Wikipedia:Peer review/Washington, D.C./archive3

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Washington, D.C.

Previous peer review

This peer review discussion has been closed.
Washington, D.C. just achieved GA status and I would like to keep the momentum going to move the article along. Any comments about the content, breadth, focus, references, etc. would be greatly appreciated. More importantly, if there's anything that you feel would keep the article from obtaining FA status, please make your comments known so that those issues may be corrected. Thank you for your time.

Best, epicAdam (talk) 05:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Brianboulton comments: This is the first part of the review. Most of the points are relatively small, but you may wish to start addressing them while the review continues.

  • Lead:I have done some mild copyedits. The following are other points in the lead to consider.
    • "coterminous" means having a common boundary, as in "contiguous". I’ve not known it to mean sharing the same area. Can you check on this word?
      • Coterminous does mean having the same boundaries; contiguous means they share a boundary (e.g. the 48 contiguous states) -epicAdam (talk) 23:27, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
    • In any event, this construction is clumsy: "Washington (the city) covers the same area as (i.e. is coterminous with) the District of Columbia…" and should be rephrased.
    • "and they are considered to be the same entity". "Are considered" in what way? If they are legally, politically and administratively the same entity, then "are considered" isn’t definitive enough.
      • To take care of all of the above, how about "The City of Washington used to be a separate municipality within the District of Columbia. In 1871, Congress passed the District of Columbia Organic Act, which effectively merged the city and the district into a single entity." That better? -epicAdam (talk) 23:27, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
    • "is located on the banks of the Potomac…" As the city no longer straddles the river, perhaps it should be specified: "…on the northern bank of the Potomac".
    • Suggest: "…including the headquarters of trade unions and professional associations".
  • History
    • James Madison first "brought up…" is ugly. "James Madison first raised…"
    • capitalization of "Federal government"? (this seems only instance)
      • It should be lower-case. Both the Post and the Times use "federal government" (lower-case), and they're pretty much the gold-standard for copy editors.
    • Perhaps a very brief explanation of the "war debt" issue could be included.
      • I've tried to make this "brief" before, it just doesn't work. In the six years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the process to write the current Constitution, Southern states had largely paid off their war debts that they borrowed from other countries (like France); the Northern states had not and wanted the Federal government to take on the debts of all 13 states. This, obviously, would have meant that the South would be left paying more than their fair share. In return for Southern states agreeing to accept the North's debt plan, the South wanted to make sure that the new capital was located closer to their agricultural interests as opposed to New York or Philadelphia. And voila! D.C. is born. I'm not quite sure how to condense that complicated tale to make it digestible. I was thinking about taking all the "war debt" information altogether and just say that the states came to an agreement... -epicAdam (talk) 23:28, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
        • I'd suggest that, rather than extending the text, you use a footnote: "By 1790 the Southern states had largely repaid their overseas debts from the War of Independence. The Northern states had not, and wanted the new federal governmment to take over their outstanding liabilties. As this would effectively mean the Southern states assuming a share of the Northern debt, the South, as a quid pro quo, lobbied for a federal capital located close to their own agricultural interests, rather than in New York or Philadephia". It's a bit long, but the point is important. (I regularly fill my own articles with lengthy footnotes, sometimes longer than this) Brianboulton (talk) 10:27, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Why choose to abbreviate "miles" to "mi" when you don’t need to?
      • I think a script program did that, using the {{convert}} template. Is there a way to make "miles" written-out while leaving km abbreviated? -epicAdam (talk) 23:28, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
        • Remove "abbr= on" from the convert template. I've done it in the History section, not elsewhere. Brianboulton (talk) 10:27, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Re the 1846 referendum:-
      • "In part (or partly) to avoid an end to the lucrative slave trade…" Were there other factors leading to the referendum?
        • Short answer: Yes. This goes with the economics point, but the people in Alexandria County were also upset that the federal government wasn't planning on building anything of importance on their side of the river; they didn't see the benefit of being part of the District if they were forced to give up their voting rights and slaves and got nothing in return. Do you think this should also be mentioned? -epicAdam (talk) 23:27, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
          • On reflection, I'd leave the text as it now stands, but this paragraph needs a couple more citations. The "competition from Georgetown" bit, and most certainly the "rumors circulating" claim, both should be cited. Brianboulton (talk) 10:56, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
      • The sentence needs attention anyway. Suggest insert "was held" after "referendum", and a full stop after "1846". Then: "Congress complied…".
      • Four years later, surely, not six? (1846 to 1850)
        • Done: Indeed. Four. -epicAdam (talk) 23:27, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Can you cite $20m (1873) = £342m (2008)?
      • I just used this inflation calculator. How does one cite this? -epicAdam (talk) 23:35, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
        • Cite it to the web page in the usual format. I use a different calculator,, which seems to have a more solid academic foundation than "Morgan". Measuringworth says that $20m in 1873 = £357.5m in 2007 - not too different from Morgan's figure, but whichever measure you use you should cite it. Brianboulton (talk) 10:56, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
    • "have only recently been rebuilt" is vague as to time, and increasingly irrelevant as the article gets older. Better to give an approximate date range for the rebuilding.
    • Too much detail re Mayor Barry, especially since this is supposedly a brief summary from a main article.
    • "forced to give up some home rule" is very loose phrasing which should be tightened up.
  • Geography
    • The History section refers to a 100 square mile area. There is no explanation as to how this has now become 68.3 sq. miles.
      • Will mention VA retrocession here as well -epicAdam (talk) 23:42, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
    • The sentence: "The Potomac River, as it passes Washington, is almost entirely within the District of Columbia" seems unnecessary, given the proximate map.
  • Cityscape
    • Thomas Jefferson’s wishes, expressed in quotes, should be specifically cited to a source
    • Explanation (or rephrasing) necessary of the following sentence: "As the city grew, the street names were simply extended, where possible".
      • I'm not sure this is even entirely necessary... it means to say that the street names were originally used only in the City of Washington (pre-1871 Organic Act) and that the street names were just applied where they could. For example, M Street was simply extended all the way through Georgetown just as 16th Street was extended all the way north, etc. Best just to take this part out? -epicAdam (talk) 23:42, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
        • All you need say is that the streets were extended, rather than the street names. Brianboulton (talk) 11:00, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

More will follow. Brianboulton (talk) 20:48, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Here is a second bite.

  • Architecture...
    • Delete "in fact" from first line.
    • Additional citations are necessary in this paragraph. "It can be said…" is POV unless cited. Also, the American Architects Institute rankings are presumably in a citeable source.
    • I’d delete "to this" in last sentence of first para.
    • Do you need "the area part of L’Enfant’s original plans"? Just: "the area of…" reads better
    • To avoid confusion I’d put Federalist (the architectural style) in quotes, or use some means to clarify that we are talking architecture here, not politics.
    • Not sure what "remaining style" means.
    • Done (all of the above) -epicAdam (talk) 16:53, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Nature
    • Consider changing this section title. "Nature" is inspecific – could just mean general character. "Natural environment" or similar may be better
    • The sentence dealing with the Mather Gorge is only tangentially related to Washington DC, and in view of the article’s length, might be cut.
    • What is the relevance of the image to this section?
    • Done (all of the above) the image should now make sense -epicAdam (talk) 16:53, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Climate...
    • My instinct is that much of the text in this section could also be cut, since it is represented graphically in the excellent table. I’d keep the stuff about hurricanes, tornados and floods, but ditch most of the figures from the text, and rely on the table.
    • Again, I don’t really see the relevance of this image to this section.
      • Done the picture isn't relevant. Somebody just stuck it there. It's now gone. I've tightened up the section as well, but left the winter lows and the summer highs. Other FA articles like New York City do the same.-epicAdam (talk) 16:53, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Demographics
    • Last line, second para – I’m not clear on what national average is being compared here.
      • Very few D.C. residents are actually from the District. But it's not such an important point. -epicAdam (talk) 17:30, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Results from the 2000 census should be treated as in the past: "there were 33,000…" etc. A shorter beginning to third para might be: "The 2000 census revealed that there were…"
    • Last para: 5 should be written as "five"
    • The religious percentages add up to 92. What were the other 8%?
      • Done Indeed you are right. The religion paragraph was a complete mess. The original source didn't even provide the data. The new source and numbers come from a group recommended by the U.S. Census Bureau (the census no longer records statistics on religious identification). The numbers are now correct. -epicAdam (talk) 17:30, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Crime – no particular comment
  • Economy
    • "…the presence of many major government agencies outside the District […] has led to additional economic development in the DC area". Why would agencies outside the District promote the economy inside the District?
      • They don't promote the economy inside the District, it's more of an example that the District serves as an anchor. It's not important and it wasn't sourced anyway so I just removed it. -epicAdam (talk) 17:43, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Unemployment percentages are transient data. The percentages you quote should be dated.
    • What are Fortune 1000 or Fortune 500 companies? (Ignorant Brits will wonder)
      • It's a list of the top 1000 (and top 500) American companies compiled by the business magazine Fortune. At least on this side of the pond, the Fortune lists are highly respected and cited near-incessantly and so are mentioned without much of a detailed explanation. I added the wikilinks so if other Brits are somewhat confused, they can find out quickly. -epicAdam (talk) 17:43, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

More in due course Brianboulton (talk) 16:07, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Here is more

  • Historic sites and museums: Bearing in mind that there is a main article: Culture of Washington, D.C., and two See also links to lists of landmarks and museums, I think this section is overlong, and could be cut. I would seriously consider omitting the last paragraph altogether, and various sentences in the rest of the text as follows:-
    • 1st para: First sentence
    • 2nd para: Second sentence ("Each year the…")
    • 3rd para: Second sentence ("The US government partially…")
    • 5th para: Fifth sentence ("Given the similarities…")
    • 6th para: Second sentence ("However, as they are not…")
    • These are suggestions, and you may have better ideas, but it should be possible to lose 150 to 200 words from this section.
      • Done I edited down some of the material here. However, this is arguably the most important section of the article as the museums and monuments are the most notable aspect of the city. I would be hesitant to cut it down any further. -epicAdam (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Performing arts and music
    • Title of section: isn’t music a "performing art"?
      • The section also deals with recording music -epicAdam (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Various citations are needed in this section, i.e:-
      • "Some of Washington’s neighbourhoods are renowned for the performing arts"
      • "…Known as Washington’s black Broadway…"
        • Citation is there (New York Times article, "Lights Return to ‘Black Broadway’ in Northwest Washington, D.C.") -epicAdam (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
      • First sentence of penultimate para: "DC has its own native……"
        • Citation present at the end of paragraph, but I doubled it up so it's clear. -epicAdam (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
      • "Washington is also an important centre for indie culture…" etc
        • Same as above, citation is in the WashPost article titled "Birth of D.C. Punk"
    • Sentences like: "The U Street area has dozens of clubs and restaurants…" Sound more like publicity material than an encyclopedia. Perhaps omit?
      • Done (U Street was already cited anyway) -epicAdam (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Media
    • First sentence needs clarifying: "Washington, DC is a prominent centre for national and international media", perhaps
    • "…one for each of the local jurisdictions" Sorry, but we (or at least I) need reminding of what these "jurisdictions" are.
    • Describing a paper as "conservative" is a judgement, which should be cited
      • Done just removed adjective; it's not necessary. -epicAdam (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Sports
    • I’m afraid that no one over here will have any idea of what sports the teams listed in the first paragraph play (shocking, but true)
      • I've written out their leagues, which should be sufficient. -epicAdam (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
    • "8" should be written as eight, 2 as two, 4 as four – but, again bearing in mind the existence of a main Sports article, I wonder if it is actually necessary to list the numbers of championships won?
      • This information was previously all in a table, which another editor broke out into prose. There are other FA articles which have the the number of championships, even a few that kept the table... if they're that egregious I'm not married to the idea of keeping the info. -epicAdam (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Government
    • Some loose wording, and some POV as well.
      • "earned somewhat of a reputation…" Better: "…earned a reputation"
      • "Despite these gains, the city still faces daunting problems…" This wording is too POV/journalistic – try something like:- "However, the city faces problems that affect many urban areas….." and then cite the examples that you give.
        • I just removed the sentence because there are no specific citations. I think the city's urban problems are highlighted plenty in the demographics, economy and education sections. -epicAdam (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

More tomorrow. Brianboulton (talk) 22:24, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

My final shot:

  • Federal representation
    • Third para:Suggest beginning: "There is evidence of nationwide approval for DC voting rights to be extended"
    • Last line: "selection" of president?
      • Yes. In the U.S., we don't actually vote for President. We elect "electors" who then officially select the President. Most of the time, it's a technicality, other times it actually matters (i.e. 2000). But either way, the President isn't actually elected as much as he's voted on... for that reason, I went with "selected".
    • It is of interest to non-US readers to know that DC residents were unable to vote in presidential elections before 1960 and I wonder if it is possible to mention that specifically?
      • Actually, it's 1964... the amendment was proposed in 1960, ratified in 1961, which means the next Presidential election wouldn't have been until 1964. Shocking, eh? I'll find a way to stick this in there. -epicAdam (talk) 17:19, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Education and healthcare:
    • I suggest delete the words "in the Washington area" from second line of final para, as they are unnecessary.
  • Transport:
    • What are the initials after each airport?
      • They're the international airport codes. They're not really necessary (New York City doesn't provide them) so I've removed them. -epicAdam (talk) 17:19, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Why are some initials in boldface? Bold is not normally used in wiki articles except for headings etc.
  • Images: There are rather a lot of images (28). In some cases (see Cityscape, Media, Government) you have images on opposite sides, with text between, which I believe is an MOS violation. It may be worth reducing the number by a careful selection of the most appropriate.
    • If you only knew. There was a bit of a war a while back when a few people decided that they wanted their pictures on the D.C. main page. It was such a disaster that I left them all on the page and tried to find a way to make them work together. If you, as an outside observer, had any opinions about which photos should remain, it would be appreciated. That way, I can point to a third-party opinion as to why certain images remain and why others were removed.

General: This is probably the longest review that I have done, but it's been stimulating. I have made numerous copyedits and fixes on my way through, mainly comma placements and removal of redundancies. You are of course free to revert any of these if you wish.

This is a great article, and I will have no problem supporting this at FAC, but I suggest that before nominating, you get a hot-shot MOS expert to give it the once-over. I would recommend User:Maralia if she isn't too busy. It might also be worth asking an images expert to check that there are no problems with using your images. I doubt that there are, but I believe in reducing the number of targets as far as possible, before facing the FAC inquisition.

I'm done now. Have a good Fourth of July (which, incidentally, is my birthday).Brianboulton (talk) 13:30, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I really do appreciate all your help; it has been truly invaluable. I'll definitely check with Maralia and see if she would like to take a look at the article. Have a very happy birthday! Best always, -epicAdam (talk) 17:19, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Images: If it were up to me I'd delete: The 1865 military map (indecipherable even when enlarged), the Lincoln Memorial, the canal, the crime map (which actually only records homicides as far as I can see), the Smithsonian castle and the NPR HQ. I'd extend the Ford Theatre caption, adding: "site of the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865". My choices for deletion are those which, in my opinion, add least to the article, but I stress this is just a personal viewpoint. Brianboulton (talk) 18:54, 4 July 2008 (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.) 13:07, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
Comments from Juliancolton (talk · contribs)
  • "City" and "District" don't have to be capitalized when they're not used in a title.
    • I took care of that one instance of the word "city", but "the District" is a quasi-unique term that has developed into its own proper noun. In all official government references and media sources (including the Washington Post) use the term "the District" with a capital "D".
  • James Madison first suggested the need for a federal district in the Federalist No. 43. When?
    • Added date. Is wikilinking complete dates still the rule? There seems to be some confusion over at FAC whether or not we should still be doing so. -epicAdam (talk) 16:04, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Images should be right-aligned directly under section headers.
    • Done.
  • I would avoid referring to it as "Washington" too many times, as, while I know what it means, there might be some confusion with the State of Washington.
    • Well, if there are specific areas where you think the name is overused, then please let me know. However, "Washington" is the city's name and it should be plenty clear to those reading an article about Washington, D.C. that the Washington in question is the city, not the state. The same goes for other places that share a name, such as London, Ontario. I'm sure no one would suggest using the term "London, Ontario" throughout the article to avoid confusion with London. (Sorry for this mini-speech, I just wanted to make it clear for anybody else who might come across this peer review my reasons for keeping "Washington" as is).
  • Today the skyline remains low and sprawling, in keeping with Thomas Jefferson's wishes to make Washington an "American Paris" with "low and convenient" buildings on "light and airy" streets. Per MoS, keep Wikilinks in quotes to a minimum.
    • Should this one just be removed, then? I'm not married to keeping the term wikilinked.
      • I'm pretty sure most people have heard of or have some knowledge of Paris, so it should be fine to remove it. Juliancolton Tropical
        • Done
  • Make sure there are non-breaking spaces throughout.
    • Done. Every time I thought I caught all of them... there are always more. :-)
  • Six of the top ten buildings in the American Institute of Architects' 2007 ranking of "America's Favorite Architecture" are located in the District of Columbia... "ten" → "10".
    • Yes, I was thinking about that... the only issue is that the sentence then becomes, "Six of the top 10..." Do you think that looks alright?
  • In the "Climate" section, you might want to add a {{see also}} link to List of Maryland and Washington, D.C. hurricanes (1980–present).
    • Done
  • 26.8% of residents do not practice a religion. Spell out numbers that begin a sentence.
    • Done

More later. Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 15:02, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Adding info from my talk page:

Alright, I haven't read the entire article yet, but at first glance, I suggest moving the Cityscape header under Geography to its own section, and putting "Architecture" as an H3 header under Cityscape. Not a big deal, but man-made cityscape and architecture doesn't seem like geography to me.

I'll try take an in-depth look once the weekened is over. Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 14:12, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

  • I would have to agree about putting cityscape and architecture out on their own. The only issue is the WP:USCITY guidelines which state: "This section provides a description of the physical geography. Topics that can be covered include, but are not limited to, the settlement's context in the region, topology, natural features, landscape, cityscape, skyline, wildlife, vegetation, neighborhoods, infrastructure, etc."

    If you think it's okay, I'd be happy to fudge these guidelines a bit to provide for better organization. -epicAdam (talk) 16:04, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

  • I think it would be fine to change it around a bit, as WP:USCITY is a mere guideline, not a policy. It probably won't affect the article at FAC, though. Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 13:44, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Done. Thanks again for your help! -epicAdam (talk) 17:10, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I just read through the article, and I see nothing glaringly wrong. I think it'll do just fine at FAC. Good work! Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:35, 24 July 2008 (UTC)