Talk:List of members of the United States Congress by longevity of service

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Table format[edit]

Hi. I think the article listing the longest-serving members of Congress would work better in a table format, rather than having six different lists (total service, total uninterrupted, total Senate, uninterrupted Senate, total House, uninterrupted House), because a large number of people show up in the same places on more than one of those lists. For example, Robert Byrd is #2 on total service and total uninterrupted service, and #1 in total and uninterrupted Senate service. Would you mind if I took a shot at reformatting it? Thanks. JTRH (talk) 15:55, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Column 1: Member name, party, state Column 2: Total service Column 3: Rank in total service (this can be a number < 10) Column 4: Senate service if different from total (only include record-setters) Column 5: Rank in Senate service (again, just a number) Column 6: House service if different from total Column 7: Rank in House service (only include record-setters; Robert Byrd's House service doesn't need to be separately listed, because it's almost 50 years in the Senate that makes him of interest)

Members who served only in one body and continuously don't need more than one entry, e.g., Jamie Whitten doesn't need to be listed in three different places as the longest-serving Representative, the longest continuously serving Representative, and the third-longest-serving member of either body. (BTW, "Congressman" only refers to House members. "Members of Congress" is a bit more inclusive. Strange but true.) JTRH (talk) 16:12, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm in no rush. If I come up with something workable, I'll post it on my sandbox and send you the link so you can take a look at it. JTRH (talk) 16:19, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

* Dr_Who1975- Can you transpose this conversation to the article's talk page?—Markles 17:01, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

I haven't fully transposed Dr_Who1975's and my subsequent dialogue from my talk page, but will do so upon request. Since that conversation, I've come up with this: [1], which is slightly different than what I described above. Let me know if you think it fails to convey anything that isn't in the separate lists, or to do so understandably. JTRH (talk) 17:21, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

May I make a couple of suggestions in the form of changes to your sandbox?--Dr who1975 (talk) 22:43, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Sure. Go for it. JTRH (talk) 23:53, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Hey JTRH, I've looked at your final version of the list. Let me prfeface what I'm about to say with the fact that I apreciatre the hard work and orgnization you put into the list. It's Barnstar worthy work. However, I have several issues with it. I will list them in order from major/meduim to minor concerns.
1. (major) You've completely removed the uninterupted service numbers. This is notable. If you go back and look at the pages for Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond druing the days when Byrd was creeping up on Thurmmond's record. It was still a big deal when Byrd had passed Thurmmond's uninterupted service but not his total tenure of service. This distinction will be important again when somebody like Ted Kennedy threatens to move past Thurmond's record.
2. (medium) The page is more difficult to follow. People want to know these records on their sepearte merits.
3. (medium) If you look at pages such as John Dingell and Jamie Whitten, I have links for their record's as congressmen and records as Representatives pointingto the seperate sections of this page. I know you were concerned with the distinctions between Congressman, Senator and Representative earlier but these links have been on Dingell's page for a year now (as of yesterday) and I've never had any complaints or confusion about this distinction in that time. There are a couple ofpages that link to this page by section.
4. (medium) This page is actually 3 pages in one... most congressional article's sepearate house and senate records on seperate pages. In fact if you look at the template {{USCongress}}, this is one of the few pages that is under the general congressional section. Most pages are under either House or Senate categories.
5. (medium) Upkeep on the page will be more complicated. If you look at the way I have the page now, it is easy tosee how each person sorts in each section.If somebody surpasses soembody else in a given section. You just move them above that person. With the new format, it is going to be difficult for people other than you or me to figure out what and when they should update an article.
6. (minor) You don't use any clickable sort functions in the table.
I hope you'll read over my concerns and consider them carefully. We can continue to discuss this. I really apreciate the way in which you've approacewd this.--Dr who1975 (talk) 03:41, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your consideration and comments. When I said "complete," I meant that I'd transposed all the data, not that the table was set in stone. :) I'm certainly willing to add/modify things to address your concerns.
I thought I had adequately separated out consecutive vs. non-consecutive service by denoting non-consecutive service by double plus signs and separate entries for each block of service. As it's presented now, you do have to look at the list, rather than just relying on the columns, to see (for example) that Sid Yates is the sixth-longest serving House member in terms of total service, but Wright Patman is seventh in total service but sixth in consecutive service. If you'd like, I can add separate columns for uninterrupted service, and introduce a clickable sort function, as you suggest (which I don't know how to do and am willing to learn). If these can be sorted by the reader according to each category - uninterrupted service only, House members only, etc., I think that will address a lot of your concerns about having the records separately accessible on their own merits.
As far as the other Congress pages go, keeping completely separate records (or separate pages) for House and Senate would eliminate, for example, Henry Dawes, who's only on the list at all because he served 18 years in each body and thus has 36 years total service. Serving 18 years in one or the other isn't notable as far as longevity records go.
Upkeep: I used the "age in years and days" template for the members who are still serving, and added a plus sign to the end of each datum that's still changing. So, for example, when Ted Kennedy passes Adolph Sabath in total service on 6/19/08, it'll be readily apparent that his row needs to be transposed with Sabath's, since his service will be displayed as being longer. (Would the clickable sort function take care of that? Then all someone would have to do would be to reverse the current notations of Kennedy as 14 and Sabath as 13.)
My concern about the use of the term "Congressman" is not about the use of that term as opposed to "Representative," but rather that "Congressman" is generally understood to refer only to House members, even if Senators are technically "Congressmen". If the list includes both House and Senate, it would be more inclusive and more easily understood to say either "Members of the U.S. Congress" or "Members of the House and Senate."
I look forward to continuing to discuss and work on this with you. Best, JTRH (talk) 12:37, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
I've added and clarified a lot of data in response to your comments above. Take another look when you'd like. JTRH (talk) 17:21, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Hey JTRH. Sorry if I didn't give the table a thourough enough read through before. Regardless, I'm afaraid I have to disagree... there's just too much data on each row for the lists to be useful anywore if they were all converted to one table. I've been looking at Wikipedia:When to use tables and I've concluded that this page here is best kept as a series of six simple lists. All that is needed is a rank, a name, and a lengfth of time. I see no obvious benefit to having rows and columns. Even if concensus disagreed with me (since nobody owns a wikipage) I would still endorse only combining the uninterupted and total tenure information so that there are still 3 lists.--Dr who1975 (talk) 01:07, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

P.S. Feel free to move the page to List of United States Members of Congress by longevity of service... I would not objest. You can use the "move" tab next to the "History" tab.--Dr who1975 (talk) 01:13, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

3 lists = House, Senate and total? That's fine with me. JTRH (talk) 02:50, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Agreed... I have an idea of how it will look and I can do it given time... let me get past tonights Mississsippi congressional election... I'll start it in my sandbox this week end at the latest. My work is also keeping my pretty busy.--Dr who1975 (talk) 21:09, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
No rush. I'm not one of those people who assumes that others have nothing to do with their lives beyond contributing to Wikipedia! JTRH (talk) 22:21, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I broke down what I had into three tables. See what you think: [2]. JTRH (talk) 16:57, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
oops... i didn't see this message beforeI got started last night. Perhaps I can inocrporate the start and end times... let me finish what I've started and we'll talk.--Dr who1975 (talk) 20:54, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

OK, I’ve implemented a change along the lines we’ve discussed. Two One thing I’ve noticed comparing the page to yours.

  • You kept an uninterrupted rank but took out the uninterrupted time. This makes the uninterrupted rank useless as it is not explained. For instance, in about a year when Ted Kennedy passed Strom Thurmond in Senate time, how will we know that he’s passed Thurmond’s uninterrupted time (which differs from his total tenure time) without the actual numbers displayed on the page.
  • This one's not as big a deal to me, however, some of the extra information seems unnecessary in a list like this. For instance, party affiliation: if you look at a page List of United States Presidents by time in office all that is listed is,
  1. what number president they were chronologically (not equivelent here)
  2. a name
  3. the length of time they served
  4. their rank on the list
  5. and an explanation (which is also not needed here as Congressmen do not have term limits).

I explain the reasons for the rankings in cases of a tie in the header and other data such as party can be learned from looking at each Congressman's page. Having parties listed wouldn;t say anything about Democrat vs Republican as there are politicians from several parties listed.
Let me know.--Dr who1975 (talk) 18:27, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

The latest version of the table I constructed [3] has both total time, marked with (n) if noncontinuous, and the longest block of continuous time if it's different from the total, marked with (c). So Strom Thurmond has two entries in the same cell, and you're right. Within the next year or so, Kennedy will pass Thurmond's consecutive service (1956-2003) but not yet his total service (1954-1956 and 56-03). Both of those are included in my table. Party affiliation and state aren't critically important information for this chart, but they're useful in giving further information about the people being described. Do you happen to know (I don't) how the official Congressional record-keepers determine rank? I don't know whether the official records list, for example, Rangel and Young as being tied, or if there's some official determinant of which one goes first if there's no such thing as a tie? I know the various tie-breaking methods the Senate uses to determine seniority rankings among incumbent Senators (previous service through state size), but I don't know whether that ranking remains the case after retirement. JTRH (talk) 22:10, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
    • I see that both times are listed. Sorry I didn't notice it before (guess I did it again). I stll like having them in seperate columns. It's easier to follow that way. I have a columnsort control on the rank columns so people can re-sort to view by uninterupted time.
House Seniority (for new Reresentatives who never served before) is sorted based alphabetically by last name. That's the order they're sworn in (and yes...I agree it's really arbitrary but it's all we have). See List of current members of the United States House of Representatives by seniority for more details.
FYI List of current United States Senators by seniority talks about Senate Seniority.--Dr who1975 (talk) 01:09, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Women in Congress[edit]

The largest minority group not represented herein, and not possible to be included otherwise until 2013, I'd like to include a small section that shows and tracks their longevity. Any objections? 75.203.254.91 (talk) 01:51, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

OK, the table is hidden; please take a look at it. 18 years was just convenient, but 20 or 24 would be fine. Didn't write the intro yet; deciding break point first would make it easier. 75.202.128.247 (talk) 05:48, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Including congresswomen with 18+ years in the article for longest-serving members of Congress would be unfair to all of those congressmen with between 18 and 36 years of service. Wouldn't it make more sense to have a separate article for longest-serving congresswomen? AuH2ORepublican (talk) 18:41, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

You're right, and I hoped to improve the quality by having it scrutinized here first before being separated, which is why it's hidden; feedback was requested and eagerly awaited. (I'm now in user space, BTW). Breaking it at 36 rather than 30 was just as 'unfair' to women who had served more than 30 years, since it kept women off the list entirely, but would have approximately doubled the content and maintenance, and I've AGF, even though the title went inclusive without including them or even mentioning them. Still awaiting feedback on the content. (Had been logged in). Dru of Id (talk) 22:34, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Question about time served values[edit]

Are the "time served" amounts automatically calculated, or do they need to be manually updated every day? Just curious how something like this works... Thanks. Error9900 (talk) 15:49, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

For the curious (as this answer is long overdue): for those out of office, it is calculated and entered as text; for those currently in office, it is an auto-calculated from-date template which calculates based off UTC. Change of positions is done manually as needed ~25-30 times per year. Dru of Id (talk) 04:30, 11 June 2012 (UTC)


Joe Biden[edit]

I feel like Joe Biden should get an asterisk, she is still President of the Senate after all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.137.147.133 (talk) 00:34, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Uninterrupted time - n/a[edit]

Why are some of the values listed as "n/a"? I don't understand this chart. —Designate (talk) 11:59, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

That indicates that they served 36+ years, but not 36+ years consecutively. Star Garnet (talk) 04:49, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
I think the uninterrupted time should be included even if it's less than 36 years just so the chart makes sense. I understand you need a threshold for people to save space, but you're not saving any space leaving out one cell in a row. —Designate (talk) 13:14, 4 August 2013 (UTC)