Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Biography/Core biographies/Archive 3

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Writers

I'm not sure I'm ready to try it yet. While I mull over the idea, I decided to try and think through a different way of working this thing out. Deciding to work only with one category with which I'm fairly familiar - "writers" - I thought about trying a process of figuring out who the most important were by the process of subtraction. I started out by copying out all the authors listed by Harold Bloom in The Western Canon (yes, the selection of books can be wonky, but it's fairly comprehensive in terms of authors, and I figure that anyone who's not in it probably wouldn't constitute a Core Biography). From those 845 names, through a process of repeatedly going through and cutting out names, I have derived a list of 100, which I think I would go crazy if I had to cut anymore. At any rate, I thought I'd present what I was left with here. It's rather heavily biased towards English language writers, as one might expect, but, as I said before, I think that's okay. The question becomes, though, "How many writers do we want to have?" The present list, I feel like, has already cut an incredible number of really important writers. The last couple of times through it started to really, really hurt for each person I deleted. Note that I've kept only a few living writers, most of them for multicultural purposes (i.e., so every single person on the list wouldn't be a dead white person). I'd be interested for people to have at what's left. How many writers do we think the core biographies should have? I think it's arguable that just about everyone on this list more or less fits the criteria.

  1. Homer
  2. Aeschylus
  3. Sophocles
  4. Euripides
  5. Aristophanes
  6. Horace
  7. Virgil
  8. Ovid
  9. Dante
  10. Petrarch

#Giovanni Boccaccio

  1. Miguel de Cervantes
  2. Geoffrey Chaucer

#Christopher Marlowe

  1. William Shakespeare

#John Donne

  1. John Bunyan
  2. John Milton
  3. Jonathan Swift
  4. Alexander Pope
  5. Samuel Johnson

#Daniel Defoe #Henry Fielding

  1. Michel de Montaigne

#François Rabelais #Pierre Corneille

  1. Molière

#Jean Racine

  1. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  2. Voltaire
  3. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  4. Friedrich Schiller
  5. Victor Hugo
  6. Honoré de Balzac
  7. Stendhal
  8. Gustave Flaubert
  9. Charles Baudelaire

#Arthur Rimbaud #Emile Zola

  1. Henrik Ibsen

#August Strindberg

  1. William Blake
  2. William Wordsworth
  3. Sir Walter Scott
  4. Jane Austen
  5. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  6. Lord Byron
  7. Percy Bysshe Shelley
  8. John Keats
  9. Robert Browning
  10. Charles Dickens
  11. Alfred, Lord Tennyson

#Anthony Trollope #Lewis Carroll

  1. Oscar Wilde
  2. George Eliot
  3. Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm
  4. Alexander Pushkin
  5. Fyodor Dostoevsky
  6. Leo Tolstoy
  7. Anton Chekhov
  8. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  9. Emily Dickinson
  10. Walt Whitman
  11. Nathaniel Hawthorne
  12. Herman Melville
  13. Edgar Allen Poe

#Henry David Thoreau

  1. Henry James
  2. Mark Twain
  3. Marcel Proust
  4. Jean-Paul Sartre

#Albert Camus

  1. William Butler Yeats
  2. George Bernard Shaw
  3. Thomas Hardy
  4. Joseph Conrad

#E.M. Forster #D.H. Lawrence

  1. Virginia Woolf
  2. James Joyce
  3. Samuel Beckett
  4. George Orwell
  5. Franz Kafka

#Bertolt Brecht

  1. Thomas Mann
  2. Jorge Luis Borges

#Gabriel Garcia Marquez #V.S. Naipaul #Chinua Achebe #Salman Rushdie

  1. Robert Frost
  2. Ezra Pound
  3. T.S. Eliot
  4. Eugene O'Neill
  5. F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. William Faulkner
  7. Ernest Hemingway

#Langston Hughes

  1. Vladimir Nabokov

Anyway, that's what I was left with. There's definitely a few marginal people left on it (Trollope, notably, who I kept on thinking about cutting, but instead cut other people. If the project were to be limited to dead people, Naipaul, Achebe, Rushdie, and Garcia Marquez could all be removed, but this would leave it pretty strongly white. But cutting it down to, say, 50, feels like it would be remarkably difficult. I'm interested to see what people do (or if they do anything, I suppose it's possible this list will sit here, unresponded to, for the rest of eternity. Strikethrough anyone you want to remove. john k 20:15, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

We have a consensus to limit the total list to 250. Please realize that there is no one-to-one correspondence between this list and any current plans for a release version.
In my view, to have 40 percent of the list as writers would probably be too many. And for myself, I'd rather consider each nomination indivudually. Maurreen 03:13, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

I certainly was not saying that 40% of the people should be writers. Just that it's hard for me to pare it down any further, and that I think, under the current criteria, that all of these people qualify. The problem with an additive, piecemeal approach to this is that you're certain to find more than 250 people who fit the criteria, which leaves one in an awkward place. I was suggesting a subtractive method - start with everyone you might possibly want to include, and cut down until you get the number you want. 40 or 50 writers would seem potentially appropriate, which means this list needs to be cut in half again (this has already been done, by me, 3 times, to get it from more than 800 to 100). I think that the best way to figure out who precisely we want is to a) figure out a particular number of people we want in any given category; and b) use a subtractive method to arrive at the specific list. I was laying this out here as an example of the subtractive method, and was suggesting that others help it along to pare it down further. john k 04:16, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

To illustrate the idea, I've stricken off a number of people from the list. Others should feel free to do the same, until we arrive at a list of approximately the size desired. john k 04:28, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Failed candidates

Miscellaneous
  1. Bill W. - Failed. Maurreen 18:00, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:59, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose. john k 17:05, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Oppose plange 17:53, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Actors and such
  1. Lucille Ball - Failed. Maurreen 07:27, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 17:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose VegaDark 09:38, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Oppose Kaldari 05:24, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Politicans and leaders
  1. Hongwu Emperor founder of the Ming Dynasty (for the same reason) – Failed. Maurreen 22:55, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Oppose - not enough substantial impact on the course of world events Laserbeamcrossfire 06:28, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose. john k 21:29, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. James MadisonFailed. Maurreen 22:55, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:59, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose, I think. Once you get to Madison, you open it up to a whole load of other American political figures - Hamilton, Clay, Webster, Calhoun, I think, are on about the same level. john k 21:29, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Oppose doesn't meet definition for Top plange 18:03, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Emperor Wen of Sui (reunited northern and southern China among other accomplishments) –Failed. Maurreen 22:55, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support Maurreen 02:40, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose not enough substantial impact on the course of world events Laserbeamcrossfire 06:28, 8 A

Category:WikiProject Biography

I've added this page to the above category. It's not meant to be a claim to ownership, rather a symbol of cooperation and a navigational aid. I hope that's OK. --kingboyk 13:58, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

No problem. It was in a subcat anyway. Maurreen 02:45, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Added candidates

Artists
  1. Claude Monet. Impressionism and all that. john k 11:09, 9 August 2006 (UTC) – Added. Maurreen 23:00, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support plange 06:22, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support. Maurreen 11:09, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Rembrandt. Greatest painter of the northern school. john k 11:09, 9 August 2006 (UTC) – Added. Maurreen 23:00, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support plange 06:22, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support. Maurreen 11:09, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Musicians
  1. Giuseppe Verdi, probably the most popular composer of operas in the world ever since his own time. john k 11:09, 9 August 2006 (UTC) – Added. Maurreen 23:00, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. studerby 06:54, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support. Maurreen 15:43, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Social scientists
  1. Edward Gibbon, assuming he counts as this and not as a writer. The Decline and Fall is generally considered the greatest work of historical prose in the English language. john k 10:56, 9 August 2006 (UTC) -- Added. Maurreen 01:24, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 06:19, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support Rcpaterson 00:16, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. ThucydidesAdded. Maurreen 23:00, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:59, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support. john k 11:11, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Support plange 18:01, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Writers
  1. Jane Austen -- Added. Maurreen 01:24, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 22:31, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support Rcpaterson 23:57, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Support john k 00:23, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Jorge Luis Borges -- Added. Maurreen 01:24, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 06:49, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support. studerby 07:14, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Support A genius. Rcpaterson 00:00, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
    4. Support. john k 00:47, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Marcel Proust. john k 02:47, 8 August 2006 (UTC) – Added. Maurreen 23:00, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. studerby 09:19, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support. Maurreen 15:48, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  4. Walt Whitman. Greatest American poet? john k 10:55, 9 August 2006 (UTC) -- Added, Maurreen 07:34, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 11:12, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support Kaldari 05:41, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  5. William Butler Yeats. Greatest English-language poet of the 20th century? john k 02:47, 8 August 2006 (UTC) -- Added. Maurreen 01:24, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:49, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support Rcpaterson 23:57, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Miscellaneous
  1. Neil Armstrong -- Added. Maurreen 07:24, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:44, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support plange 17:55, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Support Kaldari 05:44, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

My 2 cents

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but the very existence and maintenance of such a list as this violates, in my opinion, WP:NPOV. I've seen very similar lists fail AFD challenges on these very grounds. That's my 2 cents, just speaking as a member of the Biography Wikiproject and the creator of a number of biographical articles. 23skidoo 18:10, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

I was not aware that project lists had to adhere to NPOV. As I understand it, the purpose of this list is to determine articles to focus on improving. I am not aware of an intention to actually include a list in the main name space saying these people are the 250 most important people. john k 18:42, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I believe the NPOV policy only applies to the article namespace. This list is intended as an internal worklist, not for public consumption. Kaldari 19:03, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
"not for public consumption" - everything on Wikipedia is available "for public consumption". --Mais oui! 19:27, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
True, but nonetheless, talk pages and Wikipedia project spaces are not within the confines of NPOV. This page is for the purpose of editors coordinating their work, and it is not reasonable to demand that editors must focus on working on particular articles in an NPOV way. john k 19:37, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
This whole endeavor seems about as silly as The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, though it's far less dangerous. I like how incredibly Eurocentric this list is so far. The fact that Akira Kurosawa is the only non-white artist (is there anyone in Asia that would consider him the most important Asian artist ever? I'd nominate Natsume Soseki or Lady Murasaki before him, if I were limiting myself to Japan, which wouldn't really be appriopriate) on the list gives some insight into the background of the people writing the list. It's kind of like the Wikipedia as a whole, except the Wikipedia doesn't pretend to be unbiased in its emphasis (hence efforts like WP:BIAS), and that very pretense seems to be the basis of what's going on here. Jun-Dai 07:16, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
An encyclopedia written in English is likely to have a bias towards people from Europe and the Americas. I don't see anything particularly wrong with this. It is of course imbalanced, but it is biased in the way that the readership of the encyclopedia is likely to be. Presumably English readers are more likely to look up Ernest Hemingway than Lady Murasaki. That doesn't mean that he's a better writer than she is, but he's undoubtedly more familiar and significant to most English-speakers. john k 21:06, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
BTW, why is the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy dangerous? It seems kind of silly in parts (what kind of madman puts Gilbert Stuart on a list of artists but excludes Jacques-Louis David? That's americo-centrism to the point of complete insanity.), but what's "dangerous" about it? john k 12:14, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Nominations that have not been seconded

Actors, etc.

    1. Support. Maurreen 15:15, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  1. John Ford
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:15, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Bob Hope
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:15, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Marilyn Monroe
    1. Support. Maurreen 17:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  4. John Wayne
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:15, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Activists

  1. Helen Keller
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:37, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Rosa Parks
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:37, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Malcolm X
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:37, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Artist and architects

  1. Donatello
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:18, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. El Greco
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:18, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Andrea Palladio
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:18, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  4. Norman Rockwell
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:18, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose. Seems an intensely Americo-centric figure. john k 00:51, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Dance candidates

  1. Fred Astaire
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose. He's so silly-looking. And his movies mostly stink. john k 00:50, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Martha Graham
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Gene Kelly
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  4. Agnes de Mille
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  5. Rudolf Nureyev
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  6. Bill Robinson
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Inventor candidates

  1. Tim Berners-Lee
    1. Support. Maurreen 07:35, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Samuel Morse
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:59, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Music

Classical
  1. Johannes Brahms
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:22, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. John Cage
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:22, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Igor Stravinsky
Popular
  1. Louis Armstrong
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:59, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose, weakly. I love Satch, and Ella, but I think Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington were more important.studerby 06:54, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
      • Should one or both of them be nominated? Maurreen 06:59, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Johnny Cash
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:22, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Duke Ellington
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:22, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  4. W.C. Handy
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:22, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  5. B.B. King
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:22, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  6. Rodgers and Hammerstein
    1. Support. Maurreen 17:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  7. Frank Sinatra
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:22, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Comment

I'm having a hard time voicing support for some of these popular musicians when someone like Queen Elizabeth I is not being included. Seems very weird. These have all had a large impact in their discipline, etc., but do they meet the definition for Top? meaning the additional definition of large impact outside of their discipline and in the majority of the world? That definition is why Queen Elizabeth is not being included and I think we should maintain the same definition for these. plange 18:08, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

I understand. I don't feel strongly either way, I don't mind if you vote to oppose them all, but I'd like to give an idea of my rationale.
I think everyone I've listed is at least as important as Bob Dylan, which had two support votes before I added a bunch.
If our popular musicians are going to include people in addition to the Beatles and Elvis Presley, I think jazz or the blues need to be represented. Rock music, and much popular music starting at about 1950, is influenced heavily by blues and related music. So a reasonable argument could be made that W.C. Handy is more important (albeit less known) than the Beatles or Elvis.
Also, I'm not sure we can get consensus on 200 people that meet our definition of "Top". Maurreen 18:23, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Math

  1. Blaise Pascal
    1. Support. Maurreen 04:53, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Philosophers

  1. William James
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:31, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. John Stuart Mill
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:31, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Jean-Paul Sartre
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:31, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Scientist candidates

  1. Niels Bohr
    1. Support Maurreen 02:40, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Norman Borlaug – food production - winner of Nobel Peace Prize - Maurreen 12:55, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Francis Crick Maurreen 13:35, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
  4. Marie Curie - won two Nobel Prizes, but one was shared - Maurreen 13:07, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
  5. Michael Faraday
    1. Support. Maurreen 17:02, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  6. Joseph Lister Maurreen 13:35, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
  7. Enrico Fermi
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:29, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  8. James Clerk Maxwell
    1. Support. Maurreen 17:02, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support --Mais oui! 18:23, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  9. Dmitri Mendeleev
  10. J. Robert Oppenheimer
    1. Support Maurreen 07:45, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  11. Joseph Priestley
  12. Ernest Rutherford
    1. Support. Maurreen 13:35, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
  13. Carl Sagan
    1. Support. Maurreen 05:01, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
  14. Jonas Salk
    1. Support. Maurreen 17:02, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  15. Erwin Schrödinger
  16. J. J. Thomson
  17. James Watson Maurreen 13:35, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

More to archive

Misc.
  1. Ingmar Bergman
    1. Support. Maurreen 17:57, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Vasco da Gama
    1. Maurreen 12:43, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose. More than most, Da Gama did something that somebody was going to do sooner or later anyway. Henry the Navigator would be a better candidate to represent Portuguese exploration, I think. john k 17:05, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Oppose. per above. Pascal.Tesson 16:52, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Politicians
  1. Marcus Aurelius
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:35, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Hongwu Emperor founder of the Ming Dynasty (for the same reason)
    1. Oppose - not enough substantial impact on the course of world events Laserbeamcrossfire 06:28, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose. john k 21:29, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Queen Isabella I Maurreen 13:35, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Oppose - not enough substantial impact on the course of world events Laserbeamcrossfire 06:28, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support - ranked #65 on Hart's list, and a woman too! Walkerma 16:56, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Not sure - Ferdinand was arguably more important, which would mean that having Isabella and not him would be rank affirmative action, and having both of them seems like it's filling up too many slots. john k 21:29, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Sports candidates

  1. Mark Spitz (won seven swimming gold medals at the Olympics, one of the greatest swimmers of all time)
    1. Support --Mais oui! 07:44, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose for now -- Could support after inclusion of more actors or directors. Maurreen 05:06, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Oppose - doesn't meet definition of Top plange 17:59, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    4. Oppose - Little or no impact outside his discipline. Pascal.Tesson 16:47, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Paavo Nurmi (one of the greatest early 20th century runners)
    1. Support --Mais oui! 07:44, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose for now -- Could support after inclusion of more actors or directors. Maurreen 05:06, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Oppose - doesn't meet definition of Top plange 17:59, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    4. Oppose - Little or no impact outside his discipline. Pascal.Tesson 16:47, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure about adding more athletes. I'm not sure how many have had wide impact outside their own discipline. But if we do, I'd suggest Roger Bannister, who first broke the four-minute mile. Maurreen 17:37, 7 August 2006 (UTC) And James Naismith, who invented basketball. Maurreen 18:06, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
  • I'd support James Naismith too. It was a truly remarkable innovation in sport: all other major sports evolved over centuries, with the input of thousands of people, but this guy just thought one up all by himself! --Mais oui! 07:44, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  • I beg to differ. Naismiths invention might be important, but he as a person is not. And on the other hand, the game Naismith invented in 1892 wasn't nearly what basketball is today. I would go as far to say that there are people that had bigger impact the development of the game of basketball itself than Naismith. --Bender235 08:27, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  • I can't imagine what would be more impact on the game than its invention. Maurreen 16:36, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  • But I think there is a valid point that the man himself has very little renown. Even a featured article about him would be quite short and of little interest. For the record, I also oppose the Bannister nomination. Pascal.Tesson 16:47, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  1. Michael Jordan (has got to be in here. He's a must-have for any encyclopedia, even more than Ali, Pelé, or any other athlete listed yet. Keep in mind that ESPN named him the top North American athlete of the 20th century, ahead of Ruth, Ali and Owens.) --Bender235 22:32, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support, Michael Jordan is a must have on this list IMO. VegaDark 19:57, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose for now -- Could support after inclusion of more actors or directors. Maurreen 05:06, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Oppose - doesn't meet definition of Top, unless you can make a case for his influence outside of the sport plange 17:59, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Proportions and possible limit

I'm thinking that the number of athletes and related people we include should probably be close to the number we include from acting, directing and related, and that it probably should not be more than the number we include from music. It seems like these three areas might have roughly the same amount of impact. But athletes, actors and such are likely all to from within about the past 100 years. That doesn't mean I think we need to delete any athletes now on the list, but that I think we shouldn't add more until we add a few more from TV, film or theater. Maurreen 16:57, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Music, I think, could have more, since classical music is included, and is thus not directly comparable. I'd suggest splitting music into classical and popular, with popular at about the same level as athletes and actors. john k 18:45, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Life Magazine List

Life Magazine published a list of the Top 100 people who made the Millennium ranked in order of importance. I thought it would interesting to see how their list compared with ours. Here are the highest ranking people on their list who do not currently appear on ours (in order of Life's ranking). I only bothered going through their top 50, since the lists diverge too much after that.
17. Richard Arkwright
23. Kublai Khan (we list Genghis Khan instead)
25. James Madison
37. Vasco da Gama
39. Samuel F. B. Morse
40. John Calvin (has been suggested for inclusion)
41. Florence Nightingale
43. Joseph Lister (has been suggested for inclusion)
44. Ibn Battuta
45. Zhu Xi
Kaldari 05:22, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Have since nominated Mary Wollstonecraft and Vasco da Gama. Maurreen 13:12, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Hart’s list

Here’s a comparison with the top 50 from the list from a similar book, by Michael H. Hart.

15 – Moses – opposed
23 - Michael Faraday – already nominated, under scientists section
24 - James Clerk Maxwell – already nominated, under scientists section
40 – Edward de Vere
41 – John Dalton
45 - Antony van Leeuwenhoek
46 - William T.G. Morton
50 - Oliver Cromwell – was on our list, but was removed
Maurreen 12:37, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
de Vere'? Wow! He was important in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, but the only way he gets on anybody's top 100 is to accept him as the "real" Shakespeare (and/or an even less documented tale). studerby 05:59, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, Hart, I believe, decided that Oxford was the "real" Shakespeare. john k 16:39, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Writers

English language

  1. Joseph Conrad. The great author on European colonialism. Heart of Darkness possibly the most influential work of the 20th century. john k 10:55, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support Rcpaterson 23:57, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. T. S. Eliot. The Waste Land remains a monument of high modernism, even if nobody much cares for The Four Quartets. john k 10:55, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 05:56, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Samuel Johnson - Maurreen 17:40, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Not sure. Samuel Johnson is most famous at this point not for his own writings, but because somebody else wrote a really really good biography of him. On the other hand, as the subject of the msot famous biography in world history, perhaps he's a shoo-in... john k 11:17, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
      1. I was mainly thinking of the dictionary. Maurreen 02:59, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  4. Rudyard Kipling (certainly over Conrad)studerby 07:14, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Oppose. Kipling is considered a minor author by most critics (certainly not as important as Conrad), and is no longer popular enough to warrant inclusion on that basis. john k 16:40, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support I have no idea who 'most critics' are but Kipling is one of the great innovators in the history of the English language and literature. As for popularity being a basis for inclusion why not have Jackie Collins or J. K. Rowling? By what assessment, I have to ask, is the grossly overrated Ernest Hemingway included when so many better writers are not? As I have said above this whole exercise is arbitrary in the extreme. Rcpaterson 23:50, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
      1. What I mean is that Kipling is neither particularly critically respected (that is to say, by academics and such like) nor (at this point) particularly popular. I like Kipling, but he's not generally considered by critics to be one of the best writers of the English language, and he's not all that popular anymore either. He's less read than Hemingway, I would say, although perhaps I'm showing an American bias in saying so - "If" was voted Britain's favorite poem, I guess. At any rate, my point was that Kipling never had academic/high literary supporters, and now he's no longer incredibly popular in the way he used to be, so that he doesn't deserve to be on the list. YMMV. john k 00:29, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
      2. Thank you for that. I still do not know who the 'academics and such like' are who do not believe Kipling is worthy of respect. In any case they are quite wrong; Kipling is one of the great craftsmen of English prose. I suspect that much contemporary assessment is coloured by ghastly notions of political correctness. But, in the end, time is the only true critic. Edward Gibbon may not be 'popular' but he's still around. My own belief is that in time to come Kipling will still figure high in the Pantheon of English literature when much of what passes for good writing today has been consigned-and justly consigned-to the dustbin of history. Rcpaterson 00:54, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
        RCP - Kipling has, I think, already survived the test of time to an extent, and I would not be surprised at all if he remains, if not high, at least well within the pantheon of English literature after many contemporary writers have been consigned to the dustbin of history. My point was not that people do not believe Kipling is worthy of respect, but that most critics than I am aware of take Kipling as a figure of the second rank, and most tend to focus on the "high modernists" who were his contemporaries. Is Kipling ever going to generally be considered the equal of Joyce, or even Conrad? It seems unlikely to me. If the list were longer, I'd certainly support Kipling, but it's short, and there's a lot of English writers I'd put ahead of Kipling - even a lot of contemporaries of Kipling that I'd put ahead of him. I'd also add that Kipling's political views are rather unappetizing. Not as bad as Wagner, certainly (whom you voted against on the basis of his nasty political views), but he's also not as important a figure as Wagner, I think. Plus, Kipling's a mediocre poet, and we don't yet have any good poets on the list. john k 10:50, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
        I didn't nominate him solely for his rank in the realm of litcrit; it's my impression that his writings had social and political importance within the history of the British Empire were out of proportion to their literary qualities (for better or for worse). studerby 14:46, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
        I think that's true. But I still don't think he qualifies for top importance. We currently have 10 English language writers. We'll probably get at most about ten more. I don't think Kipling is important enough to be in the top 20. I will admit that Scott is a fairly comparable case - both were incredibly popular in their day, and both are still reasonably popular, but not nearly so popular as they were. Both have tended to be denigrated by critics, but also to have scholarly defenders. Both, I think, can be acknowledged to have had significant influence beyond the merits of their own work. But I don't think Scott really belongs, either. If we want an English Romantic, Byron has the advantage of genuinely iconic status (how many times has Byron shown up as a fictional character in somebody else's work? How many later Romantic and post-Romantic writers, especially in the non-English-speaking world, view the Romantic hero as essentially an extension of Byron's persona?), a much more interesting life than Scott, and probably greater critical respect, while Wordsworth has the advantage of being the founder of English romanticism (I don't especially like Wordsworth, but he gets massive props in the scholarly community). john k 16:34, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
    3. Support Maurreen 01:41, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  5. Herman Melville. Moby Dick and all that. john k 10:55, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support Maurreen 01:41, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  6. John Milton. john k 02:47, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support Maurreen 07:50, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  7. George Orwell
    1. Support Maurreen 17:18, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support Rcpaterson 23:57, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  8. Ezra Pound
    1. Support Rcpaterson 23:57, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support Kaldari 05:41, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  9. Ayn Rand
    1. Support Maurreen 07:47, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  10. Noah Webster - Maurreen 17:40, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
  11. H.G. Wells
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:39, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  12. Oscar Wilde
    1. Support. Maurreen 06:38, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Support In the strongest way. Brilliant and innovative. Rcpaterson 23:57, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  13. Virginia Woolf. Greatest English writer of the 20th century? john k 02:47, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 11:12, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Other languages

  1. Anton Chekhov. Often considered the master of the short story. john k 10:55, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support Rcpaterson 00:00, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Hesiod studerby 07:14, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:48, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
    2. Oppose. Does anybody really read him who is not a classicist? I think he clearly goes to the second ranks. john k 00:47, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. Henrik Ibsen. Created the modern theatre, probably. john k 10:55, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:48, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  4. Michel de Montaigne. Invented the essay. john k 10:55, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
    1. Support. Maurreen 15:48, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

No seconds, should be archived

  1. Ayn Rand
    1. Support Maurreen 07:47, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
  2. Noah Webster - Maurreen 17:40, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
  3. H.G. Wells
    1. Support. Maurreen 08:39, 14 August 2006 (UTC)