Talk:Herbert Schildt/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 1 Archive 2


This page needs to be renamed to the proper full name (Herbert Schildt).—Tetracube 18:48, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Notes on controversy

Original page's author clarifies: Page was not (originally) meant to be anti-Schildt. I like the guy, he's a good guy and his books are useful entry-level texts for noobs. His books have mistakes that are catchable only by very knowledgeable software developers, who do not write for periodicals (which only do cursory reviews of the glut of computer books - I know, I used to review computer books). These reviews are highly technical and found on usenet etc where real programmers post them. The issues are ones that are not important to noobs, but will bite anyone who tries to use Schildt's information for any serious software development. It is fair, and indeed it would be unfair not to, talk about these issues since they are one of the defining aspects of his 20+ year career as a "world's leading programming author" and note that I did --not-- attack weasel statements like this, but I was careful to link to articles where experts gave their critical review of his books. The problem with wikipedia and why I quit bothering to write articles is any careful look at Schildt (I mean, anyone whose name is in the Jargon File of all places is automatically notable in the computer science world!) because someone will just come along and delete everything. It's a waste of time. I do not understand the reason for wanting --published-- sources for a --computer science-- author where most material will be online, not published. This seems like a self-defeating rule. (BTW Little C itself is quite notable as a long C example that has been around at least 19 years. At least preserve the links to its source!) -- original author, I closed my wikipedia account —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:11, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

And, btw, why was the cover picture of Advanced Turbo Pascal deleted!? This is what makes wikipedia a joke. Book covers are well established as fair use, and this is a vintage book cover probably few people have ever seen that sets Schildt into his time. I can kind of understand deleting the picture of him, but the BOOK COVER? Why? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:17, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Because the clueless deletion mobs are taking over Wikipedia. I also gave up on Wikipedia a while back because it was clear that Certain People are only interested in blindly enforcing what they perceive to be the citation requirements for articles, and they will delete anything not conforming to this requirement to the letter, in spite of the fact that they have absolutely zero interest in the subject matter. After a few run-ins, I decided that my time is better spent elsewhere, where the effort I put into something isn't immediately undone by someone who isn't even interested in the subject matter to begin with.—Tetracube (talk) 17:43, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Stop edit warring my changes

My standing as a so-called blocked user has no bearing on the Schildt case at all, and last winter the article was stubbed down, and the criticism was removed, by a neutral editor based on the case at biographies of living persons that I'd opened.

It's real cute to send me messages claiming I'd inserted no reason for the undo. It's real cute because

(1) I'd followed procedures and opened up a BLP case on Herb

(2) I've repeated given you exhaustively analysed reasons why the criticism section is NNPOV, original research and in violation of "biographies of living persons".

I ask you to leave Criticism out at least until the BLP case is adjudicated.

Edward G. Nilges

Newer book reviews/information

My interest in Schildt is completely historical. He is a significant figure in the early IBM PC and MS-DOS days, and that's why I wanted to present historical information about him. His books helped a generation to learn PC programming, and that's the main reason for the entry here, to better document this era for researchers.

If anyone is familiar with Schildt's current (post-2000) books and work, and would like to comment, it would help bring the article up to date. I do not have and don't want to have his modern Java, C#, etc books. I have seen his latest C: The Complete Reference and it's almost the same 1990 book I already have, plus a few random chapters thrown in from his other books.

Stubbed down

I've stubbed this down somewhat. The references to criticism seems to have been overstated and could be applied to almost any author writing about C during the period. References to professional reviews published by reliable sources should be added, of course, but I've removed the jargon file reference and various links to essays by self-proclaimed professional programmers (I hereby proclaim myself a professional programmer of some thirty years experience).

I've also taken the opportunity to remove some older "HOWTO"-style stuff and links to downloadable code files, etc. Not suitable for an encyclopedia article. I've been particularly draconian with the external links section. --Tony Sidaway 14:31, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Good job, Tony. The article now conforms to wikipedia's policies concerning the biographies of living persons and a neutral point of view.

Edward G. Nilges —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:38, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Question: Is Schildt even still writing? I don't see his books in book stores much anymore? I am not aware of anything new. If I am wrong, someone please correct me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Compunerd007 (talkcontribs) 14:30, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Schildt01 advtpfronta.jpg

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Schildt01 advtpfronta.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 04:59, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Criticism section

As one can easily verify using Google, Schildt's books are often criticised. Unfortunately none of the references that have been offered so far satisfy our strict requirements as explained in WP:BLP and WP:RS. So if someone knows about a book or a newspaper article or similar (not a usenet posting, wiki or personal website, or similar, of which there are plenty) mentioning that the details in Schildt's books are not always correct, then this would be an important edition to the article. --Hans Adler (talk) 15:22, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

As one can easily verify by thinking, Schildt's critics have amplified their apparent number by means of sock puppetry and simple repetition of a disorganized laundry list of "errors" comprised as a single shot which has its own errors, for, as Hamlet said, use every one according his own deserts, no one should 'scape whipping.
Schildt was targeted as was Kathy Sierra and this beast walks again here.
Schildt empirically confirmed his claims on Microsoft platforms. People, whose knowledge of non-MS platforms is matched by snobbery, failed to confirm his results but he was writing for actual computer programmers, including some about to get fired for not being able to change arrogantly written C programs in an arrogantly promoted, but deficient language. Of course, as Schildt's opponents failed to understand, real programmers actually test code examples before using them.
Schildt wrote from the outside of an unethical "standardisation" effort which tacitly made the false claim that a "standardization" effort will make a bad language reliable and safe, and it appears to me that some members of the effort took out their dishonesty on a safe target rather than question a corporate-dominated effort.
In consequence of wikipedia's poorly written and poorly thought out "no original research" policy, today one book or one article can destroy a person or create a lie. This is the real bullshit.
Edward G. Nilges
Schildt himself claims on his website that he "is an authority on C" and he boosts himself with allegedly being "a member of the original ANSI committee that standardized the C language in 1989, and he was a member of the ANSI/ISO committee that updated that standard in 1999". --rtc (talk) 06:44, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
It appears he was driven away because of his Microsoft background, or left in disgust. But, he was a member. His harassers have made a dishonest attempt to make it appear that he's lying using hearsay and innuendo, because their "evidence" is that they didn't "see" him at meetings. Since when is gossip a wikipedia source?
I am speaking in his defense not because he's a personal friend. He isn't, although after I notified him of my efforts I received a very sincere thank you note. I am speaking in his defense because clumps of people posing as wikipedia editors and usenet programming authorities are pursuing personal vendettas against contributors so unlike them.
The case of Kathy Sierra was one incident. I have also found Jacob Navia, the creator of the lccwin compiler, being harassed on usenet. As a computer author with a smallish reputation exogenous to the internet I find that the internet and the blogosphere is being used by impotent corporate drones on company time to vent hatred and resentment of people with the balls to exit the corporate system, because any reputation, no matter how small, exogenous with respect to the internet and the so-called blogosphere triggers swarms of abuse. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:16, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Any courtesy, any decency, any attempt to be clear that can be renarrated as prolixity, any grace, any moral seriousness, anything tending towards the sweetness of life, triggers a Pavlovian reaction in people who do nothing all day but eat junk food and sit before computers destroying people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:19, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Has anyone got a copy of ISBN 0585028648? There's no preview on Google Books, but I would expect it to contain the "Bullschildt" entry. -- Coneslayer (talk) 15:38, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that we should see this "not a usenet posting, wiki or personal website, or similar" as a dogma. These are websites and usenet posts by voting ISO C committee members and nobody has voiced any doubt that they were in fact written by these committee members. The sources are well within the spirit of WP:BLP and WP:RS. PS: The comp.lang.c faq has been published as a book, too: ISBN 0201845199. --rtc (talk) 15:50, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I really think books are the way to go. Personally I wouldn't mind too much, but the BLP noticeboard is keeping an eye on this article, and of course they are right. Let's hope that they will accept these books. My library has "C Programming FAQs", so I will have a look. But even then I wouldn't want to say much more than that the quality of some of his books has been questioned and where to find a list of errors, for example. --Hans Adler (talk) 18:26, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Go ahead, I really won't insist on some specific wording. I can even accept the current trimmed version. I am merely against completely keeping the allegations out of the article. As for the general issue of BLP, as I understand it, the purpose of these policies was to prevent personal attacks, claims that concern the privacy of the described person or unsourced nonsensical allegations from being made in articles about living persons—such as in the Seigenthaler case. It was certainly not meant to prevent relevant criticism from being described. (At least where such criticism is directed at the public work of the person, rather than e.g. the person itself or the private life of the person.) Even if this criticism is harsh and its description in effect discredits the work of the person to some degree. I agree that we must always be very careful in such cases, though. --rtc (talk) 23:43, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I think you are right about the main purpose of BLP. But there is also a secondary purpose of preventing legal liability of the Wikimedia Foundation (under Californian law). And the problem that we can't include relatively obvious claims because someone doubts them or doesn't like them and we have no reliable sources is not restricted to BLP. The BLP people try to make the rules of what is allowed and what isn't as clear as possible, and to prevent problems it's necessary to make them a little stricter than what is legally necessary, and to enforce that strict interpretation. --Hans Adler (talk) 08:02, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
There was certainly a problem with the previous situation (from before the Seigenthaler incident), but we must be careful not to fall into the other extreme now. Making things "a little stricter than what is legally necessary" is not only reasonable, but necessary concerning encyclopedic standards; on the other hand, it can easily lead to inappropriate self-censorship if applied too dogmatically, and that is certainly not desirable. this version was clearly self-censorship. BTW, I am not insisting on mentioning the "bullschildt" thing. Given that the section is so short now, mentioning it seems to give it undue weight. The other criticism has higher priority; I'd opt for Feather's criticism that The Annotated ANSI C Standard has the same problem as the other book being described instead. --rtc (talk) 20:40, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, the people who own it, that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all. - Mario Savio
A criticism section will violate wikipedia's policies in two ways: it will violate wikipedia's policies concerning biographies of living persons, and it will be original research.
Clive Feather's disorganized laundry list of attacks on Herb itself contains errors, and was unprofessional and uncollegial, since professionals create new knowledge. They do not try to destroy existing texts and their authors in a personal campaign which makes Herb, a good mentor by their own admission, a one-stop, *sui generis* source of "errors"...merely because Herb, like most C programmers, was working on the unfashionable microsoft platform.
The quiet discussion above makes me sick. That's because you're not concerned in the slightest with NPOV. Masquerading as editors, you're trying, again, to destroy a person anonymously using wikipedia's definition of reality.
In 1966, Mario Savio was talking about a cold war system. This system has become distributed processing in which people without collegiality and without solidarity, who are afraid on the job and in their intimate relations to speak truth to power or truth itself, get their rocks off by harming hard-working people who can't fight back, from Herb Schildt to Kathy Sierra. In so doing, they ensure the private fortunes of the nomenklatura who must be obeyed.
Edward G. Nilges, author, "Build Your Own .Net Language and Compiler" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:45, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
"No original research" means that wikipedia editors may not put their own research into an article, it does not mean that you may censor properly attributed criticism because you don't like it. --rtc (talk) 06:44, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with that statement. "Original research" is mainly a euphemism for "non-notable personal beliefs". The purpose of the "no original research" rule is to make it impossible, to give a concrete example, that a single editor who believes in his own personal conspiracy theory that nobody else is interested in can advertise it on Wikipedia. --Hans Adler (talk) 09:50, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
PS: I am not sure about the precise status of Spinoza1111: banned or just blocked. If he is banned we should probably revert his comments rather than reply to them. --Hans Adler (talk) 09:53, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Removed comments by blocked editor

I removed 15 KB of text by blocked editor User:Spinoza1111. If the edit warring by this blocked editor continues, I will post at WP:AN for help. --Hans Adler (talk) 17:23, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

You can call me names if you like, but anytime I use an open IP address, I am NOT "blocked".
The article was created to destroy Schildt. My editor at Apress started a company and has written many computer books, but no article exists for him. Therefore, the article was created without due diligence to see if computer authors, unmentioned and uncited in the media or the scholarly press, should have wikipedia pages. To demonstrate this I shall create a page for myself if it's possible from an anonymous IP address.
This matter has gone to BLP. Until it is properly resolve, stop vandalizing the page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:37, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I invoke Godwin's law. [1] --Hans Adler (talk) 12:48, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
You can't "invoke" it. It's merely a description: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." Mike didn't have the imagination to realize that the probability approaches unity because electronic networks attract people with authoritarian, and pre-Fascist, personalities.
I was of course referring to the following passage:
For example, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress. This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin's Law.
--Hans Adler (talk) 11:34, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
For the record this user has also caused major problems at Talk:Ayn Rand, and has repeatedly insulted other users, to the point of threatening legal action against me. My advice is to delete any comments he posts, as he has proven himself incapable of remaining civil. TallNapoleon (talk) 05:00, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
For the record, I contributed a major analysis of the Rand-philosopher issue which was recommended as a journal article by other editors, and a rewrite that is supported by neutral editors. For the record, you've repeatedly censored me and then taken my core ideas and many of my observations without crediting me. For th record, there is a growing amount of protest against the way I and people like me are treated on wikipedia, in censorship without discussion. For the record, your malicious damage to reputation, like that to Herb's, is a very serious matter. Finally, and for the record, a legal threat isn't incivil, because the civil law defines what it is to be civil.
Edward G. Nilges

I got advice from this AN thread. The important points for me are:

  • Since User:Spinoza1111 is indefinitely blocked, if he edits using an IP, that represents block evasion, and the IP can be blocked without further ado.
  • Nilges' claim that we have to listen to him since he is not banned doesn't make sense; I believe that editors on each talk page can agree to remove Nilges' comments.

This means that it makes sense to start discussing how we can improve the article, because we can just remove Nilges' unconstructive contributions. --Hans Adler (talk) 11:34, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Making the article balanced

In its present state the article is severely misleading about the quality of some of Schildt's books; there must be a way to discuss the technical errors without making it too conspicuous. If we can't do this I am also open to deleting this article altogether. Here is what we have so far:

  • A slating review of "C: The Complete Reference" by the expert Peter Seebach. The only negative statement about the author, as opposed to the book, is the following one: "Herbert Schildt has a knack for clear, readable text, describing a language subtly but quite definitely different from C." The review is self-published, but taken strictly as a book review it must be acceptable even for a BLP page. I believe there is precedent from BLP pages related to fringe science, where there is a similar problem: Too obviously bad science is generally not discussed in the serious scientific literature, and discussion on a reputable expert's blog is often the best we can get. So long as it is about the fringe science, not the fringe scientist, it's acceptable. [2]
  • A slating review of "The Annotated ANSI C Standard" by the expert Clive Feather. I counted three negative statements about the author, each expressing indignation about specific details of the book. The same arguments as for the previous reference apply. [3]
  • A paragraph in the comp.lang.c FAQ. [4] Technically this is not self-published, since it was printed by Addison-Wesley, in a book edited by Steve Summit. The paragraph consists mainly of guarded statements ("It has been suggested", "Many people on the net recommend"). But it can serve to corroborate the review of the book (which it cites, giving it the unusual status of a web page cited in a printed book), and especially the statement that the book contains numerous errors and omissions, including a few pages of the standard itself.

It would be a good thing if someone could find a review of one of his books in a source like the ACM Communications; it would also be good if we could counterbalance the negative reviews with more positive reviews by other experts. --Hans Adler (talk) 11:34, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

In asking for positive reviews of Schildt books by experts, you ask for a contradiction. Open any Schildt C book at random, and you are likely to find at least one error - not typos and stuff, but real misunderstandings about the language - and quite possibly several such errors. If you fail to mention the very real concerns that C experts have had over Schildt's books for many years, you have effectively kissed goodbye to NPOV. The concerns exist. The bugs exist. Those facts are indisputable, and the Wiki page used to report them, but now it doesn't. Since when was Wikipedia interested in concealing facts? Do a little research, and you'll find that this whole issue arose out of ignorant Usenet ramblings. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:11, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Frankly, I'd prefer if this whole Usenet war stay on Usenet. I stumbled across a userfied version of the old article, and as much as it pains me to admit it, Edward was right--the weight given to criticism was entirely undue. Since you seem knowledgeable on the topic, could you point us in the direction of some reviews by experts of Schildt's work, published by a good source? Neither I nor Hans (so far as I know), are experts on Schildt's work--if you are familiar with it, any help would be most welcome. TallNapoleon (talk) 07:26, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Addendum--that's not to say there shouldn't be a criticism section. However, it should be proportional to the size of the rest of the article. Given how short the article is, the criticism section should be correspondingly short, per WP:UNDUE. TallNapoleon (talk) 07:33, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Which version are you referring to when you say that "the weight given to criticism was entirely undue"? The version currently under dispute? (which is --rtc (talk) 17:37, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
User:Scott1329m/Herbert_Schildt. TallNapoleon (talk) 18:16, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
I do not see that anyone advocates this version. Please let's disucss actual problems, such as the question whether is sufficiently neutral, and, if not, how it can be changed to be neutral. --rtc (talk) 20:08, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Frankly, I'd prefer if this whole Usenet war just vanished completely. As for expert reviews, the two obvious ones (which are both written by voting ISO C committee members and acknowledged experts on the subject), are Web-published. I'm guessing that this doesn't count for some reason, although I'm at a loss to know why - a great many Wikipedia references are URLs, after all. You won't find expertly-sourced Schildt crits in print for the simple and obvious reason that there's no earthly point in printing such crits - publishers want to sell books, and while there may well be people sad enough to spend good money on a book entitled "A critical review of Herbert Schildt's programming books", there surely aren't enough such people that the publisher will be confident of turning a profit. So either you accept the opinion of genuine experts on the subject (even though those views are published on the fickle, fly-by-night World Wide Web) or you reject that opinion on the grounds that Web pages aren't authoritative - in which case the Wikipedia (which is a collection of Web pages) isn't authoritative, in which case it doesn't matter whether its references are authoritative or not, in which case you might just as well accept Web-published expert opinion anyway! (Ain't logic wonderful?) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:39, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Web sources can be authoritative, especially if they come from experts. What I was thinking would be really good would be a critical review published in a technical magazine, online or in print. TallNapoleon (talk) 20:44, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Whitewashing of criticism

After a few hours investigating this, I'm convinced that if this article is going to exist, it should include (or at least link to) some of the criticism of Schildt's work. I don't understand why a single person has been allowed to whitewash the article clean of anything at all negative about Schildt's work. From the article, you wouldn't know that anyone has ever criticized Schildt's books, let alone that such a substantial amount of well-supported criticism exists. Edward G. Nilges, a.k.a. Spinoza1111 (note the block), obviously has an agenda here, as demonstrated by plenty of material on this talk page alone.

There are at least two sites with lists of errors in Schildt's books: "C: The Complete Nonsense" by Peter Seebach and "The Annotated Annotated C Standard" by Clive Feather. These seem about as authoritative a source as you're going to find for criticism of programming books. The alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++ FAQ refers to these two sources, and there's even a relevant Jargon File entry: "bullschildt." Additionally, there is much more relevant information spread throughout Usenet (e.g., comp.programming) and elsewhere on the Internet.

In addition to his activity on Wikipedia, Nilges apparently pops up to defend Schildt anywhere his work is criticized. For example, consider just one Usenet thread from January, in which he brags of removing the criticism from Schildt's Wikipedia article. Phrases like "persecution of Herbert Schildt for being a good teacher and writer", "malign, systematic harassment and bullying", and "Fascist campaign" (and these are only from one post) demonstrate how over the top Nilges is. He repeatedly (also on this talk page) attempts to draw a parellel between what's going on here and the Kathy Sierra incident, which is outrageous. There is a major body of legitimate criticism of Schildt's work. As far as I can tell, no death (or other) threats have been made against Schildt. Furthermore, even if there were any threats involved, the criticism of his work would still stand, and that is what is relevant here.

Nilges takes pains to point out that he, like Schildt, is a published author, and attacks others because they (he assumes) aren't. He makes the completely unsubstantiated claim that "people who can neither teach nor write" are behind all of the criticism. In another Usenet post supposedly rebutting Clive Feather, he attacks "people who can't themselves write" and "people who cannot write". Whether one "can write" has nothing to do with the validity of one's criticism. The dismissal of errors pointed out by Feather as "matter[s] of style and literary criticism" makes little sense, as Feather is not commenting on the writing style of the book. Programming style is obviously a valid target for criticism.

The accusation is that criticism of Schildt is somehow linked back to the authors and publishers of competing books is both far-fetched and irrelevant. Even if the criticism were posted solely by Schildt's "enemies (some of whom appear to have been motivated by commercial gain)," it is supported by evidence quoted directly from Schildt's books. As far as the claim that "persecution" of Schildt started in 2000, Clive Feather's criticism was first published as early as 1994.

At times, it seems like Nilges is just coming up with distracting nonsense, like when he throws around completely irrelevant literary references (e.g., "Brutus in Julius Caesar", "as Hamlet said") and gratuitous Latin phrases (e.g., sui generis). I'm not sure what place such attempted literary flourishes have in a discussion of the quality of programming books.

While I am unfamiliar with WP:BLP guidelines, I'm familiar enough with WP:NOR to know that accusations of original research are complete nonsense here. On his old talk page, you can see just how little understanding Nilges has of what Wikipedia is and how it works.

I was introduced to this "controversy" tonight by complete chance via a Slashdot thread. I don't know any of the parties involved, and I don't work for any publisher.

Bongo Dong (talk) 06:51, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

As one of the targets of Nilges' wrath, I agree mostly with your evaluation. However, since he is banned, his posts are easily recognised, and there is general agreement here that they are not wanted, we can simply remove all further unconstructive comments from him. So I don't think he is the reason we still have problems with this article. I think the reason we still haven't solved the problem is the usual BLP/verifiability problem combined with the general phenomenon that experts in a subject generally don't waste their time debunking obvious bullshit in their area, aggravated by the special publishing culture in computer science. The only thing Nilges can (and does) do is draw the attention of strict BLP enforcers to this article. If he didn't do this in such an obnoxious way we wouldn't even have reason to complain. -- Hans Adler (talk) 13:10, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
What about the numerous reviews on ACCU's website? I assume they're published in either Overload or (more likely) C Vu. Hydrostatic (talk) 13:18, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Good suggestion [5] [6]. However, it seems to me that C Vu is only a borderline reliable source, and that the reviews don't speak for more than the opinions of their authors.
The current state of the article is very unsatisfactory. It seems clear that Schildt has an enormous number of happy readers, a publisher who praises him in hyperbole on book covers, and a large number of vociferous critics. It should be possible to mention these somewhat unusual circumstances in a detached and strictly NPOV way based on the sources we have. Perhaps we (or rather someone with serious BLP-related experience) can try it once more, and if that fails try WP:RFC. --Hans Adler (talk) 18:21, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Really? Borderline reliable? C Vu is the ACCU's main journal and the book reviews would themselves be subject to editorial review. I'm not a member, though, so I can't say for certain what their editorial policies are, but the organisation is quite well respected.
On a more relevant note, many of the reviews (not necessarily the ones you linked to) explain in detail the reasons for not recommending a book. I especially like the one you did link to that shows a section of code where he calls exit(1) inside a function that implements an assignment operator - not that exit(1) would ever get called given that new (usually) throws an exception if there isn't enough memory.
I've noticed that, in the past, Wikipedia administrators have contacted sources such as websites to verify their reliability. If there really are issues surrounding C Vu and/or the ACCU, it might be a good idea in this instance. Hydrostatic (talk) 14:19, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
My opinion was based on impressions. I had not heard of ACCU before (I was once a professional programmer, but not in the US, and mostly not using C). I believe the question is whether there is effective quality control in place rather than publishing of almost every review that is sent in by a random member. I have no real opinion about this. --Hans Adler (talk) 11:33, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
These reviews from members of the ACCU demonstrate that C and C++ professionals don't recommend Schildt's books. You can easily verify that Francis Glassborow, for instance, has been part of the C++ standards committee. This should be enough for a mention in this article even with BLP considerations. But, if it's not, I said it would be a good idea to verify the journal's suitability. Hydrostatic (talk) 14:27, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
OK, a non-refereed article by a C++ standards committee member sounds good enough to me. As to verifying the journal's suitability, I have no opinion about how likely this will lead to anything useful. Since I am neither a BLP expert nor an admin, I guess I shouldn't be the one to do it. --Hans Adler (talk) 14:57, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Just a side note (seebs, aka Peter Seebach here): I wrote the "Complete Nonsense" page about ten years ago, but still stand by the essential claims in it. I actually registered to make a change to the article, which is that I am a *former* ISO C committee member. That said, I can tell you that mentioning Schildt at C committee meetings was usually good for a laugh. (Posting this on the talk page, not the main page, because it's uncitable and not really substantive or notable.) --seebs 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Update (also from seebs): Actually, the "Complete Nonsense" page was originally written in 1996. Because Mr. Nilges has been so insistent that the criticisms are not solid enough in various ways, I have taken the liberty of writing new ones which make the case more completely, and updating the citation. I've also removed it from the claim about Schildt's books being clear and easy to understand, as I no longer believe that to be the case. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikiseebs (talkcontribs) 00:28, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Reaction section removed

I have removed the Reaction section because it was added merely to preserve Seebach's and Feather's brutal attacks on Schildt's hard work. It was unaccompanied by the numerous positive reviews of Schildt's work. Furthermore, it is unprecedented to treat a mere hard-working computer author like Noam Chomsky: as a public intellectual and thus a safe target for the rage of people not competent to write a better book.

In so doing, I act in defense of wikipedia's own policy on biographies of living persons. Schildt would be found, in an ordinary court of law, to be an employee of McGraw Hill worthy of hire based on the common language of software warranties. Seebach and Feather libel him by holding his work to an absurd standard of hypercorrectness which is not met by their own work, the C99 standard, or most software.

You people can put back the references when you add references to positive reviews of Schildt's work!

Edward G. Nilges, Hong Kong 20 Sep 2009

For the record

I only just came across this little tempest. For the record: C programming professionals like Clive Feather, Peter Seebach, and me do not rag on Herb Schildt because we want to trash his reputation or diminish his livelihood. We rag on his books because they contain serious errors.

(With that said, I agree that any criticism section in this Wikipedia article should be relatively small. Anything on the scale of the excoriation this author used to receive on comp.lang.c would certainly be undue in its weight.) —Steve Summit (talk) 05:50, 14 October 2009 (UTC) [edited 13:21, 14 October 2009 (UTC)]

why was vintage book cover deleted !?!

Why was the vintage Schildt book cover deleted? I mean, book covers are all over Wikipedia - there's nothing wrong with them. Why delete it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:48, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

I guess you mean File:Schildt01_advtpfronta.jpg. It was speedily deleted under criterion Wikipedia:CSD#I7. There is copyright on book covers, and of course it extends to photos of them. Apparently the admin who deleted the image did not agree that it's fair use in this article. Hans Adler 13:51, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

duplicate reference

Although not 100% on Wikipedia policy, I believe having 2 references to "the complete C nonsense", the exact same page for that matter, is pointless redundancy. (talk) 01:54, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, I fixed it. Hans Adler 01:58, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Reception section

Excessive critism from not notable people, childish mistakes is a bit much when a notable person is talking about a respected person , I suggest removal as it is undue weght to not notable and what looks to me like POV comments, is not a wikipedia reliable source. It is all so easy for not notable people to comment critically but adds nothing to our articles about living people. Off2riorob (talk) 23:54, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Actually, it's not "childish mistakes", it's "beginner's mistakes", which is precisely what they are. This includes such blunders as examples that don't even compile in any standard compiler, together with Schildt's words to the extent that it does compile.
It is true, though, that we have a problem with the sourcing. Schildt's books arguably fall under WP:FRINGE, but since they are not self-published we should not be using self-published sources for the criticism. Hans Adler 05:54, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
It seems a bit snarky to make redlinks out of the three people you describe, three times, as "not notable". (I undid that, sorry if you intended to actually create articles for each of them.) The qualification should not that they have a Wikipedia article (should we prefer a review by Paris Hilton over Steve Summit, just because the guy isn't notorious enough?), but that they are acknowledged experts in the field. And they are. Anyway, this has been argued over and over, as you can see in above discussion over the years. The citations are a fair representation of the opinion of just about every qualified (technically, that is) reviewer. And that's what "Reception" is, in any Wikipedia article. If you think otherwise, please find and add some reviews which gainsay these. And any review must have a "POV", that is an issue only for edits in Wikipedia, not citations of reviews. Barsoomian (talk) 06:38, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Off2riorob has a legitimate point, and we shouldn't ignore it: Per WP:SPS and WP:BLP#Reliable sources, self-published stuff from experts cannot be used for claims about other people. Not even treating his books as fringe would change that, see WP:PARITY: "In an article on a fringe topic, if a notable fringe theory is primarily described by amateurs and self-published texts, verifiable and reliable criticism of the fringe theory need not be published in a peer reviewed journal. [...] Of course, for any viewpoint described in an article, only reliable sources should be used; Wikipedia's verifiability policy is not suspended simply because the topic is a fringe theory."
In other words, a review of Schildt's books need not be peer-reviewed, but it would have to be formally published. Unfortunately only the C Programming FAQ, i.e. the source with the least amount of detail, satisfies this condition. Hans Adler 07:00, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, I don't have a lot of respect for Schildt's books, but I don't see how they can be described as "Fringe". The rules for those articles are no doubt a result of the large amounts of bullshit and complete fabrication that are rife in "Fringe" fields. Not the relatively staid world of computer science, and especially as we're not arguing about historical events that require evidence (conspiracy theories, etc.), but conformance to a standard, that anyone can verify, regardless of the original author. And the references aren't "claims about other people", they're critiques of books. The "Reception" section is not a statement that the books are "good" or "bad", "true or "false", or indeed any statements about Schildt, personally at all, it's a summary of opinions by named reviewers. So the rules you quote aren't applicable. Barsoomian (talk) 07:15, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that WP:FRINGE doesn't apply, but it comes close. WP:FRINGE does apply to pseudomathematics, for example.
You are right that the references are simply book critiques, but as we are using them here, we are painting the picture of an incompetent author. It doesn't help that we are attributing the reviews. By referencing only negative reviews we are making an obvious implicit claim, and this claim must be backed by reliable sources in the same way that we must back explicit claims. The Reception section is dominated by negative views. This is justified by reality, but not (enough) by reliable sources in the formal sense of Wikipedia.
The section currently hinges on the Seebach reference, but it's only one reliable source and due to peculiarities of its publication it's arguably not very strong. I think we need to strip down the criticism to a single sentence, but that doesn't mean we have to drop the self-published book reviews. They just need to be condensed so as to get hardly any weight in the article. Hans Adler 07:33, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I separated the citations back to their respective authors. No need to mash them all into a single reference. And of course this "paints the picture of an incompetent author", because that's what the reviewers unanimously say. Is it wrong to even supply the evidence to allow the reader to conclude that for himself? And to complain about "referencing only negative reviews" implies that positive reviews have been excluded. I know you don't believe that, but it seems you are pandering to those (well, the one) who keep(s) claiming that. The response to that claim should be "Cite the positive reviews", not "Remove all the negative ones". As for the "strongest" reference, I'd say that's the C FAQ, as that is 1) a published book and 2) is a distillation of the consensus of a group of professionals, though it's the briefest. Barsoomian (talk) 08:45, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the C FAQ is the strongest reference we have, but that's precisely the problem. It's the only reliable source we have. We can use the other two to fill in details, but for decisions about the general treatment of the topic, i.e. overall direction, weight, they are basically useless. Unfortunately.
But I am happy with your new version. It's generally better style to condense several footnotes into one when it is clear which refers to which, but it doesn't have to be done. Hans Adler 09:29, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't accept that web documents are "useless". See the discussion above under the "Making the article balanced" heading, and especially User:TallNapoleon's statement "Web sources can be authoritative, especially if they come from experts." Web sources are treated with more suspicion, but if you can verify who said it, and that PERSON is an authority in the field, (both of which have been done for both the sources cited) then trying to exclude them is foolish. And I quoted TallNapoleon as he's a lot more experienced editor than I am, so I assume what he says is not an obvious violation of policy. Whereas I don't know all the bureaucratic ins and outs and all the policy acronyms, but I do know what common sense tells me.Barsoomian (talk) 15:56, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
We can't simply ignore the explicit language in WP:BLPSPS:

Never use self-published sources—including but not limited to books, zines, websites, blogs, or tweets—as sources of material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject [...].

What we say about Schildt's books isn't just about his books. It also trashes him as a writer. That's justified by what the experts say, but for technical reasons only the C FAQ counts. I have contacted a librarian to see if he can help me locate any serious published reviews of Schildt's books, because having them would obviously solve our problem. Hans Adler 16:42, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

The policy you cite says "Never use self-published sources as sources of material about a living person". They're not being used for that in at all. They're about the book, not the person. I'm sure this policy is about things a person is supposed to have done, love affairs, criminal acts, etc. In this case the only "material about a living person" in the reviews is the undisputed fact that he wrote the books. If an inference (the book is crap therefore the author is crap) is made by the reader, too bad, as long as it isn't made in the article. If that was also precluded, then you could never use any web reference, full stop. There would be no reason to add the qualifying phrase "material about a living person". Just apply the complete statement literally and simply. As for trying to find published reviews, I think you will have little hope. Or why hasn't anyone ever cited one earlier? Anyway, there are a bunch (11 if you search for "Schildt") reviews mentioned earlier, online, at ACCU. These aren't "self-published", but they were excluded too for some reason. And they all of course slate the books. Barsoomian (talk) 17:24, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for reminding me of these reviews. Somehow I had forgotten about them. The problem in that case is that it isn't clear that ACCU exerts any editorial control over the reviews, so they also count as self-published.
We are responsible not only for what our articles say literally, but also for what they imply. The "Reception" section implies: Schildt is an author of technically inaccurate books. Just think about what this could do to his reputation if it wasn't true and if we were the first to seriously make such a claim. It is true, but we can't really prove it well with reliable sources. Hans Adler 17:39, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
The hypothetical of "if we were the first to seriously make such a claim" is completely irrelevant. The flaws in Schildt's books have been discussed, at length, by dozens upon dozens of professionals and experts in the field. Furthermore, Wikipedia is not claiming that Schildt's books are technically inaccurate; Wikipedia is claiming that many experts in the field (including me) believe them to be technically inaccurate, and have said so and offered detailed citations. Which is true. I am really disappointed to see Nilges' obsessive misquoting and misapplication of various policies getting taken seriously at all. The fact is, several serious experts have claimed that Schildt's books are awful, and none have yet been found who disagree. I don't think Wikipedia needs to take a stance on whether every single expert in the field who has ever expressed an opinion is correct; however, I don't see any reason to hide the fact that every expert in the field who has ever expressed an opinion has expressed the opinion that the books are crud. That seems like something relevant, notable, and unambiguously true, even if you think the experts are all wrong. Wikiseebs (talk) 21:15, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I've come here after a discussion on my talk page. I think you need to continue watching the language to make sure the criticism refers to his books, not him. I also think you can use even the AUCC- published material on the web for criticism of the books if you can demonstrate that the individual review cited comes from a recognized authority in the subject & quote parts of such reviews that make factual statements. It also seems it might be a good idea to semi-protect the article, and I have done so. DGG ( talk ) 18:53, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I believe most, if not all of the reviews were published in C Vu. The most prolific reviewer, Francis Glassborrow, is a C++ author, and a long time member of the BSI and ISO C++ standardization committees. decltype (talk) 20:30, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. [7] He is also former editor of the magazine where his reviews appeared, but I think that's not a serious problems. I will start a new section listing all reviews of Schildt books so we get an overview and can make a fair and representative choice. Hans Adler 20:56, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

List of book reviews

Book title ISBN Year Reviewer Review
C: The Complete Reference ISBN 0-07-881313-1 1987 Peter Seebach 3rd ed.
C: The Complete Reference ISBN 0-07-212124-6 2000 Peter Seebach 4th ed.
ANSI C Made Easy ISBN 0-07-881500-2 1989 Roger Asbey C Vu 3-1 (November 1990)
The Annotated ANSI C Standard ISBN 0-07-881952-0 1990 Clive Feather [8]
The Annotated ANSI C Standard ISBN 0-07-881952-0 1990 Ian Cargill C Vu 6-6 (September 1994)
C++: The Complete Reference ISBN 0-07-8816548 1991 Brian Scattergood C Vu 8-3 (March 1996)
The Art of C ISBN 0-07-881691-2 1991 Steff Nile C Vu 4-3 (March 1992)
Born to Code In C ISBN 0-07-881468-5 1989 Francis Glassborow C Vu 3-2 (January 1991)
C++ Nuts & Bolts for Experienced Programmers ISBN 0-07-882140-1 Al Lines C Vu 8-6 (September 1996)
C++ The Pocket Reference ISBN 0-07-881935-0 Francis Glassborow C Vu 5-4 (May 1993)
C++ from the Ground Up ISBN 0-07-882405-2 Francis Glassborow C Vu 10-3 (Mar 1998)
C++ from the Ground Up ISBN 0-07-881969-5 David Ross C Vu 7-3 (Mar 1995)
C++ from the Ground Up ISBN 0-07-881969-5 Mark Radford C Vu 10-6 (Sep 1998)
C/C++ Programmer's Reference ISBN 0-07-212706-6 Francis Glassborow C Vu 12-5 (Sep 2000)
C/C++ Programmer's Reference ISBN 0-07882-367-6 Francis Glassborow C Vu 9-6 (Sep 1997)
C/C++ Programmer's Reference ISBN 0-07-882367-6 Francis Glassborow C Vu 10-2 (Jan 1998)
C: The Complete Reference ISBN 0-07-882101-0 Malcolm Pell C Vu 8-1 (Nov 1995)
C: The Complete Reference ISBN 0-07-212124-6 Francis Glassborow C Vu 12-4 (Jul 2000)
The Craft of C ISBN 0-07-881882-6 Ian Ormesher C Vu 5-6 (Sep 1993)
Expert C++ ISBN 0-07-882209-2 Zvezdan Petkovic C Vu 10-6 (Sep 1998)
Java Programmers Reference ISBN 0-07-882368-4 Chris Hills C Vu 10-3 (Mar 1998)
MFC Programming from the Ground Up ISBN 0-07-882573-3 Colin Harkness C Vu 11-5 (Jul 1999)
STL Programming from the Ground Up ISBN 0-07-882507-5 Mark Radford C Vu 12-1 (Jan 2000)
Teach Yourself C ISBN 0-07-882011-1 Joe McCool C Vu 7-1 (Nov 1994)
Teach Yourself C++ ISBN 0-07-882392-7 Francis Glassborow C Vu 10-2 (Jan 1998)
Turbo C/C++: The Complete Reference ISBN 0-07-881776-5 Chris Hills C Vu 5-2 (Jan 1993)
Using Turbo C++ ISBN 0-07-881610-6 Francis Glassborow C Vu 3-3 (Mar 1991)
Windows 95 Programming in C and C++ ISBN 0-07-882081-2 Darren Jefford C Vu 8-5 (Jul 1996)
Windows NT 4 Programming from the Ground Up ISBN 0-07882-298-X Edward Crosby C Vu 10-4 (May 1998)


In an amazing move, Colonel Warden has BLP-prodded the article. (I thought I would never see the day when he wants to delete an article that I want to keep.) I think it's the wrong kind of prod, since this article was created in 2006. Therefore it's not in immediate danger of being deleted. Nevertheless we should add a few more references.

I am sure that somebody, somewhere, must have interviewed Schildt for a computer magazine, but I have found nothing relevant. And it's hard, since of course all web search results are dominated by his books. One thing that helped was adding "Starcastle" to the search string. One of the hits, The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock (Charles Snider, 2008) can be read on Google Books. It appears to be consistent with what we are, but doesn't support all our details. Other sources apparently discussing Schildt/Stargate, but which I don't have access to:

  • The Guinness encyclopedia of popular music
  • Who's who in rock music
  • The international encyclopedia of hard rock & heavy metal
  • Secrets of the rock star programmers: riding the IT crest.

I think these mentions are almost enough to establish Schildt's notability. On the other hand some of his books seem to have enough reviews so they could be considered independently notable. Taking all this together, I think he would clearly pass an AfD. Hans Adler 22:23, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Is this guy joking? "Template:Prod blp is used to tag biographies of living persons (BLPs) for proposed deletion when the article has no sources. This is only used for BLPs created after 18 March 2010."

Article for deletion

I just stopped myself from pressing the afd button, subject claims BLP violation and requests deletion. Very weakly cited, all the citations simply support the assertions from three not notable POV people that the books are rubbish. The citations as they are don't even look reliable. This is perhaps a case for a simple list of the writers books thereby elimination us having any comments about his books one way or the other. AFD? Off2riorob (talk) 16:18, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Notability in the Wikipedia sense is not the same as notability within a field. I'm certainly notable enough to be used as a citation in other Wikipedia articles on fields I'm interested in. I was on the C committee for most of a decade, some of the words in the current C standard are there because I wrote them, I'm the elected moderator of comp.lang.c.moderated, and the entire pool of people who dispute my claims in the current edition of C:TCN is Edward Nilges, who is an eminently notable Usenet kook, but not a reliable source for any claim whatsoever. Furthermore, the BLP rules (which don't apply to this article) would address the article making contentious claims, such as "Schildt's books are garbage", not uncontentious claims, such as "many recognized experts in the field claim that Schildt's books are garbage." In short: Before you keep talking about this page, go do some background research on Nilges, so you understand how completely unreliable a source you're getting information from. Schildt has never said anything about this that anyone has citations for or reports of. Furthermore, as C:TCN4e shows, Schildt *conceded* some of the points of criticism, establishing unambiguously that they were valid criticisms. That he fixed them only on specific pages referenced, rather than throughout the book, supports the claim that the book is still garbage. Wikiseebs (talk) 21:24, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Why do you keep asserting that the reviews are by "not notable people"? They in matter of fact are people who are acknowledged authorities on the C language. At least two of them of them actually were part of defining it. And how does anyone write a review without expressing a "point of view"? POV is a problem in text written by editors here, not of a reputable, qualified commentator whose views are being summarised. (Even though these summaries have been pared down by cut after cut to such an extent by that now they appear inconsequential.) If you object to "POV" in reviews, you will have a very busy time deleting all the reviews of every book, film and TV show in Wikipedia in their respective "Reception" sections. And the criticisms of these books are not of matters of style and point of view anyway, they include many factual errors that are indisputable (except by the obsessive who keeps trying to delete them and who evidently piqued your interest from his rants on the BLP noticeboard). Barsoomian (talk) 16:41, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
They are not notable to have a wikipedia article. The fact that no independent citations in decent media publications have been found is also part of the problem, he has simply not got enough coverage to write a decent rounded BLP.Off2riorob (talk) 17:06, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
So how is being "notable" in that sense relevant? And what do you mean by "independent citations"? There are three independent citations now (despite the claims by a banned editor that they are all part of an organised conspiracy). And there are a few dozen in the list above ([9]). And "decent media"? What would be a "decent media" in this case? What this boils down to is that the sources cited are statements by the most highly qualified people in the field. However, no, you won't find them posted in the New York Times if that's what you need. Need I point out that the complaints that have been made here and elsewhere are not by the subject of the article, but a single very opinionated editor. Barsoomian (talk) 17:21, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
A few dozen, really then why is nobody adding anything from them? Book reviews are what it says on the tin, book reviews are no help in writing a decent rounded biography. It has been commented that the objections are from the subject. I have not all the history. Yes a citation about him as a person would be nice, it is actually his books that appear to be notable, the non existent level of reporting about him as a person make it impossible to create a decent biography, a good book list is what this is. Siga em frente, go ahead, instead of waxing lyrical to me here about how there are many fabulous citations about this and that, edit the article to assert your claims. Off2riorob (talk) 17:28, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
"A few dozen, really then why is nobody adding anything from them" Because it would be pretty boring. The ones cited are representative. If more were added, no doubt you or another editor would parachute in and complain it was giving undue weight to the negative reviews. Barsoomian (talk) 17:51, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Just as I thought, thanks. Off2riorob (talk) 17:53, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Why do I doubt the sincerity of that? Anyway, one more point: "It has been commented that the objections are from the subject." Whatever gave you that idea???? All of the kerfluffle here and recently on the BLP noticeboard are from one person, User:Spinoza1111, aka Edward Nilges. If the subject is aware of this at all he hasn't commented. Barsoomian (talk) 18:02, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I thought there was discussion that the subject had been involved, I could well be mistaken about that then, anyway, whoever it is, I also see some problem with the article as per my comments here. Off2riorob (talk) 18:18, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I am not aware that the subject has ever commented on this matter, and I guess he has too much common sense to do so. In contrast to Edward G. Nilges, aka banned user Spinoz1111, who is regularly making a lot of noise here from dynamic IP addresses in Hong Kong. And who is spreading his complaints about the evil Wikipedia conspiracy against Herbert Schildt all over the internet, as you can see with a quick Google search. Hans Adler 19:31, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes I saw that from a google search, excuse me, I got the idea from somewhere that it was the subject and I am clearly mistaken about that. I will remove it from the AFD. Off2riorob (talk) 19:37, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Unsourced info on BLP

WP:BLP pages should not have unsourced info. Removed it [10]. Please do not add back, unless sourced to WP:RS sources. -- Cirt (talk) 18:52, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

No, WP:BLP says "adding that contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced should be removed immediately". The passages you removed so precipitously are not contentious. And as this page has been proposed to be deleted , you're not supposed to blank it. You blanked more than half of it. So I am reverting. Barsoomian (talk) 19:16, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
It is uncited claims about a living person and it has sat there uncited for long enough, why don't you cite it from your claimed citations? Off2riorob (talk) 19:21, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
The parts you deleted are NOT CONTENTIOUS. They aren't the section -- "Reception" --that has been warred over here for years. The "claimed citations" (could you be more patronising -- go on, try) regard the Reception section. You propose to delete the article. You can't just destroy the article to make it seem useless to make that easier. Barsoomian (talk) 02:47, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Because it's a lot of work, mostly useless, and not much fun at all. Also, as far as the subject's notable musical activities are concerned, Google Books tells me that there probably are excellent sources, but I simply don't have access to them. Presumably the long gone person who added the information years ago when nobody was thinking about sourcing or BLP matters has one of those books. In that particular example bits of information that are freely readable on Google Books confirm a lot, but often don't support the precise wording we have in the article because they stress other details and leave out some that we have here. Other stuff comes from the short biographies inside Schildt's books. Hans Adler 19:37, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
But Hans that just adds weight to the point that actually there is no chance of creating a rounded biography, its a book list. Off2riorob (talk) 19:44, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
We don't have material for a rounded biography. It seems he is not very keen on public attention, otherwise we would probably have an idea of how old he is, for example. But we know quite a bit about his professional activities, through his books and his website. And someone more familiar with popular music than I am (i.e. basically everybody) should be able to source the stuff about the hobby that has made him known to another group of people. He has independent borderline notability in two unrelated fields, and if we can do nothing else we can at least help put the basics from both fields together. (And yes, there is a source showing that it's the same person – another Google Books hit that I have no access to.) Hans Adler 20:08, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I am sure if it is kept as a BLP and not a list that there will be improvements, thanks. Off2riorob (talk) 20:11, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Comment: Wholly unreferenced information was removed from this WP:BLP article. The info removed indeed is contentious, as evidenced by a ton of above discussion about it, both here and at WP:BLPN. Please do not add unsourced info to WP:BLP articles on Wikipedia. -- Cirt (talk) 21:28, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

What are you talking about? The only thing that is contentious, and has been discussed ad nauseam – each time the banned user has come back here to complain – is the Reception section, i.e. the one section that you didn't remove, because it is of course referenced. Hans Adler 00:47, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
As Hans said, NONE of the discussion is about the parts you removed. And the "ton of discussion" is all from one obsessed person, User:Spinoza1111 who make claims of Nazi conspiracies and was banned for his abuses in this and other articles. Read some of the discussion, don't just look at how much there is. He has been trying to delete the reception part for years, which is why that is now so well cited. However, not even he complained about the other parts that you deleted. And the subject of the article has never complained or commented at all. (Spinoza1111 may have claimed he has private communications with him, but that is dubious.) So I have reverted again.Barsoomian (talk) 02:47, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

I added a refimprove tag. The sections being deleted are wholly inoffensive, have been in the article for SEVERAL YEARS without challenge and there is no reason to act hastily. Give interested people a few weeks to work on it -- or how about adding something to an article yourself rather than just wiping it? And by the way, since the article has been proposed for deletion, it has the notice "Feel free to edit the article, but the article must not be blanked," -- and deleting most of the article is just about the same as blanking. Barsoomian (talk) 03:02, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you

Many thanks to GRuban (talk · contribs), for improving the referencing of this article. Nice job. -- Cirt (talk) 13:44, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

leading programming author

His books, particularly on C programming, have been best-sellers in three decades; McGraw-Hill calls him "the world's leading programming author".[1]

Wait, this puff quote in the article lede is sourced to cover blurbs of the subject's own books? Please remove that. Such an assertion needs much better sourcing per WP:V. I.e. it needs sourcing that is independent of the subject. (talk) 06:55, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Clarification from the Deletion discussion

Just a side note: Spinoza1111 makes much of claiming that I "bought" my way onto the standards committee. In fact, the U.S. National Body requires dues from all participants as a matter of course; every participant either paid dues or applied for a waiver due to economic hardship. This is at most tangentially relevant to the Schildt article, but it may be relevant to the question of whether my qualifications are "real". Only Spinoza1111 would think it a sign of some sort of malfeasance for someone to pay the required dues associated with a membership in an organization. Wikiseebs (talk) 06:41, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification. My personal take was that the accusation was so silly that it was better not to draw any attention to it by responding or commenting on it, but of course this precise bit of information helps to understand things better. I am sorry that we are apparently unable to enforce the ban against this person. Hans Adler 09:32, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
No worries. You're dealing with one of the more extreme pathological narcissists I've ever seen, someone who could one day be a genuine textbook example. It is nigh unto impossible to convince such people to comprehend, let alone respect, the boundaries of other peoples' property or rights. I agree that the accusation is stupid enough not to merit much comment, however, there's no reason for any random reader to have any information about how standards bodies normally operate, so it's reasonable for someone who's never been on an ANSI working group to think the accusation has some kind of semantic content. (Well, someone who's never been on an ANSI working group, and doesn't know Spinoza1111.) Wikiseebs (talk) 15:59, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

WTF?? Why the move??

After surviving as long painful AFD, that Crotalus horridus was on the losing side of, he without a word of discussion, deleted half the article and moved it to a new subject. WHY? What consensus was there? I STRONGLY DISAGREE with both the action and the high handed and arrogant way it was done. If no consensus is reached on this very quickly I will revert the article to what was basically approved by the people who voted in the AFD. There are no "BLP concerns". If you claim there are, specify them and they will be addressed. Barsoomian (talk) 17:39, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

It does appear to be a simple good idea, why not it won't hurt will it. It could well stop the disruption that is occuring about the bio Off2riorob (talk) 18:08, 3 May 2010 (UTC).
What "Disruption about the bio"? The only parts of the article that were contentious were the "Reception" part which summarises various reviews of the books. That will be still in the gutted version. Barsoomian (talk) 22:55, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I suggest using WP:RM for the move back, to avoid move wars. It is my understanding that in case of an undiscussed move that could be expected to be controversial the result of a formal move discussion defaults to the old title. Therefore you are not "losing" anything by following that process without first reverting the move. Hans Adler 19:25, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Why not just leave it, it is a good edit. Off2riorob (talk) 19:38, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
It isn't. Membership in Starcastle (over the full time of its existence) is not Schildt's primary claim to fame, but it's absurd not to mention it at all, given that this group seems to be quite notable. Above I have listed a number of sources that appear to have more information, but which I can't access. These plus any finds in off-line sources from the 70s might easily establish that Schildt is at least borderline notable for his music. It's also not going to appease this Nilges/Spinoza guy. He is very obviously obsessed about the criticism of Schildt's books. I guess he couldn't care less about the name of this article or what it says about Schildt's music. Except that this re-titling seems to be in preparation for the next AfD, in order to reduce the amount of stuff we can say about Schildt. Otherwise it just doesn't make sense. Hans Adler 20:21, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I am pretty sure that he had a tiny role in the band. I would say also that there is no desire at all to delete this article as it stands or even as it was, there was a strong support that it is notable and I also now agree with that. I have the feeling that this solution may be a game changer, we have lost nothing really, you said yourself we don't even know much about him, we don't know his place of birth, wife, children, and so on, he is a private person... and with this edit we just may get a stable article.

Off2riorob (talk) 20:39, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

I also disagree with the move. It was bold, but we can revert, then discuss. Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle. Mr. Nilges's objections are specifically to the criticism of the writings. Changing the article to focus on the writings will not relieve those objections. What, may I ask, are the "BLP concerns" that this move will resolve? Remember, WP:BLP applies to all articles in the encyclopedia equally, just renaming the article doesn't make it apply any less. --GRuban (talk) 21:29, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
No, we will not get a "stable article" by removing the bio parts. The arguments were only and always about the book reviews.Barsoomian (talk) 23:05, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes blp applies all over but in what is basically a book list, at least we have removed the general description of a rounded biography, which it wasn't really was it, just give it a chance a couple of days and see if it stabilizes the article, a constantly disrupted article is valueless. Off2riorob (talk) 21:52, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Well lets see if the article stabilizes...personally I would have liked to see if under the no biographical title it had a chance, the reviews are still there but the weight of a biography was removed and imo it was because of that a lot less personalized and perhaps a lot less disruptive, little or no valuable content was lost. As I said, a disrupted biography is valueless. When I saw the edit, I liked it immediately and thought it a very good idea. I have no care about it either way, I would like to see a stable article of value to the readers as that is what this is all about. Lets see how it progresses. A disrupted article and editors repeatedly having to busy themselves reverting and socking and blocking is disruptive and portrays wikipedia poorly. I have cleaned and improved disrupted articles that have become stable and the added value to the reader and to the wikipedia is massive Off2riorob (talk) 23:15, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry to be repetitive, but you keep saying this, and it's wrong. ALL the "socking and blocking" you complain about was about the "Reception" section. Not the biography that you are so determined to delete. It appears that you were "alerted" to the problems here by the several posts on the BLP noticeboard. So you came her to look for "BLP problems' and try to "fix" them. In fact (just look at this discussion page, and its long history of reverts and vandalism) all the posts on the BLP noticeboard, and all the contention here has come from one single editor, User:Spinoza1111, now blocked but who still vandalises the page on almost a daily basis using socks. He has failed many times to remove the mention of poor reviews of the books and has realised that he can attract more attention by making it appear to be a BLP issue. (His motives are a mystery, though from his personal attacks on the reviewers one can guess it's about them, not Schildt.) And I find it somewhat disquieting that the only people to support the move are the same ones that voted for deletion of the whole article. Barsoomian (talk) 07:28, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Article has been reverted by User Ruben ans user Hans Adler. I preferred the (IMO) very impressive edit by User Croatalis. Lets see, stablity is an issue for me, as that is important for readers and sites that link to us.Off2riorob (talk) 22:04, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
    • I didn't revert. I merely added a See also link to Starcastle, which GRuban removed along with the revert, as it is not necessary now the section has been reinstated. The problem I see with the removal of the Starcastle section and the renaming is that this gives the criticism of his books even more weight. As much as I hate technically inaccurate technical literature, this is not something I want to do to the subject. Hans Adler 23:56, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that is the whole point, books and the criticism, that is a lot better than books and the criticism disguised as a life story. I would agree with you if it was an issue but its not, his name is not even mentioned and there are no details of anything to do with him there at all on the totally uncited article that we have got for Starcastle . Off2riorob (talk) 00:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

This move was utterly absurd. If a man's writings are notable, he is notable. End of story. And for the record we have plenty of author bio pages which focus almost solely on their writing. TallNapoleon (talk) 00:13, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

  • I have looked for other articles using the "Writings of.... " title. I can only find Writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero (and for him there is a separate bio article). This doesn't seem to be a convention used for articles on any other author. Every other author article I've looked at has a bio section (perhaps very brief) and a section discussing his books. So why restrict this article alone? Barsoomian (talk) 00:15, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I oppose the move, and think the article should be moved back. As Barsoomian said, if a man's writing is notable, he is notable, and so we can mention whatever scanty biographical details can be reliably sourced. I found 3 other "writings of" articles on Wikipedia that are not redirects; in all 3 cases there is also an article about the person. Having a "writings of X" article without a biography of X is highly abnormal, replaces a short straightforward title with a longer clunkier title, violates the principle of least astonishment, and creates a pointless obstacle to adding biographical information. Cardamon (talk) 06:31, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Correction - it was TallNapoleon who said that if a man's writings are notable, he is notable. Cardamon (talk) 17:56, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Requested move

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. 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 proposal was moved (it is snowing!). --RegentsPark (talk) 01:57, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Writings of Herbert SchildtHerbert Schildt — Per above discussion. Move performed without discussion following a contentious AfD. decltype (talk) 07:06, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Support returning this page to its rightful home at Herbert Schildt. As I stated earlier, if a person's writings are notable, he is notable, and therefore deserves a biography--even if it focuses mostly on the writing. TallNapoleon (talk) 08:34, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Support returning to Herbert Schildt. Unnecessary and confusing to try to segregate this small article. Barsoomian (talk) 08:40, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Support returning to Herbert Schildt. This move was used as an excuse to remove the one non-contentious paragraph from a contentious BLP article. An author who has written lots of commercially successful books is not a case of WP:BLP1E any more than someone who is only notable for winning some sports competition. We wouldn't file a person X under "X's participation in the Olympic Games", and this is exactly the same situation. Hans Adler 10:08, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Support The article was originally about the author. If someone wanted to have an article that only covers his writings, it may have been acceptable to create a second article under the "writings of" title and move some content there, and refer to it from the main article for the author. However, I don't recommend doing that, because it is only something I would expect to be done if the author's article had become too long for a single article. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 13:29, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Support returning to Herbert Schildt. The page is about the person, who is both a musician and a writer. He's known in both fields, and this certainly quailifies him as notable. Wikiseebs (talk) 16:02, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Support per what I said above. Cardamon (talk) 17:56, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Support makes sense. —innotata 19:47, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Support no argument has been offered why moving to Writings will in any way diminish BLP concerns; and our precedent here is to only have an article on the writings when the author's own article is too long to hold them. --GRuban (talk) 02:43, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Support returning to Herbert Schildt and any changes made at the time the article name was changed should be checked and possibly reverted. Ablonus (talk) 14:10, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Since the proposal only covers a name change, and others have already voted on that, other suggestions regarding reversion should not be part of the vote. Please don't try to modify the scope of the proposal! Leave it as something to be discussed separately. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 15:46, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
FYI, I believe the deleted text has already been reverted. Barsoomian (talk) 16:13, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. 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.

Discussion at RISKS

A rather interesting discussion of this article at RISKS: [11] --Noleander (talk) 22:10, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

That's not an interesting discussion, that's just another of Edward G. Nilge's diatribes. If you are into that kind of thing just go through the history of this talk page and look for the places where large chunks were deleted as edits by a banned user. Hans Adler 22:15, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Well, it is still an interesting diatribe :-) --22:16, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree, the first time you read something by this guy it's intriguing. But after a while it gets boring. Hans Adler 22:34, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
It's not a "discussion", no one has replied, so far, it's Nilges attempting to get his rants on the record. Then he comes here and tries to cite them "as published in Risks". But it does serve as a precis of his worldview, if you're interested in that kind of thing. (As Hans said, it's all been said before here, and you'll find all the same stuff, ad nauseam, in the archived discussion of the latest AFD, where Nilges wrote more than everyone else put together; yet still he complained he was censored.) His argument is purely based on authority; that he's a genius, therefore his views are correct, and anyone who disagrees with him is a "digital Maoist" or something. Some years ago he had a flame war with someone in a Usenet group about Schildt and decided to change Wikipedia to reflect his views, so he could cite that against his foes. And so he began the very long edit war here to whitewash any criticism of Schildt's books, abusing anyone who gainsaid him (basically, no one who knew anything about Schildt's books agrees with him). Eventually he was banned for that and similar activities on other articles. Periodically he comes back with IP edits to continue, (eventually the article was semiprotected because of his continuous vandalism) and tries to label the article as libellous, an attack on Schildt, when it's really him who wants to use these totally bogus issues as a pretext to attack the reviewers, who he has a grudge against. But it really is that trivial, Nilges is just trying to escalate the matter. "Risks" is his latest attempt at that. For people unfamiliar with him, it seems there must be more to it than that, and some editors who were "alerted" by Nilges' posts on the BLP noticeboard a few weeks ago came here believing that Schildt himself was complaining about the article, and tried to sanitise it, and/or delete the whole thing. I hope anyone who reads the Risks article is less gullible. Barsoomian (talk) 02:53, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Nilges' screed in Risks was disavowed by the moderator in the next issue:
  Re: Wikipedia risks to personal reputation (RISKS-26.06)
  "Peter G. Neumann" <> 
  Wed, 19 May 2010 14:32:06 PDT
  Quite a few of our RISKS readers pointed out that the long message from
  Edward Nilges in the previous issue was not really an appropriate item nor
  was it sufficiently related to Computer-Related Risks, suggesting that I
  erred in including it in RISKS-26.06.  I agree.  I erred, and apologize.

Barsoomian (talk) 12:44, 1 June 2010 (UTC)