Talk:Scottish National Antarctic Expedition

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WikiProject Scotland (Rated FA-class, Mid-importance)
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Featured article Scottish National Antarctic Expedition is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 17, 2015.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
May 26, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
July 24, 2008 Peer review Reviewed
August 6, 2008 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

Article development[edit]

This is now under way. Lead section posted today. Brianboulton (talk) 18:32, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

More details added. Brianboulton (talk) 17:13, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Lots more added. Time to remove the stub? Brianboulton (talk) 09:12, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Article completed. Brianboulton (talk) 22:21, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

/Archive 1[edit]

GA review discussion archived


Did SNAE have dogs hauling sledges? I see no mention in Speak and even a picture (pp 106 - 7) of man-hauling, albeit in Spitsbergen. Finavon (talk) 17:51, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

  • Speak doesn't mention dogs but they were there. Page 76 of The Voyage of the Scotia (Rudmose Brown et al), reads: "We set out on July 8, a bright cold day, with the temperature just about zero. The surface of the ice was excellent, and the dogs took the sledge out to the camp in style". This is in reference to the sledging trips mentioned in the First voyage section. I have now cited this mention to the Rudmose Brown book. Brianboulton (talk) 18:33, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Finavon (talk) 18:52, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


A trivial point, but the photo of Kerr and the penguin probably dates to c. 10-12 March, not 25 March, 1904 - see here. I'll drop the specific day from the caption. Andrew Gray (talk) 00:07, 8 December 2013 (UTC)


I've created an article on Scotia. Editors with access to sources used in this article may be in a position to expand the article. As always, improvements and corrections are welcome too. Mjroots (talk) 08:51, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

Omond House[edit]

Is Omond House still standing? Has it been preserved as a historical relic? PhilUK (talk) 22:34, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 14 December 2016[edit]

I recommend that the caption on the picture depicting Gilbert Kerr playing bagpipes to a penguin be edited to either correctly describe the penguin as captive, as attested to here, or else at least have the "indifferent" modifier removed. The blatant foolishness of the left/right edits does not alter the existence of actual evidence that the penguin was being held against its will. DecimaTech (talk) 04:46, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

The source seems to check out, my apologies for reverting this change as vandalism. The caption should be modified, but if the pot/captive thing is left in a reference to the page should be included. DaRkAgE7[Talk] 04:55, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

Agreed, "indifferent" isn't really an appropriate word to use here, and the source linked above suggests it's inaccurate. Finally, this wording was not present at all at the time of the article's promotion [1] MusikAnimal talk 05:29, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
This source would seem to suggest the penguin was either reluctant or indifferent. Brycehughes (talk) 01:55, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
The penguin's personal feelings aren't really relevant, and only add to the subtle humour which is attracting vandalism. The penguin surely didn't say they were reluctant or indifferent, and they could just as easily be deaf MusikAnimal talk 20:00, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
Do you guys also hate sunshine and puppies?--Plank (talk) 21:27, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
Welcome to Wikipedia. In any case, if the penguin were deaf, then one would expect the source to describe it as deaf. Instead, the source describes it as reluctant, and, in general, indifferent. But.. I really don't care. I was just pointing this out. I am aware that blandness alway beats cuteness on Wikipedia. Brycehughes (talk) 21:30, 15 December 2016 (UTC)

Humorous or not, the "indifferent" claim is backed by the same reference (Rudmose Brown, pp. 120–23) as cited in the main text. While the references use a recent reissue of Rudmose Brown that have a different page numbering from the 1906 public domain edition, the text of the public domain edition explicitly describes the penguin's reaction as "sleepy indifference". taion (talk) 01:12, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

The reference also explicitly states that Kerr was playing for the penguin, instead of just beside the penguin by coincidence. taion (talk) 01:16, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
If you want to expand the article text with good sources, I have no problem with that, but the penguin's reaction is too much detail for what is already a long photo caption. Jonathunder (talk) 01:57, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
@Taion: It appears we're a bit divided here. Please refrain from adding adjectives for the penguin's personal feelings until we achieve a consensus. I have a hard time believing you and others' persistence to add this is not related to humour. Please also note this was not there at the time of the article's promotion to featured article [2], and I have my doubts this sort of thing would have flown at WP:FAC. Put the humour aside, and please explain why the feelings of the penguin and the species are at all relevant to the subject – which in the case of the photo is Gilbert Kerr MusikAnimal talk 02:13, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
And if we do decide the information is relevant (which is OK), I have to beg we not add it until the hype dies down. It has become a magnet for vandalism, and I hope we can collectively decide to put the interests of a stable featured article first. The article was just fully protected for edit warring (full disclosure – I did ask for help but full protection was the admin's own decision), so maybe once it expires the widespread public interest will have moved on. From there I'm happy with however much consensus wants to describe the penguin – except I agree with Jonathunder that it should probably go in the body of the article rather than crammed in the photo caption. The unnecessary and admittedly comical distinction of the penguin from the human – the original source of disruption – should not be re-added, which I hope we can all agree on MusikAnimal talk 02:40, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
@Jonathunder: The source noted is already present in the text. It's currently reference 35c. It'd be straightforward to shorten the caption by abbreviating "Scottish National Antarctic Expedition" as "SNAE" as with the other captions. taion (talk) 02:55, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
@MusikAnimal: It's untenable to read the subject of the photo as Kerr as an individual – the photo rather refers to the episode detailed in the previously noted reference, the relevant part of which reads in full (as you can see from the link): To test the effect of music on them, Piper Kerr played to one on his pipes,—we had no Orpheus to warble sweetly on a lute,—but neither rousing marches, lively reels, nor melancholy laments seemed to have any effect on these lethargic, phlegmatic birds; there was no excitement, no sign of appreciation or disapproval, only sleepy indifference. Given the text of the cited reference, the subject of the photo is not Kerr who just happens to be posed next to a penguin – it is instead exactly "Kerr playing for the penguin". Note the FAC version of the caption is actually Piper Kerr serenading a penguin, 25 March 1904, which is both factually incorrect/inconsistent on the date relative to the sources, and reads to me as a much worse description of Kerr's actions – and this bad legacy wording is preserved in the main text. That's not to its credit. taion (talk) 02:55, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
@MusikAnimal: Also, did you look at my second edit before you reverted it? It's orthogonal to how we want to describe Kerr's relation to the penguin. The alt text was missing factual detail that was relevant for accessibility. taion (talk) 03:01, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
To take a slightly different tack, the inclusion of "indifferent" in the caption improves the article, and moreover vandalism should not bear any weight on our decision here, lest the vandals win. Is the "indifferent" description supported by sources? Yes. Is it unequivocally necessary? No. Does it improve the article? Yes. There is room for levity in Wikipedia, however slight, and if a particular turn of phrase improves the reading experience, then the encyclopedia as a whole is improves as well. Brycehughes (talk) 03:07, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
The point isn't levity. The description of the episode in the reference already noted above suggests that the observed indifference of the penguin to the bagpipe playing was significant. In light of that, the most appropriate reading of the photograph is that the subject is Kerr's playing to the penguin's indifference. taion (talk) 03:16, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Sure. But one needn't go so deep, nor necessarily agree with your point, to find a reason for inclusion. Brycehughes (talk) 03:22, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
I may be misunderstanding you, but I don't think I can agree with the conclusions of your argument. It's evidently (literally) also funny to point out that Kerr was on the right, but I think we have consensus that "(right)" does not belong in the article. The claimed indifference of the penguin is quite significantly to me not in that category. taion (talk) 03:31, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
That is not funny. Actually that is funny (didn't really work for me without the visual). In any case, don't focus on me. You'll have plenty of debate here with others if you want it. Brycehughes (talk) 03:34, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Given the valid concerns over the caption length above, my current preferred wording for the caption is Gilbert Kerr, SNAE member, plays the bagpipes for an indifferent penguin, March 1904. Obviously noting which is the penguin and which is the man is silly and unnecessary. In any event we should restore the more specific description of the species of the penguin to the image alt text. taion (talk) 03:22, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
I will agree with this wording, given the circumstances. Note there was other opposition to usage of "indifferent" because the penguin was actually held against its will [3]. One therefore may not be able to consider the penguin indifferent so much as completely uninterested. Sources conflict... honestly I'm also indifferent! My involvement was solely about preventing disruption, and I still believe any superfluous descriptions of the penguin is going to attract more, but as I've said I'm hopeful this will be less of an issue in the coming days MusikAnimal talk 03:56, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
I support this wording also. Shortens the caption, sticks to the facts, preserves the wit. Brycehughes (talk) 04:19, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
The sources are in agreement that the penguin was captive – Rudmose Brown notes that the expedition caught a number of penguins, and that in the event of wintering, they would have served as food, but as it turned out it was only their skins that had to do duty. The penguin in the anecdote was one of that number. But frankly the odd juxtaposition of the words in "plays the bagpipes for a captive penguin" just sounds silly to me. I'd elaborate in the article text with During this time, the expedition captured a number of emperor penguins for their skins, and bagpiper Gilbert Kerr was photographed playing to one of the penguins. taion (talk) 04:20, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Penguin is captive. Penguin is indifferent. Both can be true. Indifferent makes for the better read. Brycehughes (talk) 04:31, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
As one who is not an active Wikipedia editor and was only driven here out of curiosity, you may take this suggestion with whatever grains of salt are due. I think there is a possible compromise here, which is to focus the caption more on the purpose of playing the bagpipes rather than the act itself, which is evident from the photo. An example: Gilbert Kerr tests the indifference of a captive penguin to bagpipe music, March 1904. That's descriptive of the motives of Kerr, says nothing about the penguin's actual level of indifference but retains the linguistic allusion to the source, and retains a modicum of levity without coming off as a joke. IvanhoeIvanhoe (talk) 06:32, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

Guys, the joke with "(right)" is a nice small joke in an article nobody cared about before. Now lots of people came to read and learn something about this Antarctic Expedition. Why not to leave this tiny joke in the article? There should be some place in Wikipedia for jokes! Don't be so boring! (talk) 13:18, 17 December 2016 (UTC)

"(right)" is a bit over the top. At least with "indifferent" (or "captive"?) we have supporting sources and are avoiding blatant silliness. Besides, the "(right)" joke is funny in this context because the caption already made people smile by labeling the penguin indifferent; there is nothing unique about two different things appearing beside each other in an image, and indeed this joke could be applied to hundreds if not thousands of image captions on Wikipedia. Its hilarity would wear pretty thin. Brycehughes (talk) 15:51, 17 December 2016 (UTC)
I think that "(right)" bit got added because someone tweeted about the earlier version of the caption, incidentally: [4]. I think "indifferent penguin" has a nice ring just on its own, and the agree that the caption doesn't need the extraneous direction label. taion (talk) 01:33, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
OK, let's then at least leave the "indifferent penguin" in the caption. Don't be so serious! Wikipedia should be fun, not boring! (talk) 14:09, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I think the discussion's leaning that way. Brycehughes (talk) 16:06, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

If the length of the caption is an important reason for dropping "indifferent" (which is supported by the source), why not remove the expedition's name entirely, since it is given by the context. So instead of "Gilbert Kerr, a member of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, plays the bagpipes beside a penguin, March 1904", why not write "Gilbert Kerr (right), an expedition member, plays the bagpipes beside an indifferent penguin, March 1904". This contains three fewer words and conveys the additional (sourced) information. While the caption doesn't need the direction label, it certainly raises a smile (something we all need at the moment). TraceyR (talk) 11:00, 23 December 2016 (UTC)

In the absence of any discussion of my preceding suggestion, would there be any objection to a reversion to the previous version, i.e. with "(right)" and "indifferent"? To be truer to the sentiment of the original source, "indifferent" could be replaced by "sleepily indifferent". Thanks TraceyR (talk) 12:33, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
This isn't a joke site and we don't take too kindly to such nonsense in article space. Especially on a featured article. Sorry, but I wholeheartedly object to such a revision and I'm sure you will find a lot of people that do as well. Including the admin that protected the page to stop such things from happening. --Majora (talk) 21:22, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
"Sleepily indifferent" is not a joke, but is a direct reflection of the primary source. The "(right)" is, admittedly drily humorous (but very mildly so), but it has done very positive public relations work for the project's otherwise rather stuffy, nerdy image. If mild humour, which does not in any way detract from the article's quality (but indeed enhances it), is, for some arcane reason, non grata, so be it. Rest assured, there is absolutely no risk of Wikipedia being deemed a "joke site". But what could possible speak against the other change? TraceyR (talk) 21:17, 3 January 2017 (UTC)


Very disappointed in the reversion of what had been an excellent photo caption. To describe the penguin as "indifferent" is harmless - it is not in any meaningful sense vandalism - and appears to be accurate, based on the photo. That caption demonstrated a level of writing quality all too infrequently found on Wikipedia, and indeed, it attracted great attention to this page. A pity we apparently prefer to settle for bland mediocrity. 2602:306:CFEA:170:2104:FBF6:B52F:4712 (talk) 02:47, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

I second that. The caption was accurate and witty - so much so that it was remarked upon in facebook with the comment ""Who would have believed that the perfect Wikipedia photo caption could have been improved upon?". It is sad that this gem has been removed. The revert was no doubt done in good faith, but this article is the poorer for it. Please reconsider. Thanks.TraceyR (talk) 23:29, 17 December 2016 (UTC)