Talk:St Ives, Cambridgeshire

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I'm worried about this historical county thing. Surely this article should be helping people to understand St Ives as it is today; to tell them it's in Huntingdonshire is very misleading. It was in Huntingdonshire (the county). it is in Cambridgeshire (the county) and also in Huntingdonshire (the district).

By all means the article can mention that St Ives used to be in Huntingdonshire. But it should be perfectly clear in telling the reader that the modern town is in the modern county of Cambridgeshire. Even the article title is misleading and out of date!

Even more worrying is that someone appears to be going around changing a pile of articles on places in Huntingdonshire District to appear as if they're in the county of that name. They are not.

Is there an agreed policy on this? If so I can't agree with it but will accept a majority view. If not, can we please stop wholesale changing of articles and discuss a policy first. Chris Jefferies 10th December 2003

St Ives is both currently in the traditional county of Huntingdonshire and within the area administered by Huntingdonshire council (which covers virtually the same area as the County does). The article clearly states that it does not currently lie within an administrative county of that name. However, it is very likely that the next boundary review will make current Huntingdonshire district a Unitary Authority Area, so this will also save movong the article when this occurs. Since administrative counties have this propensity to change, it is far more sensible to list places by traditional County. The title is neither misleading nor out of date. St. Ives is currently in the traditional County of Huntingdonshire - it has never moved from this; it is not currently in an administrative county of this name - and this is clearly stated. In short, all information is current and correct.
On the question of policy: I've many times requested that an 'official' policy be discussed and created for such matters, but other people tend, on the whole, to be more interested in edit wars than sensible discussion! 80.255 00:09, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)

The policy on county names (mentioned in the paragraph above) does now exist and was voted on. It is very clear - 'We should use the current, administrative, county. E.g. Eton is in Berkshire, not Buckinghamshire. and We should mention historic counties in articles about places and in references to places in a historic context, but only as an afternote.'

Surely then, in this article, the opening paragraph should read 'St Ives is in Cambridgeshire'. Additional details should be added in the main body of the article as an afterthough - if at all. The article should be relevant to people wanting to know about the town of St Ives, if they want to know county history they can read it from the links provided. Please restore the wording Owain.

Thanks Chris Jefferies 16:01, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It just seems silly to me to go on about St. Ives being in Cambridgeshire and in the 'local government district' of Huntingdonshire and then contradict it in the Infobox. It's no good pretending there is one definitive unit that you can call a county, as in "St. Ives is in the county of Cambridgeshire", when information on the very same page lists three things called counties. I haven't removed any information, I have just clarified it. "St. Ives is in the county of Cambridgeshire" is clearly ambiguous at best, and disingenuous at worst. Owain 18:29, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I accept that it seems silly to you Owain, that much is clear enough. Your opinion is expressed very clearly in the policy discussion where you were outvoted. There is no point in going over that ground again here. What is not clear to me is whether you will now abide by the majority decision. That is why I am asking you yet again to please restore the wording in the St Ives article so that it complies with agreed policy. Chris Jefferies 00:27, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'd like to publicly thank Owain for his latest change to the text, a partial revert which he's labelled a compromise. It is a step in the right direction (towards accepting the agreed convention). But, my own feelings are that it is wrong in principle to agree to a compromise between an agreed policy and some alternative position. I'm going to give myself time to think this through, but I'm not inclined to compromise over Wikipedia conventions. That would be wrong. If we compromise, what was the purpose of the discussion and the vote? Chris Jefferies 15:52, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Good point - what is the point on voting on facts? They can't be changed. The vote was on presentation, not about supressing facts. Wording to the effect of "X is traditionally in Y" is perfectly fine according to the policy. Owain 17:28, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
What the policy states is 'We should mention historic counties in articles about places and in references to places in a historic context, but only as an afternote' (my emphasis). The current article wording is fine, but it would be best to put the historic county details into the main body of the article, not in the first paragraph.
See Wikipedia:Guide_to_writing_better_articles#Lead_section for details. According to this, the lead section should briefly define and describe the most important features of the topic. In the case of a town this would include things like the type of town (market town), size, where it's located, age, and main industries. The more detailed stuff (including historical county) should appear further down the page. If there's a section or paragraph on the town's history it would be appropriate to put it there.
So how about this for the opening paragraph? ... 'St Ives is a medium-sized market town in Cambridgeshire, England. It lies on the River Great Ouse and has a history of about 1000 years.'
The second paragraph already deals with various aspects of the town's history, so this would be an appropriate place to mention that it was in Huntingdonshire prior to the local government changes.
Would that be OK with you Owain? Chris Jefferies 21:26, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

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