Talk:Shakespeare authorship question/Archive 26

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"See also" additions by user: Lung salad

Can anyone tell me (and by "anyone" I mean User:Lung salad) why the undiscussed proliferation of "See also" sections on SAQ project pages? why not a "see also" to the Oxfordian theory, the Baconian theory, and every other SAQ page? The links are readily available in the text on in the SAQ template; giving a link its own section violates WP:WEIGHT and continuing to put them in without discussion violates protocol for editing the page, which is under sanction by ArbCom. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:40, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

  • "See also" is a good section to have on all Wikipedia articles. I always access them when I go to Wikipedia articles, irrespective whether the link is in the body of the article. It shows-at-a-glance related articles that the reader can jump to. Lung salad (talk) 16:44, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Regardless of whether you think it is a good idea, Wikipedia has a manual of style which gives guidelines for when they are appropriate: WP:SEEALSO. Since the links are included in the article in two places, another section is not called for. In addition, this page is under editing sanction by the arbitration committee, the template of which I posted to your talk page and which you deleted. What that means is that if you do not conform to editing protocol and cooperative editing you can be blocked by an admin without going through the tedious process of dispute resolution. Please do not add sections or revert without discussion on the talk page.
As to "It shows-at-a-glance related articles that the reader can jump to", that is what the authorship template is for. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:53, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough, so you don't like and want to zap "See also" links. Lung salad (talk) 16:56, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
That's not the point. If you discuss the addition with the other editors and they agree with you on adding them and what links should be included, then they can stay. The point is that this is a collaborative project; there are many things I would like to add that I don't because it either violates Wikipedia policy or I could not get a consensus; editors can't add whatever they want just because they think it's a good idea, and I'm not objecting just because I "don't like and want to zap". The reasoning behind the process is to avoid the POV battlefield this page was for so long. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:02, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
There are problems with this article because references are missing Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship Lung salad (talk) 17:08, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
See here, here and here. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:12, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I was referring to this article Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship - there is a reference missing, Lung salad (talk) 17:37, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
You need to discuss that on that article talk page. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:42, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Weight issues

The additions to the Anonymous section add too much weight IMO. None of the other items have that amount of detail, and it really doesn't move the history of the SAQ along, so I'm gonna cut it down a bit. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:58, 26 October 2011 (UTC)


Following the discussion above about Mary Sidney, I think it might be appropriate to add at least an extra sentence or so on Rutland, whose name is only mentioned once. The Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare (1966), from which Elliot & Valenza get their list of candidates thinks that there are five main theories (Oxford, Derby, Rutland, Bacon, Marlowe). Rutland is discussed in the main sources - Gibson, McCrea etc. It's true his star has faded. I see no sign that there are any active Rutlandists out there, though he is mentioned, as Jonathan said, in a number of websites on the issue [2] [3], and he clearly had a notable following for a period. Paul B (talk) 10:38, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

If there are no active Rutlanders, why would we give him more room when we give no mention of Mary Sidney and Henry Neville, who do have supporters? I could see expanding the sentence to say he had a notable following at one time, but that's implied by his mention and it's obvious he has few, if any, followers today. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:18, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
That's exactly what I intended. Paul B (talk) 13:33, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Page views

Over the weekend with the opening of Anonymous page views peaked at 4,700 a day and have held steady at around 3,000 a day since then. That's way up from the average of around 600-700. Good job, guys.

The Oxfordian theory article page views have also gone up. It still needs a lot of work, but it's not as bad as it was even a month ago. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:26, 2 November 2011 (UTC)


In the interest of brevity, since the SAQ page length has been noted, I made a small edit to the last line of the first paragraph to eliminate redundancy with fringe theory, leaving all references intact. Apologies for not posting it here first - I'm new to this.Fallsandback (talk) 19:19, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

I support this edit...much cleaner now.--Rogala (talk) 20:22, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
It's not any 'cleaner', just an attempt to eliminate criticism. Standard stuff. How remarkable that you suddenly reappear after six months of utter silence and no interest in any other topic. Paul B (talk) 20:43, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
In my opinion it is cleaner and should stand...I think the entire article needs trimming as it is verbose. BTW, on a purely personal note, thanks for noticing my absence, and for the kind “welcome back”. It is true that I completely abandoned Wikipedia editing after my interactions with yourself, Tom Reedy and Nishidani this past April. I decided to return after I read the insightful comments from Jimmy Wales which were directed towards this topic, but I hesitated (until yesterday) to actually return. Good to be back.--Rogala (talk) 21:13, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. Fallsandback, though made in good faith, this edit removed meaningful content, not, as I see it, "redundancy". The omitted clause was part of what the article was trying to convey, and it was considered correct after months of wrestling with the content of such a prominent early paragraph. Rogala, it may be "cleaner", but at the expense of some substance. I have therefore restored the excised clause. --Alan W (talk) 04:09, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

'Authenticated' signatures?

Without realizing that this, uniquely, is a page in Wikipedia which one may not edit without special permission, I did so inadvertently, citing full references for the point in my footnote, and have been reverted. I apologise for this solecism and, as requested in Mr Reedy's edit summary (who has not the time to weed one sort of an edit from another, and so reverts them all), I now bring the discussion of this edit to the present forum.

Apropos the gargantuan douche that one of the editors is said to be (/duly erased)
Absolutely! Douche being a shower, the man pours torrents of cold water on the perfervid imaginations of the hermeneutic wetbacks trying to clamber into the temperate groves of academe.Nishidani (talk) 13:41, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

I wished to draw attention to the fact that the article describes the signatures attributed to W.S. as 'authenticated'. I introduced a footnote pointing out that their 'authenticity' has been challenged on the grounds that the signatures on the will, the mortgage and the deed of purchase have all been regarded by some as not by Shakespeare's hand, but in the secretarial hand of the Warwick solicitor Frances Collyns and (re the Blackfriars house) by the hands of clerks. Despite superficial likenesses there are strange epigraphic inconsistencies. I cited the work of Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, Bacon is Shakespeare (Gay & Hancock, London 1910), pp. 35-39, himself citing an article by Magdalene Thumm-Kintzel in Der Menschenkenner (Leipzig journal) of January 1909. Durning-Lawrence also recited the expressed opinions of the Librarian and Chairman of the Library Committee of the Corporation of London, and of certain authorities at the British Museum, who had physically placed the purchase deed and mortgage deed side by side to compare them in the originals. The Librarian and Chairman saw no reason to suppose that their deed bore a signature, rather than a scribal reproduction of the name, and the British Museum authority stated that they did not think the mortgage deed bore upon it a signature - for the same reason. Further on pp.161-65 (and ff) he discussed and illustrated with facsimiles the 'Answers to Interrogatories', arguing again that the name of Shakespeare is written by a scribal hand responsible for the text of the document.

I submit, that this reference and point is worthy of inclusion in the present article, because the word 'authenticated' is used without explanation or defence in the plain text as written, and without acknowledging this challenge to their authenticity. It does not of course mean that the documents are not authentic, but only that the so-called 'signatures' may not have been penned actually by the Bard himself. To avoid this nuance of bias, it might be better to acknowledge than to assert: particularly so, since, if William Shakespeare did not write these 'signatures', then they have no bearing upon whether or not he was 'literate' - their inconsistencies may be explained as scribal variations, a point neither for nor against the argument about his authorship.

The problem is, how can these supposed 'signatures' be authenticated, if they do not agree with one another, and there is nothing else with which to compare them? The word 'authenticated' is itself misleading. I should be content to dispense with my footnote if the word 'supposed' could be substituted for 'authenticated'. For this reason I am requesting a citation for the use of the word 'authenticated'./Eebahgum (talk) 20:25, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

(1) Yes, standard discretionary sanctions are enacted for this article and all articles related to the Shakespeare authorship question, although that condition is hardly unique.
(2) Your source is not WP:RS.
(3) A citation for information that is well-known in the field is not necessary, and frivolously calling for such smacks of gaming. The six signatures are all on legal documents and were attested to at the time of signing as being Shakespeare's. If you need assurance that Shakespeare academics accept the six signatures as authentic, please see Sam Schoenbaum's William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life, p. 157, and the section "The Authenticated Signatures" in the chapter entitled "Shakespeare's Handwriting" in his William Shakespeare: Records and Images.
(4) As to your request to use the qualifier "supposed", no. Please see Expressions of doubt. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:04, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. I assure you there is nothing frivolous in my citation request. You invited me to bring my point to this page for discussion, and that's what I'm doing. Reliable or not, the contention that the names were not written by Shakespeare's own hand but by a clerical scribe has been laid, on certain specific grounds: it is quite different from the case that they were written by him in a poor hand. I do not seek to advance either case, but since the article presumes authenticity it silently dismisses one of these cases without comment. Hence it is not frivolous to ask for a footnote citation to support that presumption, because, even if it is the scholarly consensus, there may be many readers worldwide (not Shakespeare academics) who do not know that, and therefore it is a fact deserving to be referenced in an encyclopedia. Thanks, Eebahgum (talk) 10:31, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
So let me see if I understand your point. You say the contention (which is even a minority view among anti-Stratfordians) that the signatures were written by scribes (all who had remarkably similar handwriting when it came to his signature but completely different handwriting when they wrote out the documents to which he subscribed) should be implicit in the wording of the phrase instead of being mentioned explicitly. Is that about it? Tom Reedy (talk) 12:43, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Not quite. I am not the one using that word 'authenticated' - which has a meaning far more absolute than, say 'accepted'. I am asking that when it is used, the attribution which it inflexibly affirms should be separately verifiable by citation, as per article policy. It seems little enough to ask, that this statement about Shakespeare's signatures should have a footnote to a source indicating what consensus there may be about their authenticity. I neither affirm nor deny the epigraphical evidence, nor do I wish to smuggle in a tacit assertion either way, but only to proceed verifiably. To the point below (taken in abstract), one must answer that even 'experts' and 'authorities' often disagree: challenge and debate are in the nature of scholarship, and this article in particular is actually about opposing views of a subject, so there is nothing to fear from describing them. It is all about the Question(s). Eebahgum (talk) 14:07, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Cite provided. If you want to add the information that some anti-Stratfordians argue that he did not write his own signatures, please find a reliable source stating such. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:06, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! The note nods at the debate well enough for me. So ends my catechism. Eebahgum (talk) 17:36, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that there are many contentious topics where people on both sides would like to keep adding points in favor of some view or another. That's why there are various policies like WP:DUE which require a scholarly approach regarding encyclopedic topics. There is a precise reference given just above (Schoenbaum) which (apparently—I haven't seen it) establishes that authorities in the field agree that the signatures are authentic. Yes, there are lots of non-experts who make all sorts of counter claims about hundreds of contentious topics, but their views are not automatically added to related articles. It is likely that every second sentence in this article could have a footnote pointing out that someone disagrees with the assertion, and the impasse is resolved by carefully reviewing what authorities have written on the matter (yes, that is unfair to non-authorities, but that is not Wikipedia's problem). Johnuniq (talk) 11:04, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Regarding the above discussion, Jane Cox, after serving as custodian of the records in the British Public Records Office and then retiring, wrote "Shakespeare's Will and Signatures" in 'Shakespeare in the Public Records', British Public Records Office, 1985, including the following statement: "It is obvious at a glance that these signatures, with the exception of the last two, are not the signatures of the same man. Almost every letter is formed in a different way in each. Literate men in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries developed personalized signatures much as people do today, and it is unthinkable that Shakespeare [i.e., author of the Shakespeare canon] did not. Which of the signatures reproduced here (next page) [sic] is the genuine article is anybody's guess."

Personally I do not know what to suggest concerning this testimony. Is the former custodian of the Stratford Shakespeare signatures, writing in a book issued and sponsored by the British Public Records Office, a reliable source? It may be appropriate that we investigate to determine if that Office has published spurious statements. If such is the general view, perhaps the above findings should be adjudged not RS. I leave it to more experienced editors in this recondite but significant field. Zweigenbaum (talk) 17:03, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

I've no idea. Does being the custodion of the records make her an expert? Not in itself. We would need evidence that she has some knowldge of the history of signatures. I rather doubt it given the pop-culture standard of the remarks quoted. Paul B (talk) 18:09, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
These might answer the question: What she wrote. Analysis of what she wrote. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:11, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Respectfully request your credentials to evaluate the writer and the subject. Lacking any, your opinion in the link has the same weight as mine, none. My plenary request was for Jane Cox's paleography/legal credentials to be established, or alternatively an endorsement of her statement from the British Records Office, thus RS. Paul Barlow expressed similar views, whether being "custodion" [sic] implies credentialed authority. It appears to be a significant view if reliable. Zweigenbaum (talk) 09:27, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Paul B clearly answered his own question: "Not in itself" (that is, being a custodian does not make a person an authority on the authenticity of signatures). Re Tom Reedy's two links above: No one is suggesting they be added to the article, so they do not have to be reliable sources. The linked text has a lot of analysis which is too long to be included here, and that analysis needs to be answered with more than a dismissal because the text explains why Cox should not be regarded as an authority on the subject—does anyone have a reason to think Cox is a suitable authority? Johnuniq (talk) 09:58, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Cox is a genealogist, (that link in the first message I posted is dead) and as such knows how to read old handwriting, but she is not a paleographer or forensic document examiner. That doesn't make her wrong or unqualified, IMO. What makes her wrong is her unsupported assumptions and misreadings and distortions of her sources. IIRC, Schoenbaum reports what she says some place (Records and Images?), but doesn't endorse or disparage her results. No academic has ever agreed with her conclusions or her speculations—at least not in print—anywhere that I can find. Generally to be RS for an academic subject such as Shakespeare, the work has to have some type of academic assessment. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:43, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Poll regarding proposed merge of Oxfordian theory

Two articles relating to the Shakespeare authorship question are:

Please consider the poll here which asks whether the first above article should be merged with the second (the poll mentions Oxfordian Theory which is a redirect to the second article above). Johnuniq (talk) 10:47, 10 November 2011 (UTC)


I have reverted the edits that were made today without any discussion on the talk page. Since this article is under sanctions as a result of the ArbCom ruling, major edits such as these must be discussed on the talk page before being implemented. Some of the edits I thought were justifiable, but it is too time-consuming to weed the bad from the good and so I just reverted them all. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:28, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Right, I had no idea all this history had been going on, but I probably should have posted my reasons here anyway. I apologise for that. It's a shame as I thought I managed to clarify a few points both for and against the debate. I'd like to try and reintroduce the edits which really just served to smooth out the prose and sharpen the arguments for and against, but will I just incur some wrath? --ElviraCardigan (talk) 22:01, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Introduce them on this talk page instead of the article. That way they can be discussed and a consensus reached about their suitability. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:35, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Tom, you misunderstand how Wiki is supposed to work. I explained in my comment to my change to the first sentence why the change was made. "Clarified definition--not all who study the authorship question argue that someone else wrote the work." They simply raise the question-- it is a question, not an argument. If you want to revert my change, and if your reasons are complex, you should explain them here before making a change, not merely reject my change as not having gone through a procedure that you have defined for this page. My change reflects the view of perhaps the largest SAQ sentiment today, as expressed in the widely publicized "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt about the Identity of William Shakespeare," at

On related issues, the article mentions the declaration, but there is no link to it, despite the declaration being a key aspect of the current status of the Shakespeare Authorship Question. Also, the declaration clearly indicates that it is unlikely that Shakespere of Stratford was, during his life, a front for the true writer. This is because a main reason for the question being raised is that there is no evidence of correspondence on literary matters between Shakespeare and anyone else in his day. If Shakespere had been a front, others would still have corresponded with him on literary matters. The journalists of the day would still have mentioned seeing him, or trying to contact him. In short, the first paragraph of the article does not convey to a Wiki reader an accurate view of the Shakespeare Authorship Question. Jdkag (talk) 06:24, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

I believe the misapprehension is on your part. Edits--especially major edits on an article that is under discretionary sanctions as a result of the ArbCom ruling--should be discussed on the talk page before they're made, not after they're reverted. You have been around Wikipedia long enough to know that.
Your points have been discussed on this talk page already, as you would know if you searched the talk page archives. It is unreasonable to expect that the editors of this page should continually produce the same explanations over and over for those who have not or will not search the archives. And if you follow the wiki link for argument, you will see that the word is the appropriate one to use. That point has also been discussed quite thoroughly.
We don't edit to "the largest SAQ sentiment today", we edit to the academic consensus. In short, the first paragraph of the article does indeed convey to a Wiki reader an accurate view of the Shakespeare Authorship Question.
The Declaration of Reasonable Doubt link goes to the appropriate Wikipedia page that links to the organization's Web page. "Wikipedia articles may include links to web pages outside Wikipedia (external links), but they should not normally be used in the body of an article." Have you read it? Nothing in it pertains to Shakespeare being a front or not being a front. And just FYI, there were no journalists in Elizabethan times who covered entertainment and playwrights, or anything else, for that matter, for the simple reason that there were no newspapers in that era. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:54, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Tom, by the term "journalists" I meant those keeping journals in Shakespeare's day, none of whom refer to having ever met the man. The problem with this article, which you control in violation of fundamental Wiki principles, is that you set up the concept of SAQ to appear unreasonable, whereas anyone who reads the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt understands that there are cogent reasons for the existence of SAQ. The SAQ entry should describe the cogent reasons, not the portrayal of SAQ "arguments" that you have decided are best suited to your purpose, which is to disparage the concept.Jdkag (talk) 07:28, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
"... anyone who reads the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt understands that there are cogent reasons for the existence of SAQ. The SAQ entry should describe the cogent reasons ..."
Please list what you believe those reasons to be that are not present in the article. Tom Reedy (talk) 20:45, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
The primary reason given in the DORD is that there is no "literary trail": Neither Shakespere nor any of his personal acquaintances left behind any personal writing indicating that he was an author, until the First Folio came out 7 years after he died. By claiming in the first sentence of this WIKI article that SAQ supporters think that Shakespere of Stratford was a front, you obscure the point that there is no literary trail, as the term "front" implies that some people during his time considered him to have been the actual author, which implies that there is evidence to this effect. If any evidence that he was viewed in this way were to come to light, this would comprise a literary trail and most signers of the DORD would be satisfied that the Stratfordian case had been redeemed. (By the way, Ben Jonson's poem in the First Folio indicates that whoever Shakespeare was, Jonson knew him intimitely. The lack of a literary trail indicates that Jonson was not referring to Shakespere of Stratford, but to the actual author.) Jdkag (talk) 03:51, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
For DORDers there is no literary trail. For historians and literary scholars there is. So it is a hermeneutic dispute. The amateurs won't accept what is standard evidence, and normative techniques for evaluating evidence in the courts of history. It is identical to trial law, where the crown proves its case beyond reasonable doubt, and tabloid kibitzers and authors of pop quickie theories misinterpret everything on the premise that all of the evidence has been tampered with. Nishidani (talk) 08:04, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Nishidani, my point is that this article should describe the case that DORDers make. After you present their case, you can provide the response of historians and literary scholars. If the case of DORDers is so poor, why do you and Tom insist on misrepresenting it? Present their case accurately before you refute it.Jdkag (talk) 15:53, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
It has described the case DORDers make. I don't think any of us has misrepresented Dorder misrepresentations. To the contrary we've made an effort to put their case more cogently than they have managed to do. We don't refute anything. Sources, that understand the subject Dorders don't, do.Nishidani (talk) 20:39, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
I think we've touched the fundamental issue. DORDers would unanimously agree that this article misrepresents their views, that is, their "Dorder misrepresentations." I don't understand why people so antagonistic to those views can honestly think that they can represent those views fairly. The article's emphasis on the view that Shakespeare was a front is one misrepresentation. Also, burying main points, such as the issue of the literary trail, far down in the article is a misrepresentation. The DORD is 18 KB. This article is 137 KB. You could have incorporated the entire DORD and still had 120 KB left to refute it, and it would have been a better article. But if the authors of the article had really wanted to create an objective article, they could have summarized DORD in 2-3 KB, listed some of the main arguments for each candidate in a few sentences each, given in a sentence or two the view of scholars, and then provided links to external sites that give the pros and cons in detail. It would all be less than 10 KB, and it would be intellectually honest.Jdkag (talk) 22:17, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Do DORDers agree amongst themselves on anything, except that 'Stratfordians' are wrong? DORDers are overwhelmingly Oxfordians, and complain about the article, which the record clearly shos they have consistentlyb tried to overwhelm with their presence. But the article is about all 75 candidates not just the unfortunate de Vere. 1,700 people are a minute constituency against several thousand books and 'major' articles written over 160 years, and the fundamental premise of your own concern confuses WP:Undue synchronically and diachronically. Nishidani (talk) 07:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
The SAQ article should give an emphasis to the current SAQ view, just as all other WIKI articles cover the current state of an issue before covering the history and development of the issue. Obviously DORDers do agree on basic concepts covered in the DORD. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jdkag (talkcontribs) 10:24, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Again you fail to understand the key point. There is no such entity as 'the SAQ view'. There is a DORD statement representing an exiguous number of people which makes a few points, but basically whinges about de Vere, between the lines. To showcase the DAW(E)DLERS POV would violate WP:Recentism and WP:Undue.Nishidani (talk) 12:02, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
NOT TRUE! Everyone who has raised the authorship question for the past several hundred years has pointed to the lack of a literary trail, the lack of any evidence that during his life the man of Stratford was known as a writer. That was Mark Twain's argument. That is the main argument of the DORD. Proponents for de Vere add that de Vere's biography matches elements in the plays, a point that is only made in paragraph 11 of the 14 paragraphs of the DORD, and made in such a way that no other candidate is precluded. Don't point me to WP recentism or undue, when this article so flagrantly violates NPOV.Jdkag (talk) 07:30, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
NOT TRUE! Everyone has not. In fact, it was not a feature of early anti-Stratfordianism at all. However, it's fair to say that it has become one of the arguments and it is duly included in this article, as is the rebuttal that the opposite is true - there is an extensive "literary trail". So it is difficult to see how the article "violates NPOV" when it makes these very points. You make the utterly spurious claim that the DORD "clearly indicates that it is unlikely that Shakespere of Stratford was, during his life, a front for the true writer. This is because a main reason for the question being raised is that there is no evidence of correspondence on literary matters between Shakespeare and anyone else in his day." Nowhere does the DORD make any such statement. Everything it says is just a rehash of familiar stuff, including utter absurdities like the claims about the monument. You are making this up. Paul B (talk) 10:00, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
'the past several hundred years has pointed to the lack of a literary trail,'. Sure, right. A century and a half of fringe polemic now becomes 4 centuries of major dispute. Really!
'the lack of any evidence that during his life the man of Stratford was known as a writer. That was Mark Twain's argument.'
Oh come now. Twain's 'argument' is a hundred years old, and was pilfered from Greenwood, whose arguments were demolished in 1913. If you think that the huge amount of work done before, and since then, confirming the traditional, utterly natural link between name, place and author is irrelevant, say simply that scholars are dumb, while amateurs, seamstresses, people in university administration, lawyers, journalists, movie directors, a judge or two, a handful of writers a century ago, mainly yanks, know the hermetic truth. An appeal to an authority whose competence is spurious because specious, not even plausible, falls on deaf ears, as it always 'Will'. Nishidani (talk) 10:13, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
The subject of this discussion (which should be the sole subject of this page) has been how to present arguments of those who have believed that there is reason to question Shakespeare authorship. You prefer to exploit this page to disparage the people who have held such beliefs, rather than allowing this page to be a succinct summary of their arguments.Jdkag (talk) 10:05, 18 November 2011 (UTC)


Now that the Wilmot work is considered by Shapiro to be a forgery (though it was written on paper from 1790, and why wasn't dating of the ink attempted?), we may look to other dates at which authorship was first questioned. According to the web page at "In 1811 Samuel Taylor Coleridge expressed his amazement that 'works of such character should have proceeded from a man whose life was like that attributed to Shakespeare.'" That would indicate that there was questioning at least 200 years ago.Jdkag (talk) 10:16, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Coleridge may have expressed amazement but that's not doubt as such. In any case, that's in the context of the idea that there may have been more collaboration than typically envisaged. BTW, testing ink is not a simple solution. Iron gall ink does not carry evidence of age. Also, it costs money to do these things. There is no endless pot of cash for scientific tests. The person who conducted the paper examination simply studied the appearance of the paper. Shapiro does suggest that ink and handwriting analysis could be done. If you are willing to stump up the cash, I'm sure I can get favourable terms from Jean in our paper conservation department. Paul B (talk) 11:28, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
While making my draft of the version that eventually became the SAQ page, I tried to confirm this, which I could not find in Coleridge's works. Since it is attributed to the 1811 lectures, it derives, I presume from Payne Collier's transcription. Collier was a forger and certain parts of his notes are inventive, like erndowing Humphrey Davies with a knighthood in a lecture delivered before Davies got that title. In any case, R. A. Foakes's edition Coleridge on Shakespeare The Text of the Lectures 1811-12, doesn't appear to contain the remark. I also think that enotes is not a good source. Sometimes they update from wiki, which indeed had this quote way back. No doubt this will be clarified in time. Nishidani (talk) 13:28, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
That page is actually a mirror of an old Wikipedia page. The quotation is from "Notes to Shakespeare's works", iv, p. 56, from his 1811 lectures on Milton and Shakespeare, and was widely quoted in the early days of Baconism. Coleridge does not doubt Shakespeare's authorship, as the full text (from which the quotation is taken out of context) indicates. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:52, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Humm, well I can't find anything there that could be construed as an expression of doubt. My comment about collaboration arose from confusion with Byron's reported comments. Paul B (talk) 14:36, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I've never been able to find the first part of the quote, and I suspect it was an introductory phrase by an early anti-Strat who quoted Coleridge's out of context that was in turn quoted along with Coleridge's quote and then passed on unchanged, as anti-Strats are wont to do. They aren't very good historians, even of their own literature, regardless of their claims to scholarship. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:52, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, we'd better mark it down as one of the things to be chased up, and nailed down, since scholars don't seem to do a lot of the legwork on these issues one would expect of them. That lacuna in the meticulous attention of the genealogy of memes (to adopt a phrase from Nietzsche) is one of the strengths of the fringe theorists. Nishidani (talk) 20:07, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

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Since September 29, the page has consistently received close to 1,000 views or better. I attribute this to the publicity surrounding the release of Anonymous (film). Tom Reedy (talk) 22:16, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Template question

See here. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:31, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Rt recent changes

Some of your touches may be okay. But 15 successive edits to an FA page in a few hours argues for the idea you want to do a general rewrite on your own of a page written collaboratively. I've been forced to make a blanket revert. Please, as by now is customary for this page, make edits one or two at a time (per day), limiting them to a manageable daily quota that will enable others to evaluate them, both in text and on the talk page. By the way, changing the lead to highlight your own candidate is not good practice. Thanks Nishidani (talk) 08:29, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

"forced to make a blanket revert"? Isn't this kind of revert the exact thing you have argued against in the past? A dozen edits is too hard to keep track of so you revert everything? "Customary for this page" is one or two edits per day? I simply don't know how to respond to such statements. Sorry. Smatprt (talk) 16:34, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I supported your revert per WP:OAS. Smatprt is a disruptive editor and their topic ban should be re-imposed. I left a note at User talk:LessHeard vanU‎#‎topic area participation review. to that end. FWIW, I encountered Smatprt in the course of my project, which is implementing WP:HLIST; they were disrupting a template I'd edited. Alarbus (talk) 08:58, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Well I've only looked at the very first edit in which he deleted a ref that acknowledges the posthumous rumours about Terence yet gives a fuller explanation in favor of another ref 40 years older with the edit summary of "ref for Terence with more complete info". The ref he deleted is an academic text specifically about Terence written by an associate professor of classics. You can read the relevant information on the page cited here, as it's too long to copy. The source he replaced it, while from an acceptable academic press, is a generalized handbook. Here's the sentence that he claims is "more complete info": "Terence is said to have lived in intimate terms with many of the Roman nobility, especially Scipio Africanus the Younger … and Gaius Laelius. Indeed there were rumours that Ternece was aided in his literary productions by these men; and Terence himself did nothing to stifle such compliments, as we may observe from the prologue of the Brothers (15 -21)."
While I recognize that editors' opinions about sources may be subjective to a certain extent, the source he replaced it with is demonstrably inferior, both in specificity to the topic and in coverage of the cited incident, and in fact contains less information, so there is no valid reason to have replaced it, and it appears that the edit summary of "ref for Terence with more complete info" is a cover to insert a more sympathetic source to the Oxfordian claim that Shakespeare was a front man.
I'll chase down a few other edits later today when I get time. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:31, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it necessary to chase all the edits down. The example you give from Terence is illustrative. I added that source because Coury has a very good discussion of this tradition (and by the way the alternative source's account of how to read the prologue to the Adelphi/Brothers is too slim to be helpful). The point is, one simply cannot edit well if one has to go, one by one, through a rush of a baker's dozen of changes. It is extremely fatiguing. As long as we all accept a kind of editorial restraint order on ourselves, and respect each other by making one or two suggestions here at a time, and not moving on until, if these are controversial, our differences are thrashed out on the talk page, I see no problem. There is certainly no warrant for extensive unilateral changes of the kind that occurred overnight. Nishidani (talk) 13:42, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

This is a global site. Overnight? I have no idea where you are, so this objection of editing "overnight" makes no sense.Smatprt (talk) 16:34, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree. I've looked at his third edit and I doubt there would have been any objections to deleting the term "coded" had he brought it up on the talk page, so I have done so, but the rest of the edit was not supported by the citation. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:57, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I looked at all of them, and I've harvested a few edits from the incident; good suggestions should be incorporated from all quarters. Apparently everything said about all the other candidates is perfectly balanced; most of the edits seem to have been made in order to correct the unjust manner in which Oxford is presented or to mark his ascendency in the Shakespeare pretender sweepstakes, which is really irrelevant to the topic unless it's specifically discussing the Oxfordian argument. Tom Reedy (talk) 06:50, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
No, it's just that the Oxford section is such a poor example of the main arguments, and is overly detailed for a summary section. I'm working on addressing those issues. None of my changes, btw, were major in terms of the overall article. Smatprt (talk) 16:34, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Get the main article in shape and then propose changes to the summary here on the talk page. As it is you're now copying my edits, which I did in order to glean the wheat from the chaff in your advocacy edits, over to the Oxfordian page, which is the reversal of the usual direction of influence. I understand why, because that page is terribly written for the most part, but if you're truly concerned about the manner in which Oxford's case is being presented that is the place to start, not here disrupting an FA article. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:19, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Autobiographical method

I may be straying into original research here, but one problem assuming that a writer's works are disguised autobiography is that there are 20th-century works which probably do contain some autobiographical elements but which are less straightforwardly autobiographical than some readers may have taken them for: I Remember Mama, The Corn is Green and Slave of the Huns. PatGallacher (talk) 10:19, 3 December 2011 (UTC)


Smatprt, you excised reliably supported information with the edit summary of "deleting Frisbee due to wp:weight. Extreme fringe theories such as this don't belong in a general summary (or in the encyclopedia as per wp:note". Please read the guideline, especially the section WP:Note#Notability guidelines do not limit content within an article. There is nothing "extreme fringe" about codes and ciphers in Oxfordism, every alternative theory includes them. Ask Hank Whittemore or a few other Oxfordians who have written about them. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:48, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

He's just excised it again, without addressing the talk page, or, specifically, your note above. Now, since this is rather incomprehensible from an experienced editor, who knows the rules, I assume the edit is a request to edit war, dragging others into actionable reverts. I may be wrong, but since it is borderline vandalism, to persist in eliding strong RS material in the face of reasoned objections, I personally see no alternative but to restore the deleted passage. If you, Smatprt, wish to challenge it, please address your remarks to the talk page and find some consensus, rather than erasing that passage again.Nishidani (talk) 16:04, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Frisbee theory concerning Marlowe, Spencer etc is extreme fringe. No place in general summary or anywhere here. Smatprt (talk) 16:10, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)
The first edit summary runs:
  • 'deleting Frisbee due to wp:weight. Extreme fringe theories such as this don't belong in a general summary (or in the encyclopedia as per wp:note
The second edit summary runs:
  • 'Frisbee theory concerning Marlowe, Spencer etc is extreme fringe. No place in general summary or anywhere here.'
Between the two edit summaries and deletions, Tom asked Smatprt to clarify, and suggested the guidelines cited for the deletion did not support the claim in the edit summary. Not responding to Tom's request, but simply persisting in a contested deletion on an FA article, using almost the same words in the second edit summary (WP:IDIDNOTHEARTHAT)does not bode well.Nishidani (talk) 16:15, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Asked and answered in my second edit comment, which clarifies precisely what extreme Fringe I was talking about (Marlowe/spencer/etc) since you were mistaken. So are you now saying that the belief that Oxford wrote Marlowe and Spencer is a generally accepted Oxfordian view? If not, it really should not be there.Smatprt (talk) 16:25, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
No. You (a) went ahead and redeleted information without answering the query on the talk page (b) failed to address Tom's specific objection (c) in coming now to justify the deletion after your discourtesy, you have just mechanically repeated the substance of your two earlier edit summaries. That is not an 'answer', it is simply a mechanical reproduction of a personal belief used to delete reliably sourced information. Nishidani (talk) 16:28, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
As to Frisbee, there is no orthodoxy to Oxfordianism or any other SAQ theory. There is an alternative candidate, and then numerous subscribers to the candidate coming up with their multifarious angles. Until we have RS that determine major and minor themes, any attempt to assert a 'mainstream' Oxfordian perspective against a fringe Oxfordian perspective is WP:OR. In other words, we can't take your belief as to what is fringe or not fringe in a very fluid discursive world (Oxfordianism) as authoritative. I hope that's clear.Nishidani (talk) 16:33, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Wait, wot? Is Smatprt saying there is an orthodox Oxfordian view? I agree, but surely he's not referring to the one I know. (And the idea that Oxford wrote the great majority of other playwrights and poets is quite common in Oxfordism. In fact, when he was a mere child he helped translate Ovid for his uncle.)
I have also reverted the Anderson cite and material derived form him. First, he is wrong; there was no "regular annual publication of new Shakespeare plays," "newly augmented", "corrected", or otherwise; and secondly Anderson is not an acceptable reference for an FA article. He can be in the Oxfordian article, but not here. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:56, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Of course it's very difficult to determine what is fringe of fringe. Certainly the "e vere" anagram claims are commonplace. Percy Allen identifies them all the time. As for the claims that Oxford wrote the works of other poets too - that dates back to Looney himself, as we all know (he says Oxford wrote Golding, Munday and Lyly's works). And Ward claimed he wrote Gascoigne's works back in the 1920s. Beauclerk's 2010 book Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom airily declares in his usual sweeping manner that he wrote Lyly and Watson's works among others. So this type of claim is fairly standard within Oxfordian literature. Ideally we should summarise this tradition. The difficulty is in doing so without departing from the use of RS for every assertion. At the moment the reference to Frisbee in effect stands-in for this repeated Oxfordian trait, found in many writers. If Smatprt could resist the temptation to try to delete whatever he does not like, I'm sure we could come up with a sentence or two which refered to the "e ver(e)" anagram theories and to the tendency to add other achievements to Oxford's already impressive résumé without using just Frisbee to stand for that tendency. Paul B (talk) 16:58, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Smatprt, I think you are labouring under a misapprehension. This is a comprehensive description of an historical phenomenon, not a reflection of the state of the art in a fringe theory. In describing any candidate theories, we must take in the RS evidence for the whole period over which an alternative candidate has been discussed. We must not allow the historical tour d'horizon to be unbalanced by recent fads or changes in opinion.(WP:Recentism) Nishidani (talk) 17:20, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Nishidani, are you saying that more informed recent scholarship should be given the same weight as scholarship 80 years old or more ?? For example EK Chambers dating scheme versus the dates proposed by more recent (and completely orthodox) scholars of Shakespeare ??--Rogala (talk) 18:33, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
You are assuming that Oxfordian scholarship follows some sort of logical progress involving increased knowledge. That's not the case. It derives from creative interpretation of literature to find secret signs. I suggest that you read Beauclerk's book, published just last year. According to your logic this should be the most advanced "scholarship" on the topic. Beauclerk's dating of plays derives from his personal viewpoint. Then of course we have the recent "scholarship" of Streitz, who dates The Tempest after 1604, because according to him, Oxford is still alive. The same applies to Ogburn, Anderson, Sobran etc. There is no connection to progress of knowledge in normal scholarship. For example, you can reasonably say that modern "conventional" scholarship has made definite advances in the science of attribution, which gives us good evidence about which bits of The Two Noble Kinsmen, for example, were written by Fletcher and which by Shakespeare. I can see no discernable way of saying that about Oxfordian literature at all. In any case, who decides what is "orthodox" and what isn't? There's no Pope. The fact also remains we are supposed to be giving an account of the whole history of a tradition. Paul B (talk) 18:44, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
In addition to Paul's note, I would clarify that we write about the alternative candidates according to what the predominantly academic, RS sources that treat this material say. Oxfordianism, secondly, is not 'scholarship' in the sense that there is no set of heuristic principles underwritten by all Oxfordians to determine what can and cannot be hypothesized, asserted or claimed. Oxfordianism is a congeries of individuals who subscribe to the theory de Vere is the man, and after that, each writer develops his own opinion. That is one further reason why, to cover the topic, we must resort to high quality RS, rather than use the eclectic, repetitive, infra-competitive, material thrown out year in year out by scribblers and websites, following which would be a recipé for expositive chaos.Nishidani (talk) 19:35, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Oxfordian theory section

I speak for no one but myself, but I am voluntarily withdrawing from editing this page for a week or so several reasons, among them these two:

1. To cut down on the constant disruption and argument and attempt to avoid the tedious dispute resolution process that looms inevitably in the future if things continue as they are going, with all the attendant topic bans and restrictions that go along with it; and

2. To attempt to learn, once and for all, exactly what is considered to be an accurate and fair summary of the Oxfordian case.

After a week or so I will return and hopefully learn what a neutral, comprehensive, and fair treatment looks like, and will make my objections--if any--known than. I would like to remind all editors of the guidelines for editing this page, as well as remind everyone that this is how the page looked like before I got here. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:19, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

I will see if I have some time this weekend or next to work on the article as Tom proposes. Not sure how comprehensive a summary can be, but it will certainly mirror that of the other summaries. Smatprt (talk) 14:40, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
To me, a base of the disagreement is sources. If no anti-Stratfordian is qualified to write on Shakespeare, then either, 1) the "authorship" subject does not exist, or 2) the "experts" need to bring up the fact that the subject does exist but that anyone who believes in the subject has been standing too close to a cold-fusion plant reactor. I do not really have an answer to this problem, but agreement on sources seems to be where improvements to the authorship article will begin. (modified) Fotoguzzi (talk) 20:50, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Some trivia arising from a recent edit to the Oxford section: The original "The current leading candidate" broke the rule that an article should not refer to times like "current" or "recently" because the meaning of that text will be different in a year, and for some items it may be important to know what period "current" was referring to (instead, text like "As of December 2011" is recommended, see {{As of}}). That general rule is not sufficiently important in this case to justify the ugly "As of..." formality, but the new text ("Today's leading candidate") is not an improvement—sorry, I don't have a good suggestion (perhaps "In 2011, the leading candidate"?). Another point is that, per standard style, there is no space around an em dash. Johnuniq (talk) 06:21, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for those notes. I appreciate the input. I've now made an initial attempt to respond to Tom's request at the top of this thread. It's a bit rough, but its a start at at least getting the basic topics that most Oxfordians find important covered in a summary style format. To trade off for space, I've deleted some overly detailed sections that suffered from severe weight issues. I'll be adding additional refs over the next week or so. I also deleted several qualifiers and criticisms, as none of the other summaries contained anything like them. I look forward to hearing comments and suggestions. Smatprt (talk) 07:57, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
How about, "Since he was nominated in the 1920s, Oxford has been the leading candidate ..." or something along those lines. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:30, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I see I should have actually checked the article before posting! Tom Reedy (talk) 16:16, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Johnuniq changed Tom's header to this section to make it more generic ("Oxfordian case"), but that made Tom's "you" above completely mysterious to me ("what you consider to be an accurate and fair summary", "what a neutral, comprehensive, and fair treatment looks like to you"). And Smatprt's response, as if Tom was addressing him, made even less sense. I just discovered from the History that Tom was addressing him. People who don't watch this page obsessively should be able to understand what's going on, so I've reinstated the original header. Please just change it back if you don't agree, John, or whoever else. Bishonen | talk 21:39, 16 December 2011 (UTC).
    • Creating a discussion section header that is directed at a particular editor, and his (apparent) cohorts, suggests some sort of mob mentality: there's a group out there ganging up with someone leading that must be addressed as such. To change this header, and give this group a label, may depersonalize it, but it also makes it clear that a group is recognized and states what the assumed alignment of this group is ('Oxfordianism'). Besides the 'us against them' this sets up, it further degrades the principles and ideals we'd all prefer to be operating under when editing this (or any other) page on Wikipedia. It suggests that all those who want to see a balanced article--one that gives readers, researchers, and scholars a good chance to form their own opinions on a topic--have a 'point of view' when they come to the editing effort (that they are all 'Oxfordians'). It further suggests that all those who take the contrary view to William Shaksper having written the works ascribed to 'Shakespeare' are also 'Oxfordians'; that by being 'Anti-Stratfordian' one is necessarily 'Oxfordian'. I will not speak for the appropriateness of this label when applied to Smatprt, only to say that I myself would prefer that you take care in applying such labels. Artaxerxes (talk) 13:48, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
Your alarm is unwarranted. In fact all editors do have a point of view; the trick is to learn how to edit neutrally. Since all editors are human it is no surprise that they often clash on exactly how to do edit neutrally on a page like this while maintaining proper weight (which is often confused with "fairness"). I titled the section such because I wanted to communicate directly with him while informing other editors of my intention concerning this article. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:07, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
I've returned the heading to the more generic title earlier adopted by Johnuniq. My basic reason is that the old heading breaks the cardinal rule - discuss the edits, not the editor, and continues the us and them feeling of this talk page. If Tom wants to leave a message for me, he should use my talk page as he has in the past. If he wants to inform other editors, he knows how to do that too. Addressing a section to one editor, and then adding 'et al', was just odd all the way around. Smatprt (talk) 05:33, 18 December 2011 (UTC)


Text as it now appears in the lede:

"Shakespeare's authorship was first questioned in the middle of the 19th century,"

Proposed edit posted here for discussion:

"The Shakespeare authorship question—and resulting controversy—began to take shape publicly with appearance of books challenging the traditional view, and proposing alternate authors, in the middle of the 19th century.[1]"

The remainder of the sentence, what now continues after the comma above, might then shift to the beginning of the next sentence. Because this part of the sentence introduces a new topic area, discussion of this change might best be handled separately from this proposed edit. The proposed edit above has been reverted for grammar and reference reasons. The reference has been truncated as it could not be pulled in its entirety from the revert edit subpage.

Shakespeare's authorship was first questioned in the middle of the 19th century, when adulation of Shakespeare as the greatest writer of all time had become widespread.[2] Shakespeare's biography, particularly his humble origins and obscure life, seemed incompatible with his poetic eminence and his reputation for genius,[3] arousing suspicion that Shakespeare might not have written the works attributed to him.[4] The controversy has since spawned a vast body of literature,[5] and more than 70 authorship candidates have been proposed,[6] including Francis Bacon, the 6th Earl of Derby, Christopher Marlowe, and the 17th Earl of Oxford.[7] Artaxerxes (talk) 21:37, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

(Moving from above. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:57, 18 December 2011 (UTC))

  • controversy. It is not a controversy except for those who propose it, so this usage is tilted to one side. In our article's historical section we speak of 'open dissent' with the traditional view, which is a neat succinct way of saying this.
  • 'take shape publicly' insinuates with a strong implicit connotation that it had a private dimension (long) before the theory was enunciated, which is again the Oxfordian position, and not NPOV.
  • 'with appearance' is solecistic.Nishidani (talk) 10:32, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • The word 'controversy' is used in the same context later in the lede: "The controversy has since spawned a vast body of literature."
  • In the main body of the article, under the header 'Open dissent and the first alternative candidate the wording is "Shakespeare's authorship was first openly questioned in the pages of . ." (as an apparently already-approved alternative to the term used in the lede, 'first questioned') Artaxerxes (talk) 18:12, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
What you need to do is to show us why your phrasing is better than what was there before: "Shakespeare's authorship was first questioned in the middle of the 19th century," when it doesn't add any new information, presents it clumsily and inefficiently, and uses a non-reliable source from a promotional web site.
As to your second point about the phrase "first openly questioned", we know that Delia Bacon was giving lectures about her theories a few years before any published appearance of the theory and that Hart probably attended one, hence his garbled version in his 1848 book, which is the reason for the wording in that section. However, the lede is broad enough so that it includes those early, non-published rumblings as well as the published material, and there is absolutely no evidence for anything earlier than the mid-19 century and it's no good guessing. This article, as I wrote earlier, reflects what actually happened, not some interpretations of what might have happened. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:50, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
How can we know all the ways it might have been 'questioned'? Or show how that might have launched the 'Shakespeare authorship question'? That it's 'clumsily and inefficiently' presented you might add to the list of reasons why it should be changed (though they were not my concern, nor do I know why the existing phrasing was used). I was not aware it used 'a non-reliable source from a promotional web site.' Are you perhaps mixing the existing text with my proposed edit? I have since offered a list of references used in the same context in the main body of the article which show: a) related references have already been approved; and, b) where to find them. Artaxerxes (talk) 22:09, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Please stop inserting your responses in the middel of other editors' text. Others need to follow the discussion. Tom Reedy (talk) 23:05, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't know who has been asking for an earlier frame of reference in the lede, or when they might have asked. That is not a part of my proposal. As it is also my interest to reflect 'what actually happened', I don't believe we can know all the times and ways something might have been questioned. 'Openly questioned', maybe, 'publicly questioned' might work. It needs to be qualified in some like manner in order for it to reflect 'what actually happened.' Artaxerxes (talk) 22:09, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
So you mean we need something along the lines of, "As far as we know ..."? Wot? Tom Reedy (talk) 22:35, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
There is something rank in that statement or dense remark about 'reflecting 'what actually happened' (wie es eigentlich gewesen). Ranke said determining wot happened was a matter of archival evidence, not speculative divagations on what might have happened. One cannot 'mirror' a non-existent hypothetical. RS refer to the state of knowledge of archival research and analysis, not to lucubrations over what might have happened but hasn't been shown to be empirically verifiable. Very confusing. Vere-y confused.Nishidani (talk) 22:47, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  1. Joseph C. Hart's The Romance of Yachting (1848)
  2. Dr. Robert W. Jameson published "Who Wrote Shakespeare" anonymously in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal
  3. 1856 Delia Bacon's unsigned article "William Shakspeare and His Plays; An Enquiry Concerning Them" Putnam's Magazine.[8]
  4. Since 1845, Bacon . . [9]
  5. William Henry Smith pamphlet published September 1856 (Was Lord Bacon the Author of Shakspeare's Plays? A Letter to Lord Ellesmere).[10]
  6. Delia Bacon book The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded[11] (1857)
  7. Judge Nathaniel Holmes of Kentucky published 600-page The Authorship of Shakespeare[12] "ten years later" Artaxerxes (talk) 16:20, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Would you please clarify the purpose of this list? Tom Reedy (talk) 19:28, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
As my edit was reverted for referencing and grammar, I hereby offer a list of references used in the same context in the main body of the article. These show: a) that related references have already been approved; and, b) where to find them. Sources and references used in the body of the article itself include [those above]. Artaxerxes (talk) 22:09, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
You are mistaken. The works on that list are referred to, but they are not used as references. The articles also refers to Ogburn's door stop, but it is not used as a reference. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:40, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Hoping grammar issue might be addressed. Artaxerxes (talk) 16:29, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

What specific grammar issue are you referring to, and would you please follow standard formatting so we can make sense of your posts?
Please see my response to this above (just below the list of already-approved references). Thank you. Artaxerxes (talk) 22:09, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
No, you need to put your answers in order so that others can follow the discussion. I have moved your response below this. Tom Reedy (talk)
I'm not clear yet on what the grammar issue was exactly, nor have I yet seen any proposed improvements to my text in terms of grammar. To say the use of "'with appearance' is solecistic" doesn't help (most of us) very much, and may be a bit too fine a criticism for this purpose. Artaxerxes (talk) 22:09, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
"Solecistic" merely means non-standard. It is not our job to improve your edit; in fact we objected to your edit on the grounds that it is inferior to the materiel it is intended to replace, and it is incumbent upon you to demonstrate why yours should be accepted. I have already given my reasons above.
And please stop inserting your comments into other editors' posts. Tom Reedy (talk) 23:05, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Private questioning cannot be verified, and whatever may have occurred cannot be shown to have triggered public investigation, discussion, or debate into/of the 'question'. Anyone behind the scenes on authorship--putatively--would not have needed to question it. Artaxerxes (talk) 16:29, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure what point you are making. Since private questioning cannot be verified, we can't refer to it. The issue is whether or not we should have a passage about the supposed secret signs and hints which are to be found absolutely everywhere in Elizabethan literature according to anti-Strats. In fact, contrary to Smatprt's assertion, this material has been in the article. It's there with the Peacham reference (cut out of the Oxford section by Smatprt!). I don't see a problem with a sentence stating that these secret signs started to be discovered in the late 19th century. This type of argument is not present in Bacon, Smith or Hart. It appears in later writers looking for 'proof'. Likewise it's not a significant feature of Looney's work. It's appropriated by his followers from the Baconian tradition. In other words we can place it in the historiography of anti-Stratism. Paul B (talk) 17:30, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
I can't parse the meaning either, not the relevance of the list of sources used in the article. It would help if you (Artaxerxes) would write less cryptically and plainly state your point instead of relying upon us to make the connections. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:50, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Please, Artaxerxes, would you stop engaging in the talk page discussion by rewriting your original post in this section. It makes it very difficult to actually follow a debate as such. It's not appropriate to add something like, "as far as we know there was no debate..". It's kind of like saying, "as far as we know Abraham Lincoln was never accused of being a child molestor". Of course we can't know whether or not people, in conversation, may have said all sorts of things, but to add the suggestion creates a kind of spectral history of what may have happened: "as far as we know Cubism was invented by Braque and Picasso"; "as far as we know T.S. Eliot wrote The Waste Land".; "as far as we know Barack Obama was born in Hawaii". Paul B (talk) 12:09, 20 December 2011 (UTC)


  1. ^ "[1]
  2. ^ Taylor 1989, p. 167: By 1840, admiration for Shakespeare throughout Europe had become such that Thomas Carlyle "could say without hyperbole" that "'Shakspeare is the chief of all Poets hitherto; the greatest intellect who, in our recorded world, has left record of himself in the way of literature.'"
  3. ^ Shapiro 2010, pp. 87–8 (77–8).
  4. ^ Bate 2002, p. 106.
  5. ^ Shapiro 2010, p. 317 (281).
  6. ^ Gross 2010, p. 39.
  7. ^ Shapiro 2010, pp. 2–3 (4); McCrea 2005, p. 13.
  8. ^ Wadsworth 1958, pp. 21–3, 29.
  9. ^ Shapiro 2010, pp. 106–9 (95–7).
  10. ^ Shapiro 2010, pp. 119–20 (105–6).
  11. ^ McCrea 2005, p. 13.
  12. ^ Halliday 1957, p. 176.

Discussion of above proposal

I propose that we wait until Smatprt returns from his block before hashing it out, since he is one of the principals arguing for such a change. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:02, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. Nishidani (talk) 22:34, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
It appears my proposal is moot. Would it be too much to ask the participants to format their responses properly so that we can make sense of them? Tom Reedy (talk) 19:26, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
If an outline of proper format for discussion and discussion responses--a template, perhaps--exists somewhere, perhaps we could be offered a link to it so we all have a better chance of doing better in this regard. Artaxerxes (talk) 15:44, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
WP:TALKPAGE. Be sure to read the "see also"s near the bottom. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:23, 20 December 2011 (UTC)


Article needs to be moved to Shakespeare authorship fringe theories or something with a similar title. The current title implies that there IS as serious question among Shakespearean scholars as to who wrote the plays, which there is not, and as such the title violates WP:FRINGE. Gregcaletta (talk) 05:27, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

This has already been discussed, following the last time you proposed this move (Talk:Shakespeare_authorship_question/Archive_25#proposed_move). Paul B (talk) 10:15, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Bill Bryson

The inclusion of this book was in good faith. But the article has quite stringent RS criteria which probably exclude its appositeness. I support Alan and Paul's reverts of attempts to include it. One must be careful here not to fling the gates open to anything that might turn out to be a Trojan horse. Everything relevant to Shakespeare in Bryson can be found in scholarly sources, which he himself draws on.Nishidani (talk) 13:00, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The list of references used, which link from footnotes in the Harvard system. It's not a "see also" section. Bryson is very dismissive of SAQ theories, so exclusion is not a violation of NPOV. There are so many books on Shakespeare that there's no need for such additions. Paul B (talk) 13:16, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I just now looked at the page. I don't understand Jdkag's comment about "publicity surrounding the issue" and "Bryson's best selling book is a prime example of the publicity." Does he think the book is about the SAQ? Tom Reedy (talk) 13:27, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
There's a short section of the book on the topic. Paul B (talk) 13:28, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Article review

Thank you, Smatprt, for focusing on this. (Seeing your list of revisions on the history page for the article, I assume by reviewing the article itself I'm reviewing your 'initial attempt'.):
  1. I wonder how 'and Shakespeare's authorship was not questioned during his lifetime or for centuries after his death' in the intro might be presented to make room for those who made seemingly veiled and revealing comments during and around the time of the writing of these works--and early notable questions raised (like Adams and Jefferson reportedly visiting Stratford-Upon-Avon and wondering at the lack of any substantial indication of legacy). Just inserting a word such as 'publicly' or 'officially' or 'formally'--or even 'unrecognized'--before 'questioned' might help.
  2. I see no mention of 'group theory' of authorship--a growing view, even among Stratfordians(?)--or how it might address/answer concerns regarding individual candidates.
  3. With his death came a will which mentioned no literary works; this might be briefly mentioned (it tends to be used more often than the monumental sack of grain to depreciate the Stratford argument).
  4. When introducing Looney, it might briefly be explained why he was uncomfortable with the official story--as an English teacher teaching these works, finding it hard to square with official biography--and describe the technique he used to identify an alternative candidate (his major and minor criteria for authorship derived from the works).
  5. Can it really be said, with support, that the Ogburns wrote their book 'To try to revive flagging interest in Oxford'? Maybe they wrote it simply to advance the argument without regard to then-current interest levels. If we don't actually know their motives, or can't support any such knowledge, is suggestion of motive best left out?
  6. So many of the references are to Shapiro, a recognized supporter of the Stratford story. Maybe this has all been thrashed out sufficiently--in terms of quality of sources, etc.--and maybe he's the best there is on supporting key points, but someone so identified with one side of the argument might be heard from less in an article that needs to be so sensitive to POV issues. Artaxerxes (talk) 16:00, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
The seemingly veiled comments exist entirely in the mind of authorship theorists. If there was some evidence that Adams and Jefferson had authorship doubts then they might be included. I expect there isn't or we would have heard about it. Expecting to find Shakespeare magically visible in Stratford is like looking through Canterbury shoeshops in search of Marlowe. Your points about Looney are valid, but they are already discussed in the Oxford page. A sentence might be added here. Shapiro is a reliable source by Wikipedia's standards. I think it was he who made the flagging interest statement, but can't recall his exact terminology. Paul B (talk) 17:48, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
'After the war, Adams was appointed the first US minister to England. In the spring of 1786, he and Thomas Jefferson took a six-day tour of the English countryside that included a disappointing stop at Shakespeare’s birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon. The house was “as small and mean as you can conceive,” wrote Adams in his diary. “There is nothing preserved of this great genius... which might inform us what education, what company, what accident turned his mind to letters and drama.”' fromShakespeare in American Life: John Adams. 'Our presidents have always loved Shakespeare. In April 1786, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson visited Shakespeare's birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon. "They shew us an old Wooden Chair in the Chimney corner, where He sat," Adams wrote in his diary. "We cutt off a Chip according to Custom." Adams lamented that "[t]here is nothing preserved this great Genius," with no apparent recognition that more might have been preserved if tourists had not taken away chips of the fixtures.' from "Slate". 'In April 1786, two American diplomats by the names of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson stopped for a night in Stratford-on-Avon; two tourists visiting the small town that was becoming famous as the birthplace of the Bard of Avon. David Garrick's Shakespeare Jubilee Celebration had been staged there seventeen years earlier. John Adams made the following entry in his diary: "There is nothing preserved of this great genius which is worth knowing -nothing which might inform us what education, what company, what accident turned his mind to letters and drama. His name is not even on his gravestone. An ill-sculptured head is set up by his wife by the side of his grave in the church."' from an (I just discovered) blocked site--but which seems to have the more complete quote.Artaxerxes (talk) 19:20, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, as I thought, there is no doubt, just disappointment that nothing has been preserved and that his house is, apparently, small (!). As I said, it's about as meaningful as expecting to find evidence of to "inform" you of genius by visiting Marlowe's father's shoeshop, or Jonson's family's bricklaying business. Paul B (talk) 19:54, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

A few responses to Artaxerxes:

  1. I agree. The line in the lead should agree with the longer history article, which states correctly that doubters believe certain literary allusions as far back as the 1590s refer to such doubts.
    Note: I've made an addition of one line to explain the earlier doubts, citing to mainstream scholars. Let me know what you think.
    • While many authorship skeptics believe that allusions to a hidden author were made as early as the 1590's,[4] according to orthodox scholars George McMichael and Edward Glenn, the first direct doubts about Shakespearean authorship arose in the 18th century, in various satirical and allegorical works. [5] Smatprt (talk) 06:30, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
  2. I've made this same comment before, which has never been answered. I suggest you write a brief section on the 'group theory' and its variants. The article is woefully inadequate without it.
  3. this information is in this section of the article already: If you have a suggestion for a wording change, by all means, speak up (or just make an edit).
  4. Looney already has the largest single paragraph. Any more would throw the weight off even more. I think further detail belongs in the main Oxfordian article, not here. But again, if you would like to change the wording, feel free.
  5. Whoever wrote it (the flagging part), its clearly an opinion being stated as fact. I agree we shouldn't look into a crystal ball to determine the 'motive' of a particular source. I would support removing that bit.
  6. Agree that the article relies on one source (Shapiro) for too much. Anderson and Ogburn should be sources, but have been removed, which is odd since Wikipedia rules allow for proponents of a theory to be quoted as far as what they believe, and given their works were published by mainstream publishers and reviewed by all the major news outlets.Smatprt (talk) 05:53, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Marking the advent of the authorship question/controversy matters on the public/not private level: who can really say what questioning went on privately, noted in correspondence or diaries, shared between people at home or at the tavern (exchanges we might become aware of somehow in future). What's needed here is a date, or rough time period, when the public were given (verifiably-) published works that made them aware of the issue/question with (hopefully) material that might fuel their own curiosity or investigation. Artaxerxes (talk) 17:37, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
We try to stick with verifiable, historical facts, as represented in reliable sources, not as interpreted by fringe promotional sources. See WP:PARITY, WP:WEIGHT, and WP:SPS. In an article such as this, about a fringe theory that has been judged to meet the criteria to be a featured article, (well-written: its prose is engaging, even brilliant, and of a professional standard; (b) comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details and places the subject in context; (c) well-researched: it is a thorough and representative survey of the relevant literature. Claims are verifiable against high-quality reliable sources and are supported by inline citations where appropriate; (d) neutral: it presents views fairly and without bias; and (e) stable: it is not subject to ongoing edit wars and its content does not change significantly from day to day, except in response to the featured article process), and which also happens to be under ArbCom sanctions, it is not acceptable to merely announce an intention to make a substantive change in the article, whether in the lede or some other section, and then make the edit. Consensus must be gained on the talk page before doing so.
As the policy of requiring edits be brought first to the discussion page for general agreement seems to apply differently to different editors (or types of edits), perhaps it would be helpful to those who want to contribute to this page to know to whom (or when/how) this policy strictly applies. Artaxerxes (talk) 15:32, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Any substantive or controversial change to a WP:Featured article, especially one under WP:Sanctions, should be brought to the talk page before being introduced to the article, regardless of who the editor is. "General agreement" is not enough to incorporate the edit; it must also meet the standards of sourcing, weight, POV, etc. Of course, the practicality is that no edit that did not meet the relevant criteria would garner general agreement on an article so closely watched by editors and admins as this one. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:33, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
As far as bringing the SAQ article in conformity with the history page, if anything the influence should be in the opposite direction. This is an FA article; the history page is not even rated as a good article. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:29, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
In the face of endless complaints that the Oxfordian view is misrepresented, Tom proposed a 'period of grace', intimating that all editors responsible for the FA article hold off to allow the Oxfordian section ('an actual fair and neutral summary of the Oxfordan case') to be reviewed minutely by yourself and, I assume, others who share your views, and reedited comprehensively to the point where you would all be satisfied.
To judge by the quiet that ensued, tacitly all editors took note, and accepted this as a reasonable way to avoid edit-warring, and to resolve once and for all any chronic disagreements on the way the de Veran material has been presented. I for one was not happy with Tom's idea, but didn't object.
That was Dec 4. It is now Dec 18. Two weeks of absolute freedom to recast the Oxford section, without disturbance, interference or 'harassment'. What is the result?
(a)Minute tweaks to the Oxford section, that suggest you have no intent of substantively challenging the neutrality or comprehensiveness of the FA-approved section, as asked to do.
(b)A major Oxfordian alteration to the lead, Oxfordian because the point is Oxfordian not, for example, characteristic of Marlovian or Derbyite theory, from an RS that lags some 60 years behind contemporary scholarship. You have over the years consistently confused the Oxfordian case with the far more complex sceptic tradition.
(c)A long talk note after you were twice reverted for (b)
(d)A challenge to one of the basic RS, representing the cutting edge of modern scholarship, with the suggestion poor, non-scholarly sources, decidedly amateurish compilations by Oxfordian paladins resturn to the article, on the grounds that here the principle that we restrict sourcing to works thought significant by experts working in a peer-review academic milieu should be cancelled, in favour of any fringe source that is noticed in newspapers. Do or allow that, and the whole FA quality of the article will collapse, as WP:Fringe books and pamphlets flood back in to create the havoc of the earlier article.
In short, you ignored the generous remit Tom offered, twiddled a bit, and then started to edit the whole article, challenging the austere principles which got it past FA status. The effect was an edit-war, which hasn't happened here for a year, coinciding by the way with your suspension.
In my view, you've had double the offered time, done nothing requested, and simply returned to a generic challenge of the whole FA process and principles by a provocative destabilization of the article itself. You had your chance to fix the section Oxfordians complained about, and chose to ignore it, in favour of a rewrite of the whole article.Nishidani (talk) 10:01, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
While I share your dismay with the disappointing results of the Oxfordian makeover (which deleted any mention of the Prince Tudor theory, about which an entire Hollywood movie was made), neither Smatprt nor any other editor is restricted to editing a certain section of the article, but he is obliged to follow the procedures for FA articles and the arbitration sanctions, just like every other editor. As far as I know, those requirements will never expire. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:37, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Of course not. He can edit wherever. I thought the idea was for him to rewrite that section with a free hand, and no challenge for a week or two, and implicit in that was that if he opted for this, the condition of exceptional liberty to write unchallenged there would not carry over for edits he might in the meantime do to other sections of the page. He more or less inverted the premise, and went elsewhere instead of thoroughly overhauling an area where everyone tacitly promised to stay away from, something that is never allowed to any editor to my recall. It's a rerun of the SAQ split. He created a copy to rewrite for himself, and one for other editors, and then didn't do any work on his own page, but waited till others had thoroughly overhauled their copy, and then tried to block it. That suggests to me that he is more comfortably with conflictual editing, than writing to a page according to his own lights, on his own. I may be wrong, of course.Nishidani (talk) 22:34, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
I opened discussion to the broader page based upon my initial read of the offer to step back for a while. I now see, upon more careful reading, the offer was more focused. To offer an editor such an opportunity, then criticize his effort, might end up looking like a trap in future cases where such an offer might be extended. Artaxerxes (talk) 16:36, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
No editor is offered a freehand without prospect of future criticism. To offer a temporary freehand and then to comment and criticise is not to create a trap. Of course if an editor demands that their hand remain the only one free, then they create their own trap. Paul B (talk) 18:28, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Wow - what a series of out and out fabrications. To respond for the record:

  • Tom Reedy states "the Oxfordian makeover (which deleted any mention of the Prince Tudor theory, about which an entire Hollywood movie was made)" - I'm sorry, but I have to be blunt here: this is an outright lie misrepresentation. The current Paragraph 5 states "Another motivation given is the politically explosive "Prince Tudor theory" that the youthful Oxford was Queen Elizabeth's lover; according to this theory, Oxford dedicated Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, and the Sonnets to their son, England's rightful Tudor Prince Henry Wriothesley, who was raised as the 3rd Earl of Southampton".
  • Nishidani states "In short, you ignored the generous remit Tom offered, twiddled a bit, and then started to edit the whole article". Again, utter nonsense. Nishidani repeatedly accuses me of editing the "whole article" when in actuality I made one edit to the rest of the article. ONE. ONE. The whole article???? I made 25 edits to the Oxford section, and ONE edit to the rest of the article. Yet Nishidani characterizes this work as "You had your chance to fix the section Oxfordians complained about, and chose to ignore it, in favour of a rewrite of the whole article." Complete rewrite of the whole article? One edit??? Do you just make this stuff up???
  • Nishidani (again) misrepresents my work on this article ("and then didn't do any work on his own page"), and, as usual, makes a series of unproven accusations about my motivation and abilities. So what did I add to the Oxfordian section? His connection to the Blackfriars Theatre, his work as a producer of court entertainments, his relationships with the patrons of the First Folio, Southampton, and the contemporary playwrights of Shakespeare's day. All these details were missing. Also missing was any mention of the discovery of his Bible and the scholarly work around it. These obvious omissions resulted in a shoddy and incomplete section. Did I throw it all out and start over? Of course not. I merely filled in the (many) blanks, keeping much of your earlier work.
  • Nishidani states I left "A long talk note after you were twice reverted" - Another lie misrepresentation. I left my (short) talk note regarding the edit in question at 6:30pm.[4] The reversions came AFTER I left my talk page comments. First revert was at 6:34pm and the second at 8:38pm. This kind of obfuscation is typical of Nishidani's attack mode style.

I would request that both Tom and Nishidani retract their statements and refrain from misrepresenting other editors in the future.Smatprt (talk) 19:10, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

(b)Editors and admins alike can suffer from imprecise recall, or misconstrue. To interpret such events as 'lying', when many other explanations are feasible, is to violate WP:AGF, so it is pointless to dignify this with a serious response, since, being in your view, a liar any answer I might make will only illustrate some penchant for tendentious mendacity. Nishidani (talk) 20:24, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, that is a clever way to avoid answering. I have withdrawn the use of "lie". So now feel free to explain these misrepresentations. Smatprt (talk) 21:04, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
(c)You were given total liberty to write the page on SAQ as you saw it, without hindrance. You made, from memory (fallible) 122 edits, mostly minor, negligible tweaks - only some 60 odd counted as significant, if minor textual adjustments. I think the version Tom, I and then Paul worked on required 1400 individual edits over 5 months. 62 edits versus 1400 is to me an index of our respective commitments to wikipedia. It was a thorough quality RS based overhaul of the whole argument's history, required extensive reading and close verbal control of the text's fidelity to unimpeachable sources. Put it this way, you had a nice summer. Tom and I missed a lot of sunlight and leisure from April to October to get a job done. With a little help from friends it was designated an FA article. You spent far more energy challenging our work, than in doing your own, which was designed to compete with it. 'didn't do any work on his page' refers to your SAQ draft, which never really got off from being a copy-and-paste version of the collective mess we had when the split was made in April 2010.Nishidani (talk) 20:24, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
(d)Is all of this concentration on I said this, he said that, in the past productive of page improvement? We can niggle off the edges of the sun, sparrowfashion, to kingdom come. But rather than interact, we should be reading books, finding material appropriate to articles and editing it in, with such regard for quality, that temptations we all have to fill these talk pages with endless quillets of protest never get past go. Try editing to the quality an FA article demands. If it passes muster, it will find everyone's approval. It's nigh New Year's Eve, and as good a time as any, apart from auguries to all for a productive one, to make some serious resolutions, and stick by them.Nishidani (talk) 20:24, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Your recollection is again quite faulty. You are making up numbers and mis-categorising my edits, as usual. If anyone want to compare and see the ACTUAL impact of my edits, here is diff between the old version and my "negligible" version:Old Version at 150,000 bytes vs my "barely tweaked" version which reduced the article to 82K!!!. To continue to charaterize the cutting of the article by half, and the hundreds if not thousands of changes therein, is simply further evidence of the tactics being used here.Smatprt (talk) 21:02, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
As long as you keep writing comments that discuss the editor and not the edit, I feel obliged to respond. Once you stop attacking me, then I can stop defending myself.Smatprt (talk) 21:02, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
So I take it, in spite of being shown your errors and the results of your faulty memory, you refuse to withdraw your misrepresentations and mistaken comments? Smatprt (talk) 21:02, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
You created a separate page for us and worked on your own the sandbox article (Talk:Shakespeare_authorship_question/sandbox_draft1) from 15:06, 26 April 2010. The history of that page, generously read shows not 120 (my memory refers to an earlier version when both I and Tom made a few edits) but even fewer. Let's give you an extra month. As Tom and I did our 1400 edits, the page history shows that from 26 April to 2 November, there were 101 edits, several by other users, on your sandbox page, mostly fiddley tweaks to the old page which had been produced collectively. That is what I was referring to.‎ You really should try to have a happier New Year.Nishidani (talk) 23:20, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
As I said in a similar context, and it will be a NYResolution. No engagements with the diva-dame!, even where a seductive overture is made! Besides, watching the gore on Centurion, playing on a boobtube nearby, is more entertaining.Nishidani (talk) 21:24, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Two things:

  1. I see now why I missed the Prince Tudor reference: it's tucked away as a possible explanation of Oxford's use of a pseudonym and them immediately followed by other material concerning Oxford's death. Before 2 Dec, when you rolled out 15 or so edits in one fell swoop, the Oxford section contained a sentence explaining Prince Tudor II that appeared at the end of the section (Jr.?), which you cut with the edit summary of "removing PT2 wp:weight, which belong in OT and PT articles. Too much detail for this wp:summary." After you were reverted, you again cut the material, this time with the summary of "cutting weight of PT by half. again - extended detail needs to go into main article, not here." You then capped the section by moving material to the end, which is why I didn't catch it with my cursory glance. Since my comment specified the theory that the movie was based on, my observation stands. Although I did miss the remnant of the theory still in the section, what is left is the "mainstream" Oxfordian version of the PT theory, not the version covered in the movie, which is now arguably the more well-known. I am of the opinion that it should be added back, since it has been met with a warm reception amongst Oxfordians, enough so that even those opposed to it vociferously applauded the movie when it was released.
  2. Why in the hell is anybody still arguing about the separate competing versions of the article from more than a year ago? Have we not moved on? Tom Reedy (talk) 03:19, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Sir Thomas More fragment

The Oxford University Press has added the play Sir Tomas More to its works of Shakespeare, based on three pages of manuscript that are said to be in Shakespeare's handwriting. It seems that if Shakespeare actually wrote those pages, then a huge hole would be made in the argument of the anti-Stratfordians. It seems am omission to me that the manuscript is not mentioned in this article. The article about the play does mention the possible connection to Shakespeare, but the only specifics provided concern stylistic similarities with other plays attributed to Shakespeare. I don't have the expertise to do so, but I think it would be useful if someone addressed the Sir Thomas More manuscript in this article. - Arnold Rothstein1920 —Preceding undated comment added 12:50, 20 December 2011 (UTC).

You're right that it's a significant argument, but the details are very complex, and would be difficult to discuss properly here. There is currently an attempt to improve coverage on this issue on the page about the play and the page about Shakespeare's handwriting. The evidence is based on literary and writing style. The former is not conclusive for the SAQ debate, since the pages could have been written by the 'true' author. Of course, if proven to be Shakespeare on these grounds, it might then exclude candidates such as Bacon and Oxford whose handwriting is known. The 'professional' context (revision and collaboration) is also alien to most SAQ theories, which envisage a lone genius perfecting his work then passing it down to mere lackeys. But not all the theories are like that. There was an attempt to use the pages as part of the case for Derby. Arthur Walsh Titherley tried to prove that the handwriting was his, but it's not generally an important issue in SAQ literature or in rebuttals. Paul B (talk) 22:06, 20 December 2011 (UTC)


A recent edit replaced File:Poet-ape1616.JPG with a box showing a modern version of the text. Is that an improvement? It might be my lack of imagination, but the more legible text does not seem persuasive to me, and the box is yucky looking compared with the original. I think the main reason for the image is to help produce an attractive page with points of interest, and while it is vaguely interesting to be able to more easily read the poem, viewing and reading the original is far more attractive and interesting to me. If there is a message in the text so it needs to be presented more legibly, that can be done on another article devoted to presenting the case—however, there would need to be a reliable secondary source making the connection (it's WP:SYNTH to insert a poem in the expectation that a reader would make some inference). Johnuniq (talk) 00:07, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't understand. Are you saying that making something more legible is not an improvement? This issue was raised during the building of the main William Shakespeare article, where it was decided that quotes and the like should be legible and in a standard blue box. If I recall correctly, I believe someone said words to the effect that this isn't an article about period printing examples, or elizabethan spelling, and that we expect readers to be able to actually read the poems or play quotes that we include. I would support the change for all such quotes. As to yucky looking, it's funny - I find the overuse of graphics like the original kind of yucky. But that is just personal preference. For me, the importance here is legibility.Smatprt (talk) 01:31, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Johnuniq's point—-which I agree with—-is that the cutline explains the reason the poem is included in the article; reproducing the image of the original text acts as art for an article that mainly concerns interpretations of literature and that sorely needs some interesting illustrations; text boxes are ugly; and (this he left out) it is very simple to click on the image and read the text. OTOH, the poem is referred to in the article itself, so I'm not married to keeping the image. I do like it better than a text box, though. Tom Reedy (talk) 02:20, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Not sure if I think the text in the box is an improvement over the image. But, if we're keeping the modernized text and the text box, we have to be consistent (the title has the hyphen); we have to note that the text is being modernized; and we cannot rebreak the lines, which is tantamount to rewriting Jonson's poem. --Alan W (talk) 07:08, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I tried to make it a bit less of an eyesore by changing the size. I think it is out of place in an article such as this. All the other art has an antique look about it. The text box at William Shakespeare is much less obtrusive and contains just a short quotation. This is like parking a trailer house in Silk Stocking District. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:32, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Just on a pedantic point. The Elizabethan text has, at the end, a ? Thisd interrogation mark was often repeated in successive old editions (William Gifford (ed.) Ben Jonson:The Works, 1816 9 vols. Vol.8, p.182, for example.) Modern editions, I do not know why, in modernizing and citing this poem, print an exclamation mark
  • (a)Ian Donaldson, (ed.) Ben Jonson: Poems, OUP 1975 p.31
  • (b)Richard Dutton (ed.) Epigrams ; and, The forest, Routledge, 2003 p.46
  • (c)Richard D. Brown, The new poet: novelty and tradition in Spenser's Complaints, Liverpool University Press, 1999 p.199
The new image modernizes, but retains the interrogation mark, creating a slight dyscrasia with the general trend of modernized versions of this text.Nishidani (talk) 13:28, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────What we now call question marks were used as both question marks and exclamation points up until the late 17th century. From the First Folio Hamlet: What a piece of worke is a man! How Noble in Reason? How infinite in faculty? in forme and mouing how expresse and admirable? in Action, how like an Angell?" Here's another example: " How weary, stale, flat, and vnprofitable | Seemes to me all the vses of this world? | Fie on't?"

So yes, if it's gonna be modernised, it should be modernised in conformity to modern editing principles. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:42, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, I fort so, guv. Ain't much uva pic but, so modemized or not, I fink we'd better pri'ify t'other, wiff its antique, um, aromah, and just make it reedyable. Woddya wreckun?Nishidani (talk) 15:58, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
This is all good stuff (and thanks Nishidani for another new word—dyscrasia bad mixture), but what about the fact that the text box is ugly, and no one has provided a reason for why the text needs to be easily legible, and the original image is more attractive and interesting. Johnuniq (talk) 02:07, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I think most readers can grasp the essence of the poem from the image we had here. To satisfy those who feel that a modernization is desirable, however, we could compromise and place the modernized text in a footnote. Just a thought. --Alan W (talk) 03:18, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
How about a clickable image with the modern text appearing when hovering over the image? Similar to the lede image, except the entire picture show the text. Tom Reedy (talk) 05:21, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Hmm... A very interesting idea. There might be some technical difficulties, but it's worth thinking about. (Can't believe I'm still up over here, but, hey, it's still a holiday, and Happy New Year, Tom and everybody!) --Alan W (talk) 05:42, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

After the various fixes that everyone has contributed, I actually think the blockquote looks very nice. It is certainly more appealing than the signature box, for example, which is actually larger and a bit of a mishmash. (On that one I'm wondering if the explanations might look better if they all justify right). But as to the Poet Ape - I guess the key thing here is my view on legibility, as its the poem itself being offered as material for the Case Against section for the article (I know, having been the editor who added it several years ago). Given the 13 lines (2 block quotes) here [5], and an additional block quote of 4 lines in the next section (both in the Case For section), I think these 13 lines being quoted in the Case Against section adds some balance as well. I do agree that the original version was not as appealing and am happy to see the format changes, which are all within the guidelines of the MOS when it comes to quoting poetry, lyrics, etc. Smatprt (talk) 21:24, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Image Review

I am actually glad to see the attention given to the Poet-Ape image as I hve long thought that the images through-out need to be reviewed. As graphics and image editing have always been one of my contributions, and as I have real world experience, I am happy to participate in those particular activities. As I recall, during the FA process, not much attention was given to the finer details of image placement, format and the like. For example, we have one section [6] that is crammed with three images, with text sandwiched in between. All three images make the same point, so I imagine there are weight issues as well, but from my standpoint it just looks pretty awful. Any thought on this?Smatprt (talk) 21:24, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

The size of the computer monitor and what browser is being used determines whether the page looks crammed or not. While on a 15" screen it looks claustrophobic, on a 23" screen the article looks positively bare. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:17, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, I don't think we need Lucrece. The Coat of Arms and the Lear page are both illustrating the same general point, but significantly different aspects of it. The Lear page also has a hyphenated version of the name, which visually supports other aspects of the article content. Paul B (talk) 14:35, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
It's fine with me to take it out. I found the image and inserted it as yet another example of a contemporary example of attribution to Shakespeare of Stratford. I tend to pound these types of things into ground, since anti-Strats claim evidence such as this doesn't exist. Another reason is that the article is deficient on interesting images. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:37, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
BTW I would also like to add that I see nothing wrong with rotating images periodically in order to keep the look of the page fresh. We all come upon interesting images every once in a while, and if an editor wants to replace an image with another one all that is necessary IMO is to post the image or a link on the talk page and get consensus. The next time I visit the UK and Stratford I plan to take lots of photographs for the purpose of using them on Wikipedia. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:13, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
' the article is deficient on interesting images.'
Well, what about uploading a mugshot of yourself, preferably standing against the Alamo?Nishidani (talk) 17:29, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Tom, I can't say I agree with you about "rotating images". We need a bit more stability than that. This is an encyclopedia article, not a slide show! --Alan W (talk) 04:59, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Yes, it's an encyclopedia, but much different than those of the past. Just thinking out loud here—maybe we could have a short feature section that changes every 3-6 months or so about the points that people bring up that don't really rate a permanent place in the article, such as the Hand D suggestion of a few weeks ago. It could be a short summary with a graf telling how it's related to authorship and link to the main article. Wikipedia is going to change, and that might be one that would improve the encyclopedia yet give it some immediacy. Tom Reedy (talk) 01:42, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

That is worth trying. I understood your "rotating images" to suggest that there is no need to agonize over some of the images (should it be X or should it be Y?). Instead (assuming both are helpful), have X for a few months, then try Y. Again, that sounds worth trying, and I imagine you are not suggesting that more than a couple of images should be changed every few months. Johnuniq (talk) 02:00, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Right; I'm not suggesting we re-write the article, just introduce a little variety (by editor consensus, of course) of some limited-time material. And instead of loading up the page with every image we can find, rotate them from an editor-approved stock. What's the sense of trying to make the new media static like the old media? Maybe we could even embed some YouTube videos such as this one with Stanley Wells discussing authorship or even one dramatizing the "anti" argument in the "arguments against" section. Of course, all the POV and weight issues would have to be hashed out, but I don't see why it couldn't be done. Tom Reedy (talk) 02:50, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Oxford and Blackfriars

I have added a reliable source for the information about Oxford and his sublease of the Blackfriars. Smith uses Wallace sparingly as a source, and not at all on the topic of Oxford and Lyly, because Wallace is prone to romanticizing and what I call "doubtlessing". Wallace even has the location of the theatre incorrect, placing it on the ground floor. Smith is considered to be the best source for the history of the Blackfriars, and Wikipedia sourcing should avoid out-of-date sources and "cite present scholarly consensus when available." Wallace is 100 years old and is not a "standard academic text".

And no, I don't agree that a television show full of inaccuracies is an acceptable reference. WP:RS says that "audio, video, and multimedia materials that have been recorded then broadcast, distributed, or archived by a reputable third party may also meet the necessary criteria to be considered reliable sources", but this particular production is full of opinion as fact and has been strongly criticized for its inaccuracies. See [7] and [8]. In point of fact, WP:NEWSORG, which you give as justification, states that "Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces are reliable for attributed statements as to the opinion of the author, but are rarely reliable for statements of fact." The show you want to use as a ref is not fact.

Speaking of sourcing, I would appreciate if you, Smatprt, would actually read the sources and accurately cite them instead of pulling page numbers out of the air or not giving them at all. The Bethell cites are a good example of the latter, but citing works you have not read has been a continuing problem on this and the Oxford page. I don't have as much free time nowadays to go right behind you, and often several days or weeks pass before I can check your citations. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:52, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

I appreciate the additional source for Blackfriars, and suggest we keep both sources until this dispute is resolved. As there is no "romanticizing" in the information being quoted, I don't see how your most recent complaint about Wallace has any merit. These are undisputed facts and hardly controversial, but since the editors here seem to want a reference for even uncontroversial items, so be it.
You are incorrect as to PBS - the thought that any news outlet that receives criticism is no longer RS is just not policy. Think of the ramifications if your assertion were correct. But thank you for the policy quote - again, it bolsters my position, as the item being sourced is the opinion of Oxfordians ("Oxfordians believe...", not a controversial statements of fact. Or are you saying that Oxfordians don't believe that Oxford was anonymously or under a pseudonym?
As to your last little attack, please stop with the accusations. The Bethell article is linked to a two page web article (the preferred medium here on Wikipedia), that comes up as one page if you wish. Just follow the trail. As to your other accusations, I can only request that you be specific or it just appears like the common whining of the old days.
I would also ask that you refrain from simply deleting existing material you suddenly question the RS for. The first step is to place a fact tag on the material or start a discussion. Too often you use the RS argument (or you attempt to redefine RS) in order to delete material, even when you know full well that the source is accurate. Isn't this game playing becoming tiresome? In any case, simply fact tag the item or the RS in question and we can look at each item in as much depth as you wish. If we can't resolve it, then we are bound by ArbCom to go to dispute resolution. Simply deleting material or deciding on your own (based on your own opinion) that something isn't RS, and avoiding the dispute resolution process entirely, is not what ArbCom recommended we do. Smatprt (talk) 19:05, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
More interesting than the question of why Tom wants to delete the source, is why you want to keep it. It adds nothing to the article. There are sometimes legitimate reasons for using old sources, but when there is a great deal of scholarship on a topic, there is simply no need to do so. We should prefer up-to-date sources when they are to be found. As for PBS, yes, again mainstream news channels are generally "reliable" in a broad sense but they should not be used for topics where scholarship exists. Reliability is a continuum, not an absolute. Yes, you are right that the statement in itself is not controversial, but I would much prefer a better source. Paul B (talk) 21:15, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Smatprt, you might as well open up some type of dispute resolution, because your insistence on using out-of-date refs and citing refs that don't support the statement grows wearisome and is time-consuming.
Earlier this month I made some edits on the Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford page, which you promptly reverted with the statement that you were "restoring as per BRD (Bold-Revert-Discuss)." You then added an outdated ref from 1854, and added Bevington as another ref for Ward's speculation that Oxford produced court entertainments. You added Manzer as further support for Ward's speculation. I reverted, posted to the talk page, and you finally responded after reverting. However, neither of the new refs you added supported the statement, and obviously you didn't understand that Ward is speculating, because you continued to re-add him and the outdated source as refs and you also cut material you didn't like.
Now on this page I removed your citation of Menzer, p. 89, that you used to support "He subleased the Blackfriars Theatre in the mid-1580s." It was explained to you on the Oxford page that Menzer did not support the statement. In fact, there is nothing about the Blackfriars on that page, and the article is entitled "Professional Players in Stratford on Avon, 1587-1602." And now you want to add another outdated ref from 1912 with the justification "to verify/support any missing details from other references". Sorry, but we don't use catch-all references "just in case" something stated isn't supported by other refs. And in this case I think the time element is important; the way it is written readers would think that Oxford was the owner of the Blackfriars during its entire existence.
As to the Bethell and PBS refs, I'm OK with your explanation for the first; as for the second, I'm sure TV shows are good enough refs for the material, but if you want to use it, I ask that you format the second in an acceptable form for this page.
Regarding your last paragraph, I suggest you read WP:BURDEN, which is policy. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:59, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
The 1854 reference wasn't even as recent as that. It was a reprint of Johnson's Lives of the Poets (with Hazlitt's later additions on later poets). Johnson published it in 1781. Paul B (talk) 22:05, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Either way, that and the Wallace source are not preferred refs in a featured article. If this ends up going to dispute resolution it's OK with me, but I think it's a frivolous action given that policy is explicit on this: "However, some scholarly material may be outdated . . . . Try to cite present scholarly consensus when available." Tom Reedy (talk) 22:59, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Tom: Re the Bethell article, now that you are citing pages in the printed Atlantic Monthly, I see an inconsistency. The item in the References gives the page range for the article as "45–61". Yet specific citations are to page numbers as low as 36 and as high as 78. Some reconciliation needs to be done, and I do not have easy access to the right library, nor the time right now to do this myself. --Alan W (talk) 03:49, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Bethell also has a 3-page "Reply" to Matus in which the statements appears that support "his family connections including the patrons of Shakespeare's First Folio", which isn't part of the web version. I'll just add those page numbers to the ref. Contrary to Smatprt's idea that web sources are the "preferred medium here on Wikipedia" (I'm sure they are for Oxfordian, anti-Strat, and other Google scholars), when a printed source is cited the page numbers should be part of the cite.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Tom Reedy (talkcontribs) 04:09, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
There is still a reference to "p. 36" (in what is currently footnote 24) and, since you seem to be trying to attach pages in the printed version to all Bethell citations, one without a page or pages in what is now footnote 189. --Alan W (talk) 04:44, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
OK I fixed the first one. The second one is just a reference to the article and doesn't need page numbers. Tom Reedy (talk) 05:33, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Regardless of the sources chosen, the context here is Oxfords notable patronage, not detailing the lease. I have adjusted accordingly. Regarding your long rant, Tom, I believe the Menzer issue is one of a case of different editions, but of course you just assume the worst, and start flinging mud. As to formatting refs the way you want them, feel free, but don't assign me duties. I have enough on my plate, thanks. Smatprt (talk) 13:17, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Ah - correction - Tom, you are so busy deleting statements and references that you lost track of your own work. The Menzer quote from page 89 concerned Oxford's players appearing at court and had nothing to do with Blackfriars. Next time you come out swinging, please check your own work. And also withdraw that particular part of your long statement above. Smatprt (talk) 13:28, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Please learn to check the edit history; you're the one who lost track because you don't pay that much attention to begin with. Here's the sentence the Menzer cite supposedly supported: "He held the lease of the first Blackfriars Theatre in the mid-1580s, and produced entertainments at Court." The problem is that the source doesn't say anything at all about Oxford producing entertainments at court or anywhere else; it's merely more Oxfordian scholarship, which is another way of saying it's not true. I gave you a list above with other examples of this kind of bullshit editing, so no withdrawal of my accurate statements will be forthcoming.
I also replaced your vague "mid-1580s"s with an accurate date. If you change it back please give us an explanation of why you prefer impreciseness to accuracy. And nobody's giving you assignments; a tag is for anybody who wants to furnish the information. If you don't want to do quality editing, the next time you add inaccurate information or citations I'll just delete it instead of tagging so you won't feel like you're being given assignments. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:26, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

More personal attacks. What a surprise. And what "tags?? You said " I ask that you format the second in an acceptable form for this page" - acceptable to you?? Format any refs yourself - I'll supply them however I choose. btw - iirc, the pbs ref used to be formatted better - but you deleted it. Once again, I ask that you keep track of your numerous deletions, and fix your own mistakes if they bother you that much. Smatprt (talk) 14:33, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

group theory

proposed section:

In the 1960s, the most popular general theory was that Shakespeare's plays and poems were the work of a group rather than one individual. A group consisting of Bacon, William Stanley, Oxford, Mary Sidney, and others, has been put forward, for example.[1] In 2010, the group theory was advocated by renowned actor Derek Jacobi, who told the British press, "I subscribe to the group theory. I don't think anybody could do it on their own. I think the leading light was probably de Vere, as I agree that an author writes about his own experiences, his own life and personalities."[2][3]

I have started a placeholder section on the group theory. Of course, feel free to rewrite the whole section, but the group theory is practically absent from this article, which is surprising, given the amount of play its received over the years. Another big hole that needs attention. Anyone? Paul?Smatprt (talk) 15:09, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

And again you come in and make a flurry of substantial edits to a featured article without talk-page consensus, which is the very definition of disruptive editing.. You've done this several times in the past with the same result each time, so I have no idea why you insist on using the same strategy. Please list and discuss the changes you wish to make before making such changes, as per the editorial process for building consensus. Just in the past few days I see that you've hit six out of 14.
And please learn how to format your refs according to featured article requirements. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:14, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I've added Smatprt's proposed "placeholder" section at the beginning of this section. I think the problem with the group theory is that it is not really a single theory. Baconians (most notably Delia herself) have been groupists, or semi-groupists, and so have Oxfordians (Percy Allen came to believe that Oxford worked with others). Of course there are variations and disputes even within the single-author versions, but at least those can usually be described. The group theory is so diverse I'm not sure that's possible. At least I don't think there is much point in a separate section. As for the claim that the theory was most popular in the 1960s - is there any evidence for that? The claim appears to be cited to McMichael and Glenn's book, which was published in 1962, before most of the 1960s had occurred. The rest of the section suffers from the problem that it does not provide information, but rather advocacy. We have the statement that it was "the most popular general theory". Well, no, most popular "alternative" theory, perhaps. The rest is just about the fact that "renowned actor" Derek Jacobi gives his support to it. But renowned actor Derek Jacobi is not any kind of expert, and in any case we learn nothing about the history of or arguments for this theory. It just about getting celebrity endorsement - mainly for De Vere in a section that's not even supposed to be about him. There is already reference to group models in the Bacon and Marlowe sections. We could add a sentence to the Oxford section too. Paul B (talk) 17:06, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
That's what I saw, also: mainly a celebrity endorsement with no real information. I've read several differing statements that some kind of the group theory was the most popular in the 1890s, the 1920s, the 1930s, and the 1960s, but none in a reliable source that I can recall. In any case, a featured article is not a sandbox in which to store "placeholder" sections. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:44, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Of course Derby was a groupie too, at least according to A. J. Evans in Shakespeare's Magic Circle (1956), and that was before groupies were most popular in the swinging 60s. So they've all been groupies at one time. Maybe we could have a sentence or two added to the opening passage that introduces the famous four, noting that they have all been propsed as leaders of or participants in group activities of various kinds. Paul B (talk) 21:14, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
It's a historical fact that Orazio Cogno was part of oxford's group. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:43, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Group mark II

Collaboration in playwriting was common during the Elizabethan era, with writers such as Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher, and William Shakespeare appearing as co-authors of plays. Recent scholarship has indicated that many collaborations went unrecorded, including a number of Shakespearean works. As early as the mid-1800's, authorship researchers have theorized that a group of writers was responsible for the Shakespearean canon. Edward de Vere (Oxford), Francis Bacon, Roger Manners, William Herbert and Mary Sidney Herbert have all been suggested as members of such a group, referred to in the 1960's as "The Oxford Syndicate".[196] In addition, playwrights such as Christopher Marlowe, Robert Greene and Thomas Nashe have been proposed as participants. Some variants of the group theory also include William Shakespeare of Stratford as the group's manager, broker and front man.[197]

Smatprt's new "group theory" is yet another example of blatant Oxfordian promotionalism, which segues from mainstream models of collaboration to a wholly fringe theory of group authorship in order to make the latter seems reasonable, and indeed consistent with "recent scholarship". It also once more seeks to put the supposed "Oxford Syndicate" at the centre in defiance of all the long history of group authorship models. If there were a proper group authorship section it would clearly distinguish between normal authorship collaborations, re-writes etc - a phenomenon still very common today - and the fringe theory that a cabal somehow got together to produce a canon of work under the name "William Shakespeare". In the latter case we would have to look at all the relevant models in order - D. Bacons' model; later Baconian cabal models; the various group theories of the 1900s; Allen's model; Evans' model; and also the "Oxford Syndicate" model, Sidney model etc. As I said before, I don't think there is much point to this, as there is no real group model as such, with its own specific arguments and counter-arguments. There is just the notion that various authors got together. Sometimes Oxford, Derby or someone else is the leader of the group; sometimes there is no leader. BTW, shocking as it may seem, some versions of the group theory actually include William Shakespeare as a writer! Paul B (talk) 12:33, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

I suggest that a sentence or two be added to the intro section before the four main candidates, stating that all the candidates have been at various times supposed to have been parts of groups, sometimes as the "leader" of a group, sometimes as a mere member. Paul B (talk) 13:07, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

I suppose you're thinking of something along the lines of "The controversy has since spawned a vast body of literature,[7] and more than 70 authorship candidates have been proposed,[8] including Francis Bacon, the 6th Earl of Derby, Christopher Marlowe, and the 17th Earl of Oxford, most of whom have also been proposed as members of a group that collectively wrote the works", or even another sentence tacked on to that paragraph.
I dunno. The group theory is mentioned three times in the article already, beginning with Delia Bacon's theory, which is usually thought of as the Baconian theory. I'm really and truly unaware of any groups theories that attracted very many believers. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:10, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't know how many believers there have been. At least with Oxford or Bacon you can say "X was a believer in this candidate", because "this candidate" is the same person, so you have a following as it were. With groups, each group is different. So each believer is not part of a "faction" supporting the same essential idea. Yes, the group theory is mentioned three times, but it's rather arbitrary that it's mentioned in connection with Bacon and Marlowe, but not Derby and Oxford. I also think a sentence should be added stating that some supporters of each one of the main candidates have attributed works published under the names of other writers to their hero. The tendency to add to the canon of the "real" Shakespeare is common to all the SAQ models. Paul B (talk) 14:42, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Well that's the trouble with all the authorship theories; in addition to each group being different, and each candidate argument being slightly different, you can almost say that each individual believer subscribes to a slightly different theory: some Oxfordians hate the PT theory; some love it; some accept part of it and reject other parts, and so on ad infinitum. Since it's all fantasy anyway, each believer is free to incorporate his or her individual variation that they say "opens up" the works for them so they can personalise their appreciation of the canon, since their basic understanding of art is as a form of personal expression. This makes writing an article that meets the approval of anti-Stratfordians an impossibility.
I would have no problem with a few paragraphs about group theories if it met the criteria of a featured article and went through the collaborative editing procedure for this article as per the arb sanctions (i.e. 1. talkpage, 2. talkpage, 3. talkpage), but I see no reason to include a vague paragraph that doesn't add anything beyond establishing that such theories exist; we already have that. I would think it would begin with Delia Bacon's group and selectively bring it up to date, using reliable sources, but I don't really want to take the time to research and write it. Apparently no one else does, either. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:51, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

The above conversation lacks one thing - any policy based reason to exclude the section, other than that neither of you either knows how or cares to work on a group theory section. Is that what you are saying? aAlso, is there anything in the recent section that is untrue or not referenced? Smatprt (talk) 14:57, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

The relevant policies are general ones - concerning content, readability, relevance and length (WP:LIMIT; WP:SS). We are not apparatchiks dependent on Party Doctrine for our every move. It is normal to make editorial decisions about content based on general discussion and consensus. Equally, there is no "policy based reason" why we should have such a special separate section. The topic is already discussed in the article. Paul B (talk) 16:35, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Neither of us have mentioned excluding a section about groupists; our objection is that what has been offered adds nothing at all beyond a celebrity endorsement, and we have questioned whether "various 'group' theories have also achieved a notable level of interest", as you put in the lede. And no matter what you think of Paul's or my editing ability, there's no call for your snide comment. Tom Reedy (talk) 01:38, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Adding this at the end because there is not an obvious place to insert it: Sir Thomas More certainly seems to be an example of group writing, if another example is needed. Haven't group theories been offered over the years which include William Shakspere and which do not? That is, while it may be hard to state which theories are current and worthwhile, there do seem to have been theories both involving Shakspere and excluding him. Fotoguzzi (talk) 20:26, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
STM is an example of collaborative writing, not an example of a group collaborating to write the Shakespeare works. I've stated my opinion on adding any more material on group theories to the article. Tom Reedy (talk) 06:39, 11 February 2012 (UTC)


Accuracy in section on Anonymous

While we're discussing it, you might want to give us a policy-based reason for why you want to exclude the details of the movie that have been mentioned in every review that I've read. It's not a "plot twist"—as you put it—for which we want to insert a spoiler. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:29, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
The details you refer to, which you earlier called a "major premise" are only revealed in the last 5 minutes of the movie, and are intentionally left ambiguous. They are, indeed, a plot twist. Have you even seen the movie?. In any case, adding a plot twist/plot spolier, and characterizing them as a legitimate plot summary, or as an accurate description of the major premise is simply inaccurate. And reviews are opinion pieces, not the best sources for simple plot summaries. If you want an accurate plot summary, go to the studio, thw writer, the director, or the various movie databases. Smatprt (talk) 20:33, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
This article is supposed to provide relevant information. The fact that the movie is based on PTII is relevant to this article. These facts are also mentioned in the Prince Tudor theory article. Yes, we know you want to minimise all mention of PT because you don't like it, but it's a major feature of modern versions of Oxfordism. Paul B (talk) 21:01, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
If Oxford wrote the Sonnets and could not reveal his authorship as part of a bargain for saving his son and half-brother, I would indeed call that a "major premise" of the movie. Major premises are often left unspoken until the end of books or movies; they explain everything that has gone before. Would you call the fact that Bruce Willis' character in The Sixth Sense is dead during the entire movie a "plot point" or a major premise? It's not like an O'Henry story or a Twilight Zone episode in which the character finds out that he's being held captive in an alien zoo. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:02, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Tom, while it appears that it has become standard practice on this page to try and talk something to death, I just don't have any interest in going down that road, especially when "consensus building" is being used as a stalling tactic. I have provided my reasons consisely above and have expanded upon them with my edit summaries, which you never appear to read. Here they are:

  • Devere is not "depicted" as illegitimate until the last few minutes, an accusation that is left ambiguous at the movies end. Please don't summarize plots if you have not even seen it.
  • again, not a major premise, and no ref supplied says that it is. Links to the movie and the PT theory are already provided. imdb for plot ref.
  • removing bogus ref, which does not mention any of this stuff!
  • former version inaccurate, and RS provided was an opinion piece. We can't use someone's "interpretation" of the plot, and their mischaracterization of plot elements.Stick to uncontested facts.
  • refs to professional film critics supplied. Removing plot summary items that are not consistently mentioned, or only serve as pointless plot spoilers. (no objection to PT mention, but need a RS, right???)

Between my edit summaries and my initial comment, I have provided more than enough reasons to justify my edits. One final observance - this section on "Anonymous" was not part of the FA and never achieved any sort of consensus. As we have seen, the reference originally supplied was a fake, citing an opinion piece that didn't contain any of the specific information being cited. I have now supplied refs to 4 Major movie critics (the bug guys:NYPOST, LATimes, Variety, Hollywood Reporter), as well as the IMDB site, confirming my edits. More are available, but even this sampling of major reviewers is pretty much unanimous about what the movie is "about".[1][2][3][4][5][6] Smatprt (talk) 00:33, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Whether you want to participate in talk page discussion is beside the point, that point being that this article is under Abrcom sanctions to edit cooperatively. If you don't wish to do so, then don't edit this article; it's that simple.
This article is about the Shakespeare authorship question; it is not an article flogging a movie. The reviews you wish to cite as sources were all written to sell the movie, not provide commentary on the topic of this article. That is the reason why they don't include spoilers. Wikipedia, however, does not operate on the same rules as movie reviewers. For one thing, all reviews are opinions, and the opinion of a Shakespeare scholar is relevant to coverage of the SAQ, especially a section title "Authorship in the mainstream media". For another, it has already been explained to you that the fact that the movie is based on the PT2 theory is relevant to this article and that section. And for still another, Wikipedia guidelines for films state that "all of the film's important events should be outlined without censoring details considered spoilers ... In short, Wikipedia contains spoilers; please respect this policy (my emphasis).
As to IMBD as a source, it is specifically named as a trivial, not a reliable source, and at best a questionable source. As such, it is not acceptable for a featured article.
A questionable source comes down to what exactly is being sourced. For the basic plot line, usually not very controversial, and a plot line that is repeated in all the sources being discussed, the imbd listing is should be just fine. It sounds to me like you are now deciding what is allowable as a source and what is not, based on what you, Tom, decide is the "best" source. Is that what you are saying? Using this tactic, you simply decide that the "best" sources are those that happen to agree with you and your circle of editors. Now you are wiki-lawyering to the extreme, citing policies that don't apply or are misconstrued, and, as usual, are misrepresenting what I've said or done. Your bullying tactics and personal attacks are not surprising, but they do grow tiresome.Smatprt (talk) 06:48, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
You are incorrect. Please click on the links I provided and read them. "The use of the IMDb on Wikipedia for referencing is considered unacceptable and strongly discouraged.". I did not make that up. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:32, 6 February 2012 (UTC)


Does improper reference formatting invalidate the reference itself?

Lastly, you have been asked more than once to format references according to style guidelines, which for FA articles are consistently formatted inline citations using either footnotes ... or Harvard referencing". Note the "or"; it does not say "and", much less using bald URLs. This article uses Harvard referencing, but for some reason you want others to do the work for you and you say that you'll supply them however you choose. If you don't want to put in the work to conform to Wikipedia standards, I suggest that you don't edit the article. Tom Reedy (talk) 01:38, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
So are you saying that if a reference isn't formatted the way you want it, you will use that as a way to invalidate the reference and delete it and/or the information attached to it? FYI - the REASON I don't finish the referencing right away is that I have no intention of doing that kind of extra work when you are just going to delete everything anyway. I'm not going to play those games with you.Smatprt (talk) 06:48, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I am saying several things: that the format for references for a featured article are spelled out in the guidelines for featured articles and that your refusal to conform to them—as well as the promotional nature of your edits—indicate your attitude toward your fellow editors and Wikipedia. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:37, 6 February 2012 (UTC)


We can do away eventually with Morita's reference to Soseki's views. But I put it in because the text does argued that there is no individual personality in Shakespeare, who is in advance of Tolstoy, where, he argues, every now and then one can see the author's views in the people he portrays. Soseki's principle was summed up in 'sokuten kyoshi'(則天去私), the perfection of an author was to be judged by the degree to which he, to use Eliot's words, managed the extinction of his own identity while filling out the independent identities of his characters according to their natural lights. To 'follow heaven and abandon the self', while religious, had its aesthetic function, and Shakespeare was akin to 'god', precisely to the extent that, though God creates men, god is not in his creations. It's rather akin to Joyce's remarks in POTAAAYM:'The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.' Alan, I phrased this in my last edit strictly as Soseki is reported as thinking. Soseki speaks directly of Shakespeare as managing to detach himself from his characters, like a god. This is not unique to Soseki, and your edit re Hazlitt and Keats is spot on, only the way you phrase it in the part attributed to Morita does not reflect that text (my fault: I should translate the section). It could be fixed simply by putting the Morita and Hazlitt/Keats (Bates?) references together at the end of the line. I'm sure further examples of this critical interpretation of Shakespeare will turn up, however, and we can dispense, if they are better, with the Japanese ref (though it does give wiki an international flavour to open specialized articles to all critical discourse, in whatever language). Cheers.Nishidani (talk) 19:25, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, Hazlitt, long before Soseki was born, noted that at the heart of Shakespeare's genius was its submergence of self in its representative of other selves. "Shakespeare was the least of an egotist that it was possible to be. He was nothing in himself; but he was all that others were...." (Lectures on the English Poets, 1818). "His genius consisted in the faculty of transforming himself at will into whatever he chose....He was the Proteus of human intellect." ("On Genius and Common Sense", Table-Talk, 1821). And elsewhere. Keats's idea of "Negative Capability", influenced by Hazlitt, focused on Shakespeare as being able to represent life as objectively as any human could, without imposing his own preconceived ideas on what he represents. Shakespeare is the supreme instance of a "camelion Poet" (sic). The Godlike aspect of this kind of artistic creation may have been added to these concepts by others later in the century, but it is clear that this view of Shakespeare's genius was a major countercurrent in 19th-century thinking about Shakespeare. It was far from universal to assume that his own character, certainly not mundane facts of his daily life, could easily be deduced from his imaginative creations. I'm glad you expanded on this, Nishidani; it's a point worth emphasizing a bit more. As for the way I added the new footnote inadvertently making Soseki seem to say something he didn't, since you think that moving the Bate note to the end of the sentence with the Morita note will avoid being misleading in this way, I will do as you suggest now. Regards (and welcome back; I missed your contributions here; I'm glad that your definition of "retirement" is not quite so restrictive as I had feared). --Alan W (talk) 04:06, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Delia Bacon

...did not "formulate a theory". A "theory" (as in physics) has to be founded upon agreed upon facts (agreed on by divergent members of an intellectual community) and either at present (as in "string theory" or "theory of relativity") or at some time in the past ("theory of the ether") it must be, or have been accepted by otherwise diverging members of an intellectual community. This sloppiness of language dresses Denialists, whether of Shakespeare or the Holocaust in borrow'd robes.

The popular usage, although defined as the meaning of the word in the Compact OED, does not control in a modern intellectual community. The word "hypothesis" is used instead.

In fact, the only "theory" worth the name is "duh, Shakespeare wrote da plays" since it is (1) supported by the available evidence, (2) agreed upon by accepted members of the community, and (3) does not need the posit of conspiracy, which should be only made at the last resort because it puts the entire goddamn enterprise, of relying upon written evidence as opposed to oracle goddamn bones, under a fucking cloud.

Thank you for your brief attention, you clowns. Out, out brief candle.

Idiocracy — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

'Theory' is a word, derived from 'theoria'. It has a long history and several usages. See theory. Its usage in science is not the'truth', just one of several ways in which the word is legitimately used. Try to read up on the subject before mouthing off. It is not "popular" usage. It predates the distinction you repeat. New comments go at the bottom of the page. Paul B (talk) 13:56, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Shapiro Contested Will, uses theory (citing also Hawthorne) to describe Delia Bacon's ideas (pp.91-101). In classical Greek, Θεωρία meant an embassy to an oracle, which pretty much fits to a cup of Tes what the Baconian crowd and their epigones engage in. I hope this placates the whinge. As to candles, you know the one about the rule governing certain cloisters: 'lights out at 10 pm, candles out at 11.'Nishidani (talk) 14:48, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Delia hypothesizes at length [9], though perhaps this is indeed a theory, since it is certainly founded upon agreed upon facts. Paul B (talk) 14:16, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

'Organization' vs 'Organisation'

Whilst I applaud the decision to use British English for this article, the assumption that the word should therefore be spelt 'organisation' is incorrect. Although this spelling has undoubtedly become the more popular of the two over here, there is still a strong body of opinion preferring the spelling 'organization' which has traditionally been considered the better, both etymologically and phonetically. The OED entry for "-ize" explains why. The latest word on the subject that I can find is in R.L. Trask's "Mind The Gaffe" (Penguin, 2002, pp.162-3). He says - about the suffix in words like this - "In British English, the spelling with -ize is traditional, and is still preferred in many conservative quarters, for example at the Oxford University Press. But the newer spelling in -ise is now wide-spread in Britain and is preferred in other quarters. British writers may use whichever spelling they prefer, unless they are writing for a publishing house which insists upon one or the other." Since 'organization' is therefore acceptable in Britain, and 'organisation' considered wrong in America, may I suggest that we stick to the former? Peter Farey (talk) 10:07, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

I generally prefer "ize" endings, but we should follow the UK norm, otherwise there will be endless reverts and knock-on disputes. This is the kind of pointless "issue" that causes unnecessary conflict, bad feeling, angry nationalistic defensiveness and revert wars. Best just leave it and live with "ise". Paul B (talk) 11:37, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
As I said, the Americans think the -ise ending is wrong, whereas we Brits only prefer it. Since most of the "endless reverts and knock-on disputes" on this particular subject are, imho, much more likely to come from the States, I would have thought that your argument favours the -ize ending rather more than the other. That I politely suggested it here and didn't enter into an edit war with Alan W is I think relevant. The word appears just three times. Peter Farey (talk) 13:26, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting that you are likely to edit war. I'm suggesting that editors with nationalistic attitudes will edit war. It's one of those topics that some people get obsessed by (AD/BC v BCE/CE is another). Someone will come along and insist on converting back to "British" spelling. It happens regularly on articles with specifically British or US topics. We really can't decide unilaterally to use 'ize' endings for this specific article. It's a general policy matter. You can debate it on the talk page of WP:ENGVAR. Paul B (talk) 14:54, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah well, whilst I am sad that you don't respond to my actual argument, I suppose that you do have Shakespeare himself on your side. "Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter!" (KL 2.2.63) Peter Farey (talk) 06:39, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I can't respond to your argument because this is not the forum for it. Don't you get that? Paul B (talk) 15:15, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
As an American, I do not automatically assume that "ise" is wrong, as I recognize/recognise it as the preferred British spelling. I do find it of interest that the British don't all necessarily like "organise". I still think, however, that if British spelling is to be used for this article, we should go with the more generally accepted "ise" endings, or we will have, as Paul says, no end of bickering. If "ize" in "organize", then why not in "criticize", etc.? Here is a practice where I think we are wisest to "go with the flow". --Alan W (talk) 01:43, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Peter, but on this one it looks like the 'ayes' have it.Nishidani (talk) 08:48, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes it does indeed. And I did pretty much accept defeat with my quote from Lear. I just allowed myself a wry smile by picking from my bookshelf Stanley Wells's Shakespeare & Co., Jonathan Bate's The Genius of Shakespeare, Frank Kermode's Shakespeare's Language and Katherine Duncan-Jones's Ungentle Shakespeare - all by British professors of English using different British publishers - and noting that each of them uses the -ize spelling throughout. Peter Farey (talk) 06:46, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I think I should respond to the points made by Paul and Alan. Paul says "I can't respond to your argument because this is not the forum for it. Don't you get that?" Well yes, I do get that you think this, but I'm afraid that I don't agree. The question is simply whether or not Oxford English is more appropriate for this article - which by its nature is somewhat academic - and this is something which should be discussed here. Alan asked "...then why not in "criticize", etc.?". I used the word "organization" in this case only because that was the one you had changed. If it had been decided to use Oxford English, then it would be "criticize" etc. While glancing through those books I mentioned I found "moralizing" & "dramatize" by Wells, "industrialization" & "reorganized" by Bate, "emphasized" & "organization" by Kermode, and "agonized" & "recognized" by Duncan-Jones. Peter Farey (talk) 12:25, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
"Organise"/"Organise" was the one you changed, Peter, and then I changed it back, for the reason I gave in my edit summary. I have read the article on Oxford spelling now, and I can respect your point of view on this issue. It certainly is permissible to use Oxford spelling in a Wikipedia article, as long as it is appropriate for that article and is applied consistently. But there's the rub: it would be hard to apply consistently, I think. Some Americans might think that we are using American spelling after all and start to change other spelling. Others of all English-speaking countries will likely be unfamiliar with Oxford spelling (I will admit that I was) and will constantly be changing the spelling one way or another. Again, the constant bickering and edit warring.
And is there any reason associated with Shakespeare in particular to use Oxford spelling? I don't see a particularly strong tie to Oxford. That this article is "academic" is not enough, in my opinion. Having thought about this matter a bit more now, thanks to your bringing it up, I have learned something I didn't know before, so thank you for that. Still, I believe that we should follow MOS:RETAIN in this matter: "When an English variety's consistent usage has been established in an article, it is maintained in the absence of consensus to the contrary. With few exceptions (e.g. when a topic has strong national ties or a term/spelling carries less ambiguity), there is no valid reason for such a change.... An article should not be edited ... simply to switch from one valid use of English to another." --Alan W (talk) 01:07, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
First, everyone, please understand that I am no longer arguing for the use of Oxford English. I have accepted your decision on this.
Alan, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that you "started it", only that it was your reverting my edit which caused me to raise the subject here, and if it had been any of the other such words I would have done the same thing. What happened was that I simply intended to add the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition to that list, and in describing it used the spelling which I have always used for "organization", having been taught it that way at school in England, and also thinking of it as the more "correct" English spelling. I then saw that the Shakespearean Authorship Trust had been wrongly named, so I corrected that, and in doing so noticed that it had "organisation", which was obviously inconsistent with what I had just done so I "corrected" that too. It was only with your revert that I started to become aware of the "British English" tag - a phrase that I had not come across before - and, believing that what I had written was just as much "British English" as the other, thought it might be worth our discussing just what we think should be taken as British English in our case, having ascertained that no such discussion had ever taken place here before. At that time, I didn't know that the way I spell things had been given the name "Oxford English" either, although my use of the Oxford English Dictionary (from which the name is derived) on a daily basis does mean that it tends to be my authority for continuing to prefer this spelling. I have learnt a few things too. Peter Farey (talk) 08:49, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
P.S. My reason for having suggested the -ize spelling wasn't because of Shakespeare having "a particularly strong tie to Oxford", but because I think the vast majority of serious articles and books concerning him use it, either because they are written by people whose spelling is American or because, if British, such authors would tend to prefer what I now know to be called Oxford English. Peter Farey (talk) 09:29, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation of how this started, Peter. In fact, so cogent is your argument, or non-argument, that if others here came to a consensus on switching to use of Oxford English for this page, and if someone agreed to police the page (probably a necessity, given the likelihood of disputes and misunderstandings, as Paul and I have said), I would have no objection. It certainly seems more natural to me, for obvious reasons. --Alan W (talk) 02:00, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you Alan, I would be only too happy to make those and other similar changes to the article (I counted about 18) and to police it for at least a year or two. It would be an interesting experiment anyway. How would the rest of you feel about that? Peter Farey (talk) 06:27, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Just to clarify what we are talking about, it's British English with Oxford spelling. Peter Farey (talk) 09:27, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Objection to Simonton citation.

Perhaps I’ll find that my knowledge of Wikipedia policy is still lacking, but the quotation of Simonton (cited three times) is objectionable on at least two grounds. First of all, while Simonton is a world renowned specialist in the field of psychology, he has no academic standing in the specialties of history or literature, and certainly no standing in the combined field of literary-history or more specifically, Elizabethan-Jacobean literary-history. Secondly, the ‘study’ itself, as documented in Simonton’s paper of 2004, contains no supporting evidence. The paper is short and is nothing more than a remarkably brief description of his methodology and his conclusions. Per my inquiry to Dr. Simonton, there is no supporting information. So, the question is whether the paper in question rises to the level of serious academic scholarship that meets Wikipedia’s standards for sourcing and citation. Ssteinburg (talk) 17:41, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

"His (Simonton’s) research covers diverse manifestations of genius, creativity, leadership, talent, and aesthetics", and he is quoted as such. His studies directly concern authorship attribution, which is a multi-disciplinary field and does not require "academic standing in the specialties of history or literature". His 400 or so publications include "Popularity, content, and context in 37 Shakespeare plays", Poetics (1986) 15: 493-510; "Shakespeare's sonnets: A case of and for single-case historiometry", Journal of Personality (1989) 57: 695-721; "Lexical choices and aesthetic success: A computer content analysis of 154 Shakespeare sonnets", Computers and the Humanities (1990) 24: 251-264; and "Thematic content and political context in Shakespeare’s dramatic output, with implications for authorship and chronology controversies", Empirical Studies of the Arts (2004) 22: 201-213. All of these are reliable academic sources as per policy.
Ward Elliott is not a specialist in either of these fields, but he is recognized as an authoritative researcher on authorship attribution, especially on Shakespeare's works, and he is quoted by many Shakespearean academics, as well as by this article. Irvin Matus did not even have a college degree, yet he is internationally recognized as an authority on the SAQ, and he also is quoted by many Shakespearean academics, as well as by this article. Tom Reedy (talk) 00:45, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Simonton’s “study” explores the connections between Shakespeare’s works and historical “context” (events/themes). It is not a “study” of the psychology of creativity. This would be a highly problematic undertaking for a literary historian. A connection here to Simonton’s specialty is tenuous at best and, as I’ve already pointed out, the “study” contains no supporting information. So, the citation of Simonton and this particular “study” represents a test of the standards of quality for citations employed at Wikipedia. This goes beyond being “inter-disciplinary”, wherein a specialty is substantively applied in a compelling way. Here we are talking about an author of a “study” working completely outside of his specialty. Is it Wikipedia policy to accept citations from specialists opining on important matters entirely outside of their specialty? Is it Wikipedia policy to accept citations for supposedly scholarly papers or ‘studies’ that have no scholarly substance? And, to put the matter into perspective, would the Simonton “study” be deemed worthy of citation if that “study” had contradicted the generally accepted chronology (sequence) of the plays? In that case I think it would be rejected for the reasons I’ve stated, as would the work of Ward Elliot (and Valenza) if their work contradicted the generally accepted attribution. Thus, in practice, it appears that the “policy” of Wikipedia is to liberally accept citations that conform to and support the orthodox position while employing much stricter “policy” for citations that do not support orthodoxy. The example of Matus further illustrates my argument.
I am not arguing for equal status for counter-orthdox viewpoints. A preference for orthodoxy is understandable, as is what might be called a justifiable double-standard. However, in the case of the Simonton “study”, there remain the problems that: 1) expertise of the author on the subject of the “study” does not exist; 2) the “study” in question does not meet the most basic standards for scholarly research (no supporting data); 3) there has been (so far as I can determine) no peer review. Frankly, for me, what is most troubling about the Simonton “study” is the total lack of supporting data/information. As I said before, the “study” is little more than a presentation of the author’s conclusions. And so the question is: does this fall within the standard for Wikipedia “policy” on citations? Can we expect this "policy" to be applied consistently?

Ssteinburg (talk) 08:41, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

You are mistaken. I suggest that you actually read the paper, or at least the abstract, which states, "In this study the two authorship positions are evaluated by examining the correlation between the thematic content of the plays and the political context in which the plays would be written according to rival sets of dates." Note also the publication's venue, Empirical Studies of the Arts. And for your edification, publication in a scholarly journal is sufficient evidence of peer review. If you have any further objections, I suggest you take them to the Reliable sources noticeboard and make your case there. Barring any contrary directive from there, the statement and the citation remain in the article. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:17, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Identity of Shakespeare first doubted

Returning to a discussion from April of 2011 I wish to take up the matter again. I begin with a very specific response to the following:

“Please show me where Gibson says that identity of the author that Hall guessed is Shakespeare. I think every detail of this proposed edit has been examined, and it fails to attain the threshold of acceptance for inclusion into this article. If you don't agree, then at least acknowledge that the edit does not have editorial consensus. Further "discussion" is a waste of time—if not your time, then most certainly mine. But please fill free to continue if you desire. Tom Reedy (talk) 14:48, 4 April 2011 (UTC)”

At the time of the previous discussion I had overlooked the following which makes Gibson’s argument regarding Hall and Marston quite clear. H.N. Gibson, The Shakespeare Claimants, p. 64:

“It follows that only two things can be deduced with absolute certainty from the works of Hall and Marston. They are: (1) That Hall believed he had guessed the real author, or rather part-author, of some poem published under a pseudonym, but does not clearly indicate either. (2) That Marston believed that Hall meant Bacon as the author and Venus and Adonis as the poem.”

In the previous discussion the objection was raised that Gibson had not spoken clearly regarding what Hall and Marston believed. We see from the quote above that Gibson is absolutely clear, indeed, that he finds it an “absolute certainty” that both Hall and Marston held the name Shakespeare to be a pseudonym.

It goes without saying that the question of whether Hall and or Marston questioned the identity of Shakespeare is vitally important to Stratfordians and anti-Stratfordians. Indeed it goes to the very heart of the authorship question. To address one of the previous objections, such evidence clearly does not lack justification for “relevance” or “space”. It is the sort of thing that even a Stratfordian would presumably want to know. To the previous objection that Gibson’s conclusions have been superseded by subsequent scholarship, it is to be noted that that remains to be demonstrated/documented. Such rebuttal of Gibson does not appear (as I previously noted) in any of the prominent mainstream literature such as Schoenbaum. Regarding his qualifications as a source, I note that Gibson is already cited multiple times in the article. Therefore, I propose the following changes to the second paragraph of the article.

Delete first sentence and insert: Historians first questioned Shakespeare's authorship in the middle of the 19th century, when adulation of Shakespeare as the greatest writer of all time had become widespread.[4] However, there is evidence that the contemporary authors Joseph Hall and John Marston viewed the name Shakespeare (on Venus and Adonis) as a pseudonym. (citation: Gibson, The Shakespeare Claimants, p. 64) (talk) 12:05, 2 March 2012 (UTC) (talk) 12:07, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

No. Gibson is acknowledging with "absolute certainty" (not shared by any other person that I know) that Marston thought that Hall thought that the name Shakespeare was a pseudonym. Whether Marston questioned Shakespeare's identity is not discernible (and other evidence indicates the contrary); the same with Hall, and Gibson makes no claim to know their opinions either.
And I suggest you read the discussion again. The excerpt you quoted above is part of the discussion. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:56, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I need first to apologize for leaving my signature off several preceding posts. I didn’t realize I was not logged in and I don’t know how that happened. I don’t think it’s necessary to go back and read the previous discussion. You have finally conceded, on the basis of what was previously quoted and discussed, that Gibson believed Hall believed the name Shakespeare was a pseudonym. One case of doubt by a contemporary is, obviously, still very significant, and worth mentioning in the article. But if we read Gibson further we find that he did believe that both Marston and Hall considered the name Shakespeare to be a pseudonym. Following the part I quoted, Gibson says:
“Anything further takes us into the realm of surmise. Still it must be admitted that the possibility that both writers did actually believe that Bacon was the author of the poem in question [Venus and Adonis] exists.”
If “both writers” believed (or possibly believed) that “the author” was Bacon, they can hardly have believed that without first believing that the name Shakespeare was pseudonym. The disagreement hinges whether both Hall and Marston believed that Bacon was the man behind the pseudonym. Gibson continues:
“When Bagley first put forward the case quoted by Theobald, some Stratfordians accepted it at face value, but said that Hall and Marston were mistaken.”
Reading this carefully, this confirms that Gibson believed that both Hall and Marston doubted Shakespeare’s authorship and (this is very important) that “some Stratfordians accepted” this “at face value”. So, counter to your assertion, Gibson clearly does claim “to know their [Hall and Marston’s] opinions”, and, whereas you say that Gibson’s opinion, “is not shared by any other person I know”, Gibson obviously knew people (Stratfordians you don’t know) who shared his opinion. And the question here is, does the fact that you don’t know “any other person” out outweigh the fact that Gibson did?
Now we are faced with an interesting problem. The issue of Hall and Marston's doubt is obviously something that will be of considerable interest to Stratfordians and anti-Stratfordians. Since Gibson (M.A, Ph. D, lecturer on Shakespeare) is already cited multiple times in the article, he is obviously an acceptable Wikipedia source. His conclusions and the logic behind them are presented with the relevant supporting information. One can readily judge for one’s self whether one agrees with his conclusions. Per his own testimony his conclusions were confirmed by other “Stratfordians”. In contrast we have the case of Simonton’s “study” on the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays, where Simonton has no established specialized expertise and provided only conclusions with no supporting information by which to gauge the validity of his conclusions. No one, so far as I know, has confirmed Simonton’s “study” or testified to its validity. Noting that it was objected (by Xover I believe) in the previous discussion, that lack of “space” was an a reason to reject the information taken from Gibson (the half a sentence that I proposed) it seems to me that, by comparison, the longer entry regarding Simonton (clearly less informative) could (for the sake of “space” and for the questionable quality of scholarship) be dispensed with. Ssteinburg (talk) 10:45, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Um, a suspicion in two Elizabethans that just one of the works, very early, ascribed to Shakespeare may have been written by someone else, Bacon, does not translate into proof that the person(s) entertaining that possible doubt extended their suspicion over Shakespeare's identity, or that Shakespeare, the author of the plays and comedies, was a frontman. Many poems were ascribed to Shakespeare, but not written by him, such as A Lover's Complaint and the poems in The Passionate Pilgrim. Marston and Hall might, let us accept, have entertained doubts about Venus and Adonis. That does not mean that, as the paranoid school argues, they doubted that the Shakespeare of the theatre, and the Shakespeare of plays and comedies was the person whom his contemporaries overwhelmingly recognized as the author. You are engaging in WP:OR to infer that from Gibson's words. A lot of speculation and strong suspicion has surrounded the historical ascription of the book And Quiet Flows the Don to Mikhail Sholokov. Not for that reason do we entertain doubts about Sholokov as author of its sequence, or many other volumes.Nishidani (talk) 13:16, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone misreads now and then, but the number of misreadings you make in this and previous discussions gives one pause. "You have finally conceded, on the basis of what was previously quoted and discussed, that Gibson believed Hall believed the name Shakespeare was a pseudonym." No, I have not, nor has any other person here. Go back and read only the black part: I said that Gibson believed that Marston believed that Hall thought the name was a pseudonym. Gibson does not think that Marston believed that the name was a pseudonym; Gibson does not believe the evidence indicates that Hall thought so either. This construction exists only in your desire to have it so.
As has been pointed out, this issue has been discussed extensively. Your edit history indicates that your only purpose on Wikipedia is to try to undermine the historical evidence that Shakespeare wrote his works, IOW, to subvert one of the basic foundations of Wikipedia, reliable sourcing. You have made not one productive edit during your tenure here, nor have you contributed to any other topic. While WP:SPA editors are welcome to work on the encyclopedia (indeed, WP would be hard-pressed without them) as long as they conform to the principles and policies, those whose only purpose is to subvert those principles are not. Please stop your hindrance of other editors by mending your behavior or finding some other place to pursue your agenda. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:00, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
To Nishidani. I’m thinking my response to you mysteriously disappeared. So, again, to the absurd assertion that I am engaging in OR: I have added nothing to Gibson, and Gibson (nor any Stratfordian I’ve read) raises the possibility that the author of V&A was someone other than the author of the Shakespeare canon. To suggest that Gibson, or Hall, or Marston could have viewed that as a possibility is a ridiculous attempt to avoid the issue. It is you who are engaging in OR and tossing in a red herring.
To Reedy. You said, “You have made not one productive edit during your tenure here, nor have you contributed to any other topic.” I find this both judgmental and personal. You said, “While WP:SPA editors are welcome to work on the encyclopedia (indeed, WP would be hard-pressed without them) as long as they conform to the principles and policies, those whose only purpose is to subvert those principles are not.” This is also judgmental and a personal attack, indeed slanderous. I have been supportive of Wikipedia policy and questioned Wikipedia policy. Is questioning Wikipedia policy subversive? How exactly would one, with no power at Wikipedia, go about subverting policy?
You said: “Please stop your hindrance of other editors by mending your behavior or finding some other place to pursue your agenda. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:00, 3 March 2012 (UTC)” This is bullying pure and simple. My “agenda” is to see that the Wikipedia articles on Shakespeare are historically accurate. I’ve made no attempt to add even one word advocating for an alternative candidate. You have fought me at every step in my efforts to correct historically inaccurate information such as the bogus claim that Elizabethan grammar school curriculum was standardized by law. When I cornered you on that, you grudgingly made the smallest change possible inserting the word “grammar” before the word “curriculum”. You didn’t make that change to both articles and you did nothing to correct all the other related texts in both articles that are flatly contradicted by the historical record (the actual “law”). You avoid making changes that would correct obvious historical inaccuracy with the expedient excuse that a ‘reliable source’ can be cited. I think I do understand how this works as a Wikipedia policy. However, that means that you and other controlling editors are in a position that allows you to arbitrarily ignore historical accuracy for the sake of maintaining a generally accepted point of view. The problem with such an approach is that it substitutes propaganda for history.Ssteinburg (talk) 09:14, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Please carefully consider what you would like to do at Wikipedia before making further comments. To ask questions about procedures, see WP:HELPDESK. To suggest changes to policy, see WP:VPR. To continue your discussion questioning the reliability of certain sources, see WP:RSN. This page must not be used as a forum (see WP:NOTFORUM and WP:TALK). To engage in a discussion about improvements to the article, reply to the specific points raised by other editors (quote a few words from their reply to provide context, then explain whether you now agree or disagree, and why). The issue of productive edits has been mentioned because this is not a forum, and only actionable proposals backed by policies should be discussed. There is no problem raising an issue as was done here, but repeating old discussions while not responding to very valid responses is not acceptable—such behavior is disruptive as it clogs this talk page while diverting the attention of active editors. As an example, consider your claim that Tom has "finally conceded ... that Gibson believed Hall believed the name Shakespeare was a pseudonym". That is a big claim (and obviously incorrect to anyone who has read the text in this section), yet the only response to Tom's refutation was to change the subject by saying that some of Tom's comments were judgmental and personal (by the way, it is not acceptable to accuse an editor of making a personal attack except at a suitable noticeboard, with evidence based on WP:NPA). If you want to discuss the article, you need to justify or retract your claim about "finally conceded" very quickly. If you want to discuss an editor, do so elsewhere (see WP:HELPDESK). Johnuniq (talk) 10:09, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
(ec)To repeat. You have no evidence to bear, and comb so minutely over the syntax of one passage in an old commentator that might lend some bantam gram to the colossal weight of your prejudice that you misconstrue him, and when this is pointed out by several people, protest that the nano-'evidence' is being muscled over and beaten up by the brute power of Hulking wikipedians. Lucio Dalla is being buried today, and the funeral is broadcast. So that's all I have to say. I prefer music to twittering humongously on piddling strands of split hairs.Nishidani (talk) 10:13, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Of course I disagree with everything in the responses above, but, so as not to drag the matter out, permit me to say the following. In as much as the article devotes a sentence to the assertion that doubt about Shakespeare’s authorship first arose in the 19th century, there is, presumably, something of significance to the assertion. It follows that evidence of doubt in the 16th century would be of equal interest to all concerned and that that would be worth a sentence as well. So let me propose that we simply add a sentence essentially quoting Mr. Reedy who said:
“No. Gibson is acknowledging with "absolute certainty" (not shared by any other person that I know) that Marston thought that Hall thought that the name Shakespeare was a pseudonym.”
I suggest the quote be modified only slightly as follows:
“H. N. Gibson concluded, with “absolute certainty”, that John Marston thought that Joseph Hall (both Shakespeare’s contemporaries) thought the name Shakespeare was a pseudonym.”
Gibson is already established and a ‘reliable source’ since he is already cited in the article, and I trust none of the editors above would object to using Mr. Reedy’s statement.Ssteinburg (talk) 12:16, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Why not go further and insert "Tom Reedy conceded that H. N. Gibson concluded, with “absolute certainty”, that John Marston thought that Joseph Hall (both Shakespeare’s contemporaries) thought the name Shakespeare was a pseudonym"? That gives it more definitive authority and a more better skolarly gloss lacking in your version. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:05, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
"When I cornered you on that, you grudgingly made the smallest change possible inserting the word 'grammar' before the word 'curriculum'. You didn’t make that change to both articles and you did nothing to correct all the other related texts in both articles that are flatly contradicted by the historical record (the actual 'law')."
Are you talking about these? [10] [11] Tom Reedy (talk) 00:56, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
You seem to be taking my proposed edit personally. I don’t think there is anything in my proposed edit that is prejudicial to you or anyone else. I don't think adding the wording you suggest (sarcastically I take it) would be a good idea. I hope that your personal feelings won’t stand in the way of adding something important to the article.Ssteinburg (talk) 10:42, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I actually thought you were joking. No, your proposed edit does not clear the bar for me, for all the reasons that have been iterated, and I think the wording is ludicrous. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:03, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I am sure you knew I wasn’t joking. However “ludicrous” the wording is, it is your wording, which I seriously proposed because, while you had backed yourself into an absurdity, that absurdity nevertheless tells the story about contemporaneous “doubt” of Shakespeare’s identity, more than two centuries before the article claims. You deny that Marston thought the name a pseudonym. You deny that Hall thought the name a pseudonym. Or, at least you deny that Gibson believed that either Hall or Marston thought the name pseudonym. But you do say that Gibson believed that Martson believed (falsely) that Hall believed the name was a pseudonym. This, I hand it to you, is a masterful convolution. However, it is so difficult to make a dent here in what Stratfordians want the story to be that I am asking, not for the whole plain truth, but just a tiny piece of it, a tiny piece that everyone here knows is hugely powerful and belongs in that article. So let me see if I can come up with something that isn’t “ludicrous”. Let me see I can improve upon it without changing the meaning:
“While Shakespeare's authorship first became the subject of popular and academic discussion in the middle of the 19th century, when adulation of Shakespeare as the greatest writer of all time had become widespread,[4] there is evidence that, in the mid-1590’s, the author John Marston believed that his contemporary Joseph Hall had identified the name Shakespeare (on Venus and Adonis), as a pseudonym.” (Gibson, p. 64)
If that doesn’t work for you I ask you to offer wording (consistent with your statement) that does work for you, and that, if you reject the edit on other grounds, you kindly state specifically what those grounds are and not simply refer to the preceding discussion.Ssteinburg (talk) 14:37, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────No, I actually thought you had thrown in the towel and were making a good-natured joke, since it is ludicrous to insert the sentence as you proposed it in an encyclopedia. The idea that an observation gleaned from a talk page discussion would be acceptable because I made it is ... well, ludicrous is the only term I can think of to describe it.

It has already been explained to you why the sentence is not acceptable: notability and weight. It basically concerns a third-hand suspicion, so the "evidence", as it were, is a deduction made by a writer 400 years after the fact, and as far as I know no other commentators on either Marston or Hall follow his reasoning.

"It follows that only two things can be deduced with absolute certainty from the works of Hall and Marston. They are: (1) That Hall believed he had guessed the real author, or rather part-author, of some poem published under a pseudonym, but does not clearly indicate either. (2) That Marston believed that Hall meant Bacon as the author and Venus and Adonis as the poem."

Nothing in there states that Hall or Marston believed the name was a pseudonym. If I've missed it, please point it out. That one source out of dozens says that Marston thought that Hall thought the name was a pseudonym is not notable enough to be placed in the lede, which is a summary of the article. Now if it were a major tenet of anti-Stratfodism, then yes, it would be in the lede because there would be a section in the main text devoted to it, but it is not.

Now look, I've tried to disengage from this discussion. You have garnered no support on this edit, which has been hashed out long ago. Your point is based upon a misreading of the source, and I'm through dealing with it. I suggest you read the talk page section of the arbitration decision, especially the list of "practices such as excessive repetition, monopolization, irrelevancy, advocacy, misrepresentation of others' comments, or personal attacks." Tom Reedy (talk) 16:39, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Gee, I get back from Berlin and all this nonsense starts up again. I responded to this argument in detail months ago [12]. I made an effort to find out what scholars had said about Hall's and Marston's writings and to penetrate the obscurity of what Gibson argues. As Tom says, Gibson's argument is convoluted and qualified, so much so that it is difficult to even summarise without sounding like a bad parody of a WS Gilbert lyric. He thinks Marston thought that Hall thought that Bacon was the author - or rather part author - of Venus and Adonis. He does not say that either Marson or Hall actually believed this, but that one of them thought that the other one believed it. He does not say that this belief extended to the work of Shakespeare as a whole.
Also, there are numerous problems with Gibson's argument, even in this highly qualified form. He accepts the mistaken claim by Baconians that "Labeo" refers to Bacon because it derives from Marcus Antistius Labeo, though all experts on Hall agree is not the case, as it derives from Attius Labeo. He also accepts that Marston makes the Bacon link, even though the reference to Bacon's motto is in a completely different and totally unrelated poem. In other words this is a mess-up by an otherwise generally reliable author. This is commonplace. WP:RS does not require that we accept "reliable" sources as gospel. All writers on this topic before 2010 are "unreliable" on the subject of Wilmot, for example. Reliable sources make mistakes all the time. That's why we have policies such as WP:DUE. Gibson's view on this issue is so utterly marginal, so obscure and so confused, that it does not merit a place here. To include it would be to distort the scholarly consensus by promoting an extreme minority view, which it would take almost a paragaph to characterise properly and intelligibly. Paul B (talk) 17:52, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

"He thinks Marston thought that Hall thought that Bacon was the author - or rather part author - of Venus and Adonis.
Good point. So what Gibson is actually saying is that Marston thought Hall thought that Bacon collaborated with Shakespeare, which is quite a bit different from questioning Shakespeare's authorship of his works. (Marston, a chronic plagiarizer of Shakespeare, is the most likely model for Jonson's "Poet-ape".) Tom Reedy (talk) 19:57, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Please bear with me for a few more minutes. Let’s just take the first part of the statement in the article, “Shakespeare's authorship was first questioned in the middle of the 19th century,” and juxtapose that with Reedy’s statement, “I said that Gibson believed that Marston believed that Hall thought the name was a pseudonym.” Word it however you like. The point it not to quote Reedy (as has been asserted here), but to correctly characterize what Gibson said. Reedy’s formulation clearly says that, as minimum, Marston had contemplated the possibility that the name Shakespeare was a pseudonym. Since this very obviously conflicts with the important assertion (evidenced by how it is being defended here) that no one prior to the 19th century considered the possibility that of Shakespeare as pseudonym, it is not surprising that Stratfordians didn’t spend their time confirming Gibson’s conclusions, or that they have sought to refute them. Gibson, however, claims that other Stratfordians did share his conclusions. So we are faced with accepting what Gibson said versus what Reedy said (that he knows of no one who agrees with Gibson).
Now, Paul says, “Also, there are numerous problems with Gibson's argument, even in this highly qualified form”. Having raised the issue of “problems” (very substantial problems) with the arguments of Simonton and Baldwin, it has been made clear to me here that, based on Wikipedia policy, judgments about Gibson’s scholarship and conclusions are irrelevant. So I really don’t understand why this is being raised as an argument against my proposed edit, unless the rules apply to me and not to Reedy and Paul B. Gibson is cited several times in the article and is clearly a “reliable source”. But then, Paul B. says, “All writers on this topic before 2010 are "unreliable" on the subject of Wilmot, for example.” Now that is interesting! And Wikipedia empowers Paul B to make that determination, to cherry pick a reliable source, so as not to contradict (you say “distort”) a “scholarly consensus” that is less than two years old? Presumably a significant consensus! Please provide the sources that contradict specifically what Gibson claimed (as formulated by Reedy)? Ssteinburg (talk) 19:19, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Recommended reading: [13] [14] Tom Reedy (talk) 20:02, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia does indeed empower editors to make decisions about the content of reliable sources. If an otherwise reliable source says that the Battle of Waterloo was in 1915, we don't say that most historians believe it was 1815, but Professor Smith says it was 1915. We dismiss it as a simple mistake. We use the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica on many subjects on which it remains in a basic way reliable (e.g. careers of Victorian politicians), but not on others (science, for example). Sources do indeed become unreliable for quite specific matters. If there is dispute over a particular theory, say, we report the dispute, but if it is proven that one theory is wrong, we say so. The older literature that provides information now known to be mistaken is not longer reliable for that particular topic. I provided sources re interpretations of Marston and Hall when we discussed this last time. This approach is not "cherry picking". In fact that is exactly what you are doing - ignoring the consensus of scholarship to ferret out an obscure passage in a source which you think can get over the bar for inclusion, which you then want to trumpet as loudly as possible, with no regard for its actual (in)significance. Paul B (talk) 16:49, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you Reedy for the links to the “Recommended reading”. Let me mention that, in violation of the policy you referred me to, you have removed my edits without discussion (you comment alone is not a discussion).
To Paul B: As I read your comment, you are ‘empowered’ to make decisions and correction to obvious errors (typos for example). In your previous post (and earlier posts) you were challenging the arguments and judgment of the source (Gibson). If this is allowed by Wikipedia policy please point me to that policy. You state above: “I provided sources re interpretations of Marston and Hall when we discussed this last time.” I’ve looked through the previous discussion and all I can find is this (quoting you):
“Other sources, including McCrea, reject that conflation”
First of all, while McCrea disagrees with Gibson (with something less than a substantive discussion), there is nothing to say that anyone must agree with McCrea. And, while McCrea may be a reliable source, I doubt that he is a scholar of sufficient weight to single-handely counter Gibson. You say you provided “sources” (plural). If I’ve overlooked the other sources you provided I ask you kindly to provide them again. You say, "“All writers on this topic before 2010 are "unreliable" on the subject of Wilmot, for example.”" You are presumably referring to McCrea, and presumably referring to McCrea's discussion of "Wilmcot", since I find to reference to "Wilmot" in McCrea. Pardon me if I am “misreading” again, but I am unable to see any connection between McCrea’s discussion of “Wilmcot” and “this topic” (Gibson’s discussion of Marston and Hall). Moreover, since McCrea’s book is dated 2005, if, as you say, “All writers on this topic before 2010 are unreliable”, it follows we will have to consider McCrea “unreliable” as well (not to mention the 1911 Encylopedia Britannica). However, that still leaves us looking (per your assertion) for the sources from 2010 forward that are “reliable”. Please provide those sources.
You say that I am, “ignoring the consensus of scholarship”. What consensus? What other sources are you counting in that "consensus" (on this specific question) besides McCrea? You say that I am attempting, “to ferret out an obscure passage in a source...” How can the passage be “obscure” if it is contained in a source that is already cited multiple times in the article? And you continue (speaking of me), “which you think can get over the bar for inclusion”. Is that that not whole idea, to have sources and citations that “get over the bar”? Is there suddenly something objectionable in that? And you continue, “which you then want to trumpet as loudly as possible...” How “trumpet”? Have I asked for bold print? Have I proposed more verbiage than would be necessary to make the point? And you continue, “with no regard for its actual (in)significance.” Are you truly going to persist in claiming that the issue of contemporaneous “doubt” about Shakespeare’s identity, even if only linked to the author of Venus and Adonis, is insignificant? The problem, I think, is that it is too significant.Ssteinburg (talk) 08:57, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Please engage with the discussion by directly addressing the points raised (before raising new issues). For example, the Battle of Waterloo scenario is pertinent: what would you recommend if someone (at the appropriate article) found a reliable source which provided 1915 as the date? Should the article say that "most historians believe it was 1815, but Professor Smith says it was 1915"? That scenario is directly applicable to the current issue, but the requirements here are much more stringent because there is no scholarly doubt concerning Shakespeare's authorship, and WP:FRINGE applies to supporters of the "question". Regarding the "consensus of scholarship", read the article—is there a statement or source that should be challenged? Johnuniq (talk) 10:43, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
You can blather on here as long as you like, but what little free time I have nowadays I prefer to spend editing the encyclopedia. Tom Reedy (talk) 12:55, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I didn’t bring up any “new issues” in my last post. Those I brought previously were for the purpose of comparison, which seems to be the point of the reference to Waterloo which was brought up by Paul B. I don’t see how the example of Waterloo can be “directly applicable”, but, in answer to the example, I would certainly not expect a divergent opinion by ‘Professor Smith’ to be cited if there was clear historical evidence and clearly a scholarly consensus in support of that evidence, and certainly not in a case where the divergence is obviously a typo. In the case I am arguing there is no simple evidence (such as a date) to be cited and we are clearly not dealing with a simple typo. The disputed matter relies on interpretation of historical/literary evidence. I am relying on the interpretation of a confirmed reliable source, H. N. Gibson (already cited in the article). If I am not mistaken, Reedy has conceded that Gibson had concluded that: Marston believed that Hall suspected that the name Shakespeare appearing on Venus and Adonis was a pseudonym. Reedy claims (as I read him) that that is all Gibson believed, that he did not believe, or could not confirm, that either Hall or Marston actually thought the name Shakespeare was a pseudonym. I think this is a strained illogical reading of Gibson who I read as saying that both Hall and Marston considered the name a pseudonym. But I have not insisted on my reading of Gibson. I have agreed to accept the interpretation by Reedy (as I understand him) who says that Gibson merely believed (with “absolute certainty") that Marston thought that Hall believed the name Shakespeare on Venus and Adonis was a pseudonym. On this specific question of Hall and Marston doubting Shakespeare’s authorship of Venus and Adonis, I have searched though roughly three dozen Shakespeare biographies and related works, including those of Chambers and Schoenbaum, and the only Stratfordian I have found discussing this is McCrea (2005). In other words, I can find nothing approaching a consensus on this question among Stratfordian scholars. Paul B. has claimed several times that there are “other sources” that constitute that consensus. I’ve asked for those sources to be named. They have not been provided. Paul B. claims that only sources from 2010 forward are reliable on this question. I’ve asked for those sources and none have been provided. And, by that Paul B’s standard of 2010>, McCrea would be disqualified as well. You say, “requirements here are much more stringent because there is no scholarly doubt concerning Shakespeare's authorship”. I offer the following examples of scholarly doubt:
Richmond Crinkley, Director of Programs, Folger Library (1969-1973): "And it is not just the want of sufficient relevant biographical facts that breeds doubt. It is the absence in William Shakespeare of a life with anybody living in it. The personal void makes us ruminate. The contradictions jar."
Richard Wilson: “The great irony of this author’s life and career, therefore, is that he has become universally celebrated for his invisibility. [and that] . . . what we know seems in such contradiction to the works.”
Eric Sams: “What I noticed immediately when I took it up was that people [Stratfordian biographers] were just making things up! Absolutely non-stop!”
Stephan Greenblatt: “. . . there are huge gaps in knowledge that make any biographical study [of Shaksper] an exercise in speculation.”
If think one must infer from these four statements that doubt would be reasonable. Why else would one “ruminate” or, in Greenblatt's case (not quoted) spend 40 years trying to solve the problem? However, here are two more examples that are very direct, both from sources cited in the article:
Dean Keith Simonton: “Although William Shakespeare is widely seen as one of the greatest writers in world literature, a serious debate rages about the author's true identity.” This is from Simonton’s paper, “Shakespeare’s small Latin and less Greek: Scientific perspectives on education, achieved eminence and the authorship controversy.” Simonton goes on to list the reasons he believes there is legitimate doubt.
H. N. Gibson (1962): “I have said that there is no positive proof that Shaksper was the author of the Shakespearean plays, and this of course is true . . . if what was known of William Shakspere the actor had not been so little and that little had not sometimes seemed incompatible with what the conventional mind usually associates with greatness, there would in all probability never have been a Shakespeare problem.”
You asked, “is there a statement or source that should be challenged?” Yes, there are many, however, the issue under discussion here deals with my proposed addition of important missing information that is highly relevant: contemporaneous doubt about Shakespeare’s identity, which is consistent with the six scholarly opinions cited above. More often than not Stratfordian biographers draw far reaching conclusions based on only one source, relying on interpretation of that source, as in the case of “Shake-scene” representing Shakespeare in the Groatsworth. In this case Gibson, by interpretation and analysis, has drawn an important conclusion that says there was contemporaneous “doubt”, or at least a question, about Shakespeare’s identity. The article states: “Shakespeare's authorship was first questioned in the middle of the 19th century...” There is no source provided in support of this half of the sentence. How do we know that that is when Shakespeare’s authorship was first questioned? We do have a reliable source, Gibson, who tells us the question came up in the 1590s. And, so far as I can tell, the only source we have refuting Gibson is McCrea. And finally, to the comment of Reedy below, a question to you: do the editors with medals have a license to insult?Ssteinburg (talk) 15:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It is virtually impossible to respond to this endless babbling, since it demonstrates yet again that you cannot understand what people are writing - you simply persistently misread and pour acres of irrelevant verbiage at us that has little or no bearing on the point at issue. The date 2010 in my comment referred to the James Wilmot issue (that's when the relevant TLS article was written). It was given as an example - from the SAQ - of a situation in which a particular passage in otherwise reliable books on this topic can become unreliable - including McCrea as I clearly said last time. Hence the statement "so Gibson's views have been wholly superseded in this instance, as all otherwise reliable sources can be on specific details (including McCrea on Wilmot)". This, by the way, refers to an article he wrote in 2002, not his 2005 book [15]. It's true of almost all "reliable" literature on the topic before 2010.
In this case - Gibson - we have a more complex problem, since it is a very very convoluted argument presented by a single source. I know of no reliable author who has specifically commented on Gibson's argument except, obliquely, McCrea, who quotes Gibson and comments on the evidence, dismissing it completely in some detail. Other consensus views have to be drawn from the scholarly literature discussing Hall and Marston. I could find nothing in that which even began to imply that Gibson's views were replicated by independent experts. I could find relatively little on the specific topic, but what I did find I gave last time, as I have already said. Newdigate's Michael Drayton and his Circle identifies Labeo as Drayton. Oscar James Campbell's Comicall Satyre and Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida asserts that the name Labeo is derived from Persius (ie is Attius Labeo) and that "The English Labeo is best regarded as a type figure representing each and every one of the assiduous and tasteless Elizabethan translators." (p.47) Hugh Walker in English Satire and Satirists suggested, Chapman, following Wharton. Ronald J. Corthell's article, "Beginning as a Satirist: Joseph Hall's Virgidemiarum Sixe Bookes" sees Labeo as a fictional construction representing bad poetry. These were the sources I could gain immediate access to. Not one provided an argument with any similarity to Gibson's, whose view therefore seems purely idiosyncratic and thus fails WP:DUE for a general article such as this. It is utterly obscure. When you add a bit of WP:COMMONSENSE, noting the obvious mistakes made by Gibson, then that seems to clinch the matter.
By the way, I have read the Hall Labeo passage many times now, and it seems to me obvious that Hall is describing a personal conversation with the real author he is satirising as Labeo; that Labeo is saying to him that Hall's satire won't hurt him, because no-one will know it's him. That's not because Labeo is writing under a pseudonym, it's because Hall has used a pseudonym (ie "Labeo"), so the real person can easily say "oh he didn't mean me, he meant x"; hence "shift it to another name". This has nothing whatever to do with publishing under a pseudonym. I add that remark just as my reading of the passage, not, of course, as content for the article. BTW, the suggestion that Labeo was Shakespeare was first made in Notes and Queries in 1903 by C. A. Herpich, who interpreted Labeo in its literal Latin sense of "thick lipped", and thus concluded that WS had thick lips! The argument was reprinted (and rejected) in the The Shakspere Allusion-Book, a much reprinted and re-edited anthology of real and alleged Shakespeare allusions, which was the favourite source-book used by anti-Strats for their speculative re-interpretations.
BTW, most of the quotations you add - which are almost wholly unrelated to the issue in dispute - are not about doubting authorship, they are about doubting the reliability of biographical reconstructions of WS's life story, a completely separate issue. The quotation from Gibson refers only to what people with a "conventional mind" think about genius. Paul B (talk) 18:06, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I would thank you for the explanation on Wilmot and 2010 but I confess it makes no sense to me. Has Gibson been superceded? By who? McCrea? The 2002 McCrea essay was not specified, so I assumed his book was being referred to. Or were you referring to a hypothetical? Sorry, I don’t get it.
You know say, “I, know of no reliable author who has specifically commented on Gibson's argument except, obliquely, McCrea, who quotes Gibson and comments on the evidence, dismissing it completely in some detail." So, (if I do not misread you) the “other sources” you referred to multiple times do not exist. And now you say, “Other consensus view have to be drawn from the scholarly literature discussing Hall and Marston.” And you provide no sources for that “consensus view”. Then you say, “I could find nothing in that which even began to imply that Gibson's views were replicated by independent experts. I could find relatively little on the specific topic, but what I did find I gave last time, as I have already said.” I am mystified. Does the fact that you can’t find supporting or refuting sources become the test of Gibson’s scholarship/conclusions? Is that provided for in Wikipedia policy for reliable sources or is that some other Wikipedia policy? And then you say, “Newdigate's Michael Drayton and his Circle identifies Labeo as Drayton . . . Not one provided an argument with similarity to Gibson, whose view therefore seems purely idiosyncratic and thus fails WP:DUE for a general article such as this.” While no one you found provided a similar argument, it does not appear that anyone really addressed the same issues that Gibson considered. You really want to claim that Gibson’s conclusions are analogous to “flat earth” theory? That is how you intend to dismiss Gibson? You leave me no choice to reintroduce the example of Simonton. No one I know (and, I’m quite confident, no one you know), has validated Simonton “study” on chronology. I’m talking about his methodology and the information he “correlated”, not the chronology. Simonton’s “study” stands absolutely alone and unsubstantiated. Gibson at least had decency to provide the information he based his conclusions on. His book and his conclusions can hardly be “utterly obscure” when the book is cited multiple times in the article. And then you argue “common sense”. The question then is whose “common sense” is going to rule? You’re doing a lot of arguing to take down the source here, and to hand us your interpretation. When I questioned Simonton, I was told that the policy here is to quote a reliable source and not to question the source. Looks like you are changing the rules.
And finally, you say, “BTW, most of the quotations you add - which are almost wholly unrelated to the issue in dispute - are not about doubting authorship, they are about doubting the reliability of biographical reconstructions of WS's life story, a completely separate issue. The quotation from Gibson refers only to what people with a "conventional mind" think about genius.” The quotations (which you are struggling to parse) were in response to the claim (Johnunig): “the requirements here are much more stringent because there is no scholarly doubt concerning Shakespeare's authorship,” I say the quotes indicate “doubt”, or show, at least, that “doubt” is legitimate. In any case, if there is even one scholar that doubts Shaksper’s authorship, the claim that there is “no scholary doubt” is obviously false. I submit to you the names of Professor Daniel Wright and Roger Stritmatter. Of course, there are others. Ssteinburg (talk) 20:22, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Hoping to find a solution that is agreeable, I offer the following proposed (revised) edit. Added text is in bold print.
"It is generally believed that Shakespeare's authorship was first questioned in the middle of the 19th century,[4] when adulation of Shakespeare as the greatest writer of all time had become widespread.[5] Anti-Stratfordians claim that there are hints that Shakespeare’s identity was contemporaneously doubted, for example, in John Marston’s Pygmalion’s Image (1598) one may infer that he believed that his fellow author Joseph Hall (Satires, 1597) had identified the name Shakespeare on Venus and Adonis as a pseudonym, perhaps for Francis Bacon. (Gibson) Most mainstream scholars reject this and similar interpretations. (McCrea) Shakespeare's biography, particularly his humble origins and obscure life, seemed incompatible with his poetic eminence and his reputation for genius,[6] arousing suspicion that Shakespeare might not have written the works attributed to him.[7] The controversy has since spawned a vast body of literature,[8] and more than 70 authorship candidates have been proposed,[9] including Francis Bacon, the 6th Earl of Derby, Christopher Marlowe, and the 17th Earl of Oxford.[10]" Ssteinburg (talk) 14:55, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
More suggested reading for you. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:49, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
"Sorry, I don’t get it." Yes, that pretty much sums you up. If you are too obtuse to get the point of the Wilmot comment then I give up. There can be no communication with you. Let's say this as simply as possible. Once upon a time even reliable scholars such as McCrea accepted that a man called James Wilmot was the first person to explicitly doubt WS's authorship of the canon. This was disproved in 2010. Therefore even reliable sources before 2010 are unreliable on this aspect of their content. We have every right to accept McCrea et al as reliable, but dismiss this aspect of their texts. Reliability is always contextual. I assumed that you knew the Wilmot story. Evidently you did not. Instead of reading up on the topic you simply displayed incomprehension, leading to further, ever more elaborate, explanations. You still failed to even get the very simple point being made. the Wilmot tale was an example to illustrate that we can reject aspects of reliable sources if we have good reason, within policy, to do so. The rest of your reply demonstrates a total failure of comprehension. I researched the sources on Hall. They all flatly contradicted what Gibson says. These are the sources I gave before, as I said (though I added some more). They do not, of course argue with Gibson. They don't need to. They just contradict him on all relevant aspects of his argument. There is no analogy with Simonton. If there are legitimate sources that flatly contradict Simonton, then of course they could be used to challenge his view. If all other reliable sources flatly contradicted him, we could say Simonton should be excluded per WP:DUE. There is no double standard. They do not even have to engage with Simonton. If it can be shown that Simonton is outside the consensus of current scholarship, he should be excluded, or at at the very most briefly mentioned as representing an alternative or dissenting view. So, there you are. if you can find such sources, you are free to present them here.
I submit that it is you who have difficulty "parsing". Almost all the sources you quote say nothing about authorship. They talk about biography. Yes, biographers often speculate. Biographers of Shakespeare are hardly unique in that respect. I remember reading one biography of Oscar Wilde which described the confused feelings he must have had on his wedding night! The biographer made that up, but that has nothing to do with doubting Wilde's authorship of his works does it? Biography is a commercial genre. It has a somewhat ambiguous relationship to scholarship. Yes, Johnuniq slightly exaggerated. A miniscule minority of very minor scholars in unimportant universities are doubters. Paul B (talk) 17:27, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
We've got a wall of text of more than 10,000 words that basically amounts to WP:REHASH and WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT, in addition to the waste of time that could have otherwise been used in productive editing. There seems to be a pattern developing of long, tedious, and fruitless debate ([16] [17]) in which the goal seems to be gaining ground incrementally through attrition in clear violation of the principles laid out by the arbitration committee, especially concerning talk pages. Dispute resolution is so time-consuming I hate to even contemplate it, but since I see nothing that does not cause me to expect anything other than more of the same in the future, I wonder if we all wouldn't save time by soliciting outside opinions.
And BTW, Paul, as an alumnus of a respectable cow oil college(2), I think your "unimportant universities" comment is unnecessary. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:08, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Labeo gets a fat lip

Just for the "archive", I include the whole of Hall's Labeo passage in context so we can see what he is really saying - that all the writers he attacks can laugh off his criticisms because it's not possible to penetrate his pseudonyms with any certainty:

Should I endure these curses and dispight
While no man's ear should glow at what I write?
Labeo is whip't, and laughs me in the face:
Why? for I smite and hide the galled place.
Gird but the Cynick's Helmet on his head,
Cares he for Talus, or his flail of lead?
Long as the crafty Cuttle lieth sure
In the black Cloud of his thicke vomiture;
Who list complain of wronged faith or fame
When he may shift it to anothers name?
Caluus can scratch his elbow, and can smile,
That thriftless Pontice bites his lip the while.
Yet I intended in that self devise,
To check the churl for his known covetise.
Each points his straight fore-finger to his friend,
Like the blind Dial on the Belfrey end.
Who turns it homeward to say, this is I,
As bolder Socrates in the Comedy?

In other words no-one gets to feel their ears burning when they read his attacks because he never uses real names. He has to endure "curses" for writing the attacks, but no one is actually a victim of them, since they can all point their fingers at others ("each points his straight fore-finger to his friend") and say, "he meant him not me". Labeo (and all the others) laugh because "I smite and hide the galled place." It's Hall that's doing the hiding - he hides and protects his own victims under pseudonyms. In the end he says, in effect, "unlike Socrates, who openly affirmed his own acts when criticised, these guys can hide because I, Hall, have allowed them to." Paul B (talk) 14:45, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks a lot for posting this here. This is helpful for me. warshytalk 16:18, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Sounds right. Indeed, Hall himself named the first three books "Tooth-lesse Satyrs". Tom Reedy (talk) 16:24, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
And now that you've already killed the productivity of my morning, I'll hopefully return the favor with a link to an old but interesting discussion of Hall and Marston. Tom Reedy (talk) 16:59, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I see you are still advancing your collective arguments against those of the "reliable source". Ssteinburg (talk) 16:59, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
You really and truly can't comprehend the meaning of others' comments, can you? Paul said he posted it "Just for the 'archive'", not as part of extending the discussion of your proposed edit. Warshy found it helpful and I found it interesting enough to spend an hour or two reading up on Hall and Marston. Shouldn't you be "taking the next step"? We're all counting on it so we can finally inter this dead edit. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:06, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I've been counseled here for taking up too much of the valuable time of the senior editors and warned that this is not a forum for discussion beyond what is relevant to the article, and I was warned not to waste everyone's time here arguing against the arguments of Simonton (and previously, Baldwin). Is my 'comprehension' in error on that? Now, it appears it is okay to argue at length against the arguments and conclusions of the reliable sources that have been cited, to use this forum for instructional purposes and for posting arguments (and related material) in "archive". In the spirit of the conversational quality of the discussions here ("just got back from Berlin"), I'm just leaving for Austria to go skiing. I trust my absence won't cause a problem. You may wish me a 'broken leg', for that is considered good luck. I wish you the same. Ssteinburg (talk) 18:42, 9 March 2012 (UTC)