Talk:Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

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It's not "POV" to state a bare fact - a number of DANFS entries do make anti-communist remarks, I've had to prune out dozens of those as part of importing into WP. I suppose I should quote an example. Stan 14:13, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Ok I changed it back until there is a better source/qualification for the info. I don't really doubt you here but I though it was important to back up claims of a source being slanted either communist/anti-communist. Nautical 20:11, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Stan's right. I've seen a lot of entries that say things like "as of 1969, USS Whatever is defending freedom from Communist agression in Southeast Asia". A quick look through the Haze Gray copy of DANFS turned up
  • From there Higbee continued to cruise in the Pacific and along the China coast to strengthen American force in Asia and show her determination to protect democracy against the inroads of Communism.
  • she operated with the mighty 6th Fleet, America's deterrent to Communist aggression in the Middle East.
  • Two days later she sailed to Hong Kong and ended the year in Japan preparing for further action in the cause of peace and freedom.
  • Into mid-1967 she continued to maintain the peak readiness of her crew and equipment for whatever task the defense of the Nation and the free world might demand.
  • Operating with this mighty peacekeeping force, King helped to check Communist aggression in Southeast Asia.
It seems to be a product of that era. Plus, when writing articles about ships whose full story couldn't be told at the time, people felt the need to end with something less blah than "is still on active service."
—wwoods 22:14, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
It's not necessarily the role of DANFS to be a neutral source - after all, it's a product of an organization with a decidedly non-neutral mission - not unlike how present-day ships' webpages have to say "fighting the War on Terror" with a straight face even though many of the sailors and officers onboard think it's all partisan BS. Some day I'd like to dig more into the details of how DANFS was written; for instance, some writeups are sketchy, while others are quite detailed - was that differing amounts of source material, or differing amounts of initiative on the part of the writers? How much latitude were they given, and what kind of review process was there? Stan 22:43, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I didn't think stan was wrong, I thought it was important to back statements of a source being pro or anti communist. However, in those examples they are stating the ships function- such as to defend against communist aggression- but thats not really pov just information about a ships role. The same could be said of soviet ships, that they were there to "defend democratic aggression"- its just the ships role.Nautical 22:55, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Stan is right, and the comment needs to remain in the article. ➥the Epopt 23:24, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Its not a matter of stan being right or wrong, that sort of a statement needs to be backed up. It doesn't matter if its a consensus because even if it may be a fact, its also a pov which needs qualification. Nautical 23:41, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I added section about frequency of mention as well to further bolster the info, I think its pretty well qualified comment now. Which is good, because people will take it more seriously with the actual quotes there. Being the wikipedia people might be more doubtfull of un-referenced statements, but this way they can see for themselves. Nautical 00:43, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I'm not so keen on your attempt at a numerical justification, because that sort of thing is highly variable, depending on when one tries the experiment, the exact wording searched for, etc. If you add all that data, you end up with original research on DANFS, which is another one of the WP no-nos. On POV, I think you may be confused on what Wikipedia:Neutral point of view says; it just says that we have to attribute POVs to their sources, and not misrepresent WP as having its own POV. In this article, we're describing a publication that is not itself neutral, and deliberately so. Just as a WP article on the US Democratic Party should say "the Dems believe that the Republican platform is bad for the country", not just "the Dems have an opinion about the Republicans". It's very important for readers to understand that DANFS is authoritative but not neutral; a single quote from DANFS that takes a pro-US stance would be sufficient as "proof". I don't think it's that useful to try to quantify how much there is; my purpose with the original comment was to clue readers into the sort of thing to watch out for, without trying to make a claim about the exact quantity, and in the absence of a standard way to measure bias in a text, numbers don't tell us if there is "a lot" or "not so much". Sometimes we have to choose our words carefully, so as to state only known facts without adding or implying anything we don't actually know. Stan 05:39, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
When I first read Gdr's heads-up on this point, in his advice on doing DANFS conversions, I was surprised, but there are a number of articles which display an overt pro-American, anti-Communist attitude. <voice=Seinfeld>Not that there's anything wrong with that.</voice>
I don't think this article has to dwell on the subject. Just mention it, and maybe give a couple of examples. Of the ones I listed, the last is probably the best, since it's got both the "mighty peacekeeping force" and the "Communist aggression". The search statistics seem too much inside baseball--useful for arguing the point here on the Talk page, but not really needed in the article itself.
—wwoods 09:42, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Ok these are some great point once again. One thing I will say is when that we really talking about two points of view- the first of course being the pov of source which is of of course ok to explain, the seconds was the interpretation of what that pov was. I agree though that it probably only needs a breif mention, ill trim out all but the last example and yes haha rather baseball like statistics. Nautical 21:57, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
A note on the non-neutral tone DANFS histories. These are compiled at the Washington Navy Yard at what was the Naval History Center and what is now the Naval History and Heritage Command from the ships' official histories. Often they were directly transcribed. I will make the gross assumption that Navy official histories are written in the same way as unit-level official histories in the Army, a process I directly participated in for eight years.
In Army battalions, the battalion commander looks at the battalion command sergeant major and says "Our unit formal (or change of command, or Family Day) is coming up. We need a page of unit history to put in the programs." The CSM looks at whatever is in the filing cabinet (paper or electronic), says "This needs to be updated", and walks across the hall to the Operations section to find someone literate. He hands them what he has and says "Fix this, and I need it before you go to lunch/go to dinner/ go home." He then rejects it twice for "Not being interesting enough" and eventually wants an inspirational modifying adjective for every verb in the paper. Then it's deemed "Properly motivating" and "The sort of thing that will excite the families." Army unit histories dredge up a lot of proud events of long ago in the unit lineage. I was in the 101st. It's ALWAYS all about Normandy.
Replace "battalion commander" with "Captain" and "command sergeant major" with "command master chief", and I'm pretty close. But since most Navy vessels post-WWII don't have a lot of direct combat (by which I do not include carrier air wings flying missions against land targets), creativity is involved. Steaming in circles off Asia became "deterring Communist aggression." After a phone call with my cousin (who will remain nameless but is a rear admiral who formerly commanded the USS Abraham Lincoln's air wing), I'm pretty close. (talk) 17:20, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

DANFS updates[edit]

Does anyone know how to get updates to DANFS? Some of the ship histories are quite complete, but others not so, especially when compared to those of Wiki. I served on the USS Mullany DD528 during her last combat cruise in 1968, yet DANFS only takes her history to 1965. I filled in the Wiki history of that cruise, as well as details of her transfer to the Taiwan Navy as the Chiang Yang, and her subsequent sinking as a feeding ground for fish. I do not expect DANFS to go beyond her striking from the U.S. inventory, but I would like some history up to that date. J.D. Schultz, MM2, 1965-71--W8IMP 06:57, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe this article explains about the revision history of DANFS. There is a link to the NHC's DANFS editorial policy in that atricle, too, which should lead you to an e-mail address for submitting corrections and additions. Note that they are looking for documentation for non obvious corrections, similar to wikipedia's verifiability criteria. BTW, try this link/template: USS Mullany (DD-528). --J Clear 15:32, 30 June 2007 (UTC)


Is DANFS considered a work of the government, and covered by {{PD-USGov}}? John Vandenberg (chat) 00:59, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes; the Naval Historical Center is a branch of the US Navy. Maralia (talk) 03:59, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Fact tag[edit]

Today User:Plrk tagged this sentence:

Editors of Wikipedia often[citation needed] use the DANFS entry as a starting point for ship articles

By way of response: Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:DANFS shows that upwards of 7,500 Wikipedia articles indicate that they include text from DANFS. It's common practice to start with the DANFS text and tweak it to add wikilinks, improve phrasing, remove POV and jargon, etc. I really can't see how this fact is the least bit controversial; Plrk, if you still feel so, can you explain why, and how you would like to see it cited? Thank you. Maralia (talk) 15:01, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I am not questioning that it's true, I'm questioning whether it is notable enough to be included in the article. If it has been mentioned in a third-party reliable source, then it can be added to wikipedia - after all, one of our core policies is Wikipedia:Verifiability. You can't cite raw data in the form of referring to Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:DANFS either, as it's just raw data that hasn't really been published (and thus does not comply with WP:V). Also, one should in general be careful with self-references - the matter at hand concerns this doubly, as a statement about wikipedia (self-reference #1) is using wikipedia as a source (self-reference #2). Plrk (talk) 15:58, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I doubt it's been published, but it's verifiable by checking the early edit histories of articles. Indeed, how many articles on USN ships launched before ~1970 didn't start by copying and adapting DANFS?
As for notability, mm, maybe not. But having such a reference source available has helped give Wikipedia such coverage of USN ships, compared to ships of other navies. I just did a quick survey through Category:Royal Navy ship names, and the coverage seems much thinner, probably because there's nothing equivalent to DANFS to build on. Ships of the Royal Navy isn't public domain, and isn't on-line as far as I know.
Also, the question sometimes arises whether a ship article is a copyright violation, because it seems to have been copied from some other web site, so it may be worth noting the ultimate source of the text.
—WWoods (talk) 18:33, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I removed the entire sentence. It is superfluous. Plrk (talk) 19:05, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

DANFS website[edit]

Can someone please update the website shown in the Infobox as I cannot see on the edit page where to do this: should be Davidships (talk) 22:46, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

Article dismissive of the value of the DANF and thus of plagiarism from that work[edit]

In the section on "Reference use" states that:

The Dictionary limits itself largely to basic descriptions and brief operational notes, and includes almost no analysis or historical context.

This statement is incorrect. The DANFS provides extremely detailed notes about the operation of at least some of the ships, provides analysis, historical context and editorializes. For example, here's just one paragraph from the USS Yorktown (CV-5), which is pretty much a wholesale borrowing from the DANF article on that ship:

The critique of the operation revealed that carrier operations — a part of the scenarios for the annual exercises since the entry of USS Langley (CV-1) into the war games in 1925 — had achieved a new peak of efficiency. Despite the inexperience of Yorktown and Enterprise — comparative newcomers to the Fleet — both carriers made significant contributions to the success of the problem. The planners had studied the employment of carriers and their embarked air groups in connection with convoy escort, antisubmarine defense, and various attack measures against surface ships and shore installations. In short, they worked to develop the tactics that would be used when war actually came.

Other examples in that same article include such non-encyclopledic and fanciful language as:

"The early news from the Pacific was bleak" and "disaster struck" and "five days later when American fighting men in Hawaii were rudely awakened to find their country at war."

If the following is not historical context, nothing else is:

With the retention of the Fleet in Hawaiian waters after the conclusion of Fleet Problem XXI, Yorktown operated in the Pacific off the west coast of the United States and in Hawaiian waters until the following spring, when the success of German U-boats preying upon British shipping in the Atlantic required a shift of American naval strength. Thus, to reinforce the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, the Navy transferred a substantial force from the Pacific including Yorktown, Battleship Division Three (the New Mexico-class battleships), three light cruisers, and 12 accompanying destroyers.

This statement dismisses the worth of the DANF and its creative value and therefore minimizes that the DANF is "often quoted verbatim in other works (including in some cases Wikipedia articles)." The fact that a work is in the public domain means that wholesale incorporation does not constitute copyright infringement; it is not however a license to plagiarize. Ileanadu (talk) 15:56, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

That's what the attribution template is for. {{DANFS}} is used in over 9,000 articles to attribute PD-USN text per WP:FREECOPYING. --Dual Freq (talk) 00:19, 27 September 2016 (UTC)