Talk:Vauxhall Bridge

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Featured article Vauxhall Bridge is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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Statue figures[edit]

What are the names of all the statue figures on the sides of the bridge? Wesley Biggs 16:33, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Upstream side: Agriculture, Architecture, Engineering and Pottery, all by Frederick Pomeroy; downstream side: Science, Fine Arts, Local Government and Education by Alfred Drury. – iridescent 21:02, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Misleadingly precise currency conversions[edit]

"The bridge cost £175,000 (about £9,940,000 as of 2009) to build; with the costs of approach roads and compensation payments, the total cost came to £297,000 (about £16,869,000 as of 2009)."

It implies (even indicates) that it's possible to equate two very very different cost and price structures in the economy then and now. I believe it would be more appropriate as "almost £10 million" and "nearly £17 million". Tony (talk) 15:59, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

I somewhat agree, but my preference is slightly different; I'd prefer to see "£9.9 million" for instance, as I think it's the number of digits that makes the figure look misleadingly precise. I'll take it upon myself to make that change anyway. Another reason I'm not so keen on the "almost "10 million" alternative is that it wouldn't be automagically updated. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:39, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes. You two are entirely correct. It is not proper to increase the precision in a conversion. The bridge cost £175,000 (about £9,940,000 as of 2009) to build is improper because the re-scaled equivalency increased the precision from one part in 175 to one part in 994. It would be appropriate to state …(about £9,900,000 as of 2009) because the conversion has a precision of only one part in 99 (which is less than one part in 175 and is therefore OK). Similarly £297,000 (about £16,869,000 as of 2009 is way-improper and should be written as £16,900,000, which is a precision of one part in 169. The original conversion had 100 times excess precision and it is very wrong to do so.

    Now, there is a *very* technical caveat to the above. Bridges take years to build and costs might either be borne throughout that period (and accounted for at the end), or there might have been an up-front budget appropriation. So, technically, there are a variety of issues that could affect the conversions that could be a significant factor if there had been rapid inflation during the construction period of the bridge. Given, however, that Wikipedia is a collaborative writing environment and there will always be pressure from others to have the greatest possible precision in conversions, I think precisions of one part in 99 and one part in 169 are reasonable since both are less than the original values.

    This all speaks to User:7’s efforts on a foreign exchange converter (discussion here). I’ve weighed in there that such a converter will be like the early days when regular page layout software first came to Windows computers. Fine tools. But in the wrong hands, many a newsletter looked like a ransom note. There needs to be clear guidance in the template page on how to properly use such tools. Greg L (talk) 17:01, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

The thread title is inaccurate - it's not about currency X to currency Y, it's about inter-period comparisons and inflation-adjustment. I don't know the example you're talking about, but it looks well over 100 years ago. At that range, growth in real incomes is also a huge factor in making informative comparisons. I've only done inter-period comparisons for chess articles, and generally give the income-based comparison in the text but also the prices-based comparison in the footnote, see for example Adolf_Anderssen#London_1851 (where the prices comparison is particularly relevant for reasons specific to Anderssen). So I don't use any of WP's converters, I use Five Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.K. Pound Amount, 1830 to Present (it also has a US$ converter page).
Then I round the results to avoid spurious precision, as the index number problem is a well-known pitfall in economics, e.g. peopel were not buying the same baskets of goods 100 years ago. --Philcha (talk) 17:38, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the link, Philcha. Good to know. Greg L (talk) 17:52, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't much care for rounding in these cases, or indeed using any form of calculated projection by editors within WP space trying to be helpful - these are estimates which compound errors over the years, so could be several orders of magnitude out. I would be more interesting in seeing a source for the "about £9,940,000 as of 2009", and the "about £16,869,000 as of 2009". Such data, unsourced, is tantamount to synthesis, and should NOT be in a featured article. Ohconfucius (talk) 01:29, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I have just looked at the text in edit mode and found the text which reads: "up to £300,000 (about £{{formatprice|{{Inflation|UK|300000|1809|r=-3}}|0}} as of {{CURRENTYEAR}})". I believe it would be misleading to apply the general inflation rate to a subject as this. The important thing is not how the general public would perform the calculation, but how technicians in roadbuilding would calculate costs. It is known that construction prices have moved differently over time compared to general prices, and a construction prices index can and should be applied to the calculation. However, some journalists may well use the same measure as we do in the formula through lack of proper understanding of the economics of evolution of prices(yeah, some journalists also cite Wikipedia as a source). In these cases, we can cite the article which says it is worth $x in 2009 according to the [NYT]. Ohconfucius (talk) 02:01, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with Malleus and Tony's original point that the number of significant figures should remain constant to avoid the figures becoming misleadingly more precise. The problem is that the {{inflation}} template (and the associated {{formatnum}} template) use "number of trailing zeros" as the variable, not "number of significant figures" – i.e. using a value of r=-3 on a 5 digit-number gives a reasonable two significant figures, but the same template applied to a 7 digit number gives a misleadingly precise four significant figures.
  • I don't understand what Philcha is trying to say with "I don't use any of WP's converters, I use Measuring Worth", and think you may be under the impression that these are some kind of figures I've plucked from the air – MW is the source the {{inflation}} template uses, and using the template means the figures are appropriately updated and don't go stale as time goes by.
    I wasn't accusing anyone of plucking sources from the air. My point was that you may want price-based or income-based conversion, depending on the contect, and {{inflation}} does not do that - in fact occasionally you may even need real income ratios, which are trickier. --Philcha (talk) 14:39, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately, there's no easy answer. Real income ratios would need to be manually calculated and would rapidly go stale (not such an issue for UK pounds, where the inflation rate is quite low, but trying to manually keep an article stable during a period of high inflation would be nigh-on impossible without the automatic index-linking of the {{inflation}} template). As previously said, I agree with Tony's general point about misleading levels of precision, but – given that there's no "right" formula – the benefits of using {{inflation}} seem to outweigh the drawbacks. The purpose of providing the "roughly £foo today} is to allow rough comparison, not a precise figure, and the link provided in the footnotes explains in great detail what the issues regarding the accuracy are and suggests alternative indices. – iridescent 14:54, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Regarding Ohconfucius's comments, I have absolutely no idea where you're getting "unsourced" from, or your entire "such data, unsourced, is tantamount to synthesis, and should NOT be in a featured article" thrust which follows. Every single use of an inflation template on this article – or any other article on which I've used one – is followed by a reference showing which index is being used (in this case, as previously mentioned, Measuring Worth). – iridescent 14:11, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Top image[edit]

I'm not totally convinced by the top image on this article (image 1 below). I was interested by the bright colours in the photo on the front page, and came here to find out more; but the bridge in top image is almost invisible, between the dull lighting and the buildings behind, and I had to scroll down through almost half of the article to find a photo of it. I'd suggest following the front page box with the image 2 below; but if people felt that it was too cropped, image 3 has much better contrast in thumbnail, even though it's much lower res.

Thoughts? TSP (talk) 23:34, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Vauxhall Bridge low tide.JPG Vauxhall Bridge 2009.jpg Vauxhall bridge 3.jpg Vauxhall Bridge.jpg

Remember, the image in the infobox ought to show the whole span, and also ideally to be of "letterbox" proportions so as not to be absolutely huge at the larger-than-usual width of an infobox image. (Default thumbnail images display at 180px; infobox images at 220-230px). The current image (1 in your list) looks small in that gallery, but shows the full span and also the surrounding buildings. Number 2 is very washed out, and only shows a small section of the bridge (it appeared on the main page because the TFA image is only 100px, so it needs to be as close-up as possible). If image 3 is added, I'll promptly remove it; it's a horribly composed image, with that large concrete overhang, the end of the bridge truncated, the white spot where the sun's reflecting directly into the camera, and facing the "wrong" direction (none of the buildings that make the view of Vauxhall Bridge distinctive - the London Eye, the Palace of Westminster, the towers of the GOL building and Tintagel House at either end. The only other real viable infobox image is this one, but I've tried to avoid using it in the article; it's not a true photo, but a crude composite of multiple photos (note the way the reflection of Millbank Tower doesn't quite line up, and the obviously fake blues). – iridescent 23:48, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
(Images changed to be 250px wide to be more useful, and added new entrant.)
True, ideally the image should show the full span, but at least those other images show something to the reader who happens across this page. For the current image, you could say it shows the whole span; I'd say that, at 250px, it shows barely anything but a few lines in a low-contrast muddle of buildings. At 250px, I can just about make out that it's a bridge, but not a lot else. I certainly can't see the London Eye or the Palace of Westminster with any clarity, so it seems fairly subjective what is the wrong direction. I just don't think it's an informative or inviting image for someone who comes to this page - not really a criticism; I don't know if it's possible to take a full-width straight-on view of a bridge in the middle of a city that would represent it well at 250px. (Certainly you'd need extremely good luck on the lighting.) I'd just much rather start off with an inviting image that gives an impression of the bridge at the displayed size than a full-width shot that doesn't really provide any information unless you take the time to zoom in. TSP (talk) 02:04, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Nothing's ideal, but we're working with poor quality material. These are all we have to choose from; most are either of specific details of the statues, or the bridge is even less detailed than in the current one. I've put the "end on" view (number 2) into the infobox, as at least it shows the colour scheme and the statues, although I'm still not really comfortable with it as a lead image as it's so washed-out. – iridescent 08:46, 30 September 2009 (UTC)