Template:Did you know nominations/The Making of a Teacher

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The following discussion is an archived discussion of the DYK nomination of the article below. Please do not modify this page. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page (such as this nomination's talk page, the article's talk page or Wikipedia talk:Did you know), unless there is consensus to re-open the discussion at this page. No further edits should be made to this page.

The result was: promoted by Allen3 talk 16:00, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

The Making of a Teacher[edit]

  • ... that The Making of a Teacher quotes spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran that he "never knew anyone in India who tried to become a spiritual teacher ... It's not a job you apply for – it finds you"?
  • Reviewed: Template:Did you know nominations/Paul Miller (basketball)
  • Comment: The hook quote appears in the article near the bottom of the table of quotes. It is cited to p. 94 of the book, and can be verified online HERE. Article is new enough because it was created first in userspace, then recently moved.

Created/expanded by Presearch (talk). Self nom at 23:07, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

  • The article is appropriate for DYK, just being moved into mainspace. Those citations that can be verified have been, particularly the hook. It's a nice article, encyclopedic but also creative. The article as a whole isn't perfect yet—the "reception" section is a little too fluffy, more should be said about the book's impact than critic's praise of it—but it meets criteria for DYK. I would only propose small changes to the hook for grammar reasons:
  • Alt1: ... that The Making of a Teacher quotes spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran as saying: "I never knew anyone in India who tried to become a spiritual teacher ... It's not a job you apply for – it finds you"?
groupuscule (talk) 10:29, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
I like the proposed Alt1 hook, and appreciate the fidelity to the original in keeping the italics on "tried" (which I inadvertently omitted in my original hook). For clarity I have struck out the original hook, to ensure that Alt1 is used. Thanks also for your helpful and constructive comments on the article itself. Do you think we're now ready to go for DYK? Thanks -- Presearch (talk) 16:57, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
Symbol confirmed.svg Alt1, above, ready to go.
  • Symbol question.svg To my eye, the "selected quotations" section is simply WP:COPYVIO, so I've removed it. Given four block quotes and a number of other shorter quotes from the book, any more would be excessive, and I'm not sure whether even this much is too much, hence the new icon until I can get a second opinion on the matter from one of DYK's experts. BlueMoonset (talk) 15:34, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
OK -- as the article creator and nom, I'll look forward to the expert input here. It would be nice to be able to retain that selected quotation section in some form -- perhaps reduced, or greatly reduced -- since it evokes certain aspects of the topic (the book) that are not well-covered elsewhere in article. And the book is long (191 pages) so I'd call those quotes a very small portion of the total book, which was published a long time ago (1989). But we don't want to be in violation of copyright, and I look forward to the expert input. Thanks. Regards -- Presearch (talk) 18:04, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
Personally I don't think the article quotes "extensively" or "excessively" from the text, especially if you consider how much is freely available from Google Books and that the quotations were not consecutive. The policy pages do not really have very much detail on quotations. I am curious to learn how these decisions are made. groupuscule (talk) 18:32, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
The article contains over 400 words from the book, and more from other sources - from a quick reckoning, about half of the article consists of words copied from elsewhere. Check out Wikipedia:Quotations#Copyrighted material and fair use: "400 quoted words from a 500-page book were ruled to be infringement". (This book is much shorter, and in terms of copyright law 1989 was not nearly long enough ago that copyright expiration is likely.) Aside from the copyright concerns, overquoting is also a stylistic issue - we prefer that Selected quotes appear on Wikiquote rather than here, and overquoting breaks up text flow. I think you should do some rephrasing here. Nikkimaria (talk) 23:30, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, Nikkimaria, for your input (perhaps you are supplying the expert opinion that BlueMoonset was going to solicit?). Regardless, please permit me to comment. First, given the fact that both you and BlueMoonset are expressing discomfort, I will try to do some rephrasing so that everyone will feel comfortable. Also let me say that I feel embarrassed (egg on my face) because when I recheck the now-deleted selected quotes section, it impresses me as indeed very long (what was I thinking?). However, let me also comment on your input above:
   First, when I made my brief comment about book length and age, I had already looked at Wikipedia:Quotations#Copyrighted material and fair use, which you cited, and I had also looked at its footnote, which states: "This case involved first publication of former President Gerald Ford's account of his decision to pardon Richard Nixon, and the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the right of first publication is a particularly strong right" (emphasis added). One reason that I stated that the book was old is that it makes it clear that there is no right of "first publication" involved. Now the fact that the Wikipedia:Quotations#Copyrighted WP page linked above does not cite any additional case in which 400 words from a full book was found to be excessive makes me wonder whether any such cases exist - or if they do, whether they are also extraordinary (or "extreme" to quote the page you cited). If any additional cases exist, I think the Wikipedia:Quotations#Copyrighted WP page could be made more informative by including an additional footnote to that case.
   More generally -- and this is what I have heard in my pre-Wikipedia past from professional editors -- a recurring theme is that there are seldom cut-and-dried or single-factor answers to what constitutes "fair use". Note that the page you cited states that "What constitutes a substantial portion depends on many factors"; similarly, a Copyvio FAQ page states "Generally, fair use exceptions are ill-defined," and then gives a list of 4 things to consider under US copyright law, as well as 4 questions ask oneself. I think that is a useful page too.
   Anyway, let me reiterate that I feel embarrassed at having originally included the very large amounts of quoted text in "selected quotations", and will put in a bit work aimed at reaching a zone where all of us who have so far registered opinions are comfortable. However, I will hold off doing this a day or two, in case anyone has anything else to say before I plunge in (BTW, since the hook quote was in the "selected quotes" and is now deleted, I will need to insert it into the text). Thanks again for your input. Although I feel embarrassed, this is also an interesting stimulus to reviewing the various guidelines. Best Regards -- Presearch (talk) 01:33, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── In the past 3 days I have reworked the "Topics covered" section. This section now re-includes the quote used for the proposed DYK hook, and covers (mostly via paraphrases) some of the material from the now-deleted "selected quotes" table. Despite this new material, the number of words quoted in this section is now less than 3 days ago, because I have eliminated several of the earlier quotes, and shortened several others, giving the section greater reliance on summaries. My count of the words quoted from Making of a Teacher in-text in the "Topics covered" section is 297 (by consecutive paragraph: 6+18+38+34+67+2+45+36+49+2). There are a few more in the Background section (29+52) and in the photo caption (19), but the in-text total is less than 400. Based on Wikipedia guidelines and FAQs noted earlier, I am inclined to believe that this is now acceptable for an ordinary nonfeatured article.
With regard to the 4 primary considerations listed in the Copyright FAQ page: 1. Like all of WP, this is an educational purpose; 2. The copyrighted work is a 191 page book first published 23 years ago, so the quoted portion is comparatively very small, and the right of first publication is not an issue; 3. Direct words of a person in this role (spiritual teacher) are often viewed as best for conveying their ideas/perspectives, a recurring task in this article as they are recurring themes the book; 4. The quotes seem less likely to undercut author's ability to sell book than to enhance awareness/interest in it (especially in view of the book already being largely readable on Google Book). Thanks -- Presearch (talk) 22:22, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Symbol redirect vote4.png I am hoping that someone (BlueMoonset?) can now recheck the article with regard to the quotation issue raised above, and either advise on needed additional steps, or restore a tick. Thanks! -- Presearch (talk) 22:29, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm thinking the quoting is still a bit much - 23 years ago is still very much under copyright protection, and many of the quotes could be rephrased in your own words without undercutting the meaning of the text. Nikkimaria (talk) 05:18, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
I have converted quotes to paraphrases in several instances (22 Nov 2012). If you with to argue that any more could be paraphrased, then please give examples of the lengthiest quotes that you believe could be paraphrased without any loss of any meaning. Please note that whether or not the "meaning of the text" will be undercut is sometimes a matter of judgement. Those who are more familiar with a topic area are sometimes sensitive to nuances of meaning that are not apparent to those who are unfamiliar with a topic. Claims by others that nothing is lost risk being incorrect due to unawareness of such nuances. -- Presearch (talk) 17:16, 15 November 2012 (UTC) [slightly modified 22 November 2012]
     Additional comment: Out of curiosity, I checked some featured articles about books, to see how they handle quotes. The third one I checked was Night (book), by Elie Wiesel, which has more than 700 words in block quotes directly from the book. To be more precise, in today's version, I count in the "Wiesel's story as told in Night" section a block quote total word count of 739 = 28 (He’s just trying…) +22 (The yellow star…) +100 (The barbed wire…) +106 (And there was I…) +124 (Never shall I forget…) +32 (Behind me…) +131 (Blessed Be God’s name…) +66 (Pitch darkness…) +38 (And, in spite of myself…) +92 (I woke…). All of these are footnoted directly to pages in Night. And the article looked rather similar on September 6, 2010 when it was featured on the main page.
     It strikes me as prima facie noteworthy that we are making a big deal over far fewer words in a DYK article, when it seems that the WP community was quite happy to tolerate a much larger number of quoted words in an article featured in its entirety on the main page. For the present article, let us look at any questioned quotes on a case-by-case basis, and see if those we examine fail to provide added value. But for the discussion to proceed, I believe any who want raise the issue should offer examples (as requested above), along with reasons for their concern. Thank you. -- Presearch (talk) 20:18, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your hard work and your civility, Presearch. I'd like to add that I don't think the quotations in this article are likely to cheapen anyone's intellectual property by making it unnecessary for readers to buy the actual book. They do capture something of the style and feeling of the book, which is a good thing from the perspective of an encyclopedia (encyclopedic ≠ boring) and from the perspective of its authors. Peace, groupuscule (talk) 15:13, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Symbol confirmed.svg Okay. It's still proportionately rather quote-heavy, but I suppose it's good enough. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:38, 27 November 2012 (UTC)