Talk:Piotr Skarga

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Untitled[edit]

Why polish? he was lithuanian!!!!

Cite your sources.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 21:34, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I believe his Lithuanian name version should be writhen in brackets and we should me a redirect M.K 23:07, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
P.Skarga was not lithuanian but he made huge contribution to lithuania, so i added his name in LT language too M.K 11:37, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
With all due respect, Shakespeare made even more tremendous impact on Lithuanian culture, yet we don't add Viljamas Šekspyras to the article on William Shakespeare. //Halibutt 14:54, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Shakespeare had nothing to do with Lithuanian culture. Skarga lived and worked in Vilnius University, Lithuania. Also at the time Lithuania and Poland were united into one state. They really cannot be compared. Lithuanian name version is nearly as important as the Polish and should be mentioned. --88.119.185.29 (talk) 13:37, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Piotr Skarga/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Ammodramus (talk · contribs) 00:27, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

This looks like an interesting article; I'll be glad to take on the task of reviewing it, and I look forward to learning more about its subject and about Polish history generally. I'll probably go through the article and make minor changes, then work on the review in userspace. I don't have a lot of experience doing GA reviews—I see that the article's creator has considerably more—so progress might be somewhat slow, but I'll try to have a review up within a week. Ammodramus (talk) 00:27, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Initial thoughts[edit]

Interesting article, interesting subject. The writing is generally quite good; I made a few minor tweaks, but didn't find much that needed to be cleaned up.

The only critical flaw that I've found is the lack of background material. English-speaking readers, at least in the United States, are likely to know very little about Polish history. It'd strengthen the article considerably if it included some brief passages describing the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Poland around Skarga's time, and quick sentences explaining things like the Golden Freedoms, the Union of Brest, the Zebrzydowski Rebellion, etc. These don't have to be detailed—that's why we've got the Wikilinks—but they should be enough to allow someone with little knowledge of 16th-century Poland to read through the article without having to break off and follow links.

I notice that almost all of the article is sourced to Tazbir (1978). This isn't going to keep it from reaching GA status, but I think that it would be stronger if it used more sources. Also, the references section could be streamlined by cutting the individual citations down to "Tazbir (1978), pp. xx–xx". This, too, isn't GA-critical, but I think it'd slightly improve the article.

I'm working on a more formal assessment per the GA criteria, with much more detail; these are just my initial impressions after reading it through several times. On the whole, a very nice article, and one that, while it's not at the GA level yet, could probably reach that level without too much more work. Ammodramus (talk) 01:26, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

@Ammodramus: Regarding explaining concepts, my concern is - which ones? Where do we stop? Most readers don't know much about anything :) That's why we have blue links, as you say, letting them read up on specific new concepts. Specific Polish phrases used are explained (like szlachta or Sejm). If there are any read links you think should be explained, let me know and I'll take a look. Zebrzydowski rebellion is explained as a civil war; I've added a a larger explanation for the Union of Brest. Golden Freedoms are explained as "problematic laws", and anything more detailed would have to be, I feel, just too long. I'd save the shortening of references for later, when we (or someone else) dedides on a new format. For now, I am using the "full, long" format, and it is consistent, which IIRC is enough for GA. Ping me if you'd like my quick reply. Cheers, --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 04:48, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Review[edit]

With apologies for the time that it's taken for me to prepare this, my review. -- Ammodramus (talk) 16:45, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well-written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, it respects copyright laws, and the spelling and grammar are correct. Writing is very good. There's one potentially misleading passage that should be addressed: see "Bossuet", below.
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation. Should the lead include something about Skarga's popularity in 19th century? See "Cult of Skarga", below.
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline. OK
2b. it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines. OK
2c. it contains no original research. Everything seems to be well sourced (albeit almost entirely to one source)
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic. This is the only major problem that I've found with the article: it doesn't provide enough background information for the lay reader. See "Explanations and context", below.
3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style). OK
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias, giving due weight to each. Article doesn't cover any current controversies.
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute. No edit wars, etc.
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content. All images tagged for free use
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions. Good images, good captions
7. Overall assessment.

Details[edit]

  • Green tickYBossuet. In the lead, "he was called 'the Polish Bossuet'" conveys the impression that this might've been a contemporary description (though a quick check shows that Bossuet was born 15 years after Skarga's death). Could the phrasing of this passage be tweaked to dispel this impression, e.g. "he has been called" rather than "he was called"?
  • Cult of Skarga. In the section "Significance, remembrance and historiography", we're told that Skarga's popularity reached its apogee in the second half of the 19th century, and of a "cult of Skarga". Shouldn't something about this be included in the lead section?

Explanations and context[edit]

Since most American readers, and possibly readers in other English-speaking countries as well, are likely to know little of Polish history, this article should present some background information on the Confederation of Skarga's time, and should include brief explanations of some of the terms and names used. I'd suggest two paragraphs, probably placed in a "Background" section before "Life":

  • One paragraph briefly describing the power relations between king and nobility in the Confederacy. Lay readers are likely to think of 16th-century monarchs as fairly powerful autocrats, whereas the "Golden Freedoms" system actually appears to have given the szlachta a great deal of power over the king. Some background material on this would help the reader to understand later references to the relative powerlessness of the king, the Zebrzydowski Rebellion, etc.
  • One paragraph on the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in the Commonwealth. How was the country divided among the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Calvinist, and Lutheran churches? Did the nobles decide which church to follow and compel the residents of their fiefdoms to abide by it, or was there considerable freedom for individuals to choose? What were the forces at work? Jesuits, including Skarga, on the Roman side, of course, but who and what were the influences for the other denominations, and how influential were they?

There are some other names, terms, and concepts that need brief explanations: generally, only a word or a short phrase.

  • Green tickYJan Krzysztof Tarnowski. A very brief explanation of who this was would spare the reader having to follow a Wikilink to a rather poor article. Something like "count Jan Krzysztof Tarnowski" (if that was his title) would probably suffice.
Done.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:32, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Green tickY Dialogue between Skarga and Andrzej Wolan. We need a little more on why this was significant.
I will have access to the source book in about a week; I'll look it up then. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:32, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Bank Pobożny: needs a short explanatory phrase; otherwise, the word "bank" could mislead the naive reader into imagining something like the Medici Bank (as it did me, until I followed the Wikilink).
Added charity. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:32, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't think "charity" is quite enough explanation, since a charity could be (for instance) a distributor of free food to the poor. How about something like: "he founded Bank Pobożny (the Pious Bank), a Polish version of the charitable pawnbrokerage Mount of Piety."
  • Green tickYZebrzydowski Rebellion: "Civil war" is too terse. How about "cited as causes of the Zebrzydowski Rebellion (1606–09), in which the szlachta attempted to depose Sigismund"?
  • Golden Freedoms: "Problematic laws" seems misleading: it suggests a bad law here, a bad law there, whereas the WP article suggests that the Golden Freedoms referred to the whole power relationship between the king and the szlachta, and is closely tied to "the relative powerlessness of the king". If we include a background paragraph on the power system, as I've suggested above, and include the term "Golden Freedoms" in it, then we don't need to elaborate on it in this passage: "the relative powerlessness of the king" would probably suffice.
  • In the section "Significance, remembrance and historiography", it's stated that in the 19th century, Skarga was regarded as having predicted the Partitions. We need a bit more on that: nothing in earlier sections suggests that he foresaw such an outcome.
Again, something that I will need to look up in the source book before I can clarify that. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:32, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Minor things all done. I am however still uneasy on the background sections. We don't, I believe, usually add such sections to the article. All biographies are "situational", but we leave this to be described in the context of other articles. I am sorry, I read the article several times, looked at a number of other GAs, and I just cannot figure out how to fit that in. I thought about adding few sentences, but I cannot see what could be added that wouldn't, IMHO, be mostly off topic. I'll ping some users familiar with Polish history, perhaps they will be able to suggest what and where could be added: User:Poeticbent, User:Nihil novi, User:Orczar, User:Volunteer Marek. Cheers, --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:32, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Regarding a background section, I think that WP:PCR, although an essay and not official Wikipolicy, makes several very valid points; and they're supported to some extent by the final point of WP:LINKSTYLE, "Do not unnecessarily make a reader chase links..." I'm not suggesting that we need to tell readers where Poland is, or to give a capsule history from 966 to 1612. As you point out, we have to assume some background knowledge. However, a short background section would set the stage for Skarga's life, would allow the random English-speaking reader to read the article without interruptions to follow links, and would make the article much more accessible to readers who don't have access to the Wikilinks (e.g. those who're reading printed copies).
I've written two paragraphs as a sample of what a background section might look like. Because I know so little about Polish history (a flaw that I'm trying to remedy, but in the book that I'm reading, the marriage of Jogaila and Jadwiga is still several pages away, and Skarga's time is several chapters further down the road), I'm basing this on several WP articles, augmented with considerable imagination. There will almost certainly be errors of fact and of emphasis, so it shouldn't be taken as a proposed passage for the actual article—
Background
In the 16th century, when most European monarchies wielded considerable autocratic power, those of Poland and of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were relatively weak, with much of the political power in the hands of the szlachta (nobility). Under a system known as the Golden Freedoms, the szlachta elected the king, could veto his acts in the Sejm (parliament), and had the right to stage a rebellion (rokosz) against him in defense of their rights and privileges.
The Golden Freedoms also granted religious freedom to the szlachta; so rather than enforcing a single state religion, the Commonwealth in the 16th century was a patchwork of Christian denominations. About half of the country, including the capital of Krakow, was Roman Catholic. Much of the eastern part, in present-day Belarus and Ukraine, was Ruthenian Orthodox, aligned with the Patriarch of Constantinople. Several regions in the north, adjacent to Prussian territory, were Lutheran; other regions were Calvinist, including a large territory around Lublin. A number of Arian and Anabaptist congregations also operated in the western part of the country. In the course of the Counter-Reformation, the Society of Jesus was active in the Confederacy, seeking to restore Roman Catholicism to its former dominant position.
--Ammodramus (talk) 12:45, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Added on Wolan and clarified Tęczyński. I have also added the first para you wrote in the form of a footnote. Would you happen to have sources for your second para? It could be a useful start of the Counterreformation in Poland article that I am planning to write (linking to pl:Kontrreformacja w Polsce). Before we can use your para, we would need sources (footnotes need to be referenced, too). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:07, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I have now created an article on Counter-Reformation in Poland, linked from here. You may want to use it to create another footnote, but I think that a link from here to that article is sufficient. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 17:53, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Good that you've written Counter-Reformation in Poland. Would you consider linking to that instead of to Counter-Reformation in the first paragraph of the Skarga article? The CR article hardly mentions Poland at all.
Done.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:58, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
Also, I see that there's a great deal of overlap between Sejm and general sejm, but that the latter appears to concern itself specifically with the Sejm of the 15th–18th centuries, while the former includes more material on the modern Sejm. Do you think it would be better to link to the latter?
Done.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:58, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
I see that you added one of my paragraphs as a footnote, with a citation of your own. I hope you checked it carefully—I wrote the paragraph based on a Wikipedia article, so my version wasn't well sourced at all.
Yep, checked.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:58, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid that the footnote comes too late, and doesn't explain enough. In the second and third paragraphs of the section "Life", we mention the Society of Jesus several times; but the role of the Jesuits in the Counter-Reformation in Poland is never explained. In the third paragraph, Skarga "preached against non-Catholic denominations", but we don't know how much of a foothold these denominations had at the time of the preaching. Further down, the Zebrzydowski Rebellion is described as a "civil war"; from its article, I get the impression that it was a rokosz, so to some extent legal under the terms of the Golden Freedoms.
You are welcome to move it earlier, but I do not believe anything here merits further explanation in text; the readers will be unfamiliar with few things like that in any article they read, up to and including Featured ones. I have however added a bit more context with this edit. Rokosz I think fits the definition of a civil war, which does not distinguish between legal and illegal reasons for starting internal conflicts.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:58, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
If you're strongly opposed to inserting a background section before "Life", could we insert paragraphs on the Counter-Reformation in Poland and on the Golden Freedoms system in the "Life" section? A brief paragraph on the CR could be inserted either after the second paragraph; or the first sentence of the third pargraph (Skarga joins the Jesuits in Rome) could be split away from the rest and made the first sentence of a paragraph briefly describing the course of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Poland, and the role of the Jesuits in it. A paragraph on the Golden Freedoms could go right before the paragraph in which we describe the Zebrzydowski Rebellion.
See above re. Bank Pobożny; I don't think "charity" is enough of an explanation. -- Ammodramus (talk) 03:42, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
@Ammodramus: I am sorry but I do not believe that either the Zebrzydowski Rebellion or the Bank Pobożny require further explanation in the text. I cannot figure out what to say that would not detract from this article's (biography of Skarga's) flow. If you still feel strongly about them, I'd like that you ask for a third opinion at WP:GAN about those (otherwise, I hope minor) points of our disagreement. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:58, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
I'll do that; I think you've got considerably more experience than I as a GA reviewer, so I won't insist on my position. Another editor's opinion would probably be useful here. Ammodramus (talk) 22:28, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I helped edit this article, so I may not be fully objective. It seems to me that the existing links to "Mount of Piety" and "Zebrzydowski Rebellion" might suffice. If more detail is desired in the article itself, maybe it could be provided in additional notes? Nihil novi (talk) 23:18, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I've been reading volume 1 of Norman Davies, God's Playground: A History of Poland (Columbia University Press, 2005), in an attempt to remedy my ignorance of Polish history. The introduction to Davies's Chapter 6, "Antemurale: The Bulwark of Christiandom", suggests that the reader would be surprised by the contrast between "the unbroken presence of the Roman Catholic Church,... whose supremacy was only briefly threatened" and "constant evidence for numerous varieties of religious non-conformity, sectarianism, schism, and heterodoxy". Davies appears to believe that his readers were likely to have a picture of Poland as firmly Catholic since the Dark Ages, and that they probably wouldn't realize that Protestantism had ever gained any kind of foothold. Certainly, this is the way I'd have thought that Polish history had unfolded, up to the time I began reviewing this article. It's to dispel this likely misconception that I think the inclusion in this article of a brief background on Poland in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation is necessary; and the passage in Davies suggests that the misconception might be widespread. Ammodramus (talk) 23:21, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
While you are right that this is a common misconception even in Poland, it is not the place for dispelling it. This can be done in articles of a larger scope, from reformation to History of Poland. This is a biography of a single person, nothing more, nothing less. I do appreciate you calling attention to those issues, but I'd really like to suggest we focus on adding such clarifications to more appropriate articles. There are people in the world who don't realize US was a British colony, or that Native Amercians were nearly wiped out - yet it doesn't mean that we have to mention such facts in the Obama's article. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 13:31, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that the Barack Obama example is comparable, since neither the US's onetime colonial status nor the near-eradication of the Native American peoples is important to understanding any of the issues or controversies with which BO has been concerned. Had, for instance, a major feature of Obama's tenure been the effort to pass the Native American Genocide Reparations Act, then it would indeed be relevant and important to incorporate that fact into the article.
Similarly, I wouldn't suggest that a description of szlachta-monarch power relations be incorporated into the John Paul II article, or that a brief account of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Poland be added to Marie Curie, since (as far as I know) a background knowledge of these issues isn't critical to understanding their biographical articles.
However, that's not the case with Skarga. Without some knowlege of these matters, one can't really understand his life and significance in Polish history. Most English-speaking readers would not come to the article with such background knowledge; so they'd either have to rely on what the article said, or chase Wikilinks—indeed, they'd have to stop several times in the course of the article to follow a link, then return to the article. This would discourage many readers from reading the article through to its end, and would make the article of limited use for reader who can't follow the links—those, for instance, who're perusing printed copies.
It's true that the Skarga article can't and shouldn't give readers a complete account of Polish history up to Skarga's time. However, it should provide enough information to give the reader a basic knowledge of the controversies in which Skarga was involved. — Ammodramus (talk) 00:43, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
We are clearly in need of a third opinion here, as I do believe that the article provides sufficient background. I'll ask for a third opinion at WP:GAN. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:58, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I put in a request for a third opinion in late May, but we've had no responses yet. I also asked User:Quadell, who was my GA-review mentor; his/her response seemed to support my request for more background.
At this point, I'm disposed to close the GA review with a fail, if you really don't believe that it'd be possible to introduce the necessary historical background. Ammodramus (talk) 16:04, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Over a week has passed with no third opinions offered. I'm going to close this review with a fail.
This is an article that provides a lot of useful information about an interesting subject. Unfortunately, it assumes too much background knowledge of Polish history—in my opinion, more than the vast majority of English-speaking readers will possess. I earnestly hope that User:Piotrus can find a way to incorporate some of the essential background information into the article, and I'm looking forward to seeing it reach GA level once that material's been added.
Piotrus, thanks for your work on this, and I'm sorry that we couldn't agree on a way to bring the article to GA. It's been an interesting article to review, and I'm grateful to you for supplying me with the incentive to improve my very limited knowledge of Polish history; I intend to continue reading on the subject, even with the review finished. — Ammodramus (talk) 00:59, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

I've copy-edited "Piotr Skarga".

Green tickY About "Jan Tęczyński": I don't think this could have been the same "Jan Tęczyński" (1581–1637) to whom this article now links, and whom the Polish Wikipedia calls "Jan Magnus Tęczyński, for whom it gives the years 1579–1637. Obviously Skarga could not have tutored this "Jan Tęczyński" in 1557, as our "Piotr Skarga" article states — 22 years before Tęczyński's birth!

Nihil novi (talk) 21:31, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for joining the discussion, Nihil Novi. Good point re. Jan Tęczyński; that's going to have to be cleared up before a GA can be awarded. Ammodramus (talk) 02:04, 10 June 2014 (UTC)