Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Joan of Arc

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Joan of Arc[edit]

Wikipedia lists Joan of Arc among its top 0.5% of most visited articles. It deserves our best effort. This biography covers the major aspects of her life and legacy from a background discussion of fifteenth century political intrigues to current developments including scholarly reassessment of her military career, symbolic appropriation of her image by the French political party Front National, and last month's announcement of a forensic examination to assess the authenticity of her reputed remains.

This article draws from a variety of sources and, at 70 footnotes, it is more heavily referenced than all but one of Wikipedia's featured biographies. These references convey expert opinions about the dynamics that led to her surprising rise, early death, and enduring popularity. Joan of Arc was many things to many people and, within the 50kb limit, peer review has agreed that this article covers the subject in a comprehensive, fair, and unbiased manner. Images range from artistic depictions to Joan of Arc's actual signature. I hope this work earns your support. Self-nom. Durova 21:52, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Comment: Impressive. However, I'd like to know why the info box is as low in the page as it is (it should be in the lead, as far as I can tell), and the year linking seems inconsistent—unless there are extraordinarily good reasons for keeping a year link that isn't attached to a day and month, I'd suggest removing the link. I've only read parts of the article so far, but I'm confused by a few things—first, in the clothing section, it says, "The technical reason for her execution was a Biblical clothing law." Then, it says, "Doctrinally speaking, she was safe to disguise herself as a page during a journey through enemy territory, and she was safe to wear armor during battle." I don't see a mention of her specific violation of biblical clothing law. Does that second sentence I quote refer to the second court's findings? Second, does source 11 really say "no one"? Not a single one? Third, the sentence "It was in this environment of skepticism that Joan of Arc proved herself" sounds both ebullient and nebulous—this should probably be toned down, or at least directly quoted from one of the sources, and made a little more meaningful than simply "proved herself". Proved herself what? --Spangineer (háblame) 02:17, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Response: When the saint box was at the head of the article it generated a large amount of empty white space. I was concerned that the appearance would drive away readers. The editor who added the saint box did a good job and I wanted to preserve the content. Other reasons for moving it to the legacy section include her recent canonization and her multifaceted fame. When the editors discussed adding a saint box there was some concern that it would lend undue weight to the religious aspect of the article. I checked the biographies of quite a few other saints who were famous for secular as well as religious reasons and none of them had saint boxes yet. So in the spirit of Wikipedia:Be bold I may have created a precedent.
Regarding Wikilinks, thank you for the heads up. Someone recently went through the page and added a profusion of minor Wikilinks, even the site check dates in the footnotes. I must have missed a few when I undid the damage. Please let me know if there's a browser issue with the clothing citations. When I go to the passages you identify I see the biblical clothing law referenced in footnote 45, which names Deuteronomy 22:5 and links to the e-text. The quote from Thomas Aquinas in footnote 46 should satisfy your question about doctrinal exceptions. Perhaps you skipped the description of her trial and execution in the preceding section? Regarding citation 11, yes. I name deVries, but this is consensus among leading scholars. Sometimes strong statements are appropriate Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words. I'll take another look at the phrasing in the last spot you identify. Modern readers do not associate skepticism with the middle ages so it takes a full paragraph to communicate why this particular royal court was cautious regarding mental illness. Durova 07:30, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
I guess I'm still confused. The first paragraph of the clothing section states that the official doctrinal position on clothing changed over the years. However, the following paragraph doesn't specify the time period. So the sentence, "Doctrinally speaking, she was safe to disguise herself as a page", begs the question of when was it doctrinally safe to disguise herself—originally, or only in time for the second trial. I'm also not seeing the details of the exact causes of her execution. Was she 'caught' wearing men's clothes? The text suggests that she wore men's clothes twice, and that was why she was executed, but how exactly did that go down? It seems like the text is just saying "She was wearing men's clothes, and then she wore them again, and got executed for it". What was the process between being caught wearing men's clothes a second time and being executed? What exactly did she abjure when she signed the abjuration document? Also, could "Nonetheless, her testimony could be brilliant" in the third paragraph of the trial subsection be reworded somehow? --Spangineer (háblame) 22:57, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Ah, I see where you're coming from. In order to avoid redundancy the clothing section elaborates on the information in Trial, Execution, and Retrial. I'll add a few words to direct the reader and clarify some points in the text. You're right. Some readers leap to their favorite topic. To answer your questions:
  • The legality of her use of men's clothes was determined by situation, not by chronology.
  • Church doctrine remained stable. Bishop Cauchon deviated from doctrine and ignored the legal exceptions to Deuteronomy.
  • The Execution subsection explains why she resumed men's clothes and provides a reference. She was sexually assaulted and all her women's clothes may have also been stolen, leaving her only men's clothes to wear.
  • Footnote 38 links to the text of the abjuration statement in the trial record. Footnote 39 links to eyewitness testimony from a court official that swears the court substituted a forged abjuration in place of the one she actually signed.
  • I'll take another look at the phrasing regarding her testimony. The adjective "brilliant" isn't used lightly: the section cites a witness who describes the court's stunned reaction and a Nobel prize winning writer who decided her words were better than anything he could invent. Durova 01:04, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Anagnorisis 05:35, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Great article. --Ghirla -трёп- 09:18, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support - exceptional article JoJan 15:19, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Object. Criterion 2a. Here are examples from the top.
"Joan of Arc has remained an important figure in the collective imagination of Western culture"—"remains", surely, not "has remained"; unidiomatic expression at the end, and "collective" seems redundant.
"the lowest era in French history until the Nazi occupation". "Lowest" is unclear; the comparison with Nazi occupation begs too many questions—isn't there an easier way to get your meaning across?
"She received a wound to the leg"—is that code for "Her leg was wounded"?
"and fell prisoner at a battle"—huh?

It's all like this, so can you get someone else to thoroughly copy-edit it? (Don't just fix these examples ...) Tony 07:16, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Are you sure this constitutes a criterion 2a objection? Your second two points carry weight and I'll change the text. I'll also proofread the article again as you advise. My undergraduate degree is in history and I studied writing in graduate school. I have honest doubts about your first two objections. "Has remained" is the correct verb tense to introduce a list of authors that spans several centuries. A culture is the product of many minds so the idiom "collective imagination" does seem appropriate. The remaining statement is a truism of French history, as commonplace and uncontroversial as the assertion, "Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia was a leading cause of his downfall." Respectfully, Durova 15:21, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
I've also removed "collective imagination" per the discussion below. 19:42, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. --DanielNuyu 02:08, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
    • No problem with 'has remained', if you want to emphasise the evolving research; it's just more vivid in the present tense. The problem with 'collective' is that it's redundant. What else is a culture but collective? 'important figure in Western culture' reads better - it's what you want to say, isn't it?
  • Yes, that does read better. Changing per your suggestion. Durova 04:37, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • A few minor quibbles:
  • The "See also" section should be trimmed of everything already linked in the text (which may be everything there).
Good point. I'll trim. Durova 04:37, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • "This ended in disaster when Armagnac partisans murdered John the Fearless during a meeting under Charles's guarantee of protection." - citation? Richard Vaughan's John the Fearless gives a rather different version of this.
Footnote 7. My other sources are in agreement so you've piqued my interest. If you'll take a few moments at my user page, would you summarize Vaughan's account? Durova 04:37, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Perhaps mention her letter to the Hussites shortly before her capture? (It's a minor detail, but a somewhat interesting one, in my opinion.)
Joan of Arc facts and trivia would be the place for that. Durova 04:37, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Other than that, looks quite nice. —Kirill Lokshin 02:24, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Support now that the trimming has been done. —Kirill Lokshin 16:49, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Don't see any major problems that would bar featuring. Johnleemk | Talk 10:23, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. A well written and comprehensive article. Tankred 17:50, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Really impressive article, I learned a lot. --Wzhao553 00:55, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Insanely strong support. One of the best articles that I have ever read from any source on any subject, ever. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 02:55, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support but note the following JFPerry 21:28, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

Under the Leadership section, it states that Meung_sur_Loire was recovered on 15 June. I don't believe that this is true. After capturing (recovering) Jargeau, the French army proceeded to Beaugency, on the way seizing the bridgehead at the southern end of the bridge leading into Meung which was on the northern bank. Apparently, this was done so as to prevent the English in Meung from crossing over to the south bank and attacking the French from the rear. Meung was abandoned by the English only after Beaugency fell.

Also, the English relief force under Fastolf arrived in the vicinity of Beaugency prior to the assault on same. Then, after a stand-off, they withdrew. Only then did the French assault and capture Beaugency. Then, adopting Joan's plan of immediate pursuit, they followed the retreating English relief force, overtaking them and defeating them at Patay.

Source: Kelly deVries

JFPerry 21:28, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

I worded the account carefully to maintain accuracy within the 50k space limit. The previous paragraph specifically states that Joan of Arc's plan was to recover the bridges along the Loire. The mention of Meung-sur-Loire links to an article I wrote about the battle that explains the distinctions you raise. Regarding Beaugency, DeVries's study has been criticized for its difficult chronology. "That English leader [Fastolf] finally arrived outside of Beaugency on 17 June while Joan and her army were attacking the town." (p. 106) You seem to refer to Jean de Waurin's report, which was not a full standoff and describes an encounter at the very end of the day after the battle had ended. Fastolf was between Meung and Beaugency when he noticed the French in battle formation surveying his troops from the top of a hill and gave orders for his own forces to take battle positions, expecting an attack. Before they could obey she told Fastolf to go and camp for the night.(p. 107) Guillaume Gruel's account contradicts Waurin's story. DeVries lends more weight to Waurin's version and then leaps backward in time to describe the battle at Beaugency that had taken place earlier in the day. A further difficulty is that, a few pages prior, she describes Arthur de Richemont's arrival before the battle in vague terms that could lead a reader who skims to confuse some descriptions with Fastolf. To summarize, Fastolf arrived just a few hours too late to join forces with the defenders. Durova 00:05, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Oppose all the informraiton on references should appear in this article, not in a separate article - it is an unnecesssary fork and makes the upkeep confusing for future editors. Consider putting the notes in two columns like in Hugo Chávez, which would take up less space. Only sources consulted for writing the article need to be listed.--nixie 04:37, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
That's a very strong opinion. Actually the limiting factor is article memory: footnote format only alters cosmetic appearance. Do you have a specific policy violation to cite? The editors did a review when we made the change and agreed this satisfies all official policies. It's quite common for studies with this level of citation to provide a bibliography with background reading, not all of which are referenced directly. Durova 08:48, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Although there doesn't seem to be any specific policy or guideline it is a logical conclusion from Wikipedia:Verifiability and reading though WP:CITE that the references for an article should appear in that article. There are no featrued articles with separate bibliographies and I can think of several equally detailed articles that include their references, a featured article is supposed to be a complete package. The information exists, all you need to do is move it.--nixie 09:01, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
With all due respect, you're the first editor to raise this issue. If this starts to become a chorus I'll follow the recommendation. Sounds fair? Durova 09:38, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
It's probably a good idea to list the sources being directly cited, at the least. Or why not use Chicago Manual of Style-type footnotes and have the full bibliographical information in them directly? —Kirill Lokshin 14:37, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
No, my objection on criteria 2c is completely (and easily given the information just needs to be moved into this article) actionable and does not depend on the backing of anyone else. --nixie 11:57, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
So far you're the only one who interprets 2c that way. Your preferred solution would cause a violation of criterion 5. I'll look into other alternatives. Durova 16:08, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
No it wouldn't, there is no increase to the length of the text (which is what is most often assessed on FAC) by including the references.--nixie 22:49, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I tried your solution in the sandbox. Unless I'm mistaken, the official "hard limit" for FA is 50k. This article needs to stay within that limit to maintain stability. The sister article on the Catalan Wikipedia ballooned to 165k. [1] We have an editor whose main contribution is to the supplementary pages and aids them in ways that make them better resources for students. The bibliography has been a separate list page for four months, two peer reviews, and an RfC. This really seems to be custom rather than policy. I'd like to win your support and make this unanimous. Durova 09:25, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
There is no 50KB limit, see Scotland in the High Middle Ages at 79kb as a recently featuered article that provided all its sources in the article and does it well. It doesn't make it easier for anyone to have the refs on a separate page, say I'm a student and I print this out at the library in a hurry, only to find the refernces missing - which makes the text much less useful. Even EB1911 included reference information (where it had it) with the article--nixie 23:41, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Image:Le Pen.jpg needs a fair use rationale too.--nixie 01:39, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps you could discuss this on my user page? I'd like some advice. Durova 02:05, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
  • 5000th Edit Level SUPPORT - I stumbled upon this article in December of 2004 and, hoo-dilly, was it not even close to featured. The biggest issue was its neutrality (or lack thereof). At the time the page was being owned by a couple of folks with a specific viewpoint. They weren't necessarily forcing their POV, they just weren't letting certain views in (same thing, I guess). I was one of many folks that tried to work through a compromise, but not knowing much too about the subject, couldn't do too much and eventually moved on. Now, 13 months since my last efforts, the page has moved forward light years. This is an amazing article on an endlessly fascinating subject, and its a testament to the wiki process and The Project as a whole. Great work. Neutral(!), well sourced, and well-written. Just plain great work. Shazaam! --Jeffrey O. Gustafson - Shazaam! - <*> 09:32, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Object on a few minor grounds:
    • On references, there are few things more horribly distracting than the name of a person, the first words of an article, being followed by a footnote. And one horrible distraction is followed immediately by another, a footnote after the year of her birth. It would be far better to note these discussions in the main body of the text, extremely easy to do in the 'Origins' section.
The comment about her name is interesting and I'll see about accommodating it. Regarding the footnoted date, it's the lesser of two evils. Some other reference works provide a January 6 birthdate, which is a hagiographic claim that references the Epiphany and depends on very weak evidence. It would violate NPOV to assert a precise date as fact, but visiting editors kept adding it over several months. We tried notes on the talk page and markup comments within the text, which were all ignored. The problem ended when the footnote got implemented. Durova 03:16, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Removed the footnote about the name. Durova 08:12, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I think that looks a lot better, and can see the desirability of retaining a footnote for the date so certainly won't object if that stays. Worldtraveller 00:50, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
    • Section titles seem a little bit odd in places - origins? Makes her sound like some kind of theory or abstract concept. Also 'biography' - surely the whole article is a biography.
"Biography" contrasts with "Background" and "Legacy." Please improve the heading titles if you have something better. Durova 03:16, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
How about 'Life' instead of biography? Maybe that would sound a bit odd... 'Early life' for 'Origins'? Worldtraveller 00:50, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Changed to "Life" and "Childhood." I'd like to maintain parallel construction with single word headings. Durova 02:01, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
    • See also sections are usually unnecessary, links should normally be provided in the main text if a subject is relevant enough.
I'll cull this down some more. Given how most people skim, there seems to be a need for quick pointers to the three branching Joan of Arc articles. Durova 03:16, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Culled and incorporated other links into the text. Durova 08:12, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
That now looks like an exemplary use of a see also section. Worldtraveller 00:50, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
    • Writing style - there are many examples of short sentences which badly disrupt the flow of the article. I just corrected a couple but it really needs a thorough edit to merge sentences where appropriate. Worldtraveller 00:42, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Someone tried that last month and the result did more harm than good. It introduced syntax and subtle changes that made the material vague, such as an ambiguous introductory statement where the reader might interpret that the duke of Bedford was nineteen years old when Joan of Arc died. To answer more fully (and digressively), when I was in graduate school I needed emergency surgery. For the following five days I lay in a hospital bed and had two options for entertainment: Mexican soap operas or Henry James. After 60 pages Mr. James had me flattened. I started counting punctuation just to see which of his sentences was most convoluted. When my surgeon made her rounds she wondered how I liked the novel and I asked her to remove its semicolon. This experience gave me a lifelong appreciation for healthy subject-verb-object sentences. My condition improved when I got my hands on some Hemingway. Durova 03:16, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Ha ha, well I can see that Henry James might give one a liking for a more pithy writing style! Ignoring if you can, though, the fact that I managed to get two spaces in the wrong place in this edit, would you object if I were to do a bit more work like that on the article? To me it would read much more smoothly with a few more joined sentences like what I did in that edit. Worldtraveller 00:50, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Please do. Your edits so far have been quite good. I'll keep an eye out in case a change affects factual accuracy. Thanks for the help. Durova 01:51, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Wonderful article for pretty much every criteria. Staxringold 03:21, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Good work! Gflores Talk 23:53, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment: There was much discussion in the past archives of the article to move it away from such a religious view. However, we see this FA is catagorized under Religion and beliefs. — Dzonatas 05:38, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Conditional Support. Nice work all round. I would support this if the citations were properly listed. At the moment one has to do further work to see what book or journal is listed. you could use the cite book, cite journal and cite web templates. --Bob 21:02, 3 April 2006 (UTC)