letter agreement covering the fraternity's moving into a University-owned house as a part of the 1966 Cornell Group Housing Plan. The document is drafted as if the legal name of the organization was the Irving Literary Society doing business as the New York Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi. I checked with the corporation data base for New York State and do not find any corporation with the name "Irving Literary Society." Are there any documents covering the merger of the Irving Literary Society into Phi Kappa Psi? Is what happened that when Irving folded, its leaders were members of Phi Kappa Psi and they just took its papers with them to be kept by that fraternity? Are there any independent sources which show that the two organizations are related? I find it implausible that a co-educational organization with members from a number of different fraternities could instantly be transformed into a male-only organization drawing all of its members from just one fraternity.If the connection between Irving and the fraternity cannot be independently sourced, all post-1888 material should be removed from Wikipedia. Thanks, Racepacket (talk) 13:49, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

  • A signed legal document is independently sourced; that program - CURP '66 -- is about to cross it's 50th anniverary. And I don't know that its fair to call the Irving gender exclusive. The original draft article had language that repeated the justification for keeping single sex institutions on the Hill after 1966, but it was cumbersome for a Wiki article and you had to know far too much about the negotiations, 1963-1969, to understand it. CURP '66, all the facilities, are integrated, but divided into male (fraternity)and female (sorority) Group Houses. There was a thought in the early '80s to remove the distinction, and the vibe from parents was, "need to have the separate living option, with the pandemic" (AIDS). So, technically, as the Irving is not a residential activity, the members can admit women. I had to study this when I brought the motion to desegrate Sphinx Head in 1992, which was all male and there was no plan to make it otherwise. That wasn't effectively accomplished until 2002. There is a interview done by the Cornell Daily Sun which mentions the Irving in conjunction with this fraternity (done with the fraternity's founder), but it is not on-line and it is not as clear as one would like. Keep asking questions, as you are helping the editors understand potential weaknesses. Also remember, the Univesity OWNS gender-segregated facilities, and some of its gender-segregated activities -- such as athletics -- are not residential. But that discussion is not related to the Irivng. What the Cornell comentators have been having trouble with is that they do not know everything that goes on, on the Hill. When was the last time you saw "Mummy" in print, 1952? It's a big place; stuff going on everywhere. That purple dye-honor society in the college of architecture has never seen the light of day, either.--Cmagha (talk) 15:04, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • The CURP document leading to the construction of the present house is not relevant to the events of 1887 and does not prove the present day existence of the Irving Literary Society. (The non-dscrimination requirement is not part of the CURP, but rather an outgrowth of the Saperstein Commission which applies to all fraternities and sororities, regardless of whether Cornell owns their house.)
  • The Phi Kappa Psi website states, 'We "busted out' once in 1877, and were off the Hill until 1885. The cause was infighting, and the dissenters who left formed another fraternity, the Chi Colony of Psi Upsilon." Did PKP use the abandoned organizational shell of the Irving to get back onto campus? Why does PKP have a superior claim to the Irving than does Psi Upsilon? Do you have any sources (they do not have to be online sources)? We have access to back issues of the Cornell Era, Cornellians, even the issues of the Cornell Daily Sun which have not yet been digitized.
  • I don't think that Sphinx Head is a fair benchmark for gender integration at Cornell. Quill and Dagger began its process in 1973 and Mortar Board started admitting men in 1975. Sphinx Head was viewed as "behind the times" as a male-only honorary between the late 1970s and 2002. Thanks, Racepacket (talk) 15:35, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
    • Question of Irving was not relevant to recolonization, which was in the open, four years before. Led by a trustee, the president of the Cornell alumni association, and undergraduates from Hobart. There was one Irving member, Falkenau (interesting guy) and maybe another, who then joined Phi Psi. But they were two of maybe fifteen in that class of 1885. I think Phi Psi got the baby in 1889 (when the Irving officers just evaporated) because it had officers on the Era and Sun; don't think this was a matter of prestige, dude. Cornell undergraduates were all into athletics at this time. Interesting, it should have probably been DEKE that got the box of stuff to deal with; they were very active in the Society just prior to break up. Literary societies were going out of style. There is a letter from an alum, '35 or so, dated Apr. 1982 -- part of a directory effort -- that may be locatable. Bob Purcell, boy I could write some stuff in that article of yours . . . last time I saw Dean Palm, I had just thrown his collection of West African bees in the trash by accident. Oops. --Cmagha (talk) 15:49, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • In response to Cmagha: All that signed legal document confirms is that in 1966 an entity calling itself the Irving Literary Society was "doing business as the New York Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity". It does not establish that the current ILS and the historical ILS are the same entity, nor does it explain why post 1887 published sources independent of your fraternity never mention that the historical ILS continued to function as a Cornell literary society thorough the Phi Kappa Psi. And yes, the gender and membership issue is important, given the prominence given to it in section The Irving, vehicle of integration and the insistence that the Phi Kappa Psi ILS and the historical ILS are one and the same thing. Are you now saying that ordinary membership in the current re-incarnation of the Irving Literary Society is open to all Cornell students, men and women alike, whether or not they are members of your fraternity? If so, you need to provide documented proof of that. Simply saying that "technically, as the Irving is not a residential activity, the members can admit women" merely fudges the issue, and is once again an example of the synthesis and original research that pervades the article. And per Racepacket, please provide the full bibliographic information of the Cornell Sun article (date, issue number, author, and exact page number) which mentions the Irving in conjunction with your fraternity. Voceditenore (talk) 15:46, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • From the article, "see also, John Andrew Rea, "The Immortal Eight," Fifty Years at Cornell (Cornell Daily Sun 1930)(noting the Irving's activities through the 1902s)." Although, I think that 1902 is a typo; probably should be 1920. Interesting, this same discussion could occur with Sphinx Head, as there is a 'public' Sphinx Head (which has contributed to the Wiki article) and a "sub rosa" Sphinx Head; not sure if they have over-lapping membership, but a fork occurred about five or six years ago.--Cmagha (talk) 15:54, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I see, it's a book published by the Cornell Daily Sun, not an article in the actual newspaper. Presumably you have access to that book since you used it as a source in the article. What exactly did John Rea say in the book about the Irving's 20th century activities and their relationship to the fraternity? Voceditenore (talk) 16:14, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't own the Cornell-related articles, including Cornell literary societies and you are welcome to edit any of them. I do not question your credentials as a Cornell expert. I just don't see any evidence that Phi Kappa Psi and Irving are the same organization. Why can't Psi U or DEKE edit the article to claim successorship to the Irving and then put it on their websites? The whole idea of the literary society was that it recruited and retained people based on their interest in oratory and the English language. The literary societies conducted public events. To the extent that Phi Kappa Psi still secretly does oratory exercises or brings in off-campus lecturers, it does not leave independent secondary coverage in its wake. I am not hostile toward Phi Kappa Psi, I just want to protect Wikipedia's credibility by carefully evaluating its claims. Racepacket (talk) 16:01, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Comment. Really quite surreal; I have stood under that banner in the article pic as an Irving guest several times, on visits from Syracuse and recruiting trips to Cornell. Sat in a chair on the other side of that room to hear Ratiere perform at an open-to-the public event during the Fall of 2009. And we are arguing about existance, again (this is a replay of last spring).--Coldplay3332 (talk) 21:06, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

  • I think there is a difference between "Do the current Phi Kappa Psi undergraduate believe that they are uphold the traditions of Irving?" and "Is there documented evidence that today's Phi Kappa Psi and the Irving that was founded in 1868 are the same organization?" Coldplay3332 is trying to address the former question, but the article is raising the latter question. If there is no independent secondary source, we can't report as a fact in Wikipedia. Out of curiosity, how does Coldplay3332 know whether he was a guest of Irving rather than a guest of Phi Kappa Psi? Racepacket (talk) 01:05, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

General Comments[edit]

Comment. This is a little disturbing from a Wikipedia standpoint. Why wouldn’t either of you contact us to talk this through? Why are you dissing Wiki ethics? Wehatweet (talk) 01:15, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

What is disturbing, who has been "dissing Wiki ethics", and what "Wiki ethics" are you referring to? Also will you please adhere to WP:Talk page guidelines and place new sections in chronological order, i.e. at the bottom of the current page you are editing. Otherwise discussion becomes impossible to follow. I have moved this section here to observe chronological order. Voceditenore (talk) 21:30, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Reliable Sources[edit]

The sourcing of this article is still problematic. I have flagged when additional independent secondary sources are needed. For example, the individuals listed as members need to have been publicly reported as members. Racepacket (talk) 03:50, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Please read WP:RS for guidelines as to what is a reliable source. Self-published material (in this case materials published by the Irving or Phi Kappa Psi) would clearly not qualify. Some would question whether Cornell Era, Cornell Daily Sun, Cornellian or other student-published works would apply either. Racepacket (talk) 04:08, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Making a claim about a third party such as John F. Kennedy, Jr. requires more careful sourcing than making a claim about a building or a organization's history. The article makes a number of claims about people, some of whom were never Cornell students. It also tells a number of anecdotes, such as the one about Morris Buchwalter, which are unnecessary and would cause embarrassment to these individuals if they were still alive. We are trying to write an encyclopedia; but one that gives judicious treatment of its subjects. Racepacket (talk) 04:31, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Equating literary societies to present day fraternities[edit]

The sentence " In addition, organizations with historic ties to the Cornell literary society community have been revealed as debauched." implicitly equates the 19th century Cornell literary societies to the 21st century Cornell residential fraternities. That tie has not been established, and the referenced 2010 article does not refer to any such tie. Instead, it mentions a few specific fraternities, none of which have been shown to have direct ties to the 19th century literary societies. Such logical leaps are not allowed in writing and sourcing Wikipedia articles. Thanks. Racepacket (talk) 12:06, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Check my edit; that seems to match text to citation. Thanks ! --Coldplay3332 (talk) 14:24, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I have looked at your edit, but I don't think we are improving the situation. Here is my perspective: Although there can be some overlap between Wikipedia articles, every article should be focused. Right now, we have Cornell literary societies which focuses upon the 19th century literary societies. These societies were non-residential and membership in them did not preclude membership in residential fraternities. Some fraternities encouraged their members to join literary socieities, including at least one fraternity (not Phi Kappa Psi) that voted to instruct its members to join Irving. We have the Student life section of Cornell University which covers all 21st century student organizations, including fraternities and sororities. We have Phi Kappa Psi which focuses on just that fraternity. We have the History of Cornell University which covers a wide range of topics and tries to explain how the institution evolved over time. This article overlaps with all of those and is extremely unfocused. it also makes a logical leap that equates 19th century literary societies to 21st century residential fraternities. Just because Alpha Delt claims to be a 'literary society' today does not put it into the group of 19th century non-residential literary societies. I respect the amount of work you have done over the past six months, and tried to save it by creating a Cornell literary societies article to cover the 19th century organizations with a section devoted to documented facts about Irving. Most of the sources in this article really cover much more than Irving. I suggest that you work on expanding the Irving section of that article regarding the 19th century, put interesting, verifiable information about the 21st century PKP into the Phi Kappa Psi article, and that we drop the unsubstantiated material that tries to draw parallels between the 19th century literary societies and the 21st century residential fraternities. Thanks, Racepacket (talk) 16:21, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I have to agree as well. This has nothing to do with the section Cornell’s Literary Societies, 1868–1888 and doesn't even belong there. It still does nothing to support the contention that the Irving Literary Society (or any other literary society) at Cornell is a continuous entity with a current fraternity and frankly doesn't belong in the article at all. It's simply off-topic trivia.

    Reference [43] is the former editor of the conservative student paper The Cornell American, complaining that the left-wing (in his view) Student Council had withdrawn funding from his paper on the grounds that it was falsely passing itself off as part of a "literary society." You really need to read WP:WEASEL. "It has been asserted" and "some members of the University community"? This implies that this is some kind of wide-spread and much discussed issue. Tell the reader the truth in plain English, don't hide it with weasel words and in a link in a footnote. The plain truth is that this grand assertion was made by exactly one person in relation to one student newspaper in an alumni viewpoint column in another student newspaper.

    Reference [45] "In addition, organizations with historic ties to the Cornell literary society community have been alleged debauched". Again two fraternites are mentioned, Alpha Delta Phi and Kappa Sigma. Nowhere in that source does it state that they have "historic ties with Cornell literary societies". As it is "historic ties" is very vague.

    Once again you are misprepresenting what the sources actually say and still don't seem to have understood what original research and synthesis are and why they cannot be used in Wikipedia articles. You may not find these restrictions congenial, but they are the parameters in which you have to work at Wikipedia and they're non-negotiable. Voceditenore (talk) 16:36, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Syrett cite takes care of this; this is a well-research area of American social history. Nothing new here; all from secondary sources.--Cmagha (talk) 18:36, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • No, it doesn't "take care of this". The Syrett source is simply recounting how in the mid-19th century, fraternities tried to get prestige over other fraternities by getting their members elected (often via chicanery) as officers in the literary societies and that this ultimately led to their demise:

    "Historians of education have long argued that the death of literary societies was due in large part to the birth of fraternities." [my bolding]

    Also, the example cited in that source is the Alpha Delta Phi at the University of Rochester, not Cornell. How on earth does that source verify the original and key assertion that the Irving Literary Society at Cornell, which became defunct in 1887 (according to all reliable sources) is actually a continuous entity with what your fraternity choses to call "The Irving Literary Society" and which now consists of all and only Phi Kappa Psi members? If this assertion can't be verified, then it needs to be removed. Voceditenore (talk) 19:17, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

  • 1877; refounded in 1885, with some members -- like Falkenau -- having been members of the Irving, which then was taken in by Phi Kappa Psi in 1889. You are off by a decade.--Cmagha (talk) 21:22, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • No I'm not, and you are avoiding the issue. The Syrett citation is does not support what you claim it supports and its contents have been completely misrespresented in the article. Voceditenore (talk) 23:24, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • With all fairness, I would like to hear Cmagha's views on why he can't just summarize the literary society aspect in the Irving section of Cornell literary societies? Perhaps the rest should be an essay in Wikisource. There are a lot of contradictions that have not been resolved, such as the transition from a co-educational society drawing members from multiple residential faternities to an organization which is co-extensive with one male residential fraternity. Making much of the fact that Irving did not discriminate on the basis of gender or religion, but not facing up to the lack of gender, religious and racial diversity in Phi Kappa Psi. We are still working hard to track down the source: John Andrew Rea, "The Immortal Eight," Fifty Years at Cornell (Cornell Daily Sun 1930). I undestand that Rea was one of the original eight Cornell graduates, but I can't find his article or that book. Do you have any further information about it or how you located a copy? Thanks, Racepacket (talk) 20:05, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I have a copy in storage, I think. When I moved in 2002, I did lose some boxes. I meant to xerox it when in Ithaca, last, but had some alumni affairs meetings to attend, on the admissions side. Part of my reluctance on the route you suggest, supra, is that while the Irving has ties to Phi Kappa Psi, the identity is distinct. Looking over some more sources now. Wrong call, by the way, on Shalvoy; man is in the celeb ranks. Notability is his business. But that is for another day. Let's put it this way, Shalvoy is ranked way higher in his profession than Andy Noel is in his . . . he is in the Cullen/Moran ranks.--Cmagha (talk) 20:29, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I think we have found the book you meant to reference. Is it: Rea, John Andrew (1930). "The Immortal Eight". A half-century at Cornell, 1880-1930; a retrospect, sponsored by the Cornell Daily Sun to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. Ithaca, NY: Cayuga Press. LCC LD1368 .C79 ++  ? Racepacket (talk) 20:53, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I do not doubt that Cmagha sincerely believes that the present-day Phi Kappa Psi/Irving exists. The question is whether we can prove it with reliable, independent secondary sources? Even if Rea wrote in 1930 that Phi Kappa Psi "absorbed" Irving, he is a primary source as a founder both of the Cornell Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi and of Irving. The sources so far show that both Phi Kappa Psi and Irving went off the hill and came back at different times. Do we have any reliable sources that there is a continuity between the Irving which was founded in 1868 and the "absorbed" organization today? Thanks, Racepacket (talk) 21:03, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
    • This cite was edited in today.--Cmagha (talk) 21:19, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
      • Private, unpublished letters expressing a private individual's opinion are not reliable sources, and even when they have been published are not necessarily reliable and must be treated with extreme caution in terms of what they are being used to verify. I really wish you would read WP:Reliable sources and WP:Original research and take on board their contents. If you still don't believe what I'm saying, I urge you to seek advice at Wikipedia:Content noticeboard. Voceditenore (talk) 22:56, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
The letter is just internal correspondence between a Phi Kappa Psi member and his alumni relations contractor regarding the compilation of a membership roster to be printed almost a century after Irving was "absorbed" by PKP. Do you have any reliable sources documenting that there was a formal relationship established between the two groups, or was it just a matter of Irving disbanding, and a PKP member just took their files over to his fraternity house? Also, although the Turkel letter is on the PKP website, how is it generally accessible to the members of the public who do not know its specific URL? I agree that the letter is not a reliable source and that it has not be subject to vetting as is typically the case for newspaper articles. Racepacket (talk) 11:27, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

What is Appropriate, and Perhaps Inappropriate, to Discuss Here[edit]

Comment. Thanks so much, Voceditenore, for aiding in keeping this page clean and sharp in its presentation. Master work. I have removed Racepacket’s Notability tag and ask that he read the Notability-oriented notes in the copied restoration debate materials above before replacing a tag. And tags need dates. The Irving Literary Society article was front-loaded with the Notability footnotes over the summer. If after reading those comments and reviewing the webpages of other similarly-situated articles noted in the material, Racepacket may want to share concerns with us here. But as Voceditenore noted on the Administrator’s page (search page “Irving”), there is no Notability issue here. Notability was established through the restoration proceeding earlier this autumn.

So with Notability not an issue, we have the forked content matter to consider. I am not sure that is an issue, either. At several points in this Irving proceeding (Apr. to ?), the record has been wiped by accident, sometimes by editors and other times by administrators, but never due to bad faith. We know all the arguments, and the research underlying the Irving article is posted to see. Yes, it is important to have the history present to inform our debate. But in truth, the empirical record merely needs to be matched against Wikipedia’s standards. As for the Cornell literary societies article, bravo/a, Racepacket. I like your efforts and it will make a wonderful companion to the Irving Literary Society article. They both complement each other. Some editing will distinquish them enough, and already is doing so. We all make fundamental philosophical statements about ourselves when we Wiki; this is a fine Inclusionist effort on your part. As the founder of Wikipedia has noted, there is a dark side to Deletionism. And we are at that edge here, folks.

So with Notability and content forking not an issue, we proceed to Racepacket’s request for further citations. Note, Administrators have reviewed this article for empirical integrity, left comments, and have seen more citations added in the workaday pace of Wiki review. This I leave to Cmagha, who has done an infantryman’s chore on this project and was Barnstar’d for that effort, April to September. Whatever cannot be justified, Cmagha will delete as Cmagha has in the past. But as new text to the article has been sparing since the summer rewrite, I suspect the additions will be sparing too. This article was found to be empirically sound once before.

Reading the whole record, on different pages (searching the Administrators’ pages for “Irving Literary Society” reveals a wonderful fear of sockpuppetry), I am struck by the following:

  • Racepacket seems to be concerned about Phi Kappa Psi assuming a mantle of seniority through this article, which does not seem to be the case. The lack of promotion in the piece is striking; it actually depicts Cornell University in a very somber light. Cornell had a robust literary tradition, which was dying, and so a fraternity – of all institutions – picked up the portfolio and maintained a Society outside it’s National affiliations. It would be nice if the intellectual climate in Ithaca from 1889 to the present could have sustained the literary circles one sees, for instance, at Penn. But Cornell is not Penn, and this article shows why (as does this debate). So Cmagha may want to develop a sentence which clearly notes this is not a seniority case, and maybe that will help. I don’t see the Twitter generation getting all that excised about this; appears to be an old people’s debate.
  • Voceditenore has, several times, centered her discussion on the gender exclusion issue. And we must all be empathetic to this concern. I’ve read the Sun articles. Yes, the Irving was all-male in the beginning; then it opened to women after another society did the same; then its officers disappeared in AY1889 and the Irving ends up absorbed into an all-male fraternity. Cmagha, has been forthcoming in the Cornell facts. In the 1960s, Phi Kappa Psi entered into a legal arrangement with the University which required the fraternity to endorse of the Civil Rights Act. Read that document carefully, Racepacket. The Saperstone review did affect its content. I’ll leave the Saperstone history to Cmagha. But it is enlightening. But if one understands the scope of gender law, residing within a general University program which promotes equal facilities for men and women clears Phi Kappa Psi of any gender issues; this Program has sororities within its structure. What this debate boils down to is the wisdom of gender-segregated living facilities at Cornell, and that is not an issue for review with respect to this article. The Irving is a membership organization and non-residential; it is self-selective; it may admit women. It has admitted women. Maybe the way to resolve this matter is to have Cmagha place a sentence noting that the Irving has not admitted a women since, I guess, Florence Kelly (and what a women, read that article . . . ). Might place some pressure on the current Irving members to think through their world.
  • [[.4meter4’s comments are conclusory, and seem to be rooted in the debate of last spring. We all know the original article was a novice affair. But Wiki moves on. 4meter4 does appear to have personal issue with Cmagha, in particular, which Cmagha has noted but is not reciprocating.

So, to the brass tacks between us and our chairs -- if the underlying issue relates to individual relationships in the context of the Cornell community, this GW/Syracuse grad thinks the debate should be moved off-Wiki. Maybe this is a a good topic for a panel presentation in Bailey Hall at Cornell’s Reunion and Homecoming, presented by Cornellians and attended by Cornellians while we Orangemen in Syracuse go to our football games. The empirical dialogue sparked by Racepacket is excellent, but the pejorative tone by some to advance concerns regarding Cornell University’s policies regarding gender co-existence is unWiki. Everyone left standing in this food fight (!) has Wikipedia’s best success at their forefront. Just my thoughts, from a Syracuse/GW alumnus/Non-Greek/non-Irving fan of Wikipedia and its adjudicatory process. Lebowski 666 (talk) 18:23, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

  • As I said above re User:Wehatweet's comments, will you please adhere to WP:Talk page guidelines and place new sections in chronological order, i.e. at the bottom of the current page you are editing. Otherwise discussion becomes impossible to follow. I have moved this section here to observe chronological order. Voceditenore (talk) 21:34, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I think that my position and concerns have been misunderstood. At the outset, I want to emphasize that I want to encourage new Wikipedia editors, particularly editors that want to write about Cornell and Cornellians. I am not a covert Yale operative trying to trip you up, but I am worried that Wikipedia can lose credibility with sloppy scholarship and we all need to work for the maximum accuracy. Anyone is free to write a historic essay from any point of view and publish it on the PKP website, or send a hard copy to the University Archieves. But Wikipedia is different and is constrained to only cover material based on reliable secondary sources. For example, you may have first hand knowledge that a politician is having an affair, or that a tabloid is reporting an affair, but you can't include it in Wikipedia. After the New York Times reports the affair, then you can include it in Wikipedia if you carefully reference your sources. I doubt that in the overall scheme of things the literary societies played a large role in Cornell's history, so I chose to omit them form History of Cornell University. Out of consideration for all the work that was done, I tried to save some of the material by moving it to Cornell literary societies. I have been looking for reliable sources that Irving was "absorbed" by PKP. Cmagha says that the 1930 Rea article does that. I disagree. He never discusses Irving and PKP together and writes, "I have no record of the demise of the Irving." In context, he's saying he doesn't know when/how it ended. Not that it never ended, because as far as Rea was concerned, it ended before 1930.
  • So we have two points of view: one that reads the sources as saying Irving ended in 1887 and the other that the same organization continues today. We have two POV forks - Cornell literary societies and The Irving Literary Society. I propose that Wikipedia confine its Irving coverage to pre-1888 until someone can develop sources to show the organization really did continue past that date. As for listing sample members and their works, Wikipedia requires that a source show that the person was a member of the organization. A source saying that someone was a member of PKP is not enough to support the claim that he was a member of Irving. You cannot assume that all members of PKP are members of Irving. When one removes all of the synthesis and unsourced content from The Irving Literary Society article, all that is left is what is in Cornell literary societies.
  • Finally, please note that as a general rule, individual chapters of national fraternities do not have their own Wikipedia articles. So if it is true that PKP and Irving are co-extensive, then the article should be deleted and merged into Phi Kappa Psi. Thanks, Racepacket (talk) 22:06, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Response to Lebowski 666:

    1. deletion review is not an imprimatur on the entire contents, it decides whether there is sufficiently verified notability for the subject, i.e., the Irving Literary Society which was founded at Cornell University in 1868. Nor does it pre-empt any further editing and questioning of the contents.

    2. I couldn't care less whether this fraternity excludes non-members and women from its version of The Irving Literary Society. What I care about is the enormous play (a whole section) given to how the Irving was a vehicle of integration and yet the article never informs the reader that this is no longer the case now that it has been "absorbed" by the fraternity. I'm sorry, but this is a pretty big fact to exclude from an encyclopedic article.

    3. To any neutral, outside observer, the post-1887 sections of the article read like a recruitment advertisement for the fraternity, and a deliberately misleading one. The furnishings, paintings, etc. are simply part of the fraternity's residence hall. Of course the current version of the ILS produces the fraternity's newsletter. It is the fraternity, as per their repeated insistence/emphasis on this document. The following entirely unreferenced statements are sheer puffery:

    "Though Phi Kappa Psi’s absorption of the Irving was merely intended to keep Cornell’s oldest student organization viable and operating in an age of decline, the act had the unintended effect of bringing into the New York Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi scions of New York’s senior families, descendents from the Knickerbocker Dutch families"

    "Highlights of this Irving intellectual activity following Phi Kappa Psi's maintainace [sic] of the portfolio included engagement with eminent theorists"

    "Upon Commencement, the 1200 Irving members pursue professions and pursuits across the globe, tied to one another through the internet"

    • "Through the newsletter, the men of New York Alpha use their dual membership in the Irving Literary Society to foster academic excellence and a life of arts, letters and culture in themselves and their peers."

    This is why there are NPOV tags currently over half the article, and a prime illustration of why Wikipedia strongly discourages editing with a conflict of interest.

    4. The main problem with this article, one which the discussants here from the fraternity simply have not addressed, and seemingly refuse to address, is the vast amount of original research, synthesis, misrepresentation of what the sources actually say, and unverified (and unverifiable) assertions. Accusing editors who object to this and try to remedy it of "personal issues" with the fraternity or its editors here is extremely counterproductive. Voceditenore (talk) 22:38, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

I have searched the Cornell Daily Sun digital archives for the term "Irving Literary" and there are no records of a post 1888 meeting. As many of you know, the Sun offered daily free meeting notices, so if there was a group on-campus, you would think they would have posted at least one meeting notice in the Sun's Daybook during the last 100 years.

I concur with Voceiditenore's concerns about the Irving article. It needed a major rewrite (which resulted in Cornell literary societies.) Racepacket (talk) 22:47, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Update: cut and paste/article move problems[edit]

  • Flatscan has now remedied the lack of attribution when the The Irving Literary Society created as a cut and paste. Lebowski 666's assertion above that this was not a problem because

    "We know all the arguments, and the research underlying the Irving article is posted to see. Yes, it is important to have the history present to inform our debate. But in truth, the empirical record merely needs to be matched against Wikipedia’s standards"

    is a misunderstanding of what the problem was. This had nothing to do with lacking an article history "to inform our debate". Wikipedia's license requires attribution for all content which is copied elsewhere, including content copied from one Wikipedia article to another. Voceditenore (talk) 15:39, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
  • There remains the problem that this article really ought to be moved back to its original title, The Irving Literary Society (Cornell University), over the redirect created by Racepacket [7]. Only an adminstrator can do that. However, this can probably be solved by recourse to Wikipedia:Requested moves, provided there is a consensus here that the move back is appropriate. Voceditenore (talk) 15:39, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

'Deletion review' review?[edit]

Given the vote stacking by socks at deletion review, I would support a re-deletion of this article. The Irving can be better covered in context within the article Cornell literary societies.4meter4 (talk) 15:17, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, the outcome of Sockpuppet investigations/Cmagha makes this an even bigger mess. Of the total seven !votes for "allow recreation" at Deletion review/The Irving Literary Society (Cornell University), five of them came from sock/meat puppets, all of which are now indefinitely blocked. The closing admin of the Deletion Review has been contacted by the closing admin of the Sockpuppet Investigation.[8] Let's see what he decides to do. He may put both of them up for AfD. In which case, I'd support retention of Cornell literary societies and deletion/merge of this one as a POV fork. Voceditenore (talk) 16:06, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
I have started a second AfD. Racepacket (talk) 03:59, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Troubling details in current article[edit]

Could someone please address the following:

  • Article says that Phi Kapps Psi bought two art works from Aaron Raitiere, who is a recent PKP graduate. However, his bio says he is a musician, not a visual artist. Is this accurate? There are other indications that he is a poet. Does he publish poetry aside from his songs?
    • Raitiere is multi-talented; one of the newsletters may have a pic of the two works before they went up (the are still there, as of Homecoming 2010); his poetry is pretty interesting. Will see what can be digitized.--Cmagha (talk) 21:52, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • In the section "After 1888" the article lists speakers by title rather than by name. Why not list both? How many of these are honorary members of Irving? How many are PKP alumni?
    • The newsletters are on the security side of the website, do to the presence of addresses in the last page. Am trying to get a handout from Homecoming 2010 posted on the open side of the website. It had a collection of clippings since 1997 -- after which the newsletters were digitized.--Cmagha (talk) 21:52, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • In 1954, an organization adopted the Seal of New Amsterdam as its seal. Did Irving or the Cornell Chapter of PKP adopt the insignia? Did Irving have a logo before 1954?
    • The early Cornellians have no insignia; "Alethia" was the motto, as reported in the Cornell Era. The Chapter did NOT adopt the seal; it was adopted by the Irving due to its connection with colonial New York, the Dutch thing.--Cmagha (talk) 21:52, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • When did the absorption occur?
    • Alumni recollection was that Elwyn Bentley of the first dean, c. 1888 or so. The newsletter started around 1913.--Cmagha (talk) 21:52, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Which of the listed members were pre-absorption, post-absorption and honorary? What happened to the footnote systems that explained this?
    • I think the honorary members were all edited last week. Sphinx Head and Quill and Dagger do his members, some un-cited. The Todd letter is the best indication of honorary status. I think that was edited out.--Cmagha (talk) 21:52, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Do you have back issues of the newsletter? Is there any written evidence in those newsletters that document Irving as a separate organization?
    • Trying to post on Monday or Tuesday; also trying to get the Jack Rea piece in the Sun's 50th anniversary issue.--Cmagha (talk) 21:52, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, Racepacket (talk) 03:59, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Should Notable Members Be Removed from Sphinx Head and Quill and Dagger?[edit]

As a preliminary step, maybe the Irving members pre-1888 could be restored as "Sample Members"; "Notable" is a little odd. Sample at least shows the nature of the membership.--Cmagha (talk) 21:54, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

  • I don't feel strongly about that issue, but I question whether one can compare the Irving Literary Society to Sphinx Head and Quill and Dagger. The latter organizations selected members campus wide rather than from within one social fraternity. They also have published books about Cornell, made considerable donations to the University, and performed other publicly-announced service projects. I can't find any public activity from Irving when I searched as far back as the 1960s. In that sense, the latter two organizations are not as well-kept a secret. In fact, they announced their new members in display ads in the Cornell Daily Sun. Racepacket (talk) 13:42, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Suggested New Text[edit]

I’d like the text amended to put back the connection to Group House No. IV of the Cornell University Residence Plan of 1966, the Irving’s steward. This is not duplicating the National fraternity’s page, and it is clear the National does not have an Irving organization at every Chapter. Take a look at the documentation on that page I linked. This is what the article should say to summarize the facts, “In 1966, a Cornell Priority Group doing business as the Irving Literary Society entered into an agreement with the University to support residential housing on its West Campus.[1] That Priority Group is supported by a Group Sponsor with an historical association to the Irving. [2] The Irving retains a presence at Cornell.[3] Coldplay3332 (talk) 19:46, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Note: The contents of the above references are invisible on this talk page. Below is what they say
ref 1: Cornell University Residence Plan of 1966
ref 2: Letter, Todd Letter (Apr. 3, 1983)(an incomplete summary of honorary listing, 1868 to 1935).”
ref 3: Homecoming update, 2010.
Voceditenore (talk) 14:04, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Strong oppose. Your suggestion is at best wp:original research and at worst out right fraud. The links above are not independent of the subject and are therefore considered unreliable by wikipedia's standards for verifiability. So far no reliable evidence has been presented which connects the 19th century Irving Society to the present phi kappa psi fraternity. Wikipedia's policies regaurding no original research are non-negotible and must be followed.4meter4 (talk) 20:13, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Strong oppose The wording is misleading, obfuscating and misrepresents the sources (for the umpteenth time)

ref 1: actually says:
"The Irving Literary Society d.b.a (doing business as) the New York Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity."
Not the other way around as you put it. If the article is going to discuss PKP's version of the ILS. That link between the two should be made explicit not obscured by "Group sponsor" and "Priority Group". And in any case this only verifies the link between the two as of 1966. And as for supporting residential housing, this refers to The Gables, i.e. the fraternity residence, which the fraternity's own website calls "our chapter house" [9] and [10]. The document itself clearly states on p. 8 who is considered to be the "Priority Group" and who is the "Group Sponsor":
"The University recognizes the New York Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity at Cornell University as the Priority Group [...] and that the Cornell friends and alumni of that Group, organized as they are from time to time as the Phi Kappa Psi Society of Cornell University or the Phi Kappa Psi Association, are the Group Sponsor."
ref 2: This is a private, unpublished letter which as has been explained ad nauseam above is not a reliable source. And in any case, it says that both the ILS and PKP were founded by the same people, which is a historical tie (and independently verifiable) but of the loosest kind only.
ref 3: This can be used to to verify that the fraternity considers itself to be the steward of of the old ILS. It doesn't verify that it is the same ILS that became defunct in 1887. As for the reliability of the fraternity website's contents, I would take them to be suitable only for verifying that it claims certain things, but never for verifying the claims themselves. Take this for example from their website's front page:[11]
"Founded in 1868 through the Irving Literary Society, our ancient House is a Cornell tradition with a modern edge."
Or this seemingly nonsensical assertion on p.2 of ref 3:
"(having founded and been founded from the Irving Literary Society) Phi Kappa Psi holds the honored position in campus discourse"
The ILS was founded in 1868. The fraternity was founded in in 1869.[12] True they were founded by the same people (or some of them), but they were two entirely different organizations then, with the ILS having members from other fraternities prior to 1887. In fact from 1877 to 1885 it had no members of PKP at all. The fraternity had been taken over bodily by Psi Epsilon and was not re-established until 1885. It's fine for the PKP to put whatever construction they like on their history for their own website, but it's not fine to do that here. Voceditenore (talk) 13:38, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - None of the sources tendered demonstrate the connection between the old ILS and PKP. Apparently when Neal Stamp drafted the letter agreement about PKP donating its house to Cornell, there was some uncertainty as to the legal description of the owner of the house and the group that would go forward in a University-owned facility. Hence, the vague language and the dba. That does not represent any independent research by Neal Stamp or a determination that the old ILS is in fact the current PKP. If necessary, the Neal Stamp's old work files could be pulled from the University Archives, but I don't think that this will get us anywhere. The letter agreement really does not prove anything other than PKP's right to donate money to Cornell and to occupy a Cornell-owned building as a residential fraternity. Please note that the April 23, 1966 letter from Mark Barlow (who was Vice President for Student Affairs) makes no reference to the ILS. Racepacket (talk) 18:03, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Founding date[edit]

One souce, Selkreg (1894), says it was October 22, 1868. I have changed parts of the article that report October 20 and 24. I don't care, but just want to get the date right. On the other hand, Selkreg (1894) also says that Philalathean was founded before Irving. So I can understand that a few days would make a difference as to which group was Cornell's "first" student organization. I am open to a discussion of what is the true starting date for Irving. Thanks, Racepacket (talk) 21:32, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

See fn. 3[edit]

The Bureau of Education cite doesn't actually say 'decline,' but the inference appears acceptable. Thoughts? IndtAithir (talk) 11:55, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

  • I have removed the recently added material to the lede. The "inference" was not remotely justified by the source [13], nor were the others except in the most general way, material which belongs in Cornell literary societies. Note also that the James Gardner Sanderson quote is from a work of fiction and does not mention the Irving by name. Furthermore, the lede should not contain "new information". It is a summary of the article's contents. If any of that material can be directly supported by published sources (not spurious speculation based on them) and relates specifically to the Irving, then it belongs under the history section. Voceditenore (talk) 07:07, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
  • And footnote 8, the Kennedy matter is problematic. Maybe someone can check old membership lists? Coldplay3332 (talk) 19:06, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
  • I have removed this. First of all dubious content like this shouldn't be slipped into a footnote. Most importantly, the material cited does not remotely support the contention that Wilson and JFK Jr. were made honorary members of the Irving Literary Society. In the case of Wilson, it merely says that he was at Cornell during the period in question, and in the case of JFK Jr., it doesn't even say that. The only acceptable reference is a published and publicly accessible source stating specifically that they were made Honorary Members. The rest is pure speculation. Once again please read WP:NOR and WP:SYN. Note also that per the various discussions prior to this and the outcome of the second AfD, this article is about the literary society that existed from 1868 to 1887. Voceditenore (talk) 07:07, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Article issues 26 April 2011[edit]

"Past members" section[edit]

I have drastically pruned and copyedited this 23 kilobyte addition of overly detailed, archaically written, and in some cases highly repetitious biographies of past members. Some of the names already have articles, hence the overdetail is entirely unnecessary in an article of this type. For the others, who are not particularly notable, the excessive detail is equally inappropriate. Most of it appears to be copied verbatim (or very closely paraphrased) from old alumni news issues. Note that for ones published post January 1923 this is also copyright violation. I completely removed the "Education" subheading and its contents. There is nothing to suggest that participation in a college literary society and its student activities over and above Cornell was a special preparation for a career in education, and especially not in the case of the scientists (the vast majority of names). If the material were to be re-written, it could be used in a separate list article, List of Cornell Irving Literary Society members. But note that such a list must be meticulously referenced to verify that each entry was actually a member, and not contain closely paraphrased or verbatim copying from post-1923 sources. Please note that an encyclopedia article about a subject ( e.g. this college society which is already of limited interest to a general audience) is not the same as a website for the subject and should not be used as one. This applies to many of the other issues outlined below. Voceditenore (talk) 13:41, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

"See also" and "External links" sections[edit]

I have removed both of these ([14], [15]). The "See also" section is for articles which are directly relevant to the topic and which are not already linked in the article. It's not the place to find out more about Washington Irving. That's what his article is for. and it is already multiply linked in the text of this article. Ditto the external link to Irving's house, which has no material which could or should be included in this article. See WP:External links. Voceditenore (talk) 13:41, 26 April 2011 (UTC)


Images should be directly illustrative of points in the article and not used for decorative purposes. They should also be fully documented. What is the relevance of File:Arms Wily Goat.png? There is no explanation of what it illustrates or pertains to and documentation as to its source is completely inadequate, apart from saying it is from an article in The Cornellian, entitled "Secret Societies", which the Irving was not. I notice that it is also used to illustrate (completely without context) List of fraternities and sororities at Cornell University. The Irving was not a fraternity either. I have removed the image. I have left File:Irving Lamp.png for now, but this is also highly dubious and potentially misleading. What is the wording of the reference that supports the assertion that this particular drawing was used by the society as its emblem in 1883? A different lamp appears as part of its crest (File:Arms Irving Literary Society 1883 Cornellian.jpg) already in the article, but it's not this version. This particular image is also used by the Masons [16] and appeared in The Mission of Masonry by Rev. Joseph Fort Newton, Ceder Rapids: 1912. Voceditenore (talk) 13:41, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

  • I've now removed the dubious lamp and replaced it with a much more relevant image, a portrait of one of the participants in the later exercises. I've also replaced the images of Cascadilla Place and White Hall with clearer images and/or ones closer to the era under discussion as well as adding two other illustrative images. Voceditenore (talk) 14:31, 27 April 2011 (UTC)


This article still needs a lot of copyediting for coherence, conciseness, and general style. I am also in the process of checking carefully for multiple instances of prose copied verbatim from old issues of The Cornell Era, etc. without being marked as quotes and without giving the source. The fact that the issues are out of copyright is immaterial, it's still plagiarism. The use of such archaic prose without making it clear who wrote it is also misleading to the reader and seriously detracts from the quality of the article. I would appreciate it if editors would stop removing the copyedit maintenance tag until the job is completely finished. Voceditenore (talk) 14:31, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

I have restored much of the article to its June 13 2011 version. The additions were not helpful, notably:

  • The addition of wordy, repetitious, overly detailed, speculative, unreferenced, aggrandizing and at times incoherent commentary, especially re "secret societies", the Gilded Age, etc.
  • The reduction of the lead (which is supposed to summarize the whole article and not add new or extraneous material). Please read WP:Manual of Style
  • The removal of the extinction date. The ILS is no longer a Cornell society. As such, the society which is the subject of this article (not the the New York Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi's version of it) ceased to exist in 1887. Please read the copious discussions on this at both AfDs and on this talk page and its archives.

Voceditenore (talk) 14:44, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cornell University Residence Plan of 1966.
  2. ^ Letter, Todd Letter (Apr. 3, 1983)(an incomplete summary of honorary listing, 1868 to 1935).”
  3. ^ Homecoming update, 2010.