Talk:Mormon handcart pioneers

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Featured article Mormon handcart pioneers is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on December 14, 2006.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
August 1, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
August 23, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
September 30, 2006 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

Featured article status?[edit]

Do you think it would be possible to get this article up to featured article status in time for the 150th anniversary of the rescue this October? I've not participated in a featured article nomination, so I would appreciate advice from those who are more experienced. BRMo 04:26, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I have not participated in one either, at least not in one that wasn't already featured, but I have submitted this article for peer review and as a GA nominee, so hopefully we can get more people to review it. We should try to get the LDS WikiProject behind this so we can put as much muscle into this as possible. BTW I found this on the Mormon collaboration page and I am pretty impressed with what you guys have done so far. --Lethargy 07:49, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Assessment of current status of article[edit]

As the primary author of this article, I'll give my assessment of the articles strengths and weaknesses, with a focus on what improvements need to be made to get this up to featured article status. Of course, others will see things that I can't see, so please add your own comments and critique.


  • The article provides a fairly comprehensive treatment of the subject.
  • It meets the WP standards of verifiability, neutral point of view, etc.
  • The overall format of the article, use of references, notes, external links, and images all generally seem to meet WP standards.

I think the article could probably be successfully nominated as a "good" article without much additional effort.

Opportunities for improvement:

  • The lead is adequate, but the prose needs to be made more compelling to be a featured article. I've looked at several featured articles, and a common characteristic is a very well-written lead section that draws that the reader into the article.
  • Since a featured article will be read by many non-LDS readers who are completely unfamiliar with the story of the Mormon pioneers and the handcarts, we will need to add a bit of background (who were these Mormon pioneers? why were they emigrating to Utah? etc.) This needs to be done with care, since addressing topics like these can be where POV problems creep in. I think we want to keep this background section to a minimum, but it does need to be added.
  • It will be very important to get feedback from non-LDS editors who are not knowledgeable about the handcart pioneers. They will help us identify issues that need elaboration.
  • It would be nice to add a few more appropriate images. The images in the article now are simply ones I'd seen in other articles, but there are lots of handcart pioneer images on the Web. I will write to Lee Groberg (the filmmaker who is filming a PBS special on the rescue of the Willie and Martin companies) to see if he'd be willing to make available an image or two. I'd welcome your thoughts on other appropriate images that might strengthen the article.
  • The footnotes could be strengthened if there were more diversity in the sources that are cited. I've cited Hafen and Hafen and Bartholomew and Arrington because those are the sources that I own and used, but it would be helpful if someone who owns Slaughter or Stegner could add specific citations to these sources (as well as adding any other significant references on the topic).
  • The section on Legacy could be expanded. There are brief mentions of various activities, events, works of literature, etc., and some of these could be expanded to short paragraphs. Of course the main focus of the article should continue to be the history of the handcart companies, so we don't want the "Legacy" section to take over the article, but I do think this is a topic that is treated rather tersely in the current version.

Finally, since I've never been through a featured article review, I'd appreciate advice and suggestions from more experienced editors. Thanks. BRMo 13:40, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Can we work into the lead why they were migrating west? What do you think needs to be included in the resons? --Lethargy 21:04, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I took a stab at it. I also inserted a heading to begin working on some background information. --uriah923(talk) 21:48, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I buried the new section: I'm pretty sure putting an empty section there isn't a good idea. But thanks for adding the persecution stuff, I really need to read up on the subject before I can add specific background information though, my knowledge is relatively basic, I pretty much know that the Death of Joseph Smith, Jr. was one of the factors. --Lethargy 21:56, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Journal of the Trail would be a useful source, I have 2 copies lying around somewhere that I can use to cite sources once I get around to it. Until then you may be able to get it at your library: ISBN 0966075501


I added content for the background section, much of it borrowed from Mormon pioneer. The article is now giving a length warning, which is likely an issue for it to become featured. Keep an eye out for ways to trim it down. --uriah923(talk) 22:14, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Lead work[edit]

IMO the lead section needs only one more thing: a mention of the reenactments that continue today (in other words, the legacy). I'd like to steal this from the Legacy section and add it to the lead:

Although fewer than 10 percent of the 1847–68 Latter-day Saint emigrants made the journey west using handcarts, the handcart pioneers have become an important symbol in LDS culture, representing the faithfulness, courage, determination, and sacrifice of the pioneer generation. The handcart treks were a familiar theme in 19th century Mormon folk music and handcart pioneers continue to be recognized and honored in events such as Pioneer Day, Church pageants, and similar commemorations. The handcart movement has been a theme in LDS fiction, such as Gerald Lund's historical novel, Fire of the Covenant, and Orson Scott Card's science-fiction short story, "West."

This requires rewriting what is currently in the legacy section, or finding another way of wording this so we avoid duplicating information. Any ideas how we can word this? --Lethargy 01:27, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I moved the paragraph and added a sentence to the Legacy section to replace it. --uriah923(talk) 03:16, 2 August 2006 (UTC)


I think it would make the page a lot more presentable if the listed information was table-ized. I don't have a lot of experience with tables other than the generic (and rather boring) wiki table, but if someone can find a nice table in another article, I'll implement it. --uriah923(talk) 03:17, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I stuck in some tables. I think they look much better, and they bring the article to a proper length. I also changed the quotation, which I think looks better without the overbearing box. Thoughts? --uriah923(talk) 15:17, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

From the brief look I took, it looks fine to me. --Lethargy 23:42, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree --Trödel 23:43, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Legacy & references[edit]

I added some quotes to support the legacy section, as well as provide a little diversity to the references. I also included "Ibid" where appropriate in the notes and made some other minor changes. How much more is needed for these two items on the checklist to be completed? --uriah923(talk) 16:57, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

I would like to see a paragraph or so each about handcart reenactments, Pioneer Day, and anything else dealing with the legacy. Not sure how hard it is to find references for the reenactments though... --Lethargy 06:32, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
I've added a paragraph on handcart reenactments with some references. BRMo 12:56, 5 August 2006 (UTC)


A couple of weeks ago I emailed Lee Groberg (the PBS filmmaker who is working on a documentary on the handcart rescue) to ask for a photo or two, but he hasn't responded. Since then, I ran across a Web site by the photographer, Norman Bosworth, so I've written to him with a similar request. Another option would be to check with someone who has participated in a handcart reenactment to see if they would be willing to provide a photo. BRMo 03:29, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Film "Handcart (2002)"[edit]

I ran across this page Handcart (2002). I've never heard of the film, and from what's shown on the page, it isn't clear whether the film was ever completed and released. Does anyone know anything about it? BRMo 11:44, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Answering my own question, it must have been released, because there's a page on IMDB. Judging from the comments posted there, it must have been a stinker. BRMo 12:12, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

What next?[edit]

Other than reference diversification, it appears the "to-do list" has been completed. What's next? --uriah923(talk) 15:48, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately the peer review hasn't gathered any responses, other than an automated one, so we may have to just review it ourselves and see if we can figure out areas that need improvement. It is still up as a good article candidate, so perhaps someone there will look it over and give us some pointers. In the mean time, we should make sure it is thoroughly copy-edited, see: Wikipedia:How to copy-edit. --Lethargy 19:58, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

GA Nom comments[edit]

I like what I see here. May I ask that the two sections early in the article without inline references be documented. With this done, I'd be happy to promote it. --CTSWyneken(talk) 20:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Are you referring to the Background and Outfitting sections? --uriah923(talk) 22:51, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, indeed. --CTSWyneken(talk) 23:24, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Citations have now been added to the Background and Outfitting sections. BRMo 04:44, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

GA Nom Passed[edit]

Thank you! That does it for GA status. I've promoted the article. The only recommendation I'd have for the future is to review each of the sections for documentation. My rule of thumb is that, if the info appears more or less the same in different words is two or three serious sources, you need cite only one. If a paragraph is a summary of information gathered from one source, then one cite suffices. If information from another source is spliced in, add a cite for the second source and cite the first source again at the end of the next sentence. Good work, one and all, and good luck with the article! --CTSWyneken(talk) 11:15, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Writings of William R. Palmer.[edit]

Recently an anon added a few paragraphs from "Writings of William R. Palmer." I am concerned that this may be copyrighted, so we need to work that out before we can use it. --Lethargy 02:36, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree with your concern. The added text is very close to what is found on enough that I'd worry about a copyright violation. Another source is, which provides a lengthier quotation and cites the original source as an article in The Instructor, May 1944. Another concern is that the added text presents a point of view that is supportive of the LDS leadership and thus may violate WP:NPOV. I think the material could be edited to avoid both the copyright concerns and the POV problems; I'm willing to try, though it will be a couple of days before I'll have time. If someone else would like to tackle it first, please go ahead. I'm wondering, though, whether the material on responsibility/blame for the tragedy perhaps should be a separate section or subsection, since it breaks the historical narrative. BRMo 04:29, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

"Emigrant" vs. "immigrant" or "migrant"[edit]

I'd like to clarify the use of the word "emigrant" in this article. The word "emigrate" has two (closely related) definitions. (Unfortunately, many dictionaries list only one or the other.) The most common meaning is "to leave one's country of residence for a new one." Several dictionaries observe that it means the same as "immigrate," except that "emigrate" describes the move relative to the country of departure, whereas "immigrate" describes the move relative to the destination country. A second meaning is to move from one country or region and settle in another. Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives the following example: "Inhabitants of New England emigrate to the Western States." This definition does not specifically identify the move with the region of departure; rather it focuses on people making a permanent, long-distance move. It can contrast with "migrate," which is often used for temporary moves. This second meaning is the one that was used historically in naming the "Emigrant Trail," "Emigration Canyon," etc., and is the meaning intended by historians who refer to the pioneers traveling to Utah as "emigrants," regardless of whether their journey began in the United States or Europe. I am reverting the recent edits back to "emigrant," which I believe is an appropriate term, one that is widely used by historians, and adds consistency to the article. BRMo 02:07, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for clearing that up. I was the one who changed a few instances of the word to "immigrate". I was under the impression that the second definition you referred to was the only one. However, it does keep the article more consistent, so I'm glad to know that now. Tom Stringham 02:16, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

End of collaboration[edit]

The official Mormon collaboration on this article has ended. Thank you for everyone's help. --uriah923(talk) 19:04, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Front page nom[edit]

Do you think we should submit this article for "Today's Featured Article" at Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests? --Lethargy 18:32, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. I've already drafted a box; see User:BRMo/testpage. Before submitting it, I'd appreciate receiving any comments, suggestions, or edits. Also, I was unable to locate any instructions for constructing these boxes, so I just followed the format of other boxes on the page Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests. If anyone has seen instructions, please let us know where to find them. BRMo 18:59, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
That is exactly why I didn't submit it myself. :-) Perhaps we should mention that on the talk page of the requests page? --Lethargy 19:04, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and submitted the box to Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests. If you'd like to comment or make any edits, you can do so there. BRMo 03:53, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I also submitted this at Portal:Utah, suggesting that the lead section you submitted at TFA be used. See: Portal talk:Utah#Selected article --Lethargy 02:38, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Mormon handcart pioneers has been scheduled as Today's featured article/December 14, 2006. BRMo 03:10, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

That's great!! As a reminder, the day featured articles appear on the main page, they are usually vandalized freqently. The type of subtle vandalism that religion articles sometimes attract needs those familiar with the subject matter to review and correct these edits. So if everyone could make themselves available on the 14th to help watch the article, it would be appreciated. --Trödel 12:06, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I would advise getting an admin to protect this page starting on the 14th, and ending 4 days later, when it is all the way off the front page. This article will really be prone to a lot of vandalism, I fear. And nice job getting this to the front page. You guys really did a great job!!-Hairchrm 00:51, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Front page articles are not protected for several reasons see Wikipedia:Don't protect Main Page featured articles. In addition to those reasons I think it is important for the high profile articles to remain editable as evidence that we believe in the policies that we espouse... the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. --Trödel 02:17, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Have you read the Wikipedia Protection Policy page? It states :"A permanent or semi-permanent protection is used for: Protecting high visibility pages such as the Main Page from vandalism." While this is not as visible as the main page, it will probably be the second most visited page that day (besides the search page). Also, given the nature of the article, I would lean towards having it protected. Any thoughts from anyone else?-Hairchrm 03:34, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
As long as someone is on hand to protect it at the first sign of persistent abuse, I don't see a reason to preemptively protect it. uriah923(talk) 18:52, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes - if the anonymous vandalism gets too high it will be protected against IP and new users - but I very much doubt it will be fully protected. I know I wouldn't protect it. Agree with Uriah - the best defense is to be on hand to help identify edits and welcome new users. --Trödel 21:07, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Graffiti Removal[edit]

There is at least one (if not more, i need to finish reading), unbiased opinionated statement(s) in the article, this is clearly graffiti. (Example: the MORMONS RULE!!! comment which wasn't even formatted right) I've removed this from the article and believe it should be locked to prevent further edits of such matter. -DewDude 00:57, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia's bot caught it before I did. -DewDude 01:01, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

No need to discuss stuff like that on the talk page - go ahead and be bold and delete vandalism immediately!--Dmz5 01:14, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Talk of disaster[edit]

There is talk of how the Martin and Willy handcart companies experienced practical disaster, but I think mention should be made of the fact that none of the survivors of the two companies left the LDS church, not a one of them. I know I've seen a citation for this and will find it soon.--LWF 01:02, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

At least one prominent member of the Willie Company left the LDS church -- John Chislett, who was a sub-captain (responsible for about 100 persons in the company) and wrote an oft-quoted history of the trek. BRMo 04:10, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, I'll need to check my source again. I hadn't heard that.--LWF 04:22, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

My impression, however, is that the vast majority of the emigrants did remain in the LDS church. BRMo 04:28, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Of course, they were poor and illiterate, not much more than slaves —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:09, 15 July 2007

No -- you are wrong. Poor, yes. They were generally from the lower classes and had little. Illiterate? many left journals, diaries and personal accounts of the trips. Slaves? hardly, most were working class people, similar to other emigrants entering the US at the time, looking for a better life. Some had skills, --carpenters, bakers, blacksmiths -- which they promptly put to use in their new home. Don't denigrate the achievements and purposes of brave people who made choices based on religious belief. Don't imply they were forced, in any way, to make this trip. WBardwin 22:06, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
He/she is just projecting, WBardin. –SESmith 22:41, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Intro needs to be fixed[edit]

This edit introduced grammar errors and problems to the intro - needs to be fixed. Sandy (Talk) 04:40, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, Sandy. I think I've cleaned it up. BRMo 05:04, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Main page is really hard on articles :-) Best, Sandy (Talk) 05:23, 14 December 2006 (UTC)


I removed all the templates for now until I figure out which one is being vandalized. Kelvinator 07:06, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Ok, finally got rid of that blasted picture. It was in the WikiProject Utah template. As a heads-up, if this page gets vandalized again, check the templates. Kelvinator 07:15, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Image summary credits[edit]

Please do not add credits to the summary of an image. It is irrelevant to the article who made the photos or where they're from, especially since they are from the Commons. Please use the image namespace for giving credit where credit is due; it really is not necessary to be in the article namespace. function msikma(user:UserPage, talk:TalkPage):Void 07:18, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I personally think its neccessary to show that the pictures are not original but in fact of re-enactors for the commemmorative TV show

I apologize for deleting your edit -- I was trying to remove some other edits that were vandalism, and yours got deleted by mistake. I've added the word "Reenactment" to the picture description. BRMo 18:44, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Image copyright status[edit]

I question the copyright status of Image:PlattCrossing.jpg and Image:Man3.jpg. They both state that there is permission from the author to use this image (via e-mail). However, the e-mails are nowhere to be found. Whoever uploaded the images should have known that we explicitly require to have such information since an admin needs to be able to check the license. I think that it was a mistake to promote this article to featured status with such dubious images; perhaps this is why you added the author's name to the image summaries? It's very wrong to use an image "with permission" when that permission does not exist and likely included conditions that we should not satisfy (such as the condition of the author being credited; the GNU FDL does not require us to do it in article namespace, and thus we do not do that). Please fix this rationale as soon as possible, since this article is now on the main page and a bad example of Wikipedia procedures and standards. function msikma(user:UserPage, talk:TalkPage):Void 07:23, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

On August 8 2006 I forwarded the letter granting permission to permissions AT wikipedia DOT org for archiving and also posted notice of the permission at Wikipedia:Successful requests for permission. Wikipedia Permissions subsequently sent an email to Mr. Bosworth to confirm the license permission. I believe I followed all of the procedures described in Wikipedia:Example requests for permission. BRMo 12:42, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Confirmed - OTRS ticket #2006080810004107 (Note - this number *really, really* should be posted on the image page, or else it's almost like finding a needle in a haystack) On the other hand, with this number on the image page (which I have added) this is 100% compliant with our normal operating procedures. Raul654 19:03, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Featured Article Star?[edit]

Where is the FA star on the page of the article itself? it is mysteriously missing. b_cubed 07:32, 14 December 2006 (UTC)


Tragedy is a matter of opinion and the use of it to characterize events is generally frowned up around here. Is it being used appropriately in this article? Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 15:19, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I understand why one would want to avoid the word "tragedy" if there might be a differences of opinion about the implications of an event. The death of a political leader might be considered tragic by supporters, but not by the opposition. But in a case like the Willie and Martin companies, where many emigrants died from exposure to cold weather, disease, and lack of food, is there really a body of opinion that says the events weren't tragic? The word "tragedy" is used in many or most secondary sources on the handcart companies, including those written by non-Mormon authors. I'd prefer to keep the word unless there is a compelling reason to drop it. BRMo 15:48, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I've made the case in articles about plane crashes before, there's a summary at WP:WTA#Sadly.2C_tragically.2C_and_other_words_that_editorialize_death. It's a fact that they died, it's an opinion that it was a tragedy. There's nothing illegitimate about disagreeing on that opinion, and WP:NPOV prohibits us from endorsing a position. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 16:27, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I think BRMo's comment was that no secondary sources disagree with that description. Assuming that is true, then there is no reason not to use the word, as it is neutral to use vocabularly of widely held views that are not disputed. BTW, we could user some help in this regard (use of netural words where there is a dispute over the description of the events) at Talk:Mountain Meadows Massacre Thx in adv --Trödel 16:34, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, it might be undisputed by the people who bother to write about it, but a commonly held opinion is still an opinion. It's injecting unnecessary sentiment into an article and undermining our objective, encyclopedic tone. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 16:42, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

One problem I have with dropping the word "tragedy" is finding a suitable replacement. When discussing a plane crash, you can refer to the "crash" or the "accident" (assuming it was accidental). In this article, the word "tragedy" is mostly used in the subsection on responsibility, which discusses the decisions or lack of planning that led to the deaths of many emigrants. However, other words that might be substituted for "tragedy" (such as "disaster") seem no less POV. In this context, the word "tragedy" is not being used to describe the death of a particular individual, but rather as a shorthand for a complex set of events and decisions that resulted in more than 200 deaths. I think the word is used effectively and I disagree that it is expressing a POV; but if you would like to suggest a substitute word, we can discuss. BRMo 17:01, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, what's considered tragic? "deaths" "events" all seem neutral and fine to refer to what happened. "Responsibility" on its own works--"for the tragedy" seems obvious. "tragedy" also seems to imply it was a single event, when you're really talking about a series of things. "journey" seems more appropriate in places ("survivors of the...") Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 17:20, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I'll go back to Trödel's point -- because none of the published sources have disputed the description of these events as a "tragedy," I believe that the use of the term is acceptable under Wikipedia's NPOV policy. The term was present during the featured article review and was not questioned by any of the reviewers. Of the alternatives you've suggested, I really dislike "events" because it is vague. "Deaths" is more specific, but it would appear to omit or discount the effects on the survivors, many of whom suffered severe frostbite (leading to amputation) or other physical afflictions. I wish a couple of other editors could comment to see whether there is any consensus. BRMo 18:11, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Did they push them across the Atlantic?[edit]

I think the U.S. starting point of the move to Utah should be stated in the beginning of the article so it doesn't sound like 3,000 pushed their handcarts across the Atlantic ocean.

"Motivated to join their fellow Church members but lacking funds for full ox or horse teams, nearly 3,000 Mormon pioneers originally from England, Wales, and Scandinavia made the journey to Utah in ten handcart companies."

See what I mean? 17:03, 14 December 2006 (UTC)LMorrell

I've added the starting points -- Iowa (for the first seven companies) and Nebraska (for the last three). BRMo 17:17, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

A discussion of the Ship Brooklyn[edit]

I wonder if it would be appropriate to include some discussion of the Ship Brooklyn that carried a number of Mormon pioneers on a dangerous six month voyage from New York City to San Francisco around Cape Horn, stopping in Hawaii and then landing in what is today the San Francisco Bay? It's a fascinating, often forgotten part of Mormon Pioneer history and the subject, I feel, deserves it's own entry. Mention of it here may inspire someone to start that article.

Nhansen 17:19, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

The Ship Brooklyn was part of the broad Mormon pioneer movement, but it took place 10 years prior to the handcart companies and did not directly involve handcart travel. I suggest that it would be more appropriate to add the discussion to the Mormon pioneers article. BRMo 17:27, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. I'll post something in the discussion there. Nhansen 17:41, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Why is this its own article?[edit]

Why on earth isn't this just merged with more general articles about Mormon pioneers? How exactly does their choice of cart type warrant a separate article, instead of a part of the main article? Quite frankly, the existence of this article strikes me as propaganda for a particular sect, not a discussion of a subject which belongs in an encyclopedia. Truckstop 21:30, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

While I agree with you in the abstract, I think the point of the article is that this particular group of pioneers have given rise to their own folklore and symbolism within the Mormon community. --Dmz5 21:45, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough, but if that's the case then it should be merged with an article on Mormon symbolism. Truckstop 21:47, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Oppose the merge - there is significant detail about the use of handcarts - imagine walking from Nebraska to Utah - that a seperate article is warranted. The income level, hardship and experiences of the handcart companies where much different than those that had animals and wagons. --Trödel 21:55, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Please do not reinsert the tag - this is the front page featured article. If someone agrees with you and restores the tag I will not remove it; however, I do think at least 2 people should support such an action before adding the tag to such a high-profile article. --Trödel 21:57, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
This may be a case of why is Bulbasaur longer than Harriet Beecher Stowe, but obviously a large number of editors found this topic to be worth its own article and they produced a fine one. I dunno if I agree that the tag should be removed just because it doesn't look pretty, however, lets let some discussion happen first.--Dmz5 21:59, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Completely Oppose the Merge. Handcarts are unique enough to merit there own article. Did Truckstop actually read the article? Merging would be ubsurd Epachamo 22:02, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Hand carts are different enough to warrant a separate article from say ox drawn carts. But when you have two groups of people who made similar journey's during a similar time period, differences in mode of transportation should be discussed in a single article.
Please assume good faith and try to refrain from accusing people you disagree with of unpleasant things!--Dmz5 22:16, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm not disputing the hardship, and I'm not disputing that there are differences between the hand cart pioneers and other pioneers. What I am disputing is that all of this information could not be transmitted just as well in the Mormon Pioneers article, and in less text. We're making an encyclopedia here, not an annotated history of distinct early pioneer movements. Imagine if every topic on wikipedia were bifurcated like this subject has been. . . Truckstop 22:03, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
You mean like Category:Pokémon, Category:Star Trek, or Category:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and all their subcategories. Again - people write about what they care about. At least these are real world events where people took a tremendous risk and some paid for it with their death. Then their is Shredder (TMNT) - a villan in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]. One advantage of an online encyclopedia is that it doesn't have to be just a general purpose encyclopedia, but it can be a general purpose encyclopedia, and a specialized encyclopedia for many subject areas all-in-one. --Trödel 22:13, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
You've seriously read both the Mormon Pioneers article and this one and believe there is enough overlap that it could be transmitted just as well in less text? There is hardly a mention of handcart pioneers in the Mormon Pioneers article. Furthermore, the Mormon Pioneers article is very incomplete. Imagine if we only had one article for all the Presidents of the United States (why does George Bush merit his own article). What a waste of text! Epachamo 22:18, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, maybe if the same level of of care was put into the general article (which is cited in this article) as people put into this sub article, then wikipedia would have one excellent article on the whole topic instead of a weak article on the major topic and an excellent discussion of a subset. And the analogy to presidents is inappropriate. Wikipedia needs to have specific articles and general articles, and the balance is what's difficult. I'm not saying all articles related to the mormom church should be merged. I'd say this is more akin to an article about air force one (the president's plane). There have been multiple planes used over the years, and while each plane could get it's own article, it makes more sense to discuss each plan as a subheading in a single article. Truckstop 22:27, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
The reason article is so much more developed in my mind is probably the fact that its the 150'th anniversary of the Martin and Willy handcart company. If you were to merge the two even right now, the article would be way to long. Epachamo 22:38, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I'll personally restore the tag in a few days (after the link is off the front page-assuming the discussion has not concluded); however, having a merge tag on the top of an article is contrary to the purpose of "Today's Featured Article" which is to highlight articles which demonstrate the excellent scholarship, regardless if you think the article is noteworthy or not. Articles are written about what Wikipedian's care about - not what is the most important historically or even for society. --Trödel 22:06, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Truckstop followed the appropriate merging procedures, as set out in WP:MM. You are supposed to be bold in merging articles, and propose discussion by inserting the tag if you think the merger will be controversial. The policy page says nothing about removing said tag just because it is inconvenient to have it there. I'm reinserting the tag, so that everyone who visits the article will know to discuss the issue.Zpops 22:12, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
In my opinion, it's nice if the featured article goes through a little bit of (constructive) flux while it's on the front page, and if that includes adding a tag, why not?--Dmz5 22:15, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
I totally agree that main page featured articles should go through some flux (see Wikipedia:Main Page featured article protection for my comments in support of it being fully editable); however, I think that there should be a minimum amount of deference to the hard work of those that put in time to the article (in this case - not me at all), and those who reviewed the article for good article status, peer review and finally against the featured article criteria. Full disclosure - I am totally against all meta data not related to the quality of an article appearing on the article pages (such as merge proposals) - editors can just as easily see a notice posted on a talk page - that may explain my vehmenent opposition to this premature action --Trödel 22:41, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
I can see where you're coming from, but I'm just following the procedure. I could have done the merge on my own, despite the featured status, and it would not have been a violation of any rule. But I don't want to do that, because people obviously have different views from my own. However, featured article status will bring more hits from non-editors, and the question of merger should be resolved by all wikipedians that choose to take part, not just this article's regular editors. Truckstop 22:46, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Just following procedure is a poor defense. The thing you should be asking yourself is whether this improves the encyclopedia more than expanding the admittedly much more poorly written Mormon pioneers article; or whether it causes good people to fight with each other. --Trödel 22:54, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
If the articles were merged, then the editors of this piece would no doubt migrate over to the merged piece, thereby improving the encyclopedia by 1) eliminating a superfluous but excellent article and 2) placing the emphasis on the main article. It's easier to ignore the lousy pioneers article when you can just isolate your pet project from it, but that only indulges vanity, instead of improving the encyclopedia. Believe me, I know about using the site to indulge vanity, and I've since changed my views on what wikipedia should be. It's not a soap box, and it's not a trophy case. It's an effort to actually make the internet a reliable source of information, and shifting people's focus from pet projects to broader more important articles related to their interests only benefits wikipedia. My editing focus is entirely on eliminating vanity pieces, and that's exactly what we have here. Truckstop 23:01, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
I feel that contributing useful information instead of enforcing a view of what the encyclopedia should be by eliminating those articles that one can view as vanity is more in keeping with our mission. Of course I support eliminating vanity articles - but there is wisdom in getting additional views first on whether it is indeed vanity. --Trödel 23:08, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Can I put up a tag saying that this article is in desperate need of cleanup? Or that its a candidate for deletion? Its seems rediculous to even talk about merging this article, when 100-1 people think it is a valid article. Epachamo 22:19, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I just removed the tag. Once the article is off the front page, I will restore it. This is just out of deference to the work the editors put in, and because i think it's hurts wikipedia's credibility to have a featured article with that tag. But please continue this discussion.Truckstop 23:11, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I absolutely oppose a merge of this article. Why would you take a feature article and break it up? This article clearly is rich enough to stand on its own. It also is only one aspect of the Mormon Pioneer movement to Utah. According to the article itself only 10% of Pioneers were handcart pushers. That article needs clean up, but the handcart article should not have any major alterations, especially after it has been featured on the main page. What, I come back in a month to read a main page feature article and it is all hacked up? I don't think so. This request is ridiculous . Bytebear 23:13, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Please assume good faith and do not call other users' good-faith opinions ridiculous. Also please note that lots of featured articles are not as great as they might have once seemed, and there are no articles here that can't be improved. Also please note Truckstop's well-reasoned opinion (which we simply disagree with) that merging the pages would have positive effects on both.-Dmz5 23:17, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
I have issue with the term "superfluous but excellent". I don't see this article being superfluous at all. I think it has enough interest and information to warrant it's own article. Certainly there are hundreds if not thousands of articles that warrant less coverage. Do we need an article for every episode of Ugly Betty? I realize that being on the Main page is giving it more coverage, but I also think it does cause bad timing, to disrupt an article with a merge, which will clearly kick it out of Featured status, is just poorly concieved, and therefore ridiculous. No offense Truck. Bytebear 23:27, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
It goes without saying that there are a lot of articles on wikipedia that should be merged, deleted, moved, or improved. But that doesn't mean that we should just give up and adopt a standard of mediocrity. What we really have here is a market failure. The positive externality wikipedia users would recognize from having a single excellent source of information on mormon pioneers are being left on the table, because people can more easily edit this one subsection. But when you recognize a market failure you don't just accept the loss, you correct it, and merging these articles is the way to correct it. I stand by my arguments that 1) this article has a narrow focus and 2) the broader article which should contain this information is both overshadowed and underserved because of the narrower piece. Imagine you're just trying to learn about Mormon pioneers. After reading on wikipedia, you'd probably think that the 10% mentioned in this article were the most important pioneers, because of the difference in lenght and quality of the articles, so in a sense the current state of wikipedia serves to MISINFORM readers. Truckstop 23:40, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
I guess my opinion differs. I say when you see a "market Failure", you fix the broken part, and don't sacrifice the working part. The solution is obvious: improve the Mormon Pioneers article. Secondary, this article should emphasise that it is a sub-category of the main article. Bytebear 00:09, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
Not to prolong this infinitely, but I do wonder what would happen if the other article were brought up to this same level. If they were both extensive and well-written etc etc - I wonder if more people than Truckstop might come to the conclusion that it really does want to be one article?--Dmz5 03:36, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
It looks like I'm late to an interesting discussion. What are Wikipedia guidelines for mergers? I found the following at Wikipedia:Merging and moving pages: "There are several good reasons to merge a page: (1) There are two or more pages on exactly the same subject. (2) There are two or more pages on related subjects that have a large overlap. Wikipedia is not a dictionary; there does not need to be a separate entry for every concept in the universe. For example, "Flammable" and "Non-flammable" can both be explained in an article on Flammability. (3) If a page is very short and cannot or should not be expanded terribly much, it often makes sense to merge it with a page on a broader topic. (4) If a short article requires the background material or context from a broader article in order for readers to understand it."
I don't believe that any of these reasons are applicable in this case. (1) The two articles are not on exactly the same subject; the Mormon handcart pioneers were a subset of Mormon pioneers. (2) Although there is some overlap, it is not large. Mormon pioneers has two short paragraphs on the handcart movement, and Mormon handcart pioneers describes the broader Mormon pioneer movement in a one-paragraph section on background. (3) The articles are not short. There is abundant source material for both articles -- I note that the handcart pioneers article lists as references six books and two articles focusing solely on the handcart movement; there are also several external links. (4) Both articles are designed to stand alone, though they reference each other if the reader wishes to know more. I don't see a case for merger based on Wikipedia's guidelines.
Truckstop's core objection seems to be that he doesn't think the article is sufficiently important to merit an article. Wikipedia guidelines discourage "indiscriminate collection of information," but the existence of books, articles, and external links on the handcart movement strongly suggests that the history of the handcarts is more than indiscriminate information and is of interest to many readers. Fortunately, if one thinks that a Wikipedia article is not of interest, one has the option of simply moving on to another article. BRMo 03:58, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
I am moving for merger based on the second stated rational. I think that the flammability example is appropriate. You could find countless sources on flammability, and could write a much longer, and better sourced article than this one, but just because that much information can be conveyed does not mean that it should be. Likewise, despite the large amount of information presented in this article based on the handcart pioneers, the article still fails to be about anything other than 1/10th of the migratory mormon population during a certain period. If you allow this article to remain seperate, then where do you stop? Should there be 10 articles on mormon pioneers, each covering 1/10th of the class? How about 50 articles, each covering 2%?
There are bound to be a large number of differences between members of any given class of people, but wikipedia isn't about producing treatises on what makes a subclass different from the broader class of people. In fact, wikipedia isn't about producing treatises on ANY topic. It's about providing an overview of a topic to someone who may not have much or any baseline knowledge, and to enable that person to move on to non-wiki sources. Its great that there are 6 books on this subject, but wikipedia would be more encyclopedic if those books were references in a section of a larger, broader article. If you want to write a scholarly, article, then try to publish it, or put it out on SSRN. But if you're not going to meet the rigorous standards for publication, then please, find some source other than wikipedia for vanity publications. We're trying to make a collection of great ENCYCLOPEDIA articles, not half hearted scholarly articles.Truckstop 04:33, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
The direction you are proposing seems contrary to Wikipedia guidelines, which encourage development of article on subtopics when the subtopics are notable and there is sufficient verifiable information. Quoting from Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, "Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. This means that there is no practical limit to the number of topics we can cover other than verifiability and the other points presented on this page... Some topics are covered by print encyclopedias only in short, static articles, and since Wikipedia requires no paper we can give more thorough treatments, include many more relevant links, be more timely, etc. This also means you don't have to redirect one topic to a partially equivalent topic that is of more common usage." BRMo 04:50, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
All of this does somewhat skirt around the fact that, apparently, this particular 10% of Mormon pioneers is considered particularly important, symbolic, what have you. Why is there an article on Buffalo Soldiers? Shouldn't that just be merged into Army? No, because the Buffalo Soldiers were unique and had a particular historical and cultural impact. --Dmz5 08:30, 15 December 2006 (UTC)