Talk:Echelon formation

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Enough with the geese already![edit]

OK, the ratio of goose trivia to actual echelon formation information is skewed almost 3:2 in favour of the geese. At the risk of re-opening old wounds, can we please get rid of some of it? ChrisU 03:23, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Why? The information is factually correct, interesting and relevant. Just because it is not interesting to you is immaterial - we are here to serve the readers of Wikipedia.Graham 04:20, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Yes, the information is factually correct inasmuch as Geese do fly in formation, that they do shed drag in that way, and that they regularly swap positions to allow one another to rest. My problem is that the formation that they fly in is not an echelon formation, and that all the Goose trivia, while interesting, is irrelevant in the context of echelon formations and can only serve to mislead those who visit this page wanting to learn what an echelon formation looks like.
I intend to upload an illustration to better show what an the formation looks like; at the same time, I will also add an entry for vee formations. When that happens, I will move the majority of the goose paragraph to the new entry (where it is both correct and accurate, and where I'm sure you will agree that it more peoperly belongs), and include only a brief explanation that, although a misnomer, the term 'echelon' is sometimes applied to the vee formations employed by migratory birds. The two entries will be cross linked so that no information is lost.
If this is still not satisfactory, then I think that the best thing that we can do at this point is to involve a moderator. ChrisU 07:35, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

definitions of echelon formation[edit]

The term echelon is widely used to refer to both line flanked and V-formations. The article is better, more well-rounded and useful for the extension I made to it, so reverting to the earlier narrower definition is pointless. How does that improve WP? Try googling for "echelon geese flight" - it returns 12,800 hits where the term is used this way. Graham 00:48, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well, that depends on your definition of 'widely used'. It might well be popular to describe both wedge and echelon formations of migratory birds under the one name, but in military circles, that kind of ambiguity (particularly in a battlefield) is to be avoided at all costs. I agree that WP is worse off for not including your contribution, but I think that the distinction needs to be made a lot clearer. Ideally, I'd prefer to see your description go into an entry for wedge formations, and a simple cross reference be made between this entry and that. ChrisU.
I agree that it is also sometimes called the "wedge formation" (though as often as not birds fly a straight echelon and not a wedge) - I wasn't objecting to that, but to the wholesale revertion without discussing it. To my mind, whatever the military terms are, the need for military precision does not apply to birdwatchers or the wider community in general. If the military choose to employ a common word to mean something very specific, then they themselves are guilty of imprecision - the word could be misconstrued to have its common meaning! They'd be better off making up a word. Fortunately when it comes to wikipedia we need not limit ourselves to military precision; the far more interesting and wider application of the term applies. It could be argued that a separate article would settle this - unfortunately the title as it stands makes no distinction, and so this is the proper place for it. I personally don't see why the military definition should take precedence - the usual convention is that general and widely understood meanings are discussed first, with more specialist or specific meanings later. I think it would be fair to say that in general the bird flying formation would be more likely to be selected by the average reader as the commoner of the two uses of the term. That said, as it stands I don't object to the current ordering of the article. Graham 03:17, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
OK, for the wholesale reversion of the article, I apologise; that wasn't appropriate. :)
With regard to what you say about military specificity being incorrect, I think that you are allowing your own personal interests to cloud the issue. Birdwatchers make no distinction between wedge and echelon formations, and fair enough, they have no need to, but the distinction *is* important to those who study history and battlefield tactics - put a hundred men with spears into a wedge against a cavalry charge, and they'll be flanked and routed easily, not so in an echelon.
It would be bad for any category of our readers to come away with the wrong idea, therefore it seems more important to me to explicitly state the properties of an echelon formation, and then explain that a more general description can be applied in the area of migratory birds.
Finally, I don't think it is for either you or me to decide who our readers are, I have no interest whatsoever in birdwatching and found my way to an unwritten article from reading a historical piece on the Battle of Cannae. You, presumably, found your way here from reading about migratory birds; neither is more right, and neither is entitled to think his particular community has more right to define the 'common' meaning of the word.
Having said that though, googling for "echelon geese flight" returns 12,800 hits as you quite rightly point out, but googling for "wedge geese flight" returns even more. :)
Fair enough, I'm OK with the article as it is (though as another anon contributor has mentioned, the term 'vee' is probably better anyway - I missed that). I could say that your personal interests are perhaps clouding the issue just as much as mine are, since obviously your interest is with the military side of things. As a result you may be giving it more weight than it may ultimately warrant - but WP is a work in progress so it's up to others to take this article where it needs to go - whatever OUR interests, the article will ultimately achieve balance - it's a form of natural selection. Graham 04:36, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I have moved the ornithological details to a new article Vee formation and added a brief reference to the geological use of the phrase. I think that this covers all the bases. --Theo (Talk) 21:52, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Link to “Exploitation of Labour”[edit]

I don’t think the term “limit of exploitation” should link to an article about Marxian economics. Is this intended? At least, the link should point to a section of the article that somehow relates to military “limits of exploitation”.

-- (talk) 20:52, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Agree, link removed. Vsmith (talk) 21:45, 22 November 2016 (UTC)