Talk:United States/Archive 34

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The Nation of God

It needs to be mentioned somewhere in the article that America is God's chosen nation, until he allows movement into Israel. Without this, the article seems an insult to the founding fathers, who founded America on the idea that Christ is with us, and America is always morally right. Forever. Mwahcysl (talk) 21:29, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I hope you don't really mean what you put down, for you must know that such a claim has little basis in fact; unless God has given the world proof that America is His "chosen nation" (though "America" does not appear in any of the scriptures), or that Jesushas spoken of that future land, it does not belong in an encyclopedia. Furthermore, being figures of the Enlightenment, many of the Founding Fathers were deists who rejected organized religion; Thomas Jefferson in particular was a harsh critic of Christianity.[1]
Most the Fathers were of the consensus that religion and state should be independent of each other, an Enlightenment idea. And still, the idea of America being "always morally right" is a matter of opinion, not fact. Mwahcysl, please do not put such things in the article; it would lessen its objectivity and quality, and the quality and stature of Wikipedia in whole. I do not mean to demean Christianity or any of its precepts, but only to reaffirm that an encyclopedia should be encyclopedic and factual.FallingRain123 (talk) 00:30, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
See, e.g., The religious beliefs of the U.S. founding fathers, a neglected work in progress. --Evb-wiki (talk) 02:28, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Clearly a troll... TastyCakes (talk) 20:32, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Holy f---, this TastyCakes guy is a genius! Aurush kazemini (talk) 04:29, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks buddy. Just doing my part to clear up any confusion. TastyCakes (talk) 15:27, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

'Morally right'. This guy has clearly never heard of Abu Ghraib prison, The Highway of Death or Fallujah.

I hope he was joking. If not his lack of knowledge is laughable and his arrogance is ridiculous. (talk) 18:34, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Saying that America is God's chosen nation would be a serious violation of NPOV.Leo-Isaurus-Rex (talk) 18:13, 18 September 2009 (UTC)


US GLOBAL DEBT(Private + Public) /GDP is about 835% against a medioum level of 140% of EU.The Public debt/GDP (considering as well done all over the world FNM and FRE debts)is about 130%.

The main part of evoluted world considering this official datas and other political aspects don't consider anymore Usa a superpower.It's difficult to change official datas by talking.Thanks for your attention.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Campi Lorenzo (talkcontribs) 06:23, January 5, 2009

Surely it is external debt that should be considered for this context? By that measure, the US is at about 99% GDP as seen here, below most European nations. Also, please refrain from making up words such as "evoluted". TastyCakes (talk) 21:18, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Please update the unemployment numbers...

The current unemployment number for December 2008 is 7.2%. The current data reference is the older November 2008 data at 6.7%. The corresponding summary reference link does not need to be changed, however, as it is already referencing the latest DOL December 2008 summary data. Meaning, only a simple number and date change is required to be up to date..

If someone would give me permissions, I would consider it a patriotic duty by keeping the data current from now on... I would also promise to not change anything else as well... :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tgatliff (talkcontribs) 15:02, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Data updated. Thanks.DocKino (talk) 16:22, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

USA cf. U.S.

This has probably been dealt with before, but going through up to 33 archive pages to find out ... well, life's just too short.

Why is the abbreviation "USA" free of periods (full stops), but the abbreviation "U.S." includes them? -- JackofOz (talk) 23:20, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure how to explain it, but grammatical conventions reference books state that "U.S." needs periods while "USA" does not. (Blootix (talk) 20:46, 11 January 2009 (UTC))
Thanks. I'm aware of the convention about "U.S.". I'm wondering how it got that way. "UK" is used both in reference to the country (I was born in the UK), and as an adjective (I'm a UK citizen). The U.S. is a place where words tend to be, if anything, shortened (night > nite; manoeuvre > maneuvre, or something like that). They don't write "C.I.A" or "F.B.I", so why "U.S."? -- JackofOz (talk) 03:46, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
These things aren't decided for reasons, really, but if I had to guess why U.S. persists, I'd guess that it's because US is a word, while USA, UK, CIA, and FBI aren't. CMS says it weighed consistency vs. tradition, and went with tradition. - Nunh-huh 03:54, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

overwhelmingly conservative nation?

Has anyone looked at that yahoo poll that supposedly says that most americans are conservative. First of all, I don't think one yahoo poll should be considered valid in determining the whole politcal ideals of the country. Also, I only saw that is said that a plurity of americans prefer the next president to be moderate, with conservative coming in second. This entire claim seems pretty bogus to me, and I think it should be deleted from the article. Does anyone agree?

Does it say that anywhere in the wikipedia article? If it does, I agree it shouldn't be there, but I can't find it. TastyCakes (talk) 21:36, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
User:TastyCakes spreaks the truth. One poll is not enough! Especially an unscientific poll from Yahoo!! Aurush kazemini (talk)

It's under the political ideals or something section, it says that a plurity are democrats but there are more conservatives than liberals. I'm going to delete it and see what happens. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:51, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

There have been other polls that show a majority of americans lean right (conservative). If there is no reference to such polls conducted by CNN, Gallop or any valid media then I don't believe it should be in the article. I agree with the statement because I have heard of these polls being conducted and the result was such, however Yahoo is a web based poll and does not control the polling the way legitimate media would. Rgoss25 (talk) 21:18, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

First, the title of this section is misleading. The article does not state that the United States is "overwhelmingly conservative". This is what the relevant sentence actually reads: "A plurality of Americans identify as Democrats, yet significantly more Americans identify as conservative than liberal."
Second, the description of the poll reveals a serious misunderstanding. It is not a Yahoo poll. It is a mainstream poll cosponsored by the Associated Press, Yahoo, and Stanford University.
Third, the claims that the relevant results are unclear are obviously false. Here are those results:
Question: "Do you consider yourself a Democrat, Republican, an Independent, a supporter of some other party, or none of these?" Responses: "Democrat 40 / Republican 27 / Independent 20 / Some other party 1 / None of these 11 / Refused or Not Answered 1."
Question lead-in: "Generally speaking, do you consider yourself..." Responses: "Very liberal 6 / Somewhat liberal 17 / Moderate 43 / Somewhat conservative 22 / Very conservative 11."
Here are a couple older polls--one on party affiliation, one on ideological identification--that show similar results (though with lower "moderate" identification): [1]; [2]. The article's current content is clearly accurate and supported per WP:V.—DCGeist (talk) 05:24, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
As Mr. Geist says, every poll you can find indicates precisely what the article has stated. However, we can certainly cite a more powerful source--instead of the AP/Yahoo poll of approximately 2,000 respondents, there is the national exit poll of nearly 18,000 voters in the November 2008 election. I have cited CNN, but these are the independently collected numbers relied on by every major news organization in America. Do note, however, how close the results are (Dem-39, Rep-32; lib-22, con-34) to the AP/Yahoo poll (Dem-40, Rep-27; lib-23, con-33).DocKino (talk) 06:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
It's a lousy poll design, frankly, because it's by self-identification. "Conservative" is a brand where people are proud of using the label. Most liberals use words like "progressive" and are more likely to self-identify as moderate since "liberal" is now used as an insult in some circles. It's not false, but it's misleading and should be cut unless adequately explained. SDY (talk) 07:02, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
You make a good point—and we certainly can't expend the necessary verbiage here to adequately explain the issue. (I wonder how the numbers in these polls would shift if "liberal" was replaced with "progressive".) Upon reflection, I would have no problem with cutting the entire sentence.—DCGeist (talk) 07:29, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Except that to be insulting it has to be ofensive to the target. I know of plenty of liberals who are not ashamed of being called that, and a lot of conservatives who think they are. Much like many conservative insluts it does not work becasue the insult is a matter of pride to the target.[[Slatersteven (talk) 16:59, 18 January 2009 (UTC)]]
Regardless, the words "conservative" and "liberal" are poorly defined and could be considered loaded language, so reporting it as unqualified truth is a poor idea. It is yet another "fun fact" that can easily be cut in an article begging to be trimmed. SDY (talk) 22:09, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Well I had a heated editing "debate" with dcgeist, but I think ultimatly my point was summed up by "somedumbyankee". I just didn't like the sentence because I think the moderate self identification was actually more reflective of what most people consider "liberal" in this country. I'm just glad someone put it in better words than I did. I totally agree that this sentence should be removed (as it has been). (Fshoutofdawater (talk) 04:17, 21 January 2009 (UTC))

Parties, ideology, and politics is not referenced or encyclopedic

The trouble with the section is that it doesn't rely on references. Part of the reason is that it is difficult to find references that explain "liberal" and "conservative" in the way the article attempts to. It has a strong cultural bias as the definition of these words has evolved in American political culture. Either that section needs to just go or needs to be written with an explanation as to what they mean in America vs Great Britain and other English speaking countries and a little on how they evolved. Meaning the "conservatives" Harding and Hoover were for a strong protective tariff. The conservative Ronald Reagan was for economic liberalization. It is only a summary section but it assumes that the reader is familiar with the modern use of these words in American politics which an encyclopedia should not assume. Reboot (talk) 00:44, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

No. The section is both adequate and helpful within the context of this national overview article. The Wikilinks are there to serve readers who want to pursue a deeper understanding of the terms within the context of American political culture—a deeper understanding that is the precise reason we have topical articles to link to. It by no means assumes familiarity; rather, like a proper Wikipedia summary section, it leads interested readers in the directions where they may achieve familiarity.—DCGeist (talk) 01:14, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Right but the section is neither clear or referenced. It can't passingly mentioned "conservative" and "liberal" as if someone will read it and know they mean the way that American TV uses it. If they can't be referenced or explained they should be delegated. When European businessmen come to the south they come there for "liberal business laws". At a glance it shouldn't mislead - summary or not. Reboot (talk) 01:32, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't mislead. And there is a summary explanation: "conservative" is limned as "center-right" ("within American political culture") and "liberal" is limned as "center-left" ("within American political culture"). That seems to be sufficiently clear to readers aside from you. Anyone who (a) speaks English and (b) is interested in ideological matters is quite well aware that the meaning of these terms, particularly "liberal", varies from context to context. But the overriding meaning of the term within American political culture is roughly analogous to "center-left". Just because the space limitations of an overview article don't allow us to express everything perfectly, does not mean that important matters shouldn't be addressed at all. And I'm afraid your edits added nothing but needless weight to a passage that is simple, direct, functional, and, yes, clear.DocKino (talk) 02:22, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. The use of these terms in this way is distinctly unique to American politics and much of their use has evolved over the last few years. The undue weight is because it has no business in the main article for the country. There is no similar summary in United Kingdom and Germany (i.e. explaining the Liberal Party (UK) and geographic base of the Christian Democratic Union (Germany). It is trivial, short memory, and pop-culturish passage which assumes immersion in the culture. If it were written 30 years ago it would characterize the countries politics as dominated by a Silent Majority versus and counter culture. These things should only be outlined where they can be given proper treatment. Reboot (talk) 13:59, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, you've identified a weakness in the articles on the United Kingdom and Germany; not only does the present article address this fundamental matter, others do as well, if in less detail—take a look at France. Again, the claim that the passage "assumes immersion in the culture" is obviously unreasonable; the passage, like every other, assumes the reader recognizes that it is a summary introduction to certain aspects of the culture, with more detail (immersion!) available via linked topical articles.
While the ability to time-travel and inform us how the passage would have been written had it been written 30 years ago is impressive, it would seem that it is your memory which is short. "Silent majority" was a vogue term for a few years in the late 1960s and early 1970s that was quite passé by 30 years ago; "conservative" and "liberal", on the other hand, have—in all their imprecision and "distinct uniqueness"—been at the center of American political discourse and used much as they are today for over half a century. One bit of reading you might find helpful is Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s "Liberalism in America: A Note for Europeans", published in 1962. For the long-standing use and rough stability of the terms in American political culture, check out a standard text, like Samuel Eliot Morison's Oxford History of the American People, published in 1965. And, again, read those topical articles: Liberalism in the United States and Conservatism in the United States—the proper venues for the treatment you insist on.—DCGeist (talk) 00:29, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

An Interesting Claim

Currently, the article states: "Certain cultural attributes of Mandé and Wolof slaves from West Africa were adopted by the American mainstream; based more on the traditions of Central African Bantu slaves, a distinct African American culture developed that would also deeply affect the mainstream.[176]" But no examples are given. Can someone provide some examples? It is very interesting, but pretty pointless without any concretes. Kjaer (talk) 05:42, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Really? Is there any good reason to assert that those particular references are "pretty pointless without any concretes", rather than turning to, say, the preceding line that claims "German, Irish, and Scottish cultures have also been very influential"? No examples there either. The point is, as above, this is an overview article on the United States. For the desired specifics, read the linked article on African American culture, read the rest of the Culture section in this article (music and food are two pertinent examples that won coverage) or find one of the two books cited at the end of the passage. Your local library is a terrific resource.—DCGeist (talk) 00:05, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Presidents name in info box

Should we refer to him as "Barack Obama" or "Barack H. Obama"? Your thoughts. Ijanderson (talk) 12:29, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

We don't say "John G Roberts" or initials for the others in the infobox. I think the only reason it was done for George W Bush was to distinguish him from his father. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 16:36, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
It's annoying this question is even coming up. His name, short, informal version, is Barack Obama. The previous president's was George W. Bush. The W. was used, not just for disambiguation, but because, well, he liked it that way. We didn't need an F. or a B. or a D. to disambiguate Kennedy, Johnson, or Franklin Roosevelt, that's just how their names were done. Bill Clinton, not William Jefferson or William J.; Barack Obama, not Barack Hussein Obama or Barack H. Obama. Really, folks, this is simple. --Golbez (talk) 20:02, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Then the topic for JFK should (by that argument) be named "Jack Kennedy" (since "he liked it that way"). Tedickey (talk) 00:39, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
It's as if you didn't see a single word I said. Stop trying to make this harder than it actually is. In common parlance, the 35th president was referred to as John F. Kennedy. The 36th was Lyndon Johnson or Lyndon B. Johnson. The 37th was Richard Nixon - not Richard M. Nixon. The 38th was Gerald Ford. The 39th was Jimmy Carter - not James Earl Carter. The 40th was Ronald Reagan. The 41st was George Bush, at the time. The 42nd was Bill Clinton - not William Clinton, or William Jefferson Clinton, or god forbid, Big Billy Jay. The 42nd was George W. Bush. The 43rd is Barack Obama. --Golbez (talk) 01:14, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Reverted Demographics edits

Apparently, M5891 doesn't read the edit summaries to find out why his/her edits keep getting reverted, so I'll have to break it down here:

1) Eliminating the description (with link) of Hispanic/Latino as an officially designated "ethnicity". Bad idea. Discussion of the section over many months has made clear the need to articulate that the "ethnicity" designation is per the Census Bureau (and, though conceptually related, is not identical to the category of "race").

2) Eliminating the percentage of Hispanic Americans who are Mexican Americans. Bad idea. Mexican Americans are a clear majority of Hispanic Americans; no case has been made to erase this significant datum.

3) Changing the source (and consequent calculation) of Hispanic population growth from an already existing high quality 2008 cite to extrapolation from a newly introduced 2000 cite. Obviously a ridiculous idea.

4) Listing the four largest Hispanic American ancestry groups. First, M5891 simply gets it wrong, as DCGeist explained a while back: the top 4 are not Mexican, Puerto Rican, Spanish, and Cuban, but Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Salvadoran. Second, no case has been made for listing these four--why not three? why not five? The fact is--again, as already explained--Mexican Americans are more than 4 times as populous as the next three Hispanic American groups combined. Naming them here is simply bloat--this is precisely what we have topical articles for.

5) Adding this bit: "However, White Americans overall (non-Hispanic Whites together with White Hispanics) are projected to remain the racial majority at 74%, or 325 million, in 2050." Unlike the fact that minorities are projected to be the majority of the U.S. population by 2042--which is sourced to a Census Bureau press release and which is referred to widely in the U.S. media--M5891's favorite factoid is sourced to an op-ed piece and is rather of the "dog bites man" variety. If M5891 wants to try to find a place for this in Demographics of the United States, he/she is certainly welcome to give it a try, but it clearly has no place here per WP:UNDUE.

Even in the one spot where M5891 was helpful, updating the figure for the % of the American population that is foreign-born, there was a failure to properly update the citation, casting the main text alteration into doubt. This has been addressed.DocKino (talk) 03:39, 22 January 2009 (UTC)


People, please try and be civil when reverting good-faith edits. Noone owns this or any other article, and it is perfectly reasonable (although often inadequate) to respond to talk page comments in an edit summary. MrZaiustalk 13:27, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Of course it is. Unfortunately, M5891 really didn't respond at all. When you ignore a discussion that your repeated and unsupported edits have provoked, it is, in fact, only fair to be warned that you may be ignored in turn. That's not incivility. That's clarity.DocKino (talk) 13:34, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
That figure (74%) includes White Hispanics. Although I'm not sure if that figure itself is correct, the group that are going to be dethroned from their majority position are the Non-Hispanic Whites. Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 22:22, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. The fact is that in both general American discourse and by U.S. Census Bureau definition, Hispanics—whether "white" or "black"—are considered one of the country's several "minorities". The news—as recognized in both general American news reports and U.S. Census Bureau press releases—is that "minorities" will constitute a majority in just over 30 years, and that non-Hispanic "whites", the majority since the nation's founding, will no longer be the majority. That "whites"—whether Hispanic or not—may well still constitute a statistical majority is not considered significant by any mainstream news reportage or by the Census Bureau itself. And that is why this datum just does not belong here.—DCGeist (talk) 23:09, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

American Status

Hey I think we should add a section about American exceptionalism and how America is the best country in the world, according to exceptionalists. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:05, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Stop being a smartass.Prussian725 (talk) 15:59, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
While I'm not sure the addition should be made, I don't think that response was called for, Prussian. The anon isn't saying "America is the best country in the world!" The anon is saying we should make an addition to the article about how there are a significant number of "exceptionalists" who believe as such, rightly or wrongly. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 19:56, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Certainly the phrase (and therfore one assumes those who subscribe to its intention) exists. Does the article need to mention it, thats hard to justify, but also is very much part of (some) Americans world view, and might help non Americnas understand why Americans sometimes react how they do to (in the view of non Americans) critisism. Aslo its meaning, (and therefore what it represents) has shifted. [[Slatersteven (talk) 17:01, 25 January 2009 (UTC)]]

I find just as many "exceptionalists" in the UK as i do in the United States. Moreover, it is the same with every country around the world. America tends to voice its "exceptionalists" a bit more because it gets allot of critics, well thats how i see it anyway (And “exceptionalists” is not a real word, bah!).Misortie (talk) 22:06, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

But 'American exceptionalism' is a recognised and recorded phrase.[[Slatersteven (talk) 22:16, 31 January 2009 (UTC)]]


This article mentions gdp and status many times, but fails to mention the United states debt level. Willydick (talk) 22:51, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

That's incorrect. We give the current debt level in the "Economic indicators" table at the top of the "Economy" section, with a link to the topical article on the national debt. I recall there was discussion here some while back about giving more coverage to the debt; the general sense that was arrived at was that the significance of the debt and the many different ways of analyzing its relative size were too complex a matter to be covered in this overview article, and was better reserved for the topical article.DocKino (talk) 23:56, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

1st amendment

Template:The United States is an officially secular nation; the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion and forbids the establishment of any religious governance.

Parts of this statement has no actual basis in fact, given that the majority of Americans consider themselves Christian and that the Country itself was founded on judeo-Christian principles. The US is therefore NOT an officially secular nation, nor has it ever been during its existence.

Also, the First Amendment DOES NOT forbid the establishment of a religious governance, what it actually forbids is any sort of political favoritism shown towards religion on behalf of the government.

Please take the time to correct these oversights, as soon as possible. Thank you.

Check your definition of "secular," it doesn't mean "atheist." The fact that a majority are Christian does not interfere with the governance being secular. In addition, you pretty much can't establish religious governance without giving favoritism, because not all religions agree on everything. I see nothing to correct. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 06:39, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

--per the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution --Evb-wiki (talk) 13:20, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Explaining what is prohibited by custom and what is prohibited by law is a complicated issue which cannot be explained here in full, and the section headers give plenty of further reading for anyone interested. I do think that we should choose our words more carefully though. If we are going to keep the "legalesque" language currently in place, we should use quasi-quotations (i.e. references to "respecting establishments" and "religious tests") rather than things that look like source language but are pure interpretations. These things are arcane, and any British first-year learning about the people across the pond (a possible target audience for this article) should come to the "what, exactly, does that mean?" conclusion that haunts public life in the US. I would also support removing the word "secular." The usage may be correct by the dictionary, but the way it is being used is rapidly becoming archaic in common speech, and sadly with a living language dictionaries come second in determining meaning. SDY (talk) 15:57, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
The first amendment clearly says no 'establishment of religion', it is prohibited by law not by custom. Thus the US govement is secular in law, if not in custom. Nor is the use of the word secular changing in common speach (I supect its not used that often as its not likely to be a subject that crops up in every day conversation). But it is certainly used (in its dictionary meaning) within the media when discusiing the subject of religion and the state. Now unless it can be demonstrated that there is a defacto establishment of religion within the US (such as legislation establishing religion as part of the government of the US) then the US is (and the article must state that the US is under law, and the constitution) a secular state.[[Slatersteven (talk) 18:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)]]

Incorportated Territory

Palmyra atoll is an incorportated territory and as such is an integral part of the united states as opposed to the other territories. As such i have changed the sentence regarding the make up of the united states to refelct this. XavierGreen (talk) 17:18, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

It is a fundamental part of the country, but I think to such a minor degree as to not warrant mention in the first sentence. It does get its due later in the article. --Golbez (talk) 20:49, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Physical area description is inaccurate.

This article claims that USA is the 2nd largest country in the world, yet lists it at 3/4 are we using a different set of criteria, or is there a genuine mistake? Clarification would be good. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:52, 5 February 2009 (UTC) Sorry... I think I had a brain fart. Everything does seem to be in order after all. Keep up the great work guys.


I think this section should explain that, before the United States became an independent nation, it was part of a group of North American colonies that were usually referred to in English as "British America." This is why the country's name became the United States of America and its citizens known as Americans. -- (talk) 23:14, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

That's something for the article about the History of the US.Prussian725 (talk) 00:04, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Incusion of non-executive leaders in the infobox

In all of the government pages I have seen, government leaders have been restricted to those with executive authority. Neither the Chief Justice nor the Speaker of the House have executive authority. I believe that the two offices should be removed. (talk) 03:41, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

This issue has been discussed and resolved quite long time ago. Please see the FAQ page. The rationale for the inclusion is that they are the heads of their own respective branches of government, and this is specifically mentioned within the Constitution, and all three levels of government are considered equal. Canada Jack (talk) 03:49, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Important addition needed to the wiki page for the USA.

Can someone please add a list of International Rankings to the wiki page for the United States, such as there are already ones on other countries' pages, as can be seen here for Estonia:

And here for Canada:

I attempted to do this myself, but I do not have enough previous edits to allow me to edit the page for the United States. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Beegor (talkcontribs) 18:08, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Those tables are ugly and should be removed from their articles, perhaps placed in a subarticle. This article is much too long already without an additional, ugly table of marginal utility. --Golbez (talk) 18:49, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

While they could use some organizing and maybe standardizing, I wholly disagree that they should be removed, or that it isn't useful enough for the USA page. I agree that there is room for thinning in the pre-existing sections, and believe that an International Rankings list will be much more useful to many more people that a lot of what is already posted in the USA page. For whoever would like to do so, I've put together a preliminary listing of stats with sources for the USA:

The Economist Intelligence Unit's index of democracy
Year: 2007
Place: 17

Individual Freedoms ranked by the World Liberty Index
Place: 19

Economic Freedoms ranked by the World Liberty Index
Place: 5

Ranking of Health Care System, according to World Health Organization
Year: 2007
Place: 37

National Income rating in US dollars
Year: 2007
Place: 14 - $44,710

Human Development Index (quality of life, Intelligence, life expectancy)
Year: 2008
Place: 15

Global Peace Index
Year: 2008
Place: 97
Link: &

World Database of Happiness report
Rank: 27-31

Reporters Without Borders' annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index
Year: 2007
Rank: 22 (domestic) & 108 (Iraq)

Economist Intelligence Unit & IBM e-readiness report
Year: 2007
Rank: 2

Official Development Assistance as a percentage of GNI, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Year: 2006
Rank: 23 - 0.18%
Link: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Beegor (talkcontribs) 19:33, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree completely with Golbez: these rankings are in most cases one step removed from trivia and certainly have no business in the primary country articles, outside of a few leading ones that can be sensibly integrated into the narrative flow—as the UN Education Index, the WHO health care rankings, and the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index currently are. A table informing us that the U.S. ranks 27–31 according to the World Database of Happiness is about as useless as it gets. As it stands, we already have an article designed as a depository for these factoids: International rankings of the United States.—DCGeist (talk) 20:13, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I also agree these information should not be in a separate table. The most important numbers are already in the infobox, or can be integrated in the text as DCGeist states. Furthermore, who decides which rankings to include ad which not. Without clear criteria it will be a trivia table. Arnoutf (talk) 20:20, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I also seem to recall that when these were published a n umber of questions were reaised as to how accurate they were. I seem to recall that one of the highest ranked nations for happiness also had one of the worlds highest suicide rates?[[Slatersteven (talk) 12:23, 10 February 2009 (UTC)]]
In my (anything but humble) opinion, the only time those stats should be used if the country ranks first in a major category, such as US GDP or China's population, or the country's rank is unexpectedly low or a matter of public interest, such as the state of medical care in the US or press freedom rankings in China. Anything else is just filler, and this article has far, far too much filler already. SDY (talk) 15:55, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I must disagree on this point. If you are to include national rankings then only including the 'good ones' smacks of flag raving. Either include a full range of rankings or none. As to unexpectadly low, how do you define what is expected of a nation?[[Slatersteven (talk) 13:29, 12 February 2009 (UTC)]]
I didn't say "only the good ones," simply those that are "notable." Being first in a major index or statistic like population or GDP or area or HDI is notable, first in beanie baby ownership per capita or olympic medals in 1900 is not. Medical care in the US is the poster child for "unexpected", since most would assume that such a wealthy country would rank better in infant mortality, life expectancy, etc... than the US does given the amount we spend on health care (and I would list those benchmark statistics and not an interpreted summary score). There are two major reasons I object to long lists of rankings:
  • (article size and focus) I've never even heard of some of the rankings that were originally listed as "must have," and if we include listings by statistics they cannot be ones that require substantial explanation. What does a "peace index" mean (and how does it compare to work from other groups with an opinion on the matter such as SIPRI?) What the heck is an "e-readiness report"? Why list GNI/GNP per capita when we have GDP per capita? We could frankly have multiple articles on comparative rankings of the United States and I would have no problem linking those to the main article, but the flagship article has to be kept at a reasonable size.
  • (NPOV)Lists of rankings could do drastic damage to the neutrality of the article. There are three kinds of lies. The Gini, HDI, and other "mainstream" rankings are fine (and are already in the article), their methods and sources are relatively well explained on the linked articles. SDY (talk) 15:52, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
You did not say only those that were notable but also those where a country is listed first (in a major catagory). Why should a nation be listed first but not 5th or 20th? If its inportant were a nation comes thjat is whats inportant, not if they are first. Moreover statistics are not reliable, How big is the US (there seesm to be more then on e answer to that), How good is the US helatth care system (depends which figures you look at). I agree that most of the one susgested (and I have never disputed that) are plain silly. But I dispute that any ranking poll can ever reflect anythi9ng more then the question that was asked (and of whome).[[Slatersteven (talk) 11:55, 15 February 2009 (UTC)]]
Number of people is surprisingly hard to determine, and there are always disputes about exact borders, but not all statistics are useless. If they are carefully reasoned questions asked of informed people making carefully reasoned responses, they will produce useful information that's worth putting in the article. It's not an "all or nothing" business: there are some rankings that are worth putting in because they give the reader a better understanding of where the country fits in the world and the task for editors is to identify ones that are worth including. They become useless trivia if the reader isn't expected to learn anything from them but an arbitrary number rank. Ranking first in GDP is in itself meaningless, but it shows unquestionably the message that the US is a major player in the global economy. SDY (talk) 18:37, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
I mainly agree with Somedumbyankee. Coming back to that, the infobox already lists most of the "important" stats, regardless whether the country is 1st, 5th or 155th. That leaves notable positions on less important stats. Here I agree with Somedumbyankee; a country scoring exceptionally good, or bad on a scale compared to expectation may receive some discussion. These kind of stats would in my opinion be best integrated into the main text as that would allow decent contextualisation. E.g. in the case of the US healthcare it could be something like "in spite of spending a yyyTh per capita money on healthcare, the US only ranks XXXth position on different health types". So all in all, no need for extra tables as the numbers are either in infobox, or in text. Arnoutf (talk) 19:07, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
There are two ways to determine GDP, which one should we use (if they produce different results, which they should not but then that’s not a definite)? Which one is being used on the page at the moment? For example using the two methods the US GDP for 2002 produces two different results, 8348 or 10446 (in billions) which one is correct? Certainlt it shos they are a major player, but then just give the GDP not its ranking (Which could change based on which figure you use), well both.[[Slatersteven (talk) 19:25, 15 February 2009 (UTC)]]
Raw number figures don't really help readers unless they already know the answer or it is something they can easily relate to. Even the GDP of Zimbabwe sounds like "a lot of money" to most readers. SDY (talk) 19:51, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Both numbers (PPP and Nominal) are in the infobox, together with a rank number. If the number is lacking, the wikilink brings you to the relevant table. And to be honest a GDP of 2 Billion sounds like a lot of money for a single person, but not much for a country (US$ 188 per person compare to US$ 47000 in the US is not much!)Arnoutf (talk) 20:18, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Or they compare the GDP of the US and other countries for themselves. After all that is what wikipedia is for is it not, to enable research. Not to have arbitrary decisions as to what is and is not an important statistic. By the way I was talking about the GDP based on earnings as opposed to that based on purchases. So in fact there are even more ways then just two to calculate GDP.
Encyclopedias are rarely tools for serious research, most are targeted towards people looking for an overview of a topic rather than details. Ultimately, a reader is looking to understand the "big picture." If they really wanted to compare GDPs by their variety of measuring methods, we have articles on that (and they should probably be looking at the cited sources closely). This is just the overview article, and the extent of the message is just "US economy big." We add some choice cited details to make it clear that we didn't make that up, and leave everything else to more specific articles. SDY (talk) 20:53, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

federal constitutional republic or democratic republic?

Democratic = PEOPLE choose and elect for their president/prime ministers.
Republic = We RELY on a president/prime minister to make decisions for us.
Are you sure that it's a "federal consituional republic"?
I think that it should be changed to a democratic republic with it linking to Democracy and Republic.
ATC (talk) 03:38, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

The US is a "Federal Constitutional Republic." It's a federal government that's laid out in the US Constitution. It's also a republic. A republic doesn't require a Prime Minister, in fact the republic article starts with the definition that a republic is "a state where the head of state is not a monarch, but in which the people (or at least a part of its people) do have an impact on its government." All three terms fit the US to a T. OptimumPx (talk) 09:01, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Saddam Hussein not a former "ally" of the United States

Under the section titled "Contemporary History" Saddam Hussein is called a "former U.S. ally". This overstates the relationship between the US and Iraq in the 1980s to a non-trivial degree... That Saddam H. was once on friendly terms is worth making, but to label him an ally does a disservice to the young and those that don't have acquaintance with the history of the period.

The passage reads: Lacking the support of NATO or an explicit UN mandate for military intervention, Bush organized a Coalition of the Willing; coalition forces preemptively invaded Iraq in 2003, removing dictator and former U.S. ally Saddam Hussein. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:51, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

I'd say you'd have to severely strain semantics to pretend that Hussein was not an ally during the Iran/Iraq war, 38. And, the support America gave Iraq during that period was certainly non-trivial, including supplying materiel, logistical support and blocking UN attempts to censure Hussein when he was attacking the Kurds. It's nothing to be proud of for sure, and has been called the "realpolitik" by Kissinger of the sort of things big powers must engage in, so saying "former US ally..." if anything underplays the substantial role America played in supporting Hussein during those years. Canada Jack (talk) 06:13, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Ally is the wrong word to use. It implies direct support rather than sereptitious support. We would refer to the UK as an ally, but it would not make sense (in the 80s timeframe) to refer to Iraq in general or Hussein in person as an ally. More like we were a proponent of his agenda against Iran. That does not default to an alliance in any means. I worry some people are trying to force the concept of an alliance as a means to just take another swipe at the USA. Hopefully I'm wrong. Jersey John (talk) 17:52, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

"Sereptitious support?" There was nothing secret about it, Jros. No one is "forcing" an alliance here. America's realpolitick position was to dominate the region and when Iran fell to the wayside, Iraq was the perfect foil. In fact, it was the vocal left who routinely denounced Reagan and Bush for allying with Hussein, that is, until 1990 when the US finally broke ranks with Hussein and the vocal left, predictably, roundly criticized Bush as he attacked Iraq. Canada Jack (talk) 00:08, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

I guess a useful comparison is the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. Would we state that the US and Saudi Arabia are allies? The proverbial men on the street (or women in the US) don't see eye to eye on many things, and there are many things the Saudi government does that the US disapproves of (and vice versa), but I think it'd be a stretch to say that an alliance does not exist. SDY (talk) 06:32, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
"Canada"Jack, "sereptitious" was the wrong word however I stand by my general point. And nothing you described above, while all true, fits an actual "alliance." Jersey John (talk) 11:04, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

The word in question is "ally," not "alliance," and within the context of what the line says, I don't see a problem with describing Hussein as a "former US ally." I'd agree it'd be a bit of a stretch to call this some sort of "alliance," as this is something that connotes something more formal, but Hussein certainly was an "ally" for a good part of the 80s. Canada Jack (talk) 16:02, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Ally some definitions.

One in helpful association with another: I thinkl tjnhat prety mch descrbes the relationship. the US was helpng Sadam. One that is allied with another, especially by treaty: Note that it does not exclude informal allinaces ally - an associate who provides cooperation or assistance: Again prety good overall description of what the US did for Sadam.

It seems to me that Sadam was allied with the US, not formaly but on the level of informal co-operation.[[Slatersteven (talk) 16:07, 17 February 2009 (UTC)]]
I think this is getting undue attention. US foreign policy has long held "my enemies enemy is my friend". In the 70's Sadam was Russia's friend and the Sjah of Persia a US ally. When Khomeini took over from the Sjah he was enemy and Sadam a reluctant ally. Similarly the Taliban was a US ally against Russia, the Cuban Batista dictatorship was an ally, Pinochet was an ally. The overarching theme being the enemies enemy...... Sadam is just one example; which I don't think needs to be highlighted in detail. Arnoutf (talk) 17:41, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

can't edit

Why can't the United States page be edited anymore??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jc900 (talkcontribs)

The article is semi-protected. You have to be autoconfirmed to edit semi-protected pages. Parsecboy (talk) 04:09, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

why do you have to be 'autoconfirmed'. Azorrez (talk) 10:44, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

RE: federal constitutional republic or democratic republic?

Then why doesn't the article just say it's a Federal Constitutional Democratic Republic?
ATC . Talk 21:27, 20 February 2009 (UTC)


I know this has probably been brought up before but after ten exhaustively long archive pages I'm more interested in simply asking. The name of the article is "United States", when in fact the article is about the "United States of America", there are may nations which have United States in their names, and their articles are all named appropriately, why is it this one is the only one failing to include the full, official name of the nation as the article name? That seems strange to me, though I realize it would be bothersome to change it at this point given it's scope and comprehensiveness, as well as being linked to many other articles. Revrant (talk) 18:04, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Please see this talk page's FAQ. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 18:22, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we should add to the FAQ the fact that, no, there aren't many nations which have "United States" in their name. No currently extant country has it; the closest you'll get is "United Mexican States". --Golbez (talk) 20:08, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
United States (disambiguation) could also give more of a mention about the US's dibs on the phrase. Perhaps a brief discussion of this should also be added to the Etymology section of the article. --Evb-wiki (talk) 22:46, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure why that would even matter, given we're talking about articles here, not calling dibs on the naming of the country itself, many articles feature "United States" and are all appropriately named after their subject material. I have read the entirety of the small argument, I chalk this up to laziness paired with adherence to some invisible encyclopedic "law" that states we should not have the actual names of our subject material featured, rather their commonly used "name". I find this fascinating considering a vast amount of articles deviate from this entirely, however the question is withdrawn all the same, I can plainly see there would be no resolution if it were raised again. Revrant (talk) 07:28, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

To make that "invisible encyclopedic 'law'" visible, click here. --Evb-wiki (talk) 15:57, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
I find it interesting you would cite that, of which I already read and was aware of years ago, not at all the law I was speaking of, rather the idea Wikipedia must follow the conventions of other encyclopedias, but thank you, that's wonderful support of the side wishing to change the name, given it conflicts with the names of twenty plus other articles on Wikipedia, as that "invisible 'law'" states we should avoid. Revrant (talk) 19:34, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
What names does it conflict with? --Golbez (talk) 19:52, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Please see the above list linked by someone else, the disambiguation page notes more than twenty articles that use "United States" with their respective nations/governments and what have you, why this article seems to be the only one using the sole phrase "United States" is largely based on the aforementioned idea(invisible law) that Wikipedia must adhere to the standards set forth by other encyclopedias. Revrant (talk) 23:54, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
It's not an invisible law, it's just custom and consensus. That can change if someone floats a good reason. The expectation is that most people looking for "United States" are looking for this particular union, and there's a hatnote right at the top of the article for those who weren't. SDY (talk) 17:05, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
A custom would amount to an invisible law, sort of contradictory sir, and there is no consensus otherwise, in fact as you may have not read the above mentioned raising of the issue, conveniently linked by another poster and in the FAQ, now would be a good time, no consensus was reached. The expectation that most people looking for "China" are looking for the People's Republic of China, thus that makes very little common sense as it is largely not true among the majority of articles. Revrant (talk) 13:52, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
"Invisible law" or "custom", well you say potato I say potato. China is a dubious example since there is a potential ugliness hanging in the balance of whether PRoC is the only meaning for "China" (q.v. Taiwan). Argentina is another article we have that is nominally incorrect ("Argentine Republic" is the formal name), Switzerland should be "Swiss Confederation" by the same logic, and the aforementioned Mexico should be "United Mexican States." Many countries are not listed by their formal names, so this article is not unusual in that sense. SDY (talk) 18:54, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, they are much the same, hence your explanation made little sense to me. Indeed, but those are terrible examples, each of those are separated by something this article, and the country, does not suffer from, difference in names between the government and the country, the name of this country is the same as it's government, to name an article on a country after the country's government is not the norm. However to name an article after it's subject material, especially when, as you yourself note with the United Mexican States, so many others use part of the name, would be the appropriate thing to do. Revrant (talk) 21:47, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
SDY's explanation makes perfect sense. The distinction you argue for—"in names between the government and the country"—is a false one. While governmental institutions certainly have names (e.g., the Supreme Court of the United States), governments per se do not. Countries do. Countries have various names by which they are known, some more formal than others. It is the practice here to title country articles by the names that are most commonly used in the English language. In the case of this country that happens to be the "United States". That is the why the consensus has been and remains that the name for this article shall be United States.—DCGeist (talk) 22:14, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) I think if some of the other uses of "United States" were more prominent, it would be more of an issue, but most of them are either countries that no longer exist, entities that do not (yet) exist, or were named after the USA. Note that even in the Spanish wikipedia, where "Estados Unidos" is much easier to confuse with "Estados Unidos Mexicanos", the EE. UU. gets the undisambiguated article. SDY (talk) 22:26, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Governments have names, I'm not even sure how one could rebuff that, and thus I have no way to debate it. Please, refrain from claiming there is a consensus when the FAQ clearly gives none, there is no consensus on the issue, it hit a standstill and the decision seems to be without resolution it will remain the same, which I agree with.
Prominence has absolutely nothing to do with it, again this is not a matter of "dibs" I am raising, it is merely unique among the other United States articles(of which there are many) that this be the only one using it. The idea that it would be non-historic, rather a current government and country, again, has little to do with my argument, as one of the points I made was this article has special treatment among United States articles to be the only one using solely United States as opposed to the subject material and its full name as the other twenty or so articles do. Revrant (talk) 12:58, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Only one? President of the United States? Cuisine of the United States? Actually, how about you tell us which articles include "of America" in their title? --Golbez (talk) 16:19, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
If you look through the different language versions, you'll notice that many of them do use "of America" but by no means all of them. Afrikaans does, Turkish does, Welsh does, French does not, Spanish does not, Dutch does not. I also cannot find an article (that is not a redirect) that has "of America" in the title. As for "United States" being unofficial, that is the name that is used for any court case where the government is a plaintiff, such as United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola. SDY (talk) 16:50, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I am sure using only United States works in the country itself, but I seriously doubt whether it is ok in international context. E.g. I do not know of any international treaty is signed by the "president of the United States [full stop]". Arnoutf (talk) 17:47, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
But then again, almost every country has a short form (informal) and a long form (formal). United Kingdom [of Great Britain and Northern Ireland], [United] Mexico[an States], Argentina[e Republic], Switzerland[ss Confederation], Russia[n Federation], It just happens that the United States of America has two short forms; United States, and America, though the last one is frowned upon sometimes, though it is also widespread. (For one thing, every language might have its own words for 'united states', but 'America' is the same everywhere and, fortunately, no other country uses it). But then again, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has two short forms too, UK and Great Britain. (And before you say it's inaccurate since that doesn't include Northern Ireland - Hawaii isn't part of "America", either.) --Golbez (talk) 19:21, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I have no problem at all with "United States" as ong as we don't say it is the official name. Arnoutf (talk) 19:29, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
It can be an official name. But at that point, we're better off asking the house historian or the LoC what the official name is. --Golbez (talk) 19:37, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

For the record, the Japanese Instrument of Surrender at the close of WWII is available here. It uses the term "United States Representative" and refers to the counry as the United States (full stop). SDY (talk) 20:24, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

How about a little document called the U.S. Constitution? The first words are "We the People of the United States..." And, I'm sorry, Mr. Rant, there certainly is a consensus on this matter, and our living, breathing Constitution is just one of the many reasons why.DocKino (talk) 21:59, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Goodness gracious, I didn't really mean to start all of this, but alright, I'm not entirely familiar with the formatting custom for multiple replies, but I'll give it a shot in the dark.
Golbez: You knew quite well to which part of the name I was referring to and also in what regard, which was and is United States, as well as the articles which use only that part of the name, and furthermore identically. Please refrain from insulting my intelligence in the future, thank you sir, though Mister Golbez also raises some rather interesting points, though one was rebuffed by the Japanese treaty.
Rather good points all around otherwise, including the aforementioned Constitution quote which I will quote in full later on, the fast approaching consensus does appear to be that United States is widely accepted shorthand internally and externally, and United States of America is the accepted official name, meaning both are entirely acceptable given no conflict in naming policy.
Mr. Doc Kino, please do note Wikipedia is in no way, shape, or form Fox News, and should not be treated as such.
I quote the text in full as opposed to the out of context "sound byte" style snippet you used, as follows:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Revrant (talk) 02:16, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

New external link for maps

I would like to add this link under "Maps" in the External Links section: SHOW USA Cartograms of data about the 50 states Wikitigger (talk) 19:24, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Go ahead and add it, as long as you feel it's of Encyclopedic Value to the article. Just be wary of WP:LINKSPAM. Be bold! --Kingoomieiii ♣ Talk 19:56, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Cultural contributions

The previous section here ceased being useful long ago. If you'd like to start over, please do, but keep it civil. --Golbez (talk) 21:15, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

The culture held in common by most Americans is referred to as mainstream American culture, a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of Western European migrants, beginning with the early English and Dutch settlers. German, Irish, and Scottish cultures have also been very influential.[7] Certain cultural attributes of Mandé and Wolof slaves from West Africa were adopted by the American mainstream; based more on the traditions of Central African Bantu slaves, a distinct African American culture developed that would also deeply affect the mainstream.[177]

Again, the problematic section of the paragraph in question. As Golbez suggested, let's keep it civil. Please do not attack me, again, for looking for clarification on the wording in this part of the article.

Sure. This should be easy to handle civilly. The question seems to be about the contributions to American culture deriving from the African origins of a certain portion of the nation's population. As this is an overview article that is already quite long, unfortunately we can't go into the detail that we'd like to in this article. However, our Culture section does discuss influences on music and on food. We also link to an article on African American culture that you may find helpful. If you want to learn more about the specific ethnic groups mentioned in their African context, we have individual articles on the Mandé, Wolof, and Bantu. If you want to learn more about them in the context of the Atlantic slave trade that brought their members to America and their subsequent effect on American culture, there are the two books cited at the end of the passage you quote: Holloway, Joseph E. (2005). Africanisms in American Culture, 2d ed.; Johnson, Fern L. (1999). Speaking Culturally: Language Diversity in the United States. Both of these books—each published by a mainstream, highly respectable scholarly press (Indiana University Press and SAGE)—are readily accessible via Google Book Search. They both survey the African influence on such practices as cooking, music, dance, language, religion, philosophy, arts, agricultural production, and animal husbandry in the United States. All the best.—DCGeist (talk) 00:25, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Given that the article is overburdened with detail already, this seems like something that can easily be shortened to something like The culture held in common by most Americans is referred to as mainstream American culture, a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of European migrants[7] with influences from many other cultures, such as traditions from slaves brought from Africa.[177] SDY (talk) 09:30, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
A wise suggestion.

IMF GDP data

A contributor (who, by the way, did excellent work improving the visual quality of the article) recently stated in edit summary that "the IMF_GDP ref is dubious. I can't find the data." While it is a little laborious to cull the data, it's all there and the International Monetary Fund's data is hardly "dubious". Here, for example, is how to cull the per capita GDP data and international rankings.

  • 1. Click on the note 4 citation link (World Economic Outlook Database), which takes you to the front page of the IMF's World Economic Outlook Database.
  • 2. Under Download WEO Data, click on By countries.
  • 3. Under Select Country Group, click on All countries.
  • 4. Under Select Countries, click on Continue.
  • 5. Under Select Subjects, select Gross domestic product per capita, current prices/U.S. dollars and Gross domestic product based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) per capita GDP/Current international dollar, then click on Continue.
  • 6. Under Select Date Range, select 2008 for both Start Year and End Year for ease of reading; farther down, under Advanced Settings/Sort Order, select by Subject then Country, then click on Prepare Report.
  • 7. Up comes your report. There's your gross data and it's easy enough to verify the rankings. For per capita GDP by PPP, for instance, we find that the U.S. is surpassed by Qatar, Luxembourg, Norway, Singapore, and Brunei.

Similar reports can be prepared for the other data sourced to the IMF WEO Database, or a massive report with all the relevant data and other years can be prepared.—DCGeist (talk) 18:02, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

I spend almost 10 minutes trying to figure out how to reproduce that data, which is why I lost faith in it and eventually quit. By dubious, I meant unreliable, and by unreliable, I mean that it was not easily verifiable because of all the hoop-jumping that was necessary for you to get to the lists actually referenced in the article. While the system may be helpful for people that need specific data organized in specific ways, I don't see it as a reasonable source for this article unless you can make a PDF of it, upload it, and reference it that way (maybe a Wikisource?). I don't know what the copyright status would be on any created work, though. And I'm glad you liked the image spruce-up I did :-) ~ ωαdεstεr16kiss mei'm Irish 08:28, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
It took you 10 minutes; it took me 2 minutes. What's the point? "Not easily verifiable" (for you...on your first attempt) simply has no correlation with "unreliable". Research labors have nothing to do with our standards for verifiability and high-quality sourcing. Sometimes we even need to get off our duffs, get over our little annoyances, and dig into a database, go to our bookshelves, or even head to the library (how much time must that take!?!). Try it. It gets to be fun.—DCGeist (talk) 11:58, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. Links to an online source should go straight to the source represented. In a digital age, it is quite simple to make the information readily and easily available and the extra effort should not be necessary each time one wants the information. There's no reason for this. If one source isn't user-friendly enough (meaning not time-friendly in this case), it should be replaced with another source. There are many out there and one can easily replace the current one at the same level of reliability. ~ ωαdεstεr16kiss mei'm Irish 12:39, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
You do actually have a point; it would be akin to just giving a book name as a citation, and omitting the page numbers. However, there's nothing wrong with including clicking instructions in the citation for this, and I suggest that be added, or, yes, replaced with a more direct source. --Golbez (talk) 16:21, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. Databases work very differently from books. (1) Cite a book without a page and you literally have to look through the entire thing (though book search engines like Amazon's and Google's have made this task much easier in many caes). Properly designed databases--like the IMF's--work through logical progressions of queries. It's simply a much more accessible process than reading through an entire book. Yes, some people are more experienced or adept than others at navigating databases, but then some people are more experienced or adept than others at finding and reading books. (2) To specify a page in a book requires about four characters (p. XX). To specify clicking instructions as you suggest can take scores of words--that's wildly impractical. As for "replacing with a more direct source", sometimes a database is the most authoritative, most comprehensive source--that's rather more important than "direct".DocKino (talk) 21:04, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I had not gone to the site; I assumed it obfuscated links or used Flash or whatever. But no, it appears it's possible to link directly to the page in question, and I'm curious why no one has made that the reference link. --Golbez (talk) 21:11, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
That's precisely what I was getting at. A direct link really is preferable so there's no question over the source. You risk a user (like me) removing a source because it doesn't prove to be containing the data it claims after searching a reasonable amount of time. ~ ωαdεstεr16kiss mei'm Irish 22:17, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh no, sir. You are not entitled to remove a source because of your personal opinion about what a "reasonable amount of time" involves. You are welcome to query here, as you did, and expect an answer. But what you've suggested is the equivalent of someone removing a book citation because their idea of a "reasonable amount of time" goes no further than clicking on a link. The fact is the source does prove the data--that's what counts, not your busy schedule.DocKino (talk) 22:25, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I see what you mean. And when I opened the edit screen here to respond, I immediately saw the problem--that's just an enormous reference link. Do we really want to add that to the article? And it still wouldn't be sufficient, because we also cite the database for the United States' total GDP (nominal); total GDP (nominal) ranking; total GDP (PPP); total GDP (PPP) ranking; percentage of total world GDP (nominal); and percentage of total world GDP (PPP). Is it really an improvement to add comparable links for all of those? I don't think so. I guess I'm not sure there's an ideal solution here.DocKino (talk) 21:31, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

On the point I raise immediately above, please see the thread below. We have major size concerns on this article that need to be recognized in all these debates.DocKino (talk) 22:28, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

The size of a citation cannot reasonably be considered when dealing with the size of an article. We need better and more comprehensive citations, not less. --Golbez (talk) 23:10, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Of course it has to be considered. We've had many users complaining about load time on this article, and everything--including citations--is involved in that. I'm also worried that we'll have editors rebelling against citations of that size and visual density when they go into edit screen mode...I hope I'm wrong on that point. I'm not strongly opposed--it does make the data more accessible--but remember--if you want to go down that path, that cite replaces only two of the seven iterations of the current cite. (It also means we'll never come close to getting below 160KB again.)DocKino (talk) 23:26, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I strongly disagree; we cannot damage the quality and comprehensiveness of our referencing and citations just to remove a handful of bytes from the article. Being well referenced means much more than shaving microseconds off download time. (And anyway, the main problem with this article ISN'T download time. It's generation time that's the problem. There are many larger articles on Wikipedia that transfer much faster; this article takes up to 30 seconds just to generate a copy. I don't know if it's the templates or what, but it's not pure size. --Golbez (talk) 18:02, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Size issue (new contributors--please read)

While it is nice to see people joining in to improve the article, please recognize that there is a well-established consensus that the article is at the very limit of acceptable length or simply too long. Significant efforts have been made in the past few months to restrain and rollback the size of the article. When considering improvement to the article this really needs to be factored in--a change that makes the article somewhat shorter is much preferable to one that makes it longer (referring to both readable text and all the coding that has once again pushed it over the 160 KB mark after some months below).DocKino (talk) 20:46, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

There are a lot of things in this article that should frankly be cut and sent to the subpages in order to help with this goal. I've tried to advocate removal whenever something has come up as potentially removable, but I think it's time we take a good hard look at the article and start reducing some of the redundancy with this article and the subarticles. In particular, I think the Geography sections could be pared down heavily. Geography and Geographical divisions are redundant, and both include information which are repeated verbatim from the lead and infobox. These could be combined at least in article flow with the demographics section, which has (too much, in my opinion) information about cities. SDY (talk) 23:43, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
You're absolutely right that the geography section was unnecessarily repeating a whole swath of material verbatim from the lead. I've taken a stab at culling it--while providing some basic land area data that was missing. However, I disagree that this section and Geographic Divisions are redundant--the latter entirely relates to political divisions, which are immaterial to Geography (except for the obvious, partial exceptions of Alaska and Hawaii). I also have trouble seeing how either or both would profitable by combined with Demographics, which is a very different matter. I've retitled the Geographic Divisions section as Political Divisions to clarify the distinction.DocKino (talk) 15:04, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Clickable picture needs fixing

I wouldn't know where to begin fixing this, but in the picture in the "Political divisions" section in which clicking on the state takes you to the corresponding article, the southern end of the Delmarva Peninsula leads to the Maryland article, though it should lead to the Virginia article. Hopefully someone with the technical know-how can correct this. faithless (speak) 09:28, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Following Statement Misleading

"The ranking varies depending on how two territories disputed by China and India are counted and how the total size of the United States is calculated: the CIA World Factbook gives 3,794,083 sq mi (9,826,630 km2),[1] the United Nations Statistics Division gives 3,717,813 sq mi (9,629,091 km2),[18] and the Encyclopedia Britannica gives 3,676,486 sq mi (9,522,055 km2)."

What this says is that China instigated this dispute. It didn't. China's total area have not changed since its founding. People controlling the US page knows that the sole reason is due to the fact that US changed its way of calculating total area, basically by including coastal and territorial waters, when similar waters are not included for China.

I think this should be corrected to reflect the truth, which in this case is in favor of our enemy, China.

  1. Wrong. The article obviously does not say that China instigated the dispute.
  2. Wrong. China was founded thousands of years ago. Its total area has changed many times. In fact, its current total area is a matter of dispute.
  3. Wrong. No one "controls" the article.
  4. Wrong. Unless you present evidence to the contrary, we must assume that you are not a mind-reader and thus in fact don't have a clue as to what contributors to this article know or don't know about the history of U.S. area calculations.
  5. Wrong. The article currently reflects the truth.
  6. Wrong. China may be your enemy (though I doubt that). But it is certainly not "our" enemy.—DCGeist (talk) 00:28, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Sweet reply. DOR (HK) (talk) 02:13, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Chinas disputed land area is not due to how that land area is determined but if it has any legal claim on that land. In addition its changes in alnd area are due to additions of new land not changes in how that land area is counted. that is what is in dispute here. The article reflects a truth, not the truth.
China's "truth", now why is their truth any less reliable then the CIA? Nor is the chineses govenemtn the oonly organisation that disputes the US this fact. As has been pointed out even differing US govenment bodies do not agree.[[Slatersteven (talk) 13:12, 12 March 2009 (UTC)]]
Does the point you're attempting to make have any bearing on improving this article? Once again, the article states a very simple, nonjudgmental truth: "The ranking varies depending on how two territories disputed by China and India are counted and how the total size of the United States is calculated." Nothing written here comes close to making a persuasive case for altering the existing language.—DCGeist (talk) 20:41, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Im was poi8tig out that your statement that
  1. Wrong. China was founded thousands of years ago. Its total area has changed many times. In fact, its current total area is a matter of dispute.
Is not a valid objection to the point raised. Moreover the article does not point out that even the US govenment does not agree on the total size of the USA, therefore giving the impresion that this is an dispute between the US and non-US bodies, which it is not and the article should make ths clear. As such it cam be argued that the article does not represent the facts.[[Slatersteven (talk) 23:24, 13 March 2009 (UTC)]]

Highest and lowest points

The highest and lowest points are available for some states, why not the whole country? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:56, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

In fact, we do mention the highest point: "At 20,320 feet (6,194 m), Alaska's Mount McKinley is the country's tallest peak." As for the lowest point and similarly neat geographical facts, we've got an entire article on the Geography of the United States.—DCGeist (talk) 07:29, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

demographics ethnicity table

A table showing american ethnicities shows 80% white, 15% latino and 12% african, and some others. Either its clearly wrong or its misleading and doesnt explain itself. (Maybe it counts people who are mixed twice). I checked the source and there are no clear conclusions, just raw data. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:10, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Latino's can be any race, so it is likely that a large portion of that 15% goes into white, some into african and some into mixed. I agree, it seems a bad idea to include a non-racial category in a list of racial category. TastyCakes (talk) 20:31, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, if you add up all the groups except Latino it adds up to 100%. TastyCakes (talk) 20:33, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, the table is identified not as "ethnicity" but as "Race/Ethnicity". And "Hispanic or Latino" clearly stands apart from the order of racial categories that descends by population percentage. And it says, right next to "Hispanic or Latino", "of any race". And the accompanying text of our article again spells out which are the racial categories and which is the unique ethnic category. And the U.S. government often combines racial categories with the ethnic category of "Hispanic or Latino" in very much the same way. The whole way "minority groups" are discussed--both by the government and in the press--relies on exactly that sort of combination. So I think the table is just fine the way it is.DocKino (talk) 21:42, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
On having now actually seen the table, I agree it is self explanatory. TastyCakes (talk) 22:23, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Ancestry groups

If it uses for "ancestry group" a national definition: German-Americans, Italian-Americans etc....then it cannot use "African Americans" as a nation called Africa doesn´t exist. It should be used Kenyan-Americans, or Xhosa-Americans, or Zulu-Americans, or Tswana-Americans...but NOT "African Americans" or then there should be included also "European Americans" (including white Hispanics)

It is a completely ridiculous definition.-- (talk) 12:09, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, ol' 88, it just happens to be the U.S. Census Bureau's completely ridiculous definition. And, RIDICULOUSLY, these terms just happen to be the ones used almost universally in American discourse about race, ethnicity, and ancestry.—DCGeist (talk) 12:37, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Uh yeah... Don't think that would work with most AFRICAN AMERICANS since most had ancestors that came to the new world before the existence of most African countries, which were created by European colonial empires. As for tribal affiliations most blacks in the US can't trace their lineage to any tribes short of a genetic test and even then it would be extremely convoluted, due to heavy mixing. So, AFRICAN AMERICAN is the correct term. Akaloc (talk) 17:59, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

factual error

"One set of exceptions comprises Vermont, Texas, and Hawaii: each was an independent republic before joining the union." should be California Texas and Hawaii see California was an Independent nation for a brif period of time not vermont The truth maker (talk) 01:01, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

A brief glance at the Vermont article shows that it was indeed an independent state, for 14 years. It, like Texas and Hawaii, was a functioning, recognized republic that lasted for a significant period of time. The California Republic, on the other hand, lasted a few weeks and it seems wasn't recognized by anybody. Since it only existed in 1846 and California didn't become a state until 1850, I think it would be a stretch to say it was an independent republic when it joined the union. It seems to me to be much more accurately described as "obtained through war", as the sentence before the one you mention says. TastyCakes (talk) 02:25, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

second error

Only one state seceded before 1861. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:51, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

OK... so... where's the error? --Golbez (talk) 15:41, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

United States' size not acurate

Just wanted to point out that the size of countries listed in the United States thread is inacurate. Based on another Wikipedia article, (, United States has the 4th largest landmap, behind (in size order) Russia, Canada and China. Based on some another sites ( ;, United States has the third largest landmap, just behing Russia and Canada. My point is that Canada is the second in landmap size in about every article I came upon. This would need to be corrected on the United States thread. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:08, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Except that Canada has less land than the United States and China; it's larger in total because of its substantial water area. --Golbez (talk) 17:54, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

In addition to the above; I find it laughable that Wikipedia should be quoting the land size of America in acres; it should be in the metric hectares. The Seventh Echelon (talk) 01:27, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Why is that laughable? The imperial system is the official measurement system of the US. TastyCakes (talk) 17:47, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
The customary system is heavily based on the imperial system, but it's about as official as English (i.e. widely used but not driven by any law). NIST definitely provides metric measurements. Metrication in the United States has some interesting information on this. It's not unusual for people in scientific or allied fields to use both systems on a regular basis. Temperature and liquid measurements are the obvious examples that I run into on a daily basis. For example, blood is stored at 1-6 degrees C (cold but above freezing), but when the weather is in "the single digits" it's well below freezing (though below freezing is sometimes "below zero" even when the F is positive). SDY (talk) 18:58, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Is it not official in that road signs and weights and measures must be in imperial? TastyCakes (talk) 23:50, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Re. some of my edits

Hello all, I just want to bring up something that has been bugging me for a bit. Every time I change "dissolution of the Soviet Union/USSR" to "dissolution of the Soviet Union", someone reverts it. May I ask in more detail, why? Surely my format is better because it provides links to both topics, as the initial structure doesn't have any immediate wiki-links to the Soviet Union, and users have to type or scroll around a lot to get there. Simply put, my structuring is more convenient, and I'm amazed people keep undoing it.

Also, the BBC always refers to the United States as the US, and I thought that would be worth a mention at the top alongside U.S., but again that keeps getting removed. Is it because both are basically the same? I don't necessarily think so. The whole thing is just getting annoying. I try to throw in a few more words, change links to make them a bit more direct, and it all keeps getting removed. Can someone please clarify what's going on? Thanks - AyrtonProst Sign Here/Contact 09:00, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

This is an article on the United States. A specific link to the Soviet Union is a very low-quality link in this context, and the blued word "dissolution" isn't particularly helpful either.
As for the orthographical issue, this is true of many two-letter initialisms--they tend to appear with periods in American publications, without them in British publications. This article is, naturally, written in American English. It is distracting and unnecessary to wade into orthographical variations in this context. Furthermore, it is not plausible that a native British or Commonwealth English speaker is likely to be confused by "U.S.", so there is really no informative value in adding the orthographical variation here.—DCGeist (talk) 09:16, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, fair enough. Thanks for taking the time to respond. AyrtonProst Sign Here/Contact 10:57, 4 April 2009 (UTC)


I belive that the USA should also include the Spanish language as they have that in the south(such as Texas). (TheGreenwalker (talk) 21:22, 7 April 2009 (UTC))

Where? It's probably mentioned in demographics. It's not an official language except perhaps in New Mexico. --Golbez (talk) 21:31, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Or do you mean the country itself? Making Spanish official or something? No matter, that's not something we discuss here, this is about the article, not the country. --Golbez (talk) 21:38, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

I mean it should include Spanish language because like you said, 'it is spoken in New Mexico',a USA state, and therefore should be included. Also, if you look at the UK page, it contains small languages, so I believe it will help if it included Spanish language, because around 10-15% of Americans speak it. (TheGreenwalker (talk) 23:42, 7 April 2009 (UTC))

The infobox includes the official languages of the country (of which there are none); regional official languages are handled in the text, but the infobox is about the country. Not the parts of it, the whole thing. The area of the whole thing, the capital of the whole thing, the highest and lowest points of the whole thing; why shouldn't it only have information on the language of the whole thing? And also, why just Spanish? Why not Hawaiian? Is that less important because fewer people speak it, even though it is also official? Oh, and looking at the infobox, perhaps Spanish ISN'T an official language of New Mexico, just as French may not be an official language of Louisiana (but Hawaiian is definitely an official language of Hawaii). Finally, the infobox footnote does mention Spanish. There's no needed change here. --Golbez (talk) 00:13, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree because most Americans who speak Spanish also speak English, and there are quite a few Americans that are multilingual with other languages under their belts besides Spanish (I and many other Americans speak German but that does not mean it should be in the infobox). You are thinking of the illegals who do not speak English, and they are not Americans. I have lived in Houston, Texas all my life. About 99.9% of the time, the only people who do not speak English are either illegals or new citizens, who eventually learn English anyway.Prussian725 (talk) 12:29, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
In my view one criterion could be the language in which (federal) laws HAVE to be published officially. In the US this is English; in Canada it is French and English, in Belgium it is Dutch, German and French; hence these are official languages. Other languages can be mentioned in the text as well if they are substantial (I am pretty sure more tha 100 languages are spoken in the USA by many different migrants). Arnoutf (talk) 17:09, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Not to mention the hundred or more native languages that still exist, which are arguably more "American" than English, but I don't see a reason to change the current listing. SDY (talk) 17:42, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

United States language should be changed to English

I believe the language should be changed to English instead none a federal level since most states' nation language is English and everyone speaks English its just kinda obvious. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dstarsbravo (talkcontribs) 02:46, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Except this isn't about the states, this is about the country, and officially the country has no language. --Golbez (talk) 03:03, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Covered by "National language". It's just not also the official language (since there isn't one). --Cybercobra (talk) 04:41, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, it seriously helps your case if you post in something mildly resembling English when talking about the use of the language in the United States. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 05:26, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
the point not the person please.[[Slatersteven (talk) 14:49, 16 April 2009 (UTC)]]

I'd refer to the above thread.Prussian725 (talk) 17:50, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

America redirecting to the United States?

Why wikipeda as a neutral organization redirects America to the United States?

As we all know America is the name of the continent that extends from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in South America. It would be more acurate to point America to the continent article, which by the way is America and not Americas (plural). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Why does it have to be a matter of "neutrality?" Your continental assertion is also false, there is not continent of "America," and from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego there are two continents, neither called just "America." There is North America, and South America, but there is no continent called just "America." --OuroborosCobra (talk) 23:27, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Further, in English speaking countries it is overwhelmingly likely that if someone says "America" they mean the USA. I understand this is different in many South American countries, and I expect the Spanish (and perhaps Portuguese) Wikipedias differ from English Wikipedia on this particular redirect. Redirects in Wikipedia are decided based on what the user is probably looking for. 99% of users on English Wikipedia are probably looking for the USA when they type in America, so it would be silly to redirect it somewhere else. This is similar to the policy of redirecting or naming articles about cities according to which the reader is most likely to be looking for, for example London refers to the city in England, rather than all the others. TastyCakes (talk) 23:54, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, just noticing, America doesn't redirect to "United States" to begin with. So what is this all about? --OuroborosCobra (talk) 00:23, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Interesting, who divided America into south and north? what about central? America keeps being a single continent as Asia, Europe or Africa are single continents, no one divides south-east Asia or east Europe into other continents. There are references to America being a sigle continent as early as 1500s. Thanks! Interesting conversation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:52, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
This isn't really the place to discuss why the continental devisions are the way they are, but if you want to talk about arbitrary decisions that way, I'd think you'd be wondering why Europe and Asia aren't one continent. After all, they are on the same big landmass, something that cannot be said nearly as much about North and South America. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 17:18, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Seeing as how they are seperated by a canal in the country of Panama. By the way, how've you been EU 100%?Prussian725 (talk) 17:48, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

This guy's English is way better than EU100%'s ;). Also, his IP says he's from the Philippines, EU was apparently in Italy. TastyCakes (talk) 23:06, 20 April 2009 (UTC)


You are on English Wikipedia. English-speaking countries teach two continents: North America and South America. There is no continent named "America" to native speakers of the English language. Omnibus (talk) 06:07, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. I am Canadian and would never call myself American. I doubt any English speaking person would think very differently. Please do not use all cap locks in your messages, and read the page on civility to avoid causing arguments and being disruptive. TastyCakes (talk) 23:03, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Not to mention, as stated above, there is no continent named just "America" --OuroborosCobra (talk) 01:27, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Right, the joint term for North and South America is "the Americas", and indeed Americas is an article about the continents and does NOT redirect here. And American is a disambiguation article rather than a redirect, so the IP's arguments are completely unfounded. --Cybercobra (talk) 07:07, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I still disagree, regardless if this is english or other wikipedia when the continent was named in honor of Amerigo Vespucci it was named as a single entity and was not separated as mentioned above.

Barak Obama the First "African-American" President

First, Barak Obama is half-African American or half-black, so it cannot be said he is the "first 'African-American'" to hold the office.

Second, other U.S. presidents have had "African-American" or "black" lineage or ancestry (Jefferson, Harding, Coolidge, Jackson, Lincoln, and Eisenhower). None of these were 100% African-American (or black); so there were other so-called "African-American" presidents before Barak Obama, if one uses the term "African-American" to mean a person with some African-American lineage or ancestry.

The following article needs to be updated with this correction, as well:


Daniel E. Pearson, "Lincolniana Bibliotheca 1993,"

KCTCS Diversity Programs, "The History of Black History,"

Harding said he could not deny that he had a black ancestor. The "accusation" had come up in the 1920 presidential election.

Sources: Leroy Vaughn, "5 Black Presidents,"

Grant Segall, "Magicians' roots reach deep into Ohio," Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2 July 2004, and discussions on soc.culture.african-american newsgroup —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hotdjdave (talkcontribs) 19:50, 21 April 2009 (UTC) Hotdjdave (talk) 20:11, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Did you really just use a Geocities page as a cited source? Omnibus (talk) 01:30, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Did those other presidents really have black ancestors? That's interesting, I'd never heard that before. However, it seems clear that Obama is the first president to be considered "black" by pretty much everybody. If you read the article on African Americans it makes it clear that people that are half white are still often considered African American. TastyCakes (talk) 20:34, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, on the frequently asked questions on the Obama talk page it says:
• Q2: The article refers to him as African American, but his mother is white and his black father was not an American. Should he be called African American, or something else ("biracial," "mixed," "Kenyan-American," "mulatto," "quadroon", etc.)?
• A2: Obama himself and the media identify him, the vast majority of the time, as African American or black. Thus we use this term in the introduction. Keep in mind, many individuals who identify as black have varieties of ancestors from many countries who may identify with other racial or ethnic groups. See our article on race for more information on this concept. We could call him the first "biracial" candidate or the first "half black half white" candidate or the first candidate with a parent born in Africa, but Wikipedia is a tertiary source which reports what other reliable sources say, and most of those other sources say "first African American." Readers will learn more detail about his ethnic background in the article body.
TastyCakes (talk) 20:38, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

I think it is true that other presidents had claims they had black heritage, but it is not true that a) any of these claims were verified and b) any of these presidents said they had black heritage. So, Obama is, indeed the first president to self-identify himself as having black heritage, and to have that claim readily acknowledged. The links above have a lot of innuendo, for example others, like political rivals, suggesting he had this heritage and reports of Jefferson hunting down his mother's letters etc. But this is not "evidence" at all. Canada Jack (talk) 20:47, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Image under education section

Apparently I have to start this discussion again. UVA is not the university/college that should be representing the United States' education system. Please read the previous threads on this. In addition the current image has some major image deficiencies (distortion, tilted, lighting). Yes, a public school should represent US education, but UVA is way too arbitrary. Yes, world heritage site is interesting and notable, but that doesn't mean that ppl know what UVA is. Berkeley is world-renouned and this article really should be geared to be universal, not just made for Americans. The Berkeley image is preferable: it covers much of the campus. The current UVA image isn't ven centered. Rule of thirds is not great for a building. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 17:46, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

You've provided no evidence that depicting UVA is any more "arbitrary" than depicting UC-Berkeley. UVA is historically one of the most important U.S. public universities; currently, it is the most preferred public university in the entire country (yes, ahead of Berkeley). What you observe about the Berkeley image—that "it covers much of the campus"—is exactly what makes it a poorer illustration than the Virginia image. The latter allows the viewer to focus on a single (architecturally distinctive) structure. The former is, from a compositional standpoint, a mess.—DCGeist (talk) 18:04, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
As an outsider, I'd say Berkley is marginally more famous than UVA, I'd at least heard of Berkley before living in the states but had no real insight into what it was. If I were to pick a public university to represent the system, Berkley or another school in one of the big university networks seems like a good idea. While I'm sure UVA is a great school, and it is undoubtedly steeped in history and architecture, I think schools like UC Berkley currently are more representative of the post secondary education system and have a much bigger "footprint" in the country's economy (and, arguably, culture). That said I do like the UVA picture and it does look "collegy". Also, the section on education seems to hardly mention post secondary schooling. Shouldn't the States' huge presence on the world stage be mentioned here, both by public and private universities? It is much shorter than the section in the UK's article. TastyCakes (talk) 19:56, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Wadester16 said in his edit to remove the image, "who has even heard of UVA?". Either he's being facetious, has spent his academic career under a rock, or has some sort of axe to grind. The United Nations and their cultural arm have not only heard of U-Va., they have opted to protect its preservation indefinitely. They have not lent the same protection to UC-Berkeley. The only U.S. government funded study of prestigious American universities has shown that high-achieving students from across the country tend to choose U-Va. over UC-Berkeley if accepted to both... including even those students who live on the west coast! Indeed even in Berkeley, where I have spent a good deal of my life, U-Va. is very highly regarded. Furthermore, the image used here is more about a specific image than a school, and the U-Va. image is, as DCGeist said, far superior (and also, as TastyCakes put it, more "collegy"). Not to mention probably the best reason the image is a superior representation of U.S. higher education: the number of buildings on college campuses across the country, including very prominent ones at MIT and Duke, that were inspired by or based on the U-Va. Rotunda pictured. The American Institute of Architects called it "the proudest achievement of American architecture in the past 200 years" and The New York Times in the late 1800s called it "the most monumental architectural project that had or has yet been conceived in this century". The Rotunda and Lawn pictured are unequaled icons within U.S. higher education, and this specific image of them is superb. Ben Lunsford (talk) 11:39, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I'll respond more thoroughly later, but I need to say that the image itself is not of great quality. Like I said, it's tilted, distorted, and its lighting is less than optimal (on such a re-photographable location, there is absolutely no need for shadow, especially when the sun beats directly on the building at about 1:00pm, based on its orientation on campus). I'm also not a fan of winter images representing a location in general, but I'm stronly opposed to this including snow; it misrepresents the location and almost implies that it snows regularly in Charlottesville, when in fact, the average high, monthly temperature never goes below freezing.
Ideally, every image used on this page should be featured, just because of its viewership and easy of use for representative images. Though I admit that's unreasonable. And yes, I was being hyperbolic with that edit summary. But I do mean it in an international sense... if you asked a random... ohhh... I'll say Pakistani, in their home country if they ever heard of either, I would bet that Berkeley would be the one. I'm not saying it has to be Berkeley; I just strongly disagree with it being UVA. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 14:09, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
1) Shadows. Not only will taking photographs at 1:00pm lead to washed out skies and washed out details... this is probably the absolute worst time to take a photograph of a building... but the absence of all shadowing on a building makes for a very flat, boring image. This one is taken at the ideal time, early morning, for a photo with snap. The image of Jefferson's Rotunda has that snap and is appealing... and actually with smaller shadow effects than, say, the image above it on the very same page.
2) Distortion and tilting. Not altogether bad in this image. Easily Photoshopped in about 10 minutes if you would like to provide an "improved version". You can help us here if it bothers you. The image is free to "fix".
3) Winter images. College is in regular session during winter. It's almost never in regular session during summer. That can, and perhaps should, be portrayed. The light snow with even grass showing through is fairly typical for that climate during the schoolyear. There is no problem at all with winter images, as long as all the photographs on the page aren't from just one season. They're not.
Overall, I can't find any significant problem with the specific image. It's a very good image, by virtually all accounts. It's got loads of eye appeal.
As far as subject, I feel it would be hard to find a structure with more relevancy to U.S. Higher Education (i.e., not relevancy to "world subjective opinion about U.S. Higher Education", or, "what 100 random Pakistanis might have heard about U.S. Higher Education")... than Jefferson's Rotunda... it's been an inspiration for many other collegiate structures across the country, and has basically been called the most important collegiate structure in history (or something to that effect, see above) by the AIA and The New York Times, etc. And I agree with you in one area: in a country where 4/5ths of college students attend publics, the image should be of a significant public structure. I also agree with DCGeist wholeheartedly: the image should "allow the viewer to focus on a single (architecturally distinctive) structure." Ben Lunsford (talk) 00:41, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

← My reasons for not using UVA or this image as the representative of US education:

  1. Its international notoriety: While it may be popular with American students, this article, per NPOV, should give the best universal overview possible. I interpret this to mean give an example that both American and international visitors are likely to know.
  2. Images on this page should be featured: After a quick glance, it seems the only featured picture of an American public college/university is this one (ironically) of Berkeley. Unfortunately it does not represent a college campus to the outside viewer. But ideally, eventually this article will contain only featured images. Maybe this image of the Smithsonian Castle could work? Right now the image represents the higher education of the States, with no mention of primary and secondary school (for which there's an entire federal government department - yet none for higher education specifically). Maybe the Smithsonian would be a better general view of education in the States?
  3. Season: I can't disagree that college is in session during winter, but it's also in session for all of fall and spring, when leaves are on the trees and there's typically no snow (again, snow is not common in Charlottesville). Compositionally I really dislike the very small amount of snow; I'd rather see all snow or no snow (but preferably no snow, and add some green leaves on the trees).
  4. Image issues: The distortion isn't absolutely terrible, but it's enough to be annoying to the eye. The staircase and elevated walkway on each side look like the inflection point of a parabola and it's über annoying. I would gladly edit it, but I've never used Photoshop a day in my life.
  5. Time of day: The BBC article you reference is interesting, but still only opinion. Morning light can be extremely harsh, as in this image. This image was taken at roughly 3pm, and it has very pleasing lighting. Though that could be because of some cloud cover. That makes me think that the image in question could use some cloud cover to kill the harsh lighting on the top right of the dome. I'll admit, though, that at least this image is better than its predecessor, by a lot.
  6. Others: I have to disagree with you that "The Rotunda and Lawn pictured are unequaled icons within U.S. higher education." Many private schools are better known that this, including vistas on their campuses: MIT, Princeton, Columbia, and even Washington University; I'm not saying replace with a private university, I'm just saying that statement is extremely misleading at best. Unfortunately, your AIA reference is unsourced and no mention is made of that comment in the rotunda's article. I assume you're not referring to this since UVA is not on the list (though they do mention Fisher Fine Arts Library, Legal Research Building, U of Michigan, and Battle Hall at U of Texas (interestingly, Monticello got the nod, but not the Rotunda). In addition, your NYT reference is more than 100 yrs old and obviously an opinion. Also, the Rotunda, along with all other buildings that might be based loosely on its design, are all derivatives of the pantheon. You can't just give credit to the Rotunda when the pantheon is the ultimate source of inspiration.
  7. Bias to the east: Zoom out on the article and see where all the images are from. Seven of those 24 are not from the east coast of the lower 48. Now granted the US was settle on the east coast and has much more history than it has in the rest of the country, but some of these photos are incidental of location. Featuring an east-coast university adds to the bias. Granted DC will obviously be more prominent than most US locations in these images, but this list offers more of a reason to represent other parts of the nation. #17 is of LA only because LA is second largest in population. #23 is location-independent; i.e. you can find a replacement anywhere in suburban America. In addition, those with are ones that I plan on replacing eventually (hopefully soon). #17 makes me cringe because of the utility wires and the fact that it's Christmas (specific to a time; it should be non-timely, if that makes sense); also, it's during winter :-). And #23 is terrible mainly because of the lighting. I've been going thru Commons looking for replacements, but so far no go. I will propose replacements when I think I find some good candidates. I would suggest replacing #20 if it weren't so irreplaceable. Anyway, here's the list of images specific to an area:
    1. Montana
    2. Alaska
    3. Plymouth
    4. Pilly
    5. Gettysburg
    6. Ellis Island
    7. South Dakota
    8. Washington, D.C
    9. New York City
    10. DC
    11. DC
    12. DC
    13. DC
    14. Argentina (USS Ronald Reagan)
    15. NYC
    16. NYC
    17. LA
    18. North Carolina
    19. Virginia
    20. Texas
    21. Hollywood
    22. Broadway
    23. California
    24. Texas

So that's what I have to say; again, it doesn't have to be Berkeley. It just shouldn't be UVA. Also, just so you know, I have no connection to either institutions. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 04:33, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

  1. Again, the purpose is to provide the best overview of the actual topic, not "the global subjective opinion of the topic" or "what 100 Pakistanis might have heard about the topic". I dare say that a lot of international readers would have thought Americans generally attended expensive private colleges not funded by the government if they hadn't read the article and learned of the reality. That's part of the American "notoriety" in my experience and it is obviously false.
    • What I'm saying is this should represent the world view of the topic, just like every other article on WP should. I agree that most foreigners would think we typically go private, which is why I originally suggested an image of Harvard. But I compromised last time to a public institution, based on the 80% rate. I think you're misunderstanding NPOV. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 16:37, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
      • You suggested Harvard because most foreigners would think we go private? Once again, I don't think you're getting my point here... we're not striving to reinforce pre-conceived incorrect notions of American higher education. That's the last thing we would want to do here. Ben Lunsford (talk) 17:20, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
        • As I said previously, I was surprised to find out about the 80% value at the time. That's why I agreed to a public university/college. I still think Harvard/Princeton/Yale better represent the overall view of the perception of US higher education, but that figure can't be argued with. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 18:10, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
  2. Not really. Only 5 out of 33 images (15%) on this page are featured.
    • I think you missed my point. I suggested possibly replacing any education image with that of the Smithsonian. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 16:37, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
      • 15% are featured, so obviously not the criteria used here. That image you suggested hardly represents the typical American educational experience being that it's an administrative building at the Smithsonian. Frankly, if you are concerned with "east coast bias" I find it surprising you would suggest an administrative building in Washington, DC. ;) Ben Lunsford (talk) 17:20, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
        • I still don't understand what you mean by "so obviously not the criteria used here." But think about the fact that the section is lacking any image regarding primary and secondary public education in the United States. Again, there's an entire federal government department for the cause. The Smithsonian could be a compromise; you didn't actually respond to that point. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 18:10, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
          • I did respond to the "Smithsonian compromise"... it doesn't in any way represent the experience of U.S. Higher Education in this country. Jefferson's Rotunda is a structure at a public university, and one deemed important by international authorities (e.g. the AIA calling the combination of it, the Lawn, and Monticello our "proudest American architectural achievement," or the United Nations' cultural arm protecting the Rotunda's preservation with foreign dollars if hell ever breaks loose in this country). Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:50, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
            • You said you don't like it because it's an administrative building, because it's in DC, and because it doesn't represent US higher ed. As I said below, what about US "lower" ed? That's why this is a compromise. And this is much more of a compromise than considering the systemic bias of east-coast image; that was more an observation, which is why I listed last in my numerical list here (i.e. least important). ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 19:23, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
              • How would this administrative building even represent what you call "lower" education at all? It bears little resemblance to any institution (elementary, middle, high school, or college) that any of us have ever attended and is more an administrative federal office building than anything else. Ben Lunsford (talk) 20:17, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
                • You're missing my point again. I'm saying it represents none of those explicitly (not higher education, not lower education). It represents education in general, which, again is why it is a compromise. It's a research institution, a collection of museums, it owns/runs a zoo, and has infrastructure in multiple locations in the United States (and it's public!), and its well known and respected abroad. And the Castle itself may be partly administrative, but it is also the information center of the Smithsonian on the National Mall. It is a museum in itself, housing many items on display (including the crypt of James Smithson). It is essentially the starting point for new and veteran visitors to "the Smithsonian" (when used this way, the term represents the entire collection of museums on the National Mall; though typically the term specifically means "the Castle"). And since you're very interested in the architect of the Rotunda, the architect of the Smithsonian Castle was James Renwick, Jr., who was noted as "one of the most successful American architects of his time," by The Encyclopedia of American Architecture, having also designed St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York and the New York Stock Exchange building.
                  • What is in the actual image here? An administrative federal office building. Not the Natural History Museum, which is by far the most frequently visited building at the Smithsonian. I'm no critic of the Smithsonian, I absolutely love going to the Natural History Museum every single time I am in the area for more than a couple days. But this specific image is of a specific structure, which happens to be... an administrative federal office building. Not a college, not a school... an office building. That's my point here. Ben Lunsford (talk) 21:41, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
                    • It's the gateway to the Smithsonian and easily the most recognizable structure in the entire Institution. Describing it as "an administrative federal office building" is far from fair. It's a legitimate museum (granted it's small) and the starting point for any new visitor. Have you ever been in there? It's extremely interesting; covers much of the Smithsonian's history, etc. It is built so that it sticks out from the line of other museums on Independence Avenue (along Jefferson Dr.), making it extremely prominent on the National Mall. And you're completely wrong about the Natural History Museum; the Air and Space Museum has almost a quarter more yearly visitors than Natural History, and that doesn't count the Udvar-Hazy Center. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 22:06, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
                      • I have... and there wasn't much to it. The great majority of the building is administrative offices, that's why I have referred to it as a federal administrative office building. Didn't know Air and Space was above Natural History... interesting. But neither of those is in this particular photo.  ;) Ben Lunsford (talk) 22:24, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
                        • I would make a wager that more people step foot into the Castle than Air & Space. Unfortunately I don't know where I would find that stat. But showing either of those images is too specific and biased. The castle is the general representative of the Institution. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 22:28, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
  3. Disagree for reasons already stated.
  4. I don't even hardly notice it. It's not extreme or unpleasing to the eye.
    • I'm sorry to say that your eyes seem to be misguiding you then. It is the first thing that stands out to me every time I look at this image. It literally makes me cringe. As an amateur photographer yourself, I would think this would bother you as well. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 16:37, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
      • You are literally the only observer who has said this makes you cringe. It's not the first, second, or fifth thing that I notice about the image. Ben Lunsford (talk) 17:20, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
        • And you are literally the only user to praise this image on its technical merits, regardless of its deficiencies. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 18:10, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
          • I produced a cited BBC article about the technical merits of morning light photographs, of which this image is an example. And other users have praised this specific image's aesthetic values, if not the technical precision. However, I will try to work on the tilt and distortion this weekend... I'm not as skilled at Photoshopping as some other people, but I'll see what I can do to satisfy you a little more here. Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:50, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
  5. The BBC article is opinion, of a professional structure photographer, but so is yours... of a non-professional.  ;) The shadows in the Jefferson's Rotunda pic are not particularly harsh.
    • If I were to go with UVA, the lighting should be more like this. Of much higher quality, obviously, but with minimal shadow. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 16:37, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
      • I don't know, we just have very different taste in the aesthetic values of these two photographs of the same subject (my favored lighting vs. your favored lighting). The high noon one just seems so flat and uninteresting to me. And the entire building behind the columns is lost in shadows in your favored lighting, something I'm surprised isn't a problem to you. Ben Lunsford (talk) 17:20, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
  6. The AIA reference is sourced on the University of Virginia article. The source is the AIA Journal issue 65 (July 1976), p. 91. The exact quote was that Jefferson's Rotunda and Lawn surrounding it is "the proudest achievement of American architecture in the past 200 years." As you know, the American Institute of Architects is a respected authority on American architecture. And as you mentioned, all the other comparable examples are at private institutions, not public ones... in a country where a huge majority of college students attend publics. Yes, Jefferson did borrow from ancient architecture, but he was the first to design in that style for some 1,600 years. And it's not like it was an exact replica, there was no brick on the original pantheon... the entire Rotunda is brick... he made it his own. Whether or not you like giving Thomas Jefferson any credit for his architecture, the AIA certainly does and they are an authority on this subject.
    • Yes, I respect that AIA, but much of what you said here is trivial and off-topic. If the Rotunda and lawn are so notable, why did they not end up on AIA's list? If Americans think so highly of the place, where is UVA? But Americans did think that a building from U Texas and U Michigan deserved to be on the list, both public universities. I give Jefferson his due credit, but the pantheon's own article mentions the Duomo as using it as inspiration, almost 400 years before the Rotunda. Additionally, St. Alexander's Church was begun a full 4 years before the Rotunda, so Jefferson apparently wasn't that original. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 16:37, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
      • The quote is from the AIA itself, its own opinion article in an issue to celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial. "The list" is not a survey of AIA architects of the best structures... it's a list of randomly surveyed people off the street of their "favorite" structures. So it's not surprising that the favorites include only two public university structures... and just happen to be from the two public universities with more alumni than any others (or at least 2 of the top 4 or so... I think Ohio State may have nudged in there lately). About the church thing, Jefferson had been planning the campus since 1800 or so... funding issues and being President of the United States delayed construction some 20 years. I doubt anyone in Warsaw was privy to the plans however, so it is an interesting co-evolution. Ben Lunsford (talk) 17:20, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
        • Actually the list is a survey of AIA architects. Read closely and you will see that 2500 architects were first asked to provide 250 structures for Americans to choose from. So the source is actually AIA and its members. See the site itself and click "About this exhibit" for more info. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 18:10, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
          • I think the main problem here is that most architects associate Monticello and Jefferson's Rotunda together. They are combined in the United Nations protection and definition of its World Heritage Site. To include both Monticello and the Rotunda as separate entities on the list would be a bit redundant and non-diverse for a list of only 250. To combine them as the UN does would be a bit confusing for the Internet-voting public? So I'll defer here to what the AIA itself has published and not an Internet survey. If in doubt about the message received from the AIA, are you willing to consider as a second authority the United Nations' education and science arm and their opinion about which collegiate structures are worthy of protection in this country? Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:50, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
  7. A large proportion of the population lives "back east", and the largest cities as well as the capital are on the east coast, so that probably has something to do with it.
    • And I'm saying we should try to work against systemic bias. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 16:37, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
      • In this case, I think UC Berkeley would be the only obvious non-eastern choice and having spent time at UCB I can't think of a comparable structure on the campus that is relevant to so many other campuses (i.e. nothing at Berkeley has been "copied" at a bunch of other public universities, whereas the combination of Jefferson's Rotunda and Lawn area was reproduced again and again and again at numerous schools constructed elsewhere, not just in the United States but globally... even in China.) Ben Lunsford (talk) 17:20, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
        • Again, you can't just credit this building when the Rotunda itself was based on the Pantheon. The Rotunda, as you said, is brick. Most of the supposed "imitators" are not. They are rock or concrete, just like the Pantheon. See MIT and Columbia. The example in China makes no reference of the Rotunda, only Jeffersonian architecture. In all honesty, the Grand Auditorium looks more like Monticello. Grawemeyer Hall at Louisville is a reasonable assertion, but even the caption says it's based on the Pantheon. The only legitimate copy I could agree with is Dallas Hall at SMU. I'm not all that impressed. While Strather Tower may not be copied elsewhere, it is a distinctive architectural addition to the campus, and could easily be called its "icon". The two universities I have attended don't have "icons" so I would say the fact that it has one is somewhat notable. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 18:10, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
          • Sather Tower.  :) My main issue with considering the Campanile is that it's a clock tower. That's basically its entire function. There's no lawn to go with it, there's no "academical village" where the top students live, etc. Jefferson's Rotunda is a meeting place for numerous student functions and activities... additionally, from an aesthetic viewpoint, the Sather Tower has always looked quite European to me... whereas Jefferson's Rotunda is distinctly American. One need only look at the image above to see the Jeffersonian red brick and columns has since become a key part of our U.S. architectural heritage. I don't think Sather Tower could ever be a candidate to win similar praise or protection from the AIA and UNESCO. Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:50, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
            • How can the Rotunda be "distinctly American" when it's based on a Roman structure and was conceived only a bit less than two decades after America even existed as a nation? By definition, most notable collegiate buildings would look European since most notable structures are at least 100 yrs old and the US population was still largely European in decent. Many older buildings on college campuses in the east are meant to look like Oxford or Cambridge, so as to gain respect from viewers. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 19:23, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
              • It's distinctly American because you can look at the red bricks and columns and immediately identify it as an American building, and a prime example of Jeffersonian architecture. Jefferson has often been recognized by various architectural authorities as the first great American architect, as well as the author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. How could that style get any more American? Ben Lunsford (talk) 20:17, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Ben Lunsford (talk) 16:10, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Overall, I'm not convinced by these arguments. I still hold that UVA is not a great representation of US higher education and I'm unhappy that US primary and secondary education is not represented here at all (which is why I suggested the Smithsonian, a leading distinctly American educational institution). Don't forget, a typical American student goes through twelve years of schooling before higher education, meaning it makes up a much greater and more distinct part of one's life (if you're spending 12 years in college/graduate school, you are in an extremely small minority). Also, the image used is not of great technical quality for the reasons outlined above and while there are other poor-quality photographs in this article, they will hopefully be removed and replaced soon and should not weigh on this image. I'm putting in for a Request for Comment due to my strong feelings against this image. We'll see what other members of the wiki have to say. Should they not agree with me, I'll drop it. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 19:23, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

RfC: Image to represent US education

Currently, this image of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia is the sole representation of all US education. Previously it was a landscape view of UC Berkeley and before that, another image of the Rotunda. It is agreed that an image of a US public institution/entity should represent US education, but there is disagreement as to which one (it need not be limited to higher education). Comments on which institution/entity should represent US education would be appreciated. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 19:26, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Comment: Please see the above discussion in Talk for various points made by 4 regular contributors to this article, and then the points and counter-points made just between myself (Ben Lunsford) and Wadester16. As for "the sole representation of all US education", any other specific image chosen would then be the "sole representation" so therein lies the rub. Comments on which specific image of which specific structure at a public institution/entity to use would be appreciated... e.g. the current image or a specific image of Sather Tower, not "UC Berkeley" or a particular college just in general. Also, I have offered to improve the current image on Wadester16's list of "technical complaints", an offer he did not accept, so please do not base comments on those technical considerations here since Wadester16 would not afford me an opportunity to correct them. Ben Lunsford (talk) 19:47, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
That's a bit rough. I don't have to accept your offer. If the image is fixed technically, good. But that doesn't change much else in my argument. I shouldn't have to wait for you to fix the image to request comment. My ultimate goal is to have the image replaced, so fixing it doesn't affect my intentions to hear other opinions on the subject. Also, you seem to be making this too specific and biased, stating that it must be a specific structure, which it clearly does not. That is your opinion. Also, any image used in this section will be a de facto representative of US education; I'm not sure how you can disagree with that. I made a great effort to create the most neutral summary possible above, and I think I did a good job of that; now you're trying to sway the story. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 21:07, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
But the "major problems" of tilt and distortion that "make you cringe" when you look at the image... do ring a bit hollow since you rushed to a RfC as soon as I offered to help with this major aspect of your criticism? Also, we do need opinions on specific images of a specific structure, not thoughts on various universities or institutions "in general". The image that was an aerial of an entire campus was not a structure, true, but that was one reason it was replaced when the new image was found in the first place. I didn't realize you were now arguing for images that weren't of structures... you never indicated you disagreed with DCGeist's premise in the lengthy discussion above.
Again, we need a specific (most likely structural) image in this section... not mere generalized opinions on various universities themselves. Images and the actual structures depicted in those images. That was my point above. Ben Lunsford (talk) 21:28, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
The image problems are specific to this image; my overall argument is to not use UVA. Whether it's a structure or not, I don't care; I've never said I prefer a landscape over a single structure. When comparing landscapes and structures above, it was specific to each image, not general. I thought that was clear.
I'm also saying it needn't be a college/university. Personally, I now think it should be the Smithsonian Castle, which I've indicated above. I didn't think of this until now, but looking here, it states that only 34.4% of Americans actually have a higher level degree (Associates or greater). How does that represent US education? The majority of Americans have a high school diploma or less! On the other hand, 99% of Americans attended primary and secondary education (at least to some extent; depending on the dropout age in a given state) because it's mandated by law. We may have some of the best higher level education institutions in the world, but for our standing, we have some of the lesser educated citizens. Sigh... ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 21:47, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
The education section should certainly be expanded to include information such as that... we should make it larger. But anyway, even if we decided it had to be what you call a "lower" education building, the "castle" at the Smithsonian would be a less than ideal choice for that in my opinion. It's just an administrative federal office building.
I think part of the problem here is that there is no primary alternative to compare to the current image. If you now think it should be the Smithsonian castle photo, then that would evolve the discussion quite a bit. Ben Lunsford (talk) 21:56, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Adding content is not an option; it has been made clear to me in the past that this article is already too large and the regulars guard the article like hawks with regards to that. But again, I'm not proposing the Smithsonian as a representative of lower education, but as a compromise that represents neither lower or higher education, but American education in general. This is a compromise that biases no specific range of education. In fact, it represents higher education, because it is a research institution, lower education because it is a prominent field trip location for younger students (many times offering them classes), continuing education because they employ so many people (especially retirees), and general education because of its museums, history, and collection of American artifacts. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 22:21, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay. Thank you for picking a primary alternative. Whew! Now we're getting somewhere. My own feelings about switching to the castle photo are...
Rotunda–the current image
Smithsonian CastleWadester16's one possible alternative
  1. It doesn't represent our educational experience as well as the current image. Why? It's not a college, it's not a school. It's an administrative federal building with, as you have pointed out, a small museum in the bottom.
    • "Administrative federal building", as I've said many times, is not a fair representation of this building. Also, if you want to boil everything down to oversimplified arguments, UVA only represents the educational experience of... UVA alumni; not very general. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 17:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
      • So we're back to the Ben Lunsford and Wadester16 back-and-forth conversation? Great. I've noticed that the way you have tried to "win" arguments in the past is by attrition,[citation needed] so I'll do my best to keep up with you. ;) So... what would you call the castle building then? It has a very small museum on what, one floor in the bottom of the building, with lots of offices above it? Exactly how would you describe it? A museum? Also, the Rotunda is a collegiate building, and the current pic shows a college student making her way to or from a college class. It's a great depiction of education in the US at its highest public level (college). Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:03, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
        • I'd call it The Smithsonian. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 21:36, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
          • You'd call the subject of the photo The Smithsonian? I would not. Surely you realize that most of the Smithsonian, particularly the well-known museums and the majority of its educational (not administrative) bodies are not present in this particular photograph of the "castle". Ben Lunsford (talk) 23:06, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
  2. The article already has images of this federal building in Washington DC, this other federal building in Washington DC, and also this additional federal building in Washington DC. Do we really need the fourth in a series of images of federal administrative buildings in Washington DC for this article? And do we need a 6th image of Washington, DC in this article? According to Wadester16's list above, there are 5 images taken in Washington, DC used in the article already.
    • True, but incidental, as mentioned below. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 17:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
      • "Incidental" or not, we should fight systematic bias here. Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:03, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
        • Stop twisting my words. I made it clear that if they ended up being in the same place, then so be it. As I said before, so much of America's history is in the east that it has to be expected. At the same time, the Smithsonian has facilities in DC, NY, VA, Panama, and other places. You supporting UVA is the same thing anyway. Like you said, "A large proportion of the population lives "back east", and the largest cities as well as the capital are on the east coast...". ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 21:36, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
          • Twisting your words? It's what you said. And no, it is clearly not the same thing to support a public collegiate building over yet another federal administrative one. We really don't need a 6th image of Washington DC here. There are 0 other images from the (much larger) district of Virginia. What I said, and you repeated and bolded, had to do with "east coast" images, not having all our images be taken inside the same square mile in DC. That's just silly. Ben Lunsford (talk) 23:06, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
  3. International and national organizations have deemed the current image's subject to be extremely noteworthy. UNESCO has protected its preservation with international funds. The American Institute of Architects has called it the proudest architectural achievement in the United States since 1776. Such organizations have not similarly recognized the Smithsonian castle, nor have they deemed it worthy of international preservation efforts.
    • I've made my views on UNESCO known previously and have already mentioned the notability of the Castle's architect. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 17:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
      • That's great that you don't respect the United Nations or UNESCO, but others might. And while the architect of the castle was a fine architect, Thomas Jefferson is at least as relevant an individual to the United States or most likely, more so. And it's the "Academical Village" and this specific structure pictured that national and global authoritative sources such as UNESCO and the Bicentennial AIA article find so compelling, not just the architect behind it. Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:03, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
  4. Familiar educational structures across the US have been noticeably inspired by the subject of the current image. So many educational buildings across the country have used its Jeffersonian design and the original Pantheon as inspiration. Do you really think so many educational institutions nationwide would start designing buildings around the Pantheon in ancient Rome if a U.S. President had not done it first? There is no comparable educational influence with the building you propose.
    • That's laughable: Self-supporting dome designs were used only because Jefferson "brought it back into fashion"? Come on - that's ridiculous. You're ignoring the Pantheon's own credibility and place in history. And you claim "so many" other educational buildings are based on this. I found 1, 2 at most. They are listed above and seemed to not have any objection to that statement.~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 17:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
      • I'll defer to UNESCO and the AIA article on the significance of the design. They are greater authorities than you or I. And as you know, the Pantheon was not an educational building. It was a religious temple. The Rotunda was the first educational purpose "Pantheon" inspired building, "religion turned into a library". Other universities followed suit, and more than two: from the U-Va. page on Wikipedia: "Most notably designed by inspiration of the Rotunda and Lawn are the expansive green spaces headed by Rotunda-like buildings built at Duke University in 1892, Johns Hopkins University in 1902, Rice University in 1910, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1915, the Green at the University of Delaware in 1916, Killian Court at MIT in 1916 and the American-designed "Old Campus" of Tsinghua University in Beijing built in 1917." That's a lot more than one or two and don't even include the two you cited. So throw two more on that pile. Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:03, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
        • Are you saying Jefferson deserves the credit for the idea of the "quad" on almost every American college campus? Even the article on quads references UVA and how Jefferson based it on Palladio, who was a notable Italian architect. This kind of retracts a bit from your "distinctly American" theory, especially since the Italian architect's book of drawings was "Jefferson's bible". Quads have been around since the times of Oxford and Cambridge (Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, 1546: 52°12′1.7″N 0°7′26.18″E / 52.200472°N 0.1239389°E / 52.200472; 0.1239389). An analysis of the examples given from the UVA website (plus, it's good practice to take a university's website with a grain of salt; it's one giant advertisement, really):
          • Duke: Close, though it seems to be octagonal (which is hugely different in the architectural realm. The AIA's HQ in DC is The Octagon House, given that name for a reason). Also, the clear icon of Duke is Duke Chapel.
          • Johns Hopkins: If you're talking about Homewood House, it was bought by Johns Hopkins in 1902; completely incidental (doesn't even have a dome; it's just a general representative of the Federalist Style). If you mean Gilman Hall, it more resembles Independence Hall in Philly than the Rotunda; I don't think you can argue with that. Either way, I see no dome and a rotunda can only exist below a dome.
          • Rice: I'm unable to find a similar-looking structure. If you find it, let me know.
          • Vanderbilt: The Wyatt Center looks surprisingly like MIT's Building 10... And under the dome is a large staircase, not at all what Jefferson designed at UVA
          • Delaware: Building is not round and does not really have a dome (not sure what I'd call the roof on that thing...). Also, the building has no Pediment , which is a distinct part of the design of the Rotunda and Monticello (indeed if it weren't, there'd be no need for one on the Jefferson Memorial). See my comment about quads above.
          • MIT: Building 10 was based on Low Memorial Library at Columbia, which was based on the Pantheon. Jefferson seems to be missing in this lineage. Seems UVA may be mistaken.
          • Tsinghua: Like I said before, looks more like Monticello, and it's octagonal. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 21:36, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
            • Eh? Certainly a "quad" is different from a dome and a lawn... which is what they have at Duke, MIT, Vanderbilt, and elsewhere. If you feel the examples you got from the Virginia.EDU are in error, that's your subjective opinion... but as you say, architecture is not your realm. But the fact that your first example was Duke certainly says a lot. Duke has a West Campus and an East Campus. The East Campus is extremely similar to the Rotunda and Lawn. See this pic if you truly have any doubt. The entire area is eerily similar minus minor details (would any architect make an exact replica of another campus?). But look at the dome, the lawn, and even student residences lining the side! Yes, architects are paid for something... from a lot of your comments above it seems that if anything at all was altered, that design can't be influenced or related. I'll say it yet again, I am far more trusting of respected sources such as the United Nations, the AIA, and even American Heritage magazine than of your subjective architectural opinions. As you have stated, you are no architectural expert (I certainly am not either) and this discussion needn't be driven past your, or my, scope. Your architectural opinions are interesting, but hardly authoritative on the subject compared to, say, UNESCO. Ben Lunsford (talk) 23:06, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
  5. And not just educational structures. The very image above it on this page utilizes the Jeffersonian theme of red brick and white columns. So many organizations (such as the United Nations) group Jefferson's Rotunda and his home at Monticello together into Jeffersonian architecture, a sweeping architectural influence from these two buildings. The Smithsonian castle has wielded little to no influence over our American landscape.
    • Yes, red brick and white columns are all due to Jefferson. Again, come on; brick was the standard building material of the time. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 17:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
      • Do you know of any earlier examples that precede Jeffersonian architecture? I'm not saying he invented red brick and designed the first column in the history of man, I'm simply acknowledging the same architectural influence that the American Institute of Architects acknowledges. You don't want to acknowledge the AIA story and you don't want to acknowledge the United Nations... why is that? Just because they disagree with you? Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:03, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
  6. I look at the Smithsonian castle and can't help but think it's a structure located somewhere in Europe, not in the United States. The Castle is not distinctively American... while Jefferson's Rotunda very much is.
    • On the contrary, it was designed by a famed American architect of the late 19th century. Surely you can't ignore that. Also, this is your opinion: "can't help but think it's a structure somewhere in Europe..."; completely subjective. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 17:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
      • Right, that's why I said think... it was my opinion. Why would you think otherwise? Objectively, I've cited what the AIA (and UNESCO) has said about the Rotunda. You've cited nothing about the influence or importance of your favored image here. Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:17, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay, now we're getting somewhere. We've got your opinion and mine, now we can let the regulars and other users comment on the current and the alternative. I don't see it as a "compromise" as you framed it, as I am as opposed to the alternative as you are to Jefferson's Rotunda, but it is indeed an evolution of this back-and-forth that will allow others to weigh a specific choice between two specific structures. Thanks for your efforts here. Ben Lunsford (talk) 22:59, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Even this would be better at representing US education as a whole Another alternative A bit of a satirical example to make a point

No, no, no: I'm not making a formal proposition. I'm offering an example of a possible compromise. The entire point of the RfC is for others to weigh in and offer other possible examples, not necessarily vote on "your side" versus "my side". I do think that the Smithsonian Castle could be a good replacement, but I also think others may have better ideas than me. Again, this all comes down to the fact that UVA seems upsettingly arbitrary to represent the whole of US education (upper, lower, what have you).

While you have a point about the other 3 images (White House, Capitol, Supreme Court), you can't really have an article on the United States without those; so the connection is incidental. And referencing the Castle as "an administrative federal building" is not at all a fair representation of the building itself and almost nobody would ever actually call it that; you're very much oversimplifying the issue to make a point.

I placed the US Department of Education seal to the right. Even that would be a better representative of US education. Though I don't suggest it. Maybe the answer is to not have an image because a reasonable image that represents US education in general can't be found. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 17:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

First of all, the argument that the pictured building isn't at a university where all American students attended is a bit bizarre. No college has been attended by all. But if you look at this and the other top publics across the country, there's no one building quite so interesting or significant as Jefferson's Rotunda. I've cited well-known sources, both American and global, to support this premise.
So you seem to have some kind of unknown issue with the school itself. After all, it's not about it being a university, and certainly not about it being a public one... you were absolutely fine with a view of UC Berkeley being pictured. DCGeist and myself have reminded you that Virginia and Berkeley are both two of the very top publics in the country... applicants even prefer Virginia over Berkeley, as DCGeist said. There's a U.S. government funded study showing that.
Everything else here, your disregard for UNESCO, your disregard for Jeffersonian architecture, your disregard for the AIA and their calling Jefferson's Rotunda "America's proudest work".... all seem to stem from a general disregard for the University of Virginia itself? So maybe you'd like to explain a little more why you have such an issue with the University of Virginia but not with the University of California, Berkeley? Where is that overall disregard coming from?
Ben Lunsford (talk) 18:03, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
I have nothing against UVA, as I've mentioned many times before—and, while I'm at it, I have nothing for Berkeley; never stepped foot on either campus. I feel UVA is too arbitrary to solely represent US education on an article that receives 45k visits daily. I don't really think it should be a higher ed institution now (it's essentially free advertising) and I really don't think it should be UVA.
Clearly my bizarre comment was to make a point; that was obvious. But something that is important is the fact that the Smithsonian impacts many more Americans than any single institution of higher education in the nation. Counting all the museums on the National Mall complex, the Smithsonian receives more than 7-8 25 million visitors annually (I'm being conservative here b/c some of the articles don't have visitor stats, but Air & Space on the mall has 5.5 million and Air & Space in VA has 1+ million). Ohio State currently has 54,000 students (that's a factor of 100).
And again! Only 34.4% of Americans end up having a higher level degree! That does not represent US education well, when almost two-thirds of Americans were not involved with the thing that we are using to represent the whole of American education. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 21:36, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
And, again, you had no problem whatsoever with the image of UC Berkeley. So, this isn't about the reasons above that could apply to any school. None of that was a problem for you with the UC Berkeley image. It's something about the University of Virginia specifically.
Yes, the Smithsonian has many visitors annually... but they visit for one day. Maybe a weekend in some cases. Even at the highest level of U.S. education, students visit at least 180 days a year. No one in the country has had their education shaped by administrative buildings with small museums in the bottom. The Natural History museum would be a better example if you are talking about "raw learning" outside of the day-to-day educational system. But... really any museum building would be a bizarre choice for a sub-section on U.S. education. An internationally notable building on a public school grounds or public college campus is what should be pictured.
And if only 34.4% have a degree from the apex level of public U.S. education, I'd guess 0.0% have a diploma from a museum. ;)
Ben Lunsford (talk) 23:06, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
You failed to respond to 4 of 6 of the buildings you quoted from UVAs website (I don't count Rice-couldn't find the building). You focused on Duke and—I'll assume—forgot about the rest. I'm doubting the website because some of these places are so not like UVA (also, in searching their site, I couldn't find that quote). And a quad is a lawn mostly surrounded by buildings, typically with walkways through said lawn, i.e. exactly what we're talking about. How do you fail to see that? You also seemed to ignore the Palladian influence, an influence that has been the basis of much architectural design, including the White House (just proves my point that most east-coast American architecture is European in nature anyway—so Monticello and the Rotunda look like they're from Europe just like the Castle). And find me the quote where I said Berkeley was perfect to represent US education. I just said it was better and much less arbitrary. Also the red brick, white wood motif was used quite well on Independence Hall (United States), which came before Monticello. (Ben's note: don't make up things, please. I never said red brick and "white wood". The white columns are actually plaster, by the way. Wadester16's note: Red brick and white accents; my apologies. Either way my point stands.) Overall you're bouncing around too much and it boils down to this:
  1. UVA is too arbitrary to represent the whole of US education. Take note that I wasn't the only one that thought UVA was arbitrary. It's just unfortunate that the better known institutions are all private (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc). They would do a better job, but something public should represent here.
  2. If one specific institution has to do this, UVA is not the one; Berkeley seemed to be better and I am open to other options.
  3. Lower education and other forms of education in the country (continuing education, cultural education, etc) make up more of a typical American life than higher education (since you love to write out "UNESCO" and "AIA" so much, I'll bring up the 34.4% fact again, assuming you didn't see the first 3 times, like you seem to assume I missed your reference the other 30+ times)
  4. I think the Smithsonian Castle, which is the unarguable symble of the Smithsonian Institution could do a good job of representing education as a whole in the US, or at least better than an image of UVA.
  5. I am open to any other ideas. This needn't (and shouldn't) be a Ben LunsfordWadester16 discussion, as you have indicated above ("So we're back to the Ben Lunsford and Wadester16 back-and-forth conversation?"), it is open to anybody, and I am very open to other ideas, hence a request for comment.
  6. I'm also open to the idea of not having an image there due to the reasons both you and I have brought up (none of what we're offering actually represents the whole of US education, though the Smithsonian is undoubtedly the closest.)
I'm much more open-minded than you seem to be giving me credit for. It's just one thing that I'm against - just one. Also, there's a [citation needed] above I'd like you to address. You're verging on a personal attack there. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 23:49, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, I've made it quite clear that I have nothing against UVA and have no affiliation with Berkeley. I'll also state now that I have no affiliation with the Smithsonian. One of the pillars of WP, as I'm sure you're aware, is to AGF. I'd appreciate that much courtesy because you are definitely ABF of me. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 00:01, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure if you're doing this on purpose, or if you're just forgetting, but you continually do not respond to the main topic of the past few responses I've given you. Why specifically did you have none of the above issues with the UC Berkeley landscape pic that you have with the pic of Jefferson's Rotunda? Each one of your criticisms could go for both Berkeley and Virginia. The U.S. government funded a study, cited above, where the University of Virginia was listed as the top public institution for high-achieving students. You never responded when DCGeist mentioned it, and you never responded when I mentioned it. Your singling out of this one university as "unacceptable" and not the other one seems altogether arbitrary and subjective.
I do mention UNESCO and the AIA a lot. Because you continually ignore or discount the role of these reliable sources. Objectively, they are national and international authorities on the subject. You are not. Neither am I. But I defer to these reliable sources, and you don't trust them. (As for responding to Duke, I singled it out because it was so incredibly wrong. But instead of going through each example, as I already said, again, I'm willing to go with reliable sources. You seem to want to devolve the discussion into a subjective argument about architecture between two people who are not architects. Let's go with the AIA... they are professional architects. UNESCO is pretty knowledgeable on the subject as well. Agreed?) Wait, am I allowed to mention the United Nations, or can we only discuss your opinions here? Which is the more reliable authority to you?
As far as your crying "personal attack", all I said was that you may tend to fight wars of attrition and that I'll try to keep up with you... I even winked! I've striked it now and I'll even remove it entirely if you feel it unduly sways opinions. I've twice thanked you for your thoughts here, hopefully you can feel the .
You also didn't respond to my criticism of the fact that people only visit museums for 1 day instead of 180 a year. Or that 0% of Americans graduated from museums in their educational lineage. You can mention "34.4%" all you want, and I'll always respond with "0%". Fair enough?
Finally, you accuse me of "bouncing around too much". Huh? You say Berkeley is fine, and get upset when it is replaced... then you now say that a university can't be represented here. You bring up the tilt and distortion problems, how they make you "cringe at the sight" of them. When I offered to fix them (and now have done so) you completely ignored that aspect. You brought up "east coast bias" and implied the article needs a west coast or midwest photo here... but then you came up with, as an alternative, one of the Smithsonian buildings... in Washington, D.C. See: Pot calling the kettle black.
Ben Lunsford (talk) 00:30, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

← I've made it explicitly clear that I think Berkeley was better than UVA. You know, like on an SAT question, you have to pick the "best" answer, when at least another one is "good"? And no, I'm not saying Cal is "best" of all possibilities, but best of the ones brought up (out of 2! - nobody else has offered alternatives!) I said it in my last post: "And find me the quote where I said Berkeley was perfect to represent US education. I just said it was better and much less arbitrary." I still challenge you to do that. That responds to the first paragraph.

I never stated or quoted you about "Berkeley being perfect". I stated that you never had any of these issues with "one school being pictured for US Education" when it was Berkeley. So now you've given a response, but only a very subjective one... "Berkeley is better". Again, why? DCGeist cited a United States funded study to counter this notion when you first said it. At the same time, he said you've cited nothing showing that Berkeley is any less arbitrary, so that seems incredibly subjective as well. Ben Lunsford (talk) 02:15, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm still not swayed by an opinionated source from AIA that is over 100 years old. I'm not saying it's worthless, I'm just saying it's lost value in the century since. If you look at UNESCO's site about Monticello/UVA, you'll notice a lack of photos of UVA (two of Monticello!) and you'll notice that it's the entirety of UVA, not just the Rotunda or the Lawn that are given World Heritage Site-status. Maybe a better way to do this photo, then, is to do a quasi-aerial from the opposite end of the Lawn. You don't know it's a quad because you can't see the buildings on the side. That responds to your second paragraph.

Argh. It's from 1976. Not "over 100 years old". That was The New York Times saying something similar in 1895. The New York Times, the American Institute of Architects, UNESCO, American Heritage... there have been many reliable sources cited here asserting the significance of Jefferson's Rotunda (and "Academical Village") to American educational foundations. It's understandable to get one or more of them confused with others. And the AIA refers to, specifically, the Rotunda and the Lawn ("Academical Village") surrounding it. I'm not sure a quasi-aerial would make a good image, but if you are now willing to accept a view from the opposite end of the Lawn, then that is at least some progress. Personally, I agree with DCGeist above, that the most significant structure is preferable to a landscape shot. Ben Lunsford (talk) 02:15, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
You're right; my mistake. I felt sure that the AIA report was the old one and didn't feel like searching through this novella we are writing. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 02:50, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

I appreciate the cross out. I honestly am not sure where you're coming from on that. And don't forget, this is the Internet. I interpreted the wink as a "gotcha", as if trying to rub something in. That's not my fault; just be more careful with emoticons in the future; I would advise against them during debates like this. This is another example where I originally took it as a "gotcha": "And if only 34.4% have a degree from the apex level of public U.S. education, I'd guess 0.0% have a diploma from a museum. ;)" See what I mean? That responds to your third paragraph.

I'll heed your advice and not wink on the Internet (ha) but I had seen it as more of an indication of a "chuckle" or light moment. You're right, not your fault. Ben Lunsford (talk) 02:15, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

No, people don't visit museums 180 days a year, but sometimes (and you have to admit this), you remember more from a field trip than the 180 days because they were monotonous; admittedly, that's completely qualitative, but it is the first thing I thought of. And I don't think I should have to respond to your 0% remark because it was so obvious. I mean, come on? But my point still stands with 34.4%! Maybe a primary or secondary school would be good? I don't know; I still don't like the idea of one school representing education. And I'm kind of against one higher-ed school due to the free publicity (even public schools charge a price). UNESCO wasn't brought up until I removed this image the first time; I bet the person that originally put this image in was a UVA alum. I still think, though, that because the Smithsonian has influenced far more people than any one American university ever could, it represents the educational experience better (again, for the reasons stated above). That responds to your fourth paragraph.

I think if we could find an internationally acclaimed primary or secondary public school and structure then it wouldn't be a bad idea at all. I can't think of any off the top of my head. And I'm not sure when UNESCO was mentioned about which image (of the Rotunda I assume) but it should seemingly always be a prime consideration when discussion the Rotunda, Lawn, or Monticello. Same with the AIA designation as "America's proudest achievement"... Ben Lunsford (talk) 02:15, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Chances are probably smaller than with higher ed (it would end up being a private school anyway, one where like 1000 senators graduated from or something). Though the Smithsonian is internationally acclaimed, and has a presence in almost 100 other nations! ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 03:33, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

If I've said it once, I've said it too many times: Berkeley is better. Its image quality was also better, though I'm still not a fan of the current one compositionally. I give you credit for your efforts in fixing the current image; it indeed looks better (It doesn't cause me to cringe any longer). That said, the building itself is still suffering from a curvature. Look at the stairs, tops of the columns, and base of the pediment and compare to a horizontal line. The centers typically are higher than the ends. It's probably not a physical problem, but a photographic one, and could still be fixed. And again, as I've stated above, the east-coast bias was more of an observation. And on that note, keeping UVA isn't solving the problem that you're now jumping on just because I brought up this new option. It may not be in DC, but it's only 100 miles away (almost exactly). Keeping UVA doesn't help it at all; I think we can agree to just ignore this point for now on, b/c we're just going to use it against each other, causing it to be moot anyway. Me pot, you kettle. That takes care of the fifth paragraph.

"Berkeley is better." Strangely subjective, with logic or reasoning seemingly absent. What did you think of the U.S. government funded study that DCGeist mentioned? The one that found high-achieving applicants tend to choose Virginia over Berkeley, more than the other way around, when accepted to both? You cite U.S. News below, and Virginia has been in the top 2 of their public rankings every year since they began ranking. Berkeley can't claim that in those rankings, either (although UCB is currently ranked first in USN). Ben Lunsford (talk) 02:15, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

An added bonus is that the Smithsonian image is featured, too (and some of our most respected photographers gave high praise to the image ← This is an example of an observation that marginally impacts the overall debate but is interesting to note, much like the east-coast bias). Also, the current Secretary quit as President of Georgia Tech (home of a top-5 engineering school in the nation in 2009, based on US News) to take the new role; apparently he feels the Smithsonian is notable enough to leave the highest levels of higher ed to run it (←another observation). ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 01:29, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Oh, I'll emphasize again, I love the Smithsonian. It's notable as a museum. Not as a school or college, or for U.S. education. Definitely for U.S. museums (and I'm talking about the Natural History, Air & Space, etc. not necessarily the castle). Ben Lunsford (talk) 02:15, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but a high-profile university president leaving to take the role of Secretary definitely places this in roughly the same class. It's undoubtedly a place of learning: higher learning, lower learning, etc. It offers tours and classes to primary students, internships to high school students, internships to college students, fellowships to college students and professionals, and careers in the research fields (in many ways that sounds like a college to me). The Institution's article calls it "an educational and research institute and associated museum complex," which emphasizes it as an institution of learning first, grouping of museums second. The GAO referred to the SI as being the world's largest research institution (page 1). And also, with regards to your claim of the Castle being an admin building: it may be party administration now, but it was the first (and only, at one time) Smithsonian museum. The Institution also offers an educational magazine (which you'll only find in your dentist's office...), a television channel, and research activities in more than 90 countries. This brings back up my point of not using an icon that is biased towards the American reader. More people have heard of the Smithsonian than probably any public institution of higher ed in the US. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 03:33, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I must say that the idea of using the Smithsonian as our representative image for the Education section is little short of bizarre (as are some of the bases for argumentation--"East coast bias"? Wow. Someone needs to read up on the history of the country). Let's restrict the conversation to the two images appearing most recently--those of the universities of Virginia and California-Berkeley. It strikes me there are two significant, relevant similarities between these photos that commends each of them for use in this context:
(1) They are both images of public universities.
(2) Both of those schools are highly regarded institutions.
It strikes me that there are two significant, relevant differences between these photos that clearly commends one over the other:
(1) The photo of UVA is excellent. The photo of Berkeley is mediocre.
(2) The photo of UVA depicts a structure of great historical and architectural significance. The photo of Berkeley does not.
It's a pretty easy call. Both photos are suitable. But one is much, much better suited than the other. That's the one we have now.—DocKino (talk) 04:13, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
But what are your thoughts about one single university being used to represent the whole of the US educational system, especially since only 1/3 of Americans actually finish a degree, whereas almost 99% make it at least into high school (by law)? ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 04:40, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
There's a case to be made to show a representative high school or even elementary school. However, (a) showing a public university does give us the opportunity to efficiently include the interesting datum that appears in the caption and (b) I believe the share of Americans with degrees is actually quite high, in relative global terms, so there's absolutely nothing misleading about using a picture of a university. However, if you have (a) an excellent picture of an elementary or secondary school and (b) a suggestion for an interesting datum that could accompany it, I'd be up for considering it.DocKino (talk) 04:56, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Admittedly, no primary or secondary school will be more well-known than either of the two universities we've been talking about (especially if we're talking a public school), so I don't think that's the correct route to take. As for the 80% fact, that can easily be worked into the prose of the section if necessary. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 05:23, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

My GOD, what did I stumble upon? First verdict: Shush it up. Second verdict: I do agree with many of the points from users DCGeist, DocKino, and Ben Lunsford... Keep Rotunda. Here's my summary of this discussion:

DCGeist made the point that UC-Berkeley is no less "arbitrary" than Virginia. He mentioned that the U.S. Government commissioned a study showing just that. Many sources were subsequently cited showing that U. of Virginia is a top public university by numerous standards. Agree.

DocKino acknowledged both schools are highly regarded and thus concentrated on the photos and the structures in those photos. He said, and I completely agree, that the photo of UVA is excellent and it depicts something of great historical and architectural significance. He also said that the Berkeley pic was mediocre, agreed, and there was nothing in the pic quite so significant. Additionally, he said to use a Smithsonian pic to represent Education would be quite bizarre. Agree.

Ben Lunsford said, well, a lot. I realise that he had only been trying to play defence against the relentless attacks of wadester, but wow. Basically I'll say this: he cited a lot of sources, from a US Government study and US News and World Report magazine showing the university is a top US public; to UNESCO, the AIA, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and American Heritage, showing the structure and area in the photograph is of great significance both to this nation and to worldwide visitors. Great sources, Ben.

wadester... if you had taken one angle and stuck with it, you may have been more convincing. You just made my head spin with all the different forays, some of them to the brink of ridiculousness. I truly think your time could be spent better elsewhere. That goes for Ben too.


An unrelated, but important thought re: UNESCO: perhaps this article should include more US World Heritage Sites? It's really to the brink of ridiculousness that the Statue of Liberty is not pictured in the article. And I would like to see Yellowstone or Yosemite pictured instead of Mormon Row and the Teton Range. Perhaps this is for a different discussion, but UNESCO World Heritage status is a quite major global designation by a quite major global organisation and perhaps that should be a consideration when deciding whether to picture, say, the Teton Range versus nearby Yellowstone. I understand that sometimes there are more scenic photographs available of one thing versus another but I'm thinking most World Heritage Sites would have numerous photographs available for use on Wikipedia.

Now I shall leave this page forever!! Because within about 10 minutes, wadester will respond and I will not get held up on this. These are my thoughts after reading this lengthy diatribe. Now I'm leaving. Do not follow me home. (talk) 15:51, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

How could one follow an IP that only made one edit anyway? Arrgggg: I think it's been made clear almost a dozen times that I don't think it's fair that one university represent the whole of US education. That's the basis of this argument: What is at the level to reasonably represent US education as a whole? There has to be something. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 16:16, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I trust that the readership understands that in the context of a general overview article, for each section we look for a visually strong image of a significant person, place, or event—I trust no one assumes that the subject of that image is meant to convey the be-all and end-all of the topic. Do you really believe that readers assume Jack Kerouac sums up U.S. literature as a whole? That Buzz Aldrin sums up U.S. science and technology as a whole? Of course not. These are all images of representative and significant examples of very broad topic areas—I see no evidence that people don't get that and, thus, I think your fears are unfounded.—DCGeist (talk) 17:10, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I've never heard of Jack Kerouac; I'm an engineer: literature bores me for the most part. But the moon landing is an obvious pick. This situation is far less obvious. You're oversimplifying it. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 04:00, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Suggested alternatives

If we're going to go back to the UVA-Berkeley debate, then so be it; though I still hold that one higher ed institution shouldn't represent US education when only a third of Americans actually get a degree.

On and on and on the energizer bunny goes! So your entire point in the lengthy discussion above, was no one university should "represent education as a whole". Now effectively abandoning your primary argument, you are making a 180 degree turn... and back to Rotunda vs. Clock Tower and Berkeley vs. Virginia. As stated numerous times before, one must also consider the relative insignificance of Sather Tower vs. the significance of the Rotunda pictured, not just colleges in general ("UC Berkeley vs. Virginia"), because that's what is actually pictured here in each photograph (and the same goes for all 4 you propose of UC Berkeley). Which provides a more interesting architectural structure to focus on? The alternative that lets one focus the best is Alternative 2, but yet again, a clock tower just does not cut it for me, and having covered the entire UC Berkeley campus a few times, there is nothing else I can think of that is similarly significant or that makes for a similarly striking visual image as the Rotunda. Alternative 1 would almost be a good image if it didn't cut a significant building in half. (Who did the cropping here??) Also, the most visually appealing thing about each of these images are the blue [a little toooo blue... overly retouched] skies, not the structure(s) themselves. Interesting list with the academic rankings from Berkeley's website, but it looks as though you reversed Virginia and UC Berkeley on the U.S. Government study... you also neglected to mention it was a National Bureau of Economic Research study. Also, I will probably have to make a list of the architectural, cultural, and educational designations that the Rotunda has garnered versus that of the Campanile. I notice that you did not even attempt to make the argument that this clock tower is as notable to the United States (or, for that matter, to the United Nations) as is the Rotunda and area surrounding it.
I do commend you for refusing to ever take no for an answer if you want to personally change something on Wikipedia badly enough. You are "be bold" on steriods... not necessarily a bad thing. Ben Lunsford (talk) 21:34, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Come on, a third and fourth opinion commented, and agreed that the Smithsonian didn't have a place and one noted the discussion should be limited to UVA/UCB. Unfortunately they didn't offer any suggestions though. I'm doing this for the betterment of the article; I have no evil plan here. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 02:41, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Hah, I've got no problem with it. Just surprising to see someone persist for this long... I'm actually surprised that I'm still here with you. Ben Lunsford (talk) 02:51, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Find below a few options I dug up to represent Berkeley (in order of my preference, FYI). And below that, find reasons why I think Berkeley should be the choice (completely new ones from before, so please read on Face-smile.svg).

Ranking Group UCB UVA
US News & World Report[2] (based on 15 indicators of academic excellence... too many to list here) 21
Public: 1
Public: 2
Princeton Review-USA TODAY[3] (based on tuition [equals out] and academic environs [class size, prof. accessibility, % of TA-led classes]) Public: -- Public: 1
United States National Research Council rankings[4] (based on only one metric: faculty research publishing) 2 28
Kiplinger rankings[5] (based on costs [again equal], SATs, selectivity, retention rates, and student-faculty ratios) 12 3
Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Jiao Tong University study; based again on that singular metric, faculty research publishing) 3[6] 95[7]
Top 100 Global Universities (50% of this ranking is the ranking by Shanghai Jiao Tong above; based primarily on the same singular metric, faculty research publishing)[8] 5 80
Academic Analytics Top Performing Schools (based on only the same singular metric: faculty research publishing) 9 36
Old-metric Forbes ranking[9] (based on Who's Who lists, professor ratings, student debt, % who graduate, and # of Rhodes scholarships) 73[10] 43[11]
New-metric Forbes ranking[12] (adds "affordability and productivity" as very large weights to metrics above) 28
Public: 2
Public: 1
Washington Monthly College Rankings (This is a community service ranking)[13] 2 20
National Bureau of Economic Research (Harvard-BU-Yale-Stanford study) (based on top destinations of high-achieving students) 27
Public: 3[14]
Public: 1[14]
Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
Another research ranking - based on open access scientific research published online)
5 35

Why Berkeley?

  • Berkeley ranks highest (in comparison with UVA) on a multitude of ranking systems, both when ranked only with American Institutions and when ranked globally (see this handy overview[15] and note table at right). Much of this list I took straight from College and university rankings. Please feel free to add to the list (or update to more recent values); I will be doing that as I find more information.
  • With regards to the study referenced above by DCGeist and again by Ben Lunsford, you'll note that UVA is ranked 20 and Berkeley 27. But without covariates, this changes to 21 and 25, respectively (as stated in the document, the the error produced without covariates is on the order of 1%). Following Eq. 9 in the document,[16] it seems there is a 61.8% chance a given student will choose UVA over Berkeley. But the report itself notes the uncertainty that comes with its findings, and the fact that "…our ranking is an example, not definitive," (italics theirs), also noting that the lower one goes in the rankings, and the closer universities are in the rankings, the less confident their system is in knowing the correct placement. For rankings between 20 and 40, that are immediate neighbors (which, admittedly, these two are not - but they are close), the confidence level for the 61.8% above, with respect to each other, can be as low as 60%. Based on the amount of uncertainty in this research, I feel it's fair to say that UVA and Berkeley are roughly even, with UVA having a marginal lead. (Also I saw no reference to this study being funded by the government. Can someone provide that reference?)
  • While the AIA and UNESCO are notable arguments, it seems clear that Berkeley is considered to be America's premiere public institution of higher education. The difference between the two can be quite staggering, and even the most popular ranking system agrees. Looking more closely at the table at right, Berkely consistently beats out UVA, and significantly at times. shows UVA taking Berkeley significantly, but I would take this ranking system with a grain of salt; consider reading it in full because it is an extremely odd system. Briefly look at the user comments as well. That leaves only the study in bullet point above, which I've now explained puts UVA marginally ahead of Berkeley. Looking at these sources equally, Berkeley is the clear winner. I would also argue that Berkeley is much better known by non-Americans than UVA, which would allow for a less Amero-centric article.
  • UC Berkeley has had 20 Nobel Laureate faculty and 24 Nobel Laureate Alumni.[17] From what I can tell, UVA has had 4 Nobel Laureates associated with itself in any way (if you can find proof of more, please show). This is a clear showing that Berkeley has been able to affect the world more greatly than UVA in at least this way.
  • Berkeley is known for its technical advances, which is also something the United States is known for overall. We are the home of Silicon Valley, which is right nearby. Berkeley is home to the man that discovered plutonium (in addition to 9 other elements) and has an element named after him; the man who was able to cool and trap atoms with laser light (and is currently the US Secretary of Energy); and the inventor of the bubble chamber, to name just three Nobel Laureates. But fear not: they have had Nobel Prize winners in economics, literature, and medicine as well.

Why any of these images?

  1. I very much enjoy this image due to its vibrant blue sky and incorporation of different architectural styles, but still honing in on the Campanile. In addition, it includes a good view of the campus, showing some students. I like the fact that it's an "uphill" view, making the the Campanile stand out even more. Most importantly, the colors of the image are striking and beg the eyes to look more closely. The only minor drawback that bothers me is the lighting: the shadow on the left face of the Campanile is a tad distracting; but from the orientation of the building, it doesn't look like that side ever gets sun (it's the NNW side), so it's unavoidable and not that big of a deal. And the blown whites on the top right are actually clouds. I found this on Flickr and uploaded it to Commons.
  2. The foliage of this image is what wins me over. I had to do some work on it (which may not become evident for a little while - unfortunately Commons can sometimes take a while to update to the "current" uploaded version, whether you purge or not). This and the previous image also do a nice job of showing off the clay tile roofs of many of the buildings on the campus. This image portrays the hilly campus and has a number of students in it too, making it a good candidate IMO. The negatives are the shadow (same face as in the first one) and the fact that the right face of the Tower is a bit blown, but not so much so as to detract from the overall quality.
  3. This is the image that I originally placed on the article page. I like it because it shows a nice overview of the campus surrounding the Campanile, especially the eclectic mix of architecture that is so common on public university campuses (especially due to building booms in the 1960s and 1970s). It contrasts the classic architecture of South Hall, Wheeler Hall, and the Campanile itself, and the more institutional design of Evans Hall. Note that above, this was incorrectly references as an aerial shot. It is not; it was taken from a building.
  4. This is a similar view to #1, but not as striking (I put it here just in case you might be interested). Compositionally, the lamp post is a bit of a problem. But this does show a bit of the Memorial Glade, which #1 does not.

So this is my overview as to why Berkeley should be the representative image in the Education section of this article. It shows that UVA is indeed more arbitrary than Berkeley, and has a number of sources to prove that. The replacement suggestions are all taken on sunny days with blue skies, making them enjoyable to look at, and feature Sather Tower, the icon of the Berkeley campus. As Linda Richman used to say, "Please, discuss..." ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 15:12, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

  • I have added some "UCB vs. UVA" rankings that you may have forgotten. I have also added the metrics used for each ranking. It looks like you only thought to add the rankings that were almost entirely based on just one metric: faculty research publishing! As you may know, UVA as a university has a reputation for being less focused on faculty research and winning Nobel Prizes... but more focused on student teaching and student achievements, such as Rhodes Scholarships. [In fact, more UVA students have won Rhodes Scholarships than have UC-Berkeley students, despite the school being half as large; this is probably a large part of the reason that Virginia is #1 among publics in the Forbes ranking.] Indeed, every ranking I could find that values metrics like class size, professor accessibility, and professor vs. TA teaching, unsurprisingly ranks Virginia above UC Berkeley. Every ranking that values only faculty research – even if they never educated a single student – unsurprisingly ranks UC Berkeley above Virginia. So the rankings seem a bit of a wash, the metrics used can almost entirely tell us which one a particular ranking favors (i.e. Value the research publishing of faculty the students may never see? UCB wins. Value the teaching and educational aspects of a university? UVA wins.) Observational note: grad students may not mind that professors do not teach their own classes and focus nearly all of their efforts on getting published; undergraduates will likely hold the opposite view. The various rankings (i.e. "research" rankings vs. "teaching" rankings) are useful in their own rights, but for entirely different subsets of students. That's probably why, as you say, the government funded Harvard-BU-Yale-Stanford study showed that undergrad applicants choose Virginia over UC Berkeley by a 62-38 margin. Ben Lunsford (talk) 00:07, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Wow. 9,000+ words into the debate, I'll say the UVA picture is a representative image, it can and should be replaced if there's a better representative image, judged by features of relevance to the topic, aesthetics, and appropriateness, also considering that because these are subjective judgments there must be a non-trivial improvement. The UVA image should stay unless there's a better image; the Berkeley image is good, but not a substantial enough improvement to warrant this much time spent on the topic. Shadowjams (talk) 21:24, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
    • So your decision is based mainly on image quality? You could extend that logic to say that a no-name community college should replace it because there's an amazing photo of it. What about the reasons for a particular university? How many words is it now? ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 21:33, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
      • Oh good grief. Shadowjams said: "judged by features of relevance to the topic, aesthetics, and appropriateness". I see nothing that indicates his decision could be equally applied to a "no-name community college". C'mon. You are the one who requested comment, so try not to bite visitors when they give their honest appraisal. Ben Lunsford (talk) 04:03, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
        • I see no explicit reason supporting it; oh, other than image quality (the image should stay unless there's a better image.). Is it so wrong to ask a question, Charlie Brown? And who really bit who? We were both nipped by being judged on this discussion. I don't bite. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 04:24, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
          • "We were both nipped by being judged on this discussion." Is that some kind of odd philosophical babble? Ben Lunsford (talk) 04:53, 29 April 2009 (UTC)


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Data is from 1995; new data to come out before September 2009, apparently. Also, note the diverse membership
  5. ^
  6. ^ #3 2007-2008, #4 2003-2006
  7. ^ #67 in 2003, not in the top 100 2004-2007
  8. ^ Done by Newsweek
  9. ^ This is an extremely odd ranking system... look closely and note its non-conformity with any other common ones; and that's not just b/c UVA outdid Berkeley here, either (read the comments ppl left, too)
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ From 2006, if you can find a more recent one, please feel free to update
  14. ^ a b Without covariates
  15. ^ Unfortunately, from 2006
  16. ^
  17. ^ Berkeley even has reserved parking spaces for NL

A New Table (with structures!)

Notability Current:
Jefferson's Rotunda
Sather Tower
(center of image, UCB)
Constructed 1819–1825 1914–1917
Architect Thomas Jefferson John Galen Howard
Global UNESCO World Heritage Site (1 of only 4 constructed since 1492 in United States) --
United States National Historic Landmark (1 of 2,442)
National Register of Historic Places (1 of 80,000+)
National Register of Historic Places
(1 of 80,000+)
Accolades Survey of American Institute of Architects deemed it America's proudest work of past 200 years in 1976.
American Heritage called the Lawn surrounding it America's Greatest Architectural Achievement in 1984.
In 1895, The New York Times called it "the most monumental architectural project that had or has yet been conceived in this century" some seventy years after its construction.
Fun Facts The Marquis de Lafayette and James Madison dined for 3 hours with Thomas Jefferson in the Dome Room of the unfinished Rotunda at the university's inaugural banquet. Has a 10,500 lb. "Great Bear Bell".

Wadester16 introduced a pretty cool table into this momentous (10,000 word?) discussion, so allow me to do the same for the actual buildings in each photograph. To me, the choice of an image is also about the notability of the structure actually viewed through a photograph, as well as the notability of where it sits. Wadester never seems to want to follow the discussion here, so I thought I'd bring forth a second table. At the end of the day, the image should be a visually powerful depiction of a significant structure in a significant location. There aren't many structures or locations in public education that are more notable than Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda and Lawn. This was the last great work of a man with a considerable shadow. Ben Lunsford (talk) 02:33, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm not ignoring it; I thought we were passed this bit of accusatory treatment? I made it pretty clear that I think it's the place, not the structure that makes the difference. Therefore UCB should be used because it outdoes UVA in so many of the lists above (yes, even with the additions). I'm arguing a side, and most of what you've put together here has been said before. I'm not expected to cite absolutely everything that you've pointed out, especially since you've already said it; multiple times. Also, the points I just raised were completely new. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 02:54, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
As I said about your lists above, UC Berkeley outdoes on one primary metric: professor research publishing. If you add up the rankings UCB won 4 and UVA won 4, not counting the 1 on each side that were an almost direct regurgitation of another ranking. But even if it had been 10 to 4, all the UCB wins would come down to just one aspect of U.S. education: publishing research. Virginia does better on the metrics regarding the actual teaching and educational roles of a university. Now don't get me wrong, research is a major function of Higher Education, just as teaching students is a major function of K-12 and Higher Education. Research just isn't the only thing... not by a long shot. Also, even to have this discussion: at the end of the day, a similarly notable structure needs to be found. Sather Tower is not it. Ben Lunsford (talk) 03:16, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Putting the two images next to each other in your table really notes how dull the Rotunda image is. UCB's is much more vibrant and exciting. Image uses HDR. Like I said, that morning light can be overrated. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 04:13, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Ha. HDR images are a poor choice for this article in general, unless they can tone it down to some level of realism. This image does not. Not to mention that the tower is so far away that I can't even tell it's a photo of the tower... it is almost more like a "blue sky" photo... and an unrealistic, overprocessed blue sky at that with not even a hint of reality. Additionally, the photographer should have either gotten closer to the tower or not cropped Doe Memorial Library in half. By the way, if your world really does revolve around image quality now (yet another new argument from your side?) you owe Shadowjams a big apology above. Not to mention that not everyone enjoys HDR and its unrealistic, over-processed look. I certainly wouldn't want to see HDR images all over this page anytime soon. They're trendy, and way overcooked. When I look at a photograph, I like to see something that could actually exist in real life. There is a role for "computer art" in photography, but not right here. Ben Lunsford (talk) 04:41, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't oversimplify or completely separate your arguments without context. This is a clear example of you doing that. I ask for image quality, but of a subject that there should be an image of. As for HDR, you didn't seem to identify it as such and didn't go on a tirade before this information. While HDR can sometimes overdo it, many times it can bring the true essence of colors out for the viewer (as it says in the lead of the article) and I think this is a great example of that. And it's funny that you complain about cutting the library, on the campus with no notable structures, from the person that was against the landscape idea. Now you want zoom, and the whole building... but that's not possible. ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 04:51, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, no I would never notice that it used HDR. It's not obvious at all. I said it was overprocessed above already, if you care to read it... and while many HDR images have the overprocessed look of this one, it is possible to take an HDR image and tone it down to some level of realism. Thanks for the link to the HDR article, but I can see the image... I don't need to brush up on what HDR could do, I'm concerned with what it did. And that's produce an unrealistic "artsy" overprocessed image. And yes, include the library, or don't include it... either way, don't crop out half of it. That's the worst of both worlds (you don't get to see the building, really, but you do end up with a landscape shot and for no good reason). As for what is "not possible" in photography (lol?) I clearly said "closer to the tower or not cropped". Not both at the same time. But somehow I suspect you knew that? Sheesh. (I also notice that the figures in the image are "beside themselves" with ghosting, and/or their heads got chopped off. It's not "like being there", at least not to me.) Ben Lunsford (talk) 05:01, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Alright, I'm throwing in the towel here. No reasonable comments will come due to our extensive comments here, which is a shame because UVA still is not the university to represent my nation on WP. I was working to change something, so no overly-productive comments (save for you Ben) reverts to keep. Yea, it has UNESCO and AIA (which I will now add, since I'm no longer arguing, is a group of pompous arses - but my personal opinion from personal experience), but Berkeley has the rankings (I don't buy the whole "best value" and that study has to start with colleges from somewhere), is better known internationally, and is well known for its scientific advances that helped make the US that much more successful in the 20th century (something I would argue UVA lacked greatly compared to UCB). My point still stands, though, that because so few Americans actually get a degree, that a university is not the best choice anyway. The Smithsonian was not the best either, but I felt it was more representative of an American educational experience (the American history, the science and technology, the art and culture, government and civic duty, etc.). There, I said my piece. Enjoy your "win by attrition", and I now pass over the battery from my back. And out of curiosity, if you went to college, which was it? ~ ωαdεstεr16«talkstalk» 05:16, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

You give me too much credit, the best points against your side were probably made by others, such as DCGeist, DocKino, and several others... I just said the most stuff. Those "best value" rankings aren't really based on "value" when comparing these two schools anyway... if anything UCB tuition is a little lower. It's just that they look at the teaching aspects of a university more than research... whereas as you showed, a bunch of other rankings don't regard teaching at all, only published research of the faculty. My personal background could fill another 10,000 word thesis with all its meanders, dead-ends, and re-starts through over half a dozen universities, so I'll have to take that rather lengthy story to your Talk page sometime if I can bear to write it all out. And a final thanks for this mammoth, and I mean MAMMOTH, of discussions - you articulate your points well, I just think you had the shorter straw in this particular case. Good day to you... and we live on to (not) fight another day, Ben Lunsford (talk) 06:31, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

I do like the UVA pic, but the Image #1 below that has the most detail that I've seen out of any of the offered pics. Amazing treatment around the clock tower! (talk) 07:06, 29 April 2009 (UTC)kmon

Oops! I meant the UCB image,(Alternative #1), directly above the UVA! Alternative #4 is also good but not enough detail is visible. (talk)krmon —Preceding undated comment added 07:16, 29 April 2009 (UTC).

Hello, one thing I noticed above about Alternative #1 is that the figures in the image were a bit mutilated in the computer processing. One of the people is two-headed, another one appears headless. It has that HDR-effect detail of contrast, but it's not "true" detail. Meaning one could not reproduce it in real life, by standing there and looking at it with the human eye. Additionally, it's not taken from a standpoint close enough to the tower to get all the true details possible.
A further note about detail, Alternative #1 is just over ½ megapixel... on larger monitors it doesn't get large enough to view across the full screen. (The current image is 13x as many pixels and 6.89 MB large. Enough detail to support even the largest of today's monitors.) Ben Lunsford (talk) 15:47, 29 April 2009 (UTC)