Talk:The Great Game

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Is this article suffering from scope creep?[edit]

The Great Game was a rivalry between the British Empire and the Russian/Soviet Empire. And the article itself says until about the 1920's. So why is there a section dealing with the Cold War and other "future" events to the article? It seems like this article has some stuff tacked on to the end because there isn't anywhere else to put it...except that there must be. The Great Game is a defined period in history, and the other things that happened afterward and maybe were influenced by it don't belong in this article. Hires an editor (talk) 01:31, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Hello Hires an editor, to some degree I agree with you and the editor above. What commenced as rivalry between the British Empire and the Russian/Soviet Empire at a point in time appears to have spun out of control and now includes the US and China in the Asia/Pacific region today plus the arrangements for infrastructure development through an international bank owned by over 40 countries! (Shortly to be removed.) The "Cold War" and after sections contain some barely relevant information, and political incidents across Eurasia appears to have been merged into the Great Game. There appears to be much WP:SYNTHESIS - items strung together to lead a reader down a certain path. I am open to suggestions as how this article might be reformed. Regards, William Harristalk • 09:10, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

Actually the rather extended scope of the article is based on two sources which are used to support that "In the post-Second World War post-colonial period, the term has informally continued in its usage to describe the geopolitical machinations of the Great Powers and regional powers as they vie for geopolitical power and influence in the area, especially in Afghanistan and Iran/Persia."

The problem is that "geopolitical rivalries in Central Asia" and its periphery could probably be used as an umbrella term for a long series of conflicts such as the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran (1941), the 1953 Iranian coup d'état (1953), the Iranian Revolution (1978-1979), the Iran–Iraq War (1980-1988), and whatever conflict Afghanistan gets involved in since the abolition of its monarchy in 1973, since it is pretty much in a state of crisis for over 40 years. At what point does this stop being about "The Great Game" and becomes a general History of Central Asia, History of the Middle East, and History of South Asia? Dimadick (talk) 19:00, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

At any one time, you will find an academic - in addition to any number of media commenters - that will say anything on any topic but that does not make it true. In both sources cited, the term Great Game is used as a metaphor and neither writer is actually contending that the Great Game continued on through history unabated. It would not be hard to find other works debunking their use of that metaphor but nobody has bothered to pursue that because that is not the direction someone wants this article to go. The scope of this article needs to be limited to Central Asia, but because no power is going to get there through either Russia or China then the only two pathways available to get into Central Asia is from southern Asia - either Iran or Pakistan/Afghanistan, which need to be included. However, that does not mean that the entire histories of those countries should be included as an indicator of "The Great Game", which is what has happened with this article. The Shar of Iran was deposed, where is the connection? None mentioned in this article and only that it happened. The Middle East and the Trans-caucus are not Southern Asia, and some contributors here need to get themselves an Atlas and have a serious look - this article is just one step away from including the Libyan Civil War under the umbrella of The Great Game. An article that was about British interests in Central Asia (and one might propose that it may yet still be about British interests in Central Asia even today!) has been hijacked to be all about the US and China, or even about the US and the world - we are not going to include here every geopolitical incident that happened around the world. Additionally, it would appear that on this topic the history enthusiasts have allowed the media to kill the message and much of what is written has been copied and pasted from other Wikipedia articles, and although interesting is unfortunately irrelevant. Regards, William Harristalk • 21:20, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

Historical Whitewashing vs "Conspiracy Theory" accusations[edit]

I created an account just to comment on this.

I chose a deliberately provocative title for my comment in opposition to the accusations and edits by user William Harris.

User "William Harris" effectively crippled (no offense) this article and removed information correctly relating major conflicts in the Middle East with proper citations to geostrategic behaviour of the US that represents a continuation of the UK's past strategy against Russia. His actual justification seems to be a "scope creep" argument. However, the entire reason this alleged "scope creep" exists is because users decided that these things are too closely related to justify separate articles. This was the reason articles about concepts such as "The New Great Game" were deleted. His "argument" for individual edits was in some cases effectively dismissal of properly sourced information with significant international discussion (and what is effectively an entire field of academic study concerning UK/US-Russian rivalry with a multitude of international authors having discussed it for generations) as a "conspiracy theory".

The fact of the matter is: He deleted large and well-researched portions of the article and I simply can't agree with that anymore.

The term "Great Game" or "New Great Game" usually describes the UK/US/Russian rivalry centering around geostrategic interest in the Central/Middle Eastern Region. Originally, the term described the rivalry between the UK and Russia but it has long since evolved. It is a highly complex issue that describes an ongoing geostrategic process played out by major powers and related parties. It is also an incredibly important topic and a central part of academic study in the field of international politics, etc. The rivalry between these major players and other parties has no clear beginning or end. To assert otherwise and not tolerate discussion opposing such narrow definition as "conspiracy theories" does not contribute to healthy discourse nor understanding of the long-term and ongoing conflicts in these regions. Not only is it an ongoing process, it's also an expanding process that very well should include China at this point as it evolved beyond a UK/US-Russian process the moment China started developing as an emerging superpower. User William Harris has, in my opinion, failed to properly justify his edits and not even the in my opinion believable/justifiable objection that things such as the US "Pivot to Asia" aren't closely related to it was properly argued for.

This article was a very good and comprehensive chronological list of conflicts related to the (New) Great Game.

Initially, there were two articles: "The Great Game" and "The New Great Game". The New Great Game article was eventually deleted/combined with the article for "The Great Game" because users apparently agreed that there don't need to be two articles as the topics are too closely related. When I saw that the article for "The Great Game" and "The New Great Game" got merged, I didn't agree for various reasons as I think there should be a differentiation between the UK's dominant role in anti-Russian aggression and proxy warfare and the continuation of the process dominated by the US. It was still acceptable, because no major pieces of important information were removed. However, now certain users try and eliminate US-incriminating historical facts from Wikipedia altogether or diffuse existing information so historically connected events seem unrelated. William Harris has spent days after days editing portions of this article to creepingly remove relevant information correctly connecting historical events to this truly central part of international relations and conflicts. Then he seems to have lost patience and started aggressively deleting large portions of the article giving no justification other than him personally being dissatisfied with the content. All because he things the very narrow definition of the concept he wanted to cite should be the one used as the basis for this article.

So, to address the "conspiracy theory" accusations, here is an actual (semi-)conspiracy theory for you: I usually am a highly tolerant person and I respected opposing opinions for many years. I have never opened my mouth, never complained, never denied other people to delete certain things or add certain things I disagree with. I was an entirely passive user and for the most part enjoyed the seemingly healthy discourse. However, to be quite honest and blunt, the egregious historical whitewashing by what seem to be primarily American users on this website is getting on my nerves and while I can understand (for the most part) that people can disagree on topics for various reasons, these edits are completely unacceptable. Just because something doesn't agree with these users' personal wishes about reality, it doesn't mean they should let their biases stand in the way of well-researched facts and discussion of differing opinions using relevant sources. Especially if the topic is a thoroughly debated and important research topic in academia. This doesn't seem to be about opinions anymore, this seems to be about users deliberately trying to censor information that might show the US in a bad light. This often seems to be a deliberate process to whitewash history in favour of the US. And I most definitely can't help but wonder that it is the case with this article, too. Important and properly sourced information was just removed without providing proper substitution.

I do not know how to undo the damage the user William Harris has done, but I do request a total revision of his edits and a restoration of the former version that includes events. How to go about this without destroying the work of people adding relevant discussion and sources or edited spelling mistakes?

Edit: I read up on how to deal with such issues and will revert the article to its state before the extremely narrow (and effectively outdated definition) of the term Great Game was insisted upon by user William Harris to justify aggressive removal of content from the article and important information to understand the concepts being discussed and how today's conflicts are related to historical conflicts.

This is not only my personal opinion: Other Wikipedia users previously decided that all these conflicts are indeed related and centered around UK/US geostrategic behaviour, which led to the merging of separate articles. A discussion of the topic doesn't benefit from using deliberately narrow definitions of an extremely broad and complex topic. It also doesn't benefit from treating highly related issues as separate issues entirely. If user William Harris isn't satisfied with the original concept of the Great Game being conflated with its heavily evolved status quo, he should at the very least revive the old article about the "New Great Game". Maybe this user wants to comment on this directly. I don't object to his edits as long as they ADD and not detract from the article. However, I don't know how to properly include them all. It is more important to me to restore the information previously contained in this article.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Lindknecht (talkcontribs) 20:10, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

All editors need to do on this page is clearly show a link between a historical event and its impact on CENTRAL ASIA, else we are in the world of WP:ROC and Wikipedia:Out of scope. To weave historical events - which of course have citations - as if there is some sort of conspiracy - based on some journalists having made a very comfortable income from the sale of books - borders on WP:FRINGE. If you go to Google Scholar and key in the names of these books, there are no matching citations in the academic world so they are given no credibility. There was no mention in the original form of this article about the US Silk Road Policy, making it further irrelevant. If, as you believe, there has been a great historical game being played in Central Asia over the past 200 years, then it would appear that the West has lost that game. If the "New Great Game" is of such an importance, then please feel free to recreate its own article but it does not belong here. Before making any changes, you will need to first read WP:TALK - you are not the only person here with a point of view. Regards, William Harristalk • 21:14, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
And to clarify a point, I live on the opposite side of the world to the US and have no interest in white-washing anything to do with it. I have an ancestor that was part of the original Great Game. Regards, William Harristalk • 21:28, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

You haven't really addressed any criticism or concerns put forward in this talk I opened. Just blindly dismissed my position citing arbitrary problems you personally perceive. I, and apparently everyone else who edited the article before you, disagrees with your definition. So yes: Indeed, you are not the only person here with a point of view. Other users before you disagreed with you, hence the articles being merged and including all this data. You are undoing their work and contributions due to your highly narrow definition of a term. And no, all editors need to do on this page is show a link between a historical event and its impact on UK-Russian rivalry and therefore, of course, its continuation in form of US-Eastern rivalries. That is the Great Game (which, yes, in the past, was primarily played out in Central Asia, which was the origination of the term, which is something you can very well include in this article). Your outdated definition of the term, however, is insufficient and does not reflect the academic or journalistic zeitgeist. If you disagree with the merger of articles such as "The Great Game" and "The New Great Game" and would like a clearer distinction between the topics, maybe you should discuss that with the users who initially merged them and get convincing arguments from them or put in the necessary effort to split these articles. The fact of the matter is that geostrategic conflicts between the US and the Soviet Union, Russia, China or India are described as "The Great Game" or "The New Great Game". The topic is not always Central Asia but also other regions, e.g. coastal regions of the Indian Ocean. Not to mention that even when using your highly narrow and insufficient definition of the term, events until at least 1947 (British retreat from India) need to be included. For more info see any number of academic sources or standard academic reading. Unlike what you asserted, they are not only from "journalists" (not that that would invalidate their position or their use of the term). Examples given: "In dividing global history since the late nineteenth century, Walberg uses the term “Great Game” to designate the historical period. As he explains, the term “Great Game” refers to the nineteenth century rivalry between Russia and Britain. For instance, GGI refers to the imperial maneuvering of the nineteenth century up through to the Second World War. GGII is the label for the period of the Cold War in which the two superpowers, the USA and the USSR, competed with each other for global influence. GGIII focuses on the post-Cold War period from around 1989 to the present. There is a sub-category named “Endgames” which is also used by the author to represent transitional phases between the larger historical periods." "Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 one theme that has become fundamental part of the analysis of the politico-military and economic situations of the Caucasus and Central Asia has been the question of a New Great Game within, though not limited to, these regions."

I can cite you lots of sources in other languages disagreeing with your narrow usage of the term, too, if you like.

I'm sorry, but you are objectively wrong and your position on the subject based on an an insufficient understanding of the topic or a semantic argument that provides a definition that is simply not a sufficient basis for determining the relevance of content to this article. If you want separate articles about GGI/GGII/GGIII/NGG, feel free to do a split between these topics. Open a talk and convince people there need to be a split if you actually care about content on this website. Don't go around deleting highly relevant and important content just because you want to insist on some outdated definition of a term. I advise you to actually study the topic before further edits.

If you have no actual further arguments to make in favour of your usage of the term being correct and everyone else being incorrect, I would like to revert the article to its previous state. We can also work together to include your edits actually adding to the article (such as opposing opinions). If there is no further comment from you in 24 hours, I will interpret it as tacit agreement and revert the article to a previous version including these conflicts and the relevant discussion.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Lindknecht (talkcontribs) 21:44, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Before you commence further, you would be wise to wait several days for input from other editors who may feel aggrieved about not being given adequate time for consultation. You might also refer to Wikipedia:Consensus as part of the wider Wikipedia:Dispute resolution process. (Wikipedia has its rules and we are required to comply with them.)
My position is as follows:
  • A search of this Talk page and its archive file Archive 1 reveals that nobody here was consulted about any merger with the article titled "The New Great Game".
  • A search of the archive file titled "The New Great Game" reveals that one person proposed a merger, got no reply, and after a year simply merged "The New Great Game" into this article. The page titled "The New Great Game" now acts as a Redirect to this article.
  • The referent of this article is The Great Game. The referent has a clear definition and its derivation can be found within the article. Anything outside of the referent I regard as WP:OFFTOPIC and not meeting Wikipedia:Relevance of content.
  • It is arguable whether the chapter within the article titled "Other Uses of the term Great Game" should have remained here, however I regarded it as having some historical merit plus it did not have a home of its own.
  • Therefore, I propose that the Redirect be converted back to the article titled "The New Great Game", it is not hard to do refer WP:EDRED. WP:SPINOFF requires a separate article, and given that the article in its original form was over 70kb in size then WP:SIZERULE also supports a spinoff. Then it can be populated with material as its stakeholders desire.
Regards, William Harristalk • 08:50, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Proposal - Spinoff to a new article[edit]

Hello all, in accordance with the policy, I propose to WP:SPINOFF the section of this article dealing with the subject of "The New Great Game" into its own article. To quote from the policy: "...they create the opportunity to go into much more detail than otherwise permissible...". Additionally, the article is now 35kb in size and an expansion of that topic under this article will lead to an issue with WP:SIZERULE. If nobody objects, then on Friday, 29 of July I intend to execute the Spinoff and establish the new article - with categorisations and Talk page in place - ready to be populated with text by interested editors. Regards, William Harristalk • 06:24, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

Now actioned. The article "The Great Game" will from here on be subject to citing WP:CITE reliable WP:RELIABLE sources that are verifiable WP:VERIFY and written from a neutral point of view WP:NPOV. Regards, William Harristalk • 21:59, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

Hello Lindknecht, there are some comments on your Talk page about Wikipedia policy, and I offer the following comments regarding your recent edits:

  • Etymology relates to the derivation and meaning of an individual word, not the use of several words in a term. However, I am not too concerned. You may find that other editors will change it in the future.
  • The second paragraph. Does the cited source specifically claim that The Great Game ended with the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente? Yes or no? (Here is a copy of it - little to do with Afghanistan: We have Morgan supported by Gebb stating that it ended with the Joint Pamirs Boundary Commission of 1895. There will be other sources that support that. If not, then we need to amend it. If yes, then after "the Anglo-Russian Entente of 1907" we say "however, other authors have stated that The Great Game came to a close with the with agreement of the Joint Pamirs Boundary Commission in 1895." (I have some more material to post on that.) Else, it is removed into the body of the text.
  • Paragraph 3: Is the US the dominant global power? Who is actually saying that (apart from the US politicians)? Citation please. "The fall of the British Empire" - who did it fall to?
  • The 5 new dot points under Chronology - what is their purpose? There is no context. We are trying to demonstrate what, exactly? If we can articulate that, then we should say it in the body of the article. What I really need right now is an editor (anybody watching?) who has some knowledge of the events and to succinctly develop the expansion of the Russian Empire eastwards, with citations, and how that would lead towards an impact on the British over Afghanistan. I would suggest that an event with a date of 1582, to which the British would respond in 1839, is completely out of scope.

Regards,   William Harris |talk  09:57, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

  • You appear not to have see this talk page and I will await your response.   William Harris |talk  21:05, 2 August 2016 (UTC)


This article has now had its scope narrowed to focus on the referent, The Great Game, which is defined as Anglo-Russian rivalry in Central Asia during the 19th Century. It now has a proposed start date and an end date, with linkages to key documents in archive. Unfortunately, the article mentions Central Asia - and the Khanate of Bukhara in particular - very little. It did not even mention in the body of the article that in 1842, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stoddart and Captian Arthur Conolly were beheaded in Bukhara for spying. It has focused on a series of military engagements in Afghanistan, which although are important, appears to be a simple copy-and-paste from other articles. I recommend that future development be directed more towards Central Asia, and Bukhara in particular. I intend on providing further material shortly. Regards,   William Harris |talk  21:01, 8 August 2016 (UTC)