Talk:Ala (demon)

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Good article Ala (demon) has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
July 22, 2007 Peer review Reviewed
October 26, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Good article
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/Archive 1

GA on hold[edit]

The article is a great start towards GA status. The following should be addressed to pass the GA nomination.

  • The article is overlinked, words should only be linked if they are relevant to the context. Thus, common words such as world, mountain, wind and crops should not be linked. Check the whole article for more instances of this.
    • Better? VladoTalk 18:49, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
      • I did some more delinking yesterday but forgot to post a message here. The article looks ok in this regard now. --Victor12 13:00, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
  • The article needs consistency when referring to the Ala, it is sometimes written as "ala" and sometimes as "Ala". Also, it is not clear whether ala is a single creature or there are multiple alas. Also, why is it referred as a she?
    • I can't find any instances of Ala used except on the beginning of sentences. Multiple. The word is of female gender in Serbian language. Nikola 18:16, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Ok, then the only fix needed is for the multiple stuff. For instance, When people encounter ala should be changed to When people encounter an ala; Ala’s appearance is quite diversely and often vaguely described in folkloric sources should be changed to The appearance of alas is quite diversely and often vaguely described in folkloric sources; and so on throughout the article. --Victor12 18:41, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
        • This would better be done by a native English speaker. Not suggesting that you do it, of course. Nikola 19:15, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
          • As I was still planning to do another run through the whole article anyhow, I'd be more than willing to take care of it at the same time; the problem is that I almost certainly won't have time for a while, thanks to school. I'll try, but if there's concern about getting GA this week, rather than re-nominating it a little later, someone else should do it. -Bbik 20:15, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
          • What's funny is that I'm not a native English speaker! LOL Don't worry, if all objections are taken care of except this one I'll do it myself before passing the article. --Victor12 15:00, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
            • Fixed, for the most part. A few probably aren't perfect, but for a quick job and more copyedtting coming later anyhow, it'll do. -Bbik 18:08, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • In the "Origin" section, prose needs to be improved. The first sentence lacks context, try to write as if the reader knew little about this subject. Also in this section, the beliefs of the pre-Slavic population of the Balkans need some further explanation, specifically which beliefs contributed to the development of the ala concept.
    • I believe I fixed the first sentence. The problem with beliefs of pre-Slavic population is that they aren't very well known, and it is even possible that they are conjectured about over Slavic mythology. My guess is something similar to stychia (surprised they don't have an article!), or possibly Lamia though VVVladimir could probably say more. Nikola 19:19, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Would that do for the pre-Slavic Balkan source of ala? VladoTalk 16:03, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
        • My concern has been addressed. --Victor12 04:53, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • In the "Etymology" section it is not clear why hala with an H is relevant to the origin of the word ala. Also, this section seems to deal with similar subjects to those of the "Origin" section. Here emphasis is placed on pre-Slavic population whereas in "Origin" emphasis is placed on Slavic beliefs. It might be a good idea to merge both sections.
    • I believe I fixed the h-issue. Nikola 19:24, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Unless I completely misunderstood it, it's simply unclear whether "ala" or "hala" came first, and there are guesses behind both spellings. That could probably be made a little clearing, since it was confusing, I'll try and work with that with the next edit, too. -Bbik 20:15, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
        • I considered merging these sections myself. It's not a bad idea. VladoTalk 19:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
          • I don't think they should be merged. And, which one came first is not the only issue. Nikola 07:14, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
            • One is about the origin of the word(s), the other about the origin of the creature, which are two distinctly different topics, even if influenced by the same people. I'm with Nikola. -Bbik 18:08, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
              • I was only considering the idea. I have no objections to treating the two topics in separate sections. VladoTalk 23:36, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
    • Is it clear now? VladoTalk 16:18, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Clear now. --Victor12 16:31, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
  • In the "Appearance" section, the first paragraph lacks references. The last three paragraphs also lack references. In-line citations are needed so that readers can tell which sources were used for this accounts on the ala. Also, in the last two paragraphs, it is not clear where this stories come from. Are they from Leskovac or from another region?
    • Fixed in-line citations. Wherever my sources give the origin of a story or belief, which is not always the case, I added it. Generally, the sources concentrate more on describing properties of ala, than on giving locations. Also, there are stories and beliefs not limited to one region, but widely spread and known. VladoTalk 19:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
    • Haven't all concerns been addressed here? VladoTalk 23:36, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Yes --Victor12 16:31, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
  • In the "Effect on humans" section the word "ale" is introduced. This may cause confusion for readers as it has not been explained before, except in a footnote. Also, this section seems to deal with the same matter as the "Appearance" section, maybe both should be merged and content reorganized so that tales from the same region are grouped together. Prose needs to be improved in this section, there are some really long sentences, for instance, in the second paragraph. In the paragraphs dealing with the ala's voracity it is not clear where do these stories come from. This is important as it seems folklore about the ala varied from region to region. Also the sentence In a tale recorded in eastern Serbia and Bulgaria, a man killed an ala who destroyed his vineyard - she was in a skinny man in a distant village needs to be rewritten for clarity. Finally, what are the differences between ala and humans?
    • I'll do something about the ale issue with the ala/an ala fixing, too, if no one beats me to it. -Bbik 20:15, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Fixed where do these stories come from. Rewritten the sentence. Concepts, beliefs, customs, etc, are grouped according to their relatedness (damage to agriculture, voracity, attacks on health, etc). From where they came is of a secondary importance. Appearance is a matter for itself. Merging these sections wouldn't be good. The differences between ala and humans are in no source explicitly listed, but from the given tales, at least some of them can be clearly seen. VladoTalk 19:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
        • Fixed ale. I'd thought about merging/reorganizing the two sections, but without some sort of split, it would make for one incredibly long, unwieldy section, and there doesn't seem to be any better way of splitting it up than the current one. -Bbik 18:08, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • The "Aloviti" subsection needs references
    • Fixed. Nikola 19:43, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
  • The "Adversaries" section lacks references. Also, it does not mention where do these stories come from.
    • Fixed. VladoTalk 19:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
  • In the "Connection with Baba Yaga", the last sentence seems to me the key to the whole article. Could this point be expanded?
    • That's all that the source says about it, and, also, I wouldn't regard it as the key to the whole article. VladoTalk 19:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Sorry, key was way off, however it is a very interesting point. Curious to see a demon of wind and rain being called of a chthonic nature. Sad to see there's no more info on these or the alleged "he snakelike mistress of the underworld". --Victor12 04:53, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
        • Ah, but this is a demon of hailstorm :) Nikola 07:14, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
      • An answer to your question may lie in the concept of the chthonic part of year, lasting from the late autumn to the early spring, and characterized by the wind, cold, and darkness. The end of this period was celebrated as a victory of a solar deity over a snakelike chthonic deity or demon. Vlado 22:22, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
  • As for references used all seem to be Serbian, they should be marked as such in the "References section" with the template {{sr icon}}. As this is the English Wikipedia, sources in English are preferred when available. Please read WP:RSUE. Is there any source in English you can get your hands on? JSTOR and Google Scholar might be useful to search for this kind of sources.
    • I have no acces to JSTOR, neither Google Scholar nor Google Books gave any trace of English sources which could be used. Nikola 18:16, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Fair enough. Don't forget to tag Serb sources with {{sr icon}}. --Victor12 18:41, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
        • Even if cite templates are used? Or would it be enough to just specify language=Serbian? Nikola 19:15, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
          • Seeing as that's part of the cite tag, I don't see why using it would be an issue, except that it's only used with some, currently. -Bbik 20:15, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
          • In addition to the tags, could the references either be fully transliterated, or not at all, as well (I could do it, but I imagine it'll take me quite a bit longer than it would one of you two.)? There are a bunch right now that have half the information in the Latin alphabet, and the other half in Cyrillic, which is a bit silly. I'd say transliterated is better, as this is the English Wikipedia, however even simple consistency, at least within each reference if not for all of them, would be an improvement. -Bbik 18:08, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
          • The way I do it, and the way I think it should be done, is to transliterate everything but the title. If a book is written in Cyrillic, its title is in Cyrillic. Authors' names, publisher, etc. could be transliterated. Nikola 18:25, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
            • I agree with Nikola, and I've done it that way. Vlado 11:38, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
              • Ah, ok, I hadn't looked close enough to see that distinction. That works too. -Bbik 18:53, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
    • Fixed. VladoTalk 16:18, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Finally when quoting material from sources in other languages, you should be aware of the relevant Wikipedia guidelines:
  • Where sources are directly quoted, published translations are generally preferred over editors performing their own translations directly.
  • Where editors use their own English translation of a non-English source as a quote in an article, there should be clear citation of the foreign-language original, so that readers can check what the original source said and the accuracy of the translation.
  • As far as I can tell, there's already a source for every translation, and for most, the original language version is there as well. The only two where it's not are the stories, which would be a bit long to include in the main text, and seems a bit like overkill to include that much in a footnote, too. So what're you actually looking for here? -Bbik 20:15, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Yep, full translations for stories too, for verification purposes. --Victor12 15:00, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
  • These tales are referenced, and their source is on the Web, not in a book. Anyone who wants to check what the original source said and the accuracy of the translation, can do it instantly with a click. So, is there really a need for that? It could be easily done, but it looks a bit awkward to me. VladoTalk 19:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. --Victor12 04:53, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Drop me a note in case of doubts and questions and also when you're done with these corrections. Good luck, --Victor12 01:40, 18 October 2007 (UTC)


Just found an interesting source about ethymology: [1]. Nikola 20:03, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Nice find. Some of that could be certainly used. I'll check it later, or you can add what you think is relevant yourself. VladoTalk 19:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Last time I just glimpsed at that, so I didn't see that is not a matter for the article, though interesting. VladoTalk 22:26, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Update I think the article currently complies with GA criteria so I have passed it as such. Congratulations to everyone who worked on it! I hope you keep working on it with a FA nomination in mind. To achieve that goal I'd suggest some serious work on the article's prose, the League of Copyeditors might be of help for this. A second area for improvement is references, having sources in English will help you a lot at WP:FAC. Anyway, that's for later, for now enjoy the moment! --Victor12 16:58, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, Victor12. Cheers! Vlado 17:29, 27 October 2007 (UTC)