Talk:Aluminium

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Former good article Aluminium was one of the good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
November 29, 2005 Good article nominee Listed
August 10, 2006 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article

Magnetic properties of aluminum[edit]

Aluminum is paramagnetic[1], not nonmagnetic. I think this should be fixed. 23:30, 21 March 2016 (EET) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dexterelu (talkcontribs)

References

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Semi-protected edit request on 13 September 2017[edit]

Aluminum isn't non magnetic, it is magnetic according to the Lenz Effect and in high strength magnetic fields. 64.25.130.131 (talk) 20:38, 13 September 2017 (UTC)

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. JTP (talkcontribs) 21:17, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
Al is paramagnetic. That is, not diamagnetic or ferromagentic. [1] Gah4 (talk) 21:15, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

One day a goldsmith in Rome was allowed to show the Emperor[edit]

At first glance this appears to be mythological. I'm not sure if we should use such a story to imply that solid aluminium tools may have been used then. —PaleoNeonate – 19:12, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

I share your concern. --John (talk) 19:17, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
You see, we don't state that the goldsmith was allowed to show the Emperor the new metal; we state there's a tale saying that the goldsmith was allowed to show the Emperor the new metal. There's a difference between the two.--R8R (talk) 19:39, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
It's an interesting story. It seems a bit implausible to me that aluminium was discovered so early as it is surely not possible to prepare it without the use of electricity? --John (talk) 20:01, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
This is a very well known story and is in Pliny. Are you now claiming that Pliny is another on your personal "banned" list? Now Pliny is known to be somewhat at variance to modern explanations for nearly everything, so careful copywriting is needed to present this two thousand year old and quite possibly apocryphal tale, but that's a lot different to questioning a modern website that has done no more than paste it in from Gutenberg or somewhere similar.
As your own WP:OR has decreed that aluminium cannot be extracted without electricity, I take it that you'll now be removing Humphry Davy too? Andy Dingley (talk) 20:59, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Not OR but basic subject knowledge. Humphry Davy used electricity too. I don't know any way of reducing Al compounds without electricity. John (talk) 09:51, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
Davy did not separate aluminium by use of electricity. He tried and failed. He did reduce other metals (sodium and potassium) that way, but failed with aluminium. If Davy separated aluminium (and it's still unclear whether he succeeded) he did it with a form of the Kroll process, using potassium he'd previously reduced electrically. This was how Oersted did it too, but the primacy as to who did it first is questioned (it's in Davy's notebooks, but he never waved an aluminium plate at the emperor, or the Royal Society). Andy Dingley (talk) 10:22, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
So as I say, Davy's method depends utterly on electricity having been mastered. Not something we know to have been the case 2000 years ago. John (talk) 10:48, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm also unsure that world-aluminium.org is a reliable source for such claims (maybe better for stats, and if they defer to scholars on the linked page, I can't see it, I mostly get a blank page). If this interpretation is notable enough to be in the article, we probably can find a more reliable source like a book... —PaleoNeonate – 20:10, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
This might be of of interest. I still think this is in the "Cool story, bro" category though. --John (talk) 20:36, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. In a long-prose book this isn't a bad anecdote afterall. If this remains in a sentence in the article (with any extra material in footnotes) it may perhaps be acceptable. I still think that the sentence is misleading though, the claim should probably be attributed instead of saying "However, there is indication that...". Afterall, even Eskin presents it more like a tale. If attributed, I'm then wondering if he recounts this from another source or was the one who invented the relationship (Google books of course didn't allow me to reach the end of the chapter or book to see if a references list existed)... If he made the original claim, there would remain to see if his opinions on history are considered reliable or notable (they may be if other sites borrow the idea). —PaleoNeonate – 21:04, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
I reworked it, feel free to improve. —PaleoNeonate – 21:39, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
I don't quite see the point. Why cannot we directly attribute the statement to Pliny? It is normal for us to say "Scheele discovered oxygen" and then quote, let's say, some handbook rather than Lavoisier's 18th century work. I think the same should be right for Pliny ("Pliny wrote this tale" and then we quote a modern author). If you doubt Eskin, I've got an entire encyclopedia devoted to aluminum on my hands and it also mentions this story. Would it be good enough to talk about Pliny directly now?--R8R (talk) 22:06, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
It's a great story. It's just the scientific implausibility I am slightly gagging on here. --John (talk) 22:33, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Do you mean that Pliny was the one who linked the mysterious object to aluminium (did he know the metal form of aluminium existed)? If so, we can attribute it to him (and can probably add what is necessary to show that Pliny inferred that link). If not, we should attribute it to the person making that link. Assuming that Pliny did the link, we don't consider the claims of ancient historians as authorities, although they are often worthy of mention for historical and notability reasons. When they are, we also try not to present those as unambiguous facts (attribution then becomes important). Other than sourcing to reliable sources, we have policies about pseudohistory and the presentation of fringe ideas, their weight, etc. But we also work by consensus, so I would like to also let other editors comment. By the Eskin source, it wasn't clear if he made the link, if someone else did, or if Pliny did, so we can attribute the claim properly. If your encylopedia has more information, that is of course welcome too. Thanks, —PaleoNeonate – 22:54, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
But we never presented that for a fact that the Roman had aluminium. We only said that Pliny had a story about a Roman who had this metal, and this (Pliny having the story) most probably did happen, and we have reliable sources saying Pliny had this story. Having the claim in the article would best comply with WP:V. As for the "this metal could be aluminum" part, we could indeed suggest that Eskin makes the assumption this metal could be aluminium. So does Rusal, world's second largest aluminum producer, though: see page 5 of the pdf/8 of the book (that's the encyclopedia I was talking about. I only found its English edition a few minutes before). Note they don't say it for sure and we don't have to, either. Actually, we don't know if this metal was aluminum at all. We don't even know these events actually took place. We only say this story was once told and that this could be aluminum, though we don't know for sure. We know that and nothing more; but we only said that and nothing more. This perfectly complies with any Wiki rule I know and the common sense if you ask me.
I liked to have Eskin because then we can quote the entire story in a note. Of course, we can have both sources or more if needed.--R8R (talk) 23:12, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
What I and I suspect John are wondering is how on earth the smith in question could possibly have isolated the Al with Roman-era technology: it would probably reassure us greatly if Eskin were to give a plausible hypothesis for how he could have done this. At the moment all I can think of as an explanation is a small native aluminium deposit. I'd say we should reference the story to Pliny and then mention Eskin's interpretation of the metal as Al as a modern thing, since AFAIK the Romans had no inkling of Al the metal. Double sharp (talk) 23:27, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thank you for introducing me to the idea of native aluminium. I had no idea. John (talk) 09:53, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

Native aluminium exists, but you need a microscope and a very big hammer to find some. Although it probably forms as commonly as native copper, it's too reactive to survive. So it's only findable as inclusions. Nor is it found in anoxic bogs where it might survive, like native bog iron. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:30, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

John, I just did some initial googling and it appears there are other explanations to this story: it could be glass or the story could be fiction altogether. Would it be okay to restore the story as I added it and then mention these possibilities?--R8R (talk) 14:12, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

I confess to not following the discussion above but I just read the goldsmith story in the aluminium article. The report comes across as loony conspiracy style report that non-technical folks pray for to show that modern wonders were anticipated by the ancients... Just horse shit, IMHO.
The history section also begins with the statement "The history of aluminium has been shaped by usage of alum". For my money, history of an element should begin with the isolation of the elemental form, period. If we are not going to do that, then we introduce a degree of arbitrariness. If we just pick any composition containing aluminium, why not feldspar? It is naturally occurring and pervasive. Presumably it was used early on because people threw feldspar rocks at each other and built structures from it. Lots of Al minerals that could be selected. --Smokefoot (talk) 14:54, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
Please do read the discussion though. We've got the same story mentioned by the world's second largest aluminum producer company.
The history of aluminum began long before pure aluminum was synthesized. This is the article about the chemical element, not just the simple substance. If there's anything interesting about feldspar, please let me know. I've only known about kept records (=history) on alum so far. Also, for a good comparison, note that the article History of the United States does not begin with 1776 and the Declaration of Independence.--R8R (talk) 15:12, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
I will let you and others battle out the ancient history. The discussion becomes like arguing about the veracity of Bible stories, i.e. unending "he said, they said". Hopefully that material remains in a footnote. About alumn, why alum? My point is that if editors decide that the history of an element begins with a compound (i.e. composition of two or more elements), then a degree of caprice is introduced. There are lots of rocks that contain Al, why not claim that "The history of aluminium originates with the numerous common Al-containing minerals that were and are underfoot"? Also I do not understand why alum holds the pre-eminent position in Al history. And as it contains sulfate and potassium, does alum hold a preeminent position in the history of K, SO42-, S, and O? Yes, I am pushing the argument to silly limits, but only to highlight the arbitrariness of selecting any one of several compounds, especially when that compound is not widely abundant in nature. For that reason, it seems that the history of an element begins with isolation of said element, period. Thanks for listening. And thank you for being so engaged. --Smokefoot (talk) 15:48, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
We go with alum because that's the mineral that found itself in history. It was useful for many centuries. People used it (they dyed stuff with it) and they kept records of doing so (events become history when they are recorded, at least in the context of human history), that is why. Those underfoot minerals just laid around (that is, unless you know another compound that was used. As of now, I don't; if you do, please let me know). This is the mineral that aluminum was synthesized from, for that matter; the resemblance between "alum" and "alumin(i)um" is not a coincidence, either.
Why is it so important for aluminum and not potassium, sulfates, or oxygen? Because potassium is known for a plenty of other things; so are sulfates; so is oxygen. It is a story from the histories of all of these, but it's only as bright compared to the other facts in aluminum's history.
Also, if you ask me, it is very arbitrary not to include the whole history and only go with the simple substance. Again, simple substance is far from the whole story of the chemical element and I genuinely don't see why stop there. That would be very incomplete if you ask me.
Thanks for the compliment. Much appreciated.--R8R (talk) 16:09, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
I think it is very reasonable to start with the history of alum, because before you can get to the isolation of Al, you need to explain how people came to suspect that there was a new element in there. And obviously the failed attempts must fall under that too: I think I was correct to mention the old misconception that all acids contained oxygen and thus Cl must be an oxide of something in the history section of the Cl article, for example. But I think mentioning the commercial use in the past of Al at length as we do now is a touch overdone. I'd suggest just giving one or two sentences along the lines of alum being known to and widely used by the ancients, and then continuing with the Renaissance-and-later probings of its chemical compositions. Otherwise, I think we'd have to start the Na and Cl articles with a lot of material about the ancient roles salt had in human history, no? ^_^
Shortening this would also, I think, remove some doubts about the ancient history. I find Eskin's conjecture highly interesting, and I guess not completely impossible given the existence of native Al, but it is still really improbable and it is just one person talking. I would be much more at ease with its inclusion if we could demonstrate that this interpretation of Pliny's narrative is more than a fringe view. Double sharp (talk) 07:47, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
The commercial use of alum was a reason why alum became a vital part of the Mediterranean trade. Perhaps this is not well explained right now, and one day I'll get to it, but alum (or dyes in general, don't quite remember, but alum was an important product for dyeing anyway) actually was a very important trading product back then. The "today I bring you victory over the Turk" quote continues to say basically, "now that we have our own alum, we can go war on the Turk." You'd guess it was important from that alone, though there's a plenty of stuff to talk about here, which we don't do because of the limits on space, but this is important. And I should perhaps remind y'all we're only talking about two medium-sized paragraphs (4 and 5 lines near the picture, correspondingly).
Actually, if the table salt is (sorry, won't check right now) as important for the history of recognition and isolation of sodium and chlorine, yes, I'd want that added, too. (On a quick note, however, I'll note that neither element is called "saltium" or the like.)
The whole point is that it's not just one person talking. Would you look at the Rusal reference I attached earlier in this thread, the one that even has its own article in en.wiki? It, too, mentions as a possibility (and I wouldn't want to claim more) that this was aluminum. Why would that not be enough to say there is such a claim and leave it there?--R8R (talk) 11:43, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
The reason why I am so sceptical about the whole thing is that Pliny recounts pretty much the exact same story about Tiberius and flexible glass, with the same fate of the inventor, and did not actually believe it (he says "the story is more frequently told than it is reliable"). I suppose I can accept putting the claim in, as long as we make it clear where it comes from, as we do.
BTW, you might like to add the reports of Chinese Jin Dynasty aluminium (paper: 10.1179/isr.1986.11.1.88), to include something of Eastern history as well. ^_^ Double sharp (talk) 14:04, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
Great. @PaleoNeonate, John, and Smokefoot:, can we agree on that?
Yes. Yes, I would, actually, thank you very much. At the moment, however, I am busy with the history of the official discovery, but I'd definitely want to check for that later separately as well as the trading history I've mentioned earlier.--R8R (talk) 14:30, 24 October 2017 (UTC)

Move the history of alum to ....[edit]

Alum. This is an article about uh... what ... oh, aluminium, not some compound of it. Alum has been selected with the best of intentions but arbitrarily. Why not this history of feldspar, which I have heard is the most abundant mineral? Or cryolite, the key to making aluminium? Or AlCl3, which we all teach in class? It worries me that someone can march in here (being bold, I know) and select their favorite compound, declare sovereignty over all of aluminium, and then reorient an article called aluminium to a quaternary phase thereof.

So is R&R going to march into sodium and declare that henceforth its history should revolve around his favorite sodium compound? And then on an on?

The solution to this exercise in synthesis (WP:SYN) (creating concept that alum is a particular standout) is obvious: history of X goes into an article on X. --Smokefoot (talk) 17:23, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

I am sorry but you seem to miss the fact I've stated twice: this is the article about a chemical element, not the simple substance formed by the element. That's what even the line directly under the title says. We have articles on elements, not simple substances (which is why the article on mercury is called mercury (element) and not mercury (metal)).
Alum has not been chosen arbitrarily. Alum has been chosen because that's the compound we have most information on prior to the creation of the simple substance. This is the criterion used (so please stop with the "arbitrary" thing). If you have such information about feldspar, or cryolite, or any other mineral, please let us all know, as I have already suggested you do if there is any.
And stop accusations of me doing some things you've just come up with.--R8R (talk) 18:16, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Two questions at this stage about "Alum has been chosen because that's the compound we have most information on prior to the creation of the simple substance."
  • Who is "we"?
  • And: which body declared that an article about an element should have a large section on one of its compounds? --Smokefoot (talk) 18:26, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Myself and, I guess, you, since I've twice invited to submit information on any other compounds and you've provided none.
  • None to my knowledge. Which body prohibited such information, though? Which body is there at all to regulate this?--R8R (talk) 18:31, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
OK, I am just registering my view that the inclusion of the history of alum in this article is tangential and, sorry to use this word, arbitrary. The section is a form of synthesis (an editor decides something vs an authoritative source decides something). Regarding you being a committee of one to select alum, I guess anyone can just write about their favorite compound and insert that an element article? Why not write a big section on methane for the page on hydrogen? Well, we should definitely have a bigger section on water, right? But ammonia drives so many environmental and heath aspects, that should be featured, we can agree?
I don't doubt that your intentions are good, but, IMHO, I assert that they are misguided.--Smokefoot (talk) 18:43, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Okay then. But let's register one more thing that is not clear to me yet: what "authoritative source" are we talking about that I am contradicting?
Why not a big section on methane in hydrogen? Well, if methane was nearly as important to hydrogen as alum is to aluminium (if it was the problem to see what this light element in methane was that kept research on methane for decades; that alone would deserve a mention) and if it was, if methane played such an important role in the history of trade and chemistry (it was an important part of the world trade at some point, was declared a major type of gases prior to the atomic theory; that would deserve the history part), then I'd be all for it. But it wasn't and it didn't, so no. That's why it's also a no for water. If it was the desire to see what water was made of that led to the discovery of hydrogen, I'd think otherwise. Ammonia in hydrogen is different than, say, mercury in mercury fluoride in that it's not the hydrogen in ammonia that is toxic; it's the entire molecule. That's why I'm all pro metal salts in Toxicity sections of metal articles but not hydrogen in ammonia.
Thank you. I'm glad we could assure a respectful thinking of one another.--R8R (talk) 19:11, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Suggested answers:
(1) "what "authoritative source" are we talking about that I am contradicting?" You have the argument backwards. what authoritative source on aluminium compels you to write a large section on alum? We dont do things because they are not banned, we do things because the actions are encouraged.
(2)you ask "Why not a big section on methane in hydrogen?" Because most editors know better.
Oh, well you have exploited the central problem and strength with Wikipedia, anyone can edit. And few really care, because it takes work to care.--Smokefoot (talk) 19:32, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
(1) If you ask me, you are putting the argument backwards. I'm doing what I am because of my own judgment (so I guess I can take the "arbitrary" argument in a way). That's sort of the point of Wikipedia: you don't have rules you couldn't stray from if you believe you're improving Wiki. What's even better, there's no rule I'm straying from even; I guess if there was one, you'd have provided it already. What I'm doing is encouraged by a general guideline (WP:BOLD, also see this flowchart). That's a rationalization in the spirit of Wikipedia. Also, nice way to dodge the question. You anticipated my action to an unnamed "authoritative source" and when I asked what that source was just went "you got that backwards." So is there no answer to my question and is there no authoritative source I'm contradicting? Is there then a chance I'll see you take this anticipation back? And since we're at it, what can you name what leads you other than your own judgment, something written in Wiki rules, something that beats my rationalization, and something that should prevent me from issuing the "arbitrary" label to you as well?
(2) Did you notice I provided a detailed answer to that one myself? Also, do you realize that "most editors know better" is no reply at all because there's nothing that could be challenged and then reasonably agreed with? "I know better that my way is the better way" -- see, this comment is pointless.
I care. I presume you do, too, in your way, which is good. What isn't good is that you're seeming to deny me that feeling because you don't like my way.--R8R (talk) 20:04, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

The fluorine article starts its history section with 1400 characters before coming to the isolation, sodium uses only 600. Aluminium starts now with 4600 characters on alumn. The history of alumn might be interesting but it is only a starting point, now it governs the whole history section. The main point I would ask, why do we do it here so much different than on the other elements. I always tried to put the discovery and the first identification or production of the element into the focus of the history section. It would be nice to hear why it is an improvement only for this article to start with the compound which is known for much longer and was widely used. There are elements which have a long history of usage before the first isolation CaCO3, NaCl as an example. Is it considered to be an improvement if we include the extended history there too?--Stone (talk) 20:16, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

My general belief is that alum is important to aluminium. Aluminium was synthesized from alumina, which camу from alum. That's the it is here at all. It also deserves some extra space because of the not yet very well covered story on how it was an important part of the Mediterranean trade. Alum looks to take too much space compared to the whole section because I'm going chronologically and I haven't completed the section yet; upon completion it should look better proportion-wise. However, the section takes so much space now and I myself believe that the size of the History section is already too great, and it will only keep growing. So upon completion it will be moved to a separate subarticle, which was, by the way, precisely the thing that happened to fluorine. I don't want to add too little material because after all material has been added, there won't be any flaws of judgment on what we should be featured and what should not based on editors' willingness and unwillingness to add material to Wikipedia. Also, we'll have a nice subarticle.
As for other elements: I can't judge for them all, and would rather not right now. I do hope that the paragraph above should satisfy you for the time being but if not, could we still wait for when I've completed the story?--R8R (talk) 20:35, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
The quality, importance and the style of the added text was never in question. It is well written. To shorten it to the appropriate length is a good idea, the alumn article will look funny with a long and detailed history section while the rest of the article is not to the GA standard. --Stone (talk) 05:14, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
The development as described by R8R sounds inviting and wiki. (Maybe the split off can happen before the section itself is a full-fledged article though). -DePiep (talk) 08:12, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
I don't mind if the alum article starts looking like a funny mix of qualities. To my mind, it's better to have some bits of high quality than none. But this sort of thing is exactly why I tend to do this sort of a rewrite in userspace: that way, when the proportions are unbalanced because some things have not been written yet, they are not really affecting the article as the readers are going to see it. I too would support a summary being left here and a move of the full version to a subarticle. It doesn't seem to me that an article on Al should start with 4600 characters on a compound of it, however important. 600 to 1400 seems good, like Na or F. Double sharp (talk) 09:07, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
The first three sections of History focus on alum. That seems like WP:UNDUE. We are not arguing quality, but weight (=length, topic selection) --Smokefoot (talk) 13:55, 27 October 2017‎ (UTC)

Intermediate suggestion for History section[edit]

(by Smokefoot (talk) 13:55, 27 October 2017‎ (UTC))

These are opening sentences for each of the three opening sections on the history of aluminium:

Early history

The history of aluminium has been shaped by usage of alum. ... a rich source of alum at Tolfa near Rome, he reported excitedly to his godfather, "today I bring you victory over the Turk".

Establishing nature of alum

"The nature of alum remained unknown....

Synthesis of metal

In 1760, French chemist Theodor Baron de Henouville declared he believed the earth of alum..."

--Smokefoot (talk) 13:55, 27 October 2017‎ (UTC)

Continue main talk[edit]

When I mention quality, I mean that the text is of quality, but should be in the alum article instead (where goodness knows it would do it a great deal of improvement). To my mind, the history of Al starts at the most with the first inklings when someone thought there was an metallic element that awaited isolation from one of its compounds. Some of the later things about the "earth of alum" are a step in this direction and I would not object to them remaining, but I think the "early history of alum" is quite irrelevant here. Double sharp (talk) 15:37, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Guys, can judgments wait for until the planned work has been done? I have stated I will at least partially address your concerns but for some reason you don't just stop for a while now to see how it actually goes. We can then see what I have intended to get done and you'll be welcome to judge it then.--R8R (talk) 20:08, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
OK, I'll layoff. Happy editing. --Smokefoot (talk) 20:11, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. I'll try to keep you waiting for not too long.--R8R (talk) 20:16, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

Because of a thread like this I like wikipedia and its authors ;-) --Stone (talk) 20:56, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

To do[edit]

  • Complete 20th (maybe start early 21st) century
  • Emphasize the importance of aluminium's properties for its uses and history in general
  • Fix reference formatting
  • Move the text to a sub-article and leave a shortened version here

--R8R (talk) 13:29, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

If it is to be a stand-alone, then why ... not ... do ... split ... right away? Why stretch it this long? It might snap. -DePiep (talk) 23:33, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
Because of my own flaws if nothing else. I won't be as interested to contribute to an article other than the one I am seeking to improve.
Also it won't snap. This article is rated C and rightly so. I guess I could have to be subtle on a good GA. This isn't the case, so there is no reason to apply the high criteria while the article is being constructed.--R8R (talk) 04:00, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

@John, Smokefoot, Stone, Double sharp, and PaleoNeonate: I have completed the History and related Etymology sections. As promised, you all are now welcome to provide comments.--R8R (talk) 13:45, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

I strongly suggest to split it right away, as intended. Already three weeks ago (!) we agreed it was too unbalanced. As it is now, the main article is used as a sandbox. Also, I don't see any advantage in polishing it in a situation where it will not stay. -DePiep (talk) 17:34, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
I already have, as intended. The long text is in a subarticle now and the main article features a shortened copy.--R8R (talk) 17:46, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
OK, great! I'm sorry I did not check this ... R8R -DePiep (talk) 23:05, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

On texts[edit]

Here I want to point out some text questions.

  • Lede now says: "Aluminium metal is so chemically reactive that native specimens are rare and limited to extreme reducing environments. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals". Even I, a very interested reader, do not get this. And no, clicking links should not be necessary to understand the lede, only to go into detail.
Allow me to question:
"Aluminium metal is so chemically reactive that native? specimens? are rare and limited to extreme reducing? environments. Instead?[what is the contradiction?], it is found combined in over 270 different minerals[this i understand!]."
-DePiep (talk) 22:38, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
I haven't gotten there yet. I will rewrite this later.
Nonetheless, here are your answers:
  • "native" refers to aluminium metal (or, to be precise, ores containing it) existing in nature;
  • "specimens" hints at the fact that this native aluminium does not exist in bug chunks;
  • "reducing" is a fair chemical term. See redox;
  • the contradiction is that aluminium exists as a metal in the nature only very rarely, while it is very common as a part of various minerals.
Hope that helps.--R8R (talk) 22:52, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
??? Don't explain here, improve the text there!!! (yes later on is OK too, it's just: don't waste you time here). It is not for me, just asking for a friend (aka our Reader). -DePiep (talk) 23:21, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Section with isotopes[edit]

  • Changed section title "Nuclear" into "Isotopes" [2] -DePiep (talk) 19:11, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
From my talkpage:

I get the intention, but don't let uniformity be the only trait that guides you. I want to try out something new here. A story is especially interesting when you see its different parts affect each other. This is why I run my usual order of sections (I don't know if it's the one preferable by our project; certainly it is not the order I met this article with), for example. Here, I want to try this as well: start with nuclear properties (not only isotope-related, but also the generally element-related lightness of nuclei) to show why aluminum is so light i.e. not dense (aluminum is well-known for its low density, so this is perfectly appropriate to try here if you ask me). Can we have the previous subtitle back?--R8R (talk) 18:01, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

My reply R8R:
I'm not claiming that the section title should be exactly "Isotopes". I just expect that word to be in the TOC, maybe like "Isotopes and nuclei". Some ten (heavier) elements have such a construct, IIRC. Having the word 'Isotopes' in section title helps readers when searching, especially since it supports the importance we give them in the infobox (infobox should reflect main topics). Also, it builds recognisable (similar) article structures. -DePiep (talk) 19:11, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps that would be good, too. Meanwhile, can you name one element that does use such a construct?--R8R (talk) 19:50, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Beryllium#Isotopes and nucleosynthesis
Flerovium#Nuclear stability and isotopes
Livermorium#Nuclear stability and isotopes
Moscovium#Nuclear stability and isotopes
Oganesson#Nuclear stability and isotopes
Oxygen#Isotopes and stellar origin
Plutonium#Isotopes and nucleosynthesis
Tennessine#Nuclear stability and isotopes
Unbinilium#Nuclear stability and isotopes
Unbiunium (has not)
Ununennium#Nuclear stability and isotopes
Yttrium#Isotopes and nucleosynthesis
All others have "== Isotopes ==", two or three = deep.
-DePiep (talk) 11:26, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. I've clicked many articles and wasn't able to find a single one. Of the stable elements, there are only three, so no wonder, really.
All three have basically "Isotopes and nucleosynthesis." I don't intend to cover nucleosynthesis there (rather in Occurrence). I'd want to have a title like "Nuclear properties and isotopes," but the word "properties" is already taken by the section. I'll give it a thought. I am inclined to follow your suggestion to keep the word "isotopes," though.--R8R (talk) 19:19, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes, same idle searches here ;-). So today I ran an AWB check. (I remember checking/creating them last February/March when I was working on the new Infobox isotopes).
The 'Properties' wording needs more playing I agree. I note, reading 'Nuclear' in an article about Al is correct but also associating with radioactivity with me (a half-layman).
Btw, did you consider using {{Infobox aluminium isotopes}}? CAn it be improved to use this? -DePiep (talk) 19:34, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
You wouldn't be wrong thinking about radioactivity. It is mentioned in an Isotopes section of every element.
I used "Nuclei and isotopes." I want to follow the nuclei--electrons--bulk pattern, which is the reason to want the word "nucleus" in the subtitle.
I'm leaning no on the isobox. Certainly not until the element infobox has been shortened (will either sandwich the text or be misplaced depending on if aligned left or right). Even then, as long ad the isobox is not mandatory, I am still learning no: as long as I know, only two isotopes are of importance. We don't need to devote an entire table to them.--R8R (talk) 18:33, 22 November 2017 (UTC)

#Etymology seems to say the US uses "aluminium" (two Is)?[edit]

As in the title of this section, the Aluminium#Etymology currently reads as follows:

It is, however, spelled differently nowadays in the Northern America and most other countries: aluminium is in use in the U.S. and Canada while aluminium is in use elsewhere.

The US, however, spells aluminium (at least frequently) without the second i. Currently, both spellings of aluminium in the sentence are identical, and so, since it looks like it's set up to contrast the spellings ("X is in use in North America, and Y is in use elsewhere"), I think the variant without the second i should be in use here.

There was an attempted fix ([3]) which was reverted ([4]) per Talk:Aluminium/Spelling, but this seems to have been automatic and erroneous. I thought I would bring the matter here so it didn't look like I was edit warring, but it does genuinely seem like that section should state that aluminum is in use in North America, as opposed to how it currently says aluminium.

(I would like to clarify that this is *not* a proposal to change the spelling used throughout the article, and so it seems wrong for me to place it under Talk:Aluminium/Spelling. It is just this single example, which looks to be specifically contrasting the spellings.)

Throne3d (talk) 01:48, 25 November 2017 (UTC)

Yeah, we made a mistake. Fixed; thank you! Double sharp (talk) 07:06, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick response! This seems resolved now. Throne3d (talk) 14:52, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Did you even bother to READ the sentence prior to fixing it? (I suspect not.) As my teacher often said: Doublecheck your work. Or as carpenters say: Cut once, but measure twice (or even thrice) so you don't screw up. I don't think you bothered to read the article..... you simply POUNCED on the "aluminum" as a mistake, without bothering to read the CONTEXT of the sentence.
I think your rhetoric is misplaced, since I am certainly not the one who introduced this typo. Sadly we can't read the mind of whoever did, but it strikes me that there's a great difference between editing Wikipedia and carpentry: here you can cut more than once. Double sharp (talk) 15:25, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Spelling in en.wiki[edit]

@Double sharp: I mentioned that en.wiki uses one spelling only as a description of an editorial policy. We don't claim to confirm an external fact with our own research, which would indeed be a self-reference. A similar example can be found in a Washington Post article, where they mention what form of writing they use. We are free to describe, not claim; and describe we do, but nothing more.--R8R (talk) 14:32, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

I agree, which is why I left the statement in: I only removed the word "legitimate", which seemed a bit redundant. Nonetheless, the internal link to our policy at WP:ALUM seemed a little bit much to me, though I understand the reason for it.
(Incidentally I have wondered for a while if it would not be better to write the Al, S, and Cs articles in the spellings that look right for their titles. Otherwise they would probably keep attracting "corrections" as the average reader has probably never heard of IUPAC. But you are the one working on it and it is your decision: if it was me working on the sulfur article, I would be rather persuaded to try to use American spellings just that once.) Double sharp (talk) 15:01, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
I cannot see why a spelling of one word should dictate spellings for other words.
However, "sulfur" is slowly becoming the British spelling as well. While looking for info about spelling, I learned that while American scientific organizations such as American Chemical Society and PubMed use aluminum and cesium, the Royal Society of Chemistry uses sulfur. IUPAC acknowledges aluminum and cesium but not sulphur, not because of the AmE/BrE conflict but because they despise that particular spelling (I don't remember the exact reason, though, but I even remember reading an article devoted to the subject spelling, and the article is said to have influenced IUPAC along with some other factor). Even our sulfur article mentions that the process is on the way. One may argue that the language of science has two spellings for Al and Cs but only one for S.--R8R (talk) 15:26, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
(ec) WP:ALUM is not just an internal editorial policy, it clearly references the IUPAC Recommendations (Red Book 2005). They say p59/pdf: "The IUPAC-approved names of the atoms of atomic numbers 1-111 for use in the English language are listed in alphabetical order in Table I". So not only recommended, but "approved" even. I'm absolutely fine with current habit: mention the alt name in opening line, and maybe dedicated sections (like history), but prevent at all costs spreading those. In compound names they would be deadly, even.
Why is this still an issue? -DePiep (talk) 15:29, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't understand the approach. Many internal IUPAC documents use aluminum and they openly acknowledge these alternative spellings. They don't have a mandate over all of chemistry and they are not even trying to say anything more than "this is what we [i.e., IUPAC] use." Why do you see such a problem in using these?--R8R (talk) 15:34, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
You are downplaying the significance of the IUPAC statement. They only say "The alternative spelling aluminum is commonly used" (but is not in the Table I p. 248); same for Cs, not for S. There is reason enough: be consistent, do not introduce confusion, follow the authority. -DePiep (talk) 15:44, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
First of all, the policy of Wikipedia is not following a single standard but rather following whatever particular editors find comfortable. See WP:ENGVAR. Consistency is not to be maintained (both color and colour are allowed). The confusion is not going to be a shocker (the British, for instance, are not going to be any more confused about aluminum than about color). As for the authority, I think you are giving their statement more credit than it's worth and even that still allows for the disputed spellings. I presume you are talking about the Red Book. The Red Book is a part of the nomenclature of IUPAC, i.e. nomenclature they use. Other scientists may or may not follow them; some, including the aforementioned American Chemical Society, actually don't (now is a good moment to remember about the spirit of ENGVAR). But given that the book acknowledges the existence of this spelling, I don't see why we wouldn't.--R8R (talk) 16:02, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
the policy of Wikipedia is not following a single standard??? This is not ENGVAR, this is IUPAC about element names. The Al, Cs, S spellings are not by language, but by a set definition (set by an international body, named "Recommendations" per title, and "approved" in case of these names). Nowhere in IUPAC or chemistry these spellings are "disputed", it's just people here bringing up an already settled case (and some institutes simply don't follow). Yes I am about the Red Book, as I already linked. These are not "nomenclature they use"; it's called Recommendations for the outside world.
To cut things short, what are you actually proposing? Return to local spellings for these element names? To what gain? -DePiep (talk) 16:17, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
I am not (not at the moment at least) proposing anything. But I genuinely don't understand why people argue for standardized spellings. Since you're pro it, I'm trying to acquire that information by asking you questions and suggesting countering theses. I've read past discussions and the theses used there did not convince me. So I'm trying to learn whether there's more to it. For instance, I admit you are correct on the purpose of their nomenclature.
Here comes the question of why a definition of common words is to be at all overwritten by any recommendations. If a world color association suggested that the word "color" is spelled "color" while "the alternative spelling 'colour' is commonly used," would we have to unambiguously follow? Especially since their recommendations acknowledge the other spellings; I assume that if they wanted to say "use this, period," as I think you're trying to imply, they would not mention those; this marks a difference from the 1990 Red Book, where they did mean that.
The case indeed appears to be settled by IUPAC. The questions are, is your interpretation of their settlement correct and do we have to follow their particular settlement in the first place.--R8R (talk) 17:41, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Back in Autumn 2004 we (a group of science minded editors) decided to try establishing a standard for science articles to stop the constant edit warring over the spelling of sulfur and aluminium (and caesium to a lesser degree). We decided to go with IUPAC spelling and developed WP:SULF and WP:ALUM. Once the guidelines were established and were there to cite the edit warring slowed ... a victory for sanity. (Even tho' I preferred aluminum and cesium :). Let's not return to the pre-2004 chaos. Vsmith (talk) 18:53, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

@Vsmith: thank you very much for signing in to this discussion. Indeed, an arbitrary solution (I consider the current solution to be quite arbitrary for our purposes) for the sake of stability of articles is certainly better than an arbitrary solution for the sake of the solution.
It appears to me that not having the guideline wouldn't be a problem so much today. The rationale for the current solution sounds like the solution is temporary. I'd love to understand the difference between the Wikipedia we have today and what you had in 2004 (that was 13 years ago and Wikipedia was still young). Personally, I've only been able to dig back to 2005 and I didn't know there was more to look into.
  • First of all, was the WP:ENGVAR policy in widespread use back then? Personally, I don't think there's much difference between undoing an edit referring to WP:ALUM and WP:ENGVAR. It seems that now ENGVAR is fully respected and known by most, if not all, editors.
  • What kind of mess existed in 2004 that are we talking about? I genuinely don't know and would love to hear from you on this. I've only seen the extensive talks here and there after the solution has been invented.
  • You said that edit warring slowed down after this guideline had become active. Could you elaborate on this as well?
I find it interesting that the decision was in fact made in 2004. Back then, the contemporary Red Book did not allow aluminum and cesium; now it does.--R8R (talk) 17:16, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure it really matters when exactly the decision was made. Guidelines have evolved over time. Whether you agree or not, what we have now keeps the encyclopaedia much more stable than it was in 2004 and, I believe, much more balanced. Rather than edit warring we can focus on issues that matter like sourcing, which used to be far more optional, and populating articles on important things rather than on the most popular things. Overturning the apple cart to suit certain editor's personal preferences will simply lead to more edit warring, so, generally, we keep the status quo. If you really want to learn about the article's history you can see it in the article and talk page history. If, however, what you want to do is argue about the rationale for using the spelling we use then there is a separate talk page for that. Come armed with your best Google stats and other original research, like all the editors who've tried in the past. Wiki-Ed (talk) 20:39, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Under no circumstances do I want to edit war. Let's make that clear.
What you say here cannot be taken for granted. It is indeed quite possible you are right, if you can prove that, that is. If you do, nothing will proceed on my side. I am asking you questions which possibly have the answers to refute my doubts about the credibility of the rule. It appears to me you'd want that. And make no mistake, as of yet, I am not claiming the opposite.
I realize I could look into all of this, and I will anyway. But I'd love to hear it from you as you may add something I would miss myself. I do actually consider that you may reveal information that would convince me that status quo would be the best. Since you are so confident with your take on this, I believe it should be no problem for you to answer my questions.
Also please don't accuse me of doing something I did not do and did not plan to do.--R8R (talk) 21:29, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
"Harsh" approach? Maybe because we've seen it all before. In my view settling on an independent standard was a convenient way of bypassing original research on language usage. You can see all the contrived arguments in the talk pages (both this one and the aluminium spelling one). If, however, you want to discuss/reconsider the guideline and the viability of the standard that underpins it then this is the wrong place. Perhaps try naming conventions (chemistry)? Wiki-Ed (talk) 20:53, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
It appears to me there is some misunderstanding here. I am not proposing any changes, and given all the previous talks, this wouldn't be the place if I did. I am gathering information and nothing more. Since Vsmith joined the discussion, there are questions I want to ask. Indeed, I don't like not even a particular spelling but rather the mandatory rule enforcing it. But currently I'm seeing something before my eyes that could potentially justify it, so of course I have questions.
I never argued we should change the spelling right now, with the rule still intact. It's a rule and as long as it is, I have respect for that.--R8R (talk) 21:11, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
  • If there's no proposal to change anything here, I would propose closing. I support the long-standing compromise embodied in WP:ALUM. --John (talk) 21:05, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Why? This doesn't seem like a discussion to be closed at all, as it is not related to a action to be or not to be executed and it is not a general gathering of opinions like an RfC. Besides, I asked questions that I would love to see answered just two days ago.--R8R (talk) 21:11, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
See WP:NOTFORUM. This page is strictly for discussing improvements to the article on aluminium. --John (talk) 21:35, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't see how this discussion disobeys the rule since we're discussing a rule directly related to this article. But perhaps your position can be defended, too, so I won't argue and will rather ask Vsmith directly. (Though please don't close the discussion, this would be excessive from any perspective.)--R8R (talk) 21:51, 7 December 2017 (UTC)