Talk:Lafayette McLaws

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N&S citation[edit]

I have removed the following edit:

Longstreet reportedly stated that McLaws has a "possession of certain bullheadedness" required for the job.[footnote] Groce, W. Todd, The Battle of Gaines Mill,North & South - The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society, Issue 4, Page 14.

According to the magazine's website,, the quote went the other way--McLaws about Longstreet--which would not be very interesting in a McLaws biography. By the way, for future similar citations, please include the date of issue, not simply the number. And the format for citing a magazine article would put the article name in quotation marks and the name of the magazine in italics, such as:

Groce, W. Todd, "The Battle of Gaines Mill", North & South, Issue 4, April 1998, p. 14. Hal Jespersen (talk) 14:40, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Use of apostrophes in ownership[edit]

This article originally had McLaws' rather than McLaws's and there is no good reason to change it to an awkward form.

Graeme Cook (talk) 07:56, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I wrote the original article in 2005 and was not as careful about punctuation in those early days of Wikipedia as I am today. In 2006 I changed many of the articles I wrote to use the punctuation described in WP:MOS#Possessives option 1 (and the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., section 7.18). This article has used that punctuation for four years. If you look at WP:MOS#Stability of articles, it says "The Arbitration Committee has ruled that editors should not change an article from one guideline-defined style to another without a substantial reason unrelated to mere choice of style, and that revert-warring over optional styles is unacceptable. Where there is disagreement over which style to use in an article, defer to the style used by the first major contributor." I was the first contributor and I continue to be the major contributor to this article. Hal Jespersen (talk) 00:07, 6 September 2010 (UTC)


I think that "hoist with his own petard" applies here. You have changed your own style without without a substantial reason unrelated to mere choice of style.

Graeme Cook (talk) 07:59, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

As the original author and the primary contributor to this article, I chose the original style and then chose to update it to conform to the Wikipedia manual of style as it was fleshed out over the years--it has changed many, many times--and the Chicago style guide. If I had written the original article and then someone else had made major contributions to it, I would not consider myself to have any procedural standing in the style issue. (And in fact there are some Wikipedia articles that fit that pattern. I wrote them, someone else made major contributions, and I have not attempted to impose any stylistic consistency beyond my original work.) That style is maintained consistently over 4+ years in the over 300 articles I have written for the ACW space. There is no procedural or logical justification for modifying this style decision, which, as I have said before, is the first choice offered by both the Wikipedia manual of style and the Chicago manual of style. Hal Jespersen (talk) 16:10, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Hal, Who has contributed most does not give any special benefits or priority. This smacks of claiming ownership of an article. Nor does the number of articles written. This is not how Wikipedia works.

Being the first listed choice offered by the Wikipedia manual of style does not give any priority over a choice listed at any other position, this is not serious argument.

Graeme Cook (talk) 07:50, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

The manual of style makes it clear that when there are multiple acceptable alternatives, the first or principal author is the one who makes the choice and that subsequent editors who make minor modifications should be consistent with that style. I acknowledge that the sequence listing alternatives in style manuals is not totally definitive, just as the sequence of listing pronunciations in dictionaries is not prescriptive, but I mentioned it because both Wikipedia and the Chicago manual of style chose to portray my style first, so I thought that would provide some explanation of why I made my choice; it is not based on my personal whim. I think your only argument boils down to the fact that I originally wrote the article using one style and then four years ago changed it to another as part of a general improvement sweep through articles I maintain (two actions separated by no substantive modifications by other editors), and therefore any other editor should feel free to make subsequent changes to satisfy their own personal preferences--because I was not consistent in 2005 I have abandoned any claims to consistency in 2010. I tell you what, however. This issue is not important enough for me to spend any additional time arguing about it. Hal Jespersen (talk) 17:57, 18 September 2010 (UTC)