Talk:Flat Earth

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Former good article Flat Earth was one of the Philosophy and religion 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
September 20, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
October 23, 2006 Featured article candidate Not promoted
September 9, 2009 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article

Modern FlatEarthers section[edit]

At present, this section reads almost like a list of trivia, albeit reasonably well written and chronological--until it suddenly jumps from WW2 to Boko Haram and BoB, more or less, and then goes into the foundation of the Flat Earth Society in 1956. I see two ways of resolving this. One is to rename the Modern section, or reorganize and perhaps prune, such that the many paragraphs are organized into something more coherent, say, the publications that are mentioned, logically flowing into the next section, being the FES. I don't think it's worth noting on the page every single instance or anecdote of someone famous encountering a FEer or being a FEer. I think things like BoB and the guy who leads Boko Haram are fine on their own pages but don't really add much edifying on this page. Else why not include Tila Tequila on Hitler's page as a potential supporter in the modern day? We don't do that because an article on Hitler is not improved by knowing every single person in the world who has expressed support for him. Thoughts or counter-suggestions? ZarhanFastfire (talk) 01:19, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Totally in favour of not cluttering the page with every detail that any of us happen to think of. A long-standing problem on many pages. --Doric Loon (talk) 09:28, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. Doug Weller talk 11:39, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
I can see your point, but the article is not long, and those details are interesting. Modern belief in the flat earth is rare enough to be highly notable. (By contrast, plenty of people have made positive comments about Hitler.) If Boko Haram is promoting the idea I certainly think that is significant.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:55, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
The related article Modern flat Earth societies mentions exactly the same two individuals. ISTM that it is less appropriate to mention individuals there, rather than here. I would suggest: that we restore the mentions here and delete their mentions there. I hope that this does not result in their mentions disappearing altogether. The fact that there is an article at all is a curiosity, yet I hope that all would agree that it belongs. TomS TDotO (talk) 14:13, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
I don’t think the article serves readers by mentioning sporadic professions of belief in a flat earth by celebrities. It’s easy for those of a contrarian disposition to espouse any ludicrous notion whatsoever insofar as there are no physical repercussions. I’d call those professions “trivia”. Organized, sustained advocacy with impact fits the characterization of “encyclopædic” much better. Strebe (talk) 01:20, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Recent era change[edit]

The use of BC/AD in this article is wholly inappropriate, since it deals with cultures much older and completely separate from Christianity. Knightplex's update should be un-reverted. Deacon Vorbis (talk) 00:52, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Support: Speaking as one of the "reverters", I would actually support such a change. My revert: [1], was done strictly for reasons of procedure (which is also important). Isambard Kingdom (talk) 01:44, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Oppose: AD 1 = CE 1 = The Christian world’s meridian in time. Some other cultures mentioned in the article had no conception of that meridian in time. It doesn’t matter whether you call it BC/AD or BCE/CE, it means exactly the same thing. WP:ERA recognizes the intrinsic meaninglessness of the distinction that apparently so galls a few people. You cannot change the meaning of an idea by calling it something else, and that becomes even more obvious when you’re dealing with abbreviations whose literal meanings most people don’t even know anyway. I wish the person-hours devoted to wrangling over the meaningless would go instead to meaningful improvements. Strebe (talk) 04:16, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Oppose: The AD/BC form has a long history in this article; it is not a "recent era change" as the title of this discussion implies. Per WP:MOS we do not "change the established era style in an article unless there are reasons specific to its content". --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 14:03, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Weak oppose: Mostly, I think that this is not worth the trouble to change. Which also accounts for my "weak" - it is not worth the trouble to complain about whatever the decision is. But if you ask my opinion, then I "oppose". TomS TDotO (talk) 15:37, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Oppose: no reason to change.--Jack Upland (talk) 01:30, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Earth-encircling sea[edit]

I don't think the ancient belief in the earth-encircling sea is the same as belief in a flat earth. In fact, it is fairly geographically accurate, based on the limited knowledge that people had. Therefore, I don't think it's enough to cite a primary source that mentions the earth-encircling sea and say that the writer believed in the flat earth. Either there needs to be more than that, or we need a secondary source that makes that interpretation.--Jack Upland (talk) 04:26, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

If we are interpreting ancient language, we should be aware that the term that we are translating as "Earth" may mean "land" or "territory". Perhaps, for example, "the four corners of the Earth" might only mean "the four corners of my country". Or, as you suggest. TomS TDotO (talk) 05:56, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

As if it needed to be said that the Earth isn't flat[edit]

Do the readers need to be told that the consensus of experts today is that the Earth is not flat? (Even the flat-Earthers must agree that the scientists call it pseudoscience.) But I will not complain about saying so. But is there any point of repeating that? It is in the lede. Is that not enough? But I will not make an edit war about the redundant statements about what is perhaps paradigmatic of the obvious in the first place. TomS TDotO (talk) 10:22, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

The lead is just a summary, and it's customary to reiterate points in more detail later. Deacon Vorbis (talk) 14:26, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Ideas are best understood in context. Explaining the nuance of competing theories, especially when they are desperately unbalanced (i.e. near universal understanding of Earth as NOT being flat), is important to give a comprehensive placement to the idea. It's no just the idea, it's the connection to historical and modern movements and the context they fall in that is important. (talk) 19:49, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

“Thinking” vs “Thought”[edit]

User:Deacon Vorbis prefers the text In early Egyptian and Mesopotamian thinking, the world was portrayed as a flat disk floating in the ocean, over In early Egyptian and Mesopotamian thought, the world was portrayed as a flat disk floating in the ocean, by reason of, “According to multiple dictionaries, yes, they're synonyms, and it's definitely less awkward with "thinking"”. This is wrong on both accounts. First, awkwardness is, apparently, in the mind of the reader, and in this reader’s mind, “thinking” is definitely more awkward. So let us discard that reason. The first reason, that “thinking” is synonymous with “thought”, is a fallacy. It is true that there are several definitions by which the two are synonymous. However, the specific definition in play here for “thought” has no parallel in thinking: “The formation of opinions, especially as a philosophy or system of ideas, or the opinions so formed: the traditions of Western thought”, (New Oxford American Dictionary, and any other dictionary that ever existed). The example provided in the dictionary is exactly the usage we have in the article. It means the deep, collective intellectual zeitgeist of a group, in a way that thinking does not, particularly. Apparently User:Deacon Vorbis is unaware of this usage. I have reverted the change. Strebe (talk) 23:34, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

@Strebe: Thanks, very clearly explained. I was thinking of posting here but whatever I said probably would not have been nearly as clear as yours! Doug Weller talk 13:15, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree Apollo The Logician (talk) 13:18, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps "cosmology" would be a better word than either, as what we're really getting at is the specific schools of thought regarding the order of the universe/plant and astral bodies, not just thought in general. Cosmology is the term used in the parent article as well, correct? (talk) 19:46, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

From history to conspiracy[edit]

While the idea that the Earth is flat is considered to be an inaccurate historical idea, there has been a surge in Flat Earth conspiracy videos and content in the past couple of years. This page should be updated to include modern conspiracies and claims. Adervae (talk) 21:53, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

If it fits within the bounds of the page and isn't already covered, please feel free to Be Bold and do it. Ckruschke (talk) 20:05, 6 February 2017 (UTC)Ckruschke
Do you mean beyond the Flat Earth#Modern Flat-Earthers section, which is already extensive, and the Modern flat Earth societies page? Strebe (talk) 21:31, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Flat earth big in the NBA[edit]

Shaquille O´Neal being a big proponent... Is that worthy of an update to the page. (I admit, I had to throw up) (talk) 09:40, 23 March 2017 (UTC)Matthias

You have to understand that many of these guys, notably Shaq, are doing it to get a rise out of people and not because they believe it. Satire is alive and well on Twitter simply to get more followers... Ckruschke (talk) 17:35, 23 March 2017 (UTC)Ckruschke
I don't think the topic of modern flat earth belief is well served by updating this article for every celebrity who sparks a frivolous controversy by publicly espousing the belief. I'm not going to speculate on Shaq's motives in particular, but I certainly question the robustness of the belief. When faced with a life-or-death situation that dictated different actions depending on whether the earth is flat or spherical, would these modern flat-earthers really act on that belief? These public proclamations are a fad. They may or may not meet WP:NOTABLE criteria, but even if so, I think they're firmly marginal in that they don't contribute to understanding the topic. If something scholarly turns up concerning these modern public outbursts, I'd definitely support citing that. Strebe (talk) 20:09, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree; "they don't contribute to an understanding of the topic." The section is (or rather, was) simply a directory of notable people said to have claimed belief in a flat earth. That might be of interest in their articles, but it's what one might call "mere fact", offering no illumination of the belief itself. And I agree that a sound scholarly analysis or interpretation of the same trivia would be quite another matter, and well worth adding to the article. Haploidavey (talk) 23:49, 23 March 2017 (UTC)