Talk:Royal Statistical Society

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Usually you'd put the designator of chartered status followed by that of membership or fellowship of the society that awarded it e.g. 'CITP MBCS' or 'CMath FIMA'; so I don't see why 'CStat' (or 'GradStat) should make 'FSS' obsolete. Moreover 'CSci' can be awarded by the RSS now, which surely requires 'FSS' after to show which society it came from. I didn't change the article yet as perhaps someone is better informed than me about this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:10, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Before writing the bit about FSS being obsolete I checked with the RSS office, who confirmed it. You'll find that there's no reference to FSS (except, strangely, to the Forensic Science Service) on the RSS website.

Having said that, I quite accept that my statement about FSS is not easily (at least) verifiable, and Wikipedia should contain verifiable statements. I think the best way forward might be for me to get the RSS to refer to it on their website. I think they should do this anyway, since the website might be consulted by people wanting to know about historical usages. I'll try to organise them into doing this, and will revise the wording on the Wikipedia page of I fail!

Eebkent (talk) 10:03, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. That's good enough for me anyway. How about:-"In the past, Fellows often used the post-nominal letters FSS, but their use became less common once the CStat qualification became available, and is in fact considered obsolete by the Society." I say 'less commmon' because you do still see 'CStat FSS' - this would be another reason for the RSS to be clear about usage on their website. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:02, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the suggestion. I have now got the RSS office to agree to put a note on use of FSS on their website "in a slack moment". This will probably go on page 1292. The statement will, I hope, produce a suitable citation. If I may, I won't change the Wiki entry now, but will wait to see what goes on the RSS website and make the Wiki entry compatible with that. (I gather that the RSS views use of FSS not so much as *obsolete* but as something inappropriate to a professional body.) -- Eebkent (talk) 13:15, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

I believe the "old" rules or charter used to say that FSS was not to be used for commercial purposes (although I have seen it in books after author's names but perhaps that meant to in relation to consulting work). Unfortunately I have thrown out my paper copies of such stuff. Melcombe (talk) 15:09, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Melcombe is correct. I have now found the 1888 rules, which say:

Upon their admission Fellows shall have the right of attaching to their names the letters F.S.S., but not in connection with any trading or business advertisement other than the publica- tion of any book or literary notice.

So it's OK in connection with books etc.

In my 13.15 talk page entry today I mentioned asking the RSS to put the rule onto its website. It has acted very speedily and effectively, and the current ruling is now shown on page 1292. I'll now amend the main RSS Wiki page to cite the RSS website. Thanks to for raising the question. -- Eebkent (talk) 16:03, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Page now amended; rewording makes use of's suggestions, adapted so as to build in new wording on RSS website page 1292. I hope this satisfies everybody! -- Eebkent (talk) 10:50, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Mention of earlier society[edit]

On 27 March 2010, Aa42john added "There was an earlier Benthamite London Statistical Society."

I don't think it's appropriate to include this sentence, or at least not as it stands. Firstly, I hadn't heard about the earlier society, and a quick search hasn't thrown up any references, so the entry doesn't seem to meet the wiki requirement of verifiability. If Aa42john can meet this requirement, then the reference to an earlier society may be useful. Secondly, I don't think the "Benthamite" adjective is at all helpful. What does this actually mean? Is it simply that (Jeremy?) Bentham was a member, or was this society influenced by his philosophy, or is there some other meaning?

I'm happy to leave these as discussion points for a short while, but unless we can find a suitable reference and a less cryptic mention of Bentham, I propose to remove the sentence. Eebkent (talk) 21:48, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Two web-pages and use "London Statistical Society" as an alternative form of "Statistical Society of London", without mentioning any earlier organisation. However the citation at indicates a "London Statistical Society" existing in 1827, which is rather earlier than the 1834 start of forerunners of RSS. I also found this quote

"Ever hear of the London Statistical Society? Not to be confused with the Statistical Society of London (tr. arr. T. Malthus, later to come over all Royal, etc), this was a 2-men +dog outfit which emerged from the late 1810s radical scene, on a mission to count the extent of Old Corruption. And a lot of other things, including: ‘the territorial extent and population, rental, taxation, finances, commerce, consumption, insolvency, pauperism, and crime, of the British Empire’.

Then the utilitarians stuck their oar in, and that was that. Powerful juj^h^H discourse, numbers.

Chris Williams"

at there may be something in it. HTH (talk) 16:49, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

An on-line version of the 1827 book is at . This has "London Statistical Society" and 1827 on the original title page, but uses "Association" within the text. The Google headers refer to "Royal Statistical Society", which didn'y yet exist. (talk) 11:48, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm no historian, but that reference to the 1827 book seems pretty conclusive to me, and I see no need to worry about the use of "Association" in the text. I'm still uneasy about the "Benthamite" bit, but, apart from that, I think the sentence can stand, with's reference listed. Thanks to! Eebkent (talk) 14:49, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

I've now revised the sentence about the earlier society, omitting the unverified "Benthamite" bit, and including a specific reference to the book located (thanks again) by Although the book is dated 1827, para 10 in the Preface (page xi) mentions what the Association did in 1824, so I've given that date. I'm well aware that this is a bit amateurish, and if any historian can improve on the entry I'd much welcome that! I have also sent details of all this to the RSS Office, who would, I'm sure, like to push back the starting date of the LSS as far as possible; they have asked their "very part-time" archivist to look into it. Eebkent (talk) 09:32, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

For info, when I was searching, I saw that the 1827 publication was labelled as the 3rd Edition, but that the 2nd Edition dated 1825 I think (which can also be found online by searching on the title) did not have "London Statistical Society" on the front page or elsewhere. (talk) 08:51, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
And I have now found an additional reference: Wilcox, W.F. (1934) "Note on the chronology of statistical societies", JASA, 29, 418-420. The relevant bit says, for 1825, "A statistical society in London published Statistical Illustrations of the .... In 1827 it took the name of the London Statistical Society." However, it gives no direct source for this, but it does reference: Henninger, W (1934) "(translated title ?) National Statistical Societies", Allegemeines Statistiches Archiv, 34 (2). I guess this last would be in German. There is also an indication that something was in preparation at that time by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, but it had not appeared by the time of the 1934 paper. (talk) 14:35, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Links to RSS website[edit]

I just tried following some of the links pointing to the RSS website (in reference 5) and they no longer seem to work. The page that discourages the use of postnominal FSS is now I tried to change it but could only find the "reflist" inclusion and don't know where to find it. (talk) 12:48, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

The links to the RSS website (ref 5) should now be correct. Many thanks for pointing this problem out. Eebkent (talk) 17:16, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

This link to the RSSCSE [1] explains the history and new policy from 2014 regacrding the Centre for Statistical EducationJpe2015 (talk) 10:32, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

The Wheatsheaf[edit]

I see that user RSSadmin has removed the wheatsheaf from the RSS Wikipedia page, with no reason being given. While I didn't put this image onto the page myself, I was sorry to see the abrupt change, and think the wheatsheaf should be restored in some way. For many RSS members/fellows the wheatsheaf is an image which brings our history into focus, and it would be nice to see this recognised in the Wikipedia entry. Note that a page on the RSS website is devoted to the wheatsheaf, and this logo (albeit in an updated form) still appears on several RSS publications.

Rather than arrogantly undoing RSSadmin's change now, I'll hold fire for a few days, to see if any consensus emerges on the Talk page. I hope that the logo can be restored (perhaps with a short explanatory para in the History section) soon.

Eebkent (talk) 21:55, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

I think it's reasonable to have it in the article somewhere, perhaps in the 'History' section, but as it's not currently used as the Society logo it shouldn't be in the infobox (which is where it was). Qwfp (talk) 22:08, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Interesting.. the "wheatsheaf page" is at and doesn't mention use having been abandoned. Reprsentations of journals on the society and publisher's (Wiley) webpages still show the wheatsheaf. I suppose it would be good to include some info on the transition and on the contexts to which it applies. Melcombe (talk) 09:37, 5 March 2012 (UTC)