Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/J. R. R. Tolkien

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J. R. R. Tolkien[edit]

This article has come a long way, and after its nomination last November, copious amounts of work have been done to address critiques from the last FAC nomination (Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/J. R. R. Tolkien/archive1) related to prose, pictures and a lack of discussion of Tolkien's work on languages and philology. In light of this work, I proudly present this nomination, on behalf of those who worked so hard on it, for featured article status Judgesurreal777 09:10, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Conditional Support - There appears to be only one note. I hope that, being a fairly famous person, there should be more notes on him; and most things appear to be just written, as in simply stating things but not proving them. For example, there are numerous sentences stating he is a Catholic, but there is no place to prove that he actually was. Once the inline citations have been expanded, I will support. Kilo-Lima Vous pouvez parler 13:09, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment While I would love to see this featured, I'm afraid that I have to agree with Kilo-Lima. It needs inline citations. Citing that he was a Catholic seems excessive, but I think I will go through the article now and tag what does need citations with {{fact}}. It shouldn't be too hard to cite anything from the references provided. See WP:FN for how to create quality footnote citations. For an example of what citations should look like when complete, see Saffron. —Cuiviénen, 13:37, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
    I have to question whether the article will really be 'improved' by having (Carpenter 1977) or (Carpenter 1981) at the end of every other line - rather than just the current complete citation of those sources in the 'References' section. Inline references are generally suggested when disparate sources are being cited. Carpenter's biography covers the majority of the facts in this article... Tolkien's letters (edited by Carpenter) cover nearly everything else. Putting inline references to those two sources over and over against strikes me as pointless clutter. --CBDunkerson 19:01, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
    I'm not going to debate anyone on the issue, but I do think it important that there be inline citations. Readibility is greatly hampered by the {{fact}} tag because it is very large, but the footnote links are not. I also wonder how you know that all of the information comes from this single source -- and you think that we should be using only two sources for a person who was famous enough to have many books written about himself. I'm not going to object to this FAC, but I think the points raised are important, and it would be foolish to overlook them just because the article is very well-written. —Cuiviénen, 19:50, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
    I've changed all of the Letters references to footnotes. Of course, that hasn't changed the level of citation at all, but it's a start. Someone who has access to the books referenced (preferably the person who wrote the bulk of the article) should add in the citations where needed. As Fieari said, there needs to be at least one citation per paragraph. —Cuiviénen, 01:18, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Nice to see the inline citations! —Eternal Equinox | talk 15:36, 14 March 2006 (UTC) Object. Requires inline citations. —Eternal Equinox | talk 15:19, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Strong article with details, pictures, and properly cited references section per Wiki-standards. Inline references would be redundant. --CBDunkerson 19:04, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. The inline citation requests that were recently added illustrate the damage done to readability by over-heavy inline citations. It could, perhaps, use a handful of additional inline citatiosn to clarify which sources apply to which sections of text, but the article is overall well sourced as is (note that some of the citation requests added were added to sentences that were citations). The article complies in every way that I can determine with all applicable Wikipedia policies and guidelines. -Harmil 19:34, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
They don't look nearly so bad as numbers. Sabine's Sunbird talk 20:59, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, per above. Great article. Phoenix2 20:17, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Object. It's not too much to ask to have at least one inline citation per section. One footnote per paragraph even doesn't make things ugly at all. One citation per sentence may be a bit much, but at least per section! One citation is simply not enough for featured status in my opinion. I have not read the content of the article yet, but will do so and evaluate it further if the citation problem is taken care of. Fieari 20:20, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
    • Conditional Support - I've read the article now, and it looks both comprehensive and well written. Fill in those last few little citations, and you have my support. Good job, getting all those references in this time span. Fieari 16:55, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I'd be inclined to support, but I am wondering how comprehensive the coverage of his academic career is. What was the influence of his academic work, how is it percieved today by students of language, that sort of thing. There must be journal articles he wrote, or that were written about his work, that can be looked at. The examination of his career seems to be, like the rest of the article, very much tied into his private mythology, but he was a Don for many years before he published any of that work. Sabine's Sunbird talk 20:59, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
    His primary legacy in academic fields has been on the study of Beowulf, where his work is still the standard by which others are judged... while there are several other 'academic accomplishments' I suspect that is the only area where he'd have risen to 'encyclopedic notability' without his fictional work. --CBDunkerson 01:36, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm still not convinced. One line, which refers to a lecture that apparently had influence, is that all he ever did? I doubt that very strongly. How did it influence Beowulf study? It doesn't say. I want to support, especially now it is extensively cited (bravo contributers!) but this is still bothering me. Tolkein will always be remebered for middle earth, a comprehensive encyclopedia article on the man would give more than a few lines to his proffesional life. Sabine's Sunbird talk 07:52, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Can someone who knows where these references could be sited in the article please fix this? There are so many Tolkien experts on Wikipedia, I am astonished that the in line references cannot be fixed in short order. Judgesurreal777 21:08, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, if the references are fixed. —Nightstallion (?) 21:29, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Fieari is correct on this one. There are simply too many facts being cited to have an inline citation over each one. There should be a compromise between having none and having a veritable forest of cites. RyanGerbil10 22:31, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose; article does not properly cite its sources, instead giving some "Further reading" under a section header lablled "References". Jkelly 23:16, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
    The irony is that the policy you quote explicitly lists that as a viable way to cite sources. If people are really going to oppose making things featured articles unless they follow the inline citation style and no other then Wikipedia's stated style guidelines should be updated to reflect that. That said, since people are being odd (as I see it) about requiring inline citations... I will add them. --CBDunkerson 01:36, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Comment -- relvent section is: "Sometimes — for example, when the article treats an uncontroversial or simple topic, and draws on a few, widely accepted general sources — it is sufficient to provide a "References" section at the end of the article, containing an alphabetized list of general references and authoritative overviews of a subject (such as textbooks and review articles). In other cases this is not enough, and in addition you should use in-line citations such as the Harvard references or footnotes described below". I don't think that this applies to this article. Jkelly 02:20, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Can you cite an article which it does apply to? I can't imagine that the basic facts of Tolkien's life are controversial or that Carpenter's work on him would be described as anything other than "widely accepted" and an "authoritative overview". As requested, I've put in a few dozen redundant citations so far. Is this really preferable? I can continue through the remainder of the article (after sleeping), but I put to you that no printed encyclopedia is so excessively OVER cited. --CBDunkerson 03:44, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
With respect, no other encyclopedia is likely to have a radically different article a year from now. I sincerely do not understand what the potential danger is in "over-referencing". I do know that I could not use our current article as a start point for a serious inquiry into the subject, being unable to use the article's referencing system to ensure that the facts we are presenting are accurate. Page-specific cites add value to readers and future editors. I am unconvinced that we are currently discussing our most comprehensive work, and am therefore unconvinced we are discussing our best work. Jkelly 06:26, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
wrt. non-inline references, if no particular statement in the article, or a large number of insignificant ones, then it would be preferable surely to cite it in a Further Reading section. In this context, there's no useful point in the article to cite it inline, and I'm sure that this is fairly easy to arrive at if you have a source such as a biographical novel. BigBlueFish 17:47, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Jkelly. --Bcrowell 23:43, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
After Judgesurreal777's 01:40, 13 March 2006 post, I went back and looked again. The article is still heavily sprinkled with "citation needed" markers. Almost all of the footnotes that have been added are to a single source. A bunch of the "citation needed" markers aren't really needed; e.g., the one about the asteroid named after him can just link to the article on the asteroid, and that's sufficient. But a lot of them are on more important things that need to be made verifiable, e.g., the statement about his impact on Beowulf research. If the article depends almost entirely on two sources (Carpenter and the letters), then that in itself is a problem --- shouldn't the article be discussing, for example, what literary critics have said about Tolkein? And even if it was going to be a two-source article, we'd at least need to know which statements were from Carpenter and which from the letters.--Bcrowell 02:07, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I added a cite for Tolkien's importance in Beowulf studies, but in truth that is already established by Wikipedia's Beowulf article... which mentions Tolkien's importance several times. On the question of 'which facts are from Letters and which from the Biography'... in truth most of them can be found in both. And Shippey's Author of the Century, and The Tolkien Family Album, and half a dozen less prominent books on my shelf. This is basic biographical info... most of it can be found all over the place. We could go to the effort of 'balancing' the citations from numerous sources.... but why? --CBDunkerson 03:44, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I've changed my vote, since the problem with verifiability has been fixed. This isn't signed the normal way, because I've intentionally disabled my WP account.--Bcrowell — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.52.254.62 (talkcontribs)

Ok, there are now many inline citations, and the reference section has been restructured, using the Teddy Roosevelt article as a model, to address concerns that it did not properly cite it's sources.

Please take another look, and state if there are enough citations and reformatting to meet your objections, or if others in specific places need to be done. Thanks everyone! Judgesurreal777 01:40, 13 March 2006 (UTC)


OK! There are now 55 properly formatted citations from 27 different sources, including the New York Times and National Geographic, along with various books... ALSO, the BEOWULF section has been significently expanded, and has begun discussing his signifient role in the field of Anglo Saxon literature. Please let it be known if you support the article now, as there are vastly more and very credible citations :) Within a day or two, all of them will be filled in, but 53 is certainly better than 2 Judgesurreal777 08:14, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

  • support, the article is now very well referenced. dab () 17:21, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Some idea for further improvement - the long bibliography section could be moved to a separate sub-article and summarised here (I see there is already a poems sub-article, but I think you need to be a bit more ruthless - I know, he is an author; but the important works should be mentioned in the prose already); a timeline could help - see Neil Armstrong, Isembard Kingdom Brunel or John Vanbrugh for examples. -- ALoan (Talk) 17:59, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Great job at referencing. I can support it now. —Cuiviénen, 21:28, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, well done. --Terence Ong 09:06, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support - An excellent example of an article! Dee man45 16:15, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

All citations are filled now (all 62) Anything else? Let us know! Otherwise, line out those objections :) Great job everyone that is helping/commenting. Judgesurreal777 01:41, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Okay, support. I think more could be asaid about his academic career but at lest it gets a mention now and what I'm after probably could go in a daughter article. A challange for the legions of Tolkein and linguistics fans, how about it? Sabine's Sunbird talk 13:43, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
    The 'Academic Works' section hits the highlights, but is missing alot of minor items. I'll try to put together some more info and then we can figure out where to include it. --CBDunkerson 14:46, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Lots of hard work on this article! I think it's great (I even like the lead pic)! Staxringold 16:19, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Incredibly detailed and well-organized. Briangotts (Talk) (Contrib) 21:26, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. The article is detailed and comprehensive without being overlong, and is now very well referenced. It reads well too. ▫ UrbaneLegend talk 14:50, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Jon Harald Søby 20:53, 17 March 2006 (UTC)


Comment - so is this to FA or not !!! :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 15:52, 5 May 2006 (UTC)