Talk:Crusades

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Former good article Crusades was one of the History 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
January 11, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
November 14, 2007 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article
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The Spanish Armada as a crusade[edit]

The wikipedia article on the Spanish Armada states that the Pope deemed it a crusade. This doesn't appear appear in this article. Any reason not? Ender's Shadow Snr (talk) 09:19, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

No real reason but it would only have been a minor footnote anyway as Crusading was historically insignificant by 1588—more than a 100 years after the last crusade in the article. The Armada is more appropriately considered part of the European wars of religion as the paradigm of a unified christian civilisation had long gone.Norfolkbigfish (talk) 16:45, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Crusades were Catholic, not Christian[edit]

"The Crusades were military campaigns sanctioned by the Latin Roman Catholic Church during the High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages."

Although the first sentence does some justice, the article often and wrongly uses the word "Christian(s)" to refer to the Catholic crusaders.

In my opinion, this is incorrect and should be changed because the Crusades were purely a Catholic movement. Many Christians didn't support them. In fact, the Historiography section tells of criticism and opposition from Protestants and others. In addition, some of the Crusades were called in by the pope to support his own agenda, which included attacking other Christians (For example, in the Fourth Crusade Pope Innocent III attacked Constantinople and the Eastern Orthodox Church.) and Jews. Many other examples can be found throughout history.

If I use the word "arachnid" to refer to scorpions, and say that arachnids have stinging tails, then my audience is going to receive the false information that spiders, mites and ticks also have stinging tails.

If I use the word "Christians" to refer to Catholics, and say that Christians sanctioned the Crusades, then I am ignoring the fact that Protestants, Orthodox, etc. opposed the Crusades. And I am spreading the false information that Protestants and other Christians attacked people of other religions.

It really isn't fair to blame all Christians for the deeds of the Catholic Church, especially when they opposed those deeds and even suffered from them. Furthermore, it is very inconsistent, since the article recognizes the Catholic Church's very prominent involvement, but then uses a general word which plummets the whole thing into inaccuracy and implies that all Christians were involved in the Crusades.

So, my proposal: let's replace "Christian" with "Catholic" or simply "crusader" where applicable, and only use the word "Christian" accurately.

Looking forward to hearing some cmt's. Cheers. Green547 (talk) 18:40, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

Green547 seems unaware there were no Protestants at the time (and that the Orthodox originally requested the help). the term "Catholic" was not in use then. Rjensen (talk) 20:23, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
No defence for Green547's misunderstanding of the the lack of Protestants at the time but Catholic was in use at the time (or at least of the later crusades) in French in its wider sense universal. Although I think his intent is wrong he may well have a point that some of the language is a bit loose in this article when describing various factions. The article does try in places to differentiate between factions across both Christian and Islamic traditions but in others just bunches them all together. In summary it does need a look. Norfolkbigfish (talk) 11:29, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
  • To address Green547's point I've been through every reference to Christian in the article and they are all now clear or qualified with an adjective (I think) Norfolkbigfish (talk) 11:57, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Bibliography mess[edit]

So yeah, this article has multiple issues with citations, sources and further reading, and I have added templates for those. The sources are in a pretty horrific shape. There are three books by David Nicolle cited, yet literally only a single page is given as an inline citation.

Furthermore, I would outright propose to delete the whole Further reading section and start it again. If someone could kindly help even just a little with this mess, I would happily do all I can. This article needs some serious and dedicated WP:FIXIT. Ceosad (talk) 23:29, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

It's too long, that's for sure. Green547 (talk) 02:09, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
It is not too long for an extremely complicated topic With many subtopics, many countries, and military and political events that covered two continents over five centuries. The goal is to help students writing papers on the topic fine materials they can work with. Ceosad has not been active on this or related articles, so there's not much confidence that he knows the material. Rjensen (talk) 02:19, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Now I am not sure that this is correct really. As Mr Jensen points out it really is an enormous subject and can justify being larger than average. That said it is only 9900 words and so is within the recommended range albeit at the top end. That said it is 60kb and could probably benefit from a good copyedit and a bit of a trim. I can see what is intended with the further reading section but it is a bit non-standard and could do with someone taking an axe to it. Norfolkbigfish (talk) 11:13, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
  • @Rjensen: I do actually have a broad knowledge on history, even if I am mostly working on wikiproject North Korea, though my knowledge is primarily about ancient Eastern Mediterranean history, European colonialism and Post-Napoleonic European political history. That is why I said I want to do all I can. Books are books in any case, and I know how to use Google books, in addition of having access to nearby university libraries. I am used to wading through dozen books with uninformative titles, as all North Korean primary sources are like that. Anyway, I just find it sad that such an important article has been decaying to such a bad shape.
As a layman, editing history articles is very difficult due to lack of easy access to relevant books. I once had to order a Michael Grant's book from the other side of the Atlantic, as that is the only widely known source for population of the Seleucid Empire, just to add an inline citation from a reliable source.
I can point out that at the very least following MOS rules are broken, or cast some doubt, in this article:
1. External links currently provides links which do not really add anything to the article. I think it is better to find some nice external link about primary sources, or whatever, and trim the corresponding section out of the Further reading. WP:LINKSTOAVOID and WP:ELYES
2. All policies that apply for external links, also apply on Further reading. WP:FURTHER Thus, the Further reading might endanger NPOV, and give undue weight on certain academic theories or researchers. It repeats many of the authors already used as sources. WP:NPOV WP:UNDUE WP:ADV
3. Due to the previous issues, WP:ELPOV rule should be considered in the future additions for the Further reading.
4. Overall density of inline citations is probably fine, but large paragraphs of text lack sufficient inline citations. WP:CITEDENSE For instance, Council of Clermont and Crusader states.
5. The article makes some grandiose statements with little clarification, and lack of both inline citations and page numbers harm verifiability. WP:BURDEN, and WP:CLARIFY due to lack of further explanation for general (i.e. non-expert) readers. Example: "The massacres involved were mainly attributed as being caused by disorder, an epidemic of ergotism and economic distress."
6. The lead would not suffer from some copyediting and trimming. WP:LEADLENGTH
The only thing that truly matters here is that lack of good referencing seriously harms cleanup of the article text. It also encourages a harmful bloat in the references, with potential for multiple overlapping sources. This is indeed an extremely complicated subject, and as a such references and further reading will inevitably mirror that fact. Yet, I have a creeping suspicion that many of the books used as references are used for an obscure fact or two, and many of them could be trimmed too with dedicated initiative, or replaced with more approachable sources from various webpages, e-books or research papers. That would greatly help with copyediting too. However, I will not dispute this: WP:SOURCEACCESS. Ceosad (talk) 16:20, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
I think Ceosad has invented nonexistent problems. complaint #1 is false--lots of new material there. Several are from major scholarly groups. #2 is false. POV rules apply to Wiki editors not to scholarly books and in any case there are no biases that he has identified. #3 is not a rule and is irrelevant. #4 -5-6 are totally different issues. I have a "creeping suspicion" that he has not studied the literature of the crusades. Rjensen (talk) 18:07, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
@Rjensen: Regarding #2: Yes, POV rules apply to editors of Wikipedia, and its the editorial choice of adding certain kinds of entries in Further reading while disregarding others that I'm concerned about. This may lead to a collection of Further reading suggestions that are slanted toward certain points of view. In fact the #3 is a guideline, and I just meant that some of these "nonexistant problems invented" by me, are some that concern me. At least the following authors are listed as both sources and as further reading: Riley-Smith, Madden, Hillenbrand, Tyerman, Runciman and Bull. In my opinion this might be an issue due to "advertising" these prominent scholars, as many of them are even in body of the article. I will not keep arguing more about this point #2. Further reading is just way too long in its current shape. Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. WP:NOTCATALOG
I have never said that the Further reading is just the only issue out there. I just did not feel like going out to paste dozens of [citation needed] templates, and other templates, on this giant article without saying anything on the talk first. Neither did I want to start accidentally a senseless edit war on a popular article. I see that you have added some of the missing citations I worried about. Thank you for doing that, but...
...I already told you I have not studied the literature of the crusades. There is no need for a hostile ad-hominem attitude due to my perceived lack of scholarly achievements, professor. WP:OWNER and WP:OWNBEHAVIOR Ceosad (talk) 00:34, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Your complaint about further reading seems to be that the most famous and important scholars are heavily represented. Well yes, that seems about right to me. It's a bias in favor of quality, and value to the readers. A full bibliography on the Crusades would run to thousands of books and articles--Type in "Crusades" at Amazon & you get over 30,000 titles. Go to scholar.google and the student gets over 100,000 Scholarly books and articles. That would be the sort of catalog that we don't want to see. Using the criteria of importance will help the readers: Typically students new to the field will not be familiar with the most important scholarly studies so it's our job to point these out for their benefit. Rjensen (talk) 01:10, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
  • No sense in getting riled up over this trivial issue, or starting senseless edit wars as Ceosad pointed out, or bantering about who has the best education. How about just trimming Bibliography and Further reading a little bit, and chopping out some of the less important parts, while preserving the important things as Mr. Jensen wants, for students. And move on with our lives to more important issues. Or, of course, continue rambling. H-mmm. I wonder how many WPedians it will take to change this lightbulb? No offense meant to anyone. Everything is very serious here and we are all terrifically important. ;) Cheers, Green547 (talk) 01:28, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, you are correct Green547. Sorry about arguing. I think Wikipedia is not just for students, and we should keep that in mind, but lets drop this issue. It would just be nice if there was some space and representation for less mainstream theories in the Further reading. The most important things for students can, and need to stay, just as Rjensen wants. But what things should be chopped out, and does somebody want to do that? Bibliography, as references, is the tricky section to check for potentially overlapping sources. I could try to do something for the missing page numbers. Ceosad (talk) 04:15, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Reading through the article quickly, I have identified the following references in the Bibliography section as potentially orphaned:
  • Nicolle, David (2003). The First Crusade 1066–99: Conquest of the Holy Land
  • Esposito, John L. What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam
  • Dickson, Gary (2008). The Children's Crusade: Medieval History, Modern Mythistory
  • Lewis, Richard D. (2005). Finland: Cultural Lone Wolf
The following reference is probably used, but lacks inline citations. It is most certainly used here: Crusades#Frank
  • Nicolle, David (2007). Crusader Warfare Volume II: Muslims, Mongols and the Struggle against the Crusades
I assume that few of these have been orphaned as this article has been split a few years ago. Ceosad (talk) 05:04, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Okay I fixed those titles, by moving them to further reading, or deleting them. Further reading is for people who actually want to read more on the Crusades, and are likely to want to specialize on one topic or another, which is why we have a variety of books for them. It is trivially easy for people entering and interested in doing any further reading to simply skip that section at the very end of the article. However students looking for term paper projects need the kind of help we can give. Rjensen (talk) 03:33, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
  • @Ceosad:—Far from finished but I have had a hack at the citations, what do you think of it so far? Norfolkbigfish (talk) 16:28, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
  • @Norfolkbigfish: Thank you Norfolkbigfish for helping! It looks a lot better and clearer now. I had been a bit busy lately, so I had not gotten to do anything substantial for this article myself. Ceosad (talk) 22:23, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Citations and Further Reading[edit]

Just a thought - would it be an idea to consolidate on using Harvard for the citations in this article and also hide the Further Reading to tidy up this a bit? Editors could then use the script User:Ucucha/HarvErrors.js to check and match citations. It may go some way to alleviating some of the conflict on here. Norfolkbigfish (talk) 13:22, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

  • There is now no work in the bibliography that is not used to support a citation in the text. Next I will add those works that are cited but not included. Norfolkbigfish (talk) 17:10, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

Quote boxes[edit]

First a big thank you to User:Norfolkbigfish for the much-needed attention and clean up. Salut! Second a suggestion, since he is removing superfluous images. WP:LONGQUOTE recommends against the use of quote-boxes: "quoteboxes should generally be avoided as they draw special attention to the opinion of one source, and present that opinion as though Wikipedia endorses it." Neither of the quoteboxes still on the page are much informative and certainly not encyclopedic. I suggest they be removed. Laszlo Panaflex (talk) 14:51, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Thanks Laszlo—good idea. I have done this now. Norfolkbigfish (talk) 10:22, 24 August 2015 (UTC)