Talk:Roald Amundsen

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"The winner is ... in the class of the also-rans"[edit]

Our lead currently says: "Amundsen was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, in the class of Douglas Mawson, Robert Falcon Scott, and Ernest Shackleton." This is basically saying "The winner is ... in the class of the also-rans". I guess we could put similar statements in the leads of articles about Columbus, Hillery and Tenzing, Yuri Gagarin, the Wright Brothers, and any similar "winners", but we don't. I suspect it may have something to do with Wikipedia's anglocentric systemic bias, in which millions of British schoolkids are taught to revere Scott's "heroic failure" while the winner goes almost unmentioned. (In contrast, I grew up in neutral Belgium so Amundsen's name was well-known to me before I was 10 years old, like that of the other 'winners', while Scott was a barely mentioned footnote, Shackleton got no mention at all, and I think today is possibly the first time I've heard of Mawson - though I may also have heard of him before and promptly forgotten about him, just as I expect to quickly forget him again, presumably due to me not being Australian). However, I'm not sure how to go about re-phrasing it (and I suspect I may be the wrong person to try), so I'm mentioning it here in the hope that some other editor might know how best to re-phrase it.Tlhslobus (talk) 03:56, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

The analogy doesn't really apply to Columbus since he was an also-ran himself, some 500 years late and imposing a horrific murderous tyranny to boot.
Gagarin might well be mentioned with other early cosmonauts like Tereshkova or Glenn, in a way that is analogous to the Heroic Age of Antarctic Expedition - which is interesting because it has so many giants contending together. I think mentioning them together is not inappropriate; the rest of the lead leaves us in no doubt as to Amundsen's achievements. Perhaps most of the figures of the Heroic Age appear to be British not because of anglocentricity but because in the run up to WW1 the UK was the dominant superpower with a bad case of manifest destiny and as such had the resources and desire to send expeditions. Pinkbeast (talk) 08:23, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I basically disagree.
  • Even where I broadly agree with you (that Columbus helped kickstart one of the longest and worst quasi-genocides in history, which I think is actually partly what makes him a 'winner', since being a 'winner' is often ghastly and mass-murderous, as with Julius Caesar, Alexander the so-called Great, Genghis Khan, etc), I don't really accept your conclusion.
  • I think your argument is technically correct that Columbus is (still a 'winner' in my view, but also, in a slightly different context) an 'also-ran' 500 years behind Leif Erikson (and, incidentally, over 10,000 years behind the first Americans - but of course every 'winner' is also an 'also-ran' in some different context).
  • But the lead on Christopher Columbus mentions Leif Ericson got there first but does not say Columbus is 'one of the great explorers of America, in the class of Leif Ericson', still less 'one of the great 15th to 16th century explorers of America, in the class of Cabot, Balboa, and Vespucci' (which is a better analogy to what we are saying, since Amundsen is being compared to his contemporaries in the exploration of a specific area).
  • As for space travelers (Glenn is not normally called a 'cosmonaut', which for some unclear reason tends to be used only for Soviet and Russian space travelers), you are technically correct that the Gagarin lead could have said (along with an infinite number of other things that it could have said) that 'he is one of the great early space travelers, in the class of Valentina Tereshkova and John Glenn'. It could have, but the whole point is that it doesn't (and the Glenn and Tereshkova leads don't mention Gagarin, let alone claiming they are 'in the class of Gagarin, Gherman Titov, and ...').
  • And much the same is true of the other 'winners' that I've listed (at least for the ones where I've actually checked the leads).
  • However we could have a very long and fruitless argument about all this, for which I have neither the time nor the inclination.
  • So I will simply say that whether somebody is or is not 'in the class of' some other list of people is a subjective opinion (and in this case clearly also a debatable one, since we are debating it), and so I will place a Citation Needed beside 'in the class of', which hopefully will eventually result in a more satisfactory fix. (If a suitable supporting citation is not found within a reasonable period, the offending words can then eventually be removed as illegal Original Research - or anybody can fix the problem by changing the text in such a way that it no longer expresses a debatable opinion and thus no longer needs a CN - though even then the new statement may still not be appropriate for the lead, but that would obviously depend on what the new statement actually said, which I obviously can't know at this time). Tlhslobus (talk) 07:03, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Done.Tlhslobus (talk) 07:08, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Rewrote the introduction to read:

Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen ... was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. As the leader of the Antarctic expedition of 1910–12, which was the first to reach the [[South Pole], on 14 December 1911, he was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. In 1926, he was the first expedition leader for the air expedition to the North Pole, making him the first person, without dispute, to reach both poles.[2][3] He is also known as having the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage (1903–06) in the Arctic.

I think that should that should solve the issue. howcheng {chat} 01:24, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Thanks, Howcheng. Tlhslobus (talk) 01:26, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

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Reaching the North Pole / Spitsbergen vs. Spitzbergen[edit]

I corrected "Spitzbergen" (the German name) to Spitsbergen (the international as well locally official name). Someone reverted it twice with the pretext "not an improvement". This is wrong: in the article this name is written once as "Spitsbergen" and once as "Spitzbergen". As a general rule any name should not be written in two or more different ways in the same article, so it is certainly an improvement to standardize the spelling. Explain please, why should it be better for this article to maintain this year-old flaw.
Beside that, "rewieving" means to revert changes that worsen an article, not to forbid any content that doesn't come from you.
And second "beside": as long as an article is in Class C ("Considerable editing is needed to close gaps in content and solve cleanup problems") I find difficult to imagine any change that is not in some way an improvement. 194.174.73.80 (talk) 16:16, 31 August 2017 (UTC) Marco Pagliero Berlin

Both instances now read Spitsbergen, as per the name of that article? Martinevans123 (talk) 16:23, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
Yes, thank you, and no harm meant: I realise now that the revert was the work of some bot. With all the respect, but this bot could possibly benefit from a bit of revision: I don't think "not an improvement" is an acceptable criterion, especially when the judge is some piece of software. 194.174.73.80 (talk) 16:49, 31 August 2017 (UTC) Marco Pagliero Berlin
Well spotted. Please feel free to continue with "considerable editing ... to close gaps in content and solve cleanup problems". Many thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:06, 31 August 2017 (UTC)

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