Talk:Coffin birth

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Good article Coffin birth has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 18, 2011 Good article nominee Listed
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Move to new page?[edit]

I have just finished revising the entire article. I am open to the idea of moving the entire article to the page Postmortem Fetal Extrusion, as it is the more accurate and modern term, and is gaining academic usage over the older term. Opinions? Boneyard90 (talk) 22:28, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

leave it here - a redirect is sufficient under the modernn name SatuSuro 02:10, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

:::Move definately. We train to do this procedure. I have never heard of it called "coffin birth". Seem like calling a neonatologist a "baby doctor". Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:19, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Sorry, but you "train to do this procedure"? The topic is not a procedure, it's the possible result or an observable outcome of putrefaction. Perhaps you're thinking of postmortem C-section? Boneyard90 (talk) 18:40, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes you are completely right... Let me read further :-) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:35, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

No strong feeling on way or the other. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:36, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

I like the phrase "baby doctor" better than a neonatologist. --1sneakers6 (talk) 10:59, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Change it to Postmortem Fetal Extrusion (or possibly Spontaneous Postmortem Fetal Extrusion to differentiate it from posthumous birth and posthumous abortion) as being more accurate and more encyclopedic Guy Macon (talk) 06:09, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Good Article Review[edit]

GA Review[edit]

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 review is transcluded from Talk:Coffin birth/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: SpinningSpark 15:31, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

lede section

So far, I have only read the lede in detail. I will do a thorough review at the weekend.

  • My basic gripe with the lede is that it does not appear to be long enough and is not adequately summarising the contents of the article, WP:LEAD.
    • Lead expanded.
  • The claim that coffin birth is rarely mentioned in modern literature, and that this is due to embalming improvements, needs to be cited, if it is not so cited in the body of the article, and if ref 3 does not support it (I know ref 4 does not and google snippet on an older edition of Williams does not seem to support either).
    • Ref 3 (now 4, by Greene) states: "Today, modern embalming customs have made coffin birth so rare as to no longer be described in typical medical textbooks."
    • Ref 4 (now 5, Williams): Does not contain any reference to coffin birth. It is the 23rd edition (2009), and included as a supporting reference and to illustrate the claim made by Greene (above). However, I have added a 2nd paragraph to the "History" section. There, I mention the 1st edition (1904) of Williams' obstetric textbook, which described coffin birth, though the topic disappeared by the 23rd (2009).
  • I would question whether the medical name for the condition should be capitalised per MOS:CAP
    • No problem here. The article was a stub when I found it. See the above discussion here on the Talk page. I wanted to change the article name to "Postmortem Fetal Extrusion".
      • I agree with the comments on the talk page that the common name should be the title per WP:UCN. Unless you want to argue that the current title is not actually the common name or that there is some local project policy on naming that applies, like the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (chemistry), then the current title should stay. In any case postmortem fetal extrusion should not be capitalised whether it is the title of the article or not. SpinningSpark 18:07, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
        • I think the name is or has been in the process of changing. The classic layman's term was coffin birth (though even that isn't well known anymore), but even Gould and Pyle (1896) refer to it mostly as "postmortem delivery" (which has come to mean a broader range of phenomena). In the most recent forensic sources, Schulz et al.(2005) refer to the phenomenon primarily as postmortem fetal extrusion. In Lasso (2009), the term "coffin birth" is used only once in the abstract by way of the same explanation; the medical term is used throughout the rest of the article. "Coffin birth" gets way more hits on Google, but that's partly because there's a heavy metal band called "Coffin Birth". Sorry, the short reply: I concur with leaving the title as is.
        • On the de-capitalization of "postmortem fetal extrusion": Done. Boneyard90 (talk) 22:37, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
  • The "stages of death" navigation template seems out of place in the lede. This article does not directly correspond to any of the entries in the template and does not appear in it itself. It would be better as a full-width template at the foot of the article - it is more "see also" kind of navigation.
    • True. I included the template because "coffin birth" is a possible result of putrefaction, itself a stage of decomposition, so I figured "coffin birth" was a sub-stage of a sub-stage of a "stage of death". Also, I thought it would serve as "Supporting materials", as there were no photos to be found in Wikimedia Commons, nor PD images on Google. Photos are in both the forensic articles I reference, but I'm not sure they would be considered "appropriate" for an encyclopedia.
      • Wikipedia is not censored as a matter of policy. Appropiatemess is judged only by its relevance to the article. A medical article on a gruesome topic might be expected to have gruesome images. However, copyright is liklely to be an obstacle for images from published articles. SpinningSpark 21:36, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
        • True. Point taken on the censorship issue. Shall I remove the "Stages of Death" nav template, or let it stand? I though it would be helpful to the reader. Boneyard90 (talk) 22:18, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
          • I was not suggesting removing the information. I was suggesting the foot of the article is a more appropriate place for it. My suggestion is to put the information in a Navbox template. See Rubik's cube and Nikolai Tesla for examples; and Harpy Tomb for an uncollapsed example. SpinningSpark 18:07, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
            • Added 3 Navbox templates to the bottom of the article: Death and Related Topics, Medicine:Pathology, and Pathology of Pregnancy and Childbirth.
            • Moved the "Stages of Death" Template to the "See also" section. It's a vertical template, so it doesn't quite fit well at the very bottom. I also thought might go well in the "Taphonomic process" section, to give the reader a quick visual reference. What do you think? Boneyard90 (talk) 23:46, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
              • My suggestion amounted to creating a new horizontal template for "stages of death", but I am striking now, what you have done is fine. SpinningSpark 21:53, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Please indicate that you are actively responding to comments before I proceed with further reviewing. SpinningSpark 15:31, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
    • As you can see, I am actively involved here, and I expect I can respond to any comments ro questions within a few hours during the near future. Thank you for taking the time to review the article. Boneyard90 (talk) 18:02, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
  • The dablink tool in the toolbox says that the article links to five disambiguation pages. SpinningSpark 21:55, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Fixed 3/5. Two of the dab pages (eversion and deathbed) start with definitions that're relevant, then list pages that are not.
      • It is only in extremely rare circumstances that a link to a dab page would be correct, usually, it just puts readers to an inconvenience. If you are just looking for a dicdef, then a link to the Wiktionary entry eversion ([[wikt:eversion|]]) may be the way to go. I would question though, whether deathbed needs linking at all; is anyone likely to need to look this up? SpinningSpark 08:31, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
        • "Evert" linked to Wikitionary entry; "deathbed" de-linked.
  • Sorry, check the tool again, you now have two new ones. SpinningSpark 16:44, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Fixed x2.
  • Just skimming through what papers come up in google scholar (rather more hits for coffin birth than the technical name by the way, and all the heavy metal stuff is filtered out before it gets to scholar) and I came across this paper which gives a timescale for the last mention in the literature. Not really part of the GA review, just thought you might want to work it in. SpinningSpark 22:18, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Crap. Wish I had seen that Indian article before I submitted an article on this topic to an academic journal. Unfortunately, since I can only read the abstract, it's not much use here, but thanks anyway. Boneyard90 (talk) 01:54, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
  • The lede now has ten citations. While there is nothing wrong per se with citations in the lede, and there is the occassional necessary exception to this, they are not normally expected since the lede is supposed to be a summary of the article, and the citations in the article, if fully referenced, automatically support the lede also. Ten citations indicate that either the lede is introducing a lot of information that is not in the body, in which case there is a WP:LEAD problem with the article, or else that many of them are unnecessary and could be removed making for a cleaner lede. SpinningSpark 11:13, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Citations reduced to 3 in 2 places.
Etiology section
  • While I would not say that this section is bad for jargon, it could still be made clearer. Where it is necessary to use a technical term it should be glossed where a large number of readers are unlikely to understand it without being forced to follow the link. I also think that it is unnecessary to use "Etiology" in the title. How about "Causes", then gloss the technical term in the first sentence.
    • etiology: link and gloss on first use
      • Done, I think. Linked, check. "Gloss"?
        • Gloss - Wikipedia has an article on everything. I am asking for a brief parenthetical explanation SpinningSpark 07:31, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
          • Done.
            • The clause following "eitology" is part gloss and partly running text. There is only any point glossing the word if the reader feels they then understand the sentence well enough not to be diverted into immediately following the link.
              • Clause, as definition, moved to footnote.
    • serendipitous: how about "fortunate"
    • taphonomy: gloss
      • Done.
    • exoenzymes: this redirects to an article which does not mention the term. Needs explaining in-article.
      • Done.
    • bloated: no real need to link this, especially as it is piped to an already-linked article
      • Fixed. It was supposed to link to the section of Decomposition on bloating, like this, but somebody changed the headings so it just linked to the top of the article. Or I could just get rid of the link entirely.
        • This is a common problem. Are you aware of the {{anchor}} template which avoids this particular form of linkrot? SpinningSpark 07:31, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
          • I had not heard of it. But I checked it out. The directions on that page are confusing and vague. If you can insert the template here, please do so.
            • Lets say you want to link to "bloated" in the target article, but that heading does not exist (or even if it does exist but you are worried that someone might change it in the future). The heading that does exist in the article that you wish to link to is "Bloat". In the target article, immediately above the heading you write;
In your article you can then link to it as if it had that heading, e.g. [[Decomposition#bloated]]. You can specify multiple anchors in the same line. This is a necessary thing to do if different capitalisations might be used since the function is case sensitive - same as normal headings. For instance you could write;
then the section can be linked via any of "bloated", "Bloated", "bloating", or "Bloating". Anchors have the advantage that the link continues to work no matter what the editors of the target article do (as long as they don't actually delete the anchor) and also that they enable one to link to sections of text that do not have a heading. SpinningSpark 16:12, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Let me try. By "target article", do you mean the "Coffin birth" or the linked-to "Decomposition" article? And the anchor template; does that go above the heading in the "Coffin birth" article, or you mean it goes above the linked-to "Bloat" section fo the Decomposition article?
  • I think I've done it right.
    • amniotic membrane: link
      • Done.
    • prolapse: gloss
      • To do a "gloss" here might detract from the flow of the passage. A footnote?
      • Provided definition in context of topic, by re-wording "evert and prolapse", gloss-style, in a foot-note.
    • multiparous women: I see no real need to have this parenthetical. It is not used later in the article, and the definition here contradicts the linked article.
      • The article on parity (biology) states: "A woman who has given birth two or more times is referred to as multiparous". Doesn't seem contradictory. I added the term "multiparous women" because that's what's in the cited source, and I guess I personally like to know and use the short, "correct" term, rather than the paraphrased version. But, it's not germane to the article's subject, so I don't mind deleting it. Keep or delete? Boneyard90 (talk) 01:54, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
        • It is contradictory because your article says "at least once", not "two or more". It is not really helping the reader. At best, it should be relegated to a footnote. SpinningSpark 07:31, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
          • Since we're talking about a pregnant corpse and a coffin birth, might that be the second time that makes it "multiparous"? Well, the definition I read elsewhere is worded differently from the Wikipedia article. De-linked and moved to footnote.
          • Re-worded and defined in footnote. The original source used "multiparous". I'm thinking the first defintion I read may have been written in a non-medical source. The Wikiepdia article, though short, at least looks like its been written by an expert. Definition modified to be in-line with Wiki article description. Boneyard90 (talk) 17:50, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
History section
  • I have done some copyediting on the first paragraph. Feel free to revert if I have mangled anything
  • "...or if other causal factors were at work" It seems pretty clear that gravity may be one of these factors, and possibly the drop as well if this was how the hanging was carried out. Does the source discuss any of this? If so some elaboration in the article would be helpful.
    • No further discussion in source. I put "other causal factors" because it's not clear if sudden shock caused a sudden rise in oxytocin and other hormones that might have precipitated involuntary contractions (which should have made the infants fall free sooner than four hours); or if it was an exceptionally warm day that might have accelerated the growth rate of putrefactive bacteria (one would think that it would still be more than four hours after death).
  • "These latter cases, and others like the 1551 case described, demonstrate why the term "coffin birth" pre-specifies context, and is thus a misnomer under many circumstances." I have problems with this sentence, especially as it is unsourced. Essentially, it is POV since it is having Wikipedia take a stand on the suitability of the name. If there are sources that say the name is incorrect then we can say that the sources say it, but Wikipedia should never take an opinion itself. Further, the history section is not really an appropriate place to raise the issue. Some more neutral formulation needs to be found, or else strike it altogether. Perhaps work "but not necessarily actually in a coffin" into the definition in the lede, or else "some examples of coffin birth not within a coffin...." in the history section would make the point without making an opinion. The reader would then have all the information to come to their own conclusion on that. SpinningSpark 08:09, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
    • I think the Lasso article and one or two others take a stand on the fallacy of the term. Let me check them, and I'll modify the wording. Boneyard90 (talk) 14:08, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Modified and moved the sentence to the lead.
  • "...was excluded by its 23rd edition..." 1904 to 2009 is over a century, can this not be tied down any more accurately? SpinningSpark 11:13, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
    • I can go to the university medical library where I found the latest edition, but searching 21 editions (assuming they have them all, which I doubt) will be time-consuming. It would help if you told me which edition you found on the internet where the topic was described. I found the 1904 edition on-line. Boneyard90 (talk) 14:45, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
      • I was going only by what is written in the article, I was not looking at any source. However, having now done a search; google finds a mention of coffin birth in the 1961 edition. Amazon has a searchable 1976 (23rd) edition which has no mentions (the one hit from its search engine on p.133 is for a reference written by someone called Coffin!). That does not completely nail it, according to the WorldCat search editions exist for 1966 and 1971 as well so it is possible that coffin birth was still being discussed as late as 1971. SpinningSpark 19:16, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
      • The 23rd edition is 2009. I see the Amazon site, look at the book's cover: 1976 is the 15th edition. They're just advertising the 23rd edition at the top, and when you click on the older one, it takes you to the newest one. I followed the link for the 1961, but it took me to the 1st edition (1904) (look at page i, the title page). I found the 18th edition (1989) at the library, and special ordered some earlier editions, but for now I'll insert the information about that one.
        • Yes, you are right about Amazon look inside, the 23rd edition has a different cover and that's where Amazon takes you when you look inside. On the 1961 edition, I think Google must be taking you to a different place to me. Try this link which is to the ID of the book rather than the search term. The snippets show citations in the book to 1961 papers so it cannot possibly be older than that and I think it genuinely is the 1961 edition. Don't want to get too hung up on this minor point, but I think we can now safely say the subject was still being discussed as late as 1961. SpinningSpark 09:47, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
          • Agreed. But check out the 1966 (13th) edition. I think we have a winner.
  • "This case demonstrates that clothing will not..." Is this conclusion directly supported by the source. If so, please move the citation to the end of the paragraph. SpinningSpark 12:12, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Deleted sentence. Buuut - the article states several times that the fetus was found inside the undergarments but outside the vaginal opening. During the Laci Peterson case, there had been some debate among forensic folks about whether or not clothing could hinder postmortem fetal extrusion. I think that's why the Lasso et al. emphasized that point; however, my sentence does not quote Lasso et al.
      • You could say something like "it was previously thought that clothing might hinder pfe[cite to Peterson case]" without saying specifically that this case is a counter example and simply leave it to the reader to draw the conclusion. That would be entirely consistent with the sources and avoid our own OR. SpinningSpark 09:47, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
        • Can't find a relevant source at this time.
Bioarchaeology section
  • "However, there are cases where the occurrence is supported after excavation reveals the position of fetal remains relative to the remains of an adult female." Not very clearly written. How about "However, there have been excavations where the position of fetal remains relative to the remains of an adult female does support a case of postmortem fetal extrusion".
    • Changed. Try this: "However, there have been excavated burials where the position of a set of fetal remains relative to those of an adult female supported the hypothesis of postmortem fetal extrusion." Ok?

*pelvic foramen. First of all, this is two contiguous links, which is confusing and discouraged. Probably it is unnecessary to link "pelvic". Secondly foramen is more or less a dab page (although it is not laid out as a dab page) and apparently none of the linked articles are relevant. Why not use some more easily understood term like "pelvic opening"? If foramen must be used it should be glossed, and if it must be linked, it should be linked to somewhere relevant. If necessary create a minimalist stub article, or a section in pelvis. Surprising that this is not on Wikipedia already though.

  • "The strongest case is when the fetal remains are found to lie..." Not cited; if supported, should be referenced
    • Fixed.
  • medieval cemetery; contiguous links neither of which is very necessary WP:OVERLINK
    • De-linked.
  • Femora: gloss
    • Done.
  • SpinningSpark 13:20, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
Applicability of diagnosis
  • The last sentence of the third paragraph, and all of the second paragraph are uncited
    • Deleted.
  • Why is "coffin birth" suddenly started to be written in scare quotes? This is the article name and the term has been established in the lede so it should just be used straightforwardly. Instances later in the article as well.
    • Fixed. However, in the later section, the term is in quotes because those are the words of the investigator, and because as it happened, it wasn't a case of coffin birth after all.
  • "The study of mortuary context..." unclear what is being said here.
    • Explained and defined.
  • SpinningSpark 14:11, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Boneyard90 (talk) 03:32, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Analogous cases
  • uterine cervix. link/gloss
    • Fixed. Cervix was linked at its first appearance on the page. "Uterine" was added for the benefit of the reader, to help mentally orient the reader to the right area of the body, for clarity, but if it's not clear, I'll deleted the term.
  • prepartum condition. The link does not explain the condition, nor does it use the term, so is simply of no use to anyone following it.
    • The page states: "Prior to pregnancy, the external orifice has a rounded shape when viewed through the vaginal canal."
      • Yes, but one has to know what prepartum means before it is apparent that is the answer to the question. SpinningSpark 23:28, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
        • Oh. My mistake. The article linked to prepartum condition states: "In the prepartum condition, or prior to pregnancy, the external orifice has a rounded shape when viewed through the vaginal canal." Boneyard90 (talk) 02:15, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
  • hanged. I don't particularly feel this link is necessary, but no strong opinion either way. However, this is not the first mention of hanging in the article, so if the link is kept, it should be moved to the earlier Spanish case.
    • Done.
  • "postmortem fetal extrusion" is an established term and should be used normally without the quotes. The term "postmortem delivery", if it is desired to highlight it as a term should be in italics, not quotes, per WP:MOS
    • Done.
  • "Trimester". Link or gloss
    • Done.
  • "anterior aspect", link/gloss
    • Done
  • "floorboard", should this be plural floorboards? It would be in BritEng.
    • Don't know the difference between BritEnglish and AmEnglish on this one. I figured the floor beneath one person was a "floorboard"; a collection of these, seperated as they once were by the raised portion housing transaxle and related assembly, were the "floorboards". There's nothing relevant on Wikipedia, but see the definition by Merriam-Webster].
      • Houses in the UK, especially older ones, have the floors constructed with narrow planks nailed to the joists. They are narrow enough such that it is difficult to stand on a single board and impossible to lay down on one. Probably for this reason it is always plural in the UK when speaking of the floor and using the singular has that set-ones-teeth-on-edge feeling of wrongness to me. However, this article is in AmEng and if it feels right to you then it probably is right. SpinningSpark 09:08, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
        • Interesting. We have, I think, something similar, usually called hardwood floors, but in everyday speech, it's just the floor. Anyway, I hate to set anyone's teeth on edge, as I hate the feeling myself. "Floor" should do just as well, I think.
  • SpinningSpark 14:11, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
see also
  • bioarchaeology would be better off linked in the Bioarchaeology section. If no convenient way in the running prose use a hatnote template;
    • Done.
  • childbirth occurs in the body of the article and should be linked there instead
    • Actually, it doesn't, as of the latest edit.
  • Decomposition is already linked in body and should not be repeated here per WP:SEEALSO
    • Done.
  • Pregnancy, link in body instead of here
    • Done.
  • Putrefaction, already linked - remove
    • Done.
  • Stillbirth, already linked - remove
    • Not as of latest edit.
  • SpinningSpark 14:24, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Boneyard90 (talk) 05:01, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Still not very happy with these. For a reader who really does not know much about the subject to start off with, or forensics or medicine in general, they are not going to get much understanding of what is in the article from the table of contents.

  • Having "Taphonomic" in the heading really does not help the reader. The term has not yet been introduced and imo merely detracts from the clarity of "Causes" rather than adding to it.
    • Well, I thought I should be specific. The actual, proximal "causes" of coffin birth are (1) pregnancy and (2) death. Everything else is a subset. But, ok, the taphonomic part is removed.
  • Suggest the simpler "Diagnostic applications" instead of "Applicability of diagnosis"
    • Not sure. "Diagnostic applications" makes it sound like there are applications; whereas, I thought the "Applicability" implied the potential to apply the diagnosis - which, as you can see, there is very little potential there.
  • Not sure that "Analogous" is quite the right word here. Still thinking of an alternative. The whole section is really a diversion from the topic of the article.
    • Not really. These are cases of related interest, where investigators are tempted to make the diagnosis of the at least somewhat recognized phenomenon of postmortem fetal extrusion, as in the Laci Peterson case. That's why they are analogous - superficially similar, with a visually identical result (seperation of fetus and woman), but wholly different in etiology and mechanism.
    • "Other forms of post-mortem stillbirth" ? SpinningSpark 14:46, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
      • Not seeing the "stillbirth" reference. Must've been deleted at some point.
        • That was meant to be a suggestion for the section heading. SpinningSpark 23:28, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
          • Oh. Then, no, I wouldn't concur with that. "Stillbirth occurs when a fetus has died in the uterus." As you can see from the examples, the Indian woman delivered a live infant; in the car accident, investigators believed that the infant might have lived after falling out of the uterus, and died from the heat of the fire; only in the Laci Peterson case did the fetus die in utero, and that's because Peterson (the mother) was also dead. The terms go like so:
            • Dead fetus >20 weeks' gestation, live mother = Stillbirth
            • Dead fetus <20 weeks' gestation, live mother = Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion
            • Live fetus, dead mother = (type of) postmortem delivery.
            • Dead fetus, dead mother (decomposition, vaginal egress) = coffin birth or postmortem fetal extrusion
            • Dead fetus, dead mother (other) = usually incidental and unique to circumstances, and thus are un-named phenomena in case reports.
          • I would suggest a heading like Postmortem fetal separation, but I think just now made that up, as I can't remember ever seeing it in any sources. Boneyard90 (talk) 02:52, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
            • To me analogous means the same condition in another field. For instance, similar cases in dogs would be analogous. This may just be my electrical engineering background kicking in and our concept of analogue signals but the heading really is not saying to me what the true contents of the section are. SpinningSpark 06:22, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
              • Changed heading to "Comparable phenomena". Also wrestled with the idea of whether "Correlating" might be a more appropriate term. Modified the lead paragraph of the section. Boneyard90 (talk) 13:43, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
  • SpinningSpark 14:43, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Boneyard90 (talk) 05:18, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Ref 3, Dr Greene. I think we are fine with this, especially given all the other supporting refs but it is potentially challengeable as a reliable source. The site itself says " relies on the community of parents and caregivers like you to lend your experiences and expertise to our site. Members of our community can participate in our chats, contribute to our database of articles, share their favorite baby names and offer feedback and resources on our blogs." No sign of any formal review policy or fact checking there - it's information is no more reliable than Wikipeida's. As I said, no need to do anything here at GA, but if you ever take it to FA you may need to justify its inclusion or else replace with something else; the criteria there are much more onerous.
    • Use the link in the references. The Coffin Birth page was reviewed by two medical doctors: Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin M.D. & Liat Simkhay Snyder M.D. Links provide backgrounds and qualifications.
  • Ref 4, Gould and Pyle. Link does not go to the correct chapter.
    • Fixed.
  • Ref 5, Carter and Yellowlees. In two places (b,c) this ref has been used to verify specifics of coffin birth but the paper is not on that subject. Admittedly, I do not have full access but it seems unlikely to be discussing coffin death. Please confirm that the it does verify the facts cited.
    • The text talks about or mentions the specific conditions in the immediate environment that affect, and are affected by, the dead and decaying body. Since I write about "highly idiosyncratic conditions", I thought the reference was appropriate for (b), but I admit in (c), it's probably not necessary. I'll remove (c).
  • Ref 6, Gill-King inst. (c). Failed to verify with browser searches. Please provide exact page number and quote for cite (c).
    • The text mentions "processes of decomposition". The "normal contractions" of the woman who hanged herself are not part of "processes of decomposition". Even though this was stated in the original Behera article, the Gill-King reference is there to support this assertion, as the Behera article is about the woman who hanged herself (and the baby that followed), rather than specifically about the "processes of decomposition".
  • I am halting the review of the references for now as finding a few too many problems. Please review and check the accuracy of ref placement before we continue.
    • Reviewed. A few were modified or deleted; new ones added. I'm satisfied with the references.
  • SpinningSpark 15:18, 16 April 2011 (UTC) - 15:55, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Boneyard90 (talk) 06:56, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
External links
  • Dr This adds nothing that is not already in the article and is already linked as a reference. It cannot be justified under the WP:EL criteria and should be removed.
    • Done.
  • Gould & Pyle. Already in references. No justification for it here per WP:EL
    • Done.
  • SpinningSpark 15:18, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Boneyard90 (talk) 07:01, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Question As a matter of formality, I thought I should ask: Should I include a Cultural references section? The only mention would be to the heavy metal band I see on the internet whenever I do a search, because I can't think of any other. Although, I do remember an episode of some TV show, similar to The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Darkside, that depicted "coffin birth", but I can't remember exactly which one. Boneyard90 (talk) 07:08, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

This is a bit of a controversial question on Wikipedia and opinions tend to get polarised. Personally, I don't much care for "Popular culture" sections, not because I am against them in principle, but because they inevitably degenerate into useless listcruft. An encyclopaedic article, or a section within it, should be more than a mere list, it should give the reader an understanding of the subject - it should tell the story of the subject. Popular culture sections rarely, if ever, manage to achieve this. To answer your question directly, there is no formal requirement for such a section, and there is no formal prohibition on them either. The official Manual of Style has a page on trivia sections and there is also an unofficial essay. SpinningSpark 08:51, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
I think some articles benefit from a cultural references section. Gives one an idea of how deeply a topic has permeated the culture. Unfortunately many get bogged down by endless references to video games. Anyway, I'll leave off then. Don't see how the article or topic can benefit from it. Boneyard90 (talk) 14:56, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

I notice you have placed a number of glosses in footnotes. I think this rather defeats the purpose of a gloss, which is to save the reader the trouble of having to look up the term. Clicking on the footnote link and then back to the main text is about the same interruption as going to another article. By the way, using anchors (described above) and in-article links, [[#link]], to organise a footnote glossary rather than ref tags avoids the ugly visible "Notes" links. It is no part of GA to tell you how to organise footnotes (other than a requirement for consistency) and either system is acceptable. However, what most definitely is a GA requirement is clarity. If the unexplained technical terms in an article become too dense this will detract from the clarity and tire the reader with constant to-and-fro to look them up. This can be corrected either by avoiding the terms, or clearly explaining them. An in-line explanation is always preferable where this can be kept short, footnotes when a lengthy description is required. SpinningSpark 16:36, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

  • I think I'm a pretty good fan of in-line glossing, except when the explanations become so cumbersome that major portions of text are taken up by extra phrases or clauses. Too much of that, and we begin "re-inventing the wheel". If we get rid of all "technical terms", then specialists in related fields (medicine, anthropology, etc.) will find the article tiresome to read (even medical doctors don't always know about this topic, as you may have read in the Talk page!). I think what we have here is the best compromise, though I agree that the "Note 1", etc. is disruptive to the reader. Too much glossing, and we have run-on sentences; none and readers feel its too technical; footnotes and readers are visually interrupted. I see you write on electrical engineering and related stuff. What's the chance I would fully understand those articles without following links? In the article Zobel network, you refer to input impedance (and many other terms) with neither gloss nor link. I'm completely lost, because to be honest, I don't know my AC from my DC, unless we're talking about AC/DC. Boneyard90 (talk) 17:47, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Ok, but "thigh bones" for "femora" is a pretty simple explanation to have to go all the way to the foot of the article to find out. SpinningSpark 22:07, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
      • Ok, I'll give you that. But under protest. It's another sad sign that we must suspect that the average reader can't recognize the plural form of a Latin loan-word, and with another crutch in prose we thus encourage the English language to take another turn around the drain. Boneyard90 (talk) 01:43, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Also, I had an idea. How about if I re-format the footnotes to appear as single suberscript letters ((a) (b) (c))? That way they'll be less intrusive, but visually distinct from the numbered citations.Boneyard90 (talk) 18:07, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
    • There is a system that achieves this but I don't use it myself and can't give you links to the templates off the top of my head. SpinningSpark 22:07, 17 April 2011 (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 word serendipity is exclusively used for good things. To use it when discussing the death of a woman and her baby is utterly inappropriate, even if it is a quote from some sociopathic doctor. (talk) 18:03, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

The pursuit of knowledge is generally considered a "good" thing. It is in this context that an incident in which an unplanned observation is made which promotes the pursuit of knowledge on a topic is considered "serendipitous".Boneyard90 (talk) 18:43, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

"Bibliography" section[edit]

Sorry about removing something from there, but it's confusing. See Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Layout#Notes_and_references. And have I miscounted? 36 footnotes, 34 items in the bibliography? Doug Weller (talk) 15:42, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Re-placed item and repaired some format errors in the bibliography. Not sure what's confusing. Wikipedia format is used and the bibliography is in alphabetical order according to last name of primary author. The count of footnotes versus bibliography items is probably correct. Some footnotes refer to the same source, but different pages. - Boneyard90 (talk) 20:14, 8 November 2017 (UTC)


Why does the article specify "non-viable"? Presumably by the time the body of the mother reaches this state, the fetus is dead, regardless of whether it was viable or non-viable at time of death.--Richardson mcphillips (talk) 17:09, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Hello, and thank you for your question. As you said, "presumably" the fetus is dead. And if a reader stops to think about it, of course that makes sense. The "non-viable" was added to remove the need for a reader to puzzle out the implied ambiguity. A couple other reasons include: because doctors and medical professionals can easily mistake this topic for postmortem C-section (see one of the above discussions, which is the mistake one editor made), since, as pointed out in the article, the topic of coffin birth is not covered in modern medical textbooks; and last, "non-viable" is used because, being clinical language though not a euphemism, it sounds better than "dead fetus". However, if the term "dead fetus" is more appropriate, then the terms can be substituted, though the article has been stable on this point for a long time. - Boneyard90 (talk) 14:51, 21 November 2017 (UTC)