March 13th 2011 will be the centenary of the birth of this highly polarizing figure. The article has long had issues with sourcing and poor organization, unsurprisingly given the controversial subject matter. A recent total rewrite (by another editor) has taken it to a higher level. It seems to me to exemplify Wikipedia's very best work, and I look forward to the perspectives of other editors. I can not always access Wikipedia from my day job, but expect to respond to queries within 24 hours. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:57, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Disambig/External Link check - no dabs or dead external links. 1 external redirect which may lead to link rot, see it with the tool in the upper right of this page. --PresN 20:25, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out. Link now goes to the redirected page. MartinPoulter (talk) 18:02, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
A new editor creates an account, drops an entire article in mainspace a half hour later, and two days later it's at FAC? What am I missing here? --Andy Walsh(talk) 20:56, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Let me just sort out a potential misconception: Janet Reitman has authored an article with that title, that has been out for a few years now, and published as a book chapter. She has subsequently expanded it into a book with that same title- currently unpublished as you point out. That book is not used as a source in this article. The "Reitman" citations in this article are to the earlier book chapter and so they are verifiable. MartinPoulter (talk) 23:14, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I've been involved with occasional minor improvements, finding reliable sources etc. for this article going back probably a couple of years. The intention was to get around to a substantive rewrite. However, a newcomer has done a much better job without me, and invited other editors to take it to review. Questions to the editors involved are probably best taken to their own Talk pages. I hope this discussion can focus on the quality of the article. MartinPoulter (talk) 09:35, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I apologize, but this is quite far outside the normal pattern, so it's natural to raise questions. Since this newcomer would not necessarily be aware of all of our guidelines and policies, my first concern would be that someone with copies of Miller and Atack check for close paraphrasing/copyvio. Looking at the refs, the article closely follows the structure of Miller, significantly raising the risk of unintentional plagiarism. --Andy Walsh(talk) 14:18, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
No apology necessary: you make a fair point. I have paper copies of both books and have been using them in improving some related articles. I'm satisfied that this article is what it should be: original work that is based on cited sources. The full text of both books is online, so nobody has to take my word for it. MartinPoulter (talk) 14:29, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
As a further comment on this, Miller's biography of Hubbard is organised chronologically, so any chronological account of Hubbard's life is going to approximate its structure. The article is definitely an original work, conveying the factual content but not the language of its sources. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:28, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Support Query interesting read:
"The idea may not have been a new one; a few previously," Would that be a few years, months or weeks?
Well spotted! "Years" now added.
"The house became the permanent residence of Hubbard and his children" Would that be his family with Mary Sue or all his children?
It means his children with Mary Sue. Rather than overload that sentence with clauses, I've deleted mention of the children. MartinPoulter (talk) 09:51, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
The section on his writing seems to revolve around the dispute as to how commercially successful he was, rather than how good a Science Fiction writer he was. I have to admit that though I grew up on Heinlein and Clarke I haven't read any of his Science Fiction, but some info on total sales, languages translated into and awards won would also be interesting.
Good suggestion: I will see if there are sufficient sources for this, and report back.
I was a little surprised to see that The Infobox describes him as a writer of pulp fiction rather than Science fiction, is that the consensus view on him?
Looking back at Talk page discussion of this issue, I'm minded to agree with you, but there are arguments either way. It seems that a predominance of reliable sources, including academic sources, describe him as "science-fiction author", though "pulp fiction author" also appears in multiple RSs. Some editors have argued for "philosopher" or a similar label which only appears in Scientology publications, so that won't fly. "Pulp fiction author" conveys not only that he wrote fantasy fiction and other genres as well, but also identifies the era/format of sci-fi in which he is most notable. It could be seen as a compromise. Do you still think it is worth changing?
I think the change is worth making, the article makes it quite clear what sort of SF he wrote.
His works were all pulp fiction of which a fair number were Sci-fi thus it would be incorrect to simply describes as Sci-Fi. The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 19:46, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
The article body has "a writer of pulp fiction, becoming best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories" which seems the fairest representation, and the infobox is consistent with that. I don't feel strongly either way but will implement WSC's suggestion if there's a consensus among reviewers. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:30, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
After sitting on it a day or two, would We be ok with simply author? I still think that Pulp Fiction is most appropriate since it covers all his writing (except for his religious Texts) The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 20:18, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Author works for me. ϢereSpielChequers 00:31, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
It would also be good to see something in the legacy section along the lines of "he was survived by x children and y grandchildren", in 2???, z years after his death the religion he founded claimed q million adherents worldwide.
This looks do-able. While the names and birth dates of his children are sourced, I'm not certain of finding sources for who survived him. I will check (over the weekend rather than today) and report back. MartinPoulter (talk) 13:50, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, we can only use what can be sourced, but I think a biography should have this sort of info if it can be found. ϢereSpielChequers 14:59, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
There's now a section on the overall success of his fiction in the legacy section (rather than in the section on the Golden Age, since the stats used are much more recent). I've also added a paragraph about his family since his death. I'll see what other editors say about the infobox. MartinPoulter (talk) 15:51, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, nicely done. ϢereSpielChequers 00:31, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Sources comment: I have not yet checked out the sources, but I have a couple of points which I think need attention immediately:-
There needs to be a list of the main books used - all of those, in fact, which are the subject of short citations: Miller, Atack, Streeter, Rolph etc. At present, a reader wishing to check any short citation is forced to look through this very long list of citations to find the book in question
With 300+ citations, I suggest that two columns in the references section is not adequate and I would make this 3 or 4. This is less urgent than the previous point, but would improve the presentation and reduce the scroll-down time.
Thanks, Brian. I will work on both of these straight away. MartinPoulter (talk) 14:04, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Both suggestions now implemented (thanks to ResidentAnthropologist for fixing the columns). MartinPoulter (talk) 17:24, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Tentative OpposeThis looks really good but has too many citations to Bridge Publications and other CoS entities; our Mikael Rothstein source points in the Death and Legacy section the problems with that. Once that is cleaned up I see no reason not to promote Gonna see what I can do to help clean that up.The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 19:31, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
also the Miller Source makes me nervous, reading it the first time I thought it would be Timothy Miller who is on the Steering committee for the New Religious movement section at American Academy of Religion. Now I am going to go over that sourcing more closely as I am unsure of it reliability. The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 21:05, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Looking more and more closely and am increasingly bothered by stuff here. Offline for a while will check back
Russell Miller's biography is a book-length treatment of the article's subject by a reputable investigative journalist, sourced to literally hundreds of end-notes. Reviews have praised it again and again for meticulous research. Frenschkowski's review that you cite (and which is cited and linked in the article) calls it "The most important critical biography of Hubbard". Yes, Frenschkowski raises concerns about specific statements in the book: let's discuss those specifics. Miller doubted the existence of "Snake" Thompson and his connection with Freud. Frenschkowski says that Miller was wrong, and that Snake's reality is backed up by additional documents. The article takes Frenschkowksi's position.
Atack's book, which is sourced to a similarly high standard, comes to substantially similar conclusions to Miller. So does the recent New Yorker piece. Note this interview in which author says "We've had five fact-checkers involved in this story. Even the head of the fact-checking department weighed in. And one of the checkers was on the story almost full-time since August." If you look up in Nature_(journal) about Hubbard, the short biography you find (doi:10.1038/331125a0) is sourced to Miller and Corydon, strongly recommending the former over the latter. A TV documentary, "Secret Lives: L. Ron Hubbard", followed the structure of the book closely and Miller appeared on camera. In summary, the book is an ideal source for a professional-quality article; so much so that it would be dubious to have a WP biography of Hubbard that didn't use it as a major source.
In fairness to the Scientologists, we need to balance the critical books' perspective, hence the citation of Church of Scientology sites. An article that took on wholesale the idea that the Church's official biography is mythical would be open to charges of non-neutrality. In addition, that official story plays a central role in the Scientology belief system (as per the Rothstein & Christensen refs) and that story is perhaps the principal way in which Hubbard has an ongoing cultural impact. The article would be severely incomplete if it did not present that story, presenting it *as* the official Scientology version and as disputed. This is exactly what the article does.
In summary, let's move on from wholesale arguments about sources to discuss the sourcing of specific statements. I'm open to discussing areas where you think certain sources are over-used, and what you've done in the case of the "most-translated author" claim is a constructive example. MartinPoulter (talk) 14:04, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
It sounds like you are utilizing sourcing as appropriate and working hard to us the best research available to you. Your lengthy explanation has put my mind at ease about the sourcing concerns. It seems that my concerns while valid in general Wikipedia editing are misplaced here. Your "Church's official biography is mythical as non-NPOV" is interesting argument. I am not anti-Sci, but do have honest concern about the social construction of myth in action thus was a tad concerned to see so many CoS Refs. I do not think that CoS ref are by default unreliable but must be used with care. You seem to be doing a very good job so far on a very thorny article. I am impressed and wish I could be putting more effort in it myself Right now. I am about to go through combing the article some more. I There is so much baggage with LRH and CoS articles on Wikipedia I am glad to see some one is braving it. The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 00:40, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I greatly appreciate your understanding, RA, and your recent improvements to the article. As you've seen, I've re-factored a paragraph that was entirely dependent on CoS refs. If there are specific areas of the article which are over-reliant on a particular ref, I'm very open to further improvement. MartinPoulter (talk) 15:58, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
"theta being" or thetan – an immortal, omniscient and potentially omnipotent entity that had forgotten its full capabilities and was trapped in a "meat body." I am assuming this is quote from the book. IS there any way we can rephrase it so it doesnt sound so bizzare and so we dont need the "scare quotes" The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 15:42, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I've broken up this long sentence, added a couple of extra references and removed "meat body". That is the term used in Scientology for a person's physical body, but you've got a point that this is a lot for the reader to take on. MartinPoulter (talk) 23:08, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
A few weeks after becoming "Dr." Hubbard, he wrote to Helen O'Brien – who had taken over the day-to-day management of Scientology in the United States – proposing that Scientology should be transformed into a religion. This would enable it to claim tax exemptions and religious protections. The idea may not have been a new one; a few years previously, he was reported to have said to a number of people that "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." (The Church of Scientology denies that Hubbard said this.)
My concern is this is one the most contentious point in the LRH life. I am not sure we are approaching it neutrally here. Its an establised part of Anti-sci rhetoric but its dubious accusation. However not having the sources in front of me I cannot evaluate how they are sourcing this statement? Do the sources just ask to assume good faith on the thier credbility? or do they actally cite something for these? I would be more comfortable with citation to more neutrally sourcing rather than polemical books. The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 16:11, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
You've got a good point that this section needs better sourcing. Hubbard's letter to Helen O'Brien was entered into court records in California. This is the primary source on which the third-party books base that claim. When I next have access to Lexis, I expect to be able to pull up the original source. Maybe a quote would be more neutral than an interpretation?
As for the "make a million dollars" quote, it's not just from the Reader's Digest; I've added a couple more references. MartinPoulter (talk) 23:38, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Correction: there *is* a quote from the letter in the article, so that itself isn't a solution. I understand your questioning the sentence "This would enable it to claim tax exemptions and religious protections," and will work on an improvement. MartinPoulter (talk) 00:05, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
P.S.: While I accept the necessity of sourcing controversial claims as well as possible, and I've worked to improve the passage in question, I just want to say that I don't accept the broad-brush characterisation of "polemical books". The Times Literary Supplement's review of Miller's book actually used it as point of criticism that the book left conclusions to the reader. The Miller and Atack books have both been praised in reviews for meticulously documented research. In the case of A Piece of Blue Sky, it was actually a point of criticism in a review that Atack's concern to back up his claims with citations got in the way of the story. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:25, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I approve of the Church's response being set out in more detail. Sorry to be pedantic, but I'm uneasy with "allegedly" on its own. That merely implies "somebody says", when we have Miller, the Independent, TIME and Reader's Digest stating it as fact, as well as a Los Angeles Times article from 27 August 1978, ("Scientology's L. Ron Hubbard: official biographies seem larger than life") which gives the same quote. There is also fellow sci-fi writer Lloyd Esbach whose autobiography quotes Hubbard saying "I'd like to start a religion. That's where the money is." This is used as a source by Atack and by Reitman. Along with other appearances in books and news, we're into double figures with the RSs that use either of these quotes. Miller quotes two more of Hubbard's friends attributing similar statements to Hubbard in the 40s: see Wikiquote.
I don't want to interrupt the narrative with a long discussion of what exact words Hubbard used. How about "The idea may not have been new; contemporaries later recalled him having said in the late 1940s that the best way to make money would be to start a religion." ? That bases the statement on memory, but the ex-post memory of multiple people. MartinPoulter (talk) 18:18, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
The citation Walker, Jeff. The Ayn Rand cult, p. 275. Chicago: Open Court, 1999. ISBN978-0-8126-9390-4 currently is the sources the statement when refering to Battlefield earth series: "They received mixed responses; as writer Jeff Walker puts it, they were "treated derisively by most critics but greatly admired by followers." I am not disputing this more confused what the context was for Walker to make the statement. As it seems an odd and from the looks of it unrelated source. The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 02:06, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
The book deals principally with Rand and Objectivism, but a passage draws parallels with Hubbard and Dianetics. The sentence in particular is "Hubbard and Rand both produced thousand-page-plus novels, treated derisively by most critics but greatly admired by followers (though Scientologists are not required to believe that Battlefield Earth or Mission Earth is the greatest novel of all time)." You can check this by searching on the phrase in Google Books. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:25, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Oppose for the same reasons as Resident Anthropologist. WP:RS always needs a certain amount of judgment, especially when it comes to potentially CoI sources, which often are the best sources to back up basic points of fact in particular. However when an article is wholly or mostly based on such sources that does raise questions as to the integrity and balance of the article. That isn't something that can simply be brushed under the carpet no matter how much the nominator wishes to do so. Quantumsilverfish (talk) 20:27, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Could you spell out your argument in more detail, please, so that it can be addressed? How does the Conflict of Interest policy apply to any of the article's sources? In what sense does the article lack balance or integrity? If this is about the Church of Scientology publications being cited, I dispute that the article is "wholly or mostly based on" them, or that they are presented as factual.
It seems we are having an open discussion here. I've set out my justification for the sourcing at length, and have no problems discussing further, so please Assume Good Faith rather than accuse me of brushing issues under the carpet. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:08, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Even with good faith, I'm afraid I don't understand what you are saying above either. Which ones are "such sources"? Johnbod (talk) 20:47, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
This does not seem to me to be an actionable objection. I can't see what article improvements Quantumsilverfish is asking for. Thanks to Johnbod for reassuring me that I'm not just being dense. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:33, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
At 21:37, 21 February 2011, I invited Quantumsilverfish to contribute further to this discussion. The account has not been active since making the comment above on 13 February. MartinPoulter (talk) 13:27, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
The reviewer's opposition will not be considered actionable since there is no participate or follow-up. --Andy Walsh(talk) 03:41, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Support Very well-written - some of the few points below relate to quotations rather than the text itself. With essentially two very contradictory narratives in the sources, I think the article does a good job presenting both, with the "official" one largely by quotation, which is probably wise. Johnbod (talk) 16:03, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
The highlighted (by me) bit in a Malko quote seems maybe odd: "Hubbard's career at George Washington University is important because many of his researches and published conclusions have been supported by his claims to be not only a graduate engineer,...". Probably an accurate quote, but just checking.
Re Navy service: "that he was only awarded a handful of campaign medals ..." seems begrudging! Suggest a rephrase.
Another quote check: "Hubbard] has worked on all types of cases. Institutionalized schizophrenics, apathies, manics, depressives, perverts, stuttering, neuroses – in all, nearly 1000 cases." Not "apathetics"?
The punctuation gets a bit messy at: "The idea may not have been a new one; a few years previously, he was reported to have said to a number of people that "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." (The Church of Scientology denies that Hubbard said this.)" Probably lose the last set of brackets.
"Hubbard, his wife Mary Sue and his secretary John Galusha became the administrators of all three corporations." - is this the correct term under US company law? Not "directors"? Johnbod (talk) 15:37, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments, Johnbod. Your first point requires me to consult a reference that I haven't got in front of me, so I'll comment later about that. The others I've fixed: yes, "apathies" is a genuine quote. MartinPoulter (talk) 22:46, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the Malko quote is verbatim. I'll add comments to the article to indicate the quotes as such. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:44, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Here is an image copyright check by Stifle.
Please provide evidence (records search) that File:MastersOfSleep.jpg was not renewed. Mr. Hubbard is well-known for enforcing copyrights with extreme vigour.
See Talk:Fantastic Adventures; I was working on that article recently and verified that all covers are out of copyright; I didn't update this one as I didn't use it in the article. I will update it in the next day or so. Mike Christie (talk – library) 13:00, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for a valuable contribution, Mike. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:46, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I'll remove it until the fair use rationale is established. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:46, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Oppose pending resolution of the above. Stifle (talk) 12:08, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Clearing opposition as the issues have been resolved. Stifle (talk) 09:08, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
The article seems to me to be extremely long.
Indeed, it's a long article. Hubbard has been the subject of entire books, as well as chapters or mentions in many other books and a great deal of media coverage, both in his own lifetime and in the 25 years since. The role of the article is to give a summary overview, digesting down this mass of material while being complete enough to be "thorough; a definitive source for encyclopedic information." This is what the article does. (Note that I'm not the author: I'm not praising my own work). Hubbard had an incredibly eventful life by any standard, being notable as a Golden Age sci-fi writer, as the creator of Dianetics and Scientology, as a multi-millionaire recluse. In addition, there are widely divergent accounts of his life, and neutrality requires that these be given fair voice in the article. It is customary to break off sub-articles rather than put everything in one article, and that has already been done in the case of Hubbard's publications and his military career. The main article needs to give a thorough overview of the different aspects of the subject's life, and that's what it does. In summary, I don't think having a large amount of well-written, high-quality content is reason in itself to object to an FA. You're welcome to point out specific things that you think don't belong in the article: let's discuss those suggestions. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:04, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Not an objection, just a comment. Stifle (talk) 09:08, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Is it not customary to alternate images left and right as you go down through a page? Stifle (talk) 12:08, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. I can't find this custom documented anywhere. Can you point me to where it is required by the Manual Of Style? I know that other articles have reached Featured Status without alternating left and right: it may just be something that's done when a lot of images are packed together to stop them stacking up. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:53, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I picked "customary" rather than "policy" or "MOS" because I am not aware of such a requirement. It's not an objection. Stifle (talk) 09:08, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Apologies for misreading you, and thanks. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:16, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Support shortened version. --JN466 03:17, 5 March 2011 (UTC)Moral support. This is an amazing article. Well-written, and I believe even-handed and a real labour of love. It's also long, with hundreds of references, and I am not sure I will be able to offer more than moral support as part of this nomination, as checking the entire article and its references would take more time than I can devote to it at the moment.
There is one passage I spotted which needs looking at: "Hubbard is the Guinness World Record holder for the most published author, with 1,084 works translated into 15 languages. However, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1990 that Hubbard's followers had been buying large numbers of the books and re-issuing them to stores to boost sales."
First, I am positive that the number of languages is wrong and should be far higher; I've seen figures like 65 and later 71, which sound more realistic, and CoS claims that Hubbard holds the world record in that, too. Neither of these sources should be cited; we need someone checking through the most recent Guinness book commenting on Hubbard to see what it says.
Second, the two sentences don't jell logically; Hubbard's followers' buying books has no effect on the number of books Hubbard has written, or the number of languages they've been translated into; this sort of statement would only make sense if the previous sentence were about bestseller list appearances (probably it was at one time in the drafting.)
I noticed while googling that Hubbard may also hold an audiobook Guinness record: ; might be worth checking out. Cheers, --JN466 01:20, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for finding these guinnessworldrecords.com links! --JN466 02:35, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks both for these improvements, which I've integrated into the article. I've also restored the LA Times ref: it would be remiss to discuss sales figures without mentioning that article, although Jayen is right that it made no sense in the context he quotes. MartinPoulter (talk) 18:20, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Great, thanks, Martin. --JN466 21:20, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Both Atack and Streeter mention that Hubbard also attracted some praise for his performance as an officer: , . Could we include that info for balance? --JN466 14:43, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
The submarine episode should perhaps mention that Hubbard's crew endorsed his claims of having sunk a submarine; Moulton in particular echoed Hubbard's sentiments that "the decision to deny the presence of submarines was a political one, taken to avoid causing panic among the American public" (Streeter). Note that this doesn't necessarily make the submarine story any more believable, but it demonstrates that Hubbard was able to command considerable loyalty, even in the face of countervailing evidence. --JN466 15:01, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Fine with these suggestions. Sorry for recent absence: day job has been kicking off over the last few days. I will have more time to look at the article (and the recent edits) within the next 24 hours. MartinPoulter (talk) 13:23, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry but oppose. I started reading the article as it seemed well written and interesting. However, I soon realized that it is a humongous article! If this gets promoted, it will go on the mainpage soon, and readers will click to start reading the article but never finish it. I strongly suggest moving a lot of the contents to a new article titled "life of Hubbard". The article is 160k, and a lot of the details about his lie are not actually that interesting to deserved worth mentioning in this article. Nergaal (talk) 20:45, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
I stroke down my oppose since I think a fair amount of work was done to reduce the prose size from 101 to 82kb. I would recommend reviewers to go back and make sure that the prose in the updated version is still good, but otherwise I have no other notable complaints about the article. Nice job! Nergaal (talk) 08:58, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Oppose. For similar reasons to Nergaal above - while the article appears to be well-written, it is much too large (see WP:SS) and could be split into smaller article(s) . Additionally I would still question certain sections (such as, but not limited to, Military Career) as having undue weight (WP:DUE) - the sections may still be warranted but the amount of space devoted to them should be reconsidered, I think. -- Newty 12:35, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
Comment. Regarding the above two opposes, for reference, the largest current FA is Michael Jackson, which is 646K total page size, 184K Wiki text, and 79K readable prose size. L. Ron Hubbard is 360K total page size, 161K Wiki text, and 101K readable prose size. See Wikipedia:Featured articles/By length. The guideline on size is WP:SIZE; I am not opposing here as I haven't read the whole article, but it does look like this would be at the extreme end of the spectrum for size. Mike Christie (talk – library) 13:54, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
The longest FA in terms of readable prose size seems to be Elvis Presley, at 15,667 words (using the Page Size option in the Toolbox), plus another 944 in the prose-format Elvis_Presley#Notes section, for a prose total of 16,611. As it stands The L. Ron Hubbard article has almost exactly the same number of prose words to read (16,614). --JN466 19:39, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
Comment (supported above) The length is I think justified by Hubbard's somewhat complicated life, and in particular by the need to include and balance what are in very many places two completely contradictory and opposed accounts of his life, the official and the unofficial. This is what this article does especially well, it seems to me. There are already many sub-articles, & I think Nergaal's unorthodox suggestion is a non-starter, as this is the "Life of ..." article. Personally I think opposes based on length alone might well be regarded as unactionable. Johnbod (talk) 16:34, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
Responding to Nergaal's comment and those since: I've addressed the length issue above in my reply to Stifle, and I totally agree with Johnbod's comment above. I understand the length is a sticking point, though. I think something can be done quite quickly to skip through his early life and some family detail and get more quickly to the "meat" of his major life events: I'll need a bit more time to work on this, and I've asked the original author to help. One of the criteria for an FA is thoroughness, and for this reason - along with the complexity of the subject and the diversity of sources - radical surgery on the article is unwarranted. Thanks Mike and JN for informing the discussion. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:30, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Comment. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this review, and especially to Martin Poulter, who has put in a lot of work on the article. I accept that the first version of the article may have been longer than is optimal, so I have just posted a revised version that reduces the word count significantly. Four sections have been merged into two and the word count of every section has been reduced. I have managed this largely through rewording and cutting out some non-essential material. The article is now 325 kB total page size, 138 kB of Wiki text and 82 kB (13,353 words) of readable prose text - a reduction of 19.6% from the original 16,614 words. This is well under the 100 Kb of readable proze size suggested as the limit by WP:SIZE. Compared with the other articles on Wikipedia:Featured articles/By length, this would make it somewhere around the 32nd longest featured article, about the same size as Manchester or Columbia River. I hope that this resolves the concerns about size raised by Nergaal and Newty. I don't think it could be reduced much further without compromising its integrity for the reasons that Johnbod has already given.
Regarding Newty's comments about "undue weight" on Hubbard's military career, I am afraid that is a mistaken view. For Scientologists, Hubbard's military career is one of the most important aspects of his life. The Church of Scientology's chief spokesman has said recently that the veracity of Dianetics and Scientology rests on his military career (cf. ), which gives some indication of how crucial it is to Scientologists. Its relative importance to them is comparable to the resurrection of Jesus for Christians or the revelation of the Qur'an to Muhammad, as it represents the point at which Hubbard is supposed to have made his key spiritual breakthrough. Furthermore, Hubbard's military career infuses many aspects of Scientology, most obviously the naval-style uniforms worn by the Sea Org and Hubbard's adoption of naval ranks for Scientology members including himself. The military career section is not even the longest in the article. It provides an appropriate summary of a much longer spinoff article and has as much weight as it requires. Helatrobus (talk) 04:44, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks very much for the improvements, Helatrobus: the article still has excellent flow. I agree about the significance of LRH's military career: It's mentioned extensively in both critical and Scientology sources. It's a centrally important era in his life, and highly contested, so it deserves the treatment that the article presently gives it. MartinPoulter (talk) 13:22, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
It appears to me that Newty's objection has been met, but I wait for Newty's own input. I note that Helatrobus has invited further discussion, and that Newty hasn't been on WP much in the last few days (Nor have I: apologies for that!) MartinPoulter (talk) 13:34, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
Delegate comment - I think it would be prudent for any reviewer who supported prior to the 3/1 changes, and who has not done so, to review the article to make sure they feel the same way. It appears the article was substantively altered (it's difficult for me to tell to what degree) and the changes may have had some effect on the narrative, etc. --Andy Walsh(talk) 03:45, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Martin Poulter, JN466 and Resident Anthropologist have already confirmed above that they are happy. I have left messages for WereSpielChequers and Johnbod to ask them to re-review the article. Of the opposing editors, Quantumsilverfish has not made any edits for three weeks, nor has he responded to queries about his vote. Newty has also not been on WP for several days, as Martin notes, but the other editor who opposed on the grounds of length (Nergaal) has confirmed that he is now happy with the article. The alterations have mainly consisted of rewording and the excision of some non-essential text, mostly in the first few sections. I would be grateful, by the way, if you or one of the other delegates could close this review as soon as possible, as I am keen to secure the March 13 slot on this month's queue in order to meet the centenary date. Helatrobus (talk) 04:49, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for being proactive there. I will be going through the queue this weekend to promote/archive. --Andy Walsh(talk) 04:54, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
On a spot-check, I noted problems with MOS:CAPTIONS. While not showstoppers, if there are any MoS nerds watching that would go through and fix these things, it would certainly strengthen the nomination. --Andy Walsh(talk) 04:57, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for spotting this. I've cut down the length of captions generally, turned some sentences into sentence fragments, and removed periods from sentence fragments. One caption still has full sentences, but I think it's justified. MartinPoulter (talk) 11:36, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Re-review I've reviewed the change, and certainly don't think they are an improvement. It was imo unwise to make such cuts, as much of the detail that makes the article so interesting and impressive is lost. It's not really worth damaging an article just to get FA (even if that was necessary to get FA, which is not clear). I'll still Support but rather less enthusiatically than before. Johnbod (talk) 13:43, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I know what you mean. It's a pity to lose encyclopedic detail that is not easily available to general readers because of an arbitrary length restriction. --JN466 16:29, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the re-review, Johnbod. There's still the future option to create a sub-page to preserve the discarded material. The edits have made the article as a whole more accessible, so I don't personally regard them as "damage". MartinPoulter (talk) 18:50, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this page.