Talk:Samuel Robinson (sea captain)

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Why this article is named as it is[edit]

The new article has been entitled Samuel Robinson, RNR because (1) this is the way the mariner seems to have identified himself in the 1924 report detailing what happened to SS Empress of Australia (1922) during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923-- see here; and (2) I found another book which explained that all Canadian Pacific steamships in this period were captained by men from the Royal Naval Reserve, having an implied cachet in the early years of the 20th century which passes unrecognized (or under-appreciated) today -- see Tate, E. Mowbray. (1986). Transpacific Steam: The Story of Steam Navigation from the Pacific Coast of North America to the Far East and the Antipodes, 1867-1941, p. 238.. There may be a better way to name this article, but this choice is at least plausible and informed. --Tenmei (talk) 14:43, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

The following was copied from Wikipedia:Help desk#Article Naming Conflict ... FYI.
...I want to create a new article -- a mere stub, probably -- about one of the celebrated heros of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Unfortunately, this "famous" man's name presents problems. The middle name is not easily found, and there is already an Wikipedia article and an entry in the 1909 Dictionary of National Biography about another Samuel Robinson.
There is also another naval officer in Wikipedia, and both the US Navy Admiral and this celebrated captain of Canadian Pacific trans-Pacific service are Knights Commander of the British Empire, so I can't use "KBE" as a distinguishing element in the new article's title. The Capt. Robinson I want to write about used the initials, "RNR", after his name -- but up through 1910, the Royal Canadian Navy was in integrated element of the Royal Navy ... which means that my subject could easily have been either a British citizen (his portrait hangs at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, London) or a Canadian one (a silver commemorative plaque is on display at the Vancouver Maritime Museum). It may be that Cpt. Robinson served as a ships captain in 1914 in the Empire Indian Ocean fleet during WWI, when Canadian Pacific ships like the "Empress of Asia" would have been brought into war service ... but perhaps this begins to be more than needs to be explained in this context.
I should think that this is enough background information? What shall I entitle the new article? If the answer isn't obvious -- fine. Just let me know what kind of things I should likely look for to resolve my trivial dilemma? --Tenmei (talk) 17:46, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
...maybe Samuel Robinson (Great Kanto Earthquake)? That might not be normal, but its the best I can come up with. Paragon12321 (talk) 17:50, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't know that this helps, but you could look at disambiguation pages for some extremely common names such as James Smith, Robert Smith, Robert Jones, etc., to see how other editors have resolved some thorny disambiguation problems. Maybe you will get some ideas. For example, we have Rob Jones (footballer born 1971) and Rob Jones (footballer born 1979), so birth year is one possible disambiguator. Since no two people are exactly alike (not even identical twins) there must always be some way to distinguish two individuals. --Teratornis (talk) 18:04, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Is there anything unacceptable in using Samuel Robinson (CP ships captain)?
At first blush, something feels a bit awkward about Samuel Robinson (Great Kanto Earthquake). I don't mean to be difficult, but there you have it. I suppose this might be good enough to start -- maybe even a little better than the alternatives I've come up with:
Then I can easily copy this exchange to the Talk page of the new article; and any other interested editors suggest plausible alternatives later when the article develops beyond this initial stub stage? Why don't I postpone creating this article until tomorrow so that there's plenty of time for feedback. --Tenmei (talk) 18:28, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
A question such as "is there anything unacceptable" may not fully capture the real question, which is whether a particular edit on Wikipedia will survive scrutiny by all future editors. Just now only a few editors might weigh in, and we can't predict what future editors will think. From my limited personal viewpoint, I don't see that the precise method of disambiguation is all that important. Lots of articles use lots of methods to disambiguate their titles, and it's easy to move an article if someone later decides a "better" disambiguation is necessary. Without knowing much about the details of the case you mention above, I'd go with Samuel Robinson (CP ships captain) because it seems the most specific, i.e., the least likely to create a future problem if someone wants to write about another Samuel Robinson. For example, there might be other Samuel Robinsons who held the rank of captain, but probably fewer who might have been a CP ships captain. The more specifically you disambiguate a page now, the less likely it will need reworking later. At least, that's the way I would bet. --Teratornis (talk) 19:37, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Renaming this article[edit]

User:Necrothesp -- I have questions:

  • 1. Please explain why you re-named and moved this article without consulting me? Was I mistaken in having anticipated that I should expect to be included in your decision-making process?
  • 2. In this context -- here, I wonder how your informed point-of-view could be construed as the better and more reasonable one? As I see it, re-naming this article "Samuel Robinson (sea captain)" is not an improvement, but rather more of a mistaken step in a wrong direction. If there is a better way to parse this issue, I'll be glad to learn how to avoid similar problems in future.
  • 3. At this point, I'd be disinclined to include Robinson's KBE in this initial paragraph, but the parameters of the discussion which should inform that decision-making are still unclear to me -- both in the 20th century terms which would have been relevant to Robinson himself, and in the somewhat different 21st century Wikipedia context. Can you help me think this through more fully?

I do think you've made a wrong decision in this instance, but I'm also quite prepared to learn that my reasoning was flawed and that yours is the better approach. My Wikipedia work tends to focus on pre-modern Japan, and I only come to Capt. Robinson because of his actions during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. I'm wondering about the ways in which our discussion might impact unanticipated name conflicts involving subjects far removed from the Royal Navy or Canadian Pacific Steamships -- as in Edo period daimyō, for example? --Tenmei (talk) 16:49, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

  • 1. I'm sorry, but I'm not required to consult you before moving an article. You don't own the article. Anyone can move it, edit it, or do anything else they like to it. That's a basic tenet of Wikipedia and no discussion is required prior to doing it unless it is obviously controversial, which this should not be.
  • 2. The disambiguator should explain what he was, and what he was is a sea captain, the common term for his occupation and one used in other articles. Abbreviations should not be used as disambiguators. RNR should not be used as a postnominal in any case unless a rank is used before the name. The fact he was in the RNR (most Merchant Navy officers of all ranks were at the time - it had no particular cachet) is entirely secondary to the fact that he was a sea captain. I'm puzzled as to why you disagree with this.
  • 3. It is normal practice to include pretitles (sir) and postnominals (KBE) in the first line of Wikipedia articles on people with such titles, as you will see by looking at almost any other article on such a person. British people (at the time all people in the British Empire were British citizens) with titles are always referred to using those titles. -- Necrothesp (talk) 21:16, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for the time you invested in responding.
Each of the issues here are unquestionably non-controversial. My questions are simply queries motivated by an interest in learning more. Thank you for taking the time to help me broaden my understanding:
  • 1. Having sought input before naming the article, and having memorialized those questions on the talk page, I would have thought I'd done enough to flag an interest in discussion prior to a move -- obviously not. I also had the impression that the process of moving an article involved some kind of preparatory notice on the talk page -- and again, I was apparently mistaken. I've been misled by the mere accident of what now seems to have been a non-standard experience. With that in mind, was there some other way I might caught your attention a priori rather than a posteriori? Perhaps not. Maybe this is one of those areas with fuzzy conventions. If so, fine ... but I do wonder if there is something different I might have done in this minor instance? Do you have any suggestions?
  • 2. As for my questioning the disambiguation in this case, I'm not disagreeing -- nor am I in any sense wanting to appear disagreeable, but I am still a bit unclear about that reasoning process which could have, perhaps should have led me to the same conclusion you reached. When I discovered other naval figures named Samuel Robinson with British honours, I fell back on the choices made in the reference sources which were ready-to-hand. I'm not suggesting that your choice is unreasonable, implausible, or inaccurate; rather, I'm just trying to get a handle on the reasoning which helped you understand that this choice was not merely better, but best. Can you help me appreciate your thinking so that I can be better informed in future?
  • 3. As for the KBE, it just so happens that there Wikipedia has more than one 20th century naval figures, one of them an admiral, who have been recognized with British honors; but this becomes very much of a secondary issue in the context of the first two above.
If you have the time or inclination, I would appreciate your further thoughts. On the other hand, if this further note is somehow perceived as an unwelcome imposition, please excuse my persisting. I will simply drop an unproductive line of enquiry. --Tenmei (talk) 23:28, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Hi. No problem.
  • 1. I'm afraid I simply didn't spot the discussion on the talk page. I spotted an unusually named article while looking at a category list and changed the name to a more suitable one. I and other editors (especially admins) do this all the time. But no, moving an article requires no preparatory notice or discussion unless it's likely to be controversial.
  • 2. Robinson would not have primarily identified himself as an RNR officer, and neither would anyone looking for him, I suspect. His primary identity was as a Merchant Navy officer, which is what he actually did for a living. As I said, most Merchant Navy officers at the time were RNR officers. For instance, all but two deck officers on the Titanic held RNR commissions. Captains of large British-registered liners were usually Commanders RNR. Yes, the postnominals would have been listed in official reports as a matter of courtesy, but that doesn't mean it was his primary identity.
  • 3. As he held a title it should certainly be listed in the first line, as from the time he was awarded the KBE, as a citizen of the British Empire and later of a Commonwealth Realm, he was no longer Mr Samuel Robinson but Sir Samuel Robinson KBE. Samuel Murray Robinson's KBE is not listed in the first line because he was an American citizen and his knighthood was therefore an honorary one with no right to use the pretitle "Sir" - it is not common practice on Wikipedia to list foreign honours in the first line (there has actually been considerable debate on this subject), but it is certainly normal practice to list substantive honours from the subject's own country where that honour carries a title and/or postnominal letters. -- Necrothesp (talk) 08:29, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the extra time to expand your explanation. I'm more often creating articles in the comparative backwaters of Japanese history, but the next time I wade into less familiar waters, I'll do better. I notice that the Samuel Robinson disambiguation article resolves any unanticipated confusion. If I'd been more adept at thinking-outside-the-box, this might have occurred to me ....
I suspect I won't be alone in seeing your comments as helpful; and I've copied this at Talk:Samuel Robinson (sea captain). --Tenmei (talk) 13:10, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:SS & RMS Empress of Australia.jpg[edit]

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This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --00:03, 4 October 2008 (UTC)