Wikipedia:Peer review/The Turk/archive1

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The Turk[edit]

Completely rewritten, source-o-riffic, I'm looking to get this to featured level. To do list involves diversifying a few sources and fixing up the "see also" area, perhaps adding an external link/further reading area with the texts I don't end up using for the article. Any other help is very appreciated. --badlydrawnjeff talk 23:19, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Its very good. Try to wrtie the main section of the article like no one read the introduction, so you should reintroduce Wolfgang von Kempelen in the Construction section. I think the sentence that explains how the Turk's operator knew which piece was moved needs more clarification. I'm not sure I understand how he could tell the magnets apart. Also, is there any information how and when the general public learned of how the Turk worked? Was it when it was put on display at the museum? Those are the only problems I noticed. (I know how Frederick the Great felt, I would have been very dissapointed too.) Medvedenko 17:02, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Excellent input, thanks. I'll add more about Kempelen, the operator, and the magnets. As for how the general public learned, good question. I'll have to look to see if there's any info on it that I missed. --badlydrawnjeff talk 18:16, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps too many red links in some sections. Try to create stubs for the really notable ones and do not link the rest. --Ioannes Pragensis 14:39, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm working on that. I've got one more section to complete, and then the redlinks'll start getting chopped down. --badlydrawnjeff talk 14:43, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

AnonEMouse's comments[edit]

I'm taking the liberty of comandeering a subsection of my own, first, since my review experience shows that these are helpful to deal with one person's comments at a time, and second, since I suspect my comments may be voluminous.

  • Red links - what Ioannes said. I think a few could be all right, but you have dozens.
    • Indeed. I will be revisiting them before taking it to the next step.
  • In any case, you need a few more words about Pelletier and the illusion that inspired the thing. Was he a magician sawing a lady in half in a big box? A medium with someone hidden under a table rapping? Something completely different? "An exchange" - meaning someone had a friendly discussion, an argument, a fistfight, or an insult followed by slaps with a glove and pistols at dawn? With Pelletier, or with someone else? If you could give a date for the performance that would be interesting too, showing how long it took the baron from the initial impetus to invent and build the thing.
    • Honestly, not sure. Historical documentation that I've tracked down either hasn't logged the act or hasn't felt it was important enough to mention. The Standage book goes into a lot of unsourced speculation, but I hate to rely on that alone.
  • 3.5 feet long, 2 feet ... - per Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)#Units_of_measurement, you want at least a conversion to SI units.
    • Further thoughts on this? It's a historical, not scientific, article (in my mind, at least), and all the references refer to it in feet. If it must be changed, I'll need help with it, because I'm math stupid.
  • duc de Bouillon - capital D, perhaps?
    • Not sure. It hasn't been capitalized where I saw it first, but it may be a mistake.
  • "The Turk also had the ability, using a letter board, to converse with spectators." -> "The Turk also had the ability to converse with spectators using a letter board." Unnecessarily complex.
    • Similarly, but more so: "Kempelen's son, sometime before 1808, decided to attempt to sell the machine to Johann Nepomuk Mälzel, a Bavarian musician with an interest in various machines and devices, including patenting the metronome, who had attempted to purchase the Turk once before, prior to Wolfgang von Kempelen's death.". Ack!
      • Consistently a problem with me. Will fix shortly.
Reorder the second clause first again to get rid of a comma, but I'd also recommend breaking it into several sentences. Either stop after "metronome" and restart, or reorder to something like: "Sometime before 1808, Kempelen's son decided to attempt to sell the machine to Johann Nepomuk Mälzel, who had attempted to purchase the Turk once before, prior to Wolfgang von Kempelen's death. Mälzel was a Bavarian musician with an interest in various machines and devices, including patenting a metronome." Note that he didn't patent "the" metronome, just a variant.
  • Magnets - several places in the article go on about The Turk being unaffected by outside magnets. Can you explain if it really did use magnets on the inside, why wasn't it affected?
    • I'll double check the article. It certainly used magnets, but if there's question, I'm not clear about it.
  • "About the box, Karl Gottlieb von Windisch wrote..." and then goes on to give a citation that has nothing to do with the box!
    • Yup, I realize my error. Fixed.
  • "The director, who's identity" -> whose [1]
    • Bah.
  • "Questions asked and answered by the Turk included his age" -> "its", surely
    • But the figure was male! (yup, fixed)
  • "a lawyer named Mr. Bernard who was a second rank in chess ability." - what's a second rank? Needs at least a link to another article explaining what that is.
    • Still working on a proper link/description on this one.
  • "...contradict eachother.[4]" Needsaspace.
    • Got it.
  • "He was quickly defeated, with observations from the match stating ..." The match itself observed? Spectators? The defeated player himself?
    • Good catch, fixed.
  • 26 March 1804: per WP:DATE needs links.
    • Got it.
  • "According to Mälzel, his goal was..." where was Maelzel quoted? I would think this needs a reference.
    • Referenced at the end of the paragraph, as the entire paragraph uses one source. If clarity is necessary, I don't mind using the same reference twice in a paragraph, but I figured not to overdo it.
  • "According to Bradley Ewart in his book Chess: Man vs. Machine, the Turk sat at its cabinet, and Bonaparte at a chess table in a roped off area that he was not allowed to cross into." Who was not allowed to cross into? Bonaparte? Wasn't he already inside the area? Ewart? Was he there? Surely not the Turk?
    • Not reworded yet, but I'll take a closer look at this. I see the confusion, there's a lot going on there.
  • Venise - link to Venice if he was really its prince? I didn't read that article enough - if it was just a symbolic title, like Prince of Wales not really being in charge of Wales, then mention that Beuharnais was Napoleonic general and Napoleon's adopted son, that probably explains him better in as many words.
    • I'll review this as well.
  • What is the "voice box" discussed in multiple places in the article? A speaking tube to the "director" in the machine, or something completely mechanical?
    • Frustratingly unclear.
  • Surely playing without a bishop is not called a "pawn handicap"?
    • Yeah, not putting the word "pawn" after the possessive didn't make much logical sense, did it?
  • "Mälzel in America" - he fled to avoid paying Beauharnais, because he couldn't be extradited from the US? That's strongly implied, but not stated outright, and probably should be. How about his 1828 return to Europe - did he pay off the debt in the meantime, or did he just avoid Beauharnais?
    • To the former, it isn't stated outright. One could assume that, but then we're veering into bad territory there. As for the latter, same deal - there's no indication he paid his debt, and one assumed he avoided his debtor, but I can't verify it.
  • If Poe's "Maelzel's Chess Player" is published in 1836, it's public domain now, and must be online somewhere. If it's so famous, a direct link to a copy or two would be useful. I found this [2] but it's not necessarily the best one, though any is better than none. You may also want to mention a bit more about Poe's fallacies, again if it really was the most influential piece on the Turk.
    • I have it linked in the references, and plan on making it an explicit external link, too. I will add some of the fallacies per your suggestion.
  • Poe seems to harp a bit on the fact that Maelzel never claimed the Turk was fully an automaton, but rather would say nothing about it, to avoid lying. If that's so, that would be useful to state outright in the article, otherwise it implies the opposite in several places. Did Kempelen behave the same way?
    • Same as above.
  • "In Cuba, Schlumberger passed away of yellow fever, taking away Mälzel's best director of the machine. Dejected, he took the machine back to Philadelphia and made a second visit to Havana. Mälzel would never make it back to Philadelphia, passing away at sea in 1838 at age 66." A bit confusing - Maelzel took the machine back to Philadelphia but would never make it back to Philadelphia?
    • Yeah, I see what you're saying. I'll reword this soon, too.
  • "... fell into the hands of John Ohl, a businessman and friend of Mälzel. He attempted to sell the Turk, but ultimately purchased the machine for $400 due to low bidding." What? "fell into the hands of" implies he owned it, why did he have to purchase it? Was he merely the executor of the estate?
    • The latter, the executor, per se. Will clarify once I have the correct situation verified.
  • "Only when Dr. John Kearsley Mitchell ... approached Ohl did the Turk change hands again." I hate to say this, but this needs yet another comma after "Ohl". I can't immediately think of a cleaner rewrite.
    • I'll review it.
  • "July 5 1854" comma before year.
    • Thanks, fixed.
  • "The machine was presented in a similar way to how Kempelen would, except for a change on the control of the machine, which was left to a computer." First, "on" -> "in", I believe. But second, I'd suggest scrapping the whole second half of the sentence. The presentation could have been similar, but the machine itself was completely different - surely it's didn't use a pegboard, or pantograph, or strings? It may have used magnets, but probably in a different way, etc. I'd just end the sentence after "would".
    • The intent with this sentence was that the machine was done the same way, except that there was no one inside the machine, instead allowing a computer to control the game and the mechanism. Thoughts?
  • A link to The Crooked Hinge would seem at least a useful "see also". You may even want to write a sentence or two about it.
    • Fascinating, never noticed this until now. Thanks for the heads up, I want to read it now, too.
  • "Future inspiration" - Reverend doesn't need a link, it's in no way relevant to the article. On the other hand, adding the word "inventor" or "scientist" before Charles Wheatstone would be useful (not necessarily linked, though), as otherwise someone doesn't know why he would be important. AnonEMouse (squeak) 18:50, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    • Fixed. Thanks AGAIN for your always-helpful input, you're indispensable. --badlydrawnjeff talk 02:24, 3 January 2007 (UTC)