Talk:Oregon Historical Society
|WikiProject Oregon||(Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)|
An editor from an IP address assigned to the OHS has begun making edits to this article. They have a lot of good information and appear to be trying to edit in good faith, but a lot of useful cited material has been removed in favor of only promotional and favorable material. Let's discuss changes here before things get out of control. --Esprqii (talk) 23:20, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
- At OHS, we found that the information contained on the Wikipedia page was outdated and needed to be updated. In addition, there was information regarding an old Executive Director that was removed at his request. We have updated the page to make it more relevant and informative to the public. (18.104.22.168 (talk) 23:22, 5 June 2012 (UTC))
- Hi. Please read Wikipedia's guideline regarding conflict of interest. Notably, OHS doesn't "own" their article on Wikipedia, so it contains both positive and negative information. It isn't the place for boosterism or to only have positive information. As Wikipedia's policy on Neutral Point of View states, "Articles mustn't take sides, but should explain the sides, fairly and without bias." Please continue to discuss here instead of making outright edits that are problematic. Many of us are fans and users of OHS, and we'd be happy to have a conference call with you if you have concerns that are hard to address in this manner. tedder (talk) 23:26, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Comment from Bill Tramposch
Hi, I am not conversant in the ways of Wikipedia, but I would like to raise the following question to you and the other editors: While there are inequities in the balance of reporting on my extremely brief tenure as Director of the OHS (2 years), I am in the main at ease with what you say. What concerns me, though, is this: Do the Wikipedia editors actually feel that fully one quarter of the 15 line history of an organization that has served Oregon for more than 100 years should focus on a two year period. I encourage you to add more substance to the history of such an august institution. Failing this, it will continue to appear to most that the institutional history is far less than an objective one. Besides, the institution deserves a more complete treatment.
By the way, Mr Vaughan was never "president". he was "Director". This seems a telling error in its own right.
I look forward to your thoughts.
Hi. Bill Tramposch here with a question to the Wikipedia editors: Fully one quarter of more than a 100 hundred year history of the OHS is focused on a two year tenure. Given what this organization has achieved, is this a fair proportionment, I ask. While the coverage of my tenure is unbalanced, I am at ease with it it in the main. I urge the editors, though, to round out the history with a little information pertaining to ithe Society's other 100 years. By the way Mr Vaughan was not "President"; a telling inaccuracy in its own right. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 22:26, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
- I corrected the presidency/director item. Thanks for pointing that out. And it does look like your tenure received some undue weight and I understand your frustration. However, I don't think Wikipedia editors in any way feel this article is "complete"--there is much, much more to write about this topic, but keep in mind that we are all volunteers and there is no deadline. The Oregon WikiProject is usually pretty dedicated, however, so perhaps your personal plea will appeal to someone. Of course, that someone could be you--we're always looking for a few good historians! For a start, if you have some good links to reliable sources, leave them on this page to help another editor. Thanks and good luck. --Esprqii (talk) 22:41, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
John, Thanks for the quick and helpful response. I have no doubt tht Wikipedia editors are a dedicated lot. Frankly, nough, I find Wilipedia its own language and harder than Greek, but thanks for he offer to assist. I am not that fussed by what is currently in the accounting of my 20 month tenures, Heck, it was a quarter of a century ago. But, it is not a good reflection on the quality of research to have 2 years take up a full fourth of an institution's history. Has nothing else happened? Hope not. It would be good if someone looked a bit more closely into the organization's history, though. Bill — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 23:31, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
- Hi Bill, thanks for stopping by! Let me just second what Esprqii has said. And you don't have to take on full wiki editing -- just typing the bibliographic info here of a good piece or two on the history of the organization would be a big help, and would probably inspire somebody to follow up. It might not lead to the perfect article, but would smooth the way toward some incremental improvement! -Pete (talk) 23:45, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
i think I am beginning to understand: Wikipedia articles respond to 'bibliographic information', rather than undertake active research about the history of an organization. It is a responsive medium. I get it. I am not nominating myself by any means to do such a history, but my particular point is that until someone does such a fulsome history of the OHS your coverage willl be incomplete. How can you as editors address this matter having taken on that role. Surely 4 of 15 lines covering the history of the OHS must not be about a 20 month period of its history. I admire the volunteerism but the approach to comprehensive histories of any matter is flawed if it is reactive and not proactive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 01:36, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
- Yes, Wikipedia, as one might surmise from its name, is an encyclopedia, not a research entity. As such, it is extremely effective as a reference work--which works pretty well with the volunteer model--and has had some success with references as diverse as fulsome histories and tiny newspaper articles. I'm sure the OHS is pretty good at the research part; if we could only uncover it, we use it to create a great article here. --Esprqii (talk) 01:55, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. With respect, I would suggest that the word 'fulsome history' and 'newspaper articles' is a touch oxymoronic. 'Ephemeral' is the word that comes to my mind, and this I suspect is why so much attention is paid to events that are temporarily sensational rather than offer a sense of the whole over a hundred years plus. I wonder if editors might be able to address this matter. If so, Wikipedia could become a far more respected chronicle of events. I am finding myself sucked into this matter, but I believe that it may be a central obstacle between the current Wikipedia and the potential Wikipedia. Again, with all due respect to those of you who commite time, energy, and passion to the cause. B — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 02:22, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
- Bill, I think the main disconnect going on here is around the way the word "editor" is used with relation to Wikipedia. There is no such thing as a Wikipedia "editor," if we take that word to mean what it does in a traditional publishing context. There is no person or organization who puts forth the content of Wikipedia and says, "I assert this is complete and accurate, and stake my reputation on it." While in theory it might be interesting to imagine what that might look like, in practice, I do not think there is any way to get the 4 million-plus Wikipedia articles (far more than any other publication in human history has ever assembled) through a comprehensive review.
- But that's not to say we don't care about quality. There are a number of review mechanisms within Wikipedia. The highest level is known as "featured article"; there are about 4,000 articles that have made it through this process. Some of those articles are on ephemeral events, but I think the vast majority are not; and those articles, by and large, are very good. This is not only my opinion, but the conclusion of several studies that have had experts review Wikipedia articles in comparison to other encyclopedic works. (The most famous is one by Nature in 2005, but there is a much more comprehensive one currently undergoing peer review, with even stronger conclusions.) To get a sense of what content Wikipedia volunteers consider high quality, you may like to look at the list of articles here: Wikipedia:Featured articles -Pete (talk) 07:01, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi, Pete and John. I just made another entry, probably in th wrong spot. Told you I am not conversant with wiki ways! Scroll up from here to the area above 'Comments from Bill Tramposch'. You may find this bibliographic reference helpful to you editorial work. best, b — Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 13:28, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Pete and John, for the tutorial and for your obvious dedication to a good cause. Thiese notes have been helpful. Particularly in this regard: You have asked for some bibliographical connections. Before I sign off on his matter of balance (I.e. 4 of 16 lines of OHS history focused on a two year period), I have a suggestion that may help you either, 1) add some balance, to the OHS piece or 2) convince you that your current sources are not impartial ones and should be removed.
If you wish to pursue this, look to 'Bill Tramposch' on Google. You will see that the Wikipedia piece on the OHS is second or third on my page. Why it as for so long assumed such importance on my Google page is both fascinating and funny to me.
However, look down the Google page to another source, 'Portland Monthly' / 'Future History' and you will see at the end of this article a long note by one Eileen Fitzsimons( 'I offer the following perspective...'). her account is the truest synopsis of events that I have read. Many others feel as I do about this, by the way. Once you have read it, you may want to 1) balance the current coverage of me with this bibliographic reference, or-- 2) in fairness to the long history of OHS--delete altogether the Orloff/Tramposch paragraph in deference to the long, esteemed history of the OHS.
So, thanks for your suggestion that I provide bibliographic sources. Portland Monthly's 'Future History' will give you an insight into how biased the Oregonian coverage (you single source) was during that brief colorful time. This Oregonian coverage, by the way, largely emerged as a result of a direct threat Mr Vaughan made to me in my early days as his successor: 'if you are critical of me you will see your name in the Oregonian in ways you never imagined'. Believe me, one doesn't forget such words, even over a near-quarter century. (The relationship between Mr. Vaughan and The Oregonian, by the way, is a thesis in its own right. It has always fascinated me that there was never mention of the one million dollar debt he left behind, or the myriad curious personal reasons for that debt). It is sad that this hidden legacy has haunted the OHS for many directors to come.
I am happy to email or mail this Fitzsimons account to you if that is easier for you. Let me know your thoughts.
Yours in Objectivity,
- Sure, go ahead and email so I know we're talking about the same thing. Go to my user page by clicking this link: User:Esprqii. In the left column, under "Toolbox" there is a link that says "Email this user". (You may need to click the triangle next to Toolbox to expand that part of the navigation tree.) --Esprqii (talk) 14:10, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
- The email didn't come through -- I hope there's not a problem with my web site. But, Esprqii mailed me with a link to what I am sure is the article and comment you mentioned. I will read up with great interest, hopefully this evening. I should note, the article itself will surely make a valuable resource for expanding the Wikipedia entry; but the comment, while I am sure I will find it quite interesting as an individual, would not live up to Wikipedia's guideline on reliable sources (mainly because comments, unlike articles, are not reviewed by editors, fact-checked, etc.)
- To digress for a moment, I am encouraged to see that the PM article discusses the viability of OHS's funding model and strategic direction. It has seemed to me, based on my interactions with the organization, that it is rather oblivious to the changes other cultural institutions are undergoing in an effort to adapt to the changes the Internet has brought to the arena. I find this really distressing, since there is no other entity as well positioned and experienced as OHS to carry out its mission. But on a basic level, it's really distressing to see the organization seek public funds and simultaneously charge admission to its exhibits, restrict scanning and photography of its holdings, and claim copyright over works that are clearly in the public domain. I am looking forward to seeing if the article and commentary can shed some light on this situation. Thank you for your efforts, Bill -- glad to have this article pointed out. -Pete (talk) 21:16, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Pete, Thanks. Anyone with an interest would find the Fitzsimons' comment more accurate than the 'fact checked' Oregonian coverage. The late Fred Torp (Tonkin Torp) attempted to set the record straight in a piece submitted to the Oregonian, and the decided not to publish it. There you have it. It finally was published in the Baker newspaper, I believe. As Vonnegut says, "So it goes" . If any enterprising writer turned his attention to the topic of abuse of public trust, they would be well-rewarded by pursuing a study of OHS in the 80's. Fitzsimons speaks the truth, fact checked or not. Bill — Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 01:17, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
- I've read the article and the comment more thoroughly now -- thanks again for sharing them. Both are very helpful in getting a better understanding of the institution. I will try to at least make some small improvements to this article incorporating info from this article in the next few days/weeks.
- About the Fitzsimmons comment: please understand I'm juggling two hats here. Personally, I find the account compelling and credible. But as a matter of Wikipedia policy, I hope you can see the importance -- for a site that is a wide open platform -- of prohibiting the use of unvetted personal comments as source material. Especially in cases where living people's reputations are at stake. In the absence of a better way to settle disagreements among basically everyone in the world with computer access, Wikipedia relies very heavily on the reputation of established publications. The kind of research you suggest is of course valuable, but Wikipedia isn't the place to do it.
- On that note, though, if a piece related to this line of thinking was published by the Baker City Herald, that is significant. Do you know the (even approximate) date or headline of the story? I'd be happy to poke around at the library and see if I can dig it up. -Pete (talk) 18:04, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Pete, Thanks for this. I understand all you say. This, in fact, is why it seems so bizarre to me that almost this entire account of the OHS's history is about successive directors rather than about what the organization has done or does. It resembles in no way similar histories of other historical societies, for they--by contrast-- are described by what they do rather than who led them when. The OHS coverage seems so internal to me. Given your own comments about public accountability, would not a better approach be to review the achievements of the OHS. Looking very closely at the text, especially the original text (which used the term 'president' rather than 'director' for Mr. Vaughan, it is not such a far-fetched notion to assume that the piece is a form of cyber sabotage. Believe me, having known the man and his minions, this is a reasonable assumption. For example, when I moved from Oregon to become President of the New York State Historical Association, Mr. Vaughan called ahead to a friend on staff and had him actively lobby the Board of this august NY institution to change their mind. The Board Chair, after such an awkward chapter, called me to say that I was only more attractive to them as a candidate, knowing the environment from which I had come. Further evidence is in the fact that throughout the Oregon historical association community, Mr. Vaughan was known chiefly as the "Mayor Daley of Historical Societies". It is also interesting to see the Wikipedia entry on Chet Orloff (a piece he never asked for, by the way). It covers the same foul ground of turmoil and succession at OHS and appears to be written by the same author. Chet has no idea why it appears in his entry and has tried to have it removed as being irrelevant. Cyber sabotage is a distinct possibility given these anecdotes. In the end, each of these entries, be they OHS or Orloff, migrate up my Google page which also makes one wonder. The professionals at Reputation.com are convinced it is cyber sabotage in each instance.
In contrast, Jonathan Nicholas placed moi,Bill Tramposch, on his New Year's Honors page for 'having turned around that oil tanker of an institution, the Oregon Historical Society". Why doesn't this appear in Wikipedia? I know, because no one entered it. I get it. Perhaps it can in an effort to temper. This would have appeared early in the year of 1992 or 1993. I am happy to try to recall the approximate date of the Baker editorial by Fred Torp. He, being a very clever man, simply raised a lot of questions, every one of which he knew the answer to. He had been Chair of the Board when I was hired and he, in short time, became very disillusioned with the way Mr. Vaughan and wife were responding to the new administration. For example, the claim is made in the Oregonian that 30 staff members resigned because of my leadership, but there is no mention of the fact that nearly fifty had been hired between the time I was appointed and the time I arrived at the OHS five months later. There was management work to be done, and this is where the Fitzsimons article is most accurate. You will enjoy the Torp letter if we can find it. I will put my mind to it. You will also appreciate immediately why the Oregonian, given what I have said above about the relationship it had with Mr. Vaughan, decided not to publish it. In the end, I would request respectfully that the wikipedia article focus on the important thing: What has the OHS accomplished rather than upon internal matters. Perhaps one of the reasons it has done so little over the years is because it has been focused inwards. I am so pleased to see where Terry seems to be taking it, though, and in what George V tried to do, despite the odds. Pete, I appreciate your interest and will respect whatever direction you decide to take in the end. I have continued on here because I do believe you agree that this historical look at the OHS can become much improved. Truly, a quarter of the history of the institution focused on a two year period covered by a supposedly reputable newspaper? Really. Wassup wid dat? Bill Tramposch — Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 20:02, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
- The editor who added the information is a respected Wikipedian with no axe to grind. This editor (and no, it's not me) read the Oregonian story and thought it was one small useful piece of information about the history of the OHS that would fit into what would eventually become a much larger piece. There is no conspiracy at work. There is a much longer discussion and some resolution about this at this link. I knew this all sounded familiar. --Esprqii (talk) 20:35, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Pete, Regarding the Baker City letter to the editor and the Nicholas column, the closest I can come to guessing the dates are: Winter 1991 for the Baker City Herald; and December/January, 1992 for the Nicholas New Years Honors. I have asked a good friend to help me find these, but you may have more immediate access given your work. Sorry I cannot be more specific. 23 years is a long time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 20:39, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Esprqii, Given the historical context I provided, excuse my thinking conspiracy. I appreciate that the editor thought it would be of interest to a larger article about the OHS. It is unfortunate that that larger article never materialized. I still wonder why the coverage of the institution's history is mostly about those who led vs. the programs produced. Thanks. B — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 20:57, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Greetings, Peter and Esprqii, On the topic of programs rather than people, you may be interested in taking a look at some of the nation's top state historical associations (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, for example), and see what the Wikipedia page looks like for eac of them. There are no lineages of directors, rather a rounded list of contributions the organizations have made to society. These are examples of what I am talking about. Best, Bill — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 14:01, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Just for the record, I have included an Oregonian quote in the Wiki piece on the OHS. I have listed the citation in the text. In addition, I suggest that you also consider including the following excerpt from the Oregonian (Jonathan Nicholas, Nov 23, 1994). Your call: "BT tried mightly to change the course of the OHS, that oil tanker of an institution that Tom Vaughn set sail upon South Parks Block". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 15:29, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
You have requested citations. The 'board support' addition can be found in the Oregonian of July 24, 1990. I apologize for not knowing how to do the footnotes correctly, but I assume that the editors will be able to verify these sources and correct the format once that is done. If you need another source that proves I was President of the New York State Historical Association, I shall be happy to provide any number of them. As mentioned previously, I can provide ample proof that I was appointed to that position right after the OHS period. Just let me know if you need that citation. Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 16:40, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
- I made some edits and cited the article you referred to. I don't think the oil tanker article can be used, as it is an opinion column. I think this is enough on the drama of 1990. Let's get some actual content in this article now. --Esprqii (talk) 22:55, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
I would appreciate it if you were to say that, for balance in the article, I moved on to become President of the New York State Historical Association, especially since the effort is made to say where Chet Orloff came from to become the next Assoc. Director of the OHS. Also, "management style" is such an subjective term, especially if the manager is the one who has to share the bad news with staff that the previous administration left a huge deficit with. With respect, I think it is quite accurate and sufficient to say--as you have--that my budget plan was "unpopular with long-time staff members", leaving out the opinion that, consequently some of them had, of 'management style'. "No" is a word we had to use often during my brief tenure, and it was quite unpopular with Vaughan loyalists (as you can imagine) who either reported directly back to him or through his wife (who was appointed as a department head just prior to my arrival without consultation).
With that, Esprquii,I believe the article is finally representative of the period (Still, it seems so odd that so much time is spent on a two year period when the institution is way over a hundred years old).
Thanks. Will you please accept these changes and let's then call the thing finished. By the way, I have an idea as to how to get 'actual content' into the article and will get back to you in a month once I have talked to the historian. I can not help with that, for as you know I am in 'interested party', but if you agree, I am certain the whole history of the OHS will be much better in the next several months, and quite sure I can get the individual to help.
Thanks for your assistance,