This article has been considered a feautured article in 2004, but in my opinion the quality currently needs a lot of attention. My main concern regarding this featured article is 1.c. (many parts are unreferenced). A less important concern is 2.a. (style, such as the use of "one"). Another more minor concern is 1.b. (for instance the lack of a "Military" section, which is usually part of a country page, and in the case of Belgium which currently participates and has recently participiated in several peacekeeping missions, I think such a section could be appopriate). Also, 4. could be problematic as it seems that certain sections contain trivia (such as "On December 1, 2005, Father Damien was chosen as the Greatest Belgian of all time by the Flemish VRT, whereas the Walloons chose Jacques Brel."). Sijo Ripa 11:09, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
At 1.c concerns I think most sections are sufficiently referenced except for the culture section, which is indeed lacking references. This needs attention
At 2.a - concise lead section. I think the lead section requires some copyedit. Also it seems a bit lenghty and overly detailed for a lead section. More importantly I think the information template box which is part of the lead section has grown to ridiculous size which is over 1.5 screen length. Although I realize this is a problem that extends beyond the Belgium article alone, there should be put an end to the endless growth of this infobox somewhere.
At 1.b I am not sure whether the military section is so much of an oversight. It is referred to in other sections, and a link to military of Belgium is given in the 'see also' section. And after all Belgium is not a very militaristic country, so IMHO as section on their military would put undue weight on that.
at 4. The article is 46 KB long. Although lengthier than generally recommended, this is not very long for a country article. Especially if you take into account the amount of navigation templates; see also's and references given. I do not think this is a big problem.
An additional comment regarding 2.c. The table of contents should imho not be collapsed.
I think this is repairable although some effort may be required. Arnoutf 14:46, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
The length of the lead has been reduced.
I don't understand how one could add references to the culture section. Do we have to add a reference to prove that Jacques Brel was a famous Belgian singer. I think the references belong to the Jacques Brel article and not here! Vb 09:31, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
According to WP:REF other Wiki articles should not be used as reference; so anythig you use in the Belgium article should be supported by references in the Belgium article. However, I am not talking about Jacques Brel being A fmous singer as that is a well supported thing and I agree adding a reference for that would be overdoing it (if the section would state Jacques Brel was THE SINGLE MOST famous Belgian singer ever - THAT would require a reference within this article). However not all statements in the article are this straightforwaord. Other issues in the culture section are written as fact wihout any reference; and without a way to figure out how to confirm it. Examples (not all maybe equally important and there maybe more, but you will get the idea) where very strong claims are made without any support from refereneces are: "Belgian cultural life has tended to concentrate within each community. The shared element is less important," (opening line! - clear statement as a fact, no reference provided); "Belgium is well-known for its fine art and architecture." (says who -reference needed and this goes for every following example); "This rich artistic production, often referred to as a whole as Flemish art, gradually declined during the second half of the seventeenth century."(says who) "In music, Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in 1846."(to a lesser extent as this is easily checked elsewhere, but a reference would neverhteless strengthen the section), "Georges Lemaître is a famous Belgian cosmologist credited with proposing the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe in 1927" (this is not the most essential problem as it can be checked elsewhere), "One cannot understand Belgian cultural life without considering the folk festivals, which play a major role in the country's cultural life." (this is a bold statement though, not supported by either logical argument nor reference); "A major non-official holiday is the Saint Nicholas Day, which commemorates the festival of the children and, in Liège, of the students." (says who); "Football and cycling are especially popular." (based on what statistics; without source nobody can disprove bull fighting is more popular), "Belgium is well known for its cuisine. Many highly ranked restaurants can be found in the high-impact gastronomic guides, such as the Michelin Guide." (provid ref to at least the michelin guide, but the statement is again very bold; well konwn to whom; do HongKong Chinese come up with Belgium when asked for well known cuisines???); "Brands of Belgian chocolate, like Neuhaus, and Godiva, are world renowned and widely sold. In addition to chocolate, Belgian sweets have a reputation of very high quality." (says who); "Belgians have a reputation for loving waffles and french fries (both originate from Belgium)." (who has proven this?); "The national food is steak (or mussels) with french fries and lettuce." (says who?).
Anyway, I hope you get the idea that this section is underreferenced. Arnoutf 21:13, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Suggested FA criteria concerns are referencing (1c), style (2), comprehensiveness (1b), and trivia (4).Marskell 05:04, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
The page has been utterly restructured since the 24th of April.  In particular, many references have been added and much has done towards NPOV. Please let the the editors know what is really still to be done. Vb11:14, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
This solves my worries for the referencing of the culture section. Arnoutf 20:21, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Address a whole lot of unformatted footnotes and sources (see WP:CITE/ES)
See also is interesting; a lot of that content should be in this article (education, crime, for instance) Also, this sentence is poor prose, and should be handled via a template or including in See also list ... (See also Religion in Belgium.)
The TOC concerns me; there are numerous sections included in other articles which aren't included here, giving rise to concern about comprehensiveness. Where are, for example, Health, Education, Crime, Recreation, Military ? Are they only in See also ?
WP:DASH attention throughout. Hyphen (-) is used to hyphenate words, ndash (–) is used to separate ranges of dates and numbers, mdash (—) is used for punctuation.
Copy edit needs, sample sentence:
A survey published in 2006 by the Université Catholique de Louvain, demonstrated the "undoubtedly wellknown" better multilingualism in Flanders to be considerable: 59% of the Flemish respondents can speak French, 53% English; the Walloons on the other hand, merely 19% Dutch, 17% English; of the Brussels' population, 95% declare to speak French, 59% Dutch, English is known by 41%.
Footnote placement; why isn't this footnote, for example, at the end of the sentence? A 2003 report suggested that the water in Belgium's rivers was of the lowest quality in Europe, and bottom of the 122 countries studied.
See WP:GTL; See also, Main, Further information etc. templates belong at the top of the section.
We're approaching a month of review, and it doesn't look like issues are being addressed; feedback from editors? I'm a Remove if issues aren't addressed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:07, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Second look; I am still in the Remove category. Most of the issues I enumerated above are not addressed, there are still unformatted footnotes and references as well as dead links in the footnotes, and issues of comprehensiveness, but of particular concern are the copyedit needs. The article is still in need of an independent, complete copyedit. Here is a sample sentence from Education:
Mirroring the historical political conflicts between the freethought and Catholic segments of the population, the Belgian educational system in each community is split into a laïque branch controlled by the communities, the provinces, or the municipalities, and a subsidized religious —mostly Catholic— branch controlled by both the communities and the religious authorities — usually the dioceses though the religious authorities within Catholic schools have limited power.
Remove unless properly copy-edited. Here are random examples from the lead that suggest that the whole text needs attention.
"In the Dutch-speaking northern region Flanders lives 58% of the population." Marked word order here is inappropriate, indeed awkward.
"which also include"—"also" is idle, as usual.
"has been dubbed "the battlefield of Europe" or "the cockpit of Europe"." No, "and". Tony 00:51, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Remove per above reasoning. LuciferMorgan 14:33, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
This big article is currently being edited according to the reviewers' lines. We need a bit more time to do the job. Greetings. Vb 09:21, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Hold. Active editing amongst the vandal reverts. We can wait. Marskell 20:22, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Keep Several editors have spent serious effort in addressing the comments. In general they seem to have done a good job. Especially citing, footnotes and sources have been improved dramatically. The editors involved have added several sections (e.g. education) but (IMHO) have used their good judgement in this and have not added sections that are of little relevance for the Beglium situation (e.g. Military). What is done in other country articles should be used as a guideline, not a benchmark. Some minor copy-editing will always be needed especially for an article maintained in large part by non-native speakers. I think minor copy-editing should not be a reason to revoke FA status otherwise Wiki will become very much (more) biased towards information of primary interest to UK and US users. In brief, although the article is not perfect, IMHO its editors have seriously addressed the comments and have seriously improved the article; and I think the FA status should not be revoked at this time; I can only hope they will maintain their quest for quality in the future. Arnoutf 09:19, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Patience is a virtue. SandyGeorgia's remark of June 5th is not correct, all of the issues have been addressed: all hyphenations are ready; with many new references, nearly all 100 footnotes were not just basically formatted, but most often also corrected after verification (language, format, author links, publisher, quotes); all footnotes and 'see also' are in place. As several other contributors, I disagree with a demand on sections about military (nearly absent: 40,000 and being steadily downsized towards a planned 27,000), crime (nothing specific apart from a different approach on law and order, and justice, beween north and south though no hot discussion — another reason not to go into the subject as being NPOV would cause undue weight on the topic), nothing remarkable about health (a bit more notable is the social security system, including health insurance, but this requires a separate article and would not induce the most interesting prose). Education and religion became short subsections, without pretence to be complete. Apart from basic data, the article tries to hold the reader's attention by mainly handling the generally known but often badly understood specificities of Belgium, and the little known but remarkable features. The infamous "undoubtedly wellknown" sentence is my doing and was slightly improved, but after discussion on the talk page, I've prepared a revised version of it (to be put in later tonight).
I and assumedly other contributors do have a paid job. A mere month to bring a deteriorated and largely unreferenced article into shape is very short, especially on a country with notoriously different cultures causing strong sensitivities; a wakening call was appropriate but time pressure is unacceptable. At the moment there appears to be a lively discussion about details on the talk page, though not on content. Sunday, national federal elections are held and then a coalition is to be formed; one should thus expect rather heated debates and higher vulnarability for vandalism during a few more weeks. The FARC should not have started in the advent of such period, this is not a proper time for final decisions on FA status. Note however, that the politics section already anticipates on a newly formed government after copy/editing to avoid terms like 'former' or 'present' governments, and will be stable apart from some people quickly getting the 'news' appended. Kind regards. — SomeHuman05 Jun2007 18:10 (UTC)
Request for advice. The section on Communities and regions now includes the 'linguistic regions' aka 'language areas' (current article 4 of the Constitution) which were formed during the then unitary state and with which all six newer subdivisions coincide, and a table showing their relationships, as well as underneath it a short description of the matters for which the different levels are enpowered. An opponent would rather push the institutional language areas out of the main presentation and table, while spending a lengthy paragraph on them further down (see suggestion on talk page, his text is in grey colour). I know this to be chronologically and logically unsound, but would appreciate an outsider's opinion (please take the time to read the relevant footnotes etc so as not to jump to conclusions). — SomeHuman05 Jun2007 18:31 (UTC)
Well, we might be a keep on references, but we still have prose like this in the very first parts of the article:
"Another 10% inhabits the officially bilingual Brussels-Capital Region, for approximately 85% using French." (Ungrammatical)
"The present-day countries Belgium and Luxembourg had a course of history distinguishable from that of the Netherlands from the sixteenth century onwards." (Not ungrammatical, but very bad.)
The prose absolutely has to be gone over. Marskell 20:23, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
I reworded those two phrases and a few others that had been criticized. Because the article was written by many authors, not all mastering the language and aware of style, the numerous copy/edits surely caused some concoctions that its regular contributors by now became used to. A read-over by a native speaker of (British) English would detect errors and unfortunately phrased passages as well as uneasy changes of style. We would appreciate further remarks. Yours cordially. — SomeHuman06 Jun2007 00:36 (UTC)
As examples that the article hasn't yet been thoroughly completed: here are two completely unformatted references, both dead links: ^ Digest of Education Statistics 2003, US National Education Statistics, and ^ United Nation Development Programme If there is no content to discuss on certain topics, why are those topics then included as See also? But the bigger issue to be addressed is the need for a copyedit by someone unfamiliar with the text. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:03, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm very grateful for pointing out the dead links (outside WP thus not in red and hard to find), but utterly amazed at your second remark: Wikipedia guidelines suggest the 'See also' section not to include links that are already in the article text. Handling a topic there would cause either a direct link or 'See also' at top of the section, leaving nothing under 'See also' at the end — and such goes for all articles. On WP and elsewhere, See also is generally used precisely to direct the reader towards details or highly specific topics that do not quite deserve a place in the article at hand. I doubt if an actual copy/edit is desirable: such would require someone not only unfamiliar with the (present state of) the text, but at the same time very familiar with the topic. I assume it might be easier to have someone with average knowledge about the topic but a very good sense of style and language, to make only the most obvious improvements and further point out where problems occur and present suggestions. Kind regards. — SomeHuman06 Jun2007 19:22 (UTC)
Just because it's been up so long, I was going to edit through it over the next few days. Too much has been done to close this suddenly. Marskell 20:18, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Update The references are now clean, although some of the sourcing in the Culture section isn't high quality and not all appear to be reliable sources. On the other hand, the copyedit need remains. I'm unable to make even minor copyediting changes, as I can't decipher the meaning of some of the sentences. In particular, see the Lanaguages section. It mentions three languages before saying what they are, has sentences starting with numbers, and has a number of sentences whose meaning I can't decipher. If that section is typical of the rest of the article, a thorough run-through by an independent copyeditor is needed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:45, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
One is not supposed to read a subsection far down in an article without having read at least the introduction. The "three official languages" mentioned are obvious from the lead, and of course most clear by the Communities and regions section. Furthermore, in that Languages section they are all three mentioned in a following sentence, which is soon enough: till then, precisely which three languages remains utterly irrelevant for the validity and understandability of the statements. For proper understanding, one should read an article, not haphazardly pick a paragraph and see whether one can make sense out of it. That counts double for the most intricate part, as the introduction's second paragraph —on those languages— ends with: "This linguistic diversity often leads to political and cultural conflict and is reflected in Belgium's complex system of government and political history".
There is only one sentence starting with "59% of the Belgian population...". Further down, a figure occurs behind ":" in a proper manner: "... showing this lead to be considerable : 59% of the Flemish respondents...". It is not an error against the English language or style, to phrase it like that, and it would be completely impossible to state "... showing this lead to be considerable : Fifty-nine percent of the Flemish respondents..." because several other percentages follow and having to compare fully written-out figures would not make the section more easy for you. And that one other sentence comes after a most clear announcement that figures will follow: "Figures here given for Dutch, French or German include foreign immigrants and their children for whom neither is necessarily the primary language. 59% of the Belgian population...". Perhaps indeed, that "." should be a ":" (fixed). Kind regards. — SomeHuman10 Jun2007 03:16 (UTC)
I also agree: this whole paragraph should be copyedited. It is however not possible because SomeHuman is sitting on this article as a watch dog. Have a look at all his reversal! Vb 18:57, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
...And at the edit comments starting with '84.175.' and the talk page since May 21, including so much later my accusations of 'Vb' being an anon troll using dozens of IPs which do not allow properly following Vb's edits —though signing Vb on the talk page— deliberately sabotaging FA by starting edit warring unless free to get all well-argumented and even admittedly correct and needed information brought to inappropriate out-of-sight places or eliminated entirely, as soon as it does no longer confirm Vb's clear POV. Furthermore, most of Vb's edits are in too clumsy English and on several occasions invoked by a false interpretation of the language, the others are mainly eliminations, leaving very little to build on to improve the article. May I remind everyone that I had explicitly made a 'Request for advice' here (precisely because of Vb's continuous picking on the section 'Communities and regions'), and had asked for a read-over by a native speaker of (British) English. Please, do not let a troll influence the FAR. Kind regards. — SomeHuman12 Jun2007 05:01 (UTC)
This review has been up for seven weeks, and copyedit needs are not being addressed. The sourcing is quite good in some places, but marginal source are used in others (example Culture has some commercial sources which may not meet WP:RS, and others like about.com, where anyone can become an editor, and data in demographics and economics is not extensively cited). Statements like "Belgium has a particularly open economy." shouldn't be sourced to the Belgian government, rather an independent source. I'll have to be a Remove soon if progress isn't apparent in finishing up here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:43, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Sandy, you are not being quite reasonable: You already declared the sources clean on the 9th of June with a minor reservation for culture. One should not always expect official or scolared sources for culture as there will not be an interest for all aspects, and sometimes an in many ways unreliable source can reliably demonstrate the relevance of specificities. You fact-tagged a statement of Belgium having one of the highest gdp/capita though the figure for Belgium is in the World factbook under General online sources. That does not compare it with other EU countries, but should the figure not suffice as it allows anyone interested to make comparisons him/herself? Did you perhaps forget to check those sources that serve as reference for several statements in the article? With no less than 25 references in the Demographics section (apart from e.g. World Factbook, and Country Portal that links to a number of obvious tables), you should be a bit more specific as to what is "not sufficiently cited". About 50,000 bytes of this article goes already to referencing. If the Belgian government describing itself cannot be used for a reference, which office or institution do you think to be so overwhealmingy objective? As long as there is no decent source shown, declaring the contrary about the openness of the economy, it should do fine.
I suggest an independent source (something like The Economist comes to mind) for sourcing an opinion about the openness of the economy. If there is no independent source, then the Government's opinion could be deleted. Since you've seemed somewhat resistant to considering any suggestions for improving the article, I'll leave that as my final comment. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:54, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Copyedit needs are not being addressed? We're waiting for Marskell who was going to do this 'in the next few days', declared on June the 6th... But even without such, it is not at all reasonable to state that copyedit needs are not being addressed. You can see that really a lot has been done to that respect since the FARC: I made a comparison between the June 13th (current) and May 24th (FARC) versions after bringing images and (♥marked if herein moved from the authentic location♠) paragraphs of the OLD in line with the current version, both without italics/wikilinks/references/etc. so that the actual text can be compared: pre-FARC versus CURRENT text. Many of the changes are mine but of course not all, and the current version is about as good as I will be able to get it: someone less familiar with the article than me, preferrably an educated native speaker of British English, should have a close reading. Before making other than very obvious improvements, he/she should best look at the comparing link here above, to understand which sensibilities and intricate nuances might have played (or not), so as to fully maintain or improve the essential qualities.
If you think even more time should be spent at referencing because surely there must always remain something that can still be improved, your apparent impatience appears out of place. Kind regards. — SomeHuman13 Jun2007 23:57 (UTC)
POV and copy edit tag. Several paragraphs went down hill since this article's second featuring. Due to some edit war between Vb and SomeHuman, it is very difficult to change the phrasing of those pars. I recommend the reviewers of this article to observe the evolution of this edit war before deciding whether or not they vote for the keeping of this article's featured status. Vb 07:27, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Vb calls WP:NPOV "POV" see e.g. talk page Vb 07:06, 15 June 2007 & SomeHuman 2007-06-15 10:50, and VB's 'changing' always means a full revert to proven false (and of course unreferenced) statements, e.g. talk page Vb 06:55, 15 June 2007 / SomeHuman 2007-06-15 10:26. Vb is tagging for 'copyedit' and 'POV' only those sections that Vb absolutely insists to be POV without any WP-based argument and edited for NPOV, in which sections Vb wants a clear POV introduced instead. It is then clear what Vb calls "down hill": referenced corrections of paragraphs that had needed copyediting in as much as to have caused the FARC and because of —precisely those paragraphs— having been addressed, could allow FAR. The entire article needs a copyedit review, which Marskell appears to have (just) started. — SomeHuman15 Jun2007 10:58–11:27 (UTC)
Reviewer stating that the article need cpoyedit points systematically at par which have been written recently not the ones written during the 2nd featuring process. However SomeHuman keep saying his English is perfect and is modyfing old par which had been the object of long discussions among editors. One cannot modify such paragraph without strong arguments. If one does so one destroy the balance of this article. 126.96.36.199 11:33, 15 June 2007 (UTC) (Aka Vb
To me this calls into question of how lenient we can be regarding Featured Articles -the fact there is an Edit War and Neutrality and Copyedit tags slap bang in the top of the article makes me feel it should be speedily removed and renominated at a later date. I am hoping someone can give me a reason to change a Remove vote.cheers, Casliber (talk·contribs) 13:54, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
One more week, let's say. I've started plodding. Though if SomeHuman and Vb remain dead opposed over content it may not be possible to keep it featured. Marskell 17:26, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Keep. I've done some work on it to make myself happy with it. I didn't read much of what was written above or the talk page so if I stepped on anyone's toes feel free to edit (as always). It passes my interpretation of the criteria. My further suggestions for improvement are (a) dumb down the "Communities and regions" section (only give the essential for understanding and leave the rest to the sub-article, pictures are good), (b) remove the "Science and technology" section (no disrespect to whomever wrote it, but currently it is just a list of notable people, has little to do with the country), (c) shuffle the "Languages" and "Religion" sub-sections to the "Culture" section (I just think that is a better place for them), (d) use Summary Style on the "Culture" section with the article "Culture of Belgium" (currently the "Culture" section is 7kB larger than the article). --maclean 09:59, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the article's talk page or in Wikipedia talk:Featured article review. No further edits should be made to this page.