Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Archived nominations/February 2007

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February 2007[edit]

Campaign history of the Roman military‎[edit]

Reason for nomination: I split the old military history of ancient Rome article into 4 sections - campaign history (covering military campaigns), structural history (covering reforms of the army), political history (covering political changes in its command and use), and technological history (covering weapons development and use over is 1300 years of existence). My aim is to work through these one by one bringing them to featured article status. The first one I have worked on is the Campaign history of the Roman military. It has recently undergone a peer review and I have made several changes, primarily to layout rather tha content, based upon the feedback from this peer review. To my mind the article is FA-ready and so I am self-nominating it as such, but I am happy to incorporate any requested changes. I am happy to answer any and all questions. - PocklingtonDan 14:50, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Comment. Looks really good at first sight! Because I didn't check the whole page thoroughly, I won't support or oppose, but merely comment.
  • Thanks, I will respond to each of your points in turn, as well as update you on what I have done to address them - PocklingtonDan 17:26, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  1. Is it possible to emphasize in the introduction that the page deals only with the Western Roman Empire after the split? Not every reader will be informed about the split and even if they would: the Eastern part is also considered Roman, so it is confusing.
  • Symbol keep vote.svg The term "Roman Empire" normally does include only the west after the split, the east normally being termed the "byzantine empire", but I will make this clearer in the introduction. updated in lead para now to make this clearer - PocklingtonDan 17:28, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  1. It is at the hands of the Gallic Celts that Rome suffered a humiliating defeat that temporarily set back its advance and was to imprint itself upon the Roman consciousness. reads a bit narrative and unnecessary imo.
  • Symbol question.svg Not sure I see a problem with that sentence, can you suggest an alternative?I was trying to build some narrative in to tie the sections together better and prevent the article appearing stubby - PocklingtonDan 17:26, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  1. It is it possible to add more specific campaign info (the used strategies, the generals in command, the assumptions made, specifics of troops: infantry, cavalry, etc?) if they aren't (yet?) specific battles wiki-battlepages. E.g., How were the Celts driven off or bought off? Especially the "driven-off" seems to be an important part, as it includes campaigns/battles.
  • Symbol delete vote.svg If I go into too much detail in every section the article will get far to lengthy - the idea is to cover every campaign briefly, and then the campaignboxes to the right provide links to more detailed articles on each campaign and battle. I'd really rather not have the article try and incorporate that kind of detail, with 1300 years of battles to cover there just isn't room for it at this level - PocklingtonDan 17:26, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  1. Is it possible to add in a line (or two) when Rome created legions. They are first mentioned in the Pyrrhic War - a bit out of the blue.
  • Symbol keep vote.svg I'd rather not cover that, since that is the job of the companion article "Structural history of...". Instead I will try and parse the article and replace legion -> army. Especially given how "legion" meant so many different times during different periods, I think its use at all here is probably confusing, and should remains in the companion "Strucutral history of..." article - done now - PocklingtonDan 17:26, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  1. The map of the Pyrrhic War can be improved. The geographic names are not in English (I think).
  • Symbol keep vote.svg I will see if I can find a better image - replaced with English-;anguage image now - PocklingtonDan 17:26, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  1. Can it be added in a few words that Pyrrhus campaigned against Carthage - raises questions now.
  • Symbol keep vote.svg I will look into this now I've added the very briefest of mentions of this now: although technically its not a Roman military campaign I see how it fits into the historical narrative - PocklingtonDan 17:26, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  1. Better remove the use of the term superpower as the meaning of that term does not correspond with the powers of that era. Use instead regional power or major power. Sijo Ripa 17:11, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Symbol keep vote.svg I have changed superpower->power, but for the record one of the source reference works on Rome's military is subtitled "Military History of the World's First Superpower", I believe the term does fit - PocklingtonDan 17:26, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment. There are no authors names in the notes. Semperf 03:50, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Symbol question.svg It strikes me that you might not be understanding this very common form of referencing, similar to the Harvard system, udner which the book title and page number are provided in the reference, and then full details of the work, including author, publisher, date of publication and ISBN number are provided in the bibliography section. This is very common and means that you don't have to cite the publisher details etc over and over again for every single citation. I'm more than a little surprised that you opposed the FA candidacy of the article on this point. Do you withdraw this opposition now that this has been explained? - PocklingtonDan 07:16, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment. Can you cite a precedent for this? I've never seen it in any work that I've read. Regardless of that, systems of reference should aim at clarity for the reader. In this case, many of the titles are so generic that your reader will not know which author go with which title. "Rise of Rome", "History of Rome", "Fall of the Roman Empire" are part of the titles of several of the items. Make it easier for the reader to know what you're reading. Semperf 13:41, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Symbol question.svg obviously where titles are given they refer to the main title of a work, not subsequent subtitles or only part of the main title. This is not inconsistent with convention. Where two titles might be confused, eg "The Histories", they are differentiated int he footnotes by author also. If you have specific concern that the works of two titles might be confused, let me know and I will correct them. - PocklingtonDan 14:26, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment References come after punctuation, example it's currently like this [149][150. when it should be .[149][150] FInd a citation for the [citation needed] tag. Try remove weasel words like allege. Make the spelling of English words consistent with either American or British spelling, depending upon the subject of the article. Examples include: neighbour (B) (American: neighbor), defence (B) (American: defense), pretence (B) (American: pretense), organize (A) (British: organise), realize (A) (British: realise), ization (A) (British: isation), isation (B) (American: ization), counter-attack (B) (American: counterattack). Avoid using contractions like wasn't spell it was not. Also remove, merge or expand the very short one-two sentence paragraphs. I also think the article is too big, and the above objection will be ignored as it isn't valid. M3tal H3ad 10:57, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments:
  • Symbol keep vote.svg References and punctuation - I was always taught (in the UK) the opposite. Since the language is in British English, is it not permitted for the article punctuation to follow British English convention also? It would seem perverse to use British English spelling and American English punctuation style!
  • I corrected the incorrect footnote place with Gimmetrow's script - please see WP:FN and WP:CITE. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:14, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • OK, fine, not a big issue for me really - marking this as done - PocklingtonDan 11:30, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Citation - sorted
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Weasel words - removed
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Spelling - should now be standardised on British English but American spellings are so common in online materials my brain subconsciously accepts them now so its difficult for me to recognise them. Let me know if I've missed any
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Contractions - think there was only instance, sorted
  • Symbol question.svg Article Size - I'm not sure what to do on the article size issue. I know it is large, but I'm not convinced its " too large" (too large for what?) since any contraction of the article would be at the cost of reduced comprehension of the events and an FA criterion is that the article must be "Comprehensive". I have already cut out as many names of non-esential figures etc as possible but its hard to see how to cut it down any further whilst still being able to give an accurate overview of 1300 years of warfare. This is a big topic and if the recent FA Alcibiades (a single individual) can have an (officially "too large") size of 89kb, it doesn't seem unreasonable to have a 112kb article on the military campaigns of an empire over 1300 years. The only official FA criterion regarding size is that "It is of appropriate length, staying focused on the main topic without going into unnecessary detail". I would arguse that the article size was appropriate for the massive scope of of te article, and that I have avoided unecessary details. I will have another go but I doubt I can reduce te article length substantially without simply losing information.
Thanks for your comments, please let me know if there's anything else you find that you think needs fixing PocklingtonDan 11:46, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment Any reason why the Mercenary war campaignbox is missing from the Punic Wars section? CheekyMonkey 13:23, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Symbol keep vote.svgOnly oversight on my part, added now - PocklingtonDan 13:42, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment. Bibliography is long quanitity, but not especially impressive on quality, being dominated by general books rather than specific studies. Semperf 13:41, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Symbol delete vote.svg I'm not sure how you judge the "quality" of the reference works but if references to Gibbon, Liddell Hart and Livy aren't good enough for you, I wonder what would be? I have several books that go into great detail on individual battles, wars and events, but since the article aims only to give a brief overview of these, they are redundant and add nothing that the summary works do not, in my opinion - PocklingtonDan 13:47, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment. An article like this is really a long list of details with little analysis of the history (what changed and why?). It is a better Featured List candidate than a Featured Article Candidate. Semperf 13:41, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Symbol delete vote.svgHistory is "the branch of knowledge dealing with past events", there is no necessity for it to provide analysis of every event. You are correct that there is little analysis, rather the article lays out a chronology with links to individual articles on individual wars, battles etc that one might expect to contain commentary and analysis. As explained above, the "what changed and why" matters will be informed in the sister articles "Structural history of...", "Political history of", and "Technological history of". I think the article's coverage is implicit in its title, ie it covers only campaign history. It is outside the remit of the article to consider the impact of campaign, especially as the article is already being judged as over-long even before the inclusion of this information. There is also no requirement for analysis in Wikipedia:Featured article criteria - PocklingtonDan 14:17, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment. Bibliography has quantity, but not quality. Amyot-North is a translation of Plutarch from the 16th century and should not be used except as a link to Plutarch; Chaliand's The Art of War in World History is too general to be useful to a reader (references are for readers who want to do further research); Gibbon became a classic of English literature, but now is too old to be useful as a reference for history; Michael Grant is too general, as are Boris Johnson, Lane Fox, Matyszak; I don't know the Rogers, but any work that calls Rome the world's first superpower (Persia?!) can surely be improved upon; Rolfe is a translation of Sallust and therefore belongs in the primary source column; do Saggs, Trigger, and Wood really have much to offer? Also, lack of consistency in capitalization (either use capitals throughout or not) and naming of authors (Jones?), where sometimes it is full names, sometimes only initials, sometimes before surname, sometimes after. (Matyszak, by the way, is Philip; his friends call him 'Maty') Semperf 14:05, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
This is now your fourth oppose vote. As above, please consider consolidating your objections under a single vote.
  • Symbol question.svg Bibliography quality I'm not aware of anything in WP guidelines that makes pronouncements on the quality of given sources, and I have confidence in the sources that I have used. If you believe that I have cited a fact that is reputed by, in your opinion, more reputable sources, the correct action would be to change "X is so" in the text to "Although A says X, B C D E and F say Y". Your point is academic unless you can cite an example of a cited fact that a more reputable source disagrees with.
  • Symbol question.svg Lack of consistency with capitals Please feel free to copyedit to correct this or point out any examples you want me to correct
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Consistency of Authors names in footnotes Are you seriously suggesting the article fail FA nomination because I refer to one author in the references as "LAST NAME, INITIAL" and another as "LAST NAME, FIRST NAME"?? I will change this if you really believe that is an important issue - PocklingtonDan 14:32, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm suggesting things to fix to make the article better. If you make the article better, it has a better chance of succeeding. Semperf 14:34, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
OK, fine, this is now done - PocklingtonDan 14:40, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comments I haven't really focused on this article, but I just noticed that it has a massive number of footnotes for the simple reason that named refs haven't been employed - the footnotes would be FAR more readable if named refs were used consistently throughout to eliminate all the repeats. Also, the article doesn't currently conform with WP:GTL - External links are listed in Sources. Which are they? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:56, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Symbol keep vote.svg Footnotes - hadn't been keeping up with named references when adding new cites, done this now. Let me know if I missed any - PocklingtonDan 11:11, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Symbol question.svg WP:GTL - I'm not sure quite what you mean by this or how it doesn't comply with layout guidelines, or what you're saying the problem is. Could you expand on this please? - PocklingtonDan 11:11, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Oops, another huge problem - 73 KB of prose is a non-starter. Please see WP:LENGTH and WP:SS for readable prose limitations and correct use of Summary style. The prose should be cut in half via use of daughter articles. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:58, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Symbol delete vote.svg Article Size - I have already addressed this issue above. I have read the length guidlines wikilinked above and I think the article broadly complies with them. The hardest guidline given is that articles over 50kb "Probably should be divided (although the scope of a topic can sometimes justify the added reading time)". This is not a hard and fast rule (let's not forget that WP guidelines are just that - guidelines to which there are always exceptions, not laws) and I note that it has already been broken by several feature articles including the recent Alcibiades, which is well over this. I think its hard to argue that a single figure of ancient Greece is a topic that "has a topic that justifies the added reading time", but easy to argue this for 1300 years of military history. I do not believe that the article can be significantly reduced whilst still maintaing an authoratitive overview of 1300 years of ROme's military history. Some articles are by their nature bigger than others, even in traditional print encyclopedias. To addres the four concerns with size specifically:
  • technical issues, (e.g. browser limitations, upload speeds, cellular connections, etc.) - this seems a poor reason for reducing article size. The broswer limitations listed are noted in the guidelines as being largely legacy and redundant now and not an issue. Upload speeds, etc are increasing every day on both fixed and portable devices. It seems a shame to butcher an article to meet technical restrictions that are at best rare and may be irrelevant the same time next year due to technical progress anyway.
  • reader issues, (i.e. readability, organization, information saturation, attention spans, etc.) - I think very few people sit and read every word on many of the larger WP articles. The key point here is that article is presenting an overview, which then allows drill-down to more detailed articles on specific sections. I would not expect a casual reader to read throught he whole article in a single sitting, but an interested reader would do so.
  • editor issues, (e.g. talkpage tensions, arguments over trivial contributions) - this does not seem to be an issue with this article.
  • contribution issues, (i.e. articles stop growing significantly once they reach a certain size) - this does not seem to be an issue with this article - PocklingtonDan 11:25, 6 February 2007 (UTC)