Wikipedia:Peer review/Gerard K. O'Neill/archive1

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Gerard K. O'Neill[edit]

This peer review discussion has been closed.
This was recently promoted to GA status and I am interested in improving it further. Areas in particular need of improvement are the introduction and the childhood/education paragraph. I would also appreciate feedback on readability, NPOV issues, reliability of sources, and anything else I may have missed.

Thanks, Wronkiew (talk) 06:16, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

See also:


Brianboulton comments: I am reading the article and find it of absorbing interest. It is in pretty good shape; here are some points arising in the earlier sections.

  • Birth, education etc
    • The date (or at least year) of his first cross-country glider flight would be useful
      Done, April 1973. Wronkiew (talk) 06:14, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
    • "He was chased on the ground..." What does this mean - she ran after him, or what?
      Couldn't find any more information on this, so I changed it to "assisted". Wronkiew (talk) 06:14, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
  • High energy physics research
    • "His letter entitled..." Is "letter" the right word? Or was it a paper?
      "Letter" is the accurate term. Does the distinction need to be clarified in the article? Wronkiew (talk) 06:14, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
      • Not really an issue. However, you could possibly remove the "two page letter" description as this is a bit redundant, and just say "This theorized that..." Brianboulton (talk) 10:32, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
    • "That year,..." - I'm not sure what year we're in at this point.
      Specified the year. Wronkiew (talk) 07:06, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
    • In the last sentence, "eventually" is redundant
      Removed. Wronkiew (talk) 07:06, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Space colonisation (preamble): Is it possible to distribute the multiple refs at the end of the second para, to bring them closer to their relevant sentences?
  • Origin of the idea
    • Is this the best title for this section, which appears to extend well beyond an account of the origin of the idea?
      I split the section. Wronkiew (talk) 07:06, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
    • I wonder if the information regarding O'Leary is really relevant to this article
      Trimmed out some irrelevant detail. Wronkiew (talk) 17:42, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
    • The sentence beginning "O'Neill's interest in space colonisation..." is a virtual word-for-word repeat of the first sentence under the "Space colonisation" heading
      Edited both sentences to reduce duplication. Wronkiew (talk) 17:42, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
    • The term "inside-out" is not properly explained. In what sense "inside out"?
      Now explained. Wronkiew (talk) 07:19, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
    • The paragraph beginning "Looking for an outlet..." looks a little under-cited.
      The paragraph was supported by the single reference, but I added some more specific notes. Wronkiew (talk) 07:19, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps you'd like to consider these. I will comment on the remaining sections shortly. Brianboulton (talk) 22:13, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

More comments:-

  • NASA studies
    • To avoid repetition, combine 2nd and 3rd sentences: "...presented papers, amomg whom were Keith..."
      Done. Wronkiew (talk) 07:19, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
    • "After the conference, Carolyn arranged a meeting..." - sounds too informal. "Caolyn Hanson" would be better
      Done. Wronkiew (talk) 07:19, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
    • "Udall wrote a letter of support for O'Neil's work, and asked the Hansons to publicize it. Can you clarify whether "it" refers to the letter of support or to O'Neil's work?
      It referred to the letter. I rewrote the sentence to be more clear. Wronkiew (talk) 07:19, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
    • You could also combine last 2 sentences of first paragraph: "...the L-5 Society, everyone on O'Neill's mailing list and to all those who signed up at the conference."
      Combined. Wronkiew (talk) 07:03, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
    • On Jan 19 the next year,..." - easier for the reader if you give the actual year
      Year added. Wronkiew (talk) 07:19, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Why is "summer studies" in quotes?
      Some readers might have recognized the term, but I deleted it because I didn't have enough references to properly define it. Wronkiew (talk) 07:19, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

There'll be more: got to deal with a sudden emergency. Brianboulton (talk) 20:01, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

OK, all is well.

  • Private funding
    • Where did SSI get its funds from? It arrives rather suddenly and immediately starts to hand out money, but it's not clear where this money came from.
      Done. Wronkiew (talk) 07:03, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Some explanation required of jargon-ish terms, e.g "bucket", "520 feet (160m) of track"
      Rewrote the sentences to eliminate these terms. Wronkiew (talk) 17:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Writing career
    • "honorary doctorate degree" is a rather clumsy formation. Suggest either "honorary doctorate" or "honorary degree".
      Done. Wronkiew (talk) 17:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Since 2008 is finite, and will soon be over, I suggest you say "remained", not "remains" (in print as of 2008)
      Done. Wronkiew (talk) 17:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Entrepreneurial efforts
    • The opening of this section is a bit magaziney in tone, and should perhaps be expressed in a more impersonal fashion
      Magaziney statements eliminated. Wronkiew (talk) 17:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • "As of 2008 Omnispread continues..." As per above, suggest should be "continued".
      Done. Wronkiew (talk) 17:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Death and legacy
    • "...three men as opposing models for space advocacy". Not sure about the word "opposing" when there are three (you could use it if there were two). Perhaps "disparate" might be a beter word.
      I just removed "opposing". Wronkiew (talk) 17:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Can you give a year for when the Gerard K O'Neill Award was inaugurated?
      The paragraph says the first award was in 2007, is that what you mean? Wronkiew (talk) 17:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Finally, a couple of general points. First, I found the article quite easy to read, though in terms of prose style there is a tendency to overuse of short staccato sentences, some of which I have highlighted in the review. Perhaps a copyeditor could give the prose a quick going-over; there are no serious issues. Secondly, referencing and citations. There does seem to be some confusion here. You seem to have used a variety of citation templates, not always correctly - for example, "cite book" does not have access dates. It would be very helpful if the lengthy list of sources was subdivided between books, magazines, journals, web sources, etc, so that one gets a clearer idea of the nature of the sources being used. I also found the in-line citation entries confusing. Again, there is no indication as to whether it a book, article, website etc being cited. Page numbers are not clearly given - I presume the final number of each entry is a page number, but is there a reason for not saying so, e.g. by "p. 98"? Note [2] appears to have 15 citations to a single page of Dyson - can this be right? I think this is an area that needs looking at generally.

For the general points, I combined some sentences, fixed up the citation templates and changed the reference format to add "p" before page numbers. I don't think that the large number of references to Dyson indicates an over-reliance on that source, just that details from it are used throughout the article. Wronkiew (talk) 06:39, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

All in all, most interesting. Brianboulton (talk) 21:55, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Comments by Itub. I was invited to comment on this peer review. The article is very interesting and readable, but I know little about the topic so I can't comment on whether it is accurate and comprehensive in general (although it certainly seems so). I'm also not a master of copy-editing, but I agree with the comment above about the "staccato sentences". Perhaps some sentences need to be connected more, to make paragraphs flow better and feel more cohesive. I felt this especially near the beginning of the article, but I don't know if it was due to a change in style or because I got used to it as I read on. Just one nitpick: I don't think it is accurate to call Scientific American a "journal". Its wikipedia article describes it as a "popular science magazine", which I think is more accurate. Similarly, Physics Today is not really a journal either, as its article describes. I'm not sure if Scientific American has reviewers; I think it more likely that his article was rejected by the editor. I think this distinction highlights the difficulty of publishing speculative articles about space exploration in mainstream science journals, but I'm not sure exactly how the point could be put in the Wikipedia article without looking like editorialization. --Itub (talk) 13:21, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Thank you very much for your review. I believe I have addressed the issues you have brought up. I went through the article and combined related and short sentences. I noted that some publications were not journals. I could not find any description of Physics Today being a journal, but maybe it got lost somewhere in one of my edits. Thanks again! Wronkiew (talk) 06:02, 19 November 2008 (UTC)