Talk:Susan B. Anthony

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Agnostic[edit]

The quote used in this reference is taken out of context. My goodness, it also says she was a Calvinist. Read the entire chapter to see that Anthony was not agnostic as the term is used today, but was not determined not to limit her beliefs in Christianity to any one church's belief about Christ. To do so would have limited her ability to reach women who were not Christians, which she did not want to do. Making label statements like "she became an agnostic" is not honest or true. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.140.182.93 (talkcontribs)

Anthony's best friend assessed her as agnostic. Who could be a better judge? The Calvinist bit is Elizabeth Cady Stanton imagining what Anthony might be called during the English Reformation. Stanton says that Anthony's "belief is not orthodox", but that it is a high moral standard that drives her.
If you read a lot of Anthony's writings, you will begin to see that she refers to Christ or Jesus as little as possible for a woman in her position. In general she was much more critical than supportive of Christianity. She said, "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
You might be surprised to find that Anthony is considered an atheist by certain atheist observers.[1][2] This Wikipedia biography does not go that far because the supporting webpages are not reliable enough. Binksternet (talk) 06:58, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Not the Author of 19th[edit]

I have removed the claim from the later personal life section that Anthony was the author of the 19th amendment. The source for this claim falsely attributed "Lutz, 310." However, Lutz, very clearly on p. 321, writes "When occasionally during her lifetime it was called the Susan B. Anthony Amendment by those who wished to honor her devotion to the cause, she [Anthony] protested, meticulously giving Elizabeth Cady Stanton credit for making the first public demand for woman suffrage in 1848. She also made it clear that although she worked for the amendment long and hard, she did not draft it." I'm willing to take Lutz's word for this unless we can find discover that Lutz was incorrect. RedJ 17 (talk) 21:25, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Major overhaul and expansion[edit]

I am proposing a major overhaul and expansion of the Susan B. Anthony article. The draft of the new version is in my workspace at User:Bilpen/sandbox. I tried to make it reflect the scholarly consensus of her life and work, with a tone and balance similar to that of "mainstream" encyclopedias. In addition to new text, I am proposing several changes to the existing article, as follows:

I rearranged the article to look something like the Bertrand Russell article, which has a large section called Biography and smaller section called Views. I added subsections called Views on Religion and Views on Marriage.

I added a Bibliography section. Where there are currently multiple footnotes that reference a single book, I moved the details of that book from the footnotes to the Bibliography section to make those details easier to find. Currently, if you look at footnote 17, for example, you see "Lutz, 201", but there is no way to what that means unless you either look at footnote 28, which provides details for the Lutz book, or at Further Reading.

I moved the details of the biographies of Anthony by Barry, Lutz and Harper from the Further Reading section to the Bibliography section. I altered the references to the Harper books so they link directly to a digital copy of the page cited. Where possible I did the same for others books cited.

Harper's authorized biography of Anthony and the History of Woman Suffrage are the only sources for some information, such as the early part of Anthony's life. When a book by a modern scholar conveys important information based on something in either of those works, instead of citing that scholar, I frequently "borrowed" their references to provide a direct link from Wikipedia to the cited page in the original source. The alternative, which would involve my restatement of that scholar's restatement of what the original source said, tends to introduce distortions.

I dropped items of marginal value to this article from the External Links section, such as photos that are already on the Commons.

I swapped the image of the elderly Anthony (it was taken in 1900, six years before her death) that is currently in the info box for one that shows her in the prime of life (Susan B Anthony c1855.png). That seems to be the standard Wikipedia approach for photos in infoboxes of biographical articles. The image I used is the same one that Anthony herself chose for inclusion in the History of Woman Suffrage. I moved the photo of the elderly Anthony that is currently in the info box to another location at the end of the article.

I dropped this quote: "Speaking at the Ninth National Women’s Rights Convention on May 12, 1859, Anthony asked 'Where, under our Declaration of Independence, does the Saxon man get his power to deprive all women and Negroes of their inalienable rights?'" According to the History of Woman Suffrage, Volume 1, page 675, that quote is from a document that was signed by nine people, one of whom was Anthony. I dropped it because I can't find any evidence that Anthony herself wrote or spoke those words. (They were most likely written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.)

I dropped the long quote that begins, "Universal manhood suffrage, by establishing an aristocracy of sex..." for similar reasons. Anthony certainly agreed with the ideas in that quote, but Stanton probably wrote it, and I think an article about Anthony should feature quotes that are definitely from her, not someone else. (Anthony actually wrote very little for publication; quotable material for her comes mainly from her letters and speeches.)

I removed the birth and death dates of Anthony's siblings, the information about her ancestors, and the photos of her parents. Biographical articles with Good Article or Featured Article ratings in Wikipedia generally don't provide that level of detail about relatives and ancestors, and the proposed new version of this article is plenty long enough without that extraneous material.

I dropped the sentence, "Stone's words catalyzed Anthony to devote her life to women's rights" because there isn't a scholarly consensus about how to interpret the contradictory aspects of this situation. In 1888, during a period when Anthony was trying to be diplomatically friendly with her rival Lucy Stone, Anthony said at a meeting in Stone's presence that she was converted to women's suffrage by reading a newspaper report in the New York Tribune about the first national Women's Rights Convention in 1850. Referring to Stone's speech at that convention, which deplored the practice of referring to widows as "relicts" of their dead husbands, Anthony also said that she made up her mind then that "I would be the relict of no man". (Was Anthony taking a sly dig here at Stone for abandoning her pledge not to get married?) The full text of that newspaper article in the Tribune has been placed on the web by the U.S. Women's History Workshop at Assumption College: Tribune article about 1850 Convention. The biographies of Stone by Hays and Kerr credit the Tribune's seven-sentence summary of Stone's speech at the 1850 convention with converting Anthony to suffrage even though Anthony didn't actually say that's what happened, and even though Stone's speech mentions suffrage only once. Million's biography of Stone disputes that account (on pages 132 and 296), saying it was probably Stone's speech at the 1852 convention, which Anthony heard in person, that converted Anthony, although Million doesn't offer evidence to support that. Anthony's authorized biography, written by Harper, contradicts what Anthony said in 1888. It agrees with Million that Anthony didn't become convinced of the importance of suffrage until the Syracuse convention in 1852, but it doesn't mention Stone's speech as being particularly influential. The other biographies of Anthony treat Anthony's interest in women's suffrage as something that developed over time and under the influence of several people, which would include Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass and Anthony's own parents and sister, all of whom attended either the women's rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 or the one shortly after in Rochester while Anthony was teaching in another town. Those biographies don't mention Anthony's comment in 1888 at all, obviously not considering it to mark a major step in her life. It seems reasonable to presume that the biographers of Anthony are in a better position to judge the major influences on Anthony's life than the biographers of someone else. At any rate, I don't see a compelling reason to present this tangled story in the Anthony article except possibly in a long footnote if that becomes necessary.

I rewrote a paragraph in the section on the AERA that appears to have been copied directly from Britannica.com.

I removed most of the details of what happened to The Revolution after Anthony sold it because those details are irrelevant here and are available in the article on The Revolution.

I moved some passages to more appropriate sections. The section called "United States v. Susan B. Anthony", for example, definitely doesn't belong under "Early Social Activism".

The section on "United States v. Susan B. Anthony" already has lots of good information. I changed most of the citations in that section, however, to point to the two most reliable sources on that topic: a book-length study of the trial by N. E. H. Hull, a distinguished legal scholar; and articles written by Ann D. Gordon in conjunction with researchers at the Federal Judicial Center (FJC). Gordon is a top scholar in the field of women's history, and the FJC is the "research and education agency of the federal judicial system" that was established by Congress. The articles written by Gordon in conjunction with the FJC, all of which are available on the web, should be considered authoritative sources for this trial. That's important to know because Gordon's account omits, with good reason, some questionable claims that can be found even in some scholarly sources. For example, Gordon doesn't repeat the wide-spread claim that Justice Hunt wrote his verdict before the trial even began. There is good reason for omitting that claim. We know that Hunt read from a written opinion on the third day of the trial, but we have no way of knowing when he wrote it. In my opinion, if Gordon didn't include a particular claim like that one in her articles on the trial, then it probably shouldn't be in Wikipedia either, not even if other responsible sources include it. Chances are high that the research conducted by Gordon and the FJC are will set the standard for future scholarly studies.

I dropped some items that either are uncited and do not reflect the scholarly consensus, or that appear to be cited but do not reflect what the cited source says.

Obviously I made other changes to the article also, but these are the main ones. I will leave this notice up for several days for comments before posting the new version of the article. Bilpen (talk) 18:45, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

This biography has long been a travesty, a patchwork of various editors adding various bits and pieces, with little regard to the big picture. The biography deserves to have a thoroughgoing reconstruction so that it speaks with one voice. I'm glad you are taking up this task, and I'm happy to see you are using the new Million book as a source, as well as Ann D. Gordon who is the top scholar on Anthony. Binksternet (talk) 19:21, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I posted the revised article (just in time for Women's History Month!) Bilpen (talk) 23:43, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you! I'm making some little changes to your great improvement of the article. Binksternet (talk) 02:25, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Once again into the abortion dispute[edit]

Recently a small section about the abortion dispute was introduced to the article by Cloonmore. It was reshaped several times by other editors:

  • Binksternet:

    During Anthony's life, virtually everybody thought abortion was abhorrent. Anthony's position on abortion as a political issue has been the subject of a relatively recent dispute, with some pro-life activists contending that she would support the pro-life side of the modern abortion debate. No scholarly support exists for this notion: Anthony historian Ann D. Gordon says that Anthony's single-minded goal was to win suffrage for women, and that all other concerns were dismissed as distractions. Gordon says that Anthony "never voiced an opinion about the sanctity of fetal life ... and she never voiced an opinion about using the power of the state to require that pregnancies be brought to term."

  • Rjensen:

    Anthony's position on abortion has been a subject of a relatively recent dispute, with some pro-life activists contending that she was opposed to abortion and would support their side of the modern debate over the issue.
    However a number of scholars argue that this claim is without basis.
    Anthony historian Ann D. Gordon says that Anthony's single-minded goal was to win suffrage for women, and that all other concerns were dismissed as distractions. Gordon says that Anthony "never voiced an opinion about the sanctity of fetal life ... and she never voiced an opinion about using the power of the state to require that pregnancies be brought to term."

  • Rjensen:

    Anthony's position on abortion has been a subject of a relatively recent dispute, with some pro-life activists contending that she was opposed to abortion and would support their side of the modern debate over the issue. Randy Alcorn says, "She referred to abortion as 'child murder' and viewed it as a means of exploiting both women and children."

  • Roscelese:

    Anthony's position on abortion has been a subject of a relatively recent dispute, with some pro-life activists contending that she was opposed to abortion and would support their side of the modern debate over the issue.
    However a number of scholars argue that this claim is without basis. Anthony historian Ann D. Gordon says that Anthony's single-minded goal was to win suffrage for women, and that all other concerns were dismissed as distractions. Gordon says that Anthony "never voiced an opinion about the sanctity of fetal life ... and she never voiced an opinion about using the power of the state to require that pregnancies be brought to term."

  • Cloonmore:

    Anthony's position on abortion has been a subject of a relatively recent dispute, with some pro-life activists contending that she was opposed to abortion, citing her own words in defense of "unborn little ones," as well as articles in The Revolution that referred to abortion as "child-murder" or "ante-natal infanticide."
    Others however, including historian Ann D. Gordon, dispute this claim. Gordon argues that Anthony's single-minded goal was to win suffrage for women and that all other concerns were dismissed as distractions. Gordon says that Anthony "never voiced an opinion about the sanctity of fetal life ... and she never voiced an opinion about using the power of the state to require that pregnancies be brought to term."

So the arguments here revolve around a couple of points:

  • Anthony abhorred abortion, there is no scholarly argument on this point—just about everybody abhorred abortion in the 19th century. The dispute is about whether Anthony acted in the political sphere against abortion, and about whether she would take a pro-life stance in the modern debate.
  • Scholars do not support the pro-life view placed recently on Anthony.
  • Anthony's quote "unborn little ones" is taken out of context by pro-life disputers, so should it be presented here as relevant, as if they are in correct context?
  • Anthony's paper the Revolution printed both sides of a debate, and Anthony was not the editor—she did not write the editorials. Should we quote the Revolution here as if Anthony wrote the words?
  • In the 19th century and in Anthony's Revolution, the term "child murder" referred most often to infanticide, the killing of an infant directly after it was born. This was considered safer than abortion, less likely to kill the mother, and was practiced by women who were in terrible circumstances. Less frequently, the term "child murder" was extended to mean killing the fetus before it was born: abortion. Should we present the term "child murder" as being solely about abortion?
  • Should we pair the term "pro-choice activists" with leading historian Ann D. Gordon who does not hold a position on the abortion pro-life/pro-choice question?
  • Should we state absolutely that "there is no scholarly support for this claim"?[3] Binksternet (talk) 01:37, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
You gotta be kidding. Maybe you should take your jones for a debate over here, or better yet, just take a deep breath and re-read WP: NOTSOAPBOX. Cloonmore (talk) 04:27, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I hate debate. This situation, however, with five editors reverting each other for five days now, calls for discussion. You will want to justify your preferred wording if you want to keep it. Binksternet (talk) 04:43, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Binx, Talk pages aren't the place to issue threats, even empty ones. It's not very constructive. The issue's really simple: you insist on inserting a neat bit of OR and removing sourced, relevant wording. You've been around here long enough that I don't need to explain to you why that's wrong. Cloonmore (talk) 04:01, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Citation convention[edit]

@Binksternet, Rjensen, Bilpen, Cloonmore, Roscelese: The citation convention used in this article could use some improvement. Currently it has this url (among others) https://archive.org/stream/lifeandworksusa00unkngoog#page XX occurring 27 different times in among the text, where XX is the page number. I attempted to employ a citation convention commonly used in many GA and FA articles that simply uses 'one' url address to the title page, in the bibliography, and where the citations, via ref links, simply link to the given source in the bibliography where the readers, if they decided to do so, most don't, can refer to the actual book. This was just reverted and all 27 urls, external links, are now stuck back in the text with the argument that they link to the actual page number, which assumes the readers are too stupid to find a given page once they are linked to the common title page. I respect the idea of WP:CITEVAR and perhaps should have discussed this before making this major change in citation convention, but if this article is ever going to make GA grade or better it needs to adopt a more intelligent and less redundant citation convention, like that used on FA's like Benjamin Harrison, Tadeusz Kościuszko, King Arthur and others. A source should be listed once, with one url to the title page and not redundantly spelled out in among the text every time its used as a cite. If there is a consensus to adopt a more intelligent citation convention I'll be more than happy to make the changes. If any others familiar with conventional bibliography/citation work would like to help in this effort that would be neat also. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:06, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

You are off on the wrong foot by calling the previous multi-URL solution unintelligent. Certainly it is not neat in terms of editing the page, but it is useful to the reader. I hold that the reader is the ultimate goal, not neatness in the editing window. Binksternet (talk) 05:12, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Using external links for inline citations is generally frowned upon, and I didn't say "unintelligent" only that the citation method I recommend is "more intelligent" and often used in FAs. Careful. There are also cite web templates used in some cases. Not at all a consistent article. It should adopt one citation convention, otherwise it will never pass GA, let alone FA. I hold that the reader is intelligent enough to find the page without subjecting the article to this sort of varied citation approach. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:16, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Binksternet. What we want is a user can click the url and read the text. If it takes 27 different URL's to do that, ok with me. Depriving the user of that ability significantly degrades the quality of the article, which in my opinion is a serious fault, I disagree with Gwillhickers because I do NOT read the embedded links rule as forbidding our 27 urls. That rule is ONLY about raw links at the end of a sentence such as [http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1601858,00.html], which looks like this. [4] Rjensen (talk) 06:53, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
"Significantly degrades" is a gross misrepresentation and would only have a semblance of merit if the readers were idiots who needed their hands held to find a particular page. Some cites have one url yet have multiple pages listed in the ref, so we're already expecting the reader to find those extra pages to begin with. Most readers do not click/check on every citation, if any, as they go along. Currently there are some 130 url's mixed in with the text. I even added a url as a cite before I noticed the huge amount and thought to improve the citation convention. I only dealt with 27, removing url's and adding ref links, before this effort at improvement was reverted with the assumption that our readers need our special attention for every page cited. There are also a few 'cite book' templates also mixed in with the text, not in the bibliography with the rest. There are also more than a dozen 'cite web' templates used in the text. There are many refs that don't use any convention at all, lacking url's, templates, etc -- so what we have here is sort of a train wreck in terms of any citation convention and consistency. -- In any case, it clearly says that Embedded links to external websites should not be used as a form of inline citation, because they are highly susceptible to linkrot. It makes no distinction about "the end of a sentence" . The urls are used as inline citations. Anyways, if there is a consensus to do 'something' about this situation I'm willing to help. As it is, this article will never pass a GA or FA review. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:36, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't hold your "effort at improvement" in higher regard than the earlier effort which established the URLs in question. Both of those actions were efforts to improve the article, one to help the reader navigate the cited source, the other one to streamline the article in the editing window. Your complaint about embedded links is irrelevant, since the guideline is talking about bare URLs embedded in inline text, rather than URLs that accompany footnote-style citations.
I imagine that there is a way this article can advance to GA and FA without removing the useful URLs. The available citation formats often include a way to link to URLs. Binksternet (talk) 18:11, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Nonsense. The guideline only makes an example of a bare url -- it doesn't say that it's okay if you attach a handle to or use a url inside ref delimiters. Why? Because the concern is over link rot, which can occur to any url, obviously. Again, there is no need to hold the reader's hand all the way to the given page and your need to do so is what is in fact irrelevant and goes against guidelines. The overwhelming majority of citations in Wikipedia do not link to 'the' actual page number. Many link to a source in the bibliography, which in turn often links to a google or other such book where the readers can 'turn' the pages for themselves. Many cites don't even have links but simply mention the source, year and page number. If Google decides to change the url for e.g. the Harper source we are going to have many dozens of dead links to deal with. If on the other hand the url only occurs once in the bibliography, then we only have the one url to deal with. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:54, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Google links are highly valuable to users. if we know it we should use it. anything else is an inferior performance. All of our readers can click on a link, but few of them will go to the trouble of getting an interlibrary loan book. Rjensen (talk) 03:18, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm pinging Bilpen again, because the links under discussion came from this expansion work in early March. Bilpen has been doing bang-up work here, and I'm sure we will benefit from hearing what Bilpen thinks. Binksternet (talk) 03:51, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
@Binksternet: It's become obvious that we're going to need some uninvolved opinion here. @Rjensen: Linking to the title page of the book, once, will allow the reader to easily access the book. If they are inclined to do so in the first place I'm sure they will have no problem turning to a given page. Didn't realize that bringing this article up to GA/FA standards was going to be met with the same sort of indifference that's involved in controversial content disputes. Again, the 130+ url's in this article is (very) redundant, and goes against guidelines. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 15:47, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't think "indifference" is the word you were looking for. Let's wait for Bilpen to log back in. There is no deadline. Binksternet (talk) 15:53, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I'm sure you have a much better way of saying 'indifference' but that's not an issue, is it? You're only confirming that we need uninvolved and objective opinion here. Again 130 + url's goes against guidelines. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 15:59, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Repeatedly linking to the embedded links guideline is not going to fix your misconception of what that guideline covers. I won't bore you with another explanation as Rjensen covered it perfectly well (as if the guideline itself was not perfectly clear.) You are not going to get any leverage in removing useful URLs from otherwise standard footnote citations, since the guideline is not about that. Binksternet (talk) 16:09, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
You have an apparent comprehension problem, and you need to stop pecking at personal issues i.e.how many times I say this or that. Obviously it hasn't been said enough. Guidelines say no url's for in line citations and only use a bare url as an example. They in no way say it's okay to use a url for an inline citation if you inclose it in refs. Since the concern is over link rot, which can occur for any url, this should be clear to you. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:25, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Rjensen and I have both pointed to your error. The guideline gives the raw URL example because that is what is not allowed. Raw URLs are insufficient because of link rot. There is no danger of link rot if the URL is couched in a context-supplying footnote. You are trying to misinterpreting the guideline.
Your recent article on Frank Maloy Anderson includes this addition of a URL, inserted by you as an inline URL. How does that fit with your personal interpretation of having no embedded links?
Taking a look at recent FAs, I can see a ton of URLs within the article body of the articles Whaam!, Gubby Allen, Babe Ruth, and Voting Rights Act of 1965—all URLs being contained within standard footnote citations. Certainly there are other FAs with all the URLs appearing down in the reference section, but that is not a requirement. Your personal preference for that style isn't decisive here. Binksternet (talk) 18:04, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Insert : @Binksternet:, I've also spelled out the example in guidelines that used a url between ref delimiters. This would be the third time you're trying to dance around that -- and the idea of link rot that pertains to all url's used as inline citations. Yes, I have used url's as cites elsewhere and admitted doing so here until I saw that in this case there are well over 100 of them and raise the issue at hand. If link rot effects one or two cites that's not much of a problem. If it occurs to Harper or other such frequently used sources that is obviously quite another matter. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:22, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Link rot is not much of a problem by itself; it's just a clerical concern, possibly even handled by bot. The reason the embedded URL guideline is warning against link rot is because a bare URL is devoid of context. The problem disappears if the footnote contains a title, author, date, publisher, work, etc. In that case, a dead link can be fixed or dismissed as unnecessary. A bare URL is much more difficult to fix. Binksternet (talk) 23:30, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
@Binksternet: -- Link rot would not be much of an issue if we didn't use them like the reader's depended on them. The readers came to Wikipedia for information. They didn't go to Harper. Out of all the things I've disagreed with you on, you coined a beautiful and unique idea one day. Wikipedia's voice. i.e. 'We don't need no stinkin' links'. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:08, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I didn't coin that term, but thanks for giving me credit. However, "Wikipedia's voice" means that attribution is not needed for an established fact: "The sky is blue" rather than "Meteorologist Wynn D. Daye has stated that the sky is blue." The term says nothing about normal URLs inside footnotes. Binksternet (talk) 03:43, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
@Binksternet: -- Wikipedia is a conglomeration of writers who present facts, commonly known or otherwise, and cite references to do so. But we are not here to simply 'reword' the writings of other authors, but we present the story in Wikipedia's voice. As such, we don't have to supply a direct url link after dozens and dozens of passages to make our article. If you expect a reader to jump to another web page more than a dozen times (or 130+ times) you might as well just make a list of links after the article heading and be done with it. Wikipedia's voice. Apparently you didn't mean it the way I had thought you did. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:13, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Here is the Wikimedia Mission statement: "The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally." The key phrase in this particular case is "disseminate it effectively." If you placed a thousand test subjects in front of two similar versions of this article, one with direct page links in the citations and one without, and asked them which version was more effective in disseminating its educational content, most would say the "with" version. Frankly it's hard to imagine anyone saying the "without" version.
It isn't a matter of assuming that people aren't intelligent enough to track down for themselves a cited page in Google Books or Internet Archive. It's a matter of convenience and of knowing the technique, which isn't trivial. If you aren't careful on Google Books with a book that has a limited number of available page views, you can quickly use up your limit by trying to skip past intervening pages before you reach the page you want. I suspect that would happen to most people. There are plenty of intelligent people (I have some specific university professors in mind) who don't know how (or don't have the patience) to efficiently locate a cited page in Google Books or Internet Archive by editing that book's URL. But here is the key question: why on earth should they do that in the first place when we have computers to do that repetitive, mundane task for us? Bilpen (talk) 19:59, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Insert, @Bilpen:, if they are taking the time and have the interest to go as far as to check on a source in a WP article I hardly think the affair would be mundane. As for Google books with partial views, no views at all and viewing limits, you bring up a good question --- why even link to them at all? Why don't we use conventional citations that simply list author, year and page number with no link at all? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:22, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Put yourself in the place of a college student who is seriously interested in exploring this subject. You see something in this article that you want to follow up on. You click on the citation, click on the cited page number and go directly to the page cited. From there you can scroll up and down to see related information, acquiring sense of the depth of scholarship behind the assertion. Further reading in the article brings you back to various other pages in this book, so you might realize this is a book that you need to examine more thoroughly. You did all of this quickly and conveniently without having to first locate physical copies of several books to examine. To me this is an example of computer technology being used to increase the joy of learning, and that's a very big deal. Bilpen (talk) 19:59, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Insert :Yes, convenience, not a compelling idea in of itself. i.e.What about all the articles that don't use linked cites -- and what about those poor students who encounter them then? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:22, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, this citation style creates extra code, but is it really that much of a burden to Wikipedia editors to scroll past that extra code (which is hidden from Wikipedia readers)?
Yes, there is a problem of consistency. Not every cited page can be given a direct link, and it isn't completely clear what should be done if the citation lists more than one page. (My solution is to link to the most relevant page.) A little inconsistency, however, is a small price to pay for such a significant benefit. Bilpen (talk) 19:59, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Insert :There is inconsistency throughout the page, refs with links to some, not all pages, some with no links at all, cite book templates mixed right in with the text used as cites, not in the bibliography with the rest, etc. I suspect that any article that had numerous urls as in-line cites that passed GA or FA reviews were passed by editors who didn't know any better. So what else is new? Third graders have as much voice and right to edit as does the professor editor. Isn't that so 'very fair' and equal minded? Right.. I just brought an article to FA status and one of the main and prolonged issues was inconsistency in the cites and bibliography. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:36, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the possibility of link rot is something that should be considered, but it doesn't appear to be a major problem in this case. If Google changes the URL of a book used as a citation, then the article will have to be edited to include the new URL in any case. If that URL is used only once in the article, in the Bibliography section for example, then that's an easy fix. If it is used multiple times, that's only a little more complicated. You would copy the entire contents of the article into a word processing program, correct the URL with a global substitution, and plug the results back into Wikipedia. That process would take longer, but it's definitely not a show-stopper. In other words, if a link rot problem develops with Google Books and Internet Archive, then a solution is available. This is a problem, however, that so far doesn't even exist. If it ever got to be a widespread problem, automated tools could be developed to deal with it. Such tools would probably be needed anyway even if book URLs were limited to a single use per article, because each book URL could potentially appear in many articles.
Does this type of citation violate the rules to the extent that it would prevent the article from achieving FA or GA status? I doubt it, but it if does, then maybe we need to change the rules to bring them more closely in line with the Wikipedia mission statement. Bilpen (talk) 19:59, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for that well thought out reply, Bilpen. I especially appreciate your take on how link rot is not a concern in this case.
I'm sorry Gwillhickers felt the need to interrupt your extended reply with his "inserts" as it breaks up the flow, but if you hang around him much you'll see that this is his practice, especially if the flow is really elegant and the argument strong. I've copied your signature to the orphaned portions of your reply. Another response would be to move the Gwillhickers insertions out and place them after your post. Binksternet (talk) 03:43, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Insert : -- @Binksternet: -- Any time some one writes an extended reply that involves several paragraphs, most readers find it easier to follow the resultant discussion if the reply is under the corresponding paragraph for the sake of flow. No one has 'interrupted' anything. This is yet another one of your notions. The tag of insert let's anyone with average intelligence know that there was a reply to the given paragraphs. Kindly stop brown-nosing Bilpen and the gutter sniping at personal items and inventing deviant issues when there are none. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:13, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I've previously tangled with you on the insert issue, for instance with this edit of mine moving your insertion out of my text to a position below my text. I summarized the action as "Do not insert your comments into mine." I consider your insertions to be a minor violation of talk page etiquette, a mild form of refactoring others' comments. It lessens the impact of the person's argument, and it's damn annoying. By the way, you don't have to ping someone when they are actively contributing to a discussion. Binksternet (talk) 16:54, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Note that WP:BOTTOMPOST instructs people to use proper indentation and to put their comments below those previously placed. Your insertions violate the instructions. Binksternet (talk) 16:56, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Insert : -- @Binksternet: -- I'm sorry, but I can't take your concern for talk page guidelines regarding some technique used on a talk page very seriously when you roundly ignore guidelines that are much more important to an article that 1000's of readers will read. Again, you digress with your peckish and personal deviations and dance around the important issues. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:22, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I can see by your use of a bolded "insert" comment, and a notification ping aimed at me, after I've described those two practices as annoying or unnecessary, that your aim is to irritate—a petty behavior. I though you were checking out of this page, but if you stay, please follow talk page layout guidelines. For future reference, you will meet with more support if you don't attack the involved editors in your first salvo. Binksternet (talk) 17:46, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
@Binksternet: -- My aim is to bring your attention to the comment at hand in a talk page that's become just as much a mess as the article's citation convention. Since I'm talking to you, why would I ping anyone else? The bold 'insert' is a visual aid. If you chose to see it as something else then behold the view. As for my "attack" on involved editors in the my opening statement, that's a twist. I in fact said more intelligent -- I didn't say "unintelligent". That was yet another one of your usual twists. And support should be based on the merit of the idea proposed, not whether I have a bright shinny smile. Seems all you've done here is reveal how petty and underhanded you've been all along. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:46, 29 May 2014 (UTC)


All I am saying is that there are many dozens of url's that are not needed and that it goes against guidelines -- and most cites don't have links to begin with. What would you have done if Harper was not a viewable book and you were one of the few editors who was in possession of the hard text? It would still have been a valuable source, and 99% of the readers would have accepted any references to it on good faith, because as you must know, even though most editors can be dicks (except me of course) we still try to do the right thing and write factual articles based on reliable sources. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:26, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
There are two roles for notes. one is to validate a statement; the other is to help readers to discover on their own. The argument here is about the second function. I have in mind esp secondary & university students seeking to write a class paper. Rjensen (talk) 23:29, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
We have already made the discovery for them. Cites are used to keep us editors in check. If a reader wants to venture further he/she can consult the bibliography and view or buy a given book -- or do the old fashioned thing and go to the campus or public library. Hopefully there will be an automated device there to turn the pages for them. Again, there are guideline issues here, in spades, regardless if other stuff exists. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 00:01, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Binksternet had it exactly right when he commented "This biography has long been a travesty, a patchwork of various editors adding various bits and pieces, with little regard to the big picture." It is highly unstable in content and until that calms down and it finally stabilizes it will not be a candidate for accolades like FA. When it does come down we can discuss standardizing the references--though I will continue to argue that removing good information in the quest for uniformity is a bad editing policy. Rjensen (talk) 23:48, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
After all the foot dragging he's done here he said that?? Unbelievable. Thanks for that insight. Btw, no one will be removing any info if we do away with the many many dozens of url's. And there is an issue of link overload. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 00:01, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

"Wikipedia's voice"[edit]

Any statement of course should be cited, no one disputes that -- but to coin a phrase that was once used by one of the editors here, we are speaking in "Wikipedia's voice", and we don't need to tell the reader "Seeeee...it says so here too, and here and there and here too" with a url link after every other sentence. Conventional citations have always sufficed. We are writing for Wikipedia, not Harper & company. We may as well include an order form for the book at the end of the article and just tell the readers to read it. Should we really be expecting the readers to be hopping back and forth from this article to another web site more than 100 times? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:25, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Citations "after every other sentence", or even after every sentence, are helpful if the text is challenged or if the text is rearranged later by someone else. Such citations are especially helpful if a paragraphs is split.
I don't know if you are talking about this issue, but it is certainly true that obvious facts given in all mainstream literature should not need a citation, and I think people will agree that undisputed facts don't need a long string of footnotes to support them.
If you show specific examples taken from the article then this discussion will be more fruitful. Binksternet (talk) 18:13, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
As I said in the opening sentence above, no one disputes that statements should be cited. We 'were' discussing the use of url's as inline citations, link rot, which you have roundly dismissed, regardless if it effects dozens of cites at once, and something that is clearly in violation of guidelines. In this case there are more than 130 violations. Your notion that the readers need this sort of hand holding is silly. All we have to do is mention the source, year and page number, as is common in most GA and FA articles. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:06, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Another time[edit]

It seems there's not much of an inclination to remedy the smorgasbord of urls and the inconsistent citation 'cOnVeNtIoN' among involved editors here. We could take the matter to RfC or a noticeboard, but since this article is no where near that of a GA any such effort would be sort of moot. If some day someone has the nerve to nominate this article in its present state for a GA review, we can take the matter up then and there. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:38, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

<<Susan B. Anthony>>

    I agreed with Susan B. Anthony. If I was there with Susan, I will help Susan with woman's right. We will speak to the present to give us the women's right.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by 142.255.111.226 (talk) 23:33, 2 June 2014 (UTC)