Talk:Purgatorio/GA1

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GA Review[edit]

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Reviewer: Sadads (talk) 13:31, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Hi, I am User:Sadads and I will be reviewing your article per the GA criteria. Below is an outline which I will use to check off criteria that are covered/completed. I and only I can check it off. Below the criteria section I will make comments about what I think is right/wrong with the article. I do not automatically fail GA articles unless they have too substantial gaps in content. Please be patient, the coming week I have several major things happening in my real life (including a number of major papers/projects), but I could not not take this article, it sounds interesting.

A little information on myself: I am a student of History and Literature, working on my BA in both subjects. I am also an active participant in WP:Novels and a coordinator for several task forces there. I have experience in Early Modern literature and History, mostly with a focus on Britain and History of Science. I hope I can bring this experience to my review. If at any time you wish to request another reviewer, I totally understand, however I do not forsee that need. If I am negligent for any reason please contact me on my talk page.

Checklist[edit]

  1. Well-written:
(a) Done the prose is clear and the spelling and grammar are correct; and
(b)  Done it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, jargon, words to avoid, fiction, and list incorporation. --- Would suggest fixing the canto thing in the near future
  1. Factually accurate and verifiable:
(a)  Done it provides references to all sources of information in the section(s) dedicated to the attribution of these sources according to the guide to layout;
(b) it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines; and
(c)  Doneit contains no original research.
  1. Broad in its coverage:
(a) Fail it addresses the main aspects of the topic; and
(b)  Done it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).
  1.  DoneNeutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias.
  2.  DoneStable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.
  3. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
(a) Doneimages are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content; and
(b) Doneimages are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.

Content[edit]

Two things that should be improved:

  1. The lead is not in summary style and is rather short for an article of this length, see WP:Lead
  2. We are missing some big Real World information. A quick glance over the entirety of the article, (I have yet to do an careful read), shows that there is no information concerning: (Check out Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/Style guidelines for more information on how to make fiction pieces more thorough)
  1. History of the piece, relationship to other works, composition, historical context etc.
  2. A publication section including original publication date, place and publisher as well as significant translations that have received scholarly attention
  3. The legacy of this piece both as a well know piece to it's contemporaries and as a classic of the Western tradition (maybe even an adaptations section too!)

Hope these ideas help, I would suggest using scholarly journal databases to do this. I am willing to help, but I don' t have any familiarity with the scholarship for Dante and don't have the time to become fully immersed in it.Sadads (talk) 13:45, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for sharing your guidelines. This article (along with Inferno (Dante) and Paradiso (Dante))) is indeed focussed more on the literary aspects. The parent article Divine Comedy discusses history, original publication, and legacy in more detail. -- Radagast3 (talk) 13:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Then I would suggest summarizing the parts which are relevant and using {{main|Divine Comedy#SECTION}} to direct users to it. The article should still have real world relevance unless I am interpreting guidelines wrong. Sadads (talk) 13:54, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Along those lines I would be asking the scholarly sources: Did the Purgatorio do anything different than the whole work? Does it have different significance than say the Inferno (I think it does, at least in Legacy)? etc. etc. Sadads (talk) 14:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Ultimately, Purgatorio is really only an article because Divine Comedy would have been far too long had it not been split into five parts. Perhaps it is simply impossible for an article on the middle part of a poem to get GA status. -- Radagast3 (talk) 14:28, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I will ask for a second opinion. I think you just need to do a little bit of expansion of that sort. Really many other parts of the article are very good.Sadads (talk) 14:40, 21 April 2010 (UTC)


OR[edit]

I am also a little worried about WP:Original Research, thus far a careful examination of the first sections shows you interpreting the significance of Dante's demonstration of the "the medieval knowledge of a spherical Earth." Also in that same section you make a comparison of a scholarly article with something in Psalm 113 used by Dante. Or the comment "Appropriately, therefore, it is Easter Sunday when Dante and Virgil arrive." I ask are these comparisons and examinations all that necessary? If they are, are these comparisons yours or scholars? Sadads (talk) 14:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

It's all standard scholarship. The Divine Comedy is a complex allegory, and the symbolism requires some explanation in places, but I've been careful to give citations for anything that seemed likely to me to be challenged.
The poem also provides a "window" into the medieval worldview. In the case of the spherical earth, Dante devotes substantial parts of the poem to discussing things like time zones, the different stars visible in the southern hemisphere, and the altered position of the sun; so it seemed to me worth mentioning. -- Radagast3 (talk) 01:49, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
That second thing may be true, but Wikipedia is more worried about WP:Verifiability rather than trueness. Statements that interpret should have sources attached to them or not be said. Sadads (talk) 04:25, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
You have fixed the concerns I had with that first section, maybe you should recheck the others before I start sifting through them. Sadads (talk) 04:29, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
As I said, I've been careful to give citations for anything that seemed likely to me to be challenged, but that may not have been often enough, as the examples you pointed out indicate. Feel free to toss "fact" tags around. -- Radagast3 (talk) 04:40, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Cool, it feels like you have fixed these problems. Sadads (talk) 04:00, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

MOS stuff[edit]

Question about the MLA -esque parenthetical citations, that are like (Canto X) etc. I think these should be put at the beginning of the discussion of each chapter, i.e. "In Canto X, ...." I would do it myself but I wanted to make sure that this citation technique does not have some other meaning. The reason I raise this is that it makes your citations inconsistent, using footnotes and parenthetical, articles should have one or the other for consistency. Sadads (talk) 04:00, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Those are not citations, but notes on position in the poem. "In Canto X, ...." might be a better style, but I've retained the existing style for consistency with the other Divine Comedy articles, Inferno (Dante) and Paradiso (Dante). -- Radagast3 (talk) 04:10, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Since this is the first of the articles to go for GA review, I suggest this set the standard for what the articles should be like. Therefore, poor formatting developed in the others should not dictate the formatting of this article. No? Sadads (talk) 04:11, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
True, but I'm not sure why you think the present style is wrong. -- Radagast3 (talk) 04:19, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Not wrong, but poor and excessive use of parenthesis. As it is many comments are inserted through parenthetical comments. The use of these type of "(Canto X)" elements confuse the purpose of these parenthetical comments. If this were an FA review, I would think they would ask you to remove almost all of them, because parenthesis are not usually used at the same level as they are here in formal English. However, the comments are relatively clear and important to the content, so I am suggesting a change of the slightly unclear semi-citation parenthesis use. Sadads (talk) 04:26, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Also, the movement of the (Canto X) to the beginning of the sentence makes it more clear what the following paragraph is talking about. Sadads (talk) 04:29, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

To make such a change properly would certainly require a very substantial rewrite, which, sadly, I currently don't have the time to do. -- Radagast3 (talk) 14:50, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Since this is not an FA review, I don't think we need to worry about what would be involved there. Placing the cantos in parentheses as has been done here is standard practice and I don't find it confusing. Some of the parenthetical comments could be changed I think. I'm still in the process of reviewing. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 14:54, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Second opinion

I see this article requests a second opinion. I've left a message for another editor with extensive experience writing about literature, but they seem to be unavailable at this point. I'm happy to pitch in, instead. What issues need to be addressed? Thanks. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 23:30, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Question about breadth of coverage. Does the article address enough of the real world issues suggested in guidelines such as Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/Style guidelines and Wikipedia:WAF? I think that thus far the article has very little real world value, but that the rest of the research is very thorough. Sadads (talk) 04:04, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think Wikipedia:WAF is breached here at all. The Purgatorio is essentially an allegory of morality, and the article mixes descriptions of the events of the poem, the events referred to in the poem, and the meaning of the allegory. -- Radagast3 (talk) 04:09, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Within Wikipedia:WAF, I am referring most specifically to the breadth of Wikipedia:WAF#Secondary_information coverage. Sadads (talk) 04:19, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
In my view applying WP:WAF to Dante is very difficult. However, as this is a daughter article it is important to include some information from the main article with the expectation that the reader may not have read The Divine Comedy article. I'd suggest doing a straight copy/paste of the this section of the Divine Comedy and tailor it for this daughter article. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 14:57, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that would address my concern, and would help contextualize a lot, and ensure people understand that this is not the primary focus of Dante, but only a fragment or daughter article, which has broader real world focus elsewhere. Sadads (talk) 15:47, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
The new template I added will help with the daughter article thing. But we should still do some more contextualizing within the article (the suggestion made by Truthkeeper) before the article will pass GA. Good job team! Sadads (talk) 16:31, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I was asked to comment here by Truthkeeper. From what I can tell, Sadads's concerns are valid, but I'm not sure an introductory section would be enough to help tip the scales described at WP:WAF. Not only are a majority of the citations from primary sources (albeit to different translations of the text) but the entire article, save for the "in the arts" section, reads as basic plot summary. The critical commentary may be there, sprinkled throughout the "this happens, then that happens, then he does this..." but the current structure fails to distinguish between summary and interpretation. Academically important areas like thematic/symbolic/allegoric elements, modern interpretations, etc. should be given their own sections for better readability, and should largely outweigh basic plot descriptions. With all the Dante scholarship available, we shouldn't be limiting ourselves to merely rehashing what happens in the story. I understand the difficulty writing about such a huge work, an old one at that, but it has been done before on Wikipedia. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a great example (although FA) which clearly differentiates between plot and critical interpretation, with an easily navigable structure and numerous third-part sources. Hope this helps, María (habla conmigo) 18:53, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the article needs work, and I'm happy for the GA process to terminate negatively at this point.
However, what works for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which is a work of fiction, doesn't necessarily work for the Purgatorio, which is something very different: a highly structured moral allegory. -- Radagast3 (talk) 00:32, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good, will fail it for now. You can renominate as soon as you have clean it up some more. Sadads (talk) 00:34, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Radagast, Gawain was only used as an example of one kind of successful structuring a literary-topic can utilize -- I'm not saying to copy it, but merely to pay attention to separating the plot summary from the critical interpretations, as that article does. No work is the same, of course, and so literary articles typically vary. BTW, I've removed the archiving template from this page; GA reviews are not ever "finished" in that way. María (habla conmigo) 12:08, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
The Purgatorio is a work of religious allegory rather than a work of fiction. Furthermore, it is a highly structured allegory, which means that the most logical structure for dealing with the moral philosophy and theology in the Purgatorio is the same structure as the poem itself.
The approach you describe might make sense if one was to write an article about an individual canto of the poem, since the structure of an individual canto does not have the same regularity as that of the whole Purgatorio. -- Radagast3 (talk) 12:25, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Summary[edit]

This article has failed the GA review, so the discussion above is archival. It may be renominated (I don't intend to do so, but then again the original nomination was not my idea either). If it is renominated then, for clarity, new comments should go BELOW this point. Reasons for failure, as I understand them from the rather chaotic discussion above, are:

  • lack of real world value (Sadads)
  • article should be rewritten along the lines of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Yllosubmarine)
  • parentheses should be eliminated (Sadads)

At a personal level, I'm not sure that I agree with those comments, and in any case I don't have the time to do any serious rewriting at this time. Since this article is in the religion/philosophy area, any future review should probably compare relevant Good Articles such as Consolation of Philosophy. -- Radagast3 (talk) 12:48, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

I believe my comments have been slightly misrepresented; what it comes down to, for me, is that the current structure of the article is poor, and it does in truth give the appearance that a majority of the information is plot summary, which goes against WP:WAF. Were I reviewing the article, I would have concentrated on these issues. Furthermore, I'm not sure my suggestion re: Gawain was completely understood. There are other literary-related articles of higher quality that successfully structure their articles in such a way to separate summary from critical interpretation, but Gawain just so happened to be the first example which came to mind. If you would like others, feel free to contact me personally. This article should be rewritten; despite it being an allegory, as you insist, it's a poem, a literary work, and is typically studied as such. That's why it was listed under "Literature" at GAC, yes? :) Oh, and, the above discussion is not "archival" -- that's not the way GA reviews work. Feel free to remove the transclusion from the talk page, however, which is as good as archiving without discouraging people from commenting. María (habla conmigo) 13:04, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
(ec) I really don't think much work is needed to bring this article to GA status. In my view the following elements are missing:
  • A brief background introducing Dante, his writing of the Divine Comedy with an explanation of how the Purgatorio as a piece fits into the whole. Also interesting would be how long it took to write the piece and perhaps a social background - in other words what inspired him to write the piece. The parent article should have a background which could be summarized in Purgatorio.
  • A brief section on genre. You are correct that it is a highly structured allegory and the article would benefit greatly from a section defining allegory, and in this instance, Christian allegory. Also, more detailed in the parent article and summarized here (or begin here and build on it for the parent article). Also important is to explain that the piece is not simply allegory, but allegory presented in the form of a poem separated into cantos. That would alleviate anyone's confusion about what exactly a canto is. Hence the two genres need some definition.
  • A section on the themes. This is separate from allegory (which is simply to define the genre). Generally the themes are sprinkled throughout the article, but would be better to bundle them into a single section. This section would, of course, includes scholarly commentary. If you'd like I'm happy to perform a quick search and add sources to the article talkpage.
  • A reception section. How has the piece been received over the centuries? Obviously, as it's a classic, quite well, but the article should explain that it is a classic (for those who don't know) with of an explanation of why, sourced to Dante scholars. Again, as this is a daughter article, perhaps a greater amount of detail would be present in the parent article, and then a quick summary in the daughter article.
  • In my view, the use of parentheses are easily fixed. If you haven't the time, I'd be happy to help a bit.
Hope this is helpful. Anyone who tackles Dante has my respect! Good luck and don't hesitate to ping me if you have questions. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 13:20, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Truthkeeper has it right, items that are fictional, even allegory, ought to have the information which he suggested. Sorry if I was not very clear about that. Sadads (talk) 14:08, 26 April 2010 (UTC)