Talk:George Sykes

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WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Tag & Assess 2008[edit]

Article reassessed and graded as start class. --dashiellx (talk) 15:33, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Use of apostrophies in ownership[edit]

This article had inconsistent use of apostrophies in ownership.

There were:

Sykes' Regulars

Sykes' men

Sykes's corps fought

Sykes's lackluster performance

Graeme Cook (talk) 08:49, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved. Jafeluv (talk) 01:53, 23 October 2010 (UTC)


George SykesGeorge Sykes (Civil War general) — Minor Civil War figure who returned to rank of lieutenant colonel after the war. Does not meet standard of WP:PRIMARY TOPIC. See discussion on this topic at Talk:George Sykes (disambiguation) —Roman Spinner (talk) 05:36, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Oppose The other George Sykes are two politicians and a footballer; none of them have any major achievements and are only linked by lists, succession boxes, etc. The general is actually discussed and linked by hundreds of articles, making him the clear WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. --JaGatalk 10:48, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
But by the same token, many of the incoming links to this article come from the {{Gettysburg figures}} navbox. PC78 (talk) 16:18, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Oppose for reasons outlined in the Talk:George Sykes (disambiguation) discussion. Hal Jespersen (talk) 16:32, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Comment. The correct dab should be George Sykes (American Civil War general). PC78 (talk) 18:37, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Response. George SykesGeorge Sykes (general) — In response to the above comment by User:PC78, permit me to amend my renaming proposal by quoting the words of User:BusterD at Talk:George Sykes (disambiguation): "I'd prefer the shorter George Sykes (general)". Indeed, among the 72 listed Civil War generals whose article main title headers use parenthetical qualifiers, 37 have "(general)" or "(General)", 4 (including George Sykes) use "(Civil War general)" and the remainder show various combinations of "(Confederate general)", "(US Army officer)", "(officer)", or postwar occupations, such as "(governor)", "(politician)" or "(engineer)", etc. As we all know, although English Wikipedia functions as an encyclopedia of the entire English-speaking world, articles which have an American context should rarely, if ever, use the phrase "American Civil War" and the single link in the lead paragraph of American topic articles should be piped (American Civil War|Civil War).—Roman Spinner (talk) 01:33, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
"(general)" is also fine. My point was that "Civil War" was an ambiguous disambiguator. :) PC78 (talk) 16:08, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Weak oppose. Despite my comments above, he does nevertheless appear to be the most notable of the three George Sykes we have on Wikipedia. PC78 (talk) 16:23, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

George Sykes (Civil War general) as (not) a disambiguation page primary topic[edit]

For the convenience of editors wishing to comment on this matter, below is a copy of the original (no primary topic) disambiguation page which, remaining properly neutral as to their relative importance, lists the four entries in order of year of birth:

  • George Sykes (New Jersey politician) (1802–1880), American legislator; Democrat from New Jersey; represented 2nd congressional district (March 1843–March 1845, November 1845–March 1847); elected to New Jersey General Assembly (1877–79)
  • George Sykes (Civil War general) (1822–1880), American Union Army officer who was promoted to Major General after Battle of Antietam in November 1862; considered journeyman commander by contemporaries; ended career in minor leadership positions
  • George Sykes (New Zealand politician) (1867–1957), New Zealand legislator (Reform Party, subsequently Independent) who represented North Island's Masterton electorate in House of Representatives for 24 years (1911–35); awarded Coronation Medal in 1937
  • John George "Jack" Sykes (born 1915), English footballer (left back) who made forty appearances in Football League without scoring, playing for hometown Wombwell (1931), Birmingham (1932) and Millwall (1937)

It should be noted that there is virtually no Civil War general who is considered important enough to constitute a primary topic. Even the Union Army commander in 1861–62 and Democratic Presidential candidate in 1864, George McClellan, appears on the George McClellan disambiguation page as George B. McClellan, rather than have "George McClellan" serve as a redirect to "George B. McClellan". McClellan is an exceptional case and should, indeed, be changed into a primary topic, but scores of other Civil War generals appear on disambiguation pages, some not even identified as generals by the parenthetical qualifiers — and none as primary topics. Among them: John Adams (Confederate Army officer), Benjamin Alvord (mathematician), Robert Anderson (Civil War), Richard Arnold (general), Joseph Bailey (general), James Barnes (General), John Beatty (Ohio), Samuel Beatty (general), Harvey Brown (officer), Benjamin Franklin Butler (politician), Charles Clark (governor), Edward Clark (governor), John Coburn (politician), John Cochrane (general), John Cook (US Army officer), Philip Cook (general), James Cooper (Pennsylvania), Samuel Cooper (general), Richard Coulter (general), James Craig (Missouri), Charles Cruft (general), Alfred Cumming (general), John Davidson (general), Reuben Davis (representative), Thomas Duncan (general), John Eaton (General), Charles Ewing (General), John Fraser (academician), George Gordon (Civil War General), Henry Gray (politician), Thomas Green (general), John Gregg (CSA), Richard Griffith (general), Johnson Hagood (governor), Charles Hamlin (general), Cyrus Hamlin (general), John Hammond (New York), Edward Harland (general), Walter Harriman (governor), William Hays (general), Louis Hébert (Confederate Army officer), Benjamin Huger (general), Edward Johnson (general), Sam Jones (Confederate Army officer), Rufus King (general), James Henry Lane (Confederate general), Robert Lowry (governor), Samuel McGowan (general), Humphrey Marshall (general), John Franklin Miller (senator), William Miller (Confederate Army officer), John G. Mitchell (general), John Newton (engineer), John M. Palmer (politician), John Pegram (general), John Pope (military officer), Andrew Porter (Civil War general), William Preston (Kentucky), Preston Smith (general), William Steele (general), George H. Steuart (brigadier general), George W. Taylor (general), Richard Taylor (general), William Terry (congressman), Richard Waterhouse (general), Max Weber (general), William Wells (general), Thomas Welsh (general), Daniel White (general), Thomas Williams (general), George Wright (general), George Ziegler (Civil War general) and numerous others who are disambiguated not by parenthetical qualifiers, but by middle initials and other details. Yes, WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS, but in the case of Civil War generals, the "other stuff" is the norm.—Roman Spinner (talk) 00:45, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

You aren't looking at this the right way. Being a Civil War general is not an automatic qualification for primary topic or non-primary topic. The only question is, of all the George Sykes out there, is the general by far the most likely person being searched for? The answer is yes, so the general is the primary per WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. --JaGatalk 00:58, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
There are about two hundred thousand Wikipedia disambiguation pages — nearly thirty thousand for human names alone. Most of them do not have primary topics — those that do number less than 10% among human name pages. Since some names are always better known than others and have more users searching for them, every disambiguation page, but, especially, the human name disambiguation pages could, theoretically, choose a primary topic with the greatest number of incoming links and anoint it as the primary topic.
Wikipedia, however, has a very high standard for primary topics and, while the number of incoming links is one measure, indisputable notability must be another (presidents, heads of state, world-famous movie stars and athletes, etc.) A low-level Civil War general who reverted to lieutenant colonel after the Civil War cannot be considered a primary topic. Every Civil War participant and event is templated and therefore has hundreds of incoming links stemming from those templates, thus rendering such a standard virtually meaningless. If the only question, as indicated above, is who is the likeliest person to be searched for on the disambiguation page, then every disambiguation page would have a primary topic, thus engendering continual disputes about each entry's notability. As an example of the difficulties faced in restoring James Stewart (actor) to his former position as the primary topic of the James Stewart (disambiguation) page, I invite editors to read portions of the lengthy arguments on this topic at Talk:James Stewart, Talk:James Stewart (disambiguation) and Talk:Jimmy Stewart (disambiguation). Finally, even a considerable number of the existing primary topics have, in one degree or another, remained due to inertia, with the first name created (not necessarily, or at all, the most notable) continuing as the primary topic and the subsequent names forming the remainder of the disambiguation page—Roman Spinner (talk) 03:59, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
While I disagree with your move target in this case (I'd prefer the shorter [[George Sykes (general)]]), you've raised interesting issues. I've invited further comment at the American Civil War task force. BusterD (talk) 10:16, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
And I'd say your strongest explanation of this phenomenon is your last one. Many ACW bio articles were created early in wikipedia time; as the later articles have come along, the practice for such disambiguation has tended to default to the first created (perhaps better developed) article. All this just spitballin'. BusterD (talk) 10:21, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
George Sykes would probably be rated as one the top 50 Civil War generals. He was a successful corps commander in the Army of the Potomac, arguably the most famous of the Union armies. I would discount the argument about his being reverted to lieutenant colonel after the war. This was extremely common. Given the widespread interest in the American Civil War (particularly with the sesquicentennial starting), I think that it is highly likely this man will be searched for more frequently in the English Wikipedia than any of the other three men listed here. By the way, there are over 1400 Civil War general articles, so the list above of those who have parenthetical disambiguation in their article names is not very compelling. And I was unaware of any negative connotation about including a middle initial in an article name, such as for George B. McClellan. This is the form of his name that is very frequently used in Civil War history books. Hal Jespersen (talk) 16:29, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
In response to issues raised in the above comment, I have a conflicted outlook — while the notability and WP:PRIMARY TOPIC positioning of Civil War personnel should be left to American Civil War task force, the noticeable expansion of primary topics that such a project would entail might raise the ire of other editors who have their own favorite primary topic candidates on their respective disambiguation pages. More specifically, In the event that George Sykes (Civil War general) were to be accepted as the primary topic of the George Sykes disambiguation page, he would be the only Civil War general with such positioning, other than Ulysses S. Grant, the primary topic of the Ulysses S. Grant (disambiguation) page. If "George Sykes would probably be rated as one the top 50 Civil War generals" then, to carry the logic further, those among the other 49 who have names common enough to appear on disambiguation pages, should also be searched out and converted into primary topics. Surely, some of them must even be among the 72 generals listed above, none of which have heretofore been singled out as primary topics. Although there are, indeed, at least 1400 Civil War-related articles, the only ones germane to this discussion are personal names which are common enough to appear among other same-named individuals on disambiguation pages.
By the way, there was no negativity intended in the mention of middle names and initials — it simply served to point out that in addition to the 72 Civil War generals listed above who are disambiguated via parenthetical qualifiers, there are at least as many additional Civil War generals who are disambiguated on those pages via their middle names and initials. Also, although we're discussing solely those who, like George Sykes, held the rank of general during the Civil War, there are also scores of disambiguation-page listings of lower-ranking personnel as well as civilians who also have not been raised to the level of WP:PRIMARY TOPIC. One civilian who does rise to primary topic is Jefferson Davis, disambiguated from Jefferson "Jeff" Davis (Arkansas governor) and Union general Jefferson C. Davis, although whether the general was commonly known as "Jefferson C." or the "C." (for Columbus) was appended primarily to avoid the use of a parenthetical qualifier should probably be a matter for the task force to resolve (a separate Jeff Davis disambiguation page also exists). There is obviously more to this (with many examples), but to close for now, I do feel that key individuals should be singled out as WP:PRIMARY TOPIC and have, therefore proposed the previously-mentioned George B. McClellan as the primary topic of the George McClellan disambiguation page. Again, members of the American Civil War task force should have the primary input on this primary topic at Talk:George McClellan.—Roman Spinner (talk) 19:39, 15 October 2010 (UTC)