Talk:Fokker Scourge

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Current rewrite not at all satisfactory[edit]

This rather sketchy little article has had a rewrite. No doubt this was actually long overdue.

The problem is that it is now MUCH worse, if fact I am tempted to just revert it back to where it was and reapproach it from the ground up. Faults include the following:

  • In spite of numerous patches put in by other editors, it remains riddled with errors and "double-Dutch" - in other words sentences, even paragraphs that simply don't make sense, at least not in English. It bears all the hallmarks of having been (badly) copied from another source - either by translation from another language, or by paraphrasing without full comprehension - the result is often ambiguous, unclear, unencyclopedic, and just plain badly written.
  • The "re-writer" has apparently not read the article before re-writing it - so that a great deal of the new text duplicates and repeats the information already there.
  • Not all of the new matter is actually relevant to the subject.
  • Little if any of the new matter is referenced.

Sorry - but this is going to have to be re-done - and much of it is going to have to go. I would love it if someone else had a go at this - or even if the author of so many of the new changes had a look at things to rectify these problems. Otherwise it looks like a totally new re-write. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 08:55, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Well, I've bin and gorn and dunnit! At least it's now actually about the subject of the article, and no longer an attempt to write a potted history of the world. Hope I haven't overdone the references. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:52, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
By the way - can we tidy those references (which repeat a lot) with a program or bot or something - or do we have to plough through the whole list naming them? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:12, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

"Current rewrite not at all satisfactory" - dito[edit]

I don't have the time for a protracted argument with you, but I have no idea what the f**k you are talking about. Firstly this was not even close to completion and was not "a re-write". How could anyone possibly think that? It was incomplete and basic summation.

How is it not relevant? What errors? be specific. I hadn't even got around to writing the detail. Repetitions will occur when old is to replaced with new. It ain't done yet.

I have no objection to you adding back your information - but don't wipe out the foundations put there. There is no reason to do so. It is relevant and provides context. Perhaps if you'd read it through you could see that. Dapi89 (talk) 19:30, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

I’ve recovered the old and new (yours). I've wiped out your layout; it was woefully inferior to the simple one that I put there. The detail you've put in is a welcome addition.
I've restored the background to the obvious and logical summary it should be, relating the very recent birth of aviation to the problems of air combat and why/how this period + battle was important to the 'big picture' as is reflected in the introduction, which is a better introduction than the one you replaced it with.
I’ve restored the military campaign box. It is ridiculous to take it out; what + where + when + casualties + commanders + forces involved...pretty self explanatory.

This is a step to an improved article, particularly with the new sources. Dapi89 (talk) 20:06, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

For the sake of the article (which is all I give a <naughty word expunged> about in this context) we obviously need to discuss some questions raised here in a sensible and rational manner. I would suggest that neither your feelings nor my (very considerable) ego have anything to do with the case. You left the article in a right "dogs-dinner" state for some months, and had no comment when I said precisely what I though of it. It was, frankly, SO bad I had to re-write it from the ground up. I put a great deal of patient research and effort into leaving the result reasonably comprehensive, and totally relevant, not to mention well-referenced. Your explanations about your own efforts being a "work-in-progress" do explain a lot, but your assumption that this was self-evident seems strange. In fairness I did suggest you might like to clean up the mess yourself, and allowed plenty of time for you to have started to do so. All I could see was an inadequate article converted into a thoroughly bad one - and my frank comments on the fact ignored. I have a good many very specific things to raise - could you respond quickly this time, and we can talk through them one by one - starting with that inappropriate campaign box.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:50, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

OK - look I was prepared for us to talk about what was wrong with that derivative repetitive and largely unreferenced mess - especially since you had actually reinstated a good deal of the improved article anyway. I was waiting for you to hop back in with a few ideas, and some rational defence of what you had done - this is quite an important article, it really needs..

1. to be about the subject in hand - a lot of what you "added back" is about WWI aviation in general - we COULD I suppose write an article about WWI aviation, highlighting the Fokker Scourge (note spelling) - but that article would not belong here. Much waffling about background isn't necessary in an article like this - it all needs to be specifically relevant. Quite different if you're writing a book (like say "Sharks among the minnows") - although even that has a higher percentage of its text on the specific subject than did your version of the article. Most people know that WWI started in 1914 without us telling them for instance (I should hope). This, and a lot of other things, are pure waffle. Personally - I would have liked to put in the other approaches the German high command was into on the "machine gun in an aeroplane" bit before Garros' crash put the spur behind the "through the propeller" approach. The "C' types were used quite aggressively at first - they were shooting down almost as many allied aircraft as the Fokkers anyway - and spread over a great many more pilots. There was even a pusher "C" type (the AGO C.II) that was held in some awe by the allies (it seems to have been faster than the Fokker, a twin fuselage equivalent of the F.E.2b). Another approach was the use of two engined "large battle planes" - the AEG G.I - then called the K.I - the idea that they could fire in every direction. These really only rate a passing reference though.

2. to be specifically referenced. Most of the points made in THIS version could have had multiple footnotes at almost every turn - after you got off your high horse you actually added a good deal of it back anyway, the point is that this is the real kernel of the article!!

3. To be comprehensive. The term WAS a product of the British press - and it was coined after the Germans had lost their air supremacy, and overall allied air losses were down, German casualties were up, and the French in particular were doing pretty well whatever they liked in the air. Hence the desperate moves by the Germans to copy the Nieuport!! The "politics" of the exaggerated coverage RFC casualties got after they had moderated (and before the much more serious rise in casualties from August/September 1916 or so) onwards is not easy to cover in a npov manner (as we must here). It is quite possible I over-do it a little. None the less it is such an important aspect that it must be mentioned in the lead - and covered more closely in the main text.

4. Without pushing the opposite barrow TOO strongly, it MUST get away from the "schoolboys own paper" idea that even at the height of the scourge British casualties were substantial (they never were - Norman Banks actually lists them in "Sharks and Minnows" !!!) and that they were mainly B.E.2s - the main type shot down by the Fokkers were actually pusher types, and French Morane Ls. The history of the Fokker monoplane's greatest successes, and eventual downfall, are in fact primarily centred about the battle of Verdun. Bank's very fair figures - based primarily on raw German claims, average about 20 kills a month (and this includes French casualties, which were heavier than the British!)- at a time when dozens of missions were already being flown every day, is very light casualties by any standards. The allies (not to mention the Germans themselves) were almost certainly losing more to accidents and ground fire! Hysterical rah rah rah based on German propaganda of the time just won't do.

The months of the ascendency of the early Jastas that was to follow are another matter altogether, of course, but this in another story, and has its own article(s).

Still not saying we can't improve this article together - but not by ditching months of painstaking research and repeated rewriting (the new article was of course written off-line) - including the a good deal of my own "background material" - especially after NOT communicating previously about what you thought was wrong with my view of what you had written - after being given three MONTHS (not days, not weeks) to do so.

I am an old grump - and I quite possibly WAS a little unkind in some of my initial reaction - but the time to object was then! The name of the game is rational communication and frank discussion, not getting the sulks. Anyway - I'm not entirely without hope we can work together constructively to improve the article further. Try doing it point by point from here on though.

regards, and sorry for being so undiplomatic. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:26, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

"Fokker Scourge" is a term for the events[edit]

This is an encyclopedia, and just describing the events as they happened is what it's all about. But this bare description, especially if it includes a numeration of the light allied casualties (based, in order to be quite fair, on German claims rather than reported losses) at least gives the reader an opportunity to conclude for himself that the TERM "Fokker Scourge" might just be an example of hysterical hyperbole. We can't draw conclusions like this because it would be OR and controversial - but I think we can be forgiven for giving the reader a chance to decide for himself that this might be the case. Talking about the term "Fokker Scourge" as a term in the lead at least leaves the question open. Otherwise we're prejudging that there was a "scourge". --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:08, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

The problem with covering the term as a term in the lede is that it then misleads the reader into thinking that the article is about the term, rather than about what the term denotes. Another problem is that the term does not "describe" the period in question, it refers to it. I understand what you're trying to convey, but it might be better to simply be explicit about it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:20, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree that this is not an easy one, and I respect your argument, but the article IS about the term, in a way - otherwise we'd call it something else. I think to ignore the term (as a term) here would prejudice an impartial reader into supposing we are endorsing what is, as you seem to imply yourself, not a very good description of what it refers to. I don't think we should err on the other side either: for instance by referring to the "so-called 'Fokker scourge'", as one source does - just trying to preserve complete neutrality, even at the expense of a little verbosity. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 21:00, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
The article isn't actually about the term; with your logic, all Wikipedia articles would be about terms, and that muddies an important distinction. There is some coverage of the term as a term in the lede, so perhaps that would be the place to articulate the hyperbolic nature of the term. I can imagine something as simple as "the term was coined to characterize such and such as bla bla bla." — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 22:00, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
A perusal of WP:LEAD may be helpful here. Most Wikipedia articles are referenced by a clear, reasonably unambiguous term. This one, for the best of reasons, is not. An important function of the lead is to define what the article is about. I think "the term was coined to characterize such and such as bla bla bla" might in this case be a bit TOO explicit - as I remarked in my first post to this thread this IS an encyclopedia article rather than an historical treatise, and we do need to be as neutral as possible. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:30, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by a "clear, reasonably unambiguous term." If you mean what the term refers to, I can see that there are two possible meanings that are very similar to each other. I'm also not sure what we're being neutral between. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 18:36, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
This argument doesn't apply to the vast majority of articles, where our "obvious" title is unambiguous, and descriptive of the topic of the article. If we had the choice we probably wouldn't use "Fokker Scourge" as an article title at all - for instance we could call it the "Fokker Eindecker Period" or something like that. Being stuck with a term that isn't just a bad description, but seems to describe something that didn't really happen - I think it is fair enough to talk about the term as a term in a way that might otherwise be a bit redundant. Neutrality in this case is steering between going all revisionist and saying how the scourge bit (in the context of a particularly bloody war) is less based on physical events and more about what people thought about them, and on the other hand, talking up the events to fit the "scourge" bit. Either might make interesting writing - neither, I feel, would be encyclopedic. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:20, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
Ok, the basic format of article ledes is to begin with something to the effect of "'X is __" with the blank being a simple definition. If there is no simple definition, then some hedging is in order. But it seems that fokker scourge has a simple enough definition that hedging is unnecessary in that first, defining sentence. What you seem to be implying is that, because the term itself is not the best term, we should go away from this formula. There's nothing in WP:LEAD that would encourage that rationale and I don't think it's a sufficient reason to do away with it. If you don't feel that there is sufficient backing from sources to unambiguously say "this term is kind of hyperbolic" or "this term was coined to emphasize X or Y" then we shouldn't try to weasel our way into implying it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 16:47, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
How would you put it then? You can see, perhaps, what we lost in your original edit. I am always open to the idea of improving this article - especially its (rather difficult) lead. Certainly we don't want to "weasel" our way round stuff (by no means sure we do) - but on the other hand don't want to imply that we're making an OR type decision that we can only back up indirectly, either. An article like this is very different from what we might say if we were writing a chapter in a book rather than an encyclopedia entry. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:25, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I did a quick Google Books search of "Fokker scourge" to see what sort of wording I'd find, here's the first page of results:
  1. this source (2002) defines it as "the period when the German fighter wreaked havoc on its French and British opponents" and "began with the introduction of the E.I." characterized as the first monoplane with interrupter gear (p. 227).
  2. this source (2001) defines it as the period of superiority of the E1 "over contemporary French and English machines" (p. 131)
  3. this source (2011) defines it as "an onslaught of single-seat monoplanes equipped with mechanical interrupter gear" (p. 7)
  4. this source (2002) defines it as the problem wherein "Allied aircraft...could not cope with the technological advance of the synchronizer-controlled machine gun" (p. 75)
  5. this source (2008) doesn't really do a good job of clarifying what the term means, it's either a period of time (presumably one of air superiority) or the actual plane itself. (p. 39)
  6. this source (2008) defines it as the period of "dominance of the new German Fokker E.I. aircraft" (p. 198)
  7. this source (2000) defines it as the period when "Allied loses soared" presumably due to the E.I. (p. 10)
  8. this source (2006) doesn't have a clear definition either, (a page on the chapter covering it is missing in Google preview) though it does seem to be the period
So it was pretty consistent until I found this source (2003) which characterizes it as an "air-war propaganda campaign...for the purpose of demoralizing the enemy and undermining the opposing public's confidence in its leadership" (p.101-3 ) Also important for our purposes, it has fokker scare as a more modern synonym. So I looked up "Fokker scare":
  • this source (1999) similarly characterizes it as an example of the psychological phenomenon where a new technological surprise of one side is overrated by the other "" (p. )
  • this source (2009) defines it as "the success" of the E.I. due to its technological innovation (p. 88)
A number of these sources (1, 3, 4) don't really have encyclopedic wording, which you've expressed as a priority. Because you had expressed concerns about NPOV, I feel like the 9th and 10th sources might be good to draw from to get wording that reflects a more detached view. Have you encountered the term fokker scare before? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 16:54, 22 March 2013 (UTC)


Thanks - that is most incredibly helpful - I'm already starting work on incorporating some of these sources - although I normally like to have at least handled a source in hard copy (I personally own most of those already cited) these are looking excellent. Thanks!!!! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 20:42, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Glad to help. What do you think about renaming the article to "Fokker Scare"? It's less common, but it's more neutral. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 15:44, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
A better description of what actually happened too - but it fails the WP:Commonname test I fear. None the less I have already set up Fokker Scare to refer to this article. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 18:54, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

That lead!![edit]

Another editor has made a very brave attempt at reworking the lead - I appreciate this, as it has probably always been the most shakiest part of this particular article. On the other hand the new lead didn't quite work either (without going into specifics). I have done my own "rework" - addressing a few of the new infelicities, while trying hard to retain the best aspects of the most recent edit - in particular the rearrangement of material, which largely DOES work. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 18:41, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Peripheral detail[edit]

I am open to discussion, but I am very concerned that this article remains succinct and 100% specifically relevant. The trouble with adding more and more detail (however accurate) around the edges is that we might lose that particular quality, and even lose sight of the essential facts in a cloud of waffle. Hence my reverting edits from someone I know to be a very constructive editor with an excellent grasp of the subject matter. Please don't take any of this personally! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:04, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Technology and psychology[edit]

The first paragraph of the lead currently reads:"Significant as the technical advantage of the new fighter was, the psychological effect of its unheralded introduction was also a major factor". There are two separate things here - one is the actual technological, or technical, advantage of the new fighter (the Fokker) - the other was the psychological effect - it seriously dented Allied (especially British) morale because it was unexpected. The Germans had been behind in this particular department, and now, suddenly, for the first time since the beginning of the war, they were ahead. This upset people.

Changing this sentence, as someone did, to "The significance of the technical advantage of the new fighter was the psychological effect of its unheralded introduction" - DOES indeed make sense, but not (quite) the sense of the source cited, nor the sense we wished to make. The psychological effect of the new technology was far from the only significance it had, nor, perhaps, even the main significance. Young men were also being killed, to mention just one other "significance".

Now it is quite possible that the sentence concerned could be more felicitously expressed - but its principal significance is not its felicity of expression, but (this being an encyclopedia) its actual meaning. Changing the expression to make it neater and more "logical" is only a "good thing" if it leaves the meaning intact. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 13:45, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

"Lay the bogey" (comment on recent "edit of an edit")[edit]

To "lay" a ghost is to exorcise or banish it. This phrase none the less seems to have been originally connected with GOLF (where of course it means to finish a hole one stroke below par), rather than the evident meaning of "to exorcise the evil spirit". A pun, probably. In any case the dictionary glosses our meaning here as "anything annoying". It has several other meanings in air force slang, including "unidentified (or enemy) aircraft". Although it IS sometimes spelled "boogie" - this seems to be from confusion with a similar (but distinct) word with a musical connotation (boogie-woogie). "Lay the boogie" gives lots of Google hits, but these are mostly connected with a song title - which was probably originally a similar, if less exact pun to the golf one. But I agree that "laid to rest" is clearer, given the phrase itself seems no longer to be current, and has lost its instant recognition. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:50, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Parabellum vs "Spandau"[edit]

The following is a detailed explanation for my reversion of a well intentioned edit from a knowledgeable editor.

The first few Fokker Eindeckers were armed with Parabellum machine guns - but much more to the point they were fitted with the first (unsatisfactory) version of the Fokker synchronization gear. Probably not our place really to "lead the historical consensus" and state that it was the unreliable gear (the production gear, while still liable to failure, was much more reliable) that caused problems for some of the early Fokker pilots - this seems much more likely than the idea that it was the Parabellum gun itself (being essentially a lightened Maxim the Parabellum should have made a fine synchronized gun). All our sources, not to mention our other articles touching on this subject, are agreed that the reason for the adoption of the "Spandau" rather than the Parabellum as the standard "pilot's gun" was essentially one of availability - the Parabellums were all needed as observer's weapons. In any case, this level of detail is not really necessary at this point - the information is essentially peripheral. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 08:35, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

That first defining sentence![edit]

An editor has suggested the following as an "improvement on the current one.

The Fokker Scourge, also sometimes called the Fokker Scare, was the period during World War I in which the Imperial German Fliegertruppen held air superiority on the Western Front as a result of the superior Fokker Eindecker aircraft. The Fokker Eindeckers, a monoplane fighter, were also equipped with synchronised machine-guns that could fire through its propeller without causing damage, making it superior to the Allied aircraft then in service.

I am in two minds about "during the First world War" or words to that effect. I think this only really belongs in this sentence if we feel that the typical reader of the article will have doubts. But... And I think that "exerted an ascendency", while neat (and incidentally totally "grammatical") smacks a little of the style of our source?

Especially for the "uninitiated" - several misleading statements are added, however.

  • The Fokker Eindecker was a pretty straight copy of a pre-war French sporting aircraft. Without going into particulars it was not in itself "superior" to anything very much, except that (when it worked) the synchronisation gear enabled a tractor aircraft to fire forwards. In particular, the implication that part of its superiority was that it was a monoplane is even more misleading, since it was quite quickly found necessary to replace it with (superior) biplanes. A reader who actually WANTS this level of detail can either read the article, or even just click on the Eindecker link. Pre-1913 monoplanes had several fundamental aerodynamic and structural drawbacks - as the "monoplane" article makes clear.
  • The "definition" of a synchronised armament incorporated into the "lead sentence" is also misleading. Propellers were in fact very frequently damaged by synchronisation gears, especially the very far from reliable early version of the Fokker gear. The Eagle of Lille himself managed to shoot his own aircraft down at least twice by "damaging his propeller". Even if it didn't always work, it was of course a revolutionary piece of equipment, but we already said that. A full definition of what we mean by gun synchronisation in this context can be best got by clicking on the link.
  • "Air Superiority" is a term that has quite a precise definition. There is a whole article to follow to ascertain to what degree the "scourge", in retrospect, really constituted air superiority in the modern sense. Although, as I said, I don't much like "exerted an ascendency" myself. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 21:46, 10 September 2014 (UTC)


Tidied page, added a few wikilinks and found an infobox to suit.Keith-264 (talk) 10:33, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Only just noticed that the spell checker has interrupter not -or....Ahem!Keith-264 (talk) 06:18, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Structure: do we need citations in the lead? Is there a preference for <> cites or sfn's (I'll alter to suit)? Keith-264 (talk) 06:18, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
The original "reference/citation structure" is a widely used one ("<> and no templates" - all page numbers noted where appropriate - all "repeated" references named) - I would stick with this and bring all references/citations into line. This would be a fairly small job, in fact if no one else will I will do it myself. ALTHOUGH if you have a definite preference for something else AND it produces something close to standard academic referencing, AND you are prepared to do the extra work involved then go for your life! Even if all the bibliographic details go into those horrid templates. The only thing I am really and truly against is inconsistency, I just want us to have all the references done the same way.
As for references in the lead - the ones that are there were inserted when someone from the military history unit insisted they were needed and that the article needed them to get off the "start" level it was on at the time. By all means cut them out - provided of course than the points concerned are repeated (and duly cited/referenced!!!) in the body of the article.
There is nothing that says we HAVE to have an infobox(!) The first version of this article actually had a battle/campaign one that REALLY didn't fit - I'm by no means sure that the current one really does either - although I may be open to persuasion. Just explain what an infobox adds here, and IF it does why we need this particlar one. Otherwise I would rather it went. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 06:50, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
I'll change the sfns to the original form (I like the templates). Having read some of the talk comments, I was surprised that there's a difference of opinion over the infobox, I thought that they were standard. Since the lead is supposed to reflect the article there shouldn't be anything in it that isn't cited in the body but I'll need to check first. RegardsKeith-264 (talk) 07:16, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Done the refs, not too sure about the untemplated bibliographical details though. Sadly I have to stop now and go to work.Keith-264 (talk) 07:36, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Just got an edit conflict on the same paragraph, sorry about that.Keith-264 (talk) 11:14, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Admire your energy and dedication! I will "fix" the refs if you don't have time and are not sure how to apply the templates to all the "untemplated" citations. I think we are probably agreed that the important thing is that everything there is only one method used throughout the article - you're welcome to "your" way IF you can make it work! The infobox really HAS to go - on looking at it a bit closer than I had, it is quite wrong - appropriate for an article ABOUT the Fokker Eindecker fighters, it is definitely not meant to head every article in which said fighters play a role. Infoboxes are "standard" if you like, but certainly not obligatory, and we don't have them for articles where the tabulated information they provide is NOT a genuinely useful introduction/summary to the article. I am rewriting the lead, looks like being identical to neither your latest version, nor my last one either. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:27, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
I changed the sfn's to <> as it was quicker and altered the book details to the un-templated style. I prefer to keep the infobox since the details about the Eindeckers is germane to the effect they had.Keith-264 (talk) 11:35, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

New (15/04/2015) lead[edit]

This remains open to discussion, of course, but I would appreciate if we could discuss any further changes here before jumping in!

1. I have cut the infobox.

OKKeith-264 (talk) 05:55, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

The "weapon" infobox is not appropriate - as the Fokker Scourge is a phase of the air war on the Western Front rather than a "weapon" - the Fokker Eindecker is also not a "weapon" in the sense covered by the standard weapon infobox - in fact aircraft types have their own standard infobox. I initially used the weapon infobox for my rewrite of the Synchronization gear - and got told very promptly (by the Military History people) that a synchronization gear isn't a weapon either, even though it controls weapons and might be part of a weapons system, and I can see their point. As I have mentioned, not all articles have an appropriate infobox. If this had one, it would be the "military conflict" infobox - but strictly there is no such thing as a military conflict called the Fokker Scourge either - it rather describes a period of rapid technical change that stretched for several months, and includes an aspect of the Battle of Verdun - but one couldn't call it "part" of Verdun without eliminating the British part in it altogether. The Bloody April article DOES get away with using the military conflict infobox as it describes the air component of the Battle of Arras.

2. Initial defining paragraph.

This is just the latest in quite a series of attempts to get this right. I have tired to keep it clear and succinct, even to someone not familiar with either aviation or military history, by putting peripheral matter (like designations for the German airforce itself, as well as its fighter units) into footnotes, where they don't interrupt the flow. Still not 100% satisfied, especially with that first sentence, but it reads fairly clearly to me.

A term with a link seems to me to cater for a person who knows nothing and someone who knows something but if you want to relegate this to footnotes, ok but I prefer footnotes at the end of the sentence after a citation (if there is one for that bit).Keith-264 (talk) 05:55, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

3. "Withdrawal" vs "disappear".

The latter is better, as the Eindeckers were less "withdrawn" than just simply run out. Some pilots actually preferred them (!) and kept theirs so long as they were flyable. No new ones had been sent to the Keks (or the Jastas that were arising from them) for some time when Wintgens was killed in his EIV on the 25th of September 1916. If (as seems likely) his was (just about) the last in active service then that can be conveniently taken as the end of the "Eindecker Period". Certainly by that time the eindecker was an anachronism rather than just obsolete!

4. I have reverted a few other fairly immaterial wording changes on rather similar grounds, where my original wording is actually better.

That's a rather one-sided definition of better.Keith-264 (talk) 05:55, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

5. I have left the cites in place for the moment - I think it is probably good to have them there, unless it is actually against the MOS or something - since there is rather more matter that will be controversial to some people than in the leads to most articles.

I'd like at least a tentative "for the moment" agreement to this from everyone - so we can get on with the rest of the article, section by section.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 20:19, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

until the retirement of the last Eindeckers from the early German fighter units [Note 2] in September 1916.[1]

They didn't "disappear"....Keith-264 (talk) 20:55, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Well, perhaps not like a person or object in a fantasy yarn or fairy story that disappeared when the magician waved their wand - but "withdraw" or "retire" isn't really what happened either - the last one at the front was probably Wintgens' E.IV and it was shot down - there were actually never that many of them anyway and the few left at the end seem to have been either destroyed in combat or accidents, or written off as not worth repair or maintenance. From the records they were there and then they weren't. How about "faded away", or "departed"? Not a big deal really - but "withdrawal" or "retirement" seems to suggest an orderly upgrade program. Right to the end of the war the Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte were chronically short of aeroplanes, especially fighters, and obsolete types tended to get "used up" - for example the Albatros D.Va was still in front line service up to the last days of the war, long after they were quite obsolete - there just weren't enough newer fighters to fill all the gaps. Look, it really doesn't matter that much, and we do need to get on to the next section - just pick whatever word you're happiest with and lets get on with it. I'm probably just being a fusspot. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:43, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
If "withdrawal" or "retirement" smack too much of organisation and intent, how about "gradually diminished by losses, accidents and mechanical failure."?Keith-264 (talk) 05:55, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
I've tried another form of words and moved the notes to the ends of sentences. Satisfactory?Keith-264 (talk) 06:01, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
1. I've refined (in my mind at least) our basic object in this lead - splitting the first sentence, and removing the footnoted information altogether! As I said in the edit summary, the footnoted information is interesting, true, and cited - but it does not really help the kind of reader who needs to be told what the Fokker Scourge is! If we decide either question (the name of the German Flying Corps/Air force, and designation and nature of the Gereman fighter units at this period) matters, there will be better places to insert it later in the article. This cuts the Gordian Knot and leaves the lead clearer.
I think that's a rather cavalier way of going about things. We shouldn't infer the nature of the people who read articles. Notice also the class criteria - they refer to all kinds of reader. I think that the notes were a reasonable compromise but removing them is unreasonable and I'd like them put back.Keith-264 (talk) 11:12, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
2. I've split the first sentence of our defining statement. We now state what the Fokker Scourge actually IS (the name for an historical period or phase of the broader history of WWI aviation in general and air superiority during the period in particular) - and THEN go on to details like what happened and when. Which (this being the lead) we keep clear, concise, and specifically relevant. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 07:56, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
There are two stories being told, the effect of the Eindeckers and the separate controversy in Britain so I think we should make this clear in the lead and keep them separate in the main text, which they (mostly) are. Keith-264 (talk) 11:12, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Please don't "interleaf" remarks, among other things they can easily get "lost" - keeping everything chronological makes for a clearer discussion, especially remembering that other people may very well want to butt in (and maybe with helpful remarks, too!)
The reason I cut the notes is not because they were in note form (my own suggestion, after all) - or your moving them to the end of sentences (which worked well in one case and very badly in the other) - but the fact that I realised, on reflection, they enshrined incidental detail that (if it matters) belongs in the article and not in the lead. There is no need in the course of defining what the Fokker Scourge actually was to go into detail about the Germans being in process of a major renamimg/reorganisation of their airforce, and especially their fighter units. In fact I plan to mention both these things in a more appropriate context, in my re-written version of our "Background" section (working on it!!). --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:59, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Incidentally - quite take your point about the "two stories" - the "political" one has, as always, its own paragraph in this lead. What I was talking about in my splitting of the first sentence was just that - same information but without the convolutinous (if that's not a word it should be) sentence structure that often arises from trying to say too much all at once. As for "types of reader" - I was just referring to enthusiasts that already know most of what we are telling them, and others, for whom the subject matter is perhaps totally new. The lead section of any article fails if we unduly confuse people in the latter class - especially as all of us are in that class for many articles. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:13, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
All footnotes should be at the end of sentences. I feel that this is a dialogue with the deaf, so I will watch your edits and intervene when I think you make unwarranted ones.Keith-264 (talk) 12:05, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Footnotes in the middle of sentences look untidy, and I agree they are better at the end where the meaning permits, but if they are there to clarify a word in the middle of a sentence? Never mind, in such a case we probably shouldn't have a footnote anyway. But as I have already said (twice) that is not why the footnotes went. Just that right in the middle of describing what the Fokker Scourge is, is not the best place to mention the information about the re-naming/reorganisation of the German air services at this juncture. It's not irrelevant - just doesn't belong at this point. Don't worry, it is not forgotten, and will be there when we get to it. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:26, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

clarification needed[edit]

"After about ten minutes of manoeuvring (giving the lie to exaggerated accounts of the stability of B.E.2 aircraft),"

Can someone clarify in the article what is meant by this. Did the encounter not last ten minutes?

I think this is an old one - I have always read it as the fight put up by the B.E. being quite creditable in the circumstances, that it obviously manoeuvred well enough to last for a ten minute dog fight against an aircraft that was so much better armed - proving that accounts of the stability of the B.E. are exaggerated. On the other hand I tend to agree this is a bit cryptic. perhaps even non-encyclopedic? We're working from the top down at the moment so perhaps when we get to it? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:55, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Subsequent operations[edit]

This little potted history of the remainder of the (fighter vs fighter) war is necessarily quite brief and general - doesn't need to be a great deal more detailed - this article is about the Fokker Scourge itself - certainly not the place for a detailed analysis of Bloody April, which has its own article anyway. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 06:53, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

There's no detail, it's a generality.Keith-264 (talk) 07:27, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
I've modified it and wonder if you can quantify the increase in RFC losses? More is incontestably true but many is tendentious, as the statistics of the Fokker Scourge in the article above show. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 07:36, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
It's talking abut Bloody April. where "many" is nothing more than the unvarnished. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:15, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Very latest new lead paragraph (17-3-17)[edit]

Yet another attempt! While (I hope) preserving the best of the latest edits I have cut some "over-linking", rearranged a sentence or two that seemed to mean something it didn't - deleted stuff about the date that was better covered in the following paragraph anyway etc. Hopefully this version is at least as good as any of the previous versions? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:27, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Content guide [1]

The opening paragraph (or lead section in a longer article) should concisely convey:

  • The name of the battle (including alternate names).
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Which war or campaign does it belong to?
  • Who were the combatants?
  • What was its outcome or significance?


The Fokker Scourge (the Fokker Scare) name was a term used to describe a period from the summer of 1915 to the spring of 1916,when during the war in the air over the Western Front where in the First World War.which German Fokker Eindecker monoplane fighter aircraft carrying synchronised machine-guns of the Imperial German Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches (Die Fliegertruppe, Imperial German Flying Corps) had a tactical advantage over poorly armed Allied aircraft and obtained a measure of air superiority. who (needs a mention of the RFC and AM[1] Significant as the technical advantage of the new fighter was, the psychological effect of its unheralded introduction was also a major factor. significance[2]

is better than

The Fokker Scourge (also sometimes called the Fokker Scare) was a term used to describe the period[assumes knowledge] during the war in the air over the Western Front in the First World War when the [new] Fokker Eindecker monoplane[relevance to a forward-firing machine-gun?] fighter aircraft[aircraft when was the term fighter first used?] of the Imperial German Flying Corps, armed with synchronised machine-guns, held a tactical advantage over poorly armed[vague] Allied aircraft[vague s/be RFC and AM in blue] and obtained a measure of air superiority.[1] Significant as the technical advantage of the new fighter was, the psychological effect of its unheralded introduction was also a major factor.[sloppy prose/a major factor of what?][2]


  1. ^ a b Franks 2001, p. 1.
  2. ^ a b Kennett 1991, p. 110.

that.Keith-264 (talk) 08:09, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Agree in principle - we've tried for far too long to cover every possible base here, and the end version (my latest) remains a tortured mess - what about slicing the Gordian knot and making the wording of this lead, especially the first paragraph, just as succinct and compact as we possibly can? "When" is actually complicated - at least two definitions really, depending - best kept to next paragraph and given the full treatment - and do we even need to have the "war in the air over the Western Front" in this sentence - pretty obvious we're talking about WWI aeroplanes, when all's said and done - and if there is any doubt it is not going to be "fixed" by multilayered attempts as prescient coverage of bases. "Monoplane" is not relevant to anything in this context. This lead paragraph can be (and in view of the length of the article SHOULD be, according to the guidelines, treated as a whole, so that there is (really) no need to overload the first sentence into incomprehensibility. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 05:01, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
The recommendation for the lead is up to four paragraphs so your use of succinct-ness as a criterion is insufficient. Your versions fail to follow
  • The name of the battle (including alternate names).
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Which war or campaign does it belong to?
  • Who were the combatants?
  • What was its outcome or significance?

which makes it inadequate. Perhaps the first sentence should convey what and where? Keith-264 (talk) 09:38, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

I tried more sentences and fewer words to meet the criteria and your reservations. I think FFA needs linking as it is an abbreviation and usually the full title is given followed by the abbreviation in brackets. Keith-264 (talk) 11:41, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • When did it happen? (Indeed, DID it "happen" in the usual sense?) the "when" here is very highly problematic indeed. This NEEDS absolutely the full treatment it gets in the second sentence. The initial "Summer 1915" bit is so positively and comprehensively taken apart and exploded in the second paragraph that we can only say it is totally misleading. Why not just leave it out? Sure we need the lead to say "when" but not necessarily in a particular order. What wrong with waiting the "when" until we have enough of the "what" in place for it to make sense.
  • What are we talking about anyway? Was it primarily an integral part of a single ground battle (no - although it influenced the course of several of them and was an important part of at least two). Was it fought on (or above) the Western Front - or mainly in the British House of Commons? Was it even really a piece of media generated "false news". A bit of all three? The lead we had before this latest tinker said it was "a phase of the contest for air superiority on the Western Front during the First World War". Redefining the "battle" as one that ran concurrently over the whole war (a unitary struggle for air superiority) - and picking the FS out as a phase of it - might be only one of a number of ways we could think about it, and it may not even be "the best" one, but it is at least coherent and internally consistent.
Might leave this with you for the moment, as I DO have other stuff I'd dearly love to be getting on with (not just on WP either) - but try to get the "faithful serving men" formula under control. They actually need regimenting in accordance with the case in point. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 18:44, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean but it seems offensive.Keith-264 (talk) 19:53, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I do know that July and August are summer months.Keith-264 (talk) 19:56, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I did want a rest from this!! Actually I was misquoting Kipling, it is "honest" rather than "faithful":
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Point is - in framing a Wikipedia lead (and many other contexts) they are "serving men" not masters.
As for the "When" - we can't say when something happened outside the context of what it was that happened anyway. In any case they are not summer where I am!! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 20:28, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Nephelokokkygia? Keith-264 (talk) 21:00, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

No, Tasmania (same place perhaps?). Being southern hemisphere our seasons are upside down! - Sounds silly, but I had a major "conflict" once with someone who had a crusade against using season names as "substitutes for dates" - look, this is getting to be far too much fun - I had better cut the wit and talk in "words of one syllable" or we'll never get beyond exchanging witticisms.
1. I agree that the "serving men" checklist is useful to ensure we don't forget anything important - the actual order in which they are presented in order to make a coherent description, on the other hand, is not a formula. Giving Mr. When a single crack at things, especially when what he has to say is unusually intricate and muddled, does make sense.
2. "Monoplane" may be meaningless but funnily enough "eindecker" isn't! The first of the Fokker Fighters was not the E.I but the M.5K/MG. A detail, but that is the reason we preferred to use the general term.
3. All the other things I already said!
What about THIS for goodness sake! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:19, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I thought you were English! ;o)Keith-264 (talk) 22:30, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Very sad you have not seen fit to answer any of the above - but flat reverted a thoughtful modification of this sentence. For the record I am most unhappy with the state you have left this lead in, but I really can't be stuffed edit warring with a totally unresponsive "opponent" over it. A shame to have an article I put some much work into spoiled like this, but I suppose it can't be helped. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:57, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I don't know why you've jumped to such negative conclusions but all of your comments seem to begin with a complaint. I was quite happy to continue discussing the wording of the lead but really don't like your protestations of ignorance of plain English followed by a revert. Had you been a little more patient and taken note of the times zones we're in, I would have had the chance to address your comments but now I'm so fed up with your disingenuous edit labels and peremptory edits that I'm struggling to AGF.

  • What have you failed to understand about the word, supposedly?Keith-264 (talk) 13:08, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Precisely what I clearly said - I don't understand its context in that sentence! Like who is doing the supposing, and why when and how are they doing it? But this is nor getting us anywhere - just READ the following (pretty please)...
It might be at least partly me - or perhaps I've just been trying too hard? In any case from here I might as well have been talking to a brick wall. All the response I can get to a full explanation of where I am coming from on this one is a reference to Cloudcuckooland and mistaking me for an English person. I took this as good-humoured agreement rather than a counter argument and got on with my efforts to change the first paragraph to what I assumed we had more or less agreed to – which you simply reverted, without further comment. Nonetheless (sighs) - one last attempt before I take this off my watchlist and leave you to it! Let's try one point at a time - please comment on each one, even if it’s just to say "that's rubbish"! As I see it...
1. This page does not really describe an event. (Like say, the battle of Trafalgar, or even the battle of Verdun and the Somme.) In so far as it is a "battle" at all, it is a phase in an extended subsidiary campaign, nothing less than one "swing" of the see-saw contest for air superiority during WWI. Even this is very hard to pin down to a particular day – did "the scourge" start when the first Fokker (strictly NOT an EI by the way) arrived and end when the last one left, or can we pin it down to the period when their successes started, and end it when those successes had (largely) dwindled away? And it has, and I think this is not only clearly borne out in the sources – but something that has never been in dispute here, a strong psychological factor – even at the time people like Cecil Lewis were wondering quite what all the fuss had been about. There was also a parliamentary campaign connected with it. Now all these things had different time frames – the detail currently contained in the second paragraph is (I think) in itself a reasonably successful attempt to cover this, to describe when in fact. We can hardly cover the case with less, anyway. I think, and I have said this now several times, that we are better off keeping the when to one place, other than a VERY general when in the form of mentioning which war we’re talking about. Now I may very well be quite wrong here, but if so you have so far not mentioned the fact - much less why (or even what, wherefore, why, how etc.) or presented a counter case for a split when. Perhaps we need an opening paragraph that concentrates on the when - and leaves the other "serving men" to the second paragraph?
Before we go any further, could you please just explain why we need those dates (with or without a qualifying “supposedly” in the first paragraph. Referring in the course of your argument to what I have just said above (not to mention before that and before THAT) would be helpful. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:47, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
There are two things, a development in the air war which can be given a time and a political campaign by Pemberton-Billing et al. which used it with ulterior motives. The term was coined by the campaigners to push their claim for more orders for aircraft against the RAFactory. Supposedly leads on to the section in the lead that adverts to the second thing. On reflection, it might be better to start with the Pemberton-Billing matter and then go on to describe the arrival of the Fokkers. Trying to refer to two things only loosely related, is why there's so much difficulty in coming to agreement. It's midnight here so I'm off to bed. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 23:57, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

For your delectation when you return: This is the first paragraph, broken down into "serving man" type elements.

Name 1. The Fokker Scourge (also sometimes called the Fokker Scare) What 2. was a phase in the contest for air superiority where 3. over the Western Front When1 4. during the First World War.

Who1 1. The Imperial German Flying Corps Did What1 2. obtained a degree of ascendency Who2 3. against obsolete Allied aircraft. Why1 4. with the introduction of the Fokker Eindecker (family of) fighters.

Remark1 1. Significant as the technical advantage of the new fighters was, Why2 2. especially their synchronised machine-guns Remark2 3. the psychological effect of their unheralded introduction was also a major factor.

The principal when bit is of course para 2 (more or less as is).

If we could discuss the wording of each element - and its precise placement in the whole?

I deliberately have NOT put this into the article until we have been through it. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:27, 22 March 2017 (UTC)


The period is usually considered to have begun in July–August 1915 How can something "begin in" consecutive months? Either it began in July or in August. If authorities vary we need to show that.Keith-264 (talk) 13:14, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Ok - we could make this bit more/less specific (what about simply "August", or even "July") NOT an event to have a definite day of starting really - but lets settle the more general when question first. (see above) --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:55, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Which one was it? Keith-264 (talk) 23:58, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
You know that! Wintgens first (unconfirmed) victory on 1st July (which recent historians recognise as the first "eindecker" victory) - or the "traditional" date - 1st of August Immelmann's first (confirmed) victory. Since its "usually considered" and I'm in my eighties and allowed to be a little out of date I'm perfectly happy with August. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:19, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
But please lets do para one first!!

I've changed this to "August" - but there was actually nothing wrong with "July or August" or even "July/August" in the context of "usually considered" - we could even change that to "traditionally considered". Or (with a source) take that bit about when the RFC started to notice something was going on (September) - whatever you think. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:27, 22 March 2017 (UTC)


@Musicals: I'm still uneasy about the structure of the article; have we done enough to differentiate between the tactical history of the Eindecker and the propaganda campaign that was conducted after it? Keith-264 (talk) 09:03, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

Don't think we confuse them unduly - apart from the lead - which of course summarises the whole article, each aspect has its own sections. The link is "subliminal" really - provided we make it clear than the losses - considered as eindecker victories were actually not that heavy - a thoughtful reader can work it out for himself that the fuss was a bit overdone without us going on about it too much. I am just a little unhappy over some sentences that read as if they have been edited by a BOT - where mechanical "style improvements" have actually changed the intended meaning, or rendered it obscure. Those things really need to be applied with great care or you get into all kinds of mess - exactly like a spell checker - you can't believe everything it says. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 10:00, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

Commas before "and"[edit]

I think that at least one of the BOTs used by some editors to cut unnecessary commas must be a bit draconian. Anyway, I have restored a number of eliminated commas that are actually required by the sense - especially to delimit parenthetical clauses/phrases. This took a painstaking manual run through the entire article. If anyone thinks there are any commas that really grate - then please raise the matter first here. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 07:20, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

I was sorry to see that Soundofmusicals felt the need to take this to arbitration; a quick glance at the Arbitration page Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case#Comma usage dispute shows that the request for arbitration appears to be heading toward a consensus to decline acceptance of the case. I have not had any interaction (that I recall) with either Keith-264 or Soundofmusicals, but when I saw something about "comma", I thought I'd take a look. I thought perhaps I might be able to help resolve the issues here. I reviewed the latest edits, beginning with this edit and going back to this edit. I think both points of view have some validity, and I'll point those out in a minute. I can also understand Keith-264's statement at the Arbitration page, "my laconic prose and Sounds's flowery circumlocutions don't mix". I was a bit surprised that, at User talk:Keith-264#Commas before conjunctions, the discussion seemed to focus on the merits of the Oxford comma when, at least to my eye, many of the commas in question in that series of edits mentioned above had little to do with the Oxford comma. Before I take some edits one by one, I'd like to say that, generally:
  • Keith-264 does write more concisely than Soundofmusicals, and for that reason I would support several of his edits. Soundofmusicals, several times you use more words than are necessary to say something.
  • I agree with most, but not all, of the commas Soundofmusicals has added. It is true that when used to set off a phrase parenthetically (where a pair of parentheses could be used instead), two commas, one on either side of the phrase, are needed. However, occasionally, Soundofmusicals, you set off a phrase (with a pair of commas) that does not need to be set off. For that reason, I would say that you sometimes overuse the comma. I will point out a few examples of this. Generally, there are three possibilities with regard to the comma:

(a) Situations where the comma is required, or at least usually used by good writers;

(b) situations where no comma is necessary, and most good modern writers would not use one; and

(c) situations where it is a stylistic choice to use a comma – some writers would use a comma, but others would not. Note that commas are used less frequently than they used to be.

One place where a comma is required, or at least usually used – (a) – is following the first independent clause (complete sentence) in a compound sentence, that is, a sentence comprising one or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction ("and", "or", "but", etc.): [Independent clause], and [independent clause]. The only time it might be acceptable to leave out the comma is if both clauses are quite short, or as a literary technique to speed up the flow of the sentence. So Keith-264, you can see that to say that "punctuation next to a conjunction is never justified" isn't quite right. You can, however, say that it is a stylistic choice whether to use a comma before a conjunction that comes before the last item in a list (the Oxford comma), and that you believe the comma is unnecessary. That's a style question, and people can differ regarding questions of style.

Regarding the use, or non-use, of the Oxford comma, I grew up being told that no comma was needed before a conjunction ("and", "or", "for", "nor", "so", "but", and "yet") that precedes the last item in a list. The first time I saw the Oxford comma was when I started editing on WP. I then learned that some style guides require it, and others do not. I actually have been persuaded that it adds clarity to a sentence, but I do not insist upon it, and I do not think it is worth arguing over. Also, I don't think it is the main problem with the commas in the various edits here, so it is almost a non-issue here.

I will now discuss some edits one by one:

1) In this group of edits, Soundofmusicals added a number of commas in this sentence:

  • The number of aircraft in front line service was small, and the development of air fighting was rudimentary, but the German Oberste Heeresleitung (OHL the high command of the army) had ordered the development of machine-gun armed aircraft to counter those of the Allies, including the aggressive employment of the new armed two-seaters (the "C" types) and "fighter" uses for twin-engined aircraft such as the AEG G.II.

I can see you felt "and the development of air fighting was rudimentary" ought to be enclosed in a pair of commas to set it off. Your addition of the two commas is not wrong, but, because there really is no reason to set it apart from the first clause – no need to minimize it, and it's not an afterthought – it really should be given equal weight to the first clause – I would not set it off with either parentheses or commas. What I might do, though, is to remove the second "was":

The number of aircraft in front line service was small and the development of air fighting rudimentary...

However, the second comma, after "rudimentary", is necessary because it follows an independent clause that precedes another independent clause.

2) Later, in this edit, Keith-264 changed "was rudimentary" to "had only begun". I wonder, was the development of air fighting rudimentary, or was air fighting rudimentary? Can you really say the development [of something] was rudimentary? I would say "the development of air fight was still in its early stages", and Keith-264's wording, "the development of air fighting had only begun", is pretty close to that.

3) In this later edit, Keith-264 removed "but" and separated the two clauses. I agree with this. The paragraph seems to be a series of statements about the advances made by various powers. The German moves were not made in response to "The number of aircraft in front line service was small and the development of air fighting rudimentary", so there is no need to indicate contrast. (I'm not even sure this is the best place in the paragraph for this clause just mentioned; it seems a little out of place.)

4) Keith replaced Soundofmusical's "(OHL the high command of the army)" with "(OHL army high command)", and Soundofmusical changed it back. Soundofmusical, I'm surprised you would write, "the high command of the army" instead of "[the] army high command". "Army high command" is colloquial English, a very common phrase. "The high command of the army" sounds like a translation from a Romance language such as French: la directoire haute de l'armée, or something like that. If that is what Keith-264 meant by "flowery", I have to agree with him. It is unnecessary.

5) Next, I'd like you to focus on the second clause, which Keith-264 made into a separate sentence. I'm going to remove the parenthetical explanation of the German phrase for a minute.

  • the German Oberste Heeresleitung had ordered the development of machine-gun armed aircraft to counter those of the Allies, including the aggressive employment of the new armed two-seaters (the "C" types) and "fighter" uses for twin-engined aircraft such as the AEG G.II.

I'm going to temporarily pare the sentence down a bit to show you something:

  • the German Oberste Heeresleitung had ordered the development of machine-gun armed aircraft..., including the aggressive employment of the new armed two-seaters (the "C" types) and "fighter" uses for twin-engined aircraft such as the AEG G.II.

The information that follows "including" should be one or more types of machine-gun armed aircraft – that is, nouns (like "aircraft"). Instead, you have "the aggressive employment [of something]". "Employment" (though a noun) is not an example of aircraft. Those words, "the aggressive employment of", or even "the aggressive employment of the", should be removed. The noun that is an example of "machine-gun armed aircraft" is "armed two-seaters". Even "fighter uses" is not right there. The second noun phrase example is "twin-engined aircraft such as AEG G.II". If you need to specify, you can add something like "fitted for fighter use" at the end. So Keith-264 was right to remove "the aggressive employment of the".

6) In this edit, Soundofmusicals added a comma after "proposed" in this sentence:

  • This was not the first such gear proposed, but was the first to be fitted to an aircraft and proved in flight.

and Keith-264 promptly removed it in the next edit.

Because what follows "but" is not a clause – it has no subject and is a second verb phrase for the subject at the beginning of the sentence ("This"), no comma is needed after "proposed". Some writers seem to like using a comma there, but it is definitely not necessary, and I would not put one there. It would read as follows:

  • This was not the first such gear proposed but was the first to be fitted to an aircraft and proved in flight.

On the other hand, I don't think it is important enough to edit-war over. If the pronoun "it" is added so that the verb phrase becomes an independent clause, then I would say the comma is needed:

  • This was not the first such gear proposed, but it was the first to be fitted to an aircraft and proved in flight.

7) In this edit, Soundofmusicals removed two commas in this sentence, the ones immediately before and after the parenthetical phrase "(military designation A.III)", with this edit summary: "Brackets here supply the parenthetical effect of the commas - which does not need "reinforcement":

  • The device was fitted to the most suitable Fokker type, the M.5K, (military designation A.III), of which A.16/15 assigned to Otto Parschau became the prototype of the E.I.

leaving the sentence as follows:

  • The device was fitted to the most suitable Fokker type, the M.5K (military designation A.III) of which A.16/15 assigned to Otto Parschau became the prototype of the E.I.

8) Now, it is true that a pair of commas would duplicate the pair of parentheses (or brackets), so are not needed, and should not be used, if the parentheses (brackets) are used, but there are other issues here.

(1) The phrase "the M.5K", with the explanatory "(military designation A.III)", is an appositive. It is itself an explanation of "the most suitable Fokker type", and it should be enclosed in a pair of commas. The first comma is after "Fokker type". The second comma should come after "(military designation A.III)", but Soundofmusicals removed it. It's got to be put back. Also, the adjective clause "of which A.16/15...became the prototype of the E.I." represents extra information – information that is not necessary to understand, or identify, "the M.5K (military designation A.III)", so we call it a non-restrictive (i.e., non-limiting, non-identifying) adjective clause. Non-restrictive adjective clauses are always preceded by a comma. So, we have two reasons why there should be a comma after "(military designation A.III)": (a) it's the second comma in a pair of commas surrounding an appositive phrase, and (b) it precedes a non-restrictive adjective clause beginning with "of which". So, the sentence should be punctuated as follows:

  • The device was fitted to the most suitable Fokker type, the M.5K (military designation A.III), of which A.16/15 assigned to Otto Parschau became the prototype of the E.I.

Also, if there was only one "A.16/15", we would write:

  • of which A.16/15, [which was] assigned to Otto Parschau, became.... (where the phrase "assigned to Otto Parschau" is a reduced/shortened non-restrictive adjective clause that is just adding a piece of extra information), so needs to be set off with a pair of commas or a pair of dashes).

If there were more than one "A.16/15s", and one of them was assigned to Otto Parschau, and we want to focus on that one, we would write:

  • of which the A.16/15 [which/that was] assigned to Otto Parschau became... (where the phrase "assigned to Otto Parschau" is a reduced/shortened restrictive adjective clause – one that is essential to understanding what A.16/15 was – so requires no commas). It all depends upon what you mean.

9) In this group of edits, I think most of the added commas are correct. There are one or two that I do not think are necessary, and I am going to remove them in an edit, which I think is the easiest way for me to point them out.

I hope this has helped, and that the two of you can go back to collaborating on topics in which you clearly share an interest. If you come up against against a disagreement that you cannot seem to resolve, feel free to leave a question for me (I'll try to make my replies more concise if I can) or one of the other coordinators at Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors, or the very helpful and knowledgeable editor, Rothorpe. Best regards,  – Corinne (talk) 05:30, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for taking an interest; I fear that explaining your reasons for adding commas to conjunctions misses the point. I think that if writer feels a need to put a comma next to a conjunction, they ought to to rewrite the sentence. It seems to me that, like lots of people, you are trying to adapt an informal conversational style of communication to prose. I think it's best to treat spoken and written English as dialects with separate rules. In this article, there are two incompatible prose styles and I think that there can be no compromise, one has to go. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 07:35, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
@Keith, sorry, but it's you who "miss the point" - it's not a matter of "flowery prose" versus "succinct" writing, nor is it a matter of "colloquial" versus "formal" language - at this point we're just discussing commas, and I would appreciate your keeping to the subject - time enough to talk of other things (like my "flowery" style?) elsewhere and at another time. To be perfectly frank your rule that you "can't have a comma before a conjunction" just isn't so. Corinne, who I suspect knows more about the formal rules of English syntax and punctuation than either of us, just told you so. In fact many necessary commas (in perfectly well written prose) happen to come before conjunctions. Several people have commented on this now - including some of the folk who thought I was a bit premature with my arbitration request - and not one of them agreed with you. Just pick a book from your bookcase (make sure it's a well written one) and read a page or two looking out for commas before conjunctions. So everyone else is wrong and you're right? No shame in being wrong; I am, quite often, goodness knows. Just get over it and get on to something else.
@Corinne sorry for the above. I came here to report on my latest edit to the Fokker Scourge article. I have made several of the edits you suggested, including restoring some of Keith's that only went because he bundled them with deleted commas. I have actually rewritten the "OKL" paragraph altogether, as it was a little murky. If you feel it still needs some work then please let me know. Hopefully it is now at least a bit easier to understand for a non-aviation enthusiast. You did not specify the "one or two [restored commas] that you do not think are necessary" so I am not able to tackle these - by all means either do them yourself or give me a few clues. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 08:22, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
We've discussed this on and off for ages and the only conclusion I've reached is that you can't write. Regrets Keith-264 (talk) 08:58, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Glad to see you have given up ad hominem.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:56, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
It's a description of a fact not an insult; you can't. What did you think you were doing when you tried to get other editors to gang up? Keith-264 (talk) 07:16, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
Whether or not I (or you) can write good English is not relevant to this discussion, which is about correct punctuation. For what it's worth I think we both write at least as clearly as the average Wiki editor, for what that's worth. The "fact" that you don't like me very much IS ad hominem, anyway. Like who cares? I'm almost at the stage when insults from you are sounding like compliments. By the way, I studiously avoided "ganging up" (or giving the impression of so doing) - the other editors who have responded have done so purely on their interest on the subject, none of them are "mates" of mine. Turns out I tried the wrong way to settle things - "Arbitration" is, as I know now only as a last resort. You're supposed to be able to demonstrate that you've been fighting and edit warring and all kinds of sh*t which is exactly what I have been trying to avoid. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:48, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Keith-264, I don't know where you got the idea that commas are not to be used before conjunctions. Here are just a few links to support what I said above, that a comma is used after an independent clause that is followed by a coordinating conjunction ("and", "but", "or", etc.) and another independent clause, and there are other instances where a comma might precede a coordinating conjunction.

Grammar Book
The Punctuation Guide See in particular the sections "The listing comma" and "Commas based on sentence structure".
Grammarly Note the examples of the incorrect addition of commas in the section "Comma Between Two Verbs in a Compound Predicate". The section "Comma with an Appositive" is interesting, as is the section "Comma Between Coordinate Adjectives". See the sections "Comma Before But", "Comma Before And", "Commas with Lists", and "Serial Comma (Oxford Comma)".
Oxford Dictionaries

It really doesn't contribute to a cooperative relationship among editors to say to someone that they can't write, unless it's really bad and they are messing up WP articles that others have to spend time cleaning up, and in that case, you can get help from admins to address the issue, but I don't think that's the case here. If you are objective, I think you'll admit Soundofmusicals has contributed a lot to WP articles. I think a more productive approach would be to try one of these:

  • Explain why you think a certain wording or punctuation is inappropriate and suggest alternate wording. If you think it would help, provide a link to a relevant passage in an on-line guide to writing or even a Wikipedia article such as English grammar, Punctuation of English, Comma, Apostrophe, Relative clauses, or the WP Manual of Style.
  • Ask another editor for a second opinion.
  • Leave it alone; if it's obviously wrong, or poorly written, someone else will come along and fix it at some point.

You both seem to have an interest in a topic that is not one of the most common, so your efforts to write and improve these articles are needed. I wish you both all the best.  – Corinne (talk) 01:29, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for your time and trouble but I don't find it helpful for someone to act as a self-appointed judge. Might I suggest that if you come back you mention whether you are applying AmEng or BritEng criteria? I infer that you're an American, which means that some of your judgements are not germane. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 07:30, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

What a relief to be discussing things relevant to the article again![edit]

The meaning here is that the high command of the German army were disturbed that they were losing one or two aircraft to French Morane Ls and British Gun Busses because the bounders were carrying machine guns. The new classes of (machine gun armed aircraft) they were pushing to address this situation included the new "C" class aircraft, with a gun in back seat, and the equally new "K" class ("K" for "Kampf" or however you spell it) with guns fore and aft. All this is before there was, strictly speaking, any such thing as a fighter. German sources are pretty unanimous is claiming the Fokker Eindecker as the "first fighter", but this is what happened, rather than what was planned.

Now do we get all this into that paragraph? I'm not quite sure the link between the sentence about what the OHL were initiating and the description of how they did it is clear. As for substituting "escort duties" for "fighter-like" ones - the original point of the "aggressive" bit was that they (the crews of the C and K class aircraft) were also actually going for their opponents - a number of famous fighter pilots got their first victory flying a "C". As you may remember, even Richthofen had a go in a "K" for a while, in his book he calls them "large battle planes". If we are going to add something to "escort" duties (true but just a little beside the point) then do we want to re-add something to restore the "agressive" bit? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 10:30, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

Last two changes[edit]

Liked the Supermarine one - nearly wanted to do something similar myself but didn't want to be shot down for being too prolix - other one starting to get too detailed and long-winded (which you of all people don't want). The "K"s (and at first the "C"s, before they started to achieve the status of standard equipment for the FFAs) were indeed issued in "ones and twos" to reconnaissance units (as indeed were the Fokkers!) - but how relevant is this HERE? This whole section is a brief background to the subject of the article. Different sources take several (partly contradictory) approaches - ideally we might want to distinguish the "C"s - several of them piloted by people who were among the Fokker aces, and the "K"s - which really WERE a dead loss, even as escorts. But all of this can only make the article longer.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 13:21, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

This paragraph![edit]

In early 1915, as aerial warfare developed, the Allies (especially the French) were ahead of the Germans in the fitting of machine guns to aircraft. The first aircraft used with some success as fighters included the British Vickers F.B.5 (Vickers Gunbus) and the French Morane-Saulnier L. The number of aircraft operating over the Western Front in 1914 and 1915 was small compared to later years and air warfare was in its infancy, but the German Oberste Heeresleitung (OHL, army high command) had already ordered the development of machine-gun-armed aircraft to counter the armed aircraft of the Allies. The new "C" class armed two-seaters and twin-engined "K" (later "G") class aircraft such as the AEG G.II were attached in ones and twos to Feldflieger-Abteilungen (artillery-observation and reconnaissance detachments) to escort unarmed aircraft.

This paragraph is an important little introduction. I really think this version "will do", in spite of the heavy weather we've been making of it. There is nothing whatever in it that is "flowery", "ungrammatical", or "informal". It conveys the intended meaning. Above all - it contained no over-long or convoluted sentences that "need" breaking up.

To summarise - it has these "thoughts":

  • 1. The French and British had already armed some aircraft with machine guns.
  • 2. The Germans (before the Fokkers came out) were already responding to this with armed aircraft of their own.

Each thought is now expressed clearly - especially the rather more complex second thought.

Before you revert it, Keith, could you just read this para through, as a paragraph. No objection to your further refining it - provided it still means the same thing, and is demonstrably "better" in style. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 17:59, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

That lead![edit]

The very last thing I want is for this controversy to last any longer, so I have have tried to minimise alterations here - adding clarification (and, incidentally, the main fact about the Eindekkers). If cutting the "surprise" adrift from the "psychological effect" is to be set in stone as a "better order", then the resulting confusion is probably best met by cutting one or the other out. "Plain language" dictates it is the "surprise" that should remain. -Soundofmusicals (talk) 10:09, 20 July 2017 (UTC)


The "split and spice" of sentences in the "Early air warfare" section unfortunately divides the intended thought, losing part of the intended meaning, on the other hand I think I can see what was bothering Keith here, and I have made my own edit - effectively cutting out a repetition of the "infancy" idea. Is this better? -Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:20, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

I'm beginning to wonder if you are an ingenious hoaxer because each of your edits is worse than the last. ;o)Keith-264 (talk) 13:20, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
If some of my edits could be improved (as they could well be, on occasion, and I'm trying very hard to keep my changes as "minimalist" as possible, and not to disturb your sincere efforts unless it seems really necessary) then tell me what exactly is wrong, and suggest a positive change. I long since gave up worrying about your ridiculous personal remarks, in fact they have become so VERY predictable they are worth a chuckle or two - but with the best will in the world they are simply not very helpful. The usual style for RAF squadrons is to use "No." or "Number" before the number - thus we generally talk about (e.g.) "No. 666 Squadron". Just look at the articles for the RAF squadrons, or "go read a book", if you don't understand this for some reason. You seem to like to follow rigid rules - what about a rule that when we link anything we keep as close to the actual name of the article concerned as possible? Makes sense. As for "first must be followed by a singular" surely "the first of" is pretty meaningless except before a plural!
If my wording strikes you as too "wordy" or whatever, by all means suggest a viable alternative (I have accepted dozens of your changes as either genuine improvements or at least acceptable alternatives) - but please make sure that it means the same thing as the text you are changing, and in fact that it makes some kind of sense. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 04:05, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
We've been at this for nearly two years and I've run out of patience.Keith-264 (talk) 09:35, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Sorry - but whether you are patient or not has no bearing on the case. Get your paytience back - and then return to rationality, or we'll nevcer get anywhere. "No. 7 sqadron RAF" is the usual form for presenting the name of an RAF squadron in the Airforce itself, in books on the subject, and in every article in Wikipedia on such a squadron (and, incidentally the vast majority of mentions of squadrons within other articles (although we do seem to drop the "No." now and then, apparently for variety). This has rather less than nothing to do with "using WIkipedia as a source", and even less to do with your (or my) patience. I challenge you to find one with a record of constructive edits of WWI aviation articles who agress with you. I challenge you to present one argument why the normal format already established needs to be overturned in this case. IF you are right, and IF this is a matter worth arguing over there are literally hundreds of entries in dozens of articles that will need changing. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:03, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
[2] Wiki is not a source.Keith-264 (talk) 09:50, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
You are as aware as I am of the fatuousness of this argument. Our dispute over the format of the presentation of the name of an RFC squadron has nothing to do with "fact" requiring verification, and simply points out what has remained pretty standard style over a great many articles. I suggest that your desire to set a new and variant style for this article is at best just a little bit silly. -Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:47, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Keeping to their own side of the lines.[edit]

I have cut a clause about the German air superiority as redundant (a bit obvious actually) - and rearranged another to bring relevant clauses together. Hope this is not too "eccentric" for you. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:55, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

The Royal Aircraft Factory (Putnam's British aircraft) by Paul R. Hare[edit]

Does anyone have a copy for cite 55? Sadly Amazon doesn't have a peekaboo for it. Keith-264 (talk) 09:27, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

@Petebutt I think I repaired the effect of my edit conflict and I'll step aside for a while to avoid another one. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 11:29, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
There are (according to the index to the work in question) references to C. G. Grey's attacks on the Royal Aircraft Factory on pages 29, 42, 43, 47, 49, 50, 52, 56, 57, 70, 72, 82, 84, 85, 86, 93, 95, 105 and 139. "Numerous entries" is of course far to vague for a specific reference, and I am grateful to "the learned gentleman" for pointing this out. On actually having a look at page 29, I find this passage:
"Alone among contemporary Aviation Journals, The Aero, which was then edited by C G Grey, chose to be singularly unimpressed with the announcement, describing the decision [for the Balloon Factory to widen its activities to "aeroplaning"] as 'more War Office folly. The journal suggested that any area less suitable for aeroplaning than the Aldershot district had yet to be discovered...
Notwithstanding my original vague entry - which was meant to cover the whole of C G Greey's "anti-factory" activities - this quote would seem to be suitable verification for the text:
C. G. Grey had orchestrated a campaign against the RAFact in the pages of The Aeroplane, going back to its period as the Balloon Factory, well before it had produced any heavier-than-air aircraft.
I have altered the reference to refer specifically to P.29, and hope this meets with satisfaction. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:34, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Incipient edit war about No. being part of the official name of an RAF squadron.[edit]

AND - just to repeat - whether or not this part of the MOS - the fact that in every other article it remains the style in which we present the name of an RAF/RFC squadron. If you disagree - by all means present a reason why this article must differ in style from every other article in Wikipedia that mentions an RAF squadron, or, alternatively, why every other article needs changing - because we really do need to be as consistent as we well can be in matters of style. "Wikipedia can't reference itself" is no argument at all - as I said elsewhere it is thoroughly foolish and fatuous. We are not referencing anything - just maintaining a consistent house style.

To quote Petebutte

The correct full title is No. 1 Squadron RAF. This should be used for the first use in the text and thereafter use the accepted abbreviation, in this case, 1 Sqn. So in the first use - No. 1 Squadron RAF, thereafter just 1 Sqn.
I hope this will clear it up for you!! Your protagonist is entirely wrong to say the No. is incorrect, it is part of the OFFICIAL name of any RAF squadron!!

Please accept that you (like me) are capable of making a mistake? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 13:50, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

  • I don't understand all the hoohah here. It stands to reason that first usage of a military unit's name should be its official one, to allow linkage to the article on that unit. Any other usage means that the responsible editor is opting for creation of possibly unneeded redirects for the sake of linkage.
  • First usage of an official name is also consistent with the WP practice of only allowing abbreviations or acronyms after their introduction by full explanatory name--i.e., [Royal Flying Corps] (RFC).
  • I do not see any reason for deviation from these practices.Georgejdorner (talk) 16:41, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Yikes. Are we trying to get on the list of stupidestleast useful edit wars?
Leave the silly "No." in. There's no harm, and it may help. Okay, maybe if we repeat a dozen times in one section we can shorten it, but it's not more accurate even then. In fact, when I saw it without the "No.", I wondered if it was some different unit. The style at the time included it. --A D Monroe III (talk) 17:35, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Are you trying to be helpful? You might try harder to be civil if you want to be taken seriously. Just a thought.Keith-264 (talk) 19:20, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Huh? What's not civil? I did say this would be a stupid edit war. Is this seriously the most important thing we have to work on here? And how does that reply make it more civil? We're better than this. Please, let's just discuss the article, not the editors. --A D Monroe III (talk) 19:31, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
I changed the word that might be offending. Hopefully we can leave it at that. --A D Monroe III (talk) 19:44, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
@Keith OK here it is in talk! The lead paragraphs (version Lord knows what) are very highly polished and basically the version you wanted yourself a few days ago. Your latest changes do nothing but render the text LESS "plain and succinct". In view of your frequently expressed desire to get away from my "flowery" style they are a complete contradiction. Earnestly suggest it is high time you let this be for a few days - and then came HERE (to the talk page) BEFORE you do any more changes to perfectly satisfactory article text. And actually READ the arguments here before dismissing what anyone else has to say with ridiculous slogans. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:07, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
You've broken 3RR, you shouldn't do that.Keith-264 (talk) 22:09, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Please, If you're going to come here (good!) at least answer the things people have been saying. And seriously - READ the lead before you revert it yet again - it is honestly pretty good (as much as anything because of YOUR attention to it over the last two years!) and has the qualities you aspire to (brevity and plainness) as well as the ones I think are at least as important (clarity and readability). We don't need links to the British and French air services in the lead - there is now a single link to the RFC at an appropriate juncture, and we can actually do without a link to the French air service altogether - in spite of probably suffering higher casualties the French really didn't have a "Fokker Scourge" in the same way as the British - their part in the story is mainly coming up with the Nieuport Scout! Worse - those additions make the text a good deal harder to follow for someone reading it for the first time. The "first time reader" with perhaps little or no prior knowledge of the subject, is here (as everywhere on Wikipedia) the most important person and the one most deserving of consideration. I was in a filthy "early Monday morning" mood last time I was here - but I would be hypocritical if I pretended to be "sorry"! I am still profoundly disappointed that the sensible and friendly Keith-264, who has done so much to help shape this article, seems to have been replaced by a stubborn, intransigent and horribly unfriendly person. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:08, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
I have returned the article to its last best state, which is literate, legible and makes sense, pls lay off the reverts as your into 3rr and more now. Keith-264 (talk) 08:47, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Watch your edit summaries! "Reverting vandalism or test edit" is not-constructive in a situation which comes from difference of opinion. (Also looks foolish if it actually introduces a typo) GraemeLeggett (talk) 10:12, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Never mind HIM Graeme, although, alas, he seems at times to have reasons for being here other than improving the article (!) I think we have (albeit with much wasted effort) hammered out between us rather a good article here. In fact, while we're all here - what about a GA nomination? Probably shouldn't come from me, as the article's author? -Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:33, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

A new lead?[edit]

Tempted to plug this one in for comment - but will stick it here first in view of the contention it may cause - suggest replacing the first two paragraphs of text with the following:

The Fokker Scourge (or Fokker Scare) was a period during the First World War from August 1915 to early 1916, when the Fokker Eindecker fighters of the Imperial German Flying Corps (Die Fliegertruppen) provided a degree of air superiority over poorly armed allied types.
The Fokker was the first service aircraft to be fitted with a machine gun synchronised to fire through the arc of the propeller, and it was this factor, togther with the surprise of its introduction, that was the major cause of its success.

This is basically a slightly "cleaned up" variation of what I originally wrote (or should have written perhaps?) --Soundofmusicals (talk) 04:25, 25 July 2017 (UTC)

Hopefully this one will be stable at last - although it is a shame that "poorly armed" (in context, two highly relevant and informative words) have to go because they are not someone's favourite parts of speech. Thanks to someone else for re-adding "without striking the propeller" (which I foolishly cut - assuming from the edit summary it was about Garros). --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:15, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Sorry folks - just can't leave well enough alone![edit]

I have gone through several sections of this article with a little "tweak-brush". Among other things I've switched the pikkies of the Nieuport and the DH.2 to better relate to the text, something I've been meaning to do for a long time. Deliberately left the lead alone - the only bit I am concerned about now is the last four words: "led to its success". We want to say that (the factors described) were the MAIN things - "led to" seems a bit bare, and doesn't convey the full nuance. After all the fuss I'd rather someone else (preferably Keith) fixed this. Otherwise let's just leave it as it is - we DO need a bit of stability at this point. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:42, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

OK Keith - nothing much wrong with that lot. I've restored "in an effort to keep the synchroniser secret" - the only reason for this is that of course they didn't keep the secret at all - in fact one of our best sources remarks that there was really "no secret to keep". If you can recast the sentence so it doesn't lose this nuance by all means. A couple of places where you cut a comma "because it came before a conjunction" still grated - I took your advice and recast the prose instead of risking more controversy. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:43, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

Word edit suite[edit]

I've just copied the article into Word and checked the punctuation, grammar and syntax. So far so good (somewhat to my surprise) ;o)Keith-264 (talk) 14:20, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

The Word grammar/syntax checker is if anything a little TOO mild. Just to balance things I've tried Grammarly, which is far too "fussy". It did point out a redundant full stop, a repeated word ("were were") and a couple of instances of confused syntax. I corrected these, anyway, but I had to leave a good many other suggested changes (some of which were pretty daft) in the "ignore" basket. I STILL would like to reinsert a few of your excised commas, but I'm trying to avoid getting into a kerfuffle over this if I can avoid it. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:37, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

Definition of synchronisation gear[edit]

This needs to be totally clear, and above all unambiguous. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:01, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

Or, and this case better still, not attempted - since we do define it more precisely in the lead! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 14:53, 6 August 2017 (UTC)


Moved a cite to the end of a sentence and combined two v short sentences. Ran the article through the Word splendidiser again, pleasingly free of grammatical infelicities. Keith-264 (talk) 07:55, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

@Soundofmusicals: Wiki doesn't abbreviate Wikilinks the first time they're used, a later abbr is introduced in brackets. The page range 161-162, 160 shows the order in which the material is being cited, in this case something from p. 160 was used after the material from 161-162. Some of your edits included RS. Keith-264 (talk) 17:51, 11 February 2018 (UTC)

Especially as the reference applies to a single short sentence I think a conventional page range is better here. I have in this latest batch of edits not introduced any "new" information, or actually contradicted anything clearly cited in an RS - on the other hand we are not constrained to use the exact wording of a source (in fact this is to be avoided, copyright and all that) or present information in exactly in the same order. Most sources (no matter how reliable) contain matter that seems speculative, or even not strictly accurate - more importantly, an author's emphasis (words like "very" or "most" for instance) may be inappropriate in an encyclopedia - in a case like this we may at times legitimately differ, at least by ommission. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:59, 11 February 2018 (UTC)
There is a page range a comma and another page reference which reflect the order of information taken from the source so leave them alone. Our text is a description of the RS so it is not for us to adjudicate. if another RS contradicts the account we can describe this. This "an author's emphasis (words like "very" or "most" for instance) may be inappropriate in an encyclopedia" is the opposite of Wiki, if that's what the author puts, it's what we describe. Keith-264 (talk) 00:17, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
Do we have to do this in his very words? That's copyright breach! If the matter in a single, short sentence is referred to three pages, all within a short page range, then I cannot see any possible benefit in something that is not part of citational convention. If a later reference refers to an early statement then we need a separate reference. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:26, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
It. is. the. order. in. which. the. information. is. presented. Convention is bogus, something on p. 160 was described after material from pp. 161–162. If the material was mentioned in the same order as the order of the pages pp. 160–162 would be right but it wasn't so it isn't. You don't have the source so your view is pure speculation. Quite where copyvio comes from I don't know but all but two of your edits have been retrograde. Don't you remember what happened last time? Keith-264 (talk) 00:50, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
What are you two doing? Keith-264 (talk) 00:15, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
What are you are the new editor up to? I'm quite happy to discuss an edit at a time but if both of you intend to re-edit the article privately and paste it over the existing article you'll risk falling foul of WP:BRD. Keith-264 (talk) 00:33, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
Discussing one edit at a time will be cool - what we're doing is systematically going through the article to try to come up with something you and I can both live with. As you have guessed, I've got an old friend to join Wikipedia. He is likely to be interested in WWI aviation in particular - we had a look at this article of course, and he is going through it in his sandbox - we've agreed that he won't make any new edits of his own (for the moment) - what he is doing (I hope!) is making his own "best" version from your recent edits and mine. It is perfectly possible that neither of us will like what he comes up with very much, but it's better than us getting upset with each other, saying a lot of things we don't really mean, and getting into a tangle of undos and reverts. The first thing he noticed was the fact that this article had a lot of references - whereas the other WWI articles had few or none. I think if he does become a regular editor he will be specialising in adding references to other WWI articles (his aviation library makes mine look sick so that will be great if it comes off). Couldn't get him to agree about the reference we've been fighting over - but his first thought is that it's a very poor book to cite in this context - he says the most likely one is German Aircraft of the First World War (Gray and Thetford). When he finds his copy (I'm still looking for mine) he'll slip it in. Hopefully to his sandbox. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:58, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
I hope he wasn't referring to me as a vandal, I'm a Britunculi of the Brigantes ;O) Keith-264 (talk) 02:07, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't think he knows what a vandal (in the Wikipedia sense) is yet. On the other hand I am a rude and profane old man and he has been doing a lot of cutting and pasting from and to MY sandbox! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:25, 14 February 2018 (UTC)

New edit Comment[edit]

@WWIReferences: Made a few alterations which I'm happy to discuss; pls note that the WWI wikilink doesn't need a pipe | because WWI anf FWW go to the same place ("do not use a piped link where it is possible to use a redirected term that fits well within the scope of the text.") Jasta is an abbr so the full title goes first and the abbr in brackets after it. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 01:11, 15 February 2018 (UTC)

Looked in Wise last night and found some detail. Keith-264 (talk) 09:44, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
Added table from White. Keith-264 (talk) 16:11, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
Looks good - hope uncle Paul can leave it alone now and the article can become "stable" in future. It is in a whole different class from most FWW aviation articles already - there is so much else we could be concentrating on instead.
Not that I can am going to argue a point that makes so little real difference, but First World War actually goes to a REDIRECT page that sends it to World War I, and this can be fraught. All kinds of thing can go wrong. Talking here as a software engineer (which I am) rather than an experienced Wikipedian (which I'm obviously NOT). I have been reading lots of MoS articles in an effort to get over the latter, but I'm not sure your remarks about "piping" actually apply in this instance. Given we actually want the "British" form (FWW) in the text, if we CAN link directly to the actual article (WWI) we probably should. Not that it REALLY matters, but still... As for the Jagdstaffel / Jasta bit - do we really need BOTH forms here? Assuming we do, what you have put is fine, but in this context either might do on their own? In either case we would be going direct to the article rather than a redirect if possible. But again, I'm not going to argue this one, or alter what you have put, as it is REALLY trivial. (BTW in the back-and-forthing we muddled - think this is probably what you meant. WWIReferences (talk) 00:06, 17 February 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Yet it's what wiki wants and when I dialled FWW in it went straight to WWI. With Jasta, because it's an abbreviation Wiki wants the full one first. An aficionado might know what Jasta means but we have to write for everyone. What we think is trivial isn't always the case with Wiki. Quite happy to discuss.Keith-264 (talk) 10:57, 17 February 2018 (UTC)

Jones 2002 vs Jones 1928[edit]

It's a 1928 book - and the "new edition(s)" of 2002 doesn't alter the text (or even the typesetting) of the original (this sort of thing is called a "facsimile" edition). Anyway, using the 2002 date gives the impression it is a recent work, whereas in fact it is a near-contemporary one. (Both can be equally "reliable" depending on what we are "verifying" BUT... Hope no one minds my changing the date on these references, anyway. WWIReferences (talk) 01:23, 17 February 2018 (UTC)

I know it is, hence the template having orig-year and year entries but this was discussed quite a while ago and a facs. edition is still an edition in Wiki. RegardsKeith-264 (talk) 10:52, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
PS the isbn is for the 2002 reprint.Keith-264 (talk) 10:58, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
This is an example of a template,

* {{cite book |ref={{harvid|Jones|2002}} |title=The War in the Air: Being the Part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force |volume=IV |last=Jones |first=H. A. |authorlink=|year=2002 |orig-year=1934 |url= |accessdate=4 September 2016 |publisher=Clarendon Press |edition=Imperial War Museum and Naval & Military Press facs. repr. |location=London |isbn=978-1-84342-415-4}}Keith-264 (talk) 11:03, 17 February 2018 (UTC)

Having the last reference in a template is rather untidy (not that it matters much). And no problems with the date of the current publication taking the principal place in the BIBLIOGRAPHY. But (with great respect to your much longer "tenure") I can't take the reversion to "2002" for (unaltered) text published in 1928 - not in the FOOTNOTE citations, anyway. References in an academic essay (or a Wikipedia article, one hopes) are mainly for the information of "the reader". Informing our reader that Jones's 1928 text is from 2002 is misleading at best, if not direct deception! I'm sure you don't want to mislead or deceive - they are certainly very much the opposite of the aims of an encyclopedia. To link my very first reference to Wikipedia policy - WP:5P5 - THERE!. WWIReferences (talk) 06:33, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
A thought! is it possible to compromise here, with (let us say) "Jones 2002 (1928)" or even Jones 1928 (2002)? But I greatly prefer to just keep the 1928. WWIReferences (talk) 06:39, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
Even better still, how about "2002 [1928]" - which seems to be what the template produces on the bibliographic cite line. Have taken the liberty of implementing this - how does it look to you?WWIReferences (talk) 06:56, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
I have changed it back as per WP:BRD this isn't a matter of individual judgment, the ISBN refers to the 2002 edition. Carrying this over to the shortened ref /ref citation duplicated an unnecessary detail. We should leave the text alone until consensus is reached. NB we are are 2RR. Template:Cite book "year: Year of source being referenced", the source is the 2002 publication as shown by the isbn.Keith-264 (talk) 09:11, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
[3] Dates and reprints of older publications [4] Keith-264 (talk) 12:02, 18 February 2018 (UTC)

Editors should be aware that older sources (especially those in the public domain) are sometimes reprinted with modern publication dates. When this occurs and the citation style being used requires it, cite both the original publication date, as well as the date of the re-publication. E.g.:

Darwin, Charles (1964) [1859]. On the Origin of Species (facsimile of 1st ed.). Harvard University Press. Keith-264 (talk) 09:45, 18 February 2018 (UTC)

This is done automatically in the {{citation}} and {{cite book}} templates when you use the |orig-year= parameter.Keith-264 (talk) 10:55, 18 February 2018 (UTC)