Wikipedia:Peer review/Plymouth Colony/archive1

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Plymouth Colony[edit]

This article failed its first FA attempt. Based on comments during that attempt, I have further expanded the article. The original criticisms included:

  • Overreliance on one print source: The article now cites 3 print sources extensively, with additional input from several others. Additionally, some unreliable web sources have been fixed or expunged.
  • Too much history, not enough other information: The article has been expanded with information on government, religion, marriage and family life, education, etc.
  • Copyedit needed by other editors: The article has been through WP:LOCE and has had extensive attention from 2 different copyeditors, as well as minor edits by at least half a dozen other editors.

I feel that this article is now feature ready, but I want a full review here before I take it to WP:FAC. Please make any suggestions of further work this article needs to be featurable. Thanks in advance!--Jayron32|talk|contribs 04:47, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Review by Awadewit[edit]

I do want to say that I think that this article is coming along very well and I am impressed by the effort that the editors are putting into it. That said, I do still have some concerns.

  • On the source issue.
  • I still feel that you are relying too exclusively on single sources for this article. I'm not quite sure that you understood what I was driving at last time. Yes, you now use three different sources, but they are for three different sections of the article. So, for example, the history section is still told entirely from Philbrick's point of view and the social life section is told from Demos' point of view. This does not qualify as establishing and presenting a scholarly consensus. What you have done is present two different aspects of the colony from two different sources. You need to present the same aspects, but indicate that you have read multiple sources on each aspect. That is why I said earlier that writing this page would take so long - there is a lot of scholarship on Plymouth and you need to read more of it to make sure that you are not presenting just one scholar's opinion of Plymouth. According to the book review I read of Philbrick's book, he overemphasizes the Native American storyline; you have tried to compensate for this by describing religion in the social life section, but is this the best solution? I'm not sure. The point is to try and find out what elements of the history and the social life most scholars agree on and present those. When I read reviews of Demos' and Deetz's book, it was also clear to me that they practice a very particular sort of history, so their conclusions are going to be different from a historian who is less material and more documentary. This is why you need to have multiple viewpoints.
  • I am not sure what you are driving at here. I can read this two ways:
  • Philbrick's facts and interpretations are unreliable, and need to each be referenced to a second source to establish their reliability (since his book has an extensive bibliography and uses footnotes well, I disagree with that frame of reference).
First of all, no I am not saying that Philbrick is unreliable, but because histories are interpretations of facts, for something like wikipedia, relying on a single interpretation is dangerous. Then the reader is getting just one viewpoint of history. Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Philbrick's book is incomplete, and additional historical facts need to be added from additional sources to better fill out the article. (I can see this as being doable, but the History section is huge as it is. If I add more facts to the article, I will have to fork it to a new article probably. I have no problem doing this, but I want to know if this is what you are going after).
All histories are incomplete. By their very nature they have to be. Authors decide to highlight some ideas and leave out others (they have limited space). Philbrick decided to focus on the Native American story. Other authors will decide to focus on other parts of the history. That is why you need to read several versions of the history and figure out what they all agree on. Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Also, I feel that references HAVE been added to sections where appropriate. Look, Philbrick's work, by your own admission, deals extensively with Native American issues; the book is used mostly in the following sections; "First winter", "Early relations with the Native Americans", "Military History". However, NONE of these section exclusively relies on him. Other history sections, such as "Prior exploration and settlements" and "The "First Thanksgiving"" and "Growth of Plymouth" cite him very little or not at all. Again, my question is is Philbrick's work unreliable or merely insufficient. If insufficient, could you point out specific historical facts that are lacking? If unreliable, could you point to places where I would need to double reference a fact? I really want to make this article better, and I am not challenging your judgement, I merely want to know specifically what I am doing wrong here.
Like I keep saying, Philbrick's narrative is one that dominates your story of the "history"; if you were to read five other retellings of Plymouth, you would get five different ideas of why the Pilgrims went there, what the "Miles Standish" raid was about and all of those events. Interpreting history is not easy and historians do not agree on a single storyline. It is your job to try and find out where they do agree; if there is some important disgreement, you should mention that as well. You don't seem to grasp that Philbrick's single book cannot give you a sufficient overview of Plymouth. More importantly, it does not give you an overview of the scholarship and wikipedia is not a place to advertise Philbrick's view, it is a place to present the consensus of scholars. Please let me know if this is any clearer because it is crucial to doing research for historical articles like this. Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
You keep assuming that Philbrick's work is the only one I have read, or that I am pushing his view. Neither item is true. I have read several other histories, and found that they largely AGREE with the facts laid out here. I could take every Philbrick reference, add three more references, but that would simply bloat the article with redundant footnotes. Also, I still disagree with your assessment that his work dominates the history section. It is used where it is the authoritative source, and it is NOT used where better sources exist. If you honestly want me to get a dozen more books out of the library and start double and triple referencing every point, I can do that. I find that a pointless activity, and I am not sure that is what you are after, but other than that I am not sure what specific action you want me to take. You keep listing vague fixes the article needs without going into specifics. WHICH references to Philbrick's book are you contesting? Which specific areas provide a non-neutral treatment or a one-sided interpretation. A full historiography and literature review of the entire bank of Plymouth related literature is well out of the scope of this article, and indeed probably any Wikipedia article. I really want to fix this up, but the vagueness of these responses leaves me no where to go.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 05:29, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
You are right - I was assuming that you had only read Philbrick, but the reason I was assuming that is because the page looks that way. Other careful readers will assume that, too, because Philbrick (and Demos) are the dominant sources. How is a reader supposed to know that what you have cited from Philbrick agrees with the other histories you have read unless you cite them? I actually think that it is important to cite those other histories to establish that scholarly consensus I was talking about. Triple citing, etc. is far from pointless. Let me give you some examples from the Joseph Priestley page. There are two major biographies of Priestley and two other works that discuss his life in some detail. Those are my major sources. Interestingly, they do not all agree on the facts of Priestley's life or the interpretations of those facts. How should I resolve this situation? I think that the only honest way is to offer citations for what they agree on and mention disputes. For example, there is a dispute over why he moved from Warrington to Leeds. There also seems to be a dispute over whether he invented the eraser (I am still looking into this one). The point is, I want the reader to know on which points all of the sources agree and on which points the sources disagree. I hope, eventually, to have most of the notes (of major events and interpretations) at 3-4 sources. For Priestley, a figure who has not drawn a lot of scholarly attention, this would be good. (By the way, this project of mine is far from completed. I simply offer it as an example of what I am driving at.) Awadewit Talk 06:51, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
  • With regard to Demos' work, it is the definitive work on social history in Plymouth Colony. There is no earlier work that deals with this issue, and later works covering this material rely HEAVILY on it to the point where they merely paraphrase it. I don't want you to think I didn't try to find additional works; its just that adding references just to say you added them, where they don't substantially add new information to the article, seems disingenuous. In places where Demos's work HAS been added to (for example, by the Deetz book and websites) by later scholarship, I have used it.--Jayron32|[[User
talk:Jayron32|talk]]|contribs 18:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I know it is the definitive work but other works would not have been published unles they had something new to say. Also, if they are verifying Demos' work, it is important to note that. If many scholars have endorsed his view and found evidence to support his claims, that should be made clear by using them in the notes, otherwise it looks to the reader like only Demos is advancing this theory. Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Again, I am stuck here. If you have specific examples of works that either refute or add to Demos work, I would LOVE to add them. It seems pointless to triple reference every citation simply to prove that Demos knows what he is talking about. I understand that differing points of view exist on this, that is why SEVERAL other works are cited here to either support or add to Demos. Your review seems to indicate you are largely just "counting" references, and when you see that one author gets over a magic number, you are making the assumption that the article relies to heavily on that reference. Please give me some specific guidance as to WHICH other historians perspectives you would like me to include here. I want to help this article fix these deficiencies.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 05:29, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually, no, I am not "just" counting references, as you imply. When I go to a page, I often check to see what kinds of sources it uses. When I see that a page is using just a few sources (in your case, primarily three on a topic on which I know a lot has been written), I become concerned because I feel that view I am going to be given is skewed. If I see the triple references, then I know, ah, the editors have done their research. Sometimes that kind of research isn't possible, but here it is. A large part of this is about appearance - what are close readers going to think when they look at your page? You can't assume they know what research you did. I will try to track down some other books for you; I'll ask around in the history department at my university what the standards are on Plymouth. Awadewit Talk 06:51, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Article structure, layout and prose.
  • The lead is not an adequate summary of the article yet. WP:LEAD says that it should be able to stand on its own and that it should reflect nearly every part of the article.
  • "Prior explorations" section needs to be condensed; it should contain only information relevant to Plymouth Colony.
Will work on this.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 18:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I agree with the editor on the talk page that Squanto should be referred to by his real name. He is not called Squanto on his own wikipedia page and it is demeaning to refer to someone by a name given to them by another group of people if it is possible to refer to them by their own name. This is true of all Native Americans on the page; they should be referred to by their names, if known, rather than the English names given to them.
  • Well, I am torn on this issue. I may agree with you that it leaves me with a bad feeling in using the "White" name for him rather than his Birth name. However, we are faced with maintaining a Neutral Point of View on this issue. WP:NPOV clearly states that articles should maintain the majority viewpoint as represented by mainstream reliable sources, and while giving minority viewpoints their due, they should not be given undue weight. Look, in the dozens of histories on the subject, from those of Bradford in the 16th century, to those written since 2000, they ALL USE THE NAME SQUANTO... Yes, while I may agree with you that this is not his proper name, you and I are not in a position to change it simply because political opinion holds it is the right thing to do. Wikipedia does not follow political correctness, or makes changes to existing scholarship simply because it is "right" to do so. Look, the POV that he should be called Tisquantum may be morally correct, however, that stance does NOT bear out in the majority of reliable publications on the issue, and Wikipedia can only reflect that viewpoint, not create its own. As I stated on the talk page, to note that his correct name is Tisquantum is proper, to imply that Squanto isn't used by reliable historians even to this day is NOT.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 18:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
What does late twentieth-century scholarship say? That is the proper reference. Of course in the 16th century they are going to refer to him as Squanto - they also referred to blacks by some pretty prejorative terms - does that mean that we use those? No. We follow today's linguistic conventions of respect. Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't want you to think I am poo-pooing this. I can open any one of 30-40 distinct books and websites I have looked at in writing this (not all of them have contributed unique facts to this article, so not all appear in references) and EVERY one, where his name is used throughout the work, uses the name Squanto. They allmost always NOTE that his proper name is Tisquantum, but they ALL, each one, uses Squanto to refer to him. I have print sources here from: 1911, 1970, 2000, 2006, 1997, plus dozens of websites and EVERY one uses Squanto to refer to him. Is it morally correct to do so? That is neither here nor there. We can only recreate scholarly opinion, we cannot enforce our own opinions. Scholarly opinion clearly calls him Squanto. YES, I am certain we can find some paper in some Journal somewhere that rails against this practice, and demands that it stop and that everyone call him Tisquantum. Untill this becomes the majority, mainstream opinion of historians as published in reliable sources, however, such a view should not dominate a wikipedia article. I still agree that people probably should use the name Tisquantum. They don't.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 05:29, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Odd. That's fine with me, then. Awadewit Talk 06:51, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
  • The fourth paragraph of "Social life" is a little jumbled; there are too many ideas. Perhaps some of this could be moved to the "Education" section (which is a little short now)?
  • Can you work the baptism and marriage information into another paragraph more smoothly? It is rather isolated right now.
  • You need to clearly explain what kinds of magic the Pilgrims believed in - it is a little vague right now.
  • Could you move the information about how marriage was a civil and not a religious event to the "marriage" section? It would seem to fit better there.
  • Don't overstate the comparison between women's legal rights in Europe and America. Women's legal rights in Europe are very complicated and greatly influenced by wealth. Rich women, for example, had many more rights than poor women. You might give some concrete examples from your sources here to prove what you are saying.
  • Both Demos and Deetz, the two sources used in writing this section, make this comparison as I have done. If you feel that other historians have reached different conclusions please provide those so that I may provide thier viewpoints as well. Both Demos and Deetz are fairly strong in their assessment of women's rights vis-a-vis Europe vs. Plymouth. I can only report their own interpretations and without references, cannot provide an alternative. Works dealing with Plymouth in this manner do not really critically analyze the status of women in 17th century Europe to the depth that you imply; such an analysis may be outside of the scope of this article anyway. However, if you feel that existing scholarship provides a different interpretation than the one presented by the article, I would be glad to add it if you can point me in the right direction. Also, the section is RIFE with specific examples. Some were moved to footnotes to avoid cluttering up the text. Check there. With regard to women and prenuptual agreements, I cite a specific contract. With regard to women and juries, again I cite a specific court case. If you can see any other claims the article makes that could benefit from specific examples, please let me know and I will add them.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 18:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
See Holly Brewer By Birth or Consent. Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
  • The "Marriage and family" section needs to flow a little better; not all of the paragraphs transition into each other.
  • I wonder about trying to summarize more in the "Government and Laws" section; also, would subsections help you figure out what is the most important material? Some of this could probably be cut (this is a long article - some of it needs to go).
  • Will work on this, however if I were to cut anything for the sake of length, I think the history section would be more appropriate. In the interest of balance, I feel that this article has an appropriate length.
I say this only because at FAC some reviewers get picky about the 30-50kb length. Also, you want readers to get to the end! Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
  • The "Boundaries of Plymouth" can probably be summarized more succinctly.
  • Will work on this. It is a bit bloated, isn't it?
  • Do you think the list of counties and towns is necessary? What about a separate page for that with a nice map? Also, I question the source - it is from 1890 - how reliable is the source? Is there a more recent source that you could use?
  • With the exception of 3 additional towns, the list and its facts closely matches one in Deetz and Deetz (2006), see footnote. However, SEVERAL sources besides Deetz refute the three extra towns they include, so I have kept the list as is. Old is not necessarily unreliable, is it? I mean, featured articles here at Wikipedia cite Suetonius for facts on ancient Rome... However, a fork for size purposes may be appropiate. I will consider spliting this to a list article, and shortening and prosifying the section.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 18:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Old is not necessarily wrong; it is just that older sources have to be used with extreme caution, that is why I asked. Rome is whole separate issue. Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
  • The "People" section replicates a lot of information from other parts of the article. I would delete a lot of this, move the rest into the history of the colony and "demographics" sections.
  • This is a minor point, but I was wondering if some of the pictures couldn't be made bigger so that they were easier to see.
  • Well, per the relevent MOS guidelines on picture size, I have left them as the default thumbnail size, which is setable in an individual users preference, rather than forcing a certain pixel size, which is actually deprecated. They look fine on my monitor (1024x768) though they will probably look smaller on monitors with higher resolutions and conversely they will look larger (and thus better) on monitors with lower resolutions. Forcing one picture size would make the article substandard in other resolutions, and thus the size should be left as "thumb"--Jayron32|talk|contribs 18:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Most of the other FAs I have seen have picture sizes delineated. Just a suggestion. Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I will play around with it then. As I said, on the resolution of MY monitor, however, the pictures look fine. If I forced them to be bigger, they wouldn't leave enough room for readable text.
  • Even though I copyedited this article myself, I would suggest that someone else do so as well. It is hard to catch everything in so large an article. I specifically spent several days working on it, but I did not have time to go over it repeatedly, which is really what a copyeditor should do. I will see if I can find someone. Awadewit Talk 18:06, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Thank you SO MUCH for all of the work you have done. I am MUCH indebted to you for your work, and cannot express how much help you have been. Please don't take my lengthy responses to some of your points above as being in any way animositous towards you. While I may disagree with your assessement on some of my sources, I am will to be convinced otherwise, and look to improve this article even further as needed.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 18:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I am not trying to be difficult - I do honestly want this to be a good article and I am convinced that the foundation of a good article is comprehensive research. Awadewit Talk 20:29, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I am not trying to be difficult either. I honestly need help with this. I am doing the best I can with the local public library system, and with the internet, in finding as much reliable sources as I can. I just want to be clear that I have read more and researched more sources than are used here. However, where such sources are redundant, I have avoided referencing them specifically since it seemed pointless. Again, full historiography is well out of the scope of an encyclopedia article like this. What I have tried to do is use sources that are definative in their own scope, note places where other definative sources disagree, and avoid filling the article with every nuanced difference between each and every historians own interpretation of the events. You complain in several places that the article is too long; adding every historians own unique view will only make it even longer. Again, all I seek is specific examples of where this article needs neutralization.
What do you think about adding a "References" section? You could list all of the books you used and it would also offer research assistance to others on the topic. I often find the most helpful sections of wikipedia articles the bibliographies. Maybe we could come to some sort of compromise that way? Instead of adding all of the additional notes that I would prefer (but that I gather you feel are useless), you could add a list of relevant research materials and add a note "consulted in the writing of this page" or something? Awadewit Talk 06:51, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

(undent for new thread) OK. I understand and accept your basic premise here. A wider range of sources is needed. One thing I am starting to do is to work some additional perspectives in from the Plymouth Colony Archive Project, a HUGE repository of scholarly works on Plymouth. There are literally HUNDREDS of distinct works here, so it should give me a good start on adding additional perspectives on this article. Could you please check out these recent additions and comment to see if THAT is what you are looking for. Also, you repeatedly state that the "appearence" is one of overreliance on a few sources; part of that might be in the different way that websites and text sources are referenced. For comprehensiveness, each time I cite a book, I have been citing page numbers, meaning that, say, 10 references from a single book will generate 10 distinct footnotes. When I cite a webpage, which can often be a LONG bit of text without any page numbers, I can multi-referene the webpage, meaning that 10 refereneces from the same webpage will result in only 1 footnote. Thus, the footnotes give the illusion that certain texts are being used more than others, even when they aren't. Please look at my references more carefully. I am trying to see that eventually EVERY paragraph will contain perspectives from multiple sources. I am not there yet, but my recent additions today are an attempt to start on this. How does it look? Am I on the right track? --Jayron32|talk|contribs 07:13, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

I do understand the bit about how books appear more often the websites - I have taken that into account. I am analyzing your references quite carefully, actually. It will take me some time to go through the whole article again properly. I did notice that footnote 86 references an MA thesis. It is not a good idea to reference an MA thesis unless there is no other research on the topic; in this case, there is - Brewer's book By Birth or Consent has a lot of information on just that topic. Masters' thesis are not as reliable as books published by established scholars because they are written by students. Awadewit Talk 20:15, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
I looked back over the references. It still looks like certain books dominate certain sections of the article. So, for example, King Philip's War has only two sources (which I find a small number for Plymouth - I just reviewed Amenhotep I and it used more sources for that nearly unheard of figure than you are using here). But what is more important is that the major claims still only have one citation. I would suggest a citation style such as this (Smith 89; Johnson 60-79; Black 45-65) to suggest a scholarly consensus. It's a way to keep the number of notes down, as well; I have been trying it out myself. I'm sure the article would pass FA at this point, though. Very few reviewers look as closely as I do at sources, sad to say. The article's biggest issue will probably be length, although sometimes that requirement is waived. Awadewit Talk 12:21, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate the academic rigor you have given this article. Thank you for your frank review. I may soon renominate this at FAC to give it a second go. I hate to sound like a shithead when I say this, because of course each point you make is correct, but I am simply spent working on this article. I personally think that this article meets the standards as set out in WP:WIAFA and stands up against most precedent established for Featured Articles of this type. To be fair, it wouldn't pass muster in a scholarly journal, or as a thesis paper, or as a graduate dissertation; however, it is none of those things. It is a Wikipedia Article, and again, while I appreciate the academic rigor you have put it through, I am not sure such rigor is necessary here. I know it sounds like I am settling for a substandard article, and there is no way for me to say this without sounding like a shithead, but there it is. I still appreciate all you have done, but I may renominate at FAC simply to get more eyes on this. Your opinions are valued, but perhaps this article needs more opinions.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 04:50, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
I was not testing it against any of those other criteria, by the way. I just happen to think that wikipedia's FAs should be as rigorous in their research as they are in their other criteria. If we want wikipedia to eventually be recognized and accepted as a reliable source, our articles have to be better than printed sources, simply because they are anonymous. They have to prove their merit ten times over because they don't have "Professor" or "Harvard" attached to them. Thus, while other reviewers may see 100 footnotes and go "wow," I and a few others tend to scrutinize more closely. We, unfortunately, don't have time to scrutinize all of the articles. I want wikipedia to succeed but it will only succeed if it can gain credibility. Its FAs, therefore, need to be of the highest quality. I would ask that you demand this of yourself when writing for the sake of the project if nothing else. I subscribe to a listserv of academics; one proposed a panel at a conference on wikipedia. Another responded by saying that he had checked out the Samuel Johnson page but it was so riddled with errors that he was disgusted (too bad he didn't fix them!). In the humanities in particular, there is large resistance among academics to using, participating in or endorsing wikipedia. One way for this to change, in my opinion, is for them to see truly excellent work in their field appear. If you don't like that reason (improving wikipedia's credibility), think about embracing this kind of rigor simply because it is good for the mind - it is a challenge and it produces better articles. Awadewit Talk 05:07, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually, again I largely agree with you on every point that you make. I guess, with some further introspection, is that I am mainly suffering from psychic fatigue over this article. I have literally run out of energy in dealing with it. Let's look at this from your perspective. This peer review right now is suffering from a paltry shortage of viewpoints: namely mine and yours. Unfortunately, Peer Review isn't something that gets as much traffic as other means of review, such as FAC. So I am faced with a Hellerian Catch-22: The article may not be FA-ready, especially by your standards; however to seek more opinions than yours I must nominate it for FA, which then risks it getting passed, which I would ultimately disagree with, since you have valid reasons to object to its passing FA. See? How do I get more eyes on this article, without nominating for FA? Likewise, I make no pretenses about being ANY sort of historian. I am a decent researcher; I can read books like anyone else and make decent prose out of summarizing said books. I can synthesize said information from several sources, but really I am just a guy with a library card and internet access. Again, what this article needs more than more sources than Philbrick and Demos and Deetz is more editors than Jayron32 and Awadewit. Does that make any sense? --Jayron32|talk|contribs 05:23, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
It does. Unfortunately, very few people seem to take the time to carefully peer review articles. I'll see if I can find some reviewers. Awadewit Talk 05:38, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Please see automated peer review suggestions here. Thanks, APR t 23:58, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Willow's review[edit]

Hi Jayron32,

Awadewit asked me to review the article, which I'll be happy to do; can you be patient with me, though? At first glance, it seems great, but I'd like to take a few days to study it and brood over it. Here are just a few initial ideas:

  • As I read the article, I found myself wanting to know more about the Native Americans, the context into which the European settlers plopped themselves and the consequences for the various tribes. You already have some of that there, but it might benefit from being grouped together and discussed in a focused way.
    • Actually, lots of stuff on the Native Americans was removed. Rjensen, while copyediting and reviewing the article, removed a bunch of it saying that it didn't really belong since the article wandered around too much as it was and needed to remain focused on the colony itself, which being an English colonial venture, should focus mostly on the settlers. Also, Awadewit notes above, and in prior reviews, that one of my main sources, the Philbrick book, gives undue emphasis on Native American issues, and that this article suffers from same. Take that as you will.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 03:19, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
  • You might want to move the "Prior exploration and settlements" section to the beginning, and perhaps generalize it to "Historical context", to place the settlers in the context of preceding and subsequent drives to settle North America. Speaking for myself, I'm curious about the historical tides at work. Were there many such religious groups looking for a haven to set up an isolated community? How did the Pilgrims differ in motivation from other settlement drives? Were there non-religious (e.g., commercial or military) motivations for the Pilgrims?
    • I wasn't sure where to put this section. I added it to provide context, the problem is with narrative flow. I thought the information was relevent for context; however you don't want it FIRST since you want to start the Narrative in Scrooby. Scrooby leads to Leiden which leads to Mayflower, and putting it between any of those sections would break it up. By putting it where I did (after landing but before settlement) I did my best to find a natural break in the narrative to include this info. If you have a specific place that might work better, I invite any changes you could suggest.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 03:19, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
  • It also might be good to have more on the legacy section. Where are the descendants of the Native Americans and the European settlers today? I see that the Wampanoag tribe still exists, and there's The Mayflower Society for descendants of the original passengers. When the quadricentential of the Plymouth Colony happens, what will people mention as the lasting consequences of their settlement?

I hope this keeps you occupied until I write again. It's great that you're eager to bring this to FAC, but everything matures at its own pace, and you can be justly proud of this article, regardless of when it becomes an Featured Article. Meanwhile, we'll keep trying to recruit more reviewers.

Affectionate wishes and thanks for all your work in making this a fine article, Willow 10:24, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

    • Muchas Gracias and Danke Schoen and Merci Beaucoup. Your suggestions are very welcome, and I intend to act on them soon (I have 2 other articles I am working on this minute, but when those are done I will be back to this one to make your suggested changes). Thanks again!--Jayron32|talk|contribs 03:19, 24 May 2007 (UTC)


I've just read the article, and it's taken me all evening. In places it was interesting, but, really, it became a slog, and I think the main editor should seriously address whether an article of over 95kb is appropriate for a Wikipedia encyclopedia page. I suggest the article be reduced to something over half the size. However, most of the material need not be wasted: I'd suggest a separate article on the government and law of the Plymouth Colony and one on social and religious life in the Plymouth Colony, the latter to include the education section. Material on Thanksgiving and Plymouth Rock could largely be shifted to the existing articles, I believe.

You may disagree with this suggestion, in which case, what follows is rather beside the point. But if you agree, the present article should retain summarized versions of the two new articles with a summary-style link to them. Other specific material could then be cut for real, for example most of the Pequot war section, which isn't about Plymouth (and there's an article on it anyway), chunks of boundary stuff and some of that repetitious stuff about one boat after another visiting. In the history section, some of the preambulatory material might be cut, particularly whether the ships were at Southampton, Dartmouth, or Plymouth needs briefer treatment, and the preliminary landing before reaching the site of settlement could also be reduced. Some of the art, literature and film stuff seems superfluous too.

If all the above were to be carried out, the article would probably emerge at a fighting weight of about 60kb and less unwieldy to edit as well as read: research could then concentrate on referencing the core rigorously. An alternative suggestion for managability might be to make an article called "Founding of the Plymouth Colony", for which there is already a good basis here, and concentrate on bringing that to FA first. People are genuinely interested in all the ins and outs of what went on during the first year of settling, and so it would be a popular article; but here the minute mapping of that mixes oddly, in my opinion, with the more generalised sections later on in the present article. For example, the fact that a boy was captured or a store of corn stolen is certainly important for the founding story, but it seems very particular set against the whole history of the colony, during which other boys were no doubt captured, other stores of corn stolen. As it is, the article veers widely in focus.

If you agree with my suggestions, I can help with the process. If not, I fear I would find it unrewarding to copy-edit and help reference the article as it stands, though I have made many notes.

If all the above seems to be a criticism, may I say that I am thinking in terms of FA standards for a core article here, and so one needs to be a little direct. I do admire the amount of work and detail that has been invested: whatever happens, the editors have provided Wikipedia with much valuable extra information, and that's the bottom line. It's appreciated; and I've just learned a lot. qp10qp 22:28, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments. I have struggled with the length of this article as well. I believe at one point it was OVER 100 K. If I were going to fork a section, however, it would be the history section, and probably not one of the other sections. My idea was to start with one article, then fork it to smaller ones once it was largely complete. It might be ready for that by now. How does this sound as a possible solution to the size problem:
  1. Plymouth Colony which focuses on the government, geography, and demographics of the colony (much like any other article on any other political entity would), with a summary treatment of the other sections.
  2. History of Plymouth Colony where I will move most of the History and Social Life sections, perhaps in three sections: Political History, Military History, and Social History.
Thoughts? Suggestions?--Jayron32|talk|contribs 03:26, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
You could do it that way. First of all it's probably best to consider which article you would wish to bring to FA and shear it of other elements, which could wait for the time being in other articles. The reason I suggested Founding of the Plymouth Colony was that it seems a discrete piece of history, whereas the rest of the colony's history comes over as diffuse in comparison: I'm not sure therefore whether History of the Plymouth Colony, though it is certainly a worthwhile article to make in summary style, could ever be a satisfying read in itself. In addition, King Philip's War stands well enough already as an article in its own right and doesn't really need rehashing in such a history article: even more than the founding section, that story naturally forms a discrete block within a general article. For the history article, I'm not entirely in favour of a history which starts as narrative and then disperses into general sections; I prefer to see the general elements addressed as they come up in the narrative, perhaps in small subsections, before the narrative resumes. In the general article, however, that need not apply: the history section could be short, no bigger than that for geography, religion, or whatever. The readers would quickly sense the kind of article they were reading, rather than reading a long history narrative followed by what feel like individual mini-articles in a different style. qp10qp 13:04, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
That's a good point. Still, my intent is to bring the main Plymouth Colony article to FA for promotion. I would agree that cutting the other sections down and forking them as appropriate would be a good idea. I disagree that "Founding of Plymouth Colony" should be a distinct article yet. The first step, in my opinion, is to make 2 articles: The main one and the history one. After that is done, the history article can be expanded as needed; if it appears that THEN the founding events are dominating THAT article, a further fork may be necessary. I have a few other things on my plate right now. Let me get those cleaned up, and within a few days I will work on forking the article into smaller articles, then come back and see if that is what you were after.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 17:03, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
The most important thing, I think, is that you give yourself a much shorter article to prepare for FA. You will then find yourself making quick progress.

On a different note, the article takes for granted that the pilgrims were fleeing from persecution. The article, it seems to me, conflates two events rather too neatly. "During the Hampton Court Conference, King James I had declared the Puritans and Protestant Separatists to be undesirable and in 1607 the Bishop of York raided the homes of and imprisoned several members of the congregation." But the Hampton Court Conference took place in 1604, and so there was a gap between the two. There's plenty of evidence that James was not a persecutor of moderate Puritans; but the government came down heavily on radicals who challenged the authorities. From that point of view, the Scrooby clergy can be seen as troublemakers. In the words of historian Pauline Croft, "It gradually became clear after Hampton Court that what the king required was not full ceremonial conformity but loyalty, obedience and goodwill. Only those clergy who openly defied royal or episcopal authority would incur penalties. Under this benign regime...only two obdurate ministers were deprived for nonconformity between 1610 and 1625." qp10qp 21:53, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

I will take those suggestions into consideration as well in cleaning this up. Thanks again.--Jayron32|talk|contribs 01:27, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Quick comment[edit]

I don't have time for a full review but the one quick suggestion I'd make is on the length. My personal opinion is, if you're interested in splitting, the easiest and most appropriate would be a separate article on the First Thanksgiving. It wouldn't kill too much of the length, but I'm sure that article would be expanded upon. Maybe. :) Good luck in bringing this to FA status. -Midnightdreary 19:23, 2 June 2007 (UTC)