Talk:SaarLorLux/GA Review

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Good Article Review of SaarLorLux[edit]

I will draft the review here. Participants of the review may comment here. Gosgood (talk) 12:02, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Initial observations[edit]

In no particular order:

  • Though I Like the use of the overflow attribute of an HTML <div>...</div> tag in managing lots of references, its reproduction in all browsers is problematical. Many wiki users with old machines and browsers have trouble with this. Reproduces in my Firefox; it is being mangled on Internet Explorer. Both are current releases. (Check on VanTucky's MOS pronouncement. I can't find the pertinent guideline) (Declared fixed per WP:IAR).
What`s the problem. On Internet Explorer it's a list of one column, on Firefox, a list of two columns. I think, if an improvement for one browser means a worsening for another, it should not be done, but as long as it has no consequences, why not to use it?--Thw1309 (talk) 01:07, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I have not found an objection to this form in the Wikipedia:Manual of Style and I think it is useful. Therefore, I declare WP:IAR ;) Gosgood (talk) 14:55, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I corrected this. I have to confess, I did not know the alternative term Euroreio, which actually means the same. The typical European problem. You come around the next corner and find absolutely new words for the same things.--Thw1309 (talk) 01:07, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
That's easy to explain: English is not my native language. So, when I created this article, some mistakes were made. I hoped, that the other editors, correcting my bad English, had found everything.
  • infobox cleanup: 11,330,944(2006) (Fixed with 185869818)
  • formatting: {{Germany]] (Fixed with Revision 185693295).
  • link to Euroregion would be helpful. It reproduces the definition of a European region given in reference 4. (Addressed Revision 185869374)
  • Grand duchy of Luxembourg → Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Fixed with Revision 185697642)
  • Scope: SaarLorLux is a Euroregion formed on October 16, 1980; the history ought to be about that construct, and not include the history of the geographical regions of which it is comprised. Also, the section seems misplaced; misplaced first, because I'm not convinced a temporal arc of narrative serves the subject matter. This article is telling me how something evolved before properly establishing in my mind what it is.
Congratulations! With these sentences, you described the whole problem of SaarLorLux (I'm not speaking about this article, but the real thing) and perhaps even of Europe. An article about a construct should show it's history, not the history of it's geographical regions. Absolutely right, but not here. If you do not understand the members, their political situation and their history, then you will never have a chance to understand, what SaarLorLux is. We are talking about a region, about half the size of the state of New York. Now you divide this into five parts, two small ones and three big ones. One of the small ones, Luxembourg, is an independent nation, with all rights. The other small one and one of the bigger are states of another nation. One of these (the bigger) (Rheinland Pfalz) is a quite ordinary state, but the other (the smaller) (Saarland) was a more or less independent nation (although it's foreign affairs were made by the European community and there was an economic relation to France). To know, what this means: I am living in this state, the Saarland. When my father, who lived there, for the first time went to the small village in Bavaria, where my mother was born, people first noticed, that he actually was able to communicate in the German language. I have to explain. German was his native language, because all the people here speak German and most of them do not speak French at all. He came from a region, which twice, after lost wars, had decided to come back to Germany, as soon as they were allowed, and for them, he was one of these French from the Saar.
The next region, one of the big ones, (Lorraine) is nothing more but an oversized school district. When about ten years ago, the French right wing populist lePen had great success especially in Alsace and Lorraine, French television asked people in the rest of France, how they could explain this. In the news, they showed an old man, telling them: You know, the Boches a swearword about Germans. This region is divided in four departements, which actually have more power, than the region itself, although this power is not much too. Then, there is Wallonie, the southern part of Belgium. Don't ask me, what this is. Anything between the part of something or something independent. (depends on how far the destruction of the Belgium state has gone) This is divided in two language groups. These five local authorities (I need such a wide term to be able to describe all of them) or the nations, they are part of (or they are) made several treaties. Other treaties were made by organizations of these five or administrative parts of them. Naturally those have different structures too. Not everyone of these five signed all of these treaties. To understand SaarLorLux, you have to understand them and their history.
You are absolutely right. An article can not tell you how something evolved before properly establishing in your mind what it is. It is a kind of international cooperation or a collection of international cooperations. You can compare this to a kind of building in construction. You can see, this is (or will be) a building, but you can not say what kind of building, because there is no plan. There are three main architects, but everyone of them wants to build something else. That's no problem, because everybody builds what he wants to build. On one side, someone constructed a wall of large bricks, on one corner, someone began to build a wall of small bricks. The same bricks are used on a part of the opposite side. On another part, only the windows were created. Later, two other architects join the project. Together with the others, they begin to add another wing to the building, working the same odd way as before.
You are standing in front of this building in construction. You know the name of the building (although they quarrel about this too) and you can describe, how and when they created single parts of the building. What you can not tell me, is something about the construction as a whole, because until now, nobody knows, how and what it will be one day. When it will be ready, you will be able to say, what it is, but while it is under construction, you can only describe the events of it's construction. Welcome in the middle of Europe. --Thw1309 (talk) 01:07, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
What a pleasant surprise. I find this a highly entertaining and useful piece of writing. Your English is a good deal better than my German. This brings me to the heart of the issue I have with this article (and why, I fear, I cannot declare an outright 'Pass!'): the arc of its narrative, a somewhat poetic reference to the underlying structure of a piece of writing. This article does not have a well constructed arc. It is an aggregate, and the pieces of the aggregate still track the themes of the underlying sources. What your comment tells me is that you have taken on an unruly subject matter, and it is not especially clear how to put together an article on the subject when the subject itself tends to different directions and themes. We Americans have similar struggles in coming to terms with our own Civil War, fought one hundred forty years ago, and still being fought, in words and articles, that attempt to identify its causes. You do, however, have a good sense of the narrative arc; your comment above has a distinct beginning, middle, and end, and I found the comparison of the region to a building being constructed without plan both apt and informative. The key challenge, I think, is to transfer your sense of direction and purpose about writing, as illustrated above, to the article itself. The subject matter is unruly; the article need not be. At present (midnight in Brooklyn, where I live), two organizing principles suggest themselves: (1) Stick to the basics, (2) Orchestrate the article along an organizing theme, so long as the theme has backing in the references, and is not (just) your own original research (i.e., just your opinion, quite apart from its cogency and intelligence).
Stick to the basics: Fortunately, a great many readers of Wikipedia are Americans, and we are, mainly, a self-centered, self-absorbed lot, without a great deal of insight about how the rest of the world works; we think everybody should speak American English, for our convenience, and eat at McDonald's. Occasionally, some few of us take a mild interest in Europe and turn to Wikipedia. For us you don't have to go into very great detail; a basic orientation is what is really needed. Here, the challenge is your proximity to the subject matter: what is so patently obvious to you that it is not worth mentioning is just what we Americans need in our basic orientation to the subject. Above, you wrote about SaarLorLux: "It is a kind of international cooperation or a collection of international cooperations..." that, by and large, is the sort of summary statement that the lead paragraph should have, and the expansion of that summary statement could very well serve as the article's arc of narrative.
Orchestrate the article along an organizing theme: Your comparison of SaarLorLux to a building being built without particular plan is a potential organizing principle of the article. As stated above, of course, it is just your opinion, which many would dismiss offhand as original research. But I wager you did not develop that opinion in a vacuum. What reputable, reliable sources echo that theme? The dispassionate, narrative voice of the Wikipedia article can (and does) comment on controversial, but apt, analysis so long as such is reflected in published, secondary sources. Here your grasp of of the subject matter comes into play: what sources augment your well-put analogy?
Well, it is after one A. M., and I should turn to bed. Later today I will fill out the boxes below, but the gist of my review, that a restructuring is in order, has been stated. That may be hard to pull off in the seven day grace period, but in the fullness of time, I'm convinced you are capable of pulling it off (presuming of course, you agree with my analysis). Thank you for your observations, above, and I shall try to wrap up my draft review in about twelve hours in the future. Take care Gosgood (talk) 06:39, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Terms creep in that are not defined or wikilinked. example Interreg. Referencing these are especially important to non-European readers, who have a very incomplete picture of EU and regional organizations. Akin to Euroregion, this article would be helped by interlinking with related EU articles.
  • Possibly relevant links:
  1. Greater Region
    1. Saarland
    2. Lorraine
    3. Luxembourg
    4. Rhineland-Palatinate
    5. Wallonia
    6. French Community of Belgium
    7. German-speaking Community of Belgium
  • The article alludes to, but does not establish, the distinction between the 'Greater Region' and 'SaarLorLux.' If possible, the distinction needs to be written in terms not heavily dependent on knowledge of EU terminology. Many (most?) English-speaking readers of Wikipedia are Americans, and many of us (this writer included) are blissfully unaware of the absolute basics of European organizations and institutions. Sad, but true, and this challenges editors who are aware of these institutions to educate "the unwashed masses."
  • I suspect that the list of short prose sentences that comprise The Future of SaarLorLux has been lifted, with little adaptation of prose, from Head of Saarland Chancellery of State, 2020, Vision for the future, Saarbrücken, July 2003. It is the prose of a policy directive directed to an audience of policy planners, and not written in summary style, for the benefit of Wikipedia readers.

Gosgood (talk) 23:15, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Draft Comments[edit]

Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. It is well written. In this respect Neutral
Symbol neutral vote.svg (a) the prose is clear and the grammar is correct; and Neutral There are a number of minor misspellings and unusual use of phrasing. The editors sometimes paraphrased from EU policy and operational documents rather too closely; this reviewer is still trying to parse: "The origins of the term [SaarLorLux] are situated in the historical economic situation of the close relationship of the coal mines and steelworks in Saarland, Lorraine and Luxembourg." There is a tendency to rely on lists or list-like prose instead of expository; the article tends to read like an aggregated enumeration of ideas, and not so much like a seamless piece. The lead writer is not a native English writer; it would probably help if this writer could team with a native English writer who could assist as a copy editor. The tone of writing is generally formal and takes a neutral viewpoint toward the subject at hand.
Symbol neutral vote.svg (b) it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, jargon, words to avoid, fiction, and list incorporation. Neutral

Lead: (Symbol oppose vote.svg) I find that the lead is not concise. It links to a related article defining a Euroregion, and then unnecersarily repeats the qualifications of such an entity in the lead sentence, diminishing clarity; there is then a follow-on distinction of the term Greater Region. One senses that the writer is being especially conscientous about stating terms correctly, in that SaarLorLux is both the 'Greater Region' and a 'euroregion' and though well-intentioned, this conscientiousness is a misplaced priority. The lead sentence guideline reminds us that this very first sentence should stand alone "as a concise overview of the topic, establishing context, summarizing the most important points, explaining why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describing its notable controversies, if there are any." Drawing careful distinctions in terminology is not unimportant, but doing so in the very first sentence sidetracks the article précis. (Substantially addressed with Revision 185869818)

  1. (Symbol support vote.svg)Improved with Revision 185869818 It is still not a strict one-to-one summary of the article, but that is now in something of a state of flux with revisions under way. As it stands, it adequately furnishes a short précis of the term, giving me a basic understanding that it is a kind of cross border development zone. Any differences between the lead and the article may be quickly addressed with one or two edits after the rest of the article stabilizes.
  2. Layout: (Symbol neutral vote.svg)The Guide to Layout suggests that articles should primarily employ prose expository. I find an over-reliance on lists (SaarLorLux#Timeline) and short paragraphs in a list-like arrangements (SaarLorLux#Geography), (The Future of SaarLorLux). I find the series of maps that illustrate the various configurations of the region useful, but the remaining images, to my mind, do not advance the article in any meaningful way. Some could be cut: The The steelwork of Völklingen is not especially a good quality image; the aerial view of Saar University could have been shot anywhere on Long Island, New York; I don't find it especially illustrative of the region. Image markup in the article explicitly sets image widths. I concur with the MOS image guidelines that advises against this practice, as it overrides user's preferences on image sizing. In some browser configurations, text sandwiches between left and right hand images. I would suggest reducing the number of images in the article.
  3. Jargon: (Symbol support vote.svg) The European Union has a specialized terminology that the article generally takes pains to explain, sometimes to the detriment of other aspects of the article (See comment 1b-1, above. There are some omissions: Interreg III was introduced in the timeline without explanation
  4. Words to avoid: (Symbol support vote.svg) There is no obvious or manifest use of words that carry a subtext.
  5. Fiction: (Symbol support vote.svg) The article does not consider a work of fiction.
  6. List incorporation:(Symbol oppose vote.svg) As noted above, I believe there is an over-reliance on lists and list-like paragraphs. These are disruptive to expository writing; instead of the development of ideas, one iterates over items. For example, the Geography section is comprised of the lead paragraphs of the various regions that make up SaarLorLux. This is a maintenance problem; the data needs to be manually synchronized with the region articles, and is a mind-numbing read. I believe a consolidation of this section, that references the regional articles, would be more concise.
  7. (Symbol neutral vote.svg) With Revision 185869818 this is a work in progress, but the issue is being dealt with
2. It is factually accurate and verifiable. In this respect, it:
Symbol support vote.svg (a) provides references to all sources of information, and at minimum contains a section dedicated to the attribution of those sources in accordance with the guide to layout; Agree The writer conscientously grounds much of the article on English, German, and French sources from the EU and regional news sources. These all appear to have editorial oversight.
Symbol support vote.svg (b) at minimum, 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;[2] and Agree By and large, inline citations support most text. Some items in the SaarLorLux#Problems of cooperation do not appear to be supported with in-line citations. Need to check on the pie chart, Image:SaarLorLuxPopultion.gif; Not clear upon what data it is based
Symbol support vote.svg (c) contains no original research. Agree The prose closely paraphrases and summarizes the references, to the extent that the arc of narrative of the article suffers somewwhat, (See below).
3. It is broad in its coverage. In this respect, it:
Symbol support vote.svg (a) addresses the major aspects of the topic; and Agree The scope of the article is to characterize the nature of the cross-border cooperative, along with some of the major variations of its operation. I believe the article mainly sticks to this program.
Symbol neutral vote.svg (b) stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary details (see summary style). I think the history section reaches too far back in time; Thw1309 feels that the history lends insight into how the cultures around the border participate in the cooperative. This is difference in opinion on content, and I concede that Thw1309 has a better sense of scope on this topic than I do.
Symbol support vote.svg 4. It is neutral; that is, it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias. Agree The writing is formal and neutral. Problems concerning running a cross-border organization are reported in a matter-of-fact way.
Symbol neutral vote.svg 5. It is stable; that is, it does not change significantly from day to day and is not the subject of an ongoing edit war. Vandalism reversions, proposals to split or merge content, and improvements based on reviewers' suggestions do not apply. Neutral The article is currently undergoing change, some prompted by initial review comments, some as a part of regular article maintenance; as a consequence, I cannot vet for article stability. However, the change is orderly; there is no edit war taking place. The article is mainly evolving along the lines the principle writer has chosen. At present, a new section has appeared at the end of the article which, I believe will be completed soon.
6. It is illustrated, where possible and appropriate, by images. In this respect:
Symbol support vote.svg (a) all images used are tagged with their copyright status, and fair use rationales are provided for any non-free content; and Agree
  1. Image:Emblem SaarLorLux.gif (Symbol support vote.svg) Thw1309 released it under GNU 1.2 or later; CCA 2.5 (in Commons)
  2. Image:Lage SaarLorLux.gif (Symbol support vote.svg) Thw1309 released it under GNU 1.2 or later; CCA 2.5 (in Commons)
  3. Infobox symbols:
    1. Image:Flag of Belgium.svg (Symbol support vote.svg) Public domain, a common property. (in Commons)
    2. Image:Flag of Germany.svg (Symbol support vote.svg) Official work in the public domain (in Commons)
    3. Image:Flag of France.svg (Symbol support vote.svg) Public domain, a common property. (in Commons)
    4. Image:Flag of Luxembourg.svg (Symbol support vote.svg) Public domain, a common property. (in Commons)
    5. Image:Coa de-saarland 300px.png (Symbol support vote.svg) Official work in the public domain (in Commons)
    6. Image:Blason Lorraine.svg (Symbol support vote.svg) Darkbob released it under GNU 1.2 or later. (In Commons)
    7. Image:Blason57.PNG (Symbol support vote.svg) MG released it under GNU 1.2 or later. (In Commons)
    8. Image:Blason54.PNG (Symbol support vote.svg) MG released it under GNU 1.2 or later. (In Commons)
    9. Image:Luxembourg New Arms.svg (Symbol support vote.svg) Ipankonin released it under GNU 1.2 or later. (In Commons)
    10. Image:Wallonia (Belgium) coa.gif (Symbol support vote.svg) GIF of SVG image, copyright held by Vector Images. Fair use rationale: Vector ImagesPolicy (in Commons)
    11. Image:Wappen deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgiens.gif(Symbol support vote.svg) Thw1309 released it under GNU 1.2 or later; CCA 2.5 (in Commons)
    12. Image:Coat of arms of Rhineland-Palatinate.svg (Symbol support vote.svg) Official work in the public domain (in Commons)
  4. Image:Maginot2ix.jpg "Cannon of the Maginot Line" (Symbol support vote.svg) Fistos released it into the public domain. (in Commons)
  5. Image:843-870 Europe.jpg Adapted from Muir's Historical Atlas: 1911 (Symbol support vote.svg) (1911) Copyright expired in the United States; published before January 23, 1923. (in Commons)
  6. Image:Saar Lor Lux.gif (Symbol support vote.svg) Thw1309 released it under GNU 1.2 or later; CCA 2.5 (in Commons)
  7. Image:Saar Lor Lux II.gif (Symbol support vote.svg) Thw1309 released it under GNU 1.2 or later; CCA 2.5 (in Commons)
  8. Image:Saar Lor Lux III.gif (Symbol support vote.svg) Thw1309 released it under GNU 1.2 or later; CCA 2.5 (in Commons)
  9. Image:SaarLorLuxPopultion.gif (Symbol support vote.svg) Thw1309 released it under GNU 1.2 or later; CCA 2.5 (in Commons)
  10. Image:Saarschleife.jpg (Symbol support vote.svg) Niesefrosch released it under GNU 1.2 or later (in Commons)
  11. Image:Place-stanislaus-nord-nancy.jpg (Symbol support vote.svg) Enslin released it under under GNU 1.2 or later. (In Commons)
  12. Image:Campus universitaire de Metz.jpg (Symbol support vote.svg)FrauAntje82 released it under CCA 2.5 (in Commons)
  13. Image:Saarbruecken-campus.jpg (Symbol support vote.svg) Hugo released it under under GNU 1.2 or later. (In Commons)
  14. Image:Vhbabansicht.jpg (Symbol support vote.svg) Thoken released it under GNU 1.2 or later. (In Commons)
  15. Image:Luxembourg City Kirchberg1 fromBock.jpg (Symbol support vote.svg) Caranorn released it under GNU 1.2 or later. (In Commons)
Symbol support vote.svg (b) the images are appropriate to the topic, and have suitable captions. Agree

Comment: I do not think Image:Vhbabansicht.jpg, "The steelwork of Völklingen", Image:Saarbruecken-campus.jpg "Saar University" or Image:Luxembourg City Kirchberg1 fromBock.jpg "Buildings of the European Community on the Kirchberg (Church mountain) at Luxembourg city" promote much of an understanding of the article's subject matter; the subjects of the images are mentioned in passing in the article and seem unremarkable to me.

Symbol neutral vote.svg 7. Overall Hold I will do a final review pass on Monday January 28, latest, sooner if invited to do so. Thw1309 has chosen to respond to some of the initial suggestions of this review, and I don't think it wise for me to pass judgement on an article in evolution. I think he has a fair chance of completing his program in the seven day hold period. I think success hinges on attendence of:
  1. Prose: If possible, please recruit an native or near native English writer to help with spelling and sentence construction. There are some awkward phrasing. An example is given in 1a
  2. References: Some of the prose in SaarLorLux#Problems of cooperation is not supported by inline citations and may be construed as original research
  3. Linking: Consider Only make links that are relevant to the context. For example, it is not clear to me why links to general, basic concepts like 'villages' communities and living standards are being linked. The readership of this somewhat technical article generally grasp such concepts
  4. Completion: Complete the section 'Actual Progress, new with Revision 185861627, and the general rewriting of The Future of SaaLorLux
  5. Explicit Image widths Per MOS image guidelines, please do not set explicit image widths. For example: [[Image:Saar Lor Lux.gif|thumb|right|The founding members of SaarLorLux|300px]]; this over-rides user preferences, which is not a friendly thing to do.