Wikipedia:Peer review/Radon/archive3

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Previous peer review
(more info)

This peer review discussion has been closed.
I've listed this article for peer review because it seems it is ready to go for FAC. Any suggestions before I do that? Thanks, Nergaal (talk) 08:26, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

At 8500 words, this article is a monster. Hydrogen, has a lot more that can be written about, is less than 5000 words (admittedly, that article needs a lot more prose). Another FA element that can have a lot written about it is uranium (6100 words). And oxygen, 6500 words. What makes radon so darn special that it needs so much prose? Much condensing and spin off of detail per WP:SS is needed before I'll support it at FAC. --mav (Please help review Mono-Inyo Craters) 02:33, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
More than half the article is about the health effects. That could be readily spun off into an article such as "Health effects of radon", with the work summarized here in a single section.—RJH (talk) 17:34, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Ruhrfisch comments: There is a lot of good information here, but it I do not think the article is ready for FAC yet. I agree with all of the points above and think that better organization and a good copyedit to tighten the prose and reduce needless repetition would also help to reduce the number of words. Here are some suggestions for improvement.

  • Since the reviewers have suggested making daughter article(s), the lead will almost certainly need to change to properly summarize the final version of the article. I do note that here half-life is mentioned twice in the lead, but explained after the second mention - the explanation should follow the first mention.
  • I like this in the lead, but it is not really explicitly repeated in the body of the article (and since the lead should be a summary of the article, the lead should not be the only place for anything to appear):
Radon is formed as part of the normal radioactive decay chain of uranium. Uranium has been around since the earth was formed and its most common isotope has a very long half-life (4.5 billion years), which is the amount of time required for one-half of uranium to break down. Uranium, radium, and thus radon, will continue to occur for millions of years at about the same concentrations as they do now.[1]
  • Even though I like it, I would change this in a couple of ways (besides moving the half-life explanation earlier). First off, Uranium was around long before the earth was formed - this makes it sound as if the earth and uranium were created at the same time. Second, radium is not explicitly stated to also be a decay product of uranium. Third, and this is more of a WP:Weight issue, it seems odd to have a whole paragraph mostly on uranium in an article on radon. Assuming the half-life explanation is moved earlier in the lead, perhaps something like this would be more concise and focus more on radon (and more detail could be given somewhere in the article body):
Radon is formed from radium as part of the radioactive decay chain of uranium, the most common isotope of which has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. Thus radon, radium, and uranium will continue to occur for millions of years at about their current concentrations.[1]
  • Given the fact that radon comes from the dacay chains of three different elements, I think I would somehow mention them here too. Or even just say "Most radon is formed from radium as part of the radioactive decay chain of uranium..."
  • One of the things that has to be done for FAC is to make sure that every little detail is taken care of - I noticed that "half-life" is spelled "half life" (no hyphen) at least once.
  • Speaking of consistency, I also noticed that the half-life of the longest lived isotope of radon is given as 3.8 days in the lead, 3.8235 days in the infobox, and 3.82, 3.823, 3.8235, 3.8, and "about 4 days" in the body of the article. I would pick one value in terms of sig figs and stick with it. I an fine with having the half-life in the lead and infobox, and can see having it twice in the article body, but five different values? I think this is a sign that the article needs to be carefully edited to reduce needless repetition.
  • I mentioned this is my previous peer review, but the History and etymology section as currently written is needlessly confusing and does not really follow chronological order. It also does not do as good a job as it could at providing context for the reader. The first paragraph starts with 1900, then goes back to 1899. We are told that Rutherford credited the Curies with discovering Rn, but not why Dorn is credited as the discoverer officially. The second paragraph goes from 1904 to 1918 to 1919, then back to 1904. The third paragraph starts be giving the full name of Sir William Ramsay (he has already been named, so it should just be "Ramsay"). Then we get a quotation in French from an article by a Scot and an Englishman, followed by its translation into English. Why is the French needed in the English Wikipedia? If it is so important to include the French, then indicate why in the article (why not just give the English translation?) Then the name Niton is introduced, given what seems like official status, then never mentioned again. The article gets to 1962 here, so it seems odd that there is no history in the past 47 years. The fourth and last paragraph here is all health effects and is in chronological order, but makes no mention of recent health issues.
  • If I were writing this, I think I would start with the sources of radon. The lead makes it seem like all Rn comes from U decay to Ra, so here it needs to be clear that there are multiple possible sources, so I would mention it can come from Th and Ac too. The statement about U and Rn being around on earth as long as it has existed could be here too. The health effects could be here too (or later, as desired). If health is here, I would preface the health effects with something like "Although radon was not discovered as an element until 1900, its healh effects have been known for centuries." Then the first three sentences of the fourth paragraph could be included (danger in mines, 1530 diseases, 1870s lung cancer). Next could come the 1899 observations of the Curies, Owen and Rutherford. I think I would at least mention the (three?) most stable isotopes here, making clear they were not understood as such initially. Not really sure if the health part needs to go here. If it does, the sources and health might be one paragraph, and the isotopes and 1899 observations could be the second paragraph. If health is not here, it could all be one paragraph, and it might not be too long to be one paragraph with health included anyway.
  • The next (second or third) paragraph of the rewritten History and etymology section could start with Dorn's 1900 discovery, perhaps with a bit more detail (how did he do the esperiments? Why was he given credit as the discoverer?) Then I would havve Ryutherford's 1901 work and the 1903 Ac work, followed by Ramsay's 1904 suggestion that this might be a new radiocative noble gas. Might help to briefly mention a bit on noble gases too (like the current fifth radioactive element discovered phrase). I might put Ramsay's 1910 isoaltion here too.
  • The next paragraph could focus mostly on etymology, with a bit more on Niton's disappearance. The paragraph after that could be on more recent developments, including the Cold War studies of health aspects (especially if the early health effects are in the first apragraph). This would be the place for radon fluoride (I would give the formula as it not intuitive - might also mention here that noble gases were expected not to react at all until the early 1960s). I would also mention the whole radon in houses is dangerous developments here.
  • The material on isotopes, location of natural sources / springs seems to me to have lots of needless repetition with the same or very similar information given in several sections. Sometimes there is needless repetition even within one sentence: The towns of Boulder, Montana; Misasa; Bad Kreuznach, Germany; and the country of Japan have radium-rich springs which emit radon. Misasa is in Japan, so this oculd just be The towns of Boulder, Montana; Misasa, Japan; and Bad Kreuznach, Germany have radium-rich springs which emit radon. Since other places in the article mention such springs in the Czech Republic and Italy, they should also be mentioned here.
  • Much of the rest of the article could be better organized, with redundancies reduced, but I do not have time to list all those.
  • Per the MOS, units such as Bequerel should be spelled out on fist use.
  • To get ready for FAC this also needs more references - many sentences and whole sections lack refs. For example, the Tracking of air masses, Power, and Concentration scale sections all lack refs. My rule of thumb is that every quote, every statistic, every extraordinary claim and every paragraph needs a ref.
  • Many of the refs do not have enough information currently. Ref 41 needs a publsher, ref 26 is malformed, and ref 47 is just a title and link. Internet refs need URL, title, author if known, publisher and date accessed. {{cite web}} and other cite templates may be helpful. See WP:CITE and WP:V
  • Some of the refs seem questionable as reliable sources - ref 23 is (and is a dead link), ref 2 is - what makes these reliable? There are lots of good scientific sources that could be used here.
  • The tools show that there are three dabs, at least three dead links and several other problem ELs, and no Alt text for most images (see WP:ALT. ALl need to be fixed before FAC
  • The article has a lot of short (one or two sentence) paragraphs that break up the flow. These should be combined with others or perhaps expanded in most cases to improve flow.

Hope this helps. If my comments are useful, please consider peer reviewing an article, especially one at Wikipedia:Peer review/backlog (which is how I found this article). I do not watch peer reviews, so if you have questions or comments, please contact me on my talk page. Yours, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 20:58, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Comments from Ealdgyth (talk · contribs)

Hope this helps. Please note that I don't watchlist Peer Reviews I've done. If you have a question about something, you'll have to drop a note on my talk page to get my attention. (My watchlist is already WAY too long, adding peer reviews would make things much worse.) 18:35, 4 December 2009 (UTC)