Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Biography/Core biographies

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Michael Jackson[edit]

Where is he? is he included on top importance? JTBX (talk)

Michael Jackson was suggested early on (see Archive 1) but no one followed up on it. I think there was a reluctance to include living people on the list since their historical importance was hard to judge. Personally, I'm undecided on Jackson, but leaning towards support. He was hugely influential to both the music and popular culture of the 20th century (famously breaking the racial barrier on MTV), but he's not included on any of our published lists. Of course neither are Columba or Michael Jordan. Kaldari (talk) 15:39, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Change proposals[edit]

It's been a long time since we've visited this list, but there's no reason it should be set in stone. Now that Michael Jackson has died, I think we should seriously consider his merit for the list. I also think there's a strong case for Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. Additionally, I think there are a few people whose inclusion is questionable (per the criteria). I'd like to keep the list at 200 people, so if we have consensus to remove one or two, perhaps some new people can be added.

When the core list was last discussed (September/October 2006, I think) the project had around 175,000 articles under its scope; at present the total number of articles for this project is in excess of 700,000. 200 articles is a very narrow range of our coverage. PC78 (talk) 17:02, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but we have fewer active editors now, so collaboratively focusing on more than 200 articles would be even more difficult now. Kaldari (talk) 17:56, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
On the contrary, the narrower this list is then the narrower its appeal will be. Double its size and you have twice as much for people to take an interst in. PC78 (talk) 18:56, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I think that, given the size of the project, having a single list of 200 might itself be a serious part of the problem, although I can see how it is reflective of a lot of other work out there. Maybe a better way to proceed would be to have a breakdown into multiple lists of the most important people in the broad fields of human endeavor: visul arts, politics, religion, atheletics, music, philosophy, performance, etc. Not only would doing so give a bit more for the related subprojects to do, and hopefully lead to an increase in their activity, but would with luck get a few more editors who are specifically knowledgable about the fields being discussed involved, and maybe get a better reflection of the broader opinion. One alternative, which might actually increase discussion and input, would be to make a request of the various subprojects and related projects, if there is no active subproject, to make a list of the individuals they think are most important to their groups, and then use the input from them in making this list. I do think that might not only improve the quality of the list, but attention to the articles as well. John Carter (talk) 20:13, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
That's actually how this list was originally organized. At some point it was changed to a single list, however. Kaldari (talk) 20:25, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  • (Follow up after reading your earlier comment above) Are you saying that Michael Jackson should be included despite not being on any of the published lists, while at the same time arguing for the removal of two people because they are not on any of the published lists? That seems rather contradictory. What exactly are the criteria for inclusion anyway? PC78 (talk) 16:55, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
    • Yes. That is basically what I'm arguing, although I consider inclusion on the published lists as more of a consideration than a deciding factor. Certainly Michael Jackson not being included on the published lists is a reason to oppose him being listed as a core biography. I think, however, that his importance is well-established enough that he could still be considered despite not being on any of the lists. The fact that he's been suggested here twice is evidence of that. The criteria are at Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography/Core biographies#Criteria. Kaldari (talk) 17:30, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
      • Those criteria mention nothing of these published lists. But if that is the threshold for inclusion then I can't possibly support this list because it is far too subjective. People should not be removed or added at the mere whims of a handfull of editors. I would propose instead that we rethink this from the bottom upwards and base it on something more rigid than user opinions. PC78 (talk) 17:39, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
        • The use of the published lists is to offset the subjectivity and bias of Wikipedia editors. However, the lists are subject to their own limitations and biases, thus is it ultimately up to the consensus of the editors based on our criteria. If you have a better idea, feel free to propose it. Kaldari (talk) 17:51, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
          • Off the top of my head, and based on my involvement with the core list over at WP:FILM, I would suggest that the list be drawn directly from external published sources with editor involvement limited to selecting which sources to use and how best to use them. PC78 (talk) 18:14, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
            • Evaluating the importance of people is a bit more tricky than evaluating the importance of films. For example, most of the "important people" lists are limited to a particular time period or region. There are only a couple of examples of people attempting to assess the most important people across all of human history as the process is almost inherently subjective. Kaldari (talk) 18:35, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
              • It would be a step in the right direction as this current setup is wide open to editor bias. For what it's worth I don't have too great an argument with the two changes you propose, but to create the entire list by such a method makes it almost worthless as it's not based on anything of substance. PC78 (talk) 18:47, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
                • How many WikiProject assessments are based on "anything of substance"? It's just a list of the 200 articles that the members of WikiProject Biography want to set as a priority. It shouldn't really be such a big deal, IMO. Kaldari (talk) 19:12, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
                  • FA-Class assessments require a certain level of scrutiny. The core list should be those biographies that are most essential to any good encyclopedia, not just the pick of a handfull of editors. To quote WP:CORE, "Biographies are beyond the scope of this list because their value when considered individually is too subjective", which is exactly what appears to be happening here, e.g. weighing up the relative importance of a contemporary pop star compared against a 6th century saint. PC78 (talk) 19:55, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
                    • There is no scientific method of assessing the importance of human beings. Moving the choice outside of Wikipedia (by relying exclusively on outside lists) just moves the subjectivity elsewhere. If you want to propose doing that, however, you are certainly welcome to. I don't think this thread is the proper location for such a discussion, however. This thread is about whether or not to include Michael Jackson by the existing methods and criteria. Kaldari (talk) 20:04, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
                      • No, I think a published work carries far more weight than the opinion of the average Wikipedia editor. But yes, this thread has gone off on a tangent so if you have no objections I'll split it off from my "(Follow up after reading..." comment onwards. I've already said this on the main project talk page, but I think this request comes rather out of the blue considering that the list has been fixed for almost three years and there has been virtually no activity on this talk page for the last 18 months. If we're going to open things up again then I do think we need a bit more pause for consideration, because that's a heck of a long time in the Wiki-world. Finally, what level of validation is required here for such a change to be implemented? PC78 (talk) 20:54, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
                        • I agree for the most part, which is why I want to add Alexander Fleming and remove Columba and Michael Jordan. I just don't think the published lists should be the only factor we consider. If you think the lists are important, I hope you'll add your support to Fleming at least. BTW, adding Jackson wasn't my idea. I was just formalizing the suggestion from above. Kaldari (talk) 22:12, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
                          • I don't know to be honest. On the face of it Fleming seems like a fine choice, but if I sit down and think about it I can come up with other names that might be equally worthy, and therin lies my problem. I still don't think it's a good idea to just arbitrarily declare the list open again. PC78 (talk) 23:03, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
                            • The reopening wasn't arbitrary. Michael Jackson died. History happened. Obviously, such a list can't be set in stone forever, otherwise it will be biased to 2006 (when it was finished). And I thought, as long as we're thinking about changing it up, why not make the list more reflective of the published lists. I didn't just pick Fleming out of thin air. He is the person mentioned in the most published lists that is not also a core biography. I have no interest in Fleming personally. Kaldari (talk) 00:00, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Rather than removing anyone, why not allow for adding 2 new people every year (i.e. add 6 since 2006). And if the articles are already GA or better, than that is even better. Carcharoth (talk) 19:56, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Michael Jackson[edit]

  • Add - Hugely important to the music and popular culture of the 20th century (worldwide). Also the first black artist to become "mainstream", breaking through the MTV color barrier (thus important outside his main discipline and across several generations). Kaldari (talk) 16:02, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
    • Comment. This seems like a rather knee-jerk reaction coming so soon after his death. The mere fact that he has died does not in itself make him any more important. Not necessarily saying he shouldn't be on the list, though. PC78 (talk) 16:47, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
      • That is correct, but his death does give us a better idea of what his historical legacy is going to be. Kaldari (talk) 17:30, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Alexander Fleming[edit]

  • Add - Included in 3 of our 5 published lists. Saved an estimated 200 million lives, possibly influencing the course of WWII. Kaldari (talk) 16:02, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
    • Agree. This guy was one of probably the 3-4 most important people in the history of medicine. Might add Jenner as well. Purplebackpack89 (talk) 05:48, 22 October 2009 (UTC)


  • Remove - Seems to be primarily of regional importance to Ireland and Scotland rather than of worldwide importance. Not included in any of our published lists. Kaldari (talk) 16:02, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Agree Purplebackpack89 (talk) 05:48, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Michael Jordan[edit]

  • Remove - Of huge importance to the world of basketball, but I don't see how he was important outside his main discipline and across several generations. Not included in any of our published lists. Kaldari (talk) 16:02, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Focusing on actual improvements[edit]

A radical suggestion. Instead of discussions for changing a list settled on over three years ago, though admittedly Michael Jackson wasn't dead back then - why not look at what has been improved and how, and apply that to actually improving an existing article. Of the 200 articles selected, 22 are featured now compared to 17 featured back in December 2006 - compare the stats now to then). It would be interesting to see how much overlap there is between the 17 FAs three years ago and the 22 featured now (i.e. how many got delisted and how many are new arrivals).

In my view, any discussion of what should be the core topics should be brief, and work should begin almost immediately on one article (yes, just one article), and the lessons learnt from that one applied to the next article, and so on, until a model for working on broad articles that actually works in practice, emerges.

Even discussion over what should be the article to work on should not be overdone. I would also suggest that looking at which articles are the most popular would help. I would suggest that the article not already featured, in the current 200, that got the most views in December 2009, should be the one worked on. If someone is willing to work out which article that is, could they post the viewing stats and maybe add a column to the project table giving the viewing stats?

Hmm, actually, I had missed that all the articles are C-class or better - that is a real milestone on the road to getting all the articles improved. Looking at the GAs and A-class articles, I would say that effort is better spent getting all the C-class articles to B-class. So pick the C-class article with the most views, and work on that one. I suggest Louis Pasteur. Carcharoth (talk) 19:35, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure The Beatles have the most views overall, but it just recently became an FA. It's got four times more views than what I believe has the second-most views, Adolf Hitler. That's at B-class, though. For C-class articles, it's harder to tell which one has the most views, but I think it's Thomas Jefferson. Gary King (talk) 08:02, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
the toolserver shows [1] the number of hits if you select show external data. Henry VIII of England has easily the highest hits for a c-class article though Jefferson is up there at about 3rd. Hitler and the Beatles do have the highest number of hits for all core articles. May want to make the top priority for the project getting Henry up to B. Tom B (talk) 22:59, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Changes since 2007[edit]

Trying to be a little bit more helpful than the section I posted above, I'm going to compare the stats from January 2007 to January 2010, to see what has changed. If the list changes, this sort of "how much did things improve" will be less easy to do, but if the list needs changing, then it needs changing. Please help below if I don't finish, or more can be added. Carcharoth (talk) 19:40, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Details of changes[edit]

January 2007
  • Core biography article stats as of 2 January 2007
  • 17 FA
  • 14 A
  • 17 GA
  • 134 B
  • (C-class did not exist)
  • 18 Start
  • 0 Stub
January 2010
  • Core biography article stats as of 7 January 2010
  • 22 FA
  • 0 A
  • 21 GA
  • 64 B
  • 94 C
  • 0 Start
  • 0 Stub

Please update this sub-section as needed. Carcharoth (talk) 19:40, 9 January 2010 (UTC)


Carcharoth (talk) 02:10, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the update. Maurreen (talk) 08:15, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

New tool really useful for analysing our core list[edit]

Hi i'm Tom, I've worked on this list for about 18 months now including getting Napoleon up to GA and reassessing all articles when C-Class came in. This tool [2] should show the list of 200 core articles. The 'score' that is listed next to each article is calculated using an 'importance score' and quality: see Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/SelectionBot. Ideally we would want the importance score for each article rather than just the 'score' but i don't how to get this at the moment. The score could be used as a very rough guide to importance - there are a lot of problems in doing this including circularity - but i think it's the only tool for wikipedia articles that has an importance quantifier (appreciate you can't really numerically calculate someone's importance). In our 200 list, Shakespeare has the highest score which makes sense - not that it is the highest but that it is high - though there maybe exceptions e.g. Michael Jordan is above Archimedes, Mandela etc.

You can also generate all kinds of lists including all biography articles by score [3], in spite of the problems one can use this to suggest articles that should be switched into the 200 list e.g. Michael Jackson is 4th, J.R.R. Tolkien is 22nd etc. These articles score highly partly because they are FAs, but they do not benefit from being 'Top' articles and yet still score highly. It would be good to get just the 'importance score'.

Whilst I respect that improving articles is the main aim here, the list should be a 'living list' and open to some change e.g. once per year. It is interesting to discuss who should be on such a list and therefore a priority for an encyclopedia. A lot of the list is not going to change e.g. Shakespeare, Darwin etc but some of the choices are odd. Appreciate any list is subjective but i would almost go as far as to say there are errors on it e.g. in terms of maths, Fermat is on there but Hilbert and Riemann are not, I don't know of any mathematician who would say that Fermat was more important and most would say the opposite. If someone were to say 'well it's all subjective anyway', this doesn't deal with the problems. Anyway, enough rant.

Henry VIII of England is the c-class article with easily the most number of hits so i'll put that up on project board as suggested priority, it simply needs a lot more inline citations to get to b-class. Grateful for feedback Tom B (talk) 00:12, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Hi, Tom.
I am open to reviewing the list once a year.
Thanks for the chart and info. It looks interesting, but I'm not sure how much it would be useful to me.
I'm not sure what you mean about scores and importance, etc. I have no idea how the scores were figured.
It seems like the chart is measuring some level of current popularity. The core biographies list is intended more for people of historical importance. For guidance, we used similar published lists. I'm working a little on a few of the people who rated highly on a combined list from those sources. Maurreen (talk) 09:52, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
hallo, as i link above, Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/SelectionBot explains the scoring. i think part of it is popularity which is why, as I say, it's not perfect i.e. Mariah Carey is not one of the most important people in history! but the list still generates some good suggestions and away from importance has some other useful functions. I'm aware about those published lists, thanks for link. there are some people in the top 200 who aren't on any of the published lists e.g. Columba and Jordan whilst Fleming and Hegel are on 3 lists but not in our 200 (I think there might have been an error and Hegel wasn't noticed at the time or he could have been removed later: Comments). Looking at a summary of the published lists, of our 200 people, about 56 are on at least 3 published lists and won't be argued about, about 60 are on 2 published lists and most of those won't be argued about and nearly all are on 1 published list. Looking through the 200 there's only about 25 that could change. Tom B (talk) 13:21, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I think any such importance scoring for this project should use the levels already assessed by the overall biography project. That has more breadth in this context than levels determined by more-specialized Wikiprojects.
Also, maybe we can get consensus that people on at least three of our published lists are automatically included.
Here's an idea. Maybe we can develop guidelines for the list (including how often to be reviewed), starting with whoever is following this page, then publicizing the discussion on the general biography discussion page. After we get consensus on the guidelines, we review the list. How does that sound? Maurreen (talk) 18:53, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
sounds good, to be honest i've lost appetite for exhausting overhaul, if we can get quick consensus on some changes that would be cool though unlikely. i liked how marie curie got brought in to list relatively easily, Tom B (talk) 03:33, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

OK, we'll try the quiet route and see what happens. Maurreen (talk) 04:39, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Possible changes[edit]

I'll start this a little more formally.

Suggested removals


Tom, I saw the note you added about collaboration on Henry VII. But citations are more work than I want to do. Maybe we can find something else to collaborate on ... maybe one of these?

These are the ones at the top of the "published lists" that aren't rated at least GA. Maurreen (talk) 18:45, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

good choices, i think they could still involve a lot of work getting to ga Tom B (talk) 03:33, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Freud seems to be the most active. Maybe we should start with that? Maurreen (talk) 04:46, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
M, sorry for not getting back sooner, i've been working on other stuff - Freud still requires a fair few more inline citations and (even though i said good choices), actually that subject sounds a bit heavy for me! I'm currently probably not the ideal collaborator, i tend to be a bit of lone-wolf flitting around and doing cleanups, though i want to get a bit more serious and try getting some okay core Bs up to GA. if I was going to work on anything at the moment i might work on Albert Camus which isn't core and probably won't become one. hope editing is going okay Tom B (talk) 12:05, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Tom, thanks for the update. I have little interest in Camus, so I guess I'll see you around elsewhere. Maurreen (talk) 10:00, 6 March 2010 (UTC) I hope I'm not too terse, but I'm tired. Maurreen (talk) 10:00, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposed expansion of list[edit]

I think that, at least potentially, this group would be very useful in helping develop articles relating to the more important people in history, given that, in many cases, those individuals may be significant in more than one area of wikipedia. And, of course, I also think that it might be in the interests of wikipedia if such articles got such attention.

I think one way to maybe revitalize this group would be to expand the number of biographies included in the scope of the group. I have found that the book Human Accomplishment seems to have a fairly reasonable methodology for determining who are the high achievers in the areas it covers, and that the lists generated are fairly reasonable. Having looked over the lists, I think it might not be unreasonable to think that any individuals included in the lists, with a "score" of 40 or more, would likely be counted among the most important, or core, biographies in that field.

Unfortunately, there are several areas of biography which are not included in that book, like government, law, military, and religion. Also, I personally have no idea as to how to try to determine who, if anyone, might qualify as "core" for areas like food and fashion.

I personally think that, maybe, also including in the group those individuals who are honored with some sort of public holiday in one or more countries or overseas territories might also, reasonably, qualify for inclusion in such a grouping. I would not necessarily include living people whose holiday is counted as the "king's birthday," however. I think that maybe some of these individuals, like Saint Lucy, who has a holiday in Santa Lucia, and Saint Ursula and her companion, who are the "virgins" of the Virgin Islands, and honored with their religious feast as a local holiday, might be somewhat questionable, but might be at least considered.

The questions, of course, would be whether doing the work to expand the lists would be likely to revitalize the group, and specifically how to choose individuals for inclusion. Any and all responses, of any sort, are more than welcome. John Carter (talk) 22:03, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

I am a bit sceptical about this. I note there have been no responses for the last week. My view is that major biographies should be left to the subject WikiProjects (History etc.) . This project should be devoted to standards and guidelines for biographical articles, i.e. to the improvement of biography on WP. --Kleinzach 23:12, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I myself would necessarily expect a lot of response around Christmas time, particularly when the one external link to this discussion I supplied was itself faulty. Having said that, I can see some value in, maybe, having this group serve as a way of maybe getting a bit more of attention to important articles which, for whatever reason, might not get a lot of outside attention. Having reviewed again the Human Accomplishment book mentioned above, the specific articles which might be included include:


Aristarchus of Samos (C); Walter Sydney Adams (Start); Walter Baade (Start-Class); Edward Emerson Barnard (Start); Friedrich Bessel (Start); Tycho Brahe (B); Giovanni Domenico Cassini (Start); Nicolaus Copernicus (B); Arthur Eddington (B): John Flamsteed (Start); Galileo Galilei (GA); George Ellery Hale (Stub); Edmond Halley (C); John Herschel (C); William Herschel (C); Ejnar Hertzsprung (Start); Johannes Hevelius (Start); Hipparchus of Nicaea (B); Edwin Hubble (B); William Huggins (Start); Johannes Kepler (FA); Gerard Kuiper (Start); Pierre-Simon Laplace (B); Heinrich Wilhelm Matthaus Olbers (Start); Ptolemy (C); Regiomantus (Start); Henry Chamberlain Russell (Start); Fritz Zwicky (B);


John Jacob Abel (Start); Aristotle (B); Karl Ernst von Baer (Start); Claude Bernard (C); Adolf Butenandt (Start); Georges Cuvier (B); Leonardo da Vinci (GA); Charles Darwin (FA); Empedocles (Start); Walther Flemming (Start); Francis Galton (B); Conrad Gessner (Start); Nehemiah Grew (Start); Ernest Haeckel (B); Stephen Hales (Start); Albrecht von Haller (C); William Harvey (C); Hermann von Helmholtz (Start); Edward Calvin Kendall (Start); Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (B); Carl Linnaeus (GA); Marcello Malphigi (Start); Gregor Mendel (C); Thomas Hunt Morgan (B); Hermann Joseph Muller (C); Pliny the Elder (C); John Ray (B); Matthias Jakob Schleiden (Start); Theodor Schwann (Start); Lazzaro Spallanzani (Start); Nicolas Steno (B); Alfred Sturtevant (Stub); Jan Swammerdam (B); Hugo de Vries (Start); Alfred Russel Wallace (FA);


Jons Jacob Berzelius (Start); Robert Boyle (B); Humphrey Davy (C); Antoine Lavoisier (C); Joseph Priestley (FA); Carl Wilhelm Scheele (B);

Earth sciences[edit]

Georgius Agricola (C); James Hutton (B); Charles Lyell (B); Matthew Fontaine Maury (C); Roderick Murchison (Start); William Smith (geologist) (B); Abraham Gottlob Werner (Start);


Niels Bohr (C); Henry Cavendish (B); Marie Curie (B); Pierre Curie (Start); Paul Dirac (B); Albert Einstein (GA); Michael Faraday (B); Enrico Fermi (C); Galileo Galilei (GA); Werner Heisenberg (B); James Prescott Joule (B); Gustav Kirchoff (Start); James Clerk Maxwell (B); Isaac Newton (B); Ernest Rutherford (C); J. J. Thomson (B);


Jacob Bernoulli (Start); Georg Cantor (FA); Rene Descartes (C); Euclid (C); Leonhard Euler (FA); Pierre de Fermat (C); Carl Friedrich Gauss (C); David Hilbert (B); Gottfried Leibniz (C); Isaac Newton (B); Blaise Pascal (B); Bernhard Riemann (B);


Emil Adolf von Behring (Start); Paul Ehrlich (C); Alexander Fleming; Galen (C); Hippocrates (FA); Kitasato Shibasaburo (Start); Robert Koch (Start); Rene Laennec (C); Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister (C); Elmer McCollum (Start); Paracelsus (C); Ambroise Pare (Start); Louis Pasteur (C);


Archimedes (FA); Thomas Edison (B); Christiaan Huygens (B); Leonardo da Vinci (GA); Guglielmo Marconi (B); Vitruvius (B); James Watt (C);

Chinese art[edit]

Dong Qichang (Stub); Dong Yuan (Start); Fan Kuan (Start); Gu Kaizhi (Start); Guo Xi (Stub); Huang Gongwang (Stub); Emperor Huizong of Song (Start); Li Gonglin (Stub); Ma Yuan (painter) (Stub); Mi Fu (Start); Muqi Fachang (Stub); Ni Zan (Start); Shen Zhou (?); Shitao (Start); Su Shi (B); Tang Yin (Stub); Wang Meng (artist) (Stub); Wang Wei (8th century poet) (Start); Wen Zhengming (Start); Wu Daozi (Stub); Wu Zhen (Stub); Xia Gui (Stub); Yan Liben (Start); Zhao Mengfu (Stub);

Japanese art[edit]

Hiroshige (B); Hasegawa Tohaku (Start); Honami Koetsu (Start); Kano Eitoku (Start); Hokusai (B); Kukai (B); Ogata Kenzan (Stub); Ogata Korin (Stub); Jocho (Start); Tawaraya Sotatsu (Stub); Sesshu Toyo (Start); Unkei (B);

Western art[edit]

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (B); Caravaggio (C); Paul Cezanne (C; Donatello (C); Albrecht Durer (B); Jan van Eyck (C); Giotto di Bondone (C); Vincent van Gogh (GA); Francisco Goya (C; Leonardo da Vinci (GA); Masaccio (C); Michelangelo (C); Claude Monet (C); Pablo Picasso (C); Raphael (B); Rembrandt van Rijn (GA); Peter Paul Rubens (C); Titian (C); Diego Velazquez (C);

Arabic literature[edit]

Abu Nuwas (Start); Abu Tammam (Stub); Imru' al-Qais (GA); Jarir ibn Atiyah (Start); Al-Nabigha (Stub); Zuhayr (Stub); Buhturi (Stub); al-Farazdaq (Stub); Badi' al-Zaman al-Hamadhani (Stub); Rafic Hariri (B); Al-Ma'arri (Stub); al-Mutanabbi (Stub);

Chinese literature[edit]

Bai Juyi (Start); Du Fu (FA); Guan Hanqing (Stub); Han Yu (Stb); Li Bai (B); Liu Zongyuan (Stub); Ouyang Xiu (B); Qu Yuan (Start); Sima Qian (B); Sima Xiangru (Stub); Su Shi (B); Tao Yuanming (Start); Yuan Zhen (Start);

Indian literature[edit]

Kalidasa (Start); Valmiki (Start); Vyasa (C);

Japanese literature[edit]

Ryunosuke Akutagawa (B); Ariwara no Narihira (Start); Matsuo Basho (GA); Chikamatsu Monzaemon (Start); Fujiwara no Teika (GA); Kafu Nagai (Start); Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (Start); Yasunari Kawabata (B); Ki no Tsurayuki (Start); Murasaki Shikibu (FA); Mori Ogai (B); Ihara Saikaku (Start); Santo Kyoden (Start); Sei Shonagon (C); Shiga Naoya (Start); Masaoka Shiki (B); Tsubouchi Shoyo (Start); Natsume Soseki (B); Takizawa Bakin (Stub); Jun'ichiro Tanizaki (B); Toson Shimazaki (Start); Yosa Buson (Start);

Western literature[edit]

Lord Byron (C); Dante Aligheri (C); Fyodor Dostoyevsky (C); Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (C); Homer (C); Victor Hugo (C); Moliere (B); Petrarch (C); Jean-Jacques Rousseau (C); William Shakespeare (FA); Leo Tolstoy (C); Virgil (C); Voltaire (C);

Western music[edit]

Johann Sebastian Bach (B); Ludwig van Beethoven (B); Hector Berlioz (B); Claude Debussy (B); Georg Frideric Handel (B); Franz Haydn (B); Franz Liszt (B); Wolfgang Mozart (B); Franz Schubert (B); Robert Schumann (B); Igor Stravinsky (B); Richard Wagner (GA);

Chinese philosophy[edit]

Confucius (B); Laozi (GA); Mencius (Start); Zhu Xi (Start);

Indian philosophy[edit]

Gautama Buddha (C); Nagarjuna (C); Ramanuja (B); Adi Sankara (B);

Western philosophy[edit]

Aristotle (B); Rene Descartes (C); Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (B); Immanuel Kant (B); Plato (C);

I suppose, for religion, a good baseline might be those individuals included with separate articles, or maybe significant separate articles, in both of the two editions of the recent highly regarded Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by respectively Mircea Eliade and Lindsay Jones. Anyway, I think by perhaps giving maybe a bit more specific information on some of the possible expansions, it might help to give people sufficient information to decide. I suppose the objective would be to ensure that as many of these articles as possible are at least at the B-Class level. If they are, individually, it may well be the case that any attention directed would be to whatever articles remain that might not be at at least that level. John Carter (talk) 01:02, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Are you sure Taiko Jocho is spelled right? It gets zero hits on Google. Kaldari (talk) 00:39, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Looks like it's supposed to be Jōchō. Taikō is just a title. Kaldari (talk) 00:44, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Might have been a typo in the book - thanks for catching that. John Carter (talk) 00:50, 30 December 2011 (UTC)


Having been asked to comment, I would say:

Johnbod (talk) 01:03, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

1) Thank you for the input. I think the names included in all of the lists were chosen by the author on the basis of having an entry, or other significant discussion, in the majority of the reference books he used in compiling the list. I cannot say anything one way or another about the rest, unfortunately. I gather the oriental artists were all discussed at length in the reference sources consulted, although Murray doesn't go into detail about them. I'm guessing the Orientals are included to help negate any possibility of systemic bias, maybe.
2) Regarding the Persian miniatures, the lists above were actually, unfortunately, arbitrarily selected by me based on the number score. I am in the process of adding the rest of the names which seem to be in the group "major figures" from the book, but that will take a bit of work.
3) You're probably right about architecture perhaps not being included in the source, I have no idea why it isn't, but it apparently isn't. Several other groups of people, like religious, business, government, military and other areas aren't included either. Nor are any individuals whose prominence was made after 1950, which I think explains why Richard Feynman, Elvis Presley and others aren't listed. I could, maybe, check sources to generate an architecture list, but it isn't in the Murray book. Not sure how to address post-1950 individuals, though.
Basically, all these figures are included as being "major figures" based on the individual appearing as a separate entry in 90% or more of the sources consulted in generating the list.
Thank you for your quick response. John Carter (talk) 01:21, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm still of the opinion that while some effort tweaking and maintaining such lists is useful, the majority of the effort should be spent doing work on the articles, starting with getting them all to a minimum standard (I see they are all now C-class or above - get the 86 C-class ones to B-class and codify the critieria for B-class for all 200 and then return to looking at the scope of the list) and checking that the current assessments are reasonably accurate. Carcharoth (talk) 15:19, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
That makes sense, actually. I had not myself actually looked closely at the recent status of the articles (oopsies), and just remembered that at least at one point they had I think all been raised to B class. In any event, it might be useful, possibly for other projects, to perhaps have lists of the "major figures" in their fields available, and, possibly, maybe down the line help get a bit more attention to them. John Carter (talk) 22:53, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
P.S. There is however I think still good reason for at least maybe expanding the list to include those individuals who basically "score" higher than some of those already included in the lists by the source used here. It does seem to be based on a broader number of published sources than our own list, and it certainly gives some individuals that we have included a much lower rating than we do. The biggest example that jumps out at me is Jorge Luis Borges. According to the inventory of western literature Murray generated, which is based on a review of eleven pertinent sources and includes 835 significant figures, of which 236 are indicated as "major figures" appearing in most of the sources, Borges gets a total of 4 out of a maximum 100 points, putting him in at least the bottom quarter of the list. Granted, he is a relatively current figure, much of whose work came after 1950, but I think the point is still relevant. John Carter (talk) 19:14, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Sportspeople as artists[edit]

Currently, there are six sportspeople in the 200 core bios: Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan, Jesse Owens, Pele, Jackie Robinson, and Babe Ruth. Currently, they are classified as "Artists" on the career chart. They have virtually nothing in common with Beethoven, Rapheal or even Andy Warhol. I propose "Sportspeople" be added as a career category pbp 21:23, 10 March 2013 (UTC)