Talk:And Then There Were None/GA1

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GA Review[edit]

Article (edit | visual edit | history) · Article talk (edit | history) · Watch

Hi, I will be reviewing this article soon. It may take me a few days to finish, so I'll try to post my review in sections. Cheers, Ricardiana (talk) 04:09, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Criterion 1 - Well-written, complies with MOS[edit]

The writing is not bad overall, and the article mostly complies with the Manual of Style, but there are definitely some problems.

  • The plot summary is very long. An encyclopedia article should be more concise. I suggest just cutting some info out - for instance, there's a long section on the characters in the plot summary but then a separate section on "Characters" later, which is a little repetitive. Some info you might be able to split off into separate articles - like the poem. In any case, the plot summary needs to be pruned considerably.
Mostly done. I've pruned off the Characters list, but I haven't gone over the majority of the actual plot yet.
  • Once the plot summary is over, there are a lot of bulleted lists in the article for films, etc. They are definitely a nice visual break after scrolling through so much unrelieved text in the plot summary, but the MOS doesn't like [[1]], so re-write them as paragraphs.
  •  Done
  • The "other" section is basically trivia, at least in format. Some of the info, like the pastiche, could just be part of a more broadly titled film adaptation / interpretation section; other stuff like the Spiderman bit is just trivia and will have to go, sorry.
  • I think it would make more sense to put the "Publication history" section up after the plot summary and before getting into the films, etc. As it is I was reading about the book, then about films and computer games and then back to the book again. I would put all the book stuff together. Publication history could even go first, before plot, which might help to defray some of the past edit wars over the title.
  •  Done
  • Some of the sections are very, very short, like the Geography one. I'm not sure the really short sections need to be their own sections - work the information into existing sections - the geo. info could easily go into the plot summary - or else beef things up a little. Is there more info on the graphic novel or video game?
  •  Done
  • There are a number of local sentences I found unclear, but they were all in the plot summary section and I don't see the point in nit-picking if someone is just going to re-work the whole section anyway, so I'll save any local comments for later, after that section has been pared down.
  • The "Bibliography" section only lists Taves, but none of the other sources. You could do two things here: one, get rid of the section altogether, since you have info under "References," or you could create a "Notes" and "References" section (I just did this to Nancy Drew, and Emily Dickinson, which is a Featured Article, has this layout as well).
  •  Done
  • Since the lead is supposed to be a summary of the article, you could add some more info to it - mention the adaptations into various media, for example. Ricardiana (talk) 04:43, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The "Literary reception" section is basically "So and so said: 'X.' Another person said 'Y.' Mr. Q: 'Z.'" It needs to read less like a collection of quotations and more like a synthesis of various opinions of the work. Paraphrase more. Ricardiana (talk) 04:52, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Criterion 2 - accurate and verifiable[edit]

Looks good here. One thing I do suggest - not for GA status, but just to make the article easier to work with - is re-doing the ref tags so that they refer quickly to fuller info in a References section - the example of Emily Dickinson cited above shows what I mean. The reason I recommend this is that it's just so much easier to edit when you're not faced with a huge long tag - although perhaps in this page's case, you want to make it harder to edit...hmmm....Ricardiana (talk) 04:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Criterion 3 - broad in coverage, focused on topic[edit]

Looks good here as well, except for the issues aforementioned with the overly long plot summary. Ricardiana (talk) 04:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Criterion 4 - neutral[edit]

Fine here. Ricardiana (talk) 04:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Criterion 5 - stable[edit]

Normally this would fail GA because of the edit wars, but in the case of this article the edit warring is I think inevitable. I suggest requesting semi-protection of this article at some point to try to cut down on that. Also, kudos to whoever thought of adding warnings about making changes - I hope that is helping, although it may be too early to tell. Ricardiana (talk) 04:43, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Criterion 6 - images[edit]

Current images look fine. It would be nice if you could add one or two more; trailers are in the public domain, I'm told, so you could use a still from a trailer, or a picture of a movie poster or something like that. Ricardiana (talk) 04:58, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


A lot of useful stuff but the ordering of the sections (e.g. put the publication history straight after the plot summary) is against the wikinovels template.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 08:20, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

"Do not, however, forget the spirit behind these guidelines. If they make editing or reading more difficult for a particular novel or for novels in general, change them or ignore them, preferably with some explanation on talk or meta pages. Many novels do not necessitate layouts such as this, or have special requirements that do not fit the template exactly." ~ I think this page might be an exception due to the edit wars over the title. The page has been semi-protected at one point evidently, it's had semi-protection requested but denied at least once, it's had the cover of the novel bat back and forth between versions in the past, and the page has invisible warnings to editors about the publication history. Seems to me just putting the publication history earlier on the page, rather than burying it at the bottom, might help with that. Thus my suggestion. Ricardiana (talk) 15:37, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


I see that Imperator has made number of good changes. Looks like this is what's left:

  • Plot summary is definitely better. Can still be pruned a little, which I see someone (Imperator?) is working on. In the process, there are some awkwardly worded sentences that can be shortened or eliminated in re-writing. Here are some examples:
  • "Thus, with his mental make-up the way it was, he became a judge, ordering the death penalty in all cases where he firmly believed the accused person guilty, so he could enjoy seeing them crippled with fear by the knowledge that they would soon be hanged." I'm all in favor of long, rolling, Dickensian sentences, but I think this one has a few too many clauses. Also, some of them are awkward: "with his mental makeup the way it was" could be "given his mental makeup" or something like that.
  •  Done
  • "He then picked them off one by one, reveling in the mental torture each survivor experiences as their own fate approaches." Inconsistent use of verb tense.
  •  Done
  • "After Vera (the guiltiest of the "condemned" according to the judge, since she not only deliberately allowed a child to drown but then managed to pass herself off as a heroine who had tried to rescue the boy) hanged herself, Wargrave, who had been watching from the bedroom closet, pushed the chair against the wall." That long parenthetical divorces subject from verb, and is info that could be covered in the character listing or at least re-worked here.
  •  Done
  • The "Other" section is still written in bulleted form, so that needs to change. In addition, I suggest either incorporating the info in to the film adaptation section, or retitling this section to be more specific, in order to avoid people adding trivia - I notice somebody did just yesterday. Even "Other film versions" might help with that.
  •  Done I've also added a note that will hopefully deter addition of trivia.
  • The citations to Taves only give author's last name - there should be more info. I'll go into the history and put it in if no-one else does.
  • Add something about film adaptations to the lead, as the lead should summarize the article. Could also mention video game and graphic novel.
  • "Literary reception" is still mostly a collection of quotations, mostly focused on reception. I added a quotation from a critic with an opinion about the significance of the work in general. What the section needs now is topic sentences of some kind, and perhaps breaking up the quotations. Something like this would read more smoothly: "Reception of the book was uniformly favorable. Early critics called the novel "ingenious" and "fascinating." Writing in the such-and-such periodical, so-and-so wrote that .... Other critics were similarly laudatory .... blah blah."
  •  Done

That looks like all that's left. I can make some changes myself, but I'm not allowed to do the bigger stuff. I'll keep checking back in. Best, Ricardiana (talk) 17:49, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

I've fixed all of the points but one (the citation to Taves). I'm afraid that I'm pretty hopeless in that area, so it would appreciated if you could help do it ;) Cheers. I'mperator 19:21, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Taken care of. Ricardiana (talk) 22:57, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

On hold status[edit]

Imperator has made a lot of good changes to this article, and it's much improved. I've put it on "On Hold" status for one reason, which is Criterion #1, the writing. I gave some examples above in the "Progress" section of some problematic sentences, and Imperator immediately went and changed them, so kudos to Imperator. However, sadly, those examples were just examples, not the only problematic sentences. So, I've put the article on hold; in a week, time will be up and I'll check back to see what changes have been made.

To give some guidance, I think that the main problem section is the plot summary. The "Characters" section has some problems as well. The writing in the rest of the article is fine.

I would list every problem sentence except that there are a lot of them. So, instead, I'll make a list of the kinds of problems to look for.

  • Long parenthetical statements, especially those that separate subject and verb or that interrupt a clause. In general, keep parentheticals short and to a minumum.
  • Eliminate wordiness. There's a lot of that here. To give just one example: "ten little figurines of soldiers." "Soldier figurines" would do just fine and eliminate the "of"; "figurine" implies little, so "little" is unnecessary.
  • On a related note, eliminate repetition.
  • Watch punctuation. A sentence should not have multiple semi-colons, for example, unless you are separating items in a list; semi-colons should not be used for commas; and dashes should be used sparingly.
  • Tone. The "Characters" section reads like the back cover of a 60s paperback. For an encyclopedia article, the language should be more matter-of-fact and less dramatic. Readers only need to know the character's names, professions, and past crimes. Descriptions of their appearance, etc., are what make fiction great and encyclopedia articles not so great b/c encyclopedia articles don't have that kind of thing. -As a guide, the description of Dr. Armstrong is perfect. The others should fit that pattern.
  • Consistency of verb tense. I gave one example already, but there are others, particularly in the "Postscript" section.

Update to status - will be asking for second opinion[edit]

Hello, I've checked back in and the bad news is that I don't think that this article is a GA just yet. I will be asking for a second opinion, however, rather than just failing it, since I'm new to this process.

My main reason is that not all my previous comments were addressed. I do appreciate that Imperator made a number of changes to address some of those comments. However, I was able to go in today and make a number of changes to eliminate wordiness (I cut nearly 1000 words on one edit alone), repetition, etc., as well as some issues with punctuation and so on. I know that it's OK for a reviewer to be bold and make changes herself, but my impression is that those changes should be minor. I don't know if the changes I've made are minor enough to be kosher or not, and I don't want to get in trouble for passing an article I've done too much work on. On the other hand, without some such changes as I made, I think the article would have failed on criterion 1.

So we'll see what the other reviewer thinks. Here are my thoughts:

  1. The plot summary is still way long. Do we really need a blow-by-blow of each person's death?
  2. The character summary was pruned a little, but I see someone added back in much of what was cut. I stand by my previous comments on this section.
  3. The literary reception and significance section is still rather chunky and clunky. Also, it focuses almost entirely on reception, and not very much on significance. I added a few quotations from a modern critic, but today as I'm flipping through Google Books I'm seeing other possibilities - Out of the woodpile By Frankie Y. Bailey, for one. This raises a new concern, because while a GA needn't be completely thorough, it shouldn't leave out anything important, and modern assessments of literary significance are definitely important to include in the section on literary significance.

So, I will be asking for a second reviewer shortly. Ricardiana (talk) 17:20, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Second opinion[edit]

I'd support a fail. However, since the criticisms I'd suggest (see below) haven't necessarily been covered before, you might want to consider giving it a day or two more before making a decision. However, aside from the several small issues, there's two large problems (two unreferenced sections, and an apparently less-than-comprehensive coverage of its reception) that I don't think can be solved in a short time without a lot of work.

  1. The word "Niggers" is wikilinked in the lede, but not "Indians" further down. I think the two terms should be treated with consistency, so I'd probably wikilink both words, but only in the first instance where they occur outwith a mention of the book's titles (in the ==Publication history== section)—personally I try to avoid wikilinking bold text unless absolutely necessary.
  2. I'd agree the Plot summary section is out of proportion to the rest of the article. More importantly, it's entirely unreferenced. You can either reference the book itself as a primary source, or use CliffsNotes or similar; see this link as an example. Note that this particular site requires registration, but if you can find something similar it should help you.
    Doing. I've added one citation to bookrags, but intend to use book itself more.
    Hmm, I respectfully disagree. The MOS says that citations should be given "when adding material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, when quoting someone, when adding material to the biography of a living person, when checking content added by others, and when uploading an image." None of this applies to a plot summary, and as a college instructor I have a big problem with the idea of citing Cliffnotes, Sparknotes, Bookrags, or anything similar. I also simply don't think that those are reliable sources. Ricardiana (talk) 04:03, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
    I see where you're coming from with this, and checking some on-Wiki discussions (e.g. here and here at the Reference Desk), their reliability is disputed, especially at Featured level. I'm not from the US and don't have first-hand experience of them, so I may have been mistaken in how "scholarly" these publications are considered.
    Nevertheless, I'd still prefer to see references either to the primary source or a reliable secondary source of some description. Such citations act both as barriers to passing vandalism (someone slyly changing "the butler did it" to "the housekeeper did it" is slightly more difficult to get away with if it conflicts with an external source), and also to demonstrate that the summary is not original research. However, as the primary reviewer the decision is yours; you won't see me demanding a review if you pass this sans citations for the synopsis. --DeLarge (talk) 10:46, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  3. The section heading of ==Characters in "And Then There Were None"== can simply be cut down to ==Characters==
  4. In ==Literary significance and reception== there's a spelling error: other reviewers were "as complimentary".
  5. In the same section, you don't need to give exact dates for when each critic said what; that should be covered by the citation.
  6. Same section again: "Such was the quality of Christie's work that many compared it to Roger Ackroyd." No initial wikilink to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and because you've given an abbreviated title, this reader (not a Christiephile) thought you were referring to another author rather than one of her earlier works.
  7. In the last two paragraphs of this section, you use "critics" in the plural, but only cite one for each viewpoint you're expressing. As expressed above, I think this hasn't been covered to the level of comprehensiveness required. What you might want to do is split this section in two, covering contemporary and modern analysis discreetly, and searching out more commentary.
  8. The opening sentence in ==Film, TV and theatrical adaptations== is very run-on, and lacks punctuation.
  9. The ===Television=== subsection should be better written than just five bullet points. It looks doubly bad because the sections around it are all properly written prose text.
  10. The first three sub-sections are, like the plot summary, entirely unreferenced. Not even a link to the IMDb page of each film?
  11. Given how short it is, I'd make ==Other media adaptations== a sub-section of the the one above, which I'd rename to something like ==Theatrical and media adaptations==. I'd then just mention the game and the graphic novel in a single paragraph. The current way of writing it gives greater prominence to the game than any of the TV adaptations, for example, by going into more detail about release dates etc. That's very... Wikipedic (sic), and not in a good way. In fact, I think I'd go further; just subsume the video game and graphic novel mentions into "other variations" since they're hardly notable. The game got mediocre reviews, and the graphic novel's only been out for a month.
  12. The fifth reference ( isn't formatted properly (see WP:Footnotes).

Apologies for being the bearer of bad tidings, but hopefully these criticisms can help improve the article in the longer term. Regards, --DeLarge (talk) 23:13, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Ok, sorry for not being responsive; I have just gotten Bart the Fink to GA status. Now that I'm back, I've made quite a few changes, and have encouraged a fellow editor to help copyedit the article. Thanks for waiting :) Cheers. I'mperator 02:41, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Second opinion from TheLeftorium[edit]

To be honest, I don't think the article meets the GA criteria. Here's some stuff you can improve:

  • "And Then There Were None" should only be bolded one time in the lead.
  • The plot section needs to be shortened down.
  • The "Film, TV and theatrical adaptations" needs to be referenced.

I suggest you withdraw/fail the nomination and work on the article a bit more before nominating it again. —TheLeftorium 13:22, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Per this and DeLarge's comments, as well as my own, I don't think that this article passes in its current state. I encourage you to submit it for GA again once my, DeLarge's, and TheLeftorium's concerns have been addressed. Ricardiana (talk) 00:42, 10 April 2009 (UTC)


The section describing the sequence and MO of the murders doesn't make sense, lines are repeated and confused. (talk) 23:57, 3 October 2012 (UTC)