Talk:Ludwig van Beethoven

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April 27, 2005 Peer review Reviewed
Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive This article was on the Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive for the week of April 25, 2007.

Image selection[edit]

I'm confused as to why the only images included here are of a white Beethoven. He was described as dark-skinned by almost everyone who made note of his appearance, including Frederick Hertz, Emil Ludwig, And Alexander Thayer in his Life of Beethoven. If this is news, perhaps a small informative subsection on heritage might be included, detailing his mother's Moorish lineage.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:02, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

These claims seem apocryphal at best. -- (talk) 22:57, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

This article names sources for the claim that Beethoven had an at least partly black heritage. Alisio Star (talk) 14:07, 20 March 2015 (UTC)


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

About a month ago, I was asked to look at closing this section. There was an Administrators' noticeboard thread around the same time, which generated new discussion - so I've left it until now before commenting. For the record, I have no strong opinions on infoboxes - besides the fact that they're not important enough to get worked up over - and I was one of the arbitrators during the Infobox case.
Based on that position, I've read the arguments in this section and I believe there is consensus that there should be an infobox in this article. Many of the arguments put forwards were not particularly helpful - either arguing for or against infoboxes in general or putting forward a simple "I like it" or "I don't like it" for this article, which would generate no consensus. Focusing on the remainder of the argument though, it appears to me that there is consensus that a short, well maintained infobox should be included, with effort to ensure that secondary information is not included in the infobox. WormTT(talk) 11:33, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia:WikiProject Composers#Biographical infoboxes, shouldn't the deletion of this article's infobox be considered? I'm not there. Message me! 15:51, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

No. That page merely reflects the preferences of a small group and Wikiprojects don't decide site-wide policy. The actual guidance is at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes #Using infoboxes in articles: "The use of infoboxes is neither required nor prohibited for any article. Whether to include an infobox, which infobox to include, and which parts of the infobox to use, is determined through discussion and consensus among the editors at each individual article." You should, of course, feel free to start a discussion to see if any consensus can be reached. HTH --RexxS (talk) 23:44, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not saying the page should be changed by Wikiprojects, but it's customary not to include infoboxes in pages about classical composers, and in order to reach consistency, editors of this page could consider deleting the infobox. I'm not there. Message me! 15:23, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
With over 2.5 million infoboxes in 4.5 million articles (which includes stubs, lists, dab pages, etc. that we would not expect to have an infobox), it's customary to include infoboxes in any well-developed article. In fact, over 75% of Featured Articles have an infobox. There's nothing special about classical composers that precludes having an infobox. For consistency with the rest of the encyclopedia, editors of the other composer biographies should consider adding an infobox to them. --RexxS (talk) 16:26, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
"Neither required nor prohibited" - so there's no need to try to bully people who don't want them into changing their mind. Happy Christmas! Johnbod (talk) 16:38, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
"Neither required nor prohibited" also means that nobody should try to bully editors who do want them into changing their mind. It's perfectly symmetrical in the abstract. I'll cheerfully debate any real arguments, though - as long as you don't think that reasoned debate means bullying, of course. Merry Xmas to you too, John! --RexxS (talk) 16:47, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
I think that adding an infobox to this article simply because the majority of articles on WP have them is very loose justification for including one. I agree that neither side should feel bullied, which is why a discussion and consensus should be formed first before either adding or removing an infobox. (Careful in that snow RexxS; I believe the next stop is London town! Shovels and sand at the ready, chez Cassianto! ) CassiantoTalk 13:32, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Cass - Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year! You're absolutely right that adding an infobox here just because a majority of other articles have them is a very weak reason - and I hope you'll agree that removing it just because a majority of composer bios don't have one is equally weak. There are absolutely genuine reasons why a particular article should not have an infobox: aesthetics or the difficulty of summarising nuanced information are the most obvious. And there are genuine reasons why an infobox enhances an article, but they are more generic, of course. What is needed here is an informed discussion about what value an infobox would bring to the article on 'Ludwig van Beethoven' and what disadvantages it would confer. I've looked in the archives, but could only find these:
neither of which are particularly illuminating. Nevertheless, if you know of some that I've missed, they might be useful to point to when a new editor adds/removes or suggests addition/removal of an infobox. We should try to be kind to people who take an interest and (as you've probably noticed) I do get annoyed when fresh voices are dismissed with "because we've already made a blanket decision for all these articles". We'll never increase our editor pool until we take time to properly address other editors' views and concerns. In the meantime, I'll take care in the snow and I hope you will too! Cheers --RexxS (talk) 14:38, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Infobox - In my view the article is better with an infobox. Jusdafax 01:21, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose infobox – In my view the article is not better with an infobox. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:55, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Question regarding views: what would a reader say who never heard the name Beethoven before? Perhaps: I like to see at a glance that it is a composer who worked around 1800, located at places such as Bonn (now Germany) and Vienna (now Austria), + an easy access to a list of his works without having to search in the article? (about as suggested 7 August 2013, and yes, we know baptism date but are not sure about birth date, - parameters can be improved). --Gerda Arendt (talk) 10:33, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Answer: Why should we assume that readers of the English-language Wikipedia are so much thicker than those of the German one? Vide de:Ludwig van Beethoven. Or the Italian at it:Ludwig van Beethoven? Or even the Simple English Wikipedia: simple:Ludwig van Beethoven? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 10:50, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Another Answer: Simple English Wikipedia is based on this Wikipedia and you wouldn't expect it to have something extra. And other language wikis generally don't take precedence over this one. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:25, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Yet another answer: Michael's reasoning would lead to the supposition that the English readers are much brighter than those of the other language Wikipedias which have infoboxes for Beethoven, including: Africans; Arabic; Belarussian; Bulgarian; Catalan; Chinese; Danish; Dutch; Hebrew; Hungarian; Japanese; Latin; Marathi; Polish; Portuguese; Punjabi; Romanian; Russian; Scotts; and Welsh. I find that frankly insulting and it shows the hollowness of his argument. --RexxS (talk) 19:27, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Infobox - The whole opposition to Infoboxes is insubstantial, unencyclopedic, and unwikipedic. The infobox gives the article a more professional look and it sums up the essential info for people who do quick searches. ♆ CUSH ♆ 16:26, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support infobox - you know me, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 18:07, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose infobox to be clear. Has anybody here ever actually edited the articlwe otherwise, or are we all drive-bys? Johnbod (talk) 19:49, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
How is that relevant? This is supposed to be an encyclopedia, which means it is focused on presenting a subject for READERS of articles, not to boost the ego of editors. You do not OWN any article, no matter how many edits you have made. ♆ CUSH ♆ 21:40, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Nonetheless the encyclopedia should not be the hostage of those running around with their own little hobby-horses, and making no other contributions. Johnbod (talk) 21:10, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, I am immune to your holier-than-thou attitude. ♆ CUSH ♆ 21:31, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support infobox: This is just round 10,000 of the infobox wars. Any biographical article benefits from an infobox that gives the casual viewer basic information and it can also draw the reader further into the article. Montanabw(talk) 17:04, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
...and well-known counter-arguments bla bla bla. Johnbod (talk) 21:10, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
You talking to yourself again, Johnbod? Montanabw(talk) 20:58, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820
Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820
Born Ludwig van Beethoven
Baptised 17 December 1770
Died 26 March 1827(1827-03-26)
Occupation Composer and pianist
  • Support Infobox "I like to see at a glance that it is a composer who worked around 1800, located at places such as Bonn (now Germany) and Vienna (now Austria), + an easy access to a list of his works without having to search in the article". — Ched :  ?  16:45, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
All of that information is in the very short lead, and apart from his dates none of it was in the infobox when there was one, nor should it be in any infobox. Johnbod (talk) 18:15, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
John, that's fine if you prefer reading the article. As for myself, I like the infobox style of presenting information in many (if not most) of the wiki articles I look at. Quite often my time is limited, and I prefer the summary. Sometimes the infobox even encourages me to read further in the article. That's just my personal opinion, to each his own in my view. Best, — Ched :  ?  19:05, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
If you try to summarize the whole article the infoboxes become as long and hard to navigate as large numbers are - for cities, ships etc. You said you wanted information that in fact would not be in a composer infobox, and is and was neatly summarized in para 2 of the lead. Johnbod (talk) 21:07, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, that is the eternal problem with these classical music articles, the owners of the project seem to feel that the great unwashed - meaning you, me, and anyone who isn't a hardore aficionado (even if I did study piano for about six years and voice for three) really shouldn't even do a drive-by reading, if people cannot read the entire article, then apparently the project owners don't want anyone to try to glean basic information. Montanabw(talk) 20:58, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, of course, you're right. That must be it ZZZZZZZZZZZ Johnbod (talk) 21:07, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose needless visual clutter that steals space from meaningful illustrations. --Ghirla-трёп- 07:12, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
    • steals space from meaningful illustrations - Huh? An infobox in this article would use the existing illustration and whitespace where there is currently nothing. --AussieLegend () 12:56, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Indeed. I wonder of some peole have any idea what we are even discussing. I put in one version of the infobox here. It's not long, it keeps the image, it covers the basics, it would be expanded, but doesn't have to be. Montanabw(talk) 05:50, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
I wonder is some people have ever looked at an article with an infobox using a mobile device. On my phone, the box steals space big time. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 07:30, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't steal space, it just appears first, summarising the key points of the article in a convenient form. What steals the space is the ridiculously small screen. If that's a hassle, use a PC or even a tablet. --AussieLegend () 09:01, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
30% of views are on mobile devices, and growing. It is not for us to tell readers what devices they should use. The idea that an infobox summarizes "the key points of the article in a convenient form" is true for some kinds of article but manifestly untrue for others, like composers, indeed most biographies. For that a properly written first lead para is far better. Johnbod (talk) 12:53, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
It's not about telling people what to device to use, it's about countering and argument about "stealing" spacethat isn't credible. {{Infobox person}} does summarise the main points about a person, it's the other templates that fail to adequately summarise. The composer infobox is one such example. --AussieLegend () 13:25, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Its not an either or situation. A lead paragraph begins the summary of an article. An infobox summarizes key points and is not meant to be an entire summary of the article but a view at a glance. Info boxes and summaries serve different purposes so we can't argue legitimately replacing one with the other. (Littleolive oil (talk) 13:32, 1 January 2015 (UTC))
If the infobox is meant to provide "a view at a glance", that idea fails on my phone, using the Wikipedia moble app, because it's shown after the first paragraph. In the case of a really long infobox, e.g. Albert Einstein, the box then presents, after the 1st paragraph, a major stumbling block to reading the rest of the article. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 14:21, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Is that an argument for deleting all infoboxes from all articles? Of is there a specific problem with musicians? Or with this musician? Or just long infoboxes? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:25, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
There are some types of articles that suit infoboxes very well, because there are standard bits of information that do include the key facts. For many other types, including musicians and in fact most biographies except sports people and perhaps monarchs and modern politians, they often don't work well at all. They also tend to get far too long, especially in some kinds or articles, which is a different issue. Johnbod (talk) 14:41, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
What does that have to do with phones? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:43, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
That's complete clap-trap, John. Almost all articles suit infoboxes very well, because almost all articles contain those standard bits of information that you want the reader to go hunting for. Just about every biography, for example, contains simple facts like date and place of birth (and death for non-BLPs) which immediately give a context in time and place to the subject's life. The same goes for information like their occupation or what they were known for in many cases. You also conveniently ignore the advantage of having those "standard bits of information" in a standard format which makes them available to third-party tools. If we're ever going to be able to have a smart encyclopedia, where we can ask questions like "Which composers were born between 1750 and 1850?", you are going to have to stop regurgitating unfounded anti-infobox spin and give up that luddite opposition to progress. --RexxS (talk) 15:35, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Ah, progress! We already have persondata for the most basic facts, and Wikidata. In fact infoboxes are not standardized at all - they are not designed as database entry forms and are generally not at all good in that role, if only because of a complete lack of standard vocabularies (but also many other reasons). Some of us are still trying to create an encyclopedia of reasonable quality, and have not abandoned that aim to pursue The Great Database of Everything. Happy New Year! Johnbod (talk) 19:23, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
That's more complete disinformation from you, John: (1) Persondata does not provide the microformats that an infobox does; (2) Infoboxes are standardised to a set of label-value pairs and are exceptionally good at providing the information for a database - in fact Wikidata has been mainly constructed by bots reading the data from infoboxes. --RexxS (talk) 16:04, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support an infobox for all the reasons I've outlined above. --RexxS (talk) 16:04, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Johnbod, you raise issues problem not solveable here. The infoboxes are not standardized- yet- in part because every time someone like Andy suggests that we don't need different designs for, (as an example) every mass transit system in the world, someone starts screaming about the template they own. Ditto mobile devices, not solveable here. This stuff may point to a need to fix the WP software so infoboxes appear properly on phones. To me, music lends itself particularly well to an infobox to summarize key points. Frankly, I would think that phones ought to display an infobox FIRST and then the narrative. All of this is a work in progress, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Montanabw(talk) 03:02, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

April 2015[edit]

I see that there has been an attempt to close this debate in favour of no infobox. That is clearly not where the strength of argument, nor the numbers of !voters lie. I've therefore re-opened the debate and I'll request a neutral admin to summarise the debate and close it. --RexxS (talk) 19:09, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose infobox – FWIW, not needed here. CassiantoTalk 19:37, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
    • I don't want to appear rude, but WP:OWNBEHAVIOR specifically discounts that argument viz. "An editor reverts a change simply because the editor finds it "unnecessary" without claiming that the change is detrimental. This has the effect of assigning priority, between two equivalent versions, to an owner's version." --RexxS (talk) 20:07, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
      • Whose reverted? It sure as hell weren't me, so I'd ask you to direct that at someone else. CassiantoTalk 20:28, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
        • Apologies. I'm really sorry I wasn't clearer. Opposing the infobox means that someone (Johnbod) had to revert the infobox from the version as it stood on 24 December 2014, when this debate began. I'm simply pointing out that stating an infobox is unnecessary without explaining why the infobox is detrimental falls foul of the guidance above, for exactly the same reason. I hope that makes more sense. --RexxS (talk) 20:42, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
          • Infobox arguments rarely make sense RexxS. And I'm also sorry I wasn't clearer; I'm opposed to a box here as per Johnbod and others. CassiantoTalk 20:48, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Support infobox for the very good reasons given by RexxS, Cush et al; and for the convenience it gives to our readers, and the metadata it emits. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:03, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Oppose infobox - as I have said in similar discussions elsewhere on this topic, in my opinion infoboxes add nothing to an article that is not usually summarised in the lead. They detract from an article and are totally unnecessary. Jack1956 (talk) 21:15, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

If you insist on using generalist arguments, ok, here's the generalist refutation. Infoboxes don't have to add anything to what is in the lead to be useful. They provide key information in a predictable place for those who want a piece of information "at-a-glance", or whose English comprehension makes it difficult for them to sift through prose for a particular fact. They also present information in a structured format and provide microformats, both of which are invaluable to third-parties who wish to collect and aggregate data from Wikipedia. You don't say how they detract from the article, so I'll simply say that they don't detract. Finally, arguments that a particular edit is "unnecessary" are totally worthless. --RexxS (talk) 21:29, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for telling me that my opinion is "worthless". I think that is rather uncivil. They detract because they encourage people not to read the article or even just the lead. You do not find them on other reputable encyclopaedias such as Britannica. If they are so useful then why aren't they on every single article here? I don't put them on the 570+ articles I have started. Jack1956 (talk) 22:30, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
RexxS, I appeal to you to let others have their say, and to leave it at that. Don't add them to any silly tables (below) and don't be uncivil towards them simply because their opinion is different to yours. CassiantoTalk 06:26, 18 April 2015 (UTC)


  1. The original argument on 24 December 2014 to remove the infobox by Katastasi was based on the preference of a Wikiproject. Per WP:CONLOCAL, "participants in a WikiProject cannot decide that some generally accepted policy or guideline does not apply to articles within its scope." The relevant guideline is at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes: "Whether to include an infobox, which infobox to include, and which parts of the infobox to use, is determined through discussion and consensus among the editors at each individual article." (my emphasis) Wikiprojects cannot decide that articles cannot have infoboxes.
  2. Ghirlandajo opposed the infobox because it is "visual clutter that steals space from meaningful illustrations." - and it was pointed out by AussieLegend that the infobox uses the same lead image and only takes the otherwise empty whitespace to the right of the table of contents.
  3. Johnbod opposed the infobox on the grounds that the editors discussing the infobox might not have previously edited the article. Previously editing an article is not, and never has been, a requirement to take part in a debate about it.
  4. Cassianto opposed the infobox because it's not needed. This runs counter to the guidance at WP:OWNBEHAVIOR which explains that arguments that an edit is not necessary is not to be used because it improperly assumes priority of one version over an equivalent one.
  5. (Michael Bednarek expressed his view that "the article is not better with an infobox").

Every single one of the four actual arguments above was refuted.

  1. RexxS originally supported the retention of the infobox, countering the argument that most composer bios don't have infoboxes by observing that it's customary to include infoboxes and most Featured Articles have them. RexxS also raised the argument that simple facts like date and place of birth are made available to third-parties in a structured format suitable for easy re-use. RexxS also explained that Persondata does not provide the microformats that an infobox does.
  2. Cush stated that the "infobox gives the article a more professional look and it sums up the essential info for people who do quick searches."
  3. Montanabw added an infobox and stated that it was not long, keeps the image and covers the basics.
  4. Littleolive oil stated that an infobox summarizes key points and is not meant to be a replacement for the lead, but a view at a glance.
  5. AussieLegend commented that the infobox does not steal space on either a computer screen or a mobile device.
  6. Martinevans123 commented that we wouldn't expect Simple English Wikipedia to have something extra, and also pointed out that viewing infoboxes of Classical Composers on mobile phones is no different from viewing any other article's infobox on a mobile phone.
  7. (Judasfax expressed his view that "the article is better with an infobox".)
  8. (Gerda Arendt simply supported the infobox.)

Not one of the six arguments above has been refuted.

The weight of argument is clearly in favour of retaining the infobox as was present when the debate started. --RexxS (talk) 20:15, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Oppose IB. We are under no compunction to generate pointless metadata and the lead itself summarises the key information (mostly in the first line, making the IB superfluous. The "summary" above is, rather obviously, utterly twisted in one direction only – it's so one-sided it's meaningless and there's a reason this is considered poor for involved parties to try and pull this sort of stunt. - SchroCat (talk) 21:27, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

We are under no compunction to make any edits at all, so there's no value in arguing that "we don't have to, therefore we mustn't". The structured data and microformats are of great value to third parties who re-use our information and distribute it in novel ways and to non-English speaking audiences. That sort of improvement to this article is a step towards Wikimedia's vision of "a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge." By your reasoning, since the body of the article contains all of the information in the lead, the lead is superfluous. But I don't see you arguing to remove the lead. Obviously the lead serves a different purpose from the rest of the text. In the same way, the infobox serves a different purpose from the lead, by providing key information in a predictable place for those who can't, or prefer not to, work through English prose just to find a single piece of information. I see that you accuse me of providing a summary that is "twisted" and "in one direction only" and yet you seem unable to express how the summary is twisted or one-sided. If you want to engage in debate about the quality of my summary, then you're going to have to address the points I raise, not simply use an ad hominem insult to try to smear my contributions. --RexxS (talk) 21:52, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
I have used no ad hominem insults Rex, as you well know. I've seen your modus operandi before and I'm unimpressed with your attempts to smear me by innuendo, which are as predictable as the bludgeoning that has accompanied every "oppse" comment here. - SchroCat (talk) 21:58, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Is that like being smeared by butter? Martinevans123 (talk) 22:08, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) "twisted", "one-sided", "stunt", "bludgeoning" - that's the ad hominem and you need to learn what it means to be commenting on the editor and what is commenting on the substance of the edits. You have not raised one substantial argument here, just repeated the same tired, old, worthless mantra of "not needed" and "we don't have to". You have the nerve to criticise me for addressing the issues raised in the debate above, yet have failed to address a single one of my arguments in any meaningful way. Are you going to contribute anything of value to the issue of whether an infobox is an improvement to this article or not? --RexxS (talk) 22:16, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Truth, please Rex. I have not said an IB "not needed": perhaps you could provide the diff where I have said that? As to the fact that "we don't have to" provide metadata, thatis, as far as I am aware, the current situation. Perhaps you could you provide a link to the centralised RfC which says otherwise, ie, that we do have to provide metadata? As to the bludgeoning, see WP:BLUDGEON: "Bludgeoning the process is where someone attempts to force their point of view by the sheer volume of comments, such as contradicting every viewpoint that is different from their own", which is exactly what has happened here, with every single oppose being attacked. I'm out of this Rex: I really don't want to be dragged into another IB discussion. I've registered my oppose, given my reason, and I don't see why I should be attacked simply because I have a differing opinion to yours. - SchroCat (talk) 22:31, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
I take issue with this. "the bludgeoning that has accompanied every "oppose" comment here."
Your argument here that the IB is superfluous because everything we need to know about one of the greatest musician/composers/ influences on music is contained in "mostly the first line" of the lead just isn't true. I understand some editors like info boxes some don't, but what are the arguments here on this specific article for removing this infobox. The original argument for removal "unwanted" is no argument for anything and indicates a personal opinion. There was no good reason per Wikipedia to remove content, and I have yet to see new logic for disallowing that content to be returned to the article. Further, accusing those who commented here of bludgeoning is a red herring and sidesteps the summary Rexx provided and above all is not true and insults the editors who in good faith commented here.(Littleolive oil (talk) 22:27, 17 April 2015 (UTC))
@SchroCat: You claim you have not said an IB is "not needed" and ask for a diff of where you said that? Read your comment at the start of this thread: "... making the IB superfluous". Do you not realise what 'superfluous' means? The dictionary definitions encompass "unnecessary", "not necessary", "needless", "beyond what is needed". Don't play word games with me - the sophistry of claiming you didn't say say the infobox was "not needed", you only said is was "superfluous" is breath-taking. And you need to understand what a talk page debate is: it's not a poll where you just register your vote; it's an exchange of reasoned arguments in threaded discussions - and if you can't stand to have your arguments scrutinised, I'd suggest keeping out of debates. --RexxS (talk) 18:57, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
You put something in quote marks: that's a quote, so don't argue word play with me. Next time, be honest and quote the words I've used, not your version of what you want me to say. I'm out of this. Your (passive?)-aggressive incivility and patronising attitude make this an unhealthy place to have to be bludgeoned. - SchroCat (talk) 19:06, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Quote marks are used for other purposes than quotations. See MOS:WORDSASWORDS. You didn't literally use the words "we don't have to" either, but we both know that's what your argument boils down to. You can't defend your position, so you choose to riddle your replies with personal attacks - "passive-aggressive incivility" and "patronising attitude" being only the latest examples. --RexxS (talk) 19:55, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

Reminds me of this ;-)! ♦ Dr. Blofeld 07:41, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Support infobox The need for standardized data is more important than the preferences of a project. Infoboxes , among other things, aid translation into little used languages, and facilitate the quick finding of basic information They are part of the basic WP style--and Ihave never figured out any reasons at all why this particular project dislikes them. There's nothing about classical music that makes the articles on composers less suitable than any other people. Looking at the reasons given on the projects page, none of them make sense to me as applying specifically, and all the problems mentioned can be dealt with:
1,"They often give trivia undue emphasis and prominence". They do often contain some secondary material--this can be dealt with by not including those elements
2, "They tend to become redundant (by duplicating the lead" -- that is in fact the idea, to duplicate the key information in standardized form, unlike a lead.
3, "They can, conversely, become over-complex and thus vague, confused, or misleading, often compounding errors found elsewhere in the article, .. ." This is an argument for doing them properly, not for avoiding them. If they duplicate errors in the article, the think to do is obviously to correct the errors If lists of works are haphazard, they can be trimmed. If they confuse style and genre, they can be edited to show these correctly.
Perhaps my many friends in this field can help me by explaining why only they, rather than people working with other creative fields, feel this way. Is it just a chance concentration of editors, or is there a principle? DGG ( talk ) 05:21, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Straw man argument. I suggest to raise a discussion to change WP:INFOBOXUSE to mandate infoboxes. Until then, consensus is determined at each article. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 07:16, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
It is very far from just this project! You obviously haven't being paying attention. All these issues were gone into at vast length in the arb case, & I am sorry to see you apparently joining the ranks of those who simply ignore that case and its decision. The people who like adding infoboxes are very often not very good at doing so, so that they become sources of misinformation. The project (WP generally) simply doesn't the editorial resources to keep them accurate. Data-fans should settle for whatever they want at the foot of the article, hidden or not. I support them for types of articles which are more standard, whether baseball players or beetles. Johnbod (talk) 09:27, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, and the various valid points made there, refuting the same canards that DGG refutes here, were ignored by the arbitrators, not least in their decision Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:51, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
The important issue to me is that standard data is most useful when standard across the encyclopedia. To not do something because it might be done wrong would paralyze us in doing anything anywhere. Theis project should have less problems maintaining accuracy than most, because it doesn't have the worst controversial issues found in other biographical topics and the editors are on average much more competent. I agree with the arb decision because I don't think there is currently community consensus to require it everywhere. (I didn't take part at arb in questions involving the decision because some people apparently thought I would vote for my preference regardless of what I thought the actual situation was.) I think there ought to be such uniform consensus. but until there is, we must argue it article by article. Arb com did not say that the project had a role as a project in determining this within its scope-it said the matter was unclear and must be discussed for each article. As the option exists to have it for any article regardless of what the relevant project has a majority to want, I don't see how you can say those who want one shouldn't say so each time, just as those who don't want them say that. DGG ( talk ) 14:55, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Support infobox (for this article; using the infobox posted on this Talk page) per DGG. It adds structure and immediately and quickly viewable important data. The deprecation of composer infoboxes was an idiosyncratic decision made by a handful of wikiproject participants at a single point in time in the fairly distant past, and should not and cannot be binding when consensus or common sense dictates otherwise; never mind that (in my opinion and in many others') a wikiproject should not make up its own rules counter to prevailing practices and expect them to be enforceable. Not to mention, as ArbCom repeatedly asserts, ArbCom does not and cannot make policy; that is not its function. 22:06, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Support infobox - mostly per DGG. Also I do not find the opposing arguments convincing. For example, it requires no more editorial resources to insure that the infobox contains accurate information than it does to insure that the article itself does. Rlendog (talk) 21:25, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Trimming back "Notable work"[edit]

I removed the Notable Work entry from the infobox on grounds of truth in advertising. It gives a link to an article covering the complete works of Beethoven, but in fact quite a bit of Beethoven's output is strikingly obscure and hardly ever performed -- hardly notable at all. For instance, do you know the "Kriegslied der Österreicher," WoO 122? (I do, but I wouldn't mind if I didn't, it's pretty crummy music).

If the infobox format were not such a straightjacket (everything must be formatted "label + entry", no matter how redundant), we could simply include a labeled link to the List of Works article. Maybe someone could fix this? Opus33 (talk) 15:30, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Done I added a sub-infobox with an accurate heading for the list of compositions. Jusdafax 06:46, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
...result: Gerda superseded my appendix box with a non-captioned link to the list, and she was then reverted back to the Opus 33 deletion. Which takes us back to square one. The infobox template would have to be modified to get past Opus33's objection to the caption "Notable work." One thing I noticed is that the current infobox is the "Person" version, not the "Composer" template. The latter box indeed has issues in its format. I maintain it would be nice to have the link to the list of Beethoven's complete work handy in the infobox. Let's have a nice polite discussion on where we go from here, shall we? I maintain that either Gerda's, or my idea, would be better than nothing. Or perhaps someone knows how to modify the infobox template. Jusdafax 11:55, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Does anybody really think that Gerda's version where the article starts, above LvB's name, with "Compositions" is acceptable? Or Jusdafax's, where a boxed piece of text, "Complete list of Beethoven's works: Compositions", appears oddly below the infobox? There's plenty of material in the article that some people might find "nice to have in the infobox". But MOS:INFOBOX advises: "The less information it contains, the more effectively it serves that purpose". It should be noted that the wikilink in question is already in the article, and exactly at the expected spot: Ludwig van Beethoven#Music. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:24, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
I am sorry that I didn't notice my unintended little mistake until now, - in the preview, I only looked at the link in the box, without a label, - however, if we can agree on a label (as it looks below) it's better, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 06:27, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Since you reverted both versions back to the Opus33 deletion, as noted above, your view is hardly a surprise. Let's hear from fresh views, and we will take your position into account. Thanks. Jusdafax 12:42, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Link to Beethovens work in the infobox[edit]

I believe that it is desirable for the reader to have the link to Beethoven's works - as the most important fact about him - in the infobox. Yes it's "already in the article", but not in the lead, and even if it was in the lead I think it should appear where key facts are collected. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 06:19, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

A link to the compositions in the infobox certainly makes sense. Since somebody found fault with listing all compositions under the title "notable works", how about having the parameter render a title of "works"? The argument that a link to his compositions is not in the lede, and therefore should appear in the infobox, is sound. I think there is consensus that any artists works are the major key fact about his life. In Beethoven's case it would be equally inadequate to list either only a few works (and risk getting another debate of which works are important and which ones not) or all works (and get a mile-long infobox). Now that we have a box, a link to his compositions doesn't really hurt anybody, or does it? We just should agree that after this one added, we close the bag. Kraxler (talk) 11:38, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
The infobox is not a primary navigational tool. "See list" (or variations thereof) is not an appropriate value for "Works". All values should carry meaning. Alakzi (talk) 11:58, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
I would see that point if it was a header in the Beethoven article, but the list is a different article. - To Kraxler's comment: I would also prefer a parameter "Works" or even "Work" because all work(s) listed should be notable. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 12:07, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Should we consider that this edit by User:Pigsonthewing created links in the infobox that show nothing when followed from a mobile device? Wikipedia App: "does not show categories". -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:17, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
They work. Alakzi (talk) 14:33, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Only in browsers, not in the official Wikipedia app (Android, iOS) which "does not show categories". -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 14:50, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Have you confirmed that they do not work? By "not showing categories", I assume that they mean that these apps lack the category navigation bar found at the bottom. Alakzi (talk) 14:53, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Correct, it doesn't show those. But I also confirmed that the official Android Wikipedia app doesn't show any content if a category link from this article's infobox is tapped. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 15:12, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
OK, I've confirmed that they don't work in iOS either. Alakzi (talk) 15:14, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
The app is not Wikipedia; it is a tool that reuses our content, as do many others. You can, though, raise a bug when its faults mangle our content. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:33, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

I agree with Kraxler and Gerda that an entry whose labels is Works and content is the link to the list of compositions would work best. Above all, it gets us out of the business of specifying what Beethoven's most important works are. Not even expert scholars try to produce such list, which inevitably would be very subjective; and we as amateurs shouldn't even try. Opus33 (talk) 17:39, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Ludwig van Beethoven
Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820
Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820
Born Bonn
Baptised 17 December 1770
Died 26 March 1827(1827-03-26) (age 56)
Occupation Composer and pianist
Works List of compositions
Signature signature written in ink in a flowing script
I can see two possible changes that might be an improvement. Like Michael, I'd prefer us to link to lists, rather than categories, so one possible improvement may be to create List of notable symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven, List of notable symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven, List of notable operas by Ludwig van Beethoven, List of notable piano concertos by Ludwig van Beethoven, List of notable string quartets by Ludwig van Beethoven, List of notable piano trios by Ludwig van Beethoven and List of notable sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven to use as targets to replace the category links in there at present. Populating those lists would be a trivial exercise using the categories, and it might encourage editors to flesh out such lists and provide a resource for the casual reader unfamiliar with Beethoven's works.
Optionally, we could produce a wrapper for {{infobox person}} that changed the label from "Notable work" to "Works", specifically for use where it may be assumed that all of the subject's oeuvre would be of interest to the reader, and then link it to List of compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven. I must admit I did have to search a bit to find a link to that list from this article, and that's a shame because it's a decent list article and is worth a prominent link. What do others think? --RexxS (talk) 18:17, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
Update: Here's a sandbox version of {{Infobox person}} that allows a |works= parameter, overriding the |credits= and |notable_works= parameters. --RexxS (talk) 21:30, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
That still is self-referential. If we're keeping just the link, then, in the very least, it should be distinguishable from regular fields, e.g. by being typeset in italics. Alakzi (talk) 21:57, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
You've lost me there. What did you mean was self-referential? The current links in the article lead to categories, which is a bit unexpected for the average visitor, so this demo doesn't keep any of them. I'm also not sure what a regular field would be, but it's not unusual for links in infoboxes to lead to list articles; and I think a visitor wouldn't be surprised if a link labelled "Works List of compositions" took them to the list article List of compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven. I'm not averse to giving an indication that something's different when it is genuinely different; but I don't like using italics to indicate that because it generally excludes screen readers from the hint. Can you think of some other way to distinguish it? --RexxS (talk) 00:05, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
The value of "Works" is a lengthier rephrasing of its label and is only meaningful when linked; something like "See list" would be both more helpful and concise, and in a similar fashion to MOS:XREF. Alakzi (talk) 00:42, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
OK - I see what you're getting at now. With all due respect, I would beg to differ with your conclusion. Wikipedia articles are often printed and having descriptive text for a link to another article is essential in those cases. Imagine reading a printed article on ComposerXYZ that stated "Works: See list" - my first reaction would be what list? Whereas a printed article on ComposerXYZ that read "Works: List of compositions" might suggest an article something along the lines of 'List of compositions by ComposerXYZ'. The redundancy in "Works: List of compositions" isn't what I normally associate with a self-reference, but rather a helpful duplication to hint at the name of the actual link target. Personally, I rarely find conciseness a desirable quality in these sort of cases. But then, I probably have a jaundiced view of conciseness from having spent too much of my life trying to pick apart programs where the variable names were chosen solely from the single letters A to Z. Cheers --RexxS (talk) 01:19, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
I defer to your judgment. Alakzi (talk) 12:17, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, RexxS. I think the article would benefit if you install your version. Opus33 (talk) 02:27, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

A different approach might be to have a parameter showing as "List of works", - something we may want for more prolific people than this one, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 06:31, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

I've "been bold" and installed RexxS's infobox. It's nice and short. Moreover, the "big list" approach, even as it stands, is not covering all of the biggies, leaving out in particular the Missa Solemnis, the Diabelli Variations, and the Leonore Overture #3. Let's let the article itself impart to the reader what the most significant works are, putting this information appropriately in its context. Opus33 (talk) 16:08, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

  • I think this is the best solution. Thanks to all concerned. Jusdafax 08:53, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Beethoven "intended" to study?[edit]

"During his first 22 years in Bonn, Beethoven intended to study with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart..." what does this even mean? Did he or didn't he. This is very confusing. (talk) 18:14, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

Was Beethoven African?[edit]

Evidence that Beethoven might have been African. Kailash29792 (talk) 07:11, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

This nonsense has been discussed before, at length; see Beethoven was Black, Beethoven the Negro?, Beethoven's ancestry in the archives, and above at #Image selection. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 07:40, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Oddly enough, that opinion piece in the Kenyan Daily Nation is actually a debunking of the myth. "Evidence" indeed! --RexxS (talk) 08:25, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Harmonic innovation[edit]

I'm no expert, but I recall reading that Beethoven was the first composer to use the ninth chord (in the Eroica). If this is true it's important and deserves mention. And in the article on the Ninth chord, which has nothing on its history.

I also recall reading that Beethoven's music was found at the time inappropriate for young ladies. Sort of musically uncouth, too radical. If this is true it should be mentioned too. deisenbe (talk) 03:38, 27 July 2015 (UTC)