Talk:Richard Mohun

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Good article Richard Mohun has been listed as one of the Geography and places good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
December 16, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on September 21, 2008.

Reference citations[edit]

I began looking at your article from the perspective of a peer review and noticed your reference citations: ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Barrett-Gaines 1997, p. 54.

Surely, not all those references belong to page 54?

Would it be possible to redesign your Reference Section such as this: ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Barrett-Gaines 1997, p. 54a; 55b; 59c; 65-7d... and so on and so forth?

As I am not excited by any pagination examples I have seen so far to date in Wikipedia, pagination has become a subject of interest to me. (See my remarks here [1].) In continuation of my current thinking on the matter, I am not excited by the example of the [6]45 either (which I emphasised at the other location)—although that example provides for immediate inline identification as opposed to your bottom Reference Section identification. ThsQ (talk) 18:45, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

All of those refs are meant to be to page 54. The reason there is so much to that page is that is where the author of that paper recounts Mohuns life up until the telegraph expedition. As to the reference style, I quite like that the Harvard style referencing (it is what I am used to through dissertations etc) and agree with you that the [6]:45 looks quite bad. I try to stick with the Harvard style refs in any articles I write from scratch as I am familiar with it. The problem with your suggestion is that I there would have to be a letter identifier after each reference number (eg. [6]a, [6]b) so that the user knows which letter he has clicked on (as Wikipedia does not identify it in any way that I have seen). If you want to try a different ref system then please go ahead and change it but, as I say, I find the current system fine.
Okay. I agree that the [6]:45 looks terrible. So it seems as if you and I and Otto (the fellow over at the Rudolf Wanderone article) appreciate the Harvard style. What do you think of the referencing done in [here]? I like how the procedure seems to work—that is, the reference is cited once in full detail (e.g. "author, title, publisher, date," etc.), and then all references to paging is cited by "author and page-number" upon the appropriate footnote citation-line. (e.g. "ThsQ, ppg. 1-100"). I would call it Harvard style, yes? And I think that it is consistent with yours, yes? ThsQ (talk) 14:52, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
I quite like the way it is at the moment (where clicking on any "author, year, page" thing takes you to the full citation if you want it. I think it works to inform a user of the page number whilst making the full citation readily accessible - Dumelow (talk) 22:26, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Dumelow, I think that I can say safely that "I agree with you" on the entire matter. I did however run into a problem clicking the References Duigan i.e. nothing happens? This fails to be the case for the other Reference citations. Perhaps this is a coding-quirk which needs to be addressed? ThsQ (talk) 15:55, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
That was my fault. I incorrectly had the ref only listing "Duignan" whereas the bibliography had the correct "Duignan and Gann". This should now be fixed and all of the book refs should link to the correct entry in the bibliography. Thanks for pointing that out - Dumelow (talk) 16:59, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I want to thank you. I learned a great deal from our conversation. I am going to suggest to another User that he read through the various conversations that I have had with you and with Otto and consider making his Reference section more inline with your example. The only thing that I do not like about your citation procedure is minor: If a researcher clicks a footnote leading to a page-number (e.g. Dyer, p. 5), then clicks the highlighted Dyer, p. 5; returning to the main body article requires scrolling. On a lengthy article such as his (Danny Casolaro) this could be an annoyance. All of the above is incidental to your desire for a peer review; so I will now devote my attention to that. I will provide you with a review (at the appropriate location) by Monday. ThsQ (talk) 19:05, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Prose[edit]

I, too, have been looking at your article. I began several days ago, but found it necessary, immediately, to make several minor punctuation alterations (i.e. commas) and a few other tweaks (i.e. add a word or two). This is really not a big deal as every writer needs a reader. Thus, I think that before I continue. I would like to suggest that you prevail upon the talents of a copyeditor volunteer to give you a close reading. I would do it myself but I am very busy. Sorry. An example of my concern is this:

Richard Dorsey Mohun was born in Washington, D.C., in the United States in 1865.[1] He was privately tutored and developed a keen interest in Africa and the eradication of the slave trade which continued there.[2] He was the fourth member of his family to have an active interest in the slave trade, particularly that carried out by Arabs in Eastern and Southern Africa.[2] His first known appointment in Africa is as commercial agent for the government of the United States of America at Loanda in Angola.[3]

I would copyedit it thus:

Richard Dorsey Mohun was born in Washington, D.C., in the United States in 1865.[1] He was privately tutored and developed a keen interest in Africa, and an interest in the eradication of the slave trade, which continued there.[2] He was the fourth member of his family to have an active interest in the slave trade, particularly one which was that carried out by Arabs in Eastern and Southern Africa.[2] His first known appointment in Africa is as commercial agent for the government of the United States of America at Loanda in Angola.[3]

Reasoning:

  • In your example, the keen interest is in two areas; however if you merely use in, I doubt that parallel construction is evident. Thus, an interest in forces parallel construction. (Perhaps the sentence simply needs different wording altogether.)
  • In the second example, the that is obscure; thus...rewording.
  • In the final example, the entire sentence is unnecessarily repetitive as we (readers) were introduced to the exact same information in the Lead. If you need to repeat the information, then offer up some further material regarding the same thought: Readers do not like to read the same stuff, specially in the same words. Anne Teedham (talk) 15:44, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Many thanks for taking the time to look at this article. My style of writing is not particularly great and I understand the need for a copyedit. It was previously listed for a peer review but failed to get much attention. I have asked Alastair Haines if he wants to take a look at it - Dumelow (talk) 22:37, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
I've had a quick look, and I rather like the style of prose. It is not my style, which is probably a good thing. :)
Anne's comment about commas became a growing issue as I worked through the text, and I found many opportunities to supply them.
I can also see Anne's points 1 and 2, but my taste differs on those, I actually feel the existing text is concise and direct at these points. I encourage Anne to change anything she is uncomfortable with, her proposed alterations wouldn't offend my taste, which is pretty broad.
Regarding Anne's third point, I totally agree about feeling uncomfortable as a reader when facing direct repetition. I would propose an alternative solution—to abbreviate the statement in the lead.
In the long run, I think Anne's suggestion will prove to be the best way forward, at a "big picture" level, because the lead is an excellent precis, imo. There is simply room to expand further than has already been done in the body of the article. Please don't hear criticism here, the research is excellent, but I'm sure more material will come to light in time. For example, I personally believe primary sources should be covered first and given priority; however, secondary sources, and even differing opinions should be sought. There's clearly primary source material advanced in the article already, but a little more second and third party documentation would be a great asset. The text itself is explicit about this, so I know you appreciate the point.
Overall, I concur Mohun is notable and sources are reliable. This is a valuable article and I have learnt much. Thank you. Alastair Haines (talk) 23:42, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the thorough copyedit Alistair. I am always on the look out for more material to improve articles that I am interested in and I have just come across a mention of Mohun in another book. This expands on his role in the Congo as consul and in the war against the slavers. Hopefully I will have time to add that in tomorrow. I will also attempt to sort out that problematic lead sentence. Once again thanks for a very quick and helpful response - Dumelow (talk) 00:24, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Hi there, Dumelow. I began reading this morning in preparation of the peer review but, once again, I found myself needing to stop. I am afraid that I must agree with the above assessments about prose: the lack of commas for introductory sentence-structure is annoying. Also, there are too many times when your use of a pronoun in close proximity to a proper name which has been in relationship to a second proper name obscures the identity of the pronoun. For example, (a) "He made his journey to Africa via Belgium, the colonial power, where he met King Leopold II who impressed Mohun with his ambitions to bring peace and western civilization to the Congo." (b) "Mohun replaced a Belgian officer who was seriously ill. He was to take a leading part in several subsequent engagements,..." In (a), upon a first reading, it is not clear to whom the his refers; and in (b) the quick transition between sentences, immediately obscures the He in the second sentence. I do not wish to become involved in a growl over grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It may be best to run your article by several copyeditors for a consensus. The more readers that you have the better...for clarity. At present, I can not overlook your prose; therefore I can not continue until some of these concerns are addressed. ThsQ (talk) 14:06, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a look over the article ThsQ. I have attempted to fix the two examples you cited above (They were both bits that I added after Alistair's copyedit so they are entirely my fault). I have also made requests to two further copyeditors (User:ukexpat and User:Mizu onna sango15) from WP:PRV so hopefully any more prose errors can be ironed out. Thanks once again for making time to review the article. Cheers - Dumelow (talk) 16:15, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but I might have left those sentences uncorrected had they been there when I was working. Copy-edit, like peer review, will overlook and introduce errors, and also add subjective judgements, just normally fewer than it irons out! ;) Multiple copy-editors and reviewers are always good ideas, agreed. Best wishes with this article ... and many more! You're certainly attracting outstandingly eagle-eyed and constructive critics. Regards all, Alastair Haines (talk) 02:38, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I've noticed some outstanding copy-editing going on. I'm unwatching here and leaving this job to others who are will settle for no less than top-notch stuff. Excellent! Copy-editing is a great thing to do to encourage contributors, great team work. Please don't make poor Dumelow feel more humble than he already is, though. You're taking quality assistance in just the right spirit. Please keep giving what you can and enjoying what you do for as long as possible. Best regards all. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:57, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
"Please don't make poor Dumelow feel more humble than he already is, though." — No writer should ever feel humbled by another's effort. Copyeditors often see oversights. All writers need readers. I think Dumelow should be applauded for seeking assistance. This is a very interesting article, and it will move forward easily. Hag2 (talk) 13:56, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I am going to add my name to those who have completed their copyediting. Now, that I have read through Richard Mohun from beginning to end, you will find my other comments here [2]. Anne Teedham (talk) 18:57, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Copy edit - done.[edit]

 – ukexpat (talk) 16:33, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Richard Mohun/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

The article meets all six of the GA criteria and can be listed. The prose is good, noting the recent completion of copyeditting. It is well-cited, with several different sources, all inline. It appears to be complete and covers the topic well (from birth to death). There doesn't appear to be any WP:NPOV issues and the edit history is free of edit-warring (article stability). All images are appropriately tagged with image copyright tags. There are a couple of red links in the article, and it would be nice if more editing would be done in the respect to eliminate some of these red links -- but evaluation of daughter articles is not a requirement of GA.

Cheers! Dr. Cash (talk) 22:35, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Comments by The ed17[edit]

Looking at Mohun...

  • Lead
  • Why "soldier of fortune" and not "mercenary"? It sounds like a romanticized portrayal.
  • There's definitely some room for reducing fluff: "... commercial agent in Angola and the Congo Free State. During his time as commercial agent ..."
  • Awkward: "Mohun remained in the service of the US government during this time and was subsequently posted as consul to Zanzibar."
  • "Following the conclusion of his three-year posting, ..." -- When was this? There's no reference to any years around here, aside from the initial birth and death.
  • "His most ambitious undertaking was a three-year expedition, ..." -- Did he lead this expedition? I assume he didn't lay it himself. ;-)
  • You don't mention in the lead how he got back to the US and/or how he died.
  • Early life
  • "Richard Dorsey Mohun was born in Washington, D.C. on April 12, 1864, and was the grandson of the Catholic writer Anna Hanson Dorsey, and was privately tutored at home." -- several problems here. First, who were his parents? There's no need for an extensive description, but were they wealthy? Poor? Etc. Second, he was privately tutored while being born? The last part of the sentence does not agree with the beginning. Third, you're using "and" far too much. You need compound sentences, but you should find other ways to link them together!
  • "... became the fourth member of his family to campaign for its eradication." Who else?
  • US agent in the Congo
  • Repeated information: "Mohun's grandmother, Anna Hanson Dorsey, was close friends with the mother of US Secretary of State James Blaine and Blaine and Dorsey shared ties with Notre Dame University." -- repeated information (grandmother), and just read the rest of the sentence out loud. :-)
  • Awkward: "The US had maintained an agent in the Congo ever since it had first formally recognised the state and the commercial agent also acted as the diplomatic representative in the country."
  • Awkward, too many ands: "The post came with a $5,000 annual budget and a remit to investigate the commercial potential of Congo and to promote trade between the two countries, which previously had been almost non-existent."
  • "Mohun travelled to Africa via Belgium, the European colonial overlord of the Congo, where he met King Leopold II who, in spite of his callous reputation, impressed Mohun with his apparent ambition to bring peace and western civilization to the Congo." I tweaked this sentence nut still don't like it. It's unclear where "where" is referring to—the Congo or Belgium.
  • He was based in Luanda? The city in Angola? Either way, you need to fix the link, as it goes to a dab page.
  • "He spent much of his time in exploration of the country's interior, visiting several areas where no white man had ever ventured. -- try "exploring"
  • "On one occasion ... eaten by cannibals." -- this is a series of run-ons.
  • "The slavers, who originated from the East coast of Africa, were in conflict with the Belgian authorities, who were heavily outnumbered." "Who ... who"
  • "On April 19, 1893, Mohun was appointed commander of the artillery attached to a Belgian expedition ..." -- Passive voice. Who appointed him?
  • "Mohun had risen to the position owing to the illness of the original Chief of Artillery, a Belgian Army officer." Try "Mohun rose to the position after the original chief of artillery, an officer in the Belgian army, fell ill with [disease name]."
  • "The expedition was struck by a smallpox epidemic in December 1893 at Bena-Kamba but Mohun survived to lay siege to the slavers' Boma at Basoko. -- there were still enough men alive to conduct a siege?! Begs for a little more information if you have it. Also, you've left it to the reader to assume that they won the siege, but did they? How long did it take? Or did they escape to Tanganyika, where they were finally driven from the country? Was the defeat total, and slavers never bothered the Free State again (you imply this)? Very confused.
  • "... subsequently made second-in-command ..." Who made him second-in-command?
  • "... successfully completed the remainder of the task." Fluffed out. "Successfully" or "completed" are redundant when used together, and "the remainder of" can just be removed.
  • "Mohun had remained US commercial agent throughout this time, ..." -- "Had" is unneeded, but you did need "the" or "a" before "US".
  • $5000 ... how much is that now? ({{inflation}}) USD or Belgian franc?
  • "Société Anonyme Belge pour le commerce du Haut Congo Brussels" -- translate the name into English as well?
  • "Mohun's stated priority in the Congo was to improve conditions for the inhabitants by bringing them within the Belgian sphere of influence." -- his own priority or his directive from the US government?
  • "He also claimed that the popular image of Belgian brutality in the region was a lie spread by missionaries—a statement contradicted by evidence of unnecessary cruelty by Belgian troops." -- you're correct, obviously, but what evidence? Did the US/Belgian public and government have access to that evidence at the time?
  • "The diary does, however, record an incident where punitive action was taken against a Chieftain by burning his village. " Was this the incident mentioned earlier in the article?
  • Just the first couple sections. You've got some great information in this article, so these are just suggestions on how to improve your writing to make it clearer for readers. I'd also take some time with Tony1's writing exercises. Hope these comments help! Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 22:43, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
just a note to say I haven't forgotten about your comments Ed, I am just awaiting delivery of a potential new source before I start working through the article - Dumelow (talk) 18:24, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Possible sources[edit]

http://diglib1.amnh.org/resources/annot_bibliography/bib_npheadlines.html potentially worth a look - Dumelow (talk) 19:17, 29 January 2016 (UTC)