Talk:Klondike Gold Rush/Archive 3

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Copyedit for FA

Lead

  • between 1897 and 1899 in the hope of successfully prospecting for gold. → between 1896 and 1899 in the hope of successfully prospecting for gold. Less than half of them ever arrived. (Change year and group information about the number of people. Delete: " Only between 30,000 and 40,000 of the stampeders successfully arrived in the Klondike." at the end of paragraph 2)
  • The initial Klondike stampede was triggered by the arrival of over US$1,139,000 (equivalent to US$1,000 million in 2010 terms) → (Change (equivalent to US$1 billion in 2010 terms), since one thousand million is actually one billion) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.17.242.30 (talk) 22:21, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
  • long distances and crossing difficult mountain passes → long distances and crossing mountain passes
  • in 1899, after gold was discovered in Nome → in 1899, when gold was discovered in Nome ("after" is repeated)
  • Some miners discovered very rich deposits of gold and became immensely wealthy, but the majority arrived after the best of the gold fields had been claimed and only around 4,000 ultimately struck gold. → Around 4,000 struck gold and some became immensely wealthy, but the majority arrived after the best of the gold fields had been claimed and got very little. (Group information about those who found gold and those who didn't, plus "rich deposits" is repeated in the next paragraph)
  • when the initial Klondike stampede was triggered → when the stampede was triggered
  • Poorly built, isolated and located on a mud flat, Dawson City had poor sanitary... → Poorly built, isolated and located on a mud flat, Dawson City had bad sanitary... (repetition of "poor")
  • an uneven, unpredictable manner → an unpredictable manner
  • Agree - it was both uneven and unpredictable, but for the lead, you're right, the unpredictable bit's the key. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:54, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Soerfm (talk) 06:37, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

  • "The wealthiest prospectors lived a life of conspicuous consumption, gambling and drinking heavily in the town's saloons and dancing halls, despite the high prices of almost everything" - "of almost everything" is superfluous in the lead and could be deleted.
  • "It was not easy to mine for gold in the Klondike " - "Gold mining in the Klondike was challenging..." - would avoid a negative and a stray pronoun.Hchc2009 (talk) 09:03, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • ...and many had to carry this ton of supplies in stages over the passes. The advent of winter and thereby freezing of rivers meant that most prospectors did not arrive in the goldfields until summer 1898. → ...and many had to carry this ton of supplies in stages over the passes. This slowed down the travel and meant together with the freezing of the river leading to Dawson that most prospectors did not arrive at the goldfields before summer 1898. ("The advent of winter" sounds to me like they didn't travel during the winter.) Soerfm (talk) 12:02, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • for the main wave of stampeders → for the wave of stampeders Soerfm (talk) 16:59, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
  • The Klondike Gold Rush was immortalized → It was immortalized Soerfm (talk) 15:01, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Some miners bought and sold claims → Entrepreneur miners bought and sold claims (clarify "some") Soerfm (talk) 12:14, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Prospectors had begun to mine gold in the Yukon from the 1880s onwards. → Prospectors had mined gold in Yukon since the 1880s. Soerfm (talk) 12:47, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Background

  • the extent of the gold ore in the region → the extent of the gold in the region. Soerfm (talk) 13:40, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Discovery

  • "In any event, gold was present along the river in huge quantities." > "In either case, gold was present..." Hchc2009 (talk) 08:57, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Beginning of the stampede

  • joined by would-be prospectors and also businessmen → joined by not only would-be prospectors but also businessmen
  • were already famous → were famous

Soerfm (talk) 21:12, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Routes to the Klondike

Travel in general was made difficult by both the geography and climate. → Travel in general was made difficult by the geography. (Is climate not a part of geography?) Soerfm (talk) 21:13, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

  • It can be considered part of it; equally, some people use geography as a short hand for "physical geography. How about: "Travel in general was made difficult by both the rugged landscape and climate." Avoids the ambiguity, but still catches both elements distinctly. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:37, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I think the problem is: We need a word that will include land and rivers (terrain, landscape etc. seem like land only), but at the same time it should not include climate. Maybe the old version is better after all..? Soerfm (talk) 12:26, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I could live with the old version. Hchc2009 (talk) 20:10, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
  • some had brought dogs → some brought dogs
  • their equipment en route to reach their destination in time → their equipment to reach their destination in time

South-east Alaskan trails

  • and then down the river network to the Klondike itself. Along the trails tent camps sprung up → and then down the Yukon river network to the Klondike itself. Along the trailscomma tent camps sprung up
  • Most divided up their belongings...or heavier loads that could still be → Most divided their belongings ...or heavier loads still that could be
  • How about "Most divided their belongings into 65 pounds (29 kg) packages that could be carried on a man's back, or into heavier loads that could be pulled by hand on a sled."?Hchc2009 (talk) 08:38, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • OK. (But avoid repetition af "could be", maybe: "Most divided their belongings into 65 pounds (29 kg) packages that could be carried on a man's back, or into heavier loads to be pulled by hand on a sled.") Soerfm (talk) 20:18, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Chilkoot Pass was higher than the White Pass... The trail passed up through camps → The Chilkoot trail climbed higher than the White Pass trail...It went up through camps
  • this 1,500 step staircase becoming known as the "Golden Steps". → this 1,500 step staircase became known as the "Golden Steps".
  • 7,124 boats of varying size and quality left in May 1898. By the time they left, the forests around the lakes had been largely cut down for timber. → 7,124 boats of varying size and quality left in May 1898 leaving the forests around the lakes largely cut down for timber.
  • How about; "7,124 boats of varying size and quality, mostly built from local timber, departed in May 1898, leaving the forests around the lakes denuded of trees."? Hchc2009 (talk) 08:38, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Please consider an alternative for denuded, if you wiki-link it you get to a geological process. Maybe just: ...leaving the hills around the lakes treeless. Soerfm (talk) 20:18, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Soerfm (talk) 20:20, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Ah, this is why you should never use an encylopedia as a dictionary! :) Denude means to lay bare. I'm happy with "...around the lakes mostly treeless.", but the qualifier's important - the sources don't say that all the trees were cut down.Hchc2009 (talk) 08:37, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

All-Canadian and All-American routes

  • and then continuing on overland to the Klondike → and then continuing overland to the Klondike
  • which lay further along the Alaskan coast from Skagway → which lay further north along the Alaskan coast from Skagway
  • by 1899, the cold and scurvy → by 1899, cold and scurvy
  • Their expedition was forced to turn back, recrossing the glacier in the process and only four men survived. → Their expedition was forced to turn back, recrossing the glacier in the process. Only four men survived.
  • How about "Their expedition was forced to turn back, recrossing the glacier in the process: only four men survived."? Hchc2009 (talk) 08:39, 3 December 2011 (UTC) (avoids a short sentence, but makes the last clause punchier?)Hchc2009 (talk) 08:39, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Ok. (Alternatively: ...The result: only four men survived.) Soerfm (talk) 20:20, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Soerfm (talk) 20:50, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Seems informal. Yet another alternative: "...in the process. Only four men survived the return journey."?Hchc2009 (talk) 08:37, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • OK, but I think "journey" is better than "return journey" in that case. Soerfm (talk) 12:05, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Border control

  • were disputed between the United States, Canada and Britain → had been disputed between the United States on one side and Canada and Britain on the other
  • The United States believed that the ports of Dyea and Skagway were on their territory, while Canada argued that this strip of land was in fact Canadian. → Both the United States and Canada believed that the ports of Dyea and Skagway were on their territory.
  • 25 percent of the value of their goods and supplies as they passed into Canada — including on their year's supply of food. → 25 percent of the value of their goods as they passed into Canada

Soerfm (talk) 21:32, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Mining

Gold was also unevenly distributed in the areas where it was found, which made prediction of good mining sites even more uncertain. → Distribution was also uneven within an area which made prediction of good mining sites even more uncertain. Soerfm (talk) 13:53, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Business

  • Successful mining took time and capital, particularly once most of the timber around the Klondike had been cut down → Successful mining took time, capital and timber, the latter so much that most of the forest around the Klondike was cut down
  • While anyone could attempt to dig prospect holes in the hope of finding gold → While anyone could dig prospect holes in the hope of finding gold
How about :"While anyone could dig a prospect hole in the hope of finding gold"? Hchc2009 (talk) 08:41, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • for wood to burn to melt the ground → for wood to burn and thereby melt the ground
  • "for wood to burn and melt the ground"? Hchc2009 (talk) 08:41, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • OK. (I am just trying to avoid a repetition of "to".) Soerfm (talk) 19:41, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • fifteen times richer in gold than those in California, for example, and richer still → fifteen times richer in gold than those in California and richer still ("for example" is repeated in the next sentence)
  • when they arrived at Dawson or en route from Victoria in Canada. → when they arrived at Dawson or en route at Victoria in Canada
  • Claims could be bought → Claims could be traded
  • I'd strongly advise we change to "Claims could be bought and sold", as "traded" can mean either financial sale, or swapping, and its the former that's referred to here.Hchc2009 (talk) 08:41, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • when rumours of new strikes would cause a → when rumours of new strikes caused a

Soerfm (talk) 22:00, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

  • It seems to me like some of the numbers for present day dollar equivalent are wrong. Particularly that $5000 is the equivalent of $4,000,000 now, and all the other ones in that paragraph. I'd propose changing it, maybe using an online inflation calculator --Diznila (talk) 21:04, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Boom towns

  • through which most the prospectors travelling to the Klondike entered → through which most the prospectors travelling to the Klondike went (I am not sure about "through...enter")
  • to the would-be miners, others of them, realizing how → to the would-be miners, others, realizing how
  • unable to progress further or to return home → unable to progress further or return home
  • I'm not sure - I think the second firm is still in the infinitive and needs the "to", but I may be wrong! Hchc2009 (talk) 08:48, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Maybe more correct: unable neither to progress nor to return home. Soerfm (talk) 19:52, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure - that construct sounds archaic. I think the original is okay myself. Hchc2009 (talk) 20:18, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • OK, but what about: progress further → progress? Soerfm (talk) 06:37, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • While Dyea remained a transit point throughout the winter → While Dyea remained a transit point
  • Skagway began to take on a ... Skagway also built wharves...The town was effectively lawless → Skagway began to take on a ... The town also built wharves...It was effectively lawless
  • I'd agree with the first couple. The last "It..." would be unclear though, as the previous noun in the sentence is Dyea, rather than Skagway.Hchc2009 (talk) 08:48, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • OK, just avoid repetition. Soerfm (talk) 14:48, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • who arrived shortly from Seattle after Skagway began to expand → who arrived from Seattle shortly after Skagway began to expand

Soerfm (talk) 22:33, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Logistics

  • These made some difference in 1899 → This made some difference in 1899
  • I think it has to be "these", as the noun its referring to in the previous sentence is plural.Hchc2009 (talk) 08:48, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Up to 140 patients were taken into the newly constructed St Mary's Hospital in Dawson... → Up to 140 patients were taken into the newly constructed St Mary's Hospital... (Dawson is understood) Soerfm (talk) 14:24, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
  • ...in search of food and shelter for the winter.[1] → ...in search of food and shelter for the winter.[1] At the same time the rule requiring new prospectors to bring with them a year's supply of food was introduced.[2] Soerfm (talk) 12:09, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Conspicuous consumption

  • in late 1898, were lit by electric light → in late 1898, they were lit by electric light
  • ("with" is used in the sentence before this) Gambling was popular, with the major saloons each running their own rooms; a culture of high stakes had evolved, with the richest prospectors routinely betting $1,000 ($27,000) at dice or playing for a $5,000 ($140,0000) poker pot. → Gambling was popular and the major saloons were each running their own rooms. Further, a culture of high stakes evolved where the richest prospectors routinely betted $1,000 ($27,000) at dice or played for a $5,000 ($140,0000) poker pot. (Avoid repetition of "with" and some following changes) Soerfm (talk) 17:57, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Law and order

  • Unlike its American equivalents, Dawson City was a law-abiding town → Unlike the American boom towns, Dawson City was law-abiding
  • fines and medical inspections and were imposed → fines and medical inspections were imposed
  • he was accused of keeping the details of new claims secret → he was accused of keeping details of new claims secret
  • Matters grew sufficiently serious → Matters grew so serious
  • Following campaigning, including by the local press → Following a campaign that included the local press
  • was considered a stronger character and arrived in May 1898 → was considered a stronger character. He arrived in May 1898
  • How about "His successor, Major James Walsh, arrived in May 1898 and was considered a stronger character, but he fell ill and returned east in July."? Hchc2009 (talk) 08:48, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Rather "His successor, Major James Walsh, who was considered a stronger character, arrived in May 1898 but fell ill and returned east a few months later."? I think it groups personality and time better Soerfm (talk) 10:28, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Ogilvie proved a much stronger administrator and subsequently → Ogilvie proved a much stronger administrator and he subsequently

Soerfm (talk) 23:17, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Role of Women

  • women in a party were typically expected to cook for the group → women in a party were typically expected to cook
  • (Caption) Female actresses → Actresses
  • similar economic and social reasons as male prospectors → similar economic and social reasons as the male prospectors
  • few, if any, of these ever took place → few, if any, of these arrangements ever took place
  • clothes women should take to the Klondike → clothes women should bring to the Klondike
  • less than one percent—actually worked as miners → less than one percent—worked as miners
  • Many Tlingit women worked as packers for the prospectors, for example, carrying supplies and equipment, sometimes also transporting their babies as well → Many Tlingit women, on one hand, worked as packers for the prospectors, carrying supplies and equipment, sometimes transporting their babies as well
  • "on the one hand"? Hchc2009 (talk) 08:49, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Hän women had relatively little contact with the white immigrants, however → Hän women, on the other hand, had relatively little contact with the white immigrants

Soerfm (talk) 01:01, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

End of the gold rush

  • other factors led to the conclusion of the stampede in 1899 → other factors led to the conclusion of the stampede (the year is better mentioned in the end of the section)
  • As early as the summer of 1898, many → In the summer of 1898, when many (If "As early as" or "already" should be used, maybe: Already from the beginning of the stampede, some people chose to go back along the way, a process that continued all the way to Dawson in the summer of 1898. - I guess it depends on what you see as the turning point of the rush: summer of '98 where it began to fade or summer of '99 when the stampede away from Dawson began. Something happening before the turning point would be "as early as". "When" added before "many" because it is mentioned before under Mining.)
  • had fallen to $100 ($2,700) a month → had fallen to $100 ($2,700) a month (compared to the daily pay of $15 ($410) mentioned above)
  • Feels unnecessary to me. Hchc2009 (talk) 20:11, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
  • OK, your decision. Soerfm (talk) 21:25, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
  • the change in Dawson City itself, which had developed → the change in Dawson City, which had developed

Soerfm (talk) 22:28, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

The flow of the first paragraph here isn't quite working I think. How about "As the gold rush progressed, communications improved, and by 1899 telegraphy lines stretched from Skagway to Dawson, allowing instant international communication.[284] In 1898, the White Pass and Yukon Route railway began to be built between Skagway and the head of navigation on the Yukon at Whitehorse; 35,000 men and tons of explosives were used for the construction.[285][Picture] When it was completed in July 1900, the Chilkoot trail and its tramways were' made obsolete.[285] Despite these improvements, the Klondike gold rush faltered over the winter of 1898–99 and various factors led to the conclusion of the stampede in 1899.[286]"? - this would avoid giving the impression that the improvements caused the gold rush to falter, and would allow the temporal flow to be simple. We'll need "were" not "was", because its plural. Hchc2009 (talk) 18:05, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree, however: "rush in 1899" not "stampede in 1899" the stampede was over in 1898. Soerfm (talk) 19:24, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

What about second paragraph, I like to emphasize that most prospectors arrived in the summer of 1898 and I don't like to use "As early as" since the process of returning home had been there all the time.

  • As early as the summer of 1898, many of the prospectors arriving in Dawson City had found themselves unable to make a living and had left for home. → When most of the prospectors arrived at Dawson City in the summer of 1898, many found themselves unable to make a living and left for home. Soerfm (talk) 20:09, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

People

  • most of those who did find gold lost their fortunes in the subsequent years → most of those who found gold lost their fortunes in the following years
  • purchasing fresh claims → purchasing claims ("fresh" is a repetition from the previous sentence)

Soerfm (talk) 23:03, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Places

  • only 500 people were living in Dawson and the nearby settlements → only 500 people were living in Dawson while the nearby settlements
  • the Klondike River is still shaped → the Klondike River bears marks ("still" is a repetition)
  • which is a popular tourist hiking route → which is a popular hiking route

Soerfm (talk) 23:03, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Culture

  • The events of the gold rush → These events
  • were generated as a consequence of the Klondike gold rush → were generated by the Klondike gold rush
  • The word "including" is repeated in "The writer Jack London...including Eric Hegg;", please consider variation
  • Yep. "such as" could be used, or a "for example". Hchc2009 (talk) 08:37, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Perhaps: "among others" as well. Soerfm (talk) 14:53, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • largely ignores the unique features → largely ignores the features

Soerfm (talk) 23:33, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Summaries

Routes by land

(Nothing) → In the following by "routes by land" is meant routes that included travel by land and rivers. Some of these rotes began by a sea travel from the west coast of USA or Canada to South-east Alaska and crossed land to meet the Yukon River system. Others started in Canada and went along rivers and land to the Klondike. When starting in Canada, a boat or canoe was typically used to transport the equipment all the way and this boat had to be carried across land together with the equipment when shifting from one river system to the next. When starting from the American west coast on the other hand the prospectors would typically build a boat only at the start of the Yukon River system. For this, they could sometimes get help from the natives. No matter where they started the prospectors had to bring their ton of equipment.

Soerfm (talk) 16:59, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm not at all sure we really need a lead bit here, as it sort of tells its own story,and the lead for the whole section is only a couple of paragraphs before, making this a bit redundant. In terms of the proposed text, I'm not convinced the bit about starting in Canada is correct: the main text doesn't state that most starting in Edmonton went by the all river route, and as written, this suggests that boats were used to transport equipment overland, which certainly isn't correct. From the west coast, it is incorrect to say that prospectors typically built a boat only at the start of the system; they only built boats when they reached the river (although the text doesn't mention it, a few shifted preconstructed, bought canoes etc. - none built their own before hand though). They didn't get help from the natives, although as the main text notes, they did hire them in various capacities. The last sentence is definitely repetitious, as the point is made two paragraphs before; again though, they didn't have to bring a ton of equipment; they had to bring a year's supply of food, which typically weighed a ton. The correct MOS abbreviation of USA is U.S., btw. Hchc2009 (talk) 18:14, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Life in the Klondike

The Klondike gold rush centred on the gold creeks that fed into the Klondike River but the massive influx of prospectors drove the formation of boom towns along the routes of the stampede, with Dawson City in the Klondike the largest of all.[3] [4] The new towns were crowded and often chaotic, shaped by the extreme climate and the sudden quantities of gold being acquired by a small minority of miners.[5] The majority of prospectors were men, although many women travelled to the region, typically with their partners.[6] Those prospectors that discovered rich gold deposits spent extravagantly, driving a lavish culture of conspicuous consumption in Dawson that in turn encouraged businessmen and women to build hotels, saloons and dance-halls.[7] Dawson City remained a relatively lawful town, protected by the Canadian NWMP, although the boom towns of Skagway and Dyea under U.S. jurisdiction in Alaska became infamous for their criminal underworlds.[8] [9] The extreme climate and remoteness meant that the prices of food and supplies were high and news from the world outside the Klondike in short supply.[4] [10]

The Klondike gold rush centred on Dawson City and the gold creeks that fed into the Klondike River but the massive influx of prospectors drove the formation of boom towns and tent camps along the routes as well.[3] [4] These new towns were crowded, hastly built and often chaotic.[5] The majority of prospectors were men, although some women travelled to the region, typically with their partners.[6] Prospectors who found gold spent extravagantly, driving a culture of conspicuous consumption in Dawson which in turn encouraged businesspeople to build establishments of entertainment there.[7] Dawson City remained a relatively lawful town, protected by the Canadian NWMP, while the boom towns of Skagway and Dyea under U.S. jurisdiction in Alaska became infamous for their lawlessness.[8] [9] The extreme climate and remoteness meant that the prices of food and supplies were high and together with news from the world outside the Klondike in short supply.[4] [10]

Soerfm (talk) 18:53, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Looks good. The first sentence though, could suggest that Dawson City wasn't a boom town. If we went for "drove the formation of other boom towns", it would be clear that the phrase applies to both the others and Dawson. Hchc2009 (talk) 19:03, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
  • OK (and group comsumption plus some copyedit):
The Klondike gold rush centred on the boom town of Dawson City and the gold creeks that fed into the Klondike River but the massive influx of prospectors drove the formation of towns and tent camps along the routes as well.[3]

[4] These new towns were crowded, hastly built and often chaotic.[5] The majority of prospectors were men, although some women travelled to the region, typically with their partners.[6] Those who found gold spent extravagantly, driving a culture of conspicuous consumption in Dawson which in turn encouraged businesspeople to build establishments of entertainment.[7] The extreme climate and remoteness meant that the prices of not only luxury but food and supplies in general were high and together with news from the world outside in short supply.[4] [10] Dawson City remained a relatively lawful town, protected by the Canadian NWMP, while the boom towns of Skagway and Dyea under U.S. jurisdiction in Alaska became infamous for their lawlessness.[8] [9]

Looks good. Should be "prices of not only luxuries" though. Hchc2009 (talk) 19:28, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Background

The Juneau gold rush and other SE Alaska rushes may be mentioned together with the Yukon River gold rushes. Soerfm (talk) 12:34, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

I'll fish out a ref for them tomorrow. Hchc2009 (talk) 16:57, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Dollar then and now

According to the article, sometimes $1 then is worth $27 now, sometimes it's worth $800. I don't understand. "Land in Dawson was now scarce, and plots sold for up to $10,000 ($8 million) each; prime locations on Front Street could reach $20,000 ($16 million) while a small log cabin might rent for $100 ($2,700) a month." 78.69.90.245 (talk) 19:09, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Have a look at the link in the footnote - I've duplicated it here; it depends what you're comparing it with. Hchc2009 (talk) 19:14, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. 78.69.90.245 (talk) 19:23, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Happy to help and answer any further questions - it's an interesting problem when you come to try and generate modern equivalents! Hchc2009 (talk) 18:42, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Indeed it is, and I'm very pleased to see that someone is giving it proper consideration! However, I think we need to revisit some of the figures used, and I think we need to footnote the choices made in each case to make the information less opaque. Just to start off this conversation I'd like to use the value of the first gold shipment as an example. As things stand, the article notes that the estimated $1,139,000 value of the shipment in period is now worth $1bn. This is only true as a percentage of GDP. The purchasing power of the same value is now only $32m, while its asset value is $250m (all rounded). That's quite the range. In addition, assuming the gold price at the time was around $18.90 an ounce, the sum mentioned represents 60,260 ounces. At today's price of approximately $1600 an ounce the same mass of gold would be worth around $96m. So what's a representative value? I can't shake the feeling that $1bn simply doesn't reflect the real value of the shipment to the guy in the street. Any thoughts? Pyrope 14:27, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

The article has a footnote in it, noting that "Prices in this article are given in US dollars throughout; at the time of the gold rush, the US and Canadian dollars were each attached to the gold standard and held equal value. For this reason the academic literature and contemporary accounts do not usually differentiate between gold rush prices quoted in US or Canadian dollars. Equivalent modern prices have been given in 2010 US dollars, to two significant digits. The equivalent prices of modern goods and services have been calculated using the Consumer Price Index. Larger sums, for example gold shipments, and all capital investment projects, including land prices, have been calculated using the relative share of GDP index." The secondary source used to justify the approach is a site run by a couple of specialist academics and is linked from the footnote.
(Added in a few moments later!) - That said, if we've alternative sources for making a decent translation in financial sums, we should build them into the article. If anything, personally (and utter OR...) I think $1bn might be an underestimate, given the impact it had on the NW region at the time. (Hchc2009 (talk) 14:41, 16 August 2012 (UTC))
Might be worth dropping User:Fifelfoo a line for a second opinion; he's pretty good on inflation, if you like. Hchc2009 (talk) 14:33, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
For a rather unscientific parallel (NB: and this is OR and has lots of holes in it, but anyway...) the NY City budget was roughly $37m a year at the time; the first gold shipment today was $1.1m odd. Today's NY budget is roughly $68 bn or so - an equivalent proportion would be $1.8 bn. Hchc2009 (talk) 09:48, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I see what you are saying, it is definitely far from simple. For example, even allowing for the numbers of people living in New York now being more than three times greater than then, the range and scope of NYC government spending these days is far wider. I think actually your comparison rather serves to underline why the $1bn figure feels like a gross over estimate. Per capita spending in 1897, using your number, would have been about $15 per year, while today it is about $8,200. Using that ratio the gold is worth approximately $622m, but as I said that doesn't allow for the much broader remit of the NYC government in modern times, hence I would regard that as a significant over estimate. Pyrope 21:43, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Agreed - never simple... To avoid OR, the article as it stands follows the best academic advice I could find on which formal measures to use for which type of item, linked above from the footnote in the article. In terms of your concerns, is there a better academic source out there, or do you reckon we've followed the best source of advice but used the wrong comparison (e.g. we should be using GDP deflator rather than just GDP, for example), or is it more a matter of pulling out the nuances further in the footnote? Hchc2009 (talk) 06:32, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, what we really need is a source that actually talks about the inflation adjusted value of gold for the last century and a half, or so. I'm not an inflation economics expert by any means so I can only go by my reading of the Measuring Worth justifications, but from what I see there it looks to me as though the full GDP measure is only really the best measure for the 'Project' category. Looking at the gold as either a commodity or as income/asset, the way I read it the per capita GDP would be the better measure. Pyrope 13:58, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
NB: I've emailed the original academics to see if they can recommend such a source. In the meantime, I'll continue looking as well. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:20, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
And I got an answer (they seem a nice lot!); their advice was that it's difficult, but for comparing the value of the gold shipment, full GDP was probably the best option. This isn't a published opinion, of course, so we couldn't cite it on the wiki though. I'm drawing a blank on other sources at the moment. Hchc2009 (talk) 06:21, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
Ok, well that's an answer of sorts. I'm still not convinced but then I can't seem to turn up anything else so the status quo would seem to be the best option. Been interesting to think about it for a bit, at least! Pyrope 22:18, 4 September 2012 (UTC)