Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Biography/Archive 3

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Taskforce Nominations

If you wish to put foward an idea for a new taskforce for WikiProject Biography, simply write the name of the suggestion thus:

====Politician Taskforce====

Below each new Taskforce suggestion, place either Support, Oppose, or Comment, followed by either a comment on the idea, or simply your signature. Please sign all of your comments.

Above we talked about calling these "work groups". Maurreen 06:45, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm confused on exactly what a work group of task force is ... for ? Wjhonson 07:00, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Arts and Entertainment Task Force


  • This has now been added! Please join and help it grow... I've fleshed out just 2 disciplines (actors and writers) so you can see what the others could look like too. There's a template on that page for how to make the nice menu for your discipline. plange 03:46, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Politics and Government Task Force


  • This has now been added! Please join and help it grow... I've fleshed out just 2 areas (China and US) so you can see what the others could look like too. There's a template on that page for how to make the nice menu for your area. plange 04:31, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Philosophers Task Force

  • Oppose Roll up into "brainy type people ya know?" Wjhonson 16:36, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is really a sub-category of some of the other ideas. Michael 06:41, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment Sub-cat of what idea? If articles of philosophers are going to be reviewed and assessed, then support in a task force should be forthcoming. Amerindianarts 06:46, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Academics Task Force

  • Oppose How about a category "Intellectuals" to include all these types? Wjhonson 19:55, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Atheletes Task Force

  • Support --plange 15:05, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Michael 06:42, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Sue Anne 23:06, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Mathematicians Task Force

  • Oppose How about a category "Intellectuals" to include all these types? Wjhonson 19:55, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Scientists Task Force

  • Oppose How about a category "Intellectuals" to include all these types? Wjhonson 19:55, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Writers Task Force

  • Support --plange 15:05, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support --Lou Sander 16:31, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Religious Figures Task Force

  • Support --plange 15:05, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support --Wjhonson 16:35, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Michael 06:37, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Sue Anne 23:06, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment Like the pope or like Jesus or what now? --UnDeadGoat 01:57, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Yep, pretty much anyone who is a religious figure-- Buddha, St. Francis, Mother Teresa, etc.plange 02:22, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Kaldari 02:24, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Explorers Task Force

  • Oppose Include in "Leaders" ? Wjhonson 19:55, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Astronauts and cosmonauts Task Force
  • Support a task force for all people having been in space, trained to go to space, or planned to be sent there. I put it under "explorers" for the time being. -- Hektor 08:54, 1 August 2006 (UTC)


  • Support --plange 16:00, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Strong Support, though is it not a tad too broad? No, spose not. ....(Complain)(Let us to it pell-mell) 02:31, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, definitely needed. Michael 06:37, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, probably one of the most edited sets of articles. Wjhonson 19:55, 6 August 2006 (UTC)


  • This has now been added! Please join and help it grow... I've fleshed out one area (British Isles) so you can see what the others could look like too. There's a template on that page for how to make the nice menu for your area. plange 04:33, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Military people task force

With the caveat that this is not in any way trying to compete with WP:MILHIST's excellent WP, of which I'm a member, but rather so that we have a central spot here to liaison with them on military people bios... Since WPBIO overlaps with so many other WProjects am thinking it would be beneficial to have a liaison member from each so we can work more closely and share resources and effort.


  • To address Michael's concern, there may be overlap for the people articles (some politicians may have been in the military), but as far as the task force, there's no overlap, since the task force is a place to organize categories and stubs and templates, work with other projects, most notably MILHIST, and have a place to list to-dos, etc... plange 21:23, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment Then that's fine. I have changed my vote accordingly. Michael 21:26, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
  • This has now been added! Please join and help it grow... I've fleshed out one area (United States) so you can see what the others could look like too. There's a template on that page for how to make the nice menu for your area. plange 04:48, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Bob Dylan article

Who is making your quality designations? The Bob Dylan article was included in the Version 0.5 release of Wikipedia, which gave it an implicit FA+ rating (as only a subset of all FAs made it into that release). Then you come along and rate it B-class??... Is there somewhere I can go to see the reasoning behind this designation specifically for this article? JDG 12:07, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Actually, all kinds of things are being included in 0.5, not just FAs. Having said that, convention is that anything which is actually an FA gets rated as FA-Class by the WikiProjects, so I'm not sure what the deal is with that. Kirill Lokshin 13:18, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, if you want it to be an FA, you need to submit it like everyone else, at WP:FAC.
Also, I didn't rate it, only glanced at it, but 57 kb is on the longish side for me. Maurreen 14:21, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
It has an FA star, therefore it is an FA??? That was my assumption, when I changed the rating to FA! --kingboyk 14:24, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Oh, apparently we missed that. Thanks for bringing these things to our attention. Also, the "Featured" tag was missing on the talk page, which probably contributed to the confusion. I have replaced it. Maurreen 14:37, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

See the comments I left though in the project banner -- it needs inline citations which is now a criteria for FA status so this could be a candidate for FAR plange 15:07, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
In-line citations???????????? It needs a lethal dose of fact-checking. Big chunks of it are just made up, it read's like a stoner's faded memories of the 60s and 70s. Harmonica Wolfowitz 19:59, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Yep, that's why requiring these will get rid of these sections. I came across a lot of FA bio articles that had this issue and am nominating one at a time to FAR. Meanwhile, I think I'll make a section on the project that alerts people that something is about to be FAR'd so they have a chance to work on it plange 20:16, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
uh, inline citations are nice, but since the advent of the ref tag we've gone wayyyy overboard on them. Overkill many times over. An article doesn't need 40 references to be 1st class. In this particular article, the old book references need to be brought into the new ref tagging, that's all... As for this "big chunks of it are just made up, it read's (sic) like a stoner's faded memories..."--- this is just hooey, something somebody with little feel for the requirements of an arts/humanities article (as opposed to sci/tech) would say. This article has received many, many positive citations outside of Wikipedia, perhaps more than any other arts/humanities article. So, well, there ya go. JDG 01:51, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Except that our role is not to write as biographers would do who publish books synthesizing and analyzing and coming up with their own conclusions and just list their bibliography at the end, but as writers of theses, where we should cite our sources for our facts. plange 02:15, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm as against Original Research as you are. But many folks here badly need to see the distinction between Original Research and Original Prose. We're still allowed to do original prose here and, particularly in arts/humanities topics, the articles are horribly dead and hollow without the lively approach inherent in "being original". Nearly every assertion in Bob Dylan is in fact a summation of majority critical opinion, but we have chosen not to overburden the sentences with dozens of in-line citations that fatigue the eye after a while. We'll have to do it now, because the ref tag has taken the project by storm... But let's not go off and say there's so much else wrong with the article. You can go FAR on it if you like. It was done about 10 months ago & was roundly defeated. And for excellent reasons, foremost being the writing is interesting. And that brings my comment here around in a nice circle: unless we preserve the practice of Original Prose, we're in trouble. JDG 03:03, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
The KLF, which myself and a collaborator took through FAC, has pretty much everything which could be an opinion inline cited. It has a truckload of inline citations. I'm sure it's also fine, original prose. It's possible to combine the two. --kingboyk 11:00, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
The Dylan FARC failed but it was not 'roundly defeated'. The majority of votes were to deFA. The editor soon to be formerly known as Harmonica Wolfowitz 22:53, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Please note that I was not the one that disparaged the writing. That was made by a non-member. The only criticism I had in just glancing through it was lack of proper citations. That's the only reason I said it could be a candidate for FAR. I haven't read it yet, hence why it hasn't been nominated, to know if it fails on any other FA criteria, so cannot comment yet on its prose. plange 05:51, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Is Harmonica Wolfowitz a member of this project? He is out of control. If he's not a member, this is of no particular importance to you. If he is a member, I'll come across with the details... Also, do you authorize the "Biography of a living person" box that currently appears on [Talk:Bob_Dylan], with its text apparently customized to express Harmonica Wolfowitz's criticisms of that article? Thanks, JDG 12:47, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Harmonica Wolfowitz is not a member. The bio of a living person box is pulled from the text at {{BLP}} which was devised by WP:LIVING. We are in the process of putting it on every article where the person is living, it just so happens we got to that article earlier rather than later by pure coincidence. I haven't read any of his criticisms (other than what he put above), so if his DO fall in line with the box, then he's in the right. WP:LIVING is policy. plange 13:55, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Invitations sent

I've invited the active projects to come here and vote, plus a new one that just got posted (British Royalty) which has already answered back that they want to remain separate but would be happy to be a child project. I've also posted a general invitation on the Misc section of the Village Pump and on the talk page for Biographies of living persons policy. Help us beat the bushes! plange 16:30, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Holy Assessment Batman

The bot just updated and I wanted to give everyone a pat on the back! I don't know if you noticed the number of articles that had our banner on the talk page was somewhere around 100-200 Friday night and now we're almost to 900!! I think last night we were around 500! Good job everyone! plange 04:32, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure if mindlessly (by bot) adding a template to article talk pages is really anything to be back-patting about. When human attention is brought to the articles and they are improved, then excitement might be warranted. -Acjelen 00:48, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Ahem, those figures (and the excitement it generated) were before we used the bot. plange 01:32, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Importance criteria

Copied from: User_talk:Kingboyk#Importance_criteria --Mais oui! 13:02, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Mmmm... thanks for changing some of my "Importance" judgement calls on some of the WPBiography templates. I get the increasing impression that I have mis-interpreted the guidelines! It may be an idea to re-word those guidelines, cos I read and re-read them 4 or 5 times, and I still could not make head nor tail of them.

You may be interested in this sub-project, cos I would not like us to get off on the wrong foot here:

Thanks. --Mais oui! 11:35, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, the importance ratings are very much judgement based at the moment, so there are going to be some disagreements along the way. Hopefully, some consensus/standards will emerge, so it's important to have some consistency in the early ratings if we're not to have a right mess later on :) I wouldn't want you to think, though, that I have some special understanding of the situation and that I'm right and you're wrong, as it may turn out to be the opposite! I do, however, have the feeling that for biographies, "Top" class should be the legendary historical figures that the average man in the street would know the name of, the icons of the twentieth century (Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Mohammed Ali, etc), US presidents, etc. Lesser known historical figures, celebrities, sports champions who aren't household icons and so on I would consider "High". I might be wrong! :) --kingboyk 11:44, 1 August 2006 (UTC) PS I'll take a look at your Project, thanks for the headsup.
OK. From what you are saying, Mary, Queen of Scots would be Top, but perhaps John Knox would only be High (even though he isarguably far more significant in history). Jack McConnell: High or Mid? Sean Connery: Top? Alex Salmond: High or Mid? Ordinary Members of the Scottish Parliament: Mid (surely not Low, because hardly trivial to be a legislator?). Members of the Scottish Executive (ie. the devolved govt): High? Kings of the Picts: Mid?--Mais oui! 11:51, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Mary, top. John Knox, would be top or high - would an enyclopedia be worthy of the name if it didn't have an article on him? Salmond should rank around the same as Prescott or Kennedy I would have thought, which is currently High but might be Top if I'm horribly wrong! :) Ordinary MSPs, mid. Connery I would put as high, in the same bracket as Iggy Pop, but maybe he's Top. Geez, this is difficult isn't it?! Perhaps I should stick to WP:KLF with our 45 or so articles :) (Which, with you being a Scotsman, begs the question - what importance is Bill Drummond? Mid? High? Say Low and thou shalt be forever ignored, lol.) --kingboyk 11:55, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Speaking as a new member of the project, I have an issue with assigning "importance criteria" and I in fact oppose doing so. I had the same issue with the decision to impose such criteria on articles in the Novels WikiProject. As Kingboyk says above, it's very much judgement based, but I foresee that it's going to cause arguments and POV edit wars. For example, if Person A is said to be of low importance, which upsets a bunch of people who feel that he/she should be of top importance, but others disagree. Personally I think we should only focus on the quality of the articles themselves, which is much easier to approach from an objective rather than a POV/subjective direction. In fact given WP:NPOV, I am surprised any of the wikiprojects are even being allowed to assign "subject importance". It's a Pandora's Box if you ask me. Although I will add the project tag to any biographies I write or come across, I will not support this aspect of the project. 23skidoo 14:05, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

I think we can nip this in the bud if we remember that this is solely for WP:1.0 and their project and I'm currently getting feedback from them on something, but this is initially what I threw out as addendums the current descriptions:
Top - Must have had a large impact outside of their main discipline, across several generations, and in the majority of the world. For instance, Einstein, brilliant physicist, but his theories have affected people outside of physics and in many other countries besides his nation of origin and several generations. His ideas have changed the way people think. [And if we nail down who on this list gets this rating, we can add this] No member should give this rating to any biography without first getting Project approval from the other members.
High - Must have had a large impact in their main discipline, across a couple of generations. Had some impact outside their country of origin. [We could put same disclaimer here]
Mid - Important in their discipline
Low - a contributor to their discipline and is included in Wikipedia to expand depth of knowledge of other articles.
What I'm waiting to hear back is which levels on the Core bios get Top, only Level 1? Etc... plange 16:03, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
"No member should give this rating to any biography without first getting Project approval from the other members." That sounds pretty clear. So, shall we say that that applies to both Top and High? Therefore I, for example, should only ever be giving my own personal judgement on Mid and Lows, and if I want to give someone a higher ranking, I ought to come here and discuss it with the project? Is that not going to take up an awful lot of everyone's time? --Mais oui! 17:43, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Definitely on Top, jury still out on High, it all depends on what I hear back from WP:1.0 and the core biographies page. For Top, let's say they come back and say 150 Top articles for the encyclopedia. Then we hammer out the Top 150 on that page and only those get Top and later on if someone new comes along, he/she must make sure they have a compelling argument as to why that one should replace someone else in that list before they approach us for Top grade. plange 17:52, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
And, now that I think about it, if the sole purpose is for 1.0 then maybe Top is the only one we worry about and we rename it to 1.0 candidate plange 17:54, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I keep getting in an edit conflict.
Release version standards are, shall we say, fairly loose, and multiple releases are expected.
I have added a little background information at the core bios talk page. Also, I know of at least one other person who has been concerned about the ratings in another project. I am ambivalent.
I have been making and otherwise involved with core topics lists and such, which is not exactly the same as these ratings. My general goal is to work toward improving articles in the general higher levels of the knowledge tree.
For people who wish to use some type of rating system, quality or importance or both, the system can help narrow down the list of what they want to work on.
But hopefully, any such systems should not lead to disharmony.
Possibly, if more of you guys take a look at Wikipedia:Core biographies, that would be useful. It's fairly early in its evolution and could benefit from broader perspective. Maurreen 17:58, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
"1.0 candidate" is crystal clear (as will be "2.0 candidate", etc), and should be made explicit that this is limited to 150 articles, agreed by consensus at such-and-such page. Frankly, the borders between High and Mid; and Mid and Low, are so fuzzy that they just beg for hours of wasted arguments, and, dare I say it, edit wars? --Mais oui! 18:01, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
So, what you're saying is that "Top" would be the top 150 that we work out, and we won't worry about the rest anytime in the near future? That works for me. Maurreen 18:12, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good to me too. That way we won't have to deliberate over-long on Mid vs. Low, etc. Perhaps if 2.0 tells us, okay give us your top 300, we can then work out those. This gives us a clear set of bios we definitely need to get to FA status.... plange 18:15, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

I would say that the entire Wikipedia:Core biographies list should be Top, and possibly a few additions need to be made to that list. The crucial point is that a general encyclopedia missing an article on any of these people would not be worthy of the name. --kingboyk 18:56, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Confession time: if you have a look at Category:Top-importance biography articles you will see that there are far, far too many in there (369 at time of writing), and some of it is my fault! I added every single king and queen of England and Scotland (except Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, which User:Kingboyk added), and other historical figures too. Elizabeth II is not in our current core articles (only Elizabeth I of England, Henry VIII of England, and Victoria of the United Kingdom are in the top 150 core articles), so someone is going to have to go round removing "Top" from all those articles. I hardly dare to do it myself, so... any volunteers? I can predict now that if Elizabeth II ain't in our core 150, there will be a complaint or two! --Mais oui! 19:22, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Apparently Selina and Tupac Shakur were core articles, but Henry VIII of England not. I've rectified those and I'll be bold and add Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom too. I wonder if, to counter systemic bias, the current King of Thailand - the world's longest running monarch of the present day - should be core too? --kingboyk 19:27, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Agree on Henry VIII but what kind of impact has Elizabeth II had on humanity? What do you think of my addendeums to the Top Med High above? plange 19:51, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
She's the head of state of a large number of nations (16?) and her reign saw the end of empire. She's a core topic in as much as a modern enyclopedia without an article on her would be unthinkable. --kingboyk 20:22, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Don't forget, we haven't heard back what the magic number is from 1.0, so we can't really decide just yet if she's Top, since we don't know if top is only 15 or 55 or 200 or 500.... Criteria for being Top, if the number is small, will need to be really tight, but if the number is large, the definition for Top will expand a little, perhaps being the Top and High definitions I have above. BTW, Queen Eliz. the First was not in there until I added her yesterday (or the day before, days are blurring together for me). Now she is definitely Top as she defined a whole Era, influenced cultures and thought and has stood the test of time across many generations, and this was through her own personality and the influence she herself wielded. She wasn't merely sitting there while it all happened around her. plange 20:35, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
The Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team does not decide any magic number for any specific subject for release versions, nor has that overall group considered such numbers.
The original goal for Version 0.5 was a total of 2,000 articles. People are actively accepting and approving nominations.
A schools version is planned and in work for about 5,000 total articles Wikipedia talk:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Test Version. It is also accepting articles right now.
However many we want to designate as top or whatever is up to us.
As things stand now, the list of 150 (or whatever) doesn't mean anything on or off the list would be guaranteed to be on or off any release. Mainly, it can help people decide what to work on.
I like Mais oui!'s idea about labeling importance on only the top 150 that we decide. And I like plange's ideas below about criteria guidelines.
That all works for me unless we get more of a consensus for anything else. Maurreen 03:00, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Should we update Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography/Assessment along these lines? Maurreen 04:49, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. Should we not do the High, Mid Low and only worry about Top? plange 03:50, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, let's only do "top". Maurreen 05:16, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
As of right now there are 226 biographies rates as top importance. Who wants to remove 76 of them? VegaDark 02:04, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I started to (when it was up around 330) but the core biographies page hasn't solidified yet, so you might be removing people who might get readded again. We definitely need help on that page finalizing that list. plange 18:37, 6 August 2006 (UTC)