Talk:Alben W. Barkley

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President Barkley[edit]

I wondered what would have happened if Barkley had become President?

  • Me too, actually, which is why I was kind of dissapointed by this article, which doesn't really say anything about his positions. --Mihoshi 18:21, 23 October 2005 (UTC)
    • Well ,I think had Truman been assassinated (1950), and thus Barkley would've become President, he probably would have run for a full term in 1952 ,though again his age would have been an issue (75 in 1952). If a President Barkley would have gotten elected to a full term, he probably wouldn't have survived it (full term 1953-57), and his VP would have become President. Mightberight/wrong 22:54, 3 November 2005 (UTC).
It's not logical to assume if events had happened differently that he still would have died at the same time. -- (talk) 10:11, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

That last picture[edit]

The final picture in this article is entirely unnecessary. Maybe in its own article, but not about a politician who visited, even if we were talking about Truman rather than his V.P. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:49, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

It seems more necessary than any other picture, to me. It shows the world Barkley faced. Why would it be inappropriate? DBaba (talk) 00:58, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Recent rewrite[edit]

I anticipated there would be some necessary adjustments to my rewrite, but I hope the net result was (or at least will be) a better article. I have concerns about a few edits:

  • This is presently unsourced. I don't necessarily dispute its accuracy; I just didn't run across this information in my research. The edit also introduces information in the lead that is not supported in the body, which is not a good thing. I have no opposition to its inclusion once it is sourced, but it needs to go in the body as well.
  • This and this add sources to the bibliography that are not presently cited in the article. I'd prefer to put them in "Further reading" until they are directly cited, per convention.
  • This citation needs to be consistent with the others in the article (i.e. the footnote should be of the form "author, page number", with the more detailed bibliographic information in the appropriate section). I'm also unclear why the citation needs to be changed from the Libbey biography.
  • If we move other sources to the Further reading section, then this has to be undone, although I wouldn't be opposed to adding subheadings to the further reading section.

Let me know your thoughts. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 19:14, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

The text in question is "He gained statwide stature by leading the anti-gambling crusade, in cooperation with Protestant ministers. " and it can be sourced at Samuel S. Hill (1983). Religion in the Southern States: A Historical Study. Mercer University Press. p. 120. . As for changing the citation style that requires a consensus on this page and I certainly oppose it. Acdixon seems gto have done this without consulting here or anywhere, a tactic that Barkley never would have attempted because it loses friends. Rjensen (talk) 19:45, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
As I said, if it can be cited, by all means, add it with a cite. Just don't add it without one. Per WP:BURDEN: "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material." If I can find the relevant page number within this source (since I assume it's a limited preview) I will add this material.
As for citation style, it seems strange to me to contend that the previous version had an established style of citation. At least one of the whopping five footnotes that previously existed was just a link with a title. One of the magazine articles had no page numbers at all, while another cited a single fact to a range of seven pages within a work. The citation style used here is largely the same one I've used in each of the 30 articles I've shepherded through the FA process, so it's hardly some alien style that I invented myself. Still, if you'll state what, specifically, bothers you about it, maybe we can find something that works for both of us, as well as anyone else who may read the article. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 19:56, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Acdixon's rewrite[edit]

Can we please discuss the changes you are making to my rewrite of Alben Barkley? I have concerns that are mostly about form rather than substance, but I can't express them because I keep getting edit conflicts. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 18:59, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

You should use the talk page to discuss your proposed radical changes and your dropping so much scholarship in favor of light-weight stuff. Rjensen (talk) 19:02, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for dismissing about a month's worth of research and editing as "light-weight stuff". I'm glad to discuss changes on the talk page. Look for a post there shortly. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 19:04, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
The Libbey book is light weight and I'm sorry you depended on it so much and did not read the more weighty scholarship. Rjensen (talk) 19:06, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
It's published by a university publishing house and meets the Wikipedia requirements for reliable sources. I read what I had access to, including a few of the articles you added to the bibliography later. Are you suggesting I actually made the article worse by expanding its content by more than five-fold? Acdixon (talk · contribs) 19:25, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Libbey's scholarly articles are excellent; his short book is light-weight and not nearly as useful--it was designed for a popular series, while the articles were written for serious historians. Rjensen (talk) 19:49, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
OK, but what is your complaint? Is it that Libbey's book is inaccurate? Has the inclusion of something from the book made this article worse? I fail to see the utility in citing the same fact to a different source just because it could be regarded as "more scholarly". A reliable source is a reliable source, as far as Wikipedia is concerned. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 19:58, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Libbey does not make many mistakes (at least I did not notice any), but he avoids the complex issues that scholars explore -- and which he explores in his journal articles. Likewise scholars like Blakey Hard Times and Klotter & Pearce, Divide and Dissent: Kentucky Politics, 1930–1963 and Ritchie on Senate leadership all get overlooked. So it's a matter of best quality versus mediocre. Let me add it's very annoying to have line after lines of ibid-like cites to the same source (they should be used sparingly, say once per paragraph unless it's a quote). Rjensen (talk) 20:37, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
I have Divide and Dissent, but it's been a while since I read through it. I remembered it focusing much more on Bert T. Combs' administration, but I'll go back through and see if I missed any relevant details about Barkley. I don't have the other two, but I don't have any problem with information from them being added as long as it is cited. My revision wasn't meant to be the be all and end all, but I have to think it is a substantial improvement over what was there and a decent starting place for further improvement.
As for the citation issue, I've heard that before. Here's the problem. Wikipedia requires cites for "material that is challenged or likely to be challenged". That's subjective enough to include almost anything. Plus, information gets added, deleted, and moved around all the time. If each sentence has its own cite, the cite usually goes with it. If not, the cite usually gets lost, making it difficult for later readers to verify the sentence. Further, if that sentence later gets challenged, it's difficult for one of the article's primary authors to remember where it came from so it can be cited again. So while you may find it annoying to have so many refs, I find it annoying to have to track down a source six months or a year after writing something because someone decided it needed a direct citation. The style I have used doesn't suit everyone, but it has passed muster on numerous occasions during review processes.
I also have a problem with the citation style you have been employing. Take, for example, your recent addition about Barkley's support in the 1938 senatorial primary coming from "farmers, unionized workers and coal miners" while Chandler's support came from the middle class. Surely, this information appears on one, maybe two pages of a source, but it's presently cited to a span of 21 pages in one source and 15 pages in another. That makes it very difficult for an interested reader to verify. It would be better to cite just the page and source that contains that information. And by the way, citations should almost always go in the body, since the lead is meant to briefly summarize the (sourced) information in the body. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 20:57, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
This article looks unprofessional with many, many useless ibids to one weak source. As for scholarly articles, people who get to read the acual RS itself will want not one sentence on one page but will want to read all about the campaign in context ("farmers" for example are repeatedly mentioned).Rjensen (talk) 22:46, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"Looks unprofessional" is subjective. Does it look like what you would see in a professional journal? Probably not, but Wikipedia serves a different purpose and a different audience than a professional journal. Your characterization of the numerous citations as "useless" is incorrect. When I read a Wikipedia article, my particular interest in checking a footnote is to determine exactly what portion of what source the information comes from in order to verify that it is true. I know I am not the only one with this interest. For this reason, I also disagree with your contention that everyone who checks the references will want to read the entire article. I certainly would have no problem with adding the page ranges to the bibliographic information at the end of the article for those folks who do, but I insist that we should maintain exact page numbers for verification of individual sentences for the portion of our audience interested in that component.

I've read your user page, and I fully understand that you forgot more about history and publishing in journals last night in your sleep than I will probably ever know. My graduate degree is in computer science, after all. However, you have to realize that the guidelines for a Wikipedia article are different than those for a professional journal. The style I have employed here has been accepted by a variety of different reviewers during reviews for good article, A-class article, featured article, and peer review. The expansion I have done is, by any reasonable account, an improvement on the content, since broad portions of Barkley's life were completely omitted in the version I replaced. The source I used may be "weak", but it is reliable, and thus any expansion based upon it is valid. I did read the old version multiple times in an attempt to ensure that I did not omit any extant relevant information. As far as I can tell, the only part I left out was a section that referred to a Mississippi senator as a "race-baiting demagogue", which seemed to me to run afoul of WP:NPOV.

I'm more than open to you or anyone else expanding this article using the sources you mentioned above or any other relevant reliable source. In fact, I hope you will, and as you can see, I already integrated one fact and source that you pointed out. We can work out this citation issue, even if it takes community input via the WP:RFC process; that's a normal and productive part of editing Wikipedia. I felt that being bold (per Wikipedia policy) and greatly expanding the content and usefulness of this article would give other interested parties a new and better starting point for further improvements. I'm sorry to see that you seem to disagree with that. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:44, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Barkley had a successful career that is not very controversial (unlike Truman or FDR who were very controversial). So the judgment that every sentence has to be referenced is not true and leads to a silly result--it shows an ignorance of Barkley and his life and times and the historiography. That will be annoying, I suggest, to many thousands of history teachers and their more advanced students. As for the general public--well the first thing a publisher tells a history author is that the general public hates footnotes. Rjensen (talk) 00:00, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
While I understand conceptually where you are coming from, I must insist that you cite Wikipedia policy in support of your position that the footnotes have to be changed. This simply isn't a professional journal; it has different guidelines and policies. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 00:21, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
WP:cite section 3.1.5 "As with other citation formats, articles should not undergo large scale conversion between formats without consensus to do so." that's what happened here. also WP:CITEVAR " 6.1 Variation in citation methods: Editors should not attempt to change an article's established citation style merely on the grounds of personal preference, or without first seeking consensus for the change. If the article you are editing is already using a particular citation style, you should follow it." Rjensen (talk) 03:17, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
As I said above, there was no established citation style in the previous draft. This is the last revision before my rewrite. Look at the citations. First, there are only six of them, which is insufficient for an article of that length.
  • The first is a magazine article that gives no author; whether there is no by-line or the editor who added this cite just failed to include the author's name, I'm not sure. The citation does not use any of the established citation templates; {{cite magazine}} would have been appropriate here. Beyond that, it includes neither the page number for the specific fact nor the range of pages on which the article can be found.
  • The second is actually in pretty good shape. It does use an established citation template ({{cite web}}) and does not require page numbers because it isn't a paginated source.
  • The third source goes back to not using a citation template, but unlike the first source, it does include a specific page number on which the cited fact can be found. Other than omitting an OCLC number, it looks OK.
  • The fourth cite is actually consistent with the first, since it uses no citation template, but gives no author and no page number, but it differs from the previous two in ways already noted.
  • The fifth reference does not use a citation template, but it does include an author (although, per every convention I've seen, the author's name is misplaced within the citation). It also includes page numbers, but instead of it being the exact page, it is the range of pages for the entire chapter on Barkley – a span of seven pages total. At most, this could be a citation for two facts, since the prior footnote occurs just two sentences earlier. Those two facts – "Barkley was 74 at the time. Two days later, Barkley withdrew from consideration." – surely do not require the reader to read all seven pages to verify.
  • The final reference is nothing more than a titled link. It uses no citation template and no citation style (eg. MLA, APA, etc.) at all. Further, I checked the link during my rewrite and found no actual mention of Barkley there; it strikes me as an attempt to promote the history center itself rather than make any information more verifiable.
So, as I have demonstrated, at most one-third of the previous scanty footnotes (that is to say, two out of six) use the same citation style. There was no established citation style in the previous draft. I realize that numerous sources appear in the References section, but they are not inline, as required by policy. Therefore, what I have done not only didn't violate the policy you cited, it actually made the article more compliant with policy. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 14:15, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
Acdixon was unaware of the rules, he imposed his own style, erased the other cites, and complained when I did not follow his new style. He did that without attempting to discuss it or reach a consensus, and he violated the rule: " if there is disagreement about which style is best, defer to the style used by the first major contributor." wp:citevar. Rjensen (talk) 17:16, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
Honestly, I can no longer follow your complaints. You started by alleging that I had removed content from the previous version, but the information you "re-added" either wasn't in the previous version or was in my revision in a different form. You then charged that I had used "light weight" sources instead of "more weighty" scholarship. Before we were able to resolve either one of those, you complained that I used too many footnotes, and now you are upset about me "changing" the style of citation. Does that cover all the issues? And what is your proposed solution? To revert to the previous version of the article? To change to a citation style you find more acceptable? I ask because I feel we need to solicit community input via the RFC process, and I want to be clear on all the issues before I initiate that process. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 18:51, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
My main complaints are 1) that an average medium length article on a major figure has been turned into a below average excessively long article over three times longer, which is full of (accurate) trivia based mostly on light weight popular stuff. It is now much less useful to readers because the main points are buried. 2) It also suffers from bloat, which the rules war against. WP:CITEVAR 3.1.5 "Inline references can significantly bloat the wikitext in the edit window and can be extremely difficult and confusing." 3) I think the problem is the editor who made all the drastic changes all at once and without consulting anyone is largely unfamiliar with the material. For example, the info on Barkley is not contentious (unlike FDR say) and over the years there have been no serious challenges. 4) Yet the zillions of footnotes --the bloat-- were added to head off imaginary potential challenges that never were likely as the edit history proves. (there have been only 3 comments over the last seven years, see above; one challenges the need for a photo and the other two speculate on Barkley as president. Rjensen (talk) 22:21, 12 October 2012 (UTC)


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Is the recent rewrite too long and/or too detailed, and does it contain too many footnotes? Acdixon (talk · contribs) 13:09, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Per the suggestion at WP:RFC, I have notified each of the WikiProjects that have tagged this article of this RFP. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 13:44, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

My recent, admittedly WP:BOLD, rewrite of this article seems to have generated some controversy, as can be seen above. This was the last revision prior to my rewrite; this is the draft I composed in my user space and replaced it with. After a good bit of back and forth, I asked Rjensen (talk · contribs), who has issues with my rewrite, to distill his complaints to a manageable list so we could start this RFC. As best I can tell, the issues with the article itself are 2: that the rewrite is too long, containing unnecessary detail; and that it contains too many footnotes. Another issue – that I did not discuss these changes with anyone prior to making them – is a user issue that we can discuss somewhere else, if desired. Because this discussion is on an article talk page, I think it should be confined to article issues. Since there are two broad issues, I'll try to organize two separate sections below. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 13:31, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Too long/too much detail[edit]

There is a rough consensus, that it isn't too long. Of course any "trivial factoid" can be removed latter, if identified. Armbrust The Homonculus 10:30, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This complaint honestly surprised me. The previous article was rated as start class by three of the four WikiProjects that maintain it. There were large sections of the subject's life that received little or no treatment in the article, despite reliable sources that discuss them in detail. Rjensen's complaint seems to be that the additional detail obscures the most important parts of Barkley's life. I contend that it provides context for those details. I did try to avoid "human interest"-type stuff that did not advance the narrative. For example, several sources mention how Barkley made his first campaign for office by electioneering door-to-door a one-eyed horse across rural McCracken County, but I didn't feel that rose to the level of needing to be included in the article. The length and level of detail seem comparable to other articles I've taken to FA status such as John J. Crittenden and Paul E. Patton. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 13:31, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Barkley as a major national figure fades away when every trivial factoid gets included. Acdixon's edit can' tell the reader what is important and what is not, which is what readers need to know. Rjensen (talk) 13:43, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment I agree that it is too long. Articles should explain why someone was important rather than write the story about the man behind the image. I agree too that the sources used should have been more in the nature of serious assessments of his career. Even though Dear Alben is from an academic publisher, it is written as a popular book. You could develop spin-off articles for readers who are interested in specific aspects of Barkley's life. TFD (talk) 14:49, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
    • If this turns out to be the community's consensus, which information, specifically, do you think should be removed? Acdixon (talk · contribs) 14:59, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: I have always said that more information is better than none at all. What I see is sourced information and well written. I see no problems. - NeutralhomerTalk • 12:12, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Not too long: comparing this to other articles about public figures that have been recognized as Wikipedia's best work. It is about the same size as Richard Nixon and Avery Brundage, which both passed FAC without a problem. It's smaller than Ronald Reagan too. In any case, general comments like "too long" are very unhelpful--if there are specific issues about trivial facts being included--point them out. Mark Arsten (talk) 20:30, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Far too long and with way too much trivia. Wikipedia furnishes references to the reader for good reason - to point readers to where they can find more details. Articles with this much detail turn off readers, and thus do not aid the project. I have no problem with all sorts of sources - it is up to the reader to figure out which ones help him the most, but listing every factoid is not the way to go about this. And Barkley is not as complex as Nixon by a long shot. I raher think a 30% reduction in the size would double the article's utility. Compare [1] to [2]. The earlier version definitely covered all the bases - but took 184K, The 60K article is ten times as useful for readers. The same will be true here - 24K was likely "too short" but overkill is not the answer either. Collect (talk) 12:12, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

OK, I know this is not the large-scale revision some of you are looking for, but through a combination of copyediting and eliminating some small details, I carved almost 8K from the article. I have done this as a show of good faith that I am trying to respond to this feedback, even though at present, the opinions on the length issue find no problem by a count of 5 to 3. In the absence of specific comments about what "factoids" and "trivia" should be eliminated, this is the best I can do. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 18:37, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

  • Not too long For someone who was a VP and over 50 years in politics, I don't think it's too long, this man has had a lot going on in his life, and it would take a bit to overview it. — raekyt 21:02, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Not too long: While I do not share the enthusiam for the subject, it is complete and as well written as any other bio of an important historical figure. Just because some may feel this individual is "not important" enough to warrant a certain length (which would never be defined anyway) - leave it!Patriot1010 (talk) 07:14, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Too many references[edit]

There is a clear consensus, that the article doesn't contain too many references. Armbrust The Homonculus 10:30, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This falls more along the lines of something I might have expected. I stated my rationale for my style of referencing above, but I'll restate it here for simplicity. Wikipedia requires cites for "material that is challenged or likely to be challenged". That's subjective enough to include almost anything, in my opinion. Plus, information gets added, deleted, and moved around all the time. If each sentence has its own cite, the cite usually goes with it. If not, the cite usually gets lost, making it difficult for later readers to verify the sentence. Further, if that sentence later gets challenged, it's difficult for one of the article's primary authors to remember where it came from so it can be cited again. Although concerns about this referencing style do get raised from time-to-time, I have used it on each of the 30 articles I've shepherded through FA review, and each time it has eventually been accepted. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 13:31, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

"material that is challenged or likely to be challenged" is the rule and there have been no challenges at all in seven years. That refultes the "likely" business and leads to the degraded confusion of bloat. Rjensen (talk) 13:40, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment I think the initial version had too few citations to even reach B class, let alone GA or FA. The second version is better but you could trim down the number of footnotes. Do we need to know that references 79 to 83 are from separate pages of "Libbey in Dear Alben" or could we just have one foot note for the lot saying "Libbey in Dear Alben, pp. 42-46"? Road Wizard (talk) 13:58, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
    • If the consensus is that there are too many footnotes, I would be willing to consolidate the footnotes when an entire paragraph can be cited to a range of pages in the same source. This still makes it relatively easy for interested readers to verify a particular fact from the paragraph, while minimally complicating the issue of making sure the cite information stays with facts that get moved. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 14:22, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment There are two many footnotes. (I count about 400 references to about 200 footnotes.) For example, the first paragraph of "Early life" has seven. There is no reason to provide three sources for the first sentence, which is straightforward information about his birth. Otherwise all the information in the paragraph comes from pp. 1-3 of the same book and therefore requires only one footnote. TFD (talk) 14:40, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
    • One of those first three was an oversight on my part. There was no need for one reference to page 1 and another to pages 1 and 3 of the same source. I fixed that. But the cite to The Kentucky Encyclopedia is, I believe, the only one that supports Barkley's mother's full name. If you think that isn't likely to be challenged, you haven't run into one of Wikipedia's resident genealogists. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 15:04, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Both seem fine - I read through the article and looked at the references and both seem fine to me. Its not uncommon for some articles of well known people to be this long. As examples look at Theodore Roosevelt and Albert Einstein. Both are close to this length. Its also common for complete articles to have 150 -200 references and sometimes more when they get to GA or FA level. Kumioko (talk) 14:46, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: I have always said it is better to have a ton of sources than none at all. I see no problems with the amount of sources you have. Just do make sure they are in the proper format. Some GA and FA reviews are sticklers about that and always check Checklinks to make sure you have up-to-date sources. - NeutralhomerTalk • 12:16, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
    • Thanks. Pending the result of this discussion, this article is definitely headed for GA and FA. I'm sure I will get reference formatting feedback there. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 14:14, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
  • No: There is absolutely nothing wrong with citing each sentence. This is pretty common among recently promoted FAs. Mark Arsten (talk) 20:36, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
  • No: There are NOT too many refs and it is not too long. It's 115K, a big chunk is refs, and that's about the size of a well-developed article on a major political figure. 1-3 refs per sentence is not unusual. Nowhere do I see 5 or more per sentence.PumpkinSky talk 20:50, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
  • No: Dido - There are NOT too many refs in anyway - that said there is no need to have 2 refs for one statement looks like a synthesis of many refs for one conclusion (use the best one only). Will need every ref and more for GA and FA review.Moxy (talk) 20:57, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Not especially Note that refs can be catenated to prevent "too many footnote numbers". That said, it is not necessary to cite every single sentence - if a source supports a full paragraph, that is fine. And use of popularly written material is fine for a biography like this - not a lot of major academic books have been written about this person. Collect (talk) 12:17, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
  • No. I think, as has been already mentioned, that more are better than less. Sometimes a source might become a dead link, and it's nice to have backup. That being said, my computer-illiterate self wonders, has there ever been an article which has little "folding" gizmos on it? Those little pockets that say hide, or open, or some such thing, if the references take up too much space. That might address the problem? --Leahtwosaints (talk) 11:01, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

excessive reliance on Libbey etc.?[edit]

This biography seems to rely to a great extent on a very small group of authors - and, in some cases, may even use language too close to the cites given. I suggest this reliance be substantially reduced. Collect (talk) 16:25, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Well, Libbey's is the only full-length biography of Barkley that I'm aware of, so it's not surprising that I relied on it to fill in the gaps between major events in his life. I also consulted as many other sources as I could easily get access to. Can you point out places where you find "overreliance" problematic? If so, I can try to see if there are other sources that either corroborate or contest Libbey's assertions. Also, I'll be happy to try and address any specific issues you raise about too close paraphrasing. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 18:01, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
In any case, we ought be very careful to avoid plagiarism by slavishly using each point Libbey speculates on. Collect (talk) 18:38, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree about plagiarism, which is why I asked if you could point out problem areas. Sometimes, it's hard to see too-close paraphrasing when you yourself wrote the paraphrase. I don't feel I have "slavishly" used each point Libbey raises. I tried to cull out relatively unimportant details while still giving a complete picture of Barkley's service in each office. I hate writing an article where I say that someone served nine terms in the U.S. House (for instance) and then only being able to supply two sentences to say what they did while they were there. It happens sometimes, if there isn't a lot of documenatation on the person, but that isn't the case here. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 19:49, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Alben W. Barkley/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Khazar2 (talk · contribs) 19:01, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

  • I'll be glad to do this review. Sorry you've had to wait two months. I'll do a first readthrough of the article today and/or tomorrow, noting any preliminary issues, then begin a formal checklist. -- Khazar2 (talk) 19:01, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

First readthrough[edit]

This is terrific work. The prose is excellent and interesting, the coverage clearly comprehensive, and the sourcing thorough. Use of summary is the only major issue I see on my first pass.

A few comments:

  • I've reduced the density of the links in the lead section per WP:LEADLINK. I won't be offended if you revert any or all of this, though, as it's not a factor for the GA criteria.
    • They're all linked in the article, so it's fine. I tend toward overlinking. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • "Finally, Wheeler only offered free access to his extensive law library as payment for Barkley's services" -- free in the sense of "unfettered"? or free as in "giving away for nothing"? It seems a bit contradictory to give something free for "payment". Perhaps the word "free" could simply be removed here.
    • Removed. On second look, it is a little superfluous. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • "The faction's attempts to recruit Barkley to challenge incumbent anti-prohibition Senator Ollie M. James in the 1917 Democratic primary were not encouraged by Barkley" The passive voice and repetition of Barkley's name make this sentence rather awkward. Perhaps, "Barkley did not encourage the faction's attempts to recruit him... "?
    • The awkward wording resulted from not re-reading the sentence after it was copyedited. See if it reads better now. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • ""Woodrow Wilson drove the crooks and corruptionists out of New Jersey, Governor Pinchot is driving them out of Pennsylvania, and if I am elected Governor of Kentucky I promise to drive them out of Frankfort," he declared" It's not a factor for a GA review, but per MOS:QUOTE, quotations shouldn't include wikilinks except in the rarest of cases.
    • I find that an odd rule, but I've changed this to a footnote. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • "fact that he generally disliked him." pronouns are getting a little confused here.
    • Yeah, that's a little ugly. Replaced with names, but it's not much better. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • "Despite his predictions of a Democratic victory" --Barkley's or Stevenson's?
  • "He was diagnosed with cataracts and just after the election, he had cataract surgery." --the chronology seems slightly disordered here. The previous sentence is the end of his VP term, but this sentence takes us back to "just after the election".
    • It is, a little. But the relative importance of the events (end of term vs. cataract surgery) and their reasonable chronological proximity made me think this would be acceptable, especially since I don't have an exact date on the diagnosis or surgery. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • "Historian Glenn Finch opined that Barkley" -- it's unclear if statement is from 1954, or later when Finch wrote the article.
  • "meme" -- seems like an imprecise use of the term, and anachronistic. Perhaps "charge" or "attack"? -- Khazar2 (talk) 20:42, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
  • fix Poole/Poore spelling--not sure which is correct, but they should correspond. -- Khazar2 (talk) 20:50, 13 December 2012 (UTC)


This article is amazing in its command of detail, but unfortunately that comes at the cost of making it a little long for a standard Wikipedia article. Per WP:SIZE, an article with >60kb readable prose "probably should be divided"; this one weighs in at 72kb. While not directly a good article criterion, this is touched on in 3b, use of summary, and this is the only real area of concern I see so far. (Looking at the history, I see you've already taken a pass at some of this [3]). Here's some more sections I'd suggest summarizing more succinctly or cutting:

  • Democratic embezzlement scandal while county attorney--gets more space than all of AB's actions during the Harding years, and could be much more concisely summarized
    • That an election which was the subject of a lengthy scholarly article should occupy more of the article than the four years when Barkley was one of a few hundred legislators, in the minority party, and under a president from the opposing party doesn't seem terribly unusual to me. Besides, the 1923 gubernatorial election was during the Harding period, too. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • failed race for governor nomination--gets a lot of article space for an office Barkley didn't reach
    • Yes, but the party dynamics established here – particularly Barkley's party loyalty – are important to his later career and popularity. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Challenge by Happy Chandler -- details like "Traveling from Covington to Latonia Race Track, Chandler secured the middle position in the back seat of the president's car, separating Roosevelt and Barkley." are amusing but could be cut without the reader losing much understanding.
    • I think this is a fair point. Chandler was known for antics like this, but it adds little to the narrative about Barkley. Removed. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • "Many senators resented Roosevelt's interference in a traditionally legislative prerogative" -- an aside that could be cut.
    • Maybe, but it helps explain the growing legislative opposition to Roosevelt. That's important when Barkley finally broke with Roosevelt, gaining respect from his colleagues. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • " Dissatisfaction with Truman's administration continued to grow in the lead-up to the 1948 presidential election; Democratic Senator J. William Fulbright even publicly called for Truman's resignation.[143]" -- suggest cut, it's already clear.
    • OK, I think you've convinced me on that. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • the discussion of Barkley's ruling on a cloture rules change in which he was in turn overruled appears to me something that could be cut entirely; unlike other legislative actions discussed in the article, there are no obvious consequences to this, and takes a full 'graph to explain. If essential, I suggest summarizing it more succinctly.
    • Two reasons I want to retain this. First, the reliable sources make it clear it was a big deal at the time, even if it may not have had lasting impacts. Second, there is typically embarrassingly little to comment on about a person's tenure as vice-president. "Presided over the Senate" doesn't tell the reader much; this gives a specific example of why that can be a big deal. I'm open to suggestions about how to better summarize it though. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • his visit to Emory could be cut; it's not clear that this was a significant moment in his life or for US history.
    • Essentially, this is to provide some context for the naming of the Barkley Forum, which seems to bear mention, but doesn't fit naturally anywhere without the other details. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • "On his return, he helped pass Truman's plan to replace 64 Internal Revenue Service collectors with 25 deputy regional directors" -- I'm not familiar with the history of IRS organization, but this sounds quite trivial.
  • "The River and Harbor Act of 1954 authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct locks and dams along the Cumberland River.[182] The lowermost mainstream project, the "Lower Cumberland Project," was completed in 1966.[182] The dam and the lake formed by the dam were redesignated Barkley Dam and Lake Barkley in Barkley's honor" This could probably be distilled into one sentence--the precise history isn't necessary to understand Barkley's life.
  • "In February 2008, Paducah's American Justice School of Law changed owners after failing to secure accreditation from the American Bar Association.[185] It was renamed the Alben W. Barkley School of Law, but remained unaccredited, and closed in December 2008.[185]" --an unaccredited law school, named after him for only one year, can probably be cut entirely. (Perhaps this can be moved to a see also if considered essential).
    • Basically just wanted to point out that none of Barkley's descendants were involved with this venture. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

These are only suggestions, but I would like to see this article's lingering tendency to overthoroughness be addressed at some points. -- Khazar2 (talk) 20:42, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

I just made a closer review of the talk page, which I admittedly should have done first, and saw that this specific length was approved by the community in an RfC. Fair enough. I'm leaving my comment above, and I hope you'll consider acting on some of this, but I won't fail the nomination on these grounds. -- Khazar2 (talk) 21:04, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm happy to discuss specific changes. The RFC was an attempt to halt non-specific "too long" complaints. Collect (talk · contribs) is helping me work through this and reduce the length while retaining the essential content. That process is ongoing. A peer review will also be in this article's future before its submission at FAC. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 01:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)


Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct. Excellently written. Spot checks in Google Books for plagiarism/close paraphrasing show no issues.
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation.
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline. Sourcing is minute and excellent.
2b. all in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines.
2c. it contains no original research.
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic. The article covers all phases of a diverse career.
3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style). My feeling is that the article is over-long, even for a subject with such a long career, and could use a little cutting. (see "length", above) However, a community RfC approved this length, so I won't stand in its way.
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each.
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content.
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.
7. Overall assessment. Kudos to all involved. This is an excellent piece of work.

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