Nominator(s): Savidan 16:53, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I am nominating this for featured article because I think it's a great article about an obscure U.S. Supreme Court case from the mid-19th century. It's been a "good article" for over a year, during which time it has been extremely stable (with the exception of my recent edits to conform the citations to the Bluebook). I hope others agree. Otherwise, I'll be happy to address any concerns. Savidan 16:53, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Comments on the lead
While I'm not an expert on law articles by any means, this seems like an interesting subject. However, the lead seems extremely awkward to me. It took me until the third paragraph before I learned what Fellows v. Blacksmith was actually about -- shouldn't that be explained up front? The first sentence of the lead currently compares the case to another which happened nearly thirty years prior; similar cases, perhaps, but not a good introduction -- especially for those who don't know anything, like myself. Also, why the lengthy quotes in the first two paragraphs? As far as I can tell, these quotes do not appear in the body of the article (which may violate WP:LEAD), and they do not seem inherently notable. If they are notable, perhaps more context should be given to show this? If they're simply long quotes taking up space, it would be helpful to paraphrase the main ideas rather than rely solely on them. Lastly, I see nothing about the companion cases, or even Fellows' legacy, both of which takes up a large chunk of the article.
I will be happy to read the rest of the article once the lead is reviewed/revised/expanded. Let me know if you have any questions, María (yllosubmarine) 20:11, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
You make some good points. I have reworked the intro per your suggestion. I have repeated the quotes where they are relevant in the article. I hope this makes clear their summary role. While I think both are particularly well-worded, I am open to paraphrase suggestions. Savidan 22:08, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
The lead is much improved, thanks! I hope to return shortly to review the rest of the article. María (yllosubmarine) 14:22, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Comments by CJLippert
The article is very well written. The article does summarise the case the way I understand it, and it goes into details. It does seem to be well cited with equal amounts of inline and footnote citation styles, but the actual citations listed is lacking; for a case this magnitude in US Indian Law, one would think there would be more "References" and "Further reading" than just the works currently listed. However, more importantly for a FA status, all the red links should be addressed by either making them into actual articles or de-wiki them for now; by extension, all the articles this article wiki links should be checked to ensure they don't have broken links or vandalism. Once those issues are addressed, I would most definitely support its nomination as FA! Thanks to all the past editors of this article for all the great work in bringing this to a GA status; let's get it to FA. CJLippert (talk) 16:52, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid I must demur on both points. First, finding sources to write this article was very much a scavenger hunt. This was not a topic where I found a lot of facts and then made an editorial decision to exclude them. For example, I did Proquest Historical and Google Books searches for the names of all the key players and followed any leads those produced. If you can suggest a specific source that I have overlooked, I will gladly check that source to see if it has anything to offer. Second, the fear of red links is very un-wiki. I have removed any unlikely red links; the only ones that remain are the names of judges or U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Red links encourage others to write articles. Creating blue links with essentially no content is therefore counterproductive—as is delinking to bow to the demands of immediatism. Nor do I think it is incumbent upon me to be accountable for every article linked from this one for the purposes of FAC. I will be glad to respond to any improvements you suggest within the four corners of this article. Savidan 17:06, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
I have also added citations to nearly all of the 39 law reviews that cite Fellows v. Blacksmith. As you can see, Fellows is usually cited once, in a single footnote, as part of a string of cases for a given point of law, usually about treaties. Savidan 18:56, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Regarding red links: Although they do look ugly, they are a valuable tool to invite readers and editors to create new, needed articles. They are not an impediment to FA status. Now, if the red-linked topic, by its very nature, is unlikely to ever meet the WP Notability requirement, then it should be de-linked. --Noleander (talk) 21:31, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry for the delay-- just now catching up on the redlinks discussion. WP:RED is the relevant page, and filling out all red links is not necessary or part of WP:WIAFA. What is necessary is that context is given and the article is comprehensive and intelligible in spite of the red links-- in other words, even with the absence of the notable red-linked articles, we have to be able to understand this article. As long as this article is intelligible, redlinks to notable other articles can stay red. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:59, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Check Fellows v. Denniston as it depends on Fellows v. Blacksmith. From there, you may find other "See also" or "Additional reading" works. As for the replies to my original comments, I agree with the comments; good points. Thanks. CJLippert (talk) 15:01, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Fellows v. Denniston is the lower court version of In re New York Indians. I have expanded the discussion of that case. Savidan 19:10, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
No other issues. It looks great. Thanks. CJLippert (talk) 20:07, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Comments from Noleander
First sentence longer: "Fellows v. Blacksmith, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 366 (1857), is a U.S. Supreme Court decision." It ends so abruptly. Consider adding short synopsis of the decision at the end of the sentence.
Not sure there is much benefit to separating Notes from Footnotes. Such a separation is more meaningful when the citations are all Shortened Citations (WP:CITESHORT); but here many of the citations are very lengthy.
Section name "Legacy": I think "Aftermath" would be more appropriate in this context; but I sympathize because the English language has a paucity of words for this intended meaning.
Wording: "...not signed by the right Seneca leaders...". The word "right" seems too slangy: is a more precise word available? I see the word "appropriate" is used elsewhere.
The "Litigants" section at the conclusion of the article is a slightly disappointing finish to an outstanding article. Perhaps enhance the concluding "The litigants" section by renaming it to "Tribal sovereignty", and including a very brief summary of post-Fellows developments?
Wording: "The Taney court had inherited from the preceding Marshall Court voluminous pages on the status ...". The word "pages" seems wrong. Even if technically correct, readers would be better served by "cases" or "decisions", I think.
Pictures: the pictures are lacking "alternate text" for the seeing-impaired. Use the "Alt text" link at upper right to view it. To remedy: simply add "alt=A description here" to each photo's parameters. See WP:ALT.
Small Caps in References: I've never seen Small Caps used before like that. I suppose anything goes in footnotes, but it does look odd: both the Author name and the Book name use the same font, so it is hard to tell where one starts and the other stops. Italics (for the book name only) may be more beneficial to readers.
Publishers: Also, refs are missing publisher (which also argues against small caps). ISBN should also be included.
Wording: "...commenced on January 15, 1857 and were adjourned until January 17" Simpler to say started Jan 15 and were completed on Jan 17?
Ext link broken: the Holland external link is broken. You can use the "External links" link at the top right of this page to check.
Overall, a very nice article. Leaning towards Support.
End Noleander comments. --Noleander (talk) 21:33, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your thorough review. I hope that you'll find that my recent edits have resolved most of your comments. As for notes vs. footnotes, the difference is that notes are content (i.e., clarification of things that may be unclear to some readers but which would break the flow of the article to include in the main text) and that footnotes are sources. I prefer to maintain this distinction. As for "the Litigants," this section is about the notable things that the parties involved and their lawyers went on to do. I do not wish to have a section on "tribal sovereignty" as I think it is a concept only tangentially relevant to this case (the tribe was not a party, the court was only adjudicating the property rights of individuals, etc.). The use of small caps is dictated by the Bluebook (you can see a very rough draft of my ideas for how to best adapt the Bluebook to Wikipedia here). While I hope to persuade by example that others writing about US legal topics should format their citations this way, I am a citation pluralist, and I think that each article should be allowed to use its own system, as long as the article is sufficiently internally consistent. I have included publishers only where the Bluebook requires them; to do otherwise would be misleading to those who understand the citation system (and is a detail that is fairly useless to nearly all readers). I have added ISBNs, but the Vose book does not have one. I have left "adjourned" as it is a term of art (it is rather uncommon, at least today, for Supreme Court oral arguments to be adjourned). I have removed the external link, as the site unfortunately appears to have been taken down. Please let me know if any of these responses are not to your satisfaction. Savidan 22:47, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good. I have no strong objection to variety in footnoting styles: I was just giving you my opinion. Ditto for Footnotes vs Notes: your approach is very commonly used throughout WP. --Noleander (talk) 22:53, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Savidan: I think a sentence may be corrupted: "... ejectment could not be obtained by against the holder ...". I'd fix it, but I'm not 100% sure what it should say. --Noleander (talk) 01:41, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I see nothing wrong with it... Obviously, ejectment is a term of art. I'd bluelink it, but it is already linked in the previous sentence. Savidan 06:22, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Comments from MZMcBride
I don't do this FA stuff too often, so if this is wrong or whatever, just ignore me.
Infobox needs a bit of tweaking. The "Case opinions" section doesn't make it clear what the vote was. Joined by unanimous? It should be clearer.
WikiProject SCOTUS has been trying to get the headers of articles more standardized (and the leads). There's info about this at WP:SCOTUS. It'd be nice if this article conformed to those standards.
Also not sure what the small caps in the References and "Further reading" sections. --MZMcBride (talk) 01:23, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I have added "joined unanimously" to the Infobox. I have encountered "joined by unanimous" before; strikes me as bizarrely agrammatical. I have standardized the == level headers. This article needs another == header for companion cases; others may not. The small caps a product of the Bluebook citation style, which this article employs. Savidan 01:35, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
That was fast. :-)
I usually do/see "joined by unanimous". When it's italicized, it doesn't read that strangely to me, but I think your wording ("joined unanimously") is better. Does the Court itself use any particular language?
I'm not sure if the MoS Nazis will care about the small caps or not. Surely one will be along at some point if there's an issue. You just never know with those people... --MZMcBride (talk) 01:41, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
The Court says "the opinion of the Court" whether there were 5 or 9 votes for it. The default is unanimity (for the lead opinion) unless otherwise noted (concurrence, dissent, recusal). I do not understand the MoS to implement a uniform citation system for all Wikipedia articles, across all subject matter; nor would it be wise to do so. Savidan 01:47, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
A thought on the Small Caps - I see that MZMcBride is also a bit puzzled by the small caps in the References section. I understand that the small caps stem from the Bluebook, which is a great standard for citing styles to use within law-related topics. But I looked at two of the more famous supreme court cases: Marbury v. Madison and Roe v. Wade, and they both use the italics style for book names. I think we can agree that all the WP articles on Supreme Court cases should aspire to the same citing conventions. What if we initiate an RfC in the WP Supreme Court project and establish consensus on the desired citation format for use within Supreme Court case articles. Then, use that convention in this article. How does that sound? --Noleander (talk) 19:23, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I do not agree that all articles must use the same citation style, even all articles within a subject-matter. Consistency within an article is enough. I do not recall any similar RFC to decide between the MLA, AMA, APA, Chicago Manual of Style, etc.—even within disciplines like economics, history, or linguistics. I hope to persuade other authors to use the Bluebook on Wikipedia by example, not by compulsion. Any consensus that arises should arise organically from the experience of users writing those articles, not from !voting. I would refer you to Wikipedia:Citing sources#Citation style: "A consistent style should be used within any given article, but it is not necessary to maintain consistency between articles." And Wikipedia:Citing sources#Variation in citation methods: "Wikipedia does not have a single house style. Editors may choose any option they want; one article need not match what is done in other articles. However, citations within a given article should follow a consistent style. . . . If there is disagreement about which style is best, defer to the style used by the first major contributor." Savidan 19:46, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
File:WNY5.PNG claims as a basis "genesee river large.jpg"; no map by that title exists. There is File:Genesee_map_large.jpg, which seems to be the correct source, but that image lacks information on its own source(s)
File:Samuel_Nelson_-_Brady-Handy.jpg needs a US PD tag. Same with File:Ely_S._Parker.jpg. Nikkimaria (talk) 22:02, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
File:WNY5.PNG is based on File:Genesee map large.jpg. I have corrected the description. That latter makes clear that it was created by User:Pollinator, originally uploaded to Wikipedia, then moved to Commons. I have added a PD-US tag to File:Samuel_Nelson_-_Brady-Handy.jpg and File:Ely_S._Parker.jpg. Savidan 22:17, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but what source(s) did Pollinator use to create the map? It isn't a creative/original work, but is presumably based on some pre-existing map or data set. Nikkimaria (talk) 22:23, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I have left a note at Pollinator's talk page (and emailed). If Pollinator is unable to satisfy your concerns (or does not respond in a reasonable amount of time), I will remove the image. Savidan 22:27, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I have replaced the map with one of the Phelps and Gorham purchase only. Savidan 07:58, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this page.